Back to previous post: “Both unjustified and unjustifiable”

Go to Making Light's front page.

Forward to next post: WRONG WRONG WRONGITY WRONG

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

June 17, 2010

Open thread 142
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 04:12 PM *

I see that the law that instituted my alma mater, the University of California at Berkeley, was signed on March 23, 1868. That makes the school 142 years old, and thus tenuously relevant to this thread.

Despite the temptation to burst into one song or another*, I really have very little standing to talk about Berkeley as an institution. For me, it was partly important as the stage on which my adolescent dramas could be played out; I wonder, sometimes, how I managed to learn anything between the storms of emotion and the wasted hours. (And yet I did, and use it even now.)

But that’s how the history of these things is made, I guess. I’ve studied, in one way or another, at four universities with a combined age of 1213 years. I once worked in a company older than the issuer of the passport I held at the time. I’m currently a citizen of two countries with centuries of history between them, and a member of an institution that counts in millennia.

And what strikes me most about all these years I’m looking back on is how much of them was spent doing something else than adding to the vast sweep of history and legacy†. In many ways, the thing that lasts is like a nautilus shell: it’s lovely, but it’s not what the nautilus thought was really important at the time.

* Note in how few accents this song works, since it requires “carry”, “Harry” and “ferry” to rhyme. Note, as well, what a mishmash of lyrical and musical styles it is. I often wonder how many songs died, were buried, then dug up, and sewn together to make it in advance of whatever musical thunderstorm animates college ditties.

† It particularly strikes me how much time seems to have been spent screwing up said legacies.

(breadcrumb trail back to Open thread 141)

Comments on Open thread 142:
#1 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2010, 05:15 PM:

I’ve studied, in one way or another, at four universities with a combined age of 1213 years.

I thought you were only one tenth that age.

#3 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2010, 05:20 PM:

Unlike the nautilus, however, we humans get the opportunity to make plans in advance. I'm often surprised at how many of us don't take that opportunity. And even those of us who do may find ourselves just building a bigger segment of shell, though we set out to do so much more.

#4 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2010, 05:21 PM:

Serge @1:

Ah, but I was so much older then; I'm younger than that now.

#5 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2010, 05:29 PM:

Abi @ 4... Which incarnation of the Doctor are you? The one that came after Joanna Lumley?

#6 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2010, 05:29 PM:

abi: I know that feeling. I look at what I did in the Army, and most of it seems to be piddly stuff, a lot of fuss and bother.

But there are things which I did which mattered; some of them perhaps greatly, and no one will know it was me.

My Army is descended from a whole lot of other armies. It's strange the ways things persist.

The shell remains, the flesh is gone, and the things which still are, are.

#7 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2010, 05:35 PM:

Terry Karney @ 6... there are things which I did which mattered

I matter to my wife, and to my friends. (If I didn't, I wouldn't call them my friends.) There are some co-workers that I've helped easing into their job, making it a bit less terrifying. I've written programs that nobody notices because they function the way they're supposed to, and they make people's jobs easier.

#8 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2010, 05:45 PM:

It's that time of year -- I'm being haunted by a musical:

Mama Look Sharp

#9 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2010, 05:45 PM:

You wake and read the message on your phone
which tells you something that is bitter cold
at edge of summer. Now you are not old,
just middle-aged, not in the best of tone,
a little silly, too inclined to moan
about the minor things, yet not the gold
measure of what can now be truly told.
You see the words: A crab now eats her bone.
The tale's been written on a rotting page
yet can be read by any human eye,
we can't escape the poison nor the taint;
nothing avails, there is no use to rage,
each comfortable answer is a lie;
and yet she set the signal down in paint.

#10 ::: Nightsky ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2010, 05:54 PM:

I just ate a packet of Sour Skittles. Now my tongue hurts.

#11 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2010, 06:01 PM:

abi kicked things off with:

"Despite the temptation to burst into one song or another"

Not One song to the tune of another?

#12 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2010, 06:02 PM:

I have a bizarre resistance to baby meese. Puppies, kittens, foxkits, baaaaaby sloths, all these things fall in the "awwww" category, but not deer, horses, or other hooved creatures.

I have no good explanation for this.

#13 ::: Carol Witt ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2010, 06:03 PM:

Stefan Jones @ OT141 #930: To quote my husband, who provided me with the original link: "oooooh".

#14 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2010, 06:14 PM:

Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) at #3:

Everybody's got plans... until they get hit.
Mike Tyson

#15 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2010, 06:18 PM:

@6: I've finally figured it out! Terry is written by L. M. Bujold. It all makes sense now!

#16 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2010, 06:20 PM:

"And what strikes me most about all these years I’m looking back on is how much of them was spent doing something else than adding to the vast sweep of history and legacy"

i often recall adam smith's words:

"be assured, my young friend, that there is a great deal of ruin in a nation."

he was responding to his young friend's despondency over britain's reverses in a minor war it was fighting in some overseas backwater. yes, there are reverses. no, they do not spell the final downfall. things generally somehow keep muddling along.

#17 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2010, 06:20 PM:

@3: And besides which, how do you know nautilus (nautili?) don't make plans?

#18 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2010, 06:31 PM:

I feel this way sometimes too. I recommend Archbishop Romero's words which include

We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of
the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete,
which is another way of saying
that the kingdom always lies beyond us.

and concludes with the words from the Commonplace sidebar: We are prophets of a future not our own.

If I provide a few dots in a pointillist painting, so be it. There is, I think, a fractal nature to it. The complexity of my life is only part of the complexity of a neighborhood, and a society, and the sweep of a civilization, and so on.

#19 ::: Nicole Fitzhugh ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2010, 06:51 PM:

Embarrassingly, it's the college connection that draws me out of delurking. (Hi everybody! I've been reading for a couple of years now and think you all are very amazingly interesting people.) The Cal drinking song always strikes me as a sign of West Coast "newness," of inventing or reinventing traditions that didn't really exist or come about organically. I mean, Newport? What college (or three or four) did we steal that song from?

#20 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2010, 07:08 PM:

I think that baby moose are very stilty, as are many baby ungulates. Puppies, kittens, pandas, elephants, et cetera are all stubby and round.

The adult moose in the sprinkler video was a lot more interesting to me than the babies. It came in and my brain immediately jumped to prehistoric megafauna.

#21 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2010, 07:13 PM:

Vegetable processing question:

Is it worth the savings to buy unprocessed spinach? (Versus the cleaned, bagged, cut stuff.)

The cleaning instructions I've found involve serial dunkings in sinks full of water.

#22 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2010, 07:15 PM:

Jacque @ 17:

Looking back I see shells that enclosed me,
that spiral chain compartmented in time,
smaller they the closer to the prime
casing in which I first set out to sea.
Forward are things that can be touched and smelled;
things that can be used to build a world.
Bits I take up from the current swirled
about me, others drop, away from me propelled.
The shape of what will be does not come clear
past all the jetsam floating front of me;
what's needed now's the aim of my travail.
And what takes shape around me year by year,
is not the castle grand I would decree,
but still a house in which I can prevail.

#23 ::: Tony Zbaraschuk ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2010, 07:17 PM:

It's been 142 days (approximately) since I asked Amazon to fix the problem about continuing to recommend books I already own or have marked "not interested." It's also been 142 days that the problem has continued without any resolution, despite several more requests to Amazon. Anyone have any idea what might be going on or what I might do to fix it?

#24 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2010, 07:23 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 21:
Is it worth the savings to buy unprocessed spinach?

If you're not getting a lot of it, I think so. Spinach is typically grown in sand, and it's a pain to get all the sand off (and even one grain of sand is very annoying if you bite down on it). So you need to wash the spinach carefully, and usually several times, followed by an inspection to make sure you got all the sand. For small amounts this isn't onerous; for the amount I just used to make a salad (enough for 2 of us for several lunches) it would have been enough work that buying the humongous Costco bag of cleaned spinach was worth it.

#25 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2010, 07:44 PM:

Thanks, I think I'll stick with the Costco bags.

(I steam double-handfuls with a couple of sliced carrots.)

#26 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2010, 07:47 PM:

The Doomsday Clock ticks ever nearer still
to Armageddon. Pick your poison: choose
the form, a fire, a storm, oiled waters chill?
An earthquake cracks the world, and lavas ooze?
A thousand points of light shine dim or bright,
from orbit high above the surly bonds;
the twin Koreas contrast in the night,
nuclear spears of fire, to fear, responds.
Eternal monuments of molten glass,
no solace to the shadows of the dead;
our ignorance is strength screech throats of brass,
but no one hears from mass graves lined with lead.
We are the prophets of a future grim,
dependent on a mad world's reckless whim.

#27 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2010, 08:05 PM:

I seem to have a problem with verb tense consistency. Ah, well....

#28 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2010, 08:12 PM:

Speaking of universities, I work in one 17 years older than the state it's named for (which was at the time of its founding still a territory). And our library just made #18 on a list of most beautiful college libraries in the US, woot!

#29 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2010, 08:19 PM:

The NY Times did a short piece late last month on The Tower Of Tor (the Flatiron Building).

One of the passages I loved was:

“You see these strange little offices. There’s nothing cookie-cutter here. I mean, did you see the 21st floor?” he [publisher/executive VP Matthew Shear] asked, laughing. “It’s like a place you’d put your mad aunt.”


Now I'm really bummed that I have no plausible excuse for spending the (relatively) modest cost of taking a day trip to NYC, just to see the fabled 21st floor.

#30 ::: Vector ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2010, 08:30 PM:

I am fairly sure that I was in the audience for that second video. If not, then I certainly saw that same lineup perform at other times. Sometimes I miss Sproul Plaza at lunchtime...

#31 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2010, 09:13 PM:

I am going to have a problem with verb tense consistency, but I don't any more.

#32 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2010, 09:17 PM:

Don't worry, Vector @30 -- if you keep practicing, your aim will improve.

#33 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2010, 11:23 PM:

I am puzzled by the notion of any native-speaking American accent in which "carry", "Harry", and "ferry" don't rhyme.

#34 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2010, 11:44 PM:

Good God. My mother (who went to UCLA) used to sing the drinking song to me when I was a kid (in retrospect, it was a peculiar lullabye, but in character for my mom). I had never heard it from any other source, and had begun to think maybe I'd hallucinated it. Glad to find that's not how my hallucinations tend.

#35 ::: rm ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2010, 11:48 PM:

C. Wingate, I guess you haven't met the right New Jersians. IANANJian, but I've had friends who would pronounce those words "cahhry," "Hahhry," and "furry."

#36 ::: rm ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2010, 11:52 PM:

4, 6, 7, and the poems:

"As far as I can tell, most everything means nothing except some things that mean everything" -- "Railroad Wings" by Patty Griffin

#37 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 12:15 AM:

It's even in at least one (out of print) songbook: Songs for Swingin' Housemothers, by Frank Lynn, from 1961.
(He put together another one also, called Songs for Singin'. Both are worth having around. Housemothers also includes 'The Asteroid Light'.)

#38 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 02:41 AM:

rm & C. Wingate - yeah, even though in Indiana, they're all the same, I think the East Coast makes a distinction between 'a'-as-in-at and 'e'-as-in-head in these words.

But I come here not to dispense linguistic hearsay, but to spread outrage. My fave Senator, the Honorable Mr. Lieberman, has continued to be the unbelievable anti-American he's always been, now proposing a Presidential off-switch for the Internet. Because if an enemy can harm you by destroying something, obviously it's best to make it easy to destroy it more efficiently, which is why we have mined the entire Interstate system, just in case enemies try to drive to military bases along it.

Why are the stupid ones always so loud - and listened to?

#39 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 03:39 AM:

abi - so the other 3 universities have an average age of 357 years?

I am ashamed to admit that, having consumed a couple of beers, I did not work that out in my head but resorted to pen and paper.

Also, I'm on dial-up. I don't do videos. Can you provide song titles?

Lori Coulson @8 - of course now I'm hearing Robin Nakkula and Juanita duetting on Robin's filk of that.

#40 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 04:09 AM:

Bruce @22: Oooh! <claps hands and squeals> nobody's ever writ me a poetry before! <bounce!> <bounce!> It's a shame I can't reply in kind. (I have to poetry what to music is a tin ear, sadly.)

#41 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 04:32 AM:

Recently I've been playing "what if," that sour old game. See, I was waitlisted for Yale, with a very high chance of a full scholarship or at least some big loans. However, I chose to attempt a geographic cure for my troubles by accepting a place at my other pick, which at the time was a party-hearty legacy school. I ended up being dumped headfirst into said troubles, but also taking the first steps toward getting over them with the help of people I met on campus.

And if I had instead become a Yalie, what then?

On an unrelated note, is there a list of topics that might cause Internet backdraft at Making Light, and if so, could somebody PM it to me?

#42 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 05:09 AM:

is there a list of topics that might cause Internet backdraft at Making Light, and if so, could somebody PM it to me?

It's just above the comment box, disguised as a spelling reference. You mustn't talk about Tolkien, minuscule script, Gandhi (Indira, Rajiv or Mohandas), the Millennium trilogy, Chip Delany, embarrassment, Publishers Weekly, strange occurrences, Asimov, weird things, connoisseurs, accommodation, hierarchy, deities, etiquette, Pharaohs, Teresa, Cousin It, the Clan Macdonald, any Nielsen Haydens, really don't talk about Cousin It's, the Fluorosphere, or Barack Obama.

A bit limiting, I know, but otherwise... bad things happen.

#43 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 06:08 AM:

mortal speculations on the nautilus will naturally bring to mind holmes' poem:

#44 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 06:44 AM:

Anne @39:
so the other 3 universities have an average age of 357 years?

Yes, but one of those three was founded in 1964.

I don't do videos. Can you provide song titles?

Why, certainly, even with lyrics links: Bright College Days by Tom Lehrer, and the UC Berkeley Drinking Song as performed by the UC Men's Octet.

#45 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 08:17 AM:

Another Cal grad here. My last moment of Berkeley homesickness came a few weeks ago when I visited Pacific Standard, a Brooklyn pub that pretends to be in Berkeley (Moe's Books stickers!). Their email address starts with fiatlux@ -- perfect.

Vector @ 30: Sproul at lunchtime one year I was there featured four a cappella groups, each performing weekly: Artists In Resonance, DeCadence, the California Golden Overtones, and the Men's Octet. I don't remember which weekday Sather Gate was sadly bereft of a cappella. Go a little north to Dwinelle Plaza, and twice a week Stoney Burke gathered his crowds.

One guy regularly stood on a crate near Bancroft, holding a big sign, ranted about Lewinsky, and punctuated his points with "Happy, Happy, Happy." I remember the day a counterprotester stood near him, holding up a blank piece of cardboard, and responded with "Angry, Angry, Angry!" I believe this was the same day a friend of mine read aloud from the GNU Public License in the middle of Sproul, in the manner of an evangelist.

Next week I fly back to the Bay Area, mostly for a conference, but partly to see old pals. I don't think I'll be able to bear seeing the old campus. The last time I went, the nostalgia literally hurt. I can't figure out the nuance of the regret because it's just far too strong. San Francisco and Oakland will do instead.

#46 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 08:34 AM:

Wow, all the poetry is amazing - particular appreciation of Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) @ 22

Tom Whitmore @ 32: You nearly owe me a new laptop. Luckily the mug from which I had just drunk was still directly in front of my mouth when I read that.

Re. songs: my high school (all-girls - set up 120 years ago to give girls the same education their brothers had access to) had "Gaudeamus Igitur" as our song. My college at Cambridge (set up some 800 years ago), Girton (founded 1869 as the original women's college, but mixed by the time I went there) had a whole songbook commemorating events such as sports matches (against the other early women's college, Newnham), the college's volunteer fire brigade (no longer extant!) and so on. "The Girton Pioneers" (sung to the tune of "The British Grenadiers"), is about the first women to sit the Tripos examinations (not that they were allowed to actually get degrees at that time):

And when the goal is won, girls,
And women get degrees,
We’ll cry, “Long live the three, girls,
Who showed the way to these!
Who showed the way we follow,
Who knew no doubts or fears,
Our Woodhead, Cook and Lumsden,
The Girton Pioneers!”

#47 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 09:14 AM:

On what rhymes and what doesn't -- "sounds identical" isn't necessary for "rhymes". "Pretty close" is usually acceptable in a real-world poem, for at least some of the rhymes.

On good days I think I can hear the difference in those, but it doesn't feature in day-to-day speech around me.

#48 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 10:03 AM:

Jenny Islander, since I staff Alpha each year, I'm surrounded by talented, driven young people who are either in college or looking at them. Nothing, short of reading Tam Lin in grad school (which I did), could make me feel more like I made a huge mistake going to the school I did and screwed up horribly in how I behaved there.

Except I did consider going to one of the schools a couple Alphans attend. I visited, and given the information I had at the time, it looked completely unsuitable. Based on what I knew then, I would have been self-destructing to go there.

We make the best decisions we can at the time we make them. I had my priorities: biology program, research. I found a school with a good fit, and if Illinois Wesleyan was predictably full of suburban pre-med students... well, that was not on my list of things to consider back then. It's not like they tell you when you visit that your first three roommates will range from devastatingly apathetic to potentially dangerous, or that a week after you graduate high school, you'll start spiraling down into loneliness that will take more than a year to beat back with actual friends, or that, spurred by the sadness, every time you visit a friend's college, you think, "I should have had this, and my bad decisions prevented me," when really, it's just that you are visiting a school where you already have friends and friends thereof and don't have to work to make a social group.

Which is a lot of words to say that I too get the what-ifs and this is my way of beating them.

#49 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 10:21 AM:

Diatryma @48 nails it.

When the what-ifs hit, I consider the good things that arose from my less-than-ideal choices. I wouldn't be me if I'd gone to different schools, and most days I'm pretty pleased with how I'm turning out.

#50 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 10:38 AM:

It's /h/e/l/l/ embarrassing to get old & have memories fade, but, FYI, there's an old (pre-WWII) Japanese Victor Recording of The U.C. Drinking Song (Glorious, Victorious, one keg of beer for the four of us...), translated and performed by ... err... someone who had material in early FAPA Mailings.

The flip side -- it's one of those newfangled shellac disks with recordings on both sides -- is "The Ave Maria Waltz", adapted from Bach &cet. by the same fringefan.

(Oh, yea, I'm also a UCB Alumnus, Class of '55. I can't say that much of the academic learning acquired there stuck, or was useful in my working career, but it's been otherwise enriching.)

#51 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 10:49 AM:

On regrets and bad decisions, a better example from my life: We moved when I was seven. Mom fought hard to get me into accelerated classes because that's what you do. Crazy-smart little girl, you get her into accelerated classes, Act of Good Parenting. Obviously the right decision to make.

My second grade teacher is one of very few people whose child Mom has ever wished ill on. It's been almost twenty years, so I don't have a lot of specific memories, but with what I do remember and what Mom's told me, holy hells*. It's the year I hold up as What Made Me Me, and while some of it was unavoidable (it's not like we had a choice about moving or my grandmother's death) the part Mom fought to make happen turned out to have really bad results.

But that doesn't mean that, given the information she had-- crazy-smart little girl, accelerated classes-- she shouldn't have gotten me in there. It was the best decision she could have made before she knew how it would turn out.

*lest anyone worry, just a really bad teacher for the kid I was and what else was going on that year, not abusive or anything completely off the bell curve of teacher quality. There are worse monsters out there.

#52 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 12:09 PM:

Turns out I'm getting nothing but error messages when I try to post a comment on "Unjustified and Unjustifiable" (the previous thread).

I just tried posting it here, too. Same problem.

But if I post this comment ...

Yup, it works. Weird. For some reason spqr.cgi is censoring my contrarian opinion on terrorism!

#53 ::: Marna Nightingale ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 12:11 PM:

Jacque @ 15: Terry is not very short. Though he is certainly capable of being manic, messianic, and twisty.

OTOH, "May your life be written by Bujold" is understood as a curse of no mean proportions in my family, so now I'm more than somewhat worried. :-)

#54 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 12:17 PM:

Marna @ 53... I probably betray nmy advanced years, but, whenever someone refers simply to 'Bujold', I find myself thinking of Geneviève Bujold.

#55 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 12:18 PM:

Marna: I am not sure if you wrong me, or not.

Messianic is a scary thing to contemplate.

#56 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 12:24 PM:

A nitpick: I was doing some research for something, and wanted the "Romero Prayer", at which point I found out it wasn't written by him.

A Prayer by Romero

It seems much like the Voltaire attribution, something fits his sentiments so strongly it deserves to be his.

It's hard to believe it was a bit more than 30 years ago he was assassinated.

I really liked, Romero's Resurrection for perspective (but don't read the comments).

#57 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 12:30 PM:

One of the things I did during the equivalent era in my life was read the entire canon of U.S. and English fiction, particularly the more obscure works that don't get taught in English dept. courses, whether under or grad school.

I read it with a particular sense of historical social context; this has been invaluable to me ever since, every day of my life.

Living life is a rich experience, even with heartbreak, of which there was ample as well. But there was constant focus on literature and history.

Love, C.

#58 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 12:39 PM:

I have no ties to Berkeley myself, but my nephew is enrolling at Boalt Hall (that's the law school) in the fall. I hope he enjoys it there as much as the posters here enjoyed their time in Berkeley.

Jenny Islander, 41: If I hadn't withdrawn from MIT and come home to New York after a year, it is entirely likely I would never have become fannish at all (though I heard of a creature called "Boskone" during my time in Cambridge). Which means the last twenty years of my life would be unrecognizable. I try not to think too hard about that.

Sumana, 45: I don't understand why Pacific Standard would make such a big deal about the Berkeley thing. I mean, they're in Brooklyn! Are they unclear on the pure awesomeness of that in and of itself? As a native, I'm prepared to enlighten them about this, at great length if need be.

Terry, 56: Much like the Prayer of St. Francis - "Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace," etc. - is a product of late 19th century France. Surprises me not at all, for the reasons you mention.

#59 ::: Keith Kisser ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 12:42 PM:

Terry Karney @56:

It took me clicking on the link to realize you weren't talking about the film director. A prayer for that Romero would involve an entirely different sort of resurrection. Also, it would be super creepy.

#60 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 12:44 PM:

Cesar Romero's Prayer?

#61 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 12:54 PM:

My big life fork would be if I'd gone to Stanford instead of Carleton.

I'd already been doing computer software professionally for three years at that point, and Stanford was a hotbed of computer stuff. On the other hand, I talked to a friend of a friend who started at Stanford in 1972, and he said you couldn't get much access to anything at the undergrad level then. Now, this didn't stop him getting a computer degree and working at Bell Labs, but still, makes me feel like I didn't miss an obvious chance to be in the thick of things.

On the other other hand, with the amount of computer stuff going on in that area, I might have gotten fatally distracted and flunked out; which would not necessarily have interfered with my career.

Assuming I'd stayed out there after college (very very likely with my computer interests), it would be a totally different life; I wouldn't know the vast majority of my friends, and in particular none of the friends I met in college. My fannish base wouldn't be Minn-StF. I might well still be in fandom (went to my first convention just before starting college, the 1972 LA Worldcon). Most of the people I know in fandom I know from their Minneapolis connections. (I can think of one obvious exception, but there are no guarantees even there; but there's one person I got to be good friends with without ever living in the same place, and if I were fannishly active in the Bay Area I would certainly have met them.)

I can't get too nostalgic for the alternative, because it's totally different. It'd be unlikely I'd have ever met any of the people who have been my sweeties in my actual life, or more than a tiny handful of my close friends. I might well be considerably richer, but only "might", not "probably" I think.

#62 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 12:58 PM:

I know that, in theory, your "alma mater" is supposed to be the institution that gave you your undergraduate degree. For me, that would be U.C. Davis -- an institution that I found to be faceless and anonymous and utterly uncaring of my existence. In four years, I spoke with my major advisor once. If there were any general sense of community existing in the Zoology department, it successfully hid from me. (Wouldn't be the first time something like that happened, though.) Commencement was the entire College of Agricultural and Environmental Studies, filling the sports arena, with degree recipients marching across the podium in alphabetical order of degree. (And "zoology" begins with a ....)

So many things were different about my graduate years at U.C. Berkeley. The focus was very much at a departmental level, and my own experience with the linguistics department was of a strong -- albeit diverse -- community. People knew each other and interacted regularly. (Mind you, I spent more than twice the time at Cal that I did at Davis.) Commencement was celebrated at the department level (although you could certainly go to the whole-school one too, if you wanted) and was, in many ways, an event for the departmental community not just for the graduates. I helped provide live music for the commencements about half the years I was there -- including my own -- and wrote a handful of original processional tunes for the event. (It simply isn't possible to play Pomp and Circumstance on a folk harp. I tried.) Tying in another theme: one year the linguistics graduate students fielded our own a capella octet, performing at commencement among a few other occasions. (I confess I was the weakest link in the octet, but I had a blast.)

For all the occasional difficulties and frustrations of my time at Cal, from an academic perspective, U.C. Berkeley is the mother of my soul in ways that Davis never even tried to be.

#63 ::: Jim Bales ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 01:49 PM:

I'm seeking suggestions on novels for my wife to read. She heartily endorses Miss Prism's belief that, "The good [end] happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.”

She is saddened that Jane Austen has allowed her writing output to be interrupted by death (although my wife has come to terms with her disappointment). She rereads them regularly.

She also delights in the Chronicles of Narnia, and rereads both that series and the Harry Potter books.

But, she seeks yet more. Your suggestions are deeply appreciated!

Jim Bales

#64 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 01:51 PM:

The most important part about both of the universities I attended, SUNY Stony Brook and Carnegie Mellon, were the people I met there and still keep in touch with.

Along with a lot of good times, I wasted a lot of opportunities at SUSB and spent too much time there as an alumni keeping the SF library and SF convention going. Going back to the campus would feel like a chore.

While I don't feel much institutional attachment to the place, I'd love to see the CMU campus again, mostly to see how it has changed. A manic building program that had just gotten underway as I graduated in '97 has apparently gone on full-tilt since then. To judge from the maps, they've built entire new halls on the 70 degree slopes leading down to Panther Hollow.

#65 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 01:52 PM:

Jim Bales @63:

Allow me to be the first of the rush of people who will now enquire if your wife has read the works of Georgette Heyer.

#66 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 02:10 PM:

hedgehog @#917 in OT141:

If your son can get to Kansas City, Columbia or St. Louis, MO somehow from Springfield, he can take a Megabus to Chicago for ~$22 or less, with prices dropping the closer to the departure time you get if they have several open seats left. Megabus

I've done the Minneapolis/Chicago route a few times, and one ticket was $5. I've seen ticket prices as low as $2. IIRC, it lets off at the Amtrak station downtown, and from there you can get on the L or other surface transport to reach O'Hare. They have baggage limits, and you have to walk from the stop to get to the next transport, so I would advise shipping most stuff and using a rolling bag or other easily carried luggage.

The ones I've ridden on are usually packed with college students. Try to get a lower level seat, it sways less. Be prepared for a radio station and/or movie you don't like and can't turn off.

It's got to be nearly the cheapest way to get across a large swath of the midwest/northwest...

#67 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 02:12 PM:

Hmmm. I *did* attend two other institutions of Higher Learning.

Nassau Community College was a commuter school. Lots of low-expectations students, many indifferent faculty, and an ugly patched-together campus. I had no social connections there that I recall. I took some good and memorable classes there, though. I wouldn't visit the campus even if I happened to be in Uniondale and had nothing to do.

New York Tech, I actually taught at, as an adjunct faculty member, one day after starting there as a "pre graduate student." The head of the computer science department saw that I'd done some BASIC programming and made me a professor, teaching BASIC programming. The school took everybody, and it showed; NYTech had become a "Grade 13" school for dumb white kids. Well, there were other populations, but that seemed to be the demographic in my classes. I learned a lot, though. Like NCC, I have absolutely no attachment to the place. Thinking back, I can't remember a single building clearly.

#68 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 02:31 PM:

P J Evans @37 - Specifically, page 83 of Songs for Swinging Housemothers, at least of the revised (1963) edition that sits within reach of my right hand here. I found it for sale on the internet and scanned about half of the pages before I saw a squirrel. A wonderful book, and at least two of my sisters have copies as well. For some reason, the index of first lines was left out, but my sis scanned that for me and I tucked it between a couple of pages, and that's how I was able to figure out what was being discussed.

#69 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 02:42 PM:

I have, I think, the earlier edition. My sister has the other book, and I scanned its pages, all of them, but haven't done clean-up on them yet (scanned the page spreads and the covers).

For those who haven't seen it, these pages have a medley of 'The Souse Family (aka 'The Dutch Company'), 'Drunk Last Night', and 'We Had to Carry Harry'.

#70 ::: Vector ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 02:57 PM:

Tom Whitmore @ 32: I don't think the Sproul plaza performances would be as cool if they were all hits, though.

Sumana @ 45: Sounds like we were there at the same time. One of my best friends was in DeCadence. People here might also appreciate a capella Super Mario, I think.

I'm in Seattle now, so my current pseudo-Berkeley substitutes include Fremont and such. The Solstice Parade is tomorrow!

#71 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 03:06 PM:

Well, Vector, I'm in Seattle too -- Karen and I are being monitors for the Solstice Parade, so you may spot us. If so, say hello! I'm the long-haired hippie with sideburns, no beard....

#72 ::: VictorS ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 03:50 PM:

Chris @58 -- it sounds like a typical expat bar. No, it's not that Brooklyn isn't nifty -- that's why people choose to live there -- but sometimes it's not *home*, for whatever value of homely you need. And it's a magnet for other Berkeley-nostalgic types, so you can be sure of hearing some California accents over the course of the evening.

This kind of thing pops up all over the place -- there's at least one Australian bar in Paris, fr'instance. (An aside: other peoples' expat bars can be really strange; they're not expecting _me_).

And Brooklyn gets its own back, of course, with expat delis in almost every major city around the globe. They're not selling egg creams to the locals, when push comes to shove.

#73 ::: Vector ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 03:55 PM:

Tom Whitmore @ 71: Ha, the internet is frequently a small place, it seems! I'm even getting better at talking to people lately, possibly due to the fact that nearly all my current "real life" friends are people I met online. I admit to still feeling a bit Not Cool Enough for Making Light folks, though. But I should be down there for a while at least, so I'll keep an eye out! I'd be a girl with very short red hair.

#74 ::: Jim Bales ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 04:08 PM:

Abi @65

I don't recall my wife mentioning Heyer, but I will ask her and -- if she is unaware of Heyer's work, we have our first lead!

#75 ::: Nightsky ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 04:16 PM:

I, too, get the What-Ifs. Generally they end with my alternate self being hand-fed chocolates while I loaf around in my magnificent seaside mansion; at which point I remind myself that the What-Ifs boil down to "If my life were different, it would be different" and, in celebration of this keen insight, I induct myself into the Tautology Club, of which I am a member.

Also, alternate me probably thinks that *I'm* the one with the chocolates and the mansion.

#76 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 04:17 PM:

Jim@63: The Nero Wolfe mysteries (by Rex Stout) might qualify.

And certainly Lois McMaster Bujold's A Civil Campaing; but that's an interior book in a long series, and I'm not sure how well the rest of the series would work. Does your wife like or tolerate science fiction? A certain amount of fictional violence? The first book, come to think of it, is a romance about the parents of the protagonist of the later books; they meet as officers on opposite sides of a war.

And I wonder if her view of "good" and "bad", and "happy" and "unhappy", match mine?

If so, try Doc Smith's Lensman series.

#77 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 04:21 PM:

I am emphatically not a "Vanderbilt alum", because I was a somewhat atypical Vanderbilt student. Vandy is one of the "Southern Ivy League" schools, and the student body runs heavily to the children of rich Republicans, who go on to become rich Republicans in their turn. When I went back for my 25th-year class reunion, I knew I would never fit in among them, so instead I chose to adopt the "eccentric artist" role and play it to the hilt -- wearing a tie-dyed evening dress to the class party, and a dressy salwar kameez to the Chancellor's cocktail party.

Why did I even bother to go back? Because (1) there were some people there who I remember kindly and wanted to catch up with, and (2) my experiences at the school were not by any means unpleasant. I took a lot of classes that I enjoyed; I sang in the Concert Choir (which is where I met most of the people I still cared about seeing); I liked a lot of my professors; and perhaps most importantly, Vandy was where I discovered fandom and the SCA, both of which have been major influences on the rest of my life.

Not to mention that Nashville was my home for 26 years, and Vandy was a significant part of that. It's a pretty campus, and there are a lot of good memories attached to it, even if I don't give a rat's ass about the sports teams or most of the other students who were there with me. When I'm back in the Nashville area, I try to find time to go over there and walk around a bit, for old times' sake.

#78 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 04:45 PM:

Vanderbilt certainly has a nice campus; I went and wandered around a bit myself when visiting Nashville in 1985 (I've got a photographer friend in Nashville).

And my father taught there shortly after WWII, which would mean before he was married, which gave it a little family connection for me. There's a photo of him standing outside...some building there.

#79 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 04:48 PM:

Wait, how did that come out "1985"? ?? It was 2005!

#80 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 05:09 PM:

re 38: Here in Maryland they all rhyme with "airy", using as much diphthong as can be accommodated without actually adding an extra syllable.

I went to a university with three founding dates.

#81 ::: Mark D. ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 05:11 PM:

ddb: It's the Making Light Internet Backdraft at work.

#82 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 06:01 PM:

Article in the Boston Globe about online community, identity/anonymity, and trolls here. They seem to think that the solution to trolling is identifying the users rather than, say, engaging moderators.

#83 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 06:34 PM:

NelC @82 -- identifying the posters is certainly a much cheaper and easier method than employing moderators, for someone like the Globe. It's got a great deal going for it from their perspective. And Jaron Lanier might well agree with them (see his book You Are Not a Machine).

It's an interesting conundrum as to whether people should be encouraged to own their own words or not.

#84 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 06:45 PM:

(That should be You Are Not a Gadget...)

#85 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 06:55 PM:

Tom, I *do* own my words, even though "TexAnne" is not the name on my driver's license. If I say something incendiary here, I will suffer for it, either when a moderator points out my foolishness, or when my friends start ignoring me. I am no more anonymous than you are; the difference is that I don't want my students to google me and find my social life.

#86 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 06:58 PM:

ddb, #78: Heh. That's not nearly enough perspective to let me even guess; there are at least a dozen buildings of the right age in that architectural style. What did he teach? It's very likely that he would have been standing by his own department's building.

#87 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 07:06 PM:

ddb #78/79: You wouldn't happen to be from Galliffrey, would you?

#88 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 07:22 PM:

NelC, #82: It occurs to me to wonder whether there might be a useful compromise between the two methods, which would work like this: In order to comment, you must provide a legitimate name and address (which will be checked) as well as a posting name. If the mods have to delete more than [some specified number] of your comments, for reasons which are well-defined in the user agreement, then you don't get to be anonymous any more -- anything you post *will* have your real name and location attached. IOW, make anonymity the default, but loss of it a punishment for uncivilized behavior. Out the bullies and the trolls.

It wouldn't work so well for the average blog, of course, but I'm thinking specifically about newspaper forums, which tend to draw heavily from local or regional residents.

#89 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 07:24 PM:

TexAnne @ 85... I don't want my students to google me and find my social life

If they find mine, tell them I'd like to have it back.

#90 ::: Ralph Robert Moore ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 07:40 PM:


Since this is an open thread, I hope you don’t mind me posting this question.

I am trying to remember the title and author of a story I read in a mass market paperback horror anthology, probably in the sixties. The publisher may have been Avon.

What I do know is the anthology included the story "Various Temptations" by William Sansom. I believe, in fact, this was the first story in the anthology. I believe the editor of the anthology was a man associated with the horror movie magazine Castle of Frankenstein.

What I want to know is the name and story title of another tale in that same collection, that dealt with a man who is tempted to cheat on his wife, and later, with his wife, has a mentally-challenged child. The child's face is described as being like a sideways egg.

Can anyone here help me? This is driving me crazy.

I call on your collective consciousness.

I will be eternally grateful for the correct answer.

#91 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 08:11 PM:

Ralph Robert Moore @ #90, try this from Amazon: "London Tales of Terror"

There are two listings for that book at I just searched the site for "various temptations sansom" (w/o quotes) to find that possibility.

#92 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 08:17 PM:

RRM @ #90, Even better: according to the ISFDB, the story was published in three different anthologies, including the one I mentioned at #91.

#93 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 08:17 PM:

Ralph Robert Moore @90 -- the Locus index to anthologies for pre-1984 books (which Bill Contento did, and which is damn near comprehensive in my experience, even for minor publishers) doesn't list any copies of that title in any anthology, and only 5 stories by Sansom at all.

Texanne, I certainly didn't intend to imply that consistent posters here don't own their own words. I was talking about the context of comments on a newspaper's blog. Pretty much everyone here who posts regularly acts in a manner which would not prompt the need for such identification.

#94 ::: jnh ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 08:27 PM:

TexAnne @ 85... I don't want my students to google me and find my social life

Serge @89: If they find mine, tell them I'd like to have it back.

Like the items in the previous OT* that were returned in better shape than when they were stolen? Imagine going out to the pub some night, and finding that, say, Jon Stewart and Jody Foster were now among your close friends?

#95 ::: jnh ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 08:31 PM:


My brain always parses "OT" as "Off Topic" before "Open Thread". Fitting, I think.

#96 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 08:34 PM:

Jim @ 63

If she hasn't already read them, I might trend in the direction of Robin McKinley, particularly Beauty or Chalice, or Patricia C. Wrede's Sorcery and Cecelia. Slightly different tone, but I'd also toss Lee & Miller's liaden series in there for good measure.

I'm afraid I don't spend much time outside sci-fi and fantasy these days, but I'll second the recc on Georgette Heyer, for sure.

#97 ::: Mike Shupp ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 08:48 PM:

Jim Bales --

Well, the Harry Potter series has ended, Robert Jordon's Wheel of Time series is being brought to an end by Brandon Sanderson, and Peter Hamilton's
Void trilogy will reach its third book in a few months. Shucks! For your wife, you want something that will last.

Ah, of course! ... George R. R. Martin's A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE.

#98 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 08:53 PM:

Marna Nightingale @53: All you say is true. OTOH, Miles is not only not the only character Bujold has written, he's not the only main character she's written.1

As for the accursed fates of Bujold's characters2, from what he writes, seems to me Terry can reasonably claim "time served." It's mostly a matter of voice and, well, style that prompts the connection in my mind.3

We all know the Chinese curse; I've more in mind the corollary blessing: "May you live to remember Interesting Times."


1 In point of fact, it's Dag in The Sharing Knife4 that prompted this line of thinking. And Terry5 is not unreasonably tall, either.

2 I remember hearing Bujold read the first chapter of Curse of Chalion at MileHiCon some years ago. Of the main character, she said, "Poor guy. All he wanted was a little rest, and he had the poor luck to wander into my head."

3 In case it's not clear, the likening to characters by one of my favorite authors is intended as a deep compliment.

4 A whole kilo of unread Bujold! Squeeeee! (Down to .75kg, now.)

5 Talking about you like you're not here. ;o)


This is my big "what if." Went to high school with this guy. Knew he'd amount to something. Now I'm trying to figure out how to do an MFA without getting up to my eyebrows in debt.

#99 ::: Jim Bales ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 09:17 PM:


I will definitely suggest the Nero Wolfe mysteries!

I'll probably hold off on Bujold's "A Civil Campaign", given your qualifiers.

You ask:
Q: Does your wife like or tolerate science fiction?
A: Somewhere between the two, I'd say.

Q: A certain amount of fictional violence?
A: Only a very limited amount, and preferrably off-screen!

Doc Smith's Lensman series is an interesting idea -- I've not read them since the Carter Administration! (Or was it Ford ... ?)


#100 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 09:20 PM:

I like Elizabeth Moon's Vatta books, starting with Trading in Danger, and Kate Elliott's Crown of Stars books. The latter is a major project-- seven books, all big and thick, and a perfect example of multiple POVs building like the Amazon. They may not seem connected, but by the seventh book, there's this great inevitability about almost everything. Sharon Shinn's also good; if you like opera in more ways than musical, go to her Archangel books, and if you like a certain amount of Showing Them All, the Mystic and Rider ones. She writes fantasy/romance.

#101 ::: Jim Bales ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 09:25 PM:

TNH: You posted a link some time ago to a clapotis.

In recent weeks, Elizabeth (my wife) has tasked herself with completing four rows a day.

Last night she finished, and she now is basking in the glory of having completed a most beautiful object. Or, as she said: "$150 worth of silk-wool yarn, 38 hours ... et voila! Le clapotis est fait!"

Many thanks to you for your original link, oh-so-long ago!


#102 ::: Jim Bales ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 09:36 PM:

Abi @65 and KayTei @96

My wife has been under the weather today, but we spoke briefly before I got her to take a nap. She tried a Heyer novel a few years ago, but did not find the characters particularly engaging at the time, but would like to try Heyer's work again.

Could either of you suggest a title or two that you found particularly engaging?

KayTei, I will point her to both the McKinley and the Wrede you suggest.

Mike Shupp @97 -- Ah yes, the series that will last, indeed!


#103 ::: Jim Bales ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 09:39 PM:

Following up to myself (Jim Bales) @63

She also discovered the "Mysterious Benedict Society" series, which we have both enjoyed.


#104 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 09:48 PM:

jnh @ 94... That sounds like one of the more whimsical episodes of the Twilight Zone. Except... What if the friendships attached to the returned life had been chosen by someone with tastes very different from yours.

#105 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 09:59 PM:

94, 104
Like Woody Allen's monologue about almost drowning and somebody else's life flashing before his eyes?

#106 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2010, 11:36 PM:

It is probably a good sign that I want to address this at multiple posters in this open thread - to start with, Heather Rose Jones @ 62 - your paragraph on your time at Cal is encouraging to me in ways I find hard to articulate - I am headed to Cal in a bit less than two months as a graduate student in Psychology(1), and I have a certain amount of trepidation about the whole moving-across-the-country thing (2) (not to mention going back to school for a PhD). I have spent the last two years in something of a university bubble - at Vanderbilt - and the idea of being in a university town, with a multiplicity of communities is very appealing.

ddb @ 78&79 - As I mentioned above, I have spent the last couple years at Vanderbilt, and realized as soon as I looked at the picture of your father there that I knew the exact building (I walk past it to and from the lab on a daily basis) and I can probably localize it to a meter or two (I cannot remember the name of the building - never been inside it), but it is just about due west from the university clock tower.

(1) In fact, I am a vision researcher with a taste for attention research and a habit of building my own testing gear when the commercial options (or just doing it in software) will not do what I need.

(2) This has not been helped by the process of trying to execute a lease from Nashville for an apartment in Berkeley. The combination of USPS, busy landlords and what might be called less than stellar organizational skills on one side of the transaction are not calculated to make me as happy as I might care to be. This is mitigated by the physical location of the apartment I will be renting - a scant half mile from the lab (at Tolman Hall), and a similar distance to the Gourmet Ghetto to the north/northwest and the bookstores and other useful things on University. This is such an improvement over things in Nashville that I will tolerate a certain amount of craziness in the process...

