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September 18, 2010

Open thread 147
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 03:08 AM *

Red, black, red, black, red, black, red, black, red, black, red, black, red, black, red, black, red, black, red, black, red, black, red, black, red, black, red, black, red, black, yellow, green, brown, blue, pink, black.

Drink, wave, shake hands, carry on.

link back to Open thread 146

Comments on Open thread 147:
#1 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 03:34 AM:

“and for those watching in black and white, the pink is the one just behind the green”

#2 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 03:50 AM:

first thing that came to mind:

#3 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 03:54 AM:

A plea to the group mind of flourosphere for information:

Somewhere, Joanna Russ wrote a piece about James Tiptree and how she (Tipreee) suffered from SAD/winter blues, and how she was so much happier in her time spent in New Mexico/Baja California/somewhere sunny, and how she might have lived if she'd survived her depression if she'd lived in sunnier climes.

I think it was in the introduction to a Tiptree book. And maybe it was small press. And maybe it wasn't Russ, though I'm pretty sure it was.

May I have enlightenment plz?

#4 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 03:57 AM:

Not as easy as he makes it look. (I've played the game precisely once, on a not-quite-full-sized table, and it was a terrible exercise in frustration. Anyone can have a game of pool and enjoy it—the balls are bound to go in the pockets eventually—but for a beginner, the real game consists of lots of accidental fouls and widely-separated breaks of 1).

Here's a slower one: Cliff Thorburn gives Terry Griffiths a ten-minute smoking break.

#5 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 03:59 AM:

Dave Bell @ 1

Right on cue.

#6 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 03:59 AM:

Hooray for proofreading. Let's make that:

"how she might have survived her depression"

#7 ::: Q. Pheevr ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 07:54 AM:

Someone spilled jelly beans on your roulette wheel. Or on your Stendhal.

#8 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 09:20 AM:

Steam on the mountain road just after dark,
we've brought our geyser with us this one time
and laughter in the moment seems a crime;
which choice is easy, though the answer's stark,
you have to wait until the proper bark,
get back inside, and get back on the climb.
When you get home you will wash off the grime
and wonder why the effort left no mark.
We pass those places where the words of craft
are spoken gently, where old wisdom sits,
and are not moved. We can no longer stay
safe in our skins, to do that now is daft.
Instead we joke, and battle with our wits,
knowing that others follow in our way.

#9 ::: ma larkey ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 09:40 AM:

@Fragano. What a beautiful poem.

"We can no longer stay/ safe in our skins, to do that now is daft."

Very true now.

#10 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 09:46 AM:

Open Thready agonizing:

Local doctor accused of raping sedated patient.

Patient reports rape the following day.

State crime lab takes a year to process the evidence.

Charges finally brought.

I cannot imagine what the past year has been like for this woman, and it's about to get worse.

#11 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 11:11 AM:

Sigh. Pope Rat "apologizes" to victims of child sex abuse, and "calls for" the purification of the Church.

Unless he unfrocks all the convicted priests and the bishops who knowingly moved them from place to place, and directs all bishops everywhere to turn over ALL the relevant records to secular authorities (in other words, he sets about actually, you know, purifying the Church), talk is wind, and he's just covering his ecclesiastical ass.

This on top of the Sidelighted blaming of atheism for the Holocaust reminds me that I really, really hate that guy.

#12 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 11:15 AM:

I'll avoid the set of grade school jokes involving nuns and vehicles...

... and also avoid the use of power tools today, which in combination with fatigue might have very similar effects...

#13 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 11:48 AM:

Erik Nelson @ 146/907: Scam. Rikibeth's been running into those scumsuckers as well. Flag for abuse and move on.

Tom Whitmore @ 146/932: Would you say this comes in under Poe's Law? Although, really, Rachel Maddow as a vampire would be awesome.

I'm not going to get started on the Pope I won't. HULK SMASH.

#14 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 11:50 AM:

The Church's handling of the sex scandal has been a nice exercise in understanding human nature. Put together a bunch of people with stated shared purpose X in a large, bureaucratic organization, have them dress alike, receive high social status for being engaged in such important and morally good things, and identify more with one another than with outsiders. Shake well, and you get scandals in which bad behavior by some is shielded by others, hidden within the bureaucracy despite the fact that most of the people in that bureaucracy would never do anything like it, and if asked would say it's horrible and shouldn't be tolerated.

See also: scandals among policemen and doctors and military officers, which all follow the same damned pattern.

It challenges my Catholicism, not just because of the overt godawful evil of what was done and tolerated and shielded, but because a big part of Catholicism as opposed to Protestantism is the idea that this huge, old, globe-spanning organization, filled with history good and bad, with layers upon layers of bureaucracy and cliques and coalitions and internal politics and large chunks of practice and doctrine that evolved from what people were doing rather than any top-down theological analysis, is broadly a good thing. That the advantages to having it be the same church in Gaithersburg or Chapel Hill or Santa Barbara or Barcelona outweighs the costs of all that internal politics and bureaucracy and often inappropriate-for-local-conditions doctrine coming from Rome. To put it mildly, the performance of the Church in the last couple decades does not support that idea.

But if the bureaucracy is really more bad than good, that raises some pretty fundamental questions for us as a church, right? Perhaps the Anglican model, with somewhat less centralized control and parishes chosing their own priests, would be more sensible? I don't know.

What I do know is that the Church is my home, and I love it. I came back to believing in God from many years of being an atheist, and the Newman Center in my college town welcomed me; even some old friends I used to argue religion with welcomed me with much better grace than I had coming, given what an asshole I'd been in some of those arguments. And since then, for all that I am not a very good follower, for all that some part of my mind holds the alternative hypothesis that all this makes me feel good for evolutionary reasons unrelated to truth, for all that I can't really make myself swallow Papal infallability, for all that I hate the intolerance for gays that seems a big part of the Church, I'm Catholic. I volunteer at my parish, and send my kids to Catholic schools, and go to Mass pretty regularly. It's a part of who I am, and it has a lot of good and wonderful and beautiful things connected to it. And I wonder if this Church will even survive in anything like its current form. How many more horrible disclosures await us, as it becomes harder and harder to quiet down scandals, and fewer and fewer Catholics are inclined to go along with the attempt?

#15 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 11:52 AM:


> This on top of the Sidelighted blaming of atheism for the Holocaust reminds me that I really, really hate that guy.

Yes, when Benny-16 came out with that one it sort of made me look to check that I hadn't slipped into a universe alternate to the one where Auschwitz was in fact liberated by troops of the First Ukrainian Front of the Red Army, the most militantly atheist army the world had ever seen.

(I try not to look at newspaper headlines but I had a weak moment in WH Smith's earlier today—the Daily Mail solemnly reports that the Pope's trying to save Christmas. Is there some sort of Firefox plugin that eliminates all traces of the British press from one's browsing? What with all the lipsmackingly prurient gay-man-in-jail reportage and jokes we've had since George Michael was sentenced, I think I've finally had enough.)

#16 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 11:58 AM:

Mark @14:

Your first link was malformed. Since you provided the thread and comment number, I fixed it while publishing the held comment and unpublishing the marker.

And thanks for the placeholder comment. Makes things easier.

#17 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 12:11 PM:

albatross @15:

I kept highlighting bits of your comment to quote here, but in the end I had all but the final, autobiographical paragraph highlit. So instead, let me just say that I'm with you, on every step of that road.

My two comforts are:

1. Non-global organizations have exhibited many of the same pathologies; it turns out to take a very small group of people to create that kind of behavior. A standalone church is plenty large enough.

2. The Church is not the hierarchy, and the relationship between the two does not have to be the one the hierarchy considers appropriate. There are people and groups, even within the vowed religious*, who think that the Catholic Church should be less of a pyramid than a top, with the hierarchy underneath, supporting and serving the wider community of believers.

But when it comes down to it, for me at least, I am Catholic because it turns out not to be possible for me to be anything else. So now all I can do is do my best with that fact.

* the Oratory of St Philip Neri springs to mind, but there are many individuals as well, such as the pastor of my church.

#18 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 12:32 PM:

albatross 15: And I wonder if this Church will even survive in anything like its current form. How many more horrible disclosures await us, as it becomes harder and harder to quiet down scandals, and fewer and fewer Catholics are inclined to go along with the attempt?

I hope it doesn't survive in its current form.

abi 18: There are people and groups, even within the vowed religious*, who think that the Catholic Church should be less of a pyramid than a top, with the hierarchy underneath, supporting and serving the wider community of believers.

Now THERE's a form I hope it survives in, or transforms itself into.

#19 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 12:41 PM:

This. This is what fills me with such fury at Pope Palpatine and his college of quiet corruption: That it causes people I like and appreciate and care about such pain and confusion.

#20 ::: Elizabeth Coleman ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 01:06 PM:

abi@ 18

>>But when it comes down to it, for me at least, I am Catholic because it turns out not to be possible for me to be anything else. So now all I can do is do my best with that fact.

Yeah, that's where I'm at. My spirituality is a highly complex one (a strange mixture of agnostic, catholic and pagan. That and my idea of morality would probably get me excommunicated), but the fact remains that the seed at the core of my spiritual crystal is a Catholic one, and it will always resonate with me, no matter how much I may want to get away from it. I like to call myself a Cryptocatholic, or a secular catholic. This whole mess with the hierarchy annoys me so much, like a family member publicly humiliating themselves.

#21 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 01:36 PM:

Elizabeth Coleman @21:

The quote that always comes to mind for me in this context is Robin Williams' line from Dead Again:

Someone is either a smoker or a nonsmoker. There's no in-between. The trick is to find out which one you are, and be that.
#22 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 01:57 PM:

shadowsong @146/933 said: how would you translate "real life" into latin? technically veritas might do it, but that primarily just means truth. i think it should be "vera vita", but every single translator i can find says "verum vita" instead. is gender agreement not required, or is that a known error in online latin translation?

I'm pretty sure that both 'truth'☂ and 'life'☀ in that case are nouns, and therefore verum doesn't gendershift to match anything (see also, "We are a lighthouse, your call.").

The word I get when I ask online translators for 'real' is verus -e, which isn't a declension I remember well from my 4 years of Latin nearly 20 years ago, but also appears to be a noun.

☂ verum-i : truth, truly, in fact. You could also use veritas, but that is likewise a noun.

☀ vita-ae : life, way of life.

#23 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 02:37 PM:

But there should be a word for "true," right? Allowing for the fact that different languages mark parts of speech differently in individual cases (frex German for "beautiful" is 'schön' and "beauty" is 'schönheit' ("beautifulness")), it seems like there must be a word for that. Else what does 'Deum de deo vero' mean?

Doesn't 'vita vera' work for "true life"? (As a non- or at best amateur Latinist, I can only speculate.)

But I do know that the English word 'very' comes from that same root. It originally meant "truly"; the meaning of "extremely" is more recent. The same process is happening to the word 'really' in our own lifetime. See also 'verity', 'verisimilitude', for examples of the same root retaining its older meaning.

#24 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 02:43 PM:

Xopher@24: O Bread of Heaven, beneath this veil / Thou dost my very God conceal. As a kid, I was always thrown by the 'very'. (And I only learned "suffer" = "allow" after misunderstanding "suffer little children" etc for, like, years, all throughout primary school).

#26 ::: mea ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 04:35 PM:

I am not a catholic. I totally get not wanting to walk away from your spiritual home but my religious tradition is not hierarchical. We all have a fair chance at the fight to control tradition because there is not a hierarchy imposing its views and excommunicating dissenters. So, all the lovely folks fighting for your vision of the catholic church as a place of tolerance and love please enlighten me: When you have a hierarchy pushing full-throttle to control the whole organization from the top down and willing to excommunicate and do investigations of independent behavior (I'm thinking about the investigation of the American nuns while not doing the same vigorous examination of, ahm, other behaviors) then how do all the good folks who find themselves Catholic but at odds with the amazingly reactionary hierarchy recapture your church? Especially as an outsider I don't get how you can reform from within when the hierarchy is all about imposing its narrow vision from above. Are there formal mechanisms to push back effectively or are the liberals in the catholic church simply waging a "we will outlast you" resistance campaign?

#27 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 04:54 PM:

I echo what albatross, abi, and Elizabeth Coleman have said. I am Catholic: not because I was brought up in the church (I was not) but because whether I like it or not, and sometimes I do NOT like it, I am Catholic. As the hymn says, I am called "beyond my wants, beyond my fears."

I believe that God works through this deeply flawed institution, just as I believe that God Himself became man, made himself a helpless child, subjected himself to hunger and thirst and frustration, to betrayal, to fear and pain and torture and finally, true death. How can the Maker of all, of atoms and archeopteryx and asteroids and arachnids, die -- and why did not the whole universe break apart into incoherent bits at that moment? I don't know. But if I can believe in the Incarnation -- and I do -- and in the Resurrection -- and I do -- then I can believe that God can manifest good from and through this deeply broken and malformed Church.

#28 ::: dlbowman76 ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 05:03 PM:

Xopher @#24 I think you might want to be a bit cautious here... Schön does mean "beautiful", however it also means "pleasant", "lovely" and "nice" (and yes, nett also means nice as well, but as we know, context is everything!)

I find that now I have a mean-spirited, cruel bully as a boss, I have to be super cautious about my Deutsch, but I know it will never be quite good enough. But nevertheless, I endure, I persist, and with patience I just might prevail.

Alles richtig, aber das is nicht wichtig!


#29 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 05:07 PM:

dlbowman76 @29:

Hey! Long time no hear from! Good to see you're still about.

(No relevant comment, except that all the German words for good seem to be cognates to the Dutch words for clean and tidy: schön -> schoon; nett -> net. Insert stereotype about Germans here.)

#30 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 05:33 PM:

albatross @ #15, I wouldn't hold out too much hope for "the Anglican model". Back when I was an aspirant to the Episcopal priesthood (late 1980s), one of the bureaucrats involved in the gatekeepers-controlling-access-to-seminary process loftily told us that people like him were "the reason we don't have a problem with priests molesting little boys" (shortly thereafter the insurance company for that diocese announced it would not issue liability coverage for sexual abuse by priests). Another bureaucrat claimed "the Holy Spirit will not allow us to make a mistake."

Never, never, never trust anyone who tells you "we can do no wrong".

But of course, as I'm no longer a church member, I'm an unreliable source. I too found a home--at the Episcopal University Center in the university town where I went to school and continued to live after graduation--until officials of the diocese forbade anyone not currently associated with the university to worship there. We tried, and failed, to find another "church home."

(Fortunately for all concerned, non-theological circumstances had by then made it impracticable for me to seek ordination. The Church would have been willing to let me in, but God knew better.)

Xopher: indeed, "Deum verum de Deo vero", if you're talking about the Credo.

#31 ::: dlbowman76 ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 05:50 PM:

Abi @#30: Herzlich dank! (Apologies, I have no clue of the Dutch equivalent. Bayern is a long way from the low countries!) I persist, I endure, and with luck shall prevail...but enough of my travails! I'm awaiting my son - not even born and already truant! I hold fast and await the dawn...splendid, fine, possible, potential! It isn't a fine Fragano-shaped verse, but when a new child is imminent, all is verse, all the world is rare fine, and possible!

#32 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 05:52 PM:

#23 ::: Elliott Mason:

"Real life" has connotations, not just a denotation. I'd say "real life" in English means having to deal with practical difficulties, though not necessarily massive disasters.

Are there phrases in other languages which cover the same range? After all, "real life" implies a contrast to something less real, perhaps thinking about abstractions, perhaps just having an unusually easy time.

In re Catholicism: This may be too vague a question, but for the Catholics here, how much could the hierarchy be weakened before the result wouldn't seem like the Catholic Church?

#33 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 05:56 PM:

Hyperlocal News:

Family friends' recently ordained (Unitarian Universalist) daughter announces her engagement to a very nice girl; all cheer.

#34 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 05:59 PM:

TexAnne @ 26:

Sir Ian owes me a keyboard. The world owes him a standing ovation.

#35 ::: Bombie ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 06:04 PM:

dlbowman76 @32

Dutch 'hartelijk dank' would work!

May your son's road be a smooth one, and carry him interesting places.

Nancy Lebovitz @33

Dutch 'het echte leven' is a literal translation and equivalent of real life, with (as I feel it) the same range of implications.

#36 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 06:39 PM:

Nancy at 33, for this Catholic, the present-day hierarchy's obsession with authority/power/control is a terrible mistake, which can be rectified only through weakness. I would go so far as to say that it is a sin, which needs to be recognized and atoned for.

#37 ::: Elizabeth Coleman ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 06:44 PM:

mea @27

I confess, I have no idea how to reform the church from the inside. (And yeah, the investigating of the nuns really pisses me off. I've met some awesome nuns.) I don't think there's any sort of town hall meetings. No comment cards. You just have to become a priest and claw your way up the hierarchy, or literally pray to god that the people up top get some sense in them.

I don't really participate in the faith anyway, I only go to mass when I visit my family, I don't give money. Like I said above, I don't actually believe in a big god in the sky, and if I could shake away my Catholicism while finding a substitute for the deep feelings it summons in me, I gladly would. Part of me says fixing things is not my problem.

I think, yeah, it's just a process of holding out. The Church does manage to change with the world, even if it's often a few steps behind.
It makes me feel wimpy, but I honestly don't know what to do. Splitting into a new church actually defeats part of the point of Catholicism--the knowledge that you're part of this worldwide thing. But I guess I can say I have split off into a church with a single member that occasionally pays stealthy, leeching visits to the original one.

#38 ::: Antongarou ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 06:50 PM:

abi @18:I am Catholic because it turns out not to be possible for me to be anything else.

Sounds like the way many nonreligious Jews over here(in Israel) are Orthodox, or as Ben Gurion reputedly said:"The synagogue I don't go to is Orthodox". Although I'm very much a hardcore atheist, I am also linked inextrictably to the way Judaism views the world, at least about certain fundamental truths.

#39 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 06:52 PM:

Nancy @33:

Very little of what I value about the Catholic Church has anything to do with the hierarchy. The single exception is that central control imposes some degree of common practice across widely varying cultures.

As a stranger in a strange land, this is a great comfort to me*. There's someplace everywhere that's "home", a place I can go and be deeply at ease†. McDonald's and Starbuck's didn't invent the franchise-of-familiarity, you know.

But the best of the rest of the church is about what happens in the vast room with the altar and the bread and the wine, plus the old and dear traditions that form our common culture. And those things have a momentum that Rome cannot control or redirect, no matter how hard it tries§.

* That's not as thoroughgoing as it sounds. After the initial similarities, the underlying cultural differences can be pretty painfully offputting. But it's good for the first, homesick, moments.
† One still ends up to-ing and fro-ing among various parishes‡, looking for one that feels comfortable, but it's a more restricted search than finding, say, a congregational church that feels right.
‡ I all but walked out of the first Catholic church in my area that I tried. It was an unpleasant enough sermon that I regretted understanding as much Dutch as I do.
§ I may say the mysteries that Pope John Paul II added to the rosary, but I doubt they'll last even a century. They'll be a Trivial Pursuits question soon enough.

#40 ::: Elizabeth Coleman ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 06:54 PM:

>>the present-day hierarchy's obsession with authority/power/control is a terrible mistake, which can be rectified only through weakness. I would go so far as to say that it is a sin, which needs to be recognized and atoned for.

I'm with Lizzy L.

#41 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 07:11 PM:

Who said this:

The Church [stands] against the symptoms of degeneracy in the world of today, against an atheistic movement, against criminality, and for the conquest of hatred and disunion, of strife and discord. These are Christian principles.

I got this from

Hint. It wasn't the Pope.

#42 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 07:23 PM:

mea @27:

The fundamental question is whether we're going to see a reform of the church that follows the usual pattern, or whether this is a new shape of problem, with a new shape of solution.

The problem of corruption in Rome is as old as the church itself, and the solution is pretty much the same every time: some new saint arises, with enough charisma and a strong enough message to exert a kind of gravitational pull on the entire institution. They usually found or reform a religious order or two. If their new ideas catch on enough, they end up with lots of vocations (people joining the orders as priests and nuns). This gives them congregations and donations, and, eventually, their ideas change the church. (Then everyone slowly lapses back into corruption.)

Examples include Saint Francis of Assisi (and Saint Clare of Assisi), Saint Teresa of Avila (and Saint John of the Cross), Saint Ignatius Loyola, and Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

So if this is business as usual, yet another black swan, then some thinker or preacher or mystic will catch the common hunger and lead us in some new direction, not against what is wrong but toward what is right. (My guess is that it will come, if it does, from China.)

But this may not be a mere black swan; it may be a black phoenix, a true one of a kind event. Not because the hierarchy is removed from the people and the principles of the faith, but because the entire structure is oversized for the population that now inhabits it. The Protestant Reformation started it, but the acceptability of atheism and agnosticism* has meant that there simply are not as many Catholics around to support this whole superstructure of people and buildings and whatnot.

In that case, I do not know what will happen next. Without the population base for a whole bunch of vocations to new orders—the usual way of introducing new ideas into the debate—the old ones have too much immovable power. But they're full of old men, and not immortal.

As a layperson, I have less power to influence all of this. But I'm also not under a vow of obedience; absent my becoming a cause célèbre, nothing unorthodox that I do is likely to get me excommunicated.

So I pretty much follow my conscience rather than the Pope.

* It is my theory that there has always been the same rough proportion of theists and atheists in the human population. I think that it used to be the done thing for atheists to go to church, whereas now people are freer to follow their true beliefs. This reduces the population of churchgoers, but increases the aggregate volume of people living the truth as they see it. I call that a win.

#43 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 09:31 PM:

OK, off any previous topic, I'm actually watching Masters of the Universe (1987). I just hope people who were born in 1989 don't think all movies from the late 80's were that bad. I mean, the villain is called Skeletor. It was a campy bad movie even then. And even then, the special effects were cheesy.

It does have its moments. "Men who crave power look back on the mistakes of their lives, pile them all together, and call it Destiny."

On the other hand, there's also "Kneel before me, or I will wreak unforgettable harm upon you!"

And Robert Duncan McNeill sure was a pretty teenager. Actually he's much more attractive as an adult who's learned to act (which must have happened in the interval between MotU and Star Trek: Voyager).

#44 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 09:38 PM:

It rips off Star Wars, too.

#45 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 09:50 PM:

Linkmeister, #934, from 146 about cat vacuuming. In fact, we had a design of a cat vacuum pin (from Suzanne Palmer) and I had pins made of that. Most of them sold, but I'm not on rasfc anymore, so the rest are in my work room.

#46 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 10:17 PM:

Hyperlocal news: Local woman's parents adopt adorable baby kittens

Those photos are a week old. I went and cuddled the babies some more tonight. Awwww.

On Catholicism: I will probably have more to say later when I've had more thinking time, but for now -- I think there is an in-between on being Catholic, and I'm there.

#47 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2010, 01:16 AM:

As a ("damned") bisexual woman, who is the primary breadwinner in my family (and whose husband is the primary nurturer), descended from a ("damned") Methodist Father, married to a ("damned") Jew, I do not believe the Church has any room in it for me. When I married my husband, I gave up on the only chance I, as a woman, could have to influence the direction of the church -- that being the ability to bear sons and direct them into the priesthood.

I can go to my home church, and walk through those doors, and feel like I am home. But it is an abusive home, filled with people who tried to reshape me in ways to which I am not suited, who endeavored, through their policies and actions, to strip away everything that makes me vitally myself.

I think Pope Benedict is on entirely the wrong path, in not taking much stronger actions against abusive priests, as in a lot of other things. But as the council of cardinals is made up almost entirely of similar-thinking individuals, I see no hope of meaningful change in my lifetime.

I remember the things I thought were wonderful about the church, growing up. If it ever returns to those principles of service and universal caring, I will consider returning. But not until then, and maybe not even then. I had a Catholic childhood. I am not Catholic now.

#48 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2010, 02:00 AM:

Hyperlocal news: cousin-by-marriage to estimable blog proprietor hosts proprietor's mother and husband for lunch today at home. Proprietor's mother expresses pleasure at putting face to name of one of the participants in one of the memorable events during their wedding.

#49 ::: mea ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2010, 02:37 AM:

@47 Caroline - those kittens are adorable!

@38 Elizabeth and @43 abi -- thank you for the thoughtful explanations. Abi your answer is amazing in that the faith you have is so strong that it takes the long view of getting from here to there.

But that answer is also incredibly daunting. An organizational structure that requires a saint to effect organizational change? I was hoping for a different answer. To use an example from sedar, it is fine to set out the cup for Elijah but don't just wait around for Elijah's arrival. The limited universe of catholics with whom I have interacted fall into some narrow categories - lapsed catholics who walked away entirely, folks who take the ala carte but don't agitate approach, and folks who actively support the whole agenda of the hierarchy. And I don't want to fall into the distorted view created by having an incomplete view of the diversity of your community. I was sort of hoping for an answer pointing to an organized push by progressive catholics for change. And then I realized I was being too lazy for words and googled it. Found this:

So there are catholics who are not just wandering away or going ala carte but fighting for their vision of the catholic church and not letting the hierarchy cut off the push for change from the laity. I know I'm not saying anything that is news to catholics, but I am outside the catholic community and I get so frustrated when I read about a statement from the hierarchy that is reactionary and then hear "there is nothing to be done" responses from the people that I know (in my world of lapsed this and that). I needed to give myself a reminder that there are folks of the catholic community who are organizing to fight the good fight. For some reason, in the media I follow, I only hear about the conservative organizations. And I guess that makes sense -- effective change in an organization like a church is done via organizational work that happens quietly because headlines harden positions in some cases.

So, I'm still not adequately educated but at least now I can give a cheer of support from the sidelines to the progressive voices organizing to be heard within the catholic church.

#50 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2010, 03:24 AM:

I am a Catholic for the same reason Luther wasn't.

Hier steh' ich, ich kann nicht anders, Gott helfe mir!

I am not, in the eyes of the Church a good son. So,I am prodigal, it changes not the least whit of my Catholicism. The same things which led me to entertain the idea of becoming a Jesuit, are what kept me from it.

I look at the things She does, and a grieve. I look at the people which compose the Body of the Church, and my faith is as much tested, as my hope is restored (because the Church has abi, and albatross,and Lizzy, as well as the Curia, and the Bullheaded morons we see in the press, purportedly speaking for, "Catholics".

Ich kann nicht anders, Gott helfe Mir, Amen

#51 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2010, 03:36 AM:

mea @50:

You are absolutely correct that there are organizations of progressive Catholics, progressive Catholic newspapers and websites, and so on. I have never happened to join any of them, but I know Our Gracious Hosts have.

And those organizations have clout in their own way. The abuse scandal came out first, loudest, and clearest in the US because a bunch of American Catholic laypeople got together, got the press involved, and would not be shut up.

Also, there's one other thing in your comment that I want to touch on: An organizational structure that requires a saint to effect organizational change?

I think (OK, believe, if you will) that you drastically underestimate the number of saints in the world at any given time. Remember that the ones that make it onto the Calendar must not only be saints, but provably saints*. One of the ways to prove one is a saint is to have an idea powerful enough to turn an entire global church back toward God. And sometimes that idea is as simple as rediscovering the value of poverty, or caring for lepers.

There are people out there right now who are saints, in my view. A subset of them will be canonized in time. And one of them might get the right attention, at the right time, to make the whole organization catch fire again. (In a good way.)

* And, by the way, Catholic. Many people I consider to have been saints weren't. Doesn't make them any less of such, but it means they won't get their holy cards in the official deck.

#52 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2010, 04:11 AM:

abi: Jewish theology says there are always 300 saints keeping the world in order.

Sometimes I think I've been lucky enough to meet one.

#54 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2010, 05:42 AM:

I think the world could use more sword saints.

#55 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2010, 06:56 AM:

KayTei @48:

I'm sorry that you had such a bad time of it. I'm sorry that you're still hurting.

Nothing I say about what makes me inescapably Catholic is a prescription, a recommendation, or a requirement that anyone else also be Catholic (or Christian, or religious). I really respect and honor people who have found their experiences of the Roman Catholic Church—or any institution—abusive and had the courage to leave. One man's meat is truly another's poison.

I just wanted to make that clear. I know that some of us who are religious have been more open about it on Making Light of late, but that does not mean that I want the people who are not to feel that this is any form of orthodoxy which Must Be Followed.

#56 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2010, 09:07 AM:

Xopher @42, the problem with quotes like that is that people often forget that aside from being a very evil mass murderer, Hitler was a politician, too*. So why do so many people take him at his word on controversial issues, especially when, as in this case, he was talking about an influential and respected institution at a time when he wanted to gain as much influence (or at least half-hearted acceptance) as possible?

Some people saw themselves as both good nazis and pious Catholics, and the Vatican's behaviour at the time was, well, fairly questionable to say the least, but at the same time, the Nazis' long term plan was to gragually make the Church disappear from society. (It was too strong in the Catholic parts of Germany to be attacked directly at the time.)

*In other contexts, Hitler and other leading Nazis both held speeches to industrial workers promising to help them in the struggle against evil jewish capitalists, and speeches to entrepreneurs promising to help them in the struggle against evil jewish communists. One of Hitler's first speeches in power was about the greatness of peace and the evils of war (while many of his other speeches and writings explicitly said the opposite). In international politics, Nazi propagandists tended to tell white people that they were fighting for the natural birthright of the white race, and people of color that they were fighting against British and American imperialism. (When they were talking to South African Boers, they could even say both things at once.)

#57 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2010, 09:38 AM:

abi @52, "And sometimes that idea is as simple as rediscovering the value of poverty, or caring for lepers."

This is an outsider's perspective, but I've got the impression that both the Catholic Church and some other conservative churches and religious institutions manage it depressingly well to combine the aspects that involve valuing poverty or caring for lepers, and the authoritarian, bigoted, abuse-protecting stuff. For instance, both John Paul II and Benedict XVI have apparently managed it just fine to combine all these things in their own personalities.

So I think that when you talk about values like valuing poverty or taking care of lepers, in contrast to preaching hate or covering up abuses, that might be a false dichotomy. The actions are very different, but the people committing them are often the same. So I'm not sure how much sense it makes to hope that those who do the former will eventually overcome those who do the latter.

#58 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2010, 09:40 AM:

(Oops, of course myself at 57 should be "gradually", not "gragually".)

#59 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2010, 09:41 AM:

Discussion of the value of stable ritual, with a few interesting sidetracks.

As for my question about how much change could leave the Catholic church seeming like itself, I meant something like "would it still be Catholicism if there wasn't a Pope?".

#60 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2010, 09:42 AM:

Raphael @58:

Neither John Paul II nor Benedict has, to my knowledge, much actual experience caring for lepers. They may deliver good leper-caring talks, but that's really not the same thing.

#61 ::: Sarah E ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2010, 10:19 AM:

#44 ::: Xopher
I'd clean forgotten there was a live-action Masters of the Universe - probably because my family was living outside of N. America that year.

I actually wouldn't mind re-watching some of the animated show, because I've noticed recently that some of the toy tie-in cartoons of the era could be surprisingly good (especially the ones done by Sunbow) - at least when the mandatory comedy-relief character wasn't onscreen.

#63 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2010, 11:22 AM:

Hyperlocal news: Mean servant monkey bars clever 8 year old corgi mix from acquiring and squeaking a squirrel. "Fleas" and "not wanting to see you eviscerate a cute and fuzzy - if rodent-like - animal" were cited as reasons for the decision. Local corgi-mix disappointed, but napping.

#64 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2010, 11:58 AM:

Today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Me hearties.

Yawn. (Slept late this morning... Aargh. Or whatever.)

#65 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2010, 12:12 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz @63, hm, I don't know. Those Catholics who opposed the Nazis did so for all kinds of reasons; I haven't heard of any quoting just war theory, but I guess it's possible.

abi @61, fair enough.

#66 ::: mea ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2010, 12:29 PM:

Abi @ 52: Thanks for explaining what you meant by saints -- I read your first posting to be about the institutional and bureaucratic vetted-up-the-hierarchy process rather than in-the-world people who haven't been officially given that title.

nerdycellist @64 - I now have a lovely image of a napping corgi type dog in my head. One family of corgis I know get given a squeaky toy and within minutes the dog's seek and destroy mission has been accomplished and the toy is a heap of flying fluff with the squeak taken out and bitten to bits. Another family of corgis that I know gets given squeaky toys and each dog is still carefully returning the intact toys to their toyboxes after months and months of play. But neither corgi family is ambitious enough to go after squirrels. Your dog is more ambitious.

#67 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2010, 01:00 PM:

Lizzy L #65: Matey, splice the mainbrace!

#68 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2010, 01:08 PM:

nerdycellist: Squirrels are rodents. Impressive corgi which came even close to catching one.

#69 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2010, 01:15 PM:

Nancy: 36 makes much more sense,as a number, in context.. One forgets things which aren't so closely related to one's, specific, tradition.

#70 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2010, 02:34 PM:

Hyperlocal news: Area hurlist goes to regional pumpkin toss, is amazed by giant trebuchet.
I left my 4 little trebs at home and saw 7 big machines showing their stuff. Don't have all the stats yet but one of them was 50 feet high, made the most eerie screech with its sling as it whipped around, and threw one about 1600 feet.
They don't have a "tiny" division and I am shy/noncompetitive.
Caroline, #47--Ohhhhhhhh!
[When I was a teen, we had a cat that would placidly let me vacuum him.]

#71 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2010, 02:51 PM:

#69 ::: Terry Karney @ 69: Squirrels are rodents. Impressive corgi which came even close to catching one.

Maggie has asked me to point out that she has caught and killed a squirrel. I was much less thrilled about this than she was, but I did feel a grudging respect for her achievement of a long sought doggie goal. Fortunately, once she'd given it a good shake, she was nonplussed as to what to do next, and at least there wasn't gore involved.

Maggie is obviously part Australian Shepherd. The other ancestry might be German Shorthair Pointer.

#72 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2010, 03:02 PM:

Hyperlocal News: Man's painful back spasms mostly eased by Icy Hot patch, ibuprofen. "Oddly enough," he said, "the spasms went away entirely during the time I was on the elliptical ski machine at the gym. When I stopped, they came back worse than ever! But I'm much better now, thanks."

Raphael 57: While I very much take your point, the Pope is also a politician, is also a lying sack of shit, is also a hatemonger, and also says different things to different groups.

No, I don't think he's as evil as Hitler. I don't think he was ever a Nazi as the term is normally understood (most young men were in the Hitler Youth at that time). But he's certainly quite evil enough for ordinary purposes.

#73 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2010, 03:12 PM:

65, 68: Worth repeating

:: John M. Ford ::: September 19, 2005, 04:19 PM:

The names of these pirates, the Doctor thought, were not dissimilar to those of pigeons; a panoply of blacks and shades of gray, colourful in adjectives rather than hues.

As to the pirates as agents of political transformation, he had made some notes upon the subject, which indicated that their primary purpose was taking things from ships and trading them for rum and intimate favours, in places ranging from Tortuga to Whitehall. Some did affect views on individual freedom, though these would have rattled the brains of a Paine or a Wollstonecraft, and the notion that they were a seething mass of nautical Robespierres would not stand the light.

It was good to have an enemy, he reflected, and it was good to have an enemy who believed odd things that were incompatible with one's own views. He had encountered sailors from English towns that were fiercely proud of having been sacked by ships scattered from the Armada. While the only evidence of such pillage was here a stack of cannonballs and there a public house named "Ye Dead Spaniardo," every man from those villages stood ready, centuries later, to take the battle back to Philip II, with his dreadful religion and his incomprehensible consonants.

In Celebration of Talk Like Dr. Stephen Maturin Day

#74 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2010, 03:20 PM:

Oh, yes, and let me just say "Arr" to those here assembled.


#75 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2010, 03:41 PM:

Xopher @ 44:

The Masters of the Universe movie is great if you like cheese (the kind that goes with movies, not the kind for eating, else I would be posting in the other thread). Then again, I tend to enjoy watching bad but somehow funny movies anyway, so your mileage may vary.

Sarah E @ 62:

The Masters of the Universe movie was, at least when I was in England, in the yearly rotation of films that would be shown when they didn't have anything better to put on.

Some of those Saturday morning cartoon shows managed to be pretty good despite being half-hour ads for toys. Others, not so much. Unfortunately (thanks, mom!) I missed out on all that, so I only have the reminiscences of others around my age to tell me so. I'm kind of afraid to rent them now, because my friends have the nostalgia to fall back on should they turn out to be not so good.

Regarding cat vacuuming:

I've never tried, but I think one of my mom's would placidly let you do it at the very least, and may well actually enjoy it. I should probably try next time I'm there. He's a very sweet cat, but slightly less bright than a bag of cat food.

#76 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2010, 03:43 PM:

The Feline Overlord is unlikely to put up with anything resembling vacuuming. The vacuum is The Hated Machine, from which even the Overlord flees.

#77 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2010, 03:46 PM:

Abi @ 56
I understand, although the gesture of clarification is appreciated. I felt the same way for a long time, but I just can't keep going on with things the way they are; I understand completely if others feel differently, and appreciate their willingness to stay and try to make things better. I just don't see how I can, from within the church, at this time, in this body.

I would have had a much easier time of it if I'd been granted the gift of going along, in addition to all the other gifts from which I've benefitted. I really did look for a softer way to frame my earlier post. But I've spent a lot of time studying silence, and silencing, and for me it always comes back to -- until people with different perspectives start talking about their lives in a way that is true, no real progress can be made.

I think that a huge part of the problem with the church heirarchy these days is that everything is, to them, a theoretical question. It's always seemed to me that they don't make the connection that their decisions hurt people, in ways that are by no means theoretical. It doesn't matter to them, in their search for perfect purity. I find that very troubling.

#78 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2010, 04:01 PM:

TexAnne @26

Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure that's photoshopped. The outline of the letters is just too crisp compared to everything else in the picture. Also, the top line of text doesn't look like it would be quite straight.

#79 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2010, 04:01 PM:

KayTei @78:

I am glad you appreciate the clarification. Allow me to add to it a little bit more: don't think that you needed a softer way to frame that post.

Speak the truth as you see it, as you live it. I agree entirely that until people with different perspectives start talking about their lives in a way that is true, no real progress can be made.

#80 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2010, 04:02 PM:

And, yes, I know that's an ironic thing to say given what the shirt *presumably* said before the picture was altered...

#81 ::: Bombie ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2010, 06:06 PM:

abi @80

Here's another soul that appreciated your clarification when first read. But as I'm not actively involved in the current discussion, I felt a bit restrained chiming in just for that. But now that I can just, ehm, chime in* with KayTei, all hesitation dissipated.

* more versatile than I consciously realised, yet I automatically used in both ways. Curious. (Pardon my sleepy mind)

#82 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2010, 06:44 PM:

In honor of Talk Like a Pirate Day: the ergonomic keyboard for pirates:

#83 ::: Mike McHugh ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2010, 07:14 PM:

Jules @79: Indeed it is. It's by Greg Stekelman who is currently fighting a rearguard action to try and keep his name associated with it.

#84 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2010, 07:25 PM:

Red, black, red, black, red, black, red, black, red, black, red, black, red, black, red, black, red, black, red, black, red, black, red, black, red, black, red, black, red, black, yellow, green, brown, blue, pink, black

This is an example of playing the Donald Knuth Red-Black Tree Traversal Drinking Game. The colors at the end come about because the players have drunk too much to see properly by the time they got to the bottom nodes.

#85 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2010, 07:27 PM:

Mike, 84: Thanks. I retweeted it.

#86 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2010, 07:27 PM:

Lila (# 31)

In re the "gatekeepers:" Uggh. I'm afraid that I wouldn't be passed by either one of those two -- upon a pronouncement of such infallibility I'm afraid I'd have to demand proof of their ascension to the papacy. I'd also point out that (at least now) the EC requires that *all* people working in the church, both lay *and* clergy have to be trained in, and conform to, "safe church" standards of conduct and precautions.

I'm not a member of the Roman Catholic corpus any more. I left and remained unchurched for quite a while, and now am a member of an Episcopal congregation. In fact, in about a month I'll be going to the diocesan convention as the lay delegate from my parish. I was encouraged to put myself forward as a delegate by several members of the vestry. And I thought that these people *knew* me better after 5 years...

What I find interesting about the current brouhaha in the EC is that those forces trying to shut down things like the acceptance of gay clergy and liturgy for solemnization of same-gender nuptials, are pushing for a degree of conformity and bowing to hierarchical authority that the EC has never had.

Like the Roman Catholic church in North America, the EC in the USA and Canada have always been unwilling to bow down to "superior" authority. I guess we just never properly learned how to cringe properly.

#87 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2010, 07:35 PM:

In open-threadiness, under tha category of "fiction is still stranger than fact -- Barely," we have the cases where a spoof website (the Chicago Dope) and Conservapedia have something in common -- A proposal to remove Jesus' words from the Bible because those words are too "liberal"

#88 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2010, 07:58 PM:

Pirates never go to taverns, saloons, or pubs...only barrrs! And they don't take the subway...they ride in carrrs! And they don't walk because it's too farrr! If they go fishing, it's always for garrr! Hardy harrr! They're very fond of "Whiskey in the Jarrr"! Pirates will probably mount the first-ever mission to Marrrs! When they get sick, they have SARRRS!

#89 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2010, 07:59 PM:

#70 ::: Terry Karney:

Indeed-- I didn't remember it because of the numerology-- I remembered it because I'd heard of the 36 righteous so young that the number is stored as part of the name. And when I say "heard of", I mean "read about it in the synagogue library, not as part of a living tradition". I'm not from anything very close to Hasidism.

And back then, I didn't find the idea of the world being that close to being destroyed quite as unnerving as I do now-- not that I believe it, but just imagining it isn't as neutral as it once was.

#90 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2010, 08:00 PM:

Terry Karney @ 69 -- Squirrels are rodents.

Oh, indeed. Last year when I discovered the mummified remains of one in the ductwork from an old fireplace, a few years post mortem (which was presumably where that horrible stench in the basement had come from), it was hard for me to be sure that it was from a squirrel and not a rat.

#91 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2010, 08:12 PM:


#92 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2010, 08:17 PM:

Terry @70, see, if you'd said there were 324 saints, that would've been much more plausible.

Oddly, I don't recall ever hearing about 324 of anything in Jewish folklore or theology. You'd think someone would've multiplied 18 by itself at some point.

#93 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2010, 08:23 PM:

Xopher @73, I do believe you'd enjoy the heck out of Tim Minchin's Pope Song. (Not safe for work, or any other vulgarity-sensitive environment.)

#94 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2010, 08:33 PM:

Avram, I do indeed! Thank you!

#95 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2010, 10:11 PM:

I believe I am led to say that the church I do not attend is not a church.

#96 ::: Dr. Psycho ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2010, 10:17 PM:

Abi@40, re the Catholic Church providing common practice across many cultures: I remember attending an Easter service at an Orthodox Christian church with my Orthodox (Ethiopian) children (I sat in the car with a sick child, but I claim the experience as my own because my wife came out and told me about it very movingly). The church had a Russian-speaking congregation, but when the priest called out in Russian, those in attendance gave the response in Greek, Albanian, Amharic, &c.

I also remember a scene I saw in a video about the Falasha, and even though there are no Jews at all in my family, I felt a profound chill when a young man stood up in the middle of a group of people and spoke, and the subtitles gave the translation: "Why is this night different from all other nights?"

Yes, there is tremendous power in a tradition that is carried from one culture (or one century) to another. [I'm also big on Halloween]

#97 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2010, 08:38 AM:

Open Threadiness:

Goats on the Roof (TM).

#98 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2010, 09:11 AM:

"The restaurant 14 years ago trademarked the right to put goats on a roof to attract customers to a business."

Is the world trying to make me cause serious brain damage to myself?

#99 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2010, 10:07 AM:

Raphael #99/Lila #98: The question of whether intelligent life exists on this planet has definitely been settled.

#100 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2010, 10:10 AM:

TexAnne @26, Jules @79 and 81: Indeed, Sir Ian's shirt was 'shopped. HT to ComradeMary over at Balloon Juice for the skinny (as it were):

It's a shame; the original shirt is still cool, just not sparklingly so.

The 'shopped shirt does raise a question, though: if Sir Ian's characters (on the shirt) were to fight, who would win? (My money's on Gandalf over Magneto, but depending on the venue, it would at least be a heckova battle.)

#101 ::: rgh ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2010, 12:11 PM:

@44 One of my neighbours once wrote "DEVASTOR KRU" on a wall. By the power of Numbskull!


#102 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2010, 12:44 PM:

Behold, Ardala Squirrel's Bane, Devourer of Trader Joes Freeze Dried Banana Chips, Destroyer of Various Plush Things Including Beds! Look upon her 'tocks, ye mighty, and despair!

(To be fair, I believe the squirrel Ardala almost caught was perhaps a bit suicidal - it ran right at her several times.)

#103 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2010, 01:08 PM:

Oh, whew! And here I thought nobody was posting Open Thready since last week...

(Thanks, Yet Again, abi, for the breadcrumb trail. Invaluable to those of us who are perpetually running behind....)

#104 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2010, 02:39 PM:

Clash of the Geeks (aka Unicorn Pegasus Kitten) is live! This is an electronic chapbook to benefit the Lupus Alliance of America. There are stories from well-known folks such as John Scalzi, Wil Wheaton, and Patrick Rothfuss... and somehow my story got in there too. Spread the word! Feel the glee!

#105 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2010, 04:46 PM:

On not being in a church - last week I finally severed my ties to the Church of Norway. I've been a member of our Lutheran state church since birth, but never worked up the gumption to leave. For years and years I've been a militant atheist, and now I've had it up to here with organised religion and many of its adherents. So I went to the parish office. The lady there didn't mind at all - she approved of people thinking for themselves.

I joined "Human-Etisk Forbund", the humanists association, though I whether I'm humane, ethical or both may still be open for debate. Gotta be part of something, I guess.

#106 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2010, 05:21 PM:

Roy G. Ovrebo@106: Congratulations on...formally registering your long-held position, I guess. Helping bring your national statistics into line with reality.

Did you have to join something else? Or did you just take the opportunity to do so since you were there anyway?

I went to a college where the North American Reformed Druids had a checkbox in with the Catholics and the Jews and the rest on the official forms -- enough people had written it in one year to get it included officially.

#107 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2010, 05:38 PM:

Oh, Xopher, you are such a dear, strange child.

Thank you for providing a much-needed chuckle today.

#108 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2010, 05:49 PM:

ddb @ 107: It's not necessary to join any er, religious and/or humanist or other organisation, but _in theory_ they can refuse to run a ceremony e.g. a funeral for non-members. Won't happen in practice though.

By joining the humanists I ensure that they get state support. A good thing and I only regret not doing this earlier.

#109 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2010, 06:38 PM:

Still reading over there, but I have a question:

is X to Xopher
as Chris is to Christopher?

#110 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2010, 07:03 PM:

No, the substitution is as in Xmas. Xmas == Christmas, therefore X == Christ.

I am Xopher, but I am not Christ.

At least, not that I know of. I suppose I could be in a distressing disguise.

#111 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2010, 08:04 PM:

Hyperlocal news: Internet unreliability completely solved by eliminating expensive L-connectors from coaxial cables. Local reaction: annoyed that the L-connectors suck, but glad that internet connection is now much better.

#112 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2010, 08:08 PM:

Hyperlocal news: three out of four dogs agree that, if a human is eating an apple, apples must be yummy. Fourth dog insists on receiving her share, countering comments of "but you don't even LIKE apples!" with a dignified insistence that That Is Beside The Point.

#113 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2010, 08:33 PM:

Hyperlocal news: Area woman discovers distressing sudden decision of world to whirl and leap about a fortnight ago was an episode of BPPV, and not one of the more exotic options proposed by WebMD. Cochlear cilia persuaded by repetitive application of meclizine that everything is, in fact, in its proper place and staying there, no need to be alarmed and get the tummy involved. Rest of woman's body dragging its feet about getting back to regular exercise routine, but delighted to find that Crane and Warrior positions not longer cause hilarious wobblings. Whew.

#114 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2010, 09:16 PM:

nerdycellist @ 103: Maggie (@ 72), may be a slayer of squirrel, but she bows to Ardala's success in slaying plush things. Maggie is deathly afraid of squeaky toys.

#115 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2010, 09:32 PM:

Hyperlocal news: Cold Snap Hits Area; New Cat Does Not Recognize Human in Bathrobe.

#116 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2010, 10:59 PM:

Hyperlocal news: Area man is getting really tired of packing. Is finish soon, please?

#117 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2010, 11:14 PM:

Nearly hyperlocal news... Yesterday, man stood on Thomas Jerome Newton's homeworld before driving past the Trinity Site.

