Back to previous post: America

Go to Making Light's front page.

Forward to next post: Come see Whisperado this Thursday—

Subscribe (via RSS) to this post's comment thread. (What does this mean? Here's a quick introduction.)

October 25, 2009

Open thread 131
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 04:14 PM *

0131 is the Edinburgh telephone prefix. It was changed from 031 on April 16, 1995 (PhONE Day). When calling from abroad, one should drop the 0 and dial 131 after the country code (+44).

Such dusky grandeur clothed the height
Where the huge castle holds its state
And all the steep slope down,
Whose ridgy back heaves to the sky,
Piled deep and massy, close and high,
Mine own romantic town!
 
—Sir Walter Scott, Marmion

See also: a Marmion photoset.

There is no special loveliness in that gray country, with its rainy, sea-beat archipelago; its fields of dark mountains; its unsightly places, black with coal; its treeless, sour, unfriendly looking corn-lands; its quaint, gray, castled city, where the bells clash of a Sunday, and the wind squalls, and the salt showers fly and beat. I do not even know if I desire to live there; but let me hear, in some far land, a kindred voice sing out, “Oh, why left I my hame?” and it seems at once as if no beauty under the kind heavens, and no society of the wise and good, can repay me for my absence from my country. And though I think I would rather die elsewhere, yet in my heart of hearts I long to be buried among good Scots clods. I will say it fairly, it grows on me with every year: there are no stars so lovely as Edinburgh street-lamps. When I forget thee, auld Reekie, may my right hand forget its cunning!
 
—Robert Louis Stevenson, The Silverado Squatters

I don’t miss Edinburgh in the winter, when the darkness would seep into my very brain. And I don’t miss it in the summer, now that I live somewhere I can get a tan. But sometimes, of an autumn day, I would love a glimpse of pale golden sunlight on Georgian sandstone.

Comments on Open thread 131:
#1 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 04:53 PM:

I've never been to Edinburgh; that might change some day. I did once pick up an SF novel beginning there--an alternate history in which Christianity had never displaced paganism. I think it was called "The Fire-Worshippers". A glimpse inside suggested colorful pageantry and so on. Well, once I got any way into the thing, it became clear that either a knowledge of actual pagan customs or alternate-history-building was not the author's forte. Instead, he had dealt me a pile of pedophile porn. It was all fiction, but still. I wound up wishing for a bucket of brain bleach--it wasn't even plausible, let alone well-written. As thrifty as I am, I traded it in somewhere rather than corrupt an innocent landfill. But I decided to steer clear of that author henceforth. (I forgot his name.) From now on, when I see fiction that looks interesting, I'm going to do a little background research first.
On a happier note, 131 was the number of steps in a stairway in a tiny remote settlement I once lived in when young. It was a wooden stairway that went straight up a hillside, and it had these...flats on either side of the steps, inside the handrails, on which a wooden box of whatever was needed could be hauled up the hill. I don't know why they didn't put wheels on it, but at 12 I thought that was just the coolest thing ever. I was one of those more interested in things than people and that's just how it worked with me.
Now, the settlement is deserted--I am a ghost-town survivor--and I don't know how much remains of it, if the stairway is still there. I recall wondering what would become of the place in 100 years, and I never guessed its story would end in my lifetime.
I don't know if I will ever make it out there again to complete the closure. But I might see Scotland some day, and if so I will have to get out to Urquhart Castle (sp?) to see the big trebuchet that is one of the ancestors of my own.

#2 ::: PurpleGirl ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 05:13 PM:

But sometimes, of an autumn day, I would love a glimpse of pale golden sunlight on Georgian sandstone.

I love autumn sunsets when the light coming into my dining/living room is a warm gold and the room glows.

#3 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 05:40 PM:

It is also St. Crispin's Day.

#4 ::: Dave Langford ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 05:47 PM:

I've been to Edinburgh just once: happy memories, since the occasion was the wedding of my old pal Paul Barnett (who mostly writes as John Grant) to Pam Scoville. What better reason to visit and do all the touristy things? That's reasons for me, I mean: I'm too deaf for the Festival and Fringe.

#5 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 05:57 PM:

Speaking of darkness, last night I went to a local fan's pre-Halloween party, where my attire had some of the ladies call me quite dapper, and later a teenage girl also at the party called us normal, compared to her more contemporary friends.

#6 ::: Renatus ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 06:18 PM:

Augh. Man. I don't want to be a big worrywart bummer, here, but my 17 year old sister just sent me a Facebook message that worries me a lot and I'm flailing for information. She said that she's going to talk to a Navy recruiter this Friday because if she gets accepted she'll get $30,000 for college. No details otherwise.

Now, the huge number worries me, as does the fact that this is awfully similar to what our relatives kept telling me when I was in high school over a decade ago--going on about how 'the military will pay for college!' while carefully not saying anything about what actually BEING in the military was like or when this going to college would happen. (For the record, the decision was made for me before I was old enough to join--I told a recruiter who called me about not being run due to a congenital hip problem and he couldn't hang up on me fast enough.)

I don't live in the States now so I'm really not familiar with what kind of recruiting is going on anymore. My Google-fu isn't working so hot right now (okay, I'm kind of freaked, this is my little sister after all), and all I've been able to find is a little blurb that lets on that that $30k number is 'up to', and only with an 8 year enlistment.

Does anyone else know where I can find more information on this I can send her, so she knows for sure what kind of thing she's thinking about getting into? If she has a good idea of what she's getting into and decides to go through with it, I'm okay with it--she's smart and I trust her judgment--but I'm very worried she's been made some big promises with all of inconvienent details mysteriously left out.

Did I mention that this is my little sister? Augh. Aughaughaugh.

#7 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 06:25 PM:

Forbear to throw more weight upon the ass
since longer journey we must soon begin;
the copper coin that the lone guide shall spin
no better guide through the hardest impasse
since at the end there may be but rough grass
and all our commons could turn out most thin.
Still none of that; our better hope's to win
leaving our enemies in the morass.
The hardest victory is still the first
when no experience is on our side
but suffering; so all we know is pain,
so we must say this has to be the worst,
in largest part just to protect our pride
but also to account for your huge gain.

#8 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 06:27 PM:

Oddly enough Edinburgh was voted their favourite place in Britain by Observer and Guardian readers just this week:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/travel-awards-2009

I'd forgotten phone day was so long ago, I recall the campaign for it but it seemed a lot of hassle. You can still see the occaisional old number somewhere, missing its extra 0.

#9 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 06:27 PM:

#3 ::: Dave Bell

It is also St. Crispin's Day.

And my (so far un-) civil partner's 26 ( the other way round)th birthday.
Happy birthday Mr T

#10 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 06:31 PM:

I live in Edinburgh, have for the past 6 years now (how time passes) I really like it here. Would stay if I didn't.

Daylight savings time has just been reset so things have gotten dark. Winter is kicking in.

Having said that I had a really nice stroll around the meadows today, some wind but bright and the autumn colours are pretty on the trees.

The main blight on the city right now is the tramworks. I'm sure it'll be very nice once they're finished but in the meantime they make it harder to get around.

#11 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 06:32 PM:

Renatus @ #6, I realize this is your sister, not your daughter, but this site (run by the Navy, but it's a forum for prospective sailors' mothers) might be useful: http://www.navyformoms.com/

Here's another site's page talking about cash benefits for enlistment: http://www.usmilitary.com/4456/cash-enlistment-navy-reserve-benefits/

I was in the USN Reserves for 2 years active duty a long time ago (72-74; tag end of 'Nam) stationed in Japan (if you were in the top three of your training class you got your choice of duty station at the time; I made damned sure I fit that criterion and got my choice). It was an interesting two years, and I don't have any regrets.

#12 ::: Renatus ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 06:49 PM:

Linkmeister, thank you very much. I am totally failing at searching right now. Those links help.

Like I said, I'll be calm if she's making an informed decision, but... I'm scared our relatives have Fed Her A Line, because they sure as hell fed me one. In our family, if a young woman doesn't look like she's jumping right on the having kids thing, they push and push and push going into the military because it PAYS MONEY!!!, even though the number of people who have actually served amounts to, uh, one male cousin. So I don't trust their good intentions (which I'm not entirely sure are good, but that's my bitter to deal with) to have anything to do with actual reality.

#13 ::: PurpleGirl ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 06:57 PM:

Renatus -- those promises of money are just that promises. They don't always pan out. I remember many articles over the past few years about how the military can renege on them. Money for college is a major tool in recruiting, as is the promise of training in an area of the recruit's choice leading to a civilian career. That too gets forgotten by the military. here are some searches to start you off. There is the "up to $X" language. Over the past few years I remember the stories about stop-loss orders keeping people in the services so they couldn't leave for school.

I googled "us military recruiting money for college" and among the cites for US military programs there were these cites:

http://www.boingboing.net/2009/10/22/us-military-data-min.html

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/10/14-0

This is a .pdf from objector.org (a conscientious objectors group). The flyer is a little old but I think the basic ideas are still true.

www.afsc.org/pacificsw/ht/a/GetDocumentAction/i/46083

This article is from 2005:

www.peaceworkmagazine.org/pwork/0506/050607.htm

You need to be calm when you research this information and when you talk to your niece; you should also talk to her parents and find out what they think about her plan. I'm sure there's more out there on the net but you have to get the right search terms. I hope this helps.

#14 ::: Abby N ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 06:59 PM:

Renatus @ 6, Peace Action's counter-recruitment materials; I'm not claiming that this is any less biased than the relatives in question, but it's at least arguing the opposite perspective.

#15 ::: PurpleGirl ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 06:59 PM:

Renatus -- just reread your post and saw it is your sister. Sorry about the mistake in caller her your niece.

#16 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 07:11 PM:

Sica #10: I suspect you mean that you wouldn't stay if you didn't.

#17 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 07:17 PM:

I like Edinburgh too. A much saner place than London, from my experiences. Calmer driving (although in a brief visit earlier this year i noticed rush-hour has got worse). A smaller city (London is too big for me; I grew up in Manchester). Nicer atmosphere than London. I admit I don't think I'd like the dark winters very much.

#18 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 07:28 PM:

Today's WashPost has a column on how to have authors make less money.

#19 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 07:31 PM:

Fragano, er.. yes, absolutely. Oops.

#20 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 08:02 PM:

OK, I want to see the dissection of that column, for sure.

And I would like a nice autumn walk in Edinburgh. Perhaps next year....

#21 ::: Iain Coleman ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 08:03 PM:

I love living in Edinburgh, but if there was one thing I could change, it wouldn't be the dark winters. That's what pubs are for. No, it would be the cruel wind that blows through you rather than around you.

#22 ::: lightning ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 09:32 PM:

#18 Marilee:

Short version: publishers should stop paying advances and publish only books from celebrity authors.

This bozo has no idea how the book business works, and probably hasn't read a non-celebrity non-bestseller since college, if then.

#23 ::: lightning ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 09:38 PM:

#6 ::: Renatus

Here's a fact sheet on military recruiting, from Quaker House. Key point: recruiters lie.

#24 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 09:48 PM:


This
is a photo of the porch support nearest to my porch, on my neighbours side. The observant may note the lack of something common to, and desirable of, brick walls. The rest may consider themselves fortunate to be out of range of my extensive commentary about the effect said lack has had on my porch ...

That said, the setting sun on the brick work (as I dusted such mortar as remained to the ground) was quite lovely...

#25 ::: Ingvar ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 10:11 PM:

I have only been in Edinburgh briefly (stepped of the airport bus, to jump on a train), but should probably try to visit it at least once in the near future.

When I see 031 as an area code, I think Gothen- rather than Edin-burgh.

#26 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 10:15 PM:

Renatus #6: In addition to the comments above, let me remind you that we're currently in a meat-grinder war, with few signs of ending it any time soon. And yes, our military has a history of deceptive recruiting....

#27 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 10:19 PM:

And for the original post: This evening we had a gorgeous evening sky. I didn't get photos though, as I was admiring it while carrying laundry.

#28 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 10:55 PM:

Immolation

This was not the sin
for which Carthage must die.
The scale is sometimes disputed
by historians; it is difficult to say
which exactly was the practice, and which
the demonization of a defeated foe.
Cartago delenda est.

Reason alone states the plausibility
of child sacrifice in an era
where the unwanted
(the extra mouths, the daughters instead of sons)
might be exposed; at the core
of the story of Abraham taking Isaac to the mountain
is the expectation that children are an expected sacrifice.
For numbers, it is impossible to know
as the infants were sacrificed in fire.
Little remains.

The rich folk of Carthage
were said to have blamed their defeat
upon the substitution of the children of the poor
for their own; Human nature is to look for the greatest gain
with the least personal inconvenience.
Even in their desperation, they did not sacrifice themselves
but their children.

Children are the gateway to fear.
One always dreads the things that might come to be:
the stranger on the road,
the inattentive driver,
the disease that a parent cannot end.
The fear that your child might be the next to be chosen
could be balanced against the feeling that the worst has fallen.
A parent could relax; no more woe.
That fatal piety echoes in our legacy of horrors; we shrink from the thought
of children in the fire.
Not that. Never that.

Never the children in their mothers' arms,
headed towards the showers.
Never the victims of chemical weapons
(looking just as our children do when asleep
but still, so still)
Never in our own communities.
Not ours, at the least,
victims of the triumph of fear over hope.

Cartago delenda est,
lest we be forced to think
that in some ways, we have progressed no further
than the sacrifice of children to the blazing fire.

#29 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 10:57 PM:

I'm not sure that went where I wanted it to go. Moloch is about the most disturbing imagery I can think of and right now my brain wants to avoid it at the same time as I can't leave it alone.

Purge! Purge!

#30 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 11:31 PM:

B. Durbin @28, disturbing, but good.  Yet a Roman paterfamilias could reject a baby at birth, to be exposed, & had nearly arbitrary life/death & punishment power over his household (see also Dobson @143ff (many) & James Arthur Ray @167, subject of same New Age sweat lodge post).

#31 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 11:31 PM:

B. Durbin #28: Gaah! I already had some child-abuse imagery rampaging through my head, something about parents being afraid their children might grow to become better than the parents. I'm not even sure where that came from, and now it's all mixed up with your poem and sending the children off to war. (I'm guessing that last was where your poem came from.)

I think I'm gonna need to hit some of my my cuteness sites before I can get to bed. (I've got more, but I fear the Pit Of Moderation. ;-) )

#32 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2009, 11:44 PM:

Open threadery: I recently got around to watching _The September Issue_, and quite enjoyed it.

One of the things that most struck me was that Anna Wintour, who is surrounded by terrified lackeys, who is chaufered from place to place, who has assistants to attend to all of life's little details, and who has enough influence to have Manhattan moved to the far side of the moon if she so chooses - spends the whole movie drinking Starbucks coffee. Out of paper cups. With cardboard lids.

Surely this is not living the good life?

#33 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 12:26 AM:

Open thready comment:

Some time ago, we discussed the weird news hole surrounding the pre-emptive arrests and general police state measures used to suppress protests at the GOP convention in St Paul, MN. There was a brief discussion of other holes in the news, places where the MSM simply didn't discuss some big event for some reason. Now, these are inherently somewhat hard to find, if you don't have some secondary source of information telling you about the event. (If it hasn't appeared in the NYT, it hasn't happened, right?) And then you've got to worry about your second source being accurate.

This Glen Greenwald Post describes an interesting example of this. There was a program run by the Pentagon to manipulate domestic media coverage of the war (and runup to the war) by basically turning retired generals into shills for the administration. As I understand the story, these retired generals had financial ties with the Pentagon that kept them on message, and went over various talking points with their handlers which they then used repeatedly, when they spoke as some network's "military analyst." If you get most of your news from the MSM networks, this probably comes as a surprise to you, because the story has apparently been almost completely avoided on those networks. Read the Greenwald post for the full details. (Among other things, he links to a couple news websites on the day the Pulitzer prizewinners were announced. The websites described several other stories, but never this story, which also won a pulitzer.)

I'm curious if anyone can think of contradictions to this? Glenn points out that the program was discussed on PBS. I don't ever recall hearing about it on NPR, but I may simply not have heard. This story was covered in the newspapers. But somehow, not on TV news.

#34 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 01:09 AM:

"sending the children off to war. (I'm guessing that last was where your poem came from.)"

Actually, not in the least. I tend to come up with my poem topics in advance of the open threads. Usually I can get the concept fleshed out a bit more ahead of time; I had trouble with this one. It came more from a certain resentment of people assuming that we modern types have the moral high ground, where there's quite enough that we do that counts in the child sacrifice category (and I'm meaning that pretty literally.)

But since I think that poetry is to be set free and an interaction, I don't mind if people see something in there that I hadn't intended. In fact, it's fascinating what people can see in something. I once had a friend claim one of my poems made her think it was about lesbian sex... which was completely different than anything I'd thought it was about.

(My problem with the thing as it stands is that I feel like I pulled my punches because the topic's so hard for me to deal with as a mother. I mean, Moloch is an utterly revolting concept for me to even think about for a while, much less explore as I feel the concept deserves. Ah, well, sometimes my horror falls short.)

#35 ::: Almost Lucy ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 03:24 AM:

It's been four years since I was in Edinburgh, after the Glasgow Worldcon. A beautiful city I will someday return to. I was 16, only just beginning to realize that the play I'd read the summer before would set me on the road to I'm on now.

#36 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 04:35 AM:

Iain Coleman @ 21 "the cruel wind that blows through you rather than around you."

That's called a "lazy wind."

#37 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 05:30 AM:

Autumn always makes me think of Goldengrove unleaving. I love watching the colors change as the days pass. Sometimes, early in the morning, a hopeful neighbor pokes the grass under the chestnut tree, trying to find some to bring home. Other days a steady clip-clop rouses us from sleep, as riders take their horses out for a leisurely stroll around the park.

#38 ::: Renatus ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 06:01 AM:

#13 ::: PurpleGirl: Thank you for the links. Don't worry about the relationship mistake, it's no big deal.

I don't think our mother is very sanguine about this at all--the time she mentioned my sister had started talking about the military, she sounded guarded and tense.

#14 ::: Abby N: Thank you as well. I'm hoping that she's willing to read info from all sides and average it out for herself. Right now I think she's dazzled by promises and not seeing the shadows.

#23 ::: lightning: Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you. That covers my most important concerns very succintly.

#26 ::: David Harmon: Oh, I'm laughing bitterly at that, as just before I went to bed last night my sister sent me another message stating that well, the recruiter she's been talking to has been in for 13 years and has never seen any combat!

I was worried before but that little tidbit of information made me feel distinctly unwell.

#39 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 06:08 AM:

As of next April, I'll have lived in Edinburgh for 15 years. Came for a job, stayed after the company went bust.

Yes, the long winter nights can be a bit grim -- despite the temperate climate, we're fifty miles north of Moscow here -- but I've found that a high-power SAD lamp helps immensely. (The only trouble is realizing that it's SAD when I start to feel run-down -- it happens a few days earlier with each passing year.)

Other aspects of Edinburgh life can also be annoying. During the Festival and Fringe, it's impossible to get into my favourite restaurants or pubs due to the wall-to-wall tourists, and the charm of omnipresent performing arts wears off after the first decade. And it's a pain to get from Edinburgh to anywhere else (except Glasgow) -- the trains have become progressively worse, the airport is bursting at the seams, and the A1 (the main road leading south) is still single carriageway for most of the journey through the borders (so you run a constant obstacle course of trucks obeying the 40mph heavy vehicle speed limit on such roads).

But the architecture, the people, and the beer ... it's not somewhere I would leave easily.

#40 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 07:10 AM:

General open-threadness: I know that the phrase is a bit cliched and overused by now, but-

The Stupid. It hurts.

#42 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 08:09 AM:

Edinburgh - never been there, but planning a short visit next February. Not, perhaps, an ideal time to visit, but I'm taking my daughter who is applying to University of Edinburgh and to St. Andrews, and that's the best combination of available time and available flights with frequent flyer mileage. And I figure if she's deciding on whether to go to school there, she might as well see some of the down side.

#43 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 08:42 AM:

B. Durbin #34: Ah, I guess I was just drawing late-night associations there.

A couple of cute/silly things I turned up during last nights cute therapy:

Someone's tracking their hamster, also photoblogging, etc. (160+ km so far)

The Human Clock. (photostreaming)

#44 ::: Tim Hall ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 09:05 AM:

Last visited Edinburgh in July 2007 - I was there to see the support band at Bryan Adam's concert at Murrayfield Stadium, and decided to make a long weekend of it. It's a beautiful city with (as Charlie says) some great beer. Next time I visit, I want a native guide, though. I'm sure I missed the best bits.

The weather was glorious all weekend, *except* for the duration of the concert, when it pissed down all evening. As seen in the photos of the weekend.


#45 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 09:23 AM:

OtterB: by February the long nights will be slowly getting shorter -- but it can be the coldest time of year. Expect nighttime temperatures around freezing, and daytime temperatures not much higher -- unless there's one of the once-every-three-years arctic cold snaps, in which case it can get down to a wind chill of minus ten or lower.

#46 ::: Adrian ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 09:43 AM:

Renatus, here's some information from the American Friends Service Committee.
http://www.afsc.org/Youth&Militarism/ht/display/ContentDetails/i/18300
It seems good at countering the misleading information often given by recruiters, and it's aimed directly at young people who are considering enlistment. You might also want to read the pages about how high schools work with military recruiters, especially in poor neighborhoods, if you want to get a sense of "what kind of recruiting is going on."

#47 ::: thanate ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 09:47 AM:

Another thought for Renatus: If your sister is actually interested in the military, rather than just being sweet-talked by a recruiter, you might try suggesting she look into ROTC programs, as that would at least guarantee she gets the college in exchange for her service. (My father did well with Navy ROTC, but that was about forty years ago, and I haven't got more recent experience with it.)

#48 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 09:58 AM:

Open threadiness, with a very weird riff on the Moloch imagery:

My daughter the actor and stunt performer being set on fire.

Awesome with awesome sauce.

#49 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 10:40 AM:

"It is said that upon listening to a performance of this quartet, Schubert remarked, "After this, what is left for us to write?"

#50 ::: Pedantka ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 10:40 AM:

As a resident of Glasgow for these past four years, I have mixed feelings about Edinburgh. It's a very pretty city, and the museums and New College Library are nice, but I could happily skip having to wade through tourists on the Royal Mile--only having never actually lived in Edinburgh, I've never quite figured out where else one is supposed to go beyond the noisy crowded parts.

Plus, it does get tiring when people come to visit and only want to spend time in The Other City.

Of course, I don't think cities are the best parts of Scotland, anyways.

The last time I was in Edinburgh, I was sitting in the gallery observing these proceedings. Truly depressing. (Erm... the things said during the proceedings, not the outcome itself.)

#51 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 10:41 AM:

Have been to Edinburgh several times, all of them in the fall, and yes, I can understand why you miss it. But if I had to choose, it would be Glasgow I'd live in.

#52 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 11:03 AM:

Hey everybody, be sure to check out xkcd's tribute to Geocities before it goes away!

#53 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 11:05 AM:

Charlie Stross @45 Thanks. That's about what I thought for weather. Do you get opportunities to see the Northern Lights?

#54 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 11:20 AM:

Edinburgh. Oh, my. First encountered very early on a September morning in 1977. Me, a 19-year-old still-jetlagged student on a week's holiday before term started in London. Totally on my own, I decided to go to Edinburgh.

I came up the steps from the train station, and was accosted by a young man going down. "Would you like this ticket?" he asked. "I have to leave now, I can't use it." Yehudi Menuhin, playing the Festival.

I walked and walked and walked. Took buses to odd corners, saw chattering schoolchildren in their uniforms. To this day, the sharp smell of coal smoke on a brisk day will take me back to that corner, on that early busy morning.

Heard somewhere that the university was renting out dormitory rooms to tourists, so I left the dingy depressing youth hostel for the clean, cheerful campus just outside of the city. They had an extensive breakfast buffet (with porridge! and Kellogg's Snack Packs with the Royal Seal). I froze marginally less there, and dried my (waist-length) hair over a light bulb. Hiking around the hills I discovered the exact same view of Edinburgh from a scene in "Chariots of Fire".

I'd do it all again in a heartbeat.

#55 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 11:47 AM:

Paul 130:921: Gbcure srryf erfcbafvoyr

Lrf, naq gung orvat n svefg sbe uvz, ur'f rira zber qvfbevragrq ol vg guna lbh be V jbhyq or.

David 130:924: V guvax ur whfg frag ure bhg jvgu ure onfryvar crefbanyvgl -- naq qvqa'g fgbc gb guvax nobhg jung jnf yvxryl gb unccra.

Gung'f jung V guvax gbb.

#56 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 11:54 AM:

When I see ROT-13ed text, "gang aft agley" always springs to mind. ROT-13ing that doesn't reveal any super-secret messages from yonder planet or the distant future, to my disappointment.

#57 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 11:58 AM:

Renatus #6:

Don't worry excessively. I loved my time in the Navy, I did get my college degree while I was there, and I can still beat Boy Scouts at one-on-one knot-tying competitions.

And if you're going to go to war, there are lots worse ways to do it than seven miles from the nearest mud and forty feet from the ice-cream freezer.

#58 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 12:02 PM:

I have a friend who joined the Navy and I thought he'd be all right (seven miles etc.), except of course he wants to be a doctor, so he's going to be a medic attached to a group (squad? squadron?) of Marines. Likely to see the sandbox, barring miracles.

#59 ::: JCarson ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 12:11 PM:

B. Durbin @ #28

"Little remains" totally stopped me in my tracks - like getting sucker-punched with the double meaning. Amazing.

#60 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 12:21 PM:

Macdonald @ 57: More than three years since I last picked up a Patrick O'Brian and I still have the urge to finish your sentence with "...and a nine-inch plank between you and eternity." Must revisit those old friends sometime soon.

How thick is bulkhead steel these days?

#61 ::: Bill Blum ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 12:41 PM:

Renatus:

Ask her if she's talked to any other recruiters from the other branches-- Navy and Army have the highest $$-value college programs at the moment, but they're typically tied to specific conditions of enlistment. ( I was offered $30k for college by the Navy assuming I enlisted for 8 yrs active duty right out of the gate, and qualified for training in a nuclear-related specialty. Failure to complete qualification for that rating would have denied my chance at the $30k, *plus* I would have still been stuck with the 8yr active duty obligation. )

Other branches may not have the big promises-- but they might have less high-pressure recruiters. Have her talk to a Coast Guard or Air Force recruiter, see what sort of information she gets from them.

#62 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 01:12 PM:

The Air Force is riddled with crazy-ass fundamentalists these days, alas; the other branches, less so.

With certain exceptions (see medics, above), the Navy's a pretty good choice during an infantry war. Most of its inherent dangers have to do with the sorts of bad things that can happen at sea to civilian and military ships alike.

#63 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 01:45 PM:

Charlie Stross @ 39: Tangentially, do you, or anyone else, have recommendations for light-therapy products? I'm seeing a lot that seem tremendously overpriced to me and googling hasn't turned up much information on judging quality. (Honestly, $200+ for an alarm clock that slowly turns up the light in the morning? I realize this takes a bit of electronics and programming, but seriously -- I can buy an iPod for less.)

I've been slowing down and sleeping too much the past couple of weeks and it finally clicked in my head -- oh -- it's October, it's gotten to the part of the year when it's still dark when I need to get up, and getting dark earlier in the evening.

#64 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 01:47 PM:

What's the situation in which being on a Navy ship would become dangerous? The only things I can think of involve a showdown with either China (over Taiwan, I guess) or Russia (over I don't know what). Is there some other likely danger there? (I've heard the claim that many high value Navy ships are quite vulnerable to modern land-to-ship missiles, but I don't know whether there are a lot of countries with those that we're likely to attack, or even whether those claims are accurate. My lack of knowledge about military stuff is stunning in its depth and breadth.)

#65 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 02:20 PM:

albatross (#64): There's the attack on the USS Cole, for example, though security procedures when in port are much more stringent now than they were then.

#66 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 02:34 PM:

Open thready worry:

Right now, the US is the wealthiest country on Earth. We are spending huge resources on a problem that keeps vexing us: How to impose our will on hostile strangers, how to occupy their country and force a change of government on them against their will. We are developing ever better technology for this, and ever better tactics. From drones to waterboarding to surveillance, we're learning how to keep a hostile population down, and how to do it with a minimum of manpower and a minimum of risk to the people holding that population down.

One day, I expect that these lessons will come home to us. Our military no longer has much of a mission fighting to protect us from invasion. It now has a major mission occupying other countries and forcibly changing their government, rooting out resistance to our occupation, killing or imprisoning/torturing anyone who fights back, co-opting local leaders, gaining control of media coming out of those places. When those tools and techniques come home, what's it going to look like?

We're spending a lot of our wealth, right now, developing the tools that will very likely one day be used to hold us down, to impose an unwanted government on us. After another few iterations of developing those tools and tactics and techniques, they'll be very good. We will be like the American Indians when they were exposed to the whole Eurasian disease package all at once--we won't have anything like the defenses necessary to fight back or to resist those techniques. We'll find ourselves submitting, because the would-be ringleaders of any resistance keep disappearing into torture chambers, or having their houses blow up in the middle of the night.

#67 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 02:51 PM:

Albatross: I'm not an expert. But among many other possibilities, there's this stuff called water which I understand ships float on only due to special properties of their shape and orientation, and this other stuff called air, and that under certain circumstances the air pushes the water around, sometimes rather spectacularly, and sometimes to the detriment even of large modern ships (and there are many ways of getting hurt short of losing the entire ship).

No doubt it looks quite picturesque skimming the crests of the 40-foot waves :-) :-) (couldn't resist tying back to your user handle, no offense intended).

#68 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 02:56 PM:

albatross@64: What's the situation in which being on a Navy ship would become dangerous?

Mostly, the same situations in which being on any ship would be dangerous -- storms at sea, equipment failure and industrial accidents, piracy on the high seas, that sort of thing.

#69 ::: affreca ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 03:22 PM:

Another Navy vet piping up with advice.

Recruiters lie. Unfortunately, the system sets them up for it with quotas. Some offices are better than others. The best thing is to have your sister do her research on what the possibilities are.

Because there are some great ones. I suspect the $30,000 for college is not a signing bonus, but referring to the GI bill. The GI Bill is one of the best benefits of service, and they improved it recently (covering tuition and so forth). It can be slow to get the money, but it really helps.

Navy is the service I would recommend - but I admit my bias. We're in a ground war - so Army and Marines are in the greatest danger. Afghanistan doesn't even have a coastline, and Iraq's is pretty small (thus the whole Kuwait invasion). I haven't had good experiences with AF vets.

The other worry I would have is that the military is a different experience for women. At 15%, women are still the exception, and it colors the culture. I wish her luck, whatever she chooses.

#70 ::: Marna Nightingale ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 03:37 PM:

Talking of fire, but with a happy ending...

I love emergencies where it turns out there's absolutely nothing to do. We saw a car fire start last night on the 401 coming back from Toronto. Went up like ... like a thing I have no suitable metaphor for; call it "like a sonofabitch" -- just as we were coming around the curve w/o Kingston.

Cat-my-girlfriend dropped speed, passed the mess as far over as possible, pulled over (oh f*ck oh f*ck oh f*ck watch for running pedestrians oh f*ck), and I grabbed the phone and the first aid kit (oh god oh f*ck please let me not need this not for burns burns scare me oh God is there even anything useful for this situation in here oh f*ck), headed back to the fire.

Driver had pulled over due to smoke in the dash, got out about 20 seconds before the whole thing went up. Not at all hurt, was alone in the car, had grabbed his coat (I know they tell you not to worry about grabbing anything in case of fire but this is Ontario; you grab your coat), was leaning against the first car that had stopped (the driver of that car had called it in already) and having a cigarette and a small, controlled hissy-fit.

So there wasn't damn-all to do but we couldn't get back into traffic flow (100 km/hr nominal, 120 km/hr that time of night, crappy sight lines due to the huge orange fireball and the tractor-trailers were just blowing on by in the right lane at normal speed) until the truck showed up and blocked the right lane. So we stood around for 45 minutes watching bits of the car go flying off (tires make NOISE! But windshields make one heck of a light show. Also, the passenger side hazard light kept blinking for longer than you'd expect was possible. That was amusing, in a sick sort of way) and telling new people who stopped that it was called in, nobody was hurt, you probably don't want to go any closer, and the fire extinguisher from your pickup (though bless you for carrying one and for stopping and for grabbing it) wasn't going to make a dent in that mess and besides you'll never get near the car without hurting yourself, wanna shift your car up so the firetrucks can get in and then stand here and help us watch for grass fires until we can get back on the highway?

So, volunteer firefighters are lovely people, and, amusingly, they all seem to leave their shoes behind their cars and just walk away from them - even when, in this case, they're going to be just standing around admiring the lightshow until the truck arrives.

I amused myself by dropping footwear into open trunks and truck beds while waiting for the lane to be closed. And then we got back into the traffic flow, stopped for tea to clear out our throats, and came home.

So, that turned out well.

#71 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 03:39 PM:

Glancing at Teresa's new batch of Particles, I note a somewhat morbid theme....

Teresa, if you're feeling down, I hope things look up soon.

#72 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 03:47 PM:

I have a female cousin in the Navy, and she's been at it for a couple of decades now, so she's probably enjoying it. :) I think your sister's best bet is to get in touch with some active members of the service who can give it to her straight.

My other Navy friend has been in the water off Iraq (I once googled him and found an article on a rescue of Iraqi fishermen) and on tsunami relief off the coast of Thailand. So one thing's for sure: you really do see the world. And yes, even from the shore if it's considered safe.

My dad was Air Force, and his take is that the Air Force and Navy tend to scoop the brightest of the bunch because they've got the most technical stuff. And then he makes jokes about the Navy's "fold-up" planes. :D

#73 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 03:49 PM:

Addendum to me #71: Alternatively, if Teresa's just working up to Halloween, happy holiday!

#74 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 03:51 PM:

David Harmon @ 71: I suspect our host is just kicking off Halloween week in a big way.

At least, I hope that's just what it is.

#75 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 03:51 PM:

Oh, and on the male-to-female ratio, I've been in several situations with a heavily skewed gender ratio, and only one of them was poisonous. That one was directly due to the misogynistic nature of one guy who, unfortunately, was also a hard worker and very good at his tasks, hence respected. The poison was somewhat restricted but it seems to me that such things are highly situational and impossible to predict.

IOW, she could do just fine in such a gender balance, or she could get a group that's highly whacked.

#76 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 03:58 PM:

I'm not convinced the Edinburgh weather is as bad these days as Charlie makes it out to be. I've found Spring starting in February for the last 3 years, i.e. 2 or 3 weeks of no frost and perhaps a few nights just to kill off early buds. You should still bring clothing for sub-zero, but the days of 2 weeks non-stop frost every morning are long gone thanks to global warming.

The Royal Botanic gardens has some stats online:
http://www.rbge.org.uk/assets/files/science/Weather/2008%20in%20perspective.pdf

Being Scotland the weather is changeable, and you can expect snow in March or April (The year I was born it snowed heavily in June, but that was before the warming took off), but you should prepare for wind and rain, a few places such as the top of Waverley steps are infamous for catching the wind.

Speaking as someone currently living in London, edinburgh is not crowded and busy at all, London is as busy as a busy Edinburgh day all the time.

#77 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 04:00 PM:

"I have just remembered that I must see to my knitting. If it escapes, I'll have a devil of a time finding it again."

Sounds like a normal day in the Girl Genius's neighborhood.

#78 ::: Wendy Bradley ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 04:00 PM:

Edinburgh has two of my favourite things: the David Bann vegetarian restaurant (vegetarians get to choose! Between more than two menu selections! And they're ALL good! And it's a proper grown up restaurant, with no home made rock cakes or plates of piled leaves! They serve wine, just like we were real people!!) and the Big Ideas plus size clothing shop.

Um... now that I think about it, there may be some connection..

#79 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 04:08 PM:

Mark #74: Yeah, as you see I thought of that next. Sometimes I'm a little slow on the pickup....

#80 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 04:08 PM:

OtterB: I've seen the Northern Lights just once in Edinburgh, during a spectacular solar storm a few years ago. Normally they don't get this far south, and if they do, it's frequently overcast, and if the sky's clear -- you're in a city, and there's a gas refinery on the north shore of the Firth that tends to light up the sky even if the street lights don't.

Caroline @63: I have a big-ass Lumie Brightspark light box (bought in John Lewis) for by-the-desk duty, and a portable rechargable LED box (same manufacturer) for travel. They work, but they're not cheap (£140 each -- I bought one in 2007 and the other last week). In general, decent SAD lamps aren't cheap -- they're very powerful daylight-spectrum lights rather than mass-produced kit. (The Brightspark is a 55 watt fluorescent tube system, to put it in perspective -- about equivalent to 300 watts of tungsten bulb.)

#81 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 04:37 PM:

The Navy has had some personnel in Iraq, from what I've read. It's sent Seabees (Construction Battalion enlisted) and Civil Engineer Corps officers there to build some infrastructure. I imagine the SEALs are or were doing things in Iraq and possibly Afghanistan as well.

The lesson there is pick your career field when you enlist. I went in knowing I'd be going to Radioman school the week after I got out of boot camp. (That job is now called Information System Technician and encompasses network engineering as well as telecommunications.) If you go in wanting to be a corpsman you're likely to be in combat zones. Otherwise, not so much.

#82 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 04:43 PM:

Marna, #70: So, volunteer firefighters are lovely people, and, amusingly, they all seem to leave their shoes behind their cars and just walk away from them

I am baffled by this. Barefoot in Ottawa in October? There must be something here that I'm missing.

David, #71: I suspect a Dia de los Muertos theme.

B. Durbin, #75: The military in general seems to have a significant problem with rape, and it starts early. I haven't heard many such stories coming out of the Navy specifically, so that might be another reason to consider prioritizing in that direction.

#83 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 04:53 PM:

Renatus (#38, earlier) Hope & my best wishes for your sister. On your last point, I think there is a play about a recruiting sergeant. (not to mention Pratchett's Monstrous Regiment). Reminds me of an old saying "Old soldiers never die. Just young ones."
Maybe you could cite, or point her to, some of Terry Karney's posts about his problems with the GI Bill, frex, if he's OK with that. (Curses, though, I canNOT find his recent, fairly long explanation of how GI bill works and doesn't work).

Could anyone else here find that?
Open thread 130
Open thread 123

Edinburgh — definitely one of the places I want to revisit. We were there less than 24 hours (late 1990s), just skimmed the highlights; there was so much more, and what we saw was good stuff. And I long to taste haggis again. That was in June, so very long daylight.
Glasgow we didn't stop in, but did spot 'I can't believe it's not Sydney Opera House'.
Sydney, BTW is roughly 30° South. At ~30° North, there seems to be N California, just above N Florida, N Africa/Israel, Northern tip of India/Central Asia, Shanghai.

#84 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 04:56 PM:

Open threadedly, re Lyke Wake Dirge: I couldn't access the last one. Was it B. Britten's version? Of the two I could listen to, I much preferred The Young Tradition.

#85 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 04:59 PM:

xeger @ 24... First the sewage, now the porch? What's next?

#86 ::: Keith Kisser ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 05:02 PM:

albatross@66:

I suspect an occupied USA would be much as you describe: pockets of resistance rendered futile by our own well-honed dirty tricks being used against us. The big however here though is depending on who it is that's doing the occupying.

The occupying force would have to be big, either China, Russia or a coalition of one of the above along with the EU and Canada. If it's a coalition force of Europeans and Canadians, I suspect we'll see less use of our own nefarious torture tech but still some notable uses. If it's China all alone or some neo-Soviet style Russian force, a hell of a lot more of our shiny new torture techniques will be deployed against us.

I know this comes off as horribly racist but it's a fair assessment based on the history of these various nations. The Chinese love to oppress occupied people and the Russians have a colorful history of creative interrogation practices. Not that several European nations don't, but they've been less likely to use them in the past 60 years or so. The Russians like poisoning their own people with Polonium, just for fun and profit.

Frankly, a joint British-Canadian occupation would probably do the US some good. We'd learn how to queue correctly and it'll probably be the only we we get decent health care reform.

#87 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 05:10 PM:

Keith: I was guessing those techniques might come home as a way for an unpopular government (or unpopular-in-some-regions government) to keep control of things, rather than by invasion. The scary thing about a lot of the techniques we're developing is that they hold down the hostile population with relatively small numbers of people. The implication is that someone might one day use those techniques to hold down the US, despite not having anything like a majority behind them.

#88 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 05:18 PM:

Debra Doyle #68 : piracy on the high seas versus navy (French navy, as it happened, but the outcome would be much the same if they tried it on almost anybody’s navy).

#89 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 05:23 PM:

Keith Kisser #86: I suspect Albatross is more worried about a coup by our own forces.

That's not quite as unthinkable as it was before ShrubCo's corruption took hold, but I'm not that paranoid. Yet.

The thing is, any outside occupiers would have to deal with vicious resistance from both the urban underclasses, and the "breadbasket" areas of the Midwest and West. The latter especially would be a problem for them, because that's a hell of a lot of thinly-inhabited territory to control.

A right-wing coup would likely have much of the breadbasket on their side, but the urban areas might be tougher for them, especially since a lot of the Armed Forces come from that underclass.

Either way, the greatest danger to an occupation might well be bankruptcy!

#90 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 05:48 PM:

David Harmon #89: I suspect Albatross is more worried about a coup by our own forces. That's not quite as unthinkable as it was before ShrubCo's corruption took hold, but I'm not that paranoid. Yet.

I think we'll see right-wing coup danger grow by accretion the longer that Dominionists hold undue influence over the hearts and minds of the cadets at the various US military academies. It may take as long as a generation, but the groundwork is being laid now.

#91 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 05:50 PM:

Lee #82:
Marna, #70: So, volunteer firefighters are lovely people, and, amusingly, they all seem to leave their shoes behind their cars and just walk away from them

I am baffled by this. Barefoot in Ottawa in October? There must be something here that I'm missing.

They hopped out of their shoes and into their bunker gear (the boots that already have the pants in them, jacket, and helmet. SCBA (breathing gear)* occasionally optional).

*With the packs on, firefighter do a funny dance &mspace; about every minute or so they waggle their butts so the lack-of-motion sensor doesn't trigger the loud alarm (they do get a reminder beep first).

#92 ::: Keith Kisser ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 05:50 PM:

David Harmon@89:
I suspect Albatross is more worried about a coup by our own forces. That's not quite as unthinkable as it was before ShrubCo's corruption took hold, but I'm not that paranoid. Yet.

Clearly I'm not that paranoid either. Though now that you mention a homegrown, minority party occupation, yeah. That's not gonna be fun. Especially since the direction such a thing would come from would be the crowd who fantasies about violently overthrowing the legitimate government, all under the pretense of patriotism, liberty and teabagging for all. That crew wouldn't hesitate to use our new no frills interrogation techniques and would do so gleefully in many cases.

#93 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 05:56 PM:

Caroline @ 63: I have a Sunray II lightbox from these people that's made a big difference for me in the winters. They're not cheap (I got mine second-hand), but they are solidly made and put out a lot of light (10,000 lux at 14" distance). I spend 15 minutes in front of it every morning to help keep me going when it gets dark outside.

(Huh. The page says to replace the bulbs every few years to maintain the correct light output. I think I last replaced the bulbs in mine... um, never. Off to order some replacement bulbs.)

#94 ::: meredith ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 06:14 PM:

How timely. I have absolutely fallen in love with Edinburgh over the past few months, after having spent 10 days there in August for Fringe. We got to go back just 10 days ago for a follow-up gig, and we weren't even in town for 24 hours and that made me sad.

For Fringe I rented us an apartment in one of the brand-new developments right along the waterfront in Leith, and I'll never forget how awesome it was to wake up in the morning and see the Firth of Forth through the window.

I realize we totally lucked out weather-wise both times we were there, and the winter would kill me (SAD, anyone?), but still, I can't wait to go back. We're hoping to mount another Fringe show next summer.

#95 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 06:15 PM:

On nice cities and things to do...

Can anyone suggest something fun to be done in New York City for Halloween that could still be arranged at this late date? I find that I don't have any plans this year, and I'm only an hour and a half away from the city, so perhaps there's some unique diversion I wouldn't have access to from farther away.

I'm a single girl in my late 20s and I live in Southwestern CT, so activities in or around there are also acceptable. I just rather assume that cooler and weirder things might be available in the city.

#96 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 06:19 PM:

Keith Kisser, passim: When fascism comes, it will come wrapped in the flag and carrying a bible. We've sort of known that for a while.

I have a funny feeling that the opt-out public plan Harry Reid is now said to favor in the health care reform bill will end up drawing the map for the eventual Balkanization of the US...that the opt-out states will start wanting to see what else they can opt out of.

#97 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 06:27 PM:

Won't happen. People will think twice about secession and all that, once they realize how much this'd hurt them in the wallet. That's what happened with Québec's stupid Independence obsession.

#98 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 06:37 PM:

Charlie Stross @ 80 and Lexica @ 93: Thank you for the recommendations. It is actually useful information to know that yeah, they are that expensive for a reason.

Though I'm still curious about this $50 one from Target.

#99 ::: siriosa ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 06:38 PM:

The SAD part of the thread:

For my entire adult life, it was a given that I'd be pretty much worthless from Halloween to Ground Hog Day. As middle age caught up with (and then lapped) me, I started trying to build daily cardio exercise into my life. I went to the gym. It was annoying, somehow, to be expending so much energy and have nothing to show for it (besides the shiny new muscles: ooh!).

As the economy collapsed last fall, I asked myself what I was going to wish I'd done, and the answer was: "Grow food." So I started retrieving my yard from the wilderness it had been allowed to become.

Worked on it for an hour a day. Continued through the winter. We're in a drought here in Northern California, and it was possible to work even through the little bit of rain that did fall. In March, I looked up and realized that for the first time in my adult life, I hadn't been depressed. Not once.

Powerful stuff, light and exercise. I am grateful that both are available to me. If I lived in one of the places where it snows, I'd have to buy a light.

#100 ::: Keith Kisser ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 06:52 PM:

Serge@97:

Won't happen. People will think twice about secession and all that, once they realize how much this'd hurt them in the wallet. That's what happened with Québec's stupid Independence obsession.

Yes, but the Quebecois never dreamed up the teabag movement. There's no real end to the lengths some of my fellow country-folk will go just to prove a point. The opt-outers aren't rational actors (they're threatening to opt out of health care!) and I suspect there's a fair to middling overlap between the opt-outers and the south-will-rise-again crowd.

#101 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 07:06 PM:

Meredith #94 - I don't think I've seen anyone get rapturous about the Firth of Forth before.

#102 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 07:07 PM:

albatross @ 64:

Being on a Navy ship is somewhat more dangerous than civilian life (on average), though the amount of personal danger varies quite a bit depending on your job. The flight deck of a carrier, for instance, is quite dangerous (good training and discipline reduces the danger considerably, as in any dangerous industrial environment).

A friend of mine from college was on active duty as a photographer on the Enterprise (CVN-65) off the coast of Vietnam when a bomb accidentally exploded and started a series of fires. He was assigned to photograph the flight deck fire crew that day, and got a first-hand look at what can go wrong in the worst case.

#103 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 07:41 PM:

Charlie, thanks re Northern Lights. I saw them once in the 10 years I lived in the Chicago suburbs and, having Edinburgh pegged in my mind as "further north," hoped they might be more visible.

David Harmon @89 Either way, the greatest danger to an occupation might well be bankruptcy!

Tangential, but this reminded me of The Mouse that Roared. I haven't reread that for years and years. Anybody else remember it?

#104 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 07:44 PM:

Caroline @ 98: I suspect it depends on just how severely you're affected by SAD. If you have trouble getting up in the dark of morning but feel somewhat better as the day wears on, a sunrise clock with a conventional light may be enough - one of those worked a treat when Rikibeth was first adapting to baker's hours. (You can even find clocks that control a wireless rheostat for your regular bedside lamp, for about what a decent conventional clock radio costs.)

#105 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 07:59 PM:

OtterB (103): I loved The Mouse That Roared, although I haven't reread it in many years, either. Did you ever read the sequels? There were at least two, The Mouse on Wall Street and The Mouse on the Moon. They're good, too.

#106 ::: VictorS ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 08:10 PM:

SAD stuff -- that $50 Target item isn't likely to emit a therapeutic level of light unless you get it right in your face. I've had a number of lights over the years, including a lamp intended for greenhouses. (500W, but a very efficient high-pressure sodium bulb emitting many, many lumens. Super, but looks funny in the house and people feel obliged to make marijuana-growing jokes.) For office use, I have a couple of compact floor lamps with 75W compact fluorescent fixtures. The trick with the low-power fixtures is to get them very close to you -- mine is about a foot from my face when I'm working on the computer.

And now I'm going to go out in the sun for a few minutes.

#107 ::: Mark D. ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 08:15 PM:

Britten's Lyke Wake Dirge.

#108 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 08:17 PM:

Serge @ 85 ...
xeger @ 24... First the sewage, now the porch? What's next?

Well, see ... the porch is a direct result of the sewage (and digging)... and unfortunately my washing machine appears to have heard you asking "what next"...

#109 ::: meredith ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 08:20 PM:

Leah #95: unless you're crowd-averse, I think the best NYC Halloween thing to do would be to go to the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade, on 6th Avenue around 7pm (but get there much earlier to get a prime viewing spot).

guthrie #101, the sunrise each morning was beyond stunning, and it was so peaceful to watch the cruise ships come and go. Call me weird, but I loved it. :)

#110 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 09:25 PM:

OtterB #103: I never read The Mouse That Roared, but I remember the movie from summer camp.

