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August 18, 2010

Open thread 145
Posted by Teresa at 06:19 PM *

Battle Injuries and First Aid in the Norse Era: Both the saga literature and forensic studies of skeletal remains suggest that battle injuries could be horrific. … [Discussing an extant femur from a man who died of battle injuries in the 11th century] The bone shows clear marks of the impact of ring mail against the bone, suggesting his upper leg was hit with a sword blow so powerful as to force the rings of his mail shirt through the muscles of his leg into contact with the bone. Astonishingly, this injury was not the cause of his death. His skeletal remains show other serious injuries received in that battle. However, it was a cut that partially severed his spine at the neck that killed him.

The sagas tell of several types of first aid used during a fight. Shields were thrown over fallen men to protect them from further injury (Brennu-Njáls saga, chapter 150). During Gísli’s last battle (Gísla saga Súrssonar, chapter 36), Eyjólf’s men thrust at Gísli with spears until his guts fell out. Gísli bound his guts up in his shirt with a cord and continued fighting. When fights continued for a long time (for example Heiðarvíga saga, chapter 31), a pause was called in the fighting to allow men to bind up their wounds.

An example of battlefield medicine is described in chapter 234 of Óláfs saga helga. Þormóðr was wounded by an arrow in his side. He broke off the shaft and supported his companions in the fight as best he could. After the battle had been lost, he left the field and entered the hut where the healer women were tending the wounded. One of the women inspected the wound and could see the iron arrow head, but could not determine its path to determine what internal organs it had struck. She gave Þormóðr a hot broth, containing leeks and onions and other herbs. If, after eating it, she could smell the broth from his wound, she would know that vital parts had been injured, and that the wound was fatal.

Þormóðr refused the broth. Instead, he directed the woman to cut into the wound to expose the iron arrow head. He grabbed hold of the arrow head with pincers and pulled it out. Seeing fatty fibers on the arrow head, Þormóðr said, “See how well the king keeps his men. There is fat by my heart,” and he died.

Blood from a wound was examined to determine the extent of the injuries. In chapter 45 of Eyrbyggja saga, Snorri goði examined the snow where Bergþór had lain after being injured in battle. Snorri picked up the bloody snow, squeezed it, and put it in his mouth. Realizing that it was blood from an internal wound, Snorri said that Bergþór was a dead man, and there was no need to chase after him. …

Both the saga literature and forensic studies of skeletal remains show that people survived serious battle injuries and lived to fight again after their wounds healed. In chapter 23 of Víga-Glúms saga, Þórarinn was struck by a blow that cut through his shoulder such that his lungs fell out. He was bound up, and Halldóra watched over him until the battle was over. Þórarinn was carried home where his wounds were treated, and over the summer, he recovered.

Comments on Open thread 145:
#1 ::: Kayjayoh ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2010, 03:40 PM:

The "worst campaign ad" sidelight keeps taking me to a YouTube registration page. Is there a problem with the link, or is it just me?

#2 ::: Adam Lipkin ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2010, 03:59 PM:

The ad appears to have been made private sometime between yesterday (when I watched it via the link) and now.

#4 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2010, 04:07 PM:

"Tapping the Admiral" is a slang term for drinking on the sly, and the title of a woozy little tune I finished last night. Appropriately enough, it features a chorus of sixteen alcoholic-beverage bottles blown in hocket, as well as melodica, bass, and both kinds of dulcimer (country and western).

The origin of the term, coincidentally, also involves battlefield medicine, in a way...

#5 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2010, 04:11 PM:

I do like how that commercial says that the current round of Republicans and fiscal conservatives are sheep.

#6 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2010, 04:13 PM:

this injury was not the cause of his death

"Look, you stupid bastard. You've got no arms left."
"Yes I have."
"It's just a flesh wound."

#7 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2010, 04:26 PM:

Þórarinn was struck by a blow that cut through his shoulder such that his lungs fell out. He was bound up, ... over the summer, he recovered.

As written, that doesn't seem to make sense, on a couple of counts! I smell a translation error, or at least an odd turn of phrase. Anyone know what they might actually have meant when they say "his lungs fell out"?

#8 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2010, 04:34 PM:

Lost his breath? Probably not....

#9 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2010, 04:40 PM:

Okay, so I _never_ do this, but a dear friend is having serious health issues, so good wishes and/or prayer would be gratefully received.

Kirstin's latest post:

I've known Kirstin for at least 10 years now. I've watched her figure out who she is (long unhappy story), literally figure out what her name should be, and discover a vocation. The latter particularly surprised her and she fought it hard for some time before opening herself to the possibilities.

Watching her grow and discover herself has been amazing for me and for everyone who knows her. Seeing her discover her ability to minister--her _calling_, seeing her find community, and reading her thoughts on faith, belief, and religion have . . . well, I feel like I've been bearing witness to something special.

She's had one go-round with melanoma already. It was far from easy.

This one is worse.

Please, if you can, keep Kirstin in your thoughts.

My thanks to all.

#10 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2010, 04:55 PM:

Melissa Singer @ 9... My best wishes to your friend.

#11 ::: Bjorn ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2010, 04:56 PM:

David Harmon #7 a more literal translation would be 'that cut his shoulder off so that the lungs fell out into the wound'. Exaggerated? Oh yes.
Some of the sagas weren't exact historical science, even if many of the writers were well versed in battlefield injuries, being occupied with beating up each other in the internecine batt... scuffles of the 12th and 13th centuries.
The latter weren't exactly heroic. Biggest battle saw less than 100 fall, and one of the greatest chieftains was bludgeoned to death in a sheep corral. After descriptions of how he had to repeatedly straighten his sword by stepping on it.
Dignified fighting? Not much...

#12 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2010, 05:20 PM:

No job for me! Which is just as well in this case. Instead, I'll be taking some courses and maybe finally catching up on my reading.

#13 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2010, 05:35 PM:

so can sheep be good at shepherding resources?

#14 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2010, 05:42 PM:

David Harmon @7:

Hmmm, from that description (brief as it is) I find myself wondering where exactly the blow landed?

Maybe a cut that separates the pectoral muscle from the chest wall with the blade possibly being turned by the ribs?

You'd be able to see the lungs in that case, but I don't think they'd "fall out."

Remember most of these folk butchered their meat animals, so they'd have a rough idea of anatomy.

#15 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2010, 05:45 PM:

Bjorn (11): bludgeoned to death in a sheep corral

First time through, I read this as "bludgeoned to death by* a sheep corral", which would take some doing.

*as in 'with' not 'next to'

#16 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2010, 05:47 PM:

Fascinating stuff. But I must have my thick hat on today; I don't see the customary connection to the number.

#17 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2010, 05:52 PM:

Melissa @9 prayers for your friend.

Texanne, too bad about the job. The roller coaster is hard. Hope the right one comes along soon.

#18 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2010, 06:00 PM:

TexAnne @ 12... catching up on my reading

Now is the time to read "Les Enchantements d'Ambremer"?

#19 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2010, 06:09 PM:

Mark (16): Sometimes it's just interesting text to start us off with.

#20 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2010, 06:18 PM:

I'm finding myself waiting for an addendum from Jim Macdonald with links to the appropriate First Aid posts.

#22 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2010, 07:01 PM:

Kip W @144/803: pour a very small bowl, or cup, of cereal. Add about an inch of milk. Consume quickly. Repeat as needed.

Actually, there's an even easier way: fill a bowl with milk. Pour in a few bites of cereal. Eat the cereal until it's gone. Repeat until full or milk is gone.

Brown sugar sandwiches: heavily buttered bread with a layer of brown sugar in between. Or, for more favorable sugar/bread ratio, eschew the top slice of bread.

PB&Honey sandwiches are good, too, but I always thoroughly mix the PB & honey, else the honey ends up on my shirt.

Anybody else here of the "Tiki torch" school of roasted marshmallows?

#23 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2010, 07:41 PM:

Never really been into marshmallows that much, but recall a campfire incident in childhood where part of a melted marshmallow got incorporated into my hair.
Have little to contribute to any discussion of battlefield injuries save being glad I wasn't there. When I worked in a machine shop, I sometimes had to stop and perform a sliverectomy, and one of my co-workers once saw me doing this and said, "Just push it all the way in and it'll float away in your bloodstream," and I replied that I already had enough iron in my blood.
As much as I wish I could fly back in time and have a long talk with the operators of the original trebuchets, I would not want to face the defenders' arrows, nor the unsanitary conditions of the time. And yes, I too was half expecting Teresa's post to lead to practical instructions.
Best wishes to Kirstin and all others here who need them.

#24 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2010, 08:04 PM:

A month or so ago I took advantage of a promotion for "S'mores" ingredients. I had coupons for all the stuff involved so it seemed like a good deal.

I got rather tired of S'mores rather quickly. While I found other uses (burp) for the graham crackers and chocolate bars, I really didn't know what to do with most of a bag of marshmallows. Then I discovered that my dog is rather keen on the things.

#25 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2010, 08:04 PM:

I'm sorry to hear more news of more good people facing significant health problems. This includes excellent poet-friend to Making Light.

Texanne -- Sorry to hear this turned out not to be the right job for you! There will be another one soon.

In other not so good situations, is of course, the dire straits of the flooded out people of Pakistan.

In contrast, the half year struggle of our circle of friends and our communities, to get our Haitian friend's 6-year-old daughter into the U.S., successfully concluded earlier this month. Yay!

Food, the best, best time of the year for food is upon us. I'm looking forward to the local Farmer's Market in Chestertown. We make the (temporary) re-location a week from Saturday. We've begun frantically to grapple with drafting the first words of the book project. Argh.

Love, C.

#26 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2010, 08:16 PM:

I see that is now up -- so, I'm repeating my question: does anybody have experience with them, from either end of the business?

#27 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2010, 08:22 PM:

me #26: Whoops, never mind, I just found them on Writers Weekly and Absolute Write. Doesn't look good at all.

#28 ::: ebear ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2010, 08:47 PM:

Curiously enough, I badly needed some medieval healin' advice right about today...

#29 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2010, 08:49 PM:

From 144:

Bruce E. Durocher II, #863, I hope things go well! I'm so late -- thanks for letting us know it went well, Margaret!

dcb, #919, my smoke detector has a remote that will let you turn off the first beep and keep it off for 15 minutes. If it goes off again, I flip the breaker and I open the battery compartment with a reacher while I lean on the wall. I got it with the batteries because people use candles when the power goes out (not that ours does often) and we don't have firewalls in the buildings.


Constance, #25, you don't have a link under the poet.

#30 ::: thanate ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2010, 09:23 PM:

I was recently reminded of the book Blood Red Roses: The Archaeology of a mass grave from the Battle of Towton AD 1461, which has (among other things) a forensic take on a similar topic to the initial post, a bit farther south and a couple centuries later.

The book is a collection of essays from various subject experts on a mass grave discovered a little town in England when they went to build an addition on the church; the archaeologists had a very short time to dig everything up and record it, and someone implemented the brilliant idea of laying down sheets of clear plastic and tracing & tagging everything as it came out, so they were able to preserve relative positioning both of which bones belonged to whom and where they all were in relation to each other. At any rate, there are bits about history and culture and armor, and several bone forensics chapters that cover both the sorts of things they all lived through, and what killed them. Absolutely fascinating if you like that kind of thing.

#31 ::: Ariella ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2010, 09:29 PM:

ebear #28: I can suggest some more resources for you.

#32 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2010, 10:24 PM:

A video called "F_ck me, Ray Bradbury."

(Gosh, maybe if I become a science fiction writer I'll finally get a girlfriend.)

#33 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2010, 10:55 PM:

Erik Nelson #32: I wonder if anybody's told them the guy turns 90 this Sunday?

#34 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2010, 10:57 PM:

Erik Nelson #32: I wonder if anybody's told them the guy turns 90 this Sunday?

#35 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2010, 11:51 PM:

ebear #28: And you didn't call me on the phone?

#36 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 12:38 AM:

Let me tell you a story:

I was, in some ways, a very orthodox child. I followed the unwritten rules. More to the point, I followed the rules that did not exist anywhere but in my head. I spent a lot of time trying to anticipate expectations.

This wasn't in all things. I still read all the time rather than playing games of social status— but I accepted the position near the bottom of the hierarchy. It came through primarily in schoolwork and sometimes in writing submissions— the spark was just not there.

I distinctly remember when it changed. I'd been trying to write better stories in seventh grade that just weren't coming out right. (I keep a few of them around to remind me that yeah, you need a LOT of practice to get good.) In eighth grade we were given an assignment: "The Mad Scientist and His Machine." The class started to brainstorm— what was the scientist like? "Old." "White hair." "Lab coat."

And something snapped in my brain and I thought, "Young. Cute. Popular."

The story that resulted isn't great by adult standards but it took my class by storm. And I learned something very important that day: if you can't be incredible, you can at least be good in an unexpected way.

Flash forward to 2008, when the WorldCon filk contest was around the theme "One Mile Closer To the Stars." We threw the song together a week after I had Gareth (and stretched my diaphragm out of shape— lordy I did a bad job on that vocal track). We placed second... and when the organizer was introducing our song she said something along the lines of "We were expecting all these bright and cheerful songs and then we got this..." at which I was doing a mental happy dance, since this was exactly the reaction we were hoping for.

They gave us chocolate and beer. Good times.

Anyway, this story is germane. Can't say why yet. But different often wins.

(*happy dance*)

#37 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 12:52 AM:

My friend the Cranky Old Codger was fuming.

“Kids today!” he snarled. “They don’t know anything!” This is how he usually starts, and by the way ‘kids today’ is his phrase for “anyone more than ten years younger than the Cranky Old Codger.” That’s practically everybody, so don’t feel singled out if you’re actually a kid.

“What now?” Not that I was eager to hear what had set him off this time; more that I knew he would tell me eventually, like it or not, and figured I might as well get it over with. The Cranky Old Codger can go on for quite a while if not managed properly.

“Well, I’ll tell you,” he said. I’d been certain he would. “Today I saw an award someone at my gym got. It said it was for the ‘North Jesrey’ region.”

“That’s pretty bad,” I said.

“No, no, that’s not it. We laughed about that. Then I told him it should have said ‘Northern New Jersey,’ since we’re a state, not a Channel Island.”


“Yep. He said ‘There’s a place called Jersey?’”

“Oh no!” I was shocked.

“He scoffed when I told him there were places called Hampshire and York, too. But I’ll give him credit, I’ll give him credit,” said the Cranky Old Codger, feigning patience, “he did seem to know there was a Mexico!”

I have to admit. It boggled my mind that someone could know of New Jersey, New Hampshire, and New York, and not think that those names implied the existence of places called Jersey, Hampshire, and York, and I said so.

“Never occurred to him. And this wasn’t a stupid musclehead, either, though God knows there are plenty of those at my gym. This was a bright guy who’d just never learned to think! Never learned logic! Never learned the meaning of the word ‘new’, for Christ’s sake!”

There was a lot more, but I didn’t stay to hear it.

#38 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 01:09 AM:

Xopher, thanks for the story - it was just what I needed on the day I started graduate school.

#39 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 01:10 AM:

"Tapping the Admiral" is charming, Tim.

#40 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 01:17 AM:

Since reading the intro post link, I've kept returning to cutting and washing hair, That seems odd, because it's usually easier, not to say more pleasant, to cut clean hair.

Could it be so gunked up that you'd whack it off to get to something possible to wash?

It sounded like they bathed regularly (natural hot pools, surely they put their heads under?).

Or are we back to battle so frequent that even if your own blood wasn't present in your hair, someone else's innards might be?

And I, too, checked several times to be sure Teresa and not Jim had posted this.

#41 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 01:59 AM:

David@33 I'm guessing, from the photo on the obligatory posterboard visual-aid, that they've figured out something of the sort.

That, or their perceptions of reality have been permanently warped by the demon sheep ad. Classic. Inspiring. And definitely memorable.....

#42 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 02:48 AM:

Carol, #40: You can definitely get your hair so matted up that it's impossible to wash without first cutting the mats out. Anything that dries hard or sticky (chewing gum, various building materials, blood) will do it. I would think that melted marshmallow would as well (harking back to Angiportus @23). Plain old mud will dissolve in water, but when mixed with other things, it may just be easier to cut first and wash second.

#43 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 02:56 AM:

One of the things we get on British TV is programmes about archaeology. Time Team, of course, and others such as Meet the Ancestors. And sometimes there are skeletons, thousands of years old, with the grave-goods of a warrior, and signs of serious injuries. And the bone has healed.

Sometimes, in peat bogs, there are corpses which look very like a human sacrifice.

And, on occasion, an archaeologist will trace stone-age patterns across modern fields, and pick out a few pieces of bone from a midden, and say to camera that these people were farming sheep and, the way they did it, they must have had sheepdogs--herding dogs, not the guarding sheepdogs of the rest of the ancient world--and then he'll walk off with his sheepdog to see to his sheep.

And maybe, one day, some archaeologist will find that six feet of English ground that Harold Hardrada was given to hold.

#44 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 03:56 AM:

Lee, candle wax can also do a good job of messing up hair.

Or fur. Woke up one morning a few weeks ago to discover one of our long-haired cats, Rikkus, had spatters of blue candle wax across one side of his fur, and a big (about 1x2 inches) blob of same matting up his belly fur. Could comb off the side spatters, but the big blob had to be carefully cut off with scissors.

What happened, best as I can figure out, is that Rikkus got up from his usual night-time spot on the bed and went for a don't-touch-the-floor walk around the bedroom. We keep several votive candles burning on Hilde's altar box each night (green for fiscal health, blue for physical health), and Rikkus must have knocked the blue one off the altar box, giving himself a good splash of melted wax at the same time.

The astonishing thing is that the blue votive was still upright, and still burning in its holder. It had just moved from the surface of the altar box to the top of the dresser about eight inches down.

We'd thought Rikkus had figured out he shouldn't go near the candles, since he hadn't done so since getting his belly fur frizzled a few times last year, but apparently not. (He's a pretty old cat -- he's the guy I was having to handfeed with a syringe a few months ago, but thyroid pills twice a day have him almost back to normal -- so senility isn't out of the question.) So he's spending nights in the main house now, with the Grumpy Cats, instead of in the bedroom.

#45 ::: Pensnest ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 04:46 AM:

I think it was here on ML that I first saw the limerick by the young man who wrote all of his verse as haiku—but I cannot find it again, and Google has not helped me.

Can anyone post the haiku limerick for my delight?


#46 ::: Benedict Leigh ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 07:06 AM:

Dave Bell@43 I'm a sad addict of all those Time Team and other archaeology programmes. The sense of a depth of history under our feet never fails to interest me. The Land by Kipling captures that overlying sense for me.

If anyone hasn't heard a good sung version of the Kipling poem Jon Boden sings Kipling's "The Land" extremely well, and he's an excellent folk singer currently doing a project where he sings a folk song a day - most of which are well worth listening too.

#47 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 08:11 AM:

Coincidentally, I saw a particularly aposite New Scientist article today.

Link is to p.3, which is the bit that mentions historical intensive care.

#48 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 08:28 AM:

Oh, yes, Benedict. When I was active on there was some discussion of the problems of finding a good Hobden in the modern world.

That poem struck a chord.

There's a lot of Kipling which is still applicable. They call it Iraq now. And some things don't change much.

#49 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 08:40 AM:

Carol Kimball #40: Also, not everybody had those hot springs, and those who did might not want them full of loose, dirty hair!

#50 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 08:59 AM:

B. Dubin @36: I'll share a similar story. In fourth grade (though this seems a bit simplistic for that age, still, that's the classroom I'm picturing), we were given a sheet of paper with a human outline and told to draw what the emperor thought his new clothes looked like. The fact that the drawings would be judged anonymously was somehow oddly liberating -- I didn't have to be my usual conformist self. My emperor wore heavily embellished bellbottom jeans, a tie-died tank top, and a flashy motorcycle helmet. It won the popular vote. It was just something about nobody being able to know it was me that set me free.

#51 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 09:07 AM:

Patrick mentioned a while ago that he was going to AussieCon 4. Are any other Making Light folk planning to be there?

I have half baked plans to attend, and knowing there was a Making Light contingent would bake them slightly more.

#52 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 09:20 AM:

I shall be there. I live, well, only 2700 miles away. Just next door, really.

#53 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 09:29 AM:

47: Kipling was probably thinking specifically of the disastrous Siege of Kut, one of the worst defeats suffered by the British during the Great War.

#54 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 09:56 AM:

Benedict Leigh @ 46: Thanks very much for that link! I'm a big Bellowhead and Spiers/Boden fan, but didn't know about that project.

#55 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 10:10 AM:

Xopher @ 37 — The meaning of "new" can be surprising. A street named "New Street" is usually the second oldest in town. I've noticed that "new" generally means "second oldest" in some other contexts. File names come to mind.

#56 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 10:14 AM:

Dan Hoey @54 I remember being amused by that when I visited Edinburgh for the first time earlier this year. The "New Town" section was begun in the mid 1700s.

What's the difference between a European and an American?

The American thinks 400 years is old, and the European thinks 400 miles is far.

#57 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 10:19 AM:

B. Durbin @36: When my dd was in kindy or 1st grade, there was a class assignment to draw a scientist. I don't remember the context now, alas. Almost everyone drew a man and most of them had white hair. (and most of them were white, which was interesting considering about half the students were not)

dd drew herself, as an adult. In her lab.

Now she's 14 and still wants to be a scientist.

When she doesn't want to be Meryl Streep.

She's shortly going to start at a high school with both a drama track and a science track, so life will undoubtedly be very interesting beginning in September . . . .

#58 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 10:36 AM:

What did Einstein do that was so important, huh?

#59 ::: perilla ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 10:42 AM:

Pensnest #45: Is the following the one you mean? (it's about an old man, not a young man, but that's a trivial tweak):

There was an old man
From Peru, whose lim'ricks all
Look'd like haiku. He

Said with a laugh "I
Cut them in half, the pay is
Much better for two."

I got the text from the Limerick Database (which is where I recall having encountered it originally--can't help you with a ML reference, sorry):


#60 ::: Adam Lipkin ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 10:51 AM:

Tim Walters (#3): Never having heard the phrase before, I'd have assumed that "Tapping the Admiral" would be something one would do after an hour or two of drinking (depending on how long one rents beer for).

And I like the tune!

#61 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 11:08 AM:

Adam Lipkin @ 59: That's "spending a penny."

#62 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 11:10 AM:

Bruce Arthurs @ 44 : It is good to hear that your cat did not wind up with injuries to anything other than his dignity. Mine decided to have a hairball at 0200 this morning, which woke me up and knocked my circadian rhythm on the head. Unamused by this.

On a different topic, I assume someone here at ML knows the origin of "tapping the Admiral" - but what came to mind immediately is the tale that Lord Nelson's body was preserved in a barrel of rum after his death - and that the barrel was found empty on the ship's return to England.

#63 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 11:15 AM:

Dan@54, OtterB@55 - I once visited a town in England (probably Bradford-upon-Avon), where the tourist info booth folks said "You should see the old church across the street, and also see the new church over there - it's Norman"

The Quaker meeting I attended in New Jersey had been going since the 1660s. The meetinghouse itself is newer, rebuilt a couple times after fires, but there's still the opening under the seating area where we hid people during the Underground Railroad.

#64 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 11:27 AM:

Adam @ 59:

I'd not heard the phrase "tapping the Admiral" before, either -- but figured it might be a matter of "An Admiral is a Very Important Person, so if he gets killed in some remote place his body will be preserved in a cask of rum or brandy, to be brought home for ceremonial burial, and some sailors would be capable of tapping this unauthorized source of alcohol".

#65 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 11:32 AM:

New College, Oxford, of course.

Dan Hoey@54: Nice observation about file names. I hadn't previously associated that with these others, but yes, that's very much something that happens.

#66 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 11:34 AM:

Melissa Singer @56 -- so, she wants to be able to say, "I am a scientist AND I play one on TV"?

(My kids are also going through the stage of trying to figure out what they want to study/do/be -- difficult for all concerned.)

#67 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 11:44 AM:

Facebook has a new "feature". Here's how to turn it off.

Turning off Facebook Places

#68 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 12:04 PM:

ajay @52

Of course he was.

Kipling's poem was published on the 11th July 1917, 4 months after the capture of Baghdad, which took place less than a year after the surrender at Kut.

There was some pretty major incompetence.

#69 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 12:53 PM:

Steve, #67: Thanks! Done, and linked on my Facebook page as well. Does it strike you that this misfeature is just begging for a contributory-negligence lawsuit when somebody gets kidnapped or killed by a stalker or a crazy ex?

#70 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 01:15 PM:

All knowledge is contained in Making Light, and I have a question about... aspirin.

I've now come across two pre-war references to aspirin which make me think that a pre-war aspirin was something different from a modern one. Modern day aspirin's just a mild painkiller. But Ngaio Marsh, in one of her novels, refers to someone having slept particularly deeply because she'd taken aspirin; and George Orwell says in The Road to Wigan Pier "A cup of tea or even an aspirin is much better as a temporary stimulant than a crust of brown bread."

What's going on? Did aspirin have something else in it pre-1939? And was it an upper (pace Orwell) or a downer (pace Marsh)?

#71 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 01:20 PM:

I stumbled across an article in Midwifery Today that really gave me pause. Being related to a midwife, I grew up soaked in the midwifery model of care, which can be summed up as "Birth is a thing a woman does, not an emergency an OB has to save her from, so GTFO with your interventions KTHX unless there is actually a problem--which, again, birth is not--because applying a solution to a nonexistent problem causes problems, so again, get that scalpel away from my client's hind end." But even my crunchy midwife SIL assumed as a matter of course that the cervix must be dilated to 10 centimeters before it's safe for the laboring woman to follow an urge to push.

The author of the article argued that this 10-centimeter rule is no older than the days when every woman was drugged so heavily that her baby had to be pulled out of her. In that state, the cervix would have to be safely out of the way or the attending OB might injure it while reaching in to get the baby. Don't ask a woman who has the pushing urge to pant like a puppy if her cervix isn't open, the article suggests. Just tell her to try a push and stop if it hurts. If the cervix is soft enough, it will open as the baby descends; if not, the pain will tell the woman to stop before she injures herself.

So even midwives, who generally pride themselves on basing their skills on direct observation, may have fallen victim to a nonsensical idea.

#72 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 01:22 PM:

Lee @69: I always have an uphill struggle with half my family explaining why anyone would ever WANT to turn this kind of thing off. People under about 22 honestly do not at all seem to grok that having private things be known can be dangerous.

#73 ::: cmk ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 01:31 PM:

#70: The other bizarre thing about Marsh's aspirin description is that it was (purportedly) dissolved in water and swallowed. Not only does modern aspirin not dissolve (it only goes into suspension, but Marsh uses the adjective "murky") but why on earth would anyone take it that way--after tasting once, anyway?

So, yes, I've always been curious about that too. I'd missed the Orwell.

#74 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 01:38 PM:

Debbie@66: Very likely.

The scientist thing has been a persistent passion since she was old enough to understand what a scientist is/does. The acting, well, it's almost more about _performance_ than anything else--she's already built a few characters of her own, including a very convincing boy.

Elliott@72: I think the pendulum swings again because dd and her friends, who are all 14ish, have privacy-blocked all kinds of stuff and monitor each other's fb pages for things which should be taken down lest they prove embarrassing in adulthood.

At least in her group, many (I won't say all) have apparently fully absorbed the "don't tell anyone where you are, don't reveal personal information" mantra. They are kind of horrified at the things people only a little older than they are are doing "in public" on the web. Perhaps they will feel differently when they themselves are older teens/younger adults; that I cannot say.

#75 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 01:50 PM:

CMK and ajay - You can still get headache powders.

In fact, I still remember BC's commercials from the 60's, where a sonorous voice intoned, "But...have you tried BC?"

#76 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 01:55 PM:

Lee @ #69 - You're welcome.

One would think that FB would be wary of sticking in all this stuff you have to Opt Out of, but I can see why they do it. They figure most will just ignore it, and therefore their revenue projections from gathering more eyeballs will satisfy the money droids.

I still use it because it's a handy way of keeping in touch with friends and family, but I try to be careful.

#77 ::: moe99 ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 01:55 PM:

I remember reading about what Norse warriors would do to opponents in the heat of battle. One involved violently opening the back of the enemy and pulling the lungs out. It was called an 'eagle' or something similar.

#78 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 02:00 PM:

Melissa Singer @ 74... she was old enough to understand what a scientist is/does. The acting, well, it's almost more about performance

"They laughed at me at the University's Stage & Chemistry Depts! But I'll show them! Hahahahahah!!!"

#79 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 02:01 PM:

AKICIML - Does LinkedIn have the same privacy problems as FaceBook, FourSquare et. al.?

If so, any remedies?

#80 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 02:04 PM:

ajay @70: From a little digging around I find that prescribed dosages of aspirin were higher in the early part of the 20th century than those available OTC today.

Also, prior to the U.S. Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, many things could have been mixed with the aspirin (opiates, cocaine, what-have-you).

#81 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 02:06 PM:

moe99@77: Perhaps Blood eagle? A method of torture and execution more than a battlefield thing, though.

At least according to Wikipedia, there's some debate as to its historicity.

Sounds unpleasant, all in all.

#82 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 02:09 PM:

Xopher@37: in my very early childhood in Yorkshire, I thought that New York was in Yorkshire. York was in Yorkshire, so New York would be somewhere nearby, obviously. (Also I think I thought that 'Yorks', the usual newspaper-headline abbreviation for Yorkshire, was the same as York, or perhaps New York. I was a confused child and from this distance I can't remember whether I was scanning the horizon for the skyscrapers I'd seen in Kojak and Rhoda.)

#83 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 02:15 PM:


#84 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 02:16 PM:

ajay @70: Did aspirin have something else in it pre-1939?

I plugged aspirin (acetylsalicylic|acetylsalicylate|salicylic|salicylate) into two different date-restricted Google Books searches (pre-1900 and 1900-1940) and didn't find any evidence of the original "Aspirin" formulation extending beyond acetylsalicylic acid.

However, after WWI, the trademark was forcibly genericized in the UK, US, and various other countries, and so Marsh and Orwell may've been using the term in a more general sense. There are a lot of 1900-1940 references to dosing with caffeine salicylate as a water-soluble powder, which would explain the stimulant effect.

#85 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 02:17 PM:

ajay@70: I wondered the same thing when I read Marsh. I'm reasonably sure the aspirin we have today is the same thing (many sources assert it).

The theory I made up, which I have no evidence whatsoever for, is that enough people had little chronic pains that even a mild analgesic might make them sleep especially heavily (accumulated sleep deficit plus placebo effect).

The possibility that Marsh simply got off on the wrong foot somehow sounds more likely to me.

I'd be fascinated to hear more evidence about whether other people of that vintage talked about aspirin the same way, or not.

#86 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 02:18 PM:

@ Jenny Islander: I didn't feel the urge to push with either of my kids until the way was clear. Of course, with the second, I apparently went open like a telescoping iris, so that wasn't an issue.

Both were hospital births, but the local Kaiser hospital is very non-interventionist unless necessary.

#87 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 02:21 PM:

Serge@78: She already has a great Evil Laugh.

B. Durbin@83: Congratulations!

#88 ::: Lin D ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 02:25 PM:

C @25: to get our Haitian friend's 6-year-old daughter into the U.S., successfully concluded earlier this month. Yay!


#89 ::: Doug K ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 02:29 PM:

"More to the point, I followed the rules that did not exist anywhere but in my head. I spent a lot of time trying to anticipate expectations."

yes indeed. I just read JM Coetzee's Boyhood and was remembering what it was like to be a careful timid child, trying to work out the rules and how to follow them..

to the aspirin questions - I recall as a child taking aspirin that dissolved in a glass of water. The English must have a different pharmacopoeia.
It certainly helps me sleep. I can see it working both ways: remove the mild pain, and sleep will be better; similarly the quality of attention improves without the stultifying drag of dealing with the pain.

#90 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 02:45 PM:

Carol Kimball @79 -- as LinkedIn is much more about professional connections, and people can be banned for asking for too many connections to people they don't really know, I'd say it has a lot fewer privacy concerns than FB. It's also a lot smaller.

#91 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 02:47 PM:


It's bolded text, not link text, that's why.

Just wanted TA to know I was thinking of her, and the poet, who may not want his name actually posted, know the same.

Love, c.

#92 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 02:50 PM:

Doug K@89: yes, soluble aspirin—quoting from memory here but isn't that the sodium salt of the acid?

When I were a lad, children were not only allowed to take aspirin but even had their own special variety of aspirin, Junior Aspirin. Junior Aspirins were an attractive orange in colour, had a delicious orange taste, and came in little plastic jars that contained well over a fatal dose. It's a wonder any of us survived to adulthood.

#93 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 03:23 PM:

Junior Aspirins were an attractive orange in colour, had a delicious orange taste, and came in little plastic jars that contained well over a fatal dose. It's a wonder any of us survived to adulthood.

Yes indeed. I had my stomach pumped out as a result of this one. To this day - more than 45 years later - I cannot abide the taste of anything that particular flavor of orange.

#94 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 03:24 PM:

Aspirin has always had a soporific effect on me. I never connected it to aspirin until I read those Marsh stories (and I think other 1930s books, too), so for me, at least, it's probably not the placebo effect. Aspirin's almost as effective a sleep aid as Benadryl.

#95 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 03:35 PM:

#88 Lin D

We cannot describe the sheer relief that we're still feeling every minute.

And the daughter? She's just a whizzbanger, who takes to everything like she was born to it.

What a job her mom did protecting her all these months, and much of that time was literally on the streets, due to the sheer lack of places to go. And so dangerous in so many ways.

Love, C.

#96 ::: presaged bourbons ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 03:38 PM:

B. Durbin @ 83 - congratulations from me, too.

#97 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 03:40 PM:

NSAIDs, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, are known to cause sleepiness in some people. Higher doses are more likely to cause this unwanted effect. I suspect the "stimulant" effect is more likely to be the placebo effect of an NSAID, or the particular preparation that was used in this case contained caffeine. An old version of ASA (the shorthand for Aspirin (tm)) contained caffeine -- they were APC tablets (ASA, phenacetin, and caffeine). Eventually the phenacetin was dropped (kidney toxicity), but caffeine may still be included for "headache" versions, as caffeine does help reduce some headache pain.

#98 ::: Mike McHugh ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 03:44 PM:

These days, soluble asprin is probably Disprin, or some variation of it.

#99 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 03:57 PM:

I'm another recovering Lawful child. I sometimes get into arguments with my mother about the rules I followed, but they always end the same way, with me reassuring her that I do not blame her for this, seriously, can't I talk about my weird childhood beliefs without attacking her as a mother? Once all three of us are out of the house, she'll get better, I hope.

I try to be aware, at least, of when I avoid something because it Isn't Done.

#100 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 04:16 PM:

On the Vikings thread - War was Hel then, still is...

#101 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 04:37 PM:

Steve, #76: My current description of Facebook:

"Facebook is like an un-housebroken puppy. You have to keep a sharp eye on it all the time, you have to limit its range of activities, and sometimes you have to smack it with a rolled-up newspaper to keep it from getting out of hand."

Incidentally, there's one more thing you want to turn off that's connected with the Places misfeature. Account --> Privacy --> Applications and Websites/Edit Settings --> Info Accessible Thru Your Friends/Edit Settings --> uncheck "Places I've Visited". This keeps you from being tracked via your friends who may not be as careful or savvy as you are.

Carol, #79: During the Great Facebook-wants-to-own-all-your-information Flap, I remember seeing that LinkedIn had similar issues WRT intellectual property. But that was over a year ago, which is aeons in online time. You might want to take a look at their User Agreement -- it must be online somewhere.

OtterB, #93: I guess I was lucky. By the time I was tall enough to reach the shelf with the baby aspirin bottle, I was also old enough to read and understand the warnings... and perhaps had already had them explained to me verbally, I don't recall. But I was never tempted to eat them as candy, and I knew why I shouldn't.

Ginger, #97: That's interesting. I knew that caffeine withdrawal causes headaches, but I wasn't aware that it could go the other way (except that I would have assumed it to if the headache in question was a caffeine-withdrawal headache).

#102 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 04:39 PM:

Steve C. @ 75: Did you head about the person who claimed not to like Alka Seltzer because it was too loud?

B. Durbin @83: Congratulations from me as well. I look forward to reading your story (and the others).

#103 ::: Ursula L ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 05:02 PM:

Question for the flurosphere:

In 2008, for various reasons, my license plates were suspended. I straightened things out, and new plates were issued in 2009. Just this afternoon, my car was towed, for the plates being suspended in 2008. I called the town, and they said the plates were suspended 2008, but the plates were the new ones from 2009. The town was aware that these were new 2009 plates, issued after the suspension - which would obviously mean that the suspension was addressed.

They said it was a DMV problem, I'm very confused as to why the DMV would have issued new plates last year if things were still suspended.

#104 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 05:11 PM:

If I drink coffee more often than very occasionally, it gives me headaches*. Tea doesn't have the same effect, so it may be nothing to do with the caffeine.

*I started a two-part study once, stopping coffee for a month. I was going to count the number of headaches, start drinking the stuff again and count again. The results of the first half of the trial were so obvious I never formally bothered with the second half. Recently, several years later, I was tired from overwork, drank a couple of coffees each morning for three days to improve wakefulness. Daily headache starting on day two. Stopped drinking the coffee. Day four, no headache.

#105 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 05:43 PM:

Mark @144/946: (Ooh, and the breadcrumb post is 945. Nice bit of parallel structure. Hat-tip to the lovely and charming Jacque.)

<curtsy> Sorry, didn't mean to slight your 144/945. I didn't see it in my haste. <*sparkle*>

#106 ::: moe99 ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 05:47 PM:

Thanks ddb!

#107 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 05:49 PM:

[I just found this sitting in a Notepad document - thought I'd posted it this morning]
Constance @ 25: Re your Haitan friend and her daughter - really pleased to hear this has finally worked out.

Marilee @29: They're hard wired - part of the fire safety requirement for the loft conversion (since it's now a three-storey house). Actually, the battery-operated one we used to have several feet further down the hall was even more sensitive and my husband - who could reach it, being six foot five, used to have to go pull the battery quite frequently - sufficiently often that we finally took it down (we've kept the battery operated one in my home office, which is an extension on the back of the house).

#108 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 05:52 PM:

B. 83: Congratulations!

#109 ::: Pensnest ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 05:58 PM:

perilla #59 Yes, that is it—many thanks! I've been writing limericks of late, and was just so charmed with that one I wanted to have it as a good example.

#110 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 06:40 PM:

Goodness, you folks have been busy! Conga rats to B. and C., a hearty endorsement of BC powders (which, if memory serves, do have caffeine as well as aspirin), and Jacque, I didn't feel at all slighted by your thoroughness.

I'm still a little pouty about missing the piñata, however.

#111 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 06:49 PM:

Melissa Singer @9: Requesting goodness for your friend.

TexAnne @12: No job for me!

Go have a look at Liz Ryan's stuff. She has a very interesting model of how to go about applyig for jobs. And she's got mountains of stuff out on the internet for free. (I've been sufficiently impressed that I actually shelled out Real Money to take some of her courses.)

#112 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 07:14 PM:

YouTube helpfully suggests as an improvement on the Carly Fiorina political ad mentioned in PNH's recent sidelight. I wholeheartedly approve.

#113 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 07:29 PM:

BC powders do, in fact, contain caffeine. I find that they do their job best when washed down with cola -- the additional caffeine and sugar are both important.

I admit this sounds something like "drop an aspirin into a Coca-Cola to get high." It never did that, but it helped me get past heat-stress headaches in a kitchen classroom when the outside temp was in the 90s and the A/C wasn't working very well.

#114 ::: Lin D ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 07:48 PM:

Facebook: Information once released cannot be recalled. (usenet people know this one really well.)

Caffeine: I'm addicted to it, and get ghastly headaches by noon if I don't have my daily dose. The headache is bad enough that I carry caffeine pills with me everywhere, just in case I get stuck somewhere overnight. I choose this because the alternative is not being fully awake (read: unbelievably groggy) until noon, or possibly all day. I also drink water for the rest of the day, with an occasional fruity drink inserted for variety.

#115 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 09:19 PM:

caffeine for headaches: my understanding is that it only works for migraines, rather than regular headaches. migraines often involve vasodilation whereas standard headaches are often from vasoconstriction. adding caffeine (a vasoconstrictor) to a normal headache will make you feel worse, but it will help relieve a migraine.

#116 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 09:43 PM:

B. Durbin, #83, congratulations!

Millions of US eggs have salmonella -- that FDA link has the brand names of the companies that sell them.

#117 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 09:49 PM:

Shadowsong #115: Except, of course, for those caffeine-withdrawal headaches. I find I've slipped up to twice-a-day, but I do stick to one caffeine drink each time.

I tend to switch off among coffee (spiced, with milk&sugar), tea (sweet, no milk), or Mountain Dew. Lately my tea is gunpowder green -- much better since I learned to brew green tea in sub-boiling water!

#118 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 10:26 PM:

shadowsong @ 115: About 12% of caffeine is converted to theobromine, which is the main vasodilator (theophylline makes up about 4% of the metabolic derivatives, and it is also a smooth muscle relaxant). This is the main reason caffeine and ergot are still packaged together as a medication for migraine. Caffeine itself is a CNS stimulant, which may also lend itself to treating migraines; however, the primary reason for adding caffeine to ASA is that caffeine enhances the uptake of substances -- it makes the absorption faster, which means the ASA gets into the bloodstream sooner, therefore starts acting on your pain sooner. It also synergizes the effects of some drugs, allowing you to take less of a drug to get the same effect.

Caffeine can also cause headaches, particularly withdrawal or rebound headaches. A little of it goes a long way. If I consume too much of it, as I did in veterinary school, it triggers random flashes of light in my vision and erratic heartbeats. I prefer tea, and don't drink much in the way of sodas, so my daily caffeine intake is much more moderate now. I can still get a withdrawal headache if I forget my morning tea.

On the other hand, for migraines I prefer to add an antihistamine to my NSAID.

#119 ::: A.J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 11:42 PM:

Oh, hey!

A Doctor Who slash poem in Middle English simply must be brought to the attention of this blog. Apologies if it already has been.

It even manages to translate "and then they done sex" with a straight face. Fantastic!

#120 ::: A.J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 11:46 PM:

Oh, I should warn for some coercion in the above, though relatively mild as Doctor/Master goes.

#121 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2010, 11:49 PM:

I've gone down to one diet Pepsi a day (warm weather) and one big home-made brewed tea (cold weather) for my caffeine just because I thought it was a good idea.

I remain eternally grateful that the one bout I had with migraines turned out to be in tune with the vaccine manufacturing plant I worked at and one particular process that was done about every six-eight weeks. Once I quit that job, I have never had so much as a hint of that horrible, nasty kind of headache again. (It caused visual side-effects and if I didn't get myself home the minute I noticed it coming on, it was very difficult because we only had one car at the time.)

#122 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 12:46 AM:

May I pick the fluorospherical brains here? My sister is looking for the name and author of a man sells his soul to the devil story, in which the devil tells him the day, hour and place of his death, and the bloke arranges to be far, far away on that day, but he meets death anyway, who tells him that it was odd finding him here, he had an appointment with him far away.

Anybody know it?

#123 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 12:56 AM:

Dave Luckett@122: Take a look at , scroll down to "Appointment in Samarra", and then -- if you like -- prowl further for references.

Although I don't remember seeing a version where the victim *bargains* with Death.

#124 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 12:58 AM:

The classic that's similar, Dave Luckett, is "The Appointment in Samarra." Somerset Maugham's retelling of it is found here.

#125 ::: J Homes ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 12:59 AM:

Dave Luckett @122

90% of that sounds like Somerset Maugham's Appointment in Samarra. The differences are that it is Death, not the Devil, who has the appointment, there is no sale of soul; it is just that appointment, and the remaining difference is a spoiler.

Google will find it.

J Homes.

#126 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 01:12 AM:

Dave, I just read that one! It's Arabian, right? He rides from Damascus to...I don't remember.

#127 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 01:14 AM:

I think, from my sister's vague description, that it must be "Appointment in Samarra". The funny thing is, I know the story - though I don't expect anyone to believe that - and simply couldn't call it to mind.

Having a senior moment, over here. I'll be all right about ten years ago.

#128 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 01:14 AM:

Right, Samara.

"Funny you should say that," said Death. "I was surprised to see you in Damascus, because we've always had an appointment here."

Or something like that.

#129 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 01:24 AM:

And thank you all.

#130 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 02:09 AM:

Dave, we all have moments like that. I believe you.

#131 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 02:09 AM:

I just read unquestionably the darkest YA series I've ever come across: Philip Reeve's Mortal Engines Quartet.

There are heroics, yes, but also much death and dolor in these books. If I were going to recommend them to a youngish reader, I'd want him or her to be 14 or more and have any youthful optimism tempered by realism. Phew!

#132 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 02:18 AM:

The prequel, Fever Crumb, is every bit as depressing. I thought they were quite well done -- possibly they'd serve as a way to find out if someone's ready to read J. G. Ballard.... I recommend them.

#133 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 02:42 AM:

Tom @ #132, I have Fever Crumb sitting on the shelf with the rest of the library books. I'm trying to rebuild my strength by reading Books 2, 3, and 4 of Doyle & Macdonald's Mageworlds, which just arrived in the mail via Jackson Street Books, owned and operated by some internet friends of mine in Hoquiam, WA.

#134 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 03:13 AM:

Ginger @ 118: And for sinus headaches, it's amazing how helpful it can be to simply breath steam for a few minutes.

I don't get classic migranes (not one-sided, for example, and no light effects) but I do get occasional (now about once a year) migrane-level incapacitating headaches with rock-solid neck and shoulders. Only cure I've found is to take NSAID, lie down and get to sleep. If I can sleep, everything relaxes and I wake an hour or two later feeling fine.

#135 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 06:13 AM:

dcb@134: Ah, for the sinus component I use a nasal rinse (aka neti pot, only with a 6 ml syringe instead). The first time I used the rinse, I was quite surprised to have a migraine without pain. I've now had these pain-reduced migraines a few more times. One of them presented as 4 days of intensely enhanced sense of smell, to the point where I was almost unable to eat. Very peculiar.

I've learned to do the nasal flush for every migraine, as sometimes it just stops the process. Other times it makes little difference; for those I get the antihistamine and NSAID, and try to sleep. Occasionally I also have to use a cold pack on my head or neck.

#136 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 07:55 AM:

Tom Whitmore #132: they'd serve as a way to find out if someone's ready to read J. G. Ballard

Now that's an interesting idea: pairing YA and adult authors, specifically choosing the YA author as a gateway to more sophisticated works along that line.

#137 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 08:38 AM:

Thanks to all for the aspirin advice! Caffeine salicylate, and aspirin occasionally having soporific effects...

On "Appointment in Samarra" - interesting that the narrator is Death, and is female.

#138 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 10:12 AM:

Dave Luckett -- Terry Pratchett has played with the premise once or twice as well, with Rincewind encountering Death unexpectedly.


'Oh no, not —'


'But that's five hundred miles away!'


#139 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 10:27 AM:

Ginger @ 135... for the sinus component I use a nasal rinse

And, for the cosinus component, a math-al rinse?

#140 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 11:09 AM:

Serge - you're going off on a tangent, but that's ok. I have pi.

#141 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 11:41 AM:

Ginger--that last comment really struck a chord with me.

#142 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 11:54 AM:

No need to go all hyperbolic everyone.

#143 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 12:00 PM:

Geeze - everyone is working an angle. It's just a question of degree.

#144 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 12:09 PM:

Open-threadiness -- I'm sure a lot of people have heard about Dr. Laura deciding to stop having her radio program because people are upset over her using "the N word" multiple times on her show. I'm glad that she's stopping, whatever the reason, but I'm wondering when it is that people stopped believing in the use-mention distinction. Her mentions of the word were all about other people using it; while she was defending the possibility of white people using the word, she never actually used it. Another example, perhaps, of the symbol (the word, mentioned) taking on power that is really only appropriate to the actual (the word, used).