#107 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 12:09 AM:

jnh @ 94: "For all I know I'm probably at [a party]. My body, that is. It goes to a lot of parties without me. Says I only get in the way. Hey ho."

#108 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 12:42 AM:

Benjamin #106

I spent a year at Cal as an undergraduate exchange student from Australia, and enjoyed the university community and the city greatly.

I even encountered Heather Rose Jones there, though only as part of her audience at an SCA event -- I remember being entranced by Mountjoy's Song, in particular.

#109 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 12:58 AM:

Jim Bales,

How about Dorothy Sayers? I would suggest The Nine Tailors as a starting place.

#110 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 01:02 AM:

Benjamin, #106: From your description (and a little help from the Vanderbilt campus map), that would be Alumni Hall (and there's the Kirkland bell tower in the background!), which is where the choir used to rehearse when I was a student.

Other possibilities in the vicinity would be Tolman or McGill, but they're both further west, across an open area and on the other side of Alumni from Kirkland.

#111 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 01:58 AM:

Jim Bales @102:

Everyone will chime in with fifty-kajillion suggestions now, but I'd say that a lively introduction to Heyer from a character perspective would be Frederica. I am also hugely fond of A Civil Contract, and for a third option, Cotillion.

There are certainly some duds in the Heyer aresenal. I tend to avoid everything that isn't Regency, after an unfortunate encounter with My Lord John.

#112 ::: hedgehog ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 02:09 AM:

re: #66 ::: cajunfj40, bus KC -> Chicago.

Ta. Noted.

#113 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 02:50 AM:

Jim Bales: I second (third and fourth!) the recommendation of the Patricia Wrede & Caroline Stevermer series that starts with Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot: Being the Correspondence of Two Young Ladies of Quality Regarding Various Magical Scandals in London and the Country.

Has she read any of E.F. Benson's "Lucia" books? Lucia is the queen bee in a small English town, and her social not-quite-equals usually love and fear her, but occasionally try to mutiny. They were written in the 1920s and '30s, and there are probably no books on earth with less sex and violence, but the suspense over the theft of the lobster bisque recipe is still stunning!

#114 ::: Mike Shupp ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 03:27 AM:

Jim Bales @102

I'll go along quite happily with the recommendations for Nero Wolfe. And if you or your wife care for somewhat older mysteries, I'll recommend John Dickson Carr (aka Carter Dickson); Carr is noted for his locked door mysteries, mostly set in England in the between the wars period -- the Golden Age of the "English Cosy" in fact -- but he also wandered through untoward demises in previous centuries in half a dozen historical works. He could be extremely funny at times.

For something completely different, from another American author doing in Brits, there's Elizabeth George. Who may not be your cup of tea; she began with fairly traditional respect for the aristocracy, but has since moved to frankly grim portrayals of racial and social class inequities. She's long-winded and sentimental, and maybe not as expert on small points of English trivia as her novels pretend, but oh my god she's readible, and more affecting than PD James or Ruth Rendell. OTOH, maybe she jumped the shark by shifting away telling the conventional tale in the conventional way. I'd love to see George get the chapter-by-chapter attention Robert Jordan is recieving at, but as a mystery writer she won't. Unlike Carr, who died in the 1970's, George is still going at it; THIS BODY OF DEATH, her 15th novel, appeared this year.

Anyhow, it's another suggestion.

#115 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 03:46 AM:


It's going to depend on why she likes Austen. If it's the social complexity, I'll recommend the Lee & Miller, and maybe a cross-ref to CJ Cherryh's atevi series...

Heyer is a fun read, and certainly solidly in the regency romance genre, but maybe a bit ... uncomplicated? I'm about two-thirds sure I'm about to be solidly informed otherwise, however.

Of the McKinley I recommended, Beauty is rather less complex than Chalice, if I recall correctly -- but Beauty tends to appeal more to pure romantics.

Sorcery and Cecelia is just adorable (and thanks to Janetl for catching my oversight in inadvertently omitting Stevermeyer from credit). I recommend that without exception.

I'll try to think of a good Heyer novel to start on. I think I started with the Devil's Cub, but I was terribly teenagerish at the time, and I'm sure that influenced my fondness for that particular book....

#116 ::: Mike Shupp ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 04:02 AM:

Jim Bales @102, again.

Benson's Lucia books are indeed worth the read, and the re-reading and the re-re-reading. I will also second any suggestion of Elizabeth Moon's books.

Might I also suggest something earlier, however, a tad closer in time and spirit and style to Jane Austen: Emily Eden's THE SEMI-ATTACHED COUPLE and THE SEMI-DETACHED HOUSE. These were published in the 1860's; several publishers have reprinted them more recently.

Also there's Anthony Trollope. I've known apparently sensible people who were quite mad about Trollope, for some reason treating his work with the sort of love, awe, and admiration more properly bestowed on William Makepeace Thackery.

Oh well, takes all kinds.

#117 ::: Ralph Robert Moore ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 05:25 AM:

Linkmeister @ 91 and 92, and Tom Whitmore @ 93, Thanks so much for taking the time to write. I really appreciate it.

Unfortunately, it's none of the anthologies listed at Amazon. The story I'm looking for was a truly great tale— well-written, character-driven, with the horror blended in subtly.

My search goes on. Again, thanks so much for taking the time. Best to you both.

#118 ::: Mike McHugh ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 07:10 AM:

Benjamin Wolfe @106: heh, looks like, as well as containing all knowledge, the Fluorosphere short-circuits at least 5 of the standard 7 degrees of separation. A very good friend has just moved to Stanford to do (or is it take up?) a postdoc in vision research. If you like, I could put you in touch: you'd probably find something to talk about :)

(Apropos of nothing: two vision researchers walk into a bar. It's the difference between theory and practice.)

#119 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 09:13 AM:

Jim Bales @ #102: Greenwillow by B.J. Chute and A Dram of Poison by Charlotte Armstrong. I believe they're both out of print, but your library might have them.

#120 ::: Mark D. ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 09:38 AM:

To Jim Bales, et seq.

Trollope always gets a shout-out from me. But I'm not sure how well the formulation about "the good ending happy and the bad not so much" works. I find his work to much closer to life itself, where everyone and everything ends equivocally. Sure, there are the requisite weddings, and unfortunate-but-necessary suicides, but his world is a lot more subtle than that - certainly more subtle than Narnia or Hogwarts.

But he's a wonderful author, and I dearly love him. The traditional first read is Barchester Towers, and it is a grand romp with a wild cast. I would also commend another of the Barchester novels, Dr. Thorne, where the happy ending is very hard won, and thus very satisfying. Enjoy!

#121 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 09:55 AM:

"The good end happily, and the bad unhappily" coupled with some of the suggestions here makes me want to send her to Smart Bitches, Trashy Books just to dig around until something looks good. My favorite historical romance author right now is Julia Quinn, who has a pretty good sense of the ridiculous and is not afraid to use it, yet respects her characters a great deal.

#122 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 10:51 AM:

Mike McHugh @ 118 : I usually say that someone is doing a postdoc, but takes up a faculty job (but this might just be me). If I had to guess, I probably do not know your friend at Stanford, but given how small the vision research community is*, I would be amazed if there were more than a couple of degrees of separation.

*For people who do human vision research, the one focused conference a year is Vision Sciences Society, which was about 1800 people this past May. There are other conferences out there (e.g., ARVO), but VSS is the one that I think of for primary vision research.

#123 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 11:14 AM:

janetl @ 113: Wait! there are sequesls to "Sorcery & Cecelia?" Where? Oh! Now found them on Amazon - next step: ordering them.

Jim Bales @ 63: I'll scond/third/whatever the suggestions for Lee & Miller's Liaden books, also for Georgette Heyer's romances; personally I like the ones with an older heroine (the governess, companion or whatever) who's got sense and a brain...

I love Robin McKinley's stuff, but she probably doesn't want to pick up Deerskin

#124 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 11:49 AM:

Something interesting on anonymous comments on news web sites. It's from the Boston Globe. Not a big surprise, but the most hateful commentators are the most cowardly and the most desirous of anonymity.

Inside the mind of the anonymous online poster

#125 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 12:10 PM:

Jim Bales -- how about some Wodehouse?

#126 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 12:36 PM:

dcb @ 123: I didn't find the sequels to "Sorcery & Cecelia" for some time because the (usually reliable) Powells Books didn't shelve them in Fantasy, but in Young Adult. Harumph!

Janet Brennan Croft @ 125: Jim Bales, oh yes, Wodehouse!

Jim Bales: Classic mysteries do tend to end tidily (Patricia Highsmith must be avoided on that count). Dorothy L. Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey books are more intelligent than Allingham's Campion books (but I do still truly love Allingham).

For an entertaining romp, look for the author Elizabeth Peters. My heart belongs to the Amelia Peabody books, with a Victorian archeologist family, but a friend of mine insists that the Vicky Bliss series is more entertaining. To give Amelia a try, start with "Crocodile on the Sandbank".

For some standalone Anglophile lovely books there's "Cold Comfort Farm", "I Capture the Castle", and "The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society".

#127 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 12:59 PM:

janetl, 126: Yes, absolutely, _I Capture the Castle_; if you can't find the book, the movie's surprisingly good. Same for _Cold Comfort Farm_, which has absolutely wonderful casting.

OT-ness: Happy Juneteenth, everybody!

#128 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 01:19 PM:

And more for Jim Bales -- janetl got me thinking about more golden age mysteries. Allingham is uneven, but sometimes quite enjoyable. Ngaio Marsh is good. Josephine Tey (though she's later, not strictly golden age).

And she might like some Pratchett if she develops more of a tolerance for fantasy. Hogfather's good.

For regencies, I haven't read any of them in a while but I remember liking Marion Chesney. Her mysteries, under the name M.C. Beaton, are a bit more ambiguous; I can't make myself like Agatha Raisin.

Oooh -- Lindsey Davis! Now that's a good series with great characters! And strong seconds for the Elizabeth Peters.

#129 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 01:40 PM:

Lee #88

In order to comment, you must provide a legitimate name and address (which will be checked) as well as a posting name.

Two issues. First, this means that the paper knows who you are, so it's only partly anonymous.

Second, checked how? If I want to post a comment at the Boston Globe, how are they going to check that the name and address I supply really belong to me? That's a lot of work, and might not even be possible.

One reason people ask for email addresses is that you actually can check whether a poster receives email at the listed address, if you should be moved to do so.

#130 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 02:12 PM:

Jim Bales @ 63: Continuing my post from 123, which got truncated:

I love Robin McKinley's stuff, but she probably doesn't want to pick up Deerskin or (since you say she doesn't like violence) Sunshine. However, she might enjoy The Hero and the Crown and The Blue Sword.

Re. Elizabeth Peters, I agree with janetl: the Amelia Peabody books are wonderful; I've found the Vicky Bliss series only so-so (but obviously tastes vary).

#131 ::: cmk ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 02:41 PM:

Barbara Pym has (I am quite sure, although I can't seem to find a reference for it) been called "a 20th-century Jane Austen." Her books are slighter than Austen's (shorter and less complexly plotted) but they are surely comedies of manners, and her style is in my experience infinitely re-readable.

Quartet in Autumn would be the worst place to start, because the characters are mildly but uniformly unpleasant--in fact a case could be made for avoiding that one of hers altogether.

Her endings tend more to the wryly hopeful than the unmistakably happy/unhappy, however.

#132 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 03:27 PM:

You know, sometimes I really miss singing with friends.

#133 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 03:34 PM:

Re Elizabeth Peters: Amelia is a lot of fun; Vicki can be a lot of fun. Under her real name, Barbara Michaels, she writes semi-Gothic novels which fit the "The good end happily, and the bad unhappily" formula. Those also may or may not have a touch of the supernatural, mostly ghosts.

#134 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 03:49 PM:

Jim Bales: For Heyer, I heartily second abi's suggestions and would also add Venetia and The Unknown Ajax.

Laurie Colwin and Mary Wesley also come to mind.

You mentioned Narnia and Harry Potter, which leads me to ask: has she tried Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain?

Another much-loved YA author is E.L. Konigsburg; I particularly enjoyed From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver, and The Second Mrs. Giaconda.

#135 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 04:12 PM:

Mark D. @ 120: I suspect that my solitary sample of Trollope is unfair to the man, given your description. But at the moment he's just about the last author of that era whom I'd recommend to someone wanting the "good people live happily, bad people get their just desserts" resolution.

The one book of his that I read is Can You Forgive Her?, which I recognize as a brilliant novel of great value, and which still makes me want to throw things (not necessarily the book itself) at walls and shout at people whenever I think about it. In the end, good people got miserable to mediocre endings, and bad people either had bad endings or jaunted off somewhere to have what sounded like a great deal more fun than any of the morally virtuous people, unless they were women, in which case they were horribly punished for not conforming. Perhaps other books by that author ended differently; I never could stand to read another one and find out.

#136 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 04:29 PM:

Thomas Edison speaks again after eighty years and a lot of hard work. This might be worth it as a particle or a sidelight.

#137 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 05:05 PM:

My favorite Elizabeth Peters books are the Jacqueline Kirby ones.

#138 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 05:17 PM:

Mary Aileen @137, and there are far too few in that series. But yes, I like her a lot. One of the people I want to be when I grow up.

#139 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 05:34 PM:

note: Mileage varies....

It took me multiple tries, and dogged determination, to get through A Civil Campaign. It's the Bujold book which is least appealing to me--I was not interested/positively-invested in the romance plot central to the book. From my perspective the previous book was romance with an essentially foregone conclusion, and it was as much as I could tolerate of a certain viewpoint/style involving introspection with the introspectee doing anything that I consider intereting to read about in the introspective passages--the person doing the intropection doesn't start laughing at themself seeing the situation being absurd, someone else doesn't show up cutting the introspection short and changing the mood, the introspection doesn't directly effect -action/drama-. It, for me, navel stared obsessing about being/fallling in love, in a romance plot that for me was tepid.

ACC had even MORE of that sort of stuff, along with a dinner party from hell embarrassment scene which was telegraphing itself a "here comes a disaster/exercise in hubris/embarrassing STUPIDITY and arrogance! on the part of a certain character. That sort of suspense I find anti-promotive of my continuing to read. So, years ago, that scene was where I shut the book and put it aside...

A few months ago I forced myself to to get through the book. The first 40% of it, I was making comment on the tablet computer as I was reading--I was not appreciating it. Later the book got more interesting... but the main plots etc. of the first half of the book, aren't appealing to m. And even near the end of the book, the romance plot stuff, continued to disgage me and throw me out of the story. The plotting by and actions of -other- characters were the saving graces for the book for me. I found, reiterating yet again, the romance focus in the book, tedious. I did not want the in the characters' heads' introspection of their preoccuptions with one another as regards the romance plot, for example.

The book take place on Barrayar, not my favorite locale. The novel Barrayar, the viewpoint character is a resident alien, viewing Barrayar from her Otherwhere scientist perspective. It's not her native habitat and mindset--it is for the protagonists of ACC. They're comfortable on the planet; I'm not....

The book after ACC I liked a lot more.

It's not that I'm romance-allergic, I'm not--I'm allergic to a certain subjective often introspective, or expositive-from-inside-the-character's-head acting as though/assumig the reader either is the character or thinks the same way as the character, and does so without any intrinsic or extrinsic irony/comic relief of he incongruent sort... I prefer laughing -with- a character than laughing -at- a character for incompetence who is supposed to be competent--especially if it's not something I find amusing! (There are lot of different types of humor. Some of them I'm allergic to/unappreciative-notcognizant of... perhaps the viewpoints I detest have some of my lack of appreciation being rooted in finding them not only not-funny but offputtig.... Snowcrash perhaps is an example of that, it's repulsive/repellant reading for me).

Again, mileage varies, there are people who love A Civil Campaign. I liked A Civil Contract, though it's hardly my favorite Heyer novel, but the viewpoint perspective, to my subjective view, were very different in the two books, along with other factors.

#140 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 05:41 PM:

JanetL #113: The war between Mapp and Lucia over the recipe for Lobster à la Riseholme is one of the classic conflicts in modern Eng Lit.

#141 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 06:00 PM:

Diatryma @ 121 -- Yay, Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. That site is awesome!

dcb @ 130 -- Agreed. Deerskin has the potential to be pretty triggering on the sexual abuse front; I come back to it periodically, but it's always a mixed pleasure. I love Sunshine, but I don't think it suits any of the criteria, alas...!

On a completely separate note, if we're focusing on the "good for the good, bad for the bad" criteria, someone should mention the Mrs. Polifax books by Dorothy Gilman. The early ones, in particular, are just delightful romps. But I can't make even a tentative tie-back to Jane Austen... They, er, have female characters in them?

For Heyer, my mother recommends either the Masqueraders or the Corinthian...

#142 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 06:03 PM:

Re Elizabeth Peters, I enjoy the Vicky Bliss books, but cannot stomach Amelia Peabody. I've tried several times because so many other people like her. I find her smug and self-satisfied and I just want to smack her.

For Jim Bales: I agree that Lloyd Alexander might be a good approach, particularly Prydain.

I also recommend the Lee & Miller Liaden books - the newly released omnibus "The Dragon Variations" might be a good place to start. And Sharon Shinn's series beginning with Archangel.

My favorite Heyer is Frederica, but I like most of them.

Your wife might also like Goudge's The Little White Horse.

And if she hasn't read the Edward Eager books, kids' books though they are, start with Half Magic.

Also E Nesbit, all of the fantasy ones but also The Railway Children, which is one of my all-time favorites for "the good end happily".

#143 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 06:37 PM:

OtterB (142): I liked the Amelia Peabody books the first time through, reading them as they were written, although they were never my favorites (see above). Sometime in the last 5-10 years, however, I just got sick of them. It's not only that the series began to run out steam; I can no longer enjoy the earlier ones, either. But the new Vicky Bliss was great fun.

Peters also wrote a few non-series books under that name (as opposed to Barbara Michaels). I'm particularly fond of Devil-May-Care.

#144 ::: Chris W. ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 06:39 PM:

Apropos of nothing, a small complaint of a sci-fi-ish nature:

So I just got out the first two books of Frederick Pohl's Eschaton Trilogy from the library, and generally I really enjoyed them, but did Frederick Pohl have to give his hero a name that screamed "Sci-Fi Mary Sue" quite so loudly?

I mean, "Dan Dannerman?" Really? Why not just call him Rock McStudly and be done with it?

Also, it's a rare piece of near-future SF that doesn't look dated within a couple of years of publication, but why is it that for this series the date in question is about 15 years before the date of publication? I'd expect a writer in the early 80s to worry about a future of separatist terrorism, government debt-fueled hyperinflation and gun culture gone berserk, but it seems odd for a writer to have those same concerns in the mid 90s.

Ok, enough complaining, now its time to go see if I can get the third book on inter-library loan.

#145 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 08:43 PM:

Mike McHugh @ 118: It's even stranger than you think, because I work for the institute that grants vision research funding, although I'm intramural and not extramural. What's even more strange for me is that I knew a Mike McHugh in my home town, which is not the same home as yours, I suspect.

Benjamin Wolfe: We also have acquaintances in common, in the vision research field -- although I've gone to ARVO only once. I prefer to attend something more aligned with my primary speciality, so I'll be in Atlanta this October for AALAS (and yes, Fragano, I'll make time for dinner if you're available).

#146 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 08:49 PM:

I queried about Internet backdraft because the topic I have in mind involves racefail. Specifically, this:

So there's this kids' cartoon called Avatar: the Last Airbender. Nickelodeon wanted a big, sweeping epic set in a fantasy world, and the creators of A:TLA said, "Hey, why not make it Asian?"

That isn't the racefail. The co-creators, two Caucasian USian guys, did a metric buttload of homework. They hired a martial arts master and an expert in Chinese calligraphy. They carefully blended historical, mythological, and fantastical details to create four nations, modeled after Japan, China, Tibet, and the Inuit. They used Asian-American acquaintances as models for character designs.

The result was wondrous. A:TLA plunges the viewer into a world that is a refreshing change from the usual Ye Olde mashup. There is no exoticism, no whiff of Wannabe Tribe or Orientalism--at least none that this resident of white culture could detect. The characters dress and look (and eat, fight, play music, read, marry, paint, dance, build, and do their hair) in ways that are simply, obviously normal. This is some of the best worldbuilding I have ever seen!

The cartoon was a shoo-in for conversion to live-action movies. The storylines are accessible enough for children and intelligent enough for adults. The characters, of all ages, feel real, feel right. The backgrounds are a visual feast and the fighting scenes rock.

So here's the racefail: In the world created for the cartoon, there are no Caucasians. At all. You see the world literally from pole to pole and there are no white people. This is the show that got 19 million viewers to tune in to the series finale, BTW.

But the heroes in the movie, The Last Airbender, are all white. The casting call requested Caucasians first. Because, see, there are no Asian American actors of the right ages who can do, or at least convincingly portray, martial arts. The martial arts consultant for the cartoon doesn't really have a student of exactly the right age who has all the right moves and more than enough acting chops for a casting call that specified "No Experience Necessary." He's imaginary and so is his audition on Youtube. And that hanzi expert who helped make the show look so good? He's imagninary too. The movie replaces all of the hanzi with gibberish writing explicitly because there's supposedly no way to be sure of getting the real thing right. And so on. And so on.

And but so anyway, AGH. Not gonna watch it.

#147 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 09:05 PM:

Jenny Islander @146: When I saw the trailer for The Last Airbender I was immediately struck by something: in the animated version, the different martial arts actually looked different, and there was a very clear connection to the classical element that each was supposed to represent. In the trailer, they all look pretty much the same. Which is why I have no intention of going to see it, either. Not that I get to a lot of new films these days....

#148 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 09:12 PM:

OtterB @ 142: Thank you for mentioning Elizabeth Goudge's book "The Little White Horse." I had quite forgotten the author's name, and just remembered that the title was something like "white horses". I adored that book as a child. I grow heliotrope in my garden to this day because of it.

#149 ::: Edgar lo Siento ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 09:30 PM:

Jenny Islander, 246,
Yes, this.
This is an excellent explanation of the situation. Words cannot begin to express my frustration at what was done with Airbender. I'm glad to see it discussed here. I felt weird knowing that this...this...thing was occurring, but not know if Teresa or Patrick or Abi or Jim or Avram or anyone else in the Fluorosphere knew or cared.

I can't believe the depths of fail. Stunning.


#150 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 09:33 PM:

Ginger @ 145 - had you been on the extramural side, there is a decent chance that you would have funded the lab I worked for in undergrad (given what Google tells me about AALAS, it would be more likely for the undergrad lab, rather than the one I work for now or the one I am joining out at Cal).

The yearly vision conference I attend (the aforementioned VSS) is a somewhat strange animal - they were an ARVO offshoot ten years ago; mostly, Ken Nakayama and his friends wanted a smaller conference where they could sit on the beach and talk vision (which it was - maybe - the first year of its existence) - now it is what the psychophysics and post-psychophysics* people go to, rather than ARVO. The vast majority of work presented there is normal human - a few clinical posters each year, a handful of talks on the same - and nonhuman work is vanishingly rare at VSS.

*post-psychophysics for lack of a better term, as there are precious few people left doing pure psychophysics in vision research anymore. Behavioral testing might be a better term, but it does not express the level of continuity I want - those of us who are doing non-psychophysics work are, to a large degree, only able to do so because of the purely psychophyical work that came before.

#151 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 10:09 PM:

Jenny at # 146: I'm reminded of Margaret Cho's rant about the teevee series Kung Fu: "That guy's not Chinese!"

#152 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 10:38 PM:

Pendrift - I found my father's 1950 Third Edition Perry's Chemical Engineer's Handbook.

You can contact me at htroup (at) acm (dot) org

#153 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 11:08 PM:

note: Mileage varies....

It took me multiple tries, and dogged determination, to get through A Civil Campaign. It's the Bujold book which is least appealing to me--I was not interested/positively-invested in the romance plot central to the book. From my perspective the previous book was romance with an essentially foregone conclusion, and it was as much as I could tolerate of a certain viewpoint/style involving introspection with the introspectee doing anything that I consider intereting to read about in the introspective passages--the person doing the intropection doesn't start laughing at themself seeing the situation being absurd, someone else doesn't show up cutting the introspection short and changing the mood, the introspection doesn't directly effect -action/drama-. It, for me, navel stared obsessing about being/fallling in love, in a romance plot that for me was tepid.

ACC had even MORE of that sort of stuff, along with a dinner party from hell embarrassment scene which was telegraphing itself a "here comes a disaster/exercise in hubris/embarrassing STUPIDITY and arrogance! on the part of a certain character. That sort of suspense I find anti-promotive of my continuing to read. So, years ago, that scene was where I shut the book and put it aside...

A few months ago I forced myself to to get through the book. The first 40% of it, I was making comment on the tablet computer as I was reading--I was not appreciating it. Later the book got more interesting... but the main plots etc. of the first half of the book, aren't appealing to m. And even near the end of the book, the romance plot stuff, continued to disgage me and throw me out of the story. The plotting by and actions of -other- characters were the saving graces for the book for me. I found, reiterating yet again, the romance focus in the book, tedious. I did not want the in the characters' heads' introspection of their preoccuptions with one another as regards the romance plot, for example.

The book take place on Barrayar, not my favorite locale. The novel Barrayar, the viewpoint character is a resident alien, viewing Barrayar from her Otherwhere scientist perspective. It's not her native habitat and mindset--it is for the protagonists of ACC. They're comfortable on the planet; I'm not....

The book after ACC I liked a lot more.

It's not that I'm romance-allergic, I'm not--I'm allergic to a certain subjective often introspective, or expositive-from-inside-the-character's-head acting as though/assumig the reader either is the character or thinks the same way as the character, and does so without any intrinsic or extrinsic irony/comic relief of he incongruent sort... I prefer laughing -with- a character than laughing -at- a character for incompetence who is supposed to be competent--especially if it's not something I find amusing! (There are lot of different types of humor. Some of them I'm allergic to/unappreciative-notcognizant of... perhaps the viewpoints I detest have some of my lack of appreciation being rooted in finding them not only not-funny but offputtig.... Snowcrash perhaps is an example of that, it's repulsive/repellant reading for me).

Again, mileage varies, there are people who love A Civil Campaign. I liked A Civil Contract, though it's hardly my favorite Heyer novel, but the viewpoint perspective, to my subjective view, were very different in the two books, along with other factors.

#154 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 11:09 PM:

Ginger and Fragano, if you decide to make that a general Fluorosphere meetup in October, I'm so there.

#155 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2010, 11:45 PM:

Jenny, #146: I'd heard about that already, but this is the most in-depth analysis of the level of fail I've seen. It's not the sort of movie I'd be likely to see anyhow for other reasons, but this guarantees I won't bother. As far as I'm concerned, it's as wrong and boneheaded as casting The Black Stallion with a 6-year-old to play Alec Ramsey, who is 15; get the characters that far off and there's no way you can get the story right.

Ginger, Fragano, Lila: Depending on scheduling, I might be able to drive over as well, but I'd need crash space for a couple of nights.

#156 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 12:16 AM:

@Edgar lo Siento #149: You may find some useful links at racebending dot com, which got its start protesting the Airbender situation and has branched out to raising awareness of yellowface, whitewashing, and racist casting in general.

The best one-minute explanation of the problem for non-fen comes from a link on that site. In paraphrase, imagine a show or movie set in an imaginary world where everybody wears clothing drawn from the history of African ethnic groups, has a pre-colonial African name, eats African food, plays and sings African music, and lives in African houses against a background of African scenery. Drive the plot with themes drawn from African mythological traditions and make the major characters hail from thinly disguised pre-colonial African nations. Now have white actors portray the African heroes. Whitewashing Airbender is just as wrong.

BTW, anybody who still reads good young adult fantasy novels might enjoy the cartoon series, which is available on DVD and Netflix. Just be sure to watch it in order, because plot, plot, plot plot plot, and also lots and lots of Chekhov's assorted whatsits.

#157 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 01:12 AM:

dcb@123: I had a moment of wondering how you could possibly have been ignorant of the sequels to Sorcery and Cecilia...and then I noticed that you are dcb and not ddb.

#158 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 01:18 AM:

I have no intention of watching the Airbender movie; there's so much fantasy out there these days that I can afford to be picky.

Not supporting "Duh!" casting decisions is the icing on the cake.

I do need to watch the cartoon series. It isn't currently playing on any cable channel I can access, so I'll probably have to rent or borrow the disks.


For a terribly low-key, drawn-out, minor series, I found Pohl's Eschaton books incredibly . . . memorable. Scenes and situations from them keep popping up in my head.

RE the topics of worry in the book, it is possible that the novel was a trunk manuscript of sorts.

#159 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 01:28 AM:

Jenny Islander @146: I've been following the mess with the Avatar: the Last Airbender movie for a bit, in a trainwreck oh-no-they-didn't kind of way. I think the blatantness of the discrimination in the case of TLA really brought home to me that there was and is a problem with institutionalized racism in Hollywood that I'd had the privilege not to notice before, and it forced me to reconsider a lot of borderline cases I'd previously defended. For the liberal stereotype I have of Hollywood, the actual actions of many of the companies involved seem oddly... conservative, to say nothing of stupid. (Cf. gay actors told not to come out of the closet.)

As someone who is constantly craving new! new! new!, the Paramount execs' decision to make TLA look just like every other Ye Olde Fantasy Universe, with maybe a dash of Asian seasoning for "flavor", makes it an easy movie for me to miss. (I still need to watch the cartoons anyway.)

I'm confused what you mean by this:
The martial arts consultant for the cartoon doesn't really have a student of exactly the right age who has all the right moves and more than enough acting chops for a casting call that specified "No Experience Necessary." He's imaginary and so is his audition on Youtube. And that hanzi expert who helped make the show look so good? He's imagninary too.

#160 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 01:42 AM:

Jim Bales @ various: I second the Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Michaels recommendations in all their parts (although I also understand the feeling that the later books in the Amelia Peabody series are not the equal of the earlier).

For additional entries in the Regency arena (and occasionally Georgian, but mostly Regency), I've always been very fond of Patricia Veryan, particularly her earlier work (my favorites are Love's Duet and Some Brief Folly). They are, in general stand-alones, although there's the occasional reference to, or visit by, characters from her other books, most of them being in the same social circles.

If your wife enjoys the Topper films (or the TV version)--straitlaced banker is haunted by a ghostly couple who used to be his clients; hilarity ensues--she might enjoy other works by Thorne Smith.

The other suggestions have given me lots of things to add to my wish list... :)

#161 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 01:48 AM:

Further to myself @ 160 to Jim Bales: And if your wife enjoys any of the suggested Trollope, she might also like Jo Walton's Tooth and Claw--Trollope with dragons! (That is, Trollope enacted by dragons. Great fun!)

#162 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 02:06 AM:

Jim Bales @ 63: The Aunt Dimity series by Nancy Atherton. Very sweet series— pretty much low-key mystery novels, where the good things happen to the right people. The first is Aunt Dimity's Death.

Nancy Atherton is a long-time science fiction fan who ended up writing in another genre.

#163 ::: Jim Bales ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 02:12 AM:

So, I spent the day far from the computer, engaged in family activities, a day which closed with a 5-hour-stay at the ER (in a city 50 miles away) helping our 9-year old recover from what was, as best we can tell, a really bad case of indigestion and intenstinal gas.

Taking a minute in the wee hours to check this thread I find many, many suggestions awaiting me -- you all rock!

KayTei asks:
"It's going to depend on why she likes Austen. If it's the social complexity ..."

Good question -- I'll ask!

The specific Heyer works recommended by all will be collected and passed on (with your comments).

Amelia Peabody is being read and enjoyed (at least the first few).

I had read the first 2 or 3 Mrs. Pollifax books when they were new (and I was a young omnivore of fiction), and she has enjoyed some of them on my recommendation.

Culling the list a bit (and, as it is late here, I will not be exhaustive in this comment) the Lee & Miller Liaden books are coming up a lot. Goudge's The Little White Horse will be investigated. as willthe Edward Eager books, as kids' books are fine with her.

I've not read the E Nesbit works, but they, too will be investigated!

E.L. Konigsburg is well represented in our library (as our children's ages span from kindergarten to college).

I don't know if she has read Barbara Pym, but will check.

And, my thanks to all for the warnings on specific works with violence or sexual abuse!

I need to call it a night here, but my deepest thanks to all, and I will continue to look for more suggestions as they arise. In my copious free time :-/ I will gladly collect the suggestions if people would like to see them summarized.

Jim Bales

#164 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 02:21 AM:

Edgar @149:

Know, care, happy to host civil conversations in the threads, cannot see any way posting on it will end at all well, not discussing that last point further for obvious and recursive reasons.

#165 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 02:24 AM:

@Kevin Riggle #159: It was poorly expressed sarcasm. Paramount, Shyamalan, et al. keep saying that they've done the best they could to make the cast "racially diverse," while hugely qualified nonwhite actors didn't get a callback and white kids who didn't even have the right skills were hired, and then they had the nerve to say that they had hired the best actors for the lead roles--as if these real children with real talent don't exist. They didn't take advantage of the hundreds of hours of hard work that the A:TLA creative team put in getting the cartoon right, nor did they hire the consultants who appear in the credits of every episode. Instead, they spent extra work scrubbing the authenticity out of the story-world and their excuse for doing so amounts to "nobody we could possibly find knows how do to that Chinese writing right." As if Asian and Inuit cultures were only to be found in a mysterious otherworld that could not be contacted without mounting a huge expedition. Or something.

They had the money to shoot the fantasy-Inuit village scenes in Greenland, but not the money to hire somebody who knows hanzi.

#166 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 02:31 AM:

Hm. I'd just noticed today that TLA series had floated up to availability on my Netflix queue; this discussion says I should push it to the top. Being firmly ensconced under my rock, I was unaware of the movie flap; will now put that firmly on my schedule to ignore.

#167 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 02:36 AM:

I crossposted with Abi. I'll stop talking about it except to recommend the cartoon series again. If you enjoyed both So You Want to Be a Wizard and Bridge of Birds, you'll probably enjoy A:TLA for the story; if you like worldbuilding, A:TLA is probably for you; if authentic and breathtaking martial arts scenes with a touch of fantasy appeal to you, check it out. And I'm done.

#168 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 02:43 AM:

Jenny @167:


I said we're happy to host civil conversations on it in the thread. You're being civil. Or is it the word "post"? That refers to doing front-page entries.

Please do continue.

#169 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 02:46 AM:

Jim Bales: Other modern evocations of early 19th-century Britain include Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin and Naomi Novik's Temeraire series(es).

Of the latter, I have avidly read four in the previous week. Of the former, I must confess my repeated inability to appreciate the widely lauded virtues of these books (though this was formely also true of LM Bujold's Vorkosigan series, of which I am now a devotee), but found the solitary movie adaptation most enjoyable. Both series have a military setting, though not ponderously so in the fashion of Tom Clancy: O'Brian's protagonists serve in the Navy, whereas Novik's are in an aviator corps involving intelligent dragons (which I believe are the only significant modification of the setting along a fantasy basis-- I can recall no instances of magical powers, items, or spells-- although when the logical implications of their existence are fully considered, vast geopolitical consequences then result).

(One side-effect of mainlining Novik seems to be the temporary modification of one's syntax. I trust that this shall pass in good time.)

In a completely different setting ("an ancient China that never was, but should be"), there is Barry Hughart's Bridge of Birds, which is one of the few books which have prompted from me both uncontrolled hilarity and actual tears of sorrow. There are two sequels, but in my estimation their excellence does not equal the original, which robustly upholds the moral principle of rewarding the just and punishing the wicked.

With that last dictate in mind, as well as an additionally stipulated abhorrence for violence, I must firmly advise your wife to avoid George RR Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" series at all costs.

#170 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 03:45 AM:

Jim @163:

I'm sorry to hear about your 9-year-old! Trips to the emergency room, particularly some distance away, are never fun. (We know this; our 9-year-old was in the ER in the next town over just a week or two ago after a fall against the bathroom sink.)

I hope all is better now.

#171 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 03:58 AM:

Oh, I get it. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

It's a shame about the movie. I could have borne with the other changes. Extend the plot from a few months to three years? They're making three movies with teen actors; makes sense. Shyamalan changed how some of the magic works? Actually, his way allows for more dramatic tension. Homogenized martial arts? Basing the magical/martial arts of the Four Nations on three styles of kung fu plus tai chi made them distinctive and dramatic, but if they couldn't get all of their extras to at least mimic the basic moves in the right style--oh well, needs must. Appa the Flying Bison has gone from a sort of giant hairy New Year's dragon to a hell-fetus in a fur coat? Heck, I could just peek between my fingers when he was onscreen. I didn't want A:TLA to end and I was prepared to watch the same story all over again in live-action and cheer. And so were my kids. And my husband.

But Sokka and Katara (and their Gran-Gran, because she has lines) as the only white faces in a village full of Inuit extras? No. Especially because I have the sneaking intuition that whitewashing the heroes was done to appeal to me, Fishbelly White Woman Who Decides Which Movies My Kids Will See. I do not care in the least what credentials those two actors have with Disney or what have you. Paramount flew a crew to Greenland to film on the ice; they could have flown a couple of people to Alaska to hold auditions for Yupik and Inupiaq kids if they couldn't find any Inuit to fill the roles.

And hey, the kid who plays Aang has a nice face and appears to be able to emote. But Aang is not white! It's like casting me as a Chinese empress!

#172 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 04:17 AM:

Julie L. @169: I'm mildly curious how much of the O'Brian series you've read? If you bounced off of book 1, you might try skipping forward to book 3 -- the writing in books 1 and 2 is way below par for the rest of the series. It may well be that you've read a bunch of it, in which case never mind.

Another book I'd recommend for people who like Austen and like fantasy is Susana Clarke's delightful Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. It captures the early-19th century vibe beautifully, with some fantasy twists.

#173 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 05:02 AM:

re the piece. There is a bit in there where the difference between anonymity, and pseudonymity is discussed, as well as the presence of community. It also says, right at the top, there are moderators (though they seem to be behind the scenes, and so perhaps not as effective as moderators who don't have absolute opacity).

Lee: I don't like your solution, not least of all because it's not practical. If I wanted to be a troll, I could just look someone up, use their name (and a disposable e-mail address) and then, when I was too toxic to allow to remain anonymous, some third party gets the grief. I get more than double the bang for my buck.

Jim Bales: The Corinthian Comes to mind, as well (it seems to me) The Talisman Ring. For Sayers, I think the thing to do is start with a collection of the shorts. I don't think, for all that it is very good, Nine Tailors is a good place to start. There is a whole lot going on, and some of it is backstory (there is continuity, though none of it what one might think of as, "a series").

With Nero Wolfe one cannot go wrong, no matter where one starts. They are each a seamless piece, of themselves, and there is a sense of both presensce in the now, and presence in the timeless. They take place, actually, in a slightly parallel world (the brand names of things are the only real hint of it... the Heron Wolfe owns, and Archie drives, the Marley .38 Archie keeps in his desk, as well as some of the quirks of law, but for all that there is nothing which isn't normal; apart from Wolfe, who is exceptional).

re O'Brian: I have to say there is violence in them, and not all of it offstage, though it's not so very detailed, there is a fair bit of discussion of the aftermath. I also have to disagree with David Goldfarb. I think Master and Commander (which is nothing like the film of that name, nothing at all), is a well done piece of work. It may not be quite as tight as the latter works, but I don't think it inferior to them in the least. Post Captain suffers from being long, and much spent on shore. Many of the characters act badly, and there are things which are painful and tedious to read but (and this is the important part), that tedium comes on the rereading. At first blush, before one has a sense of what the personality of the various players is truly like, there is no falseness in it, and I found it gripping.

From volume three (HMS Surprise) onward, there are very few false notes, though re-reading some of the various trials and failings has passing tedium and the like. This is because the story is, in that way, true to life, and the heroes have feet of clay.

#174 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 05:26 AM:

regarding the Manute Bols sidelight. A cold draft from my grave blew past me.

I have Reiter's Syndrome. The best drug for it is Sulfasalazine. As one might guess it's a sulfa drug, which is a drug family to which a large portion of the population is allergic, among them me.

Lets just say, I am really allergic to sulfa drugs. My dermatologist was really worried about me manifesting Stevens-Johnson. If I knew then what I know now, the report I linked to might not have glossed it so lightly.

It's actually a lot more common than people think. There are a fair number of drugs which induce that sort of histamine overreaction.

His poor family. Anything I can try to say about how I feel for him... is so inadequate that all I can do is say I can't find the words.

R.I.P. indeed, and may light perpetual shine upon him.

#175 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 07:46 AM:

Ginger #145, Lila #154, Lee #155: This is sounding like a good idea.

#176 ::: Edgar lo Siento ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 09:01 AM:

abi, 164,
Gratitude for your knowing and caring, thanks for your warning, setting course to avoid the shoals surrounding that topic! *snappy salute*


#177 ::: Wesley Osam ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 09:10 AM:

Terry Karney, #173:

Lee: I don't like your solution, not least of all because it's not practical. If I wanted to be a troll, I could just look someone up, use their name (and a disposable e-mail address) and then, when I was too toxic to allow to remain anonymous, some third party gets the grief.

"Letters to the editor" pages have been real-name-only for a long time and managed to avoid this problem. They usually ask for a phone number as well as an address, and try to talk to the sender directly.

I'm fine with pseudonymity on personal blogs, but I'm increasingly leaning towards the opinion that it's a bad idea for newspaper comment sections.

Of course, if you go back far enough, American newspapers did print many pseudonymous submissions... and the political debates at the time were about as toxic as they are today, if not more so.

With Nero Wolfe one cannot go wrong, no matter where one starts.

Generally true, but I'd suggest that anyone starting the series avoid reading The Black Mountain and A Family Affair until they've read at least a few other books in the series (including at least Over My Dead Body in the former case, and Death of a Doxy in the latter).

#178 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 09:31 AM:

Also the first Wolfe, Fer-de-Lance, is weak and not a good place to start. It doesn't give an indication of what all the fuss is about. Rather like the first three or so Discworlds ...

#179 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 10:28 AM:

Shyamalan? I gave up on him a few movies ago. Started with Signs, where aliens who were depicted as quite fleet of feet just stood there so that one of the main characters could walk across a room, grab a baseball to hit a homerun with the alien's noggin. Then there was The Village and I called it quits.

#180 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 10:28 AM:

I agree that The Nine Tailors isn't the place to start with Sayers. It's the one I managed to get out of order-- I read Gaudy Night first and then had trouble making myself step back to a book I knew did not involve Harriet. But what I like about Sayers isn't necessarily the mystery (my booklog entry goes into it a bit: it's down some here).

If she's into romances, Jennifer Crusie's really fun. Not everything she writes is good, but some of it is amazing. She does good things when she doesn't have to. Bet Me, Crazy for You,, and Anyone but You are the three I've reread most recently. Manhunting has some bad ending unhappily, but also some just-not-good-enough-sorry getting the same treatment.