#118 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2010, 11:22 PM:

Hyperlocal news: Cat observes ape in kitchen eating fruit (large melon.) Informs ape that cats haven't been fed in hours, requests remediation, requests confirmation from other cat, who indicates concurrence via gestures. Ape engages in tool use, puts pieces of fruit on plate and plate on floor, demonstrating capacity for multiple-step planning processes. Cats inform ape that no actual food is present on plate, unlike previous night when ape understood that food was being requested and had cooperated. Other ape mocks cats, also mocks first ape for cooperation with experiments on ape food-dispensing timing conducted by cats.

Update: Ape verifies fruit still present on plate, takes musical instrument to go engage in noisemaking behaviour with other apes, plans to remove fruit and dispense cat food later, cats resume attempts to develop opposable thumbs while ape is absent and unaware.

#119 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2010, 11:28 PM:

Janet Brennan Croft @114 talked about dizziness.

I spent four or five months on Wellbutrin to see if it'd do anything for my depression. It didn't. It did, however, give me ferocious dizzy spells (like, tipping my head back to look at the ceiling caused everything to whirl sideways and down in a complex way -- EVERY time I tipped my head back).

These dizzy spells persisted for more than six months AFTER I QUIT TAKING IT. Do not want.

#120 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 12:30 AM:

Hyperlocal news: FLEAS!

Okay, it's been a week since I knew, but I thought that Frontline would take care of them and instead I have new bites and have torn my legs up scratching them, my cat's tailspot* is increasingly sensitive, and I have a lot of washing and vacuuming** to do.

*What do you call the base of the tail that isn't the base of the tail? Because it's not really the base of the tail, anyway, it's that spot where if you touch a cat, it spooks up. Only now Patina the Catina crouches, turns, and air-bites if she can't real-bite.

**oh how I miss my vacuum. And my vacuum ears.

#121 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 12:42 AM:

Oh god, not fleas!!!

I'm highly allergic to them and still have scars from 4 years ago. We finally stopped the cycle with Fleabusters, which is pretty much just orthoboric acid. Killed everything with an exoskeleton in the house and other than leaving the bottom of my feet a bit dry for a couple of weeks, seems to have done little to no harm to the rest of the mammals.

JanetL @115 - Ardala's main source of leisure is squeaking things. She doesn't fetch or tug, her herding instincts are sadly truncated by our lack of sheep, and she doesn't like to wrassle with other dogs. Squeaking she does with gusto. She rarely eviscerates her toys, but she likes the "killing" part where she shakes them violently. She's taken to digging in her bed, killing the mattress, and then crawling under it to squeak something while she thinks she's cleverly hidden. I meant to take pictures of her last little freak-out, but as soon as I walked away she stepped out of her bed - with the mattress on her head. I don't think she even realized she was wearing it. So now I have a series of pics of my dog imitating a turtle.

#122 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 12:44 AM:

First, Diatryma, you have my sympathy - I dealt with that a bit over a year ago, and there is nothing that makes dealing with fleas not suck.

Here is what worked for me: get Advantage [I usually get it from Amazon, whose prices are less gagworthy than my local vet's] and dose kitty. Assuming your cat will not give you a whole new set of lovely puncture wounds, give kitty a bath - when Totoro had fleas, I was told to get and use standard blue Dawn dishsoap (not, say, flea shampoo). The noises will, if my experience is any indication, be heartrending and dramatic. Bathe your cat and dose with Advantage a day or two later.

In terms of getting fleas and such out of carpet and soft furnishings: get flea powder (sold by pet stores among other places; brush into your carpets, vacuum up after several hours - I did it during the day and locked kitty in the bathroom). For soft furnishings, I found that Raid for Fleas worked well - although I did go through ~3 cans to really purge my old couch.

Vacuum everything. Empty the vacuum outside if at all possible (I did it directly into the dumpster). And until you have really nailed your dwelling, life will be lame and unpleasant. Flea bites suck.

#123 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 12:44 AM:

Diatryma @121 -- on humans, that spot is called the sacrum. I expect it's pretty similar on cats. The coccyx is what's left of the tailbones.

#124 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 12:59 AM:

Happy 56th birthday to ddb. (I noticed when he mentioned it yesterday because I am the exact same age.)

#125 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 01:38 AM:

Advantage is now available at Petsmart and such, the manufacturer just started selling to large retailers instead of trying to keep it available only at veterinary offices. The problem with the online stuff is that you rarely know where it's coming from, and technically a lot of them are purchased surruptitiously from the manufacturers. They don't sell Revolution directly to, for example.
In any case, get at least 3 doses of Advantage. Bathing isn't strictly necessary, because the medicine is distributed through the oil on the skin, but definitely DON'T bathe afterward for at least a week. Use it monthly. Try your vets office for something like Knockout ES (the room treatment we carry, I'm sure other vets have other options). Expensive, but tend to work better than grocery store options. It will take a while for the fleas to die off, because even after your cat is treated, and all the fleas are dead, you have to wait for all the eggs and larva to hatch out and die as well - hence the three months of treatment. Fall is really bad for fleas, because it cools off enough to make them more comfortable hatching out. They won't die in the environment until you have at least 3 days of freeze in a row.
Yes, fleas suck. Literally. Heh.
And there you have my veterinary receptionist standard talk on flea treatment.

#126 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 02:55 AM:

Hyperlocal news: man's colon suffers ultimate indignity but with excellent results. Colon receives parole for next five years.

#127 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 03:50 AM:

Slightly belated comments on last week in Amsterdam & Vlieland (it took me the whole weekend to catch up on sleep).

Last Thursday on Vlieland, after three previous attempts to eat Dutch pancakes were aborted (out of time in Amsterdam with Abi, other people in group rejected pancake due to wanting to go somewhere they could eat slabs of meat, pancake restaurant was closed when we arrived) I finally got to eat Dutch pancakes. I discovered then that most of the "fillings" are actually mixed in with and cooked with the pancake batter. Kaas* appears to be one of the few ingredients** which is added on top of a Dutch pancake after it has been cooked.

Thanks to Abi texting me directions to where I could find somewhere serving pancakes in Amsterdam, I was able to repeat the experience of eating a Dutch pancake on Friday before flying back to London. Now I'll have to try cooking some like that.

I also ate the puffy Poffertjes, with cherries. Mmm. Good job we had all been given bicycles for the duration of the conference and were getting some exercise cycling between the hotel, the conference hall and the town.

It's funny how soon you can get used to things. When I arrived on Vlieland and was issued my hire bike***, it felt very peculiar to be sitting so upright. A week later, when I got home and got back on my folding bike it felt weird to be bending over the handlebars.

"Oh wow" moment in Amsterdam: multi-storey CYCLE parking.

* Cheese, for anyone who hasn't been following the "Over Kaas" thread.

** The only one I experienced, but I'm assuming the same would be true of e.g. cream.

***Once they finally found one which was only slightly too tall.

#128 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 05:35 AM:

Hyperlocal news: local gay couple not now moving to new flat in leafy suburb of northern city. Current tenant stays put. Couple get deposit back but are seriously pissed off.

#129 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 08:14 AM:

Allan Beatty... ddb... Happy Birthday, both of you.

#130 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 08:18 AM:

We found a flea comb considerably speeded up the getting-rid-of-fleas process. Our cats will sit still for combing much better than for bathing; dip the comb in soapy water between strokes to trap and kill the fleas (otherwise they just jump right off the comb and back onto the cat).

Combing for fleas also gives you some sense of how your flea-control efforts are proceeding. You'll get 30 fleas one night, then maybe 20 the next night and so on. Also, after using Revolution or Advantage, the fleas you're combing off aren't nearly so agile.

Also, what Benjamin Wolfe said about vacuuming. I empty mine into a plastic bag, add a spritz of flea spray to the bag, then immediately place bag in outdoor trash can.

#131 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 08:24 AM:

Republicans need to resign from Congress for the good of the nation. I'd also like them to stop trying to kill me.

#132 ::: john ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 09:14 AM:

@ 1, 4: As of Monday 20th, Ronnie O'Sullivan has the most recent maximum break in professional competition, and the record for most maximums in competition:, further discussion and youtube.

Maybe he reads Making Light?

#133 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 10:31 AM:

Not only hyperlocal but hyperpersonal:

Tonight's Vaquero's Official Washington College & C'Town Debut, Everyone Welcome!

6 PM, Reception, with drinks and nibbles at 6 PM at the Hodson hall Commons (student center, at Washington College).

6:30 PM, Center Stage, Hodson Hall Commons. 45 minutes of Mr. Sublette's lecture/performance "Kiss You Down South: An Evening of Music and History."

Love, C.

#134 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 11:16 AM:

This Star Trek commercial from Germany is .... logical.

#135 ::: E. Liddell ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 12:49 PM:

Regarding fleas: One thing that cut down on the three-month wait for us was using a carpet cleaner on all compatible surfaces before spraying on veterinarian-recommended flea-killer. Apparently flea larvae and cocoons are not very compatible with water and carpet shampoo.

Hyperlocal news: Continuing Education course offered by local college cancelled abruptly, most likely due to lack of enrollment. Local resident expresses irritation despite refund offer.

#136 ::: Mattathias ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 12:55 PM:

Open threadiness carried over from 146/817:

EClaire, if you're here and still needing info on Jedi wedding ceremonies in Portland on Oct 3, please check your email (including spam filter, I have an odd address). I have a local point person with whom I'd like to put you in touch.

#137 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 01:30 PM:

A quick dumb question: after seeing the discussion over at BoingBoing about the success in funding a book version I did a quick Google search on "Cursed Pirate Girl" to see if I could get an idea of what all the shouting was about. The top two listings are for the artist and have Google's "This site may harm your computer" warnings. Could someone with a Mac give a look to the Google warning and let me know if this is something I'd need to worry about with a Mac? Thanks!

#138 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 02:14 PM:

I just got the call from the hospital: I am officially ON for surgery tomorrow, intended to fix the back problem which has been making me increasingly disabled over the last year and a half. The surgeon described the procedure as "tricky", but I don't have a lot of options. At any rate, he's widely regarded by informed local medical people as the best ("if I had to have someone going into my skull or spine, he's the one I'd choose") and has enormously helped a couple of people I know. So here's hoping.

I will probably not be posting here for at least several days -- at least a few days in hospital, and I don't know how long it'll be before I'll be up to poking at the computer. I've asked a friend to post updates here for me.

#139 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 02:16 PM:

Joel Polowin@139: Best of luck with the surgery! Thanks for thinking of having somebody in a position to give us some updates.

#140 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 02:20 PM:

Joel Polowin @139 All best wishes for a smooth surgery and recovery

#141 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 02:22 PM:

Joel, my best wishes as well for a trouble-free surgery and a quick and uneventful recovery.

#142 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 02:23 PM:

Joel Polowin @139:

Good luck; I hope the surgery helps.

And, like ddb, I appreciate that you've got someone posting updates. We worry.

#143 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 02:23 PM:

Joel Polowin (139): Best of luck with the surgery. May all go well.

#144 ::: Bombie ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 02:32 PM:

Joel Polowin @139: best of luck

#145 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 02:35 PM:

E. Liddell @ 136: It's not the soap and water, other than they lift the dirt that hides the flea eggs and larvae; it's the mechanical removal of said eggs and larvae.

EClaire @ 126: Well-said!

I'd add only that people should remember this point: fleas live off the host. They jump on to feed and then away they go, to lay more eggs. They can live for months without a meal, so you can't just wait them out. A good hard freeze kills them, as do the topical treatments. When you have fleas in the house, you will need to repeatedly treat the environment as well as the animals. Before the spot-on treatments, I had to spend 8 weeks of weekly bathing for my five young cats. This was a two-day ordeal, as it wore me out to wash them thoroughly.

Vacuuming is one of the best ways to remove fleas, eggs, and larvae, but you must immediately bag that and get it out of your house. Otherwise, you just have concentrated fleas.

Tangential topic: kittens continue to be cute, develop more mobility, and we are planning a kitten-potential adoptee "brunch" for the humans and kittens to meet, next weekend. This will be interesting. The four I sent off to another house for fostering have now all gotten bigger than a pound. My six little ones might combine to weigh less than a pound, I'm sure.

#146 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 02:37 PM:

Joel, best wishes for a speedy and uneventful recovery!

#147 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 02:38 PM:

Joel – Speaking as someone with experience with back pain, much sympathy and all my best wishes that the procedure and your recovery go smoothly, quickly, and utterly predictably.

#148 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 02:52 PM:

John@133: thanks for linking to that—hadn't heard about it. The man's a sensation.

#149 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 03:15 PM:

Joel @139 -- very best wishes for a fast recovery and lasting pain relief!

#150 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 03:17 PM:

Joel Polowin @139: best of luck with the surgery. Hope it all goes well and recovery is as speedy as possible. Thanks for letting us know and for arranging updates.

Ginger: please keep up with the kitten news. Good luck with them all.

#151 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 03:32 PM:

dcb @128:

On the cooking of Dutch pancakes: I confess that when we cook them at home, we always use a mix. Specifically, we use a really inexpensive mix marketed under the brand "Euroshopper".

It always used to weird me out that the labeling on Euroshopper goods was in English as well as Dutch. However, Wikipedia informs me that the brand is also distributed in some British supermarkets.

Alternatively, there are recipes around. The main thing, I think, is that it's an eggier pancake than, say, an American one.

(Poffertjes, the little tiny pancakes, use pretty much the same recipe but require a pan with indentations.)

#152 ::: Mattathias ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 03:55 PM:

EClaire at 146/817

regards Jedi ceremony.

Temple of the Jedi Order has some information.

Cloud City Garrison may also be of some help.

I also have a local contact who may have located a set of robes; please check your email.

#153 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 04:00 PM:

Joel, all best wishes for a speedy and uneventful recovery. And thank you for having someone to post updates. As abi says, we worry.

#154 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 04:10 PM:

Hyperlocal News: Area man discovers tsumegami, the painful art of fingernail folding

#155 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 05:37 PM:

Joel Polowin #139: Best of luck with the surgery!

Constance #134: Have fun at the show, but you gave me a double take. Alas, C(hester)-town is not C(harlottes)-ville.

#156 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 06:12 PM:

Best wishes to Joel & Velma.

Back pain truely sucks.

#157 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 07:32 PM:

Lila, Raphael, Fragano 98-100:

OMG, that guy is a goat trademark troll!

#158 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 07:39 PM:

B. Durbin @ 105:

Loaded a copy of Clash of the Geeks into my phone, so I will be able to carry it with me everywhere. Your story made me giggle (and that's not something I do often), and Scalzi's interview made me wonder about a Unicorn-Pegasus-Kitten / X-Files mashup (Black Oil and genetic modification ... Sparkly Evil Unicorns!). Now I have to go back and read the rest, especially I have to Patrick Rothfuss' epic poem, the beginning which made me laugh so hard I dropped my phone.

#159 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 07:48 PM:

Joel Polowin @ 139:

Good luck with your surgery; I hope it goes well and has a very positive outcome for you. Let us know how it goes, and please don't be shy about reporting progress on your recovery.

As it happens my own back surgery was scheduled today for October 19th, so I'll be following along in your footsteps soon.

As Kurt Vonnegut might have said, "As it was meant to happen."

#160 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 08:09 PM:

Joel Polowin @ 139... Best wishes!

#161 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 08:11 PM:

Joel Polowin #139:

Best of luck with the surgery.

#162 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 08:11 PM:

Joel Polowin, #139, good luck, Joel!

#163 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 09:09 PM:

Fleas that feed on humans can be deterred by large doses of B1 [thiamine, I think it is.) The dosage is kept up until the human being's home and clothes have been bug-bombed/washed.
Good luck with the surgery, Joel, and anyone else facing the knife.

#164 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 09:18 PM:

Greetings from the 4th floor of John Dempsey Hospital in scenic Farmington, Connecticut, where I've been since Monday afternoon. It seems my kidneys have gone on strike. Full function is not expected to return, and in all likelihood I will be added to the transplant waiting list.

#165 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 09:38 PM:

Mark @ 165... I hope your wait on the list will be a short one.

#166 ::: Laina ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 10:21 PM:

Mark @ 165 - echoing Serge, I hope your wait for a transplant is short.

Joel Polowin @139 I hope the surgery is effective and your recovery is short and complete.

And Happy Birthday to Allan Beatty and ddb, who are only a few months younger than me.

#167 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 10:48 PM:

Mark: Yikes! Good luck, and a short wait!

#168 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 11:37 PM:

Happy birthday, Allan and ddb!

Joel, I hope all goes well, and you recover rapidly and completely.

Mark, best of luck. Hope they find a match quickly, and it doesn't match anyone above you on the list.

#169 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2010, 11:48 PM:

In case anyone wants to see pictures, here is a set of the entire bunch. The larger four kittens have two photos each, and the the smallest six are in one group.

#170 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 12:04 AM:

Ginger @ 170... The HelloKitty tribe?

#171 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 12:23 AM:

Because we need some levity:

Tea Party flag commemorating Christine O'Donnell's nomination.

Heavy, but fascinating:

Politics of storytelling, an interview with China Mieville.

#172 ::: Jeffrey Smith ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 12:34 AM:

Steve Taylor #3 -- That was in The James Tiptree Award Anthology #1.

#173 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 12:40 AM:

We were not ready for the awful truth:
The night is filled with stars like shining teeth.
Our rheumy eyes bled tears of fear, uncouth.
"To safety in the Underground beneath!"

The night is filled with stars like shining teeth:
They gnaw and grind our sanity to dust.
"To safety in the Underground beneath!"
Please leave us to our craven self-disgust.

They gnaw and grind our sanity to dust;
The stars our destination? Thou art mad!
Please leave us to our craven self-disgust,
In cringing, rueful fear, in darkness clad.

Our rheumy eyes bled tears of fear, uncouth;
We were not ready for the awful truth.

#174 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 01:17 AM:

I should probably call that poem "Nightfall, with Morlocks". heh.

#175 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 04:07 AM:

Mark @ 165: sympathies and good luck.

abi @ 152: I've never used a pancake mix - always got my kitchen messy with eggs, flour, milk, and, of course, the resultant batter, which somehow coats twice as many items as I used for cooking the pancakes. Interestingly, most of the recipes for Dutch pancakes that I've found on the web are exactly the same as the one I normally use for(British) pancakes (and the same as for Yorkshire pudding): 4 oz plain flour, 1/2 pint milk, 2 eggs. The difference is in cooking the other ingredients with the batter, rather than making the pancakes then adding fillings. I have found one which uses water rather than milk

I will keep an eye out for the mix - might be nice to be able to "cheat" sometimes, or have pancakes despite not having any eggs in the house at the time.

Re. labelling languages. I found it weird that in the Netherlands the labels were in Dutch, French and German, with no English. Of course, we commonly have English, French and German, but no Dutch, so it's totally fair, but...!

Ginger @ 170: Cute!

#176 ::: Bombie ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 06:04 AM:

Diatryma @146/402

Sorry it took so long. My first request of transcribing the Mongolian lyrics got lost in translation, and I ended up with a Chinese translation. (This translation did confirm that I had, indeed, found lyrics to a drinking song.) So the request got sent out again (not my idea, I was too grateful that I got help in the first place, I felt bad for asking again, so you can thank my friend for persistence), and behold:

1/ (long-hon)(dot-roon)(bai haad)
     (nom han) (haral)  (arza hoi)
     (no y1n)(tan)(taan)(biar-hui da)
     (dog xin)(harl)(arza)(hoi)  
 2/ (bur-hen)(dot roon)(bai ha da)
    (bug-ged)(tan-daan)(biar-hui de)
    (dog xin)(har)(air ha)( hoi)

Hope this helps.

#177 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 06:38 AM:

Mark #165: Oy vey!! Best of luck with the list, and strength to deal with waiting in the hospital!

#178 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 07:30 AM:

Good Luck, Mark!

I hope things go well/ have gone well for you, Joel!

#179 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 07:32 AM:

Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers)#160: Good luck with your surgery.

#180 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 08:16 AM:

Jeffrey Smith at #173 writes:

> Steve Taylor #3 -- That was in The James Tiptree Award Anthology #1.

Thank you so much! Just when I was convinced my question had vanished like a pebble thrown into the ocean... some mysterious force spits the pebble right back.

That explains why I had such trouble finding it too - I was convinced it was in an actual Tiptree collection.

#181 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 10:39 AM:

Best of luck to the far too many people dealing with serious health issues.

Thanks to many people for birthday wishes, including at least Allan Beatty@125, Serge@130, Laina@167, and Xopher@169 (with apologies to those I somehow missed).

#182 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 10:48 AM:

Everyone going under the knife and/or in hospital:

I guess this is the season for that sort of thing. Best wishes for a speedy (and desired!) outcome.

dcb @ 176:

My problem when making pancakes of any stripe is that I always have to spend extra time making sure I get all the tiny flour lumps out when I'm mixing. Yes, I know you're supposed to add the flour to the liquid slowly and mix well, but I get impatient.

#183 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 11:36 AM:

Mark (165): I'll add my wishes for a short wait on the transplant list and for good outcomes.
May all the present and upcoming hospital stays be as pleasant as possible, and the recoveries swift.

#184 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 11:46 AM:

Joel, and all the folks moving toward/recovering from surgery: I wish you all optimal outcomes and a swift, uneventful recovery.

#185 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 01:04 PM:

KeithS @ 183: Wait! It's possible to make batter which doesn't have little flour lumps in it? One of the sites I found suggested mixing the egg with the flour, then adding the milk. Not sure if I've ever tried that way round before, but I'll report back when I next make pancakes (don't hold your breath, it may be a while, due to that "pancake batter over everything" tendency).

#186 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 01:10 PM:

I had some amazing pancakes this summer at a B&B. They were lemon & blueberry. The blueberries were fresh, and there was visible lemon zest. I don't know if they added lemon juice, too--seems like the acidity might be tricky. They were wonderful, but I haven't gotten around to experimenting to try and re-create them. Maybe next blueberry season. Using frozen blueberries produces an unfortunate gray color in the batter.

#187 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 01:36 PM:

I've been told that if you use something acid in the batter, you should put in baking soda instead of baking powder (and presumably omit the salt). But do pancakes even have baking powder in them? I've never made them from scratch.

#188 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 01:37 PM:

Open-thready question:

Does anyone know of a website or blog that reviews historical fiction and/or historical fantasy? I've got plenty of sources for sci-fi and fantasy, but I could always use recommendations for new-to-me authors and books.

#189 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 01:43 PM:

Open thready question of my own: What does anyone know about the LiveScience website? I've been asked to do an interview with them on single motherhood by choice and want to make sure I'm not about to stick my head into a buzzsaw, politically speaking.

#190 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 01:51 PM:

dcb @ 186:

You know, that actually makes me feel a bit better. Also, while I may not have quite the batter-coating everything skills that you do, I still wind up having to clean up more than I should.

Xopher @ 188:

Depends on the style of pancakes. Crêpes don't have baking soda, the flat ones I was brought up calling French pancakes don't, but the unmarked, default, thicker pancake does. (Note: "unmarked, default, thicker" describes my experiences with pancakes, not anyone else's.)

#191 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 01:53 PM:

Addendum: although I think I've seen pancake recipes using baking powder, too. I don't make my own pancakes (scratch or not) often enough to remember.

#192 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 01:54 PM:

In other news, my friend with cancer, who is 3 months into what were supposed to be her last 6 months, has been told by her doctors that she is stable!

Two cycles of chemo to go. After that, who knows?

My thanks to all who thought of her with grace in these last weeks. Keep it up, please.

#193 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 01:58 PM:

Good to hear, Melissa! May full remission be just around the corner.

#194 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 02:08 PM:

Thanks, Xopher. Full remission is not on the menu, alas. Arrested is the best we can hope for. She--and all of us who love her--will be happy with that.

#195 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 02:13 PM:

Am relieved to know that the particle on "Fast alcohol infusion using nitrous oxide" does not involve getting drunk faster by adding laughing gas.

Caffeinated beer / alcoholic energy drinks are bad enough.

#196 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 02:14 PM:

Xopher -- You can make thick (non-crepe) pancakes without baking powder or baking soda, but they're lighter if you beat the egg whites and fold them into the batter. Otherwise, my recipes with buttermilk call for baking soda, while the recipes with milk use baking powder. (Reminds me -- it's prune plum season, and halved plums added to the batter in the pan.... mmmmmmmm.)

#197 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 03:13 PM:

How We Live Now:

On a recent shift at my security guard job, my co-worker came in obviously feeling like crap. Pained expression, moving slowly, etc. I asked if she was okay, and she said yes.

While I was out on patrol and she was holding down the camera-monitors and radio, there were several times when she was slow to respond to my radio calls.

At the mid-shift break, we switched duties, me taking the desk and her going out on patrol. I watched on-camera as she left the office and started down the hallway. She was weaving and staggering, and looked like she was going to do a faceplant any second.

I radioed her and told her to come back to the office, where I asked her more strongly what was wrong.

It turned out, a few hours before she'd been due to report for that night's shift, she'd had a miscarriage. And had come to work anyway.

Because she, and her husband and young child, were living from paycheck to paycheck, and barely making it to the next payday. AND they still had over ten grand in debt from the previous prenancy's medical bills. AND taking any (unpaid) sick time off would mean they wouldn't make it to that next payday. AND she was afraid that if she took too much sick time off, she might lose her job altogether.

This is the world of the working poor, where you put yourself at risk because you can't afford not to, where you live one disaster away from catastrophe.

I got her to realize she needed to go home. (She needed to go to the ER, but agreeing to go home was the best agreement I could get.) I got one of the people from the next shift to come in several hours early, and she drove off towards home, me with my fingers crossed that she wouldn't pass out at the wheel on the way.

She came back for her shift the next night, and the next, and she felt a little better each time. (Not good, but better.) So she seems to have dodged a bullet... this time.

But... god, it makes me crazy, so angry and frustrated that she, and thousands and millions of other working poor people should have to feel so terrified and desperate and out of options.

This is how we live now.

#198 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 03:30 PM:

One way to avoid the lumps, is to let the batter rest for about 20 minutes after mixing. This works better with baking powder, and non-leavened, pancakes.

A quick mix to get things incorporated, rest to let the water even out. Usually a bit more water to get consistency, and then cook.

In baking soda pancakes reserve the soda until the last step.

For baking powder pancakes this makes them fluffier.

#199 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 03:42 PM:

Bruce, that SUCKS. Dammit. That poor woman. Dammit.

#200 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 04:15 PM:

Bruce Arthurs #198: But the US doesn't need to reform it's health care system. No sir. It works perfectly for everyone.

As someone said to me years ago, the idea that there should be "working poor" is simply disgusting.

#201 ::: Bryan Feir ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 04:35 PM:

A little late to the party here, but first thing I thought of at the opening line:

Red, yellow, green, brown, scarlet, black, ochre, peach, ruby, olive, violet, fawn, lilac, gold, chocolate, mauve, cream, crimson, silver, rose, azure, lemon, russet, grey, purple, white, pink, orange, blue.

(Why, yes, I was involved in a production of Jason and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat before, why do you ask? Even after 25 years I still have that bloody colour list memorized.)

#202 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 04:56 PM:

I'm starting to think we need a "surgery" thread...

Best wishes to Joel, Velma, and Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers). Good outcomes, swift healing, decent food.

(And swift healing to Bruce Arthurs' colleague as well. I miscarried at work myself, but it was an office job, I had had medical care, I had sick pay if I wanted it, and I welcomed the distraction from the loss. Having to go to work under those circumstances...uff.)

#203 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 05:00 PM:

KeithS @ 191: the unmarked, default, thicker pancake : known as an "American pancake" on this side of the pond. For us, the default is slightly-thicker than crepe, made with egg, flour and milk only.

I got a real surprise when Jim Macdonald posted his pancake recipe and I tried making them. And... they bubbled!!! Tasted good.

If someone could post a pancake recipe with baking powder in it, I'd be very pleased, 'cos last time I accidentally added that rather than baking soda, and haven't yet worked out what to use the flour-and-baking-soda (presently stored in a plastic container) for.

Bruce Arthurs @198: Awful. Shouldn't happen. Does. I keep hoping the Conservatives will not manage to dismantle our Health Service.

#204 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 05:08 PM:

dcb@204: Any ideas on recipe search terms? I don't like the "fluffy" type American pancakes all that well (not nearly as well as the other). I'm sure there must be recipes online; and for that matter I can eventually work it out just from your "made with egg, flour and milk only"; but saving some time along the way would be good.

If I get back into pancake making I need to look for some good boysenberry syrup. The other syrup we like is one I invented myself, that's really simple: 1/4 cup lemon juice, 3/4 cup water; bring to a boil. Gradually add 1 cup packed brown sugar. Boil gently a minute or two, add 1 teaspoon ground ginger just before taking it off the heat. It's thinner and less sweet than most, but tastes great.

#205 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 05:15 PM:

dcb @ 204:

I have to admit, the only time I ate pancakes not made in our kitchen while on that side of the pond was on Shrove Tuesday, and, now that I'm thinking about it, they were the basic flat ones you describe. I always liked Shrove Tuesday. These are known to me as French pancakes, although I have not done the requisite research to know whether the term is family, regional, USAian, or somewhere in between. If no one posts an appropriate pancake recipe before I get home, I will dig out a cookbook and post one for you.

I also had a particularly, hmm, unfruitful political discussion with my sister when she was visiting when I mentioned that I was disappointed by the Lib Dems deciding to make a coalition with the Tories. Labour wasn't in power taxing her so much more, so she was happy.

#206 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 05:21 PM:

ddb @ 205: I gave the basic batter @ 176:- 4 oz plain flour, 1/2 pint milk, 2 eggs. Beat the eggs, mix with the flour then add the milk (I found that order suggested somewhere; might reduce flour lumps). It's fairly runny. Wholemeal flour can be used instead of white, if prefered.

Heat the oil in the pan until HOT - a drop of batter should sizzle and cook instantly. Close the door leading to the smoke detector. Using a cup/mug/ladle*, pour in enough batter to coat the bottom of the pan (use a non-stick pan). Cook for a little while. Loosen the edges and it should slide around as you shake the pan slightly; flip it over to cook the other side. If it's not brown enough for your liking, you can always flip it back again.

* have a plate nearby to rest it on when not in use.

#207 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 05:21 PM:

dcb -- my favorite pancake recipe is from "Laurel's Kitchen".

2-1/2c flour*, 2tsp baking powder**, 1TB brown sugar, 1 tsp salt, 2 eggs, 2-1/2 to 3c milk, 2 TB oil. These are pretty fluffy, and bubbling is useful -- bubbles all around the edge let you know it's safe to flip them.

*the original calls for 2c whole wheat flour + 1/2c wheat germ, but you can use white flour, or a mixture of white + WW.
** If you use buttermilk, substitute 1 tsp baking soda for the baking powder.

Re: syrup -- they sell a drastically reduced pear juice over here ("Birnendicksaft") that's fantastic on pancakes.

#208 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 05:28 PM:

So these basically expand to pan size, they need the boundary? That's an important point to remember when I try them :-) .

I don't believe I own a non-stick pan of vaguely suitable size, is one immediate problem. Well, some day; play around, see what happens, buy a pan, whatever.

#209 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 05:33 PM:

Debbie @ 208: so if I use milk, I can use the flour-with-baking-powder I've already got mixed, but if I use buttermilk (or as a substitute, as indicated back in the old thread milk-with-lemon), it's baking soda?

KeithS @ 206: Disappointed. Yes, me too. The phrase "selling out" does come to mind. Cuts in public services, during a recession - great idea (NOT). And we're not even going to get a chance of STV out of it.

#210 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 05:36 PM:

Oh.. and softer flours (like pastry or cake flour) work best for pancakes.

#211 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 05:37 PM:

dcb, baking soda is alkaline, whereas baking powder is acid and alkaline together. Baking powder will create bubbles as soon as it gets wet, in a neutral environment (a milk-based batter, for example). Buttermilk is acid, so baking soda will react there and create bubbles, and the pH balance of the finished product will be in edible range.

#212 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 05:37 PM:

Debbie (208): The whole-wheat-flour-and-wheat-germ makes that sound like my mother's* pancake recipe, except I'm pretty sure hers doesn't have any sugar. Very yummy.

*from the Adele Davis cookbook (Let's Cook It Right ?)

#213 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 05:42 PM:

ddb @ 209: Well, I wouldn't describe it as "expanding" to pan size, more flowing to cover the bottom of the pan: you pour in enough batter that when you tilt the pan in all directions, you end up with a thin (not too thin - you want it to hang together) layer of batter coating the bottom of the pan. You should be able to toss (flip) it onto the second side with a flick of the wrist, once you've loosened the edges (pancake tossing is part of the fun of making pancakes). This takes practice to get right; during the practicing time, you can end up with pancakes on the floor, pancakes folded in on themselves or, I'm told, pancakes on the ceiling.

#214 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 05:47 PM:

Xopher @ 212: Okay, that makes sense. I was so frustrated when I realised I'd added the wrong one, and I've been wondering what to do with the resultant mix for ages. Now I know I just need to use plain milk, not buttermilk... Looks like American pancakes might be on the menu for breakfast this weekend.

And, as Abi told me in Amsterdam, pancakes for breakfast just isn't done, in the Netherlands.

#215 ::: Bombie ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 05:54 PM:

dcb @214 back when I was young and reckless* I used to launch the pancakes behind my back, catching them in front (sometimes over-flipping it, having the unbaked side still smiling at you after the throw). At other times a friend and I would each have our own pan, and we'd switch pancakes mid-air. We still had enough common sense (barely) not to try and combine those two tricks (pancake pans get hot).

* so this could've been yesterday, I suppose, by most common definitions of both 'young' and 'reckless, but it's been years since I did this)

#216 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 06:34 PM:

Method of their Madness particle:

What Digby Said.

I am so tired. I am so sick and tired. I am sick of the babbling mindless sanctimony of the Right, I am sick of the unquestioning empty-headed compliance of their base, I am sick of the cowardice and appeasement of the "moderates."

#218 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 08:13 PM:

Mark, #165, I'm so sorry. I hope there's a matching kidney and you're near the top of the list. Promoting: Kidneys are the most needed organs and the list is long. Kidneys for/from black folks are most needed and least offered. Please consider putting an organ donor card in your wallet, and letting your family know it's there.

Ginger, #170, what kind of B&J is that? My favorite is Vanilla Caramel Fudge (Fudge there so they don't have to put chocolate in).

#219 ::: Mary Aileen points to old comment spam ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 08:23 PM:

Undeleted comment spam on a closed Electrolite thread here.

#220 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 10:53 PM:

Marilee @ 219: If memory serves me, it's Chunky Monkey (banana ice cream with chocolate bits). I'd collected a few pics of various flavors for a South African author who wanted to be able to accurately describe American items in his latest book (which ended up being Pyramid Scheme).

My favorite B&J is whichever I have in the freezer. Except pistachio -- I've never liked pistachio ice cream. Too bad I finished off the latest container of ice cream before I could get to the store again.

#221 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2010, 11:56 PM:

KeithS @183: the trick to avoiding flour lumps is to slowly add liquid to the flour, rather than the other way around. it goes from dry to damp to gooey to wet pretty easily that way.
and if you just mistyped and have already been doing that, try making a hollow in the middle of your dry ingredients in which to pour the wet ingredients. stop to stir whenever the hollow threatens to overflow.

related topic in my strange brain: add acid to water, not the other way around. in middle school i associated this with (a&w) root beer and haven't forgotten it since.

#222 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2010, 12:14 AM:

Bruce Arthurs @ 198:

I don't know which makes me sicker, that your colleague can't take time off of work because she's sick, or that she can't go to the ER for something as urgent as a miscarriage. This is not the way to treat human beings.

Mark @ 165:

I'm sorry to hear of your illness. Good luck and a quick and positive resolution to the problem, whether or not you need a transplant.

#223 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2010, 12:57 AM:

Blast, forgot Mark when I commented back up there at 203, mostly because I was startled at how drastic his diagnosis was.

Keep us posted, please, and good luck finding a match quickly.

#224 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2010, 02:54 AM:

Bombie @ 216: You're a braver pancake-tosser than I am. But then, hand-eye coordination has never been one of my strong points.

#225 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2010, 03:41 AM:

My usual pancake recipe is about the same ratio as Debbie's, skipping the added sugar and usually the salt, but it works pretty well with half cornmeal (or masa, which I'm more likely to have at home) and half white or whole-wheat flour. Add blueberries if you've got them.

#226 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2010, 06:57 AM:

nerdycellist at #189 writes:

> Does anyone know of a website or blog that reviews historical fiction and/or historical fantasy? I've got plenty of sources for sci-fi and fantasy[...]

I'm afraid I'm of no help there at all, but would you mind sharing your favourite sources of sf and fantasy reviews?

I've searched in vain for the One Great Source of good reviews. InfinityPlus was good while it lasted, and I value Clute's opinions if not his prose - after that I stall.

#227 ::: Beable ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2010, 07:27 AM:

@139 Update on Joel's surgery:

Brief version: The surgery went well, and he is now (or rather since late last night) checked in to his ward - and as per his own pre-hospital LJ post for Ottawa people - will be appreciating visitors over the next few days.

The details: The doctor found a syrinx in the spinal column (a cyst of cerebro-spinal fluid). This was an expected possible outcome. There was no tumour or tumourous tissue found. This cyst was putting the nerves under "very tight compression" and this is the likely cause of worsening pain and other symptoms through the last year and a half. He was able to open the cyst and insert a shunt to drain it. Transfer to post-anestheia recovery was normal. Joel was able to move his extremities almost immediately, which is a very good sign after spinal surgery. Although he is experiencing some reduced sensation, The doctor is (cautiously) optimistic about his recovery.

My LJ/DW post (locked but if you ping me at beable at livejournal dot com I can provide details) has the ward number and location.

#228 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2010, 08:03 AM:

This is just to say
I have eaten
the Pflaumenpfannkuchen
which were inspired by
the Fluorosphere

you probably
didn't realize
how timely this was.

Believe me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so satisfying

dcb - yes, I'd use your mix with milk, though I haven't done any controlled experiments with milk/buttermilk baking powder/soda. Sugar is really optional. (Also, in Germany they'll eat pancakes for lunch or supper, but perish the thought of waffles for a meal; they're strictly for afternoon coffee-and-cake time.)

#229 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2010, 08:07 AM:

beable @ 228... My best wishes to Joel.

#230 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2010, 08:50 AM:

Beable @ 228: Thanks for the update; really pleased to hear that things went so well (as far as is possible to be sure of at this stage). As I'm not in the right area for visiting, please pass on my best wishes for a speedy and complete recovery.

Debbie @229: I'll let you know how the mix worked, once I've tried it!

#231 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2010, 09:28 AM:

Thanks, everyone, for your good wishes. I'm still losing blood from the cysts in my kidneys, but my blood pressure is under control and I've lost a great deal of fluid weight. I'm able to eat a full meal without throwing up, which I hadn't managed for most of the summer. I'm still inpatient until the bleeding is controlled and the paperwork is completed to transfer me to the outpatient dialysis unit, probably Monday or Tuesday.

My evaluation for transplant hasn't been completed, but my mother is already heating up the phone lines at her synagogue to find a volunteer donor. And my sister has already asked about tissue matching. So we'll see. With a little luck it won't be a heinously long wait.

At least I have the silver lining that end stage renal failure qualifies one for Medicare at any age.

#232 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2010, 10:28 AM:

Love and healing to Mark, Joel, Velma, Bruce Cohen, Bruce Arthurs' colleague, and Melissa Singer's friend -- and anyone else here, whether they've spoken or not, who is facing medical/health problems.

And repeating Marilee @ 219 for emphasis: "Please consider putting an organ donor card in your wallet, and letting your family know it's there."

#233 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2010, 11:20 AM:

Mark, with kidneys in particular, I know you won't overlook the possibility of a living donor chain, but I feel it's worth pointing out that increasingly common practice.

#234 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2010, 11:48 AM:

Best wishes to all those dealing with health crises, including Bruce's coworker. If ever there was a time that I would want to climb into bed and hide for days, I imagine that would be it.

In good news, Mattathias' contact seems to have come through for my friend, and the Jedi wedding is back on. Looking at the three threads I have open right now, I'm reminded how awesome y'all are as a resource, as a support group, and for stretching my brain. Thank you.

#235 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2010, 12:34 PM:

Followup @218: Koch-Backed Groups Helped Kill Law Designed To Prevent Voter Suppression Plot Hatched By Koch-Backed Groups

#236 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2010, 01:25 PM:

Appropos of nothing whatever, what is the deal with zombies, anyway? I mean, I sorta get (though I don't share) why vampires are so popular. But the zombie craze sails right over my head.

Somebody 'splain, plz?

#237 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2010, 01:32 PM:

Jacque@237: Geeks are totally bowled over by a group that values people primarily for their brains?

#238 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2010, 01:33 PM:

Jacque #237:

I don't get it either and I can't explain it. I just thought you'd like to know you weren't alone.

#239 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2010, 01:42 PM:

Jacque (237): *rummages around in Fluorosphere archives* Aha! Long discussion of that very subject (plus our usual meanderings) here.

#240 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2010, 02:13 PM:

ddb@238, I see what you did there.

#241 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2010, 02:19 PM:

All Knowledge Is Contained In The Fluorosphere: What kind of beer should I use to make beer blintzes? Which should I avoid?

#242 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2010, 02:31 PM:

#237: Yeah, I don't know either.

I can sort of get the attraction of vampires, and werewolves, but not zombies.

OTOH, I like pirates. Arrr.

#243 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2010, 02:59 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 243:

Consider zombie pirates: Arrr, Brainssssss!

#244 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2010, 03:36 PM:

#188 ::: Xopher :::

But do pancakes even have baking powder in them? I've never made them from scratch.

Well, I can provide my pancake 'recipe', if anyone wants it. I never actually learned how to make them, if that makes sense. My grandmother made them, and I did what she did, and I've been making them from memory since I was about 9. It's horrible to try to explain to someone, 'cause I don't actually measure anything.

For two people:
Flour, regular all-purpose. Something like a coffee mug-full.
Baking powder. Something like a teaspoon-full; you can add a smidge more if you like 'em fluffier.
Salt, sort of a dash.
Sugar, sort of like a small teaspoon-full.
Egg, one if it's size Large
Vanilla, about a blop (you pour the bottle until you hear 'blop', then you stop)
Milk: enough until the batter is the consistency you like. Maybe about a cup? It depends on the weather.
Use a whisk to combine until lumps are gone.

Heat your pan until it's somewhere between medium and hot. Use a soup ladle to ladle your pancake mix into the pan. I like mine to be slightly larger than the palm of my hand. You may have larger or smaller hands, adjust accordingly.

The top of your pancake will bubble; this means it's time to flip them. Give them another couple of minutes on the second side and remove when they are golden brown. I go by smell.

I usually have a warm plate on the stove; when putting the cooked pancakes on the plate, I immediately brush them with butter and pour on some syrup*. This means that by the time I serve them, they have absorbed the yummy goodness.

*I grew up in the Chateauguay Valley. I was in my 20s before I knew that syrup did not automatically = maple, and it's still my default.

#245 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2010, 04:03 PM:

I totally need this.

#246 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2010, 04:30 PM:

Steve C. @246, I agree; I'd characterize that as pretty freaking cool; the packaging is superb as well. That site is dangerous; they have lots of other similar cool things for sale. heh.

#247 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2010, 04:37 PM:

Cheryl #245: Salt, sort of a dash.

How many pinches are in a dash? I think I've found a technical reference for this, but the various non-parametric cooking measures are still fraught with appalling ambiguity.

#248 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2010, 04:52 PM:

Steve C.: Ohhhh, WANT! But I already have three pizza cutters. So no.

#249 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2010, 04:54 PM:

Facebook is down. Expect an increase in postings as refugees flee across the Internet.

#250 ::: Mattathias ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2010, 06:02 PM:

Facebook is back up. That was quick.

EClaire, only too glad to help.

#251 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2010, 06:39 PM:

Thanks for the advice on fleas, the intelligible lyrics*, and general goodwill! And I add my own thoughts to the bunch for those who are unwell.

So far, the fleas... well, I've vacuumed, but not as thoroughly as I will if they don't go away. The cat's been Frontlined, which I understand makes her toxic to fleas; if I find new bites on Saturday, I'm getting a pill thing that will make her even more toxic (Comfortis? Something like that). A lot of things have been washed and then stuffed into garbage bags.

Part of me is just laughing because seriously, Universe, I was doing so well staying under budget this month, then there were (routine and unpleasant but liveable nonroutine) medical costs and suddenly fleas! and here's my poor cat, who is seriously unhappy.

At least the Furminator didn't hurt her. It's not a flea comb, but it'll give me a better idea of how bad she is later, depending on how much flea dirt comes off.

*I am going to be a Hero of Thanksgiving and also my mother's kindergarten music class. So you are too! Heroes of Thanksgiving all round!

#252 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2010, 07:34 PM:

Beable, #228, excellent start! I hope that continues!

Mark, #232, At least I have the silver lining that end stage renal failure qualifies one for Medicare at any age.

Yes, and I've been in end stage twice. I'm pretty much in stage three these days, with some dips to four. So you can get better.

Tuesday I saw an ad on TV for Revlon Just Bitten Lip Balm which has colors you might expect: Passion, Twilight, Frenzy, Beloved, Crave, and Midnight.

#253 ::: Stephen Sample ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2010, 07:52 PM:

dcb @210:

You need an acid (buttermilk in this case, though I've used a chocolate cake recipe that used cider vinegar) to activate baking soda. You don't need to include a separate acid ingredient if you're using baking powder, because it has one mixed in.

However, using buttermilk with baking powder is fine as long as you don't mind having your pancakes be a little sour. (The baking powder will work the same way it always does, but it won't neutralize the buttermilk.) I like the way the sourness sets off the flavor of any toppings, personally.

When I make sourdough pancakes, for example, I mostly use baking powder if I use any additional leavening at all. (Sourdough provides its own by way of the yeasts, so you don't have to add anything.)

#254 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2010, 07:57 PM:

Heresiarch: A light lager. Nothing too hoppy.

After that, one of the sweeter beers might be interesting (a scotch ale, frex). I answer at more length, but I'm off to make sushi with friends.

#255 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2010, 09:24 PM:

Terry Karney @ 255... A light lager

...called Hoppy-wan Kenobeer?

#256 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2010, 09:56 PM:

So, I seem to be the new Internet handler for my bookstore. The owner has a lot of accumulated literary journals, some rare books, and other miscellany that he wants to sell off, and would like to start selling books on the Internet in general.★

I already told the owner to set up a corporate credit card (for most of 40 years, he's been running if off his personal card, but I consider that unwise for the 'Net). So far, my "to do" list includes:

  • Paypal account.
  • Set up a minimal webpage -- probably Blogger for now. Possibly look at domain names....
  • Set up seller's accounts on Craigslist, EBay, and ABE Books.
  • Investigate prices for cheap laptop (or alternatively, a monitor for one of my own spare desktops), and probably a scanner and/or printer as well.

Am I forgetting anything?

★ The problem there is, he has no inventory control... but when he says there are 100K books in the building, I believe him, because I've been shelving new acquisitions!

#257 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2010, 09:59 PM:

PS: Just to clarify, it's "my" bookstore only in that I'm working for the owners. But the Internet sales will be on top of my few hours a week shelving and such, and I get an even cut of profits here.

#258 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2010, 10:01 PM:

Steve C. #246: snicker! And now that I've seen it, all I can think is, how did it take 40-odd years for somebody to think of that?

#259 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2010, 10:12 PM:

The sourdough recipe I have:
at least 12 hours before mealtime:
in a 2 to 3 quart bowl, mix
1 cup starter
2 cups water
2 1/2 to 3 cups flour (up to half can be whole-wheat flour)
Cover and set in a warm place.

About 30 minutes before mealtime, add
2 eggs beaten with
2 tbsp oil (pancakes may need only one egg)
then stir in 1/2 cup dry milk

When the griddle or waffle iron is hot, mix together
1 tsp baking soda, all lumps removed
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
Stir into batter - it's going to foam impressively.

About 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake
About 1 to 1 1/4 cups of batter for a waffle

#260 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2010, 11:18 PM:

Dear EClaire:

You have email! Lee and I are trying to get in touch with you, as we all appear to be in the same city and all.

#261 ::: beable ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2010, 11:22 PM:

Joel news @ 228

Latest update, provided by the friend who provided yesterday:

Joel is up and walking around with a walker (and carefully). Very wobbly, but a mutual neurologist friend assured him that up within 24hr was very good news.

He is also managing to eat without nausea, and the hospital is (so far) respecting his dietary requirements (vegetarian, allergies, etc)

#262 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2010, 12:38 AM:

Actually, Bombie, have you an email? Mine's gmail, username.