#145 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 12:22 PM:

Tom @ 144 -

Words invoke emotion, and emotion drives meaning. The level of that emotion can change, and is dependent on context, on who says it, and how it's said. Since words are symbols, any power they have is always relative.

#146 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 12:30 PM:

Tom @ 144 — While she didn't apply the word to a person, I interpreted her repetitive chanting as actual use, with intention to be offensive.

She deserves 8 million hardbound copies of the first amendment.

#147 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 12:57 PM:

Dan Hoey @146 -- Dr. Laura generally strives to be offensive (in my experience -- she badgers and hectors her callers mercilessly). But the offense she was attempting to create was not the offense of using that word in the sense of using its meaning. To my mind, there's a real difference.

Steve C. @145 -- words are indeed symbols, and there's a difference in my head, at least, between using the word to represent a thing ("use") and using the word to discuss the word. And from what I heard, she was clearly doing the latter. I think there are parallels here with the ongoing "mosque at ground zero" discussion, where many people are pointing out that the words "mosque" and "ground zero" are being used inaccurately (and "ground zero" is a seriously overused nuclear metaphor).

#148 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 01:15 PM:

Tom, #144: The position she was arguing -- that it's just fine for a white person to use the N-word because black people use it -- is just as offensive to me as if she had actually used it to address a black person. It displays a complete lack of awareness of balance-of-power and privilege issues, and a stunning deafness to nuance. A person with those traits absolutely does not need to be setting up as having authority to give other people advice; she's seriously in need of therapy herself. And while it might be argued that I shouldn't say anything about the ways in which PoC use language to address each other, I most definitely AM qualified to have an opinion about the things other white people say.

#149 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 01:31 PM:

Eminem can use the word (although it still gets bleeped out in his recordings), but Vanilla Ice, probably not.

#150 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 01:58 PM:

I do disagree with her (and think she's no good at what she purports to do) in the same way you do, Lee, and I'd castigate her for using the word; and I defend her right to have that opinion. But it's really hard to have the discussion if the word can't be mentioned. And her mentioning the word (not her stance about it) is what seems to be getting a lot of people up in arms.

#151 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 02:21 PM:

Lox, red onions, cream cheese, capers on a bagel.


#152 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 02:33 PM:

Tom @ 147,150 — You are distinguishing between the use of an offensive word "in the sense of using its meaning" and the mention of an offensive word for the purpose of discussion. I believe this case is a third way of using an offensive word, without regard to its traditional meaning, but with the intention of giving offense by the use of the word.

I'm having a hard time expressing how I believe the third usage is offensive in a way that the second is not. Perhaps it's the general feeling that it's right to take offense when someone tries to be offensive, because otherwise they will try harder.

#153 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 02:33 PM:

Stefen, if the mere thought of a chewey bagel didn't make my cracked tooth ache, I'd be right over there with you nomming. Preliminaries for the root canal Monday, if I can last that long.

#154 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 02:34 PM:

Stefan Jones@151: I personally would skip the capers (though they're quite traditional), but yeah, so fine! (If the bagel is any good.)

Mostly red onions are my least favorite, but they seem right to me for this; dunno if I've just accepted the tradition, or if the flavors really do work better.

#155 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 02:36 PM:

Janet Brennan Croft@153: Ouch! Yeah, decent bagel VERY STRONGLY contra-indicated in that case. Hope it all holds together for you until you get it fixed!

#156 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 02:37 PM:

The word can be alluded to to discuss it, just as other words have circumlocutions, like c-bomb or f-bomb.

Context matters. The same word can be spelled out explicitly in a magazine or journal article, but be too inflammatory in a talk-show. Or it can be routinely used by someone line Chris Rock in a comedy routine.

#157 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 02:40 PM:

I haven't listened, or even red the transcript. It does seem to me, in general, that repeated "reference" to a word can be done in such a way that it amounts to actual use. Some of the descriptions make what Dr. Laura did sound like it's in that category.

#158 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 02:49 PM:

ISTR that there is already a body of law regarding words that can't be used on the public airwaves, and that it has been determined that in those cases the First Amendment does not apply -- cf. Howard Stern. If the n-word is one of those, then she really doesn't have a leg to stand on, not that she did in the first place for reasons outlined above.

As my partner puts it, she is not "being censored", she is being censured by the general public.

#159 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 02:54 PM:

Dan, #152: I get what you're saying. It's a bully's trick, a way of gaming the system -- on a par with saying something deliberately offensive, and then playing the "nobody can hurt you unless you LET them" card. Since Dr. Laura displays all the traits of being a bully, we shouldn't be surprised that she knows this one.

#160 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 02:56 PM:

The bagels were inferior West Coast Noah's Bagels product. Much better than most, but not awesome glossy things from Back East.

And the lox was smoked salmon from Costco.

But still. Damn. The synergy of those ingredients.

I just swung by the break room and swept up the last few gobbets of salmon and some onion bits. Mmmm.

#162 ::: Bombie ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 03:35 PM:

Open Threadly throwing it out there:

Trying to get the lay of the land. Is anyone here particularly knowledgeable about China, or has anyone China experience(s) they'd like to share? I'm an aspiring sinologue, in awe of how much there is still to learn and discover*. Stories, (trivial) facts, opinions (positive and negative alike), anything on China or the China experience really, all will find a willing ear and interested soul in me.

In the coming year, I'll be writing my master's dissertation. Right now, I'm still making up my list of possible subjects. To me, this list seems not quite diverse enough yet, so I'm looking for (wild) suggestions. The only criterion being that it's likely the Chinese were interested enough to write about it scientifically, as I need to use a substantial amount of Chinese sources. Interesting little facts that you think need elaboration, (tormenting) questions that need investigation, (hidden) mechanisms that require inquiry, anything goes.

Some examples out of what's currently on my list:
- what could be the main reasons behind the technological retardation during the Qing dynasty (this one has a pretty large body of (sometimes controversial) literature already, but then it is a very interesting question.)
- Earlier this year the Belgian Conference pear was the first imported fruit in China (perhaps the first European or non-Asian fruit import, not sure) Why? How? &c
- Evolutions in modern Chinese pottery (what with their long history of, well, china)

The last one is still vague, but I was suddenly curious, so I wrote it down. If it sticks in my head for long enough, I'll look further into it and see if there's a proper research question hidden in there**. The possibility of such a question alone is enough to merit a mention: if it seems interesting to you, it might seem interesting to me. The job of looking further into it is my own at any rate.

* in general, of course, but specifically about China. If I ever want to feel worthy of my chosen field, much to learn, there is.
** of if I can find one, at least. Not quite the same thing.

#163 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 04:04 PM:

Tom Whitmore @#150: As I understand it, her stance is what's got people up in arms, as much as her word choices. You can read the full transcript of what was said over here--to me it hardly seems that she's trying to have a reasonable conversation about the acceptability of the N-word. She's berating a black caller for complaining about racist comments made by friends and family, and accuses her repeatedly of being hypersensitive.

#164 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 04:07 PM:

The power of talk radio (apparently all deployed for evil) is reminding me a lot of Spinrad's Bug Jack Barron.

#165 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 04:07 PM:

Re: "Dr." Laura, Media Matters has both the full audio (to which I have not listened, and will not--her voice annoys me) and a transcript (which I have read) here.

Since it started because a (black) female caller was asking for advice on how to handle the racist remarks she gets from her (white) husband's friends/family--and how to handle the fact that her husband wasn't standing up for her--it seems to me that "Dr." Laura's usage of the word was nowhere near the "use it to have a rational discussion about it" sense. From the beginning of the call, "Dr." Laura was unresponsive to her caller's question and concerns, seeming to go out of her way to drag in Obama and "why is it okay for black rappers to toss around the n-word but nobody else can?" rhetoric and then ascribe attitudes to the caller that were not in evidence based on the caller's words.

That "Dr." Laura is surprised by the reaction only reinforces the fact that she has NEVER had the credentials to give anyone life advice. I wouldn't trust her to advise my cats on how to catch mice.

#166 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 04:10 PM:

Re: me @165...and Mary Dell posts a good and less wordy response @163 while I'm typing. :)

#167 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 04:20 PM:

On the fantasy cover art particle, I note that the only two trends on the rise from the previous year are the presence of "hobbits, ogres, dwarves" and "guns".

I once long ago did a watercolour of a standoff between a dragon and a hobbit with an Uzi.

#168 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 04:41 PM:

Tom Whitmore @150: And her mentioning the word (not her stance about it) is what seems to be getting a lot of people up in arms.

Are you sure the mention of the word is the cause of the complaints? It seems very plausible to me (without investigating anything and only knowing what I've read about the case here) that it is her stance that caused the offence, but the complaints were about mentioning the word because simply taking that stance isn't in violation of anybody's rules about things you can broadcast, but the word itself could at least be interpreted as so being.

#169 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 04:58 PM:

Linkmeister, #133, the bookgroup is discussing book 1 of Mageworlds -- The Price of The Stars -- tomorrow. Half the forecasters say it will be 89 and half say 90, so I'm going to go, as long as there's no Code. The library has the rest of the series and I plan to read that after I finish the Richard Jury series.

#170 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 05:21 PM:

Syd @ 165 — I am not convinced she is surprised by the reaction. She may have courted the reaction, including the termination of her contract with CNN, in order to gain victim credentials for her next scheme. Race-baiting credentials, too.

#171 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 05:36 PM:

Open-thready comment aimed at the local Catholics: has anyone here seen the new translation of the Missal that's supposed to become standard sometime next year? I've heard "the language is more elevated in tone," and that one major reason for the change is to help make worship more mindful (and less robotic parroting of the next response that you've known since you were in diapers), but I'd love to get a Fluorospherian's take.

#172 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 05:45 PM:

Elliot Mason @ 171... What's that you're asking about robotic parroting?

#173 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 05:57 PM:

Elliott Mason #171:

The whole thing is here

There's not a lot of change. Some of it I think is an improvement (and these are mostly changes that move closer to the Anglican versions). Some I'm not convinced about.

It's unfortunate that they didn't take the opportunity to fix the translation of 'homo' as 'man', especially in the Credo. Tt made sense in the 1970s, but forty years later it really stands out in modern English.

#174 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 05:57 PM:

Dan Hoey @170 -- I'd believe that.

Jules @168 -- I might believe that, except that NPR (at least) was re-broadcasting parts of what she said to demonstrate how she used the word. AFAIK, the word isn't on any do-not-broadcast list as a word (as were the famous Seven Words George Carlin listed). I think she's smart enough to know that she was being offensive (which I agree she was, though not simply by use of the word).

#175 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 06:35 PM:

Serge @ 172 -- Or here. I wonder if Douglas Adams was influenced by that episode of LiS.

#176 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 06:42 PM:

Dan, #170: Dr. Laura wasn't fired. She quit, took her ball and went home, and is now whining about it.

#177 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 07:50 PM:

"Hyperlocal News" is the new buzzword. The latest Boston Phoenix has an article wondering whether hyperlocal news can support its journalists. Here's my take on what news would be like if it were really hyperlocal.

#178 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 08:41 PM:

Very clever, Erik. But it must be published in some remote area in Italy -- why else would its language be Latin?

#179 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 08:55 PM:

Hyper-Local News

Spoon Is In Frozen Yogurt

Water Bottle Contains Water, Ice

Editorial: Split Keyboard Is Slightly Sticky

#180 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 09:09 PM:

Xopher @#179:

Plums in Refrigerator Eaten

#181 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 09:10 PM:

Joel Polowin @ 175... It wouldn't surprise me. Irwin Allen has been quite a pioneer - and probably other things we won't mention in polite company. For example, did you know that "Lost in Space" probably featured one of the earliest examples of non-Verne steampunk? What? Don't you remember the episode where Doctor Smith, Penny and Will are abducted to the steam/pedal-powered asteroid of an Arabian-Nights character?

#182 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 09:26 PM:

I actually have plums in my refrigerator. I think I'll eat them, even if my nonexistent roommate was saving them for breakfast.

#183 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 09:37 PM:

Dan @152:

I believe this case is a third way of using an offensive word, without regard to its traditional meaning, but with the intention of giving offense by the use of the word.

I'm having a hard time expressing how I believe the third usage is offensive in a way that the second is not. Perhaps it's the general feeling that it's right to take offense when someone tries to be offensive, because otherwise they will try harder.

You appear to be describing what I think of as "Does this bother you? I'm not touching you! Why does it bother you if I'm not touching you?"

(The visual for that is Bart Simpson in the back seat of the car poking at the air within an inch of Lisa's arm without actually touching her.)

Only the last time I had occasion to think of it, it was to do with people who went out of their way to use semantically inoffensive but phonologically similar words "niggardly" and "snigger" as a way to say the two offensive syllables without the people around them being able to call them on it.

Syd @165: I wouldn't trust her to advise my cats on how to catch mice.

Yes, well, there are very few humans I'd expect could give cats decent advice on how to catch mice. I've been tempted to try it, because my cats truly suck at the sport, but about the best I can do is "Not like that, you idiot." Doesn't really help the cat improve its hunting technique.

#184 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 09:46 PM:

Elliot Mason at 171: I am reserving judgment. I know the new words will feel awkward at first, and I don't envy the music directors, who are going to have to fit the new words and phrases to old music, or new music, and then get choirs and reluctant congregations to sing them -- OMG!

Some things I will like. Some I'll hate. Let's see how it all feels in about three years.

#185 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 09:50 PM:

I have noticed that in the last couple of decades the "N-word" has shifted in common usage, if not in FCC regulations, from a slur to an obscenity. (I'm being somewhat imprecise in my use of "obscenity", but I mean to describe the transition from a word that isn't *used* in polite discourse to one that isn't even *mentioned* in polite discourse.)

The "n-word" is of course not alone in that latter category. The "f-word" lives there too, for instance. And the "polite discourse" qualifier is an important one as well: the HBO comedians and musicians that Dr. Laura cites, *both* black and white, use the "f-word" frequently, not just the "n-word". They're *not* operating under the rules of "polite discourse"; indeed, comedians and many other cable-TV performers make a point to *transgress* those rules.

So Dr. Laura can't claim that "blacks on HBO" justify using the n-word any more than she can use to it justify dropping the f-bomb. (She's not stupid; she knows enough not to do *that* on the air.) Reading the transcript with that in mind, I find her "hypersensitivity" claims sounding a lot like whining over the erosion of white privilege, and baiting and bullying callers that try to challenge that privilege. That I find more offensive than any particular words she used on the program.

#186 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 10:28 PM:

If I were still in college, I would have promoted a Dr Laura drinking game: take a swallow every time she interrupts the caller.

#187 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 11:03 PM:

A couple of news articles:
Young Colombian immigrant working for real estate developer picked the site for the community center

Apparently the local strip joints don't mind having the mosque move near them. (All the news articles are quoting each other and adding comments; looks like the original was probably in the WSJ.)

#188 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 11:21 PM:

HyperLocal News:

Cat Food Dish Interior Visible! Starvation Imminent [*], Howling Felines Declare!

Folding Awaits After Completed Laundry Cycle

Householder Threatens Lawn Mower Neighbor After Late Night, Early Morning

[*] Why is this word not in the spelling demonologies? I know I want the one that starts with an 'i' but I can't seem to remember what the unstressed vowel is supposed to be and they all look wrong.

#189 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 11:28 PM:

Elliott Mason @171: Have so far only seen bits and pieces. Not impressed so far. As a choir member, I am peeved that it's going to mess up our Mass settings, but I guess we'll adjust.

#190 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 11:48 PM:

Thena, confusion might stem from the fact that there are two that begin with 'i': 'imminent' (which you spelled correctly) means "about to happen." 'Immanent' means "materially manifest."

#191 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 12:29 AM:

Hyperlocal News:

p1. The four-year-old is asleep in bed, dreaming of owning his very own Aston Martin DB9. (Must do something about relatives book gifting habits.)

p2. The assertions in the production code are still not trapping the elusive error causing the day-for-day schedule slip.

p3. The machine code emitter in the personal initiative project remains unwritten.

p4. The sauna is hot, and the vanilla nut brown ale is fully conditioned, and ready to drink.

p5. Area man announces the arrival of a local Nudity epoch.

#192 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 12:46 AM:

"Tapping the admiral"--the Peabody Essex Museum had an exhibition entitle The Great Age of Sail back in the 1990s, with items from Britain which included Sir Francis Drake's pocket calculator, a scale model of HMS Victory, and the quite a bit larger than life (or death...) size painting The Death of Nelson. The notes mentioned that the sailors voluntarily gave up rum rations to put preserve Nelson's body for return for burial in England, but then were tappig the keg to bring them luck.


Laura the Lout lacked the panache of the ill-behaved flight attendant, she exhibited no creativity....

#193 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 02:22 AM:

Hyperlocal News:

Delicious Strawberry Shortcake Causes Lassitude, Experts Warn

App Which Makes iPhone Sound Like Star Trek Communicator Wows Five People

Cat Flirts Shamelessly With Anyone Who Sits on Sofa

#194 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 02:45 AM:

Hyperlocal News: Kitten reports human face as good as catnip.

Seriously. I have never seen a cat want soooo much luuuurve that it would rub it's head and face and body all over my face. When I'm trying to read.

#195 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 02:47 AM:

If I were still in college, I would have promoted a Dr Laura drinking game: take a swallow every time she interrupts the caller.

Good God, man! you'd choke!

#196 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 03:19 AM:

Any suggestions on interesting directions in which to kill time while effectively prevented from engaging in any meaningful physical activity for the next 8 - 12 weeks would be much appreciated.

Nothing dire, I've just misaligned things a bit in one knee and am supposed to not aggravate it further while we wait for the physical therapy to kick in...

#197 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 07:50 AM:


On the other hand, being drunk probably makes listening to Dr. Laura more bearable...

#198 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 08:21 AM:

Via Elizabeth Bear, I see that Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little has sold a story to Ellen Datlow. Congratulations!

#199 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 08:30 AM:

KayTei, if you've ever wanted to learn to knit/crochet/embroider/do origami, now sounds like a good time. (I learned to juggle during a particularly boring pregnancy.)

Also, as a physical therapist assistant I feel obliged to say that you should find a way to continue to work out your upper body and, if possible, get an aerobic workout. For example, you might be able to walk in a swimming pool (chest-deep) without irritating your knee. Failing that, you can do an upper-body workout with hand weights or resistance bands. Ask your doctor or your PT.

#200 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 08:31 AM:

Congratulations, Nicole!

#201 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 09:25 AM:

#196 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 03:19 AM:

Any suggestions on interesting directions in which to kill time while effectively prevented from engaging in any meaningful physical activity for the next 8 - 12 weeks would be much appreciated.

Seconding knitting/crocheting/beading (stringing seed beads on a needle from a tray is nearly as close to zero-motion as you can get and still be moving -- no impact whatsoever).

However, my "I only have half a hand and am stuck in this chair" brain-saver during the early stages of breastfeeding were facebook clicky-games, and Civilization. Civ occasionally needs a single-key keyboard shortcut (or shift; I only have a 3-button mouse) from the other hand, but there are plenty of games out there that can be done with one elbow propped near the mousing surface and only small hand motions.

Plants Vs. Zombies from Popcap is pretty amusing, for one. :->

#202 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 09:46 AM:

Xopher #182:

s/even if/because/

#203 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 09:51 AM:

Hyperlocal news:

Cat is stuck (again) in the stretched-out upside-down position; mouse drugs suspected

Solar panels across street glare mid-morning: blindness possible

Surprising science discovery: fragments of dropped glass can fly thirty feet

#204 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 10:03 AM:

Nonlocal news:

Looks like Australia will be following the minority government trend.

#205 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 10:13 AM:

KayTei @ 196 -- I've been doing a lot of rereading of old-favourite books in the last few months, selected to match what limited brain power I've got on a given day. And I've been going swimming about every second day, which gets me out of the damn house and gives me at least some exercise -- treading water, upper-body workout against the water, lower-body workout against the water.

If your medical problems leave you the brain cells to rub together... as Merlin says in The Once and Future King: learn something.

#206 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 10:48 AM:

Joel Polowin@205:

> If your medical problems leave you the brain cells to rub together... as Merlin says in The Once and Future King: learn something.

I read somewhere or other that lots of writers' biographies and autobiographies contain accounts of longish childhood illnesses that left the young-person-who-would-grow-up-to-be-an-author bedridden but alert enough to read intensively for several months, working his or her way through every single book brought to the bedside, whether age-appropriate or not. I like to think that I'd use a few months of enforced idleness in this way, but I probably wouldn't.

Perhaps that's how all the sagas got written: it's something for a Norseman to do when he's lying on a straw pallet for six months trying to ignore the pain of a shattered femur.

#207 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 11:05 AM:

Hyperlocal News Briefs:

Crown and post fall out, dentist appointment unavailable before November

Area man announces completion of delayed laundry project

Obese cat stampedes through apartment, psychosis suspected

Plums in refrigerator await breakfast

#209 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 11:21 AM:

Lee: That fix (places I've visited) is nice to know, but I think I found the other way around that risk. No one but me gets to add places. Since I will add no places it doesn't matter if anyone can see them.

I will probably go and fix it, but since I have no faith that FB won't need to have all these reset the next time they roll out a forcible "feature", I am tolerably happy with the present arrangement.

Ursula L: As I don't understand how one's plates get suspended, I can't help you. In Calif. it's a tax. Pay the tax, get current tags (reminds me I need to get the tags I want for the BMW; it's harder because the motorcyle plates are smaller, and I lose a letter to the Army Logo [and can't get the veteran bar, I think... grmnph. But I need to get the Army plates, or my blue bike, with yellow gear will lead people to think I was in the Navy).

One can have a vehicle impounded for an excess of unpaid parking violations, but that's also easy to fix... show proof of payment. The hassle is when one is mistakenly towed, the towing/impound fees are not reimbursed. Since the city gets no cut of that, however, there isn't an incentive to play with that sort of thing.

Maia used to be useless without her morning tea. She switched to decaf, and had much more energy. She slept better, and was tired less early in the evening. The transition was a bit stressful, but all in all she's not inclined to go back to caffiene in much of anything.

re Dr. Laura: The part that got me was, "If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen" aspect of her comments. When she said the woman ought not have been in an interacial marriage if the word offended her. Throughout the exchange it was, "you are black, so you have to be willing to put up with it.

You know what? If you're that hypersensitive about color and don't have a sense of humor, don't marry out of your race. If you're going to marry out of your race, people are going to say, "OK, what do blacks think? What do whites think? What do Jews think? What do Catholics think?" Of course there isn't a one-think per se. But in general there's "think."

And what I just heard from Jade is a lot of what I hear from black-think -- and it's really distressting [sic] and disturbing. And to put it in its context, she said the N-word, and I said, on HBO, listening to black comics, you hear "nigger, nigger, nigger." I didn't call anybody a nigger. Nice try, Jade. Actually, sucky try.

Need a sense of humor, sense of humor -- and answer the question.

If you look at it we have some classic Limbaugh (abuse the caller, and put words in their mouths after the hang-up, when they can't rebut, or defend themselves) as well as a whole lot of race-baiting (all the "blacks voted for Obama, not because he was a better candidate, but because he was, "half-black", admit it.). Immediate charges of hypersensitivity (and a post-call admonition to, "get a sense of humor"). It was classic bully/troll behavior (not the bit where she accused Jade of saying Schlessinger uses the word to refer to people. Didn't happen. Jade asked if it was ever appropriate. Schlessinger said yes; sauce for the goose and all).

So yeah, I think she ought to have been fired, sadly she was able to quit.

#210 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 11:25 AM:

Kay Tei: If you are going to be that limited for that long, get an Occupational Therapist too.

#211 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 11:30 AM:

Local news: I've had a fault in the ABS on the BMW since OKC(ish). Not a major problem, the bike had very good standard brakes.

Yesterday I figured it out. Bum tailight (the taillight is in the same circuit as the brakelight), which ought to be an easy fix.

Nope. Got the new bulb. The old one, was cooked. The socket is discolored, and there is no current passing through. I'll see if I can get a new socket before I leave for home (Thurs/Fri), but I wonder what the real problem is.

Which is to say I am afraid whatever it is which fried the socket could recur. The fault came on after about five hours of riding in the rain, and about twelve hours of the bike being rained on.

The only real worry is that I dare not ride past dusk, because I have no light at the back of the bike, which strikes me as less than ideal.

#212 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 11:35 AM:

Australia looks like going to a hung parliament. One hundred and fifty seats in all. Looks like seventy-two seats to the conservative coalition, seventy to the Australian Labor Party, one to the Greens, four to various flavours of independents, three too close to call on election night, but they won't all fall the same way. No party will have an absolute majority in the lower house.

I read the analysis of the Dutch style of politics with interest, but that isn't going to happen here. There will be no Green-Labor coalition, and certainly no conservative-Green one. If anyone governs, it will be as a minority government. Which means, basically, that if two or more of the independents decide to pull the pin, the pin is considered well and truly pulled.

Interesting times lie ahead. Those attending Aussiecon may very well find themselves duly interested. well, I know I am.

#213 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 11:40 AM:

Terry, I'd think about water getting in somewhere and shorting the circuit. JMO....

#214 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 11:53 AM:

P J: That's half my thought. The questions (not easily resolved) are, what caused the socket to die?

Is it local (i.e. related to just that socket)?

Is is recurrent (i.e. will it happen again if I get lots of rain).

Is it some malfunction further up the wiring, which will be a lot harder to trace out and repair?

Since I am not the best of electricians, this is something which gives me minor pause.

On the upside, it's not a $1,200 ABS pump.

#215 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 01:22 PM:

Terry, #209: Since I will add no places it doesn't matter if anyone can see them.

ISTR hearing that Facebook will add Places for you automatically if you log in on your cellphone, I don't know if that's true (as I don't have a smartphone, I wasn't really paying attention), but if it is, then you also want to customize "Who can see my Places" to "only me".

I would like to think that the people who run Facebook are only clueless and naive, and can't imagine why anyone would want to be in control of their own online interactions. But given the number of times that they've had "opt-in" forcibly 'splained to them, I have to conclude that they're doing it on purpose -- which makes me ever less inclined to trust them with anything I can block off.

#216 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 01:45 PM:

Lee, I don't see how FB is going to know where you are just because you used FB on your cellphone. I suppose if you have GPS activated on your phone and you have tied it somehow to FB (which I don't think is even possible at present, is it?) then perhaps it could work, but I think you'd have to deliberately set that up.

#217 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 02:24 PM:

Summer Storms @ 216: You don't have to set anything up, on the iPhone at least--Facebook asks to use the GPS and you say yes or no.

#218 ::: Bombie ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 02:33 PM:

Summer Storms @216

When you go online with a regular computer, your location (or at least probably the location of your ISP or seomthing, I'm afraid I don't really know) becomes known. See, for example, region or country specific ads. Even though I've got my facebook set on 'international English', they show Belgian (dutch) ads. When I was in Denmark last month, facebook made me run an extra security check as 'someone' (luckily, me) tried to access my facebook profile from an unfamiliar location. Facebook already knows where you are. Now they just want to make it generally accessible. (I've been very wary of facebook since I signed up, apart from who I've befriended, the locations I sign in on is the only information they've got on me - that I'm aware of. Letting Google own me is quite enough already.)

With cell phones, my guess is that they don't necessarily need a gps either. Triangulation of the signal will probably give them a location close enough for their purposes. I've actually no idea how accurate their 'places' feature is, as I've disabled it immediately. (I hate how they made the 'only me' option two extra steps, preying on the lazy and stupid)

#219 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 02:34 PM:

Summer Storms@216: our pastel-coloured probably non-evil overlords have developed a clever mobile phone maps application that will tell you where you are even if your phone doesn't have GPS. It triangulates between the signal strengths of nearby cells. Usually accurate to within a dozen metres in large cities; much less accurate out in the sticks. Of course if you're just connecting to Facebook via your phone's web browser it won't know where you are; but it's possible to run software on a mobile that can determine location surprisingly well in the absence of GPS.

#220 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 02:40 PM:

Has anyone heard further from our missing poet, scholar and all around good guy? I am concerned.

#221 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 02:52 PM:

Abi... I was wondering too. I just posted something on Fragano's FB Wall.

#222 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 03:49 PM:

Terry @ #209, ". . .will lead people to think I was in the Navy"

That is not automatically a bad thing, you know.

I'm reminded of my sister training our collie. When she wanted the dog to like some foodstuff she'd say "Navy chow." When the dog was supposed to turn up its nose she'd say "Army chow."

#223 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 03:52 PM:

Dave Luckett @212:

The Dutch-style politics aren't working out too well here, either. There's still no coalition, and it's becoming clear that there won't be. Every combination but the right-wing VVD + CDA + PVV (hack, spit) has proven unworkable, and now Wilders is playing silly buggers again.

A lot of observers think that we'll end up with a minority VVD + CDA government, with the PVV sitting on the sidelines aiding and abetting but not participating in government. There's some concern that this allows them scope to look effective without doing any actual work that might lose them respect.

Personally, I think the amount of arsing about the PVV have introduced to cabinet formation won't serve them well in the long run; they're looking un-governmental and unreliable. Whatever government comes out will be gossamer-fragile, though, so the question is whether they'll have enough egg on their faces when election time comes round again.

#224 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 03:56 PM:

Serge @221:

I pinged him through Twitter and got a response. He's recovering from surgery.

#225 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 04:18 PM:

abi @ 223: Is Wilders' planned appearance at the 9/11 hatefest in New York getting much reaction locally? I can't imagine his pissing around in US politics is playing well at home.

#226 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 04:26 PM:

Mark @225:

My rather sketchy following of the Dutch news hasn't touched on it. I suspect everyone's focusing on the coalition negotiations, which have one more week to go before the next deadline passes.

Wilders must be relieved to find a chance to appear in the US that he can attend without annoying his base. The last time he considered going to the US, he changed his mind and missed the opening of a laudatory film about himself because the organization sponsoring it was anti-gay.

And he didn't want to be associated with that.

#227 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 04:44 PM:

Regarding Facebook giving out your location via GPS:

You *still* have to associate it somehow, though, or at least it seems so to me. Since I use FB on my phone as well (one step down from a smartphone) and FB has never even tried to do anything with regard to my location.

#228 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 06:09 PM:

abi @ 226: fascinating. The Christian Action Network flacks' heads must have gone all splodey on that one.

#229 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 08:26 PM:

re FB and phones: I don't trust them at all. I have never allowed them any access to mine. It means I have to do a lot of catchpa crap, but that's a small price to pay to deny them any more chance to compromise my privacy.

Linkmeister: it's not always a bad thing, but it is a false thing. As to chow... standard rats on the Belleau Wood were fine (and the moreso as I was in the brig at the time), but the midrats in galley were so-so. The worst chow I ever had was in the galley at NSTI, I mean awful. Everything they made was off, with the exception of the fried eggs. The hash browns were bad, and some of the other things they did with potatoes were unspeakable. The coffee, on the good days, was bad, on the bad days we swore they'd pulled the water out of SF Bay.

The only place I had worse food was contracted to Ft. Devens, but I can't really blame that on any of the services.

#230 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 08:32 PM:

You were in the brig? That sounds like a story!

#231 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 08:37 PM:

Many thanks for the advice and suggestions.

There is no question that I can't stand to be physically idle for that long -- Part of the reason I'm starting to run out of the obvious ideas for self-distraction is that I messed up my knee two weeks after finally getting over a badly sprained ankle.

Also, swimming is definitely on. Already got a green light from both my doctor and my physical therapist. Besides, it's California in summer. Some prohibitions go way beyond prudence and into the realm of cruel and unusual.

Anything involving repetitive or extremely controlled movements is unfortunately kind of a problem, as I've got repetitive stress injuries in both hands. So I'm looking for as wide a range of different kinds of upper body movement as possible, so I can keep changing things up. (I know! How lucky can one girl get?!)

Elliott, plants vs. zombies is definitely cute. My aunt is visiting us from Ohio, and has spent the last three days sitting in front of the computer with my mom, "power-leveling."

Terry, I'm totally confused, which is probably just my ignorance on the subject. Why an occupational therapist?

#232 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 08:45 PM:


ML's Missing Poet most kindly responded to an e-mail inquiring as to his state earlier this week.

He's doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances, and under those I SHOUT YES!

But I've not contacted him since because it felt he didn't need me as far away as I am, and surrounded by loving folks as he is.

But dayem, nevermind. We all miss him, obviously.

Love, c

#233 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 08:47 PM:

Doing what I need to do to be recognized on the New Thing (i.e. new computer and operating system).

#234 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 08:50 PM:

KayTei, if you like Plants vs. Zombies you really should check out the other Popcap games. I've completely gone through Peggle (I still like going back to it anyway), and can't play the sequel Peggle Nights because my computer isn't new enough (sniff!). Snood is also a fascinating challenge.

#235 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 09:09 PM:

Fragano said that he very much misses his own bed.

#236 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 09:27 PM:

... Snood? I hadn't realized they had a new one out... *goes to check*

#237 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 09:30 PM:

Hey, it's the knitting works!

#238 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 09:30 PM:

... Color me chagrined. I just had my brother AND younger cousin tell me, within 5 minutes of each other, how that game was one of their major college memories...

I suppose I shall have to check it out anyway.

#239 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 10:30 PM:

Terry @ #229, with my sister it was tribal. Her father (and mine) was a 34-year Navy officer. I spent two-plus years in the Navy myself, but shore-station food in Japan was undoubtedly better than shipboard food.

#240 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 11:02 PM:

So, is it fair to ask yet whether there's a measurably high correlation between anglophone plutonomy and democratic process dysfunction? I ask this first, because I'm wondering when it's going to be okay to ask the dependent question without sounding like a dangerous cult member...

#241 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 11:04 PM:

Paula Helm Murray @121: I've only had migraines three or four times in my life. And I got only the visual auras (praise be to Allah in all of Her many names). (Never traced it back to a concrete cause, but it seemed to be some combination of Buspar and dehydration.)

First time, I was watching Christiane Northrup on PBS of a Saturday afternoon. After blinking at the TV for a while and puzzling over why I could't quite see straight, I realized the frame of the TV screen had a peculiar break in it. My next thought was "Odd, I don't recall Christy Northrup as having four eyes...."

Having read (or attempted to read) Oliver Sacks's book, and having several friends who suffer from migraines, I clued into what was going on fairly quickly.

The fortification aura was the most fun (sort of like looking through Waterford crystal), although trying to go down and swap out my laundry while I only had peripheral vision (that looked like it was graviationally lensed) was an interesting exercise.

Whole process from start to finish lasted about forty five minutes, though I felt a little spacy for the rest of the day.

I am VERY grateful I didn't have to experience the headache.

#242 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2010, 11:41 PM:

Janet Brennan Croft @153: Preliminaries for the root canal Monday, if I can last that long.

More duct tape? :) My sympathies. I went through that a couple of months ago. Fortunately, I have access to very competent dentistry, and my endodontist and his assistant were some of those rare creatures who can actually carry on a satisfying conversation with somebody who's effectively gagged. (That, actually, was the most difficult part of the whole experience: being with people but unable to talk for FORTY FIVE MINUTES. My primary coping strategy when I get nervous is to chatter. Hard to do with a mouth full of dental dam.)

Be sure you make them give you good drugs for the following week. :)

Hyperlocal news:

Ripping fabric = crackling plastic bags, guinea pigs declare. I.e., "DINNER!"

eric @194: I have never seen a cat want soooo much luuuurve that it would rub it's head and face and body all over my face. When I'm trying to read.

Gee, in our house it's regarded as much more efficient just to lie on the book.

KayTei @196: kill time

If you haven't already: take up drawing?

#243 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2010, 12:22 AM:

TexAnne @198, Serge @200, thank you! I only got the go-ahead to blab about it Thursday, and I sent out a barrage of emails and babbled all over my blog, but I didn't think to blab here ("And why not?" Erm...)

I shall try to be less remiss when the anthology hits actual stores in actual book form next year(ish). The blabbing shall be mighty then!

On a semi-related synchronous subject, I'm tickled to see Plants v. Zombies in discussion here. I have a short-short story that seems to take place at the intersection of PvZ and Pride & Prejudice & Zombies that, when I get off my butt and apply some revision love to it, is heading over to Weird Tales's slush.

I was addicted hard to PvZ, but then I reached the point where there was nothing left to buy, and the zen garden was more of a chore, and I wasn't doing anything but Vasebreaker Endless... so I returned to my first PopCap loves, Insaniquarium and Alchemy.

#244 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2010, 01:29 AM:

I have much sympathy and hope for good drugs for anyone having a root canal. I apparently have a record at our local dental school for saying something Real Loud with a dental dam and all that crap in my mouth when something untoward went wrong and pain was HUGE.

"I didn't know you could say 'F-sK" with all that in your mouth" was a direct quote. It made all the supervisors and other such come attend to the problem.

They ended up giving me enough novacaine that I had to call a friend who lived nearby to come get me and let me sleep it off.

That was long ago and far away, in terms of drugs, etc. I have had several since and they never caused such pain. Modern medication is a wonderful thing.

#245 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2010, 02:03 AM:

All of my root canals have been fairly painless -- in fact, they've sometimes been very good at relieving pain (or at least long-time dull ache). I've had either three or four, so that's not a single datum unless you aggregate to the "person" level.

#246 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2010, 03:09 AM:

On the question of dental pain, I also note that it really isn't supposed to hurt while they're doing it (and if it does, they're doing it wrong). I only mention this, because I spent way too many years myself, before I discovered that it was possible for dental work to not be excruciatingly painful.

(My current dentist is awesome, and has learned to schedule in extra time, just to administer the painkiller and let it thoroughly set in. I am not... quite... his most pain-sensitive patient, but I definitely rank up there.)

#247 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2010, 03:11 AM:

My root canals have all followed days of increasing pain. It was such a joy to have the Novocaine* knock out the damn tooth that I barely minded having a mouthful of hands and tools. I've had some discomfort the next day, but nothing major.

*I believe they actually use something stronger than old-school Novocaine, but don't know what it is.

#248 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2010, 04:24 AM:

#206 Summer

And another one...
Henry Kolm, inventor of maglev and inventor/developer of rail guns and other electromagnetic launch systems, inventor of magnetic plasma containment systems, inventor of magnetic metal forming techniques, of techniques for cleaning highly polluted water....


Looking Out: Nazis On The Harbor
Just after World War II ended, U.S. soldiers smuggled the Third Reich’s top scientists and engineers to a Harbor Island fort — just a few miles from downtown Boston — to find out what they knew and what they could do for America in the Cold War. In this ninth installment of “Looking Out: A New View Of Boston Harbor,” WBUR looks at one of the last veterans who ran the secret camp.

The Kid And The Star

Henry Kolm had an interesting job as a 21-year-old....
...German scientists [von Braun and his team] were transported to Boston hidden aboard the troop ships returning American soldiers home from Europe. Kolm’s team had the job of getting to the ships before the pilot boats did.
As an intelligence officer working as an Army talent scout, Kolm and his associates evaluated every German, then directed each one to the right U.S. military program, laboratory or defense contractor.

Kolm had reason to hate the Nazis...[his immediate family] was on the last ship to leave Europe [with Jewish passengers] in 1939."

Fort Hunt's Quiet Men Break Silence on WWII
Interrogators Fought 'Battle of Wits'

By Petula Dvorak
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, October 6, 2007

For six decades, they held their silence.

....Peenemünde had been systematically dismantled as the allied armies approached. The staff had scattered and all the crucial documents, drawings and rocket fuel formulas had been removed into hiding by the Waffen-SS. They found Riedel at home, digging his car out of his barn, where he had hidden it in the hay to keep the German army from commandeering it. Riedel was happy to help the Americans, and told them where to find his colleagues. He also took them to an old miner who lived in a shack in the mountains, and who had helped the SS bury documents in an abandoned salt mine. The miner led them to the buried shaft where documents had been welded into one meter cubes of armor plate and lowered down the shaft. They managed to get hold of an engineer battalion and dragged the cubes out of the mine shaft, just in time to depart as the first Russian truck arrived. It is by so narrow a margin that German rocket technology fell into American rather than Russian hands

#249 ::: jnh ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2010, 07:43 AM:

KayTei @196:
Eight weeks in which you must kill time? Duty calls!

Did you know that the Internet is full of people who are WRONG? You could dedicate that time to hunting them down and carefully explaining to them the error of their ways until they reach enlightenment!

Think of the minds that you could change and friends that you could make! Of course you'd end up with a repetitive stress injury of the brain to go with the rest, but it would surely be worth it.

#250 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2010, 07:48 AM:

There must be something wrong with me because I never had any pain after my only-ever root canal. Same thing when the dentist drilled a hole into the jawbone to install an implant's screw.

#251 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2010, 08:08 AM:


"No Filipinos Need Apply"


#252 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2010, 08:30 AM:

Steve @51: I'm going to be at AussieCon 4. At least, I'd better be -- I'm already in Sydney, and I didn't come all the way from Scotland just to miss out on the worldcon!

#253 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2010, 09:52 AM:

Charlie Stross @ 250... I didn't come all the way from Scotland just to miss out on the worldcon!

We thought you were really there as an International Man of Mystery. Or on a job for the Laundry.

#254 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2010, 10:51 AM:

My migraines, working from three data points more than ten years ago, give me three or four of the five signs of a stroke. The first is kind of interesting, actually-- I lose my left arm and presumably the rest of that side of my body. I can use it, I can feel it, I know it's connected to me, but it's no longer mine in the normal sense. The headache ends a few hours later, assuming I've been able to sleep it off.

My sister gets them regularly enough to be medicated for them. Once again, I won the genetic lottery.

#255 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2010, 11:00 AM:

KayTei: An occupational therapist helps one to cope with the things one can't do, because of a limitation (most are physical, though a lot of those also include a mental aspect).

It has nothing to do with one's employment, but rather how one occupies one's time/effort.

Let's say one has a broken leg, and can no longer reach to the kitchen cupboards. An OT will help one devise ways to get at the things (and help determine which ones can't be managed without moving, etc.).

A friend of mine had some repetitive motion injuries. His healthplan prescribed an OT. His entire office *loved* him, because the OT took one look at his office space, asked if that was the chair/desk everyone had and promptly caused the entire staff to get better equipment.

Which actually increased the amount of work they were able to do.

#256 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2010, 12:08 PM:

Lila, #249: What I found notable was the claim that the discriminatory hiring was instituted in response to the nurses protesting planned cuts in services to their "largely poor" patients. Makes me wonder if this isn't a case of "All those damned [insert ethnic slur of choice] stick up for each other".

#257 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2010, 12:40 PM:

I just made a comment to a paper in Iowa. The subject of the column was a plaintive cry that "sometime" we stopped getting to see the First Family in church (and the people replying were going back to the Kennedys, ignoring the Clintons).

This was because the columnist says he's not sure of Obama's affiliation; because he, you see, prays in private (or in conference calls).

So all sorts of people started explaining all sorts of nonsense. "Old White Guy" (honest that's his handle) said Obama was a plant, by al Quaeda.

To which I said:

"An al Qaeda plant? Whoa....

A group 15 years old, (more or less), managed to plant someone more than 20 years ago (at least). That's pretty good. Because it's obvious Obama has been here that long. So they managed to attach him to a lot of things which happened almost 50 years ago (his birth in HA, the announcements of same in local papers) and either suborn him, or replace the actual person referred to.

That, or they managed to to all that, before they were created; or when they were on the same side as we were (when Carter and Reagan were helping them).

That's amazing.

More to the point, if they are that good, if they can choose a child, and know they will need him to be president, almost fifty years, and a couple of not-yet happened wars later, there's nothing we can do to stop them.

Or... you're wrong, He's just what he (and the paperwork) says he his. Born in Hawaii, went to school, worked in Chicago, went to law school, taught, got into local politics, etc.

I know which way the smart money ought to bet."

Because really, when you think about the people saying that, it's what they are saying; that their were Muslims, in the fifties, who saw they would need to take over the US, and managed to pull it off.


Not that logic has any chance of persuading them. They are stewing in a ferment of fear and impotence, and reason will not sway them.

#258 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2010, 02:15 PM:

#255: They are stewing in a ferment of fear and impotence, and reason will not sway them.

The most aggravating part about the fear, hate, and bigotry flying about is the way it is making me feel less (and that's putting it mildly) about my fellow Americans.

The best thing that can be said is that most of these cranks are old, and will die soon.

#259 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2010, 02:18 PM:

Lila @249 -- the one Filipino nurse I ran into at a local hospital was one of the prettiest people I've seen in a long time, as well as being incredibly kind and competent. Being half-Irish, with a Maori tattoo on one arm and Gustav Klimt's "Tree of Life" tattooed on the other arm, didn't hurt him being real eye-candy.

#260 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2010, 02:28 PM:

Lee @ #254, this article suggests it was their habit of sticking up for each other (and the union) that was the problem. "The Filipinos are always related, or always know each other, and that's not good."

#261 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2010, 02:57 PM:


You're right! Why am I sitting here worrying about what I can't do, when people with far greater difficulties than my own are busy spreading misinformation on the Internet?

For the greater good! *poses*

#262 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2010, 03:45 PM:

Nicole @242:

Why not boast here, indeed! Why boast anywhere else? We have the finest boasting space available, twenty-four seven, hot and cold running boastification enablement!

Congratulations. Do boast again when it comes out, and keep doing boastable things!

#263 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2010, 04:29 PM:

Steve with a book @ #206: Perhaps that's how all the sagas got written: it's something for a Norseman to do when he's lying on a straw pallet for six months trying to ignore the pain of a shattered femur.

The ones that weren't written with political purposes in mind, possibly.

#264 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2010, 04:32 PM:

Nicole @ 242... I shall try to be less remiss when the anthology hits actual stores in actual book

Robust boast is a must.

#265 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2010, 05:32 PM:

Decades ago, in grade school, I was made to memorize the last few lines of a poem by Emma Lazarus ("Give me your tired, your poor... Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door.")which is inscribed on a plaque on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. Love those words. I still know them. But I had forgotten that the lines I know by heart are the final lines of a longer poem.

Over at DailyKos, someone's got a diary up with the whole poem. The poem is not long, but in addition to that memorable final exhortation, it contains this amazing image:

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles.

Mother of Exiles. Oh yes.

#266 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2010, 05:37 PM:

Lizzy L @ 263... Mother of Exiles. Oh yes.

Isn't the most famous fictional American an exile from a dying world?

#267 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2010, 07:12 PM:

Terry@255: From time to time I think of the possibilities for a technothriller in which Cheney and other neocons were secret converts to Wahabbism in the early '60s. Inspiration from the real-life case of Philby et al and John Le Carre's treatment in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, of course.

#268 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2010, 07:28 PM:

Serge -- Mickey Mouse was an exile? His world may be dying, but last I heard he was still based here.

(Krypton isn't a dying world -- it's an exploded one. There's a difference.)

#269 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2010, 07:32 PM:

Tom Whitmore @ 266... But Krypton was not dead yet when Kal-El left.

#270 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2010, 08:10 PM:

Serge @267: It would be ... unfortunate, let us say, if your planet were to expire unexpectantly.

#271 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2010, 08:15 PM:

While wandering around the Internet today, with no particular place to go, I encountered the following.

Those who use religion as a means toward thought control and rigid conformity are twisted and deranged. Anyone who would use religion as their reason to cause unhappiness to another is guilty of a great sin.

Roger Ebert

#272 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2010, 08:20 PM:

KayTei: You might want to research the possibility that you're developing a resistance to commonly-used dental painkillers. Evil Rob's whole family has a history of developing resistance-- to the point where there was one memorable episode where he was dosed up to the legal limit on no fewer than three painkillers and was burning them off at a frightening rate.

He now attends a "sedation dentist." That has its own side effects because of the medications that he's on (it takes out the whole day and then some, even though it isn't supposed to.) Even so, it's preferable to having, in essence, no painkillers.

Me? I react to painkillers normally. And I have a literal big mouth, with plenty of room.

#273 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2010, 08:25 PM:

Lizzy L, that's from Ebert's blog post regarding Christopher Hitchens' illness and Hitchens' bemusement at the number of prayer groups praying for him, the atheist. It's well worth a read in its entirety.

