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April 23, 2010

Open thread 139
Posted by Teresa at 05:33 PM *

APAthy. A type of lethargy to which all fans are subject from time to time, and which may in time result in the end of fandom as we know it. In the fannish continuum egoboo and fanac are related in much the same way as are matter and energy in the material universe. Fanac produces egoboo, and egoboo in turn produces more fanac, in a self-sustaining reaction. But it is important to note that it is not the destruction of one that produces the other, as is the case with matter and energy in the physical universe, but rather the creation of one leads to the creation of the other. Conversely the destruction of one leads to the destruction of the other. If the ratio of egoboo to fanac falls below the critical level the reaction will cease to sustain itself and die. This condition is known as APAthy and is the fannish equivalent of entropy. It is called APAthy because the terminal phase of fandom resembles a universal APA, in which everyone writes of his own affairs and ignores everyone else. There is no recruitment; activity requirements are continually reduced; everywhere the once bright lights of fandom dim and die; it is the Universal Heat Death of fandom.

It follows, I think, that the Law of Conservation of Egoboo is a moral law, not a scientific one. It is that if we want fandom to continue, egoboo must never be destroyed or withheld.

—Walt Willis, “The Harp that Once or Twice,” in Science-Fiction Five-Yearly #8, edited by Geri Sullivan.

Comments on Open thread 139:
#1 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2010, 05:43 PM:

(nb: that's "The Harp That Once or Twice", not "The Harp the Once or Twice")

#2 ::: Kayjayoh ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2010, 06:00 PM:

The number of things I just had to look up to make sense of that paragraph...I think I just lost at least half of my geek cred.

#3 ::: Ulrika ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2010, 06:07 PM:

Kayjayoh- It's been true for a while that you can be entirely au fait with the shibboleths and jargon of one branch of fandom and fanlike cultures without knowing much or anything about another. Fandom is a large house, it contains multitudes. Someday it may even contain John Scalzi. (HHOK -- just to give you another term to look up.)

#4 ::: The Raven ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2010, 06:07 PM:

Hmmmm. You know, one could compute a blogspheric APAthy index. Something like number of blog posts read over number of blog posts written. If it's zero, no-one's reading anyone else's stuff. The larger it gets, the more people are reading other people's stuff.

I suspect it's well under one. Hunh.

#5 ::: dlbowman76 ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2010, 06:12 PM:

(This may be relevant, or may not be relevant. Judging the relevance of this post may or may not be possible unless you can determine its irrelevance. Fortunately, this is an Open Thread. Q.E.D.)

Here's a poser: it's a given that many of the most worthwhile endeavors possess a degree of difficulty.  Why then, do so many people automatically assume that if something is difficult, then it *must follow* that it is itself worthwhile?

Corollary 1: If something entirely lacks difficulty, it follows that it entirely lacks worthiness and will be suspected as base hedonism.

Corollary 2: If something is so difficult as to be practically (but not theoretically) impossible, then it is absolutely praiseworthy.

Yrs,
David

#7 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2010, 06:22 PM:

Your corollary 2 implies direct proportionality of difficulty and praiseworthiness (and probably linear proportionality), dlbowman @5. If there's some sort of threshold or step function involved, or a curve that rises for a while and sinks after a certain point, what you've suggested doesn't follow.

The general fallacy you're pointing to, of course, is the Law of Similarity, a basic rule of magic. Two things share a characteristic, therefore they share all characteristics. Most people recognize this as untrue when it's stated that bluntly, but (similar to "where there's smoke, there's fire") use it as a basic organizing principle -- until proven otherwise, things that are similar in some way are likely to be similar in all ways.

This has been your arrant pedantry lesson for the day.

#8 ::: dlbowman76 ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2010, 06:39 PM:

Hi Tom,

Many thanks for your pedantry! I agree that what I've posed is indeed a fallacy. I like to think of it as the "Puts hair on your chest!" hypothesis*. What intrigues me about it is that so many people implicitly believe this and will modify their behavior based on it.

I include myself, as I struggle through "Soldier's Pay", one of the worst novels by a great novelist I've ever encountered.

#9 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2010, 06:43 PM:

Open Thready:

I got the best birthday present ever.

#10 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2010, 06:51 PM:

joann 138/904:: Très simple: hook a microphone up to the brightest strobe you can find and aim it at their garage, then set the sensitivity to some reasonable volume. Operant Conditioning Я Us.

#11 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2010, 06:51 PM:

Constance, #909 (from 138), I already emailed their tech editor on how to get Facebook off the online version of WP. I think that implies my annoyance. I'm still seeing it on the top of the page, though.

#12 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2010, 07:03 PM:

Tom Whitmore #7: It's worth noting that the Law Of Similarity arises from a basic feature of our cognitive faculties, namely that our associative memory is more-or-less commutative. Usually this is the Right Thing, but sometimes it spawns bugs.

B. Durbin #9: "You must login to see this page". I don't have a Facebook account, and am less than motivated to get one. Perhaps you could describe it here?

#13 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2010, 07:24 PM:

David Harmon: Oops. Try this instead.

#14 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2010, 07:28 PM:

dlbowman #5 et seq:

Part of this is related to the economist's: "there can't really be a $20 bill there, someone would have picked it up already"

Like the Law of Similarity, this is actually a helpful heuristic [if it really was worth doing and easy, why hasn't it been done already?] but not a reliable rule of inference.

#15 ::: Ulrika ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2010, 07:39 PM:

David @ #5

Your logic does not appear to follow any formal system I'm familiar with. Neither of your corollaries actually follows from the original thesis.

If you start with:
If x is difficult then x is worthwhile,

that implies nothing whatsoever about what may be true of things which are not difficult. It does, however, (by Modus Tollens) imply that

If x is not worthwhile then x is not difficult

which is clearly not true, by observation.

By a second application of Modus Tollens we can conclude that the initial posit is also false.

#16 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2010, 07:49 PM:

B. Durbin: Good work! What an excellent baby!

#17 ::: dlbowman76 ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2010, 07:52 PM:

Ulrika @ 15: Ahh, I fear that I had not conveyed my frivolity well. I am not a logician, nor am I a philosopher. I was not trying to make a profound logical observation, I was merely bemused by a phenomenon that I have observed and experienced.

I sometimes forget that on Making Light, unless your posts are in light verse, they are subject to peer review.

#18 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2010, 07:52 PM:

An unsolicited endorsement: For decades now, I've been taking my logical fallacies to Tom Whitmore to have them sorted out. He's good.

#19 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2010, 07:59 PM:

dlbowman, I thought they were good observations. Since there are so many difficult things we do only because they're worthy, we assume that whatever is difficult must be worthy, instead of (say) misguided, or the only option for which they had all the parts and hardware, or necessary in order to get the whole thing paid for by health insurance but not otherwise a good idea.

The second one is likewise apt: how do we judge the value of something we get for free?

#20 ::: JM ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2010, 08:03 PM:

B. Durbin: Congratulations! What a good birthday present!

#21 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2010, 08:04 PM:

From 138: Linkmeister @914, that reminds me I should swing by the Goodwill in Henrietta and see if they still have that Brazil '66 LP with "Mas que Nada" on it.

Hm. Changing gears. I've fantasized about having a car that was mostly a vehicle to carry immensely powerful speakers, and the next time some goober comes up by me at a stoplight with his bass notes thrumming out, I'd fire up the system and blast him into the next time zone. I would be playing Anthony Newman's organ version of "Ride of the Valkyries." There may be louder recordings, but that's the one I'd like to use.

Other fantasies include having an industrial-type vacuum and going down the street collecting cigarette butts, and when I see someone throwing one out the window, putting a hose in before he shuts it and hitting REVERSE.

Ulrika @3, I've also heard "My Father's house has many Ackermansions."

B. Durbin @9 - Beautiful!

#22 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2010, 08:04 PM:

B. Durbin (9/13): Congratulations! Good work.

dlbowman76 (17): I understood your #5 to be pointing out others' faulty logic rather than your own conclusions.

#23 ::: dlbowman76 ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2010, 08:10 PM:

Teresa @ 19: Herzlich dank! Part of these musings were driven by a chewing-out I received from a dear friend who (bless him) is cut from the James Wood mold of strong literary elitist. We had an INCANDESCENT row about Ian McEwan's "Solar"*. But that row got my fertile mind fertilizing on this difficulty = worth conundrum. And considering the stellar brains that inhabit this grand colloquy, I knew I'd learn something.

*Re. "Solar" It's the best SF novel I've read this year, bawdy, brilliant, and hilarious - and sorry Granta editors, but if your novel relies on a not-yet existing technology to move the plot...that's SF!

#24 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2010, 08:23 PM:

I was three-quarters through college when I briefly took the stand that I do not always have to do things the hard way. I can be Good Enough. Just because it's difficult doesn't mean I should do it.

I sometimes manage to hold to this, but not often. An acquaintance who manages to draw honesty from me-- I think it's because I cannot make small talk with her-- once heard me say that I was in engineering rather than English or publishing because it's harder. I didn't know that until I talked to her.

I don't put a lot of effort into cherry trees, but when they bloom, they're wonderful.

#25 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2010, 08:26 PM:

Kip @ #21, do you know about SecondSpin? It sells gently-used CDs. That link is to a Sergio Mendes/Brazil 66 compilation album which includes Mas Que Nada, selling for $5.57 plus s&h.

#26 ::: dlbowman76 ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2010, 08:28 PM:

Oh gosh! I'm utterly callous! B.Durbin, gaudeamus igitur! (I have one of these - not sure yet of the make or model, but looks robust - coming at the end of September.) May your whole family enjoy health and happiness...particularly at the 3am nappy and snack summons!

#27 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2010, 08:30 PM:

Kip: I had my van in the shop yesterday, getting the starter replaced with one that would actually start instead of making weird noises. On my way home, stopped at a stoplight, I was hearing different weird noises, and neither of the cars I could see looked like the types to have killer stereos; after the light turned green and we started moving, I saw a car that was the probable culprit, who'd just been in my blind spot.

On stereo speakers for the neighbors, one summer in college the top corner room of the house I lived in was occupied by a girl who was a night owl, and who was annoyed by the squirrels living in the wall who were Cheerful Morning Rodents that would cause a racket around 5am when she'd scarcely gotten to bed. She eventually did the speaker thing at 4am for a couple of days running, which woke them up and annoyed them so they left. I don't know that they stayed away all that long, but it at least worked long enough to gloat about.

#28 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2010, 08:40 PM:

My father once said that not everything worth doing, is worth doing well. Which I think is another way of saying that Good Enough is, at least part of the time, good enough.

#29 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2010, 08:55 PM:

dlbowman76, Teresa,

Perhaps the assumption that difficulty=worth is a useful corrective to the human tendency to avoid difficulty whenever possible.

If that's so, isn't it distressing, that it doesn't have to be true to be both good and useful?

Sincerely, Your pessimistic Pollyanna, JAA

#30 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2010, 09:06 PM:

Linkmeister @25, thanks for the tip!

Bill Stewart @27, we had an apartment neighbor in the last apartment we ever lived in who was through the living room wall from us. She felt obliged to have the speakers right up against that wall. I asked her once if she could just put them somewhere away from it so she could listen to them at the same volume without forcing us to listen as well, but this concept didn't seem to mean anything to her. Of course I fantasized about buying some car speakers and screwing them onto the wall, facedown, and playing "Orphans" by Teenage Jesus and the Jerks all day for a while. Fantasies are good. They can keep us from killing people.

[Difficulty=worth]
My favorite trick by Penn & Teller is the one that uses a dozen or more sleights of hand to do absolutely nothing. Teller takes a cigarette out of a pack, lights a match, puffs smoke... only it was a deck of cards, the 'cigarette' was a pencil, everything is switched for something else at least once. We see it once, not knowing what we're seeing. Then Penn narrates it for us, and everything means something it didn't mean before. It was breathtaking and, as Raymond Chandler once said, "as elaborate a waste of human intelligence as you could find anywhere outside an advertising agency."

#31 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2010, 09:10 PM:

B. Durbin, that looks to be the bestest birfday pressie ever! Good job! Much fun and chaos will abide!

#32 ::: Laina ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2010, 09:11 PM:

B. Durbin: Congratulations! Wishing all good things for your new little girl and her family.

#33 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2010, 09:16 PM:

30
I've had that fantasy myself, a few times, as well as one involving devices that make vehicle sound systems blow up spectacularly.

Add in some kind of isolation from the floor, because those subwoofers can make the building structure vibrate quite nicely, without the people on the front side actually noticing what's going on. (Hearing impairment from the volume comes to mind.)

#34 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2010, 09:29 PM:

B. Durbin: Congratulations! That's a very nice looking baby. May it grow up to be a healthy, happy human being.

#35 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2010, 09:32 PM:

There's no occasion to admit defeat
beneath an empty sky of callous blue
in this proud season when we must renew
so many hopes. Our senses cannot treat
these many messages of the hard street
as what they are, and the time's overdue
for easy answers. So the young must rue
what they can't know, and old ones lose the beat.
We change the era as we change our socks:
in solemn mode, but yet with little thought
of any deeper meaning in the act;
one moment free, the next cast on the rocks
with every motion seeming overwrought;
our species lost now between truth and fact.

#36 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2010, 09:42 PM:

A friend of mine still uses a Quad setup using two sets of AR9's and two Phase Linear amps rated at 500 watt per channel--Phase Linear ended up taking them off the market because of the frequency of popped tweeters. (I knew someone with the LP of the Telarc 1812 who bought the same speakers and amp for his stereo system and refused to externally fuse the speakers. He went through five sets of tweeters before the store he'd bought the speakers from threw him out.)

The most impressive sound demonstration I ever attended was at the Seattle Center as part of a promotion for various high-end audio manufacturers, because Cerwin-Vega brought in a set of the 100 pound driver magnet Sensurround speakers and the soundtrack sections from Earthquake where they'd been used. This in a room of about 12x15'. Then, after shutting down about half the high frequency speakers they'd plugged into their system, they played Frankenstein by the Edgar Winter Group. I'd never experienced my chest as a sympathetic resonance chamber before...

#37 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2010, 09:44 PM:

The Raven #4:

Something like number of blog posts read over number of blog posts written.

I don't think I like the denominator here. If someone stops writing posts the index goes up, but this hardly a contribution to blogospheric interactivity.

I would say "number of blog post readings" (by people other than the author) and not try to standardize. This index can go up if more people read a given post, if they read more widely, or if more people take up reading.

#38 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2010, 09:50 PM:

B.Durbin: Awwww. Congratulations. In ML-type geekery, I can't resist asking where Ælfleda sorts in the alphabet.

Diatryma #24: I don't put a lot of effort into cherry trees, but when they bloom, they're wonderful. Applause.

#39 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2010, 09:56 PM:

Congratulations B. Durbin! I think your oldest is nearly the same age as mine, and I admire your bravery in taking on this new challenge. May your sleep be restful, and may she be blessed with good health and good sense.

#40 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2010, 10:02 PM:

Congrats "B."!

#41 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2010, 10:03 PM:

B. Durbin: Congratulations on your lovely addition! Mazel tov!

#42 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2010, 10:06 PM:

B. Durbin: What a beautiful baby! Congratulations!

#43 ::: Dan ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2010, 10:41 PM:

Ulrike's critique @ 15 is precise and accurate. However, as someone who once did philosophical hermeneutics (and now does practical theology as part of my job), I'm very aware that natural language typically does not follow precise and accurate rules of formal logic, yet nevertheless can be adequately understood; indeed, the understandings (plural intended) may even grow richer over time. If we take dlbowman76 to be using "corollary" in an imprecise way typical of everyday use of language (parole, not langue), his comment may actually be richer than if reduced to formal logic.

N.B.: I refrained from doing reader response theory here. We could also get all late-Wittgensteinian, but man you gotta draw the line somewhere.

#44 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2010, 10:57 PM:

B. Durbin @ #9: HOORAY!!!! *throws confetti*

#45 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2010, 10:59 PM:

P J Evans @33: I've had that fantasy myself, a few times, as well as one involving devices that make vehicle sound systems blow up spectacularly.

My fantasy along those lines is a Directional Electro-Magnetic Pulse Cannon (no larger than a bazooka).

#46 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2010, 11:04 PM:

Ah, yes, the Telarc 1812... 30+ years back, I was shopping for my 1st stereo and saw a linear-tracking turntable for some outrageous price. And just like the other turntables in the store, it could not track the cannon shots on that LP. When you looked close at the grooves, you could see the big spike where the attack of the sound was and also the scratch where the needle did not go where it was supposed to.
I have not yet come up with a suitable defense against other people's loud stereos/cell phone yapping in public/CB's etc. that interfere with my own stereo. But I do recall one evening of very brief [and carefully timed] experimentation when I proved that the bass-reflex speakers I'd designed and built really could blow out a candle [Telarc's Holst Chaconne]. Another time, I got a chance to fool around with a Buchla synth at someoene else's place and at one point wondered why, though I did not seem to be making a lot of sound, the room was shaking as if a furnace below had started up. I looked at the speakers there and quickly reduced the power of that part of the synth I was playing with--those cones were moving way too far--and that was my introduction to the wonderful world of infrasound. I then got a kit to make a filter that would keep said infrasound out of my own speakers, with a visible reduction of cone motion.
Of course, that was before I discovered trebuchets... ["--No, officer, it is just a lawn ornament...and I don't know what happened to that SUV..."]

#47 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2010, 11:08 PM:

I expect that this will not end well.

#48 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 12:00 AM:

B. Durbin: Congratulations!

#49 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 12:04 AM:

Earl at 47:

I expect it to cost lives and become a major blow to Arizona's reputation before ultimately being struck down by the Supreme Court.

Sadly, I live in Arizona.

#50 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 12:19 AM:

Boycotts were being organized even before the governor signed it. Arizona's really not a place to be right now.

Sorry, Patrick.

#51 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 12:23 AM:

Earl> Not end well? Probably putting it mildly. Arpaio has got to love the law.

Full text here:

http://www.azleg.gov/legtext/49leg/2r/bills/sb1070s.pdf

There's some real gems in it.

#52 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 12:36 AM:

dlbowman76: Sounds like you may need The Baby Owner's Manual. It contains information for most makes and models of babies, and is fairly straightforward.

Thomas @38: Well, because the hospital and birth certificate folk apparently can't handle ligatures (and we looked up how to do it on Winboxen), it sorts under Ae. But we're going to teach her to spell it correctly.

We picked Ælfleda as an alternate spelling of Æthelflæd (daughter of Alfred the Great, Lady of the Mercians, the first strong English queen). That way, we've got "Elfling" as a nick if we want.

Some people have asked if I'm against pink for girls. Given that Joanna looks exactly like her brother, I think people need all the cues they can get. :)

#53 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 01:08 AM:

#52:

I write stuff in my head a lot. When walking the dog, usually. What I came up today, while vacuuming, is this line, totally unconnected with anything I've actually written or plan to write:

"In due course he learned how to deal with the things that came out of babies: pee, poo, puke, snot, and gurunther, a substance so foul that advance knowledge of it was kept from prospective parents by a conspiracy of grandmothers and baby book authors lest they be put off the idea and the human race die off."

#54 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 01:44 AM:

TNH@18 -- blushes. May I quote you on my website?

And in other news, did you sell your soul to a corporation when you bought a videogame on April 1?

#55 ::: Geri Sullivan ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 01:51 AM:

Um. Er. I'm honored by the error, Teresa, but you edited Science-Fiction Five-Yearly #8. You and Patrick and Stu Shiffman. 'Twas a brilliant issue, full of chewy goodness, and also the very first issue of Science-Fiction Five-Yearly I received, thanks to having met you at Corflu 3 earlier that year. And all that followed from that....

#56 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 02:00 AM:

B. Durbin @ 52: You seem to have high standards for precision quality control in your organization! Very reliable production. (And congrats!)

#57 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 03:14 AM:

B Durbin:

Congratulations! What a cutie! And what an adventure.

My daughter shares a birthday with her grandmother, and considers it specialer than special that she does.

Also, my kids looked so similar as babies that there are pictures where we have to look at external cues to figure out which is which. (There were a lot of hand-me-downs, so clothing didn't always help). They're nicely differentiated now, though.

And once again, W0000T!

#58 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 03:34 AM:

I have just discovered that Writing Fiction for Dummies is a real book.

I think I'd rather write fiction for folk like us.

#59 ::: Catfish N. Cod ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 05:20 AM:

Wikipedia lists no fewer than fifty-five disambiguation targets for the acronym APA. And not a one of them seems appropriate to the context....

#60 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 05:39 AM:

Catfish N. Cod @59:

This one.

Someone else (ie, someone who knows it) will have to discuss context, both general and as it specifically relates to *NH and the others here. My own encounters with APAs have been brief and entirely unrelated to fandom, so I can't give the subcultural background.

#61 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 08:02 AM:

The online world has entropic factors of its own as well. For instance, there are a few TAFF links off the main nielsenhayden.com page that now don't go anywhere, because the TAFF archives moved. It looks like the articles in question are still online, but are now hanging off http://taff.org.uk/taffhist.html

I have no firsthand experience with the APA culture per se, though I've had a very helpful librarian from Minnesota suggesting links to archives of various fanzines and the like to The Online Books Page. So I link to _Science Fiction Five-Yearly_ and some other well-known publications of that sort that have substantial archives freely readable online. I'd be happy to add more that meet my general listing criteria. (I'd list _Izzard_ and _Telos_ if they had substantial online issue archives, but at this point I've only found selected articles. Of course, it's up to the editors/authors/copyright holders of the publications in question to decide what they want to allow online.)

#62 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 08:07 AM:

B Durbin, congrats.

dlbowman76, on the difficulty=worth

I see several mechanisms going on here, all of which make decent heuristics, but any of which may be inapplicable in a particular case.

1. A form of operant conditioning. If you continue through something difficult, and find the learning / experience worthwhile in the end, the sense of achievement is very rewarding. It will prime you to expect rewards for continuing through difficulty. The fact that the rewards don't always manifest makes them an intermittent reinforcer, which in turn acts to strongly maintain the learned behavior. It never, however, says that any particular bout of difficulty will be rewarding in the end.

2. An application of another logical fallacy. People who are smart / competent / powerful can often do things that look difficult to others. Therefore, if I do difficult things (or appear to do them), I will appear to be smart / competent / powerful. Or, perhaps will magically become those things, not just appear them. Leads people to namedrop about authors they've never read and don't really want to. On the other hand, continuing to work through difficult things is often the best way to produce the competence you would like to have.

3. The "sunk costs" fallacy and/or cognitive dissonance. If I have expended a great deal of resources (effort, $) on something difficult: (a) I will likely be unwilling to quit without finishing, and will ignore the First Rule of Holes by sinking further time and $ into what may be a swamp in the making, because after all everyone knows that quitters never win, and (b) I will want to believe that anything that took so much effort and $ was worthwhile, and I will declare it so and hold firm to that opinion. Winners never quit. I never quit, therefore I must be a winner.

Somewhere - it might have been one of the posters at despair.com - I recall a formulation of "Winners never quit, and quitters never win, but if you never win and you never quit, you're pretty stupid." It lacks grandeur, but has a certain practicality, as a rule of thumb.

The more I think about this, the more deeply ingrained I find it. In some ways, I think it taps into our expectations for Story. The pattern goes, the hero struggles against apparently insurmountable odds, and never gives up, and wins the day. Variations tend to be unsatisfying. (The hero, with no effort, is handed everything he wants. The hero hits the first obstacle, shrugs, and gives up. The hero struggles against insurmountable odds and is crushed like a bug. The hero struggles against insurmountable odds, wins out, but gains nothing from it.) So, when we're mentally writing our own stories, we want / need / expect them to work out this way.

#63 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 09:08 AM:

B. Durbin #13: Thanks, and Mazel Tov! Sharing a birthday with your daughter is going to be so cool!

Angiportus #46: Blowing out a candle? Pretty impressive! BTW, infrasound can have other interesting effects, notably the "mysterious surge of fear" found in some "haunted" houses.

#64 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 09:45 AM:

OtterB @ 62, that's a thought-provoking analysis, and I know I've been trying to cure myself of trying too hard at things that aren't worth it by thinking about the sunk cost fallacy. (My marriage, sadly, being one of them, but it actually was extremely helpful to think about it this way.)

As a reinforcement of #3, doesn't Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers make the case that it takes about 10,000 hours to become really good at something (in addition to a good support system and being in the right place at the right time)? So you kind of think, just a little more investment of resources and all my work will suddenly tip over from expense to profit. If I give up now, I may JUST miss being Bill Gates.

There's another fairly relevant despair.com poster: "When the going gets tough, the tough get going. The smart left a long time ago."

#65 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 10:04 AM:

David, #63--I have read those speculations on infrasound and "hauntings", and await further findings. If I had the budget I'd do some research in the way of both generation and pickup and see what happens. If we could hear infrasound even down to 1 hz, the world might actually be a pretty noisy place.
As for APAthy, it sounds like what happens in the world in general. People don't put out the effort to maintain contact when someone moves, their emails are perfunctory and scarce, and so the friendship dies. Or sometimes they just go dead inside while still walking around--I've lost 2 friends that way; one was sick and depressed but the other, I don't know what happened; she was only dead to *me*, and it wasn't like I hadn't tried. Anyway, as to the difficulty/worth idea, 2 riffs on Nietzsche [or however it's spelled]--"What doesn't kill me makes me smell stronger", and "What doesn't kill me makes me stranger."

#66 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 10:07 AM:

OtterB, I think your story point is related to the fact that everyone wants to be an underdog.

Baby! It is a baby. Yay baby.

That's basically how I talk to anything that doesn't talk back. Dog! You are a dog. You are a dog with a snout. You have ears! Kitty! You are a kitty. You are a kitty with a bel-ly....

#67 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 10:16 AM:

Another unhappy Arizonan here, though I don't live in the heart of Arpaio-land (and by appearance, accent etc., I wouldn't be in his cross-hairs).

I'm starting to think this state should be demoted back to Territory -- more appropriate to what's going on, even if gunslingers now call themselves the government, police, etc. Schoolmarms really have it tough these days.

PS: If you don't live here, thank your stars that you don't have to listen to the ads touting Republican candidates for governor. Saintly John McCain, tough Buzz Whatsisname (against a background of Prescott's own Granite Dells).... Argh!

#69 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 10:34 AM:

My intelligence really drops with proximity to kittybelly. Even knowing that it's a trap, I must snuggle. A silly voice happens without any effort on my part.

Back in high school, friends of mine joked about one family, not known to be, that had only one set of school pictures because their kids looked so much alike.

#70 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 10:52 AM:

I'm reminded of an ancient exchange between the person who brought someone to some artistic performance and his unwilling guest.

"Do you know how hard it is to do what he's doing?"
"I wish it was impossible!"

#71 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 11:13 AM:

Mary Eilen (68): Oh, boy, do I resemble that cartoon right now.

Baby kittens

We rescued a stray, and she had babies four and a half weeks later. They are ridiculously cute.

Mama thinks the best place for her kittens is the middle of my office floor. I've offered her a variety of boxes, plastic tubs, and an open closet door, and she doesn't seem to realize mama cats are supposed to hide their kittens. I've given up and simply kitten proofed the office.

#72 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 11:15 AM:

Faren Miller @ 67... I've driven from New Mexico to the Bay Area many times since I moved 10 years go. During our last Holidays trip though, I noticed that all rest stops along I-40 are closed along Arizona's stretch of the highway, even the one east of Flagstaff that they spent a year rebuilding. Does the State Legislature believe people don't have normal functions, or they know it but they want you to stop at places like gas stations, where you'll feel obligated to spend a few bucks to use the lavatory?

#73 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 11:49 AM:

Serge> They were shut down for budgetary reasons. The one between Fountain Hills and Payson is closed too, and there's 70+ miles without a good place to stop. The only business for that whole 70+ miles is a strip club.

What I don't get is why they don't just lease the land to a private operator who could make money off concessions and gas and stuff. I'd *like* to see a Love's there.

#74 ::: Dave Langford ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 11:56 AM:

#61: The online world has entropic factors of its own as well. For instance, there are a few TAFF links off the main nielsenhayden.com page that now don't go anywhere, because the TAFF archives moved. [...]

So there are. Even I hadn't noticed. Here are better links:

our never-finished TAFF report
http://taff.org.uk/reports/ptnh1.html

TAFF archive
http://taff.org.uk/

maintained by Dave Langford
http://ansible.co.uk

“TAFF in Thirteen Paragraphs,”
http://taff.org.uk/13paras.html

#75 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 12:01 PM:

*quick Googling* Okay, Alan Moore is not dead, right?

That sidelight freaked me out.

#76 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 12:07 PM:

Abi @ 60:

I'm not aware of all the context of the discussion here, but as a veteran of better than a dozen s-f fandom & "mundane" APAs/Amateur Press Associations, over the past 50+ years, I'd suggest that we need to keep in mind that each of them is a distinct Community, with different (sometimes extremely different) traditions, goals, identities, and personalities.

Oh, and I think the Wiki cite description is somewhat misleading -- if memory (of reading history) serves, the first U.S. one (NAPA) was also founded by teen-agers, though that is mentioned only in reference to AAPA, which was created in reaction against the original contingent which the new "young turks" considered to have become Old Fuddy-duddies. The fannish version of this would by the establishement of SAPS, vs. the long-established FAPA.

As far as I can figure out, the only unifying factor in APAs is that of establishing a system of distribution of their publications to all of the members.... possibly with a secondary aspect of "no-one is going to tell me what I can't (or must) write/publish".

#77 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 12:09 PM:

The fannish zine mother lode

#78 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 12:11 PM:

Janet Brennan Croft @64, glad the analysis was helpful, but sorry it was your marriage that needed the analysis applied. For me it was a consulting project, when I was around 30. It was the first time I'm aware of where the right answer to "this is too hard" was "quit," not "work harder" or "work smarter," and as a result it took me way, way, too long to figure out that that was the right answer.

My husband and I had a similar discussion with our daughter when she decided to drop one of her three AP courses at the semester break this year. That particular course was eating her lunch, and she knew it, and she wanted out, but she also felt like she should finish what she started. The discussion boiled down to, persistence is a virtue and most of the time it's what you want to practice, but it's also a virtue to know when to call it quits and how to do so gracefully, instead of waiting until something blows up in your face.

I thought about the "Tipping Point" sort of thing, too, and you're right. Nobody wants to quit just before they finally reap all the rewards. Lots of scams work on those principles, because they're powerful, and they're powerful because they're often true.

I don't recall having seen the other despair.com poster, but I am amused.

Diatryma @66, not so much that everyone wants to be an underdog, but everyone wants to be a hero, and to be a hero you have to be overcoming something. "Frontrunner wins" is a dog-bites-man scenario. "Underdog wins" is news. (And, of course, there's the Casey-at-the-Bat scenario of the frontrunner snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.)

#79 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 12:14 PM:

Don Fitch @76:

I'd suggest that we need to keep in mind that each of them is a distinct Community, with different (sometimes extremely different) traditions, goals, identities, and personalities.

I thought I kinda did that when I said that my own (brief) encounter with APAs was outwith fandom, so I don't have the background to explain the context of Teresa's quote? Could I have been clearer somehow?

#80 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 12:16 PM:

ygnet @ 73... The only business for that whole 70+ miles is a strip club. (...) I'd *like* to see a Love's there

There's got to be a joke waiting to be made about your comment.

I figured that it was because of budgetary constraints. Still, I can imagine the... ah... upsurge of protest if California did the same thing, and its population basin is much bigger.

#81 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 12:24 PM:

#11 Marilee

And this morning they respond and provide directions right at the top of the screen, but don't say they are speaking of FB -- they use "Network News."

I can't figure out what value there is for anyone to have people on FB know what content, chosen by the WaPo to provide, each other is looking at.

Data miners, yes, but your average FB user?

Love, C.

#82 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 12:25 PM:

"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There's no use being a damn fool about it." --W.C. Fields

#83 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 12:28 PM:

I take out a lot of knitting, where the idea (pattern, yarn, or both) just didn't work for whatever reason.

#84 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 12:55 PM:

My motto while dissertating: "Done is better than good." I find that it also has its applications for job letters.

(BTW, anybody need a French teacher next year?)

#85 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 01:07 PM:

Okay, if this is Good News day, here's mine: Our* cat Rikkus ate two cans of food yesterday.

Good news because over the last several months he's become thin, then gaunt, then Auschwitzed. For a while, I was having to take a finely minced/pureed cat food from the vet, add a litle water, put it in a syringe, and squirt it into the back of his mouth to get enough into him to keep him going.

He's started to regain some appetite the last few weeks, and I'm starting to feel some actual meat coming back on him.

I don't know if it will last. We're still not sure what the mass in his abdomen is (it's been biopsied twice, coming back both times as "not quite normal, but not quite cancerous") or whether that's going to grow or shrink or turn into a butterfly. But the growing appetite and the bit of regained weight is encouraging.

(Now if I can just get him back to using the litter box -- for a while he was too weak to climb over the edge -- instead of the floor next to it.)(Yes, I'm thinking of a shallower litter box.)

*The use of "our" is sort of by default; he was one of the "foreclosure pets" you hear about, left behind when a family on the next block lost their home, and got taken in by one of our housemates. The housemate later moved back to Kansas where her family was, with the intention of sending for Rikkus when she was in a position to have a pet again. Two years later, it doesn't look likely for that to happen, so Rikkus' food and vet care come from us.

#86 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 01:11 PM:

One of my favorite FB activities is banding together with like-minded friends to crush the efforts of hate groups to establish a FaceBook presence. In that way, it's another zone in the meme wars.

#87 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 01:23 PM:

Episode 4 of Doctor Who starts in a minute in the UK.

Later tonight it's episode 2 for the USA.

Whichever you watch, have fun

#88 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 01:28 PM:

TexAnne @84: Also, "You never finish writing/editing, you just decide it's time to stop."

#89 ::: ppint. ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 02:32 PM:

tom whitmore @7; david harmon @12; kip w@30, pt.2:

i think this is a result of human beans having sufficiently strong a pattern-finding intelligence, that it can easily become an intelligence indulging in pattern making, even where none in fact exists.

i'm not sure whether there's an sfnal example of this precise effect: but there's a clever inversion of it in r.f. nelson's "Noise Level".

#90 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 02:37 PM:

Cygnet (71): Awwwwwwwwwwww. They're so cuuuuuuute.

#91 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 02:39 PM:

Serge @ 72:

Most of the highway rest areas closed due to budget cuts.

Arizona still has too much reliance on housing construction, so we got slammed in the housing bubble and recession.

There's a "temporary" sales tax increase on the ballot in a few weeks, and I am torn between voting for it to support services and voting against it in protest.

#92 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 02:50 PM:

One of the cooler things about taking Texas road trips is Buc-ee's. They do have the most amazingly clean restrooms I've ever seen.

http://www.buc-ees.com/ch13video.htm

Buc-ee's

(And Beaver Nuggets are very tasty)

#93 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 02:52 PM:

I had to keep reminding myself, when I was deciding to leave grad school with a master's, that there is no virtue in misery. I do not get points for how much I can bear. Better to leave and be differently unhappy.

Remind me of this in two weeks. Monday starts a part-time job, six to ten, after school. I feel like I really need to prepare for this. It may wipe me out a lot more than expected. On the other hand, that's money.

#94 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 02:59 PM:

Cygnet @ 71: I love kittens. Those are absolutely adorable! I'm guessing they're 10-12 days old in that picture. Although I love my three cats, I wish I could get some kittens in my life again. I just realized that it's been more than 15 years since I had any kittens around. The current crop of cats includes the last one of those kittens, from 17 years ago, and two adult cats who landed in our house as a favor to a friend of a friend. After 6 years here, I'm keeping them for myself.

#95 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 03:02 PM:

@85 Bruce, that's encouraging. The elder of our cats, Number One Cat (not her eff-and-ineffable name, but her current moniker) was recently diagnosed with "Liver failure, probably cancer but the diagnostics to find out would be expensive, stressful, and not make much difference in the outcome." So she has been on a regimen of pettins and whatever she'll eat, on the premise that if one is going to die, one should at least die warm and well fed.

We were on gooshy food for awhile, but now my husband has been feeding her tuna. At least she's eating that.

I'll miss the fuzzer, when it's time.

#96 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 03:15 PM:

Bruce @ 85: Good for you! Eating is a good sign. I once designed a sloping litter box for cats with problems, but never got it built. I should talk to the carpenter about doing a model.

Thena @ 95: When cats give up on tuna, they're ready to move on. As long as tuna still holds delight for your Eldest One, she's got time for more pettins. Best wishes for an easy passing.

#97 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 03:30 PM:

Congrats and Happy Birthday to B. Durbin!

(I followed your FB link and sent you a Friend Request, but forgot to append the usual "Hallo from Making Light!" Or else it was Fragano I forgot to append the note to. Er.)

#98 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 03:38 PM:

Dave Bell @ 87 ...
Episode 4 of Doctor Who starts in a minute in the UK. Later tonight it's episode 2 for the USA. Whichever you watch, have fun.

For me it was episode 1, via a friend, two nights ago. Unfortunately, my subconscious decided to spend last night dreaming about not quite seeing things out of the corner of my eye... -NOT- restful!

#99 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 03:54 PM:

Note that Episode 4 is the first half of a two-parter.

It might be a good idea to record it, and not watch until close to Episode 5.

It's another SM story, and he might just have written out the Standard Landing Sound Effect for the TARDIS.

#100 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 04:26 PM:

Ginger #96: I once designed a sloping litter box for cats with problems, but never got it built. I should talk to the carpenter about doing a model.

That sounds patent-worthy to me.

#101 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 04:59 PM:

Serge: in regards to rest stops, driving across the western states has always been an adventure. Particularly Wyoming, where there might be one rest stop in 300 miles, and it's closed for maintenance. Every. Single. Time. (The one on the other side is, by contrast, open, until you come back that way.) Or maybe 84 climbing up through Idaho. Or maybe the one rest stop on Highway 20 in eastern Oregon— the one with the pit toilet, because there's no towns out there to maintain facilities.

