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February 24, 2010

Open thread 136
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 03:19 PM *

Caption competition*

IMG_5421

(Photo credit: Avram Grumer)


* Part of the competition is how long we can resist the obvious.

Comments on Open thread 136:
#1 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 03:27 PM:

"abi discovers that attempting to rob Xopher of his dignity is rather a Zen exercise"

#2 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 03:28 PM:

Why do I feel like I'm suddenly in a Broadway musical?

#3 ::: mel ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 03:31 PM:

"I'm a pretty, pretty princess."

#4 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 03:34 PM:

abi, what have you done with Xopher?!

#5 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 03:34 PM:

"...give me a head with HAIR, long, beautiful, HAIR..."

#6 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 03:36 PM:

I never knew Xopher was half Betazoid.

#7 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 03:41 PM:

Hair today, gone tomorrow.

#8 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 03:43 PM:

Lex Luthor in his pre-kryptonite days?

#9 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 03:43 PM:

"Nice scalp you've got there. Be a shame if anything happened to it."

#10 ::: Rick York ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 03:43 PM:

Thanks for the lice!

#11 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 03:44 PM:

"Quick, someone get me some of that Herbal Essences shampoo! ...I SAID QUICK, NOW, HOP!"

#12 ::: John Kerr ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 03:51 PM:

Just Once I Wish I Could Have a Normal Picture of Me and My Daughter

#13 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 03:53 PM:

Steve C @ #5, alternatively:

"Almost cut my hair
Happened just the other day . . ."

#14 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 03:54 PM:

Xopher: "Something odd is happening here."
abi: "I hair you."

#15 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 03:56 PM:

"I feel pretty... oh so pretty..."

#16 ::: Will Entrekin ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 04:07 PM:

Is "NOOOOOOOOOOOOGIE!" obvious?

I was thinking it might be elsewhere, but I was also thinking "obvious" on Making Light would likely include a reference to the 14th century, an obscure language, a pun, and a trombone.

#17 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 04:07 PM:

What is Abi doing with Janice Joplin?

#18 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 04:09 PM:

Will Entrekin @ 16... reference to the 14th century, an obscure language, a pun, and a trombone

We prefer comitting violins against languages.

#19 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 04:14 PM:

Thanks, guys, I needed that. Seriously.

It's one of the nicest days we've had recently, and I have a vicious head cold and can't get outside to enjoy it. So anything that makes me giggle helps.

This mini-whine brought to you by the Goddess of Self-Pity(tm).

#20 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 04:24 PM:

Lee @19:

Yeah, it's the draggle-tailed end of winter. We hates it, we does.

But the nice days will shortly outnumber the nasty, the cold will go away, and your present troubles will recede.

Get better. (And everyone needs to grouse about head colds once in a while. I'm sure there's a rule about it somewhere.)

#21 ::: Kayjayoh ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 04:28 PM:

"You really need to meet my cousin. She has a great personality."

#22 ::: rams ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 04:30 PM:

"And when I lift the hair, PRESTO...!!!"

#23 ::: Will Entrekin ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 04:43 PM:

Serge @18: "We prefer comitting violins against languages."

I was worried strings were too obvious!

#24 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 05:04 PM:

...And for my next trick, I'll turn Xopher blonde...

#25 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 05:14 PM:

A longer caption:

For stale appearance I don't give a fig
since I won't see my friend for quite some while
but wit and humour always are in style
and I have grown to like this sort of gig.
Put on some hair, the deal is not so big
as you imagine. I do not revile
the belly laugh, nor yet the honest smile
since I am me beneath the longest wig.
In prose or verse the sentiment is true
that we're the grace that we have got to lend
to each occasion where the good may meet
to speak a while and give good peace its due
in wintertime. Still all fine things must end
and happy moments pass with foot too fleet.

#26 ::: Kelley Wegeng ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 05:20 PM:

"That's right, you saw it here first! Sure-fire sternutation remedy!"

#27 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 05:23 PM:

"My what long hair you have, Grandma."

#28 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 05:24 PM:

In the next exciting episode of Mod Science, we turn on the Van der Graaf generator and you can see me levitate using Xopher's hair.

#29 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 05:26 PM:

"Hst! Xopher! My fingers are stuck in the cheese dip!"

#30 ::: Ursula L ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 05:33 PM:

A better way to share your hair than Locks of Love!

#31 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 05:44 PM:

It seemed that this was, in some worrying sense, his hair.

#32 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 05:53 PM:

abi: "As you can see, the Fluorospheric Disemvowelling Grip is instantly effective."

Xopher: "Bmdyd bmdyd bmdyd..."

#33 ::: Branko Collin ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 06:03 PM:

I don't know about a caption, but the music should be Yakety Sax.

#34 ::: Glenn Hauman ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 06:46 PM:

"What Rachel Maddow and Ana Marie Cox look like before the tv makeup."

#35 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 07:17 PM:

"Is it me, or does Teresa look... different... somehow?"

#37 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 07:51 PM:

Chia Pets come in such odd shapes these days...

In the meantime, to allude to an earlier thread, behold vampire wizard ninja brothers from the moon! Haven't read far enough to see if they're also pirates or work for the FBI.

#38 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 07:54 PM:

Origo Gentis Langobardorum!

#39 ::: Rainflame ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 09:29 PM:

"136? With this wig you don't look a day over 90"

#40 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 10:10 PM:

Waiter, there's a hair in my chocolate!

#41 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 10:44 PM:

An Abi-cure, dining at Crewe,
Found quite a large hair in her stew.
Said our Xopher, "Don't shout,
And wave it about,
Or I'll have to share it with you!"

#42 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 12:35 AM:

First, it was the live-action production of "What's Opera, Doc".

Now, you're doing "The Rabbit of Seville"? With the Figaro Fertilizer?

#43 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 12:57 AM:

Toupee!

#16 Will

14th century? That leaves out the lays of Marie de France, which were in what today is an obcure language....

#44 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 01:14 AM:

Xopher @135:931:

Damn, that's good. Mine are often vivid, but it's extremely rare that they have any kind of coherent story structure.

They all end with And Then I Woke Up. I tell you, it's damned annoying.

My theory is that this is the problem you're set to solve for the coming day. 'Course, to get any real use out of the instruction, you have to decode the dream, first.

And my knees hurt, as did my eyes.

I'm always fascinated by how the brain manages to spin elements of RL into the dream structure, and make it (internally) logically integral to the dream. My brain will even actually run up appropriate synthetic memories to support the story's premise.

Elliott Mason @135:932 & 942

I get some cinematography, but mostly limited to camera angles and POV. What I get incredibly vividly, though, is vestibular (why I love flying), taste, and smell.

(BTW, I'm not really caught up here; These posts just caught my eye as I was ego-scanning.)

Here's another one: does the vividness of your dreams correlate to your physical state? I dream more vividly the longer I've been sleeping, and I dream most vividly in the mornings after the sun has come up. Which means if I'm sleeping a regular night schedule to accomodate a normal day job, I don't get any of the really cool stuff.

#45 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 01:59 AM:

Jacques at 45 etc:

Every now and then I have a dream that just has to be written in to a story.

I am amazed at the intricacies of plot I can come up with.

Once I dreamed an alternate-timeline-hopping story where alternate-me was a criminal and trying to make me the fall guy for his crimes, complete with a New York skyline where the WTC stood and other landmarks weren't there any more.

Another dream turned into shapeshifter porn.

#46 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 03:06 AM:

I once had a dream that started with me playing cards with Hitler (he cheats) and ended with me standing in front of the gate of Auschwitz with molten metal falling from the sky. I forget the middle, but remember that it was surprisingly coherent.

#47 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 04:47 AM:

Paula Lieberman @ 43... Toupee!

Or not toupee?
That is the question.

#48 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 05:01 AM:

Fragano @25:

I don't post to thank you for your poetry nearly often enough.

Thank you. That's a good 'un.

#49 ::: Laura from Faraway ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 07:27 AM:

Didn't They Might Be Giants already caption this?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U24OvWVdVwA

#50 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 07:48 AM:

Jacque 45: I went back to drowsing after disrobing and taking my contacts out...I may have embellished the dream somewhat in that state. I'll vouch for the physical events being part of the original dream, and the name 'Mrs. Zimmerman', but I'm not quite certain of some of the other stuff. The talisman was definitely a round wooden box about 3" in diameter, and the first layer did contain a small wooden disk (the size of a nickel but thicker) and a dead insect.

As for decoding the dream, I've decided that it means I won't die if I stop being a fucking zombie. Given my recent behavior and mental state, this is a huge improvement. I'm not interested in any other interpretations, since this one is useful.

Apropos of the "Patriarch of Constantinople" Sidelight: My first name means "bearer of the anointed"—while I've certainly invited many a man to oil up and ride, I've never thought of it as a profession!

And Patrick...maybe you should think of converting the Irish, instead. Or chasing snakes away. Or becoming a professional hockey player.

#51 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 07:56 AM:

Paula, 43: I wouldn't say Old French is obscure around here--I can think of three regular commenters off the top of my head who know it.

#52 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 07:56 AM:

I do want to say before we get too far away from it that John Kerr's #12 made me laugh so hard that I would have passed a taco through my nose, had I been eating a taco.

I am, however, struck by the fact that almost simultaneously, John Scalzi used exactly the same phrase as the title of a post to The Whatever. Which makes me wonder if this is a reference to some item of Popular Culture, perhaps something on the Tele-Vision or the InterWebs, which has passed me by.

#53 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 08:02 AM:

Xopher #50 -- In actual fact, I'm quite happy to share a given name with the guy who appears to have been the first person to say "You know what, slavery is wrong. It's not just wrong to enslave those people, it's wrong to enslave anybody. Even your enemies who once enslaved you. That whole slavery business? No matter what: wrong."

#54 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 08:16 AM:

Patrick, I didn't know that about St. Patrick (if that's who you mean), but I have nothing against that gentleman anyway, since what he founded was Celtic Christianity, a culturally-appropriate variant later stamped out by a couple of...were they Dominicans? I'm not sure...who were acting directly against the orders of the then-Pope, who instructed them NOT to enforce Roman rules on people who were already Christian.

It wouldn't surprise me if that idea came from Patrick, as he'd experienced slavery from both sides* (as you're no doubt aware) and could make a reasonable ethical assessment of its costs and benefits.

If you were referring to some other Patrick, please tell me which one, because I'd like to learn more about that excellent person.
____
*I don't know that he ever owned slaves personally, in fact I'd be surprised if he did; but in a society with slavery all non-enslaved people reap the benefits of that institution, whether they will or nill.

#55 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 08:27 AM:

Patrick, #52: Equally likely IMO is that John Kerr had been reading Scalzi before he came over here, and realized that the title of that post would be an apt caption.

#56 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 09:26 AM:

TNH #38: Wouldn't that be on Lombard Street?

#57 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 09:26 AM:

TexAnne@ 51... I wouldn't say Old French is obscure around here

I'm not that old.
Now, you kid get off my lawn!

#58 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 09:29 AM:

abi #48: You're more than welcome. The inspiration was most excellent.

#59 ::: Carlos ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 09:37 AM:

Brains... braaains... must... eat... braaaaains...

#60 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 09:47 AM:

See that chap with hair like Shelley's? You can tell 'e's used Pirelli's!

#61 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 09:57 AM:

Why, Cousin It! You're quite handsome under all that hair!

#62 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 10:05 AM:

My more storyful dreams are a mix of me as a spectator watching a movie or, more rarely, watching the action while reading a book, ish, or me headhopping from character to character along with the book.
This was most striking during a dream in which I went back to the beginning of the chapter to check something. You know how you read in dreams? It's worse when you're rereading and trying to make the words say the same thing they did the first time.

#63 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 10:25 AM:

Tim Walters @46 man, that Hitler's a sore loser.

#64 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 10:34 AM:

Dream cinematography: As I understand it, dream recall involves a fair bit of confabulation in general. I suspect this uses whatever "visual lexicon" you've built up over the years....

#65 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 11:07 AM:

"I was also thinking "obvious" on Making Light would likely include a reference to the 14th century, an obscure language, a pun, and a trombone."

I just got through helping with a production of The Mikado, which has numerous references to disguising oneself as that lowly character, a second trombone. The second trombonist in the pit was having a blast getting singled out and started making derogatory noises at the Mikado. Tangent from that: Wow, that production could be really offensive if played wrong. I think we did it the right way, with very British accents and mannerisms despite the Japanese clothes, since that's what's really being lampooned.

In reference to dream stuff, I once won a short story competition with a tale that was largely from a dream I had (small pond competition, FWIW) and I've gotten two good coherent pieces of music from my dreams. The first became the mass settings for my wedding ("Don't talk to me; I have to get this down before I forget it") and the second was, IIRC, a piece of music that was the dream soundtrack to me fighting ninjas outside Jesus' tomb.

People talk about weird pregnancy dreams. I have no basis for comparison as my dreams are normally pretty weird, though coherent.

#66 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 11:11 AM:

B.Durbin @ 65... that production could be really offensive if played wrong

A similar example would be Holtz's Planets. I still remember the time San Francisco's Symphonic Orchestra's organ got stuck at the end of Uranus.

#67 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 11:22 AM:

@65--

i seem to recall that there have been official japanese protests over productions of the mikado (like, by the japanese ambassador to the court of st. james) until quite recent times, like the 1930s.

#68 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 11:29 AM:

Jaques@44 re: Dreams

I wondered if the opportunity to mention this would ever present itself.

A while back, I distinctly remember (to the extent that I can still picture the visuals) dreaming that I was sitting on a crowded London tube train1 chatting to Theresa2 when Tom Baker3 got on and stood next to us. So, of course, I introduced them.

Far from the most floridly weird dream, I admit. It's just very weird that I had it. Neither the London tube nor introductions between personalities I have not met had previously (to my knowlege) been major themes in my nocturnal imaginings; nor have they since.

1Not unusual so far - I live in London
2Our hostess, whom I have never met
3Whom I have never met

#69 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 11:35 AM:

i thought londoners dropped their aitches? or is this 'ere a case of 'ypercorrection?

#70 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 11:40 AM:

Re: Mikado

Go to this page, scroll down to 1992, and check out the t-shirt design on the right.

#71 ::: Velma ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 11:45 AM:

Doggonit, I could have had straight brown hair, too!

#72 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 11:46 AM:

Abi @Prime:

"Cousin Itt! You shaved your face!"

#73 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 11:51 AM:

And, captions for the OP:

"Locks Of Love Loaner"

"Hair enough to share!"

#74 ::: Michael ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 11:53 AM:

She smiled mercelessly as they captured in time her victim's unbeknownst fall from a miniscule sip from the false Grail.

#75 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 11:53 AM:

Velma 71: Doggonit, I could have had straight brown hair, too!

And cover your elegantly fine-boned head? I should think not!

(Mine has all sorts of weird bumps on it...I look like a Star Trek alien from behind.)

#76 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 11:54 AM:

Velma @71:

Drat, you're right! Missed opportunity is missed! Want a rain check?

Janet Brennan Croft @61, Jacque @72:

Cousin It has always been my "Oh, noes! There's a Halloween party, and me without a costume!" fallback.

Then there was the time I perched the sunglasses on the back of my head and stood, head properly tilted, with my back to a friend and nodded as he talked to me. It took him ten minutes to notice. (We were all quite drunk at this point.)

#77 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 12:03 PM:

Kid bitzer@69

I swear it was only moments after hitting post I realised my mistake and came back to correct it, but I see I've already been neatly skewered.

My apologies to Teresa for the wayward "h"; I really have been lurking long enough to know better.

#78 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 12:04 PM:

Open threadiness: Apparently someone at Citibank decided that an appropriate response to a startup catering to gay men was to block access to their accounts. The bank has restored access, but they're still "reviewing" and haven't apologized or explained. A quote from the linked article:

I just finished reading a very unsettling blog post by serial entrepreneur Jason Goldberg, whose new startup fabulis has apparently had its bank account blocked by Citibank over posting “objectionable content” on its company blog, at least according to a bank employee he spoke to on the phone.
Fabulis is described on the blog as “the social network that helps gay men connect with amazing experiences nearby and around the world”. Could that be what Citibank is objecting against rather than the content on the blog, which is perfectly innocent any way you look at it indeed?

#79 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 12:12 PM:

Erik Nelson @45: Once I dreamed an alternate-timeline-hopping story where alternate-me was a criminal and trying to make me the fall guy for his crimes, complete with a New York skyline where the WTC stood and other landmarks weren't there any more.

That's a good un! Did you write it? I wanna read it!

Another dream turned into shapeshifter porn.

One of my favorite fan writers once did a story featuring DS9's Odo. Oh, my. (Fans face.)

Xopher @50: I went back to drowsing after disrobing and taking my contacts out...I may have embellished the dream somewhat in that state.

That's okay. I'm convinced that's part of the process. My experience is that I start out early in the night dreaming jumbled and incomprehensible bits and pieces.

Over the course of the night, that grist gets iteratively reworked, becoming steadily clearer and more coherent, until the full production is finally ready to display in the morning.

Not unlike the process for other creative endeavors, only the media are memory, archetype, and imagery.

As for decoding the dream, I've decided that it means "I won't die if I stop being a fucking zombie." Given my recent behavior and mental state, this is a huge improvement. I'm not interested in any other interpretations, since this one is useful.

It is also, speaking from my vast experience [*cough*] in dream interpretation, dead on. And very useful. Sounds like this is a concern that's been nagging at you for a while.

<therapist>So what about being a zombie have you found useful in your life?</therapist>

Janet Brennan Croft @61: Gargh! You beat me to it. What I get for posting before I've read through. [sulk]

Diatryma @62: You know how you read in dreams? It's worse when you're rereading and trying to make the words say the same thing they did the first time.

YES YES YES! Hadn't really been conscious of that, but I think I've been doing that lately a lot.

The other one I've been getting a lot lately is trying to get people to SHUT UP AND LISTEN TO ME!!!?1 I need to ponder where this one is coming from.

Oh yeah, and does anyone get this one? You've got stuff in your mouth, like chewing gum or fruit seeds or something, and you just can't get rid of it?

I finally figured that one out: my mouth has fallen open and dried out. If I think of it, and can wake up enough, closing my mouth and getting some spit going will make that stop. Very distracting sensation. Makes it hard to focus on thwarting the alien invasion.

B. Durbin @65: "Don't talk to me; I have to get this down before I forget it"

ObMinn-Stf: Nate Bucklin's "New Pterodactyls."

(Hee! Erik Nelson and Russ between them have covered both classic misspellings of my name. Now all I need is for somebody to call me Kathy, and we'll have the Triumverate.)

Russ @68: Baker and TNH are clearly important archetypes in your mind. Question is, archetypes of what?

#80 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 12:16 PM:

abi @ 76... It took him ten minutes to notice. (We were all quite drunk at this point.)

Were you left in a Lurch?
I think Xopher Ruks!

#81 ::: Ross ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 12:30 PM:

...aaaaaand apologies to Jacque.

Two names in the post, and I got them both wrong. I'm suprised I could spell my own.

#82 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 12:34 PM:

You know how you read in dreams? It's worse when you're rereading and trying to make the words say the same thing they did the first time.

Actually, this is the test I use when I'm trying to work out whether I'm awake or not.

It's kind of a boring test. I should really switch to "attempt to induce spontaneous materialisation of Zhang Ziyi" or "invite attack by the chocolate truffle beast" or something. That way, win/win.

#83 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 12:35 PM:

Ross, no prob. As I say, not a new phenomenon.

(And this is why I copy and paste people's names. If I retype, I know I'll get it wrong!)

#84 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 12:36 PM:

Jacque @ 79... 'Jacques' isn't a misspelling. Let me rephrase. It obviously isn't how you spell it, but it is quite the correct one where I come from and in France.

#85 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 12:39 PM:

Dreams: when I was in my early teens, I had a dream in which I read a page from a book: the one under my pillow. It was so vivid that I swore for years that I had, indeed, put the book down at page XX before going to sleep and picked it up and continued reading in the morning at page XX + 1...

TomB @ 70
Never mind the T-shirt (good though it is), I want the doors from the set (they have cranes on them).

#86 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 01:07 PM:

Diatryma @ 62, When I read in dreams, I always end up in the action of the book -- sometimes as a spectator but more often as a participant.

Jacque @ 79, when I'm stressed out and anxious, I often dream of getting into screaming arguments with people. I wonder if the SHUT UP AND LISTEN TO ME dream is similar.

My dreams are always live-action, realistic, in color. The color tends to be of the style found in Fight Club, Amélie, and Moulin Rouge. Important objects are usually unnaturally large -- as though the perspective is off.

Keith tells me he dreams in a large variety of different visual styles, whatever is appropriate to the dream topic. He has dreams in different animation styles, for example. I think this is really cool.

#87 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 01:14 PM:

Ross 81: I saw what you did there. Just want you to know it didn't fly by unnoticed. Kudos.

#88 ::: Ambar ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 01:21 PM:

If this hasn't already been aired here, it should. (And in a later blog post, the author asks for advice on agents. I know we've got plenty of that around here...)

http://pipeline.corante.com/archives/2010/02/23/things_i_wont_work_with_dioxygen_difluoride.php

If the paper weren't laid out in complete grammatical sentences and published in JACS, you'd swear it was the work of a violent lunatic. I ran out of vulgar expletives after the second page. A. G. Streng, folks, absolutely takes the corrosive exploding cake, and I have to tip my asbestos-lined titanium hat to him.

[...] Hydrogen sulfide, for example, reacts with four molecules of FOOF to give sulfur hexafluoride, 2 molecules of HF and four oxygens. . .and 433 kcal, which is the kind of every-man-for-himself exotherm that you want to avoid at all cost. The sulfur chemistry of FOOF remains unexplored, so if you feel like whipping up a batch of Satan's kimchi, go right ahead.

#89 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 01:43 PM:

Ambar: Good lord. I thought the ClF3 (chlorine trifluoride) he wrote about previously was bad, but this is a whole level of magnitude beyond that. Explosive reactions at 90°K? Yikes.

#90 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 01:53 PM:

The party with the long hair thinks, "All right...just half a degree more to the right...and my neck will be parallel to the stairway behind me. That will be the signal for my cohorts to rush down said stairway and..."
My dreams get really intricate sometimes, some details so vivid I think there is a leakage from some other memory or something. Oddly enough, my emotions are often sort of muted during the actual dream, as if there wasn't enough RAM to support both the imagery and the feelings, let alone thought. Occasionally they may be more intense than they would be if whatever it was happened to me in wakelife.
I really think sometimes there's leakages or short circuits during dreams, and a bit of some other memory or history gets into my mind then...which makes me wonder if mine was ever inadvertently accessed during someone else's dreams...I'm scared to find out. The information that comes thru would be distorted and/or fragmentary, but might still get one's attention. Other times, it just seems like dreams are a by-product, excess energy being dissipated. I have also wondered if the occasional nightmare is the mind's way of testing the alarm system.
Occasionally there have been fragments of music that, on waking, I can't identify. Cryptomnesia, I guess. That used to happen when I was awake too. I never did get the whole song, let alone find the title so I could hunt down the disc.
I have never been one to reduce every psychological phenomenon down to neurology derived from beasts, but my metaphysics/mysticism isn't that of any tradition here, simply my own. I only think that minds sometimes leak. Occasionally time might leak too...I once had a prophetic dream, of reading something unexpected--a string of 10 characters I considered my own, have always kept private and always will--in someone else's book. Next day I was in the school library, picked up some obscure sf work I'd never seen before and--there it was, I should say 8 of the 10 characters, with 1 vowel altered. This was many years before anyone came up with those programs that can generate scads of names at a click. --Now this was a possibility I had previously what-if'd in my mind before when awake, but I was pretty startled that day. No causality was violated that I can tell, and I'm not sure about probability, but still. People have enough dreams, once in a while an event is bound to match next day, I've heard similar stories, but that still doesn't mean that time could not leak a little once in a while, maybe.
I have been known to say that dreams are the methane of the mind. But to extend the metaphor, sometimes it ignites for a moment.

#91 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 02:03 PM:

re 88: Florine ions and a peroxide group? What's not to like?

#92 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 02:07 PM:

Angiportus @ 90: Occasionally there have been fragments of music that, on waking, I can't identify.

They might be original. I've had a couple of melodies come to me in dreams. It's quite convenient!

#93 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 02:11 PM:

Tim Walters @ 46: "I forget the middle, but remember that it was surprisingly coherent."

Which brings up an interesting question: when you remember a dream as coherent, are you remembering a judgment of coherence made at the time with real data, or are you only remembering a sense of coherence, corresponding to no actual experience?

#94 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 02:27 PM:

Speaking of coherence... and of decoherence... Agatha the Cat Genius seems to have an affinity for boxes. Put one of any size on the floor and, within a moment, she'll be found inside the box. Mind you, this is the cat who once went from one bathroom to another without using doors.

#95 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 02:48 PM:

Serge @ #94: "this is the cat who once went from one bathroom to another without using doors."

Okay, we need to see a floor plan in order to determine just how Agatha managed that.

#96 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 02:49 PM:

Ross @ 81: You spelled "Tom Baker" correctly - that's one out of three!

#97 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 02:56 PM:

I will be at Condor in San Diego over the weekend. If anyone from the Fluorosphere is going to be down that way (or is already down that way) and wants to say hi, you can let me know here or by email (kesutt at gmail dot com).

Ambar @ 88:

My reaction on reading that post was a progressively more horrified expression, complete with wide eyes and eyebrows trying to crawl up my forehead. Wow.

ObDreams:

Some of my dreams are rather strange indeed. I often can't really read in them, for one. Also, any dream where I'm being chased by persons or creatures unpleasant tends to be annoying, as weapons don't work. Instead, it's like playground rules ("I shot you!" "No you didn't!"), and maybe the guy goes and stands in the corner until the dream forgets about him.

#98 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 02:57 PM:

Linkmeister @ 95... How? Thanks to a time-honored tradition of hollywoodian SF.

"Ducts? Why is it always ducts?"
- Sigourney Weaver in Galaxy Quest

#99 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 03:00 PM:

I've always had a lot of dreams, but back when I was quitting smoking and using the Nicoderm patch, I had 3-D (sometimes 4-D), THX, SurroudSound, Cinemascope, Technicolor epic dreams. Vivid dreams are listed as one of the side effects, and they ain't kidding.

Just as an idle thought, I wonder how much of dreaming is taking an existing emotional state and your brain then fashioning a narrative around it?

#100 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 03:06 PM:

Steve C @ 99... Dreams in THX? If you're not paying for the license, George Lucas will sue you.

#101 ::: alex ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 03:09 PM:

I quite frequently dream of being in possession of awesome weapons, only to discover that they have no effect on my foes. All click, no bang. And my sword always goes bendy...

Paging Dr Freud, urgent case on the third floor...

#102 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 03:20 PM:

Serge @ 100 -

Oh man - now DRM stands for Dream Rights Management. :-)

#103 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 03:38 PM:

dcb@85, the Lucid Dreaming folks recommend a variety of different reality checks to tell whether you're dreaming or actually awake. In general, reading doesn't work reliably in dreams, and digital clocks don't either. So if you're actually reading, or your alarm clock numbers advance normally, chances are pretty good you're not dreaming. On the other hand, if your clock is melting and letters won't stay in place on the page, chances are pretty good that you're dreaming, or at least looking at Salvador Dali paintings.

#104 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 03:47 PM:

Serge @84: Correct. While "Jacques" is the correct spelling of "Jacques," it is a misspelling of "Jacque." (Which is not French, but rather a bastardized pseudo-Friench truncation of "Jacqueline." [Which is French, I believe.] American, in other words.)

N'est-ce pas?

In re Dreams...

Sorry in advance for the verbose mode. But this is a topic that really fascinates me.

Caroline @86: when I'm stressed out and anxious, I often dream of getting into screaming arguments with people. I wonder if the SHUT UP AND LISTEN TO ME dream is similar.

Not sure. Seems to be less about conflict than about attention.

I did an acting class at Naropa University with Peter Goldfarb, and we got into dream interpretation. He's got an interesting take: every element in a dream is a manifestation of you, the dreamer. An example of this, one of the students described a dream about walking through a clothing store, talking with her boyfriend. She described the clothes rack, and when she mentioned a trashcan, Peter had her act out the dream from its viewpoint.

Everybody in the class kinda went, "Huh?" But she did it with no hesitation. She'd reported the trashcan quite explicitly if not consciously, so that clearly represented some element of her experience.

I've found that to be a very useful insight: I put everything that's in the dream in there. So if there's conflict, it's conflict I'm having with myself.

Which, looping back to your question above, suggests that in my case there's some important part of me that's not getting attended to adequately. And in your case, you have two (or more) elements of yourself that are in vigorous conflict.

(Hm. This has interesting implications for flying dreams. Not only am I the flyer, I am also the landscape through which I'm flying. Woo! I'm having Peter Watts' "The Things" flashbacks!)

Keith tells me he dreams in a large variety of different visual styles, whatever is appropriate to the dream topic. He has dreams in different animation styles, for example. I think this is really cool.

I'm really looking forward to practical cranial USB ports so we can trade these things directly.

I've encountered people who claim they don't dream in color and are surprised when I say I do. I find this very weird.

Angiportus @90: ...as if there wasn't enough RAM to support both the imagery and the feelings, let alone thought...

Yeah. I speculate this is the reason for the iterative processing through the course of the night: Get one layer compiled, commit to file. Work out the next, lay over the first, &c.

...which makes me wonder if mine was ever inadvertently accessed during someone else's dreams...

I think there are also multiple realities in play, as well. (Like the SG1 episode where Teal'c was a fireman in one reality and a Jaffa in the other.)

There was the dream where I went to visit my old karate instructor who lived two realities over. I knew this because I had to wake up twice before I could get back home.

I have also wondered if the occasional nightmare is the mind's way of testing the alarm system.

I like this. "This crisis has been a test. It was only a test. Had it been an actual crisis, your blood would be soaking your sheets by now and you would have died. This has only been a test."

Prophetic dreams: my most startling experience of this was, two weeks before Iguanacon, dreaming vividly about a really tall guy (6.5ft+) with long, very pale hair. One or two other details. Then, at Iguanacon, meeting Andrew Brown. Scary, kinda.

Tim Walters @92: [fragments of music] They might be original. I've had a couple of melodies come to me in dreams. It's quite convenient!

But why in the name of creation would I come up with a jingle for a beer commercial!?

Our girlfriends have all gone away,
So now we can do whatever we want to...

I mercifully forget the rest. Sung off-key in traditional drunken frat-boy style. This is so TOTALLY out of my culture zone that it puzzles me to this day. And my brain put a lot of work into producing that.

heresiarch @93: Hee hee. Occassionally each. Sometimes I start telling a dream that seemed to make perfect sense to me, but from the looks I get, I finally finally sigh, "Okay. So ya hadda been there."

Steve C. @99 Vivid dreams as side effects: I discovered this weekend: root canal + pain + exhaustion + sleep deprivation + antibiotics + tramadol = ALL OF THE VIVID DREAMS AT ONCE. Very bizarre.

Just as an idle thought, I wonder how much of dreaming is taking an existing emotional state and your brain then fashioning a narrative around it?

I generally take this to be my starting premise for interpretation.

KeithS@97: The main question I ask when someone's trying to figure one out is: "Okay. Think about yesterday. What's the first thing that comes to mind?" However mundane, that's usually the nut of the dream.

Bill Stewart @103: Or if you can jump up just high enough, and hang from the ceiling by the top of your head, you're dreaming. That's my test.

#105 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 04:16 PM:

100,102:
That's what DreamWorks does, right?

#106 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 04:32 PM:

Serge @ 94: "Agatha the Cat Genius seems to have an affinity for boxes" our Sundae was like that. She particularly enjoyed playing "how small a box can I fit into?" and "Let's see if I can jump head first into this tall, narrow box and squirm round so I'm upright again." She also appeared able to get from "A" to "B" without passing you on the route between, and could totally vanish for considerable periods then calmly walk out of a room you'd searched thoroughly.

Bill Stewart @ 103: Yes, but as far as I could tell, I was reading, the letters stayed put etc.

Re. living-the-story vivid dreams, I did have one in which I was the object of a lynch mob (I got away, with help). The terror was quite - memorable.

#107 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 04:38 PM:

heresiarch @ 93: when you remember a dream as coherent, are you remembering a judgment of coherence made at the time with real data, or are you only remembering a sense of coherence, corresponding to no actual experience?

It feels like the former--I remember mulling over the dream after waking up--but it's probably impossible to do that without imposing some extra order on it.

#108 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 04:49 PM:

Xopher@87: I got a kudo! Thanks, Xopher, I'm always happy to receive kudos :D

KeithS@97: I get that! Except also - magic. Magic in my dreams sometimes works like in a LARP; I am supposed to say the word and/or gesture and then we should agree that the effect happens or the bad guy falls down, except sometimes not everyone agrees, and there are no special effects. Which is pretty disappointing for the realm of the imagination.

Terry Pratchett (afraid I can't remember which book) talks about ideas as like showers of neutrinos1, and if the right one passed through the right brain you got a Mona Lisa or an internet, but mostly they didn't and you ended up with an accountant obsessed with enigmatic smiles, or a politician babbling about a series of tubes.

The most coherent dream I remember seems to have been destined for a "Jonathan Creek" writer but missed a left turn at Albuquerque2. It was set in a Victorian country manor with a huge green garden; there was a hedge maze and at the centre of that was a stone fountain that contained a puzzle of such marvellous complexity3 that it was reputed to drive anyone who tried to solve it mad. In fact, there was a history of madness in the family, and the lady of the house spent many hours obsessing over the puzzle, sipping from the fountain (which drew from a spring famed for its healthful properties). She too eventually descended into madness.

And it was only just as I started to wake up that I realised that the pipes that took the water from the healthful spring to the puzzle fountain were, of course, made of lead.

Gave me a right shiver, that did, and although I've added structure recounting it now, the whole thing was there fully formed when I woke up.

1Or comets, or grains...I don't remember the exact simile, but they were small and penetrating and (possibly?) came in showers.
2Yes, I can spell "Albuquerque" but blank on "Teresa". The mind is a wonderful thing.
3In the manner of dreams, I knew absolutely that it was of marvellous complexity without remembering any detail of the puzzle itself.

#109 ::: Dawno ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 04:54 PM:

Russ at 107 -Particles of Inspiration" found in a number of books. Leonard of Quirm seemed to be an attractor of them.

#110 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 04:59 PM:

Any PHP Architects or friends thereof in the house? You might be interested and there's a referral bonus*.

*I have no connection with them, unless "happy user" counts. It's one of the best (or worst) timesinks on the interwebz.

#111 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 05:39 PM:

I think of dreams as Rorschach blots. Something throws up some sparks, the sleeping-brain looks at them and tries to make sense, then waking-brain later tries to make them make more sense. Mine are generally boring, the kind of dream where you wonder for the rest of the day if you ran that errand or had that conversation in reality or not.

My family's dog got increasingly active in his sleep, going from twitch-running to barking with his cheeks poofing out (booff, booff, boowoowooff) to, once or twice, running a lot and then growling and ripping something to pieces. All muted by unconsciousness, but recognizable.

#112 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 05:50 PM:

abi @76

I'm very glad I was not drinking/eating anything, or I would still be cleaning my screen.

My one and only social grace during high school was the ability to comb my very long and very very thick hair over my face, perch my glasses on my nose, and chitter like cousin it.

#113 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 06:06 PM:

This thread is great! Giving me a place to trot out all my favorite half-baked ideas:

Dawno @109: Particles of Inspiration: I'm convinced this is why the best ideas tend to show up in the middle of the night. The mass of the Earth obstructs the noise eminating from the Sun and it gets quiet enough that one can actually hear the whispering of the Muses.

#114 ::: Antonia T. Tiger, blaming a surfeit of cheese. ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 06:16 PM:

HORATIO
Now cracks a noble heart. Good night sweet prince:
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!
Why does the drum come hither?

March within

Enter FORTINBRAS, the English Ambassadors, and others

FORTINBRAS
Where is this sight?

HORATIO
What is it ye would see?
If aught of woe or wonder, cease your search.

FORTINBRAS
This quarry cries on havoc. O proud death,
What feast is toward in thine eternal cell,
That thou so many princes at a shot
So bloodily hast struck?

FORTINBRAS reaches across his face to he ear and peels off his rubber mask, revealing himself to be HAMLET.

HORATIO
My Lord! But who is this?

The body on the stage rises to his feet, and also peels off a rubber mask, revealing ROSENCRANTZ. He nudges LAERTES with his foot, who similarly rises and reveals himself to be GUILDENSTERN

HORATIO
Oh bugger!

At this point HORATIO also peels off a rubber mask and reveals himself to be OPHELIA

ROSENCRANTZ
You know our banker, my Lord.

GUILDENSTERN
We trust your reign will be long and glorious.

Exit ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN, hastily

OPHELIA
Hamlet! My father?

HAMLET
Not I. I swear it.

HAMLET indicates the door by which ROPSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN have left

OPHELIA
Excuse me, my Lord.

Exit OPHELIA

The English Ambassador peels off his rubber mask, revealing FORTINBRAS.

FORTINBRAS
Your Majesty. And these?

HAMLET
Take them hence. The living, keep them kindly safe until I have assurance of their honesty, for they accepted a most cruel deceit as truth. The dead, bear them with dignity to Christian burial.

Gunshots

Enter OPHELIA, carrying a pistol.

OPHELIA
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead.

HAMLET
We shall speak further of Norway. You already have my word.
My Lady, do you forgive me my deceits?

OPHELIA
As willingly as you may pardon mine.

FORTINBRAS
Take up the bodies: such a sight as this
Becomes the field, but here shows much amiss.
Go, bid the soldiers shoot.

A dead march. Exeunt, bearing off the dead bodies, all but HAMLET and OPHELIA, who embrace passionately; after which a peal of ordnance is shot off

#115 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 06:29 PM:

Shakespeare pulls off a rubber mask, revealing himself to be Bugs Bunny.

Bugs:
Ain't I a stinker?

#116 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 06:32 PM:

I think perhaps the reason I tend to have mostly coherent dreams is that I'm a severe biblioholic and the structure of narrative is imprinted on my neurons. The imagery is weird but my brain recognizes story.

My own personal take on inspiration is that a large part of it is the juxtaposition of two or more concepts that hadn't been in contact before, in a way that makes sense. For example: We were driving to a diner after improv practice and the guys in the front seat were talking about some of the weirder suggestions they'd gotten. The word "taxidermy" jumped out at me at the same time as I looked out the window and saw a sign for a tux shop, so my brain mixed the two and got "tuxidermy." After the initial moment of confusion, I continued the thought, "Of course. They make stuffed shirts."

I am mightily convinced that Terry Pratchett's pictsies come from a late-night juxtaposition of Braveheart, Celts, and the Smurfs.

#117 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 06:32 PM:

My theory of dreams:
During its maintenance cleanup tasks that the brain deals with during sleep, random nerve impulses get set off. In some cases these form patterns that get parsed as thought.

#118 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 06:39 PM:

Lamar Alexander is a noxious POS, and so are most of his co-political party members.... Roadwrecking Republithugs.

Then there was the lout, Mr Camp or some such? interviewed by NPR/PRI, with his bullshit about Health/Medical Subscriber Accounts-- they do NOTHING useful for people for whom tax breaks are NOT applicable, who don't have the money to set aside GAMBLING money -- which is what those things are, GAMBLING money, betting that the out of pocket expenses for -next- year will equal the specified tax-exempted deducations going into INSURANCE COMPANY holding funds.... yeah, the damned parasitic ghouls hold the money and get income off it, while the people payig into the stinking red herrings, have to go looking for things to spend it on, and remember to apply the funds to -allowed- out of pocket expenses... and if not used, the INSURANCE COMPANIES keep it, not the people whose INCOME it was SUPPOSED to be.

#119 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 06:46 PM:

117

That theory is too close to reality - it needs something to liven it up.

Dinosaurs. Or sodomy.

#120 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 06:51 PM:

Ambar @88 -- wow. I'm mentioning that link elsewhere. Would ordering a kilo of that stuff count as a trrrst act? (Self-disemvowelled)

#121 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 06:53 PM:

#113 Jacques

Here, have a tinfoil hat, to help collect more rays.... (turns out apparently that tinfoil hats do NOT do useful Faraday cage thing, they instead play antenna....)

#122 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 07:05 PM:

Help, Fluorosphere! I need some linkable online pictures of Christians protesting against the Westboro Baptist Church. Someone on another site is claiming that "virtually all" Christians either agree with them or don't care, and I know that's not true, but I'd like to rub his nose in it with pictures. My Google-fu hasn't found anything useful, but...well, let's just say maybe I should call it Google-trip-and-fall instead.

Unrelated: Can you identify the jazz classic from which the rhythm spelled out by "banana one two three, I am a tree" comes? (Tim Walters, not you. I know you can.)

#123 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 07:21 PM:

B. Durbin @116: "tuxidermy." After the initial moment of confusion, I continued the thought, "Of course. They make stuffed shirts."

Oh, GAWD!! Go to your room!!

Paula Lieberman @121: Here, have a tinfoil hat, to help collect more rays.... (turns out apparently that tinfoil hats do NOT do useful Faraday cage thing, they instead play antenna....)

Yes, and when was the last time you tried to sleep in one? Boy, talk about your pillow-perm....

Xopher @122: Do the Google Images search on "westboro baptist church protest" not meet your need?

#124 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 07:43 PM:

Bill Stewart @ 103 ...
dcb@85, the Lucid Dreaming folks recommend a variety of different reality checks to tell whether you're dreaming or actually awake. In general, reading doesn't work reliably in dreams, and digital clocks don't either. So if you're actually reading, or your alarm clock numbers advance normally, chances are pretty good you're not dreaming. On the other hand, if your clock is melting and letters won't stay in place on the page, chances are pretty good that you're dreaming, or at least looking at Salvador Dali paintings.

Hm. I can always read when I'm dreaming lucidly, and I can't rely on time to advance coherently whether I'm awake or asleep. In fact I'm not quite sure what it is that lets me know I'm dreaming -- in some cases, it's doubtless a particularly nasty flavour that I hope our timeline will never become/encounter, but in others there's just a distinct knowledge of dreamstate, rather than being able to fly, or not read.