#274 ::: Adrian Smith ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2010, 08:47 PM:

Steve C.@156
Or it can be routinely used by someone line Chris Rock in a comedy routine.

Not any more, it would seem.

#275 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2010, 09:02 PM:

Lizzy L. @ 263
I don't know if I've ever seen that entire poem before. I'm having trouble resisting the urge to compare it to certain political "discussions" ongoing right now...

B. Durbin @ 270
I know my current dentist had to escalate through at least a couple different painkillers... but I dunno. I've got so much weird stuff going on medically, I get to the point where I just chalk it all up to the freaky mutant body, and as long as my medical team and I can keep things more or less painless, I figure we're doing fine. (I also notice that when I go in for other things than dentistry, I don't have as much trouble, so I suspect my outright terror of dentists is making it worse -- adrenaline countering the medication effects or reverse-placebo or something.)

#276 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2010, 09:20 PM:

B. Durbin, #270, one of the bad things about the new health reform law is that the Medicare Advantage plans will lose their dental plans. I have to get everything fixed before the end of the year. The plan doesn't cover dental work in a hospital, and I'm supposed to have sedation in hospitals because of what it caused before, so I'm going to have to just brave it in the office. I'll make sure they know that. The other thing I have to tell them is that sedation or numbness shots almost always last too long for me, and they shouldn't worry too much.

#277 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2010, 09:33 PM:

Serge @ 264: We're all exiles. Nearly every one of our ancestors came here because they got thrown the hell out of every other country on earth. (In my more cynical moments I'd say every decent country, but either way, what bliss.)

#278 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2010, 10:13 PM:

Be fair, Mark. Some left before they could be thrown out.

#279 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2010, 11:06 PM:

Draft dodger, on my paternal side. He decided not to be Prussian cannon fodder, and picked up a Portuguese bride on his rather indirect trip to Iowa.

#280 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2010, 11:46 PM:

abi @260 I will henceforth consider myself given unconditional permission. Thank you! I promise not to abuse this power, use it only for good...

Serge @262 Robust boast is a must.

...and to resist the urge to turn it into tongue twisters. 0_o

#281 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 12:04 AM:

KayTei @245: On the question of dental pain, I also note that it really isn't supposed to hurt while they're doing it (and if it does, they're doing it wrong). I only mention this, because I spent way too many years myself, before I discovered that it was possible for dental work to not be excruciatingly painful.

O ye Gods. Tell me about it.

I have heard so many anecdotes from my peers that I can't help but come to the conclusion that sadistic or at least terribly uncaring pediatric dentists are the norm. When I was growing up, my dentist would give you the novacaine and then proceed to drill. If you felt it, and, being a kid in pain, cried, he would say, "Sssh, you'll wake the baby next door." When I got too old for that line, it became a sort of panicky "Sssh, ssh, it doesn't hurt! It can't hurt!"

This is the "norm" of dentistry I grew up with.

My current dentist moved me nearly to tears when in the midst of some cavity work he asked me, "You doing OK?" It blew my mind that he actually cared whether the anaesthetic were wearing off, or in fact covered the intended area. He cared! He not only didn't want me to hurt, he would take steps to make sure I didn't hurt! And he wanted me not to hurt for my own sake, and not just so that I wouldn't make noises that put him off. Wow.

And it's not just him but everyone in the office. During a normal teeth-scraping ordeal, it's "OK there? Did I hurt you?"--when I was growing up, they never ever even acknowledged that routine cleaning operations could be painful. Or at least that if they caught my gums and it hurt, I should just suck it up, because that's how it goes if you're bad enough at hygiene that you let your teeth get full of stuff that need scraping off.

So, yeah--total paradigm shift, going to a dental office where the patient is never supposed to be in pain if they can help it; and if they can help it and they will. Wow.

#282 ::: Adrian Smith ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 12:10 AM:

Mark@275: but either way, what bliss.

Not necessarily for the original occupants, if the accounts are to be believed.

#283 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 12:32 AM:

My pediatric dentist was very good at not causing pain. The problem came when I was thirteen and needed braces - and had to have four teeth extracted first so that there would be space for the braces to shift my remaining teeth into.

Four teeth, one in each quadrant. All in one go. My dentist didn't perform these extractions; the orthodontist did. Now, to be fair, my orthodontist was reasonably good, but there just wasn't enough Novocaine in the world to render this a painless encounter. I spent over two hours in the chair, feeling... not so much pure pain, as a frightening pressure, accompanied by pulling, twisting, and yes, pain as well, as he worked to remove four very stubbornly rooted teeth that quite simply did not want to budge. At one point I recall hearing/feeling a sharp crack! after which he paused and apologized, explaining, "You've got two here that just don't want to come out; one has a ball on the end of the root that's complicating things, and the other has a spike that just tried to break off in your jaw." Oh, yes, just what I wanted to hear. I asked if there were any chance they could simply put me under general anaesthesia before continuing, and was told that it was rather too late for that. They did give me another shot of Novocaine, which helped a tiny bit, and we soldiered on together.

My mother, when I was finally finished and re-emerged into the waiting room, was nearly frantic, wondering what on earth could possibly have taken so long. And I've been more or less terrified of tooth extractions ever since. When I had a wisdom tooth out sometime in 90's, the very considerate and skilled dentist I visited for this tried to use nitrous oxide in addition to Novocaine, only to discover that I apparently am one of that small percentage of people for whom nitrous oxide produces the opposite effect to that desired. After a half hour of trying to sedate me enough to at least calm me down so he could proceed, he finally had to go ahead with just the maximum dose of Novocaine. He did manage to do the extraction with only minimal discomfort to me, and I credit his exceptional skill. He kept reassuring me all the way through, and asking if I was doing okay. He also took the time to call me at home that evening and check on me!

(He also told me that if he ever had to pull another tooth from me, he would prescribe me three Valium: one to take the night before, one to take in the morning before I came for the appointment, and a third to bring along to the appointment just in case I needed it.)

#284 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 01:18 AM:

Nicole, #279: My childhood dentist didn't believe in painkillers for children. He also didn't use anything but a mechanical drill. I am frankly amazed that I didn't come out of that with a terror of dentists! The one my parents switched to when I was about 14 was entirely different, and since then I've been lucky enough to have nothing but very good dentists. The ones I have here* are good, but I still miss my dentist from Nashville, who understood that the more he told me about what he was doing and why, the more comfortable I was.

* It's a 2-person office, and I've been seen by both of them at different times, and don't have a preference.

#285 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 01:23 AM:

My favorite dentist fantasy is to escape and call 911 on them if they hurt me, and have the staff arrested for battery (or worse) and unlawful restraint. And, since we're at war, their acts of torture on me would be war crimes.

#286 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 01:25 AM:

I have similar dental experiences to Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little @279. I trust most of those reading this are familiar with the events at the end of the novel Black Beauty? The dentist that was my dental equivalent to Beauty's final owner was Priya Setty, whose office is in the basement of the Sears Tower in Chicago. I cannot recommend her more highly.

I went to see her after a known-to-be-far-too-long gap in dental care (due to a combination of my fear of the pain and a general lack of funds; I went looking for a dentist the week I got a Real Corporate Job with Real Corporate Bennies). She did a cleaning and inspection, and scheduled me to come in for cavity-filling. In the first such session, she shot me up, waited the recommended time, and started working. I -- as I trained myself to, because of my pediatric dentist's habits -- started breathing deeply and carefully through my nose and gripping the armrests, to deal with the pain that I still (but could not, since I'd had The Shot! It must be a hallucination) had.

She stopped instantly, having seen the tension, and said, "Are you ok?" I said something like, "Yeah, I'm just a huge pussy about going to the dentist. Don't worry, I can hold still, go on." She instantly reached over for the syringe and said, "Well, let's give you a little more novocaine just to see if it helps."

Hosannas. Singing angels. When she went back to drilling (DRILLING!), it felt like she was patting my teeth with tiny foam-rubber pillows. NO PAIN. AT ALL. While drilling!!! Apparently I need a higher dose, and it wears off faster on me than the clinical standard expects. I never knew this until I was 26 years old, because when it wore off halfway through drilling with any of my PREVIOUS dentists, all I got was, "Hold still, I'm almost done," and another 20min of drilling.

It was while I was under Dr. Setty's care that I also found out that my mouth opening is smaller than average, giving dentists very little room to work in the back of my mouth. I needed a root canal on a cavity on the back face of my last upper molar on one side. It was a procedure too complex for Dr. Setty, so I had it done by the head of her practice. He was, um, significantly more callous about my sensations, discomfort, and uneasiness. He was frustrated and trying to get finished with an objectively intricate and difficult procedure, but he still gave me rips at the corners of my mouth that took a week to heal (because I didn't get the chance to ask him to aggressively reapply petroleum jelly to them as he was working, and his gloves wore it off).

In my experience, younger dentists (meaning those with more recent degrees) are more sensitive to things like this -- perhaps the curriculum has changed since the mid-80s?

Summer Storms @281 said: I've been more or less terrified of tooth extractions ever since.

I've had two extractions at UIC's dental school: one an absolute bugbear awfulness and the other textbook simple.

Number one was for a tooth that had a visible cave in it down by the gumline that was easily two-thirds the visible area of the side of the tooth, and half the depth of the tooth. When they got the grips on it, it broke off at the gumline and they had to go after it in small pieces. It wasn't terribly painful (because this was post-Dr.-Setty, so I'd warned them, and they actually got me numb numb instead of sorta-numb), but it was incredibly squicky-gross from the bone conduction noise and my overactive visualizations. On the plus side, the grad student doing most of the work got to show the undergrad assisting her Every Single Trick she knew about extracting stubborn roots.

Number two, I was steeled and ready for another such odyssey. However, in the actual case, they loosened it lightly with the spade-shaped things, then reached up and got it in the grips, and VOOM out. No stitches needed, even. Just slid right out cooperatively. Which was good, as it was a top molar, and I happen to have really, really thin bone up there between the tooth-roots and, um, my braincase. So it could have been very bad if they'd had to put the pressure on it that Number One took to get out ... my mandible is, thankfully, much more robust (and Number One was a lower molar).

#287 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 01:33 AM:


I'm way overdue for a dental visit now. And I have an upper wisdom tooth (twin to the one previously removed) that is very nearly No Longer There and needs to be removed. I'm fervently hoping I can find a dentist who can remove it easily and with a minimum of problems/discomfort.

#288 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 01:35 AM:

A brief aside...

I believe it in was a discussion on Making Light that I saw a recommendation for Iain M. Banks' "culture" novels. Someone said it would be good to start with The Player of Games. I did, and enjoyed it immensely. Thanks!

#289 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 03:03 AM:

In my case, I at least partially did it to myself. It just always took so long! And the dentist would add the painkiller, and it wouldn't work, and he'd look surprised and add more, and it still wouldn't work... and after about four or five shots, and some topical somethingorother, and whateverall else, and being told how unusual this was, and the increasingly concerned looks at how much medication I'd already been given, I'd decide to just suck it up and deal because it obviously didn't work on me and they didn't seem to have any other tricks.

It didn't help that once, when I mentioned this, my mom let drop (honestly, in good faith) that she always toughed it out too, because the painkillers never worked for her either -- which set the bar, and made the pain a predictable, possibly genetic thing.

That said, I had eight teeth pulled at once for braces, and all four wisdoms removed on a second occasion. I was knocked out both times, and I wouldn't do it any other way.

#290 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 08:30 AM:

I'm overdue (way overdue) for a trip to the dentist which will be expensive and extensive. Teeth are one of the aspects of human physiology that thoroughly disprove Intelligent Design.

#291 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 09:19 AM:

Nicole: re permissions. I know that feeling. Teresa has, somewhat pointedly, disabused me of it. Now I worry I may be overusing it, but have decided if I do, I'll hear about it. So my worry is that of being a bore.

Self-doubt, it's insidious.

#292 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 10:31 AM:

It was a pediatric dental experience that made me avoid the dentist for years - I had a moderate amount of orthodontic work as a kid, and that was fine (chatty orthodontists and being a very nerdy kid worked pretty well) - but I remember one dental technician who soured me on an entire practice. My brothers and I (I have two, both younger) had all gone in for a standard cleaning; if memory serves, I had a technologist who was skilled at inflicting pain with a plaque scraper. I think she managed to hit my gums on each and every tooth. Now, that would have been irritating enough, but not *quite* enough on its own to make me tell them to pound sand. However, that combined with her telling one of my brothers and myself to wait outside as she less-than-tenderly cleaned the teeth of my five year old brother did it quite nicely.

I got lucky with my most recent dental experience - I needed to find a dentist on short notice back in Nashville when I lost a fight with a bagel, and he was happy to answer all of my questions, careful about not causing pain and quite pleasant to go to. Now I need to find one here in Berkeley who I like and trust in the same way. Maybe not this week, with classes starting and such...

#293 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 10:43 AM:

@245, 279: Anasthesia and analgesia technology has really taken off in the last thirty years or so, so it's not quite fair to compare what you experienced as a child to what you can get now. And also, recently there's been a real change in how seriously almost everyone takes children's pain in general. People used to say all kinds of clearly untrue things -- that children didn't even feel the same kind of pain as adults. I wonder if none of them had any childhood memories?

That being said, my dentist is a genius. And he reads all the current research. Consequently, my visits are really quite pleasant. Oh, and he's a science fiction fan, too!

#294 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 10:50 AM:

Benjamin at 290, I am happy to recommend my dentist in El Cerrito, just up the road from Berkeley: Dr. Rosita Law, office # 524-9808. You can probably find someone closer, but Dr. Law's terrific and reasonably priced.

#295 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 11:29 AM:

Norse wounds and sagas in general: There was a lot of exaggeration in the accounts of the fights. Makes a good story. There were also some spectacular injuries that people managed to recover from. (I may have mentioned here that I once spent work day or two researching the History of the Hit Point and horrible wounds in general. It was actually part of my job. )

Dr. Laura: I occasionally had the urge to call in and ask her about knee pain. I'm pretty sure they've dealt with that particular variety of clever before, though.

Reading the transcript, I thought she might have gotten stuck on the inappropriate phrase, which I've done before. You say something that seems edgy at the time, you are getting misinterpreted, you want to correct them and not apologize, and you end up repeating the phrase over and over in a death spiral of awkwardness. And she's a communications professional, she should know better, but 200 live shows a year for a few years you're going to screw up horribly at some point.

Then I listened. And I don't think it was a death spiral of awkwardness. I think it was intentional, but oddly that wasn't the thing that made me angriest. It was Dr. Laura telling her caller that she, the caller, wasn't experiencing something that she obviously was.

Slightly related n-bomb thought: That Chris Rock routine was funny... but then I realized I'd heard a similar distinction coming out of my grandmother's mouth once and it kinda killed my laugh.(She was white, born in the 1920's, lived in the South her whole life.) So yeah, I'm kinda glad he retired it.

#296 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 11:36 AM:

Lucy, 291: I'd have been happy if they'd used anesthesia beyond Novocaine when I had those four teeth pulled.

And no, I know that there have been advances. But fear isn't a rational, intellectual thing. Intellectually I know that I can have dental work without pain. Hell, I've *had* plenty that didn't hurt, including drilling/filling, some even done without Novocaine due to needing (again) all four quadrants worked on at once, the day before I was due to lose my insurance and approximately two hours before a hot date with my at-that-time boyfriend who was getting home from his two-week National Guard stint. I got a really good dentist that day; between his skill and the fact that I actually do have a fairly high pain threshold, I was able to go on that date neither unduly traumatized nor a slobbering, nonverbal mess.

But tooth extractions still terrify me, down to my primal core.

#297 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 11:38 AM:

Nicole #279, Lee #282 My childhood dentist didn't believe in painkillers for children. He also didn't use anything but a mechanical drill.

Arrgh! I bet that turned Little Shop of Horrors into wish-fulfillment fantasy! The thing is, even primitive technology doesn't excuse lying to children about what's going on. And that "children don't feel pain" crap was crap from the beginning -- just institutionalized callousness.

Another hazard to painkilling: some people don't respond to codeine, apparently a genetic thing. When I had 3 wisdom teeth out, the pills they prescribed for afterwards didn't work. I wound up having one of my roommates drive me to the liquor store to get a half-fifth of whiskey. (Yes, I know, dangerous to mix alcohol and painkillers. At that point, I didn't care.)

#298 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 11:45 AM:

I respond fine to codeine as a painkiller, but some of the, erm, side effects are less than desirable. After I had that wisdom tooth out in the 90's, I just took 600mg of ibuprofen, and it did the trick quite well. I think I may have washed them down with a glass of wine, but I'd been doing that since my early teens, when I discovered that was the only way to treat my particular brand of monthly pain.

#299 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 11:48 AM:

Sandy B @ 293... Norse wounds and sagas in general: There was a lot of exaggeration in the accounts of the fights. Makes a good story

Such as John Fjord's "Norse by Nothwest"?

#301 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 11:50 AM:

Sandy B. #293: Dr. Laura: I occasionally had the urge to call in and ask her about knee pain. I'm pretty sure they've dealt with that particular variety of clever before, though.

I tried to find out from financial pundit Suze Orman's web site about what percentage of my income I should invest in lottery tickets (research for a rant on the economics of despair) but never got an answer back.

#302 ::: Sylvia ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 12:55 PM:

I always hesitate to post such things because I fear I am the last person to have seen them and everyone else is rolling their eyes, wondering what I've wasted my life doing.

But it hasn't turned up in this discussion of Norse saga, which seems a shame because it is my new favouritist example:

Tattúínárdœla saga
What If Star Wars Were an Icelandic Saga? In Old Norse with English translations.

Apologies if it is old news!

#303 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 02:54 PM:

If anyone should happen to get an email (supposedly) from me, with no subject line, delete it. It's NOT from me, and it contains a virus.

An old acquaintance called me up about an hour ago to tell me that a message under my name had been posted to a mutual Yahoo! Group, and her computer had gotten the virus when she opened the message. (She was pretty unclear about what exactly the virus did.)

So far, that's the only place it appears to have hit. The last time my email address got misappropriated, I figured it out when I received an email from myself, offering to sell myself V**gr*.

As of yesterday's scan by Trend Micro, my own computer is coming up clean. I'll run a full scan shortly to see if something new made a hit in the last 24 hours.


In other news of the day, my Acer netbook came back from the repair center this morning. Yay! Plugged in the AC cord to charge the battery...

...hey, wait a minute. Is there supposed to be smoke?

Unplugged the AC cord ASAP. Double-checked... and discovered I'd plugged in the wrong power cord, one that had a 24V transformer instead of the needed 19V.


Crossed my fingers and plugged in the proper power cord. From the indicator lights, the battery does appear to be charging. So I'm hoping I only overheated the connector, and didn't do any permanent damage to the machine. Will try it out in a bit.

#304 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 02:55 PM:

Sylvia @ #300 posted a link.

Thanks! I'd never seen that before. A truly inspired work.

#305 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 05:01 PM:

The dentist I went to when I was a young child had a simple technique with young children -- a combination of honesty and bribery. He explained that it might hurt a little bit, but that you would feel better afterwards, and that he would stop and give you a minute to recover if it got too sore or scary. And afterwards you were allowed to choose something from a bag of cheap-n-cheerful toys he kept for the purpose, the sort of things you get from lucky dip vending machines. It was amazing how much easier it was to cope with the pain when the adult *acknowledged* that it hurt and was scary.

#306 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 05:14 PM:

Julia Jones @ 303 -- For the fictional version, see Miles explaining things to Nikki in Komarr.

#307 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 05:29 PM:

When I was in my 20s I'd generally get fillings done without novocaine because the numbness would be about as annoying as the pain and novocaine didn't always work well for me; I'm not sure where that pain tolerance went over they years. I normally use nitrous for dental work, in addition to any other pain killers - there may still be pain happening, but it's Somebody Else's Problem.

On the other hand, when I had my wisdom teeth out as a teenager, it was under general anesthesia; my wife got hers out with local anesthetics during grad school, and I got to see the dentist get out a very large chisel and hammer, which was a process I'm glad to have not known about before mine got done :-).

With root canals, I've found the pain afterward is usually pretty minor, because the operation has gotten rid of the nerves that hurt. I did realize driving home after one root canal that I hoped I didn't get stopped by a cop for anything, because my speech was all slurred from my cheeks being numb so I might sound drunk even though I was clear-headed, novocaine's pretty much cocaine, the codeine I'd had earlier is an opiate, sudafed I'd taken to keep breathing clearly during the operation is an amphetamine, ibuprofen causes false positives for marijuana on the cheap drug tests, so I'd be hitting the jackpot if they wanted to test me. (And it also turns out that the usual novocaine formulation these days has a stimulant of some kind in it as well, which apparently helps it get absorbed quickly or something.)

#308 ::: Pensnest ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 06:01 PM:

#255 Terry Karney

Because really, when you think about the people saying that, it's what they are saying; that their were Muslims, in the fifties, who saw they would need to take over the US, and managed to pull it off.

And what's more, those Muslims, back in the fifties, thought that the guy they needed to fight his way through the system and become President of the USA should be black...

Actually, if they were that far-sighted, maybe they should be running the world.

#309 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 06:15 PM:

Blogging for money in Philly? Pay up.

#310 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 06:34 PM:

Sylvia@300, the Tattúínárdœla saga has been mentioned here before, but nobody's brought it up with the current Norse discussion thread, and it's topical and hopelessly silly, and seems to have had more chapters added since it was last here. So thanks!

#311 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 06:41 PM:

Julia, #303: Not just for kids, either. I knew I'd found the right gynecologist when he acknowledged that a speculum is damned uncomfortable!

#312 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 07:11 PM:

Julia Jones @ 303: My son's dentist did that too. He explained to us that he'd endured a more difficult time in his childhood trips to the dentist, and wanted to make sure his patients did not have the same experiences. He is very good, and we needed that at the time -- our son (at the time my ex's grandnephew) had major dental issues, requiring multiple root canals and so on. We had to give chloral hydrate before we left the house, and the dentist used N2O supplementally in the chair, but it was still a great trial for all of us.

#313 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 07:19 PM:

By the way, a small update in my ongoing soap opera/tragicomedy: we had a short counseling session with a different therapist, with much the same coming from my Ex that I've heard before -- only this time she emphasized that she'd been feeling adrift or disconnected from me for years. Much longer than I'd realized, and implying that most of the past 5 years have been full of lies. She never talked about her feelings, couldn't bring herself to speak up about her feelings -- so she led us all on, thinking we were a couple.

Of course, this makes me ready to move onwards. I need to stop mourning the loss of something I never really had, now that I know it.

I'm done with hoping for reconciliation. I have no desire to reconcile with someone who could not tell the truth when it was important to all of us.

So. Anyone know any nice reasonable sensible sane and single lesbians who like dogs, cats, and children? A good sense of humor is a must. No U-hauls necessary...

The cake was indeed a lie. And it was four lights.

#314 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 08:04 PM:

Hyperlocal news: Cat Toy Extinction Feared; All Known Toys Lost Under Bookcase

#315 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 08:06 PM:

Ginger @ 311 -- I'm sorry to hear it. But assuming that she's telling the truth now about having been lying for years... you don't seem to have much of a foundation to base anything on, so yeah, it seems to be a lost cause. Bleah.

I can't think of anyone off-hand matching your parameters, but... geographical preference? Alas, I don't meet your gender spec.

#316 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 08:07 PM:

Ginger: sympathies re the ex who couldn't talk about feelings and about being disconnected. Been there, got the scars, etc.

#317 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 08:08 PM:

Joel @ 313: No geographical preference at the moment. I'm inclined to want any excuse out of here, although that's just the reaction setting in.

#318 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 08:47 PM:

Ginger... My sympathies and remember that you're most welcome to spend time with us and our kids Freya, Nahla, Cagney, Jefferson and Agatha.

#319 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 09:02 PM:

I think this is in the running with the demon sheep ad.

Jane Harmon as Frau Blucher; as presented by her opponent.

#320 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 09:08 PM:

Ginger, I'm so sorry. How is your son doing?

#321 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 09:33 PM:

Serge: Thanks! When I do take my road trip across the US, I am definitely taking that left turn at Albuquerque.

TxAnne: He is dealing well enough with the part he knows about. I don't think I should emphasize the lies at this point. He loves both of us, and there's no need to break his heart. I did get his permission to show the therapist the photo that he modified, of my ex with her mom. I'd stumbled across it on my iPod, and told him that it said a lot about his feelings.

I just need to get her off the mortgage and then slowly disengage her from my life. She will always be a part of his life, but she doesn't have to be in mine.

#322 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 11:02 PM:

Ginger @ 319... I am definitely taking that left turn at Albuquerque

We used to have widdle gwey wabbits show up in our backyard, but Agatha, who is no Sylvester, has made it clear that it wasn't healthy for them to hop around.

#323 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 11:20 PM:

Ginger, I'm sorry that it's so, but if it must be, I'm glad you know it. I'm sorry for your loss (because finding out you never had something is a real loss in terms of feeling), and hope that you find healing quickly.

#324 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 11:28 PM:

Ginger, a friend of mine went through kind of the same thing over the last year-- a shorter marriage, no kids, not as much a part of who they were, if that makes sense. They went from trying to have a baby one month to her wife asking for a divorce the next. It's been a rough year in general; she's the roommate who was going to move to Portland, and tore her Achilles tendon two days before we had to be out of the apartment and a week before she planned to move.

My sympathies.

#325 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 11:37 PM:

Ginger, if i can help I will but I'm not sure how.

We're members of a local polyamory community where one relationship (with kids and which we though was stable) has turned suddenly to shit with the addition of a new member and the turn-out of the husband and the attempt to keep his relations with the kids. (I suspect she, because she's the one with a business and stable job and etc. is the owner of their house...)

It is all frightening for all of us because the new female has lots of demands that sound abusive from our end. We just hope the kids don't get the brunt. She does not like males at all and one of the kids is. And she's already trying to draw him into her hypochondria, as in 'you need pills, you're allergic," when none of us have heard a sniffle from him at all.. or any other symptom.

It is very hard because we all love the kids and are worried.

I hope you are okay and if you need help, email.

#326 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 11:40 PM:

Ginger, that includes, if you need a bottiomless, speechless pit to download your frustration, I'm a good place. No one but me will ever know and if you need any advice i will try and help. With discretion.

I'm not in your same town, I'm not anywhere near AND I never talk about other people's problems to others unless they allow me to. And even then, I'm fairly scatterbrained, so if it meets the 'tell' case, it may not ever get told unless I'm asked.

#327 ::: Laura Runkle ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 12:12 AM:

Ginger @313 - So very sorry. Learning that you've been lied to over something important is Just Really Awful.

My cousin might fit your bill, but she's across the country from you. On the other hand, if there's something to know about the San Jose area school systems from a teacher's-eye view, she knows it.

#328 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 12:27 AM:

I wish to make an enquiry of the persons here assembled, to wit: is it common among such as ourselves to find, upon re-reading Jane Austen — I myself am in the midst of a long-overdue re-reading of Pride and Prejudice — that we begin to imitate the style of the period in our own prose, and even (dreadful thought!) in speech, or is that my lot alone?

#329 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 12:32 AM:

Xopher: I am not a good example. My speech is too archaic (and mutable to audience, etc.) to be a measure, but when reading such things (and O'Brian, and Shakespeare and Byron, Dickens, etc.) I find my word-choice being affected, yes.

#330 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 12:37 AM:

Xopher, I do that with Sayers and Heyer, among many others. When I read the Bible before bed, the stories I told myself were all long, long sentences beginning with 'and'.

I do that with friends, too-- my particular accent is text, and my word choice tends to echo the internet more than anything. At Alpha this year, one of the students had very contagious speech patterns; by the end of the workshop, ninety percent of the people had picked it up.

#331 ::: Kayjayoh ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 01:03 AM:

Well, this thread is totally appropriate for me today. I had a front tooth (#7) extracted today, and am trying to deal with that.

When I was in the fourth grade (mid-80's) I fell straight down on my face on an asphalt playground while trying (unsuccessfully) to do a cartwheel. Broke large chunks off of my two top front teeth. They veneered them whole again, but there was also trauma to the tooth next door, even though it didn't look damaged.

The damage lead to an abscess, which lead to a root canal or two and two apicoectomies, after a looong span of being left untreated.

They finally decided that there must be a vertical crack in the root of the tooth, and nothing was going to stop it from being reinfected. So it had to come out (especially since it was eating away at the bone.)

Tonight I have a gruesomely missing tooth, a bone graft, and some stitches. Tomorrow I get a cosmetic temporary crown. In six months, if everything worked, I get an implant. Three months after that, I get a new permanent tooth. Of course, there is a 60-70% chance that the cadaver bone compound that they used won't work, and they will have to do a second bone graft, from my own chin or jaw...then another six months.

I know that I will be much happier when all this is over. At the moment, though, I am miserable and scared. And angry that this costs so much and that my insurance will cover so little of this. (Don't even get me started on the insane separation of "dental" insurance from "health" insurance.) Grar!!

However, my oral surgeon was the good sort. (And easy on the eyes.) And everyone else's stories are helping me feel less alone.

Time to take some hydrocodone and fall asleep.

#332 ::: Kayjayoh ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 01:09 AM:

I see that mentioning my post-surgery meds must have evoked "Word of Power" moderation. :)

On PS to my post... one nice thing to come out of today's dental surgery. I'm involved in the fPOE Miss Match Diptych Project and this week my assigned word/theme is "Half-empty". Needless to say, I got a good (though maybe a bit morbid) photo this evening. I'll let you know when the finished diptych is ready.

#333 ::: Glenn Hauman ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 01:14 AM:

Okay, I'm racking my brain here. I recall an SF short story, I'm thinking it's Jonathan Lethem, taking place in a near permanent traffic jam in New York City.

Can anybody remember which story I'm thinking of?

I ask because apparently it's now happening in China, where a 60 mile traffic jam has been going on for over a week.

#334 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 01:16 AM:

Xopher, #326: I can always tell when I've been reading too much Georgette Heyer. Some of her idioms have simply been adopted into my normal speech patterns, but if I'm really submerged in her books I start using the structures as well as the vocabulary.

#335 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 01:23 AM:

Glenn, #331: Maybe not the one you're thinking of, but "Bluesberry Jam" by Gene Wolfe takes place in an eternal traffic jam, somewhere in a dystopian future. It's in the anthology Space Opera.

#336 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 01:35 AM:

Ginger: Hugs, if OK.

Sometimes this is what the benefit of marriage counseling turns out to be, just to learn that it really is broken and can't go on. Mine turned out broken in a different way than yours, but in the long run I do believe it's better just to know.

Right now though, I imagine you're just feeling bleak and all I can do is acknowledge that.

#337 ::: Dave Howell ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 02:26 AM:

Trapped by the photonic gravity well of Making Light; sigh.

So I just read the entire thread from August 20, 2006, because the Seattle Interactive Fiction Group is getting ready to throw a party at PAX, and a recent email across the list said "So, here's a list of items I excised from the Making Light website which people can sign up to be responsible for."

'What?' I wondered. 'How did a reference to Making Light end up here?' The next thing I know, I am wheezing and gasping, lungs and legs burning, because I'm frantically running to catch a bus I need to intercept and am late starting, having spent way too much time reading about "How to throw a large room party at a science fiction convention."

Grr. And whee!

This post, however, is a comment on the (to me) absolutely baffling Pizza Rule that suggests avoiding ham&pineapple pizza. I certainly agree that doing 50% pepperoni pizzas seems about right. But personally , I *detest* pepperoni. Yucko. Which means I need to be sure to hit the pizza line early, because the Hawaiian pizza will run out early, and then I either have to pick green peppers off a 'supreme' or settle for boring cheese pizza.

Now, I'm mostly eating pizza in the Pacific Northwest, but I'm also specifically seeking the ham/pineapple pizza, because it's the only 'standard' pizza I enjoy eating without having to dissect it first. (Olives, happily, are usually fairly easy to separate from the cheese. Onions, impossible.) A good standard ratio around these parts would be 3 parts pepperoni, 2 parts Hawaiian, 1 parts other.

Just sayin'.

P.S. I am smugly delighted at having secured for the "Seattle IF" organization the domain "", and, I might add, for an indefinite period of time at no charge.

#338 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 02:55 AM:

My two favorite pizza ingredient clusters are Italian Sausage, mushrooms and onions, and Grilled Chicken, bacon and pineapple. The double cluster works well for me as an alternative to a standard Supreme.

#339 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 03:16 AM:

Glenn @331.

Also the Doctor Who episode, Gridlock

#340 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 03:22 AM:

On the pizza rule for group events - Business lunches are a bit different than parties, because if there's pizza there's usually nothing else except maybe salad, and especially here in California you need nearly half the pizzas to be some kind of veggie if there's going to be any non-meat pizza left for the people at the end of the line. I've observed that even carnivores will eat a plain cheese pizza, though you can sometimes scare them away with pesto.

I'll second Teresa's opinions about not doing anchovies or ham&pineapple, and I'd add jalapenos or Italian red cherry peppers (yum) to the "don't" list. I miss white pizzas - I don't think I've seen one on a menu anywhere west of the Susquehanna, and the only place out here that didn't give me a blank look puts feta cheese on theirs.

#341 ::: Sylvia ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 07:40 AM:

I'm glad to see the link was new to someone and considered on target for the Open Thread.

I'm somewhat dismayed, though, that Bill @338 has created the perfect pizza for me with his "don't" list (Anchovies, ham, pineapple, jalapeños, peppers with a healthy amount of mozzarella sounds damn near perfect to me!)

#342 ::: Sylvia ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 07:45 AM:


I just wanted to say I know how difficult it can be to balance a child's needs against disentangling a relationship in a sensible manner. It is probably not much consolation but I'm relieved to report that having handled it pretty badly myself twelve years ago, my 16-year-old son is a friendly, outgoing, somewhat nerdy kid just like all his friends. I'm still somewhat nervous about what he'll be like when it comes to relationships but at least it is clear already I didn't *completely* screw him up, for which I am grateful.

#343 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 07:47 AM:

326: this question is of particular interest to me as I prepare to embark on my Sponsored Non-Stop Lionel Fanthorpe Readathon. Qualified neurologists are standing by to assist.

#344 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 07:51 AM:

339: I don't think it's possible to have a link that would be off target for an Open Thread - except possibly one that someone else had already posted.

I had actually seen the Tattúínárdœla saga before, but only the summary and discussion. I didn't know that the maniac was actually writing it, chapter by chapter, in Old Norse. (And I mean "maniac" in an entirely positive way.)

#345 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 08:48 AM:

Xopher @326--Oh, yes. Indeed, yes, and not just with one author but with several.

#346 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 08:55 AM:

Ginger, I'm sorry you find there is no choice but to draw a line across things and write "finished" under it, bit I'm glad that you are able to at least have that knowledge, rather than wondering, if you are just patient enough, thoughtful enough, change enough--and so keep hanging by a thread.

#347 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 09:39 AM:

Xopher: writing, thinking, and speaking like Jane Austen is a condition devoutly to be desired.

Ginger: Have a virtual hug, to be redeemed if you choose for a real hug when you get to Atlanta, if we can make our schedules coincide! When in October is your conference?

#348 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 09:46 AM:

Xopher@326: Oh, yes. In particular, when I see a Shakespeare play my brain runs in iambic pentameter for a while afterwards.

Lee@333: I thought of the same story. There's also a companion story to that called "Ain't You 'Most Done?" which appeared in _The Sandman Book of Dreams_.

#349 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 09:48 AM:

Xopher@326: O'Brian is currently affecting me that way, if I'm not careful. More in email than in comments, it seems, so it may not be visible here (and I'm being somewhat careful; it feels somewhat affected coming from me, so I try not to do it).

Pizza: There's probably more geographic variation than I would have originally guessed (based on e.g. Bill@338 on the level of vegetarian content needed in CA).

Today is pizza lunch at work (in Minneapolis). Based on previous months (we have one most months) there'll be 15 or so large pizzas. Probably two barbecue chicken, one cheese, one veggie, and the rest ordinary pizza ingredients (in which category ham and pineapple do NOT qualify!). And that's the right mix for this audience; the special cases last through to the people who want or need them (quite possibly things not ordered would be popular; dunno, don't hear complaining).

I've been at too many parties where there's nothing left but the Canadian bacon and pineapple. My impression is that most partisans of that and other unusual flat-bread-food overestimate the demand.

#350 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 09:49 AM:

re language: Oh yes, speech patterns, word order, clause structure, etc. I have read far too much (and I think had to fit into far too many places) and so have a very plastic ear.

I am often asked, if I am in a mixed nationality group what country I come from. I get spoken to in French in Ottawa, and all sorts of other confusions when I travel.

So far I managed to avoid people thinking I am mocking them when my accent/word choice is a little off.

#351 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 09:50 AM:

Ginger@311: Best wishes. Perhaps the best that can happen is getting you less coupled to the problematic ex.

#352 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 10:05 AM:

I'm trying to put together 2 playlists of about 20 songs each, for two rather odd occasions.

First, for the upcoming "My Super Psycho Sweet 16 Part 2" on MTV, I'm hosting a party for my daughter, who is a stunt performer in the film. (No spoilers, but if you watch it and you see a woman catch on fire--my daughter is the stunt double.) I'm looking for songs about show business and taking risks. Everything from "On Broadway" to "Rainbow Connection" to "Mi Vida Loca" so far.

Second and more strangely: her baby sister just started college, with the aim of going to Mars as a mission specialist. This is a little more challenging subject ("Rocket Man", "Benson, Arizona", "Chiron Beta Prime", "Fly Me to the Moon"...)

Anyone got a favorite song that might fit in either of these?

#353 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 10:07 AM:

In re pizza frequency, I'm always amazed at how LITTLE plain sausage pizza (my preference at parties, or sausage and mushroom if they go that far) is ever ordered. Like, usually none.

There are scads of pepperoni (which I can't eat; gives me horrid heartburn), and usually several Supreme (sausage, bell peppers, and other things -- which I can't eat; bell peppers give me horrible heartburn), a veggie option, and maybe plain cheese. Sometimes there are also a few that I consider 'exotic'.

When I was a kid, it was sausage or cheese and thems was yer choices -- when did pepperoni replace sausage as the default one-meat party pizza of choice??

#354 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 10:17 AM:

Paula Helm Murray @ 323 -- Some friends of mine are going through a similar blowup -- a long-term monogamous couple decided to expand their relationship, and the toxic tendencies of the new person became apparent a few years later. I've been considering writing an essay about the dynamics of EDTA chelation: it encloses the metal ion, isolating it from its previous anions and any other ligands, and then when the pH decreases or some other metal ion happens along, the EDTA unwraps and moves on... Part of the problem in this case is that the person who *wasn't* ejected is in denial about the mess, and also avoiding contact with anyone who might provide better insight or at least an external viewpoint.

#355 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 10:19 AM:

Elliott Mason @ 351, I don't know, but pepperoni has been the default at least since I've been old enough to notice (mid-80s). As a kid I preferred sausage, though. I never really liked pepperoni. Then I went vegetarian for a while and stopped being able to handle fatty meats on pizza. These days I like veggie pizza, and BBQ chicken with pineapple. (I also like pineapple alone.)

Re: dentists: I realize now how lucky I was to have a dentist who was gentle and prioritized pain management. I never had a bad dentist experience as a kid, and have therefore never been nervous or afraid of the dentist. I had accepted that many people were, but never quite understood why. This thread has caused me to understand why that fear can be quite rational. (Drilling without anesthesia?!)

I haven't been to a dentist since I stopped being on my parents' dental insurance. Now I've got dental insurance again through my husband. I suppose I'd better go.

#356 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 10:23 AM:

Ginger @ 311: Sympathies and a strong zen hug.

#357 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 10:31 AM:

Elliott Mason@351: I went through college eating sausage on pizza (Bill's Special with mushrooms; still go there, still order that), but I've always had the impression that pepperoni is the more basic default (going back to the early 1970s). Maybe somewhat regional, or just closely enough balanced that a random statistical cluster can make it look either way locally for a while.

Our lunch pizzas will probably include a sausage plus a few vegetables option, and I will probably have some of that one. Especially if there are onions.

I find random pepperoni less likely to be bad than random pizza sausage. Mediocre, perhaps, but not actually bad. I'm very fond of GOOD sausage on pizza.

If bell peppers give you heartburn, not surprised that pepperoni does too. Unfortunate, both in that those things taste good, and that they're ubiquitous on pizza. Must be very inconvenient. (And the pepper part extends into lots of Chinese and Indian and Vietnamese and....)

#358 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 10:32 AM:

Ginger: My sympathies. As others have said, it's better to know, but that doesn't make it easy. If you accept virtual hugs, consider yourself hugged.

Re dentists: I didn't have much dental work as a youngster. A few fillings, but the novocaine worked well. The cleanings were uncomfortable but not awful. When I found a new dentist as an adult, suddenly the cleanings were completely painless! I believe that the difference is that now there are hygienists to do that part. Query: when did dental hygienists become a regular thing? My aging dentist didn't have one in the 1970's through early 1980's; my young dentist had one when I first saw him around 1990.

#359 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 10:32 AM:

Lila @ 350 -- For your second list, "Pioneers of Mars" by Lloyd Landa and Karen Linsley. Exerpt here. Lyrics here (page 15). The entire song can be heard here.

#360 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 10:33 AM:

Xopher, 326: It doesn't happen so much with Austen, partly because I use lots of archaic constructions anyway. But I channel Paarfi like nobody's business. (That's not a complaint, of course.)

Lila, 350: They Might Be Giants has an album called Apollo 18 which might be of some use to you; I'm not familiar enough with it to be sure, but it's an evocative title!

#361 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 10:35 AM:

Mary Aileen@356: I knew somebody who worked as a dental hygienist in 1976 roughly.

But I remember hygienists being there when I went to the dentist as a child, in the 1960s, too (Northfield MN). I'm sure I'd have noticed if I was used to getting all my attention from the doctor, and they suddenly introduced a lower-level employee to do most of the work!

#362 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 10:39 AM:

And Ginger, I'm sorry.

I know that "there were four lights" feeling at the end of a crazymaking relationship. It's a thread of relief to hold onto, even through the pain.

Just from your posts here, I can tell you are a great person -- a fantastic mother, a good friend. I am so sorry this had to happen. But I can already see that you will make it through, self intact.

(And I actually do know one such lesbian, with kid, cats, and dog. Should you find yourself in NC, perhaps we could all meet for coffee or something. It would be fun to meet for coffee regardless.)

#363 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 10:43 AM:

Elliot Mason @351: Interesting. In my pizza experience, pepperoni came first; sausage appeared sometime in the '70s.

(On the other hand, the antipathy I developed toward anchovies has lasted 50 years. And the modern anchovy is supposed to be less like eating a tablespoon of salt.)

#364 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 10:43 AM:

Joel and TexAnne, thanks!

#365 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 10:51 AM:

Xopher @ 326: Rather, yes. I'm influenced by what I read or what I hear. We've been watching Aaron Sorkin reruns of late, and after a few episodes of West Wing I talk like a combination of Leo McGarry and Josh Lyman.

I pick up accents, too. We're going to Dallas for a few days in September. After we get back to Phoenix, my wife will be telling me to drop the Texas accent for a few days.

On pizza: I used to work at a place that had a company meeting/pizza feed every Friday. The militant anchovy-lovers insisted on anchovy pizza. So guess what was always in the leftovers after that?

#366 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 10:52 AM:

ddb @355: If bell peppers give you heartburn, not surprised that pepperoni does too. Unfortunate, both in that those things taste good, and that they're ubiquitous on pizza. Must be very inconvenient. (And the pepper part extends into lots of Chinese and Indian and Vietnamese and....)

There's Pepper Suprise (as in, "Surprise! Have peppers in something you thought was safe!!") in a whole range of things that someone who likes peppers might not have thought of.

Frozen entrees, for example, very VERY often have bits of red in them, with no indication in the photo on the front that they'll be in there.

For the record, it's just bell (or 'sweet') peppers that do this; I'm fine with hot peppers like poblanos and the like, at least in any concentration their heat lets me consume. I have no idea what it is that's triggering me, but it's consistent.

Potentially-unrelated fact: I can also taste that paper they give you in high school bio to track who's got the tasting mutation, and I think cilantro tastes like dishwashing liquid (ptui!) Speaking of 'Surprise!' when visiting a restaurant ... cilantro's gotten really, REALLY trendy lately, and even tiny specks of it can render an entire dish unedible by me. Note: cilantro leaves only. I have no problem with powdered coriander from the seeds, as a spice.

I'm a recovering Picky Eater (or, as I sometimes describe myself, a pickytarian). I have friends or relatives with religious or genuinely biological (intolerances, allergies, etc) food limitations far harsher than mine, so I try to keep quiet and just not make it anybody else's problem.

The friend who can't eat anything in the entire rose supergroup (from strawberries out past apples and stone fruits), and the other friend who can't have any nightshades have it far, far worse than I do. Even if I miss a piece of pepper (or pick them off and eat it anyway as the only food on offer, thereby consuming residues), the worst I get is heartburn, which is no fun but over in a few hours. Some of my friends swell up, turn pink, stop being able to BREATHE ... trust me, I do know how easy I have it.

#367 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 11:23 AM:

Elliott Mason@364: having a bad reaction only to bell peppers, not hot peppers, strikes me as very strange. And you're clearly not describing just a preference; it's not apparently in the life-threatening allergy category (lucky you!), but you get a consistent physical response.

My most troublesome dislike is mayonnaise (and anything vaguely related to it); this blocks out nearly every mass-market "creamy" savory thing. But I don't get physical symptoms, I just don't like it.

#368 ::: Paul Lalonde ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 12:26 PM:

Glenn Hauman @ 331: I think you're looking for "Access Fantasy" from _Men and Cartoons_.

#369 ::: Paul Lalonde ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 12:28 PM:

Glenn Hauman @ 331: I think you're looking for "Access Fantasy" from _Men and Cartoons_.

#370 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 12:39 PM:

Xopher @ 321: Thanks -- I do prefer honesty, because now I can deal with everything appropriately instead of wasting time hoping for an impossible reconciliation.

Diatryma @ 322: Sounds like this happens more often than we realize. My sympathies to your friend!

Paula Helm Murray @ 323, 324: Thank you very much for your offer. I will keep that in mind especially during those dark hours late at night.

Laura @ 325: Thanks. I would not mind moving to the Bay Area, and if I do, I'll let you know. Stranger things have happened!

Xopher @326: I don't read Jane Austen, but I have noticed a tendency to talk/write like Deverrians after re-reading Katharine Kerr. Some people have dominating styles or suchlike.

Clifton @ 334: Thanks -- hugs accepted in all languages. You're right, it is better to know that things are irretrievably broken. Now I can focus on moving on in positive ways.

Sylvia @ 340: That's very reassuring, thanks. My son is starting from a background of neglect by his birth mother (Ex's niece) but we seem to have overcome most of that. He appears to be handling things well enough now, despite being an adolescent male with attendant inarticulate awkwardness.

fidelio @ 344: Precisely. Now I know there wasn't anything I could have done to make this better, since it started years before.

Lila @ 345: October 6th through 13th. Two different locations, so the first four days are likely to be very busy with the first meeting. On Sunday I will be less busy, and shifting to a different hotel. I expect to also have friends in my profession visiting from Canada, but I'm looking forward to a mini-Gathering of Light.

ddb @ 349: Thanks!

dcb @ 354: Thanks!

Mary Aileen @ 356: Thanks!

Caroline @ 360: Thank you -- and the odd thing is, we met in North Carolina. We were both doing post-docs at Bowman Gray. I'm sure I'll find myself in NC sometime, even if just for a quick meeting. Coffee will be had, one way or another!

#371 ::: Alex ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 12:42 PM:

In the UK, there is an operational courthouse and jail that is so old no-one knows when it was built or by whom - not just in the Brechtian sense of "Who built Thebes of the four gates?", we don't even know who wanted it built.

Admittedly, this is partly because digging under the walls of a prison is frowned on.