#263 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2010, 01:54 AM:

Nicole @261 - Ack! It's like a blind date! Y'all will suddenly realize how inane my conversation is, and how socially inept I am IRL!

Hope to see you soon!

(Obligatory sentence that does not end with an exclamation mark.)

#264 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2010, 01:58 AM:

EClaire @264:
Y'all will suddenly realize how inane my conversation is, and how socially inept I am IRL!

I felt like that before my first Making Light meetup (and my second, and my third, and the one-on-one get-togethers). Goes away pretty quick when you're there.

#265 ::: Zelda ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2010, 02:02 AM:

Diatryma @252: The cat's been Frontlined, which I understand makes her toxic to fleas

Our spaniel gets regular monthly applications of this stuff. A few years ago, after a walk in the woods in late May, we picked a couple of dozen live ticks off her before they had found a place to bite (and before allowing her in the house). Then we waited a day and picked off the half dozen or so dead ones who had bitten. Since then we address her, on the occasions of her monthly doses, as Miss Rappaccini.

#266 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2010, 02:10 AM:

David Harmon, re #259:
A few months ago I was talking with Marty Massoglia for suggestions on how to go about selling our friend Anne Braude's book collection (she had about 7,000-8,000 volumes when she died). He recommended ABE's free database HomeBase to keep the inventory tracked.

#267 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2010, 02:12 AM:

David Harmon @ #257, seller account on Amazon?

If you want advice from a small independent bookseller in Washington State, Tammy and Dan at Jackson Street Books are good people who've had an internet sales operation for a while. They even sell books through Second Life.

#268 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2010, 02:20 AM:

EClaire -

Oh good! Contact! I have responded to your email. Phone calls will probably happen tomorrow. (Well, today, but at a more diurnal hour of today.)

I have been self-conscious about my own conversation skills this entire con thus far, and this with a friend I've known for at least three or four years (though I haven't seen him for about two) so I suppose - as abi hints - it's a universal thing.

#269 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2010, 05:03 AM:

I'm finding this project both hopeful and rather darkly amusing.

But I would have appreciated something like this as a teenager. Say, "clung to," perhaps. "Desperately obsessed over."


#270 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2010, 07:00 AM:

Linkmeister #268: Hmm., Are Amazon back in semi-good odor these days? Thanks for the bookshop link, that's gone into the folder.

#271 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2010, 07:53 AM:

I have not heard any of the main victims of the numerous #amazonfail incidents declare successful redress of grievances.

#272 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2010, 10:01 AM:

Hyperlocal News: Wallet returned; faith in humanity bolstered. Woman received call about wallet she left in shopping cart in Safeway garage before she even realized it was missing. Finder met loser at a mutually convenient Metro station to return same. Loser offered copious thanks. Both parties have returned to their typical daytime agenda.

#273 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2010, 10:26 AM:

Headline of tabloid glimpsed at the checkout line ysterday:


Redneck kills another mutant.

#274 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2010, 10:27 AM:

Open threadiness, William Gibson novel edition:

This No Comment post describes the phenomenon of Xe/Blackwater hiring out their services as private-sector spies, to various foreign governments and corporations. This is the sort of issue that (like the CIA having a massive unaccountable private army in Afghanistan) would probably be newsworthy, if we didn't need to spend so much time worrying about the Ground Zero Mosque, various attention-seeking clowns threatening to burn korans, and deeply meaningful issues like whether Obama is a secret Muslim, or merely a secret socialist.

Our country is changing in irreversible ways, more-or-less in plain sight. And to a first approximation, nobody gives a fuck. As a country, we're going to pay and pay for ignoring this stuff, for being too busy to notice while our society builds a too-profitable-to-dismantle turnkey police state, to be activated piecemeal as burning issues of the week arise that can be exploited to sell ads or scare up votes.

#275 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2010, 10:32 AM:

albatross #275: A private sector police state, at that.

#276 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2010, 10:44 AM:


Our system combines the efficiency and responsiveness of large government bureaucracies with the kindness and personal touch of vast multinational corporations.

#277 ::: Bombie ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2010, 12:52 PM:

Diatryma @263

I shot you a mail earlier today, hope I aimed right.

#278 ::: dlbowman76 ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2010, 04:01 PM:

This is apropos of nothing (thus - apropos for an open thread?) A long journey concluded today. I was very happy to meet Stephen David Bowman today at 1:53 PM in Bad Tölz. The weather was fine, labor was mercifully brief, and my son is beautiful. Our favorite Eiscafe was patronized (two scoops - one raspberry, one lemon. This may be relevant.) It is the 200th anniversary of Wiesn (or Oktoberfest as it is known to non-Münchners) and I was born on the 200th anniversary of the invention of the United States. All these things may be relevant, but like the fact that my son is apparently a Libra* - I'm just happy to be here.

*(Although it bears mentioning that one of my top 20 favorite novels ever was Libra, by Don DeLillo. Worth reading if ONLY for the fact that doing so will make George Will cry.)


#279 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2010, 04:14 PM:

dlbowman76 -- herzlichen Glückwunsch zum neuen Erdenbürger! Sounds like a very auspicious start.

#280 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2010, 04:17 PM:

Apropos Open Threadiness:
A New Zealand company has won funding from Google to develop a pedal-powered monorail. Looks a lot like a hamster habitrail with pods.

#281 ::: dlbowman76 ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2010, 04:24 PM:

Debbie @ 26: Erdenbürger, wielleicht...aber definitely eine Tölzer! (yes, I commit Denglish on a daily basis.)

#282 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2010, 04:29 PM:

dlbowman76 @279:

Hartelijk gefeliciteerd! W00t!

Wonderful news.

#283 ::: dlbowman76 ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2010, 05:01 PM:

Abi @ 283:

That was a rare fine hurrah...I heard it all the way down here! Bad Tölz is a fine place to be bewitched my parents this spring when they came to visit so thoroughly, they've already begun to plan their return trip.

Anecdote which is mildly marvelous or heinously boring. (but not conceivably offensive...merely dull): A couple of weeks ago I was feeling poorly..REALLY poorly, and broke down and told my wife "I've GOTTA see a doctor. Pronto." I haven't been to a doctor in three years, and not since embarking on my European adventure. My lovely wife asks her Frauenartz to recommend a Hausartz and he does so quickly, with the caveat that not only does he not speak English, his Hochdeutsch is not so hot. Best to speak Bayerisch or Frankish (!!!). I head to his office with trepidation. That is instantly dispelled by the spell cast by the coolest doctor's office I've ever been in in my life. The building dates from 1910 (a restoration of a 1750 foundation), narrow mahogany corridors and marble stairs that have worn with centuries of footsteps. The vestibule of the office is festooned with SKULLS. Mostly deer, but also sheep, a horse and what I would swear was a springbok bagged on safari. The doctor comes out. I say the doctor, but more accurately it was an astonishing pair of moustaches with a doctor attached. He pumped my hand vigorously, marched me into his office and gave me one look - mimed an "AAAH!" with his mouth open and thus commenced the strangest examination I've ever had in my life. After looking down my throat and taking my temperature, he gave me an attest (doctor's note) a scrip for antibiotics (rare here!) and ordered me not to set foot in work again for one week otherwise I'D BE HEARING FROM HIM. Again the pumping of hands and I reeled out in a daze.

Total cost to me: 10 Euro.

I can't wait for my physical :-D

#284 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2010, 05:02 PM:

David Harmon @ #271, from a business point of view only, not a moral one, I don't think any aspiring bookseller can or should avoid them. They're still the go-to location for the apolitical casual book buyer. You can't write off a huge chunk of the potential market unless you've got really strong principles.

#285 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2010, 05:16 PM:

#257 ::: David Harmon

[...] I already told the owner to set up a corporate credit card (for most of 40 years, he's been running if off his personal card, but I consider that unwise for the 'Net). So far, my "to do" list includes:

* Paypal account [...]

Paypal lets you sign up for a MasterCard account with them as part of the deal. The big advantage is that when you receive sales you may immediately charge comparable amounts on your card with no waiting period. The guy who set up my web site recommended it highly, and I second it as I pass it along.

#286 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2010, 05:29 PM:

#248 Earl Cooley III

How many pinches are in a dash? I think I've found a technical reference for this

Hah! While I like the idea of the site, I'm afraid I'm a metric baby, and all these references to 1/nths of a teaspoon have just confused the issue even more for me.

Let's see... it's about what you'd put in a bowl of soup, but probably less than what you'd use on a serving of fries.

Oh! Put a dime (US or Cdn) in your hand. Cover the same amount of space with salt in a single layer. That's my 'dash'.

#287 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2010, 05:56 PM:

Additional kitten photos (taken last night with my blackberry) can be found here.

They continue to grow and surprise me. This morning, Momma-cat (AKA "Clementine") did not flee for hiding, and instead moved a few feet away from her kittens -- although they had to detach from her with nearly palpable sucking sounds -- and she then glared at me while I put down the food, played with them and cooed at them, and beat my hasty retreat under her withering stare. Progress! The kittens are ever more mobile, which means more danger for them until I clean out more of the stuff stored in that room. Also, I have to step carefully in there, because they like my feet or my slippers.

#288 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2010, 06:12 PM:

dlbowman76, #279. congratulations!

#289 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2010, 06:28 PM:

dlbowman76 (279): Congratulations!

#290 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2010, 06:55 PM:

dlbowman76: Bright, bright blessings.

#291 ::: Laina ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2010, 07:07 PM:

dlbowman76: Welcome to Stephen David and congratulations to his parents!

#292 ::: dlbowman76 ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2010, 07:12 PM:

My heart is full to bursting with gladness at all of your warmth (which may partially explain why I am emphatically NOT participating in the dialogue on pacifism going on in another thread in these parts...) I thank you all so much. Occasionally, being an expat is a dreadfully lonely business. Visiting the environs of Making Light is an oasis of intelligence, sanity, and delight.

YMMV, of course.

#293 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2010, 07:20 PM:

Congrats, dlbowman76!

#294 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2010, 07:40 PM:

Congratulations, dlbowman76, and thank you for allowing me to post a comment in which I could feel happy for someone. It's been a depressing week, and a little shared joy makes it much better.

#295 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2010, 08:31 PM:

David, mazel tov!

Medical update: Kidney function appears to be hovering around 2-3% and not expected to return, with blood seeping from multiple cysts. My outpatient dialysis schedule is sorted, but I won't be released from hospital until the bleeding is under control, likely Monday or Tuesday. I mostly slept through dialysis today, which isn't surprising considering I got under three hours' sleep last night - this floor of the hospital is incredibly noisy.

Daily visits from my daughter are highly therapeutic.

#296 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2010, 09:33 PM:

dlbowman76, congratulations!

#297 ::: Bombie ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2010, 09:49 PM:

dlbowman76 congratulations to you and the mother!

#298 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2010, 11:08 PM:

Ginger @ 288: I have to step carefully in there, because they like my feet or my slippers.

The old Human Society building in Portland had a "kitten room". When you arrived to select a kitten to adopt, you walked in, they closed the door behind you, and you were on your own. I was wearing sneakers, and the laces were untied in seconds. They also climbed up my pants legs with their claws, and attacked from perches on various climbing toys. It was wonderful.

The excellent new building has much safer and more hygienic arrangements, which I'm sure is a Good Thing.

#299 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2010, 12:06 AM:

dlbowman76 and family: congratulations! Mazel tov!

janetl @299: Oh, yes, the fun of the climbing stage! I had kittens when I was in vet school -- well, my cat did, really, but I digress. The three of them used to climb up my legs at feeding time, and attempt to swing over to the counter and reach the food first. These little ones aren't yet at the climbing stage, although they certainly are starting to explore their world!

#300 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2010, 12:10 AM:

Light was made! We had a very nice dinner with EClaire and Nicole this evening. Pictures will follow once we're home -- the connectivity in our hotel emulates a Hoover.

#301 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2010, 12:25 AM:

David, congratulations! In a dreary week of bad news, this is good news indeed!

Mark, I hope you can get more rest soon.

Speaking of, I had a great evening with Lee, Russ and Nicole, and should really get more rest myself. I've met the Fluorosphere, and it is us!

#302 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2010, 12:41 AM:

I was going to say something like what Lee and EClaire just said, but they went and said it first. So I'll just ditto them point by point.

Also, Primo's on Decatur is as astoundingly good a restaurant as you might ever run the risk of overlooking. A good mix of foods on the menu to please the diverse mix of tastes in our little group, and an excellent (if pricey) selection of cocktails.

#303 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2010, 03:49 AM:


Harlan Ellison talks about what he's up to.

"Right now I'm busy writing the end of the longest story I've ever written, which is me."

#304 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2010, 09:29 AM:

Ginger @ 300... These little ones aren't yet at the climbing stage

Before you know it, they will be at this stage.

#305 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2010, 10:54 AM:

Serge @ 305: They are almost at that stage already! This morning, I had to pull one of the black kittens off one of the brown tabby kittens..everyone was bouncing around attacking things, including my slippers (which I'd stepped out of as soon as Tina the tiny kitten scooted on top). Tigger even had one slipper flipped on its side for a while; both he and Tina also buried their heads within the slipper. Tina's Twin spent some time attacking my fingers, biting and licking them while kicking my hand. They're all so small that they can't do any real damage to me -- yet.

Momma just glared at me until I finally left so she could eat.

#306 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2010, 11:01 AM:

Ginger, thank you for the kitty updates (HyperKitty News Service).

#307 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2010, 11:07 AM:

dlbowman76 @284, enjoy it while it lasts. Our current government seems to be determined to get us closer to the American experience. (And the current opposition seems unlikely to do things much differently.)

#308 ::: dlbowman76 ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2010, 02:11 PM:

Raphael @ 308

Kindly refrain from destroying my illusions for at least a day or two. I'm still on cloud nine. I already have the sneaking suspicion that I've done my children a dreadful injustice by bringing them into this world, but for the time being, I would like to live under the delusion that the future is potentially decent, and that there may in the end be hope for us all.

I'm aware that I'm quite a stupid person by the standards of this community, but I'll thank you for allowing me to enjoy my strange life here (and not feel like the worst father in the world for having dragged my family on this strange, wondrous journey).

So, perhaps the future holds Chancellor Guido Westerwelle. For today, I'm inclined to say that the future is a bit further away, and I'm in a paradise right now. Please, let me enjoy my little paradise for a bit longer before I resume brooding on the horribleness of humanity at large.

(Pretty please?)

#309 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2010, 03:11 PM:

dlbowman76 #309: I'm aware that I'm quite a stupid/talented person by the standards of this community

Fixed that for you....

#310 ::: Bombie ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2010, 03:16 PM:

Earl Cooley III @310

Thanks for that. I try my best not to point out typos, but it kept bothering me as well.

#311 ::: dlbowman76 ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2010, 03:56 PM:

Terribly sorry...I think I'm suffering from bad boss syndrome. Feelings of fundamental inadequacy, paranoia, and a nauseated dread of the coming of the next day. I am MONUMENTALLY thankful that I am protected by the German labour laws (at least for the time being!) I also miss my wife and want her home asap...I get no pleasure from saying to myself "At some point, would you mind doing..."

(You can fill in the blank with the chore of choice.)

#312 ::: Bombie ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2010, 04:08 PM:

dlbowman76 @312

At some point, would you mind doing another little victory dance? Because hey, Stephen David Bowman!

#313 ::: dlbowman76 ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2010, 04:15 PM:

Bombie @ 312

I shall do my best. He is a splendid little fellow, though his sister is MORE than a bit dubious. I suspect that when he comes home to stay (and doesn't leave) then the taxicab of reality will collide with the unwary pedestrian of blithe innocence.

My little Kaiserinchen, your days of solitary rule, I fear, are numbered!

#314 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2010, 04:36 PM:

When my daughter was born, we explained to my son (then nearly 3) that she'd asked us to get him a present (in this case, his first bike) to thank him for being her big brother.

It smoothed things out somewhat at first. It wasn't always easy, but they're now (6 and 9) very close friends.

Bribery...always starts things out on the right note, doesn't it?

#315 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2010, 04:39 PM:

Sorry, dlbowman, that wasn't meant to be that much of a downer.

All the best to the little one, and don't feel guilty for bringing him into the world.

#316 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2010, 04:47 PM:

dlbowman76 @ #309: I already have the sneaking suspicion that I've done my children a dreadful injustice by bringing them into this world

In your defense, as Jerry Holkins wrote on a similar occasion, this was the only world available to you.

#317 ::: dlbowman76 ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2010, 04:50 PM:

Raphael @ 316

Well, you'll understand my slight nervousness as a resident alien in your country. Yes, I am a Facharbeiter, I have a Lohnsteuerkarte and a Meldebescheinegung. I'm following the rules, paying my taxes and learning the lingo. Going along to get along.

But yet. I know I am also an Auslander, I've taken a job that a hypothetical German can do (and yet, after 9 months of looking, they settled on me. The mind does boggle). I don't like the new resurgence of the right...a reaction to "DIE LINKE!!!"

I persist, I live, I endure, We survive. Had I stayed in the US, I would now be laid off and wondering "How do I feed my family now?" (and no, that isn't an exaggeration. my former boss hinted that I should "cast out my nets!" six months before they eliminated my position.) But cast, I did, and found myself upon a strange and delightful shore.

I know I'm in a better situation now than I would have been should I have chosen inertia. I have no regrets.

(Now, if only I could do something about my new boss...)

#318 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2010, 05:19 PM:

dlbowman76: congratulations on the arrival of Stephen David Bowman!

Ginger: Keep the pics coming - I look forward to the ones when they are at the climbing stage.

Mark @ 296: Sympathies.

#319 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2010, 07:41 PM:

Hyperlocal news: Man learns that if you leave natural almond butter in the cupboard for several years, until it separates completely, then pour off the oil and scrape the solids into the trash, the latter will make you say "who took a crap in my trash" every time you open the lid.

#320 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2010, 09:31 PM:

Ginger, #306, when I wore my leather shoes and had them out off the recliner or bed, Spirit and Giorgio used to always slide out on them and hold on to and bite them. Giorgio died a few years ago, and Spirit is mostly afraid to be that far from her bed, but she still does it sometimes.

#321 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2010, 09:34 PM:

Hyperlocal news: Shelob alive and well

Why yes, I have been gardening. They do get big at the end of the summer, don't they?

#322 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2010, 09:56 PM:

Orb-weavers, I hope?
(I've seen some that made their webs sag, this time of year, just from their weight. The muscles in their legs made visible bulges in their exoskeletons. I was impressed.)

#323 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2010, 11:57 PM:

P J Evans @ 323: I have an irrational dislike of spiders (as is common), so I've never made a study of the different kinds. I do recognize Black Widows, and haven't seen any of them lately. I don't usually mind seeing spiders in the garden. I know they are an important part of the ecosystem and their webs are beautiful, blah, blah. I live in Portland, Oregon, where yards are often densely planted, and sidewalks are bordered on both sides with trees and shrubs. This time of year, you're constantly walking into webs. There will be long anchor strands pegged out to span distances greater than 6 feet. The spider usually drops to the ground when something too big to eat breaks the web, but I have had them land on me and scamper about. Oh, joy.

Much as I'm enjoying the tomatoes, basil and peaches, I am seeing an upside in a few good frosts!

#324 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2010, 12:47 AM:

Xopher@320: "if you leave natural almond butter in the cupboard for several years, until it separates completely..."

I haven't tried that, but I've left a nearly-empty tahini jar open in the sink until it smelled like aggravated assault with a vomit cannon. (It didn't take years. It didn't even take weeks.)

Oils go rancid over time. Warmth and free oxygen accelerate the process. When in doubt, secure the area and com for an orbital strike.

#325 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2010, 02:06 AM:

Blech. Andrew, you and Xopher have reminded me to go find the homemade lumpia sauce in the fridge and toss it.

#326 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2010, 02:52 AM:

Well, my latest experiment in food nostalgia was a mild failure. One of the local fast food places had a bacon burger with bleu cheese sauce that I really liked; after a while, they stopped selling it due to regular menu rotation.

I obtained some bleu cheese dipping sauce (meant for chicken wings) from a local pizza chain and used that to decorate a standard bacon burger. I could tell it was there, but the dipping sauce wasn't nearly strong enough in flavor to recapture what I missed from the discontinued bacon and bleu cheese burger. Ah, well, at least I tried.

In other news, I too have a jar of something nasty that used to be low sodium peanut butter, ready for disposal.

#327 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2010, 02:53 AM:

Ugh. I just realized why the pants I'm making for a friend's daughter looked so funny, and why I couldn't get the seams to lay flat, after I'd gotten so far as sewing the elastic casing, making my own bias tape, and hemming them.

I sewed the two front pieces together as one leg, and the two back pieces together as the other.

Her daughter's birthday was in July, and even here in New Orleans, she won't need a summer outfit for too much longer. Should I give up and just give her the top that I made to go with? I'm so frustrated with myself at this point.

#328 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2010, 07:22 AM:

In view of the decision of the Labour Party in Britain to choose Miliband as their leader, I am constrained to wonder if the new Leader of the Opposition is one thousandth of a Macnamara?

#329 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2010, 09:37 AM:


I've done that. It's annoying. Fixable (if you're willing to take the appropriate seams apart and reassemble them the way they were supposed to go) but time consuming and annoying.

Give her the shirt. Explain about the pants. Laugh. If you feel like it, give her the pants for Christmas (assuming they would still fit.) I've lived in Louisiana and one year we played out in the hose on New Year's Day. (Warm front; it was about 80F or so that year. I don't recall if that was the year before or the year after the early january ice storm...)

#330 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2010, 11:10 AM:

I was hoping it wasn't shiny black spiders you were referring to. (Seen those in some fairly large specimens, also.)

Yes, those sound like orb-weavers: your classic roundish web, with support strands of surprising length, built where bugs are going to be flying through (strung between trees is popular).

#331 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2010, 12:18 PM:

Hyperlocal Open Threadness:

We're being picked up this evening and being brought to Toad Hall.

Here is a pdf that describes this historic place on the Eastern Shore.

Love, C.

#332 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2010, 12:23 PM:

P J Evans @ 331: I have seen a good half dozen Black Widow spiders at a time in my garden, when I turned over an old dog house. I walked away, and waited for them to hide themselves somewhere else, before disassembling and throwing out the wood. I was puzzled as to what they were all eating in such close proximity to each other. Judging by the spider webs that I see near each other, spiders can manage with very small territories.

I used to think of the other spiders I see as harmless, until I saw someone get a very painful bite. He sat down in a wicker chair, and there was a spider in the arm of the chair and it bit him on the elbow. It swelled up around the area of the bite, about the same size as the swelling for a mosquito bite, but harder. It hurt like hell for hours, and remained pretty painful for days. The spider that bit him was yellowish in color. We puzzled over pictures online, and concluded that it wasn't a Brown Recluse or Wolf spider.

#333 ::: MinaW ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2010, 02:14 PM:

ddb 205 boysenberry syrup

The way we used to make huckleberry syrup, summers in Northern Idaho, when I was younger:

pack brown sugar into a cup, put in pan

fill cup with huckleberries, pour in water filling interstices, put in pan

bring to boil, serve hot.

I'll bet it works fine for other berries.

#334 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2010, 02:21 PM:

MinaW@334: That does sound like it would produce something very like syrup (and the differences, like a bit more texture, wouldn't bother me at all).

I don't recall ever having seen fresh boysenberries, but for syrup, frozen would probably work pretty well too.


#335 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2010, 02:42 PM:

dlbowman76 irgendwo

Yes, I am a Facharbeiter, I have a Lohnsteuerkarte and a Meldebescheinegung.

You have, I take it, visited the Einwohnermeldeamt and spoken to the Fahrradeinstellungsbeamter.

(Former ex-pat resident of Munich here. Gruess Gott, as they say. Very much agree wih you about the ex-pat experience and ML's role in helping to feel less isolated.)

Possibly of interest to some in these parts

Fragano @ 329

This is, quite frankly, a disaster: the British electorate clearly won't vote for someone whose name sounds like a
unit of measurement . The Labour Party appear to have learnt nothing from their defeats of the 1980s.

#336 ::: MinaW ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2010, 02:49 PM:

re Fleas - in addition to what others said

Years ago, working at a flooring store, I learned that a carpet cleaner (white powder, brush in, wait, vacuum out) had as its main ingredient diatomaceous earth. I had rugs, not carpet, could see the white powder that filtered through and remained under carpet after vacuum, as it would on top of pad. Just like flea eggs filter through.

And I thought, if I leave that, it will scratch the exoskeletons of flea larvae when they hatch and dry them out, they'll die. Worked. I prefer not to live with toxic chemicals when I can avoid it.

Don't breathe it, otherwise harmless. Use garden diatomaceous earth, not pool supply (not sharp).

Also, in cool season, for room abandoned to fleas:
plug in warm night light at baseboard outlet
put shallow pan with soapy water underneath.
Warmth attracts, they drown.
(I believe soap destroys surface tension of water, it rushes into breathing tubules of insects, which otherwise stay dry underwater, they drown.)

#337 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2010, 02:50 PM:

dlbowman76 & praisegod barebones:

Very much agree wih you about the ex-pat experience and ML's role in helping to feel less isolated.

Thirded. This place has been of incalculable assistance to me, too.

#338 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2010, 02:56 PM:

janetl 179:

We've had the grey pancake batter. If you persist and cook them nonetheless, you may end up with - as we did - bright blue pancakes.

If in Turkey eat with pekmez; made thus.

#339 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2010, 03:08 PM:

praisegod barebones #336: That could well be the case. We'll have to see if he owns a donkey jacket.

#340 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2010, 03:11 PM:

Further to 339:

HLN, Adventures in Wikipedia section

Area man discovers preferred pancake syrup implicated in decline of Roman Empire

#341 ::: dlbowman76 ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2010, 03:19 PM:

Fragano @ 340

Um, I hope that wasn't directed at me...I'm relatively sure you're pulling my leg, but you are aware that Donkeyjacke are associated with skinheads...

On the other hand, maybe I should review the timbre of my previous comments on this site...

(ponder, ponder...)

#342 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2010, 03:39 PM:

dlbowman @#342 - the "donkey jacket" referred to the other part of Fragano's post. (Follow the second link in #336, and it will be revealed that it was actually a Duffle Coat.)

On the political front: would the British Electorate vote for someone whose name is a slang word for testicles? This moose certainly would not (but not for that reason).

I have a donkey jacket in the cupboard, but not for any political reasons: it's to keep the donkey warm in the winter.


#343 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2010, 04:07 PM:

Cadbury Moose 341

I'm not sure. But I'm rather disappointed that the candidate you're thinking of didn't campaign on the slogan: 'To beat the Tories, you're going to need Balls.' I'd have been tempted to vote for him if he had. (My mother voted for him even though he didn't.)

#344 ::: Bombie ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2010, 04:08 PM:

O/T: Lovely interview with Terry Pratchett on Radio NZ.

#345 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2010, 04:18 PM:

praisegod barebones #344/Cadbury Moose #341: In the New Statesman in 1964, I believe, there was published a poem called "I shall vote Labour" which included the lines "I shall vote Labour because God votes Labour" and "I shall vote Labour because if you don't vote Labour your balls drop off".

Had Ed Balls been chosen as Labour leader, I was expecting the Tories to start referring to Labour as "a load of Balls", and to seeing interesting headlines in the Sun and the Daily Fail.

dlbowman76 #342: I see that the reference has been made!

#346 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2010, 05:26 PM:

More kitten pictures on my blog, taken this afternoon with all ten kittens and their prospective adopters. Now all but one kitten have a confirmed adopter. The one remaining kitten will be either Spot or one of the two little tabbies.

The big ones are very playful and bouncy; the little ones are starting to get into that kind of behavior. Four of them were bouncing this morning, while Mom waited impatiently for me to leave, and then snuck around behind me to eat while I was having fun. I ended up touching her tail, and lived to tell the tale.

#347 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2010, 06:04 PM:

Why are Teresa's two recent threads now closed?

#348 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2010, 06:54 PM:

#348 -- that's what I came here to ask.

#349 ::: Rymenhild ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2010, 07:37 PM:

I imagine they're (highly entertaining) Particles that have wandered onto the front page instead of the page margins.

#350 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2010, 07:40 PM:

Rymenhild (350): That's what I figured. It's happened at least once before, but that thread stayed open.

#351 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2010, 09:39 PM:

Re the search strings Google doesn't like:
So that's why I was having trouble finding websites with teen tentacle teabagging threesomes.

#352 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2010, 11:03 PM:

#347 Ginger

Beyond aDoraBle!

Love, C.

#353 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2010, 11:11 PM:

For those like me who don't even know the meaning of some of the search strings that Google doesn't like, Urban Dictionary may be helpful.

#354 ::: Carrie V. ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2010, 11:29 PM:

I just wanted to pop in and say the "On moving to Bolivia" particle completely rocked my world. Thank you, Teresa, for posting.

#355 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2010, 12:23 AM:

Any NYC area folks make it to the Maker Faire?

My sister had a blast, from what I've heard, but I've yet to see pictures from regular attendees.

#356 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2010, 12:35 AM:

#348, #349: You can only access the comment threads for those posts if you're a due-paying member of Making Light Premium.

#357 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2010, 12:38 AM:

Hyperlocal News: Too-Warm Apartment No Impediment To Baking, Says Area Man

My apartment has been on the warm side all day today - which I am not fond of - and yet I still went ahead and made a batch of almond-anise biscotti. I figure, I (and the other members of my cohort) have a statistics midterm tomorrow afternoon. Cookies in the morning might make the day better.

Oh, and I have to run a review in less than 12 hours for one of the discussion sections I teach - the class has their first midterm on Tuesday afternoon. I helped write it last Thursday - and while it is not easy, the other GSIs, the professor and myself all believe that it is both simple and fair. If they know the material, they should have no problems - if they do not, if they have been slacking off on readings, if they have not been coming to lecture, they are in for a shock. Easy examinations serve no true purpose - for that matter, neither do painful and difficult ones.

#358 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2010, 12:54 AM:

I do not know why those threads are closed; I will query when the New Yorkers wake up.

#359 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2010, 01:36 AM:

Patrick, who I trust was emailing me in his sleep rather than awake at the hour he sent the message, informs me that those two threads are wandering particles. They're closed so that we comment on them here, but he didn't want to lose the comments already there.

#360 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2010, 01:58 AM:

PJ Evans #331:

Did you say orb-weaver spiders?

We encountered Golden Orb Weaver spiders in Sydney a couple of years ago. They are beautiful but nearly walking into a communal web (we thought it was a clear path between trees) was a rather startling experience. We found out later that we'd been walking in the bush during orb weaver mating season.

The big spider in the first picture is a female (spans just over 10cm if you include the legs, not quite as big as my hand), and there is a small male at the top of the image.

#361 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2010, 02:11 AM:

Stefan Jones @356, my office mate from here in the San Francisco area was at NYC Maker Faire (exhibiting stuff there, and also visiting folks in various Points East.) When he and I are both back in town I may get to hear highlights.

Benjamin Wolfe @358, the National Weather Service issued a severe weather warning for the Bay Area for this weekend. Apparently, now that it's officially fall, we were supposed to finally get the summer weather we didn't get all summer.

#362 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2010, 02:55 AM:

Benjamin Wolfe: That's a locution I've never understood, "first midterm".

It's used in my present school too, and it baffles me. I've always been in classes which have "tests", a larger test, about the mid-point, and a final.

So "first mid-term/second mid-term" seem strange.

Since, so far as I can tell, what they really are is tests, not any more important than any other test.

#363 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2010, 02:57 AM:

I've seen orb-wavers in Korea. I thought, at the time, it was adults and juveniles. Huge clusters of webs, and large insects in them (cicadas, dragonflies).

#364 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2010, 05:17 AM:

abi @ 360: So now I have the distinction of being the First AND ONLY commentator on the "Search strings Google doesn’t like" mini-thread.

Allan Beatty @ 354: I'm so glad I'm not the only ignoramus/innocent here!

#365 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2010, 11:52 AM:

"On moving to Bolivia" immediately called up the line from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,

Kid, the next time I say, "Let's go someplace like Bolivia," let's GO someplace like Bolivia.

(Also, "That's what happens when you live 10 years alone in Bolivia: you get colorful... ")

#366 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2010, 01:15 PM:

I agree that the nomenclature is odd - I usually refer to them as exams, but midterm 1 / midterm 2 / final exam is very common, if odd. In the case of the class I teach for, they are all weighted equally, and add up to 80% or so of the grade for the course.

#368 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2010, 03:32 PM:

Terry @ 363, Benjamin @ 367: I am reminded of the SF story in which a humanoid alien had an uneven number of fingers (five on one hand, six on the other); one of her interesting points was that "half" did not mean "equal" in her universe. In this case, "mid-term" does not mean "during the halfway point of the term", but instead is an exam given during the term and is more important than a "quiz".

#369 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2010, 04:12 PM:

praisegod barebones @ 368: I love it! And oh so true. I -hate- it when they don't give enough information for the reader to identify the original paper.

And the comments thread is witty.

There was something else like this, more generic, linked to recently from ML as I recall - sorry, used my Google-fu up for this evening in finding out, for a colleague*, that NRC's "Nutrient Requirements of Mink and Foxes" is available online.

* Although I could do with referencing it as well, so that's good.

#370 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2010, 04:17 PM:

abi@360, dcb@365 — In case you didn't notice, Patrick has re-enabled the comments on the wandering Particles, since they had already attracted comments.

#371 ::: dlbowman76 ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2010, 05:32 PM:

This is probably a bit gnomic...but...HELP!

(Trapped in a vortex of professional hell during what is meant to be the happiest time of my life. I hate, hate, HATE this. Fluorospherians...HELP, HELP, HELP!!!)

(envisage a giant unshaven very unhappy face. That's plastered on my mug.)

Huge apologies for stinking up the place.

#372 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2010, 05:52 PM:

Hyperlocal News: New job-assignment system gets long-stalled junkyard-clearance project back on track.

HOBOKEN, NJ, UPHL. This tiny apartment has been piled high with junk for years and years, and the mess has prevented its resident from inviting anyone over, or even going to and fro in it freely himself. But a new system may just be starting the ball rolling again.

"I just made a job jar," the resident told this reporter. "Every day I pick something out of it and work on it for an hour. I set a timer and stop when it goes off. It's still a mess, but progress is being made!" We were able to observe that much more of the general supply of kitchen stuff was in cupboards; that the cupboards are much neater; and that the giant heap of cardboard boxes which formerly dominated the living room has been reduced to a neatly-folded stack.

The creator of the system is quite aware that it's not ideal. "Simply working on cleaning up the apartment until it's done would be better," he admitted. "The trouble was, there was so much to do that even deciding where to start was paralyzing. With the job jar, that choice is randomized, so the resident doesn't get caught in decision paralysis before any work can get done."

If the current rate of progress continues, management estimates the apartment will be ready for human occupancy sometime in late 2013.

#373 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2010, 06:50 PM:

Ginger @170: I love the kitties, but I was entranced by the fishie toy.

#374 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2010, 07:02 PM:

dlbowman76... Sorry to hear. I've had moments (or was that months?) when I felt the same way.

#375 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2010, 07:11 PM:

Xopher @ #347, "management estimates the apartment will be ready for human occupancy"

Er, not to be rude, but what inhabits the space now, then?

#376 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2010, 07:22 PM:

Linkmeister 376: I do, of course. But that doesn't mean it's ready.

#377 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2010, 07:31 PM:

My attention was drawn to the word "human" in the phrase I quoted. ;)

#378 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2010, 07:38 PM:

Humans can't live in all the places we Xophers can. No human would voluntarily live in a place like the one I've built for myself.

No month-old pizza boxes, I'll say that.

#379 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2010, 07:50 PM:

Apropos of nothing, other than a general interest in such things:

A friend recently asked me to fetch his Kindle from his desk for him. I gladly obliged, and on picking it up noticed that its display featured a picture of Emily Dickinson, complete with instructions at the bottom: "slide and release the power switch to wake".

I didn't dare test the assertion. I don't have the equipment required to fend off the poetic zombie apocalypse.

#380 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2010, 07:53 PM:

Xopher @373 The creator of the system is quite aware that it's not ideal.

It's working. An adequate working system always, always beats a hypothetical ideal system.

I will suggest, from my own efforts in this line, that improvement is often sufficiently rewarding to encourage more effort. It's getting started that's the problem.

Relevant to the inertia subthread in the Dysfunctional Families thread, too.

#381 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2010, 07:55 PM:

praisegod barebones @368, thanks for that. It earned me a minor attagirl from my boss; I passed the link on to him and he in turn passed it on to a number of others. We are all amused.

#382 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2010, 07:58 PM:

The article linked in 368 is very nice, but not a patch on this thread here.

#383 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2010, 08:13 PM:

Jacque @ 374: Oh, yes, the widget! Or gadget, or whatever that thing is called. Yes, when I created the blog, I decided to have a little fun.

The kittens are ever more entranced by my leather slippers. Tonight four of them hopped onto my foot while I was dishing out food for momma. Extracting them from behind me was interesting.

#384 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2010, 08:21 PM:

dlbowman76 @372 Wishing you rapid and positive resolution of the vortex of professional hell.

And ... happiest time in your life? It's a great time, but there will be lots of other great ones too. I advise not putting too much pressure on the moment, in order that it may return the favor and not put too much pressure on you.

#385 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2010, 08:22 PM:

The spider subthread has indirectly caused this. Now I have no idea what to do with them :|

#386 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2010, 09:53 PM:

How I know I am a graduate student, part n of N*

Statistics midterm, followed by inhaling a pitcher of margaritas with a fellow student in the company of about half my cohort. Productivity fail.

*Sorry, statistics on the brain.

#387 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2010, 10:16 PM:

Soon Lee, the one I'm thinking of is Neoscona oaxacensis (Western spotted orb weaver), in which a mature female can have a body an inch long. At least. Not as big as yours, and they don't build communal webs, but in the fall there are a lot more of them that most people would expect. Fortunately they don't usually build big webs low enough to walk into; all the big ones I've seen were at least 6 feet above ground level.

#388 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2010, 10:18 PM:

Hyperlocal news update: Local celtic drummer home after week in hospital and Japanese dinner with parents.

"I had to pace myself with the tea," he said late Monday night. "That'll be an adjustment, having to watch fluid intake means drinking less tea. Kind of a drag, that," he added.

The resident fluffball cat commented extensively on the local man's return, saying he was pleased that the food bowl was no longer empty and he could get head rubs.

#389 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2010, 10:32 PM:

Benjamin, 387: As one who has been there, I tell you three times that it's necessary to keep some kind of non-productive activity, or you will go bonkers and stare at walls instead of working.

#390 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2010, 10:33 PM:

Julie L @386 Pretty!

This is making me think of two things. One is that you should go ahead and do the rest of the cast of "There Was an Old Lady..."

And the fact that these are very pretty, but some people don't like spiders, reminds me of a family story. My grandmother, in general a very polite and level-headed woman, had a thing about rodents. My uncle became serious about a woman he was dating, and brought her home to meet his mother. She brought a small gift. Knowing that my grandmother liked to read, as did she, the date selected a bookmark. It was by all accounts very cute, but unfortunately, it was in the shape of a jeweled mouse with a long ribbon tail that went between the pages. My grandmother opened the box, screamed, and tossed box and all up into the air. Fortunately, all those involved had lively senses of humor, and my uncle has been married to the woman for more than 40 years at this point.

#391 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2010, 10:48 PM:

Regarding spiders.

I came back from a holiday a last year to find my car wouldn't start. I went to the apartment office, and the person at the desk said he'd help me. He brought his car over, I popped my hood up, and as he was going to connect the jumper cables he said, with an enthusiastic smile, "Oooh, you have a black widow in here."

This, of course, thrilled me no end. I don't have any particular aversion to spiders, but I don't really want bitey things living in my car, thank you very much.

As he leant in to brush it away (with the jumper cable, I hasten to add, not his bare hand), he paused, then said with boyish glee, "You have two: a male and a female!"

After we got my car started, I thanked him and drove to the store. I bought groceries and a can of bug spray, and, once I returned home, emptied half the can under the hood of my car.

#392 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2010, 10:55 PM:

Best thing I know about shiny black spiders: they aren't immune to being squashed. (Knock them down with bug spray, then squash them. I usually admire them before spraying them, because they really are pretty.)

#393 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2010, 11:23 PM:

Oh, believe me, I have plenty of nonproductive activities. Including a reading habit that Will Not Be Denied (which necessitated the purchase of a respectably large and heavy Ikea bookshelf weekend before last).

In fact, I just got a dead-tree copy of The Fuller Memorandum, which has been mostly reread already.

The reading, the baking/cooking habit, the making of tasty infusions, the photography... I have a few hobbies outside of being a diligent vision scientist.

#394 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2010, 11:27 PM:

Xopher, #373: there was so much to do that even deciding where to start was paralyzing

This is the canonical description of what I call the Shipwrecked Sailor problem, after a poem by A.A. Milne which doesn't seem to be online anywhere. You have so many high-priority items all at once that you can't even prioritize them.

It's an order of magnitude worse than the Sliding-Puzzle problem, which can frequently be described as yak-shaving -- you have to do X, but first you have to do Y, and before you can do that you have to do Z...

Julie, #386: I've seen lots of beadwork spiders, but that fly is ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT. Any chance you'd take a commission for a pair of earrings?

Also, OtterB @391 has an equally brilliant idea. A necklace with all the characters dangling off it would be SO cool.

#395 ::: Rymenhild ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2010, 11:37 PM:

I am presently living with the month-old pizza boxes and piles of laundry, and as soon as this dissertation chapter is done, I am going to implement Xopher's job jar. Brilliant. Thanks for sharing the system!

#396 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2010, 11:47 PM:

Another system I've found very useful for decluttering is the "10 Things" model. Pick a location at random and process 10 things in it; then you can go do something else for a while. "Process" can mean filing it away properly, or moving it to the room where it really belongs, or putting it in the laundry, or throwing it in the trash/Goodwill box* or whatever -- the point is to get 10 things that don't belong in that location out of it. Do half a dozen iterations of this, and the effects start being surprisingly noticeable.

* Oh yeah, that's another major help -- having a collection point for things that you don't want which are still good enough to be useful to someone else. Put a bag or box there, and haul it off to Goodwill whenever it gets full.

#397 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2010, 12:46 AM:

Local news: diatomaceous earth feels like flour only less dense (have not compared directly). Also difficult *not* to breathe. I am definitely overapplying the stuff, but I don't want to vacuum the couch again.

Total number of fleas seen: six. One might still be living in the bathroom.

But I'm less itchy than I was. I'm not getting as many new bites.

#398 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2010, 12:52 AM:

This is good. This is very good.

Fleas are little bundles of suck and fail. Hard to kill bundles at that. Dispatch them all, and may they trouble you and your felines no more!

#399 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2010, 02:41 AM:

Lee #395: yak-shaving

There's a thesis project in there somewhere: yak-shaving and cat-vacuuming, compare and contrast. heh.

#400 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2010, 04:09 AM:

Yak shaving. Perfect. I used to call this the frustration cascade, but "yak shaving" is so much better.

When you have a family of five plus a cat packed into the size of house that they used to heat with oil stoves, you have to do a lot of yak shaving just to (for example) move a computer across a room. It's easy. First, put away the outgrown baby clothes that are bagged and sitting where you want the computer to be. To do this, make room in the storage totes by removing the next size up of baby clothes. To get into the storage closet, you must first move the exercise bike. In order to move the exercise bike, you must put away the baskets of laundry all over it. To do this, you must figure out how to get all three children happily occupied and out of your hair simultaneously. You will only have 20 to 40 minutes of this at a time, so you must work extremely rapidly so that (a) the clothes are in fact put away, not sorted into piles on the largest work surfaces, which happen to be the grown-ups' bed and the meal/schoolwork/play table, at times when those work areas are needed for other things, and (b) you actually manage to put away laundry faster than it is being generated. Also, you must sort and bag the outgrown clothes by age so that you will be storing actual usable sets of clothing and not heaps that will make you cry when you try to disentangle them for the next baby and/or giveaways. You will also have to add the time needed to reconnect the computer to the house network and connect it to its new peripherals to the after-work schedule, understanding that you will have to watch the kids while your husband swears at the computer, instead of going to your part-time jobs or shopping for groceries or doing laundry, because when he is home they all want to be on top of him. And be aware that you won't be able to just pack them into the car and leave because the ONE cable that isn't in his drawer of a thousand cables will be the exact thing he needs for this project, and the store that sells it isn't within walking distance.

Simple. Ready? Begin!

#401 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2010, 08:51 AM:

I always called the emotional challenges that get between one and one's necessary yak-shaving "the peril-tinted sunglasses," because the more upsetting the mess was (and the more of a failure its sheer existence made me feel), the less able I became to see its tackle-able details. It just became a looming shambling pile of Fail, glowering at me.

#402 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2010, 10:48 AM:

Thanks to all for the good wishes. I'm back at home now -- in some pain, quite tired, quite wobbly on my feet. I'm able to walk slowly with a walker, *very* slowly without (and it's much safer for me to have something available to provide a bit of balance/support). The limiting factor for me being able to leave the hospital was being able to manage stairs with a handrail; the surgery itself went pretty well. I'll post more later -- I've got a lot of catching up to do, and limited energy for sitting at a computer.

Thanks also to beable for posting updates for me.

#403 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2010, 11:03 AM:

Hooray for successful surgery, and blessings and good thoughts for the right kind of recovery: speedy and complete. (Sometimes there's a dynamic between those.)

#404 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2010, 11:36 AM:

Earl, #400: IMO they're descriptions of two very different things. Yak-shaving is the stuff you have to get out of the way in order to get to the thing you're trying to do. Cat-vacuuming is the stuff you do in order to put off something else that you really should be doing instead. The former is annoying; the latter is seductive.

Jenny, #401: The origin of the phrase "yak-shaving". Your illustration was also excellent.

#405 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2010, 11:57 AM:

Lee @405, etymology then: a survey of human/animal interactions that are encumbered with unexpected layers of meaning.

#406 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2010, 12:32 PM:

Joel Polowin #403: Hope your recovery is swift and easy.

#407 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2010, 12:37 PM:

There's a reason my to-do list often includes things like 'clip nails*'. I need something to cross off, something I can do and then open the notebook with the list and be reminded of other very small things I can do. Then, when I'm done doing all sorts of very small things, I still feel busy, so I find something big to do.

*clipping nails is a good example: it's small, it's necessary, and eventually I have to do it because otherwise my nails drive me crazy because I can't type.

#408 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2010, 12:42 PM:

Diatryma: but do you add things to the list (things that weren't originally on the list) after you've done them, just to increase the number of crossed-off items?

#409 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2010, 01:05 PM:

Diatryma @ 408... clip nails

Doing carpentry these days?

#410 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2010, 01:10 PM:

This should in no way be taken as a criticism, but it is because of abi on cheese that I sucumbed to the "1000 Days Cheese", helpfully subtitled "Aged Holland Gouda" at the store last night.

It's old enough that it is not so much sliced as provoked into fragments by a knife, and is mighty fine with a McIntosh apple alongside. The apple slices are particularly helpful in rounding up the stray cheese crumbs that scatter like electrons knocked loose from their atoms whenever the cheese is broken.

If there was the equivalent of the Rheinheitsgebot for cheese, this one might just meet the requirements; the ingredients list consists of cultured pasteurized milk, salt, rennet, and annato.


#411 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2010, 01:24 PM:

Not really on-topic for the thread that brought it to mind:

There's an old story about a mendicant order and a monastic order who joined forces to provide a meal for the local people, with each of the brothers contributing according to his abilities.

After the meal was done, one person approached the organiser to ask who he ought to thank for the delicious fish and chips he'd just eaten.

"Well, let me think," said the organiser. "Brother Herbert was the fish friar -- and Brother Dale was the chip monk."

#412 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2010, 01:28 PM:

I have found out where to buy both Manchego and stroopwafels in my tiny little town. This is a good day.

#413 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2010, 01:28 PM:

Lee at #395:

On somebody's blog, I found the Milne poem to which you refer, "The Old Sailor," which is collected in Now We Are Six.

#414 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2010, 02:15 PM:

I am the prime citation of the Shipwrecked Sailor paradox,
I've information coconutish, bonoboid, and sandyplex,
I eat the crabs of low tide, and I quote the doctrines mystical
From Qabbalah to Gnostic, with analysis sycretical;
I'm very well acquainted, too, with matters hypothetical,
I gnaw at faulty logic, both the propter and sophistical,
About tu quoque arguements I'm teeming with a lot o' views,
With many woeful facts about my ill-fated three-hour cruise.