#181 ::: Paula Liebeman ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 11:40 AM:

The film industry control goes to the people investing the tens to hundreds of millions of dollars involved for filming and production, and reflects -their- interests....Artistic work integrity isn't one of them. Pandering for the profit and furthering their interests and interests they're paid to promote, is.... (Spike heel shoes benefit the sexualize and disempower non-vamp female industries and those who regard women as sexualized chattel, benefit the shoe industry, and benefit surgeons who do the surgeries so the women crippled by the damned obscene shoes can walk again... they victimize peple whose floors get destroyed, women who DON'T want to wear the damned things/value mobility, people who are the ones charged for health insurance premium..... Note the shoes women mince about in in contemporarily-made films.... it's no accident they're wearing spike high heels. Grrrrrr......... Note also all the "product placement stuff with brand name visible--paid promo placement.)

#182 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 12:08 PM:

Wesley Osam: Having been the editor to whom letters were sent, no they haven't. A letter has to have a name, and and often a number, but the conditions for verifying them are such that it doesn't happen. I didn't have the time to look up names and numbers. If, for some reason, one had to try to verfy, the only thing the person writing the letter has to do is keep track of the pseudonym they chose.

It's not as if one insists that the person sending the letter come down and flash ID.

We got letters in which that (for the savvy letter writer, and foolish editor) would have been (the use of a divertable pseudonym) a good thing/bad thing, because they had actionable libel, usually through inadvertence. Before my tenure as the opinion editor one of those got past us, mostly because it was part of a long-running land use issue in the community).

There really was nothing in place (and no way to practically implement such a system) which could have prevented it from being a, functionally anonymous person. For the same reasons today, the same applies.

#183 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 02:03 PM:

Paula @181: I suspect I'm developing bunions. On my next doctor's visit, I intend to get a note from my doctor that can go in any HR file necessary, that says "In order to avoid surgery, Rikibeth must wear shoes with a roomy toe box and good arch support. Any deviation from corporate dress code should be considered a "reasonable accommodation" under the Americans With Disabilities Act." And then I'm gonna wear 20-eyelet Doc Martens or wingtip platform creepers with my pencil skirts, and they can all be jealous, because I'll look really badass while also being very comfortable!

#184 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 02:59 PM:

This reader tends to find large chunks of the Aubrey/Maturin O'Brian novels tedious to read. However! listening to them on cd while working out, they are wonderful and perfect. I've enjoyed this second go-round with the O'Brian novels so much more via ear than I did via eye -- reading. O'Brian possessed excellent rhythm, and other sound sense, which come through much more clearly and enjoyably via the ears.

Love, c.

#185 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 03:25 PM:

I just saw The Man Who Fell To Earth. Weird movie.

So, just noticed a few obvious plot parallels to Stranger in a Strange Land.

Scarcity of water on home planet figures in the plot.

Visitor from another planet strikes it rich but becomes pawn of corporate interests.

Did Heinlein influence the other, or are these pre-existing tropes?

#186 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 03:56 PM:

Terry Karney, #174, when I first had a sulfa med I turned purple. When one of the guys who worked for me said I was purple, I thought he was being silly. He said no, I really was. I went to look in the bathroom mirror and he was right. After calling Advice, I headed in to Urgent Care and was watched for the day. Now I have the sulfa class marked as allergenic.

#187 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 04:26 PM:

David Goldfarb @ 157: I read Sorcery and Cecelia back in the late 1980s/early 1990s. I did look for sequels, but I suspect none had been written back when I was looking...

Rikibeth @ 183: Sounds like a good plan. I've always tried to avoid heels etc., and spend all summer in Teva sandals, with the result that my toes are still nice and wide, not all crammed together. HOWEVER, this now means I'm having problems finding running shoes to fit me - the only ones with a wide enough toe box that I don't get black little toe nails from long runs are the most basic pair Mizuno makes (Genesis). Not that I'm complaining about buying relatively cheap running shoes, but all the reviews say they're not suitable for the sort of mileage I'm doing. I suppose I'll just have to ignore the reviews. I'd try men's styles, but my feet are too small.

Constance @ 184: On a similar theme, many years ago I discovered that Grisham novels are not bad as three-hour audiobooks to listen to on long car journeys.

#188 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 04:26 PM:

Does anyone here know Portland, Oregon fairly well? A good friend of mine is moving there in a couple months and is looking for a place to live, a job*, and some social-group seeds. She's heading out there on Tuesday to see about the first two. Is there anything I can pass on to her for the third? Or the others, really. Social and professional networking by proxy, I guess.

*She's rather like me, a biologist-turned-environmental-engineer, but more engineery than biology-y.

#189 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 04:30 PM:

Erik Nelson @ 185... Heinlein's came out 2 years before Tevis's, but I'm not sure how much the latter paid attention to the field. As for movie being weird, I presume you refer not to the mid-1980s TV version but to the one starring David Bowie. I get a kick out of knowing that I have walked on the white dunes of his character's native planet.

#190 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 06:24 PM:

janetl @148, glad that was informative. If you liked The Little White Horse and haven't read Goudge's Linnets and Valerians you might like it, too.

By the way, anybody who isn't reading Jo Walton's series about "where do I start with that author" over at (and the comment trails) should give it a look. There's a link to the index of posts on the right side of the page.

#191 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 07:14 PM:

Coming here late, catching up from before the book discussions started -- thanks to dying computer on dial-up, and lots of other things to do -- I just have to comment on both UCB and "life forks". I'm one of the Bay Area Dinosaurs here, and went to Cal from about 1968 to 1979 (including some TA work). Does that intersect with others here? And my life fork came when the only teaching job offer I got after Cal was in some podunk town in Utah. Instead of that, I dithered for a while, then started as an intern at Locus (lots of sub mail processing!), met the guy I *eventually* married, and all that good stuff. Utah might have been great, but I'm happy with what I have!

#193 ::: Mark D. ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 08:18 PM:

Fade Manley @ 135:

I had the same reaction to Can you forgive her? No. No, I can't. I completely sympathize with your reaction.

If you can find it in your heart, do try one of the Barchester books, though don't start with the last one. It is magnificent, but gloomy.

#194 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 08:22 PM:

I just found out that Leverage's new season begins tonight on TNT. Yay!

#195 ::: Mark D. ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 08:27 PM:

To Keith Kisser, from OT 141:

Many thanks for the tip towards Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, which has me totally engrossed.

It also makes me wonder if she was a model for Lady Glencora Palliser (q.v. remarks on Trollope, above.)

#196 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 08:56 PM:

Why yes, Faren @191, some people here do overlap with you.... But then, you knew that already, didn't you?

#197 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 09:09 PM:

@ Paula Lieberman: I've been avoiding movies for years because Hollywood does very little of interest to me. It's a lot easier to wait for DVD and see if a film is worth pursuing... and there aren't many.

In regards to heels, my mother had bunion surgery in her forties because of too-small shoes when growing up. She's taller than I am, but her feet are smaller. She considers comfy shoes one of the wonderful things in life. My problem is that my feet are beyond that point at which women's shoes have a decent selection, and for some reason the vast majority of styles available are either high heels (I really don't need to be taller, thank you very much) or have no heel straps, or both. I currently own... mmm... six pairs of shoes, which sounds like more than it is, since that's two pair of aging sneakers (from before my feet went up that deadly half size*), two pair of sandals, one pair of character shoes for stage and one pair of shoes which are acceptable for my work**, and which I hate.

I never thought I'd say I need more shoes, but I do.

*It's weird. Women's 9.5, you can still find shoes. Once you get to 10 there's a category, 10-13, and you're pretty much guaranteed to find the cute style in the wrong size.

**Shoes for the photography studio must be close-toed. I pretty much have to wear skirts because I can't find slacks that look anything other than horrendous (you really find out what works when you do test shots), and finding a shoe that has a closed-toe and works with skirts is surprisingly difficult. Why can't I find Mary Janes?***

***I refuse to buy shoes without being able to try them on. Comfort is VERY important when you have to stand for 8 hours or more and load heavy equipment.

#198 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 09:22 PM:

B. Durbin, Doc Martens make Mary Janes, and so does Dansko, I think. And Zappos does that free return shipping thing, so while it prolongs the trying-on process, you do get to try them on without risk.

#199 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 09:35 PM:

B. Durbin @197: (This is the longer Rikibeth)

Even if you don't like BUYING online, it might be worth browsing Zappos to see what exists in your size, and what has good/bad comfort according to reviews. then call local places with your list of potential shoes to see if they have stock. (Zappos makes it really easy to do returns and exchanges, so it might be worth trying them out anyway.)

Some additional brand possibilities: Fitzwell, Naot, Clarks.

#200 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 09:36 PM:

@B Durbin and shoes -

If you wear a ladies' 10 you probably also can wear a men's 8.5 or 9 which may expand your selection in loafers, boat shoes, sneakers and casual sandals, some of which look okay with dresses.

I wear a ladies 8.5 wide which doesn't usually exist - why is it that they make half-sizes and they sometimes make wides but they almost never make half-size wides? Ladies' standard width is a 'B' and men's is usually a 'D' so at least I don't have to look for wides in men's shoes. Finding sizes smaller than a men's 8 is problematic, though - apparently guys' feet don't stay in that size range long enough to warrant buying decent shoes.

Someone once told me that the reason the "women's shoes sizes 11 and up" section gets full of ultra-feminine super-high heels is that it includes both drag queens and the MTF transgender market, therefore "people who want to dress sexy-femme but have guy sized feet."

#201 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 10:25 PM:

As I've nattered about on OT 141, I'm reading Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan saga for the first time. I just finished Komarr, where Miles meets Ekaterin. It's pure Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane — lovely!

#202 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 10:44 PM:

@B Durbin and shoes -

I wears a 9.5 wide, and so I give mens' size 8 and 8.5 a try, but they really don't work with skirts. It's almost comical how a pair of loafers or oxfords designed for a man are immediately identifiable as different than a pair designed for a woman, despite the differences being quite small.

I love Nordstrom's Rack for shoes. Nordies stocks a lot of sizes, so you find a reasonable variety in the sales rack, and you get a better made shoe, for a reasonable price.

I have a pair of Beautifeel pumps that I've been able to actually wear all day long.

#203 ::: mcz ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 10:54 PM:

IHNC, IJLTS that Hobart, Tasmania celebrated its National Zombie March yesterday. Pix and story at the link.

#204 ::: mcz ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 10:57 PM:


Annual. Annual. Not national!

#205 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 11:02 PM:

Fragano @ 175 (et al): October 10-14th is the meeting, but I'm likely to attend another meeting starting the 7th or 8th through the 9th, and then stay for the early part of AALAS. The other meeting is more in my line of work, and the national meeting is more of a shopping trip...anyway, Sunday the 10th, being the end of the first meeting/beginning of the second meeting, generally is a very quiet day, so that's our first chance for a lunch/dinner meeting.

I'll be the one walking around with a rose clenched between my teeth. No, that's too obvious. I'll think of something.

#206 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 11:09 PM:

Ginger @ 205... I'll be the one walking around with a rose clenched between my teeth. No, that's too obvious.


#207 ::: Jim Bales ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 11:18 PM:

This may be too long, but here is the summary of all of the recommendations I received for my wife to read. I brutally stripped out any substantive comments to keep the list of 42 authors as brief as practical.

Recall that these are suggestions for my wife who (along with Oscar Wilde’s Miss Prism) believes that fiction means that the good end happily and the bad unhappily. She does not care for violence in her fiction.

She particularly likes Austen, and (I realized I had not mentioned) the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series. Other works she has been reading/rereading include Narnia, Harry Potter, and The Mysterious Benedict Society series.

I had not mentioned that she has read the first few of the Amelia Peabody novels.

Two web sites were mentioned:
Jo Walton’s “OK, where do I start with that author” series

I list the authors mentioned as follows:
- Author (number of recommendations)
- Recommended works:
- Not Recommended works:

My deepest thanks to you all, for I am certain she will find much to read from this list!

My very best wishes,
Jim Bales

And now, the recommendations!

Georgette Heyer (5)
Good reads include Frederica; Cotillion; A Civil Contract; Venetia; The Unknown Ajax; The Corinthian.
Avoid My Lord John and anything not Regency

Elizabeth Peters (5)
Recommended: Amelia Peabody series (earlier works); Jacqueline Kirby series; solo work "The Devil May Care", Vicky Bliss series.
Not recommended: The Vicky Bliss series, later Amelia Peabody

Rex Stout (4)
Recommended: Any Nero Wolfe, although it was suggested to read "Over My Dead Body” before “The Black Mountain; read “Death of a Doxy” before “A Family Affair", and not to start with “Fer-de-Lance”

Robin McKinley (3)
Recommended: Beauty; Chalice; The Hero and the Crown, the Blue Sword.
Not recommended: Deerskin and Sunshine (violence)

Patricia C. Werde (3)
Recommended: Sorcery & Cecelia was strongly recommended as "just adorable"

Lee & Miller (3)
Recommended: Lianden Series was also strongly recommended

Dorothy Sayers (3)
Recommended: Lord Peter Wimsey;
Recommended first reads include any short-story collection first, or start with “The Nine Tailors”. There was also a strong recommendation to not start with “The Nine Tailors”.

Patrick O'Brien (3)
Recommended: The Aubrey/Maturin series, particularly on CD
Not Recommended: First two novels of Aubrey/Maturin series

Lois McMaster Bujold (2)
Recommended: A Civil Campaign (2)
Not Recommended: A Civil Campaign (with in-depth discussion of the work)

Elizabeth Moon (2)
Recommended: The Vatta Series (start with Trading in Danger); the rest of her works

Wodehouse (2) Enthusiastic recommendations

Stella Gibbons (2)
Recommended: Cold Comfort Farm (we loved the movie)

Dodie Smith (2)
Recommended: I Capture the Castle (movie also recommended)

Anthony Trollope (2)
Recommended: Start with Barchester Towers; Dr. Thorne (has a happy ending hard won).
Not Recommended: “Can You Forgive Her” (in which the good get miserable to mediocre endings).
In general, with Trollope the good may not end happily.
One commenter was less than enthusiastic about Trollope.

Elizabeth Goudge (2)
Recommended: The Little White Horse (strongly); Linnets and Valerians

Kate Elliot (1)
Recommended: Crown of Stars Series

E F Benson (1)
Recommended: Lucia series

E E Doc Smith (1)
Recommended: Lensman Series

John Dickson Carr (1)
Recommended: Mysteries

Elizabeth George (1)
Recommended: Earlier works
Not Recommended: Later works

Emily Eden (1)
Recommended: Semi-attached couple; Semi-detached house (written in the1860's, similar in spirit & style to Austen)

B J Chute (1)
Recommended: Greenwillow

Charlotte Armstrong (1)
Recommended: A Dram of Poison

Julia Quinn (1)
Quinn was described as a "Romance author with good sense of the ridiculous … yet respects her characters"

Mary Ann Shaffer (1)
Recommended: The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society

Lindsey Davis (1)

Marion Chesney (1)
Recommended: Regencies

Ngaio Marsh (1)

Josephine Tey (1)

Barbara Pym (1)
Recommended: Almost anything. Her works are surely comedies of manners, and her style is in my experience infinitely re-readable. Her endings tend more to the wryly hopeful than the unmistakably happy/unhappy, however.
Not Recommended: “Quartet in Autumn” (mildly but uniformly unpleasant characters)

Lloyd Alexander (1)
Recommended: Chronicles of Prydian

EL Konigsbug (1)
Recommended: From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler; A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver; The Second Mrs. Giaconda.

Dorothy Gilman (1)
Recommended: Mrs. Polifax series, particularly earlier ones.

E Nesbit (1)
Recommended: The Railway Children (the good end happily); other fantasy

Edward Eager (1)
Recommended: Half Magic

Patricia Veryan (1)
Recommended: Duet; Some Brief Folly; Other regency

Jo Walton (1)
Recommended: Tooth and Claw (Trollope enacted by dragons!); website linked at top.

Nancy Atherton (1)
Recommended: Aunt Dimity series; described as "Sweet, low-key mysteries"

Naomi Novik (1)
Recommended: Temeraire series

Barry Hugart (1)
Recommended: Bridge of Birds (Bridge of Birds “prompted from me both uncontrolled hilarity and actual tears of sorrow”; “robustly upholds the moral principle of rewarding the just and punishing the wicked.”)
Not Recommended: sequels to Bridge of Birds

Susana Clarke (1)
Recommended: Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell

Jennifer Crusie (1)
Recommended: Bet me; Crazy for You; Anyone But You
Not Recommended: Manhunting

Amanda Foreman (1)
Recommended: "Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire" Note: History, not fiction

#208 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 11:33 PM:

Jim Bales @ 207: Oh, my. You have pulled order from chaos, and that should be enough to keep anyone busy!

#209 ::: Jim Bales ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 11:37 PM:

Abi @ 170,

Thank you for your kind words and concern. Frankly, all was better by the time the MD's saw him, if not by the time we got to the ER.

I hope your 9-year-old is also doing better!

We were at a minor-league baseball game down in Rhode Island, and we were scheduled (with several hundred other cub scouts and parents) to camp in the outfield overnight after the game. By the start of the 2nd inning, his stomach hurt and he did not want to sleep over. By the start of the 4th he wanted to go home at the end of the inning. By the middle of the 4th, he wanted to go home now.

We started out, but by the time we got out of the ball park (perhaps 45 minutes after the stomach ache started) he was doubled over in pain, could barely talk, and just wanted to lie down on the concrete outside the exit. The security guard at the exit suggested calling the EMTs, and I quickly agreed!

The EMT's came. They had no diagnosis, but strongly urged us to go to the ER as some of the possible causes are quite serious (I have now learned of "testicular torsion", for example).

The EMTs got us into the ambulance, and (while they started an IV on my son), the Paw Sox security folks borrowed my car keys and moved my vehicle into a safe spot by the stadium, returning my keys to me just before we left in the ambulance. (The head of security for the Paw Sox called today to find out how my son was doing -- I am impressed with how they handled the situation.)

By the time we got to the hospital, the pain was abating. By the time the MD's saw him it was gone.

Best hypothesis: His dinner (stadium hotdog, chips, Gatorade) did not agree with him. It generated a lot of gas that (initially) was not able to escape his GI tract, resulting in severe pain. By the time we got to the ER, the gas was finding its way out one end or the other.

Some 4 hours after arrival at the hospital, we were back at the stadium. An hour later we were home, shortly after midnight.

I think I earned my Father's Day!-)


#210 ::: Jim Bales ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 11:43 PM:

janetl @ 208

Thank you!

I must admit to having two motives.

First, the whole point was to get recommendations for my wife. She would (rightly) not appreciate being told - "OK honey, I did the hard work posting the request. Now all you gotta do is comb through the 200+ comments in the thread and find the good stuff!"

Second, you all are most generous in sharing your thoughts and opinions. It seems to me that simple courtesy requires me to summarize and post what I have gained from the collective wisdom. Hopefully, all will find new works to read from this exercise!


#211 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2010, 11:49 PM:

I've actually had it suggested that I try drag stores for gloves, which is something that would have helped mightily when we were driving all over town looking for a pair that would fit me for high school graduation. (Tradition of long white dresses and red roses.) I finally found a spandex pair that didn't look too bad but I was tugging at them all evening.

Now for my next trick, I need to find a drag store. :D

In terms of men's shoes (and men's gloves, for that matter), while the size is there, the width is different. I had a pair of men's hiking boots way back when and while they worked pretty well, the laces were as snug as possible.

I think the frustrating thing for me is that it took me three decades to really understand that my clothing choices have been entirely determined by a narrow range of what actually fit (and could be afforded*), and did not reflect what I actually wanted to wear. In other words, I discovered I actually liked looking good, and the clothing I had was actively working against it. And then I compound the problem in my usual way by being broke when I've got design jones and being desperate when I'm actually shopping, and then I end up going to stores where things don't fit, get frustrated, and just go home.

Don't mind me. Complaining about clothing has become a habit.

In GOOD news, I successfully purchased two pairs of shorts yesterday. This is very good as these are literally the only two pair of correctly-sized shorts I own-- the others were worn to pieces (in an unfortunately public venue...)

*What's a normal clothing budget? Really?

#212 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 12:26 AM:

#207 Jim

>i>...suggestions for my wife who (along with Oscar Wilde’s Miss Prism) believes that fiction means that the good end happily and the bad unhappily. She does not care for violence in her fiction.

She particularly likes Austen, and (I realized I had not mentioned) the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series. Other works she has been reading/rereading include Narnia, Harry Potter, and The Mysterious Benedict Society series.

I had not mentioned that she has read the first few of the Amelia Peabody novels.

And now, the recommendations!

Georgette Heyer (5)
Good reads include Frederica; Cotillion; A Civil Contract; Venetia; The Unknown Ajax; The Corinthian.
Avoid My Lord John and anything not Regency

My Lord John is a historical novel, rather than a romance--this makes a VERY large difference. As a teenager I liked e.g. The Black Moth (Georgian), These Old Shades (Georgian), The Masqueraders (George I?) plus The Corinthian, etc., which were all romances.

Robin McKinley (3)
Recommended: Beauty; Chalice; The Hero and the Crown, the Blue Sword.
Not recommended: Deerskin and Sunshine (violence)


Patricia C. Werde (3)
Recommended: Sorcery & Cecelia was strongly recommended as "just adorable"

I also liked various of her solo book (blanking on titles--oh there is the YA or maybe even a bit younger-oriented four book "Enchanted Forest" series of Dealing with Dragons, Talking to Dragons... bad wizards get defeated by the use of some common in kitchens...

Lee & Miller (3)
Recommended: Lianden Series was also strongly recommended


Lois McMaster Bujold (2)
Recommended: A Civil Campaign (2)
Not Recommended: A Civil Campaign (with in-depth discussion of the work)

The Wide Green World series (starts with The Sharing Knife) has a romance readership following I think.
Shards of Honor and Barrayar (packaged together by Baen Books as "Cordelia's Honor" is one of the potential startign points. Barrayar is one of Lois' Hugo winners.

Elizabeth Moon (2)
Recommended: The Vatta Series (start with Trading in Danger); the rest of her works

There is some violence in the Vatta series. However, there is a strong streak of moral responsibility to the authors' works, and "the good end happily and the bad unhappily."

Kate Elliot (1)
Recommended: Crown of Stars Series

If findable, there's the "High Road" (I think that was it) trilogy by Alis Rasmussen (Kate Elliott is a pseudonym, used for writing career restart. The trilogy and the Kate Elliot SF published by DAW (names of titles escaping me... the Crown of Stars book are fantasy) are related.

E E Doc Smith (1)
Recommended: Lensman Series

Sometimes people over the age of 12 or 18 have trouble with these, others don't... prose is purple.

Lloyd Alexander (1)
Recommended: Chronicles of Prydian


Patricia Veryan (1)
Recommended: Duet; Some Brief Folly; Other regency

I don't specifically remember the title, but I'll second Veryan.

Jo Walton (1)
Recommended: Tooth and Claw


Naomi Novik (1)
Recommended: Temeraire series


What else, Patricia Wrede's collaborator on the Sorcery and Cecelia books, Caroline Stevemer's novel A College of Magic and another book set in the same universe. A College of Magic focuses on character sent off to a college by her uncle who's usurped the position which should be hers, and she does not want to have been sent out of her territory....

#213 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 12:31 AM:

Jim Bales, that is great news! Any huge bellyache in a child is of great concern, especially because when they get a run-of-the-mill bellyache (sep. from over-consumption) they barf and it's done and they feel better.

Bestest wishes, sorry your father's day was so stressful! (and a big hug across the e-ways. Dads need assuring hugs too,...)

#214 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 01:11 AM:

I particularly enjoy Elizabeth Moon's Remnant Population.

My personal go-to when I really need a mental palate cleanser, so to speak, is the Brother Cadfael series by Ellis Peters. There are some descriptions of battle wounds and such because the series is set during the civil war between King Harold and Empress Maud in the 12th century. It takes place near the Welsh border and features a sort of premature Renaissance man who solves mysteries and helps people find their happy endings.

#215 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 01:34 AM:

Er, Jenny, Cadfael's not at all a Renaissance man. His worldview is far too accurately Benedictine for that.

I can heartily recommend the TV-ifications. Cadfael = Derek Jacobi! The first Hugh Berengar is much better than the second. (Sean Pertwee vs. some random pretty person.)

#216 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 01:54 AM:

Abi @ 170, Jim @ 163,209, et al.
I haven't posted here in a few days in part because I also did the kid-to-ER thing over a bad stomach ache Tuesday night.

That turned out to be a good call. I was up all night there with him; by 5:30am (after a couple of exams, a CT scan, and several spectacular messes for the hospital cleaning crew) we had a diagnosis of appendicitis, by 7:30am his mom was there and we were meeting the surgeon, and by 9:00am he was waking up in the post-op recovery room. It all went remarkably smoothly, and he was home again the same evening with a little bruised puncture in the navel and a couple more tiny punctures in the belly. No big scar to show off.

The main problem with recovery has been that he kept cracking jokes (or reading funny books), laughing or making weird choking noises trying to keep from laughing, and then doubling up because it hurts to laugh. Otherwise he's doing fine and will probably be back in summer school tomorrow.

#217 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 03:26 AM:

File under "you hate to see that sort of thing at this level of play": the title page for volume 2 of the Oxford History of Western Music.

The book itself continues to rock my planet.

#218 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 03:33 AM:

I didn't mean to anti-recommend Manhunting; it's one of the better ones to me, but... okay, the basic plot is rot13ed: Jbzna tbrf gb erfbeg gb svaq n zna, zrrgf zna, frgf hc qngr, zna raqf hc pnegrq njnl va na nzohynapr be bgurejvfr vapncnpvgngrq. Fbzr bs gur zra qrfreir vg, bar be gjb qba'g, ohg vg'f gur barf jub qrfreir vg jub trg gur zbfg cntr gvzr.

Romances in general are safe books for me-- I have spent ages shying away from books people talk about* and books I think will hurt. It's good to have a list of other mostly-safe books that are also good.

*Weird reaction, yes. If it weren't two-thirty in the morning, I would remember the revelation I had about this today.

#219 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 05:17 AM:

Terry Karney, #174, when I first had a sulfa med I turned purple.

"Stand up. Turn around. Try walking bow-legged. We want you to become a wasp."

#220 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 07:30 AM:

Re the shoe buying problem: My eldest son, the successful end product of the Williamson-Wingate Giant Breeding Program, now wears a size 16, which puts him in the middle of where sizes run out in men's shoe. When he was doing theater they could never got the message that he could not only not go out and buy shoes as needed, but that for anything other than a generic athletic shoe we might not be able to get anything at all in less than a few weeks. When the did Oklahoma! we were extremely fortunate to get a pair of used farmer-ish boots on EBay. When he rejoins the boychoir in the fall they will have to make some wardrobe adjustments as the shoe they have switched to doesn't come bigger than a 14. At least he has boringly normally shaped feet, so that anything we find will fit. I have the nasty combination of high instep and extreme width, which was murder in the '80s when everything was a closed toe wingtip. Until I found that Rockport's last fits pretty well, my off-the-rack choices were determined by the Munson Last.

#221 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 08:04 AM:

Ginger #205:

OK. That's a broadish swathe of time. We should be able to arrange something, if I haven't been driven insane by then.

I'd suggest a blue rose between the teeth, if only to make it easy for Serge.

#222 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 08:17 AM:

Clifton Royston @ 216... Best wishes to your kid.

#223 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 09:21 AM:

Jim Bales @63/207--

Not that I want to mess up your carefully-sorted list, but since I was away from ML all weekend, I appear to have no choice.
One of my mother's favorites is DE Stevenson*, a Scottish novelist who was active from the 1930s through the late 1950s (at least). She wrote pleasant stories with a pleasant romance in them, set among pleasant surroundings filled (mostly) with pleasant people. They are dated, but in a way that makes them period novels now, rather than just out-of-date, if that makes any sense.

There is also Angela Thirkell, who found Trollope's Barsetshire lying around and couldn't resist; these are also pleasant, if you aren't going to be driven into screaming fits by the wide, deep Tory streak which becomes more and more obvious in the books set from World War II on.

One of my favorites among Stevenson's work is Miss Buncle's Book, which is about a woman who decides to improve her financial situation by writing a novel, which is amazingly successful; the downside is that she felt she lacked imagination to make anything up, and so based it all on her neighbors. Hijinks ensue, pleasantly.

A third among the dated-British-lady-novelists of the mid-20th-century is Miss Read; her books are set in a small village, among pleasant people pleasantly living their lives; I find them entirely soporific and so while I have read a couple of them, I cannot report a single thing on what went on in them. Other people's mileage may well vary; in fact, they must, because these are still in print.

None of these are as splendidly satirical as the Mapp and Lucia books; Stevenson and Thirkell have their moments, but do not in any sense approach Benson's level in that regard, and do not try to do so.

*Her father was one of the lighthouse Stevensons and so a cousin of RL Stevenson.

#224 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 09:39 AM:

Jim Bales:

One modification to your list. While Bridge of Birds is one of my favorite novels, you say your wife "does not care for violence in her fiction." Hughart's voice and style and his ability to make the good people win and the bad people get their just desserts tends to obscure a number of murders in the course of the novel, including an axe attack where you are in the room. I'd start with the cheap paperback so your wife can pitch it without excess guilt. Oh, and those later books? It's more a case of first novel brilliant, second and third good rather than the later books being poorly written.

#225 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 09:41 AM:

B. Durbin on shoes, specifically closed-toe for wearing with dresses but in larger sizes and widths -- somewhere recently I saw a recommendation for "character shoes," the kind stage dancers wear. They are closed toe, low heel, have a strap that makes them look mary-janeish, and reportedly are comfy enough to wear for hours at a time. And not very expensive, at least the ones available on Amazon -- around $35 a pair. I'm seriously considering a pair myself.

#226 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 09:50 AM:

Janet, 225: I should have thought of that! I can testify to the comfort and durability of Capezios--at least, the ones I bought to dance in always held up fine. But I haven't bought any in 20 years, and the company's changed hands since, so they might not be as good now. They made both leather and plastic; I preferred the leather. (Which have leather soles, so you'll want to get nonskid rubber put on.)

#227 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 11:01 AM:

My brother just got new shoes at a place that measures you standing up, knows things about feet, et cetera.

Eleven and a half 6E. Which I think means his feet are square.

He didn't get the are-you-joking arches-- when my aunt broke her foot, her doctor put a note on her impressions that it wasn't a prank. I got a bit of those, which is why my +2 Boots of Kicking Ass often give me blisters on my fingers from lacing them up.

#228 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 11:02 AM:

Lee@86: Mathematics. (Looks like people have actually nailed the building later on.)

Fragano Ledgister@87: Not that I've noticed, but I do own two clocks.

Benjamin Wolfe@106: Thanks!

Jim Bales@207: Oh! I just realized -- there's a lovely series of 12th-century mysteries, set on the English / Welsh border, that seem like they might go well. Ellis Peters, the "Brother Cadfael" books. The detective is a brother at the monastery there, where he retired after a long life in the world. He's their herbalist, and often assigned to deal with disturbing outside events. Of course the first one does start with 95 hangings, but it's not on-stage or played for shock (they end up with on extra body disposed of among the hanged; the title is One Corpse Too Many).

#229 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 11:02 AM:

224: yes, a graphic scene in which the main character actually cuts someone's ear off might be a bit over the top. Especially as it's played for laughs.

#230 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 11:09 AM:

Re: Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Michaels

Her real name is Barbara Mertz, she is an Egyptologist. Her non-fiction works are "Temples, Tombs, and Hieroglyphs" and "Red Land, Black Land."

I'm indifferent to Amelia Peabody, but love the Vicky Bliss series. It was only in the last book "Laughter of Dead Kings" that I realized "John" is Mertz' homage to Dorothy Dunnett's Crawford of Lymond series. He's a ringer for Francis Crawford, right down to his cornflower blue eyes...

#231 ::: Bjorn ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 11:19 AM:

Re: mouseover text on the Mike Huckabee sidelight: He'd be no less an asshole if the woman *hadn't* been a grandmother. The remark is just as unjustified and nasty.

#232 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 11:41 AM:

Serge @ 206, Fragano @ 221: I'll try not to disappoint either of you.

#233 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 12:06 PM:

NYC in 1999 sidelight: Did you notice the airships with wings?

Also, the scale of the buildings and bridges is a little weird. They are huger than real buildings are.

#234 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 01:33 PM:

Jim Bales: Another nice novelist — Jan Karon.
The Mitford novels are set in a small town, and the main character is a middle-aged bachelor minister. Thoroughly wholesome. Not my usual cup of tea at all, but I devoured them.

#235 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 02:04 PM:

ddb #228: The first Brother Cadfael book was actually A MORBID TASTE FOR BONES.

#233, Erik Nelson: My thought at seeing the humonguous buildings on Manhattan was "Gosh, Silverberg's urban monads from THE WORLD INSIDE."

#236 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 02:04 PM:

Terry Karney @174 & Marilee @186: Sulfa-allergy scary stuff. Sulfasalazine is the only thing that works to control my colitis. I tried doing without and using other drugs for a while, which resulted in a hysterectomy and clinical depression. You both have my sympathies.

Erik Nelson @185: IMDB says TMWFTE was based on a 1963 novel by Walter Tevis. Given that alien planets running out of water is a popular plot device, I doubt there's much influence.

And, yes, it is weird. Have you seen Walkabout? Similarly weird. Another "fish out of water" story.

dcb @187: I'm having problems finding running shoes to fit me

Look for Saucony. I stumbled across them by happenstance, and have been very happy with the ones I've owned. (My current pair is dissolving around my feet and desperately need replacing.) Their design is gratuitous, but that seems to be the rule for athletic shoes.

janetl @201: Ah, Bujold. I initially read them out of order, just as I found them. The lovely thing was that, when I went back and reread them in order, it was as much fun all over again: "Oh, that's what that was about!"

I really the love the new dimensions Ekaterin brings out in Miles. And the way she's a heroine in her own right.

I'm currently working my way through The Sharing Knife set. Not as good as the Vorkosigan series, but entirely readable, nonetheless.

#237 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 02:21 PM:

I have found a new author, Jo Graham, whose writing style reminds me of Mary Renault. I have become hooked on her Numinous World series: "Black Ships," "Hand of Isis," and the latest "Stealing Fire."

So I dropped by her website to see what else might be in the works, to find that she has two more books in the series that are in search of a publisher. I hope she finds a buyer soon, I'm experiencing withdrawal symptoms, not knowing when I'll be able to get another fix...

#238 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 02:24 PM:

ajay @ #219: Yessss! Eric Frank Russell is much overlooked these days,and hardly dated at all. Wasp is a classic, but so is Dreadful Sanctuary, and Three to Conquer is one of the best telepathy novels around.

#239 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 02:26 PM:

Forgot my other two mental palate cleansers!

I don't recommend Bujold's Vorkosigan series to people who are strongly disturbed by depictions of the evil that one person can do to another in a closed room. Bujold has said (paraphrase) that she develops her plots by imagining the worst that could happen. I still enjoy them strongly, but there are pages I skip. However, the series that starts with The Curse of Chalion deals with many of the same questions of morality, repentance, etc., in a considerably less graphic way and they are beautifully written. I could even call the first one sublime.

Frances Hodgson Burnett wrote some excellent romantic thrillers, a bit dated in their social conventions, but good reading. They're free at Project Gutenberg.

#240 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 02:27 PM:

Erik Nelson @233 -- my first thought was arcologies, (which is probably where Bob got the idea, Bruce @235).

It is to be hoped that there will be some sort of Fluorospheric gathering at Fourth Street this coming weekend, but I'm too busy to pull it together. If you're there, come say hi!

#241 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 02:29 PM:

Paula @ 212

Georgette Heyer (5)
Good reads include Frederica; Cotillion; A Civil Contract; Venetia; The Unknown Ajax; The Corinthian.
Avoid My Lord John and anything not Regency

My Lord John is a historical novel, rather than a romance--this makes a VERY large difference. As a teenager I liked e.g. The Black Moth (Georgian), These Old Shades (Georgian), The Masqueraders (George I?) plus The Corinthian, etc., which were all romances.

For me, a useful disambiguating data point on the Heyer divide is An Imfamous Army. Although the book continues several sets of characters appearing in earlier romances, she seems to have approached AIA as a more purely historical novel and I have found it impossible slogging (as I did My Lord John). I don't recall specifically what bounced me off MLJ, but for AIA it's definitely "researcher's disease". Every passage reeks of "I suffered for my research and by golly you will too."

Constance @184 re: audio vs. reading

I've regularly had the experience of enjoying certain books in audio that I had problems with in hard copy. There was a period of a couple of years when I had access to an audio book rental service and used it extensively for my workout listening. An Unfortunate Series of Events was extremely enjoyable in audio, but when I picked up the last of the series to read before listening, it was deathly. (And not in a good way.) In that case, the difference was that the prose was clearly designed for a "reading aloud" mode.

After a long, gradual disenchantment with Anne Perry's various mystery series, I found I could still make it through the last one I bothered with in audio, whereas I kept falling asleep in the book. In that case, I think it was purely a matter of "here I am on the treadmill and have nothing better to do".

With the demise of my audio-rental access[1], I've been getting my workout and road-trip material from and have been enjoying working my way through a number of classic novels from an era when the prose style is different enough from my normal reading tastes that I was unlikely to set aside the time to enjoy them. (Having spent about a year getting through The Count of Monte Cristo I'm now fluffing up my brain with several of the Pimpernel novels.)

[1] Yes, there are online audio sites, but the ones I've found that have the equivalent of "rental" as opposed to purchase need an active internet connection to listen.

#242 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 02:33 PM:

@241 Sorry Paula

I somehow missed the italics coding that indicated the second paragraph was quoting Paula's comment. (It was the nested comments-on-comments that tripped me up.) Sorry!

#243 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 02:48 PM:


Whenever Eric Frank Russell is mentioned I feel sorry for Neil Gaiman, who has written about having optioned the film rights for Wasp a week or so before September 11th, which made funding and release impossible to obtain. Not that he needs my sympathies, mind you, but to have something you'd been working towards jerked out from under you through no fault of your own and no appeal--that's gotta hurt.

#244 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 02:54 PM:

dcb @187: I'm having problems finding running shoes to fit me

As a former wide-footed person, I wanted to raise an option somewhat different than those already suggested ... though one that will require rather more adjustment.

I've been hearing great things through friends about Vibram Five-Fingers shoes. And this site addresses their use specifically for running long distances -- and that, if you wish to use them for that, you need to put in some training time barefoot to work on your muscles and toughening up your tissue, because the VFFs will protect your skin so successfully that you can sprain your feet running on them without realizing it; if you train barefoot, your skin will be shouting OW OW at you before you actually do any damage.

Speaking personally, they're really weird to put on, and you should go somewhere the staff knows how to fit them so you get the right size ... but they're GREAT for width. The only fitting issue they're really bad on is weird toe lengths, and there are fan-hack techniques available on Birthday Shoes for that.

#245 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 02:56 PM:

Jenny Islander:

I don't recommend Bujold's Vorkosigan series to people who are strongly disturbed by depictions of the evil that one person can do to another in a closed room.

Agreed. There is once sentence in Mirror Dance that can chill the blood, but the paragraph is structured so that 90% of those that read it will not pick up on that line. The OTHER ten percent, however... I'm not going to go into it here because the last time I went into how brilliant the structure of the line was I was attacked for giving spoilers, but if you do a search here for my name and Mirror Dance you should be able to find it. Sort of like the way that the epilog of The Invisible Man is more frightening than the entire story you've just read.

#246 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 03:02 PM:

Argh. I meant the first sentence of the former post to look like this:

As a former* wide-footed person, I wanted to raise an option [etc].

And then, of course, below would have been this:

* In the department of 'stuff they didn't warn me about,' apparently experiencing a successful pregnancy has made my feet narrower. I hadn't bothered to have my feet actually measured since the mid-1990s, because at that point they seemed to have stabilized at about a women's 10W (or 11, or even a 12 in some styles), and it was working well enough to just try stuff on and buy the ones that fit.

However, when I went in to try on Vibrams, I mentioned to the staffer that maybe I should try the men's because they use a wider last, and she blinked at my feet and said, "Well, you look kind of like a narrow to me, try the women's."

I fishfaced a few times, and she went to go get the Shoe-Measuring-Thingie with the slidey bit and the two heelcups, and danged if I'm not currently a 9 Narrow in women's sizes.

The only even vaguely cromulent explanation I can find is that the hormonal soup loosened ligaments that then retightened (or failed to) in some novel way that created this result? I had visually noticed my toes spreading out and relaxing, but I was crediting that to wearing mainly wide-toebox men's shoes instead of trying to cram into pointy women's stuff.

#247 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 03:05 PM:

Jacque @ 236: I'd like to try the Saucony Echelon, but I've yet to find a shop stocking them, and I'm not going to buy without trying. I bought a pair of Saucony Triumphs last year and found they were too narrow in the toe box (8 mile run = black right toe nail). I actually contacted Saucony for "similar but wider toes" and they recommended the Echelon or, failing that, Ride. I found a pair of Rides on sale cheap (£20), and they're okay for short runs (4-6 miles), but I wouldn't use them on 8-miles plus. If I'm ever in a shop that stocks the Echelon, I'll give them a go.

Running shop staff don't like me - I've got small, flat, wide-toed feet and (whatever they say when they get me on a treadmill) based on the wear pattern on my shoes, I do NOT overpronate. It doesn't compute for them. They keep trying to put me in anti-pronation shoes, which are uncomfortable on my feet and make my knees hurt.

Heather Rose Jones @ 241: You've found it okay listening to books while on a treadmill? Walking or running? I've wondered about trying that, for next winter when I'm forced to do my running indoors.

#248 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 03:07 PM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @245 spoke about a particular line in Mirror Dance involving two of Mark's personalities

On initial read, I interpreted that line to mean fbzrguvat yvxr gubfr evqvphybhf erfgnhenagf jurer lbh cnl uhtr fhzf gb rng fhfuv (be juvccrq pernz, be jungrire) bss n anxrq uhzna cyngr. And it still holds up as interpretable that way, on rereading. I guess I can see your reading, but it didn't strike me as the most obvious or natural.

Rot-13ed for the potentially squeamish who don't want to read anything at all really seriously no no no about that line ever again. Which is fine. :->

#249 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 03:53 PM:

Re the name particle: The other side of the coin is that if you make using your name impossible, people will simply assign you one that they can use. See especially under "the artist formerly known as Prince."

#250 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 04:02 PM:

Elliott Mason @244: I've wondered about going the "barefoot" route - and trying the "Five-Fingers", specifically (too much dog-dirt and possibility of glass in the park where I run for actual barefoot). I did start some short (0.25 or 0.5 mile) barefoot running at the end of my runs on the treadmill in the winter, but somehow didn't keep going with it once I got back into outdoor running. As for toe lengths - I tried a pair of Injinji socks on once and the last two toes were REALLY long on me, so I may have the same problem with the "Five-Fingers"?

And yes, it's recommended to move over to barefoot/Five-Fingers or whatever over a period of months - considerably harder work for the calves and foot muscles.

#251 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 04:33 PM:

Open-threadiness: The AP this weekend had a memorable story on Don Ritchie, who's stopped over 100 suicide attempts over nearly 50 years at a cliff near his home, by offering a smile and cup of tea.

