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December 12, 2010

Open thread 151
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 04:09 PM *

It’s like the inside of a baby polar bear’s ear. It’s like goosebumps on a Thursday. It’s a nuclear accident, but there’s no problem with it. It’s like King Kong French-kissed you…stop it, Kong!

It hasn’t sold me any paper yet, but I’m willing to let it keep trying.

Back to Open thread 150

Comments on Open thread 151:
#1 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2010, 04:29 PM:

Palindromic open thread!

#2 ::: Sylvia ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2010, 04:37 PM:

It's f'ing pink.

#3 ::: skzb ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2010, 04:40 PM:

Able was I ere I bumped my elbow.

#4 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2010, 04:42 PM:

That parasol is not pink, it's *P*I*N*K*!

#5 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2010, 04:45 PM:

aibohphobia. n. a fear of palindromes

#6 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2010, 04:57 PM:

Coming soon, David Cronenberg's "Palindrones"...

#7 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2010, 05:01 PM:

A man, a plan, a canal -- Suez.

#8 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2010, 05:09 PM:

The forest echoes when the mahoe falls
tall is the tree and strong, deep is its root,
at end of day even the staunchest bawls.

Honest men speak against all that appalls,
their work is constant though most rare its fruit;
the forest echoes when the mahoe falls,

for just one instant fools delay their brawls
and bow their heads; honour may touch the brute.
At end of day even the staunchest bawls

at loss of friend. We make our little calls,
shed our few tears and learn it's absolute;
the forest echoes when the mahoe falls.

Whether in calmness of the lecture-halls
or broadcasting to folk on their commute
at end of day even the staunchest bawls

knowing the silence that finally hauls
his voice away, we cannot refute
the forest echoes when the mahoe falls
at end of day; even the staunchest bawls.

#9 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2010, 05:24 PM:

You are trapped in that bright moment when you first met Luscious.

#10 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2010, 05:29 PM:

"My colors are Blush and Bashful."

"Your colors are Pink and Pink."

#11 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2010, 05:30 PM:

Whenever I hear the word "palindrome" these days I think of a hideous colision between a Mad Max movie and the aftermath of President Sarah Palin ...

#12 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2010, 05:43 PM:

That designer needs to meet Cammie, the feisty personal color trainer.

#13 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2010, 06:39 PM:

Charlie Stross #11:

Does it involve camels?

#14 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2010, 06:41 PM:

Whenever I hear the word "palindrome" I reach for my devolver.

#15 ::: Jörg Raddatz ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2010, 06:43 PM:

Ein Afrikaner mit Gazelle zagt im Regen nie.

#16 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2010, 06:44 PM:

Earl Cooley III @ 12:

Cammie doesn't bring much urgency to the tale of color matching: losing a tail isn't such a terrible thing when you can grow it back, so the motivation to save it isn't strong.

#17 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2010, 07:33 PM:

Villanelle. Fragano. Word.

#18 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2010, 08:18 PM:

Reposted from the "underground" thread:

The WikiLeaks cables rope in the Pope.

And for a unicorn chaser, just look at this picture.

(Fuller, but still-sweet explanations from Neil and Amanda.)

#19 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2010, 08:23 PM:

P.S.: The guy in the background of Neil's pic is not me, despite a striking resemblance.

#20 ::: Brenda Kalt ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2010, 08:38 PM:

@1-@19: Huh?

#21 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2010, 08:48 PM:

Brenda Kalt @20: It's an Open Thread, which means roughly "talk about anything you want to, in poetry if you are inclined." :->

#22 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2010, 08:53 PM:


Some have Christmas cloaked in festive white.
Some also have weather. We, instead,
have seasons-- "If you don't like it,
wait five weeks."

If we are lucky, trees have dropped their leaves
to cloak the ground, bare branches set
in lines against the gray
(that perpetual gray!) That's luck
for then you might not mistake the season
and have Christmas come upon you unawares.

Dry grass, wet ground, and tule fog
to cloak the creek, the vapors rising gray;
one does not walk in weather such as this
for there is nothing to see. The birds
are huddled away, the mud clings,
the fog chills.

And driving off to work, one stops to wonder
at the miles of starlings,
Swarms of thousands strong (invaders to our shores)
shimmering black against the gray,
appearing to end but continuing on,
migrating. No cardinals, no orioles,
not even vivid jays.
The birds have put on drab.

And I look through my photos once again,
searching for something that sings of Christmas,
but all is gray.

It is the season.

#23 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2010, 08:54 PM:

David Harmon @ 19... I guess I'll have to take your word for that, since there's no photo of you in "Making Light and Faces".

#24 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2010, 09:10 PM:

Pantone color #151 is somewhere between warm orange and peach, and rgb triplet 1, 5, 1 is dark bluish, so what does this video have to do with the number 151? 151 is not pink on either metric.

#25 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2010, 09:43 PM:

Amazon seems to be at it again:

Subject: Fw: Amazon Banning Books - Please Help!

From Author Selena Kitt.........

Amazon has begun banning erotica books.

The first line of fire seems to be incest titles. My books, Back to the Garden, Naughty Bits and Under Mr. Nolan's Bed have been removed from the Kindle store. (The print version of Back to the Garden, published through CreateSpace, an Amazon company, has also been removed).

Jess Scott and Esmerelda Green have also had books with an incest theme recently banned from the site. All of them, incidentally, high in the
rankings and in visibility.

Amazon has also removed these books from people's Kindle archives, without warning or explanation. If you have purchased any of these
titles through Amazon Kindle, please go demand a refund. You are entitled to one.

Also, if you can spread the word, that would be helpful. I am obviously fighting this, but the more public outcry the better.

You can post on Amazon's board about it here (as long as they don't delete the thread):\

You can also tweet it here: #amazoncensors

Utilize whatever you can - Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Your help is much appreciated!

Jeff's Bezos direct address (head of Amazon)

Jeff Bezos, Inc.
1200 12th Ave, Suite 1200
Seattle, WA 98122

Executive Customer Relations:

and all the members on the board of directors:

-Selena Kitt

#26 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2010, 09:51 PM:

Serge: Sent you a pic. (finally...) Alas, it's face-on, so the resemblance isn't so obvious.

#27 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2010, 10:22 PM:

re 18: The problem being that the cable doesn't say that, though it took a lot of tedious reading to determine that. If you read the actual cable when you get to the end of it the writer is mostly positive about the Vatican response and the pope is only mentioned maybe three times, though there is a diplomatic pissing contest between the Vatican and the Irish government which is discussed early on (not especially clearly).

#28 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2010, 10:41 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @7: One of my three favorite Plaindromes. As explained in a long-ago issue (1980s?) of Games magazine, plaindromes are for people who love the tortured syntax of palindromes but can't be bothered to make the things read the same forward and backward. Other examples included:
Stella, Edna and Otis deified Satan.
Money-man I: an Adam? Not even a doom.
and of course:
Able was I ere I saw Hackensack.

Make that "one of my four favorite plaindromes." And don't capitalize the P. There you go.

#29 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2010, 11:24 PM:

There's a form of tourmaline called elbaite; the Smithsonian Natural History Museum has lots of samples. When Katie and I went there, I said, "Eti able was I ere I saw elbaite." She wasn't impressed.

Νιψον ανομηματα μη μοναν οψιν.

In other news, "The Picture of Dorian Gray" is finally done on LibriVox! Download its chapters here: Dorian Gray.

#30 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2010, 12:02 AM:

David, #29: How's the Tam Lin recording coming along?

#31 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2010, 01:05 AM:

Erik Nelson @24:

Not a thing. There isn't, always; sometimes it's just a token to start things going.

#32 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2010, 01:33 AM:

Old Withy mocks the Windle-Daughter's pain
Of Orald by the Lidless Eye unmade.
A servant of the Enemy unslain?
Telumehtar Star-Sword calls for his blade.

He wears his destiny, a belt of stars;
Borgil, his cloak-clasp; Gurthang in his hand.
"The time has come for final, brutal wars,
The Enemy's defeat shall cleanse the land."

The time of Iarwain, of Ben-adar
Has passed in Arda, sadness in its wake.
The world has lost a song but gained a star;
His crown of autumn leaves no one shall take.

The Day of Doom is over now at last;
The Second Music echoes from the past.

#33 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2010, 02:56 AM:

Lee@30: There are two roles left unrecorded at the moment. One of them is Alys, a small role; I hope to get my sister to record it when I visit the Bay Area at Christmas. The other is cast, but the person who will be doing it has been busy lately. He's said he should be able to do it soon. With luck, it should be all done by sometime in January.

#34 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2010, 04:51 AM:

ms found in a bitbucket:

A man a plan a canoe pasta heros rajahs a coloratura maps snipe percale
macaroni a gag a banana bag a tan a tag a banana bag again or a camel a
crepe pins Spam a rut a Rolo cash a jar sore hats a peon a canal Panama!

#35 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2010, 08:05 AM:

David Harmon @ 26... Thanks! Your visage has now joined "Making Light and Faces. Let me know if you want the caption changed. I had also thought of making a reference to similarities to Analog's editor Stanley Schmidt.

#36 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2010, 08:08 AM:

Weird Al Yankovic wrote a song called "Bob", which is not only a style parody of Bob Dylan, but every line is a palindrome. The video parodies "Subterranean Homesick Blues", and does indeed have all the lines written out for your palindromic pleasure.*

You can see the video at

*However, I don't think (Harmonica solo) is actually a palindrome.

#37 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2010, 08:22 AM:

Kip W. #28: Those are exceedingly witty.

#38 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2010, 08:25 AM:

When I woke this morning, fresh in my mind was a palindrome from the collection of palindromic poems by the Venezuelan poet Dario Lancini Oiradario. I no longer have my copy, after too many moves over the past three decades.

Son robos?
No. Solo son sobornos.

#39 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2010, 08:27 AM:

Singing Wren @ 36... I don't think (Harmonica solo) is actually a palindrome

She really is Han's kid sister?

#40 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2010, 09:56 AM:

If your run EasyDNS, you get Twitter-bombed by people mad at you for cutting off WikiLeaks, even though you had nothing to do with it, (that's EveryDNS, folks). So what do you do? You take over DNS service for WikiLeaks, of course.

#41 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2010, 10:50 AM:

Bach, Cantata BWV 151:"Süsser Trost, mein Jesus kömmt", for the 3rd day of Christmas.

#42 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2010, 10:59 AM:

World's Longest Palindrome Sentence?

"A man, a plan, a casa, a bait, a lag, a malt, ... "

#43 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2010, 11:00 AM:

C Wingate @40:

Your comment went into moderation because your URL was irretrievably malformed. I've released it, but I have no idea what you were linking to.

Please check links at preview.

(Note that the one you posted on the wrong thread also went into moderation, whence it will be sent to Comment Heaven to sup with the saints and sing with the angels.)

#44 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2010, 11:49 AM:

#43 abi

Sup with the saints and sing with the angels
I Sing the Spam Ecletic!
Bring out the paints and ring now the sleighbells
On hold is the spam kinetic!
In darkness the taints spread their poison in wells,
The results of such spam are emetic,
Distorted in faints by the myriad cells,
I Sing the Spam Eclectic!


#45 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2010, 11:58 AM:

Right, all together now, to the obvious tune...

Junk mailing, across the internet,
You might think it's dreadful but you ain't seen nothing yet.


It's spam, but not as we know it
It's spam, but not as we know it
It's spam, spam spam spam spam...
(insert chorus of Vikings from passing Monty Python skit here)


#46 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2010, 12:04 PM:

Not a Palindrome:

Sometimes it seems easier to write
Angry rants about lies and the folks
Who live them, rather than the sight
Of a beautiful woman, who provokes
Desire in the hardened heart, once lost
To anger and despair. Her presence evokes
New feelings of hope and renewal, crossed
With love, tempered with caution that stokes
The fire, the urgency, the rush to completion.
Our lives, in separate so long, brought together
In bright harmony, building on long abstention
Are re-aligning, through dance - and whether
This will remain true for years to come
I hold back nothing, to welcome her home.

#47 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2010, 12:14 PM:

The whole of Buffy season 3 episode "Homecoming" could have gone quite differently if only Giles had taught Buffy his skills in hot-wiring a car while under attack.

#48 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2010, 12:22 PM:

re 40/43: Hmmmm.... must have mistaken what the color-coding of links meant. Let's try that again....

EasyDNS gets Twitterbombed (wrongly) for doing DNS for WikiLeaks, retaliates by taking over DNS support for WikiLeaks

#49 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2010, 01:00 PM:

Ginger, that's lovely!

#50 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2010, 01:06 PM:

Ginger #46: Nice!!!

#51 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2010, 03:21 PM:

C Wingate #27:

One thing that highlights is how nice it is to have news reports link to their source documents. When the news article I read links to the underlying polling data or interview on Youtube or scientific paper, it's stunning to me how often there are huge and important things wrong with the article. (And I assume reporters who link to the source material are more careful than those who know nobody can check up on them.) I really hope linking to the source material, as well as linking to background information and related information becomes standard practice in journalism over the next few years.

#52 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2010, 03:25 PM:

Lee @30: That slob finally sent his lines in to David today. And there was much rejoicing, and now I can work on my card for this year.

#53 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2010, 03:29 PM:

The peak of the Geminid meteor shower is tonight, and a week from now, there's a total lunar eclipse, on the solstice no less.

Brightness falls from the air

#54 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2010, 05:11 PM:

Ginger @150/811: mouse nomenclature

Would that be nomenclature used for mice or by mice?

#55 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2010, 05:34 PM:

Not Hyperlocal, but relatively local:

Baltimore is a very very very cool city. And a beautiful one.

Our little trips there have been very short, but intense, and packed with experience and information gathering of all kinds, not just the sort that we get from the MD Historical Society (which museum is very worth visiting -- and the place itself, which is beautiful) and those ilks which we tend to haunt.

If I were 25 I think I'd head to Baltimore, no doubt.

Even at my age I'm real sure I could live there far more happily than most places, now that hispanic culture(s) entered the mix. The hispanics themselves who are responsible for this don't seem as happy about it as I am -- authentic old school Mexican food in restaurants owned by barely thirty year olds -- because, well, I asked. Speaking Spanish allows an older woman to ask what this woman considers very personal questions and thus hardly ever asks anyone (thus she has received a rep for being stand-offish).

They don't like it in Baltimore so much. Well, it's Baltimore. It's not home. But for their children Baltimore will be home.

And they were playing Puerto Rican Christmas music, which I know so well and love.

Yup. Baltimore and New Orleans are the places to be if you're young. (Except -- the 'white' music in B'more really really really sux.)

Love, C.

#56 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2010, 05:41 PM:

Ginger @150/858: I wish you all the sappiness your pancreas can tolerate. (Mope: just wish I had me some sappiness. Mope.)

#57 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2010, 05:44 PM:

Steve C. — thank you for mentioning that! My husband and I will be engaging in our annual tradition of staying up all night, and I'm very glad to know that the eclipse is something we should factor into the night's schedule.

#58 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2010, 05:58 PM:

Hyperlocal news...

After 25 years of matrimony, man's Significant Other finally notices that he has big feet.

#59 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2010, 05:59 PM:

Jacque @ 56... Rumor has it that both of them love the movie "HellBoy".

#60 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2010, 06:07 PM:

Stefan Jones @150/919: mint fudge


#61 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2010, 06:49 PM:

Ginger @ 46:

I see you've found your muse. Hang on to her; the rest of us really like getting regular poetry.

#62 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2010, 06:53 PM:

KFC's holiday special deal is called the Festive Feast.

It hurts, Mommy. Please make the hurt go away.

#63 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2010, 06:59 PM:

Xopher, if you get any free KFC coupons, I'd be happy to take them off your hands.

#64 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2010, 07:01 PM:

If anyone is curious about my sonnet @32, they can look up the odd words at The Encyclopedia of Arda.

#65 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2010, 07:03 PM:

Earl, I just saw it on TV. It's the name that hurts.

#66 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2010, 07:35 PM:

Xopher @ #65, if I were putting "Festive Feast" in a blog post I'd categorize it as "Department of Redundancies."

#67 ::: Tad Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2010, 07:59 PM:

for Fragano's #8, with gratitude:

The Poet Upbraids his Froward Villanelle

“Is it a virtue to be so composed
that order makes no difference to sense?”
The villanelle’s reply is not disclosed.

“Though fear or heartbreak be the theme proposed,
your form’s composure never once relents.
Is it a virtue to be so composed?”

“Why dwell in formal exile self-imposed?
Only connect! It makes a difference!”
The villanelle’s reply is not disclosed.

“Close-reading hounds, confounded, pensive, nosed
in vain among your lines’ composite scents:
is it a virtue to be so composed?”

“Come, erstwhile verse, chaotically transposed:
resume that order that you had: go hence!”
The villanelle’s reply is not disclosed.

“Unbraid these tresses: is there sense enclosed
within your metrical experiments?”
Is it a virtue to be so composed
the villanelle’s reply is not disclosed?

#68 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2010, 08:17 PM:

Ginger, #46, Yay!

#69 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2010, 09:34 PM:

Well, Xopher @#62, the marketing monkeys at KFC were also the ones who came up with a BSG tie-in called the "Frack Pack". Somehow I don't think the brightest lights in the marketing firmament wind up working for KFC.

#70 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2010, 09:43 PM:

Tad @67: nice!

#71 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2010, 10:27 PM:

nerdycellist: the marketing monkeys at KFC were also the ones who came up with a BSG tie-in called the "Frack Pack". Somehow I don't think the brightest lights in the marketing firmament wind up working for KFC.

Got to be better than Taco Bell's old "Run for the Border" ads. They pulled them when it was pointed out that the mental images those surveyed came up with was getting the runs from bad Mexican food...

#72 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2010, 10:40 PM:

Jacque @ 54

Nomenclature used by mice is properly termed "Micenian."

#73 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2010, 11:30 PM:

HPN: Telco technician working on elsewhere street breaks phoneline & net connection. Normal service resumed after 24 hours.

Me #13:

Maybe it was camels whose names read the same way forwards & backwards. No, that would be palindromedary. No, wait...

Never mind.

#74 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2010, 11:33 PM:

#46 Ginger

The waning of the old year,
Awaiting for the new.
Triumphs and tribulations
Of this year almost through.
My hopes for you are of the best
Your new love to endure
For next and all the coming years
Much happiness in store!

#75 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2010, 12:17 AM:

I'm done with fudge making for the year. Pots and pans are clean and dried. Counter and tables scrubbed . . . they'd looked as though they'd been used for changing babies.

I might make cookies next weekend as a way of coming down off the high that comes from breathing chocolate chip vapors.

#76 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2010, 01:40 AM:

Stefan Jones @ 75: I'm only planning to make one batch of fudge this year. I'll use dark chocolate infused with hot peppers to give it zing!

#78 ::: ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2010, 03:04 AM:

I am typing with kittens on my hands, so please paardon my typos.

Jacque @ 54/56: It's how to name a mouse strain, which is of particular importance when dealing with strains that are very closely related, differing by only a gene or a single mutation in a gene. It's excrutiatingly boring minutiae and rules for applying them. How anyone could stay awake for two hours is beyond me..and my pancreas is fine, so far. It's the pancreases around us that I worry about. If there was some way to spread this affliction to you, I'd do it in a heartbeat -- this has been an incredible joy at the end of a year that started off with a devastating loss.

Constance @55: Bawlmer is a neat little city, and I appreciate it more as an adult than I ever did as a college student (Goucher). If you're interested in generating Light in Bawlmer, let me know and I'd be happy to join you, with or without my girlfriend.

Serge @ 59: Yes, and after we get through this phase, I plan to watch "Hellboy" with her -- as well as "Galaxy Quest" and many other fine movies. Right now, we keep running into technical problems that prevent us from successfully watching anything.

Bruce Cohen @ 61: I suspect my muse would like additional offerings as well. She told me to never again say that my old poetry was crap, although she still hasn't read my old stuff. I was never very good at writing sonnets, but I didn't have the right source of inspiration then.

Marilee @ 68: Thanks!

Paula Lieberman @ 74: That's lovely -- thank you!

#79 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2010, 06:07 AM:

Ginger @ 78... we keep running into technical problems that prevent us from successfully watching anything

Are those the same 'technical' problems that'd harm our pancreases?

#80 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2010, 08:03 AM:

Tad Brennan #67: Very nice!

#81 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2010, 08:48 AM:

Serge @ 79: Some are actual technical problems, like finding out too late that the DVD container does not actually have the disk within..and others are more "technical". Yes.

#82 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2010, 09:30 AM:

Ginger @ 81...

"Wait a minute... This is supposed to contain The Fellowship of the Ring. I'm not sure I really want to watch Hawk the Slayer again."

By the way, does she know that HellBoy showed up in one of last week's experiments by the MythBusters?

#83 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2010, 09:51 AM:

Great post at Joe Blogs about reading Harry Potter.

#84 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2010, 10:19 AM:

Hyperlocal news...

Man finds that non-human gophers are quite combative.

#85 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2010, 10:27 AM:

The human sort are far more amenable to negotiation.

#86 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2010, 11:29 AM:

Do They Know It's Christmas department--Climate Change (formerly known as Global Warming...) is hitting even more severely faster than the IPCC report of 2007 forecast as worst case scenario. The Reapers of course are denying away, assisted by a DROP in sealevel off Alaska--what seems to be happening there is a simple matter [pun unintended, but...] of Newtonian mechanics regarding gravitation attraction of mass for mass--Alaska is losing mass in the form of melting glaciers, and with less mass, attracting less mass of seawater, and so down goes the sealevel off Alaska. More southerly parts of North America, however, the sealevel is rising faster than predicted, particularly along the Gulf Coast, Florida, etc.

The Governor of Florida's rejected fund for rail service? Given than unless there's a drop in the C02 and other greenhouse gases concentration in the atmosphere back down to at or below what it was Dec 31 1899, most of Florida appears likely to be underwater by around 2040 at high tide unless dramatic measures get taken....

(I'm trying to find the lecture given at Wood's Hole and the animations of rising sealevel that I was viewing a few days ago. The studies being reported out with result the second half of this year, are grimmer than the 2007 predictions, and grimmer than the first half of 2010 predictions, which the Congressional Reapers and other pernicious climate change deniers detracted as alarmist and abusive etc.

My recommendation--don't invest in land in Florida, don't move to the Gulf Coast, and stay the hell away from coastal Texas.... Galveston should have negative taxpayer investment. Insurance companies, given a choice, don't provide coverage in most beachfront coastal areas anymore in the USA....

#87 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2010, 11:46 AM:


I'd love to! We're thinking of spending Christmas there, as friends with house in B'more are going to be in Africa, and they offered. But things are kind of in flux at the moment due to having no car again. sigh.

However, if we can pull this off, could I meet the hands covered with kittens, please? :)

Love, C.

#88 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2010, 12:28 PM:

Constance @ 87: Excellent! I'm on call for the Christmas holiday, so I won't be going out of state -- B'more is close enough that I can spend time there. Let me know if I can be of assistance getting to B''re just across the Bay Bridge from me, and that's a lovely drive.

Ah, typing while inundated with kittens was fun. Easier when they were asleep, but alas, they woke as I typed.

#89 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2010, 12:34 PM:

Serge @ 82: Thus one of the perils of sharing a house with a teen aged boy who also watches those movies. As for Hellboy and the Mythbusters, well -- she doesn't watch television (only Netflix and other streaming video). I believe Mythbusters are now showing up on Netflix, so I shall point her in that direction -- I think she'd enjoy them too.

#90 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2010, 01:34 PM:

Water rescue conducted in Central Ohio this past Sunday:

Adventurous Chihuahua bolts away from my Mom while she was filling the bird feeder and goes straight into the goldfish pond.

Honey was wearing a sweater, harness and leash, so Mom was able to pull her out of the water very quickly, and said "it felt like it took forever to get her back into the house."

I took Honey into the bathroom, pulled the harness and sweater off, wrapped her in a towel, cranked up the space heater, and got her warmed up. When she stopped shivering we used warm water to get the pond scum off of her.