#111 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 09:28 PM:

In re several people from another thread on chicken feet:

albatross @64 asked: What's the situation in which being on a Navy ship would become dangerous?

If you're actually on the ship, it's pretty good in this particular wartime.

However, there are thousands of Navy ratings DRIVING TRUCKS in Iraq and Afghanistan right now, to free up Army and Marines to carry guns and otherwise etc etc. Not to mention things like medics, computer guys, and other 'provide services to a garrison' specialties ...

My little sister is currently in her second year at Annapolis. I'm very glad that her civilian major is a double history/Arabic; she's most likely to be stationed in a communications post on a carrier doing translations all day.

My baby sister (16), a gifted trombonist, is currently being scouted by the Marines with the promise that she'll only serve in the service's premier band. I am deeply, deeply suspicious of any such promise, because they can always change her mind, hand her a rifle, and send her anywhere they want during her term of enlistment. She believes them, and is currently highly motivated to sign her life away, since she views it as a cushy way to get paid well and have free room and board for playing music professionally.

#112 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 09:44 PM:

I think there were 5 Mouse books: the three mentioned, the historical Beware of the Mouse, and the energy-crisis related The Mouse that Saved the West. They did get a little formulaic by the end. Leonard Wibberley is the author.

#113 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 09:48 PM:

Lee @ 52:

xkcd's Geocities tribute is spot on. That reminds me that there are a few pages I need to save before it gets turned off.

Elliott Mason @ 111 and many previous posters:

I would view any promises of never seeing any combat as suspect, especially in the light of the way recruiters have lied in recent years. However, if someone wants to go in on the understanding that it's not like a glorified summer camp and/or tech school that has some nice perks once you come out on the other side, and that there are dangers, it can be an option. Others have spoken up in the thread to give their opinion on the service they've done.

As for safety issues, a roommate I had served in the navy on a nuclear sub. It was cramped, the electrics were sometimes shockingly maintained, and there was occasional horseplay. But he came out of it with a decent set of technical skills, and the GI Bill paid for university for him, which was where I met him.

#114 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 09:49 PM:

Re the particle on the ossuary near Kutna Hora:

I was there! Last January, and I have photos to prove it. I was in Prague to visit (cue jewish mother stereotype) My Son the Medical Student. It was both the only church I visited and the only out-of-town trip we took. There was enough else to do in Prague . . .

It's really, really, really creepy, especially the coats of arms and stuff. It's also confusing, because that bit of explanation that is translated is translated into Czechlish, not English. And outside, there's one of those tesselated sidewalks like I saw all over Prague (but this is of course not in Prague but an hour's bus ride away from it), but this sidewalk was graced with a jolly roger.

#115 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 10:02 PM:

xerger @ 24 - you're getting that tuckpointed, yes? It's not too hard a job to do yourself if need be.

OtterB @ 103 - I watched it on reel-to-reel in the park last year. *grins* Mosquitoes and spotty sound and lemonade on a summer evening.

#116 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 10:26 PM:

Bruce Cohen #102:

On a lighter note, some of the non-combat hazards of Navy life¹ are discussed at the Navy Safety Center.

¹ inter alia ;-)

#117 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 10:49 PM:

sisuile @ 115 ...
xerger @ 24 - you're getting that tuckpointed, yes? It's not too hard a job to do yourself if need be.

Er... those spaces are the result of me setting up for the repointing that I'm doing ;> [0]

[0] What else would I be doing with a quantity of lime, anyways ;)

#118 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 11:07 PM:

I am currently kind of down on the Navy, but only because I've been trying to apply for a civilian job with them and the website is frustrating. It's my current Worst Application Ever, even beating the two that require me to fax things because oh no, we can't possible UPLOAD them, that would be convenient.

I have not been applying myself to the job search the way I really should, but really. They needn't make it this difficult.

#119 ::: Marna Nightingale ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 11:13 PM:

Lee @ 80, John @ 91:

Yep, that was it.

#120 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 11:23 PM:

albatross, #64, and planes crash on carriers or go beyond into the water. My father was on Ranger off the coast of Vietnam and while he was clearly an administrative person, he was also very Christian and did the death services (wake? I've lost this word) for all the Christians who died.

And yes, I'm losing words. My brain is having problems with words, memories, and linking things. I open the wrong cabinets, go into the wrong rooms, put things in the wrong drawers. The neurologist doesn't know what's wrong yet.

#121 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 11:24 PM:

Just as a clarification, my worry here isn't something in the near future. It's just that we're burning tremendous amounts of wealth and cleverness on this problem. Long after China has cut off our credit line and we've lost interest in invading and occupying random third-world countries, those tools and techniques will still exist. Nobody *has* to spend vast resources of money and genius to develop the tools for high-tech low-manpower occupations, in the same way that nobody *had* to spend vast resources building up big nuclear arsenals or advanced biological weapons programs. But having built up those tools, the tools will exist, and will be lying around, available, for whatever application comes into the minds of their holders.

And just as one day, we may all come to bitterly regret the dumping of vast wealth into developing and maintaining great arsenals of hydrogen bombs, we may also one day come to bitterly regret developing the technology for holding down hostile territory with minimal manpower and risk.

Perhaps occupations and counterinsurgency warfare will remain very difficult, despite the best technology and tactics that can be developed with our vast resources. It sure looks that way now. But if not, we, and the whole world, may regret developing that technology.

#122 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 11:45 PM:

Keith Kisser @ 100... Yeah. I disagreed with the Parti Québécois on many things, but they weren't loonies. As for your fellow country-folk, they've been mine for 20 years and I've come to think of them the way I do of the SciFi Channel's movies: when you think they can't get more bizarre, they do.

#123 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2009, 11:52 PM:

xeger @ 108... unfortunately my washing machine appears to have heard you asking "what next"

That reminds me of the revived Twilight episode "Cold Reading", in which a radio serial's people realize that every time they refer to a sound effect, it becomes real - for example, a rifle literally pops up and starts firing. Thru the whole story, they keep changing the script's dangerous comments because they sure don't want a herd of elephants to run thru the studio. The show ends, everybody breathes a sigh of relief, and the announcer tells the public that next week's story is called "Invaders from Mars".

#124 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 12:01 AM:

Just a side note on invading armies: I wouldn't worry about Russia; their birth rate is not only far below replacement levels, they actually have more abortions than births. Hardly an expansionist tendency.

OTOH, there was a friend of the family who pointed out twenty years ago that China's single child family, with the attendant gender selection, was a recipe for war footing. I mean, all of those young males, not a woman in sight... Thus far, the problems have all been internal (and, unfortunately, pretty bad for the women.) I always hope he was wrong and thus far haven't seen any major indications that China's getting more warlike.

Who was it that said that all wars, at the bottom, started from population pressure?

#125 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 12:37 AM:

B. Durbin @ 124:

This just came up in another conversation I was having. One mitigating factor is that the one family, one child laws aren't really all that enforced (that I know of—I'm not an expert) in the more rural parts of China, and there are an awful lot of rural parts of China. I also think that the Chinese government is smart enough to fix things up before they go pear-shaped. There are still girls being born, after all, it's just that some wind up in orphanages waiting to be adopted by Westerners.

You might be remembering the observation about population pressure from Heinlein, although I'm sure other people have said it too.

#126 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 01:03 AM:

Mark #96: I have a funny feeling that the opt-out public plan Harry Reid is now said to favor in the health care reform bill will end up drawing the map for the eventual Balkanization of the US...that the opt-out states will start wanting to see what else they can opt out of.

No, I don't see it as a secession threat, just as a plan for what the Red states can do to opt-out of the inconvenience of dealing with surplus living poverty-level Democrats in their jurisdictions, by gaming the system to fraudulently qualify for the opt-out rules. Opt-out equals more dead Democrats, all tidy and legal-like.

I live in a Red state, and this statesman-like compromise is probably also going to include the cynical destruction of Medicare Advantage plans.

#127 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 01:31 AM:


re the Navy/College. I suspect a scam. Right now the GI bill pays 100 percent of tuition, to the most expensive state school in the state one is attending (if one does more than 36 months active duty... don't get me started on how they are screwing over the Reserve Component). It also pays a stipend for food/housing.

The average is about 1,000 a month, (with a 36 month cap. They pay only for months on was actually enrolled, full time), plus tuition,, so anyone, going into any service is going to get more than 30,000 in payments.

So the question is, does she really want to be in the Navy? Is she being offered a rating (as opposed to a Seaman Apprentice slot, which is four years of scutwork, for all but a lucky few.

If the answer to both those questions is, "yes," then it's a decent deal. If she has questions, I can answer some, and answer any number of questions about recruiters.

Guys: I understand that feelings on the issue are touchy, and the previous adminstration's actions make the problems moreso, but it's grating to see the reflexive comments, when I know most of you haven't any real experience with them.

Yes, recruiters lie. Yes, the rule are such that there are ways to lose a bonus one thinks is locked in (most of those are built around completing a school, a school which a lot of people fail out of, like say, DLI). They have tough jobs and some of them cut corners (lots of corners).

But just because some of them push the envelope doesn't mean that one should paint them as purely black-hearted. Yes, I think everyone who enlists should be doing it with eyes open, and because they want to (for whatever reason). Marna Nightingale can tell you that I am not above calling family members who are pressuring people to join up, and giving them a solid talking too (because, after all, the family members aren't going to be the ones wearing the uniform).

It really does feel that you are beating up on the services, and that's unpleasant.

I will also point out that the various front line jobs (Marine Rifleman, Corpsman, etc.) are restricted to males. Truck driving, and other support functions (which are in the combat area) of course are not, but they can't take away a trombone and hand a woman a rifle (also, the bands are vary possessive of the talent. If someone is that good, they get a lot of slack. One of the women who was in Basic when I was left Basic training, with her sergeant's stripes on her sleeve, straight to PLDC [Sergeant's School] because she was a really good clarinetist).

#128 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 02:13 AM:

I have moderate to severe SAD, and much of my life from early October until mid-March is scheduled around it.

I have a dawn simulator alarm clock, which makes an enormous difference to my ability to wake up in the morning. I tend to wake naturally with the light, and almost always switch it off before the buzzer sounds. We've got one for my son as well now, and although he complains about getting up in the mornings, he is no longer in tears when he does so.

I also have a big, powerful light box (sitting beside me right now). I get up early in the morning to sit in front of it for an hour or so, then pass it to Martin (who works from home) for his working day. I need to replace the bulbs, but shipping anything from the UK to NL is hugely problematic, and I haven't looked into local sources.

I have a window seat at work, though my colleagues tend to close the blinds when it gets too bright outside (honestly, I think they're a bunch of cave dwellers!). I also have a desk lamp, which gives me light right next to my face. On very dark days, I sometimes just lean my forehead against it and bask for a moment or two.

I try to take a lunchtime walk every day, though when it's rainy I do get put off.

I cycle to and from work, which has definitely made a huge difference to my winters. That's got to be at least partly due to the exercise, because (as of the clock change this past weekend) I'm already cycling home in the dark.

And I monitor myself aggressively, and distrust any feelings of lowness or discouragement. If I'm feeling low, dragged-out, or depressed, I go sit in front of my light box. If I find myself craving carbohydrates, same thing. And if Martin walks up to me with the light box, plugs it in, switches it on, and points it at me, I take the hint.

I should abstain from alcohol and cut my caffeine levels during the winter, but I find both of those regimes too restrictive to contemplate.

#129 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 02:33 AM:

I should mention that with all of the above measures, my ability to function and my mood are still perceptibly worse in the winter. It's a struggle to cope every year, and keeping a positive outlook on life in the winter is like swimming in heavy clothing. Against an undertow. With hypothermia coming on. In eel-infested waters.

#130 ::: Randall ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 02:35 AM:

xeger @117

What else would I be doing with a quantity of lime, anyways ;)

I assumed, between that and the pit, you had finally decided to deal with your enemies list once and for all. ;-P

#131 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 02:42 AM:

With lime and time, xeger could make limestone.

#132 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 02:56 AM:

abi @ #129, I thought it was only sharks that infested waters. Like reports that are invariably scathing.

#133 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 03:14 AM:

I absolutely hate those frakking Oracle databases.

#134 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 04:31 AM:

Caroline @98: The Target model manufacturers claim it produces 10,000 Lux, which is a therapeutic level. My sunrise alarm clock probably tops out at 300 Lux.

Elliott Mason @111: Someone mentioned chicken feet? Oh yum. It's one of my favorite dim sum dishes, although friends and strangers alike look askance at my plate when I have some.
People often ask what there is to eat in chicken feet, but it's got more edible parts than one would think at first glance.

abi @128: if your light box bulbs aren't available locally but are distributed in France or Belgium, shipping will probably be much simpler. I'd be happy to help navigate the French-language websites.

#135 ::: Tim Hall ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 04:33 AM:

I wish some people would use an Oracle database rather than grafting tentacles on to already cumbersome spreadsheets.

#136 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 05:11 AM:

Tim Hall @ 135... On the other hand, people don't usually generate those spreadsheets in the middle of the bleeping night.

#137 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 06:27 AM:

Cooking question: colcannon and stamppot (and bubble and squeak, rumbledethumps, etc) seem to most often be made with potatoes and brassicas. Why are brassicas the most common add-in rather than carrots or spinach or something? Is it just that there's not much else you can do with leftover kale?

#138 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 08:02 AM:

Serge @123 That reminds me of the revived Twilight episode "Cold Reading", in which a radio serial's people realize that every time they refer to a sound effect, it becomes real - for example, a rifle literally pops up and starts firing.

Which reminds me, in turn, of the Anthony Boucher story "We Print the Truth," where the newspaper publisher is granted a wish that his paper will always print the truth. A high-minded wish, to be sure, but like all such, with its down side. As I recall, the first problem occurs when a typo in an obituary reports a woman dying at the age of 18, instead of 81, and there's a frightening youthful corpse at the wake... I've forgotten how it ends, though I think it's with the destruction of the printing press.

And on The Mouse That Roared, I remember the book and at least one or two of the sequels but don't think I ever saw the movie. *Add to Netflix queue*

#139 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 08:21 AM:

OtterB @ 138... Boucher's story sounds like it was the inspiration for the original Twlight Zone's episode where Burgess Meredith plays the Foul Deceiver who grants such a printing press to a journalist.

#140 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 08:23 AM:

Terry @ 127: In almost every respect I would defer to your expertise in matters military, but I have to take one minor exception here.

I will also point out that the various front line jobs (Marine Rifleman, Corpsman, etc.) are restricted to males. Truck driving, and other support functions (which are in the combat area) of course are not, but they can't take away a trombone and hand a woman a rifle....

Technically correct, but in our current wars there is no front line. Any position in theatre has the potential to see combat. One of the challenges the VA has been having with this war that it hasn't learned how to deal with previously is support structure for a surprising number of women combat veterans who are coming home with PTSD.

#141 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 08:43 AM:

Shadowsong: I think it's more a matter of what's available/going to do well in winter storage, and spinach is probably not it, while cabbage will do well in storage and many of the other greens will keep in garden except in extreme cold (and even then can survive in a coldframe).

#142 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 08:59 AM:

Terry Karney @ 127... they can't take away a trombone and hand a woman a rifle

Seventy-six trombones led the big parade
With a hundred and ten cornets close at hand.
They were followed by rows and rows of the finest virtuo-
Sos, the cream of ev'ry famous band.

#143 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 09:14 AM:

Elliott Mason @111, I had a friend who was career army, as a bandsman. In addition to their musical duties, the band also functioned as a sort of catch-all pool for Weird Jobs We'll Need But Not Every Day. At one post he was cross-trained as a a firefighter; he also did Graves Registration training and at least one other thing I can't recall right now.

From what he said, once you're in the band, you're in the band, and the band keeps its people, because it's quite easy to find a truck driver, or train a truck driver, but a trombonist or clarinetist (one you'd want to listen to, and who plays well with other musicians) takes longer to produce. The various military bands tend to get used a lot for public relations; when he was stationed at Ft. Campbell, they played a lot of football halftime shows (they tended to disappoint people who though bands did things like Script Ohio as a matter of course*), and marched in a lot of little local parades. When he was stationed in Japan, the band played for a lot of (extremely important) visiting dignitaries; he did a sort of special performance with the Tokyo Symphony, accompanying a poet, and some other interesting things that (as he said) most Kentucky boys couldn't have imagined".

A band stationed at a base that mostly does training can become very bored, as, except for the July Fourth show, they tend to get stuck playing a very small selection over and over again for the ceremonies attendant upon training completion ceremonies.

A good musician gets good assignments; one who shows an aptitude for arranging will be encouraged along those lines, as will one who has composing talents. The services regard their bands as PR tools, and are not likely to use them for other things unless they either have no choice, or the bandsman in question has made themselves so annoying a discipline problem that no amount of talent on earth will make up for it.

My guess is that your baby sister would, if recruited for the band, stay with the band. She might have a lot of other things to complain about if she joined the Marine Corps, but a good brass player would be cherished carefully by the band director, as much as humanly possible.

*At one game, one of the sergeants was asked by a bystander "So all you guys do is march and play? You don't make any figures or anything?" "No, that's all, but we're also all trained to kill people." When he was at Ft. Campbell, my friend noted that there was a strong push by the band's commander to make sure they were all air-assault qualified and did well in marksmanship, as the bands tend to get mocked as too refined and artistic to be good soldiers (or marines, etc.) by people from other units.

#144 ::: Nickp ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 09:17 AM:

Charlie @80 and others:

It occurs to me that one could put together a less expensive SAD light system from aquarium components.

For example, http://www.ahsupply.com sells complete kits (bulb, reflectors, wiring). You just add a wooden box. The 1 x 55 watt bright kit appears to be equivalent to Charlie's Brightspark.

#145 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 09:36 AM:

fidelio @ 143... the bands tend to get mocked as too refined and artistic to be good soldiers (or marines, etc.) by people from other units.

"Fire all bassookas!"

#146 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 10:14 AM:

Tangentially, do you, or anyone else, have recommendations for light-therapy products?

I've been doing reasonably well with a couple of full-spectrum fluorescents in rooms where I spend a lot of my time (including one on my desk at work), but my SAD is more of a "I tend to get down in the winter" than anything really diagnosable. It does seem that length of exposure compensates somewhat for low intensity.

#147 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 10:39 AM:

Linkmeister @ 132, re: eel-infested waters, it's a Princess Bride movie reference. As it happens, abi does not get eaten by eels at this time.

OtterB @ 138, Serge @ 139 -- All of these remind me of Fredric Brown's story "The Angelic Angleworm". I see that Brown's and Boucher's stories were both published in 1943. Hmm.

#148 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 10:48 AM:

abi:

How much of an impact does your latitude have on the SAD? It seems strange that you've chosen to live in Scotland and The Netherlands, where there's so much less light in the winter than (say) Southern California or Spain. But maybe this is just my making incorrect assumptions, as I don't seem to be affected by this much.

#149 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 11:28 AM:

"Fire all bassookas!"
1812 overture with real cannons?

Joel Polowin @143. Haven't read the Brown story, but you've made me curious. Never saw the Twilight Zone episode either, but that doesn't surprise me since I recall seeing only one or two of the original shows and finding they were sufficiently creepy to be Not My Cuppa.

#150 ::: jdparadise ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 11:42 AM:

Renatus, there's a math argument to be made:

$30,000/8 years is 3750/year; if she worked a full-time job (2000 hours/year) she'd need to set aside $1.87/hour over 8 years to save the same amount of money... hard at a minimum-wage job if that's all one is qualified for, but if one lives at home it's doable...


#151 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 11:42 AM:

Things that I have done since yesterday:

1. Bought an adapter from this guy to fade up my regular bedside lamp in the mornings.

2. Bought the $50 light panel from Target.

Nothing has yet arrived, of course. I'm looking forward to trying it out.

It was my doctor who said, looking at my chart, "Hm....you have come back to seek therapy in the fall three years running." "Yes," I said, "I guess I just get fed up then." "I deeply suspect it has a seasonal component if you always get fed up in the fall," she said.

This fall I thought that the med I'm on, which has been working extremely well, had suddenly started causing sleepiness as a side effect. I was ticked off, because why should it have such a delayed onset of side effects? It had been working so well! Then it occurred to me one morning: it's dark when your alarm goes off. You're naturally waking up an hour and a half later, when it's full light. The weather has been generally grey and rainy lately. Perhaps this is a clue.

#152 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 11:47 AM:

OtterB #149: "Fire all bassookas!"
1812 overture with real cannons?

Telarc: "Caution! Digital Cannons"

#153 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 11:50 AM:

I still love my Nightingale® 421 Series Exam Light to bits for providing excellent bright light, and fooling my brain into thinking it's daylight...

#154 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 11:51 AM:

#149 OtterB, I have in fact seen that a couple of times, at the Ft. Campbell July Fourth concert, which also has a dandy fireworks show (people in that line of work are highly criticial consumers of pyrotechnic productions, which makes a challenge for the people doing the fireworks). The artillery units love it, and vie intensely over who gets to take part.

One year, the new post commander was Not Pleased to think they were doing a damn' Russian piece for the Fourth of July, and there was a scramble to come up with something suitably American in time--something that would call for the use of artillery, because it just wouldn't be the same without Really Big Guns. I think they ened up with Hewitt's Battle of Trenton, but that was 20 years ago, so I can't say for sure.

#155 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 12:26 PM:

albatross @148

SAD does indeed vary in severity by latitude‡. I didn't know I had it at all when I grew up in California, though I noticed that I felt a little flatter in the winter than in the summer. By the time I realized why my life melted down every winter in Scotland, it was impractical to move back.

Unfortunately, there were other circumstances that determined whether or not we could move further south in 2007. We are not, at present, minded to live in the United States*, and the Netherlands is the southernmost European country where I could easily find and change employment. My Spanish is not of a professional level. I am innocent of both French and German, and my best Italian is about 2 millenia out of date. Martin, also, would be restricted to expat-type employment anywhere but the Netherlands. And that kind of limitation on available jobs is risky and precarious, and we are not risky and precarious people.

More exotic Anglophone locales (Australia, New Zealand) were excluded for another reason: one driver for this move was a desire that the children be truly bilingual from a very early age. It is a quirk of our linguistic dominance that that is almost impossible to achieve in an English-speaking country†.

And even a family with three US passports and four British ones has some limitations on where it can easily move. In the end, the Netherlands was the almost unavoidable choice, even if it means that I am stuck with SAD mitigation techniques for the forseeable future. It's still better for me than Scotland was.

-------

‡ Not only are the winter days longer, but the light is more direct and passes through less atmosphere, so they're brighter too. I've found a noticeable improvement by moving even a few hundred miles south, leaving aside the benefits of being able to cycle to work.

* Health insurance, employment conditions, cultural factors such as paranoid parenting...and when we left Scotland in 2007, the political situation wasn't exactly shiny either. I am, and always will be, American. But it's quite simply not the right place for me to live right now, given the choice. (And I am lucky enough to have been given that choice.)

† Apart from Canada, and that's not a drastically southward move, is it?

#156 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 12:30 PM:

So was the recruiter lying lo those many years ago when the Army was trying to fill it's quota? At some point I interrupted him and pointed out you couldn't march with a cello, although the end-pin did provide certain defensive capabilities. Was I imagining cellists in uniform, playing carbon fiber instruments for the pre-inauguration festivities?

(and really, who wants to hear a string orchestra for a bit of chest-thumping inspiration?)

Re: SAD. My dad has it fairly severely. He's been able to cut down on his autumn light-box regimen since he got his boat and spends as much time outdoors fishing. In the winter he still uses it a lot. I only wish he had made this discovery when we were growing up.

I think I may have a little SAD, because despite having no car, living paycheck to paycheck and having no hopes of any kind of love life for the last 7 years, I have been distinctly not depressed while living here in L.A.

#157 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 12:32 PM:

#107 I thought it might be. And now, after comparing the contrasting treatments:

If ever thou sang like Peter Pears
Ivry neet an aal
Stick thy fingers in thine ears,
An Christ tak op thy saule.

I'll get me shroud.

#158 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 12:33 PM:

Mark, #140: A lot of those women are probably not having PTSD from combat -- or at least not just from combat. The DOD estimates that 1 in 3 women in the military will be raped or sexually assaulted by her fellow soldiers during her term of service, and the numbers are higher in combat zones. This article takes a look at some of the root causes, not from the usual "what women should do" victim-blaming standpoint, but from the more useful "why do these men do this?" one.

#159 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 12:40 PM:

My favorite thing in the movie of THE MOUSE THAT ROARED was the sight of Peter Sellers as the Grand Duchess, a dead ringer for the Queen, driving an ancient car through the countryside whilst giving the Royal Wave to every passer-by.

#160 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 01:35 PM:

nerdycellist @156--Not necessarily. When they say "Select bands only", though, I imagine they mean "A really large unit, at a post where the commander would find it useful to have things like a string quartet handy." (Many of the units listed have their own webpages, in case someone would like to kill an unspecified amount of time looking into the world of US Army, Music, produced by and for the use of.) The range is well beyond brass bands who can play "The Stars and Stripes Forever" without stumbling. The US Army Band "Pershing's Own" at Ft. Myer, frex, has a string group. The USAEUR Band has a separate chorus and a jazz band. And so on.

#161 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 01:39 PM:

Lee #158:

Holy sh-t, that's frighteningly high. Another big news story that nobody ever talks about, I guess. Wow.

#162 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 01:55 PM:

The twenty-year collapse of newspapers (sidebar particle)

I worked for a newspaper group until early this year, then they had a major layoff.

#163 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 01:57 PM:

In a lot of UK infantry battalions, the band doubles up as the medics (which wouldn't exactly put them out of harm's way) - however, traditionally, the pipe bands of Scottish battalions are trained as infantrymen, and normally act as the HQ defence platoon. Everyone drops, everyone fights.

#164 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 02:02 PM:

[Not ... able ... to resist!]

nerdycellist@156:
So was the recruiter lying lo those many years ago when the Army was trying to fill it's quota? At some point I interrupted him and pointed out you couldn't march with a cello, although the end-pin did provide certain defensive capabilities. Was I imagining cellists in uniform, playing carbon fiber instruments for the pre-inauguration festivities? (and really, who wants to hear a string orchestra for a bit of chest-thumping inspiration?)

Was the recruiter lying low
all those many years ago
when the Army was trying to fill its quota?
'Cos I shouted at him "Hell no!
I'm not marching with a cello
in Afghanistan, Iraq or South Dakota!"

He said to me "You cello-ists
can help us fight the terrorists
by playing at the pre-inauguration.
And I'll tell you to your face
that we count on all your bass
to provide a bit of martial inspiration!"

But I told him back "I warn ya,
I will move to California
and I guarantee I won't be feeling sad.
In the orchestra, you know,
we have more strings to our bow:
think about the archer that you almost had!"


[Sorry. Really!]

#165 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 02:21 PM:

Earl Cooley III @ 152... "Quick! Drum up some air support!"

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

I'm told by my choir director (a former Marine) that every Marine is trained as a rifleman. Even he was, though his primary mission was to play in the band.

#167 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 03:13 PM:

"One year, the new post commander was Not Pleased to think they were doing a damn' Russian piece for the Fourth of July"

idiot.

(wanders off and listens to a copy of Classical Music For Home Improvement)

#168 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 03:28 PM:

And on the topic of music, anyone see last Friday's NUMB3RS? What the hell was that piece of music they played over Charlie's opening montage? My dad had that in his collection, but damned if I can pull enough of it out of memory to identify it.

#169 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 03:41 PM:

Army bandsmen are trained as riflemen as well (I have never heard a female bandsman refer to herself as a bandswoman; bandsman appears to be a term of art), Xopher.

Back in military history, when you get to, say, the American Civil or Napoleonic Wars, the regimental band served as a headquarters company, with various duties at the regimental headquarters, and were the last-ditch defense for the regimental headquarters area; they might also serve as stretcher-bearers in pre-medic days. It was a bad fight when the colonel put the bandsmen in. Also, the band was often used as spot to stash people with no capacity for military tasks, whether they could play an instrument well or not. Cooks were often drawn from the same pool of the hapless.

#170 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 03:48 PM:

A family friend is in the Army Mens' Chorus (at least, I think that's the one. It's one of the choral units at any rate.) On the weekends, he's is/has been a church choir director, has been the programmer at a startup and all that. Not the military type. It was stunning to see the pics of him with a shaved head and an M16 in basic.

He was recruited specifically for the music position. I'm pretty sure that he went in as a Sergeant.

#171 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 04:05 PM:

fidelio (169): My uncle was an army cook in the Korean War. My mother thinks it's because he was hospitalized with a horrendous case of poison ivy* in basic training.

*He has the family's severe reaction to the stuff. ("We're not going to camp here, are we, Sergeant? There's poison ivy over there!" "That's 100 yards away!")

#172 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 04:12 PM:

AKICIML: Can cats develop Parkinsons? I have an elderly kitty (17 years old) that has presented with a slight head tremor, and occasional weakness in his hind legs over the last few days.

His appetite is normal, there has been no change in his activity level or litter box usage, and the symptoms are not constant.

#174 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 04:56 PM:

Shadowsong: I've always made colcannon with cabbage, but not leftover. I think it's because the long strips of the leaves give a pleasant binding to the potoatoes, and the flavors aren't in great counterpoint.

Then again, the only cooking the cabbage is getting is from the heat of the mashed potatoes, which wouldn't be very useful in the cooking of carrots, even shredded.

It might also be that, absent something like a madeline, shredding carrots, et al, would be a lot more work that slicing up a leafy plant.

Mark: I know there is no front line., believe me I know that (there also isn't any real rear area, but that's a different problem; more stress related than risk facotr). I also know that this is the specifc comment was, "because they can always change her mind, hand her a rifle, and send her anywhere they want during her term of enlistment. , which, while "technically true" is connotatively not the case.

When one says, "hand them a rifle and send them..." it's not the same as, "Send them to a combat zone". The rifle is the controlling image; because everyone in the Marines/Army has a rifle as part of their equipment. Emphasizing it makes the rifle the job, not an accoutrement.

The only odds (to digress), based on my personal experience, of her being in a combat zone is to be sent someplace to do a USO sort of show (of which I saw the 101st Division Band twice while I was in Iraq). For all the reasons fidelio gave, the Corps is not going to let a skilled musician go. They have a really hard time getting them, and they are really picky about whom they give those slots. I know people who didn't enlist because, while good, the weren't good enough to get into the band (one AF, two Army, one Marine).

jdparadise: The math argument isn't right. One, it's four years (with a hidden four of latent eligibility, but as she's looking at the Navy, which has been kicking people out, stop loss isn't a big risk). Two, she gets better than minimum wage for the period, (salary, food, housing, uniform allowance and special pays for things like sea duty). While on active duty she can have 3/4s of her tuition for classes paid (A lot of people, take advantage of this, Chapman University, and a couple of others cater to the services with distance learning programs. I know a few dozen people who used their time to get a bachelors, and then spent their [Montgomery] GI Bill to get a masters).

In addition she will get college credit for some of the things she learns/does in the Navy, again putting her ahead of the game when she gets to school.

Also, the money set aside (30,000) then has to be kept, against contingency. As a Vet she'd be eligible for VA healthcare (and she'd get 100 percent coverage, while in college, because it's means based). She's have income, and be able to work part-time in addition, so the day to day bills are covered, in a way the mere setting aside of 30 grand doesn't manage (esp. because the GI bill money is non-taxable).

And, the 30,000 is in addition to tuition; so add the cost of the school into the money she has to set aside; and make it a four year time frame, not an eight.

nerdycellist: If a recruiter said they wanted a cellist, odds are he was blowing smoke. There are a very few bands with strings. The odds of a seat being open are small. The Russians have some, but they draft. There is, though it's hideous, a rig for marching cello. The mind boggles.

Xopher: et alia: All servicemembers have to go to the required entry level training for their service. Bandsmen are given various odd-jobs (and the chance to go to some neat schools, because they have lots of wiggle room to let a trumpet go for three weeks to jump out of airplanes, etc.) So the Marines go to MCRD Parris Island/San Diego, the Army sends them to Jackson or Leonard Wood, etc.

Eric: Your friend didn't go in as a sergeant. Like the clarinetist of my acquaintance he went to basic as the highest enlisted rank allowed, and was promoted as soon as he left basic.

Depending on the time frame he might have been a Tech-Sergeant (pre-1957 IIRC), or a type of, Specialist. (1959-1970-something), or a sergeant (post 1970-something).

#175 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 05:44 PM:

I wish that Joe Lieberman would just go ahead and finally admit that he's a Republican and be done with it.

#176 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 05:53 PM:

There was also some mention of joining a chorus, which made much more sense than cello-ing my way through the armed forces. Besides the customary lack of confidence in my ability to audition in, I thought it would have been unethical for me to enlist when I had serious reservations about serving in any kind of non-musical capacity.

Candle @ 164 -

This is perhaps the best poem I've ever read about two completely disparate aspects of my life. That I can hum it also recommends it. Much better than the last poem written about me, but a future ex-boyfriend many years ago, which began with protestations of great desire and ended with the phrase "... But do I love her because she is all those things? No. She has low self-esteem, and I love her because she's easy." At a public poetry reading. Yeah, that was nice. And that it took me at least 6 months to move from boyfriend to ex-boyfriend proved his point.

#177 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 06:20 PM:

Pipers and medics: hardly safe jobs in an Army.

#178 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 06:26 PM:

Re: #120 -- funeral! Dexter went to a funeral in the episode I watched last night and thought "If I believed in god, if I believed in sin, this is the place I'd be sucked to hell. If I believed in hell."

#179 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 06:38 PM:

Earl Cooley III @ 175: You mean all that campaigning for McCain and Coleman, refusing to investigate the Katrina debacle, fellating Glenn Beck on air, et cetera ad nauseam, wasn't specific enough for you? I have been fucking done with the Liebermouse for a long time now.

If Reid fails to strip that jackass of his committee seniority - and his gonads - then there's just no hope for party discipline ever and we might as well pack it in.

#180 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 07:00 PM:

Mark, #179: Wouldn't he have to have gonads before they could be stripped?

#181 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 07:08 PM:

Renatus, is there any reason for your sister to even think about going enlisted as opposed to ROTC? If her objective for joining the Navy is college as opposed to sailing/flying/trombone-playing/fighting, then it gives her control to get the college parts nailed down first thing instead of hoping that the bonus she gets when she's out will do the job. (That's separate from any opinions I have about whether or not joining a military is a good idea - as an Air Force Reserves general I used to work with said, "if you put on the uniform, you're agreeing to pick up the gun when they need it", and that's a moral choice she'll need to think about.)

I've had two friends who've been in US military bands. I used to go to a Southern Baptist church near Fort Monmouth in NJ, which had the Army Chaplain School and a bunch of electronics stuff there, so our church had a lot of Army people and we'd often have Army chaplains preaching either when we were between pastors or our pastor was on vacation. I later went to a Quaker meeting in the same area, and one of our members there was an assistant in the chaplain school who'd originally joined the Army to play sousaphone, since the number of professional sousaphone jobs outside the Army is pretty small. He was the only Quaker there; he'd found religion after he joined, and the chaplain school was the place he was most comfortable finishing his time commitment. One of the Baptists played trombone in the Army band, and said that his time in Germany, where they mostly played at officers' club bars, convinced him that he had the most useless time-wasting job in the military; I think he'd switched over to doing electronics.


We also had an Army recruiter in our Baptist church - I didn't get along with him that well, because he was the hard-driving Type A used-car-sales type, but wow I wouldn't have wanted to have his job. Apparently Army recruiters then (and according to the newspapers, still) get abused like any impossible-quota boiler-room telemarketers, browbeaten and yelled at by their bosses, and expected to do whatever it takes to meet their numbers no matter what the political and economic climate is that affects people's willingness to be recruited. That was the run-up to Gulf War I, when GHWBush was busy telling everybody that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction that were endangering our troops over there and that we needed to send a much bigger army to protect them, but it was after the successful Panama invasion so there was some popular support for the military.

#182 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 08:18 PM:

candle @164 *applause*

#183 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 08:51 PM:

Summer Storms #180: Mark, #179: Wouldn't he have to have gonads before they could be stripped?

Good point; those are already the private property of the Israel lobby.

#184 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 09:29 PM:

TCM is showing The Power tonight. I haven't seen that one in a long time.

#185 ::: AlyxL ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 09:51 PM:

Looking at the particles and following up some links, I was surprised (or possibly terrified) to find that the friends with whom I will be spending this weekend in Paris live practically on top of the site of the Montfaucon gibbet. I wonder if I should tell them?

Shadowsong – I suppose it’s mostly a matter of what fresh vegetables are available in the winter, and having to combine ones that can be stored, like potatoes, with ones that can’t like greens. Having said that, my mother was from Dublin, and her version of colcannon consisted of potatoes and swede (rutabaga) mashed together with plenty of butter and pepper. She also cooked carrots and swede together as a vegetable side dish. Both were delicious, but I suspect that the swede was there originally to eke out the other vegetables.

#186 ::: Sarah E ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 10:09 PM:

#147 :::
Funny coincidence: I only just heard of The Angelic Angleworm a few hours ago - I read Brown's The Far Cry yesterday and was looking up his other works.

#187 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 10:17 PM:

It's just not so that people don't use all the other veggies with potatoes as well as brassicas. What is true is that the underlying umami and bitter and sharp flavor of brassicas does taste especially good with potatoes.

Or turnips.

I don't do potatoes much anymore, which means I now have the experience to say turnips and celery root substitute quite well for potatoes in these contexts.

#188 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 10:25 PM:

Sarah E @ 186 -- NESFA Press has a nice volume reprinting all of Brown's short SF, and another with all of his SF novels. (I helped with the scanning / OCR / preliminary proofreading for the short-SF book.) Some of it is a bit dated -- including, alas, "Angelic Angleworm" -- but there's a lot of good stuff there.

#189 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 10:47 PM:

relating to Teresa's particles:
I've been adding names to the records at findagrave.com (from my family tree). Also adding to my file from their records, where I was missing information - it's a two-way exchange.

#190 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 10:48 PM:

Lucy @ 187. My father wanted us to know what surviving poverty was when he was growing up and part of that was serving turnips at the table.

I'm okay with them raw. I like the spiciness of them. But cooked they're a nasty trick. I feel the same over rutabagas. (couple of years ago someone had an unlabeled dish at our SF club Thanksgiving dinner that looked like potatoes and stuffing. It turned out to be rutabagas and stuffing. I'm glad I only took a tablespoon or so, it was a nasty trick for me.)

#191 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 11:00 PM:

Serge at #173:
Perhaps it should be called seampunk?

#192 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 11:08 PM:

Anybody in Atlanta who'd be up for a Halloween get-together? I'm going to be there doing a LARP-con, but as I'm not a LARPer myself I'm free in the evenings after the dealer room closes. It seems a shame to spend Halloween night alone in a hotel room, and I'm not the bar-hopping type. I'll be in the Chamblee/Dunwoody area, if that matters (which it probably does, as spread out as Atlanta is). My access to e-mail will be spotty, so call me on my cellphone: frira bar guerr - svir avar sbhe - sbhe frira mreb avar.

#193 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2009, 11:36 PM:

Appel aux francophones, brought on by the alphabet-song discussion elsethread: has anybody heard of a French alphabet song to the tune of "Cadet Roussel"?

#194 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2009, 12:00 AM:

The Lyke Wake Dirge! I'm pretty sure I have more different versions of that than anything else in my music collection. Off the top of my head, I can think of covers by Steeleye Span, Pentangle, Mediaeval Baebes, Black Happy Day, and the Iditarod with Sharron Kraus. And there may be one or two I'm missing there.

It wasn't a tune I was familiar with prior to reading Neverwhere, but it seemed like not very long after I'd encountered it there that it was suddenly all over the place.

#195 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2009, 03:25 AM:

Erik Nelson @ 191... Oh no. Seampunk was Bruce Stippling's gang of quilters.

#196 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2009, 03:34 AM:

TexAnne @ 193... Listening to that song on YouTube sure took me back a few decades. ("A few?") OK. More than a few. I don't know of any abécédaire song to tha tune, but I could write to a friend who's likely to know.

#197 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2009, 03:42 AM:

TexAnne @193: Ciel, I've always known that one as Bali Balo; didn't know the melody came from elsewhere!

#198 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2009, 04:35 AM:

Pendrift @ 197... Oh my. I've never heard that one. A translation into French might be quite educational, especially the part about the bull's erection.

#199 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2009, 05:21 AM:

Serge @198: Ah, so they don't sing this in Québec? Bali Balo is one of the chansons paillardes that people here start singing at the top of their lungs after a few hours of merrie drinking.

The Danse Macabre particle: there was a video homage to The Graveyard Book's Macabray dance posted earlier this month.

#200 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2009, 07:12 AM:

Pendrift: duuuuuude. My education has a lacuna.

#201 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2009, 09:03 AM:

Pendrift @ 199... Somehow, most of those songs never made it in my cultural background. Maybe they weren't the thing of my area. Or maybe I was so square that I never participated in the merry drinking of other college students.

TexAnne @ 200.... I think I am going to translate that song for the benefit of all MLites.

#202 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2009, 09:11 AM:

To add a bit more to Terry Karney @#174--Also, while military pay (even with add-ons) is not great, when you compare it to what many musicians make in civilian life*, it's decent money.

However, there is that whole "being good enough to make the cut" issue.

There is also this: a bandsman is part of a military organization, and under regular military discipline. This includes all the same spit and polish (and possibly extra spit and polish, given how much bandsmen are expected to look good, for certain military definitions of good), scrubbing things with toothbrushes, regular (I think monthly, but Terry can correct me) qualifying time on the rifle range, physical exercise and strength-training, drug tests, and so on. You will be surrounded by people who are all expected to live within the same limits, many of whom will view bandsmen with a certain amount of amused contempt.

For one of my friends or family considering life as a bandsman, I'd worry more about the need to adapt and deal with that than I would the risk of combat.

*Even if you make it onto an orchestra's roster, beginning pay (and pay for more senior performers with smaller, less-famous groups) is not fantastic.

#203 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2009, 09:42 AM:

re 174: There are some strings for groups such as (I paraphrase) "the president's own string quartet"-- I know a fellow who played violin in the latter. And there are string basses in the jazz bands. But I have to agree that the number of cellists has to be pretty small.

#204 ::: Andy Wilton ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2009, 10:03 AM:

Tex Anne @ 193: Ah, that's the name of the tune! When they were very small, my kids had a speaking clock toy that played the same three tunes over and over again, like a musical version of water torture. One was "Trois Jeunes Tambours", one was "Quand Trois Poules" (a slightly broken version of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star") and one, I now discover, was "Cadet Rousselle". Also, I now realise, it's the tune my mother-in-law whistles to herself while working in the kitchen. (Of course, given that it's whistling, it could be "Bali Balo", but that would seem out of character...)

#205 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2009, 10:05 AM:

C Wingate @ 203...

Singing basses in the jazz bands?
("No, Serge. String basses in the jazz bands.")
Oh.
Nevermind.

#206 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2009, 10:21 AM:

Tangential to the military band topic: I'm not a musician, but if I were, my dream job would be the regularly-scheduled playing of the Smithsonian's historic instruments to keep them in good condition. (They have a Stradivarius quartet--until I saw them, I didn't even know he MADE any basses)!

#207 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2009, 12:29 PM:

Sarah E @ #186: Don't miss out on Brown's murder mysteries, either. Night of the Jabberwock and The Screaming Mimi are particularly good.

#208 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2009, 12:58 PM:

I'm going to be in Nashville next month for a conference, from the 7th to the 12th. Fidelio and I are planning on getting together for a meal and to hang out. Would anyone like to join us?

#209 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2009, 01:14 PM:

abi #155: It is a quirk of our linguistic dominance that that is almost impossible to achieve in an English-speaking country.

You then go on to except Canada in a footnote. Might I also suggest Belize? Although there, it isn't the English-speakers who are bilingual* but the Spanish, Maya, and Garífuna-speakers. For true multilingualism, though, nothing in my experience beats the Batavophone Caribbean. Or even places just adjacent to it. Some years ago I ran into a native of St Martin at an institution where I was working, addressed her in Dutch, was answered in Dutch, and then told that she was from the French side (i.e., Saint Martin and not Sint Maarten); her native language -- English.


*Strictly speaking, the English-speakers are bilingual between dialects of English -- standard and Creole -- and code-switching, frequently within the same conversation, is normal.

#210 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2009, 01:49 PM:

More open-threadiness about blind spots in the media:

This Naked Capitalism post from earlier in the month described how access journalism and media control techniques have affected reporting on economic issues. I've been struck, again and again, about how similar the basic pattern of the financial crisis and bailout reporting was to the Saddam-has-the-bomb/Iraq invasion reporting. In both cases, the MSM seemed to me to be functioning more like a propoganda organ for the consensus view among the powerful than as any kind of independent voice.

#211 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2009, 02:42 PM:

re life in the band: Rifle is a semi-annual qualification. That said, it's not that hard to qualify, once one has learned the knack (the requirements are a bit stiffer than they were, but the skill is one of drill).

Spit and Polish: The band has more than most, less than some. They get a second set of issue; so they can keep up (eight sets of BDUs, two sets of Class As, and usually a double rations Dress Blues [which are only issue to units for which it is an actual item of regular wear, the Old Guard of the 3ID, generals' aides, etc.).

At least one of those is kept in plastic, fresh fro the cleaners. That way, when some special gig comes up, where prep-time isn't available, they have it ready to go.

That said, the day-to-day spit and polish is actually less. Once the Chief (band are run by Warrants; even if commanded by Colonels), knows the bandsman has her shit together, then it's assumed things will be squared away when needed.

The only drawback... wall locker inspection have more things to keep in the proper places.

As to the question of ROTC/enlisted. In the band, the officer slots are really slim. That's why a clarinetist, with a Masters in Music, was becoming a sergeant (mind you, she also got Loan Repayment, and the the Montgomery GI Bill, if she wanted to go for a Ph.D, the system can be worked).

I know Renatus sister isn't looking at the band. But ROTC has a different way of providing benefit. For the first two years, there is NO payment for anything. After that, once the cadet has committed (i.e. signed a contract) they are committed. They get tuition assistance, and a stipend; if they are smart they also take an SMP (simultaneous membership program) in a local reserve/guard unit). That gets them experience, and a bit more money.

If, however, they fail out (of either ROTC, or school) they are still on the hook for the contract (which is 6 years active, not 4). They will be entitled to the Chapter 33 GI Bill (the new one) once they have done 36 months of duty (and they can excercise it sooner, if they want, but at a pro-rated value; which isn't worth it) and they are eligible for 75 percent tuition assistance in local/distance learning at colleges/universities.

But ROTC isn't the same deal. I don't know if the Chapter 33 GI Bill is available to someone who took ROTC, and got a commission.

That said, the Chapter 33 GI Bill, is not revocable. The only requirement is qualifying time on Active Duty, and at least a General Discharge (A Bad Conduct, or a Dishonorable voids everything, VA health, pensions (even medical), etc.).

Bonuses are different, they are performance dependant. They are given because the recruit is promising to fill a slot the service in question really needs filled. They are discretionary on the part of the recruiter. As a rule of thumb, looking as if one is changing one's mind is the best way to get a recruiter to kick one loose. The web is a great tool, because it can be used to let one know where bonuses are being offered, and then one can ask/demand them.

Until that right hand goes in the air, and the oath gets said, the power is all in the hands of the prospect.

#212 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2009, 02:44 PM:

Open-thready:
A funny Holmes pastiche on the theme of the famous phrase he never said: A Lame Entry

#213 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2009, 02:57 PM:

Behold: The latest socialist menace!

If they keep targeting them, I wonder what kind of hidden camera videos they'll eventually come up with.

#214 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2009, 04:29 PM:

Hey everyone I just recently learned something about spam comment attacks, having gotten 40,000 comments on a blog nobody reads anyway.

Apparently (judging by search engine queries in my access logs) what one machine does is put a random string of obscure words into a comment, and then other machines do a search for that string because it's a marker that says "here's an unsecured comment thread. let's pile on."

So that's what seems to have happened to me any how.

#215 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2009, 05:16 PM:

One good companion to the Halloween-esque links in the Particles might be a selection of ghost stories.

M. R. James is pretty much the single best ghost story writer of all time. His first three volumes of ghost stories are available on Project Gutenberg. Penguin Classics has published a two volume collection of his work which also includes A Warning to the Curious.

Ghosts and Scholars is a journal about James's writing which may or may not still be active. There's a webpage which includes quite a few articles and James-style stories by other authors, and a never-published story by James himself (which is also included in the second Penguin collection).

William Hope Hodgson's Carnacki the Ghost Finder is a steampunk ghostbuster who fights--or debunks--supernatural menaces from an electric pentacle. The link is to the Project Gutenberg edition, which includes six of the nine Carnacki stories. Of the other three, "The Hog" and "The Haunted Jarvee" are worth tracking down, but "The Find" is just a minor detective story about a forged manuscript.

Carnacki was played by Donald Pleasance--who unfortunately made only one appearance in the role--in the British anthology series The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes.

#216 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2009, 05:47 PM:

"the MSM seemed to me to be functioning more like a propoganda organ for the consensus view among the powerful than as any kind of independent voice."

Um... yes?

I'm sorry, I've spent so many years knowing a basic truth (that the members of the MSM are, in large part, lazy) that it surprises me when anyone is surprised to find out that the media aren't, well, reporting.

You'll see it at the journalism class level. Person gets assigned story, decides how he will frame it, then goes out and gets the info he needs to write/show it. It's the same technique lazy students have been using on essays for years. It's very rare that you'll see somebody challenge their basic assumptions or work out of their comfort zone.