#252 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 04:43 PM:

Elliot Mason:

Well, I suppose the version you first got could be what had been going on, but when were any of the Baron's little entertainments as described in the book natural, or obvious, or, frankly, that benign?

#253 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 04:58 PM:

Serge: Thanks, and he seems to be doing fine. He couldn't wait to get off to school this morning. "I missed 3 days! It's only my 3rd day of summer school but it's the 6th day for the other kids!" I reminded him not to tire himself out too fast, but he already seems to be back to full warp power.

#254 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 05:00 PM:

dcb @250: You sure you're not looking for a bicycle? ;o)

As for Saucony-by-mail, do they have a reasonable return policy such that you could send them back if they don't work for you? (Shopping for shoes by mail/online does strike me as a chancy, tedious business.)

#255 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 05:05 PM:

ThinkGeek wins the Internet.

(In brief: they got a C&D letter about a product that didn't exist, and are mocking the smart people who didn't have enough brains to tell the difference between reality and fantasy.)

#256 ::: LDR ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 05:19 PM:

Mark D. @#195: It also makes me wonder if Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, was a model for Lady Glencora Palliser.

I thought the exact same thing after reading Foreman's book. Glencora and Plantagenet, have, of course, been suitably sanitized for the Victorian era.

#257 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 05:35 PM:

254 ::: Jacque @ 254: A bicycle is for getting from A to B faster than walking and cheaper/easier to park/better for the environment than driving. I have two (one's a folding bike, for taking on trains etc.). Running is for fun, and fitness, and thinking ahead to minimise osteoporosis in later life, and beating my personal best for a half-marathon - and burning more calories so I can drink beer and eat chocolate!

Re. returns policy - I don't know, but even if they do, I'd be out the postage if I needed to return them - which adds up quite fast, with shoes. I really wish there was a way to tell which ones are going to give my toes enough sideways room on a long run, before taking them on a long run - the stores won't take them back after you've done the long run (say, 10 miles) to try them out, because they're not pristine any more...

#258 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 05:51 PM:

John Mark Ockerbloom @ 251: Good to know there are still people like that around.

Lee @ 255: Thank you for a really good laugh!

#259 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 06:03 PM:

Re the Bujold line: I can think of two extremely unpleasant possibilities. And one that's slightly less extremely unpleasant. I'm rejecting them and going with the Elliot Mason suggestion. LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU.

#260 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 06:06 PM:

... Upon rereading, that sounds like a teaser. Apologies if you automatically translate rot-13: naguebcbcuntl, pbcebcuntl naq zvfhfr bs gur tnt ersyrk.

#261 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 06:13 PM:

dcb @257: "Joke, Moshe, joke!"

#262 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 06:20 PM:

So what is the deal with zombies, anyway? I don't get it.

#263 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 06:48 PM:

dcb @ 257: I really wish there was a way to tell which ones are going to give my toes enough sideways room on a long run, before taking them on a long run - the stores won't take them back after you've done the long run (say, 10 miles) to try them out, because they're not pristine any more...

Have you tried a store that specializes in runners? Back during my brief fling with marathons, I learned of two stores in Portland that cater to serious runners. They both claimed to have Special Powers in fitting shoes, and I believe they would exchange a pair that didn't work out.

My podiatrist firmly talked me into shoes that I thought were a full size too big, which probably was why I finished without any black toenails.

#264 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 07:09 PM:

Lee @ 255 -

That rocks!

#265 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 07:38 PM:

On the subject of horrible shoes for women, there is hope. At the prom I chaperoned this year, half the girls were in stilettos, but the other half were in glittery flip-flops. I expect that by the time they're the ones doing the hiring, flip-flops will be acceptable office wear.

#266 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 07:46 PM:

Flip flops are just as bad as stilettos, according to my podiatrist. She says she sees as many flip flop/sandal related injuries as high heels.

#267 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 07:55 PM:

fidelio (223): D.E. Stevenson is very good, yes. There's a sequel to Miss Buncle's Book, Miss Buncle Married. I'm particularly fond of Katherine Wentworth. But really, start anywhere.

On shoes: My mother wears a 10.5, which mostly doesn't exist--women's shoe sizes generally jump from 10 to 11. Men's shoes aren't a solution for her, because she also takes a AAA width. My dad takes a EEEE width, which means he always has to mail order his shoes--which then don't fit right but he wears them anyway. I seem to have averaged the two, and wear a relatively normal 9B (B is medium for a woman). My big problem is that I *cannot* wear slip-ons of any description. Finding winter boots with actual laces is surprisingly difficult.

#268 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 08:13 PM:

On wide running shoes - New Balance seem to be the canonical brand that's willing to sell wide ones, and many of my friends therefore have Ns on the sides of their shoes. I'll have to look for Saucony and see if they also work.

On Tevas - I normally wear socks with them, but after a vacation at the beach, my feet still have a Teva-strap-shaped tan line that's persisted for months. My normal shoe-shopping trip is to get the Birkenstocks retread yet again, but they're finally reaching the point that I should probably buy another new pair.

#269 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 08:24 PM:

In regards to the Huckabee quote in the Particles: Another instance of the usefulness of the phrase "Christ, what an asshole."

#270 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 08:29 PM:

On novelist Anthony Trollope - I once read Domestic Manners of the Americans by his mother Frances, about her travels in the 1830s in the barbarian American Midwest. People did such vulgar things as chewing tobacco and constant drunkenness and not having a State-funded Church to support the poor, and having a middle-class that didn't know their place. And then there was slavery, though she didn't spend much time in the South. A good read, from this far removed a time; apparently it was not well received by the barbarians she was writing about. My copy has wandered off into the local extension of L-space, but it's public domain.

#271 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 08:52 PM:

re 268: NBs are the only ones that will fit me.

#272 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 08:56 PM:

B. Durbin, #197, my shoes are 10AAAA, AAAAAAA heel, and I have two pairs that fit well -- black and white AP1s from Easy Spirit -- and a pair of sandals and a pair of boots to wear when I'm willing to hurt my feet for fashion. Doesn't happen often.

I didn't have to wear heels at my last job (1983-86) because in 1983 I broke my ankle badly and had to wear flats after that.

janetl, #202, when we lived out of the US, my mother would outline around my foot and send it in to Nordstrom's with an idea of what kind of shoe we'd like. They'd send us a few pairs and we'd send back the ones that didn't work, and pay for the one(s) that did.

Clifton Royston, #216, great news! I'm glad they got it taken care of quickly and well.

Elliott Mason, #246, when I gained all this weight, I thought my feet would get wider, but no, they got longer!

#273 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 10:48 PM:

With feet size 6.5 wide, I have trouble finding things too. Best so far: two pairs of sneakers from Land's End. I'd like to replace a bunch of canvas slip-ons that I bought so long ago they're falling apart, but have to make do with sole inserts to make up for any holes below. (Wine or dark green* in canvas? No way, whether or not they're in my size!)

*The current faves of neon chartreuse and magenta don't appeal at all.

#274 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 11:06 PM:

I'd be wearing women's 4E if they existed.
Instead I get a 'youth' 3/3.5 in something that has a wide last. (Pumas are too narrow; Adidas and Skechers generally fit but I have to watch out for bumps and ridges inside the shoe.) The price break on them is between size 3 and size 3.5.

#275 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2010, 12:25 AM:

In the realm of shoes and feet - I am amused that my brother and I (he is three years my junior) have vastly different size feet - I wear a 7.5 or an 8; he wears a 12 or 13. Then again, he gets to have rather more fun finding shoes than I do - not only does he need to find decent footwear, they need to be acceptable in a professional kitchen environment (my beloved canvas sneakers need not apply).

#276 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2010, 12:51 AM:

Janet B C @ 225: The "theater shoes" I have are, in fact, character shoes and I love them. I even have a white pair stashed somewhere that I got married in. They're marvelous for the most part, except for one stupid thing: my big toes turn up a bit, and I found out that if I wore those shoes for two days in a row while doing yearbook photography, I ended up with the most spectacular bruise on the inside of the toenail. Damn thing finally grew out a month ago.

The *first* time I had problems with character shoes on a shoot was after a thirteen-hour day (not all work.) I ended up taking my shoes off entirely for the end of day setup and then driving home a stick shift in bare feet rather than fact the alternative of putting the shoes back on. That was rookie time; now they don't bother to waste me on setup, so I don't have to pack spare shoes.

I've actually worn ballet flats to fulfill the letter of the "closed toe" requirement, though God knows that wouldn't do me any real good in terms of toe protection. Yes, I prefer spending eight hours on something little better than bare feet to wearing heels. Much more comfortable. Not really ideal for winter, though. (Can granny boots come back in style? Please?)

#277 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2010, 12:53 AM:

Elliot Mason: I've never heard an official explanation as to why pregnancy changes your shoe size, though it usually only does it once. I'm inclined to agree with you on the ligament-loosening-retightening idea, and I am intrigued that yours seemed to tighten more than before.

#278 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2010, 02:00 AM:

Just got done doing a quick rave on my LJ about "Derren Brown The Specials." Basically, if you have access to a region-free player and are interested in mentalism get the set right away.

#279 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2010, 02:36 AM:

dcb: Re running shoes. Ignore the reviews, don't ignore your knees andhips. When I was training for competition (Army, a 2.3 mile race, once a month; times were about 12 minutes), I discovered I am not meant to wear Addidas running shoes. At about 120 miles my knees would start to ache. That was about three weeks.

Re New Balance: If you can stand the forward pitch of them, I understand they are lovely. Me... I feel as if my face and the pavement are about to become one, and think the reason people who wear them run so quickly is they are trying not to fall down.

Marilee, I have jewelry I never take off, as you may be aware, having a case doctors write monographs on is a bad idea.
Jim Bales re Books: I will repeat my disagreement that Master and Commander and Post Captain are not the place to start the O' Brian books. There is so much going on in them that to pick up later is to mis a huge amount of subtext, and relational structure between the protagonists.

I also think Fer de Lance is fine place to start Nero Wolfe. It's not hit the stride of the later books; Archie is rougher, Fritz less defined, and Wolfe... not quite Wolfe, but the opening, with the beer, is wonderful. But, unlike the O'Brian I don't think anything is lost by starting elsewhere.

#280 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2010, 04:02 AM:

Jacque @ 261: Yes, but it was too good not to reply to.

janetl @ 263: re. shoe fitting, running shops and returns. As I indicated upthread, specialist running shops keep trying to put me in shoes for overpronators, because my feet are quite flat - despite the evidence of the sole wear pattern clearly indicating I'm not overpronating - so I'm getting a bit fed up. Also, lots of US runners' websites talk about shops taking back the shoes if you find they don't fit. Over here, it just doesn't happen unless you are able to return them looking like new. So, you can take them home and try them out for a few miles on a treadmill, but that's all. If you -do- take them back, most of the stores appear to have an exchange/credit note system only, no refunds - so if they've not got any shoes in the store that fit you, or they initially encouraged you to buy ones for £110 (without pointing out the tiny notice saying no refunds) then you find ones that fit better at £70, they hang onto your money until you find something in the store to buy from them. I'm not very happy with that (if they didn't have that attitude, I'd make a point of going back and buying other stuff there, if they had made the effort to try to fit me properly).

As for size, I normally wear a (UK) 3.5 - 4 (Eur 36-37, US 6-6.5). In running shoes I'm going for 4.5-5, and even at a 5 the Mizuno Wave Riders gave me a black toenail following a long run (while the Genesis 4 and 4.5 are fine). And it's not really the length anyway, but the toe box width - it's my little toe nails getting hammered, not the big ones!

Bill Stewart/C. Wingate. Next time I get up to Keswick, I'll try going into the New Balance store and seeing if they have the wider fittings.
Terry Karney @ 279: Ah, since I'm thinking of trying for the minimal approach, maybe I won't go NB after all.

Terry Karney @ 279 (again): As for the shoes and my knees/hips - I did most of my training for a half-marathon in the Mizuno Genesis last year (after the old trail running shoes wore out, and with a hiatus while I found the Saucony Triumphs didn't work). And I ran the 1/2 in 1.45.25, on roads, with no complains from knees or hips. Then I thought I "ought" to get "better" shoes. But at 5 ft 2 and under 110 pounds, you're right, maybe I should just ignore the stuff about the Genesis not being suitable for roads or long runs (I do most of my training on grass/dirt paths/gravel paths). I'd try racing flats, but the ones I've tried on are all very narrow for some reason, particularly in the toes - which is where I need room for my toes to wriggle and expand.

Mind you, compared to the stories other people are telling of their shoe woes, I've nothing to complain about!

#281 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2010, 06:39 AM:

Seconding or thirding New Balance. They are one of the few places I can find shoes of any kind in my size with any degree of regularity.

I admit I also have a cheap-ass admiration for the tent sale at their outlet store, which is in the wilderness fringe of central Maine and only an hourish from here, which is close enough for Good Shoes, Cheap. The tent sale is some time in August.... I need to look the dates up, my stash of Shoes That Fit is getting low...

#282 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2010, 07:39 AM:

On reading order for O'Brian: DO NOT start with _Treason's Harbour_, whatever you do. There's a gigantic piece of information about a major character on the first page that you really don't want to find out right off the bat. It didn't stop me from enjoying the other nineteen books, but it would have been much more fun if I hadn't known it from the beginning.

#283 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2010, 08:36 AM:

Faren Miller @273 - My feet are about the same size, which is the equivalent of a youth size 3.5/4. I have found that the shoes in the youth section are wider and more apt to be flat so I look in that section first.

#284 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2010, 09:23 AM:

B. Durbin @ 277 (wrt Elliot Mason): Pregnancy hormones cause relaxation of ligaments in preparation for birth, by allowing the birth canal to expand. The pelvic ligaments are the "intended target", and the feet are just innocent bystanders. As it were.

#285 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2010, 10:23 AM:

Thena #281: Seconding or thirding New Balance.

My New Balance shoes (with gloriously convenient Velcro straps) were the first pair of shoes in many years for me that were very comfortable to wear right out of the box. I just don't care if there's a social stigma against them.

#286 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2010, 10:45 AM:

correction to 274
Nikes, not Adidas.

#287 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2010, 10:47 AM:

One of my multiple problems in buying shoes these days is that almost all of them are, to my eyes... well, "butt-ugly" just doesn't seem right; I don't mind the appearance of the typical human butt as much as I dislike the appearance of most of those shoes. "Angry fruit salad" comes closer. They're a jarring hodgepodge of stripes, blobs, logos, and other shapes in weird combinations of colours and textures.

I don't want something that looks high-tech and Cool. I don't want a bubble of depleted-uranium hexafluoride in the sole for extra cushioning and sound absorption, for a nominal extra cost. I just want a plain pair of running shoes which fit comfortably.

#288 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2010, 11:06 AM:

Joel Polowin @287: Angry fruit salad

You mean like these? Yeeee.... (I walk past their offices on the way to the bus station every day. Haven't gone blind...yet.)

#289 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2010, 11:26 AM:

On the subject of New Balance shoes: I've been wearing them since the pointy days of the 1970s, and they are all I can wear now. I have the solid black MX622, in double E widths, and they are comfortable as well as unobtrusive. My source is the online shop of A Perfect Dealer, although there are actual stores not too far from work.

#290 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2010, 11:52 AM:

Oh my GOD, in re the Particle: I want to go to that New York! I want to live there!

#291 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2010, 12:13 PM:

re shoes and toes. My great toes have a bit of upturn. I also have really stout toenails on them. I never got black beds, but my "leg boots" all have a flat spot ground off the inside of the toe-cap from slow abrasion.

Social stigma to New Balance? News to me. I just can't stand them; on a personal level. What you wear is your business, it's your feet, knees, hips that need protecting.

#292 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2010, 12:15 PM:

Re 290: I'm trying to figure out how long and wide those pedestrian bridges are. Would they have shops in them?

I'm probably being too literal.

#293 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2010, 12:27 PM:

Terry Karney #291: Social stigma to New Balance? News to me

No, social stigma against Velcro straps; the implication is of the special needs can't tie their own shoelaces kind.

#294 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2010, 12:27 PM:

Open Threadiness

Missing the Mark mini-rant on Facebook: [Note, I go on Facebook and empty out e.g. C:\Users\{computer name}\AppData\Roaming\Macromedia\Flash Player\\support\flashplayer\sys etc. ]

One of the email lists I am on, someone who in my opinion is quite misguided, routines posts a message almost verbatim of the form,

"Terrific Tuesday with [author' name] :)

[Note, that is the subject line of the message. I failed to mention that on Facebook]

"Stop by and see what this talented author has to say:)

"Molly Daniels/Kenzie Michaels"

[Lines immediately above are the sole message content]


This irks me, for reasons including:
a) there is no infomation about who the featured writer is, what the person writes, why the perpetrator of this considers the person "talented"

b) I hate marketing hyperbole "Terrific Tuesday " -- terrific? pfeh!
c) Originality -- F, except for the author name it is the same message verbatim every time.
d) Then there is the blogspot site. It's bare of any explanation of what or why whoever is being promoted is being promoted... Contrast that with e.g. the "WHAT" entry in the upper right at http:/ Making Light:

"a weblog by Teresa & Patrick Nielsen Hayden and their many commenters and sometime guests. Because “a better future isn't going to happen by itself.” (Thank you, Kevin Maroney.) More below."

If the intent is promotion of stuff and author one thinks deserving of public attention and acclaim, to me it's utterly appalling that the promoter lacks either or both interest and clue to bother putting in some words of actual -promotion- to tell people WHY the promoter considers promoting he work/athor worthwhile, and to bother providing some information about the writer/work, to provide information about the contents of the webpage being pointed to, to make it worthwhile [or not worthwhile* ] for message recitipients to make a decision to follow [or not follow] the link.
* There isn't enough time in a lifetime to look at every webpage on the net. People have to make decisions that include what they are NOT going to investigate--limited time limited resources otherwise...)


I really, really, REALLY wish people would Get a Clue and if doing marketing/promo activities, do it with a clue, and not the not-even-half-assedness-that-the-above-has.... (I worked with -competent- marketing people, on projects ranging from studies selling for a couple thousand dollar for subscription, to billion dollar plus proposals (winning ones, too...) to the government. I get really annoyed at crappy marketing which instead of giving people reasons to follow a link because it is something they are de facto interested in (message tells the reader that the content is something relevant to the person--and the content DOES correspond to the link promo material, OR message has sufficient information for "the link is to something I'm not interested in. Okay, I'll skip it, the message gave me the information I needed to know to know the page linked to, isn't something I should spend time on going to." When I get irate is when the message writer is wasting MY time by failing to provide information which lets me decide if the link is or is not worth going to -- messages with "no effective content" or which leave out key information necessary for decision-making....))

Also, if the author of such messages ASSUMES that everyone in the forum known her or him and their peculiarities... that is ALSO offputting and irritating....

#295 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2010, 12:32 PM:

Earl, 293: It would never have occurred to me to think that.

#296 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2010, 12:34 PM:

269,270: Good accidental juxtaposition.

Domestic Manners/Christ what an asshole.

#297 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2010, 12:42 PM:

Paula Leiberman 294:
Are you sure this poster is a real person and not just an autopost webfungus?

There exist things like auto-reposting roboblogs for drumming up link traffic. Maybe this is a thing that ties in with one of them.

#298 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2010, 12:44 PM:

Michael Roberts at 290.
Actually if you lived in that new york there might not be much light in your apartment. The hugeness of the buildings means they have low surface to volume ratios, and therefore perhaps not enough windowage.

#299 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2010, 12:45 PM:

Earl@293: Ah, against the velcro! That's probably why I'm having a hard time finding any decent shoes with velcro, which I prefer. For a while Mal*Wart had really cheap perfectly decent $10 velcro shoes that lasted a year or two, but the latest incarnation does not fit me suddenly.

#300 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2010, 01:15 PM:

#298 Erik

Roboposters don't tend to post oops, I put the wrong email address in looking for people to inteview, erratum messages....

#301 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2010, 01:25 PM:

my "leg boots" all have a flat spot ground off the inside of the toe-cap from slow abrasion.

Inference: Terry has two types of boots, "leg boots" and... some other sort of boots. (Arm boots? Head boots? Car boots, bought at a car boot sale?)

#302 ::: Velma ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2010, 01:36 PM:

Our other community -- well, one of them -- is hosting a benefit for our piano bar friends, Kimlee Hicks, on Thursday, 24 June. Her husband Chris took a bad fall a couple of weeks ago, and was operated on for a major hematoma, then put into a medically-induced coma for a few days. And, as the universe goes, his health coverage ran out at the end of April, and Kimlee, as a performer, has none.

Apart from what I can do in giving information about traumatic brain injuries and some of the possible things one can expect from them, I am offering to collect money from anyone who can't make it to the show and would like to help, either in person or via my paypal account [Velma at deselbybowen dot com]. Kimlee is Soren's favorite performer, a woman with an amazing bluesy sort of voice and a deplorable sense of humor. We'll be at the benefit (I'll be in disguise, with a full head of hair), if you can make it, and want to say hello.

Benefit information:

Please join us for a very special event on Thursday, June 24, at 5:00pm, to benefit our good friends Kimlee Hicks and Chris Bergadano at Don't Tell Mama (343 West 36th Street, Manhattan). For only $25 plus a two drink minimum, listen to the beautiful voices of some of theater's hottest stars of today such as Terri White, Kathy Kaefer, Lina Koutrakis & Michael Leon Wooley. Hosted by Michael Dionne & Jay Rogers.

If anyone wants to make a donation, but can't get to the benefit, I can collect money through my paypal account (Velma at deselbybowen dot com), and bring it.

(I think the benefit is at 5:00 to allow Terrie White to perform, and then get back to the theater in time for her call for Chicago.)

#303 ::: Marna Nightingale ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2010, 01:47 PM:

ddb @ 299: I don't actually care if people want to identify me with people who can't tie their own shoes, not least because some days I can't tie my own shoes.

That said I don't love velcro for anything I'm going to hike or do heavy work in because they don't adjust as precisely as lacing does.

As for brands, past a certain point shoe quality flattens out and it's all about the last the designer uses - whichever one FITS you is almost certainly going to have the support, etc, that you need.

I have, according to the nice lady at the Rinnung Room, a perfectly straight gait, which puts all the shoes that correct pronation and underpronation off my list. I'm glad they take returns so long as you haven't worn them outside...

New Balance fit me like a dream, so do Merrils. Birks are fine. Clarks are hit-and-miss. Adidas HURT. Nike used to be okay but are now weirdly 'off'.

Keen (which I love), Converse (for which I nurture a hopeless and unhealthy passion), Mephisto, and several others are hopelessly too wide for me.

#304 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2010, 01:49 PM:

ajay @301: car boots

#305 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2010, 01:56 PM:

Marna@303: People impugning my intelligence at that level just aren't to be taken seriously, so I don't. But in fact it never happens, that I've noticed.

Straight slip-ons are for people who can't handle the complexities of velcro, I guess :-) .

I prefer the Velcro because I find it's more adjustable :-) . Particularly, that slack doesn't slip from low to high or high to low, as it does with laces. Also it doesn't come untied (there's this neat knot, the "better bow", that doesn't come untied, but I reserve that for hard round laces that come untied terribly easily, it's enough extra finicky to do).

#306 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2010, 01:59 PM:

re velco: I have a vexed relationship with it (as do most people who were in the Army, post 2001, or so). It allows somethings, which don't need adjustment, to be easily secured/opened (like a protective mask carrier).

But if it needs adjusting... I mostly don't like it, because I am not the average body. The loop panels are never long enough. If I try to get the garment to fit properly I run the risk of it not having enough hooks engaged to stay shut; and of having some long tag flapping, to get pulled/dragged, otherwise undone.

re "leg boots", it's a style of combat boot: army generic, which separates the standard infantry/support troops from the specialised airborne and tankers.

"Leg" being a derisive term. They are apart from the lug soles, pretty good boots.

#307 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2010, 02:05 PM:

Best shoe fit I ever got was at a running store on Pike/Pine on Capital Hill, just east of Broadway. The people there are hardcore, ultra marathon types, and they took a couple looks at me, got me on a treadmill, and then pulled something out that was nearly perfect. They then proceeded to manipulate the shoes with a metal bar until the fit was perfect.

#308 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2010, 03:00 PM:

Joel, #287: More to the point, I want a basic pair of BLACK exercise shoes. Not neon-colored, not fancily decorated, and absolutely not WHITE, because white shoes become scuzzy-looking within a month. I generally end up buying mine from Payless, because that's the only place I can find black ones.

My other huge issue with most exercise shoes is that bump in back on the top. It rubs blisters onto my Achilles tendon, even with socks. I have to look long and hard to find shoes with a level profile at the back.

Keds used to make a leather version of their standard canvas sneakers, which came in white or black; the black version made a very nice faux dress shoe with slacks. The last time I went looking for them, I discovered that they'd been "updated" to look like running shoes -- thick and clunky. Faugh.

There's a reason I end up wearing surfer flops most of the time.

#309 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2010, 03:10 PM:

Joel Polowin @ 287/Jacque @ 288: Ouch. eye-bleeding. And someone has decreed that the women's styles (or at least, the ones coming close to fitting me) should mainly be pink- or purple-trimmed (and/or neon). I loath pink. Why never a decent blue or a quiet dark green? I can't imagine any serious runner wanting to wear pink. However, one running store manager told me he'd found some women - including those running e.g. marathon distances - wouldn't buy anything unless it was pink or pink-trimmed. Even if it was perfect in every other respect. Go figure.

#310 ::: Marna Nightingale ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2010, 03:29 PM:

ddb @ 305: People impugning my intelligence at that level just aren't to be taken seriously, so I don't.

People who think 'retard' jokes are funny are to be taken seriously for as long as it takes to explain to them that I'd far rather be mistaken for someone with a severe developmental disability than be mistaken for them, so I do.

Also, if you hate WalMart as much as you appear to, why do you buy ten dollar sneakers from them?

#311 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2010, 03:34 PM:

I have, for some years now, been wearing mainly Brooks Beast men's running shoes (I am female) on the recommendation of my podiatrist. I have custom-made orthotics for them. They have done wonders for the tendon problem and other general aches that sent me to the podiatrist originally, but they look like running shoes. My office is very informal but I do have to look professional on occasion, which usually causes my feet/ankles to hurt for days, especially if it has to be coupled with walking to/from the Metro. I recently acquired a pair of New Balance in all-black. They are not quite as comfortable as the Brooks, but much better than most, and worn with black dress slacks they pass pretty well.

On Velcro - as parent of a teenager who in fact doesn't have the motor coordination to tie her own shoes, I have grown fond of the bungee-laced athletic shoes. Velcro seemed to always pick up crud, and the others look a little nicer. But she has feet in an average width, so not the fitting problems some of the rest of you deal with.

#312 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2010, 03:50 PM:

I used to buy high-priced, low-fashion name-brand walking shoes. Reeboks and New Balance.

Because I walk a lot, I found myself wearing them out distressingly fast.

I've taken to buying out-of-fashion sneakers from Goodwill. They sometimes have bizarre colors and designs, but, hey, I wear them along with pajamas, fleece vest, and a nylon mesh cap while being dragged along by a shepherd dog.

I am also not above, um, salvaging sneakers from, ah, high-discount moving sales, AKA dumpsters. People moving out of apartments in a hurry toss out massive quantities of clothing, including virtually unused sneakers.

When I find a pair of 10.5s, I put them in a white wash with bleach and put them into service.

#313 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2010, 03:51 PM:

Re: shoes: I've taken to wearing heeled casual dress shoes at the behest of my podiatrist, to keep my calves and Achilles tendons from being overstrained and aggravating my heel spurs. I wore the wooden heels down of the first pair I got in an awful hurry, but the current pair has rubber soles and seems to be holding up OK. I wonder if anyone has suggestions for athletic shoes that'll serve my purposes now, since the ones I have won't?

I also have orthotics made from a "proprietary aerospace composite," which is like a space-age polymer, only edgier.

#315 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2010, 05:09 PM:

As long as we're discussing shoes... I pretty much wear only "black formal athletic shoes" for work, and slippers (aka zori, flip-flops) the rest of the time. My feet aren't a particularly weird size or shape though; men's 10 1/2, and I can take an 11, so that affords me a lot of choices.

I've ended up mostly buying the athletic shoes at the Skechers outlet store; they sell a lot of weird looking ones, but they also sell some plain black ones especially as "work shoes" and they seem well enough made that they last a fair while. (I had one pair from them that were a little strange looking, with the seams on the uppers sort of turned outwards, but were insanely comfortable and light with very soft soles. Unfortunately by the time the soles wore out that model had been discontinued.)

The Vans outlet store has more the weird looking high-style canvas or canvas/leather shoes, but again, occasionally I find some I like in mostly plain black/gray.

Converse still makes the classic white or black canvas sneakers, and can be found at various discount shoe chains.

#316 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2010, 05:22 PM:

I've had pretty good luck with New Balance shoes, though my feet are fairly easy to find shoes for (men's 10, on the normal/wide line depending on last).

It doesn't hurt that there's a NB Factory Outlet store a fairly short bus ride away from where I live, either.

(I'm in the "yes Velcro" camp; much easier to deal with than laces, especially when you're flying and have to take them off for the TSA.)

#317 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2010, 05:55 PM:

Marna@310: I don't really hate them as much as I may have sounded like; I've just picked up the nomenclature from people who do (I rather like fractured corporate names; "Untied Parcel Service", "Northworst Airlines", etc.). I'm not a big fan of Walmart, and don't go there at all often, but it's not due to strong personal dislike.

And...$10 shoes that, for three pairs, fit me! What's not to like? The other shoes that fit me well are Rockports and San Antonio Shoes and New Balance, i.e. rather more expensive.

#318 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2010, 06:46 PM:

#309 dcb

I also loathe pink. Put me in colors that are orangey and I look like something that should have been put in coffin and laid to rest....

#319 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2010, 06:50 PM:

Count me as another who want Velcro strapped shoes.

#320 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2010, 07:09 PM:

Christopher, #316: I'm in the "yes Velcro" camp; much easier to deal with than laces, especially when you're flying and have to take them off for the TSA.

Agreed as far as that goes, but I'd rather have slip-ons and be done with it if I'm going to have to be getting in and out of them. Oddly, the last time I went looking for a pair of athletic shoes with Velcro, they could not be found at any place whose prices I was willing to pay. Apparently they go in and out of fashion. OTOH, this caused me to discover the Skechers knock-offs, many of which are slip-ons, so it was just as well.

#321 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2010, 11:04 PM:

Let me modify my earlier comments: in the special "The Heist" as part of a screening process Brown recreates the Millgram experiment. Keep that in mind if you watch it.

#322 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2010, 11:50 PM:

Last comment on books (sure, I know), but I was astonished to see Elizabeth Moon recommended where violence is counter-requested... as my introduction to her was her Paksennarion books! So hopefully the rest of her writing is a bit less... fierce. I never quite had the courage to find out, after that.

Also, I buy my work shoes through a specialty store these days -- tiny feet, high arches. (Though I was shocked to find that I couldn't get any ladies dress shoes with less than a three inch square heel there! At least it boosts me up to normal height...)

#323 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2010, 12:08 AM:

Clifton: I just about broke my heart last fall when I went to the Skechers outlet looking for comfy dress shoes. See, I've had great luck with Skechers in the past because the last they use is wonderfully suited to my foot, so I figured I'd get a pair or two of those comfy semi-dress shoes.

And then I found out the difference between a 9.5 and a 10— namely, that the outlet stops stocking ANYTHING above a 9.5, aside from some really random choices in the double-discount area. Which, needless to say, the semi-dress comfy shoes never get to. Dangit.

There's little more annoying than taking time out of your day* to go to what used to be the perfect store, and finding out that it has slipped into the category of "Nothing there for me."

*Mothers of young children in families with one car have very little mobility, and time out of the house away from children is not to be wasted.

#324 ::: Carol Witt ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2010, 12:43 AM:

Lee @ 255: As It Happens interviewed someone from ThinkGeek about it on their June 22nd show. It's available online, just past the halfway mark of the first part.

#325 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2010, 01:20 AM:

For Fragano, in hopes that grading never gets quite this bad.

#326 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2010, 01:34 AM:

I know that a couple of the people who are planning on going to Fourth Street have a copy of the game Credo. I'd really appreciate it if at least one copy made it to the convention. I'd very much like to play it with some of you fine Fluorosphereans.

#327 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2010, 05:01 AM:

306: ah, new slang! Thanks for the explanation. (Reminds me of Haldeman's distinction between the warboys and the lower-status "shoe infantry" in Forever Peace).

some women... wouldn't buy anything unless it was pink or pink-trimmed

There's more to the refrigerator business than I thought...

#328 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2010, 05:27 AM:

Terry Karney, #279, I'd have to have a chestplate, so I have a very bright-pink paper in my wallet, sticking up above the fold enough to show "Emergency Information -- other side of the paper." When I had the stroke last year and ended up at the better hospital unconscious, they did look at it, but they also used my Kaiser card to call in and get specifics from a doctor.

#329 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2010, 06:18 AM:

Keith S #325: Having just read (in a postgraduate thesis) that some African countries have been the recipients of "forty decades of foreign aid" I am not altogether sure that the crocodile represents the nadir of bad historiographical thought and writing.

#330 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2010, 06:26 AM:

FRagano @ 329... Bad at geography and at math?

#331 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2010, 06:28 AM:

I meant "bad at History and at math".
Oh, for an 'edit' button that works for no more than 10 seconds after posting...

#332 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2010, 06:31 AM:

329: well, maybe they're thinking of Joseph's famine-relief advice to Pharaoh? Highly paid foreign consultants telling the locals what to do are a big part of foreign aid after all...

#333 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2010, 06:44 AM:

Shoes... My wife thinks it's a fashion faux-pas (literally, I guess) to wear black sneakers, no matter how fancier the rest of my attire may be.

#334 ::: Mark D. ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2010, 08:09 AM:

Re: New York forecast particle

The only thing I can think of is Robert Moses collecting tolls on every single one of those bridges.

#335 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2010, 08:14 AM:

Erik @ 298 - I would simply turn on the gas light. Or possibly have the servants activate the electric illumination. It's hard to say!

That, or I would live on one of those airships, admiring Manhattan from afar.

#336 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2010, 10:26 AM:

Moon is violent, but I don't think her SF is gratuitously so, certainly not as much as the end of the Paks books*. I'm mostly thinking of the Vatta books, and the blood there mostly has a point. Ky Vatta's bloodthirsty tendencies worry her some too.

But I didn't think of a lot of that when I recommended them, so you're right: Moon might be more warful than desired.

*which defines 'passive-aggressive' pretty decently. I should reread those.

#337 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2010, 10:41 AM:

Fragano Ledgister @ 329:

Maybe they thought colonization counts as foreign aid?

#338 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2010, 12:09 PM:

At the 2008 worldcon, Elizabeth Moon was on a panel called "bleeding-heart liberals who write military SF". Pretty good panel, actually.

#339 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2010, 12:14 PM:

Patrick... Thanks for making Ian Tregillis's alternate-WW2 novel "Bitter Seeds" available to the rest of us. By the way, while Palencar's cover is very nice, why didn't Tor consider the author's cover proposal?

#340 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2010, 12:20 PM:

Diatryma, re Moon and the Paks books, did you know she is starting up a new series in that universe? Oath of Fealty is the first. It starts right after the end of the original books (actually overlaps slightly, from a different POV). Paks is a secondary character to this series; it's following several of the others as Duke Phelan goes off to be king in Lyonya. Highly recommended, except for the minor quibble of it making you want the rest of the series which aren't out yet.

#341 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2010, 12:57 PM:

Given that AKIFIML, I have a question about organizing that knowledge:

Can the researchers, writers, and other addicts of information here recommend their favorite citation style?
I'm looking for one designed to handle well the greatest diversity of sources: the usual journals and books, but also comments-in-blogs, irc chats, online newspapers, permanent pre-publications, speakers at conferences, aggregators of twitter-posts, etc. Thanks!

#342 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2010, 01:29 PM:

OtterB, I am probably not going to read the newest book until I've reread Paks-- I read a squeeful review that mentioned a bunch of names and political things that I honestly don't remember, and while sometimes that's okay, I'm due for a reread anyway. Once I find them (the library here doesn't have them and my copies are in an attic in another state), the next book might be out.

#343 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2010, 01:31 PM:

The only place I know that has Velcro strapped shoes is K-Mart, and I don't find their shoes very comfortable for my feet: not enough arch support. Where else can one go to find them?

#344 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2010, 02:21 PM:

Re Hamster particle - those are the least creepy anthropomorphic hamsters I've ever seen. They were both adorable and awesome. We have the technology, people.

#345 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2010, 02:46 PM:

Diatryma @ 336:

What I like about Moon's military SF is that she is careful to show many different types of personalities in her military characters. Vatta is not unique, but not representative of a common class of characters in her books for being somewhat bloodthirsty. There are times when it makes her job easier, and times when it makes it much harder, so it's clearly not a requirement for being a soldier. I've never met Moon, but I have a feeling I'd have liked serving with her.

#346 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2010, 03:18 PM:

Diatryma, I wouldn't have wanted to jump straight into the new book without rereading the previous either - it had been a long time and I had forgotten much.

#347 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2010, 03:50 PM:

Marilee: My bracelet has my allergy, my disease, my blood type, and a name I will answer to automatically.

Then it says to look in my wallet.

#348 ::: Madeline Ashby ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2010, 05:27 PM:

For military non-fiction, this is the piece that got McChrystal fired. And after reading it, I understand why.

#349 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2010, 05:38 PM:

Magnitude 5.0 earthquake near Buckingham, Quebec, not far from Ottawa. My house shook for about 30 seconds, no damage. A friend of mine lost power and had a few things shaken up, possibly one tile lost from the bathroom. There are reports that a local school has had a few cracks, and events have been cancelled until the building's safety can be checked.

The mayor of Gracefield, Quebec, has declared a state of emergency -- several buildings were seriously damaged, including the town hall and a community centre.

#350 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2010, 05:41 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @ 341: Hah! I'm not sure there is one - but I'd be interested to see what other people suggest. When we were designing a method for entering references (for a large, closely referenced electronic encyclopaedia on wildlife health and management), we ended up with different templates for refereed journals, newsletters, books, proceedings, pharmaceutical datasheets, theses, websites and one simply "miscellaneous documents" - to hold the ones which didn't fit into any other category. We've got nearly 400 of those so far (and nearly 600 journals, more than 600 books, etc. etc.)

For anything online, I give the page title, URL and the date on which I accessed the material.

#351 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2010, 06:01 PM:

Kathryn @ 341

If I had the need to cite a wide variety of types of sources using a referencable (and, in theory, coherent) system, I'd see if the Chicago Manual of Style fulfilled my needs. My reflexive book-citation style is MLA simply because that was the one required for my grad degree ... bringing the topic back full circle. But for a one-stop shop, Chicago would be my first choice.

#352 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2010, 06:11 PM:

#336 Diatryma

Minor spoiler, The Deed of Paksenarrion/Oath of Gold


The ending of Oath of Gold is Very Christian, it' not passive-aggresive. Paksenarrion's a Paladin, a religious do-gooder who puts everything she is on the line for what she believes in, she's a moral figure and -must- do the morally correct action, at whatever the personal price.

#353 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2010, 06:12 PM:

Is there anyone left in the Obama administration who is willing to risk speaking Truth to Power?

#354 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2010, 08:49 PM:

Antipodean open threadiness: Has anyone else noticed that Australia now has a female Prime Minister?

#355 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2010, 08:56 PM:

@354 saw it on Twitter from one of my Oz mates.

Waiting to see what happens next.

Something usually does.

#356 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2010, 10:13 PM:

I was under the impression that most of eastern Canada was very geologically stable. Am I wrong, or is this earthquake an anomaly?

#357 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2010, 10:42 PM:

Lee #356

The seismic risk map from Natural Resources Canada shows a hotspot pretty much exactly where the quake happened. There's another hotspot along Vancouver Island, bu t most of Canada is pretty stable.

#358 ::: Madeline Ashby ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2010, 11:03 PM:

Lee @356: This is my perception as well. I've lived here for four years, and no one has ever brought it up as a credible threat. Fellow Canadians on my Twitter feed were equally surprised. That said, professionals warn that we are sitting on weak but potentially dangerous intraplate zones.

Interestingly, we also had what looks like a tornado today. And the G20 delegates will be arriving soon. The fun never stops!

#359 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2010, 11:50 PM:

Reading the Rolling Stone article, McChrystal seems to be one of those guys who straddles the thin line between "bad-ass" and "asshole".

I'd like to read McChrystal's short stories, mentioned in the article.

#360 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2010, 11:54 PM:

I wonder who Pat Robertson will find to blame for the earthquake in Quebec? Or maybe this one doesn't count because nobody died, and therefore it can't be described as "God's wrath" against some political organization or group of people living hundreds of miles away.

#361 ::: Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2010, 12:08 AM:

The earthquake near Ottawa was apparently felt as far away as Wheeling, West Virginia, some 500 miles southwest. The local news media here (Weirton, WV) all mentioned buildings that were evacuated in Wheeling, Steubenville (Ohio), and Pittsburgh -- one of which was where my sister works! I didn't feel it, myself, though, and am feeling somewhat left out as a result. Most people seemed to be more affected by the string of thunderstorms that also moved through this afternoon, with another one coming in overnight.

#362 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2010, 12:13 AM:

Lee @360: I wouldn't put it past Pat Robertson to blame the quake on the Godless French-speaking Catholics who live in Quebec-- just like Haiti, only further north. No doubt he can come up with another illusory landmark in Canada to equal the satanic iron pig of Port-au-Prince.

#363 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2010, 12:59 AM:

Open Threadiness: How did I somehow not know that Cherryh has published a sequel to Cyteen? It's called Regenesis. I'm halfway through it.

It's much slower paced than Cyteen, going in days rather than years. I'm really enjoying it, but then I like to read about the internal thought processes of characters.

#364 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2010, 03:13 AM:

re the earthquake: The thing I hope gets done, and fear will not, is a widespread examination of chimneys for damage to the mortar. It sucks to have a leak into the house.

As in fatally.

#365 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2010, 06:39 AM:

Hey, Xopher, did you watch the 1978 documentary "Word Is Out" yesterday night on TCM?

#366 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2010, 09:22 AM:

363 ::: Xopher @ 363: I picked up Regenesis a few weeks ago, then realised I needed to re-read the three Cyteen volumes before I read it - and there are parts of that which I'm not going to re-read until I'm feeling sufficiently up-beat to deal with them.

However, I did have a wonderful time reading Conspirator.

#367 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2010, 09:32 AM:

My bracelet has my allergy, my disease, my blood type, and a name I will answer to automatically.

Then it says to look in my wallet.

Yes, incompetent muggers irritate me as well. "OK, we've knocked him unconscious. Whadda we do now? ...Oh, hey, it says here on his bracelet. Ooh! Money!"

Or, as Grytpype-Thynne would say, "He's fainted. Quick, open his jacket and take the weight of his wallet off his chest."