#125 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 07:46 PM:

Jacque @79 said of her dreams: The other one I've been getting a lot lately is trying to get people to SHUT UP AND LISTEN TO ME!!!?1 I need to ponder where this one is coming from.

The most common trigger for SHUT UP AND LISTEN TO ME-causing behavior from non-viewpoint characters in my dreams turns out to be sleeping past when NPR comes on on my clock radio. It leaks in just enough that, no matter what conversation I'm TRYING to have with (whoever), they keep spouting current-affairs or stuff about gay marriage or droning on and on about an organic turnip farm. :-> First time it happened to me, my husband turned it off before I got up, so I didn't notice until I was at work listening to Morning Edition repeat itself, and suddenly realized that Cokie Roberts was doing exactly the spiel I'd gotten ad nauseam from my grandmother that morning while I was screaming myself blue at her trying to get her to explain where she was keeping the potatoes in her new kitchen.

Um. Yeah.

Mostly my dreams don't seem to give me messages (except for the one where I had a long involved conversation with my dad about something very emotionally important to me, and he reacted JUST like he would in real life; THAT was a message), but I do like looking at them as sort of snapshots of where my internal mental image of myself is at any one time.

A few randomly-chosen examples. It took me until I was enormously house-sized in real life before I began to 'just be' pregnant in my dreams. I'd had dreams before then where OMG PREGNANCY was a plot point, but dreams where it was assumed worldbuilding took a while. Similarly, though I have dreams all the time where I attend (fictional, often awesome) conventions, it was a while after I started going back to finish my degree before I started having dreams that 'just happened' to take place at (a, not necessarily my real-world) school. Same thing with haircuts.

I still get lots of dreams set at the houses my (both sets of) grandparents had when I was small, though. In one case I think it's just 'cause that house was so huge, convoluted, and awesome that it makes a great set. Full basement*, first floor with 30' ceilings**, mezannine with marble floor tile and a piano in it, attic with slanty-roofed bedrooms, dumbwaiter, laundry chute ... great house to be chased around by dinosaurs trying to kill you! In retrospect. Right when it happened, not a fun dream, but.

B. Durbin @65 mentioned, in re music coming to you in dreams: "Don't talk to me; I have to get this down before I forget it"

I had a four-part thing for voices wake me up at 2AM on a day I had to go be a judge of elections at 4:30. I told it to go away repeatedly. It kept being so completely awesome that I finally grumped, "Fine, whatever, I'll GO sing you into my TAPE RECORDER." I still haven't quite worked the bugs out of it, but it had a soul of non-sucking in it, that's for sure. Words were drivel. Music was beautiful. Sung round/canon style, with each voice -- as it turned out when I went to notate it from the tape later -- written in a different mode. My subconscious does good work.

Jacque @104 said: I've encountered people who claim they don't dream in color and are surprised when I say I do. I find this very weird.

I know I used to dream in black and white, because i remember being suddenly startled to remember, when retelling a recurring nightmare to my mother, that it had color in it, and that this was part of what made it so terrifyingly REAL***. This led me to instantly realize that my dreams up to that one had been entirely monochrome. It only felt weird after I realized it. Some of my dreams nowadays have b/w sections, but only a few.

Russ @108 said: Magic in my dreams sometimes works like in a LARP; I am supposed to say the word and/or gesture and then we should agree that the effect happens or the bad guy falls down, except sometimes not everyone agrees, and there are no special effects. Which is pretty disappointing for the realm of the imagination.

I am always retroactively amused by dreams which are simultaneously the in-character story happening with all seriousness, and the 'actors' of it stepping out of character to work out blocking or rules disputes before going right back in-character to run the scene again. They make perfect sense AT THE TIME, but afterwards when I try to explain the dream they crack me up.

_____
* The laundry room had a cartoon-whales mural all the way around it in primary colors; the 'family room' -- the one with the pool table and the foozball set -- had one of those horrible made-of-fieldstone bars with chrome barstools and a bad painting of Hawaii 'trompe-l'oeiled' behind it.

** I know it was exactly 30, because Grandpa kept buying 30-foot Christmas trees, and between manufacturing tolerances and the height of the stand we always had to cut some off or bend the top.

*** I should note that this particular nightmare is kind of embarrassingly humorous in retrospect, because the me-devouring monsters in it were obviously (to an adult) Muppets with the serial numbers rubbed off and huge scary bloody teeth added****. However, I was 4, and it was terrifying. My mom finally helped me quit having it by setting up a pallet in my room and lying down on it to sleep with me one night. She brought in (and showed to me and explained) the biggest, scariest-looking butcher knife from the kitchen, which she put safely under her pillow, and told me with great seriousness that when I went to The Place where the dream started, she would be with me, and we could chop the MONSTERS up. And we did, happily-ever-after, The End. See also 'placebo effect', 'parents can fix anything,' and 'kissing boo-boos'. Worked, though. ;->

**** Which was why their colors were important and vibrant enough to warrant mention in the dream-retelling; most of the dream took place in a huge space weedy-tangled full of white Classical columns that went to a ceiling too high to see, with the bright colorful monsters popping out to glare at me and disappear. Until I got to the part at the end where there was a clearing and every monster I'd seen earlier was there with knives to chop me up and throw the pieces down my grandparents' back stairs, at which point I woke up.

#126 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 08:28 PM:

Jacque, no, they're mostly the WBC protesting. Also I specifically want to show Christians speaking out. That lets out God Hates Lobster and so on.

#127 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 08:41 PM:

Antonia @114: Much applause and laughter, indeed!

Erik @115: ...and my applause turns into falling-over laughing; that was perfectly done.

#128 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 08:44 PM:

Xopher @ 122: there's an entire blogful of people, at least half of whom are Christians, who don't like the views of Westboro at The Slacktivist.

#129 ::: Wesley Osam ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 08:56 PM:

I go through short periods when I remember dreams, but most of the time I don't. I often have the impression that I've been watching quite complicated stories which I simply can no longer recall. (The most recent fragment I can recall involved a country you could only travel to by sedating yourself with some green crystals, at which point mysterious couriers, never seen by anyone, would arrive to convey you there in your sleep.)

A common background theme is that I'm being pursued by something. It's not coming quickly, but if I don't keep moving it will eventually catch up. The atmosphere of these dreams feels like M. R. James's story "Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad," albeit with a less speedy antagonist. Which may explain why that story still makes such an impression on me.

#130 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 09:29 PM:

I dream in color, sometimes VERY vivid color. As for content.. the other night I was dreaming about broken computer cables....

#131 ::: siriosa ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 10:57 PM:

Dreams thread, yay!

When I was 5, I had that dream (I think) everybody has. There's a big scary monster chasing me, and I can't run fast enough, and it's catching up to me, oh noes! In the dream, this seriously annoyed me, and I stopped dead, spun around to face the monster, and asked in my boomingest voice, "What. Do. You. Want?!?!"

And the monster got littler and littler and littler, and it turned out that what it wanted was to be petted. Grudgingly, grumpily, I allowed as how I could do that.

And then I never had that dream again. The basic strategy has worked pretty well IRL: whenever something scares me, I make a point of looking it in the eye and finding out what it wants. It is always useful information, whether the monster is defangable or not.

The recurring dream I still get: I'm in the back seat of a car, on a twisty mountain road, at night, when I realize that there's nobody in the driver's seat. Then I have to simultaneously climb over the seat and steer the car, hoping I can get to the brake pedal before disaster.

Best message I've been able to get out of that one is You Can't Steer This Thing.

#132 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 01:00 AM:

siriosa @ #131, I don't have falling dreams anymore (knock wood), but the one I used to have was similar to your mountain road one in part: there I was, over a cliff and flailing, watching huge fir and pine trees on the way down.

#133 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 01:05 AM:

I just remembered another dream from a week ago (I posted it on my Facebook wall; that's why I remember when it took place): Joe Lieberman appeared in it. True to form, he was a scold with no facts behind his accusations.

#134 ::: Brenda Kalt ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 01:17 AM:

True: My husband was out of town. That night I got a crank call--no one on the line. I said "Hello?" twice--my standard response--and hung up.

I went to bed as usual. In the early morning I was awakened by gentle snoring. I turned my head and saw bare feet on my husband's pillow. I froze. It's happened. I turned my head the other way and looked at the clock. 5:27 AM. It was light.

I lay in bed and planned how to get out of bed, downstairs, and out the front door without awakening the guy and without disturbing the cat at the foot of the bed so much that she meowed. I considered and accepted the fact that I might hurt before this was over. Taking one last survey, I looked at my husband's pillow again. The feet were gone.

He has waked up and gotten up. Listening, I couldn't hear anything. I couldn't tell where he was.

But--there was still faint snoring. How could he have gotten up and be snoring? This slowly penetrated my brain. After an eternity I slid my hand to my husband's side of the bed.

It was cold.

A bit later I realized that the cat was snoring.

Several minutes later I willed myself to sit up and look around the room. Empty. Although I knew then that I had probably been dreaming, I searched the entire house and left the lights on in each room as I went through it. With the lights on everywhere, I went back to bed for a couple of hours' more sleep.

As many times as I have told this story, I have never succeeded in conveying the emotion. My home was invaded, and a stranger was in bed with me. By the grace of God, it was a dream.

#135 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 01:38 AM:

Elliott Mason @125: Oooh, pretty. At that point, I'd transcribe just the music into a basic notepad music program and see if inspiration hit as to new lyrics.

Brenda Kalt @134: You got me shuddering. Of course, I've nearly whacked my husband once or twice because of vivid "stranger" dreams.

And unfortunately, I do still get night terrors, where the limbic system gets engaged without any real dream state. Screaming in my sleep, yes. You're supposed to outgrow those.

#136 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 01:40 AM:

Department of Redundancy Department Report!

#137 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 01:45 AM:

Elliott Mason @ 125:

I should note that this particular nightmare is kind of embarrassingly humorous in retrospect, because the me-devouring monsters in it were obviously (to an adult) Muppets with the serial numbers rubbed off and huge scary bloody teeth added

When I was little, I was deathly afraid of the Yip-Yips on Sesame Street. They became the monsters under my bed.

Brenda Kalt @ 134:

I've never had a nightmare quite like that, but mixing some of the nightmares I've had with the arm in bed with me incident (which was more humorous (in retrospect) than scary), I can appreciate the amount of horror inherent in the situation.

#138 ::: Rob T. ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 01:50 AM:

I've had both "retrospectively coherent" dreams with one thing happening after another with little apparent continuity, and dreams that seemed to come together into perfect narratives. For me, the latter type mostly:

1) are short

2) relate to something going on in the real world, and

3) have a punch line.

I remember one especially well from the mid-'90s, when I had a job that required me to wake up much earlier than I usually prefer. It wasn't long after Bill Watterson had stopped drawing "Calvin & Hobbes", and a little more than a year after Gary Larson had retired his "The Far Side" cartoon panels.

In the dream, two other personal favorite cartoonists (Garry Trudeau and Bill Griffith) had just announced their retirements, and I was reading a Sunday paper without any of their works and getting mad about it. "Will you look at this!", I ranted in disgust (to whom isn't relevant) while brandishing the bland comics section. "First 'The Far Side', then 'Calvin & Hobbes', and now both 'Doonesbury' and 'Zippy the Pinhead' are gone! It's just hardly worth getting up in the morning anymore!"

Naturally it was at this point, back in the real world, that my alarm went off.

#139 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 01:59 AM:

Xopher @ 122: (Tim Walters, not you. I know you can.)

Nope, I had to Google it.

#140 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 01:59 AM:

Xopher @ 122: (Tim Walters, not you. I know you can.)

Nope, I had to Google it.

#142 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 03:04 AM:

Elliot Mason @125:
My mom finally helped me quit having it by setting up a pallet in my room and lying down on it to sleep with me one night. She brought in (and showed to me and explained) the biggest, scariest-looking butcher knife from the kitchen, which she put safely under her pillow, and told me with great seriousness that when I went to The Place where the dream started, she would be with me, and we could chop the MONSTERS up.

I like your mother.

I always tell my kids* that I'm the scariest thing they're going to run across, scarier than any nightmare ever was, and I'm on their side. It helps against all kinds of dreads and dreams.

Me, I rarely have nightmares. When I do, it's usually the "someone is chasing me and trying to kill me" one, or very occasionally the school dream or the naked in public one.

What I do have, often, are dreams in the same nonexistent place or involving the same nonexistent people. I seem to have a small town and a few good friends that only exist on the flipside.

-----
* Actually, I say the same thing to Martin when he gets night terrors†
† This works a treat until his dreams are about how I'm trying to kill him. Then it's not so good.

#143 ::: alex ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 04:59 AM:

I seem to have a small town and a few good friends that only exist on the flipside.

Yes, I can take the freudian dreams, and the shouty-argument-weeping-with-frustration dreams, but it's the one with the great friends and the feeling of warm, safe companionship that really hurt... They feel more like home than home does.

#144 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 05:20 AM:

Jacque@79:
Russ @68: Baker and TNH are clearly important archetypes in your mind. Question is, archetypes of what?

Well, I think Tom Baker should be obvious1, but our hostess is a lady with many strings to her bow2. I'm going to go with...The Moderator(?)

This of course assumes we're taking a Jungian approach; however I would like to leave a certain Austrian coke dealer well and truly out of it.

Also:

"Your pirate disguise fools no-one Lord Xopher: My spider-sense identifies you as the time travelling lycanthropic vampire ninja (from the moon) that did for Drake, my zombie progenitor - now give me your Braaaaaaaaaaaaains"3

:D

1 If I'm not allowed "The Lord of Time" as a valid archetype, I'll settle for a hybrid of The Trickster and The Sage.
2 I wonder - is that a musical or a military metaphor?
3 Too obvious?

#145 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 07:52 AM:

The scariest dreams I've ever had weren't dreams after all, but episodes of sleep paralysis. I haven't had one in years, but still have sharp memories of the terror. They usually happened when I woke up from a dream where I was falling backwards into a black void. I'd wake up suddenly with remnants of that falling sensation, then realize that I couldn't move.

What scared me the most would be having all my senses thrown into a hyperacute state, when everything was crystal clear—especially the knowledge that I was stuck. Those were the times when all the prayers I learned by heart as a kid would come rushing back, and I'd say them one after another in my head while willing my toes to move.

#146 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 08:26 AM:

abi @ 142... I always tell my kids* that I'm the scariest thing they're going to run across

"My pretties!"

(I once heard that Margaret Hamilton didn't let her kids see The Wizard of Oz until a few years later.)

#147 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 08:33 AM:

alex @143:
it's the one with the great friends and the feeling of warm, safe companionship that really hurt... They feel more like home than home does.

Ouch. I am reminded of Morpheus's comment that the true torment of hell was the ability to dream of heaven.

Maybe those dreams are secretly about the internet?

#148 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 08:40 AM:

Apropos of nothing: Dante's Internet.

#149 ::: alex ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 09:34 AM:

I think they're secretly about the bar I used to hang out in when I was a student, only I get to have an even better time than I did, and there's no class in the morning...

Father and husband is great, but sometimes 19 seems greater... ;-)

#150 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 09:38 AM:

I've had several very memorable dreams.

One in particular had a narrative to it. I saw it all in 3rd person like a camera perched up in the corner of the room.

There was a man who had another man chained up naked in a grotty cell, then the prisoner was slowly mutilated, given drugs and chemicals to change his build and his arms and feet cut off at the elbows and knees until he was this grotesque monster looking thing with bulging muscles and deformed.

Then the captor showed up big knife and I realised that the captor had on purpose made the prisoner into the monster the captor was afraid of so he could kill it and confront it.

(I'm sure that's a theme I picked up from various things I'd read and seen, this is a dream after all)

As a dream goes that's pretty memorable as is, but the really important thing was that I realised then that I was a small cat who had been sitting hidden on a top shelf in the corner of the room. Once I'd seen the scene play out I turned around and left through a small gap in the corner and then wandered home (althoug I had no idea exactly where or what that was but I was on my way home) through fragments of dreams I'd already had and recognized. Carefully making sure not to disturb the action so I wouldn't be spotted since I knew there hadn't been a small cat sneaking around in those dreams when I had them.

#151 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 09:48 AM:

Serge (way back at #94): Emperor Horton recently managed to pack his long-haired 18 lbs or so into a box that barely fit him, and got out all on his own. A propos cats and boxes, back on Monday there was a "Bizarro" on the subject: http://www.sfgate.com/comics/?feature_date=2010-02-22. (Sorry I couldn't make this a real link -- maybe because it's old -- and it includes two other cartoons that I always read, since that set-up is handy for my creaky Web connection.)

#152 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 10:05 AM:

"Our sister said she'd mind the kettle while we went pubbing, if we brought her back a knish."

#153 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 10:27 AM:

Faren Miller @ 151... I can imagine the scene. Our Jefferson is also quite portly, and shows no interest in boxes, but, if a stranger comes to our place, though, he'll disappear and hide in plain sight. At least, he thinks he's disappeared. I guess it never occurs to him that the lump suddenly developped by our bed as he hides under the comforter is rather obvious. ("Hah! If I don't see you, you don't exist, humans!")

#154 ::: Velma ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 10:49 AM:

Does anyone else have scents, tastes, textures, and proprioception in their dreams regularly? I sometimes think that this says a lot about how my mind works. I have sight, proprioception, and textures more than anything else, but they all appear, particularly in one fairly recent dream in which:

*potential squick alert*

I was vomiting into a handkerchief, and had everything I would have had in real life: the weight increasing in my hands, the handkerchief getting wet and warm against my palms, the tastes and textures in my mouth....

Not a hangover dream, or anything of that sort, mind you, but a real dream. Possibly one of the most startling things to wake up from lately.

I wonder what a flying dream would be like. I'd like to try one of those.

#155 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 10:50 AM:

Question for the group:

I'm staying with my parents this week. One of the big activities in Florida is visiting thrift stores. My father bought a videotape of Laurel & Hardy's "Sons of the Desert."

We didn't realize until we got home that it was a BETAMAX tape.

I hadn't seen one of those in twenty years or so.

So . . . do these have any value? On one hand there seems to be people who collect anything. On the other, it's likely that the number of functional Betamax players is nearing an asymptotic low.

#156 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 11:16 AM:

Velma @154 -- I frequently have dreams with many senses in them, including smell and proprioception. Not always, by any means.

Stefan @155 -- other Laurel and Hardy betamax tapes show up on eBay in the $3 range, so this is probably not particularly valuable.

My oddest dreams are the initiation dreams that show up very occasionally. They're about getting initiated into a very powerful group (think Religious Conspiracy Theory). Sometimes I refuse the initiation, and sometimes I accept it and get godlike powers. I've had three of them, decades apart, that remain seriously memorable to me.

#157 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 11:24 AM:

156: only two of those were dreams, Tom.

#158 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 11:31 AM:

157--dammit, ajay: not here on the blog!
save that kind of talk for the other channel--you have his dreamail address, right?

#159 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 12:09 PM:

My dreams usually involve my wondering if I properly tested a program that's about to be installed.

#160 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 12:19 PM:

Must...not...reply to EVERY...post.... Sorry. Another tome. Can't help it.

Elliott Mason @125: Re: SHUT UP AND LISTEN TO ME: [Any copy editors in the house care to shed light on how this would correctly be punctuated?]

Cokie Roberts was doing exactly the spiel I'd gotten ad nauseam from my grandmother that morning while I was screaming myself blue at her trying to get her to explain where she was keeping the potatoes in her new kitchen.

Hm. You may be onto something here. I finally finally out that when my mute button fails, it's because my neighbors are chattering annoyingly outside my bedroom window.

Mostly my dreams don't seem to give me messages ...but I do like looking at them as sort of snapshots of where my internal mental image of myself is at any one time.

I think of them as the compile-stage of integrating yesterday's experiences into my overall life story.

...we could chop the MONSTERS up. And we did, happily-ever-after...

Friend of mine reports that one of the few intelligent things her mother did for her (She had one of those relationships.) was to give her a squirt-gun to kill the evil, child-eating radiators that would try to get her in her sleep.

Wesley Osam @129: A common background theme is that I'm being pursued by something.

Oh, yes. I used to have these all the time as a kid. Try as I might, can't fly quite high enough to get out of reach.

I don't know what prompted it, but one time I actually had the presence of mind to turn around and demand, "Okay, what?" Whereupon the scene cut and I was watching a Professor at a blackboard trying to explain something. Wasn't until years later that I twigged to the obvious: the threat had some lesson it was trying to teach me.

siriosa @131: "What. Do. You. Want?!?!" And the monster got littler and littler and littler, and it turned out that what it wanted was to be petted.

Waw. I like yours much better than mine.

You Can't Steer This Thing

Wow. I'm going to have to remember that one, next time it comes up.

Brenda Kalt @134: Wow. I had a flash like that, but never so vivid. You sure you weren't being haunted?

Seriously, probably too long ago now to recall, but does anything come to mind about what you were experiencing in waking life during that time?

I am reminded of a waking experience: In bed with a boyfriend, just drifting off, and something tickles me in the armpit on the other side from him. *>SPROING<* WIDE AWAKE.

Turns out: he'd slid his arm across under my pillow, but he was so skinny I didn't even notice the added bulk. The tickle was his fingers twitching as he dozed off.

Took us both a while to climb down off the ceiling after that one.

abi @142: & alex @143 Oh. And the ones about the lover who comes for a visit, who really loves and understands you....

Russ @144: If I'm not allowed "The Lord of Time" as a valid archetype, I'll settle for a hybrid of The Trickster and The Sage.

You're allowed as many custom archetypes as you like. They're like variables in programs. Define them at need; eventually, classes and types emerge. It's largely a matter of culture and neurology that they show up in the common grist.

Velma @154: I wonder what a flying dream would be like. I'd like to try one of those.

Glorious. Try this: When you go to bed tonight, spend some time thinking about what flying would be like. Imagine it as vividly as you can. I've been told, though I always forget to try, that one can learn to program one's dreams to some extent.

#161 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 01:43 PM:

Because real Victorian scientific experiments were not hair-raising enough, Roger Curry of Lateral Science brings us the the Glitch Chronicles. Be afraid, be very afraid, in between the outbursts of apalled laughter. (Lateral Science provided the list of people who had reason to regret experimenting with fluourine provided in that Pipeline article on FOOF. I have to add that the pieces tagged "Things I Won't Work With" and "How Not to Do It" at Pipeline are worth a read, possibly while clutching your prefered security-object closely to your chest, in between fits of laughter.*

On thioacentone:
My recent entries in this category have, for the most part, been hazardous in a direct (not to say crude, or even vulgar) manner. These are compounds that explode with bizarre violence even in laughably small amounts, leaving ruined equipment and shattered nerves in their wake. No, I will not work with such.

But today's compound makes no noise and leaves no wreckage. It merely stinks. But it does so relentlessly and unbearably. It makes innocent downwind pedestrians stagger, clutch their stomachs, and flee in terror. It reeks to a degree that makes people suspect evil supernatural forces.)

But back to my original point: Ernest Glitch, his life and works, and the efforts of his son Rupert, and the sufferings of the unfortunate Hodges--check them out.


*Sand Won't Save You This Time is right up there with the piece on FOOF.

#162 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 02:16 PM:

Sad news about Walter Koenig's son.

#163 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 03:07 PM:

Last night, my dream had a man in old-fashioned blue-striped pajamas ice skating— and his wife and several other people following him around, also ice skating, carrying a gigantic (as in ten feet tall), overstuffed comfy chair.

That was fun.

#164 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 03:09 PM:

Some of my recent dreams have been anxiety-ridden romps where I've lost my cane in some sort of sprawling building. Some archetypes there, certainly. One time, it made my dream-self late for my Fan Guest of Honor speech (it could happen!) Maybe I could be a Fan GoH somewhere for the 50th anniversary of the start of the SMOF-BBS (that would be in 2035). heh.

#165 ::: Foible ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 03:46 PM:

I'm interested in lucid dreaming and I try to be aware that I'm in a dream as often as I can. My most memorable semi-lucid dream still messes with my head when I think about it.

I dreamed I was in Phoenix Arizona trying to rent a car and arguing with the clerk. I was getting more and more excited and I started waving my arms around as I argued. Next I turned into a giant chicken and started flying around the rental car office. It was at this point I realized I was dreaming and that I could control my dream.

With my newfound realization that I could do anything, I floated through the roof of the agency and down into a waiting car. I drove it right through the gates (without damaging anything) and out onto the local roads. I was feeling great and powerful, I was controlling my dream!

Then I had a thought.

If I really was in control, the master of this whole dream universe, why was I spending my time as a six foot chicken driving a stolen rental car around the seedy parts of Phoenix? The question disturbed me enough that I woke up for real.

#166 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 03:52 PM:

I've had some episodes of sleep paralysis, and they're really awful. On other occasions, I've had dreams in which I was very far out in space. In a spaceship, near a planet, but it was clear that I was as far away from other humans as it was possible to be in the universe. That thought panicked me, and in the dream it felt like I was trying desperately to get back to inhabited space, when I woke up, shaken and sometimes crying. The sensations were so strong, I've always wondered if there was some sort of medical...event or something going on.

A more pleasant phenomenon is when I dream about a place that I've dreamt of before, but which has no recognizable parallel to waking life whatsoever. There are often months between such episodes, but I recognize I've "been" there before.

#167 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 03:57 PM:

Pendrift @145, you too? Sleep paralysis is one of the most terrifying things that has ever happened to me. You start to think you are actually dead and trapped inside your body and can't get out ... shudder. Interestingly, it always seemed even more terrifying when there was another person in the room who didn't know I was going through it. And it hasn't happened since I got divorced.

#168 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 04:26 PM:

Brenda@134, that would be really disturbing.
My wife and I have both had the mental confusion parts where we hear snoring, and assume it's the other person, but it's really the cat. (He usually does a high-pitched snore, because he's too fat, but occasionally lower-pitched. He's a somewhat older rescue cat, 18 pounds when we got him, and we're trying to get him to lose weight.) And sometimes I'll get out of bed, assuming the snoring was the cat, but then he'll be on the stairway in front of me. However, I usually realize that it's just because cats can teleport, especially if they think they'll get breakfast out of the deal.

#169 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 05:01 PM:

Foible @ #165 "I floated through the roof of the agency and down into a waiting car"

Um, had you seen any old Hertz ads with OJ Simpson prior to going to bed that night?

#170 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 05:05 PM:

I've never had dreams (that I can recall) in which I could fly strictly speaking. I've had plenty, however,in which I could move with great speed just a foot or so above the ground.

#171 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 05:16 PM:

I could have sworn I posted a caption for that photo here yesterday.

Maybe I was dreaming.

#172 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 05:28 PM:

The 'flying' dream is probably the most common repetitive one I've ever had. Ever since I was small, sometimes once a week or so, I would dream that I was flying.

Well, "flying", but not like a bird. More like, air has the consistency of water, and I can 'swim' through it; but if I stop swimming, I don't sink, I just sort of hover. The way it usually ends is when I see something that makes me remember that humans can't really fly; I then start to slowly sink down, no matter how hard I swim. I wake up when I touch the ground...

The most vivid one that I can recall happened the night after I had spent the day reading one of Tad Williams "Otherland" books. I forget which one, but it's the one where they're in a world where everyone flies, and in pretty much the way I've always experienced it in dreams (which made me wonder how he knew that, which is silly, because it must be common). That one was the whole Technicolor surround-sound kinesthetic experience, which I haven't experienced since.

I should read the book again, just to see if I can repeat the dream!

#173 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 05:56 PM:

I worked out ages ago that the dreams where I'm in a car and the steering doesn't work properly and the brake doesn't work - there's some part of my life that I feel I'm not in control of (no, really?) - except for the time when it was my subconscious saying "you really need to get those bicycle brakes fixed."

Pendrift: I've never had sleep paralysis as such, but I did wake up from the anaesthetic (having all four wisdom teeth out under GA) desperately wanting to swallow, unable to with packs still in my mouth and unable to make any noise or movement - luckily I drifted back under after a few seconds and woke up again able to move etc. Sympathies for the repeat performances.

Fragano Ledgister @ 170: with me it was always skimming just a few inches above the ground, at speed. I used to dream that repeatedly, and it was great, because see, it had happened again, it was real...

Foible @ 165 If I really was in control, the master of this whole dream universe, why was I spending my time as a six foot chicken driving a stolen rental car around the seedy parts of Phoenix? Well yes, good question.

#174 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 06:12 PM:

@166

I also get "you've been here before" sorts of dreams - one of the recurring unplaces I end up in from time to time is not exactly that part of Portland (Oregon) where North Dekum street comes in at a funny angle against the grid. Except in the dream world the angles are even more wrong than they are in real life, and anyway the building isn't really there (I think it's on SE Hawthorne someplace, or should be.)

There are others; that's the one that comes immediately to mind. None of them are quite exactly real physical places, but I tend to remember them suddenly when I've gotten lost and end up in a real, physical space I've never been and go "Hang on a minute, this looks familiar... Oh, wait, hm..."

I'd think this was weird, but I've always done it, and so to me it seems normal enough.

#175 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 06:43 PM:

Best nightmare story in my family: my elder sister once dreamed she was stark naked, nipple-deep in a swamp and surrounded by alligators. Terrified, she prayed, "Lord, please, take away this fear!"

And she turned into an alligator.

#176 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 06:47 PM:

Cheryl@172: Jo Walton pointed out that dreams are made out of memories, and that dreams of flying are constructed out of memories of swimming. I've had flying dreams, and the sensation of flying is very much the sensation of gliding through water after kicking off from a wall.

In my flying dreams, flying requires a specific sort of mental concentration -- not so much an effort, as having to put your mind in a definite state, one that can't always be kept. (I suspect definite influence from Alan Mendelsohn, Boy from Mars going on here.) When I lose it, I sort of sink gently to the ground.

Telekinesis requires a similar sort of concentration, although one easier to keep going.

#177 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 06:51 PM:

Love that one, Lila. "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em"? Or "Be careful what you ask for"?

Or, maybe better, "Once you stop being afraid of the scary strangers, you'll find they're no different than you are."

All those interpretations are reasonable, of course. Dream interpretation is a form of divination, not an exact science.

#178 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 07:16 PM:

fidelio @161 -- I just hope terrorists aren't reading that blog.

ajay(157) and kid bitzer(158) -- now the Elders will have to kill you. As the Doctor might say, I'm so sorry.

#179 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 07:22 PM:

I have a lot of what I call "house dreams" where the location in question is not necessarily a house but a specific location. The major feature of these house dreams is the secret passageways or locations— my parents' house, for example, has a lovely full attic in some of these dreams, accessible from the secret passage in the wall. In reality it's just an old ranch. Or there was one time I dreamed about the third floor access to my college's theater— the interesting part about that it that there IS a third floor*, used for storage, accessible through a stairway with an entrance so short you have to duck through it. (I never got to see it.)

Oddly enough, the view from that fictional third floor was precisely duplicated at a high school that I worked at later (we'd gone up to the lighting balcony for a class shot and I found myself in a location just like the dream.) Never quite knew what to make of that.

It's obvious to me where those dreams come from; I loved the Winchester Mystery House and visited there several times as a child. And then when I got to college, one of the buildings was a mansion that was used for retreats, and it came from the era of servants' stairs. When you worked to put on a retreat, you got to go all over the secret parts of the house, and it's really fun to be sneaking all over while the retreatants have no idea that you're there.

My dream house includes a secret passage or a secret room. You hear that, universe? I want a secret passage!

*There's actually a fourth floor, too, completely shut off— it used to be a rifle range and they never cleaned up the lead shot.

#180 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 07:23 PM:

David Goldfarb @ 176 -- Your flying effect sounds a lot like what I think of more as levitation, including the peculiar mental effort needed to move. I don't recall a tendency to sink downwards if I stop concentrating, though.

I have a lot of "can't get there from here" dream patterns. If I'm in a car, I can't control it properly (e.g. I'm trying to drive from the back seat). If I'm going by public transit, I can't seem to catch the right bus; every bus I catch takes me farther from my goal. I'm often at a hotel for a convention, but I can't find my room because the room numbers and floors keep changing, ditto for trying to get to the events I want to be at. It's a Red Queen's race -- I can't run quickly enough even to stay in the same place, let alone make positive progress.

(Considering the state of real life at the moment, none of this is the least bit surprising.)

Foible @ 165 -- Calvin: "Man. You'd think the guy eating the worms would be calling the shots!" Susie: "Usually, if you're calling any shots at all, you're not eating worms."

#181 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 08:20 PM:

I have always had flying dreams.

But once, in real life, I flew down a Colorado Rocky Mountain in the dark. Of course, I was much younger, I was camping with some heavy duty medical people who had Stuffs, some of which I had ingested. But I really did fly down that mountain side to get to the vehicles so we could go -- what? into town? Something.

For someone who is visually challenged, to have had that experience, was superb. So much so I've never ever forgotten the sensations of it.

My most common dream since moving to NYC is of an apartment just like mine except it turns out to have MORE ROOMS!

Love, c.

#182 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 09:15 PM:

The less said about my sleep-paralysis nightmares, the better. The worst ones made me give up Vicodin forever--I was *there*, being chewed on by a lizard-man, and I couldn't make myself wake up. Eesh.

I used to feel very cheated because I didn't have flying dreams. Then I realized that the dreams where my pointe shoes don't hurt, and my legs go as high as I want, and my balance is perfect, and I can turn forever without getting dizzy--those *are* flying dreams.

#183 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 09:51 PM:

When I lived across the street from the beach, I dreamed about driveways in the summertime. (Weekend parking was a nightmare*.)

*no, I didn't do that on purpose, but I'm leaving it

#184 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 10:17 PM:

I periodically have dreams I don't remember where I have the power of telekinesis. I know this because at some point the next day I will in quick succession reach for something, think to myself "No, wait, I can just use my mind!" and then realize that no, wait, I can't. It's heartbreaking every time.

#185 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 10:54 PM:

"If I'm in a car, I can't control it properly (e.g. I'm trying to drive from the back seat)."

Oh, I hate that one. And does anyone else get the ones where you're trying to cross the street but it's really hard to walk because your legs won't straighten out? I have to sleep with one leg straight to prevent those dreams, though not when I'm pregnant. (Probably because even my subconscious recognizes that if I do that, I'm liable to get calf cramps.)

#186 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 11:40 PM:

Joel Polowin @180, B.Durbin @184: I get those "driving the car from the wrong place" sometimes too - it's the back seat, or maybe the passenger seat, and there's a reason why I'm not in the driver's seat but not why you'd expect - anyway, very frustrating.

One of my other recurring frustrating dreams is kind of like the "taking a final in a class you've never been to". It has the urgency of needing to get to a class, but I'm running all over a building that is very much like my high school, trying to find the right classroom. I never do make it there - not sure what would happen if I did.

The closest I've come to a monster dream is when there is someone who has grabbed on to me from behind, and I am wriggling and twisting and trying to get free. The interesting thing in this one is that I never verbalize anything, it's all silent.

And like Velma @154, I've never had a flying dream. >sniff

#187 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 11:45 PM:

I've had two or three swimming dreams, but I'm not myself in them, nor human. The past couple nights, I've tried to bring them back. Sadly, no luck. Perhaps I should spend less time trying to recapture the feelings and more time finding a way to swim in my waking life.

#188 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 11:49 PM:

(catching up)

Caption:
Won't someone please think of the zombies?

Dreams:
(I think I may have mentioned this before) I quite commonly dream lucidly; this can include awareness of activity in the room around me (which is usually feline), and almost always involves awareness of the dream's scaffolding. Practical example of the latter: I can read something in the dream, and at the dream level it makes sense — but at the same time I'm seeing something that often doesn't even reach the level of letters, instead being a sort of abstract representation of whatever meaning I was extracting from it. Same goes for seeing, say, walls; at the meta level I usually notice a sort of wireframe representation of the edges, with the corresponding faces containing abstract "wall"-ness, but at the level of the dream I'm experiencing them as complete walls. Interesting mental shorthand going on there.

(probably more later *goes back to reading*)

...hm, noticed while proofing: nested <em> blocks don't work properly, at least in Safari. They're supposed to be distinct; the default rendering usually (Netscape and descendants, at least) alternates between standard and italic faces: <em>foo <em>bar</em> baz</em> (foo bar baz) shows up here as foo bar baz when it should at minimum be foo bar baz. Have to look at this in Chrome and Firefox later for comparison.

#189 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 11:59 PM:

O gods, another movie with a "mind-blowing twist" that will "keep you guessing." I have not seen Shutter Island, but here's my guess, just from the TV commercials, about what's going on.

Gur znva punenpgre cynlrq ol Yrbaneqb QvPncevb vf npghnyyl n cngvrag va gur nflyhz jub bayl guvaxf ur'f n qrgrpgvir. BE, bs pbhefr, gung'f gur frpbaq-gb-ynfg gjvfg, naq gurl'yy gjvfg bar zber gvzr, ohg V'z orggvat gurl'yy fgbc jvgu gur bbb, ur'f n cngvrag guvat.

#190 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 12:28 AM:

This version of Alice in Wonderland from 1903 seems to fit the dreamy theme quite well...

#191 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 12:31 AM:

B. Durbin:

I have a lot of what I call "house dreams" where the location in question is not necessarily a house but a specific location. The major feature of these house dreams is the secret passageways or locations— my parents' house, for example, has a lovely full attic in some of these dreams, accessible from the secret passage in the wall. In reality it's just an old ranch.

My "house dreams" are similar, but they're always about discovering the room, or floor, or entire section of the house that I'd never known was there -- the most recent was shortly after moving out of our old house, when I dreamed of opening a door we'd somehow never bothered to open in the years we'd lived in the house and finding several more rooms behind it.

#192 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 12:36 AM:

188
I ran into a non-review - they were writing about movies with surprise endings - that indicates you're probably right about that one.

#193 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 12:38 AM:

Elliot Mason @125:
Now I'm imagining a beautilful 4-voice canon, each voice singing "Lorem ipsum..."

Addendum to Dreams:
The meta-me monitoring my dreams sometimes come in handy. For example, while I've heard that if you go to the bathroom in your dream you're probably peeing in your bed; in my case, if my dream suddenly changes to repeatedly visiting bathrooms, It's Time To Wake Up.

A more dubious advantage is being able to copy-edit my dreams. (If only it helped me remember them....) On the other hand, it does mean that if things are going somewhere I really don't want to go, I can usually redirect it.

(On a more whimsical note, the night after I learned of the "Scribblenauts" game, I played a variation of it in my dreamscape, tossing random stuff into the dream and watching to see what would happen.)

#194 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 12:47 AM:

Later addendum: Chrome and Firefox do the same thing. Am I misremembering the spec, or is this a bug in the site stylesheet?

#195 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 01:41 AM:

House Dreams: Oh yeah. I've had these. In fact, I' have them with some regularity. The type where you suddenly "remember" that you've got all these extra rooms that you aren't using. And it's usually the same house, revisited each time I have the dream. Well, actually, one of a couple of houses, neither of them bearing any resemblance to any actual house in which I have lived. Once in a while it turns out that there are people living in some of those extra rooms, people whose existence the dream-me had forgotten about until venturing into the rooms.

Having multiple dreams set in the same not-quite-existent place: Yep. There's a town/city that exists only in my dreams In fact, the houses from my House Dreams are there, though not all dreams I have in this town/city are set in those houses. Confused yet?

Sleep paralysis: Yup. Quite frequently in my childhood through young adulthood; quite rarely in the past ten to fifteen years. Interestingly, my mother (and according to her, her father) had the same thing frequently as well.* For both of us, back-sleeping appears to have been a common trigger. That is to say, we wouldn't have this happen every time we slept on our backs, but when it did/does happen, it almost always involves back-sleeping. (Back-sleeping also usually leads to nightmares, or at least Uncomfortable Dreams, for me, and so I rarely do it by choice.) And for both Mom and for me, there would be the feeling that if we could just manage to move one muscle, we would snap out of the paralysis. In the meantime, the one voluntary thing we could do was make sound if we tried really hard, and so we'd find ourselves moaning for someone to come and touch us, which would also snap us out of it.

I had an episode of sleep paralysis while on a high school band trip. Fortunately, I'd warned my roommates what to do if they woke up and heard me moaning: tap me, touch me; hell, throw a pillow at me if you have to. My best friend chose the pillow approach. Unfortunately, her aim was less than stellar, so I got both a pillow and a bedside lamp. But we had a good chuckle, once my heart rate slowed down to something compatible with humor.

My mother once had an episode of it when she was taking a nap, at home alone. Dad was out of town on business, and I was at either school or work. She awoke lying on her back on their bed, in full daylight (it was afternoon) but unable to move. Forgetting for the moment that she was alone, she began to moan, hoping for someone to come and tap her shoulder. Eventually, a gentle tap came, and she snapped out of the paralysis, only to suddenly realize that she was home alone. She panicked, wondering who had touched her, and turned... to find both family cats sitting on the nightstand with eyes as large and round as she'd ever seen them. Rascal, the male, was just drawing back the paw with which he had touched her shoulder.

Flying dreams: not in many years, but a few, yes. Most memorable is one from my childhood, in which I recall flying out the bathroom window and touring the neighborhood.

And yes, I dream in color, and sometimes I will dream entire stories. I've managed to write down exactly one of these. Grrr.

* Mom died in 1993 and I've only had sleep-paralysis perhaps a half-dozen times since then. Not sure what the significance is.

#196 ::: siriosa ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 01:43 AM:

Lila @175 And she turned into an alligator.

This makes me very, very happy. It nicely illustrates abi's "scariest thing in here."

#197 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 03:05 AM:

geekosaur @188, while most style guides call for italicized text within a patch of italicized text to be rendered as roman text, I don't think I've ever seen anything from the W3C making clear that that's what browsers are supposed to do with nested <I> tags. Much less with nested <EM> tags, for which displaying as italics is just a common convention.