A good example of somebody who is actually doing reporting is Michael Totten. He's a private citizen who decided years ago, Hey, I wonder what's really going on in Iraq, got together some funds, and went over to find out. He's been over several times and the thing that impresses me with his articles is that he doesn't seem to have a frame that he's shoving his stories into; instead he seems to base each article on what he's actually seen.

Contrast that with the tale of anyone who's been featured on the news and who has said, afterwards, "But it isn't like that at all..." After a while, you just get the sense that the MSM is just a lazy bunch of folks with a worldview that they never think to challenge.*

*Anyone notice the ads for "Planet 51" lately? And notice how the astronaut is white and blond? Wanna bet they never even considered making him otherwise?

#217 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2009, 06:12 PM:

@B. Durbin #216: Anyone notice the ads for "Planet 51" lately? And notice how the astronaut is white and blond? Wanna bet they never even considered making him otherwise?

I don't think that's a good example of the blindness you are describing because the point of Planet 51 is to turn a classic "WASPy Military Poster Boy vs. the Horrible Monsters" B-movie on its head. At one point in the preview I saw, he attempts to defuse a tense situation by giving Clean-Cut Mr. Recruiting Poster Smile No. 3 and ends up traumatizing some poor alien kid for life.

#218 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2009, 06:21 PM:

Pendrift @ 134 said: Elliott Mason @111: Someone mentioned chicken feet? Oh yum. It's one of my favorite dim sum dishes, although friends and strangers alike look askance at my plate when I have some. People often ask what there is to eat in chicken feet, but it's got more edible parts than one would think at first glance.

I've been watching a lot of episodes of Iron Chef via YouTube, and compiling (for my own amusement) a list of Things I Have Learned About Japanese Culture* From Iron Chef.

One of them is that the cute-woman judges all seem to think that 'gelatin' tastes 'very healthy'. However, for American translation, I think what they call 'gelatin' can often be more accurately called 'stewed gristle'; they really liked being fed stewed duck feet in Battle Duck.

* In the related department of Things About Biology I Have Learned From Iron Chef, invertebrates have the following bodily parts (because no others are ever mentioned): 'filet' (the muscle tissue/meat), 'digestive tract,' 'roe' (all reproductive organs and products), skin, bones, brains, and liver. Vertebrates also have a bunch of other things, but molluscs and arthropods seem to be entirely composed of 'brains' and 'liver' on the inside, from the way the color commentators talk about it when the carcasses are being broken down for cooking.


#219 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2009, 06:29 PM:

Lori Coulson @ 172

Apologies, but I'm not sufficiently up-to-date with domestic cat neurology to make a sensible suggestion (I'm actually better at snow leopard neurological diseases at present).

#220 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2009, 06:34 PM:

dcb @219:
Cool, if I have problems tweaking my Mac I know where to go for help.
Oh. You meant real snow leopards.

#221 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2009, 06:35 PM:

@Paula Helm Murray #190:

Here is a recipe I've been itching to try; the problem is that it requires large, old turnips in good condition, which are almost impossible to find on my island for some reason. It's supposed to come out as a classic medieval illusion food: looks like caviar, tastes like spicy gingerbread--and it's turnips.

Baked turnip pudding. Take a turnip in good condition and cut it into thin slices. Thread them in a line so that the slices do not touch one another as they dry, and hang them in the sun or in a warm oven where bread has just been baked. They should not be watery; let them dry out well. Mash the dried slices and push the puree through a sieve. Put the turnip puree in a clay pot.

Take clear, light-colored honey [I skipped some steps because they aren't necessary with modern honey]--as much honey as you have puree. Add [the honey and] nutmeg, cloves, pepper, and saffron in such measure that no one spice dominates, nor is it overspiced. Seal the clay pot with dough, and steam it in the oven for two days and two nights. Then it will be good to eat. But if it is too liquid, add more turnip puree. It should be the texture of a lump of caviar.--From The Domostroi, Rules for Russian Households in the Time of Ivan the Terrible, ed. & transl. Carolyn Johnston Pouncy.

My notes: Russian ovens tended to be enormous, with hotter and cooler spots. You can probably get the same effect from a day in a slow cooker on Low if you are careful not to take off the lid. The turnip puree can also be gotten by rubbing fresh turnip through a sturdy sieve, soaking, then boiling, rinsing, and draining three times, rolling into pellets, and rubbing through a sieve again. Or mash or grate the fresh turnip, dry thoroughly, and soak for three days, changing the water daily. In any case, it will be somewhat bitter; the right amount of honey is supposed to remove the bitter note while preserving the good turnip taste.

#222 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2009, 07:13 PM:


Sexual Abuse By Military Recruiters


Aug 20, 2006
Sexual Abuse By Military Recruiters
More Than 100 Women Raped Or Assaulted By Recruiters In Past Year
By Amy S Clark

More of the bigoted corrupt abominable regime's effected misdeeds 2001-2008...

#223 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2009, 07:55 PM:

re 143: Script Ohio in action, for those who are curious

#224 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2009, 08:09 PM:

Lori Coulson @ 172: I do neurology, but not in cats; however, I am owned by several cats, one of whom is now more than 16 years old.

Shakiness is not common in elderly cats, although they certainly can develop neurodegenerative disease. Are there any other clinical signs to go along with this? Appetite changes, litterbox changes, skin/hair coat changes?

#225 ::: Renatus ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2009, 08:17 PM:

I thought I posted an update here a couple of days ago but it seems it didn't actually go through. No matter.

I've been peppering my sister with links so she has plenty of information at hand. She's only responded to one of my messages--with a worrying statement that if she's in for 20 years she can retire at 38, which seems to be making an awful lot of assumptions--but nothing else so far. However, my partner had an opportunity to chat with her last night over facebook (I'd already gone to bed, being as there's an 8 hour time difference between Finland and Oregon) and came away with the impression that she's done some solid research, and doesn't resent my worry and throwing information at her. Which is good.

Still, I worry that she isn't getting all the information she should--I have this Big Thing about informed consent--so I pepper with links and things people in service have told me (and thank you so much, everyone, for all of your help). I also worry that, as smart and socially well adjusted as she is (much moreso than my borderline autistic self), she's still lodged in that subconscious belief that someone who should be an authority can be trusted.

#127 ::: Terry Karney: Thank you for weighing in; I was hoping you would. I'm definitely going to relay your comments and recommend she talk to you.

But just because some of them push the envelope doesn't mean that one should paint them as purely black-hearted.

Indeed. I am suspicious of her recruiter specifically because of the rather grand statements my sister has made. OTOH, a friend of mine in the Marines told me about how he ditched his first recruiter because of much the same thing and went with his second because they answered his questions honestly. (And I told her this, of course.)

#140 ::: Mark: Yeah. After reading some of ginmar@livejournal's experiences... holy hell. I tried to emphasize to my sister that she needs to be prepared for such a possibility. And the possibility that the VA will not have her back, like Ginmar is dealing with. The world is fucking cruel to women (as I know all too personally).

And my sister neither sings nor plays an instrument, so band? Not gonna happen.

#158 ::: Lee: Another good point, and that one REALLY concerns me. Being raped by someone one knows is nothing uncommon for civilians (another one I know all too personally); it's going to be a special kind of hell when it's the people who you may have to rely on in life-or-death situations.

#181 ::: Bill Stewart: I have NO idea why she isn't considering the ROTC. I brought it up in my last message, though.

as an Air Force Reserves general I used to work with said, "if you put on the uniform, you're agreeing to pick up the gun when they need it", and that's a moral choice she'll need to think about.

Definitely. That's one of the things I and my Marines friend emphasized--be ready for the possibility you'll have to kill another human being.


Anyhow. Thank you all again for your words and links and advice. I appreciate this place SO much.

I'll post an update when I have one, although it might be awhile; between other RL stuff (like that my 79 year old granny was in the hospital for pneumonia very recently and that REALLY freaked me out), SAD, and my own up and down health I get a little forgetful...

#226 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2009, 09:02 PM:

Jenny Islander @217: I don't think that's a good example of the blindness you are describing because the point of Planet 51 is to turn a classic "WASPy Military Poster Boy vs. the Horrible Monsters" B-movie on its head. At one point in the preview I saw, he attempts to defuse a tense situation by giving Clean-Cut Mr. Recruiting Poster Smile No. 3 and ends up traumatizing some poor alien kid for life.

There's also the irony - which may or may not have been intended by the creators, but you never know - that the blond, white hero is voiced by an actor who is himself neither.

#227 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2009, 09:17 PM:

dcb@219, Pendrift@220 - On the "oh, you mean *real* snow leopards" sort of thread, my wife and I were once visiting her relatives in ~Phoenix, and her aunt asked us to fetch something from the garage, and apologized in advance for its appearance because "we have a bit of a packrat problem". Had I said that, it would have meant "we've got all kinds of junk piled in the garage", but we saw the pile of string and shiny things in the corner and realized she meant that there were actual packrats around, not just metaphorical ones.

#228 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2009, 10:45 PM:

Jenny Islander, #217, Dan Layman Kennedy, #226, I thought he looked like Buzz Lightyear.

#229 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2009, 11:14 PM:

My dad "retired" from the army nuclear program at 38, and then spent the next 20 years working in radiation safety in the civilian world. He would not have been able to live otherwise. He only stayed in for 20 years to get the guaranteed health care, and that promise was broken when they closed the nearest base to where we were living. I suppose we could have moved, but as it is, Tri-Care is his back up insurance. It's not just recruiters who exaggerate the benefits.

#230 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2009, 11:44 PM:

Open Threadiness: Rough week for Scientology. (via Skepchick.)

#231 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2009, 12:50 AM:

Ginger @ 224... I do neurology, but not in cats

This reminds me of a black cat we once had, and whose nickname was the Beast with Ten Neurons.

#232 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2009, 01:55 AM:

Anyone with a Mac: I really, REALLY need to find out how to save the sound files here before the BBC removes them--they're not on iTunes, unfortunately.

#233 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2009, 04:47 AM:

Bruce E. Durocher II: My usual add-ons don't work, but I just tried this and it does the trick. Drawbacks are that you need to turn the volume up (it basically records the sound coming from your speakers), and you need to play the full episode. It's not an ideal solution, but it'll do in a pinch.

#234 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2009, 06:20 AM:

Lee #192: Gail and I, unfortunately, can't ride to your aid, much as we'd love to.

#235 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2009, 08:09 AM:

Re shaky cats: my elderly dachshund developed similar symptoms (plus he was running into things) when we had him on oral ivermectin. Symptoms went away when we stopped the meds. Is your cat taking anything new? (NB: we also found that although a cat can't lick the flea preventative off the nape of its own neck, nothing stops them from licking it off each other. This too caused some creepy symptoms until we started separating them for several hours after treatment.)

#236 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2009, 09:16 AM:

Re: "Coffee bean to carbon atom" sidelight:

Pretty cool, but also missing a few obvious things. I mean, I can understand skipping human hairs, light waves, and DNA, due to their inconvenient shape, but... no cells from the coffee bean itself? No tardigrade, or buckyball?

#237 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2009, 09:57 AM:

Open threadiness, and counterpoint to the sidelight on the decline of newspaper circulation

Joel Achenbach, in this morning's Washington Post, on the power of narrative in an increasingly online and crosslinked world. (may require registration)

Narrative isn't merely a technique for communicating; it's how we make sense of the world. The storytellers know this. They know that the story is the original killer app.

Lots of good thoughts. I recommend highly.

#238 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2009, 10:35 AM:

In WWII, my Uncle Henry was a piper and saw combat in at least France and in India. He missed the boats at Dunkirk and turned up back in Scotland afterwards. He refused to talk about that period. He blamed his hair loss on a hot steel helmet in India - I have the same hair loss, so I doubt that.

#239 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2009, 10:41 AM:

Ginger, dcb -- Thanks, I did some digging on the Web, and it turns out that osteoarthritis in elderly cats can cause tremors -- it isn't true Parkinson's, it just looks like it.

D'Art has lost a little weight, but is still eating and using his litter box, and he sleeps alot. The tremors are not constant, and the fleeting problem with the back legs seems to be triggered by a change in the weather.

dcb, are you actually getting to work with real live snow leopards?! They are my partner's favorite big cat.

#241 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2009, 12:46 PM:

B Durbin #216:

In the discussion I linked to in an earlier post on this thread, we were talking specifically about blind spots--places where some big obvious event is happening, but the MSM simply don't mention it. (That discussion was triggered by the barely-reported-in-the-MSM pre-emptive arrests at the RNC in St. Paul last year.) I thought the Pulitzer-winning story on the Pentagon running a propoganda operation to slip shill "military analysts" into the network news shows was a good example: The story was apparently never mentioned on any of the commercial broadcast/cable news networks that were targeted, though I believe NPR and PBS did discuss it. The weird exclusions of coverage of the financial meltdown and ongoing recession seem similar.

In both cases, I'm not just talking about laziness, I'm talking about actively excluding certain information from the coverage, in a systematic way. Maybe this is really common, but I haven't noticed that many cases before. (If you know of more, I'd love to hear them.) I mean, I was used to exclusion of some viewpoints, but not obvious facts that pretty-much had to be intentionally excluded. I'm at something of a disadvantage noticing this, because since 9/11, I've been getting most of my news from overseas, and for the last couple years, a big fraction of my news is from overseas Spanish media. (Gracias, BBC Mundo y El Pais.)

#242 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2009, 12:48 PM:

Serge #195: Seampunk was Bruce Stippling's gang of quilters.

I would like to read a quiltpunk story by Bruce Sterling.

#243 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2009, 01:10 PM:

Earl Cooley III @ 242... Didn't he write stories with Rudy Rug-er?

#244 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2009, 01:11 PM:

In other Open Threadiness news, I'm in the middle of my first week of training in Huntsville. I haven't been able to go online as much as I might have liked, but I'm able to touch base now and then.

#245 ::: Suzanne F. ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2009, 02:36 PM:

Alasdair Roberts' Lyke Wake Dirge. Now with more feedback!

#246 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2009, 02:41 PM:

albatross #241: Don't forget both the anti-war protests and the election protests under ShrubCo.

#247 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2009, 04:03 PM:

Apropos of nothing seen here: has anyone tried using HTML-Kit on a system running 32-bit Vista Home Basic? I could run it on my old XP laptop just fine, but that laptop is currently sitting in the repair shop with a nonfunctional motherboard, and I'm stuck using my husband's Vista laptop. I need to do a bit of work on a website I made back when my computer was working, but every time I try to start up HTML-Kit, I get error messages from Windows stating that "thus-and-such.exe has stopped working" and offering "close program: as my only option. After about five of these, the screen dims and I am asked whether or not I mean for a program to continue. Answering "Yes" does get HTML-Kit open, but with what appears to be reduced functionality. The programs that stop working appear to be some of the plugins I am used to using in HTML-Kit.

Anybody have experience with this?

#248 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2009, 04:24 PM:

albatross: The first (non-political) thing that spring to mind is the housing bubble. Waaaaay back in 2005, I was looking around at housing prices, then looking at traditional affordability standards, and thinking, "I'm missing something." A few searches turned up things like The Housing Bubble Blog, which laid out why we were in a bubble, how to tell it WAS a bubble, and so forth. (The reasons go back thirty years, actually, with every few years adding a new thing. The repeal of Sarbannes-Oxley— a law which kept traditional banks and investment banks separate— in 1996 or thereabout was the tipping point.)

At any rate, one of the continuing themes on The Housing Bubble Blog is the framing of housing stories. During the bubble, every article on housing prices would include quotes from a Realtor™ saying how housing only ever went up, "we've reached a permanently high plateau," and so forth. During the first slide, it was "Nobody saw this coming" (a blatant lie, as multiple financial experts explained in great detail what was going to happen and were scorned), and "We've reached the bottom." During the last decade, it's been "a great time to buy" (regardless of price or whatnot.)

Another thing that has been happening of late is the sob story of the person losing their home to foreclosure. The reason these are "frames" is because the reporter never seems to ask how the people involved got into the hole, when just a little digging on public records usually turns up a major refinance or a new mortgage taken out on a paid-off property. Not to take the sleazy loan sellers off the hook, but a little due diligence would be able to find the people who deserve sympathy, rather than the ones who are mentioned as driving their new cars with their new boats and "oh, why are we losing this property?"

Part of it was willful blindness, sure. But part of that is sheer laziness. As a private citizen with no more than a hunch and an internet connection, I was able to determine that the crazy-high house prices were, in fact, crazy, and would come down. With consequences. But only now are reporters seeming to wake up to the fact of the bubble and its effect on the economy.

I think the scariest part is that the timeline, recession and all, was laid out on the site back in 2006, just from a knowledge of history and human nature. Well, and ARM resets. They'll be off on that last wave because ARMs automatically adjust when the loan-to-value ratio dips below a certain point, so we won't have to wait until 2012 for the last shoe to drop. It may have dropped already.

#249 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2009, 04:28 PM:

Terry @174: It might also be that, absent something like a madeline, shredding carrots, et al, would be a lot more work that slicing up a leafy plant.

"Mandoline", surely? Though now I have a very strange image of Proust dreamily partaking of dim sum (or yum cha, depending on location), dipping a lightly crispy fried cake of shredded Chinese radishes into his tea.

#250 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2009, 04:38 PM:

General oben-thready question, mainly to people who know something about health care in the US.

From what I've heard during the reform debate, my impression is that you've got a big problem with lack of coverage for poor people, but at the same time, the "rescissions" of coverage can be disastrous for middle class people, too.

Now, what kind of confuses me is that it looks to me as if this last point might sometimes even be a problem for people who are pretty close to being upper class. The stories I've heard make it sound as if you could make, say, 800,000 dollars a year, and then you get some serious illness where the treatment is relatively expensive, you can't continue to work in your job because of the illness, your insurance company rescinds your policy, and a quick calculation shows you that your savings and dividends will be enough to pay for your treatment + basic costs of living for a few years, but after that- you don't have any clue what comes after that.

The reason why this confuses me is that my general impression about the way the world works was that people who make 800,000 dollars a years usually have ways and means to protect themselves from this kind of thing. So, is there something I'm missing? Some kind of more expensive parallel insurance system that will pay for things regular insurance companies won't pay for? Or do you really have a situation where people with incomes in the high six digits can, at any time, get into trouble because of medical costs?

#251 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2009, 04:42 PM:

B Durbin @ #248: "The repeal of Sarbannes-Oxley"

Nitpick. Not Sarbanes-Oxley. Glass-Steagall. S-O was passed in 2002 as a response to Enron and its ilk, attempting to make corporate boards and executives more accountable for the numbers their companies put out in financial statements.

#252 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2009, 04:51 PM:

Raphael @ 250: "...do you really have a situation where people with incomes in the high six digits can, at any time, get into trouble because of medical costs?"

Yes.

And not only because those are also the people overextended on their credit cards, eihter.

I know someone who had a health policy good for half a million dollars. Two months in the hospital ate that right up. I daresay the six figure income lasts a bit longer, but that's not infinite, and catastrophic illnesses do not file timetables.

#253 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2009, 05:35 PM:

The Particle on "Dying Speeches and Bloody Murders" reminds me of a book I scanned and helped prepare for Project Gutenberg some years back. It's called "Lives of the Most Remarkable Criminals Who have been Condemned and Executed for Murder, the Highway, Housebreaking, Street Robberies, Coining or other offences", and it amounts to a collection of such broadsides. Only a few illustrations, though. You can find it here, if you're interested: http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/13097

#254 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2009, 05:41 PM:

Pendrift: thanks--I'll try it right away!

On another front, I was trying to make a point about fashion designers that seem to hate the women they design clothes for, and as a part of the whole discussion I tried to show the person I was talking to the extremely wonderful Particle about dresses that only Audry Hepburn could wear. Unfortunately I can't remember when it was and a month-by-month of the Particles isn't showing it. Can someone head me in the right direction?

#255 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2009, 05:42 PM:

The Tay Bridge Disaster thread's been silent a couple of weeks, but the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge had a few parts fall down in the wind a couple of days ago, and they still don't have it fixed. (Fortunately not a Disaster; three cars were damaged and one person non-seriously injured, but they've closed the bridge for safety until they get everything inspected and repaired, and traffic's a mess for anybody who lives near there.)

They did a bunch of work over Labor Day (which here in the US is anti-leftistly at the end of summer instead of in May) to put in a temporary side-piece so they can do major earthquake retrofit to the main span, and had to patch some parts that broke during that operation. This week there were some cables that blew down in the wind-storms, and then some of the parts they'd patched broke, dropping a few tons of material on the section below.

The broken section is between Treasure Island and Oakland - it's supposedly still possible to use the western span to reach Treasure Island. Unlike in William Gibson's bridge trilogy, squatters haven't settled on the bridge yet...

#256 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2009, 06:25 PM:

Lori Coulson @ 239: Sadly, no I'm not getting to work with real snow leopards, just read all about them and their diseases and health care and put all the information together. They are amazing - described by researchers as unaggressive - and they have fantastic scent-based systems of keeping apart from one another (so not messing up hunting) except for during the mating season. Cubs stay with their mother for ages as well, while they learn to hunt.

However, I have worked with all sorts of other species including cranes and wallabies and lemurs and 16,000 oiled penguins, so I've been lucky, really.

#257 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2009, 06:34 PM:

Lori Coulson @ 239: Oops - hit post without finishing... You can get medication for osteoarthritis in cats - not so easy as in dogs (use of NSAIDs needs to be balanced against effects on kidneys), but can be used. Makes sense that osteoarthritis might be worse in cold weather.

Paul A. @ 240: Great picture! They have amazingly long, fluffy tails.

#258 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2009, 07:09 PM:

Bill Stewart @ 255... Unlike in William Gibson's bridge trilogy, squatters haven't settled on the bridge yet...

Probably because of the Troll...

#259 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2009, 07:18 PM:

Raphael @ 250: If you are employed at a job with good benefits, you can get insurance as part of the group. If you are not employed, you have to buy insurance as an individual. If you have a history of expensive illness, no insurance company will sell you coverage. If you exhaust all of your savings, and reach the poverty line, then you qualify for government insurance coverage. You'll also qualify for government insurance if you're elderly. Some states offer policies for individuals who cannot buy private insurance, but not all do.
It's ghastly, and inhumane. At least 2 of my family members would not be able to buy insurance if they weren't employed.

#260 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2009, 07:18 PM:

I wonder how many people in the US could write a check for their health care max out of pocket expenses without going into debt. Or hell, even the deductible.

I'm a little peeved now, since my health insurance company has changed the plan we're on for next year 'to remain competitive'. They're upping the max-out of pocket, and going from 80% coverage to 70% coverage once you hit the deductible. Thankfully, it appears that there are other options, from other carriers. I wonder how long the others are going to last...


#261 ::: Janet K ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2009, 07:22 PM:

Raphael at 250 : The stories I've heard make it sound as if you could make, say, 800,000 dollars a year, and then you get some serious (illness where the treatment is relatively expensive, you can't continue to work in your job because of the illness, your insurance company rescinds your policy...

I can see a couple of possible mitagations of this worse-case scenerio. A company valuing someone that much is unlikely to fire them if they have to stop working because of illness. The company may shift them to a special lower-paid disability status (the company may have insurance coverage for such situations). The health insurance coverage under the company's group plan will remain in effect.

In the long term, if someone is disabled seriously by illness and cannot resume work they may qualify for Social Security Disability and government health coverage under Medicare.

#262 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2009, 07:23 PM:

Renatus (#225, various) — {*} <– small parcel of hope and cheer, to be opened at need. This does not sound like an easy time at all.

D. Potter (#252) Two thoughts on health insurance reform promotion:
        Looks like a good idea to publicize as many cases as possible of high-earning people who've been brought down, or their survivors near-pauperized, by illness (preferably not seen as self-inflicted, eg, drug-related). I keep hearing that lower-income USians often support policies that favour much higher-income ones, optimistically feeling they'll get up there (somehow not seeing that what they're supporting will probably make that less likely, apart from any other bad effects).
That might strike home more than the suffering of "not-us" people (battlers here, losers there).
        … Umm … Darn, should have written that down straight away. (Did I mention apart from dry mouth, pins and needles, vomiting, diarrhoea, drowsiness, and unsteady gait, the unpleasant effects of that drug include confusion?) If it comes back, I'll link to here.

Bill Stewart (#255) A Treasure Island you can walk to across a bridge? Disappointing.

abi (#155) *sadly puts away Oz immigration brochures and links featuring mucho sunshine* OTOH, NL sounds like an excellent place to study a very different social mindset

#263 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2009, 07:56 PM:

Janet K @ 261: You mentioned Social Security disability. I don't have any personal experience with it (fortunately), but I've read in The Oregonian that it's difficult to get that coverage. The average wait for a hearing is 650 days -- more than a year and a half. Many claims that are eventually approved are rejected the first time.

Sad story: Getting disability payments can be a fight to the death

#264 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2009, 07:57 PM:

dcb @ 256: However, I have worked with all sorts of other species including cranes and wallabies and lemurs and 16,000 oiled penguins, so I've been lucky, really.

Was that the incident that led to people knitting sweaters for penguins?

#265 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2009, 08:06 PM:

Denial of health insurance coverage should be criminalized as conspiracy to commit negligent homicide.

#266 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2009, 08:21 PM:

Earl, sod that, negligent homicide is too lenient by half. Recission evinces a reckless indifference to human life.

Janet @ 263: It has been my understanding that, barring something blatant like multiple amputations or paralysis, it is routine to deny all SSD claims on the first pass. You don't appeal, you don't get.

#267 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2009, 09:00 PM:

People have had insurance applications denied for conditions were successfully treated for years earlier, or for conditions they don't even have. People have had insurance denied or rescinded for conditions that can be treated for not much money, also. I've also heard of at least one case where the insurance company rescinded the policy because the doctor wrote a note on a chart and never discussed it with the patient, but the insurance company claimed the patient should have known about whatever-it-was and therefore committed fraud by not putting it on the application. All of those, and people who have their insurance rescinded or claims denied after initially being approved, because their conditions are expensive and the insurance companies don't want to cut into their profits (their CEOs might have to take cuts to their multi-million dollar paychecks, poor babies).

In other words, the insurance companies can do whatever they want. Most states are perfectly happy to allow that, too.

#268 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2009, 09:04 PM:

There would be at least two degrees of offense: a special circumstance of "depraved indifference" would, of course, properly affect sentencing guidelines. Failing to process a claim on a Friday afternoon and waiting until Monday to deal with it (causing avoidable out-of-pocket expense for the patient) wouldn't be quite as bad as blatantly denying coverage to meet a coverage denial performance benchmark.

#269 ::: Janet K ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2009, 10:03 PM:

Janet L and Mark. I was just mentioning that such a safety net theoretically exists. I too have heard how difficult it is to be approved for Social Security Disability.

Nevertheless I do know two people who have recently started receiving SSD. In both cases the initial application was approved. I think the process took about six months.

#270 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2009, 11:31 PM:

My first application to Social Security was denied and the second was approved two years later. But I did have a brand new type of renal failure, so it wasn't in the catalog. I also had a lawyer paid for by the private disability because they could pay me less if I had SS.

#271 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2009, 11:36 PM:

Linkmeister @ 251: Heh. Getting my laws screwed up. It was from memory, though, so I'm surprised I spelled it correctly.

Treasure Island is a created island, dredged up for a World's Fair. It's so called because the fill has gold in it, washed down from the Sierras. Not in any amount worth recovering, but it's there.

On health insurance in general, ours is integrated with the doctors. The doctors receive a salary, and the insurance is processed in-building. One of the "downsides" is that you can have multiple doctors for the same thing (such as pregnancy); I really don't see the issue as they keep good records, and you don't have to see somebody you don't like. The major upside is that if a doctor prescribes a treatment, it's covered. No paperwork hassles or denials of coverage after the fact.

I really don't get why this style of healthcare isn't more common. Some people really hate it, but I've been in it for most of my life and have never had an issue.

#272 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 12:04 AM:

B. Durbin: The Kaiser healthcare system in Hawaii (and California, I think) works pretty much exactly like that. Some like it, some don't.

#273 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 12:41 AM:

Here's your All-American safety net for the poor:

My brother-in-law, who owns a small business, broke his neck. Due to prompt and correct first aid and a halo brace, he is walking. However, as a small business owner, he quickly ran through his insurance (this was back in the days when small business owners could afford health insurance) and drained his cash reserves. So he applied for medical aid. Here's what they told him:

*Sell your business, preferably at a loss. (Okay, what they told him was, "No money until you do this," which translates to "Sell right away, which will probably involve taking a loss.")
*Ditto for your house. Where are you and your broken neck going to sleep? Not our problem.
*You may keep one car. No, not your work vehicles, with which you might generate income. Just the old truck you go to the beach with your dogs in. We don't care whether you will be able to feed the dogs.
*Prove that you have destroyed yourself economically in all possible ways. Then we will pay for the medical care necessary to help you become fit for work. If you can prove that you really have a broken neck.

So he chose to go without the aid and work out a payment plan with the hospital, which he could not meet exactly on schedule because he had drained his rainy day reserves paying the initial medical costs and then--whaddayaknow?--it rained, so now he has lousy credit. A man who has never made a frivolous financial decision in his life.

But it could have been a lot worse.

#274 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 01:51 AM:

#273: At least he isn't living under fascist socialism, where he couldn't choose his doctor!

Did everyone catch the wonderful video of Senator Franken dead-pan evisceration of a Hudson Institute "expert?"

http://www.boingboing.net/2009/10/23/al-franken-kicks-ele.html

#275 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 04:27 AM:

Stefan Jones #274: Is that really a talking point? In this age of preferred provider networks?

I just--guh. Heartburn or no heartburn, I'm going to bed.

Oh, wait, here's another. A friend of mine has been miserably ill for years in that American way where you drag yourself to work anyway because that's how you pay for the medication. One diagnosis after another proved to be incorrect. Well, she finally has what she hopes is a correct diagnosis. Good news: The list of symptoms fits her previously baffling medical issues to a tee. Bad news: The nearest treatment center is three time zones away. Worse news: She has 18 weeks to get all better. After that, her employer can legally fire her, which shifts her to COBRA coverage that her family may be able to afford for a while, but probably not. After that, she will have no health insurance. If she can get on her husband's policy, it won't cover her preexisting condition, but his premiums will go up anyway. She will not qualify for government health insurance because her husband makes too much money. She will not be able to find a private policy, anywhere. And she will be juuuuuust functional enough not to qualify for SSD.

And the nearest treatment center for her disease will still be three time zones away.

The possible steps from there to a family medical bankruptcy I leave up to the reader.

#276 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 04:56 AM:

Summer Storms #247:
Apologies if it's too basic (and already attempted) but have you tried running the program in "compatibility mode"?

Right-click the program icon, click on properties.

Select the compatility tab, check the box for "run this program in compatibility mode for", and select appropriate OS version from the drop-down menu.

Click "Apply", "Ok", cross fingers and try running the program.

#277 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 08:26 AM:

B. Durban at #248 "we've reached a permanently high plateau" -- as far as I can tell, this phrase means "run" - cash out and hide the cash under your mattress (or at least in guaranteed forms.) Does anyone else remember a Wired cover story "The Long Boom"? Just after that, the .dot com bubble burst.

How did bubbles come to be so frequent that they overlap? It used to be a once-a-generation or even once-a-lifetime thing. But we've had two of three at least in twenty years - can I count Bre-X as a bubble?

#279 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 09:29 AM:

Summer Storms @ #247:

I have nothing useful to offer, since I have had as little to do with Vista as I could contrive to arrange; I just want to say: HTML-Kit! Woo!

#280 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 10:12 AM:

Raphael @250--Here's one reason even highly-paid people can go broke fast when they get sick. Drug prices in many European countries are closely controlled as the result of bargaining between the governments and Big Pharma. Here, Big Pharma does not bargain with the government--Big Pharma tells the government what we will pay and the government agrees that this is just and fair.

We have two national-level disability programs in the US: Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income benefits. The latter is related to the former, because they use the same medical standards, but is means-based on income and assets; SSD is based on earnings--if you are unemployed for around five years before you file the claim, your coverage is likely to have lasped, and if you are self-employed and fail to pay your Social Security taxes, which quite a few self-employed people, including our Secretary of the Treasury fail to do, you aren't covered at all, despite haveing been gainfully employed for many years. So it's possible to not be covered by the SSD program, and to have too much in assests to quailify for the SSI program.

These programs work for quite a few, but have many gaps. The biggest is that the condition has be considered either fatal, or likely to last, at a disabling level, for more than 12 months. It's remarkable how many kinds of cancer are not expected to kill you. It's also interesting that, say, a hip replacement is something you can be counted on to be all better from within 12 months in every single case, until proven otherwise.

The national medical programs are Medicare and Medicaid. Medicaid is also means-tested. Medicare, which is for retirees and the disabiled, is tied to work history, in ways similar but not identical to Social Security. There have been changes since I last checked, but if I recall correctly, receiving SSI benfits usually includes access to Medicaid benefits but not vice versa.

People who receive SSD are entitled to Medicare as well, but only after they've been disabled for a little over two years from where Social Security sets the start of their disability--which may or may not be when they really stopped work and their COBRA coverage starts up (assuming they could afford the COBRA payments). So it's possible to end up with a gap in coverage between your own insurance and Medicare--and this can be a month--or a year. Here's the website, in case you all want more information about FDR's fine socialist program*.

Different states may also have their own medical supplement programs, designed to augment or replace Medicaid (and therefore probably means-based), and some have disability programs as well.

I don't include the VA system in this, as this is a program not available to all legal residents of the US--it is its own animal, and has its own rules.


*Historical joke.

#281 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 10:18 AM:

PJ #267:

The thing is, there are cases of fraud going the other way--people who get diagnosed with cancer or HIV, and then sign up for health insurance. That's a real problem, as real as the bit the other direction. (I've heard of this being a serious issue, many years ago, with HIV positive patients getting life insurance policies.)

It seems to me that there's a problem here that's a lot more general than recission. It seems like there's a huge asymmetry in legal proceedings. Large companies often seem to strategically commit fraud, knowing that the cost if they're caught is smaller than the expected benefit. Delaying actions in court can often force someone to accept a sh-tty settlement, or to give up, as with the person who dies of cancer a year and a half into their legal battle with the insurance company.

My uninformed take on this is that strategic fraud ought to have large financial consequences, and that (for example) insurance companies should be required to continue coverage until the case is resolved, assuming they've been cashing the premium checks for awhile. But getting there seems like it requires changes in the way our political system works.

#282 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 10:52 AM:

@Clifton: It is Kaiser. Based out of Oakland, and I know they've got some presence in Colorado as well. I gather that the reason a lot of people don't like Kaiser is the aforementioned shuttling around and the fact that they stick to "proven" treatments, which sucks if you get something that they're still doing treatment trials for.

@Jenny: Three time zones away? I'm really hoping at this point that "Islander" refers to Hawai'i, because otherwise it seems ludicrous that treatment is only available on the far coast. And the 18 week deadline is also ludicrous. Diseases don't just disappear on command.

Keep us updated.

#283 ::: Janet K ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 11:14 AM:

fidelio at 280: SSD is based on earnings--if you are unemployed for around five years before you file the claim, your coverage is likely to have lasped...

As someone who started receiving regular Social Security earlier this year, I'd like to clarify this statement: To qualify for Social Security you need 40 lifetime credits. If you work fulltime for a year and pay into the system (as required by law), you earn four credits, so it's unlikely your coverage has lapsed if you didn't work for the past five years but have a stable work history previously. (If you are young when you become disabled, the number of credits needed is decreased.)

I didn't realize there was a two-year wait for Medicare coverage after someone is approved for SSD.


#285 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 12:02 PM:

Just general open-threadiness -- I just LOVE getting the dead-tree versions of things I have worked on in the mail! Today I got my copy of The Intersection of Native America and Fantasy, for which I did layout and indexing, AND the Fall 2009 issue of Mythlore, which I edit. Shiny!

#286 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 12:24 PM:

Janet K @283 and Jen b @ 284--Yes. Social Security covers retirement benefits, disability benefits, and benefits for dependents of retirees and the disabled, as well as workers' widow(ers, thanks to Ruth Bader Ginsburg et al.) and minor children--the requirements to qualify differ between retirement benefits and disability benefits. The disability portion of the program mostly dates back to the 1960s, while the original retirement program was part of the New Deal legislation of the 1930s.

Interestingly, federal government employees qualify for Medicare, but not, generally Social Security benefits. Also, because of the retirement programs already in place in that industry by the 1930s (thank the unions!), railroad workers have a separate program from Social Security.

There was a long period before military retirees and disabled veterans were also qualified for Social Security benefits, although this has been changed.

#287 ::: Janet K ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 12:32 PM:

Jen B at 284. Thanks for the link that clarifies my clarification. I missed that section.

Earning 20 credits--currently four credits are accumulated after earning around $4000 in a year--in the ten years before qualifying for SS disability would not be possible if the person didn't work for six of those years.

#288 ::: LDR ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 02:33 PM:

Raphael @250:

So, is there something I'm missing? Some kind of more expensive parallel insurance system that will pay for things regular insurance companies won't pay for?

I've been wondering about this myself. Is there some kind of super-expensive insurance that promises never to cut you off? Are there people who really are rich enough to pay for serious or long-term medical care without insurance?

Or are there just lots of people out there who believe that nothing bad will ever happen to them? Either they won't get sick or the insurance company will be on their side all the way . . . I can't imagine it personally, but there must be some explanation for why some people appear to trust the current system.

#289 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 02:44 PM:

LDR @ 288 -

but there must be some explanation for why some people appear to trust the current system.

People trust the system because it is the current system. Someone did a study -- a year or so ago, a majority of the public polled said the current system needed to be fixed. A few months ago, the same question was asked, and the percentage of people who liked the current system went up -- merely because of the possibility that it might be changed.

We are not driven by logic and reason -- we are driven by emotion, and sometimes guided by logic and reason.

#290 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 02:58 PM:

OK, I've been having an argument with a fatuous troll on another site (which I suppose I shouldn't name, but whatever).

Does anyone here know the reason why no element with an atomic number greater than 92 has any stable isotopes? Is it known to be impossible for, say, element 119 when it's discovered/created to have stable isotopes?

I'm arguing that a superpowerful energy-source element—one different from any yet known—could not be carried in significant quantities in the blood of an ordinary human without causing severe health problems and probably death. Thus the fact that just that happens in a particular ficton is in itself a contradiction of known science, and not merely an extension of it.

It's a pretty stupid argument, and the person I'm arguing with is an insect, so I'll probably let it drop. I'm not going to go back and tell him "Ha! You're wrong because thus-and-so!" I just want to know for my own satisfaction.

#291 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 03:13 PM:

All you have to do to create stable isotopes with an atomic number greater than 92 is program quarkbots (like nanobots, but made from quarks) to cage each individual atom and artificially keep it stable for as long as necessary. Simple, right?

#292 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 03:18 PM:

Xopher, I don't have an answer to your question (I was never in any danger of becoming a chemist), but I'm enormously amused that the magic number for instability is 93. Somewhere in Elysium, Saint Aleister is laughing his balls off.

#293 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 03:23 PM:

Xopher @290, quantum mechanics was a long time ago and we covered nuclear physics only briefly, but here's what I can tell you:

The strong nuclear force falls off extremely rapidly with distance, so generally speaking nuclei can only get so big before they become very unstable. This is why the high transuranic elements have very short half-lives.

That said, there are good theoretical reasons to expect an "island of stability" where the actual as opposed to approximate workings of the strong nuclear force create more tightly bound nuclei. (The analogy to "filled electron shells" is usually invoked here.) Even among known elements you can see this; there are relatively stable isotopes of uranium and neptunium, for instance, while francium (with a lower atomic mass) has no isotopes with a half-life longer than a few minutes. Estimates vary by many orders of magnitude as to what half-lives in this island of stability could actually be, but from what I can tell based on some cursory searches most estimates are in the realm of minutes or hours -- so they're much more stable than the milliseconds that would be expected without this island, but not "stable" in the usual sense of the word. However some theorists have suggested that half-lives for elements in this island could be measured in thousands or millions of years. I'm not remotely qualified to evaluate those claims.

In the case of your crackpot, though, it's unclear how he expects these to be (a) naturally occurring and (b) not deadly poison -- for many heavy elements, if you ingest them the poison will kill you long before the radiation.

#294 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 03:26 PM:

Xopher @ 290 -

That would depend on how significant the mass is and how it reacts chemically. A picogram probably wouldn't be much trouble. Theoretically the element could be inert and never cause any trouble.

#295 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 03:29 PM:

Xopher, if I understood and remember correctly, it's because the nuclear force (which holds protons and neutrons together in spite of the like charges of the protons) operates only over very tiny distances. In a nucleus with more than 92 protons (atomic number=# of protons), the size of the nucleus is greater than the range of the nuclear force, so the protons repel each other.

(Please, more knowledgeable fluorospherians, correct me if I've misunderstood!)

#296 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 03:38 PM:

I knew it was something to do with the size of the nucleus, but the details eluded me. They now make sense. Thanks everyone!

#297 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 03:42 PM:

Islands of stability are hypothesized for some superheavy elements.

Islands of stability

#298 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 05:47 PM:

fidelio@286

Actually, federal employees in FERS do qualify for Social Security benefits. Nearly as I can gather, workers in the older CSRS do not.

(FERS is the retirement system for federal workers who began work in January 1987 or later, as well as workers who began earlier but switched to FERS from CSRS.)

#299 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 06:03 PM:

Paul A., re #278's link:


I'm curious about that interview's mention of "polyamourous comics". Really?

#300 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 06:14 PM:

Who in the fluorosphere is in San Jose for the World Fantasy Con? My significant and I may still make it for the weekend*, but if not the location is also close enough for me to drop by for a soda, if a meetup were to exist outside of the badges-only-zone.

-------
* while it sold out, memberships-for-resale are popping up at random times and prices.

#301 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 07:37 PM:

B. Durbin, #282, I have Kaiser Mid-Atlantic and I've had two experimental treatments (one with each renal failure) and am in another now (using cytoxan to help decrease predisone without withdrawal). I didn't notice any big deal about them, other than some paperwork to sign with the second one. I have a lot of things wrong with me and the local Kaiser specialists are in different clinics (no Kaiser hospitals here, there's enough hospitals already) but I only have to go to the next county regularly.

My Kaiser contract came today plus the formulary. I checked my meds and they're all in the formulary (the one brand name is still brand name) and I'll read the contract (223 pages) tomorrow, but I expect it to be much like this year's.

LDR, #288, I have a Medicare Advantage HMO, High Option, Plan D, and I have no lifetime limit. (Which is a good thing because Kaiser and Medicare have spent more than $2 million on me so far.) I pay a slightly higher premium for the High Option, Plan D, but because I'm so sick, it's actually cheaper in the end.

I've had the same premium from Kaiser for this plan for a number of years and it's going up $7/month next year. I suspect this comes with the most-likely insurance law change that will decrease payments to Medicare Advantage plans.

#302 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 07:39 PM:

@300: I might could make a meetup too, given that all the factors intersect properly. Sunday more likely than Saturday.

Paula @190: Well, everybody doesn't like something, and things with strong flavors probably have more people who don't like them. It could be that you just don't like the basic flavor of turnips. Or maybe you never had good turnips. But I'm betting on the former (that you simply don't like Turnips).

However, turnips are not a nasty trick for me. For me, they are iffy: if they are young and nice, and if they are cooked nicely (or not cooked but prepared nicely), and if I am in the mood for them, they are delightful.

I eat them in vinegar, like Japanese cucumbers, sometimes with cucumbers, and/or radishes and/or kohlrabi and/or celery root. I cube them with celery root and sautee them with onions and garlic and chiles and herbs for potato-less home fries (better than potatoes I think). If I make tempura -- which I don't do anymore, because nobody's home for Hanukah and that's the only time of year I deep fry anything -- turnips are there. I chunk them with celery root, beets, a bit of potato, kohlrabi, carrot, and sometimes sweet potato, and coat them lightly with oil and bake them with garlic, onion, chiles and herbs. I cook them tender enough to mash and mash them with cauliflower and celery root for a thing which behaves culinarily like mashed potatoes (but isn't as stable when held in a warm place, so don't). I cook them tender enough to mash and and mash them with tender-cooked kale and gobs of salsa fresca. I grate them with carrot instead of daikon, when turnips are cheap or available and daikon isn't (after all where do turnips stop and radishes or daikon begin? I don't know). And I stew them with carrots and onions and cabbage and celery or celery root and some kind of bony meat, whatever I can find that is still cheap (a bad side effect of the foodie revolution is that shanks and tails have become gourmet food, and what's up with that?).

So I am fond of turnips, because I know some nice ways to eat them. There is also Chinese turnip cake, which is heavenly, but I don't cook it. Yet.

#303 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 08:47 PM:

Lucy #302: Wow! I've just copied your turnip ideas into my Recipes folder.

I recently got a huge turnip from my Mom's farm-share (I didn't weigh it, but it was more than half the size of my head). It being far too big for one meal (in any form), I cut it up, steamed the pieces, and froze it in baggies, to occasionally be eaten as a side dish (with butter and a bit of vinegar to cut the bitterness), or tossed into other dishes.

I had thought the difference between turnips and radishes was varietal, but Wikipedia gives different genuses for them (both in the Brassica family).

#304 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 09:10 PM:

I'm a little uneasy about classification of the brasicaceae. Every time I feel comfortable with it, I read something that turns my head upside down/ They're really quite mind-boggling.

I'm very happy with them generally as food, but it annoys me that they don't, as a clade, make friends with soil fungi. It seems sort of wrong that something so yummy isolates itself from the dirt community like that.

#305 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 09:48 PM:

Lucy, I'm going to have a go at cooking turnips the way you suggested. I have a sneaking suspicion that my mother probably cooked the hell out of them. which can concentrate the sulphur in the cabbagy plants.

After all, I hated her brussels sprouts (little, nasty, stinky grey cabbages), but like the ones I cook...(mine are still green and a little crunchy, I like quartering them and sauteeing them with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Or roasting them.

hmm, might try that with turnips.

#306 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 10:07 PM:

@ B. Durbin #282: This disease is so rare that even though I am a voracious reader of "My Weird Experiences as a Doctor" memoirs, I had never heard of it. My friend lives in Alaska and she has to go to Wisconsin for treatment.

#307 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 10:50 PM:

Lucy@302, Chinese turnip cakes are trivially easy if you live near a Chinese grocery store. They come pre-made, ready to fry. If it's a larger store, you can even find vegetarian ones, though most of the brands include dried shrimp. I generally make a soy/ginger/garlic sauce to put on them. I haven't tried making them from scratch; the prefab ones are pretty good, and they also have similar taro cakes.

#308 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 10:54 PM:

Steve C: Also, many people have had basically good (at least acceptable) experiences with their health insurance companies, and expect that any change may be for the worse. My experiences have been pretty good, in general, through a few somewhat expensive tests and health worries for me, as well as lifelong asthma for me and one of my kids.

The one exception was AETNA through COBRA, after I was laid off from my job. They cashed six months worth of checks from me, but "accidentally" lost me in their computer. (I didn't dare stop paying premiums, since that would mean no coverage at all.) After a letter to the State Attorney General, state insurance regulator, and Dept. of Labor COBRA compliance office, they somehow miraculously found my computer records.

I assume this was an attempt to get rid of some high-cost clients who were annoyingly exempt from any kind of exclusion on previous conditions, but it's possible it was some scam or incompetence on the part of the intermediary agency that dealt with my ex-employer's insurance stuff, or some employee or department within the insurance company. Calling them and AETNA on my own certainly had no visible effect on the problem. The letter CCed to the regulators apparently reminded someone, somewhere, that the boss was watching.

#309 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 11:02 PM:

Xopher @290: and the person I'm arguing with is an insect

An insect? I'm guessing that would be archy the super-roach, who gained the power of human typing after being bitten by a radioactive human being. His one weakness, as I recall, was the Shift key.

#310 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 11:13 PM:

you mean archy
the vers libre bard
who listened to mehitabel the cat
singing toujours gai
well no
this guy has no class at all
compared even to ordinary roaches

xopher

#311 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 11:23 PM:

Speaking of insects...

Hmm. I wasn't expecting this comment to relate to the current topic at all.

My apartment building has a fly problem at the moment. Any thoughts on keeping them out of my apartment? I've killed at least 10 flies today and I know I haven't got them all.

I'm mostly worried about my rabbits and the open litter boxes (even though I clean them out once a day, I'm afraid they'll keep attracting flies). Because of the bunnies, I'm reluctant to use poison or anything they might get into. They have the run of most of the apartment during the day.

I know we have an exterminator in once a month, so I'm hoping the building problem will be taken care of soon, but dealing with the flies in the meanwhile is becoming more and more stressful. It's also meant I've been keeping the windows closed despite the fact that this means my apartment temperature is hovering in the 80s.

#312 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 11:33 PM:

#311
Sometimes they're so small they can go through screens, or any gap that might be there.
I've tried sticky traps (non-toxic), but I'm not sure that anything is really effective.

#313 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 11:42 PM:

They're about 1/2" regular houseflies.

I've been using the fly swatter and finally broke out my last roll of (non-toxic) fly paper, but I'm feeling a bit defeated tonight and worried that sooner or later the rabbits are going to end up with a case of fly-strike no matter what I do.

#314 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 12:11 AM:

I don't know if it would work with houseflies, but I'm dealing with fruit flies right now, and the most effective traps seem to be a glass or jar with a funnel set on top and a scrap of paper towel with some vinegar on it in the bottom. My next job is to make a draft dodger for under the door to the cubby where I keep my worm bin-- the flies came in when I brought it in for the winter and left it in the open too long. Hopefully, the worms will eat what I've given them quickly and the flies will leave.