In other words, I don't trust rest stops to be open. And certainly not in California— they do try to not shut down two in a row, but they've inevitably closed the one you were counting on and it's another 70 miles to the next stop.

My parents used to carry toilet paper and a trowel in the car. Yeah.

#102 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 04:59 PM:

Bruce @85: Here is a thought if your cat is having issues getting in to a normal depth litter box - find a similar container (cheap plastic or something similar) and cut down the side height to an inch or two. This should be high enough to keep the litter and the feline output in, but it should allow your cat to get in and out without too much hassle. Another alternative would be some form of ramped system, but that requires building ramps for both the inside and outside of the box, and that seems as though it would be rather large, given that you would want a shallow grade of ramp and enough space in the box itself for a sufficiency of litter.

It is an extremely good sign that your cat is eating again; I would provide as much food as the cat is willing to consume (think feeding growing kittens) in the interests of getting the cat back to a healthy weight.

#103 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 05:06 PM:

Ginger #96:

The late-lamented Great Cat Sophie *never* liked tuna, even in her primest of primes (which were pretty primo). She was wild about salmon, but not the other stuff. And our current fuzzball, Mona the Norwegian Forest Fur Factory, five years old, fat and healthy as a clam, doesn't like fish, period. Full stop. First cat I've ever had that didn't.

#104 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 05:38 PM:

B Durbin:

Congratations!

All:

Something about the discussion of rest areas being more and more often closed down, either to save money or because they're just not being maintained well enough, makes me think of the decay in the Ways in the WOT books....

#105 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 05:53 PM:

B. Durbin:

Beautiful birthday present! I'm long past new kids in the family, and my kids aren't likely to make me a grandparent any time soon, so pictures like that are all I'm going to get for awhile. I'm getting really jealous of my brother-in-law, whose daughter had twin boys last year. They're almost twice as photogenic as yours.

#106 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 06:27 PM:

joann @ 103: I've had my cats turn up their noses at albacore versus plain tuna, and they definitely will not eat tuna packed in oil. My late Buzz would retch if I offered him something "new".

Years ago, Sweetie preferred my grandmother's tomato sauce and spaghetti to her fried fish. I don't know that she ever ate any fish, but she certainly liked other foods.

It's funny how some cats just don't stay true to their stereotype, isn't it? Now that I think about it, the actual food all cats should be fed, at least based upon vitamins and amino acids, is mouse, not tuna.

#107 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 06:36 PM:

B. Durbin, #13, Great birthday present! and #52, they really do look alike!

Earl Cooley III, #47, the county around my city did that for a while, but stopped because not only did it fill the jail, they found out that a lot of Hispanics aren't illegals.

Constance, #81, I haven't heard back from Rob, but yes, if people want to be on Facebook, they can do it by themselves.

Bruce Arthurs, #85, I hope Rikkus eats more and stays alive a long time.

#108 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 07:00 PM:

I am imagining this sloping litterbox thing (we don't need one; I've placed the half-height travel litterbox on the level of the house that doesn't have a full-service model and so far they're Ignoring It) might work out something similar to a paint-roller tray with a ramp on the outside: litter in the well deep enough to do one's feline business, with a gentle textured ramp up and out...

#109 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 07:21 PM:

Thena @ 108: that was the first one I envisioned, but that wouldn't prevent the cats from flinging litter (as some do). Plus, the original requestor had a cat who could not step up or over anything, due to a birth defect. I came up with a double sloping box -- slope up and then down into the box -- that should allow any cat to gently walk into/out of the area, with room to fling safely. Ideally, this kind of box would be customizable for different cats, so you could have one with less of a slope or without the inner slope, if the cat really just needed minor assistance.

All this reminds me of our old dog's last years, when we had to use a ramp for him to go outside. Since his hip/back problems were concomitant with canine cognitive dysfunction, he wasn't all that successful with the ramp either. After he died, I realized just how many accommodations we'd been making for him.

Earl, it does sound like something I should patent, doesn't it?

#110 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 07:42 PM:

Ginger @ 94> Nice guess. They were 9-10 days old in the pic. :-) :-) I'll have pics up later with them @ 18 days.

I love kittens and this is my "no guilt" litter -- mama was too far along and too sick to even think about spaying when we got her. It's been a long time since I've had itty bitties in the house, I'm really enjoying them, and yeah, I've been doing the, "It's a kitty! It's a little kitty! It's little kitty toes!" baby talk at them ... LOL.

I'm *very* pleased by how well the kittens are doing. We only lost one, to an umbilical abscess at three days, and I would not have been surprised to lose the whole litter ... mama was eating trash and my chickens' eggs to survive and had horrible diarrhea and was extremely thin. The survivors are healthy and vigorous and at the upper end of the bell curve for kitten milestones.

Now I just need to suck it up and give them away when it's time. I *can't* afford to keep them all and take care of them right, but they're sooooo cute. :-)

#111 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2010, 09:03 PM:

B. Durbin: Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. Congratulations!

#112 ::: Kayjayoh ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 01:01 AM:

B. Durbin,

Congratulations on the wonderful birthday present!

#113 ::: Kayjayoh ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 01:13 AM:

In other news, tonight I watched a DVD of the Tom Baker Doctor Who serial, "The Keeper of the Traken," accompanied by my nephew, who turned 3 in January. He didn't understand most of it, but he seemed to enjoy it.

I ended up explaining a lot of it in terms of Monsters Vs. Aliens and Spirited Away, which are his two favorites.

Here's to developing the newest generation of fans!

#114 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 01:18 AM:

Kip @21

I have seen a revenge of similar type.

I was sitting at a stop light. Driver in front of me tosses his cig butt out the window. Unfortunately, it went in the window of the car in the next lane.

The cig butt came back out, back into the originating window, followed by a significant amount of coffee, followed by the cup the coffee had been in.

Just as the light changed.

I managed to get my laughter under control enough to drive about the time he finished dealing with a lap full of (I hope) hot coffee.

#115 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 01:28 AM:

Sound to blow them away:

In an apartment complex where you could not tell where the sound was originating, some spithead decided to play something heavy metal-ish at 8am on Saturday. All its complexities did not make it to my ears (it sounded really bangy and crashy). I had access to a very powerful sound system, and used it to its max. I played the first movement of Beethoven's 5th, just below my pain threshold (there are better things, but that's what I had). When it was done, the entire complex was silent. The really nice fallout was that the Friday and Saturday night parties were much quieter after that.

#116 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 01:48 AM:

A college roommate of mine decided it would be humorous to wake me up one morning with Chicago's Free Form Guitar. Maybe it was a work of genius on Terry Kath's part, but not at 0700, let me tell you.

#117 ::: Jeff Davis ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 01:49 AM:

When a programmer friend of mine found out he was going to be having a kid, he shared the news by saying he was "spawning a child process."

albatross @ 104: Something about the discussion of rest areas being more and more often closed down, either to save money or because they're just not being maintained well enough, makes me think of the decay in the Ways in the WOT books....

It reminds me of the general decay of things in the time of Russell Eigenblick in Little, Big. Which is pretty depressing, actually.

#118 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 02:45 AM:

#79 : abi :

You were clear enough -- I just tend to re-phrase things to make sure of understanding them correctly.

And I was a bit puzzled by your "lacking background". I read the quote as indicating that APAs are a form of communication in which the absence of adequate feedback/exchange/egoboo results in entropy or fading interest.

It took me a while to figure out that, yes, APAs _could_ be soapboxes, rather than conversations, and that your experience must've been with the former.

As you've probably deduced, the s-f fandom APAs have developed this feedback into a High Art, by way of Mailing Comments (as perfected in The FAPA). Which isn't to say that they're always done well, or even at all, of course, but they're vastly better/more encouraging than the occasional postcard-response characteristic of the non-fan/mundane APAs.

#119 ::: Ruth Temple ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 03:13 AM:

Speaking of litterboxes and fine thoughtful design of same, may I just say the folks who brought a few of their alpacas to the Conference of Northern California Handweavers (CNCH) in Santa Clara, CA, t'other weekend - and alpacas like elevators, who knew? - thought things out Perfectly. That was the biggest litterbox I've ever seen.
Alpacas make really cute sounds. Not having a yard big enough to stuff one in, I wasn't nearly as tempted as our Keynote speaker, Syne Mitchell (whose name some may recall from her SF novels, or Clarion West a while ago), to carry one home, as she blogs "I could so fit that cria in the back seat!"
Turns out a con of fiber artists is as wonderful as a science fiction con, though they really could the concept of a consuite, the vendors/exhibits hall played that part quite well.
Egoboo abounded and great appreciation of efforts on many levels was evident; I think Walt Wilis' premise is upheld.

B Durban: Congrats! Rather than "well done" I'll give you a hearty "well begun!"

Linkmeister @25 : Thank you for that link (I'm in trouble no-oow! she sings gleefully)

#120 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 08:31 AM:

B Durbin... Happy Birthday, belatedly.

#121 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 08:37 AM:

Lin Daniel @ #114: I once had someone throw a lit cig butt into the open window of my (parked) car in a parking lot. It narrowly missed hitting my child in her car seat.

#122 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 10:13 AM:

After an excellent episode 1, followed by mediocre episodes 2 & 3, I think episode 4 of the new season of Doctor Who was the best of the season so far and probably in the top ten of all New Who episodes since 2005.

Oh, and since this thread starts with a fannish quote and there's an ad for the third in Stieg Larsson's superb Millennium triogy over in the ads, did you know that he started out in SF fandom in the 1980s? True fact. He was chairman of the Scandinavian SF Society in 1980. After it dissolved in acrimony (acrimonius feuds in Swediush fandom? - surely not!), he drifted away from fandom and got involved in anti-racist politics.

And while talking fandom, I'll insert a plug here for the section of my own website where I've been posting UK fanzines and con reports from the 1930s and 1940s which give a fascinating look into a lost world:

www.fiawol.org.uk/FanStuff

Just click on 'THEN: The Archive'

#123 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 10:20 AM:

Of course, it would help if I made that URL an actual link:

Fan Stuff

#124 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 11:39 AM:

Lin #115:

When I was small, we lived across the street and down two from the Kappa Alpha fraternity house. Parties tended to get a bit loud. My father, who just happened to be into building his own stereo equipment (this *was* the late 50s) retaliated by putting the recently-completed six-cubic-feet bass speaker in the front dormer window and playing "Night on Bald Mountain" and Katchaturian's "Sabre Dance". I'm not too clear on whether it effected any long-term improvement in the state of affairs, but it sure made him feel better.

#125 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 12:10 PM:

Kayjayoh #2:

Actually you gained some geek cred by learning several new things.

#126 ::: salixulon ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 12:21 PM:

Janet Brennan Croft @88 (and TexAnne @84) : "You never finish writing/editing, you just decide it's time to stop."

Billy Collins quotes Paul Valéry saying "Poems are never completed—they are only abandoned." (Collins uses this to introduce his own poem, "January in Paris", which humorously personifies such hapless, abandoned poems.)

As a programmer, I think this concept applies equally well to software (and, I'm sure, to many other endevors).

#127 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 12:27 PM:

salixulon @ 126 -

As a programmer, I think this concept applies equally well to software (and, I'm sure, to many other endevors).

I like to use the line I stole from somewhere: "Our programs aren't released -- they escape."

#128 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 12:29 PM:

It's been a long time since I was actually programming, but I recall in the late 70s - early 80s, a saying that 50% of development time was spent debugging. And a footnote that actually, it was more than that, but after that, you call it maintenance.

#129 ::: Janet K ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 01:14 PM:

Ginger @94 says she loves kittens.

Well, kitten season is coming up at the shelter where I volunteer. If you'd like a kitten fix stop by WARL (near the intersection of Kansas Ave. and Blair Rd.) Sometimes they need a volunteer to foster a mama cat and liddle biddy kittens until the kittens are old enough to be put up for adoption.

I got my two cats there four year ago. I didn't intend to get kittens but one picked me out. They were out-of-season older kittens (3-4 months).

#130 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 01:19 PM:

Patrick Connors @ 91... I hadn't realized that Arizona's economy was so much fueled by housing, which itself presumably was from all the people moving there, and not so much by actual industrious industries and the making/growing/mining of things.

#131 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 02:05 PM:

According to Peter David, Wikipedia deletionists are going after SF notables again; It looks like R. Garcia y Robertson's entry has been saved, but MaryAnn Johanson has been deleted.

#132 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 02:05 PM:

Steve C @127: I like to use the line I stole from somewhere: "Our programs aren't released -- they escape."

I know that line best from the list of Klingon programmer quotes, where it is followed by "...leaving a bloody trail of designers and quality assurance people in its wake." Very little of the software I've worked on has had that nature, thankfully. (I like the QA people!)

#133 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 02:31 PM:

I've always said that you never finish testing; you just stop.

It seems to be a standard modus operandi in so many contexts. Unfortunately.

#134 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 02:36 PM:

We have a lot of non-fun finding out what our expensive specialized GIS software does (or doesn't) do. Finding out after things are done is a bit messy.
(It doesn't actually allow you to do certain things although it appears to do so. As we found out about re-using things that we put in and didn't need where they were.)

#135 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 03:20 PM:

salixulon @ 126:

My own version of that — I used to use it in my .sig — is "Engineering means never having to say you're finished."

#136 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 04:14 PM:

B. Durbin-- congrats!

I myself have been training for a bibliophile's Marathon today: Powell's, Portland, afternoon through evening. mmmm, books.

#137 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 04:30 PM:

Every time I read about Wikipedia politics someone starts punching my personal set of bingo cards. Accusations of starting hate campaigns, suggestions that more people should be involved so they can help avoid errors by the poor overworked folks that are currently running things...I had enough of that crap when the old CFO exploded itself to get rid of it's President: I don't need another chorus now.

#138 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 05:28 PM:

An art teacher claimed to be quoting Picasso when she said: Ideally, every piece of art would have two artists. The first would work on the artwork; the second would snatch it out of his hands when it was done.

#139 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 06:18 PM:

I understand da Vinci wanted to finish Mona Lisa with dinosaurs committing sodomy but an assistant grabbed the painting before that.

#140 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 06:38 PM:

Congrats, B. Durbin!

#141 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 06:50 PM:

"Testing? What testing? We don't got to do no stinking testing."

#142 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 10:04 PM:

Serge @ 141: "Why would we do testing? It's just for internal use."

#143 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 10:39 PM:

janetl @ 142... "Trust me, I know what I'm doing."

#144 ::: Pere ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 10:43 PM:

Open threadiness--

Found a scrap I wrote from an abandoned comic which started out as a parody of Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which I oh-so-wittily called The League of Extraordinarily Pretty Greek Boys. As it was one of the only bits of the wretched thing I really liked, and I've been following the esteemed Fluorosphere for years, I figured this was the best (or even the only) place to post it.

Ganymede speaks:
The gods are dead--and we, their mortal toys
Fall back to earth: the best, by far, to live;
To learn, to seek our own fate on our feet.
And yet we stumble blindly through our lives
Searching for that our masters never gave.
Kindness or cruelty fall short--we seek redress.

#145 ::: Pere ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 10:49 PM:

Just realised that last post could actually be related to both fanac--as the story uses some bad handwavey pseudo-SF as a premise, hence its abandonment--and egoboo. Oh well, call me either silly or post-clever.

#146 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 11:07 PM:

janetl @ 142 ...
"Why would we do testing? It's just for internal use."

"We don't do testing -- they do testing. We do the important bits, like writing!"
(soto vocce: the problems into the code?)

#147 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 11:31 PM:

Pere, did you know that Edmund White wrote a short book titled "An Asian Minor: The Story of Ganymede," which the first-person narration claims is a guide for the current crop of cute young boys to getting "a sugardaddy who really counts"?

And I don't think you have much to worry about, since (at least in the movie of) The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, there's plenty of handwavium. Some very strange time distortion, for example, that makes Ash Wednesday take place in July. I wouldn't sweat it, if I were you.

#148 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 11:36 PM:

Congratulations B. Durbin! I just love that stage when they're tiny and squishy and make cooing noises while they sleep.

I've got pictures of my three boys, all at three months, wearing the same clothes. I can tell which is which, but it's not easy.

#149 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 11:45 PM:

Frederik Pohl appreciates Jack Vance:

http://www.thewaythefutureblogs.com/2010/04/jack-vance-the-master-of-the-dragons

#150 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 12:06 AM:

"We're not planning to test the code for this scenario because it'll never happen."

#151 ::: J Homes ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 01:02 AM:

Serge @#150.

We usually assume that "never" will be about six months.

J Homes.

#152 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 02:02 AM:

"I just love that stage when they're tiny and squishy and make cooing noises while they sleep."

Sometimes she sounds like a taun taun while she sleeps. I kid you not.

She does smell better, though.

#153 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 07:55 AM:

Serge #150: For a serious counterexample: I've noted before that I'm working on the fan-Wiki for a roguelike game called POWDER. This is written by a physicist named Jeff Lait, and reading through his source code has been an education in bulletproofing! In particular, I've never seen the game crash-to-desktop. Just recently, for the first time I had a game where on one level, the map-generation code apparently had choked and died... but it still managed to come up with something that let me continue the game beyond the affected level!

#154 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 07:59 AM:

Serge @ 150 ...
"Nobody will ever do something with this this code that isn't documented in the manual"[0]

[0] ... although I've recently encountered a few cases of somebody forgetting to update the manual after updating/removing the code...

#155 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 08:18 AM:

Circa 1997, my employer acquired a similar company, and it was decided that one of the feeds into our system would be replaced by an identical one from the other company. After all, they had told us...

"It'll be totally transparent to you."

Which is probably why, in those pre-easy-telecommuting days, I spent so many long nights of the transition period eating tuna sandwiches from Max's Diner down the street while writing COBOL program after COBOL program to clean up their feed otherwise it'd have made our system crash.

#156 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 08:27 AM:

David Harmon @ 153... It irritated my team's Wonder Boy whenever I pointed that the only programs in our system that never crash are the mainframe-based ones - which I happened to be the author of. My guiding principle is what I think is Murphy's real law: if someone can do it wrong, someone will.

#157 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 08:30 AM:

J Homes @ 151... To quote Gilbert & Sullivan...

"What, never?"
"No, never!"
"What, never?"
"Hardly ever!"

#158 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 09:04 AM:

Buddy of mine once severely irritated a couple of his co-workers by testing the "sanitizes input" claim by throwing randomly chosen Windows dll files, whole and entire, at the text fields in question.

Me. I've made XML CMS vendors process every available translation -- which includes an interesting range of languages; Old Irish in ogham, for instance -- of "I can eat glass" in order to test Unicode support. Sure, we're never going to ship documentation in Old Norse, or Vedic Sanskrit, but it's a great way to make sure they're really using Unicode and not committing an atrocity with code-point translation, because I can feel very confident there's no pre-existing code point translation for all of those obscure languages.

#159 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 09:25 AM:

B. Durbin, oh, congratulations! She's beautiful!

eric @ 148, tangentially from your comment: my fiancé is an identical twin. His parents can tell him and his brother apart in baby and little-kid pictures without hesitating. I unfailingly pick the wrong one. (I suppose this means I should make my decision and then say it's the other one, but I tried that once and still got it wrong.) Amazing power that parents have :)

I can tell them apart easily now -- to my eyes, they just look like particularly similar brothers, but hardly identical. Strangers still mistake them all the time, though.

#160 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 09:53 AM:

Janet K @129: You realize that you are enabling my feline addiction, don't you ?

#161 ::: Duncan J Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 10:32 AM:

Ain't MIT a Wonderful Place?

They tested the effectiveness of Tin Foil Hats
Ooooh, Shiny

#162 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 11:20 AM:

Open threaded reading report -- I'm finally reading George R.R. Martin's Fevre Dream and enjoying it hugely. I don't read a lot of fantasy or horror these days, but this one delivers the goods. The pre-Civil War Mississippi river setting is perfect.

And the unremittingly bad vampires are a nice horrific antidote to the sparkly pretty boys.

#163 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 11:21 AM:

Steve C. @ #139:

Ah, Leonardo. There may never have been an artist of whom it was more true that his works were never completed, only abandoned. Usually because he'd transferred his interest to something newer and shinier, and despite the complaints of whoever had paid him in advance for a completed artwork.

#164 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 11:38 AM:

Here's Dwight Silverman's report after using the iPad for three weeks.

http://blogs.chron.com/techblog/archives/2010/04/life_with_an_ipad_is_it_compelling_yet_1.html

Is it compelling yet?

Some points he talks about:

He says it's a great way to read e-mail, but not write it. Also, it's a good e-book reader, even if he prefers the Kindle overall. He thinks it's splendid for looking stuff up fast.

On the minus side, he rarely takes the iPad when he's going out and about, preferring his iPhone. And the inability to display Flash content is annoying.

#165 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 12:35 PM:

Open-thready: I've been doing some reading about this mid-to-late-20th-C. art movement called "Lettrism" whose members use a lot of typography and text and text-like graphics in their work, I thought some Fluorosphere denizens might be interested in it. A slide show of the pamphlet "Zr + 4HCl → ZrCl4 + 2H2/ U + 3F2 → UF6" (1970) by Cuban artist Roberto Altmann: http://www.flickr.com/photos/readin/sets/72157623925745578/show/ (scans taken from Domingos Isabelinho's blog)

#166 ::: KévinT ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 12:56 PM:

B. Durbin: Congratulations! She's very cute!

Brings back happy memories of announcing my own daughter's birth on ML a year ago...

Open threadiness:
I've recently discovered the joy of podcasts for my commute time:
tor.com's Geek's Guide To The Galaxy, Dan Carlin's Harcore History, Stephen Fry's Podgrams and Tony C Smith's StarShipSofa.
Do try them, they are excellent!

What do you guys think about StarShipSofa having been nominated for the Hugo for best fanzine?
What are your favorite podcasts?

#167 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 01:04 PM:

Steve C. #164: And the inability to display Flash content is annoying.

The solution to that annoying little problem is Apple/Adobe slash fiction published in the Wall Street Journal. With meticulous da Vinci notebook styled illustrations.

The corporate culture differences from such a merger could be settled once and for all in the world's largest mosh pit; the toxic vibes from the conflict could theoretically be contained by a spiritually cleansing drum circle of volunteer Google employees.

#168 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 01:12 PM:

OK, it's an open thread and I need to vent a little.

I just started reading Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys for the first time (I found it, still in the bookstore bag, under a pile of papers in my living room), and it's already pushing all the wrong buttons for me. I'm on page 9.

Fat Charlie Nancy and his fiancée, Rosie, are discussing their wedding, which he doesn't want to invite his father to. She insists, even after he tells her a story that anyone with an ounce of humanity would realize puts the father in the dance-on-your-fucking-grave-you-piece-of-shit category, making it clear that it's one of many. She just decides that Dear Old Dad should come to the wedding:

"You'll just have to get used to the idea," said Rosie. "After all, a wedding is a marvelous opportunity for mending fences and building bridges. It's your opportunity to show him that there are no hard feelings."
She ignores his protest that he certainly does have hard feelings.

This means that Fat Charlie is a loser, for the following reasons:

  1. He's marrying a stupid insensitive fucktard.
  2. He got engaged to Rosie without telling her about his family issues first. Not only is it wrong not to make sure someone has a pretty clear picture of all your issues before you let them agree to marry you, but in the process he might have found out that Rosie is a stupid insensitive fucktard.
  3. He doesn't have the guts (at least so far) to fight Rosie on this. If there ever was a time in a relationship to have a fight, this is it. If he weren't a total wimp there are many things he could say, including but not limited to
    • "I hate my father and I don't want to get married in his presence. If he's there when they ask me if I do, I'll say 'not today' and walk out. If YOU invite him I'll find someone to marry who has a picogram of respect for my feelings!" or
    • "I don't want my wedding to be a time for mending fences and building bridges. I'd prefer that it be about celebrating our marriage, thank you very much!" or even
    • "I want my wedding to be a happy day, and it won't be if my father is there. I'm not willing to discuss this further. Please don't bring it up again."
I know from the title, names, cover blurb etc. that Fat Charlie's* father is going to turn out to be the African trickster god Anansi. But she doesn't know that, and it doesn't excuse her—or him, for that matter: tricksters typically use their power to keep heroes humble or cut down the hubristic, not to make children's lives a living hell.

I'm hoping this is an example of the About To Marry The Wrong Person trope. Maybe he'll grow a pair and find someone better to marry. He's not the right husband for her, either; she needs to marry someone whose worst childhood memory is that he faw dow and hurted his knee. Or maybe she'll grow some empathy in the course of the book, which is unrealistic, but it IS a fantasy novel, and magical changes can come over people in such a story.

I'm not giving up on this, of course. In part this is because I'm pathologically incapable of quitting in the middle of a novel, and in part because I fundamentally trust Neil Gaiman, even if I do think it's a pretty odd choice of his to make me wish all the characters would get run over by a bus right in the first chapter. I have confidence he'll turn it around, and even if he doesn't, I'll just think this one book sucked, not that I shouldn't read Gaiman any more. (Unfairly, if the bad (not necessarily poorly written, just bad for me) book is the first book I read by an author, they get no such consideration. Snow Crash is the only book by Neal Stephenson I ever read, and likewise Perdido Street Station permanently turned me off China Miéville.)

So I'll finish reading it. But not today. I'm too depressed to deal with it today.
____
*Even his name is a "gift" from his divine shitbag of a father.

#169 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 01:15 PM:

Serge @157, I was listening to Purcell's "Dido and Aeneas," and happened to hear what may have been the basis for the "What, never?" bit. It's barely possible, I mean. It's a mournful "no, never," and it's sung by some sailors. (Similarly, I'm of the opinion that "Titwillow" is a take-off on "O Willow, Willow.)

Duncan J Macdonald @161, sadly, this seems to invalidate the timeless wisdom found in this lovely song, performed by otters. (Link goes to a tasteful and edifying audio-visual production, suitable for all ages.)

#170 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 01:31 PM:

B. Durbin: congrats on the new offspring!

Speaking as a person who almost shares a birthday with a parent, I offer the observation that at some point the child will tire of mutual celebrations and feel that she deserves a birthday observance all to herself.

If you and she both like the same kind of cake, this problem will undoubtedly be delayed . . . .

Really, best wishes. My own offspring is about to be 14, which makes me go "how'd _that_ happen" on a regular basis.

#171 ::: LDR ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 01:35 PM:

Xopher @168: have you seen or read Gaiman's Neverwhere? I haven't read Anansi Boys, but I bet they proceed along similar lines.

#172 ::: James Moar ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 01:39 PM:

Xopher@168: I think you'll find your trust will pay off.

#173 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 01:42 PM:

Xopher @168: but why does all this make the book push wrong buttons for you? Is there a sense that Gaiman is presenting Rosie's behavior as the Right Thing? It sounds like a fairly plausible (and yes, assholish) way for somebody to behave -- I don't see how that would be a strike against the book.

#174 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 01:46 PM:

Xopher @ 168: I am struggling through Anansi Boys myself, with similar issues -- may I just say that I dislike reluctant heroes? The inability to make a decision irritates me. I can put up with that mannerism in a person, to a certain extent, but not in a work of fiction.

#175 ::: LDR ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 01:47 PM:

I've been wondering if there are any socially responsible health insurance companies out there, and if not, if anybody will start one. I mean, isn't it conceivable that if you accepted people with pre-existing conditions, didn't rescind the policy when they got sick, and generally didn't jerk them around, then everybody would want to buy insurance from you and you could still make a profit?

Also, it would be nice if we could boycott the worst insurance companies, but I've never heard of that happening.

#176 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 01:49 PM:

Open Threadiness:

If you haven't been following the discussion of Conservatism and "epistemic closure" (aka living in the echo chamber), you're missing some fascinating stuff. Andrew Sullivan, Marginal Revolution's Tyler Cowan, and Megan McArdle all have discussed this, and it's seriously worth looking at. You could do worse than to start with this Jim Manzi article.

Somewhere following all this, I saw a wonderful quote in an article by David Frum, quoting a colleague. Frum had just written an essay sort-of attacking Rush Limbaugh. His colleague said:

“You aren’t really mad at Rush Limbaugh you know...You’re not even mad at Fox News. You want to win elections, you know that the troops have to be mobilized, somebody has to get them fired up, and you don’t fire them up with Milton Friedman and James Q. Wilson. You are mad at the conservative intellectual elites. They’re the ones who are supposed to uphold intellectual standards, to sift actual facts from what you call ‘pretend information’. Rush Limbaugh isn’t any worse than he was 20 years ago. But 20 years ago, conservatism offered something more than Rush Limbaugh. Since then, the conservative elite has collapsed. Blame them, not talk radio.”

This really rings true for me--for all that you might reasonably disagree with their ideas and principles, 20 or 30 years ago, conservatives actually seemed to have some. Now, it's hard for me to see what they are. There will always be rabble-rousers in any movement. But where have the brains of the conservative movement gone? I keep wondering how much of this has to do with the role of think tanks, which give intellectuals jobs subject to adherence to the party line.

#177 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 01:56 PM:

176
It might depend on which Wilson you gave them. Some are more engaging than others.
(Personally, I'd hand them Watching Fishes, just to see their minds explode.)

#178 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 01:58 PM:

LDR @175: Yes, boycotting the nastier insurance companies would be a good idea...

Unless you are a person with cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, epilepsy, etc. In order to boycott your insurer you would have to cancel your insurance.

If you do THAT, no other insurance company will cover you because you have a pre-existing condition, and the law that prohibits discriminating against that doesn't go into effect until later this year. (And the insurance companies are looking for ways to weasel out of many of the things the new law requires.)

So the only people who could boycott would be the totally healthy ones. I'm not sure there are that many folks out there willing to take the risk.

#179 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 01:58 PM:

Here's BWV 139, with Count Nikolaus de la Fontaine und d'Harnoncourt-Unverzagt (boy, did I ever not know that!)

#180 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 02:05 PM:

Xopher, I do think you'll find certain character growth patterns and the way various relationships work out more satisfying later on in that book. (Part of the problem really is that Rosie doesn't understand what Charlie's trying to tell her; part of the problem has to do with complicated backstory things involving Charlie's youth, which aren't going to be referenced explicitly for many, many chapters yet, but do explain his inability to put his foot down.) Whether or not you find it worth it to read to that point is, of course, another matter; I did, but I also found that early dynamic less infuriating.

Perhaps tellingly, while I love that novel, when I reread it, I tend to skim the early bits and skip ahead to when the "good stuff" starts happening.

#181 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 02:08 PM:

LDR@175: Well, most insurance companies behave that way -- when you're part of an employee group and transferring directly from another insurance plan. It would certainly be better, and we have taken a small step, to make them behave even better than that. But one of the reasons a lot of people aren't foaming at the mouth about insurance is that for a lot of people, it's working pretty much okay, though expensive.

Some people get nasty surprises. And of course a lot of people aren't so lucky, they have severe trouble with insurance right now. This is another issue where much of the issue is how we treat the most vulnerable among us. I'm surprised that middle-class voters don't see themselves possibly falling off the insurance rosters, or aren't worried about it. That seems very short-sighted.

#183 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 02:14 PM:

LDR 171: Neverwhere is one of the reasons I trust Gaiman to turn it around. I absolutely love that book, even though I've never been to London.

James 172: Thanks. I hoped so.

TMK 173: If there are no sympathetic characters in a book, it's not for me. (Note that this isn't the same as being a bad book in terms of some more abstract measure of quality.) If the protagonist is a complete putz, I don't enjoy such books. These things are why I didn't enjoy Miéville's Perdido Street Station; there's only one character who comes close to being likeable, and fur trgf zvaq-sevrq at the end of the book. Well-written; too fucking depressing.

Shorter: It's a strike against the book in terms of "Xopher likes this sort of thing" not in terms of "This book is good."

Ginger 174: Ah, there we go. Yeah, that will likely bug me too.

Fade 180: Yes, that is telling. Not really an option on a first read, though. I'm going to keep plowing ahead, but not today.

#184 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 02:17 PM:

Albatross @176 --

It could be that the people leaving the American conservative movement at those who can admit they are wrong.

#185 ::: LDR ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 02:28 PM:

Lori Coulson @178: In order to boycott your insurer you would have to cancel your insurance. If you do THAT, no other insurance company will cover you because you have a pre-existing condition . . .

This is the kind of thing that makes me wonder why some people think they currently have a "choice" of insurance companies, or that health insurance should be governed by the free market. Obviously we're not free.

ddb @181: I'm surprised that middle-class voters don't see themselves possibly falling off the insurance rosters, or aren't worried about it. That seems very short-sighted.

I have thought the same thing almost every day for the last . . . what is it? Seems like a year. Perhaps they're expecting to join the ranks of people on Medicare/Medicaid/SS disability who complain bitterly about the government wasting money on the undeserving poor.

#186 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 02:31 PM:

Melissa @170: The problem of sharing celebrations presupposes that I have one for myself anyway. I somehow never got the hang of throwing myself parties.

#187 ::: LDR ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 02:38 PM:

Xopher @183: See, I'm easily bored. Or at least, "hapless man falls into clutches of evil heartless woman but ultimately escapes, hooray!" is a plot that I have no interest in reading twice, especially by the same author.

Of course, most authors have their preferred motifs; and some of my favorites do recycle. Diana Wynne Jones, for instance . . . although I maintain that she adds original touches to each of her admittedly rather similar books.

So, what's the difference between an author who tells the same story over and over, and one who tells the same story with interesting variations?

#188 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 02:48 PM:

@187--

I'm going to hazard a guess: it's the interesting variations.

#189 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 02:50 PM:

LDR @ 187: The three Diana Wynne Jones books I've read (Dogsbody, The Homeward Bounders, and Dark Lord of Dernholm) were quite different from each other (and all excellent).

#190 ::: LDR ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 02:53 PM:

kid bitzer: yes, but one person's interesting variation is another person's irrelevant bit of window dressing.

#191 ::: LDR ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 03:01 PM:

Tim Walters @189: Ironically, I read Dogsbody after I had read enough DWJ books to be able to predict the ending. Therefore I was disappointed (although there certainly are some good bits along the way.) But when I got to the end of Homeward Bounders I was like, "Wow! How often do you see that in a YA book!"

I know it's all a matter of taste. But it's still a fine and fascinating distinction.

#192 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 03:22 PM:

Lori Coulson #178: In order to boycott your insurer you would have to cancel your insurance.

Look for insurance companies to boycott as many sick people as they can get away with; I expect there will be a surge of cynically evil rescissions before the 23 SEPT 2010 health-care reform deadline.

#193 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 03:28 PM:

LDR @185: Most people who are healthy are under a delusion that their insurance will cover whatever future healthcare they need. It's only when they actually have a doctor's visit that involves something other than allergies or the common cold that they find what their insurance -doesn't- cover...

Most health insurance is bought through an employer during a yearly open season. There are a few out there who will go through the storm of plans to choose one that best meets their needs. But most employees, if they have a plan they are satisfied with, will not bother to check if there is something better than what they currently have. Most will only change if their current plan raises premiums.

Many think if they don't like what the plans available through their workplace they can go out and buy an individual or family plan. Since they've never had to shop for health insurance, they have no clue how expensive this choice can be.

And guess what? That so-called Health Insurance Reform Act Congress passed does nothing to control the cost of premiums or the ever-escalating costs of health care. Expanding Medicare to everyone WOULD have done that.

At this point I'm tempted to tar and feather most of our Congress (with the exception of Kucinich and Sanders). All this bill does is shovel more money to the Insurance/Medical companies. It does very little for the average voter.

#194 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 03:29 PM:

Kip W, 169: Yes, indeed! I once cracked up an opera singer by segue-ing from one to the next; she'd sung both but had never made the connection. (There's also the beautiful Handel pastiche in Trial by Jury. Sullivan did like his Baroque!)

#195 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 03:30 PM:

There is a Reason that Fat Charlie is a bit of a wimp.

#196 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 03:32 PM:

Xipher #168, Ginger #174: I had trouble with the beginning of Anansi Boys too, just because Fat Charlie was such a buttmonkey, and I couldn't help empathizing with him. But things do turn out in the end, including giving a satisfactory reason why Charlie starts off the way he does....

(Ur'f bayl unys jung ur fubhyq or. Fvzvyneyl, uvf "bgure unys" (i>abg Ebfvr!) fgnegf bss naablvat nf uryy, ohg riraghnyyl trgf fbzr uhzvyvgl xabpxrq vagb uvz.)

LDR #187: Trust Neil Gaiman to be more complex than that! In Neverwhere, the nasty relationship is just a launchpad for the real plot. In Anansi Boys, it's more part of the plot, but it's still only one strand of the web (so to speak).

Tim Walters #189: Yeah, DWJ has a pretty good range, once you get past any one series....

#197 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 03:32 PM:

Pere @ 144 -- nice! Interestingly, it resonates with a poem I recently wrote about Arachne and Athena, postulating a relationship not in the canon but which made sense to me. (It's due to be published in Mythic Circle this year.)

#198 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 03:38 PM:

Earl Cooley @192: Case in point -- there was an article last week that reported Wellpoint is currently canceling coverage on breast cancer patients.

#199 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 04:25 PM:

Oh, noes! Out of all the 80s movies they could be remaking, how can think that Real Genius should be one of them.

http://www.empireonline.com/news/feed.asp?NID=27522

"In the immortal words of Socrates, 'I drank what?"

#200 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 04:32 PM:

One quick bit of unfinished business while I'm playing catch-up.

ddb (in the now-closed thread): Debbie's analysis of my usage of the quotation marks was correct, and your apology is accepted.

#201 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 04:33 PM:

If'n I had my druthers, such rescissions would be criminally punishable as conspiracy to commit negligent homicide (with an aggravating circumstance of "depraved indifference" to nudge the sentencing guidelines).

Meanwhile, I was listening to some Nina Simone, and this happened....

Blue is the color of my Drupal site
Her fonts are kerned to my delight
Semantic style and 960 guides
I love the host where she resides
Blue is the color of my Drupal site
Of my Drupal site

Oh, I love my Drupal and well she knows
Yes, I love the host on where she goes
And still I hope we'll not be spammed
When she and I are index scanned
Blue is the color of my Drupal site

#202 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 04:49 PM:

LDR @ 191: Ironically, I read Dogsbody after I had read enough DWJ books to be able to predict the ending.