I mean, there's nothing keeping you from setting up a CSS sheet defining <EM> as rendering in roman text of a specific color. You could then have an emphasized sentence with, say, an italicized movie title in the middle of it, and they'd display in a distinct fashion.

Y'know, nested <EM> doesn't even make semantic sense. Shouldn't the inward span use <STRONG>, to indicate that it's emphasized even more?

#199 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 03:29 AM:

Joel Polowin@180: I also get dreams where I'm at a convention and want to go to my room but can't find it. The elevators don't seem to go to the right floors, and the hotel layouts keep changing. Sometimes it even gets to the point where I start running and can't get anywhere, which I find very annoying. Flying and telekinesis are much more fun.

#200 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 03:49 AM:

Example of nested emphasis CSS styling:

em { font-style: italic; }
em em { font-weight: bold; }
em em em { text-decoration: underline; }
em em em em { color: red; background-color: transparent; }
I can't demonstrate it properly here, as the blog software freaks out a bit about CSS Style blocks in comment text.

#201 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 03:49 AM:

Sometimes I have dreams where I go into a used bookstore and find the most fantastic and wonderful things. I'll pick them up, enjoy their construction and their subtle marvels, walk around the shop for the sheer pleasure of holding them, then finally buy them. And then, just as I go out the shop door with this new book, which will astonish and delight me for years to come, I wake up.

The disappointment can be crushing.

Another dream: when I was studying for a Greek final, I dreamed that there was one more letter in the Greek alphabet than I had ever noticed before. Cue attendant horrors. (Actually, I would often dream of Greek words I'd never seen before, look them up, understand their etymology and their various forms, and awake to find they didn't exist. Greek messed with my head.)

#202 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 04:48 AM:

For some reason, I suddenly feed like singing "Mr.Sandman".
Luckily I found the Chordettes to do it much better than I would, here on YouTube.

#203 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 05:47 AM:

Janet Croft @167: And it hasn't happened to me since I quit med school.

There's a sleep paralysis survey on the University of Waterloo page. Any episode of sleep paralysis is bad enough; I'm glad I never had the full range of sleep paralysis experiences.

#204 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 05:50 AM:

geekosaur, #193: if my dream suddenly changes to repeatedly visiting bathrooms, It's Time To Wake Up.

I get that too, and have trained myself to wake up when it happens.

Recently (as in the last 3-5 years) I have had dreams about everyday things that were so real I had to check with my partner to see whether or not that conversation actually happened.

My other dreams... well, I rarely have nightmares (defined as dreams with unpleasant emotional content), but most of the ones I can remember are so bizarre as to make me wake up going, "Say WHAT?!" People, places, and events mix together with wild abandon; absurd things happen in ways that feel perfectly normal in the dream, and when I wake up and think about it, I can't put it together in any coherent form.

I occasionally have naked dreams, but they tend to be of the "nobody else notices or cares" variety rather than "everyone points and laughs". More annoyingly, I have dreams that "get stuck", in which I keep re-dreaming the same section over and over again, like a broken record, until I wake up. Most annoyingly of all, once I dreamed that I was reading a really well-written mystery, with good plotting and interesting characters... and woke up just before the solution was revealed! And then I had no idea what the solution might have been. This is why I'm not a writer.

I do have one form of recurring dream. This is one in which I'm trying to get something done, or get to an appointment somewhere, and stuff keeps interfering -- people either interrupt me or won't answer important questions, there's a plumbing crisis or a traffic jam, equipment that I need is missing, that sort of thing. I would classify this as a version of the "exam dream" except that the only feeling associated with it is vague annoyance. This often turns into one of the "stuck" dreams as well.

#205 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 07:23 AM:

I had sleep paralysis and night terrors fairly regularly in my teens and twenties, although it tailed off to "occasionally" after that. I typically get the full "malicious watcher on the bed" effect, often *in* the bed with me. The less nasty version is that I am flying/floating above the bed, and suddenly lose the ability to levitate, at which point I fall heavily onto the bed and wake up paralysed, heart racing, and still feeling the "just landed hard on something soft" in my body as if it had really happened.

I do still get the occasional episode. And two years ago today, I had a real doozy, recorded in my LJ as follows:

###
I was woken up by a nasty nightmare about 1 o'clock last night. As far as I could reconstruct it afterwards, there'd been a loud noise in the flat below or above, which my dreaming mind had construed as someone in the bedroom, complete with hypnopompic hallucination of someone sitting on the bed and shaking it. I assumed this was because I'd forgotten to lock the front door before going to bed. Add in being literally paralysed with fear when I woke up, courtesy of sleep paralysis, and I couldn't convince my hindbrain that it hadn't really happened and there was nobody in the flat, not even after getting up and checking every room. I couldn't sleep properly for the rest of the night.

It appears that my hindbrain was right. The noise was not one of my neighbours tripping over the mat, and something really did shake the bed:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/7266136.stm

I would note that I lived in California for several years and only once felt a quake. Move back to the UK, and get one six months later. If I'd known what it was seven hours ago, maybe I wouldn't have woken up every hour on the hour for the rest of the night.
###

#206 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 07:58 AM:

David Goldfarb mentioned Jo Walton's observation that flying dreams are based on our experience of swimming. But while I can swim just fine, my own flying dreams are, I think, based on my experience of cycling. They all begin with me discovering that I can fly if I get myself started just so, an obvious analogy to the complex just-so set of things one does when launching one's self forward on a bicycle.

Foible's #165 asks: "If I really was in control, the master of this whole dream universe, why was I spending my time as a six foot chicken driving a stolen rental car around the seedy parts of Phoenix?" This seems to me to verge on a profound question about incarnation, if not the Incarnation. Why indeed?

Tom Whitmore's #178 made me sit up and realize that, of all the people I know, Tom Whitmore would make the most convincing Doctor. He wouldn't have to change a single thing--not his personality, manner of speaking, or style of dress. The quick concern for others, the strange powers, the old pain visible to those who look closely, it's all there. Indeed, what is the Doctor but a cosmic troubleshooter? As everyone in the SMOF network knows, there is no better troubleshooter than Tom Whitmore.

Finally, or the benefit of future Googlers, I will note that the Andrew Brown referred to in Jacque's comment #104 is the Andrew Brown who was a well-known (and startlingly tall) Australian fan in the late 1970s and 1980s, travelling to many conventions in the English-speaking world, and who died some years back--not the British journalist, blogger, and author Andrew Brown who has commented here occasionally and who indirectly inspired Mike Ford's "Entropy Sonnet."

#207 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 08:24 AM:

Flying: rather than swimming, I think I got the "gliding just above the ground" from memories of sliding down the stairs in our old house on a sun-lounger cushion. They often start with my slipping on the stairs and gliding the rest of the way down, upright, then continue from there.

Bathroom dreams: it's when I keep trying to get to the bathroom but people won't leave me alone, so I can't - yup, it's time to wake up!

(Apologies for any typos, I'm at a beer festival, typing this on my netbook, they only do halves not thirds and the present brew is a 7.2%...)

#208 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 08:48 AM:

8.8 quake strikes Chile, tsunami alerts up for pretty much everything on both sides of the Pacific.

Reuters via @BreakingNews on Twitter says tsunami sirens will sound in Hawaii at 6 a.m. and all shores are threatened.

Stay safe, friends.

#209 ::: Laura from Faraway ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 09:18 AM:

Sigh. Open thread, right? I'd just like to say that my kooky little college is fighting an attempt at takeover by an organization that is apparently dedicated to teaching the "conspiracy" of global warming and multiculturalism.

No, really.

#210 ::: Laura from Faraway ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 09:18 AM:

Sigh. Open thread, right? I'd just like to say that my kooky little college is fighting an attempt at takeover by an organization that is apparently dedicated to teaching the "conspiracy" of global warming and multiculturalism.

No, really.

#211 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 09:22 AM:

I remember how Kurt Busiek's first-ever AstroCity story began with a man dreaming that he is gracefully flying while naked. Then an alarm clock goes off and he crashes back to reality. That's when we find out that he is the City's equivalent of Superman. It turns out that, when he's awake, he's constantly rushing from one emergency to another all over Earth, and so never gets to enjoying the act of flying. Except in his dreams.

#212 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 10:39 AM:

P J Evans 192: I ran into a non-review - they were writing about movies with surprise endings - that indicates you're probably right about that one.

Sigh. I'm pleased to be right...but not pleased to be right, if you know what I mean. I got the ending of The Others from the TV commercials. I said it right away the first time I watched the commercial. My friend scoffed, but when we watched it...

I guess I'm a fiction person. I'm used to figuring things out and solving problems and reading cues. That's why I vastly prefer "incluing" to "infodump" when it comes to finding out about the world a story is set in.

geekosaur 193: Now I'm imagining a beautilful 4-voice canon, each voice singing "Lorem ipsum..."

Hey! We did that. The tune was the popular round "Dona Nobis Pacem" ("Lo-orem, i-ipsum, dolor sit amet"—earwormed yet?), rather than something original, but Lorem Ipsum does work that way. Patrick and Teresa and Jim (and I think Doyle) were all there. Unfortunately I was in the process of losing my voice for the weekend, so I'd love to do it again.

Flying dreams: Mine are more like David's. I discover how to do something that lets me get off the ground (that part is like Patrick's "just so" start), and then I have to learn to control it. It's not quite like levitation, because the height is quite variable, and also I don't even have control of my orientation to the ground (quite unlike swimming). I try to wave my hands and kick myself into position, which works about as well as it would in reality.

I'm not weightless (I know what that feels like, *urp*), but adrift. Sometimes I get scared that I'm going too high and try to grab onto a tree or something. I "shed lift" if I touch something. One of these dreams had me controlling it pretty well until I ran into my evangelical Christian friend Tim, who looked at me sternly and grasped me firmly by the ankle. Within a few seconds I was stuck on the ground again.

I've had a related kind of dream where I discover a way of running that moves me very very quickly. That one may be based on bicycling. One of the most bizarre related dreams was one where I was sitting on a barstool (exactly like the ones my parents had at that time), and I skitched it forward. Then I discovered that if I kept "skitching it forward" over and over again, very quickly, I could move at carlike speeds! I drove around on the roads near my house that way (they really were exactly the streets and thoroughfares near where I lived, though there were lots more lights).

#213 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 10:54 AM:

Xopher @ 212... Long before seeing Shyamalan's The Village, I had figured out the Big Revelation. It was no big deal: the title gave it away.

#214 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 11:09 AM:

"It takes a village to make a movie"?

#215 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 11:09 AM:

Xopher: Moviepooper.com says you're right, even unto the Final! Shocking! Twist! that isn't.

#216 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 11:11 AM:

I'm not watching movies any more. Hummmph.

#217 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 11:23 AM:

Xopher, I mentally sang it as Tantum ergo sacramentum, rather than Dona nobis pacem. Both seem to work.

Flying dreams: I don't really fly. The best I've done is low-gravity dreams, where I jump and come down slowly. There is always a frustrated sense, like I just can't launch.

House dreams: I only started having these within the last year, always of the "suite of rooms we forgot" type. I also have neighborhood dreams, always where I keep proceeding down my road and it turns into a poverty-stricken, bombed-out, gang-warfare kind of neighborhood. My real neighborhood is working-class, friendly and quiet. I amnot sure what this dream is about.

A recurring anxiety dream: being unable to close or lock a door in the face of approaching danger. The lock, knob, or doorframe will break under my hand. I have a conscious preoccupation with making sure doors are locked, and home invasion phobia is my major anxiety symptom.

I do not have sleep paralysis or night terrors, but I do have sleep panic attacks. These are not dream-related; I awake from a deep dreamless sleep with a contentless, formless dread and a sense that I am about to go crazy. Getting up and going into a brightly lit room helps it pass. I never have panic attacks while awake; only out of a deep sleep.

I had a nightmare last night where a member of my PhD committee threatened to fail me, because he'd seen me answer a standardized test question as the test writers must have intended it, rather than insisting the question was meaningless as written, which it was. Maybe that one was about people-pleasing?

#218 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 11:33 AM:

I had a hypnogogic (paralyzed) dream last winter, while staying at the family cabin in the Adrirondaks.

In the dream, it was summer, and the cabin had wide gaps between the wall boards through which I could see a group of oddly dressed people, including one in a wizard's conical cap, wandering around shouting and splashing buckets of water. I realized it was a hypnogogic dream inside the dream. Odd.

Weirdest flying dream:

My father got me a really crappy jet belt from QVC. It took me from Sullivan County to Queens at the cost of wet and muddy sneakers . . . I just barely skimmed the waters east of the Throg's Neck Bridge. When I saw the price of propane in a Queens hardware store, I got on a bus for the rest of the trip to East Moriches....

#220 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 11:48 AM:

I'm not sure my flying dreams can be based on swimming, because they're actually seven-league-boots dreams--I go bounding along a (familiar-to-me-in-real-life) street, late to seminar, running, only each step is about half a block, and I bounce up to maybe four feet off the ground. It seems like all the momentum is forward, though.

This can actually combine itself with a dream where I'm naked; I start off clothed, and then realize my clothes have disappeared. Nobody notices, though, because I stop bounding along and start hiding behind things, darting out when everyone's pointing the other way.

I don't think I've ever shown up for an exam naked, but I did once, several years after I finished grad school, take the opportunity of local finals time to dream that I was in a final for Ancient Greek. The only problem was that even in my dream I'd never so much as learned to read the Greek alphabet, much less taken Greek.

There is a whole central suburb of somewhere that I've visited many times, only in my dreams, usually on a bicycle, which I never ride any more in real life. I can almost draw a map of the place--it's nicely topographical.

#221 ::: Karen G Anderson ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 12:00 PM:

A note on Patrick's #206 about why Tom Whitmore would be a most convincing Doctor. Absolutely — and you didn't even mention the many Companions!

#222 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 12:06 PM:

Patrick @206, that is quite possibly the best compliment I have ever gotten. Thank you, sir. And yes, I do understand that it's not entirely complimentary.

#223 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 12:06 PM:

Fragano, 170: Yes, I've had those gliding dreams too, though I remember being able to step up to rooftops and such, a little like walking on the moon (as opposed to moonwalking). I haven't had a dream like that in a long time, though, and I kind of miss it.

I haven't finished reading this New Yorker profile of Paul Krugman, but I read the part about his trip to Anticipation. This being a Respectable Publication, the author, Larissa MacFarquhar, has to take a gratuitous swipe at the eggheads, and I quote: "Sitting up onstage at the science-fiction convention, Krugman looked happy to be there. It seemed that these were, in some worrying sense, his people." (My emphasis.) I note that Krugman wasn't worried. But apparently we should be!

In other news, my new orthotics are very comfortable so far, perhaps because they are made from a "proprietary aerospace composite." Space-age polymer is such a '70s term. I still have a mysterious craving for Tang, though.

#224 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 12:19 PM:

I have a fair number of dreams about trying to get places and being prevented--usually my job, but sometimes a class I didn't know I'd been scheduled for. (I'm pretty sure this one is because my parents have given me a nigh-pathological hatred of being late.) And you know, I never used to have the "I didn't even know this test was coming" dreams when I was IN school, but I have them occasionally now--though, as in actual college, I'm always pretty sure I can fake my way through. :)

The city in my dreams are always huge and complex and kind of Art-Deco. It's kind of like the Emerald City with mass transit.

#225 ::: Jenavira ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 12:23 PM:

Xopher@189 & following: And this is why I am annoyed by the very existence of that movie. The book was amazing -- I sat down to start it over breakfast one Saturday morning and didn't get up until I was done with the book and it was dark outside -- but the movie has just spoiled the ending for everyone. Hmph. (On the other hand, if you're the kind of person who doesn't mind that kind of spoiler, I believe the book would hold up very well to reading or re-reading with that in mind.)

Dreams: I very rarely remember what my dreams were about, but I almost always remember where they are. This might be a self-fulfilling prophecy scenario; it seems to me that once I started paying attention to the places my dreams happened in I stopped having dreams that had no particular location, but I could be wrong about that.

I appear to have three distinct dreamscapes: one that's clearly based on my hometown during the spring festival week and heavily influenced by European-Victorian-magic books of the type I've loved since I was a teenager, one that centers around a particular street in the northern part of Galway where the local theatre painted advertisements for their current shows, and one House Dream of the previously described type based on my grandmother's house.

What's extra frustrating is they all seem to have independent plot arcs as well, and of course I can never control which one of them I might end up in at any given dream... (I don't know if it would be more or less frustrating if the plot arcs all turn out to be connected. But at the rate they're progressing, I'll let you know in twenty years or so.)

#226 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 12:29 PM:

Earl Cooley III @ 214... Not quite. Remember this Village?

#227 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 12:37 PM:

Chris Quinones @ 223... Should we be wary of those who still worry? Speaking of worries, here is an exchange I once had with the woman I married.

ME: "Stop worrying."
HER: "I'm not worrying. I was speculating."

#228 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 12:51 PM:

My unpleasant recurring type of dream comes when there's something I'm really dreading the next day. In the dream my alarm goes off, I get up, get dressed, have breakfast, go off to school/work, go through my day, and the thing I'm dreading is every bit as awful as I feared, if not worse. Just when the awful bit is finally over, my alarm goes off for real. That's always the worst part, when I wake up and realize that I haven't done it yet.

I haven't had one of those dreams in a long time, probably because a) the reality of dreaded-thing was never as bad as the dreamed version and b) I learned to rehearse possible scenarios for/responses to dreaded-thing in my head the night before, so that I'd be prepared whatever happened.

#229 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 01:03 PM:

Mary Aileen -- reminiscent of the curse of eternal waking in Sandman #2?

#230 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 01:41 PM:

... and here in Hawaii we have a tsunami on the way from that earthquake in Santiago, expected to hit between 11 and 12am. They don't know yet if it's going to be 1 foot or 3 feet in Honolulu and around Oahu, but they are expecting anywhere from 6-9 feet in Hilo on the Big Island. Evacuations are in progress along with the usual panic buying.

Makes me glad I haven't been crowing about our weather anyway.

#231 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 01:44 PM:

Laura from Faraway @ 210: "I'd just like to say that my kooky little college is fighting an attempt at takeover by an organization that is apparently dedicated to teaching the "conspiracy" of global warming and multiculturalism."

Yikes, that's awful. *sympathies*

--catching up on Open Thread 135--

dcb @ 948: "Okay, well, I'll dig out the teapot and try it sometime, see if it works."

Let me know how it goes!

David Harmon @ 953: "Just for the record, heresiarch #947 was in fact replying to another David."

Er, so I was. Sorry!

#232 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 02:00 PM:

Is there anyone at the New Yorker who doesn't spit-shine their prose with the inconsolable tears of the unworthy?

#234 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 02:08 PM:

Clifton Royston @ 230 ...
... and here in Hawaii we have a tsunami on the way from that earthquake in Santiago, expected to hit between 11 and 12am. They don't know yet if it's going to be 1 foot or 3 feet in Honolulu and around Oahu, but they are expecting anywhere from 6-9 feet in Hilo on the Big Island. Evacuations are in progress along with the usual panic buying.

I hope you're sorted out and safely away (above the 3rd floor, iirc?)

... and for those interested, there's a stream up at Hawaii Tsunami ( it's via ustream, so no bandwidth issues), and there are warnings/updates at NOAA Pacific Tsunami Warning Center as well.

#235 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 02:15 PM:

#233: That's very good advice. It does make me look at the tools in our garage in a new light. For example, we have a stack of disposable filter masks on hand as Evil Rob is plant-allergic; he wears them for yard work. Good stuff to have on hand to screen out particulate matter. Though in a pinch, never underestimate the power of a bandana.

#237 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 02:34 PM:

Who will Pat Robertson blame the 8.8 earthquake in Chile on?

Should we start a wagering pool?

Our friend is going to Haiti to live on the streets with her six-year-old daughter who isn't allowed out of Haiti to live with her mother and stepfather here. Every provision they've managed to make for the child has fallen apart in the continuing chaos. The very day her stepfather had finally managed to get into Haiti to bring her to the U.S. the so-called Idaho missionaries got arrested for planning to take Haitian children to the Dominican Republic to live in a non-existant orphanage-resort. No Haitian children allowed out at all.

Daughter's papers all destroyed, so though he had all the papers to prove his identity and his wife's identity, there was nothing to prove K's identity. M. has spent all his money, over %50,000 on the attempt to care for her. But the upshot is she's on the street, dirty and starving and in danger from all kinds of predators.

Her mother is so distraught that she's going on the 10th to be there and protect her child. She's a true warrior -- we've been friends since she married M and came here -- and she will protect K. From all accounts her daughter resembles her in this way -- but she's only six!

All their friends have been trying to provide help from every angle we can. Again I am humbled because people from the SF/F community have started to send me money as part of their contribution to the Rescue K Fund. M. will need it, for the phone, food, clothes, shelter, water.

The constant clashes of the xtians who are taking this catastrophe as their opportunity to defeat witchcraft vodou by denying water, food, shelter and medical care to vodoussants is making the chaos worse. Further, they are not so subtly encouraging surrogats to turn machetes on the vodoussants. These are the actions that make for civil war. Further these xtians are clashing with each other over control of supplies and locations.

Makes you sick, doesn't it?

No wonder this mother is determined to go there herself to protect her daughter with her own body if necessary until we can somehow manage to get her into the U.S.

And this is only a single story out of tens of thousands of children in Haiti -- not to mention around the world.

When the situation is so vast only indviduals get saved. There is no fair, honest and non-exploitive system to save the lost children in the world.

Love, C.

#238 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 03:46 PM:

xeger @ 234: We're fine, our neighborhood is a couple hundred feet above sea level and a couple miles inland. We're just sitting here following the news and hoping they manage to evacuate everyone OK.

The police were still trying to clear tourists who didn't get it off the beach at Waikiki a half hour ago. Almost everyone who lives here knows the stories from '60 and '46, and knows what to do. There was a rush to the grocery stores early this morning to stock up on gas, groceries, and bottled water "just in case".

#239 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 04:03 PM:

On the Haiti situation -- my reaction on reading this Guardian article earlier today is that the leader of that Baptist group sounds like a case of Crazy Cat Lady Syndrome -- only in her case the "animals" she's hoarding are other people's children.

#240 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 04:13 PM:

Tsunami: I'm glued to CNN, http://www.hawaiitsunami.com/, and the Navy's Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/USNavy?ref=nf

Dreams: Had one last night which involved a scene where I was trying to add 30,000 and 3,200. Kept accidentally putting an additional zero on the second figure, and thus getting the wrong answer. Knew I was doing it, too, and kept trying to fix it, only to repeat the same mistake again and again. At some point, I think I realized it was a dream based on this, and of course I remembered it upon awakening largely because of having participated in this discussion right before bed.

#241 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 04:38 PM:

#239 ::: Julia Jones

The woman in charge has a criminal fraud background. She's an opportunist who isn't afraid to break laws.

Their attorney has been linked to woman and child sex trafficking.

The real deal: where they said the children were going DOES NOT EXIST.

In any case, have you ever heard of an orphanage-resort complex? And this is the Dominican Republic, whose citizens have long been taught to loathe Haitians, and where there's a long and current history of sex slavery and trafficking. Not to mention sweatshop and slave labor.

Love, C.

#242 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 04:41 PM:

Tom Whitmore (229): I wouldn't know, as I've never read Sandman.

#243 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 04:57 PM:

http://www.hawaiitsunami.com/ appears to be down. http://www.bjpenn.com/ has a live stream from a webcam watching for the wave.

#244 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 05:01 PM:

Constance @241: The Guardian article mentions that lawyer, and I think that any genuine (if deluded) missionaries in that group were being used as cover for something. But there were some details that made me think that there may be an element of Crazy Cat Lady Syndrome that's being exploited by someone with links to the trafficking trade. Unfortunately the end result is that there's a complete clampdown which also catches the people with a legitimate reason to move children.

#245 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 06:02 PM:

Update: It appears to be all over here. There were a series of surges coming to 1 meter along most coastlines, and a little under 2 meters in Hilo and Kahului harbors, but coming almost at low tide they seem to have done no damage. Big relief.

#246 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 06:04 PM:

News from the Hawai'i tsunami zone: So far it looks like there have been three small surges, the third being the largest (maybe a foot). We've seen some startling pictures of things that are normally underwater appearing gradually above the surface. The Ala Wai Canal (highly urban waterway in Waikiki) dropped what looked like a foot in minutes.

Summer Storms, the b.j.penn whose site that is is a practitioner of that weird sport(?) called Ultimate Fighting.

#247 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 06:08 PM:

Linkmeister: yeah, I know. Not that I'd ever heard of him before. But CNN was using a feed from his webcam part of the time, so when the other link went down I got curious and surfed over to it.

Not really a fan of UFC.

#248 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 06:12 PM:

Chris, #223: Re Paul Krugman, think of it this way: she realizes that she isn't in Krugman's intellectual class, but we are. So of course she has to take a swipe at us, to reassure herself that she's the "normal" one.

Julia, #239: That kind of makes sense. In both cases, there's the (false) conviction that No One Else Can Care For Them The Way I Do. Crazy cat people continue to insist that they LUUV their pets even though said pets may be starving and wading in their own body waste. I have to wonder how those kids would have ended up.

What really caught my eye was the mention of the children who were further traumatized by the realization that their parents handed them over, willingly, to these loons strangers. Will they be able to grasp the concept of "Your parents were conned" well enough to effect reconciliation?

#249 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 07:13 PM:

I've never had flying dreams and did have night terrors when I was very young. But for decades, my primary dream had some house that was mine and then my father and his family moved in against my will. They pushed and pushed me into a tiny corner while they had a good time (and I paid for everything). It stopped when my father died.

These days, I'm frequently trying to help someone find something and when I find it, they're not there anymore.

#250 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 07:16 PM:

You know about the Tea Party, right? Well, now there's a Coffee Party on the other side.

#251 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 07:39 PM:

Karen @221, I hope you don't owe Patrick a new keyboard....

#252 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 08:37 PM:

The argyle pants did not prevail--the Canadian men's team has defeated the Norwegians for the gold metal in curling at the Olympics.

#253 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 09:44 PM:

Lee, 248: I'm not sure it's even that. She may be reassuring her readers that they're the normal ones, Krugman's harmless eccentricities merely lending verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative [/Gilbert].

I'm bemused that a professional journalist can't get away with just telling us about what's going on, letting us decide if it's cool or uncool as we wish, but has to mark the disreputable bits clearly so we don't get any ideas. The NY Times does this all the time, often when the report or review would read at least as well without it. But how can they influence opinion if they don't make the right opinion - the Greek words for which are the root of "orthodoxy" - obvious to see?

#254 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 10:46 PM:

252
The Yarn Harlot had a twitterphoto linked, of a woman sitting, knitting a sock, in front of the Canadian women's curling team and the PM.

#255 ::: Leroy F. Berven ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2010, 03:01 AM:

Sockrilege!

#256 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2010, 04:54 AM:

Sockrilege!

Her sole will surely be darned.

#257 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2010, 08:36 AM:

Time for a few hose-annahs!

#258 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2010, 09:18 AM:

P J Evans #254: The Yarn Harlot

That is such a cool name for a web site.

#259 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2010, 10:24 AM:

[The Yarn Harlot] is such a cool name for a web site.

She's one of the big knit-bloggers, and has written several books.

#260 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2010, 12:14 PM:

This might get you the picture of the knitter: http://tweetphoto.com/12744588

What else do you do with your hands at a curling match, if you aren't playing?

#261 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2010, 04:08 PM:

My friend John died this afternoon at 2:22 EST after a long fight with cancer. He'll be known to people who attend WisCon (he used to have a long wavy ponytail, and was walking with a walker the last time he attended). John's wife Lenore lurks here and sometimes comments (not often).

As his breathing began to slow, we sang "Dona Nobis Pacem." I'm told his heart rate picked up for a bit when we began that, then slowed and stopped.

I've never actually watched someone die before. I haven't processed the experience fully. I'm a little freaked out. I have to go now and be with Lenore and John's other friends, who are gathering at her house as we speak.

#262 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2010, 04:13 PM:

My sympathies and empathies Xopher. Be well.

#263 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2010, 04:13 PM:

Xopher #261: My condolences and sympathies.

#264 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2010, 04:23 PM:

My condolences, Xopher.

#265 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2010, 04:25 PM:

Open Thready: Squidly homophones.

#266 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2010, 04:34 PM:

Xopher @261

MASSIVE HUG.

Here if you need me.

#267 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2010, 04:47 PM:

My condolences, Xopher.

#268 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2010, 04:58 PM:

Last night someone smashed in the front driver's side and passenger's side windows of the car. They pulled a TrafficGauge unit off the windshield (breaking the mount but not the windshield), but left everything else in the car. Insurer will send a glass repair outfit out soon, but traveling in the car is out of the question for right now. I am seriously annoyed. And hope whoever swiped the TrafficGauge calls in to find out why it doesn't work. Heh, heh, heh.

#269 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2010, 04:58 PM:

My condolences, Xopher and Lenore.

#270 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2010, 05:16 PM:

So sorry, Xopher and Lenore.

#271 ::: Lydy Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2010, 05:23 PM:

My condolences, Xopher.

#272 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2010, 05:24 PM:

#261 ::: Xopher

Many sympathies to you and your company of friends on the loss of one yours.

I'm so sorry.

We never can afford such a loss, no matter how rich we are in our friends.

Love, C.

#273 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2010, 05:35 PM:

Xopher, my condolences on your loss. You're a good friend to your friends.

#274 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2010, 05:40 PM:

Oh, I'm sorry Xopher. Being right there can be bad: I know. Please, please take care of yourself.

#275 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2010, 05:45 PM:

My condolences, Xopher. Take care of yourself.

#276 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2010, 05:48 PM:

Xopher and Lenore, I'm so sorry.

#277 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2010, 05:50 PM:

Open threadly question: I seem to be moderating a panel at Lunacon in a few weeks. I've been on panels before but never moderated one. Any advice for a novice moderator? Should I work up some questions to get things started? Run away screaming?

#278 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2010, 06:57 PM:

Xopher: I am so sorry for your loss. May he and all who love him be at peace.

#279 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2010, 07:08 PM:

Xopher -- deep sympathy. Being there when a loved person dies is -- well, "life-changing" is a cliche, I'm afraid. It's still true. And (for what it's worth) I've found I'm a better person for having had it happen a couple of times. I wish that this be true for you.

Mary Aileen: moderating a panel is a learnable skill. Debbie Notkin and I used to do a workshop on this at various conventions. Basic thoughts: as moderator, your job is to establish and direct (but not control!) the conversation. Being the first person on the panel who Officially Speaks, starting by introducing the topic and the panelists, using a light guiding hand to make sure that people know that there will be a period for questions, making sure that each panelist gets a chance to speak and doesn't get to take over -- all of these are very useful things to do. It doesn't take much to lead the conversation; a light hand is always appreciated. But if there's a power-vacuum on the panel, someone else will take over.

If you can find a few folks to role-play Difficult Panelists with you -- you can get a sense of how it works before you go up in front of a real audience. Good luck, and I believe you can do an excellent job, based on the ways you talk here.

#280 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2010, 07:12 PM:

Oh yes, Mary Aileen -- and having a few questions that you're genuinely curious about to ask the other panelists is always a good idea!

#281 ::: Chris W. ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2010, 07:13 PM:

Can anyone help me with a bizarrely localized browser problem I seem to be having?

Yesterday, Firefox (version 3.5.8 with adblock and noscript installed) on my desktop decided that nielsenhayden.com really ought to be rendered as plain text on a white background, no columns, no fonts etc.

The bizarre thing is that nielsenhayden.com renders just fine in Chrome, and just fine in firefox on the other computers I've tried. And I haven't noticed any problems with any other sites. The problem seems to only be with this site on this computer using this browser.

I'm stumped, anyone have a clue what might be going on?

#282 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2010, 07:35 PM:

Christ@281:Maybe a corrupt version of the web site's CSS files ended up in your browser cache? Have you tried forcing a reload? (i.e., shift-click the reload icon) Or blowing away your browser cache?

#283 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2010, 08:25 PM:

Xopher and Lenore: I'm so sorry for your loss.

#284 ::: siriosa ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2010, 08:28 PM:

Xopher @261 My friend John died this afternoon [...] I've never actually watched someone die before. I haven't processed the experience fully. I'm a little freaked out.

To be in the room when The Door opens is a great blessing, which being present in the weeks previous should help prepare us for. If it's possible to be prepared, which it may not be.

Here's some unsolicited advice for you and Lenore: Stay current with your crying. Feel what you feel (whatever it is, I guarantee, it will pass). Tell the same story over and over again, if it relieves you to do so. Drink lots of water (I found I could cry myself into a terrific dehydration headache).

Grief stinks on ice. Spend time with people who do not make it worse. Stay away from those who do.

Holding you both in the light.

#285 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2010, 08:33 PM:

Tom Whitmore (279, 280): Thanks!

Mostly it's just stage fright, although I'd be happier if there were more than three panelists listed (so far, anyway). And why, oh why, can't this be one of those panel descriptions that consists mainly of questions? That would make my life so much easier.

#286 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2010, 08:57 PM:

Xopher and Lenore, I'm so sorry. I know your presence soothed him as he left.

#287 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2010, 09:03 PM:

Lenore and Xopher: I'm very sorry for your loss.

#288 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2010, 09:09 PM:

Oh, Xopher, I'm so sorry.

I've never been with someone when they died; I have no advice to give. Only love and thoughts of healing and peace.

Lenore, if you are reading, my thoughts are with you too.

For what it's worth, when my time comes, I hope someone sings to me.

#289 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2010, 09:31 PM:

What Caroline said. Xopher, Lenore, that was a good thing to do.

For now, be with other people as much as you can stand it. And be prepared to make some startlingly weird errors in the next few days, on the order of mistaking a can of sardines for your car keys. Proximity to death does that. (In my experience.)

#290 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2010, 10:10 PM:

Xopher and Lenore, my sympathies.

#291 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2010, 10:14 PM:

Mary Aileen, who are the other people on the panel, and what's the topic? Knowing that can help us brainstorm what good general backup questions. Mostly, with good people, the questions will ask themselves. (My ultimate panel moderation experience: having to moderate John DeCles, Dana Kramer Rolls, Harlan Ellison, and Ursula Le Guin on one panel. Fortunately, each panelist respected at least one other panelist enough to keep the conversation very civil.)

#292 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2010, 10:40 PM:

My sympathies, Xopher and Lenore. Take care of yourselves.

#293 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2010, 10:40 PM:

Thank you everyone.

#294 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2010, 10:54 PM:

Xopher, my sympathies. I expect it's a small consolation, but I think you probably gave your friend one of the best goodbyes it's possible to give.

#295 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2010, 11:19 PM:

Xopher, Lenore, take heart. It is an extremely unsettling thing to attend to (I did twice, last year). It hurts you, it is sad, and it is often also, sometimes, liberating, when the person who is passing is in great pain and distress, and then goes from this world to the next.

I"ll add y'all to my prayers. Blessed be. And hugs across the e-ways.

And also remember that no one grieves the same way. Ignore those that say, "you should just get over it." They're full of B-S.

#296 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 12:41 AM:

I was just reading http://www.jewishreviewofbooks.com/publications/detail/why-there-is-no-jewish-narnia

and noticed the following: "I cannot think of a single major fantasy writer who is Jewish, and there are only a handful of minor ones of any note."

My first response to that is to say "Let's start with Avram Davidson".

My second is to suspect that "major" == "not found on the genre shelves".

#297 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 03:20 AM:

Xopher and Lenore, my deepest sympathies.

#298 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 04:00 AM:

Xopher and Lenore, sympathies for your loss. Take whatever time you need for grief.

Bruce E. Durocher II: sympathies for the damage and particularly for the annoyance of not having working transport.

#299 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 05:45 AM:

If I really was in control, why was I spending my time as a six-foot chicken driving a stolen rental car around the seedy parts of Phoenix?

I can haz rest of novel?

#300 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 07:10 AM:

Xopher #261: My condolences.

#301 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 09:35 AM:

Steve Taylor @ 296... That person never heard of Lisa Goldstein?

#302 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 09:52 AM:

296: Tolkien wasn't Jewish, but wouldn't have minded if he was. As he wrote to a Nazi correspondent who wanted to know if he was an Aryan or not:
"I regret that I am not clear as to what you intend by 'arisch'. I am not of Aryan extraction: that is Indo-Iranian; as far as I am aware none of my ancestors spoke Hindustani, Persian, Gypsy, or any related dialects. ... But if I am to understand that you are enquiring whether I am of Jewish origin, I can only reply that I regret that I appear to have no ancestors of that gifted people. ...I have been accustomed, nonetheless, to regard my German name with pride, and continued to do so throughout the period of the late regrettable war, in which I served in the English army. I cannot, however, forbear to comment that if impertinent and irrelevant inquiries of this sort are to become the rule in matters of literature, then the time is not far distant when a German name will no longer be a source of pride."

Top marks, too, for pointing out that, linguistically, "Aryan" includes Gypsy.

#303 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 10:31 AM:

@302--
tho in another piece of correspondence, tolkien wrote that his greatest source of pride was being the lead entry in the making light spelling reference.

i've misplaced the bibliographical details of that letter somewhere--i'll just be off to look for them.

#304 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 10:50 AM:

#261:

Xopher, Lenore: My sincere condolences.

Give grief as much room as it needs.

#305 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 11:07 AM:

Xopher@261: Sympathies to you, Lenore, and John's other friends. It sounds like he went relatively easily, with friends present, which has to be about as good as it can get.

Yes, definitely get out there and support and be supported by his other friends. We'll still be here when you come back.

It's a natural, inevitable, part of life, its ending. I strongly suspect it's much healthier to really believe that earlier, rather than later.

#306 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 11:10 AM:

ajay @302: Seredipitously, the upcoming issue of Mythlore will have articles on antisemitism in Tolkien's depiction of the dwarves and Christian mythology about Jews in The Merchant of Venice. (Both far better articles than they might seem from these unadorned descriptions!)

#307 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 11:26 AM:

Xopher -- my condolences. That's tough to deal with.

#308 ::: Velma ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 11:27 AM:

Lenore, Xopher -- my condolences. Try to stay hydrated, eat, and sleep, and, as Patrick wrote, be prepared to be out of sync from time to time.

My thoughts are with you.

#309 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 11:28 AM:

Steve@296: So they haven't noticed Neil Gaiman yet?

I think of Joel Rosenberg and Steven Brust immediately, too, among the people I know well enough to know about this.

There's some question what one means by "Jewish", of course. I tend by default to use the definition "anti-Semites would pick on them if they had the power"; which is to say, a question of heritage rather than religious belief.

I often wouldn't know, even for authors I've read for years.

#310 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 11:42 AM:

Mary Aileen @ 285... And why, oh why, can't this be one of those panel descriptions that consists mainly of questions? That would make my life so much easier.

Don't you like a challenge?

#311 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 11:58 AM:

Tom Whitmore (291): The topic is The History of Books, although from the description we're expected to talk about the future as well. I'm not familiar with the other two panelists, but I don't have have their names or the complete description available at the moment. I'll post them tonight.

My only question so far: What makes a book a book? (Do scrolls count? How about ebooks? Audiobooks? Vooks?)

Serge (310): Not in this case.

#312 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 01:12 PM:

Patrick Nielsen Hayden @206: Andrew Brown who was a well-known (and startlingly tall) Australian fan in the late 1970s and 1980s, travelling to many conventions in the English-speaking world, and who died some years back....

Thank you, Patrick, for clarifying that. I was unable to find a good reference to link to.

#313 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 01:21 PM:

"I cannot think of a single major fantasy writer who is Jewish, and there are only a handful of minor ones of any note."

Hell, I can think of major Jewish fantasy writers who have posted comments to Making Light.

"Major" and "minor" are of course top-notch weasel words. One can argue that in some Great Scheme of Things, Lisa Goldstein, Joel Rosenberg, Steven Brust, and even Avram Davidson are "minor" writers. Likewise another not mentioned yet, Ellen Kushner. Even the prolific and excellent Jane Yolen, well-known to generations of young readers, can be shoved into the "minor writer" box by a writer of book-chat determined to demonstrate their skill at sniffiness.

But Neil Gaiman is a major fantasy writer by any but the most nosebleedingly all-genre-is-below-my-notice standards--by his influence, by his critical reputation, and by his sales. And any list of "major" modern fantasy novels that omits Peter S. Beagle's The Last Unicorn is seriously incomplete. (Conclusive evidence of Beagle's Jewish identity and family history can be found here, if anyone doubts it.)

#314 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 01:47 PM:

Guy Gavriel Kay is another.

For that matter, there are so many more.

Love, C.

#315 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 01:55 PM:

In re Jewish fantasy writers, he certainly didn't JUST right fantasy, but I'd say Isaac Asimov definitely qualifies as MAJOR by the standards the author is attempting to impose ...

#316 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 01:56 PM:

Steve Taylor @ 296: "I was just reading http://www.jewishreviewofbooks.com/publications/detail/why-there-is-no-jewish-narnia"

That is a very odd essay. He's using a very idiosyncratic definition of fantasy, for one thing:

Haven’t modern Jewish writers, from Kafka and Bruno Schulz to Isaac Bashevis Singer and Cynthia Ozick, written about ghosts, demons, magic, and metamorphoses? But the supernatural does not itself define fantasy literature, which is a more specific genre. It emerged in Victorian England, and its origins are best understood as one of a number of cultural salvage projects that occurred in an era when modern materialism and Darwinism seemed to drive religious faith from the field. Religion’s capacity for wonder found a haven in fantasy literature.

It strikes me as a colossal error to equate Tolkien's work with Christianity, and a yet more colossal error to use Tolkien and (especially) Lewis as a stand-in for all of fantasy literature since. Indeed, within the fantasy genre what stands out most about Lewis' stories is their obvious Christian symbolism--Tolkien's deliberate immersion in paganism (and pantheism) has proven by far the more popular path. And while "capacity for wonder" is certainly an important part of the fantasy genre, tying it explicitly to religion (much less one particular religion) cuts out a vast swathe of fantastic fantastic works.

#317 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 02:06 PM:

Also, The Magician sounds absolutely wretched.