#315 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 03:19 AM:

Open-threadiness: to those attending WFC, be sure to check out artist Lisa Snellings, if you haven't already. She makes wonderful art of many kinds. It may make you happy. :)

#316 ::: Renatus ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 05:53 AM:

As promised, an update:

I have no idea if my sister availed herself of any of the information I gave. At any rate, the whole thing was more of a done deal than I thought; day before yesterday she traveled across Oregon to Portland and did whatever it was that needs to be done (I honestly don't know what it entails) to enlist in the Navy. She got the job rating of AO and will ship next August, a couple of months after she graduates high school.

I support her, of course, although at the same time I'm not really sure what to feel about this. It's definitely mixed up in some feelings of isolation and outsiderness (I am definitely the neon purple sheep of my family (and thank you Lee for that terminology)).

C'est la vie. Thank you again, everyone.

*gratefully takes the little package of hope and cheer from Mez*

#317 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 07:44 AM:

#314: I use cider vinegar mixed with dish detergent. Red wine works too.

#318 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 08:16 AM:

Hilary Hertzoff @ 313

Bit expensive idea: UV/electrocution grid: attractor light which electrocutes the flies (as seen in butchers' shops etc.)

Cheap idea but less fly-welfare friendly*: fly strips hung from the ceiling (sticky plus toxic agent; flies get caught and then are killed by the toxin) - it's well out the way of the rabbits.

To protect the rabbits: if they are clean around their back end, and you're checking that daily, and they don't have any wounds or e.g. damp dewlaps that could attract the flies, then they are unlikely to get flystrike. However, if you are concerned, there are products designed for rabbits, such as permethrin spot-on products (but not if they are in close contact with cats). There's also cyromazine, which is an insect growth inhibitor. It doesn't repel flies but it stops larvae developing from L1 to L2.

Remember that high temperatures are stressful to rabbits - don't overheat them while trying to protect them from flies. Screens on the windows?

* I know, most people don't worry about such things but I do. If I have to kill, even an invertebrate, I want it to be a humane death.

#319 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 11:07 AM:

Thanks everybody for the tips. I had one fly strip leftover from a previous invasion, which I put up last night, and I'll go out and get more today.

I have screens on the windows, but trying to figure out where the flies were getting in was part of the problem. I think I've narrowed it down to the vents in the bathroom and kitchen. Another friend suggested taping dryer sheets over the vents, so I shall see how that works.

dcb @318 Thanks for the reassurance. Searching on flies and rabbits brings up the most alarming sites and no information on what to do for a minor problem.

#320 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 11:47 AM:

I've said for a while that the Democrats have a political Battered Spouse Syndrome. It seems that August Pollack agrees with me.

#321 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 12:17 PM:

Hilary Hertzoff @ 319

You're right; there are a lot of sites out there and it can be difficult to know which ones are providing good information.

A good UK-based one (most of the information is universal, of course) is Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund (http://www.rabbitwelfare.co.uk/). They have a whole load of useful leaflets and advice sheets linked from Advice and resources - Information leaflets and advice. (http://www.rabbitwelfare.co.uk/resources/index.php?section=leaflets.html)

Their .pdf leaflet on flystrike is at:
http://www.rabbitwelfare.co.uk/resources/content/leaflet_pdfs/flystrike_sep_05.pdf

In the US, I think the House Rabbit Society is quite good - http://www.rabbit.org/

#322 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 01:00 PM:

Have you ever seen a horse fly?

No, but I've seen a fly strip.

#323 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 02:34 PM:

dcb @231 I tried www.rabbit.org first, but I couldn't find much about safe ways to keep flies from rabbit litter in all the information about how horrible fly-strike is and what to do if you see signs of it. It was very discouraging.

I went several places looking for fly strips and finally found them in the local hardware store. I also saw someone spraying the garbage bins with raid, so I'm hoping the fly problem will be under control soon.

#324 ::: TBills ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 03:42 PM:

Elliott at #111: A long-time friend of mine was recruited directly into the Marine Band as the music librarian. She never held a gun, never went to "basic training," and never even left the States--except when the band went on tour. So maybe not to worry.

OTOH, she's in Kabul, as a FSO for the State Dept....

#325 ::: TBills ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 04:10 PM:

Lori at #172: I can't say for certain, but cats *can* have "cerebral events" -- i.e., strokes. One of mine did (she was 17), one bad enough I had to let her go.

#326 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 04:40 PM:

Soon Lee, #276: Just tried that; same problems, no change. Thanks, though.

#327 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 04:48 PM:

#316: I support her, of course, although at the same time I'm not really sure what to feel about this.

Tell her congratulations, and be ready to send lots of letters and cookies when she's underway.

Also, pass this along from good ol' Uncle Jim: If she isn't going to the gym every day and working out, strength and endurance, now's the time to start. Every AO I've ever known was built like a refrigerator.

You might buy her a membership in a pool so she can work on her swimming. Swimming lessons too, so she'll be doing it right. She'll want to pick up Rescue Swimmer, that'll get her E4 out of A school. And she doesn't want to bilge out of A school (the usual reason for that is if she can't hack it physically; see above, going to the gym).

#328 ::: Renatus ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 05:09 PM:

#327 ::: James D. Macdonald:

Tell her congratulations, and be ready to send lots of letters and cookies when she's underway.

Done (a couple of times), and will do. I bake an awesome cookie. I wonder what Finnish customs is going to think of them. *grin*

My weird feeling stems in large part that I was probably the last person in the family to know about this (bar her father, who afaik hasn't so much as called her in the past 8 years), much like I was probably the last person to know my granny was in the hospital with pneumonia. The extended family is largish, but it isn't THAT big, and my granny was integral in my upbringing!

I'd like to believe that the whole living so far away thing has something to do with it, but this sort of thing happened all of the time when I was in the same time zone only a state away, and actually easily contactable by phone.

So. *shrug* Confused and yes, a bit hurt, but doing my best to just be supportive nonetheless.

I'll happily pass on your advice, which is the best I can offer her besides my support, being as I'm unable to work and have zero cash of my own. I might be able to fly over to see her graduate, though.

Thanks.

#329 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 07:19 PM:

Hilary Hertzoff @ 319 You may be able to screen the vents, if you can get the covers off. Cut screen to fit behind, then put the covers back.

#330 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 09:46 PM:

Any experts on TV series Wild Wild West in these parts?

I seem to remember one episode where someone made himself bullet-proof by having metal plates grafted under his skin, with himself directing the proceeding while under self-hypnosis. I thought the gent was played by Boris Karloff. While the latter was in one episode, it's it's not the one I'm thinking of.

Does that ring a bell?

#331 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 11:38 PM:

Serge: I haven't seen it but others have

#332 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 08:41 AM:

Paul Duncanson @ 331... That's the one. By the way, someone should tell Wiki that Gordon's first name is Artemus, not Artemis, although that would explain the frequent cross-dressing. Anyway, I watched the Karloff episode last night, and I soon got the feeling it'd be too silly to be the one I remembered, long before I saw the dancing gorilla.

#333 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 02:10 PM:

Serge @ 330, 332: The Wild Wild West did tend to swing between the ridiculous and the sublime...sometimes in the same episode. The one with Hurd Hatfield, "The Night of the Man-Eating House," was particularly creepy to my youthful imagination.

#334 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 04:57 PM:

Syd @ 333...

"The Night of the Man-Eating House"? How can I resist a story with such a title?
("Not at all, we expect, Serge dear.")
Humph.

#335 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 05:13 PM:

Serge, if you want not cheese but remarkable titles, stop by to see my ghost/horror story collection.

"Have you no shame, sir, plugging your own endeavour?"
"Nah."

#336 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 05:28 PM:

Serge @ 334: One of the fun things for me re: that episode was when I finally realized that Dorian Gray had appeared on The Wild Wild West.

Linkmeister @ 335: That looks like a pretty creepy collection!

#337 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 06:14 PM:

Linkmeister @ 355... Link rot, or coff'link rot?

#338 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 06:19 PM:

Syd @ 336... Oh, right. Hurd Hatfield did appear in the show. Twice, in fact, according to imdb. Doctor Articulus? Just when one thinks that nobody could come up with names more bizarre than what the Foglio Family conjures up, one finds that WWW had already topped them, 4 decades ago.

#339 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 06:19 PM:

Linkmeister, #335: It's nice to see that R. H. Malden's stories are available somewhere--I read his "Between Sunset and Moonrise" in an excellent but obscure anthology called Lost Souls edited by Jack Sullivan, and I've wanted to read more ever since.

You mention elsewhere on your blog that you had once owned and lost Edward Gorey's The Haunted Looking Glass. It's currently in print from New York Review Books Classics.

#340 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 06:37 PM:

'Hurd Hatfield': for just a few seconds I read that as 'Hard Hatfield'.

It has some kind of possibility, there, as a character's name.

#341 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 07:32 PM:

Wesley @ #339, Thanks. It's on my Amazon wishlist to remind me to get it when I'm flush. Now that I've found the stories online I don't feel so bereft. ;)

#342 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 08:03 PM:

PJ Evans @ 340... 'Hard Hatfield'. It has some kind of possibility, there, as a character's name

Guess what the name of one of the Wild Card Aces is? And can you guess his power? Yes, Hard Hat can conjure up steel girders, and every other word he utters has four letters in it.

#343 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 09:22 PM:

Q: Where can I find a regular source (for now) of instructional poetry that preaches edifying sermons based upon scripture, common sense, and in particular, the words found in the day's JUMBLE clues and solutions?

A: Sinners in the hands of an angry Jumble:
(Warning: Jumble spoiler)

"In LIMBO ’til Creation’s ebb
(Where OXIDE takes what insect leaves)
It’s KOSHER to regret the web
Of sin that EGOISM weaves.

"Pursue GOOD LOOKS in this life and be vexed –
Amass instead good graces for the next!"

Thus, on October 26, started a daily series of JUMBLE-based doctrinal verse from regular Comics Curmudgeon commenter (and sometimes guest host) "Uncle Lumpy." With technical help from others, including Yours Truly, he now conceals the solutions to the daily puzzle behind title tags for the benefit of those who wish to solve the scrambled letters.

In a better universe, there would be a single clearing house where these gems would be presented in distilled format. Still, there are worse fates than reading the Curmudgeon, which often has witty comments from a jolly crew of regular posters, including a particularly bright chap *coughcough* who calls himself "Muffaroo."

#344 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 10:45 PM:

Summer Storms #326:

Pity. I've had good success in the past using the compatibility mode to convince Vista to run software from earlier versions of Windows. In your post #347, you mentioned, "thus-and-such.exe has stopped working". Is that "thus-and-such.exe" part of Html Kit? If so, have you tried changing "thus-and-such.exe" to run in compatibility mode as well?

Also, if Html Kit comes with an installer program (like 'setup.exe'), you might want to try uninstalling Html Kit and reinstalling but running the installer in compatibility mode. I've used this tactic successfully for software that explicitly says is not Vista compatible. Once installed, I then changed the properties of the executable to run under compatibility mode, and finally managed to get it to work.

Normally, I wouldn't have bothered but it was an important piece of software needed for work & the PC running the software died. The replacement PC was a Vista box. The answer to the question "Why couldn't we just get another XP box as replacement?" is "mindless bureaucracy".

Hope this helps.

#345 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 11:12 PM:

Another computer-help question: I am told that there is some way to fax things over the internet, so I could send my transcripts and such without bothering the secretaries at school. I've googled without much success. I have Vista. Is there a way to do faxes like email?

#346 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 11:17 PM:

Diatryma:
That used to be easier in those bygone days when everybody connected to the 'net via dial-up modem, because fax was a subset of the standard modem capabilities, and of course you had a modem. Eventually Windows got around to supporting fax via your modem as a sort of pseudo-printer device. However, that does little good for those on the 'net via Ethernet, cable, DSL, or the neighbor's or coffee-shop wifi. There are some services which let you send faxes via the 'net; however, the simplest course might be just to buy a modem for your computer.

#347 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 11:27 PM:

The alternative is to walk downtown to my old office and ask the secretaries to fax whatever I need-- hard to beat that for simplicity, but it's not convenient given that I do most of my jobsearching late at night.

I know it's not the fault of the computer or anyone associated with it. It is the fault of fax itself. I rather dislike jobs that require me to fax anything.

#348 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 11:32 PM:

TBills: While it possible the Corps took her in without putting her through Boot Camp (and, like Basic Training, in this context capitalising it isn't wrong, but scare quotes are. That's the name of it, just police acadamy and other such things), I find it really unlikely.

Esp. as Music Librarian is a very specific job, one which doesn't need all the other skills, and cultural behaviors which go with wearing the uniform.

The Corps, unlike the other services, requires people who join it, with prior service in some other service, to go through all of Boot Camp. The Air Force, and Navy, just accept them; and send them to A/Tech schools. The Army has an acculuration/basic skills course, but it's not basic.

The Corps, also insists all the officer specialties the other services may waive the complete OCS for (legal, nurse, various medical specialities) pass OCS. I know the Army will waive that (again, using an acculturation course) for qualified practitioners with lots of experience.

I know of a thoracic surgeon who got a wild hair to join the Army in his 40s. He was "blessed", commissioned as a colonel, sent to the course, and named the (nominal) commander of a hospital unit. For about five years he wasn't allowed to sign much of anything without someone (his XO/secretary/Sergeant Major) dating and initialing it first.

Sort of a modern day Henry Blake from M*A*S*H.

#349 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 11:35 PM:

Diatryma, does your printer have fax functions? Mine does, and although I haven't quite sorted out how to use it that way, not having needed to yet, I do know that you have to plug a phone cable from the printer to a landline jack.

#350 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2009, 11:46 PM:

Soon Lee, #344: The "thus-and-such.exe" items are HTML-Kit plugins, installed to it after I installed HTML-Kit itself. I finally found the solution here, I think. Choosing "Run as Administrator" appears to clear up the problem. Odd, as the Vista account from which I am running it has Administrator privileges to begin with.

#351 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 12:14 AM:

One of the annoying things about Vista is that it dropped the WinFax utility that XP had. WinFax allowed you to fax a WP doc or whatever.

I wonder if Microsoft put a fax feature back in when they developed Windows 7.

#352 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 12:17 AM:

Rikibeth, there's no phone plug on the printer nor any scanning to it, so I'm guessing 'no'. It's a great little printer for what I need it for-- mostly nothing, some printing of text.

I think I'll just go on flipping off any job application that requires faxing. And then applying.

#353 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 01:08 AM:

Summer Storms #350:

Glad you found a fix.

#354 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 01:38 AM:

Summer Storms: Oh, that! I should have thought to mention that. That is the main annoyance with Vista. You can't even run much of Microsoft's own development software, like Visual Studio, without having to run it as administrator every time. (And you still can't, after it's been out a couple years. Pretty amazing.) If something important won't run on Vista, especially something "techie", then Run as administrator is one of the next things I try.

#355 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 01:46 AM:

There are plenty of internet fax services in the wild, some of which are free for low volume traffic; if they require a pdf file, there are freeware or shareware printer drivers that create pdf files instead of sending to a printer device.

In meatspace, there are lots of small printing businesses that offer fax services. They're rarely free, though.

#356 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 08:11 AM:

#324 TBills

And if she is who I think she is, she works on Worldcons....

#357 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 09:01 AM:

Diatryma @345: I use eFax for that. The site will try to push you to a Plus or Pro account (with a free 30-day trial) but there's actually a free version that'll let you receive a limited number of pages per month. In all cases, you will need to pay to send a fax.

Most common file types are supported, but I've had a few glitches with PDFs. IME jpeg files work best.

#358 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 09:13 AM:

re faxing: the travel company I worked with asked me to fax many, many pages of documents to them. I ended up negotiating with my recruiter to instead scan them and send them as email attachments, which cost me nothing (my printer is also a scanner) and them only the paper to print them. Plus, as they were sent via Gmail, I have backup copies of anything that gets lost.

#359 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 09:52 AM:

I just came back from the bigbox hardware store. This is the first time I've had so much fun buying Christmas lights because, when I got to the selfserve checout machines, I heard the whole store's computer store was down. I find that funny? Well, it wasn't funny to see the human cashier try to remember how to fill up a receipt and be unable to figure out the tax. The funny part is that I had to calculate it for the store.

#360 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 10:33 AM:

Haha! I just found some papers from my son's school (he's 10) with the sentences he's writing for grammar examples:

1. I would like to eat some brains, and I would also like spleen.

2. A zombie tried to gobble my heart but couldn't do it.

3. The zombies ate my left foot, and it hurt very badly.

He's really turning into a marvel!

#361 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 11:03 AM:

[in passing]

Randall Munroe (xkcd) has invented a new literary infographic. No, really. Go and see.

#362 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 11:11 AM:

What bothers me about faxing is that I don't actually have physical copies of what they want-- I have a copied-from-internet transcript for grad school and a scanned-in transcript for undergrad. Some jobs will take them via email, and they don't get the angry eyes.

I know I'm whining about a perfectly normal part of business, one that others deal with every day, but really. Faxing? Not useful in this context.

#363 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 11:17 AM:

Diatryma @ 345 - I've always used faxaway.com for outgoing faxes; it works well, from anywhere, can take Word documents or PDF or HTML as its source, and is reasonably priced. The only drawback is that I believe they have a maintenance fee of $1/month. If you're not faxing relatively regularly, that might be irritating. If you do, though, it's well worth it.

I've used efax.com's free service since the 90's for incoming faxes - before they even offered outgoing, so I never started using their outgoing service, although I'm sure it's also just fine. But I don't know their payment terms; I would assume their paid service offers outgoing but I don't know what that service costs.

Back in prehistory, I interviewed with a real estate search engine startup in Bloomington, Indiana, with a real jerk whose goal was to start the "first dot-com in Indiana". What I didn't have the heart to tell him was that efax.com is based in Fort Wayne.

#364 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 11:25 AM:

Randolph #361 - Munroe is a freaking genius. I think over the years to come we're really going to appreciate how true that is; he's only getting better.

That said, his LotR graphic totally omits that brief time when Sam was the Ringbearer in Mordor. It's not like Munroe to miss details like that. I hope to see a correction in v1.1 of this diagram.

#365 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 11:35 AM:

Michael Roberts#364 -- mm? In the middle, right below the large word "orcs", the yellow line jumps from Frodo up to Sam briefly. I checked that last night.

#366 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 01:39 PM:

From the Sidelight about the "Chat room/Forum problem": In reading the entry linked, it appears on first glance that the author conflates chat room and forum completely, when in fact they are IME quite different both in form and in function.

#367 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 02:03 PM:

I love Munroe's chart. I assume he was thinking of the famous chart of Napoleon's armies, but this was really clever. We should come up with more examples. (A Fire Upon the Deep comes to mind, with up corresponding to the Transcend and down corresponding to the Depths.)

#368 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 02:17 PM:

Albatross, that would be interesting!

#369 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 03:01 PM:

The xkcd diagram for LOTR also follows the Peter Jackson movies rather than the books, but hey.

I managed to get my husband a shirt of this LOTR riff while they were available; apparently the availability has since been shut down.

#370 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 03:39 PM:

Julie L, that's wonderful.

#371 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 04:27 PM:

Serge @359: The funny part is that I had to calculate it for the store.

How much money did they end up owing you?

#372 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 05:14 PM:

albatross @ 367:

It reminds me of the Napoleon graphic too. The amazing thing is just how much work he did on the LoTR, Star Wars, and Jurassic Park graphics; they look quite accurate based on my poor memory of the films. But the other two, 12 Angry Men, and Primer, aside from being beautiful examples of the two ends of the complexity spectrum, are funny as hell.

Clearly, time travel stories are going to be the most complex. Twelve Monkeys might be interesting.

#373 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 05:47 PM:

Rob Rusick @ 371... How much? Well, I just sent them a memo about stern measures to be taken against young men who don't see middle-aged women.

#374 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 06:06 PM:

Turnips evil. Rrrr.

#375 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 06:07 PM:

Bruce Cohen (STM) @ 372 -- For example, there's the flowchart for Heinlein's "— All You Zombies —".

#376 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 06:38 PM:

Joel @ 375:

Thanks very much for that link. The world-line graphs for "All You Zombies" and "By His Bootstraps" are nicely done; I'd love to use them in a class on the science fiction of time travel.

Tooling around through Wright's site I find he's as fascinated by time travel as I am, though much more fascinated by Heinlein and his views on it. I started to write an essay on the subject as a sequel to my review of Charlie Stross' "Palimpsest", but bogged down when I discovered several websites that covered what I wanted to say pretty comprehensively. I may start it up again; I had some things to say about the lack of mathematical and physical consistency of Dunne's theories of time which Wright apparently didn't know about. Also, I find it hard to take Heinlein's McGuffins so seriously that I would try to create a consistent metaphysics that includes all of them.

#377 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 07:40 PM:

@374: I will resist the temptation to become the Defender of Turnips.

All's I will say is, if turnips is evil, I don't want to be good.

#378 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 07:48 PM:

Bruce @ 372: A proper timeline for Primer The XKCD version isn't far off.

Julie @ 369: It does follows the movies rather than the books but the title of the piece is Movie Narrative Charts.

#379 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 07:50 PM:

... so speaking of cooking, what should I do with two cabbages, and no desire to have sauerkraut for months on end?

#380 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 07:56 PM:

Bruce Cohen (STM) @ 374 -- I haven't read much about attempts to formally classify various fictional forms of time travel. But while Heinlein's earlier time-travel works were pretty internally consistent, I wouldn't even try to rationalize the events of his last few novels. That wouldn't be quite as bad as trying to come up with a consistent framework for time travel in the various TV and movie Star Trek stories (not to mention the novels!), but still..!

#381 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 08:00 PM:

xeger @ 379... What to do with two cabbages? If I were in a Benny Hill mood, I'd suggest making a Cabbage Engine, but I'm not so I won't.

#382 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 08:02 PM:

Serge @ 381 ...
I think this babbage engine is doing a fine job of producing torment and frustration all on its own...

#383 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 08:04 PM:

I had a rather absurdist time today.

My boss said that, according to our online records, I still have 20 hours of vacation to schedule this year. I went thru my own records, according to which I have only 8 such hours left. Rather than try to make the company's records fit Reality, he decided to add those extra 12 hours to my reserve.

#384 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 08:05 PM:

Paul Duncanson @ 378:

My, oh my, the power of geekitude used for good!

Joel @ 380:

What really gobsmacked me was the attempt to harmonize "Elsewhen" with "Number of the Beast" and "The Cat Who Walked Through Walls". Especially since "Elsewhen" is one of my favorite Heinlein stories (and the other two aren't).

#385 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 08:05 PM:

xeger: Funny you should ask! Last night, I made some not-colcannon. I caramelized some onions with salt and sriracha. Then I dumped in some sliced Jerusalem artichokes and potatoes, with a sprig or two of thyme and lots of black pepper. When they were almost sufficiently home-fries-ized, I added a smallish head of cabbage, shredded. I then added a little water, covered the skillet, and let it cook until the cabbage was done but still crisp, and the potatoes and J.a. were entirely done. It would have been good with bacon or corned beef, but I didn't have any.

If I had another cabbage, I'd make soup.

(Hm. On preview, it occurs to me that maybe I've internalized a few too many medieval cookbooks. Sorry about that.)

#386 ::: Pedantka ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 08:47 PM:

My not-colcannon is carmelized onions and cabbage, mashed in with potatoes and stilton. The stilton robs the dish of colcannon authenticity, but makes it much, much tastier.

Roasting thickly sliced cabbage, apples, and onions together also works. And crumbling stilton on top of that makes it even better.

All of the above are best served with a dark ale.

#387 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 08:54 PM:

xeger # #379, homemade coleslaw. Julienne cabbage, carrots, scallions. Mayo and vinegar to taste.

Double-check me by looking at recipe sites. We had a houseguest who made some which was so much better than KFC's that we may never eat its version again. The difference, we thought, was that there was no sugar in the homemade version, so it was fresh-tasting, not overwhelmingly sweet.

#388 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 08:58 PM:

I forgot that I'd copied our houseguest's recipe. Here it is:

Shredded cabbage.
Shredded carrot.
Chopped green onions/scallions.
Slivered almonds and pine nuts, toasted.
Sour Cream.
Mayo (mayo mayo, not Miracle Whip).

Mix 'em all together and chill.

#389 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 09:00 PM:

Two cabbages will last me two weeks, living by myself these days, depending on what else I have in the kitchen. I lived on cabbage pretty much for a long time. Mostly raw. I made salad with stuff, any stuff at all, especially nuts and cheese and meat in it. if you dress it with Japanese rice vinegar, it's one thing. If you dress with with mayonaisse and apple juice it's another thing. And so on. If you shred vegetables into it, you have one thing. If you shred fruit into it it's another thing. And so on.

I also like to make a crustless quiche with interchangeable brassicas: cabbage works well in that, lightly steamed and patted dry before sticking in the casserole. And then the custard part has a fraction of a bay leaf (if you use French ones instead of wild California ones maybe you need a whole one), and some nutmeg and green onion.

Also cabbage leaves can be used instead of lettuce to wrap sandwich fillings for breadless sandwiches.

Also you can make stuffed cabbage.

Also you can shred your cabbage and float it in hot broth until it wilts.

Also you can shred your cabbage and steam it gently with fresh dill.

Any of these things can be enhanced with various forms of pepper.

#390 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 09:40 PM:

#345 and all - I work for the parent company of MyFax. At www.myfax.com, there's a free small volume sending tool. And you can sign up for a 30 day free trial. It does many file formats.

#391 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 10:22 PM:

Re cabbage: Save the cores and make kinpira. Kinpira is a Japanese recipe for using up veggies that would otherwise be too tough to eat. The original calls for burdock root. Google "Forgotten Vegetable Kinpira" for versions that dress up cabbage cores, celery (otherwise too boring to eat IMO), tough old carrots, and broccoli stems.

#392 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 10:46 PM:

xeger@379:

Shredded cabbage and carrot with black mustard seeds, ground cumin and coriander, lime juice.

Fry the mustard seeds in some oil until they start to pop. Add the cumin and coriander and stir briefly. Add everything else and stir frantically to get it mixed. Cover and cook for a few minutes.

#393 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 11:07 PM:

albatross@367
I assume he was thinking of the famous chart of Napoleon's armies.

Which goes one better by being quantitative, not just schematic. For people who don't know Minard's famous graph of troop losses in Napoleon's attack on Russia, see here, and there's a website of variations.

#394 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 12:01 AM:

xeger @ 379: Simple side dish -- chop cabbage, boil, drain, then add lots of mustard, caraway and dill seeds.

#395 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 01:32 AM:

If you haven't already, you must check out the Deep Fried Jello particle. Oh, my.

#396 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 11:34 AM:

janetl @ 395:

The deep-fried jello recipe worries me a little—not because of the deep-frying, but because it makes my mental taste approximation skills come up blank.

I think I'll stick to looking at pictures of cute meerkats instead.

#397 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 11:36 AM:

I wonder what a deep-fried salad of jello & cabbage tastes like.

#398 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 12:25 PM:

Serge @ 397 -

I wonder what a deep-fried salad of jello & cabbage tastes like.

Crunchy strawberry coleslaw?

#399 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 12:28 PM:

Steve C @ 398... I'm not brave enough to try and find out. You do it.

#400 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 12:36 PM:

Serge @ 399 -

I'll pass. You know that old saying -- what doesn't kill you makes you nauseous.

#401 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 12:41 PM:

Claude Levi-Strauss has died. (link in French)

#402 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 02:29 PM:

Hi folks.. tough week here. Last week ended OK, with a 10-mile hike through fog. Then the troubles started...

1) Saturday, I upgraded my Kubuntu system to version 9.10... so far so good, but then I tried to switch it over to Ubuntu. BOOM -- unbootable. Then I made the mistake of trying to fix that in between trick-or-treaters, and managed to nuke my own home directory, and the backup I was trying to make. Since then... well, "Autopsy" indicates the directory structure is just lost -- I had partial backups (Web and E-mail), but those were two months old. I lost a fair number of passwords along with a couple of months of E-mail and other miscellany. There may be a few scraps of other stuff left, I'm still rummaging through the bit bucket. (At least my photographs are safe, though still offline.)

2) Sunday, I found out that one of my hiking buddies died. Bernie was 87 years old, but in good shape -- Friday, he'd hiked 10 miles with us. Apparently, he went to the hospital, was diagnosed with an intestinal blockage, and promptly died on the operating table.

3) A break from the downers -- my sister's birthday. I got her the new Hitch-hiker's Volume 6, plus Gaiman's biography of Adams.

4) And today, it turns out that Bernie's brothers can't get into his computer -- guess who's the local "computer guy"? So far, I'm armed with a Trinity Windows Rescue CD, and a couple of Ubuntu LiveCDs, and I'm starting to research what else I might need.

PS: I probably have the latest photos of Bernie -- I need to get my F-Spot install sorted out again.

#403 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 04:06 PM:

Anyone going to watch V tonight? I've set it up to record on the DVR, and I'm a little curious.

From what I've read, this time the aliens aren't here for our water. (I don't see why not -- we have first-rate water, right?)

#404 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 04:11 PM:

Re: the Deep Fried Jello - It sounds dangerous to me. Hot viscous fluid in a crispy shell? More like "Fresh in the ER" than "Fresh from the kitchen".

#405 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 04:50 PM:

Larry Brennan @ 404:

I had to check that too. After you let the jello set up, you freeze it before deep-frying it. It's kind of like Baked Alaska in that regard.

#406 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 07:05 PM:

Steve C @ 403:

We're recording it too. Last night we watched an hour or so of of the original miniseries and a few minutes of one episode of the series that followed. I lasted longer than Eva, but we both came to the conclusion that the miniseries was classic '80s scifi (not quite as interesting as the first season of Buck Rogers, perhaps), and that the series suffered from major suckitude. Interestingly, a lot of the same actors appeared in both, and the level of acting was far better in the miniseries (not to mention all other production values, but it must have taken real dedication to the suck to make the actors worse. And, oh, the hair!

#407 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 08:03 PM:

I have no intention to watch V. I'm barely hanging on with FlashForward. I'm actually respecting Stargate: Universe, which is turning out to be a mostly-hard SF survival adventure.

What I really look forward to every week: Mad Men. And the last episode of the season is next Sunday. Damn.

Hey! I'm taking bets: Sally Draper will in a few years (series time) be hanging out in Haight-Ashbury.

#408 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 08:45 PM:

TexAnne #401: He was, without doubt, the most significant anthropologist of the twentieth century.

#409 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 09:02 PM:

Have just watched the first ep of V. I'm a huge fan of the original, and they've got me for at least one more ep of the new one on the basis of the quality of this first one.

Lots of quite good actors; no howlers in the writing YET. I rather like some of what they're doing with the 'aliens show up and do WE COME IN PEACE in a post-9-11 world, and yet all is not as it seems' concept. So far. :->

Not a grinning fanboy, but so far it's interesting, and I like it. Though they're very clearly fitting in visuals and structural elements intended to try to haul in the coveted 21-34 demographic ...

Oh, and Morena Baccarin (Inara) and Alan Tudyk (Wash) have large roles, which I appreciate. :->

#410 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 09:43 PM:

xeger #379:
... [so speaking of cooking,] what should I do with two cabbages, and no desire to have sauerkraut for months on end?

The trebuchet is always an option for the disposal of round vegetables.

#411 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 09:51 PM:

John Houghton @ 410 ... I'm still amused by recalling the lovely gentleman who wandered up to Information, and wanted to know where he should park his trebuchet... [0]

[0] My first two questions boiled down to "what size is it, and is it expected?"

#412 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 01:24 AM:

In re a certain now-closed thread, and the use of loaded terms (other than the ones that caused the thread to be closed):

I think my main problem with Grayson's use of "whore" is that in my experience whores are slaves. Political "whores", on the other hand, are people who've sold out their morals by choice to the highest bidder; a far different proposition, and a horrendous mischaracterization of, and insult to, the victims of the sex trafficking industry.

#413 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 08:35 AM:

Lots of quite good actors; no howlers in the writing YET.

I'm very impressed by the way Morena Baccarin is blinking. Seriously. She's blinking like a lizard. They've done a fabulous job of making her look not quite human, and the blinking completes the effect.

#414 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 09:03 AM:

Open threadiness: another treasure hoard found!

#415 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 09:16 AM:

Unless my records (read 'postits' on the calendar) are wrong, today is the birthday of linkmeister. It is also Paul A's. Right?

#416 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 09:37 AM:

Stefan Jones @ #407: What I really look forward to every week: Mad Men.

Have you seen the Sesame Street version?

#417 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 09:51 AM:

Serge: Ah, you got me. Yes, it'sss my birthday, precioussss.

On which note: Semi-random loosely-"it'sss my birthday, precioussss"-related link. At the end, there will be cake.

#418 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 10:31 AM:

Paul A @ 417...

"Do it fast, Peewee, because total cosmic power is now MINE!"

#419 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 11:06 AM:

Spoilery speculative first-ep-of V geekery:

V'z pnyyvat qvof ba n cerqvpgvba gung gur tvabezbhf pvgl-ubirevat fcnprfuvcf ner onfvpnyyl fgntr-znantrq Cbgrzxva ivyyntrf: gurl'er znqr gb ybbx yvxr jung uhznaf jbhyq npprcg nf pvgl-ubirevat fcnprfuvcf, naq ner abg gur npghny fuvc(f) gung jrag sebz fgne gb fgne. Zl fhccbegvat rivqrapr vf gjbsbyq. Svefg, jub chgf onfvpnyyl pvgl/fhoqvivfvbaf vafvqr n fcnprfuvc vafgrnq bs qrpxf? Jul jnfgr gur phontr yvxr gung? Tneqraf, lrf, ohg rabezbhf bcra nvefcnprf? Frpbaq, gur jvaqbjf ba gubfr guvatf ner SENXXVAT GVAL sbe n phygher gung unf gur grpuabybtl gb cynl jvgu tenivgl gur jnl gurl (pynvz gurl) pna.

Nyfb, V'z ernyyl ybbxvat sbejneq gb frrvat gur svany haznfxrq-yvmneq perngher qrfvta, orpnhfr vs gurl qb vg JRYY naq ner PBAFVFGRAG (un un un un, ohg vg pbhyq unccra), vg unf gb or fznyy/yvgur rabhtu gb svg vafvqr na beqvanel uhzna funcr jvgu 0.5-1" bs 'pybarq' uhzna syrfu fgergpurq bire vg.

V qvq ernyyl yvxr gur qvssrerag qverpgvbaf gurl qebccrq oernqpehzof sbe va gur cvybg. Jul JBHYQA'G gur SOV vanqiregragyl pbzr npebff nyvra fyrrcre pryyf naq zvfgnxr gurz sbe uhzna greebevfg pryyf? Gurl npg fvzvyneyl.

Nyfb, sbe fhcre-nqinaprq fhcre-grpu nyvraf, gur fgevxr sbepr gung uvg gur vafhetrapl zrrgvat jnf, hz, irel ybj-grpu naq rira fbzrjung vapbzcrgrag. Ab mncthaf, naq abg rabhtu znacbjre gb ernyyl cerirag rfpncrrf (rira jvgu Oynpx Dhvfyvat Thl pbzvat va). Gurl jrer erylvat ba gurve vavgvny fclobzo naq gurve vaangr culfvpny fgeratgu naq fcrrq gb jva. Cyhf, gurl erirnyrq Nyna Ghqlx'f punenpgre'f nyvraarff va gur svefg rc, juvpu V thrff gur jevgref sryg gurl unq gb -- ohg ybbxvat ng vg Jngfbavnayl vafgrnq bs va n Qblyrna jnl, gur nyvraf ernyyl fubg gurzfryirf ba gung bar, orpnhfr abj SOV-zbz XABJF ure cnegare'f qvegl. Vs ur'q orra 'xabpxrq bhg naq gvrq hc' be fbzrguvat gurl'q fgvyy unir fbzrbar ba ure gung fur unf rirel ernfba gb gehfg vzcyvpvgyl ... vafgrnq, gurl guerj njnl n ybat-grez nqinagntr gb gel gb pyrna guvatf hc dhvpxyl.

Juvpu, vs vg'f abg fybccl jevgvat, zrnaf gur nyvraf guvax gurl'er nobhg gb jva nyy ng bapr va na ninynapur, naq frr ab ernfba gb yrnir gurzfryirf ybat-grez qrrc-pbire nffrgf gb svtug na vafhetrapl.

Gurfr yvmneql thlf ner qbvat n zhpu orggre wbo guna gur 80f irefvba bs tbvat fgenvtug sbe jung jbhyq znxr crbcyr dhrfgvba gurz yrnfg naq whzc evtug ba gur 'fhcre-cbjreshy oraribyrag fhcre-grpu nyvraf jnag gb uryyyyyc hhhhhhf' onaqjntba. Naq gurer'f n erpheevat 'fryy lbhe fbhy/pbzcebzvfr lbhe cevapvcyrf gb trg nurnq' gurzr va jung gurl'er bssrevat inevbhf vaqvivqhny uhznaf.

V yvxrq gur fubhg-bhg gb gur bevtvany va gung gurl pynvz gurl'er urer sbe 'jngre naq n pbzzba zvareny,' gubhtu V jbaqre jung gurl ernyyl qb jnag ... orfvqrf fynirf, bs pbhefr. Orpnhfr jngre naq zbfg zvarenyf ner ninvynoyr ng gur gbcf bs tenivgl jryyf cerggl pbzzbayl. Ner gurl fuvcjerpxrq naq fghpx jvgu jung gurl pna trg va bhe flfgrz, naq gura tbvat gur pbybavnyvfg/fynire ebhgr? Be qvq gurl pbzr urer sebz gur ortvaavat qryvorengryl vagraqvat gb gnxr hf?

Yvxr V fnvq, V'z qrsvavgryl va vg sbe nabgure rcvfbqr ng yrnfg. :->

#420 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 11:32 AM:

This just in:

Maine Voters: "We Are Assholes"

MAINE (BS) Yesterday, in a victory for assholes everywhere, the voters of Maine approved a referendum declaring Maine to have joined them.
In all but the actual words, the referendum declared "...we, the people of the State of Maine, hereby declare ourselves to be stupid, gullible, homophobic assholes. We further declare that we feel we have the absolute right to stick our noses into other people's business, and make sure their relationships fit our preconceived notions and religious preferences, rather than theirs. We utterly repudiate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the US Constitution, because we believe that Christian Marriage, as narrowly defined by a subset of Christians most of whom don't even live in Maine, should have a privileged place in the law of our state..."
Marc Mutty, campaign manager for Stand for Assholism Maine which favored the declaration of assholism, claimed victory at a rally in Portland just after midnight. "We've struggled, we've worked against tremendous odds, as we've all known," he said. "We prevailed because the people of Maine, the silent majority, the folks back home spoke with their vote tonight."
'The silent majority' is a Homeric phrase that refers to the dead. Typically for members of the asshole movement, Mutty ignores scientific fact, which is that the dead are no longer a majority in the world (there are more people alive today than have ever lived and died in the history of the human species). Few doubt, however, that the dead were a significant block in Mutty's electoral calculation, or he would not have credited them so prominently in his victory speech.
Anti-assholism activists are quick to point out that not everyone in Maine is actually an asshole. "There's a large voting minority of non-assholes in the state," declared one activist who declined to be identified, citing the general trend toward assholism. "And plenty of people under voting age who aren't assholes either." However, when pressed the activist conceded that Maine would be known as an asshole state going forward, and that even Mainiacs who voted against adopting the declaration of assholism will be tarred with that brush.
Maine joins 30 other states, including California, whose people have declared themselves officially to be assholes.
#421 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 11:36 AM:

Mark Mutty, of "Stand for Marriage Maine," actually said the exact words I quote above, according to this. The rest, accurate as it is, is my invention.

#422 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 11:49 AM:

I wish that the thread that had been closed had not been closed. I understand why it was needed, but it seems like it stifles debate.

#423 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 12:06 PM:

Xopher @ 421:

Gads, Marc Mutty is a complete dolt. Way to go for claiming that a majority beating down a minority was such hard work. Maybe next he'd like to pen a paean to school bullies who beat up little kids for lunch money.

Fortunately, it was a close thing. A roughly half-and-half split does not make it quite the victory they'd like to claim, although it's still a setback.

However, in good news, it looks like Washington is going the right direction, and Kalamazoo has added GLBT people to its non-discrimination ordinance.

#424 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 12:09 PM:

Wyman Cooke #422: I wish that the thread that had been closed had not been closed. I understand why it was needed, but it seems like it stifles debate.

Be advised, if it does reopen, proceed with extreme caution and delicacy; participation without an Omega-class milspec neurohazard suit will likely void certain portions of your health insurance coverage.

#425 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 12:57 PM:

OK, so here's a question for the genre brain trust - I'm a pretty run-o-the-mill SF reader, don't care for fantasy all that much unless it's "hard fantasy", you know what I mean. I keep hearing mention of this genre called "romance" that apparently is more than the endless reams of drivel I'd been led to believe.

Could anybody name an author or two so I could go to the library and read something unexpectedly good?

Actually, the same might go for mystery. Now that I actually live near a library, I feel the urge to broaden my horizons a tad.

Thanks!

#426 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 01:07 PM:

Michael Robets @ 425... I'd recommend this author. Be warned though that I may appear biased as I've been living with that person for more than 24 years.

#427 ::: LDR ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 01:12 PM:

As someone who grew up in Maine, I'm always pleasantly shocked when they make any progress at all on gay rights, and pretty much unsurprised when they fail.

Here is an example of the mindset: "We don't discriminate against homosexuals, we just believe that they're immoral."

#428 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 01:17 PM:

LDR, yes, that would be the assholic position.

#429 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 01:21 PM:

Michael Roberts @425
I've been a SFF reader since the mid-60s. I'd always disdained romance books, but sometime in the mid 80's, while in graduate school, I started reading them for stress relief and found that I really enjoyed some of them. Sturgeon's Law applies, but then so does YMMV.

What are some examples of SF and fantasy books or authors you particularly like? Might help in picking some suggestions.

#430 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 01:27 PM:

Michael Robets @ 425 -- A number of Lois McMaster Bujold's novels have a significant level of romance in them. Her last series, the "Sharing Knife" tetralogy, has a fantasy setting, and the plots are partially fantasy-based, but they're intended to be largely/primarily romances. (I also found them weaker than her other novels, but your mileage may vary. They're good, but they lack the plot complexity of her previous books.)

#431 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 01:30 PM:

Thanks, Serge - the library has a couple of her books. I'll try one next time I'm over. And if I don't like it, I promise to smile and stay silent.

#432 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 01:32 PM:

Michael Roberts @425: My first thought was Georgette Heyer (historical romance). As for titles, Venetia, Frederica, The Talisman Ring*, The Unknown Ajax*, A Civil Contract.

I'm interested in other recommendations too. I read a lot of Mills & Boon/Silhouette/Harlequin romances growing up, as my grandmother and older sisters were fans and we had plenty of romances in the house(1). Most of my favorite contemporary romance authors(2) were so deemed based on their work from the 1940s to the mid-1990s, when I more or less stopped reading romance on a regular basis. The last time I visited my sister, I read one of the Silhouettes lying around and thought "woah, this stuff's gotten a heckuva lot more explicit than I remember!"

As for mystery, despite having read all the Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Trixie Belden, and various Enid Blyton mystery series I could get hold of as a kid, I stopped reading them in my teens. That said, I've enjoyed the few Sue Grafton novels I've read. Patricia Cornwell, not so much. Alexander McCall Smith has been recommended by several friends with similar tastes in books.


* Romance and mystery
(1) There was always some shame attached to this, because we had been informed by our high-school lit professors that romance was trash. Nonetheless, classmates seemed not to give a fig and always came over after school to borrow some. I partly credit whatever popularity I had in high school to my family's large library.
(2) This list does not include Danielle Steele. My grandmother loved her, so I tried, I really did.

#433 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 01:43 PM:

Joel - sorry, I already have Bujold on my must-read-all list.

OtterB - hmm. Of the Old Guard: Heinlein, Niven, Simak, sometimes Asimov, most Burroughs. Of later people: Bujold (Vorkosigan epic, mostly), Connie Willis (To Say Nothing Of The Dog, especially), Kim Stanley Robinson, Spider Robinson come to think of it, Alastair Reynolds, MacLeod, Stross, the Foglios (they count!), Vinge to the point of paperback destruction, Neil Stephenson to the point of despair, Walter Jon Williams, Peter Hamilton of course, Scott Card sometimes, Brin usually, Jack McDevitt always.

That's probably enough to characterize my tastes. Cyberpunk and space opera, time travel, and deep characterization.

#434 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 01:46 PM:

Michael Roberts @425: In re romance for SF/hard-fantasy readers ... I can highly recommend Diana Gabaldon's 'Outlander' series, although I would recommend skipping the first book entirely, or reading it after you've read book 2 (Dragonfly in Amber). The first book is more 'romancey,' the second drops you right in the midst of an ongoing plot and is, to me, more engaging.

Back-of-the-book level plot summary: There is a set of standing stones in Scotland that, on the right nights of the year, you can use to cross through time. Our Protagonist does so in the first book by accident, and then returns to her own time (sort of) on purpose; in the second book she initiates the travel herself for reasons made clear in the first chapter of the book.

Why I liked them: time travel is tough to do really well, because authors tend to import anachronistic mindsets into their periods. Gabaldon gets this one VERY RIGHT, especially in the first book, which involves the 1960s and just-pre-Culloden "Bonnie Prince Charlie" Scotland. Her 1960s protagonist, a nurse, *does not know* the things she wouldn't know yet! That's so rare to find in 'mainstream' fiction, I think. The second book is I think early 1990s jumping back to post-Culloden Scotland (the standing stone timechannel seems fixed -- if you go back, live a year, then return, a year has passed in your 'home' time as well).

I liked books 2 and 3 of this series very much, books 1 and 4 less so but still enjoyed them; the rest of the books in the series focus on characters or situations I really don't like so well, but you might.

#435 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 01:49 PM:

If there were some cyber/steampunk mad genius time travel romance as a gateway drug, I'd go with that.

Pendrift, I read all the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys and Trixie Belden, too, as a kid. My aunt had them all, and I read everything on my grandparents' shelves. Even the Reader's Digest Sherlock Holmes. Then the public librarian got me onto SF and I was a goner, never looked back.

#436 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 01:53 PM:

Aha, Elliot - time travel romance is a 50% match! I'll try that, totally.

#437 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 02:04 PM:

Among the Heyer, I would include The Toll-gate and The Reluctant Widow*, The Quiet Gentleman as well as The Masqueraders and The Black Moth, which have mystery/thriller-like qualities in among the historical trappings. Romantic elements are present, but little bosom-heaving takes place, and no bodice-ripping. The male leads (and other male characters as well) are more than handsome pieces of cardboard with broad shoulders for the female lead to swoon over. When people behave stupidly, it is either because they are stupid, or very young and impulsive, and not because Heyer required idiocy to make her plots work. She also has a fine line in eccentrics and old ladies.

Most of her Regency-era and 18th-century novels are more than genre romances; they have love stories in them, but the plots are expected to do other work as well. Several are comedies of manners; The Grand Sophy and The Unknown Ajax are in that group, imo, and some are closer to romantic comedies--False Colours and Frederica, frex.

*Despite a deeply annoying and dated piece of characterization which I must, alas, consider homophobic even if it was meant as a Percy Blakeney thing.

#438 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 02:14 PM:

Michael Roberts:

I would second the recommendation of Georgette Heyer, and strongly second the suggestion of A Civil Contract.

#439 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 02:20 PM:

MIchael Roberts... If you want a very romantic movie, I'd recommend 2006's Casino Royale.

#440 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 02:21 PM:

Oh, I should add one non-SF author I've found I absolutely love: PG Wodehouse. I'm going to try Heyer. Thanks, all!

#441 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 02:24 PM:

Serge @ #415, your PostIt® records are accurate.

For years the only cultural reference I could make to my birthdate was "you know, the day before Guy Fawkes." Then came Yitzhak Rabin's assassination in 1995.

I'd have preferred to keep the date only by the relatively-obscure Fawkes historical note.

#442 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 02:31 PM:

Linkmeister @ 441... my birthdate was "you know, the day before Guy Fawkes."

You look well preserved for someone born that long ago.

#443 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 02:32 PM:

Michael Roberts, you could combine mystery and romance by reading Dorothy Sayers's Lord Peter Wimsey books. The romance begins with Strong Poison and continues for three more books.

#444 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 02:36 PM:

Serge @ #442, and even without thimerosal!

#445 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 03:14 PM:

Michael Roberts @440: If you like Bujold, steampunk, hard fantasy, and PG Wodehouse, you mustmust read Stevemer and Wrede's series that starts with Sorcery and Cecelia. If you like it, it may act as a gateway drug for you into non-magickal versions of the same basic period of history. Similarly, if you like the Temeraire books (starting with His Majesty's Dragon, I think) by Naomi Novik, that might act as a gateway drug into a whole realm of Napoleonic stuff.

Oh, and if you like steampunk, Court of the Air by Stephen Hunt is basically hard-fantasy alternate-world epic Napoleonic-era magickal steampunk. With airships. And seeekrit spy stuff. And worldquakes. And machine sentiences. I adore it to pieces; it's like nothing else I've read. Staggeringly original. Just wait till you see what happened to the not-British royalty under not-Cromwell in that world ... *shudder* Creepy and full of wonder.

#446 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 03:23 PM:

Michael Roberts @425, I thought that "Hurricane Moon" by Alexis Glynne Latner successfully walked a fine line between science fiction and romance; I think that the author deftly managed to avoid lurching into a fuliginous abyss of overwrought romanticism. Would read again.