Outdoor temperatures were in the 2Os, with snow falling -- the pond wasn't frozen as we'd had a balmy 45F high on Saturday.

Honey seems none the worse for the experience, but Mom says she's not going to take her eyes off the little dog when she takes her into the back yard!

#91 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2010, 01:54 PM:

Lori @ 90: Wow! And congratulations on your successful rescue! I hope poor Honey has learned her lesson.

Another non-palindrome:

I hold back nothing, open my heart
To a renewed life, rising to the height
Of passion. Though we spend hours apart,
They pass swiftly, bringing us again alight
As we embrace. What was once filled
With pain is now transformed to joy and
Redoubled. What was unfinished is now fulfilled
As she reaches, so we walk hand-in-hand
Along the street, mindful only of each other.
So engrossed, so focused, we forget above
All the diminishments from those who would rather
We hide, and fear, and dare not show our love.
Those days are passing, like grains of sand, we know,
So we walk, arm-in-arm, still aglow.

#92 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2010, 05:29 PM:

Ginger #91: Nice.

#93 ::: Jörg Raddatz ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2010, 06:08 PM:

Open Threadery:

There is a new television advertisement I really like. It's about prepared dough for potato dumplings and features a modern woman eyeing the stuff with disgust, proclaiming that her granny would have taken fresh potatoes, peeled them, grated them etc. All the time you see the old-fashioned granny while nostalgic music plays - only the come to a screeching stop when the granny asks her granddaughter if she was out of her mind. If the ready-made dough had existed in her time, she would not have had to do all that hard work. So the modern woman puts it in her shopping cart.

No, I have never tasted the stuff myself, and it might by actually vile. But just to see an advertisment that mentions the "good old times" and does not ooze fake sweetish nostalgia is really refreshing.

#94 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2010, 06:22 PM:

Ginger @ 91. Very nice. And lovely that you're so happy (yes, your poetry is glowing).

#95 ::: Nicholas Rogers ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2010, 08:23 PM:

I finally found something useful on Facebook. An intern apparently created a map based on statistical links between cities by "friendships" on the site.

Cool simply as a data visualization, it's shocking when you look at it. This kid accidentally created a perfect map of the digital divide. The difference between living in the "white" areas verses the "blank" areas is stunning. The U.S. Census Bureau would KILL to create data this meaningful.

Link to note and images, I'm not sure if a Facebook account is required

#96 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2010, 09:03 PM:

Jörg @93 - there's a TV ad sort of like that that's been running for some years now in the New Orleans area. A man is waxing nostalgic over his mama's red beans and rice, best pot of red beans and rice in town, she'd soak the beans overnight and cook them all day until they reached a consistency of perfect creaminess...

Cut to his mama smiling indulgently in the kitchen as she reaches into a cabinet and pulls out a can of Blue Runner brand red beans, pre-cooked, pre-seasoned, heat and serve.

(Lacking Blue Runner at my current location and not really preferring the locally available brands, I split the kitchen-hassle difference and throw beans, ham hock, seasonings, and veggies into a crock-pot. After 6 hours of forgetting about it, dinner is served.)

#97 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2010, 09:21 PM:

Fragano @ 92: High praise from the Vizier of Villanelles, the Sultan of Sonnets! I am honored.

dcb @ 94: Thanks! It's a lot of fun, all of a sudden.

#98 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2010, 09:29 PM:

Giner @ 97... The Maharajah of Meters?

#99 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2010, 09:30 PM:

Argh... 'Ginger', not 'Giner'...

#100 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2010, 09:44 PM:

OK, I have to say this, and I'd rather say it among friends (mostly), so I'm saying it here. But because I also don't want to be unpleasant (in phrasing, not content) to said friends, and also to avoid this page coming up in searches, I'm ROT13ing it. Decode at own risk.

V nz fvpx gb qrngu bs gur tbqfqnzaarq "avar-ryrira snzvyvrf."*

V flzcnguvmr jvgu gurz va gurve tevrs, V ernyyl qb. V ybfg fbzr (eryngviryl arj) sevraqf ba gung qnl zlfrys, naq zvtug unir orra gurer crefbanyyl unq pvephzfgnaprf orra irel fyvtugyl qvssrerag, nf lbh xabj Obo.

Ohg gurve tevrs qbrf abg ragvgyr gurz gb pbageby gur qrirybczrag bs ybjre Znaunggna, abj be rire, naq vg qbrf abg rkphfr gurz npgvat yvxr vqvbg ovtbgf. Fb jura V urne "avar-ryrira snzvyl zrzoref" fgvyy bowrpgvat gb gur "Tebhaq Mreb Zbfdhr," naq npgvat yvxr gurl unir fbzr xvaq bs evtug gb bowrpg&qnttre; gb vg (nf gurl qb urer), V trg znq. Yvxr guvf:

Nygubhtu gurl unira'g orra bhg qrzbafgengvat, bccbaragf bs gur cebwrpg unir orra frrguvat bire arjf gung Cnex51 unf nccyvrq sbe shaqvat sebz gur Ybjre Znaunggna Qrirybczrag Pbecbengvba, juvpu vf gnkcnlre fhccbegrq.
"Fb jr ner fhccbfrq gb fhccyl gur frrq zbarl sbe n Tebhaq Mreb zbfdhr?" fnvq Cnzryn Tryyre, n yrnqvat bccbarag bs gur zbfdhr. "Lbh pna'g znxr guvf fghss hc."

Lbhe tevrs qbrfa'g fhcrefrqr gur pbafgvghgvbany evtugf bs gur crbcyr jub jnag gb ohvyq gur Pbeqbon Pragre. Gurer'f ab ernfba vg fubhyqa'g nccyl sbe choyvp shaqvat whfg yvxr nalguvat ryfr. (Nyfb, vg'f abg ng Tebhaq Mreb naq bayl cneg bs vg vf n zbfdhr, ohg V qba'g rira pner nobhg gung nal zber. OHVYQ VG BA GUR SBBGCEVAG! Shpx gubfr fghcvq ovtbgf naljnl.)

Tryyre nyfb fnvq guvf:

"Gung lbh jbhyq xrrc [Jny-Zneg] bhg, ona gurz, naq lrg, gur irel vqrn bs n Tebhaq Mreb Zrtn Zbfdhr vf rkgbyyrq, naq gubfr jub fhssre -- abg bayl gur 9/11 snzvyvrf, ohg nyy Nzrevpnaf jub jrer nggnpxrq gung qnl, naq nyy bs Nzrevpn jnf nggnpxrq gung qnl -- ner qrevqrq, naq pnyyrq enpvfg, Vfynzbcubovp, nagv-Zhfyvz ovtbgf, orpnhfr bs gur cnva gung gurl'er fhssrevat, vg'f bhgentrbhf."
Ohg lbh NER na nagv-Zhfyvz ovtbg Oynapur Cnz. Lbh ner. Nyfb, lbh'er na nffubyr; jr'er abg pnyyvat lbh na nagv-Zhfyvz ovtbg "orpnhfr bs gur cnva gung [lbh'er] fhssrevat." Jr'er pnyyvat lbh na nagv-Zhfyvz ovtbg orpnhfr bs lbhe nagv-Zhfyvz ovtbgel.

Vfynz qvq abg nggnpx hf ba 9/11. Fbzr nffubyr greebevfgf cernpuvat n qvfgbegrq irefvba bs Vfynz nggnpxrq hf ba 9/11. Naq vs lbh pna'g be jba'g qvfgvathvfu gubfr pngrtbevrf ol abj, n ovtbg lbh ner naq n ovtbg V jvyy pnyy lbh, lbhe "snzvyl zrzore" juvavat abgjvgufgnaqvat.

*Abg nyy bs gurz ner npgvat yvxr guvf, bs pbhefr. Gur barf V urne nobhg ba gur arjf ner, naq gurl qba'g frrz gb zragvba gur barf yvxr guvf ynql be yvxr gurfr sbyxf. Yrg hf abg sbetrg gurz.
&qnttre;V zrna n sbezny evtug gb cerirag vg, abg n serr-fcrrpu evtug gb juvar naq faviry, juvpu bs pbhefr gurl qb unir.

#101 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2010, 09:50 PM:

Serge @ 98/99: The Ri of Rhymes, the Viscount of Verse!

#102 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2010, 09:56 PM:

Xopher @ 100: My sympathies -- it gets to be too much at times. Some people react badly to severe stress/distress, and other people are born that way.

#103 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2010, 10:02 PM:

Ginger, your poetry is lovely, and I am so very happy that you're happy.

#104 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2010, 10:20 PM:

Nicholas@95: that's a jaw-dropping image. As you say it's sort of what you expect but the way it pops out at you. (Also Europe and Turkey and Israel look kind of like a man sitting down.)

#105 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2010, 10:22 PM:

Ginger @ 101... The Captain of Quatrains.

#106 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2010, 11:10 PM:

Political spectrum quiz

Here's how I fared:

Steve is a left moderate social libertarian. Steve is also a slight non-interventionist and culturally liberal. Steve's scores (from 0 to 10):
Economic issues: +3.19 left
Social issues: +3.35 libertarian
Foreign policy: +1.29 non-interventionist
Cultural identification: +4.53 liberal

#107 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 12:07 AM:

Xopher: That sort of brings up the question, what is the half-life of outrage? In a somewhat tangential comment, there are people who are still deeply offended at Abraham Lincoln (specifically for his suspension of habeus corpus), or Woodrow Wilson*, or FDR, or whoever... when do you just get over it, already?

*People aren't still offended at Taft. Or Millard Fillmore. Or Taylor, for that matter.

#108 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 12:17 AM:

B. Durbin @ 107:

Hell, there are still an awful lot of people who are offended by Abraham Lincoln's freeing the slaves, and no sign they'll ever get over it.

#109 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 12:19 AM:

Ginger @ 101:

The Prince of Poesy.
The Emperor of Euphony.

#110 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 12:27 AM:

Nicholas Rogers @95: I enjoyed using the image as a geography-knowledge quiz, playing "What's at that Glob, Anyway?"

Those who would like to play along at home, look at the image Nicholas linked to and try to identify by name either the community or the landmass marked by these bright globs of connectedness:

-- The one straight up from Scandinavia (note: playing around with Google Earth suggests it's not straight NORTH, due to the projection used)
-- The one just off South America's northerly western coast
-- The one south and a tiny bit east of Hawaii

Going the other way, can you find Easter Island? Suggest your own geo-puzzlers in reply comments!

I also found interesting the way the connectedness works in places like the Carribean.

#111 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 12:28 AM:

Bruce Cohen @109:

The President of Prosody.

#112 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 12:36 AM:

We just watched a movie we recorded the other night, called "Push". The synopsis in the guide made it sound like the sort of movie that SyFy screws up on a regular basis: rogue psychics running from a covert government agency that wants to either enslave or kill them. Well, that's pretty close to the plot, but it was actually reasonably well done: the writers actually thought about how the powers they were describing had to work, and how the rogues could counteract them, and they had a lot of different types, with different powers, some of them neutralizing others, so there was a sense of these powers having been around for awhile, and a whole subculture having grown up around them.

And the cast was interesting: the movie is set in Hong Kong, and most of it was Asian, including Ming Na as a "sniffer"(sort of an clairvoyant who tracks objects), whom I have had a crush on for years. But the two leading actors were Caucasian, and one of them was Dakota Fanning, playing a 12-year-old "watcher" (precognitive). And the villain was played by Djimon Hounsou who is a fabulous actor, and seemed to be having fun with the part (but what is this thing Hollywood has lately for evil black men?).

Recommended. Make lots of popcorn, it's fun, especially the final battle scene.

#113 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 12:44 AM:

Elliot Mason @ 111:

Let's try going the other way:

The Third Assistant Undersecretary of Triteness.

#114 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 12:45 AM:

Not that that title does or could apply to Fragano, I hasten to add.

#115 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 01:12 AM:

Jörg @93:

That reminds me of an interview I read with someone in the SCA who said that she was fine using a sewing machine to make her garb, because she knew that medieval women would certainly have done so had they had the chance.

(The comments to the interview were...heated. You could have cooked a potato dumpling on them. Or forged steel.)

#116 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 01:16 AM:

Xopher @ #100, Cnz Tryyre vf n abgbevbhf Zhfyvz-onvgre bayl erpragyl tvira nal erpbtavgvba ol bhe znvafgernz cerff. Orsber gung fur jnf zbfgyl xabja sbe cbfgvat na nagv-Zhfyvz enag juvyr jrnevat n ovxvav va gur bprna bss gur pbnfg bs Vfenry ba n ivfvg gurer va 2006. Fur oybtf ng ure bja fvgr, pnyyrq Ngynf Fuehtf, naq vf na bowrpg bs qrevfvba ol gur yrsg fvqr bs gur oybtbfcurer. Gur zrqvn qvqa'g obgure gb purpx ure oban svqrf orsber envfvat ure gb guvf arj fgnghf bs "fcbxrfcrefba" sbe gur ungref.

V'z ernfbanoyl fher fur'f abg bar bs gur 9/11 snzvyl zrzoref, whfg n jneoybttre jub'f sbhaq n avpur.

#117 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 01:23 AM:

Shegure Tryyre: ure rneyvrfg oybt cbfg vf qngrq Bpg. 2004; vg'f n enag nobhg Ubyyljbbq yvorenyf. Gur frpbaq oybt cbfg vf n ercbfgvat bs n yrggre fur jebgr gb gur rqvgbe bs gur Anffnh Urenyq ba Bpg. 28 bs gung lrne.

Fur'f hayvxryl gb or eryngrq gb nal bs gur 9/11 ivpgvzf be fur'q unir zragvbarq vg rneyl ba.

#118 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 01:25 AM:

Cool, I didn't know that Push was available on DVD yet.

In other news, the Humble Indie Bundle #2 charity game release is out now. In support of the EFF and Child's Play, you pay what you want, and distribute the contribution how you want.

#119 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 01:49 AM:

Maybe my posts #116-#117 should have been ROT-13d to conform to Xopher's original #100, since they were in response to him and he doesn't want what he said to be findable via search. Abi, would you mind?

#120 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 02:34 AM:

Thank you, ma'am!

#121 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 02:42 AM:

Linkmeister @120:

You are most welcome.

#122 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 07:21 AM:

I took the political spectrum quiz, and being a European, I was expecting to be recorded as a commie hippy fag, but in fact, I am just a little bit left and a tiny bit more libertarian than the average 40-49 white American Democratic dude, and almost exactly like the average 40-49 American Green white guy.

#123 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 09:03 AM:

The one straight up from Scandinavia

Ooh yeah, I see that! Is that that little island where the Panzerbjørne live in the Golden Compass books?

#124 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 09:25 AM:

Hyperlocal News: This morning, woman takes callous advantage of cat's attraction to the bathroom heater, and seizes her for the purpose of cruelly squirting drugs into her ears and down her gullet, and spraying the prescribed soothing spray on the allergic skin disturbance on her side. Cat, while attempting to attain an effective escape trajectory during this shamefully intrusive process, is distinctly heard to say "No. I get out of here, me. I follow you, Vorga. I find you, Vorga. I pay you back, me. I rot you. I kill you, Vorga. I kill you filthy,"

I have no idea where she came up with that; I don't think there's ever been anything by Bester in the house.

#125 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 09:28 AM:


#126 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 10:04 AM:

Steve @125: Are you sure it wasn't The DemLOLished Human?

#127 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 10:15 AM:

Ginger @ #126

My vote would be for Tigger, Tigger.

#128 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 10:51 AM:

"If you die, I'll bring you back."
"How... reassuring."
- another typical day in the world of the Girl Genius

#129 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 11:19 AM:

Nicholas @95:

What strikes me about the Facebook map is how well it corresponds to the Earth at Night image. Without the lines connecting the points on the Facebook map you'd be hard-pressed to tell the difference, which suggests that Facebook's reach really is staggering -- everywhere that has lights has the internet, more or less.

#130 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 11:26 AM:

lorax: That's how it struck me too.

So which divide is bigger: the lights-and-internet vs. no-lights-or-internet divide, or the laws-don't-apply-to-me-and-I-never-have-to-deal-with-the-consequences-of-my-actions vs. everyone else?

#131 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 11:44 AM:

The Facebook map looks almost exactly like the Earthlight image...except in Russia and China. There seems to be a lot less activity there.

#132 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 11:49 AM:

Nancy Mittens @ 103: Thank you!

The sun's journey away from moon's loving gaze
Leaves moon bereft, weeping, about to wither
Like the fields left unwatered, or a child without praise,
Left longing, looking for her sun aloft in the aether,
Loving and waiting for the passage of time
As it brings the sun in her slow return
Along with the fiery tendrils which climb
To embrace the moon with filaments that burn
And shine a great light upon her heart.
The hope of loving, of being loved, allows us
To endure such separations, or create art
Like poems, dances, fables --all which address
The need to embrace, to rain kindness upon
Each other -- this, for lovers, a sine qua non.

#133 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 11:49 AM:

Every year runs a holiday clue hunt. So far every clue has been solved very quickly...until now. The latest clue is this:

Does the format of these numbers look familiar to anyone?

The results could be referring to people, or particular chess openings, or to a database reference...can anyone think of a way of extracting a 7-digit number starting with 1 from that?

#134 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 11:56 AM:

David Goldfarb @ 131 -

Don't know about Russia, but I believe Facebook is banned in China.

#135 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 12:41 PM:

Nicholas Rogers @95: This kid accidentally created a perfect map of the digital divide. The difference between living in the "white" areas verses the "blank" areas is stunning.

At a glance, that map seems to correlate reasonably closely with population density.

#136 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 01:57 PM:

It's decades ago, I still recall this dream:
I'm standing at a picture window in the night
Across miles of snow, even and white
Bright pinpoints alternately fade and gleam.

Each one — I know this — is a radio station
Sending signals out through chilly air.
Every one a voice that asks "Who's there?"
Words pierce the dark in every nation.

My signal, too, flies on its way
I won't know where or if its journey ends
But hopefully its words will reach my friends
And if I'm lucky bring, to night, some day.

Signals wax and wane through winter night.
I can't see you, but I'm warmed by your light.

#137 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 02:11 PM:

Jacque @ 135, yes, it's not that the US west of the Mississippi (or maybe west of I-35? it's a little hard to tell at that scale but it looks like the line pretty much goes through Dallas) is underconnected, it's just underpopulated. It's interesting to see how very sharp that line is.

#138 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 03:08 PM:

Jaque, Janet Brennan Croft:

Here is a map showing 5000 random votes from the 2004 US elections as overlapping transparent circles. You can see the same apparent cutoff with population density.

#139 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 03:16 PM:

David Goldfarb, Steve C.: boingBoing says Russia is a LiveJournal nation, rather than PrivacyRaperPro.

abi: re: linkmeister's comments: it might be best for anti-search if the posts were de-digitified, as Xopher did, as well?

Xopher: Thank you. *I*, as a Canadian Westerner, can't say that - but I've been wondering the same question for a couple of years. As an equivalence, think of the way we were treating West Germans (or even the Japanese, but that was more occupier than full-on economic and political ally) in 1954. And those were the Nazis!

#140 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 03:18 PM:


#141 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 03:20 PM:

Kip W @ 136: Lovely!

#142 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 04:13 PM:

abi #140:

There's a pattern of x/(x+2) that's easily searchable, that is the common name for the original event. Because it's digits, it doesn't go away in rot-13.

#143 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 04:29 PM:

But, but this thread will never be in the top million hits for n/(n + 2) -- that phrase is so common it's practically a stop word.

#144 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 04:33 PM:

joann @142: Demonstrating another use for algebra after high school!

#145 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 04:37 PM:

Neat: Bruce Schneier's latest CRYPTO-GRAM newsletter references the plagiarism thread on Making Light, on the subject of academic plagiarism and possible countermeasures.

#146 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 04:58 PM:

Maybe those concerned about searchability could start referring to the numeric value in question as 0.818181...

#147 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 05:29 PM:

Yes, that's what I meant - 4/66 (ROT-5ed). Sorry to confuse - was trying to minimize the chance of being searchable myself.

#148 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 05:32 PM:

Argh, sorry about the spamming, but IJWTS I really like the way "avar-ryrira" rolls off the tongue. May start using that in real life, as appropriate (usually starting about avar-avar each year).

#149 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 06:10 PM:

I have a walkability score of 80, above all but 37% of Charlottesville residents.

Unfortunately, the results are heavily dominated by the shopping mall over the hill -- it counted "Christian Family Book Store" as my local bookstore, Chili's as a bar, the nearest shopping-mall ATM as my bank, and a park that's half a mile down a major highway. In practice, I need to go to the next shopping mall, or hop a bus to Downtown, for most of those goals.

#150 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 06:16 PM:

The Modesto Kid @ 123:

Ooh yeah, I see that! Is that that little island where the Panzerbjørne live in the Golden Compass books?

Yeah, that's Svalbard. Norwegian territory, with a couple of Russian settlements as well.

#151 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 06:24 PM:

a) I prefer to look at actual earth-imaging satellite images, which have white on black, and and much more dramatic... What they show is photon source concentrations. I first saw such things decades ago. Some Air Force bases had relatively large-sized ones.

b) There are lots of people who are continuing to do handcrafting today even though there are mass production machines. For that matter, a lot of mixes and such do not actually save that much effort.... Some things are actually faster to do manually, given the time and effort and expense of getting and setting up machines. High volume mass production, yes, machine is more economical. For one-offs, most machines aren't designed or built for "flexible manufacturing" to make each item unique in some way or other.

#152 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 06:40 PM:

I'd mentioned Darío Lancini, the Venezuelan poet of palindromes the other day. I looked him up today and discovered that he'd died this June. A true loss to the world, few poets could write capícuas like his

In the process, I found another palindromic poem of his, including the title:

Amor azul

Ramera de todo te di.
Mariposa colosal, sí,
yo de todo te di.
Poda la rosa, Venus.
El átomo, como tal
es un evasor alado.
Pide, todo te doy: isla,
sol, ocaso, pirámide.
Todo te daré: mar, luz,

#153 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 07:44 PM:

Xopher, thanks for that, including the Blanche reference. ;-)

#154 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 07:50 PM:

Hyperlocal news: man frustrated by North American corporations' offshore production and just-in-time inventory practices.

#155 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 08:25 PM:

Hyper(bolic) local news: local woman discovers that the way to attract interest and praise for your handiwork is to have your child wear it to the craft store. (We got stopped 3 times by people asking about her hyperbolic crochet scarf.)

Child reports that wearing the aforesaid item to Panera Bread also works.

#156 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 09:31 PM:

Well, we should have some excitement tonight. I'm about to head back to campus tonight, a rare event, because there's going to be a one-hour "silent rave" in the library. (What, they think librarians don't have automatic searches set up on their library's name and check Facebook compulsively? Ha!) Nearly 3000 people have RSVP'd already. In a silent rave, they are supposed to listen to a coordinated playlist on their headphones, but what do you bet someone sneaks in an amp? Anyway, check YouTube for Bizzell Library or University of Oklahoma tomorrow. (Oh, right now you can see a video from last night where Batman and Spiderman team up across comic universes to chase the Joker through the library...)

#157 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 10:02 PM:

In only slightly related news, I'm delighted to discover that the ROT13 of 'rant' is 'enag'. Like email, you know? I'll be posting my enags every day now! (Not really.)

#158 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 10:07 PM:

I came out 'left social libertarian':
left 6.45
libertarian 5.38
foreign policy -8.84
culture -7.81

I guess this makes me a bomb-throwing radical leftist.

#159 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 11:12 PM:

It is interesting on that quiz that most people responding come out on the left....

And in other news, the House appears to have passed a bill ending Don't Ask, Don't Tell; and now we get to wait for the Senate. Will the repeal get through in the lame duck session?

#160 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 12:02 AM:

I don't like that quiz's use of an authoritarian to libertarian axis because, as far as I'm concerned, the word "libertarian" is toxic, damaged goods, and not something I want to be associated with, even if they have a slightly alternate meaning in mind.