#415 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2010, 02:53 PM:

ddb @238: Geeks are totally bowled over by a group that values people primarily for their brains?

::falls over laughing:: Perfect. Freakin' perfect.

#416 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2010, 03:48 PM:

Mark @ 389: Glad to hear you're home. Sympathies for having to limit tea intake - I go through at least eight mugs a day (variously black, green, herbal and Roobos). And good that the cat has proper headrubs again.

Joel Polowin @ 403: Good to hear you're home and mobile, if not fully so.

Xopher @,: "Job Jar"; Lee @ 397: "10 Things" : I may try these.

"so many high-priority items all at once that you can't even prioritize them." is about where my job is at the moment.

Regarding house-sorting I keep thinking that if we could create a definite place for each "thing" to live, it would be a start - then when something had been used it would have a definite place to go back to. I was also thinking of one box per floor into which to put things that needed to go back to their homes, plus a small container, ditto, for little things so they didn't end up just being placed on the nearest surface (usually, the front of a book shelf) out of cat-reach.

#417 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2010, 03:54 PM:

Lila, I add done things to the list if I think they should have been on there. Or if they're part of an existing item.

Actually, time for crossing things out. Go me!

#418 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2010, 03:59 PM:

Pondering further...I guess the thing with Zombies that leaves me flat is that there's no transcendance with them. You turn into a zombie, and then you rampage until you're killed. For Our Hero, you run from or kill zombies until they're all gone, or you're killed.

Like, what's the point? Lots of jeopardy and adrenaline, sure. But where's the story?

#419 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2010, 04:05 PM:

Perfect for this crowd: Chocolate Truffles with a surprising all natural ingredient.

#420 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2010, 04:10 PM:

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little @269: I have been self-conscious about my own conversation skills this entire con thus far, and this with a friend I've known for at least three or four years (though I haven't seen him for about two) so I suppose - as abi hints - it's a universal thing.

Well, if it's any help, I find your RL conversation skills to be entirely satisfactory and enjoyable.

#421 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2010, 04:17 PM:

Nicole @ 269... Jacque @ 421... In the physical world, I'm most likely to say very little, due to differences in the dynamics of conversations.

#422 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2010, 04:58 PM:

In light of the Sidelight that Xmarks is closing down in 90 days, let me point out that is set to close down at any moment, and that the RSS reader Bloglines will close on November 1.

#423 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2010, 05:08 PM:


It's a good thing I wasn't drinking or Earl would owe me a new laptop.

#424 ::: Mike McHugh ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2010, 05:30 PM:

Jacque @ 419: when you put it like, and given a few recent threads around here, I think you could make the argument that it's all about a search for a new narrative. The existence of an afterlife of one kind or another has been part of the general social narrative for, I guess, Quite A While. If you remove that from the equation, there might be a bit of floundering around trying to recast/recapture purpose and meaning. Until that's found, you might view life as a sequence of events, some with adrenaline, but lacking some narrativium.

dlbowman76 @ 372: I sympathise. I'm in almost exactly the same position, except I wangled a solution: after the handover today the project* became Somebody Else's Problem for the duration of my paternity leave.

*: you know it's a bad sign when you start thinking of that line from 1984, with the boot and the human face and the forever, and see it less as a warning and more as a description of process workflow.

#425 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2010, 05:40 PM:

Re. the particle "Tuna salad vs. salad salad: contrastive reduplication in English." Of course, having read this, I spotted myself using it today: "they [laundry items] need to be hung up to dry fully; they're not wet wet, but..."

And from my husband, the importance of proper use of capitalization: it makes the difference between helping your Uncle Jack off a horse...

#426 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2010, 05:43 PM:

Thena #424: @415 It's a good thing I wasn't drinking or Earl would owe me a new laptop.

I would say "my work here is done", but it never is, really. heh.

#427 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2010, 05:55 PM:

Bill, #414: THANK YOU! I now have it bookmarked, so that hopefully I won't lose it again. I do have a copy of the book, but didn't feel like typing it all in.

Jacque, #421: Seconded!

#428 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2010, 06:07 PM:

The tricky thing is, when you're trying to avoid waxing the car, it's damned easy to convince yourself that your cat vaccuuming is really yak shaving.

#429 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2010, 06:16 PM:

Segway company owner dies is apparent Segway Accident. Apparently he (and his Segway) fell into a river.

Other stuff: I've made several accounts at various sites for the bookstore, and picked out various small items for my initial EBay auctions. A couple of them are Star-Trek related, so I'll probably post links to the auctions here (unless a mod objects).

#430 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2010, 06:28 PM:

Does the Shipwrecked Sailor shave himself?

#431 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2010, 06:33 PM:

Did we not ever have an actual explanation for the thread header, or did one go by and I missed it?

#432 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2010, 06:39 PM:

David Goldfarb@432: #4's links explains it, I think.

#434 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2010, 06:42 PM:

"they [laundry items] need to be hung up to dry fully; they're not wet wet, but..."

When we walked the Routeburn Track we had rain every day, though one of the Rangers informed that it was actually "moist rain", not "rain rain"...

#436 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2010, 07:13 PM:

Earl Cooley III @ 427:

So many keyboards, so little time.

#437 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2010, 07:44 PM:

KeithS, #392, every year I get a wasp nest behind the mirror on the left side of the van. We're not afraid of each other, so it's not a big deal.

#438 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2010, 08:16 PM:

Earl at #415: That's wonderful!

In honor of International Pedants’ Day, you misspelled syncretical.

#439 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2010, 09:04 PM:

Jacque @419 said: Pondering further...I guess the thing with Zombies that leaves me flat is that there's no transcendance with them. You turn into a zombie, and then you rampage until you're killed. For Our Hero, you run from or kill zombies until they're all gone, or you're killed. Like, what's the point? Lots of jeopardy and adrenaline, sure. But where's the story?

Um. To be rather cryptic, I'd like to offer Exhibit A: Mira Grant's novel _Feed_.

At slightly more length and endeavoring to avoid spoilers, the zombies aren't the STORY, they're the SETTING. Or can be. Just as the JFK/Oswald/Ruby/Warren Commission sequence isn't, in fact, a story about shotguns and ballistics -- but you couldn't have it without them.

Note: Mira Grant is the same person as this year's CampBell award-winner, Seanan McGuire, only under a pseudonym because I'm guessing her 'political and media ethics series with zombies in' publisher didn't want confusion for readers of her pre-existing 'dark urban fantasy with faerie magic' series under her own name elsewhere.

#440 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2010, 09:06 PM:

Earl @415, applause.

And thanks for the original mention from Lee and the link from Bill Higgins of the Old Sailor poem. I'm not sure I'd ever read it.

And David Goldfarb, thanks for inquiring as to the thread header. I'd wondered too.

#441 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2010, 10:31 PM:

ddb and Soon Lee: Thanks for the explanations. Comment #4 didn't make it clear that his links were related to the header, and quite often I'm skimming through and don't have time to follow YouTube links.

#442 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2010, 11:33 PM:

Allan Beatty #439: In honor of International Pedants’ Day, you misspelled syncretical.

Arrghh! I hate it when that happens. Ah, well, I'll fix it if I ever get around to archiving my poems on one of my websites.

#443 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2010, 11:36 PM:

A puzzle for those who like puzzles:

A project at work is code-named "Trout." I've come up with the perfect code name for a related project. What is it?

#444 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2010, 11:48 PM:

Tim Walters @ 444: Dam! That's fishy...

#445 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2010, 11:49 PM:

Tim Walters @444: Kilgore?

#446 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2010, 11:56 PM:

Tim Walters @444 talked about computer code-names, and themes thereunto appertaining.

When we were lowly undergrads, our college got a new server that was going to be the main one most student email accounts were hosted on. They announced a 'name the server' contest. He-who-is-now-my-spouse and I each submitted multiple times (as was encouraged). He ended up winning.

He suggested 'Icarus' because, um, it was a Sun box, and we both anticipated it going down a LOT. The school proudly announced that the winning name was an absurdly pompous-sounding acronym whose contents I forget, except that the last word was 'students'.

Because of Icarus, there are now a crapton of Greek mythology servers all over the basement-full-of-servers where my spouse in fact now works; a year or two after he transferred into that division, his co-workers were amused and startled to discover that he was the undergrad who won the naming contest, back when. They'd thought it was a stupid corporatespeak choice by admin ... not that they were wrong.

He was just shocked that they let him institutionalize a disparaging joke. It's rather like Boy's Life magazine not noticing the dirty structural pun running all through Heinlein's _The Star Beast_: dramatic irony, sort of.

#447 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 12:05 AM:

Tim Walters @ 444... "Another Fin Mess"?

#448 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 12:07 AM:

Elliott Mason @ 447... One of our servers is called 'Annakin'.

#449 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 12:40 AM:

Tim Walters @444:

Well, I'd go for "The Horse", but I'm sure others have more likely suggestions.

#450 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 01:03 AM:

Lee @405, you have to go a bit farther back than that to find the actual origin of "yak shaving".

#452 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 01:42 AM:

Hm. Harder than I thought. Here's a hint: it's another fish. And when you get it, you'll be pretty sure you're right.

#453 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 02:25 AM:

OtterB @391: go ahead and do the rest of the cast of "There Was an Old Lady..."

Oh dear. Not if I have to preserve the "actual size" paradigm-- though come to think of it, the spider is already awfully large by normal standards.

Lee @395, wrt earrings: *meep* The fly's underside looks dreadfully boring, but I may be able to prevent it from rotating-- sadly, my attempts today to devise teeny tiny segmented legs (or at least reasonable simulacra from a distance) have all failed. Email at wombatMCXXXVIII at yahoo dot com, after converting from Roman numerals to Arabic.

WRT the "moving to Bolivia" particle-- I could swear I read a similar essay with the same detailed metaphor (though perhaps not the specific country name) some years ago, but for the life of me I can't figure out when/where.

#454 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 02:40 AM:

wrt Bolivian particulate deja vu: Aha, it must've been this essay I was remembering.

#455 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 07:17 AM:

For the dinosaurs and sodomy theme.

The link that I followed to this said "Alien charged in dinosaur attack," but the story doesn't quite live up to that, alas.

#456 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 09:24 AM:

Our family counts a new member since yesterday. His name is Rocky.

#457 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 09:31 AM:

Additional (and professional) photos of kittens here. I am the person in the orange/yellow (tangerine? tiger lily?) shirt and black jeans; in at least one photo you can also see my socks (white..); my son is the person in the green and white striped shirt.

The little ones have suddenly become active and playful, with two of them getting into a nice little fight last night. I will see if I can get video because they are even more adorable in motion.

#458 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 09:41 AM:

David Goldfarb@442: Frequently I don't follow up YouTube links myself. Sorry if my message carried overtones of "you should have known"; the "I think" was intended to indicate that I'd had to infer that those links included the explanation, and hence that it wasn't completely "obvious".

#459 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 09:41 AM:

Tim Walters @453: The obvious answer (to me) is "salmon."

Serge @456: May Rocky and his new family enjoy each other's company for many years to come.

Ginger @457: They really are tiny still. How old are they now?

#460 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 09:46 AM:

dcb @ 459: They are variably sized -- the larger four (who are in the photo sets) are close to two pounds now, but the little guys -- as you can see -- are not quite up to a pound. They are about 6-7 weeks old now.

I had dewormed them for the first time last week, and they are suddenly much more active and possibly even slightly bigger than they were on Saturday (when the photos were taken). Growth spurts may be occurring!

#461 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 09:53 AM:

dcb @ 459... Thanks. So far, Rocky has made it clear to dogs that he's not a toy. He wants to be with our other cats, but Agatha growls at him when he does, and usually mellow Jefferson throws hissy fits. He's friendly with the family's humans though.

#462 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 10:19 AM:

(Echoing dcb @ 459) I'd think "salmon" too.

#463 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 10:30 AM:

Now that is a nice way to wake up: huge piles of kitten pictures! So cute...

The vision science part of me is trying to figure out why little kittens always look a bit odd to be (very cute, but somehow different): either I expect all cats to be on the same scale as mine, or the tiny kitten claws and general scale differences throw me off slightly. Regardless, they are exceedingly cute and now I need to go and play with my cat.

#464 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 10:31 AM:


Gods they are so freakin' cute!

I want, I Want, I WANT kitteh for this house!

I can't haz, and it makes me mad.

Love, C.

#465 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 10:47 AM:

The answer is "Sturgeon"--the theme being fish that are SF writers (and of course "Kilgore Trout" is a parody of "Theodore Sturgeon").

#466 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 10:47 AM:


Kittenses! *snug* Awww, I love all of them! (Don't tell the others, but I think my favorite is the little black one.)

In return, may I offer more photos of my parents' kittens? If you click "Next" you will see a calico who is nearly the opposite of yours.

#467 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 11:32 AM:

This would be de-railing over on Dysfunctional Family Day, and perhaps seen as misappropriating the position of the person who originally posted the bit I'm about to quote. I'm carefully avoiding a blatant link. But it sparked a thought in me that I want to kick out and see reactions to. I want to acknowledge that it was sparked by the post I'm going to quote a line from, without in any way forcing an association on the person who wrote that post (who is anonymous to me).

not seeing every bit of "helping" as something I must do in order to pay my rent on the planet for one more day.

I'm a big fan of the idea that one should pay one's rent on the planet. (Heinlein, as much as anybody.) I'm not surprised that what I see as a good thing can be taken, twisted, perverted, and used against people; that's true of anything, including all good things.

I feel like the world needs MORE people to think of things as their duty, and take that duty seriously; it's enlightening to have the concept enter my brain that what some people really need is to escape the feeling that far too much is their duty. (There's no reason these can't both be true at once; they don't conflict, they just look like they're pointing different directions. And nobody, certainly not the original poster, has suggested people don't have duties.)

Having had pointed out to me one way the concept can be used against people, I find myself wondering -- is this one of the reasons one cohort of people find the anti-altruism thread in Ayn Rand so attractive? Were they, perhaps, manipulated or abused based on their feelings of duty to others or the world, and that gives them some permission to escape?

Anyway -- I think I understand a bit more than I did before. That's always useful.

#468 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 12:17 PM:

Constance @ 465: If I recall correctly, you're almost local to me now -- about an hour or so, across the bridge and on the north side of the Beltway to my house -- so if you wanted to make a kitten stop, let me know. They're very cute in person too. Just sayin'.

#469 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 12:21 PM:

Caroline @467: Those photos are lovely!

The little black one in my group has a tiny white spot on her chest under her chin, which is why I was trying to hold her head up for the photos...still didn't get the spot but that's what I call her.

#470 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 12:32 PM:

ddb @ #468: I agree with both. Furthermore, in my own extended family and circle of acquaintances, I have more than once met with situations in which one member of a family (usually, but not always, a woman) has had ALL the duties heaped on her. This leads to situations where, for example, all eldercare (both her parents, both his parents, assorted maiden aunts) falls to X, even though both X and X's husband have several siblings; or where all unpleasant duties (legal wranglings, interventions in case of mental illness or addiction or need for institutionalization) fall to the lot of the one sibling who is the Designated Adult, because the other siblings are Just Too Sensitive, or Can't Deal With (nursing homes/hospitals/Seeing Mama Like That), etc. etc.

Interestingly, I have seen two broad categories of reasons for this asymmetry of duty: 1. You're So Strong (including "you're the only functioning member of this dysfunctional family") and 2. Everyone Else's Life is Too Important To Waste on This Stuff.

Sometimes both at once, aimed at the same person.

So yeah, another reason people might find the Screw Duty message attractive--they've either participated in, or observed, a dynamic like this.

#471 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 01:06 PM:

Julie L. @386: Those are great!

#472 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 01:09 PM:

ddb @468 -- I'm continually amazed at how many people haven't heard the second half of "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" -- "All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy." I think that's what you're pointing to in a nutshell, if one thinks of "work" as equivalent to "duty".

#473 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 01:26 PM:

@444: It's either "Kilgore" or "salmon."

#474 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 01:32 PM:

Ginger @458: Jeez, I've got guinea pigs bigger'n some of those guys!

#475 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 01:33 PM:

I'm a glutton for abuse, I know, but could someone please tell me: am I off-base for insisting that Barack Obama isn't a Marxist?

#476 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 01:59 PM:

C. Wingate: Not for that, no.

#477 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 02:25 PM:

I think you're correct in insisting that Barack Obama isn't a Marxist.

He clearly believes there's some value in using the power of the state to improve the lives of the citizens, and that there's some need for government regulation of private business. He clearly believes that business should be private (taking over banks was not done because he wanted the government to own banks, but for an overriding goal of avoiding economic disaster).

By American standards this makes him basically centrist, IMAO.

(And I think you should have been able to predict pretty confidently that "Obama is not a Marxist" would be mainstream opinion here on Making Light.)

#478 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 02:35 PM:

Tom Whitmore (473): I had no idea that even *had* a second half. It never crossed my mind that it would. Interesting how thoroughly that got disappeared.

#479 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 03:17 PM:

C. Wingate @ 476... Of course he is not. Mind you, my neighbor thinks that public campaign-financing is a communist thing. By such a standard, the people you're arguing with are right and you're wrong, but folks here say you'e right.

That being said, I wonder when Turner Classic Movies will next show "Horsefeathers".

#480 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 03:37 PM:

ddb @468 I'm a big fan of the idea that one should pay one's rent on the planet.

In my religious worldview, the fact that I exist is a gift. It was a free gift, given without strings. I could not pay for it, but that's okay because I don't need to. In our family the phrase is not "rent on the planet" but "justify your existence", which comes from a book in which a character is asked to do that. I no longer have any idea what book. (Someone here probably does, but that's a digression.)

OTOH, IMO the appropriate response to the magnitude of this gift is to give back in some way, not to cry "Gimmee!" and trample others as I grab for more of everything with both hands, nor to whine that it didn't come with a larger bow and I would rather have had a different flavor. (This is not to put down those who sincerely feel that their life is less a gift than a burden. That is, I think, a separate issue.)

I value the idea of a sense of duty. I think that people who want to live in a functioning human society have a responsibility to help keep that society functioning. But I am hesitant about those who are militantly ready to tell me exactly what my duty is, and berate me if I fail to fulfill it to their standards.

I found the anti-altruism in Rand appealing when I first read it because of a sneaking suspicion that many of those who cry "duty" are playing their victims for suckers. That the message is not "we all have a responsibility to give to each other," but "I have the right to demand as much of you as I want, and you have no right to refuse."

It's the difference between a voluntary contribution to an endeavor one wishes to support, and a protection racket.

#481 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 03:47 PM:

OtterB: Asimov's Black Widowers stories. That was the traditional first question of the grilling of the guest after dinner.

380 Jules:
"Slide and release the power switch
to wake the Emily
Death stopped for her, because she chose
to come and zombie me."

#482 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 04:01 PM:

Mycroft W Yes, of course. Thank you.

#483 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 04:29 PM:

Looks like the California Governor's race just got interesting.

It seems that Meg Whitman (R) has had an undocumented worker as her housekeeper for the last nine years, failed to respond when SSA told her the employee's SSN was incorrect, and also made the employee work more hours than she was actually paid for...

By my count, the IRS, Labor and SSA (as well as California's own tax and labor deparments) are going to be looking at this one.

#484 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 04:31 PM:

Benjamin @ 464: It's the proportions. Kittens have baby proportions: huge heads and eyes, outsized paws on tiny little bodies, variable but often short tails. Whacks your sense of perspective and triggers your reflexive cuteness response.

ddb @ 468: You're right, the desires that more people have regard for sense of duty and that some can escape from it at need aren't conflicting. They both point to the same place, an ideal median where the well-balanced human psyche takes up the burdens it reasonably can and rejects the ones it can't. Most days I despair of that place ever existing, let alone finding it.


A Hyperlocal News Feature Presentation: The New Normal, in which a local man documents his process of coping with a life-changing illness.

#485 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 04:48 PM:

Mark@485: Yes, that's it exactly. And everybody has to decide for themselves, and society around people will make some judgments about what they do, some fair and some not, and some people will try to shirk their duty but a lot will try to do more than their share and some will do that to the point of damaging themselves. Just like now.

I'd love to hope for people getting a little bit saner and more aware, and reducing the rates of the various "bad" choices in this dance. In fact I do hope for it; I'm just not holding my breath.

#486 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 05:10 PM:

Is there any service out there that if you give them the author's name, the publication the article appeared in, and the approximate date will get you a copy of the article? I've got one that Interlibrary Loan hasn't been useful for, which is especially frustrating since I'm quoted at the beginning of the article. It's one of the late Pete Bowers columns for "Of Wings and Things" which appeared in Western Flyer (among other places), and came out in about 1983. It's about the Reinholdt Platz Glider featuring some wonderful pictures he'd gotten from Platz, and the copy I had has gone walkabout. Seattle Public Library gave all their old copies to the University of Washington, which in theory bound them, and I'd happily pay for a good quality photocopy of the article in question if I could find one.

#487 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 05:12 PM:

Mycroft W #482: Asimov's Black Widowers stories. That was the traditional first question of the grilling of the guest after dinner.

"After"? I suppose this means that they weren't actually cannibals, then.

#488 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 05:43 PM:

OtterB, #481: I agree with everything you say here. It's similar to the way one company I worked at during my contracting days made a big deal out of the "company as family" meme... and then used that as a bludgeon to get employees to accept working conditions that were downright exploitative. I was never so glad to come to the end of a contract!

Bruce, #487: Coincidentally, I have a need for that as well! I have just tracked down the location of an article I read some years back, called "Not the Child I Had in Mind". It's by Judith Viorst, and appeared in the Oct. 1991 issue of Redbook magazine. I don't know if the library collection would go back that far, but I'd love to have a copy of the article.

#489 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 07:12 PM:

OK, Internet stuff for the bookshop is progressing nicely... the only hitch so far is that my personal credit wasn't up to getting the Paypal credit card (and after upgrading to a business account, Paypal started throwing server errors at me when I wanted to try again from there. Is this commonplace?)

EBay and Paypal are more complicated than I expected, too... I got the accounts, but there's like a zillion options and settings to look out for. Also, I've been hitting Craigslist to fill in a computer system for the storage room -- I've got a spare tower, but I've contacted folks for a printer and monitor for $50 each.

So, a bit stressed out (independent action not being my strong point), but making progress!

#490 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 07:40 PM:

Used to be that such articles were regularly available from University Microfilms, Bruce @487 and Lee @489. And there were research services that will find such things for you (I used to work for one called Information on Demand which used the collections of UCBerkeley). Did the librarian you talked to at Seattle Public make any suggestions?

The services I know of were Not Cheap.

#491 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 08:06 PM:

Perhaps this isn't where it should be, but I have to put it somewhere.

So it turns out where I'm from*, "racist" is not a sufficently offensive term. I had to use "racist phag**" to get a reaction.

What do you do when a "friend" of your dad's uses the word "coon" in complete seriousness? And has never been called on it before?

I was really at no personal risk, but I am still quietly proud of myself for disrupting this night out at the pub - for being ok to be the guy who was an asshole about it***.

*which is not where I live
**sorry. This was not a place/time to take the feminist stand.
***for some reason I'm thinking of Xopher here. In the best way, I promise, Xopher.

#492 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 08:18 PM:

Julie L, #386, my spiders (in bad photo). These were for the bride and she asked me to make three with pins for her maid of honor.

Ginger, #461, still so tiny! Look what will probably happen.

Benjamin Wolfe, #464, little kittens have their ears on the sides of their heads instead of closer to the top.

#493 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 08:40 PM:

Russ 492: I'm confused about a number of things.

  1. What does 'phag' have to do with feminism?
  2. Why couldn't you say "racist piece of shit" or "racist asshole" or "racist trash" or something like that? (I guess "racist cracker" would be kind of hypocritical, though it would have gotten a priceless reaction.)
  3. When you say you were thinking of me in the "best way," does that mean you were touching yourself?
Actually I'm not so much confused as teasing about that last one.

#494 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 09:41 PM:


1. Rot13
2. Because it had to be as offensive to him (and the quiet crowd, which I was both aware and not aware of at the time) as the word he used. For the record, he couldn't bring himself to call me anything close* in the "polite" company we were in.**
3. Well, what can I say?***

*He called me a twat. Not particularly strong in British English.
**I think this is what really riled me. He genuinly a) was using the word deliberately offensively and b) did not expect to be called on it. My dad, apparently, is used to this.
***Defence: It's late where I am. And, really, who here doesn't fancy Xopher's company in one way or another?

#495 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 09:52 PM:

OHHHH I totally missed the ROT13. Duhh on me.

And the rest of your reply...well, your internet should be delivered in a few days!

#496 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 10:31 PM:

hyperlocal news:
Post-sunset rainbow seen, with associated occasional lightning. At one point the bow was bright enough to have a secondary bow.

#497 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 11:08 PM:

Hyperlocal news...

Programmer completes months-long project.
Is thanked by boss and by boss's boss.
Is now enjoying beer.

#498 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 11:10 PM:

Hyperlocal News: Midterm Exams Graded, Averages Acceptable. GSI Notes Bad Exams Take Much Longer.

#499 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 11:11 PM:

Marilee @ 493: I saw that one! I should have taken a picture of the littlest one attacking a plushie mouse the same exact size as herself. It was adorable.

Tonight I brought the gang down to the family room, as I do, and watched four of them attack my slippers. My feet were not in the slippers, so they could dive in or chew from the outside. They played with a bit of string, a small bouncy cat ball, a bit of fluff from the inside of a former dog toy, a rolled up sock (dirty, from my son...), the cardboard boxes, each other, me..

Gradually they tired and crawled into the transport box. When we reached critical mass (i.e., all but one kitten in the box), I knew it was time for bed.

#500 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 11:16 PM:

Tom: SPU said, basically, they'd turned over all their copies to the UW and good luck. After checking their website, it looks like the UW didn't bind them after all but microfilmed them (incomplete it says). I can't seem to find which building it would be in from the website--if I knew that I'd head over while I'm still unemployed and spend the day checking to see if they have the article. Too bad the outfit that was publishing his stuff in book form never got past Volume 1...

#501 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 11:19 PM:

Nicole LeBoeuf-Little and EClaire at dinner, from my photo-set from ICC. We found a lovely restaurant, with an upstairs eating area that was nearly empty even during dinner rush on a Friday evening, so conversation was both relaxed and pleasant. This was followed by the obligatory beignets at Cafe du Monde, and then an equally-pleasant walk back along the riverside. The only thing about the evening that was less than wonderful was that it was HOT, and the lining of my dark-green salwar kameez proved not to be colorfast; when I peeled it off back at the hotel, I was as green as an Orion slave girl everywhere it had stuck to my skin! Fortunately, the color came off with soap and water. :-)

#502 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 11:28 PM:

book recommendation request! i'm looking for urban fantasy mystery books that are not also paranormal romance.

i like dresden files (jim butcher), parasol protectorate (gail carriger), the laundry (charlie stross), detective inspector chen (liz williams), and anya kalinczyk (laura bickle).
i bounced off of allie beckstrom (devon monk) and didn't like kate daniels (ilona andrews) enough to read past the first book.

what should i try next?

#503 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2010, 11:34 PM:


Try Seanan McGuire. Begin with "Rosemary and Rue".

#504 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 12:20 AM:

Shadowsong: If you liked the Laundry books, get a copy of Declare (Tim Powers). For my money, his best book - I have bounced off most of his others - but Declare I come back to again and again.

#505 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 12:22 AM:

Where's your line between 'urban fantasy mystery' and 'paranormal romance'? I really like Patricia Briggs' Mercedes Thompson books. Rob Thurman's books have been enjoyable-- some things about them make me roll my eyes, but many of the flaws are things I only picked up after reading all of them. Would Ilona Andrews' other world, the Edge, appeal more than the Kate books do?

This is making me want to break off a separate urban fantasy/paranormal romance category in the booklog spreadsheet, which hasn't been updated in months.

#506 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 12:26 AM:

Mark @ #485: Best and strongest good wishes on the kidney situation, and may all sorts of good things work in your favor.

(Mike [a.k.a. our dear Mr. Ford, the "our" because he was joint property with everybody here at Making Light] got his kidney because somebody signed their organ donor card. It gave him a bunch of really good years. I wrote a thank-you note to the unknown donor who gave my beloved a chance at more life.)

#507 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 12:30 AM:

Dave Harmon: You might want to be careful with the business account. All the old credit card tricks; which have been outlawed/curbed somewhat in personal accounts, are still legal in "business" accounts.

There has been a sudden pressure to get people to open such business accounts.

#508 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 01:06 AM:

shadowsong @ 503: I agree with you about Allie Beckstrom (Devon Monk). There were too many howlers -- it's a pity because I think a few rounds of editing & rework could have made a good book. I loved the Portland setting and the magic system.

I second Patrick Connors' (504) recommendation of of Seanan McGuire's "Rosemary and Rue". I also like the Retrievers series by Laura Anne Gilman.

#509 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 01:07 AM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @ 487, Lee @ 489:

Some public library systems have database and serial/journal access on their computer systems, available from library card login. The Multnomah County Library, which I belong to, gives me access to JSTOR and a bunch of other archives, with download of individual articles for free. Check your local library computer system.

#510 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 01:08 AM:

We've been enjoying Carrie Vaughn (eee, Kitty Norville!) and Kat Richardson's Greywalker series.

Also, Simon R. Green is doing some extremely fun writing lately (though Deathstalker, which was our introduction to him, is decidedly off-topic from the request, and is it's own guilty pleasure -- and completely different from just about everything else he's written). So fond of his Nightside books, though you might also take a look at the Drood series (which is more kind of... James Bond-ian, a little less Noir).

#511 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 01:09 AM:

shadowsong @503 said: book recommendation request! i'm looking for urban fantasy mystery books that are not also paranormal romance.

The books by Kat Richardson starting with 'Greywalker' are wonderful urban mystery-with-magic-in, with a wonderfully unexpected set of how-magic-works stuff, and very little falling-in-love-with-boys. There's a tad scooch of it several books in, but it's SEVERAL books in, and it fails to take over the plot in any way (or cause the protag to start obsessing over the drama instead of, y'know, DOING PLOT).

#512 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 01:24 AM:

It's still Jon Singer and D Potter's birthday-eve here in Colorado, but let's see if this post comes up with the right date:

Happy Birthday Jon & D!

#513 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 02:18 AM:

I'm in Las Vegas, playing anthropologist. Or maybe pretending to be a William Gibson character.

I first came out here in 1989, and went several times a year to run booths at trade shows. These were fun gigs. I came home with bags stuffed with free souvenirs: Baseball caps, shirts, coffee mugs, dice, that sort of thing. The place was 30% carny cheesyness, 40% clumsy nouveau-rich spectacle, 30% Rat Pack flavored glamor. There was something endearingly stupid about it.

A college friend attended Defcon here a month or so back; the photos he sent of his hotel made me want to check it out. I wrote a "geek's guide to Vegas" for the first Defcon. (Here)

Now it's all upscale, Hollywood, corporate, crass. The new hotels, built on the smoking ruins of the places at which my co-workers and I bought $4.99 prime rib dinners and played nickel slots, are titanic; beautiful and brutalist. Nothing is cheap, or cheap-looking. Upscale mall architecture. You can't enjoy anything ironically; it's too slick, too loud.

I miss the stupid.

#514 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 03:24 AM:

Yes, happy birthday to you both.

#515 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 04:50 AM:


Why thank you, I don't think I've ever received one of those before.

In the cold* light of day, I am less proud of what was essentially shouting at an old man. Being an asshole for a good reason is still being an asshole. The pacifism thread comes to mind - I was escalting, not de-escalating, and there may have been a better way to stand up.

I also need to apologise. I didn't notice (even after your reply) that the word I Rot13'd converted to something that, phonetically, can be at least as offensive and triggering**. Now that I realise, your post @494 makes perfect sense, and the "duh" is mine.

In short, today I am unrepentant but considerably less proud of myself.

*Stone cold...
** Which says something slightly uncomfortable to me about unexamined privelege.

#516 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 06:35 AM:

Russ @ 492/516: Clearly there's a market for WWXD? lanyards and other tchatchkerai. And I'm relieved about the ROT13. :-)

elise @ 507: Thank you for your warm wishes; I'm relatively young among the regulars here and didn't know I had this in common with dear Mr. Ford. I'm thinking seriously of Making A Statement about the importance of signing your organ donor card at my band's gig at the Berlin Fair on Sunday.

#517 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 06:47 AM:

Terry Karney #508: Can you clarify? I'm feeling slow this morning The Paypal card terms looked semi-reasonable, aside from sky-high interest rates. Paypal also wants a bank account attached to be "verified", and I haven't had the nerve to attach either my own bank account or my (only) credit card).

Next week I hopefully will get to have a proper talk with the store owner, at which much will be clarified. In the meantime, I'm still fiddling with hardware at home to set up what will be their tower unit, and I've got a rainy bus ride to work today....

#518 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 07:18 AM:

PS: Can anyone tell me where our recent discussion of digital cameras is? I already went through OT135, but otherwise searching isn't working too well for me.

#519 ::: Janet K ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 08:05 AM:

Ginger, thanks for the kitten updates and photo links. Beyond adorable! And I'm so glad to hear that they are finding homes.

Is there any chance that the mother cat will find a home too? Or is she more-or-less feral?

#520 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 09:04 AM:

Re: Paypal business account

I haven't had any trouble with it, and avoid the absurd interest rates by keeping it paid off. No fallout from connecting to my bank account.

A service representative promptly and helpfully walked me through when I couldn't figure out how to set up payments on line the first time, and they've made that access much more direct. Now revenues from Paypal take care of the card charges, though I do have to go tell them to pay the whole thing off rather than just the minimum.

For the convenience, well worth it.

#521 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 09:08 AM:

shadowsong (503): Mark Del Franco has two series that might meet your needs. Also Margaret Ronald's Spiral Hunt and Wild Hunt. And I enthusiastically third the recommendations for Seanan McGuire.

David Harmon (508): If you don't "verify" your Paypal account with a bank account, it still works just fine. Ignore them. (Note: I buy stuff with Paypal but don't use it to receive payments. YMMV.)

#522 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 09:18 AM:

Janet K @ 520: We don't think she's feral, as she looked too healthy at the time of capture..she's definitely nervous and doesn't come close enough for me to touch, but she approaches me at every meal now. No hissing either! She's getting used to me. She most likely has a home too; if nothing else, I'll do what James Nicoll did and have a Nameless in my house.

#523 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 09:25 AM:

D Potter... Jon Singer... Happy Birthdays!

#524 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 09:45 AM:

P J Evans@497: Wow! That sounds really spectacular. I've seen double (and a hint of triple), but never at sunset or with lightning, darn it.

Glad you got to see it!

#525 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 10:36 AM:

Hyperlocal news...

Teenage girl on bus is overheard telling teenage boy "I won't be mean to you for a whole day because it's your birthday."

#526 ::: Beable ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 11:31 AM:

@403: Good wishes would be appreciated for Joel who is back in the hospital.

His incision started leaking spinal fluid on Tuesday night. They re-admitted him and put in a lumbar shunt to try to drain off the excess fluid in a fashion that allows the incision to heal without them having to do more surgery, and they are keeping him at the hospital until at least Sunday to keep an eye on how it's healing.

I'm going over to visit tonight with chickpea curry to try to save him from at least some of the hospital food.

#527 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 11:33 AM:

Beable... My best wishes to Joel.

#528 ::: beable ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 11:38 AM:

Hyperlocal news:

A potted plant has the 4th highest bid in an office auction raising money by allowing people to bid on the right to throw sponges at bid-on targets in a charity wet sponge toss.

The employee in 5th place expressed surprise that the plant had received more bids than her.

The employee in 3rd place attempted to goad his supporters into higher bids by taunting their throwing ability.

The potted plant had no comment.

#529 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 12:01 PM:

I've pretty much come to the conclusion that the best things about hospital food are that it arrives three times a day and I don't have to fix it myself.

I do have hospitals to thank for re-introducing me to Cheerios, though.

#530 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 12:05 PM:

David, #518: Is the PayPal account specifically for the purpose of being able to accept credit cards online? If so, you might want to look into Google Checkout instead of, or in addition to, PayPal. There is a small but noticeable group of people out there who will have nothing to do with PayPal, for various reasons, and who will be grateful to you for providing an alternative.

#531 ::: Bombie ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 12:22 PM:

Beable @527

Best wishes to Joel. May it heal swiftly, and without further complications.

#532 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 12:54 PM:

David @518--If this is a Paypal account for the business, it should not be tied to your personal accounts in any way; if this is a Paypal account for you, it should not be used for some one else's business. If you have a contract to run the online sales for a business someone else owns, it might be different, but you should keep in mind: this is not your business, and you may not always be working there. Therefore, it should be tied to the business, and not to you. If you are running online sales on contract, you might want to consider two different accounts--one that is yours personally, and one that is dedicated to the online sales only. This is not legal advice; it's a practical consideration that will make bookkeeping (and auditing, should that be needed) easier and less stressful for you and for the business owner.

#533 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 01:09 PM:

Ooooh. Google translate does latin.

#534 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 02:09 PM:

Open threadiness:

The last couple days' NPR news was filled with talk of a newly-discovered-and-leaked terrorist plot to mount Bombay-style attacks all over Europe. (It seems to me that this sort of attack, while awful, doesn't scale well at all. It's basically a suicidal infantry assault on an enemy city.) Here's the most recent NPR story on this.

In the story, the sources of the story were described as leaks from US and allied intelligence agencies. The ultimate source of the information was a suspected terrorist who was arrested trying to fly from Kabul back to Germany (where he lived) and transferred to Bagram for interrogation; a couple months later, the story seems to go, the US was getting these stories out of him.

Now, perhaps this is just me being unduly cynical, and I really know very little about terrorism or war. But I'm remembering the allegations of ongoing torture at Bagram, and the history of us wringing all kinds of made-up plots from captives trying to think of anything at all to say to get the torture to stop for awhile. And I'm wondering whether these plots really existed anywhere (they certainly could), or whether this is something this guy made up to try to get the waterboarding or buckets full of ice water or beatings to stop.

A lot about the story didn't make sense to me. For example, the claimed diffuse area (in the UK, France, and Germany) didn't make much sense. If you were planning this kind of attack, wouldn't you run the attacks independently, so an infiltrator in your Paris attack team didn't lead to the capture of your Berlin and London attack teams? And one story I read also claimed something about communications intercepts being the basis for this story. But this can't really have been person-to-person intercepts, unless the leakers don't mind announcing to the terrorists that they're being tapped. (Perhaps this is random discussion on jihadi websites?)

The story, like most war on terror stories, doesn't quite hold together. Anyone have any idea what's really going on?

#535 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 02:18 PM:

albatross@535: I'm also a bit skeptical of the source, for the same reasons you mention.

I would say, however, that the Bombay attack was quite "successful". It got a lot of media attention, worldwide, and the casualty count was quite big for terrorist attacks. I'm not really sure how they score such things, but it doesn't seem implausible that they think it's worth emulating.

#536 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 02:19 PM:

book recommendation update!
apparently i remembered wrong: it was mercy thompson, not kate daniels, that gave me a meh. haven't read any of the kate daniels books.
i read simon green's "something from the nightside" as well and was rather disappointed. the writing wasn't nearly as good as i remembered blue moon rising to be.

the line between urban fantasy and paranormal romance, to me, is determined by how much the main character's interactions with others are about love/lust. when allie beckstrom, bruised from head to toe and so tired she was practically hallucinating, decided now was a good time to get it on with the mysterious male lead, i put the book down and went to go find the receipt so i could return the damn thing. parasol protectorate is actually an outlier and contains more romance-based character interaction than i would normally accept. walter jon williams's "metropolitan" is also an outlier: i got through the romance on the strength of the first page alone.

recommendation roundup, in order of amazon ranking:
Tim Powers - Declare
Rob Thurman - Nightlife
Seanan McGuire - Rosemary and Rue
Margaret Ronald - Spiral Hunt
Mark Del Franco - Unshapely Things
Kat Richardson - Greywalker

Ilona Andrews - Magic Bites is back on the list, but On The Edge is definitely off - all the summaries reveal that everyone wants to make babies with rose. definitely sex-based character interactions, not my thing.
Patricia Briggs: does the sexual tension go up as the series goes on? if not, it might be worth putting back on my list.
Staying Dead doesn't look promising - all of the blurbs mention sexual tension between wren and sergei.
Kitty and the Midnight Hour: one review mentions that Kitty is repeatedly raped. this may be violence rather than sex, but it's still a deal breaker. :P

#537 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 02:23 PM:

Bruce Durocher @487,you put it on a list where librarians hang out and hope one of them has a few minutes to spare on her lunch hour... Anyway, Western Flyer is now published as General Aviation News (a far less evocative title). Alas, it is not indexed anywhere, so I can't find the exact citation for your article. But the Ulrich's database says reprints and back issues are available from the publisher, and they may have a good in-house index.

Lee @489, yours is a lot easier since over 2000 libraries are listed as owning Redbook, and you have the month. As far as getting the page citations, though, you'd have to go to the old print Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature (ours is in storage off site) or the electronic Reader's Guide Retrospective (our appears to be offline right now for some reason). Still, the date and author might be enough for your local public library to ILL it for you. I was unable to find out if it was reprinted in any of her essay collections.

#538 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 02:42 PM:

Shadowsong @ 503: There's Mike Carey's Felix Castor novels, starting with "The Devil You Know" - bit grim.

Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) @510: You have JSTOR access via your local library?! Colour me envious. I don't even have that via my academic library - and I regularly need articles which I could get on JSTOR, but instead end up having to photocopy laboriously at the British Libary, at 20p per page (no reduced photocopying allowed).

Beable @ 527: Sympathies to, and best wishes for, Joel. May he be back out of the hospital soon, with no further complications in healing. Thanks for the update and I hope he enjoys the chickpea curry.

#539 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 02:52 PM:

shadowsong @ 537:

Kitty and the Midnight Hour: ignore the review - it's back-story. There is some romatic interaction later - but then there is in most books written for adults (including e.g. the Dresden Files, which you say you enjoy).

Patricia Briggs/Mercy Thomson: I really like her. Yes, there's some sexual tension between Mercy and a couple of the other characters, but that's not really what the series is about.

Me, I'm perfectly happy if there's "also" some romance going on, but I want other things to be the prime drivers of the plot, not plot holes a mile wide to drive the sex scenes through.

#540 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 03:07 PM:

albatross@535: it seems to me that this sort of threat is also good for counter-terror organisations trying to maintain their funding. Here in the UK, all government departments are expected to come up with budget cuts, some more than others. I don't know, off-hand, whether the Home office is expected to meet the general 25% target, but there have already been dire warnings about cutting funding of the Police and the military.

Bombay, as I recall, depended on it being easy to get armed men into the city. It doesn't have to be a Kalashnikov to be effective, but you need a combination of that willingness to die with a basic competence in using the weapons available.

I can come up with scenarios. See The Dogs of War for a fictional example of how a merchant ship might be used to deliver an assault force. But that needs people with different skills, who might not be willing to dies for a cause.

It is something of a Hollywood threat, isn't it. (NaNoWriMo, anyone?)

#541 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 03:28 PM:

Dave Bell@541: No, no, you're quite wrong. It's a Bollywood threat. (yeah, black humor).

Seeing as it actually happened in Mumbai, it's less a movie plot thread than many.

#542 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 03:38 PM:

Heal fast and well wishes to Joel. [cue dopey cheerleading voice: Go, body, go, heal heal heal! Rah!] Having a leak there, I can attest from experience, is not fun, but mine healed quickly, and I hope Joel has even faster good outcome than I did. (It was a long time ago, and in nearly James Nicholls-worthy circumstances, but it all turned out all right.)

Anyhow, large good luck wishes now and ongoing. And that goes for anybody else who needs some.

#543 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 04:06 PM:

shadowsong #537:

Might I suggest another Tim Powers book? "Last Call", a story about poker, the Tarot & Las Vegas.

#544 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 04:21 PM:

I was in a job fair/networking event put on by tech startup people yesterday, and somebody was creating an online app game that compiled statistics about its players. I was once again reminded of the principle (from the aforementioned book "Last Call") that when you look at the cards the cards can see you. This is a principle that applies online even if it does not apply to real playing cards.

#545 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 04:27 PM:

beable @527:

Thank you for keeping us apprised of Joel's progress. Please add my best wishes to the ones you pass on.

& @529:

The potted plant is currently thinking, "Oh, no, not again."

#546 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 04:38 PM:

541 Dave Bell
I saw an interview with William Gibson where he said there was a story he was thinking of writing but decided not to, because it involved a terrorist scenario that actually might work, and he didn't want to give people ideas.

#547 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 04:40 PM:

Best wishes to Joel.

#548 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 04:42 PM:

The Beatles sang:

Black, white, green, red
Can I take my friend to bed?
Pink, brown, yellow orange and blue I love you

were they talking about snooker?

#549 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 05:02 PM:

I don't remember On the Edge being mostly about sexual tension; the main character seemed to be much more a Big Protective Sister than anything. Mercy Thompson does eventually get an explicitly romantic-relationship-based subplot, but again, I think of her in terms of all the relationships, not just that one.

Then again, I'm calibrated a bit differently: I read a loooot of romance these days.

#550 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 05:07 PM:

Dave Bell, ddb:

The Bombay/Mumbai[1] attack was bloody and awful, but it also was quite limited in scope and was pretty manpower-intensive. Ten guys engaged in what was basically a coordinated mass-shooting, resulting in (according to Wikipedia) 173 people killed. That is, each attacker managed to kill about 17 civilians with his own death. (One attacker was captured, but it seems unlikely that was the plan.) Note that this is a pretty normal mass-shooting sort of per-person body count. The attackers scared and angered lots of people, got lots of media attention, and caused an international incident that could conceivably have led to war, so in that sense it was successful. But compared to the 9/11 or 3/11 or Oklaholma City or Bali or Moscow Subway bombings, these guys didn't get much of a return on their investment.

It seems like this would be a hard sort of attack to stop, since there's not much chance of one of the attackers blowing himself up trying to wire up his homemade bomb, or trying to buy explosives from an FBI agent. The terrorists can probably keep most of their people in the dark about their precise plans until a couple days before they go forward, and can probably even survive some infiltration by being broken up into multiple independent cells. I guess if you have five teams carrying out the attacks on the same day to maximize media coverage, and one of the teams gets stopped by the police, this doesn't completely kill the effect of the attacks.

[1] Is this a name change, or a change in orthography? I've never been quite clear on this.

#551 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 05:32 PM:

albatross@551: It's a change in transliteration rules.

Yes, there were more successful terrorist attacks. But no hijacker will ever use a loaded passenger plane as a bomb again; that was a one-shot idea. For that matter, some of the early airplane bombings got more deaths (not sure they got more publicity).

Still, the Mumbai attack ranks quite high, especially on publicity. And I'm pretty sure publicity is the key to creating terror.

#552 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 05:40 PM:

Abi @ 546... Maybe the potted plant did respond, but nobody thought of turning the Kirlian translator on.

#553 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 05:58 PM:

Lee #531: Currently, it's specifically for sales on EBay. I will eventually be setting up a minimal blog, but direct sales aren't even on the table at this point.

fidelio #533: Just so. The problem here is that the owner is tech-illiterate, and has so far been using his personal credit card for the store. He was out today, but there will be further discussions on Tuesday.

It's an "interesting" situation, as he's in failing health (and a wheelchair -- he can't even get to the upper or lower floors of his own shop), but has attracted a small swarm of "book people" as employees, volunteers, and Good Samaritans.

#554 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 06:05 PM:

Apropos of nothing: Reuse, rebar, recycle.

#555 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 06:42 PM:

Re: Mumbai/Bombay.

From the official site: "The name "Bombay" was changed to "Mumbai" by the Corporation Resolution No.512 dated August 12, 1996, Maharashtra Act, XXV of 1996".

#556 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 06:56 PM:

i'd forgotten about The Devil You Know - i've already read it. i'll put Vicious Circle and Last Call on the list, and re-add Mercy and Kitty. On the Edge will have to wait until i've run out of enough options to not mind that the cover dogwhistles romance.

#557 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 07:10 PM:

Jon and D: Happy Birthdays!

Russ 516: I also need to apologise. I didn't notice (even after your reply) that the word I Rot13'd converted to something that, phonetically, can be at least as offensive and triggering**. Now that I realise, your post @494 makes perfect sense, and the "duh" is mine.

I was sure you wouldn't call someone a "racist fag" and admit it here. (The fact that 'fag' means "cigarette" in the UK didn't occur to me because I hadn't quite figured out where the incident took place, hence my non-suggestion of 'racist cracker', which makes sense only in the American South.) I don't think you need to apologize, at least for that (I'm sure you realize (heh) that the C-word is far more offensive in the US than in the UK).