#318 ::: alex ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 02:08 PM:

I should hope it would be a point of honour to neither know nor care whether authors were Jewish, unless they chose to make a big deal of it themselves. All such exercises in 'who's what?' end up making me feel slightly queasy, even if the intention is only to go 'yay!'

#319 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 02:11 PM:

Xopher and Lenore: My condolences.

#320 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 02:25 PM:

Hugs and luvs, Lenore, and Xopher. John was obviously much loved.

#321 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 02:28 PM:

Alex@318: yes, the terrain all around here is strewn with land-mines or cluster-bombs or something of the sort.

Still, sometimes it's more effective to say "You're wrong because here are three counter-examples" than it is to say "That's not a subject we should talk care about, so let's not discuss it."

#322 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 02:28 PM:

Also, The Magicians sounds absolutely wretched.

I certainly thought so. It read like the origin story for a group of super-villains to me, and took a ridiculously long time about it.

#323 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 02:40 PM:

Sympathies and condolences, Xopher and Lenore. And best wishes for your healing.

#324 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 02:58 PM:

On The Magicians: I keep coming up with metaphors for what the book is, but they're just ways to make something good come out of a book I so heartily disliked. It's so very well-done, though. It's just that what it's doing isn't anything that makes me like it.

#325 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 03:06 PM:

Xopher and Lenore, my condolences. Take care of yourselves.

#326 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 04:22 PM:

alex @318 said: I should hope it would be a point of honour to neither know nor care whether authors were Jewish, unless they chose to make a big deal of it themselves. All such exercises in 'who's what?' end up making me feel slightly queasy, even if the intention is only to go 'yay!'

I get the inkling that the question the essay is really asking (while pretending to ask something else) is, "Why does Judaism not have an iconic fantasy series based on our doctrines and mythology, that might fire kids up allegorically about being observant?" To which I would answer, "Because proselytization is built into Christianity, whereas Judaism purposefully doesn't evangelize ..."

#327 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 04:46 PM:

Elliott Mason #326: And thank God for that! ;-)

Indeed, Sandman has a fair bit of Jewish mythology woven into it, albeit accompanied by all the other mythology.

#328 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 04:46 PM:

Carrie S. @ 322: "It read like the origin story for a group of super-villains to me, and took a ridiculously long time about it."

It sounds to me--based entirely on this one review--like a "Let me show you what you genre people are doing wrong" novel, written as always by someone with an at-best rudimentary grasp of the genre's traditions and sensibilities. DO NOT WANT

Elliot Mason @ 326: "I get the inkling that the question the essay is really asking (while pretending to ask something else) is, "Why does Judaism not have an iconic fantasy series based on our doctrines and mythology, that might fire kids up allegorically about being observant?" To which I would answer, "Because proselytization is built into Christianity, whereas Judaism purposefully doesn't evangelize ...""

Or possibly, because there was only one such series written ever. It's not like fantasy was passing mega-popular religion-based series out to everyone else but skipped over Judaism.

#329 ::: Bill ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 04:57 PM:

Elliott @315, he said that he considered Asimov to be important, but as a Science Fiction writer, not a Fantasy writer. Having only read most of Asimov's books, but a long time ago, I can't think of any that were fantasy (though plenty of them had Sufficiently Advanced Technology.)

Brust is an interesting case, given his arguments - he's drawing on Hungarian / Gypsy folklore, as opposed to Germanic/Norse elements. Maybe not as much in Vlad Taltos et al. (which strikes me as more working off the Westernized fictionalizations of folklore and history), but particularly in Agyar.

#330 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 05:39 PM:

Elliot Mason @ 326: "I get the inkling that the question the essay...

I saw what you did there :)

#331 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 05:54 PM:

Janet Brennan Croft @330 'saw what I did there' up in my 326 ... but I apparently was so clever and stealthy when I did it that I didn't notice. Unless it was (a) spelling 'write' as 'right' (oooops), or (b) being strangely overwrought and far too parenthetical, which I do a lot.

#332 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 06:00 PM:

Just how you managed to work "inkling" into a discussion that started out with Tolkien and Lewis!

#333 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 06:21 PM:

Thank you all again.

Patrick, thank you for that warning. While I haven't mistaken a can of sardines for my car keys (possessing neither of these things) I've made some moderately startling errors, and your warning has helped me take them in stride.

#334 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 06:30 PM:

Janet @332: Clever thing, my subconscious, apparently. :-> Thank you for presuming it intentional; maybe next time I'll live up to it.

#335 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 06:35 PM:

Late-occurring question about something that transpired during a plane trip yesterday:

So . . . after an unplanned hotel stay due to missing a connection in Houston, I'm on my way back to Portland.

An hour into the flight, the fellow directly behind me begins to puke. Violently. The only reason my head wasn't hit was the seat back. The floor to the right and the young lady to the left get blasted.

The sluices might have opened up on the other end as well. The flight attendants, swathed in gloves and plastic bag booties and wielding special clean-up kits, wouldn't say.

We got diverted to Dallas; the guy was seriously ill. Food poisoning, he told the stewardess . . . he had been in Guatemala and had eaten some street vendor food. Amazingly, things went very smoothly. No one complained as the guy was shuffled off and the spattered cushions were replaced. The other passenger had a spare set of clothes in her carry-ons.

Since I wasn't personally spattered, this is an academic question: Is the spew resulting from food poisoning a topical infection vector?

#336 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 06:45 PM:

heresiarch@316

colossal error to equate Tolkien's work with Christianity

I wouldn't go as far as "colossal error". The Christian theology IS there behind the scenes.

#337 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 07:04 PM:

As promised, the panel I'm moderating at Lunacon:

The History of the Book

Panelists discuss the paradigm shift we're undergoing right now, as the format of the book changes to a whole new medium. As we look forward to see where we're going, they remind us where we come from.
Mary Aileen Buss [M], Helen Green, Michael Walsh

Walsh is a longtime fan and owns a small press; Green doesn't have a bio up, so I know nothing about her.

The factual stuff I can look up (I'm a librarian; it's what I do), but I could really use some help coming up with questions to get us started.

#338 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 07:17 PM:

Patrick Nielsen Hayden @206 writes:

> note that the Andrew Brown referred to in Jacque's comment #104 is the Andrew Brown who was a well-known (and startlingly tall) Australian fan in the late 1970s and 1980s, travelling to many conventions in the English-speaking world, and who died some years back

Damn. I used to know him a bit, way back. First time I've found out that sort of thing over the net.

#339 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 07:34 PM:

I read The Magicians because Kurt Busiek recommended it over on rec.arts.sf.written. It wasn't wretched. I will say that it looked like it was going to go in one direction, about midway through, and then immediately took a left turn and did something else...and I think I would have found the direction it was previously heading to be much more interesting.

If you want to read what the author says about it, rather than a reviewer, read this "Big Idea" piece over on Scalzi's "Whatever". In brief, it takes Harry Potter and Narnia and does them using the techniques of mainstream literature rather than of fantasy. (Indeed, one thing I would love to see is for Teresa to read the book and analyze for me exactly what it is about the pacing and language and characterization that feels so mainstream -- I could tell that it did without being able to put my finger on exactly why.)

It is quite clear to me, at any rate, that Lev Grossman does not look on fantasy literature with contempt.

#340 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 07:56 PM:

In re doing something with genre subject 'as a mainstream novel,' I can highly, highly recommend Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman. It's a supervillain origin story, sort of, with fairly standard ancillary bits, but it's very much also a mainstream-feeling novel. I found the tension between subject matter and presentation style hilarious, in the same way as mockumentaries are.

#341 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 08:04 PM:

Stefan, #335: You were stuck in Houston? I wish I'd known -- had it been early enough, we could have had dinner!

Mary Aileen, #337: The assumption in that description seems to be that e-books will completely replace printed books. You might want to consider opening the panel by pointing this out, and changing the focus to "How will the availability of e-book formats affect us, and what other paradigm changes have there been to books and reading historically?" IOW, do a compare-and-contrast between the e-book innovation and, say, the printing press.

#342 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 08:09 PM:

Lev Grossman may not look on the fantasy genre with contempt, but the book looks on everything else in the world with it. In the Big Idea piece, he uses the phrase 'bitter and disillusioned', and that sums up most of the book. It's brilliantly done, but that doesn't overcome the fact that not a single thing in the world is good or even not pointless; all the things you thought were worthwhile at all are actually poison at the core and this is actually the best-case scenario.

I had read a few bits about the book before it came out, including the Big Idea piece, and it looked like it would be interesting and good. Once I read it, though, not so much, and a few of my friends who have read it basically agree (one sent me angry texts as she finished it; they are hilarious).

What it does, it does very, very well. But what it does is deny that there is light and good in the world.

I can go on for much, much longer on this one, but me being violently offended (in the scent-offend-nose sense, not the demanding-apology sense) is not really productive.

#343 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 08:59 PM:

And now for something completely different:

J. Jonah Jameson is on Twitter.

Whoever is doing it has the persona down cold.

#344 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 09:04 PM:

Lee (341): That's helpful, thanks.

#345 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 09:19 PM:

mary aileen--
you might also enjoy pursuing this line of enquiry:

if you've written a book, and you'd like some assurance that people 2000 years from now will be able to read it, would you advise putting it on a 3.5 inch floppy or a 5.25 inch floppy? coded in word perfect format, or maybe the file format of a really popular word processor like the wang?

or maybe just quality ink on archival paper, bound in sturdy boards?

i know where i'd put my money.

#347 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 09:38 PM:

345
I'd just go for one or two hundred years. A lot of people have met books in that age range, but I'd guess that not many of them have an 8" floppy drive. (Hard or soft sector?) Or even a 5.25" drive. And jsut about everyone has had a hard drive or a CD burner die.

#348 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 11:44 PM:

The essay on (the lack of) Jewish fantasy was interesting, but it depends on making a firm distinction between fantasy and science fiction. But some of us see it all as a continuum. On one end you have fantasy with unicorns and wizards, on the other end fantasy with rockets and engineers, and somewhere in the middle there are elves driving Corvettes.

#349 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2010, 11:48 PM:

The Long Now folks are working on a durable "analog" dense-storage medium. Disks of rust-proof alloy inscribed with microscopic reproductions of book pages.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosetta_Project

#350 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 12:22 AM:

My guess for current tech that will be machine readable reasonably easily the longest is currently cds, using plain html and jpg or uncompressed tiff images. Using the most bog standard iso9960 file system. It's been a standard for a good long time, almost every computer in the last 10 years has had a cd (though, that's changing in the portable market) and the bits are the most standard that you're likely to get.

Even with that, I think it's going to be non-trivial to get the data back off in as little as 15 years. 10 years is probably safe.

Archivists are going to seriously dislike the 2000-10 decade.

#352 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 12:43 AM:

Another question, from another angle:

What will happen to narrative? We've been promised non-linear narratives since HyperCard, and there are some out there*. There was pseudo-nonlinear narrative in the Choose Your Own Adventure books, but some say the book of the future will offer the real deal.

But how can you review a book or judge its quality when people are not all reading the same text? What if you just happen to end up on a narrative thread that sucks, when many others in the work didn't, or vice versa? How can you discuss and analyze literature under those circumstances?

------
* eg Shadow Unit, from what I hear, but I haven't gotten into it because it sounds like it would eat time I don't have.

#353 ::: Lenore Jones/jonesnori ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 12:48 AM:

Thanks, everyone. Xopher was here at my house this evening, which was a comfort for both of us, I think, and I hope he'll come over tomorrow as well. I've been with friends and family all day (the last finally went to bed an hour ago), and hope to continue this way for several days. There's more laughter than tears, though there are plenty of both.

I'm rather dreading what happens when the visits slow down, but I hope I'll be ready by then. Right now I feel like I have sudden-onset ADHD.

John had been sick a long time, though he continued to work throughout that time, and was at work as recently as Wednesday. He'd have worked Thursday and Friday, too, except he had appointments at Sloan those days.

The ending was relatively sudden and unexpected, even though we knew it had to happen some time. One is never ready.

Thanks for the messages and the advice, which I think is wise and will do my best to follow.

#354 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 01:06 AM:

I'm so sorry, Lenore and Xopher.

Abi, I saw the announcement of Shadow Unit, thought it was unspeakably cool, and resolved never to get involved. At all.

I think that some of the adjustment of a nonlinear narrative is going to be that not everyone sees the same bits. You just have to make all of them good in different ways. Cherie Priest, I think, had an essay some years ago about games presented as stories that made me wish I played some.

But even linear narratives have to deal with differences in reading. I read Jean M Auel at just about the right age, and Heinlein ten years too old. I've picked up and discarded books that I will probably like when I do read them, but right now is not that time. In ten years, the books I'm reading will be different for the people reading them for the first time; this is the same as me reading Nora Roberts books that are just barely younger than I am and cringing a bit. The parts of the Wheel of Time that I liked are not the same as the parts other people liked, and if I read them again, I might have an entirely different set.

It's not quite the same as what you mention, but I think that the same tools we have to deal with it will adapt.

#355 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 01:07 AM:

Julie, #346: For the record, the erotica section at Book People in Austin contains both straight and gay varieties, and is not by any means pushed off into a dingy corner. I was there with a group of friends about 10 years ago, and we were all absolutely in whoops over the back-blurb from one particular gay-erotica book, which started out:

"In 1957, 17-year-old Harry Potter went to New York City with the dream of becoming an actor..."

#356 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 01:22 AM:

abi@352: I've read "Shadow Unit" from the beginning, and I wouldn't call it at all non-linear. Really about the only difference from a series of stories such as you might read in any magazine is the division into "Act I" through "Act V" -- in some of them that division seems pretty arbitrary. There's been a steady movement forward in story time, and there are subplots that continue between stories, to create a larger arc. There are occasional flashbacks, and (more recently) a flashforward. But overall it's no more an experiment in structure than something like the Wild Cards books is.

#357 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 01:44 AM:

abi @ 352:

There are some non-linear narratives out there in the realm of interactive fiction. Someone like Andrew Plotkin can probably speak to this more effectively, as I haven't delved into it too much. It's not exactly mainstream, though, partly because it's that much more work.

#358 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 06:51 AM:

abi @ 352... Why would we want such non-linear narratives? My own objections are that (1) If I can come up with a non-linear narrative that'll make an interesting story, I might as well sit down and write the final linear results myself, thus realizing I'm a good storyteller, which I'm not, which means the results of the whole non-linear exercise will be anything but interesting. (2) I already experience a non-linear narrative. It's called Life.

#359 ::: Wesley Osam ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 07:36 AM:

abi, #352: The question seems to assume that nonlinear narrative will replace linear narrative. That doesn't seem likely to me. Nonlinearity is its own thing, distinct from linearity. It has different strengths and goals. Nonlinearity replacing linearity would be like pancakes replacing eggs.

To review a nonlinear narrative, you have to engage with what it's trying to do, and factor in what effect the nonlinearity has on the story. This might require running through it more than once.

#360 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 07:39 AM:

@358

Serge, if your life is nonlinear then I want your time machine.

I think of my own as one of those slow-paced modern "lit'rachoor" type novels I hated to read in school, the ones that seem to consist mostly of vaguely discontent middle-aged women who don't do very much..... Hrm.

Maybe that's the problem. Maybe I need to quit my day job and go build a rocket ship or discover a passage to fairyland under the railway trestle or something.

(I keep hoping it will all sort of come together and make sense in the end.)

#361 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 07:39 AM:

I already experience a non-linear narrative. It's called Life.

Serge is Billy Pilgrim!

#362 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 08:06 AM:

abi, 352: David @356 is right. The novelty is that the characters have Livejournals and interact with the fans. The LJs happen in realtime, and the most recent episode (published in early Feb) covered something that happened (in the LJs) last May. But you can read just the stories and ignore the LJs completely.

The real timesink is the fan forum. Boy I tell you what.

#363 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 08:28 AM:

It's brilliantly done, but that doesn't overcome the fact that not a single thing in the world is good or even not pointless; all the things you thought were worthwhile at all are actually poison at the core and this is actually the best-case scenario.

I am tempted to say, in fact, that the book isn't "fantasy"; it's "real life with magic". The Magicians is essentially a modern, literary novel; it's just that there's magic in it. You could accurately summarize the plot with no mention of magic whatsoever, in fact. Being a teenager sucks, the most fun you're ever going to have is college, your degree isn't remotely relevant to life in the real world, everything you love dies or is revealed to be corrupt, you get a soulless job doing nothing, and in the end, all that's left is to take advantage of one's skills and cause mayhem till forcibly stopped.

#364 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 08:46 AM:

Many of us have had some experience with RPGs, which are a nice example of a story that is made by a kind of collaboration between the players, the GM, and the game designers.

#365 ::: Andy Brazil ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 09:00 AM:

My guess for current tech that will be machine readable reasonably easily the longest is currently cds

Having just bought an external 1Tb drive, I've been extracting stuff from various backup DVD's I burned back in 2005/6 so as to be able to search more effectively. Approximately 10% of the 200+ disks have read errors. Now bearing in mind that these were disks burnt and then stored without ever being played, it's possible that the errors were in the writing. But they were all verified at the time, and it certainly hasn't been subsequent handling that's to blame. The disks are from a variety of manufacturers, and again, although there's certainly more failures in some brands than others, no brand escapes faultlessly.

On the gripping hand, however, recovery software allowed me to retrieve the files with zeros inserted for the faulty sectors, and in most cases this recreates much of the information, and it's not as if I haven't encounted books at thrift stores with a page missing. But as an archiving medium I don't think optical media live up to the hype.

#366 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 09:19 AM:

Elliott Mason, #340: "In re doing something with genre subject 'as a mainstream novel,' I can highly, highly recommend Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman."

I don't know if you're aware of this--I wasn't until recently, and I appear to have been the last person I know to realize it--but Austin Grossman is Lev Grossman's brother.

I haven't read The Magician yet myself, but I mean to. Some people whose taste I respect didn't like it; others liked it a lot. I can certainly certify that Lev Grossman doesn't have any sort of chip on his shoulder toward genre fantasy literature--indeed, he goes to SF conventions, and the only time I've taken issue with him over anything, it was because I felt he was valorizing our genre over "the mainstream" to an excessive degree.

alex, #318: "I should hope it would be a point of honour to neither know nor care whether authors were Jewish, unless they chose to make a big deal of it themselves. All such exercises in 'who's what?' end up making me feel slightly queasy, even if the intention is only to go 'yay!'"

I kind of get what you're saying, but I think we're interested in writers' backgrounds and life stories for good reasons as well as bad ones.

#367 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 09:25 AM:

Thena @ 360... Well, in the sense of the narratives that Abi described, Life is non-linear. It's like Indiana Jones's approach to things ("I make this as I go.") I may have a goal, and I may reach it, but how I get there may not, in retrospect, add up to a particularly interesting narrative. Unless you're a fan of the Three Stooges.

#368 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 09:27 AM:

ajay @ 361... I'm not Billy Pilgrim. I'm the Doctor.

#369 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 09:40 AM:

for long-term security, it would also be nice to prevent the dvd's from getting pinched.

i thought maybe something like a chained library would work, but they make a godawful clanking racket when they're spinning up.
(and the html files suffered a lot of broken links).

rosetta project looks interesting, and i suspect it's the right direction, i.e. no decoder required other than magnification and eyeball.

side-thought to #352--i miss hypercard, sniff.

#370 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 09:47 AM:

Thena @360 I think of my own as one of those slow-paced modern "lit'rachoor" type novels I hated to read in school, the ones that seem to consist mostly of vaguely discontent middle-aged women who don't do very much.....

I have one of those too. (Life, not novel. I would never have left the bookstore with the novel.) A review of my life would note that the plot was fragmented and contradictory, the conflicts cliched, the setting generic suburban/urban, and, I fear, that the main character was not sufficiently interesting...

There's an book called "Once Upon a Midlife" that looks at fairy tales dealing with midlife transition instead of youthful go-out-and-make-your-fortune tales. It's been a while since I read it, but I recall there are a lot of role-reversal stories: the husband / king / etc. learns to stay home and be nurturing, and the wife / queen / etc. takes a more active role. These date, of course, from societies with stronger gender role constraints than we now have, but I think the core idea of shifting gears and expanding into something new is right on target. But easier said than done.

#371 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 09:52 AM:

I kind of get what you're saying, but I think we're interested in writers' backgrounds and life stories for good reasons as well as bad ones.

Spot on. For example, it's really interesting to know the background of the Jewish writers who created Superman...

#372 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 10:10 AM:

ajay #361: Surely that should be Guillaume Peregrine?

#373 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 10:43 AM:

If you were creating a format for storing information for the real long haul, I suspect there are three things that would be important:

a. Finding a robust storage medium.

b. Working out some really good error-correction mechanisms. Probably that would mean massive error correction on each disc, plus some kind of drive mirroring so that each piece of information appears in many places.

c. Using many different formats of storage to specify exactly how the storage and encoding of the payload data works. This is where you engrave technical specifications of the encoding scheme on gold plates in multiple languages, including some nice mathematical and physics tutorials as needed. (Depending on whether you're trying to record this for archivists in 100 years, post-apocalypse scientist-historians trying to rebuild high tech civilization in 1,000 years, or alien archaeologists in 100,000 years.)

An extreme version of this might look like the museums on the Moties' home planet. In order to gain entry to this storehouse of technology and knowledge locked away in Cheyenne mountain, solve these three orbital dynamics problems.

#374 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 10:43 AM:

Lenore, my condolences to you as well (I forgot to mention you when offering them to Xopher). You're both in my thoughts.

#375 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 10:50 AM:

re 316: What happened to Tolkien is that people ran with it before they were aware of the Miltonian backstory (i.e., the Silmarillion, for which one can cite chapter and verse of biblical parallels throughout most of the text). Nothing of Tolkien's fiction is as pagan-informed as Til We Have Faces, which, while much admired, has had essentially no influence on other fantasy writing that I have seen (not that this doesn't say something about the breadth of my reading, however).

#376 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 11:05 AM:

Carrie S at 363, I can definitely see that. A lot of the magic world is bitter academia. There's nothing for you to do and a new crop of people just like you graduating each year. It's not terribly heartening.

Some of my antipathy toward the book is jealousy; if you told me today that I could attend school for magic and gain an entirely new skillset for figuring things out, I'd jump at it at least a little and start in on more science. I know plenty of people who, with only the tools of the nonmagical world, are doing fascinating things. Okay, if one or two of them went to magic school as in the book, the fascinating things they would be doing would be mostly revolution, but this would be followed by decent research.

#377 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 11:09 AM:

Further thoughts on death. Probably pretty morbid. Skip if you don't want to read morbid stuff or just aren't in the mood.

On watching someone die (ROT13'd for possible TMI): Ng yrnfg jura fbzrbar'f orra fvpx sbe zbaguf naq haerfcbafvir sbe ubhef, gur bayl creprcgvoyr qvssrerapr (gb zr) orgjrra n crefba nobhg gb qvr naq bar jub'f whfg qvrq vf gung gur qrnq crefba vf pbzcyrgryl zbgvbayrff naq erznvaf fb. Vg jnf n fhogyr genafvgvba, naq jbhyq unir orra pbzcyrgryl vzcreprcgvoyr vs gur zbavgbef unqa'g fubja 0 urneg engr, 0 erfcvengvba, naq syngyvar oenva npgvivgl. Jr'er whfg gung pybfr gb orvat qrnq ng nal gvzr.

On dying myself: Of course, I may not die in a hospital room with time for people to gather. But if I do, I want to go like John did: with friends and family all around me, singing me out of this life. Surrounded by love and music: sounds pretty good to me. As to what I'd want them to sing...someone asked me that yesterday and I said "I don't know. Maybe I haven't written it yet." But now I think the answer is: let it be their choice, their judgement. As long as it isn't "Shall We Gather At The River" or something like that. For that, I will fucking HAUNT your asses!!! :-)

On knowing you're going to die for months before it happens: John wasn't happy that that was happening, of course, but there was an upside: he found it tremendously uplifting in terms of his Christian faith. He got to see the Kingdom of God in action; so many people from the church behaved just exactly as Christians are supposed to in that situation. The only things in short supply were hypocrisy and selfishness. He was amazed and humbled by this at first, and then just inexpressibly joyful. It was a great comfort to him as his condition deteriorated.

I'm still Pagan. I'm not converting to Christianity. But for some time I've spoken out to Pagans and atheists who diss Christians generically ("hey, I know some good ones!"); now my response to them will be tinged with rage, I'm afraid. They've seen the worst of self-professed Christianity, but not the best. This is because the best isn't on television. The truest Christians are the ones who cooked meals for John and Lenore, who drove John to Sloan-Kettering when he couldn't get there otherwise, who quietly did everything that was needed. Most of the Pagans and atheists I know will never notice those people, because they're not making a big deal out of it.

And that, I am convinced, is the true nature of Christianity at its best. Not being a Christian, I'm hesitant to make axiomatic pronouncements about it, but it seems to me that "Christianity is doomed to have a worse reputation among non-Christians than it deserves, because the good ones are never on television proclaiming themselves" is pretty safe.

#378 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 11:33 AM:

thanks, xopher. agreed about christians. much of the last sentence probably goes just was well with the substitution of "atheists", too.

indeed, i'm scrambling to find any X such that the good X's are on tv proclaiming themselves.

("you know, your really good ginsu knife salesmen...")

#379 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 11:38 AM:

Lenore @ 353, just sending lots of sympathy and good thoughts.

If the visits slow down before you're ready, and you still need people around for a while longer, do you think you could call friends and ask them to come over for a cup of tea?

Xopher @ 377, I have very little to say except "yes."

#380 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 11:48 AM:

kid bitzer (345): A question about format-compatibility of ebooks (now and in future) sounds very promising. Thanks.

abi (352): That sounds related to my "What makes a book a book?" but opens up more possibilities. Thanks.

#381 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 11:48 AM:

Xopher, I know that "Uncle John's Band" is also woven with Christian symbolism, but would it work? It's a lovely song.

Then again, "Ripple" and "Box of Rain" are just as lovely and suitable, and not Christian allegories as far as I can tell. "Ripple" is full of blues tropes.

...why, yes, these are the most comforting songs I can think of. I'm not just making a joke because of the band's name.

#382 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 11:54 AM:

Mary Aileen @380: What occurred to me is how technological changes in text-presentation-to-people has changed how people engage with the fictional content -- when they were primarily read aloud or recited to audiences, that's different than newspaper serialization (or that thing Dickens did where they printed 24 slim chapters for the eventual reader to have bound into a volume), which is in turn different than being given it all in one chunk to read at home in private, and on and on.

That rambled, and was potentially incoherent; hope it also contained at least a seed of idea that's useful.

#383 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 12:07 PM:

Marilee pointed out (in James Nicoll's blog) that, in the wake of scandals about bogus information in Charles Pellegrino's new book, Henry Holt will cease publication of Last Train from Hiroshima.

(Pellegrino's destiny is entangled with that of film director James Cameron.)

In related news, Last Train from Hiroshima's Amazon sales ranking had risen to #78. It is #83 as I type this. Act now, supplies are limited.

#384 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 12:21 PM:

Xopher #377: My condolences to Lenore too, I'd forgotten them.

In regard to your comment about Christians and those who diss them: V nz bar bs gubfr ngurvfgf jub unf yvggyr erfcrpg sbe crbcyr jub cebpynvz gurzfryirf gb or Puevfgvna. Guvf vf orpnhfr zl rkcrevrapr, va bire unys n praghel bs yvsr, vf gung gur cebpynzngvba jvyy trarenyyl or sbyybjrq ol na rkuvovgvba bs fhssvpvrag ulcbpevfl, qvfubarfgl, pbeehcgvba, naq pevzr gb gnxr njnl gur oerngu. Jung lbh ner qrfpevovat snyyf, V jbhyq fnl, haqre gur ehoevp bs qrprapl. Vg vf rkuvovgrq ol crbcyr jub orybat gb rirel eryvtvba, naq gb abar. Vg ercerfragf gur orfg bs fbzrguvat pnyyrq uhznavgl; bar bs vgf byqrfg rkcerffvbaf, abgrq va gur Nanyrpgf bs Pbashpvhf, vf abg nfxvat nobhg gur ubefrf.

#385 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 12:33 PM:

Fragano, boivbhfyl V xabj gung qrprapl vfa'g rkpyhfviryl gur cebivapr bs Puevfgvnavgl! Sbe gung znggre, vg'f abg erdhverq gung n crefba or eryvtvbhf ng nyy orsber qvfcynlvat vg. Jung V'z bowrpgvat gb vf crbcyr jub cebsrff gur oryvrs gung NYY Puevfgvnaf ner ulcbpevgvpny qvfubarfg pbeehcg pevzvanyf.

Orfvqrf, gur cebpynvzref nera'g gur barf V'z gnyxvat nobhg. Znlor lbh'er nterrvat jvgu zr, ohg V qba'g frr nalguvat va lbhe cbfg gung pbasyvpgf jvgu nalguvat V'ir fnvq.

#386 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 12:44 PM:

Xopher #377:

Amen. I think most ways of being a good person and doing good in the world just don't lend themselves to attention-grabbing or media coverage. They're unspectacular, unsexy day-to-day stuff that makes the world a decent place to live in. A lot of times, the most important stuff is almost invisible--like taking care of a dying friend, or driving a neighbor to dialysis three times a week, or spending time really *listening* to someone who needs to talk.

This seems really obvious now that I reread it, but your comment sure made me spend a lot of time thinking about the differences between doing good in the world and being seen to do good in the world. (Whitewashed sepulchres and clashing gongs and all that.)

#387 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 12:56 PM:

abi #352: What will happen to narrative? We've been promised non-linear narratives since HyperCard, and there are some out there*. There was pseudo-nonlinear narrative in the Choose Your Own Adventure books, but some say the book of the future will offer the real deal.

I wonder if this is what we're headed towards with video games? And do video games then become a subset (or offshoot) of "literature?"

#388 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 01:09 PM:

alex, #318: It took me a while to figure out what was bugging me about that statement. It reminds me of a long and pointless argument I once had with a friend; he was absolutely insistent that noticing differences was synonymous with assigning values -- that by saying two things were different, you were automatically asserting that one was superior to the other. That sort of assumption seems to be at the root of your statement as well, and I don't buy it.

Thena, #360: Be grateful. You don't want your life to be an Interesting Story, for the same reason that you don't want to live in Interesting Times (as in the Chinese curse). There are times when I could do with a little less Interestingness in my life!

Xopher, #377: Very good point about the reputation of Christianity. In fact, I think you could take it a step further and say that anyone who is on TV claiming to speak for Christianity is ipso facto not a good example of Christianity; this follows from the Biblical injunctions against hypocrisy and fame-seeking. Ideally, Christianity is intended to be promoted by precisely the sort of low-level examples you describe -- ordinary people doing good because they are motivated by their personal faith.

#389 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 01:11 PM:

Jacque @387: It might, if there were many (any?) videogames out there with actual nonlinear narratives. Or, in most cases, actual implementation of moral grey areas -- most games that claim to let you 'choose to be good or evil' generally have two endings, the AAAAAAAAAAAH CHOIRS OF ANGELS VIRTUOUS ending and the "you are a horrible, babykilling, dogkicking evil bastard" ending. So it basically tots up your responses to dialogue choices throughout the game and takes an overall total or average and gives you one or the other.

Some, the slightly more sophisticated ones, actually have the townsfolk you interact with change their dialogue choices based on whether they think you've been being a saint or a bastard lately. And every once in a great while, there'll be a game with 5-9 actual different endings. But they're quite rare, and most video game design companies seem to think that once they've paid to make the graphics shiny and put in enough blood, they can fire the writers and nobody will notice.

For some really snarky (and scat- and sex-joke-filled) reviews by someone who really likes games with good story, I highly recommend Zero Punctuation. Note: NSFW in any jurisdiction with which I am familiar.

#390 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 01:13 PM:

Nonlinear fiction--what, time travel romances don't count, "All You Zombies" doesn't count, the stories by Jo Clayton where there were multiple columns on the pages of the books, each column from a different viewpoint in the same scene, in parallal, don't count? Stories with flashbacks aren't linear--they have time loops--, and A. Betram Chandlers stories where Grimes bifurcated with alternate universes and wound up running into himself.... or Ubik by Philip K. Dick, or the L. Sprague de Camp time travel with world changes stories, or....

There are some hypertext stories out there, but most of that stuff moved into game production, I think.... all those choices in games of what happens if you turn down -that- corridor, attempt to collect -this- artifact, etc.

#391 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 01:17 PM:

My (belated, since I haven't had time to keep up with ML lately) condolences to Lenore, Xopher, and all of John's other friends and family.

Xopher #377 / Fragano #384 / albatross #386: I can't remember Greg McMullan ever proclaiming his Christianity, and I can't count the number of small (and not so small) kindnesses I saw him perform. When a memorial service for his Boston-area friends was held at his old church, I learned more about his faith than I'd heard from him in all the years I'd known him.

In writers' terms, he believed in "show, don't tell", and he lived accordingly.

#392 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 01:24 PM:

Lee @388 said: It reminds me of a long and pointless argument I once had with a friend; he was absolutely insistent that noticing differences was synonymous with assigning values -- that by saying two things were different, you were automatically asserting that one was superior to the other.

This reminds me of Julia Serrano's distinction, in Whipping Girl, between what she calls 'traditional' and 'oppositional' sexism. Traditional sexism states (and enforces culturally) that all things MASCULINE are better than all things FEMININE; oppositional sexism is the related but distinct set of prejudices/injustices that state (and enforce) that everything has a gender-marker, and ONLY one gender-marker, and that there is a big white glowy line between MASCULINE and FEMININE that 'should be obvious' to all non-idiots.

In Serrano's view, fighting the former without also tackling the latter is missing a lot of the point. An example from my own life: My cousin has three kids, two daughters and now a young son. He managed to, in the thirty seconds she left him alone in a (presumed child-resistant) room, circumvent a babygate and fall down a set of steps towards the basement playroom. After some parental heart palpitations and a visit to the emergency room to make sure nothing was actually wrong, she posted about it to Facebook. The first response said, "Get used to it, boys are just like that!" with 'adventurous/exploring/getting into trouble/hurting themselves' being what the commenter meant. The remainder of my cousin's commentariat seemed to find this assertion completely unexceptional and obviously true.

If we live in a world where it can be presumed by 'all right-thinking people' that girls are biologically worse at math and boys are 'programmed' to be more adventurous and agressive, then consciousness-raising efforts towards trying to get guys to quit being discriminatory dicks in the workplace already have a hard row to hoe.

Note: I am in no way saying that the solution is to pretend we don't know whether a given friend of ours is male or female (or even whether they present masculinely or femininely).

#393 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 01:29 PM:

Paula @390:

I'm thinking about a story without one and only one path through it, perhaps not even the same sequence of events at all. I haven't read all of your examples, maybe I'm missing something fundamentally different out there.

Besides, you know, it was a question. A discussion point, a direction for a panel. Not a thesis nailed to a door.

#394 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 01:33 PM:

Lenore, I apologize for not extending my condolences to you earlier. I am so very sorry for your loss. Both you and Xopher should take care of yourselves and each other.

#395 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 01:40 PM:

Xopher et seq.: I'm inclined to think that most people are good, and religion, at best, permits them to indulge in that. (Sometimes it tries to interfere!) Communities supported the dying and bereaved long before Christianity -- quite likely, before we were Homo sapiens.

(Who, me, cranky? ;-) )

#396 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 01:44 PM:

Oddly enough, I know exactly what song I want played at my funeral, and have ever since I first heard it: Deliver Me by Robin Holcomb. (last.fm can be weird, but when I hit "Play Robin Holcomb Radio" from that link, it played the song.)

Salamander Crossing's setting of "Crossing The Bar" is perfect if theism is desired or acceptable. I can't find an online version, alas.

#397 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 01:48 PM:

Xopher #385: Nothing in real conflict, no. V whfg srry gung tbbq npgf fcevat sebz n frafr bs pbzzba uhznavgl naq gung vf cbgragvny va nyy bs hf, ertneqyrff bs jung jr cebsrff gb oryvrir, be abg gb oryvrir. Va gung ertneq, V'z n sbyybjre bs Zrapvhf.

#398 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 01:50 PM:

253 by Geoff Ryman is an early and excellent on-line interactive novel.

#399 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 01:57 PM:

All this discussion of "what song(s) I want played at my deathbed / funeral" reminds me that I should start working up a playlist for my wake. There are certainly some things I'd like to be heard there, and a lot of other songs that I just want because I think they're cool. And it would be one detail that the person running the wake wouldn't have to worry about.

#400 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 02:05 PM:

TexAnne@362: I have never gotten into the forums (Usenet has spoiled me for most web boards) and I didn't even know about the LiveJournals. So most of the readers already knew how this thing with Hafidha will come out when that episode was posted? I find that somehow troubling.

#401 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 02:07 PM:

Although, I guess that explains some of why abi was thinking of it as "non-linear".

#402 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 02:09 PM:

Abi#352: You call it a promise, but so far as I can tell, it's just a threat. People keep trying to do it, but nearly the only thing published more than once is bad, low-end stories -- the "choose your own adventure" books. And those didn't last long. I think it's an idea that appeals to a small number of authors and very few readers indeed.

Why would somebody enjoy it? Why would it be valuable in any way?

(Games get mentioned a lot in this context. The game play that's most like stories is role-playing with a single timeline; quite linear. MMO games have a more complex timeline because things are going on at places where you're not, but I don't think those function as story-telling, I think they function as social gatherings.)

#403 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 02:14 PM:

Open Threadiness: In a nice bit of synchronicity, The Ayn Rand Particle showed up right about the same time that a friend of mine published an essay entitled "The Psychopathology of Ayn Rand", which you can read here.

#404 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 02:20 PM:

Once again, about archiving of digital data: a well-managed digital archive has no real excuse for not lasting forever. The data can be duplicated and stored in multiple physical locations, with each copy identical. The state of each copy is easily assessed (by comparing to a checksum, or to a copy from another instance of the archive). It's vastly superior to attempting to preserve analog documents in that regard (in fact the best way to preserve the information from analog documents that you really care about is to digitize them and manage that archive well). The job of managing the archive includes doing format conversions as necessary -- nothing has been yet, I can still read ASCII text and HTML and JPEG and GIF and TIFF images with current software.

Digital data just left lying around (NOT part of a well-managed archive) tends to die fairly quickly.

Many kinds of old-fashioned analog data, like printed pages or B&W negatives, age quite gracefully if just left lying around. However, even with the greatest care, they degrade a little bit each day. They won't last forever, and they can only be in one places. (Printed books, originally produced in large numbers, have the advantage that they can be kept in many archives at once.)

For my personal photographic and book collections, if my house burns down or is flooded (both things that happen to people relatively often), I'm likely to lose all my early photographs except the ones I've scanned to digital form, and all my books except the ones I have as ebooks. This is because I have off-site copies of my digital backups. (Well, most of the books are on the second floor, so unless the flood took the whole house out, they might survive.)

#405 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 02:26 PM:

David Goldfarb @ 339, PNH @ 366: Well, I'm glad to hear it. I'm always happy to be wrong about how awful something is.

#406 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 02:32 PM:

David, 400: No, not at all. Chaz went offline last May, with a very cryptic "offline for a while" post, and didn't return to LJ until after the episode had aired. Sol and Daphne posted sporadically. Hafidha's journal has been dark since she went rogue.

Even when Erik the Notaboy died, the LJ entries were as one would expect from a small group of friends communicating to each other. "I have to go to the hospital right now." "I wish I could do more than give her ice cream." We-the-fans knew that something bad had happened, but we didn't know what until the episode went live.

#407 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 02:34 PM:

On non-linear novels: There's always State of Emergency by Dennis Guerrier and Joan Richards, published in 1969.

#408 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 03:00 PM:

Jacque @ 387:

I don't really think we're heading toward non-linear narrative in video games as a whole, although some do go that way.

Part of the reason is that it's hard to do. Instead of writing one story (or, in the case of some shooters, any story), you're writing multiple related stories, and have to test each and every one of them. The first two Fallout games did this very well, the second especially. I don't know about Fallout 3, as I haven't played it. Some interactive fiction goes this route as well, but, as I said before, that's not my area of expertise.

It's much easier, as Elliott Mason says, to tack a good and bad ending on a game and leave it at that. This is the route that the Star Wars FPSs where you play a Jedi take.

#409 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 03:07 PM:

Anyone who can eliminate Isaac Bashevis Singer as a major fantasy author is indeed using a weird definition of fantasy.

Mary Aileen @337, Mike is a sweetheart (and former Worldcon chair) -- knows a lot about the history of SF publishing and can tell stories at the drop of a hat. He's good to work with on panels.

More later, I'm running out the door.

#410 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 03:12 PM:

#392 Elliott
There's got to be a more cogent tag than "oppositional sexism" to denote those with a bipolar embedding which does an absolute binning of people according to their gender, as regards abilities, talents, interests, outlook, and "proper" behavior.

It's very definitely got cultural imperatives on the designations of various things regarding being binned as "male" or "female" characteristics--math and science and engineering get taught to girls in Saudi Arabia, for example, even though women aren't allowed to drive cars there, or be out in public without male escort, and I even met a woman who was working as an engineer there professional, who herself was born and raised there....

#393 abi
What do you mean by "linear" though? The definition mathematically if I remember it properly is of a function which compiles with the conditions:
a) being a function where y = f(x) is singled-valued in terms where for a given value x, there is a unique value y.
Examples:
y = x * x,
y = x + 25,
y = x*x + x + 1

Examples of non-a-functions:
y * y = x (there is the postive square root, and the negative square root for any y, there are two solutions -- so it's not a function

b)

f(x1 + x2) = f(x1) + f(x2)

c)

A * f(x) = f(A*x) where A is a constant value

A story with a time loop in it is not linear in time....

There is the case of Michelle Sagara/West's novels out from DAW, so far the Hunter duology, the Sun Sword series, and the House War series. There is a character, Evayne, who for all the other characters in the book, is moving -through- time. The first time any other particular character meets her, she may be older than she is at other times the character meets with her in the future.... for Evayne there a linear time progression of -her- timeline, for everyone else, Evayne is moving through time....