#372 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 12:52 PM:

Re. pizzas: as a vegetarian, I can tell you that usually what's left if you arrive late is - pizza with meat on it. All the meat eaters will say there don't need to be many vegetarian pizzas, then they'll grab a slice or two of whatever vegetarian pizza is provided, to eat alongside their meat-laden pizza of choice. The first vegetarians to arrive of couse take several vege sliices each. The last vegetarians...

If you're not providing lots of vege pizzas, at least put the vege ones where they're NOT the closest, easiest ones to grab. Ditto with buffets - often the vege options are at the start of the line, so each meat eater takes a bit of each vege dish while waiting to get to the "real" food - with the result that when a vegetarian arrives late in the queue, lo and behold, there's nothing left for them to eat.

And if anyone loves olives and is catering a gathering, remember please that (a) not everyone likes olives, strange though this may seem to you; (b) the taste permeates, so even if the olive-hater removes all the visible bits of olives, the rest of the food is still nasty-flavoured.

Elliott Mason: in my case it's almonds, cashews and possibly (I'm not sure yet) sesame seeds. As a delayed reaction (at the evening and morning histamine peaks), of a REALLY itchy palate. It's often okay if I eat the offending foods once, but gradually gets worse if I keep eating them several days in a row. Like you, I'm pleased it's not worse, but when the eustacian tubes start itching as well... And I love marzipan. And honey-roasted cashews.

#373 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 12:56 PM:

"I sing the body electric" from Fame, and perhaps, "Fame". Also, Flashdance.

re pizza: I used to work in a pizza place.

Pepperoni is (in LA) the big winner. Then sausage. Bell peppers are on the list of ubiquity too (more the pity, I dislike them), so are mushrooms (though more with sausage then pepperoni... I like mushrooms, but not dessicated and mutated to the taste of old shoes).

After that... pineapple shows up with ham/"canadian" bacon. I think both are nasty. Ignoring that I don't quite get the pineapple/cured meat thing (yes, I get that it's "sweet/salty", I just don't think that pair is all that good an example. Not hideous, but not all that good), I find the high heat of the pizza oven changes the pineapple, and that I don't care for it. Plain cheese and pineapple, or a veggie with pineapple, or any number of, "gourmet" pizzas with pineapple).

Anchovies... they are special. Expensive (most places lose money on them.

A can of anchovies cost (at the time) about $2. A large pizza topping cost $.75.

The mean on anchovies was one can = one pizza; i.e. by the time we got a second anchovy order, the previous can wasn't usable. We averaged (as I recall) about 200 pizzas a day.

Then there were the people who'd order a half-anchovy pizza. I recall the worst delivery I ever made. I had a half-sausage/half bell pepper for "room 13" (this guy would order a half sausage/half "x" about every 3 weeks, to room 13 of a nearby motel. He never answered the door. A different woman, in lingerie, would pay for the pie), and a small anchovy.

It was a cold, rainy, night in November. I'd had the heat on, and the windows had to say up. Oi.

Anchovies also are trouble. People who want to fake an order, would add them to the pie, I don't know why. It actually saved us from making a of prank deliveries. We'd do a callback. These days it would probably be a callback and address lookup.

The best part of the callback: people who prank deliveries like to watch them, so it was two birds with one stone... we didn't deliver, and they got frustrated.

While I was there (6 months, or so) I we only got stuck for one anchovy pie. They had a cell phone (this was in 1988). For the rest, it was a loss for the store, but a boost for morale, as undeliverables (and mistakes) were, "crew pie". Since no one in the shop (which was pretty diverse) like anchovies, that one was a real loss, as it couldn't be written off.

#374 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 01:03 PM:

Alex@369 — I think you mean seven gates.

#375 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 01:11 PM:

Lila #350: "Headed For the Future" (Neil Diamond, at least). "Keep Your Head to the Sky" (EWF), "Light the Sky On Fire" (Jefferson Starship).

It occurs to me there's some classical riffs on "The Planets", you can swipe the Mars entries...

#376 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 01:25 PM:

dcb (370): All the meat eaters will say there don't need to be many vegetarian pizzas, then they'll grab a slice or two of whatever vegetarian pizza is provided,

Not quite *all*--this meat eater will only eat vegetarian pizza if there's nothing else left, including plain cheese. (And I'll only eat plain cheese if there are no meat options left, even if that means I have to pick olives or mushrooms off.)

#377 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 01:37 PM:

#311 Ginger

We have quite a few long-time fabulous lesbian friends. Most are coupled now, but they themselves know many others in their communities who are not.

The catch is this is NYC.

And we're leaving NYC Saturday for nearly a year.

You're going to do just fine, particularly considering your state-of-mind, your attitude, your profession and most of all, your characters.

You have all my sympathies though, for the discomforts of transition.

Love, C.

#378 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 01:45 PM:

#326 Xopher

Even more so with Patrick O'Brian. At least for me, at this stage of life.

Wish you joy upon your Austen re-read!

Love, C.

#379 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 01:45 PM:

Ginger, fidelio @344 speaks for me as well. The ultimatum I finally had to give my now-ex, after 6 months of back-and-forth and I-don't-know, was, "One way or the other, but I can't hold MY life in limbo any more. If you're staying, I need a commitment to that effect. If you're really gone, I need to know so that I can start rebuilding." Knowing it's over is better than being at sea.

Lila, #350: For the first one, have you looked at Billy Joel's "The Entertainer"? It's music rather than show business, but it might still work.

For the second list... have you considered filk? There are tons of songs in that genre that would fit -- and, being in Atlanta, you have access to people who are likely to have them even if you don't. E-mail me (fgneqernzre NG zvaqfcevat QBG pbz) if you'd like to be put in contact with some of them.

#380 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 01:45 PM:

Lila@350, Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars?

Back when I was carnivorous, I generally preferred sausage pizza to pepperoni, but it seemed to be the minority position, and as somebody else said, bad sausage pizza is bad, while pepperoni is at worst mediocre. My wife dislikes green peppers, so I'm familiar with the concept that they do pretty much permeate anything they're cooked with - I'm surprised to hear the olive-dislikers say the same thing about olives, and I've always assumed that at least black olives usually added more visual contrast than actual flavor to pizzas.

#381 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 01:55 PM:

Bill Stewart: Olives, in general, suffer a bit from the, "overheated and dried out" problem (but not so much as mushrooms). Black/California olives tend to do a bit better (the canning process keeps them really moist), so the cooking tends to give them a more robust flavor.

They do add textural variety too.

I've never found them to be pervasive, not in the way peppers are. I know people who tried to do an end run with a single anchovy, in the hope that would get them the rest of the pizza (they hated anchovies) this worked in college, but when they got to fannish circles they found enough people (like myself) who would happily eat the rest and leave the single piece with anchovy for them, that the habit was lost.

At least, in my circles, there are enough people who like anchovies.

I am getting better at eating them, it's not that I dislike them, but they are intense; and suffer from the mushroom problem on most pizzas.

There is a way to avoid that problem (dessication/overcooking) of things on a pizza; put the cheese on top.

#382 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 02:02 PM:

Show business and taking risks:
Like a Rhinestone Cowboy

Hey, Mr. Spaceman
Space Oddity

#383 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 02:05 PM:

Elliott, #364: I have another friend who can handle hot peppers but not sweet ones (you might actually know her -- her name is Alisa, and she likes filk). Coincidentally, you're both from the same general part of the country.

ddb, #365: I can't stand mayonnaise as a condiment on sandwiches or burgers, but for some reason I have no objection to it as a binder in chicken salad. (For potato salad, I want the kind that has mustard as well.) And don't even get me started about "tangy sandwich spread", which appears to be a synonym for "mayonnaise with added vinegar" -- two bad tastes that taste even worse together!

Ginger, #368: I'm a night owl, and frequently up until 2 or 3 AM. Send me a message on Facebook, and I'll give you my cellphone number. The cellphone lives at the other end of the house from the bedroom, so if I've already crashed you don't need to worry about waking anyone up.

#384 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 02:06 PM:

I am figuring out Windows Vista and I found an empty textfile in my documents folder that I don't remember saving. Could it be malware? How can I check. The name of the file is "Thermal". Does this coincide with the behavior of any virus anyone knows about?

#385 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 02:09 PM:

On Broadway

#386 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 02:10 PM:

dcb@370: If there isn't enough vegetarian pizza, then there isn't, and should have been more, yes.

I suspect this is an area where expectations play a part in in what one sees. Those of us who don't need vegetarian pizza mostly don't notice if it runs out too soon (most people don't make a fuss).

There were in fact exactly 15 extra-large pizzas for lunch here today. There were 3 BBQ chicken, not two. There were a couple of combinations involving sausage, some also had pepperoni. There was one straight cheese and one vegetarian. And there was one ham&pineapple this time. I even saw one person take a slice from it :-).

#387 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 02:17 PM:

Open threadiness: Has anybody found a good way to follow the comments to a post at Keeping the tab open and refreshing periodically is the best I've found so far (and that's highly dangerous; it can become a tight loop), and it works less well when I move between computers than I would like.

#388 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 02:23 PM:

Ginger @311:

I am so sorry. Like many of the people here, I was hoping that it would work out. Clarity is useful, though; now at least you can find the new shape of your life instead of being frozen in place.

And thank you for keeping us posted. We care, very much indeed.

#389 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 02:30 PM:

Xopher @326:

Also have it I do when certain movies I watch.

#390 ::: RoseG ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 03:14 PM:

Elliott Mason @ 364: My sister is allergic to both nightshades and roses--particularly hard at this time of year (in the northeast) when vine-ripe tomatoes and new potatoes are temptingly everywhere and we're shading into apple season.

On dentists: Even local anaesthesia apparently can be tricky. I have a wonderful dentist, who has taken care of my teeth since I've had teeth (the kind of guy who opened up his office at 8pm on a Saturday because I bit an apple and shattered a molar), but every filling I've had save two has been incredibly painful. About five years ago, he happened to mention that some small percentage of people aren't adequately numbed by the usual placement of Novocaine shots--then took a second look at me and gave me another jab.

It was like a miracle: it didn't hurt at all! I had always assumed that fillings were supposed to hurt--why else would everyone complain about them? Thank the universe for his insight, because it's unlikely I'd have ever mentioned my pain (stoicism fail). I've had to have one more filling since then, and it was pretty weird to notice how much pain I was prepared to endure, once I didn't have it anymore. Oh, my poor nerves...

#391 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 03:20 PM:

Pizza: I like cooked pineapple better than raw (which bothers my mouth and throat in any quantity larger than one bite), so I adore pineapple on my pizza. I don't need the ham, but it's tasty too. I will eat anything except anchovy, having never really developed a taste for fish on my pizza. I once accidentally took a bite of meat pizza that had anchovies and decided I preferred live anchovies - but not to eat.

Constance @ 375: I was born in NYC, raised in a small town about 70 miles North, and used to shop at all the lesbian and gay bookstores in the City..If I should move back to NY, I have an old friend in the area who would probably be my entry point into the community again. Still, if any of your friends decide to move about 200 miles south, feel free to point them at me.

Lee @ 377, 381: Thank you. Yes, it is better knowing that it's over.

abi @ 386: Thank you. I had hoped myself, but it seems the damage runs too deep and had been for too long.

I do have things to keep me occupied, besides watching mind-deadening television late at night. I have to keep my son on task for school, which starts next week. I would like to find a new job within the government, preferably with a higher pay scale. I am still doing car seat checks as often as I can, along with CERT training and Boy Scout merit badge counseling. I am also visiting my parents more often, something I couldn't do while her mother was declining in health over the past 7 years. There's lesbian parents in the neighborhood, and at least one of them knows a singles group. I can't play softball or baseball anymore (old injuries make it painful now), but I can probably find something else to do. As the weather gets cooler again, I'll be able to walk the dogs in the park with the other separated lesbian mom and her dog again. There's the never-ending list of chores around the house. Before I know it, four years will pass, and I'll be sending him off to college. By then, I'll have reached 17 years in the government, and will be actively looking for someplace to retire to, and who knows? Maybe by then we'll all have air cars or matter transportation, and travel will no longer be the hassle it is today.

#392 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 03:28 PM:

All this discussion about pizza is odd (ISTR it was odd last time I read it, too). Maybe it's my Canadian inclination, but the Hawaiian (ham and pineapple) *always* goes. Usually before I get there (grumble). Add another gripe for "veggies = peppers and olives" - both of which I can't stand the texture of, and with olives at least, also the taste. And the black olive rings look ugly, too, so that can't be it. And around here, at least, people seem to agree with me, because we always get a "veggie" or "supreme" pizza, and it's always the last to go - except, of course, for the small vegan pizza (no cheese) that nobody but the resident vegan will touch, even if there's nothing else.

So I end up with the "safe" choices just like everybody else. I get tired of pepperoni and cheese pizzas.

I do have an advantage with sausage on pizza, though - we're the home of Spolumbo's. If you don't use Spolumbo's, or a sausage at least as good (or you're a chain), you go out of business (like when I lived in BerlinKitchener, where if you made a bad sauerkraut, you went out of business (they'd just go to the Mennonites, who dug it up today).

Love anchovy on pizza. If you chop it up, it doesn't get dry; and the flavour permeates better. Which, of course, is why they don't do it.

#393 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 03:30 PM:

Ok, having listened to Apollo 18, there's an appropriate song: The Guitar (The Lion Sleeps Tonight)
with the lyrics:

In the spaceship, the silver spaceship,
The lion takes control.

There's also a whole lot of short strange songs. But that's TMBG.

#394 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 03:31 PM:

abi@387: If Yoda so strong with the Force is, use correct English word order why can he not?

#395 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 03:35 PM:

#392 David Goldfarb: talk like me you would too, if hand-up-ass puppet you were!

I have a recording of a radio sketch (which seems improvised) entitled "Things Yoda Would Say in Bed." It's - disturbing.

#396 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 03:42 PM:

Elliott Mason @#364: I also get heartburn (eosinophilic esophagitis, probably) from foods I'm allergic to, even ones that are completely not-spicy and not-acidic. Milk and wheat being the worst offenders. It's very counter-intuitive...for the longest time I would eat a cracker or some bread to take the edge off of the heartburn while waiting for medicine to kick in, without realizing I was allergic. Ouchie.

#397 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 03:43 PM:

Yoda's favorite programming language is FORTH, because he talks in RPN.

#398 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 03:48 PM:


What I forgot to say last night is that IMHO there is a good chance this will turn out to be the best thing for your son - not the best of all possibilities, but the best reality - and if you happen to get into a good relationship down the road, better still. Don't stress about that side of things more than you must.

I agonized for years about the possible impact of a divorce on my daughter, but I think it turned out to be a huge improvement for her to stop having her parents fighting and going around in pain all the time. When I got into a relationship again, although she was very dubious about it at first, that indisputably turned out even better for her - she started getting a model of what a good relationship could be like. She is doing very well now.

#399 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 04:22 PM:

Might say Yoda,

If English your 42nd language be, and goblin-ears you have, so pretty you talk?

#400 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 04:24 PM:

David @ 392 - BTW, stealing that I am. :)

#401 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 05:08 PM:

typing one-handed at the moment. short version: wet floor, WHAM!, ER, arm in sling until shoulder recovers. not a good day.

#402 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 05:12 PM:

Erik Nelson@382

Doesn't ring any bells, and a quick look around anti-virus sites doesn't get a match. I'd say run something like malwarebytes, which should pick it up if it is.

#403 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 05:18 PM:

Bruce Arthurs #399: Ouch... FML? Hope you heal quickly!

#404 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 05:28 PM:

Diatryma @ #328: my particular accent is text, and my word choice tends to echo the internet more than anything.

I tend to think of my own particular brand of English as Internet English. (Though maybe that lumps me in with the Nigerian bankers.) It's, in my case, sort of a generic British English with creeping Americanisms and occasional bits of Scots thrown in.

Which I don't take my writing style completely from my reading material, but I'm sure writers like O'Brian have an influence on my phrasings.

It's more difficult to speak English than to write it, with all those weird diphtongs and stuff. I've been accused of having only a little bit of an accent though, which I find ironic; when I'm speaking Norwegian my local accent is as thick as porridge very easy to pinpoint if you're familiar with it or know the particular markers and/or vocabulary.

#405 ::: Lydy Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 05:44 PM:

Ginger, I just wanted to say how sorry I am. Breaking up is always really tough, it changes the shape of your world. I'm sure you and your son will do fine, eventually. The here and now can be medium dreadful, though.

#406 ::: jnh ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 05:49 PM:

If mystical to appear you would, talk funny you must.

Erik @395: *Chortle*
But make it work I could not.

#407 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 05:49 PM:

Bruce Arthurs @ 399: Sympathies. Hope the damage (whatever it is) heals quickly.

#408 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 06:05 PM:

Comment on comments offered here without comment.

#409 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 06:23 PM:

Fragano will not need further surgery, but he's stuck with a tube in his nose.

#410 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 06:25 PM:

Open-threaded grumpiness: Requiring someone to re-register with a software company simply because an e-mail address has changed is one of the pinnacles of dumb. VMware loses points for their silly-ass system.

#411 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 06:40 PM:

Steve C. @ 408: Well the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons says they're going to strike people off the register* (which you need to be on to practice as a veterinarian in the UK), if we don't contact them each year to tell them that your (physical) address has not changed.

* The ultimate sanction, usually reserved for severe professional misconduct.

#413 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 07:04 PM:

Ginger @311: I scowl darkly on your behalf. Finally being told it's over after years of it having been over is a very special kind of suck.

It's very closely related to the congenital inability to say "No."

I've encountered variations on this problem in all of the relationships I've had (from both sides, embarrassingly).

But what really blew the top of my head off was when I realized it started with my very first relationships, e.g., blood family.

It's like one wants to want it, but just somehow doesn't have the nerve to face the obvious implication: that one doesn't want it.

Well, here's to the truth finally coming out. (Unless the Ex is just telling herself this story retroactively to make it all make sense—which is a different kind of suck, but the difference is probably not relevant, for your purposes.)

Here's to people who know what they want and know how to ask for it. I only hope that I can become one someday, and become worthy of partnering with one.

One of the ones that Got Away informed me, after two dates, that he didn't see it going any further. Was THE most spectacularly UN-traumatic turn-down/break-up I've ever experienced. Blew my mind. I just didn't have a place in my brain for "honest clarity" up until that point. I still think very fondly of him, once in a while.

& @319: And if you happen to wander down the Colorado Front Range, give us a shout. There's a wee outpost of the Fluorosphere in Boulder. (Though a week or two notice is advised to allow for archeological excavations of crash space.)

Xopher @326: we begin to imitate the style of the period

I've heard Bujold refer to this as "style leakage."

Diatryma @328: contagious speech patterns

I've noticed that the younger cosmologists coming up tend to have a strangely "voice-synth" accent when talking about their field. I suspect a certain Hawking influence.

Earl Cooley III @336: Chicken Just Does Not Belong On Pizza. Bleh. Really. And Jalapeños Are Not Food. Just sayin' (Nope, no food prejudices here!)

ddb @347: [Mpls pizza] Is the Green Mill II down by Dinkytown still open? (30 years later? Yeah, right!) <wistful sigh>

#414 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 07:16 PM:

Bruce Arthurs, #399, ack! Fell at work or home? I hope you get better soon.

Pizza, I like Margherite best and can get one at a not-too-expensive place near. I end up bringing three-quarters of it home, of course.

#415 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 07:16 PM:

Lila @ #350, digging into my iTunes library:

"Stage Fright," by The Band
"That's Entertainment," by Fred Astaire, Michael Feinstein, and squads of others
"There's No Business Like Show Business," by Ethel Merman, Frank Sinatra, and others
"Wanna Sing a Show Tune," by Michael Feinstein
"Gus (the Theater Cat)," from Cats

#416 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 07:21 PM:

Jacque #411: Chicken Just Does Not Belong On Pizza

I used to think the same thing about BBQ sauce, but I'm willing to admit that I turned out to be wrong. Chicken on pizza is, to me, essentially inoffensive, as it naturally acquires the virtues of the other ingredients of the pizza.

I wish I could get delivery pizza that has shrimp.

#417 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 07:24 PM:

Pizza: On a recent visit with my parents I had my first "New York Style" pizza in years. Thin hard crust, nice and hot and a bit oily. I didn't realize how much I like the stuff.

West Coast pizza tends to have a soft bready crust, with outrageous toppings. I do like some of the oddball combinations. Chicken and pesto, "Hawaiian," chicken and BBQ sauce. But I'm not sure if it's really pizza.

Damn. I meant to have a Carvel cone when I was back east. Next time . . .

#418 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 07:33 PM:

I can corroborate dcb's experience with vegetarian pizza and lack of same. This applies to Chinese food as well. I don't eat "family style" at Chinese restaurants unless the group is all vegetarian or agrees to order more veggie than non-veggie dishes. If you think one vegetarian at the table means one vegetarian dish, don't expect me to share it!

#419 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 07:33 PM:

Steve C.@398: I stole it myself, I don't remember now from whom.

#420 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 07:39 PM:

I've had spinach Alfredo pizza, and liked it alot.

#421 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 08:17 PM:

Have you seen this item from McSweeney's:
This is Just to Say
That I'm Tired
of Sharing an
Apartment With
William Carlos Williams.

Reading it reminded me of some good threads here...

#422 ::: Mike McHugh ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 08:50 PM:

Lila @ #350: I like "You Will Go To The Moon" by Moxy Früvous.
"Girl From Mars" by Ash could fit, as could "My Star" by Ian Brown.
Then there's "Space Travel Is Boring" by Modest Mouse, or "Supersonic Rocket Ship" by The Kinks.
And another They Might Be Giants track, "The Ballad Of Davy Crockett (In Outer Space)" - which is most excellent.

#423 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 08:58 PM:

Xopher (416): I hope I didn't offend you--or anyone else--by quibbling about dcb's use of "all" in that context. I certainly did not mean to imply that hir experience was invalid. And your point about Chinese restaurants is very well taken.

#425 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 09:06 PM:

Clifton @ 396: Thanks -- I've been telling him that he's learning valuable life lessons, and that someday he'll appreciate it. We've both been modeling good behavior around him; only once did she try to send a message through him (I told him not to let either of us do that, as he didn't deserve to be in the middle of anything).

Bruce Arthurs @399: Ouch! Hope you feel better soon.

Lydy Nickerson @403: Thanks!

Jacque @411: Yes, that is it. She has been unable to say "No" for probably most of her life. She's the 4th out of 5 children, the diplomatic one and probably the one who was designated to "take care of mom and dad" (and also the only "unmarried one"). She was painfully shy as a child, had social anxieties and still has panic attacks. I am not sure I totally buy what she's saying now, because it doesn't align with her behavior over the past 5 years. There's still something not right about her explanations or justifications, but that's now her problem and not mine.

It's a shame, really. Oh, well.

#426 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 09:07 PM:

This meat eater is part of the problem. I'll happily take a couple of slices of vegetarian pizza because it would be Wrong to load up solely on pepperoni and sausage when children are starving in other parts of the world.

I'll eat any and all varieties of pizza mentioned above, The only kind I have turned my nose up at was a combination sauerkraut and pineapple.

#427 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 09:32 PM:

Lis Riba @419, that reminds me of something I linked to a while back: Mollie Wells's "William Carlos Williams is a Really Bad Roommate".

#428 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 09:52 PM:

Lee @381 said to my #364: I have another friend who can handle hot peppers but not sweet ones (you might actually know her -- her name is Alisa, and she likes filk). Coincidentally, you're both from the same general part of the country.

Alisa the lawyer? Yes, we know each other. If we lived slightly closer we might well be a band by now, as we have highly compatible tastes in songs and harmonic choices. Whenever we end up in a circle together, it's a beautiful thing.

Mary Dell @394 said to my #364: I also get heartburn (eosinophilic esophagitis, probably) from foods I'm allergic to, even ones that are completely not-spicy and not-acidic. Milk and wheat being the worst offenders. It's very counter-intuitive...for the longest time I would eat a cracker or some bread to take the edge off of the heartburn while waiting for medicine to kick in, without realizing I was allergic. Ouchie.

IANAD; I don't even pretend to have a med degree from Google University. I also don't have a formal diagnosis about what I call 'my heartburn,' because I'm the kind of person that only goes to doctors about stuff when it's verging on debilitating. Having talked to people in my adulthood about the sensations, I now know I've been HAVING it, on and off, since before puberty. It's a stabby sensation behind my sternum, that I call heartburn now because for a while there it was getting a lot worse/more prevalent, and largely arrived right after I ate fatty stuff. Eating carbs would calm it (and could sometimes completely stave it off; hence eating a few slices of crusty bread after my ice cream).

However, none of the 'take these pills for a month to make your heartburn better' over the counter pills do jack for me. One of them actually made it significantly worse. And being pregnant cut it out comPLETEly, which really doesn't make any sense to most people (as gestation is known to CAUSE reflux, usually). Right now it's well-controlled, as I know how to avoid getting it; I have a bout of it maybe once a month.

RoseG @388 said to my #364: My sister is allergic to both nightshades and roses--particularly hard at this time of year (in the northeast) when vine-ripe tomatoes and new potatoes are temptingly everywhere and we're shading into apple season.

Ouuuuuch. The real killer on rose allergies is how very many things use apple juice for sweetening so they can say 'all natural' or 'no sugar added' or whatnot. Not all rose-allergic people are allergic to the stuff that remains in the juice, but if you are? Massive 'Apple Surprise'. Everywhere.

Roy G. Ovrebo @402 said: My particular accent is text, and my word choice tends to echo the internet more than anything. I tend to think of my own particular brand of English as Internet English. (Though maybe that lumps me in with the Nigerian bankers.) It's, in my case, sort of a generic British English with creeping Americanisms and occasional bits of Scots thrown in.

I first got on the internet in September of 1993, and within a year had a circle of friends I frequently conversed with (on Usenet, MU*s, email, and other ways), many of whom were varying sorts of British. I've been conversing with them so long that I regularly come out with words my husband the precise-speech-fetishist calls 'outlandish,' in that they are in regional dialects not of any region I've ever lived in. I don't even notice that they're not my native idiom anymore, because I moved to the Internet over ten years ago and have now naturalized. :->

A shibboleth I use to see if someone is 'of my tribe' when it comes to internet use: if someone knows how to spell 'anonymous' immediately when asked without even having to stop to think about it, they're probably a well-socialized internetter of longstanding residence.

#429 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 10:13 PM:

Elliott Mason, re being able to spell "anonymous": or they're like me, and tend to visualize the spelling of words automatically.

Continued thanks to all for the great song suggestions--I really appreciate it. It's amazing how even songs you know well (e.g. "The Sun is a Mass of Incandescent Gas") don't immediately come to mind when you try to call up a particular genre or theme ("what songs do I know that reference outer space?"). At least this is easier than trying to find songs for a hippotherapy slide show (must be kid-appropriate, not sad, and not reference drinking or gambling--which eliminates a TON of folk songs about horses).

#430 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 11:22 PM:

Lila @ 427 -- "Glorious Mud", "Hippo In The Bathtub", ... oh.

Cat Faber's "The Seventh Horse". Leslie Fish's "Horsetamer's Daughter" is probably not what you're looking for.

#431 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2010, 11:33 PM:

Mary Aileen 421: Not at all! I can't speak for dcb, of course, but I didn't take it that way.

If anything, my sense is that the problem is people pretending to be you and acting like Allan. If they would be consistent about either, the problem would not exist, but all too often I find meat eaters insisting on ordering only enough veggie food for the vegetarians, and then eating it when it arrives.

#432 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 12:06 AM:

I'm guessing someone here knows what the equivalent term for "speculative fiction" is in Spanish. I'm trying ficción especulativo but am aware this might be an overly literal translation. Yes, it's for school, and yes, I'll tell my teacher I got that help.

(Yes, I'm over fifty, and yes, I can use the Google to occulate the interwebs, but, man, I'm over fifty!)

#433 ::: Laura Runkle ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 12:10 AM:

"Come Take a Trip in My Airship"
Holst's the Planets

Don't Rain on My Parade
Make 'em Laugh

#434 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 12:22 AM:

I haven't seen anyone mention the (Hugo-nominated) second side of Blows against the Empire, repackaged as by Jefferson Starship. "People with a clever plan/can assume the role of the mighty/and hijack the starship..." And one of the best uses of the future perfect in popular music -- "They'll be building it up in the air/Ever since 1980."

And the Moody Blues had a couple of songs in the early years -- haven't listened to those albums in too many years, but To Our Children's Children's Children or A Question of Balance. Pink Floyd's "Interstellar Overdrive" and "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun" are pretty amazing if one likes psychedelia. Neil Young's song "After the Gold Rush" has a verse about silver spaceships.

Not to mention there's lots of space-related anime with theme songs in Japanese that are pretty good.

#435 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 12:29 AM:

Lila @ 350:

"Found A Job"*, by the Talking Heads
"The Flying Wallendas", by the Drive-By Truckers
"Monument Valley Alone"*, by the Drive-By Truckers
"Slapped Actress"*, by the Hold Steady
"Cracked Actor", by David Bowie
"Montgomery Clift", by the Clash

"Spaceman", by Harry Nillson
"Have You Seen The Stars Tonight"*, by Paul Kantner and Jefferson Starship (or the whole Hugo-winning Blows Against The Empire album)
"For Jeffrey, Michael Collins, and Me", by Jethro Tull
"Neil Armstrong,"* by the Dexateens (I love the Dexateens!)

I put asterisks by the happier tunes. Maybe no Sun Ra or Interstellar Space, but Parliament/Funkadelic? Oh, yes.

Don't fall for "Puttin' People on the Moon" or "Space City" by the Drive-By Truckers, or "Whitey on the Moon" by Gil Scott-Heron. Great songs, all of 'em, but not really on point. "The Flying Wallendas" is and is not a sad song, even if it is a sad story.

Oh, and if you use "Stage Fright", I think you have to pair it with Bob Dylan's song on the same subject, "The Drifter's Escape"*. I like the Jimi Hendrix version, but I think it's still pretty hard to find.

The closest I can come with a Warren Zevon song is "My Ride's Here" but I'm almost certain there's a better one.

#436 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 12:30 AM:

Oh yes, and how could I forget Ed Sanders of the Fugs and "Beer Cans on the Moon" -- another album that's not too well known, but the title song is at least a little relevant.

#437 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 12:31 AM:

Oh, of course: "For My Next Trick, I'll Need A Volunteer". Performance as metaphor. Is today the anniversary of his death?

#438 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 12:35 AM:

Damn! "They Moved The Moon", from Transverse City.

#439 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 12:45 AM:

John, you reminded me to suggest Julia Ecklar's "One Man Magical Show", available on the album Divine Intervention.

#440 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 12:47 AM:

Oh and good ghod, how could we all have forgotten "Magic To Do" from Pippin?

#441 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 12:54 AM:

Well, and on the performance front there's stuff from The Producers and Kiss Me, Kate that would fit in quite nicely. "We Open in Venice", for one from the latter.

#442 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 01:03 AM:

Since someone else has already asked for help with their Spanish homework, something's been bugging me about mine. Don't worry, I won't get your answer in time to change what I hand in tomorrow morning; this is just for my information.

Is there a less literal translation of mac & cheese (KD for my Canadian friends) than 'macarrones con queso'? Assuming it's eaten in the non-US Spanish-speaking world at all, that is.

Our first writing assignment for class is to ask a seatmate a series of 'getting to know you' questions, then use their answers to write a paragraph that introduces them to the class. Because this is the sort of group that might find it amusing, I append it here:

Steven es un estudiante trabajador. Él toma cuatro clases este semestre: matemáticas, español, psicología, y religión. Vive en Chicago de todo vida. Tiene veinte años, y no tiene nada hijos. No tiene un película favorita, pero gusto "Poetic Justice" mucho. Gusto comer macarrones con queso también. En las fines de semana, duerme mucho.

This is for Spanish 102, so we're expected to know the basic grammar of how to speak in the present tense, and to have a certain suite of vocabulary at our disposal. I just hope it sounds reasonably like a native speaker (of five years old, or so) could have composed the paragraph, rather than being obviously the broken product of a language-learner.

#443 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 01:22 AM:

Random cat question: I have three, and the kittens want the old cat food, and the old cat wants the kitten food. Big kitty is on prescription c/d for urinary blockage. Kittens are on kitten food. So, I'm not thinking that it's good for them to be sharing. (vet doesn't either)

I've been dealing by watching and pulling the kitten food when they finish, as well as pulling the kittens out of the big cat food. This is not robust, as I'm going to need someone to feed them for a week when I'm gone. The kittens will do fine self regulating, the old cat will turn into a kitty blimp.

Any ideas? All of them can climb, and I don't think that it's likely that I can keep old age and treachery from getting into any semi accessible food. Is there a food that's likely to work for all of them?

#444 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 01:46 AM:

re Magic to Do... D'oh... I was in a production of Pippin. Oi.

Comedy Tonight, from Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

#445 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 01:48 AM:

A Little Night Music, "Heigh-ho the Glamorous Life"

#446 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 02:03 AM:

John A A @433 Sun Ra? Definitely, Space is the Place. (I've occasionally wondered whether that could be doable at a filk convention...)
And so many different things by Jefferson {Airplane/Starship/Whatever}, Have You Seen The Saucers?, various parts of Across The Sea of Suns
Standing on the Moon by the Grateful Dead.

#448 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 04:10 AM:

Lila @350: David Bowie is a rich seam for your second category. There've already been several suggestions, but it appears Life on Mars? has been missed so far.

#449 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 05:01 AM:

From Kiss Me Kate, there's also "Another Op'nin', Another Show":

Another chance that you hope, at last
Will make the future forget the past
Another pain where the ulcers grow
Another op'nin' of another show

(The song's been on my mind quite a bit of late, especially the bridge section counting down to opening night. Our opening night is tomorrow. Our first successful attempt to get through the whole show from beginning to end without stopping was yesterday. Whee.)

#450 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 05:07 AM:

ddb @ #385: Has anybody found a good way to follow the comments to a post at Keeping the tab open and refreshing periodically is the best I've found so far (and that's highly dangerous; it can become a tight loop), and it works less well when I move between computers than I would like.

The way I do it is to bookmark the most recently read comment in each thread (using the permalink attached to the post date). That at least allows me to close the tab and re-open it another day, but it still has the moving-between-computers problem unless you have a portable bookmark set-up of some kind.

#451 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 05:13 AM:

Xopher @ #326:

It is certainly the case that in like circumstances I find myself thinking in the style of whatever I have been reading, but for the most part it colours my writing but little, and my speech not at all. (The latter would, I think, require the flow of my thoughts into speech to be much freer and more fluid than in general it is.)

#452 ::: Sylvia ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 06:07 AM:

Lila @350
These might be the wrong tone but if it's just a case of space references then David Bowie's Space Oddity and Chris De Burgh's A Spaceman Came Travelling would be obvious matches.
Also: Space Truckin' by Deep Purple and Space Pirates by Alice Cooper and Rocket by Smashing Pumpkins. I'd be tempted to include the Star Trek theme tune, too. ;)

#453 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 07:24 AM:

Paul @449,

On occasion, when presenting my thoughts, my turn of phrase will astonish me, and pass unnoticed amongst my audience. One of the pleasant features of this venue is that there are, amongst those present, those who will notice, and express their appreciation. Yet it is also apparent how inadequate some of my formal schooling was. I do not see the need, but I faintly regret that I was not taught to diagram a sentence.

#454 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 07:59 AM:

In re getting the sentiment, "YAY! I want to be a SCIENTIST and go to SPACE!", the best song I know that celebrates it is Cat Faber's Outward Bound. It has the advantage of being to a bouncy traditional American gospel hymn tune, so in a filkcircle half those present probably already have a harmony. :->

A recording was on Echo's Children's 'Under the Gripping Beast,' which is now out of print, but widely owned by filkers.

A relevant sample, for those who don't know the song:

I've bought a tube of vacuum-seal; I figure it can't hurt.
I'm counting every calorie and weighing every shirt.
But I'm going to be a spacer lass, no more to walk the dirt.
And it won't be much longer now.

I've visited the doctor to be sure I wasn't ill I've visited the dentist till she sent me home to chill And just in case things don't work out, I've written out my will-- And it won't be much longer now.
We mean to see a corner of this universe of ours, To watch the shifting heavens and write home about the stars In letters postmarked "Outward Bound" and counter-cancelled "Mars" And it won't be much longer now.

Just posting that I'm tearing up. I hope to God my daughter gets to dream dreams like that; it's too late for me. :-/

#455 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 08:40 AM:

eric @ 411: Any way to rig up somewhere to put the kitten food with a small hole so the kittens can get through to it and the old cat cannot? Maybe a room with the door jammed (using wedges etc.) so it's narrower than adult cat head width?

Mary Aileen @ 421: Nah - your comment reminded me to be careful about the use of "all" or "every". Although I'll nitpic right back by noting that "plain cheese" is a variety of "vegetarian." *grin*

Xopher @ 416: I agree.

ddb @ 384: where expectations play a part in in what one sees My mother-in-law, years ago, looked at the foods on offer in her hospital canteen and beckoned one of the staff over. "Help! I'm Jewish*," she said, "what do I eat?" Every dish was pork or ham. "Oh," said the canteen worker, looking afresh at the dishes, "we hadn't thought of that." She says that after that, they did make sure there was a non-pig dish on the menu each day.**

Xopher @ 429: Agree again. And they dig into the veggie food with utensils dripping in meat and don't understand why the vegetarians are not happy. (Note to canteen workers: using the spoon from the dish of pork chops to serve the vegetarian lasagna to a Jewish vegetarian renders the food instantly inedible).

* She isn't, but was aware that several members of staff were.

** This was long before anyone thought about providing vegetarian meals.

#456 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 09:13 AM:

Wow, more great songs. And these are jostling my memory: I'd forgotten all about Klaatu, another rich seam of space-themed songs.

#457 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 09:23 AM:

Elliot Mason @440: Have the rules on the verb gustar changed? Because gustar and faltar did not take direct objects at last report. (Mrs. Bell spent a week trying to cram that into our heads and then we got workarounds. Mrs. Bell, I think, taught us more Yiddish than Spanish.)

#458 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 09:29 AM:

D Potter @ 455... I have a photo of you from when we met on July 16. Do you mind if I add it to the "Making Light and Faces" gallery?

#459 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 09:43 AM:

Lila@350: (this seems to be where the "space" songs thread started) I can't find mention of a few favorites. On Emerson, Lake, and Palmer's Brain Salad Surgery, the "third impression" in Karn Evil 9 is SF themed with suggestions of space travel. Yes has a song commonly known as "Starship Trooper". And let us not forget the one-shot album Intergalactic Touring Band.

From the filk world, for what you're looking for, you absolutely must have Leslie Fish's "Hope Eyrie".

#460 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 09:52 AM:

Here's what I told my teacher after her critique of my first draft:

I changed to "ficción especulativa" as a literal translation of "speculative fiction". I've got a query out to fellow readers of such to find if that is the term in use in Spanish. It's a broader term than "science fiction", as it includes fantasy, alternate history, and the more literary works which fall into its purview. I could say "ciencia ficción" but I don't think it's accurate. Here, I think I should explain or drop the term. True?

#461 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 10:30 AM:

#458 John A Arkansawyer

"la narrativa especulativa" is more up-to-date.

Here's a web citation to support the assertion.

Love, C.

#462 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 10:42 AM:

Elliot Mason #426, Lila #427:

Or you're like me, been around even a little bit longer, and the random association test for "anonymous" always pops out "guest".

#463 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 10:47 AM:

Lila @350:

Ah, that brings back fond memories of Clouds Across the Moon

"Good evening. This is the intergalactic operator. Can I help you?"
"Yes. I'm trying to reach flight commander P.R. Johnson, on Mars, flight 2-4-7"

#464 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 10:48 AM:

Jacque #411: And Jalapeños Are Not Food. Just sayin' (Nope, no food prejudices here!)

There are five food groups, and the name of the fifth is ... Hot.

#465 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 10:51 AM:

D. Potter @445 said in reply to my Spanish homework @440: Have the rules on the verb gustar changed? Because gustar and faltar did not take direct objects at last report. (Mrs. Bell spent a week trying to cram that into our heads and then we got workarounds. Mrs. Bell, I think, taught us more Yiddish than Spanish.)

I was trying (rustily, after a gap of a month since taking 101) to use the 'me gusto' reflexive construction. I was using it ritualistically instead of realizing DUH IT IS A VERB YOU CONJUGATE, and I needed to put it into third person and use the right pronoun to indicate that HE is the one that likes it, not me. The 'form-of-gustar +infinitive' construction I used to talk about his favorite food is definitely something we did in exercises last semester, so that's fair, but I'm not sure about the other use.

Oh well. I'm still more comfortable than most of my classmates in trying to fling myself off the cliff and communicate in Spanish with the teacher, so that'll count for something until I get my grammatical ducks back in neat tidy rows. :->

In re teachers and their personalities (and trying to keep this of general interest to Fluorospherians), my Spanish 101 teacher is American of Mexican descent, bilingual and bicultural. She told us that she never uses the second-person-informal stuff (vosotros forms, for those who know what I'm talking about), but that it's in the textbook, and if any of us intended to travel to Spain (the only people that use it), we'd need to know it or people would look at them funny.

This semester, my teacher is from Spain. In the initial 'do I belong in this class' review session, she gridded out the six verb persons, and when she got to vosotros, pointed at it and said, "Nobody uses this. *I* use this, when I am home [in Spain on vacation] with my family, but I get off the plane here and poof, it goes out of my head. Only about forty million people out of everyone who speaks Spanish ever use this. It is in the textbook, but I will not teach it."

I was amazed both that she was willing to cut out something that's in her native dialect, and that she thought forty million people was a SMALL number. I mean, it is, compared to all people who speak Spanish worldwide, but still. :-> My 101 teacher was careful to mark for us things that are dialectical variants she grew up with that are perhaps nonstandard (both so we can use them and blend in, and so we can NOT use them in more formal contexts). I hope this one will too; I find the regionalisms as fascinating in Spanish as I do in English.

#466 ::: JCarson ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 11:05 AM:

Elliott @463 "...if any of us intended to travel to Spain (the only people that use it), we'd need to know it or people would look at them funny."

This is very true - none of my high-school Spanish teachers bothered to teach us vosotros forms, and then I spent six weeks in Spain during college - I got a crash course in it, particularly since it's the form most teachers use when talking to a group of students (I like to think of it as "y'all" for Spaniards). My main issue was actually the drilled verb tenses where you go through the conjugation very fast and almost automatically (soy/eres/es/somos/son) and having to add it back in (soy/eres/es/somos/sois/son). So don't ignore it entirely if you're going to Spain someday - it is very useful there.

#467 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 11:14 AM:

Anne Sarkovoy, "Harbors".

#468 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 11:30 AM:

dcb (453): You're right, of course, about the plain cheese; I was parsing "vegetarian" as "vegetables". So we were both a bit imprecise. :)

I had been focused on the linguistic point ("all"). Then when I saw Xopher's #416, I was suddenly afraid I'd put my foot in it; I couldn't tell if he was upset with me or just providing another data point. I'm very glad to hear that it was the latter.

#469 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 11:39 AM:

Dave Luckett @ 465 -- "Harbors" is by Anne Passovoy.

#470 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 11:47 AM:

Since there are some particular rules about what makes something meat/dairy/tref, the Jews I know who keep kosher tend to eat vegetarian; and often uncooked, vegetarian, in places which serve meat.

joann: I like "hot", but I'm with Jacque. The taste of jalpeños is what I don't like. As a note in "nacho" cheese, it's ok, but as a general rule, unpleasant.

#471 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 11:53 AM:

And reaching WAY back for space themed songs, I submit:

"Calling Occupants of Interplanatary Craft" performed by the Carpenters

#472 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 11:57 AM:

I know plenty of Jews who eat pork. I know a few Jews who keep kosher. I believe it's fairly common for Jews who do not keep kosher to still avoid eating pork, though I don't remember any in my acquaintance.

I know one Jew who does not eat pork, except for things he was used to eating before he discovered they were pork (such as pepperoni). (He makes no religious claims about his behavior in this regard.)

#473 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 12:09 PM:

I wonder if Sarah Brightman's "Starship Trooper" is still on YouTube. Not for the faint of heart.

#474 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 12:36 PM:

Holy Modal Rounders: Hey Mr. Spaceman (not the same song the Byrds do)
Van der Graaf Generator: The Pioneers Over C

Franklin Bruno: The Death Of Vaudeville

#475 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 12:38 PM:

I provide, for amusement (and envy) Buddha's (no longer just) Veggie Restaurant conveniently located to the me. Chinese, family style, and the meat-eaters probably won't realize until the vegetarian starts eating *their* food.

Yes, in general, "order enough for the vegetarians and then eat it yourself" is a good way to make enemies (and I would guess it tends to lead to pieces of Carnivore's Delight going "missing" and reappearing, upside-down, on said cow-orkers' chairs a day or two later). Never mind the great variety of vegetarian pizza on offer...

I've never understood the "get one vegetarian dish because there's one vegetarian". I can see half, but I would have thought (from the omni's perspective) of minimum 4/10, going up in percentage as the table gets smaller, no less than 2 ("the great variety..." again). But then again, I think that's a reasonable mix anyway. If it's the kind of place where there aren't multiple vegetarian dishes worth eating even if you're not vegetarian, maybe you should have picked a different place to take the vegetarian to?

I've never tried sauerkraut and pineapple. It would either be incredible or horrible.

It's odd, now that I think about it, that I like "Hawaiian" pizza. I am very strongly of the opinion that ham (or any cured meat) should be *salty*, not sweet, and all the sauces people put on roast ham I have to scrape off and hope not too much gets into the meat. I think that the difference with that pizza is that the amount of pineapple is so small that it doesn't affect the "ham" taste - it's distinct, not combined, if that makes any sense.

Ginger: I don't normally go in with the "good luck"s or "sorry"s or such that come through, because although I do feel that way, I tend to get annoyed by generic repeated stuff from people I hardly know when it comes to me. But what you're going through speaks to me, and I do wish you the best of luck with it. In my case it was "fatal 'forms of communication' mismatch", not *exactly* lying, but that doesn't change the "if I can't trust what you were saying about *this*, what can I trust of what you were saying?" In this time of trial, you have my best wishes and what support (random, straight, male, non-U.S-resident) I can give you.

#476 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 12:55 PM:

dcb@453: I find myself a little dubious. On the one side we put the people who don't keep kosher strictly enough to be worried whether the ladle which is giving them lasagna just touched a pork chop; on the other side we put the people who dismiss the entire cafeteria as tref and bring their own food. You're worried about the people who fall in between, and I can't help thinking that's a pretty narrow target.

#477 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 01:01 PM:

Mycroft W @ 473 -- If it's the kind of place where there aren't multiple vegetarian dishes worth eating even if you're not vegetarian, maybe you should have picked a different place to take the vegetarian to?

Sometimes there are other priorities -- the mediocre restaurant is handicapped-accessible while the good restaurant isn't, for example. But since the group always ends up going to that mediocre restaurant for that reason, this vegetarian hasn't gone to dinner with the rest of the group for several years. (There are other factors that have also deterred me lately, but the unappetizing food options were the first and biggest.)

#478 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 01:06 PM:

#350 Lila
Fire in the Sky by Jordin Kare
Planet-Bound Lovers
Much stuff by the late Cynthia McQuillen
Then there's always Banned from Argo for the irreverent. It got to the level corresponding to House of the Rising for overexposure years ago, which meant it went out o the repetory for years....
Harbors by Anne Passavoy
There's the Pegasus Awards website, which might be off

#479 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 01:09 PM:

Great-walling (family-style) is certainly more complex when there are a small number of people with restrictive food rules (religious, medical, preference) in the group.

We frequently get fewer total dishes than people in the group; I have the sense that some of the discussion is based on what we'd call "n dishes" (one per person; as opposed to n-1 or n-2 or whatever). If it were me in that situation I'd certainly just go solo. If carnivores or whatever were interested in more dishes edible by the special case, then there might be a worthwhile swap possible.