#161 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 12:25 AM:


4 batches rocky road
3 batches mint
3 batches mocha hazelnut


27 bags of semisweet chocolate chips
9 bags of milk chocolate chips
6 bags of mint chips
20 cans condensed milk
6 cans evaporated milk
5 lbs. hazelnuts
3 lbs. walnuts
1 lbs. butter
24 cups sugar
30 cups marshmallows
half a jar instant coffee
3 glugs crème de menth liquor
3 glugs coffee liquor
A half cup or so of salt.
A couple tablespoons of ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

4 yards aluminum foil
6 yards waxed paper

I took pictures of the last batch in process. I'm going to write up a Make Project with them.

#162 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 12:47 AM:

joann, The Modesto Kid, Mycroft W:

A closer reading of Xopher's comment would have revealed that he does, in fact, use the number in his last paragraph. I was actually following his practice.

I deduce that he used an automatic encoder such as LeetKey. I expect most of the people reading it do so too. It's trivially easy to encode a numeric term in LeetKey in such a way that one doesn't need to decode it manually: spell the words out.

And since Frcgrzore ryrira is indeed all over the internet, I don't think that there is any need to obfuscate it.

I am being a little crisp here, which is probably unfair. It just felt like Linkmeister asked for a horse, which I gave him, and now everyone wants to know why it doesn't have wings, a horn, and fart rainbows, when all he wanted was a horse.

#163 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 12:54 AM:

Janet Brennan Croft @156:

Well, it beats pulling the fire alarms.

#164 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 01:29 AM:

Google blithely indexes ROT-13 text just as if it were any other language.

#165 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 02:08 AM:

Abi @ #162, And a lovely horse it was!

#166 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 02:45 AM:

Janet, #156: I know I've seen a YouTube video of this being done somewhere else -- Ohio State, perhaps -- but I'm feeling too lazy to look for it at the moment. It was interesting to watch, especially with the sound off! (The person who put up the video had added the soundtrack to which they were dancing.)

Earl, #160: I'm 100% with you on that. There must be a better term for the opposite of "authoritarian".

#167 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 04:58 AM:

#166 Lee

Pluralistic? Inclusive? Cooperative? Co-prosperity? Receptive? Inclusionary

#168 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 05:01 AM:

#154 Linkmeister

Throwaway disposable etc. consumer goods....

#169 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 06:11 AM:

re 159: Well even I come out as a leftist authoritarian, skewed in large part by my large number of "I won't answer the question phrased that way" responses. The quiz is a libertarian trope so I suspect it's designed to put people on the "right" into the libertarian center of the chart.

#170 ::: Madeley ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 06:23 AM:

Linkmeister @ #165: Was it this lovely a horse?

#172 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 08:49 AM:

It is interesting on that quiz that most people responding come out on the left....

Given that it's Making Light, that surprises me not at all. Anyone who likes to hang out here is going to be, at minimum, aware that people are all people--and these days, that's all you need to make you a liberal.

#173 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 09:03 AM:

I first put that quiz on a board heavily dominated by conservatives. The scoring matched my impressions of them - very much right, quite a bit authoritarian.

#174 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 09:39 AM:

I'm at home today, getting replacement windows in, and being appalled at the mess created by one (1) fifteen-year-old boy. Can anyone explain -- no, it will take too long. I will summarize: he's grounded for the rest of his natural life.

A silver basketball? Flowerpots? Will he ever stop spray painting random items??!!?

The weather is also joining in: we have a winter weather advisory until 9 pm tonight, with up to 3" possible. Yes, my windows are coming out as fast as they can work. If you don't hear from me tonight, send the ski patrol to our last known location, please?

I'll just sit here in the dark..

#175 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 09:53 AM:

Ginger @ 174... the mess created by one (1) fifteen-year-old boy

I am shocked, shocked!!!

#176 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 09:59 AM:

Serge @175: I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

#177 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 10:03 AM:

175/176 - Round up the usual suspects.

#178 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 10:15 AM:

Well, still trying to get my strength back from the rave. As far as I know I still have a job.

Estimates range from 2000 to 3000 people, but I'm going to sit down with a floor plan today and try to do an estimate of my own. No audible music, but lots of dancing and yelling and droning along and crowd surfing, so it sure wasn't silent. You can't get OU students together without multiple "Boomer Sooner, Texas Sucks" chants anyway. No one got hurt or broke anything. There are a couple of raw videos on YouTube, but there's supposed to be a more polished one later today. And the kid who organized it did check in with me beforehand for any last minute safety announcements and asked for a broom and a trash bag as soon as it was over, so he could sweep up all the busted balloons and Mardi Gras beads and light sticks.

Still, I hope they do it elsewhere next year. Just too crowded and not enough exits in the library. And I was worried one of the crowd surfers was going to wind up tossed behind the desk...

#179 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 10:54 AM:

What is the proper opposite of authoritarian? Individualist? Nonconformist? If an authoritarian is someone who defaults to obedience to authority figures, is his opposite properly someone who has no particular obedience to people just because they're authority figures, or someone who actively does the opposite of what authority figures demand?

ISTM that a big distinguisher between political movements in the US is not authoritarianism (90%+ of the high-profile pundits are authoritarians of one stripe or another, and nearly all the powerful people are authoritarian leaders of one stripe or another[1]), but the selection of *which* authority figures are to be followed, and how strongly to follow them. Which religious leaders are to be followed, and which reviled? Which political leaders? Do we gush about what a moral, good, Christian leader Bush is? Or what a smart, 11-dimensional-chess-playing far-sighted scholar Obama is?

[1] Isn't this the defining feature of the difference between absolutely refusing to allow any consequences to befall anyone for following orders, even obviously illegal ones, and coming down like a ton of bricks on whistleblowers and unauthorized leakers, even ones whose whistleblowing did no harm and exposed fraud or criminal behavior? The consensus of the powerful and the MSM is overwhelmingly in agreement with that.

#180 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 11:31 AM:


I take it you're on the west side of the region?

We're on the eastern shore, where we're not expected to get a lot of snow, but due to it being so cold for so long, the snow is expected to accumulate and thus will make roads slippery and further thus, motorists will have many accidents. At least that's what the local radio is saying.

At least the wind finally has died down.

Love, C.

#181 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 11:43 AM:

I got to work to find a "closed due to snow" sign in the window. I got the call from my boss on the way back to the bus stop. Bah, humbug!

The weather report says it'll be 3-6 inches through tonight.

#182 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 11:59 AM:

Carrie S @172 -- the majority of people taking the quiz, according to their reports, not the majority of people here, come out on the left on their quiz. I'd agree with you about the self-selected nature here; I was commenting on the global distribution.

#183 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 12:08 PM:

# 182

Perhaps posted too soon. Moved out of the office to put on coat and see the streets are covered in white, with much more white pouring out of the equally white sky.

Just went to pick up the Kent County News, which publishes on Thursday. Soaked upon return. This is wet snow.

Love, c.

#184 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 12:17 PM:

Hyperlocal news:

When last seen in June 2010, our intrepid reporter had been told by her cardiologist that her LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol, for those of you not intimately and obsessively interested in lipid panels and other fun medical stuff) needed to drop below 70. It was 78. Could be done by increasing dose of statin.

Intrepid reporter said, Give me six months to do it with diet.

Blood tests Tuesday, results Tuesday night: LDL 66. Total cholesterol 159. Not as good as it could be, but not bad. All other numbers fine. Happy Lizzy is happy.

#185 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 12:39 PM:

@184: Happy Lizzy should be very happy. My doctor told me that 50/50 is a reasonable ratio to shoot for.

Give me six months to do it with diet.

Whatja do? Huh? Huh? Wanna know.

#186 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 01:08 PM:

Jacque, I really push vegetables and fruits, and while I haven't eliminated meat from my diet, I limit the frequency of chicken and fish to about twice a week, and I make sure the portions are small. I don't eat beef at all. I eat small amounts of bacon occasionally, no other pork. My usual evening meal is a huge salad. My meat meal, when I have one, or my pasta meal, is the midday meal.

Also, I'm reasonably physically active. I teach martial arts about 9 hours a week, I do yoga 3-5 hours a week, and I walk every day. The physical activity keeps my HDL high.

I pretty much don't drink alcohol. Half a beer or one glass of wine if I go to a party. That's it.

And: I cook my own food, mostly. I eat very little processed food. When I do buy processed food, I read the labels obsessively, and I know how much saturated fat and how much sodium there is in everything I buy. (I do buy some: you would find Annie's salad dressing, sweet potato snack chips, canned black beans, naan, challah, and eggplant-garlic spread from Trader Joe's in my house.) If the food has a lot of saturated fat or salt, I don't buy it. (I have high blood pressure, so I try to keep my sodium intake low.) I don't go to restaurants much, and when I do, I eat mostly the same sort of food that I would eat at home.

About 3 years ago I was able to get the total cholesterol down to 138, and the LDL to 58, but I felt deprived. I don't feel deprived now.

This is probably way more info than you needed...

#187 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 01:14 PM:

re the "Weird Rose" particle: "Feed me, Seymour!"

#188 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 01:24 PM:

Madeley @ #170, It was close. You'd have to ask Abi if it was as ethereal as that, though.

#189 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 01:53 PM:

Lizzy L @ 184... her LDL cholesterol (...) needed to drop below 70. It was 78. Could be done by increasing dose of statin.

I first read that as a dose of satin.

#190 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 01:55 PM:

Lizzy @184:

I'm delighted to hear it!

#191 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 02:01 PM:

By the way, I dare anyone to watch this video and not laugh by the end of it. The gentleman in question may not be very wise in his deep-frying choices, but he certainly can laugh at himself. Contagiously.

I tell you, the world is a wonderful place, having such people in it.

#192 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 02:01 PM:

Bruce, #187: Yikes. I could easily see that one on Cake Wrecks!

#193 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 02:10 PM:

Thanks, abi. It's all about the illusion of control. :-)

#194 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 02:15 PM:

Lizzy L @ 193... Congrats.

#195 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 02:41 PM:

Abi @ 191... Holy Jumping Gnochi, Batman!

#196 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 02:49 PM:

Ai-yi-yi! One of the windows being replaced had hidden major structural rot. They are putting in the new window, but now I need to dig out the business card of the master carpenter who did the renovation, and get someone to look at it ASAP.

Other than that, it's been a quiet day at Lake Wobegon.

#197 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 02:56 PM:

Ginger @196:

Given the fact that this only came to light from what we will call the Silver Basketball and Flowerpot Incident*, could the teenage boy expect parole sometime in 2012?

* about which I am dying to hear more details, once you have rendered them into an Anecdote rather than Real Life†
† You have to do this, because some day said teenage boy is going to bring a partner home, and you can learn a lot about said partner by telling the tale and seeing which side they take

#198 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 03:02 PM:

If I ever get rich, I'll hire a personal chef.

#199 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 03:14 PM:

I had the pleasure of meeting Marna Nightingale this morning. It was, as usual, quite a pleasure, but all too brief, as she was in town for barely one hour before the Greyhound took off again, bringing her closer to Canada.

That being said, I'll be in the Bay Area next week. Anyone interested in a Gathering of Light next Thursday at 6pm at Oakland's Breads of India? Terry Karney has already said yes.

#200 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 03:15 PM:

re rose particle: "By growing a population of self pollinated seedlings from a prospective breeder, you discover that it has some serious genetic
flaws that disqualify it as a breeder. This would be one of those times."

#201 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 03:22 PM:

Lovecraftian roses.

#202 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 03:23 PM:

re 187: The minute I looked upon it I knew it had to be a Ralph Moore, who just died last year at 102 (he had retired the year before). Moore was the driving force behind all those miniature roses you see around these days, and he bred a lot of real oddities.

#203 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 03:31 PM:

Inspired by an idle thought sparked by a discussion here. And it's poetry (of sorts). So I'm going to inflict it on you.

Violets are violet,
Roses are rose,
Oranges are orange,
As everyone knows.

Redbirds are red,
Blackbirds are black,
Bluebirds are blue,
And that's a fact.

Lilacs are lilac,
Goldenrod gold,
Lavender's lavender,
Or so I've been told.

#204 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 04:01 PM:

Fried gnocci might show up at the next Mad Science party.

I've still got all the safety gear from the last mad science party. Come to think of it I suspect there's still a can of coke in the pachysandra (after microwaving it for eight minutes we didn't know what to expect so there was safety gear and aggressive disposal. It was fine, it was a faraday cage, but we weren't SURE at the time.)

#205 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 04:05 PM:

Fried gnocchi for the win! Or at least for the winning high-jump!

#206 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 04:17 PM:

abi: You are not being crisp, simply pointing out fact - and I saw that too, but only after I posted the second time. Oops.

I had not intended to be anything but "maybe this should be done as well, if we are going to accomplish what was requested" - if it came across as a command, or even "that wasn't enough", it came across too harshly, and that is my mistake.

#207 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 04:21 PM:

Mary Aileen @203: Heh. Something very basic here. Extra point for using orange in a poem.

#208 ::: Mark_Wales ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 04:28 PM:

Re. Palindromes, my two favourites are:

"Doc, note, I dissent: a fast never prevents a fatness. I diet on cod."

(Which, for the life of me, I can't remember where I first came across), and:

"Retteb si fla h'dnoces eh! ttu: but the second half is better."

(Which, I'm more or less sure, was submitted to Stephen Fry in the days when he used to write a column in the UK Daily Telegraph. (He said his own favourite palindrome was "Satan! Oscillate my metallic sonatas!" if memory serves...))

#209 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 04:31 PM:

My favorite palindrome is in Latin:


It works all four ways on that grid.

#210 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 04:50 PM:

re my #203: drat. That first line should be Violets are violet (as in the color).

#211 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 04:53 PM:

Mary Aileen @210:


#212 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 05:30 PM:

Frivolous party game at Locus inspired by PNH's list:

The question: for what books (whether sff or otherwise), can the title and author be run together to make an unstrained, grammatically correct English sentence?

#213 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 06:03 PM:

International hyperlocal news: business traveler contracts food poisoning in either Seoul or Osaka, spends first twenty-four hours in Tokyo confined to (posh) quarters. "At least it messed up my sleep patterns enough that I woke up at 5:30 a.m. and checked out the famous Tsukiji Fish Market," he reports.

#214 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 06:37 PM:

I see that Cage Against The Machine is currently in third place on Amazon UK.

Charity fund-raiser and you piss off Simon Cowell as well: what's not to like.

#215 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 07:08 PM:

abi #209: Ah, a classicist! ;-) For anyone who didn't recognize it, that "magic square" is popular with ritual magicians and occultists, IIRC since at least the Middle Ages. I gather the Latin isn't quite "clean", producing ambiguity to add mystical appeal.

#216 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 07:18 PM:

And of course, if you reverse the words (Rotas, Opera...), it still works.

For some reason, I seem to recall that I first saw it backwards. I blame Ripley.

#217 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 07:19 PM:

Serge at 199: Can't make it; I'm teaching class. Think of me as you raise your glasses to the season.

#218 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 07:31 PM:

Lizzy L, #186, renal patients have really big cholesterol when they're really sick and I just figured that being somewhat off now wasn't that big a deal. My last primary (moved to another/too-far center) told me to take Fish Oil capsules and they worked. I had the Lipid Panel Tuesday last and my current primary told me I don't have to take it again for a year. (On the other hand, the TSH taken at the same time is too low, so that gets taken in two months instead of the standard three.)

#219 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 07:46 PM:

abi @ #191, that's the most contagious laugh I've heard since Laddergoat.

#220 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 07:48 PM:

abi (211): Thanks!

#221 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 07:56 PM:

Lizzy @184 -- wonderful news! Congratulations.

abi @191 -- I laughed, I shared. Thank you!

#222 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 08:01 PM:

Abi #191: Great fun! I especially liked when he realized, "OK, this is not going to be one of my instructional videos... but I can blog it!"

#223 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 08:09 PM:

I loved the gnocchi video. Took me this long to say so because I've been emailing it to everyone I know, and reposting it on other sites.

#224 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 09:26 PM:

Serge @ 199: Alas, I will be unavailable that day (and week).

Please raise a glass for me and tell Terry et al. I said hello (and, y'know, the holiday greeting du jour).

#225 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 09:45 PM:

I will be at the gatthering. I may be a bit late, it depends on when work lets me go.

#226 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 09:51 PM:

D Potter @ 224... Drat! Well, should yours plans change, you're welcome to this Gathering of Light.

Terry Karney @ 225... Get there when you get there.

#227 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 09:52 PM:

Urgent Book Advice Needed:

Earlier in the year I listened to the audio book version of "The Name of the Wind" (Patrick Routhfus). I totally loved it.

I am wondering whether I should recommend it to my niece, who is either 13 or 14. An avid reader who read all of Harry Potter, The Hobbit, and (sigh) the Twilight books.

I remember the book having some dark and scary parts, but don't recall anything explicit.

Any help appreciated.

#228 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 10:04 PM:

Bittersweet's bittersweet.
Pinks are pink
Roses are rose, or that's what I think.

#229 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 10:06 PM:

For people local to Houston, or within a reasonable driving range: this coming Tuesday, Dec. 21, is my partner's annual Not A Birthday Dinner Gather. This year it will be at the Jason's Deli at Shepherd and Westheimer, starting at 7:00 PM. No presents necessary, because this is Not A Birthday Party. :-) I'd appreciate a response if you can make it, so that I'll have some idea how many tables to pull together.

#230 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 10:06 PM:

Earl @ 160: ...the word "libertarian" is toxic, damaged goods...

More and more I am coming to agree. And it has happened because of what C. Wingate @ 169 alludes to: it's designed to put people on the "right" into the libertarian center of the chart.

I see a lot of conservatives who call themselves libertarians and sometimes even join the LP because they are disappointed that today's Republican Party has forgotten about balanced budgets. But basically they are still conservatives. They talk about small government, but they do in fact want a government big enough to invade other countries, keep guest workers out, bust up unions, outlaw brtn, wiretap and imprison dissidents without warrant or trial, and dispense favors to big business that are not available to the rest of us.

Maybe I should call myself a small-government liberal. I hope that's a label the conservatives wouldn't try to steal. And since there are too many people calling for smaller government without saying which parts they want to toss out and which to keep, here's my take. I want to get rid of the parts that the conservatives want to keep.

If the Libertarian Party is to have any purpose and meaning, it cannot be just a pale, slightly-more-tolerant version of the GOP.David F. Nolan. Sadly, I think it was already too late when he wrote that.

#231 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 10:06 PM:

Mark Jones #208: also there's

The fat cop spoke in a strange tongue: "Eugnot egnarts a ni epoks poc taf eht."

#232 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 10:07 PM:

The wedding cake rose looks like an artichoke.

#233 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 10:21 PM:

Marilee at 218: If the cholesterol number was lower than you thought it would be, that's good. Glad to hear it. Hope the TSH improves.

#234 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 10:25 PM:

Serge @ 199: It'll depend on just how crazy the lab is right before I leave for a vacation. As of right now, maybe.

#235 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 11:42 PM:

abi @ 197: Well, er. The windows came first. I was preparing for the installation of new windows, and had taken something outside -- I forget exactly what now -- so I happened to walk over to that side of the house and glanced into the side yard. When I saw a silvery globe -- an unfamiliar globe -- I had to take a closer look, which is how I discovered the spray painted basketball. Near this was the stick, then the shoes, and the retaining wall..I didn't find the flowerpots until I reached the side door. The handle with silver fingerprints was just the cherry on top.

I was already rather irritated by the mess I was discovering under, behind, and around the furniture next to the windows that were being replaced. That was the reason I was going to ground him for the rest of his life.

By the time he got home from school, I wasn't so mad. This isn't the first time he's spray-painted things outside the house. In fact, just recently I came home, walked in the door, and smelled paint. When I asked him, he admitted that he'd thrown a spray paint can into the yard, which had then "exploded" all over him. He'd run into the house to take a shower, but you could still see black droplets all over the retaining wall and surrounding grass. I thought he'd learned something of a lesson, but no.

His other obsession is with fire, so when I walked into the house and smelled the match smoke, I was a little worried. Then I saw the candles had just been extinguished, so I didn't go on.

Yes, I smell the air as soon as I walk in the door. Sometimes I find things that he shouldn't be doing just by sniffing the air.

Anyway, he doesn't know I wanted to ground him forever and ever. I think I'll hold that in abeyance.

The snowstorm led him to believe that school might be cancelled tomorrow, but I think it will only be a 2-hour delay. We'll see who is right!

#236 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 12:24 AM:

A friend just sent me this Wiley vs. Rhodes video.

#237 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 12:32 AM:

Benjamin Wolfe @ 234... It'll depend on just how crazy the lab is


#238 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 01:07 AM:

Bring me the subjects Igor! Strap them into the eyetracker and make them saccade for the knowledge of humankind and the glory of the lab!

#239 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 01:21 AM:

David @215:

I gather the Latin isn't quite "clean", producing ambiguity to add mystical appeal.

It's far from clean. Sator is a relatively rare word, meaning "sower", or in one usage, "author". That alone gives it the labored diction that really good palindromes avoid.

But the main problem is arepo. It's entirely unknown in Latin apart from this usage. You can't derive it from any known Latin words, even if you're being loose about the form. It could be an alpha-privative Greek form from ρεπω, "to descend", but there's no form that actually fits the grammar.

There are theories that it was a name*. Like the anthropological suggestion that something was used "for ritual purposes", that means "Search me, squire; I have no idea."

I grew up knowing it as the Surfer's Palindrome, which, if you recognize the reference, should tell you rather a lot about my upbringing.

* in which case, how cool is that for the guy involved?

#240 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 02:46 AM:


having a name which is a 'hapax legomenon' is itself pretty cool (but also pretty unusual I would imagine) ('Child, if you have a rummy sort of name/Remember to be thankful for the same')

#241 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 04:05 AM:

Serge@199: As it happens, I'll be flying in to the Bay Area that very day...getting in quite late, though (for values of late like 11 PM). Any chance of rescheduling to the next Monday, or sometime that next week?

Lee@229: That's quite easy for me to get to, so I'll very likely make it.

#242 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 04:46 AM:

Soon Lee writes @ #212

Frivolous party game at Locus inspired by PNH's list.

The very first of these I ever noticed was Hello Summer, Goodbye Michael Coney, where the publisher actually used text in two colours in the title to make it read theat way, with Hello Summer, in red, and Goodbye Michael Coney in black.

...and when I googled for an image of that cover (Pan, 1978), I find this at

The spine of my old Pan paperback reads “Hello Summer, Goodbye Michael Coney,”, written by one Jo Walton

#243 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 04:48 AM:

Is there a term for a word which (instead of appearing only once) appears too frequently?

The word "pockmarked" appears too often in a book I just finished.

#244 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 05:04 AM:

Periwinkles show in periwinkle,
Heliotropes are coloured heliotrope,
You're prettier than both, but this I think'll
Finish up with me hung from a rope.

#245 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 05:34 AM:

Earl @243:

I don't know, but whatever it is, add "clenched" and "mien" from the Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever series, and "howled" from the Gap Sequence.

Still do not know why I read the latter. It was a greater literary mistake than deciding to find out whether Pride, Prejudice and Zombies made any sense by the end.

#246 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 05:49 AM:

I'm reading the Big Black Book of Conan Stories at the moment (on and off), and I ran into the word dais, a word I haven't met since I read the Barsoom books. And then I met it again, and again, and again...

#247 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 06:11 AM:

Roses are red, violets are blue

(Warning: serious time-wastage possible at that link!)

#248 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 08:23 AM:

Stefan Jones @#227, re The Name of the Wind:

If she can handle Harry Potter, I think she'll be fine with Name. The only problem I see is that the second book isn't coming out till March, and personally I hate getting into a series that isn't finished yet. If Rothfuss writes as fast for the third book, it won't be out till sometime in late 2013...