Jo Clayton sometimes did multiple characters viewpoints, possibly even in different places and times, on the same page in multiple columns.

#411 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 03:18 PM:

#408 Keith

What, it's linear when the game endings are not the same? In some the player "dies" horribly or dies from lack of food, from getting eaten, from falling down a well, etc., or become the ruler empire A, or becomes the vizier, or whatever -- there are different outcomes based on what the player does during the game generally....

#412 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 03:52 PM:

Tom Whitmore (409): Thanks, that's good to hear.

Generally: I very much appreciate all the help I'm getting here; I'll be drawing not only on the proposed topics but the follow-up discussions. All this is making me feel much more relaxed about my first moderator gig. In the meantime, if anyone has other suggestions, keep 'em coming! :)

#413 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 04:27 PM:

#412--

thinking about long-term survival brings to mind the question of anthologies.

a lot of stuff was written in greco-roman antiquity. a lot did not survive. there were various ecological bottlenecks that militated against survival--limitations of material, manpower, attention, stable repositories, etc.

one response to these bottlenecks was to compose anthologies, chrestomathies, greatest hits compilations. why copy over the plays of sophocles that were less than brilliant? that competes with resources for copying any of aeschylus. so instead of the 123 plays Sophocles wrote, we have the seven that were considered his greatest hits. and seven by aeschylus, too.

now the future may not face us with similar bottlenecks--maybe we'll have bits and bytes in abundance.

at the same time, it will also get easier and easier to make compilations, to cut-and-paste only the highlights, to assemble mix-tapes of material that is especially popular.

and these may get preferentially preserved, if only because the future is likely to face continuing shortages of that crucial resource, human attention. readers can only take in so much.

my mix-tape of the beatles in 3010 is going to leave out revolution #9--sorry, even if bits are free, i just have no time to waste listening to it.

my mix-tape of shakespeare may be similarly truncated--in fact, it may wind up looking a lot like the reduced shakespeare company's fractured fairy-tale version, in which "wherefore art thou romeo?" is answered by "to be or not to be".

my mix-tape of chaucer: prologue, miller, wife of bath. knight's tale? maybe. sir thopas? surely not.

to put this differently--even if we can solve the archive-problem as neatly as the more optimistic people on this thread seem to think ("stable digital copies of everything, forever!"), that would still leave unanswered the question of what will circulate in large numbers, what will actually get read.

what will get read? anthologies.

(i made all that up, of course--it's just a suggestion for discussion, and so phrased to be controversial).

#414 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 05:03 PM:

A far-future "mix-tape" of Wikipedia where all but the "discussion" pages were lost would end up codifying ritual and apocrypha instead of organizing information; plenty good enough to start a new religion with, though. Individual wiki-editors would be the saints and prophets whose words were flensed for meaning. The medium would be spinning rings, of course. heh.

#415 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 05:28 PM:

#413 kid
What "posterity" has, is what survived. It's not necessarily "the best," it's what combination of deliberate attempts to keep, the failure of deliberate attempts to eradication (Hatshepsut's successor worked very hard as extirpating Hatshepsut's name and record, for example), happenstance (records/materials which were out on loan or above the levels of flooding or where the fire didn't reach or got overlooked by looters or religious fanatic burning books/destroying statues, bronze rams which survived by sinking as opposed to being resmelted over the course of time (Octavius mounting the rams from the fleet of Cleopatra and Anthony into a victory commemoration wall; for hundreds of years following the removal and melting down of the rams, people wondered what the strange holes in the wall were for...
Archives gathered of documents people though were important/worthwhile, got turned into fuel for cooking and heating over time by inheritors of the archive who didn't value the content. The proof that Archimedes developed integral calculus disappeared under the religiously stimulated writing of someone who took the parchment of an Archimedian math gext and reused it as a writing surface....

Some Classical era work relatively recently got discovered in a classical era cemetery in Egypt..

The US invasion and thoroughly mismanaged occupation of Iraq, effected the destruction of archives and libraries assembled starting with the recovering of the city from the devastation and sacking and records destruction effected by the Mongols a millennium ago. If I were an Iraqi, I would loathe the United States, for its utter indifference and hostility to and unwillingness to task even a token attempt force in the early days of the invasion with the duty to maintain/restore civil services and infrastructure and provide any sort of protection for museums, libraries, schools, records in government offices other than the Oil Ministry, police the streets, suppress looters and pillager and arsonists and terrorists and general pillagers and plunderes and rapists and murderers and religious zealots bent on punishing/retaliatig against/attacking/carrying on holy war with anyone not of their particular religious branch/sect... or using religious zealotry as excuse otherwise for looting/vandalism/theft/robbery/assault/rape/murder etc.

#416 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 05:42 PM:

Earl Cooley at 414: "flensed for meaning"

Why did the Wikipedia editor buy a whaling ship?

Because cetaceans were needed.

#417 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 05:48 PM:

#415 myself...
What I left off that left paragraph--the devastation of the archives and archaeological sites in Iraq are examples of how material went/goes out of existence, even today, due to greed/anti-intellectualism/disdain for "culture/disregard/valuing other things and trashheaping/ignoring everything else.

The up to two million volumes of university library books also looted/torched, most of probably are replaceable with extant books. The archive though were full of handwritten records and texts, from the days before printing presses and computer and mass communications, when copies had to be laboriously, slowly, and expensive copied by hand, to expensive media--paper and parchement were expensive, which is why the reuse of the Archimedes calculus text occurred, the reuser didn't value the Archimeded text (likely the person was incapable of understanding but mainly didn't -care- what he was deleting and writing over....) The medium was important to the reuser as a surface for inscribing his words, the material which had been on the medium were completely dispensable and irrelevant to him.

One of the horrors of the Iraqi Adventure was the utter disregard and dismissal of valuing library and archive and museum and even government office content and records.... the misadministration 2001-2008 are the sorts of people who murdered Hypatia, defund libraries, and allow looters, pillagers, plunderers, rapists, murderers, and arsonists free rein... then have the nerve to claim they are honorable people with the best interests of others in their hearts and deserve honoring. (Before the invasion, a group of archaeologists went to the White House to plead for protection of the antiquities of Iraq and the museums and archives.... they were completely ignored.

"Who knew there were so many vases in the world?" Cheney the war criminal, not particularly appalled by the destruction of antiquities, looting of archives, etc.

#418 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 05:49 PM:

#277 Mary Aileen on moderating panels:
I have never done that, but when I attend a panel, I basically want to hear from each participant more or less equally; for me it was a downer once when one of the panelists kind of hogged the mike and another panelist didn't say very much.

#419 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 05:51 PM:

#416 Erik
Wail, wail, wail, and watch out for the waling and stays.... Wikipedia show move over to the side....

#420 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 06:13 PM:

Kid Bitzer @ 413 -

History tends to compress when observed from far enough way. If anyone is around in 10,000,000 AD, they might remember two things from the 20th century -- nukes and space flight.

#421 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 06:23 PM:

Erik Nelson (418): I'll do my best to make sure contributions are balanced. And keep an eye out for audience questions.

Is it better to take questions as they come up or to hold them all to the end? Or is that an "it depends?"

#422 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 06:28 PM:

Obama Offers to Use Some G.O.P. Health Care Proposals

Top Five Favorite G.O.P. Health Care Proposals

5. Blanket amnesty from medical malpractice lawsuits for Republican doctors willing to sign a G.O.P. loyalty oath.
4. Privatization of Medicare/Medicaid by whichever healthcare megacorp invests the most money in G.O.P. lobbying efforts.
3. Deficit-neutral free healthcare for millionaires and billionaires, funded by looting Iran.
2. FEMA-managed "exercise" camps for the surplus population.
1. Nutritious Soylent Blue -- Now with more Democrats!

#423 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 06:43 PM:

Erik, #416: 8888888888888888888888888888888888

#424 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 07:22 PM:

Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey, #383, I emailed my librarian friend to ask what they do with books like this. Do they at least put a notice on the front? I was in the queue and canceled it -- I don't want to figure out what's wrong and what's right.

#425 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 07:35 PM:

#383, #424:

The book sounded fascinating, but after realizing exactly who the authoritative-sounding guy describing it on NPR was I got out my salt grain dispenser.

#426 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 08:52 PM:

Steve C. #420: I think you mean 10,000 AD. In ten million years, we'll be lucky if they remember we considered ourselves "civilized".

#427 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 10:04 PM:

Mary Aileen: At an SF convention, generally best to hold off taking questions until sometime between the halfway point and the two-thirds point. Closer to the halfway point if the audience seems really eager.

#428 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 10:23 PM:

On non-linear fiction, I know of at least one book that was published loose-leaf in a box, without numbering on the pages. Back in the 1920s or 30s IIRC. The copy I saw for sale, at Peter Howard's Serendipity Books in the early 1970s, was viewed as an expensive experimental curiosity. It was intended to be able to be read in any order. I didn't try. I also don't remember the title or author, just the oddity of it. I believe it grew out of the Dadaist movement.

#429 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 10:29 PM:

Oh yes -- and A. J. Langguth's Jesus Christs, a book consisting of many anecdotes of the various incarnations of Jesus, could have been published that way. The order of the individual anecdotes IMO is not important (they move all over in location and time); what matters is the variety and the different ways the story manifests itself. Hardcover Harper and Row 1968, paperback Ballantine 1969 (pb number 345-01584, 95c, LC 67-28818 for the librarians among you).

#430 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 10:31 PM:

When it comes to music and sound archiving, I don't even know where to start.

One way to begin is to state that until the technology of sound recording all music is pre-history.

Another way is to explain that no other informational technology has changed as often and as radically as sound recording.

Another way is to say this is a disaster. Because it takes so many technologies.

Even now, with digital adventure everywhere, we DO NOT KNOW WHAT BUDDY BOLDEN SOUNDED LIKE. By all accounts, fantastical and ethnomusicological, Buddy Bolden is the 'founder' of jazz. Just on the cusp of the audio frontier of technology. But Buddy Bolden didn't make it.

Audio archiving is more than a nightmare.

Love, C.

#431 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 10:44 PM:

Constance, the big Smithsonian/whatever project didn't capture his sound?

I know there are a lot of old recordings that have been accessed, recovered and made available of people like Woodie Guthrie.

Just curious.

#432 ::: Leroy F. Berven ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 11:01 PM:

kid bitzer @ 345: As analog data storage systems go, messages laser-etched onto polished granite slabs should work tolerably well . . . and are not necessarily limited to the "don't touch the contents" instructions posted outside whatever long-term nuclear waste storage facility eventually replaces Yucca Mountain.

#433 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2010, 11:40 PM:

Lee at 423:
what does 8888888888888888888888888888888888 mean?
An obscure pun?

#434 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2010, 12:04 AM:

Erik @ 433: Ever read Spider Robinson's Callahan's books? In them, whenever someone would make a particularly egregious pun, the bar patrons would throw peanuts at the the punster.

Callahan's Place proved so popular among readers that it has been recreated by them in cyberspace: alt.callahans on Usenet, #callahans channels on Undernet and Freenode IRC chat, and the Callahanians and Callahan's Place communities on Live Journal are all incarnations of Robinson's famous bar. The convention there is that when participant makes a pun, especially a horrible stinker of a pun, the others throw peanuts. "8888" looks like a line of peanuts flying through the air, so that's how we throw them in cyberspace

#435 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2010, 12:12 AM:

Ah, nuts!

#436 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2010, 02:08 AM:

Again, I asked a question about non-linear literature, which leads to more questions. Thus might it be useful to Mary Aileen in a panel. Why the hostility in the answers?

As to what I think about non-linear literature, I think that apart from Tom's example @428, the media we use for the transmission of books has not given writers many ways to tell non-linear stories*. And yet there have been attempts within the codex format.

I haven't read the Jo Clayton works Paula cites, but I can give a couple of examples of works that try to use a serial format (page after page) to tell a parallel or interwoven story:
* The Castle of Crossed Destinies, by Italo Calvino (all of the stories told are paths through a specific Tarot layout)
* Invisible Cities, by Italo Calvino

Then there are "thematic" sets of stories that do not otherwise overlap, but among them create a greater whole. Always Coming Home and Four Ways to Forgiveness by Ursula K Le Guin both spring to mind. There's some argument that books with a "turn" at the end, such as Use of Weapons have at least a foot in the door of non-linearity as well.

I think that the stories people write will change as the means for readers to consume them change. Writers experiment all the time. That's how we got the novel form in the first place, you know.

Some of the more defensive reactions (DDB: "threat"?) seem to expect non-linear narrative to be imposed on an unwilling audience. That seems to me to be a surprisingly neophobic response to an essentially geeky and SFnal idea, that new technologies open up new possibilities.

Realistically, if whatever forms of storytelling are made possible by new forms of "book" have value for their readers, then they'll become part of the range of literary techniques that people use. If not, then not.

-----
* by which I mean stories that can be read in any order, or stories where a single path through the plot requires only a subset of the words available, or things that I haven't thought of that break the serial model of the "book" where everyone reads the same pages in the same order.

#437 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2010, 02:38 AM:

abi @ 436: And yet there have been attempts within the codex format.

The aforementioned 253 works in book format, mainly because it's enjoyable enough to read all the entries without bothering with the linking. But it's definitely more fun on-line.

I don't know the Jo Clayton books either, but Dhalgren has the famous palimpsest section (presenting multiple texts in parallel) where the Kid has re-used notebook pages.

#438 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2010, 04:03 AM:

Abi @352 & 436: But how can you review a book or judge its quality when people are not all reading the same text?

I'm not sure we're all reading the same text as it is, even for traditional books.

Here, an example: according to Wikipedia, the most recent edition of Samuel Delany's Nova (Vintage Books, 2002) includes a passage no present in any previous edition that significantly alters the reader's perception of one of the major characters, and explains what had happened to a character who had vanished without explanation earlier in the book. (New Yorkers, the Strand has a stack of this edition in the back for $5.95 each!)

Another, stranger, example: I finally got around to reading Tom Disch's Camp Concentration last year. This books was originally published in 1967, but my copy had a typo on the publication info page, giving the year of copyright as 1982. The story involves a fatal, sexually-transmitted disease that starts spreading in the homosexual community, so it's a very different book if you think it was written in the '80s instead of the '60s.

None of this is news to Borges fans.

Anyway, reviewing a branching hyper-novel shouldn't be too much different from reviewing an artist's body of work, read out of order. Or a museum exhibit, with works arranged so as to allow the viewer to wander among them in any order. Reviewing a really big, diverse hyper-work might be more like being a travel writer.

(The term "nonlinear narrative" is problematic. The sense you're using is common in the computer game industry, but the same phrase is also used to refer to more conventional stories told out of order, like the movies Pulp Fiction and Memento, or novels like Zelazny Doorways in the Sand and pretty much everything Ken MacLeod's written.)

Hmm, examples. Geoff Ryman's 253 is one of the things that comes to mind when I think of hypertextual fiction, but I never actually read it in hypertext form. I waited till it had been pinned down to dead trees. From what I remember, the reader might actually have too much freedom to wander around the story in hypertext form.

Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers comics series might also count as hypertextual fiction. It's a meta-series containing seven separate-but-interrelated four-issue series, with two-issue frame providing a common beginning and ending. One page of the ending issue is a close-up on a newspaper page, which contains a crossword puzzle which, if solved, gives more clues about what's going on.

As far as defensive reactions goes, well, SF and fantasy fans tend to be ironically very conservative about matters of literary style. Some people still complain about the New Wave.

#439 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2010, 04:13 AM:

abi @436: The first book I thought of was Milorad Pavic's Dictionary of the Khazars. Readers have to piece together the tale from different, sometimes conflicting entries.

#440 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2010, 07:28 AM:

Summer Storms, Erik Nelson: Also, the Callahan's "ultimate tribute" is really hard to simulate online. (Everyone flees the room, holding their nose and groaning. In realspace, they just mill around a bit before tricking back in to continue the contest....)

#441 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2010, 07:30 AM:

Gaah, "trickling".

#442 ::: alex ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2010, 07:51 AM:

Various re. my #318 - I take all your points, but am still aware that the Jewish/not-Jewish line - as a particular historical and cultural phenomenon - is not so much a line as a minefield-strewn DMZ, and that people of widely-varied intentions try to position others on the other side of it with, shall we say, not their best interests at heart? That's why the whole game makes me queasy.

#443 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2010, 08:16 AM:

I remember a book by Marc Stiegler - googling suggests it was David's Sling, published in the late 80s - that I read in standard paperback form, but also existed as a HyperCard deck. As I understand it, you could use that version to follow any of several interconnecting POVs. There are times in reading when I create that experience for myself - when the author abruptly changes POV, I may skip ahead to follow the one I was immersed in.

#444 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2010, 08:24 AM:

David Harmon @ 440 ...
Summer Storms, Erik Nelson: Also, the Callahan's "ultimate tribute" is really hard to simulate online. (Everyone flees the room, holding their nose and groaning. In realspace, they just mill around a bit before tricking back in to continue the contest....)

Wouldn't tricking back in to continue the contest have more to do with Lady Sally?

#445 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2010, 09:03 AM:

Paula Helm Murray @431--

Buddy Bolden stopped performing around 1907. The Smithsonian Archive of Folk Culture was started in 1928. Prior to that, people like Child and Lomax were doing some field recordings in addition to writing down what they collected, although Lomax's rate of recording really took off after he was able to get funding from the Smithsonian, after 1932 or so. So Buddy Bolden was left out of that. He might have been left out anyway; he was a commercial musician, and the Smithsonian and related projects concentrated much more on folk music, so they were interested in Lead Belly, but not in Louis Armstrong--the goal, if I understand it correctly (and Constance at least, and probably others, can set me straight, and I hope will) was to get what would not have been recorded under normal circumstances, and Armstrong's work was popular, comercially viable, and so not in need of John Lomax's intervention. The people whose work Lomax (and others) were recording and collecting would not have bene known much outside their local circle otherwise.

People who played with Buddy Bolden claimed that he did at least a couple of cylinder recordings, one in the 1890s, and one in the 1900s. If this is true, they were probably done locally, in New Orleans, and not ever sold outside of that area. The odds are vanishingly small that any copy of such a recording still exists, but it's one of the things that keep music historians digging.

Constance is right on the button about the issues of music as written record versus music as sound--without the couple of recordings Alessandro Moreschi made, we would have no idea of the actual sound of the musical tradition he was one of the last members of--just that it had existed, and was felt, for reasons remarkable to us, to have been a necessary one.

#446 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2010, 09:19 AM:

Apropos of not much, but discussing non-linear narrative brought to mind the notion that turning a bright pre-teen loose in the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum would give pretty fair odds of turning that kid into either an art historian or an archaeologist. (And if the kid's name happened to be Isabella, she'd get in free!)

#447 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2010, 09:31 AM:

Avram:

The way I've been thinking about this (inspired by Paula's joke defining nonlinear fiction in math terms[1]) is like a directed graph (a set of scenes with directed connections, like a subway map where every line is one-way-only). If only one path through the graph from the source (beginning) to the sink (end) is available, then the story is linear. If more paths are available, then it's nonlinear in abi's sense.


A --> B --> C --> D --> E (linear)

A --> B --> E
|.....^
v.....| (nonlinear)
C --> D --> F
......|
......v
......G --> H --> I

One way to allow a certain amount of nonlinearity is to add ambiguities in the story. An unreliable narrator, some important facts underlying the story about which there's substantial doubt, different assumptions about the beliefs or knowledge or worldview of the characters--each of those can change the story. If different readers make different assumptions, they get a different story. For example, it's possible to read Ender's Game as a genius hero kids fight off the alien invasion story in which Ender's depression at the end is more-or-less an irrational, silly sulk. (Note that the other kids aren't devastated by the knowledge of what they've done at the end.) If you were able to keep that POV through the whole book, you'd just flat be reading a different book than I did.

ISTM that one aspect of really good books is that they support many different readings, so that I can read the same book at different times and get different pieces out of the story. Is Darcy basically a stuck-up asshole who learns to be more humble and worth knowing in response to Elizabeth's rebuff. Or is he really more shy and misunderstood, and most of the growth happens by Lizzy recognizing how wrong she was about him? Or some of each, and the mix determines a lot of how you see the book? You can kind-of see this as a graph in which there are lots of parallel nodes with parallel edges, and also with possible transition points--at some point, you stop seeing Darcy as a stuck-up asshole and start seeing him as a shy kid whose social skills stop at formal politeness, and the story transitions.


A --> B --> C
|.....^.....^ (nonlinear, parallel paths)
|.....|.....|
---> D --> E


The choose-your-own-adventure books are a simple version of offering more paths through the graph, not just many parallel paths from the same start to the same end. Some of those books (my son got into them for awhile) would even change fundamental bits of the backstory as you chose different paths--are the jewels of Nabouti the royal family, or real gemstones, or magic items, or....

I think the way we get nonlinearity out of our fiction, especially in the fantasy/SF world, is with written and imagined fanfic. A lot of the value of series is that they give us readers a year or two to think about how the hell to get Egwene out of novice whites and onto the Amirlyn Seat where she belongs, or how Rudi's going to get his crew back to Montival in time to stop the Cutters and Boisians from wiping out their friends and family back home. I've spent more mental cycles than I like to admit worrying over such problems in my head, even though they're not remotely problems I need to solve.

A lot of fantasy and SF involves world building. It seems like that is a natural fit for this kind of nonlinear fiction. Worldbuilding is giving me a decent map of what the whole subway system looks like, rather than just guiding me from Shady Grove to Metro Center. But most of it normally doesn't end up in a normal book at all, right? You don't need to know the mythological backstory Tolkien created to enjoy The Hobbit. You can enjoy a DS9 episode without having much sense of the Federation, or the Federation's ugly history with Cardassia. But that sense lets you write your own stories in that world, even if it's just in your mind while you're in the shower in the morning.

I wonder how much work it would be to build something that supported a kind of guided fanfic for readers, interwoven amidst the defined events and characters in a story.

[1] Some part of me wants to make a working definition of linear fiction in this vein. Scalar multiplication is aging, addition is sex producing an offspring. The distributive law guarantees that when two characters make a baby at age 40, it's the same baby they'd have made at age 30, except ten years older. Closure and a fixed number of characters requires a time-travel angle in the story. F(x) is the central event of the story, so sex before and after the central event gives the same offspring, but transformed by the event. It gets sillier from there....

[2] Though as Cordelia Vorkosigan has been known to point out, egalitarians can be very happy in an aristocracy, so long as they get to be the aristocrats.

#448 ::: Charlie Dodgson ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2010, 10:34 AM:

First off, condolences to Xopher and Lenore. There's no good way to lose a friend.

I hope it doesn't seem flip to also go down the other track of this nonlinear conversation, with a couple of thoughts on nonlinear narratives and reviews thereof...

First off, on nonlinear narratives: if you're going to be doing something like that, it's useful to give your audience multiple easy points of entry. That's becoming a problem with Shadow Unit. Let's say you head over to the website, and the first thing you encounter is this teaser scene, featuring a rogue Hafidha under very tight confinement. This raises a bunch of questions --- who is this person? how did she get here? etc. --- which you're motivated to seek answers for, which might be portals of entry to the larger narrative. But the only place to go that's obvious to this neophyte is Hafidha's character page, which hasn't been updated for the events in question. (A list of "episodes prominently featuring this character" might be a relatively low-effort way of keeping this up, but the point is that without some kind of structure of guideposts, maintained in addition to the narrative itself, people can get lost and bounce off.)

On reviews thereof, the recent Tor.com review of the Mass Effect series of games, as released to date, seems to be a worked example:

A lot of my sense of detachment from the events within the game is the fault of one of its best features: the ability to load your character data from Mass Effect and continue his/her adventures, replete with all the consequences of actions you took in the first game. The problem with Mass Effect 2 is that you already know that the decisions you make will affect how you play the next game, but it seems like the consequences of choices made during this game are all kicked down the road. Instead of opening up new avenues to explore within the the game, then, the majority of your decisions will only affect plot outcomes in Mass Effect 3. ...

And so forth.

#449 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2010, 11:07 AM:

Re Particle: That would be Ascension, the reaction shot

#450 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2010, 11:46 AM:

Patrick Nielsen Hayden (427): Thanks for the advice.

#451 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2010, 12:43 PM:

From the Reaction Shot particle, the guy in the middle who is staring at the lady's chin looks like he has a couple of lumps on his forehead where they sawed the horns off (a la HellBoy).

#452 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2010, 01:09 PM:

Non-linear fiction: The Unauthorized Autobiography of Lemony Snicket says that the chapters may be read in any order, which I think is true; though that is a spin-off of a series which is linear.

(And by the way, the real-world author of those books, Daniel Handler, is also an example of a notable Jewish fantasy writer. In a technical sense it may not be fantasy, since it's emphasised at a couple of points that there's no magic in that world, but it's hard to know what else to call it.)

#453 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2010, 01:37 PM:

About Jewish fantasy writers... Apparently the person whose utterings started this subthread knows about Lisa Goldstein's "Red Magician", but didn't include it because it didn't fit his thesis.

Twit.

#454 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2010, 01:41 PM:

C Wingate @449:

I think you're right; the trailing hem is red and there's a blue-clad woman down below looking up.

#455 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2010, 02:03 PM:

449, 454: And furthermore, the angels' banners say "Viri Galilei" and some other things I can't make out.

#456 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2010, 02:08 PM:

455
'Viri Galilei statis admirantes'
which I think should translate as
'Men of Galilee stand in wonder'

#457 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2010, 02:21 PM:

@456--

it's acts 1:11. the angels address the crowd:
men of galilee why (quid) do you stand looking into heaven?
whether mary is present at the ascension is not clear from the text (but you might think it's a fair assumption).

#458 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2010, 02:26 PM:

Which Mary?

#459 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2010, 02:41 PM:

albatross @ 447: The choose-your-own-adventure books are a simple version of offering more paths through the graph, not just many parallel paths from the same start to the same end. Some of those books (my son got into them for awhile) would even change fundamental bits of the backstory as you chose different paths--are the jewels of Nabouti the royal family, or real gemstones, or magic items, or....

Somewhat tangentially (as long as we're being non-linear), I recall rejecting a CYOA book in my youth explicitly because of this tendency. It was, come to think of it, my very first wallbanger moment. I was perfectly happy to have my choices affect what happened next, but I was reading with the assumption that there was a sort of static, pre-conceived world that I was interacting with, and the changes would only be those caused by my actions. Changing the backstory was cheating.

The story in question made it all the worse because it was cheating to emphasize a moral point. At one point, you were said to have raised enough money for a much-desired item, and then were presented with an opportunity to give a portion of the money to charity, or not. Either way, you proceeded to the store the next day to try to buy the item. If you had ignored giving money to charity, the item you wanted turned out to be substandard and disappointing; if you gave money to charity, it was available at a discount so that you could buy it anyway, and fully as marvelous as anticipated. In another story in the same series, if you returned a lost wallet, the people who lost it declared they'd never noticed it missing until you contacted them (days later), and rewarded you heavily; if you kept a lost wallet, within minutes, the people who lost it appeared to demand it back and immediately realized you were the one who'd found it, complete with hostile accusations for your Obvious Bad Intentions.

I wonder if some of the strong emotional reactions to the concept of non-linear narratives (which do sound rather as if people expect to have such things forced on them to exclusion of standard linear ones) come from...not exactly CYOA adventure books, but that sort of expectation. That non-linear fiction tends to cheat, and ruin the suspension of disbelief, because suddenly it's not a matter of being immersed in a world with its own rules, but a matter of dabbling in a world where the rules change capriciously along the way.

#460 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2010, 02:53 PM:

abi @ 436: "As to what I think about non-linear literature, I think that apart from Tom's example @428, the media we use for the transmission of books has not given writers many ways to tell non-linear stories*. And yet there have been attempts within the codex format."

This paragraph reminds me of one non-linear* trick often used in codices** of which we at Making Light*** should all be aware.

*Linearity defined within texts as having one single stream of words, with one after the next and no more than that.

**Particularly within academic works, where the juiciest gossip and mud-slinging is to be found.

***Especially those of us who employ so regularly!

#461 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2010, 02:57 PM:

Paula Lieberman @ 411: What, it's linear when the game endings are not the same?

For the Star Wars FPSs that I've played, pretty much. Whether you go to the Light Side or the Dark Side, the only real difference is that you might get one different boss fight, a couple changed lines of dialog, and a different ending cut scene. All the missions are otherwise the same. I, personally, don't think that the stories are different enough to warrant being called non-linear.

Fade Manley @ 459:

Gah, those CYOA books were horrible. So many dead ends, so many cheats, as you put it. As I said before, it takes a lot of time and effort to make multiple, related stories. The CYOA books that I've experienced tended to have one story, and multiple branch points that led dead ends after a couple jumps, much like a lot of early text adventures did.

#462 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2010, 03:22 PM:

Non-linear fiction:

There was a funny book for kids called The Portmanteau Book by Thomas Rockwell, which had a story embedded in the index, along the lines of:

Jack's Grocery Store: A store that was robbed by the gang in the Great Store Robbery; see Great Store Robbery

Which if you read them all, you could piece together into a story, but there was no single right place to begin.

#463 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2010, 03:53 PM:

The CYOA books that I've experienced tended to have one story, and multiple branch points that led dead ends after a couple jumps

I seem to recall that By Balloon to the Sahara had a fatal ending possible on the very first choice.

#464 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2010, 04:14 PM:

Mike Ford's Star Trek CYOA was fondly known as "50 ways to kill an ensign". As I recall, just before dying the ensign frequently realized what fatal mistake they had made.

#465 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2010, 04:20 PM:

A friend of mine's looking for appropriate Latin words or phrases to refer to a costumer, and to someone who wears costumes. He hasn't found any useful translations on line - can anybody here help?

#466 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2010, 05:27 PM:

Via Balloon Juice: R.I.P. Jon Swift, aka Al Weisel, freelance journalist. Another incisive, funny, too often I-must-laugh-or-I'd-cry voice taken from us, and again, far too soon and suddenly. He hadn't blogged for almost a year; now, never again.

#467 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2010, 06:47 PM:

And now for something completely different:

The Muppet version of The Wicker Man, as a web comic.

#468 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2010, 07:01 PM:

On Shadow Unit and how to get started: there's a link on the sidebar called "Getting Started," which links you to this.

#469 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2010, 07:17 PM:

Damn it, Jon Swift was always good. This is our loss.

#470 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2010, 07:37 PM:

Jon Swift truly deserved his pseudonym. This is a great loss.

#471 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2010, 08:32 PM:

An iconic photo from Washington DC's first day of legal gay marriage.

#472 ::: Wesley Osam ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2010, 08:50 PM:

The Choose Your Own Adventure books could be very, very weird.

One obscure but great entry in the "fictional encyclopedia" genre is The Book of the War, written by several authors and edited by Lawrence Miles. It was the first volume in a range of novels called Faction Paradox which originated as a Doctor Who spinoff but were very much their own thing, with no knowledge of or interest in the original source required. The Book of the War was presented as an encyclopedia and read like an RPG sourcebook, and included a number of stories you could piece together by reading the right entries.

One issue of McSweeney's included a story in the form of a deck of cards which could be shuffled and read in any order.

#473 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2010, 10:36 PM:

more CYOA
McSweeney's Issue No. 16 includes a wonderful non-linear story. It's a story by Robert Coover printed on over-sized playing cards. The story is set in the universe of Alice in Wonderland, so the cards are just the Hearts: Joker, Ace, 2, 3,... King. You need to start with the card that has story title at the top, but the others can be shuffled and read in any order. A card has a sentence fragment at the bottom that will match up with the sentence fragment at the top of any other card.

No. 16 also has a book of short stories, a booklet with a long short story, and a plastic comb, all neatly boxed together in a size that fits on a bookshelf next to a hardback book.

#474 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2010, 10:54 PM:

John's wedding—Best Man.
His funeral—pallbearer.
I prefer the first.

#475 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2010, 11:04 PM:

And in reference to the thread in Author Solutions/House/whatever brought itself to unrepectable attention.... from "Dellarte Press"

http://www.amazon.com/Dargans-Desire-Wendy-Young/dp/1450100015/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1267142520&sr=1-1

There are three reviews on it, all five-starred??!

#476 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2010, 11:11 PM:

these carabiner trauma shears are just plain neat!

#477 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2010, 11:52 PM:

C. Wingate and TexAnne are right: that's an Ascension, not an Assumption. I've changed the Particle accordingly.

Thank you!

#478 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2010, 12:15 AM:

"American Taliban" -- not just hyperbole any more.

West Texas is Hell on earth.

#479 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2010, 01:06 AM:

Patrick, on your sidelight rollover about Brother Guy: Brother Guy is not the first Boskone GoH to be on the Colbert Report. Neil Gaiman was (at least, he was significantly earlier).

First Boskone Special Guest, probably true.

#480 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2010, 01:43 AM:

Earl @458:
Which Mary?

There's only one Mary who is generally talked about without an identifying label in these contexts: the Virgin Mary. She's identifiable because she always wears blue. Indeed, there is a particular shade of blue that pretty much every Catholic subconsciously identifies as "BVM blue."‡

Also, the other Mary usually cited in these stories, Mary Magdalene*, has her own iconography. She's the only one who ever gets shown with her head uncovered and her hair loose.

-----
‡ Blessed
* For the purposes of medieval iconography, as far as I am aware, Mary Magdalene is always identified with Mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus. Which simplifies matters, even if it does give the stories about as many feminine roles as Tolkien did†.
† Not entirely a coincidence.

#481 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2010, 02:10 AM:

When is Boskone inviting Colbert to be a guest?

#482 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2010, 03:44 AM:

PJ Evans: 'Viri Galilei statis admirantes' which I think should translate as 'Men of Galilee stand in wonder'

Myself, I was thinking "Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird!..."

#483 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2010, 06:37 AM:

It's "Viri Galilei quid statis admirantes"

"Men of Galilee, why do you stand in wonder?"

The (Nova) Vulgate has "Viri Galilaei, quid statis aspicientes in caelum?" but it's not nearly so reaction-shot-y.

I also noticed that our illuminator has left out one disciple.

#484 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2010, 07:20 AM:

Bill Higgins @ 481... If Boskone had Colbert as a guest, I'd probably shell out the money to fly over, and I'd risk the winter conditions.

#485 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2010, 08:30 AM:

C. Wingate @483

Maybe he was the one taking the picture?

#486 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2010, 08:59 AM:

By way of ComputerWorld, a very useful tool for keeping yourself safe on the net:

LongURL unpacks those cryptic TinyURLs (et al), showing the actual address they point to. There's also a FireFox add-on which puts the same information into the link's hovertext.

#487 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2010, 09:33 AM:

Another Pokerface of note (see the Sidelight) comes from Molly Lewis.

As for LongURL, drat, no more rickrolling. Ah, well....

#488 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2010, 10:08 AM:

David #486:

Yeah, this is useful. From the F-Secure weblog, there's also this URL checker

The URL in plaintext is

http://browsingprotection.f-secure.com/swp/

However, the fact that you need to know where the URL is taking you is a flaming, screaming warning sign that, in terms of browser security, we're collectively Doing It Wrong. (Because, yeah, really, to use the internet, you ought to have to know which sites are questionable, and what kinds of content should scare you. That makes sense for system intended for use by everyone in the whole world. *Headdesk*)

#489 ::: Anne The Mad ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2010, 10:12 AM:

Long-time lurker, first-time poster...

I just encountered a satirical advertisement that made me think of innumerable discussions on ML, and couldn't resist crawling from the shadows to pass it on.

#490 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2010, 10:19 AM:

#478 Lee
Regarding those assholes of Armadildo, they're
Christian Taliban--"American Taliban" describes US nationals who joined up with the Real Thing Taliban of that fanatical extremist homicidal offshoot of Islam.

Elizabeth Moon based the New Texas Militia in her Familias novels from Baen, on extremist fanatic claimed-to-be-Christian sects in Texas.

(No, I didn't go to the website. I've seen the one of the Westboro Baptist Church, which is so full of hatemongering and intolerance it looks like a parody....)

#491 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2010, 10:32 AM:

New and Interesting: The Secret Society For Creative Philanthropy.

#492 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2010, 10:45 AM:

albatross #488: <sarcasm>to use the internet, you ought to have to know which sites are questionable, and what kinds of content should scare you.</sarcasm>

Hey, that's not so different from dealing with a large city . . . which is being fought over by at least two nations, and also by multiple organized-crime "families"!

#493 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2010, 11:41 AM:

483
True; I forgot it. (there are times I can't remember my phone number, and remembering the date is always dicey.)

I like 'Look, up in the sky!'

#494 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2010, 12:21 PM:

re 493: It's more like "Off He goes into the wild blue yonder"

#495 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2010, 01:36 PM:

Guinea Pig owners - are you disappointed you can't humiliate your pet like dog owners do? Fret no more!

#496 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2010, 01:52 PM:

Anne The Mad @ 489: Thank you for the link; I enjoyed it; as you say, very appropriate for several past threads.

David Harmon @ 491: Thanks for this one as well. I've always been a fan of "pay it forward." People who don't bother helping others never get to experience that great buzz that comes with doing something altruistic.

#497 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2010, 03:07 PM:

#473, Non-linear narrative: I attended a play at the Ottawa Fringe called 52 pickup - the play has two characters, 52 scenes, which are listed on a deck of cards. At the beginning, the actors toss the deck in the air, then pick up a card and perform the scene; repeat till all are picked up. I only saw it once, though, which doesn't give it a decent chance.

#498 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2010, 03:47 PM:

I have what I consider to be a reasonably well-rounded vocabulary, and rarely have to sit with a book in my lap and a dictionary at my elbow. However, I recently read a book which had me reaching for the dictionary almost immediately! I thought the folks at ML might enjoy knowing the words I had to look up.

They were: catenate, hyaline, longanimity, apotropaic, delitescent, and fecundate. (FYI, my computer recognizes none of them except the last.)

The book is The Doors of the Sea: Where Was God in the Tsunami? by David Bentley Hart.

#499 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2010, 07:23 PM:

nerdycellist @495: Anybody here remember Johnny West? It turns out that Thunderbolt's saddle is just the right size for an adult guinea pig.

#500 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2010, 09:41 PM:

Jacque, #499: I remember! I had Jane West's horse Flame in my collection of toy horses, which served the same purpose for me that dolls do for most little girls. Mine wasn't the palomino version in the picture, but the blood-bay with black mane and tail, and part of the reason I wanted him was because I was a HUGE fan of the "Flame" series by Walter Farley -- I liked the "Black Stallion" books too, but Flame was by far my favorite.

This moment of babbling nostalgia brought to you by the Goddess of Procrastination.

#501 ::: Anthony ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2010, 11:00 PM:

Dear xeger,

In reference to post #476. . . How did you find out about our carabiner scissors?

#502 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2010, 11:10 PM:

Lizzy L #498: I don't blame you a bit. Those are all arcane, and mostly archaic. (I note that Wiktionary knew all of them.)

#503 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2010, 11:31 PM:

Lizzy L, #498: Well, apotropaic devices include amulets, crucifixes, etc--any small portable object charged with the Power of Folklore. The rest of those words as unknown to me as they were to you...

#504 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 12:12 AM:

I've met catenate, hyaline, and fecundate, just not often.

Catenate - ref: catenary, catenation
Hyaline - ref: premature birth

#505 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 12:31 AM:

Anthony @ 501 ..
In reference to post #476. . . How did you find out about our carabiner scissors?

I believe I found them by link following from one of the Stanford postings about emergency medicine in Haiti. They're definitely on my 'to get' list, although probably not until tax return time :(

#506 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 02:04 AM:

Paula Lieberman @490, some people have started to use "American Taliban" when talking about the religious right.

#507 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 05:04 AM:

Hyaline - ref: premature birth

Really? The royal yacht in "The Chronicles of Narnia" was the Splendour Hyaline. Looking it up, it means "glassy"...

"Catena" means "chain" (a catenary arc is the shape that a freely hanging chain forms when fixed at each end) so I'd guess that "catenate" is either to do with catenaries or with chains. A catenary is, of course, a cat that's eaten a canary.

"Longanimity" = eventual or much-delayed generous forgiveness. "After several years, I was finally able to look back on Serge's horrible puns with longanimity."

"Delitescent" = in the act of getting up. Clearly from the French "lit" meaning a bed and "de" meaning "out of". "Sorry I'm late, but when you called I'd only just woken up and was still delitescent".

#508 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 08:52 AM:

@507--

wrong. "delitescent" is a portmanteau for "delicatessen" and "tumescent".

"geez, just even *thinking* about zabars i start gettin all delitescent".

#509 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 09:03 AM:

"Catenate" is is my vocabulary, as is "fecundate". "Hyaline" is not a word I come across often. As for "delitescent", I'm adding it to my vocabulary as a word for which I do have a use (along with "defenestrate").

#510 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 09:23 AM:

All right, who knows what 'portmanteau' means in French? No, TexAnne, you're not allowed to participate.

#511 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 09:28 AM:

ajay, Neonatal Respiratory Distress Syndrome used to be called Hyaline Membrane Disease. It's most often a complication of premature birth. Famous example.

#512 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 09:35 AM:

@510--

you're kidding, right? portmanteau?

it means a suitcase, obviously. because you use it to carry enough water for tomorrow.

you know: pour demain, d'eau.

doesn't anybody here know *nothing*?

#513 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 09:46 AM:

kid bitzer @ 512... Close but no cigar. At least you didn't suggest it refers to water mints.

#514 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 10:06 AM:

@513--

ah. then perhaps it's a comparison to which part of queen amidala's anatomy had the greatest talent for acting and ability to convey genuine emotion?

("he's so wooden he gets out-acted by keanu reeve's breakfast table.")

#515 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 10:22 AM:

511: thanks, I didn't know that.

510: "manteau" just means "cloak" or "coat" (cognate with "mantle") so "portmanteau" means "port cloak". It was a short cloak or cape, a bit like an abbreviated boat-cloak, buttoning down the front and with draped sleeves.

In function, it was rather like a smoking jacket. If you were an 18th-century gentleman, you'd put it on after dinner to protect your clothes from spilled port (which is a very stubborn stain, especially if you only have 18th-century detergents).