Beable 527: Good wishes coming that way. Dammit. Give him our love, please.

eric 534: Ooooh. Google translate does latin.

Ooooh says it all! I'm playing with this like crazy, mostly the other way. I think it all-caps words it's not sure of. It can't translate 'red fish, blue fish'. Sometimes I had to manhandle the original English a little to get the translator to work, and it kind of mangles it when you translate it back. When I translated "There is a sword stuck in my belly," it came out as "Gladium est venter haesit." Translating it back, it came out as "Be the stomach of the sword, to a standstill." "I sometimes dream that it is not my hair that falls out in the shower and clogs my drain" came out as "Sometimes I do not have a dream are in the hair will bring me a STICKY be poured out."

Here are some others:

  1. Gaul, was divided into four parts. This was the house numbers the invincible of the Gauls.
  2. Hear the story of a the name of Jed.
  3. Justice of the kind of in the prayer of, the wickedness of the most grievous sinners are pursued by the members of the unity of the greater.
  4. "Go away! Not by the authority here!
I didn't put in that quote mark on the last one; Google Translate did. I'm sure you all can figure out what English I originally put in: virtual Black Hole Brownies* to the first correct answer for each. ____ *Bring me a STICKY.
#558 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 07:27 PM:

All of Gaul is divided into three parts. No, four — for one small village of indomitable Gauls still holds out against the Roman invaders.

#559 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 07:30 PM:

That would have been a better text to use, Dave, but it's not what I put in. 'House numbers' should give you a hint.

#560 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 07:33 PM:

Thus, not the real you please stand fast Slim of darkness?

#561 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 07:37 PM:

Xopher @558:

For number 2: Urer'f n yvggyr fgbel bs n zna anzrq Wrq.

This may or may not be correct, but you have managed to earworm me none the less. But what does it say about me that I've got the Weird Al version as the earworm?

#562 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 07:39 PM:

Things which have reached not able to bear.
Now he had to leave.
For all things New York truly has.
Is this the way ...
Sheen is the Punk Rocker.

#563 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 07:44 PM:

Passing over these, worthy of this day
Arise, get thee to go away
In the McDonald's.

#564 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 07:56 PM:

Do you want to know from the Secret?
Do you not to tell "that it?
Let me whisper in your ear.
Say the words you long to have mercy.
I'm with you in Zeus.

#565 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 08:03 PM:

Wren 562: Actually it was "Yvfgra gb gur fgbel bs n zna anzrq Wrq," but close enough.

#566 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 08:09 PM:

#4 is of course Gandalf at the bridge.

#567 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 08:10 PM:

What could one of the people he feels beautiful
But, to that you may be worthy,
What do you want?
And by far you traveled to?
As far as eye can see.
An infant of rich man from his art.
Servant of all the money, the purse, in the great brown within the zoo.
What do? "

And I will stop hogging the mike now but it's neat to see how it succeeds and fails.

#568 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 08:11 PM:

Tom: close, but no cigar.

#569 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 08:14 PM:

Meanwhile, I'm beside myself with rage and grief about this. I'm on the gay message board where Tyler sought help, though I wasn't involved in that thread. Everyone gave him good advice and he seemed (at the time) to be handling it well.

Ellen Degeneres weighs in.

#570 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 08:22 PM:

One last one:
17, which was
If this is what will I, you know
And the way he hath regarded the less is the way of
How, and to another, the choir
stood when he had seen

Some errors the translator manifests:

Sometimes it stumbles over a homonym to make a pun.
For instance it changes "are" to "art" and then uses the other meaning of the word "art"

and "I dance" becomes "choro" and when you translate it back it turns into "choir"

Sometimes it drops or switches pronouns and prepositions.

#571 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 08:26 PM:

re Paypal/Credit Cards.

I have a paypal business account. That's one thing. It let's accept credit cards, and some other online transactions for photography (Christmas is coming, give the gift of Art; should you, nor any of your friends, lack for filled wallspace.) /shameless self-promotion.

The things I was warning against is the terms of the credit card. All the tricks (moving the payment date, punitive rate hikes for missed payments to other entities, etc.) are still legal for business cards. I don't know if there are ways to link those predatory practices to non-business related issues, but I'll wager that one who is not protected with a legal fiction (LLC/Corporation/S-Corporation, etc.) who has a sole proprietor entity, is at risk of some serious shenannigans.

#572 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 08:37 PM:

Which website is now being slashdotted and will soon be attacked by hordes of homophobic assholes.

You know, sometimes I really just want to kill people. People like Tyler's stupid fucking loser roommate. I'm too much of a wimp to go through with it, but I really feel a rage so deep...that I don't know what short of homicide will alleviate it.

Time. And sleep. And a vigorous cardiovascular workout.


#573 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 08:40 PM:

Everyone will get this one right away:

the wounds of autumn of the city. So cried out, to give the name of the world. The answered by the wind-in the darkness.

#574 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 08:46 PM:

re Mumbai style attacks: Verra convenient that such a thing has been foiled, in so nascent a stage.

In other words, as explained, I don't really buy it. He knows an awful lot,, and it came out a long time after he was captured. Smells like bullshit to me.

As to the effectiveness of it... I could (had I nine people willing to go in on it with me) do at least as well, perhaps better.

I am half-certain, with the right people, I could put together a plan which lets us get away alive, or takes out a fair bit of the reaction forces.

Anyone who wants to buy me a couple of drinks can ask me what went stupid in the N. Hollywood Bank Robbery[*]

I was, but for happenstance, almost in the affected area. If I'd planned it... odds are we get out of the immediate area. Could I figure out a way to beat the investigation? I don't know. Part of it would depend on just how it went down. I am pretty sure, had I done the planning, the actual shootout would not have happened.

If it had, the results would have been different.

So, is it "movie plot"? Yes, as presented (co-ordinated attacks in three, or more, countries), it is.

Could such attacks be carried out? Sure.

Is this report credible? I don't think so.

[*] The Wikipedia article is confusing; about some trivial details. I don't know of any LAPD officers who still carried .38 SPL as a primary weapon. It may be there were some Detectives who joined in, and had .38s, but it seems unlikely, not relevant to the question of firepower. They also have less than clear nomenclature in reference to the longarms in use. Other than those (which aren't really relevant to what happened), it seems a fairly decent rundown of the general events.

#576 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 08:58 PM:

#3 Gur thvygl syrr jurer ab zna chefhrgu? I don't really think I got it, but I know that "yvfgra gb gur fgbel bs n zna anzrq Wrq" has to have been done already, and the opening lines of Whyvhf Pnrfne'f Oryynr Tnyyvpnr, is probably the answer to #1, but this isn't, sadly, being my sort of puzzle.

#577 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 09:00 PM:

Terry, think more pop-culturally.

#578 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 09:09 PM:

Xopher @ 576, 573 & 570.

Agreed. Sickening. And so very, very sad.

#579 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 09:17 PM:

And thank you, Teresa, for that particle. I don't actually much like Dan Savage, but God's work is what he's doing there, you're right.

#580 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 09:24 PM:

The exploding meteor painting sidelight reminds me of:

At Oxford, in the Ashmolean, there is a very large pencil drawing of the moon observed through a telescope in the 1700's.

It still looks the same.

It's by Robert Stawell Ball, who also invented screw theory (a system for adding and subtracting rotational motions, useful in astronomy)

#581 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2010, 10:36 PM:

Beable, #527, oh dear -- I hope it goes well. If you see him, tell him I'm thinking of him.

shadowsong, #537, have you read Charlie Stross' Merchant Princes series? Lots of cities although they aren't all as large as I usually think of for "urban" and I'd say they were all SF, but most people consider them fantasy.

ibid, #557, did you know that authors don't get to pick their covers? You really can't judge books, particularly SFF, by their covers.

#582 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 12:38 AM:

#503 Shadowsong

There are two series by Mark del Franco, one set in Boston where elves and Druids and solitary fey crossed over to this world in "the Convergence a century or so ago and the Big Dig never happened, and the other series is set in the same universe, in Washington DC. Both protagonists get involved in relationships, but they're not relationship-centric books.

And within the constraints of "Big Dig never happened and South Boston waterfront vicinty never upscaled from grotty commercial-industrial grundge, the descriptions of Boston and the attitudes of the inhabitants are spot-on (including the traffic. And even, the cover of the most recent one, the bridge on the cover is very close to what the actual bridge looks like...

#583 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 01:29 AM:

Beable @ 527:

That's bad news. Please give Joel my best wishes and my hope that he doesn't have to deal with hospital food more than absolutely necessary.

dcb @ 539:

I feel very lucky that the city where I've chosen to live has such a good library system. Something like 40% of the residents of the county (population is just under ½ million, about 1/3 of the total Portland Metro area) have library cards. One of the reasons is the gray winters we have; you need to have access to a supply of good books to make it through.

#584 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 02:05 AM:

#537 Shadowsong
#550 Diatryma

On the Edge has a romantic subplot in it, but it is not the main focus of the book. The protagonist is trying to make ends meet for her and her two (younger) brothers.

Mercy Thompson makes a decision eventually about who to pairbond with, and that book is not the end of the series.

There are older books, such was War for the Oaks by Emma Bull, and the Bordertown/Borderland multiauthor series, and spin-off books from it by e.g. Emma Bull and Will Shetterly; there's The Last Hot Time by Mike [John M.] Ford who had been a moderator here,

Oh--Tanya Huff. Summon the Keeper is a more humorous take than most. There is a romance involved, which starts in the first book. Hell is schizophrenic and talks to itself. The Magic Emporium is unrelated to Summon the Keeper and again is a more humorous take. The lead is a member of a peculiar extended family, with aunties whose favorite targets for catty comments are their own sisters.

What else--maybe Jennifer Estep. Venom which just came out is the third in a series where the main character has powers that involve ice and stone, runs a barbecue restaurant, is a retired assassin, and wants revenge against the woman who murdered her mother and a sister. The locality's police force is thoroughly corrupt. There's some amount of love life subplot, but it's not the predominant element.

Jennifer Estep is also the author of three earlier PNR/UF books, in a locality overrun with superheroes and supervillains. Each of the books has a different heroine/hero pair-up. Some of the leads make big mistakes, which cost dearly. They may be too far into romance territory for Shadowsong

Hall of Shame:

Red Hot Fury -- purports to be set in Boston, but has all the localcolor of someone who gets the one named street in the book wrong, constantly has the character taking ten minute walks without stepping into Boston Harbor or the Charles River or over Fort Point Channel..., and has the character claim there is only one way out of the Government Center MBTA station (which I don't remember if it's mentioned by name) and then comes up out of it and then goes down a big staircase and crosses "State Street" [WRONG!!!] to get to Fanueil Hall, failing to mentioning City Hall Plaza and Boston City Hall (this is sort of like driving from Boston to Hyannis on Cape Cod and not noticing/mentioning the Cape Cod Canal and whichever bridge (Bourne or Sagamore) one drives over....

#585 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 10:32 AM:

I can't speak to the local color aspect of the Bordertown series, but I love it dearly.

#587 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 11:40 AM:

Xopher @570:

You aren't the only one spitting nails over this. It's a damn shame the smarmy roommate and girlfriend aren't being charged with Murder One.

I understand that "invasion of privacy" falls under the Sex Crime laws in New Jersey. Does that mean if the perps are convicted they'll have to register as sex offenders when the get out of jail?

#588 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 11:48 AM:

That would seem fitting. Unfortunately, I do not think a Murder One charge could be made to stand up in court (it would be nice, but I am doubtful).

That said, I am disgusted that they are respectively out on fairly low bail and personal recognizance respectively.

#589 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 12:00 PM:

Lori Coulson@588: I think first-degree murder is unsupportable. I think it'd be impossible to prove that they intended to kill him (I'm reasonably certain they didn't intend to, and think it's likely that it never even crossed their mind). (I think "depraved indifference" is a more accurate statement of Dharun Ravi's mindset. It should have crossed his mind that making something that private public could have severe consequences.)

The news is frustratingly thin on details. Has anybody seen a convincing claim that Tyler Clementi either was, or was not, "out" on campus? Outing him as gay seems to meet most hate crime requirements. There's also the question of the other participant, though his name seems to have been kept out of it so far (I wonder if he's under 18? That might explain it).

#590 ::: Carrie S. sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 12:16 PM:

I think it's a hate crime whether he was out or not; being out on campus is not the same as being out to the entirety of the Internet.

I wonder if his scumbag roomie would have done this if Tyler'd been straight. I tend to doubt it (though for some people it's just a matter of "eh-heh, secks, heh), but even if he had I think Tyler would have been less likely to feel he had no option but to kill himself.

#591 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 12:34 PM:

What those people did to that Rutger's fellow freshman is inhuman. Why are so many humans really inhumans?

Love, c.

#592 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 12:37 PM:

I am well aware that the DA in this case cannot file a Murder One charge -- but what this pair did drove a fine young man to despair and ultimately death by his own hand. By my lights those actions constitute murder, and since this wasn't the first time the roommate had fired up the webcam, I say it shows some premeditation.

Ok, Ok, you're going to tell me the roomie and GF "just wanted to embarrass" Clementi. Since when did showing people in a consensual sex act without their knowledge and agreement become an acceptable parlor sport?

Seems to me there might be several more charges that the DA can file beyond "invasion of privacy" but I don't know enough about New Jersey's laws to say.

#593 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 12:42 PM:

Paula Leiberman 585:
another book that gets Boston geography wrong is The Family Trade by Charles Stross, which places a biotech lab on Somerville Avenue.

#594 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 12:43 PM:

Links to samples:

Jennifer Estep:

Ilona Andrews

#595 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 12:45 PM:

I agree that being "out" on campus isn't the same as being "out" everywhere (though in fact it's getting harder and harder to run away from your past). I don't think that Tyler having been out (if he was) would be a good defense against this being a hate crime. Though that depends on the details of that state's hate crime laws to a large extent.

I wouldn't want to bet what the roomie would have done if it'd been a girl in there with Tyler. The stuff quoted from him is so small I can't get any idea what he thought he was doing.

I absolutely agree that the chances of this bad an outcome are significantly smaller if it had been a heterosexual encounter.

There's an interesting principle of law that may apply here. A criminal must take his victim "as he finds them"; which is to say, he can say all he wants "I didn't know he was allergic to peanuts!", but you can convict him of manslaughter for sure and probably some of the lower grades of murder anyway. That ignorance isn't a defense. (It's a defense against premeditation; if he in fact didn't know, then he couldn't have premeditated the result.)

Also, I'm still wondering about the OTHER victim, name never mentioned. The careful lack of name in all reports makes me wonder if he was under 18. If he's under 18, I believe the prosecutors have the child porn laws at their disposal to throw at the perps here. While I think some of those laws are crazy, they're there, and using them to increase the consequences for a really scummy bit of behavior that resulted in a death wouldn't bother me all that much.

#596 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 01:00 PM:

Lori Coulson@593: What I'm going to argue is that there are many gradations between "acceptable parlor sport" and "premeditated murder".

Violating people's sexual privacy to a wide audience is not an acceptable parlor sport in my world.

The charges that have been filed already are felony charges. A felony conviction on your record is VERY serious; it blocks you from ever owning firearms, having a seat on the stock exchange, and a large number of employment options. (And voting, in many states even after you've served your full time including probation.)

Seems like a manslaughter charge is perfectly possible. A murder charge is harder, though I can construct some arguments. I'm not a lawyer so I have no idea if they're the sort of arguments that work; we're definitely poking around the edges when we get to murder for this case.

The body was only found and identified quite recently, perhaps the prosecutors needed that (or legal recognition that Tyler was dead by suicide in some form) to go for higher charges, and they will now do so.

Let's set aside the entirely separate argument about whether the penalties in law for various crimes are suitable.

#597 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 01:04 PM:

ddb @596:

I agree with you about the OTHER victim, I've been worried sick about him as well. I hadn't thought it through as to why his identity was being withheld from publication.

If he was a minor...ooofff.

#598 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 01:15 PM:

#594 Erik
Having Amtrak/rail connection between South Station and North Station is worse...

And then there's a Mary Janice Davidson series which would work set in the 1970s maybe, the plot base is highly obsolete, and the announcement that Filene's would cease to exist in Massachusetts occurred many months before the publication of the novel, following months of rumors that was going to happen(the ones near once-Jordan-Marsh-stores-converted into (PTUI!) Macy's, got closed--there is a giant years-old hole in the ground where the flagship Filene's building once stood in Boston-MAJOR PTUI! and the damned developer is spiting everyone with it, and the ones not near stinking Macy's got converted into Macy's. I do not shop in Macy's. If I want to buy from a Noo Yourk Sittie brand name store in Massachusetts, I'll go to Bloomingdales, which didn't take over a New England chain and proceed to close stores and fire workers and the ones it didn't close and workers it didn't unemploy, make cogs in Noo Yourk Sitty Branding imperialism....)

A few minutes of research would have prevented the Filene's gaffe, by checking with someone in the area or otherwise cognizant of shopping in Boston, befoe the manscript got delivered to the publisher, or anytime before finalization of the file or plates for printing--a global replacing changing "Filene's" to "Macy's" on a manuscript file would have taken a minute or two...

As for the plot failure, that's NOT fixable. The conditions the plot depends on haven't existed in Boston in decades, changed by billions of dollars and the highest sewer and water bills in the country. It's as credible as setting a story in contemporary New York ignoring the effects of 9/11.

#599 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 01:18 PM:

Lori, #593: I'm fairly sure, given the nature of what was broadcast, that there would be some applicable porn charges. That the prosecutor isn't going for them raises my eyebrow.

#600 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 01:20 PM:

I'm reluctant to consider these people "inhumans", though I agree entirely that what they are accused of is inhumane.

Mostly, I'm really creeped out by the impulse, even in words, to vote people off of the island because of what they've done*. Because there are always others who consider Clementi the inhuman in this story.

Open that door, and you really don't like who might walk in.

(For the avoidance of doubt, this is not me speaking ex cathedra; this is my private view and not a matter in which I would dream of using my moderatorial powers.)

* assuming arguendo that they are guilty of the allegations as I have heard them. Innocent until proven guilty is another of my pet peeves, once we're talking criminal charges filed.

#601 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 01:25 PM:

It's the same sort of abuse and harassment in its effects as public school bully victims suicide over. The bullies enjoy abusing their victims and the misery they inflict, until and unless misery and dire punishment descend directly onto them.

Old bad jokes about "inless" actions applies, where it's painless for the -perpetrator- but not the victim...

"Ha, ha, only kidding!" is not friendly if "jokes" only go one way....

#602 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 01:45 PM:

In re the city geography gotten wrong in books subthread, Jim Butcher just frustrates me. Because for a while there it looked like he was doing it WELL! He used the right names for the expressways, he referenced specific neighborhoods with the right sorts of inhabitants ... and then, several books in, he committed two ridiculous howlers that totally jolted me out. I have to keep reciting, "Alternate universe, alternate universe!" to myself while reading now, like I do when watching Enterprise.

Thing The First, more minor: He GOT RIGHT the abandoned terminal at O'Hare, then had his protag leave the airport by highway, drive like two exits, get off, and suddenly be in a vibrant Puerto Rican neighborhood that is obviously Humboldt Park. I'm sorry, what? No. The entire epi-O'Hare area is very different than that.

Thing The Second, and maybe I only care because my mom's a geologist and I was maybe going to be an architect when I grew up: Jim's entire house is impossible. If it's where he describes it being, there is no way it could be (a) a frame-built Victorian-era old house with (b) a limestone bedrock basement with dug sub-basement. No. There is no limestone bedrock within easy digging distance of the surface ANYWHERE on the north side of the city until you get out to, like, GLENVIEW, and that's almost in Wisconsin. We're built on sludge, that's just how it is. On the plus side, it means we never have to worry about radon in our basements (unless they were built in a particular 5-year span of the 50s when we were importing radon-laden gravel for laying foundations -- Oops). But it also means basements are always concrete. And often wet. No sub-dungeon workspace for you, Harry Dresden, sorry.

That's even leaving out the frame-built house being impossible because of the post-Fire laws, because in theory it might be far ENOUGH north in the city to have been grandfathered in. So I forgave him that part.

Also, I adore the miniseries (it's on Netflix streaming).

#603 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 02:05 PM:

Bruce Cohen @584 - several of my relatives (aunts and cousins in the generation before mine) are librarians in various places around the country, and they all know of the Multnomah Country library system, and ooh and ahh when I discuss it. I am particularly fond of the JSTOR access, myself.

#604 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 02:08 PM:

abi@601: I think "what they've done" is the best possible reason to vote people off the island (the other category being "what they are", a much less good reason). I'm not sure "best possible" rises to the level of "good enough", though, so we may not disagree too much.

And just sending them to jail is a form of voting them off the island; it's physically separating them from society on the grounds that they're bad for society.

I do think jail time is appropriate here.

(Er; as appropriate as it ever is.)

Digression on treatment of criminals --

The options that I see available to society to deal with "wrong-doers" are drastically unsatisfactory. Every option I know about is inhumane, an invitation for abuse, ineffective, easily gamed, or in some other way not very good (they're often bad in multiple ways from that list, in fact). (The way I've phrased the drawbacks on many of these sounds rather flip. I am, nonetheless, serious that these things are all unsatisfactory, for the reasons listed and I'm sure many others that didn't occur to me.)

Doing nothing is easy and cheap. It may not be that much less effective than other things we've used. But society is supposed to protect us from criminals, not wait for us to kill them ourselves.

Killing them is not popular among civilized people, and tends to invoke extensive and expensive legal fights (partly due to anti-death-penalty activists invoking every delaying tactic). It's embarrassing to execute the wrong person. Many crimes don't merit execution by most people's standards. It's politically fraught.

Fines don't seem an adequate response to violence against people or massive frauds, and many of the people who commit crimes are broke and couldn't pay. The "pain" of a fine varies tremendously depending on circumstances.

Prison is expensive, tends to be inhumane (and some people see that as a feature, but I see that as a shame on society), and serves as a graduate school for criminal behavior. People frequently come out worse than they went in.

Rehabilitation doesn't have too good a record, possibly due to funding levels. By the time people get an actual long jail sentence, they've mostly been committing crimes for many years, and it's gotten to be a habit. It's hard to tell reliably when someone has been made unlikely to commit another crime, and it's embarrassing to have a recently-released "rehabilitated" person commit another crime right away.

Hypothetical "enhanced rehabilitation" using psychotropic drugs and not-yet-real advanced technology is getting solidly into the "dystopian nightmare" category (see A Clockwork Orange).

Corporal punishment goes against "cruel and unusual" bans and "torture" bans. And crime wasn't notably lower when it was frequently used (see early Australia for example).

Which leaves us...what, exactly? Muddling through with under-funded not very satisfactory methods, I think. That seems to be where we are, anyway.

#605 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 02:16 PM:

ddb @605:

For voting them off the island read calling them no longer human.

I agree that we need to remove certain people from society for the safety of society. I agree that we need to find ways to punish what we as a society agree are crimes of a sufficient magnitude. (I also agree that we—particularly but not exclusively we Americans—don't generally do a very good job of either punishing said people or figuring out what to do afterward.)

But no matter what we do with them, they're humans. What made me deeply uncomfortable was the use of "inhumans" about the two (alleged) perpetrators in this story.

I may be over-sensitive on this issue. But I care deeply about words, and about people, and about how what we do with words affects what happens to people.

#606 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 02:17 PM:

ddb@596: The careful lack of name in all reports makes me wonder if he was under 18.

You're welcome to wonder, but I don't see anything unusual about responsible news media being careful not to out someone. Given that this is a story about a man who committed suicide after being outed, I'd be amazed if they published the other victim's name.

#607 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 03:33 PM:

abi #601

What alternative do you have to voting them off the island (in the sense, as David D-B points out of sending the self-serving so-and-sos to prison)? The immediate instinct, to administer a sound beating, would be wrong, and would teach them nothing, however good it might make the friends and survivors of young Mr Clementi feel.

The reality is that Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei have to be tried for the offenses of which they are accused. If they are found guilty, their punishments amount to their being cast out of normal human society for a period of time. That is, as David says, being voted off the island.

#608 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 03:42 PM:

Fragano @608:

Per me @606, that's not what I meant about "being voted off the island." I was reacting, extremely badly, to the use of "inhumans" in comment 592.

#609 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 03:43 PM:

Actually, my immediate instinct was to heave one or both of them (depending on the degree of Molly's involvement) off the George Washington Bridge. But I try not to act on impulses like that.

#610 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 03:47 PM:

abi #609: I take your point, and I'm especially uncomfortable about words like "inhumans" being thrown around at people of colour.

#611 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 03:50 PM:

Lila@610: "My object all sublime / I will achieve in time / To make the punishment fit the crime, /
The punishment fit the crime."

I share the instinct. I share your (apparent) conclusion that it's not a good idea to let this instinct loose. (And yes, exactly how involved Molly is is unclear to me as well, and that's important.)

#612 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 04:02 PM:

abi@606: Certainly the history of declaring people "not human" is not a pleasant one.

You'll find a lot of people who put felons in the "not human" category, though.

There's a lot to be said for remembering that each of us IS to some degree at risk for doing these horrible things; they're within the range of human behavior.

There are crimes I can imagine myself committing -- stealing large amounts of money, hitting somebody in a rage, killing somebody in not-quite-self-defense (say when they're retreating, no longer threatening me). I've avoided them so far, and will continue to try. But the point is, people up for doing these things always remind me that it's something I could do if I got careless at the wrong moment. I have a certain sympathy, but simultaneously a certain smugness (I've managed not to do this!).

There are crimes I can't imagine myself ever committing -- long-term sexual abuse of a child, say. Or streaming video of my roommate's sexual encounter on the internet (except perhaps as revenge for actions on that level by my roommate). When people are up for these, my reaction is more "How the hell can people do that kind of shit?" Doesn't leave me feeling very empathetic.

(These self-images are no doubt not perfectly accurate. I'm also hoping to avoid finding out what I actually do at the extremes.)

#613 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 04:08 PM:

ddb @ 605:
But society is supposed to protect us from criminals, not wait for us to kill them ourselves.

I agree with this, but I know an awful lot of USians who don't (especially various flavors of [Ll]ibertarian/objectivist). That's one of the problems of this country right now: we have no real agreement on what the purpose of our "Justice System" should be, or how it should work.

Most of the problems you mention are the result, I think, of a system that was originally designed purely as a means of societal revenge, that doesn't do anything else well. And revenge is a lousy way to prevent future crime, unless it's an automatic death sentence with no appeal, or automatic transportation to a faraway penal colony. The British tried that and it sort of worked until they'd filled up Australia as much as it was willing to accept (although I really doubt the native Australian indigenous people would agree that it was a desirable solution).

On the other hand, the US penal system is explicitly not designed to deal with whole classes of serious crime: steal a dollar and you will probably do serious time; steal a trillion and you'll get a loan from the government. And the idea of dealing with crimes against gays is relatively new; in some places even today you get a pass for that sort of crime.

#614 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 04:22 PM:

abi @ 606: "For voting them off the island read calling them no longer human."

I am constantly irked by the tendency to define "human" as some subset of the range and diversity of humanity we actually observe. Humanity covers the entire range from scum to saint--it is all ours. We invented these words to describe ourselves.

Calling people inhuman allows us to pretend that they are nothing like us and that we will never be like them, both of which are dangerous things to assume.

#615 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 04:24 PM:

Bruce Cohen@614: And in fact the police specifically don't much protect us, except for a slight effect from removing some of the worst actors from the pool (and that's after the fact). The Supreme Court has even decided that they have no specific obligation to protect us (this was one of those "drove by one person needing help on the way to another" situations, and the court clearly made the right decision).

Far too much of our society is red-hot for retribution. This is one of the things we really need to find ways to work on (it's a long-term project). One thing that would help, though, is alternatives that clearly worked better.

I'm rather sympathetic to intended victims defending themselves, up through use of deadly force when appropriate, and have taught Minnesota carry-permit classes. Defending yourself is always better than hoping somebody else will show up in time to defend you. But, when doing such things, and most especially when preparing to employ deadly force, it's important to think about one's own ethical standards, and the laws of your state. Um, let me revise that; it's important to have thought about those things. (My ethical standards are reasonably in accord with the laws of my state, which makes things easier for me.) The Minnesota carry permit courses I taught spent most of their time trying to get across the laws on deadly force, and some idea of the scope of consequences if you got it wrong. And a lot on how to deal with police (it's kind of fun explaining to suburban white guys how the policeman who comes across him holding a gun standing by a body mostly won't assume he's the good guy; I think it opens some eyes).

#616 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 04:25 PM:

To be fair, I suspect that "inhumans" was hyperbole rather than a serious recategorization; I don't want to end up dogpiling here.

I just happen to be quite wildly allergic to anything in that semantic neighborhood.

#617 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 04:32 PM:

abi @617:

Is it possible that the Original Poster meant "inhumane" rather than "inhumans?"

I think the intent was to indicate lack of empathy rather than not being human.

#618 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 04:44 PM:

Lori @618:

It's possible, but I generally assume that people know how to type, use the preview stage, and retract/correct in a subsequent comment if they meant something other than what they said. Having said that, I suspect it was an emotional rather than an intellectual reaction, which is one of the reasons I've been referring to it in the particular and slightly evasive way I have been.

But as I said, I have a powerful allergy in this area. These are words that matter, that have historically been used badly and with devastating effects. I think it's important to highlight it, and push back, when people's humanity gets called into question, even for the purposes of rhetoric or in a purely emotional context.

#619 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 04:56 PM:

Fair enough. I have a horrible habit of transposing letters when I type, and I don't always catch those errors (even on preview...sigh).

#620 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 05:57 PM:

ddb: That so many equate violating a law with leaving the commonality of humanity is an indictment, not a defense. It is demonstrable that this is a major cause of a host of ills; all of which lead to recidivism, and a larger class of people who end up with crime as a career. Good luck getting a decent job as a felon. Good luck not having people make jokes about, "cell mates named Bubba" (and I can already hear the people who are sniggering at the idea of this guy being convicted, and then raped).

The problem is too much other of people who, but for the grace of god, might be us. There are a lot of felonies, I very much misdoubt most of us have managed to avoid committing only one.

There are models of incarceration which work better (the Missouri Model, if memory serves), but they don't "pay", in that they cost more than just locking people up and leaving them to fester in frustration. Access to families would help; but we NIMBY our prisons, so we can't I have a friend, his son spent 15 years in prison for 2nd degree murder, it was a eight hour drive to get to him. Even if people could have moved, the surrouding area had no jobs (save the prison) to support them.

Conjugal visits would help. Vocational training and funding of things like the Alternatives to Violence Project would help.

Real work when they get out would help.

A whole lot of things would help (some of them as preventative Reducing the incentives to crime would help [be it a guaranteed minimum income, or a WPA, or better social safety nets].. None of them are on the table, so long as the society writes them off the moment the gavel comes down., and even more, so long as large swathes are presumptively expected to end up in prison, because, "that's how those people are).

But none of that is on the table, because criminals immediately become, "other" and not quite human.

#621 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 06:00 PM:

I'm back, and I see the discussion has progressed. I heard the same thing after Matthew Shepard was murdered, and certainly people call e.g. the Nazis out of humanity.

I think this is the result of an urge to distance ourselves as much as possible from the perpetrators of monstrous crimes (like the Nazis or the young men who killed Matthew Shepard) or merely grotesque ones that had monstrous results (like the two young people who tormented Tyler Clementi). We create a pseudo-species and assign them to it, in order to reassure ourselves that WE could never do such terrible things.

The uncomfortable truth is: yes, we could. If we were taught to hate from an early age, if we were young and ignorant and bigoted, we could do terrible things. There but for the grace of $DIETY, parents, teachers, enlightened peers, lots of good books, etc., go we.

And that, in turn, is a huge part of why calling them inhuman is such a bad idea. We have to FIGHT those tendencies in ourselves, not ignore them. I've often said that it's a good thing I don't have pyrokinesis, or a lot of not-very-evil people would be burnt flesh.

[On reflection, I probably got that analysis here. I've made it part of my psyche, and it seems like the kind of thing the Fluorosphere would come up with.]

Tyler didn't have the support of the other people on his dorm floor. Here's a quote from him discussing it on the gay message board:

other people have commented on [the roommate's] profile with things like "how did you manage to go back in there?" "are you ok?" and the fact that the people he was with saw my making out with a guy as the scandal whereas i mean come on...he was SPYING ON they see nothing wrong with this?
A bunch of people on there suggested breaking the roommate's webcam or other ways of taking vengeance in order to make him stop. Tyler's response was:
and yah, revenge never ends well for me, as much as I would love to pour pink paint all over his stuff.....that would just let him win...
While this certainly indicates to me that Tyler was a fine young man (thus making it hurt more), I wish he HAD poured pink paint on his roommate's stuff. Maybe he wouldn't have felt so powerless.

I do hope the roommate does jail time, though the weak response thus far from prosecutors doesn't fill me with confidence.

A couple of other things:

  1. Heard a woman who studies the college experience of GLBTQ youth on the radio. She talked about the surprising trend of young people who were out in high school going back in the closet in college, which would have been unheard of in my day. You can guess what I think is behind this trend.
  2. Of course, the racists are coming out of the woodwork and using terrible anti-Indian slurs against the male perp here, some of which I've never heard before, and the usual anti-Chinese slurs against the female. This is depressing. These people just wait for any lame excuse for an excuse, don't they? I bet NOT ONE of them would have helped Tyler if he came to them for support.
Times like this, I wish I weren't human. Homo saps disgust me sometimes.

#623 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 06:04 PM:

Argh, I screwed up the blockquoting in that, and didn't notice on preview. "and the fact that the people he was with saw my making out with a guy as the scandal whereas i mean come on...he was SPYING ON they see nothing wrong with this?" is part of the quote from Tyler.

Any chance of fixing it? I promise to preview more carefully.

#624 ::: Bombie ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 06:06 PM:

Eric 534, Xopher 558

re: google translate latin

from A rabbit with nasty, pointy teeth
to Sordidis leporem, dentibus pointy
back to Filthy garments, the hare, and pointy teeth

and Mr Gorbatsjov, tear down that wall!
to Mr Gorbatsjov, ut demolirer paries
back to Mr. Gorbatsjov, so that thou shalt bring forth to throw down

and many, many more.. Ooooh indeed!

I've found that punctuation has an absurdly large impact on the translations (in either way). I wonder why.

#625 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 06:16 PM:

Xopher: When I saw the actual tweet, I don't think it was, prima facie, an attack on gay men. Having been in a lot of barracks conversations, I can say there is a large subset of the african-american male population, who don't think performing oral sex is acceptable.

It's gross, or unmanly, or unclean, etc. I do think, having read it, that's the group he was talking about.

Doesn't change the rest of his history, but that single incident isn't in the black mark column.

It's not the way I'd have handled it, but that's me, not him.

#626 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 06:16 PM:

Terry Karney@621: People's attitudes are a fact, though; it's our starting point. (Not an immovable fact; just a fact right now. We have to start from the current set of people on the planet.)

Also, I was pointing out to abi how throwing somebody in prison was closer to voting them out of the human race than it might at first look.

Otherwise, yes. All those things would help. Getting rid of the war on some drugs would help, too.

There's a feedback loop here. People use the very high recidivism rate of people sent to prison to argue that those people are hopelessly bad people. And use that to justify refusing to hire them for jobs or give them any other kind of help that would give them any alternative other than crime when they get out.

#627 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 06:20 PM:

Xopher@622: A form of "letting him win" that resulted in Tyler being alive and Dharun Ravi having a lot of stuff with pink paint on it doesn't seem that bad to me, either.

Yeah, I probably know roughly why you think people are going back into the closet when they go to college.

I really thought my generation had kicked off changes leading to some of this and lot of misogyny becoming largely historical, but we seem to be bouncing back. It's horrible.

#628 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 06:23 PM:

You and abi are speaking of, slightly, different things. I am commenting on how the overall attitude creates the things she is protesting.

I am doing my bit, small thought it is, to stop the feedback loop. This is an Overton Window issue, and if we want to fix the problems, we must first cast the beams from our own eyes.

Prison isn't exile, it's quarantine. This isn't telling Plato to leave town or be killed, it's saying, "hey, you have a problem, it means you aren't safe to have around right now."

What we do with them while they are quarantined matters, but seeing it as quarantine, a temporary state, while things get better, is far better than speaking of, "the debt to society", and asking about, "the victims' rights" (and that's a bloody lie, or white collar crooks, and theiving corporations would have to face real punishment, and actual restitution).

Prison is only "throwing them off the island," because we make it so.

#629 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 06:32 PM:

abi, I think the word that's really needed here is "uncivilized". How can any civilized person think it's okay to do something like that? That's still othering, I know, but at least it acknowledges the perps as human.

Unrelated: XKCD nails it again.

#630 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 06:40 PM:

Thanks for the fix to my blockquote.

#631 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 08:06 PM:

What this mess should bring home to all of us is just how deadly to civilization (and to some of its members) the impulse to "make other" people who are different from us in any way can be. If I say that Dharun Ravi is inhuman because he harassed his roommate for being gay, or that Osama bin Laden is inhuman because he helped plan the deaths of thousands of Americans, or that George Bush is inhuman because he ordered the deaths of thousands of Iraqi civilians to satisfy his own political and personal hungers, then I am saying that I or some other whom I do consider human has the right to hurt or kill that person in retribution for his inhuman deeds.

Since there's no objective standard for such judgements, it gets really easy to call for vengeance for just about any act that offends; simply cry "inhuman!" and all argument is silenced. That way lies lawlessness and the war of all against all, and the rule of might over right. Not the way I want the world to go at all.

So if we wish to keep the relatively peaceful world we've managed to create over the last few thousand years, we need to accept any member of the species homo sapiens as "human" and deal with acts, not imputed internal qualities. The issue isn't whether someone is human or not, civilized or not; the issue is whether that person committed, or attempted to commit, acts that are unacceptable in our society. And this especially includes acts committed against other people because they were judged to be "not human" or "not like us". Only if you don't judge people to be "other" can you hold them accountable for treating people that way themselves.

#632 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 09:19 PM:

I think Osama bin Laden is human. I think that fact is an indictment of the human race. I would be perfectly comfortable killing him myself, except that he might have valuable information that could save lives.

#633 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 09:38 PM:

Okay, I appreciate the nicety of not wanting to other people. At the same time, they are hurting us. They are driving our children to suicide. They are harming my tribe.

And they need to be stopped.

Within the rules, sure. And for me, those rules include nonviolence and working within the justice system, however questionably just it may be at a given time. But I'm really hearing a tone argument here, and I'm concerned about what I see as something of a derailment.

The sort of casual torture of vulnerable people that is displayed in so many of these bullying cases is a behavior that I categorically reject. I get to lose all respect for anyone who engages in it. I get to want justice. And I get to be angry if it looks like they're going to get away with a slap on the wrist. There's been enough of that sort of tolerance already.

But you know, what I really want is for people to start learning the damned lesson that bullying and hostility have real life consequences, without each damned group of kids having to learn it by driving one of their peers to death as an object lesson.

How can we as a culture even begin to think that that's even remotely, possibly, in any way, ever even a little bit okay???

#634 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 09:45 PM:

Xopher @ 633... I think Osama bin Laden is human. I think that fact is an indictment of the human race.

I'll have to disagree with you, Xopher. That's selling yourself short, for one thing. Also...

"You're an interesting species. An interesting mix. You're capable of such beautiful dreams, and such horrible nightmares. You feel so lost, so cut off, so alone, only you're not. See, in all our searching, the only thing we've found that makes the emptiness bearable, is each other. "
- 1997's "Contact"

#635 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 09:48 PM:

Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers), #584, we have two independent cities in a county and they share the library system. They keep talking about having to cut back -- close libraries, fire staff, shorten hours -- but I found out the city only pays $35/year for each person. I'm sure I'm not the only person willing to pay for my library access.

Lori Coulson, #593, four gay teenagers killed themselves within the last three weeks. The police are looking to file bias against the two bad people from Rutgers.

Erik Nelson, #594, Paula Lieberman, #599, erm, alternate universes rarely have the same buildings in the same place.

The WashPost is looking for a new pundit.

#636 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 09:56 PM:

#503 ::: shadowsong:

TA Pratt's Marla Mason novels are urban fantasy, and funny, scary, and intelligent. He's also edited _Sympathy for the Devil_, a collection of stories about the Devil (of various sorts) that I'm halfway through and enjoying a lot.

See also Rosemary Edghill's Bell, Book, and Murder-- pre-genre urban fantasy, with more mystery and less magic that most, set in the New York neo-pagan community. Wiseass narrator, though that may go without saying.

And for the other thread: Is Long Term Solitary Confinement Torture?.

#637 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 10:10 PM:

Serge, I meant that the human race is less good than it would otherwise be because OBL is human.

#638 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 10:47 PM:

I try to stay aware that all the people held up as inhuman monsters are human, and are doing things they think are okay. We're human; we have a great capacity to screw up. That doesn't make us monsters. I can screw up and still be human. I can also screw up, period, and I have to be aware of that. There is nothing in me that is not in the designated monsters that will prevent me, or them, from screwing up.

For 'screw up' you can also use 'create beauty' or 'do things'. We have a lot of potential. Sometimes it comes out in the wrong direction.

#639 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2010, 11:12 PM:

Hyperlocal news...

While ordering a small-press book at Barnes & Noble, fluorospherian made a face upon seeing a sign advertising the pre-order of a Dubya biography. Disgust was cleansed away upon being told by the clerk that the sign had been there for months, thus indicating good taste on the part of the local clientele.

#640 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2010, 12:19 AM:

Hyperlocal news headlines from CNN¹: Man Dines on Balcony; Cats Protest Sliding Door.

¹Cat News Network, of course.

#641 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2010, 12:31 AM:

Hyperlocal News: Local woman begins to regret thorough application of diatomaceous earth to carpets. Flea bites continue.

I find I resent that I have to be in charge of this. I'm okay with being an adult. I'm okay with cleaning up after myself, my cat, and occasionally my students depending on what job I have that day. I'm okay with rent and bills and budgeting.
This? I am tired of this. I want someone else to be responsible for deciding how much dust is too much and how much is not enough, when to give the cat more Frontline, and what procedures are most useful for flea-combing the cat.

#642 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2010, 12:43 AM:

Elliott at 603:

What threw me out of one of the Butcher books was when he had a big, noisy, light-producing magical event (vagueness to prevent spoilers) take place at Wrigley Field, specifically because it was "surrounded by acres of parking lots" and thus nobody would notice it. If he'd ever bothered to look at a Cubs game on the TV he'd have seen that the field is, in fact, overlooked by apartment buildings. As in, you can see the field from some of their windows. And you pay at least $20 to park on someone's lawn; the field is completely surrounded by apartments and businesses.

If he'd used the OTHER professional baseball park in the city, New Comiskey Park/US Cellular Field, he could have gotten away with it.


#643 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2010, 12:58 AM:

Cally Soukup @643: I'd forgotten that one! It was after I'd decided Harry lives in a bizarre alternate universe anyway, so I'd quit keeping score. :->

Wrigley. Surrounded by acres of parking lots. The owners only WISH ...

I'm told that Butcher did in fact spend some time (months rather than years) living in Chicago and has friends who still live here that he runs his geography past.

#644 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2010, 12:59 AM:

#626 Terry
I can say there is a large subset of the african-american male population, who don't think performing oral sex is acceptable.

I know of a case where such a fellow was shamed into it by his associates.

#636 Marilee
When someone is explicitly using Boston supposedly as is and not specifying alternate world topological and features and characteristics differences, the descriptions should have a feeling of authenticity.... Mark del Franco's Boston in his Connor Grey series has the explicit differences that the Big Dig and upscaling of the past 20 years, didn't happen. Nonetheless, key locations in the books -- Boston Common, Fort Point Channel, Beacon Hill, Castle Island, the Park Plaza Castle, etc., and many of the streets, are actual real places and sites.

It really sticks out when an author fails to do even minimal research for feeling of authenticity--there are pictures on the net. There are sites which are trivial to mention which are unique--ho many cities has a giant steaming teakettle as an ornament over the entrance to a store? The Boston waterfront, there's the New England Aquarium, there's the World Trade Center and the tour boats docked wharfside around it, the State House with its golden dome overlooking Boston Common, the swan boats in the Public Gardens in the summer, Community Boating on the Charles River, the Esplanade and the Pops concerts, particularly the July 4 one nationally broadcast as "Pops Goes the Fourth" every year, the galleries and restaurants on Newbury Street, Boston University, the Museum of Fine Arts, the First Church of Christian Science, Northeastern University, Emerson College, the Theater District, Chinatown, the North End, the South End, South Boston, Mass General Hospital, etc... at least mention a FEW such things and their actual locations, if nothing else that lead characters relatives/friends work at some specific Boston institituion the the area it in (one of the PNR/UF books has a character casually parked in downtown Boston? ROFLMAOSTC....

#645 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2010, 01:16 AM:

Xopher @ 633:
I think Osama bin Laden is human. I think that fact is an indictment of the human race. I would be perfectly comfortable killing him myself, except that he might have valuable information that could save lives.

I agree with all these statements (except that my reason for not wanting to kill him is that I don't think that creating martyrs is good strategy). Also, while he is an indictment of the human race, he's not the worst we've ever produced, and I don't think his evil outweighs the good we have from (picked randomly and presented in no particular order) Beethoven, Bodhidarma, Aung San Suu Kyi, Shakespeare, Kurosawa Akira, Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov, and so many other artists, peacemakers, and humanitarians.

#646 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2010, 01:30 AM:

Paula Lieberman @ 645:

I tend to give writers a lot of leeway on local geography because I know how easily I could screw it up if I were trying to describe some places where I've actually lived for awhile. I lived in the Boston area for almost 3 years (a year in Waltham and almost 2 living in Brighton and working in Cambridge), but it was 40 years ago, and I'm sure everything I remember is long gone. For that matter, I lived in Philadelphia for almost 20 years, before I lived in Boston, and I'm sure it's completely different (it certainly looks different in Michael Swanick's blog, which is as close as I get these days). I take a tour through some of my old haunts in Google Earth every once in awhile, but everything looks different.

Is the Combat Zone still there, next to Chinatown?

#647 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2010, 01:31 AM:

KayTei @ 634: "And they need to be stopped. Within the rules, sure."

But if they are not in your tribe and you do not recognize them as you, then it's very easy for the rules to become a hindrance, a footnote, to the greater goal of "They must be stopped," and then the rules get bent, and ignored, and eventually forgotten. Because when you're fighting Them and you know They Just Aren't Like Us Civilized Folk then why bother with the rules you'd insist on with civilized folk?

"But I'm really hearing a tone argument here, and I'm concerned about what I see as something of a derailment."

You're not, actually, no more than activists who insist on "people with disabilities" rather than "the disabled" are making a tone argument. It's an argument about what gets to be an essence.

"But you know, what I really want is for people to start learning the damned lesson that bullying and hostility have real life consequences, without each damned group of kids having to learn it by driving one of their peers to death as an object lesson."


#648 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2010, 01:59 AM:

Elliott Mason @ #603
It sounds (I'm a philistine, i haven't read much Butcher, then again I do not enjoy vampire stories) as if he's describing some Kansas Cith houses.

And since I know where he lives, while it's not appropriate to Chicago, sometimes it happens here.

I have a friend who used to own a house in the old Italian neighborhood real close to downtown on the east side of it. Her house had a severe yard, as in there was a retaining wall from the street to her back yard and the side of her house/foundation was visible if you looked over the railing into the backyard.

The house had two basements, the first let out into the backyard, the second went deeper. And between the main floor and the first basement was a sealed hatchway. When she had a gangsters and molls party, they broke the hatchway and found a second side of the first basement and passages going out into the street.

They also found some cement vats, a 50-lb container of brewers yeast from long ago and some bones that were identified later as pig and cow bones.

The next day the old Italian lady neighbor came over and told my friend that if she knew what was good for her, she's seal that hatch up and not go into that part of her basement again...

Another friend bought a house on a nearby corner and found his sub-basement filled nearly to the roof with old glass bottles... and when he excavated, found similar passageways.

KC weirdness.

#649 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2010, 01:59 AM:

Bruce (StM) The Combat Zone, like Times Square, has been cleaned out.

Kay Tei: It's not, as heresiarch said, a tone argument, and it's not a derailment. It's the essence of the problem. Those two kids at Rutgers decided the other one wasn't a real person. They didn't have to treat him with the respect they should have wanted for themselves.

Why? Because he was, "other". I don't want to expand the class of "other", I want to reduce it.

In which aim I think we are in agreement. I'm angry too. I'd be able to commit mayhem, but I don't want to give in to that, not even a little bit. They aren't inhuman. They are all too human.