If there's only one thing the person can eat in the set, they're not getting any benefit from being in the "great wall" group at all, it seems like. (And may lose enough of their dish to others to matter.)

#480 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 01:31 PM:

Terry Karney @ 468: Yes, that's a useful work-around, and can be easier to explain (there was the time, back when I was a child and still ate meat, that we were offered rabbit, "since we know you can't eat pork.")

I find the Kosher "Parve" mark really useful to confirm something is vegetarian, when the ingredients list isn't quite clear (okay, I have to check it doesn't contain fish).

ddb: Yes, many Jews continue with a deep-seated aversion to pork even if not otherwise keeping kosher. And many Jews who wouldn't dream of touching pork or bacon will nevertheless eat shellfish.

Mycroft W @ 473: If it's the kind of place where there aren't multiple vegetarian dishes worth eating even if you're not vegetarian, maybe you should have picked a different place to take the vegetarian to? Can I hug you? So many meat eaters I know think I should consider myself lucky that the restaurant offers a single vegetarian dish - even when it's based on spinach, which I loath, or manages to be deficient in both protein and vegetables (which a surprisingly large number of chefs manage).

#481 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 01:45 PM:

Are there any varieties of cuisine which are normally better places to take vegetarians? I know that Indian is generally fairly good, and I would think (based on my experiences here) that Middle Eastern buffets would pass muster, but I'm not sure about other styles.

#482 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 01:50 PM:

Xopher @326, I do that with E.R. Eddison. It can be disconcerting when I go all Goldry Bluzco on someone.

Ginger @311, if you do make that cross-country trip, think about a stop-over in Oklahoma City, and we can commiserate and tell each other stories.

In hyper-local news, Woman Finds Percoset Very Nice for Dental Pain, but Can Only Take Two Doses in a Row Unless Desiring Major Wooziness. Also, Waiting Impatiently for Pain of Having Jaw Jerked Around to Subside. In Culinary News, High Probability of Soup for Dinner.

I find I have a somewhat idiosyncratic reaction to painkillers. Perhaps TMI, but during my period they just don't do much good. It takes about a triple dose of Novocaine to have any effect. I also had a slightly sadistic orthodontist growing up, and a rather rough-handed dentist. But -- I firmly believe that the twice-annual dental cleaning and check-up is the best thing you can do for your general health, not just your dental health, and I keep that up even if I skip the GP or the optometrist.

#483 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 01:54 PM:

Also, depending on contexts it seems these usages are literately acceptable: literatura especulativa, narrativa conjetural, literatura fantástica.

I do not know if various Spanish speaking regions favor, 'privilege'? one term over another though.

It isn't a subject that comes up in conversations about music, history, politics, romance, love and sex, food, etc. which, by me, are conducted mostly with Cubans, Puerto Ricans and people from the Dominican Republic. Not so much with people who are from Spain.

Love, C.

#484 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 01:55 PM:

Seethe not the kid in its mother's milk.

Oh...OK, so we're not supposed to eat goat and milk together.

No, Moses. Listen. Seethe not the kid in its mother's milk.

So no meat of any kind with any milk product. Righto.

That's not what I said, Moses. Seethe not the kid in its mother's milk.

Ohhhh, I get it, so the meat and the milk shouldn't touch the same plates and utensils. Probably shouldn't have them less than a few hours apart either, huh? I'm gonna need more plates....

Fine, Moses, fine. You do what you want.

#485 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 01:59 PM:

Lee @#479: If the vegetarians in question eat dairy, Italian food generally offers a lot of meat-free options. (There are one or two meat-and-cheese-free options in most Italian places, but not more than one or two, in my experience).

#486 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 02:05 PM:

re 374: It is not uncommon for travelling Orthodox Jews to compromise on utensils but not ingredients, which led to the following incident:

Back in 1997 I was travelling regularly to Lincoln, NE, where one of the places we would eat was the Green Gateau (it's still there and still good). In this case I was with my Italian Catholic boss and an Orthodox co-worker, whose rule when travelling was that she would eat fish and vegetables but no meats. The GG is sort of place that types up a menu every day, and here we are, and the fish dish features "walleye", which some will recognize as a kind of pike. Well. Not all sorts of fishes are kosher, so we discuss this, and I assure her that walleye is OK, but just to check, she speaks to the waitress (probably a Cornhusker coed) and says, "I want to ask a question about the walleye", and before she can get another word out, my boss says, "she wants to know if it has fins and scales." And with an expression halfway between "eeww" and embarassment, she says, "I don't think so...." Whereupon we reassured her that it didn't have to have them on now. The next night we ate at the hotel second-string restaurant, where the fish was wahoo. At that point my co-worker gave up and had a salad.

#487 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 02:07 PM:

Mary Aileen 466: Actually I hadn't even noticed your comment when I corroborated dcb's. I was purely providing another data point. And as far as I can recall, I've never been upset with you on any topic.

Lori 469: "Calling Occupants of Interplanatary Craft" performed by the Carpenters

I much prefer the original Klaatu version, personally, though Karen C. did have a nice voice.

#488 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 02:16 PM:

David Goldfarb: Well, I'm in what you consider that "pretty narrow target" set, so maybe (as indicated by ddb @ 384 we're back to "where expectations play a part in what one sees"). I'm not happy to eat my vegetarian food if it's been served with meat-contaminated utensils, and I was brought up keeping Kosher, so it remains, for me, a double-whammy if the meat in question is pork. On a flight I was offered French toast with sausage on it; when I said I was vegetarian I was told "well, just take the sausage off". Nope, doesn't work like that.

In my experience there are a lot of Jews - most of the (UK) Reform Jews I know and whose eating habits I am aware of - who do not eat pork etc., but don't worry about whether the beef or lamb is Kosher in terms of having been stamped by the Beth Din. Maybe the percentage in that group is smaller where you are?

Lee @ 479: Yes, Indian is usually pretty good (I like the places which offer a vegetarian Thali, so I can have a variety of dishes easily, if ordering on a one-by-one basis. Italian generally offers several vegetarian sauce/pasta combinations as well as pizzas. Asian noodle bars and similar are variable, but often include several vegetaran options (or, more practically, one or two vegetarian options, to be served with plain rice, fried rice, fried noodles, thin noodles or broad ribbon noodles).

#489 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 02:17 PM:

Mycroft @ 473: It helps knowing that I'm not the only one who's ever been deceived or misled, or found themselves in this kind of situation. And some of my best friends have been straight male non-USian.

Lee @ 479: Italians tend to have nice vegetable dishes, such as pasta primavera. Some of the Argentinian churrascarias also have extensive salad buffets, but they're not really good places for vegetarians unless this is a department function. Japanese restaurants, particularly the ones where sushi is made on premises usually have a lot of vegetarian items along with the sushi.

I'm getting hungry.

Janet Brennan Croft @ 480: I spent a semester at Oklahoma State U, and used to drive over to OK City for the bookstores. Tulsa had better stuff, but I remember the drive. I'll make a note to include you in my cross country trip, and hope I can do this soon!

#490 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 02:21 PM:

In Minneapolis we have good luck with some but not all Vietnamese and Chinese restaurants for vegetarians and vegans. Several of them have several "mock duck" dishes in addition to other options. Plus fish and seafood (which are useful options for some people with dietary restrictions).

And then there's Evergreen Chinese, on Nicollet Ave. just a bit south of 26th St., which has full meat plus about everything on the menu made with mock duck, mock pork, mock beef, and so forth, all really good.

#491 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 02:24 PM:

Nicole way back@183 re: cats and mice . . . My adult adoption cat (from a shelter that was not no-kill, which is why I went there looking for a grown-up kitty) began killing mice about a year after coming to live with us. I don't know whether he had done so before but his early technique was a little ragged. In the last couple of years he has become very, very good at it--silent, fast, no-muss-no-fuss. He left the corpses--intact and stiff--for me to clean up (good kitty).

Last night I discovered that he's fully capable of eating what he kills. He left only the tail.

I'm a little squicked out.

Part of me is proud that he's fulfilling his feline obligations (he still gets plenty of food, of course, as mice do not make daily appearances in my apartment; they turn up every few months). Part of me is worried that we'll start finding _parts_ (which will terrify/freak out my teenage daughter). And part of me just doesn't ever want to hear the bones crunching ever ever again. So maybe what it is is that I'm having trouble with the idea of him really being a predator instead of just a killer?

He's such a good boy, though, and it's kind of amazing to see his instincts coming to the fore. He's really proud of himself when he gets a mouse--if someone's home, once it's dead, he comes right over to be petted and praised. (He's become much more social since he started hunting.)

Paula@243 and others: I had my first two root canals when I was 16 (fell down, hit face on floor). . . and, in the last few years, having at least one and as many as three in a year (bad genes and bad childhood dentistry). I am lucky to have use a dental practice where, when you say, "I need at least twice as much pain relief as you would ordinarily give" they take you seriously. For one procedure, last year, the dentist had to drill a hole in my jaw in order to properly numb a nerve that would not go to sleep.

Previously I went to a dentist who didn't quite believe me about pain meds . . . he thought I was completely numb (and I was, admittedly, pretty numb) until the drill went into an area that was live and I grabbed his wrist and forcibly removed his hand from my mouth. I'm not sure which of us was more startled by the speed of my reaction, but at the time, I had been fencing for several years and my reflexes were pretty sharp.

My dentist often asks if I get toothaches. I don't. I might feel a twinge or two, and then days/weeks/months later, a tooth will shatter in my mouth. I broke one on egg salad this spring. So I'm sensitive to dental pain but otherwise I don't have pain even when my teeth are dying.

After a root canal I always have a headache but I rarely have pain. The dentist gives me generic vicodin and I might take one the first day. Otherwise, Tylenol is just fine.

Elliott@364: I am, alas, all too familiar with Pepper Surprise. Since bell peppers and chilis seem to have a mildly neurotoxic effect on me (tingling in fingers, toes, and tongue), I try very very hard to avoid them. And they're in a lot more stuff now than they were 10-15 years ago. Drat it.

This also causes no end of trouble when there's pizza around at work, as if I'm not in the mood for pepperoni or sausage, I pretty much have to have plain, because the only veggie type ordered always has peppers on it.

And my favorite pizza place near home--the one that did a spinach and broccoli pie that was YUM--has gone under.

#492 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 02:32 PM:

Dave Bell @451:
Yet it is also apparent how inadequate some of my formal schooling was.

Please remember that one of the people whose name is on the URL never finished high school. And then quit worrying about formal schooling. You write good stuff.

joann @460:
Or you're like me, been around even a little bit longer, and the random association test for "anonymous" always pops out "guest".

We run in different circles; I get "coward".

Mark @482:
I rarely find it congenial to poke at people's dietary or religious choices. You've managed to do both at once, in a conversation where it is particularly disruptive and rude.

#493 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 02:38 PM:

abi, perhaps rather than assuming, you might ask those among us who were raised in the orthodox Jewish faith whether they were offended. Such as...myself.

#494 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 02:43 PM:

re my #399:
The shoulder is doing somehat better today. Tylenol, Celebrex for inflammation, Sombra (a mildly analgesic massage lotion), and Vicodan for sleeptime all help.

Interesting times trying to do stuff with only one arm and/or very limited use of the left. Getting Hilde's wheelchair in/out of the car last night was -very- interesting. (Ended up putting my good arm underneath the folded-up seat-bottom and making like a one-tined forklift.)

The fall (onto the kitchen floor) was the end result of a Rube Goldbergesque series of events: if THIS hadn't happened, then THAT wouldn't have happened, then THE OTHER THING wouldn't have happened, and there wouldn't have been water all over the kitchen floor.

- - - - -

re pizza: seconding someone's data point above that delivery orders for anchovy pizza tend to be pranks. About 50%, from my delivery experience 40 years ago.

I once ordered a local parlor's vegetarian pizza, along with the usual Pretty Darn Good meat pizza i'd had many times before. I was expecting mushrooms, onions, olives -- the usual stuff pizza parlors use for veggie pizzas.

When it arrived, it came with broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots.

That was not a pizza. That was a crime.

#495 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 02:48 PM:

Curious. Comment being held for review. No links included.

Is the word spelled r, u, b, e considered offensive perhaps? Or maybe because I included the names of a number of medications, it was considered potential spam?

#496 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 02:48 PM:

dcb @453:

I like your mother in law.

A friend and I did something similar in college. We were living in a student co-op where the residents did the cooking as part of their workshifts. There was supposed to be a vegetarian option with every dinner, but often all the veggies got was cauliflower with cheese.

So she and I—both carnivores*—decided we'd bid to cook one night a week, and make it a vegetarian night with a vegan option.

There were shrieks of horror. There was argument and wrath. That there should be one night a week with no dead animals on the plate! The house meeting where we brought this up was memorable†.

We did it anyway: curries, stir fry, vegetarian soups, burritos, things like that. Lots of flavor, no scary-looking things like tofu. The vegetarians in the house stopped looking quite so wan and pale, and a number of the carnivores admitted as how you could actually have some pretty good stuff without meat in it.

* Well, when we started. Halfway through the year she came out to herself, and me, as a vegetarian.
† We did mistime it. This was an all-female co-op, so one weekly house meeting in four was generally a disaster‡. Unfortunately, this came up in one of those meetings.
‡ Synchronicity is not always a good thing.

#497 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 02:50 PM:

Well, having had formal schooling that was inadequate seems like something worth regretting at least a little bit. One can and should make up perceived deficits (well, those of significant priority).

Having skipped formal schooling and become "extremely adequate" on your own is fine of course.

As we've demonstrated recently, even having an LSU degree is not in and of itself enough to win one respect around here!

#498 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 02:58 PM:

Mark @490:

So I, and every one else here, knew when they read it that you were raised Absent any visible in-group indicator, that comment was indistinguishable from the sort of poking that discussions that touch on religion attract. And because these discussions do strike so close to the heart, I'm pretty militant about things that so closely resemble trolling.

(I usually include a disclaimer or footnote to that effect in my in-joke comments, specifically to avoid this kind of awkwardness.)

#499 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 02:59 PM:

Lila @350: playlists ... her baby sister just started college, with the aim of going to Mars as a mission specialist.

The opening score to the movie Mars Needs Women? No?

As previously mentioned, Holst, of course. I like the Tomita version.

Terry Karney @468: I can't deal with hot. At all. I've concluded that anything above 5 scovilles is over my limit. This is an exageration, but not by much.

Gary Farber once "kindly" offered to cook dinner for "us." He used those peppers whose color suggests they should glow in the dark. After sauteeing for five minutes, I had to start opening doors and windows. "It's getting cold in here!" (It was February.) "Uh...yeah..." At least I knew not to try eating the stuff.

That's okay, though. He absentmindedly wiped his eyes before he'd washed his hands. I didn't gloat. Much.

On the topic of pork: Over the weekend, I watched the movie Raveous, which is about cannibalism. In the commentaries, Robert Carlyle points out one scene where he's actually eating a raw pork chop. <shudder> This is not something one wants to do in the US. (They were filming in Slovakia.)

Janet Brennan Croft @480: I commend to your attention my Cream of Dinner Soup recipe, originally designed for just such occassions.

#500 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 03:02 PM:

abi@493: Sounds like you and your friend were better cooks than the student vegetarians that I met back when (which was pretty early for vegetarian food in the Midwest; 1972-77 were my college years).

I can do okay on vegetarian. It's vegan I really can't eat happily for any length of time. And there's probably a vegan chef somewhere who does all sorts of great things I just haven't met yet.

#501 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 03:04 PM:

Abi @ 495... you were raised

Not like Whorf, I hope.

#502 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 03:17 PM:

Mark @ 490: Well, I (Reform) was giving you the benefit of the doubt and was just sighing and about to start on an explaination of the original reasoning, and the microbiological reasons why keeping meat and milk separate is a good idea, but now I won't bother.

abi: On behalf of those long-ago vegetarian students, a heartfelt thank you! And yes, it's amazing when meat-eaters (or do you prefer to be called carnivores?) discover that, really, there are nice vegetarian dishes.

ddb @ 497: there are good vegan dishes, but unfortunately they do seem to be swamped by the ones claiming loudly "I'm GOOD! and HEALTHY! and VIRTUOUS!". Indian dishes are a good place to start (some nice spices). Also, some of it is familiarity. I made a conscious effort, starting about a year ago, to eat lentils more often. Now I like both the taste and texture, I'm using different types for different dishes, and I'm learning more dishes to make. I particularly appreciate the yellow mung dal - about 30 grams of protein and only 315 calories, per 100g, makes it great for someone trying to keep their protein intake up while still watching calorie intake.

#503 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 03:21 PM:

Jacque, yes, I vaguely remember you posting that before. And a bonus smoothie recipe for my breakfast! Printed and on hand for later trip to the store. I may try some finely broken-up Dreamfields vermicelli for the grainy bit.

I just hope this calms down by Friday, when I'm giving a start of the new school year party. I hate to be the untrustworthy-looking host saying "Try this! No, I can't have any, but I assure you it's good!"

#504 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 03:33 PM:

re chinese food: I am croggled at the idea of a "family style" meal with only one vegetarian dish. More than that I am croggled at the idea of that many meat-eaters who lack either the interest, or the manners, to allow for ordering things like snow peas and water chestnuts, long-beans with nuts, vegetable fried rice, or the mixed vegetable dishes (to list the ones I think of as being default on pretty much every menu (Ok, the long beans I sometimes can't find) I see in chinese restaurants.

Jacque: I'd much rather eat raw pork in the US than in Slovakia. The last case of commercially vectored trichinoses in the US was in the '50s. Central Europe still has pork fed on slops.

That's risky.

#505 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 03:37 PM:

Mark: I saw the orthodox elements in that (the treble repetition of the prohibition being the starting point of all the meat/dairy restrictions), and it still rang a bit off to me. There was no context. No way for us to know (if we didn't already) that this is a trendline in orthodox humor.

Instead it read (to me) as if it might be someone saying... look at all those silly rules. Why make it so hard, just do what the book says, if you have to obey those rules.

As abi said, context matters. I don't want to be a concern troll but in this case, tone seems to be the thing which caused the trouble (and lord knows I've stepped in that puddle once or twice).

#506 ::: jnh ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 03:38 PM:

Mark @490:
As a Jew, when you tell that joke, you are poking fun at your own tribe. If someone from outside the tribe were to use that joke, it would be hard to discern the actual intent, and there is great possibility for offense (in this case having an outsider interpret religious text (and commentary)). Sometimes you need to be explicit about context, this would be one of those times, especially since the Yiddish accent that joke is usually told in doesn't make it across the Intertubes.
As a different example, a black person can use the n-word to co-opt it in ways that potentially soften its meaning. If I were to use it, it has a different observed meaning (the intent of the speaker is immaterial, how it is heard is what counts).
I think of abi as Cobalt* — an amazing shade of brilliant blue, but one of her roles is to keep the core from getting too hot.

*Well, now I do.

#507 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 03:42 PM:

dcb@499: The normal gobi paratha recipe has yogurt in the dough, and uses ghee, but those are both easily fixed, and the result is vegan and just as good as the original (still really labor-intensive though). That was in my repertoire before Pamela went vegan for a while, and I still like it.

An awful lot of other vegetarian recipes fall for me into the category of vegetarian recipes that could be improved by the addition of a small amount of meat. I can eat them happily enough, but they're not as good as alternatives for me.

Lentils are great, though. There's a family lentil cassoulet recipe that I love -- but it depends on sweet Italian sausage to be really great. And lentil soup. And split pea soup (much better with a ham bone though).

#508 ::: jnh ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 03:56 PM:

Sorry, Mark. Didn't mean to pile on, I didn't hear the keys madly tapping in the distance.

#509 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 04:00 PM:

ddb @ 504: An awful lot of other vegetarian recipes fall for me into the category of vegetarian recipes that could be improved by the addition of a small amount of meat. For me, a lot of vegan dishes can be improved by the addition of a little grated cheese.

#510 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 04:00 PM:

Bruce Arthurs:

Drug names are frequently Words of Power. They were in this case. I've released and cleaned up the numbering.

#511 ::: jnh ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 04:11 PM:

abi @ 493:
I once made a gluten-free Vegan dish for a Red Cross pot-luck in order to Make A Point even though I'm a dedicated Carnivore*.

*Actually, we prefer to be called "Those who chase down helpless cute little fuzzy animals, tear them to pieces, and gorge themselves on the dripping flesh while the echoes of the animals' anguished screams of horribly painful death echoing in the distance" but it is a little long, and makes some overly sensitive wusses squeamish. "Carnivore" is more politically correct.

#512 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 04:33 PM:

re meat/mouthfeel:

Fat is really useful. Oils will do some of the work, but a lower melting point is really the ticket for carrying flavor.

So, butter/ghee, will allow for some pretty good workarounds for things like "italian" sausage. A bit of fennel, crushed, and then heated in the ghee, will carry the essence of the sweet. Toss in some pepper flakes to make the hot.

Similar tricks work for most things which, "want" meat. Find the crucial spice, and make a fat carry it.

#513 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 04:37 PM:

jnh @503: I think of abi as Cobalt* — an amazing shade of brilliant blue, but one of her roles is to keep the core from getting too hot.

Hee! I love this!

I just had my appreciation of abi's skills renewed by venturing someplace into the Internet where she's not. Forgots mah sunscreen, ah did.

ddb @497: I can do okay on vegetarian. It's vegan I really can't eat happily for any length of time.

I'm slowly coming around to the vegetarian side of the Force. I find the biggest deficiency in vegetarian cuisine for me is the general absence of fats. Keeping that in mind and loading up on things like olive oil and avacado, I find myself far more convinced of the viability of a vegetarian diet than previously. Right now I'm kind of aiming for the "Weekend Carnivore" school. I figure if I manage to eat veg most days, that will be a net improvement.

I just very recently ran into the kosher-like aversion to cross-contamination between veg and carn. Startled me, and would be something I would have to put a lot of conscious attention into respecting were I in a position to need to.

But it certainly doesn't make any less sense than a lot of food prejudices I've encountered in my day.

Janet Brennan Croft @500: And a bonus smoothie recipe for my breakfast!

Heh. Smoothies, good! A friend once pointed out to me, when I was off my feed because of medical issues, that you can sneak an amazing amount of nutrition into a fruit smoothie.

When I'm feeling really organized, I assemble smoothie kits (in the mixer/mug containers for my Magic Bullet blender) and stick a whole row of them in my freezer.

The trick, of course, is to get organized enough to get organized. *Sigh*

dcb @506: For me, a lot of vegan dishes can be improved by the addition of a little grated cheese.

Which, of course, makes them non-vegan. ;) Apparently one wants to be mindful even with a lot of the "vegetarian" cheeses, because they often have rennet to make them melt properly. But, yes. Cheese very nicely and reliably addresses the whole fats issue.

Actually, my mother had a sneaky trick for giving savor to a lack-luster gravy: she'd add a dab of peanut butter. I've used a similar trick to make my vegetarian meals seem more satisfying.

jnh @508: Actually, we prefer to be called "Those who chase down helpless cute little fuzzy animals, tear them to pieces, and gorge themselves on the dripping flesh while the echoes of the animals' anguished screams of horribly painful death echoing in the distance"

I have a whole collection of sound effects I make appropriate to various moods and situations. When I'm really ticked off, I can make a fairly convincing couger snarl (if I do say so myself).

I once unthinkingly did that in response to dropping a messy something on my living room floor. There was a frantic mad scramble for cover, and when I looked up, all of my guinea pigs were peeking out at me with horrified looks in their eyes.

Took 'em better part of a day to decide that Mommie hadn't suddenly decided to feast on guinea pig for dinner.

#514 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 04:38 PM:

And, of course, Terry, who actually Knows What He's Talking About, says what I meant, only clearer and shorter.

#515 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 04:42 PM:

jnh @ #508, your tribe hasn't yet discovered fire?

#516 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 04:58 PM:

Jacque @510: I just very recently ran into the kosher-like aversion to cross-contamination between veg and carn. Startled me, and would be something I would have to put a lot of conscious attention into respecting were I in a position to need to.

In my house, we call those "meat cooties." Not an issue at home, since the only "meat" that ever gets prepared here is the occasional tuna salad, and my co-diners acknowledge that a properly washed metal or glass mixing bowl doesn't acquire cooties, but a shared grill at a BBQ or the bacon-grease-covered flattop at a diner where the home fries are sitting may become a matter of concern.

#517 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 05:00 PM:

I was reading it as something like Cosby's 'Noah', actually.

#518 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 05:02 PM:

#365 ddb
Someone you know in Worcester has bad reactions to bell peppers but not hot peppers.

I too detest mayonnaise....

#364 Eliott
Salad dressings and I think canned (in glass) artichokes tend to include bell pepper, too....

I read something somewhere within the past few weeks that regularly eating cilantro the "soapy" taste goes away, and apparently similiar things can happen with other foodstuffs.

#335 Dave Howell
I was somewhere where a pizz delivery got made, and I left the room because the odor of the ham/pineapple pizza was churning my guts to where the contents were threatening to reverse their direction of travel.

#519 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 05:02 PM:

dcb@506: Oh, yes, cheese is very useful. And the fake cheeses are so completely and totally unsatisfactory (the fake meats are better).

Terry@509: Certainly people who understand and use fats well get better results than those who don't. I don't find the fakes better than about third-rate in comparison to the real thing though.

#520 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 05:05 PM:

Jacque @510 -- it's not the rennet in "vegetarian" cheeses, which is usually a vegetable coagulant, it's the casein in soy or rice "cheeses" which is included for melting purposes, not that it actually does much GOOD. Casein is fine if you're avoiding dairy cheese because of the lactose or the cholesterol; it's not a good idea if you have a bona fide milk ALLERGY instead of lactose intolerance, or if you want your "cheese" to be vegan or pareve.

Why, yes, I check on the vegetarian rennet, which is why the fresh mozzarella balls have to come from Whole Foods and not from Stop & Shop; why, no, we don't eat the soy "cheese," because it is a substance almost but not entirely unlike cheese.

The Tofutti "better than cream cheese" stuff isn't half bad, though.

#521 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 05:08 PM:

Jacque @ 510: thanks for the tip about peanut butter - never thought to use it that way.

As for fats, I had an interesting experience some years back, when I suddenly found myself craving fats - lathering margarine thickly onto bread and eating it. Which, for someone who always found butter too rich and didn't even put marg on bread (just put the jam or whatever on the bread), was - unexpected. I decided I was probably low on fat-soluble vitamins or essential fatty acids, so my body made fats "taste better" to make me eat them (I was already vege., but cycling 10+ miles a day and by no means limiting calorie intake). After a few months, the craving died down, but I still liked fats more than I had done - and I still do.

Re cheeses: if thy're labelled vegetarian then, at least over here, they have to be made with non-animal rennet.

Bruce Arthurs @ 491: Sympathies again for the shoulder - I take it you did dislocate it? How long was in out for?

Re. pizza, I agree: I like cauli, broccoli and carrots - but NOT on pizza (I tried broccoli on pizza, once).

#522 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 05:08 PM:

P J Evans @514 I've heard Mark deliver that comment, pretty much verbatim, in person. (More than once. We used to be married.) The delivery is modeled very closely on Bill Cosby's "Noah" routine.

#523 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 05:13 PM:

Last week I wanted to go for a browned-sausage dish (in cream sauce, with sage). But I was in a mediocre grocery store and didn't see any decent-looking sausage.

I wound up grating a sweet potato and sauteing the stuff in oil, along with shredded oyster mushrooms . Threw in chopped walnuts and roasted poblano. (If I hadn't been lazy, I would have sauteed onion too, and added a lot of grated parmesan at the end.)

Could have used more spices, but the result was toothsome. And went well with cream sauce and sage.

#524 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 05:19 PM:

Jacque at 510: I've never lived with g-ps, but the other day my big (18 lb) ginger cat did something which totally pissed me off, and without thinking, I hissed loudly at him. He took off running and hid under a chair. This is not a cat who scares easily.

#525 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 05:30 PM:

Rikibeth @ 513: Yes, I once explained at a diner that the mushrooms should NOT be labelled "vegetarian" if they were cooked on the same hot plate as the bacon, in the bacon grease.

On our honeymoon, travelling back through Calgary after a week in the Canadian Rockies, I ordered a "garden burger" and asked the waiter what was in the sauce, checking it was indeed vegetarian. He explained he was new, went to check with the chef, came back and said it was okay. A few minutes later, he returned to the table and said - "er, you ordered chips? They're cooked in lard. Would you prefer a baked potato?" I rapidly accepted the offer. He got a big tip. That's what I call applied intelligence.

At home, we have separate washing up sponges for use on meaty stuff (my husband being a carnivore).

Andrew Plotkin @ 520: I'm grabbing that as a recipe, only with the onions and without the poblano.

#526 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 05:41 PM:

ddb: At the risk of being sententious (and speaking as one who loathes attempts to suimulate meat), I think the problem is that you are trying to see the workarounds as "equivalent".

Treat it as a different food. It gets to stand on it's own then.

#527 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 05:46 PM:

Terry Karney@523: Probably why mock duck is my favorite of those; I never did like real duck too much.

And the vegetarian recipes I really like aren't adapted from meat recipes (though as I say the gobi paratha did have adaptations to be vegan).

#528 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 05:53 PM:

on simulated meats: it's my experience that the sesame vegan "chicken" found in Chinese restaurants is very tasty, and difficult to distinguish from actual chicken similarly prepared; the vegan "shrimp" is absolutely terrifying, when intended to visually approximate shrimp, but does nicely in a dumpling.

As for the more westernized things, Quorn seems to beat Morningstar Farms all hollow, for palatable protein nuggets that vaguely resemble ground beef crumbles, boneless skinless chicken breasts, or chunks-of-chicken. Nice texture, neutral flavor. But for fake "nuggets" and "patties", Morningstar Farms works better. Probably tastier breading.

I feed fussy eaters.

#529 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 05:53 PM:

Hyperlocal news:

Dog's Best Friend Returns after 20-hour Absence, Glorious Occasion Overshadowed by Magnificence of Dinner

#530 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 06:02 PM:

abi, it seems I have fallen, despite best efforts, into the Net Faux-miliarity Trap. I have become comfortable enough among You PeopleTM to forget the extent to which you don't actually know me and my background. It would have eased understanding, I suspect, had you known and/or recalled I went to Brandeis, or met my family, or indeed recalled my last name.

It's been one of those days.

#531 ::: Adrian Smith ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 06:42 PM:

There are five food groups, and the name of the fifth is ... Hot.

Or, there are five types of taste receptor, and the name of the sixth is Pain.

#532 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 06:46 PM:

Although not one myself, I worked for quite a few years with a number of vegetarians, so I now almost automatically check to make sure that there will be enough vegetarian options. For instance, if things seem particularly meat-heavy in a group order of pizzas or chinese food or whatever, I will indicate my preference for a vegetarian option to help increase the variety. I figure most Americans don't get enough veggies anyway, right?

In that job, my boss was one of the vegetarians, and I ended up going with her to a number of conferences, work dinners with buffets, etc. After a while we fell into a pattern where I would go through the buffet first, checking out the unclear items (usually little stuffed appetizer things) to figure out if they contained meat or not. I think there were only a few times when I missed something (often unevenly distributed bacon bits).

#533 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 07:03 PM:

Rikibeth @513: In my house, we call those "meat cooties."

I suspected, but in the context in which I initially encountered the concern (i.e., someone I don't know all that well), I just nodded attentively and kept my trap shut, because I wasn't sure there was some more concrete metric at work, such as my pal Moshe, who really does keep Kosher. The one time I stayed at his house, I was carefully confined to one side of the kitchen, so the goy wouldn't accidentally force the replacement of the entire flatware collection, or something equally awkward.

For such voraciously omnivorous creatures, humans can be just remarkably fussy about what happens to their food before it goes in their mouths.

& @517: rennet vs. casein

Oh, right. One of those enzymey-molecular things. :)

I find these details hard to keep track of because I mostly just want it to have stopped moving by the time it gets to my table. I'm hard to squick, but some of the Japanese ideas about "properly fresh" leave me wanting to give up eating altogether. I draw the line at eating people with whom I can actually make eye contact.

dcb @518: As for fats, I had an interesting experience some years back, when I suddenly found myself craving fats

I went through something like that last winter. Broiled chicken soaked in toasted sesame oil. Ate gobs every night, for a couple of months on end. Took about four months to get past that one.

Lizzy L @521: without thinking, I hissed loudly at him.

"Oh noes! Mommy's REALLY MAD!?!!1!!" The reflexive nature of your response probably added emphasis. Heh.

dcb @522: I'm grabbing that as a recipe, only with the onions and without the poblano.

"Hey, man. No poblano." Er....

#534 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 07:29 PM:

Terry, #523: I agree. I can happily eat vegetarian food, but I find that as a general rule I despise "fake meats" -- they don't taste like the real thing, and I'd rather have honest vegetarian that isn't pretending to be something else. Although I think there must be some different assumptions about the spice defaults in vegetarian restaurants.

#535 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 07:32 PM:

Well, that was interesting: Sarah Brightman & Hot Gossip - I Lost My Heart To A Starship Trooper.

Eric at # 441: Keeping the cats in separate rooms is the only way I've dealt with that kind of situation.

Rikibeth at # 517: I don't think of the soy cheese as a cheese substitute; it's more of a Velveeta substitute.

#536 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 07:39 PM:

Me, I like the *idea* of many Indian dishes, but a) I'm not fond of lentils (they have a bitter undertaste to me), and b) there's some spice or spice combination common in Indian food that just doesn't taste edible to me. So I'll like one place's chicken tikka masala and not be able to eat some other place's version.

I'm generally not a very picky eater though; I can almost always find something I can eat, even though I am one of the people to whom cilantro tastes like someone grated Ivory soap over the food.

I just recently spent a week and a half (at a big national model rocket launch and the travel thereto and therefrom) with a guy who only ate french fries and milk. Oh, for breakfast he'd have a biscuit and milk. And once in a while he'd have a Coke. But that was it. At least it was easy to find a place he'd agree to eat at; all we needed to do was find a place that sold fries.

I dubbed him a lacto-spuditarian. (Is there a modern Latin word for "potato"? Obviously there won't be an ancient Latin word....)


#537 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 07:58 PM:

Cally @533 --The scientific name for potato is Solanum tuberosum, so perhaps solanolactovore?

#538 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 08:04 PM:

Tom @ 534

Solanolactovore does roll trippingly off the tongue, but it's got the disadvantage of not being very obvious. I was hoping the Latin would be readily identifiable, but alas, it's not. I think I'll stick with spuditarian.

#539 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 08:06 PM:

Allan Beatty @ #532, Wow. The Sarah Brightman whose several albums I own has a much more breathy voice than she does in that video. It's cheesy, but hey, for 1978? Fairly representative, I'd say.

#540 ::: Adrian Smith ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 08:17 PM:

As a different example, a black person can use the n-word to co-opt it in ways that potentially soften its meaning.

Or that can potentially confuse the section of the privileged audience who are unsophisticated enough to regard a context-dependent taboo as an attempt to have one's cake and eat it.

#541 ::: Glenn Hauman ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 08:34 PM:

#350: Major Tom (Coming Home) by Peter Schilling
Fire On High by ELO.
Interplanet Janet (she's a galaxy girl!)

#542 ::: TrishB ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 09:00 PM:

@454 Lila - I'm vaguely remembering something from the stacks at college called "Space Hymn" by Lothar and the Handpeople. Yes, it probably is just as bad as you could imagine. For some reason it made sense to play at 3 A.M. one night.

#543 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 09:08 PM:

Jacque @ 496: And that reminds me of another one:

Mars Needs Women (You Should Apply), by Tonio K

#544 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 09:46 PM:

Anti-pileon: I've heard the sequence Mark posted before. I thought it was appropriate to the conversation we were having and funny (though not as funny as if I hadn't heard it before). I'm not a Jew, though, so my judgment of Jewish sensitivities on this subject is limited at best.

Also, for some reason I'm in an uncommonly playful mood at the moment.

Rikibeth 517: The Tofutti "better than cream cheese" stuff isn't half bad, though.

It really isn't. I quite like it. I especially like it in a foldover wrap with just a shake or three of Old Bay Seasoning, odd as that may seem.

The Tofutti "better than sour cream" stuff, however, is vile. Not only not convincing as sour cream, but actually repellent in its own right. You've been warned.

Ibid. 519: I've heard Mark deliver that comment, pretty much verbatim, in person. (More than once. We used to be married.)

Aha! The plot thickens! This means that...hmm. Not sure what it means, but it sure is interesting!

Lizzy L 521: I've never lived with g-ps

G-ps are not only cute fuzzy little things, they can help you find your way to any destination.

Jacque 530: "Hey, man. No poblano." Er....

Oh, I hate you. Not that I actually, you know, hate you, but I'm deeply envious that you thought of that one first.

#545 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 10:02 PM:

Lee @ 479
In my experience, it's at least equally useful to flip that question on it's head -- what places are consistently unfriendly to vegetarians/moderately strict kashrut?

Like -- Chinese food is almost never okay, unless you've pre-vetted them for a reasonable range of vegetarian options or seafood that isn't shrimp or crab (depending on the company). Also, I know there are vegetarian kinds of sushi, but I don't find them to be personally satisfying by themselves, myself.

Greek is generally... well, I don't see a lot of point, as greek food is all about really good meat, to me...

Burger joints seem like an obvious no, but many of them do have vegetarian or salmon options. Of course, the ability of the individuals involved to tolerate unseen contamination plays into this one. As does the "but what if someone saw and misinterpreted" rule, in some cases.

"American" food -- the entire range from diners to lodge-fare to California cuisine -- tends to be a pretty safe bet, if you just want to ensure that there will be something... but they can be pretty limited (more expensive generally means more vege options, but not always). We've been to any number of places where there were only one or two possible choices.

Mexican is almost always a good option, as is Thai. Italian and Pizza are generally good options, except with vegans. American-style buffets are generally manageable (because they almost all have salad bars); chinese-style buffets are almost always not. Desserts and coffee are generally awesome - except with vegans, where desserts are a minefield.

#546 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 10:05 PM:

My university hosted a conference, getting people from all over, at a nearby hotel and conference center.

I really, really dislike the place now. The issue I feel is most defensible ("Really? You chose that carpet?" is satisfying but depends on taste) is that they persistently failed to label food, even after being asked at every opportunity what was in things. I took that duty since I didn't have anything in the poster session and hey, why not. In my group of colleagues, we had vegetarians, no pork for religious reasons, and miscellaneous no pork. Other people may have had sensitivities and such, I don't know.

They neve labeled the food and it was often difficult for me to get a menu.


#547 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 10:12 PM:

Rikibeth @ 513: On the topic of "meat cooties" -- A friend who kept a vegan diet was on a trip, and after several days of struggling with restaurants was getting a tad bit edgy (hunger probably played a role). When the server said, "Oh, there's just a tiny bit of butter brushed on the rolls", he replied "How would you feel if someone told you that there was just a tiny bit of dogsh*t on the rolls?"

#548 ::: siriosa ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 10:13 PM:

Just dropping in after weeks of being chest-deep in work-which-must-be-done. Late to the party. That being said:

Benjamin Wolfe @290: Now I need to find [a dentist] here in Berkeley who I like and trust in the same way.
I'm very fond of Robin Naden Whitley, who's near the corner of Ashby and Telegraph. 510-843-4434.

Ginger @311: By the way, a small update in my ongoing soap opera/tragicomedy
Hugs and commiseration. It sounds like you've found your way to my favorite heart-healing realization. If somebody doesn't want me, I'm mortified that I ever saw anything in a person so devoid of perspicacity. When it's my pride that's bruised rather than my heart, it heals much quicker.

And let me second Laura @325: the Bay Area is just chock full of lesbiany goodness.

#549 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 10:45 PM:

siriosathe Bay Area is just chock full of lesbiany goodness

The Bay Area is chock full of goodness.

#550 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 10:50 PM:

Damn. Another senior moment. Of course "Harbors" is by Anne Passovoy. May I be forgiven.

I remember the joy, and the triumph. It was the year that I turned eighteen,
That a man spoke a word in the silence of a world words had never been
Forty-one years gone, and somehow silence no longer seems to call,
And so this is the last filksong, the very last filk of all.

I thought I would see, if I lived long, lights in the dark, where the fires showed
The ships headed out to the darkness, on our last and our longest road,
But forty one years, and I know now: lights can go out, and the darkness fall,
And so this is the last filksong, the very last filk of all.

Fade into silence. Let the notes dwindle and die.
Whatever happened to "Harbors" and "Hope"? Tell me, when did we kiss the dream good-bye?

Oh, I know that it won't be forever. Someday the miracles will return,
And there will be lights in the darkness, where only the far stars burn.
But forty-one years are too many. I'll never see those lights at all,
And so this is the last filksong, the very last filk of all,
The very last filk of all.

I'll be singing that, as the closer to the filk concert at Aussiecon. Ann Poore, for some reason, likes it.

#551 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 11:03 PM:

Powells Books is having a Young Adult Dystopia Sale. That title amuses me.

I gather this is inspired by the Hunger Game series, which I have not investigated. I find dystopian novels written for adults quite grim enough, thanks.

#552 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 11:17 PM:

KeyTei 542: Chinese food is almost never okay

Wow, that's the opposite of my experience. Maybe it's a regional thing, but in the New York area I don't always bother looking at the menu before walking into a Chinese restaurant, because they almost always have a "vegetable" section, something with tofu, something like that. And because each dish is made to order (except soup), they're almost always good about leaving things out if you ask.

This applies to sit-down restaurants, not to greasy little takeout places, where all too often whether you can get veggie food depends on whether you count roaches as meat. (Don't eat at them at all, in other words.)

Greek is generally... well, I don't see a lot of point, as greek food is all about really good meat, to me...

Saganaki. Imam baldi. Tzatziki. Wow, now I'm hungry.

#553 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 11:30 PM:

I find myself reflecting now on the gradations of kashrut I have encountered in my experience, ranging from some extremely frum relatives to hanging out with the unreconstructed hippies at Brandeis. I've known deeply spiritual Jews who adored lobster and bacon. Others who drew the line at ham, but had minor personal crises over their enjoyment of shrimp. Still others who wouldn't eat pig products or shellfish but thought nothing of cheeseburgers.

And then there's kind of a gap in the continuum. I'm trying to think of whether I've ever met a Jew who wouldn't mix meat and cheese, but didn't go the rest of the way to glatt kosher with separate dishes, segregation of kitchen work surfaces and so on. They're probably out there, but I'm drawing a blank, which I find vaguely interesting.

#554 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 11:35 PM:

Xopher, I've had trouble at some Chinese places where multiple dishes were cooked in the same cookware without cleaning in between. Specially-prepared veggie dishes ordered off the vegetarian menu, accented with bits-o-critter. One local buffet place, the DuBarry Buffet, speeds up their cooking process by par-boiling the ingredients, all in the same big pots of water, so everything is cross-contaminated. Needless to say, I avoid these places and advise everyone else to stay away from them -- apart from the food problem, the managers have a crappy attitude.

#555 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 11:52 PM:

Mark 550: I knew some people once who kept what they called "kosher style," which was no pig products, no seafood, no mixing milk and meat, but they didn't have separate dishes or buy kosher meat or kosher cheese. I think they called it kosher style because at least you couldn't tell by looking at their table that there was anything un-kosher about it.

I also knew a woman a long time ago who told me that when she was a child, her parents would take them to McDonalds, but wouldn't let them have both a shake and a burger! They could have a shake and a fish sandwich, or a Coke™ and a burger, because, you see, the shake-burger combination was not kosher.

This amused heck out of me, not only because there's nothing at all kosher about McDonalds, but because as far as I know, at that time (the 60s) there were no dairy ingredients in McDonalds' "triple-thick shakes." I'm not even sure they weren't entirely petroleum-based, as a matter of fact!

Joel 551: Yes, I'd certainly avoid places like that! Yuck. I guess I'm kind of spoiled by New York, where there are so many vegetarians that any decent restaurant accommodates them (unless it's specifically a steakhouse or something...which surprisingly doesn't automatically disqualify it as a "decent restaurant" in many people's minds); the ones that survive know that in a party of ten people there will probably be at least one vegetarian, and so if they don't have anything veggie (or fail to avoid cross-contamination) they lose the other nine potential customers as well.

I found a piece of chicken wing in some fries once. I never went back to that place again.

#556 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 12:16 AM:

Xopher, #549: There's also a lot of difference between a Chinese restaurant where you sit down and order from a menu, and the Chinese buffet which is more common in this neck of the woods. At the buffet places, you can't ask for a dish to be prepared without X ingredient, and there's no guarantee that (1) they're not cooking things in such a way as to get meat grease in the veggies, or pork into the chicken, or (2) the people out front will be fluent enough in English to grasp what you're asking and why. If you were visiting here, I wouldn't take you to a Chinese buffet.

#557 ::: CZEdwards (aka The Other Constance) ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 12:34 AM:

The Farthest Star by VNV Nation (relatively recent electronic that won't make non- technophiles' ears bleed, pretty aspirational lyrics, too)

Space by Bond (instrumental)

The Crystal Method cover of Magic Carpet Ride - specifically this one because of the mesh of old(er) and newer, and as an odd little shout out to Star Trek; the original was played when the first FTL drive was tested (ST Nemesis I think) and to me, it's just always seemed a perfect space flight ode.

#558 ::: Susie ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 12:35 AM:

[delurking somewhat late in the conversation] When I went vegetarian in the early 1980s, it was after trying to eat meat only occasionally and discovering that it was much easier to avoid it consistently. I then backtracked to making occasional exceptions for fish, initially because the fish had been caught and cooked by someone I knew. I was surprised how easy[1] it was to give up meat; I don't miss eating it, but I do prefer to avoid the smell of it being cooked.

Like several others here, I have little use for meat substitutes; I'd much rather eat good things that happen not to be meat.

Meat cooties: I prefer to avoid them, but sometimes I don't ask.

dcb @ 453, your mother-in-law rocks! And Abi @ 493 likewise.

[1] As far as my taste buds were concerned. Getting enough that was (a) nutritious and (b) palatable to eat in high school and college cafeterias was another matter, and was a major motivation in my moving out of dorms into houses after two years of college.

#559 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 01:08 AM:

Mark: I think the issue is one of degree. One is either actually keeping kosher, or one isn't. There are some cultural ideas about what is/isn't kosher (the idea that pork is somehow more unkosher than lobster, or a cheese steak). So one gains, from childhood, a set of foods which are unclean, so unclean (as with the western revulsion to things like wichetty grubs), that it takes a really major effort of rebellion to eat them (like shellfish) but others, (such as a cheesesteak) which don't take that much.

A friend, who does not keep kosher, but does keep Passover, avoids eating ham/bacon during passover, because it confuses people, even though he thinks matzot makes great bread for ham and swiss sandwiches.

#560 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 01:09 AM:

I became a vegetarian in the mid-late '80's but resumed my carnivorous ways in college. Crappy time to be a vegetarian in the suburban midwest - the only option my high school had was iceberg lettuce salads. After the first two months of that, I went with the far more nutritious vending machine cheetos and ice cream sandwich. Sophomore year I got permission to add an elective and skip lunch, since it was so pointless for me anyhow.

Bringing stuff from home - even more pointless. Mom and dad were trying to make a point and demanded I purchase my "specialty" foods with my own money. Since I was underage and loaded down with orchestra, choir and drama extracurriculars, as well as church obligations, (not to mention no car) that meant spending all my pathetic babysitting money (minus 10%) earned as a 3rd tier backup for a competent sitter at the one tiny specialty store that sold tofu dogs and fake bacon. There was also a species of veggie burger which in no wise attempted to imitate meat. I wish I remember what it was because that was my favorite.

Now that I'm a grown up, have a proper job, transport and many veggie options available, not to mention access to fabulous Thai and Indian food, I'm considering going back to it. Can't give up cheese and fatty pastries though, so I'm afraid veganism is right out.

... and apropos of nothing, one thing I had not anticipated when getting the eReader was the danger of being to purchase a book at any time of the day or night. Yikes! Nearly as dangerous as the insidious Employee Discount back when I worked at the bookstore. Why they even bothered cutting me a check some weeks I'll never know.