#368 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2010, 10:37 AM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @341 -- I generally use MLA for everything. Are you using a citation management program? I highly recommend EndNote. Several things that would be very useful in your project: The different styles generally have a "generic" entry option (I know for a fact the MLA Style does) that you can fill out and play with later. There's a lot of flexibility with output styles, once you figure out what you are doing. It will put things in order for you by whatever field you want. I've used EndNote not just for the bibliographies for my papers and books, but for cataloging my personal library (including my article files) and for producing the book-length, annotated Mythlore Index.

#369 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2010, 12:21 PM:

If you have an old house and you have felt even the faintest of tremors, check your chimney, as Terry says. Better still, just go ahead line it or replace it with not-bricks.

Those old chimneys are mostly unreinforced. Come to think of it, folks who live in what is commonly thought of as earthquake-free country (which I've been saying for years does not exist) have unreinforced masonry all over the place even in the walls of many of your homes, and it's worth your while to retrofit all that junk.

It's easy for me to brag about removing our chimney altogether, but I live in an area where you really don't need one.

#370 ::: E. Liddell ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2010, 12:37 PM:

@349, etc.: So that's what it was! We're about 400km west-north-westish of Ottawa here, and the house shook noticeably enough that we were wondering what the heck was going on. And yes, earthquakes, even mild ones, really are rare in this neck of the woods--the last time I remember the ground shaking enough for me to feel it was around 25 years ago (we were living much further north then, though).

#371 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2010, 12:57 PM:

Lucy@369: Can unreinforced masonry be retrofitted? I didn't realize. I'm trying to imagine what you do with walls that are three courses of brick. Drill some kind of hole all the way from top to bottom (two stories) and run a rod down it? (I'm thinking of a particular brick house belonging to a friend.)

While of course you're right in the (human) long term, we haven't had any quakes felt in MN during my life here. We'll probably feel (or worse) the New Madrid next time it goes seriously .

Our chimney has flues for two furnaces and two water heaters and one fireplace, I believe (although maybe each furnace / water heater pair shares a flue). I think it may already be lined with something, possibly. I'm not sure what it would take to let the CO leak into the house; three sides of the chimney are external, and the wall in the house it's against is plastered internally. I guess matching cracks in the plaster and the chimney, and no liner, would do it.

#372 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2010, 01:09 PM:

ddb @ 371: Chimneys, at least, can be fitted with metal ductwork. When I had the roof of my previous house reshingled, one part of the resulting cascade of repairs was to have such a liner installed.

#373 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2010, 01:14 PM:

ddb: They can be, in Calif. many are required to be (and public establishments which aren't are required to post a notice to that effect, saying they can fall down in an earthquake).

The rods are run horizontally through the building,and make a visually unsightly appearance, because of the washers on the outside of the walls.

The other risk is heat leakage, and subsequent fire. CO wouldn't require the cracks to match, just be in a shared space.

#374 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2010, 01:19 PM:

I just got some amazing nigerian spam.

It purports to be from the office of Timothy Geithner, and is about my claims against banks involved in 427 scams.

The chutzpah.

#375 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2010, 01:21 PM:

Re the earthquake: I have never consciously noticed an earthquake before, despite a year and a half living in southern California. There were a couple of quakes, but they were all while I was asleep and I slept through them. So the sudden feeling that the wall was moving was novel and extremely unsettling.

I'm in Pittsburgh; we got just enough trembling for people seated in wheeled office chairs to notice. Those who were standing appear to have missed it entirely.

#376 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2010, 01:24 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale, yes, Endnote. I did not use it enough to really get the magic out, but not having to make a bibliography, not having to renumber, not having to use the shortcuts that made me feel awesomely organized because suddenly that long and tangled path didn't exist... oh, how lovely.

My parents found out a couple years ago that their woodstove was extremely not up to code. Everything else was, I think, so they got a stove insert that isn't as imposingly fun and radiant but does let us see the fire. We've wondered why we don't get bats or something in the second flue, but if they leak, they leak.

#377 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2010, 01:28 PM:

I call those exterior fittings 'Frankenstein bolts'. (They're generally close to the roofline on two or even all four sides.)

Sometimes the retrofits are done so well they add to the appearance of the building.

#378 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2010, 01:55 PM:

Terry@373: Ah, I've seen the outside of such horizontal reinforcement, even here in Minnesota (presumably it's sometimes used for reasons other than earthquake safety too; I can't imagine people retrofitting fairly ordinary buildings in Minnesota for that). I know I've seen it as part of the support for adding billboards to the top of an old brick building, and I've occasionally seen it for no apparent reason; I guess correcting a structural deficiency that's well enough corrected that nothing is obvious except the "washers", or I suppose somebody being paranoid about earthquakes.

I've seen them putting vertical rods into the walls in new cinder block construction (commercial buildings) here; I don't know if that's for earthquakes, or just a general precaution, or what, but I'm guessing it's required by building code (this was the sort of cheap commercial building that wasn't going to be exceeding code in invisible structural features).

Huh; I've lived in California about half a year (one week a month, rarely exactly 7 days though, for 2.5 years) (in a previous job). Plus a summer long ago, 1963. Never noticed a quake the time I was there, or missed noticing one that most other people noticed. I was in California when the 35W freeway bridge collapsed in Minneapolis; it felt very strange, because stuff collapsing is mostly a California problem in my head (in the USA). (Note "in my head"!; I don't really know what the relative rates of things collapsing in each state are. And being exploded into splinters and blown away by a tornado is not the same thing as collapsing; for one thing you get warning nearly all the time.)

#379 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2010, 01:55 PM:

General OT-ness: Could you help out a non-native English speaker with a question about English language cooking terminology?

Basically, I'm a bit confused about what the word "frying" means, and about what's the word for cooking something on a thin layer of hot fat or oil in a pan. I used to think that the former simply means the latter, but now I have the impression that it's only "frying" if you coat the food in dough or bread crumbs or something similar first. So, what would you call, for instance, a part of a chicken that has been cooked in a bit of fat in a pan but hasn't been breaded? It's not really fried chicken, right? But what is it then?

#380 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2010, 02:04 PM:

In my experience, your original impression is correct. "Frying" is the general term for cooking in hot fat. "Deep frying" is the special case of a deep enough layer of fat to cover the pieces of food completely. French frys are deep fried, for example.

It's very common but not universal (french frys are not) for deep-fried foods to be breaded or coated in batter first. Commercial "fried chicken" (which, as you have noticed, has been preempted as the name of a particular dish, and is no longer just chicken that has been fried) is often made that way, and fried mushrooms when offered as an appetizer, and fried mozarella sticks (also mostly an appetizer).

For the chicken case, you can say "pan fried" which doesn't absolutely deny breading, but does move the meaning enough away from 'fried chicken' that fewer people will be surprised when they see it. Or just name the specific dish ("chicken and cashews" is a stir-fried dish I make relatively often).

(My answers are USA English; I'm not aware of big differences in UK English in this area, but my ignorance is no guarantee of their absence. There are certainly big differences in other cooking areas and in general.)

#381 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2010, 02:10 PM:

re frying:

In the technical parlance of cooking, to fry is is to cook in enough oil that the food is at least partially submerged in it.

In general terms it means to cook in a flat pan, with some oil.

For some types of food, (e.g. chicken) there are variations, which involve breading the food, and then cooking in a shallow layer of oil.

People will, often, distinguish with the terms, "deep" frying, or "pan" frying (where deep means the food is cooked in enough oil that contact with the bottom of the pan can be avoided).

Sadly, it's often implicit.

#382 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2010, 02:10 PM:

#379: That's still frying.

"Breading" has become deeply linked to frying. So much so that philistines may look at un-breaded things as not-fried.

#383 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2010, 02:11 PM:

There's "deep frying", where the oil is deep enough that the food being cooked is submerged of floating; there's "shallow frying", where the fat might be a centimeter or so deep, and there's "sautee", where the fat is enough to cover the bottom of the pan, but not usually much more than that.

#384 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2010, 02:13 PM:

Raphael @ 379:

What you're talking about is pan frying. I think there's another term for that, but I don't remember what it is right now.

The term "fried chicken" usually means deep-fat-fried, breaded/battered chicken. If you wanted to say how you prepared yours, I'd call it pan-fried chicken. If you wanted to be fancy, I'm sure there are other people who could help.

ddb @ 380:

There is no difference in USAian and UKian cooking terminology in this case that I'm aware of. I'd be interested to hear differently.

#385 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2010, 02:16 PM:

Carrie, #375: I felt the Louisville earthquake a couple of years ago. We were on our way to Louisville at the time, and had stopped at a truck stop in western TN; I was trying to nap in the car and chose not to go inside. When my partner came back out, I asked him if it was windy, because I had felt the car rocking back and forth. He, inside the building, didn't feel a thing. We figured it out when we got to the con and everybody was all "OMG EARTHQUAKE!"

Re chimneys and CO leaks -- if that's even a vague possibility, get a CO monitor and set it up near the chimney.

#386 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2010, 02:17 PM:

One of my college friends used to have a podiatry office in a crummy part of Queens.

He introduced me to a custom peculiar (as far as I know) to Chinese food places in "inner city" areas of NYC: Chinese fried chicken. (He used a much ruder term.)

The pieces are unfamiliar cuts, as though done by someone unfamiliar with the standard drumstick / wing / thigh /breast as served up by The Colonel.

No breading. No crust. No skin, as I recall. Just an odd red coloring.

It is good, and incredibly cheap. It is often sold with a heap of skinny, greasy fries.

#387 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2010, 02:47 PM:

Keith S: The term "fried chicken" usually means deep-fat-fried, breaded/battered chicken. If you wanted to say how you prepared yours, I'd call it pan-fried chicken. If you wanted to be fancy, I'm sure there are other people who could help.

Speak for local custom only. In my neck of the woods "fried chicken" is, generally, skin on, no bread, in a shallow layer of oil; the pan hot enough to crisp the skin some.

The oil needs to be just enough to get that crisping, so the rendered fats can be used; with the coagulated proteins to make gravy.

The other stuff is considered fried chicken, but will be (oddly enough) described as, "Chicken-fried chicken" (as with, "chicken-fried steak") in a strange way of letting people know the fried chicken they are getting is different from the fried chicken they are expecting.

The sheer variety of local versions of "fried chicken" are why I rarely order it in restaurants. The only constant is that a chicken was cut up, and somehow cooked in a pan.

#388 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2010, 02:55 PM:

Growing up, I thought of fried chicken as chicken parts dipped in skim milk, then rolled in Rice Krispie crumbs, and baked in the oven. I hear that can be called oven frying. It wasn't until we were stationed here at the Pentagon that I realized that most people thought fried chicken was fried in oil.

#389 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2010, 03:20 PM:

Terry Karney @ 387:

Huh. Even more overloading for the poor, overworked term "fried chicken".

Actually, I should try doing that. It sounds tasty.

#390 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2010, 03:33 PM:

Raphael (379): The others are correct that what you describe is (a type of) frying. I tend to refer to frying with a thin layer of oil as 'sauteeing' (see P J Evans (383)), but that's hardly universal.

#391 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2010, 04:12 PM:

To eliminate range-top spattering, I do what cookbooks call "oven-fried" chicken. A tablespoon or three of oil in a 2-inch-sided roasting pan with foil, chicken (skin on or not) coated in oil, seasoned with S&P and maybe paprika for color, then baked at 350 degrees for an hour to an hour-and-a-half. If you like, coat with BBQ sauce for the last half hour.

#392 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2010, 04:23 PM:

Thanks a lot, everyone!

#393 ::: Jörg Raddatz ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2010, 07:38 PM:

Not that anyone asked about the terms in German, but let me write about it anyway:

Generally, the rather few German establishments of KFC are more or less the only places one can expect to get fried chicken in the American style.

German Brathähnchen would translated literally als fried chicken, but if I understand the terminology correctly, it is roasted or broiled without bread or batter on a spit, either in an oven or, commercially, in front of a large heating element (often in a specialized van). The usual seasoning would be salt, pepper and ground dried bell peppers ("Paprikapulver").

Actually in Austria, the common way of frying chicken would be Backhendl (close to "baked hen"), much closer to American Fried Chicken - the bird is partioned, dipped in flour, beaten eggs and breadcrumbs and then fried in clarified butter. Garnishing with lemon and parsley and serving with potatoes is very common.

BTW, would any anglophone use the term "Chicken Spareribs"? That has become moderately common in the last years, and has nothing to do with the bird's actual ribs: It is the barbecue-marinated thigh, with the meat on the femur being compared to the pork on the rib.

#394 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2010, 09:03 PM:

Jörg Raddatz: No, we call those thighs. The large bone in the wing is, however, coming to be called a "drummette:.

#395 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2010, 09:29 PM:

Terry, the drummette must be a regionalism that hasn't made its way east (or north) yet, as I've never seen it in New England.

#396 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2010, 10:39 PM:

Cooking writer Len Deighton* (who also had a sideline in spy fiction) was of the opinion that the English confusion between frying and sauteeing was (a) bad, and (b) the result of bacon-and-eggs for breakfast.

That is, bacon should ideally be sauteed (cooked on a hot surface with only enough fat to keep it from sticking) and eggs should ideally be (shallow) fried (cooked in hot oil). Cooking them in the same frying pan leads to an unsatisfactory compromise between the styles.

I don't recall him writing about Chinese-style stir-frying, which is yet a third approach.

* the cover for his other cookbook would be a bit regrettable today, but the contents aren't too bad.

#397 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2010, 10:46 PM:

Thomas, bacon and eggs need not be an unsatisfactory compromise if you don't mind salty eggs - just let the bacon provide the necessary hot fat to fry the eggs. The bacon fat does tend to brown the eggs more than butter, so it's a little less aesthetically pleasing, but with careful timing it can be done in one pan.

I don't like my eggs that salty, so I tend either to use separate pans, or to do the bacon in the oven on a cookie sheet. (Not that I do bacon much anymore, with my daughter a vegetarian.)

#398 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2010, 11:54 PM:

Ancient history by now, but I've been catching up:

Ralph Robert Moore @90 - That reminds me of a P.G. Wodehouse story where a man describes his infant child as looking rather like a homicidal boiled egg.

Jim Bales @99 - Seconded, or perhaps thirded. A sterling benefit for us of the Wolfe tales is that we can read them multiple times. Not just once, not just twice. For the first reading, don't read any of the cover copy or those brief teasers that precede the text. At least one of these contains a major spoiler for a pivotal plot point. (And Dorothy Sayers, per Thomas @109, is also good for that.) (And I must echo OtterB @142 on Edward Eager. Seven-Day Magic is the second best in the series, I'd say. I still feel a little sad that I have no new Eager to look forward to, but I had to weigh that against the possibility that the earth might be destroyed somehow while I was saving one, and prudence won out.)

Joel Polowin @349 - I experienced that here in western NY (in the shadow of lovely Lake Ontario) as five to ten seconds of mystification. Why house creak? No sounds outside to explain. Maybe earthquake? Not feel anything. It was like a giant had grasped the house between thumb and forefinger and tweaked the house briefly. No damage. No sense of motion. The only seismic activity in my life that I can remember. My daughter and a friend, a room or so over, didn't notice it.

#399 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2010, 12:01 AM:

Well, the pieces are falling into place for me - I finally got my lease for my apartment in Berkeley today (after a couple of weeks of phone/email tag and the stress-inducing joys of writing very large checks and sending them across the country). I have a flight booked; I have booked my mini-shipping-container for stuff and just arranged for internet to get set up the day after I get there.

Now, just six more weeks at the lab (ack!) and then off to Berkeley...

#400 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2010, 12:16 AM:

Mark, #395: I've encountered "drummette" on menus, but we travel a lot and I couldn't say exactly where. However, most of our traveling is in the Southeast, from eastern Texas over to Georgia and as far north as Kentucky.

Thomas, #396: I disagree with Deighton. You cook the bacon first specifically to get the grease in which to cook the eggs! *wanders off singing "Everything's Better With Bacon"*

#402 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2010, 12:46 AM:

In re: masonry upgrades in California for earthquakes

The recent election had a proposition that nobody even bothered to write an argument against. It was to remove an exclusion in Proposition 13* (the notorious property tax prop.) that had formerly applied to masonry buildings. Basically, when you retrofit a building to bring it up to new earthquake codes, it does not trigger a reassessment of the value according to Prop. 13 (which would lead to higher property taxes.) For some reason, masonry buildings had only a 15 year exemption, at the end of which they would be reassessed at the higher value.

The new proposition removed that exclusion, so that there would be no fiscal disincentive to upgrade your masonry.

*Prop. 13 sets a limit on the amount your property tax can go up every year, indexed to the purchased price of your home. A sale resets the value, as does addition of space or renovating to a "like new" state. It was passed in the wake of a housing bubble, when property taxes went up very quickly. I've seen a large number of stories from other states where property taxes quadrupled or worse in this last bubble— somehow, it doesn't surprise me that Prop. 13 passed so handily...

#403 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2010, 01:12 AM:

The earthquake near Ottawa was felt as far south as Portsmouth, Ohio, according to the local paper. I slept through it, working nights lately (I have tonight off), but a couple of brick buildings downtown were evacuated.

Portsmouth is on the Ohio River, about 40 miles northwest of the southernmost point in Ohio (the village of South Point).

#404 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2010, 02:06 AM:

Bionic feet for amputee cat, BBC report with video. It's a new way to fix an articificial limb.

#405 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2010, 08:43 AM:




#406 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2010, 09:17 AM:

Dave Bell @ 404: That's brilliant. The cat adapted to those feet upon waking from anesthesia, which means they fit right and work properly. That is just fantastic work.

#407 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2010, 09:34 AM:

Dave Bell, Ginger: I wonder if his jumping is affected. It looks like he lost his legs almost up to the ankle joint, and if my cats are any indication they get a lot of their spring from there.

#408 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2010, 09:44 AM:

My girl Freya is finally stopping to walk around like Pearson's Puppeteer and is sort-of using her right hind leg, about six weeks after the surgery that had put back in place the cruciate ligament she'd ripped off. She can jump down, but jumping up on our nice comfy couch is still beyond her.

#409 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2010, 10:56 AM:

Yes, Ginger, it's very impressive.

In some ways, this cat is an experimental animal. They're going to be watching how the tech works out. And this is something that matters to anyone using the cyperpunk trope of the skin-penetrating socket for a computer connection. But they're using it for humans already. It's new, and we find about it because of a cat...

Strange world, eh?

Oh, and the tech is British. Don't those US politicians argue that "socialized medicine" destroys innovation?

#410 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2010, 11:40 AM:

@402: I voted against that. I vote against all the little exclusions to Proposition 13. All they do is allow wealthy people to pay less taxes into a system that is being deliberately and systematically impoverished.

The argument for every single one of these is that it is to benefit the less wealthy homeowner, but in fact it never does. It always, always benefits the same people.

California is being run by people who are actively hostile to the people who live in it. They steal from the public every way they can think of.

Tangent: another electoral way that he Schwarzenegger gang stole from the people is the pair of special elections that Schwarzenegger personally forced on the people in the electoral district I ought to belong to but have been gerrymandered out of. After taking Maldonado out of the state legislature to be lieutenant governor, he refused to allow the district to hold the election for his replacement along with the regular November election. No, they had to have it in June. And then: they had to have their runoff in August. Which means that they have to put on four elections this year instead of two but they haven't been given more money to do it with.

-- it also means that the Republican oilman from San Luis Obispo has an edge over the actual honest progressive from Santa Cruz, because off-calendar elections are good for Republicans.

#411 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2010, 11:54 AM:

Well, Ahnold also thinks that state employees should have their pay cut to minimum wage for several months (at least) to reduce the state budget deficit ... never mind that that means they'll need aid for food and medical care, and that the budget analysts have already found that it isn't nearly enough money to help. (All so he can avoid raising taxes on the wealthy. His backers voted against charging sales tax on boats, too, even though people buying cars have to pay tax.)

#412 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2010, 12:09 PM:

When a Republican politician says something will be good for me, that's when I really start worrying.

#413 ::: Paula Liebeman ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2010, 12:17 PM:

#363 Xopher
Cyteen bogged down in solidifying tedium for me by page 60. Regenesis sounds even less appealing to me. I intensely dislike the introspective viewpoint unless something is happening externally that is going to force the character to react, or something torpedoes the introspective, or something funny or absurd or ironic happens versus the introspection, or the introspection is self-deprecating... straight Serious Introspective Data Dumps drive me bonkers particularly ones that have the character or narrator implying the reader is emotionally and intellectual congruent/consistent/identifying with the character and the charcter's perceptions and attitudes and intellectual and emotional processing and responses.

#395 Mark
I've seen the term "drummette," particularly in national brands which prepare the chicken wings that way and package them up prepackaged for the cosumer, or packed for in-store cooking and labelling with the preset labelling. There are also "boneless wings" used as chicken nuggets... this means that breast-with-wings-attached tend to be available only as part of whole or whole cutup chickens now...

#414 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2010, 01:19 PM:

Carrie S @ 407: It looks to me like he's missing up to the hocks, which in humans would be the equivalent of our heel bones. Think of cats as walking on tippy-toes, compared to us. He would have to learn to jump differently, but if you see at the end of that video, he hops up on top of the paper towels. He'll probably jump as well as my Kedgie does (because she thinks she can't jump), if not better.

Dave Bell @ 409: The tech may be British, but the work was done by a veterinary surgeon. My pride in our profession outweighs any nationality in this instance. In any case, I'm all for socialized medicine too - for animals as well as for humans.

#415 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2010, 01:37 PM:

Ginger #414: Hocks! That's the word I was missing. My thought process went, "OK, cats are digitgrade*, which means it's not a backwards knee, it's his ankle-equivalent, now what's that called?", and I couldn't bring it to mind. :)

I couldn't make the video run, so I didn't get to see him jumping. I think it's awesome that the prosthesis works so well for him, though, and it'd be great if the tech can be extended to humans.

*Such a great $3 word.

#416 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2010, 01:51 PM:

So, a friend of mine has a 7yo son, who likes Spongebob Squarepants, ICarly, Backyardigans.

If you were to set about seducing him (the son, not the friend) over to the Reading Side of the Force, how would you go about it?

#417 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2010, 01:52 PM:

Oh yeah, and the friend likes Harry Potter, so there is at least some taste for F&SF in the household.

#418 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2010, 02:09 PM:

Jacque: The Dark is Rising series (Susan Cooper), though he might be a year or two young for that.

Let's see, a few I liked at that age...
The Wizard in the Tree
David and the Phoenix
The Hobbit

#419 ::: P J evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2010, 02:19 PM:

The video didn't work for me the first time I went there, but it did the second time. (Go figure.)

(The first thing the cat did after getting up was to check out the room.)

#420 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2010, 02:24 PM:

Jacque @ 416/417:

I'd highly recommend Ursula Vernon's Nurk: The Strange Surprising Adventures Of A (Somewhat) Brave Shrew and Dragonbreath series. You don't even have to be seven to enjoy them.

#421 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2010, 02:29 PM:


I was fond of Stuart Little and Charlotte's Web when I was around that age. 20000 Leagues Under the Sea too, but that might be a bit much, depending.

(Aside: I once borrowed a version of 20000 Leagues from the library that was large, and had wonderful illustrations. Never saw it again. I remember nothing else about it. Any hints?)

#422 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2010, 02:29 PM:

back to seven? damn... I was too precocious.

The Hobbit is probably good. Is he clever? Encyclopedia Brown, or (if you can find them, "The Mad Scientist Club" were fun reads.

#423 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2010, 02:30 PM:

I'd second the Nurk and Dragonbreath recommendations. Especially the latter, to start with, because it's got more illustrations (and some comic-style pages), which makes the visual -> textual transition more gradual without having the stigma of being a "picture book", I think.

#424 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2010, 02:32 PM:

Oh, thank you for the video about Oscar! I'm grinning and teary right now, kind of like the vet in the video.

#425 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2010, 02:36 PM:



It has sure worked for me. I have a lot of bionic parts (as we call them around the house). Every one, every one! is better than the original. Better, faster, stronger. I only wish I could afford more.

#426 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2010, 03:00 PM:


Daniel Pinkwater books are wonderfully goofy and appealing, and there are some in every age category. (Picture books, "chap books" for young independent readers, YA books.)

The Fat Camp Commandoes series, and the series about young werewolves, are possible good starters.

#427 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2010, 03:16 PM:

Lexica @ 424: I think we all are doing the same thing.

#428 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2010, 03:23 PM:

Terry Karney @422 - I'm currently reading my old Mad Scientists' Club paperback to Sarah at bedtime, having finished what I still have of the Three Investigators. She has enjoyed both. Did you know that Bertrand Brinley (who is well known to model rocketers, and who I believe worked at NASA) has three more books out? His son, Sheridan, is selling them online, Mr. Brinley senior having left us. One is a collection of shorts, and the other two are novels. Mildly pricey, but I should just get them.

#429 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2010, 03:45 PM:

Re: the cat with the artificial limbs. I've read about this new technology before. As I recall (not being able to remember where exactly in the veterinary literature I saw it previously), the new technology is being aimed, eventually, at humans, but they had the great idea of trying it out on animals who actually needed it (rather than amputating parts of limbs from otherwise healthy animals), so they've been doing this for a little while. Obviously if you can get the bone to grow into the prosthesis and the skin to bond to it, you reduce lots of the problems (infection, pressure etc.) of present-day prostheses.

#430 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2010, 03:46 PM:

I wouldn't necessarily recommend The Hobbit for a seven-year-old to read himself (be read to, absolutely). Particularly a kid who isn't already reading much (as the question implies). I, an early and avid reader, picked it up at age seven and got absolutely nowhere with it.

Suggestions not yet mentioned:
My Father's Dragon and others by Ruth Stiles Gannett
The Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey
Tove Jansson's Moomin books
Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel (reading level is lower than many of the suggestions in this thread, but that could be what he needs)

#431 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2010, 04:12 PM:

Jacque, re 7-year old

Maybe some age-appropriate graphic novels? Tintin is probably a good read-with but maybe a little difficult for read-alone.

7 is actually pretty young. Magic Treehouse series maybe?

Oh, here's a fun resource. Potential time sink warning!

Teacher Book Wizard from Scholastic lets you search by combination of grade level of interest, grade level of reading ability, subject matter or genre. Also has a "BookAlike" feature that lets you enter a book title and then specify that you'd like a similar book at the same reading level, easier, or harder.

The recommendations it's turning up that I'm familiar with would indeed be about right. But lots of stuff I never heard of, too.

#432 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2010, 05:42 PM:

OtterB (431): That Teacher Book Wizard is dangerous! :)

Another book suggestion: Bunnicula and sequels.

#433 ::: Gennis ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2010, 08:06 PM:

My seven year old has been into the Boxcar Children recently. He
got hooked when we borrowed the first three as audiobooks for a
long car trip and then bought the books. He's often reluctant to
try new books, so listening first was a good start. He's enjoyed
some of the Magic Treehouse books but they didn't become an

Eoin Colfer has some shorter illustrated books that he liked; one
is Eoin Colfer's Legend of the Worst Boy in the World.

We did ancient history this year, and he liked both the Greek
(D'Aulaire) and Roman (McCaughrean) mythology books. He's been
reading the Time Warp Trio books, which are pretty short and seem
like they might appeal to a cartoon-y sensibility.

Just getting lots of books from the library and having them
sitting around often works. If I tell him I think he'll like
something, he won't try it, but if it's just there next to the
couch, he'll pick it up.

Nonfiction is good too. For illustrated stuff, try the Magic
Schoolbus books or the You Wouldn't Want To... books.

#434 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2010, 11:55 PM:

Re: 7 year old. Does anyone read "The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet" by Eleanor Cameron anymore? That's what got me hooked on SF at the age of seven.

#436 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2010, 01:11 AM:

Does Dinotopia work for that age? I second everything having to do with Ursula Vernon except Digger and maybe some of her more adult art. Sarah Prineas' Magic Thief books are a bit old for him, but fun.

#437 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2010, 02:15 AM:

Tomorrow I leave on the road trip. I'll be passing through Albuquerque (and seeing serge), and Oklahoma City (where I have a place to stay).

I'll be through flagstaff and Memphis, before I get to my dad's in Oak Ridge.

After that, near the middle of August, I'll be in Jersey City/New York, for a week or so, and then to Ottawa.

So I'll be sort of away from it all for the next week. I will have net access, but it may be spotty, and I may be tired.

Take care, and be well.

#438 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2010, 03:17 AM:

Enjoy your trip, Terry, but stay away from the wildfires in Flagstaff.

#439 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2010, 04:56 AM:

Jacque @ 416

On poetry, I would consider Shel Silverstein. Or, in perhaps similar tone, but prose, Sideways Stories from Wayside School. Or any of the Miss Nelson books. Because subversion should always begin at home...

Or anything nonfiction about space or dinosaurs, because they are Always Awesome At Any Age.

But on a practical note, my strategy would be to pull him in by picking up a book on a theme he's already expressed interest in. All three of the shows you mentioned have book-merchandise. Show him how reading can get him more and different aspects of things he already enjoys. Then, once he's figured out that reading can be cool, find out what he specifically enjoys about those shows (and books) and start trying out other books that share those qualities.

If it's not already a habit, I'd also institute bedtime reading as a "legitimate" way to delay "having" to go to sleep. As in "you can't watch any more TV, but if you want to read one book (or chapter, or whatever) in bed, before we turn the lights out, that's all right." Or read it to him, depending on the kid's reading level and the difficulty of the books he's interested in. What kid willingly passes up delaying tactics? I think our folks started encouraging us to read to ourselves before bed as soon as we were able -- we could still regularly talk them into reading to us, if we wanted, but we were just as regularly on our own.

Also, just making sure there's a wide variety of books available, so he can pick and choose according to a moment's whim.

Basic stuff, I'm afraid, and possibly over-obvious. But I think it isn't just a question of having the right books around...

#440 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2010, 06:02 AM:

Terry Karney @ 437... And remember to turn left at Albuquoique otherwise you'll find yourself inside a bullfight ring. See you soon!

#441 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2010, 07:54 AM:

Serge: Oooo, Hoboken, I'm dyyyyying!

#442 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2010, 09:09 AM:

You could be one turn away from the Arabian desert or Pismo Beach. Choose wisely.

#443 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2010, 09:37 AM:

If you're located anywhere near a city with a good independent bookstore (or a good SF bookstore) ask them to help you find something, with the 7-year-old an active participant. One test of a good bookstore is whether they can fit a book to a person (rather like a shoe store).

#444 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2010, 10:01 AM:

Oh, Roald Dahl. Again, maybe a little old-- I just can't remember anything specific from second grade except the dragon book that pushed me over the edge into being a dragon person.

#445 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2010, 12:36 PM:

Dipping back into the book recommendations, I would second the "buy tie-in books for his favorite shows" thing. That's exactly the tactic I took with a nephew of mine who's not been getting into reading, but who expressed an enthusiastic fondness for Animorphs after seeing a single episode of the old show. I found a lot of about 20 of the books in the series on eBay, and shipped them all to him, in hopes that he'd find it inspirational.

I would've shipped along episodes of the show, too, if I'd been able to find any that didn't look to be of dubious legal status; I'm too much of a fan of various shows myself to be the kind of person who tuts at children wanting their favorite shows too.

Meanwhile, I sent my niece Dora the Explorer board books, and my older nephew Halo tie-in novels... I'm much more interested at this stage in pressing the "Reading is fun!" buttons than trying to convince them to read the stuff I think is good. They get plenty of that from teachers, after all; and I can always give them book recommendations later if they ask.

#446 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2010, 01:16 PM:

Minor ego-boo announcement:

A interactive-map outfit called Schmap used a photo of mine in their downtown Portland section.

Click on the "Downtown Portland/City Center" section here:,-122.73067&bottomright=45.30773,-122.53773&i=168142_2.jpg

Click on the right or left arrows in the rightmost column and you'll eventually see a photo of a lunch stand. That's mine.

#447 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2010, 02:58 PM:

Just checking in from day 2 of a nasty power outage here in Charlottesville... some kind of freak storm knocked down a buttload of trees!

#448 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2010, 03:55 PM:

Terry Karney @ 437:

Enjoy your trip!

KayTei @ 439: As in "you can't watch any more TV, but if you want to read one book (or chapter, or whatever) in bed, before we turn the lights out, that's all right."

Watch out that that doesn't become an adult habit. One more chapter of Vorkosigan books turned into finishing the book.

I didn't get much sleep that week.

David Harmon @ 447:

Wow. Glad you're safe.

#449 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2010, 03:57 PM:

Terry, I'll wave in a northerly direction as you pass through OKC! Have a good trip!

#450 ::: Carol Witt ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2010, 04:29 PM:

I am lying here on the couch and wishing that I had left Toronto for the weekend, despite the fact that my hips hurt too much to move. I'm in the inner suburbs, so am not likely to be directly affected by the ugly G20 protests going on, but it's quite upsetting to hear the helicopters overhead (even here) and to follow the news on TV and online.

#451 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2010, 05:07 PM:

@411: My take on it is that when the budget is late, they need to cut the pay of the legislature, not the state workers. Lay the blame where it belongs.

Oh, and turn off the AC to the Capitol.* And make the sessions mandatory.

*Food for thought: The first year the federal budget did not come in on time was the year they got air conditioning in DC.

#452 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2010, 05:42 PM:

re schmap: It might have been they who are using one of my jellyfish (well, it's not really a jelly fish, but a moon jelly), for their Monterey Page.

#453 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2010, 06:26 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 446:

Nice photo. Interesting that I saw two shots of the Thai(?) elephant statue in the North Park Blocks while stepping to yours. I have a shot of that as the lock screen for my phone (see on Flickr). That's a very photogenic statue.

#454 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2010, 06:31 PM:

Dear Moderators:

I posted a followup to Stefan Jones' comment at 446 about his photograph; mine contained just one URL (albeit a rather gnarly one on Flickr) but it got sidelined for human inspection. Only thing I can think of that might cause that was the word "ph*t*genic". Is that word now ungood?

#455 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2010, 06:37 PM:

B. Durbin @ 451:

I think, given the state of the economy, that any Congresscritter state or federal, who believes that we must reduce the deficit immediately or face ruinous inflation ought to help out by taking a 40% pay cut and lose all medical benefits. In these troubled times we really just can't afford to be paying out that kind of money.

#456 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2010, 06:39 PM:

I just got back from watching Toy Story 3.

That was . . . that was just plain awesome. A good little adventure, and in the usual Pixar fashion they open up a can of serious drama and pathos.

I swear, I though they were going to . . . . do it. If you saw the movie, you know the scene I mean. I thought that the screenwriters would really let it happen and . . .

. . . gurer jbhyq or n oevtug yvtug, naq gur zbivr jbhyq pybfr va n arj xvq'f ebbz bar Puevfgznf, jurer n ohapu bs arj, hasnzvyvne gblf (jvgu snzvyne ibvprf, orpnhfr gurl jrer znqr sebz gur erplpyrq fghss bs bhe urebrf) jbhyq svaq gurzfryirf orpbzvat sevraqf.

But the actual ending . . . that was sweet. That was utterly perfect. It reminds me of that Calvin & Hobbes hommage cartoon labeled "Don't throw away childish things; save them for your kids."

#457 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2010, 06:43 PM:

Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) @454:

Released. It wasn't any keyword that did it; it's simply bad luck that part of the URL matched a phrase that's used from time to time in spam.

#458 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2010, 07:00 PM:

Exciting animal story for today (at least the animal found it exciting):

I was sitting here at the computer when Eva yelled down the stairs from the living room, "There's a bird trapped in here." Eva ran down as I ran up, because she once got a bat trapped in her hair for a minute or two, and is very averse to that ever happening again.

The bird had come in the sliding door from the deck, which is at the end of the north wall of the living room. The rest of that wall is picture windows (this is an Atomic Age split-level ranch, and the amount of light coming into the living room was one of the reasons we bought the house), and the bird tried to get out again through a window. It was trapped in the window by Spencer, our rat terrier, who wanted to either play with the bird or eat it, either of which would have been seriously bad for the bird. The bird was further confused by the fact that another bird (perhaps its mate) was flying around just outside the same window, and the trapped bird clearly wanted to join it.

There's a baker's rack with plants and some display vases next to that window, and now there was an excited terrier trying to get to the window, so I had to spend several minutes moving things out of the way while holding the dog off. Luckily, Jemma, the Lhasa Apso wasn't quite so excited about the bird, though she did circle around that part of the room, a few feet back from the window. Eventually the combination of my persuasion and Eva's calling the dogs from downstairs got them both to leave the living room. The bird by this point was too scared even to be fluttering around in the window; it had landed in the corner of the window and stayed there.

The bird didn't seem to be going anywhere, so I looked around the room for something to catch the bird in that wouldn't hurt it or let it hurt me. I grabbed a blue blanket off the couch, the blanket that we put on Spencer at night (he likes to sleep curled up in the fetal position on the couch completely covered by the blanket). I carefully surrounded the bird with the blanket and very softly closed it up so that I had my hands around the bird's body and wings. The bird didn't move; I guess it was still pretty scared. Then I carried the blanket out on the deck, held it over the railing above the back yard, and shook the blanket gently so the bird could get out. It flew straight away from me as fast as it could, apparently undamaged.

Spencer doesn't seem to have noticed any new smells on his blanket, which I'm happy about. He can wind himself up quite enough even without the smell of prey to excite him.

#459 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2010, 09:45 PM:

Yay, back home! While I'm annoyed that it took 2 days, I have to admit the town kinda got clobbered -- three small trees down just from my house to the mailboxes, and apparently there were bigger trees down all over the place.

The Dominion phonebot was supposed to call me, but I may have beaten it to the punch when I checked in, and I didn't have cell signal in Mom's house (where I'd retreated for the afternoon) anyway.

Lots of veggies to cook up tomorrow, and restocking to do....

#460 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2010, 10:24 PM:

We had a bird in our house at least once (I have a dim sense that it happened twice, but never mind). It appeared under the gas flame in the fireplace of our wretched house in Georgia, having no doubt gone down the chimney. I took the grate off and it flew out, hitting a wall, panting on the floor until I scraped up the nerve to try and pick it up, then flying into the next wall.

Fortunately, by then it was getting darkish outside. I switched off the inside lights, opened the door to the porch and put the porch light on, and it was off just like that. Everything should be so easy.

#461 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2010, 11:11 PM:

KeithS @ 448

I am a firm believer in the philosophy that "a good stopping place" means "the end of the book," myself....

#462 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2010, 02:43 AM:

Am in SLO, tomorrow Flagstaff.

#463 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2010, 02:45 AM:

I saw a bird get hit by a car recently: it was sort of sauntering down the middle of the street, and I thought to myself, "Hey bird, you'd do well to get out of there" and as I thought that I noticed a car coming. The bird tried to walk out of the way, which worked about as well as you'd expect. It actually probably would have been OK if it had just frozen; the car might have passed over it. But it tried to take off when it was much too late. There was a little *thump* as it hit the bumper. I saw it walk out of the street after that, and it crossed the sidewalk and went up to a nearby office building and went walking off along the building's wall. It wasn't obviously injured, although it seemed to be sort of shaking its wings as though trying to fly and failing. I have no way to know whether it was knocked silly but basically OK or whether there was some sort of internal injury. I often wonder what eventually became of it.

#464 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2010, 06:50 AM:

Terry Karney @ 462... See you tomorrow.

#465 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2010, 07:15 AM:

So that was how the Doctor got out of his little problem.

The end-of-season finale has been big. But it's been done with style. It's been done by a writer who has a clue about SF and time travel. And, while it wasn't, strictly, a reset button, I think it's left some wriggle room to get out of any blockages RTD may have left behind.

And we're promised the Orient Express and an Egyptian Goddess on the loose for Christmas.

#466 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2010, 08:09 AM:

Yes, we just watched it. I think the cup was my favorite piece of that complicated puzzle.

Nice use of an old saying, too.

#467 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2010, 08:57 AM:

I can get a Fez.

#468 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2010, 09:07 AM:

and a mop?

#469 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2010, 09:46 AM:

David Goldfarb (463): I once observed a pigeon get hit by a car in just that manner. (Stupid thing meandered on foot into the path of the car-tire. If it had stayed put it probably would have been fine.) The pigeon didn't survive. I looked away at the very last moment, but ~35 years later, I can still hear the *scrunch!*

#470 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2010, 10:08 AM:

Dave Bell and Abi... Rub it in, you two. See if we care. Grumblegrumblegrumble...

#471 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2010, 10:49 AM:

David Goldfarb #463: Alas, it was probably "walking dead" from internal injuries. (Much like the typical "window hit" case.) Birds are a little weird that way -- they can be direly ill or seriously injured, and not show it much until they keel over.

#472 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2010, 11:10 AM:

Anybody here knows Romanian?

I want to know what the words to "Ina, Ina Gione" mean and Google Translate fails to the extent of a third of the words not being translated at all.

#473 ::: mcz ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2010, 12:39 PM:

Stephan Jones @ 446:

Congrats. Is that a tram track, by the way?

I've also had a photo published by Schmap, in the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary section of their Brisbane listing. A crow (or maybe a raven).

#474 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2010, 05:06 PM:

Kay Tei "good stopping place" means "end of the book".

So that's why I spend too much time on the internet. The internet has no good stopping place because it never ends.

#475 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2010, 05:07 PM:

@mcz: The MAX line is described as "light rail." It runs from suburb to city center and out again. I'm not sure where that fits in the tram / trolley spectrum.

#476 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2010, 07:04 PM:

My understanding is it covers all of that spectrum - 'heavy rail' is the stuff that hauls freight (and passengers) and has locomotives with engineers.

#477 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2010, 07:19 PM:

Once I was sitting in a restaurant, looking out the window. I saw a big, pale butterfly fluttering about over the road. "Look," I said to my significant other. "A butterfly!" We were both admiring the butterfly when a bus came along. I thought surely the butterfly would be able to get out of the way--surely the wind of the bus's passage would knock it to safety if nothing else. Instead, it fluttered or was sucked right into the path of the bus's left wheel. We both stared in shocked silence.

In my mind it has become the image symbolizing the unwinnable struggle, the utterly futile fight: butterfly versus bus.

(Which would also be a good name for a band.)

#478 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2010, 07:30 PM:

A local lawyer fell to a version of the Nigerian scam only to let law enforcement find out he was running a scam himself.

#479 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2010, 11:23 PM:

In re the Doctor Who season finale:

One thing I have to give Matt Smith mad props for is the way he can say "Bow ties are cool" and give the line an air of utter conviction.

Is it just me, by the way, or qvq gurl abg npghnyyl rkcynva jung unccrarq gung pnhfrq gur Gneqvf ratvarf gb rkcybqr? Boivbhfyl vg'f pbaarpgrq gb gung zlfgrevbhf ibvpr gung fnvq "Fvyrapr jvyy snyy" (V jbaqre vs gur Oynpx Thneqvna vf znxvat n pbzronpx?) ohg gurl arire qvq gryy hf whfg jul. Be, nf sne nf V pna erzrzore, jul Nzl qvqa'g erzrzore gur Qnyrxf.