#447 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 03:42 PM:

What about Naomi Novik's books, which mixes Hornblower stories with dragons? Any romance in those?

#448 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 04:19 PM:

Wyman Cooke, #422: If that was what you consider debate, I suggest you recheck your definitions. The thread was closed precisely because it had ceased to be a debate and had turned into a flamewar and general mud-slinging match.

Michael, #425: Second Season, Prior Betrothal, and The Nabob's Widow, all by Elsie Lee. To the Heyer list I'll add The Grand Sophy, The Masqueraders, False Colours, and The Quiet Gentleman (which is also a mystery crossover). I cannot recommend The Reluctant Widow because I find its main plot uncomfortably close to being emotionally abusive -- nobody takes any of the heroine's PERFECTLY UNDERSTANDABLE qualms about being shoved willy-nilly into a dangerous espionage plot as anything but "feminine hysterics".

I'll also second the recommendation for Hurricane Moon, but note that I found Sorcery and Cecilia so irritating that I couldn't finish it. Something about that protagonist just gets up my nose.

Long out of print, but if you can find a copy, The Interior Life by Katherine Blake.

Time and Again by Jack Finney (time-travel romance).

Mystery -- anything you can find by Jane Dentinger (a fine, though apparently defunct, series of theatrical mysteries which are still accessible to a non-theatrical person like me). Aaron Elkins' Gideon Oliver mysteries. The Brother Cadfael mysteries by Ellis Peters (all of which also contain romance subplots).

Open Threadiness: If you haven't seen today's Two Lumps, by all means go take a look. Bad puns and outstanding snark FTW!

#449 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 04:57 PM:

Elliott @434: . I can highly recommend Diana Gabaldon's 'Outlander' series, although I would recommend skipping the first book entirely, or reading it after you've read book 2 (Dragonfly in Amber). The first book is more 'romancey,' the second drops you right in the midst of an ongoing plot and is, to me, more engaging.

Having re-read the series over the past month, I'll second the recommendation with some additional info and caveats. One of the things I found particularly appealing about the first book was its tight first-person narrative, but this gradually disintegrates as the series continues-- each new book dilutes it down by adding another significant third-person narrator. Still, the stories and characters mostly continue to be appealing and interesting.

The seventh book in the main series just came out, and ends with a veritable mountain range of cliffhangers; there's also a tangle of inconsistent timelines in the middle that may be fixed in future editions. (Gabaldon has been collecting errata in her Compuserve forum.) A compendium reference book with character lists etc. came out after book 4, and a follow-up to that may be in the works. A graphic novel based on the series is supposed to come out sometime next year.

There's also a spin-off series of mystery novels centered on Lord John Grey, a character who first appears toward the end of Dragonfly; a novella from this spin-off series appeared in the Legends II SF/F anthology a few years ago.

#450 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 05:01 PM:

Another UK metal-detector find of 4 gold torcs in Scotland - nowhere near as big as the Staffordshire find discussed here, but the piece pictured is stunning:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/tayside_and_central/8342501.stm

#451 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 05:02 PM:

OK, we got into Bernie's computer. Not with any of the LiveCDs or hardware we'd brought -- Marty (another of the hiking group, who'd called me in) found a box of overlooked index cards, and I was able to correctly read the password (after two other people had identically misread it). And Bernie's brothers loved the photos I brought over!

Funeral tomorrow.

#452 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 05:04 PM:

OK, we got into Bernie's computer. Not with any of the LiveCDs or hardware we'd brought -- Marty (another of the hiking group, who'd called me in) found a box of overlooked index cards. Then I was able to correctly read the password, after two other people had identically misread it. So it goes.... And Bernie's brothers loved the photos I brought over!

Funeral tomorrow.

#453 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 05:05 PM:

OK, we got into Bernie's computer. Not with any of the LiveCDs or hardware we'd brought -- Marty (another of the hiking group, who'd called me in) found a box of overlooked index cards. Then I was able to correctly read the password, after two other people had identically misread it. So it goes.... And Bernie's brothers loved the photos I brought over! The funeral's tomorrow.

#454 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 05:06 PM:

On Heyer, it's tempting to say "any of them!" While I'm at it, I also recommend Cotillion. That said, I know The Reluctant Widow bothered me the same way it did Lee, and while I enjoyed The Grand Sophy immensely, one scene made me flinch.

A word of warning, as I have known readers to be put off by this aspect: many of the heroines are in their mid-to-late teens (women in their twenties wered held to be off the shelf) while most of the heroes are in their thirties or forties.

This romance talk reminds me of an early Judith McNaught novel, before she became a regular NYT bestselling author. Double Standards was originally published as a Harlequin Series mass-market paperback. (After the success of her first historical romance, it was reissued as a TPB and, later, as a hardback.) One of my sisters picked up a copy at a used bookstore. It subsequently made the rounds in the house, with all four sisters, one brother and my father fighting over who got to read it next. Only my mother remained impervious.

#455 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 05:12 PM:

I confess, I couldn't stand The Grand Sophy. The title character annoyed me as much as that of Emma did.

#456 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 05:13 PM:

Lee #448:

I may be projecting, but I have a feeling I understand some of the anger in that thread. We voted their bastards out, and our bastards in. We have a popular president with a mandate, majorities in both houses of Congress, and the Republican party visibly shrunken and in disarray. And yet, we can't seem to see any progress.

On civil liberties, foreign policy, and bailouts of big companies, the current administration seems a slightly more moderate and polished version of the last one[1]. On healthcare reform and financial reform and gay rights, we've seen relatively little actual success, and a lot of excuses and accomodation of the side that has resoundingly lost the last two nationwide elections. I suppose a lot of us would like to know what happened, and when we're going to see the benefits of all our votes and contributions and volunteer efforts[2]. And that leads naturally to both frustration and the desire to see our[3] side try something new.

[1] We're told that the torture has stopped and the secret prisons have been closed. We were told that, or variations on that, before. I wonder if it's true this time.

[2] All your volunteer efforts--I didn't volunteer for anyone.

[3] Honestly, I'm neither a Democrat, nor, in pre-9/11 terms, a liberal. (That is, back when opposition to torture wasn't a defining feature of being a liberal.)

#457 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 05:13 PM:

Try Dana Stabenow's mysteries, especially her Kate Shugak series. She's also written a few science fiction novels. You might also like J. D. Robb's "in Death" series, which are romance/mystery/science fiction, and work fairly well as all three.

#458 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 05:21 PM:

Re SF/romance: I am currently re-reading Ann Maxwell's _Timeshadow Rider_, an old-school space opera romance. (And the last of Maxwell's SF novels -- she did quite a number in the 70s and 80s, but then switched over to writing straight-up romance under a different name.)

I don't know if it's what you're looking for. It's emotionally and verbally florid -- a million-year-old dying civilization, psionic talents bonding across space and time but forbidden to touch, angst and more angst. Violet eyes.

However, if you read it as SF, you find that the author is writing *good* SF. Tropes like FTL travel and magical translation devices are used intelligently -- enough detail to imply a solid SF background, not so much as to turn the book into a series of tech lectures. There is a real sense of deep history. (More so if you also read the _Fire Dancer_ trilogy, which is set in the same milieu, but much much later.) It's got density.

The romance tropes are also used intelligently, for that matter. Lots of books have picked up the notion of "eternally linked soulmates". Fewer have dug into how that differs from falling in love. And the violet eyes aren't simple either.

Anyway, it's a suggestion.

#459 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 05:28 PM:

This Is Just To Say

that I have googled
Williams parodies
on Making Light

just nine hits
short of three thousand
if you include this one

forgive me
they were irresistible
so terse
and so wry

#460 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 06:01 PM:

Romance recommendations: I second the In Death rec, with the caveat that it took me a bit to a) get over the fact that I was reading Nora Roberts and b) find the proper dosage. Then I spent a bit more than a month reading them, jumped to her mainstream/mystery romances, then worked back until her books weren't as much fun (1990).
Historical romances: I like Loretta Chase and Julia Quinn.
I also really like Patricia Briggs. Something about her writing grabs me and pulls me in. Many of her books have romance subplots. There's also Sharon Shinn; I'd say Archangel and either Heart of Gold or Mystic and Rider for her.
I have never read a Jennifer Crusie I didn't like. Not always perfect, but Agnes and the Hitman, Welcome to Temptation, Crazy for You, Anyone but You... I've recommended all of them to different people for different reasons.
Ooh, Julia Spencer-Fleming, too.

Check out Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. If you look at their reviews by grade, you'll get a good reading list. It's what I did when I wanted different books.

#461 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 06:15 PM:

Check out Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. If you look at their reviews by grade, you'll get a good reading list. It's what I did when I wanted different books.

Groan. I went to the site, clicked on "Greatest Hits", and found this. Loud guffaws ensued. Shades of Knight Moves!

#462 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 06:50 PM:

@377: evil evil evil.

Nasty evil.

(Turnip trolling?)

#463 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 07:23 PM:

Pendrift, #454: The older man / much younger woman issue doesn't bother me in a Regency romance the way it would in something contemporary. That was an accepted part of the Regency aristocratic culture -- men were expected to become established before looking for wives, while (as you note) women were "brought out" at 18 and expected to be married within 2 years after that. That said, a surprising number of Heyer's heroines are indeed in their middle 20s, and considered to be spinsters with no further chances at marriage.

abi, #455: I can understand that. Sophy would be a very uncomfortable friend to have IRL; her managing ways and conviction that She Knows Best would be absolutely intolerable without an author making sure it all comes out right in the end. My brain seems to interpret it as Shakespearian farce.

#464 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 07:24 PM:

Today's WashPost food section has an article on how to make sauerkraut plus recipes for two sauerkraut cakes (links in the box at the left).

I recorded NCIS because I'd rather be able to back up and look at small bits of that than "V," which I watched. I think "V" will get one more watching just to make sure how awful it is.

Michael Roberts, Sandra McDonald has a milSF Romance trilogy. I liked the first book a lot and the second and third not so much. This is the link to the review of the third because it has links to the first and second.

Happy Birthdays, Linkmeister and Paul A.!

#465 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 07:36 PM:

#464: By coincidence, I picked up my first-ever head of cabbage, for the specific purpose of kraut-making.

#466 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 07:48 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 465... my first-ever head of cabbage, for the specific purpose of kraut-making

"Alive! It's alive!"

#467 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 07:54 PM:

Quinn, Chase, and Crusie are all fun. I'd recommend starting with Heyer for the historical romances, however.

#468 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 07:55 PM:

xeger #411:
In dealing with trebuchet parking, I'd also want to find out which way they are pointing. Parking them facing in is considered to be rather unneighborly.

#469 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 08:15 PM:

Pendrift at 461, I am so annoyed at that. I had that book in my hand, carried it around the bookstore for a while, then put it back because the friend with me was not laughing nearly as much as I was... and not a week later, that review comes out. I still haven't gotten my own copy.

The Smart Bitches' book, Beyond Heaving Bosoms, is also much to laugh about.

#470 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 08:33 PM:

After some of us met in Oakland, Terrry Karney posted that I am nuch quieter in person than on the internet. That impression would have been quickly dispelled, had he been standing next to me 15 minutes ago while I was on the phone, trying to find why a check of mine was refused when I bought some office supplies. I expect that Teresa would have described my attitude nd conversational style as... ah... brisk.

#471 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 08:38 PM:

In Re Sensawunda:

I recently read John C. Wright's "Null-A Continuum", which is a sequel to A. E. van Vogt's Null-A books. Wright clearly spent a lot of time studying van Vogt's style and construction; I think he's got it right most of the time.

I'm currently reading Brian Stableford's "Sherlock Holmes and the Vampires of Eternity". I found this book in the library and thought, "Well, I like a lot of Stableford's work, so I guess I'll try this. If it's as goofy as the title, it might be fun." It's not as goofy as the title, in fact it's very different from what I expected, and very, very good.

Both books deal with questions of the ultimate fate of the human race, and of the universe. But they do it in very different ways. In "Null-A Continuum" Wright consciously uses van Vogt's technique of throwing in a new plot element every 800 words. Every few pages Gilbert Gosseyn gets to apply his superpowers to a new menacing and/or friendly McGuffin. The result for me is severe senseawunda overload. When I was young I read a lot of van Vogt, including the two original Null-A books, and liked it a lot. I had hoped that reading this new book would be a return to that experience, but it wasn't, partly because I'm not ten or eleven any more, and partly, I think, because that thrill I felt then is not a sensation you can have again, at least not in the same way.

Stableford's book on the other hand uses several points of view of characters from our own past who must deal with (possibly unreliable) foreknowledge of the distant future. The pov's are written in different voices (several of them the voices of well-known authors, and the writing of those is a considerable tour-de force), and the visions of the future are described in the language and concepts of late Victorian England, not those of the 21st century. The result, again for me, is that the futuristic elements are embedded like gems in a beautifully designed and executed setting, focusing the reader's attention on them even though they take up far less of the book than the far-future elements do in "Null-A Continuum".

I wouldn't have posted anything about the Null-A book if I hadn't followed it by reading the Stableford and been struck by the fact that the two books attempt some similar effects, using very different tropes and techniques. That made me think some more about the notion of "sensawunda" that we talk about. I don't think it's gone, as I've heard people say, but I do think that the way I comprehend it is different now that I'm older and now that what I (and I think many others) expect of the genre has changed.

#472 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 08:38 PM:

John Houghton @ 468 ...
xeger #411:
In dealing with trebuchet parking, I'd also want to find out which way they are pointing. Parking them facing in is considered to be rather unneighborly.

At the time, I was substantially more concerned about the size of the counterweight...

#473 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 08:48 PM:

xeger @ 472:
At the time, I was substantially more concerned about the size of the counterweight.

Sometimes bigger really is better.

#474 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 09:03 PM:

xeger, Bruce: This is why I prefer traction trebuchets. If it's good enough for Simon de Montfort....

#475 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 09:20 PM:

I'm with abi et al on The Grand Sophy. It's one of her more annoying books. (I also can't take Beauvallet.)
I'd add Faro's Daughter and False Colours to the list of 'worth reading'. The several that involve the Avon family (These Old Shades, Devil's Cub, Regency Buck and An Infamous Army) are also good, if somewhat uneven.

#476 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 10:28 PM:

Lee @ #448: oooh, I loved The Interior Life. I should see if I can score a copy on abebooks.com.

Recs for mysteries: Dorothy Sayers' The Nine Tailors is, IMO, the best mystery ever written.

Josephine Tey's The Daughter of Time is a very different take on the genre.

Ngaio Marsh's Light Thickens is the last and best of her theatre-based mysteries. If you have any fondness for the stage, give it a try.

#477 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 10:43 PM:

me at #451-453: Gaah! I know *I* didn't hit "Submit" three times!

Mods, Martin, or any other "Tech Rat": If you can't find the duplication bug, maybe it's time to just hack in a back-end filter, specifically to catch and toss messages which are identical to the last message posted by the same author?

#478 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 11:12 PM:

I loathed anything labeled "Romance" until the day I had to clear out my late mother-in-law's library. She had thousands of paperbacks, neatly packed in converted Kleenex boxes, including 2 1/2 boxes of Heyer Regencies, some held together with rubber bands. I wanted to know what such a down-to-earth, witty woman saw in, you know, that, so I sat down on the porch steps to take a look . . .

Several hours later, my husband found me still sitting there, giggling.

Personally, I would start with either Frederica or Venetia. Sylvester, or the Wicked Uncle is also at the top of my list.

#479 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 11:24 PM:

Lila @476, Nine Tailors is an amazing piece of writing- historical epic and mystery and environmental observation equally mixed. Although it's one of her later works it's more closely tied to the effects of WW1 than any of her other books except The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club.

I read Georgette Heyer in high school- I read the back off These Old Shades- but I've kept reading Sayers, every couple of years.

#480 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 11:24 PM:

I just made a recipe out of The Joy that turns cabbage into a luxury. You need a skillet with a lid. First bring half a pound of carrots (peeled and sliced) to a boil with a cup of water or chicken broth and a tablespoon of butter. Cover the pan, reduce to a simmer, and cook for a few minutes until the carrots are tender and sweet. Meanwhile, shred a pound of green cabbage. Put the cabbage into the pan with some fresh or dried dill weed or some dill seeds; if you like, add 2 tablespoons cream. Cover again and simmer for about 10 minutes. (The cookbook says, "until the sauce is syrupy," but the cabbage always scorches when I try that, so cook until the cabbage is just done.) Add salt and pepper to taste and serve hot.

If you make this with Matanuska carrots, it's sublime! Matanuska carrots are as crisp and sweet as apples even when they are the size that is usually used for horse fodder. Even the cores are sweet. Unfortunately, they're currently hard to find outside Alaska.

#481 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 11:33 PM:

Bruce @ 376: I had some things to say about the lack of mathematical and physical consistency of Dunne's theories of time

Yes, I always thought that Danny Dunn and the Time Machine was completely inconsistent.

#482 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2009, 11:51 PM:

Lee @ 448: oh, it hadn't turned into a mudslinging match. I will grant you that it probably would have within another two hours, yes, but I was kind of enjoying the thoughts it was provoking.

Pendrift @ 461: that's the funniest thing I've read in weeks!

Sauerkraut discussion: I made some last year (well, it was Hungarian csalamádé, which is kind of kraut 2.0) and it turned out well, although Puerto Rico was a tad too hot for it to ferment comfortably (the second batch molded badly and I gave up). Now that the weather is more German up here, we're going to try again; the 2-gallon jar survived the move fine.

Actually, everything survived the move pretty well, the palm tree, the dog, the 2-gallon jar, the 2-liter graduated cylinder - everything except my wife's filing cabinet, on which I had stupidly put my toolbox. The filing cabinet is no longer very rectilinear.

All: I'm pretty sure Heyer is going to be my first romance author. Wish me luck, and thanks for all the tips; there are a lot of suggestions up there I'm pos-def going to try (yeah, I missed a couple of favorite SF authors in that list).

#483 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 01:23 AM:

Michael Roberts: I second Elliott Mason on the Diana Gabaldon Outlander series. Aside from the whole time travel thing, and the main characters showing up at every important historical event, the historical setting seems really grounded to me. Strong plots and characters -- I can't put them down.

Several people have recommended Jennifer Crusie. She's incredibly funny. I didn't like Crusie's books with co-author Bob Mayer as much -- I found the violence a jarring element. I like her later books better than her early Harlequin ones. I recommend "Welcome to Temptation", and "Faking It".

Heyer is usually mentioned as the classic (and she is good), but in my opinion the original is Jane Austen. If you've somehow never actually read "Pride and Prejudice", do.

I adore Josephine Tey's books, too, aside from the occasional cold jab of prejudice. Often a problem reading books from a half century or so ago.

#484 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 05:15 AM:

Serge@447: What about Naomi Novik's books, which mixes Hornblower stories with dragons? Any romance in those?

Mm, no...not so's you'd notice. The dominant relationship there is between Laurence and Temeraire, but for obvious reasons it's a deep loving friendship rather than a romance.

#485 ::: Janet K ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 07:32 AM:

Michael Roberts, re mystery recommendations.

I'm quite fond of British police proceduals. My favorite series at the moment is by Peter Robinson. There's a romantic element and the series is best read in publication order so as to follow developments. (I believe all the books are in print as mass market paperbacks.)

Other authors in that genre that I read: John Harvey, Deborah Crombie (an American so be forewarned: there may be bloopers), Ruth Rendell, Reginald Hill, and P.D. James.

#486 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 07:34 AM:

Found today on Comcast's site...

Voters rewarded candidates who focused on jobs and restrained government in Tuesday's election.

That sounds like contradictory wishes to me, but what the heck do I know?

#487 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 07:42 AM:

David Goldfarb @ 484... Well, there is always the sexual practice advocated by Swanwick & Dozois in that infamous writing workshop.

#488 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 08:39 AM:

The Black Moth, Heyer's first novel (begun when she was 17, to entertain an oft-ill brother, and published in 1921), is available as a free ebook here.

#489 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 09:05 AM:

More reading suggestions for Michael Roberts. I also like Heyer - and didn't even count her in "romances" as I read her stuff back in high school & college and loved it then - but my husband, whose SF taste seems to overlap with yours (he reads mostly hard SF and techno/military thrillers), finds her "meh." On the other hand, to the surprise of both of us, he thoroughly enjoys Nora Roberts, especially the J. D. Robb "In Death" series but also some of her standalone contemporaries, in particular Northern Lights. He also enjoyed some of Susan Grant, e.g. The Star King, and Linnea Sinclair, The Down-home Zombie Blues. (I leave these scattered around the house like bait, and sometimes he picks them up, but he's released to the wild afterward and not harmed in the process.)

In the SF-with-romance category, unless I missed it, you didn't mention Lee & Miller's Liaden books. I'd recommend starting with either Agent of Change or Conflict of Honors; both have been reprinted in ominbi.

And there was a post on tor.com a week or two ago about steampunk romance, so you might look back at that. The only book I remember offhand was "A Clockwork Heart" by Dru Pagliassotti, which I found enjoyable but not OMG outstanding.

#490 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 09:30 AM:

More reading for Michael Roberts -- given that your tastes and mine align pretty well, you might also like to venture into historical-romance-mysteries -- Lindsey Davis's Marcus Didius Falco series and Elizabeth Peter's Amelia Peabody series being my two favorites. If you want some raunchiness mixed in, try George MacDonald Frasier's Flashman series. Oh, and don't forget, Georgette Heyer also wrote some outstanding mysteries.

#491 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 10:13 AM:

David Goldfarb:

Mm, no...not so's you'd notice. The dominant relationship there is between Laurence and Temeraire, but for obvious reasons it's a deep loving friendship rather than a romance.

In a universe with Knight Rider slash fiction I never bet on obvious reasons.

#492 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 10:24 AM:

#491: That's what's wrong with mundane literature today. No good dragon/car slash.

#493 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 11:10 AM:

P J Evans, #475: I also count The Black Moth among the Avon family books; the names are different, but there's a clear reference to the events of that book in These Old Shades. OTOH, I found An Infamous Army mediocre at best; for a romance set around the Napoleanic Wars, I'll go with Prior Betrothal by Elsie Lee every time.

Lila, #476: Seconding (thirding?) The Daughter of Time. It turned me into a Ricardian.

#494 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 11:11 AM:

John Meltzer:

That's what's wrong with mundane literature today. No good dragon/car slash.

That reminds me: all we need to do to reach Michael Swanwick's literary utopia is to enroll dinosaurs at a liberal arts college. (If we can trust Wikipedia it should be either Smith College or Mount Holyoke for continuity's sake.)

#495 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 11:33 AM:

Xeger, Bruce, TexAnne et al: I'm still trying to visualize the look on the meter-person's face--and hope they will be too busy wondering what that thing is, to inflict a ticket.
Trebs should be parked 1] so as not to interfere with the parking of other items, 2] protected as best as possible from the monkeying-with hands of strangers in the owner's absence, 3] with a sign identifying the owner including a picture so that said owner can be tracked down nearby to answer the questions of serious enthusiasts. How to help said enthusiasts find the owner without tipping off simple pests, that I don't have an answer for. I am thankful that my trebs are little enough to park either in my pockets or my arms.

#496 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 11:42 AM:

Janet Croft #490: More reading for Michael Roberts -- given that your tastes and mine align pretty well, you might also like to venture into historical-romance-mysteries

Along that line, the Irene Adler books by Carole Nelson Douglas are a worthy addition. (It just cost me 150 points against my Curmudgeon's certification to admit in public that I read those books).

#497 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 11:56 AM:

Our Rethuglican Governor-to-be in New Jersey announced yesterday that he's going to declare a 90-day moratorium on new regulations by any state agency or regulatory body as of his first day in office.

Yeah, that'll help. Fucking shithead.

#498 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 11:56 AM:

That's what's wrong with mundane literature today. No good dragon/car slash.

It occurs to me to wonder if our British correspondents call this "stroke fiction".

#499 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 12:03 PM:

OtterB @489 - it was actually the tor.com steampunk romance post that got me to thinking about it, but for some reason by the time the thought emerged here, I'd entirely forgotten the steampunk romance post that triggered the cascade.

So it goes.

#500 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 12:03 PM:

As it seems a certain other thread will not re-open, I'd just like to say to Liza:

No, thank you--in those situations it's hard not to feel like I'm the one taking the crazy pills, and hearing that I'm not the only person with that reaction is a huge, huge relief. So thanks.

#501 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 12:37 PM:

Re the Mimeo Zine particle -- yes, it's clueless. Another example of how science fiction isn't Literature, it's just there first and with a lot more production.

#502 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 12:44 PM:

#492:
http://jalopnik.com/cars/ewww/dragons-having-sex-with-cars-306619.php

#503 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 12:45 PM:

Actually this link is better.
http://thatotherpaper.com/blog/todd_ross_nienkerk/dragons_sex_cars

#504 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 01:27 PM:

Earl Cooley @496, I liked the early Irene Adler books but the violence and general ickiness just got a little too much in the last couple I read -- Chapel Noir and Castle Rouge. I may have to go back and see if they've gotten back on track for my tastes...

#506 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 01:41 PM:

Michael Roberts - I'll second the recommendation for Lindsey Davis's M. Didius Falco series.

And not light reading, but very (very, very) satisfying - Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond Chronicles. I liked that series much better than her Niccolò series, but YMMV.

#507 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 01:42 PM:

Angiportus @ #495: Xeger, Bruce, TexAnne et al: I'm still trying to visualize the look on the meter-person's face--and hope they will be too busy wondering what that thing is, to inflict a ticket.

It was unfortunate* that you posted this comment directly after the introduction of dragon/car slash to the thread.

In that context, it took me quite a while to recall the trebuchet parking discussion.

[*] Or a stroke of luck. So to speak.

#508 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 02:04 PM:

@503:
[ facepalm ]

#509 ::: Joseph M. ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 02:12 PM:

Michael Roberts@425: I've both seen fewer mystery recommendations for you, and read more of them myself, so I'm going to throw a couple of names on the table.

First, the Burglar series by Lawrence Block. I find them quite amusing, but if you don't like puns or coincidences, they may not be for you. They're lighter reading (less serious) than some mysteries, but they're also the only ones I know that feature a burglar who runs a used bookstore (at least in some of the later volumes). I haven't read any of his other books; I hear they are much darker.

Second, Tony Hillerman's novels. They're set in the Southwest, almost entirely on Navajo (and perhaps some other tribe's) reservations, featuring an almost entirely Native American cast. The plots rely on that cultural context for a lot of their points, and while Hillerman himself wasn't Navajo, his work is, I believe, generally well-regarded by the group. I haven't read some of the later novels, but I read his first 10 or so, and really liked them.

Also, I suppose Ellis Peters' Brother Cadfael series should be considered if you like historical settings (he's a monk who solves crimes!); this also has the advantage of a Mystery! series featuring Derek Jacobi if you like watching mysteries on TV.

#510 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 02:12 PM:

re: #503

The number 6 dragon got the really ugly car..(insert Beavis and Butthead laugh track here)

#511 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 03:19 PM:

Joseph M @ #509, If you like Lawrence Block's Bernie, you would probably also like Donald Westlake's Dortmunder books. Dortmunder's not quite as clever as Bernie, but he's stubborn.

Block's Matthew Scudder books are far darker. When the Sacred Ginmill Closes is the prequel to the others, although it was written about six books into the series. That's the one I've read, and it's excellent.

Laurie King's Mary Russell books are fine examples of an author moving another author's creation forward. The thing that one has to get past is that that creation is Sherlock Holmes.

#512 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 03:25 PM:

On the topic of romantic comedies, I just recently watched Hitch and enjoyed it a great deal. I usually loathe romantic comedies and so had avoided this one until Will Smith well and truly got my attention with Seven Pounds.

Somebody (David Spade?) finally articulated the reason for my loathing: virtually all romantic comedy is based on some form of deception, and I CAN'T STAND THAT.

Hitch worked for me because nobody's lying. There are hidden dimensions, such as the intersection of the female lead's profession with her relationship with Smith's character, but nobody's being actively deceptive.

Or stupid. That's the other thing. A lot of times, the deception derives from stupidity or cowardice on the part of the characters, which I also can't stand.

So am I wrong about Hitch? Did I not look carefully enough?

#513 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 03:29 PM:

Clifton (507): I initially read that the same way you did.

#514 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 03:30 PM:

Oh, yeah. This was brought to mind by fidelio @437.

#515 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 04:21 PM:

General recommend for Dean Ing. I like his aero-tech stuff better than his political thrillers, but both categories are good. He often uses exceedingly weird StFnal plot elements, like the delayed-response autistic who's reaction works in an...unusual way. Or the plot device centering on a main character's skin grafts. My favorites of his is the trilogy that starts with Systemic Shock. I especially love the character Baal.

#516 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 04:34 PM:

Elliott Mason @ 434 regarding Gabaldon: Actually the first book involves the 1940's and the pre-Culloden period. For those interested: The protagonist, a recently-discharged Army nurse on holiday with her professor husband, finds herself suddenly transported from 1945 to 1743, sans husband. The 1960's show up in the second book, in a parallel (and very related) storyline framing more of the 18th-century saga.

I found it quite useful to have read the first book in order to really grasp and enjoy the second.

I agree with you, however, on enjoying the books after #4 less than the others.

SPOILER ALERT: this link carries a reasonably good overview of the first four books.

#517 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 04:45 PM:

Summer @516: an alternate and rather snarkier (but still spoiler-laden) set of summaries for Gabaldon's first five books can be found here.

(My own attempt to summarize book #6 in a similar vein can be found here.)

#518 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 04:47 PM:

Jon Meltzer #492: That's what's wrong with mundane literature today. No good dragon/car slash.

Yu-Gi-Oh/Transformers crossover fiction exists in the wild; the examples I've seen don't quite invoke Rule #34, but it moves the prospect into the realm of "plausible" rather than "busted", as Mythbusters would say....

#519 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 05:02 PM:

Jacque @ 512: "So am I wrong about Hitch? Did I not look carefully enough?"

I really liked Hitch for the same reasons you did, right up until the final scene. The female lead is running off and Hitch chases her around abasing himself for the grand sin of..what? Being mistaken for a pickup artist? The female lead is totally wrong about him and what he does, and then he has to apologize for it? The message I take from that is "Guys! It doesn't matter if she's wrong/crazy! Apologize anyway!" This implies that women are all just irrational, and that the only way for men to have a relationship with them is to patronize them like you would a pouty child. It's hard to decide who's getting the worse end of that deal.

Mentally I edit out the last five minutes, and just assume that Hitch and Sara went their separate ways. It makes for a much more satisfying ending: you still get Albert and Allegra being adorably dorky without the ARGH of the Hitch/Sara relationship.

#520 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 06:00 PM:

Christopher Moore's "The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove" features a dragon-like sea monster humping a gasoline tanker.

#521 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 06:09 PM:

Clifton Royston #507: Yep, I had the same response too.

Bernie's funeral is over. On my way out of the house gathering afterwards, one of his brothers gave me his old hiking stick. It's a shaped and polished piece from TOR (not the SF house, obviously). It makes an interesting design contrast to the much simpler hiking staff that Bernie himself made for me, which is pretty much a well-chosen sapling trunk (bark still on) with a hole drilled for the thong.

#522 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 06:23 PM:

Joseph, #509: One caveat about the Jacobi Brother Cadfael series -- it's best to approach them as if they exist in an alternate universe. Some of the changes made are understandable from a storytelling standpoint, but others are just incomprehensible. In "The Sanctuary Sparrow" there's an entire subplot that appears out of nowhere -- it's not in the book at all, and adds nothing to the story.

#523 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 06:30 PM:

The Lovejoy novels are worth reading but with caution. Don't think of the TV series: it matches the tone of the books about as well as sweet Jessica Fletcher matches Mrs. Iselin. Lovejoy is a protagonist, not a hero: he's a sexist, violent to women when frightened, and makes Rincewind seem like Conan. He also has a mania for antiques that starts several leagues beyond the borders of obsession and progresses from there. This sounds pretty awful but Gash's frenzied first-person narratives by Lovejoy suck you into the character's head, for good or ill.

I should mention one other item which folks usually miss over the trainwreck that it Lovejoy himself: If in the course of an adveture the baddie kills or injures a child, woman, animal, or bystander who knows Lovejoy but isn't in on the main scam they're not going to get out alive: at the crunch Lovejoy may spend his time snivelling about how he couldn't stop it from happening and how he tried to stop it but they WILL end up dead. This gets missed. Interestingly enough you can mangle Lovejoy seven ways from Sunday without pushing up daisies at the end: if the character has a subconscious I suspect it figures anything he gets is deserved.

Reviewers have complained about how brutally leads in Dick Francis books get damaged (the defense used is that the amount of damage they take is often less than Francis took riding as The Queen's Jockey), but there is a scene where Lovejoy tries to save a bluebird which was in his yard that made all the damage all the Francis characters have ever taken look like a sunny walk in the park. Everyone who hasn't read the book involved is now saying "What's he going on about?" and those who have read it are now gasping "Oh, GOD! I hoped I'd never think of that again!" It's one of those things that sneak in at 3:00 a.m., say "Hello!" and start measuring the bedroom windows for the drapes they'll install--like the one-sentence grenade that Bujold hides in Mirror Dance that ia so easy to slide by but is about as cuddly as Lovecraft's spawn when you actually read the line carefully.

#524 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 06:43 PM:

heresiarch @519: last five minutes...

Yes, right. I puzzled over that myself.

I think they were trying to show his intelligence and charm abandoning him in the crunch when he tried to reconnect with her. (But that still doesn't explain why she was mad at him.)

The best I can figure is that (based on the "making of" that came on the DVD) they were writing it kind of on an improv basis, and they couldn't, in the end, quite come up with a way to resolve their getting back together. (And, I confess, I really wanted them to get back together.)

Kind of tossed in the handsome brother-in-law red herring (which also felt awkward and out of place) as a "Look! It's the Flying Victory!" and hope that the audience wouldn't notice/would forgive the hack.

#525 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 06:46 PM:

Yes, I greatly enjoy the early Lovejoy books (the later ones dropped off in quality, IMO), but everything Bruce says @523 is true. Some of the other regular characters were also seriously sanitised for the tv series. so if you go in expecting a written version of the tv series, you'll get a shock.

#526 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 06:49 PM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @523: like the one-sentence grenade that Bujold hides in Mirror Dance that ia so easy to slide by but is about as cuddly as Lovecraft's spawn when you actually read the line carefully.

Rot-13, please? I read MD, but it was a while ago, and nothing leaps to mind.

#527 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 07:08 PM:

I don't normally read slash, but I stumbled across a series with a couple of excellent Transformer*/human** subplots that elevated the idea from the usual kink or contrived challenge fic into good space opera, examining why the couples would have formed in the first place and how they would negotiate their lives together. As a bonus, the aliens feel alien while still being friends of the humans, and vice versa from the Transformers' point of view.


*Technically male.
**Definitely male.

#528 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 07:10 PM:

Oh, crap. A mass shooting of soldiers (and at least one policeman) at Ft. Hood in Texas. 12 dead, 31 injured by the latest reports. The shooter was killed; he was a US Army Major, a psychiatrist, named Malik Nadal Hasan. Two other soldiers were arrested; there are reports they have been released. Fort Hood is locked-down.

Given that the shooter has an Arab-sounding name there are going to be some really ugly things said even before we know what actually happened (President Obama is already being blamed in comments I read on one of the Texas newspaper sites).

My condolences and best wishes go out to the victims, their families, and the bystanders who were caught in the crossfire. I hope they don't also get caught in the political firestorm that's sure to follow; they've had enough grief already.

#529 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 07:32 PM:

# 528 - Bruce Cohen
"..(President Obama is already being blamed in comments I read on one of the Texas newspaper sites)...

Of course -- it's simply by the virtue that Barack Obama is not G.W. Bush

#530 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 07:33 PM:

Summer Storms @516 said in re the Outlander books: I found it quite useful to have read the first book in order to really grasp and enjoy the second.

I actually read the second book first initially*, and having since gone back to read the first, I can see how I would have bounced off it hard. It's VERY romance-y, in ways I would have found distasteful, and takes about a third of the book to introduce any plot threads I cared about. I stuck with it purely because I'd liked books 2 and 3 (and there was no book 4 at that point).

I think book 2 is perfectly comprehensible read first to SF fen used to being thrown in the deep end to figure out alien cultures. Gabaldon inclues and flashbacks enough of book one that I had no trouble, at least.


* I read it out of order because I found just the second book in a big mixed box handed down from a friend. It didn't look appealing, but it was very thick, and I was stuck somewhere very, very boring for a long time, so I started it. And then devoured it. Took me nearly three years to find the other books in the series (pre-Internet), because I wasn't looking in Romance ...

#531 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 07:48 PM:

Jacque:

Rot-13, please? I read MD, but it was a while ago, and nothing leaps to mind.

I don't do Rot-13 because it brings to mind Ellison's line about a monster being all "mad eyes and spittle" but I can quote the line because it's nothing without the proper context--sort of like the last line in Lord Dunsany's Two Bottles of Relish--plus it's not a spoiler for the end of the book.

I don't think it would hurt to remind you that by this time the line I'm quoting comes up Mark has been held for a few days in the Baron's little kingdom, which in context makes you think of what would have happened if Tod Browning had staged Freaks on the sets for THX-1138. Also Mark has been on a chemical cocktail to keep him functional and awake ever since he came through the doors.

Ready?

You sure?

REALLY sure?

Time to quote Smethers...

"I wish I'd never heard this one. I never did actually. But I guessed it from Linley's last words to Inspector Ulton, the only ones that I overheard. And perhaps this is the point at which to stop reading my story, so that you don't guess it too; even if you think you want murder stories. For don't you rather want a murder story with a bit of a romantic twist, and not a story about real foul murder? Well, just as you like."

(God, Dunsany structured his story like a Swiss watch--by the time Smethers [the PERFECT name--I often wonder how long it took to dream it up] says this you've ignored him so often before that it redoubles the wallop to follow.)

Anyway, back to Bujold. Ready? Don't say I didn't give you a chance to bail...

"Howl had a tendency to eavesdrop on Gorge's sessions, which came regularly while Howl's did not; and more than once Gorge turned up riding along with Grunt on his adventures, which then became exceptionally peculiar."

Think about it--but not too long...

#532 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 08:07 PM:

Bruce E. Durocher II #531: I don't do Rot-13 because it brings to mind Ellison's line about a monster being all "mad eyes and spittle" but I can quote the line because it's nothing without the proper context--sort of like the last line in Lord Dunsany's Two Bottles of Relish--plus it's not a spoiler for the end of the book

Using rot-13 to avoid spoilers is about courtesy. The aggressor who offends by blurting out a spoiler shouldn't get to quibble over what is or is not a spoiler, or the degree of the offense; the victim gets to do that, and the aggressor gets the chance to apologize.

By the way, the Leet Key Firefox add-on makes using rot-13 fairly painless.

#533 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 08:26 PM:

Bruce Durocher @531: There are a whole series of other stories about Smethers and Linley, BTW, collected in a rather scarce volume called The Little Tales of Smethers and Other Stories. Nine stories total, and none of them with quite the frisson of the first. Steeger gets his comeuppance in the final story. Linley comes across as rather Holmesian in all of them. Not one of them, but a lovely bit of horror in the same collection, is "The Waiter's Story" -- a tale of how to commit murder in such a way that the victim wants it to happen even when he's told what's going on.

#534 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 08:46 PM:

Earl Cooley III: That's interesting. I spent a lot of time trying to structure my entry so I didn't turn into Tycho although I have a certain amount of sympathy for his viewpoint in this particular comic under the circumstances. I had no idea that I was being an aggressor, or that I was going to have to offer Jacque (or anyone else) an apology over anything beyond my poor writing skills compared to Dunsany or to Bujold. While I think I have managed to avoid spoilers in the past in my film reviews I shall work harder to make sure that any items I post on generally which might have elements of a revelatory nature are handled in e-mail--I should just have invited Jacque (and any other parties) to drop me a note.

Because I hate mad eyes and spittle.

#535 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 08:47 PM:

What's this about The Little Tales of Smithers? Are you saying that Lord Dunsany was the inspiration for the Simpsons' resident boss's-butt-kisser?
("Serge... It's Smethers.")
Oh.
Nevermind.

#536 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 08:53 PM:

Tom Whitmore: There are a whole series of other stories about Smethers and Linley, BTW, collected in a rather scarce volume called The Little Tales of Smethers and Other Stories.

I believe that's the name of the book Hank gave me as a birthday gift--it's downstairs and I'm upstairs, but I was delighted. All the Smethers stories as well as the story about the sculptor (any additional details about that story to be handled in e-mail, of course.) I should have know that you, of all people, would have the other copy...

#537 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 09:46 PM:

Bruce, I have no idea what Ellison line you're talking about, nor why ROT13 bothers you all of a sudden. (It's been local practice for at least the last two Harry Potter books--I know this because I got disemvoweled for a spoiler just before ROT13 came into common use.) If Leetkey doesn't work for you, try this site. Cutting and pasting can be a pain, but it's really much more pleasant for the rest of us.

#538 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 10:10 PM:

For the Fellow-Bewildered (@523, @525) Jonathan Gash (pen name of John Grant) – another doctor-author – wrote "Lovejoy" series of 20+ books, inter alia, starting with The Judas Pair (1977). None have Lovejoy in title.

Wonder if any are set in Edinburgh?

#539 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 10:37 PM:

@wayback - Michael Roberts

Late to the party for adding to Michael Roberts' to-read list, but if you haven't already read John Scalzi's Old Man's War, well, a) why not, it's been out a few years, and b) not only is it a good story and a well-written story, but it's got enough space opera to appeal to a fellow Heinlein fan and there's a strong romantic undercurrent between Perry and another character that runs through the three-(or four)-novel story arc.

(I was thinking it had got a nomination or award or something from a romance writer's publication or organization, but I'm not finding that on the author's blog, so I could be making that up. It deserves one, though.)

#540 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 10:52 PM:

Bruce Durocher @531: Perhaps I'm not sufficiently fiendishly inventive, but the only spin I can put on Bujold's line involves a popular urban legend about Rod Stewart that circulated in the early 1980s or thereabouts.

Oh, wait. I just thought of another one, more suited to John Waters' early films, particularly Pink Flamingos.

Ew. I wish I hadn't thought of that.

#541 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2009, 11:19 PM:

Re: The Interior Life -- Katherine Blake is a pseudonym. It's really Dorothy Heydt, who is a fan, and known for other fannish things. I like her other book, A Point of Honor, a lot, too, but am sorry she couldn't sell the sequel.

Bruce Cohen, #528, the news says the shooter was originally reported as dead, but he survived and is in the hospital. His family live here near DC and were going to give a statement but changed their minds.

#542 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 12:04 AM:

Earl @532: The aggressor who offends by blurting out a spoiler

"Aggressor"? "Victim"? Seriously? Discussing a story out loud is an act of aggression? Overhearing a discussion of a book one hasn't read yet makes one a victim?

#543 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 12:20 AM:

Mary Eileen @505, It should be said that the results for that study do not record how many people considered a unicyclist in a clown suit a normal rather than an unusual event on the Western campus.

Joseph M. @509, I concur with the Hillerman recommendation; the Mystery productions (with Wes Studi as Joe Leaphorn and Adam Beach as Jimmie Chee) of those books are not as good as the print version but better by far than most of the Cadfael TV stuff, which depends a lot on Monty Python for the physicalities of the historic period. I have my favorites among both series, but both benefit from being read in order written, I think.

#544 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 01:33 AM:

Tom Whitmore @501, Teresa @Particle, could you clarify what you found objectionable about that page, for those of us who remember mimeograph only from papercraft projects in Kindergarden? It seems relatively unobjectionable to me.

Is it just that such an index already exists? MITSFS has one, by Bob Pavlat and Bill Evans, but I have no idea how current it is, or how comprehensively it covers the period in question.

#545 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 02:41 AM:

TexAnne: nor why ROT13 bothers you all of a sudden. (It's been local practice for at least the last two Harry Potter books--I know this because I got disemvoweled for a spoiler just before ROT13 came into common use.)

It's not all of a sudden: if you look back long enough in my posting history you'll see my complaint about it when it became local practice. I generally avoid it by not taking part in any discussion that might involve it's use, which is why it's not come up before now.

Rikibeth: Oh, wait. I just thought of another one, more suited to John Waters' early films, particularly Pink Flamingos.

Ew. I wish I hadn't thought of that.

Mine tend towards Caligula since I was a history major (with a nod to Cronenberg since I ran severak film series both in and out of college), but you're probably in the right ball park and you just made my point. See what I mean about how it slides right by if you don't pay attention? It's like the last line and sound effect in Arch Obler's infamous "A Day at the Dentist," a radio play which Stephen King observed starts out in the real world, takes some gentle turns before becoming less plausible than "the story of The Hook" at the campfire of your choice (and King rightly points out that the logic of the thing has no relationship to what happens between your ears when you hear it) before arriving at a resolution that's just as morbid as your mind is willing to entertain. I suspect Bujold had to do a lot of polishing before she came up with a line as innocuous as that one seems if you read it quickly.

#546 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 03:06 AM:

Avram #542: (Earl @532: The aggressor who offends by blurting out a spoiler) "Aggressor"? "Victim"? Seriously? Discussing a story out loud is an act of aggression? Overhearing a discussion of a book one hasn't read yet makes one a victim?

I understand that the social infraction of spoiling is less severe than physical assault. Discussing a story without spoiler precautions in a venue that is likely to include people who do not want to be spoiled is an act of aggression; once might be accidental, but a pattern of behavior that involves spoiling is something else entirely.

What has been seen cannot be unseen.

And in the particular case of ML, there are very few do-overs, because of the editorial policy of generally denying commenter-requested deletions and disemvowelings.

#547 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 03:44 AM:

Earl @546, but I've seen some aggressive complaining about spoilage too. I once had someone complain (not on his own behalf, since he'd seen the film) about my talking (in a Usenet group) about a particular film's title and opening credits, even though he had himself just described some actual plot developments.

Demanding that other people warp their conversations for your convenience could be considered a form of aggression as well.

#548 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 07:59 AM:

on the Cranberry, Yam, and Apple Crisp particle: what exactly do you refer to as a yam over there in the US? See, in my head, yam is either this or this (top photo), but I just read that it could also refer to a sweet potato*.

*I would also like to point out that camote cue is full of win. And sugar.

#549 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 08:11 AM:

Climate bill passes without GOP.

About time the Dems started pushing back -- looks like Barbara Boxer has way more balls than Harry Reid. ;-)

#550 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 08:42 AM:

It's been a tough year in Athens. We had another murder/suicide yesterday. This brings our domestic violence death toll to 12 for the year:

"A man murdered his former girlfriend at an Athens shopping center Thursday afternoon then shot and killed himself some 30 miles away in Oglethorpe County when the sheriff tried to stop the car he was in, Athens-Clarke police said.

Michael Dwight Wise, 25, waited in the parking lot of the Shoppes of South Athens for Kendra Borders to return from lunch, and shot her after she parked her truck, according to police.
[....]

► On Jan. 28, police said John David Latimer shot and killed his two sisters and his brother in their trailer at Hallmark Mobile Home Park in Eastern Clarke County. Latimer, 52, pleaded not guilty to 13 felonies in the deaths of Janice Carol Patterson, 57; Sara Kathleen Tatum, 61; and Thomas Garland Latimer, 50.

► On April 25, University of Georgia marketing professor George Zinkhan III shot and killed his wife, Marie Bruce, 47; Thomas Tanner, 40; and Ben Teague, 63, who tried to intervene, outside the Town & Gown Theatre on Grady Avenue. Zinkhan then committed suicide after digging a shallow grave for himself.

► On Aug. 18, Lisa Davenport was set on fire by boyfriend Phillip Scruggs in her apartment at Bethel Midtown Village, according to police. She died 11 days later and police charged Scruggs with murder.

► On Oct. 9, a young boy found the bodies of his parents in their home on Chardonay Street. Police said Harry Marable apparently shot his wife, Phyllis, then himself.

Originally published in the Athens Banner-Herald on Friday, November 06, 2009"

#551 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 09:01 AM:

Pendrift, they probably do mean sweet potatoes (I think it's the white-fleshed ones that generally are miscalled 'yams').

#552 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 09:34 AM:

Kevin Riggle #544:

Tom Whitmore @501, Teresa @Particle, could you clarify what you found objectionable about that page, for those of us who remember mimeograph only from papercraft projects in Kindergarden? It seems relatively unobjectionable to me.

I'm neither Tom nor Teresa (I'm fairly certain), but did you see any Science Fiction 'zines in the list? SF fans had a leading role in the "Little Magazine" (Fanzine) movement. But it seems that we* don't count.

*Editorial "we", I never pubbed my ish beyond some minor appearances in a couple of APAs.

#553 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 09:36 AM:

Around here, all sweet potatoes are called yams indiscriminately. Yams are also yams, when you can find them.

Also, as to turnip trolling: foo.

I have turnips in my vegetable drawer, and celery root, and cabbage.

Unfortunately in orange cauliflower season I can hardly find any attention for anything else.

Also, after Halloween I seem to be accumulating the pumpkins other people won't eat. Now that I know how easy it is to eat them I don't understand why everybody doesn't just have them for breakfast two or three times a week.

#554 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 09:51 AM:

JESR (543): Yes, the initial question was just if they saw something "unusual." But the follow-up question asked explicitly about the unicycling clown. Most of the cell-phone users didn't recall seeing it even when prompted.

#555 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 10:00 AM:

I yam grateful to everyone for the answers!

Re: Worst Product sidelight, just got this from a friend.