But what is human changes. Tahitians don't commit human sacrifice anymore. Britons don't strangle people and toss them into pits. We don't (generally) countenance overt racism.

But it has to be worked at.

#650 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2010, 03:45 AM:

In her particles, Teresa links to the 'It Gets Better' videos various celebs have been doing in response to the number of high schoolers committing suicide due to homophobic bullying. Unfortunately, vile scum have discovered these and started posting their own 'burn in hell' videos in response:

There are moments when I despair for my species.

#651 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2010, 04:11 AM:

#647 Bruce
There almost seems to be a competition in UF/PNR, though, for "least detail and least accuracy/greatest lack of local color, siting a book supposedly in Boston." There's also a recent P. C. Cast novel of that ilk, too. The Davidson book reflects again Boston decades ago. The other three, have Generic Urban Setting, claimed to be Boston. One of them actually mentions Watertown and such in the maybe a dozen specific details it gives for names/locations--but one does NOT go to Watertown on lunch break, and drive back into downtown Boston going back to work for the rest of the day, as one example of "huh?!"

#652 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2010, 06:28 AM:

KayTei @634:

But I'm really hearing a tone argument here, and I'm concerned about what I see as something of a derailment.

I think that others have touched on the reason this is not a tone argument. And really, it's not. Personally, I think that being angry enough to spit nails is an appropriate reaction to this situation. But calling people, even in the throes of that anger, being part of the problem.

(Hypothetical example, [redacted. On consideration, this is not likely to be a fruitful avenue to pursue, even with all the care in the world about phrasing. -- AS])

Now, it may seem like a derail in that the discussion is no longer about how infuriating and heart-sickening it is that a young man was made so wretched that he took his own life. But that's an artifact of the culture on Making Light. We're all in agreement about how awful Tyler Clementi's death is, and discussion here tends to be about things we don't all agree on.

#653 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2010, 08:14 AM:

#651 ::: Rob Hansen:

I notice that guy doesn't seem to be aware of Christian rules against suicide.

#654 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2010, 08:42 AM:

Hyperlocal news...

Man wakes up and finds resident cats and new cat within sight of each other in the same room. No spitting or hissing heard. Man evaluates situation as progress.

#655 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2010, 09:11 AM:

Nancy, 654: AFAICT, the rules against suicide are remembered only by Catholics. The Christianists certainly don't care. They think God is hate--do you really think they're going to worry about driving someone to despair?

#656 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2010, 09:18 AM:

Serge @ 655 ...
Man wakes up and finds resident cats and new cat within sight of each other in the same room. No spitting or hissing heard. Man evaluates situation as progress.

Woo! I, OTOH, can hear the cat-alarms going off...

#657 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2010, 10:12 AM:

TexAnne #656: I think the Eastern Orthodox are also pretty strict on suicide too.

What I'm finding interesting is that I haven't seen any of the usual conservative talking heads say anything about the Tyler Clementi case. I wonder why?

#658 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2010, 10:26 AM:

Just anecdotal here, but it's not all bad out there for gay teens. I was talking to my daughter about the Clementi tragedy. She's very active in the campus LGBTF club. Of her friends in the club, only one has reported a problem here, when someone wrote "fag" on his dorm room door. That has been the extent of it, and this is in the heart of the reddest state in the country. (Of course, the kids in LGBTF are somewhat self-selected -- it's the ones who don't even feel safe coming out far enough to join that I worry about. And Norman is that small blue dot that mars the perfect redness of Oklahoma...)

#659 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2010, 10:42 AM:

TexAnne @ 656... Ever seen Charles Laughton's "Night of the Hunter"? It's an interesting contrast in religious views, with Robert Mitchum's character fueled by hate, and Lilian Gish's the real deal.

#660 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2010, 11:27 AM:

I think that religions that punish suicides in the afterlife are significantly lacking in compassion.

#661 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2010, 11:35 AM:

Open-threadiness of a slightly commercial nature: Karen G. Anderson, with whom I have the great pleasure to live, has just gotten her first book published! It's an e-book on the basics of iPhones, called, appropriately enough, Take Control of iPhone Basics, and proofing/copyediting it has changed me away from not wanting such a phone to thinking they're pretty cool. It's officially being launched Monday, but they've actually got everything ready for selling it now -- a soft launch. And I'm helping her spread the word about it in advance of the general release.

#662 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2010, 11:35 AM:

#661 ::: Earl Cooley III:

I agree, but I suspect it's a necessary feature of religions with a vividly imagined Heaven.

And in re that nasty video-- that guy didn't think Tyler Clementi was hounded to death, he thinks Clementi committed suicide over being gay. It's a completely closed, no compassion, no responsibility way of looking at the situation.

#663 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2010, 11:49 AM:

Nancy Lebovitz #663: Fundies have compassion only for people like themselves. It goes with the lack of empathy.

I once wasted a portion of my life arguing with a white fundamentalist whose only perceptions of black people was those who were humble and those who were getting handouts. I fell in the handout category because I persistently refused to be humble. Humility was the only virtue he could attribute to black people that gave them any worth in his eyes.

I'm amazed, in the whole Tyler Clementi affair, at the amount of decency that I've seen exhibited by all sorts of people since the young man died. If only a small part of it could have gone his way while he was alive.

#664 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2010, 02:27 PM:

Fragano @ 664... I guess he had not seen anything more recent than movies featuring Steppin Fetchit, which means he missed out on the likes of Sidney Poitier and James Earl Jones and Richard Roundtree and Woody Strode and Pam Grier and...

#665 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2010, 02:41 PM:

Lee @630, what with history being what it is, late 19th/early 20th century mainstream attitudes and their remnants and all that, I don't think that it's a good idea to call the culprits in this case "uncivilized".

#666 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2010, 04:10 PM:

Raphael, 666: I see your point about not calling people of color "uncivilized." We also know that abused people often act in abusive ways. We may be sympathetic to the idea that the accused are probably victims of bullying themselves, while at the same time being angry that they failed to empathize with their victim. I deeply regret that they grew up in a racist society, but that does not excuse homophobia.

(Wow, I hope that came out right. Please tell me if it didn't.)

#667 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2010, 04:49 PM:

Oh- sorry if my post came across as supporting or excusing them or their actions.

#668 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2010, 04:59 PM:

Fragano #664:

"I'm amazed, in the whole Tyler Clementi affair, at the amount of decency that I've seen exhibited by all sorts of people since the young man died. If only a small part of it could have gone his way while he was alive."

Not surprised by the outpouring of decency (I like to think better of our species), but I think the challenge is getting the comfort, compassion & support to those most in need. Especially those so isolated & fearful that they don't let on how much they are suffering.

#669 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2010, 06:01 PM:

Delayed Hyperlocal News, CNN* variety: This morning, when I entered the guest room to feed the foster cat and kittens, Mom Cat approached me. Granted, she was hissing repeatedly at me, but she insisted on sniffing my hand. At first, I thought she wanted to sniff the spoon, which she did (and tried to bite it once), but then she craned her neck over the spoon at my hand. She sniffed and hissed at me, then backed off.


The kittens, of course, ignored Mom to play with each other and attack my feet.

*Cat News Network

#670 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2010, 07:23 PM:

any Amontillado?

#671 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2010, 07:28 PM:

Extreme Close Up of Italian Masters. It's a very high resolution image gallery of paintings by e.g. da Vinci, Botticelli, Caravaggio etc. that's zoomable.

#672 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2010, 07:35 PM:

Soon Lee #669: What surprises me is how many people at Rutgers have spoken up for him after his death. If they'd done so while he was alive, I think it would have made a huge difference.

#673 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2010, 07:54 PM:

Tyler didn't let on how troubled he was, even on the gay forum where he discussed the incident in some detail.

I realize, with some shame, that I really have no compassion at all in my heart for the perps in this case. I feel certain it will come at some point, but right now my feelings are closer to "die in a fire" than "let them see the error of their ways and become productive members of society."

#674 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2010, 09:27 PM:

My first reaction, when I heard about this (before I heard the victim's name, or about his orientation) was 'What was the guy thinking when he turned on a webcam and broadcast his roommate's activities to the world? Has it ever occurred to him that it could happen to him just as easily?'

(A lot of people don't notice the existence, never mind the reactions, of the people around them as they publicly discuss things that should be private. Maybe it leads to this?)

#675 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2010, 09:36 PM:

Paula Lieberman, #645, you didn't read the first book closely enough. There are other items that are different from our world that make it obvious that the place we meet Miriam is not our world.

#676 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2010, 09:50 PM:

One of my favorite 'not quite where we thought we were' moments in in Stealing the Elf-King's Rose, where they travel through an alternate Manhattan (in a universe where the ethical constant is a bit less than it maybe should be), look south toward the harbor, and discover there are two towers missing from the view.

#677 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2010, 11:23 PM:

All of these suicide stories are breaking my heart. My (gay) college roommate reminds me that the friends and family Clementi he had before he went to Rutgers bear much of the responsibility for making him believe his life as a gay man would be unsupported and hated.

#678 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2010, 11:44 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz: It doesn't change the foulness of the person who made the video Joe is talking about, but he's abusing the memory of someone who isn't Clementi.

He's no less wrong for all that, but I don't know, from the joemygod post (and I refuse to add to his ticker on YouTube), what he thinks as the cause for Clementi.

I am certain he is quietly gleeful that the, "unrepentant" is suffering; be it true or not (and, as one might imagine, I don't think it can be true).

Assuming, arguendo, that a Just God, of his stripe exists, that jerk is going to end up with the goats; for lacking the love and compassion God actually demands in the Testaments, New and Old.

#679 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2010, 12:04 AM:

Raphael, #666: Call this white privilege if you want, but I literally did not get what you were objecting to until I read Texanne's response. The culprits were Americans, no matter what their ethnic heritage. They were surely raised better than that. Their parents must be bitterly ashamed.

#680 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2010, 04:11 AM:

Just a brief note that I'm not ignoring people, and I appreciate the responses to my comment and understand where they are coming from.

But I've had an absolutely hellacious weekend so far, and I am regretfully going to have to bail out of this discussion this time. Under other circumstances, there are a few different directions I'd like to explore, but I just can't right now.

#681 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2010, 05:53 AM:

KayTei @681:

Perhaps we can come back to it later. But in any case, I'm sorry your weekend is so bad.

#682 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2010, 10:03 AM:

What an awful story.

I don't understand the law very well; is suicide something you can be held responsible for in the context of manslaughter, in a case like this? I mean, I get the normal uses of negligence leading to death and the charges surrounding that, but I've never heard that applied to suicide before. (The examples I've heard of always involve something happening to the victim--they get hit by the car or shot by the carelessly-handled gun or die being "treated" by some quack who doesn't know what he's doing.

I would not like to see a prosecutor stretch the law to nail these guys on the basis of how much media attention the case has gathered--that's something that's already much too common in this country.

And the two alleged perps are fully human. Uncivilized isn't exactly wrong, though it still has a flavor of othering to me. Not because of the racial issues, but because it sort of implies "there was something fundamentally wrong and different about these people that led them to this evil behavior." This wasn't something that came from a lack of acculturation within the US, or from having grown up in some foreign culture, I don't think[1]. It looks like something that could as easily have happened (and that has parallels) all over the US.

[1] As opposed to, say, honor killing your sister for having sex outside marriage. That wouldn't be so much uncivilized as other-civilized--following rules of a different civilization that we don't accept at all here.

#683 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2010, 10:25 AM:

Like being one of the GOP's rulers?

#684 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2010, 10:44 AM:

albatross @ 683, perhaps you're right about uncivilized. I do not think it's too much of a stretch to call this behavior sociopathic, but then, how much of the population becoming this flavor of sociopathic negates it as a 'diagnosis' and makes it merely a component of culture?

Excuse me. Must go lose my breakfast now.

#685 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2010, 12:24 PM:

Righteous anger from Dan Savage to a nitwit who doesn't get it:

#686 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2010, 01:01 PM:

in other news: Germany Pays Off Versailles Debts

I seem to recall this puts them in the company of Finland as the only countries to pay off their costs from WW1, to the US (though is, perhaps a trifle distorted, since Germany ordered to pay off a lot of other people's costs).

Finland did it while the US was at war with them.

#687 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2010, 01:17 PM:

re 686: Both a "no true Scotsman" argument, and a really solid takedown. I know that feeling of indignation. I can see the way it flows onto the page.

I don't think I would make some of those generalisations, but I don't fault him for them.

#688 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2010, 06:33 PM:

This is a fairly amazing piece of work; several Donald Duck cartoons and a mess of Glenn Beck rants expertly edited into a coherent story:

Right Wing Radio Duck

#689 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2010, 08:06 PM:

This would be an outstanding parody site. Sadly, it's serious.

#690 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2010, 10:28 PM:

Today in church our Lesbian priest was completely on fire about, among other things, how difficult it is to have faith in a world where a bright young gay man leaps to his death after having his privacy violated—and how important it is that we go on anyway. Best sermon I've heard in years. She's quite a word weaver, that one.

Also, during the Prayers of the People the Rector lifted up Tyler Clementi by name, saying he was "a young man who was not allowed to be the person You created him to be," and prayed for everyone involved, including the perp(s). He's a better man than I am.

#691 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 01:04 AM:

Xopher: You are the best Xopher you can be.

I can't speak for you, only to you; that's a pretty good man, in my book.

#692 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 03:36 AM:

Lee @ 690: Oh! Oh dear... Sad, to see this sort of thing coming from supposed adults. Mind you, a couple of years back I was shown a huge (oversize coffee-table book) glossy printed volume containing lots of colour photographs which purported to "prove" the non-existence of evolution. The method? Find a fossil which looks similar to something which is alive today. Put pictures of both side by side. There you go, "proof" that "every" living thing has always been present on Earth. The guy must have spent hundreds, thousands of hours putting this together and then spent I don't know how much having it published and distributed (copies were sent to a fair number of people).

#693 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 04:49 AM:

I think some here will be interested in this - new UK equality legislation came in a couple of days ago.

It's essentially a wrap up and clarification of various existing acts under one banner, but one aspect highlighted in the news was "Except in limited circumstances, the Act prevents employers from asking prospective employees about their health before offering them work (or before including them in a pool of applicants from whom they intend to select a person to whom to offer work)."

As I understand it, the act makes it specifically illegal to require a potential employee to reveal (for examle) chronic illness, disability or history of mental illness in a job interview. There is already legislation in place that requires employers to make "reasonable accommodations" for existing employees with disabilities.

This is a good thing, although there have been the usual grumbles about expense to small business and worries that somebody somewhere may get away with something. It says something* that the dissenting voice Radio4 dug up for a head to head was a UKIP** MP ranting about "common sense".

* "we're scraping the barrel", perhaps
** BNP-lite, for those less familiar with UK political parties***
*** Hmmm...that's a bit of a "for those waching in black and white the pink is the one behind the brown" type of clarification. I'm leaving it in anyway.

#694 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 04:54 AM:

Apologies to Dave Bell@1 - I knew something had reminded me of that line recently, but spectacularly failed to notice it directly below the comment box I was typing into.

#695 ::: Andy Brazil ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 06:05 AM:

I wouldn’t want for a moment to minimise the tragedy of this young man's suicide, nor excuse the perpetrators. However, I wonder to what extent the act of broadcasting your roomie's sex life is facilitated by the wide availability of porn on the internet. If you have passed through the formative years between puberty and college in an environment where photographs of every possible sexual act are just a Google search away, do you grow up with a greatly reduced sense of sexual privacy? In a world where individuals can deliberately release videos of themselves having sex in order to gain fame and fortune, does the act of streaming your roommate's sex life seem "normal"?

Again, I'm not arguing that it was OK, but merely that, to the offender, it might have seemed to be "no big deal". (Again, I'm not arguing that there was no homophobia involved - there clearly was - but that if it had been a heterosexual encounter it might still have been broadcast "just for fun")

Last year in the UK there was a media storm after a couple of minor celebs rang up an old man during their radio show, and left a message on his answer-machine boasting of a sexual encounter with his grand-daughter. What struck me was the generational divide of the response: while everyone over 30 was appalled and disgusted by the grand-daughter's sex-life being "outed" to her grand-father, teenagers that I spoke to couldn't see what the fuss was about - typically responding with something along the lines of "it was just a joke".

It seems to me that the very concept of sexual privacy is changing under the influence of technology; and that this is being used to reinforce dominant power relationships: it's not just gay men being outed, how many young women have found intimate photos posted by ex-boyfriends, or young men of colour imprisoned on the basis of cell phone snaps. (Indeed you might question to what extent the decision by an under-aged teen to perform oral sex on every member of the team in the locker room was itself influenced by the ready availability of photos of porn-stars apparently doing the same.)

There's a rule "bad porn drives out good" - which might be better expressed as "a dive to the bottom": the idea that no matter what images are legal, the consumer of pornography will always seek out the forbidden, the illegal. In the same way perhaps, we might postulate that socially regressive porn, that which encourages existing power relationships, will always be promoted over socially progressive porn - that which celebrates diversity and empowerment. (And that of course begs the question of whether there can be such a thing as "progressive porn" or if, pace Dworkin, it is inherently irredeemable.) It's surely no co-incidence that spending on internet porn tracks republican voting so closely? (Or is it just that they're the only one's dumb enough to actually pay for it?)

#696 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 07:14 AM:

Andy Brazil #696: Not buyin' it....

Public sex goes way back; but so does the humiliation of having what you thought was private sex turned into public sex. This is just another case where new technology gets used both for sex, and for personal abuse.

And the radio call falls under "young folks being insensitive clods". That also goes way back, but these days adolescence is drastically extended.

#697 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 09:21 AM:

David Harmon@697

The "young folks" in question are fifty and thirty-five, so that would be *quite* an extended adolescence.

But, Andy Brazil@696, I'm also not buying "desensitization due to availability of porn". That would imply that Ravi didn't intend to cause harm by his actions. I think it's pretty clear that he did*.

In a world where individuals can deliberately release videos of themselves having sex in order to gain fame and fortune, does the act of streaming your roommate's sex life seem "normal"?

No. And specifically not when the reason you're streaming it is to embarass the roommate for the non-heteronormative nature of that life. It doesn't sound like it was intended as titilation: It sounds like it was an attack.


Oh, the C-word is pretty offensive over here, too, I promise. The other word can be used offensively over here (we know that meaning), but I would generally expect it to be disabbreviated (not that that removes all confusion). All of which is poor excuse - I was focused one end of the plank on my shoulder, and didn't notice where the other end swung, so my apology is for the unintended dissonance caused to you or anyone else.

*As has been mentioned, "it's a joke" is not a defense when only one side is even supposed to find it funny.

#698 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 09:45 AM:

Hyperlocal news...

Last night, man was watching Ed Asner's plot to conquer the Earth by sucking out its oxygen when he was contacted to take care of a computer problem caused by silly people.

#699 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 10:04 AM:

Andy Brazil@696: My impression is that most people clearly distinguish "pornography" from "sex tapes of people they know".

#700 ::: Jörg Raddatz ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 10:18 AM:

Russ@698 Uh. Whatever its name, this dish made of pigs' liver, lamb heart and pork belly would be offensive in any case. IMO, of course.

#701 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 10:29 AM:

Russ@698: Is more from Ravi coming out? Last I looked, I didn't feel there was enough to form any opinion on what he thought he was doing, or why; but you seem to have found enough info to form an opinion.

#702 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 10:43 AM:

I think I understand (and agree with, even) many of the arguments for not "othering" people much at all. However, there's some conflict between ways we can express dislike for someone's behavior in the strongest possible terms, and actual "othering".

I remember people starting with "inhuman" and that being rejected as somewhat too othering. Now I'm seeing "uncivilized" being rejected on the same grounds. (I agree that "inhuman" is too much; I'm not sure about "uncivilized" yet.)

I don't have an established position on this one, but somewhere fairly far short of "that was an unfortunate choice" I'm going to dig in my heels. We need room to describe a range of bad behavior in clearly distinguished ways (different levels of severity). And we need language strong enough for people to understand just how serious the offense is.

Are there techniques for calling out specific bad behavior that don't run so directly to othering?

#703 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 10:45 AM:

From little knowledge, this looks to follow a pattern that's not uncommon in tragic and stupid deaths. Some people carry on in ways that are nasty and maybe illegal, in ignorance (intentional or through native talent) of just how bad the worst case might be. The guy who just likes to pick fights in bars and one day kills someone by mistake (though it was never a mistake for him to be a thug, he just didn't figure on killing anyone), the kids who drag race on a public street and don't expect to wreck into an oncoming car, the fraternity members that think of themselves as upholding a tradition of hazing pledges manage to kill some poor kid, etc.

I wonder how this will affect the two people who set up the webcam and outed the guy in public. Are they capable of walking away and forgetting their victim? Or will the thought of driving their victim to suicide haunt them for the rest of their lives? Not knowing them, I can't guess, but it sure seems like the kind of thing that would be on your mind from time to time, decades later.

#704 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 10:56 AM:

Bit of a coincidence just now. I was reading the new Viz today, and there was the red, black, red, black... progression in what would appear to be an obit for a Mr. Alex "Hurricane" Higgins. It being Viz, of course, I don't even know from that whether he's even dead. I could look it up, or I could have breakfast.

Stomach is making noises.

#705 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 11:00 AM:

I was just listening to Dan Savage being reasonable-- he said that Ravi and Wei shouldn't be crucified as though Clementi's death was all their fault. There were a lot of other people building up the homophobic context which led to Clementi's suicide.

#706 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 11:02 AM:

Is characterizing people who perform certain behaviors as being bullies and / or abusers also out by now?

#707 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 11:08 AM:

Open thready definitions, just for reference in US politics:

When you do painful, abusive, nasty things to a captive to get him to confess or provide information, it's called torture. Calling it "enhanced interrogation" or "harsh questioning" or "splashing a little water in their faces" is bullshit. We went over that again and again in this country, with the mainstream media overwhelmingly choosing to avoid calling these things by their rightful name.

When you make up a list of people you want killed, that's called a hit list. When you send a team of people around to kill the folks on your hit list, that's called a death squad. Typically, when you have some person killed for political motives, that's called assassination. If you capture him and then kill him, it's an execution, or sometimes an execution-style murder.

Rephrasing these things into extrajudicial killings carried out by elite special-operations teams using a high-value-target list is the same basic phenomenon as rephrasing abduction and torture into arrest, detention, and enhanced interrogation.

#708 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 11:45 AM:

The Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC Radio just did a segment about Tyler Clementi. Some woman was on there saying "we don't know why Tyler Clementi committed suicide," and pointing out that the posts on Just Us Boys didn't sound that despairing.

I called and got repeated busy signals, but then got through, and they decided to put me on. I pointed out that he said that "everyone was acting like the scandal was me being with a guy," and that everyone in his dorm was on the roommate's side. Brian Lehrer said he'd read them too, and it seemed like more was going on than just the spying itself.

I opined that the roommate wouldn't have put up the webcam if Tyler had been in there with a girl, and that "Invasion of Privacy as a Hate Crime" isn't too far to go, though manslaughter seems over the top.

Terry 692: Well, I'm certainly more like myself than anyone else is.

Seriously, thank you. And in case it isn't absolutely clear, you're also on my list of people I wish I could be more like. I think of it as "who I want to be when I grow up."

Andy 696: (Again, I'm not arguing that there was no homophobia involved - there clearly was - but that if it had been a heterosexual encounter it might still have been broadcast "just for fun")

It's possible (though as mentioned above I don't think so), but the sentiment in Tyler's dorm would have been on his side, rather than siding with the roommate and acting like Tyler did something wrong. See also Russ 698.

ddb 702: Are there techniques for calling out specific bad behavior that don't run so directly to othering?

Well, it's false othering that's really bad. Assuming they did the things they're accused of, they're criminal, cloddish, bigoted, insensitive, stupid, and cruel. I guess those "other" them to one extent or another, but none of them seems inappropriate.

To me. Other people may think they do. I'm not as objective as I'd like to be about this.

albatross 707: Hear, hear.

#709 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 11:54 AM:

Constance @706:

Fine by me. My line is humanity.

My first descriptions were cruel, heartless, careless, immature, and nasty. I can't find a way to think that streaming that video on the web was even remotely defensible, even if it is, alas, all too human.

And I think that Savage has a point; there's a difference between the people who create a culture wherein gay teenagers despair and the people that thrust Clementi into that created culture. The latter may be cruel or immature; the former are indefensibly vicious.

#710 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 11:55 AM:


I doubt I have any more information than you do. Possibly I'm just forming an opinion with less, or rather adding more assumption into the mix*.

Hence the equivocation.

*as with any strong seasoning, add cautiously as tastes vary.

#711 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 11:59 AM:

Open thready weird politics/media observation.

This 2002 poll shows a snapshot, in late 2002, of public sentiment. About 29% of respondents opposed the Iraq war.

This recent poll shows that about 28% of registered voters agree with the Tea Party.

Rhetorical question: Based on media coverage, would you guess that the set of people who broadly support the tea party movement, and the set of people who broadly opposed the Iraq war in 2002, were about the same size? I haven't got any formal measures here, but my recollection is that antiwar sentiment in the MSM was almost nonexistent in the runup to the war. By contrast, every media outlet seems interested in the Tea Party guys, their rallies get reported in TV (with the craziest fringe showing up, naturally). It's kind of an interesting statement about the ways in which our sensors are malfunctioning/compromised.

#712 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 11:59 AM:

Xopher@708: Ah, an excellent point. The real problem with saying they're inhuman is that it's false. And there are lots of suitably nasty things that are true.

#713 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 12:01 PM:

Sorry, fixing the link:

This recent poll....

#714 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 12:07 PM:


How many people intentionally create either the good or bad parts of a culture, I wonder. Clearly, some people do, or at least try to. But a lot of culture arises spontaneously as the result of millions of individual decisions and beliefs and actions. I think (perhaps influenced by some SF writers) that being a political leader or media figure is often more a matter of getting ahead of the direction the mob wants to go, than of moving the mob in a new direction.

#715 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 12:11 PM:

I don't see calling people on uncivilised behaviour as being "othering". There are some behavious which are uncivilised and should be called as such, even if they are considered okay in some cultures. In this I include, for example, torture, so-called "honour" killings, female circumcision, rape (female or male) and, yes, bullying - homophobic or any other sort.

As is evident from the bullying thread of a year or so ago, quite a number of us have long-lasting effects from childhood bullying. Too often, bullying is still shrugged off, brushed under the carpet, dismissed as "something children do", and somehow made into the victim's fault. Yes, children bully. Part of teaching children to be civilised human beings is teaching them that such behaviour is NOT ACCEPTABLE. Obviously the parents of these two students - now supposed adults - had failed to teach them that.

#716 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 12:18 PM:

I, too, disagree with "inhuman" on grounds of inaccuracy (and the implication that nothing can be done about people who act like that).

What's wrong with "cruel"?

#717 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 01:14 PM:

Russ, #698: I've encountered a fair number of 35-year-olds, and more than a few 50-year-olds, who did not appear to have aged mentally beyond late adolescence. So that by itself is not a refutation of David's comment. IME it appears to be most commonly a male phenomenon, although women are not immune (especially in the Deep South, where there is considerable cultural pressure on women not to grow up).

albatross, #703: IMO, if they had enough empathy to be haunted by the memory of what happened, they wouldn't have done what they did in the first place. More likely is that they'll brush it off as "Oh, he must have been mentally disturbed to begin with, so it wasn't OUR fault." Very much like the woman in the MySpace suicide did.

#718 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 02:07 PM:

Lee @ 717... more than a few 50-year-olds, who did not appear to have aged mentally beyond late adolescence

Not true. Some of us are stuck in the 27-year-old setting.

#719 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 02:43 PM:

Lee @717, "I've encountered a fair number of 35-year-olds, and more than a few 50-year-olds, who did not appear to have aged mentally beyond late adolescence."

Unrelated, I've got the (entirely unscientific) impression that people who fit that description are often the loudest to complain about how much teenagers supposedly suck.

#720 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 02:59 PM:

albatross @714:

How many people intentionally create either the good or bad parts of a culture, I wonder. Clearly, some people do, or at least try to. But a lot of culture arises spontaneously as the result of millions of individual decisions and beliefs and actions.

Perhaps you're right. But the fact that the same group of people who condemn gays yearn for a culture where social pressure and shared morality were powerful forces in shaping behavior gives me extra pause before absolving them completely.

#721 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 03:51 PM:

I don’t think the problem with “uncivilised” is he word, per se, it’s the connotation that comes of attaching it, in this case to people who are visibly different from the majority culture.

Unpleasant as it is to admit, the parent culture supports the sort of othering they were doing. Clementi’s complaints that his dorm was on their side shows that to be, at the very least, locally true.

But, when one adds, “uncivilized” to them being not white, the white folks can look at them and say, “well what else would you expect from “those people”. When we add the multi-cultured look of them, it gets even more traction.

I am all for calling actions uncivilised, but when using it to categorise people, the circumstances of the usage are important. For all that I despise it, the bullying they were doing is all to much a part of the warp and weft of our civilisation. We don’t have to like it, we can rail against it, and work to change it, but to say, “these peope were uncivilised” is to make a value judgement between them and us. Which is othering.

Call them vile, call them cruel, heartless, lacking in empathy, social deceny, moral judgement, kindness, and manners. I have no problem. But terms of separation are to be used with care, and considered discretion.

#722 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 03:54 PM:

Xopher: I'm flattered, and I can say, with no false humility, if the public expression of my internal dialogue with the world causes you to think me worthy of emulation... you need not worry about yourself as a person.

Because 1: The external expression of your internal dialogue is a fine fellow indeed.

2: The internal expression of my dialogue isn't.

#723 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 04:10 PM:

Can we, perhaps, agree that the problem is not with the term uncivilized itself, but with its collocation with the people rather than the actions?

What uncivilized people! Othering, dehumanizing, prone to the 'not my Nigel' fallacy.

What uncivilized behavior! Strictly accurate without denying the actors' humanity.

#724 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 04:16 PM:

Mark, 723: An excellent point. Thank you for expressing it so cogently.

#725 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 04:17 PM:

re the idea of readily available porn = no idea of interpersonal privacy.


If (and it's a big if) the two kids who did this had been using that rig to broadcast their own sex life, maybe. One could, at that point, argue they didn't think it a big deal.

But that's not what they did. First, they didn't, so far as anyone has reported, send their own sexcapades to the web, neither live, nor memorex.

Second, they made mockery in the intro. It wasn't just, "look, he's making out/having sex, it was, "look at this appalling thing." That's not just "look at this sex" it's "look at this pervert."

As to the basic idea, I don't buy it either. The basic sense of the culture is conflicted. I overhear, as I am in coffee shops, people talking about the need for young people (esp. females) to not broadcast everything. I hear this from people who were just gushing about their desire to have a date like the one on the beach in Tahiti on The Bacheleor, so....

Even the people I see defending people's right/judgement in posting such things are defending the right to expose oneself. They are not saying it's good to do it with other people.

The few places where one sees that are usually in the context of revenge, e.g. "look at my ex."

So no, I don't think there is a cultural mitigation to be made.

#726 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 04:52 PM:

Terry Karney@725: The only thing I remember, from early reports, is an IM saying roughly "It's a dude. Yay." I'm having a hard time finding that on its own to be much evidence of homophobia. Are other things the perpetrators said now available for examination? (I know about Tyler's post after the first encounter was streamed, and his post suggesting he'd blocked the intention to stream the second one.)

#727 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 04:52 PM:

Terry Karney@725: The only thing I remember, from early reports, is an IM saying roughly "It's a dude. Yay." I'm having a hard time finding that on its own to be much evidence of homophobia. Are other things the perpetrators said now available for examination? (I know about Tyler's post after the first encounter was streamed, and his post suggesting he'd blocked the intention to stream the second one.)

#728 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 05:00 PM:

Mark @ 723: Agree. I should have made that explicit.

#729 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 06:28 PM:

Does it count as othering if I say that Boyd Packer is an evil, lying, vicious piece of shit?

#730 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 06:51 PM:

Link to an article that gives more information about what the stupid liar said.

“There are those today who not only tolerate but advocate voting to change laws that would legalize immorality, as if a vote would somehow alter the designs of God’s laws and nature,” Boyd K. Packer, president of the church’s Quorum of Twelve Apostles, said in a strongly worded sermon about the dangers of pornography and same-sex marriage. “A law against nature would be impossible to enforce. Do you think a vote to repeal the law of gravity would do any good?”

Clearly he knows nothing about nature, or at least biology.

You know what? I think God/Nature wants Boyd Packer to die in a fire.

God's will be done.

#731 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 07:00 PM:

Um...just to be 100% clear, I don't mean I will or would act to cause a fire to kill Boyd Packer, or that I think anyone else should. I don't. I wouldn't. Human violence would only give this Mormon hakkikt undeserved sfik.

Nor will I do magic of any kind to bring such a thing about, that being contrary to my oath.

I'm just hoping that will be his fate. A lightning strike would be nice.

#732 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 07:15 PM:

From today's political news:

"To be an official Bozo, you had to go to a special school in Texas."

I think this should be embroidered on a pillow. Or something.

#733 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 08:21 PM:

Bill at #732: How standards have fallen. Time was, to be an official Bozo, you had to be born to Frankish nobility.

#734 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 08:43 PM:

Need I remind you that Bozo was a Democrat, and darn proud of it? I found that out in 1992, when Bill was running for Prez and his opponents took to refering to him & Al as Bozo & Ozone.

#735 ::: Lin D ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 09:13 PM:

Stepping in momentarily from the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta to mention a delightful Facebook page and Twitter feed:
Fake AP Stylebook

(I've been busy running around with mein hosts as they show me all the marvelous things to encourage me to move to Albuquerque, and trying to catch up on sleep lost to getting up at 4am because I'm part of the ground crew for a German balloon. It just occurred to me I should say HI to Fluorospherians in Albuquerque. I only have tomorrow, as I'm leaving just after balloons on Wednesday.)

#736 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 09:50 PM:

I may have spotted a scam on Craigslist, but I don't know what to do about it. I was looking for a broken piece of technology since I couldn't afford a new one and found ads for a free one to be picked up because it would cost too much to have it fixed. O.K., I can deal with that. However, the ads for the same device were for north central Florida, Heartland Florida, and Southwest Texas, and while the ISP and the user's first name stayed the same in all versions the last name in the e-mail address was different in all cases. I can't figure out what the scam might be. (My wife thinks it sounds like a LeCarre spy element: send an e-mail to the account for, say, being smuggled across the border in a trunk as opposed to being smuggled out in a speedboat.) If I lived near any of those locations I'd be tempted to try for it just to see what happens...

#737 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 10:04 PM:

Lin D. at #735 My parents live in Albuquerque and are crewing on a Japanese balloon this year. They just sent me a batch of pictures.

I've only managed to make it there one year for Fiesta - just before they moved there two or three years ago, but it was amazing.

#738 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 10:06 PM:

I think I will henceforth refer to all the Mormon leadership as hakkikts, and of course to the Head Bad Guy as the mekt-hakkikt. This will do my heart good, even though I know that they're human (and again, woe to the human race) and not Kif.

#739 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 10:14 PM:

I'm rather fond of the Russian perjorative "nekulturny", uncultured, in describing people who are beyond the bounds of civilization. People who not only don't wear shoes, but don't know to wipe their feet when they come indoors.

There are bullies everywhere, and they pick on people for all kinds of reasons. We need to root out that behavior; I do not think it is natural or necessary. Kids learn that sort of thing by example, and often enough, their parents are one of the examples. How many kids are shamed and humiliated and bullied by their parents, and then turn around a do the same thing to other kids?

I was the shortest kid in my 8th grade class, and had a lisp. I know from bullying.

#741 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 10:30 PM:

Xopher @ 740: Love the Kathy Griffin statement! At about 1:56, she says "All you anti-gay public figures, and you know who you are, you have the blood of these dead teens on your hands. Remember trickle-down economics back in the 80s? Well, this is just trickle down homophobia."

#742 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 11:19 PM:

Hilary Hertzoff @ 737... Indeed it is, but not as amazing as the time 10 years ago when one of them went past my 7th-floor window.

#743 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 01:06 AM:

I am clearly born to be tiresome.

I happen to know that one regular commenter on Making Light very nearly lost not only his life but his entire family in a house fire. Myself, I have been badly burned, and though it was twenty years ago, I still twitch at the phrase "die in a fire". It's a real thing to me.

For what these data points are worth, there you go. I'm bored witless of being the Language Police, and fairly sure I deserve the ire and exasperation of people who think my sole aim is to constrain their expression to my narrow and colorless tastes.

(Please note, if you are irate and exasperated, that I am not speaking qua moderator here, just as plain old me. Go ahead and ignore me if you choose.)

#744 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 01:25 AM:

Abi @743: the ire and exasperation of people who think my sole aim is to constrain their expression to my narrow and colorless tastes

In my opinion, ritual repetition of clichéd phrases like "die in a fire" only barely deserves to be considered "expression" in the first place.

(I don't wanna be Language Police either; I'm holding out for a spot on the Language Supreme Court.)

#745 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 02:06 AM:

ddb: I didn't think of it as being homophobic, per se, but rather as something which othered him.

They saw it as deviant, and titilating; not because it was sex, but because it was two men.

The accounts I've seen of the way they presented it are all pretty much the same:

One was Dharun Ravi, his roommate at college, the other Ravi's friend Molly Wei, who had a room on the same corridor. On the evening of Sunday 19 September, according to the account given by police, Clementi asked his roommate to give him some time alone in the room they shared.

Ravi agreed, and went down the hall into Wei's room. There, he allegedly logged onto Wei's computer and used it to access through Skype a webcam he had set up on his own computer back in the room he shared with Clementi.

It is not known whether what happened next was accidental or preconceived, but Ravi and Wei are alleged to have watched Clementi in what authorities described as a "sexual encounter" with another man.

It is claimed that Ravi then streamed the video live, and that same night broadcast to the 150 followers of his Twitter feed details of his voyeuristic escapade, outing Clementi in the process: "Roommate asked for the room till midnight. I went into molly's room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay."

Two evenings later, Ravi tweeted: "Anyone with iChat, I dare you to video chat me between the hours of 9.30 and 12. Yes it's happening again."

The "yay" and the, "I dare you" are related. The one is that he's caught Clementi in something especially juicy, that's the, "yay". The second, the, "I dare you" implies that what is to be seen is exotic, shocking, even disturbing.

#746 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 02:38 AM:

albatross @707:

What annoys me about this entire affair is not so much the terminology, but the number of people who were quite happy until a US citizen made it onto the list. It seems from the reaction I've seen that Americans have more right to live than other people who have apparently* committed the same offences.

* - Using "apparently" because they have had no fair hearing over their alleged offences.

#747 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 02:53 AM:

Jules @ 746: You seem to be suggesting that non-citizens are innocent until proven guilty. Shocking! What's next -- calling a "regime change" an "invasion"?

#748 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 08:21 AM:

Serge @742 I'm not sure anything could beat that.

#749 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 09:37 AM:

Terry Karney@745: Thanks. Same quotes and timeline I've seen myself.

The first tweet seems, on its own, not particularly informative. Certainly doesn't look like evidence of no evil intent; but I have a hard time reading it as homophobic. The idea of streaming any private sexual encounter is grotesque, though.

The "I dare you" in the second one is certainly interesting. It could well mean that they'd see something icky; i.e., homophobic.

#750 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 09:54 AM:

I just saw a mysterious Catholic product in a small local grocery store (South Philadelphia, so probably Italian Catholic)-- it's a flat block of little black cubes about a half inch on a side, with stickers of crucifixions and and virgin Marys and such on the visible face. They're made by a company called Oker.

Anyone know what they are?

#751 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 10:05 AM:

Abi @ 743... I am clearly born to be tiresome (...) fairly sure I deserve the ire and exasperation of people who think my sole aim is to constrain their expression to my narrow and colorless tastes.

None of that sounds like the Abi I know. Maybe this was written by the Abi from the Evil Universe.

#752 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 10:52 AM:

abi@743: Well...this is part of what having a "violent culture" means, isn't it? Not just that too many of us actually employ violent actions (I suspect those of us posting here very very rarely actually employ violence), but that normal ordinary speech is full of allusions to violence? That the idea of violence is normal, not something unusual or objectionable?

I understand not wanting to be tiresome. But. I think you're kind on to something here, still.

#753 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 10:58 AM:

ddb, 752: If you put it that way, it's similar to the way Fluorospherians generally try to avoid rape-culture, homophobia, and racial/ethnic baiting. One of us expresses discomfort, the rest of us try to stop causing it.

#754 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 11:27 AM:

ddb @ 752... I understand not wanting to be tiresome.

Prove it.

#755 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 11:31 AM:

Serge@754: Hard to prove a negative.

Besides, I never said I practiced it.

#756 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 11:41 AM:

ddb... Let's put it this way. If someone told me she's exhausted from being the Language Police, I wouldn't respond by haggling some more about language. I'd drop it. Drop it.

#757 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 11:58 AM:

Serge@756: If somebody is worried they are being tiresome, and frets that people might think them dedicated to suppressing colorful expressions of opinion, and if on reflection I find I'm in agreement on the point that they raised, I feel that posting supportively is a good thing to do.

(I wondered if I was missing some joke in your 754, and responded fliply to preserve that possibility, but I see that it was not the case.)

#758 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 12:06 PM:

Serge, TexAnne, ddb:

My reading, thorough one omitted word, is that ddb @752 thinks I'm "kind [of] on to something here," in other words, not just being oversensitive about the phrase "die in a fire".

In other words, you people* are all in fundamental agreement. If that's the case, thank you for voicing it in such supportive ways.

If I'm misreading ddb, well, he is entitled to his opinion, and he certainly expressed it kindly. One of the things I was trying to do was make it easy to disagree with me. I've apparently been somewhat overbearing on the subject of language of late. I'm trying not to be.

* sorry...

#759 ::: Bombie ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 12:49 PM:

abi @758

I was composing a post in the same vein, but now I see you beat me to it. This is how I read ddb's comment (at 752) as well.


Just to give my argument a little more body: I know I'm fairly new, but I've been catching up on some old threads. By now I've read so much as to feel informed enough to say: you are time and again (consistently so) amongst the few persons I admire most, both as a commenter and as a moderator. You are one of the few I hold highest as a (personal) example of how it should be done.

I can only speak for myself with full certainty, but: you, as a person, are not (perceived as) tiresome. (I allow that some of your comments might be, but not one comes to mind right now.) This is not to say that you cannot feel tiresome, but if that is the case, you do not deserve our ire. You deserve our support.

I cannot begin to imagine how hard the balancing act between being a moderator and being a commenter must be; hell, I cannot begin to imagine how hard the balancing act that is being a moderator must be. But (to my perception) you do terrifically well at those. Doing what you do, you have earned massive amounts of my respect and my thanks alike. And I'm convinced mine is not the only one you('ve) earned.

Thank you.

Now I only need to figure out how to convincingly pour the idea behind this post into a G&S pastiche

#760 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 12:51 PM:

Say, Abi, if you are a Language Policewoman and a moderator, does it mean you're with the Mod Squad?

#761 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 01:33 PM:

abi@758: You have read me correctly. Including finding the omitted word (which I didn't spot even when going back and thinking about things while responding to Serge; sigh!).

Serge, sorry for the confusion which my poor typing and proof-reading caused (or at least contributed to).

#762 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 01:51 PM:

ddb @ 761... Poor typing? Did I ever tell you of the time I saved one of our users from a bit of embarassment after reading the first draft of his project's specs and pointing out that the 'L' was missing from the word 'public'?

#763 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 01:58 PM:

Serge @762 Poor typing. Once in a previous incarnation working for a large electric utility, I drafted a letter which spelled "public" correctly, but mentioned the Vice President of Unclear Operations. Should have been Nuclear. Caught it before I sent it to him for his review, fortunately.

#764 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 02:08 PM:

Serge@762: Good catch! That's one of the clearer cases where I really wish I could remove a word from all my spelling dictionaries. Not that I never use it deliberately; but seldom enough that it would be worth being forced to confirm it each time, compared to the potential embarrassment of using the too-common typo where it didn't belong. (Spillchuckers are useful but no substitute for somebody other than me going over my words; which rarely happens before they're posted online. I'm only a decent manuscript reviewer, and have the usual inability to see my own mistakes.)

OtterB@763: That's a very nice one! Still best it didn't get out, but I'm glad to hear about it.

#765 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 02:11 PM:

Speaking of spill-chuckers, I sent a text message to a friend Sunday night where some combination of my keying (on the touch screen) and the predictive word recognition in the phone turned a reference to my girlfriend "Lydy" into the word "Lust". I was saying we were both coming over to their party now.

#766 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 02:18 PM:

Otter B @ 763

Vice Presidcent of Unclear Operations sounds like the sort of job for which I'd be well-qualified. Maybe I should be looking at a career change.

#767 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 02:22 PM:

ddb: I've been trying to figure out, since last night, how to explain that I don't see it as homophobia being the problem.

I think it's the conformity issue. He wasn't like them. I suspect he wasn't like them in lots of ways, and his homosexuality was an obvious way to anchor the mockery.

Having been in that place, a place I suspect a lot of us have been, I don't think the focus you are making on the homophobic coloration is as important as the, "he is different, so we can mock him," which is the core of the question we are talking about here... how to show that someone has acted outside the pale, without shoving the person outside the pale too.

#768 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 02:31 PM:

My favorite encounter with a typo was when a newbie co-worker I had been helping wrote ask one more question and asked me to bare with her. I was enough of a gentleman not to take her up on that offer, but not enough of one not to point it out to her.

#769 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 02:44 PM:

#767 ::: Terry Karney:

I'm inclined to think that harassing people is a compulsion for some.

However, because the compulsion is fairly common and because it's convenient to have traits to hang the abuse on, the specific types of prejudice matter.

It's plausible that those two weren't especially homophobic, they were just going after something handy, which I guess is your point.

On the other hand, there doesn't yet seem to be an efficient way to convince people to just be decent to each other, so the conversation tends to be about particular prejudices.

#770 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 02:45 PM:

Hyperlocal news...

Integration of new feline into family continues. Said feline last night tried to steal pasta plate from man even after man took the plate off the table.

#771 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 02:45 PM:

Terry Karney@767: Maybe we're working in similar directions; I've certainly been bothered by people clearly ascribing it to homophobia (nationally), because I don't see clear evidence for that. I'm focusing on that question because I'm trying to figure out where they're getting it. (The answer is looking more and more like "from an inappropriate orifice".)

It's darkly amusing that two students who aren't white or anglo-saxon should be feeling this need, or at lest license, to mock those not "like us".

I've had people make fun of my name (back in grade school). It didn't last long and one of the cases wasn't too regular, though. Maybe I didn't react enough (it did bug me). Other than that -- I didn't notice much; not sure if that's me or my surroundings. I was quite visibly different a lot (running around with my camera at school, not in sports, talked in class, obviously smart, traveled outside the country frequently, almost never around during the summers, science club, chess club, not in any church, read science fiction, hung out in the computer center, etc.). I kept being involved in projects that were shown to my class, or even all classes in the school (vacuum fountain, puppet play of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, teaching machine for states and capitols, running tests on classes for science fair projects, selling model rockets (in partnership with a shop teacher), writing software to correct multiple-choice tests given in class, organizing photo exhibitions, yearbook). I don't know how many students at the higshchool knew I was sometimes hired to help run report cards (card sorter and so forth).

#772 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 03:05 PM:

Terry Karney @ 767:

I've been staying out of this discussion, largely because I haven't had much time lately and others have already made excellent points. However, I must at least somewhat disagree with you that homophobia isn't as important in this case.

Yes, people do commit suicide over bullying in general, and, yes, people do mock others for being different. However, we are currently, as a society, at a point where not only expressing disdain for gays (and abusing them) is still common, people make careers out of being professionally unpleasant towards them, and gays are seen as being a group it's ok to pick on. (DADT, Prop 8, etc.) "Gay" is routinely used as an insult. Coming out to someone you've known your whole life can be grounds for rejection. Two men can be abused for holding hands in public, but a man and a woman can kiss without comment (depending on how, um, enthusiastically they're going about it, of course). Under that crushing societal weight, whether or not this incident was overtly motivated by homophobia, I'd say it's there in spades.

Now, of course, someone who sets out to bully someone will pick on something that makes them different (real or assumed), whether that's sexual orientation, size, nationality, hair color, name, studiousness, personality, or anything else that's convenient. But being gay currently opens one up to abuse from so many people who would otherwise ignore you because you look 'normal', that I'd say that the homophobia is incredibly important here. Again, whether or not it's overt, it's pretty strongly implied.