I am blessed with a very poor memory for plot. I can be surprised twice by an ending in the same book, so intra-author leakage isn't really a problem for me.

The corollary is that the overall vibe/gestalt of a book [or film] is a lot more important to me than the plot, although the latter shouldn't be so inept that it breaks the spell.

#204 ::: LDR ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 05:32 PM:

Tim Walters - you are blessed :)

#205 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 06:04 PM:

Steve 203: Hooray! At least the judge wasn't totally insane.

#206 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 06:12 PM:

Yeah, it sounds like the Judge ignored the pre-sentencing guidelines (that caused Peter some anxiety) and went with about the minimum he could given the rest of the process.

#207 ::: Wesley Osam ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 07:23 PM:

Ginger, #174: I thought Anansi Boys was Gaiman's best book to date. It occurs to me that part of the reason for that is that I tend to like reluctant heroes. A lot of confident, decisive kinds of heroes strike me as jerky and smug.

Fat Charlie, on the other hand, was a pleasant guy to spend a book with.

#208 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 07:27 PM:

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Teresa, for the link to the "birchbark" particle!

Not for the particular article, but because the ad at the bottom of that page was for...

...a complete DVD set of the DARIA animated series!

Whoop whoop! I've been waiting years for MTV to get smart enough to put out the complete set, instead of just the two movies/specials that completed the series.

(What's DARIA? The best television series, ever, about High School life and surviving adolescence. Ever. Really.)

(And the most amazing thing is... it was a spinoff from BEAVIS & BUTTHEAD. Sometimes you have to dig thru the mud to find a diamond.)

#209 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 07:57 PM:

I really disliked Beavis and Butt-head until a friend of mine persuaded me to watch one. I realized then that it was actually a smart show about two stupid losers.

For instance, on a show where the President was visiting their high school, the teachers had a meeting on the subject of how to keep the two idiots from ruining the occasion. Some ideas were discussed. Finally, a teacher said, "Why don't we just, you know, kill them?" Another teacher said, "That would rule." Then all the other teachers gave that smirking semi-laugh, "Huh-huh-huh," that Beavis & Butt-head do for any or no reason.

It was, I realized abruptly, a perfect illustration of how a couple of subnormal idiots bend the world around them. They had managed to drag the teachers down to their level, and none of them realized it.

After that, I watched the show with my eyes open. I tried to watch Daria.

#210 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 08:11 PM:

LDR, #175, Kaiser Permanente is non-profit and pretty much always listed as one of the best health insurance companies. (I had my insurance from them before I got sick, and now have one of their Medicare Advantage plans.)

and #185, I have both Medicare & SSA and I don't complain about the government wasting money on the poor. Heck, I'd like a National Health System. But I admit that one of the advantages of being really sick is that I have income. Not enough to have the kind of house or vacations or other things that I had before I got sick, and I have a 23.5-year-old van, but I do have income.

#211 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 08:17 PM:

Last year a couple made a documentary about how the county around my city made rigid immigration laws and they backfired. The couple has been asked to take the documentary to Arizona.

The WashPost asked readers to recommend books for Obama to read. The most-recommended was Atlas Shrugged, but one of the other highlights is Asimov's Foundation Series.

#212 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 08:32 PM:

Marilee @ #210, Kaiser may be reputable, but they're not averse to raising rates like crazy. I have an individual plan with them, and it's jumped from $140/month in 1999 to $402/month this year. Okay, that's just inflation, you say? It was $343/month last year. That's a 17.5% hike.

#213 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 08:52 PM:

Unfortunately (and despite a relative's overall positive experience with them), the name "Kaiser Permanente" is most strongly associated for me with literal patient dumping.

#214 ::: Pere ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 10:37 PM:

Xopher@147: oops, comment moderated for posted links. I found a good review for the book you mentioned, but won't post the link again. It sounds like a romp, though, and I'll hunt it down.

Thanks for the rec and the reassurance!

#215 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 11:24 PM:

Lah-la-LAH-la-la!

I liked Daria in small doses. The cynicism could get to be a bit much.

#216 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2010, 01:50 AM:

Kip, #21: My partner used to have a car with speakers just about that powerful. His preferred blasting-piece was the opening tattoo from the Massed Pipes And Drums; he says it would send people diving for cover halfway down the next block. Of course, this was a long time ago. (Note: before starting it up, he'd put on a pair of shooter's earmuffs, so as not to damage his own hearing.)

OtterB, #62: Some people take the fallacy in the other direction, to wit. since only things that are difficult are worthwhile, anything that they can do that doesn't feel difficult is ipso facto worthless, no matter how difficult anyone else might find it. I've been fighting this one in a couple of online friends for over a decade.

Cygnet, #71: *IZ DED OV KYOOT*

Janet, #88: ObSF, Spock to Kirk: "I am reminded of an ancient Vulcan aphorism about masterpieces, namely that it takes at least two entities to create one -- the first to wield the brush, and the second to hit the first over the hammer when it is long since obvious that it is time to stop."
- Diane Duane, The Empty Chair

albatross, #104 et al: There are a number of rest areas along I-10 in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama which have never been reopened since Katrina. I'm sure this is also due to budgetary considerations, as these states are generally poor. But at least in those areas you do have the option of stopping at a truckstop or convenience store instead.

Lin, #114: I am now envisioning that scene with a mental soundtrack addition of, "Get this m*f*n' cigarette out of my m*f*n' car, you m*f*er!"

Xopher, #168: Egad. That would have me in "hurl across the room with great force" mode too. Please let us know how it comes out, when you can bring yourself to go on.

Modesto Kid, #173: I can't speak for Xopher, but... first off, I find it extremely difficult to read a book that makes me want to whap the protagonist upside the head on a repeating basis. Secondly, I don't like reading books that rub up against old sore spots from my own past. Just because I lived thru it myself doesn't mean I want to watch someone else living thru it. Either of those things is a strike against the book; what else would it be?

LDR, #187: So, what's the difference between an author who tells the same story over and over, and one who tells the same story with interesting variations?

If there were a good answer for that question, there might be more Regency-romance writers of the quality of Georgette Heyer.

#217 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2010, 02:15 AM:

The Onion A/V Club is having a good round-table discussion of Riddley Walker. Some good comments, too.

Also: Louis, Louis.

#218 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2010, 02:17 AM:

TexAnne: We did Trial By Jury last fall. We set it in modern times (Facebook photo album) and had the king of scenery-chewing as the Judge. (I have often said that Alan Rickman is the only person allowed to chew scenery; well, Bob Schroeder gets to chew scenery too.)

We'd paired it with an act's worth of opera selections, culminating with The Girls of Maxime's. Yes, we did a can-can. Yes, I was three months pregnant at the time. Thankfully, the first trimester exhaustion wore off the week before the performance. Good times, good times.

#219 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2010, 02:36 AM:

Lee @200:

While we're cleaning up business from the closed thread, I was wrong to read you as angry when I did. I apologize for the rebuke, which was undeserved.

#220 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2010, 07:58 AM:

The "I can do it, so it's nothing much" thing is something I've been trying to work on. It's hard to find the balance between obnoxious bragging about skills that don't matter or only mattered in the past and minimizing legitimately useful skills.

I always worry about job applications; it doesn't feel okay to say that I'm an above-average presenter and writer, but I really would like to be employed someday.
I settle that one by reframing it as a feminist issue rather than a personal one. Women in general don't talk themselves up. Therefore, when I take a stand on my own abilities, I am striking a blow for equality. Kind of like a woman being shamed for defending herself, but praised for defending her children.

#221 ::: LDR ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2010, 10:27 AM:

Lori Coulson @193: It does seem like health insurance (along with wills, end-of-life plans, etc.) is one of those things that people don't want to think about.

Marilee @210 (et al.): I have both Medicare & SSA and I don't complain about the government wasting money on the poor.

Oh, I know that not everybody does it. It's just one of the more noticeable examples of hypocrisy. And of course I was thinking of the blogger who advised people to throw bricks.

#222 ::: Pere ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2010, 10:47 AM:

Janet@197: The Arachne story is one of my favourites! Will seek that out, too. Thanks!

#223 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2010, 11:49 AM:

B. Durbin#13

Congratulations! She is a beautiful and super-healthy looking baby :D

Our daughter (Emily) was a month old yesterday and hasn't reached Joanna's birth weight yet (although she's growing fine*)!

Rob Hansen#122: After an excellent episode 1, followed by mediocre episodes 2 & 3, I think episode 4 of the new season of Doctor Who was the best of the season so far

Totally agree. I can't wait for next week's episode. So far I'm missing David Tenant a lot more than I'm missing Russell T. Davies, but it seems to be in safe hands and Matt Smith has all sorts of potential.

B. Durbin#152: Sometimes she sounds like a taun taun while she sleeps. I kid you not.

Emily squeaks like an excited hamster when she's falling asleep or waking up. My wife dreamed she was going to give birth to a cat**, but it turns out she's actually part kitten and part parrot - her favourite place to sleep is curled up on somebody's shoulder. It's not just because she's mine that I find this world-shakingly cute, I swear.

Xopher#168

I'm sorry Anansi Boys is starting as such a slog for you - it's my favourite of Neil Gaiman's solo novels. I hope you a) persevere and b) are rewarded for doing so.

...which brings me to perseverence versus perseveration and reminds me of a flash of insight that occurred when I was lucky enough to learn to glide. On a fraught run, the (very experienced RAF) pilot teaching me said words to the effect that the problem wasn't that I was slow or incapable, but that with all his experience he wouldn't be able to fly the plane the way I was trying to - in short, I was making it hard because I was doing it wrong.

What struck me was the point wasn't that I was failing because of a weakness in me, but because nobody could be expected to succeed at the task the way I had formulated it for myself. It really stayed with me as an example where working harder at the same approach was not the answer.

Further on perseveration, I have now previewed this way too many times, so I'm going to go with "perfect is the enemy of good enough" and hit post.

*5lb 14oz at birth, 7lb 9oz last week
**I am not making this up

#224 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2010, 11:52 AM:

abi, #219: Not to worry. FTR, I didn't read it as a rebuke, but as genuine concern, and was confused more than anything else.

Diatryma, #220: Given the number of people applying for jobs who are incapable of producing a literate English sentence (and they native speakers, yet!), I don't think it's out of line at all to stress your writing and presenting skills. And yes, it's a feminist issue as well.

To all: A reminder that my annual Chocolate Decadence party is this Saturday evening. Anyone who lives close enough to Houston to consider coming is welcome; e-mail stardreamer AT mindspring DOT com for details. KeithS will be here, and he's planning to make Xopher's Black Hole Brownies of Death.

#225 ::: Antonia T. Tiger ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2010, 12:11 PM:

Last year, I re-read Where Eagles Dare for the first time in years. And the little errors of reality--a meeting in Crete when the Germans were still occupying Crete was only the first--were annoying. As a movie, it's the start of the high adventure war movie genre.

So, in a splurge of creativity, I wrote my version. Furry anarchist commandoes, warrior priestesses, and a slightly bemused Canadian paratrooper being helped out by a ghost. And the occult Nazis discover why it's a bad idea to piss off Odin.

I wonder if the Ravenmaster at the Tower of London happens to have just the one eye.

#226 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2010, 12:57 PM:

Oh, Lee... I'm going to drive from New Orleans to Lafayette on Saturday and you're making me REALLY wish I had the fortitude to continue on to Houston. I hope y'all have a wonderful time, and enjoy the brownies for me.

#228 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2010, 03:03 PM:

Jacques @227 -- Nice! Also the "grow your own snowflakes" experiment looks like fun.

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

The "classification of snowflakes" section coming off that page, Jacque, has more than enough snowflake types to warm an Eskimo's heart! (nb -- I'd have used Inuit, but it doesn't fit the old joke....)

#230 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2010, 04:49 PM:

EClaire, #226: Aw, c'mon, it's only another 4 hours or so! And we've got crash space...

#231 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2010, 04:53 PM:

Any Philadelphia Phillies fans here? Here are ruminations on the signing of their first baseman. Not a likely topic here, perhaps, except that's done as a rewrite of Poe's Nevermore.

#232 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2010, 07:17 PM:

Lee@224: Wait, someone else is going to make Xopher's brownies too, or are you confusing me with KeithS?

#233 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2010, 07:22 PM:

Tom Whitmore @229, I worked up a fake Eskimo rebus once, taking snowflake plus snowfall minus snowball plus crusty snow minus fresh snow, and it equalled some kind of snow gauge. Then I attributed it to that classic volume, "1001 Iniktut Laffs, Riddles, and Puzzles." I may have even made up fake words for it. It was shortly after I'd audited a linguistics class, or maybe even while I was taking it.

#234 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2010, 08:28 PM:

David, #232: Well, Keith said he was going to make them. I guess we'll have two batches. Looks like a win-win to me!

#235 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2010, 08:39 PM:

Linkmeister, #212, and I thought $9/month this year was bad! There's another advantage of Medicare, at least now.

Lila, #213, I remember that, and was surprised. I think they haven't done that again.

LDR, #221, he was here about a week ago for a gun festival.

#236 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2010, 09:13 PM:

I can't be at Chocolate Decadence. :'-(

#237 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2010, 10:11 PM:

Open threadiness.
Make Mine Freedom seemed like an unlikely story in 1948. Now it seems all too real.

#238 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2010, 11:46 PM:

Russ @ 223: Your talk of working harder at the same approach was not the answer reminded me of a phrase I learned from a coworker, "bark biter". The image is someone trying to chew down a tree. Their work ethic and determination are admirable, but it really would be better if they'd stop, and go look for a suitable tool.

#239 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 12:57 AM:

Russ @223: Emily seems to have been a perfectly respectable weight. Evil Rob was a big baby; I was a big baby; and now every time I get pregnant they test me for gestational diabetes because I have big babies. Oh joy. Though I do have to say that all is relative; Gareth was bigger, so Joanna was quick.

#240 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 01:23 AM:

Jacque @ 227:

Oooh, neat!

Lee @ 234:

I can always make something else. It's not as if there's a shortage of chocolate-related recipes around.

#241 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 01:30 AM:

Somebody on FB linked an article with a headline about depressed people turning to chocolate. There are lots of depressed people, so it sounds like we won't run out of chocolate for a long, long time.

#242 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 05:35 AM:

(chuckles at 241)

It's a negative feedback mechanism: one depressed person turns to chocolate, the supply of chocolate increases, the number of depressed people falls. Very Gaia.

#243 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 06:52 AM:

janetl @238 "bark biter" I like that; it's useful.

#244 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 07:31 AM:

@241,242

sad to think about how many depressed rabbits there are every spring, though (and depressed bilbies down under).

every year before easter, all those poor bunnies, moping, pining, slowly turning to chocolate....

hang on--i'd better stop that train of thought before i go all bittersweet myself.

#245 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 08:41 AM:

i've been pondering how it is that terry's gets all those oranges to turn to chocolate. what saddens oranges?

i think they must show them a lot of citrus snuff films--lemons being sliced in half, grapefruits eviscerated, oranges squashed--all the juicy stuff.

the oranges get so depressed that they turn to chocolate, just at the sight of all the citric slaughter. the oranges especially mind it when they show them the cans of orange concentrate.

indeed, you may depend upon it, sir: when an orange is to be squeezed in a fortnight, it minds the concentrates wonderfully.

#246 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 08:47 AM:

kid bitzer, you are a certain protection against my own chocoferous tendencies.

#247 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 08:54 AM:

245: Er, Serge? You know you said that when the student was ready, the master would appear? Well...

#248 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 09:01 AM:

ajay @ 247... When did I say that? What about the Master?

#249 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 09:28 AM:

kid bitzer @245: Pithy stuff, but described with zest.

#250 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 09:45 AM:

So, you've got the Doctor, obviously. And his adversary, the Master.
But we haven't actually encountered the Bachelor yet, have we?

#251 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 09:54 AM:

ajay @ 250... This is starting to sound like a Fox Channel's contest show.

#252 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 10:15 AM:

#250: What about the Scholar and the Commoner?

#253 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 10:18 AM:

Hey, if we're requesting, can we add in a Gatekeeper and a Keymaster?

#254 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 10:39 AM:

@247--

i don't understand this comment, or the ones that succeed it (other than kip w's)--they look like references to a narrative i haven't read. but i'm going to pretend it's a compliment, and if it's a compliment from you, ajay, then i feel very pleased indeed.

#255 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 10:50 AM:

254: 247 is definitely a compliment, implying that a punner whose skill is at least equal to Serge's has finally appeared. (Whether this is a good thing or not for the Fluorosphere in general is left carefully unstated.)

The rest are largely unrelated silliness (not that that's a bad thing of course) referring to Doctor Who, which as you know Bob has a main character, a Time Lord, called the Doctor and an antagonist, also a Time Lord, called the Master. Assuming that these are, respectively, a DPhil and an MA, they imply the existence of a rather less powerful Time Lord called the Bachelor somewhere as well. And, as Carrie S points out, a Scholar and a Commoner.

There's probably a Wrangler as well. No doubt this is a Time Lord (or Lady) in particularly tight jeans.
We might even come across a Bejant (or Bezantine), a Tertian and a Magistrand, which all have a rather Whovian sound...

#256 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 10:52 AM:

ajay! You make me smile...and miss my scarlet gown.

My additions were mere irrelevancies, designed to cloud the mind. Just a Ghostbusters reference.

#257 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 11:00 AM:

You people are seeping into my work life. This is the email I just sent:

This is just to say

I have moved
the donuts
that were in
my office

and which
I was probably
giving
my team first shot at

Forgive me
they were limited in quantity
so sweet
and so warm

#258 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 11:01 AM:

@255--

thanks for the explanation and who-tutorial, ajay. i'm guilty of various forms of anglophilia--excessive attachment to dr. johnson, gilbert & sullivan, etc.--but somehow i have overlooked dr. who.

thanks also for the kind words. but punning proclivities seem to be very widely distributed among the participants here. i'll take your word that serge is historically egregious in this regard, but no one here seems innocent of it.

#259 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 11:05 AM:

wcw's plums: it's the "untergang" of light verse.

#260 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 11:19 AM:

259: OK, someone needs to make that parody.

"Unfortunately, mein Fuhrer, General Steiner has already eaten the plums that were in the icebox."

#261 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 11:31 AM:

My additions were mere irrelevancies, designed to cloud the mind.

-- I am shocked - shocked! - to find irrelevancies being posted here!

(A moderator: Your dinosaurs, sir.)

-- Oh, thank you.

#262 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 11:35 AM:

@260--

now *that's* funny.

or, conversely:

this is just to say
i have lost the eastern front
which was in siberia....

#263 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 11:55 AM:

ajay @ 255... There's probably a Wrangler as well

...and a Tinker, a Tailor, a Soldier and a Spy?

#264 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 12:12 PM:

Cygnet @110: I showed your pic to my resident cat-rescuer, and she wants to know, "What's the plan for mom and these adorable kittens?"

(She is to feral kitties as Superman is to Lois Lane.)

#265 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 12:34 PM:

abi, #256: My additions were mere irrelevancies, designed to cloud the mind.

No, no! They were corroborative detail, intended to lend artistic verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative.

#266 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 12:54 PM:

Here Comes Peter Cottontail
Hopping Down the Bunny Trail
Hippity, Hoppity
HORRORS on the Way . . .

Sketchy Bunnies

Note that there are many, many pages; scroll down and hit "older entries."

#267 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 01:08 PM:

@266--

oh my god. massively creepy, and yet safe for work--kind of like hitchcock before psycho.

gah--that makes bunnies seem worse than clowns, almost.

#268 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 01:51 PM:

Stefan Jones@266: That third one in your link is a veritable Cthulhu bunny!

(Had to look the spelling up; it's not in the convenient reference list!)

#269 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 01:56 PM:

Is it my imagination, or are the responses of the right-wing defending the new Arizona immigration law crazier than usual? There's a an Iowa Republican congressional candidate who wants to catch and microchip illegal immigrants.

#270 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 02:12 PM:

#270: I'm surprised they're not recommending neuter and release.

We're dealing with clodhopper-rousing blowhards.

#271 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 02:15 PM:

Lizzy L. @269, but wouldn't that be illegal in Georgia?

#272 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 02:50 PM:

Re Epicyclic Great Wheel skeleton particle - *sigh* Fine, I'll add YET ANOTHER piece of steampunkish awesome to my "buy when I actually have spare money" list. Because it's not like it's long enough already!

(Perhaps between great coat and monocle? No, I'll slide it in above time machine and below antique pocket-watch.)

#273 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 03:01 PM:

Raphael @ 271, as far as I can google, the Microchip Consent Act of 2010 still has not yet been passed by the Georgia House of Representatives. Perhaps the legislators will come to their senses and amend the act so that it applies only to U. S. citizens.

#274 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 03:17 PM:

This is just to say

I have microchipped
the immigrants
who were standing on
the streetcorner

and which
you were probably
saving
for low-wage jobs

Forgive me
they were perfect targets
so friendless
and so brown

#275 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 03:19 PM:

ajay #261:

Make them wash their hands before you take them home. I know what they were doing back there....

#276 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 03:32 PM:

In another discussion, a border-state resident is saying that they have huge problems because of illegal aliens and thinks this solution is better than doing nothing (to which I disagree), and asks what we would have them do. I suggested trying to make remaining where they are more palatable so they won't feel they need to come here. One step in that direction would be stopping the "War on Drugs." Any other ideas?

I'd like to see the law struck down sooner rather than later, and not have it spread to, say, Texas, where I have nieces and nephews whose ancestry is half Tejano (that side of their family was there well before any white people). I'd like for them to be able to keep their sunny disposition and not lose it in a series of needless encounters with authority figures.

#277 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 03:48 PM:

Kip W:

The big question is: what's your goal? If your goal is to convince illegal immigrants to return home, the main thing to do is to make it unrewarding to hire illegal immigrants, since they overwhelmingly come here for work. Very large fines for employers, and large rewards for turning in large-scale employers of illegal immigrants, would probably suffice. But that would involve stomping on the feet of a bunch of powerful, moneyed interests. Indeed, anything that actually decreases the supply of low-wage labor offends those same people, which is why nearly all politically palatable ways to deal with illegal immigration involve cosmetic "get tough" measures that don't actually address the real problem, but that look and sound good on TV. (Remember the campaign for a wall, discussed by politicians as though it made any sense whatsoever?)

From what I've read, it's likely that decreasing the population of illegal immigrants will hurt the economy, though it may help wages for bottom-tier citizens looking for work. But the big humanitarian problem is that we've been dealing with mass immigration by quietly accepting it for so long, we have millions of people who've lived here for years, had kids, joined churches, bought property. There is no way to send most of that group of people home that isn't going to be just flat awful. Letting them stay with some kind of amnesty/path to citizenship creates big incentives for future illegal immigration. That looks to me like the real tangle.

And the biggest problem is that our political decisionmaking mechanisms (spread across government at various levels, laws, markets, and media) are broken. This is the kind of problem we can't manage to tackle very well, and so we kick it down the road and let it fester, as with the deficit, medicare funding, the drug war, financial regulation, etc.

#278 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 03:57 PM:

Jacque @ 264> We're keeping the ginger female kitten with the bib. I'll network around and find the rest homes, between my work (I think I might have one a home with a coworker already), friends, the local feed store owner, my vet, etc. I'm not too worried about finding homes for them.

Mama may or may not stay, it depends on what her temperament's like when she's older. Right now, she's beyond aggressive to other animals. She's fine with people. I'll find her a home if I have to. I'd like to keep her -- she reminds me a lot of a cat I had as a kid -- but not if she's going to stress out the other cats and attack the dog.

New kitten pics here at 20 days of age.

#279 ::: LDR ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 04:11 PM:

Illegal drugs and illegal immigrants have a lot in common. They flood the US because we pay lots of money for them. They wouldn't be here if we didn't want them. But in public everyone says "We don't want them! Why don't they stop coming? They're so evil!" (I read somewhere that the US consumes two-thirds of the world's illegal drug supply.)

#280 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 04:11 PM:

Albatross @ 247: It's also been noted that it's a lot harder to *legally* immigrate here now than it was for many our ancestors. In particular, if you don't already have family here, and want to do more than temporarily come to work for one specific employer (who then can wield lots of power over you), it can take many years and many thousands of dollars just to be allowed in.

I don't have much firsthand experience of what it's like in the southwestern border states, but here in Pennsylvania, and other areas of the Northeast that have had stagnant populations, we could use some more immigrants. The southwestern states, on the other hand, have been the recipients of a lot of internal migration lately as well as immigration, and rapid population increases can put a strain on society and government.

So I wonder if anyone's seriously considered expanding legal immigration in a geographically targeted way. That is, additional immigration visas would be made available to folks who are willing to live and work in designated lower-population areas of the country (and who otherwise meet basic qualifications, including not becoming a ward of the state), while they're on the visa.

There are some practical challenges to doing this, but I'm not sure they're insurmountable; and they might help make immigration fairer while spreading out the load from crowded states to less-crowded ones. Has anyone tried it, or shown convincingly why it wouldn't work?

#281 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 04:14 PM:

A lot of the undocumented immigrants are from Europe (or Asia). For some reason, the anti-immigrant groups don't target them as much.

#282 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 04:46 PM:

Another thing we might do to reduce illegal immigration from Mexico and Central America is to eliminate agriculture subsidies to American farmers who have crops which compete with crops (like sugar) from those nations. If the economies of countries which are sources of immigrants offered more opportunities, I'm reasonably sure many of them would prefer to work in their home countries. It's damned hard to be an immigrant.

#283 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 04:50 PM:

albatross #277: the main thing to do is to make it unrewarding to hire illegal immigrants, since they overwhelmingly come here for work. Very large fines for employers, and large rewards for turning in large-scale employers of illegal immigrants, would probably suffice.

B-b-but that runs the risk of profiling Republicans! The combination of undeserved wealth and property, greed, venality, and other moral failings make it much more likely that Republicans would be snagged by such fines. The smoke-filled back room power they can bring to bear would make the enforcement of such fines extremely unlikely, unless they can manage to entrap a Democrat, in which case they can trumpet it to the heavens as a triumph of law and order.

#284 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 05:12 PM:

Am unable to announce this in the appropriate language, but Anglo-Saxon manuscripts from The Parker Library, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge have now been digitized. Hi-res scans seem to be subscription-only, but here's a nice slideshow.

#285 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 05:30 PM:

(with apologies to Rodgers and Hammerstein)

Arizona, where the law comes sweepin' illegals
And where Sheriff Joe can taze you (oh!)
Then he'll crack your unresisting skulls.
Arizona, Ev'ry night they violate your rights;
Sit alone and starve in the ICE jail
Makin' sure your future really bites.

#286 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 05:37 PM:

My brain is starting to ooze out of my skull.

#287 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 05:50 PM:

Speaking of spending money on steampunk, as heresiarch was @272, here's another opportunity: Upstate Steampunk Extravaganza -- with an academic track!

#288 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 05:56 PM:

Sorry, decent good-hearted people who live in Arizona. Not going there for anything. Looking up things made there, trying to find something I use that I can stop buying.

Arizona needs to worry less about illegals and more about stupid fascistic legislators and governors. And that pie-faced idiot Senator John "I'm a Maverick!/No I'm not!" McCain, of course.

#290 ::: Madeline Ashby ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 06:09 PM:

@280: Quebec has been doing geographically-targeted immigration for years. But Quebec is a special case; the province wants to import more French speakers to bolster their Francophone population and maintain the Francophone culture. My understanding is that the drive to preserve those elements has provided motivation for funding, etc. I'm not certain how individual states would handle the same challenge without similar motivation and the accompanying federal support.

#291 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 06:29 PM:

¿ƃuıləʍoʌɯəsıp oʇ əʌıʇɐuɹəʇlɐ uɐ sɐ sıɥʇ ɟo ʞuıɥʇ noʎ op ʇɐɥʍ 'sʎnƃ

#292 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 06:34 PM:

Open thready plea to the Fluorosphere: I'm looking for the source of a quote I dimly recall from somewhere-or-other, and my Google-fu has failed me. I do get some hits, but they just seem to be someone saying it on their blog. I tried Bartlett's, but did not find anything. Does anyone recognise "We don't forgive people because they deserve it. We forgive them because they need it — because we need it"?

I don't even know why that's been bothering me lately, but it's like an earworm, where you have one line of a song running through your head all day and can't make it stop. The solution to that (for me) is to find the song, and sing it. I'm hoping something similar will work for this quote.

Clues or directions much appreciated!

#293 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 06:35 PM:

Macdonald@291: Well, it renders correctly in Firefox 3.5.9. It loses less information than disemvoweling, so it's easier to read. I won't read it by mistake, though. I don't think it's significantly worse, but I'm not sure it's significantly better, either, from this end (if there are workflow advantages at the moderator end, that's certainly relevant).

#294 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 06:46 PM:

Macdonald #291: *I* could read it by mistake, and it's entirely too "cool" to be used on malefactors. Heck, the ML'ers have occasionally done it on purpose!

#295 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 06:48 PM:

James D. Macdonald @291: I can read that, and with relative ease.

Although descenders continuing to descend while risers don't creates extra interest (have I mentioned that I read compulsively?) visually.

#296 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 07:06 PM:

In the spirit of looking for silver linings, at least the Arizona mess has made our vacation plans easier to settle. I'm glad we did the Grand Canyon last year, although I'll miss the chance to see Sedona. But it'll still be there when they've come back to consensus reality.

More worrisome is the Arizona governor's conviction that she has been personally chosen by God to do his work and will... which, as always seems to be the case, is in perfect agreement with her personal political ideology.

#297 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 07:12 PM:

@291: ˙pɐǝɹ oʇ ʎsɐǝ ooʇ ˙ɥɐu

#298 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 07:15 PM:

well, furthermore, what about malefactors from down under?

this will just make it *easier* to read their words.

#299 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 07:31 PM:

Just read on Twitter: "4:04pm Time Not Found"

#300 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 07:34 PM:

Arizona already has rather tough, and smart, sanctions against employers who hire illegals. At the time it was signed, and possibly still, it's among the toughest in the nation. The bill was signed by Napolitano in 2007, when she was our governor.


http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/business/articles/0702sanctions02-ON.html

I've seen some speculation that the net effect of this has been to flatline the state's growth, or even put it into negative numbers (because of illegals leaving) but we I haven't seen any *well researched* data.

#301 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 07:51 PM:

Xopher @288 - John McCain: Shrödinger's Maverick. You don't know until you look in the box what state he'll be in. Unless you're the press, in which case he is. Or if you're the party leadership, in which case he'll undoubtedly vote with you when it's time. (For a while, I was calling him John McCoin, because he flips so much, but then I saw the pattern. Heads for the press, tails for the party. Over and over.)

James D. Macdonald @291 - ɥɐɐu

(And while I was previewing, Jacque got in first.
Hey, I can type my name upside-down in ASCII:
M d!>| (Looks better in sans-serif, though.)

#302 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 08:01 PM:

Hmm, Earl, looks like no companies based in AZ do or make anything I'd ordinarily use. I suppose I could go around saying "now I never will," but I was hoping I could actually put some money where my mouth is.

#303 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 08:34 PM:

Cheryl @ 292 -

Looks like it may have been an episode of Buffy:

http://www.google.com/#q=%22We+don%27t+forgive+people+because%22+%2BBuffy&hl=en&safe=off&filter=0&fp=4f910945c1ee36d4

Google Search

#304 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 08:44 PM:

Re the illegal immigration problem: I doubt very much that this is practical, but if the law required decent wages, hours and conditions for work, and if that law were strictly enforced, there would be no demand for illegal workers. The advantage of hiring undocumented workers is that you can cheat them, overwork them and underpay them, and they have to put up with it--because if they complain you can have them arrested and deported.

Similarly, those Mexican drug lords are getting their guns and their money from us. The whole cross-border drug and weapons trade is driven by US demand for illegal drugs, and US supplies of guns. It's as if we were replaying the Opium Wars, only we're playing both the Chinese and the British.

#305 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 08:55 PM:

James D. Macdonald , #291, easy to read.

#306 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 09:35 PM:

James MacDonald@291:

Way too easy to read. Indeed, my eye was drawn to it. Is it easier to encode than a disemvowelment?

#307 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 09:40 PM:

Xopher #302: Hmm, Earl, looks like no companies based in AZ do or make anything I'd ordinarily use.

I plan to drop GoDaddy (Scottsdale, AZ) as my domain name host; I can't do it until May 3rd, because I am flat broke at the moment.

#308 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 09:55 PM:

Uh-oh, U-Haul is based in Phoenix and I just rented a storage room from them two months ago. Wonder how much goes back to the head office -- I hate to punish local owner-operators by pulling my stuff out.

#309 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 11:41 PM:

#291 James
It's too easy to read (particularly on a laptop or tablet device...)

#310 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 12:07 AM:

Jim, 291: I've known how to read upside down almost as long as I've known how to read, so it doesn't slow me down at all. Same for mirror writing.

#311 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 12:16 AM:

Earl Cooley III @ 283:
B-b-but that runs the risk of profiling Republicans!

That's OK, they usually look crappy full face anyway.

#312 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 12:30 AM:

Cheryl @ 292 & Steve @ 303:

It's from Buffy, season 2 episode 19 "I Only Have Eyes For You". Giles says "To forgive is an act of compassion, Buffy. It's not done because people deserve it, it's done because they need it."

#313 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 01:54 AM:

I have to go to Arizona; my brother lives in Phoenix, and he can't travel to see me, for medical reasons. I just made my reservations for my next visit, in May. I'm thinking of having a T-shirt made with the legend "Proud granddaughter of immigrants" to wear on the plane.

I also plan to carry a copy of my birth certificate with me. (My passport, I discover, has expired.)

Rafael Sabatini was right: the world is mad.

#314 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 02:26 AM:

I have an open-thready sort of query: can somebody recommend a book by John Grisham? Or some other good courtroom drama (I mention Grisham because I gather he's known for those).

#315 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 03:25 AM:

David Goldfarb @ #314, not Grisham, but Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird is a must-read for lots of reasons, including its portrayal of a trial in the Deep South in the Depression. Leon Uris's QB VII closes with courtroom arguments in a libel case.

Scott Turow and Grisham appeared at about the same time, so I mix the two up. I'm not sure any by either man really grabbed me.

#316 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 03:42 AM:

James D. Macdonald @291: A moment to recognise, then extremely easy to read. But then, most people posting or lurking on ML are probably compulsive printed text addicts who long ago learned to read upside down...

Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) @ 311 Glad I didn't have a mouthful of tea when I read that!

David Goldfarb @ 314: The best way to read Grisham is to listen to the abridged audio book versions while driving long solo journeys. That said, the Pelican Brief is interesting.

#317 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 08:01 AM:

David Goldfarb @ 314 -

You may have to check Alibris, but Anatomy of a Murder by Robert Travers is a first-rate courtroom drama. It's a helluva movie too.

#318 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 08:07 AM:

I shall have to post photos later, after the target comes back from his business trip, but I'd like to note for the record that I've just finished wrapping a colleague's desk in clingfilm.

First we wrapped everything on it individually: pens, books, telephone components. Then we wrapped things onto the desk, wrapped the chair, wrapped his knick-knacks and wrapped them onto the shelf. On the chair, under the wrappings, is a thumbtack, point up, in its own wrapping. Last of all, we wrapped the whole kit and kaboodle in long, graceful swathes of film. It looks like Shelob's been by.

If anyone was wondering whether it's a good idea to throw a glass of water at me?

It's not.

#319 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 08:30 AM:

abi @ 318: "If anyone was wondering whether it's a good idea to throw a glass of water at me?

It's not."

Excellent.

#320 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 08:44 AM:

Joe Consolmagno has just written an account of the day he ate eggs for breakfast.

Sixty-five years ago today, in Stalag VIIA.

More about Joe.

#321 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 08:56 AM:

@ 314... It's a movie, not a book, but I must recommend "12 Angry Men".

#322 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 09:04 AM:

318: and a note on the desk: "Next time, we'll do your desk while you're still sitting at it."

#323 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 09:11 AM:

abi @#318: What on earth did he decide was sufficient provocation for such a thing? Or was he trying to be "funny" in that way that isn't?

#324 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 09:25 AM:

Carrie @ 323 -

Maybe he just said, "I'd like you to wrap things up when I'm gone."

#325 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 09:26 AM:

Carrie S @323:

He's in a long-running war with another colleague; they throw water, soccer balls, stress gadgets, snowballs, leaves, and imprecations at one another all the time. They put things in each other's pockets and on their chairs. They install rootkits on each other's computers that mass-email our office at odd moments. They set battery-operated booby traps.

My only involvement (picture Bambi eyes and hands folded in my lap as you read this) is that, occasionally, I will have an idea that might be of use to one or the other of them. Simply out of pure friendship, I'll suggest things that they might consider doing to one another*. Obviously, however, the choice to actually act on my offhand comments lies with the individual i question.

My next challenge, at which I have scant chance of success, alas, is to convince him that it's all the other guy's idea. I'll see how it goes. (That endeavor is made more difficult because I won't tell a direct lie while doing it.)

-----
* Example, at a restaurant.

M leaves the table to take a phone call. I point out to P that M has left his coat and wallet behind. P is uncertain what to do, but I point out that there's bread left on the table. So P puts the bread in M's wallet, then wraps a damp lettuce leaf and puts it in M's jacket pocket. "He won't find it for a couple of days, and then, hoo boy!"

Somewhat after that, P goes to the gent's. I point out to M (who has not yet opened his wallet) that P has left his coat behind. When he is looking uninspired, I offer him the spare sugar packets from my coffee, which he dampens and places in P's pocket. "Bet he won't find that for a day or two."

How the rest of us avoided injuring ourselves laughing, I'll never know.

#326 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 09:26 AM:

Serge @321 - To me, it was a play script first, in a book called Six Television Plays. It was years before I was able to see the movie, and I still haven't seen it done live. (I missed it when one of the high schools in my town did it as "Twelve Angry People," and again when a community theater in Virginia put it on. And I didn't try out for it because I knew that this one guy who can make being in anything into an ordeal would probably be there. In retrospect, I should have gone anyway.)