#556 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 10:10 AM:

Lila #550:

Cialdini's book Influence talks about evidence that mass shootings and suicides are both partly copycat sorts of events, and thus that seeing coverage of other people doing these things seems to be a risk factor in someone deciding to do them. I wonder if that sort of dynamic is at work there.

His creepiest example involved airplane crashes in which inexplicable pilot error was the cause, particularly with small private planes. Apparently, these things tend to go in runs, presumably as very rare pilots on the brink decide to take their wife/annoying business partner/boss with them as they slam their plane into a cornfield.

This is one of those places where freedom of speech conflicts with broader social good, at least potentially. I don't know how to resolve those things--I don't want someone else deciding what I'm allowed to see or learn, and yet I also don't want rare wackos triggered to do something horrible.

#557 ::: Sarah S. ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 10:15 AM:

(In re: the Potluck Poetry Particle)

The greatest potluck song ever written:

Lime Jello Marhmallow Cottage Cheese Surprise

#558 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 10:20 AM:

I apologize for any upset or confusion caused by my inserting comment about trebuchet parking right after the one about dragon/car slash.
I'll try and make it a little clearer next time right at the start.
[Picks up pieces of own head that exploded after 1st microsecond of thinking "dragon/trebuchet slash"]

#559 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 10:20 AM:

The discussion of mysteries got me to wondering if anyone else has seen the ads for the forthcoming new Sherlock Holmes movie (featuring Robert Downey [Jr.?], I think). S.H., shirtless action hero? Argh!

PS: Should the shootings at Fort Hood have their own thread? It seems like people here may want to say quite a lot about this, as the news continues to develop. (My own first thought: Damn shame he was an avid Muslim. That will get the hate-mongers thoroughly stirred up.)

#560 ::: Joseph M. ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 11:04 AM:

JESR@543: I had no idea they did a TV series for any Hillerman books--I'll have to take a look for that.

Now also for Lee@522: Thanks to both of you for the comments on the Brother Cadfael shows. I never saw the show for any books I read, so I never noticed the addition of plot points. I'm not a huge fan of watching books instead of reading them, so I have only a limited data set for the shows, and didn't notice some of the inconsistencies.

#561 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 11:08 AM:

TexAnne@537: Speak for yourself. ROT-13 is not more convenient for me; I'd much rather just have the spoilers in plain text, because I don't much care.

(I'm perfectly willing to go along with the consensus usage here, but I did want to separate myself from the "we" of your comment. I put up with it as a community norm, NOT because it's directly valuable to me.)

#562 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 11:17 AM:

#549 - David Harmon ==
Actual Quote time: "..Republicans called Boxer's move the “nuclear option,” warning that it violated decades of committee precedent..."

Hypocritical worms.

As somebody else has said -- "bipartisan does *not* mean 'you do what I want when I have the power' *and* 'you do what I want when you have the power' "

#563 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 11:39 AM:

Angiportus (558): No need to apologize on my account--it was very entertaining confusion!

#564 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 11:52 AM:

The ultimate low of the Cadfael TV adaptations IMO was when they took out a genuine miracle and replaced it with a fake. In the books the child who was healed was a real cripple, and became a real saint after his legs were miraculously untwisted. In the TV series he was a con man who was pretending to be a cripple.

I generally liked the series, but I think that was an egregious imposition of the scriptwriters' own beliefs on a story they were supposed to be adapting.

#565 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 12:15 PM:

Faren Miller @ 559... I have seen the ads. Sure, Robert Downey Jr is a different kind of Holmes, but who knows? We might enjoy his interpretation.

#567 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 12:33 PM:

Kevin Riggle @544 -- John Houghton has it right @552. That project starts in the 1950s, ignoring the history of mimeo'd zines that included fiction and poetry from the SF world that goes back into the 1930s. It's not evil -- it's just totally clueless in terms of the history of the material it's looking at. It doesn't even mention the origins of Superman in a fanzine put out by Siegel and Shuster, arguably more important to fiction than any of the writers they list (the superhero genre took off after that creation and popularization, and is a major portion of the literary zeitgeist which most of their favorites tend to attempt to subvert). The Fisher/Pavlat/Evans index covers a period before their survey starts, and is large but not comprehensive.

Rattles cane, wheezes, comments about the kids no the lawn not showing proper respect for grassland ecology and the evolutionary pressures leading to plants surviving some kinds of stresses better than others....

#568 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 12:49 PM:

Craig R. #562: Hypocritical worms.

We already knew that.... It's long past time the Dems started stomping them.

#569 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 01:22 PM:

Pendrift @ 555: I notice that the "Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed" list on that page includes Duncan Hines Classic Yellow Cake.

#570 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 01:55 PM:

Joel #569:

Dear God, amazon.com is developing WMDs. Clearly, the time for UN resolutions is over and we must invade them. You're either with us or against us.

#571 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 02:44 PM:

Angiportus @ 558:
"dragon/trebuchet slash"

Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, "getting your rocks off".

#572 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 02:53 PM:

Angiportus @ 558 and Bruce Cohen @ 571:

Perfect for reading about a quick fling.

#573 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 02:57 PM:

albatross @ 556:

And sure enough, another shooting spree, this one in Orlando, Florida. 1 dead, and the suspect in custody. This one looks like a disgruntled ex-employee returning for payback, perhaps egged on by hearing about the Ft. Hood shooting.

It certainly seems reasonable that there are people out there on the cusp of violent behavior, from whatever motives, who get pushed over the edge by seeing news coverage of other violent behavior. I don't think the solution is to censor the news; a much better solution would be to figure out how to spot these people in advance and help them off of the cusp. I know we don't do prevention well in the US, but I really wish we would try harder.

#574 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 03:04 PM:

John Houghton @552, Tom Whitmore @567: Ah, indeed. My apologies. I glanced through the list briefly and saw The Aldebaran Review (clearly a Star Wars reference... except, come to think of it, Star Wars is well out of period for them, oops), Quark, Software, and a few others I thought I recognized as SFnal. Thanks for setting me straight.

On the upside, that's a $125 purchase I don't need to recommend to my library...

#575 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 03:05 PM:

John Houghton @552, Tom Whitmore @567: Ah, indeed. My apologies. I glanced through the list briefly and saw The Aldebaran Review (clearly a Star Wars reference... except, come to think of it, Star Wars is well out of period for them, oops), Quark, Software, and a few others I thought I recognized as SFnal. Thanks for setting me straight.

On the upside, that's a $125 purchase I don't need to recommend to my library...

Superman began in a zine? That's wicked cool.

#576 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 03:07 PM:

Ack, apologies for the double-post. Weird connection lag.

#577 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 03:15 PM:

albatross @ 556, Bruce Cohen #573:

On the other hand, the influence can work the other way... if you let it. Vanity Fair just posted a lengthy article by one Jim Windolf, bemoaning the Cuteness Trend as "self-infantilizing" and generally regressive.

The Cute Overload commenters responded by dubbing him Mr. Tight-'Tocks Crankypants. ;-)

#578 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 03:32 PM:

Dear me. The "Worst Product Ever" (Particle) is a title not bestowed lightly, I'm sure, but in this case I'd say it was justified.

#579 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 03:43 PM:

I'm pretty sure you're not supposed to use it while driving. But some jackhole will do exactly that, so I won't quibble with the designation.

#580 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 03:50 PM:

The "Worst Product Ever" (Particle) is a title not bestowed lightly, I'm sure, but in this case I'd say it was justified.

I don't know. It's obviously nuts to use this while actually driving, and there are bound to be people who are that nuts, but I can imagine sane uses of it if it attaches and detaches easily. While waiting to pick up a kid or a spouse somewhere. If you have the kind of job where you drive from customer to customer and want to make some notes at the end of each appointment. If you take a car-carrier ferry to work. This would let you work on a full-sized laptop or (hey, what a concept) write on paper instead of being limited to a Blackberry or iPhone kind of task.

I'm not planning to buy one, but surely there are worse.

#581 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 03:53 PM:

Bruce@573: and how many people would thus fall into the clutches of Homeland Security for being a risk to society? 100 times as many as get killed in spree shootings? 1000?

Now, if we could take OFF some of the stigma of psychological trouble, people might be able to seek help. But asking the witch doctors to identify people likely to cause trouble in the future, and protect us from them, will NOT end well.

#582 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 03:55 PM:

Faren Miller @ 559: "Damn shame he was an avid Muslim."

According to this article, he had listed "no religious preference" in his personnel records, so it seems there's at least some room for doubt on that point. (I'm rather wary of reports that people heard him shouting "Allahu Akbar" during the shooting--it seems like exactly the sort of thing people would remember about a Muslim-looking shooter whether it actually happened or not.) Time will tell, hopefully. I think it's good that he survived: a trial might help clear the air.

#583 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 03:59 PM:

KeithS @ 572: "Perfect for reading about a quick fling."

I think the reason there are so few trebuchet/dragon slash fics is that hardly anyone has the stones to write about it.

Ficcers really need to fire themselves up.

#584 ::: Edgar lo Siento ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 04:23 PM:

re: Caroline, 151, and SAD
1. Bought an adapter from this guy to fade up my regular bedside lamp in the mornings.
Mine arrived a day or so ago. Wonderful way to wake up this morning.

#585 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 04:36 PM:

Heresiarch, #582: Interesting. NPR said (on today's Morning Edition) that he was "a devout Muslim".

#586 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 04:41 PM:

Surely trebuchet fiction of any type would be a prime example of "tension and release" in literature.

#587 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 04:54 PM:

David Harmon @ 577: "Vanity Fair just posted a lengthy article by one Jim Windolf, bemoaning the Cuteness Trend as "self-infantilizing" and generally regressive."

What a strange, insane mix of grumpy grandpa-ism and adulation of self-annihilation.

"For generations, kids couldn’t wait until they reached adulthood so they could smoke, drink, eat four-course meals, make money, drive cars, have sex, and, if they were the type to join the military, legally kill other human beings. Now we would rather log on and tune out, preferably in the womb-like comfort of a Snuggie, which is the perfect thing to wear as we gaze at photos of kittens while gnawing on delicious cupcakes."

O GOD THE HUMANITY! People these days prefer to indulge their gentler selves instead of seeking their own annihilation in drugs and alcohol or, even better, seeking to annihilate others! WHAT MONSTROSITY HAVE WE BECOME!?!?1

A sample of the trends he's decrying:

"There are the annoying standby words used by adult bloggers in otherwise serious posts, such as “awwww” and “yay.” There is also the word “cutegasm,” which an Urban Dictionary user has defined as “the reaction one feels when being exposed to something overly cute. this may be an emotional, physical or even sexual response.” Here’s the example: “When Holly saw the baby trying to dance, she had a cutegasm.” What is the antonym for “cutegasm”? Because that’s what I’m having right now."

Because his visceral emotional responses are the RIGHT ones! Duh!

"Similarly, social hugging among teenagers has become so widespread that, as The New York Times reported earlier this year, some principals have banned it from high-school hallways."

Jeez, don't these kids understand that the PROPER way to interact with their peers is through charlie horses and swirlies? But of course, it all comes down to attention-whoring:

'“The old idea that you want your privacy is bleeding away into this new idea that you are desperate to be known,” he says. “And if you are desperate to be known, you need a strategy for being known, and a very good strategy is the old evolutionary one of being so cute that you need to be cared for."'

Because the only reason to present a vulnerable face to the world is to TRICK it into taking care of you. There's no way a human being's apparent need for care and comfort could be genuine!

The problem, for him, is clear. He subscribes to an ideology of cool sourced in Thanatos, idolizing destruction in both its internal and external manifestations. The correct face to present to the world is tough, confrontational, manly. You get what you want by taking it, godammit, not by asking for it. He's disgusted by the idea that someone might derive satisfaction and happiness from anything as soft and vulnerable as a cute thing, much less identify with it. And yet here cute is, taking over the tough, no nonsense world he's living in. What could be more horrifying to find that your obsession with power is actually losing to an obsession with vulnerability?

#588 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 04:55 PM:

David #581:

That's the problem. It's almost exactly parallel to the argument about regulating the most inflamatory political speech or hate speech or whatever, vs. trying to catch those likely to act on violent political rhetoric ahead of time.

I suspect distinguishing really dangerous people from merely creepy but harmless blowhards is inherently a hard problem until very soon before they demonstrate the difference themselves, but I'm surely no expert. And I suspect inflamatory rhetoric has an impact on pushing the already-seriously-messed-up those last few steps to violence, but I have no evidence for this, and I sure don't want to justify an even more controlled media that's even more reluctant to discuss whatever the powerful would rather not have discussed.

#589 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 04:56 PM:

OtterB - # 580

Some other viewers on Amazon added their own "product pictures" including this one
http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-media/product-gallery/B000IZGIA8/ref=cm_ciu_pdp_images_0?ie=UTF8&index=0

(in case it gets removed, it's an aerial view of a traffic snarlup involving multiple tractor-trailers flung across lanes and what looks like a truly heroic level of traffic backup)

#590 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 05:01 PM:

#587 ::: heresiarch--
"...He subscribes to an ideology of cool sourced in Thanatos, idolizing destruction in both its internal and external manifestations. The correct face to present to the world is tough, confrontational, manly..."

Nahh.

He's just a wanker

#591 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 05:47 PM:

Craig R. @ 590: "Nahh. He's just a wanker"

Same difference perhaps, but he definitely prefers his pop idols serious and tortured. Observe:

Long before the age of cute, when cool was king, NBC talk-show host Steve Allen poked a hole in Elvis Presley’s then dangerous public image by having him sing “Hound Dog” directly to a basset hound. Now bands are happy to give themselves the cute treatment: an emo-ish pop group out of Buffalo, named Cute Is What We Aim For, recently put out a video for a song called “Doctor” that stars a pug puppy. The old pose of coolness is no longer so cool: the better move is to appear unthreatening. Veteran alternative-rock band Weezer, keeping up with changing times, has recently endorsed a cute product, the Snuggie, the blanket that you wear, of which more than four million have been sold.

Maybe the move toward cuteness has come about partly because the idea of “edge” has gotten old. We used to romanticize tortured souls like Dylan Thomas, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, and Janis Joplin, but their equivalents from recent years—Kurt Cobain, Elliott Smith, Heath Ledger, David Foster Wallace—have elicited expressions of pity more than anything else.

Sigh.

It's so terrible how people nowadays feel sorry for stars who die from drug overdoses, rather than wanting to follow in their footsteps!

#592 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 05:48 PM:

Bruce Cohen, #573, we had a suicide pact recently. An inter-racial teen couple had their fathers tell them to stop dating, so they killed themselves. Stupid fathers.

#593 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 05:57 PM:

David @ 581: are you sure Bruce at 573 is talking about criminalizing mental illness? I read it more as getting mentally ill people appropriate help before they become violent. I could get behind that. (We have a severe dearth of mental health and substance abuse services here--long waiting lists, no residential program at all within 50 miles or so. Perhaps it's different where you live.)

#594 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 06:24 PM:

Lila@593: The difference is much smaller than you think.

Finding people and imposing help help on them is very different from making help available. Much of the difference comes from constructing a society where having needed help doesn't limit your life forever. Right now we're in fairly bad shape on that one.

#595 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 06:29 PM:

I figured the shooter went bugnuts a la people who start believing that Jesus lives under the sink. Just Muslim-flavored.

#596 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 06:58 PM:

In #575, Kevin Riggle writes:

Superman began in a zine? That's wicked cool.

And you can read it: "Reign of the Superman" by "Herbert S. Pine" (Jerry Siegel), illustrated by Joe Schuster, both aged 19.

I knew they had published fanzines. One day it occurred to me to wonder whether their work might have been placed online. I looked, and it was.

I was quite amused to learn that the reporter who confronts the evil Superman is named Forrest Ackerman.

Forry was already a legendary fan and letterhack (aged 17) who had contributed to Siegel and Schuster's fanzine. This was tuckerization before Tucker tuckerized anyone!

#597 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 07:16 PM:

David @ 594, I'd settle for making help available for people who are actually seeking it. That would be a start. (For both mental illness and addiction to legal and illegal drugs.)

#598 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 07:32 PM:

#586, Bruce and the rest--archery = tension and release; onagers = torsion and release; and trebuchets, I guess that would be prose of some gravity.

#599 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 08:30 PM:

I hope no one minds if I plug something I've accomplished on the open thread...

For the next couple of months I'm going to have three drawings on display in an Iowa City gallery, as a small part of a larger exhibition. It's the first time I've accomplished anything like this, and the first hint I've had that I actually might be doing really worthwhile work.

#600 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 08:43 PM:

heresiarch #587: What a strange, insane mix of grumpy grandpa-ism and adulation of self-annihilation.

Yeah...

Craig R. #590: He's just a wanker

That too! I mean, I actually read through the article, and that's 5 minutes of my life I'm not gonna get back! Really, I have trouble taking him seriously. I think the CO response is about right -- getting called "Mr. Tight-'Tocks Crankypants" is all the attention he really deserves.

But then, I've previously revealed that I use The Qte for a mental health supplement. ;-)

#601 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 09:00 PM:

Wesley #599: Cool, and congratulations! As it happens, I just got back from a reception for my Mom's first "official" showing (with four other artists), at the McGuffey Art Center. ("The Land Below -- Aerial Views" is her series.) She's been both painting up a storm, and working her way into the local "scene", since she moved down here, and it looks like that's starting to bear fruit.

#602 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 09:20 PM:

Various:

The "Mimeograph Revolution" index isn't ignoring our favorites. They're just documenting a different fandom from the one that many of us are familiar with. Although the term "little magazines" sounds pretty generic, it really means fanzines for poetry and short literary fiction. This is just the genre fic versus literary fic debate, writ small.

If you want a guide to our kind of mimeographed periodicals, I published Fanzine Directory for a few years in the 1970s. The 1976 edition alone listed 874 titles published that year, including a zine called Thangorodrim from some youngster named Patrick Hayden (sic).

The introduction defined fanzines as:

amateur publications dealing with science fiction, fantasy, comix, movies, wargames, and other overlapping interest areas. Fanzines are not "little magazines" in the usual sense of the term, altho the categories do overlap.

Guess I should put it up online. But in the meantime, free copies of the 1976 and 1977 editions are available while supplies last to Making Light readers who give me a snail mail address. The last part of my email address is acm.org and the first part has a period between the words in my name.

#603 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2009, 10:57 PM:

Wesley at 599, those are interesting. I'll probably stop by sometime this week.

#605 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2009, 01:09 AM:

Soon Lee @ #604, Pendrift @ 555, I was amused by the May 2009 review of the one originally linked to by Pendrift:

"I purchased this product 4.47 Billion Years ago and when I opened it today, it was half empty."

#606 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2009, 01:41 AM:

I caught part of the preview for the remake of The Prisonner. Not sure I'll care much for it, but I guess I'll give it a try.

#607 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2009, 02:42 AM:

Allan Beatty @602 -- yes, I know they're cataloguing something they consider different. I would be very interested in how they categorize that difference, when one can look at the amount of poetry and fiction published in mimeographed zines from well before the period they call a revolution (look, for example, at the SF/fantasy poetry journals of the early 50s, or the fiction contained in many early fanzines). The difference is only visible if one wants to make SF into something other than literature, a clueless pastime. That's why I say it's clueless, rather than evil.

I'd take you up on a copy of your list if I weren't trying to cut down on the amount of stuff I have rather than increase it. Oh well; I'm interested enough to want to see it anyway, so I'll send an e-mail in a few minutes.

#608 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2009, 04:08 AM:

Allan Beatty @602: MITSFS is mysteriously missing a copy of your index, so there will be an e-mail incoming to your inbox shortly.

#609 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2009, 06:37 AM:

#606: At the bookstore yesterday, I saw that Thomas Disch's novelization of "The Prisoner" is back in print, with a blurb something like "inspiration for the new series!"

#611 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2009, 12:37 PM:

Serge @ 606, Jon @ 609: I just checked it out on AMC's site. Intriguing. I remember being scared witless by Rover in the original series. Alas, I have only basic cable so will have to wait for the DVD.

#612 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2009, 12:49 PM:

Another open thread, another cooking question from the nerdycellist.

Since I am longer on time than money this xmas, I was going to make truffles for my family. First test batch will be made this weekend. I am going with the simplest ganache-type truffles, made with chocolate, heavy cream and flavory-booze. I chose this because I have successfully made ganache.

I know Xopher is the expert truffle-maker here - do you (or anyone else) have any hints? I'm thinking of not dipping them in chocolate this time around, since I'm worried tempering might be beyond my abilities at the moment.

#613 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2009, 01:04 PM:

Random open thread question about open threads: There was a discussion about the pros and cons of various oatmeals on an open thread a while back, but I can't find it. Does anyone remember when/where that was?

#614 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2009, 01:09 PM:

Lila @ 611... They showed Rover last night, and I'm not sure that bodes too well because, while Rover still looks like a weather balloon (because that's what the original Rover was made from), this time it looks as big as a house.

Jon Meltzer @ 609.... I have that Disch book somewhere around. As for its being the inspiration for The Prisonner's new series, we shall gently ignore that as a slightly misleading statement. As for the inspiration for the original series, it was the episode "Colony Three" of Danger Man.

#615 ::: Tim Hall ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2009, 01:35 PM:

@Summer Storms #366

I've read the "Chat Room/Forum Problem" link and the associated comment thread, it's left me wondering whether the author has his head up his own arse, or whether he's just looking for something completely different out of social networking sites like Facebook than I am.

He's got a point about forums declining over time, but the problem isn't "Endless n00bs", but grumpy old-timers who think the community 'belongs' to them and only them.

#616 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2009, 02:53 PM:

David Dyer-Bennet @ 594:
Much of the difference comes from constructing a society where having needed help doesn't limit your life forever. Right now we're in fairly bad shape on that one.

True. We (the US) also have a society that is practically phobic about preventative maintenance, or maintenance in general, for that matter. I doubt we'll get either a society that doesn't persecute those identified as "mentally ill", or one that is willing to invest in prevention and maintenance in any major area of activity, very soon.

#617 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2009, 02:55 PM:

Snail mail just came in. There was a package with goodies I'd been waiting for, one of which is my very own Transylvania Polygnostic wrench. Yay!

#618 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2009, 04:17 PM:

News found on Comcast's site:

Drunk Ewoks ruin 'Today' show
#619 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2009, 04:22 PM:

@613 -- Open thread 103 is full of oatmeal following #791


Not sure if that's the oatmeal you are looking for, though.

#620 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2009, 04:40 PM:

Re the Nancy Linton link: 2 great collections here (Cocaine Toothache Drops!) and here (Radioactive Toothpaste!).

#621 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2009, 05:06 PM:

Wesley, #599, Cool! The middle one is definitely like one of the comics, right?

David Harmon, #601, Aerial views, hmmm? Did you notice they spell her first name differently in the bit at the side from the bit under the picture?

#622 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2009, 05:32 PM:

Lila: Nice links; I notice the first one contains a primordial lolcat. (Eclectric Oil? Now there's an unusual portmanteau if I ever heard one.)

#623 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2009, 05:33 PM:

nerdycellist @612 -- in lieu of dipping your truffles, could you roll them in cocoa or shaved chocolate (either white or dark)?

#624 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2009, 05:37 PM:

Michael # 425

There is stuff to stay far, far, FAR away from, including anything labeled "Cat Star Chronicles." Calling it drek is an insult to drek.... there are good reasons why the spate of "futuristic romances" of the late 1980s and into the 1990s dropped down into a black hole--it was because most of them were stinking crap if looked at as SF, and were't that good as romances, either.... and there is a mini-resurgence. The overabundance of "oh look, the hero and/or heroine are stellar or interstellan empire kings/queens/princes/princesses and there are sword fights and... " ugh! The world building wasn't even up to laughable standards...

With the Cat Star chronicles (can't think of the author, but it's early in the alphabet) there aren't princes and princesses, but total trivilization of e.g. slavery, was but one of the things that stuck in my mind as "this is complete, utter, CRAP! What a waste of trees...."

On the other hand, there -is- stuff out there in the romance section which could sit in the SF/F section, such a the "Time Hunters' stories by either Shiloh Walker or Angela Knight. Robin Owens and "Jayne Castle" (Jayne Ann Krentz) have series that have cut-off colonies on other planets where the characters have developed psionic powers. In the Castle books there is a lost civilization on the planet which left behind extensive underground ruins, which are full of psionic traps, and which the characters frequently go down into.

Jayne Ann Krentz has said that what she writes is "romantic suspense." the plots tend to have a lot of similarity from book to book. She has three different series she is currently writing, which all actually are connected, one set in the 19th century, one in contemporary times, and the lost colony books series, all of them having paranormal elements. She has said she won't do book set in the twentieth century leading up to and during WWI and through the WWII era, that she would have to deal with the unpleasantness of the wars and what lead up to them, and she does not want to do that [source--online chats].

#625 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2009, 05:41 PM:

Paula Lieberman @ 624... Meanwhile, my wife wrote a 'futuristic' that wasn't an insult to SF and it sank like a stone.

Speaking of romance, Tim Walters got married yesterday.
That sneaky devil.

#626 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2009, 05:47 PM:

There was an public radio piece a couple years ago on the head of the House Rules Committee at the time--he was a total tyrant, holding meetings at midnight or later on bills going before the House for voting on several hours later--and what went into the bill got changed in that meeting. Then the House leaderships would demand and get an "up-down vote" -- the representatives could vote yes, no, or abstain, NO time allowed to read what was in the legislation, no discussion or debate whatsoever.

The piece of stinking shit who ran the committee said effectively, "We are a majority, we get to do anything we feel like doing. What you think is irrelevant. We have control and we are using it."

Meanwhile, the same stinking pieces of shit who played absolute tyrant games, are so hypocritically complaining and whining and roadblocking and claiming moral and ethical high ground in their protests.

They are fully adulterated hypocritical sacks of shit....

#627 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2009, 05:52 PM:

#626
That's a lot more polite than my opinion of them. (Two-thirds of my opinion can't be said on radio or television.)

#628 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2009, 06:16 PM:

#625 Serge

Which book, and when was it published? Timing can be a huge issue, also, packaging--Susan Grant's SFR novels currently out, look like police procedural romances, not SFR.... the covers that Linnea Sinclairs books are currently issued with, are second only to the revised cover of the first Charlaine Harris Sookie Stackhouse novel to make me gag.... And there's a futuristic vampires and humans in space SFR/vampire novel out by Susan (?) Sizemore with a title something like Dark Hunger, slotted in romance, which came out within the past week and a half, the cover of which provides -negative- clues that the book takes place in space and and prison facility on a planet that's not Earth....

The futuristics of the 1990s poisoned the well... Lois McMaster Bujold's books have some crossover, Catherine Asaro's have crossover sales, Sharon Lee and Steven Miller's, Linnea Sinclair's....

There are issues on both sides, there are people who actively dislike worldbuilding apparently, along with people with varying tolerances for characters' "mental masturbation" obsessing over other characters they might be falling in love with and with focusing on the other characters in their minds....

#629 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2009, 06:35 PM:

Marilee #621: I noticed and complained to them after I posted. Mom's given name is properly spelled "Etta".

#630 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2009, 06:49 PM:

Paula Lieberman @ 628... It was this one. It came out in May 2004. Maybe it was because of the War. Maybe romance readers thought it was too sophisticated, and the SF crossover readers may not have know about it. Yes, I am bitter.

#631 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2009, 07:09 PM:

Debbie @ 623 -

Since I'm going to be shipping these, I think that shaved chocolate might be a bit delicate.

I'm definitely going to be rolling my dad's Black Hole Bitter Chocolate Doom Truffle in cocoa (rather than tempering the 85% cacao - maybe I can find some cacao nibs to stud the truffles with) and I'm thinking of doing something in crushed toasted pecans/almonds/hazelnuts for whatever I make my mom (something with almond), bro (scotch? I have no idea) and SiL (coffee).

I did finally suck it up and get a kitchen scale. Happily, Sur La Table had a blue one to match my kitchen. Since my roommate's not a big chocolate person, I will be bringing the excess to work on Tuesday. Doesn't hurt to keep your employers happy!

#632 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2009, 07:45 PM:

Nerdycellist, I'll trade you nibs for your snail address. Check your LJ messages.

#633 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2009, 07:48 PM:

nerdycellist, if you're casting about for a liquor to add to your brother's ganache, I can speak very highly of the way Wild Turkey 101 interacts with chocolate. My mum's chocolate bourbon balls have been a holiday staple for time out of mind.

#634 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2009, 12:40 AM:

#527 Jenny Islander:

Transformer/human?

With what part,exactly? Trailer hitches? Tailpipes? Dipsticks?

#635 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2009, 01:57 AM:

In the realms of... whah...?

A list of forbidden kink for a kink-free slashfic community.

Paula: The House Rules Committee Chairman was David Drier. One wonders what it would have been like had his being gay (an open secret in his disctrict, which was mine for years... my opinions of him make yours look downright affectionate), not prevented him from getting DeLay's place when he was forced to step down.

For a few hours it looked like he was going to be the next Speaker.

#636 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2009, 02:14 AM:

@Erik Nelson #634:

Minds.

The premise of the series is that the "spark," the big glowy thing in the middle of the chassis, is the Cybertronian; everything else is just a way for it to interface with the physical world. Cybertronians are dimly aware of one another at all times in a purely telepathic sense--unjammable--and the thing that Cybertronians do instead of sex is essentially a mind meld. Exposure to the Allspark renders certain humans telepathic with Cybertronians and it turns out that mind melding feels darn good to a human. The Cybertronians involved in these "sparkbonds" present themselves as male while on Earth (they don't have gender, but understand that they can't go by "it" without unfortunate implications), while the human partners in the two existing interspecies sparkbonds happen to be XY.

#637 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2009, 03:11 AM:

Went to an all-you-can-eat Sausage and Sauerkraut Dinner fundraiser today. The organizers, members of a church in Verboordt OR, made NINE TONS of kraut and THIRTEEN TONS of smoked sausage. They've been doing this for seventy five years, and it shows.

Sheesh. I'm glad they only have that once a year. Eating that stuff habitually would kill me, though I might die with a big smile on my face.

* * *

I'm starting to look around for a sauerkraut bucket. Any ideas? I want to make about two heads worth.

#638 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2009, 03:37 AM:

Terry @635:

That is definitely in the realms of wha?

#639 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2009, 08:03 AM:

Terry #635: abi #638:

Hey, "wha"t's the problem? This guy wants to make a place for basic vanilla slash -- it's right there in his page title -- I just think it's sad that he's gotten so little comprehension (or co-operation) that he's had to start listing fetishes and kinks to define their absence.

#640 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2009, 08:37 AM:

To steal a line from XKCD: "Anything not on your list."

#641 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2009, 08:39 AM:

John #610: Somehow, I was expecting the date for that to be 10/9 (or perhaps, 10^9).

#642 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2009, 09:55 AM:

Terry Carney @ 635 -- At the moment, that link doesn't work for me; LJ reports that the journal has been deleted. "If you are kinkfreezone, you have a period of 30 days to decide to undelete your journal."

#643 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2009, 10:54 AM:

In #607 Tom Whitmore writes:

Allan Beatty @602 -- yes, I know they're cataloguing something they consider different. I would be very interested in how they categorize that difference, when one can look at the amount of poetry and fiction published in mimeographed zines from well before the period they call a revolution (look, for example, at the SF/fantasy poetry journals of the early 50s, or the fiction contained in many early fanzines). The difference is only visible if one wants to make SF into something other than literature, a clueless pastime. That's why I say it's clueless, rather than evil.

Lest anyone be tempted into science-fiction-chauvinism by these remarks, I wish to point out something I'm sure Tom well knows: The publication of small personal magazines goes back much further than the founding of SF fandom circa 1930.

Hand-set letterpress zines appeared in the early 19th century. The National Amateur Press Association's conventions began in 1876. Around that time the invention of the mimeograph made reproduction easier and cheaper. A subculture of "amateur journalism" flourished.

The most celebrated person I know of who participated in this hobby was H. P. Lovecraft.

When SF fandom came along, some of its adherents recognized the value of amateur journalism's customs and seized upon them. "Amateur press associations" (APAs) sprang up like weeds. (I am sure this happened with other hobbyists-- I have heard of railroad-buff APAs-- but I know little about it.)

This is why BBSs, online forums, Web sites, and blogs seemed, when they came along, like old wine in new bottles to a lot of SF fans. We already had a lively subculture exchanging our writings in the zineosphere. But we had borrowed it from an even older subculture.

Someone should point this out to the author of "An Author Index to Little Magazines of the Mimeograph Revolution." It's context.

#644 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2009, 11:21 AM:

#635 Terry

Why has that too-vile-for-a-hagfish-to-suck-on not been publically outed in the mass media? They go after Michelle Obama, Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton, and eventually even minorly attacked lame duck low favorability ratings back-now-in-Texass-maybe for getting his wife riled and alleging marriage had turned sham, but generally leave the Republicrapper hypocrites alone.... (they paid some attention to Palin but then a herd of elephants in a livingroom were easier to ignore the irregularity of, than her, um, idiosyncracies indicative of, um, social aberrance)... they went after Teddy Kennedy not as much as they featured Michael Jackson as weird and unsavory, but then nobody ever seems to have accusded Teddy Kennedy of pederasty nor hit him with a lawsuit over it either. They went after Gerry Studds and Barney Frank. And long ago there was the case of Wilbur Mills and his affair with Boston stripper Fannie Fox, which effected Wilbur Mills' downfall politically.... but the outing of hypocrite tyrant Republicraps, no, protected against all the slave labor and forced prostitution and forced abortions (that from supposedly adamant abortion-banners determined that no abortions occur no matter how many firls and women die from pregnancy complications and/or toxemic pregnancies and how "nonviable" the fertilized egg/embryo) that happened in the sweatshops protected by DeLay and others in the Marianas on US soil....

And I still want to know who Mr Guckert was visiting overnight in the White House, and how it was that the mass media left him and his cozy relationship with the White House management including his privileged position in the press corps for asking friendly questions, with no scrutiny and attention and investigation....

And what is the Schmuck doing these days, and why aren't he and Cheney and their associates in World Court on trial for crimes against humanity in breaking multiple clauses of the Geneva Convention, and US law --since nobody in the USA with the power to initiate and carry forward prosecution, seems to have any desire to do so....

#645 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2009, 11:37 AM:

Are "articles of impeachment" technically feasible for politicians who are no longer in office?

#646 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2009, 11:44 AM:

Paula Lieberman @ 644... lame duck low favorability ratings back-now-in-Texass-maybe for getting his wife riled

Riled in the Texass?
Sorry, I couldn't resist.
("Not true. You COULD have. You chose not to.")
Heheheh

#647 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2009, 11:47 AM:

645
Apparently, for stuff they did in office, yes.
(First you need to have people in Congress who are willing to go for it.)

#648 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2009, 11:49 AM:

David Harmon @ 639... vanilla slash

"I gave my love a cherry that had no stone..."

#649 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2009, 11:50 AM:

And what is the Schmuck doing these days
Motivational seminars. Srsly.

I can't see why anyone would want to go listen to that idjit, but then I'm not in his target audience.

#650 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2009, 01:00 PM:

Yesterday, I was having a chat with one of my co-workers and, when the subject of my boss's boss came up, I educated this young Mandarin man about what 'WTF' means.

#651 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2009, 01:02 PM:

David Harmon: I'll have to find the archive, but the problem is the list, when done to the rules, forbids anything which might lead to real story.

Some of the bits I recall off the top of my head: No eye contact, no one removing anyone else's clothing, no homo-social environments (follwed later by no navies, no ships; it also excludes, monasteries, convents, all stories at girls/boys schools). No one is allowed to be reluctant, no age difference, no inequities of class/station/rank. It was absurd.

Taken literally I got, "Jack and Jill met eat other, like each other, they had consensual sex of on an equal footing, and lived happily ever after." If you wanted to avoid the erotic aspects, leave out the sex.

I'm exaggerating a bit, but the list was that exhuastive. No eroticisation of clothes, no opulence, no bustles, no attention to hands/feet/arms/legs.

The mind reels. I have no problem with, "vanilla" slash, but the list, as given; and the explantion (implicit) that all those things are, "kink" was croggling.

(for those who want to see/join a discussion on it, vito_excalibur on Lj is having one, a screencap is promised.
Earl Cooley: Yes, there is no expiry on impeachment. Malfeasance is punishible so long as they are still alive. This is in part because the punishment includes exclusion from future office, and I presume, because it might not come out until after they left office.

There is even one precedent (though as I recall it, it is weak. He retired/resigned, in an attempt to avoid impeachment, and the refused to bite. I am not completely certain on the details but I do recall wishing it were more cut and dried when I was doing the research.

#652 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2009, 01:11 PM:

Terry Karney @ 651... Malfeasance is punishible so long as they are still alive

I'm not sure under which state Cthul... I mean... Cheney can be found.

#653 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2009, 01:46 PM:

#637 ::: Stefan Jones

...I'm starting to look around for a sauerkraut bucket...I want to make about two heads worth.

Gallon glass jars work well. If you can't find them, check with the kind of bar that serves pickled eggs and ask for an empty.

#654 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2009, 02:21 PM:

Worst Product Ever was worth a look -- and the comments on Amazon.com "reviewing" the product are funny as hell. Definitely worth a look.

#655 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2009, 02:25 PM:

nerdycellist -- try Sabra --it's an Israeli liqueir that is distilled from oranges, and has swiss chocolate added.

#656 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2009, 02:55 PM:

Thena @ 619: I think that's the one! Thanks!

Terry Karney @ 651: "I have no problem with, "vanilla" slash, but the list, as given; and the explantion (implicit) that all those things are, "kink" was croggling."

Everything is kink. Even vanilla. Failure to understand that is the source of much conflict.

#657 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2009, 03:23 PM:

David Harmon @639:

I don't have the slightest problem with wanting vanilla slash. None. Zero. Zip.

But when an uncircumcised penis is listed as a kink, and therefore verboten, the wha? reaction kicks in pretty strongly.

The nicest thing I can say about it is that it's stunningly provincial. The not-nice stuff, about fetishizing an unnatural state, the politics of circumcision, and so on, follows quickly on its heels.

More generally, any list that's constructed like that is doomed to failure, relentless gaming, and distraction from the story.

#658 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2009, 03:57 PM:

Abi @ 657... an uncircumcised penis is listed as a kink

'Wha?' indeed.

#659 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2009, 04:15 PM:

I just caught(*) the end of Capricorn One on TCM, after which it was mentionned that a remake is in development. Well, it has been said that one should only remake flawed movies, and this one certainly fits the description. Still, there's no frakking way I'll ever go see even an improved version of this story.

(*) Hopefully it's not contagious.

#660 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2009, 04:22 PM:

Well, there are things that become kinks only if fetishized. The page is deleted now, so I haven't seen it, but it occurs to me that fetishizing uncircumcized penises could be considered kinky.

#661 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2009, 06:12 PM:

With a list that excluding, wouldn't you inevitably end up with... Mad Libs?:

He put his _____ in her ______.

"____! _____!" she cried. "You're ______!"

"Yes," he replied, "And now I'm going to _____ your _____ until you _____!"

"Oh my ______! Your _____! It's so ______! I'm going to ______! ______! ______!!! _______!!!!!!!!!!!!"

#662 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2009, 06:23 PM:

He put his featherduster in her armpit.
"Hahahah! Heeheehee!" she cried. "You're tickling me!"
"Yes," he replied, "And now I'm going to tickle your nose until you sneeze!"
"Oh my! Your featherduster! It's so... soft! I'm going to... Ah! Ah! Aaaaaah!!! CHOO!!!!!!!!!!!!"


#663 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2009, 06:25 PM:

Personally, I have nothing against circumscribed penises.

#664 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2009, 06:28 PM:

Xopher -- abi posted a link to a captured version here.

As I understand it, the person who compiled the list went through a long list of "kink tropes" and declared that all of those elements were intrinsically kinky and therefore forbidden. She doesn't seem to grasp that, for example, although "courtesans or geishas" can be kinky, they aren't necessarily even erotic. "Games of Russian Roulette"? "Possessiveness or jealousy"?!

I'm pretty vanilla myself (I don't understand some of the things in the list) -- but I still think that the list compiler is seriously short of clues. Oh well, lock her in a room with "Ferret" -- "groping a woman's breasts isn't erotic!" -- and see what happens.

"When correctly viewed,
Everything is lewd!
I could tell you things about Peter Pan,
And the Wizard of Oz, there's a dirty old man..."

#665 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2009, 06:50 PM:

He put his metallic spheroid in her induction field.
"Please! Don't!" she cried "You're in terrible danger!"
"Yes," he replied, "And now I'm going to use your induction field to charge my device until you realize that it's what I need to save myself!"
"Oh my heavens! Your device! It's so beautiful! I'm going to chant! Gate gate paragate parasamgate! Bodhi!!! Svaha!!!!!!!!!!!!"

#666 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2009, 07:01 PM:

Terry (#635, 651), others, etc. It could be an interesting writing challenge to write within the rules. "No eye contact" sounds like a kink, tho'. Tom Lehrer, as so often, speaks pertinently in TW3's Smut.

nerdycellist (#631), others ff. There are various exciting liqueur flavours around. I can't search out the ML discussion of what alcohols go best with what chocolate. But there's always FRANGELICO … mmm …

The Prisoner remake: They must have seen DVD sales. It was one of my top Most Wanted as soon as I heard they'd started rereleasing old series. At least P McG is dead now, so he can't be hurt.

#667 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2009, 07:17 PM:

Serge @662:
Tsk tsk. Feathers aren't allowed either.

#668 ::: Jim Henry ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2009, 07:46 PM:

Michael Roberts @425: I don't think anyone has mentioned Charlotte Brontë yet. I'd strongly recommend Jane Eyre, and Villette a bit less strongly.

#669 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2009, 07:56 PM:

Pendrift @ 667... What? At long last, have you no indecency?!

#670 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2009, 08:05 PM:

Serge @ 663 ...
Personally, I have nothing against circumscribed penises.

Especially when circumscribed with a 40' cutter?

#671 ::: Jim Henry ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2009, 08:08 PM:

Michael Roberts @425: I don't think anyone has mentioned Charlotte Brontë yet. I'd strongly recommend Jane Eyre, and Villette a bit less strongly.

#672 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2009, 08:36 PM:

xeger @ 670... Ah, this brings back memories of John Wayne Bobbit.

#673 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2009, 08:39 PM:

Mez @ 666... For your enjoyment and mine, the opening credits of the original...

#674 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2009, 08:40 PM:

Rats, lost a comment. In case the partial shows up.

Grumping re: "The Prisoner" 's Rover - since when is bigger automatically scarier?

The velociraptors were far more terrifying than T-Rex in the Jurassic movies.

Scary is wicked and fast, with nowhere for the protagonist to go. You don't need to upsize the shark. Rather than the army of refrigerator-sized zombies with double-bitted axes coming down the street, for sheer pants-wetting put someone small, with a sharp little knife, right behind me.

#675 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2009, 09:07 PM:

Terry Karney #651, Abi #657, et al: ISTR from my brief scan that they did in fact make a distinction between, , "a character happens to be black" vs. black-fetishizing being the point of the story. I also recall that the phrasing suggested that the list was in (excessively-)specific response to people posting stories that she considered kinky.

I agree that the attempt at an exhaustive list of kink is futile and pretty silly (heresiarch #656 FTW there), but I felt a bit sorry for her, trying to build a forum to her tastes and not getting any takers, eventually being frustrated to near-madness.... ;-)

The real lesson is that nobody wins at rules-lawyering! Given the blog deletion, I'd guess she in fact gave up in the end.

#676 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2009, 10:37 PM:

He put his lunch in her refrigerator.

"Oh! Hello!" she cried. "You're back!"

"Yes," he replied, "And now I'm going to wash your dishes until you finish eating!"

"Oh my goodness! Your sandwich! It's so delicious! I'm going to eat it! Mmm! Yum!!! Thanks so much!!!!!!!!!!!!"

(The frightening thing is that I have the sneaking suspicion there's still a "kinky" subtext going on down there... but maybe it's just the lack of sleep.)

---------------

I've had a lovely 24 hours; I made intimate contact with Win32.Virut.56 last night, to the tune of about 1400 executables infected on my (work!!!) machine from the time I infected it to this evening, when Dr. Web Live CD, Comodo Defender+, and Malwarebytes restored it to function. (A process still a little bit underway, but (fingers crossed) seemingly complete.)

What a wonderful birthday present that was. Yeah, 43 today, and feeling every damned minute of it at the moment.

#677 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2009, 11:12 PM:

Michael Roberts @ 676... 43 today, and feeling every damned minute of it at the moment

Humph. Just wait until you turn 54, kid.
Oh, and a belated Happy Birthday.

#678 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2009, 11:47 PM:

Or, in general, 11n - 1, for n > 4?

Bah. I'm going to bed. This Advil is doing nothing. I hate f***ing virus writers.

I do wonder: the American government expends a hueueueueuge amount of money "stopping" terrorists that did nothing substantial to hurt America (I regard America's actual tribulations to be anaphylactic in nature, as I've said elsewhere), but does not one damned thing to find and harshly punish virus writers. Not a red cent.

Why is that? Viruses and other malware suck a vast amount of America's resources down the drain every year and demonstrably make our quality of life far lower. Mine, anyway, today.

I have plenty of cynical answers; I'm not sure cynicism is really what I'm looking for. Are the powers that be really so divorced from modern reality? When you step back and think about it, that's more than a little scary.

Speaking of scary, the best part of my birthday weekend is that I got to ride along on my daughter's flight lesson. It was her fourth lesson; the plane was a four-seater, and she did steep banking turns, wherein one tilts the plane at a 45 degree angle and goes in a 360 degree circle. At random points in the circle, the instructor says, "Watch out, the nose is a little low" and then you can swallow your stomach as the sudden lurch reminds you what a fragile tinfoil construction is currently holding you suspended 3500 feet above the Indiana countryside.

It was marvelous. I got some good pictures of various small towns I grew up in and around. I'd never been in a small plane before; you can see all around you and forwards; you're really just hanging up there in the sky. I really and truly enjoyed it.

#679 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2009, 12:00 AM:

At Alpha this year, Greg Frost did a two-part exercise in which he asked students to write a sex scene over lunch, then, before his next lecture, gave them two or three minutes to write down as many nouns and verbs pertaining to the kitchen as possible*.
He then had them swap all the nouns and verbs from the scene for nouns and verbs from the list.

Mealtimes got a little weird after that.


*I didn't write a sex scene, but my kitchen list included, "knife, knife block, big choppy knife, paring knife, bread knife, steak knife, butter knife," and, "waffle waffle waffle".

#680 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2009, 12:57 AM:

Michael, happy (somewhat belated) birthday. I've got a couple of years on you, but I know what you mean.

#681 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2009, 01:51 AM:

nerdycellist #631: Your ideas for coatings sound delicious. I've only dipped chocolates in a class, and I'm reluctant to try it at home unless there are two of us -- one to stir and constantly monitor temperature, while the other makes the truffles. I always just roll mine in cocoa powder with a little powdered sugar or maybe cinnamon stirred in.

My theory is that one should go cheap on the booze, when adding it to chocolate or using it for baking. The chocolate itself is adding lots of luscious flavor. I'm dubious that the more subtle flavors from the liquor come through. I assume the main contribution is the volatile alcohol delighting the nose. I use Brandy rather than cognac. No-name amaretto instead of the fancy label. The cheapest kind of Grand Marnier, for that brandy + orange. If anyone has done a side-by-side to disprove this, I'd love to hear about it.

Just to be inconsistent, I was shocked when Cooks Illustrated did a taste test, and said that people can't tell the difference between different brands of vanilla extract in baked goods. I still buy the good stuff, because I love the way it smells when I pour it into the measuring spoon, and it does go into some things that aren't heated much.

#682 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2009, 02:46 PM:

I had read that Cooks Illustrated and regarded it with ears plugged, chanting "I can't hear you!!" because I refuse to believe that I could be fooled by fake vanilla. And yet - it was CI, they're pretty scientific about it so they must be right. Regardless, the fake stuff is forbidden in the house, for the same reason you cite.

Phase 1 of Truffle Test Batch is complete. The ganache is chilling in the fridge. I went with dark rum as the flavoring agent, as I seem to not have any Baileys, I don't have bourbon, my roommate won't eat kahlua ones, and I couldn't get my triple sec open. I almost used frangelico, but I'm going to be rolling these in crushed toasted pecans, and I didn't want there to be nut confusion. I took a big whiff of the chopped chocolate and then the rum, and it smelled good to me. We'll see how they turn out after dinner.

#683 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2009, 03:29 PM:

*wishing wistfully for some non-alcoholic truffles*

Also, open threadiness: Pat Robertson says all other religions worship demonic powers.
Right out there in words of one or two syllables. This is why there can be no tolerance of his position, or of those who espouse it. Tolerance is a two-way street that involves compromise, and they will not accept anything but complete, unconditional surrender.

#684 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2009, 04:04 PM:

Lee #683: Amen! (so to speak. ;-) )

My own open-threadiness: Today I baked my first loaf of bread in some 15 years! (Not counting a brief fling with a bread machine. Not the same!)

It came out edible, though not perfect -- looks (and tastes) like I didn't put enough salt in. Well, that's one reason I only did one loaf for starters (also, I only had one pound of flour on hand ;-) ). This begins my getting in practice for Thanksgiving, as I've been requested to provide fresh bread for the family's dinner.

#685 ::: AR ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2009, 05:43 PM:

I have the crock from a round 5-qt slow cooker that has nothing to do, since its heating unit died. Could I make sauerkraut in this? It would be my first attempt, so I'd also like to know how you can tell if homemade 'kraut is safe to eat.