#480 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2010, 11:34 PM:

PJ@411, you're mixing up two different Schwarzeneggers there.
- Ahnold the Republican Politician may want to exert whatever leadership he can over his party to get them to vote for things he wants, to the extent that the bunch of socially conservative fiscally knee-jerking legislators his party has are willing to be led by anybody other than Karl Rove and Howard Jarvis's ghost.
- But it's Ahnold the Governator who is the one who's not allowed to spend money when there isn't a state budget; he'd like to exert some direction on what gets in it, and he might threaten to veto it if he doesn't get what he wants, but his primary interests are obeying the laws and trying to lead or bully the legislature into getting some kind of budget handed to him to sign. Unlike his party, who are happy to raise spending without raising taxes, even though that's not legal under California's constitution, he's a lot less bothered by taxes.

#481 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2010, 11:44 PM:

Apropos of nothing here, and not because anyone here has said otherwise or implied anything of the kind: I'm proud to be a part of the LGBT community, even though I'm not in the least bisexual, I'm completely cisgendered, and in fact I'm not even a Lesbian. I'm not Questioning either, if you want to add that, and I'm proud to be part of the LGBTQ community too. In fact I think our community should welcome heterosexuals! Do you hear me? Heterosexuals!!!

Sigh. If only gays in the US could grasp the concept of samen leven. But no, someone is wrong on the internet. I just wanted to say that here, where people will understand what I mean.

#482 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 12:15 AM:

David @ 479: No, that hasn't been explained. That it is still a mystery is mentioned by the Doctor in the very last scene. Mr Moffat assures us that it will be the core story of the next season along with the truth about River.

#483 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 12:38 AM:

B. Durbin, #451: Someone oughta open up a window!

Marilee, #478: Ah, the sweet smell of schadenfreude in the morning...

#484 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 02:48 AM:

Janet @368, Diatryma @376, dcb@350 re: my #341 on citations.
Thanks- I'm looking at EndNote for myself.

I'm helping with a group of interdisciplinary researchers who'll be used to everything from Chicago or APA to AMA, CSE and ACS.

MLA may work simply because it's a common 2nd language for citations. On the other hand, if individuals later on want to transform MLA into their preferred styles, maybe a MLA+elements of other styles is best. On the gripping hand that'd get complex fast, and they're not going to want to write in XML.

#485 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 03:01 AM:

David Goldfarb @479: Fgrcura Zbssng fcrag gur ynfg pbhcyr bs zvahgrf bs gur Pbasvqragvny (gur "ubj jr znqr guvf jrrx'f rcvfbqr" guvat gurl eha nsgrejneqf) rkcynvavat ubj ur qryvorengryl qvq abg gvr hc nffbegrq ybbfr raqf, orpnhfr ur'f fnivat gubfr sbe *arkg* lrne.

#486 ::: David ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 07:08 AM:

416ff - ones that worked for us were Fattypuffs And Thinfers and Elizabeth Enright's Melendy books (The Saturdays, The Four-Storey Mistake, &c). And did anyone mention Narnia yet? If they didn't, Narnia.

#487 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 08:36 AM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @484, that's one of the nice things about EndNote right there. As long as all your researchers fill in the fields properly as they write their parts,* you can later generate the bibliography in any style supported by EndNote -- Chicago, MLA, the style of a specific journal -- or even create your own custom style. I haven't kept up with the newer editions, but I believe they have some options that facilitate group work. I think there's even an online one designed for group projects now.

*And it's not hard, though a guideline sheet for everyone saying things like "last name first, each co-author on a separate line" would help.

#488 ::: David ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 08:59 AM:

Doctor Who thread, passim - pyrneyl gur bayl jnl gung vg jbexf sbe Evire gb unir erpbtavfrq Gra va gur Yvoenel vf vs Zngg Fzvgu riraghnyyl ertrarengrf onpx vagb Qnivq Graanag. Fgvyy abg n tvey, fgvyy abg tvatre. V'z ybbxvat sbejneq gb vg. (As the Klingons say.)

#489 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 09:42 AM:

Open-Threadiness: For the third time, my Ex has asked to postpone our "Divorce" mediation meeting, because the action items haven't been done -- mainly because she's been too busy*. When I spoke to our mediating attorney, I asked if she'd seen couples reach this point and stop because there still was something salvageable, and she said "Oh, yeah!" I also asked her if she thought she could recommend (or suggest) that we try couples counseling again, in case that might work. She is going to see if she can safely phrase an email without colluding. At the same time, I'd given Ex an article on PMDD, and mentioned that I thought some of her "anger issues" resulted more from hormonal than from psychological issues. She didn't get mad at me for that, which is also promising.

There's another article in the Post, on how divorcing couples aren't really different from successful couples, except in how they handle problems. I emailed that one to her, with the usual lack of response.

I have no clue whether any of this will result in any positive changes, but I am highly suspicious that subconsciously at least, she doesn't want to proceed further.

I also have no clue how I will respond to any positive changes. I've been preparing myself for life alone.

*And we all know, when we're motivated to get something done, no matter how much work we have, it gets done. Also, it's nearly a year since her mother died.

#490 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 10:15 AM:

Ginger... I hope for the best.

#491 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 10:48 AM:

Ginger: It's just this kind of case that leads to workings for "best outcome," since it's not entirely clear what that is. Whatever it turns out to be, I hope you have it.

#492 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 11:03 AM:

Openthreadiness: Mad Science Fair went off well this weekend. (I don't know why it took me so long to come up with a Mad Science-themed party. ) Original count of 17 people turned into 7 by day of party, but everyone brought something.

We even did more science than expected, plus we grilled chocolate chip cookies.

Two unexpected discoveries:
1) Even after the dry ice has stopped making visible steam in your drink, it can still be detected using a red laser pointer. I'm pretty sure that's an optical property of CO2 but there may be other explanations.

2) If you put a can of soda in a disposable microwave (Not just goodwill, but half price from goodwill!) and set it on high for 10 minutes, it won't warm up much because the can makes a Faraday cage around the liquid. Unexploded can disposal was kind of tense, though.

#493 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 11:11 AM:

Lee @ 483 -

It was a pleasure to meet you at ApolloCon!

#494 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 11:46 AM:

Here's to one Senator who never forgot he was sent to Congress to represent the people of his state --

Ladies and Gentlemen, I say ye Senator Robert C. Byrd.

May he rest in peace.

#495 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 11:54 AM:

Serge @ 490, Xopher @ 491: Thank you.

Changing topics: Netherlands wins 2-1 (Slovakia scored their only goal in the literal last second of the game). Orange goes on!

#496 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 12:07 PM:

Apparently June is my month of asking for favors.

The high school my mother teachers at is putting on Once Upon a Mattress in the fall. The director is lute hunting-- she lost the perfect lute in an Ebay auction a bit ago and is still grousing. Are there any other resources for someone looking for a lute with strings and pegs, but which doesn't have to play really at all? It's in only two scenes.

#497 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 12:47 PM:

"I am the SuperSkrull. I have the combined powers of the Fantastic Four, none of whom is Itzhak Perlman."
- Leverage's multitalented Hardison when he's asked by Nathan Ford to pretend he's a concert's prodigy violonist.

#498 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 01:00 PM:

Ginger -- May this all work out for you both.

It does happen that the precipating partner for splitting a couple changes her mind. It does happen too, that by the time that mind change goes into effect, the other partner has effectively moved on.

Wishing you and your son all the best.

Love, C.

#499 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 01:52 PM:

Ginger #489: Best of luck.

#500 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 02:18 PM:

Ginger, good wishes on the current situation.

I was not able to watch the video of the "bionic cat" until I got home, so I got to play it for my mother who stood watching and wiping away tears saying "That's wonderful."

Garden report: One of the Chinese bowl lotus (Decorated Lantern) has sent up 3 buds, about 1 every three days. I expect the first one may open by the end of the week. The other lotus (Sweet Acacia) has just begun to put up arial leaves.

I have tried to have my garden planned so that something is blooming every month of the year. So far I haven't found anything that blooms in Central Ohio in January (I'll keep looking sooner or later I'll find something, hmm, maybe Daphne). However, this year's weather has totally wrecked my orderly succession.

I had lilacs, peonies and roses blooming all together in May, the magnolia bloomed early as well. The winter-blooming apricot was the only thing on time (March) while February's snowdrops sprang up in January -- though they DID wait until February to bloom.

The things I expected to bloom in July and August are already blooming, to the delight of the butterflies and hummingbirds. And I have two self-sown daturas that are executing a pincers movement on the porch. Their blooms are gorgeous and the fragrance of the blossoms are wonderful at night -- but the plants are now well over a yard in height -- and I expect the blooms will below "Feed me!" any time now...

#501 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 02:39 PM:

AKICITF question: Anyone remember offhand -- in which book of the Vorkosigan saga is Aral's academy lecture on recognizing an illegal order mentioned?

#502 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 02:51 PM:

Janet @501:
in which book of the Vorkosigan saga is Aral's academy lecture on recognizing an illegal order mentioned?

The Vor Game, Chapter Five. Page 76 in my edition (Baen paperback, first printing)

Why yes, we did just shelve the whole library readily to hand in the newly redecorated living room. Does it show?

#503 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 03:05 PM:

Ginger - that's tough. I hope things work out, whatever that may mean in the end.

All: I'd like to post happy news - my wife was accepted for a one-year visiting professorship in physics at IU East. After a few years out of the field with children, this is a Good Thing.

We don't know what will happen *after* that, of course, but she's ecstatic to be moving in the right direction after so many years.

#504 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 03:12 PM:

Ginger: I'm deeply impressed by how well you're handing this difficult situation. I wish I had something more useful to offer than that, and my sympathy.

Michael Roberts: Coooooool. Congratulations!

#505 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 03:20 PM:

abi, thankyouthankyouthankyou! (I'm working on my GoH talk for Mythcon and I wanted it to illustrate a point about disobedience. I wonder if Aral talked about the Milgram experiments, which are also working their way into my paper...)

#506 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 04:17 PM:

Constance, Fragano, Lori, Michael, abi: Thank you for your words of support!

It is not easy -- no, let me rephrase: it is hellishly difficult to keep myself from handling this in a more emotional and less appropriate manner. I spend many hours in repetitive self-debate, and distract myself with chores. This weekend, I pulled so many vines out of the yard that even with gloves on, I still got some serious blisters on 5 fingers (four on one hand...). I have a lot of vines to pull, luckily for me and my sanity.

The recent articles have been eye-opening and I hope to use them in counseling -- which she has agreed to, for working on communication issues between us and with respect to our son. This is a first step, and one I intend to use to its fullest advantage. In that second article I linked earlier, they pointed out that divorcing couples didn't disagree more than successful couples -- not at all -- but that the successful couples had learned how to communicate with each other. This is where we needed help, particularly as she got angry, perhaps through PMDD or a combination of factors.

I don't claim to be perfect; I'd like to not get so irritated with our son when he's being a typical obnoxious teenager and pushing buttons (as he does so well). Any therapy in that line will be immensely helpful to me, as well as to all of us.

It's going to be a lot of hard work for all of us. I hope that she is ready for this, as her acquiescence implies.

#507 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 04:58 PM:

I invoke AKICIML: It is very hot and humid here in Central Ohio, and my oathsister and I have been debating the treatment of hyperthermia in dogs, so:

Do you treat it the same way you do for humans?
I.e., get them out of the heat, give water, and should you use cold packs or bathe them?

We have a Sheltie and a Longhaired Chihuahua, and neither seems to be enjoying the current weather.

#508 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 04:59 PM:

Ginger @489: Good luck; hope things work out well.

EndNote: just remember, GIGO. If you make a typo when entering a paper, it will let you enter the same one twice (as I discovered with references sent to me from a coauthor of a paper I was pulling together). Also take care how you have it set up for retrieval - if you have two papers with the same first author and similar titles, you can choose the wrong paper (I'm sure these limitations are the same for other such systems as well).

#509 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 05:01 PM:

One more bit of Doctor Who commentary, this time on "The Pandorica Opens":

Gur Qbpgbe fnvq bs gur Cnaqbevpn, "Lbh'q jnag gb erzrzore jurer lbh chg vg," naq V vzzrqvngryl fnvq, "Fb lbh chg Fgbaruratr bire vg." Phg gb gur guerr evqvat gbjneqf...Fgbaruratr. V cnggrq zlfrys ba gur onpx sbe gung bar.

Jura gur Qbpgbe jnf gnyxvat nobhg gur pbagragf bs gur Cnaqbevpn naq tbvat ba nobhg ubj vg jnf gur zbfg cbjreshy naq srnerq orvat va gur Havirefr, V vzzrqvngryl ernyvmrq gung va Fgrcura Zbssng'f jbeyq gung qrfpevcgvba nccyvrq gb bayl bar orvat, anzryl gur Qbpgbe uvzfrys. Ng svefg V gubhtug gung gur Qbpgbe jnf pebffvat uvf bja gvzryvar (bu, naq url, qvq nalbar abgvpr gung va "Gur Ovt Onat" obgu gur Qbpgbe naq Nzl oebxr gur Svefg Ynj bs Gvzr naq abguvat unccrarq?) naq gura V thrffrq gur npghny cybg gjvfg, gung gur Cnaqbevpn jnf rzcgl naq jnf n genc sbe gur Qbpgbe.

#510 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 05:06 PM:

ALibraryKICIML part II (following up on my #484:

We're creating a temporary blended library for the summer, mixing together two (large) personal loaned libraries, our smaller personal libraries, and the internal (organization's) library.

Are there non-permanent, non-marking/non-residual stickers (or something else) that can be placed on the spines and back covers to differentiate the book sources? For our personal books we'll also lightly pencil in initials inside as a backup. Some people have permanent ex-libris stickers, others of us avoid permanent changes at all costs-- the pencil is the maximum I'd to do my own books, for example.

Most books will be hardback+dust jacket or trade paperback. A very few books are first editions / slightly damaged where we'd want extra care in how we treat the spine. Thanks for your ideas.

#511 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 05:18 PM:

Lori @ 507: Preventing heat stress (et seq) by reducing exercise, promoting drinking of cool water, etc. helps. When treating hyperthermia, yes -- cool water, evaporative cooling, get them out of the direct sunlight (and out of the intense heat, if possible). Dogs don't sweat except through their footpads, and they use their tongues/panting for evaporative cooling. Hosing off the body or applying cool/ice packs may not work, but I've used that combination myself.

#512 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 05:41 PM:

@510 Book bands maybe?

You know, a strip of paper wrapped around, say, the back cover, like a partial dust jacket, tightly enough to stay put but not tightly enough to mark the dust jacket if there is one. With the appropriate info on it, and you could even color code them if you were ambitious.

I seem to remember something similar being used for loaners and "shorter than usual lending term" books when I was a kid.....

#513 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 05:45 PM:

Thanks Ginger -- I thought that would work. We had Honey the Chihuahua outside while we were gardening. Even though she had shade and available water, after a little while she indicated she wanted to go back inside (this is a dog that loves to be outdoors).

When I tried to pick her up, she started coughing...and looked very stressed, so we got her inside to the A/C where she revived quickly.

I know that heat and brachycephalic breeds are a poor combination, and the only times she's been out since are in the early morning when it has been relatively cool.

Does the size of the dog make a difference in how well they handle heat or cold?

#514 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 05:49 PM:

Janet @505:

The notes or text of which speech will be online somewhere after it's been delivered, yes? Please?

#515 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 05:56 PM:

Does the size of the dog make a difference in how well they handle heat or cold?

I can argue this one both ways.
Square-cube law, so the smaller the dog, the more surface area it has(proportionally). So it should be easier to cool/heat the dog. On the other hand, small dogs survive roughly the same environments as big dogs, so you'd expect them to have more of an insulating undercoat or similar.

A chihuahua with a buzzcut would be the most efficient at approaching the outside temperature.

I've known a lot of dogs that played with sprinklers and hoses, and went swimming, but I don't know if they're doing that specifically to cool off or if it's just fun for them.

#516 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 06:12 PM:

Kathryn @ 510: Color coded post-it tabs, stuck inside the cover and folded over the outside, won't necessarily be visible from the spine when shelved but could still be of some use.

#517 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 06:49 PM:

Most dogs just like to swim. Ours really, really doesn't. She used to be so terrified of any water that she literally wouldn't even walk through puddles (since she was born on the beach in Ponce, we always thought that was really weird).

Later, she discovered that in hot weather, laying down flat in water was very comfortable, so she often did that, and still does.

Moral of the story: water helps dogs cool off just like it does people. For a chihuahua, though, the water would have to be so shallow I'd think it would warm up pretty fast in hot weather anyway. Make sure the dog has shade, though, and she should be OK, I'd think. (But of course, Ginger actually knows what she's talking about, if I recall correctly.)

I'd worry about cold packs making a dog too cold, especially a small one (the dog, not the ice pack). If your dog likes to lick or chew on ice, though, I'd think that might help.

#518 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 07:08 PM:

Hmm. Dogs don't sweat (except as Ginger outlined), but evaporative cooling will still work. So if they get wet (and the humidity is less than 100%) it should help.

#519 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 07:14 PM:

Yesterday's WashPost had a review of the Flatiron Building, but they never mentioned Tor.

#520 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 07:15 PM:

Is it wrong that I find this video of Ozzy Osbourne pretending to be a wax statue at Madame Tussaud's and scaring people who sit down next to him hilarious?

#521 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 07:22 PM:

I've stuck my dog's feet in cups of ice water while out walking on hot days. Theoretically that would work. I'm not sure how to test whether it works. At least, that I'm willing to try.

#522 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 07:27 PM:

Last summer when a heat wave hit Seattle, they were recommending that owners of small dogs layer them with damp towels, and change the towels periodically. This was for keeping them cool inside apartments without AC, and so forth. It seems like a reasonable compromise between keeping the temperature down and not shocking the system like submersion in cold water might.

Meanwhile, our long-haired cat has been shaved down for the summer, and is much perkier since. Unsurprisingly, getting a lot of the fur off a pet can make it happier in hot, humid weather. I'm in Austin, so I am quite familiar with that kind of mugginess.

#523 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 08:18 PM:

Kathryn @510, try some of the library supply companies. We get non-permanent stickers for the spines of our reserves. And Avery makes one we use on the front covers of all kinds of interlibrary loan items that has never damaged anything. The big names are Gaylord, Brodart, and Baker and Taylor.

abi @514, I think I ought to be able to put it up on my faculty website, or just add you to the list of people who want a copy. I don't expect it will be in publishable form for a while after Mythcon -- it's much more lecture-y than my usual paper so far.

#524 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 08:45 PM:

You haven't seen a bird in the house until you've seen a bird in a house with five cats.

There are physics lessons to be learned from the situation. The bird exerts an attraction strong enough to overcome the normal intercat repulsive force. They briefly fuse into one trans-uranic supercat, moving as one body to follow the bird in a parabolic trajectory. This nucleus is unstable, of course, but the half-life is long enough that it can be observed with the naked eye.

#525 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 09:24 PM:

@520 That's so wrong but it's so right.


(If I'm ever famous enough that I might plausibly appear in a waxworks, I'm going to have to do that.)

#526 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 09:31 PM:

Fade Manley @ 522:

And then there was the yellow lab at the dog shelter. He loved being hosed down.

Allan Beatty @ 524:

When the avion was ejected, was what was left a cation?

#527 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 10:48 PM:

David Goldfarb @479: Gur pnhfr bs gur rkcybfvba naq gur fbhepr bs gur "Fvyrapr jvyy snyy" ibvpr ner qhr gb or rkcnaqrq hcba va frnfba 6, nf bguref unir zragvbarq. Gur ernfba Nzl qvqa'g erzrzore gur Qnyrxf vf orpnhfr gur penpx va gvzr jnf rngvat ovgf bs uvfgbel - gur qbpgbe fcrphyngrq gung gur PloreXvat riragf jvgu Wnpxfba Ynxr jrer nyfb haqbar.

#528 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 10:54 PM:

Steve C., #493: Likewise! And I hope to see you at future ApolloCons as well, and also perhaps at Chocolate Decadence now that we've met.

heresiarch, #520: OMG, that's hysterical! What makes it work, of course, is the shades.

KeithS, #526: 88888888888888888888888888888888888888

#529 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 11:19 PM:

On another matter altogether, Cat Sparks reports that the fund to bring Peter Watts to Aussiecon this year has met its marks and he will indeed be coming. He's never been to Australia before, and looks forward to shaking hands with a funnelweb spider. Not.

#530 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 11:46 PM:

Lori #500: Have you tried wintersweet (Chimonanthus praecox)? That might be hardy enough.

#531 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2010, 11:57 PM:

Lori @ 513: How old is Honey? Older dogs and dogs that are developing health issues will have more trouble with heat. On the other hand, she may have just had a bad moment with dust, or some other airborne pollutant. One of my cats once walked into a cloud of citrus air freshener and began coughing. He rapidly developed a honking cough (indicative of a more serious reaction), so I gave him steroids.

Allan Beatty @524: That is a thing of beauty. Also, of up, down, and charm. My sense of humor is quarky, and I have seen similar species of transuranic supercats, only artificially induced with a laser pointer and 5 kittens. Good times, good times.

#532 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 12:24 AM:

On the grounds that when I asked this on my LJ it was ignored, and also on the grounds that it was a season ago I have a question about Dr. Who based on the episodes last season which shouldn't require Rot 13 for an answer.

Admittedly, I've only seen the current versions of the series, not the pre-cancellation ones so I may be missing some subtle details here that a long-time Who fan could straighten me out on. However, with that in mind, does The Master regularly get his evil plots from Wile E. Coyote's reject bin? Because the only thing that was missing was the Acme Indestructible Steel Ball and the ramp...

#533 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 01:59 AM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @532: The Master always was into incredibly baroque plans just for the fun of it. But the current regeneration is also overtly insane in a way that the earlier ones weren't, and they've ramped up the Acmeness to match. What happened to the Time Lords has affected him just as badly as it has the Doctor, only in him it shows up as Really Weird Plans To Rule The Universe, instead of his previous borderline realistic plans to rule the universe.

#534 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 02:17 AM:

Now I have "Doctorin' the TARDIS" stuck in my head.

#535 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 02:54 AM:

Janet @523:

I'm sure I'm not the only one here who would appreciate a link to it when it is publishable.

#536 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 04:33 AM:

heresiarch @520 - I'm sure I'm not the only person besides Ozzy who did that and had a blast with it. (You don't have to be famous - it would be just like them to have a statue of a tourist in some out-of-the-way corner).

#537 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 05:25 AM:

Marking books: Post-its are not good for all books - e.g. older books (where they can take paper with them when they are removed) and as I recall, some shiny papers which they take the surface off. Probably okay on the outside, except with old books with soft-paper covers.

Whatever is used, lightly-pencilled initials would seem sensible as a backup.

#538 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 06:26 AM:

There apparently is a movie being made from Le Carré's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, with Gary Oldman as Smiley.

#539 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 07:45 AM:

Gary Oldman as Smiley? I'm sorry. Why on earth does this strike me as exactly the wrong pick?

#540 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 08:28 AM:

Fragano @ 539: Because Gary Oldman exudes an intensity that George Smiley deliberately conceals?

#542 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 09:26 AM:

Leaving Barstow in a little while. Made better time yesterday (or at least better distance) than I thought I would.

#543 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 09:28 AM:

Terry Karney @ 542... If you have made even better time, think how you could have spent the night in Needles instead of Barstow.

#544 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 09:33 AM:

Fragano @ 539... Ginger @ 540... I must say that Oldman at first struck me as an odd casting choice. On the other hand, he is capable of playing apparently quiet characters - for example, Gordon in the recent Batman movies. It's all about acting, anyway. I still remember when Peter Jackson's LoTR was still one year away from being unleashed and some people were dubious about Gandalf being played by Magneto.

#545 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 09:47 AM:

Spinning off someone else's link:

Luciferous Logolepsy -- 9000+ rare English words. For example, it seems that schadenfreude does indeed have an English translation, "epicaricacy".

#546 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 10:03 AM:

Bruce E Durocher II @ 532... the only thing that was missing was the Acme Indestructible Steel Ball and the ramp...

Me, I want Acme's Dehydrated Boulder.

#547 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 10:17 AM:

re 544: Well, people who had doubts about Ian McKellen as Gandalf probably needed to get out more, or just read his IMDB listing.

#548 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 10:26 AM:

C Wingate @ 547... Yup. How many of them noticed that he played Margo Lane's absent-minded scientist of a father in Alec Baldwin's The Shadow?

#549 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 10:29 AM:


"schadenfreude does indeed have an English translation, "epicaricacy"."

eh. that's not really english, just an inept transliteration of a greek word (more like "epikhairekakia"). show me five uses in the wild in good english authors and i might acknowledge it as naturalized. (but burton's anatomy and browne's urn burial are excluded, since they reveled in barely-transliterated greek already).

#550 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 10:47 AM:

Ginger #540: Yes, that's exactly it. Smiley is understated in almost exactly the way that Oldman is overstated.

#551 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 11:00 AM:

Constance, 498: It does happen that the precipating partner for splitting a couple changes her mind.

Don't I know it!

It does happen too, that by the time that mind change goes into effect, the other partner has effectively moved on.

Very true. I got lucky.

Ginger, 506: it is hellishly difficult to keep myself from handling this in a more emotional and less appropriate manner.

Please remember that some of your emotions will be perfectly appropriate, even crucial to the process. I hope this all works out for you, whatever that may mean.

For those of you who haven't already heard, I was fired Friday morning. I love the company and they think highly of me as a person, but I frankly botched my job. I have no idea what I'm going to be up to next, and I have a lot of work to do on some real shortcomings I have uncovered, but I can discern the outlines of a good place for a soft landing. No worries.

#552 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 11:08 AM:

David Harmon #545: That's a word so rare that it doesn't appear in the OED.

#553 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 11:28 AM:

Ginger @531 -- Honey is just one month past her first birthday, she weighs 5.5 pounds. The day she had the coughing attack (+ heat exhaustion?) the temperature was around 90F with 85% humidity, and the air quality was poor. We were outside for about a half hour before she started looking unhappy.

She's had no problems since then, but we've limited her walks and outdoor time to the coolest parts of the day. Everything written about the breed warns that Chihuahuas are sensative to cold -- but I've found little on heat problems, and what there was was vague as to treatment.

The only thing I know for certain about toy breeds is that when something goes wrong it can become a disaster very quickly.

#554 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 11:35 AM:

Thomas @530: Have not tried Wintersweet, I will check out the local nurseries this Fall. From what I can find on the Web it looks like there are varieties that will be happy in Zone 6.

#555 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 11:52 AM:

Fade #522:

Should we have a fluorospheric gathering, or postpone it to the last week of August at ArmadilloCon?

#556 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 11:56 AM:

I'm an idiot, but a lucky one.

I went to the grocery store today. My bill came to $92.11.

"Cash, credit, or debit?" asked the checker.

"Debit," I replied, and opened my wallet to debit card. (It turned out I never took it out of my passport billfold after my recent trip.) I didn't have another card.

Without much hope, I looked in the cash portion of my wallet.

It turned out I had exactly $93 in my wallet.

Thank you, gods or spirits who rule such things, for saving me from my own stupidity.

#557 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 12:21 PM:

Lori @ 553: Poor air quality will affect animals too, but if you see any additional evidence that she's not tolerating the heat or the air quality, it might be time to have her checked out. A subclinical condition would not be noticeable except when other factors impinge on the same system, so if she had (for example) a mild upper respiratory infection that you didn't notice, a poor air quality day would put her into respiratory difficulties that you do notice.

A young animal like Honey would not be likely to have more serious conditions, but asthma, some congenital heart conditions, and mild infections would be things on my rule-out list. Once is not something to worry about, but I'd just watch for a trend.

Chris Quinones @ 551: Sympathies on your job and thanks for your words of wisdom. I know my emotions are appropriate, but they wouldn't lead anyone to a better resolution, so I keep them all inside (as Robin Williams' character said in "The Bird Cage"). There really hasn't been much going on, so I've been very lucky in that regard.

#558 ::: Janet K ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 12:22 PM:

The latest episode of US public TV's History Detectives has a segment on the theremin and its history. A video of a theremin performance by a member of the New York Theremin Society is an extra available on the Web page.

#559 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 04:09 PM:

Was Making Light down for a while? It wouldn't (re)load for me for several hours, and there's only been about three comments posted in that time.

#560 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 04:10 PM:

OK, that last one was me too. I lost my cookies (the electronic ones) and had to reenter my email, and did the spam-prevention formatting a little differently. I hope I've now fixed that.

I'm glad ML is back. I'm assuming I'm not the only one who experienced an outage earlier.

#561 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 04:11 PM:

Thanks, Ginger -- Honey is normally so bouncy and active outdoors that the change to "I don't want to play" worried me. The coughing spell scared me enough to whisk her back indoors. She returned to normal (and hasn't coughed since) as soon as she was cool, which took all of 30 minutes.

She is the smallest dog I've ever owned, and maybe I'm being over-protective. It's been about a week and a half since the incident, and she's been her super active self, healthy appetite and elimination so it looks like no harm done.

If the cough comes back I'll take her to see her vet. And now I know I can use the same techniques on an overheated dog that I would for an overheatead person -- it goes into my mental file of what to do for this sort of problem.

#562 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 04:16 PM:

Yes, Making Light was down for a couple of hours. Server crash, apparently.

I kept the Making Light Twitter stream updated, and you can always check for refugee threads on my blog, Evilrooster Crows.

#563 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 04:23 PM:

I think Twitter has longer time-delays than many of us assume; I haven't seen the "back up" there yet.

#564 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 04:24 PM:

Hmmm; with scriptable Twitter clients and NTP-synced system clocks, an experiment could be designed to measure twitter speed from entirely outside the company but still quite accurately (for those particular locations).

#565 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 04:30 PM:

It's alive! Alive!!!

#566 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 04:35 PM:

ddb @563:

That is odd -- the "back up" message doesn't seem to have turned up on my stream either.

#567 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 04:37 PM:

#551 Chris Quinones

O, damn. Many sympathies. May the time off be short.

Love, C.

#568 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 05:13 PM:

Janet Kagan scores a point.

Chris: I hope you'll find a place quickly.

#569 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 05:20 PM:

kid bitzer @549 -- as far as I can tell, Thomas Pynchon never used 'epicaricacy'[1]....but I wouldn't have put it past him.

Chris Quinones -- best of luck for a quick solution and even better fit. (I got some unsettling-but-probably-accurate feedback myself this week, so can relate a bit.)

[1] In fact, he appears to have used -and- explained 'Schadenfreude'

#570 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 05:55 PM:

I know I will not be the only Fluorospherian to be mightily amused by this (very likely fictional) Craigslist piece: "To the Straight Guy at the Party Last Night".

Xopher will enjoy it, at minimum, and probably many others. It is a beautiful example of a story told in the form of a bulleted list -- one that is rising in popularity even as the classic epistolary tale disappears.

#571 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 05:59 PM:

joann #555: Should we have a fluorospheric gathering, or postpone it to the last week of August at ArmadilloCon?

I plan to be at ArmadilloCon (barring financial disaster).

#572 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 06:05 PM:

Xopher, 568: Would that Janet Kagan were alive. She'd have made a great justice...except that it would have taken her away from writing.

#573 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 06:12 PM:

Earl #571:

Excellent! I haven't chatted with you real-time in about twenty years (I remember driving you to a Thursday night party once).

Fade, what about you? Anybody else?

#574 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 06:18 PM:

DilloCon Fluorospherians: please to drink a St. Arnold's Lawnmower for me. Sigh.

#575 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 06:53 PM:

Chris Quinones, #551, I hope it turns out well!

#576 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 06:59 PM:

So, what does the Fluorosphere think of Johnny Depp as the Doctor in a feature film of Doctor Who? I'm a bit dubious myself, but if it comes out I'll go see it.

#577 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 08:44 PM:

In Flagstaff. Update to the sage of the road trip to follow. But first a shower, and a bit of laundry, then supper; with a pint, or two.

I have no more riding today, can leave at a sensible hour tomorrow, as I am not trying to beat the heat; so I can wait until the sun is above the brow of my helmet, and not be 1: blind, or 2: holding my head at a bizarre angle.

#578 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 08:46 PM:

Elliott: love it! I'm almost certain it IS fictional, but it's fun either way.

#579 ::: Terry Karney has a comment in moderation. ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 09:02 PM:

About the trip: I think I misformatted the URL...?

#580 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 10:15 PM:

Well, I now know what I will be doing aside from my own research and classes as a first-year grad student at Cal: being a GSI for Drugs and Behavior. Ought to be an interesting contrast to vision and cognitive psychology...

#581 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 10:19 PM:

I love me some theremin. In seventh grade (or maybe eighth), I was at an assembly where they were showing us one. For once, I was seated in the front row (I normally headed to the back), and when they asked for a volunteer, I didn't raise my hand. I stood right up and walked and got to play one for the first time. Happily, not for the last time.

I really should get one.

#582 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 10:21 PM:

Terry @542 I hope whatever drugs take hold around Barstow are the right ones for you...

#583 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 10:39 PM:

Kip W @581: I got to play around with Christo's at a FilkONtario in 2006. I had pretty good luck doing most of a verse of 'We Three Kings' on it first try, which means either I've got a natural aptitude or I was careful in choosing a song with easy-to-play-on-theremin intervals.

#584 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 10:55 PM:

re 568: Funny thing, my first thought was, "at a Chinese restaurant, of course."

#585 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 10:58 PM:

Wow, Elliott, I own one and have never gotten it to play so much as a scale.

#586 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 11:06 PM:

TexAnne 572: Oh fuck. I did that, didn't I? Dammit.

Elena Kagan.

I miss Janet.

#587 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 11:10 PM:

Apropos of nothing but coolness, this arrangement for handbell choir of Chabrier's España held me the whole way, and I generally revile handbells. Maybe Chabrier makes everything better?

#588 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 11:37 PM:

Xopher @556 -- Thelemites would find that amount quite relevant. @568 -- Elena, not Janet (would that she could still score points!) Kagan (as Texanne pointed out, too).

#589 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 11:50 PM:

Tom - I'm not a Thelemite; could you explain? Is it just the multiple of three thing?

And see my 585.

#590 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2010, 11:52 PM:

I know the spam trapper is going to get this, but I cannot resist linking them all:

re 586: There are four handbell versions of "Flight of the Bumblebee" on YouTube but two of them cheat with using mallets; this is the best traditional one. The piece simply demands crazy instruments:

The Canadian Brass with the now-traditional tuba and a lot of ham
4 string bass guitar
marimba (there is a faster one but I like the way they end up circling the instrument)
accordion with rock band backup
bassoon quintet-- the existence of repertoire for groups of bassoons is slightly disturbing
two harmonicas-- here I think we are reaching the limits of the technology
banjo at warp 11
Harry Watters cuts loose on the trombone
string bass and cello
and the most insane version, on the organ pedals

I looked for one on the harp, but couldn't find any; I think without a chromatic harp (quite rare) it would be absolutely impossible.

#591 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2010, 12:09 AM:

flying car? really?

#592 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2010, 12:13 AM:

A Thelemite who plays the theremin would be a Theremite?

#593 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2010, 12:47 AM:

#587 -- there's a ton of coolness there.

#594 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2010, 01:29 AM:

Xopher -- despite the long lag between them, your 586 hadn't actually come up while I was writing my note -- sorry to leap on the bandwagon there. I've made similar mistakes in my time, and been embarrassed.

Crowley followers for various numerological reasons start their letters with 93 and end with 93/93. Has to do with love, law and will. So 93 is a number they notice (similar to those caught up in the Law of Fives who see 23s everywhere).

#595 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2010, 09:31 AM:

Xopher @585 said: Wow, Elliott, I own one and have never gotten it to play so much as a scale.

Scales are surprisingly hard on theremin, because it's exponential -- if you move your hand three times, equal distances, away from the antenna, you don't get a 'C D E' response, you get something like fifths (depending on how big the distance was).

'We Three Kings' has a lot of far-separated notes, as opposed to something like (crossing the streams) Flight of the Bumblebee, which would be insanely difficult on theremin in particular, aside from its difficulty on any other instrument, because the intervals are all so small.

Bits of 'The Star-Spangled Banner' are also good; 'Row Row Row Your Boat' or 'Mary Had A Little Lamb,' while ideal beginner piano tunes, are advanced on theremin.

#596 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2010, 09:40 AM:


agreed, debbie. pynchon is another author whose use of a word is no guarantee that it is english.

#597 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2010, 09:49 AM:

Tom Whitmore @ 594... Crowley followers for various numerological reasons start their letters with 93 and end with 93/93

John Crowley followers?

#598 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2010, 10:41 AM:

Would smaller intervals be easier if you played two theremins at once, one with each hand?

#599 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2010, 12:41 PM:

Heading out of Flagstaff now. Progress report is up.

#600 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2010, 12:58 PM:

595 Elliot Mason

"Scales are surprisingly hard on theremin, because it's exponential --"

Well, wouldn't that make it easier? It's a natural property of notes that it's a logarithmic progression, so couldn't a theremin be calibrated so that a fixed distance is always exactly one interval? i e wouldn't the exponential property work in your favor if you calibrated it right?

#601 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2010, 01:06 PM:

PZ Myers posts A Taxonomy of Libertarians. It made me giggle.

(Note: Originally the image on Pharyngula linked to a malware-infected site. That link has now been removed. Unfortunately it means you can't click to enlarge the image, so you may have to squint a bit.)

If I had artistic skills, I'd make a taxonomy of U.S. conservatives. And even one of liberals -- making gentle fun of one's own group is allowed. (The last panel for liberals would have to be the same as for libertarians.)

#602 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2010, 02:08 PM:

A bunch of local stories asking "Are public libraries worth the money?" are all showing up at around the same time on multiple city local news sites and TV broadcasts>. All of the ones I've found happen to be Fox affliates.

Spotted so far: Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, and New York.

It looks like the particular people and institutions in each story are local, but they seem to be running off a common template. While New York's Fox affiliate calls it an "exclusive look", it doesn't look all that exclusive among Fox affiliates.

#603 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2010, 02:12 PM:

There are a lot of conservatives who think that only students need libraries, therefore public libraries are an unnecessary expense ... even while they're showing their kids the library and telling them how wonderful it is.

#604 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2010, 02:46 PM:

Earl@598, most theremins I've seen have two sensors, and use one hand for pitch and the other hand for volume. If you're using two hands for pitch sensors, you don't have a way to control volume, and you'd always be doing two-note chords. Maybe you could add foot pedals?

#605 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2010, 03:03 PM:

Hmmm, pedals and a keyboard, to control massed theremins in an organ-like configuration?

#606 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2010, 03:04 PM:

I have the impression, from various online discussion, that theremins are fairly hard to play competently, so perhaps complicating the user interface should not be the first thing tried.

But as I understand it now, it's essentially one-dimensional -- how close your hand is to the sensor (pitch for one hand, volume for the other). You could make it two-dimensional and get both volume and pitch from a single hand. And then play a second one with the other hand.

If you didn't go stark staring mad first.

The idea of foot pedals is of course another approach, with considerable tradition behind it.

Pianists routinely play somewhat independent (not unrelated) things with their two hands, but their sensor (keyboard) is rather quantized, making hand position somewhat less critical.

#607 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2010, 03:17 PM:

PJ Evens @ 603: "There are a lot of conservatives who think that only students need libraries.."

I don't doubt that; I've heard from some myself. What struck me here, though, was not so much the basic message, but the fact that, based on the timing and structure of the stories, this seems to be not just random conservatives, but an organized PR campaign, one that's not acknowledged in the "localized" stories themselves.

I can't really call it astroturf, since local TV stations aren't what you'd call grassroots. But I do wonder who or what is coordinating this particular talking-points push (other than Fox itself).

#608 ::: Mark_Wales ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2010, 03:42 PM:

World Cup Open Threadiness1:

So, England are out of the World Cup. What's a fellow who was born in England but is now resident in Wales2 do to, except re-write that legendary fellow denizen of the Western Marches Dylan Thomas's most famous villanelle? (Thomas is due more than the customary apologies here, since, as you know, Bob, "eight" doesn't rhyme with "right", but even so, I shall plough on regardless...Oh yes.)

Do not go gentle into that last eight
Old squads should preen and moan, not football play
Flap, flap against the crosses from the right.

Wise men still say that 4-4-2 is right
For their words are said in the Italian way
Do not go gentle into that last eight.

Good teams, the English wave by, crying how slight
Their feeble challenge seemed in light of day
Flap, flap against crosses from the right.

Old men who dropped the ball and showed no fight
Are now knocked out, too tired, and on their way
Do not go gentle into that last eight.

Grave men, outplayed, who see with blinding light
They can't defend and are not worth the pay
Flap, flap against the crosses from the right.

And you, the boss, who did not scale the height
Curse you now, and your rigid style of play
Do not go gentle into that last eight
Flap, flap against the crosses from the right.

1 I've previously posted a few things here as Mark_W, but it seems there are other Mark's and Mark W's already here, so, as the newbie, I thought it mayhap be best if I adapted my name for avoidance of confusion purposes...

2 The principality, not the cetaceans -- and though that doesn't really work when written down rather than spoken, it somehow never gets old, bless it...

#609 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2010, 04:27 PM:

The principality, not the cetaceans -- and though that doesn't really work when written down rather than spoken, it somehow never gets old, bless it...

If only your name were Jonah!

Cool villanelle.

#610 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2010, 04:38 PM:

Dutch language Best Geek Artist Ever open-threadiness: I have an Escher page-a-day calendar, and today's illustration was Vase, from XXIV Emblemata (1931 woodcut). At the bottom it says: "U ZIJ BEWUST HETGEEN WIJ DERVEN: ONS VROEG VERSTERVEN EEN OOGENLUST". Google Translate suggests "you knowingly what we lose: we asked a mortifying moment lust"; can anyone do better than this?

Basically I just really need to know what OOGENLUST means, as it's now my favourite word. Oogenlust!

(I think I copied the Dutch correctly; I could have torn the page off to take home with me, but that would have been tearing a page off a day early, which would be wrong).

#611 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2010, 04:39 PM:


Is it just me, or did that "Briefly Tempting" one look a lot like Radley Balko?

#612 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2010, 04:44 PM:

Folks -- please call Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's office (Congressional Switchboard - 202-224-3121)* and ask that he keep the Senate in session until they pass the Unemployment Insurance extention.

Why should the Senate be allowed to go on vacation when they aren't doing the work we hired them to do?

*Ask to be transferred to the Senator's office.

#613 ::: Mark_Wales ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2010, 04:48 PM:


If only your name were Jonah!

Indeed. I really should think about changing it...


Cool villanelle.

Bless you, but that's really all D. Thomas, who, apart from the "good night" / "last eight" suggestion, had the foresight (!?) to pick a rhyming scheme that included words that rhymed with "play", and "pay", which, in the case of the England team, are more apposite than one would (at least in the configuration of my confused patriotism, wish...)

#614 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2010, 04:48 PM:


I think the real driver for all this is that lots of local governments are in a financial pinch. Cutting funding to the libraries may not make sense in terms of the well being of the community or the country, but it probably works better politically than cutting something with a louder or more well-connected constituency.

#615 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2010, 04:49 PM:

Fux. Rupert Murdoch, candidate for most evil person alive....

What the Fux cookie cutter failed to mention is that Boston has more than 20 branch libraries, along with a fiscal crisis. And libraries are a higher priority in localities around here, than school sports.

Fuhk Fux.