#249 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 09:15 AM:

Niall (247): Nice graph! It would be even better if the colors weren't reversed.

#250 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 09:30 AM:

Abi @ 245... "howled" from the Gap Sequence

...followed by Baby Gap then Old Navy?

#251 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 10:04 AM:

Earl Cooley III @243 said: Is there a term for a word which (instead of appearing only once) appears too frequently?

A friend of mine bounced repeatedly off Perdido Street Station because of the sheer mass of excretory imagery in the prologue/introduction section. There was a specific repeated-too-often word, but I no longer remember what it was.

#252 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 10:07 AM:

Earl Cooley III@243: It's modern, not Latin, and isn't specific to usage in one work, but..."stop word".

#253 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 10:47 AM:

Earl@243, abi@245, ddb@252:

I was going to suggest 'pollakis legomenon' (hapax: 'once', pollakis: 'many times'; but I suspect that my intuitions of appropriateness are infected by the fact that Turkish makes no semantic distinction between 'lots' and 'too much'.1 Which can lead to very confusing conversations with students. ('Should I put too many citations in may paper?' 'Um, what?')

Also, English desperately needs a word meaning 'thing for which there ought to be a word but isn't.

OK, off to make pizza for the esurient2 masses.

1. This comment should really have gone in the last open thread, I guess.
2. Hungry, and requiring to be filled with good things.

#254 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 10:57 AM:

HLN: Moose wins office raffle of a "Christmas hamper" and now has the problem of taking it away.
(24" diameter shallow basket stacked to about 15" high with goodies and weighing about 30 pounds.)

In other news, it has been snowing lightly.

#255 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 11:00 AM:

Dammit, the pet tulum has escaped and played havoc with my parentheses, again.

#256 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 12:40 PM:

So, because you never know what people here will know, what would be the approximate number of square feet taken up by your usual teen-aged person on a very crowded dance floor? Complicated by the fact that he or she may or may not be wearing a winter jacket and/or a backpack?

#257 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 01:01 PM:

Earl @243, abi @245: also add to the list peculiar/peculiarly from David Eddings' Belgariad and Mallorean series. Seems to show up at least once ever few pages, and sometimes more than once on a page.

Irritating in the extreme.

#258 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 01:24 PM:

Syd@257: Peculiarly irritating? :-)

I was protected from Eddings, as I recall, by the first few pages of the first book. I actually read an entire book of Thomas Covenant, so I'm much more outspoken about how awful that was.

#259 ::: Mark_Wales ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 01:35 PM:

Erik Nelson @231:

That's a good one, I like that... [But Mark Jones? Your brain translating my location into a possible surname, perchance? :-)]


Re. The Gap and "It was a greater literary mistake than deciding to find out whether Pride, Prejudice and Zombies made any sense by the end.

I don't remember The Gap Sequence (to the extent I remember it much at all, now, to be honest) as disfondly as you, but I have always remembered Clute's splendid comment from Interzone that the first one seemed to be "one of the worst single books ever published by a writer of interest who had not yet become senile." Ouch. (Though to be fair, if memory serves an ace rather than a double fault, he said nicer things about the later volumes...)


All together now: "Rat-faced little Drasnian"!

#260 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 01:37 PM:

praisegod barebones @ #253: Also, English desperately needs a word meaning 'thing for which there ought to be a word but isn't.

And what is wrong with "liff" for that purpose?

#261 ::: Mark_Wales ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 01:53 PM:

Re. words or phrases that don't exist but should, was it Brian Aldiss that suggested Ab we tel min1 for "the sensation that one neither agrees nor disagrees with what it being said to one, but that one simply wishes to depart from the presence of the speaker."?2

[Is it the fact that it's Christmas Party Season, and I now live remotely enough to have to drive to most of them, and thuslywise remain sober, that's reminded me of this? :-)]

1 From memory, such as it is, again...

2 Confluence?

#262 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 01:57 PM:

Janet Brennan Croft #256: Depends on the average number of left feet per dancer.... (More seriously, some teens will actively seek to escape crowded dance floors!)

ddb #258: IIRC, the Covenant series wasn't that bad technically (ignoring the obvious plot token), just depressing as hell.

#263 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 01:58 PM:

Paul A.

It's unonomatopoeic.

#264 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 02:14 PM:

Janet Brennan Croft @256 -- depends on how crowded the dance floor feels. I've estimated high-density crowds at around 3 sq ft per person -- that's a "barely able to move" density. At about a person per square yard (9 sq ft) it's dense, but not really terrible. 4 sq yards (36 sq ft) is a loose crowd, probably appropriate for fairly energetic dancing. One good way to look at this question is to look at what the density is in a hotel room set up for theater-style seating (there's going to be a number for that on a placard in the room, and the hotel will have the room dimensions available) -- that includes aisles, and enough space so that people can get out in case of fire.

I've long wanted to get a group of 100 people together and mark out a space 20 feet on a side and take photographs of crowd densities....

#265 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 02:14 PM:

Found this quip on Reddit:

If you really want to shut down Wikileaks....just have Yahoo! acquire them.

#266 ::: A.J. ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 02:34 PM:

Hi everybody,

I just moved to Brooklyn. Is there a good sci & fantasy book store around here? Or at least a book store with a good fantasy section? I find myself missing the selection at my old store, in Berkeley.

#267 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 02:39 PM:

I did a terrible thing to a friend by accident, once. I mentioned that in all of Tim Power's books up to that time the hero ended up maimed in the hand. (I remember reading "The Stress of Her Regard" and wondering when it would happen: yep, Chapter 3.) I said it was probably because his heroes needed to run for their lives a lot and getting a maimed leg would hamper that. I apparently got both impassioned on the subject and persuasive enough that it stuck in her mind. Unfortunately, before there was time enough to forget what I'd said she went to a Worldcon and ended up in an elevator for +20 floors.

With Tim Powers.

She almost made it to the floor she wanted before, accidentally fueled by my rant, she embarrassedly exploded with "Why do all your protagonists get maimed in the hand?" Powers handled it well: he said he hadn't realized he was doing it until it was pointed out to him recently. My friend was tramutized, and I decided to keep an eye out as to upcoming literary events before indulging in a rant like that again.

#268 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 02:50 PM:

Steve C.@265:

> Found this quip on Reddit:

> If you really want to shut down Wikileaks....just have Yahoo! acquire them.

Heh. I notice that AltaVista is one of the casualties. Back in the 90s, when the URL was, the wildcard and boolean search options that it offered were a revelation. Wikipedia offers charmingly dated numbers: As of 1998, it used 20 multi-processor machines using DEC's 64-bit Alpha processor. Together, the back-end machines had 130 GB of RAM and 500 GB of hard disk space, and received 13 million queries per day.

#269 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 03:30 PM:

You know, 130GB of RAM is still nothing to be despised (500GB of disk, though, is a joke today).

Alta Vista was definitely my favorite search engine for quite a while, and the first one that I felt was generally satisfactory (not anything like perfect, you understand). Google was clearly better after about the first week, though. And has remained solidly competitive for about 3 eons in Internet years, isn't it?

#270 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 03:34 PM:

Not transforming (as in "sanitizing") data entries carries considerable risk.

#271 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 04:28 PM:

Tom @264.

Checking US Army regulations from WW2, the distance between ranks is specified at 40 inches. and in close order the interval between files is 4 inches.

These are the measurements between soldiers, and it works out as very slightly more than one square yard.

Do I have to link to the Lambeth Walk video?

#272 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 05:01 PM:

Another Eddings tic is "sort of" thrown in more or less at random.

I remember "my liege" from The Warrior's Apprentice, all the more so because the original Baen Books printing that I have spelled it "leige" throughout.

"Glittered" in Elizabeth Bear's Blood and Iron. All of the female characters wore jewelry (especially earrings), and none of them could be just wearing the jewelry, the jewelry had to be doing something, and what it was doing was glittering. I'm sure when she wrote it she never even noticed that she was overusing the phrase....

#273 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 05:07 PM:

re 269: There was a time when Altavista's audio search was considerably superior IMO.

#274 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 05:20 PM:

Dave Bell @271 -- that interval of 4 inches between files does not include the thickness of the individual person (which is usually considerably more than 4 inches). What's the estimated thickness of the average soldier? From your 1 sq yard estimate, I'd think it's about 7 inches. (Obvious jokes may be left as an exercise for the readers....)

#275 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 05:45 PM:

Thinking more on 274: for rule-of-thumb purposes, I think we're saying about the same things about density.

#276 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 05:46 PM:

Words that come up too frequently: in S.M. Stirling's Changed World series, I keep tripping over "pawky". This is especially irritating because I've never heard the word elsewhere at all, and am having to guess at its meaning from context. (Best guess so far: dry and a little sarcastic, the sort of thing that Mr. Spock might say with a raised eyebrow.)

#277 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 05:58 PM:

Lee, that word comes up from time to time in my mind, for no good reason, as the title of an imaginary Little Golden Book, The Pawky Little Pawnee. It can stop any time, as far as I'm concerned.

Elsewhere: I'd call a word that should (but doesn't) exist in English a lacuna, and if someone makes up a word to fill the spot, it would be a lacunism. But that's just me.

#278 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 06:30 PM:

Lizzy L, #233, no, I meant that my cholesterol has been perfect for many months, and that's because of the fish oil capsules.

#279 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 06:51 PM:

Paul A #260, Kip W: #277:

but but but... if the word doesn't exist, then it's self-referential!

#280 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 06:53 PM:

That Drunken Serb vs. Shark Particle is more evidence that truth is stranger than fiction could ever dare to be.

#281 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 07:08 PM:

Mary Aileen #280: Indeed! I especially liked "the water was not that soft."

It also falls squarely under "God loves fools, drunkards, and children". (Which actually has some basis in fact... relaxed muscles protect somewhat against injury from falls and collisions.)

#282 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 08:38 PM:

Captain Beefheart, a.k.a. Don Van Vliet, died from multiple sclerosis complications, at 69. An odd musician indeed.

#283 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 09:14 PM:

Captain Beefheart: The dust blows forward, and the dust blows back.

#284 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 09:49 PM:

I gave up on the first of Eddings' Belgariad books about fifty pages in, after choking on one too many uses of "unfortunately" and "however".

In my own writing, I've found that I use the word "that" too frequently, and try to remember to excise it before final drafts.

#285 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2010, 12:33 AM:

Captain Beefheart:

Fast 'n bulbous! Also, a tin teardrop!

#286 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2010, 12:36 AM:

The overused word choices that bug me the most are the use of exotic color names in the Thomas Covenant books, and in some of M. John Harrison's books. OK, you want to be really specific about colors, fine, but how about using a few different ones?

Sorry, no, I can't even remember now what the colors were, it's been too long. And no, I'm not going back to look.

#287 ::: siriosa ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2010, 12:49 AM:

serge @199:
I'll probably be there, yeah.

#288 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2010, 12:54 AM:

The word that comes up often enough in my casual writing that I have to go back and edit it out is "stuff". When I see it used as often as it comes out when I write, it even grates on me!

#289 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2010, 01:11 AM:

It seems to me Wordle would be a useful tool for any writer who suspects he/she is overusing a word, or especially if he/she doesn't think that.

#290 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2010, 01:52 AM:

Ooh, I was just going to ask if there was a tool to find out which words you're using too often. Wordle would work nicely.

I had a demon of an English teacher (in the good sense) who had creative writing exercises that included writing without adverbs, starting every sentence in a different way, and excising every "the" from submissions. There's no flavor in such writing but it does help to get a style together that isn't laden with over-emphasis or indirect writing. (This was also the teacher who told us to look up a word if we didn't know the meaning, and then had us look up "red." "The color of blood," FWIW.)

#291 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2010, 05:07 AM:

I didn't notice the glittering in those books.

I did notice the hands in Powers. I even talked to Tim about it once, when I was pleasantly surprised to note a hero who didn't have an injury of some sort to the hands. Mind you, I was looking for it.

Tim has some other recurrent tropes too.

#292 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2010, 06:25 AM:

siriosa @ 287... There's a possibility that we'd meet the next street over, at the Pacific Coast Brewing Company. Would either place be ok? I'm going to hit the road soon, but I'll log in tomorrow evening - or maybe tonight if our hotel in Bakersfield has free internet access.

#293 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2010, 12:00 PM:

Another tendency Tim Powers has said he never realised he had until it was pointed out is ending his novels with the protagonist getting in or on a boat and disappearing off into the distance.

(Although there was a period in the 1990s where he wrote a couple of books in a row that ended with the protagonist getting off a boat and disappearing off into the distance.)

#294 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2010, 12:05 PM:

Lee @ #276:

My first encounter with "pawky", that I recall, was this:

"You have heard me speak of Professor Moriarty?"

"The famous scientific criminal, as famous among crooks as --"

"My blushes, Watson!" Holmes murmured in a deprecating voice.

"I was about to say, as he is unknown to the public."

"A touch! A distinct touch!" cried Holmes. "You are developing a certain unexpected vein of pawky humour, Watson, against which I must learn to guard myself."

#295 ::: Sylvia Sotomayor ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2010, 12:35 PM:

Re pawky.

I think of it as Scottish, as in:

Oh the pawky auld carle cam o'er the lea
Wi' mony guid-e'ens and guid-days tae me
Sayin', "Guid wife for your charity
Would you lodge a leal poor man?"
Laddie wi my tow-ro-ae

#296 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2010, 01:24 PM:

Terry Karney @ 291: "Tim has some other recurrent tropes too."

Dead wives?

#297 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2010, 01:57 PM:

Has this country really and finally gotten rid of DADT?

Was there ever anything more stupid? I'm afraid to believe it's been rescinded.

Love, C.

#298 ::: siriosa ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2010, 02:24 PM:

serge: I can be at pcb, but it's nowhere near as conducive to conversation. It gets quite loud.

#299 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2010, 02:53 PM:

Terry Karney@291: Well, now if you ever re-read them, you will.

Serge@292: I'd strongly prefer Breads of India, although my preference makes no difference unless the event gets rescheduled.

#300 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2010, 03:14 PM:

Constance @ 297:

Sorry, no, it's not dead yet. The Senate has passed cloture, meaning the Republican filibuster is null and void, but they have yet to vote on the bill itself. And even when the bill is passed (ETA: they are scheduled to be voting on it as I type this) and the President has signed it (and that's not a sure thing either, considering how he's been rolling lately) DADT will still be the law of the land until 90 days have elapsed and the President, the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs have all certified repeal. In that period anyone who comes out while in service is going to get cashiered, so tell anyone you know who's thinking about it to stay in the closet until the repeal actually happens.

#301 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2010, 03:54 PM:

From the Great Orange Satan:

Update: The repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" was passed on a final vote of 65-31. There are unverified reports that John McCain's (R-AZ) legs fell off.

It now goes to the President for his signature.
#302 ::: LinD ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2010, 03:56 PM:

Repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell!
Just heard via CNN, who broadcast the vote live, the Senate just voted the repeal of DADT, 65-31. It now goes to the President's desk for signing. The word is, President Obama will sign with all due pomp and ceremony, first part of next week.

#303 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2010, 03:56 PM:

Much as I'm a tentative respondent for Thursday, I'd prefer BoI, if it is quieter. Loud environments mean that I can't hear conversation at all (as I was reminded at a party last night).

#305 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2010, 04:39 PM:

DADT -- gone! Well done, Senators. Given how angry and frustrated I've been with the various branches of our government lately, it's a pleasure to have something to cheer about.

The DREAM Act failed to pass. :-(((

#306 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2010, 04:52 PM:

Linkmeister #289. Wordle was useful to me in writing a book. I already knew most of the problems it pointed out, but it makes a difference to see them there in black and white (or your choice of designer colors).

Tim Powers subthread I'm reminded of the David Lodge novel (Small World, I think), where a successful British novelist had his writing analysed by computer and it made him unable to write any more. Whenever he wrote something that fitted it with the patterns from the computer it felt predictable and boring, and when he tried to write differently it felt artificial. The centipede problem.

#307 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2010, 05:34 PM:

Bruce says we can't stop holding our breath just yet about the death DADT.

Some of you think we can exhale.

Which is it?

I guess this is what 'they' gave us in exchange for extending the tax cuts for the wealthiest? And that was as far as They were going to go. They did kill the DREAM initiative. Or at least that is what some people who are usually pretty knowlegable are saying. Myself, not being in their class, do not know!

But if DADT is dead, I'm more than ready to don sparklies and dance on its grave, so there.

Love, C.

#308 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2010, 05:42 PM:

Regarding the extinguishing of the Dream Act legislation:

Keep your weary hard workers
Keep your poor with aspirations
Keep your huddled massed yearning for freedom.
You who work and dream of a better life aren't welcome here.
You who seek refuge from religious intolerance, from discriminatio, from persecution, mostly won't get entry.
We only allow the abusive rich--
The Rupert Murdochs, the Mel Gibsons
The rich bigots secular and sectarian
The robber barons spreading lies
And actors who abuse their wives and mistresses.
And aliens on guest visas training for turning passenger planes with hapless passengers on-board into weapons of mass destruction committing mass atrocity and devastation.

#309 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2010, 05:57 PM:

@285: That's right, the Mascara Snake!

#310 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2010, 07:06 PM:

Local News and Weather:

A cold front moved through Portland about 6 AM this morning, with heavy rain for a half an hour or so followed by light rain for another couple of hours. At about 10 AM I drove my dogs up to the off-leash area on top of Council Crest (~1100 feet above sea level); the temperature was 39°F but there was still snow on the ground above 800 or 900 feet. The light drizzle falling then was washing the snow away, but hadn't yet finished the job.

This would only have been of interest to the dogs (who were interested in the snow, but not happy about the falling rain), except that there was a wedding scheduled at the lookout point on the top of Council Crest. Shortly after we got there the wedding party assembled under a cluster of umbrellas, and a stretch limo arrived with the bride and groom. Less than five minutes later the rain stopped and a few minutes after that the sun came out for what I hope was long enough for the wedding ceremony.

Amazingly, the limo driver even managed to park without blocking the driveway that goes around the lookout point, though he did have to move a few feet to let me get my car out when I left.

#311 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2010, 08:56 PM:

Calligraphy without a net: Legacy of Letters

#312 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2010, 09:27 PM:

As you know, Bob, stem cell transplants for leukemia are basically the same things that used to be called bone marrow transplants. They have nothing to do with embryonic stem cells, and are not remotely controversial. Arizona governor Jan Brewer thinks that 95% of these transplants fail, but in the real world the success rate is more like 40%.

The NY Times article reporting on transplant defunding has lots of links to other articles, including things not on their site, like Jan Brewer's interview on Fox. They also have helpful little links for phrases that the reader might find unfamiliar. The link for stem cells is to their page on the embryonic stem cells controversy, rather than their perfectly good page on bone marrow transplants. Are they trying to cause trouble?

#313 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2010, 10:19 PM:

Is it just me, or has there been a lot less noise about the phony "War On Christmas" this year? Perhaps that meme has finally gotten stale.

#314 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2010, 10:44 PM:

Critical leaked memo about US agriculture: [-who- appointed the people who are running EPA at the current time, anyway?]

Beekeepers Ask EPA to Remove Pesticide Linked to Colony Collapse Disorder, Citing Leaked Agency Memo
For immediate release: December 8, 2010


Heather Pilatic, Pesticide Action Network
cell: 415.694.8596

Jay Feldman, Beyond Pesticides
202.543.5450, ext 15

Beekeepers Ask EPA to Remove Pesticide Linked to Colony Collapse Disorder,Citing Leaked Agency Memo
Pesticide Already Illegal in Germany, Italy & France Based on Scientific Findings

SAN FRANCISCO and WASHINGTON, D.C - Beekeepers and environmentalists today called on EPA to remove a pesticide linked to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), citing a leaked EPA memo that discloses a critically flawed scientific support study. The November 2nd memo identifies a core study underpinning the registration of the insecticide clothianidin as unsound after EPA quietly re-evaluated the pesticide just as it was getting ready to allow a further expansion of its use. Clothianidin (product name “Poncho”) has been widely used as a seed treatment on many of the country’s major crops for eight growing seasons under a “conditional registration” granted while EPA waited for Bayer Crop Science, the pesticide’s maker, to conduct a field study assessing the insecticide’s threat to bee colony health....

The Great Honeybee Conspiracy
EPA Complicit in Colony Collapse Disorder?
By Jimmy Mengel
Thursday, December 16th, 2010

The humble honey bee is getting its fair share of buzz this year — which doesn't bode particularly well for the species, or American agriculture as a whole.

The most recent revelations involve leaked government documents, regulatory malfeasance, and scientific censorship. To mix an insect metaphor, it's quite a tangled web...

Since 2006, serious decimation of the North American bee population has taken place. Termed “colony collapse disorder,” millions of worker bees have mysteriously disappeared from their colonies, largely confounding the scientific community.

But a suspect has emerged as enemy number one: Bayer's pesticide clothianidin.

Leaked EPA documents have detailed the regulatory agency's allowance of clothianidin to maneuver its way through regulatory channels in the face of scientists' warning and flawed studies.

According to these documents provided to beekeeper Tom Theobald, the EPA was aware of the pesticide's dangers way back in 2003; but the EPA granted Bayer a "conditional" approval that allowed them to start using the pesticide

Honey Bee Disappearances Not “Solved” by Virus and Fungi

© 2010 by Linda Moulton Howe

“Beekeepers there in North Dakota saw so many dead bees ... and we sent some samples into a lab in Florida and they found Imidacloprid in the honey and the bees and the wax. I mean, that pretty much nails it down.”

- Daniel F. Mayer, Ph.D., Entomologist

#315 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2010, 11:54 PM:

What I'd really like to see repealed is the sodomy article. In theory that could still be used by an unscrupulous commander to cashier people.

It applies to one and all, but is almost never enforced; mostly because it requires someone to come forward with a complaint.

But the way it's written it pretty much means any one who is not heterosexual is either abstinent, or in violation.

#316 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2010, 02:51 AM:


Arysta Acquires U.S. Marketing Rights to Clothianidin Insecticide; Secures U.S. Registration on Turf and Ornamentals.i>

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Arysta LifeScience Corporation [has bought the rights to three poisonous soil chemicals in the past two months]

Arvesta Corporation, has entered into a license agreement granting Arvesta exclusive marketing rights in the United States and Mexico to the broad-spectrum insecticide Clothianidin for soil and [leaf application]....

Registration of Clothianidin has been secured for use of turf and ornamentals and will be sold under the trade names Arena (turf) and Celero (ornamentals). Registration is pending on apples, pears and tobacco. Clutch received registration in the Mexican market in September for use in potatoes, tobacco and ornamentals.

Apples and pear, that's right, kill all the bees that pollinate the fruit, and 1/3 of the rest of the produce in the world.... and ornamental, kill all the butterflies and other pollinating insects

...Clothianidin is a milestone addition to the company's expanding product portfolio for turf, ornamentals and specialty crops.

See them make tons of money, who cares about the extinction of beneficial insects of songbirds, bats, frogs, fish (the pesticide is highly nonselective about what it kills...)

"This is a new generation in insect control that provides broad-spectrum control in many economically significant market segments," she says. "When you include Clothianidin with our existing specialty crops products Elevate, CaptEvate and Captan [[link--group of organic sulfur compounds used as fungicides, including topical treatment of dermatophytosis. Poisoning of birds causes loss of egg production, anorexia and slow growth. ]]*, we have a portfolio of widely recognized, consistently performing products."

You, too, can have a golf course monoculture lawn, with nothing living except the damned golf green grass....

Clothianidin controls soil pests and surface feeding pests in turf (such as white grubs, chinch bug [[ link -- chinch bug, small North American bug, Blissus leucopterus, of the seed bug family. It feeds on small grains, corn, and other grasses, sucking the plant juices and doing much damage to crops, particularly in the Midwest. The adults, about 1/8 in. (3. and mole crickets),] lepidopterous [butterflies and moths] pests in turf and fruit (webworms, codling moth and leafrollers) and sucking pests (such as aphids and leafhoppers).