#686 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2009, 05:52 PM:

"Demonic powers"? So, he admits to being a polytheist?

#687 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2009, 05:59 PM:

geekosaur @ 686:

No, since, according to Christian theology, demons are demons, not gods.

#688 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2009, 06:09 PM:

Xopher @ 665:

Ah, aut-om-ation.

#689 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2009, 06:29 PM:

Michael Roberts @ 678:

I believe that the FBI has done some investigation of virus writers, and even caught one or two, but that's not a high priority for them¹. The reason there are no broad multi-agency operations in this area is that there's an ongoing turf war over who runs cyberwarfare and anti-cyberwarfare operations. The Air Force CyberCommand has staked out turf, and is battling DHS (which hasn't a clue, but won't let go of the security theater potential), the FBI, and NSA (which doesn't want cyberespionage grabbed up by anyone else). Only Cybercommand and NSA have any inhouse expertise².

1. My cynical read of the reason for that is that they know they don't have the expertise to have a lot of success at catching them (and that many of them aren't in places where the FBI can catch or extradite them), and that senior management is quite pleased with the PR they've gotten from going after terrorists and pedophiles, and doesn't want to take resources from those efforts.

None of these organizations seems to understand the need or the requirements for dealing with black hat activities on the internet, based on their public statements about what they would do with the money they're asking for.

2. AFAIK FBI computer people are largely either forensic or experienced at hunting people down on the internet rather than dealing with viruses, malware, and botnets, though they keep trying to grab mindshare over botnets. NSA is experienced in analyzing net activity and overhearing everything anyone says anywhere, but they don't do cyberwarfare or anti-cyberwarfare, at least to hear them tell the story. CIA seems to be very busy refuting the accusation that they have seriously skimped on HUMINT.

#690 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2009, 07:30 PM:

Re: Lee @ 683 -- Okay, either Robertson is confused, or I am. I thought that Allah, worshipped by Moslems, was the same deity as worshipped by Jews (JHWH of Torah/OT) and Christians (Robertson's Jehovah God of the Bible), though with different practises and different names.

#691 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2009, 07:44 PM:

Joel, #690: You're correct. But remember, some of Robertson's core audience don't consider Catholics to be Christians!

On a much lighter note: Totonto Star editor strikes back against outsourcing.
Should send shivers of glee down any good editor's spine!

#692 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2009, 08:56 PM:

It is clear that Pat Robertson wouldn't get this joke. But then it is clear that he isn't that familiar with the Bible either, and that quote of his sounds like something from the "use only the King James version, if it was good enough for Jesus, it is good enough for us" crowd. ISTR that the name Jehovah isn't used in the New Testament, and is, of course, only one of the names of God in the Old Testament.

#693 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2009, 09:38 PM:

John, 692: *I* don't get the joke! What is it?

#694 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2009, 09:39 PM:

Truffle report:

When rolling out truffles, it's best to make peace with the fact that you will get chocolate all over your hands (and possibly face if you're not careful). Also, do not be alarmed at what a freshly rolled ball of ganache covered in nuts looks like.

The truffles came out very dark (deliciously dark) which is not surprising as I used about 5 oz of 72% cacao and 3 oz of 60%. The rum flavor is very distinct. I will probably go with mostly 60% for everyone but my dad, who would probably eat cocoa straight out of the can if he could.

I will also have to make them about half the size they are now. I was barely able to eat one. Next batch will be the recipe that involves eggs.

#695 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2009, 09:39 PM:

In case our honoured hostess isn't already inundated with this story:

No laughing matter: Father with rare condition collapses if he chuckles too hard
About Mike Hallowell, paranormal expert from South Tyneside.
In the comments, a woman from Florida says she has the effect too.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1226342/No-laughing-matter-Father-rare-condition-collapses-chuckles-hard.html

#696 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2009, 09:43 PM:

I was rather surprised today to realize how little a dove bleeds even after Agatha the Cat Genius has ripped and eaten its head off. Maybe she had just finished licking the blood. What also surprises me is how such a small and dainty cat can stay small and dainty in spite of all those avians she's ingested.

#697 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2009, 09:47 PM:

Lee @ 691:

Oh my. I hope that editor gets a big, fat bonus.

TexAnne @ 693:

Vs gurl'er va urnira, gurl pna'g or gur jebat eryvtvba, fb jul abg cvpx gur fubegre yvar? Nygreangviryl, whqtvat ol gung yvar, gurl nyy guvax gurl'er gur evtug eryvtvba, ohg gurl cebonoyl nera'g nyy bs gur fnzr eryvtvba naq lrg gurl'er nyy gurer gbtrgure naljnl.

#698 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2009, 09:52 PM:

In case our honoured hostess isn't already inundated with this story:

No laughing matter: Father with rare condition collapses if he chuckles too hard
About Mike Hallowell, paranormal expert from South Tyneside.
In the comments, a woman from Florida says she has the effect too.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1226342/No-laughing-matter-Father-rare-condition-collapses-chuckles-hard.html

#699 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2009, 10:07 PM:

Is there an echo in here? … hear?ear?

#700 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2009, 10:21 PM:

Keith, 697: I didn't think it would be that obvious. Thanks.

#701 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2009, 11:20 PM:

@696, Serge: I have been the unfortunate savior of bird brains that keep flying into crevices in buildings where I am. The most recent was a young female towhee, I think, and it crashed around my kitchen doing about as much damage as a 3-point earthquake centered in Hollister (that is, not much, but enough to be annoying). To get to the point, my cat just sat there and kvetched at me about his peace being disturbed, or maybe he wanted me to catch it and serve it to him.

It took all night and part of the morning to get the little creep to fly out the inviting open windows instead of down behind my stove or between various toolboxes in the back room.

#702 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2009, 11:34 PM:

nerdycellist:

When rolling out truffles, it's best to make peace with the fact that you will get chocolate all over your hands (and possibly face if you're not careful). Also, do not be alarmed at what a freshly rolled ball of ganache covered in nuts looks like.

I make truffles from time to time. I get people begging me to do it again each time. Unfortunately it takes about two hours for the truffles and three to clean the kitchen and launder the towels (keeping my hands cold enough to roll the truffles always seems to take more ice and more towels than you think will be necessary at the time) and nobody wants to offer to be on the cleanup crew so I tend to say "The hell with it." I hope you've got a better process!

#703 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2009, 11:34 PM:

Lucy Kemnitzer @ 701... They don't call them bird-brains for nothing, eh? As for their running into buildings... We used to have our bird feeder closer to the house, but after a few doves dove down from uphill, missed the feeder and broke their necks against the house, we decided to relocated the feeder further up and away. Every once in a while, we still hear a whump, but, when I look outside, there's nothing but a dusty circle against the window. I have this image of a bird walking away with stars circling around its head and its holding a compress to its head.

#704 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2009, 11:41 PM:

703: When the doves dove, did the flies fly? Did the ducks duck?

#705 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2009, 11:46 PM:

Eric Nelson @ 704... Did the hawk hawk its wares?

#706 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2009, 12:02 AM:

Lee @683 and the Pat Robertson topic in general: Obama expressed this beautifully in a speech during the campaign. Religion is about absolutes. Communities -- including politics -- are about compromise. Never the twain shall meet.

#707 ::: Edgar lo Siento ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2009, 10:06 AM:

This amused me, in the midst of a discussion on Steven Brust's site, regarding the #donatebuttonFAIL: GWW said:

I think you should market Vlad Taltos brand knives.

When you just have to stab someone in the eye, make it a Taltos.

#708 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2009, 10:27 AM:

TexAnne@693: The joke, surely, is that both doors are entrances to heaven. The "right" vs. "wrong" religion distinction is a purely human imposition.

#709 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2009, 10:46 AM:

Brace yourselves, folks, because this link is about to rock your world:

Scenes From An Alternate Universe Where The Beatles Accepted Lorne Michaels’ Generous Offer

Wow. I'm not even much of a Beatles fan and that gave me goosebumps...

#710 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2009, 10:58 AM:

Edgar Io Siento @ 707... When you just have to stab someone in the eye, make it a Taltos.

Things sure have changed, since the Three Stooges.

#711 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2009, 11:17 AM:

Skwid #709: All I can say is "wow"! That's a well-thought-out alternative history.

#712 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2009, 11:34 AM:

AR: I just put up my first kraut of the season. You can tell if it's safe to eat by smell. If it's rank, don't eat it.

The crock should be more than adequate. I gave a lesson while I was putting mine up, and the student used just such a container (I have a specially made kraut put, with a purpose built lid. Maia made it for me a few years ago, it holds two heads of cabbage).

The important thing is to have a "following" lid, so the kraut stays below the surface of the brine. If you want to be certain find some fresh kraut (upscale supermarkets, or farmers' markets have them), and pour in a small amount of that brine.

The technique is dead simple. Cabbage, kosher salt (because it melts quickly, and isn't iodized). Layer of cabbage, sprinkle of salt (with a moderate hand, you want a brine of 7-10 percent), press flat (hard enough to feel the cabbage give a little, you want to break up some of the structure. Repeat until the crock is mostly full. Leave the lid pressing. If the cabbage hasn't covered itself with juice, add a little water (give it a day). Keep in a cool place (not more than about 74°F) for 2-3 weeks. After that you can start to sample. When you like it, eat. Save some of the brine for the next batch.

Texanne: "In my Father's house are many doors." There is, per the theology of that cartoon no, "right religions", and it's certainly the case (per the apparent theology of the cartoon) they are not all of the same religion; but they all use the same door.

re CI and vanilla: They are not infallible, and there is more to the joy of cooking than the end result. If it were akin to the difference in Saffron prices (between 6-64 dollars (US) per half gram), them I might care more.

But the prices on vanilla? And there are some things in which it's really obvious, so why spend the money to use the cheap stuff when I'm only using it every so often? Maybe when I'm making 40 dozen spritz for the holidays, but other than that?

Vanilla also improves with age, so I tend to buy it in bunches of 6, and then use that until it's gone. The imitation stuff goes stale (to my taste).

#713 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2009, 12:18 PM:

Open Threadiness: LiveJournal is down for the count. In addition to not being able to see my favorites, I'm unable to see the newest one of Teresa's Sidelights. Maybe it'll be fixed by the time I get back tonight.

#714 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2009, 12:23 PM:

I can't get into my LJ blog either. Curses!

#715 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2009, 12:36 PM:

janetl 706: Religion is about absolutes.

May I, in the gentlest and friendliest possible way, encourage you to speak for yourself only? There are absolutes in my religion (as long as "question everything but your own fallibility" counts), but it's not "about" them.

John 692 (and subsequent discussion): Hmm. If after my death I experience walking up to a gate like that, with winged and haloed angels watching in the background, I will certainly go to the "Wrong Religion Entrance," since it's not at all what my religion leads me to expect! So to do otherwise would be deceitful. Besides, if I break out of the line, maybe it will encourage others, leading to faster Heaven-uptake for all.

I think Pat Robertson thinks the "Wrong Religion Entrance" has a trap door just inside that leads straight to the Lake O'Fire™.

#716 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2009, 12:53 PM:

Xopher @ 715... If after my death I experience walking up to a gate like that, with winged and haloed angels watching in the background

...and James Mason & Buck Henry in the foreground?

#717 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2009, 01:18 PM:

Serge 716: [*]?

#718 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2009, 01:29 PM:

Xopher @ 717... 1978's "Heaven Can Wait"

#719 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2009, 01:33 PM:

In other news, I've been informed that my position is being discontinued as of mid-February. I get a fairly nice severance package beyond that, but only if I stay through the February date, which I think I will.

Since other people in this company have been laid off on a "clean out your desk right now" basis, I'm somewhat relieved. Also, since I knew this was likely, it's actually kind of nice to know the exact shape of it.

I'm not going to start aggressively jobhunting yet. The severance package is good enough that starting a new job prior to the official end date would be a significant financial disadvantage to me. Besides, November and December aren't exactly famous for being good times to jobhunt.

If it weren't a truly rotten time to sell a condo, I'd be considering moving to a less blighted part of the world. I happen to know there will be positions opening up in Toronto for someone exactly like me, for example (they're "on-shoring" my group, so all the US people are out and Toronto is hiring)!

#720 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2009, 01:56 PM:

LJ appears to be back up, at least for me.

#721 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2009, 02:31 PM:

@janetl #706: "Never the twain shall meet?" I am trying to imagine my husband standing up and saying that at the next parish vestry meeting. I think our priest would respond with hysterical laughter. Religion _exists in_ community; if it doesn't it's either a dead thing of outward forms or a destructive cult. A very large chunk of the Christian New Testament, for example, is a record of ways in which the twain are made to meet.

#722 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2009, 02:32 PM:

Looking at Patrick's Milwaukee v. Almería sidelight, I'm struck by its basic soundness. It's something I've thought about, though the US city I live in is Atlanta, and the Spanish cities I contrast it with are not in the sunny south but the rainy northwest. They do put their cars in cramped (and I mean cramped) underground garages. Those can be very convenient, though; I've only ever walked the last few hundred metres of the camiño de Santiago (the last time just after the end of the Xacobeo, so the Porta Santa was closed) from the underground car park on Avenida Xoán XXIII to the Praza do Obradoiro.

#723 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2009, 02:39 PM:

Xopher @719:
If after my death I experience walking up to a gate like that, with winged and haloed angels watching in the background, I will certainly go to the "Wrong Religion Entrance," since it's not at all what my religion leads me to expect!

I'm sure it would look completely different to you. You might also find that both entrances were so labeled, just to make it easy for you!

And @719:

Not a good market to rent out either?

Keep us posted.

#724 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2009, 02:45 PM:

That stinks about your job, Xopher, though it's good that you don't have to aggressively jobhunt. I spent some months after my paychecks ended not so much jobsearching as feeling guilty about not doing it-- I had the savings for it. Now I'm down to half my savings, so I'm applying myself more.

#725 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2009, 02:52 PM:

abi 723: If it's a gate at all, it would be somewhat unexpected. If I find myself in a boat propelled by the sound of drums over a sunless sea to an island covered with apple trees, and met on the shore by a Lady in white, I'll be surprised that it was so exactly like what I expected. In fact...I don't expect to get it quite that right, so I guess I should just be ready to be surprised by whatever happens!

And no, not a good rental market at the moment. My friends down the block have two 3BR apartments and are having trouble renting them for a mere $2000/mo, which is dead cheap here.

#726 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2009, 02:53 PM:

janetl @ 706... "Never the twain shall meet?"

Unless the rumors of his death have again been greatly exaggerated, I'm not likely to meet him.

#727 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2009, 02:56 PM:

Fragano @722:

That pattern of city-visiting works in the Netherlands, too, though the car parks aren't generally underground. Most city centers are pedestrianized, so you park in a car park and do all your stuff afoot (if you must drive to the city in the first place).

Martin and I were talking about this last weekend, more in regard to city planning in the UK vs the Netherlands. The Dutch still don't do much out-of-town shopping; there are a couple of mall-type areas in Amsterdam (Arena, for instance), and Ikeas tend to be out of town, but most shopping is done in pedestrianized districts with houses above the shops, or even from street markets.

more generally:

There are layers of Catch-22 around walking. For instance, half the population of the city (women) won't want to walk for half the time (when it's dark) unless there's a sufficient density of population and lighting to make them feel safe. But, was with cycling, getting the critical mass to make them safe is very difficult to do, because it's dangerous.

Likewise, there's no interest in creating pedestrian-friendly areas unless there are pedestrians who will go there. And no one walks in cities without pedestrian-friendly areas.

Personally, I think the zoning laws need to change. We need more mixed residential and shopping districts, for instance, so that local residents form the seed population of foot traffic.

#728 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2009, 03:41 PM:

Conmiserations and good luck, Xopher.

#729 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2009, 03:45 PM:

The user-submitted images for the Worst Product Ever Sidelight are awesome.

#730 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2009, 03:59 PM:

Best wishes, Xopher.

#731 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2009, 04:09 PM:

Xopher @ 719:

It's always a whole lot nicer to know than to be left wondering. I hope everything works out well for you.

abi @ 727:

This is one of the reasons that Los Angeles is not one of my favorite cities. Lots of other big cities I've been to—and even the not-so-big ones—have been people-oriented. Commercial and residential are mixed together, or even in the same building. They're walkable, and there is good public transport. Los Angeles, in my experience, not so much.

(If I'm missing some area of LA that's really awesome and actually works as a people-oriented city, please do correct me.)

#732 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2009, 04:28 PM:

Skwid @709: That Beatles sidenote is indeed an amazing bit of alternate history.

#733 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2009, 05:57 PM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @531: Hm. That Bujold line must drop into a different psychic stew for you than it does for me.

I read this as an example of how different Psychological Disturbances can mingle and intermix. Like the way people will actually volutarily consume capsaicin and find it good, or how cutting can relieve pain.

I dunno. Maybe I'm just not all that horrified by my inner base archetypes. Care (dare?) to elaborate?

#734 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2009, 06:10 PM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @534: Be of peace. Wasn't a spoiler for me. (I've read Mirror Dance at least twice.) And I think your evaluation is correct that the line in question is sufficiently context-dependent to be safe in isolation.

But as said elsewhere, Rot-13 is a local custom.

#735 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2009, 06:30 PM:

Xopher @ 719:

My sympathies. I'm glad you got some notice and decent severance; that can make all the difference in finding a new job before the money starts to run out. I hope you're getting COBRA coverage that doesn't cost too much; medical care has been the big problem for everyone I know who's been laid off this year.

I finally threw in the towel, myself, and got out of the workforce. My first Social Security check came a couple of weeks ago. Now I just have to hold on for another year and a half before I can get Medicare.

#736 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2009, 06:55 PM:

Lucy Kemnitzer @553: Around here, all sweet potatoes are called yams indiscriminately. Yams are also yams, when you can find them.

Cogito ergo spud: "I think, therefore, I yam."

Also, as to turnip trolling: foo.

[hangs head] I know.

orange cauliflower: !!? There is such a thing? Is it actually, like, orange?

#737 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2009, 07:07 PM:

Jacque @ 736:

In the store here I've seen the standard white, as well as orange, green, and purple cauliflowers. The orange ones tend to look orange or yellowish-orange.

Doing a search for orange cauliflower leads to pictures, as well as websites claiming that they have some sort of nutritional advantage over the standard, white variety.

#738 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2009, 07:23 PM:

Oh, for Cripe's Sake:

Marine reservist attacked Greek priest he mistook for terrorist

TAMPA — A Marine reservist armed with a tire iron beat and chased a man he thought was an Arab terrorist and even called 911 to say he was detaining the man, police said.

But the man he assaulted was actually a Greek Orthodox priest visiting from overseas who spoke limited English, police said.

That's why police arrested reservist Jasen D. Bruce on a charge of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

Police said they're also investigating whether Bruce, 28, committed a hate crime.

The incident took place around 6:35 p.m. Monday, police said. The priest, Alexios Marakis, 29, is from Crete, Greece. He is visiting St. Nicholas Greek Cathedral at 17 E Tarpon Ave. but police said he was in the Westshore area to bless another retired Greek priest.

But Marakis apparently got lost and exited northbound Interstate 275 into downtown Tampa, police said.

The priest followed several cars into the Seaport Channelside Apartments on Twiggs Street. He got out of his car and asked Bruce for help.

Instead of offering help, Bruce struck the priest on the head with a tire iron, police said.

He then chased the priest for three blocks to the Madison Avenue and Meridian Avenue, police said, and even called 911 to say that an Arabic man tried to rob him.

Bruce said he was going to take the Arab into custody. When police arrived, Bruce told them the victim was a terrorist.

#739 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2009, 07:40 PM:

abi #727: You can find big box stores in Spain (Carrefour comes to mind). One of the differences between Europe (writ broadly) and the US, though, has been the survival (so far) of the high street in Europe, even in the face of the big box store and the mall. This seems to me a much more human experience than the American one.

I take your point about women being worried about being out after dark except in places that are well-lit.

#740 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2009, 07:45 PM:

KeithS @737: websites claiming that they have some sort of nutritional advantage over the standard, white variety.

Well, that would make sense. Plants with more intense colors as a general rule have more nutrition. Leastways, that's the current conventional wisdom, and I'm inclined to believe it.

An easy way to make a broadly nutritious meal is to include as many different (natural!) colors as you can find. (No, xmas candy doesn't count.)

#741 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2009, 08:21 PM:

AR, #685, I don't think so. The instructions on how to make sauerkraut in the WashPost specify a much larger container.

janetl, #706, if Obama really believes that, why did he attend a Christian memorial service at Ft. Hood today? He mentioned god, and a soldier sang "Amazing Grace," but another soldier read from the bible and preached a sermon. I wonder if the non-Christians at the base were required to go to that service. Were there other services for non-Christians and were they as elaborate? No wonder a Muslim soldier felt harassed.

Xopher, #719, I'm glad your layoff can be handled well.

#742 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2009, 09:33 PM:

abi, Fragano, Laterally. As tourists back in 1990s, we worked out that there seemed to be Tourist Shopping Malls a little outside town, with room for coach parking. They'd pull up and choof you all out for a couple (or fewer) hours to eat, shop and 'ablute'.

Once we twigged, we'd use 'facilities' then set off for high street to find food, shopping and general wandering-through experience. Luckily, most were close enough and had maps or signposts. We were never sure if the local inhabitants were happy to keep most of the teeming hordes at a distance, or would have liked better passing trade to support their own shops.

For people shopping in their own area, I remember a very big supermarket at a large French town or city, part of a chain. There's been publicity about Mall-style developments in the UK, but beyond that, I've no experience.

Xopher: may Fortuna, Imperatrix Mundi, look kindly your way, and spread her beneficence to the other fluorosphericals in need of it.

#743 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2009, 09:51 PM:

#742
The only mall-type development I met in the UK (1979) was Victoria Market in Nottingham, which actually has a fairly traditional market in it. It's more sort-of-a-mall than the US kind, which made it interesting to me. (The 'Time Fountain' was worth seeing; get there early enough and you can watch it open, literally.)

#744 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2009, 10:25 PM:

Keith 737: Doing a search for orange cauliflower leads to pictures, as well as websites claiming that they have some sort of nutritional advantage over the standard, white variety.

I understand that the orange cauliflower was specifically bred to be rich in carotene (a vitamin A precursor).

To everyone who's been wishing me well about my layoff, thank you very much. I'm eating a huge bowl of ice cream!

#745 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2009, 10:38 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 738:

Right. This is what I feared when I heard about the Ft. Hood shootings: some moron would scream "Terrorist!" and attack the first person with dark skin and a beard in sight. I was hoping I was wrong.

And in our own backyard, another workplace shooting: Gunman kills woman at Tualatin lab, injures two before killing himself. This spate of shootings reminds me too much of "Stand on Zanzibar", which Ken MacLeod reminds us in the "Radical Presentism" thread takes place in 2010.

#746 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2009, 10:49 PM:

Jacque:

Maybe I'm just not all that horrified by my inner base archetypes. Care (dare?) to elaborate?

This isn't quite what I had in mind but it's close enough: read the paragraph just above the picture of Sian Phillips.

#747 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2009, 10:51 PM:

Xopher: Best wishes! It happened to me, too.

Ideally, it's a chance to do what you really want to do instead of losing the hours of your life to those people.

#748 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 01:18 AM:

PJ Evans @743:

Sadly, the UK has come down with an epidemic of malls and out of town shopping centres, and they're widely perceived as destroying both the traditional high street and village shops. Combine that with the gradual degradation of rural bus schedules and the slow strangling of the train network, and fewer and fewer people outwith the big cities can exist without a car. Even car-free urbanites will find their style seriously cramped; you have to be poor or a fanatic to want to live without a motor vehicle of your very own. It's a matter of great controversy, but no one seems to have figured out how to reverse it. It turns out that people moan about going to big malls, but they do go. They moan about traffic, but only the poor take the bus (when there is a bus).

I have my own view about shopping in Britain. When I left, there were too many branches of too few chains, so that every high street looked exactly alike: Boots, Superdrug, McColl's, Marks & Spencer, Tesco, HMV, Waterstone's, Carphone Warehouse, Body Shop, New Look, Clark's, yawn, yawn*. The country was turning into less of a nation of shopkeepers and more of a nation of shop assistants.

I don't know what the economic crisis will have done to that, but I fear that it's simply shut chains down (Woolie's) and left nothing in their place, since the chains killed the culture where people started, and shopped in, local businesses.

Good thing I left. I was well on my way to being a curmudgeon.

-----
* It hit me the most strongly when I went back to St Andrews, where I'd spent a year studying, after about a decade away. Almost every interesting or unique business I remembered had been replaced by another outpost of British mercantile uniformity.

#749 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 01:19 AM:

You can taste the nutritional advantage in the orange cauliflower. It tastes like the cauliflower that cauliflower lovers are talking about when they talk about the heavenliness of cauliflower.


You know, carrots used to be white, too, before somebody got wise.


Oh, and purple cauliflower is disappointing in taste, as is romanesco, which is so beautiful you can almost forgive it.

#750 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 01:23 AM:

Xopher -

The job loss and severance sounds like either the worst best thing, or the best worst thing that could happen. Here's hoping the timing of your next job coincides with your need for it.

The dinosaurs and sex Particle -

Not two days ago a "friend" (I'm not sure I can use that without scare quotes anymore) exhorted me to google "Pterodactyl" and "Porn" and click on the first link that came up. I had no idea there were people with pterodactyl menage fetishes. I do wish I could un-see.

Truffles -

Took the batch in to work and invited a few co-workers to sample. There are two left (and those only because I hid them in a decoy cottage cheese container in the fridge). Much positive feedback. Only now I'm wondering if there's any way to dip them in "mockolate" that's not going to suck. I'd still like a shell to offer a little resistance in the bite, but I lack the patience to temper. I saw one "recipe" that involved 1.5 cups of choc chips and a couple Ts of shortening. Anyone know if that would work? Alternatively, do any "dipping compounds" not suck?

#751 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 01:59 AM:

Could somebody who is better at parsing the language of bills explain something to me? I mean, we've got two problems, right: people who can't get health insurance because nobody will insure them (or because they just got dropped for the high crime of needing to use their policy), and people who would love to have health insurance only they need that money to avoid freezing/starving/whatever. Is the health care reform bill seriously intended to solve these problems by forcing people to buy health insurance on pain of heavy fines? Please tell me I'm missing something here. It sounds like legislation written to address a burning issue in some other dimension where the people are entirely different.

#752 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 02:41 AM:

I've had our TV set to the "Singers & Swing" music channel. Bits of info about the musicians are often displayed in the background. This morning, when they had something by trumpeter Larry Clinton, one such tidbit mentionned that, when he retired, he took to writing articles about science-fiction. I wonder if that was their way of saying he wrote for fanzines.

#753 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 02:45 AM:

abi @ 748... every high street looked exactly alike: Boots, Superdrug, McColl's, Marks & Spencer, Tesco

Did you say Tesco?

#754 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 02:50 AM:

abi @ 748... Good thing I left. I was well on my way to being a curmudgeon.

"Tonight's show of Magic & Mystery will have Abi Sutherland turn into Edward Asner's Lou Grant before your very eyes!!!"

#755 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 07:17 AM:

"America's newest toy craze" : mechanical hamsters.

#756 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 07:30 AM:

#751: and add the third problem - people that have " health insurance", but find when they need it that it doesn't cover anything.

#757 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 08:03 AM:

Jon Meltzer @ 755... Coming soon on the Cartoon Network, "Mechamsters"!!!

#758 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 09:04 AM:

Jenny Islander@751

There are also some subsidies that are intended to make health insurance more affordable for those in the "want but can't afford" category and other provisions intended to make health insurance more available for the "can't get" category.

The mandate is aimed at lowering the average insurance costs by bringing the "I'm healthy so I don't really NEED health insurance" and the "haven't ever gotten around to signing up" categories into the system.

#759 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 09:30 AM:

Michael @758 - I'm pretty sure the mandate is aimed at making sure the insurance industry has plenty of money. Because I honestly don't think that the "I'm healthy" and "haven't gotten around" groups are significantly large, whereas the "got screwed over by the insurance companies" and "am really hungry" groups easily outweigh them.

Forgive my cynicism, though; the virus attack on the weekend actually defeated me. First time ever. I wrote something like a blow-by-blow on the house blog (that seems to be where I post everything these days).

#760 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 10:00 AM:

Michael Roberts @759: something like 60% of under-30 Americans don't carry insurance. The 40% that do are generally either on their parents', or employed in a generous industry that gives good benefits even to fairly starting-level employees.

The most useful aspect of 'everyone buys' that I can see is making the risk-pools bigger -- and the point (I thought) of the new 'exchange' methods and the public option was to attempt to move the buying-individual-insurance people into a risk-pool the size of their state's buying-indiv-insurance population, which would DRASTICALLY lower the premiums, because you're amortizing over many more people, only some of whom are 'proven unhealthy'.

Mind, what I think the purposes of the changes are and what the legislators think the purpose is could easily be two wildly-divergent things, but there are an awful lot of young-and-healthy people going without insurance.

I would've been one of them, except that he who is now my husband got a civil-service job right out of college.

#761 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 10:19 AM:

Step right here for what Scott Wegner, artist on Atomic Robo, has to say about our country's health coverage - or lack of it for some.

If I’m diagnosed with cancer in 2010 I will die. It’s as simple as that.
#762 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 10:39 AM:

abi @ 748:

I could already see the beginnings of larger shopping centers when I was in England. Supermarkets were coming into their own, and I know there were some rather large ASDAs being set up outside of London. (Aren't they owned by Walmart these days?) I think Tesco's getting in on the act too, from what I've heard.

The closest mall to us was in Kingston upon Thames, but the way things were set up there seemed to strike the right balance. There is parking there, good bus service, and it's quite near residential areas as well. The main shopping area is completely pedestrian, with more stores in the surrounding area, and there was an open-air market in one of the side-streets there every week.

Of course, I haven't been back in about eight years, so I don't know how much this has changed.

nerdycellist @ 750:

I once saw a rather lackluster video along flying reptile fetish lines. (This might have been what you found, but I'm not somewhere I particularly want to do that search.) It was oddly humorous and kind of sad at the same time, and it also involved a very sorry-looking hand puppet.

Serge @ 757:

Coming soon to Sci-Fi SyFy, Mechahamster vs. Giant Cavy.

#763 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 11:00 AM:

KeithS @ 762... Based on a little-known SF story by Earnest Lemmingway?

#764 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 11:12 AM:

Xopher (715), Jenny Island (721), and Marilee (741): I'm sorry. I did a short post on a touchy subject without being very clear, and not thinking very clearly.

By "never the twain shall meet", I mean Absolutes and Community. An example of a community failing due to absolutes would be a congregation fracturing along the lines of scriptural interpretation.

I do tend to think that religion is about absolutes, perhaps because I was raised Catholic in an earlier age, and I will try harder to shake this off. Four years in convent boarding school leaves a mark.

Marilee, I also wish politicians didn't spend so much time at religious ceremonies. I do think it's a long way from speaking at one, and legislating on the basis on one religion's teaching, which is what Obama was talking about in the speech that I linked to.

#765 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 11:19 AM:

nerdycellist 750: Here's hoping the timing of your next job coincides with your need for it.

Thanks! That's the hope, all right. Ideally I would start my new job March 1, but I don't expect things to go ideally.

Only now I'm wondering if there's any way to dip them in "mockolate" that's not going to suck. I'd still like a shell to offer a little resistance in the bite, but I lack the patience to temper. ... Anyone know if that would work? Alternatively, do any "dipping compounds" not suck?

I have a tempering machine, because I lack the neurology to temper, so I haven't tried it, but Chocoley.com sells a no-tempering chocolate they call by the to-me-inexplicable name of Bada Bing Bada Boom Dipping & Enrobing Formula. I don't know if it's any good, but I've bought other things from Chocoley and everything has been of the highest quality.

#766 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 12:41 PM:

abi, #748: Believe it or not, much the same thing has happened at Renaissance Faires in America. As recently as 10 or 15 years ago every Faire was different; there were a few "chain" merchants you could expect to see everywhere, but in between them were tons of local or regional artisans. Now those smaller folk have largely disappeared (or, in some cases, have been bought out by the large chains) and you see multiple shops selling the exact same merchandise, because a booth is so expensive that only one of the chain merchants can afford to take over one that's gone vacant.

#767 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 12:50 PM:

Thanks, Xopher.

I actually checked out that site yesterday and am seriously considering trying out their ridiculously named enrobing confection. I'm going to give the choc chip/shortening recipe a try this weekend, maybe just with pretzels or something. If that's not satisfactory, I'll order some from Chocoley. I saw the tempering machine and lamented my lack of counter space, as well as my blood sugar levels. Even if I had the counter space and cash for such a gadget, it's the last thing I should have around.

(I wonder what else I can dip in chocolate? hey, let's try this Hershey's Mr. Goodbar, since they're now mockolate anyway! god, that and a deep fryer and I'd be one large mass of very sweet cholesterol.)

#768 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 01:06 PM:

Oh, and sorry for your loss, Xopher, and may it prove to be a blessing instead.

#769 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 01:46 PM:

#755: I wonder how long one of those would stand up to my dog's attention.

* * *

Mmmm. Confectionarish talk.

Thinking out loud:

Last weekend I bought $55.00 or so worth of chocolate (and mint) chips, condensed milk, evaporated milk, and marshmallows.

Yes, it's fudge season.

Plans: A layer of "flavored" evaporated milk fudge over a base of condensed milk fudge. Mint over dark chocolate. Coffee over milk chocolate. Butterscotch over something.

All with a broiler-carmelized paste of confectioner's sugar and [coffee | mint] liquor on top.

#770 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 01:54 PM:

RE Text Messaging Girl particle:

Last Christmas I showed up at an old friend's house. His girlfriend was there too. Both were in shock. One of her squad mates's(*) daughters had walked into traffic while texting. She had her parka hood up, the weather was bad, the roads not good. Just walked across a freeway exit without looking.

They were taking the kid off of life support that evening.


* She's a policeperson.

#771 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 01:59 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 769... a broiler-carmelized paste

That sounds like something made by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

#772 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 02:14 PM:

Xopher @ 719: Sorry to hear about your layoff!

Substitute "June" for "February" and I'm in exactly the same position (I found out four weeks ago, right before going on three weeks' vacation...) My job is being outsourced to the Ukraine, specifically.

If anyone needs an automated testing specialist starting around July, please let me know!

#773 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 02:53 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 769: I picked up some mint chocolate chips for fudge season, too. I have settled into a tradition of having a party near Christmas, in the afternoon, with a buffet of desserts. It must include fudge! This year I'm going to attempt the 3-layer chocolate mousse torte in the recent Cooks Illustrated. I just got fresh, local walnuts from my CSA, so there will be baklava, too. Mmmm. December food madness.

#774 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 02:58 PM:

Does anyone else make the old-style fudge recipe because they just can't handle the smell of condensed or evaporated milk during preparation? (It's fine once cooking/assemblage has been done, oddly enough.)

#775 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 03:11 PM:

#771: Ooooh. Turning that around would make a great gag label:

"Made by the Sisters of the Caramelite Order."

* * *

Fudge pictures:

http://home.comcast.net/~stefan_jones/fudge_naked.JPG

http://home.comcast.net/~stefan_jones/fudge_08_lo.jpg

#776 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 03:12 PM:

Stefan, #770: Wasn't there a news article within the last year about a guy who walked around a train barrier while talking on a cellphone and got very dead? ISTR a discussion of it here, but I don't seem to be searching on the right words or something.

#777 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 03:13 PM:

joann (774): I made the old-style fudge recipe last year because my mother can't eat the other stuff (weird food allergies, very long story). It was delicious, but it didn't set right. I want to try again, but I gained five pounds eating last year's failure.

We had a long conversation about fudge-making last December in OT 116 & 117.

#778 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 03:30 PM:

The definitive answer to the quintessential tech interview question has now been given: "to keep texting teenagers from falling in".

#779 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 03:38 PM:

I keep saying I'm going to make homemade marshmallows one of these days. Maybe this will be the year. Anyone tried them, either making or eating?

#780 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 03:47 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 775... "Made by the Sisters of the Caramelite Order."

Distributed by Jesweets.

#781 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 03:59 PM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @746: This isn't quite what I had in mind but it's close enough: read the paragraph just above the picture of Sian Phillips.

Fascinating. See also: ew. Definitely a different psychic stew. I think I will be sensible and refrain from asking just exactly what you did have in mind. I suspect I don't want to know.

That's just not someplace my mind would ever go without specific instructions. For which I am grateful. (For example, more than once I've said that, while I love Joss Whedon's stuff, I'm really glad I don't live in his brain.)

#782 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 03:59 PM:

Nerdycellis @750 (and others in passing) -- Karen regularly uses an Italian product for dipping strawberries and the like that is a good chocolate-for-shell -- it may fall into the "mockolate" category to purists. Karen's quote: "Not gourmet, but nobody's ever complained about it either." I'd agree with that assessment. For what you want, it might be perfect.

Dolci frutta, information available at http://www.dolcifutta.com ; it's also apparently available through Amazon, but I won't spread that link around.

#783 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 04:01 PM:

Serge @ #780:

"Made by the Sisters of the Caramelite Order."

Distributed by Jesweets.

And served with Benedictine liqueur.

#784 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 04:02 PM:

That should have been http://www.dolcifrutta.com in the previous post -- I caught one typo in that URL, but missed the other!

#785 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 04:23 PM:

Xopher, I hope you find the silver lining.

#786 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 04:35 PM:

Linkmeister #783: But what if your preferences are for viands that are more, ahem, Chewish?

#787 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 05:16 PM:

#750:

Is that the scene that was cut from the original King Kong?

Is the name of this fetish polydactylism?

#788 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 05:19 PM:

Debbie @ 779 -- I tried making marshmallows once, some years ago, unsuccessfully. I was trying to do them using agar instead of gelatine, so I don't know if my proportions were right. And my mixer isn't very powerful. At any rate, what I got was rubbery vanilla-flavoured glop.

#789 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 05:27 PM:

abi @ 748

Sadly, what you're saying has a fair amount of truth. On the other hand, some areas of small, non-chain and mainly specialty shops, particularly in touristy areas, are doing better in the recession than chain-laden high streets. Personally, I loath the big malls and we very rarely venture near one.

As for living without a car, there is a half-way house: we have a car, but except on very rare occasions take public transport (or train plus bicycle, for me) to work, and often use the bus to get to the nearest town (or again, if it's just me, bicycle). Having a car is convenient - it takes you door-to-door and sadly rail fares are so high that for travelling, say, from London to Manchester (suburbs in both cases), it's cheaper to pay for petrol - even with the high prices - than buy one, let alone two, return tickets. And of course the rural rail network was gutted decades ago.

#790 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 05:56 PM:

I've wrecked more batches of fudge... and with a roommate who's not a fan of chocolate, that's just too much "hot fudge sauce" to go around.

Right now we're looking for a reasonable substitute for corn syrup in Divinity candies. She's mildly allergic to corn and tries to avoid by-products whenever possible. Found info about making an invert syrup using cane sugar, water and cream of tartar, so we may do that. It would be cool if that worked for marshmallows too!

#791 ::: Laina ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 06:55 PM:

Xopher, I'm sorry to hear about your job. I hope a good job shows up in a timely fashion.

#792 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 07:00 PM:

Serge, re #752:

According to ISFDB, Larry Clinton published "No Dipsy for Dix" in Thrilling Wonder Stories, August 1951, and "It's a Dog's Life" in Fantastic Story Magazine, Summer 1952.

So maybe "articles" was the biographer's way of saying "short stories."

#793 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 07:06 PM:

Jacque: I think I will be sensible and refrain from asking just exactly what you did have in mind. I suspect I don't want to know.

That's just not someplace my mind would ever go without specific instructions. For which I am grateful.

I was an English/History BA who got a 3.8 in Human Sexuality at the UW, then spent ten years as the assistant manager of a one-hour photo lab. Let's just say that The Shadow isn't the only one who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men. At least you can be happy you don't have the same "eight by ten color glossy photos" cluttering up the back of your head that I do...

#794 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 08:04 PM:

More dinosaur sex animations and other weirdnesses:

http://www.rangarig.net/

#795 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 08:25 PM:

janetl, #764, Obama says things like "god bless you" almost all the time he addresses groups. What upset me was that almost certainly, non-christian soldiers were required to attend a christian memorial service and there was almost certainly not a non-christian memorial service. (And you know, in my background, catholics aren't christians.)

#796 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 10:09 PM:

Bill Higgins @ 792... Either that or the biographer wanted to bring up his extra-curricular activity while making it sound respectable. No matter what, it's neat to be reminded that, even back in those days, we were all over the population.

#797 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 10:49 PM:

Louise Kemnitzer, romanesco is unique among brassicas in that it only tastes good roasted or broiled. And beautiful, absolutely, so that cutting it up is an aesthetic challenge and a meditative technique at thes ame time.

Xopher, sorry to hear about your job, but glad you've got a good separation package.

Abi, I went to York in 1987 and then again in 1999; the change in the high street and in the shambles was heartbreaking. It's the heat death of the shopping universe.


#798 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 11:07 PM:

I seem to recall someone mentioning having gone for a brain MRI, trying to spend the time in the machine by focusing on recalling a play or some-such thing, and getting told off by the MRI technician because that focused brain activity was messing up the scan. Can anyone point me to details?

A similar effect has recently been reported in scans of people suffering from PTSD.

#799 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2009, 11:56 PM:

Debbie @ 779 - I made homemade marshmellows two years ago as Christmas gifts. The recipe I had used egg whites, which I think make them a bit fluffier than the recipe you linked too looks like.

What I enjoyed with making my own marshmellows is that you can flavor them easily. I made vanilla, mint, and pumpkin. For the pumpkin, if I remember properly, you substitute 1/2 cup pumpkin for a somewhat smaller quantity (1/3 cup?) of sugar.

The actual making was a bit of a pain, because at the time I only had a hand mixer. I think with a stand mixer it would be a lot easier. Oh, and don't try and double the recipe! It's too hard get all the fluffliness done well if you have too much in the bowl. Small batches.

It's definitely worth trying if you enjoy candy-making.

#800 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 12:53 AM:

dcb @789:
As for living without a car, there is a half-way house: we have a car, but except on very rare occasions take public transport (or train plus bicycle, for me) to work, and often use the bus to get to the nearest town (or again, if it's just me, bicycle).

We were just on the other side of the line for years: we didn't own a car, but we'd rent one every month or so for trips or large shopping expeditions. We used to say that if someone gave us a car, we still wouldn't take it.

The first time someone did*, we held firm and sold it. The second time, it was my in-laws, firmly suggesting that Martin have a company car from the family business so that we could go visit them more often (and he could therefore keep their computers in working order.)

And what I feared would happen, happened. Martin is a car addict. More and more, when there was a choice between the bus and the car, we'd take the car. I was not, at that point, licensed to drive in the UK, so I still took the bus everywhere†.

We had to get a car when we moved here, because we ended up with several journeys that would take too long on bike or bus. For about six months, we had two kids who had to be ten minutes' drive/twenty minutes' kid-cycle apart at the same time, twice a day. A car lets you turn that kind of impossibility into mere inconvenience.

At the moment, we're heavily dependent on the car for the kids' complex schedules: medical appointments, swimming lessons and karate lessons all require people to be at specific places in shorter timescales than can be managed on cycles, particularly with two kids too old for the standard front-and-back child seats they do here‡. Martin does the grocery shopping in the car, but I, given the choice, do it by bike.

-----
* We won a people-carrier from Fuji Film. It was one of those things where there's a little slip of paper inside the box that told you if you'd won an instant camera, a Mac, or one of four cars they were giving away. If anyone tells you no one ever wins those things? They do.
† Edinburgh is, in many places, relatively bikeable; when they took most of the urban train lines out they turned the tracks into walking/biking paths. My area was not on that network, and cycling on the street is nasty, dull, brutish and life-shortening.
‡ Toddler seat just behind the handlebars, seat for an older kid on the rack at the back. It's all part of the wonder that is the Dutch "Mom bike".

#801 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 12:57 AM:

Joel @ #798, When I had one in 2000 they offered me Bach or Mozart (I wanted news radio, but I was told the space was such that the signal didn't get through). Maybe the technicians or neurologists have decided no distractions are better.

#802 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 08:47 AM:

Abi @ 800. Kids too old for bicycle seats and still a bit young to make reasonable speed on their own bikes are a problem. How popular are those "trainer" add-ons to fit on the back of the bicycle so the child also pedals?

cycling on the street is nasty, dull, brutish and life-shortening I cycle in central London, but probably only because I got addicted to the cycle during six years in Cambridge. Folding bikes are wonderful - you can take them on the train, even in rush hour. Cycling means I don't have to take the Tube (which I loath) and it takes me between places which are not Tube- or bus-connected (most of the places I need to travel between).

I'm quite pleased how little we use the car - we'll often not use it for two or three weeks at a time. We've considered joining one of the car pool/hire groups (assuming there's one near us). BUT they take away the convenience factor: if we need the car NOW.

#803 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 09:03 AM:

abi @800: can you share a link to a picture of same? My mother is an art welder, and always looking for new, ergonomically-proven ways to mod bikes.

#804 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 09:19 AM:

Joel Polowin #798:

MRI only sees physical structure, not electro-chemical activity. PET scans can see the activity, and patients can get that kind of warning. Jay Lake* talks about being told to try not to move or think for the hour or so that it takes for the radioactive glucose to bind to the active cells.

* Send good thoughts his way, they're about to remove a tumor, from his lung this time.

#805 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 09:31 AM:

John @ 804: What about blood-flow variations? MRI can image variations in blood flow which are linked -- at least by correlation if not causation -- to brain function.

#806 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 09:32 AM:

#749 Lucy
Carrots come in an entire range of color from black to white. That US supermarkets have mostly orange ones, with occassional purple, white, and yellow ones at high prices, only means that "standardization" reduces diversity....

#751 Jenny
There are deeper issues/problems--employer-based insurance benefits employers, who can handcuff employees for as long as it in the employer's interest, and dump them summarily otherwise. Portable pensions and portable healthcare empower individuals to self-actualize and build their own businesses/strike out on their own, instead of accede to taking shitty jobs for the sake of "security needs" (using terms from Maslow's hierarchies of needs, where food and shelter and such are the bottom level most basic "security needs" for survival, and self-actualization is at the top of the pyramid).

Healthcare involves control--employer-based healthcare gives the employer a key control over employees' lives, and in the culture gives business (including the so-called nonprofit sector) and government entities advantages and control over individuals.... the custom (the actual word of the court case got misinterpreted) which gives corporations rights as if they were individual people needs to be eradicated.... there's self-determination for corporation, and little left over for individuals. There's lipservice to the idea of self-employment, but the entire culture has the expectation that individual other than the rich and famous, are "employees."....

#807 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 09:46 AM:

dcb @802:
Kids too old for bicycle seats and still a bit young to make reasonable speed on their own bikes are a problem. How popular are those "trainer" add-ons to fit on the back of the bicycle so the child also pedals?

They're not unknown, but they're not common. Before we sold ours to someone in Amsterdam, there were three in our village of 9,000 people (that I saw, anyway; there may have been more.)

The more useful ones hang off the back rack in such a fashion that you can also mount a bike seat on the rack, as well as panniers. Add a smaller seat in the front, and you can take three kids to the supermarket.

Elliot @803:

Many of the bikes in the "Multiple riders on one bicycle" section of this page are mom bikes. You mount a baby or toddler-sized seat on the steering column and an older kid-sized seat behind.

Mom bikes also tend to have step-through frames, and very wide kickstands.

#808 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 09:56 AM:

Carrots were originally either pale yellow (not white, my error of memory) or purple. Orange didn't appear until the 1500s, in Europe.

My point is that orange is an improvement. Other colors are nice as pcounterpoint, though.

#809 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 10:36 AM:

Ginger #805:

Cool. I just chased it down and learned more about MRIs, and what they call function MRI (fMRI). Brain is now (somewhat) updated.
Thanks!

#810 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 10:39 AM:

When Patrick and Teresa were visiting us, they mentioned that carrots were not always orange, and indeed that orange carrots were bred by the Dutch. Not having heard any of this before, I immediately suspected a hoax. It was just too neat to be true.

The point where this crosses into paranoia is when they showed me a website on the subject, and my first thought was, domain names are cheap.

#811 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 11:04 AM:

abi @ 810:

I just checked, and it turns out that theorangecarrotconspiracyisalie.com is available.

#812 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 11:43 AM:

Thanks again to everyone for the good thoughts and wishes.

#813 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 01:42 PM:

810>

The World Carrot Museum questions the story of orange carrots being developed by the Dutch. The standard orange carrot may have been popularized by the Dutch a few hundred years ago, but apparently it had already existed.

#814 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 02:00 PM:

abi @807: That's awesome, thanks. I wonder if anyone sells the huge-basketed cargo bikes (like this one) in the US ...

#815 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 02:38 PM:

lorax @813:

Yes, but my original suspicion was not just that the story wasn't true, but that Patrick and Teresa made it up themselves.

I should not have doubted, of course. It was already an evening of improbabilities, as one should have after a successful dragonquest.

Elliot @814:

Your Google term is bakfiets. Go!

#816 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 02:39 PM:

Paula #806:

Yes! A lot of people are chained to their jobs with a big company or government agency or whatever, even when their jobs are wildly inappropriate for them, because they dare not lose health care. One secretary in my office owns a small business with her husband. As I understand it, she works for us mainly because they have a diabetic son.

Portable health insurance strikes me as a way of making the economy more dynamic, as people are more able to change jobs without worrying about whether the move from $giantcorp to $smallcorp will result in $smallcorp's health insurance rates going through the roof, leading to pressure to change jobs yet again.