#616 ::: Mark_Wales ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2010, 04:49 PM:


If only your name were Jonah!

Indeed. I really should think about changing it...


Cool villanelle.

Bless you, but that's really all D. Thomas, who, apart from the "good night" / "last eight" suggestion, had the foresight (!?) to pick a rhyming scheme that included words that rhymed with "play", and "pay", which, in the case of the England team, are more apposite than one would (at least in the configuration of my confused patriotism) wish...

#617 ::: Mark_Wales ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2010, 04:53 PM:

Oh, good heavens, I've done, for the first time, the "double post" error:

a] Sorry, everyone! but;

b] Do I win a prize????


#618 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2010, 05:06 PM:

Open Threadiness:

I've found a couple media-related stories really fascinating in the last few days.

First, US newspapers stopped calling waterboarding torture when it came out we were using it. (This was pretty obvious, but it's fun to see it put into numbers.)

Second, the internal media reaction to the story that ended McCrystal's career is really striking.

Both of those paint the same picture. The respectable media in the US works in many ways more like an official propaganda service than like an independent group of people reporting on what happens in government. This is true even though those papers face almost no legal constraints on what they may publish. It would be interesting to understand why this has happened.

IMO, the whole MSM/ruling class complex in the US is a big part of the fundamental brokenness of our country's decisionmaking process.

#619 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2010, 05:17 PM:

Paula Lieberman@615:

> Fux. Rupert Murdoch, candidate for most evil person alive....

Harold Evans's Good Times, Bad Times is a key text here: an insider's account of what the Dirty Digger does when he gets his hands on your national institutions.

#620 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2010, 05:22 PM:

#612 Lori
Phonecall made.

Meanwhile the Repukes don't seem to object to increasing the federal debt to reward more first time homebuyers and the people who build houses at the expense of everyone else, while also screwing over people who're unemployed who have houses or are renting....

Just how many units of "new housing" does the USA need, anyway? What about rental assistance or assistance otherwise to keep people roofed, whose ability t pay for the housing they're already is, has been trashed from unemployment and/or illness or divorce or other misfortune?

The "new housing" apparently doesn't include all the condo conversions from former school, mill buildings, etc. .... some places like Lost Wages and Phoenix Arizona there is a huge oversupply of houses compared to the people in the area... the result of that in Detroit,

[ when ironically people moved to the federally subsidized relocation of jobs to Arizona and Texass and Nevada (military facilities in those places getting larger, while ones in the North got closed down among the drivers, along with federally subsidized power and water in various southern parts of the USA.. TVA power a driver for companies moving south at the expense of the northern taxpayers gettign $.20 of every dollar they pay to the fed, getting spend in the southern parts of the USA, further subsidizing growth in Arizona, Texas, etc, and relocation of jobs to those placese... but the houses went up even faster than the job went there--and then Dell offshored all its call centers (some of which were forced back by businesses saying "Either your your corporate customer support gives us Hugo with a native USA accent in the USA instead of "Hugo" in Asia, or we buy from another computer supplier..." Home users don't have that kind of consolidated clout) laying off thousands of workers....]

eventually was the city of Detroit levelling entire sections of the city which had been the locations of street after street of single family houses, which had been abandoned by the former owners and which no buyers or renters materialized to legally move into and reside in.

Meanwhile, for the first time in decades, Boston's population is back up over 600,000.... geograpically it is far smaller than most major US cities, and there is a continuing demand for housing from the 100,000+ college students, the employees of the the educational institutions, the healthcare industry workers, etc., which institutions can't so casually pack up and move to the corporate-subsidies South... (and the subsidies-for-corporations South has gotten a big dose of what it did to the North over the past 40 years, with offshoring of furniture manufacturing, call centers, textile production, clothing production, car parts manufacturing, etc. )

#621 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2010, 07:26 PM:

That's not a flying car. It's a roadworthy plane.

#622 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2010, 07:39 PM:

I just got a call from Terry Karney. He's in Gallup, 160 miles away.

#623 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2010, 07:59 PM:

I'm about to do something I've never done before: bring a comment about a post in another thread (namely, Lexica's in re Serge's in the soccer one) over into the open thread because I think it goes far enough off-topic as to constitute a hijack. Or just feel more openthready than soccery, to me.

Plus, I think the open-thready audience would appreciate it. It was while I was composing the footnote to a footnote that I realized I'd wandered far. :->

Ahem, and to wit:

Lexica @191 said: I was recently reading a near-future dystopian SF book intended (I think) for young adults and finding it okay enough, until in the middle of a chapter told from the POV of a mid-teenage, rebellious, up-to-the-moment, cyber-savvy kind of kid, the POV character made a comment about "some perv in an overcoat trying to lure kids over to wave his dork at them". His dork? His dork? This coming from a teenager in roughly 2015/2020? Sure, slang goes in and out of fashion, but that booted me out of the narrative as effectively as if the author had had him describe something as "the bees' knees".

My current favorite rude euphemism❦ for that anatomy✪ comes via mainlining whole seasons of the excellently geeky British car show, Top Gear, and it is ...

Wedding vegetables.

Potentially only referring to the spheroids and not the oblong. I think I detect a reference to the British menu-shorthand staple, "Meat and two veg".

Top Gear is really a fount of colorful and novel-to-me language. I've started seriously using the phrase "I'm gagging for a piss," because it's really vibrantly graphic in a way that is totally true to the sensation (sometimes).

Those are both via Jeremy Clarkson, but the other two presenters get some great phrases in, too.

❦ I do hope "rude eupmemism" doesn't come off as self-contradictory. What I mean is a phrase that, taken to bits, is totally unobjectionable (or even twee), used ironically or humorously with intent to shock.

✪ My favorite personal "describing a penis without calling it that" story involves the period when I worked at O'Hare Airport. Most of my coworkers were very recent immigrants (some with advanced degrees) working this relatively menial customer-contact job to improve their English skills so they could upgrade.
Some of them used me as a native informant, because I speak English using varied sentences and regularly use multi-syllabic words☂.

One came to me regularly with words he'd found in the detective novels he was reading in English for practice and pleasure, that he'd looked up in the dictionary and still had questions about.

So one day he comes to me with 'tumescent,' which his dictionary told him meant 'swollen'. And so it does, of course ... however, as he was a fairly modest sort of Eastern-European gentlemanly person, I didn't quite know how to come out and say it, so I stumbled about and came out with, "Well, it does mean swelling, but only of the sort of thing men have and women don't." That and some vague sort of eye-gestures and waggled brows got it across to him.

Flusteredly, he asked, "Well, how would you (meaning me as a native speaker) use it in a sentence?"

"I wouldn't," I said. "The author put it in there to prove he had a thesaurus, and because he was sick of repeating himself. But trust me, I doubt you'll ever have to use it in a sentence. Say 'swelling' instead."

☂ Considering that just about the only other English-native-speaker coworkers we had at this job were high school students, these habits made me stand out. And I'm not a bit sorry, either.

#624 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2010, 11:17 PM:

Elliot Mason: I saw an article on the third try at making an American version of Top Gear that used the phrase: "Jeremy Clarkson is a force of nature."


My favorite phrase of his is "as feminine as a burst sausage." It's bizarrely memorable.

We have the Ford Fiesta "road test" permanently saved on our DVR.

#625 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2010, 11:42 PM:

John Mark Ockerbloom, #602, we have a county, city, and city library system. Since the county is much larger, they run it. They thought they might have to close some of the little neighborhood libraries and let staff go, but managed to keep them in the end. I found out that our city (and I assume the other, too) pays in $35 per person. I'd be happy to pay that annually to keep the library going, but there's no way to do that.

#626 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2010, 01:04 AM:

Terry Karney made it here almost one hour later than expected, and that is mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. It turns out that I had given him incomplete directions and, as a result, he drove 15 miles past our place and wound up near a casino.

#627 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2010, 01:17 AM:

B Durbin @ 624... As feminine as a burst sausage? All right. Who let Raymond Chandler out?

#628 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2010, 08:27 AM:

Serge @#597: Aleister Crowley.

The picture of him on the Wikipedia page is weird--I've never seen a picture of him so young before, and he looks a great deal like a person of my acquaintance who is also a misogynistic poser with a great faith in his own mystical prowess.

#629 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2010, 09:34 AM:

Carrie S @ 628... Oh, I knew that. I just was amused by the idea of a John Crowley cult. As for your acquaintance, is he slouching toward Bethlehem?

#630 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2010, 10:00 AM:

Serge: No, but I think he'd like to be. He's the kind of guy who has a mall-store daisho set on his wall and thinks that makes him cool and scary. Not quite a mall ninja, but getting there.

#631 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2010, 10:30 AM:

Aleister Crowley let Raymond Chandler out?

#632 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2010, 10:57 AM:

Elliott Mason @ 623:

Wedding vegetables.

Potentially only referring to the spheroids and not the oblong.

Well, there are vegetables like cucumbers and zucchini. Eggplant, if you're ambitious.

I think I detect a reference to the British menu-shorthand staple, "Meat and two veg".

Hybrid between that and "wedding tackle," I'd guess. If it was a malapropism, it was an inspired one. I'm going to start using it as well.

#634 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2010, 02:16 PM:

Wow. I don't recall ever seeing a red flag (fire conditions) warning for my area before. Mostly because the humidity seldom falls as low as it is now (WeatherWatcher says 33%).

#635 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2010, 02:59 PM:

Amusements: My computer was malfunctioning last night. How so? It decided the year was 2083. This meant it was not willing to accept any SSL certificate, not even as an exception. So I had no G-mail, no bank access, and various odd things of locking up.

So this morning Norton tells me (again) I need to renew, and then tells me I have almost a year left (because their server has the right date). But the control panel said it had been something like 26,661 days since my last update of definitions. Which made me look at teh date, and so... All seems to be well; save the question of how it happened.

For amusement: The Fellowship of the Vuvuzela It's perversely wonderful.

#636 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2010, 03:07 PM:

I hate to think how long it's going to take to download 26,000 years' worth of virus signatures....

#637 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2010, 03:31 PM:

Re: the strange Japanese subcultures particle. I just got back from my local supermarket, wherein I saw a female Japanese student wandering around with what appeared to be a badger tail emerging from the bottom of her coat... which seems somewhat stranger to me than anything on that page.

Serge @622: "I just got a call from Terry Karney. He's in Gallup, 160 miles away." At least he's not in Research 2000, which from all I can gather is on an entirely different planet to the rest of us.

#638 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2010, 03:47 PM:

Some more instrumental wonderfulness: Cameron Carpenter plays Chopin's 'Revolutionary' Etude on the organ (watch those feet!). Then he goes all-out with some well-known Sousa. I would have sworn that he was on YouTube playing Flight of the Bumblebee on the pedals — and I was thinking in octaves — but I'm not seeing it now. Maybe I'm thinking of Cziffra's piano version where he plays the melody in octaves. (The link is to Katsaris's performance because it shows the sheet music — all in one staff until the last measure!) There are Cziffra performances on YT as well. Katsaris plays the notes more distinctly: Cziffra shimmers. Either one's a lulu.

#639 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2010, 03:50 PM:


#640 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2010, 06:00 PM:

Linkmeister: The worst is that it erased all my (desired) cookies.

re the guy with the dai-sho. It does make him scary, just not in the way he wants.

#641 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2010, 06:03 PM:

My cat has just been diagnosed with fibral sarcoma, with a guarded prognosis. Please pray or do a working or whatever else you feel like.

#642 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2010, 06:05 PM:

Terry 635: Nassty vuvuzelas! We hates it! We hates it for ever!

#643 ::: Lydy Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2010, 06:27 PM:

TexAnne, I'm so sorry. I hope that the prognosis gets better. It's so hard to lose a pet.

#644 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2010, 06:40 PM:

Odd, I also had massive computer problems yesterday evening (6:30p on 6/30 - surely that's coincidental?)

Borrowing hubs' computer while mine (after multiple futile attempts) tries to restore from a two month old backup.

Which is arguably better than not having a backup, which is what happened six months ago.

I just wish it could have waited a week, because one of the things I was going to do this weekend was - you guessed it - run backups of the computer.

#645 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2010, 06:48 PM:

I'm sorry TexAnne. I'll say words where words are said.

#646 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2010, 07:21 PM:

This brought a tear to my eye.

#647 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2010, 07:27 PM:

Xopher: I blogged it too. He'd gotten a lot of traffic. You should hit the next post, and see the shot of the guy in his underwear.

#648 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2010, 07:37 PM:

TexAnne (641): I'm sorry. Thinking good thoughts.

#649 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2010, 07:39 PM:

Jules, #637, a furry con near?

TexAnne, #641, I'm so sorry! I hope things go well.

#650 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2010, 08:23 PM:

Caroline at # 601: Thanks for that. It adds to my vocabulary for internecine disputes. The kind of libertarian I seem to be is right next to the one that annoys me the most (the Denial-ican).

No wait, I've quoted The Federalist Papers more than once here on Making Light, so I'm a Historian.

#651 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2010, 08:26 PM:

Open thready political/social prediction:

Sooner or later, probably in this or the next administration, we will have it patiently explained to us why the president has the authority to have US citizens killed without any judicial review at all even when they're on US soil. People who object to this will obviously be paranoid nutcases who hate America.

#652 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2010, 08:34 PM:

Texanne @641 -- very best feline wishes in your direction, and lots of good hopes.

#653 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2010, 08:49 PM:

texanne: I'm sorry. Thinking hopeful thoughts.

#654 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2010, 08:52 PM:

America needs Cat Cafés.

#655 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2010, 08:54 PM:

Ginger #489, Chris #551, TexAnne 641--I hope for the best for you.
Open threadularity--a wonderful thing has happened for me. I have just built my 4th trebuchet, the first one to have the floating-arm design. The wee thing is about a foot tall overall and so far has thrown 5/16 ball bearings somewhere between 20 and 25 feet--too excited and too busy yelling to measure, but at least there were no vuvuzelas--I hope to in time better that flight.
I hope that all of you soon get some blessing as wonderful for you as this is for me.

#656 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2010, 09:07 PM:

Earl, 654: We have those. They're called yarn shops.

#657 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2010, 09:15 PM:

Oh, swell. The local idiots have started the firecrackers already.

#658 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2010, 09:18 PM:

TexAnne @ 641... My most hopeful wishes.

#659 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2010, 09:24 PM:

Giant predatory whale fossil found.
Best quote:
The organ could have served other functions, such as echolocation, acoustic displays or aggressive head-butting.

"Spermaceti organs could be used as battering rams to injure opponents during contests over females,"

#660 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2010, 09:48 PM:

Erik, modern sperm whales are believed to do that too, so it makes sense. The spermaceti capsule in the head has been described as a natural boxing glove.

#661 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2010, 11:27 PM:

TexAnne @ 641: Best wishes for your cat -- fibrosarcoma is one of the weird ones.

#662 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2010, 02:21 AM:

Angiportus @ 655: What size trebuchet would you need to launch a vuvuzela?

#663 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2010, 04:19 AM:

Texanne @641:

Like Xopher, I'll say a word where words are said.

#664 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2010, 05:29 AM:

TexAnne @641: Sympathies and lots of good wishes.

#665 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2010, 09:36 AM:

Texanne @641: My sympathies... it's always rough losing a pet.

My Gremlin is still doing OK, but definitely elderly (I just checked her records, and it seems she just turned 15 --even older than I thought). (For that matter, it's time for her annual checkup.) One of her kittens (the one her former owner kept) just died of cancer, and she had those kittens when she was barely a year old.

#666 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2010, 09:46 AM:

Paul @662: Not terribly large. If the vuvuzela can be pre-processed a bit, say through the judicious use of an axe, even smaller. About a two-meter trebuchet would do.

#667 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2010, 10:53 AM:

Terry Karney took off a few minutes ago.
Next stop, Oklahoma City.

#668 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2010, 10:59 AM:

With a flight plan filed and clearance from the tower, I gather?

#669 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2010, 11:13 AM:

PJ Evans @ 668... People here are dispensed from that requirement because we live at 5878 feet above sea level.

#670 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2010, 11:34 AM:

Does this look suspicious to anyone else? If the arsonist was not caught on tape setting the fire, how do the cops know that this man's thermos is filled with a "combustible material" just from the security footage? Furthermore, if that's sercurity cam footage, why is it following him? (OK, maybe it's a fancy moving security camera.)

And three hours later a fire was found? As far as I can tell a man walked up to the Temple door with a container that could be lighter fluid or chicken soup (or coffee if he wanted to be really rebellious) tried to open the door and could not get in. Three hours later a small fire was found.

#671 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2010, 12:14 PM:

Hmm, Twitter's down. HUP HOLLAND HUP!

#672 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2010, 12:27 PM:


(It's a bit, um, enthusiastic over here right now. I bet its a zoo in central Amsterdam.)

#673 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2010, 12:33 PM:

#662 Paul - I would suggest rather a reworked ballista. Trebuchets really, really want approximately spherical projectiles; we want something that fires finned arrows.

No, Sgt. Detritus, put the Piecemaker away.

#674 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2010, 12:47 PM:

Heads up, abi. Your last six comments have a typo in your URL.

#675 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2010, 12:50 PM:

So they do; thank you.

#676 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2010, 01:16 PM:

Albatross #651: s/why/that/ and I think you're good.

Sorry for the streampost, I knew I had another comment to make, but thought it was in another thread.

#677 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2010, 01:51 PM:

Julia Jones: thank you for the explanation. The only other exposure I've had to any version of The Master was the Eric Roberts version, which I gather is about as well received as The Matrix 2 is in the XKCD universe.

Serge: Me, I want Acme's Dehydrated Boulder.

I've always been more of an Acme Earthquake Pills or Portable Hole kind of guy, myself...

#678 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2010, 02:00 PM:

Open threadness -- Tomorrow I get a new computer / laptop.

Next weekend we go to New Orleans. Later this month to Haiti.

The new laptop is a consequence of the travel, even though the laptop comes before the travel.

Schedules do this.

Love, C.

#679 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2010, 02:12 PM:

As a theremin owner (I have to send mine in to be tuned at Big Briar--and in the old days if you called there when his secretary was at lunch you got Robert Moog handling phones!), I have to say that the idea of playing two at once is not really possible. If that's your idea of fun, consider the Terpsitone as described by The Man himself. My friend the electrical engineer (who built me my Theremin) saw the film Theremin with me and the first thing he said on the way to the lobby was "No, Bruce, I won't build the dance floor thing for you." He did make me an Electric Pickle after seeing Penn & Teller, but when I told him about Jacob's Pickle his reply was "And that's another thing I'm not going to build."

#680 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2010, 03:46 PM:

654, 656,

My local version of the cat cafe is a second hand book store.

#681 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2010, 04:39 PM:

Paul, Patrick, Mycroft--calculate the size of the ball that a vuvuzela could be melted into; a teacher I know has some trebs that could probably send it pretty far.
The new one is now throwing 1/4 inch ball bearings about 30 feet (my pavement-marks keep disappearing.) I have not yet augmented the counterweights.

#682 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2010, 05:08 PM:

I find great satisfaction in imagining a practical way of calculating the size of the ball that a vuvuzela could be melted into. Consider also measuring the energy content of a vuvuzela in a bomb calorimeter. Even better, would it be possible to pave a street by running over a bunch of vuvuzelas with a steamroller?

#683 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2010, 05:44 PM:

I have a letter (starts at No Turn on Red) in the transportation column in the WashPost. It took so long that I thought they wouldn't post it.

In semi-literary matters, here's an interview of a guy who self-published because ... the publishing market is fickle, especially with "new writers," and it takes months or even years sometimes for a publisher to make a decision. Pretty much every comment is how wonderful self-publishing is.

Some of us will remember when it became obvious that writers need literary executors; there's a new novel about a girl and her father's work.

#684 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2010, 06:58 PM:

You know what sucks?

After 40 years I move to a state where shopping center parking lots sprout firework stands, legal firework stands, and I have spare money to buy all the eye candy I want . . .

. . . the apartment complex, the neighborhood next door, the Intel plant across the street, and pretty much any public park utterly forbids lighting off the things.

These aren't Rutting Dragon Incendiary MIRV Bomb with Whistling Report, or even bottle rockets. They're tame California fireworks. But you apparently can't use them unless you have your own backyard.

#685 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2010, 07:25 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 624... It sounds like you moved to Albuquerque.

#686 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2010, 07:38 PM:

Stefan@684, a friend of mine has a line about for a holiday that celebrates overthrowing the government, the questions about whether fireworks are legal really just shouldn't come up... There are a few towns in the San Francisco Bay Area that allow "safe and sane" fireworks. I've got a couple of friends who live in Pacifica or have relatives with houses there, and we've had July 4th and/or Canada Day parties. The town encourages people to come down to the beach to set off Roman candles and the like, and in non-foggy years it's quite visible, plus people set stuff off in the streets near home, and people around the valley have set off some nice aerial stuff that was presumably strictly illegal.

There were a couple of years that my local freeway overpass in Silicon Valley was torn down while they widened the highway, leaving a 2-story-high pile of dirt waiting for them to rebuild. Local practice was to bring your lawn chairs and beer up there with you, which let you watch the official fireworks in the nearby city park, the big show at the amusement park down the road, an ok view of various town fireworks shows about 10 miles north, and the range of illegal bottle rockets and such set off by locals.

#687 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2010, 07:55 PM:

#685: Portland, OR suburbs! I guess this is not a unique problem.

#686: I used to live down the road from one of the Bay Area firework-friendly outposts, San Bruno, but for some reason I never bought any while I lived down there. Probably because I often spent the holiday back East?

In any case, I'm sure I could find a "whose gonna stop me?" spot around here if I really looked, but it takes the spontaneity and neighborhood participation out of the 4th.

I still have a big stash in my storage area from last year's shopping spree; they're slated to go to some Bay Area friends. One family dribbles out my gift pile of eye candy over a year or more, entertaining their cul-de-sac on New Year's and birthdays.

#688 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2010, 07:59 PM:

Hawai'i generally allows fireworks. There's a new law allowing counties to decide whether to regulate and how much.

Yesterday the Honolulu City Council had its first meeting with banning the things on its agenda. I'm in favor of the ban, for several reasons: the respiratory problems all the smoke creates, the agony it causes pets (and elderly people who worry about their homes being set on fire), and the personal and property damage my fellow citizens manage to do by using them.

#689 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2010, 08:09 PM:

Terry Karney left one can of Guiness in my fridge. I think I'll have an early Fourth celebration tonight.

#690 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2010, 08:42 PM:

Serge @689, part of the Beer Scout Indoor Code is "always leave a fridge in better shape than you found it". heh.

#691 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2010, 09:03 PM:

Earl Cooley III @ 690... I wonder if Terry ever was a Boy Scout.

#692 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2010, 09:15 PM:

We technically have a no-fireworks law. However, our police, at least in the center of the city, where I live, are spread thin and have worse things to worry about most of the time.

I was having a bout of insomnia last night. People were setting off fireworks after 2 a.m.! (they WERE fireworks, there were multiple, firework-type pops, not gunfire.)

#693 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2010, 10:00 PM:

I object to fireworks going off nearby when I'm trying to sleep. I also object to finding spent fireworks under my car in the morning.

#694 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2010, 10:05 PM:

I've just been informed by "Measor Cleopatra" that "One little pisl a day may givefyou excellegt mlod and dozens of sgiles!"

He or she continues, "Economical crisis has broken families and lives of many people. Prevent
dep!essioon." (I added the period, which is not present in the original.)

I must confess, my mlod has been anything but excellent lately, and the prospect of dozens of sgiles is appealing, especially for just one little pisl a day.

#695 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2010, 10:23 PM:

Marilee #683: I like the way they used your note to segue into praising older drivers....

Xopher #694: Clearly a lethal mutation got through the genetic algorithm for that one....

#696 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2010, 10:26 PM:

The golden age of fireworks, for me, was 1983-5, when we lived in an apartment on the block next to the Astrodome. This also put us next to Astroworld, a now-defunct amusement park (sic transit!). During summer, there would be three fireworks shows a night. Not huge ones, but worth taking a walk around the block for. One time I got bold and walked into the parking lot, and the smoke drifted around me. Smelled like I was inside the world's largest barbecue grill. I left in short order.

On the Fourth of July, I went over to where Loop 610 went over Kirby and lay on the sloping cement that held up the Loop. Fireworks went off over my head for the longest time. It was wonderful.

#697 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2010, 11:23 PM:

Checking in briefly from the current Westercon/Conchord. Lee and I saw Dawno in the dealer room selling pretty things and had a nice chat.

#698 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2010, 11:29 PM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @532, Julia Jones @533: There was a villainess introduced in the Colin Baker era of the old series, a Time Lady named the Rani, who characterized the Master and his convoluted plots: "He'd get dizzy if he had to walk a straight line".

#699 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2010, 02:22 AM:

Kip, in the early days of the Astrodome I think there was a huge fireworks display (indoors, mind you) whenever the local side's players hit home runs, wasn't there?

I know Roger Angell describes one such event at the ballpark which the Colt .45s played in before Judge Hofheinz built the Dome with taxpayers' money and renamed the team. I think there was a neon cowboy firing six guns outside the outfield fence.

#700 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2010, 02:38 AM:

I think perhaps, for safety's sake, I should pass on the new Twilight movie; I would rather not be torn limb from limb by raving Twilight fans in the audience for the crime of laughing at the wrong time, and I don't want to sprain my cringe muscles by getting caught in a tightly-wound revulsion/disbelief feedback loop. I suppose this means that I am not objective enough to properly review the movie; so be it. If forced to choose between Team Edward and Team Jacob, I would defiantly choose Buffy.

#701 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2010, 02:56 AM:

Me @ #699, "six-guns," not six guns. He only had two hands, one gun in each.

#702 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2010, 02:57 AM:

Oh, I choose Team Edward. Let that drippy Bella have the mopey pale guy...I'll take the chiseled young hunk!

Honestly, I can't see watching the second two movies except as pure eye candy...and fast forwarding whenever they start to "act."

#703 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2010, 03:16 AM:

We're going to have an Expat Barbecue in honor of the occasion.

No, we're not cooking Long Pig. We're having the [other] American family in the village over, plus the family of one of Martin's American colleagues.

The challenge is that we've also got a barbecue at some Dutch friends' house tonight. Not going to be a diet weekend...

#704 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2010, 03:29 AM:

Xopher #702: Oh, I choose Team Edward. Let that drippy Bella have the mopey pale guy...I'll take the chiseled young hunk!

The mopey pale guy is Edward. Jacob is the one who apparently misplaced his shirt somewhere along the road to acting preeminence. In a recent movie preview, they both sounded so much alike that their performances could have been phoned in by the same minimum wage acting coach.

#706 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2010, 04:52 AM:

Yes, that's an inspired mashup. Thank you for posting the link; it's been a while since I last watched it.

Hmmm, I should probably dial back on the anti-Twilight snark a tad; my Acme Snark Generator seems to be stuck on 11. Maybe I should lay off the caffeinated diet soda after midnight for a while....

#707 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2010, 07:37 AM:


Measor Cleopatra

The real question is how a Gungan got your email address...

(Also I'm not sure about the "dozens of sgiles". I would think that one Giles would be sufficient for most purposes.)

#708 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2010, 07:41 AM:

Michael I @707:
Also I'm not sure about the "dozens of sgiles". I would think that one Giles would be sufficient for most purposes.

Now, if we're talking Rupert Giles, then if Xopher hasn't brought enough to share, I for one will be most disappointed in him.

#709 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2010, 08:30 AM:

abi @ 703...

Our mailbox's you've-got-mail flag had fallen off and this couldn't be allowed on such a weekend so I fixed that last night. As for our Fourth's menu, I expect there'll be some hot dogs, and some Founding Fathers.

"I never asked for more. After all, I am Mrs. John Adams and that's quite enough for one lifetime."
"Is it, Abby?"
"Well, think of it, John, to be married to the man who is always the first in line to be hanged!"

#710 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2010, 09:13 AM:

Linkmeister @ 701: Well yeah, if he had six guns he'd be Boston Irish.

#712 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2010, 09:52 AM:

Dan #682--the paving project might not result in a stable surface, nor one that would sound that good being driven on, unless a suitable matrix was provided. It's too early in the morn, and too soon after one of my epic dreams, for me to devise further suggestions.
My new treasure, though, has gotten up to 30 feet [looks like] with 1/4 inch ball bearings. However, I will not be using any of my trebs to launch fireworks.
Just as well. A relative once told me of someone who set off one of those devices that burst in midair, only it went astray, flew into a big bowl of guacamole and THEN it exploded.
It could have been worse.
It could have landed in a pile of vuvuzelas.

#713 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2010, 09:55 AM:

Generally: Are vuvuzela jokes the new viola jokes?

I don't know that I mind vuvuzelas much; they seem no more annoying than didgeridoos, and those are widely considered cool. Vuvuzelas have novelty-annoyance value, I suppose, but I bet they show up on all the hottest new world-beat albums before long, and good for them.

Linkmeister, 699: Said Colt .45s home stadium was apparently Colt Stadium, which was a temporary placeholder structure that took up the space the Astrodome later occupied. (All this was before my time, but you made me curious.)

It does not surprise me that Judge Hofheinz felt the need for an indoor stadium to counteract the heat and humidity of a Houston summer; the weather (or rather what I've heard of it - I've never been there) was one major reason I declined to relocate to Houston when I had the opportunity. New York in the summer is bad enough.

#714 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2010, 10:09 AM:

My mother is thrilled about this year's fireworks. Last weekend, we got to see a pre-Fourth show (with free ice cream!) about twenty minutes from home. Yesterday was another neighboring town, tonight is our hometown, which puts on a good showing for the size, and tomorrow there's another.

I get the blow-things-up from both sides of my family. The side with the Boy Scouts is just better at finding new things to set on fire and new ways to make the rest of us say, "Okay, when that goes wrong, I'll drive you to the hospital, but I am going to mock you the whole way."

#715 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2010, 10:50 AM:

Earl 704: I know Edward is the mopey pale guy. I want Bella to take him so that I can have Jacob!

Chris 713: The digeridoo is a rhythm instrument. It makes a variety of different sounds when played by a properly-taught player, and some are more annoying than others, but few of them last long. There is often a background drone, of course. The rhythmic interest makes them less annoying, at least to me.

Vuvuzelas, on the other hand, are either never played by properly-taught players, or have only the annoying drone; there's no rhythmic interest at all. They are higher-pitched than digeridoos, which makes the drone more annoying, like having a mosquito in the room—only louder. Thousands of them at once...well, I don't understand how anyone can play soccer while that's happening.

I understand that we're supposed to be all culturally sensitive and everything, but yeesh.

#716 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2010, 10:54 AM:

A few years back I went to the Olympic peninsula for to hike. Saw the pre-Twilight Forks, and in the scraps of Indian reservation along the road, firework stands.

Washington has slightly looser rules than Oregon, but still no firecrackers or bottle rockets. These stands? EVERYTHING, because they didn't have to comply with state law.

No, I didn't buy anything, because I pictured getting tailed by cops all the way back down I-5, and a roadblock or Oregon cops waiting on the other side of the bridge.

#717 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2010, 10:58 AM:

Xopher @ 715: Sod 'cultural sensitivity.' Those plastic horns may be the thing in South African football fandom at the moment, but they were all over the place in the US in the '70s and '80s. I had one at New England Patriots games in '79, but I had the excuse of being eleven years old.

(I played trombone in the school band at the time. I could get fifths and octaves out of the thing easy as breathing.)

#718 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2010, 01:12 PM:

Ordinarily I would not presume to criticise vulval zeal, but I must admit that those sounds --

["What was that, Serge?"]

Never mind.

#719 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2010, 01:34 PM:

Stefan, I know a couple of people in Oregon who have 4th of July parties with fireworks, but I don't know them well enough to send you there. If you were closer I'd have you come to the family BBQ here, since strangers are the rule rather than the exception, and the only restriction is "don't set the pasture afire."

I keep trying to make a running jump to get back on the ML merry-go-round, but since the other sane member of my household, being sane, has moved in with his girlfriend and the weather this year has left me up to my ears in blooming grass, I am mostly glum and overworked and unfunny. Still reading, but very very quiet.

#720 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2010, 01:40 PM:

Joel @718: So *that* explains the disappointed queeb sound!

#721 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2010, 03:09 PM:

Linkmeister @699 - I honestly don't know. We were there circa 1983-5, and my interest in the Astrodome was never profound. Indeed, when we lived there, I never found an occasion to go in, though I rode my bike around it a few times. One time I convinced a visitor from out of town that it could open up like an iris, but they didn't do it often because the panels blocked the doors. I was totally kidding, but he didn't notice, so I just let it be.

#722 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2010, 03:30 PM:

Joel Polowin @ 718... This is an area of... ah... punning that, while it is rich with possibilities, I find it best to stay away from. :-)

#723 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2010, 04:11 PM:

Joel @718:

You just had to go there, didn't you? Even those of us who are not gynophiles have seen, and consciously avoided, that rich vein of wordplay. But there's one in every crowd, I guess...

#724 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2010, 04:34 PM:

Serge #722 What's this about a zeal for Volvos?

#725 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2010, 05:10 PM:

Linkmeister, 699: You may be thinking of the scoreboard, with its animated incandescent lights. Cowboys with six-shooters! A longhorn with flags on its horns and steam coming out its nostrils! Man, it was the greatest. (Also, I was 13.)

I think there might have been fireworks inside the Dome on very, very special occasions, but it wasn't a regular occurrence.

There was also a 13-second echo at the center of the field. This made halftime even more exciting for band members.

#726 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2010, 06:10 PM:

I must confess that as a boy I was strongly of the "burn it down while blowing it up" school of summer relaxation, but having my next door neighbor set fire to my roof (through sheer stupidity) while living in San Jose sort of put me off July 4 explosive celebration. Also, all my dogs since then have been seriously spooked by fireworks, usually requiring industrial strength sedation.

#727 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2010, 06:21 PM:

JESR @ 719: Sympathies for the overwork (I know the feeling). Keep reading!

#728 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2010, 06:42 PM:

JESR @ 719... the weather this year has left me up to my ears in blooming grass

Dare I ask if they are the root of your problem?

My best wishes for the overall improvement of your situation.

#729 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2010, 06:55 PM:

Fragano @ 724... Or zeal for veal at the zoo with peeled potatoes.

#730 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2010, 06:59 PM:

The one time I was in Houston I was taken to a game there. ISTR there was some kind of small pyrotechnical display for Astros home runs. It's a long time ago, though, so I could very easily be misremembering.

#731 ::: peterb ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2010, 09:21 PM:

Let's play "name that book!" Help me, O readers. You're my only hope.

When I was a kid, in the 1970s, my parents let me have the run of the adult sci-fi section of the local library, probably because they didn't read any sci-fi themselves and couldn't imagine any of it could be erotic. This turns out not to be true.

I have a very vivid memory of reading a book that my library shelved as sci-fi that was about a sort of "gang war" between two 1970's (or possibly early '80s) era urban covens of witches. In the book's world, much of the magic was conducted via sex rituals. The one snippet I remember is that the "bad guy" warlock gang leader had gotten away with something (a kidnapping? not sure) and the "good guy" coven was trying to track him down, which required a lot of rituals, and they were having trouble with their male witches', er, throughput, and one of the witches mentioned their most rechargable male, Evan, being worked to the bone. The line I remember best was along the lines of "You know Evan. Bang, bang, whoosh."

I know that's not a lot to go on, but it was a long time ago. Anyone have any ideas as to what this book might be?

#732 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2010, 10:16 PM:

I just discovered how to tell Google News that I don't want to read ANY stories on ANY subject from Fox News. (Deep sigh of relief. Even the Fox headlines make me crazy.)

In doing this, I discovered that Google News allows you to tell it which news outlets you do want to receive your news from. Yes to the New York Times, okay -- but what else should I be reading? The Washington Post is uneven, the WSJ cannot always be trusted either but is sometimes very good - any suggestions? I never, for example, read anything from or -- should I? I'd love to know what you think.

#733 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2010, 10:34 PM:

The Onion and The Consumerist.

#734 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2010, 11:11 PM:

peterb @ 731... one of the witches mentioned their most rechargable male, Evan, being worked to the bone

That one doesn't ring a belle.

#735 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2010, 11:25 PM:

PJ, 730: That was the lightup scoreboard.

#736 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2010, 11:28 PM:

DC and most of the governments around it don't allow real fireworks -- just sparklers, smokers, etc. -- but tomorrow night you can sit on the Mall and see probably the best fireworks in the country after a concert that has well-known performers. It's on the TV, too, which is much less hot and muggy. Code Orange tomorrow, too.

#737 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2010, 11:48 PM:

abi @ 723 -- I'm sorry; my sense of humour is not well calibrated these days. Things have been... rather faecal, lately.

#738 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2010, 12:28 AM:

Marilee, ten years ago my family and I went to the DC fireworks. It was amazing. The entire show was like the finale anywhere else. We didn't see any of the concert, being more concerned with the parade (which contained Mom's school's band and was the reason for the trip) and then getting a good spot for lots of explosives.

I like the Fourth. Thanksgiving is the holiday that ties me to my extended family, and the Fourth is the holiday that ties me to everyone nearby.

#739 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2010, 01:53 AM:

I am in Memphis. I have pizza, I have beer (not as good as the beer in ABQ, but it will do).

Yesterday was easy, today less so. Tomorrow ends the first leg of the trip. I am amused that I am looking at it and saying, "only 320 miles."

Marilee: The writer of the piece needs an editor..."Case and point..." Oi.

Serge: I was. I have also been an adult scout (unit commissioner, responsible for keeping troops in good order).

#740 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2010, 01:59 AM:

I am mixed about thee fourth. Let me know there will be fireworks, and I am fine. I like working shows (building, aiming, and loading the mortars, running line, etc.). and then lying on the ground... much closer than anyone else, and watching/feeling the show.

But catch me by surprise... a firework went off while I was in the hot tub at home. It was biggish... had a white flash.

I swore, and managed to stop myself before more than the tip of my nose was under the water.

#741 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2010, 02:05 AM:

As it happens, I'm traveling this weekend, down the (Oregon) shore. By the time I get back tomorrow I'll be far to worn out for fireworks or partying.

My dog Kira is no fireworks fan; fortunately staying in the bedroom with the white noise of the air purifier on seems to be enough for her.

Kira fulfilled a life-long ambition and scored a squirrel today. Shoved her head in some shrubs and dragged the poor screaming thing out. It was all over before I could do anything. I managed to hide the corpse before the kids running around the picnic area could see it.

It was a relatively easy to catch ground squirrel, but this will probably not keep Kira from applying for Elite status from the Council of Dogs.

#742 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2010, 02:38 AM:

Joel, that was affectionate rather than admonitory. I considered a smilie, but decided it was infra dig. Shoulda put it in.

#743 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2010, 07:22 AM:

abi @ 742... I thought the smile was understood.

#744 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2010, 07:24 AM:

All right... It's now time for the Muppet "Stars & Stripes Forever".

#745 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2010, 07:29 AM:

I rather like fireworks, visually. What I don't understand is why they have to be so LOUD. A certain amount of noise is inevitable, yes, with thing that explode, but I'm sure that in the last couple of decades they've been making the bangs louder just for the sake of noise, particularly in the fireworks people let off in their back yards. The ones we had when we were children just were not so loud.

Our cat is okay if we're there - she startles at the first bangs, looks at us, sees we're not worried and settles down again - but we're not about to leave her "home alone" in the main firework season (which is about a week either side of Nov. 5th - Bonfire Night, over here).

#746 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2010, 08:05 AM:

Fireworks: oddly, they're not triggery for me though they are for my husband. My dogs, OTOH, are terrified of them, and since we live near the park where the city does its twice-yearly displays, I usually spend July 4 and December 31 at home being cringed and whined at.

Vuvuzelas: I actually tried to buy one (as a birthday present for my daughter, I swear) but found they are Not To Be Had.

UFC: Though I hesitate to admit to anything that makes me an object of disapproval and/or contempt from one of my favorite Fluorosphereans, I have watched The Ultimate Fighter with pleasure and would do so again. I've also interviewed Forrest Griffin, who is a seriously cool guy. Sorry, Xopher.

Miscellaneous: Thank God for Pixar. Toy Story 3 (which I've seen) is good enough to make me not mind so much about The Last Airbender (which I'm not going to see--I'll rewatch the REAL one instead).

#747 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2010, 08:13 AM:

I'm a bit leery of fireworks being launched by amateurs. Luckily there's been enough rain here in Albuquoique that idiots are less likely to set the desert's vegetation on fire along with our house. For some reason, people decided to launch quite a few fireworks last night. To me, that feels as wrong as getting your Christmas presents on Christmas Eve.

#748 ::: peterb ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2010, 08:53 AM:

Serge @ 730...I can't hold a candle to that one.

#749 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2010, 09:33 AM:

I like fireworks shows, with the pretty lights up in the sky. What I object to is the local amateurs setting off random bangs for hours, risking damage to people and property. (Some friends of mine banned fireworks at their annual New Year's Eve party after a rocket came in through their open front door, lodged under the couch, and set fire to the carpet. And I routinely find spent fireworks under my car after a holiday.)

#750 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2010, 09:45 AM:

Lila: may every UFC bout be accompanied by the sound of a thousand vuvuzelas.

#751 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2010, 09:57 AM:

Just had my Fourth of July supper (I work nights, going to bed soon). Couple of bratwurst on buns with kim chee and Chinese mustard, washed down with Sam Adams Summer Ale. Might see a little of the fireworks before I go to work tonight.

#752 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2010, 10:28 AM:

#745 dcb
Over-amplified audio in theatres, nightclubs, rock concerts, on iPhones, boom boxes, car stereos, etc., plus other "environmental noise: have deafened a large percentage of the US population.... who then demand the volume be turned up -more-...,

I couldn't take the volume in the room that Boile in Lead were playing in at a Fourth Street Fantasy....

#753 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2010, 10:39 AM:

Wow. One of our TV music channel just played Jimi Hendrix's rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner".

#754 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2010, 10:43 AM:

I enjoy watching municipal fireworks but I'm not crazy about random amateurs blowing things up, mostly because a.) I live in Los Angeles, and we have way too many stupid people and not nearly enough rainfall, and b.) Fireworks are one of the things (along with the dishwasher evidently) that give Ardala the whirling fantods. Sadly, because of the amateurs and the scardey-dog, I haven't been able to enjoy a well-done professional display in years. Could have gotten super-cheap, fabulous seats to the Galaxy game (returning Buddle and Donovan) with fireworks after but will have bundle the dog in her Thundershirt and keep an eye on her instead.

#755 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2010, 10:57 AM:

Lila #746: Vuvuzelas may be easily obtained. Search for "stadium horns"on the Great South American River.

#756 ::: Teemu Kalvas ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2010, 10:58 AM:

Serge@747; there are, actually, cultures where Santa arrives on the evening of the Christmas eve, and thusly, you get presents then. The illogicality of it has never felt very important to me, after all, we are talking about long-established customs here, and since when were those logical at all?

#757 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2010, 11:28 AM:

Teemu Kalvas @ 756... we are talking about long-established customs here, and since when were those logical at all?

Not very often, true.