Bye-bye monarch butterflies, swallowtails, luna moths... I suspect the actual worst pests will adapt relatively quickly... cabbage white butterflies are a highly opportunistic imported species, and are out when other lepidoptera (except for a relatively new pest, winter moths) aren't, from early to late....

The pesticide is nicotine based--tobacco is -poisonous--and is very unselective in its lethality. And it stays in the soil not breaking down for most of two decades....

The stuff makes DDT look innocuous....

#317 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2010, 02:54 AM:

I don't think I'll be relying on Gov. Jan Brewer for medical advice any time soon.

#318 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2010, 12:13 PM:

My beloved daughter, Pip, has started a blog for her movie reviews.

#319 ::: Brenda Kalt ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2010, 01:52 PM:

I hope the ship hasn't sailed on this thread, because I want to rant.


Why do so many online Nativity scenes show the participants as children?

I was hunting for a picture(s) to transfer to a tile and paint when I realized this. The trend doesn't seem to be as strong in physical Nativity scenes. (Those trend toward European adults--a different rant.) But what are people getting out of this?

Yours rantingly.

#320 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2010, 02:04 PM:

Brenda Kait @319 -- because Nativity scenes are often done as part of grade school Christmas pageants, and lots of parents want to put pictures of their children up on the web.

#321 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2010, 03:04 PM:

I'm still surprised at the fact that Baby Sister and I both played with the two porcelain nativities our family has, and we had the same plot. Completely independent. About half the people I've told the plot to think it's hilarious, and half are mystified.

#322 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2010, 04:15 PM:

Someone should do a nativity scene featuring baby Connor. "As the child of two vampires, Connor was considered a miracle birth."

#323 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2010, 04:47 PM:

OK... I've now got six quarts of stock that I'm trying to simmer down a little more. I'm not sure this is actually a good idea, as it's pretty strong already and keeps throwing skins up to the surface, but I'd really like it to take less space in the freezer.

And I still have to deal with the damn Medicare plan....

#324 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2010, 05:00 PM:

Earl @ 322 -

And a kid that turns from an infant to an adolescent overnight would indeed be the stuff of nightmares.

#325 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2010, 05:07 PM:

David, 323: It sounds like you're halfway to demi-glace.

#326 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2010, 05:59 PM:

Dammit, I think I already burned the stock -- not much, but I can taste a distinct edge. How is it that a stock that's been at a boil for 8 hours, once strained, starts tasting burned after a bare hour of simmering?

#327 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2010, 06:11 PM:

And while I'm griping, what's with this 30 minute timeout on the Medicare site? Not to mention all the Javascript links...

I'm making some rice with the stock now, let's see how that turns out.

#328 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2010, 07:22 PM:

Knight Moves, move over. Unicorn Vengeance has taken your place at the top of my Bestest Romance Ever (Not) list.

#329 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2010, 07:56 PM:

OK, the rice seems to have come out OK. The stock's in the fridge for final cooling...

#331 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2010, 08:40 PM:

Here's my annual holiday special, which I seem to recall writing about fifteen years ago:


Freddy the Snowman
With his scarf of red and green
Didn't look too spry, but my oh my
What a stone-cold death machine!

Freddy the Snowman
Got most everyone but me
With his eyes of coal and his evil soul
On his chilly killing spree.

There must have been a curse upon
That rusty kitchen knife;
When Suzy put it in his hand,
The snowman took her life! Oh --

Freddy the Snowman
Was a child molester too,
And I heard him say, being dragged away,
"I'll be back next year for you!"

(Hackity hack hack, hackity hack hack,
Hacking hard and deep;
Stabbity stab stab, stabbity stab stab,
Kills you in your sleep!)

[ttto: Frosty the Snowman. New words ©2010 by Kip Williams]

And while I'm at it, here's my Christmas card, too. Happy happy, everybody, and to all a good open thread!

#332 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2010, 08:49 PM:

Kip, it's gratifying to learn that Frances continued to be a cat. One shudders at possible alternatives.

#333 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2010, 09:02 PM:

Help!! Is the lunar eclipse tonight (that is, Sunday night-Monday morning), or tomorrow night (Monday night-Tuesday morning)? I've googled three separate articles and am now completely confused.

#334 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2010, 09:12 PM:

Lizzy L @ 333 -

It's Monday night/Tuesday morning. If you're in the Central time zone, totality begins at 1:41 AM.

#335 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2010, 11:41 PM:

Steve C. at 334: thank you.

#336 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2010, 12:15 AM:

Hyper Local News:

Jewish family decides to celebrate Christmas Day appropriately by going out to Chinese restaurant after watching day-long Dr. Who marathon on BBC America channel.

#337 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2010, 12:33 AM:

Having read the comments about "Knight Moves," I think that "Queeb" has replaced "Boof" in my list of unfortunate sound effects...

#338 ::: Glenn Hauman ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2010, 12:38 AM:

Re: Particles--

"Religion is not well served by making up lies about seasonal customs" could be shortened to "Religion is not well served by making up lies".

I think there's even a commandment about it somewhere.

#339 ::: Paula Liebermn ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2010, 01:15 AM:

#328 Pendrift

At first I though you meant Knight Moves the novel by Walter Jon Williams....

#340 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2010, 02:41 AM:

Assuming it's not raining here around midnight tomorrow, I'll have a look. Knowing me, I'll probably be up anyway - if only trying to get some work done before the holiday break.

I would have gotten stuff done this weekend, but life and being a good friend and human being intervened. I did find out quite a lot about myself and my psyche, but there have got to be better ways. Maybe.

#341 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2010, 02:41 AM:

A question for the knitters out there: which online retailer would you most like to receive a gift certificate for? (I drew my sister in this year's "Secret Santa", and she knits....)

#342 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2010, 08:22 AM:

David Goldfarb @341 Knitpicks would be my first choice. My other preferred yarn stores specialize in sock or lace weight yarns.

#344 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2010, 11:27 AM:

Lizzy L @186: This is probably way more info than you needed...

More than I need, perhaps, but interesting, nonetheless.

I periodically take a stab at increasing the fruits and vegetables in my diet, but it almost never lasts for more than half a week.

I have at least gotten to the point where I don't eat beef every day, so I guess that's progress. :-\

#345 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2010, 11:40 AM:

The mesquite-smoked roast beef from the deli counter at my local grocery store is really, really good.

#346 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2010, 11:47 AM:

[sigh] It rained all day, solid, yesterday. It's still dark out this morning, and still raining. I don't think the odds are good for seeing the eclipse tonight in Hawaii.

I wonder if the stream near my office is at flood yet? One year it overflowed into the parking lot and was floating cars away.

#347 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2010, 11:53 AM:

@191: Okay, okay, you got me. (Extra points as I've been being a grinch this week.)

#348 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2010, 11:53 AM:

Misters Scalia and Thomas -- please retire. Your failures to recuse yourselves from cases which you are NOT disterested parties (Mr Thomas particularly) show you to be corrupt, bigoted, partial, biased officials, whose approach to judicial "restraint" is to push -your- personal agenda on people who do not subscribe to your religion, to your outlook on life, and to YOUR positions as privileged rich protected elite wealthy men who can BUY your way out of "difficulties" and/or have rich powerful buddies shield you from lying under oath and other inconveniences.... Justices Emeriti John Paul Stevens and Sandra Day O'Connor retired to pursue other endeavors, Justice David Souter resigned from the Supreme Court to return to being a federal judge in New England, citing being a Supreme Court Justice as "The world's best job in the world's worst place."

The three of the were Justices--but the two of you, and Mr Roberts and Mr Alito, are InJustices, putting your religion ahead of the law of the land and dismissing when it's convenient to your sectarian narrow male supremacist plutocratic judging, past precedent and the words, "We the People of the United States of America...." You are NOT supposed to be the speakers for preserving and extending male privileging and protection of robber baron control over and blocking of the rest of the population from opportunity and life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and decent working conditiosn on a livable wage and repect....

#349 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2010, 11:59 AM:

Griffith Observatory had a whole fancy eclipse shindig planned. My roommate - who had taken the next morning off in anticipation of being exhausted - had planned on going, but even if it's still going on, driving up the dark, winding road that leads up the hill in the rain with other Angeleno drivers who have questionable rain driving skills seems like a terrible idea.

Also, my dog's "holding it" and hates the rain and her raincoat so much that she'll STAND STOCK STILL IN THE RAIN FOR LIKE 5 MINUTES AT A TIME rather than moving forward and doing her damn business. I should just take my shampoo out with us when I walk her and kill two birds with one stone. I think my fingers are permanently pruned and I may be mildewing even as we speak.

I still prefer this to the f&sk!^$ snow.

#350 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2010, 12:09 PM:

Sorry, Paula: shortly after he was confirmed Thomas said that because he was 43 and the confirmation process had been so humiliating he'd have to make sure he stayed on the court for 43 years to teach 'em a lesson. (I always liked the journalist that asked Scalia at a social event what the difference was between his judicial philosophy and that of Thomas. "I believe in Original Intent--I am not a nut.")

#351 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2010, 12:13 PM:

# 184 - 186, #347 (and related posts) Lizzy L and Jacques

Nightline and/or ABC 11 PM news, said that the average cost per year for drugs for diabetics is $13,000 and that the costs of treating diabetics is a third of US healthcare costs (consider things like dialysis, diabetic retinopathy, and other consequences/conditions which often follow as effects). Most--not all, Mike Ford was a Type I diabete from childhood--cases of diabetes, overwhelmingly, are Type II and the overwhelming share of them avoidable if on the type of diet Lizzy is on.

On the other hand, a diet of pizza (starch-only plus token enrichment wheat flour, greasy high ft cheese, tomato sauce which does contain some nutrition), soft drinks (high fructose corn syrup and nasty phosphoric acid), and candy --"corn sugar" (HFCS under a red herring relabeling) sweetener and "milkfat" -- and ice cream, and lots of red corn-fed fatty meat, etc., yield hig fat-content people who if they have any genetic susceptibility to Type II diabetes, will get it from exhaustion of the organism control system's ability to control blood sugar with the available capacity in the pancreas for regulating it.... sort of like the old mill dam versus upstream housing and commercial and industril development which took away all the vegetation and ability of the land to absorb heavy rain, paving over the gound causing additional massive runoff, and the results being floods which first stress the dam, then water pours over the top, and then breaches occur, and then the dam collapses completely.... regrow the vegetation and get rid of the pavement etc and if the water was merely flowing uncontrollably over the top of the dam, the dam will go back to "working" properly.... if the dam hasn't been compromised structurally first.

#352 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2010, 12:38 PM:

David Goldfarb @341

I like WEBS myself.

#353 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2010, 12:49 PM:

Diabetes is also hell on wound healing, either surgical incisions or injuries. So a little more time in therapy, a little more lost productivity, if you're lucky and your disease is well managed--and the other end of the scale, $1200 per treatment in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber to try to keep from having a leg amputated.

In the U.S., there are about 60,000 to 80,000 amputations performed each year due to diabetes (this includes toe and foot as well as leg amputations--often several sequential amputations on the same limb).

I freaking HATE diabetes. It killed my best friend at age 47.

#354 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2010, 01:25 PM:

Niall McAuley @247:

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
I'm schizophrenic*,
...and so am I.

*Yes yes, dissociative identity disorder, but that doesn't scan right.

#355 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2010, 02:15 PM:

#353 Lila
I hate Archer Daniel Midlands-HFCS poster company- the sugar lobby (which created the HFCS monster, by providing taxpayer money and protection of the Colorado sugar beet farmers, the southern sugar growers, and their allies to a degree where it became highly profitable for ADM to jump in with their chemical witchdoctor brew creating HFCS--again, with ADDITIONAL taxpayer subsidies, for cornfarmers....), the corporate agribusiness, the processed foods industry (no I do NOT want your damned indigestion-causing empty calorie starch and fat laden pizza!) the chemicals business with pesticides and herbicides--all driving the price of minimally treated healthy produce up (Clothandian killing off pollinating insects, for example... corn's pollinated by the wind, wheat too...), and the health epidemic their profits have created and keep spreading further.

#356 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2010, 02:31 PM:

Paula, it would be easier for me to read what you write if you broke up your ideas into more sentences and paragraphs. It's harder to parse large dense blocks of text, at least for me. Especially when it's all one sentence. As it is, I'm afraid my eyes tend to bounce off your posts.

#357 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2010, 02:33 PM:

Tim Walters @311: Calligraphy without a net: Legacy of Letters

Wow. That's absolutely hypnotic.

#358 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2010, 02:41 PM:

Lizzy L @333: In queries regarding the moon, I nearly always include "Navy" in my search string. After all, they're one of the few agencies who really truly have a Need to Know.

#359 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2010, 03:28 PM:

OK... I've now got six quarts of stock that I'm trying to simmer down a little more. I'm not sure this is actually a good idea, as it's pretty strong already and keeps throwing skins up to the surface, but I'd really like it to take less space in the freezer.

I do this every year, and in my experience the key is to not simmer it.

Put it in a heavy-bottomed pot, put a heat spreader under, put it on the lowest flame possible--if it bubbles at all the heat is way too high. You want the temperature to be 140-150. Then just let it sit--it may take 36 hours, but I reduce mine until it coats a spoon thickly and then freeze it and cut it into cubes.

(I do this starting with quadruple-strength stock, and generally end up with about 2 gallons of concentrate for a cows-worth of bones.)

#360 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2010, 04:53 PM:

Between tasting the stuff I've made as gifts and to bring to work, and eating the stuff that cow-orkers have brought in, I'm starting to feel over-sugared and over-buttered.

The notion popped into my head of subsisting on oatmeal, carrots, and spinach until Thursday, when I board a red-eye flight for visits back East.

I see lots of recipes on the web for oat cakes. One thing that isn't clear is whetehr the "oat meal" in the ingredients list is cooked oatmeal or just a heap of the raw grain. (Put another way, are oat cakes a way of disposing of leftover porridge?)

Can anyone recommend a recipe? There are so many variations, and never having tried these before I don't know how to choose. (NB: I do steel cut oats.)

Any "savory" variations on oat cakes I might eat for dinner? (Prefereably not involving the blood and kishkes of livestock.)

#361 ::: JCarson ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2010, 04:59 PM:

Diatryma @321 Now I want to know what the story was! Share?

#362 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2010, 05:44 PM:

Okay, if I have to embarrass myself with snorty laughter at my desk because of this link, then I'm taking you all with me. Pregnancy-portrait hilarity, with a side of OMG WTF.

#363 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2010, 06:03 PM:

Oatcakes are not a way of disposing of excess porridge.

The recipes I see (on a quick scan) are mostly for rolled oats (aka "old-fashioned oats"), which is what I expect. If unspecified, go for that. It's possible the recipe means oats ground into flour -- you can do that by putting rolled oats in the food processor. But I wouldn't expect a disaster if you use rolled oats for oat flour, or vice versa.

(Whereas substituting oat porridge would be a disaster. Probably an amusing disaster, rather than an "...and that's how I wound up on a sinking washtub ten miles from the South Sandwich Islands" sort of disaster. *Probably*.)

#364 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2010, 07:19 PM:

Clifton Royston @ 346:

Damn, we had several hours of clearing with sun yesterday which got me hoping, but it rained all morning today, and now we've got high clouds with some breaks. I just looked at the NOAA satellite pictures and they look like lots of clouds, with maybe a few breaks to the west of us. I think the weather gods are just playing with us, but I'm going to take a look outside around 9:30 or so tonight when first penumbral contact is scheduled. Luckily I can get a pretty good view of the sky at the schoolyard about 3 blocks away, assuming the weather cooperates.

#365 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2010, 07:36 PM:

JCarson: We had two nativity scenes, one good one with all the players, including a random shepherd I named Timothy (Baby Sister didn't) and an angel who confused me because Gabriel is the angel, and this is a woman, so Gabriel must be a female name. Right? Of course right. There's also a little-kid one, still porcelain, with two lambs, three blond cherub-style angels, and a sweet white baby Jesus (the other one's white, too, but a little less cutesy and a little more someday-I-will-be-crucified-and-that's-fine-with-me).

So the little cute angels, named Peter, Paul, and Mary, are in training. They have a practice nativity and everything with baby lambs and a practice Jesus. Except one day, they decided they wanted to practice with the real Jesus, so they took him... and lost him. They had to swap in the practice Jesus and hope no one noticed while they tracked down the actual Son of God. Timothy helped, I think, because he was my favorite; I don't know how Baby Sister's story went beyond the commonalities.

This is why, even though I am secular, I will have a nativity once I have kids. Probably more than one.

#366 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2010, 07:50 PM:

SamChevre #359: Thanks for the info... Two thoughts: 140-150°ree;F? That's even below green-tea temperature! And: A cow's worth of bones?

Incidentally, the stuff didn't gel properly, but I did the best I could at skimming it, and am freezing the first pair of trays now. I'm also going to stop putting bean-broth in my stock bags, as I suspect that's causing some of the issues I've had, including excessive cloudiness.

#367 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2010, 08:11 PM:

Some good news and a medical/maybe-insect question.

Court rules E-mail protected by Fourth Amendment. Took them long enough!

And... I've now three times over the past week or so encountered an odd thing on my hands (possibly a bug bite) -- a small (1.5mm) but itchy blister, twice on fingers and now one on my wrist. Pressure reveals a nearly invisible welt around it, about 7mm across. (Actually, the one on my wrist seems to have swelled in the past few minutes, after some scratching, and is now pale against a larger pink area.) This doesn't seem to match up with the pictures I've seen of bed-bug bites, but I can't think what it could be, especially since I've been noticing them during the day (like, just now sitting at the computer).

#368 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2010, 08:24 PM:

Tim Powers tropes: Walkers using their hands likes paddles to "swim" through the air.

(It's just that I'm reading Last Call right now, and I keep noticing more.)

#369 ::: Renatus ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2010, 08:24 PM:

David Harmon @ 367: Those sound like hives to me. I used to get just that sort of thing on my hands and wrists on a regular basis -- I'm fairly certain they were stress related (especially as I sprouted a huge, horrible patch of them right during one of the worst times of my life).

#370 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2010, 08:40 PM:

Renatus #369: Hmm. I've certainly been getting pretty (and unusually) stressed about the Medicare-plan thing✵ lately -- do stress hives have a delay of a few hours? I was getting a bit crazy about it last night and this morning, but I didn't feel this one until just lately (~ 8:00 PM).

✵ I just got called back by an adviser at the local senior center, I'll call her back to make an appointment tomorrow. The site is amazingly frustrating for something that's not obviously broken.

#371 ::: Idgecat ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2010, 09:04 PM:

David Harmon @ 367 & 370, Renatus @ 369:

Yup, sounds like what I dealt with repeatedly over about a 5 year stretch long ago (still get it occasionally but nothing like that strectch). Got bad enough at one point I saw my MD about it, he diagnosed it as dermatitis nervosa and prescribed hydrocortisone cream, which brought it under control nicely. Since then I keep a tube of OTC hydrocotisone in the medicine cabinet and can knock it down just about as fast as it appears.

#372 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2010, 09:25 PM:

I can at least be glad I'm only getting individual blisters -- some of the pics I was googling had people half-covered with welts!

#373 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2010, 09:25 PM:

Hives are also (and I think primarily) an allergic reaction. Questions to consider for that: did you eat anything new or different shortly before you noticed them, did you brush up against some plant, etc.

#374 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2010, 10:52 PM:

Sometimes, I get a single hive. That's how I think of it, anyway: one single welt in about the same place you get your TB stick test on my right arm*. It itches, but if I leave it alone, it goes away. No clue what causes it, and it's never there when I'm at the doctor's.

*pronouns, pronouns....

#375 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2010, 11:48 PM:

Open Thready (though this looks as though this should go in one of Jim's Winter Weather posts): More Bumper Cars On Ice! In Spokane!

Though not on the Horrible Hill, the one that scared me badly in the winter. This one's not so steep.

#376 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2010, 11:58 PM:

#356 Cally

Stream of conscious sentences
Running on and on.
Stream of conscious sentences,
Midnight, noon, and dawn!
Stream of conscious sentences
Pour out in a rush.
Stream of conscious sentences,
My but they are lush!
Stream of conscious sentences,
Start the thought and type,
Stream of conscious sentences,
They make Cally gripe!

#377 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2010, 12:33 AM:

Paula, Cally's not the only one.

#378 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2010, 12:53 AM:

Terry Karney @ 315... sodomy (...) requires someone to come forward with a complaint

Or backward?

#379 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2010, 01:01 AM:

Avram@377: No, indeed.

Just went outside to look for the moon...earlier tonight it was cloudy but variable; right now the clouds are sufficiently thick that I caught a glimpse of moonlight, but nothing else.

#380 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2010, 01:03 AM:

siriosa @ 298... David Goldfarb @ 299... In that case, let's stick with the Breads for the Gathering of Light. By the way, it looks like it'll be the two of you, plus Terry Karney, who'll show up between 7pm and 8pm, and yours truly. I you want to call the whole thing off...

You say toMAYto, i say toMAHto
you eat poTAYto and i eat poTAHto
toMAYto, toMAHto, poTAYto, poTAHto

#381 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2010, 01:11 AM:

Serge: Not even me, unless we're doing it some other day than Thursday.

#382 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2010, 01:17 AM:

WPBT in Miami has a live-cam feed of the eclipse here, and only enough cloud that you occasionally see a wisp of it blow past.

#383 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2010, 01:25 AM:

Travelling news..

Seen by man's wife in the ladies's room of a gas station in Arizona's Kingman, an arrow pointing down at the water closet with the following graffiti:

Alternate Route to Narnia
#384 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2010, 01:32 AM:

Santiago, Chile has no cloud cover at all. (Note: this is a stream-sharing venture and will ask you to allow use of your bandwidth. You can say no.)

#385 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2010, 02:28 AM:

I just popped outside and could see the eclipse. I don't think I'd seen one since the age of five, so I'm glad I made a point of doing so.

#386 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2010, 02:30 AM:

I stepped out for a bit to watch the beginning of the eclipse, dressed as warmly as I could manage -- hooded bathrobe, down vest, etc. I was standing on my front steps, looking around the neighborhood, when I saw two forms come walking slowly down my road -- and then they stopped next to my car. One person then stepped around the back of my car, looked up, saw me, and scooted away; his travelling companion pretended to innocence and didn't move as fast, but they both left faster than they'd arrived.

The moon continues to look neat, although my fabulous girlfriend seems to have fallen asleep (at her home) -- she wanted me to call her but didn't answer her phone.

Now I'm back inside, with a cup of hot tea and a warm cat firmly ensconced upon my chest.

#387 ::: siriosa ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2010, 04:26 AM:

I watched the eclipse until the crick in my neck was too distracting. Moon was directly overhead, and my deck was still wet, and I'm too old to be lying down in a puddle. Was very pretty, and looked pink to me. I'm sure the official color will be bronze or some such.

Serge, if it's just you and me and Terry not until later, and it's raining, and I'm trying very hard not to come down with whatever-it-is ... I'm having second thoughts.

#388 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2010, 06:08 AM:

re 383: wrong series.

#389 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2010, 07:47 AM:

Clifton Royston #373: Not really -- didn't even hike last Friday, due to the snow. Frankly, the timing supports the stress idea.

Did *not* see the eclipse, due to today being a work day and I'm trying to get my sleep cycle straightened out anyhow. As typical lately, my dreams were pegging the wierdometer. (see "stress" above) The night before last, I dreamed I was at my aunt's house... trying to get to sleep. Last night, it was the home invasion of the (not-my-real-) neighbors. Oy gevalt.

#390 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2010, 07:57 AM:

Clouded out in Houston, dammit.

#391 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2010, 08:56 AM:

I saw the eclipse just before dawn, very nice.

#392 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2010, 10:20 AM:

No eclipse for me. I had to sleep last night.

Went down early, and though I feel fine during the day, I'm still having classic fever dreams at night, though somewhat milder than the really bad ones.