#817 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 02:51 PM:

Elliot - yes, there's a company in Eugene, OR that makes them. If I still lived in Seattle, I'd have one....

#818 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 02:55 PM:

And a link to the cargo bikes, though, It hink I remember different ones.

Albatross@816 -- damn straight.

#819 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 03:02 PM:

Also, it appears that clever cycles brings them in: blog category here.

#820 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 03:31 PM:

Open Thready question: Is anyone here familiar with the Editorial Freelancers Association? I'm interested in picking up some freelance work, and when I asked an editors' discussion list I belong to, turns out they are also interested as potential employers of freelancers.

#821 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 03:42 PM:

Very often, big shopping malls kill off local stores because of customer preference. It's not like the customers can't get to the downtowns!

Lots of the downtown stores I remember fondly in Northfield are gone, and things like a Target and Menards have sprung up outside town, and I'm sure there's a connection. Then again, not having a Target around would be annoying; I know, I grew up there before there was one, and I didn't even know what Target was, and I still missed it.

#822 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 03:45 PM:

romanesco is unique among brassicas in that it only tastes good roasted or broiled.

It would be easy enough to find people to tell you that, in fact, none of the brassicas taste good any way at all.

I've never heard of, let alone seen, and certainly not tasted, "romanesco", though, so I'll just leave it at that. (I rather like normal broccoli and cauliflower. The new weird variants have all been disappointing even before you considered the prices.)

#823 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 04:12 PM:

joann @774: I do, but not because of the evaporated milk smell. I do it because it's Tradition! in our family.

#824 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 04:14 PM:

David:

My experience with small town hardware stores and such was that Wal-Mart was a *huge* improvement in price, selection, and hours. In many ways, this probably has had bad *social* effects (fewer small business owners who answer to nobody but themselves, more employees and franchisees who answer to Corporate), but the whole experience of super limited selection at the store, high prices, and the damned store closing at noon on Saturday, not to reopen till 9 Monday morning, genuinely sucked.

I think something similar is true of restaurants. I suspect that chains have decreased the variance of quality of food; one Applebees is much like the next, none will be spectacular, but none will be abysmal either. If you're new in town, or are simply looking for a very predictable experience, that often beats the interesting local restaurant, which might be great or awful. And in the small towns where I lived when I was younger, chains were often the best or among the best places to eat. This isn't as true in the DC suburb where I live now (though we still eat at chains often enough, as some are pretty good), and surely things are very different in famous food cities like NYC, San Francisco, and New Orleans. But in mid-Missouri, that Applebees next to the Wal-Mart was often the place you hoped to go for dinner.

#825 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 04:21 PM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @793: Hee. Reminds me of a story told by a friend of mine. Once during his job at a one-hour photo lab he got called over to process a batch that nobody else could deal with. He used to do accident-scene photography for the police, and thus was the only one with the stomach to handle the recreational surgery photos from the gay biker convention.

Yeah, I can imagine one would learn More Than You Ever Wanted To Know working a job like that.

#826 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 04:53 PM:

albatross @ #824, "looking for a very predictable experience"

That was the major reason for Mickey D's success in franchising. Standardized menu, standardized store layout, cleanliness standards; all of those meant you knew what to expect when you walked in the door, whether in LA or DC or points in-between.

It still works, too; hence Applebees, Chilis, and Dennys.

#827 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 04:58 PM:

Elliott Mason @803: And please to post the results here, to inspire the rest of us.

#828 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 05:56 PM:

#810 abi

Among the things to be held against the House of Orange....

"Wild carrots" in the USA are white, however, that's I think from "natural selection" of generations of feral carrots starting from orange root domesticated varieties.

I've never -seen- a black carrot, but all the references I've seen that appeared credible and without tunnelvision to me, regarding carrot colors and genetics, mentioned that the "natural" colors range though black.

Along the same sort of considerations, apparently Swiss chard started off as beet tops or maybe even turnip tops or some such, with breeding which focussed on growing the greens and not bothering with/wanting the roots to take time/effort/attention/preparation/etc. away from using the greens as food.

#829 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 06:34 PM:

Paula Lieberman @ 828... generations of feral carrots

That reminds me of the time I watched Gilda Radner sing a Gilbert & Sullivan duet from "Penzance" with a 7-foot-tall carrot.

#830 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 06:34 PM:

"Consistency," "value," "availability -now-," lowest price, and "no brainer" are key values for how people actually behave.

The no-brainer part is, "Wal-Mart is a big box store which most of the sorts of things I am likely to need when I got merchanise shopping, in sufficient quantity and attractive enough price, that the thing I am going to the store for is there that is "good enough" -and- while the person is shopping for -that- there are other things the person will happen to also purchase, as a matter of -convenience-.

Oops, convenience is als part of it--or part of "no-brainer." Not having to -think- about
"how many places do I need to go to when in what order and pay how much to buy what" or at least -minimizing- that sort of cogitation, is another value. People don't necessarily talk about that value, but it is a large inflence factor. They go to Wal-Mart and don't having to spend all sorts of time in trip planning because Wal-Mart has so much under one roof... that was what the old style department stores were all about, finding everything in the same store or close-by department stores

That model broke, though, when the personal automobile and the suburban shopping mall and suburban office parks where people worked etc., exterminated central urban downtown shopping. The department stores migrated to shopping malls, but then had to compete against more specialized mall stores for sports goods and clothing and furniture and consumer electronics... and then large discount and big box stores started showing up. Wal-Mart is a cross between a giant big box store, a giant discount store, and with a touch of cheapass department store to it....

The old model department stores also were getting bought out by conglomerate financial-services-ownership-wants-high-rate-of-return-on-investmet corporations, which had and have no respect or interest in local traditions, loyalty to workers, community support, etc. It makes for shopping hell, I absolutely refuse to patronize Macy's for example. New York Brand Names do not impress me, eradicating local brands for the same of Name Brand Nookie pissed me off... it particularly pisses me off because the places I -used- to buy clothing, don't exist anymore.... corporate conglomerates eradicated the brand names to try to -force- me to go to NFW Macys, and I do NOT patronize Macy's.... Wal-Marts for e.g. interviewing clothing isn't even a lame joke. I barely managed to find a skirt suit at Kohl's, for the interview I had today....

Anyway, people shop at Wal-Mart for, again, predictability that something that they need/want to buy is going to be there at an acceptable price and quality ("better is the enemy of good enough" -- that also applies with e.g. computer stuff generally...) and so will lots of other stuff, and comparison time and shopping isn't worthwhile for them. And when Wal-Mart's prices are unmatched for economy, people who are focused on minimizing expenses will go to the lowest price.

Another factor is Wal-Mart's not so secret weapon, the world's most efficient and "best" inventory control system, which tracks sales and stock and dumps anything that isn't sellling fast enough/well enough and replaces it with merchandise expected to turn out rapidly--the faster things put on the shelves go out the store bought by customer, the greater the income per square foot of store, which is the measure of merit for retail sales.... some things are loss-leaders, to get people into the stores, and then again there is stinking Macy's and the idea of forcing people to have to walk a maze or labyrinth past all sorts of OTHER crap merchandise on the basis of pavlovian see-and-buy responses.... that is, once the person is -in- the store, they won;t just buy the one thing they came to get, if the came to get one thing....

Anyway, Wal-Mart has the inventory control which tracks merchandise flow, minimizing how long things sit around "costing" which aren't selling, and helpign to maximize revenue and sales and income... and it's so big that it controls what the suppliers make, and forces deals on the suppliers which can be detrimental to the suppliers but are quite lucrative for Wal-Mart..

#831 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 07:11 PM:

About the ridiculous 2012 crap going around, this Dinosaur Comics strip says it all. I particularly like the "Unix developers tried to warn us!" bit.

#832 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 07:15 PM:

We just had November 11. So I am just writing in to say I was hoping for another annual World War I link roundup and I didn't see one.

#833 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 07:20 PM:

Jacque @ 825:

Thus proving that the amount of information contained in a photograph is often Too Much.

#834 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 07:25 PM:

Joel Polowin, #798, I'll ask the tech when I get my MRI on Saturday. I've had other MRIs, though, and never been told to stop thinking. I have been known to go to sleep while inside.

#835 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 07:32 PM:

OMG! Having just seen a trailer for "Avatar", the new James Cameron film, I went to look on the Apple Movie Trailers site to get a good look at it. It is gorgeous. Having watched it (in full 1080p high def, on my big external display, which is the best way to do it if you can stand a quarter of a gigabyte download), I paged through the trailer thumbnails and discovered something so beautiful it makes the "Avatar" trailer look like a home movie. It's the trailer for Terry Gilliam's new film, "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus". Words fail me completely; it is so lush, so painterly a piece of visual delight. The movie opens in the US this Christmas, it's already being shown in France, Germany, and the UK. You lucky devils, go see it!

#836 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 07:43 PM:

Paula Lieberman #830: Indeed, those are the main issues why I just went to Bed Bath & Beyond for a kitchen scale, and bought a bunch of other kitchen stuff while I was there (bamboo cutting boards, mixing bowls, measuring cups). I didn't even consider the "gourmet" or specialist type stores, much less hunting through downtown C-ville. This despite the sensory overload I always get in big-box stores -- at least I could find what I wanted quickly! And being able to look up online what scales BB+B had was also a major plus....

#837 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 07:56 PM:

Erik Nelson @ #832, you might try Batocchio's series. I left a link to it in the "Twenty Years Later" thread, at the bottom.

#838 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 08:43 PM:

However, very much of the walmart merchandise is defective from the gitgo or falls apart REALY FAST.

Speaking of the time we lived in NO and there was no choice of shopping for appliances small or large without driving out of the city, except walmart.

And what they stock as food in in their "supermarket!" It was 95 percent processed / fast food / junk food with sodium and fat levels as well off the charts -- fruit and vegetables? fresh produce? ha.

Love, C.

#839 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 08:46 PM:

albatross, #824: My partner (who has a lot more experience with hardware stores than I do) says that the big-box stores are fine if all you need is stuff in the fastest-moving 30% of any given category. If you're looking for one of those odd bits that nobody needs until they need it NOW, you're much more likely to find it in an independent store -- especially one that's been around for a long time.

My personal datapoint to add to this: some 15 years ago, I salvaged a couple of file cabinets that my office was discarding. One of them had the key broken off in the lock. I had both halves of the key, but none of the big-box stores could help me because all they had were the fancy new electronic key-cutting machines. The little hardware store down the street, which still had an old-style mechanical key machine, was able to clamp the two pieces in place and cut me a new key that worked.

WRT restaurants, our opinion is that chains are for when you're on the road and don't want any surprises, especially if you're either tired or in a hurry. When we're visiting friends in a strange city, we always ask to be directed to the good local places!

Jacque, #825: "Recreational surgery"??!!! Do I want to know, even in general terms?

#840 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 10:07 PM:

Is there a wild carrot in any part of the US that is actually a carrot? The thing we call wild carrot around here is not only not a carrot, it's poisonous.

Re chard: chard is beet, beet is chard. (beta vulgaris) Greens came before swollen roots.

I like yellow chard best, but it's hard to find except as a component of "rainbow chard."

#841 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 10:09 PM:

Jacque @827: I couldn't find online photos of much of her recent stuff, but here is some of her art-welding, and she's also deeply involved with the people who run this craziness, which lets you see why there's a connection to bikes (watch the video for samples).

She also goes to Burning Man every year, hence her specific interest in increasing bike cargo capacities. Here is a highly-illustrated con-report she did of the 2005, her first; also 2006, which is mostly pix. Last year, some of her stuff was exhibited in the Man.

Yeah, she makes me look totally square ...

#842 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 10:34 PM:

Jacque @825, Bruce @833 … even shortish sentences may convey Too Much Information. Wishing I could un-read one @825.

Erik @832, it worried me too. Hoping TNH is happy-busy, not sorry-busy.

Bruce @835, Imaginarium opened end of October in Australia. Got publicity from Heath Ledger connexion. Some say not one of Gilliam's best. Mediocre Gilliam better than many others' best!

#843 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 10:34 PM:

Jacque @825, Bruce @833 … even shortish sentences may convey Too Much Information. Wishing I could un-read one @825.

Erik @832, it worried me too. Hoping TNH is happy-busy, not sorry-busy.

Bruce @835, Imaginarium opened end of October in Australia. Got publicity from Heath Ledger connexion. Some say not one of Gilliam's best. Mediocre Gilliam better than many others' best!

#844 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 10:37 PM:

#849 Lucy

"Queen Anne's Lace" aka "wild carrot" around here actually is edible (the root rapidly becomes woody, however). The poisonous stuff includes giant hogweed, hemlock (carrot family plant, not the tree), and water parsnip.... the last is -extremely- poisonous, within the past three yers or so two people in the region mistook some for cow parsnip (an edible carrot family plant) and had a few mouthfuls... the results were tragic, one severely ill the other dead from it.

#845 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 10:37 PM:

Lucy Kemnitzer @840: Around here*, what's most likely to be called 'wild carrot' is more often called 'Queen Anne's Lace,' [or Daucus carota if you're being fancy and Latinate] and is indeed in the carrot family and nonpoisonous ... but imported from Europe, not naturally North American. You can definitely eat it -- I have -- but it's mostly not worth the effort, being either tiny or really woody. However, like most of the 'pioneer foods'**, it does provide sustenance with enough processing for just the labor of finding it and bringing it home.

* Chicago and environs.
** Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) being another; its baby leaves CAN be eaten, if you boil them three times in lots of water and discard the water in between. I just like how alien-lifeformy the flowers are, and the local wildlife loves the berries. If my dogs brush against the ripe-and-frozen-to-bursting ones int he winter, they look like someone's been drawing on the white bits of their fur with a purple marker (yes, the berries are a dyestuff).

#846 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 10:37 PM:

#849 Lucy

"Queen Anne's Lace" aka "wild carrot" around here actually is edible (the root rapidly becomes woody, however). The poisonous stuff includes giant hogweed, hemlock (carrot family plant, not the tree), and water parsnip.... the last is -extremely- poisonous, within the past three yers or so two people in the region mistook some for cow parsnip (an edible carrot family plant) and had a few mouthfuls... the results were tragic, one severely ill the other dead from it.

#847 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 10:49 PM:

Actually, to fit IoDrP 842/843 should be posted thrice – possibly four times.

<slips off into shadows>

#848 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2009, 11:16 PM:

The recursed Epacris @ 847 slinks off into the shadows, you mean?

#849 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2009, 12:22 AM:

My wife and I have been watching True Blood. I finally figured when and where their History and ours diverged. At some point, Bill, Sookie's vampire beau, embarassingly explains why one popular vampire bar is called Fangtasia. Many of his kind became you-know-what in an age when puns were considered the highest form of humor. Was there ver such a time in our History?

#850 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2009, 12:59 AM:

Serge @ 849:

Of course there was such a time: during the Punic Wars.

#851 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2009, 12:59 AM:

Serge #849: Many of his kind became you-know-what in an age when puns were considered the highest form of humor.

What, they became stand-up comedians? Hallmark card or sitcom writers? Political commentators? Disney themepark professional furries? I suppose this is probably going to be the kind of thing that will leave keyboard impressions on my forehead when I find out what "you-know-what" actually means in this context.

#852 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2009, 01:03 AM:

Earl Cooley @151: the TV show in question concerns mainly vampires.

#853 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2009, 01:18 AM:

Earl Cooley @ 851... Hallmark card or sitcom writers?

Vampire Hallmark card writers?

"Love means always being able to say 'you suck'."

#854 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2009, 01:38 AM:

I poked PNH on IM (because I was a little worried too), and Teresa is fine. Just busy, and the day snuck up on her.

#855 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2009, 01:39 AM:

Serge @ #853, Erich Segal is on line one; he's muttering something about copyright infringement.

#856 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2009, 01:41 AM:

I took the phrase "Many of his kind became you-know-what in an age when puns were considered the highest form of humor" to mean "Many vampires became you-know-what in an age when puns were considered the highest form of humor", so what did the vampires become during the golden age of puns? One would think that if he'd meant "many people were turned into vampires during the golden age of puns" he probably would have said so, in the interests of clarity.

#857 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2009, 01:42 AM:

On a non-culinary, non-botanical note, those of you within shouting distance might consider the eighth annual Harry Smith Festival:
http://www.celestialmonochord.org/2009/11/kai-schafft-the-monochord-interview.html

Too far away for me to consider even if I had founf out early enough.

I think enough bands getting together and playing Coo Coo Bird all weekend might make the state of Pennsylvania rise into the air and float away.

#858 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2009, 01:42 AM:

Glad to hear, Abi.

#859 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2009, 01:45 AM:

Serge @ #853, Erich Segal is on line one; he's muttering something about copyright infringement.

#860 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2009, 02:01 AM:

Earl Cooley III @ 856... Yeah, that sentence sucked.

#861 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2009, 04:57 AM:

Wal-Mart does own the Asda chain in the UK, and the Wal-Mart name is now included in the signage, not all that prominently.

Several continental companies have expanded into the UK, where the supermarket industry apparently runs on better margins.

I recall reports that Wal-Mart were grumbling about the bad margins in the UK. They probably can't get away with some of the tricks they do in the USA.

I also recall reports of tricks that other British supermarket chains were pulling to reduce their tax bill.

One of the common tricks seems to be have wonderfully cheap own-brand products which only get sold in the larger stores. The out-of-torn malls rather than the shop just around the corner from the the market place which has been in existence since Henry V was a playboy.

#862 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2009, 09:03 AM:

The Euroconglomerate supermarkets and Wal-Mart aren't having much financial success with food selling around here--the margins are low and especially the Market Basket brand chain which also have "DeMoulas" as part of it locally, have made the competition difficult... Stop & Shop's ownership has been doing poorly, for example.

I live in a town of about 40,000 people. There are three supermarkets in it, and all three of the are Market Baskets.... twenty years ago two were Market Baskets and there was one Purity Supreme--it was in a strip mall but moved to a center of town new strip mall, which took the place of what had been a historic site farm (nobody in town checked before the house got moved--someone bought and moved it to preserve it) and the construction of the strip mall was underway.... the strip mall got labelled "the Berlin Mall" because the buildings were perpendicular to the town center and showed a large wall and adjacent parking, to the street and town green/common.... The locals got irate and boycotted the store, which when Purity and Stop & Shop merged, closed. Meanwhile, there was a empty storefront supermarket available in the north part of town, and Market Basket said, "We'll put a store there!" And that's what the situation has been ever since (a local hardware store took over the super-sized supermarket space in the center of town, allowing the store to have lot more space than where it had been located).

The fact that Market Basket prices generally are lower than its competitors', is part of what's keeping Market Basket expanding and profitable.

#863 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2009, 11:26 AM:

Erik Nelson @832: We just had November 11. So I am just writing in to say I was hoping for another annual World War I link roundup and I didn't see one.

No reason we couldn't revisit one of the past ones. And no reason not to add new comments.

#864 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2009, 11:31 AM:

Erik Nelson @832: I posted a comment with links to all of Teresa's earlier WWI threads. Ironically, too many URLs — it should show up once it clears the moderation queue.

#865 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2009, 12:30 PM:

Come to think of it, all of the Star Trek characters should be gibbering psychotics by now.

http://abstrusegoose.com/strips/there_are_four_lights.PNG

There are four lights

(I kid...I love the show)

#866 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2009, 12:39 PM:

Serge (#849), Earl, et al, in English, wouldn't the "Golden Age of the pun" be Elizabethan times? Language games were a great aristocratic pastime. Though they'd have probably used the 4-syllable version of Fantasia. It's still breathtaking that at one of the peak heart-rending moments of King Lear, involving blinded Gloucester, Shakespeare bungs in a pun.

abi (#854) thanks for checking. That's reassuring news.

#867 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2009, 12:39 PM:

Steve C @ 865... For some reason, it disturbs me that the strip makes Jean-Luc Picard look like Peanuts's Charlie Brown.

#868 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2009, 12:44 PM:

Mez @ 866... Shakespeare bungs in a pun

Take that, Voltaire!
(No, not Richard Kiel's. The other one.)

#869 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2009, 12:49 PM:

Serge @ 867 -

Oh my! The idea of the Peanuts cast as ST:TNG characters just cries out for a talented artist! I can just see Troi behind the psychologist's stand.

#870 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2009, 01:12 PM:

NASA reports finding serious water on the moon. Wow. Just Wow! (from Glen Blankenship)

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/LCROSS/main/prelim_water_results.html

#871 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2009, 01:49 PM:

Steve C. @869: The idea of the Peanuts cast as ST:TNG characters just cries out for a talented artist! I can just see Troi behind the psychologist's stand.

Wrong sub-series, wrong direction, but behold.

#872 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2009, 01:57 PM:

Tom @870,

Never thirst, share water

#874 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2009, 03:18 PM:

Maybe if they bothered asking...

I am not anti-advertising. I am, however vehemently against the way that advertising occurs on the Internet, as regards:

a) I do NOT want any ghoddamned tracking tag code on MY computer put there by stinking @O^#@E$ list as ad.yieldmanager, adclick, doubleclick, etc. etc. If they want my opinions etc. they can ask me, and better still -pay- for the -privilege-. I want their effing code to stay OFF my computer and out of my life, and NOT spying on me from my own supposedly PRIVATE property! Someone please stick a plaque with the Bill of Rights up their asses, PLEASE!

b) On Facebook--again, I want to be -asked-. I cheerfully would LIKE to have information provided to me about what -I- considering Interesting Stuff. Ads telling Mommies to go back to school, if I ever catch those responsible for sticking that onto the "home" page for me on Facebook, I will quite literally attempt to give an earache and headache to, by yelling at them, very loudly, my less than polite feelings on the matter, and the same about "high school class of 1972" -- I am NOT a member of the high school class of 1972, and despised the public school system I was physically and verbally abused in.... the elementary school I went to, quite literally I used to daydream about it being ground zero for a dirty bomb, with a mushroom cloud rising in its stead and a glassine crater where it had stood, and every time I drove past it after I had a driver's license, I spat at it, even though the building no longer was a school.

c) When I buy a book or read a magazine, see an ad on the side of a bus, hear/see an ad on TV, there is nobody wiring up my eyeballs and ears and putting RF ID transmitters collecting data on me and my biometrics and actions... but the Internet is completely infested with the equivalents of wires and biometric sensors to "data mine" and do so on the hapless websurfers... some sites run upwards of 100 "scripts"b and attempt to infest the visitors computers with a century or more of tracking tags reporting to any of hundreds of thousands of data mining busybodies, with no constraints on duration and no constraint on employment of data. The old USSR bugging the US Embassy in Moscow, were rank amateurs and the nicest folks in the world, by comparison....

#875 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2009, 06:25 PM:

OK, I give up. AKICIML. I'm at my wit's end, what remain of them ...

Firefox (3.5.5) has decided to "work to rule". Just about anything that involves a link or a click is taking serious wall clock time, like up to a minute. It's like the system is so busy committing disk I/O (I can see the little light on *solid*) that it keeps forgetting to look for the mouseover interrupts or something.

This started happening yesterday, when the system came back up after a Windows patch.

I had this problem a few months ago, and fixed it by eating all my browsing history and clearing the cache.

That didn't work this time. Neither has making sure there's only one Firefox running, deleting the session restore file(s) (there weren't any), disabling extensions and a few obvious plugins, and maybe a couple of other things.

I've run a couple of quick virus/malware scans, and nothing turned up. I mean nothing.

I've lost count of how many times I've restarted Firefox or the computer itself.

I can't find anything obvious and different using either Firefox help or google-fu generally.

Anybody got any other thoughts? (Other than saying IE--no bloody way--or Chrome, which is kinesthetically alien to me.)

XP Home, SP3 on a Dell Latitude X1 laptop. It makes no difference whether the laptop is plugged into the large screen, which mouse I'm using, whether I'm using the house wifi or the one at the nearest coffeehouse, yadda yadda.

M'aidez! e grazie mille, to mix my languages for all their worth.

#876 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2009, 06:38 PM:

I stumbled across a randomizable Making Light Flamer Bingo card the other day, but I can't seem to get it out of Google today. If the person who created it is reading this, could you let me know where to find it? Also, I would love to make one for another blog I post at, but I am completely ignorant of how to start. Was the card created using an app I can download?

#877 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2009, 07:05 PM:

So a friend bought, sight unseen, a €25 box of old clock parts, with an eye to some steampunk accessories. She expected that most of it would be dull, or small, or modern, but when she opened it, it was a treasure trove of brass gears.

I offered to bind her a steampunk journal in exchange for some of them. (I could have just asked, of course, but that deprives me of the pleasure of binding her a steampunk journal.) So she came over this afternoon with a box labeled "Gears for Abi".

Nice. Thirty-odd pieces, mostly on spindles of some sort. We spent the afternoon cleaning them in ketchup and spinning them like tops. I've managed to clip the spindles short on enough of them to make nice impressions in leather book covers. And now I'm contemplating this bowl of assorted gears on sticks.

I have no idea what I'm going to do with them, but I think it's going to be fun.

#878 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2009, 07:11 PM:

Joann @875: FWIW, have you tried uninstalling and reinstalling Firefox? Alternatively, you could download and install an older version of FF until the bug's fixed.

One of the plugins or extensions could be the culprit, but simple disabling may not be enough to resolve the problem.

#879 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2009, 07:16 PM:

We spent the afternoon cleaning them in ketchup and spinning them like tops.

Well I'll be. One does learn something new every day.

#880 ::: LDR ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2009, 07:22 PM:

joann @ 875: I've also been having weird problems with Firefox 3.5.*, although not what you describe.

It might be worth it to test a couple pages in IE, just to make sure it's not some kind of problem with your Internet connection - or hardware, maybe?

You say you looked at the Firefox help page. Restarting Firefox in Safe Mode and resetting my preferences is what fixed my problems. You could try that. Here's the instructions. Warning: it did forget my home page, but seems to remember everything else.

Don't know if that will help. Good luck.

#881 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2009, 07:22 PM:

Abi @ 877 -

So she came over this afternoon with a box labeled "Gears for Abi".

So, potentially, these could be the best gears of your life.

#882 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2009, 07:28 PM:

Jenny@876 You're not going to believe this but... I just had to find which browser/machine had the tab open with that. The Troll Bingo card is here.

Oh, and I'd really like that Troll Whisperer book. I've got a 60k member community that needs soothing, and other mods to indoctrinate.

#883 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2009, 07:29 PM:

abi @ 877... I have no idea what I'm going to do with them

Does the abiveld operate on purely mechanical devices?

#884 ::: Laina ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2009, 07:37 PM:

abi @ 877
"I offered to bind her a steampunk journal in exchange for some of them."

Will there be pictures of the steampunk journal? (p-l-e-a-s-e)

#885 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2009, 08:16 PM:

Steve C @ 881... Wasn't The Best Gears of Our Lives based on a book by Teg Cogswell?

#886 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2009, 10:47 PM:

Serge @ 885 -

I thought it was something differential....

#887 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2009, 11:49 PM:

#885 Serge

I figured you'd be in there somewhere... but gearing up for singing The Friggin' Falcon? (I think it was Discon II that I was at a packed Ara Pashimian party and Jerry Pournelle in the tone of LOUD was singing it next to my left ear....)

#888 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2009, 02:05 AM:

Paula Lieberman @ 887... Jerry Pournelle in the tone of LOUD

Are you suggesting that he has other settings?
Heheheh

Meanwhile, LiveJournal looks like it just went belly up.
Again.

#889 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2009, 02:15 AM:

That LiveJournal malfunction was short-lived.
I like that.

#890 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2009, 02:17 AM:

I gave a talk about hollywoodian steampunk at the local SF club tonight. It went very well, even though no friend had told me to go break a leg.

#891 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2009, 02:19 AM:


AR/Marilee: A 5 qt pot is just fine. The important ingredient is the lid/weight, to keep the kraut below the surface of the brine. My kraut pot is about 3/4s gallon, just enough for two heads of cabbage.

re malls: Inverness has one. Not very big. It also had what seemed to be several different high streets (i.e. streets with shops).

re pokeweed: The flowers looke like rue

#892 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2009, 02:27 AM:

John D. Taylor, longest continuous paid member of KaCSFFS and long-time supporter of SF Fandom passed away 11/13, a bit before midnight.

I think a few folks here knew him and his wife Pati, who preceded him in 2007.

He fought the good fight and will long be remembered in the hearts of his friends.

#893 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2009, 05:15 AM:

Here's an amusing little link I just randomly came across: http://www.sonokids.org/wikifun/. It's inspired by a Japanese performance art café; you type in a search term, and it returns the Wikipedia article...that the previous person searched for. The next person gets the result of your search.

#894 ::: Janet K ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2009, 07:18 AM:

joann at 875: If you have XP's restore function running you could turn everything back to just before the Windows patch was installed and see if Firefox starts behaving again.

#895 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2009, 12:36 PM:

David Goldfarb @ 893: I'd be more impressed if it returned the result for the next person's search.

#896 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2009, 02:48 PM:

The easiest (and cheapest) way to keep the sauerkraut under the surface of the brine is a large freezer Ziplock (or other food safe plastic bag) about 3/4 full of water, with the air expressed before closing. Doesn't matter if it leaks, and it won't shatter, as did the insert for the lidded thrown sauerkraut pot I made long, long, ago.

#897 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2009, 03:28 PM:

Steve C., Serge -

Just a case of manifest destiny
as per Ry Cooder

#898 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2009, 04:00 PM:

Rats, and then I mangled the pun.
"Manifold Destiny"

#899 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2009, 04:01 PM:

Joann - # 875 -- It's not just XP

I have seen serious graphics slowdowns in non-browser activity as well, since a newly auto-installed set of patches for Vista from MS

#900 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2009, 05:24 PM:

On my trip to the UK this June, getting off the train from Gatwick at London Bridge, the first things I saw were Starbucks and Kristy Kreme outlets. O tempora, o mores.

OTOH, comparing a UK Starbucks to a North American is interesting. On the coffee side, the only obvious difference is no high-fat dairy for the beverages - skim and whole milk only, no half and half 10% bf, no coffee cream 18% bf.

On the food side, though ... Marmite Breakfast Panini, anyone? I have pictures!

#901 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2009, 06:13 PM:

#888 & 889, Serge

a) JerryP has different levels of loud....
b) I think the LiveJournal outage was a scheduled on.

#902 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2009, 06:56 PM:

Catholic Archdiocese in DC threatens to withdraw charity services if same-sex marriage law is passed.

I have two thoughts on this. First, if you feel your duty to deny the legitimacy of same sex relationships outweighs your duty to help the poor and care for the sick, you might have let your priorities get a bit out of whack. Second, if the Catholic church wants to get out of the charity business, then that's fine by me. There's nothing inherently religious about running a soup kitchen--I'm sure the district of DC can figure out how to run their own shelters.

#903 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2009, 07:15 PM:

heresiarch @ #902, that's a really odd threat, isn't it? I can't claim credit for the line, but somebody observed "Do it our way or we won't take your money."

To which the only sensible response would be, "Fine. Plenty of others will."

#904 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2009, 08:08 PM:

Linkmeister @ 903: The Church brings its own fund raising to bear as well as using government grant money, so it's not an entirely meaningless threat. Childish, hypocritical and quintessentially un-Christian, but not entirely meaningless.

#905 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2009, 08:13 PM:

If they decide to no longer be a charity over hard-line politics, then they should lose their tax-exempt status and be financially gutted.

#906 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2009, 08:18 PM:

Joel Polowin, #798, I asked the tech about thinking today and she said I could think about anything I wanted. And then I went to sleep in the machine and my head moved so she woke me up and we had to redo that section.

Terry Karney, #891, oh, my crockpot was one quart and I was thinking of that, which would barely hold the cabbage.

heresiarch, #901, the thing is, the Catholic Charities are getting almost $12M to do that work. There's already an amendment that lets religious organizations & people refuse to rent halls or do weddings (they can do that now), but I don't expect the council to say "Oh, sure, we'll stop the law because you don't want to make money and help the poor." Also, Catholic Charities only does about 10% of DC's service work. (I read the WashPost everyday and this is local.)

Earl Cooley III, are you related to this smoke jumper?

#907 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2009, 09:18 PM:

Marilee #906: Earl Cooley III, are you related to this smoke jumper?

I wish I was; he was a real larger than life kind of guy. If there is any relation, it's very distant. Another Cooley I wish I was related to was one of the inventors of the fax machine. One Cooley who also passed recently I hope to hell I'm not related to caused me to have to prove that I was a loyal supporter of the EFF and not a venal destroyer of lives.

#908 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2009, 10:11 PM:

Marilee @ 906: "the thing is, the Catholic Charities are getting almost $12M to do that work."

Yeah, it's not even that the church is providing free services. I'm sure there's some non-profit who's willing to take $12 mil to help the poor and doesn't mind teh ghey.

I wonder how this is playing within the rank and file. I can imagine priests who've dedicated their lives to helping the needy and the sick becoming rather irate at the idea that they'll have to stop their Christian service just on the off chance that some gay person, somewhere, is benefitting.

#909 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2009, 12:19 AM:

Earl Cooley III, #907, well I'm glad a relative of yours hasn't died, but the name was so similar I wondered.

#910 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2009, 07:52 AM:

I just found out that LiveJournal considers a 9-page document too big to post. After spending all that time on it, I find the news rather disappointing. Sure, I could try putting it up elsewhere, but it also relies on many pictures I spent a few hours setting up a gallery for on my LJ. Bleh.

#911 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2009, 08:31 AM:

Regarding my comment @ 910... TexAnne just gave me a wonderful solution. Yay!

#912 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2009, 11:19 AM:

I haven't followed this story much, so maybe I'm missing something. The claim I've heard (from the priest at Mass) is that the Church would become ineligible to receive some of the money it's now receiving to do some charitable works, if DC passed its gay-marriage law, but that it would continue doing whatever charitable stuff it could. That is, the law would require the Church to change its policies w.r.t. same-sex couples in ways it finds unacceptable, or stop receiving city support to run homeless shelters and such.

This article seems consistent with the priest's statement, with the added twist that the new law would require a change in the policies of organizations such as churches that provide services on behalf of the city, and those changes contradict Church law and policy. (Disclaimer: I know basically nothing about any of this, so I could be missing all kinds of important detail.)

ISTM that there is a huge difference between saying "If you pass this law, we will retaliate by closing our soup kitchens" and saying "If you pass this law, we will no longer be able to run soup kitchens with the city without violating our own beliefs."

#913 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2009, 11:35 AM:

albatross, the version I heard was that the church claims that their rights would be violated in some way if same-sex marriage is legal in DC. If their charitable work was limited to Catholics, I might see their point.

(They used this argument also about foster families and adoption in other places: allowing same-sex couples to use their agencies, even when there weren't any other agencies serving the area, was somehow immoral.)

I think that when churches are running something that's open to the general public, they should be required to follow the same rules as non-churches that are doing the same stuff, and not be allowed to claim that those rules shouldn't apply because it's being run by a church. (Note that I feel the same way about the Salvation Army and the Baptists and any other churches running hospitals and charitable programs.)

#914 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2009, 11:44 AM:

I'm with PJ. If a religious group accepts tax money, they should follow the taxing entity's rules for its disbursement. Otherwise they're using public money for their own religious purposes.

#915 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2009, 12:33 PM:

Most of them are using such money for their religious purposes, or at least get a collateral benefit of appearing to be "good guys" by what they do charitably. Their religious purposes include proselytizing, after all.

Nobody in government is trying to force them to allow gay marriage within the church. I can see them having a legitimate objection to that, by their internal logic. But they accept a lot of things within the larger society that aren't supported by church doctrine or scripture (and don't always accept things that are supported by scripture, e.g. slavery). So, why this particular line in the sand?

#916 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2009, 01:22 PM:

I just finished posting my talk on Steampunk and Hollywood. In Part One, Pat Boone is naked and very intimate with a sheep. In Part Two, Salma Hayek can be seen in underwear. Enjoy!

#917 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2009, 01:39 PM:

albatross @912:
From the article you linked to:

Under the bill, headed for a D.C. Council vote next month, religious organizations would not be required to perform or make space available for same-sex weddings. But they would have to obey city laws prohibiting discrimination against gay men and lesbians.

Fearful that they could be forced, among other things, to extend employee benefits to same-sex married couples, church officials said they would have no choice but to abandon their contracts with the city.

Quaere: does Catholic Charities have a problem with extending employee benefits to the spouses of divorced and remarried staff? Does the legal requirement to do so stop it from working in DC?

If not, why not?

(I don't expect that you have an answer, but that's the question that springs immediately to mind.)

#918 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2009, 02:09 PM:

abi #917:

I don't know, though I'd be very surprised if they didn't provide benefits for remarried people. (I'm not sure they could refuse such benefits without running afoul of antidiscrimination laws of some kind. I really have no idea how this works with churches, since some jobs are clearly subject to acceptable and expected religious discrimination--it's hard to get a job as a minister in a Christian church when you self-identify as a Jew or Buddhist or Wiccan.) And I suspect that the Church is engaging in some brinksmanship here. But I don't know that for sure.

One thing I am sure of: If legalizing gay marriage really does lead, on a widespread basis, to churches being required to recognize it in various ways despite their beliefs, that's going to become very effective ammunition for people fighting against gay marriage. That's a bad political and social outcome.

At a more philosophical level, I think the mirror method applies to this basic situation. Let's imagine (maybe it's happened, for all I know) that some state proposes a new law that forbids disbursement of taxpayer money to any organization that offers same-sex benefits. Let us suppose that some church which provides those benefits is also running soup kitchens using taxpayer money in that state, and that church says "if you pass this law, we will have to stop running soup kitchens here, because we see providing same-sex partner benefits as a moral imperative."

That's as close as I can come to setting up a mirror situation in the other direction. In that situation, I'd see both sides of the issue[1], but I'd also respect the hypothetical church for refusing to compromise on a matter of principle. The same applies here, IMO. Churches (and other organizations) *should* be willing to stick to their beliefs, even when it costs them money and support.

FWIW (for those who haven't noticed from my other posts here) I'm both Catholic and a supporter of gay marriage.

[1] This kind of situation is one reason I don't like the whole "faith based initiatives" idea--taxpayers ought not to be forced to support churches even to do good works, and churches ought not to be forced to adapt their doctrine and practices to whatever is acceptable to voters or politicians to keep the money flowing in.

#919 ::: LDR ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2009, 02:30 PM:

So basically, the Catholic church don't want to have to hire any gay people, who might be married, because they don't want to have to recognize the marriage and give their spouses benefits. But if they refuse to hire gays they'll be violating anti-discrimination laws.

But that would apply to anyone whom they hire for anything, right? Not just soup kitchens.

albatross @917: If legalizing gay marriage really does lead, on a widespread basis, to churches being required to recognize it in various ways despite their beliefs, that's going to become very effective ammunition for people fighting against gay marriage.

What would you suggest then? Aside from giving up on gay marriage altogether because some people object to it. They're gonna object no matter what.

#920 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2009, 02:41 PM:

albatross @918:
FWIW (for those who haven't noticed from my other posts here) I'm both Catholic and a supporter of gay marriage.

I am too, both, and I don't think you need your mirror for this one. (There are churches that have argued this, or similar things, but since they're not "mainline", they pretty much get ignored.)

I think that, specifically for the Catholic Church, there is a worthwhile argument that the ship of trying to limit the recognition of secular marriage to the boundaries of sacramental marriage has long since sailed. There's already a disconnect, and the fault line is remarriage after divorce.

To assert that they cannot run a charitable organization if the laws force them to recognize marriages that we consider sinful is to assert that they cannot run a charitable organization.

#921 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2009, 02:50 PM:

I'll add that the RC church is supposed to deny the sacraments to people who remarry without a canonical annulment of their previous marriage. They allowed Rudy Giuliani, twice divorced, three times married, and an admitted adulterer, to take the Eucharist, very publicly, without comment of any kind. (They also seem to have no problem with Newt Gingrich.)

So I find a bit out of line their protests about what they might have to do if a secular law affecting secular benefits passes.

As long as we have no vote in their internal political decisions, they should keep their hands out of ours.

#922 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2009, 03:13 PM:

abi #920:

Maybe so. I'm not sure that the fact that you've compromised on issue X means that you must, slippery-slope-like, compromise on issues X+1, X+2, ..., on to infinity.

#923 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2009, 04:09 PM:

PJ Evans @921, if you're referring to Giuliani's receiving communion during Pope Benny's visit last year, there has been comment from the Archbishop of NY, although Cardinal Egan described the prohibition as due to Giuliani's support for abortion rights.

Egan's language also describes this as something wrong that Giuliani has done, not a wrong done by the priest that gave Rudy the eucharist. I have no idea how this thing is supposed to work, who's supposed to be responsible for following this rule. I don't imagine priests have a row of photos taped up, like stores do with people who've tried to pass bad checks.

Representative Pelosi and Senators Kerry, Kennedy, and Dodd all also received communion during the papal visit.

#924 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2009, 04:22 PM:

Avram, it's that all the rules I've heard about say that Rudy shouldn't have been in that line; he certainly would have known that. His affairs were public enough that I can't imagine anyone in that diocese not being aware of who he was and what he'd done. Not doing anything right then, I can understand, but they should have spoken to him beforehand.

#925 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2009, 04:31 PM:

albatross @ 918: "In that situation, I'd see both sides of the issue[1], but I'd also respect the hypothetical church for refusing to compromise on a matter of principle."

I think that making sure people have enough to eat and shelter from the elements is a more fundamental value than the question of who is allowed to marry whom. Even if it was a marriage equality advocacy group, whose sole purpose was to push for gay marriage, I would be dismayed if they showed a willingness to sacrifice the sick and the needy in pursuit of that goal. That the institution in question is one that holds charity as a major part of its mission, and is sacrificing the poor for the sake of denying others' rights is simply icing on the cake.

I'd guess that the Archdiocese agrees that charity is more important than gays getting married, which just makes their brinksmanship all the more appalling.

(I'm not entirely convinced that sticking to your principles is a good thing no matter what those principles might be. In my book, a really inconsistent, half-hearted racist is WAY better than one who actually goes out and acts on their supremacist beliefs at all times. I don't think that standing by one's principles is like wit or energy, a virtue that can be admired apart from the purpose to which it is put. It seems to me that principles are the purpose to which virtues are put, and there is nothing admirable about believing wholeheartedly and purely that women are whores and need to be put in their place.)

#926 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2009, 05:20 PM:

PJ Evans @924, according to the article I linked to, Cardinal Egan had spoken to him beforehand. Not that Giuliani ever expects anyone else's rules to apply to him.

That's why I pointed out that I have no idea what the procedure is for cases where someone who isn't supposed to receive communion gets into the line anyway. Is the priest supposed to skip over them or turn them away? Or is he supposed to give it out anyway?

I can imagine a priest not wanting to cause a scene at a big, important ceremony. And I can imagine Giuliani recognizing and deliberately taking advantage of that social pressure.

#927 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2009, 06:23 PM:

Randomish link to a gallery of decidedly NSFW 19th-century Japanese woodcuts. Semi-typical caption:

Title: Pillar of Flames (Hi-hashira)

Description: A flaming pillar of penises rises above the roofs of the Yoshiwara pleasure quarter (which was frequently destroyed by fire)

#928 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2009, 06:31 PM:

As to the RCC in DC: I say "Fuck 'em."

I could elaborate, but that's basically what my thoughts boil down to.

#930 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2009, 07:02 PM:

Avram, I think that the procedure is that (a) you aren't supposed to go up if you're not eligible and (b) you're supposed to be turned away quietly (or with minimal fuss) if you do go up.

I can see, though, that Rudy would ignore both of those, and would make a Big Thing out of it if he were turned away.

So I think the answer is 'all of the above'.

#931 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2009, 07:33 PM:

albatross, #912, no, it was the church that went to the council and said, hey, we have to back out if you pass this law. The services are DC services, not Catholic Charities services. CC is paid by DC to run/manage them.

P J Evans, #913, this is how a fair number of Boy Scout troops had to move to lesser places or get less money -- they won't accept gays.

#932 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2009, 08:49 PM:

Carol Kimball @ 674 said:

Rather than the army of refrigerator-sized zombies with double-bitted axes coming down the street, for sheer pants-wetting put someone small, with a sharp little knife, right behind me.

So, did you ever see the "Amelia" segment of 1975's Trilogy of Terror? (Hint: Zuni fetish doll.)

Serge @ 868: I see wwwhat you did there... :)

Oh, and is anyone else having trouble with www.rot13.com? I have accessed it via both Firefox and IE on numerous other occasions, but today both browsers give me this message:

Warning: Unknown: failed to open stream: Permission denied in Unknown on line 0

Fatal error: Unknown: Failed opening required '/usr/www/users/travish/rot13/index.php' (include_path='.:/usr/local/lib/php') in Unknown on line 0

Curious...

#933 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2009, 09:01 PM:

Xopher @928, my sentiments exactly.

#934 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2009, 10:10 PM:

#929

I momentarily misread that as saying Michael Moore was writing a Dr. Who novel.

#935 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 12:38 AM:

Latest offshoring: Bottles of Cains Dill Spear pickles, now in a taller, narrower diameter jar, with "Made in India" in small letters inconspicuously on the label....

#936 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 01:22 AM:

Erik Nelson @ 934:

I typed it that way at first. It might be interesting to find out what kind of health care they had on Gallifrey.

#937 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 06:42 AM:

#934: And I read that as Alan Moore.

#938 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 07:18 AM:

Anyone for Sir Thomas More?

Assertio Undecim Doctorum (In Defense of the Eleven Doctors) and Responsio Ad Dominum (A Reply to the Master)

#939 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 07:24 AM:

Jon Meltzer, #937: Alan Moore isn't writing for Who, but Grant Morrison wrote some DW comics during the Colin Baker years.

#940 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 08:13 AM:

@934 Sir Patrick Moore (UK), or indeed Patrick Moore (Canada), could both be quite, er, … interesting Dr Who authors.

@937 Alan Moore – Wow! That'd be a whole new dimension of "interesting".

#941 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 08:58 AM:

Michael Moore's version of Watchmen.

#942 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 11:19 AM:

Paula @ 874: Here's the solution to at least get that crap out of your own computer (won't change the internet, but at least it will improve YOUR experience of it)...

1. Download and install Mozilla's Firefox browser (it's free and open-source, with no spyware, adware, or other nasty stuff; I've used it for years instead of Internet Explorer and it rocks.)

2. Once you've installed that, then surf on over to the Adblock Plus site and download and install Wladimir Palant's wonderful extension for Firefox that will get rid of ALL those irritating ads you see online. Once you have it installed, choose your filter subscriptions and you're all set. The ads will be gone and you will have a much more pleasant time online. You can even tweak it so that it WILL show you ads on sites that you may wish to see them on - you can personalize this quite heavily. Again, I've used this for years, and wouldn't surf the Web without it.

To protect against spyware, etc. I recommend either AVG Free or Avast Free.

#943 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 12:12 PM:

Abi #938: Why not Responsio ad Magister?

#944 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 12:43 PM:

The San Francisco archdiocese dealt with the benefits issue by declaring that anyone who lived under the same roof as the employee could be eligible for family benefits. Which apparently satisfied the SF domestic partners law and the archdiocese's scruples.

I don't see why a similar "close family ties" approach, with civil marriage (of whatever sort) as one way of establishing such ties, couldn't work in DC as well, if the real issue were over issues of conscience in benefits programs. (It might be slightly more expensive than a purely marriage-based system, but not by much. And this *is* a charity we're talking about here.)

On another note, I believe the accepted etiquette for priests handling someone obviously ineligible for Communion is to give them a blessing instead. That's what the priests at my parish did for my small children when they wanted to go up with me; and I've been on at least one Catholic-run mixed-faith retreat where they specifically said "Even if you're not Catholic, you can come up to us and ask for a blessing" before Communion started.

#945 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2009, 05:01 PM:

Bruce Cohen (Scanning Tunneling Microscope*) @131/835:

From the trailer I saw of Avatar, the storyline looks suspiciously like the plot in Gordy Dickson's Alien Way. IMDB doesn't quote any such credit. Anybody know if there's a relation, or just convergent evolution?

*That's what I always think when I see people use the STM acronym.

#946 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2009, 03:20 AM:

Fragano@943: "Magistrum", please. (Actually, there was an old episode in which the Master used the alias "Mr. Magister".)

#947 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2009, 10:18 PM:

albatross: I'm a Catholic too, and I am with abi: When the church says, "this moral issue is against our policies so much that, rather than render unto Caesar what is Caesar's" (i.e., in this case, benefits to partners with marriages recognised by a secular entity), only in this specific case; when there is a direct parallel; that is remarriage, they have chosen to allow it. Which seems inconsistent.

Because the Church's official position on homosexuality is much like that of it's position on remarriage. The homosexual, actually, is, per dogma, in no different a circumstance. God has, for whatever reason, made them gay. They should resist the urge to fornicate. God made the married person such that they fall in love again. They too are to avoid the urge to fornicate; further they are to refrain from marriage, lest they be cut off from the sacraments.

So, all things being equal; the church seems to see the things (doctinally) as equal. Which means this bit of posturing is, so far as I can tell, both wrong, and (per doctrine) immoral; inside the logic of the Church.

Avram: If a ban has been made, and the officiant knows of it, he is obliged to refuse the sacrament; no matter how public the service. It's usually done quietly, but it is supposed to be refused. As you say, Guiliani's state of lacking grace was both widely known (because to have regained it he would have had to end the affairs), and had been spoken of. When the stink was being made about Kerry the Pope said it was between Kerry, his conscience and his priest.

Choose:
Smaller type (our default)
Larger type
Even larger type, with serifs

Dire legal notice
Making Light copyright 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 by Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden. All rights reserved.