#773 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 03:06 PM:

ddb, #771: I'm less sanguine about the idea of this "not being homophobia". No matter whether or not they set out to pick on him for being gay, that's the hook they used. If their behavior was not at least partially informed by anti-gay bias, they'd have chosen something else. As has been previously noted, they probably wouldn't have done it if he'd been with a woman; this argues that you can't completely rule out a homophobic angle.

#774 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 03:11 PM:

Lee@773: That's exactly the point I'm doubtful about. There may be some homophobia in "if you dare"; it's at least a possible reading. I have a hard time finding any anywhere else though.

Violation of privacy in plenty; this would have been harrowing for a heterosexual couple.

I'm not invested in homophobia not being front and center in the motivations; I'm just bothered by the lack of evidence for it if it is. I like evidence supporting my conclusions.

#775 ::: Lin D ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 03:11 PM:

Serge @ 762:
There is the bit of humor when someone put an L in pubic.

#776 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 03:28 PM:

And more on the "It Gets Better" front: the ACLU weighs in. Nice for more inclusion of blacks and at least one possible Latina; more Asians would be a nice thing, too.

Couldn't get it to work as a link, so I'm trying just including the url:

#777 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 03:39 PM:

I suspect some of the unclarity around possible homophobia in the Clementi incident comes from the difference between the intent of the perpetrators and the effect on the victim.

Taking and streaming the video may have arisen from a complex mix of motives, from plain dislike of Clementi through homophobia and into classic Mean Kids trying to be cool. (Who among us does anything for just one reason?)

Being filmed in a romantic encounter with another man must have felt to Clementi like a homophobic act.

At that age, for a gay guy, I suspect that it's difficult to have a romantic encounter that doesn't bear a lot of freight about one's sexual orientation. It's an unfortunate (that's an understatement) fact that gayness is a marked state in our society, particularly for teens. So what targets his sex life targets his sexuality.

Also, whether this was intentional or not, that action opened Clementi up for a lot of subsequent homophobia. And he will have been painfully conscious of this fact. Again, that exacerbates the feeling that this incident, when seen from his perspective, was targeted at his sexual orientation.

I think that the people who choose an action should be held responsible for its logically forseeable consequences. And in my opinion, if they did not know that making that video public was going to be, for Clementi, a homophobic act, then they're not bright enough to be at Rutgers.

#778 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 03:53 PM:

abi@777: Clearly he knew Clementi was gay at the time he first released video; there can be no possibility of ignorance on that issue.

I agree entirely that he should have known that the effect of this privacy violation would be disproportionately large on a gay man.

And I'm pretty sure that if he somehow didn't know that, it's no excuse in law; he's still responsible for the reasonably expectable consequences, even if he wasn't reasonable enough to expect them himself.

Actually, isn't it another rule of law that you have to take your victim as you find him? If you try to "just scare him" and he drops dead of a heart attack (you didn't know he had a dodgy heart) I believe you're at manslaughter.

#779 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 03:59 PM:

Lin D @ 775... I'm not touching that one - not in public anyway.

#780 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 04:08 PM:

Unclear power corrupts unclearly.

#781 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 04:12 PM:

Wasn't there a story once about a businessman who left reality to go into politics?

#782 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 04:36 PM:

Abi @ 743

(Possible trigger warning on first link)

As a commenter - though possibly not the one you had in mind - who has recently come closer than he'd like to being combusted , I understand where you're coming from with this.

But on the other hand, if I were Xopher, and the Clementi story had happened as close to my home as this has to his, I think I'd probably be having a few 'waters of Babylon' type thoughts over this right now. Incineration seems mild by comparison.

I'd also be sorry if the serious point of ddb's 752 meant that I had to excise the phrase 'smite hem in pecys' from my vocabulary.

Because for this is what I am doing.

(You know what I think of you as a moderator. And as a person. But in case what i've said here raises any doubts, what Bombie said at 759.)

#784 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 05:01 PM:

Bill Higgins @ 783... As was pointed over at The Inferior4+1, what's next? Neil Gaiman's leather jacket? I expect he'd rate three helicopters.

#785 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 05:59 PM:

#708 Xopher

So that was you, er, the Xopher.

I heard it.

I was having all the same problems as you had. BL was glad you called. He thought yours was a helpful perspective.

Love, C.

#786 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 06:20 PM:

I'm not sure Clementi knew at all at this time just who he is / was. He was a freshman, away from home the first time. In college, which traditionally is the 'safe space' to try out all kinds of things, to explore one's options, one's inclinations, all to help one chose particular paths and destinations in the life journey.

People experiment. They have the right and maybe even the obligation to experiment sexually as well as in other ways, to learn where their true inclinations lies -- at least for this period in their lives. I'm a firm believer that for many people their sexual preferences and identities are not that fixed in time, that we move along a spectrum over the periods of our lives. What we like now we may not care for later, etc.

I have (gay) friends on the Rutgers' faculty. He wasn't out as gay. He didn't present as gay. He presented as quiet and self-contained, and -- nice.

That people can do these things to each other in terms of sex and romance, which are fraught enough for all of us at that period of our lives, is, well, typical bullying of the pattern that is trying to create an us vs. them, in order to have a safe space, so to speak, for themselves, where they are the norm.

Love, C.

#787 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 06:48 PM:

Constance (786): I'm sure you didn't it mean it that way, but this pair of sentences He didn't present as gay. He presented as quiet and self-contained, and -- nice. could be read as meaning that 'gay' and 'quiet, self-contained, and nice' are mutually exclusive.

#788 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 06:58 PM:

ddb, #774: And you've completely misread my point. I'm not arguing that homophobia has to be the primary reason this happened; I'm saying that because they chose the action they did, that is prima facie evidence that homophobia was somewhere in the mix. Other people have said the same, and you keep blowing it off because you say you want "evidence". That IS evidence.

#789 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 07:51 PM:

Serge @ 784: "what's next? Neil Gaiman's leather jacket?"

No, Neil's jacket can take care of itself.


#790 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 08:15 PM:

Constance, #786: Saying that someone does or does not "present" as gay is buying into the stereotype. That's the whole point of being closeted -- that it's possible for a gay person to "pass", but only because there's a certain set of behavior patterns which have been marked as "gay", and everything else is unmarked or "straight". But there are plenty of gay men who don't use those behavior patterns, and a small but significant number of straight men who do. The swishiest guy I know is 100% straight, with a wife and kids. To meet him on the street, you'd swear he was a flaming queen.

Also, in passing -- yes, college is a time to experiment. But IME people who don't think that they might be gay or bi don't feel any particular need to experiment in that direction.

#791 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 09:37 PM:

Lee@788: Ah; no, that's so self-evidently not evidence of homophobia that it never occurred to me that people wanted me to infer that it was. Thanks for stating it!

I don't buy it, though; "voyeur" tapes are a staple of heterosexual pornography, blackmail, and so forth; the idea of embarrassing somebody that way seems to fit the bully mindset perfectly. There are millennia of examples in one form or another (not, mostly, actually employing internet streaming, of course!).

#792 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 09:43 PM:

ddb, 791: I guarantee that "I dare you" was overflowing with homophobia. Nobody ever says "I dare you to eat this delicious pie." Or if they do, the dare-ee will go "O.o dude, what's wrong with it?" Dares are *always* about transgressing norms, with a giant helping of "ew gross" on the side.

#793 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 10:29 PM:

abi 743: :-( I'm sorry, abi. I don't think of this as being about language, really; it's you pointing out a sensitivity I should have realized you had. I do apologize and I'll try to remember.

I will gloat if icky, gooey death happens to certain people. This is because I'm not as good a person as I wish I were. As for hoping, I will try to stick to "devoured by Great Cthulhu" and "Mother Hittons Littul Kittons" going forward (that is, impossible things that couldn't have really happened to anyone reading this or to anyone they know). I've heard this sort of thing before and as I said above I ought to have known. I'm sorry.

Bombie 759: Well said, my friend. I think of it as "abi is who I want to be when I grow up."

abi 777:

Also, whether this was intentional or not, that action opened Clementi up for a lot of subsequent homophobia. And he will have been painfully conscious of this fact. Again, that exacerbates the feeling that this incident, when seen from his perspective, was targeted at his sexual orientation.
I think that the people who choose an action should be held responsible for its logically forseeable consequences. And in my opinion, if they did not know that making that video public was going to be, for Clementi, a homophobic act, then they're not bright enough to be at Rutgers.

QFT, and thank you. I'm reading this thread many hours after it was written, and just as I was thinking "why hasn't anyone pointed out that..." you did. Thanks.

praisegod barebones 782: But on the other hand, if I were Xopher, and the Clementi story had happened as close to my home as this has to his, I think I'd probably be having a few 'waters of Babylon' type thoughts over this right now. Incineration seems mild by comparison.

I can validate that I came close to hanging up my harp on this one (clarification on reread: I meant I didn't much feel like singing, but I went to choir practice tonight anyway). But I really should have chosen my words...or my ill wish...more carefully, just the same.

ddb 791: I think the prosecutors think as you do. You won't find a gay person who does. It's very clear from Ravi's tweets and FB messages that he thinks it's a burden to have a gay roommate, and that he intends to humiliate Tyler on that basis. TexAnne is right.

It's unlikely he'll do time. Pity. I really hope he never has a moment of happiness in his life, but probably he'll do his 100 hours of community service or whatever, get his degree from some other institution (if Rutgers doesn't expel him I really WILL write them hate mail), and "move on" (that is, forget and never think of it again; neither carry any guilt nor learn any lesson).

#794 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 10:48 PM:

Mmm, it is though. The act of releasing that video is indicative of homophobia. Because we live in a society where everyone knows that it's not really safe to be out as an LGBT person. So, any competent adult in our society knows that outing someone who is closeted -- particularly in a way such that they are publically humilated and stripped of plausible deniability -- is a really dangerous and potentially harmful act. And a person who wasn't homophobic would realize why the behavior in question really crosses a line.

It's not just the risk of public disapprobation, or personal humiliation, or job/scholarship/reputation/opportunity loss or even self-inflicted harm -- it's the real physical risk of someone coming after you with a bat, from behind, in the dark, because he doesn't approve of your sexual orientation and/or gender expression. And I dare you to find any person in the United States, who is over the mental age of 15, and who doesn't realize that on a visceral level. The threats used to enforce gender conformity are inescapably everywhere in our society. They aren't subtle, and I don't believe those kids didn't realize that what they were doing could have "real life" consequences. No sane, competent adult is that unaware. They knew, and they ignored it, and they went on anyway.

Also, they did this twice. That means it's premeditated. It wasn't a casual "overwhelmed by the moment" impulse that they didn't have time to think over, and regretted later. They did it once, and then they thought about it, and decided it was good, so they did it again.

As far as I'm concerned, the kind of person who can post a video that they know could result in someone coming after their roommate with a baseball bat on the basis of the roommate's sexual orientation -- I have to assume that that kind of person is allowing their homphobia to blind them to the real implications of what they're doing. Because the only other alternative is that both individuals are sociopaths, who go around deliberately trying to ruin people's lives with a side order of trying to get them killed.

By assuming homophobia, I'm actually giving them the benefit of the doubt. I know it probably doesn't seem like it, but I am.

#795 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 10:50 PM:

Apposite image, Xopher.

"By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.

We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.

For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion.

How shall we sing the LORD's song in a strange land?"

You don't have to be a Jew or a refugee (or gay, or disabled, or ...), to know what it feels like to be rejected by those around you.

Or, hopefully, to want to spare others that feeling.

#796 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 11:03 PM:

Thank you KayTei. Well said.

#797 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 11:29 PM:

I thought so too, Lila. I was running with praisegod's mention of "waters of Babylon" moments in 782.

#798 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 11:32 PM:

TexAnne@792: Sure, dares are about transgressing. But spying on people IS transgressing norms, even if they're heterosexual.

It's completely compatible with a homophobic motive, certainly. I'm not comfortable with it as the ONLY evidence.

Xopher@793 mentions other evidence (FB messages; and perhaps he means more tweets than the two Terry mentions @745, which are the only two I've found as well). The other evidence may be conclusive.

And speaking of Xopher@793, if he gets off that easily, that will certainly constitute a miscarriage of justice. I'd be happier if they included manslaughter charges at least to bargain away, so the plea deal could be more substantial.

KayTei@794: That is, at least, a coherent argument. I was looking for evidence from what they said, but the action is certainly fair game too. I'm bothered by the circularity of inferring the motive from the act, though; you certainly can't do that to prove premeditated murder, for example.

#799 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 11:39 PM:

No, ddb, you missed my point. Dares are never about good things. Dares are only about gross things. If the spied-upon couple had been straight, the tweets would have been "this is SO HOTT" or "you gotta see this, it's amazing."

"I dare you" is always, without exception, said about disgusting or dangerous things. Those tweets are clear evidence of homophobia.

#800 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 11:53 PM:

ddb, #798: Whether you realize it or not, you are coming across here very much like someone who is desperate to find a way NOT to acknowledge what those two people did. It's all the same kind of "yes but no but" crap that apologists use. You appear to be looking at this incident in a vacuum, as it were, with no consideration of external context -- an extremely naive approach, to say the least. Has it occurred to you that "they're all out of step but Jim" is a cliche for a reason?

#801 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 12:18 AM:


Yet another reason I am grateful that I am not the lawyer in charge of proving this case.

I suspect, however, that the lawyers have access to more evidence than is presently public. I'll be interested to see how the case progresses...

#802 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 12:24 AM:

I think another point I'd like to clarify is: When I accuse them of being homophobic, I don't necessarily mean they get together with their friends and go gay-bashing on weekends, or even that they're constantly going on about how disgusting they think gays are, and how it's contrary to god's will, and whateverallelse.

It's enough that they have a sufficiently negative opinion of it to cloud their judgement. Even if that negative opinion is so much a part of their culture that they've never really noticed it, as such, and might even shocked if you accused them of being homophobic. In my opinion, most homophobic people aren't the extreme cases, they've just never really stopped to challenge ideas that are, after all, pretty common in our society. Not a lot of reason to question or change that sort of idea, when you figure your opinions on the matter don't hurt you or anyone you care about...

#803 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 12:24 AM:

I think another point I'd like to clarify is: When I accuse them of being homophobic, I don't necessarily mean they get together with their friends and go gay-bashing on weekends, or even that they're constantly going on about how disgusting they think gays are, and how it's contrary to god's will, and whateverallelse.

It's enough that they have a sufficiently negative opinion of it to cloud their judgement. Even if that negative opinion is so much a part of their culture that they've never really noticed it, as such, and might even shocked if you accused them of being homophobic. In my opinion, most homophobic people aren't the extreme cases, they've just never really stopped to challenge ideas that are, after all, pretty common in our society. Not a lot of reason to question or change that sort of idea, when you figure your opinions on the matter don't hurt you or anyone you care about...

#804 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 12:25 AM:

Oh, shoot. Finger slipped. Sorry about the double-post...

#805 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 12:58 AM:

praisegod barebones @783:

It was you I was thinking of, yes, though I've since had a Twitter conversation with someone else whose human family got out of the burning house, but whose furred family did not. Not a fan of the phrase, that person.

Both of your links go to the same place, and I have very few cookery triggers. (I begin to think your attempt to send me that link is jinxed.)

In terms of phrasing, I suspect that Middle English adds that extra layer of unreality that softens triggers*, just as invoking mythical creatures does.

And really, I do leave this to people's choices and consciences. I am recurringly anxious, discussing this, that I am forcing people to adapt to my preferences, to what I often see as my own weakness, in terms of discourse.

* Much like disemvoweling, it forces the reader† to do intellectual work to extract the meaning. This reduces the emotional impact of said meaning.
† Where "reader" is someone who has to work at Middle English, so not TNH

#806 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 01:07 AM:

(pondering the value of donning the robes of the Devil's Advocate):

Do I think homophobia was present in this? Yes, decidedly. It may have been very subtle, in the minds of the two of them, but it was there.

Do I think they thought through the minor side effects of the thing they were doing? Some. I think he wanted to make Clementi miserable, so he could have a different roommate. It was certainly a forseeable outcome of the event (though I'd have preferred it to be that Rutgers found out about it and immediately jumped on the two of them; preferably with suspension; pending a final decision of expulsion.

I should still like to see that, a formal repudiation of such thing by Rutgers, but I digress.)

I think I was trying to say what abi did: She did it better.

ddb: The dare would be trangressive on a m/f couple if it were to do the same to one's own roommate; to watch that roommate was obviously about the m/m aspect of it. At that level the homosexual nature was pretty plainly the transgression; in the eyes of the two of them.

#807 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 01:13 AM:

KayTei @ 795: "So, any competent adult in our society knows that outing someone who is closeted -- particularly in a way such that they are publicly humiliated and stripped of plausible deniability -- is a really dangerous and potentially harmful act. "

Plus, the first twitter frames the "with a dude" part as a revelation. So up until that point, he didn't know that Tyler was gay. Think about that: Tyler hadn't told his own roommate he was gay. That demonstrates a high level of "I don't want other people knowing my sexual orientation." To then post that information all over the internet (especially in such a graphic way) is pretty obviously contrary to Tyler's wishes.

TexAnne @ 800: "Dares are only about gross things. If the spied-upon couple had been straight, the tweets would have been "this is SO HOTT" or "you gotta see this, it's amazing." "

That's only true if the people in question are considered hot. If they aren't--if they're, say, fat or unattractive or just unpopular*--then "eww gross" is exactly what a straight person would get too. Whatever Ravi was expecting to get on his webcam, it was definitely intended to humiliate. Homophobia might have just been the most convenient blunt object.

(Just to be clear, this doesn't at all excuse it or magically make it not homophobia.)

* I don't know about anyone else, but I'm getting a strong "roommates not getting along" vibe off this whole situation.


Also, people? You know exactly one fact about Molly Wei and Dharun Ravi. You have no idea how they'll respond to this event. Stop making up entire life stories for them.

#808 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 01:17 AM:

re "work" I don't know that it isn't filtering to move it to one's non-native language.

When I am really current with my Russian, so I can think in it actively (as opposed to my present level of slightly removed from real time in other than subject I have conversed in a lot), things are still not quite as, "present" as the are in English.

But I don't know. It's been rare for Russian to be vibrant enough in my head to be the language of first preference, but I do know that there have been moments, in ASL, and Russian, that just didn't translate, at all, into English, so I know it's possible, but it has always taken complete fluency in the idea (either reactions to things happening to me, or interchange with a completely fluent speaker).

Just noodling on the idea of how to filter things.

#809 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 01:22 AM:

Terry @807:
pondering the value of donning the robes of the Devil's Advocate

As a general rule, I'd prefer if that set of robes remained un-donned in these conversations. They are, as you probably know, traditionally soaked in kerosene, or other flammable liquids, so that the merest spark can ignite a flamewar.

There are many reasons for this. One of them is that Devil's Advocates do not argue on their own behalf, for something that they believe in. They argue against, and frequently out of their own areas of belief. Furthermore, once the conversation gets momentum, it's easy in that role to go farther and farther into the other position's territory. That's a great way for people who are arguing from their beliefs to feel cornered, which leads to all kinds of bd stff.

I think, in other words, that the role is well-named, and should only be filled when necessary. Is it really necessary here?

#810 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 01:24 AM:

abi: No, and it was a poorly expressed bit of thinking, since it was reflective of aspects of my former comment, which I was perusing. To invoke it, in that context; to myself, was what I was doing.

I ought not have made that thought public.

#811 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 01:35 AM:

Terry @809:

It's been rare for Russian to be vibrant enough in my head to be the language of first preference, but I do know that there have been moments, in ASL, and Russian, that just didn't translate, at all, into English

There are things that I prefer to say in Dutch rather than English, because the Dutch word slices the syntactic cake of the world in a way that better matches my perceptions.

I'm thinking at the moment of the verb twijfelen, which sits somewhere between "hesitate" and "dither". ("I'm aan 't twijfelen between going out and staying in with a book.")

#812 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 01:36 AM:

heresiarch: I know a few facts about them. I know a lot about communal living in dorms/barracks.

The fact I saw as indicating motive (and it's a far less unpleasant motive than many have attributed; some, like Xopher with apparently more data than I have, and therefore perhaps better basis), was the repetition.

Once is one thing. Twice is another. The second with a goading aspect (the sort of thing to encourage a wider audience) speaks to something more than just, "Hey look at this."

Combined with years of such living, I made what I think a not unreasonable interpretation of what he wanted. As a motive it fits with the facts, and is, given the nature of what happened, not uncharitable.

#813 ::: Rymenhild ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 02:23 AM:

On filtering thoughts through other languages: Middle English is the language of most of the texts I study. I can write in it very slowly, with difficulty, and I can't really speak it at all, but I read it with ease.

Reading "Smite hem in pecys" in 783, I find that it takes me a moment to recognize the text as Middle English -- my first instinct, when the sentence is set in a modern English context, is to read "smite" as ModE and "hem" as that thing at the bottom of pants. (The word pairing doesn't make sense, of course, but I reserve judgment.) When I get to "pecys" I recognize the language and reparse the sentence in my head. This is a pretty quick process -- probably under a second -- but it sets the Middle English bit of the post apart from the rest of it, and thereby distances the threat of violence. So, for me, reading the threat in Middle English is a great deal easier than reading disemvowelled text, but it still encourages me to think more carefully about the text than I would if it were in Modern English.

Terry's formulation in 809, that texts are less (or differently, perhaps) present in another known language, makes sense to me.

#814 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 02:51 AM:

One of Ravi's FB updates, well prior to this incident, was "Found out my roommate is gay."

#815 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 03:41 AM:

And those who believe in life and liberty as opposed to fascist oligarchical theocracies, probably won't have their ads for the election season talk about life and liberty, and how the fascists' policies and the initiatives they push, deny life and liberty and freedom to anyone who is "other"....

And the damned airwave (dis)information system is promoting the fascists doing log rolling for the Greedy Oligarchical Pukes party...

#816 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 03:51 AM:

abi: Oh yes, definitely. There are things in all four languages I have ever been able to think in which are preferential concepts. The subtlety of meaning is wonderful.

E.g in Russian, one doesn't say, "come on", one says, sort of, "Let's went"

"Are you/we ready?" "Are you/we cooked?"

The don't really translate.

#817 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 04:40 AM:

abi @812 I'm thinking at the moment of the verb twijfelen, which sits somewhere between "hesitate" and "dither". ("I'm aan 't twijfelen between going out and staying in with a book.")

So that's probably where "waffling" comes from! That's the word I'd use for the described situation, anyway. Cool.

#818 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 05:03 AM:

Rymenhild #814: Middle English is the language of most of the texts I study. I can write in it very slowly, with difficulty, and I can't really speak it at all, but I read it with ease.

Say, I wonder what Gilbert & Sullivan is like when translated into Middle English. heh.

#819 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 05:47 AM:

Terry Karney@817

"Let us be gone"?

You can't really get away with that without a cloak to swish, though.

#820 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 08:21 AM:

ddb, passim: I am too tired to give you the 101-level education that it is becoming obnoxiously evident you need.

Your Google search term is "institutionalized homophobia". Get thee hence.

#821 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 10:08 AM:

Terry @ 810... the Devil's Advocate

The movie was ok. The best part for me was that it confirmed that Al Pacino is my dad's long-lost brother.

#822 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 10:12 AM:

TexAnne @ 793... Nobody ever says "I dare you to eat this delicious pie."

I wish my friends did.
As long as they replace the pie with a fish taco.

#823 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 10:12 AM:

Lee@801: I'm deeply suspicious of a rush to judgment following the basic political positions of a group. Sometimes the evidence, in the end, supports the position rushed to; probably even more often than not. But the rush, the taking of positions ahead of the evidence, is deeply disturbing to me. And there's rarely any actual need to make up ones mind solidly so early. Stereotypes are right a lot of the time, but they're still a damaging way to think about things.

Broadening beyond direct response to Lee's message; I'm aware that some of you see my quest for clearer evidence before taking a solid position as a way to avoid seeing homophobia or other things. In some ways, it's the opposite that's actually going on. I'm predisposed to the liberal view of things, including a belief that society has deeply institutionalized racism, sexism, and homophobia. And because I know of that predisposition, I'm actively trying to be more careful with my evidence before reaching those conclusions.

Also, I may be taking a more legalistic view -- I feel that people being accused of an actual crime, or a severe social lapse even, deserve the benefit of the doubt, which can be overcome only by sufficient evidence. They are individuals for this purpose, not class representatives. 'The way things usually go' (using single quotes for stuff that is NOT a quote of anything people said here, but typifies attitudes as I see them in society) and 'what probably happened' and 'the most likely cause' are all well and good in general, but are not enough to condemn individuals.

#824 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 10:15 AM:

Mark@821: If you think that, you haven't been paying attention to what I've actually said.

#825 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 10:15 AM:

And now, for something completely different, a photo of yours truly with friends on the evening of September 3, 1983...

#826 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 10:39 AM:

Serge@826: Ooh, nice. Wasn't at Worldcon that year, but I'm guessing you were, then?

Mike Resnick has been collecting a lot of interesting old fannish photos. I found several old Kodachromes of Doc Smith from right about when I was busy being born that I hadn't seen before.

#827 ::: Sarah S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 10:40 AM:

Robert Boyle had a to-do list.

I am all a-squee.

#828 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 10:53 AM:

@Sarah S. 828

Can't stop to chat. Must go and emulate some fish (without engines)

#829 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 10:53 AM:

ddb @ 827... A friend told me last week that Resnick had posted many masquerade photos, so I went over and sure enough our group's picture was there. It's rather neat to be in those masquerade presentations. I was an Evil Astronomer in Denvention's two years ago, and even built some props for it. (Darn things were heavy to carry from one end of the convention center to the other.)

#830 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 11:18 AM:

ddb - I think I can sort of see where you're coming from. However those sort of semantics and "I have to treat them as complete individuals just on their actions independent from the social fabric and context that we all live in so not to jump to conclusions" is the kind of rhetoric that's often used to silence people trying to speak up about institutionalized problems in society (like homophobia and misogyny)

And after a lot of time knocking around online in various discussions of differing heat levels you end up rather twitchy at seeing it pop up yet again. This is when bingo cards tend to get created.

Because to circle back to the topic, the actions of those college students aren't free of context and they are woven into the social fabric. They're not spherical cows of uniform density.

Also there is a big tendency (which is a problem) to define in fairly narrow ways what being a homophobe or a racist etc. is all about so as long as you're not say burning any crosses on lawns or beating someone up you're fine. While in reality very nice people can sometimes do racist or homophobic or misogynistic things. This quite often while being unaware of what they're doing and a lot of people wouldn't even see anything wrong with what they're doing and that is a really big problem. This sort of low grade infection of prejudice is really insidious and hard to fight against and it's exactly that pervasive but low grade and often invisible and unthinking prejudice that is the most hurtful to people who fall into the picked on groups.

#831 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 11:19 AM:

Ack I used the wrong email address for my earlier comment, so my view all is a bit messed up, this should be the right one.

#832 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 11:35 AM:

#788 Mary Aileen

Not at all. I was quoting what my lesbian friends on the Rutgers facultry repeated many times these last days discussing this tragedy.

I apologize for not spelling that out more clearly.

#833 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 11:43 AM:

Sica@831: Well, there's no danger of silencing people wanting to talk about systemic problems of racism, sexism, or homophobia here.

I'm not saying independent of the social context and fabric; I'm saying that we should limit ourselves to what we have some evidence about. There's lots of ingrained homophobia around; what exactly it was like on that floor of that dorm is much less known to us, though. It's not the same there as at Calvin college, or Bob Jones university, or UC BErkeley (to pick places that probably bracket it fairly widely), I'm reasonably sure; it's not a single value that describes all of American society.

I certainly accept much of the broader concept of homophobia you allude to ("much of" because I'm reasonably sure there are people somewhere out there who have claimed as homophobic things I think are over-reaching; but I don't have an example to hand, that's just automatic caution on my part).

#834 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 11:45 AM:

Among my gay friends, males in particular -- in these days, at least here in NYC -- the ones who are big, self-confident, filled with self-knowledge, comfortable in their skins and identities -- they don't get 'picked on' like this young, quiet, inexperienced college freshman. That is what my friends / colleagues were contrasting. This was so self-evident to us in our conversations that evidently I assumed that would come through here where the participants are so experienced and know each other's povs on most things.

#835 ::: Velma ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 12:48 PM:

Today is the second anniversary of Soren's hemorrhagic stroke, and, as ever, I urge you all to get your blood pressure checked.

Right now, his Medicaid has been cut off, and, while we are waiting for the letter to start the reinstatement process, we are paying for all of his prescriptions out of pocket; that's going to run us over $700 each month. The bigger glitch is that the best blood pressure medication wasn't renewed before Medicaid cut off, so we have to figure out what to do about it.

Meanwhile, I'm home, after seven days in the hospital, having been hollowed out like a pumpkin. I should get the size and weight of the removed organs on Friday: they were not record-breaking, but were pretty substantial, I gather.

Let me just say that coughing after abdominal surgery: Not Fun. And sneezing is Right Out.

#836 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 01:18 PM:

Sica! Welcome back! How have you been?

Velma! Welcome back, and I hope you have an uneventful recovery.

#837 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 01:18 PM:

Constance (833 & 835): Thanks for the clarification. As I indicated, I really was sure you didn't mean it the way it kind of sounded. (I almost wrote "I know you didn't mean it that way" in my #788, but that seemed too much like mind reading on my part.)

#838 ::: Bombie ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 01:18 PM:

ddb @834

what exactly it was like on that floor of that dorm is much less known to us, though

Xopher (@622) copied some of Tyler's posts on the LGTB forum in which Tyler made it clear that his dorm supported not him, the victim of the privacy breach, but the perpetrator. This, to me, makes clear that Tyler was caught in a homophobic environment, which the perpetrator no doubt must have been aware of. Even if the room mate streamed Tyler's sex life not out of homophobia, but only to hurt him (or mock him or..), he obviously did so in a homophobic setting.

Also what KayTei said at 795.

Tyler had not outed himself. His room mate discovered he was gay (see facebook post, Xopher 815), and outed him against his will in one of the most perverse ways possible. I don't think inferring homophobia is that quick and uninformed a judgement.

While I think I see and share where you are coming from ('don't judge blindly'), I don't see much merit in trying to discover/argue whether a transgression that used a homophobic environment to add to the hurt was inherently homophobic or not.

#839 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 01:43 PM:

abi @ 806:

Since you've put it the failure down to a jinx rather than, say a Higher Power, I'll try again with the (same trigger warning as at 783)
link to the story about the fire.

(It's probably worth saying to anyone who reads the link that although my employer/landlord is pretty negligent with respect to many aspects of fire safety, they do own their own fire engine. But that may be part of the problem: a kind of reverse 'stitch in time saves nine' attitude.)

#840 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 02:14 PM:

Not being a lawyer for any of the students involved, or a university administrator, I'm less concerned with distributing exact fault and responsibility for Tyler's death, and more concerned about the fact that the environment that helped drive him to suicide still appears to exist at Rutgers, and lots of people are apparently oblivious to this.

Exhibit A is this editorial in the Rutgers student newspaper, for which "utterly clueless" is probably the most charitable description.

In it, the writer decries the call for gay rights after the reports of Tyler's death, considers "homosexuality" in itself as a possible reason for the suicide without a single word about invasion of privacy, and claims that demands for "safe space" are uncalled for because, well, aren't there groups on campus that deal with These Sorts of Problems?

Well, no. The writer, and others at Rutgers and elsewhere, need to understand that, in any university worth its name, *the entire campus* needs to be a fundamentally safe space for *all* of its students. In this particular case, it's a matter of quashing homophobic bullying; in general, it's simply a matter of human decency and respect for the educational mission.

#841 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 02:23 PM:

John Mark Ockerbloom@841: Wow, that does seem to rather miss the point. Not one slightest reference to the elephant in the room, either (the invasion of privacy via webcam). I can't help thinking that may have had something to do with the situation; there's even specific evidence for that view in Tyler's posts.

And that really is an editorial (as you labeled it); not an op-ed. It's the official position of the newspaper.

#842 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 02:39 PM:

Terry Karney @ 813: I'm not talking about trying to figure out how and why this happened--that seems reasonable enough. I'm bothered by the "and of course they'll learn nothing from this and spend the rest of their lives a raging homophobe secure in their own righteousness" theorizing. Maybe we can talk in a useful way about why this incident happened and describe the role homophobia played. Fantasizing about the future lives of the perpetrators, on the other hand, is no more than telling a just-so story to convince ourselves it's okay to write them off.

Xopher @ 815: "One of Ravi's FB updates, well prior to this incident, was "Found out my roommate is gay.""

That makes his video-related tweets come off a little strange, doesn't it? Why is he so surprised that his roommate is making out with a guy if he already knows he's gay? That kind of constant surprise strikes me as very classic homophobia--"Ugh, I know you're gay but do you have to mention that you find men attractive? Do you have to hold hands in public? Do you have to make me think about gay sex? Do you have to make me record you in a private room and broadcast it over the internet? Twice? It's just so shocking!"

#843 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 03:26 PM:

That editorial is appalling. I said so. Fortunately lots of other people are doing the same.

Stupid, ignorant, clueless, MINDLESS bastards.

#844 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 04:37 PM:


I feel that people being accused of an actual crime, or a severe social lapse even, deserve the benefit of the doubt, which can be overcome only by sufficient evidence.

I don't want to pile on, but I think there's something wrong, and importantly wrong about this - more specifically about the idea that the same standard of evidence is appropriate for a crime as for a severe social lapse.

In particular, I think that it's very rare that it's appropriate to invoke the standard of 'beyond reasonable doubt' outside of a criminal court.

In the context of a criminal court-room there's an obvious reason for insisting on this standard: courts have the right to deprive a person of their liberty (or in some cases their life). Doing that to someone who's innocent is sufficiently bad that it's worth going to considerable lengths to avoid it. But insisting on that standard has its costs: settling things beyond reasonable doubt is expensive, time-consuming and acrimonious.

I think it's very rare for a conversation outside of a judicial framework to have consequences that are at all comparable in seriousness with those that follow in the setting of criminal law. (Not impossible - obviously; but rare), So insisting on 'beyond reasonable doubt' doesn't bring the same benefits (or more exactly, guard against the same level of possible harms). But it imposes the same sizeable level of costs on people who want to - and often have good reason to want to -talk about the lapse. I don't think that it's justifiable to impose that cost on them. (Or more properly, us, since I think it's a cost borne by the community as a whole and not just those who want to talk about a particular issue when that issue is made harder to talk about).

Most of us, for most purposes, settle for something closer to the standard of 'balance of probabilities.' Because that's closer to the standard most people use for most purposes, that seems a more appropriate standard here. (And on a balance of probabilities standard, evidnec about what people i general are like does seem appropriate)

Of course, the issue is complicated by the fact that there are two closely related issues here. One is whether the individuals involved in Clementi's death should be convicted of a hate crime. That's a question where 'beyond reasonable doubt' is an appropriate standard of proof. But there's a question which, while relevant to that issue, is also independent - namely - did this case involve homophobia. And for some of the purposes for which one might be interested in that question (for example, trying to prevent similar things happening in future)'beyond reasonable doubt isn't the right standard; and trying to impose it isn't simply being open-minded or exacting high standards from oneself: it's imposing a cost on people who shouldn't have to bear it (and who are, in many case experiencing a fair amount of grief - in both the literal and the extended Cockney senses.)

(I should probably also say that I'm aware that some of my recent comments on other threads might have contributed to muddying the waters here. Which is perhaps one reason why I feel it's worth trying to articulate this in such detail.)

#845 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 04:41 PM:

I should probably add that I'm aware that my previous comment is both long and peripheral. But I think that this kind of issue comes up a lot in these kinds of discussion; so perhaps it's worth addressing at length.

#846 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 04:44 PM:

ddb: This is not a court of law. I am not required to assume a specific sort of non-guilt, absent proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

That, IMO, is a weaselly cop-out. I have eyes to see, and ears to hear. I can look at it and make judgement. If I am fair I will keep my eyes, and my ears, open. If, and when, I see myself to have been in error I (if I am a good person) will cop to it.

If I am a fair person, when I make my judgements I will share the reason for them.

Because I am not meting out punishment. I am making comment on the social condition. In that social condition things happened. There is evidence about the context, and the causes.

I look at it, and I see patterns, and I talk about them.

To not talk about them is to let the status quo stand.

It's the assent of silence.

It's wrong.

#847 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 04:57 PM:

Windmills, tilting at:

My comment to the Daily Targun

Anon: The writer didn't append his name because this is an editorial, and as such is the official position of the paper, not the work of an individual.

That said, the editorial staff of the paper has missed an important aspect of the situation: the public broadcast of his private life appears to have been the catalyst to Tyler Clement's suicide. That, coupled with, as evidenced from his comments in the online forum he where he was discussing this, widespread support for the roommate who so invaded, and abused his privacy was what made him so miserable he could no longer bear it.

This *is* a big deal. That Rutgers as an institution, seems to be missing this is precisely why there is protest. Laying the blame on the dead, as being unable to cope, is facile, sophomoric, and insensitive. That very inability to empathise with someone in that spot is the reason Tyler Clementi felt so alienated.

#848 ::: Bombie ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 05:13 PM:

heresiarch* @843

I agree. The known facts are enough to speculate about the reasons behind the incident, possible motive, amount of guilt, .. but not enough to be able to do any kind of convincing character painting. However, I think that the persons who said that weren't so much harshly judging future actions of the perpetrator, but more venting and lamenting about the fact that such a scenario is, given the homophobic currents in society, all the likely to be true. But maybe I'm reading those comments wrong, and it is a form of distancing. I don't know.

praisegod barebones @846

It is worth addressing at length, and you make some fine points while doing so. I'd even say that in the conversation with ddb it isn't peripheral at all, as this seems to be the area people disagree most with him, more so than with any of the particulars of the case at hand.

Terry Karney @848

Well said. Bravo.

* wildly off topic: my mind could not agree** on how to pronounce your alias, so I looked it up. Boy, was I both wrong. Thank you for this (unintentional) teaching moment.
** internal dialogue, see?

#849 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 05:38 PM:

I said "sufficient" evidence; I very carefully did not invoke the criminal standard of proof. I know the phrase "beyond reasonable doubt", and would have used it if I had meant it.

praisegod barebones@845 & Terry Karney@847: Ravi and Wei's conversations, or at least thoughts (or his; we don't really know much about her involvement) appear to have lead to consequences substantially greater than most legal confrontations result in. Similarly, lynchings of innocent parties (that's TWO severe errors by my standards; resorting to lynching in the first place, and getting the wrong person) come from rush to judgment, and high emotions. I feel that, in general, even "we" (fans, thoughtful people, progressives, Fluorespherians; sets which I consider to have significant overlap) are prone to assuming too much, particularly to support a conclusion we find rewarding in a distant public case. When what looks like a rush to judgment is forming, and rushing beyond the evidence given (as I see it), it's an ethical requirement that I say something. This is not because I oppose the conclusion; it is because I find the conclusion not yet supported by sufficient evidence.

Endless pettifogging arguments about technicalities, details of chain of evidence, and so forth, aren't appropriate for a general discussion, but some actual evidence is still in order. I'm not objecting, for example, to equating Tyler to the ID on the gay message board that's been cited by various sources; that seems likely enough, and we can change our opinions if that information changes. It is, in any case, specific and definite; we can discuss that information and be talking about the same thing.

The question of whether the two people should be charged with a hate crime (and then presumably those who want the charge also want a conviction) is inherently technical, certainly.

Just to clarify -- clearly homophobia was a major component of why Tyler died. The severity of being outed as gay is directly due to widespread homophobia, at levels from mild distaste up to dragging people to death behind a pickup truck. That's something I've never been in doubt of in this discussion.

#850 ::: dlbowman76 ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 06:16 PM:

(Puts on heaviest waders to wander into this morass...)

I think that there might be a bit of cross-communication going on here. One faction is deeply concerned with what is legal and the other is deeply concerned with what is just. As most grown-ups understand, these two things do not always coincide. Though the law strives to achieve justice, it is only through heartless application of the letter of the law that the possibility of equitable jurisprudence can be attained.

It is not up to us legally to either condemn or exonerate the people who released the videos that precipitated Tyler's death. That must be considered within the machinery of the justice system.

What we may do is to consider the events that did happen and we may morally judge the participants for their behavior. And from my vantage point, the people who seeded that video did so with malicious intent. It doesn't MATTER whether I approve or don't of the contents of that video. What matters is the agency of the students who DELIBERATELY spread that video in a viral fashion.

It is up to the courts to sentence them. It is up to me to hope they all get impacted wisdom teeth while waiting in the dock.

#851 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 06:42 PM:

Bombie @849: re: heresiarch's alias pronounced

"Hairy Shark". Right? (grinning, ducking and running)

#852 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 06:50 PM:

Sarah S. #828: Well, nobody can fault him for lack of ambition! That said, perhaps half that list is inherited from the alchemists and other prior dreamers.

#853 ::: Renatus ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 07:09 PM:

Apropros to the discussion: On Good Kids and Total Fucking Assholes. Relevant excerpt:

I don’t need to know if Ravi and Wei can be held legally responsible for Tyler Clementi’s death in order to feel perfectly confident saying that they are fucking assholes. I don’t need to know if their motivations were specifically homophobic to feel confident saying they are fucking assholes. I don’t need to ever meet them or speak with them to feel confident saying they are fucking assholes. Because I know they both participated in the filming of two people engaging in sexual activity without those people’s consent, and then invited other people to watch it. And if you do that, YOU ARE A FUCKING ASSHOLE. Always and forever.

#854 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 07:34 PM:

TexAnne @837 - Hey! I'm good, just been lapsing into some heavy lurking, I've been around though.

ddb - I think that most people who have spoken here feel like they have enough evidence. It may not be enough to satisfy you but it satisfies a whole bunch of folks. It may seem unfair or not right but for example to me what happened seems pretty clear.

Yes there is such a thing as a pile-on and rushing with a judgment but you can also go too far the other way. Demanding that anyone with grievances and issues (especially when they come from minority groups) be calm, fully logical with a complete paper trail of evidence etc. is counter productive. You end up not speaking up at all because you are continually dismissed for not having a solid enough case. It gets very tiring after a while. Especially when a big part of the problem is how pervasive yet invisible to the 'unmarked' people it is.

#855 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 07:51 PM:

Open-Threadiness with bonus Dutch content -- the documentary 'Pucker Up' is about a bunch of people who compete in that year's international grand championship of whistling.

It's a very well-made documentary, with science and heartwarming touches and genuinely startlingly talented people.

And one of the newcomers that year is named Geert Chatrou. He speaks Dutch on camera repeatedly (alone and with his wife), and gets asked by just about everyone else how to pronounce his name. :->

#856 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 10:46 PM:

ddb, #850: I cannot BELIEVE that you're invoking the "lynching" meme in this instance. There is absolutely no doubt that those two students did what they are accused of doing; they stand convicted out of their own mouths.

What I see about to happen here is another 400-comment thrash with you in the middle of it, alternately throwing fuel on the fire and saying, "But what did I DO?" -- as if you haven't learned anything at all from the last 2 or 3 iterations.


#857 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 11:12 PM:

ddb, you sure seem to be tone deaf. You're using language that's monumentally inflammatory, apparently in complete unawareness.

You're making the whole thread about you. Again.

#858 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 11:49 PM:

I believe I need no further reminder to never, ever annoy Lee under any circumstances whatsoever.

#859 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 12:05 AM:

Hyperlocal news: the fleas might be mostly gone.

I found a dead one last night. The cat doesn't have any on her that combing finds, and I don't find flea dirt under my fingernails when I pet her any more. Her nuclear tailspot has shrunk and instead of biting whatever's in front of her, she makes a weird face and licks the air. Soon, she may react normally. The most recent bites I've gotten have been in weird places rather than my ankles.

Frontline, Comfortis, diatomaceous earth, and about a month. My legs look like... well, they look like I spent that month scratching until I bled, then scratched some more. My dotted sheets may never be the same, I'm not sure about my mattress pad, and I have clothes I haven't seen since they went into a garbage bag, well shut.

But in a week or so, if things don't get worse, I will unpack the soft things and vacuum everything in my bed and have people over again. Rejoice!

#860 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 12:56 AM:

ddb @850:
When what looks like a rush to judgment is forming, and rushing beyond the evidence given (as I see it), it's an ethical requirement that I say something.

As someone who does, occasionally, feel that it's important to step up and say something, I think I have the standing to give you some advice here.

Sometimes, having said your piece, you have to then let people go on and do what they're going to do, even if it's wrong. "Bear witness. Iterate." is not the same thing as "Argue against a large and increasingly exasperated crowd to no avail. Again."

Stand up. Say your piece. See who says what back. If the crowd is receptive, if others agree, then a conversation can happen. If not, sit back down again; a thrash is more likely to harm your cause than help it.

If this bothers you, comfort yourself with the idea that if you're right and they're* wrong, they may realize this after a period of quiet reflection on a thoughtful and carefully-phrased comment. But I can guarantee you that they will not realize this if they have been argued with at length, yet again. That just gets the ire up and entrenches positions all round.

* whoever they are in this context

#861 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 02:01 AM:

Hyperlocal news...

After spending 30 minutes with boss confused by how much time-off spent this year actually was leftover hours from previous year, man decides to spend all of this year's remaining time-off this year. Man will be forced not to work on Mondays for rest of year.

#862 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 02:02 AM:

Hyperlocal news...

Only one episode of hissing heard tonight between resident cats and new cat.
Resident humans rejoice.

#863 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 02:06 AM:

Serge, I hope that hissing sound wasn't one of the cats flying around the room as it lost all its oxygen/helium/hydrogen.

#864 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 02:20 AM:

Linkmeister @ 864... You're confusing those hyperlocal news with the 1930s newsreels about the air(ball)ship The Hissinburg.

#865 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 02:33 AM:

Man will be forced not to work on Mondays for rest of year.

O hardship!

(But should we start a betting pool to see how long it is before you get an urgent call to work on your day off?)

#866 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 02:36 AM:

Open Thread photoblog link: Running from Camera

"The rules are simple: I put the self-timer on 2 seconds, push the button and try to get as far from the camera as I can."

#867 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 03:41 AM:

ddb: This is a tone post. I am not saying you ought to change yours. I am saying you might want to consider if the effect you want seems to be the effect you are getting.

If it's not, the next question ought to be, is it consistently not; and if so is the type of not what you wanted/expected similar from case to case.

If the answer to that question is yes... then it is something you are doing, or not doing, and it's a core problem.

It may be you don't want to change it, fine. But keep in mind, the results you get, will become expectable.

On a more personal note, you might want to ponder the irony of accusing, based on my utterences here, me (in particular) of rushing to judgement. Not only have I explained why I think what I think, I've been among the people making points which, as much as any do, support you.

The metaphor you chose, ill-done. Not only are there people here who have been at the other end of groups engaged in that sort of thing (which makes such charges far more potent than they might seem, be they ever so carefully sheltered with qaualifications), but the charges being laid, are ones a lot of us here have intimate experience with.

That makes a "rush to judgement" less likely. It may mean they set a lower bar, but it's not evidence of doing away with it.

Most importantly, this isn't a group with any power to affect the lives of those two students. Barring a freak of fate encounter, no one here will ever meet them. Unless they seek it out, the opinions of the people who wrote in this thread will never be known to them.

It's a lot of things, it is no way, by any stretch of rational thought, anything close to a lynching.

#868 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 06:18 AM:

Constance @ 835

I'm slightly concerned lest this be more broadly generalized. The group of people you're talking about sounds like a group of people who are a) already out, b) people who have been able to set themselves up in a "safe" environment. And I'd suggest that the process of coming out is really complicated (and elicits negative feedback even from people you'd have thought were generally supportive of LGBTs), and that in less safe environments, there is no really safe way to be out. So my first concern is that it be recognized that what you're talking about is a limited sample set, which can't really be broadly generalized.

But I think my real discomfort is with the sideslip that if all that is needed to not be tormented is that one be brilliantly flamingly queer (or alternatively, that one not be flamingly queer, but fit the social prescription for an "acceptable" sort of gay, which often means being supremely discreet, otherwise gender-conforming, and only subtly uncloseted), well then, anyone being picked on is sort of bringing it on themselves, right? Because they could have chosen to conform to "acceptable" ways of expressing their sexuality. And I object to that, as being overly simplistic and blaming the victim.

I am fairly confident this is not where you were headed, but it is a common thread that I notice in conversations where a member of a traditionally oppressed group has actually been enjoying a certain amount of privilige as a result of their circumstances, and simply doesn't realize that it isn't that way for everyone else in their subgroup.