Even after I realized I was having them and consciously rejected them, they kept coming back: I was making some kind of Flash presentation, without a computer. This was varied, at first, with some kind of framing story about working at an answering service again, but it quickly segued into all Flash, all the time.

Illness sucks.

#393 ::: JCarson ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2010, 10:25 AM:

Diatryma @ 365 Cute! Reminds me of a story my Ganfer used to tell us about Peter, Magdalene and the lamb. Nativity scenes really are just very specific dolls, aren't they?

#394 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2010, 10:32 AM:

David Harmon #366:

Note that the 140-150F isn't for the broth-making, just for the concentrating.

It's been years since I had meat in my house that I hadn't butchered myself, so using up bones and bits from a whole cow has been a regular winter activity. (Even when I only get a quarter, no one else wants that many bones so I usually can get all of them.)

#395 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2010, 11:25 AM:

Much to my surprise, we did get to see some of the eclipse. About half way to totality, just after putting my son to bed, I checked and the clouds had thinned up enough to see the moon with a big bite out of it, so I got him up again. We all went out and spent a while staring at it, sharing the binoculars, and then went in and came out again to check on it periodically. The clearing lasted until just about 10 minutes before full eclipse, when there was a tiny sliver left, and then the clouds socked us in again. We didn't get to see the red/copper/whatever moonglow.

When we put my son to bed again, he was much more disappointed at missing the total stage than he was initially at missing the whole thing. I treated that as an opportunity to talk (briefly) about emotions and expectations, and emotions getting more worked up when you're tired.

#396 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2010, 12:18 PM:

Paula Lieberman @376: ::snerk!:: =)

#397 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2010, 12:39 PM:

Clifton Royston @373 & David Harmon @389: Huh. Y'all may just have solved a mystery for me as well: Itchy welty-bitey spots scattered across my upper belly and mid-back, no obvious cause. I knew I was wigged out last weekend, but jeez.

Fortunately, Benadryl before bed seems to have addressed the problem adequately.

Also missed the eclipse. Was actually awake at an opportune time, but the prospect of actually getting vertical and putting on enough clothing to fight the cold was more than I could feature. ::Sigh:: Oh well. Next time. (Ahem.)

But at least I did make it over to Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little's for Solstice comestibles. Nommy squash soup (and I'm not normally a fan of squash, but this was definitely Food), and homemade fruitcake (which actually combined nicely with the Field Roast to produce a lovely mince-like result). Plus! Low-Sodium Egg Nog, yar har.

Left earlier than I would have preferred, it being a work-night. Also, as anticipated, JJ (who'd been let out to play before I left) wanted to go in early. He's recovering from a double-mastectomy and, while he's still adamant that he be allowed out to look at his girls, he wears down more quickly than usual. (He gets his stitches out Thursday, woo hoo!)

#398 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2010, 12:40 PM:

Daily What has a nice time-lapse display of the whole eclipse. Does anyone recognize the music? It's given me an earworm of Erik Satie.

#399 ::: Renatus ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2010, 02:09 PM:

David Harmon @ 370: Unfortunately, I haven't noticed when hives appear in relation to a stressful situation -- then again, when I'm stressed out enough to break into hives, the stress is bad enough to eat at me even when I'm not currently in the stressful sitation.

#400 ::: J Homes ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2010, 02:19 PM:

Eclipse report from Wellington, New Zealand.

The moon was supposed to rise fully eclipsed, which it undoubtedly did, but behind several layers of cloud.

We got our first glimpse just after third contact, with a tiny sliver of lit surface, and the rest of the moon a dull, slightly reddish grey. In the gaps in the cloud, we could watch as the lit segment expanded to become the bulk of the disc.

Herself has some photographs which she will sort through in the next few days.

J Homes.

#401 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2010, 02:23 PM:

For the nerdy home-decorator who has everything: Star Trek doors!

#402 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2010, 02:48 PM:

As the satellite images showed, the sky over Portland was almost completely overcast last night. I went outside around first contact, 9:30 PST, and we had a complete overcast at that point, so I bagged it. Probably a good idea; I had physical therapy yesterday morning, then went shopping for needed groceries in the afternoon, and that's about as much as I can do in a day. Too bad, as I haven't stayed out for the full run of a total lunar eclipse since I was 10 or 11 (and that was in February on the east coast with snow and ice all around; I was much hardier then).

#403 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2010, 03:56 PM:

I strongly recommend this Washington Post article to everyone. This is a continuation of their "Top Secret America" series talking about the post-9/11 changes in government. It's disturbing as hell, and very important.

Twenty open threads ago, I raised a concern about the way our occupation-and-terrorist-hunting tactics and equipment might one day be brought home, and used to impose an unwanted government on us, and to break up any resistance to that government using the same kind of assassination and abduction and torture as we've used overseas.

Excerpt: (But go read the article!)

The streets of Memphis are a world away from the streets of Kabul, yet these days, the same types of technologies and techniques are being used in both places to identify and collect information about suspected criminals and terrorists.

The examples go far beyond Memphis.

* Hand-held, wireless fingerprint scanners were carried by U.S. troops during the insurgency in Iraq to register residents of entire neighborhoods. L-1 Identity Solutions is selling the same type of equipment to police departments to check motorists' identities.

* In Arizona, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Facial Recognition Unit, using a type of equipment prevalent in war zones, records 9,000 biometric digital mug shots a month.

* U.S. Customs and Border Protection flies General Atomics' Predator drones along the Mexican and Canadian borders - the same kind of aircraft, equipped with real-time, full-motion video cameras, that has been used in wars in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan to track the enemy.

Along with the deployment of high-tech surveillance technology that looks like something out of Robocop, the article describes a whole set of "experts" who train local police departments in, more-or-less, the impending jihad and imposition of sharia law by American Muslims. (The whole story seemed to me to be about the rebirth of the Red Squad, this time with better technology.)

#404 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2010, 05:17 PM:

I missed the eclipse due to rain and cloud cover--or, to be more accurate, due to my expectation that such would still be occluding visibility of the sky during anything like an opportune moment, and so I didn't bother to look. But I stayed up and watched most of the last lunar eclipse visible in my area, so I don't feel hugely bad about missing this one.

Happy Winter Solstice (and all other seasonal greetings as they apply)!

#405 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2010, 05:41 PM:

Just so you know: "healthy" and "cookie" should not be combined in the same phrase. Results of the attempt are rarely good.

#406 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2010, 06:37 PM:

E Palo Alto had clear skies, decent weather. We got home near totality, the moon looked as if it were wearing a yarmulke.

On the way in, there was a pair of young women who had stopped their car to stand and stare.

We kept going out to watch.

It was a good night.

#407 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2010, 07:33 PM:

The FCC caved and has betrayed net neutrality. (there may be a pop-up, sorry)

#408 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2010, 07:52 PM:

Benjamin Wolfe... siriosa... There won't be a Gathering of Light in Oakland this coming Thursday. Let's try at the end of January, hopefully on Friday, January 28.

#409 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2010, 07:53 PM:

Benjamin Wolfe... siriosa... There won't be a Gathering of Light in Oakland this coming Thursday. Let's try at the end of January, hopefully on Friday, January 28.

#410 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2010, 10:10 PM:

I've been a bit busy, so my sonnets have been piling up.

Saint Thomas Aquinas once said, On the Sabbath
Try and make no noise that goes beyond your house.
Cries of passion between lovers are exempt. Beneath
A full moon in full eclipse which tends to arouse
And inflame the senses, particularly love,
I stand under the shadow that will creep and cross
The glabrous moon, shining white above,
And onto my heart those words emboss:
“Cries of passion are exempt”. Our plans
For a weekend of passion and fun, in the snow
And out of it; for walking in the forest , holding hands,
Will come to certain passionate fruition, I know.
This Sabbath commandment will be upheld with glee
Whether outdoors or under the Christmas tree.

#411 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2010, 10:31 PM:

We were working in my house, cleaning

The detritus of the years accumulated in spite

Of all efforts, as one partner abandoning

The other, left it all in her angry flight

Away. I picked up a length of finished wood

Which looked familiar but unknown

Carried it to the stairs, and stood

Saying I would toss it -- and not postpone

Decision. She looked at it and said, “We’re

Going to grow old; we’ll need it then”

Her face showed her love, deep and sincere;

Without argument I put it back again

Because I knew that she was not only right -

And it filled my heart with a love so bright

#412 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2010, 10:35 PM:

And, er, this one which almost belongs in the Birds and Bees thread:

She bought yellow roses, hid them on her deck
Invited me in, gave me a hug and kisses without end,
Raining them across my face and neck
While I returned them, in great transcend
Of emotions, love and desire rising paramount
Within us, matched in fervor as in height
Culminating in our natural exeunt
And kisses that lasted throughout the night
Although we won’t go into great detail
As anyone could guess from this what happened;
This part’s an old story, a well-known tale
Across the ages, of lovers abstained
By distance and time, then released to their
Passion, leading swiftly to all things bare.

#413 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2010, 11:04 PM:

All three delightful!

I particularly enjoy the pensive tone of the second one.

#414 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2010, 12:58 AM:

It was good to have you over, Jacque. Glad to hear, also, that my taking extra care in differentiating white granulated substances was appreciated. (I finished off the rest of the nog this evening. The ice cream had sort of semi-refrozen in the refrigerator. After briefly whisking it all around, the result tasted like milkshake. As it ought.)

Another neighbor came over late, and he told me a swapped ingredient story that may actually be funnier than my salted eggnog one. Seems his mom was making pumpkin pie, and the recipe called for a tablespoon of paprika (interesting enough, right there); and she grabbed a jar that looked *just* like the paprika jar but turned out instead to be pure cayenne. Oops.

'Round about 1:30 those of us still sitting around the table stepped out on the balcony for a look at the eclipse. It was total. The color was like a non-opaque shadow -- like when you have different light sources at night, so that light falls across shadows without making the shadow entirely go away? Like that -- which had been tinted faintly rust.

After everyone went home I kept going out to check on its progress. I saw it as a crescent after totality, then a half, then just the last nibble on the bottom curve of the moon healing itself around... 3:30 maybe?

The Yule Log didn't last half so long. Silly thing gave up the ghost around 2. I kept burning wedges slowly until dawn, and went to bed just as John was getting up for work.

I haven't gotten anything useful done today except more clean-up. Today's for resetting the sleep/wake cycle, I guess.

Lexica: I note you're another Solstice All-Nighter observer - will we get to read about this year's excursion? The post you linked to was lovely.

Jim: Pippin's review of Inception was fun to read. She teases some things out of the movie that I hadn't noticed at all. Very cool.

#415 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2010, 02:14 AM:

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little @414: My (spiciness-loving) brother-in-law, when young and dumb and cooking the family dinner, famously misused pure cayenne instead of chili powder -- and because, to his mind, the rest of the family always under-spiced the chili, he added tablespoons instead of teaspoons.

He was the only one who could eat the finished product, and only in small doses. This was the same period of his life where he enjoyed snacking on dried habañero peppers as if they were almost popcorn ... or, at least, wasabi peas. Thankfully, in his middle age, he has become less insanely spice-loving, though he still likes a good hot dish. Merely humanly hot, though, rather than super-humanly. :->

#416 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2010, 09:36 AM:

Clifton @ 413: Thanks! I've been enjoying writing them, far more than I would have expected. I used to be terrible at sonnets -- I'd get halfway through and lose the rhyme or the scansion, and end in a mess.

#417 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2010, 09:41 AM:


Can I just say how much I enjoy seeing Ginger on Open thread 151 in the recent comments list, and knowing that there's a ray of sunshine waiting for me there?

I appreciate you sharing your happiness with us here.

#418 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2010, 10:20 AM:

Abi @ 417: Aw, shucks.

The Fluorospherians have been a source of comfort and strength for me, during those especially dark days nearly a year ago. This is a small form of repayment for that support.

It's truly a silver lining; I wouldn't be writing sonnets like this if my Ex hadn't walked out, etc., etc. One of the things I've learned over this past year is that sharing makes me stronger -- something I was not ever comfortable doing when I was young and proud.

Now I have some stronger friendships online and in real life, and I am amazed by all these wonderful people around me. I knew life would get better, and it has.

When I was a senior in high school, our English teacher would dismiss class by telling us to "Go Forth and Spread Beauty and Light". I do my humble best.

#419 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2010, 12:14 PM:

Lunar Eclipse The moon turned red over here.

A local group of people set their alarms, e-mailed, IMed, tweeted etc. Very particularly, we froze our tushes. It was very clear here.

Unexpected consequences reported by companions of the four-legged: "You're awake. I get to eat! What? No eating? What the f are you people doing? I'm going back to bed. Harrumph."

Other than the cold, teach-in re Charleston's celebration bawl of secession, in which some of us dressed in costumes: I was a Northern Abolitionist bluestocking. No photos, at least none in my possession.

We still are unclear as to plans for Christmas. We may well just cozy in here and work on the book. We will return to NYC for at least a week around New Year's, and that will be stuffed with social distractions. Which, I admit, I'm looking forward to very much because I am missing our friends very much.

Love, c.

#420 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2010, 12:32 PM:

Elliott Mason #415: That reminds me of the time when my favourite ex-wife mistook scotch bonnet peppers for bell peppers and merrily cut up one to eat with cheese on a cracker. The result was, shall we say, interesting.

#421 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2010, 12:34 PM:


Yeah, what abi said. For a variety of reasons, this hasn't been the most pleasant Christmas season ever for me[1], and I've really enjoyed basking in a bit of your radiated joy.

[1] These all fall into the category of annoyances, nothing serious[2].

[2] You know it's been a rotten week, when your main categories of laundry are not "whites" and "colors," but instead "kid puke" and "dog pee." Grmbl!

#422 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2010, 01:09 PM:

I was just reading this paper on control fraud by William Black. Control fraud happens when the people at the top of the organization are driving the fraud. It's related to the idea of bust-out fraud (where a criminal takes over a legit business and exploits its good reputation to rip off its creditors, suppliers, customers, and employees).

Teresa talked about that kind of fraud in light of the Bush administration here. I'll admit I didn't take her description nearly as seriously as I should have.

The other idea that's really critical here is "ideological capture," which I first saw here. It's implicit in the Black paper as well. The idea is that financial successful people and businesses commanded and command great respect from regulators, lawmakers, reporters, academics, etc., that they not only evolved a belief system in which they were a bunch of geniuses who deserved their place at the top of the pyramid, but also that they managed to convince much of the top tier of our society of the same thing.

I'm coming to suspect that post-9/11, the other groups that have managed regulatory capture of government and media elites are the top military leaders and intelligence/homeland security agencies. You can see the media and policymaking elites' anger at Wikileaks as a reflection of that ideological capture--the top military leaders, intelligence agencies, and top government officials got mad, and the rest of the elites said "Oh, look, we're supposed to be mad at these guys!"

The fun thing is, I got all the way through to the end of it without realizing when it was written. I thought he was working up to discussing the massive mortgage fraud, mispricing of complex derivatives, suborning of the ratings agencies, etc., all the way until I got to the end of the paper. Then I went back and saw that it was written in 2005, when the current disaster was at most a few dark clouds on the horizon.

#423 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2010, 01:10 PM:

(That is, I got all the way to the end of the Black paper without realizing it was published in 2005. Somehow, I missed the weirdly disjointed paragraphs in Preview.)

#424 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2010, 02:51 PM:

UN rescinds open season on gays.

At least ONE thing I can be proud of my country for -- the US led the effort to get sexual orientation re-included.

#425 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2010, 03:13 PM:

I send her Ogden Nash, unheard of in Newmarket.
She returns with poetry instead like this:
"You feel cold, so I reach for a blanket"
And what comes welling up is pure bliss.
My quotes of silly poetry, meant to cheer
Her up are met with poems that reflect
Her deepest feelings, her desire to bring us near
(or nearer at least), in a union of respect,
And adoration, of comfort and guidance,
Of feeding the hunger with food for body and soul.
Joining us like two atoms in a bond of covalence,
Spreading joy for this season of Noel,
Through poetry, silly and serious alike, we grow
Into companions; holding hands, we walk as beaux

#426 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2010, 03:17 PM:

Re: the "Useful Defenses for Plagarists"... Teresa, you're gonna get coal in your stocking if you keep laying traps like that! (Or is that what you want? :-) ) I don't know why I was surprised that was at a free-paper (and miscellaneous-scam) site....

#427 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2010, 03:23 PM:

The Christmas Story, told by children obviously having an excellent time. "Following the star", indeed.

#428 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2010, 03:45 PM:

Debbie: OMG TEH KEWT!!!

#429 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2010, 04:17 PM:

David Harmon @ 426

I've heard most of those before. I'm surprised they didn't mention this one

#430 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2010, 04:21 PM:

David Harmon #426: I note that "I turned in the wrong paper" is part of said "useful defenses". I find it less than compelling having heard it a time or two.

#432 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2010, 05:25 PM:

praisegod #429, Fragano #430: Oh, definitely -- that's part of why it's a trap. The whole theme of the piece could be summed up as "keep digging"!

#433 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2010, 06:06 PM:

HLN: My watch died yesterday⌚... quite a few years old, but it's still annoying, as I haven't seen many other watches depending from a clip suitable for a belt-loop. I can't wear a wristwatch -- my carpal tunnel usually doesn't bother me, but a wristband will set if off real quick, and I liked this one better than a pocketwatch with a dangly, breakable, chain.

⌚ Working in the Language room: "Hmm, I'm hungry, isn't it noon yet? Hey, wait a minute....

#434 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2010, 06:30 PM:

David Harmon @433, here are the search terms I used, which resulted in a good number of hits: hanging clip belt loop watch

#435 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2010, 07:30 PM:

The sky above my house was all clouded over, so I didn't stay up to watch the eclipse. Ah, well.

Many years ago, mid-70s, there was an amazing and wonderful total eclipse of the moon visible on the West Coast. I observed it in Dolores Park in San Francisco -- this was a time when it was perfectly okay to ramble about Dolores Park in the middle of the night. We brought blankets and food, and probably some illegal substances were ingested. At the peak of the event, when the moon was a stunning blood red (or maybe not, but so it seemed) we whomped pots and pans together and yelled "Come back, Moon!" above the din.

She did.

#436 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2010, 08:18 PM:

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little, #414, back in ancient days, I'd been emancipated and become my brother's guardian. I worked at a low level job and there were times when the night or two before I got my check was a little tight. We frequently had popcorn for dinner those nights. One night, when we were using the last of the kernels, I opened the pour spout of the salt instead of the shake. My brother still reminds me that we went without dinner that night and it was all my fault.

#437 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2010, 08:38 PM:

HLN: Asthmatic woman has trouble adapting to Colorado altitude. "I'm a little worried, really. My nephews are excited about going skiing with me, but I'm having attacks at the slightest provocation." The woman added that she'd welcome any hints from the readership.

#438 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2010, 08:53 PM:

Earl #434: Cool... I hadn't gotten around to the search yet, but those keywords⌚ did indeed turn up quite a few. Poking around, I saw a number of interesting candidates, and decided to buy this one. The clip is a fairly close match to my current watch, while the glow-in-the-dark numbers are an improvement. (We'll see how the magnifier holds up, but that could be useful. Between my age and the hours at a computer screen....) I note in passing that "golf clip" seems to cover two very different styles -- this round clip, and the long carabiner clips.

Amusingly, I also saw one "western goods" store offering moccasins from a familiar name... a reseller who I once worked for, trying to rescue her computer from 10+ years of neglect. (It was a one-woman shop -- I heard her daughter took it over after her death.) The funny part is that she just relays her orders to other sources, and remails the products, so ordering them from the "western" site, they'd actually be passed along by at least three companies on their way to you.

⌚ This business of passing along search keywords is interesting from an informatic point of view. It's not a specific pointer, or even a full description -- it just clips out a chunk of search space from the Googleverse, but that's useful in itself. It might be a computational analogy of pointing "over there".

#439 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2010, 09:18 PM:

David Harmon 433: I use the Guard Dog watch on a belt clip from Duluth Trading Co. Only trouble is it keeps falling on the floor if I forget it's there when I take off my belt.

#440 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2010, 09:38 PM:

Erik #439: That's one reason I prefer the round clip that goes on a belt loop -- it stays with my pants.

#441 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2010, 10:06 PM:

TexAnne @437 - Water, water, water. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Take it slow. Rest as needed. Sunscreen is good; there's about a mile less natural sunscreen here (i.e. atmosphere).

There's also ditching the ski crew up on the mountains and coming downhill to Boulder to visit Jacque and me. ;-)

#442 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2010, 10:22 PM:

digital nativity

#443 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2010, 10:30 PM:

Ginger, I've been there, defending a polished stick against the discard pile. I find it helps to find a present use for such things, like the polished wooden parallelepiped that I put rubber bands on. It's useful! I reach for it whenever I want a rubber band, and when I want to put one away!

#444 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2010, 11:12 PM:

Kip @ 443: It was the bannister that I'd removed years ago -- it makes the stairway too narrow. I had no argument against her simple statement, though, so it rests in the guest room for now.

#445 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2010, 11:44 PM:

Nicole, 441: That would be more of a possibility if I weren't carless. OTOH, this won't be my last visit to CO; my relatives seem to be thoroughly pleased with their life here.

#446 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2010, 12:01 AM:

TexAnne: Then I look forward to your next visit!

(I know exactly which yarn-and-fiber shops to tempt you with. Mwahahaha.)

#447 ::: VictorS ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2010, 01:56 AM:

TexAnne @437:
Seconding what Nichole said -- it gets incredibly dry up there, which makes for dry, goopy lungs to go with the shortage of air at altitude. Some suggestions:

If you can get a humidifier going indoors, especially in the bedroom, it may help. Otherwise, try comically large amounts of (non-alcoholic) fluids.

Similarly: hot steamy showers, and avoid breathing through your mouth outdoors wherever possible.

If you use a nebulizer, you may also get some additional relief by nebulizing sterile saline to moisten your lungs/loosen mucous.

And don't commit to charging out skiing the first day or two -- if you take it easy and don't go to an even higher altitude, your body will adjust to altitude more quickly.

#448 ::: SeanH ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2010, 07:33 AM:

That "defenses for plagiarists" page is interesting, although certainly not universalisable (at my alma mater, for instance, claiming that you forgot to put quote marks in would simply be a straight-up admission of plagiarism - the University of Sheffield was very hot on plagiarism, and as I recall did not distinguish between accidental and deliberate). The performative contradiction is particularly interesting - the article starts out by claiming that it is "specifically for those students who have been accused of plagiarism, but who believe that they are not guilty", but goes on to suggest various lies that might be told in one's defence, which would be of use specifically for those students who have committed plagiarism and think they might be able to get away with it. The very first piece of advice - "you must NEVER ADMIT Intentional Plagiarism" - is surely pretty redundant if aimed at innocent students.

#449 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2010, 07:50 AM:

Open thready: I just read the most Mary Sue detective novel I've ever encountered. The author is a stay-at-home mother of two, former Ivy-trained public defender, married to a successful scriptwriter, living in LA, and jewish. The protagonist is all of the above except "pregnant with her second."

It wasn't BAD- I picked it up in the middle of my sledgehammer drumroll of finals*, and it did just what I needed it to do- but it was startling.

* last Tuesday, 5 PM: Take-home final, due 10 PM Friday. Last Wednesday, 2 PM: Scheduled final. "Start when you like, takes 3.5 hours" final, available between 7 PM Wednesday and, I believe, 10 PM Thursday.

#450 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2010, 10:24 AM:

By the way, I have a new article up on my web page: "Defenses for plagiarists." I'm pretty proud of it.

#451 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2010, 02:45 PM:

Sean H @ 448: I had the impression that Teresa linked to that "Defenses" article in the same spirit of helpiness that inspired the 'Flying Moose of Nargothrond' Tolkien homework page, or her recent list of leaf pigments as including aniline and malachite.