#327 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 10:13 AM:

Bill Higgins--Beam Jockey @320. Thanks for that.

#328 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 10:27 AM:

Abi@325: I'm glad it's something like that; my original thought (back @318) was that your response seemed too mild, friendly, collegial. The later explanation made it all make perfect sense.

Have fun!

#329 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 10:31 AM:

Lila@304: An awful lot of the guns used by the drug lords in Mexico can't be leakage from the US civilian market, because they're illegal (for civilians) here. (They're post-1986 full-auto weapons.) I think the primary sources are actually to the south, with some coming from Mexican police / military arsenals by theft or corruption.

#330 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 10:51 AM:

David Goldfarb: QB VII by Leon Uris, if you'd like a British courtroom drama.

To watch -- "Inherit the Wind."

#331 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 11:08 AM:

Open threadiness:

I loved this recent XKCD strip. It captures some important part of how I see the world, and I had fun showing it to my older son and my wife. (I loved the fact that my older son got it.)

Did anyone else notice that the mouseover text is in verse, but squished together to look like normal sentences? It seemed a very ML-ish thing to do....

#333 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 12:35 PM:

re 303, 312

Thank you! it was driving me crazy.

Darn. Now I'll have to go watch the episode again. Oh, the pain.

#334 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 12:42 PM:

Ah, the Hamster Gambit made it to Sidelights!

#335 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 12:43 PM:

Patrick Connors @306: Much.

#336 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 12:45 PM:

albatross @331. I loved that xkcd too. I'd buy a print if there was one for sale. I want one hanging over my desk at work and/or in my house somewhere.

And I want the mouseover text (which I had not noticed at all) printed with it.

"Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine." Sir Arthur Eddington

#337 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 01:22 PM:

Ямес Д. МацДоналд @291: анотхер алтернативе щоулд бе транслитератион то пиг-Цыриллиц.

#338 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 01:26 PM:

(and, my favorite courtroom drama on film, Witness for the Prosecution, is not (I just found out) adapted from a novel but from a short story.)

#339 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 01:27 PM:

@337: <crosses eyes>

#340 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 01:38 PM:

@337: от-най ранслитератед-тай иг-пай атин-лай

#342 ::: LDR ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 02:01 PM:

I know it's not nice to make fun of people (which some might say is what I'm doing), but I cannot understand how the same person can have two such different responses to two pieces of legislation:

On the Arizona illegal immigrant bill:

boo hoo, cry me a river. blatant disregard for equality? when people live her illegally for years, suck off the teat of the state, don't pay into the education system their kids reap the benefits of, don't pay income tax, etc....that's treating everyone equally? how come you aren't raising a huge stink about the fact that Mexico has EVEN STRICTER LAWS concerning Americans in their country without papers? nothing like some facts to deflate specious claims...

On President Obama's authorization of assassination for American citizens suspected of being terrorists:

the targeting of alleged non-terrorist criminals risks the killing of innocent people, too. ya need a better argument than than one that employs a weak filling of gaps.

Huh?

(Obviously, I'm not including the person's handle, or even which message board I read these on.)

#343 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 02:04 PM:

In #336, OtterB writes:

"Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine." Sir Arthur Eddington

The impulse to correct this* seized me, but upon investigation, the waters are muddied.

In his 1927 book Possible Worlds and Other Papers, J. B. S. Haldane wrote "Now, my suspicion is that the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose."

I cannot prove that Eddington did not say what OtterB says he said, but I have always believed that the line was Haldane's. (My belief was spurred by Sir Arthur Clarke, who quoted the aphorism incessantly.)

Googlefight tells us that, on the Web, STRANGER beats QUEERER and EDDINGTON thrashes HALDANE.

Yet a tiptoe through Google Books indicates that more authors prefer Haldane than Eddington.


*386. By which I mean, xkcd #386. At this point, one probably doesn't even need to link to it any more. As I write this, it's nearly dead even with "Nobody knows you're a dog." I predict that 386 will continue to gain mindshare. (But I might be wrong.)

#344 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 03:24 PM:

!2bЯAWʞɔAd 3TIЯW

#345 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 04:17 PM:

Bill Higgins--Beam Jockey @320 -

That was quite moving. Coincidentally, Brother Guy is speaking at this year's Texas Star Party. I'm hoping for a chance to interview him.

http://www.texasstarparty.org/schedule.html

#346 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 04:29 PM:

Bill Higgins--Beam Jockey @343

I saw the variations in attribution when I went googling for the source of the quote as I vaguely remembered it. I picked the one that seemed most plausible to me at a quick look but should have mentioned it in my post. Since it's easy enough to anticipate that someone here would be more deeply knowledgeable than I was...

#347 ::: J Homes ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 04:40 PM:

@331 "Did anyone else notice that the mouseover text is in verse, but squished together to look like normal sentences? "

Not just verse, but yer actual filk.

I'm not sure in present company I want to say what it's a filk of.

J Homes.

#348 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 05:54 PM:

abi @ 318: Some of my colleagues did something similar to their manager a few years ago when he went away for a trade show. (This is the kind of thing that happened to managers when they went to that trade show.) The wrapping included a layer of chicken wire to make the film difficult to cut through, and a pair of scissors, well-buried but visible.

James @ 291: I like that it preserves the information, but I find it too easy to read. (When I was in Grade 2, I got into trouble when my English teacher put her notebook, with its handwritten answers, on my desk in front of me, upside-down from my point of view. She seemed more bemused than angry when she realized that I was reading it.)

#349 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 06:11 PM:

When my boss got married, years ago, I spent a week (after work) blowing up balloons and filled his office with them. Blowing them up wasn't too bad, but I rubbed the skin off my fingers tying them.

#350 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 06:11 PM:

Bill Higgins--Beam Jockey @320

I've always believed in the Haldane attribution; I first saw that in the early '60s, and I don't believe I saw it attributed to Eddington until sometime in the '80s.

#351 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 06:20 PM:

abi @ 325:

If the clingfilmee comes looking for suggestions for retaliation, you might offer this one: fill the victim's cubicle with packing peanuts. They're hellaciously hard to get rid of because they pick up a static charge and cling to everything they touch, including your hands¹. On the other hand, they won't damage anything; on the contrary, they're designed not to.

The other thing that helps is if you really are in a cubicle farm, get an allen wrench and a spare section of cubicle wall and cover the doorway to his cubicle with it. That way the peanuts don't leak out the door, and there's a two-phase surprise: "My door is missing ... <climbs over wall> ... Where did all these peanuts come from?"

¹ Which is why you get a large bag of them and open the bag over the center of the office, preferably while standing on something so you don't get buried in peanuts.

#352 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 06:25 PM:

For those who can read upside down, have you set rules for yourself for when it's okay and not okay to do so? (Assuming you're reading something that's sitting on somebody else's desk, or something like that. Not just "the text happens to be upside down and I don't want to/can't turn it upright.")

I usually use a guideline that if I can see it without touching anything or moving from where I am, I'm allowed to read it. (No fair standing up and craning one's neck, crouching down to peer under something partially obscured, or walking around the other person's desk to try to change what can be seen.)

If it's something personal, like a diary, I'll say something to its owner ("you might want to put that away so nobody accidentally reads it"); if the person doesn't move or close it, I feel like the only thing I can do is remove myself from its vicinity because it's so hard to not read text that's visible. It feels like, if we're playing cards and I've asked you more than once to hold your cards closer to your chest but you keep holding them out where I can see them, how reasonable is it to expect me not to look?

#353 ::: Keith Kisser ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 06:54 PM:

Lexica @352:

I use the same standards for reading what's on coworker's computer screens, which basically amounts to the golden rule. I wouldn't be pleased if they were lurking around reading over my shoulder so I don't read over theirs. Same applies for open books/magazines, right side up, up side down or hind side to. Unless invited, I avoid looking.

#354 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 07:21 PM:

Lexica #352: because it's so hard to not read text that's visible.

I'm not sure that's true for "most" people; it seems to be a feature of hyperlexics. (And a screen-name like yours is probably another marker.... ;-) )

#355 ::: Sharon Mock ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 08:56 PM:

I agree that upside-down text is insufficient protection against toxins, but surely there must be some purpose to which it may be placed. Maybe for responses to disemvoweled text?

Lexica @352: I guess my guideline involves not invading other people's space. But really, it's not like I can stop myself from reading something legible.


Of possible interest to the fluorotariat: one does not commonly (at least I do not commonly) come across musicians quoting Chaucer in the original English.

#356 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 10:07 PM:

abi 318: If anyone was wondering whether it's a good idea to throw a glass of water at me?

It's not.

Good grief. I was going to ask why you wrapped his desk until I read that, and now I wonder why his lung tissue isn't under your fingernails.

abi 325: And now I see how you're the arms broker in the war. I still hope you win, though.

#357 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 10:33 PM:

abi @ 325... picture Bambi eyes and hands folded in my lap

I've had more arduous tasks, but I can't remember them off hand. Why? Remember this?

#358 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 10:56 PM:

Serge @ 357 ...
Perhaps you'd prefer a more sheepish approach as a starting point?

#359 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 11:28 PM:

xeger @ 358... Is that the abifelt in action?

#360 ::: Madeline Ashby ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 11:53 PM:

Open thread foodieness: My new favourite lunch, samgak kimbap.

#361 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 12:11 AM:

I've gotten pretty good at reading handwritten text in various orientations-- it comes in handy when sub-teaching. When you're thrown into preschool storytime with no warning, you get good at upside-down reading really, really fast.

#362 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 01:52 AM:

Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) @ 351: My favorite* styrofoam packing peanut prank variation involves a box. Fill box with peanuts. Tape shut. Cut very large hole in one side of box. Place flat piece of cardboard over hole. Place box, open side down, on victim's desk. Slide piece of cardboard out from under it.

They will walk up to their desk, pick up the box, and be the agent of their own destruction.

*I've never done this myself. I don't play practical jokes because I hate cleaning up the retaliatory jokes played on me. But, like abi, I'm an enabler.

#363 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 02:14 AM:

At 5:00pm this afternoon on the last day of the legislative session the Hawai'i State House followed the State Senate's lead and passed a civil union bill. Now it goes to the Governor, and she's never stated whether she'd sign or veto if it got to her desk. Worse, she's out of town so nobody can reach her.

#364 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 04:29 AM:

Open threadiness:

Mary Wollstonecraft and zombies

#365 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 06:35 AM:

hyperlexia:

If it's text, and it's in my field of vision, the only way I'm going to NOT read it is if there's something more interesting to read elsewhere in my field of vision.

It's less a question of ethics than of inevitability. I admit, I *stop* reading other people's stuff when I notice it's something that's none of my business, and unfortunately the only way to do that is to look at the pretty flowers on the wallpaper.

It used to bother me more. Now I've gotten good enough at keeping my mouth shut and not acting on information I'm not supposed to have.

(I've inadvertently learned about things like impending involuntary job loss and other people's grave medical issues by taking papers off a shared fax machine to look for my own stuff.)

#366 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 09:42 AM:

318, 348, 349: I went into work one weekend to help balloon a manager's office, back at DEC Marlboro. That was fun. I have pictures, but only on film so far.

My supervisor there collected enough grape soda cans to line a wall of his cube. He was off on some trip for a while, and we built them into a wall blocking the door of his cubicle. For a few days after he got back, he climbed over the cubicle wall rather than remove them.

#367 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 10:18 AM:

ddb @ 366: Another manager had the door of his (small) office filled in with drink cans, glued together with quick-setting foam insulation spray.

A later occupant of that office had it completely filled in with cardboard boxes, again glued together with the foam spray.

#368 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 10:53 AM:

On my first "real" job, we pranked our boss for (IIRC) his birthday -- filled his office with more-or-less inflated garbage bags while he was out for lunch. We got nervous when he came back with a Japanese client rep, but fortunately the rep thought it ws hilarious.

#369 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 12:42 PM:

Gee, the best prank any of my coworks has been able to come up with is to leave a message on someone's desk with a phone number and the name Myra Manes. The number turns out to be for the Coroner's office. Yar har.

(I am actually grateful for this. Practical jokes are something I have a real hard time with.)

#370 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 01:48 PM:

I think a good prank would be to take a Windows desktop and make it into the screensaver image of a Mac, or vice versa.

#371 ::: ppint. ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 01:52 PM:

#89: ppint.

that's r.f. jones, not r.f. nelson.

(as is the author of "Noise Level")

mea culpa...

(i've been hunting for this error on rasfwr&ff, certain i'd committed the thinko, but unable to find it...)

#372 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 02:08 PM:

Just found out tomorrow is Free Comic Book Day. Cool.

#373 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 02:35 PM:

Erik Nelson @ 370 -

I think a good prank would be to take a Windows desktop and make it into the screensaver image of a Mac, or vice versa.

Particularly if it was something like this.

#374 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 02:41 PM:

This is what I encounted upon arriving at work today. Seems today is Fairy and Elf Parade day.

#375 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 03:08 PM:

I have finished Anansi Boys. My trust in Neil Gaiman was rewarded.

I still think he could do with an explanation of the difference between an embarrassing father and an emotionally abusive one, though.

#376 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 03:17 PM:

I do not find practical jokes at all funny. If they're at my expense, they just make me angry. If they're at someone else's expense, I tend to identify with the victim.

I think people who keep pranking each other are idiots. If I have reason to think they're not idiots, I think they're non-idiots behaving idiotically, and therefore have considerably less excuse.

If someone pranked me in any of the ways described in this thread, I would endeavor to find the least amusing possible response. I would not retaliate, unless I could find something that a) is not funny at all and b) gets me marked DNFW in everyone's mind.

#377 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 03:36 PM:

I haven't seen much of pranks that seemed mean to me or that the recipient reacted to as if they were mean, except in fiction, where they abound. I don't like the kind that upset the recipient. Which means, yes, committing one is risky; you might get it wrong.

My supervisor definitely won; climbing over the wall and leaving the wall of cans in place in the door is definitely the winning move there. He seemed amused. And we all have a story that we've been telling for years (it took place somewhere between 1981-1985).

#378 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 03:36 PM:

I believe I've done a practical joke or two, but not recently. Mostly I like to read about them. H. Allen Smith's opus The Compleat Practical Joker is my favorite source. I think my favorite example was of someone wearing a realistic mask of a grinning moron on the back of his head, facing one side, and (while driving through endless desert roads in the Southwest) going just slow enough that somebody would pass him, and then leaning his head out the window.

"The mental hot-foot," he calls it.

#379 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 03:37 PM:

Anansi is a Trickster. Being an asshole may just be part of the job description. Fat Charlie may be lucky he's alive.

I need to reread Moore's Coyote Blue, which also features a Trickster who is even more of a jackass.

#380 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 03:43 PM:

Tricksters should a) not be parents or b) trick their kids only in age-appropriate ways. Otherwise, while they may be good Tricksters, they're lousy parents.

It's a boxer's job to punch people. If they punch their kids they're being abusive. Same thing.

#381 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 03:54 PM:

The best practical joke I ever pulled was quite simple. When a friend of mine left on a business trip, I set his bathroom scale ahead ten pounds (carefully positioning the line of the cursor over the 1 on the 10 pound mark).

After he got back, we went out for dinner with some other friends. He remarked that he didn't know what was going one, but he must have eaten like a pig when he was gone because he was several pounds heavier than he remembered.

I admitted my crime, and he said, "You bastard....I've been eating lettuce all day!"
All the same, he appreciated the joke.

When I left for a few days, I came back to my apartment and found he had short-sheeted my bed.

#382 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 03:58 PM:

Xopher, I think one could, without much of a stretch, read Anansi Boys as having a lesson that Gods Shouldn't Be Parents To (Half-)Mortal Children. That things managed to work out in the end, in that particular book, doesn't at all change the fact that all of the trouble of that book did show up because of having a parent who's a god--and not just because said god happened to have other enemies.

A lot of the Greek legends seemed to go the same way, really. Even if your godly parent is trying to be helpful and considerate, it's high odds that you're going to die horribly, or at least have some really unpleasant adventures on the way towards the happy ending.

#383 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 04:01 PM:

I don't much care for Trickster characters, and I don't much care for practical jokes of the kind that leave people angry or embarrassed (which would be most of them). There's too little trust in the world to waste some of it by deliberate fraud.

There's a gray zone of "double take" activities that create confusion followed by amusement. But even those can backfire.

#384 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 04:26 PM:

I think Trickster gods being presented as "good guys" is a function of modern day cleaned-up myths and fairy tales.

Coyote kills and eats other animal people, and does nastier things than that in some stories. In most stories Anansi is a thief at best. Loki is a trickster and he arranges the murder of Baldur, the beloved god of Light, not to mention bringing about the destruction of the world.

They may be superficially likable, but they're not supposed to be role models. Conversely, they're not all evil, either; depending on the character, they may end up doing good things too, intentionally or accidentally.

#385 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 04:33 PM:

What Clifton said.

Coyote is a perv, but not even an interesting perv. (I mean, a school of salmon?) Just a crass jerk who manages to succeed, anyway.

#386 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 04:36 PM:

How much are your eggs worth?

Try up to $35,000.


#387 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 05:01 PM:

I would never prank someone who had not done it to me first (exception: vide infra). I believe that practical jokes, like so many things, must revolve around the consent of both parties.

P and M have been playing pranks on each other for three years now. P has an even longer history of doing that, right back to the now-infamous incident where he put dried horse dung inside someone's tower case (took them ages to figure out why the office started to smell over the course of the day). To the best of my knowledge, his pranks are always by mutual consent*, though he can be careless about collateral damage.

The one exception to the above rule is children. Martin and I have a long-running joke with the kids that could be considered a prank: we will occasionally switch the words "nose" and "knee" in conversation, then insist that the new configuration is correct. (If they play along, we swap back.)

Both kids are now too old for it to be a challenge, but when they were younger it was a favorite game to try to convince us that we were wrong. But if a child became distressed or bothered, of course we'd drop the game and explain. But we expose children to flavors of humor the way we expose them to flavors of food: to help them to understand their own preferences and develop their tastes.

And if a kid really couldn't take that kind of thing (my younger sister is a prime example), we would not even start.

-----
* where my role as an eminence grise counts as consent. Considering that the alternative is hypocrisy, I'll agree with him.

#388 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 05:28 PM:

Xopher @ 375: Many thanks for the info. about both (a) your problems with the early part of the book; (b) the fact that it was worthwhile persevering. I've got Anansi Boys sitting on my "to read" shelf. This has given me due warning and means I'll be careful when I start it (not e.g. when I'm a bit depressed) and will keep reading even if the start is irritating me.

#389 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 05:34 PM:

You're very welcome, dcb. I strongly identified with the main character, Fat Charlie (no, my father wasn't THAT bad), and it wound up being a genuinely uplifting story for me.

I agree you shouldn't start it when you're depressed, but I read the rest of it on a day when I was too depressed to get out of bed, and it actually helped.

#390 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 05:51 PM:

Again, weeping. Again, for Louisiana and the Gulf.

Guess who was really running the BP show out there -- why yes, it was Halliburton.

Funny that off shore oil lease thing that POTUS decreed is now on hold.

Why in hell did he think so many of us were so goddamned agin it?

Love, c.

#391 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 06:03 PM:

I began Anansi Boys with a certain amount of trepidation. The Wednesday Spider is not, after all, part of Gaiman's culture; he's part of one of my ancestral/participant cultures. But Gaiman handled him in this book (and in American Gods) brilliantly.

#392 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 06:24 PM:

Once more, finals are here. Once more, I learn many things. This is one:

Aristotle believes in a monarchy, aristocracy, oligarchy, and democracy, governments. His ideas helped shape many governments with the development of philosophers such as Confucius, Mencius, and Han Feizi. They have collaborated in their field, sharing their knowledge and skills to develop a better political order.

This is another:

Confucius was first of the physiological teachers to teach in China.

#393 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 06:25 PM:

abi: My son pulled Opposite Day on us day before yesterday. When I picked him up from school, he told me "Today is not opposite day; tomorrow is opposite day." Took me a moment to twig to it, then we all carried on for the rest of the afternoon and evening. "I hate you, mom and dad." "Aww, we can't stand you too." "If you are not hungry, you may NOT get yourself a snack." etc. ending with "Bad day, sleep badly, horrible nightmares!"

Good for mental flexibility.

#394 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 06:26 PM:

Wow, that collaboration between Aristotle and Confucius must have been an amazing historical occasion! I mean, the transportation issues alone...

#395 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 06:32 PM:

I would love to read the fanfic in which Aristotle, Confucius, Mencius, and Han Feizi get together to collaborate on developing a better political order.

And I bet the story about trying to manage the resulting society would be hilarious.

#396 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 06:36 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @ 392: 'tis said laughter is good for the soul. Once again, your students have been beneficial for souls.

And with that, to bed, perchance to dream... (cross referencing threads).

#397 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 06:37 PM:

... and misquoting.

#398 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 06:45 PM:

My idea of a prank:

Scan a copy of the letterhead/logo of the campus security dept. The one found on top of "beware of more instances of this recent crime" posters (mugging, bike theft, laptop theft).

Use it to make a poster noting that robots have been stealing Indian box lunches from people.

Stick on bulletin boards around campus.

Works especially well on campuses where actual robots roll around, and there's an Indian box lunch stand in the robotics building.
* * *
Or almost anything done by Rob Cockerham.

#399 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 07:06 PM:

Stefan, THAT strikes me as a truly harmless prank. Until the robotophobia on campus gets out of hand, of course.

#400 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 07:11 PM:

Rob Cockerham's food court icon prank:

High-Profile Sculpture Replacement

#401 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 07:17 PM:

I'm reading William Manchester's A World Lit Only By Fire, which I bought more or less at random, and it... smells a bit funny. It's subtitled "A Portrait Of An Age," but it seems to go beyond "warts and all" well into "caricature." My open-thread question for any of our medievalists who happen to have read it: is it merely a lurid, sensationalistic, and biased look at medieval and Renaissance Europe, or is it a complete load of dingo's kidneys? (Alternatively, is my nose completely off, and it's actually a fair cop?)

#402 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 08:03 PM:

Tim @ #401, I haven't read it myself, but the historians over at Edge of the American West hold a dim view of it, as I recall. I tried searching for a mention of it over there but came up empty; maybe the title surfaced in the comments. Anyway, they seemed to think it did a great disservice to the people of the time, who were perhaps not as inept or dumb as Manchester portrayed them.

#403 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 09:00 PM:

David Goldfarb@314, I'd recommend just about all of Grisham's legal fiction, though later on they start sounding rather similar, and I generally prefer his books that are more like thrillers (e.g. The Firm, The Pelican Brief) than courtroom dramas. The Last Juror was good. The Innocent Man is an exception - I was getting grumpy about how stupidly some of the characters were acting and how nasty the bad guys were before I got around to reading the back cover notes and seeing it was non-fiction :-)

#404 ::: Wesley Osam ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 09:40 PM:

I have more than once read that A World Lit Only by Fire is awful, and I don't recall ever reading anything good about it (beyond Amazon reviews). Sadly, I don't recall where I read this and can't provide a proper citation. The Amazon one-star reviews are interesting, though; the first starts off by saying it's "Known among medievalists merely as 'that book.'"

I did find a discussion page at LibraryThing with some apparently knowledgeable comments.

#405 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 09:47 PM:

Bill Stewart #403: <snicker> Yeah, real life generally makes less sense than a good story.

#406 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 09:54 PM:

Xopher #394: Problems of both physical and temporal transportation.

Fade Manley #395: I'd read that fanfic too.

dcb #396: Laughter is not exactly what is elicited from me.

I've also found these, er, nuggets:

A relationship in which men are depicted as subjugating women to through terror is now created.

He sought this development fault to grow as human beings because women make of half of society if not more and they are unable to contribute. [The "he" in this statement is John Stuart Mill.]

Beauvoir attacks the male dominated society by inducing the idea that men only dominate the society due to their fear of losing everything. With power women will understand that men are not necessarily needed in the society.

Emma Goldman argues for sexual identity for woman and Beauvoir argues for general identity and for woman to be accepted into the society through all outlets.

Although today the ideas of Frantz Fanon have been occurring in society such as violence, Fanon saw violence as a cleansing force in which the United States have encountered a lot of it, although today war is not as bad as it was two years ago.

#407 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 10:11 PM:

Pondering the whole matter of Bad Parenting as displayed in Anansi Boys, it occurred to me that there might be something more complicated going on than "Having a trickster god for a father sucks." Namely:

Gur ernfba jul Nanafv vf fhpu n onq sngure sbe Sng Puneyvr fcrpvsvpnyyl (nf bccbfrq gb orvat n trarenyyl onq sngure, juvpu zvtug nyfb naq frcnengryl or gur pnfr) vf orpnhfr bs jung jnf qbar gb Puneyvr jura ur jnf n puvyq. Pbafvqrevat nov'f zragvba bs gur glcrf bs wbxrf gung fbzr puvyqera jbhyqa'g yvxr ng nyy... Puneyvr cebonoyl jnf gur fbeg bs obl jub jbhyq'ir ybirq uvf sngure'f wbxrf jura ur jnf fgvyy ragveryl uvzfrys. Ohg ur jnf fcyvg ncneg, naq vg jnf cerggl boivbhfyl uvf zber zntvpny, tbq-yvxr unys gung jnf erzbirq. Guvf qvqa'g whfg punatr uvf crefbanyvgl ("whfg", V fnl!) ohg nyfb punatrq jung xvaq bs cneragvat jbhyq or nccebcevngr sbe uvz.

Vg'f cbffvoyr gung rira orsber gur fcyvg, gur wbxrf zvtug'ir orra qernqshy. Ohg pbafvqrevat uvf oebgure'f frafr bs uhzbe, V guvax vg'f zber yvxryl gung Nanafv'f fba punatrq, naq Nanafv'f cneragvat fglyr...qvqa'g. Juvpu vf fgvyy n snvyher, ohg n fbzrjung qvssrerag bar sebz gur bevtvany glcr. Vs V jnagrq gb trg nyy snajnaxl V pbhyq fcrphyngr gung fbzr bs gur cenaxf jrer na rssbeg ba gur cneg bs Puneyvr'f sngure gb gel gb vafcver gur ertebjgu bs gur zvffvat unys, ohg gung pyrneyl Qvq Abg Jbex. Vg qbrfa'g whfgvsl gur onq cneragvat, ohg vg qbrf rkcynva vg va na zber vagrerfgvat jnl.

#408 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 10:26 PM:

Fade: Hmm. Interesting. I'll think about it, but I'm not sure I buy it.

#409 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 10:38 PM:

Xopher, I freely confess that this theory is reaching. But it's the sort of thing I could probably argue convincingly enough for a B+ in an academic essay on the topic, which is about my dividing line for plausibility in interpretation of fiction.

#410 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 10:55 PM:

I apologize. I didn't realize that my Telephone Game story would derail the sonnets thread.

#411 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 11:01 PM:

410
It's creative writing. That must count for something.

#412 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 11:02 PM:

Wesley Osam @ 404: a discussion page at LibraryThing

Aaaand it's "load of dingo's kidney's" for the win. Thanks!

It seemed to me that he was taking every medieval slander at face value, and that seems to be the consensus.

#413 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 11:25 PM:

Earl @ 410: Give it time. I suspect it will mutate into Telephone Sonnets. After all, the plums have just made their appearance.

#414 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 11:35 PM:

413
And which are causing me to giggle hysterically at random intervals. With luck, not while I'm trying to drink my (still very hot) tea.

#415 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 11:39 PM:

Me @ 412: Now that's an embarrassing typo. Somebody report me to Apostrophe Abuse.

#416 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 12:10 AM:

Xopher: I am fond of practical jokes that aren't cruel, like the time I made up a bunch of envelopes of weird things, wrote the address on separate cards, then sent the envelopes off with people going on Spring Break. The recipient got letters full of random things (like car wash tokens) from all across the country, with the address written in odd handwriting... she didn't twig for months.

#417 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 12:31 AM:

I once received a letter with appropriately psuedo-steelpoint etching for the letterhead and outside of the envelope letting me know that I had been recommended for a fully paid (room and board) cultural exchange/teaching position.

At St. Trinian's School for Girls.

This is when I learned my wife-to-be had over 3,500 different fonts and is always looking for a new use for them. Ha. Ha. Effing ha.

#418 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 01:01 AM:

Stefan Jones @400: In rural Colorado, horse crossing signs are common. For years, somebody was systematically going around the state* adding sombreros.

* I notice from the foliage that it's clear this is not Colorado. Aparently this phenomenon is wider-spread than I'd thought.

#419 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 01:28 AM:

Tim Walters @415 referencing 412 -- you can always claim it wasn't a typo and that you were talking about what was coming out of the dingo's kidney -- using the possessive form of "container for the thing contained". That would save you from the Apostrophe Abuse attack, and it makes it a much more literate comment. Here, many people would think you'd done it deliberately if you pointed that out when they corrected you.... Besides, it's actually an appropriate interpretation of the metaphor.

#420 ::: TIm Walters ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 01:43 AM:

Tom Whitmore @ 419: As in "I don't give a rat's." Nice. I'll remember that for future occasions...

#421 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 02:56 AM:

I confess, the sonnet thread had two purposes:

1. To lower the perceived quality requirement for poetry on Making Light. People build the idea of putting sonnets on ML up and won't post stuff, and I miss our poetry slams. And, you know, there wasn't one of them that I wasn't glad to see on-site even without the excuse. The serious (in the sense of trying to be good, even if humorous) ones were better than the posters thought, generally, and the deliberately bad ones were just plain funny.

(Also, you get to be good at sonnets by writing sonnets. And you write sonnets when there's someplace to put them, often. So even if a given poster wasn't happy with the quality of their sonnet, posting it was a move toward good sonnets on Making Light. And throughout the world!)

2. I thought it might be fun.

As far as I can tell, the thread is a roaring success on both counts.

#422 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 04:50 AM:

@410--

earl, i think you got the thread back on track.

#423 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 07:01 AM:

Fade Manley #407: An excellent idea, but consider that a god is defined by their nature -- they can't change! Shifting to Rot13:

Nyfb, Puneyvr fgvyy vf uvf sngure'f fba... gur guvat nobhg gevpxfgre tbqf vf gung gurl nyjnlf unir gur qhny angher bs cenaxfgre naq ivpgvz -- Nanafv, yvxr Pblbgr, snyyf nsbhy bs uvf bja wbxrf nf bsgra nf abg (yrg nybar bs uvf ivpgvz'f ergnyvngvba), ohg gung'f nyy cneg bs uvf tnzr. Gung'f gur gehr fcyvg orgjrra Puneyvr naq Fcvqre....

#424 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 07:33 AM:

Cthulhu peeks in, hearing first the mention of "gods" and then a long passage in R'lyehian.

#425 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 09:37 AM:

Re: cruelty-free practical jokes, I love the MIT Hacks Page.

Not only are MIT hacks traditionally ethical (e.g. they often include directions for the maintenance staff on how to disassemble them safely), they are frequently dazzlingly creative.

My daughter reenacted 'buzzword bingo' in one of her high school classes. The teacher is still telling the story years later, and still laughing about it.

#426 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 10:22 AM:

I once sent my sister a string of postcards with increasingly dirty jokes, split with the punchline on the next day's card. It took some ingenuity to find jokes that, separated, seemed clean.

She said her postal carriers loved them.

The concept must have come from Johnnie Carson's mind-reading routine (stolen from Steve Allen) where the answer to the next question is written on the previous card. Can't remember the magician's name. He had an improbably large turban.

#427 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 10:29 AM:

426
Karnak the Great?

#429 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 10:56 AM:

Lila at #425:

You'll want to investigate the books in the Legends of Caltech series.

From MIT: The Journal of the Institute for Hacks, TomFoolery, and Pranks at MIT

#430 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 11:38 AM:

Open threadiness:

Number One Cat picked this morning to be done with the tuna and the world. Hail and farewell.

(Number Two Cat had a good sniff of the crate when I got home and has been following me around ever since. They know, somehow.)

#431 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 11:50 AM:

Thena #430:

Condolences.

#432 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 11:54 AM:

Thena:

I'm sorry for your loss.

#433 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 12:09 PM:

Thena #430: Sorry for your loss.

#434 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 12:19 PM:

Thena (430): My condolences.

#435 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 12:20 PM:

Earl Cooley III (410): No need to apologize. The Telephone Game has had me muttering, "I love this place."

#436 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 12:21 PM:

Thena #430: Condolences. It's never easy....

#437 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 01:53 PM:

I'm inclined towards practical jokes of the "Easter egg" variety -- something weird which will be discovered later and (I think) will be appreciated by the discoverer.

A few years ago, the Staples "Easy" button on our receptionist's desk started saying "THAT... was ANNOYING." People quickly noticed the little black pushbutton and red LED that had appeared on the underside, and figured out that they could record their own messages into the thing by pressing the button and using its speaker as a microphone. I was fingered as the culprit pretty quickly -- lots of people at $WORKPLACE had the skills, but few were known to perform such hackery. Passersby left new messages or sounds on the thing frequently for quite some time.

When a couple of friends of mine moved into their new house at #46, the house's features included a separate suite in the basement which could be rented out, and a main-floor corner closet whose door had a rectangular hole (framed) at the centre of its bottom -- best guess is that some former occupant of the house had owned a cat, put the litter box in the closet, and added the hole for the cat to go through. To me, it looked like a small door frame set in the door.

When my friends went away for their honeymoon, they asked me to check on their house periodically to make sure that everything was okay. A couple of days after they got back, they noticed that that hole in the closet door had been filled in... with a small door. Complete with hinges, doorknob, key lock, slide bolt on the "inside", and an apartment number, "46D".

I was particularly happy about the implication that there must be a "46C" around somewhere.

#438 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 02:12 PM:

One of my favorite Easter egg pranks was something I found in a big old shared house in north Berkeley, back in my college days.

There was a staircase with a turn in it, going round a little square pillar. Going down it one day, I realized the capital was loose. So I lifted it up, and found a small slip of paper in the hollow underneath it.

I unfolded it. It said, "Satisfied, Pandora?"

I put it back, and for all I know, it is there to this day.

#439 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 02:14 PM:

Thena, I'm sorry for your loss.

#440 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 02:54 PM:

abi @ 438: That story reminds me of this.

#441 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 03:17 PM:

David Harmon @ 423: That's a really interesting point on the dual nature. I was only thinking of one half of it, when considering things like the incident at the swimming pool, but when you put it that way, it makes even more sense.

#442 ::: Madeline Ashby ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 03:32 PM:

Regarding fictional tricksters and their pranks, the current season of Supernatural implies that gur Ivetva Znel tbg eblnyyl Gevpxrq.

#443 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 03:49 PM:

I'm very fond of the lion in the sports arena prank. (I was reminded of this by Stefan Jones's link at #400, but it took me a little while to find it again.)

#444 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 04:23 PM:

Thena @430: Sympathies.

Fragano Ledgister @406: Well, no, I wouldn;t find them funny if I was the one trying to grade them.

Joel Polowin @437: I love it! And I appreciate the implications with the "D".

#445 ::: Lydy Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 05:46 PM:

Thena, I'm so sorry. It's always hard.

#446 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 05:46 PM:

Thena... My condolences.

#447 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 05:57 PM:

I continue to dig through the word mines. As I do, I find nuggets of what isn't, exactly, gold. Here are some:

With Dr. Martin Luther King Jr African American people were still being beaten, killed and washed away by water holes during these sit-in boy cotts and protest.

Feminist analysis is needed because females tend to get an inferior bias when trying to access goods and services in their community.

However, another point that was highly regarded in the Clinton Doctrine was the intent of the Clinton Doctrine.


#448 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 06:12 PM:

Xopher @ 394:

I think the writer of that fragment has confused the categories of Moral Philosophy and the Justice League. If Aristotle were Superman, that would solve the transportation problem.

#449 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 06:23 PM:

Thena, I'm sorry to hear it.

#450 ::: Madeline Ashby ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 06:34 PM:

Thena, please give Number Two Cat an extra cuddle for me.

#451 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 06:42 PM:

Thena, #430, I'm so sorry for your loss.

#452 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 07:05 PM:

Thena, I'm so sorry to hear that.

#453 ::: E. Liddell ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 07:16 PM:

Steve C. @373: There already exists a screen saver (for X rather than Windows or Mac, mind you) that consists of a slideshow of fatal crash screens for various operating systems. Mind you, I'm another member of the "most practical jokes are nasty, not funny" group, so I would never use it for a prank.

(Why do most of my posts here end up being about computer-related stuff?)

Thena @430: Condolences from me as well. We've lost two feline members of our household in the past year and a half, so I unfortunately know how it feels.

#454 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 07:50 PM:

Open ThBreadiness: Some recipe books need sanity-checking. It turns out that a teaspoon of (fresh-)ground black pepper was definitely too much for a one-pound loaf of celery bread.

The offending book was The Bread Book by Debbie Boater (not to be confused with other books by that name -- I also have a much more verbose book by Betsy Oppenheer, but that's much harder to browse through, and measures flour by volume (which is less reliable) instead of weight.

#455 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 08:03 PM:

Thena @ 430: I'm so sorry for your loss. It's never easy watching our beloved companions take the road away from us.

Today, in similar vein, we attended a memorial service for Brian K. Betts, the principal of Shaw at Garnet-Patterson (a middle school in Washington DC); it was well-attended and my son's school chorus sang beautifully. In fact, they brought many people to tears, including my Ex, who was sitting right next to me. There were a lot of good stories about him, from colleagues, students, former students, and friends. DC Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee also spoke, quite movingly and without notes.

It all reinforced that he was the embodiment of the words from the Flirtations song, and I can only hope that not only will this help our son -- who seems to be doing well enough -- but also my Ex, by pointing out what a legacy he left behind, not by working hard, but by being a good friend, brother, uncle, and surrogate father.

Brian Betts was owned by three cats and a dog. All have found homes with his family.

#456 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 08:50 PM:

Now I remember one thing I did of a joke nature, years ago at work. I took a screen snap of my office partner's desktop and then hid his real icons. It took him about ten seconds to determine that something was wrong and query me, after which I made all well again.