A portmanteau word originally meant a discreet euphemism. As all readers of Regency novels know, the ladies withdrew (to the withdrawing-room) after dinner, leaving the gentlemen at table. At this point the portmanteaux would be donned, the port would be passed and the conversation would turn to slightly racy matters. The topics raised would be described as "portmanteau subjects", discussed "en portmanteau"; if they had to be mentioned in mixed company, they were discussed using elaborate and obscure Latinate euphemisms (in theory, because women, deprived of a classical education, wouldn't be able to understand them and thus wouldn't be offended), which, logically, became known as "portmanteau words".

#516 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 10:25 AM:

Hyaline, in the context of the book, refers to the glassy surface of the ocean, i.e., "the lovely glistening hyaline waters." Catenate is used in the phrase "catenate archipelago."

I forgot another one: phocine.

#517 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 10:31 AM:

I think ajay is pulling someone's leg. Although manteau = cloak and portmanteau = carry + cloak, "portmanteau word" was a coinage by Lewis Carroll, to refer to words like "chortle" (chuckle + snort) and so called because it resembled the Gladstone bag style of portmanteau, which has two equal compartments that fasten together in the middle.

#518 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 10:50 AM:

Jacque @499 . I had a Jane West, several horses, the equipment, and I think a fort for them all to live in. *Sigh of nostalgia* I'm sorry they vanished along the way; I was thinking not long ago that my daughter might enjoy them.

#519 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 11:05 AM:

517: *attempts look of outraged innocence*

#520 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 11:36 AM:

Lila @ 517:
I think ajay is pulling someone's leg.

Yes, but it was a rather elegant and graceful bit of leg-pulling (if one can in fact pull legs in such a manner).

#521 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 11:39 AM:

I've never heard of the band Ok Go before, but this is just amazing. I now want to
do things with a treadmill that will get me banned from my gym.

Then there's this homage to Rube Goldberg. I have to say, they excel at product placement, too.

#522 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 11:47 AM:

Re hyaline:
For some reason, I first came across that word in a context where it was used to describe Susan Sontag's writing.

Hmm... a bit of Googling produces this short book review by Charles Solomon, which has the line:

"As an essayist, Didion lacks the hyaline profundity of Susan Sontag or the classical erudition of Marguerite Yourcenar ..."

(I have no idea if that particular review is really where I first came encountered "hyaline", or if there's some conspiratorial agreement among critics that they should always describe Sontag's writing that way.)

#523 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 11:54 AM:

Lizzy L #516: "Phocine" of, or having to do with seals (as in the marine mammal). In French a seal is a "phoque," pronounced in a way which certainly amused the 19-year-old me when I was trying (with only moderate success) to learn the language.

#524 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 12:17 PM:
A catenary is, of course, a cat that's eaten a canary.

I'd say that it's the other way 'round.

#525 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 12:37 PM:

re: #521 and OK Go: State Farm sponsored the video so that EMI wouldn't go after people who linked it. Apparently, they had a longstanding disagreement with their record company because they WANT their videos to go viral, and EMI ... doesn't? I'm not really sure what EMI's thinking is there. Article from The Pantagraph, hometown newspaper of State Farm
I think the whole production team for that one deserves medals.

#526 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 12:43 PM:

Re the Issey Miyake particle: I hear that fashion design shows are the crazy experimental short fiction of clothes. The ideas get mined later for mass-market stuff.

(Maybe this comparison should be "SF novels" vs "SF movies"...)

And one of those summer designs would fit in perfectly on Tattooine.

#527 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 12:43 PM:

#506 Raphael

I wish that journalists/reporters/writers-for-reporter would be more accurate and precise in terminology, instead of imitating Karl Rove (whether intentional or merely lazy/clueless/stupid/pressed-for-time....) and warping terms to where the meaning becomes almost the OPPOSITE of the original (look at what's been perpetrated against e.g. the term "liberal"....)

#528 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 12:46 PM:

Victoria (521)/EClaire (525): That OK Go Rube Goldberg video is amazing. I wonder how long it took them to figure that out and set it up--and how many tries it took before it all worked right? (I can't comment on the music, because this computer doesn't have speakers.)

#529 ::: individualfrog ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 01:16 PM:

Issey Miyake hasn't designed the line for more than 10 years. Currently the Issey Miyake brand is designed by Dai Fujiwara. Personally I don't find Fujiwara's clothes very weird or interesting, especially not compared to Miyake's.

#530 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 01:25 PM:

A catenary is a cross between a cat and a canary, and if you keep one you must discipline it strongly to make sure it does not eat itself.

#531 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 01:50 PM:

kid bitzer #508: "delitescent" is a portmanteau for "delicatessen" and "tumescent".

That was my impression as well. The sliced mesquite smoked beef from my local grocery store's deli department is really pretty special.

Ooh, lunch time....

#533 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 02:50 PM:

Funny juxtaposition to have the Issey Miyake costumes and the guinea pig costumes next to each other.

Maybe Issey Miyake should try making guinea pig costumes.

#534 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 02:54 PM:

Re: the Catholic Charities Sidelight

Good grief, one wonders whether Catholic Charities had been providing benefits to the spouses of those who were married in non-Catholic ceremonies? Or who are non-Christian? Or - heaven forfend - were previously divorced and then remarried, sans an annullment, possibly due to the remarriage being in a non-Catholic ceremony?

Egad.

#535 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 02:58 PM:

Some of Issey Miyake's designs remind me of the dazzle-paint color schemes that naval ships used to have, designed to confuse the eye about the shape and position of the ship so that it's harder to aim a torpedo at it.

#536 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 03:05 PM:

heresiarch @ 231: I've just made a pot of oolong and drunk the first mug. I was fairly bold with pouring and didn't dribble tea everywhere from the spout, which is good. Not sure I've noticed any difference in the taste, although I've got less tea leaves in the mug (since oolong is the only tea I normally put in the mug directly, not using an infuser of any sort).

Pendrift & others: I've managed to get 100 single-use unbleached tea bags from The Tea House, Neal Street, Covent Garden, at £3.65 for the pack - not too bad. I'll see how they go.

#537 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 03:33 PM:

ajay #515: Dude, you do realize that some high-school (or college) student is going to use that in a report?

#538 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 03:57 PM:

Victoria, #521: I like this op-art extravaganza -- wouldn't that be fabulous looped on the TV (with the sound off) at a Psychedelic 60s party? Be sure to check out the "making of" video too -- it's all done with green-screen and one simple editing technique.

#539 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 04:05 PM:

Actually a portmantau is a large tarpaulin you cover a seaside city with so it can't be seen by enemy ships.

#540 ::: Joseph M. ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 04:43 PM:

Abi@352: While I haven't read it, my wife raves about the non-linearity of Mark Danielewski's House of Leaves. I believe it uses some purely physical techniques to make 'single path' reading difficult (for instance, splitting a series of pages in half, putting one piece of the story on the top half and another on the bottom). Is this the type of non-linearity you were considering?

Mary Aileen@528: I am friends with one of the people who helped engineer the Ok Go Machine; he talks a bit about his experiences with it here. That entry also suggests that a more complete, official, making-of piece is in the works.

#541 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 05:19 PM:

Portmanteau is a misspelling of "portmantua." This is an early Victorian "spindizzy" which lifted the city of Mantua into space for a short time.

#542 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 05:35 PM:

Joseph M @ 540 -

I had heard good things about House of Leaves as well, so I bought it and got about a hundred pages into it before putting it aside. While the writing itself was excellent, the story structure frustrated me. I just plain didn't want to work that hard.

#543 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 05:41 PM:

A portmantoe is your left big toe (if you're male).

#544 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 06:07 PM:

ajay @ 515 et sequelae, I take it you're rather fond of "Call my Bluff"?

"Hyaline" for me is a word I meet in histopathological descriptions.

#545 ::: john ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 06:36 PM:

dcb @ 536:

Er. I work in Southwark, and at about 6 o'clock this evening I strolled along the South Bank, admired a beautiful pinky-purple sunset, crossed Waterloo Bridge and ended up in the Tea House on Neal Street, where I bought 100 unbleached tea bags.

They cost me £3.60 - I wonder if they've repriced in the last couple of days, or did you buy online? The bags work pretty well for me, on the sound statistical basis of one cup since I got home, and I really like the pack itself - it's folded and perforated so that it can be be opened and usefully re-closed in two different ways.

#546 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 06:37 PM:

A portmanteau is a word that turns your wracked brain into a mental case.

#547 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 06:37 PM:

Some open threadiness.

One of the volcanoes in Iceland is being a bit rumbly right now. There have been many many small earthquakes around it going on for the last 2 days and the Icelandic Civil Defense Authority (Almannavarnir) have gone onto danger level: "Not Sure" aka the uncertanity phase. (In my head the other levels are: Things look rather dodgy, I have a bad feeling about this, Shit just got real and HELP!)

Anyway it's pretty interesting. The volcano in question is Eyjafjallajökull and it last went in 1823 so no one really knows what an eruption in it is going to be like. Katla another volcano is nearby as well and there's a chance that an eruption in Eyjafjallajökull could trigger Katla. Both of these are under glaciers so there's an almost certain Glacial outburst flood if there's an eruption.

Glacial outburst floods are facinating things. The last big one in Iceland was back in 1996. Where roughly 3-4 cubic km of water flooded out in around 2 days, where normally there's just a handful of small rivers. There's a reason the land from the glacier down to the sea is mostly just black sand.

Anyway here is more about all this on the Volcanism blog and here's a map of all earthquakes in Iceland in the last 48 hours. If you click on the table tab you can get more info.

I'm not quite at a compulsive F5 level with all this but it's extremely intriguing.

#548 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 06:38 PM:

My take on House of Leaves was "not quite Pale Fire, but very enjoyable." It was also fun when I was reading it at lunch and the waitress caught a glimpse of the text and said, "what the heck is that?"

#549 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 06:41 PM:

Steve C. @ 543:

Does that make a portmaintoe what happens when your left hand is all thumbs, or is that too gauche?

#550 ::: Leroy F. Berven ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 06:58 PM:

KeithS @ 549: For the conspiratorially inclined, it's more of a sinister explanation.

#551 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 07:07 PM:

Another feet only portrait of Christ.

#552 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 07:36 PM:

I know I'm not Catholic when my first thought is: What's with all these portraits of people looking up someone else's bathrobe anyway?

(I'll take my blasphemy with a side order of sacrilege, please.)

#553 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 07:55 PM:

Sica@547 -- We've just had our 17th earthquake of 2010 here in Oklahoma. I thought that was unusual, but the Oklahoma Geological Survey says we actually have about 50 measurable quakes per year. However, last year 43 quakes were strong enough for humans to feel and report. http://www.ogs.ou.edu/level2-earthquakes.php

#554 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 07:57 PM:

Giotto does the "off He goes" version.

#555 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 08:25 PM:

That seems quite a lot for Oklahoma especially when you're not that far into the year.

The situation in Iceland is completely different though, small earthquakes is one of the key indicators of an active volcano being, well active. There's not very many people that live near where the volcano is so I doubt people are sensing a lot of the ones going on now.

There's a lot of them happening now though. They've had 754 quakes of magnitude between 1 and 2 and then 79 between 2 and 3 in the last 48 hours.

You get bigger earthquakes usually when there's tectonic plate activity going on.

The biggest quake I've experienced was a 6.6 one back in Iceland in year 2000, no one got seriously hurt in that one fortunately although there was some property damage.

#556 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 09:06 PM:

Summer Storms, #534, no, they gave health benefits to all spouses until DC made an equality law that says gays have to treated just like other spouses. The spouses who already have health benefits will be grandfathered in, but from now on, no spouses get health benefits.

(I've been following this -- Catholic Charities gave up the foster program because of the law and 1) nobody noticed and 2) CC is out about $3M a year.)

Wednesday, gay/lesbian couples lined up to get their marriage licenses and there weren't that many protesters.

#557 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 11:11 PM:

Awesome videos, Victoria; thanks for pointing them out to us. I noticed an electric typewriter in the first one -- are they steampunk now?

#558 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 11:13 PM:

Awesome videos, Victoria; thanks for pointing them out to us. I noticed an electric typewriter in the first one -- are they steampunk now?

#559 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 11:17 PM:

Sica @ 547... The volcano in question is Eyjafjallajökull

I can see why Jules Verne went for a more snappy name like Skartaris in "Journey to the Center of the Earth"

#560 ::: Bjorn ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2010, 12:14 AM:

Well, Verne's glacier was the Snæfellsjökull, named Sneffels in the book. It was the crater that was named Scartaris
So while Verne ignored the inconvenient fact that the mountain was a glacier and said crater was non-existent (or rather under ice), he wasn't *that* free with the name.

#561 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2010, 12:50 AM:

Bjorn @ 50... Thanks for the correction. It's been a long time since I read he book, and my love of the 1959 movie has caused a mashup of memories.

#562 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2010, 07:40 AM:

john @ 545: okay, £3.60 (I bought mine about an hour before you bought yours) - my bad memory; I did't bother going back into the kitchen to check. Whatever, the point is that they're not too bad a price. I tried one out as well and it was fine. Now I've tried them, I'll go back to the various infusers for home use, but it does give me the option of making up some of my loose-leaf teas in bags for travelling. And I have a few of those five-bag teabag holders that Twinnings gives out in boxes of herbal/fruit teabags occasionally, to carry them in.

#563 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2010, 10:49 AM:

Marilee, #556: My question was essentially rhetorical, as the Catholic Church also does not approve of any of the sorts of marriages I listed. If they could handle giving benefits to the spouses in those marriages, then for them to assert that the reason they must cease offering benefits to employee's spouses in all instances going forward because they don't want to have to give them to same-sex spouses because "we don't approve of same-sex marriage" is rather disingenuous, because they've been giving them to spouses in all sorts of other marriages that they also don't "approve of" (and will be continuing to do so in those grandfathered cases I'd noticed they were planning to honor).

#564 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2010, 02:08 PM:

It's that time of the semester. I'm engaged in marking papers all weekend. I emerge from thoughts of drowning myself in a vat of rum with these:

It is the morality which condoms woman to the position of a celibate, a prostitute, or a reckless, incessant breeder of hapless children.

Max Weber, who had already established his reputation as the founder of modern social science, sought that human evolution or of science as a whole, such as sociology is futile; indeed it should claim universal validity.

Freud’s inconspicuous discovery of the unconscious mind at the end of the nineteenth century bids fair to be the defining moment in the intellectual life after World War I.

As Beauvoir has the opportunity to go to school and the type of education she received was unexpected.

In 1906, John Stuart Mill of London was born. He was a British philosopher whose goal was to gain a good view of well-beings.

#565 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2010, 02:14 PM:

must try harder!

#566 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2010, 02:15 PM:

Fragano Ledgister (564): I like the inadvertent pun in the first one.

#567 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2010, 02:19 PM:

Fragano @ 564... I think your students surpassed themselves this time around.

#568 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2010, 02:20 PM:

Fragano @ 564... I think your students surpassed themselves this time around.

#569 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2010, 02:58 PM:

Mary Aileen #566: I suspect Emma Goldman might have too, given that the rest of the sentence consisted of her words.

#570 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2010, 03:12 PM:

Teresa, the particle link for donations for Cheyenne Wright doesn't work -- there was no comic on Feb. 29th. "http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20100301" works. (I think the page was originally misdated but has been corrected.)

#571 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2010, 03:50 PM:

A heads up for whoever edits the front page:

The HTML comment in the right column commenting out the Whisperado information is closed incorrectly, making the column invisible to me. It curently reads --!>, but should read -->.

#572 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2010, 04:01 PM:

Thanks, KeithS. Fixed now.

(The Whisperado next-gig box is down because our fearless leader Jon Sobel took a three-month job, strictly temporary, in Boston, so we're on a brief hiatus. We'll be back.)

#573 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2010, 04:11 PM:

Also thanks to Joel, #570 -- the Cheyenne Wright particle is now fixed.

#574 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2010, 06:24 PM:

Fragano #564 Urk! That second one in particular reads like the start of a "scroll of learning disability"... it starts off making sense, then heads down the rabbit hole.

#575 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2010, 06:43 PM:

David Harmon #574: It's the result of half-editing the sentence and forgetting to finish, I think.

I'm still grading, sadly. I'll be at it all weekend. Some more extracts from the word mines:

The women in Saudi Arabian societies were viewed by men as the “place holders” of society and did not contribute any productivity to society.

The concept of fascism does not recognize the rights of human’s individual rights.

Emma Goldman was born June 27, 1869 and died on May 27, 1869.

#576 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2010, 06:48 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @ 575: Emma Goldman was born June 27, 1869 and died on May 27, 1869.

Zaphod Beeblebrox: "There was an accident with a contraceptive and a time machine; I can't explain it now."

#577 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2010, 06:49 PM:

Fragano Ledgister, #564, DC is going to start giving out female condoms to keep the HIV load down. Guys won't use the regular kind. So that one has some traction.

#578 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2010, 06:51 PM:

KeithS #576: I would explain it by saying that she was a character in a collaboration between T.H. White and Aldous Huxley who was a freemerlin.

#579 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2010, 06:56 PM:

Food Recall - Salmonella There's a type of paste/powder called HVP that functions much like MSG. A maker of the HVP allowed it to be contaminated with salmonella and shipped it to the manufacturers who shipped it to stores. A lot of it has been recalled, but you may have bought yours before that. You can check the products here.

#580 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2010, 07:34 PM:

Oh, Dear.

I have a horrible longing to go to a Greek Diner. The kind with flashy decor and a rotating case full of mediocre cakes and pies. And a huge menu.

I suppose the Denney's (and Shari's an Elmers) fill the same role out west, but not really.

#581 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2010, 07:58 PM:

Marilee @ 579 -- "HVP" == "hydrolyzed vegetable protein", which contains salts of all the amino acids that made up the protein, including glutamate. Apparently the contaminated material has been used as an ingredient in a wide variety of food products.

#582 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2010, 08:22 PM:

Marilee @ 579: HVP can be considered a less concentrated form of MSG -- when concentrated enough, it's labeled as MSG. Apparently, the industry lobbied to be allowed to hide MSG on ingredient lists because of all the publicity about MSG.

#583 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2010, 08:29 PM:

Ginger (582): And my mother's still allergic to the less-concentrated form, so she has to read ingredient lists very, very carefully. "Natural flavoring" can hide a lot of sins.

#584 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2010, 09:50 PM:

#564 ::: Fragano Ledgister

We too, grading papers. Though what we end up doing mostly is giving them lessons in writing, thinking and editing. Though so many of our students are at least basically literate, even beyond bi-lingual, they, not having English as first language, don't always really understand the meanings of the words they employ. The biggest problems in these areas are with the students are competent in the fundamentals in 3 plus languages, who have lived in at least 5 places in the world, though hardly at all in their country of origin, having left either when barely born, or weren't even born there.

Some of these have some hideously cliched ideas of 'the more passionate sexual expressions in the music and dance of Africans African Americans because of slavery, because they never were divorced from their primitiveness." Sigh. Many points get taken off for that kind of conclusion.

Asians get angry because of the sexual reading put upon their 'exoticism,' yet they unconsciously do the same with others. Sigh. We have had to insist that those discussions between the female African descended students and the male descended Asian students take place elsewhere, among themselves, outside the classroom.

Otherwise nothing we're covering would get covered.

Still and all, with such a diverse mix of students much very good is starting to crackle. It took a while because, as these kids were described to us by the admin: "You say jump, they'll ask how high. They're very obedient and they work hard. But they aren't imaginative."

Many an instructor would be happy if they had a class filled with such students, I know.

Love, C.

#585 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2010, 10:04 PM:

Constance #584: I want thoughtful and imaginative students. I don't get too many of them, sad to say. I do get a lot of clichés and objections to "bias", and I am trying to get them to think about what that means.

#586 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2010, 10:24 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @564: Freud’s inconspicuous discovery of the unconscious mind [..]

You may have unconsciously discovered the inconspicuous mind.

#587 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2010, 10:26 PM:

Marilee #579: A maker of the HVP allowed it to be contaminated with salmonella and shipped it to the manufacturers who shipped it to stores

Great googly moogly, the bad guys are mixing salmonella with the human papillomavirus and selling it in stores?!

Oh. Neverm-- wait, did you say Human Vegetable Protein?! Plant/human cloned genetic chimeras sold to vegetarian cannibals? Laced with salmonella? In stores?! I wonder if they have that at Trader Joe's....

Srsly, though, I was caught in the salmonella-flavored peanut butter experiment a while back, which wasn't a whole lot of fun.

#588 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2010, 10:59 PM:

Daily Kos has discovered Science Fiction:
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/3/6/843446/-S.E.G.O.Science-Fiction-You-Should-Be-Reading-

Not really news - among other people, David Brin posts there from time to time, and I've noticed a number of people whose handles come from SF/F or who in other ways show they read the stuff. But I figure some people here might want to look there.

#589 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2010, 11:12 PM:

SF has been in the Kos mix for a while. Heck, Markos has even been seen in public with known practitioners of the skiffy arts.

#590 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2010, 11:51 PM:

589
I take it that nothing blew up or caught fire at that momentous event. *g*

#591 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2010, 12:16 AM:

Marilee at #577:

Now I am trying to imagine what it means for a condom to have traction.

#592 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2010, 12:33 AM:

Erik @ 591: It means it's time to buy more lube.

#593 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2010, 12:45 AM:

Now I am trying to imagine what it means for a condom to have traction.

Ummm. Pbaqbzf qb unir genpgvba. Vg'f bar ernfba crbcyr oneronpx.

#594 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2010, 01:00 AM:

Xopher: Couldn't have said it better myself.

#595 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2010, 06:51 AM:

Why am I now thinking of those K-Y ads on TV?

#596 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2010, 07:42 AM:

Mary Aileen @583: Me, too -- which is why I know about HVP and similar "products".

Salmonella in my HPV would be a different pickle altogether.

#597 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2010, 08:45 AM:

Not given much to metaphor as fact
the student struggles to relate her tale,
each sentence on its own will sag or fail,
the effort turns out bloated, not compact.
Her model is the sermon and the tract
and writing comes to her like time in gaol;
the style is cold, the images are stale,
and the whole enterprise with pain is packed.
The reader wants so much to go outside
and take his whirling thoughts for a long walk
but finishing the job is all his pride
so from the horrid task he dare not balk;
no leave, nor yet excuse, he has to plead
so the next essay he picks up to read.

#598 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2010, 11:56 AM:

Xopher @ 593 -- So the ribbed ones aren't intended for winter use?

#599 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2010, 02:42 PM:

A brief "Thank you" to whoever brought up Larry Niven's short story "The Return of William Proxmire" recently. (I searched the archive and found only one mention of the story, by Jonathan Vos Post in 2004, which is not the comment in which I saw the reference.) I was intrigued, so I borrowed the Heinlein tribute collection called Requiem from the library, which contains Niven's story as well as many other bits of goodness.

I enjoyed the entire volume, so thanks.

#600 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2010, 03:21 PM:

Linkmeister@599:

It was mentioned by author and subject, not by name, in a "Why we immunize" thread this time last year.

#601 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2010, 04:00 PM:

Thomas @ #600, nah, that's not it either. It was much more recently mentioned, because I immediately went to my library's website and requested it, and it became available for pickup within a couple of days of my request.

Anyway, I enjoyed the entire collection.

#602 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2010, 06:20 PM:

Linkmeister, #599, I gave that on Serge's LJ recently, is that it?

#603 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2010, 06:33 PM:

Erik Nelson, #591, now, now, Erik, I was referring to Fragano's post with a sentence from a student that had both "female" and "condom" in it.

#604 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2010, 06:34 PM:

So it sounds like I will be in New York City on my own on Friday (12th), not having been there since 1980 or so. Not sure exactly where I will be fetching up or how long I can stay before heading back to my friend's house in NJ, but I would be happy to meet any Fluorospherians who are about!

#605 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2010, 07:28 PM:

Marilee @ #602, Could be. I just remember reading it from a Fluorospherian (that damned word is hard to type!) and assumed it was here, because, well, where else? Despite my reading Serge pretty regularly, I don't think of his LJ as a primary source for book tips.

#606 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2010, 08:15 PM:

Openthready link: Thames tunnel reopens for the first time in 145 years (although only for two days).

#607 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2010, 08:47 PM:

Linkmeister @ 605... Despite my reading Serge pretty regularly, I don't think of his LJ as a primary source for book tips.

I also give tips on what not to do when you buy a new stove.

#608 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2010, 08:49 PM:

Serge @ #607, yes you do. I'm keeping those in mind, believe me.

#609 ::: achromatic ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2010, 08:57 PM:

I've been lurking for awhile, in awe of the thoughtful and intelligent community here, but since I've just delurked by posting to 'Composing the rejected canon,' I thought I ought to perhaps introduce myself properly, or at least say hello!

#610 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2010, 09:02 PM:

Hello achromatic! Welcome!

#611 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2010, 09:17 PM:

Welcome, achromatic!

#612 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2010, 09:50 PM:

Serge @ 607 ...
I also give tips on what not to do when you buy a new stove.

I note that "don't burn yourself" didn't make it on the list ;)

#613 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2010, 09:52 PM:

#585 ::: Fragano Ledgiste

These students are terrific at identifying bias or whatever when it applies to the group with which they identify, but are needing to learn that, in turn, they are applying bias of the very same sorts and equally incorrectly, to other groups, that they too, though perceiving themselves at least at times as objectified and discriminated against or at least the Other is ignorant of their cultures, they are just the same with the Other(s).

This was terribly confusing for them at first, and it was interfering with them dealing with the course materials!

But now it gets channeled into more productive discussion that is part of the materials covered. It gets very lively in the classroom!

Love, c.

#614 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2010, 09:55 PM:

Further though, why it is working out is BECAUSE the students are such a wide range of diversity. Nobody can feel left out!

This has been a learning experience over here too, needless to say.

Love, C.

#615 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2010, 11:14 PM:

Hello achromatic! Your #45 in the rejected-canon thread was all kinds of great.

#616 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2010, 02:58 AM:

*snif* Picture sequences of happily married gay couples always make me tear up. Thanks for posting this last one.

#617 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2010, 07:40 AM:

xeger @ 612... Since I give tips on what not to do with new stoves, your suggestion of the inclusion of not burning oneself appears to suggest that I encourage people to definitely burn themselves. Non?

#618 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2010, 08:31 AM:

Yes, I will be in New York Friday and will apparently be decanted at the Port Authority bus station at 8th and 42nd. Any Fluorospherians available for lunch or coffee?

*waiting for someone to make a convoluted scientific joke about achromatic/Making Light/recent particle on color porn which I will only half understand and find highly amusing anyway*

#619 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2010, 08:34 AM:

Serge@ 617 ...
xeger @ 612... Since I give tips on what not to do with new stoves, your suggestion of the inclusion of not burning oneself appears to suggest that I encourage people to definitely burn themselves. Non?

Burnt offerings, of course!

#620 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2010, 10:15 AM:

Constance #613: I spend a lot of time getting students to see that people see the world from a perspective, and that there is nothing wrong, per se, in having a perspective. On the other hand, they need to understand other people's perspectives as well.

#621 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2010, 10:44 AM:

Welcome, achromatic!

#622 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2010, 10:45 AM:

Serge #617:

Given what didn't happen for a month, burning was not on the menu.

#623 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2010, 10:54 AM:

Greetings, achromatic!

#624 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2010, 01:11 PM:

Busy with work, school, life.

Just accepted an invite to speak (on the usual subject) in Boston (at Andover Theological School), in early Nov. this year.

I really ought to get back to work on the book. (see above).

#625 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2010, 01:53 PM:

OT->Politics: Leaked RNC document for "socialism" campaign against Obama. via Field Negro

Because it's not paranoia when they really are out to get you.

#626 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2010, 04:02 PM:

The NY Times has an article reporting on a survey about vaccination. About 1 in 4 parents believed that vaccines cause autism in healthy children. About 1 in 8 parents had refused a vaccination recommended by their doctor.

This must mean that at least half of the parents who think vaccines cause autism are having their children vaccinated anyway! In fact, quite a bit more than half, because the majority of the refusals were of the HPV vaccine, where the main reasons were "moral and ethical", ie, concern that it might encourage sex (which could even lead to dancing).

#627 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2010, 04:37 PM:

Fragano@575: Emma Goldman, still ahead of her time!

#628 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2010, 07:59 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @ 170:

Were you ever photographed by Norman McLaren?

#629 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2010, 08:01 PM:

Xopher, I ran into a Westboro protest picture -- only one person, but two signs.

#630 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2010, 08:06 PM:

Amazon STILL hasn't figured it out.

Summary: Amazon has decided to shut down all Affiliate Accounts for Colorado residents, because Colorado is now trying to charge state sales taxes for out-of-state online sales. But instead of doing this in what anyone else would consider a normal and businesslike way, by notifying the account holders of the action with at least a couple of weeks' notice (a month would be better), they just did it -- WHAM! -- and notified people AFTERWARDS.

And to add insult to injury, my author friend whose post that is hasn't lived in Colorado for 3 years. She's in Montana now, and Amazon HAS her new address on her personal account!

#631 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2010, 08:21 PM:

Glenn Beck tells Catholics to leave their church

And, one would assume, he thinks so should Quakers, or members of the United Church of Christ, or basically any truly Christian denomination (that doggone Jesus, blessing the poor), or for that matter, Unitarians...

Dear Glenn: Please f**k off. Kthnxbai.

#632 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2010, 08:34 PM:

Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) #628: Sadly, no.

#633 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2010, 12:07 AM:

Click returns 404?
Photogeneticists
Off to the lair of
Our Abiveld wend;

There to commiserate
Quasi-poetic'lly
Waiting for website
and server to mend.

#634 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2010, 12:08 AM:

#631:

More:

Glenn Beck Urges Listeners to Leave Churches That Preach Social Justice

On his daily radio and television shows last week, Fox News personality Glenn Beck set out to convince his audience that "social justice," the term many Christian churches use to describe their efforts to address poverty and human rights, is a "code word" for communism and Nazism.

I want to see Beck found the First Church of Christ, American, which only recognizes gospels where Jesus was a selfish jingoistic dickhead.

The resulting Newer Testament would have a low enough page count to be easily read even by Beck's loyal viewers.

#635 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2010, 01:17 AM:

For anyone who was getting 404's rather than Making Light yesterday: this was because our hosting provider was moving us onto a different server.

We're all back now.

If you didn't notice it, well, neither did I. I was asleep at the time. Which is probably why the move went OK.

#636 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2010, 01:36 AM:

Correction: it looks like we lost a few comments right in the transition. I can't see them on the back end.

I find this upsetting, but there's nothing I can do about it.

#637 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2010, 01:40 AM:

I got a note from a fellow Fluorospherian asking if she'd been banned because her poetry wasn't inventive or frequent enough.

I'm naming no names.

#638 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2010, 02:27 AM:

Marilee, I was looking for protestors against Westboro. That link goes to a Westboro person.

#639 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2010, 05:11 AM:

Stefan Jones @ #634 (Concerning Faux News personality Glenn Beck):

"I want to see Beck found the First Church of Christ, American, which
only recognizes gospels where Jesus was a selfish jingoistic dickhead."

Or the one from the famous Oilcan Usenet post:

"I am deeply offended by your decision to "censor" the words of the
previous poster. As a member of the First International Church of the
Fucking Christ, I believe it is blasphemous to mention His holy name
without including His holy gerund. And, moreover, it is a mortal sin to
remove His holy name, gerund and all, from any text in which it appears.

...

OilCan

(First International Church of the Fucking Christ, Inc.) "

#640 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2010, 05:12 AM:

#631 and #634, but Glenn Beck should still like Quakers because Nixon was one, right? Beck needs urgent psychiatric evaluation. Whichever mental hospital he ends up in is going to have to invest in more hard drive space.

#641 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2010, 07:24 AM:

631: so, all the committed Catholics etc will stop listening to Glenn Beck, and all the committed lunatics will stop going to church, and...

sorry, is there a downside here?

#642 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2010, 09:19 AM:

Xopher @ 638, my kids and I protested against Westboro when they came to town to spew their shit at a funeral; we're Christians, though not church members. The Patriot Guard Riders were also out in force, and I believe at least some of them are Christians, though it's not a Christian organization per se.

I don't remember seeing any church groups there who were identified as such on their signs; but I have heard many church members, including quite conservative Evangelicals, express disgust with Westboro's actions.

#643 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2010, 10:33 AM:

Happy Baron Bliss Day!

#644 ::: achromatic ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2010, 02:49 PM:

An apologetically belated, but very heartfelt, thank you for the warm welcome!

#645 ::: Joseph M. ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2010, 03:20 PM:

Interesting: where do you think Sarah Palin went to the doctors?

#646 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2010, 03:49 PM:

OpenThreadiness: there's some awesome art in this thread over at Warren Ellis' blog. He invites artists to design a cover for Issue #1 of a new comic to be entitled 'Superman' -- and the only limits to their imagination is that red, blue, and the letter S should be involved. No presumptions about plot or what the character does are built into the assignment.

Some clunkers, but a lot of really gorgeous pieces, too. 20 pages of thread with pictures sprinkled throughout.

#647 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2010, 03:52 PM:

#645: It isn't hypocrisy if Sarah does it, because she just drives liberals crazy and in the tradition of the founding fathers and Ronald Reagan, the media just has to stop the lying thing, for the troops and the right of Real Americans to have the choice not be subject to death panels!

(Take enough Benadryl and you too can be a Palin speechwriter!)

#648 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2010, 04:15 PM:

In re my @646: a few samples that I really like (out of at least four times as many really good entries), for those who don't feel like skimming through the whole thread.

    Clearly still Kal-El, in some variant
  • A very graphic-designy take Paul Sizer
  • Another graphic-designy one (I'm a sucker, I admit it) sarianlives
  • Elseworlds: raised by Victorian lesbians! jamesmith3
    Story not explicitly implied by art
  • Reproductive/biotech-related? Burn Hard Dough
  • I've mentioned I'm a sucker for strong design? gushiguera
  • Crack of doom -- strongly graphic chenryhen
#649 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2010, 04:16 PM:

(I just posted a comment with lots of links that I swear aren't spam, but it's being held)

#650 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2010, 04:24 PM:

Elliott Mason @ 646: Wow, yes, some lovely art and some very interesting takes on the idea.

#651 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2010, 05:00 PM:

The most important reason of all why THE HEALTHCARE BILL MUST PASS!

Thank you very much
Thank you very much
It's the most remarkable thing
That's every been done for me . . .

#652 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2010, 05:07 PM:

Stefan @ #651, the funniest thing about that is that Costa Rica, his preferred destination, has a highly centralized and government-run health care system. From a comment at Think Progress:

Public Health Care – Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS)

The Costa Rican healthcare system is rated very highly on an international level, and the country’s citizens enjoy the health and life expectancy equal to that of more developed nations. These accolades come courtesy of strong, universal health insurance and excellent public and private hospitals.

Costa Rica’s public health insurance system, commonly known as the Caja, is available country-wide to all citizens and legal residents. There are ten major public hospitals – four in San Jose, including the Children’s Hospital – affiliated with the Caja. For non-emergencies and everyday medical care, small clinics, known as EBAIS (pronounced ay-vy-ice), are located in almost every community.

#653 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2010, 05:13 PM:

Do you think there's a way to sic Bill Donohue (of the Catholic League, which really should be named Donohue's League, since I don't believe it has any other adherents) onto Glenn Beck?

If so -- we're gonna need a bigger... popcorn bowl.

#654 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2010, 05:19 PM:

For those not following the hymn-parody thread: Making Light gets linked from the blog of Commonweal. Proprietors stunned.

#656 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2010, 06:31 PM:

For those interested (a little) in the Superman-remix art, my links post above, @648 to specific highlights has made it out of moderation.

#657 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2010, 07:27 PM:

Lee @630 - Yeah, my response was, "Gee, saved me the trouble of closing my Amazon Associates account myself, as I'd been meaning to do since AmazonGayFail and AmazonMacmillanFail."

I changed all my Amazon Associate links over to Indiebound ages ago. I don't know why I never got around to closing the account. Now I regret that I didn't do it myself and register the action as a complaint against their bullying tactics. On the other hand, I sent them a great piss-off note via ProgressNowColorado's online petition. In which I told them, "You were already dead to me. What else is new?" So there's something at least.

Ooh, Indiebound now has an easy-to-find Affiliate Account Click Report page! Nice.

#658 ::: Chris W. ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2010, 08:10 PM:

Time beg the help of the Making Light knowledge system.

The weekend after this one (March 19-21) my better half and I will be spending in and around NYC. I know there are a bunch of New Yorkers among the readers of this blog, so I ask you, what should we do?

Some background: I grew up an hour's train ride from the city and the girlfriend has visited it maybe half a dozen times. So we've both done all of the obvious touristy things (The Met, Central Park, TKTS etc.), plus some of the slightly more obscure stuff (The Tenement Museum, The Museum of Sex, Mood Fabrics). I'm mostly looking either for the stuff that's too obscure to find in a guide book or stuff that's happening right now, and we won't be able to see if we come back in 6 months or a year.

Our interests: We're theater and opera buffs, but we're up to try anything in realms culinary, academic, geek or high-culture that you consider awesome enough to merit mention.

#659 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2010, 10:13 PM:

On Teresa's particle about guinea pigs putting up with being dressed up for silly pictures: It's not just guinea pigs, of course - rabbits have had to put up with this since the famous pictures of Oolong the rabbit with pancakes on his head (and the internet followup pictures of Sarah Palin with pancakes on her head.) But there are larger rodents who've had to deal with this - http://www.peoplepets.com/photos/strange/life-with-the-world-s-largest-rodent/8 (In picture 6 he's hanging out with a guinea pig.)

#660 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2010, 10:27 PM:

Bill, in Palin's case I think there is much to be gained by replacing her head with pancakes...
and a very short stack at that.

#661 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2010, 11:00 PM:

Xopher, #638, I'm sorry, I didn't remember properly.

#662 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2010, 11:09 PM:

Summer Storms @ 660... Palin's brainpancakes?

#663 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2010, 11:29 PM:

That would be a big step down for the pancakes, though.

#664 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2010, 09:18 AM:

Found in a used-book store last night: a paperback copy of Madeleine L'Engle's A Color From Space, published by Scholastic as a sequel/companion to A Wrinkle In Time -- same slate-blue colour as the Scholastic edition of AWIT and the graphics on the cover were similar. I didn't get a chance to read it, but the inside-cover blurbs were very positive. Unfortunately, I lost it when I woke up.

#665 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2010, 09:42 AM:

Ouch -- you had me going for a moment there!

#666 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2010, 10:20 AM:

Joel Polowin @ 664... A mashup of L'Engle and Lovecraft?

#667 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2010, 10:23 AM:

Happy Birthday, Marilee!!!

#668 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2010, 10:41 AM:

Elliott Mason @ #392: that "boys are just like that" trope is a lot harder to sustain in my family; my (female) twin cousins took every door in the house off the hinges when they were 4.

#669 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2010, 11:50 AM:

Felicitous natal anniversary, Marilee.

#670 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2010, 12:19 PM:

Serge @ 666 -- "A mashup of L'Engle and Lovecraft?" Possibly. I glanced only briefly at the main text, and caught Calvin's name, but no mention of anything squamous or tentacular, nor any hint of such in the blurbs. But I was wondering the same thing when I saw the title and author, which was why I picked the book up.

I'm not sure what might have prompted the concept. I did note a mention of "The Colour out of Space" in the Wikipedia "List of fictional elements, materials, isotopes and atomic particles" when I was doing a bit of research a few days ago.

The list entry on "quadium" led me to a bit of coolness -- at least, I think it's cool; I'm biased by having done research in a radiochemistry lab for several years. Apparently the list of known isotopes of hydrogen now goes up to 7H, i.e., 1 proton, 6 neutrons. The known isotopes of helium now go up to 10He, i.e., 2 protons, 8 neutrons. All of them are unstable, other than the lightest two for each element, of course. But the half-life of 8He is a remarkably-long 119 ms, and that of 6He is a stunning 806 ms.

#671 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2010, 03:04 PM:

Chris W. @658: Our interests: We're theater and opera buffs, but we're up to try anything in realms culinary, academic, geek or high-culture that you consider awesome enough to merit mention.

Oh oh oh oh!!! Check out The Wooster Group!

Their stuff is very bizarre, but very good. Whenever I go, I always make reservations to see a piece three times: one for form, one for content, and one to just enjoy.

If memory serves, founder and artistic director Liz LeCompte is a MacArthur Award recipient.

#672 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2010, 03:18 PM:

In reply to "vaccines cause autism"* meme: Jenny McCarthy Body Count

Not that the author actually blames Ms. McCarthy specifically, but as the most public face of a movement, he believes she bears a lot of responsibility.

*Stupid, stupid, stupid, disproven, stupid...

#673 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2010, 03:20 PM:

Joel @ 664 -

I found the perfect apartment in my dream last night. It had a two-level kitchen. On the minus side, the apartment complex's smoke detectors didn't seem to recognize when the common area caught fire (which was regularly). Fireman Clooney warned us about that, but I was trying to keep the info away from my roommate, lest we lose the Walk-In Pantry due to her paranoia.

Meanwhile in the real world, the apartment hunting seems to be drawing to a close.

#674 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2010, 03:21 PM:

Chris W. @658: You say you've done the Met Museum, does that include The Cloisters? If not, I recommend going there.

#675 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2010, 03:29 PM:

Bill Stewart @659: Caplin ROUS (Rodent Of Unusual Size) has his own blog here and here. Also, more capybara adorableness here.

Also, belated greetings to achromatic, and Hippo Birdie Dates to Marilee!

#678 ::: Chris W. ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2010, 03:58 PM:

Jacque @671:

Yes! This is exactly the type of stuff we're looking for.

Lori Coulson @674:

How could we miss The Cloisters? Certainly one of the too-often overlooked jewels of Manhattan.

We've been there twice together, and I've been by myself a couple more times. One of the best places to play our favorite art museum game, which is to try to guess the date and location of unfamiliar pieces of art without looking at their labels.