I'm sure it will be particularly fascinating when some set of investigators realize that their various plagiarists' lists of defenses have all been plagiarized too. "Oh dear - you just skipped from defense #1 to defense #3. Didn't you want to first claim that your computer crashed and converted your file of notes to plain text and lost all the references?"

#452 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2010, 03:33 PM:

IJWTS how much I heartily approve of salting plagiarism sites with information which is not only worthless, but certain to get users caught. It's one of the more brilliant defense strategies I've encountered.

#453 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2010, 04:14 PM:

Has anyone ever successfully deprogrammed a Libertarian?

#454 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2010, 04:33 PM:

Irrelevant to anyone but me, and my husband probably -- I am absurdly happy.

Needless to add I suppose, but just in case -- this is purely personal, intimate, domestic happiness I am speaking of. Outside, all over, it is anything but happiness giving.

I am treasuring this while we are so fortunate to have it. Back to reality in May.

Love, c.

#455 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2010, 05:00 PM:

Earl @ 453 -

Has anyone ever successfully deprogrammed a Libertarian? forces should take care of that. :-)

#456 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2010, 05:20 PM:


Yet I am certain as can be
That every natural victory
Belongs to beast or demon,
That never yet had freeman
Right mastery of natural things,
And that mere growing old, that brings
Chilled blood, this sweetness brought;
Yet have no dearer thought
Than that I may find out a way
To make it linger half a day.

O what a sweetness strayed
Through barren Thebaid,
Or by the Mareotic sea
When that exultant Anthony
And twice a thousand more
Starved upon the shore
And withered to a bag of bones!
What had the Caesars but their thrones?

-- W. B. Yeats, Demon and Beast

#457 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2010, 05:24 PM:

Bah, blockquote formatting fail. Imagine the second and final stanza also indented, if you will. I have been remembering this ending lately when my Zen meditation goes well and I find myself suddenly, astonishingly, who I am and right here. What had the Caesars but their thrones, indeed?

#458 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2010, 05:32 PM:

How long before those plagiarism sites contain biographies of fictional characters, presented as though they were real? How many of these people would check that there really was a Duke of Stepney, a 1937 Schneider Trophy meeting, and an Albert, Duke of York, as Governor-General of Canada?

#459 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2010, 05:32 PM:

Earl #453: Alternatively, a mugger might manage to do it....

#460 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2010, 05:59 PM:

#455: No, it takes the intervention of three ghosts.

#461 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2010, 06:59 PM:

Earl @ 543:
Has anyone ever successfully deprogrammed a Libertarian?

I don't know that anyone's ever been able to program one in the first place.

#462 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2010, 07:27 PM:

Dave Bell #458: Now that you've mentioned it, probably next time Teresa gets sufficiently bored! :-)

#463 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2010, 07:28 PM:

Well, the next two sonnets I wrote I'll have to keep private, but one of my friends on Facebook requested a poem too. Here it is:

A Sonnet for My Friend, Kerry M

My best friend Kerry M – no, the other one
(I have two of the same name) –
Wanted a poem , so I’d begun
To explain that it was only fair game
Because Kerry M -- now, which
One do I mean? One’s short, the other’s
Not; but both are riotous and rich
In humor or humour, as well as brothers;
One claims I ignored her to read
And the other calls me a wizard;
However, I think both are agreed
That life is best lived facing outward,
Ready to meet all challenges head on
To which I can only say “Right on!”

#464 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2010, 08:52 PM:

Earl @ 453: Which kind of L(l)ibertarian? I hope you don't have a Randroid on your hands.

#465 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2010, 09:54 PM:

Holiday baking in a new land: Puff pastry is less happy at 25C (20C dewpoint) than at 65F (45F dewpoint), but bread dough is happier.

Auckland is mysteriously sold out of whole cloves (well, the three places I tried), which required some recalculation. However, fruit bread has been made, and 'high grade' flour turns out to work just like bread flour. Olive bread with ajwain is in process.

#466 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2010, 10:07 PM:

#456 ::: Clifton Royston


Wonders appear in the season of wonders, here in Arthur's court of Camelot!

Love, c.

#467 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2010, 10:20 PM:

Picture of recent weather in Netherlands from a blog that's usually about electronics.

And there's really no reason to substitute cayenne for chili powder by accident when you can use one of them in place of the cinnamon you thought you were putting in the homemade granola.

#468 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2010, 11:43 PM:

Dave Bell #458:

Reminds me of Vernor Vinge's "Rainbows End" where the net is salted with deliberately inaccurate information by activists concerned about privacy.

thomas #465:
'High grade flour' contains more gluten/protein & is what I use for breads & pizza bases. Whole cloves should be readily available from any number of Asian grocery shops - I've never had trouble finding it.

#469 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2010, 12:36 AM:

Soon Lee:

There isn't usually a cloves problem, it's just that three supermarkets happened to sell out of that, and not any other spices, and I was tired of shopping. I'm sure that if I wandered over to Mt Roskill or Sandringham I could find plenty of cloves.

#470 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2010, 12:38 AM:

I haven't seen anyone else here cite this yet, so...

Eight-year-old children publish bee study in Royal Society journal

“We also discovered that science is cool and fun because you get to do stuff that no one has ever done before.”

This is the conclusion of a new paper published in Biology Letters, a high-powered journal from the UK’s prestigious Royal Society. If its tone seems unusual, that’s because its authors are children from Blackawton Primary School in Devon, England. Aged between 8 and 10, the 25 children have just become the youngest scientists to ever be published in a Royal Society journal.

Altogether delightful reading. :)

#471 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2010, 12:50 AM:

Bill Stewart 467 said: @And there's really no reason to substitute cayenne for chili powder by accident when you can use one of them in place of the cinnamon you thought you were putting in the homemade granola.

OWW! However, this only drives home the utter sensibleness of my mother teaching me to use multiple senses when cooking -- I reflexively, always, sniff a spice bottle before using it. This is partly to engage my flavorbrain and judge the growing meld, but it also means I would never, ever swap chili powder for cinnamon! Some other pairs, maybe, but not that one.

Usually not cayenne (or straight-up ground ancho, or whatever) for chili powder, either, as they smell different to me.

This becomes particularly useful if one is in the habit of keeping around the ground-powder versions of, say: sage, marjoram, summer savory, rosemary ... all of which are basically the exact same grey-green powdery color, though of somewhat varying fluffy/packed densities.

#472 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2010, 01:50 AM:

My sister once asked my mother to make her a bagel with cream cheese. She may have gestured to the bagel in the toaster and the cream cheese on the counter; accounts differ.

Whatever the cause, she walked off with a bagel spread with Crisco. And took at least one bite.

#473 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2010, 02:26 AM:

Diatryma #472:

Have you read Steven Brust's account of a similar experience.

It was sufficient to make a non-SF reader friend of mine willing to try reading Agyar.

#474 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2010, 02:37 AM:

thomas #469:

It does however, make me wonder what proportion of whole cloves sales happen in December, for the purpose of studding Christmas hams.

#475 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2010, 03:00 AM:

Things that make you go "WTF?!"... received in an email booking confirmation for flights:

Flight Itinerary

Thank you for booking a scheduled flight with Monarch. Please do not reply to this e-mail. See below for contact details.

Monarch is a ticket-less airline, so please print this page for your records.


Think before you print - do you really need to print this e-mail?

#476 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2010, 02:27 PM:

Scratching my head: Do I correctly understand that Making Light has a thread-level RSS, but not a blog-level feed?

#477 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2010, 02:40 PM:

A fruitful conversation, which I am sure will be greatly appreciated here.

I'm just going to purchase some horticultural implements.

#478 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2010, 02:59 PM:

Jaque @476: is the post feed.

#479 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2010, 03:37 PM:

Hyperlocal news...

Man's wife says she married her mother's best son-in-law.

#480 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2010, 04:05 PM:

Hyperlocal news items:

* Chronically loose top on a holder for sewing pins necessitates additional 20-minute meticulous search for stragglers in carpet, bedding, half of room.

* Final what-to-get-for Giftmas dilemma solved with inspired application of a mathom.

* Local beagle ENTHRALLED with the big blue paper-fabric bags that Amazon gifts-too-large-to-wrap come in: it's a cave, with CORNERS, and it's SOFT, and it's DARK! He emphatically declared it perfect and fell asleep in it.

* Leftover excessively pink yarn from Big Sekrit Giftmas Project ingeniously repurposed into a beaded 'mohair' sweater for local toddler, who won't mind the pinkness, and who will look ridonkulously adorable in it.

#481 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2010, 05:40 PM:

Hyperlocal news:

* Christmas comes a day early with .67 inch of rain in an otherwise droughty region. Mourning doves preening in the rain on the back fence.

* After days of parties, day trips south, cleaning, wrapping, and such, today devoted to making chutney, cookies and tiramisu.

* Yesterday, for distraction, local woman makes fudge. "I just had to," she says, blaming blog for inspiration.

#482 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2010, 06:40 PM:

Hyperlocal news:

Local dogs having barked far too much at the noise of leafblowers outside were put in downstairs office with the door closed. They were quite puzzled by the sounds when local woman threw empty plastic containers down the stair (so they could be filled with dog food from the large bag), and actually shut up for a short time.

#483 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2010, 07:06 PM:

Hyperlocal news: While measuring for banana bread local man inadvertently added 1 tsp baking soda to 2 cups flour, rather than 1/2 tsp soda and 1 tsp baking powder. Man carefully fished out bulk of extra 1/2 tsp soda, crossed fingers that sister's Christmas bread isn't too off.

It looked fine as it came out of the oven. Man debates honesty of not mentioning his inaccuracy to sister.

#484 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2010, 08:22 PM:

Hyperlocal scandal sheet headlines: "The Baking Secrets Linkmeister Doesn't Want You to Know!"

#485 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2010, 08:35 PM:

Ha! Well played!

#486 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2010, 08:49 PM:

Hyperlocal news...

Man goes to Berkeley's Dark Carnival bookstore, where a discussion with the proprietor has the latter describe "Green Acres" as an exercise in surrealism cleverly disguised as a stupid TV show.

#487 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2010, 09:16 PM:

Linkmeister, I did something very similar with an oversupply of sugar and salt in a batch of oatmeal bannocks (error caused by jumping to the ingredients list of the next recipe). Apparently I have good judgment, because they turned out fine.

#488 ::: David Harmon sees cross-thread spam ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2010, 09:19 PM:

That "Zapatos mbt" character is posting all over the place....

#489 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2010, 09:48 PM:

Hyperlocal news: Boneyfiddle church choir will be short at least one alto at Midnight Mass, as cold with nasty cough and sore throat continues unabated. Local woman feels sorry for self, but plans to cheer self with Throat Coat tea laced with rum shortly.

Forecast for tomorrow is roast turkey becoming turkey sandwiches, bags of frozen turkey for later meals, and quite a few pint tubs of turkey broth to be frozen. Turkey dissassembly and later broth straining will be somewhat messy. Feline residents will demand more turkey than they will get.

#490 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2010, 01:02 AM:

I went to Midnight Mass (not that it's technically called that in the Episcopal Church where I sing in the choir), as usual for me. I generally mope and say I don't see the point in going, then go, figuring I have nothing better to do anyway (mopeity mope). Then I'm REALLY GLAD I went. This year was no exception.

I'm Pagan, but raised in a Christian culture, and there's something just absolutely enchanting about singing "Silent Night" with 200 other people, each of you holding a candle in an otherwise darkened church.

This year I was wondering where the large crowd of heavily-tattooed young men was coming from. After the service I stationed myself at the baptismal font and wished "Merry Christmas!" to everyone as they went out, and shook hands with as many as I could. (No, it's not my holiday. Can't I wish people joy of their holiday?)

Later, my friend Lenore, who had helped with communion, said she figured the heavily-tattooed young men must have been Roman Catholics, because they all refused the wine. I said "Or they were in recovery, which would go with the tattoos" (because tattoos gotten while drinking don't go away when you stop). Eventually we found out where they came from: Jim McGreevey brought them from an AA group associated with Integrity!

I didn't figure out they were GAY. Well, I smiled at them and shook their hands and wished them Merry Christmas, and that's exactly how I would acted had I known, except if I'd known I would have questioned my motives in doing so. So it was a blessing.

I'm feeling really, really good right now. That hasn't happened too often lately, so whoo-hoo!

#491 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2010, 10:51 AM:

We did "Christmas" (the secular family-oriented sort) on the 24th due to other family members' travel plans. All seems to have gone well enough in the end (despite us being told to show up for lunch at 12:00 and lunch not actually happening until closer to 2:00 because the rest of the family had changed the schedule without informing us).

I am still wondering who thought it was a good idea to give a bell-pepper-shaped plastic container for bell peppers fresh in the refrigerator to the family member who does not ever keep bell peppers in the refrigerator (or anywhere else) because they are not food and have taste cooties.

Such is the mystery of Christmas, for us irreligious types.

#492 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2010, 02:01 PM:

HLN: Entire family except for 8 year old afflicted with creeping malaise and exhaustion. "Some sort of virus?", victims speculate. Holiday from work and school particularly appreciated under the circumstances.

#493 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2010, 03:24 PM:

By way of Neil Gaiman: Futures that never happened (a short fiction contest, they're posting the top ten, with the winners up already.

Clifton: Hope you feel better soon! Holiday gatherings are pretty nasty for spreading bugs....

#494 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2010, 03:26 PM:

#311 ::: Tim Walters:

I especially liked the way he finished the flourishes into the air.

Thanks for the link. In case I'm not the only one here with Vimeo problems, I'll note that I can get them to run on Safari, but not firefox or IE.

#351 ::: Paula Lieberman:

For what it's worth, I've read about half of Diabetes Rising, a book by a medical journalist with Type 1, and the situation may be a lot more complicated than is commonly thought.

Both types of diabetes have been steadily rising for about a century, and no one is quite sure about what's going on. The book lists about half a dozen theories with their pluses and minuses.

I'm going to post in detail when I've read the whole book and thought about it, but meanwhile you might want to take a look at it.

Anyone have diabetes stats for Australia? I've heard they're comparable to the US, but they use sugar, not HFCS.

#495 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2010, 03:43 PM:

The last theory I heard was that it's related to the high level of carbohydrates most people eat, not just sugar/HFCS.
(I have to say that cutting down on carbs improved my serum-lipid numbers, but it's hard to stay good, especially when carbs are comfort food, or at holidays, when everyone brings stuff with lots of them.)

#496 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2010, 03:45 PM:

Xopher at 491, sounds like you had a good night. Glad to know you are feeling good -- may it continue!

You might let your friend Lenore know that RCs have been receiving communion under both species (bread and wine) for decades.

Our choir rocked the house this morning with their traditional recessional: "Jesus -- What a Wonderful Child." I love that song, it makes me want to dance. Alas, dancing in church, even on Christmas morning, is definitely NOT the culture of my parish.

#497 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2010, 05:21 PM:

Hyperlocal news: couple looks outside window, notes that promises of actual white Christmas have been delivered. Swear.

#498 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2010, 05:48 PM:

Sang at midnight mass yesterday. This was the third year that I have been the alto soloist in Haydn's St. Nicholas Mass, and it seems my voice has finally slipped into place. It's normally a bit high on me, with most of it falling into solid mezzo territory, and me a contralto (and possibly a baritone) but the D's came out nice, as well as the C's and B's below them. Wore my medieval ensemble with green linen kirtle and red wool overgown for the "reception" last night, which was just an excuse to stuff myself full of sugar at 1am.

Had to do it all over again this morning, and will be doing so again tomorrow morning. Kind of wish I didn't need to make an appearance at a friend's dinner party. My "Socialize Like An Extrovert" tank is running on fumes right now.

In giftmas news, my mother violated my Secret Santa scheme by actually getting me a gift when she did not draw my name. I am enjoying the massage chair cover almost as much as I enjoyed watching the dog unwrap her presents.

#499 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2010, 08:50 PM:

Note for the proprietors and the Gnomes, motivated by the annual "Texts" posting and some reading of the archives:

The HTML headers for Making Light all say charset=utf-8, which is why the wonderful range of languages can work. However, some of the older pages are not UTF-8, but seem rather to be Windows-1252. For example, AS bonbons, with the Anglo-Saxon plums in icebox poem.

The "view all by" has something different wrong with it. It seems to render each byte of the original text separately. Look at Xopher's Old Church Slavonic text from Luke, where мѣсѧца comes out as мѣÑѧца. Here м are xD0, xBC, and xD0BC is UTF-8 for 'Cyrillic capital letter em"

If it matters, I'm using Chrome on a Mac, but it shouldn't matter.

#500 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2010, 10:24 PM:


  • Butternut Squash and Apple Soup (based on recipe from Epicurious, extensively modified);
  • mashed Okinawan sweet potatoes (the purple kind);
  • green beans (maybe amandine, I haven't decided yet);
  • and a baked potato for the picky one who probalby won't try most of this,
maybe with a spare potato in case The Boy doesn't like the sweet potatoes.

#501 ::: Rainflame ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2010, 12:01 AM:

Hyperlocal news: For the 61st year in a row, woman spends Christmas at parents' household. Over the years, siblings were acquired, followed in due course by spouses, children and grandchildren, until we currently number 17 for dinner. Woman feels inordinately blessed by choice of family.

#502 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2010, 10:23 AM:

Facebook keeps pitching "The New Profile," now with a banner I can't get rid of. Is this another Facebook innovation I should ignore?

#503 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2010, 12:04 PM:

Hyperlocal News: Local family's attempt to engage in the Traditional Jewish Custom of going out for Chinese food on Christmas afternoon/evening foiled by some massive screwup in the kitchen of the chosen restaurant: 45min standing outside waiting for a table, 2hrs at the table, less than half the entrees delivered. Family paid for what was already consumed and left.

All was, however, not lost; extended family converged on one member's house, gorged on leftover turkey rewarmed and curried, plus veggies and rice, and finally got warm and full.

#504 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2010, 12:45 PM:

I highly recommend the butternut squash and apple combo; I substituted about 1/2-tsp garam masala and a dash of cinnamon for the sage, and ignored the suggested cider-laced sour cream garnish. My wife had two bowls, making little ecstatic noises the whole time. Also, browned butter with lightly toasted pine nuts proves even better than toasted almonds.

#505 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2010, 01:50 PM:

Bruce, #502: There should be a way to shut down that stupid banner; I found a closing X on the one they gave me by hovering the mouse over it. The "New Profile" sucks hard vacuum. I strongly suggest ignoring it until at some point they force it on you willy-nilly.

#506 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2010, 02:36 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz #494:

The WHO site gives figures by country for 2000 (with projections to 2030). That coupled with country population data gives the incidence of diabetes in 2000 of:
USA( 6.25%)
Australia (4.92%)
New Zealand (4.74%).

#507 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2010, 03:04 PM:

Soon Lee, Nancy Lebovitz:

There are big within-country variations as well. For example, in NZ the Polynesian groups (Maori and Pasifika) have a much higher rate of diabetes than other ethnicities. African-Americans in the US have a higher rate, though not to the same extent. Since recent research (mostly carried out in European-ancestry people) has found quite a lot of genetic variants that affect both Type I and Type II diabetes risk it wouldn't be surprising if part of the differences between ethnic groups was genetic.

Native Americans and Indigenous Australians also have very high rates, though they don't affect the national averages that much, since they are very small minorities.

It would be surprising, though not impossible, for the difference between HFCS and cane sugar to matter much biologically, since cane sugar gets broken down into 50% fructose, 50% glucose before it is absorbed, and HFCS is 55% fructose, 45% glucose. It's conceivable that there could be an effect via changes in gut bacteria, though I don't think anyone has demonstrated this.

I thought the big impact of HCFS was not the specific mixture of sugars but that it was subsidized and therefore in everything. New Zealand's a better comparison for that aspect of it, since all sugar/syrup is imported.

#508 ::: M Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2010, 03:09 PM:


I was recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. I am taking classes to learn how to manage it. The educators say that no one knows why diabetes is on the rise: environment (plastics? pesticides?); genetics (they lean a little more toward genetics, at the moment). The first thing they told us was "no one is to blame. There is no shame in it." I'm just sorry I never learned the symptoms, or I would have gone to be tested four years ago, and might not have gotten neuropathy (maybe. Fifty percent of diabetics get neuropathy, I've read. Is it true? Shrug). Many people who end up with diabetes, we are told, have no symptoms at all. Our educators report studies that say by the year 2020, half of all adults will have diabetes.

#509 ::: M Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2010, 03:45 PM:

I got my halves confused. I meant 10 percent by year 2020, not half. One out of ten is pretty scary. Right now I know of four at my workplace, population 65.

#510 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2010, 05:21 PM:

For Christmas dinner we had: Ham, prime rib roast, Havard (aka Hahvahd) Beets, balsamic-rosemary roast potatoes, roast Brussels sprouts, and butternut squash casserole. Desserts: rum cake, caramelized butter tarts, chocolate-raspberry trifle, and a banana butternut buttermilk bundt cake.

The only disappointment was the banana butternut buttermilk bundt cake -- try saying that ten times fast -- from an untried recipe. Too dense, too moist, and considerably less flavor than I expected.

Good news was that my left shoulder has recovered sufficiently from its October surgery that I was able to make the dinner without assistance, with only a dull ache in the shoulder thereafter.

Related news: I return to work January 3rd. I'm not emotionally attached to the job or the workplace -- glad I'm missing New Years Eve, since dealing with drunks from the popular new bar at the development where I do security is a fairly regular aspect of the job even on regular weekends -- but it will be good to be getting those paychecks again.

#511 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2010, 06:24 PM:

Lee: the close "X" doesn't work. The "Learn More" button does and tells me all the reasons I should change, but no option to tell it no and not convert so I use the back arrow and see that annoying banner again.

#512 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2010, 06:33 PM:

the Post-it notes monster drawings simultaneously remind me of Tove Jansson, Edward Gorey, Gahan Wilson, the "Jealous of my jetpack" guy, and Where the Wild Things Are. And all on materials not made for the purpose. Wow.

#513 ::: M Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2010, 06:40 PM:

Also, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

#514 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2010, 08:01 PM:

As I was trudging home through the whipping snow earlier this evening, I saw a flash of lightning, and a few seconds later a roll of thunder. This happened several times before I could get home.

"Good heavens," sez I to meself, "I'm in a proper brontosaurus" (that is, a guhaqre oyvmmneq).

#515 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2010, 08:21 PM:

Also, I went to the gym today, and really expected the class studios to be crowded with people hitting the bag, but no one was. Honestly, Americans.

#516 ::: Stephen Sample ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2010, 08:55 PM:

We had a very simple Christmas dinner. There was nothing but pie.

But there were all nine kinds of pie that Harold liked best[1].

We still have some left, too. Pie for breakfast. Yum.

[1] Harold's actual pie preferences were not in fact specified in the book [2], so we went with Sienipiirakka[3], kale quiche, pizza, and six sweet pies[5]: blueberry, cranberry walnut, ginger pear[7], pecan[8], pumpkin, and sour cream apple[7].
[2] Harold and the Purple Crayon
[3] (Finnish) Mushroom Pie[4]
[4] Sundays at Moosewood
[5] Well, two of them [6] were galettes, but that's because I ran out of pie pans.
[6] The blueberry and cranberry walnut
[7] family recipe; I can post or email if anyone wants a copy
[8] The New Basics Cookbook

#517 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2010, 09:00 PM:

M. Evans at 508: I wish you the best in managing your diabetes. We know so much more than we did 40 years ago, and yet, we seem to know so little: we don't know what causes it, why it develops, and we aren't great at treating it, though we are miles ahead of where we used to be. I am well-acquainted with the disease: my mother developed type 2 diabetes in the early 1970s -- it quickly required insulin, and soon was indistinguishable from type 1. She managed it as best she could. I was her principal caregiver for the last decade of her life. I watch my food choices obsessively, and I get my glucose levels tested every six months. (I appear not to have it; at least, not yet. I got my father's bad heart...)

By the year 2020, half of all adults will have diabetes. Really?? That seems a HUGE number. Is that half of all adults in the US? The West? The world?