#561 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 01:24 AM:

Terry @ 556 : What your friend does is pretty much what I do for passover - I do not keep kosher at all during the rest of the year - but I am deeply neurotic about the dietary laws during passover.

#562 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 01:40 AM:

eric, #441, I have somewhat the same problem -- two big cats need to lose two pounds, and a little cat needs to gain a couple. The little cat lives under an end table (long story) so I bought a 4" square vase that her entire head would fit in, but the heads of the big guys won't. They do occasionally stick their paws in for more, but not often.

#563 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 02:14 AM:

Xopher @ 549
It's entirely probable it's regional, or a reflection of our tendency to do things like discovering that the restaurant we wanted to go to is out of business, and just wandering into whatever other place is nearby... in retrospect, it may also be biased by the fact that my husband is the one who keeps kosher, and he does not particularly love tofu. (I love it, but I am quite happily and unrestrictedly omnivorous.)

All I know is, we can consistently get mu shu veg, veg chow mein, and then... any of a handful of different ways to cook slightly greasy sliced carrots, celery, onions, water chestnuts, snow peas, broccoli, and baby corn without sauce (which are coincidentally the exact same veggies that go in the chow mein, except without noodles -- to the extent that we have more than once been told not to bother ordering more than one veggie dish, because there is so little difference). And there is sometimes (but not always) one or two dishes involving "real" fish, and generally (but not always) one or two dishes involving tofu.

It's not a huge problem -- we can always find something my husband can eat, but it has consistently been notable, particularly when you add in my vegetarian brother and/or vegan cousin.

#564 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 02:14 AM:

Aww. That is a really cute mental picture. A wee kitty who voluntarily puts her head in a vase.

Just the image I need to start my first graduate school classes with - as it put a smile on my face before bed.

#565 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 02:29 AM:

Tangential aside, on the subject of food, caramel Bailey's does some delicious things to chocolate chip peanut butter cookies. I'm not sure it's quite worth the opportunity loss on the Bailey's, but it's definitely delicious...

#566 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 03:11 AM:

I'm with Xopher--where I live (SF), when vegetarians are present, Chinese (along with Indian) is the first cuisine considered.

The problem with carnivores scarfing veggie pizza is real, and I try to be aware of it and go for the meat. There is a (somewhat less onerous) converse to that, though, which is:

--The correct way to make pizza is with pepperoni and black olives*
--Pizza is almost always ordered by a group
--In any group, there's always someone who won't eat either pepperoni or olives

So I hardly ever get correct pizza. On the other hand, the same dynamic applies to Hawaiian pizza, and thank Ghu for that.

The less said about "Mexican pizza" the better, but "Indian pizza," while sick and wrong, is not actually bad.

*Margherita, four-cheese, and wild nettle** pizza are also correct, but for some reason even harder to talk people into.

**Alas, Gialina has given up trying to sell this, even in SF.

#567 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 03:33 AM:

janetl @544: Your vegan friend "just a tiny bit of dogsh*t": yes, that's pretty much how I feel about meat contaminating my food - and doubly so if it's pig-meat (which fascinates me, on the basis of early cultural conditioning versus later choice).

Mark @ 550: Others who drew the line at ham, but had minor personal crises over their enjoyment of shrimp. Still others who wouldn't eat pig products or shellfish but thought nothing of cheeseburgers. Yes, I recognise these (although many just enjoy the shellfish without worrying about it - but wouldn't ever touch ham). The "gap" you mention - yes, I agree. But there are those who will keep stricter kosher at home that out and about away from Jewish areas. Growing up, we kept strictly kosher in the house - only kosher meat, separate meat and milk dishes etc., partly because we were living in a fairly Orthodox area and we wanted to make sure that our friends and neighbours (all much more Orthodox than us) knew they could eat in our house. But we would eat at non-kosher restaurants and, eating out, cheeseburgers etc. were fine - so long as the burger was beef. Then we moved out of that area and gradually the household became more relaxed. Meanwhile I became vegetarian, and yes, I have a problem with meat cooties. To some extent I'm a realist - I know the pizza places cut all the pizzas with the same cutting tool and I ignore it - but when someone takes the spoon dripping with pork juice to give me my vegetarian food - no. At home, if catering for a bunch of people, we would never cut the vege pizza after cutting the meat pizza with the same knife. Not without washing the knife first.

Susie @555: Sympathies. Iceberg lettuce isn't food. It has practically no nutritional value and no redeeming features at all that I can see.

#568 ::: Adrian Smith ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 04:07 AM:

Tim Walters@563 *Margherita, four-cheese, and wild nettle** pizza are also correct, but for some reason even harder to talk people into.

You can hardly blame them, incorporating cocktails into pizza could lead to all kinds of problems.

#569 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 05:55 AM:

When the server said, "Oh, there's just a tiny bit of butter brushed on the rolls", he replied "How would you feel if someone told you that there was just a tiny bit of dogsh*t on the rolls?"


#570 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 07:59 AM:

"Soylent Green... It's made with people!"

#571 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 09:45 AM:

re 566: Indeed. My mother would have knocked my block off if I had ever talked like that.

I also have to say the consistent portrayal of eating vegetarian as like unto a religious taboo is rather too close to the parody version thereof.

#572 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 09:53 AM:

There are some glatt kosher Subway franchises-- a fellow who used to work here quit to start one up near Baltimore.

What really surprised us was when the Cheeburger Cheeburger near us offered lenten dishes.

#573 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 10:29 AM:

C Wingate @ 568... eating vegetarian as like unto a religious taboo

Well, there are laws against cannibalism too.

#574 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 10:46 AM:

dcb #518: As for fats, I had an interesting experience some years back, when I suddenly found myself craving fats

Jacque #530: I went through something like that last winter. Broiled chicken soaked in toasted sesame oil. Ate gobs every night, for a couple of months on end. Took about four months to get past that one.

I get this every winter. It started[*] the fall I was living in Venice, which is roughly fifteen degrees further north than where I had come from/am now. I'm always a cheese fiend, but what I got up to there was ridiculous.

[*] It was the first time I'd noticed it, anyway. I made remarks about preparing for hibernation, as the days grew alarmingly short.

#575 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 11:02 AM:

Changing topics: I just got a badly written letter from a soldier with the 1st Armored Division in Iraq (NOT!) who managed to get his hands on 20 million dollars in cash (in $100 bills!) which once belonged to Saddam Hussein. He wants to put it in a safe place now that the American troops are leaving Iraq, and so of course he thought of me.

I'm truly touched.

Have any of these jokers even considered what twenty million bucks in $100 bills must weigh, and how much space it needs? More than a suitcase. Idiots. He sends me a website address, which I am not going to go anywhere near.

#576 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 11:12 AM:

Lizzy L.@572: It's a plot point in Have Trenchcoat, Will Travel, a mystery novel by Edward E. "Doc" Smith (known as an SF author, one of my favorites). As I recall it's around 29 cubic feet.

The novel was written back when $10,000 bills were in use, and he drives to Las Vegas to convert to smaller bills at a mob-run casino there, to get it down to a size he can transport and hide.

#577 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 11:21 AM:

siriosa @ 545: Yes, that sounds about right -- and you don't need to tempt me to the Bay Area. I already have a great reason to move there, and one very good reason not to, just yet. The DC area is also full of lesbiany goodness. I find the problem to be the lesbian community, which is not unlike a giant plastic ball: without knowing where the entry port is, good luck trying to reach through without bouncing off the outside!

#578 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 11:37 AM:


I'll add to the inverse-pile-on. I'm sorry you and your son and your ex have had to go through all this, and you're in my prayers, for whatever it's worth.

#579 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 11:38 AM:

566,568: sure, very low-end. But sometimes, it's the only thing that gets through. If the server's trying to be helpful, fine. If the server's being a "this isn't a *real* problem, is it?" jerk, well, then, anvilicious isn't a bad response.

I have that variety of reactions from perfume-wearers: "I'm not wearing perfume. I knew you were coming. Oh, I put some on <yesterday>..." gets a "yeah, I'm sorry, it's still that obvious. Thank you for trying" (of course, I'm sure that after washing all the perfume out of the clothes (which never really all comes out), they then go in the dryer with the "fresh scent fabric softener"...) "I only put on a little" (yeah, and the hairspray, and the cheap lotion you were working into your hands *when I was coming to the table*, and...) gets "well, I'll only try to throw up *a little* into your purse when the choking starts".

Of course, I also get the "you're not *really* allergic, are you?" (which, of course, the vegans get in spades, because it *is*, usually, a lifestyle choice). It's then that it's unfortunate that I haven't got (yet) the family reaction of minutes of convulsive coughing, that usually wakes them up. I just get the blinding headaches, which makes me just ever so polite.

#580 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 11:52 AM:

Mycroft W:

Thus that wonderful scene in _Young Miles_ (I forget the name of the novela; that's the collection) where Miles is more-or-less incapacitated by another character's perfume.

ajay #566:

The thing is, while it was probably not too appropriate for the context, it's kind of helpful for me to understand how he (and some other vegetarians around here) feel about it. I run into the allergy version of this all the time, where I ask if there are any peanuts in something and the server scratches her head and says "Nah, I don't think there should be any." There are situations where you say "I don't want any X in my food" and mean it like "I don't want any dogshit in my food" or "I don't want any cyanide in my food." And other times where it's more like "I don't want you to oversalt my food"--that is, you're really saying you don't like the flavor of X, so please keep most of the X out of the dish, but trace amounts won't bother you. Somewhere in there are also food sensitivities that aren't life threatening, but that are annoying--some perfectly good foods will give me stomach problems (of the "go spend half an hour in the toilet several times tonight" variety) for the rest of the night, but as far as I can tell they don't threaten my life. Many other people have these--X gives you heartburn, or Y gives you gas all night, or whatever.

If you have any of these, but especially life-threatening allergies or (presumably) strong religious/moral objections to eating some things, you'd really like to be able to trust that when the server says "there are no nuts in here" or "there is no shrimp in here" or whatever, they mean they've gone to some trouble to ensure that there aren't nuts or shrimp or whatever in there.

#581 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 11:52 AM:

Ginger @ 574... Might you possibly be in the Bay Area the week of October 25?

#582 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 12:10 PM:

577: fair enough, but I can't help feeling that "sorry to be picky, but it's really important to me (for whatever reason) that there is absolutely no trace of $TREYF in this food" might be a slightly nicer way to treat the poor old waitress than "WHY ARE YOU SERVING ME DOGSHIT".

Have any of these jokers even considered what twenty million bucks in $100 bills must weigh, and how much space it needs? More than a suitcase.

What's the film where someone opens the aluminium briefcase with the $500,000 bribe, and it's just a single small packet of $100 bills, sitting in the otherwise empty case? "Looks a lot less impressive in real life, doesn't it."

FYI, a million bucks in banded $100s weighs just under 10 kg and is less than half a cubic foot in volume. The $20 million your lad found would be about nine cubic feet in volume and would weigh 100 kg. You'd need to pay excess baggage.

It would, on the other hand, fit easily into a standard-sized coffin.

#583 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 12:12 PM:

Sorry, 200kg, of course, not 100kg. So it would fit into a coffin, but it would be a surprisingly heavy one...

#584 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 12:23 PM:

Mycroft W, #576, I don't know many people who wear fragrances, but frequently when I come home, someone's dryer vent makes me gag from the pseudo-flower scent.

#585 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 12:23 PM:

ajay: it really is the tone, and concern, of the server that makes the difference. If the server is making sure, or truly wondering (because he doesn't know) if this counts for this person, or is doing the "oh, we cook the fries in lard. Is that okay, or would you like the baked potato instead?" thing, that's one thing. If she's doing the "stupid human, with stupid ideas" trick, and either *not believing the customer when he claims to have an issue* or *not catering to the customer's wishes, whether she thinks them insane or not*, as I said, I don't consider anvilicious responses out of line.

And in the original story, the person had been dealing with a highly restricted diet for a week, and so was probably both starving, bored with food, and this wasn't the first server who had been playing these games. I know when I'm away for a week, and am faced, again, with "well, the french toast doesn't have *much* egg in it" (cue the Monty Python Vikings), by Friday my "yes, thank you" response sounds a little more forced.

On that note, (not being vegetarian, just not liking eggs qua eggs) I tend to hunt out trucker's restaurants when I'm away for more than a couple of days. They seem to be the only places willing to do "not breakfast" before 1100.

#587 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 12:35 PM:

C. Wingate (568): ...eating vegetarian as like unto a religious taboo...

For a lot of people, eating vegetarian is a religious issue.

#588 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 12:38 PM:

Mycroft @582, the UK equivalent is the "transport cafe", and they're a lot less common than they used to be. :(

#589 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 12:40 PM:

Sorry to comment-spam...

Marilee: the *good* perfumes usually aren't bad. Those usually are the more expensive perfumes (but if it's branded, and not a perfume brand, it's expensive and crap).

The cheaper the perfume, the more it's going to affect sensitives (mostly because we react mostly to the non-natural parts; for me it's the volatilizers). They sell dryer sheets for $1.50, hand lotion for $5 for the big bottle, hairspray for $6 in aerosol, and Glade plug-in air-fresheners for $3/2. How expensive do you think the perfumes they put in those are?

#590 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 12:43 PM:

In ultra-local news hereabouts, we have two seemingly-unrelated headlines that nonetheless intersect once you read the stories below them:

Teething Child Prevents Parent's Restful Sleep

In the house with the overgrown yard, gentle admonishments of, "No biting, sweetie," were immediately followed by caterwauls of protest at roughly 20-minute intervals all night this Wednesday. The usually sunny Beka Mason, 18 months, was adamant in her preference to nurse constantly, but seemed not to realize yet that teeth are pointy, and boobs don't like that ...

"I'm a Grownup, I Can Skip Once or Twice," Says Local Recovering College Dropout

"The professor said we could miss up to two classes without jeopardizing our grade," said Elliott Mason, previously reputed for being the most dedicated of students. "I'm seriously unprepared for class this morning, but I can use the day to catch up on studying and homework, and be there bright and fresh next week with all my work done, no problem."

A reputable source close to the student expressed mild worry that Mason's 3.76 (on a 4-point scale) GPA might be in danger ...

#591 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 12:43 PM:

Xopher @541: G-ps are not only cute fuzzy little things, they can help you find your way to any destination.

"Jacque 530: 'Hey, man. No poblano.' Er...." Oh, I hate you. Not that I actually, you know, hate you, but I'm deeply envious that you thought of that one first.

<fluff> <preen> Oh, Xopher, you just made my day....

#592 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 12:52 PM:

I'd like to hope that it's rare for people becoming adults today; but in my own childhood I don't recall ever dealing with people who "couldn't" (religious prohibition or life-threatening allergy) eat various things. (I don't believe the Jews we knew kept kosher, though I don't recall eating with them either.)

And I suspect there are quite a few parts of the US where you could still grow up that way, and end up working as a waitress there.

All of which is to say that some people who don't understand how important it is to some people may lack empathy; but some may actually lack opportunity to learn.

True unfortunate ingredient list story: A bunch of us were at Embers (after fencing class I think). It happened to be during Passover. One of the items on the menu at that time (this would have been in the late 1970s I think) was the "Mr. K Royal Combo". This was a "kosher hot-dog". On a regular (leavened) bun. With cheese. And bacon. We were all highly amused (not sure if anybody ordered it). (At least two of the people with us wouldn't eat that during Passover; nobody kept kosher regularly I don't believe.)

#593 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 01:13 PM:

Lizzy L @572 -- assuming crisp new bills, $20MM is about a cubic yard of $100 bills by my ballpark estimation (100 bills is about an inch thick; a single bill is 6x3", and the rest is just simple math). Which means a steamer trunk rather than a briefcase, but not actually that much space. Of course, it gets significantly larger if they're used bills (a factor of two or three, easily).

New bills pack very nicely. Weight is a problem, as it would be about as heavy as a similar block of solid wood -- much heavier than a cubic yard of (e.g.) compost.

And I see Ajay @579 has already gotten there, but without the comment on used bills or showing his estimation parameters, so I'll just post this anyway.

#594 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 01:17 PM:

Argh, I was going to mention this earlier.

I was at a bridge tournament (the Toronto Easter Regional) several years ago, at a place that Should Know Better, the Royal York. As happens more often than not, Passover and Easter week matched, and so, on (Good) Friday, for the after-game snack, they served -

Hot dogs.

They were surprised at how many they had left over, I'm told...

#595 ::: siriosa ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 01:20 PM:

Ginger @574: I find the problem to be the lesbian community, which is not unlike a giant plastic ball: without knowing where the entry port is, good luck trying to reach through without bouncing off the outside!

This was truer in the 80s and 90s. Now with Facebook and mailing lists, you have multiple choices of entry point. There's the over-40s groups, the music-and-musicians groups, the fans of celesbians ... It's a lot easier now, I promise.

#596 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 01:20 PM:

Marilee @559: The little cat lives under an end table (long story)

Since it doesn't appear anybody else has picked up on this:


#597 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 01:20 PM:

Really, really cheap. And some of them seem to be about 50 percent perfume, judging by the overpowering odor.
There's at least one brand of laundry detergent that is so heavily perfumed that I can't stand to be within 10 feet of the laundry room.

(It used to be that Denny's would serve not-breakfast any time of day. I don't know if that's still true.)

#598 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 01:23 PM:

Xopher 541:

Greek is generally... well, I don't see a lot of point, as greek food is all about really good meat, to me...

Saganaki. Imam baldi. Tzatziki. Wow, now I'm hungry.

I know that's its pretty tricky - unless pork is involved, in which case it's a dead giveaway - to separate out Greek from Turkish cuisine, given the interpenetration of the two cultures during the Ottoman Empire, but until someone who knows better turns up I think I'm going to have to claim imam baldi (or bayildi) for the Turks - in Turkish it means 'the imam fainted' (or, as my translated cookbook has it 'swoning imam') - presumably because it was so good.

#599 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 01:40 PM:

You could use one of those Space Bags, to suck out all the air around and between the currency, and reduce the volume that way.

re food allergies: I've always wondered why, if peanuts are such a danger to so many people, why school cafeteria lunchrooms back in my day (the 1950's and 60's) weren't littered with the dead bodies of kids who had sat next to someone eating a PB&J sandwich.

(I exaggerate the above for dramatic effect. But I do seem to recall that back in those days, deaths by choking were more common, and that frequently the culprit blamed was... a peanut. Could those deaths have actually been deadly allergic reactions, rather than a physical blockage? One would have to physically research death records from back then, I suspect; it's the sort of data that's never been been databased and put onto the Internet.)

Update: Shoulder doing better. Stil sore, but not an Eeep! type pain when I try to move it. Which I'm still tending to avoid. (Who knew that many shoulder muscles were involved in washing your hands?)

#600 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 01:50 PM:

Oops, messed up my HTML tags there. And am now wondering whether I should have put the previous post on the Ground Zero mosque thread.

#601 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 01:58 PM:

566/568: Here, let me put this in perspective for you. Your office building has a sudden and unannounced power shutdown which loses you the equivalent of 6 worker-hours of work on various computers, on a time-critical project. And when you complain, they say, "Oh, it was only off for a couple of seconds -- how much harm could that do?"

I suspect that either of you might respond with something that wasn't "classy".

ddb, #589: You might be surprised how many gentiles prefer kosher hot dogs, because we know they won't have "mystery meat" or fillers! I would have eaten that hot dog quite happily, and never thought that it was being targeted to a Jewish market.

#602 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 02:10 PM:

pgbb (can I call you pg?): I can easily think of seven muscles that would probably be involved in washing hands that are muscles that cross the shoulder joint (but then, I'm a massage therapist....)

#603 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 02:13 PM:

siriosa @ 592: That sound you hear is me face-palming. Thanks for bestowing your wisdom upon me! Now I just have to start searching Facebook for the local groups, and see what happens.

#604 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 02:15 PM:

Well, I'm back at home.

Went in for a general checkup late on a Tues. because I was getting oddly out of breath when I exercised or went from downstairs to upstairs. Got blood tests, headed home and my doctor called me there and said my iron levels were much too low and they were scheduling me for various medical scans and a possible surgical consultation on Thurs. Had the scans done, and the surgeon got me in for surgery on Tuesday. Surgery done successfully: there will be further medical procedures depending on final results. Hospital TV featuring infomercials and an Ann Sheridan day-long marathon, Ann Sheridan being, of course, the studio's favorite co-star for Ronald Reagan!

Digestive system refuses to come back on-line: back to nasal tube for 4 days until it does. Point out that IV has been in place since Monday before last and keep getting "You mean last Monday, right?" Get them to read records and see that it really was nine days rather than two: IV removed because arm is pretty beat up, after which orders for transfusion appear. New IV for transfusion, transfusion happens, hospital says I'm free as soon as they do final blood test, so I sit down and wait for the nurse to come buy to take it.

And I get a call from HR at work and the contract I'm on ended an hour ago and I'm unemployed.

So, does anyone have a recommendation for a country-western record I can play backwards to get my job back, most of my insurance policy back, my health back... ?

#605 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 02:20 PM:

And if the tune includes a chorus to change the typo "buy" to "by" in the previous post that would be a nice extra fillip.

#606 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 02:23 PM:

Welcome back, Bruce!

#607 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 02:24 PM:

I cheerfully note the official announcement of one, perhaps two, Earth-sized planets and an extrasolar system with five, potentially seven, planets.

#608 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 02:31 PM:

The extrasolar planets represent fascinating science. But the 5 they're sure of in that system are Neptune-mass planets, and the two possible Earth-sized ones are less than 1/10 as far from the sun as we are. So--nothing vaguely like our solar system yet.

In practice doesn't make much difference, since we can't go visit for quite a while anyway. But for Fermi Paradox arguments it matters.

#609 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 02:33 PM:

Bruce@601: Mingled congratulations and sympathies!

Careful what you do with country records; if you're not careful you'll end up with a dog, too.

#610 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 02:33 PM:

Lee, I don't see the situations as analogous. Sorry. Also, it seems to me that it has been established here that your views allow a lot more vituperation than mine do.

#612 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 02:39 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @ 604... Neat!

#613 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 02:42 PM:

I finally received the new cell phone provided by my employer. It's a Blackberry. I'm going thru the startup instructions and I noticed the following text on the back of the battery:

Do not abuse battery.

Battery battery?

#614 ::: Keith Kisser ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 02:45 PM:

Xopher @326:

I find I do that fairly often, pick up the voice of authors I'm reading or recently read. Which is why I stopped reading Bukowski. His authorial voice is memetic ebola.

I've learned to game the habit though, and when I want to write in a certain voice I read a bit of an author with a similar style, to act as a sort of verbal template. Otherwise, I read 2 or 3 books at once, which tends to cancel out the effect. (Excpet for right now, because I'm reading Daemonomania and wouldn't complain if I started writing like John Crowley).

#615 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 02:46 PM:

Benajamin: I think you misunderstand my friend. He does not keep kosher during passover, he merely refrains from leaven. It's just that everyone assumes he does. He, actually, isn't changing the rules at all. He is partaking of a fast from leaven.

dcb: Yes, I know people who keep kosher at home, for the family/friends who might come to call. I have a small number of dishes/cookware which I keep kosher, since I have a partner who keeps kosher, and when she comes to visit I like being able to cook for her.

That's still 5,000 bills. Probably about the size of a ream of foolscap?

re Greek food, and non-meat. There is a lot of non-meat in it. Much doing with eggplant, but a fair bit with eggs, and rice and vegetables. re Imam biyaldi, I've heard two versions of why the imam fainted, one how delicious it was (and I've made it with zucchini, which was very good, and pleased the non-eggplant loving vegetarian I live with), and the other was the amount (and therefore cost) of oil in it.

War story: A friend of mine was served an iraqi version of imam biyaldi, while meeting with a source. He praised it to the sky (one it eas very good, two he was trying to build rapport). Mistake. It's not cheap to make (at least not where olive oil isn't cheap, or salaries high) and the poor guy kept making it when he knew we were coming by. Worse, it took awhile for my friend to realise what it was costing the poor guy.

re the offended comment about the butter: I can see it, but I'd not do it. It's a tone thing. As a rule that sort of flip/offended/offensive response makes the ignorant lout who made the offending statement defensive. That is, in both the short and the longer term, counterproductive. Me... if I'm alone, I'll just leave, when that sort of thing happens. If I'm with a group, and it happens to one of the members, I'll suggest leaving.

In any case I'll be very polite to the waitperson, and to the manager I complain to.

#616 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 02:47 PM:

C. Wingate:

"Also, it seems to me that it has been established here that your views allow a lot more vituperation than mine do."
Care to explain that in more detail?

#617 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 02:53 PM:

re the "you only have an expectation of privacy if you're rich" decision. I point out the dissenting judge, is 1: a Reagan appointee,and was a mentor for Eugene Volokh.

None of which is relevant, just amusing.

The part of his dissent which I most liked was his actually noting 1: that poor people are denied real curtailage, and that poor people don't end up on the bench.

We shall see what they say about the Prop 8 decision.

In other news, same subject, there are other circuits weighing on the question, with very different results. That's good.

What's bad...? It means it will probably go to the Supremes.

#618 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 02:55 PM:

In Hyperlocal News: I'm about to load up the bike and head out of Ottawa. I'll be off the net until at least Saturday.

I'll be back, NLT Monday, when I'll be in Minneapolis. I plan to make a longish-layover there, and may be able to meet people.

Details in the blog linked to my nom de la claire.

#619 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 03:12 PM:

Bruce Durocher @ 601: I'll meet you down at the honky-tonk to buy you a round and we'll drown our sorrows together..

#620 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 03:49 PM:

Tom Whitmore 599: you may, but I think you were probably talking to Bruce Arthurs.

Terry Karney 612: If they make imam bayildi in Iraq then I'm definitely going to claim it for the Turks! (More seriously - its obviously an Ottoman dish. But the name is definitely Turkish. I find myself wondering where your friend was - somewhere in the north, like Mosul or Kirkuk, both of which have old Turcoman communities? Or not?)

I hadn't heard the story about the imam fainting because of the cost of the oil. While olive oil isn't cheap here, it's always a lot cheaper than I expect it to be, having grown up in the UK. And quite a lot of Turkish vegetabkle dishes involve a fair bit of olive oil: there's a whole style of cooking that involves slowly simmering vegetables in a mixture of water, olive oil, lemon juice and a wee bit of sugar. (My personal favourite of these is leeks; the luxury item, which is also very good, is artichoke hearts. Except that it means that artichokes are always sold here too late for the prickly bits to be edible.)

Further linguistic datapoint - bayildim (literally, I have fainted - is an idiomatic/slightly over the top way of saying 'I'm very pleased')

Terry @ 615: Iyi yoljuluklar, as they say round here. (Meaning 'have a good trip' - but Turkish is full of little tags like this, which on pain of impoliteness, have to be used on every appropriate occasion. Speaking of which - can anyone tell me either - what is the English for 'bon appetit', or - why don't we have something equivalent?)

#621 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 03:59 PM:

Kathryn 604, ddb 605:

In one of my RSS feeds today (from a reputable philosophical journal)

The number of planets is not a number.

#622 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 04:02 PM:

re 613: No, I do not care to, other than say that Terry's comments in 612 are more along the lines of what I would hold to be acceptable behavior.

re 614: I came across those other decisions from the EFF website after I had made my post here. Looking at Georgia v. Randolph I would guess that supremes would come up with a 5-4 decision against warrantless use of such devices, but you never know until the decision comes down.

#623 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 04:19 PM:

praisegod barebones @617:
Speaking of which - can anyone tell me either - what is the English for 'bon appetit', or - why don't we have something equivalent?

The Dutch are always baffled when I explain that the English translation of eet smakelijk is bon appetit. But it is, you know.

#624 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 04:22 PM:

C Wingate @619:

No, I do not care to, other than say that Terry's comments in 612 are more along the lines of what I would hold to be acceptable behavior.

That is not the same thing at all. Mind you, your comment was one that neatly disproved itself, but I'm not sure irony was your intent.

#625 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 04:26 PM:

PG@617 -- oops, you're right.

@618 -- the argument there essentially comes down to "The number of X is not a number", which is a valid philosophical point. The number of X is an attribute of X, whereas number qua number is a philosophical concept rather than an attribute. It's equivalent to the treatment of "nothing" in the proof that a ham sandwich is better than complete happiness in life*.

*1 Nothing is better than complete happiness in life.
2 A ham sandwich is better than nothing.


#626 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 04:33 PM:

Hyper-local news:

Apartment Residents Express Skepticism

Mary Aileen 584: For a lot of people, eating vegetarian is a religious issue.

For me, for example, it is. At this point, however, I expect that I couldn't easily go back without a lot of physical hardship (based on the few occasions in my last...omigodit'sbeen32years...of vegetarianism when I got trace amounts by mistake). But the real reason is that when I consult the Other Side about it, the answer still comes back "No, you musn't." Not even tuna, which was the last thing I checked about. (Side note: in my religion these things are individual, so don't expect Wiccans in general to be vegetarian. They may have other geasa that I don't have, or none at all (outside of ethical things).)

praisegod 595: I think I'm going to have to claim imam baldi (or bayildi) for the Turks - in Turkish it means 'the imam fainted' (or, as my translated cookbook has it 'swooning imam') - presumably because it was so good.

Yes, I'm pretty sure it's of Turkish, originally, but the Greek restaurant here in Hoboken serves it. Perhaps they're Cypriots. Anyway, it's delicious.

I've heard the same two stories Terry has, and not from him, about the name.

#627 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 04:33 PM:

I should have been more clear than I was - I do not keep kosher at all, but during Passover, I refrain from consuming chametz and am very neurotic about the passover-specific dietary laws.

#628 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 04:49 PM:

I eat chametz all the time! I love it! Mmm, chick-pea goodness.

Xopher, that's hummus. Chametz means leavened bread.


Never mind.

#629 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 04:52 PM:

#572: He wrote to me, too. Do you want first dibs at the $20 million in cash? You got the letter first so it only seems fair!

#630 ::: Bombie ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 04:59 PM:

pgbb 617, abi 620

I've also encountered quite a few enjoy your meals.

At an early age my brain catalogued bon appetit as the French version of eet smakelijk, so I never stood still at its core semantic value before.* Now that I did, it seems to me that after wishing someone a healthy appetite, it's somehow appropriate to ask at the end of the meal whether they had enough.. Which is, from what I've heard (haven't been able to verify yet), what you get asked after finishing a meal in a restaurant in the US. A notion I find abhorring, as I'm used to the waiter asking if I've enjoyed the meal, which seems more important to me (and I can hardly ever finish my plate anyway).

I like the word smakelijk. I think the literal translation of eet smakelijk might be something like may your eating be full of flavour, which I quite like. Of course, it's become a standard expression, and we don't really think about it all that much when using it (as with bon appetit).

* I have this as well with a lot of English words I grew familiar with at a young age before understanding them, especially brand names. This makes for quite a few random moments of sudden enlightenment, which I love and cherish.

#631 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 05:11 PM:

Bombie@627: It's routine in my experience (even in "ethnic" restaurants, i.e. locally-owned restaurants not serving "American" food) that the server will come by a while after the food arrives and ask "Is everything okay" or "Is everything good" or some variant. I don't think I've ever been asked if I'd had enough though, and that would strike me as weird. (Also quite unnecessary! I agree) At the end (when delivering the check) they may also ask the same questions (but in the past tense :-) ).

#632 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 05:15 PM:

ddb, the "Is everything OK" isn't so much wishing you a good meal as checking if your meal is acceptable and if you need anything further. It's also, I am led to understand, legally binding if you say "yes."

#633 ::: doctorpsycho1960 ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 05:33 PM:

Re "bon appetit": Considering that there is no English word for "democracy" or "republic"....

#634 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 05:34 PM:

Xopher@629: Yes, those are actual practical waiter / diner questions, not just conventional good wishes.

Hadn't thought about the legally binding part. I see that. I suppose there are people who try to exploit them; in my experience restaurants are extremely generous about making their customers happy, and will happily redo or exchange things that strike me as going far beyond the necessary bounds. Which is nice of them, and presumably they think in the end it's a good tactic for them.

#635 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 05:39 PM:

abi 620: my wife and children, who are all native French speakers, refuse to accept that this is so.

(Do they get to decide? Not sure.) Admittedly, we adopt the same strategy as you do with 'eet smakelijk' when people ask us to translate the Turkish 'afiyet olsun'.

But here's one that I can't turn into something that is at all plausible in English or French - 'kolay gelsin' - literally 'may it go easily' which is what you say to someone that you meet when it is visible that they are doing something difficult or complicated. It's absolutely essential for day to day life in Turkey. Does anyone know of an equivalent phrase in any other language.

#636 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 05:46 PM:

doctprpsycho1960: nor a French one for entrepreneur...

#637 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 05:50 PM:

praisegod barebones@632: When people are tackling a difficult thing, the most common wish I hear is just "good luck" in some form. I like the idea of "may it go easily", that's more specific and appropriate to that situation.

#638 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 05:54 PM:

Xopher 629: 'legally binding if you say yes'.

What does that amount to in practice? That I'm now committed to paying the bill? (I'd understood that under English law, that's something I'm legally committed to once I make my order.) Or - eg - that the restaurant is off the hook if I go down with food poisoning? Or something somewhere between the two?

#639 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 05:55 PM:

I like eet smakelijk. Mostly because my semi-translation is 'eat smackily!' and that's just fun.

#640 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 06:01 PM:

praisegod 632: I'd say "bon courage" in French. Have your wife and children nixed that?

#641 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 06:04 PM:

I think if you find a piece of broken glass in your food after that, they're not liable. Anything you knew or should have known (reasonable expectation that you inspect the food) at the time they ask is not their (legal) problem. So, food poisoning would NOT be covered, since you can't be reasonably expected to test for e. coli.


#642 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 06:10 PM:

ddb 634: it's used much more frequently than 'good luck', and for things where there's no doubt about the outcome. Imagine going into your local shop and seeing the shopkeepr moving a pile of heavy boxes, for example.

#643 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 06:22 PM:

Lila @350, John @433:

A bit late, but a few more songs by Zevon that come to mind:
Even a Dog Can Shake Hands, from Sentimental Hygiene
Porcelain Monkey, from Life'll Kill Ya
Piano Fighter, from Mutineer

All in the showbiz category. I'm fairly sure elsewhere in my music library I've got more, including space themed songs, but nothing I can easily check the lyrics on right now.

#644 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 06:24 PM:

A few notes about Chinese restaurants, especially in NYC:

1) There is apparently a Chinese social taboo about "saying no" (refusing the customer's wishes) in service contexts, -- it at least used to be that a fair number of immigrant restaurateurs would just say "Yes, yes", even if they didn't understand the question -- or even if they did but it wasn't something they could change. When dealing with Chinese immigrants who may not understand more English than the names of the foods, it is important to phrase the question so that the "wrong" answer would be "Yes".

2) There was at least one case a few years back, where a customer who was allergic to peanuts died as the result of this custom, which led to homicide charges against the restaurant owner. I have to assume this made an impression on the restaurant-owner/immigrant community in the USA.

3) New York City in particular also has absolutely lethal competition. My father was a landlord/tenant lawyer, and he once told me that the mean lifetime of a restaurant lease in NYC was six months. That's a powerful incentive to get customer-service right, with an evolutionary penalty.

#645 ::: Bombie ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 06:27 PM:

TexAnne 637, barebones 639

I think my particular flavour of Flemish dialect* might have a bastardized version of 'bon courage' which would be applicable even in a box-moving situation, so I think I'd be able to translate the word for a native Gantoise.* It's just not a sentiment that is expressed all that often, so such a translation would lose a lot of the flavour.

* or the one I grew up with and live in, at least. I somehow never took to it at all, nor any other strong dialect.
** resident of Ghent (a Belgian city), en Français

#646 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 06:30 PM:

What I haven't yet found in English is a translation for "takk for maten" (Norwegian, literally "thanks for the food"). What do you say when you're a houseguest and your host served you a meal?

#647 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 06:32 PM:

IANAL either, but I was a pre-law major, and I don't think there's any way a restaurant that served food with broken glass in it would not be liable. The case that's most often cited when looking at questions of foreign objects in food is the Mexicali Rose case*, which laid out two points that must be considered in a case related to contaminated food: the trier of fact must determine whether the foreign substance (a) could be reasonably expected by the average consumer and (b) rendered the food defective or "unfit" for human consumption. (Source of quoted text.)

Finding a piece of glass in one's food fails both these tests. I don't think the average consumer would expect to find broken glass in their food. And I feel confident that broken glass by definition renders the food "defective or 'unfit' for human consumption".

*Incidentally, I always get a mild kick when I pass the Mexicali Rose, which is located in Old Oakland. Look, it's a legally significant restaurant!

#648 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 06:50 PM:

ddb @628: the server will come by a while after the food arrives and ask "Is everything okay"

And zhe innevitably does this just after you've taken a bite, so you can do no more than nod or shake your head. This is so consistent that I have to think this is taught explicitly in server school.

praisegod barebones @632: my wife and children, who are all native French speakers, refuse to accept that this is so.

Well, coming from a highly regulated language, this is understandable. It seems possible that the degree to which American English is a wooly hybrid mutt of a language might well be flat out incomprehensible to those from more...formal backgrounds.

- "More wine?" "Just a skosh."
- <sneeze> "Gesundheit!"
- "Why were Brad and Janet sent to the principle's office?" "They were caught in fragrante delicto."
- "You know, being mean to people is bad for your karma."
- "Boy, that guy's got a lot of chutzpah, showing up after he did that to her."

...and so on.

I'm really happy I didn't have to learn English as a second language.

Roy G. Ovrebo @643: What do you say when you're a houseguest and your host served you a meal?


#649 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 06:51 PM:

Lexica @644 -- and a long-lived one, too; it was quite acceptable back in the mid-70s when I went there occasionally. (Not speaking for now, under Benford's Rule and a lack of recent experience.)

#650 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 06:57 PM:


After years of chopping and washing heads of lettuce, I've gotten lazy and started buying those bags of pre-made salad base.

You can get romaine lettuce based salads, and some of the larger bags are fairly cheap. But living alone, it's a race between economy and entropy. I usually manage to finish a bag before it goes bad. (I eat BIG salads.)

I've noticed recently that the stuff is going bad sooner. Is my fridge on the fritz? Are the sell by dates more lax?

#651 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 06:58 PM:

You just need more guinea pigs.

#652 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 07:02 PM:

praisegod barebones:
Americans do wish each other "good luck" as encouragement when there is no luck about it, but it isn't as much a stock phrase. Our language could use something like that.

The nearest phrase I can think of to "kolay gelsin" is in Japanese, "gambatte ne!" or just "gambatte" which literally means something more like "try your best" or "don't give up". As I recall is often used in ways pretty close to what you describe, for example encouraging someone moving a bunch of heavy boxes. (There are interesting cultural differences implied in the choice of formally urging someone to try their hardest at X, versus formally hoping X will be easy for them.)

#653 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 07:03 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 647 -- Perhaps the salad used to be treated with sulfites to maintain freshness, and they've stopped adding that? Possibly formerly an unlabeled additive, and the producer got caught, at which point they had to make a choice between declaring the additive or omitting it.

#654 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 07:08 PM:

Ooh, I just thought of one corresponding idiom.

When someone is working on or trying something, you can tell them "Piece of cake!", short for "It'll be a piece of cake!" which implies that they'll find it easy. You can say that even if it's something intrinsically hard, which expresses both a hope that it *will* be easy and your confidence in their ability (it'll be easy for *you*.)

#655 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 07:11 PM:

Does in fragrante delicto mean they smelled like they'd done something wrong?

#656 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 07:17 PM:

645 Jacque:
ddb @628: the server will come by a while after the food arrives and ask "Is everything okay"

And zhe inevitably does this just after you've taken your first bite, so you can do no more than nod or shake your head (or give a sensible opinion either way). This is so consistent that I have to think this is taught explicitly in server school.

Not exactly a "fixed it for you", more of an emphatic agreement.

Two server stories:
1) I went to a *very upscale* French restaurant. I was not asked how the food was (in addition to the rest of the "real" service model that wouldn't have been obvious if I wasn't watching for it). Of course the food was perfect - they were serving it, correct? If there was a problem (which of course there wouldn't be), they were sure we would bring it to their attention.

2) I got the wrong lobster dish one day at a restaurant known for making those sorts of dishes. When the server asked, I explained that this wasn't what I thought I had ordered, but since I had been waffling between the two, a) I was very happy with it, and b) I might have actually said the wrong thing, so don't worry. She must have told the manager, because he came out and apologized and comped the ($30) meal. That server got a $37 tip for my side of the meal...

If it's your fault (and in this case in particular, I'm still not sure it was), and you admit to it and do something about it, that's adequate restitution in my book. I don't see why you should be out of pocket as well. If it seems only to be an issue for me and not for you, then of course, it will become an issue for you, and as little as possible for me. Simple.

I understand "leave instead of snarking back." I'm not good at it, but I understand it. But I know there are people who won't get "sorry, we're going somewhere else" (you know, people like me, who don't work well with unspoken communication), but will get "yes, that's what you just said to me, a-hole. Care to remove your blinkers before you drown in the stupidsauce?" I know there are people who will learn from the first much better than the second, as well. I hope I have good judgement about which is which, but I've never claimed to be either nice or perfect.

#657 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 07:49 PM:

Back when Vladimir (who ran the Czech place out in Inverness) was alive, he found the idea that I didn't eat meat somewhat distressing, but he put together some side dishes, and at least I liked cabbage and Czech beer and my wife had the goulash so we weren't total aliens. Many restaurants I go to have waiters who can answer the "is it vegetarian" question with "we can do that, is egg ok?" (or at least "no, try #37"), some don't get the concept at all, and most are somewhere in between.

We've got a group of people who go out to dinner weekly in Silicon Valley, usually to various ethnic restaurants; I'm the usual vegetarian, and I've found very few restaurants or cuisines that I can't eat at. That's partly because I'm not vegan, and partly because I don't ask about the propagation of Meat Cooties around the kitchen (which is probably substantial, even at the local glatt-kosher place.) But it's also partly because traditional cooking in most of the world has non-meat items making up the bulk of the calories, and meat is usually an addition when you can get it rather than every meal every day. So nerdycellist's mom ragged on her about veggieburgers instead of making some PB&J or cheese sandwiches or eggs or rice and beans like my mom did when my brother went veggie. Vegans have it tougher, though.

As far as Greek/Turkish/Kurdish/Persian/Afghan/Arab/Israeli cooking goes, yeah, they do meat-onna-stick really well, but they're also wonderful with eggplant, hummus, falafel, tabouli, and other dishes with a lot of flavor. When I lived back east, most restaurants were run by Greeks or Italians, so if there wasn't something interesting on the menu, there was at least pasta, and traditional Catholics had dishes for Lent that weren't meat-based.

Here in California, most kinds of Chinese/Thai/etc. restaurants have a variety of vegetarian dishes, though you occasionally have to check that you're getting the beans that don't have the pork on them, or the rice cakes that don't have shrimp in them, and at dim sum places I usually end up with mostly sweet crunchy desserts, but in a group there are usually people willing to get the non-meat version of at least one of the dishes in addition to whatever I'm ordering, or there are extra appetizers. And Indian food always works. Mexican's ok except for the question of lard in the beans (California-acclimatized places usually can do non-refried beans) and occasional regional surprises like chile rellenos filled with meat instead of cheese.

About the only restaurants that totally fail are Filipino (dessert's great, but everything else they cook apparently has at least one of pork, fish, and chicken, and is more likely to have pork with a fermented fish sauce or something) and some BBQ places that put meat in all the side dishes.

#658 ::: Joe McMahon ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 07:56 PM:

Showbiz & risks:
Liz Phair - Extraordinary
Sting - Send Your Love

Brian Eno - An Ending (Ascent), from _Apollo_
Bruce Springsteen - Radio Nowhere (purportedly about driving, but it sounds like space travel to me!)
Bel Canto - Spacejunk

#659 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 07:59 PM:

Tom@622 and Terry@614, I suspect that Judge Kozinski gets annoyed at the number of ham sandwiches that get indicted and make their way up to the 9th Circuit... I've always liked his judicial opinions, though the ones that I hear about are generally on technology/civil liberties and government abuse of power cases, so that may be an overly filtered set.

#660 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 08:22 PM:

re 621: I know I'm going to regret this, but even adjusting for context et al. I really just don't see the equivalence between a perhaps excessively understated observation on the difference in discourse between the two of us and the statement to a stranger that the food they offer is sh*t.

#661 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 08:59 PM:

Jacque #645: There's that old saying, to the effect that some languages borrow a few words; English lurks in dark alleys to mug other languages for their vocabulary.

#662 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 09:08 PM:

Falling into Patrick O'Brien's patterns is as easy as kiss-my-hand.

#663 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 09:17 PM:

Xopher@623, I had a couple of friends some years back who acquired a steer, and butchered him themselves. They were the type of folks I'd expect to be pagan, except for being atheists, so it was something they felt they ought to do themselves. (They couldn't actually do the killing themselves, due to bureaucratic regulations about licensing and about gunfire in suburban driveways, but they did the rest.) And the byproducts of the steer got referred to by his name, which seemed like the respectful and, um, kine thing to do.

#664 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 10:00 PM:

657: Ah, I get it now (I certainly didn't get it then, sorry). C., she's not saying that their food is sh*t, she's saying that "it's only a little butter" makes the food just as inedible to her as "it's only a little dogsh*t" would be to the server. Yeah, in a crass, blunt, "I'm underfed, tired, stressed out, fed up with 'salads', and this is the last fscking straw, why can't I just be home where there's *food*" manner. Probably that server caught the backlash from the other 7 days worth of so-called meals too, and the vegan, when she recovered her stability, probably felt badly about that. But not, you know, a *wrong* comparison.

My colleague is vegan for animal rights reasons. To her, animals shouldn't be used by humans, at least not without permission they are incapable of giving, for any reason. Milk of the cow is, quite literally, the fruits of slavery. So, for her, "it's only a little butter" is equivalent to "we only beat our staff a little bit, and we let them leave the building on Monday nights, under supervision of course."

The butter I use, the restaurant uses, the Mennonites make - it's all the same sh*t to her. And it's just as much of a turnoff on her food as the cow manure used as fertilizer would be - and for the same reason.

And I've seen waitstaff try the "but it's only a little..." routine often enough, in the limited experiences I've had sharing a meal with her, to know that sometimes, it's not "<waiter> doesn't get it", it's "<waiter> doesn't think the customer's beliefs are important."

#665 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 10:05 PM:

several days worth:

Over a number of years and in a number of different groups, whenever I could influence the pizza order I put in for thin crust. I'm not a fan of gooey dough. I'm always told that most people like it thick, but they'll order a freak pizza just to shut me up. I will now let you guess which one is gone almost instantly, and what's left waiting for takers.

Lila @350. My favorite show biz song is "This Is It!" — the theme from the old Bugs Bunny Hour. (Which is not to say that "Magic To Do" and "Comedy Tonight" and "Another Openin'" and "There's No Business Like Show Business" aren't darn near up there in my heart.)

Space song: Another vote for "Fire in the Sky" by Jordin Kare.

Erik Nelson @395 - I don't know from FORTH, but other than that, that's exactly what I was going to say. Actually, it's what I say about half the times Yoda comes up in conversation, since the 1980s, and I wonder if I should make up a new joke now, if that one's made it out into the population.

Vegetarian food: I've heard vegetarian friends say that Taco Bell offers them several choices. Heaven knows what kind of grease it's cooked in, though. (Holst's planets aren't astronomy, by the way, they're astrology. That said, the organ duet version is pretty darn satisfying.

Bill Stewart @654: CAUTION: Soylent Green may contain peanuts.

#666 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 10:13 PM:

Every plant gets fertilized. Some animal eats that.
No matter where we store food, it's no challenge to a rat.
So whether you're a vegan or your preference is meat,
There's a little bit of excrement in everything we eat.