#679 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2010, 04:06 PM:

Chris W. @678: Be sure to call ahead ASAP for reservations. They tend to sell out pretty fast.

#680 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2010, 04:08 PM:

LDR @677: Ctein tells the story of trying to get his night shot of the Transamerica building in SF. Late at night, Ctein's sitting next to his tripod, reading a magazine or something. Cop wanders by, wonders what the hell he's up to. Tries to shine his flashlight on the camera (30 minutes into a 45 min. exposure).

This was '76. I can't imagine him even trying something like that now.

#681 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2010, 04:12 PM:

Scottand Scurvy. It's long, but like most of his writing, it's very good. This might also be appropriated in the vaccination threads.

#682 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2010, 04:25 PM:

Happy Birthday Marilee!

#683 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2010, 05:02 PM:

Jacque@680: Today, wouldn't need a 45 minute exposure :-). (Digital doesn't have reciprocity failure.)

#684 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2010, 05:24 PM:

The Cloisters sounds lovely, but I think I'll be sticking close to where I get off the bus this Friday and visiting the Morgan, where I can get a fix of Jane Austen, the Hours of Catherine of Cleves, and Near Eastern seals. That should keep me busy for a while...

#685 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2010, 05:34 PM:

For your consideration: A bill (opens a PDF file) introduced by McCain to deny Miranda rights to anyone arrested on suspicion of being an "unprivileged enemy belligerent". This includes American citizens arrested on American soil.

Is this even remotely legal or Constitutional?

#686 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2010, 05:43 PM:

Summer Storms @ 685... Is that a trick question?

#687 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2010, 05:45 PM:

Serge, more like rhetorical.

#688 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2010, 05:47 PM:

Dream abilities:

Last night, I dreamed I could glide along the ground without moving my feet. Just sort of angled and rippled my soles and I drifted along in the desired direction. I recall impressing people by doing this and feeling very satisfied.

Kind of a diminished expectations flying dream.

#689 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2010, 06:39 PM:

I propose that any member of the Legislative or Executive branches of government who proposes, votes for or signs into law a bill which is subsequently ruled as unconstitutional shall be considered to have committed an impeachable offense against the People of these United States.

#690 ::: Joseph M. ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2010, 07:05 PM:

Earl Cooley III@689: I'd only want that if I trusted the Supreme Court to not use it as a tool against a politician that they didn't like.

#691 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2010, 07:58 PM:

Thanks, folks! I've attained 55. :)

#692 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2010, 08:01 PM:

Charlie Stross's Laundry novels are turning up in an RPG!

#693 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2010, 08:36 PM:

DD-B @683: Jacque@680: Today, wouldn't need a 45 minute exposure :-). (Digital doesn't have reciprocity failure.)

Ahem. I blink owlishly at you.

--

"Hey you! Why do you have a banana in your ear?"

"What? I can't hear you. I have a banana in my ear."

--

"Hey you! Why do you have a carrot in your ear?"

"Because they were out of celery."

#694 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2010, 09:40 PM:

C Wingate at 676, I was thinking about that picture yesterday and wanted to share it with my father. Thanks for reading my mind!

#695 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2010, 11:02 PM:

Joseph, #690: What if Earl's version were amended to say "a bill which anyone who ever had a 9th-grade civics class could immediately tell was unconstitutional"? Because that's really what we're talking about here. McCain is old enough to know better.

#696 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2010, 11:16 PM:

Happy 55th Marilee!

#697 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2010, 11:32 PM:

Marilee, may I say 'You kids get off my lawn'? (I passed that one a few years back. The benefits are underwhelming.)

#698 ::: Joseph M. ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2010, 11:36 PM:

Lee@695: Yeah, I know. Earl's idea set off my "wishing for something too good to be true" alarm, and, coupled with the recent "companies are people too" ruling, I'd almost rather not have something that can be rendered useless so quickly.

What's particularly painful to me here is that we're supposed to have a process for this: we elect these people every so often, and one would hope that someone who proposed such terrible laws would be kicked out by the voters. The fact that we have to discuss this option makes me sad. So sad, in fact, it appears to break my humorous idea detector. I'll look into getting that fixed--it may still be covered by warranty.

#699 ::: Susie Lorand ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 12:03 AM:

Janet Croft @ 684 inspires me to delurk and mention that this is apparently the last weekend for the exhibit at the Morgan Library, "A Woman's Wit: Jane Austen's Life and Legacy."[1]

Moreover, this Friday at the Morgan, 7-8:30 pm, there's a demonstration of English country dances (which Jane Austen enjoyed), plus audience participation for those who will. Live music by the excellent Cynthia Shaw Simonoff and John Austin, with the delightful Beverly Francis as dancing mistress. And admission is free!

See also the CDNY English dance schedule.[2]

[1] Beverly says "The Morgan has the largest collection anywhere of Austen's letters, and several on exhibit mention dancing."

[2] Disclaimer: CDNY (Country Dance New York) has occasionally paid me to play music, but never to publicize its events. I just wish I could attend this one!

#700 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 12:57 AM:

As much as I'd like to participate in the hymn-parody thread, I think I should pass. I don't have much experience with hymns. In fact, I'm pretty sure the one hymn I know, i.e. the Skydiver's Hymn, is not actually a hymn.

Please accept my sincere apologies.

#701 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 01:15 AM:

I suppose my plan to impeach purveyors of unconstitutional laws would only work if I were to retain the power to hire and fire SCOTUS judges by decree. I'm pretty sure I could find a decent mix of EFF, ACLU and Southern Poverty Law Center legal experts to fill the bench, though. Ah, well....

#702 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 01:40 AM:

#692 ::: Marilee :::

Charlie Stross's Laundry novels are turning up in an RPG!

Higgledy Piggeldy
Counterintelligence
Protecting from dread supernatural beings
Tabletop hobbyists
Take up the novelist
Transforming his creatures to safe RPGings.

#703 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 02:17 AM:

Irony alert!
I followed the particle to the article regarding Ad Blockers Are Bad, Bad, Bad!
I happened to notice as reading the comments on the article, job ads... clicked through on one, and applied to it....

#704 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 06:58 AM:

#685--

this new mccain monstrosity will not get anywhere--it's just posturing by a bitter shell of a man.

but if it were ever passed by both houses, i hope obama would do the right thing:

invite the entire republican leadership to the signing session, sign it, and immediately arrest all of them as "unprivileged enemy belligerents".

when they freak out, on camera, he should then say that he has made an executive determination, in accordance with their legislation, and that they have no rights of any kind, either to challenge the arrests, to call their lawyers, or to complain.

then they should all be cuffed, gagged, and goggled, a la jose padilla, and made to sit in front of the cameras for an hour.

then obama can send them back to the hill to draft some revisions.

these people--mccain and every yahoo egging him on--thrive on the idea that they are exempt. they aren't foreigners, they aren't brown people, and they aren't the powerless. they think they'll never be subjected to the tyranny they want to create.

they need to be reminded, personally, what a bill of rights is for.

#705 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 07:12 AM:

Summer Storms @685, pass it, sign it, arrest McCain first.

Ok, more seriously, it would be fun if the handful of half-way progressive Senators would all sign on as co-sponsors for this bill, while making statements about the importance of giving the President these powers. (Co-sponsoring a bill doesn't mean you have to vote for it, right?)

#706 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 07:16 AM:

Damn, kid blitzer had the same idea while I was about to post.

#708 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 09:07 AM:

@706--

sorry to preempt, raphael. yours has the advantage of pith.
incidentally, my surname has no el in it.

#709 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 09:17 AM:

Does somebody in the Fluorosphere happen to have a pointer to the filk set to the tune of 'Hotel California' which includes the (awkward) line "I just couldn't kill -9 the beast" ? It was once part of a collection of computer filk, but my search-foo is failing wretchedly this morning.

#710 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 10:37 AM:

Notes from the field, from my ongoing practice in making schnitzel: 1/2" pork chops are hard to schnitzelize.

More research indicated.

#711 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 10:44 AM:

xeger @ 709

Could it be this? http://www.softpanorama.org/Bulletin/Humor/BSD_song.shtml

#712 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 11:22 AM:

xeger @709: Wish I could help -- the only filk version of "Hotel California" that I'm familiar with is the Childs-Helton's "Motel of the Mysteries."

#713 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 11:31 AM:

Cally: you were going to email me sometime, right?

Lori: OMG, it must be mine. Are the lyrics on the web?

#714 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 11:51 AM:

I ran a fact-check just to be sure that the enemy belligerent bill was real and not just an extreme blog parody, and it's apparently really out there. S.3081.

Here is a list of the bill's co-conspirators:

Sen. Scott Brown [R, MA]
Sen. Saxby Chambliss [R, GA]
Sen. James Inhofe [R, OK]
Sen. George LeMieux [R, FL]
Sen. Joseph Lieberman [I, CT] (not a big surprise)
Sen. Jefferson Sessions [R, AL]
Sen. John Thune [R, SD]
Sen. David Vitter [R, LA]
Sen. Roger Wicker [R, MS]

#715 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 11:51 AM:

Elliot @713: I'm not sure that the lyrics are on the web -- but Barry is on LiveJournal as "min0taur." I'll do some digging around and see if I can find them.

(If you decide to contact Barry through LJ tell him I sent you. I'd do it myself but I'm here on my lunch hour and the office computers block "social" sites.)

#716 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 11:56 AM:

Oh, and here is the bill's GovTrack link.

#717 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 12:23 PM:

Re Saxby Chambliss co-sponsoring the Anti-Miranda bill:

Where'd I put my "bang head here" sign?

#718 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 12:35 PM:

The deadline for submitting nominations for this year's Hugo is nearly upon us. I just got mine in. It's my first time nominating & I found the experience enjoyable though it took *much* longer than anticipated.

#719 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 12:35 PM:

Cally Soukup @ 711...
Could it be this? http://www.softpanorama.org/Bulletin/Humor/BSD_song.shtml

Yes, perfect, thank you!!!

#720 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 01:11 PM:

I called up Sen Kerry's office and complained....

What the hell happened to "presumed innocent until proven guilty" and the prohibition of warrantless search and seizure and speedy trial and not detaining people indefinitely. Sessions et all as far as I'm concerning are oathbreaking bad faith oath giving lying traitors....

#721 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 01:52 PM:

Lila #717: Re Saxby Chambliss co-sponsoring the Anti-Miranda bill: Where'd I put my "bang head here" sign?

If this does not satisfy your head banging needs, there is always this, but be advised that you can only do that one once, so make it count.

#722 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 02:46 PM:

Earl Cooley III: You really need a squick warning about the second one (no, I don't usually watch horror movies either).

#723 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 03:20 PM:

Sorry! (If a moderator were to add a squick warning to my post @721, I would not object).

#724 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 03:35 PM:

That's okay; I should have stopped watching it earlier than I did. Sort of horrified fascination.

I'll just try to replace the memory with the cycle-riding-poodle-in-a-clown-suit-blowing-a-bugle image I got from the "John Scalzi and I" thread.

#725 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 04:31 PM:

Open threadiness: Gay marriage, and database schemas as a means of social observation. LINK

#726 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 05:36 PM:

dcb @ 724: The poodle's on a Peugeot and the poodle's blowing bugles?

#727 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 06:01 PM:

The poodle, wearing a clown suit, is riding a bicycle (maybe a unicycle), while blowing a bugle.

That's the image my brain came up with when spotting:
"a poodle
That blows a bugle"

And in the next post "clown" and "cycle."

Perfectly logical really (for a certain value of logic).

#728 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 06:24 PM:

Sorry -- that was intended to be a riff on Fox In Socks. "... And the bottle's on a poodle and the poodle's eating noodles..."

#729 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 06:33 PM:

By the way, what is proper format for a squick warning anyway? [NSFW] is a bit too generic, and may not actually apply in many cases.

#730 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 07:07 PM:

Earl Cooley III (729): "Squick warning" should work.

#731 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 07:49 PM:

kid bitzer @ 704, Raphael @ 705: I like the way you think.

#732 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 08:00 PM:

Joel @ #726, your phrase reminds me of Chick Hearn's memorable line when the Lakers' game was well and truly won with little time left:

"(The game's in the) Refrigerator (the door's closed, the light's out, the eggs are cooling, the butter's getting hard, and the jello's jiggling)"

#733 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 08:21 PM:

hey, any fans of bart stupak here?

yeah, me neither. that's why i was delighted to hear that he is being primaried by margaret saltonstall.

john cole just put up a link to an actblue contributions page for her primary campaign.

http://www.balloon-juice.com/2010/03/11/primarying-bart/

i just kicked in $100.00 for her campaign.
if you support health care reform, or you support women's choice, or both, you might think about kicking in some money to her campaign as well.

#734 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 09:13 PM:

Erik Nelson, #702, wow, that's great!

Thanks for the birthday wishes, folks!

Mike Dirda of the WashPost wrote an excellent, knowledgable review of Connie Willis' Blackout. It helps that he's an SFF fan.

#735 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 10:07 PM:

Maybe I'm just too stoned on painkillers, but could someone who understand's McCain & Lieberman's new bill please explain to me:

1. What not reading them their Miranda rights is supposed to accomplish?

2. How you can tell someone's guilty of actions that make them liable to being tried under this bill before a court has tried them, heard the evidence and arguments, and decided what they've done?

3. How you demonstrate that someone doesn't have "potential intelligence value"?

I too think it would be a good idea if some of the flaming liberals in Congress were to make an ad about how important it is to grant the president these enlarged powers.

#736 ::: Chris W. ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 10:36 PM:

Teresa @ 735:

For point 2 and 3, I think the answer is that of course anyone accused of terrorism is a terrorist. The possibility that our law enforcement and intelligence agencies might be fallible doesn't even register for the supporters of this bill.

For point one, a quick read of the law makes me think this is all about intelligence. The idea is to give military interrogators (presumably with torture techniques at their disposal) first crack at anyone suspected of being a terrorist under the assumption that they'll do a better job under the restrictions that apply to civilian authorities. One suspects that at the heart of this belief is the idea that "those people" only understand force, and so physical and mental torture or the threat thereof are the only way to get them to talk.

It all makes perfect sense if you think that the only way to save American lives is to give the President and his appointed staff the ability to violate anyone's civil rights whenever they choose.

#737 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 10:37 PM:

@735, some answers:

1. It keeps defense lawyers from screwing around with perfectly good summary executions.

2. That's what profiling is for!

3. That's the beauty of the plan: everyone has potential intelligence value.

Have a nice day, citizen! heh.

#738 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 10:46 PM:

Today is my Unbirthday. I'm 50.5 years old today!

#739 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 11:02 PM:

Lori@712, Bob Kanefsky has False Alarms at Baycon - http://www.songworm.com/lyrics/songworm-parody/FalseAlarmsatBaycon.html - usually performed by Tony Fabris. There was a fire alarm at 2002 Baycon, followed by constant announcements and apology announcements about how they were having trouble shutting it off, and well, you can check in any time you like but you can never sleep....

#740 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 11:18 PM:

Teresa, if American soldiers or police had to read somebody their Miranda rights before harshly interrogating them in ways that would violate the Geneva Conventions if those actually applied to the President's Men, then it would be hard for them to plead ignorance at the later war crimes trials in Den Haag or the various lawsuits the detainees might initiate after Constitutional Law is restored in America (by some future President, since the current one doesn't seem to be doing the cleanup job he was elected for.) And we just can't be having that sort of thing.

#741 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2010, 11:44 PM:

In fact, at this point, reading someone their rights doesn't mean that they'll actually be able to exercise those rights in any meaningful way. The only thing that violating those rights does, now, is invalidate a later prosecution. Which means, if the HS folks are really only interested in preventing Americans being killed -- they can do whatever they want, they just can't prosecute the people they've mistreated afterwards.

So if they know for sure that there's a terrorist about to blow up a building, and they know an individual can tell them who it is, there's nothing that can stop them from using torture. They just can't use the information later in court, and they'll possibly face prosecution if they turn out to be wrong.

Reading someone their rights doesn't change the rights they have -- once again, this seems to me to be a matter of mistaking the symbol for the reality, a major logical flaw in most cultures.

#742 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2010, 12:22 AM:

Okay, here's some of what really makes my blood run cold:

First off, this bit (page 5 of the PDF I linked to):

(3) INAPPLICABILITY OF CERTAIN STATEMENT AND RIGHTS.—A individual who is suspected of being an unprivileged enemy belligerent shall not, during interrogation under this subsection, be provided the statement required by Miranda v. Arizona (384 U.S. 436 (1966)) or otherwise be informed of any rights that the individual may or may not have to counsel or to remain silent consistent with Miranda v. Arizona.

Okay, it looks to me like they're saying that the suspects will not be Mirandized in the course of the interrogation. Seems to me that the Miranda statement is a required part of any arrest to begin with - am I wrong about that? If so, then wouldn't the suspect have already been Mirandized long before any interrogation takes place? Or are they going to just start arresting people without Mirandizing them now?

Secondly, and perhaps even more chillingly, there's this passage immediately after the one above:

(c) DETERMINATIONS OF STATUS.—
(1) PRELIMINARY DETERMINATION BY HIGH16
VALUE DETAINEE INTERROGATION GROUP.—The high-value detainee interrogation group responsible for interrogating a high-value detainee under subsection (b) shall make a preliminary determination whether or not the detainee is an unprivileged enemy belligerent. The interrogation group shall make such determination based on the result of its interrogation of the individual and on all intelligence information available to the interrogation group.

Sounds suspiciously like they're saying, "We can detain your without your Miranda rights and interrogate you if you are an 'unprivileged enemy belligerent'. We will decide whether you are one of those based on the results of the interrogation that we conduct." Recursion much?

#743 ::: Leroy F. Berven ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2010, 12:39 AM:

Summer Storms @ 742: The immediate, infallible telepathic analysis of the detainee, by the interrogator(s), is merely implied here, and is thus left for explication in the student's analysis. Or something like that.

#744 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2010, 07:12 AM:

Today's Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal is one I think we can all sympathize with! It even has connections to the "eeevil terrorists have no rights" subthread....

#745 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2010, 08:01 AM:

But by the time the high-value detainee group gets around to making their determination, the person has already been arrested -- and, since such determination can't have been made at that time, they'll have to have been told their Miranda rights.

Is it possible that this bill exists solely to pander to the neolithic teabaggers for whom "Miranda rights" are shorthand for "pesky legal technicalities that sometimes cause defendants to be released," and are enraged at the idea that a potential terrorist might have the benefit of them?

"High Value Detainee Interrogation Group" sounds like something out of a comic book, or a bad spy novel.

#746 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2010, 08:10 AM:

So many webcomics, it's going to take immediate, infallible telepathic analysis of the writers and artists just to decide which ones to read first. A useful skill, that.

#747 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2010, 08:18 AM:

Marilee @734, thanks for linking to that review of Blackout from Dirda. I missed it yesterday.

Besides the excellent review itself, I was amused by this line, where Dirda is talking about the setup for time travel and how it's impossible for things to go wrong with it.

'Let me interject that one apt definition for the novel might be "a fictional narrative of a certain length about what happens when something goes wrong." '

#748 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2010, 08:26 AM:

Teresa #745: But by the time the high-value detainee group gets around to making their determination, the person has already been arrested -- and, since such determination can't have been made at that time, they'll have to have been told their Miranda rights.

No, they'll merely need to be detained without charges. It just means that Padilla trumps Miranda if this bill passes.

#749 ::: Chris W. ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2010, 08:37 AM:

Teresa @ 745:

IANAL, but I did do some reading to try to understand a recent SCOTUS Miranda decision and I'm pretty much certain that officers aren't required to Mirandize suspects immediately upon arrest.

What Miranda does say is that anything that a suspect says between being arrested and being Mirandized is presumed to be coerced and inadmissable in court. Similarly, if a Mirandized suspect asks for a lawyer, anything they say while in custody without the presence of counsel is inadmissable.

My impression is that in certain cases it's not all that uncommon for police to try to put some pressure on suspects without Mirandizing them, and only Mirandize them when it looks like they're ready to provide the cops with information they'll want to use in court. So it's not at all unreasonable to expect that terror suspects in custody might be un-Mirandized by the time the FBI or military intelligence swoops down on them.

#750 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2010, 09:04 AM:

Inadmissible in a criminal court, but perhaps not inadmissible in a military tribunal.

Bleargh. Too much terror politics before morning coffee takes effect....

#751 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2010, 11:46 AM:

Xopher (738): Happy Unbirthday!
(I call those 'half-birthdays', myself.)

#752 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2010, 12:10 PM:

An amusing (and anonymous) comment swiped from Schneier's latest mention of hollow coins:

@Jonas Grumby:
> I have a 1992 Kennedy half-dollar in my pocket, right now. I've carried it as a lucky coin for a couple of years.
So, when the poor guy was in the Navy, he got sunk and ruined his back; all but two of his children were still-born or died in infancy, and one of the survivors died young; and when he became POTUS, the poor guy was murdered.
And you carry his coin for luck?!?

#753 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2010, 12:42 PM:

Xopher... Hey, whippersnapper!

#754 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2010, 12:47 PM:

*snaps Serge with a whip*

#755 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2010, 12:50 PM:

Xopher @ 754... You crack the whip just like Xorro and Indiana Xones, eh?

#756 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2010, 12:56 PM:

Kennedy half-dollars are lucky precisely because he and his family have exhausted the possible bad luck that could be associated with them!

#757 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2010, 01:34 PM:

#710, Michael Roberts:
"Notes from the field, from my ongoing practice in making schnitzel: 1/2" pork chops are hard to schnitzelize."

You need a bigger meat hammer.

(In the course of Googling for an appropriate link, I found that "meat hammer" is also a euphemism for, err, uhh, *ahem*.... Well, just be glad it wasn't your wife who told you you needed a bigger meat hammer.)

#758 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2010, 01:46 PM:

Anyone who enjoyed the Onion's deconstruction-of-the-news sidelight may be interested in the BBC version: Charlie Brooker's Newswipe.

#759 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2010, 02:15 PM:

Bruce Arthurs @757 -- anyone who saw "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog" would not be surprised at that.

#760 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2010, 02:39 PM:

Ooooooh, pretty. Scores of old B&W photos of NYC:

http://www.nyc-architecture.com/SPEC/GAL-BW.htm

#762 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2010, 06:48 PM:

Xopher, #738, Happy Unbirthday!

#763 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2010, 07:58 PM:

Happy birthday to all, integer value or not!

Bruce, the meat hammer I have is sufficient - it's not the size, but how you use it.

The hard part of having really big schnitzels wasn't so much the thickness (for me) but the fact that they end up very large and floppy and hard to manipulate without folding over and ruining the breading process.

Also, my wife is so not like that. I sometimes wonder what it would be like to have married an American.

#764 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2010, 11:23 PM:

I'm about to be moving my e-mail service and was wondering if there's a way to keep my "(view all by)" so it will include the old as well as the new. The final change won't happen for a week or two.

#765 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2010, 09:20 AM:

Local SF author Victor Milàn has been in the hospital for a couple of weeks, I think, and may remain there for two more, thanks to a nasty case of pneumonia.

My best wishes, Vic!

#766 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2010, 10:15 AM:

Tom Whitmore (764): The usual custom hereabouts is to make a post with the new address linking to your old view-all-by, and then one with the old address linking to your new view-all-by.

#767 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2010, 10:41 AM:

An extreme (and somewhat NSFW) solution to the problem of men not looking women in the eye. Sound.

#768 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2010, 11:13 AM:

Oh, and the Pope has been directly implicated in the Churchwide sexual abuse scandal.

Since the Pope is the head of the institutional Church, that means that the institutional Church can no longer claim that it's just bad elements within it. It's reached the very highest level, and the Church itself (the institutional Church) is corrupt from top to bottom.

#769 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2010, 11:21 AM:

In other news, Texas Board of Education Removes Thomas Jefferson From History Standard. I sincerely wish this were an Onion piece, but it isn't. And, since the Texas BOE basically controls what textbook publishers do with regard to textbooks used all across the USA, we can now look forward to yet another generation who will grow up with ZERO understanding of the actual foundation of this country and the philosophy behind its inception.

Oh, and it gets better. From the linked material:

Board member Barbara Cargill wants to insert a discussion of the right to bear arms in a standard that focuses on First Amendment rights and the expression of various points of view. This is absurd. If they want students to study the right to bear arms, at least try to find an appropriate place in the standards for it. This is yet another example of politicians destroying the coherence of a curriculum document for no reason other than promoting ideological pet causes. Republican board member Bob Craig of Lubbock is suggesting a better place for such a standard. But the amendment passes anyway. The board's far-right faction is simply impervious to logic.

Not tired of banging your head against the desk yet? Then try this gem:

12:28 - Board member Mavis Knight offers the following amendment: "examine the reasons the Founding Fathers protected religious freedom in America by barring government from promoting or disfavoring any particular religion over all others." Knight points out that students should understand that the Founders believed religious freedom was so important that they insisted on separation of church and state.

12:32 - Board member Cynthia Dunbar argues that the Founders didn't intend for separation of church and state in America. And she's off on a long lecture about why the Founders intended to promote religion. She calls this amendment "not historically accurate."

I'll bet we can all guess what happened next. Yep, Knight's amendment failed on a straight party-line vote.

Go, read the whole thing. And then, if you're American and you weren't already planning to emigrate, it's time to start thinking about it. This country is toast.

#770 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2010, 12:50 PM:

The Texas Board of Education also removed any inclusion of Spanish-speaking people and the histories of them in the U.S. from history textbooks. One of the minority opposing members had to leave the process over this, she was so disturbed because, to paraphrase her, "They want the history of the U.S. to be all white people, all English speakin, only."

It's weird sharing a Jefferson hate with people I despise. My reasons are very different though -- for the reasons they probably approve of.

This reminds all over again why Texas was never an option when I was younger as a place to base myself.

In the meantime, at UCLA, Himself the Vaquero's there because of the English - Comp Lit Graduate Dept., which is sponsoring this symposium, Ports of Call -- Cultures of Exchange.

He's giving the keynote address at noon today, California time, on the history of Cadiz and the New World ports of Havana and New Orleans -- the Spanish connection, and all that means, including the African.

The Dept. Chair is of Tunisian background, and the whole grad dept. slants strongly to Middle eastern literature. But if you're kid growing up in Texas you won't even know this nation has loads of voters whose relatives came from these other countries. They may well not know these other countries even exist -- the Middle East is Israel, Palestine and 'Arabs.' Soon even Iraq and Afghanistan will fall off the primary media radar too, as the situations there drag ever on.

It sux evermore to be U.S., doesn't it?

At least tomorrow an amiga and I will go to Church and hear some great music.

Love, C.

#772 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2010, 01:26 PM:

http://fjordstone.com/paulnordquist/pi/index.html

Paul Nordquist sings the digits of pi.

#773 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2010, 01:26 PM:

Can the TBoE members who voted this in be arrested for a hate crime for this? Or maybe 4,589,287 counts of conspiracy to contribute to the delinquency of a minor?

#774 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2010, 02:23 PM:

I just sent email to my state representative and to my state senator, urging banning in Massachusetts of state funds for purchase and use of any "textbooks" in social studies, geography, etc., in compliance with Texas requirements.

#775 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2010, 02:40 PM:

Abi 201: if not the digamma, maybe you'd discovered the Coptic alphabet in your sleep...

http://www.omniglot.com/writing/coptic.htm

#776 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2010, 02:56 PM:

praisegod barebones @775:

No, it wasn't the digamma. It was something in the phi/psi/chi realm, one of those letters that doesn't map to a single Roman letter. But it was characteristically Greek in its feel, unlike the Coptic ones.

It came halfway or two-thirds of the way through the alphabet, somewhere in the pi neighborhood.

I can't remember any more about it. It was, after all, a good twenty years ago. Mercifully.

#777 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2010, 04:42 PM:

The Coptic ones are weird, aren't they? What you said about your dream stirred vague memories of there having been some other obsolete Greek letters (other than the digamma)and while I was googling around looking for them the Coptic stuff came up.

(It turns out that Wikipedia is fairly informative about san, quoppa and sanpi/disigma, which was what I was thinking of)

#778 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2010, 06:42 PM:

Xopher #768: Since the Pope is the head of the institutional Church

Does "the institutional Church" mean something different than "the Catholic Church"?

#779 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2010, 07:17 PM:

Earl, yes it does. 'The Catholic Church' includes the lay people as well. It's every Roman Catholic in the world.

The institutional Church is the hierarchy, the organization. And the higher you go in it, the more corrupt and self-serving it is.

The institutional Church perpetrated this decades-long crime of protecting child molesters. Most of the Roman Catholic Church didn't know about this, and were outraged when they found out.

#780 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2010, 07:55 PM:

Xopher, I was sure I'd seen pictures of protests against Westboro so I went googling. This is probably the best, and this one has a picture partway down where you have trouble reading the signs, but this one has more signs.

#781 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2010, 08:34 PM:

Thanks, Marilee! I especially love the Rickrolling signs.

#782 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2010, 10:58 PM:

praisegod barebones @775,777, abi@776, thanks for sending me off on a pleasant afternoon chasing linguistic and orthographic history around the web :-) I'd run into digamma and qoppa in college (Homer was writing in Ionian as opposed to Attic, so digammas showed up), but hadn't seen all of those sibilants before. And Z isn't necessarily the last letter of the English alphabet, which can be a thorny problem sometimes, and Yogh gets his own letter ȝ that I hadn't seen before, which helps explain a bunch of Elder Spellings.

Also, it turns out there's even fanfic dealing with alphabetic evolution - http://www.xenafan.com/fiction/content/forant.html

#783 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2010, 11:23 PM:

Most people stop with a ȝ, but not he!

#784 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2010, 01:27 AM:

Open threadiness:

A friend recent;y asked me about this on Facebook. I wondered if anyone here might have relevant experience:

Have you (or anyone else reading this) ever come across a tradition in Turkey of marinading/ slow cooking eggs for 12 hours in turkish coffee, onion skins and olive oil? I found it in an old cookbook and haven't dared try it

#785 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2010, 01:29 AM:

Open threadiness:

A friend recent;y asked me about this on Facebook. I wondered if anyone here might have relevant experience:

Have you (or anyone else reading this) ever come across a tradition in Turkey of marinading/ slow cooking eggs for 12 hours in turkish coffee, onion skins and olive oil? I found it in an old cookbook and haven't dared try it

#786 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2010, 01:53 AM:

Open threadiness:

A friend recent;y asked me about this on Facebook. I wondered if anyone here might have relevant experience:

Have you (or anyone else reading this) ever come across a tradition in Turkey of marinading/ slow cooking eggs for 12 hours in turkish coffee, onion skins and olive oil? I found it in an old cookbook and haven't dared try it

#787 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2010, 01:58 AM:

Apologies for the triple post - got an internal server error when trying to post.


#788 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2010, 03:06 AM:

praisegod barebones @ 784:

I am waiting with bated breath to see if anyone claims this is (a) real, and (b) tasty.
Good heavens, is there any technique that someone, somewhere hasn't tried on food?

#789 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2010, 03:56 AM:

Haven't heard of it either, but I'd be interested in seeing how it works. Just made something else I dreamed up (literally) -- I think I mentioned the "pizza mushrooms" earlier. Really tasty!

#790 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2010, 05:16 AM:

I have tried hard-boiling eggs at a low temperature for an excessively long time (not on purpose...) The whites got a bit brown, but they were fine. Doing it with flavoring in the water might be interesting.

#791 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2010, 06:13 AM:

praisegod barebones #786: Have you (or anyone else reading this) ever come across a tradition in Turkey of marinading/ slow cooking eggs for 12 hours in turkish coffee, onion skins and olive oil? I found it in an old cookbook and haven't dared try it

There's a Bill Mauldin soldier cartoon where Willie and Joe are heating up C-Rations in a big pot of coffee, in which they have a chicken stewing in the bottom of the pot. Not Turkish, but simply practical.

#792 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2010, 06:52 AM:

Bill:

I should probably say that one thing that has made me hesitant about trying the recipe is that I'm unsure whether it's supposed to be something that you do with eggs that have previously been hard-boiled, or whether there's something in the ingredients which actually cooks raw eggs in the way that the limne juice does in a sole ceviche.

Earl: I'm inclined to think that the chicken might end up quite good if cooked like that. I'm not sure I'd want to try the coffee though.

#793 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2010, 09:35 AM:

praisegod barebones @ 787: From experience, I've learned that if I get an " internal server error" (or other error message) when trying to post here, it's safest to close down that tab in my browser, open ML in a new tab, and look to see if my post went through. Generally, it did. That hasn't prevented double-posting-due-to-cat-walking-on-the-keyboard (maybe I'll get that cat-on-keyboard detection program).

An additional way to avoid the possibility of "but it ate my comment!" is to write in Notepad then paste into the comment box.

#794 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2010, 11:00 AM:

praisegod barebones: that sounds similar to a recipe in a cookbook I have called Olive Trees and Honey: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World. Good cookbook, btw.

I have not tried the recipe in question, but at least it appears to have a robust tradition behind it.

The dish is called "huevos haminados" and it's Sephardic. The idea is long, slow simmering in water with onion skins to produce imitation "roasted" eggs. You take the brown parts of onion skins from 12 onions (about 4 cups); rinse if dirty; arrange them in the bottom of a large flameproof casserole and put 12 eggs on top (whole eggs, in shell, no cracks). Add 2 tsp kosher salt, then cover with water by at least 2". Bring to a boil, drizzle with 3 tbsp. olive oil, cover with a lid and simmer very low or place in a preheated 200 degree oven for 8-12 hours. You can add 1/2 c. strong brewed coffee or 2 tbsp. ground coffee to get a darker color.

#795 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2010, 11:20 AM:

Lila: That Sounds like a manual version of a sous vide method. (Sous vide being the current new thing in the crazy food market, where you cook something in a water/oil bath at the exact temp you want it to end up, usually using much expensive temperature sensing and control equipment.)

In particular, I've seen images of different eggs cooked at 1 degree C levels, and the changes from 62 to 64 c are amazing. They also state that you can't get this effect with 'ordinary' cooking, so I wouldn't be too surprised if there's an ancient custom that does exactly that.

If you're interested, I know that there's at least one googleable PDF that I've run across on the net that talks about the food safety aspects, and how long you need to hold different things at different lowish temperatures to be safe. (and, I believe, charts of how long it takes for various sized chunks of meat to come to temperature)

#796 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2010, 11:38 AM:

I knew I'd seen that egg recipe somewhere, it kept tickling at the back of my mind ....
Eggs cooked with oil and onions (simmered gently overnight) are hamine eggs.
The version with coffee is apparently for color and flavor - the source I'm seeing it in says that it's supposed to make the whites amber and the yolks orange, and give the eggs a flavor of chestnuts. (YMMV.)
(The source here is the Oxford Companion to Food, which is a lot of fun to read.)

#797 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2010, 01:24 PM:

eric @ 795: I know that there's at least one googleable PDF that I've run across on the net that talks about the food safety aspects, and how long you need to hold different things at different lowish temperatures to be safe

Can you point me towards that, please? I'm intending to try some hotbox cooking (although mostly using ingredients where the time at temperature isn't a safety issue).

#798 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2010, 02:25 PM:

James Barber has a lazy mans chicken recipe that basically boils down to "stick the chicken in the oven at the lowest temperature (above 'warm') that it'll do, and forget about it for 8-or-more hours. It's enjoyably lazy, and enjoyably nummy.

#799 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2010, 04:24 PM:

xeger @798: Peg Bracken has a great stew, ditto, called "Stay a-Bed Stew" in her "I hate to cook book." It is divine with buffalo.

#800 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2010, 04:51 PM:

Eric #795: Hmmm... <rummages through bookmarks>

Khymos was focusing on soft boiled eggs, and he's got some degree-by-degree pics (plus many graphs). The Food Lab covers both, but their display is minute-by-minute instead.

#801 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2010, 04:53 PM:

Lin Daniel @ 799:

Moments ago I was not aware of the existence of this cookbook. Now I must have it.

(Hmm... Looks like there's a 50th anniversary edition coming out next month.)

#802 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2010, 05:08 PM:

KeithS @801

There is the original I hate to Cook Book which is delightful, witty, and totally not PC. It is a delightful read, as there is a story line running thru each chapter.

Then there is the expanded version, which expands some of the material, rearranges some of the chapters, replaces sour cream with yogurt (far more dietarily PC, I guess) in some old recipes, takes out such delightful statements as "smoke a cigarette and stare sullenly at the sink" while waiting for something to cook (if you hate to cook, sullen is what you are when you have to), and is no longer side-splittingly hilarious.

I highly recommend finding an original. I also recommend reading it the way you should read ML: don't eat or drink anything while actively reading it, or the book will get stained.

#803 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2010, 05:16 PM:

dcb@797:

wikipedia took me here:

http://amath.colorado.edu/~baldwind/sous-vide.html

Is that the kind if thing you're looking for?

#804 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2010, 05:26 PM:

Lin Daniel @ 802:

Ah, thank you for the warning. I figured that updated versions would make substitutions for the fatty ingredients like cream, butter or lard, but to hear that they sucked the fun out too is disappointing.

#805 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2010, 05:33 PM:

Lin Daniel @ 802: Could you expand a little on "totally not PC"? It sounds like a great cookbook, and I'd prefer the funnier read, but if you mean that in the sense of it having racist/sexist/homophobic commentary, I'll probably skip the funny and go for the later version.

#806 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2010, 05:52 PM:

Fade Manley @805

The revised version removes things like smoking cigarettes while waiting for something to cook, and things of like nature. I can't remember any specifics other than that one, because it was in one of my oft cooked recipes, Skid Row Stroganoff. But I remember being disappointed as I read thru the revised version, and finding it not as biting, not as humorous, as the original, because those little improper digs had been removed.

The entire chapter titled Luncheon for the Girls, or, wait till you taste Maybelle's Peanut Butter Aspic was especially dull in the newer version.

The original was printed in 1960.

#807 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2010, 06:12 PM:

I put the second week of BFAC auctions up today. Even if you don't want to bid (almost all the money from the final bids goes to NCCRA), you should look at the mermaid doll and fabulous evening bag!

#808 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2010, 06:16 PM:

Fade Manley @ 805:

There's probably also language that indicates that the book is pitched at housewives. (Because the only men who cook are bachelors or chefs, of course.)

As an example, a cookbook that I have is called Cookbook for Beginners (copyright 1947), but its original title was Cookbook for Brides. The chapter titles are still things like "From Wedding Gown to Kitchen Apron", which "Deals with the fact that whereas newlyweds are popularly supposed to live on love, three good meals a day help a lot. The bride checks her wedding gown, puts on her beruffled kitchen apron, and checks her kitchen equipment, the staple closet, the spice corner, and the emergency shelf. She learns about measurements, too, and gets a bride's-eye view of quantities".

#809 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2010, 06:32 PM:

Ahah! Thanks for the clarification. I'm fine with cigarettes, and I can even deal with Product Of Its Time sexism if it's not overly oppressive. Sounds like a fun book to add to the collection.

#810 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2010, 07:59 PM:

re the US Grant Sidelight, I cannot support the movement to replace the image of Grant on the fifty dollar bill with that of Ronald Reagan.

I would, however, support a move to put Reagan's image on a new one million dollar gold certificate. The rich people he so adored and supported could buy them as collectibles, frame them, and use them to decorate their existing Ronald Reagan adulation shrines.

#811 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2010, 08:06 PM:

Earl, I'll second that!

#812 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2010, 08:30 PM:

All I can say is dang I makes sum good fudes, srsly.

Even when Himself isn't here to eat any of it.

I blame it upon having eaten so many wonderful things for so many years from so many places and living where shopping for the things you actually make food from is of great variety, great quality and all around.

I.e., luck.

Love, C.

#813 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2010, 10:40 PM:

praisegod barebones@803 That's what I was thinking of when I posted.

#814 ::: emilly ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2010, 10:43 PM:

informative note: the taff site referenced on the nielsenhayden.com front page (in "some older writing") has moved and now lives at http://taff.org.uk/.

#815 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2010, 11:37 PM:

WRT egg cookery, there's also Chinese tea eggs.

#816 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2010, 11:55 PM:

one of my interests is collecting old cookbooks. They aren't worded in ways that appear to be in any way "the new bride this" or whatever.

The most fascinating thing about them, and why I try t use them as an everyday resource is that the portions are smaller. Not a whole lot, but simply smaller. Then again, when Coke was introduced, a 6-oz portion was a serving. Now it is 12 or 16 or more in a bottle and who does not drink the whole bottle? Even if the minute verbiage about the portion size says 1 portion is six ounces.

#817 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 12:54 AM:

Lin Daniels @806 et alia, previous:

I have it in the back of my mind that she said in an interview that she divorced the man she was married to when she wrote the original and was a much happier person when the revised edition came out.

#818 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 01:06 AM:

FYI, FWIW:

If you put donations in a food bank barrel, it isn't enough to have the receipts from the purchase of the food even if the food bank is a recognized charity.

You have to have a receipt from the charity for the donation.

#819 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 01:14 AM:

#810 Earl
How about Reagan toilet paper instead... on second thought, that makes for -more- environmental damage.... (bleached printed paper....)


#816 Paula
Some of the culprits pointed at for obesity increase include portion size increases/too large portion sizes at restaurant, dinner plate diameter increase, and multiportion-sized food items sold as ready-to-eat prepared food, addition to High Fructose Corn Syrup used not only as a taxpayer-gouging subsidized replacement for price-supported-higher-than-world-commodity-priced sucrose, but to things that one might think shouldn't ought to automatically include added sweetener including spaghetti sauce, vanilla extract, etc. I would be a lot happier with the sweetener left OUT of dried fruit... if I want "sweetened" I can add it myself! (Baking bar chocolate in particular, the sweetened bars cost as much as the unsweetened baking chocolate--even though the price of sugar and corn syrup are substantially lower per pound than chocolate!)

#820 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 04:33 AM:

praisegod barebones@803; eric@813: Okay. Well, as a vegetarian I don't need to worry about what's in the meat. It's interesting information, but not, I think, relevant to what/how I'm intending to cook (lentils or beans*, grains and vegetables, high heat for 5 - 10 minutes then left in an insulated container for a couple of hours or more, instead of in a lowish oven for e.g. 50 minutes).