Thena @430, I sympathize with the grief over your friend. I always hesitate to bring in another cat when I lose one, but sooner or later I always do. My present cat will get memorial pets later today.

#457 ::: Kevin Reid ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 09:16 PM:

#325 abi:

My only involvement (picture Bambi eyes and hands folded in my lap as you read this) is that, occasionally, I will have an idea that might be of use to one or the other of them. Simply out of pure friendship, I'll suggest things that they might consider doing to one another*.

You are Bugs Bunny and I claim my, uh, I forget.

#453 E. Liddell:

There already exists a screen saver (for X rather than Windows or Mac, mind you) that consists of a slideshow of fatal crash screens for various operating systems.

I recall hearing a story of someone using such a screen saver (or maybe just one image) — a helpful passerby rebooted the crashed computer.

Link may not actually clarify reference.

#458 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 09:17 PM:

abi @438, heresiarch @440: Living in some student co-op housing in Toronto in the late 70s, I knocked loose the cover of an electrical junction in the laundry room and found a 60s draft notice and a Philadelphia (IIRC) college registration.

I set it aside and kept it for a while, but lost track of it, as I have lost track of bits of my own life.

#459 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 09:33 PM:

abi @438: There was a staircase with a turn in it, going round a little square pillar. Going down it one day, I realized the capital was loose. So I lifted it up, and found a small slip of paper in the hollow underneath it.

I was told that it had been the tradition to keep important papers, such as the mortgage documents, in this space. When the mortgage was paid off, the house owners would cap off this cubby hole with something a little more decorative to indicate they had paid for their house in full.

#460 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 09:45 PM:

Bill Higgins @ #429, thanks! I had run across "If at All Possible, Involve a Cow" but not the ones you mention.

Thena, my condolences as well.

#461 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 09:52 PM:

Thena @ 430 ...
My sympathies and empathies.

#462 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 10:11 PM:

I have a question about properly formatted diacritical mark abuse. How should a word (for use in a poem) that is a single syllable be written to indicate that it is to be spoken in two syllables, with emphasis on the first syllable? For example, "beaned", pronounced "BEE-ned".

#463 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 10:15 PM:

I'd write it "beanéd," because the -ed suffix is never stressed, and the é indicates that it's to be pronounced...at least when they're printing Shakespeare.

#464 ::: Lin D ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 10:20 PM:

At a company I worked for long ago and far away, the computer guy would "do things" to my computer, leaving me to figure out what he did. It was excellent training in both figuring out the operating system (DOS) and outstubborning the other guy. I couldn't do as much in return because I didn't know enough about the mini-computer, and didn't really want to explain to anybody that I'd broken it.

One day, he put a program in my autoexec file that I could only get out of by rebooting. Thus putting me back into that file. Hunted down the boot floppy, deleted the program from the autoexec file. Not difficult because I actually knew where my boot floppy was, maybe the only other person in the company who did.

Still in the position of not wanting to damage the mini-computer, I simply turned the light/dark knob down on his screen (still in the days of green screens). I heard him arrive, go into his office. Several minutes later, this normally daper man is standing in my cube, tie askew, hair standing on end, requesting pitifully that I come undo what I had done.

I went in to his office and turned the knob up. And saw all that he had done to get his computer to work again. I didn't laugh. much. He was looking for a computer program tweak, when I had done a hardware tweak.

The upshot of this was that he continued to "put things" on my computer, for my education and enjoyment, he never again messed with the operating system files.

I remember that when large complex plans are made. Sometimes it's the simple ones, "oh she'd never do something so simple" that will get the job done.

I also feel rather smug about it. hehe

#465 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 10:24 PM:

I worked at one place where most of us had IBM3270 terminals. The favorite prank was to turn the brightness all the way down and the beeper all the way up. After they got down off the ceiling ....

#466 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 10:31 PM:

abi @ 421: And I thank you very much for starting that thread! I don't recall ever writing a sonnet before, actually; and the usual standard for poetry here had left me somewhat intimidated.

It's nice to get the chance to give it a whirl when talent (or taste) is no bar. Maybe sometime I'll try one that's *not* silly...

#467 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 10:35 PM:

Kip W @456: Did something similar. At a New Year's party, the host was showing off his new computer. A little later (and with a little encouragement from the party-goers in the room) I made a screen-capture of his desktop, saved the image as the new wallpaper, moved the desktop icons about; repeat 5x or so. Called the host back into the room (Glen, there's something wrong with your computer). Set it right again after the joke had been appreciated.

#468 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 11:12 PM:

Had the thought this evening that the ROT13 ciphers would become more difficult to decode if one abandoned the strict algorithm of translation and had letters instead get replaced willy-nilly by other characters real or imaginary, undreamt of in UTF-8. No need for the symbols to be as elaborate as Seuss' On Beyond alphabet certainly -- just talking about jots, squiggles, pieces and mirror images of our letters, mixed in of course with ASCII text. A general method for making encrypted messages more difficult to intercept and decipher -- to avoid secrets falling into enemy hands -- is to remove the message, the secrets, from the mix. If the encoder has no intelligible source to work from, he can much more efficiently generate nonsense.

#469 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 11:17 PM:

Thena @430 -- joining the chorus of condolences.

#470 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 11:19 PM:

On a related note, anyone who hasn't seen the BBC series Being Human is missing out.

(Alright, I confess, it's not actually a related note.)

#471 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2010, 11:54 PM:

Thena, hail and farewell to your friend. Hugs to you.

Been there, done that, will do it again (rinse, repeat). Do NOT WANT a t-shirt for it.

#472 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 12:13 AM:

471
They do that for us, by leaving hair everywhere, including places you'd think couldn't get cathaired. Some of those places you won't find for months, or even years.

#473 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 12:56 AM:

PJ Evans, my family's dog died more than a year ago, just before I came home for Christmas. I hadn't lived at home for years at that point, though I visited some.
I still find dog hair on my clothes.

#474 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 04:42 AM:

This article about a survivor of last year's Metro crash might interest James Macdonald and other EMT enthusiasts.

#475 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 04:53 AM:

Xopher, 463, and Earl, 462: "Beanéd" is a recent invention. The traditional (and therefore One True) way is "beanèd." Because (say it with me) English Isn't French.

#476 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 04:53 AM:

The Modesto Kid #468: Had the thought this evening that the ROT13 ciphers would become more difficult to decode if one abandoned the strict algorithm of translation and had letters instead get replaced willy-nilly by other characters real or imaginary, undreamt of in UTF-8.

A squiggle is just another pattern entity to a codebreaker. Also, too much noise added to a message would make it less useful to the authorized recipient as well. Some external method for determining what is and isn't noise is just another pattern, too.

Or are you just thinking about confounding people who are able to sight-read ROT13?

#477 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 07:18 AM:

@Earl: Yep, I was primarily thinking of making it difficult to read -- the simplest, surest way of doing that would be to take away the "it".

#478 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 08:22 AM:

The Modesto Kid: #468 The thing is, with all security measures there's a balance here between accessibility and protection.

The balance for ROT13 is meant to be just a little further over from disemvowelling -- few people can sight-read it, but it's intended to be crackable by simple and widely available tools, from a 22-character UNIX command¹ to a free website, with various browser/reader commands in between. (LeetKey just fills a gap -- USENET "news readers" all have ROT13 commands built in.)

Bringing in non-ASCII characters, or even changing the encoding, breaks that balance. Suddenly, to decrypt, you need to know the entire substitution table -- and if the site is using idiosyncratic graphics as you suggest, there may be *no* way for anyone but that site to decrypt it. (What do you get if you "copy & paste" the encoded text?) You might as well use Show/Hide buttons, like the XKCD forums do.

¹ that would be "tr a-zA-Z n-za-mN-ZA-M" . No, I'm not counting the newline.

#479 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 08:26 AM:

PS: TVTropes.com has yet another webby solution -- their "spoiler" keyword sets the foreground and background colors to be the same. You view it by selecting the text.

#480 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 09:18 AM:

I suppose you will now have seen the Doctor Who episode with the prime minister.

#481 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 09:34 AM:

Dave @ 480: Yes and the two following it. The Prime Minister one was an entertaining bit of fluff (though with one of the funniest moments ever in dalek history: "Jbhyq lbh pner sbe fbzr grn?") I won't say anything about the following two parter if people here haven't seen them yet.

#482 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 09:58 AM:

Paul Duncanson @ 481 ...
Please don't! I haven't seen them yet...

#483 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 10:11 AM:

TexAnne@475:
Because (say it with me) English Isn't French.

My choir's conductor likes to say, when we are singing in, eg, Latin: "Pretend this is a foreign language that isn't pronounced like English".

#484 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 10:29 AM:

Lin D @464, I did something similar in one of my electronics classes, back in the 70s, when we had all built transistor AM radios on a board (I mean a wooden board with small nails stuck in, to which we soldered the components). I was showing the teacher that if I gently moved a resistor, the radio changed stations. It was because the index finger of my other hand was on the dial.

The year before that, I was in another electronics class and found that touching the heat shield of the one ungrounded soldering pen and anything grounded (like the heat shield of another) led to a mild shock. I called one of my classmates over and asked him which one felt hotter. He touched one, then the other, and I suggested touching both. Contact! So then we had to call someone else over, and someone else, until everybody in the class was watching furtively as I got the teacher that way. He muttered something about "rich kids" and went back to his office.

#485 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 10:35 AM:

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single dinosaur in possession of a good outfit, must be in want of sodomy.

#486 ::: Velma ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 11:17 AM:

Abi, about five years ago, my coworkers covered my cubicle with aluminum foil, doing almost as thorough a job as you did. Three years ago, they covered another coworker's cubicle in newspaper. A year ago, I discovered that you can buy 230 feet of lime green bubble wrap for about $18 plus shipping, and a coworker and I wrapped another one's cubicle with that and aluminum foil (for contrast).

I am going on vacation this week, and wonder what will happen to my cubicle in the interim.

(Bubble wrap comes in red, blue, purple, and orange, as well. I am thinking about getting a roll of purple, and just leaving it in my cubicle for a week or two, to worry people.)

#487 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 11:35 AM:

xeger: Don't worry, I won't. I'll wait until others start discussing it before I even post a rot-13ed quote. But I want to.

#488 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 11:57 AM:

Open thread gripe:

There's the unreliable narrator of fiction, and the transparent narrator (John McPhee, Joseph Mitchell), and I have recently run up against a third: the Mary Sue biographer.

Iris Chang (Rape of Nanking et. al.) was a complex, fascinating and driven woman, who committed suicide after stress compounded by researching war crimes and interviewing survivors (the Bataan POWs were her projected next book), hormone therapy to induce pregnancy, post-partum depression, non-stop book tours, and a genetic susceptibility. Paula Kamen's Finding Iris Chang assumes that if we find Chang interesting, we will be even more interested in Kamen and her watered-down kind-of-parallel experiences. Feh.

#489 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 01:00 PM:

I kant rite sonnitz, but I just speed-wrote and -recorded a little song that may appeal to the assembled company. No electronic foofarah, just voice, dulcimer and bass. It's called Meteor Shower, and that's what it's about.

#490 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 02:03 PM:

On another site where I can start threads, I started a thread called "When Pizzas Collide." I just gave some examples:

The Lion, the Witch, and the Pizza
The Lord of the Pizzas
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Pizza
All Quiet on the Pizza Front
The Front Pizza
Mutiny on the Pizza
A Midsummer Night's Pizza
A Tale of Two Pizzas
Gone With the Pizza
The Wizard of Pizza
The Pizza of Wrath

And told them to go at it. (No purpose intended, just a lark.) The best one so far (NOT mine, though I wish I'd thought of it): The Pizza in the Piazza.

#491 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 02:15 PM:

Variations on a theme (different pizza placement):

The Pizza's Guide to the Galaxy
All Pizza on the Western Front
Pizza on the Bounty
A Pizza Night's Dream
A Pizza of Two Cities
The Pizza of Oz
The Grapes of Pizza

#492 ::: Scott Wyngarden ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 02:24 PM:

Other pizza topped titles:

The Pizza Rising
Five Hundred Pizzas After
Starpilot's Pizza
A Pizza Upon the Deep
A Pizza For Arbonne
To Say Nothing of the Pizza
The Pizza Business
The Greatest Pizza on Earth
In Defense of Pizza

#493 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 02:39 PM:

A Pizza for the Misbegotten
A Pizza the Action
War and Pizza
Five Easy Pizzas

[Xopher, how's Sebastian coming along?}

#494 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 02:41 PM:

Pizza's Honor

#495 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 02:54 PM:

I haven't the 1337 skillz to do it myself, but I think it would be really neat if someone took the neverending sentence game on the genius thread and put it all together on one page minus the breaks, with each contributor's sentences marked a different color (maybe with their name as mouseover text). Does that catch any technologically-gifted person's imagination?

#496 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 03:03 PM:

The Pizza Also Rises (which has the advantage of being true!)

#497 ::: Madeline Ashby ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 03:41 PM:

28 Pizzas Later
A Man For All Pizzas
A Touch of Pizza
Rear Pizza
To Catch A Pizza

#498 ::: Madeline Ashby ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 03:52 PM:

Pizzas Are Forever (Forever, Forever...)
Pizzas Only Live Twice
On Her Majesty's Secret Pizza
A View to a Pizza
A Quantum of Pizza

#499 ::: Madeline Ashby ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 03:52 PM:

Pizzas Are Forever (Forever, Forever...)
Pizzas Only Live Twice
On Her Majesty's Secret Pizza
A View to a Pizza
A Quantum of Pizza

#500 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 03:56 PM:

Pizza Wars:
A New Pizza
The Pizza Strikes Back
The Return of the Pizza

The Phantom Pizza, or, The Pizza Menace
The Attack of the Pizzas
The Revenge of the Pizza

#501 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 04:09 PM:

The Pizza
The Lord of the Pizzas
The Fellowship of the Pizza
The Two Pizzas
The Return of the Pizza
The Pizzarillion

#502 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 04:10 PM:

The Pizza Bride*
Pizza: A Space Odyssey
Pizza in Love
Mad Margarita: The Road Pizza
The Wrath of Pizza

-----
* Scottish variant: The Pizza Bridie

#503 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 04:13 PM:

Thena @430: Ah, the Eternal Turning of the furry loves. I lost my Mr. Junior last fall. One of his grandsons is scampering madly in circles around my chair as we speak. May Number One Cat leave you with joyous memories.

#504 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 04:14 PM:

heresiarch @495,

What you describe has an appearance-match to the dead-but-open-sourced(1) Etherpad tool(2): I'd been thinking it would have been a good webtool for writing games--sonnet sudoku, say.

(1) bought by Google to someday be integrated into Wave.
(2) My workplace was using it for true real-time multi-author writing: you could see each individual's contributions all at once (i.e. five paragraphs being started at the same time, and then one person gives up and goes to edit another person's paragraph, nibbling away like some text-editing version of Tron).

#505 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 04:14 PM:

Star Pizza
Star Pizza: The Next Order
Deep Dish Pizza

#506 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 04:15 PM:

A Separate Pizza

I figure it's even odds someone will correctly identify what I'm thinking of here within the hour:

Pizza: A Novel

#507 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 04:26 PM:

@457: You mean this one?

Hm. Yes, our abi does have certain Bugs-like properties, doesn't she?

#508 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 04:32 PM:

Slave Pizzas of Gor
Pizza Girls of Gor
Slave Girls of Pizza

Your choice. Anchovies are extra.

#509 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 04:49 PM:

Jon @ 508: As long as it's not Slave Pizzas of Gore. I've got a sensitive stomach.

#510 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 05:10 PM:

Tim Walters @489: Lovely! Your(?) voice reminds me strongly of this guy.

#511 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 05:23 PM:

or, a different form of pizza
2001: A Pizza Odyssey

#512 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 06:21 PM:

The Seven-Topping Dance of Salami's Pizza

#513 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 06:21 PM:

Bolaño's pizza-related works:
Pizza Literature in the Americas
Last Pizzas on Earth
The Savage Pizzas

#514 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 06:24 PM:

The Moon Is a Harsh Pizza ("When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie...")

Red Pizza of Darkover

And the trilogy: Red Pizza, Green Pizza, Blue Pizza

#515 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 06:34 PM:

@514: That's Aheinlein.

#516 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 06:42 PM:

Understanding Pizza
Reinventing Pizza
Making Pizza

#517 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 06:47 PM:

Beethoven's Fifth Pizza
I have no pizza and I must scream
The pizza of Paradise
The Pizza Trap (including various Toppings, Side orders, Delivery options as well as two soft drinks and a canneloni)
The Trouble with Pizza
All my pizza remembered
The last dangerous pizza
The Apocalypse Pizza
Mission of Pizza

#518 ::: Madeline Ashby ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 06:54 PM:

All Tomorrow's Pizzas
Pizza Recognition
Zero Pizza

...the Philosopher's Pizza
...the Chamber of Pizzas
...the Prisoner of Pizza
...the Pizza of Fire
...the Order of the Pizza
...the Half-Blood Pizza (suitable for vampires)
...the Deathly Pizzas

(I have to make dinner, now.)

#519 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 07:01 PM:

Pizza King
The Pizza Machine
The Palace of Pizza
The Pizza
The Pizza of Dreams

#520 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 07:08 PM:

The Invisible Pizza

#521 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 07:10 PM:

Burke's Dormant and Extinct Pizza (the ones that didn't make it off the drawing board pizza stone)

#522 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 07:11 PM:

Every so often something comes along that makes me want to cross some streams, and today one of them did.

Some of you may know about Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt's Oblique Strategies, a set of cards intended for use in jarring stuck creative processes loose. Each card continues, well, an oblique strategy, like "Use fewer notes." and "In total darkness, or in a very large room, very quietly." and "How would someone else do it?" I've used these a few times myself over the years.

Well, today on Twitter, Richard Kadrey went insane, again :), and has been posting things filed as Fake Oblique Strategies. Stuff like "Once the search is in progress, something will be found, usually on your shoes." and "Don’t be afraid to whine. Friends will help by punching you until you get a better idea." and "Fill every beat with Cheez Whiz." I've been laughing rather a lot while reading.

#523 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 07:16 PM:

And now, having caught up...

Oblique Pizzas
Pizzaphage (Kadrey's first novel)
Pizzamancer (I seem to be on a New Ace Specials roll here)
Pizzamatrix (definitely)
Them Pizzas
"The Ugly Pizzas"
The Pizza of the Torturer; The Pizza of the Conciliator; The Pizza of the Lictor; The Pizza of the Autarch; The Pizza of the New Sun
Pizza of Warcraft
City of Pizzas
Pizzahammer Fantasy Online

#524 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 07:19 PM:

Pizza for Algernon

#525 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 07:20 PM:

Stealing the Elf-King's Pizza

#526 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 07:21 PM:

The Days of Wine and Pizza
Antony and Cleo's Pizza
Pizzaval, by Wolfit Down Anchovybach
The Three Pizzas of Pepperoni Eldritch

#527 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 07:22 PM:

The King of Elfland's Pizza

#528 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 07:24 PM:

The Man Who Was Pizza

#529 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 07:33 PM:

Pizza-in-the-Mist
By the Pizza Bound
Pizza for the Oaks
Have His Pizza
Strong Pizza

#530 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 07:36 PM:

The pizza next door
The pizza top hat
The homing pizza

#531 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 07:41 PM:

529
You forgot Busman's Pizza

(or should it be Pizzaman's Honeymoon?)

#532 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 08:00 PM:

Pizza's Game
Speaker for the Pizza
Pizzacide
Pizzas of the Dead
Lord of Castle Pizza
Pizza Lavode

and who could forget that '60s classic that folded too soon, The Twilight Calzone?

#533 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 08:02 PM:

And Gaudy Pizza. (Or Pizza Night, which might be better suited to the college theme)

#534 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 08:07 PM:

Beastly Pizzas and Ghastly Anchovies

#535 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 08:09 PM:

Non sequitur, but when the Make-A-Wish Foundation creates superheroes, they do a really awesome job: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2011740342_electronboy30m.html

#536 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 08:16 PM:

All right, so I just got through reading the description of what they found in the SUV used for the amateur hour bullshit car bombing attempt in Times Square. It would be comforting to think that the Pakistani Taliban really were behind it, because then we'd know they're inept rather than just stupidly opportunistic.

But really, and c'mon...backyard barbecue propane tanks, strapped about with firecrackers. Am I the only one to whom this screams not only amateur, but redneck?

#537 ::: TIm Walters ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 08:25 PM:

Jacque @ 510: Thanks! That song, in turn, reminds me of "Snowbird." It's the Seventies soft-rock food chain! With sloths!

#538 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 08:27 PM:

Another Pizza My Heart
Pizza Dragon

#539 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 08:37 PM:

TIm Walters @537: Snowbird

THANK you! Everytime I heard that song, it would catch on something in my mind, but I could never pull it out enough to identify it. Finally! Mystery solved!

(Don't those kinds of things just drive you mad?)

#540 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 08:57 PM:

All I am saying, is give Pizza a chance
Visualize World Pizza
Visualize Whirled Pizza
Pizza in our time

And the Pizza Porn series:

Deep Pizza
The Pizza and Miss Jones
Behind the Green Pizza

#541 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 08:59 PM:

E. Liddell way back @ 453:

Xscreensaver is available for Unix and Mac, and has the BSOD screensaver.

Xopher:

David Goldfarb brought a batch of Black Hole Brownies to Chocolate Decadence. They were excellent. (I decided to make cake instead.)

#542 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 09:24 PM:

Jonathan Livingston Pizza, with its beautiful tracing-paper photography of a pizza sliding sensuously into the oven.

#543 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 09:53 PM:

#522: Thanks, those were great.

* * *

Mystic Pizza

. . . what?

#544 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 10:00 PM:

Having gone into Wikipedia to look up a Dr. Who/Torchwood question (namely, when Jack Harkness finishes growing his Tardis is there anyone around that will be able to activate it for him) I stumbled into the definition there of the WABAC Machine.

What a stupid entry.

According to Mr. Peabody himself in the first episode of Peabody's Improbable History, the WABAC isn't just a Time Machine--he built one of those for Sherman who didn't like it because they couldn't influence events. The WABAC does allow you to tinker, which is why the reference to it in Back to the Future is apt. Is this covered in Wikipedia? No. Will I add it in? No--I have enough problems with rule lawyers in my day job, thank you.

And, in trying to get caught up on episodes of the current incarnation, let me say that the space Titanic episode left me thinking that if the best engineer in the Federation and the computer in Red Dwarf can both pull off a stunt that the Doctor can't then the scriptwriter just wasn't trying.

#545 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 11:00 PM:

Steve C. #540: Behind the Green Pizza

this is just to say I have eaten green pizza which it was spinachy alfredoesque hot and delicious without otherwise well deserved feelings of guilt because spinach is good for you as is effectively rationalized by the heroic example of popeye the sailor man

#546 ::: Rainflame ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 11:55 PM:

He was a genius but he's pizza
He was a pizza but he's dead
How much for just the pizza

#547 ::: J Homes ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 12:47 AM:

@533

Which gives us the choice of The Nine Pizzas.

And the ultimate question: Whose Pizza?

J Homes.

#548 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 01:03 AM:

Which gives us the choice of The Nine Pizzas.

Would those be the "nine pizzas for mortal men doomed to dine"?

#549 ::: hedgehog ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 04:57 AM:

Howl's Moving Pizza
The Pizzas of Christopher Chant
House of Many Pizzas

The Pizza-Master of Hed
Pizza of Sea and Fire
Pizza in the Wind

Nine Pizzas in Amber
The Pizzas of Avalon
Sing of the Pizza
The Pizza of Oberon
The Pizzas of Chaos


#550 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 05:13 AM:


This Is Just To Say

I have eaten
the pizza
that was in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
going to reheat
for lunch

Forgive me
it was delicious
so spicy
and so cold


Hedgehog @ 549: Sing of the Pizza

Someone's bound to...

#551 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 06:37 AM:

The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Pizza

#552 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 06:57 AM:

It's May 3, 2010. Happy Stand on Zanzibar Day.

#553 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 07:27 AM:

Pizza on Zanzibar
The Shockwave Pizza
The Pizza look up
The dramaturges of pizza
The pizza orbit

#554 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 07:39 AM:

The Whole Pizza
The Squares of the Pizza
Quickpizza
The Pizza That Never Came Down
Players at the Game of Pizza
The Pizza In Black

#555 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 07:49 AM:

Our colleague is back to his desk, neatly wrapped for freshness. He is amused.

#556 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 07:55 AM:

Make Pizza! Make Pizza!

#557 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 08:07 AM:

The Stainless Steel Rat wants PIZZA!

#558 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 08:12 AM:

Soylent Green is ... PIZZA!

#559 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 08:14 AM:

@557: Or perhaps, The Stainless Steel Rat Saves The Pizza -- presumably because he wants some for breakfast tomorrow.

#560 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 08:31 AM:

Stand On Pizza

#561 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 08:32 AM:

Hrm, in that case...

Pizza 666
Doomed Pizza
Lightning Pizza
The Pizza of X
Pizza Humanity
Frozen Pizza
The Microscopic Pizza
Pizza of Doom
Pizza of the Gods
Last pizza on Earth
Pizza Mass
A thousand pizzas on
The Death Pizza
Pizza at large
Voodoo Hell Pizza

(following an incautious look at www.pizza^H^H^H^Heltorro.com)

#562 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 08:37 AM:

The Colour of Pizza
The Pizza Fantastic
Equal Pizzas
Wyrd Pizzas
Pizzas! Pizzas!
Moving Pizzas
Pizza Man
Pizzas Abroad
Small Pizzas
Pizzas At Arms
Soul Pizza
Interesting Pizzas
Pizzas of Clay
Hogpizza
The Last Pizza
Carpe Pizzam
The Fifth Pizza
Thief of Pizza
Making Pizza

#563 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 08:37 AM:

Wall paintings from third century synagogue in Syria. Aside from historical and/or religious interest, they're really pretty.

The faces look like less-stylized Eastern Orthodox icons, and I wonder if there's a connection.

****

I've been using "Jewish Bible" and "Christian Bible" as less problematic than OT and NT. Are they as unproblematic as I hope?

****

Is there a word for the hard-to-translate words which only appear once in the bible?

#564 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 08:37 AM:

The Lion, the Witch and the Pizza
Pizza Caspian
The Voyage of the Pizza Treader
The Silver Pizza
The Horse and His Pizza
The Magician's Pizza
The Last Pizza

Cowboy Feng's Space Pizzeria
To Eat Pizza in Hell

Buffy the Pizza Slayer

#565 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 08:38 AM:

@560: Wash your feet afterwards.

#566 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 08:39 AM:

Maurice And His Educated Pizzas
A Hat Full of Pizza

#567 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 08:44 AM:

Harry Pizza and the...

#568 ::: Janet K ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 08:49 AM:

Mark @536.

And the large gunlocker in the SUV was filled with bags of non-explosive fertilizer (according to the New York Times).

#569 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 08:51 AM:

re 563: See hapax legomenon (a great word, in my opinion).

#570 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 08:53 AM:

Are You Expizzaenced?
Pizza, Bold As Love
Electric Pizzaland
Band of Pizzas
First Rays of the New Rising Pizza

#571 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 08:58 AM:

"Pakistani Taliban clalm responsibility for pizza in Times Square."

#572 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 09:03 AM:

Aaaand the photoset for the wrapped desk is now up.

#573 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 09:19 AM:

The Unpleasantness at the Pizza Club

The Sign of Pizza
A Study in Pizza
Silver Pizza
The Pizza of the Baskervilles

For Us, the Pizzas
The Pizza of the Beast
Variable Pizza
Pizza in the Sky
Star Pizza
Starship Pizzas
I am torn between "Pizza in a Strange Land" and "Stranger in a Strange Pizza".

#574 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 09:20 AM:

"The Wrap of Khan", Abi? And how come you folks have time for this silliness?

#575 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 09:44 AM:

The Pizza War
A Fire Upon the Pizza
A Pizza in the Sky

#576 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 09:46 AM:

Carrie S:

Don't forget the great political drama, Double Cheese

#577 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 09:47 AM:

The Pizza Ouroboros
Pizza of Pizzas
A Pizza Dinner in Memison (Amalie's cooks were ill, and she had to order takeout)
The Mezentian Pizza

#578 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 10:06 AM:

Abi: and when you were done, you said, it's a wrap.

Were you wearing culottes? Or just a full skirt for easy biking?

#579 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 10:07 AM:

The last pizza of the Golden Horde

Pizza
Pizza and Empire
Second helpings

The pizza upon Cannis

There will be Pizza.

The pizza from Earth
Pizza family Stone(baked)

A pizza is haunting Texas

The Pizza Hut on the Borderland

#580 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 10:10 AM:

Mark @536

This does sound a bit like the car-bombs in London and at Glasgow Airport, in 2007.

Glaswegian comedian Frankie Boyle quipped "I just love the naivety of someone trying to bring religious war to Glasgow,"

#581 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 10:10 AM:

Mark @536

This does sound a bit like the car-bombs in London and at Glasgow Airport, in 2007.

Glaswegian comedian Frankie Boyle quipped "I just love the naivety of someone trying to bring religious war to Glasgow,"

#582 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 10:14 AM:

Carol Kimball @578:

It's a full denim skirt, one of my favorites. It's sadly faded and ragged now, but it is actually really good for cycling in.

#583 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 10:16 AM:

The Critique of Pure Pizza

A Vindication of the Rights of Pizza

The World as Pizza and Representation

Two Treatises on Pizza

Pizza and Nothingness

#584 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 10:34 AM:

Pizza Atlas. A collection of interrelated stories, comprising:

* The Pizza Journal of Adam Ewing
* Pizzas from Zedelghem
* Half Pizzas: The first Louisa Rey Pizza Mystery
* The Ghastly Pizza of Timothy Cavendish
* A Pizza of Sonmi 451
* Sloosha's Peesa' an' Ev'rythin' After

#585 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 10:38 AM:

Pride, Prejudice, and Pizza

#586 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 10:46 AM:

Huh;

Tripizzatary
First Pizza
Galactic Pizza
Gray Pizza
Second Stage Pizza
Children of the Pizza

#587 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 10:51 AM:

Calvino:
Pizzacomics
If on a winter's night a pizza...
Under the jaguar pizza
The pizza in the trees
Invisible Pizzas

Serafini:
Codex Pizzianus
Pizzapedia Picola

#588 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 11:26 AM:

praisegod: The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Pizza

Also:
The Beekeeper's Pizza
A Letter of Pizza
Pizza Hall
Locked Pizzas

#589 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 11:30 AM:

(Glad I tried to jump back on this moving freight train four days back in the posts; wish my memory was up to remembering all the random stuff I was thinking as I went along- except: hate practical jokes, and suspect Fat Charlie's childhood trauma is much like what happens when starting school, when you get right down to it).

In any case: today is the date upon which John Brunner started the action in Stand on Zanzibar; tomorrow it's forty years since Kent State. If I had better fingers and a shorter to-do list, I would philosophize upon this concatenation of events.

#590 ::: E. Liddell ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 12:43 PM:

KeithS @541: Yeah, figured that I'd been wrong about it not being available for Mac once I took the time to track down where it came from--mea culpa.

And:
Shards of Pizza
Pizzayar
The Warrior's Pizza
The Pizza Game
Pizzaganda
Pizza of Athos
Borders of Pizza (or "Pizzas of Inifinity"?)
Brothers in Pizza
Mirror Pizza
A Pizza Campaign
Diplomatic Pizza

#591 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 12:52 PM:

Then there's that 17-book series:

Pizza
Pizza
Pizza
Pizza
Pizza
etc.

The Pizza of Chalion
Pizza of Souls
The Hallowed Pizza

#592 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 12:57 PM:

@591: I think it's supposed to be a 19-book series. And then there are the associated works:

Brokedown Pizza
The Pizza Guards
Five Hundred Pizzas After (the guards were hungry)
The Viscount of Pizza (3 volumes)

#593 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 01:04 PM:

Also:

Pizza
Pizza Messiah
Children of Pizza
God Emperor of Pizza
Heretics of Pizza
Chapterhouse: Pizza

There aren't any other pizzas in this style except the Pizza Encyclopedia, which they unfortunately don't make any more.

#594 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 01:07 PM:

Carrie@591, Jon@592: Notionally, yes, 19; ending with The Final Pizza.

#595 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 01:08 PM:

KeithS@593: There is only one Pizza book!

#596 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 01:11 PM:

@593: The Chapterhouse was a bar in the town where I went to college. I believe they did have pizza ...

#597 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 01:13 PM:

@593 (again): But there's a lot of cardboard and paste out there calling itself that style of pizza. Beware.

#598 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 01:14 PM:

@594: After eighteen pizzas it would be.

#599 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 01:25 PM:

ddb @ 594: And of course "A Dream of Pizza" is no longer canon.

#600 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 01:26 PM:

Find the Pope in the Pizza.

#601 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 01:39 PM:

Pizza
Pizza and Calzone
Second Pizza

(And then the later additions to the series: Pizza'a Edge, Prelude to Pizza, etc., which tied the whole thing in to I, Pasta, The Caves of Pasta, The Naked Pasta, and all of the other pasta stories.)

#602 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 01:49 PM:

Shall I compare thee to a sausage slice?
Thou art more spicy and thy cheese is great:
Rough winds may shake my bowels -- not so nice,
And Domino's delivers far too late:
Sometime too oily pepperoni shines,
And often is the ruddy pepper bland;
Shakey's take-out window has such long lines,
And Round Table, and every other brand;
But thy rich oily savor shall not cease,
Nor thy aroma -- oregano and sage;
Nor shall the fridge coagulate your grease,
Thy drippings make of this a golden age:
  So long as nostril smells or eyeball sees,
  My every tastebud salivates for thee.

#603 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 01:52 PM:

590
or
A Civil Pizza

#604 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 01:57 PM:

Till We Have Pizzas
Letters to Malcom, Chiefly Concerning Pizzas
The Four Pizzas
Pizza, Out of the Silent Pizza, That Hideous Pizza, and the questionably canonical The Dark Pizza
Meditations on the Pizzas
Mere Pizzianity
The Great Pizza
The Allegory of Pizza
The Discarded Pizza
English Literature in the Sixteenth Cendury, Excluding Pizza (someteimes referred to as OHEP)

The Wee Free Pizzas

When I am an Old Pizza, I Shall Wear Green

#605 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 01:57 PM:

This thread has jumped the calzone tank.

#606 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 01:57 PM:

Modesto Kid #602:

Too bad I already ran out of internets to give as prizes.

#607 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 02:12 PM:

Figures of Calzone
The Silver Calzone
Calzone
The Cream of the Calzone
Something about Calzone
The High Calzone

and the rest of the Biography of Calzone

#608 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 02:17 PM:

Seven Pizzas of Dr. Lao

#609 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 02:34 PM:

The man in black fled across the desert, and the pizza followed.

#610 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 03:09 PM:

#608: No, no, no.

The 7 Focaccia of Dr. Lao

You philo-stine.

#611 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 03:18 PM:

abi, I envy you that view. Would that any of my previous office-lives have been so endowed.

#612 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 03:22 PM:

No, I am not going to do the Honorverse in pizza.

#613 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 03:26 PM:

...Ah, pizza were paradise enow!...

#614 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 03:35 PM:

Tim Walters @489:

OK, it's not a sonnet, but it's very nice poetry. Also, nice arrangement; I've had a soft spot in my heart for dulcimer music ever since listening to Richard Fariña playing an instrumental with Bruce Langhorne.

#615 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 03:38 PM:

Linkmeister @611:

Indeed, it is a spectacular view, south over the IJ to Amsterdam. We see cruise ships go by, watch thunderstorms move up the river, and get dazzled by the sunlight on the water.

Long and drawn-out quarrels about the blinds ensue when the sun comes in the windows. I work with a bunch of vampires, I swear. But I get a day or two alone in the office, when I can just let the light stream in.

#616 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 03:41 PM:

The Wheel of Pizza series.

The Eye of the Pizza
The Great Pizza
The Pizza Reborn
The Pizza Rising
The Fires of Pizza
Lord of Pizza
A Crown of Pizza
The Path of Pizza
Winter's Pizza
Pizza of Twilight
Pizza of Dreams
The Gathering Pizza
Towers of Pizza
A Pizza of Light

(The last two have not finished baking.)

#617 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 03:43 PM:

Pizzanomics
The Last Best Pizza

Today We Choose Pizzas
To Die in Pizza
Eye of Pizza
Pizza in the Sand
The Pizzas of His Face, the Calzone of His Mouth
The Last Defender of Pizza
Jack of Pizza
A Night in the Lonesome Pizza


#618 ::: Sarah S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 03:53 PM:

One of the things Superheroes are for.

Or maybe, just a meditation on all different kinds of heroes.

#619 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 03:54 PM:

#425 Lila

My God that's impressive

What the picture (upper right corner of the .pdf page) doesn't show is the plastic sheeting on the floor underneath, to prevent damage to the floor, and and the sand and the pennies inside the well under the water. Note that those were real bricks and real mortar between the bricks. (I was one of the people inside the dormroom waiting for his arrival, there was an early warning system in effect. The person standing behind him was Doug White, class of 1974, and later hall tutor. For that matter Rick and his wife Kathleen were the hall tutors after "Gwhite"--and Kathleen wrote a long published paper about social decision-making and criteria evolution for decision-making, based on when she and Rick announced they were leaving MIT and the hall would have to select a new hall tutor....)

#620 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 04:11 PM:

Modesto Kid

Orhan Pamuk

The White Pizza
The Black Pizza
My Pizza is Red

Also: I have no pizza, and I must scream.

#621 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 04:17 PM:

and of course: War and Pizza

#622 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 04:35 PM:

There's lots of room in the classics.