The molecules and atoms in our atmosphere collide
And fly around to mix with other gases far and wide
Although homeopathic, it's true, for heaven's sake:
There's a little bit of cyanide in every breath we take.

Opinions, facts, and fancies swirl around in our discourse.
You can't go far enough back to examine every source.
There's trace amounts of truth behind the meanest, rankest smear
And there's bound to be some bullshit back of each truth we revere.

#667 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 10:24 PM:

Xopher @652: Smells fishy to me..

#668 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 10:36 PM:

Clifton, #651: Not in any of my local idiolects (Michigan, Tennessee, Texas). Could be regional, or jargon.

#669 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 10:56 PM:


#670 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 11:01 PM:

Kip W. @ 662 -- Last I checked, Taco Bell's bean burritos were vegetarian: no lard in the beans, the cheesoid was rennet-free, the flour tortilla contained dairy but no other animal product. It's hardly exciting fare, but it's inexpensive and dependable when I'm low on options.

#671 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 11:28 PM:

Relevant to many people's interests: a neat video on YouTube of an artist creating a marbled, decorated piece of paper by dripping oil paints on a tray of water, etc. Very detailed and close-up video.

#672 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 11:32 PM:

praisegod barebones @ 632

I'm inclined to say that niche is covered by a simple "good luck with that," or (perhaps more ritualistically/superstitiously) "break a leg." (Of course, I'd peronally modify either of those with a well placed "dude," but I suspect that's a bit subcultural...)

#673 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 12:01 AM:

Taco Bell got rid of most of its trans fat cooking several years ago. They also have lower-impact "fresco" items on the menu now.

#674 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 12:32 AM:

albatross@577: The perfume thing was a bit of business in the Hugo-winning novel The Vor Game.

David Harmon@658: That "old saying" isn't quite old enough to drink -- it can be precisely dated to May of 1990, in a Usenet post by James Nicoll. (I had trouble finding it on Google Groups until I realized I should be searching in rec.arts.sf-lovers, not rec.arts.sf.written.) This quotation is perhaps James' most enduring contribution to our culture, and I want to keep it from getting separated from proper attribution for as long as I can.

#675 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 01:03 AM:

Hyperlocal news: Area man falls asleep on couch, woken by perceived urgency of question: 'How many tittles to one jot?'

#676 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 01:10 AM:

David, didn't it have something about dragging other languages into dark alleys and going through their pockets for loose syntax?

#677 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 01:14 AM:

The Dutch are always baffled when I explain that the English translation of eet smakelijk is bon appetit. But it is, you know.

This phenomenon is not entirely unique to English. I recall learning in high school that the German term for fries is pommes frites.

#678 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 01:19 AM:

David Goldfarb @671: Probably should be addressed to the hosts, too. I clicked on your "David Harmon@658" link, which not only didn't take me to his comment (got a page offering to help me find what I might be looking for on Making Light), but also threw up an AVG alert that a threat was blocked ( that was pestering many of us a few days ago).

#679 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 01:23 AM:

Kip #663: Very nice!

#680 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 02:19 AM:

Hyperlocal news: Mild-mannered Democrat just polled by Rasmussen Reports, noted for its Republican bias. MMD took great pleasure in skewing pollster's results in direction it would prefer not to go.

#681 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 02:30 AM:

Hyperlocal news:

Amateur thespian discovers recurring opening-week nightmare has lost impact through familiarity
Spends entire dream tapping foot, muttering "I know what this is, I've seen it before, hurry up and be done so I can get some proper sleep. I have a performance tomorrow, you know."

#682 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 03:10 AM:

C Wingate @657:

OK, taking here in the original comment to mean "this thread" rather than "Making Light", I can see how it's not nearly so pointed. The use of has been and the nature of your previous interactions with Lee led me to another interpretation, one which put that comment firmly in the neighborhood of "vituperation".

I am relieved to know that the intent was more limited in scope, though I'm still somewhat unconvinced that you've established quite the superiority in manners that you clearly hope to have done.

#683 ::: siriosa ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 03:45 AM:

In Hyperlocal News:
Local woman finally visits refurbished museum, is delighted to see photograph of 95-year-old friend in the film montage introducing the history section.

Ginger @600: Now I just have to start searching Facebook for the local groups, and see what happens.

Friend me! I'm siriosa there too.

Lexica @644: Incidentally, I always get a mild kick when I pass the Mexicali Rose, which is located in Old Oakland. Look, it's a legally significant restaurant!

Really? That Mexicali Rose is the Mexicali Rose? Black Panthers, Hell's Angels, and Mexicali Rose. I love me some Oakland.

#684 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 03:59 AM:

praisegod barebones #672: How many tittles to one jot?

Start with the word "it". Measure the diameter of the dot at the top of the letter "i"; that is one tittle. Measure the width of the crossbar of the letter "t"; that is one jot. These are relative units of measure, and not absolute, as they depend on the various characteristics of the typeface in use. I leave calculation of the ratio of the two as an exercise for the reader. Ta da!

#685 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 04:01 AM:

I used to eat at the Mexicali Rose a fair amount when I was in grad school. It was open until 3 a.m., and served old-school California Mexican food very much like what I grew up on. The link to the case doesn't load for me, but maybe that's just as wel...

#686 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 04:02 AM:

I used to eat at the Mexicali Rose a fair amount when I was in grad school. It was open until 3 a.m., and served old-school California Mexican food very much like what I grew up on. The link to the case doesn't load for me, but maybe that's just as wel...

#687 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 05:18 AM:

Rob Rusick@675: Oops. What happened was that I wrote <a href = "461929"> when I should have written <a href = "#461929"> and this caused the software to expand the HTML improperly. (Which is why I also include the comment number, just in case.) The AVG alert, however, comes from nothing I did.

Xopher@673: There's a T-shirt version that has no attribution and says "loose grammar", which makes no sense. The original quote is "new vocabulary". James's CafePress site has the correct quote: accept no substitutes.

#688 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 05:19 AM:

Mycroft W @653: Not exactly a "fixed it for you", more of an emphatic agreement.

And, in fact, you got what I was driving at without actually being able to articulate it adequately. So, yeah: FIFM :)

David Harmon @658: snorfle *hack* cough.

Hee. Indeed. Just so.

Re: finding adequate vegetarian cuisine: Living in Boulder, it's easy to forget that the rest of the world is, well, not. It's not unusual for me to have to protest: "Um, can we go somewhere where I can get a little meat in my dinner?"

Kip W @662: Holst's planets aren't astronomy, by the way, they're astrology.

Actually, the way I'd heard it, Holst isn't astrology, it's theology. Except I like Tomita because it's explicitly astronomy, up to and including the count-down and take-off.

#689 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 05:54 AM:

Hyperlocal news: After 5 Nights on Graveyard Shift, Southern Ohio Woman Can't Sleep on Night Off

Yard Work Neglected; Virginia Creeper Invades Bedroom

All this pizza discussion makes me hungry for a Happy Joe's Special - sauerkraut and Canadian bacon.

#690 ::: jnh ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 06:39 AM:

Roy G. Ovrebo @643:

What I haven't yet found in English is a translation for "takk for maten" (Norwegian, literally "thanks for the food"). What do you say when you're a houseguest and your host served you a meal?
That is pretty close to being the only Norwegian I remember (not that having your Norwegian grandfather live with you give you a lot of vocabulary), and I think of it as being particularly Norwegian (or perhaps Scandinavian). American English has no equivalent formalism, but giving general thanks and praising the meal is customary — "Thanks so much for dinner, Mrs. Nielsen Hayden, it was delicious!"

#691 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 06:59 AM:

687: Judging by the OP, don't Norwegians say "Ah, I bet that's put fatty fibres round my heart!"

#692 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 07:23 AM:

Random open-thready query. Due to my second-hand-bookshop habit, I have ended up with copies of two novels by Sarah Zettel, A Sorcerer's Treason and The Firebird's Vengeance. These are declared on their covers to be, respectively, the first and third volumes of the "Isavalta Trilogy". However, according to isfdb, they are the second and third of four. Can anyone tell me what's going on, and what the correct order for these books is?

#693 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 07:24 AM:

I should add that I've read A Sorcerer's Treason and it does read like the first book of a series, but the back cover copy of The Firebird's Vengeance doesn't sound as though there's an intervening book between them, so I'm a bit confused.

#694 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 08:23 AM:

Rob Rusick @675:

Thanks for the heads-up. That changes our diagnosis of the original problem; it means it's less likely to be some kind of MT exploit and more likely to be a more pervasive hack.

Martin has had a look, and it's not just the 404 page. The Electrolite archives are corrupted, as are many of the non-Making Light links from

Everybody keep your shields up; we're not through this yet. We'll work on it further on the weekend.

#695 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 08:28 AM:


According to what appears to be Sarah Zettel's website, the four books of the Isavalta series are:

The Firebird's Vengeance
The Usurper’s Crown
A Sorceror's Treason
Sword of the Deceiver

(There appears to be a gap of three years between the third and fourth books.)

#696 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 08:33 AM:

David Goldfarb #671: Thanks, I had misremembered the author myself, and consequently couldn't find it. It turns out to be the first quote here:

The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.

#697 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 09:01 AM:

Jules @689 said: Random open-thready query. Due to my second-hand-bookshop habit, I have ended up with copies of two novels by Sarah Zettel, A Sorcerer's Treason and The Firebird's Vengeance. These are declared on their covers to be, respectively, the first and third volumes of the "Isavalta Trilogy". However, according to isfdb, they are the second and third of four. Can anyone tell me what's going on, and what the correct order for these books is?

It's an order-published-versus-internal-chronology thing -- feel free to read them in as-published order, I did, and they're fine that way.

Highly recommended, btw, for the lifeguardy/lighthousey history bits as well as the awesome magic system and imperial politics.

#698 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 09:35 AM:

siriosa @ 680: Will do!

Lexica @ 644: I've eaten there many of us have crossed paths ? Now I want to take the TARDIS and sit in one place while the time rolls by.

#699 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 09:39 AM:

Open threadiness:

Are there any Making Light denizens who live in NYC and are in the market for kittens? Someone on Ravelry has recently rescued three 5-week-old kittens, but can't keep them because she's going to be moving cross-country in a month or so, just about the time they're old enough for homes. She says they're all disease-free per the vet, and using the litter box properly, and so forth.

Unfortunately their mama is feral, but the kittens are socializing well.

Hyperlocal news: Discovery of Cake Mix Saves Woman's Mother From Death "Forgot I even bought it," says baker.

#700 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 10:15 AM:

Hyperlocal news this morning: Cat sneezing fit, loud enough to be heard without assistive devices. Leads to administration of antibiotic, pettings, and catnip. Cat unsure of deal, may want to renegotiate.

#701 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 10:18 AM:

Hyperlocal news...
Last night at a party Einstein ate too much cheese and barfed on the carpet.
Canine looked slightly contrite afterward.

#702 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 10:24 AM:

Serge @ 578: Hyperlocal news forces me to admit that I have a local meeting that very same week. Alas.

#703 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 10:42 AM:

Cat unsure of deal, may want to renegotiate.

Sounds pretty normal, for a cat.

On the whatever-it-was in the system: it may have gotten into my work computer (which is locked down in several ways), but whatever-it-was seems to have shut itself off after two weeks; the second weeks, it was trying to call home (two different URLs) every minute. Alternating locations. (The first week, it was every five minutes.)

#704 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 10:47 AM:

Dave Harmon @ 641 and re: querying Chinese wait staff generally, in my experience the Magic Word for vegetarians in unfamiliar territory is "Buddhist." Wait staff who don't understand when you ask about ingredients in English will still generally understand Buddhist.

#705 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 10:51 AM:

Hyperlocal news:

Teacher Contracts Alexander Beowulf Syndrome in the First Week of School
In the fourth case in four years, a teacher at the local elementary school has begun showing symptoms of Alexander Beowulf Syndrome. ABS is the belief that one particular student's geeky and spacey behavior is a sign that he is either troubled at home or not following the subject matter in class. Fortunately for all concerned, ABS tends to diminish with closer acquaintance, and is entirely cured by the first round of standardized tests in the autumn.

Six Year Old Girl in Nail Polish Frenzy
A six year old girl has persuaded her mother to allow her to paint a different shade of polish on each fingernail on her hand. The thumbs, lacking their own color, were painted ring-finger dark pink with white glittery hearts on them. This behavior is not considered strange enough to inspire any sort of syndrome in surrounding adults. Go figure.

#706 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 11:04 AM:

Hyperlocal news:

Job Hopeful Gets Through Trial Shift Without Incident

An experienced baker and kitchen worker continued her search for permanent employment today, after a successful initial interview on Wednesday. During her trial shift, she prepped sandwiches and pizzas, and did not cut herself or ruin any food. "I know there are other candidates, but I'm optimistic about getting a callback," she said. "This job would really be perfect for me."

#707 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 11:10 AM:

Hyperlocal news: Cat declares: Wonderful Sniffs on hands and arms! Human should look after neighbour's chinchillas more often.

#708 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 11:15 AM:

Re English and its melting-pot nature: there's also a line in Little Fuzzy by H. Beam Piper--something to the effect of "The English language is the result of Norman soldiers trying to get dates with Saxon barmaids, and no more legitimate than any of the other results."

#709 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 11:31 AM:

Hyperlocal News:

New Graduate Student Will Teach First Section Today

Cat Examines Used Yogurt Bowl

Keeper of Cat Tests Furminator: Initial Reviews Positive

#710 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 11:37 AM:

Keeper of Cat Tests Furminator: Initial Reviews Positive

How many cats did you remove from it?
(I have a furminator. It's astonishing how much down it removes from a cat. Also, it's good for removing cat-down from clothing afterward.)

#711 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 11:44 AM:

It was impressive, in a disturbing kind of way - I assembled a couple of softball-sized pile of kitty fur when I groomed Totoro last night. He purred through the whole procedure, which is good (he was less than fond of the traditional cat brush - he would put up with it, but he's a mellow beastie).

#712 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 11:50 AM:

PJ Evans @ 700: Oddly, I had one cat who preferred injectable antibiotics to oral. Every time I started administering pills, he would flee my approach. On the other hand, I could safely approach with a syringe in hand, daily. Brady is not this cat, alas.

Other hyperlocal news: Son appears enthusiastic about high school. Orientation followed by positive report; still needs to finish summer reading book reports.

#713 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 12:29 PM:

Benjamin Wolfe @ 708: My cat unexpectedly liked the Furminator as well. Unfortunately, that was the one I'd bought for my step-mother for her dogs and I was just using it while we visited. Now I'll have to try to get one for our cat. I took a hamster-sized pile of fur off her in two sessions.

#714 ::: siriosa ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 01:53 PM:

Ginger @695: Now I want to take the TARDIS and sit in one place while the time rolls by.

They used to say if you stood in Grand Central Station, eventually everyone you'd ever met in your life would walk by.

In my 20s, I was more fascinated by the (purportedly) Chinese assertion that if you sat on the bank of the river, eventually you'd see the bodies of all your enemies float past.

#715 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 02:01 PM:

Kip W @ 663 — Ooh, I like that. It ties in with some things I've been musing over ("nobody has a monopoly on wacky ideas" is how it's currently phrasing itself in my head).

May I quote it (with attribution, of course)?

#716 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 02:01 PM:

siriosa, 711: They still say it about the Champs-Elysées, but I think they should stop.

Hyperlocal news: French teacher begins middle-school practicum, becomes music teacher instead.

#717 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 02:09 PM:

Lexica @712: Sure! (and thanks, to you and albatross) I started it six years ago and finished it last night. After posting, I changed the last line to be "back of everything we hear," which is more parallel, structurally, and maybe less pompous. If you want a title, it's "Impurities."

Let me know how it fares.

Incidentally, I'm a student again. I start classes (as a senior) Thursday night. This time, I'll try and make something of myself.

#718 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 02:16 PM:

Hyperlocal news:

Woman runs errand at lunchtime, returns to work with new pair of sandals and a barbecue sandwich, neither of which were related to original errand.

TexAnne@713--so what's the music-teacher gig? Inquiring minds &c.

#719 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 02:22 PM:

HLN (William Carlos Williams edition)

Area man eats 'delicious' plums in icebox, asks for forgiveness.

In a prepared statement, Mr. Williams, 46, claimed that the plums, thought to have been probably being kept for breakfast, were 'so cool and so refreshing.' An earlier incident, involving a red wheelbarrow, white chickens and rainwater is thought to be unrelated.

#720 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 02:27 PM:

Hyperlocal news

Cat receives small serving of Half & Half, regards server with one molecule less disdain.

#721 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 02:29 PM:

fidelio--just observing/micro-teaching.

#722 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 02:35 PM:

Xopher 638: IANALATINLA.

If you were, and/or it was, then I doubt I'd be able to afford to read your comment.

Earl Cooley 681: Thanks. I'll take it that YANALA/OTWNLA as well. I'm very tempted to tape the suggested conversion table to the ceiling, in case of future incidents of comparable severity.

#723 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 02:45 PM:

Davids Harmon and Goldfarb 658, 671, 693

I like to think of it more as English being particularly prone to default on its loan-words.

#724 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 02:57 PM:

Hyperlocal news: Aging (1996) Toyota Corolla requires over $1000 worth of maintenance! Owner vastly unamused.

#725 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 03:05 PM:

Hyperlocal news!

Local con!
Will be enjoyed greatly by hyperlocal newscaster.

#726 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 03:25 PM:

Lizzy L @ #721: Aging (1996) Toyota Corolla requires over $1000 worth of maintenance!

How many miles and what's allegedly wrong with it? I've a 1999 Chevy Prizm (rebadged Corolla) that may have many similarities, and I have a manual and some DIY repair experience. I'm mostly curious - there are plenty of things I don't know how to do, nor that I have time to do anymore even if I do know. I might be able to give some insight on "things that can go a while still" vs. "fix it or regret it". Of course, if you already trust your mechanic, then I'd take their word over mine.

#727 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 03:53 PM:

Cajunfj40, I do trust my mechanic, but thank you very much for your offer. The car (I bought it used in 1999; it has 154,000 miles on it, about 100,000 of which I put on) needs a new battery, a brake fluid flush, a power steering fluid flush, and a tune up. I've been putting all these things off for quite a while, so it doesn't surprise me that the bill's come due, as it were. I'm hoping I can keep it going another 2 years.

#728 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 03:53 PM:

Hyperlocal news:

Guinea Pigs Confirm: "The End Is Nigh!"

When reached for comment, Mr. Bobby Frost reports: "There's still girls. It's all good."

#729 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 04:12 PM:

abi @691: I can maybe confirm that. I accessed XXXX:// last night using Safari on Mac OSX, and subsequently had an MS Word doc refuse to save because "disk not accessible, try reinserting or check network connection." Repair Permissions* reported that the permissions for something called "JavapluginCocoa" was borked. Would this be related to our ML hack?

More hyperlocal news:

Workman Groaning and Swearing Under Breath
"This can't be good," resident says.

*my superstitious incantation for anytime my Mac starts behaving oddly**
**in lieu of knowing how to actually diagnose the problem and figure out how to fix it.***
***I have Apple Care. I'm actually going to use it Someday Real Soon Now.

#730 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 04:13 PM:

Hypochondriac news...

I just brought my cat to the vet, after two days in a row of vomit (one round each day, this time overnight) and soft stools. Bloodwoork taken, and the vet both clopped her front nails and shaved her back paws. (The latter were matted with kitty litter, due to her high volume of urination lately. (Last time I was there, they were thinking she was losing kidney function. Whe is 15 years old....)

And now I'm worried about the pain in my own back... originally I thought is was just a lumpy-mattress bruise (I flipped the mattress), but it's still aching a bit, and tight when I breathe deeply.

#731 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 04:39 PM:

Lizzy, a $1,000 charge for "a new battery, a brake fluid flush, a power steering fluid flush, and a tune up" sounds seriously overpriced to me.

(Unless by "tune up", you mean "periodic servicing", which is more extensive and more expensive. I'm overdue for a 40,000-mile servicing on our own car, and not looking forward to the bill.)

#732 ::: Glenda Pfeiffer ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 04:53 PM:

Hyperlocal News: Woman vacates comfy chair in pursuit of iced tea refill; vigilant cat takes possession of prewarmed nap spot; tardy cat objects.

#733 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 04:53 PM:

David Harmon @727 -- what you describe is consistent with a rib being slightly out of joint. If you can find a chiropractor who doesn't want to see you for a long series of visits (such do exist!) you might want to see about getting it adjusted. IANAD(oC), TINAD, just a suggestion about one possibility among many.

#734 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 04:57 PM:

Nonlocal news:

Jacque in BOSTON for Labor Day
Gathering of Light Desired, as yet unplanned.

#735 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 05:12 PM:

Tom Whitmore @730: what you describe is consistent with a rib being slightly out of joint.

I had one of those a few weeks back. Oh, Sweet Creation! Makes you appreciate the little things in life: Being able to burp. Yawn. Roll over in bed. Breathe.

"You know, Jacque, if you did your yoga—"

"Thank you...."

#736 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 05:35 PM:

Open thread request for info on cat health?

One of my 15 year old cats was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism 2 weeks ago - I took him in after he exhibited enormous appetite + significant weight loss over a few months.

The trip to the vet was extremely stressful for him - this is the cat who was abused in kittenhood, and it took ages to get him accustomed to my touch. He's still very nervous, and terrified of being outside, and of being touched by strangers. You can imagine how he took the whole cage/car ride/strangers poking at him thing.

He's been started on Felimazole, and is quite good about the pilling. Since the vet trip, though, he's started to exhibit behaviour he's never shown before: ripping out mouthfuls of his fur (pretty much localised to the area just above his tail). What I want to know is: could this be a side affect of the medication? Or kitty PTSD? The fur is growing back in the bald spots, but, it's freaking me out. He doesn't seem to be suffering any of the possible side affects I've read about (vomiting, itchy face, etc.).

I have a follow-up appt in 2 weeks, but I'd like to know if this is something I should rush him back over, or if I should just wait for the follow-up; after all, if it's PTSD, making him go through all the stress again will likely just make it worse. Is anyone familiar with this behaviour?

#737 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 05:53 PM:

Re chiropractors ... there are whackadoo ones and ones that are quite useful and sensible. In my experience the best way to weed out the ones I feel to be useless whackadoos☂ is this:

Do they mention (or do the charts on their walls mention) the keyword "subluxation"? If so, whackadoo. Avoid or not, as your own preferences dictate.

☂ Whackadoo chiropractors basically want to treat your chakras while claiming to be doctors, in my experience. Useful chiropractors straighten out weird alignments in your skeleton after loosening enough muscles to let them do so. Sometimes this greatly relieves pain. Sometimes they also give you advice on how not to screw yourself up like that again.

Note: I have no objection whatsoever to getting energy work done on my body, I just want people to be honest about it instead of pretending you learn to do THAT at medical school. I wouldn't go to a neopagan healer to pull my tooth, and I wouldn't go to a neurologist if I want to rebalance my flows. The subset of chiropractors I call whackadoo just squick me from how much they cross the streams, and how dishonest it seems to me they're being to their patients. YMMV.

#738 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 05:57 PM:

ps to my 714: The "W" is for Williams, by the way.

#739 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 06:03 PM:

"Subluxation" isn't, IME, a word which separates useful chiros from non-useful ones -- they use it as a technical term for "out of alignment", in many cases. I prefer finding out if they want me to come for X treatments in the first Y weeks, and an unlimited number of treatments for as long as I can keep paying.

The ones who say "If I can't fix this in a few sessions, I'm really not the doctor you want" gain a great deal of credibility with me.

As for cats and hyperthyroid, Cheryl -- yes, the pills can cause odd behavior. They intentionally affect the endocrine system. Most people I know who've had hyperthyroid cats have gone through getting them radiation treatment to shrink the thyroid -- my partner Karen did this with a 15 year old cat and got three more years of excellent health out of him. The treatment is not cheap, but often results in a much, much happier cat who goes back to being hir own self.

#740 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 06:22 PM:

Serge@456: Please don't. I plead vanity. And shyness. And more vanity. Eeep!

#741 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 06:29 PM:

Lizzy L @ #724: I agree with Bruce Arthurs @#728 that $1000 estimate for two fluid flushes, a battery and a tuneup sounds rather high, except for one question: Did your mechanic mention a timing belt (Not the same thing as the belt you can see that spins the water pump, alternator, A/C and power steering pump - that's usually called the serpentine belt. Used to be called a fan belt, when the engines pointed fore/aft and the belt actually spun the fan, too.) as part of the tune-up? If a new timing belt and associated bits (tensioner, etc.) is included, then that estimate is likely quite fair - especially if your mechanic is one of those good ones that does what he says he'll do, and will stand by the repairs. Online estimates put it at about $400-$600 just to change the timing belt.

Important Note: the Gates Timing Belt manual here notes that your car has an interference type engine. This means that, unless you are lucky (or that PDF is wrong), timing belt failure will cause the valves to hit the pistons, requiring at a minimum a rebuild of the cylinder head and possibly new pistons - basically a complete engine rebuild. Recommended replacement interval is every 60,000 miles. You can't really tell whether it is good by looking at it.

If you need to spend less money, talk to your mechanic and see what things he considers "optional" (other than the timing belt and associated bits) on the tune-up if you are otherwise getting good driveability and MPG. With poor MPG or other bad running conditions (hesitation, stalling, hard to start, etc.) the first things to do are the standard tune-up items.

Definitely get the timing belt done, though.

#742 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 06:33 PM:

Re: chiropractors, I get creeped out by the ones who advertise preventative pediatric chiropraxy.

#743 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 06:41 PM:

Bruce at 728: the car died on the freeway overpass, and yes, it turned out to need a new battery, but my mechanic needed also to check the electrical system to make sure the battery was the only problem, since I've previously had trouble with both the alternator and the starter. That all took time, and cost nearly $300. The two flushes are going to cost about $220. The last tune up was over two years ago, and I know it needs it because gas mileage has been dropping -- depending on what they have to replace (plugs, rotors, cap, wires, filter, etc.) it's going to cost $200--400. That may be high; I truly don't know. I've been told that newer cars are cheaper to tune up because they have fewer parts that need to be replaced.

#744 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 08:25 PM:

cajunfj40 at 738: The timing belt should still be okay; it's got about 30,000 miles on it, I'm pretty sure. If it were coming up on 60,000 miles, my mechanic would have said so.

They charge $95 per hour for labor, BTW.

I just got the car back. The tune up (parts and labor) cost $512, plus tax on parts -- not cheap. The flushes cost $235.

#745 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 08:29 PM:

Hyperlocal News

Woman oils new-built workbench, without staining own clothing - friends, family astounded. "Known her thirty years and she's never done less than rub half the can into her hair," said one.

Cat given new food, greedily eats same and asks for more - "I've checked twice, and she's not been replaced by elves," says owner. "It could be the Apocalypse, I suppose."

#746 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 08:33 PM:

Tom Whitmore #730: Umm. I have a reflexive antipathy for chiropractors, having been "treated" by one for my hearing loss as a child. I also wasn't aware that ribs *had* joints.

"Curing" autism: I've actually heard rumor of a guy using Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for something of the sort... supposedly, it temporarily suppresses the social disabilities at least -- and during that time, the patient can learn social skills which are retained even when it wears off. (According to that article, a similar method can also be used to induce temporary autism in normal people, including access to at least some savant talents.)

Now, the fact that I haven't been hearing more about this since, makes me somewhat suspicious, but if it's for real, that would be the effing ideal....

Links: Study at U of Louisville (Kentucky), Australian study, Study at Harvard Med, and a first-person account from a subject in the Harvard study.

#747 ::: cajufj40 ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 08:39 PM:

Lizzy L @#740:

Ah, OK. That total makes sense now - and the range given for the tuneup isn't half bad, including time and labor. Falling MPG definitely indicates tuneup. Your car has most of the typical tuneup bits - cap, rotor, spark plugs, air filter, fuel filter. Spark plug wires can be changed, too. Valve clearances may need adjustment - at least on your car they can be adjusted without removing the camshafts! (I'm cheating, I pulled out my Haynes manual).

Of course, after my last post, I must ask again: How old is your timing belt?

#748 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 08:47 PM:

If you look at the instructions for replacing a timing chain/belt, the first part pretty much is 'remove engine, then remove cylinder head', which explains a good part of the labor costs. (I had the timing chain on my old Corona go, in 1988. I don't recommend the experience.)

#749 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 08:54 PM:

cajunfj40: answered at 741. I figure I've got another 3, maybe even 4 years to go on the timing belt. My plan (the gods are laughing) is to make this car last another 2-3 years, and then get a newer but still used car. I drive about 7200 miles a year.

#750 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 08:59 PM:

David Harmon @ 743 -- That sounds creepily like the "Focus" of Vinge's A Deepness in the Sky.

#751 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 09:13 PM:

HLN Briefs: Area Man Sautees Onions On Speculation

Local resident, upon receiving reports that half his onions had gone bad, today sliced the remaining fresh onions and sauteed them in butter until just turning glassy. "They'll keep in the fridge for a nice long time," he said, "and I can use them on a moment's notice in so many things." The resident cat was reportedly unimpressed.

#752 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 09:24 PM:

David Harmon @743 -- the only bone without a joint is the bone that has no direct connection to any other bone -- the hyoid in the throat. Ribs articulate to the spine (and mostly have a fused articulation to the sternum). They have to be able to move in order to do the work involved with breathing, after all. I personally don't like or agree with a great many things that chiros claim they can treat effectively. The articulations of joints -- I have too much experience with them helping me and friends around. There's some stuff I just can't do for myself in that area, and it really helps to have someone else push bits back into place (especially when the muscles are relaxed enough to keep them from pulling the joint back out, which is my job). Much of the chiro stuff around nerve impingement sounds a bit flaky to me: what works, works quite well and can address some things I wouldn't have expected (like depression, from personal experience, without any suggestion other than "See how you like having a bit more blood going to your brain for a while.")

I can see how certain manipulations might affect hearing loss, but they'd probably be secondary effects. The auditory nerves just don't go through the spine.

#753 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 09:38 PM:

Cat people: what does it mean when two male (but fixed) cats who ordinarily barely tolerate each other are suddenly doing head rubs all the time?

Are they just in love, or do I have to worry? I mean, I just went down to check on Lenore's cats, since she's in Oz, and the black one had the orange one's fur clinging to the back of his head. Wasn't long before I saw why.

They rubbed on my ankles, too, but not much more than usual.

#754 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 09:48 PM:

Sounds like it's time to hire a Hello Kitty Wedding Planner....

#755 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 09:58 PM:

Has Lenore been gone before? Did they behave differently in other ways then?

#756 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 10:29 PM:

Well, the reason I checked on them is that the last time she went the elderly one got sick and barfed rather a lot. I had to take him to the vet. They said it was probably the stress of having her gone. No barf blobs on the floor this time, and he seemed happy and active.

#757 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 10:46 PM:

Lizzy L @ #746:

Crosspost! I wrote having only seen #740...

My apologies! Sounds like you've got a good car and mechanic then. The car ought to go those 4 more years OK, sounds like you're taking good care of it.

#758 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 10:46 PM:

Cheryl @ 733: This kind of behavior occurs in cats who get stressed out by changes in their routine, so I suspect this is not primarily related to the medication. Overgrooming is a method of dealing with anxieties, but in some individuals it goes too far. I recommend you talk to your vet about getting a tranquilizer for the next trip, and administering it before you box him up for the ride. A tranquilizer should alleviate his anxiety and reduce the likelihood of overgrooming. Some common tranquilizers include the antihistamine Benadryl (diphenhydramine), the old standby, Acepromazine ("Ace"), a sedative, or diazepam (Valium); newer ones include buspirone, which works very well on anxious cats.

A sedative makes you sleepy; a tranquilizer makes you tranquil. They can overlap, but not necessarily.

I'll second the recommendation for radiation therapy; besides being an elegant remedy, it's a nearly instant cure. i got it for my own hyperthyroid cat almost ten years ago, and it gave him another 3 or 4 years (I don't recall how long he lived, but it was several years). The elegance lies in the basic principle of the treatment: administering radioactive iodine (by a subcutaneous injection) causes the overactive thyroid to take up all the iodine and in doing so, zap itself. The normal thyroid tissue, which had shut itself down in response to hormonal messages, does not take up the radio-iodine, and consequently is left to take up the production of normal thyroid hormones again. The radioactive cat is kept in isolation for three days, then returned home to a second, lesser isolation (keep away from other cats, wash your hands after handling the cat, dump all litter in garbage, double bagged..) for 8 days. After that, the radiation returns to below background levels.

It's very cool.

#759 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 10:50 PM:

Xopher, I don't think it's unusual for cats to behave differently when their person is away. If they usually mostly interact with their person one-on-one, and she's away, they could be looking for other entertainment.

#760 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2010, 11:15 PM:

I think head-bumping and cheek-rubbing is cats' ways of bonding as family. Perhaps they are bonding in reaction to Lenore's absence? They may not have done so before, during previous 'abandonments', but maybe they know each other better now.

If the stray furs on their heads do not match up to incipient bald spots, it's probably behaviour that's all to the good.

But I'm the sort where, if there's no open wounds or blood or puking or trashing of couches or gnawing of paws or eliminating on pillows, generally figures they're working through issues or sorting stuff out positively.

#761 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2010, 12:42 AM:

This article on border patrol gives several sizes of bill packs.

Mycroft W They sell dryer sheets for $1.50, hand lotion for $5 for the big bottle, hairspray for $6 in aerosol, and Glade plug-in air-fresheners for $3/2. How expensive do you think the perfumes they put in those are?

Well, I don't use hairspray or Glade, and I use non-fragranced dryer sheets and hand lotion. But I think the perfume is probably at the bottom of the item cost.

Jacque, #593, well, I hadn't planned to tell it, but if you want... Last fall I had a cat die which left only one. She'd never lived without a cat and wasn't as fond of me as many and just went nuts. Spirit is 12 years old, toothless, and almost blind. I found two younger (not kittens) cats who were supposed to be bonded and indoor cats. They're definitely not bonded and one really wants outdoors. The female, Junie, is, I think, a single cat. She attacks the male cat, Loki, who came with her, too, and he will fight back. But Spirit doesn't even see Junie and Junie will smack her, leaving a lot of hair loose and scabs. Spirit became so afraid of Junie that she stayed under the end table next to my recliner (or on my lap when I'm in the recliner). I tried putting litter boxes next to her, but she was so afraid of being in Junie's range that she eliminated on the bottom shelf of the end table. I have a triangular end table, too, and finally found a triangular litterbox that would go on the bottom shelf and as soon as I put litter in it, she crawled in and used it (it has tall sides and Junie can't get in). I told her if she used it all the time, I'd get her a bed, and she has one now. But she's still, reasonably, afraid of Junie and spends most of her time under the end table.

Bruce E. Durocher II, #601, ack. I'm sorry for the medical stuff, and the business stuff!

David Harmon, #658, "The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that the English language is as pure as a crib-house whore. It not only borrows words from other languages; it has on occasion chased other languages down dark alley-ways, clubbed them unconscious and rifled their pockets for new vocabulary."
—James Nicoll, can.general, March 21, 1992

You can get T-shirts and mugs and stuff with that on them at Cafepress. There are a lot of other people who have stolen some or all of this phrase and put it on their items. Don't buy theirs.

Lizzy L, #724, my Astro minivan is 24 years old, but it only has 129K miles on it, all mine. I only spend about $100-150 most years.

#762 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2010, 12:47 AM:

A tea party pamphlet said "Why do Muslims want to take over the world and place us under Shariah law?" But much more accurate would be "Why do Christians want to take over the world and place us under Biblical law?" There's many Christian missionaries and almost no Muslim missionaries.

#763 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2010, 12:52 AM:

David Harmon at 743 : Hm. That is a TMS application I have not heard of, and I have been involved in it for years (did my undergrad work with it and have stayed current with the literature since). That said, I am going to wait until morning to look at those papers - I have been out and about with my new lab for the past five hours...

#764 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2010, 01:14 AM:

D Potter @ 737...

OK, but the bribe had better show up soon or else.

#765 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2010, 01:19 AM:

Marilee, #758: They might actually be using a fairly high quality of essential oils rather than using cheap perfume -- higher cost of ingredients, but lower cost per unit sold, because you don't need much of the expensive ingredient. Note that all the items in question still contain lots of fillers and additives of the sort that cause problems for the sensitive, but the scent isn't necessarily the carrier.

#766 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2010, 01:44 AM:

I had to shorten my first evening at Bubonicon and was thus unable to talk to Carrie V. Hopefully things will work out better tomorrow.

#767 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2010, 03:13 AM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @601: Oh, scary stuff! Do, please, keep us apraised of your situation.

Tom Whitmore @749: I can see how certain manipulations might affect hearing loss, but they'd probably be secondary effects. The auditory nerves just don't go through the spine.

But I'd bet money that muscle tension and misalignment in the jaw, neck, and shoulders could have a huge impact on hearing quality. I've caught myself holding my head when stressed in a way that keeps my eustachian tubes mashed shut. This can make a noticeable difference in my hearing.

Marilee @758: But she's still, reasonably, afraid of Junie and spends most of her time under the end table.

Oh, poor sweetie! I'm glad you were able to negotiate a safe spot for her. It's a real drag when pets decide to bully other pets. My Rabbit will often go after Tiny for no apparent reason at all. This seems particularly low, since Tiny was Rabbit's safe haven and defender when Rabbit was a baby and low in the pecking order.

#768 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2010, 03:55 AM:

Hyperlocal News, William Shakespeare Edition:

Area Man avoids comparison of lover to summer's day, citing meteorological uncertainty, possible legal difficulties.

Full story

#769 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2010, 04:31 AM:

I put ricotta cheese on Hebrew National frankfurters. It's like Lee said at # 598, no mystery meat or fillers.

#770 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2010, 04:33 AM:

Hyperlocal news: Old Cat Lets New Cat Sniff His Butt: Possible Sign of Warming Relationship.

#771 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2010, 04:36 AM:

Cheryl at # 733: Call your vet's office and ask if this warrants an office visit. I've treated 3 cats with medicine for hyperthyroid and none of them had that reaction; it might be something unrelated.

#772 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2010, 05:01 AM:

Nota bene: Ginger's substantive post at 755 has now replaced her placeholder.

Thanks, Ginger, for posting the placeholder immediately. That's a bunch of renumbering I didn't have to do first thing in the morning.

#773 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2010, 08:09 AM:

abi @ 769: Aw, shucks. It was nothing much, really.

Hyperlocal news: Local woman rediscovers tea. After days of deprivation, first cup of real tea raises morale, brightens day. "I cheat with tea bags during the week, mainly to speed things up in the morning," she explained. "With or without my son, doing all the chores and getting ready for work leaves me with very little time to make a proper pot." Resident felines failed to acknowledge the tea, but were appreciative of the milk and fresh rugelach. Local canines were alleged to be also supportive, although this could not be immediately confirmed.

#774 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2010, 08:38 AM:

Me at #743, Joel #747: transplanting back to correct thread, sorry!

Tom Whitmore #749: Well... mostly I was just commenting on my own reaction. I will note that where you mention chiropractic "treatment" of depression, I can think of at least three confounding factors. One (relieving chronic pain) depends on them being effectual "by their own lights", but the other two (social attention and touch starvation) would apply just as well to massage.

I did E-mail my doctor about it, he suggested to give it a weekend of ibuprofen and heating pad, then if it's still bothering me on Monday, to call again to come in for an appointment.

#775 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2010, 08:55 AM:

Marilee @758, Jacque #764: It's a real drag when pets decide to bully other pets.

Indeed! But that's how I got Gremlin, 14 years ago. As a kitten owned by a friend (Jen), she'd been bullied by Jen's roommate's cat. Then Gremlin got pregnant (finagling by Jen), thus much more aggressive, and simultaneously reached her full growth (bigger than the other cat). But the roommate was their lease-holder... so Jen dumped Gremlin on me, and kept one of the kittens (who got along OK with the roomie-cat).

Incidentally, that "kitten" recently died of cancer. :-( As of a year ago, Gremlin was healthy enough that the vet said "I wouldn't have thought this was a 14 year old cat!" I'm hoping her current problems are basically temporary or easily treatable....

#776 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2010, 10:39 AM:

Furry bullies:

When we got Annie four years ago she terrorized #1 Cat (recently departed) even though the latter was twice her size and fully armed. (Annie was declawed by a previous human.) Toward the end of #1 Cat's life they had gotten into an arrangement that consisted of pointedly ignoring each other with the occasional sniff.

(I suspect now that Annie figured out #1 Cat was ill long before we two-legs cottoned on to it. I'm sure she smelled funny.)

Two weeks of howling after #1 Cat crossed over we adopted Monty with the expectation that we'd spend the next couple of years keeping Annie from beating her up or vice versa.

We're about three months into the process and it's going far more smoothly than we had imagined. They don't quite play with each other yet, but they've been observed to get on the same bed at the same time with no yowling or hissing. I'm half expecting to come home some time this winter and find them in bodily contact, just because it's warmer that way.

#777 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2010, 11:26 AM:

Hyperlocal news:

Feral catnip discovered in back yard, household felines ecstatic. Dog, intrigued, steals bowl with it and hides in closet, slinks out later, puzzled.

#778 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2010, 11:38 AM:

Hm. TMS as a treatment for autism spectrum - without going after the papers themselves, I will provisionally believe the findings (it helps that I am familiar with the Harvard lab's work; they do know what they are doing). I am wondering about a couple of things - first, I would like to see followup studies, which I assume are ongoing - TMS, in my experience, can cause profound effects on the brain, but I am wondering how stable the effects are. Assuming this work has been published, I am also quite curious about the mechanism for the effect (often, the TMS literature engages in a considerable amount of handwaving on what TMS is doing in the brain), and the hard details of their procedure. Still, very cool - and I am glad I held off on diving in to those links until I was awake and functional again.

#779 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2010, 12:09 PM:

Benjamin Wolfe @OT145#775:

What do you think of this Brain Treatment Center? At first glance, they give me "man with a hammer" vibes.

I wouldn't be too impressed by the number of studies... that just means that lots of scientists agree with me that this would be really cool... if it works.

My impression is that like most of TMS's applications, the results are fairly short-term, but I'm intrigued by the point that subjects can pick up permanent learning during the effect's time. (And that makes me wonder about learning during the reverse effect... could normal people learn to invoke savant talents at will?)

#780 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2010, 12:23 PM:

Marilee @759: There's many Christian missionaries and almost no Muslim missionaries.

Yes, but missionaries aren't the point. There's usually a small but extremely vocal minority of Muslims who live in non-Islamic countries who express the desire to turn that country into an Islamic one, complete with insane religious laws about casting apostates from mountains, etc. The fact that this minority is tiny is hard to see from the outside.

There is, obviously, a similarly small minority of Christians who feel the same. As most of us probably know many more Christians than Muslims, however, it is much easier for us to see how rare such opinions are, and how little weight they hold with the majority.

The question, therefore, is quite understandable, even if it is misguided.

#781 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2010, 01:18 PM:

Years ago, I treated our roommate's cat to some catnip. Fred (the cat) loved it and pestered me for more. After a while, I tuned him out. Some time later, I offered him some more, and he disdained it, as if (perhaps) he didn't want to come down off of it again.

Old Fred seemed like a wise cat, there.

#782 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2010, 02:12 PM:

David Harmon @743: Wow! I haven't actually looked at the papers yet; I was distracted by the Autism Talk TV link. I fell over when I noticed that their handle is "". I soooooo resemble that remark! (I've been threatening for years to start LODA: the League of Dispossessed Aliens.)

While Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little and I were out last night, I was reminded of a discussion some years ago on rassef about the Fannish accent. Occurred to me that folks around here who haven't seen it might find it interesting.

#783 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2010, 02:43 PM:

Jacque, 779: Yes, that's been linked here several times, and I always get a kick out of it.

I've noticed something related since the last time I read that post: the way fans write = the way we speak. I can "hear" all of the Fluorospherians I've met when I read their comments, but it's usually an effort when I read words produced by non-fen--even ones I know very well. Tom Whitmore, for example--we've been to 3 of the same cons, but I "hear" him more easily than I do my cousins. (I know I'm weird, but am I weird?)

#784 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2010, 02:44 PM:

Years ago (echoing Kip W. @ 778), I offered catnip to my cat, Stripey (renamed from something else by my mother and the French colleagues who borrowed him for a few months to alleviate their homesickness..but I digress). He sniffed it and evinced no interest whatsoever, so I left the bag on the kitchen counter. Overnight, he had a change of heart. In the morning, we found the bag -- or the remains of it -- on the floor, catnip strewn about, and a very happy Stripey with green, green eyes who purred all day.

The following day, he was not in a good mood.

After that, he would partake of the weed, albeit in smaller quantities, with more restraint. Well, as much restraint as a cat standing on the back of the chair, waving his paw at the bag, and urging on his humans to open it already, could be expected to show.

#785 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2010, 02:51 PM:

Jacque #779: Been done, both as a college society (Vassar's Nonhuman Students Society) and in a widely-celebrated fantasy version (I'll let Xopher roust out the link, I really need to get this place sorted out before the housekeeper comes on Monday). And yes, lots of folks feel like that, including me on a bad day.

#786 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2010, 03:01 PM:

One cool thing about attending author readings at conventions is that when I later read their works, I can hear their voices do the narration.

#787 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2010, 03:28 PM:

Jacque #779: Actually, I just remembered the keyword for the fantasy version: Otherkin. (There's a "story" it's based on, but I can't immediately find that online.)

#788 ::: Bombie ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2010, 03:32 PM:

Earl Cooley III @783

I absolutely have this is well (if 'attending' can include 'watching them on youtube'), especially with Neil Gaiman, so much so that I just stopped 'bothering' with reading his books, and started listening to the audiobooks instead (which are wonderful).

#789 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2010, 04:02 PM:

Hyperlocal news:

Area woman finds $25 purchase revolutionizes quality of life; makes spur of moment plan to attend matinee

"I don't know why I didn't do this sooner," woman says. "Now I no longer have to unplug the iron, bend the prongs just the right amount, and replug it every time I leave it alone for five minutes. And I think this new one gets hotter, too!" she gushed as she headed to the kitchen. There, she plans to locate some easily-concealed healthy snacks to hide in her purse before going to see Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World at a nearby theater, but will probably buy popcorn anyway.

#790 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2010, 04:16 PM:

David Harmon @ 776 : In regard to the treatment center you linked to, I believe they are at best delusional and at worst engaged in medical fraud on populations who have seen a great deal of it. Just from their front page, the following statement "At BTC, we have taken the concept further then any form of traditional transcranial magnetic stimulation, tailoring fields directly to the patient's unique brainwave map to gently restore the brain's natural rhythm in a unique process we call personalized transcranial magnetic stimulation." screams pseudoscientific claptrap to me.

Now, if they were saying something more like "we will get an anatomical MRI first, target *this* brain area and it may or may not enable you to remedy these deficits" I would be much more charitably inclined towards them. As it stands, it looks like junk medicine to me.

The vast majority of TMS effects - and all of the effects of low-frequency TMS - are transitory. My own research using TMS, a few years ago now, looked at an extremely specific and localized effect in visual attention - where precise timing was a huge issue, and the effect duration was on the order of 100ms. There have been studies with rTMS trains (blocks wherein the subject is TMSed for 5-20min at a certain frequency and intensity) that have shown longer effects - on the order of days to months after TMS, but you only get these long-term effects after weeks to months of daily sessions. Anyone who claims that they can treat/fix condition X with one TMS session is preying on the credulous and should be publically shamed for it.

#791 ::: Gelfling ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2010, 04:49 PM:

The only downside to radiation therapy for hyperthyroidism (we did it last year), is that for what it costs, I firmly believe I ought to have been allowed to let Alex bite me for the superpowers. Also, I was living in a studio apartment at the time, and crating her in the kitchen at night broke both our hearts.

She is much, much happier now, though, as the pills made her vomit to the point of dehydration. My choice prior to radiation was either pill her and watch her starve herself, or not pill her and watch her starve despite eating like crazy.