#758 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2010, 11:49 AM:

dcb @745: if it's too loud, you're too old?

#759 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2010, 12:29 PM:

Paula Lieberman @ 752: Yes, I thought about that explanation (which is just as true for the dear old UK as for the USA). I've been on a train, listening to a Beethoven symphony on my mp3 player and, at a comfortable volume to be heard over the train noise, it still wasn't entirely drowing out the bass beat escaping from the earphones of the young man sitting about 10 ft away... On the odd occasions we go to see a film, it's generally too loud for me.

Tom Whitmore @ 758: Well, possibly (I am in my early 40s). Or it could just be that I didn't go to loud concerts in my youth, so still have good hearing. I went to my first ever rock concert about 18 months ago - Rush - very good, so long as I kept my earplugs in. When I had to re-adjust one, I found the noise level frankly painful.

#760 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2010, 01:53 PM:

I've been to (and left!) concerts that were quite too loud for me. I often wonder what the sound mixers are thinking.

#761 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2010, 02:33 PM:

Happy Birthday, Louis Armstrong!

(b. August 4, 1901; d. July 6, 1971) He believed his birthdate to be July 4th 1900, so we celebrate both birthdays.

The "we" is American Treasure, Phil Schaap, who does several jazz programs on WKCR, including this annual July 4th Louis Armstrong birthday broadcast.

At the moment we're hearing the most splendid Louis Armstrong trumpet cornet solos from his "Muggles Blues".

#762 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2010, 02:52 PM:

AKICIML - what is this plant?

A friend showed up at brunch with a bunch of sprigs taped to a piece of paper. The rest were easy. No idea on this one.

She said she bought it at an herb sale a couple years back.

#763 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2010, 03:10 PM:

Scale is 1", and the flower looked like a tiny clover bud.

Definitely aromatic. Stem doesn't seem square.

#764 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2010, 04:09 PM:

It looks something like French lavender (lavender dentata)

#765 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2010, 04:33 PM:

When I was in grade school, I discovered that I could stop my ears some by yawning and then sniffing juuuust right. I spent some years constantly doing that. It muffled the world in a way I liked.

I went to a friend's concert in a too-small bar with too-large speakers and rediscovered that skill. Others made earplugs out of napkins.

#766 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2010, 05:04 PM:

Paula Lieberman @752: Over-amplified audio in theatres, nightclubs, rock concerts, on iPhones, boom boxes, car stereos, etc., plus other "environmental noise: have deafened a large percentage of the US population.... who then demand the volume be turned up -more-...

Grandpa Simpson and THX.

#767 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2010, 05:38 PM:

Terry Karney, #739, the WashPost fired most of their editors and expect the reporters to do it themselves. Yesterday, one article not only had "poor" for "pour," but said a plea didn't have as much experience as it should. If they'd used two commas, it would read right. A lot of us have just become used to the bad spelling and grammar.

#768 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2010, 07:46 PM:

I wouldn't be surprised if there's a baseline societal hearing impairment level now... except I wonder how I avoided it, because I'm 40, and despite going to my share of LOUD concerts sans earplugs in my youth, and being exposed to the usual lawnmowers, loud traffic, and music-on-headphones, I can still hear the "teenager stealth ring tones" that adults aren't supposed to be able to hear.

I'm a big proponent of ear plugs now. I'm cheap, so I just use the foam ones that knock 30 decibels off the top, and don't have the specialty sorts that are custom fit or tailored to certain pitches. I always use them for concerts, sometimes for dance clubs, definitely for live fireworks, and I've been known to put them in when I don't want to hear the TV -- my living room is set up with my computer desk at right angles to the TV right next to it, and the viewing couch is across the room. I have friends who are more noise-averse than I am, and I've taught them the trick of wearing the ear plugs to crowded venues where most of the noise is speech -- in such places, you have to lean close to converse ANYWAY, and knocking 30 decibels off the top of the crowd hum makes everything so much more comfortable.

My mother didn't like it when I wore them around my hearing-impaired and thus bellowing grandfather, even though my hair hid them and it just evened out his volume to what it might have been if he HADN'T left off his hearing aid. She didn't understand that listening to him at unmodified volume made me react as if I were afraid he was angry with me, because all my senses were saying "he's yelling! he must be upset!" and dropping the volume was easier than convincing my subconscious.

#769 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2010, 11:32 PM:

Teresa, what serendipity: I linked to the same animation/talk on the "Folly" thread as you did in your most recent particle--but I found it on a different blog than you!

#771 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2010, 01:05 AM:

Rikibeth, one of the things I point to when I want to convince people that no, really, my father is a good parent even with his questionable decisions, is that for my entire life, we have had ear protectors around. Mowing the lawn? Ears. Guns? Ears, oh ears. Power tools? Ears.

When I told him I'd figured out part of why I disliked vacuuming was the noise, that I cringed away from it even as I turned it on, he gave me my own blue ears. Now, every time I vacuum, I get a good feeling because my father loves me and takes care of me.

Which is a kind of sappy reaction to ear protection, but hey.

#772 ::: Rainflame ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2010, 01:19 AM:

Tom Whitmore @758
I saw that on a bumper stick once but written "if its to loud, your to old."

#773 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2010, 10:20 AM:

Dogs and fireworks: Our current dog is not much upset. The previous one usually spent the relevant holidays cowering in the basement, poor thing.

My parents once lived about 25 miles from Fort Hood with a dog who was afraid of thunderstorms. The humans in the household couldn't tell the difference between the rumble of distant artillery practice and the rumble of distant thunder. The dog could - didn't twitch an ear at the artillery, climbed under the bed at thunder. Obviously they were different in his hearing range. And obviously, in his experience, the artillery never got any closer but the thunderstorms often did.

Last night we opted not to fight the crowds on the National Mall, and instead went to a fireworks display in a more distant suburb, first time we'd been to these. The fireworks themselves were cool, but also cool was the fact that we were located on a huge open field with probably 270 degrees view almost to the horizon including straight ahead across the Potomac into Northern Virginia, DC somewhat left of that, and other parts of the Maryland suburbs on around further to the left - and we could see at least seven other fireworks displays in addition to ours (though most of them quite distant).

#774 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2010, 11:35 AM:

Nerdycellist @670.

Does this look suspicious to anyone else? If the arsonist was not caught on tape setting the fire, how do the cops know that this man's thermos is filled with a "combustible material" just from the security footage? Furthermore, if that's sercurity cam footage, why is it following him? (OK, maybe it's a fancy moving security camera.)

It’s obviously a fancy moving security camera programmed to follow brown-skinned people detect combustible material hidden in a thermos.

Why wasn’t he immediately arrested?

#775 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2010, 12:50 PM:

Xopher @ #750: now see, THAT'S why you're one of my favorite Fluorosphereans. Actually and in fact laughing out loud.

#776 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2010, 12:51 PM:

Xopher @ #750: now see, THAT'S why you're one of my favorite Fluorosphereans. Actually and in fact laughing out loud.

#777 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2010, 12:58 PM:

argh, double post! *hides head in shame*

Fragano: thank you. I try not to buy stuff from that river--I only looked at the local weird-stuff shop. Ended up buying other stuff for the intended recipient instead.

#778 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2010, 01:00 PM:

I spent the 4th at my mother's place, with Avram and my nephew who was visiting New York preliminarily to relocating to Berkeley for his first year of law school. We took a walk down to the Fulton Ferry pier, where Ma spent many hours as a girl (it's very different now, though - she wants to visit the Brooklyn Historical Society to see if she can find pictures of it from the 1930s), pointing out landmarks from her youth along the way.

We had ice cream from the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory - the strawberry was okay, but I've had better - then went back to Ma's for dinner and to watch the Macy's fireworks on TV. They seemed too red-white-and-blue, like other colors were deemed uncool by Homeland Security or something, and the music was hideous. Having an Up With People tribute group vocalize along with Stars and Stripes Forever and sing Gershwin's Summertime as a choral number does not foster love of country.

#779 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2010, 01:30 PM:

We had a very neighborhood type of Fourth. There was the Third Annual parade, which consisted of many kids riding bicycles, some decorated (some kids, some bikes, some both); lots of kids towed in wagons by their parents (same variety of decoration, including some on the adults); a truly weird Hawaiian shirt with Santa Clauses on the beach; a razr scooter contingent; a very small motorcycle detachment; a slightly larger group of Vespas; one person wearing a very large side-mounted hot dog sandwich board meant to be a parade float; and the stars of the show, the Ladies Lawn Chair Drill Team, preceded by a convertible blasting out "76 Trombones" for the women to march to. The parade route was fairly short, about five or six blocks, and ended up at the neighborhood pool, where there was ice cream and such, and all the kids went splash. Onlookers waved cowbells and flags, and a great time was had by all, although I did notice members of the lawn chair brigade flagging a bit as they did their routine for at least the fourth time.

We skipped the all-neighborhood block party in the evening, but went over after dark to watch the city fireworks from the local vantage point, along with everyone from the party. Definitely not all red/white/blue, but at 3.5 miles, things were sort of small, remote, and definitely out of synch with the bangs. Somebody had loaded up the party sound system with the 1812 Overture followed by Jimi Hendrix, which all seemed appropriate enough. Back home to discover that they were firing off stuff in the garden court across the street, and that our cat had gone and hidden behind the bookshelves.

#780 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2010, 01:47 PM:

A friend has started creating posters based on WWII posters for the Chamomile Tea Party, a group who's upset about partisan bickering. Well, a group of one so far.

#781 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2010, 02:03 PM:

My 4th was fairly quiet, except for the people across the wall in the townhouses, some of whom had a three-hour 'concert' Saturday afternoon, and some (possibly the same people) decided to shoot off their [illegal] pyrotechnic devices after 11pm last night.

(Also, earlier, there were some fairly loud bangs at intervals, elsewhere in the area. Sounded like M80s or something similar.)

#782 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2010, 02:16 PM:

When I was a machinist, I wore earplugs all day at work. When I mount the bike... earplugs, then helmet.

I'm more than forty, I can still hear the higher end tones. I intend to keep that for as long as possible.

#783 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2010, 02:46 PM:

I have foam earplugs, but they seem to have dropped out of sight. Fortunately, I also have ear buds for my MP3 player that are the sort that fill my ear canal — the poor man's noise cancellers — and simply putting them in with no input does a lot to turn sounds that are painful into sounds that are merely a bit loud. It stops the waves that grab your eardrum and shakes it like a rag monkey, and still leaves most of the sound. And since I have them in my pocket all the time, neatly stowed in an Altoids Gum tin, they're always available.

#784 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2010, 02:48 PM:

I'd have fixed that typo, but it would have meant a double post. "...the waves... that shake" &c, &c.

#785 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2010, 04:15 PM:

#773 and others:

We live in a typical Phoenix house: single story, on a slab, no basement. Our greyhound spent the night curled up in the bathtub in the front bathroom, which is about as close to the center of the house as possible.

She did the same thing when we got married (in our backyard). Guests would occasionally ask us about the greyhound in the bathtub.

"The Greyhound in the Bathtub": a good title for a mystery.

#786 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2010, 05:31 PM:

Xopher@750: I'd pay to watch a UFC bout with 1000 vuvuzelas - if the fighters had my expected reaction to delay fighting each other until they could hear themselves think.

Actual amateur sword-swallowing or impalement would not be strictly *necessary* - I'd settle for using arms and necks as roll bending tools.

#787 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2010, 06:30 PM:

Stayed in, though yesterday I went to my sister's place after dinner for kids, home fireworks, and BIL Bob's birthday cake, roughly in that order. As is becoming usual, I brought bread with my homemade card. (They know I'm broke, thus no "real" present.)

#788 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2010, 06:40 PM:

I finally looked up UFC. Ultimate Fighting? Pfffft. Kid stuff! Weak tea!

The real action is Lucha VaVOOM! I happened upon this while I was Googling El Santo. Luchadores, comedians, and strippers — a cultural smorgasbord!

#789 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2010, 08:04 PM:

Patrick Connors @ 785 -- To me, "The Greyhound in the Bathtub" sounds like a James Thurber title.

#790 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2010, 09:15 PM:

Lila - *big grin*

Mycroft - No, no...the sound of vuvuzelas. I want the practice of UFC to cause hallucinatory vuvuzela noise in everyone who particpates, watches, or profits from it as long as it lasts. Thousands of vuvuzelas, without ceasing, until UFC is renounced forever.

Well, except for the people who profit from other people tearing the shit out of each other. I want them to hear vuvuzelas until they die of exhaustion or pull their own heads off (or, of course, see Doug).

But since I don't have magic powers my magic powers are not capable of making this happen (and I'm oathbound not to use them that way anyway), the various bastards, dupes, and unfortunates involved in UFC are safe (from me, not from each other).

#791 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2010, 09:24 PM:

I thought I'd got to a few firework stands this morning to take advantage of last-day discounts. You can't have enough sparklers to hand out.

No dang luck.

There was no tent in the shopping center parking lot across the street. Usually there's a big one there, with a few inflatable play structures.

Nor was there a tent in the Fred Meyer lot down the road.

The stands I could find were all packed up already. Either empty or in the process of loading up the truck.

I wonder if the firework distributors cut back on stands in anticipation of bad sales.

#792 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2010, 10:13 PM:

Hello silence my old friend
I'd like your presence here again,
Not hear the sound of vuvuzelas.

#793 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2010, 10:36 PM:

I would be a lot more sympathetic to those tired of the vuvuzela if I didn't live in Seattle. We're about to have Seafair! so we get the combined glory of Thunderboats and the Blue Angels. Compared to that the vuvuzela is a piece of tissue paper across a comb.

#794 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2010, 10:51 PM:

Bruce, 793: Speaking of the sympathy which you will not get from me, you are complaining about living in Seattle.

#795 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2010, 10:53 PM:

Bruce...imagine the sound of a thousand pieces of tissue paper across a thousand combs. Imagine that going on for hours on end.

It's not that it's damaging (it is, but probably not as much as the Thunderboats and Blue Angels). It's that it's a constant annoyance. It will drive you MMMAAADDD.

#796 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2010, 11:01 PM:

"But if the Count was killed by the ghost of his gay lover slash fencing instructor, then why was the greyhound in the bathtub?"

"But...that must mean..."

"Precisely! The 'sword wounds' were not from an epee as I first surmised, but the injuries inflicted by icicles expelled from a firework launch tube. We had all noted the deadly potential of the icicles lining the chateau's eaves the day before, when my trusty companion was nearly skewered."

"By gum, he's right: I was!"

"Yes yes, shut up. The strange dampness of the Count's butterfly costume was not ectoplasm, but simple water!"

"Goodness! But who--"

"Remember the sulfurous stink clinging to Antonio Wong-Rodriguez (Countessa's pet alchemist slash Latin lover) when we questioned him on the night of the party? It was not the result of his latest attempt at the philosopher's stone like he claimed, but evidence of murder most foul! The strange and occult, not to mention mysterious, art of the Oriental firework had been taught to him as a boy by his father the famed Chinee rocketeer Risky Wong!"

"What! You have no evidence--"

"Knowing you were no match for the Count in a contest of martial prowess, you devised a plan to bring him low with a force not even he could resist. You knew that the sound of dozens of champagne corks popping simultaneously at the strike of midnight would cover the noise of your cowardly assault, and indeed the only one in the chateau who noticed the your addition to the night's revelry was the Count's prized pet Fauntleroy--long since inured to champagne corks, but deathly afraid of firecrackers!"


#797 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2010, 11:32 PM:

Stefan Jones, #791, in our area, fireworks can only be sold specific days around the 4th and stop immediately after the holiday.

My city has nice fireworks that I'm technically two blocks away from, but they're long blocks. Some years I've dragged a chair out and watched while blocking the sidewalk.

One of my neighbors started at midnight and then stopped at 12:30am; someone a distance away started then.

#798 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2010, 11:40 PM:

Re: the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Trade & Consumer Protection Particle, here's another one from Australia.

#799 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2010, 11:46 PM:

heresiarch@796: My husband interjects, (in the character of Antonio Wong-Rodriguez) "And I would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for you meddling kids and that dog!"

#800 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2010, 12:41 AM:

#797: Same rules here, but the stands usually stay open until the 6th to sell off their stock. A lot of bargain hunters are going to be disappointed.

#801 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2010, 03:16 AM:

JESR @719

I'll bring over a pitcher of plum lemonade and we can read from the sidelines together.

(my view-all-by stats track my "getting home at 7:30 is early" projects far too well)

#802 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2010, 03:35 AM:

Saw a bloke cycling by today, ready for the match against Uruguay later: under his snelbinder he had a bunch of orange banners and an orange vuvzela. He was, of course, wearing an orange shirt.

#803 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2010, 07:20 AM:
"'Watch out for trolls', the birds are warning."

Overheard yesterday at Bandelier National Monument, near Los Alamos, as an adult and kids crossed a bridge on their way to the Anasazi cliff dwellings. Later, at the picnic site over from ours, a young lady was seen walking mechanically while exclaiming...

"Robot! Robot! Robot!"
#804 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2010, 07:41 AM:

Kathryn @ 801: Plum lemonade? You, madam, have my undivided attention.

30 C at 7.15am, I am not well pleased.

#805 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2010, 09:00 AM:

Note to those who are planning on getting or renewing a US passport -- the fee goes up from $75 to $115 on July 13.

#806 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2010, 12:45 PM:

The mystery herb, found by paging through six or seven volumes at our local library, is salad burnet

The entry was accompanied by an interesting quote by Lady Anne, mother of Sir Francis Bacon, which book was then found online.

I can't get the site to link, but it's the first hit if you google:
sir francis bacon welsh footmen

#807 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2010, 01:20 PM:

I spent New Year's with my sister who lives in Hawaii a couple of years ago. The big holiday for fireworks there is Chinese New Year, but they figure that Western New Year is a good excuse for fireworks also, and it's enough of a small-town environment that fireworks laws are understood to not apply on appropriate holidays as long as you're not using them somewhere stupid. Much gratuitous loud noise was created at the beach park while waiting for the BBQ grills to get heated up.

Best indoor fireworks I've been to were at the Opryland Hotel. No, it wasn't official, or permitted, or even a good idea, but we were there for a computer convention and somebody set off a bottle rocket or two.

#808 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2010, 01:48 PM:

abi@802 - "Oh, is the World Cup still on?", he asked naively...

Good luck with Emily!

#810 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2010, 02:53 PM:

People are unhappy with their new iPhone 4s because if they hold the phone the wrong way, the signal gets degraded badly. Nokia reminds us that you can hold their phones any way you want to.

Xopher way back @ 702 (on Twilight):

I like your reasoning.

heresiarch @ 796:

I'd definitely read that.

#811 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2010, 04:01 PM:

Openly thready: The "Hanny's Voorwerp" story (from the particle) is lovely.

#812 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2010, 04:26 PM:

The Netherlands advances to the World Cup Final, after a somewhat thrilling end-of-game.

#813 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2010, 04:30 PM:

There was some waving of orange objects where I work (I have a couple of orange highlighters on my desk).

It sets up an interesting final game, doesn't it?

#814 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2010, 04:35 PM:

I like the quotation, but I don't know that I would say Bacon was the "father of the English Renaissance."

#815 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2010, 05:04 PM:

Yes, but can you tape the father of the English Renaissance to your cat?

#816 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2010, 05:37 PM:

We went to the local small town fireworks and musical performance on the third, where just before the main event, the christian rock band that they had booked sang 'Jesus Loves Me' as something like a lamentation.I don't really expect to hear that anywhere, let alone an Independence day celebration. I should mention that the fireworks here are run by one of the local evangelical churches, so there's a bit of a disconnect with the godless liberals in the crowd.

On the 4th, we went down to Shore Ave, where the multi-million dollar houses put on their very own illegal fireworks show. Big mortars, for a couple of hours. Far more of a show than the little town can afford to put on. I did get to see one of the mortars fail to launch, then blow up on the ground. I wouldn't have wanted to be close to that one. Makes you want to put labels on them -- Do not hold firework with remaining hand.

#817 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2010, 05:51 PM:

This was too good to not share: We were only following orders

#818 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2010, 05:53 PM:

eric @ 816:

November Fifth has come and gone,
But thoughts of it still linger.
I held a banger1 in my hand...
Has anyone seen my finger?

(Not mine, but remembered from a joke book I read in my misspent youth.)

1. British term for what the leftpondians call a firecracker.

(Also, at 815? I'm glad I put my drink down first.)

#819 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2010, 05:56 PM:

KeithS @818:

Tenuously linking* to 815, a banger is also a term for a sausage†.

* sorry.
† Fortunately, the British would never turn a phrase like I held a banger in my hand into any kind of innuendo‡
‡ And if you believe that, can I ask if you've ever met any British people?

#820 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2010, 06:16 PM:

Mycroft W @ 786:
if the fighters had my expected reaction to delay fighting each other

I finished re-reading Zelazny's "Creatures of Light and Darkness" last night, and before I'd finished reading that sentence in your comment I was imagining a Vuvuzela Temporal Fugue battle. Hundreds of one combatant facing hundreds of the other blatting eldritch tones at each other forward and backward in time.

#821 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2010, 06:32 PM:

abi @ 819:

I know there's a response to be made to that, I know it, but I'm having the wurst time of figuring out what it should be.

#822 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2010, 09:14 PM:

TexAnne: Speaking of the sympathy which you will not get from me, you are complaining about living in Seattle.

I only complain about living in Seattle when the temperature passes 85. Since it's so rare there isn't enough air conditioning to go around. I have seen some of the worst movies in existence in Seattle in August just because the theaters all have air conditioning. Thunderboats and Blue Angels are traditional grumble items here for most of the city because cats and dogs go nuts over them, and I-90 ends up getting closed each afternoon for a week. In other words, it's traditional.

Xopher: Bruce...imagine the sound of a thousand pieces of tissue paper across a thousand combs. Imagine that going on for hours on end.

It's not that it's damaging (it is, but probably not as much as the Thunderboats and Blue Angels). It's that it's a constant annoyance. It will drive you MMMAAADDD.

Sounds like that ugly day where Red Robin gave out free kazoos to the crowd at Husky Stadium to set a record for the most people playing the kazoo. If the only time they were played was at halftime that would have been one thing, but I attended the game and can guarantee you it went on for over two hours.

#823 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2010, 09:29 PM:

Good friend, scholar and academic (Duke), Laurent Dubois, writes of soccer, and has for some time. Laurent's in South Africa for the whole time.

His book is Soccer Empire, from the U of CA Press (June, 2010).

He's also very well known as a scholar of Haiti and the Haitian Revolution.

Dayem! He's smart!

Love, C.

#825 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2010, 12:24 AM:

heresiarch @ 824:

I find it interesting that the article talks a lot about the time parents spend with their children, and not at all about the children's time with their teachers, their friends, their neighbors, or their relatives. I think there are some fundamental social changes in the last two or three generations in the US that we should also deal with, along with those political changes. It used to be that parents had a lot more support, both in terms of time. because there were more people ready to give them time off from parenting, and in terms of reinforcement of the parents' authority, where now in many ways popular culture gives children the message that their parents are automatically wrong.

#826 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2010, 12:29 AM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @ 822: I have seen some of the worst movies in existence in Seattle in August just because the theaters all have air conditioning.

Oh, yeah, though Portland in my case. I once looked across the parking lot at an un-airconditioned car, then at the movie theatre a block away, and walked in. The movie starting in 5 minutes was "Days of Thunder", starring Tom Cruise as a race car driver and Nicole Kidman as the beautiful neurologist who fell in love with him. It was a bad, bad movie, but for some reason what bothered me the most was when she rode on the back of his motorcycle without a helmet. Do you suppose any neurologist has actually done that?

#827 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2010, 10:03 AM:

janetl: Insofar as there are oncologists who smoke and dermatologists who go to tanning booths, I'm gonna go with "yes".

#828 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2010, 01:36 PM:


Who, unless I'm imagining things, has turned up here in the past.

Also, assuming you are the Bob Weller I remember from Waterloo days.

Bill Willingham wants to say hello.

#829 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2010, 01:47 PM:

janetl ::: @ 826: Reminds me of the book by Faye Kellerman in which a transplant surgeon has been cynically-altruistically supporting the local bikers in their mission against compulsory motorcycle helmets - after all, more otherwise-healthy young men with fatal head injuries means more organs for transplants...

#830 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2010, 03:35 PM:

You know, a lot of you are in technical fields, or have connections who are. I'm looking for a job, as I've mentioned. I'm a Technical Writer/QA Analyst with expertise in documenting and explaining procedures and system functionality. I have strong problem-solving skills, and extensive experience in testing, testing procedures and software problem diagnosis.

My recent experience is as a Tier II Technical Support Analyst (the people the Help Desk calls when they can't figure it out), but I'm a little burnt on that right now; it's a last resort, unless there's a truly GREAT support environment.

If you're on LinkedIn, I'm

#831 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2010, 04:18 PM:

Hmm, my post got held. I think it had a Word of Power, since it only had one link. Could a mod take a look?

#832 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2010, 04:26 PM:


Released. We tend to hold things with LinkedIn links, because we've been spammed with them before.

#833 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2010, 04:34 PM:

Ah, I can understand that. Thank you, abi.

#834 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2010, 04:37 PM:

Xopher, the Smithsonian is looking for an IT specialist:

USA Jobs

And there are more IT positions in your area on that page.

#835 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2010, 04:42 PM:

Good luck with your search, Xopher. I got let go a few weeks ago, but it looks like I'll be going back as an independent contractor shortly. In the meantime, I'm enjoying the time off (there was a little package involved -- a tin parachute).

#836 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2010, 05:17 PM:

Steve C.@835: Well, a tin parachute is better than a lead balloon, anyway!

#837 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2010, 05:48 PM:

Kip W @ #788, the El Santo movies are a delight and a joy forever. I am especially partial to "Santo y el Tesoro de Dracula" and "Santo y el Hacha Diabolica."

#838 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2010, 06:03 PM:

Santo vs the Moon Men?

#839 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2010, 06:04 PM:

Mexican wrestlers were the subject of a recent issue of HellBoy illustrated by Richard Corben.

#840 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2010, 06:47 PM:

Not sure if it was El Santo, but:

In the early 70s, a local downtown movie theater had a $.50 Bad SF Movie matinee.

They didn't market it as that, but that it was.

They had Italian SF movies, for example. And one week, a Mexican super-wrestler movie. His one weakness was electricity. He had a pill that could simulate death.

The adventure involved Olympic athletes turned into crime-robots.

It was utterly ludicrous.

I remember a young guy sitting with his girlfriend a few rows ahead of me suddenly bursting into laughter.

On that day, I was introduced to the concept of ironic enjoyment.

#841 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2010, 06:52 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 840... That was SuperArgo. If I remember correctly, he quit wrestling after accidentally killing someone during a match. He then learned mystical stuff from some Indian guy, including levitatation. That came in handy when the bad Guy trapped him in a room filling up with deadly gas. (Yes, I do have room left in my head for useful knowledge. Why do you ask?)

#842 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2010, 06:58 PM:

In college they had the Bad Film Festival.

You paid a dollar at the door and got a quarter back for each one you sat through.

The movies were:
Plan 9 From Outer Space
Invasion of the Bee Girls
Attack of the Killer Tomatoes
They Saved Hitler's Brain.

#843 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2010, 07:12 PM:

Avram told me about "rivers" in print, but what do you call it when descenders and ascenders touch and make a jiggly line?

#844 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2010, 08:07 PM:

Erik Nelson @ 842: says:
There are unsaved changes in Hitler's Brain. Save now, Yes, No?

#845 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2010, 08:23 PM:

joann @ #779, "a truly weird Hawaiian shirt with Santa Clauses on the beach"

Hey! I own one just like that! I only wear it twice a year during Christmas season, but it's a perfectly good shirt for that purpose.

#846 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2010, 08:47 PM:

Paul Krugman is on the radio. A caller just said he was stupid and wrong; the host said "well, he does have a Nobel Prize in economics" and the caller said "yeah, like Obama's Nobel Peace Prize."

So THAT's the right-wing take on Krugman's Nobel. I wondered what excuse these stupid bastards used to dismiss him.

#847 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2010, 09:10 PM:

Xopher @ 830:

Best wishes on the job hunt.

#848 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2010, 09:48 PM:

Erik Nelson: In college they had the Bad Film Festival.

I laugh in your general direction. The UW Bad Film Night had:

The Cars that Eat People/Ate Paris.
Chained for Life starring the Hilton Sisters.
Queen of Outer Space starring Zsa Zsa Gabor.
The Worm Eaters.

Yes, I did make the Clearasil joke when they unmasked the Queen, yes those sitting near us groaned.

Yes, when the one sister got kissed by the cad and the other one was clearly affected I said "Tonight you sleep on the wet spot." Yes, those nearby groaned again.

#849 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2010, 11:54 PM:

Anyone in CA suffer any harm or fright from the earthquake? Everybody OK?

#850 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2010, 12:03 AM:


Ok... I just looked it up. Not likely. It was pretty far south, and relatively small.

#851 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2010, 12:16 AM:

Xopher @ 849:

Just fine. The guy visiting from Houston thought it was an interesting experience.

#852 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2010, 12:18 AM:

You know, I've been to California many times, and the only place I've ever felt an earthquake was New Jersey. Woke me up. I thought it was a big truck!

#853 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2010, 12:34 AM:

I was in Studio City in a modern high rise office building, situated on rollers (the building, not me) and we definitely felt it. It always takes a few seconds to determine it's not just some heavy-footed employee running through the cube farm though. And once again our quarterly earthquake drills prove that actual earthquake behavior (checking cube walls for shaking, shouting out random richter numbers as guesses) does not follow the approved "duck under your flimsy desk that is attached to the flimsy cube wall".

#854 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2010, 12:37 AM:

Xopher, I've kind of been expecting something in that area, just from watching the activity after the one in Mexico - it triggered small stuff in the same area as the bigger one today. Fortunately, it's a relatively unpopulated area.

#855 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2010, 01:09 AM:

nerdycellist @ 853:

A coworker started to comment about the way the floor shakes when people walk in certain places before he realized it was an earthquake.

Some of the non-natives in the office seemed a little preturbed by our California reaction of talking about the earthquake as it was happening, instead of doing anything they tell you you're supposed to be doing. "What are you supposed to do in an earthquake, anyway?" "Well, they tell you you're supposed to get under your desk, but by the time you would it's over."

#856 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2010, 01:21 AM:

This just tickles the hell out of me.

Typewriter concerto

#857 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2010, 01:36 AM:

So it's the last day of the old job* today.

As with all endings, this one is a painful clash between good memories and a deep regret for everything that went wrong. (And oh, it went so very wrong in the beginning of this year. It's probably coming right for the others now, but not in a way I could have shared even if I stayed.)

I find it impossible to work with people for any length of time without loving them; mijn collega's are no different. I'll bring cake, of course, because that's the custom, but I'm also glad it's my turn to set the table this week.

I'll have to hand back my work laptop, a MacBook Pro named Sneeuwwitje (Snow White) that sports the appropriate decal. I've done a Byron pastiche for my final out of office message:

So I'll be no more a-testing
So long into the week
Though the heart is still protesting
And the will, alas, is weak.

For my job is at an end
And the work may not extend
Nor what remains depend
On any aid I lend.

Though the team will not be resting
As the work resumes again,
Still I'll be no more a-testing
My work is at an end.

All this would be so much easier if I'd got to bed before 12:30, or if the 9 year old had not woken me at 4:30 with his vomiting, or if he hadn't repeated the performance every half hour from then until morning, or if the two mosquitoes in our room had not been so hungry and restless.

I think I need more coffee.

* technically speaking, it's the last day in the office; I'll be employed for the rest of the month, but merely on vacation.

#858 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2010, 01:45 AM:

Sounds like it's a bittersweet occasion for you, abi.

Accordingly, you should eat lots of bittersweet chocolate.

#859 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2010, 01:46 AM:

abi: I know the feeling. Godspeed, and enjoy the vacation.

#860 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2010, 01:54 AM:

Can we just quit pretending that this country has a future?

The last kid who speaks is going to grow up to be Nehemiah Scudder's chief of staff.

#861 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2010, 03:02 AM:

Xopher @846 -- surely you weren't surprised?

abi @857 -- I understand the mixed feelings, and I'm glad you're going on to something that sounds like it's going to be awesome. In the end, it's probably better to have better memories of the people than the work, if that makes any sense.

#862 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2010, 05:43 AM:

My job...
I woke up at 4am yesterday.
It's 4am again and I can finally go to bed.
I'm proud of myself. I didn't strangle anyone.

#863 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2010, 05:51 AM:

Sometimes failure to commit mayhem is all the victory you get. So well done.

#864 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2010, 08:36 AM:

Well, I am off in a few hours to Mythcon. The guest of honor speech is written, the other paper has been touched up, I've given a little thought to the two panels I'll be on, I have charming new frocks for the occasion, and my daughter has a new tattoo. A little road food for the cooler and I think I'm good to go! Wish you were ALL going to be there. (Hey, Serge, it won't be announced officially till Monday, but I can tell you that you will find the 2011 Mythcon located quite conveniently near you!)

#865 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2010, 09:21 AM:

I think, maybe, I've finally trained my spam filter to the point where the messages that get through are usually pretty accurate to messages I might want to read. To the point that when one got through just now whose subject was "top branded anti ED" my first thought was it was advertising some form of protection against electrostatic discharge.

#866 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2010, 11:07 AM:

KeithS @ 855 -- Re: "Well, they tell you you're supposed to get under your desk, but by the time you would it's over."

That kind of depends. The earthquake a couple of weeks ago in southern Quebec shook for 20 to 30 seconds (depending on one's source). If one were near or at one's desk, and reasonably agile, that should be enough time to get under it -- assuming that one realized what was happening within a few seconds. I was at home; my first thought was that something had gone wrong with my furnace fan, my second that the idiots doing construction half a block away from me were being obnoxious again. I didn't think "earthquake?" until I'd gone outside to see what was going on, and felt that the scope of the shaking seemed to be on a very large scale.

#867 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2010, 11:38 AM:

Lila @837 - I've only seen the one, alas, but at least it's great in several ways. There is this pair of identical twins (played by one actress). One is the good, noble, white-wearing possessor of an incredibly overstated body, and the other is the evil, black-wearing possessor of an incredibly overstated body. The evil one does these character-advancing evil dances that make her character very evil and interesting. She can turn into sinister animals and becomes a shirtless beardo with little tufts of hair all over. The good twin wears white feathery outfits and is utterly boring.

Santo seems to spend half the movie going down an endless river in one of those fan-propelled swamp boats with his shirt off, while still wearing the tight, hot mask, of course.

re Earthquake: Felt a tremor a week or two back, from that seismic event in Canada. By the time I guessed what it was, it was over. I may have experienced one in California, but I was too little to have a clue, and remember nothing about it.

Steve C @856 - I have "The Typewriter" on my iPod along with a couple dozen other Anderson pieces. Thanks for the link — it's interesting to see it performed. There are places where the bell rings two or three times within the space of a line, which is not normal for a typer. I suspect the presence of a small bell such as I used to see on store counters for summoning a clerk. He's going somewhere at the right end of the space bar when he gets that sound. I'd long wondered how they handle the aspects of the piece that are (untypewriteristic? atypical?) not idiomatic to the keyboard instrument in question.

#868 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2010, 12:02 PM:

Kip @867—I'm pretty sure all the typewriter bell sounds are played by the orchestra's percussionist. I've heard some author speak about doing a performance of "The Typewriter", and she said it was all about typing X and M and perhaps the carriage return sounds.

I can't remember who for sure, but perhaps Jane Yolen.

#869 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2010, 12:07 PM:

Re getting under the desk in an earthquake -- it's not the actual temblor that is going to hurt someone (in general). It's Heavy Stuff Falling on him/her. And that happens a noticeable amount of time after the shaking, in general. Seconds, but it's definitely noticeable: when I was in the Loma Prieta quake, which is the only time I've been worried during a quake, I could tell that things were falling over in another room and had time to look at what was around me (and would have been able to duck under the desk I was sitting at if necessary -- I had time to turn off my computer before the power went out, for example). Calling out magnitude guesses is very much not random, BTW -- it's a way of confirming that I'm responding appropriately by checking other people's perceptions. And I'm usually within a few tenths of the final number -- were it random, it wouldn't track anywhere near as well.

#870 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2010, 12:38 PM:

Kip @867, me @868 — Oops. It's clear that in that video, the typewriter percussionist is also playing the bell, as you observed.

#871 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2010, 01:03 PM:

RE: Earthquakes and time frames. Unless you're right on top of one, the P (pressure) waves are going to hit you first (they're faster) and they're generally less of a structural problem than the S (shear) waves. (my memory is that the p waves are like the breakers coming into shore, they come up from the deep, and by the time that they're near the surface, they're coming up nearly vertically). If you recognize that P wave (feels like a whomp, more than a wiggle) you've got a few seconds to get to where you need to be.

#872 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2010, 02:35 PM:

Holy freaking hell! I have the LP for Walter Carlos By Request but have no turntable to play it on. So I went to Wendy Carlos' website and clicked on the link to buy a copy, which shot me over to Amazon. One used copy for $75.95! As I said I have the album, and the seller Must Be Kidding. I hope.

#873 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2010, 03:10 PM:

I got back on Sunday from my vacation to the Left Coast.

I was originally scheduled to leave Spokane at 6:30 AM and have a heft layover of several hours in Salt Lake City before my connecting flight to Boston.

Then my initial flight got changed to one leaving at 1:17PM, from a gate (at least on delta's website) in a different terminal, with about 45 minutes between the scheduled arrival and re-departure. (being an experienced traveler, I cringed at the short time span)

But the brighter side is that I could spend a short time watching the 4th of July parade in Johnson, WA.

The July 4th parade is all local people, local bands of an essential "pick up nature", Super-Soaker(tm) and water grenate sallies from both the parade participants and the sidelines, and a rather sketchy relationship with what some people class as "good taste."

(There wasn't any overwhelming theme this year, but in a year past there were floats featuring toilet bowls and signs proclaiming the "wide stance" of the sitters, and in a still-earlier year, several floats featuring hot dogs, scissors, and invitations to the "bobbit(sp?) cafe".)

ANd one of the regular features for most all marchers/riders in the parade is the possession of big bags of what used to be called "penny candy," which is dispensed in ballistic handfuls, and lots of kids with plastic bags to fill.

Fun parade.

I got to the Spokane airport in good time, and, for a change, did *not* have the security people deciding to close-inspect the MacArthur's Harp.

Instead, they decided that my CPAP machine had to be hand-inspected. Twice.

I get to Salt Lake City, get all adrenilined-up tp dash to the other terminal, check the departure board to verify the gate number, and find that the new departure gate is two away from where I had just landed. Yep, same terminal, same concourse, two gates over.

Then we get on the airplane, and get to sit.

10 minutes before the sceduled departure we get told there may be a delay as we gat "a new 1st officer from another flight." (and they described that reassignment that way twice)

Then we had to wait longer, as they had to re-boot the on-board computer. Twice. Each time resulting in a complete loss of power (for about 10 minutes each time) to the aircraft, including lights and airflow.

So the final arrival in Boston was not until after midnight.

And I'm *still* jetlagged (three hours behind the sun and I can't get to sleep until early morning. So I can get up to go to work just a few hours after that)

I thought that one day would be enough for recovery (it has been in the past), but I think the first night back set the pattern.


#874 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2010, 03:49 PM:

Bruce, I think for about the same outlay as that used CD, you could buy a USB turntable that would not only play your LP, but allow you to rip it to a digital file.

#875 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2010, 04:04 PM:

Yes, I know it's early for Open thread 143, but I posted it anyway. Feel free to continue chatting here, too, if you like.

#876 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2010, 04:28 PM:

Marilee @843, if there's a special name for ascenders and descenders touching, I've never run into it.

#877 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2010, 04:34 PM:

I think I slept through my first earthquake, or if I woke up it was done by then, but that was Delaware and a 2.4 or something trivial.

During my first significant earthquake, I was down in LA visiting my wife's mother, and there was a rumbling sound. L: "Bill, come stand in the doorway!" Me: "What?" L: "Come STAND IN THE DOORWAY" Me: "Why?" L: "It's an earthquake, you're supposed to do that so the ceiling doesn't fall on you" Me: "Oh, ok." It was a 5.x, for some small x.

When I was growing up, they taught us about emergencies like fires and tornadoes and nuclear wars, and not to worry about the Tuesday Noon fire siren test (something my wife didn't get taught), but we didn't have *cool* emergencies like earthquakes or tsunamis. And it was still really disturbing the first time I heard the "Emergency Broadcast System, this is not a test, repeat not a test" after they'd started using it for storm and flood warnings.

#878 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2010, 06:51 PM:

Dan @870

On examination of the video, it's a concert typewriter, not a standard home model. It appears that concert typewriters have their own "bell" key, mounted to the right of the spacebar.

#879 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2010, 06:53 PM:

Kip - 638 --

For organ showmen for baroque I've always been partial to Virgil Fox's performances.

Here is one of the Middleshulte Perpetuum Mobile (sp) for pedal

For a version of the BumbleBee that is not all-pedal (there is some melody line in the main keyboard courses), here is one from Carol Williams that is easy on the ears.

#880 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2010, 11:08 PM:

KeithS, #855, I was in a trailer on cinderblocks when there was a big earthquake near Seattle. We all rushed out and crouched to the ground, which turned out to be a good thing because the trailer fell off the blocks.

Avram, #876, thanks! I suspect most books have more space between the lines.

#881 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2010, 03:21 PM:

Craig, I do like Fox. A true showman, and he played some stuff I can't find anywhere else as well.

#882 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2010, 04:38 PM:

Marilee @843, Avram @876 @mdash; From my recollection of the printing biz, I guess that would be called "unleaded". But that's from the time of transition from hot lead to phototypesetting, so the terminology may be obsolete.

#883 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2010, 11:48 PM:

Space between the lines is "leading" (pronounced "led-ing") but a clash between ascenders and descenders I think would just be called "poor leading".

#884 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2010, 11:48 PM:

Space between the lines is "leading" (pronounced "led-ing") but a clash between ascenders and descenders I think would just be called "poor leading".

#885 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2010, 11:51 PM:

Okay, I swear to god that that double-post was not my fault. I pressed "post" exactly once. Something internal to ML hiccuped.

#886 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2010, 12:47 AM:

Yeah right David. We know you deliberately and maliciously double-posted, no doubt for reasons of base ego-gratification (though how that would work isn't exactly clear). We know your kind.

Seriously, that does happen sometimes. I haven't figured out the circumstances, beyond being careful never to use the Back button when posting.

As to content: I believe it's called leading because in cold-type days they used actual strips of metallic lead to separate the lines.

#887 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2010, 01:47 AM:

Xopher: re leading, you are correct. I've set type in that manner, it's fun, as a hobby, to lead lines, but a royal pain when you have to lock up lots of boards.

Even more so when some idiot has put up a dummy with odd callouts (10/12, 13/16, etc.)

#888 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2010, 09:35 PM:

Lots of good information about typesetting. Thanks, guys!

Smaller type (our default)
Larger type
Even larger type, with serifs

Dire legal notice
Making Light copyright 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 by Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden. All rights reserved.