The House of Seven Pizzas
A Good Pizza is Hard to Find
(somebody beat me to the Pizza Also Rises)
The Old Man and the Pizza

Something Pizza This Way Comes

Another series that would get repetitive, Pizza in Death

(applause for the Modesto Kid @602)

#623 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 04:37 PM:

And how could I have forgotten A Pizza of One's Own

#624 ::: Scott Wyngarden ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 04:57 PM:

The Shadow of the Pizza
The Pizza Stain
Goodbye, Pizza
The Plot Against Pizza
The Fall of the House of Pizza
Focault's Pizza
Pizza in August
Bloodsucking Pizzas
Snow Pizza


Who can forget Anne McCaffrey's Pizza Trilogy: Pizzaflight, Pizzaquest, and The White Pizza

#625 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 05:11 PM:

"A" is for Anchovies
"B" is for Bacon
"C" is for Chorizo
(etc.)

And then there's "The Okonomiyaki of Genji", the classic Heian saga of trolling for skank and toppings.

#626 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 05:16 PM:

Let's not forget the pizza westerns:

A Fistful of Pizza
For a Few Pizzas More
The Good, the Bad, and the Pizza

#627 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 05:30 PM:

And how could I forget:

The Pizza's Regress
Letters to an American Pizza
The Screwtape Pizzas
A Pizza Observed
Surprised by Pizza
Pizza in the Dock

Then there's
Pizza in Heaven
Many Pizzas
The Place of the Calzone
The Greater Pizzas
Shadows of Pizza
Descent into Marinara
All Hallows' Pizza
The Arthurian Pizza
The Image of the Pizza
The Masques of Pizza House

#628 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 05:31 PM:

The Pizza Identity
The Pizza Supremacy
The Pizza Ultimatum

#629 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 05:39 PM:

ptaisegod barebones #583: That should be Two Treatises on Civil Pizza

Of course there are later works of equal importance in the same genre such as

On the Social Pizza

Not to mention the whole Rawlsian series:

"Pizza as Fairness"

A Theory of Pizza


"Pizza as Fairness: Pepperonical not Pineappliccal"

#630 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 05:50 PM:

Only pizza can save mankind.
Johnny and the pizza
Pizza and the bomb.

----------
Anne of the thousand pizzas
Suetonius: Twelve Pizzas
The 120 days of Pizza[1]
The pizza of the beast
Principia Pizzeria

[1] contains insufficient mention of dinosaurs.

#631 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 05:50 PM:

Tom Pizza
Huckleberry Pizza
Pizza on the Mississippi
Roughing Pizza
Pizza from the Earth
A Connecticut Pizza in King Arthur's Court
Pudd'nhead Pizza
The Prince and the Pizza
The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Pizza County et.al.


#632 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 05:58 PM:

Back in college it was "potato chip". With many of the same titles being popular (though many of the others are new since then).

#633 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 06:00 PM:

The Demolished Pizza
They'd Rather Be Pizza
Double Pizza
The Big Pizza
A Case of Pizza
Starship Pizzas
A Pizza for Leibowitz
Stranger In A Strange Pizza
The Pizza in the High Castle
Way Pizza
The Pizza
TIE: Pizza; ...And Call Me Pizza
Lord of Pizza
Stand on Pizza
The Left Hand of Pizza
Ringpizza
To Your Scattered Pizzas Go
The Pizzas Themselves
Rendezvous with Pizza

#634 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 06:22 PM:

The Pizza Traders
Pizza Over Warlock
The Pizza Master
The Pizza World
Moon of Three Pizzas

#635 ::: Jon Baker ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 06:52 PM:

The Golden Crust
The Pizza Knife
The Amber Soda Glass

More children's books:

Danny Dunn and the Pizzabaking Machine?
Pizza under the Apple Tree
Black Pizza
Giovanni Brinker, or the Silver Pizza
The Pizza Bakers and the Oregano Bush Man (that's from my mother's youth)
The Wonderful Baking of the Mushroom Pizza (for DFB)


#636 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 06:55 PM:

Anne of Green Pizza
Anne of Pizza
Anne of the Pizza
Anne of Windy Pizzas
Anne's House of Pizzas
Anne of Pizzaside
Pizza Valley
Rilla of Pizzaside
Chronicles of Pizza

#637 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 07:03 PM:

Rocket Ship Pizza
Red Pizza
Pizza in the Sky (aka Farmer in the Pizza)
Citizen of the Pizza
The Door into Pizza
Double Pizza
Have Pizza--Will Travel
Pizza of Mars
The Pizza Stones
Space Pizza
The Star Pizza
Starman Pizza
Starship Pizzas
Time for the Pizza
Tunnel in the Pizza

#638 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 07:04 PM:

Beyond this Pizza
I Will Fear No Pizza
The Pizza From Earth
Methuselah's Pizza
The Pizza is a Harsh Mistress
The Number of the Pizza
Orphans of the Pizza
The Puppet Pizza
Pizza in 2100
Sixth Pizza
Stranger in a Strange Pizza

#639 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 07:12 PM:

This will cover each and every book ever published with a one word title:

Pizza.

Also:

The Pizza.

#640 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 07:15 PM:

Chase the Pizza
The Pizzas of Noon
Cloud Pizzas

Five Weeks in a Pizza
A Journey to the Center of the Pizza
From the Earth to the Pizza
Twenty Thousand Pizzas Under the Sea
Around the Pizza in 80 Days
Pizza the Conqueror
Propellor Pizza
Master of the Pizza

... and how could I forget
Pizza the Damned

(my left pinkie finger is getting sore from typing "pizza")

#641 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 07:16 PM:

The Pizzening.

#642 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 07:20 PM:

The Time Pizza
The Invisible Pizza
The Island of Dr. Pizza
The War of the Pizzas
When The Pizza Wakes
The Food of the Pizzas
In The Days of the Pizza
The First Men in the Pizza

#643 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 07:26 PM:

Pizza the Damned

Interview with a Pizza
The Pizza Lestat
Queen of the Pizza
The Tale of the Pizza Thief

#644 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 08:02 PM:

Carol Kimball @ 632, how could you overlook The War Pizza (published after his dinner, of course)?

#645 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 08:05 PM:

@620 -- Let's not forget The Museum of Pizza.

#646 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 08:06 PM:

Stefan Jones #610: #608: No, no, no.
The 7 Focaccia of Dr. Lao
You philo-stine.

Wrong parallel universe; in the one to which I refer, it was pizza. Recipes of three of the seven pizzas of Dr. Lao were found on a scrap of parchment at the circus site:

The Ruthless Tycoon's Deep Dish Pizza of Prosperity: California condor in pesto sauce, seasoned with sweet tears of unfathomable sadness.

The Widowed Librarian's Pan Pizza: Oysters and olives in a zesty marinara sauce.

The Self-Absorbed Matron's Pizza of Prophesy: Stale, dry, cheese pizza, sauce-less, served at room temperature.

#647 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 08:09 PM:

Oh also, Martin Pizzawit and Tuesday, the Rabbi Ate Pizza.

#648 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 08:30 PM:

Sorry to interrupt the pizzafest, but I've just been out admiring the sky -- we had some breathtakingly beautiful evening clouds tonight. My cat was hanging out on the front walk, I caught a glimpse of the clouds out the door, and had to go out myself. (She just came back in, after going over to the neighbor's walk for a minute or so....)

I took a fair number of pictures, but who knows how well they'll come out -- vagaries of digital photography, and all that.

#649 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 09:23 PM:

Wow, I was just telling about the pizza game. I didn't mean to start it here, but I'm glad I mentioned it!

Carol 493: The last update I sent out got comments from only one person. Very NICE (and helpful) comments, but I'm afraid I found the lack of response rather discouraging. The posting on the gay site got an equally lackluster response.

Haven't written any more on it, though I did do some head-work on it today at the gym—I work on dialogue and narration while working out; sometimes bits of it come out my mouth, which must be disconcerting to anyone who hears it. Imagine that the guy next to you, after finishing a set of overhead presses with 30-pound dumbbells, just muttered "...and even if he bit her, she wouldn't bleed unless she chose to."

KeithS 541: Yay! Thanks for telling me. I love hearing that people are enjoying that recipe. And thank you David as well!

Stefan 543: On the other site, I did Pizza Pizza, but nobody got it.

Bruce 544:

Sherman: Where are we going this time, Mr. Peabody?
Mr. Peabody: Set the WABAC Machine for Palestine in 4 BCE, Sherman.
Sherman: Jesus Christ, Mr. Peabody!
Mr. Peabody: Precisely, Sherman.

abi 572: You're Minion to an awfully cute Mastermind. Too bad he's EVOLL.

TMK 602: *jaw drops*

Wow. That's great!

#650 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 09:30 PM:

my computer ate these earlier, so:
a mystery series, including
Pizza and the Doctor Bird
Pizza and the Camera Bird
(and several others I'm not putting in)

#651 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 10:47 PM:

KeithS lets his hair down.

Chocolate Decadence was a blast -- I think it was the best one I've had since moving here, and a large part of it was the eclectic mix of friends who attended. David Goldfarb brought Xopher's brownies, and they were a tremendous hit -- we always have lots of leftovers, but the Black Hole Brownies were all eaten during the party.

Having KeithS here for the weekend was an absolute delight. We went to the stage-magic exhibit at the Museum of Natural Science, and to the Houston Fine Minerals Show (lots of pretty rocks!), and to the First Saturday Arts Market, and showed him various of our favorite hangouts around town, and introduced him to bubble tea. The above picture was taken this morning when we were just kicking back and recovering from the weekend.

#652 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 11:34 PM:

Xopher, I sometimes realize that I've been making small faces* and changing my posture to fit whoever's in the scenes I'm running** at the moment. Walking down the street, in the shower, whatever. My stories definitely have a root or two in playing pretend.

*Apparently my face is more expressive than I think it is. I used to think of myself as somewhat impassive, mostly because it wasn't worth it to emote in a completely not-as-dysfunctional-as-it-sounds way; it may just have been that I was far enough away in my own little world that I wasn't really emoting in the right situations. Now people keep commenting on the faces I make, and I never realize I'm making them.

**I have done this as long as I can remember. It used to be out loud, then it became silent. "Running scenes" is the best way I've found to summarize that it's not always original or fanfic, I don't write most of it down, and I don't really try to improve most of it. It's like rereading, only in my head and I sometimes skip the first readthrough.

#653 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 11:51 PM:

This Is Just To Say
I have eaten
the life
that was
hidden in the icebox,

so fun and juicy,
which you were
probably saving
for breakfast.

Forgive me
it was novel
so sweet and drunken
and cold.

#654 ::: Harriet Culver ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 11:51 PM:

The Tawny, Scrawny Pizza
The Poky Little Pizza
Tom Swift and His Electric Pizza
The Bobbsey Twins at the Pizzeria
The Five Little Pizzas and How They Grew
Pizzas Courageous
The Jungle Pizza
The Good Pizza
A Wrinkle in Pizza

#655 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2010, 12:23 AM:

My eyes have started to sauce over after all the pizza entries, but I don't think anyone has submitted:

The Last Temptation of Pizza

which also brings to mind the famous line from the Sermon on the Mount: "Blessed are the pizza makers."

#656 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2010, 12:25 AM:

Bruce Cohen @ 614: Thanks! Fariña is probably my biggest dulcimer influence.

#657 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2010, 12:43 AM:

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Pizza

#658 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2010, 01:10 AM:

Lee@651: I'm afraid you're mistaken about the brownies -- while many of them got eaten, by no means all. You don't have any leftover ones because I took them home. (Where Katie took them to her work [saving two or three for me]; I expect that will dispose of them.) It is a very popular recipe, and one I anticipate making again.

#659 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2010, 01:13 AM:

The Brave Little Pizza Oven

#660 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2010, 01:23 AM:

Bruce Arthurs #655: which also brings to mind the famous line from the Sermon on the Mount: "Blessed are the pizza makers."

"...for they shall deliver into Heaven in thirty minutes or less, and it's free!"

#661 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2010, 01:38 AM:

Pizza, ugh.
Pizza usually ==> indigestion for me, sometimes worse (there are times when the odor of Hawaiian pizza's come close to causing me to hurl....)

#662 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2010, 02:47 AM:

Paula, as far as I know, nobody in Hawai'i has ever claimed to be the originator of Hawaiian pizza. It's like chow mein; an oddly American (or in the pizza's case, Mainland) invention.

#663 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2010, 07:42 AM:

James Cameron's "Pizzavatar"

#664 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2010, 07:44 AM:

Pizzas of the Gods?
Was God A Pizza?

#665 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2010, 07:51 AM:

#663: Isn't that "Call Me Pizza"?

#666 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2010, 10:10 AM:

With all this talk of black hole brownies, of which I had never heard previously, I had to get my google on and hunt up the recipe.

How did I go 42 years on this planet without knowing about this?

Damn.

#667 ::: David Harmon sees cross-thread spam ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2010, 11:39 AM:

'Acoustic Guitar Preamp" has posted to half-a-dozen threads, most not active.

#668 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2010, 12:20 PM:

Mark...you get a pass on about 32 of those years, during which they didn't exist. (Maybe more; I'm not sure exactly when I first made them.)

#669 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2010, 12:27 PM:

I also feel moved to say this: Brek-a-kek-kek, coax coax.

#670 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2010, 01:38 PM:

OT: The murder of Brian Betts turns out to have been a robbery. The robbers made contact with Mr. Betts on a chat line before coming to his house and killing him.

#671 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2010, 01:52 PM:

669 Xopher.

Are you ok? Have you lost your little oil flask?

#672 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2010, 01:54 PM:

Also, is there a princess in the house?

#673 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2010, 02:07 PM:

Ginger:

Damn. A stupid crime, for all that it was clearly planned out. They murdered the guy, and then went all around town using his credit cards?

Evil is bad enough, but stupid evil is in some sense even more disturbing.

#674 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2010, 03:04 PM:

praisegod 671: That must be why I've a blister on my bottom.

#675 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2010, 03:12 PM:

Do Androids Dream of Electric Pizza?
Minority Pizza
Pizza Recall
Pizza Runner
A Pizza Darkly

#676 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2010, 03:18 PM:

The Years of Rice and Pizza

Halting Pizza
The Pizza Morgue

#677 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2010, 03:49 PM:

Pizzaflight
Pizzaquest
The White Pizza
Pizza Singer
Pizza Song
Pizza Drums
etc.

Or somewhat darker:
The Pizza you Know
Vicious Pizza
Dead Men's Pizzas
Thicker than Pizza
The Naming of the Pizzas


#678 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2010, 03:53 PM:

García Márquez:
One Hundred Years of Pizza
Love in the Time of Pizza
No-one Writes to the Pizza
Of Pizza and Other Demons
The Story of a Shipwrecked Pizza
Memories of my Melancholy Pizzas


#679 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2010, 04:24 PM:

Open threadiness:

This essay on privacy in the socially-networked world is really interesting, and clarifies some important stuff in my mind.

One thing she didn't make as clear as it needs to be (though it was implicit in her speech): privacy is usually about privacy from someone with the power to do something bad to you. Depending on who you are, that might be your parents, your ex, your boss, your government, your insurance company, your future employers, your wife, your neighbors, etc. This leads to two tricky bits about privacy:

a. Different people have different people from whom they want privacy.

b. The same person has different people from whom he wants privacy at different times.

A lot of the social-networking panic is about (b), I think--someone who wants privacy from her parents at 17 might want privacy from her potential employers at 22, and she might very well want privacy from those employers even for the information she originally put out at age 17, when her concern was entirely about keeping her sex life private from her mom.

#680 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2010, 04:29 PM:

Pizza Cake

#681 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2010, 05:00 PM:

The pizza with no name.
Saturn's Pizza
The Pizza Memorandum
On Her Majesty's Secret Pizza
The Rediscovery of Pizza
Think Blue, Count Pizza
Last pizza from planet earth.

#682 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2010, 05:04 PM:

Dear open thread, I was wondering if you would be able to tell me the name of the metrical arrangement George Chapman uses in his translation of Homer. I'm looking at this passage:

...For which grace she kindly did bestow
Strength on his shoulders, and did fill his knees as liberally
With swiftness, breathing in his breast the courage of a fly,
Which loves to bite so, and doth bear man's blood so much good will,
That still though beaten from a man she flies upon him still;
With such a courage Pallas filled the black parts near his heart.
And it sure has a strong rhythm to it but I don't know what those feet are called. Da DAH-da-da-da DAH-da-da-da DAH-da-da-da da.

#683 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2010, 05:41 PM:

Modesto @682: I would call it flawed iambic hexameter, because the extra unstressed bits aren't necessarily regular.

#684 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2010, 06:00 PM:

Modesto @682: When I see a regular number of beats per line, but with irregular unstressed beats around/between them, my first inclination is to call it ballad meter. (AKA, it's not how many syllables or how they're arranged, but how many stressed syllables per line.) That said, that excerpt doesn't really read like ballad meter to me.

#685 ::: Madeline Ashby ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2010, 06:25 PM:

It is increasingly clear that I will need an icebox poem for Session 9 of the Bebop writeups. Here's my first try:

This Is Just To Say
I have airlocked
the thing
that was
hidden in the icebox,

so wet and squishy,
which I was
supposedly saving
for breakfast.

Forgive me
it was ugly
so dark and nasty
and fast.

#686 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2010, 06:46 PM:

@651: KeithS lets his hair down.

<lick> *smack*

#687 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2010, 07:22 PM:

Hm -- Wikipædia calls it "iambic heptameter," which fits in well with there being 14 syllables... but they don't really sound like 2-syllable feet to me.

#688 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2010, 08:19 PM:

@687 I call it 'scans to Amazing Grace / Gilligan's Island Theme Song / Yellow Rose of Texas / any poem by Emily Dickenson" meter.

When I was in school and we had more time than money for entertainment we worked out a bunch of familiar tunes and poems which were metrically interchangeable. The above list is the subset I remember right offhand but is far, far from exhaustive...

#689 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2010, 08:44 PM:

More seasonality: While calling in my cat, I just spotted a firefly from my door.

#690 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2010, 09:13 PM:

In honor of "Star Wars Day" (MAY the FOURTH be with you):
"I find your lack of pants disturbing."

Pull up! All pants pull up!
Search your pants, Luke. You know it's true.
Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your pants.

Since TITLE tag works not, link to list of 278 top STAR WARS lines by substitution of word 'pants' improved is leads.

#691 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2010, 09:13 PM:

Curse my metal pants.

#692 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2010, 09:19 PM:

Jacque, #686: Yeah. You can't see in that picture, but it falls well past the middle of his back; I kept having to fight the temptation to play with it like a cat with a string. Sometimes I lost. :-)

David, #689: Isn't this rather early for fireflies? I tend to think of them as June-to-August critters -- in my memories, they're strongly associated with summer vacation.

#693 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2010, 09:53 PM:

Another Christianist scumbag caught with a gay prostitute.

Highlights:

  • George Rekers, cofounder of the Family Research Council, claimed he hired the gay prostitute to carry his luggage (to be fair, I'm sure there was some bag handling involved). He admitted finding him on Rentboy.com; couldn't very well deny it, since that's the only place "Geo" advertises his services.
  • The Rentboy ad isn't exactly mealy-mouthed:
    The profile touts his "smooth, sweet, tight ass" and "perfectly built 8 inch cock (uncut)" and explains he is "sensual," "wild," and "up for anything" — as long you ask first. And as long as you pay.
  • Pictures of "Geo." (Possibly NSFW depending on your workplace.)
  • Rekers adopted a 16-year-old four years ago. Geo is 20. Same age as his adopted son. I wonder what he's been doing to that boy since he "adopted" him. Perhaps Rekers needs to have it explained to him that in this country even rich white bastards like him are technically not supposed to buy sex slaves, even if they call it "adopting a son."
Damn, these lying sacks of shit piss me off.

#694 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2010, 09:54 PM:

Thena @ 688: That's what my poetry professor taught us to call "ballad meter". But I don't know what level of strict technicality that's correct for.

#695 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2010, 10:02 PM:

BTW, Xopher, when I bought some flour recently I noticed this brownie recipe on the package. Very similar to yours, although with a bit more flour in, and calling for a little bit of espresso powder.

#696 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2010, 10:38 PM:

Madeline Ashby @685: Just because it was in the icebox doesn't mean it wasn't saving you for breakfast.

#697 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2010, 12:45 AM:

Cherie Priest's post about flood relief donations. There are probably other entities besides the Red Cross who'll be helping out; check with your favorites, if you feel inclined to donate.

#698 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2010, 01:47 AM:

Jacque @ 686:

I assume you approve, then.

For the knitters in the audience, this would make a good, and hilarious, LJ userpic. (Warning: uses naughty language.)

#699 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2010, 01:50 AM:

Keith S @ 698, trust me, you don't have to be a knitter to appreciate that. Typing, programming . . .

#700 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2010, 02:06 PM:

KeithS @698: I assume you approve, then.

Ahem. See Lee @692.

'Minds me of a Minicon, eons ago. Managed to catch Houghton John in the consuite. I think it was DDB who wandered by, noted the dreamy look on John's face and the quantities of hair draped through my fingers. Pondered a moment, and said, "Ah, social grooming amongst the naked apes...."

#701 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2010, 02:15 PM:

Totally irrelevantly: about, er a week or so ago, or maybe more, there was an ad down the right hand side for a book. The book was about magic, I think, and the ad contained a reference to Chaos Theory. Can anyone remember the author and title, please? It seemed it was similar to something I'm writing, and I want to sue for avoid plagiarism. Srsly.

#702 ::: The Raven ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2010, 03:54 PM:

Economist Jamie Galbraith on large-scale financial scams, since this is a topic of interest here.

#703 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2010, 04:12 PM:

Lee #692: It may well be early, and I only saw the one flash from my doorway, but it sure looked like a firefly. Since I moved down to Virginia, I'm still learning the seasonal stuff.

just got back from hiking around Crabtree Falls. Gorgeous... besides the "usual" flowers (violets, asters, "buttercups", wild geraniums and pinks...) there were may-apples in bloom. Marty took us on a detour (the "path less travelled by" ;-) ) that had us crossing the stream a couple of times, not to mention climbing over fallen giants (seriously, a couple of those ex-trees looked to be three feet across).

#704 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2010, 07:22 PM:

David, I remember one pleasant early summer evening when I decided to put a chair out in front of our apartment door (on the back of a six-unit building in Newport news) and just watch the twilight come on. Fireflies came drifting across the back yards, always rising as they glowed. I felt full of happiness. It was like seeing celeste music.

#705 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2010, 09:21 PM:

There's another fan emergency, and Pamela Dean has donated a new hardcopy of her Tam Lin for auction.

Yesterday's WashPost Health section had their bit from Consumer Reports where they used a calculator to find out Obama's probability of a heart attack in the next 10 years. His was 7%; mine was 1%. You need your lipid panel (cholesterol) results to use the calculator.

#706 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2010, 09:37 PM:

Computer unhappiness again: the machine I spent so much trouble with some months back had to have the OS reinstalled from Gateway's disk because some virus got in and clogged the thing up. Well. Now it wants to be reactivated, and stupidly I thought I had saved the piece from the old case that had the COA on it, but now I find I didn't. MS says talk to Gateway; Gateway won't help. Is there any way to salvage this thing?

#707 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2010, 09:43 PM:

Kip W: One of the things I love about living here is that I can do that sort of thing -- I didn't think of a chair when we had those gorgeous clouds the other evening, but I do have a couple suitable for that. (Last year I just left one out, but it ended up in front of a neighbor's house, possibly abetted by a storm. I did reclaim it.)

After 20+ years of dorms and apartments, I actually have a front lawn, with meadow flowers and a holly tree in it! (Even if the maintenance folks occasionally behead both flowers and tree. :-) )

#708 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2010, 10:07 PM:

An observation on browsers and Making Light: I recently got fed up with how much memory Firefox gobbles up, and decided to give Safari a try (I use a Mac). I used Safari for a week or two, and wasn't happy. I just tried Chrome for a few hours, and am not happy.

Why not happy, you ask? Because neither leaves a "Find in this page" control open on the page. When reading an ML thread, I frequently want to zip up or down to a number or word. Having the find control open all the time, in an out-of-the-way location, makes this easy. I don't use Find all the often on other sites, so I doubt that this is feature that's much requested by general users of Chrome or Safari. I am aware that I can open Find with a hot key, but I prefer to just have it open all the time. I usually want to search from the bottom of the page, so it's easy to highlight a bit of text at the bottom of the page, then type into a control at the bottom of the page, whereas Chrome and Safari put the Find box at the top of the page.

My other dislikes about Safari: can't set it to automatically open several pages in tabs on start-up, and going to a URL from your bookmarks requires two clicks instead of one.
I haven't used Chrome long enough to form any strong opinions. I saw that it did Find wrong, and left in a huff.
So, if Firefox was getting in your nose, and you were thinking of changing, you now have this Vital Information at your disposal. That is all.

#709 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2010, 10:18 PM:

... and more on browsers: Safari and Chrome also don't have that handy-dandy down arrow next to the Back button. You know, you're reading your Livejournal friends list, you open an entry, comment, and post. Now, you don't want to hit the Back arrow several times and go through all those steps. You want to hit the Back down arrow, and click on your Friends List.

OK, now that is all.

#710 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2010, 10:21 PM:

janetl, in Chrome, if you hold down your click on the back or forward button, it displays that drop-down list.

Which doesn't address any of your other issues (I mean, I swapped away from Firefox and was so glad to finally have that "find" not taking up real estate on the screen...), but that one is a non-intuitive interface problem, rather than a lost feature one.

#711 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2010, 10:22 PM:

janetl @ 709: I have unjustly maligned Chrome and Safari. They don't display a down arrow next to the Back button, but if you click and hold on the Back button, they both display a list of your recent URLs which you can select from. Stopping now!

#712 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2010, 10:26 PM:

C. Wingate #706: Try This site. :-)

Seriously, if you've got your receipt from Gateway, or some other "magic key" from the OS, you might be able to parlay that into a new activation, otherwise I suspect you'll be stuck for a new copy of Windows.

#713 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2010, 10:26 PM:

Is there any way to hack Chrome so that it will display the find in page control when you press "/"? This is my main complaint with Chrome so far.

#714 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2010, 11:08 PM:

Tangential to the point, but somebody pointed out to me a while back that I can bookmark the last comment I read and resume where I was in a blog thread. I do that now with Making Light, and have a couple of abbreviated (cryptic!) refs up there in my bookmarks toolbar. In my case, that's in Firefox. My thanks to whoever it was on the Comics Curmudgeon who passed that idea on to me. I think it was "Uncle Lumpy." (Lest anybody ask, Little Orley does not post to the CC, nor does Captain Kangaroo.)

#715 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2010, 11:11 PM:

Incidentally -- and this may be closer to what people are talking about -- if I start typing something while I'm reading a web page in Firefox, it goes to the first instance of it. If I want to find it again, cmd+F and cmd+G will go to it after that. Am I misunderstanding the point? It's kind of late here.

#716 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2010, 11:36 PM:

Finally! One of the greatest comedy sketches of the 60s has been posted on YouTube (and apparently from a transfer I made from a VHS a friend sent me) -- The Smothers Brothers "Honey House" bit, where Dick leads a tour group through the actual house where Honey lived and Honey played, while singing the song perfectly straight (and better than Bobby Goldsboro, who it must be said was amused by the sketch and denied that it was his idea to record the song in the first place).

If you have any memories of this time, give it a watch. In addition to everything else, it's wonderful how everything is laid out in a revolving set that functions as a character in its own right. It's precision snark, smooth as clockwork. "Super Dave" fans might recognize Albert Brooks's brother (and son of Parkyakarkus), Bob Einstein, as one of the tourists. Well, two of the tourists.

#717 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 12:45 AM:

#703 David

I've had blossoms over the years but to date not fruit on/from the mayapple patches in my yard (planted by me years back).

#718 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 02:24 AM:

Kip @ #716, oh my goodness. Along with the sketch, now I know the source of that theme music I hear in my head once in a while.

#719 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 03:23 AM:

I just got a shiny new iMac, and compared to the 5-year-old iMac I was using it's like night and day. The Google suggestions bar, and the URL suggestions, are actually fast enough not to get in my way. (Unlike before, when they'd typically cost me several seconds of spinning-pizza-of-death.) And using OpenOffice is like using a whole different program. (Technically I suppose it is using a different program, since it's the build for an Intel machine instead of a PowerPC.)

Anyway, I downloaded Chrome (now that I have an Intel machine and can do so) and tried it out...and discovered that it had "correct spelling while you type" turned on, and I couldn't figure out how to turn it off. Bye-bye, Chrome.

#720 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 03:34 AM:

David @719

Tools menu
Options
Under The Hood tab
Change font and language settings
Languages tab

And look for the Check Spelling checkbox.


My experience, it's worth having Chrome available, but I am on a Windows machine.

#721 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 03:36 AM:

janetl #711 : how did you find that?  I’ve only ever used Windows (my loss, I know) and “click and hold” on a button isn’t something I’d intuitively think of doing.  Is it a usual action in other GUIs?

#722 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 04:03 AM:

C. Wingate @706

I would seriously suggest that you try out the current Ubuntu Linux LiveCD. You can try things out without messing with your hard drives.

Whether Linux is a viable option for you depends oin what other software you might be using, but the new Lucid Lynx version doesn't need such a high geek level to install.

I run my netbook on Linux. I have Mozilla, Open Office, a video player, all the routine stuff with no problems. And WINE is pretty good at running the Windows-specific stuff.

I have a few things to check before I'd switch this Windows box to Linux, but I don't need to change. I doubt I would spend money on a new Windows version.

#723 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 04:06 AM:

A notice to readers in the United Kingdom

Go and vote.

(Maybe I should have tried to write a sonnet?)

#724 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 04:52 AM:

Dave Bell@720: No Tools menu on my Mac, for starters. I can go to Preferences, and there is an "Under the Hood" tab there, but nothing there about font and language settings.

Under "Edit" there's a "Spelling and Grammar" menu with an entry for "Check spelling as I type", but it stays grayed out; I can't change it.

#725 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 05:00 AM:

Some of us already voted with postal votes, and already there are allegations of fraud.  Vote early, vote often...

The BBC even has a story claiming that USians care about the result.

#726 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 07:16 AM:

John @ 725: Some of us do actually, for a few reasons. I have two: imprimus, as an American progressive I would rather the UK not set an example for further eroding and undermining the safety net of social justice as the Tories propose; and secundus, it does my heart good to see that in a political environment not too dissimilar to the US, a third party can rise to major-party status on the left of center.

The result I'm rather hoping for is a hung parliament, leading to a red-yellow coalition and Brown having to negotiate with Clegg to form a government.

#727 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 07:25 AM:

Paula Lieberman #717: Hmm. Could the fruits be getting swiped by critters?

#728 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 08:11 AM:

Isn't this rather early for fireflies? I tend to think of them as June-to-August critters

I agree--but lilac and bearded iris are June too, and they're already out. Around here we had a run of gorgeous weather in mid-March that triggered everything a few weeks early.

Including the unidentifiable tree in my neighbor's yard with the nifty yellow blossoms. I have no idea what it is, but it's cool looking.

#729 ::: Daniel Klein ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 09:31 AM:

Word of the day: keming: the result of improper kerning.

#731 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 10:17 AM:

Daniel Klein @ 729... By David Hemmings as he observed lemmings while reading Hemignway?

#732 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 10:22 AM:

If life hands you lemmings, make lemmingade.

(One lemming to another: "Hey, if your friends jumped off a cliff, would you do that to? Well, why not?")

#733 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 10:32 AM:

Why I will not be vacationing in Jacksonville. "Perception of intolerance" my behind.

Oh, and in time for the UK election, Cameron said he's proud of what's been done here. Obviously he's not poor, or a women, or a teenager without work...

#734 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 10:40 AM:

John Stanning @ 721: how did you find that? I didn't see it while using Safari for 3 weeks. I finally found it after publicly stating it wasn't there, and thereby making a fool of myself. I don't recommend this method.

Dave Bell @ 722: WINE is pretty good at running the Windows-specific stuff. I believe I read that WINE is based on Windows 98? Seems like that would have problems with some newer Windows applications.

#735 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 11:11 AM:

janetl @ 733:

I think I found it by reading some other web page that mentioned it. I'd highly recommend your method, because, really, how else would you know if it doesn't tell you? GUIs are supposed to tell the user what features are there using standard representations, not hide them behind a button that doesn't work like any other button in the known universe. Ahem. Soapbox goes away now.

If you're curious about trying other browsers, you can also join the other three of us on the planet who use Opera.

Also, Wine is its own implementation of the Windows API. It runs some things very well, others not at all. It is occasionally more compatible with old versions of Windows than Windows itself is, and doesn't have much problem with modern Windows apps provided they don't try to pull a lot of stupid crap. It runs Portal and City of Heroes reasonably well, for example.

#736 ::: Lin D ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 11:58 AM:

janetl @733

Having tried your method several times, and been singe-éd1 thereby, I developed a new one.
"I was told this software/computer/thing does this. If it really exists, I am unable to find it."

The "if it really exists" part seems to challenge someone to answer, and I'm only making declarations of relative blindness.

1 "singed" looks like past tense of sing, for those with a less than stellar grasp of conjugation.

#737 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 12:41 PM:

Two Lumps is taking on the teabaggers. (Back up 4 or 5 strips to get to the beginning of the sequence.)

Coincidentally, I'd just been thinking about "Teabonics", and the whole concept of "they care about English, but not enough to, like, actually learn to use or spell it correctly."

#738 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 12:49 PM:

janetl @ 734: It is a long-established fact that the best and fastest way to get accurate information about some topic is to post the contrary on Usenet, preferably in the group where it would be most embarrassing to be wrong. Posting to Making Light (or other site patronized by informed friends) is just the latest variation.

#739 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 12:55 PM:

What? No, "singed" can't be part of "sing," because its other forms are "sang" and "sung." (I can't get accents on this computer, but it ought to be the one under the tilde.)

As long as These Kids Today are on my lawn anyway, I'd like to ask when they started saying "I have ran" and "I have drank." The other curmudgeons at my school and I have been rolling our eyes for about three months now, but it's so widespread among the students that it must have started earlier.

#740 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 01:30 PM:

re 712: I was able to read the serial number off the old machine to them, and they said "no can do".

re Linux/etc.: This machine is needed to run WoW on, and that's pretty much a stopper there. But I'm also not really in a position, in a network with two Window 7 and another XP machine, to spend the time needed to reawaken my ancient Unix skills.

#741 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 02:00 PM:

TexAnne #739:

When did it become proper for newspapers to use "shined" as the past tense of "shine" for anything not involving the polishing of shoes?

#742 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 02:02 PM:

If I may boast a bit here: Fiona (6) just got her "A" swimming diploma. She's about six weeks behind her elder brother in this, but still took about half the time that most Dutch kids do to get through the first swimming exam.

They've two more diplomas to go, in steadily more street clothing and at greater length, before they Officially Can Swim here in the Netherlands. But as far as I'm concerned, they're both aqua-capable.

How this affects her status as Battery-Powered Electro Girl is as yet unclear.

#743 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 02:10 PM:

Joann@741, et al:

What about 'slayed'? Did this come in with Buffy, or is there an earlier source for it?

#744 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 02:18 PM:

abi @ 742: Hurray for Fiona!

#745 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 02:34 PM:

I remember seeing 'had ran' in a college newspaper in the mid-80s.

#746 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 02:44 PM:

Poor prescriptivists! How the world disappoints you with its "shined"s and "slayed"s.

This study argues that verb regularization is a function of frequency--less frequently-used words become regularized more quickly.

#747 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 02:52 PM:

I have put
the comment
you made
into moderation

and which
had only two
links
and no power words

Forgive me
but Jacksonville
and David Cameron
are so lovely

#748 ::: Lin D ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 03:26 PM:

Lee @737

Poor Eb. Snooch would drive a saint mad.

Thanks for getting me back in touch with Two Lumps.

#749 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 03:29 PM:

David Goldfarb @ 724:

Far from intuitive, in fact it may be a bug:

Edit -> Speling and Gramer -> Hide Spelling and Grammar

Going from "Hide ..." active to inactive, this brings up a dialog; ignore it, because now the Edit -> Spelling and Grammar -> Check Spelling While Typing option is active.

I've been using Chrome on Mac for about 2 weeks now, and I'm reasonably satisfied; it can even do ROT13 if you get the right plugin. And the text area editor (click in a text entry area and hit Control-M (this can be modified) and you get a fairly niced WYSIWYG Javascript-based text editor.

In fact, the only thing that annoys me enough to cause occasional bouts of swearing is that when I reload a page (say, to look at the most recent comments on an ML thread) the page may or may not be scrolled down to where I was when I started the reload. Safari and Firefox do this right every time.

#750 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 03:47 PM:

Funny things are afoot over at Balloon Juice: http://www.balloon-juice.com/2010/05/06/conservative-cinema

and, heresiarch gets a permanent place in my head (or what passes for "permanent" with my head) for his "Poor prescriptivists! How the world disappoints you with its 'shined's and 'slayed's."

#751 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 04:16 PM:

The morning star and rosy-fingered Dawn,
Too fair by half, t'was passing odd to see.
The dogs of war barked not, the terror gone.
What irony could cruel Fate decree?

A triple-double victory in court,
A triumph, shake them up: I shall prevail!
With maidens fair I deem I shall disport
Until the Dawn returns to joy curtail.

But one, a beauty far beyond compare
Declared my primacy in arts of love.
No hesitation, let the trumpets blare!
The sky-clad damsels know the truth thereof.

I did not have to use my sword today.
I say, in truth, it was a wondrous day.

Epilogue:

My dream's delight was merely self-deceit;
Awake, my wish shall never be complete.

#752 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 04:24 PM:

Open Threadiness: Eagle Cam in Norfolk VA. A trio of young Bald Eagles hanging out.

#753 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 04:28 PM:

abi @ 742... Congrats to the Battery-Powered Electro Girl!

#754 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 04:42 PM:

Clifton Royston #737: It is a long-established fact that the best and fastest way to get accurate information about some topic is to post the contrary on Usenet, preferably in the group where it would be most embarrassing to be wrong. Posting to Making Light (or other site patronized by informed friends) is just the latest variation.

Of course, the price of that is... being patronized by well-informed friends! ;-)

C. Wingate #739: Drat. WoW aside, your "ancient UNIX skills" wouldn't be all that necessary these days. Ubuntu's got a pretty good desktop, and plays well on a Windows network.