#792 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2010, 05:28 PM:

Benjamin Wolfe #787: About what I was afraid of. Admittedly, I didn't pick up on the woo buzzwords because I didn't look closely enough... having already been put off by their "good for what ails you" laundry list.

#793 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2010, 05:40 PM:

Hyperlocal news: The temporary re-location to Chestertown has been accomplished. We dropped more money than we've ever done before at one go in the Superfresh supermarket. Among the purchases is a glorious 5 lb. sack of ripe, delicously aromaed local peaches, which cost $1.99. Back here in NYC a single hard as a grenade, odorless peach is $1.99 a lb.

Bucolically peaceful. We're thinking of starting dinner which we can eat in the backyard. The cicadas are making their unique sound.

Love, c.

#794 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2010, 05:40 PM:

Hyperlocal news: The temporary re-location to Chestertown has been accomplished. We dropped more money than we've ever done before at one go in the Superfresh supermarket. Among the purchases is a glorious 5 lb. sack of ripe, delicously aromaed local peaches, which cost $1.99. Back here in NYC a single hard as a grenade, odorless peach is $1.99 a lb.

Bucolically peaceful. We're thinking of starting dinner which we can eat in the backyard. The cicadas are making their unique sound.

Love, c.

#795 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2010, 06:27 PM:

OK, this is mind-boggling... Solar activity may affect radioactive decay... on Earth.

(Making progress on the clean-up, despite cyber-distractions.)

#796 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2010, 06:58 PM:

LOL on further skimming of Wrong Planet: "Spectrumites" hee!

#797 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2010, 07:15 PM:

David Harmon @784: Otherkin Oh, right right right. *Sigh* And I am now recollecting this conversation here from a year or two ago.

Yes, I do have memory capabil—I'm sorry, what was the question?

#798 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2010, 07:16 PM:

jnh @ #687: American English has no equivalent formalism [for Norwegian "thanks for the food"]

Well, I suppose British English doesn't really have one either. But thanks!

LizzyL @ #746: I figure I've got another 3, maybe even 4 years to go on the timing belt.

Timing belts age with time, not only with usage. You really should double-check with your mechanic that yours isn't getting too old.

#799 ::: Lee Billings ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2010, 07:55 PM:

Fodder for the MalScriptHunter: Norton Internet Security is reporting that there's a drive-by downloader lurking on this page:

Extreme impoliteness toward the script would not seem an excessive response.

#800 ::: Martin the Tech Rat ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2010, 08:14 PM:

Lee @796 -- that one should be safe now. We discovered a repository of infected files yesterday, and have been busy cleaning them up today. We're talking to the hosting company, and are making a security adjustments under the hood to completely eradicate the current infestation, and make sure that it doesn't come back. But the price of a free lunch is eternal vegemite (or something like that), so it pays to keep one's eyes peeled. Thanks for the heads-up.

#801 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2010, 08:23 PM:

And... my vet just called back. It seems that Gremlin is in fact diabetic. :-( The vet was calling from home, so she couldn't give me full details❦, but I managed to establish that I will at least be able to afford the treatments, even if Gremlin doesn't enjoy them.

❦ Also, she was so distracted that she kept launching into the wrong canned speech :-)

#802 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2010, 09:21 PM:

Dave, take heart for Gremlin, sometimes cats turn up with diabetes and after a bit of treatment it somehow reverts a bit backwards (had a friend's cat do that). On the other hand, the treatment isn't expensive and for a dear friend, well, I had a kidney disease cat that I kept going for two years longer than the vet thought and it was a simple matter of cheap pills (Lasix and potassium) and occasional sub-Q rehydration with Lactated Ringer's solution,

Ginger, i've had cats offer all the myriad of responses to catnip, from 'meh' to 'holy carp, give me the WHOLE BAG' (which I will not do), I keep it in a tupperware, sealed container so they ideally won't be able to break into it if they could get it down from where I keep it. thank Ghu, they do not have opposable thumbs.

#803 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2010, 09:41 PM:

OK, does this make me a bad person?

Someone on another site posted an update about a friend getting a good internship, and saying that it "fit in very nicely with his Master's work."

I responded "What does his Master do?"

*hangs head in shame, but can't help chuckling*

#804 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2010, 10:16 PM:

Xopher #800: Reading as you quoted it, I parsed it the same way (though I wondered if it was a Christian catchphrase or such). It took me several seconds to reparse it properly, as a Master's degree.

And, I just came home with the supermarket's last can of Fancy Feast Turkey & Giblets Classic (cat food), which is what the vet told me to switch her to. Apparently, that's the lowest-carb food on the market. (The manager said he's expecting more to come in tomorrow.)

#805 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2010, 10:55 PM:

I've heard that chromium picolinate helps cats with diabetes. (Your cat's MMV.)

#806 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2010, 11:40 PM:

David Harmon, #772, yes, and as fond as I am of Junie, I think she's probably a single cat. If I could find someone to take her, I'd let her go.

Jules, #777, I don't think there are so few Christians who want other lands to change to their belief. I have a large number of missionaries in my own family, and growing up heard from or about many many more.

Earl Cooley III, #783, I've heard some authors who are really bad readers, and almost ruin their work for me.

David Harmon, #798, I know people whose cats have been able to move to just a diet for diabetes once they get back on level with the meds. I hope Gremlin does well.

#807 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2010, 01:00 AM:

I've been trying to catch up on this thread for two days now, just so I could post something before the thread overflows into OT 146; now I'm just going to jump past 250 comments and post anyway.

Ginger, I sympathize with the end of your relationship, and I wish for you and your son an unwinding from the past that spares you pain, and a future that brings you love. I'm sorry that I've pretty much lost track of most of the people I've worked with over the last few years or I'd attempt some matchmaking for you even though we're 3,000 miles apart. Portland is definitely one of the better places in the US to be openly gay, I think you'd like it (and we can always use a good vet).

#808 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2010, 01:43 AM:

Hello the moderators: I just refreshed this page after being gone all day, and suddenly Norton is telling me is an unsafe site due to a couple of drive-by download threats:

Drive-By Downloads (what's this?)

Threats found: 2
Here is a complete list: (for more information about a specific threat, click on the Threat Name below)

Threat Name: MSIE ADODB.Stream Object File Installation Weakness

Threat Name: MSIE ADODB.Stream Object File Installation Weakness

This is the first time I've seen anything like this, and I don't know if anyone else has seen similar messages...but I thought it was worth a mention.

Going offline to run virus scans now...

#809 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2010, 01:50 AM:

I have the same message from Norton. I am also running the scans.

#810 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2010, 02:28 AM:


After the heads-up upthread, Martin has been over the whole site, cleaning up the mess and tightening the file permissions. Those two pages were infected, but quite explicitly are not any more. (I just read the page source for Reallyo trulyo not infected. The only thing I couldn't parse with my puny human brain was the code behind the PayPal button.)

My dear Tech Rat theorizes that your Nortons are reacting to cached pages somewhere in their database.

#811 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2010, 03:24 AM:

Xopher @800: Yes, Xopher, you are a Bad Person. <shakes finger sternly>

#812 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2010, 03:47 AM:

My full system scan has found three (3) harmless tracking cookies. I have no idea what Norton is getting its knickers in a twist about. It just told me again now that there are threats on this site, and I told it to mind its manners and pipe down.

#813 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2010, 04:03 AM:

I'm seeing claims elsewhere, in other contexts, that Norton is slow to update, and it's affecting downloads of new versions of software.

#814 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2010, 04:20 AM:

Guinea Pig Reinvents Zeno's Paradox
"Well, if I bite off half the cookie every time, then it's never finished and Mommie will snuggle me forever while I eat it," Sunni says.

#815 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2010, 09:54 AM:

Bad, wicked, naughty Xopher @ 800: *sporfle*

#816 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2010, 10:04 AM:

David Harmon @ 798: Even if you end up having to inject twice daily, if you always give a treat just afterwards, your cat may come to recognise the small injection as a sign for "treat!" and react accordingly - some cats do. It's probably the having to keep still part they dislike more than the injection itself.

It's amazing what they can get used to. I even know one cat that, due to a spinal injury, needs to have its bladder emptied by a human applying pressure from outside. It jumps up onto the draining board, purring loudly, to have this done!

Of course, it does depend on finding the super treat (with my cat I think salmon would be the only thing to work).

#817 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2010, 10:47 AM:

dcb #813: Yeah, my cat will put up with a lot, but doesn't like being held still for too long. The vet had to put her in a harness to shave her feet. (Why the vet had to do that is actually relevant, but a little disgusting... let's just say she's been flooding the litterbox.)

Of course, I'll have to ask about suitable treats....

#818 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2010, 11:11 AM:

Xopher @800: I would have said the same thing. hangs head in shame next to Xopher. My only problem is, I've clearly been watching too much Dr. Who: I keep picturing The Master.

Bruce Cohen (STM) 804: Thanks -- I've been to Portland OR (and to the one in ME); it's a lovely city. I wouldn't mind moving there at all.

David Harmon @ 814: The insulin needles are small and less aversive than others, plus as dcb said, a small reward following injection is enough to train the cat. It doesn't have to be much. Many cats like tuna, or catnip, or the special cat treats (like "Pounce" and other brand names). You don't have to hold her for very long: prepare the needle, place it within reach, prepare her food or treat, align cat with distracting food, grab small bit of skin, inject, remove yourself from the cat's presence, leaving behind the treat.

My late Buzz was diabetic and an extremely mellow cat, so all I had to do was put food down for him. He didn't care what I did; he was mellow enough that I could collect small blood samples from him without any restraint other than holding off the leg.

#819 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2010, 11:46 AM:

FYI, the Norton thingy on my mom's laptop (running current IE on current Windows) just threw up a security warning upon arriving at the ML homepage. 2 "computer threats," for more details on which see their report.

#821 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2010, 01:07 PM:

Xopher @800 I would not have thought of that, which made it extra-funny. Thanks for the belly-laugh!

#822 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2010, 01:34 PM:

Serge @816: That's the one! How did you -- er, never mind.

#823 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2010, 02:27 PM:

Xopher 800, Ginger 815

Dr. Whio notwithstanding, am I the only one that has a mental picture of an old-fashioned gramophone, a dog sitting next to it, and a filing cabinet?

#824 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2010, 03:04 PM:

On injecting cats -- we had a store cat who didn't get treats after its subcutaneous fluids, but came begging for them anyway -- it realized that it felt much better after getting them. Sometimes we actually do know what's good for us.

#825 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2010, 03:37 PM:

Jacque @ 530:
I draw the line at eating people with whom I can actually make eye contact.

'Pudding—Alice; Alice—Pudding. Remove the pudding!'

#826 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2010, 03:48 PM:

Well, I haven't gotten to injections yet (I'll hopefully be seeing the vet with Gremlin on Monday or Tuesday). At least she ate the Turkey pate, but she's unhappy about not getting food on demand anymore.

#827 ::: TrishB ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2010, 04:36 PM:

David Harmon @ 822 The injections aren't so bad once you get used to the process. My schnauzer was diagnosed last December and it only took me a few days to overcome my severe needle phobia. The dog has never once flinched during her shots.

#828 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2010, 05:09 PM:

Tom Whitmore @ 820... On injecting cats

If under your skin, would that make it subcatenous injection?

#829 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2010, 06:06 PM:

Re: abi @ 807, thank you for the update and assurances. My Norton is also still waving red flags, but as long as it's warning about the same things you say are cleaned up, I shall ignore it.

Also--no way for you to know, abi, but...not gentleman. :)

#830 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2010, 07:06 PM:

praisegod barebones @ 819: Oh, yes! I mean, no, you're not.

#831 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2010, 08:23 PM:

Fragano has tweeted!

#832 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2010, 08:31 PM:

Thanks to all for the many reassurances... I'm not scared here so much as a bit grumbly that my lucky stretch with Gremlin's health (she is 15 years old, and was overweight for much of that) seems to be breaking, and that I'll need to put a fair bit of focus and punctuality into her care (neither of those being easy for me). (Not to mention the extra costs.)

At the same time, I'm happy enough that her condition is not only known, but treatable, and those costs are well below the scale where (being unemployed) I couldn't afford to help her live! I'm not needle-phobic or anything, either, just girding myself for a set of new routines and obligations.

I'm certainly better off than Jen, who kept one of Gremlin's kittens when she gave me Gremlin... that former kitten died of cancer in the last month or so, and Jen didn't even have the wherewithal to get a proper early diagnosis, let alone treatment. (There's poor, and then there's poor -- unlike me, Jen doesn't have family she can get help from!)

#833 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2010, 10:27 PM:

TexAnne @ 827... Good, good... What did he say?

#834 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2010, 10:38 PM:

Today is Mez's birthday. I left her a note.

#835 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2010, 11:33 PM:

Hyperlocal news:

We call it soccer, kittens call it fun.

In other news, kitten does not like me removing her from the general area of the circular saw. Apparently she would much rather use me as the launching pad. I have the slash on the wrist to prove it.

#836 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 12:06 AM:

AKICIML: How common is it in Hindu culture to have a boy or man be named for a female Deity? I just finished a book containing a male Hindu character whose given name was Lakshmi; my immediate reaction was to be bounced out of the story, as if this were a "boy named Sue" thing, but maybe it's more on the order of "boy named Kim" instead -- or perhaps Hindu culture is just not as hung up on gender associations to names as ours is?

(OTOH, I found it quite believable that the American characters around him had bestowed a nickname on him because his was so "unpronounceable"; many Americans are linguistically lazy. While "ksh" may not be a common consonant cluster in English, it's not such a tongue-twister that I would consider it unpronounceably difficult.)

#837 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 12:18 AM:

Serge, 829: "Not fully back yet; but getting visibly closer."

#838 ::: TrishB ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 12:24 AM:

David Harmon @ 828 You're correct. The main key to managing Gremlin's diabetes is routine. It sounds that I may be similar to you in in finding that concept somewhat foreign. I'm not as familiar with feline diabetes, but when it comes to the puppies, 80% go blind within one year of diagnosis. I had a lovely day back in April when my back went out, my dog started walking into walls and I was laid off from my job of 13 years. No, I haven't written the country song just yet.

Pepper's managed to rack up over $3000 in veterinary bills since then. Thank goddess my parents are not only able, but willing to help. Unemployment doesn't cover rent plus COBRA.

#839 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 01:19 AM:

[Having just finished a 10 week program, I decloak during the one day that separates the end of said program from the start of BurningMan to ask]

Anyone else in the Fluorosphere going to the playa this year?

#840 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 01:19 AM:

Hyperlocal News:

Having Survived First-Ever Teaching Experience, New Graduate Student To Do It Again In The Morning

Feline Overlord And Keeper Deeply Annoyed By Faulty Smoke Detector; Landlord To Be Called Again In The Morning

Expedition To Get Rear Out Of Apartment Successful: Two Books Acquired* And UtrechtArt Raided For Paper

*Including a copy of the Subterranean Press edition of Missile Gap, which I had wanted to buy when it first came out a few years ago; I was very amused to see it today at a bookstore while browsing.

#841 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 01:24 AM:

[Having just finished a 10 week program, I decloak during the one day that separates the end of said program from the start of BurningMan to ask]

Anyone else in the Fluorosphere going to the playa this year?

#842 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 02:04 AM:

Lee @832 - I can't speak as to how common it is, but on a business trip to India a few years ago, one of the people I met with was a man named Lakshmi, and it didn't seem to be treated as an unusual name. Also, a quick Google check reveals that there is a very wealthy steel tycoon (in the Forbes top 10 richest people in the world for the past 4 years) named Lakshmi Mittal. So, probably not anything like a boy named Sue.

Since Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth and fortune, I would guess it's a name given by those who want good luck and prosperity for their children. We tend not to do this in the US, but it's a common type of naming philosophy in many cultures.

#843 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 02:47 AM:

Lakshmi is also the Wearer of Many Necklaces (IIRC "nanalankara bhushite"), so I should think Miss Teresa would be one of her Favored Ones.

#844 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 08:15 AM:

Am in Rhinelander, will be in Minneapolis this afternoon.

I thought I'd mention, I just got a follow on from Sgt, Jeffs, there is also a box with 3 Kgs of GOLD.


#845 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 08:30 AM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @87 said: Anyone else in the Fluorosphere going to the playa this year?

I'm not, but my mother, Ellin, never misses. She even exhibited her stuff in the Man a couple of years ago ... She camps with the Kinetic Sculpture Race people, usually.

#846 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 09:03 AM:

like I'm going to be caught up before I hit the road again.

David Harmon: The average life of any restaurant is less than a year, no matter where it is in the US. It's a business where the customers being happy is the be-all and end all.

Mycroft: When I leave in such situations... (something unfixably wrong with the experience) it's after I tell the manager why I am leaving. There is no need for anyone to wonder why I am taking my custom elsewhere.

#847 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 09:56 AM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @ 837... Having just finished a 10 week program, I decloak

Cue in the Klingon theme music.

#848 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 09:57 AM:

Serge @ 843: Isn't she about to become a Roamulan?

#849 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 10:35 AM:

Ginger @ 844... Or a Klingone?

#850 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 10:58 AM:

Open Thready heartbreak: the land which sustains the irreplaceable plant collections of the Vavilov Institute is being sold to developers.

Goddamn it, those researchers who starved to death rather than eat the seeds and potatoes during the Siege of Leningrad--is that going to be in vain?

#851 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 12:20 PM:

Marilee @758 — Thanks for the link to the article on money smuggling. I appreciate it mostly because I had never heard of, nor even imagined the existence of cash-sniffing dogs. It's like a parallel to Rule 32. If it exists, there is a dog trained to smell it.

Next up: drug-sniffing dog porn. Followed closely by drug-sniffing dog porn-sniffing dogs.

#852 ::: doctorpsycho1960 ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 12:44 PM:

Dan Hoey @847, the best drug-sniffing dog porn I ever read was a Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers strip in which Fat Freddy was shipping himself across the country in a dog carrier, smoking weed to stave off boredom.
When a drug-sniffing dog arrived on the scene, Freddy thought he was doomed, but the dog was fortunately distracted by another carrier containing a poodle in heat. The scene ended with the drug dog happily humping the poodle through the wire mesh of the carrier, the dog handler trying to comfort the poodle's distraught owner, and Freddy trying to walk away discreetly, poking his legs out through the bottom of the carrier.

#853 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 01:30 PM:

Yesterday's only-in-2010 moment: a small group of writes and friends are standing around trying to arrange lunch. One of them is texting and talking at the same time. Over three or four exchanges, her responses become increasingly orthogonal to the conversation. Finally, a couple of us have an "aha" moment just as she says "Bye, Bob!": she's not texting, she's Facetiming.

Just as we've adjusted ourselves to one set of phone-related behaviors, another comes along. And you no longer have the clear body-language for "I'm talking on the phone" of seeing bent elbow holding said phone up to ear.

#854 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 02:16 PM:

Better Living Through Chemistry Moment of the Day:

I was glancing at the ingredients list for a bottle of nail polish, which proudly proclaims itself formaldehyde- and toluene-free. The third ingredient of the list, after the solvents ethyl acetate and butyl acetate is...nitrocellulose. You know, guncotton. The stuff of smokeless powder, various explosives, and all those old lost silent films, which burned, or melted as they aged, and then burned, often with calamitous results, since the stuff will keep burning under water.

I knew nail polish was composed of a variety of exciting organic chemicals (for certain values of "exciting"), but I never realized it included one of the major components of those legendary exploding billiard balls.

#855 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 02:18 PM:

fidelio @ 850: Is this where I explain that when I thought your fingernails looked "hot", I did not mean "on fire"?

#856 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 02:21 PM:

Ginger @ 851--let's just say I'm glad right now I'm not inclined to drumming my fingernails on things.

#857 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 02:24 PM:

Nitrocellulose has been used for many things over the years, including coatings and so-called "liquid bandage" which could be painted over a small wound to seal it. It's not impact-sensitive in such applications, and it's probably mixed with other stuff to reduce its flammability.

#858 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 02:25 PM:

Pets, Needles:

My dog has no problem with getting a great big blood-donation needle stuck in her neck. In fact, she happily jumps up onto the 4' high table where she gets "tapped." On a couple of occasions she's jumped back up onto the table after I'd taken her off after the taken out the unit.

But getting bathed puts her into a deep funk.

#859 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 02:30 PM:

fidelio @850: Yep, nitrocellulose lacquer is quite common. If you happen to own a 60s or 70s era electric guitar, it's probably coated with the stuff, for example.

#860 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 02:31 PM:

Anybody here have any resources they can recommend on the topic of newcomers building rapport with resident population, as when one starts a new job?

#861 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 02:33 PM:

Thanks everyone for your answers to my question about my poor skinny hyperthyroidic (is that the word?) cat. I'm offline on weekends, so could not check back until now.

I'll follow up with my vet today.

#862 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 03:59 PM:

I was just going to read through the whole thread and post a few belated comment, and then I remembered there's something happening tonight which may be of interest-- Harry Shearer's The Big Uneasy, about the flooding of New Orleans being a result of bad levy design and/or maintenance (I haven't followed the discussion of it in his shows) will be in movie theaters tonight only. The theaters are listed at the link.

#162 ::: Bombie:

China and tech: The Way of Tea has a history of the development of tea-- it's a more complex process than I realized, and took a while to work out.


Dr. Laura: She was trying to do desensitization therapy without consent or good will. That trick never works.


There are people who liked the taste of orange-flavored children's aspirin?

#348 ::: Terry Karney:

I think that when people are mocking an accent, they use their own phonemes and only exaggerate a few simple features of the accent. Reflexive imitation is a more subtle thing.

#863 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 04:06 PM:

Hyperlocal news: Adolescent male finishes first day of high school, loses track of locker location, misses bus, and walks home.

Calls maternal units to update them.

"Too tired to talk now," he informs his mothers, "It was very hot out." Relieved relatives rally; notify young man that it will be "ok to rest instead of walking the dogs as soon as he gets home, as originally planned", said one.

"Woof!" says canine resident. No comment could be retrieved from feline residents, who appeared to be screening their calls.

#864 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 05:32 PM:

TexAnne @827, hurray!

#865 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 05:40 PM:

Hyperlocal news... Programmer does not strangle - verbally or otherwise - incompetent database administrator.

#866 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 07:00 PM:

Serge, it may be a GOOD THING that you telecommute.

#867 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 07:14 PM:

Dan Hoey 847:
If it exists, there is a dog trained to smell it.

A blind man once told me that some of the dogs that fail guide dog training get trained to sniff for cell phones being smuggled into prisons.

#868 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 07:24 PM:

Erik Nelson @863 said: If it exists, there is a dog trained to smell it.

Including (depending on what explanation of its mechanism you believe) epileptic seizures.

We honestly don't know what dogs are cueing off, but a properly trained seizure dog will alert its owner several seconds to several minutes before onset of seizure -- time enough to take a med, or at least sit down safely somewhere and put in a bite guard.

Unfortunately, because we DON'T know what they're cueing off of, you have to apprentice a puppy to a trained seizure dog and hope they pick it up, which is fairly hit-or-miss in results (moreso than seeing-eye dogs). Even the dogs that learn to anticipate the seizure are hit-or-miss about learning that we want them to tell us about it.

More things in heaven and earth, etc.

#869 ::: Bombie ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 07:50 PM:

Date: Tuesday August 31, 2010
Time: 1:50:31
Time zone: (GMT+01:00) Brussels, Copenhagen, Madrid, Paris

Which makes me correct - from my point of view (if I recall correctly to begin with) - in wishing you: many happy returns of your birthday! I hope you thoroughly enjoy your day.

#870 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 07:59 PM:

Erik #863:

Yesterday, I heard the tale of a termite-sniffing beagle in a Houston hospital. Came with his own ID tags and everything.

#871 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 08:01 PM:

Hyperlocal news: area man wishes the con crud he picked up at Farthing Party would just go away already. LibriVox volunteer work impacted.

Area man did succeed in making gazpacho soup over the weekend, spouse quite pleased.

#872 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 08:19 PM:

Linkmeister @ 862... It also is a good thing that I have more patience than Mark Twain ever had.

#873 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 08:24 PM:

Elliott Mason #864: My bet for the seizure detection would be body "language" -- that is, subtle changes in muscle tone, posture, breathing, whatever. But I'd think it would be pretty straightforward to find out which senses they're using (the obvious candidates would be smell, sight, or hearing -- if it's not one or more of those, things could get interesting).

#874 ::: siriosa ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 08:46 PM:

Jacque @856 :Anybody here have any resources they can recommend on the topic of newcomers building rapport with resident population, as when one starts a new job?

Bringing cookies to work never hurts. And being game for whatever comes up the first couple of weeks: just be conscious of the persistence of first impressions, and be the person you want everybody to think you are.

#875 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 09:37 PM:

David Harmon @869: It's going to be smell or hearing; they're not nearly as dependent on vision as we primates are.

#876 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 10:02 PM:

Hyperlocal news:

Energy, motivation strike continues for another week

For local woman, sewing becomes considerably more interesting than Ph.D. work
Plum-colored knit fabric purchased; long-sleeved wrap dress planned

Recycling bin finally put out for collection after a month's absentmindedness
Backyard fruit fly community disappointed

Editorial: Cat! What are you eating? Don't eat that!

#877 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 10:04 PM:

Ginger #871 It's going to be smell or hearing; they're not nearly as dependent on vision as we primates are.

True, but that doesn't mean they're blind! They may have poorer vision than humans (IIRC they run about 20/10), but even so, they certainly notice things that we filter out. (Q.v. Animals In Translation and related discussions.)

Hearing is also plausible -- as I understand it, their hearing actually isn't much more sensitive than ours, but it does extend an extra octave into higher frequencies, and again, there's that lack of human-style filtering. There could well be some sub-vocalization or changes in breathing that they can spot.

However, I have trouble imagining a mechanism by which smell could do that on the timescales described.

#878 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 10:07 PM:

Sometimes I think the Dems and the Administration have forgotten how to play politics. Here they've got whacking great nifty projects in play from the stimulus bill, but have any of us ever heard of them? Nope.

New PR people needed ASAP, White House.

#879 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 10:18 PM:

Caroline, 872: Allow me to give you a guided tour of the needlework projects I did while I was ostensibly dissertating. I still like them, even!

#880 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 10:34 PM:

Hyperlocal news... Agatha the Cat Genius knows what "Outside" means.

#881 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 10:41 PM:

Good line: When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag, carrying a cross, sitting in a lawn chair and eating a KFC Double Down

Hyperlocal news: Man takes hours to make huge complex salad, eats giant bowl of it too late at night.
Contains napa cabbage, radicchio, scallions, tomato, avocado, and other ingredients

#882 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 10:49 PM:

Hyperlocal news:

Woman hired as scrum master
Secretly longs to be scrum lord

Fall rain starts after painting project complete
Local homeowners puzzled

#883 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 11:09 PM:

What is a germ's favorite newspaper?
Infester's Business Daily

#884 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 11:27 PM:

Xopher #877: Good line: When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag, carrying a cross, sitting in a lawn chair and eating a KFC Double Down

I still haven't had a chance to try the Double Down yet (no KFC close to where I live); I'm still reeling in shock from the fact that my local Wendy's isn't selling the Bacon and Blue burger any more. I has a sad.

#885 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 11:59 PM:

abi @807: The Tech Rat Is Great. Blessed Be the Tech Rat.

#886 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 12:09 AM:

TexAnne, do share! Are there photographs?

I still need to finish my F**k Cancer cross-stitch. The kit came with not quite enough black embroidery floss (or perhaps my stitching was inefficient) and I keep forgetting to buy more.

(Began it for a family member after her surgery. She's doing well now. Would be doing better if she decided to actually quit smoking, of course. Grumble mumble grrrr.)

#887 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 12:11 AM:

Bombie @865: Why, thank you!!

I've already got a pretty cool prezzie so far. I appear to be finally growing a backbone.

Had several contratempts today. In each case, I was able to (didn't have to try to) keep a level head, listen to the other side, acknowledge their position, and then calmly and straightforwardly lay out why the issue was occurring, how their conduct was contributing to the problem, and specific things they could do to mitigate the situation in the future.

And in one case, they later actually exhibited explicitly positively adjusted behavior, in the manner which I had requested!*

I likes standing up on mah hind legs!

The weird part is that this change in my behavior kinda just sorta seemed to appear out of nowhere. The only two specific things I can peg to have contributed specifically to the change are:

1. Having been spending some quality time lately in the company of Ms. Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little, who has a very lovely backbone, and knows how to use it.**

2. Having commited the lion's share of my personal time to drawing. (I'm shooting to hit Gladwell's 10K hours—hope to manage it within 5 years, but we'll see.) How the hell that would have promoted this new development is an absolute mystery to me, but that's okay! I'll take it!

*Is that vague enough for you?
**As previously mentioned, one of my superpowers is cloning the superpowers of people I am in the company of.

#888 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 12:20 AM:

siriosa @870: bringing cookies

Oh yes. That's definitely a good suggestion! I forget about the bribery option. :) Operant conditioning, and all that. Kinda what I was think of, though, was reading or expertise resources.

Like "Job-hunting for Dummies," or "Dating for Dummies" (both of which exist, and come recommended).

I learned a long time ago that if I can conceive of it, somebody out there somewhere has written a book about it, and if you look hard enough, there's even a good book.

A related quest: team building from the perspective of the team member, not necessarily from the viewpoint of management.

But, yes, I need to take cookies in sometime soon anyway, due to previously mentioned birthday.

#889 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 12:21 AM:

Caroline, 882: No, but I suppose there could be. Decipher "gknaar ng rneguyvax qbg arg."

#890 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 12:27 AM:

sorry... 30 Kilograms of Gold.

And they don't actually read the e-mails, one sends back... I told him I was in the army, and with counter-intelligence.

He still thinks I might bite.

#891 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 12:37 AM:

And now for the latest update in this ongoing hyperlocal feline news story: Old Cat Licks New Cat's Head - Increasing Acceptance 2 Months After Intruder Arrives.

#892 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 12:54 AM:

HLN: Staying another day in Minneapolis. Had Splendid supper, will be doing an impromptu (though as I understand it, not uncommon) dinner party tomorrow.

Am tickled beyond reason to find a Hudson's Bay Co. blanket here; under which I am now lying. Someday I shall buy one.

#893 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 12:57 AM:

864 ::: Elliott Mason @864: Erik Nelson @863 said: If it exists, there is a dog trained to smell it.

Including (depending on what explanation of its mechanism you believe) epileptic seizures.

And tigers, potentially.

I'm wondering how long it's going to take for some bright soul to apply this little toy to researching this question.

#894 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 12:57 AM:

Gargh. Munged the header. Time for bed.

#895 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 01:18 AM:

Jacque at 884 -- it's not explicitly about team building, but Fisher and Ury's Getting to Yes is about negotiating cleanly and fairly; and negotiating good agreements is a very large part of building a team. And the people in lower positions absolutely get to negotiate! Doing it well (with team good in mind) is a major win for the team. Not all managers want to play well, though, so know how and when to use it. It's a very practical book. Getting past No is also good.

#896 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 01:20 AM:

Hyperlocal News

Management Company To Fix Smoke Detectors - Wednesday, Says Contact

Gorgeous Plum Tart Made : This Time, With Alternating Colors Of Plums

Second Section Taught - Went Well, Says Neophyte GSI

#897 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 01:28 AM:

Gah.. I hate airlines ticketing.

Searching around, watching a flight or two for a while, and when finally pulling the trigger to buy, the price goes up by 2/3 with the message that the price has changed.

Ok, poke around a bit, and move a date around, and were close, but still 100/pp more than I was seeing. So, ok, do it, then while I'm trying to get into the tracker, I get orbitz ready to sell me the same flight at the original price.


Though, on the bright side, I'll be able to wave at Abi as I connect through Schiphol. And these prices still seem like near recent lows to Europe.

#898 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 02:30 AM:

Terry @886

You have the material here to write a novel.

(Motorcycling ex-army intel type being hunted by sinister foreign crooks, whose plan he has unwittingly ruined by posting to a blog.)

(If they make a movie, Clint Eastwood is getting a bit old, but he still looks the right physical type.)

#899 ::: Bombie ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 03:30 AM:

Nancy Lebovitz @858

Noted. Thank you. This could be interesting. Tea both as a commodity and as a cultural symbol. Will let it simmer for a while.

#900 ::: siriosa ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 03:49 AM:

Hyperlocal News:

Local woman achieves target heartrate getting into gym clothes. Takes nap to celebrate.

#901 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 06:06 AM:

Hyperlocal news! Man to get haircut, and oil changed on minivan, but not at the same time.

#902 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 08:14 AM:

Jacque @884 A related quest: team building from the perspective of the team member, not necessarily from the viewpoint of management.

I can recommend Getting It Done: How to Lead When You're Not in Charge, by Fisher & Ury (Same Fisher, as it happens, in the Getting to Yes Tom Whitmore recommended.)

This is useful in the business environment, but also in other situations. It came to me recommended for parents of kids in special ed, as helpful for working with school professionals.

Oh, and congrats on the backbone. ;-)

#903 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 08:26 AM:

David Harmon @ 873: I didn't say they couldn't see -- I know how canine vision compares to humans. They do not have the resolution power that we have, so the world is a little more blurry to them than to us. When they are scanning the environment, they may appear to be using their eyes, but they are actually more engaged through scent and hearing. You can easily fool your own dogs by standing upwind in unfamiliar clothing (such as a hat); if you're far enough away and make no noise, they will treat you as a complete stranger until they get close enough to smell you.

In contrast, blind dogs in a familiar environment cannot be identified by behavior. They act the same as "normal" dogs; I've worked with blind dogs in private practice as well as in research. You really cannot tell them apart; they react to humans based on other-than-visual information.

Primates are geared towards visual information, with hearing, touch/kinesthesia, and scent taking lesser roles in the interactions with our environment (this does vary by individuals; I'm talking about population here). We use visual imagery even in written communications, and it's easier to convey some information with a picture than in words.

Back to dogs: they certainly do use visual information particularly in assessing body language -- but they don't require visual information in order to behave appropriately with each other. A blind dog can still play with a sighted dog without knowing there was a play bow given.

The other trained dogs are relying primarily on scent information for identification of contraband, and one theory for explaining the seizure notification is related to changes in body chemistry altering the patient's scent even temporarily. It's a theory. I think that seizures are more likely identifiable through subtle body language changes as well, but we clearly need research on this.

#904 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 08:49 AM:

Nitrocellulose- yeah, "dry" nitrocellulose is the explosive type. "wet" nitrocellulose (with solvents) is no more explosive than gunpowder. I was told this when I went with my wife on the tour of her new workplace ink factory in 2000, and saw enormous vats of nitrocellulose. I remember it as 50,000 gallons, but there's an extremely good chance that number is wrong because my brain was busy going "what what what WHAT ?!?" You may know that refinery off the New Jersey Turnpike that looks like industrial hell; she worked across the street. Anyway. once it does its chemistry it's fine. (Thank you,!)

Hyperlocal news: Only One Textbook Has Arrived In Mail.

Editorial: What's up with shipping, anyway? [this counts as a Core Editorial]

Since I have only the one textbook out of five, I'm reading the damn thing, trying to get ahead. Less hyperlocal news: common sense may be wrong; go technology? We're pulling MORE oil out of the ground for CHEAPER than we were 10 or 20 years ago, and oil companies are treating Peak Oil as a "scenario" instead of the obvious, inevitable future. I want to know what the prof has to say about this theory before I go hook line and sinker, but it's a thought that I had never run into before. It is now even more important that my sustainable energy ideas be economically viable.

#905 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 09:49 AM:

Well, there's multiple issues on the oil thing. One factor is "oil" (or generically, "carbon" in the ground, but there recycling can potentially help a lot.... what happens if we start filtering out that Great Plastic Patch in the ocean, and (using solar or nuclear power) steam-refining it back to oil?

But then there's that other looming constraint, which is CO2 levels in the atmosphere (and ocean)....

#906 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 09:55 AM:

I am now extremely fascinated with the question of how some dogs can sense impending seizures. That would be a really neat Ph.D project for someone. My unresearched hypothesis would be that the dog senses very subtle changes in posture, movement, facial expression, tone of voice, that occur as neurons begin to misfire. Dogs are very, very good at reading people. But I would think these changes would vary a lot from person to person (if not, that's very interesting). How long does it take for a dog trained at predicting one person's seizures to predict a different person's? Have blind or deaf dogs been able to predict seizures? Is there a breed that is particularly good at it? What is already known about auras before seizures, and how does this fit with what's known about how dogs interact with humans?

Serge @ 897, whyever not at the same time? They take about the same amount of time. Someone ought to open a combination mechanic and barber/hairdresser shop. Discount on haircut if purchased with oil change!

TexAnne @ 885, lbh unir tbg znvy!

I have been having all sorts of fun with my first sewing machine (I bought a factory-refurbished Janome 11590, also sold as Kenmore 16231). I patched three pairs of jeans (making patches from a sacrificial thrift-store pair that had long been relegated to the "painting clothes" pile) and discovered it was much easier and more fun to applique-stitch over raw (pinked) edges, rather than futzing around trying to fold the edges over and stitch.

I also learned to do a European hem from this very nice photo tutorial, and hemmed up several pairs of Keith's jeans and khakis. (He's between even inseam numbers, so lots of his trousers are about half an inch too long.) European hems are easy and fun once you see how the folded cuff gets flipped inside.

The only drawback is that I bent my denim needle trying to stitch over the doubled side seam on jeans -- I believe that's 6 layers of denim. Some commenters on that tutorial suggest that a zipper foot helps. It does not. I should probably have gone back and hand-stitched, but since I stuck the flap down with iron-on fusible interfacing anyway, I just stuck the seam down then. *shrug*

Sewing provides a sense of concrete accomplishment that Ph.D work just isn't, right now. I'm sticking to quick and easy projects for now, to maximize the concrete-accomplishment gratification.

#907 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 10:10 AM:

hyperlocal news: I find out that there was something "terrorist" related in Amsterdam because CBS radio calls my host for comment.

He, sensibly, looks it up and continues to go to the State Fair.

Looks to be stupid security. (cell phone taped to a bottle of Pepto in checked baggage, arrestee has "muslim" name).

#908 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 10:48 AM:

It was worse than just a cell phone taped to a bottle! There were actual batteries! OMG! World ending!

(On the other hand I've never felt the urge either to pack my cell phone in luggage or to tape it to a bottle. Because unlike in Space Cadet my cell phone has an on-off switch, I don't need to pack it to get away from it.)

#909 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 10:54 AM:

David @901: There are indeed multiple issues. And there are people who are hard to convince on some of these issues. One of the strongest arguments that sustainable energy has, or had, was that we needed to have it working well before we ran out of unsustainable energy, so we could build what we needed before it was too late. That's not an argument I will, probably, be using in the future.

The three main arguments for sustainable energy, in my head anyway, are Planetary Doom, Peak Oil, and It's Just Cheaper. There are more minor arguments, like We Shouldn't Be Buying From People Who Hate Us or I'm Never Going Into Space Without A Lot More Energy.

A lot of people don't want to hear Planetary Doom arguments. The argument gets very non-constructive very fast. But those same people are very, very vulnerable to It's Just Cheaper. I myself am vulnerable to It's Just Cheaper.

I almost never bring up I'm Never Going To Space Without A Lot More Energy, but it's true. My bucket list doesn't have much beyond "See the earth from orbit" on it.

#910 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 11:00 AM:

903/904: And they had box-cutters and knives in their checked luggage*. Ooooooo, I'm scared now.

*Isn't that what you're supposed to do with items you can't carry on, like, I don't know, box-cutters and knives?

#911 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 11:09 AM:

I'm puzzled... For what good reason would one tape a cell phone to a bottle of Pepto Bismol? My immediate reaction to the combination is that it would almost certainly give a suspicious-looking image on a scanner and would attract the attention of airport personnel.

#912 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 11:26 AM:

I've no idea why these particular individuals taped their phone to a bottle of pepto-bismol. But if I'd done it, it would be so that I could quickly locate the pepto-bismol in my case on arrival. (Except you'd have to leave the phone switched on. Hmmm.)

#913 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 11:28 AM:

Caroline @ 902... Someone ought to open a combination mechanic and barber/hairdresser shop. Discount on haircut if purchased with oil change!

Did I ever tell you of the Vietnanese restaurant here in Albuquerque that also runs a smog-check station? I kid you not.

#914 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 11:29 AM:

Hmmm, latest from the New York Times includes

A search of one of the men by airport security screeners in Birmingham, Ala., as he waited to board a flight to Chicago earlier on Sunday found that he was carrying $7,000 in cash and that his luggage contained a cellphone taped to a bottle of Pepto-Bismol, three cellphones taped together and several watches taped together, a senior law enforcement official said.

(Weirdly the NYT article seems to be filed as dated tomorrow.)

The multiple cell phones and the watches make it look less suspicious to me, and the statement by his cousin that "his culture" routinely tapes together things being taken to give to the same person makes a fair amount of sense. So long as the cell phone infrastructure where they were going is compatible with US; I'm used to thinking of the US as being different from other places in that.

I'm rather pleased with how the security people are saying that it may be a misunderstanding. I can see how nobody wants yet to be the person who says "this was clearly nothing".

#915 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 11:31 AM:

ddb @ 904... unlike in Space Cadet my cell phone has an on-off switch

Like the illegal TV sets in Max Headroom?

#916 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 11:34 AM:

How to Fix Social Security in one Graph.

Of course, we have to get past the argument (!) that Granny's $1000 SS check is a socialist redistribution of income while the tax cuts for those making over $250K are a well-deserved reward for those who've sacrificed so much.

(Hey, the best warfare is Class Warfare!)

#917 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 11:38 AM:

Serge@911: (Haven't seen Max Headroom, but Google seems to tell me that ordinary TV sets were forbidden to have on-of switches in that universe; so you're saying there were illegal special sets you could switch off there? And that my cell phone must also be special?)

Certainly it's a feature I'd pay extra for (and damn the law)!

Back when phones weren't on modular plugs, but hardwired to the junction box, it was very hard to get the phone company to give you anything that would let you disconnect your phone (you could get phones on a bigger plug, as a special thing, but they made you sign a special release indicating that you knew you could miss phone calls!). However they seem to have gotten past that in the modular conversion.

#918 ::: Emily H. ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 11:40 AM:

Caroline@902: Near where I work in Brooklyn, there is indeed an "Auto spa and barber shop."

#919 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 11:55 AM:

Emily H @ 914 — ... not to be confused with a "day spa and body shop".

#920 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 12:07 PM:

Jacque @883: I'm having a good influence on your posture?

(Fish, of the band Marillion, is now howling "Stand strai-ai-aight, LOOK me in the eye and SAY goodbye" in the section of my brain with the endlessly skipping record needle.)

#921 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 12:10 PM:

Nicole @ 916... the endlessly skipping record needle

It makes me feel old to read that.

#922 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 01:11 PM:

Hyperlocal news: Woman prepares goulash overnight in crockpot, Best Dog in the World (East Nashville division) offers to lick pot clean.

Editorial: "What's with this capsicum thing, anyway? All right-thinking dogs prefer boeuf à la bourguignone"

#923 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 01:23 PM:

"Why WOULDN'T you tape a cell phone to a bottle of pepto-bismal? "

I've done all sorts of strange things for reasons that made sense to me at the time. Why would you buy eight hockey pucks if you didn't play hockey? Why would you call up a drugstore to ask if they had sodium citrate? Why would you order ANYTHING cool from Edmunds Scientific? (spacers for stereo equipment, glow-in-the-dark eggs, and experimentally disproving a perpetual motion machine that I couldn't theoretically disprove.It was bothering me a lot.) Who crosses the border with eight rubber crutch feet?

People do weird stuff ALL THE TIME.

And don't get me started on the criminalization of cash again.

#924 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 01:37 PM:

Sandy B.@919: Tracing money flows is one of the great tools for finding criminal behavior, so of course they're trying to make it more traceable. Privacy isn't on the government's agenda.

(Doc Smith had stuff as early as First Lensman about using statistical analysis to trace criminal activity. For a while the "zwilnicks" were operating a fake drug-smuggling operation where the same packages were shipped around between three planets or some such over and over again, while the real supplies came by totally different methods.)

People certainly do weird things all the time.

In answer to your specific question: it gets tape adhesive residue all over the bottle and the cell phone, which is a pain to clean off.

#925 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 01:56 PM:

Serge @917: It made me feel old to type it.

#926 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 02:18 PM:

You know, it would be wildly unprofessional of me to explain why coming out of a meeting with my head still attached to my shoulders caused me to want to lightly pound said part of my anatomy on my desk.

I mean, sheesh. Even making allowances for being less than a month into the job, I wanted my head on a plate. Being told "well done" by a department head who knew the extent of the fuckup...hem.

Clearly I have scope to improve our processes and standards.

#927 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 02:30 PM:

The abiveld?

#928 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 02:47 PM:

abi #922: I suggest that you trust in your boss's judgment. Everyone screws up sometimes, and the scale has little relation to anything else. What matters is how well they recover....

#929 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 02:59 PM:

ddb: The last hardwired phone I lived with (ca. 95) had been installed in the' 40s, and last updated in the late '60s. The wire went into a hole in the wall. The phone was wall mounted and a guillotine switch had been added between it and the wall.

Which, were that still the way landlines are wired, is what I'd do with one.

#930 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 03:01 PM:

let me guess, abi:
- you fucked up. In a big way
- you realized it, and notified who needed to be notified (or admitted to it when someone else was notified)
- you worked on mitigating it as much as possible
- you came into the meeting with the change in procedure that would have stopped you from committing the fuckup, even if you weren't as smart as abi, even if you'd only been there a week instead of a month (or ten years, of course!)

Commendations ensued.

Sometimes it's not what you do, it's how you handle the results of what you do. QA more than most. Congratulations on it, whatever happened.

#931 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 03:25 PM:

Abi... You'll do fine.

#933 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 03:41 PM:

I don't know, any better than Mycroft W@926, what actually happened with abi at work; but their scenario sounds like exactly the sort of thing that would result in abi's reported events.

To reinforce what everybody has been saying, and speaking as somebody with more than 40 years professional experience in the software industry, fucking up in ways that turn out to be spectacular now and then is a given. Noticing, and notifying people promptly, and being useful in the cleanup, are surprisingly rare.

Being perfect is even rarer; any manager who insisted on people NEVER fucking up would run out of employees (especially employees who ever DID anything!) quite quickly.

Abi, you probably deserved that commendation by the standards of your business and industry.

#934 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 03:43 PM:

Terry Karney@925: That's a nice use for a retro switch!

I worked on setting up an "external reality disconnect" for a friend some time ago; a big knife switch on the wall that, through relays, disconnected both the telephone and the doorbell.

#935 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 03:52 PM:

Abi #922, redux: Mycroft has expanded on what I assumed as the scenario. Again, if your department head says you handled things well, believe him (or her) and don't beat yourself up.

#936 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 04:01 PM:

I'm fairly sure that not staying to fix the mess in the best fashion I could would have been seen as a bad thing. But it's more that what I considered unacceptable consequences of the original error seem to be business as usual.

I appreciate the reassurances. And I am consistently my own worst critic.

And at least there is room for improvement.

#938 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 04:07 PM:

abi @ 932... I am consistently my own worst critic

You most definitely are.

#939 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 04:12 PM:

attn Lee, Eclair, others: This is just to say

that i have firmed up
my plans for attending
The Grand Masquerade

(and thus the miniature
Gathering of Light in New Orleans)

you probably thought
I'd forgotten about

Forgive me
I'm a terrible procrastinator
I have no excuse
But I will be there.

(Have registered for convention, though not yet for any of the scheduled events. Have a room at the Crowne Plaza. After con, will be staying with parents in Metairie for two or three days. Scheduling train for arrival on Sept 22nd, leaving either Tuesday or Wednesday morning after con is over.)

#940 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 05:07 PM:

And of course I would post this just moments before abi opens a new open thread.

Reposting to the new.

#941 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 06:26 AM:

Abi 922. Commiserations. I hope tomorrow (today) is better.

Serge 934. (Head explodes in a puff of logic.)

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