#869 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 07:02 AM:

This is somewhat of a wild semi-frivolous tangent, but is anyone else vexed about the technological gap expressed in a lot of news coverage about the circumstances leading to Tyler Clementi's death? Story after story keeps saying that his roommate "recorded" or even "videotaped" the crucial event, which makes me cringe at the thought that *anyone* might still have the footage-- it was live-streamed directly from the webcam, wasn't it?

(I really hope that no one recorded it. At least no one has come forward offering a copy to the tabloids etc.)

#870 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 07:23 AM:

Paul A @ 866... how long it is before you get an urgent call to work on your day off?

Next Monday is a safe bet.

#871 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 08:41 AM:

ddb @ 825: If you think that, you haven't been paying attention to what I've actually said.

No, David. You do not get to palm that card this time.

In case you didn't notice, prior to your #824 - and indeed, well afterward - this thread has become Vol. MCMXCVII of David Doesn't Fucking Get It. I'm not the only one, see? You may well not need the 101-level education I alluded to, but you have expressed yourself in a way identical to way too damn many straight white males who do need it. You assume your commentary will be taken in the context of the good and well-informed progressive values you hold dear. But all that exists IN YOUR HEAD. When you come off sounding like Pseudo-Intellectual Frat Boy #45726, WE DON'T SEE IT.

Excuse me. Abi, my apologies. I am too pissed off to continue.

#872 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 09:05 AM:

Julie L. @ 870

That is really an interesting point. As evidenced by the fact that I had to take a few minutes to untangle my thoughts about what actually happened, as reported by the media...

I think there is something of a reflexive "once on the Internet, always on the Internet" thought pattern that we encourage, so that people will not post stupid things that will come back to haunt them in ten years. But I think that same thought pattern is subtly confusing the issue.

Also, I admit, I think so ill of the act in question, that I don't see why someone wouldn't have recorded it at the same time they streamed the video. It seems like such a trivial additional use of technology.

Thank god, if the video isn't out there to be retrieved...

#873 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 09:14 AM:

Renatus@854: Now, I can agree with that!

#874 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 09:46 AM:

I'm feeling rested and in a better mood so I'm happy to pipe up a bit again.

So, ddb, in an attempt at explaining things so that maybe you can see how you're coming off to me and how that ties into how the argument just cycles and pops up over and over again.

What I'm going to write now is intended as "me" statements. It's how I perceive and react to things I've seen written. You may have intended different things but this is what comes across to me. You are also not allowed to tell me I'm wrong. These are my reactions and they are mine.

When you write:
When what looks like a rush to judgment is forming, and rushing beyond the evidence given (as I see it), it's an ethical requirement that I say something. This is not because I oppose the conclusion; it is because I find the conclusion not yet supported by sufficient evidence.

I see a few things. First of all you paint yourself as reasonable and well intentioned and by implication the rest of us as raving emotional loonies. Then you set yourself up as the sole arbiter of what's a reasonable allowed conclusion. So if we want to not be raving emotional loonies and a mob with pitchforks we have to come up with evidence that satisfies you.

However a lot of the 'evidence' (we are not in a court of law after all) is subjective and based on life experiences which are quite often raw and painful and full of things learnt the hard way about who to trust and where you are safe etc.

Then when you dismiss that as not being good enough or sound enough or convincing enough to sway you. It hurts because a huge part of the problem is how often it is dismissed and not seen as really mattering.

It also puts all the burden of proof on us to do the work to convince you. To give you that 101 education course Mark mentioned.

Also this pattern of discourse is not unique. It is very very common when talking about any sort of social issues and institutionalized problems usually with straight white men.

The first time I ran into it I was happy to do the work, bring out the articles, show my research, carefully talk through all the points etc. usually to have it all dismissed and shot down anyway. Then after encounter #2934 you end up just getting twitchy and tired when you see that same pattern coming up again.

Quite often the guys are actually fairly well meaning but really quite blind at seeing how they are perpetuating the problem rather than being as cleverly rational and neutral as they think they are.

On a slight tangent I'll give you an example.

I'm a nerdy woman and I was talking to a nerdy guy. He started telling me how great it must be being female in my field with the gender ratio as skewed as it is. I must get all the attention I want and have so much access to guys.

I told him it wasn't all puppies and rainbows and that you usually had to do a lot of work just to be taken seriously and have your competence believed. I quite often ran into being assumed to be the tag-along girlfriend of someone there and ignored in conversations etc.

He then started arguing with me and telling me that I was wrong, that women really were without exception treasured in the field and their words and input really valued and listened to. He then told me I was being overly emotional and judgmental and wanted concrete evidence from me to defend my case.

Fortunately or unfortunately I could just point to the conversation we were having and told him that in the future if a woman tells you what it's like being a woman, believe her. She will knows better than you.

To loop back onto the topic, when people who have a lot of experience dealing with problems like homophobia say they see homophobia at work they should be given the benefit of the doubt and it's not their job to cater to every single well meaning but utterly clueless guy that pops up and demands more solid explanations, especially when they then dismiss those explanations as not being solid enough when they do get them.

#875 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 10:28 AM:

abi@861: Yeah, I'm easily lead on into deeper discussion; people say things that clearly require responses, and pulling the plug on communication is the most uncivil act available (in my lexicon). And the situation (outside information) usually keeps evolving, so there's new stuff to say or account for.

That's something I can maybe work on some, though.

#876 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 11:36 AM:

Julie L. @870:

I don't want to burst your bubble, but I'd be willing to wager that someone recorded both live-stream incidents.*

I hope I'm wrong.

*There are agencies that do monitor Internet traffic supposedly looking for terrorists.

#877 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 11:46 AM:

Velma @836: Vomiting is also dis-recommended.

#878 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 11:57 AM:

Hyperlocal news:

Woman recovers from organizing block party; understands presence of unclaimed ice cream scoop, but is gobsmacked by lingering unidentified alien chair.

#879 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 12:06 PM:

joann @ 879 — How can you tell? Three armrests?

#880 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 12:08 PM:

That these terrible behaviors go on shouldn't surprise anyone when bullying entities such as faux noose demonstrates doing the same thing continually. Though evidently this time they went too far for Somebody.

"O'Keefe's stunts, however, have been aimed at humiliating his targets and exposing them to ridicule and even legal peril, which is what makes his takedown by CNN reporter Abbie Boudreau so satisfying. Poor baby, O'Keefe got caught in his own trap, which is no doubt why readers who get their information from Fox News probably have no idea what I'm talking about."

As was pointed out in the first reports of this tragedy Rutgers was about to kick off a week of tolerance and civility education campus-wide -- which, considering that there are multiple Rutgers campuses in different areas, meant a lots of places. My lesbian faculty amigas were instrumental in helping organize this, as they are very aware of the tendencies of bullying among some on these campuses. Faculty can see a whole lot if they look, and considering my friends' own histories, they certainly keep their eyes wide open at all times.

Love, C.

#881 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 12:11 PM:

You can also imagine how they are feeling about this since they have a particular sense of mission in helping students like Mr. Clementi. And they didn't get to.

Considering the faculties they are members of, and what Mr. Clementi studied, he wasn't, of course, in any of their classes.

And that they are miserable about this I heard a great deal about just last night at dinner, with two of my friends.

I suppose I better not say any more.

Love, C.

#882 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 12:22 PM:

Hyperlocal news...

Wife's mother flying in tonight.
Housecleaning unearths cupboard's pasta boxes 2 years past due date.

#883 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 12:23 PM:

Diatryma @ 860: considering the resiliency of fleas, you might want to freeze your bag of clothes for about 3 weeks before opening it. Be a real shame to have all that to go through again.

#884 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 12:46 PM:

Dan Hoey #880:

It doesn't match anything on anybody's front porch, and I don't recall seeing it during the festivities. It just sort of miraculously appeared in the pile of stuff a neighbor schlepped back to my garage.

#885 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 12:51 PM:

Serge @ #883:

When I was packing up to move into this house, I dedicated one box to the stuff that had slipped past its use-by date without me noticing, so that it would all be in one place when I figured out what to do with it all.

It's still in my kitchen.

Some of it, I was given as a housewarming present when I moved into my last place.

#886 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 12:52 PM:


My question w.r.t. this clown: After it was shown that he doctored the footage of the ACORN sting video to make the ACORN guys look guilty when they weren't, why does anyone listen to him at all? His sworn testimony is worth less than office gossip. Later, he tried to wiretap a congressional office. (I imagine if I'd tried that, I'd be in prison till my grandkids went to college. Consequences are for the little people, you know.) And God knows what he was planning for this reporter. Seduction and doctored footage used as blackmail material? Drugging and rape, with edited footage plus political connections keeping him out of prison for it? He wanted to have a sex tape on the internet just like all the other trashy celebs? Who knows?

But the fact that anyone was willing to make him into a spokesman for anything--use him as a source, give him a slot on TV, whatever--demonstrates something horribly broken about our media culture. He was almost certainly being used as a source/spokesman by this reporter because he's interestingly smarmy and controversial. And because there are no consequences for lying in public, even for fabricating evidence.

The willingness of journalists and media people and politicians to overlook lying and fabricating evidence is uncomfortably similar to the willingness of policemen to overlook beating civilians and planting evidence and lying on reports. We're all part of the club, we all cut corners, and we all cover for each other. Just like priests covering for pedophiles, or doctors covering for drunk or incompetent colleagues.

The consequences of this are truly awful. This worthless fuck (to put it kindly) made up evidence that caused a nationwide scandal, wrecked lives and careers, destroyed an organization for stuff they hadn't done[1]. And nobody cares--he's still treated as somehow worth listening to, as though anything he said would be credible.

My guess is that he's crossed a line here only in that he turned his nastiness on another media person. Sort of like those cases where the only policeman who gets fired after the police brutality scandal just happens to be the whistleblower.

Again, our sensors are broken where they're not compromised. We don't even know what we don't know. And this shows, every day, in our politics. We are so fucked.

[1] I don't know whether ACORN was a net plus or minus in the world, but it's damned clear they weren't providing advice to help set up underaged prostitution rings.

#887 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 01:00 PM:

ddb @876:
people say things that clearly require responses, and pulling the plug on communication is the most uncivil act available (in my lexicon). And the situation (outside information) usually keeps evolving, so there's new stuff to say or account for.

That's what turns these conversations into a spoon bidding war. People with children or other obligations that take up their time, people emotionally involved in the subject so that the argument takes more energy to conduct, and people who are simply not inclined to spend their entire lives in Making Light thrashes, just get argued to death. They run out of spoons, and you're still going.

Then others see the first lot argued to death, and jump in. And the thread turns into an All About DDB thread, and tempers fray, and no one really learns much of anything. And the next time it starts, everyone's already halfway to annoyed at you.

It's not a way to figure out who's right; someone can be entirely correct and simply not have the time and energy to pull you through the matter, point by point. All we find out through this sort of thing is, if you will, who's left.

Were you around when we started using heresiarch's rule? It's a way of calling time on the impulse to just answer one...more...point, because after I invoke it, the last person to speak in the conversation is deemed to have lost*.

I think I may have to start using it again.

* In reality, of course, the winners and losers of a debate are determined in the hearts and minds of the readers, long after the thread has gone quiet, as the product of thoughtful consideration. But it's rare that the last speaker manages to make a point that overwhelms the content of the rest of the argument, even if the readers haven't given up in disgust.

#888 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 01:01 PM:

Sica@875: Meta-discussion might still be productive, and you're saying interesting things and I don't want to stop this piece of the discussion. So I'm going to try to push on just a bit, with the meta-discussion. If I drop out suddenly it'll presumably be obvious why. I'd be happy to take it to email if you want; I'm dd "dash" b "at" dd "dash" b "dot" net.

You say "First of all you paint yourself as reasonable and well intentioned and by implication the rest of us as raving emotional loonies." I do of course think of myself as reasonable (it's not quite true that everybody does on all topics, but close). Ditto well-intentioned. And I am disagreeing to some extent with some people; I'm saying I think they're wrong.

But do I do anything to particularly say "I'm reasonable"? I try to cite evidence for my points, and I try to lay out logic I'm using; but that's "the right thing to do" in a discussion, isn't it? I don't see how I'm particularly throwing "I'm reasonable" in anybody's face.

I do suggest that some of the people I'm arguing with aren't being completely reasonable on the topic of discussion; "rush to judgment" does say that. It doesn't go anywhere near "raving" or "loonie", though. Does it?

I already say "what looks like" (not "what is"), and I already added "as I see it" (even though that's redundant, ANY statement I make is inherently a statement of my opinion).

Then you say "Then you set yourself up as the sole arbiter of what's a reasonable allowed conclusion." How do I do that? The qualifications in my sentences seem to me to preclude that reading, plus that shouldn't be the default reading even for a statement as bald as "that's wrong" (which I don't make here).

It's true that to convince me, you need to come up with evidence and arguments that convince me; that's tautological, obviously. It's also a symmetrical relationship; to convince you, I need to come up with evidence and arguments that convince you, too. And you are the ultimate authority on what convinces you, just as I am the ultimate authority on what convinces me. At some point (which seems to have been reached) I say "that doesn't convince me" and you say "well, it convinces me", and we've reached an impasse. That's okay; discussions can end that way, with people not convinced. I still learned things, I know what evidence people found sufficient to reach their conclusions. What bothers me is that it sounds like you're denying me the powers that I think we each inherently have (each of us decides what convinces us).

#889 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 01:20 PM:

Out of date pasta is probably just fine, safety-wise.

Last year, I unearthed three or four cans of Huntz spaghetti sauce, expired 2006. One can had bulging ends. The others were just fine.

#890 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 02:09 PM:

abi@888: (Nice message number -- "several blocks down from the Beast"!)

I'm feeling some spoon issues of my own, for that matter, with people taking me on in relays. Works great for interrogations!

This may be my own version of the fannish inability to reject anybody (which I don't have in the standard form, and find endlessly annoying in the standard form); but being unwilling to discuss things with someone is a really big step, and I hate to do it. It says "you're not worth communicating with"; it's the most extreme form of rejection (short of murder), PLUS it's directly targeted at the intellectual positions, which are kept near to the heart generally.

#891 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 02:30 PM:

ddb @891:
It says "you're not worth communicating with"

I assure you, no one takes it that way, or if they do, they shouldn't. This is an asynchronous, optional means of communication.

And setting it up the way you have it in your head rejects (word choice deliberate here) people who don't have the time to go the full length. It excludes the busy, the otherwise committed, the emotionally involved, from full membership in the conversation. That doesn't strike me as something you really want to do. But trust me, that is the practical effect of it.

Maybe you could take it not as shutting the conversation off, but rather paying people the compliment of letting them work the rest of the details out in their heads, doing their own research as needed? The folk here are plenty smart. Trust them to work out what you omit.

Or consciously, maybe even overtly say, "I'm out for the moment; we'll come back to this the next time it comes up in conversation. In the meantime, I'll think about what you said; I hope you'll do the same for my comments."

This is a long-running community. We don't have to put every issue to bed within the space of a single conversation. And the more you attempt to do so, the less effective you are at communicating what you want to.

#892 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 02:46 PM:

Hi, all. I'm back again. I'm very weak and wobbly, from the residual effects of the original surgery and from having to spend several days mostly flat on my back to try to let the CSF leak heal over. But I don't seem to be leaking any more, and I'll be taking things *really* easy for a few days -- not that I have much choice. It's amazing how quickly one loses muscle tone when one's not allowed to move.

I've got a lot of catching up to do, but I'm working on it. Sleep is a high priority for the moment, since I got very little during my second hospital stay. My roommate had a horrible gurgling cough, every few minutes; ear plugs were not enough. A hospital is a terrible place to be if one is unwell.

#893 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 02:48 PM:

Welcome back, Joel! I hope the rest of your recuperation is quietly boring.

#894 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 02:49 PM:

Joel Polowin @893:

Hey! Welcome back! So good to "see" you again. Between you and Velma, we're quite the post-surgical ward.

No gurgling coughs in a virtual space, though. Not without a richer medium than pure text.

Keep us posted on your recovery.

#895 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 03:11 PM:

Joel Polowin@893: Welcome back! Despite the, um, little glitch, sounds like recovery is proceeding decently, for which I'm very glad.

#896 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 03:16 PM:

Something new to distract me from outrage fatigue: Glenn Beck Mocks Fire Victims

There's a fact in there of which I was previously unaware (emphasis mine): "While a raging brush fire neared his home, Cranick begged the fire chief to stop the fire before it engulfed his house. He even offered to immediately pay the $75 fee, but the chief refused and the house burned to the ground."

#897 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 03:38 PM:

Earl Cooley III@897: Glenn Beck is a [string of bad words here], certainly. (Haven't checked out this particular effusion, I'm accepting the description as valid.) I've read other sources about the incident.

The yearly subscription fee for a commercial fire-fighting company is essentially an insurance payment. An insurance company that lets people wait to buy insurance until a need is in sight (as this fire certainly was) will go bankrupt very quickly. (Insurance is risk-averaging; if you let people wait until the need occurs before they buy insurance, then the averaging doesn't take place, and the scheme doesn't work.) (This is one of the arguments for national health insurance, of course -- make sure that everybody is in the insurance pool, that's when insurance works best.)

But I cannot fathom the stupidity of the fire-fighting company that didn't have provisions for this situation. Historically (when commercial fire companies were more common) they would accept some much-larger amount from a non-subscriber for immediate coverage -- perhaps 100x the normal yearly fee? The outrage caused by standing by and refusing to help is entirely predictable, and deserved. This is taking "not letting people get away with things" to an unconscionable extreme, and it wouldn't surprise me if it was an ideologically-driven choice by the fire company owner.

(I can see this from two angles, both leading to the same conclusion. One, it's humanly vile to let the fire burn the house down if there's any reasonable (sustainable) way to avoid it. There fairly clearly is (charging a very high but possible price), so it's unconscionable to have let the house burn down. Two, there's a need for the fire company to protect itself from "free riders" certainly; but there are ways to do that with less negative publicity outcomes than the one they chose, they weren't smart about this. Whether you start from business, or human empathy, you seem to get to roughly the same place in this case.)

And, of course, avoiding this issue is one of the arguments for municipal fire companies. This also helps address the issue of fires damaging neighboring houses.

#898 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 03:54 PM:

I'm not able to freeze my clothes, but they came from the dryer, were folded into a laundry basket, and then went straight into the bag. It's been opened a couple times since, but nothing else. I'm hoping that anything that's survived my half-assed quarantine* will encounter a house that is somewhat inimical to fleas.

*I didn't do anything to protect either the textile stash or anything in the closet, and I haven't vacuumed the bed. I didn't put diatomite in the hallway, and I have completely ignored my roommate's space. I am not a good roommate, people.

#899 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 03:59 PM:

Good to hear you're recuperating, Joel!

Thinking about the controversy around dd-b's communication style -- part of what's going on seems to me to be that people are thinking he's trying to convince them that his way of thinking is correct. I can see what he's saying, and see how it applies to him and his style, and see clearly that it doesn't apply to me or my style. I'm able to say "Wow, that's different" (and usually that it's interesting) and not think that I'm seeing a prescription about how I should think. And I don't see him using directly normative language: there's some "norming" implied, as there is in most conversations, but it's noticeably less in his posts than in many.

And I certainly don't expect him to change his style because I've said this!

Third person used here because I'm talking not just to you, dd-b, but describing what I see happening. No disrespect for you or other commentators here intended, and I hope none is inferred.

#900 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 04:09 PM:

Tom Whitmore@900: I see nothing disrespectful in what you say about me there. It's not disrespectful to note that our communications styles aren't 100% similar!

(In fact, it's closer to "stating the obvious" than to "disrespectful". :-) )

#901 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 04:28 PM:

Diatryma #899: I didn't do anything to protect either the textile stash or anything in the closet, and I haven't vacuumed the bed. I didn't put diatomite in the hallway, and I have completely ignored my roommate's space. I am not a good roommate, people.

I have vanquished
the fleas
that the cat
had suffered

and yet
you are probably
even worse

Forgive me
I did not zap fleas
for you

#902 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 04:43 PM:

Earl Cooley @897 - Your bolded is wrong, at least according to Cranick. "The Cranicks told 9-1-1 they would pay firefighters, whatever the cost, to stop the fire before it spread to their house." (link found via

Why would the fire department refuse the post-facto payment plan? Possibly because they charged $500 for uninsured calls, and had a 50% collection rate on those calls. (Reference somewhere in these pages, which I rather suspect have changed to be more defensive and less informative than when they was initially cited.)

From what I've read, most fire companies on a subscriber model do put out the fires first and worry about being paid second. The Cranicks could be victims of power politics between the city and the county. No comfort for them, and illustrative of the results of refusing a 0.13% property tax hike to pay for fire department calls.

#903 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 04:59 PM:

ddb@889 - Things are calming down so I'll try to keep this short. You are right in a lot of things you say there, especially about how you're the sole authority on what convinces you etc.

The raving loonie talk etc. I put in because that's the emotional effect your words had on me. That's how I perceived what you said.

That's a key thing about the post I made earlier, it was all about what I saw you as saying which is different from what you think you were saying which is also probably different from what you actually said.

Another complication is that because this sort of conversation has happened so often, the people involved regularly end up not actually having just a conversation with each other but it's more a conversation with each other and the echos of others they've had a similar conversation with before. So things you say may strike a bad chord because they are close to something that someone else said in a similar situation.

This is all extremely unfair and hard to control and deal with at times.

So to sum up TOES!

#904 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 05:19 PM:

DDB: If you just have to explain your reasoning at length and respond to all comments... well, it seems you do have a blog of your own. Perhaps you can post a brief pointer and host your extended discussion there, including your analyses of various ML comments....

#905 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 05:21 PM:

ddb: To be meta: When one make a blanket statement, it covers everything.

So, to be micro: "Endless pettifogging arguments about chains of custody..." is a blanket statement. It accuses, by implication and association, those who disagree with you of getting hung up on the trees, when there is a forest out there.

To stretch the metaphor, most of them are telling you about the forest, and being told this example isn't a tree.

It makes them tetchy.

It's not that people are piling on, taking turns, trying to grind you down (and the interrogation comment, not as funny as it was meant to be; but that may be a personal issue on my part), it's that they see you repeating yourself, with minor variations.

It's almost a fugue, the themes are being layered, but the parent phrase is still there.

You don't want to see a, "rush to judgement." Got it. We also are going to judge, just as you are.

Standing on the sidelines, waiting for, "persuasive evidence" is a judgement.

Here is what I know. There is, here and now, a big splash about this. It's all over the news (right up there with Christine O'Donnell's classified Chinese plan to take over the US, and Rand Paul wanting to have an annual 2,000 deductible for Medicare).

It will die down (just as Park51 did).

Some sort of charges will be laid. There will be a much smaller reaction. It will be more polar.

There will be a resolution.

We will never know the "real" reason. The kids who did this, will never say why. If they do, I will not trust them. By that time there will be so many conflicting motives for anything they might say, that it's just not credible.

So, here and now, before, "All the evidence is in" I have to make a call. Based on what I know (from experience), and what I believe (from observation), and what I glean (from others, and from then news, and from the unguarded utterances frozen on the web, or made in the now), I have to decide what I think it all means.

And I have that same ethical need to make comment, where comment is due.

I have, in fact, been sitting on my hands; some because of work, some to avoid the appearance of piling on. I don't want my standing in the community to seem some sort of club you are being beaten with.

But, and this is the part that is making it hard for you, I, no more than anyone else here, cannot sit on my hands forever.

When something like this happens, as abi says, distance is the best remedy. The threads are still here (I re-read all of the Old Jarhead says post yesterday.

I pondered making some new comment. I didn't because the people to whom I wanted to reply are, if still about, lurking, and it wouldn't do any real good to poke at that.

But the option is there. The odds, at this point in such a discussion, that the perfect phrase to make all see will come to you... is slim.

Even Churchill couldn't do that all the time.

Give it a while, be it days, weeks, months. If there is a real insight, whomever it lights on, will share it.

In the meanwhile, the lack of flame, will make it easier to see what is being talked about, rather than what is being said.

#906 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 05:29 PM:

Serge @ 883: Pasta two years past use-by? What's the problem?

Joel Polowin: welcome back; hope the rest of the recovery goes smoothly. My father (a doctor) use to say you had to be very healthy to survive a stay in hospital. As for loss of muscle tone - yes, I well remember the loss of strength after having my arm in a sling for a few weeks post shoulder dislocation. Sympathies

Earl Cooley III @ 897: The poor house owner apparently forgot to pay, rather than deliberately didn't pay the fee. He offered to pay "whatever it takes" - and the so-called firefighters let three dogs and a cat burn to death. The people who sat in their fire engine and watched the house blaze do not deserve the name "firefighters."

I'm not going to even start on what I think about Glenn Beck's attitude.

#907 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 05:33 PM:

As I understand the firefighting model: It is paid for, flat rate, if one lives in the city limits. It's paid for out of taxes, paid to the county.

The surcharge is to cover the extra costs of going out of the city. One of the reports I read said the Cranicks had a neighbor, who had paid the fee, and his house was protected.

What *amuses* me, is that very problem.... houses nearby being in jeopardy when someone who hadn't paid was on fire, which led to municipal services covering everyone.

#908 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 06:46 PM:

ddb, #898: In various articles about this incident, I've learned two additional things which seem significant to me. First, the victim had been a subscriber, but had apparently missed a payment; this wasn't just a case of somebody trying to sponge off the neighbors, as it's being painted. That's a loony business model, to cut somebody off for missing one payment -- even mortgage companies give you more chances than that!

Secondly, while all the people living in the house got out, they could not get their pets out in time. The fire department stood there and watched the house burn to the ground with four pets inside. I know they aren't legally obligated to rescue animals the way they are people, but IMO that moves what they did from "callous" to "sociopathic".

Also, it's worth noting that their refusal to fight the fire at his house had the direct result of allowing the fire to spread to and damage the house of his next-door neighbor, who was up-to-date on his payments. IMO that neighbor has a really good breach-of-contract case.

#909 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 06:49 PM:

Paul A. @ 867:

Kids! Don't do this at home in small rooms!

Terry Karney @ 908:

As I understand it, the neighbor who had paid the fee took some damage as a direct result of the FD not putting out the fire at the Cranick house. This might be called toasting your nose for not paying for your cheek. And it brilliantly illuminates the dead volume in the libertarian concept space where "public welfare" should be.

#910 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 07:07 PM:

I heard coyotes yapping it up last night; probably in the field behind the shopping center across the street.

I imagine them celebrating the capture and consumption of a cat, or snagging a bag of dropped cheesy fries from Sonic Burger.

#911 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 07:26 PM:

#902 Earl

Time to flea dip the human
For he's been so very bad
Time to flea dip the human
And now the cats won't be sad

Time to flea dip the human
Why bother delousing the house
For it's time to flea dip the human
Instead of the cat and the mouse!

#912 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 08:05 PM:

Joel Polowin, #893, welcome back! My second renal failure, one of my roommates was a Christian Scientist and she kept playing really loud tapes. When she decided to get the surgery (she would die otherwise), her children came and said it was the last time she'd see them. Then last year there was the week in the brain injury unit where everybody but me screamed at night. :::sigh:::

ddb, #898, they weren't commercial firefighters, they were from the neighboring town, where residents get free service.

#913 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 09:48 PM:

Velma, Joel--Welcome home, both of you! I hope your recoveries progress well, with no further problems popping up to make your life difficult.

#914 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 09:51 PM:

Hyperlocal news: Woman abandons feline companions to roommate's tender mercies in order to visit elderly parent. Roommate notes, with dismay, tendency of felines to vulture around her in the morning until they are fed.

#915 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 10:38 PM:

On the fire and the fee-for-service
I understand that this was the second time (in three or four years) that this family had had a fire after not paying the fire-service fee. They apparently paid up the first time after the fire was put out, but it may have taken some time, and I can see where the fire department would not be happy at getting another call from the same people, three months after they missed paying again.

Also, this time they apparently tried to put it out with a garden hose before they called for help, and they didn't get anything out of the house even after they saw the fire was gaining.

#916 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 11:01 PM:

Is there a Frontline equilavent for humans? Because I am seeing a market.

At least it's better than a virus. I had a discussion with another sciencey friend about what it takes to justify something in our heads. I'm okay with fleas because something eats them. Mosquitoes, same, though I'd like them to not be invasive-- invasive species upset me. Tapeworms, nettles, termites, all okay because they have connections. Viruses, not so much.

Then she brought up prions.

Viruses at least do cool things with genetic material.

#917 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 12:17 AM:

But prions do cool things at the level of molecular shapes! Which to me is really cool. I don't think they're alive, but they're cool.

#918 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 12:25 AM:

Congratulations on your first decade together, Velma & Soren! Happy, happy anniversary.

#919 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 12:38 AM:

ooh... Velma, Scraps, Mazel Tov.

#920 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 01:45 AM:

and... for the, Wha....? category.

"Avenging" Narwhal

#921 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 01:57 AM:

Shared joy is doubled: I'm participating in my first gallery opening on Saturday! (My name isn't on the announcement because I just got my display installed this afternoon.) Here's a picture of my gallery section. Houston locals, feel free to drop by and say hi -- I'll be the one in the highwayman outfit. With sword, since it's not in a hotel. :-)

#922 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 02:00 AM:


I was unaware that Narwhals sought vengeance on smaller creatures such as penguins, seals and -- what is that last one, a polar bear cub? It looks more like a koala or panda to me. What on earth do you suppose they did to the Narwhal that it would have such an atavistic memory?

Fortunately, being a member of none of those species, I needn't worry about being attacked.

#923 ::: TrishB ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 02:13 AM:

@ #911 Stefan Jones: I had a coyote in my small fenced suburban yard a few night ago. It was lucky that he took a short nap in the shed and then moved on. My companions are two miniature schnauzers, who are probably considered snack size by such a creature. One is blind, and the other drags the bell curve for breed intelligence severely leftward.

#924 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 02:39 AM:

Lee: Katie and I are taking a weekend trip to New Orleans, so we won't be able to make it. Very cool, though!

#925 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 02:55 AM:

Congratulations to Velma and Scraps, and to Joel!

#926 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 03:29 AM:

Terry Karney @ 921

Libyan narwhals, do you suppose?

#927 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 03:37 AM:

Linkmeister: There are four horns, but only three victims, I suspect the fingers of the new owners are likely to provide the target.

#928 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 04:37 AM:

Congratulations Lee! And thank you for posting the picture. I, somewhat stupidly, didn't think to bring a camera that evening. Ah well, a problem with an easy remedy now, as I picked up a new iPhone 4 while on my journeys in Oregon. Jedi wedding ceremony performed, actual legal ceremony performed in staircase immediately afterward, just to be safe, ring bearer and flower girl danced fetchingly throughout the evening.
I am exhausted, and would like to lodge a formal complaint against the weather bureau in Portland. I was expecting cold weather, and was most displeased to find it comfortably t-shirt weather most of my time there. I packed sweaters! Also, no, New Orleanians, highs of 80 do not constitute autumn in any normal sense of the word. I got a new bobble hat for the toddler as well, now it just has to cool off enough for him to wear it.

#929 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 04:46 AM:

Terry Karney @ 928

Absolutely. That is clearly a swiss-army, all-in-one sleeping-beauty spindle-pony. Prick your finger on its horn, with which it can also defend you while you are asleep, and when prince charming shows up, your pony is already there to aid in your escape.

#930 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 05:52 AM:

To Joel, Mark and anyone else needing good thoughts, have some virtual snuggles.

#931 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 05:53 AM:

Oh yeah, and Velma.

#932 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 07:30 AM:

Good thoughts to Velma,Scraps, and Joel.

#933 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 07:31 AM:

In how many different ways can NPR pronounce "Liu Xiaobo"?

#934 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 08:12 AM:

Link forward to Open thread 148.

Feel free to continue discussions here until Dread Thousand, if you like, or move there.

#935 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 09:11 AM:

Lee@922: Congratulations! That's a big "first".

The display looks very elegant. (Not dissing the work itself, just that a photo showing the whole display isn't a good place to examine the individual pieces.)

#936 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 10:01 AM:

Lee@909: At this point I officially have no clear opinion what happened. The various versions are starting to conflict. I could probably recover an opinion by going out and reading, but it doesn't seem important enough; I'm not going to vote on it or anything.

I certainly agree that people who would sit by (I want to write "smugly"; I think that's just my projection onto it, though) while the pets burn to death are not going to be my best buddies (risking life to rescue pets is always a complicated question; I might do stupid things to rescue our pets, but for firefighters who deal with rescues regularly it's a complicated issue).

#937 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 10:15 AM:

This may not be wise, but I cannot resist this. Here's the thing I've been saying, that some people here found so unacceptable, from another source -- from the Richard Kim article in The Nation that's linked from the new article right here on ML. Maybe you can hear it if somebody else says it:

That they acted with homophobic malice, that they understood what the consequences of their actions might be, or that their prank alone, or even chiefly, triggered Clementi's suicide is far less clear.

(I didn't raise the question of how big a role the prank played in the suicide; in fact I think it played a really major role.)

The key there is "far less clear". Not "clearly false"; not even "probably false". But "far less clear". That's exactly where I am.

#938 ::: abi, your increasingly burned out moderator ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 10:32 AM:

ddb @938:

This may not be wise, but I cannot resist this.[...]Maybe you can hear it if somebody else says it:

Head. Desk. Head. Desk.

If this conversation travels to another thread, I will do something drastic. These endless thrashes do no one any good whatsoever.

People who want this conversation to continue elsewhere have a maximum of 61 comments to convince me that it's a good idea.

#939 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 11:01 AM:


I'm resisting the temptation to post the same message 61 times as a kind of vote for just closing the thread.

#940 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 11:19 AM:

Quick...somebody post something shiny!

All I have today is this; which is a nice snippet hinting how moderation makes the community, but hardly a unicorn. Or even a vengeful narwhal.

#941 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 11:30 AM:

ddb - I don't think there's anything unsaid in the actual argument, but I do have a meta comment: can you imagine a universe where "Maybe you can hear it if somebody else says it:" is not insulting and dismissive of other people's opinions?

What I hear you saying is: "The reason you don't agree with me is that you refuse to listen to me, because you are biased against me. Maybe if you you read the exact same argument I've made eleventy times from someone else, you'll finally realize I'm right." It's worthy of being added to the Flamer Bingo thread, but it is original enough that I don't think it's there already. Yay?

I hope you didn't intend to send that message, and it looks to me like frustration combined with an inability to let. things. go. From the viewpoint of a somewhat-obsessive, I'd say you need to find some way of refocusing your time on something else, because you aren't getting any more successful at persuading people that you're right and they're wrong wrong wrong.

#942 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 11:36 AM:

ddb, may I suggest a different conversational win state than "everyone agrees with me or at least admits my p.o.v. is valid?" Specifically, I present you with heresiarch's rule: when the people you are talking with stop presenting new arguments, and the only thing left to say is the same thing you just said, then say nothing and consider the conversation done. It seems that this might avoid the fail state that's been bedeviling us. (I think it might be wise for anyone arguing against ddb to adopt this rule as well.)

#943 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 11:38 AM:

The vengeful narwhal is pissed off that the cute white furry thing drank the last Coca-Cola on the ice flow.

#944 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 11:56 AM:

One of the aspects of this discussion system is there's no way to respond privately to just one person here. I'm sitting looking at an engaged message to me, that contains explicit questions, and my choices are to respond publicly here, or to not respond at all. Not responding at all is rude. Several people seem to want this thread of the discussion to end, so responding publicly is at least problematic, perhaps rude.

With apologies to FungiFromYuggoth, I'm going to take the democratic course of bothering fewer people. I'd be happy to respond privately, if you give me contact info at dd "dash" b "at" dd "dash" b "dot" net , but of course will not be upset or insulted if you do not wish to.

#945 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 12:13 PM:

#942 ::: FungiFromYuggoth:

Meta meta, I guess. I wouldn't want to hear "maybe you can hear me if someone else says it", but I do find hearing the same thing from independent sources more convincing. It's not a special animus against the first source, it's evidence gathering.

Something shiny: a silly cartoon, skillfully drawn and written.

#946 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 12:32 PM:

ddb @ 850

There's quite a lot of things I want to say in reply, but in the spirit of abi's 892 (and indeed of her 939, which hadn't been posted when I initially composed this comment late last night), and also in the interest of mutual spoon-conservation, I'd like to suggest we postpone future discussion till a later date.

Given that I've said that I hope it's not out of place also to say this: I've found some of the things you've said in this conversation (and in some other recent threads) exasperating. But I've also seen you say things here and elsewhere that were simply brilliant - insightful, humane, wise, witty. In both of which respects you remind me of a number of some of my best, and oldest friends.

I'm sorry that I much more often find myself responding to the things you say that I find exasperating, and not the ones that I find insightful. The fact that I don't want to further engage in this conversation now, and on this thread really doesn't mean that I think you're not worth communicating with, or even that I think you're not worth communicating with over this. And I obviously won't regard a non-reply - or a merely notional one - to this on your part as communicating the same thing.

#947 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 01:21 PM:

prasegod barebones@947: Thanks for mentioning the times you've found my comments of value or at least amusing, but haven't found anything to reply with. I appreciate knowing. And I acknowledge being exasperating, sometimes slow, thick-headed, stubborn, even occasionally wrong, and thank you for tolerating those times at least to the point of being willing to talk about both.

#948 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 01:54 PM:

[This started as a comment to Nancy, kind-of morphed into one to ddb, and now I'm not sure to whom it's addressed.]

Perhaps one source of difficulty here is that conversations have many different purposes: To convince others of your views, to understand others' views, to learn stuff you don't know, to make and keep individual friends, to build and sustain a community, to make yourself feel good, to signal what a good/cool/righteous/patriotic person you are, etc. Some conversations, for some participants, are about getting some acknowledgment for their experiences. Some are about getting agreement on or enforcing or establishing community norms. And so on.

It's helpful to know what others' goals in a conversation are. It's essential to know your own goals. For example, I find myself much happier when understanding is my main goal, telling the truth as I understand it and being understood is a secondary goal, and convincing anyone is far down the list[1].

One of the hardest parts of this happens when you start feeling like others are assuming bad things about you, based on your disagreement with them[2]. This is very common in racism/privilege discussions here, in discussions on patriotism or religion or morality in many other places. When lots of people are disagreeing with you, that can feel a lot like a threat of ostracism.

When I start feeling that, it's a sign that I'm probably not going to make good decisions about the conversation. That's a good time to remember that I'm a part of the community, and that I'll still be a part of it tomorrow, even if I have fundamental and important disagreements with most of the people in it. But it's also a good time to remember that I try to put telling the truth as I understand it ahead of being popular, for all that it's very difficult to do sometimes.

And there are some discussions we mostly don't have here (brtn being an obvious example), because it's very hard to have that discussion without people getting really upset and nasty to each other, and the whole conversation crashing into flames. Similarly, there are some discussions I've learned to mostly not pursue in different communities--either they usually crash and burn, or few people in the community care much about the issue, or I feel like all available communications about the issue have basically happened already, or whatever.

[1] This makes me think of the Prayer of St Francis. There are many worse guides to interaction with your fellow humans.

[2] And often, this is implicit or explicit in the rhetoric of some people you're talking with. Sometimes, that is an intentional tactic, more often it's a kind of automatic response to someone challenging ideas they're not used to hearing challenged.

#949 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 03:43 PM:

ddb @945: One of the aspects of this discussion system is there's no way to respond privately to just one person here. I'm sitting looking at an engaged message to me, that contains explicit questions, and my choices are to respond publicly here, or to not respond at all. Not responding at all is rude. Several people seem to want this thread of the discussion to end, so responding publicly is at least problematic, perhaps rude.

Suggestion: decamp the thread to your own blog and post a link here, so people can continue the discussion there if they feel like it. Like what I did before. Then post all of your responses there. If people persist in responding here and you want to make sure they know you're engaging with them, just reply here with another link.

This would neatly resolve the double-bind and relieve abi of the moderation load.

#950 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 03:47 PM:

Jacque@950: Not a bad idea. However, several of the ways of signing on to my blog do reveal at least an email to me, so some people might not want to participate there (of course, those people wouldn't want to correspond directly either, so no loss to them; and it does keep it a relatively open and public conversation).

#951 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 04:06 PM:

albatross @949: I find myself much happier when understanding is my main goal, telling the truth as I understand it and being understood is a secondary goal, and convincing anyone is far down the list.

In relation to that, I find "reflective listening" to be a useful strategy, as well. If I persistently am having the same or similarly structured disagreement with someone, I put the brakes on stating my position yet again, and fall back to: "Here is what I understood you to have said:" and paraphrase what I understand their position to be.

Then I wait: if they say: "Yes, that's what I meant," then I respond with my position. If they say, "No, this is what I meant," I iterate until they convey that I've correctly understood them.

abi & ddb demonstrate this nicely @759 & @762.

If I then need to extrapolate their position to make my own point, I make sure they confirm my extrapolation before I move on to my response.

Note to Universe: Homographs should not be anagrams of each other, to wit: brake vs. break. Feh.

#952 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 04:08 PM:

ddb @951: Set up an LJ for the purpose?

#953 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 04:11 PM:

To be absolutely clear on something: I really do appreciate your presence on Making Light. I find these extended thrashes that you seem to get into exhausting, dispiriting, and difficult to moderate, but I enjoy the other ways you are part of this community a lot. I am genuinely glad you're here.

heresiarch @943:
Indeed, expect to see either the rule or a "last orders, please" approach taken to these discussions in the future.

albatross @949:
I think that's a very insightful comment, and really gets at a lot of the out-of-focus feeling I get from these extended discussions. It's as though people have different goals and exit criteria. Thus do they wind up feeling unsatisfied, the way one does when one craves protein and eats starches instead.

I'm not sure how to use this insight to improve matters. I'll think on it. But I appreciate your analysis.

Jacque @950:
If people persist in responding here and you want to make sure they know you're engaging with them, just reply here with another link.

I would hope people would not try to have half a conversation here and half elsewhere. But perhaps after I have either called time or invoked heresiarch's rule on Making Light, the ability to "take it outside" would be of use.

The particular instance you pointed to did not go well, and I certainly won't be likely to take that option, but I have no objection to it in principle.

#954 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 04:12 PM:

abi @939: Dred Thousand? :)

#955 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 04:13 PM:

Gargh. I meant @935.

#956 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 04:18 PM:

abi @954: The particular instance you pointed to did not go well

Yes, but at least it didn't not go well here. :)

#957 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 04:24 PM:

abi@954: Thanks! Strangely enough, the extended thrashes are not the parts I particularly enjoy either.

"I'm not sure how to use this insight to improve matters." Yeah, that blinding flash is often the beginning of the process, not the end.

Splitting a complex conversation might be valuable if some people didn't want to be exposed to part of it. But it's hard to maintain separation. The case I currently think I might actually implement sometime is where I felt a need to respond to something specific, yet felt desire (or pressure) to disengage on the discussion in general. I can make my response where they can find it and respond if they care, and not force anybody to see it. That seems like it might be beneficial.

#958 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 04:52 PM:

ddb @958: Yeah, that's exactly what I had in mind. :)

#959 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 06:53 PM:

DDB: Agreeing with Jacque and reiterating my own prior comment; when people start getting ticked off at you here, or when Certain Topics come up, it's time to retreat to your own blog.

To insert a metaphor, I'm having a homologous problem with my current roguelike game (Dungeon Crawl:Stone Soup). In that game, hack&slash is suicide -- no matter what your character build, there will be some monsters you just need to run away from. My problem is resisting the urge to try and "beat them this time".

#960 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 07:05 PM:

Because I didn't do it before (spending too much time on Gilbert & Sullivan parodies to read through this thread properly), let me say quickly before it hits Ginnungagap0:

Welcome back home, Velma (and congratulations to you and Scraps), and also welcome back Joel and Mark.

0 What a great name for a line of large air fans!1
1 See also: 0 bottles of beer on the wall.

#961 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 09:10 PM:

Bright Blessings for many more years, Velma and Scraps!

Congratulations, Lee! Pretty pretties.

ddb, I'm at the point where I sometimes consider just skipping any comment headed by your name. Some of what you say leaves me shaking with rage, particularly the nth time you say it after n-1 explanations of why it doesn't make sense and is offensive. To be fair, in the most recent thrash I was already close to a rage state about Tyler Clementi and the general cluelessness of the media.

I don't want to stop reading your comments. Sometimes they're interesting. But I have no way of knowing whether a comment of yours is going to be one of the interesting ones or one of the enraging ones.

By the way, you all have no idea how often I write a comment, then delete it without posting it. On this thread I've mostly found that people said what I wanted to say, and said it without flaming, which I would have been unable to do. One consequence of my job jar with the rule that I do my hour before turning on the computer: I come to ML after most people are done for the day.

#962 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 10:50 PM:

Xopher @ 962
"By the way, you all have no idea how often I write a comment, then delete it without posting it."

Oh, yeah. I think most of my posts get cut down by 3/4 before they make it out here. The ones I care about most strongly get cut most drastically. I think they are more effective for not completely drowning people in text and emotion.

Also, it keeps me out of trouble.

#963 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 11:11 PM:


Yeah, I also delete probably half my posts before posting. Sometimes, that's an attempt to head off needless flames or offense, but more often, it's just realizing that, now that I've written what was on my mind, it turns out I didn't have much interesting to say, or I'd need more time or mental energy to do what I'm trying to do, or whatever.

Preview before post is a really nice feature.

#964 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2010, 12:31 AM:

I had a second variation on that aleph-null bottles of beer on the wall, which is even geekier:

aleph-null bottles of beer on the wall
aleph-null bottles of beer;
take aleph-null down, pass 'em around




an indeterminate number of bottles of beer on the wall!

I'm sure the other version has been independently created many times.

#965 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2010, 01:21 AM:

I entirely abandon maybe 10% of my comments at preview, and heavily edit about 75% of them before hitting "post"‡.

As albatross says, sometimes it's enough just to have typed the comment out and seen it*. If it is a comment that benefits no one but me, I rarely post it. If it doesn't contribute to the conversation as a whole, if it doesn't make Making Light a better place, I close the tab. If I still want to say such a thing after an hour or two†, I may rewrite it.

That last thing happens quite rarely.

‡ This one included. Five preview button presses between initial draft and posting.
* I do that with emails, too, at times, usually in a text editor to prevent rash moves in moments of madness.
† Moderation comments are different, since they usually need to be posted in a timely manner.

#966 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2010, 04:23 AM:

Let me express my appreciation both for the high quality comments that get through the internal editor, and for the thrashes saved by tongues bitten.

In fact, Xopher, despite an impressive corpus ranging from the profound* to the hysterical**, my favourite recent comment of yours was this one.

I guess because it was a throwaway that made me giggle, but was left unremarked***. Aplogies if choosing this one is damning with faint praise but...heh.

* I doubt I am alone in relying on you to stand up - strongly, clearly, and often first - when standing up is required.
** to be perfectly clear, hysterically humourous, not hysterically hysterical.
*** Until now...doh!

P.S. Previewed eight times with edits for brevity, clarity, word choice and - of course - speeling.

#967 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2010, 05:21 PM:

Russ 967: Thank you! That particular comment was one of my "Oh, well, no one noticed, such is life" comments, so I especially appreciate your taking notice of it!

#968 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 02:36 PM:

Xopher @968
I noticed that comment too, and got a grin out of it, and failed to comment on it, I think because a comment wasn't going to lead the discussion anywhere.

#969 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 02:42 PM:

Okay, somebody here will know:

If I take a picture with a friend's camera, who owns the copyright to that image? (I mean technically. In practical terms, the owner of the camera owns the physical instantiation of the image, at least until he or she give me a copy.)

#970 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 02:43 PM:

Oh yeah, The Secret of Kells is streaming on Netflix.


#971 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 03:13 PM:

Russ @967: "Speeling," Gracie?

Hee! I'd missed that one. Thanks for pointing it out. abi's comment reminds me of the time we were coming back from Denver. We were in my friend's little Opal Cadet. On that last pitch down 36 into Boulder, she had the gas floored, and we couldn't make the speed limit. We were going down hill. Into a head wind.

Ah, the Boulder Chinook.

As to the "stranded in midair" part, I've often fantasized about putting a parasail on my bike and trying it out on the road down into town from NCAR.

#972 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 08:35 PM:

Jacque, #970, you might want to try the new open thread. :)

#973 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 01:15 AM:

Jacque: The person who takes the photo owns the copyright, though in practical terms sorting that out can be a real problem.

#974 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 11:12 AM:

Marilee: Ya think? ::bangs head on wall::

Terry: Okay, thanks. That's kinda what I figured.

#975 ::: Serge sees SPAM ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2010, 11:43 PM:

Have a great day too. Shoo!

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