#755 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 05:18 PM:

O Bruce Durocher, Second of the name,
Your keen pastiche at 747
Is an example of poetic leaven
I'd hoped to summon with that sonnet game.
Mind you, poor comment 733
Was innocent enough; it ran afoul
Of watchdog regexes our gnomes let prowl
To keep our comment threads (somewhat) spam-free.
And even if you'd asked in prose instead
I'd still have let it out, nor would I miss
The chance to clean the cites that go amiss
When something reappears some ways up-thread.
But asking that in verse? It brings delight
To what I do backstage for Making Light.

#756 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 06:43 PM:

Should I have footnoted my 751, or is it obvious enough where it came from?

#757 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 07:33 PM:

Here's my own recent adventure as a volunteer member of the Language Police, an email I sent yesterday to the local Channel 5 News program:

A few minutes ago, I heard one of the newsanchors on the 6:30 news say that the Reverend Al Sharpton had gone on his talk radio show early "to pimp his anti-1070" position.

Excuse me? Pimp? Pimp? Why would you use that word?

There's a perfectly good, common English word you could have used
instead: "promote".

So why DID you use the word "pimp" in connection with Reverend Sharpton?

Why do you want to associate Reverend Sharpton's activities with people
who coerce women into prostitution, and keep them there with threats and
beatings?

You weren't trying to make that association? But you DID make that
association.

You owe Reverend Sharpton a public apology.

-- Bruce Arthurs

I received the fololowing reply today from the News Director at Channel 5:

Mr. Arthurs,

Finally, an adult who shares my sensibilities about the English
language.

I am certain in my mind and in my heart after talking with my staffer,
that nothing disparaging was intended.

I am baffled and boggled by this generation's use of that word as an
ordinary verb. I am also a woman who grew up in Detroit, so maybe I
have more insight into the matter.

I appreciate where you're coming from and have emphasized with my people
that it feels disrespectful and inappropriate.

Thank you for writing us to make sure this was brought to my attention.

Please know that CBS 5 was the only station to carry ALL of Rev.
Sharpton's news conference live today. I took some heat for that, but
this is an important story and I felt it was the right thing to do.


Michelle Donaldson
News Director
CBS 5, KPHO

KPHO.com - News

She didn't say if there'd been an on-air apology for the remark.

I did a Google search on "Sharpton pimp" to see what came up.

WOW! Would it be fair to state a corollary to Godwin's Law, that calling a black man a "pimp" when he's not actually involved in prostituting women automatically loses you the argument?


#758 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 07:43 PM:

Bruce, #757: Good for you!

I do see some widening of the usage of "pimp" among the circles I hang out with, but AFAICT only to the extent of "to dress, or to decorate something, in a garish and over-the-top manner similar to that stereotypically associated with pimps". However, now that I think about it, Tom Smith has "Pimp Your Stuff Thursdays" on his LiveJournal, where the intent is obviously "promote shamelessly". That may have been the sense the news reporter was thinking about. Or not.

#759 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 08:24 PM:

Maybe they meant that he put garish running lights, painted flames, and fancy wheel covers on it. This seems to be another recent use of the word.

#760 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 08:29 PM:

Bruce, I applaud you!

I linked to your post on Shakesville's "Not-Quite-Daily-Teaspoon-Report" thread, because that's exactly the sort of thing they mean by "teaspoons." As in, trying to empty the sea thereby. Seeing a well-wielded teaspoon produce results is especially satisfying.

Lee, a lot of my LJ friends have chosen to shift their word usage to "shilling" instead of "pimping" when referencing promotion. I think Catt Kingsgrave spearheaded this, although I could be mistaken. In any case, I like it.

#761 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 08:53 PM:

Lee @ 758: Tom Smith has "Pimp Your Stuff Thursdays" on his LiveJournal

John Scalzi has "open pimp threads" as well. "Tout" took the same road a while back.

#762 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 08:54 PM:

Sigh. An idiot teabagger on another site just used the experience of African-American men to argue FOR Arizona's stupid law. Yeah, since it's OK that black men get stopped by the cops all the time, Latinos shouldn't object to the same treatment. WTF?!?!? How stupid ARE people these days?!?!?!

#763 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 09:25 PM:

762
About that stupid. Given that I know people who really believe that global warming is a hoax, and the government is in on it but the oil companies are Nice Guys ... I don't think we've hit the upper limit for stupidity. (Yet.)

#764 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 09:49 PM:

Bruce, #757: Hear, hear!

I've noticed that "pimp" is becoming more and more commonly used to refer to promoting one's own work. What's ironic is that I see it used by people who do things like attend Wiscon and who would never, ever use nasty gendered or racist language.

I really want this to stop. Of course, I also want "utilize" to die so we can all go back to "use", but I've realized that's not going to happen. I don't expect to win on pimp, but I'm going to try. The word refers to someone who controls women, through violence or manipulation, treating them as a commodity. It's ugly. When I hear it, or see it, I wince.

#765 ::: Lin D ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 09:58 PM:

Since I hear it, and have used it very, very selectively to people I am fully aware know me and know what I mean, to mean "decorate garishly", it could have (d)evolved from "primp." That doesn't make it any better to use unselectively, or unawarely.

And to use it in reference to Rev. Sharpton is beyond wince-worthy. It hasn't lost that much of its derogatory meaning.

#766 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 09:58 PM:

Higglety Pigglety,
Abi in Amsterdam,
Pleasantly gracious towards,
lost, hidden post.
Reveals to the internet
List 733,
Renumbers entries
without harsh riposte.

#767 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 10:03 PM:

The Raven @702: large-scale financial scams

A couple of my coworkers wrote this (I think) very interesting article on the nuts and bolts of mortgage fraud, and its impact on property tax assessments. Turns out you can actually spot it on a map, if you know what you're looking for.

#768 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2010, 10:55 PM:

That article doesn't imply that "you can spot it on a map", Jacque (at least as I read it). The mapping shows that the relatively small number of successful frauds (relative to sales) caused a bad evaluation of properties which showed up in specific ways on the maps -- that is, the frauds resulted in some valuation factors being given extra force, some positive and some negative, and that the results of that change in the valuation factors shows up (predictably) on the map, because those factors are often geographically correlated. It's an interesting article because of a couple of interesting choices: making the minimum discrepancy between "clean" and "dirty" which shows up on the map a specific amount ($500) rather than a proportion is a bit problematic, but the using of the absolute value of the discrepancy and looking at where bias is positive and where it's negative is quite interesting. And the question of just how good the appraisal computation is in general is not really addressed -- it's assumed to be done properly and invariant. Not necessarily a safe assumption, I think.

Still, interesting! (Why, yes I did work in the analysis of government data at one point, why do you ask?)

#769 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2010, 05:59 AM:

I recall seeing, on one of the more obscure TV channels in the UK, some American TV show called something like Pimp my Ride, which seemed to fit pretty well with the garish decoration meaning. Though the underlying engineering seemed very competent.

It's a usage that I can understand, and yet still makes me uncomfortable.

#770 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2010, 06:16 AM:

In case anyone hasn't noticed:

Enough UK Election results have been returned to be sure that no single party can have a majority in Parliament.

Custom gives the current Prime Minister the first chance to try to assemble a coalition. This is making many pundits squeal. He would need to assemble a coalition of several parties just to match the Conservative Party.

It doesn't feel good to see so much of the British Press falling in behind the Conservative Party this morning.

The Green Party have an MP for the Brighton Pavilion constituency.

What may be scaring so many of the great and good is that, whoever forms the government, British politians are going to have to negotiate to get laws though Parliament.

I consider this to be a Good Thing.

#771 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2010, 07:24 AM:

Going back to #733 : the Jacksonville councilman spends five minutes (of what the chair says is a busy agenda) insisting that he prayed to “my God” and repeatedly contrasting that with “your God” of the Muslim candidate.  He doesn’t seem to realize that Christians, Muslims and Jews pray to the same God.  I wonder how widespread is that ignorance?

#772 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2010, 10:12 AM:

John Stanning at 771: I find this assertion incomprehensible. Does the councilman (and others who say the same thing, since he certainly not the only person to have said this) believe that there are multiple divinities? Is he making some kind of statement about the Islamic conception of the Divine? WTF? Does anyone know what this means?

#773 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2010, 10:18 AM:

Lizzy L: Why does this seem strange? It's quite common in the OT to find instances of Yahweh setting him/her/it/theirself up as the more powerful entity vis-a-vis other divinities. Multiple divinities in competition is an intrinsic part of the tradition which underlies Christianity.

#774 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2010, 10:26 AM:

I know the pizza thread has cooled off, but I have to say I'm surprised nobody mentioned The Pizza is Rising, Over Sea, Under Pizza Stone, et al.

#775 ::: E. Liddell ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2010, 10:44 AM:

@740, 754: The evidence suggests that WoW will run under WINE, at least on some hardware configurations.

#776 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2010, 11:01 AM:

Marilee said: There's another fan emergency, and Pamela Dean has donated a new hardcopy of her Tam Lin for auction.

And if that doesn't float your boat, perhaps you'll be tempted by an array of stuff by Mike Ford?

#777 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2010, 11:14 AM:

Lin Daniel #765:

If I'm going to decorate something garishly, I will "tart it up". Equally gendered, but somehow ... nicer?

#778 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2010, 11:23 AM:

I think Dave Bell @769 is right -- "Pimp my Ride" is where this usage started, and where it began to be seen as fairly innocuous, and simply meaning to go over the top in decorating. Heck, the wonderful library cartoon strip Unshelved has annual Pimp My Bookcart contests now. But this does have a different connotation from going out and "pimping" one's latest book.

#779 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2010, 11:28 AM:

Modesto Kid #773 : AFAIR the OT stories are more about the people of Israel being distracted by false (i.e. illusory) gods, rather than competition between gods.  But anyway, the OT was long ago.  Today, the standard Jewish declaration of faith says “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God! The Lord is One!”, Christians say “We believe in one God...” and Muslims say “There is no god but God...”.  The differences start after that;  all three faiths emphasize the oneness of God.

What surprised me about the guy in Jacksonville was his evident ignorance that all three statements of faith refer to the same God.

#780 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2010, 12:08 PM:

Janet Brennan Croft @ 778: "Pimp my Ride" is where this usage started

Wikipedia says that show first aired in 2004, but I remember someone describing an elaborate stereo system as "pimped out" sometime in the mid-Nineties.

#781 ::: dlbowman76 ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2010, 12:29 PM:

(Irrelevant to absolutely everything...)

Cameron and Clegg,
Resistant to impression -
Bane of satirists.

#782 ::: Lin D ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2010, 01:00 PM:

Open threadiness:
Birth of four kittens! First born into my friend's hand, around 6:30am, as mother was transported from small box on pool table to larger space in more secluded back room. Second born shortly after. Third and fourth born around 9am, fourth breech but with no complications.

Pending complete cleaning and drying out, we have two black longhairs, and two calico shorthairs.

#783 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2010, 01:01 PM:

Modesto Kid, #733: The key issue IMO is that modern American conservative Christianity states flat-out that only the Christian God is "real", and praying to, or calling on, any other Deity is actually praying to/calling on Satan. They are very up-front about this; ask any pagan of your acquaintance if you want further evidence. Given this, telling a Muslim to "pray to your god" becomes a dog-whistle.

#784 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2010, 01:14 PM:

733, 783
Not only that, but it has to be the God of their particular flavor of Christianity. Some of those sects consider other Christian churches to be only slightly less hell-bound than non-Christians in general. (I think they're going to be surprised when they die, but I'm not on their side.)

#785 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2010, 02:03 PM:

Re: 783/784 --

If you want to see one of this sort of Christians sputter, merely quote:

"In my Father's house are many mansions, I go to prepare a place for you.

Note -- JC doesn't say his followers are going to get ALL of Heaven, merely that there will be a place there for them. (Which feeds into a lovely joke about the Baptists, but I'm sure everyone here probably knows it!)

#786 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2010, 02:15 PM:

On the dinosodomy Sidelight: Good to see the meme is still carrying on. By the way, I haven't seen a fluorospherical mention of the band Funeral Sickness, who recorded a song titled Dinosaur Sodomy. (The lyrics have naughty words in them.)

#787 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2010, 02:17 PM:

Lin D @782: Ooooh..any chance of pictures soon?

#788 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2010, 02:35 PM:

Lori@785: possibly, if pretty much any Christian sect (except the Universalists, I guess) can be substituted pretty freely. I don't think I've every actually heard it with "baptists" (they're not a big presence in Minnesota).

#789 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2010, 03:24 PM:

Lori Coulson #785: If you want to see one of this sort of Christians sputter, merely quote: "In my Father's house are many mansions, I go to prepare a place for you."

Yeah, that line doesn't work well when applied to the diversity of Fandom, either.

#790 ::: Lin D ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2010, 04:04 PM:

Pictures of Kittens:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/49985167@N07/

and the harrowing story of their arrival:

http://ottergold.livejournal.com/2023.html

#791 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2010, 04:19 PM:

C. Wingate @ 740:

WoW should work under Wine. The only problem is that you make have to reawaken your ancient Unix skills if you don't buy the Crossover version of Wine.

John Stanning @ 771 and 779:

It's nice to be ecumenical, but, depending on your point of view, Christians, Muslims, and Jews don't all pray to the same god.

One obvious difference is the whole issue of the Trinity, which Christians believe, and Muslims and Jews don't. Then, as Lee and P J Evans mentioned, there are some Christian denominations which think that only their particular flavor of god is real, and anyone else's god is a manifestation of the devil.

While I don't really agree with their take on it, I don't think it's as unobvious a position to take as you think it is.

Regarding dinosaur sodomy:

A prelude. (Probably not work safe, depending on where you work. Almost certainly not brain safe.)

#792 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2010, 04:25 PM:

Lin D @ 790: Thanks! And, er, friending you on LJ.

#793 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2010, 04:30 PM:

Lori Coulson @ 785 -- (Which feeds into a lovely joke about the Baptists, but I'm sure everyone here probably knows it!)

Thomas: So anyone who isn't a Presbyterian goes to Hell?

St. Peter: No, no, Baptists go to Purgatory.

Thomas: Oh, God likes Baptists?

St. Peter: No, God likes to get their hopes up... Then, just when they figure they're in, whoof, dispatched to the nether regions.

(From The Frantics' Heaven is for Presbyterians)

#794 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2010, 04:46 PM:

Re: the "Dinosaur Sodomy" particle, linking to SFContario... I urge anyone going to the con (PNH, TNH, please note!) to try to get to Karen Linsley's concert. She and her husband, Lloyd Landa, were (IIRC) earning a living as professional musicians a number of years ago. Though Karen has been hit with a series of disasters, starting with the accidental death of Lloyd and continuing with medical problems which have left her unable to play guitar, she's still an amazingly good singer and songwriter. Website with song samples is here.

#796 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2010, 05:01 PM:

Open thready badness:

The Defense Department has been running a trial (perhaps "railroading" would be more appropriate) of a Guantanamo detainee held since he was captured at age 15 in Afghanistan. His alleged crime is, as I understand it, killing a US soldier with a hand grenade while not himself being a propery uniformed soldier.

The rules under which the trial is being held were not disclosed to anyone until the day the trial started. The defendant claims he was tortured and threatened with rape to get him to confess; the DoD tried to prevent him raising this in his defense.

The most recent fun development in this trial is that the authorities have tossed out four reporters covering the trial, apparently as a reprisal for too-critical reporting.

Now, I don't want to put too fine a point on this, but Barrack Obama has been in office for more than a year now, and closing Guantanamo and ending torture was one of his big issues at one point. I don't see how to avoid the conclusion that this stuff is being done because he and his administration are okay with it being done. Just like covering up evidence of war crimes, and declining to prosecute anyone for torturing prisoners, destroying the evidence of torture during ongoing investigations, and taking a number of steps to ensure that we will never know the full extent of illegal domestic spying done here for the War on Terror. (Of course, all that spying has stopped. How could I possibly doubt it?)

I expect this will have the same lack of political consequences as the rest of our ongoing decade-long experiment in kidnapping, murder, torture, domestic spying, and media manipulation. When we arrive where we're heading, as a country, we will have earned it.

#797 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2010, 05:11 PM:

Joel @793: Actually, this is the one I was thinking of --

A man dies, and his soul arrives at the Pearly Gates. St. Peter welcomes him and details an angel to show him around.

It is a beautiful place, and everyone he sees are occupied in activities that they enjoy. And then they come to a section that is surrounded by a high wall. The soul asks the angel, "Is that Purgatory?"

And the angel replies, "Oh no -- that's where we put the Baptists -- they're only happy when they think they're the only ones here."

#798 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2010, 05:30 PM:

Lori@797: Yes, that's the version I'm familiar; well very close. The punchline I know is "They think they're the only ones here!" And I definitely hear it with any random denomination (which I think is counter-doctrinal for many of the mainstream ones; I'm just reporting what I hear).

#799 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2010, 05:47 PM:

albatross @ 796 -- It doesn't help that the Canadian government is doing everything it can to avoid bringing Khadr home or in any other way make sure that he's not being mistreated. Including ignoring a ruling from our Supreme Court that our government been derelict in its duty to him.

It's not like we want him. But he's a Canadian citizen, and therefore in some respects our responsibility.

#800 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2010, 05:56 PM:

Tim Walters #795: Possibly the greatest music video ever. Certainly the somethingest.

Annoying-est? I couldn't get through the whole thing. Sorry.

#801 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2010, 06:03 PM:

Tim 795: Wow. The first post-Zombocalypse band, as filmed by Monty Python.

Interesting, but not at all pleasant. IMHO.

#802 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2010, 06:24 PM:

Whereas my candidate for the Greatest Music Video ever would be RU Experienced? by Devo, which boils the 60s down into three minutes. I saw it at a con in 1984, and it was shown on TV one time that I know of, as part of "Al TV" on MTV, back when they cared. (It's also the first rock video I saw that used morphing, though I had seen a sort of computer morphing about ten years before I saw this.)

#803 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2010, 06:58 PM:

At last, it is the culmination of finals week. This means that, for me, it is the Weekend from Hell². With that in mind, allow me to share some gems taken from the word mines through which I am digging:


Mill sought for women rights before anyone else did, which contributes to the start of women gaining rights.

They are being paid barley minimum wage to support their families.

The modern world has been in a state of crisis because of confusion and weary among citizens.

But the French Revolutionaries proclaimed the “rights of man”. This brought about feminist conflict.

Max Weber was Germany’s leading scholar at the end of the war. His theories along with Mills and Freud can be used to solve the current crisis of human destructiveness.

According to Freud, War is the product of the aggressive instinct which holds truth as well.


#804 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2010, 07:15 PM:

Fragano #803:

I've heard of peppercorn rents before, but barleycorn wages?

#805 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2010, 07:21 PM:

"Millet for Judge"
- a neighborhood sign for a local election

#806 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2010, 07:30 PM:

joann #804: Barleycorn wages: What many employers would like to pay.

What am I to make when a young person, barely in their twenties writes the following:

We all are living in the Modern World in which has destroyed it self. World War 1 and World War 2 was the two most deadliest wars in which occurred in our live, in which is filled with significance for the history of our world.

#807 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2010, 07:56 PM:

Of course I am instantly reminded of a wonderful album by Traffic entitled John Barleycorn Must Die.

#808 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2010, 07:57 PM:

Tim Walters @489 - that was very nice. How were you playing the dulcimer? Some of the tune had the kind of slidey sound you get from a noter, but sometimes I was hearing chords that imply you were fingering it instead (or was that just from the bass?)

#809 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2010, 08:05 PM:

Linkmeister @ 807... Is it a homage to Korngold?

#810 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2010, 08:56 PM:

Serge @ #809, if anything, the title track is an homage to strong drink. Lyrics. YouTube.

The album also contains Glad, which might be the best instrumental to come out of the 70s rock era. Watch that for the creative video, too.

#811 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2010, 09:10 PM:

Bah. That Glad video dies at the 7:00 minute mark. Try this one.

#812 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2010, 11:06 PM:

Bill Stewart @ 808: Thanks! I play with my fingers, but often slide my thumb along the melody strings as if it were a noter, for a more idiomatic sound.

#813 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2010, 11:17 PM:

Tom Whitmore @768: Yes, when I said "You can spot it on a map," what I meant was what you actually said. Thank you for articulating that properly for me. (I haz de code id de hed dis week. Didn't have the stamina to try to turn my abbrieviated thought into actual English.)

#814 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2010, 11:17 PM:

Tom Whitmore @768: Yes, when I said "You can spot it on a map," what I meant was what you actually said. Thank you for articulating that properly for me. (I haz de code id de hed dis week. Didn't have the stamina to try to turn my abbrieviated thought into actual English.)

#815 ::: Rainflame ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2010, 11:59 PM:

Fragano @ 803
The modern world has been in a state of crisis because of confusion and weary among citizens.

It's Friday night at the end of a hard week, and confusion and weary is definitely my state

#816 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2010, 01:36 AM:

I'm not sure I really expect anyone to know this, but it's past midnight and it's type or do serious pre-moving work. I have long hair. It's reasonably undamaged and blonde. I am very, very slowly deciding to cut it*. One of the choices that I am using to avoid the decision is what to do with said hair once it's cut. Locks of Love makes me wary for lots of reasons, and too many people have used it as a bludgeon anyway**. Matter of Trust will needle-felt it into mats to clean up oil spills, and that is cool... but they would rather have hair by the boxful from salons than individual braids, and I (perhaps reasonably) feel that my hair has more potential than that***.

I have seen the suggestion of selling to hair artists, but I have no idea how to find people interested in human hair for whatever purpose. Does anyone here know how that might work?


*I have reached the stage in my decisionmaking process where neither choice is really comfortable. It's been more than a year. No, I do not embrace change.

**"You ought to cut your hair and donate it to Locks of Love. Or just cut your hair period. You're a bad person if you don't cut your hair. I demand you conform to my views of what you should look like and who you should be as a person, and I shall now guilt you with cancer children."

***My hair is shorthand for many many interesting things inside my head.

#817 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2010, 01:54 AM:

No help on hair.

778 and prior: "Pimp" isn't a word I'm really happy with either. Noun, adjective, verb, or anything else people use it for.

Usage seems right to me. ("That is so pimp" always makes me think of that line from The Sting: "You're a CON MAN and you blew your money like a PIMP!") There's also a phrase that I have heard, but can't clearly explain: "Pimpin' ain't easy." (Looking gaudy? Beating up women? Management experience? I have no idea.)

I will admit that I pick this stuff up from online gamers, so I could be wrong.

#818 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2010, 01:55 AM:

Fragano Ledgister #803: "They are being paid barley minimum wage to support their families."

"Barley minimum wage" could be plausible jargon for payment consisting of room and board.

#819 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2010, 12:06 PM:

My wife needs to translate a few things into German. If you can help, would you mind coming HERE on my blog?

#820 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2010, 12:06 PM:

My wife needs to translate a few things into German. If you can help, would you mind coming HERE on my blog?

#821 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2010, 12:36 PM:

As I wrap up grading for the semester, I find that I've learnt, once more, things that I did not know before I sat down to the exercise:

King Jr. stated, that freedom is never voluntary and that it should be demanded by the oppressor.

The War in Iraq was intended to bring regime change for the United States.

Frantz Fanon believes that “violence is man re-cresting himself”.

The United States knows that showing stuff love is the best rout top gain respect as a country among others.

John Stuart Mill was a very indicative philosophical radical.

Born in Paris, Simone de Beauvoir, a French feminist, called herself an author and she stood for women’s rights.

Michael Walzer is also correct because people should have the opportunity to achieve finical equality.

The authority of men over women had been the result of a conscientious comparison between different modes of comprise of society.

However during this time men were establishing their rights and re-fining their freedom but women were left without a voice.


#822 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2010, 12:57 PM:

Fragano @ 821... violence is man re-cresting himself

I prefer Colgate myself.

#823 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2010, 01:07 PM:

Diatryma @816: This article links to two hair-marketplace websites, which may or may not be useful. ISTR looking through a similar (or possibly one of the same) sites a while back, and getting an uneasy vibe about many of the higher prices being contingent on letting the buyer personally cut the hair off the seller's head, but hey.

#824 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2010, 01:11 PM:

Serge #822: I want my students to have better Aim.

#825 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2010, 01:45 PM:

OT: Just "upgraded" to Ubuntu 10.04¹. The usual CD menu seems to have been broken, but it just bounced me to an X desktop, from which I ran the install. Looks good so far, and nothing's blown up yet.

¹ Actually, having learned from prior experience, I saved my stuff² and system settings on an external disk, then did a clean install of 10.04. The package manager is pretty good, but using it for version upgrades is pushing your luck.

² I didn't actually reformat my /home partition, but the install blew away my home directory anyway. Score one for caution!

#826 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2010, 04:19 PM:

Thanks, Julie L!

#827 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2010, 05:47 PM:

Fragano @ 824: I think you mentadent their skulls with an arm and hammer.

#828 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2010, 06:01 PM:

Diatryma @816
Ask them if they've heard about "Legs of Love"...

#829 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2010, 06:02 PM:

Fragano, Ginger, youse are really reaching.

#830 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2010, 06:08 PM:

We like gumming up the works.

#831 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2010, 06:30 PM:

Serge, we should give you a plaque.

#832 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2010, 06:34 PM:

Kip W @ 828:

Reminds me of the MadTV sketch about "Lee Press-on Limbs".

#833 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2010, 06:34 PM:

That'd be enamelioration.

#834 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2010, 07:30 PM:

Best OxyMoron Ever! 1500 pipers playing "Silent Night".¹

¹ Just heard on "Prairie Home Companion" on NPR.

#835 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2010, 07:43 PM:

Here's another oxymoron:

I saw a car parked on the street and it was an Infiniti Limited.

#836 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2010, 07:55 PM:

I was hoping for an implant of wisdom. But there was nothing but false tooth.

#837 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2010, 07:58 PM:

821 violence is man re-cresting himself

might be more like growing rooster combs so we can have a pecking order.

#838 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2010, 09:03 PM:

Unintentional irony: one of the vehicles in this year's Art Car Parade is the Screaming Libertarian Loony Van (that's not what they call it). One of the issues they have fixed on to whine and moan about at length is smoking bans, and there is much text to the effect of "Smokers are boycotting" and "If you don't want our smoke, you don't want our money." Note that these people are spending at least 4 days in Houston, a city which a few years ago enacted a ban on smoking in all public restaurants.

(BTW, the parade was a blast. I'll have pictures up sometime next week.)


Now, it's possible that they are avoiding staying in a motel by crashing with friends, and that they brought all their own food. But there is no way that they're going to be here this long, doing all that driving, without at least spending money to buy gas here. Which sort of negates the whole point of the protest, n'est-ce pas?

#839 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2010, 09:50 PM:

Walked out of a overhyped movie ("The Secret of Kells," which I found merely adequate) into a sunny spring day.

Across the street was a large plaza paved in light colored stone, a new city park built over a parking garage.

Under the soaring glass roof that sheltered the seating area and future cafe were about twenty young people with string instruments. Just as I crossed the street they launched into "Winter" from Vivaldi's The Four Seasons.

And I thought:

The tea baggers, militia freaks, clod hoppers, yokels, red necks, johnny rebs, and bible thumpers can have the country back, as long as they keep their hick authoritarian paws off our cities.

#840 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2010, 10:48 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 839: That sounds lovely. I hope there will be more music there.

As to your last sentence, you may have just summarized Dan Savage's article from November 2004: Better Dead Than Red -- Tired of Red-State Rubes Calling All the Political Shots? Dan Savage Promotes a New Urban Vision Where Cities Make the Decisions, and Country Bumpkins Get Left Behind

#841 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2010, 11:15 PM:

heresiarch @ 831: I think we should give Serge a crown.

#842 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2010, 12:08 AM:

Diatryma, #816, This site has a list of six charities that take hair. (A bit below that there's a paragraph that talks about how to find out if you really want to give your hair away.)

#843 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2010, 12:13 AM:

Ginger @ 841... I take you found my posts palatable?

#844 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2010, 12:34 AM:

Lee @838: I'm reminded of going to see a picture at a cinema cafe in Hampton, VA, some years back. The non-smoking section consisted of a quarter of the tables, all the way in the back, so that's where the loud smoker had to sit. After the waitress took our order, I saw her go by his table and say something quietly. It was pretty obvious what she said, because he bellowed, "I thought this was AMERICA!" After that, he decided we must have ratted him out -- because otherwise, nobody would ever have noticed him there -- because he turned in our direction and loudly opined that he figured he'd just sit at the back of the smoking section and blow his smoke back at us.

Bad apple. Most smokers I know aren't like that. I guess it's a good thing he wasn't into Skoal.

#845 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2010, 12:35 AM:

Lee @838: I'm reminded of going to see a picture at a cinema cafe in Hampton, VA, some years back. The non-smoking section consisted of a quarter of the tables, all the way in the back, so that's where the loud smoker had to sit. After the waitress took our order, I saw her go by his table and say something quietly. It was pretty obvious what she said, because he bellowed, "I thought this was AMERICA!" After that, he decided we must have ratted him out -- otherwise, nobody would ever have noticed him there -- because he turned in our direction and loudly opined that he figured he'd just sit at the back of the smoking section and blow his smoke back at us.

Bad apple. Most smokers I know aren't like that. I guess it's a good thing he wasn't into Skoal.

#846 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2010, 12:36 AM:

Oops.

#847 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2010, 03:56 AM:

Smokers like that are why Ghu invented tasers.

#848 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2010, 07:26 AM:

Serge @ 843: I'm chewing that one over -- I'm on the cuspid of agreeing with you; it's just rooted in my professional experience with avoiding unnecessary eruptions.

#849 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2010, 08:08 AM:

Tim @795: fantastic. Thanks.

#850 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2010, 09:09 AM:

According to the episode title, the latest episode of Doctor Who is set in Venice. Without any further spoilers, two of the characters, a man and his daughter, are black.

Political correctness? An Allusion to Othello? It turns out, later in the story, that having a character with such a distinctive look makes an element of the story much easier to see.

TV and cinema do things like that. You look at films, and the sisters of little Women look a pretty unlikely set of sisters. (At least in Bonanza the very different brothers have different mothers.)

And a city such as Venice, four hundred years ago, those particular characters aren't out of place. It's not like casting a white man as a Chinese-Australian war hero.

#851 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2010, 11:55 AM:

Dave Bell@850: I have no beef with the casting, but as for the rest of it... it's a large claim to make, but this could well be the episode of New Who that makes less sense than any other. Gur rnegudhnxr gung jnf zrnag gb qrfgebl Iravpr ivn n gfhanzv unccrarq, lrf? Vg znqr gur puhepu oryyf evat. Fb jung unccrarq gb gur gfhanzv? Naq vs rirelbar jnf frrvat inzcver grrgu ba gur nyvraf bayl orpnhfr bs gurve fhopbafpvbhfrf' svyyvat va gur oynaxf, ubj pbzr gurl pbhyq npghnyyl ovgr crbcyr?

#852 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2010, 12:10 PM:

Re; #851

Na rnegudhnxr nybar pbhyq znxr gur oryyf evat rira vs n gfhanzv unqa'g sbezrq lrg.
Gur nyvraf unq funec cbvagl grrgu va gurve bgure sbez gbb.

#853 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2010, 02:00 PM:

It's nice to be ecumenical, but, depending on your point of view, Christians, Muslims, and Jews don't all pray to the same god.

One obvious difference is the whole issue of the Trinity, which Christians believe, and Muslims and Jews don't. Then, as Lee and P J Evans mentioned, there are some Christian denominations which think that only their particular flavor of god is real, and anyone else's god is a manifestation of the devil.

KeithS at 791, this is true, but what you refer to above are words about God, images of God, ideas of God. Muslims, Jews, and Christians use different language to describe God, and the disagreements implied by that language are admittedly quite profound. But the Divine Reality is what It is, beyond all images and representations.

I think The Modesto Kid at 773 is correct to point to the language of the OT as the root of the problem here. This way of speaking probably arises from a belief in Biblical literalism.

I suspect that if you asked the Jacksonville councilman how many gods he thinks there are, he would say "One," and if you asked him who or what "Allah," refers to, he would say, "The Muslim god," and he would not find these statements contradictory. Eventually, if you persisted and were really polite, you would probably be able to get him to say that either Muslims pray to the same God as Christians, or to say that Muslims pray to an idol, a false image of God. My guess is that many Christians believe that Muslims pray to a false image of god, without ever considering that Christian images of God also inevitably fall short of describing the mystery. It's important not to confuse the things we say about God (which are limited, confused, and possibly even mistaken) with the actuality of the Holy. In this case, the map is assuredly not the territory.

#854 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2010, 02:33 PM:

Lizzy L, I think it's a bit simpler. They believe that Muslims pray to a different God, one who doesn't exist. They don't think the approach to the Divine is wrong, so much as they think Islam is just a false religion entirely, with no connection to theirs.

In other words, they are stupid and ignorant and prefer to remain that way.

#855 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2010, 02:34 PM:

Open Thready: Dr. Charles writes on Caring for the Patient Who Is a Zombie.

#856 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2010, 03:35 PM:

And also, A jetpack in New Zealand

#857 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2010, 05:42 PM:

Oh man, I found this too late - they're sold out already. I hope they will reprint it as a T-shirt and/or release it as a print.

I know this group will want to check out the "There and Back Again" T-shirt design on Threadless.
(Higher-resolution download link here.)

#858 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2010, 05:45 PM:

Xopher, you may be right.

Aaargh! (Head/desk)

#859 ::: Lin D ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2010, 05:56 PM:

Erik Nelson @835
I shared this on Facebook, to many cheers. Thank you.

#860 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2010, 06:40 PM:

Peter O'Donnell, of Modesty Blaise fame, is dead at age 90.

#861 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2010, 07:38 PM:

hsppy Birthday, Lee!

#862 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2010, 08:47 PM:

Joyeux Anniversaire, Lee... One day we will have that cocaa! NASFiC maybe?

#863 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2010, 11:01 PM:

joann @860 -- sad to hear, but not seriously unexpected. One of my favorite authors (and odd bibliographically because there were two numbered signed limited editions from different American publishers of one of his books, The Silver Mistress. Is there a scarcer O'Donnell publication than the original Australian newspaper supplements with the stories that became Pieces of Modesty?

#864 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2010, 09:57 AM:

Ontology of religion is bad enough without introducing the question of "what happens when you pray to God, but God isn't like what you think you're praying to?" As far as Christianity and Judaism is concerned, the issue there isn't about alternate Gods as it is about Jesus; a Christian cannot plausibly claim that Jews worship the wrong God (modulo various crackpots who insist that the Jews now aren't really the Jews-- which as I understand it has been disproven genetically, BTW). A Jew on the other hand could make a claim that worshipping Jesus counts as worshipping the wrong God. For Islam, though, the matter isn't helped out by Mohammed apparently not really understanding Christian theology, and therefore getting the doctrine of the trinity wrong. That steps right up to the core problem, which is the same as for Judaism: Islam cannot be correct if the core Christian claims about the divinity of Jesus are correct, so I think in that respect it's hard to accept a claim, even from an Islamic perspective, that they worship the same God as Christians.

re 746 and earlier: I'm pretty sure that shined/shone is one of those meaning-irregular endings like hanged/hung. My usage is about as borderline archaic as it gets (e.g. I use the present subjunctive), and I would use "shined" for shoes.

And as it turns out legal copies of XP are starting to drop in price, so I got legal that way.

#865 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2010, 11:27 AM:

Sorry to hear of the death of Peter O'Donnell. I've been a big fan of the books (novels and stories) since Martin Schafer introduced me to them a long time ago. I was looking at one of the comic reprints just yesterday at Uncle Edgar's; even for Modesty Blaise, I still can't seem to read serious comics (I can read books of Calvin & Hobbs just fine).

I remember, in the 90s sometime, going to Uncle Edgar's and looking for lots of stuff in the "O" and "P" sections -- O'Donnell, Anthony Price, Ellis Peters, Patrick O'Brian. Now three dead and one retired, I believe, and nothing new from any of them in forever. (I was looking for used hardcovers sometimes, too, so new books weren't the only win condition.)

#866 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2010, 11:39 AM:

Stefan@839: The tea baggers, militia freaks, clod hoppers, yokels, red necks, johnny rebs, and bible thumpers can have the country back, as long as they keep their hick authoritarian paws off our cities.

I realize that the North American Progressive is a largely urban animal, but still . . . I find it hard to believe that such a string of comprehensive vilification would pass uncommented-upon if it were directly at any other population group in this country.*

So I'm commenting upon it, to the effect that I find it disturbing. I'm not a tea bagger, a militia freak, or a bible thumper, and while I grew up in the south I haven't lived there in over three decades . . . but I do live in a town of about 2500 people in the most sparsely populated county of New Hampshire, which I think qualifies as "country" by most urban standards. While I may not have been part of the intended target for your animus, I unfortunately happen to have been standing where it landed.

*I was going to say, "you missed 'hicks'", but then I looked further along in the sentence and saw that you had, indeed, managed to work it in.

#867 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2010, 11:47 AM:

C. Wingate @ 864: I'm trying to understand the distinction you're making in your first paragraph, and having difficulty. (Though it does remind me more than a little about debates over canon in SF, and what things really belong "in the same universe".)

You first seem to propose that A can consider B as worshiping the "wrong God" if B's concept of God includes entities (like Jesus) that A's doesn't, but that the reverse doesn't necessarily hold. If we went by that definition, Jews would consider Christians as worshiping a false god due to Christians considering Jesus God, but Christians wouldn't consider Jews as worshiping a false god. That seems to match what you say above. But, under the same principle, since Islam also does not consider Jesus divine, Muslims would see Christians as worshiping a false god; but I don't see how that would hold going the other way.

(For that matter, you can also apply this same principle in all kinds of divisive ways within Christianity itself. Just consider how the Eucharist is treated among different Christian churches. Some worship it as divine, others reject this idea, others finesse it the name of harmony. Yet the idea that Catholics, say, worship a different god than Baptists do isn't something you hear much outside of Jack Chick's fan base.)