* either tinned, or cooked for an appropriate time)

#821 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 04:46 AM:

Paula Lieberman @ 819: When I visited San Francisco and was eating out in the evenings, serving sizes were such that I would eat 3/5 - 2/3 and take the rest for lunch the next day. Effectively, every restaurant meal was enough for two meals.

As for sugar - totally. Hidden sugar (and salt) in everything. Worse in the USA, I think, because of needing to make use of the High Fructose Corn Syrup. As you say, if I want "sweetened" I can add it myself! - but it's very hard* to take out if pre-added.

* (for "very hard" read "impossible")

#822 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 10:06 AM:

Paula Lieberman #819: Of the points you mention, I'd have to say that "portion size" is very much The Wrong Target. Consumers do, and will continue to, actively seek both larger restaurant portions¹, and larger ("economy sized") packages in the supermarket. Getting people to cut their calorie intake simply can not be done by trying to restrict their purchases.

HFCS, on the other hand, is another story. Especially with the recent research indicating that fructose does, in fact, get handled differently by our bodies, notably messing up the blood-sugar feedback loop!

¹ Personally, I like all-you-can-eat buffets.

#823 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 10:49 AM:

822
Portion sizes in restaurants of all kinds have gotten much larger, though, and people get used to thinking that's a 'normal' size, even when it's enough for two (or three).

#824 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 10:55 AM:

O mighty Fluorosphere, container of all knowledge!

There's a device used to quiet babies by giving them something nipple-like to suck on, even though nothing comes out of it. I've always called it a "pacifier." A friend, though, calls it a "binkie." That sounds like a babytalk word, but I'm wondering if a) anyone else has heard this term and b) if anyone knows where it comes from. (It sounds like a shortening of something, but I can't figure out what.)

#825 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 11:01 AM:

I haven't read the I Hate to Cook Book, but I highly recommend her I Hate To Cook Almanac and have a few recipes from it in my regular rotation. (I think this is the one that has "Winter is icumen in -- lhude sing goddam...")

#826 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 11:21 AM:

Xopher @ #824 declaimed:

---------

There's a device used to quiet babies by giving them something nipple-like to suck on, even though nothing comes out of it. I've always called it a "pacifier." A friend, though, calls it a "binkie."

---------

Here on Airstrip One it's usually called a "Dummy", hence the expression "Spit the dummy" (related to "throwing the toys out of the pram") for someone who is seriously annoyed.

#827 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 11:22 AM:

Xopher @#824--I can shed no light on your question, but you may be amused to know that the old-fashioned term in the southern US for such a thing is "fooler". I think you can figure out the origins of that without any pointers...

#828 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 11:24 AM:

Xopher @824, I'd heard the term "binky" before, although, like you, I'd always called the thing a "pacifier." Wikipedia says that "binky" was a brand name first used in 1935 and is now owned by Playtex. Where the brand name came from, I'm not certain, although it certainly sounds like baby talk to me, possibly related to "blankie" -- consider Linus with his blanket wrapped around his arm, and his thumb in his mouth. Yes, I know 1935 pre-dates "Peanuts," but not the behavior!

#829 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 11:25 AM:

I was taught 'pacifier', but when I babysat, I heard 'binky' and 'nook'. My parents had a few bits of vocabulary that were, in retrospect, way less baby-talky than standard. I can remember making the decision at some young age to call stuffed animals 'stuffies' because I'd heard it on TV and it seemed cuter/less formal.

#830 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 11:26 AM:

"Binky" is the word around my brother's house; our term was "noo-noo" when the kids were in that zone. But that's based on a specific book that we read to the kids.

No idea about the history of "binky".

#831 ::: Jeremy Preacher ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 11:29 AM:

It was "pacifier" (or "passie") in my house, but "binky" everywhere else, it seemed.

#832 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 11:33 AM:

Diatryma @829, "nook" is actually another brand name for the thing, NUK.

#833 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 11:49 AM:

Of the points you mention, I'd have to say that "portion size" is very much The Wrong Target. Consumers do, and will continue to, actively seek both larger restaurant portions¹, and larger ("economy sized") packages in the supermarket. Getting people to cut their calorie intake simply can not be done by trying to restrict their purchases.

Given that larger portions have been shown to induce people to eat more - people tend to clean their plates, however much is on them - I'm going to have to go ahead and disagree with you there.

#834 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 12:18 PM:

Paula Lieberman #819: How about Reagan toilet paper instead

That's a fairly common request, although much of what I've seen of it isn't quite what I would hope. One of the better examples is hand-embroidered, but only the first sheet. There is a Reagan toilet paper cover that looks pretty good (the toilet paper is threaded through the image at the mouth). My million dollar gold certificate proposal, on the other hand, is a little more subtle in its irony, and might actually receive support from the rich in the context of Poe's Law. It would also be good for the economy, as it would persuade the rich to cut loose a chunk of their chump change to pay for the certificates.

#835 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 12:21 PM:

By some incredibly bizarre coincidence, I first ran into "binky" yesterday, in Pajama Diaries in the local funny paper. I totally blanked on it, and had to use a precess of elimiantion to figure out what it referred to.

#836 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 12:27 PM:

Ban disinformative censored-to-meet-Texass-bowdlerization-requirements textbooks....

Via Kevin Hopkins on a mailing list"

Texas Board of Education cuts Thomas Jefferson out of its textbooks

http://thinkprogress.org/2010/03/12/texas-education-board-cuts-thomas-jefferson-out-of-its-textbooks

The Texas Board of Education has been meeting this week to revise its social studies curriculum. During the past three days, “the board’s far-right faction wielded their power to shape lessons on the civil rights movement, the U.S. free enterprise system and hundreds of other topics”:

– To avoid exposing students = to “transvestites, transsexuals and who knows what else,” the Board struck the curriculum’s reference to “sex and gender as social constructs.”

– The Board removed Thomas Jefferson from the Texas curriculum, “replacing him with religious right icon John Calvin.”

– The Board refused to require that “students learn that the Constitution prevents the U.S. government from promoting one religion over all others.”

– The Board struck the word “democratic” from the description of the U.S. government, instead terming it a “constitutional republic.”

As the nation’s second-largest textbook market, Texas has enormous leverage over publishers, who often “craft their standard textbooks based on the specs of the biggest buyers.” Indeed, as The Washington Monthly has reported, “when it comes to textbooks, what happens in Texas rarely stays in Texas.”

Update: Following repeated failed attempts to add figures in Hispanic history to the textbooks, one board member, Mary Helen Berlanga, stormed "out of the meeting late Thursday night, saying, 'They can just pretend this is a white America and Hispanics don’t exist.'"

Texas Conservatives Approve Changes to School Curriculum

http://www.democracynow.org/2010/3/15/headlines

Conservatives on the Texas Board of Education have approved a series of major changes to the state’s social studies curriculum. The new curriculum stresses the superiority of American capitalism, questions the separation of church and state, and presents Republican political philosophies in a more positive light. One plank in the new curriculum ensures that students learn about “the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s, including Phyllis Schlafly, the Contract With America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority and the National Rifle Association.” In economic classes, free market advocates Milton Friedman and Friedrich von Hayek will be mandatory reading. Meanwhile, attempts by Hispanic board members to include more Latino figures as role models in the curriculum were defeated even though half of the state’s four million students are Hispanic. The legendary farmworker organizer Dolores Huerta was removed from the curriculum, as was the Mexican American painter Santa Barraza. Board member Mary Helen Berlanga stormed out of one meeting, saying, “They can just pretend this is a white America and Hispanics don’t exist. They are going overboard. They are not experts, they are not historians. They are rewriting history, not only of Texas, but of the United States and the world.”

#837 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 12:42 PM:

Xopher:

Some years ago I attended a talk given by a producer that had been hired to produce a subtitled version of "Kiki's Delivery Service" that was never released because the rights lapsed for the releasing company. (This was some years before Disney cut the deal with Studio Ghibli.) Gibhli gave them a translation script by an English writer not to be named here and because of the brutal and infamous "Warriors of the Wind" edit would not allow the subtitlers to vary from that translation in any way. The producer's studio actually had to make two different versions of the print and show them to two different audiences with staff from Studio Ghibli attending before they reluctantly agreed that American audiences would sit calmly through "Hey, lady, you dropped your pacifier!" but would instantly explode into laughter when they heard "Hey, lady, you dropped your nipple"!

#838 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 12:46 PM:

David Harmon @ 822: The fact that people "do, and will continue to, actively seek both larger restaurant portions, and larger ("economy sized") packages in the supermarket" means that the larger portion size as "normal" is part of the problem. For example, a bagel is twice the size now (and therefore twice as many calories) as it was 20 or 30 years ago. Because "consumers" like to feel they've got more for their money, no manufacturer/retailer can start reducing that portion size. And as ajay said @833, people tend to clear their plates, so they eat more at one sitting. I've actively used this on myself, giving myself a smaller dinner plate to reduce my portion size - and I'm not leaving the table hungry.

"Binky": no idea. Here in the UK, it's called a "dummy"; I understand that "pacifier" is the most usual term in the USA.

#839 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 01:25 PM:

We had a whole discussion about portion size creep a while back:

http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/010237.html

#840 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 01:29 PM:

Allowing for my limited experience with infants... "pacifier" and "soother" were the terms I heard when I was young. Recently I've heard "nuk-nuk", which I take to be an infantilization of "nook"/"NUK".

#841 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 01:44 PM:

Knuckle?

#842 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 02:09 PM:

Open-Thready request

I plan to do a speech for class about power-searcher tips for maximizing your helpful Google returns (the class is full of Millenials who don't remember a life before Pentiums, and they just type full sentences into Google and accept the first couple of things offered), including use of boolean operators, grouping symbols, etc.

I'm looking for a series of example searches that, when performed at least sensitivity, return startlingly unhelpful results, so I can add resolution and show how much it helps.

'Python' is definitely in there, though currently the disambiguation needed is "-programming," whereas it used to be "-monty"; also, either Google's improved or porn euphemisms have changed, because "ball python" used to return some startlingly non-worksafe results.

What are your hilarious search-ambiguity finds?

#843 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 02:49 PM:

An Open Thread idea --

To protest the Texas Board of Education attempt to make Jefferson less important as a founding father, let's see if we can make the $2 bill a bit more common in circulation. And tell people we're doing this to remind people of Jefferson's importance. After all, he's the face on the front of it, and is shown signing the Declaration of Independence on the back.

#844 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 02:50 PM:

Not exactly a search-ambiguity problem since it's a semi-deliberate effect, but I can't remember the right term for it so far-- there's a certain category of fake blogs that pick up random search terms and mix them into combinations which superficially resemble normal prose, but completely fall apart on closer inspection.

There was one I ran across yesterday that completely charmed me, as a date-sorted result from a blog search-- the Google preview excerpt was "Popular romance novelist, Cassie Edwards, is at the centre of a pleasant-looking, mangy white horse, idly chewing something."

#845 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 03:01 PM:

– The Board removed Thomas Jefferson from the Texas curriculum, “replacing him with religious right icon John Calvin.”

If that John Calvin is Swiss reformer Jean Calvin, then from where I'm standing that's a doubly hilarious characteriztion of him.

Not that I'd rather see him in school books than Jefferson, though.

#846 ::: JennR ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 03:06 PM:

Joel @ 280 : not that either of my kids ever used one, but there is a brand of pacifer in the US (at least --it's part of Gerber) called NUK.

#847 ::: JennR ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 03:13 PM:

cor. I was really distracted on that one, apparently. I meant Joel @840 (and didn't catch it on preview).

#848 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 03:26 PM:

Elliott Mason @ 842: Not exactly what you're looking for, but you can pity the poor reproductive scientist working at a veterinary college who was rather shocked by some of the sites he was offered with the legitimate search for "fish sperm". And if you go enough screens down, a search on "water birds" also offers some - interesting - sites (judging by the couple of lines of text provided on the Google link).

Julie L. @ 844: Yes, I've come across a few of those as well.

JennR @ 847: I first read it as your having written Joel @ 880 and my thought was "Time travel! Wheeee!" Then I read it again.

#849 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 04:07 PM:

Tricky Google searches:
There is a rock band called The the.
They're hard to search for because "The is a common word and was eliminated."

So you can't do it unless you get into quote marks and operators and so forth.

#850 ::: Jason Aronowitz ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 04:10 PM:

Julie L. @844: Outside of a mangy white horse, a romance novel is a man's best friend?

#851 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 05:50 PM:

re 839: We also had the HFCS discussion, with the money response here.

#852 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 06:14 PM:

Xopher @824 (et al):

We skipped all the other names (binky, etc.), and refer to our daughter's pacifier as her "plug". (she does so now as well...)

Because that is for what it is doing.

(BTW, my Mother - while she doesn't actually say so - is likely horrified by this. My Mother-in-law is very amused by it.)

#853 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 06:16 PM:

Erik 849: In Google's early days, I broke it by searching for the title of Alan Dean Foster's Into The Out Of. Now it finds it.

#854 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 06:36 PM:

Elliott Mason asked in 842:

"What are your hilarious search-ambiguity finds?"

"Tiger Feet" was a memorable one at work about a decade ago.

There was some discussion about when it was in the charts, a search was duly performed, and someone incautiously clicked the last line on the screen (which was, of course, a Pr0n site.

#855 ::: mcz ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 06:41 PM:

Unashamed self-promotion time: My post, “Plants With Bite” Display and Fair, Mount Tomah, got promoted to the Wordpress front page today. Pow! 500 pageviews, from a previous maximum of just 22.

Can't stop smiling.

#856 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 06:48 PM:

Elliott Mason @ 842 ...
What are your hilarious search-ambiguity finds?

I don't think it counts as ambiguous, per se -- but while the search results are no longer surprising, I should have known better than to search on 'LaTeX problem'.

An acquaintance of mine once made the mistake of putting 'likes water sports' in her online profile. She was thinking about kayaks and canoes, but received a rapid education about some utterly unrelated topics.

#857 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 08:29 PM:

Wrt Google issues: I imagine a search involving dromedary digits would be problematic, too.

#858 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 09:47 PM:

re: why you should buy yarn particle. Someone obviously does not have things in the house that will sometimes eat into wool yarn.'

All natural yarn in my house is in tight plastic bagging because, due to my love of natural sheepskin shearling rugs hither and yon, we have the kind of beetle that eats that kind of thing.

With the hides, they tend to shear the wool from the leather, and *I think they're more into it for the leather. But if they get into a wool stash, your f*kkered.

Actually this was not a factor into why I'm now into beads, making glass beads and making jewelry. THAT is because of the fun and love I found in the torch and glass rods and the mandrel. WOOT.

#859 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 09:59 PM:

dcb #838: I'm not arguing that large portion sizes aren't a challenge to weight control. I am only saying that trying to answer that challenge by cutting restaurant portions, is a non-starter due to the consumer-choice issues involved. (Home portions are clearly another story entirely.)

#860 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 10:10 PM:

What are your hilarious search-ambiguity finds?

I was trying to find some polyurethane bandage strips in a hurry without going the eBay route because I needed to make a penguin wing mold for a sculpture project, the poly I had was long dead, and I wanted something a bit easier to use than plaster-of-paris bandages. I was going through the search results and ended up on a site for recreational casting, which does not involve fishing or the movie casting version of fantasy football. Of course, this happened when using my wife's computer because it was her penguin project, and of course that's when she walked into the room...

#861 ::: Madeline Ashby ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 10:23 PM:

Open thread: Peter Watts' trial begins tomorrow.

#862 ::: PAula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 10:26 PM:

Bruce, I'm sure that induced a WAAAAAAUGH moment as in "I can't click this shit away fast enough to matter..."

Been there, done that.

#863 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 10:39 PM:

858
Why I intend to use some of my tax refund for plastic boxes for my yarn.
Also, not unrelated although a different pest, why we did 'spring cleaning' at work today - someone brought in something that produceed moths.

#864 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 11:10 PM:

David Harmon @ 859: "I am only saying that trying to answer that challenge by cutting restaurant portions, is a non-starter due to the consumer-choice issues involved."

I'm a bit more ambivalent about this. More product for your cash is of course an inescapable consumer drive, but it's also one that's routinely taken advantage of by retailers. Look at coffee: it's nearly universal that the price scale will go something like 16oz, $3.00; 20oz, $3.50; 24oz, $4.00. The most economical is also the largest, pushing anyone who is trying to maximize the return on their money towards buying the largest size, even if in all honesty they only want 16oz of coffee. That's a big part of the "self-evident" desire of Americans for huge portions IMO. If people had to pay twice as much for twice as much, I think far fewer people would buy twice as much.

#865 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 12:01 AM:

You could s/yarn/fabric/ in the "Ten Reasons to Buy Yarn" Particle and it would suit my grandmother perfectly.

She is, however, finally letting go of some of her stash. The picked-over selections laid out in her dining room could keep a small fabric store going for a month, and I know that's nowhere near a fraction of it...

(No, I have no idea what I'm going to do with the couple pieces I took. Why are you looking at me like that?)

#866 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 12:03 AM:

It might make sense to price portions by weight, so that, say, the 8 oz. portion of whatever food costs $N, and the 12 oz. portion costs $N x 1.5, etc. This would get people back to ordering the amount that they actually are comfortably going to eat.

Yeah, I know. Me and my sensible ideas.

#867 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 12:17 AM:

The problem with that method of pricing, Summer Storms, is that it assumes that the material that goes into making the portions is actually the main component of the cost of serving a food customer.

Which ignores overhead, wait staff, and all the fixed costs that go into operating a business. Increasing portion size dramatically while raising the price slowly reflects the fact that the cost of the food in in fact one of the less important factors in the cost of the meal. The restaurant makes significantly more of its nut on the larger portion (and may be losing money on the small ones).

#868 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 12:18 AM:

I kind of like that restaurant portions are huge. It suits the way I go out to eat-- rarely and with the specific intent to be extravagant. But many people have either more money or more home-cooking skills.
For other portion sizes, I'm still a big-meal person, but it's not because of anything specific. Today's dinner was a box of Peanut Butter Patties from the Girl Scouts.

#869 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 12:36 AM:

Tom, I worked in restaurants for years, so I know how the costs work. However, in a lot of restaurants I've both eaten at and worked in, there is at least some size-based pricing, and it's obviously there for a reason.

Say I'm going for a night out on the town with friends, in warm weather. We go for dinner, first, and then a concert or something. I'm not a big eater, so for me, getting - and paying full price for - what amounts to three meals' worth of food is a waste. I can't eat it all, and even assuming I want to put the remainder in a to-go box and either leave it in the car (which assumes I even drove, not always the case given that I live in an urban area) or schlep it about with me for the rest of the night, it's going to spoil before I get it home at the end of the night and into the fridge. Hello, food poisoning.

And I know for a fact that I am nowhere near alone in this. When I used to wait tables in places that insisted on uniformly huge portions and one-size-fits-all pricing, I saw more food left behind on plates than you could shake a stick at, and all because of the ridiculously huge portions being served. I'd say that on an average Saturday night, approximately 50% of diners left behind at least 25% of their meal to be gathered up and disposed of by the busboys. Not only is this an obscene waste of food, but it's also an obscene waste of the patron's hard-earned money. And my tips in the huge-portion establishments weren't any bigger than in the places that practiced a saner version of portion control. If anything, they were smaller, probably since people figured they were already being overcharged for what they actually ate.

#870 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 01:33 AM:

I agree it's wasteful and stupid, Summer Storms -- completely! I'm just saying the system absolutely encourages this sort of wastefulness and stupidity.

An odd thought -- imagine if restaurants were like taxis. There's an explicit charge to drop the meter (take a seat) and then a small incremental charge to add on the amounts of food one wants. Now that might be a possible way to make portion control work, if people would go for it....

#871 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 01:52 AM:

My memory of the food cost target at the restaurant my 1980s employer operated was that it was about 32% of sales. Anything above that and the P&L suffered. This was kind of basic American food; one of the more exotic items was a sandwich called a CBC -- Crab, Bacon and Cheddar. Liquor cost target was below 30%, I think.

It amazed me how hard it was to hit those. I'm sure some of it had to do with food left on plates, because the F&B managers when I was there were bright bean-counters as well as good restaurateurs.

#872 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 02:54 AM:

KeithS, #865: You're getting into fandom. You'll find something to do with them, although they may have to marinate in your closet for a while first. [/evil enabler]

#873 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 03:48 AM:

Oh my goodness, the drunk-SUV-on-fire Particle is freaky...

#874 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 11:13 AM:

KeithS (865): I thought the same thing about my fabric stash. Especially the fur fabric. I have a lot more quilting cotton in terms of yardage, but fur fabric is *bulky*.

#875 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 11:45 AM:

Summer@866: raw materials cost is variable with respect to portion size. But a lot of the costs are fixed (as you must know; I see you've worked in the industry): table space, clearing, setting, washing dishes, and such. Prep time is sort of in the middle, but the cooking part is closer to fixed.

So proposing that retail prices relate linearly to portion size is ridiculous.

#876 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 12:00 PM:

David @875 So proposing that retail prices relate linearly to portion size is ridiculous.

No. It just says that a linear pricing relationship shouldn't pass through the origin.

Which is equivalent to what Tom Whitmore suggested @870.

I kind of like this idea, although I can see it quickly being abused into the kind of nickel-and-dime pricing that people hate about hospital charges. Or, for that matter, airlines these days.

#877 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 12:03 PM:

Mary Aileen @ 874:

Yes, the fur does get bulky in a hurry. You don't happen to be getting rid of any brown goatish/sheepish fake fur by chance, do you?

ObPortionPricing:

This discussion looks, to me, remarkably like the one that recently took place about ebook versus paper book pricing, and ones that have taken place in the past regarding huge doorstopper books versus shorter ones for the same price. (Not meaning any criticism or judgement by this; it's just interesting to me.)

#878 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 12:16 PM:

Increase the price as the square root of the ratio of the portion size, maybe? Double the size of my steak and just add 41% to the price? That would make a nice gristly 16 ounce steak at $15 into a nice gristly 32 ounce steak for about $21. Yum!

I wonder how big barn all you can eat places calculate in potentially unlimited portion sizes? Butts in chairs per hour?

#879 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 12:19 PM:

What I remember from my days in the food service industry was that costs should be (roughly) 30% food, 30% labor, 30% overhead, and 10% profit. You miss much on any of them and you're into your profit. Realistically, that often wound up at 33/33/33/1, or worse.

I also remember one boss/owner grumbling really loudly one day and telling me that the most expensive part of McDonald's sodas might be the ice. Though that may have been colored by the fact that he was fighting with a balky ice machine at the time.

#880 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 12:20 PM:

Summer #866: Certainly, many restaurants do offer half-portions, or "appetizer sizes"... it's just that a half-portion is usually more than half the price. Those who are more concerned with having a smaller portion can do so -- but even without the bargain, they can still leave food on their plate, or take it home. In contrast, if the restaurant cuts the "main" portion size, they lose way more customers than would be put off by the large portions.

#881 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 12:24 PM:

Tom Witmore @870 --

I don't think it's there anymore, but in the early 90s there was a vegetarian restaurant in Ottawa called the Green Door; it sold food by the kg. You went through a (carefully and cheerfully labeled) buffet style selection of food, and they weighed your plate at the end. Desserts were a different price per kilogram.

It seemed to work pretty well for them, and it was certainly good food. Though I expect someone sweated blood either planning the menu or calculating the price per kg, and I further suspect that this is the major bar to restaurants adopting such a pricing scheme; calculating the price per unit mass would be very, very hard. (Generally speaking, people who are not buying huge amounts of something will not tolerate tiered pricing for anything; it's complicated and they don't like the sense of unpredictability, even when it is saving them money. It took the mobile phone industry years to learn this...)

#882 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 12:41 PM:

Long ago, there was a restaurant in Minneapolis called "Weigh to go" where you filled your plate with sandwiches, fruit, salad bar and such, and weighted it at checkout. We used to go there after Minn-StF frisbee sessions sometimes (late 1970s/early 1980s). But it doesn't seem to be a common model. I've run into big buffets in New York City that work that way, though, more recently.

#883 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 12:48 PM:

David Dyer-Bennet #882: There certainly used to be a lot of such buffets in NYC (several around Madison Square Garden), though a few years ago I recall noting that there were fewer to be seen. The thing about those places is, they weren't so cheap, and it was really easy to get a nasty shock at the register! Not to mention they trended to food that was "heavy" in both senses....

#884 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 01:08 PM:

KeithS (877): What is this "get rid of" of which you speak? ;)

More seriously, no, I don't have any like that. I did just buy some beautiful royal-blue fur for my next project. A cabinet and two big drawers overflowing with fur fabric, and none of it right...story of my life.

#885 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 01:26 PM:

We had a fixed-price-per-pound buffet here in town for many years. The food was VERY good and the place stayed pretty busy. Alas, like a lot of other local restaurants, it has now gone out of business.

In related economic news, Georgia's governor, having flatly refused to raise the cigarette tax, has given Georgia's hospitals three choices: 1. give up your nonprofit status; 2. take a 20 percent cut in Medicaid payments (which are already below the cost of providing care); or 3. pay a per-bed tax on all beds, occupied or unoccupied.

#886 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 02:00 PM:

Tom Whitmore @ #870:
"There's an explicit charge to drop the meter (take a seat) and then a small incremental charge to add on the amounts of food one wants. Now that might be a possible way to make portion control work, if people would go for it...."

What you are describing sounds like a cafeteria with a cover charge.

#887 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 02:03 PM:

Speaking of fabric...I've been trying to think of a truly outlandish fabric to make a teddy bear out of. Best I can come up with is a loud print or serious upholstery brocade. Gold lamé? Nubbly red wall-cloth with tassels?

#888 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 02:08 PM:

Xopher (887): Would it be a children's toy, or for an adult? If the former, you want something relatively soft/smooth. Either way, a heavier weight of fabric will make up better.

#889 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 02:33 PM:

Mary Aileen, so far it's just an idea for something wacky. I'm just trying to think of the most ridiculously inappropriate fabric to use for a teddy bear. Whether I'll actually make it is a separate question.

#890 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 02:50 PM:

Xopher: You can get fabric with sequins all over it some places, though it's a pain to sew. Or check the quilter's prints at the local fabric store.

#891 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 02:54 PM:

I get the feeling that serious bargains on food will become more appealing to me in the near future, as I have just (electronically) signed on the dotted line for five years of being a graduate student. I will be going to UC Berkeley to get my PhD in Cognitive Psychology - which does not mean that I will be working on the clinical side of things at all - I am trained (and training) as a vision researcher, with an interest in attentional effects and mechanisms.

#892 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 02:55 PM:

Least appropriate material for a teddy bear would, IMO, be something incredibly filmy and weak. Something that would tear apart the minute one looked at it.

Think a very thin, delicate lace or tissue.

#893 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 02:58 PM:

Xopher (889)/Carrie (890): Sequins sounds good. Or use the quilters' trick and mix wildly disparate fabrics/prints.

#894 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 03:04 PM:

A different take on market forces and diet, from Consumerist: Why A Salad Costs More Than a Big Mac?.

#895 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 03:04 PM:

Xopher, how about textured vinyl? I'm thinking maybe this flower-embroidered brown stuff or this imitation Emu skin, but the store in question offers plenty of choices, including a lovely pale-purple faux crocodile.

#896 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 03:22 PM:

I just read this profile of an up-and-coming young Chinese race-car-driver/novelist/blogger/teen heartthrob. Truly, it is excellent.

#897 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 03:22 PM:

Thank you Andrew! I think I may have found my answer.

#898 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 03:27 PM:

Xopher @887: Chain mail.

#899 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 04:39 PM:

more Google ambiguity examples:
How about people with the same names as other famous people, such as:

Adam Smith
Tom Jones
Engelbert Humperdinck
Paul Simon

#900 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 04:56 PM:

Erik @ #899: A bank clerk at the 34th Street branch of my bank was named Elizabeth Taylor.

Matt Dillon, although that is more the character name (memory goes back that far). Ditto Edward Norton.

The singer James Morrison.

The films Notorious and Spellbound, for that matter.

#901 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 05:10 PM:

Benjamin Wolfe @ 891: I was a penniless PhD student a while back. There are things you can do to help.

Learn to cook. Seriously, if you can't do so now, then start. I've saved a lot by learning what time my local supermarket puts things onto final reduction (10 or 20% of original) and going over there at that time say twice a week. Look for anywhere selling cheap large bags of things like rice and lentils that can be stored for ages. Don't be afraid of damaged packaging. Check carefully whether the two-pound (weight) pack is actually cheaper than the one-pound pack (amazingly, it isn't always - do the maths, don't assume, because the stores expect you to assume and they get away with making the larger pack more expensive on a per-weight basis because people are not expecting it). Apologie if I'm teaching my grandmother...

#902 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 05:19 PM:

An uncle, now-dead, named Dale Evans.

#903 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 05:26 PM:

Congrats, Benjamin @891! Also don't sneer at that staple of student cuisine, the ramen soup pack. It can be jazzed up with a small handful of fresh veggies, turned into the crunchy part of a salad, added to stirfry...just google "ramen recipes."

#904 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 05:26 PM:

Jacque @ 898: "Xopher @887: Chain mail."

Okay, now I want an Iorek Byrnison stuffie.

#905 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 05:47 PM:

Xopher @887: Burnout velvet.

#906 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 06:13 PM:

Benjamin @ #891, Janet @ #903, I bought some ramen a week or so ago and discovered several recipes, including a chili-cheese fritatta and a stir-fry.

#907 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 06:18 PM:

@ dcb (901) Cooking and baking are my major hobbies - but I appreciate the advice regardless of my own interests in eating well (says the man who buys 25# sacks of flour as he bakes fanatically).

#908 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 06:36 PM:

Benjamin Wolfe @ 907: Well then, you're probably going to eat much better than I did. Luckily I didn't mind having pasta-with-tomato-sauce-and-cheese, couscous-with-cream-cheese and similar (plus carrot, broccoli, cauliflower, leeks or mushrooms) again and again. My cookery repertoire has expanded somewhat since then, thankfully. Although when you come in really tired couscous and cheese is quick and easy to make and doesn't even need to be chewed!

And good luck with the PhD; hope you're got a good supervisor and a good research group.

Janet Brennan Croft @ 903: But the sodium content of the flavour sachet is usually sky high. I've learned to use the noodles but not the flavour sachet - or only half, if I have to.

#909 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 06:46 PM:

Linkmeister #906: I bought some ramen a week or so ago and discovered several recipes, including a chili-cheese fritatta and a stir-fry.

Maruchan's idea of "Low Sodium Ramen Chicken Soup" is pretty strange. Adding unsalted butter to a soup recipe that uses two flavor packets doesn't make it low sodium, as far as I know. In the version of low sodium ramen chicken soup that I make, it's lower because of two things: I partially cook the soup, veggies and chicken, drain the water and rinse it, then add fresh water and spices to finish cooking; I also substitute sodium free bouillon power for the deadly but tasty flavor packet of doom.

Adding unsalted butter to ramen soup is like having a diet soda with surf & turf.

#910 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 07:13 PM:

Benjamin Wolfe@907, you'll be in Berkeley. For staples like rice and beans, check the ethnic grocery stores (probably easier with a car, depending on where you end up living, or a bike with a large basket.) For fresh produce, the Berkeley Bowl has good quality, and when I've been there it's usually had reasonable prices. The big Farmers' Market is on Telegraph (I think it's still Sundays?) and I've occasionally run into one on Shattuck on the north side. Local foodies are into locally grown fresh produce, and it's not just because of leftover hippieism; there's really a lot around.

Back when I was a grad student there, 30 years ago, there was a farm stand a few blocks from my house, but it's long gone. The former Coop stores have mostly become Andronico's ($$$$) except for the Berkeley Bowl. We had a car, but parking near campus was a pipe dream back then, just as it is now, and public transit was cheap but didn't go the right directions except the free shuttle from BART to campus. The $2 Chinese lunch special is now about $6, so it's somewhat a better deal, but bringing your lunch is still usually a better idea, especially since you bake (which I often did back then.)

#913 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 07:40 PM:

#911: Demonic dinosaur sodomy!

#914 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 08:16 PM:

Julie L. #911: Johnson said

Wow, that guy blesses us all with a glorious effulgence of fractal wrongness.

#915 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 09:06 PM:

Open-thready: So, the 2010 Virginia Festival of the Book runs tomorrow through Sunday....

Like last year, there are only a few SF/F oriented events -- three listed by the topic (one of those a book-signing), but I also found a talk on worldbuilding that apparently got left out of that list.

I haven't picked all the talks I'll go to (much will depend on my fatigue level), but I've been narrowing it down.

#916 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 09:23 PM:

Actually, the dinosaurs all turned to stone when they looked back on Sodom, that's why they're all fossilized.

#917 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 09:26 PM:

Actually, the dinosaurs all turned to stone when they looked back on Sodom, that's why they're all fossilized.

#918 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 09:46 PM:

Tsk,tsk, Erik, we all should know that there never were any dinosaurs! The Flying Spaghetti Monster, bless his noodly appendages, simply puts the fossils there right before you dig!

#919 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 09:51 PM:

Well, hey, that makes perfect sense. I mean, if dinosaurs had been on Noah's ark, they'd still be around, right? And God told Noah to put breeding pairs of every animal on the ark, right? So why'd the dinosaurs get left out? Well, page back to the beginning of the Noah story, chapter 6 of Genesis, where the sons of God father children on the daughters of men, and then there are giants in the earth, and then God starts to think the whole creation thing was maybe a bad idea, and talks to Noah.

#920 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 10:54 PM:

Julie, #912: He's right about one thing, though. The Bible does support the concept of slavery; there are multiple passages telling masters how they should treat their slaves, and never one suggestion that slavery might be immoral or sinful.

#921 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 11:12 PM:

Graydon @ 881 -- The Green Door is still open and serving good food, and another vegetarian restaurant with the same pay-by-weight scheme, the Table, opened a few years ago. And of course there are the Commensal restaurants, in Toronto, Montreal, and other locations. They all seem to be pretty popular.

#922 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2010, 09:52 AM:

I've been looking up a few names for my father. It's a little surprising what connections come up.

One of his schoolteachers was a nephew of Sir Richard Gregory, who was editor of Nature, and who knew H. G. Wells.

And then there was Grandad in the Home Guard, meeting people such as Tom Wintringham and "Yank" Levy.

There's times when I wonder who I've met, over the years, but my brother does tell me that he's possibly the top man in educational statistics in the UK. The older people are retiring.

Blast it, those are grey hairs...

#923 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2010, 11:23 AM:

me @898: Stuffed with steel wool, of course.

#924 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2010, 11:24 AM:

Julie L. @ 912: Brontology recapitulates Fallen-geny?

#925 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2010, 11:26 AM:

To the people behind the curtain, my post @923 produced an "Internal server error 500," though it appears to have gone through fine.

#926 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2010, 11:30 AM:

re 920: The bible doesn't explicitly denounce slavery. I personally find it hard to interpret the parable of the good Samaritan as anything but an implicit denunciation, but perhaps that's just me.

#927 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2010, 11:47 AM:

#912 ::: Julie L.

Alas that there are so many of him in the current USA. :(

Love, C.

#928 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2010, 01:25 PM:

924: Brontology recapitulates phallogeny, surely.

#929 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2010, 01:44 PM:

Julie L #912: Ye gods and small fishes.

#930 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2010, 01:47 PM:

887: I'm just trying to think of the most ridiculously inappropriate fabric to use for a teddy bear

Asbestos, obviously. Tough, long-lasting, and easy to clean (just stick it in a fire for an hour or so).

Sharkskin?

#931 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2010, 01:54 PM:

@887: Tulle? With red and white filling?

#932 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2010, 02:18 PM:

887
Chiffon? Sequined chiffon? Organza with beads?

#933 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2010, 02:47 PM:

Xopher @887, Carrie S @890
Skip the "quilter's section" and go straight to the quilter's fabric store. Ask your favorite quilter what her/his fav store is, and wait for the dreamy look. Go there.

Fabric with potato chips, chocolate chip cookies, buttons of various denominations and colors, jelly beans, M&Ms, hot dogs with catsup and mustard bottles, the usual cars, boats, horses, you can get seriously lost.

My mother the quilter took me with her to the local den of iniquityfabric store. I almost bought 3 yards of fabric for which I had no project (yet) because it was surface-of-the-moon print. The only thing that saved me was a lack of cash, and the fact the fabric was tan and not gray. If it had been gray, I would have been washing floors in that store to get that fabric.

#934 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2010, 03:34 PM:

Breadcrumbs to Open Thread 137.

#935 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2010, 03:41 PM:

C. Wingate, #926: You might well be right about that. But the Biblical approval of slavery is explicit, not something you have to go looking for.

Note for anyone else who might be thinking this -- I do not by any means believe that all Christians therefore approve of slavery. However, it's one more reason to be leery of Biblical literalists and people who argue that "if it's not in the Bible, it doesn't exist". It's also evidence that the Bible provides a safe haven for bigots and people who are still fighting the Civil War.

#936 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2010, 06:25 PM:

Lin Daniel (933): This page has surface-of-the-moon fabric in gray, about 2/3 of the way down. (That site is likely to get *lots* of my money in about a week when my budget opens up.)

#937 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2010, 07:10 PM:

Both because this thread started with a caption contest, and because I hate to sully the new open thread with a mention of Harold Ford JR, I though this the best place to note that Ballon Juice has a picture of Young Harold's recent night out at the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame's 2010 induction ceremonies. Whatever he was expecting the evening to be like, I don't think his imagination was up to the task.

#938 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2010, 03:42 PM:

#794 ::: Lila

praisegod barebones: that sounds similar to a recipe in a cookbook I have called Olive Trees and Honey: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World. Good cookbook, btw.I have not tried the recipe in question, but at least it appears to have a robust tradition behind it.The dish is called "huevos haminados" and it's Sephardic.

Lila - thanks for this. (and also PJ Evans), and sorry I didn't say so earlier. I was hoping that someone in the fluorosphere might have tried it.

Spanish sephardic would also give it a Turkish connection of course, since many Spanish Jews ended up in the Ottoman Empire after the Inquisition started up. Hence, no doubt the Turkish coffee in the Oxford Companion to Food.

(I don't know the OCF; but I have, and love, the same author's 'Mediterranean Sea food' which I've been told was once reviewed as 'The best book ever written on this - or perhaps any other - subject')

#939 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2010, 06:04 PM:

Mary Aileen @936

You fiend!
*whimper*

#940 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2010, 07:35 PM:

Lin Daniel (939): You're welcome.

#941 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2010, 11:34 AM:

Since open thread 137 is a joke thread....

http://www.studyworld.com/studyworld_studynotes/index.htm/

claims Studyworld.com offers a premier free source for literary analysis on the web. We provide an educational supplement for better understanding of classic and contemporary Literature Profiles, Metaphor Analysis, Theme Analyses, and Author Biographies.

Based on looking at http://www.studyworld.com/newsite/ReportEssay/History/American%5CWhy_The_North_Won_The_Civil_War-404081.htm however, I think they and PublishAmerica and/or Author House are mutually deserving parties... I sent an email with the comments below pointing out a few of the glaring defects....

==============

http://www.studyworld.com/newsite/ReportEssay/History/American%5CWhy_The_North_Won_The_Civil_War-404081.htm
direly needs rewriting and editing...

eg.

"Sheer manpower ratios were unbelievably one-sided, with only nine of the
nation's
31 million inhabitants residing in the seceding states (Angle 7)."

The seceding states had -nine- residents??!

"The Union also had large amounts of land
available for growing food crops which served the dual
purpose of providing food for its hungry soldiers and money
for its ever-growing industries. The South, on the other
hand, devoted most of what arable land it had exclusively
to its main cash crop: cotton (Catton, The Coming Fury 38)."

The South had lots of land suitable for agriculture. The decision of what
to grow on it was a different issue. As for "its hungry soldiers" they
weren't hungry when stationed at home in garrison. Logistics and supply
lines for feeding soldiers are a different issue....

"Raw materials were almost entirely concentrated in Northern
mines and refining industries."

The South had raw materials. What it didn't have was an industrial
base/interest in an industrial-based society. The climates perhaps laos
played a role--air conditioning has made huge difference....

"The Confederates were and starving "

Huh?


#942 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2010, 11:35 AM:

Since open thread 137 is a joke thread....

http://www.studyworld.com/studyworld_studynotes/index.htm/

claims Studyworld.com offers a premier free source for literary analysis on the web. We provide an educational supplement for better understanding of classic and contemporary Literature Profiles, Metaphor Analysis, Theme Analyses, and Author Biographies.

Based on looking at http://www.studyworld.com/newsite/ReportEssay/History/American%5CWhy_The_North_Won_The_Civil_War-404081.htm however, I think they and PublishAmerica and/or Author House are mutually deserving parties... I sent an email with the comments below pointing out a few of the glaring defects....

==============

http://www.studyworld.com/newsite/ReportEssay/History/American%5CWhy_The_North_Won_The_Civil_War-404081.htm
direly needs rewriting and editing...

eg.

"Sheer manpower ratios were unbelievably one-sided, with only nine of the
nation's
31 million inhabitants residing in the seceding states (Angle 7)."

The seceding states had -nine- residents??!

"The Union also had large amounts of land
available for growing food crops which served the dual
purpose of providing food for its hungry soldiers and money
for its ever-growing industries. The South, on the other
hand, devoted most of what arable land it had exclusively
to its main cash crop: cotton (Catton, The Coming Fury 38)."

The South had lots of land suitable for agriculture. The decision of what
to grow on it was a different issue. As for "its hungry soldiers" they
weren't hungry when stationed at home in garrison. Logistics and supply
lines for feeding soldiers are a different issue....

"Raw materials were almost entirely concentrated in Northern
mines and refining industries."

The South had raw materials. What it didn't have was an industrial
base/interest in an industrial-based society. The climates perhaps laos
played a role--air conditioning has made huge difference....

"The Confederates were and starving "

Huh?


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