In practice, public tiffs about which monotheists worship the right god (such as the kerfuffle in Jacksonville) tend to be more about social in-groups and out-groups than about theology. From a Christian perspective, not only is there no other god to be worshiped, but everyone deals with God in some manner whether they recognize it or not; see the last parable in Matthew 25 for example.

Of course, once you've opened up the book of Matthew, you don't have to flip back very far to find multiple warnings and condemnations from Jesus about exploiting religion for social advantage.

#868 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2010, 11:58 AM:

Doyle @866 --

While I'd much rather Steffan wrote as though he understood that the way you beat eliminationist rhetoric is to arrange for their grandchildren to view them with pity, I don't think he's asserting that everyone in a rural environment is part of the problem.

I took that one as being a willingness to abandon the country to such people, rather than assertion that such people comprised the total of the country folk.

Aside from noting that I don't think the rural bias in the US political structure is going to hold, and that the present degree of distortion is already a major problem, I'd also note that common cultural survival isn't really an option across the progressive/inclusive/facts vs. traditional/exclusive/assertion axis. This one has been going on since Bonnie Prince Charlie at the latest, and it's only really still at issue in the US anywhere in the first world.

#869 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2010, 12:39 PM:

Stefan@839: This kinda goes to why I have declared Civilization Day to be a yearly holiday celebrating the day they estimated more than half of humanity was living in urban environments (May 23; coming up soon now!). (Yes, of course it can cross that line back and forth multiple times.)

And I do note that you talked of abandoning the country to them, rather than claiming everybody in the country WAS them.

#870 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2010, 02:06 PM:

My favorite flood story.

Clearly, this has set a new standard for university administrators to meet.

#871 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2010, 02:08 PM:

fidelio #870:

Link's already pointing to a black hole.

#872 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2010, 02:21 PM:

Joann @871 --

The link in the anchor tag is duplicated; half of it --

http://www.nashvillescene.com/nashville/a-tiger-fights-the-tide/Content?oid=1526577

-- works fine.

#873 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2010, 02:24 PM:

Modesty Blaise has an aura of the Sixties, but more the jet-set Sixties that provided such a strong thread of escapist adventure, going to exotic places that, today, a Scots housewife can slip off to for a long weekend. They're in a Sixties that never quite started swinging.

Which makes a sort of sense because Modesty and Willie are the older generation. They might recognise the abilities of The Beatles, but you didn't book The Shadows for a casino gig.

#874 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2010, 02:37 PM:

Sorry, joann.

Thanks, Graydon.

Fixed link.

#875 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2010, 02:46 PM:

re 867: When you start talking about "concepts" it seems to me that you're bordering on postulating a world in which the notion of "wrong God" is meaningless because there aren't really any gods. But modulo that I think you did understand me correctly: there's a sense in which the Christian-to-Muslim wrong god question is unanswerable. If one sticks within non-modernist Nicene orthodoxy, Mohammed has to be considered a false prophet, in that he is expressing a revelation that isn't consonant with what that faith "knows" of God. If that revelation comes from some "spirit" and is being accurately related, then that spirit could then be considered demonic, and would qualify as a "wrong God". If Mohammed is getting the message wrongly from the True God, then one could advance the argument that in one sense the God of Islam and of Israel are the same--because, well, in that theory they are. On the other hand to the degree that Mohammed's "mistaken" revelation comes from him, that God could be considered idolatrous and false. I think the second possibility is harder to defend for various reasons, but it's really impossible to rule out without supernatural knowledge; nonetheless a Christian viewing the Muslim Allah as different from Y_HW_H isn't completely off-base. There's also Lewis's suggestion that prayers to the "wrong" God are nonetheless heard by whatever God is out there.

The other things you suggest are why I make a distinction between worshipping the wrong God and worshipping God wrongly. However, inside of that is the issue of adoration of the sacrament, which raises exactly the same issues as does the matter of Jesus' divinity. If you hold to a Zwinglian theory of the eucharist, then such adoration is idolatrous; it's only defensible if you hold to a permanent substantial change theory (trans/cons). So (for a change) Jack Chick isn't completely off base.

#876 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2010, 02:48 PM:

In regards Joann's flood story link -- he says at the end, "I don't view it as heroism. You just react."

One of my teachers in high school taught us this definition: Heroism is what ordinary people do in extraordinary times. We'd all like to think we'd do it too, though most of us have a sneaking suspicion we wouldn't.

#877 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2010, 02:56 PM:

Cool things about the Modesty Blaise books:

She and Willy work for their skills. Both in the past, and in the present to maintain and enhance them. (They're still unreasonably skilled; there aren't that many hours in the day. Still, actual time is officially spent acquiring and maintaining skills, and that's a good thing.)

They're not cold-hearted. They risk their own lives to avoid killing even actual enemies, on occasion. But don't go all maudlin about it.

They have important friends who do not share their profession or skills.

They accept the criminality of many of the things they do (for example, they don't get that annoyed if people unknowingly rip them off; though they might get even). (Given their history and reputation, people who knowingly rip them off could be another matter.)

However, there are a few running problems that bug me:

The bad guys are a bit too consistently sexually kinked.

There's too much pseudo-science given credence and shown to work (dowsing and precognition especially).

The covers. At least the ones I've seen in person; the first cover for the first book, for example, is relatively inoffensive.

#878 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2010, 03:00 PM:

#869: "And I do note that you talked of abandoning the country to them, rather than claiming everybody in the country WAS them."

Right.

Country = countryside.

#879 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2010, 03:20 PM:

877

I wouldn't call dowsing a [pseudo-]science, more of a talent. Or something, since there seems to be no clue how it works, just a general agreement that it does, for a lot of people. I've had some experiences that come very close to precog, too. (You don't want it to happen to you. It's very strange and not particularly fun, even when it doesn't involve much other than 'don't do that'.)

#880 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2010, 03:23 PM:

Elliott #876:

Not my link, but fidelio's. Records must be kept straight if not narrow.

#881 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2010, 03:36 PM:

Graydon@868: I took that one as being a willingness to abandon the country to such people, rather than assertion that such people comprised the total of the country folk.

And I -- as someone living in what most urbanites would probably regard as "the country" -- am supposed to find this somehow less insulting?

I would, at the very least, wish that he had refrained from throwing slurs such as "clod hoppers", "yokels", and "hick" in among the more political insults.

#883 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2010, 04:24 PM:

P J Evans@877: I know there was a brief vogue in the 60s for dowsing and many other "psi" phenomenon, but my understanding was that it's all quite thoroughly exploded. Certainly the Wikipedia article lists plenty of tests that show it doesn't work better than chance.

#884 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2010, 04:40 PM:

DDB @877 -- the covers on the Modesty Blaise books vary considerably depending on edition. The original British hb Holdaway dustjackets are quite nice (the first 4 especially); the American hardbacks on the first 4 from Doubleday are also quite tasteful (especially Sabre-Tooth, a masterpiece of understatement). The first UK pb on Pieces of Modesty is also quite nice. I can send you scans of some if you'd like to see.

The general run of the paperback covers are dreadful for describing the books. They're using sex to sell them, and misrepresent what goes on in the books. It's a marketing decision that makes the books appear much less palatable than they are, to me. The solution: go find the earlier hardbacks (the Mysterious Press editions fall into the unattractive category, for me).

As for the psychic stuff -- I accept it here in the same ways that I'd accept it in Campbellian SF. It's a plot gimmick. And it's not shown to work easily, or for everyone; it's got solid rules; and it doesn't snap my suspenders of disbelief any more than the really amazingly evil villains. YMMV, clearly.

Dave Bell @ 873 -- the books have a lot of sexual activity in the background, so I wouldn't say they described a sixties that hadn't started swinging.

#885 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2010, 04:40 PM:

ddb at 877: I tried to reread the MB books two years ago, and managed to get through 2/3 of them, but it was difficult. I love the relationship between Willie and Modesty, and some of the storytelling is wonderful, but the bigotry against gay men and lesbians was intolerable and after a while the plots were too repetitive and the characterizations except for MB and WG too shallow. Ah, well. I cherish the memory of having been mightily entertained.

#886 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2010, 04:49 PM:

Graydon, #868: If you expand that to "such folk, plus the small number of progressives who are willing for reasons of their own to live closeted among them," I'll agree. Because there are people in small towns and rural areas who are Not Like That; they're just in the minority outside of urban areas.

#887 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2010, 04:53 PM:

Frank Frazetta.
Lena Horne.

Bright lights winking out.

#888 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2010, 04:55 PM:

re 886: Just because I want to beat Debra to the punch of raising the eyebrow: there is nothing in these defenses of the original statement that isn't going to dissuade a small towner from rolling their eyes at the provincial city folk.

#889 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2010, 05:07 PM:

Tom@884: I've looked over all the covers at the excellent website; as you say (as I said), some of them are decent. None of the ones I've ever seen for sale, though. (I own multiple copies of many of the books, I upgraded to hardcovers when I got a chance.)

The psychic stuff doesn't badly put me off, I've read plenty of Campbellian SF with it and achieved a certain degree of desensitization. I did a science fair project on it back in highschool, even. Still on the list of drawbacks, though; it uses up "slack".

Lizzy@885: I'll have to keep alert for the gay bashing next time through; I can't right now recall anything particular. The bad guys are played for a bit of titillation generally. I do think the good characterization extends considerably beyond Modesty and Willy. Tarrant certainly, and Stephen and Diana Collier, and Giles Pennyfeather. Maybe even Tarrant's assistant Fraser (or Frasier? Don't have the books at work).

#890 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2010, 06:16 PM:

Am absolutely fascinated by our (the UK's) current political shenanigans. I enjoyed The Plot Against Thatcher, back in the day, but this is even more complicated and back-stabby. Who would have thought that coalition-forming would be such a great spectator sport? The 2012 Olympics won't be half as much fun as this...

#891 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2010, 06:46 PM:

From O'Donnell's "I, Lucifer"...

Dall nodded, his face growing gradually sober. Willie had a firm grip of the dolphin now, and Modesty was grappling with the straps of the harness. Her face was alive, and full of amusement.

“How do they do it, Collier?” Dall murmured. “I mean, this… after that?” His head jerked briefly towards the smoke still rising from the smouldering house, the ground where so many dead men lay.

“I rather think this follows that.” Collier said. “Cause and effect. I’ve never subscribed to the theory of hitting your toe with a hammer because it’s so nice when you stop. But they seem to operate a satisfactory parallel.”

“I guess there’s a little more to it than that,” Dall said. There was a shadow of envy in his voice. “But whatever it is, it makes life taste pretty good to them.”

#892 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2010, 07:19 PM:

Fidelio@870/874, given the context just before your post, I'd been expecting that the "flood story" you were linking to was going to be Gilgamesh or some other culture's equivalent :-) This guy definitely deserves a "Hero" tag...

#893 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2010, 07:34 PM:

http://www.crummy.com/software/eater/eater.cgi?url-EoM=nielsenhayden.com%2Fmakinglight&eat-EoM=endings

gives a unique view.

#894 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2010, 07:40 PM:

Lee@886: ...the small number of progressives who are willing for reasons of their own to live closeted among them....

Sigh. You may think that you're making things better with a statement like that, but you really aren't. (Hint: Consider dropping the "closeted" bit. In a conversational milieu where the term frequently collocates with descriptions of overtly homophobic conservative politicians who engage in covert gay sex, it is hardly likely to be taken as a compliment by anyone present.)

#895 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2010, 09:00 PM:

There are a surprising number of tea baggers, militia freaks, clod hoppers, yokels, red necks, johnny rebs, and bible thumpers living in big cities, and more secular humanists and such in small towns and rural areas than you'd think. It's just that you tend to keep your views out of sight in areas where they get you labelled as a dissident of some kind.

#896 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2010, 09:05 PM:

Erik Nelson@893: Gyah. That's...horrifying.

#897 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2010, 09:09 PM:

I'm with Debra Doyle @881 in finding the "yokel," "clod hopper," and "hick" portions of Stefan's original statement to be over the line. I'm having trouble disentangling what bothers me so much about it. I think it's the implication that anyone who chooses to live in a rural area is by definition stupid, uneducated, and somewhat less that human. Which is crap.

I value Stefan's Vivaldi in the park. I am a lifelong suburbanite, now living in a close-in suburb and loving my public transit and wealth of cultural opportunities. But I spent the 4th of July with family in a small town in West Texas last year, and I also value the community softball game, the Boy Scout barbecue, and the incredible view of the stars from there.

This ties into something I've been thinking off and on as I read posts here, which is that there needs to be a place at the table for the classic conservative view. Not as in "corporations can do no wrong" or "all Americans should look and think like me." but as in "hey, not so fast, and how are we going to pay for this?" Caution about change will have some overlap with bigotry, but they are by no means equal, and treating them as though they are misses legitimate input.

And if rural residents tend to more conservative than urban, I suspect it's because they are often closer to conditions where a mistake can be disastrous. If I underestimate my family's food needs, I run back to Safeway. If I go for a walk without enough water, I stop at a public fountain or a 7-11. That doesn't work everywhere. Some protests against "progress" are misguided, self-serving, or mean-spirited. Some, I think, are reporting the perspective from a different set of local conditions.

#898 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2010, 09:35 PM:

Debra, #894: In fact, I was thinking of the more-traditional usage of the term -- ordinary gay (and pagan, and atheist, and several other stripes) people who are afraid to speak out because they've seen what happens to those who do. Like several people I know well who mind what they say very carefully when they visit their parents in the small-town/rural areas where they grew up.

... and I see that P J Evans made exactly the same point also, @895.

#899 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2010, 10:24 PM:

Some protests against "progress" are misguided, self-serving, or mean-spirited. Some, I think, are reporting the perspective from a different set of local conditions.

I recall once reporting to the astonishment of a rural person that there was no outdoor location within a 5-mile radius of my house where discharging a firearm wouldn't be a deeply antisocial activity. That supports your theory.

But I think what most of us are referring to as "Progressive" is about things like civil rights. No "different set of local conditions" can justify opposition to same-sex marriage (to choose my particular area of interest). If allowing same-sex marriage costs extra money, tough fucking shit, would be my attitude.

OTOH I think all civilized countries have universal medical care, so grain, salt, take with.

#900 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2010, 10:30 PM:

I too have lived my entire life in rural, small-town or medium-sized-town surroundings.

The difference between me and Ms. Doyle is that I've given up expecting not to be spat on for it.

#901 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2010, 10:45 PM:

O friends here assembled: I find out tomorrow afternoon whether I'll be interviewed for a job I really, really want. I'd be grateful for any prayers, positive energy, or other mojo. (The interview, if it happens, will probably be Friday. Therefore, travel mojo will also be happily accepted.)

#902 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2010, 11:16 PM:

OtterB, 897: This ties into something I've been thinking off and on as I read posts here, which is that there needs to be a place at the table for the classic conservative view. Not as in "corporations can do no wrong" or "all Americans should look and think like me." but as in "hey, not so fast, and how are we going to pay for this?"

The classic statement of this point of view is "I Miss Republicans." I fully sympathize. A case could be made that Democrats have the conservative role to play these days in defending Social Security and Medicare and environmental legislation and much else the GOP would sweep away. The right wing is frankly nihilist at this point.

#903 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2010, 11:17 PM:

Fingers crossed, TexAnne. Wishes for the best decision possible for you. And hopes that you'll recognize the best decision when it comes.

#904 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2010, 11:21 PM:

To follow up, I wish to note that the Democrats have been falling down severely on the job, whether you designate them as liberal, progressive, conservative, or shpadoinkle. I want someone with better chops than me to write "I Miss Democrats," so I can fully sympathize with that too.

#905 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2010, 11:25 PM:

904
I read a quote the other day, elsewhere, that we have two major parties in the US right now, a conservative party and a batshit-insane party.

I think we need to balance those with a liberal/progressive party and a bomb-throwing-radical party.

#906 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2010, 11:26 PM:

Why, why, WHY aren't there any airline-ticket aggregator sites that let you sort by ARRIVAL time instead of DEPARTURE time?!?!!?

And while I'm at it, why haven't any of them started giving options to include baggage fees and so on? If the aggregators would start doing that, this whole race-to-the-bottom-on-service phenomenon would stop cold.

#907 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2010, 11:39 PM:

Wool for damage (a.k.a. crocheted dice).

#908 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2010, 11:45 PM:

Not to mention the fact that they won't let me be "flexible" on my departure date without ALSO being willing to fly at 2:00 AM.

#909 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2010, 12:10 AM:

Xopher @ 906/908:

I'd guess more people care about departure time than arrival time, but it still would be a nice option. (I cared more about getting in early in the day than having to get up at mumble o'clock for my last trip, for example, but that's not true for everyone.)

I was going to say pretty soon they'll charge you for carry on, but one airline's already doing that.

#910 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2010, 12:10 AM:

TexAnne, best wishes and good thoughts. Also safe journey and safe return.

#911 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2010, 12:24 AM:

TexAnne@901: As I sometimes say in these sorts of situations, if there was anything I could do that I believed would make a quark's worth of difference, I'd do it.

#912 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2010, 12:29 AM:

I'm sorry if the "clod-hopper" comment caused offense.

What has got my goat is the political use of the assumption of conservative rural whites that they are the Real Americans.

While the proper people to resent for this political use are the politicians and pundits of the Palin wing of conservatism responsible, it's hard not to feel a bit irked at their actual supporters, and in the face of ascendency of nutball conservatism, yes, to be irritated to the point of contemptuous stereotyping.

#913 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2010, 12:51 AM:

David, your positive wishes expressed where she can perceive them will have an unconscious psychological effect on TexAnne. So there IS something you can do. And you more or less did it.

#914 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2010, 01:32 AM:

TexAnne @ 901... Prayers, positive energy, and other mojo known or to be discovered to you. You deserve it all. Oui, oui.

#915 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2010, 01:34 AM:

Xopher, #906: Agreed. I looked at a couple of aggregator sites when I was booking my flights for ConChord, and realized that I couldn't really TELL how much my ticket was going to be that way. So I went with Southwest instead; I may have paid a little more, but it was still very reasonable, and at least I know there won't be any unpleasant surprises after the fact.

TexAnne, best of luck!

#916 ::: Nix ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2010, 03:34 AM:

Random aside, from the BBC:

'The ICRC was responding to a question from the BBC about the existence of the facility, which many former prisoners refer to as the "Tor Jail" which translates as the "black jail".'

So. Now we know the truth! What is Patrick's *real* job, I wonder? Terrifying SF editor by day, mild-mannered tea-sipping torturer (of tales) by night? The Truth Will Out, and all that.

:)

#917 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2010, 05:12 AM:

Tom @884

And James Bond, in the books, was mostly in the 1950s and clearly sexually active. The Swinging Sixties was more than just sex, and there were aspects, such as drug use, that Modesty Blaise explicitly doesn't approve of.

And, to some extent, they're trying to be respectable.

The examples that come to mind are British TV series of the era. Start with The Saint, with Roger Moore as Simon Templar. Or maybe The Avengers, though that doesn't have the travel. At times there almost seemed to be a formula of wealthy playboy-adventurers who teamed up to fight crime (usually with at least one American actor). I suppose the climax of that trend might have been Tony Curtis and Roger Moore as The Persuaders.

In the end, it's the escapism. You can see it in the way the settings change. When the hoi polloi start having package holidays in Spain, the escapist adventures have to go somewhere else. It wasn't an adventure series, but the last bit of contemprary escapism I recall on British TV was set on a Greek island.

It's no wonder that these days so much is set in the past. It's not just the crimes which Hercule Poirot solves, he's in a world we might wish to escape to that we cannot travel to.

#918 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2010, 08:49 AM:

Dave Bell #917: The Saint started out as a character in stories and novels of the 1930s/i>, rather like his more juvenile contemporary Biggles. I find the post-War Saint stories not as good, frankly, as the pre-War ones. Charteris was, by then, turning out pot-boilers.

The Saint, I think, would have fitted in quite comfortably into this community. In one story, as I recall, he even produced a very good parody of The Ballad of Sir Patrick Spens (from memory):

The King sits in Dunfermline Town
Drinking the blood-red wine,
"Where will I find a useful man
To run this plan of mine?"

Then up and spake a minister
Sat at the King's right knee,
"Basil de Bathmat Dilswipe Boil
Has an excellent pedigree."
&c. &c.

#919 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2010, 09:08 AM:

Dave Bell @ 917... Anybody else remembers The Champions?

#920 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2010, 09:31 AM:

TexAnne, all the best

Chris Quinones, thanks for the "I Miss Republicans" link. Sigh. Yes.

Xopher @899 I agree with you that same-sex marriage is an issue where I don't have much sympathy for the conservative point of view. If nothing else, you could argue that where it's been tried no harm has been done to society in general.

and P.J. Evans @905, that's true enough to be darkly amusing.

#921 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2010, 09:48 AM:

Doyle @881 --

I by no means think you shouldn't be insulted. I was (I thought) noting that the remark more partook of the nature of being offensively stupid, as distinct from stupidly offensive.

#922 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2010, 09:56 AM:

I can almost see where the opposition to same-sex marriage comes from. If you're working a subsistence farm without hired help, children and grandchildren are key to keeping it going, and especially to providing you with any sort of security in old age.

Since that's NOT how security in retirement is provided now, of course any validity in that argument isn't relevant to making policy today.

#923 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2010, 10:02 AM:

Doyle @ #881: I would, at the very least, wish that he had refrained from throwing slurs such as "clod hoppers", "yokels", and "hick" in among the more political insults.

Yep.

Also, speaking as someone who is descended from a bunch of yokels (including John Peter Joeckel, born 1835), I'll add "Get the h*** off my /l/a/w/n family name, buddy."

#924 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2010, 10:03 AM:

Speaking of rope, Cyril Kornbluth ends "The Rocket of 1955" with "Here they come, with an insulting thick rope." Googling doesn't show much other apparent source for the phrase.

I never understood what it meant. I thought when I first read it that it was a reference to something I didn't know; but Google doesn't seem to know it either, decades later.

So, What's going on with this phrase? Does it come from somewhere? What does it mean?

#925 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2010, 10:08 AM:

DDB @ #922: That might indeed be the logic a bunch of people have used. It does, however, depend at least in part on the notion that gay people do not have children, which is demonstrably untrue and has been for as long as there were people, as far as I can tell.

#926 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2010, 10:31 AM:

elise@925: It depends on the belief that gay people have children at a significantly lower rate. Which was universally held to be true, wasn't it? Probably even is true? Especially if you rule out people who didn't figure out their sexuality until later? (This would be part of the argument why the very idea should be hidden from people.)

#927 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2010, 10:36 AM:

Except that there were same-sex couples back then; they just weren't married same-sex couples (see the 'ladies of Llangollen', who are perhaps the most famous example). Also there were a lot of women (and men, too) who never married, but weren't obviously paired.

#928 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2010, 10:58 AM:

My point about gay marriage marriage equality (I'm really trying to call this by the right name) was that yes, in some cases rural people really have different needs than urban people, and they really see a different result...

...but that's not the case with issues like marriage equality. People who oppose it, be they rural or urban, are selfish*, ignorant, bigoted, or some combination of those three. That being the case, if more rural people than urban people oppose marriage equality, that IS evidence that rural people are in aggregate more selfish, ignorant, and/or bigoted than urban people.

Of course, it's a form of prejudice to apply a statistical reality to an individual; if nothing else, it's often incorrect (for example, in America white males generally have more money and power than black women; you would be very rash to apply that statistical reality to me and Oprah).
____
*In this case the selfishness is itself heavily weighted with bigotry. To the extent people oppose marriage equality on the grounds that they would have to pay higher taxes if gay people paid lower ones (and most gay couples pay MORE when they marry), it's because they believe they're entitled to benefit from the economic exploitation of gay people.

#929 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2010, 11:09 AM:

ddb:

First of all, I think almost nobody really reasons that way about gay marriage. Instead, I think the reasoning usually goes from visceral reaction to justification.

I assume gay men[1] would have left fewer offspring than straight men in most of history, though probably being gay in a 10,000 BC hunter-gatherer tribe or in a 1000 AD farming village looked very different from the modern notion. The limit on how many offspring a man can have is always a resource limit for raising kids, not a limit on his sexual appetites. A guy who will f--k his wife once in a while to get her pregnant, but who prefers men, can certainly still leave a genetic heritage. You'd expect the guy who prefers women to do a little better, since his behavior is aligned better with the interests of his genes--secretly f--king some of the other mens' women in the tribe or village or whatever, looking for women instead of men when he's away from the village for war or trade or hunting, etc. (OTOH, it's not too hard to see how that might have been a poor strategy in other ways--getting a spear in the back from an outraged husband or father at 19 takes a hell of a bite out of your genes' fitness.)

But the evidence that there is a genetic component to homosexuality[2] suggests that there's something else going on there. Some positive associated traits that come with the gay genes, behavioral/strategic benefits from being gay that match the costs, whatever--the persistence of genes that make you less likely to pass them on over time, all over the world, kind-of wants an explanation. It's hard for me to believe that it's just randomness, given the existence of homosexuality all over the world. I mean, if it were some random weird bit of founder effects/drift like red hair or Rh+ blood types, it would be isolated in one population and their descendants.

[1] The case of lesbians seems way more complicated, because a woman's fitness is capped at her very limited capacity to bear children, and for most of human history, too-fast childbearing meant starving kids. Would being a lesbian in a pre-modern world (aka probably having a husband and some kids via doing your "marital duty" while preferring romantic/sexual connections with women) have had any fitness effects at all?

[2] In case it isn't obvious, any explanation we find (if we find one) is going to ultimately be morally neutral, just as the question of whether being gay is a choice or not is morally neutral, an empirical question that ought to be answered based on evidence and the best available picture of reality, not subject to moral or political reasoning. I find this kind of evolutionary question interesting, because it seems kind-of paradoxical, and so it's likely to cast some light on the past and/or evolution somehow.

#930 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2010, 11:18 AM:

Xopher #928: but that's not the case with issues like marriage equality. People who oppose it, be they rural or urban, are selfish*, ignorant, bigoted, or some combination of those three.

I prefer the simpler phrase "morally inferior". That's slightly different from "ethically challenged", because the latter designation implies more self-awareness and sees more use in the wild as a euphemism. "Cynically evil" requires even more self-awareness than the other two choices, and would usually be limited to refer to, in this case, the thought leaders of the organized efforts to oppose marriage equality.

#931 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2010, 11:18 AM:

Xopher:

I'm curious about the reasoning of the large fraction of Americans who support domestic partnerships but not marriage for gay couples. I assume the difference between those two groups (a majority of Americans support domestic partnerships with the same legal rights as marriage, if I understand the polling numbers correctly) has more to do with some moral or religious concern for the sanctity of marriage. Or maybe there's some other issue that drives that difference?

#932 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2010, 11:33 AM:

albatross 930: I think it's just more bigotry. They prefer separate but equal because they know separate is never equal. It's a way of rationalizing their selfish bigotry into something they can talk themselves into stomaching.

#933 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2010, 11:36 AM:

albatross@929: Certainly the expressed justifications are very often rationalizations for an emotional rejection. I'm suggesting a mechanism by which the emotional rejection could have evolved into being culturally core in a rural agrarian environment. The sort of thing that happens is that somebody who doesn't care much can be convinced that, rationally, having children is important, and can then raise his children in a way leaving them homophobic, for example.

I don't consider it of any significance beyond academic (and I'm not doing it at a useful academic level of rigor; just suggesting it).

Clearly the emotional repugnance is deeply culturally ingrained. For all practical purposes I can think of, it doesn't matter how that came about; it's a fact on the ground in America (and lots of the rest of the world).

It's quite clear to me that having openly gay/lesbian members of society helps rather than harms the society (the people will exist anyway, being open about it makes them healthier and more productive, is the simplest argument) in anything like today's conditions; that the emotional repugnance is not good for modern industrial-age societies.

#934 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2010, 11:50 AM:

albatross @929 --

You appear to be suffering from, or at least promulgating, a very common, very basic, and drastically erroneous understanding about the relative fitness of individuals in a population.

Number of offspring is irrelevant. (Really. Honest-to-Tiwaz.)

What matters is the number of offspring who themselves survive to breed.

This is a much more complex question than number of offspring, especially when considering that among primates generally, the primary constraint on resource access is social standing rather than material ability. (Material ability is not unrelated to social standing, but it's certainly not the same thing.)

"gay genes", to the extent that these exist (sexuality is significantly environmental and developmental; it's not a bunch of binary switches) ought to be understood in a context of kin selection; 2 neeves is one offspring from the point of view of your genes. Which gets interestingly complicated yet again.

albatross @930 --

I suspect a great many people want gay couples to have the legal benefits but don't want the gay folks to be doing exactly what they themselves are doing.

#935 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2010, 11:56 AM:

I recall an argument, maybe in The Selfish Gene, that gay men still had a genetic investment in the community. There were all the other grandchildren of their parents worth safeguarding.

Following that thought, it's when property and power start to be inherited that being gay messes things up, and eventually gay Kings are usurped, and make the intimate acquaintance of red-hot pokers. And later instances make damn sure they father children.

#936 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2010, 11:57 AM:

<thinking really hard>
TexAnne gets the job.
TexAnne gets the job.
TexAnne gets the job....
</thinking really hard>

#937 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2010, 11:57 AM:

Dave, #917: It's not just the crimes which Hercule Poirot solves, he's in a world we might wish to escape to that we cannot travel to.

Speak for yourself, white man.* There is no way in hell that I'd ever want to live in the world Poirot inhabits! And Modesty Blaise, set in the Swinging Sixties... I'm old enough to remember that era, and there's no way I want to go back there either. What's the opposite of escapism, when you read about something to be pleasantly reminded that things aren't like that any longer?

* That's half a jesting idiom, and half a reminder that in that place and time you would be far better off than I would.

#938 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2010, 11:59 AM:

breadcrumbs to Open thread 140

#939 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2010, 12:10 PM:

Albatross @929: two evolutionary thoughts on continued occurence of gayness if there is a genetic component:

1. Kin selection, where the families of those who have gayness in their genetic makeup reproduce differentially more successfully than those who don't;

2. Heterozygotic selection, as shown in (for example) the sickle-cell point mutation, where the heterozygous HbA/HbS survive better than the homozygous HbA types in malarial areas (and much better than the homozygous HbS types, who die without generally reproducing). (HbS = sickling hemoglobin, HbA = normal hemoglobin)

Those are simple evolutionary mechanisms that would allow a single recessive point mutation to show the kind of percentages of people being actively gay just through having that mutation occurring in nature, even if "gay"completely implied "having no children". Which, as has been pointed out -- it doesn't. And it's most likely much more complex than a simple point mutation.

There seems to me little reason to try to figure out if "being gay" is genetic or environmental unless one wants to control it (either prevent or cause) -- and I'd hope we could get to a point where it's no more something that should be controlled than (say) eye color.

#940 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2010, 12:15 PM:

ddb@933: "Clearly the emotional repugnance is deeply culturally ingrained. "

This is not correct. Historically, many non-European cultures had either no issue with homosexuality or had homosexuals in positions of relative power (i.e., "wise woman", "berdache", etc.). It's only after the Europeans and their version of masculine Christianity enveloped the world that we developed this "ingrained repugnance". It's related to the devaluation of women overall. It's interesting, because the new Testament doesn't refer to homosexuality at all; the only biblical entries are Old Testament, and are part of a long list of prohibitions, none of which seem to also matter to those same people professing "repugnance" in modern times.

#941 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2010, 12:18 PM:

Re: "insulting thick rope"

I don't remember the story, so this is wild guess territory.

If it's a mob coming to hang someone, then a thick rope would be less apt to slip at the proper time and result in a more agonizing death. One of the perks (?!) of the peerage was that they were hanged/strangled with a silken cord, presumably because it avoided this. Remember that this practice was mentioned in "Kind Hearts and Coronets"?

#942 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2010, 12:19 PM:

Re: "insulting thick rope"

I don't remember the story, so this is wild guess territory.

If it's a mob coming to hang someone, then a thick rope would be less apt to slip at the proper time and result in a more agonizing death. One of the perks (?!) of the peerage was that they were hanged/strangled with a silken cord, presumably because it avoided this. Remember how in "Kind Hearts and Coronets", the protagonist was facing this?

#943 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2010, 12:31 PM:

Ginger@940: I'm not sure we're disagreeing on anything except perhaps the time-span. European civilization enveloping the world goes back around 500 years at least, and the culture in Europe didn't magically change as the expansion started, either, so it goes back even further locally.

Carol@942: In the context of the story, I understood the rope to be for a lynching, yes (I don't think it was made absolutely explicit).

Real hanging was considered more humane than strangling, generally; if done properly it broke your neck.

#944 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2010, 12:47 PM:

Albatross @930, that "oh, I support gay rights, just not calling it marriage" attitude infuriated me even more than honest bigotry during the campaign against Proposition 8 in California two years ago. These were my civil rights, and those of my friends, we were talking about, but for these people -- frequently college students -- it was just an academic exercise of no real import, and they cheerfully informed me that they were going to vote for the measure because they just didn't like me getting to use the word "marriage" to describe my relationship. At least the bigots understood and admitted that what they were doing was designed to hurt people.

There's also a deep lack of understanding about the real benefits of marriage among many straight people who have always taken them for granted, and especially of the social difference -- nobody knows what to do with "This is my domestic partner". Everyone understands "This is my wife." I was amazed what a difference it made -- we'd been together for eight years, but suddenly once we were able to make it legal everyone took us seriously.

#945 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2010, 01:05 PM:

Stefan Jones @ #912
I'm sorry if the "clod-hopper" comment caused offense.

That's big of you. Are you planning to actually apologize to any of the people you insulted any time soon?

Your line there is a fine example of the classic non-apologetic apology, especially coupled with the remainder of your post explaining why you were perfectly justified in insulting roughly half the country and a solid fraction of the community here.

I think you just increased the offensiveness of your original comment, for me.

#946 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2010, 01:24 PM:

lorax 944: These were my civil rights, and those of my friends, we were talking about, but for these people -- frequently college students -- it was just an academic exercise of no real import, and they cheerfully informed me that they were going to vote for the measure because they just didn't like me getting to use the word "marriage" to describe my relationship.

One of the perks of being in the ruling class is the privilege of treating things as academic issues. I hope you made it clear after the vote that they were no longer welcome in your circle (if any of them were friends, and not just people you were campaigning among).

#947 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2010, 02:28 PM:

Clifton, #945: I have two words for you: "Real America".

Palin may have been the first to state it so openly, but the sentiment she was expressing has been around for a long, long time.

#948 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2010, 02:46 PM:

TexAnne: Get it! Get the job! Get it!

Fragano @918: The Saint omnibuses are good reading. If the later stories don't seem as good, it may be because Charteris was farming the franchise out to ghost writers in later years, though I don't know when it started. Ditto Ellery Queen. One of my favorite Queen novels turns out, if memory serves, to have been written by Theodore Sturgeon (as was one of my favorite Saint tales, and the coincidence is so neat as to make me wonder if I'm mistaken about one or both).

#949 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2010, 02:51 PM:

I'm sending positive thoughts, job interview luck, and good travel mojo to you, TexAnne. Hope you get the job!

#950 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2010, 03:12 PM:

The style of the Saint, the sort of character he was, shifted several times, even when Charteris was doing the writing. And the TV series was based on a lot of Charteris stories, but sometimes changed them a lot.

The style of the TV Series was very different from the style of the character in the early books.

#951 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2010, 05:09 PM:

Lee@947: Clifton, #945: I have two words for you: "Real America".

Palin may have been the first to state it so openly, but the sentiment she was expressing has been around for a long, long time.

I will admit, at this point, to a certain amount of confusion as to exactly how the above comment is supposed to counter or negate Clifton's comment at #945 -- since surely you could not have meant to say that because Sarah Palin has said things which you (in common with most of us here) find offensive, it is therefore a good and mannerly thing for some of us here to be offensive in turn to people here who are not, in fact, Sarah Palin or any of her supporters.

(We will leave aside the question of whether or not it is a good and mannerly thing to be offensive to Sarah Palin and her supporters directly, since they are not and presumably have never been present in this thread.)

#952 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2010, 07:11 PM:

Lee:
Christopher Hitchens lives in a big city, as do most Catholic bishops. As a city dweller, do you therefore accept your responsibility for vocally supporting the Iraq war and for protecting pedophiles? If not - and I am sure you agree the notion is ludicrous - then surely it is equally ludicrous to think that everybody who lives in a small town or out in the country is personally responsible for all the idiots who do, or who claim to represent them.

For another angle on it, you might consider that Stefan and you are implicitly denouncing any lesbians and gay people who live in small towns as being bigoted homophobes.

If the same argument had been cast as applying to racial group of birth instead of location of birth, I think it would be easier to see the fallacy. Also, the thread would be bursting into flames around now.

#953 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2010, 10:57 PM:

Kip W @ 948 -- AFAIK Sturgeon wrote no Saint books (the only EQ he wrote was The Player on the Other Side). Harry Harrison is the only person other than Charteris that I know wrote a Saint book, Vendetta for the Saint. EQ used several SF writers as ghosts, including Jack Vance and Avram Davidson (who would not admit to having written them because it was in his contract that he wouldn't). I don't recall there being a Harrison among them.

#954 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2010, 12:55 AM:

I don't have a cite, but I seem to recall hearing in the not-too-distant past about a study suggesting that female relatives of male homosexuals tended to have more children. Since (as has been mentioned here) females are the limit on human reproduction, it's at least plausible that some evolutionary advantage might accrue to a gene that caused men to have fewer children but women with it to have more.

#955 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2010, 10:33 AM:

Tom Whitmore @953: Maybe I'm thinking of Harry Harrison? I don't know when the Second Saint Omnibus came out, but the story was a dreamy pastiche of The Maltese Falcon, and I (also in a dreamy way) thought somebody had told me it was ghosted by a well-known science fiction writer. If the Omnibus came out in the 30s, though, that was decades before he resorted to ghostwriters. I should ask Bud Webster.

#956 ::: tykewriter sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 06:58 AM:

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