#518 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2010, 09:08 PM:

Lizzy, at 509 he corrects to 10%.

#519 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2010, 09:46 PM:

It isn't just that HFCS is subsidized, it's also the belief that fat is bad, and an easy way to make low fat food more palatable is to add sugar.

#520 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2010, 10:07 PM:

Xopher @ 515: That merited a good chuckle, anyway.

I feel exceptionally smug today.

A previous idiot mechanic used the wrong spark plugs on Danielle's car, and cross-threaded one of them and then torqued it in so tight the dealer mechanic couldn't get it out. When we finally got the problem diagnosed, the dealer wanted to remove the cylinder head to get the plug out and re-machine it, and quoted nearly $3000 at the typical excessive rates. Getting that done elsewhere would probably have cost $1500 or so.

I got the plug out without damaging the head using a ratchet, a penetrating oil and percussion, and patience. The cost, including replacing all the plugs: $39.

Mood: triumphant!

#521 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2010, 01:23 AM:

Can I have a little hissy fit here?

Growing up as the eldest with loving but dysfunctional parents (dad with severe depression, mom in the throes of DID) I've gotten really good at managing expectations with my family. After last year's typical Xmas shopping/shipping/making sure everyone's presents are equally valuable nightmare, I mentioned that we might want to do Secret Santa. The "kids" are all gainfully employed adults who can buy things they want on their own. Dad, however, has been unemployed for over a year. Everyone agreed that this would be for the best. Actually, I told them that all I really wanted was a phone call and a Holiday card.

I rigged the Secret Santa drawing so I could get my mom, and bought her two wonderful and very well-thought-out gifts in Poland on my October vacation. I gave those gifts to Dad when we flew into Chicago on the way back. He promptly told me he'd hid them in the garage and mom would never look there.

About two weeks ago I emailed my dad requesting that he wrap them in a particular way, and he said he was planning on it, and mom was really going to love Item A. Last week I got a frantic email from my SiL, who had drawn my name, telling me guiltily that my gift was going to be late, and would I forgive her. I didn't mind at all because my apartment is full, dammit, and I'm a grown up who buys what she needs and also I was mostly looking forward to my mom's reaction to her gift. About that same time, I learn that my sister and her spousal equivalent were going to fly out and my Mom was going to give her a surprise baby shower, at which point it was too late for me to purchase a gift for said sister. I called my mom and asked her to save the Polska onesie I bought for the impending offspring for the Shower. I repeat this several times. Mom tells me that she has contravened standard Secret Santa protocol and sent me a small gift.

Well, Saturday comes and I call to wish my family a Merry Christmas and to thank my parents for the delightful if unnecessary gift. No one calls me back. No one emails.

I got a call after mass this afternoon to wish me happy holidays. Mom says everyone loved the baby thing. We chat for a few minutes and I ask how she liked hers. She tells me she didn't get anything. I ask my dad what happened and he says, "Well, I didn't draw her in the Secret Santa". I remind him that it was from me and he said he'd wrap it. He tells me I never sent him anything. I bring up our conversation when I visited after Poland. I tell him we discussed this two weeks ago over email. He says he has no memory of this, but agrees to look in the garage. He comes back shortly and says he didn't find it, but the car's parked in such a way that he couldn't access half the garage. He will look harder after he moves the car - not that there is any pressing need to move the car until fishing season starts up again. He'll get to it later. Mom pretends that nothing's wrong with everyone gathering around the tree and opening presents except for her.*

Just goes to show that every time I try to lower the bar, my parents just limbo right under it. That not one of my requests was honored really irritates the crap out of me. I hate being ignored. I have to remind myself that sometimes actions that look grossly inconsiderate are actually the product of mental illness.

* she did get a stocking - Dad stuffed it. She complained to me that it was full of candy. She had a lap-band installed last spring. Thanks dad!

#522 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2010, 07:02 AM:

nerdycellist #521: Yeowch... Sounds like your Dad's a real piece of work! (Come to think of it, could there be alcohol or drugs involved there as well?) It actually sounds like your Mom wasn't playing limbo this year, but nobody would have blamed you for biting your Dad's head off!

#523 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2010, 07:24 AM:

And my own dysfunction/recovery story....

It seems that yesterday, I "forgot" it was the anniversary of my Dad's death. Even when my sister and stepmother called me, I was pleased that they called, but didn't remember why they both would call that day.... I scare-quote "forgot" because I'm sure the subconscious awareness contributed to my flakiness over the past few days, especially as I woke up this morning remembering it....

Oddly, I think this is a good thing... after 11 years, I'm finally recovering from him dying just as I was starting to get to know him properly. It's not that I've forgotten him -- but these days, I'm liable to think of him when I look in a mirror. (Yeah, serious resemblance. I still have my beard in about the same style, though I also keep a mustache.) But his death isn't haunting me anymore, as I'm rebuilding my own life. And in the meantime, his namesake nephew is reading the Percy Jackson books and (thanks to Yours Truly) Rick Brant, shooting off model rockets, and (this weekend) skiing with his father's family in Utah. Life moves on....

#524 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2010, 09:12 AM:

Nerdycellist @521: I work really hard sometimes just to make sure I'm only coming off as mildly inconsiderate, at worst, when the depression makes everything impossible to think about. I take notes. I put everything on my Google calendar (and check it). And I still have fails in the direction of what your Dad did -- though never that epic, thank Ghu.

Sometimes I feel like I shouldn't bother. Thanks for reminding me why I do. :->

#525 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2010, 09:42 AM:

Well, this is a new one . . . Caga Tio, the Catalonian gift-crapping pet log:

#526 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2010, 10:03 AM:

Hyperlocal news: Icy roads force rescheduling of dishwasher repairman to Friday. Local woman looks at mountain of dirty dishes, decides to watch Buffy instead.

(I am considering Googling how to install a dishwasher body valve myself. Should really have washed the dishes as we went along, but too late now.)

#527 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2010, 10:50 AM:

I thought the big impact of HCFS was not the specific mixture of sugars but that it was subsidized and therefore in everything.

This is one of those facts-that-isn't, and manages to be both mostly-false and confusing.

World sugar prices (YE2008) were roughly 0.15 per pound; HFCS 0.25 per pound; US sugar prices, 0.35 per pound.*

The US sugar tariffs make HFCS cheaper than US-priced sugar, but HFCS is more expensive, not cheaper, than sugar at world prices. It's a subsidy-in-a-way to corn producers and processors, but it does NOT make sugar/HFCS cheaper to consumers.

8Rounded figures, from the USDA

#528 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2010, 11:00 AM:

We had duck for Christmas dinner. I have never made duck before; it's a bit more labour-intensive than other roasting birds I'm used to. You have to drain off the fat every 30 minutes. I only dropped it in the sink once. Go, me.

I gave it the steam-roast treatment for the first hour, then cover-off normal roasting. Prick the skin all over to help with the fat removal, and rub with salt/pepper/stuff. My rub very basic: salt pepper lemon-pepper thyme.

It was really good, and now entirely gone.

#529 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2010, 11:10 AM:


Husband braves weather to shovel front walk, declares about one foot accumulation; cats have no comment.

#530 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2010, 11:24 AM:

HLN: Woman Suffers 30-Year-Old Ear Infection

"Shouldn't have let him stick his tongue in my ear," she said of a former boyfriend. When asked for clarification, she explained that a course of antibiotics six months ago seemed to solve the problem. "But that was clearly just temporary," she laments. "Another round of antibiotics?" she responded, when asked about her plans. "I don't know. It didn't work the first time, and I don't want to breed some horrible super-bug." She adds, "The worst part is listening to my pulse. All day."

In other medical news, aside from a spectacular scar, local guinea pig boar appears fully recovered from his double-mastectomy. "Girls!" he says, when asked about the experience. "Girls are great! More girls!"

#531 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2010, 12:18 PM:

More HLN:

Visibility reduced to 6 inches; window screen full of blown snow. Further weather reports based on internet rumor and innuendo. Feline population unimpressed, lounging.

#532 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2010, 12:20 PM:

Xopher at 518, thanks. I totally missed the correction.

I still want to know if the 10% applies to all adults in the Us, in the world -- what. One in ten is better than one in two, surely, but it's still a big number.

#533 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2010, 01:40 PM:

Elliot @ 524 -

As the bi-polar daughter of a profoundly depressed parent, let me thank you for your consideration. The knowledge that Dad has not only chemical issues to deal with, but situational ones as well (he's been an architect for 35 years, but has only found work as a seasonal retail grunt this November) is all that kept me from just. going. off. Luckily the cell phone cut out right when I was about to freak out about not being listened to.* I was able to take a breath and calm myself before they called back. I saved my main ire for the internet.

David @ 522 - there wasn't any alcohol involved; Dad's a pretty devout, if liberal, Mormon. The only drugs involved would be whatever head meds that I'm sure he's taking as prescribed. Come to think of it, I'll bet he's on the combo of meds that he took after his mother died; he had the same flat affect when I spoke with him yesterday.

I'm thinking of trying to enlist my brother and SiL's help with the search of the garage; one of the things I got for my mom was a gorgeous carved triptych of the Nativity (her cat's methodically taken out a Wise Man, Joseph and most recently the Baby Jesus of her current Nativities) and I hate to think she won't get it until the spring thaw.

* I'm wondering if I should see a shrink about the perfectionism that leads to underachievement, and my absolute out-of-proportion reactions to not being listened to, both of which seem to have triggered in a big way this week.

#534 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2010, 01:40 PM:

Stefan @ 525

I wonder if the Caganer custom is related? It's also Catalan. Besides the traditional peasant, you can buy various political figures as Caganers, including Obama. It's supposedly not meant as any kind of insult.

#535 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2010, 03:00 PM:

So here are the new masters of the universe - ghu help us all.

#536 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2010, 03:27 PM:

An Update on the Missing Xmas Gifts -

Brother has agreed to help search the garage, and indicates that he hopes the gifts did not get thrown out when Dad did his latest garage clean-up.

What I Learned From This Incident:

Not to expect my parents to behave as grown-ups.

#537 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2010, 04:09 PM:

I got this for Christmas. I am currently snuggling him. His name is Howie.

(I also got an iPad [which completed my initiation into the iBorg], but let's be real about which is awesomer.)

#538 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2010, 04:11 PM:

SamChevre #527:

HFCS is cheaper in the US than it naturally would be, because of corn subsidies. It's true that it still wouldn't be cheaper than sugar if it weren't for the import tariffs that raise the US price of sugar to prop up Florida sugar production.

#539 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2010, 04:23 PM:

Ginger @418: sharing makes me stronger -- something I was not ever comfortable doing when I was young and proud.

You know, this is a True Thing. Having read Gladwell's Outliers, I am now formally attempting to put in my 10k hours on my drawing. Now pondering how to develope a support structure. (Tough, since I tend to be very much the lone wolf by nature.)

But at least I am finally of an age where I can at least admit the possibility that having more people in my life, modulo Diatryma's operator.

#540 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2010, 04:43 PM:

TexAnne @437: "I'm having [asthma] attacks at the slightest provocation." The woman added that she'd welcome any hints from the readership.

Bring your own air? Oh, you meant helpful hints....

#541 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2010, 04:47 PM:

nerdycellist -- Your father sounds like a prize bozo. Take him to auction at the bozo show.

There's a broader lesson, too. Age is no guarantee of maturity. Also, some people are selfish when they're young because...well, it's (sometimes) part of being young. Some are selfish because they're basically, fundamentally, deep-rootedly selfish, and they don't outgrow that.

#542 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2010, 04:48 PM:

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little @441 to TexAnne @437: There's also ditching the ski crew up on the mountains and coming downhill to Boulder to visit Jacque and me. ;-)

Oh! Yes, do! ('Course, seein' as this was last week....)

#543 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2010, 04:55 PM:

Jacque, 542: Alas. This is my last day; we all ditched skiing in favor of cleaning, packing, and in my case, sitting on the couch ignoring everybody except my invisible Internet friends. I'm a bit unpopular, which is funny because the people doing the cleaning and the resenting also don't especially want my help. Oh, family, I love you best when you're in small doses.

But I think perhaps the next time I'm here, which will perhaps be at a warmer time of year, I'll rent a car and be independent for a while. ALL BY MYSELF YAY.

#544 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2010, 05:14 PM:

shadowsong @478: ML post feed

Great! Thank you!

#545 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2010, 05:17 PM:

joann @481: Yesterday, for distraction, local woman makes fudge. "I just had to," she says, blaming blog for inspiration.

::curtsies:: Always happy to corrupt help.

#546 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2010, 05:23 PM:

Xopher @490: Adorable Xopher is adorable.

#547 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2010, 05:31 PM:

nerdycellist #533:

OK, heres the thing: I've been profoundly depressed (in a prior life, I founded one of the first E-mail support groups for depression). My family was remarkably supportive, and screwing up or blowing off my own gift for someone would have been eminently forgivable. But if I'd told someone else, that their gift, placed in my care, could wait 'till the season changed, they'd damn well have set my hair on fire! For that matter, sometimes "being there" for my family was the only thing that kept me going....

With that out of the way, a more medical comment: "flat affect" means your dad's meds are at best half-working. That's not going to auto-correct, so tell your Mom to get him back to the doctor for a dosage boost or other adjustment.

#548 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2010, 05:34 PM:

Thomas @507: there could be an effect via changes in gut bacteria

Just this morning was reading Gut bacteria reflect dietary differences.

#549 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2010, 06:56 PM:

Earl Cooley III @407: The FCC caved and has betrayed net neutrality. (there may be a pop-up, sorry)

So appropos of this, what the hell do we do?

#550 ::: M Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2010, 06:59 PM:

Lizzy L @532:

Soon Lee @506 links the WHO site for diabetes per country, with populations.

#551 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2010, 07:21 PM:

My plan to support true Net Neutrality is to donate to the EFF and stay active online.

#552 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2010, 07:54 PM:

David Harmon @ #523, I recently re-read a Rick Brant novel online and decided it wasn't as dated as I'd expected. Are you finding physical copies of them?

#553 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2010, 07:55 PM:

#548 ::: Jacque :

I've been wondering for years whether people might need to eat insects-- we presumably did so for most of our evolutionary history.

#554 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2010, 09:13 PM:

Linkmeister #552: Yup... working in a used-book store has definite advantages! Especially since my whole family are readers... which in turn has advantages for the store! (I've brought family in a couple of times!)

#555 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2010, 09:23 PM:

TexAnne, #543: I think renting a car is an outstanding idea, and would have recommended it this time had your finances been less precarious. There is nothing like being utterly at the mercy of other people (whose availability and/or willingness may not match your needs) for transportation to leave one feeling -- and sometimes acting -- like a sullen teenager. This tends not to end well even with people who are genuinely supportive, let alone with family who may be triggered thereby into treating you like a sullen teenager.

#556 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2010, 10:36 PM:

We have a (hopefully temporary) visitor -- a kitten, which was painfully obviously some kid's Christmas present that Mommy or Daddy didn't want. She was dumped (according to witnesses) near my partner's daughter's place, sometime on the day after Christmas, still wearing a green collar with a bell on it. Mostly-white calico about 8 weeks old, fully weaned, very socialized to humans -- purrs and wants to sit in a lap. Had clearly not been fed anything at all for a day or more, judging from (1) the amount she scarfed down immediately and (2) how long it took for any of that to come out the other end.

We took her to the vet today; she's got the sneezles, a bit of conjunctivitis in one eye, and various internal and external parasites, but for a foundling she's in fairly good health and the FeLeuk/FIV test came back negative. We're treating the medical issues, because our isolation chamber is the front bathroom (aka the one with the working shower) and we'd like to be able to bring her out into the rest of the house, but not at the risk of our current cats.

We'd greatly prefer to re-home this one if possible. Sunfall is a diva who tends not to take well to other females, and three cats is enough, really. I'm willing to drive up to 6 hours to make delivery, and also to pay for having her spayed when she's old enough. Any interest?

#557 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2010, 11:04 PM:

Lee, I so wish I could -- I really miss having a small furry critter around now that my daughter's ex-mouse has finally met the Grim Squeaker -- but while I might be able to get away with a caged pet I don't think I could take a running-around one. I may have to start looking at ferrets.

#558 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2010, 11:12 PM:

She promised to teach me Ukrainian – better than Russian –
And started with “cyom”, but didn’t tell me what it means –
I had to wait until "tomorrow", for our discussion
Of the language, but in my searches, I’d seen
It used at the end of letters, so it must be something
Special indeed – and it wasn’t one of the usual words
Found in the lists online (common phrases, being
In Ukrainian, etc., but none or few for us lovebirds).
I waited, with bated breath, until we were together again
To ask and behold the answer, in word and in deed –
Because it means “kiss”; so we did, and then –
We did it some more, practicing until we were agreed
That I can pronounce it correctly , or at least with some
Clarity, and then to each other and our kisses, we succumb.

#559 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2010, 11:34 PM:

ginger, where do you live? We are desperately seeking a calico (though we are uncertain about a kitten, Siegfried is a 20-lb force of nature that may be hard in such....) The spaying offer is a Good thing because, despite the fact I seem to have regular work, Jim has been cut back to 2/3 hours again...

I'm in Kansas City, MO.

#560 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2010, 11:38 PM:

I'm in Silver Spring, Maryland -- it would probably be easier to find one local to you, but I can ask the "Cat Lady" at work. Someone in my building has a lot of cats/kittens come through her hands as a foster mom, and she also knows other people in the area with cats/kittens for adoption.

#561 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2010, 11:40 PM:

And if there is somewhere between me and thee that is a good halfway point (though I'm not sure about six hours....) i'd be happy to go there. All our kitteh's are special, and we loves them a lot.

If this fails, we are also seeking the local Web of cat charities because we are seeking One Good Calico gal of young years.

We weren"t totally seeking a kitten because we tend to have cats for 20 years. But we could make an exception....

#562 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2010, 11:41 PM:

I read a Rick Brant book or two back in the olden times. My library had them. Sad to think that though it's now in a bigger building, they've probably dumped them so they can get some ghosts-and-boogers series.

Now I have the first volume of Mark Twain's autobiography to read. I'm about 50 pages in, and should be done with the introduction any day now. Note to self: see about the online text and whether it can be put on my e-reader.

#563 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2010, 11:45 PM:

I'll see if anyone has a young cat, calico, for the adoption of.

I haven't had kittens in the house for more than 17 years, and now I'm rediscovering why cats are better...but we are enjoying their energy and watching them amuse themselves. Even the dogs are somewhat bemused by them.

#564 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2010, 11:48 PM:

Yet another sonnet:

We met my friends, K __ and J__, for lunch
And they tease us successfully, making us blush
Together, which we attempt to quench,
Or blame on the fire, but soon enough we hush
Because it is all in good fun and good spirits
Between friends, and we deserve a little teasing
For all our carrying on does have its limits,
And although outside it’s bitterly freezing
The warm fire keeps us cozy without getting hot
While the conversation ebbs and flows easily around
The various topics that friends would like more than a passing shot
From the new girlfriend who does not back down
But meets their gambits head on and replies
In such a way that she makes them into allies.

#565 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2010, 12:23 AM:

David Harmon @ 547 -

Thank you for your perspective, especially regarding the "flat affect". I'll see if I can get ahold of my mom and get her to check on dad's meds/therapy. How much she is willing or able to push is questionable, but she might need to hear someone else say that Dad's behaving a little erratically.

Xopher and David H -

Thanks for calling my Dad names. I feel guilty thinking he's being a prize dupek, but I'm really relieved to hear my opinion of his bozosity confirmed by those unaffected, if that makes any sense.

Also, next year's xmas? I'm going out of town with my roommate and dog, and everyone's getting the Uncle Crapper Gift Crapping Log referred to Stefan Jones at 525.

#566 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2010, 02:22 AM:

Paula, #559: If you're interested in my calico kitten, we're in Houston, and might be able to arrange for someone closer to pass her along to you. One of my LJ friends says she might be a Turkish Van mix, given her coloring and plushy fur.

#567 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2010, 08:38 AM:

#507 Thomas

It would be surprising, though not impossible, for the difference between HFCS and cane sugar to matter much biologically, since cane sugar gets broken down into 50% fructose, 50% glucose before it is absorbed, and HFCS is 55% fructose, 45% glucose. It's conceivable that there could be an effect via changes in gut bacteria, though I don't think anyone has demonstrated this.

The processing in the body "breaking down" "fructose" before it "gets absorbed" is a key consideration.

High Fructose Corn Syrup Linked to Liver Scarring, Research Suggests
ScienceDaily (Mar. 23, 2010) — High fructose corn syrup, which some studies have linked to obesity, may also be harmful to the liver, according to Duke University Medical Center research.

We found that increased consumption of high fructose corn syrup was associated with scarring in the liver, or fibrosis, among patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)," said Manal Abdelmalek, MD, MPH, associate professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology/Hepatology at Duke University Medical Center

And Archer-Daniel Midland, looking out for its profits:

Editor's Note: In response to the above-mentioned study, the Corn Refiners Association issued a statement titled "Flaws in Duke University Statement About High Fructose Corn Syrup" ( This link is provided for information only -- no editorial endorsement is implied.

i>Missing Link Between Fructose, Insulin Resistance Found/i>
ScienceDaily (Mar. 9, 2009) — A new study in mice sheds light on the insulin resistance that can come from diets loaded with high-fructose corn syrup, a sweetener found in most sodas and many other processed foods. The report in the March issue of Cell Metabolism also suggests a way to prevent those ill effects.
There has been a remarkable increase in consumption of high-fructose corn syrup," said Gerald Shulman of Yale University School of Medicine. "Fructose is much more readily metabolized to fat in the liver than glucose is and in the process can lead to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease," he continued. NAFLD in turn leads to hepatic insulin resistance and type II diabetes.

#568 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2010, 09:56 AM:

I spent most of today reading my largest and heaviest present, the final volume of the Absolute Edition of The Sandman, which has been a serialised gift from my brother over the last few years.

This year, perhaps as the start of a new serial, he also gave me the first of Peter O'Donnell's Modesty Blaise novels. He was worried I might already own it, which in fact I do, but my old copy has a cover I wouldn't want to be seen dead with, so I was pleased with his present anyway. I think he would have taken my word for it, but on a subsequent meeting I showed him my old copy, just to be sure, and he was suitably appalled.

#569 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2010, 10:06 AM:

Paul A.@567: Most of my copies of Modest Blaise books have really horrid covers. Historically, the early British editions were frequently better.

There's actually a site with a Modesty Blaise Covers section, which makes it easy to realize how badly we're doing. Huh, I see that Souvenir Press did relatively recent editions that mostly use the original covers; some of those weren't there last I looked, I don't think.

But I love the books!

#570 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2010, 10:44 AM:

Among my Christmas presents...

The 2nd "Quatermass" miniseries.
The biography of actor Robert Ryan.
The DVD of "Les Aventures Extraordinaires d'Adèle Blanc-sec".

#571 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2010, 11:01 AM:

ddb @ #568:

In fact, it was the Souvenir Press new-edition-with-original-cover that he gave me. (The copy I owned already has one of the really awful Pan covers - as opposed to one of the merely somewhat awful Pan covers.)

#572 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2010, 11:05 AM:

Sonnet VIII.

Like Cazaril, I wish to compose sonnets
About body parts of my beloved, but unlike his
I start by comparing her eyes to the Donets
(A river flowing through Western Ukraine, which is
Her birthplace, although now her home can be found
In Central Maryland, surrounded by hills and farms,
And small towns.) About her eyes I would expound
At length, if I but had the words to include the charms
That they hold; to describe them as dark
Is to fail at capturing the essence that shines forth
With its own charm like an up or down quark,
Along with the humor that brings great mirth
And merriment. We laugh together as I look deep
Into her eyes, and know that this one I want to keep.

#573 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2010, 11:15 AM:

Paul A @ 570... The covers are nowhere near as bad as the 1960s movie.

#574 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2010, 11:47 AM:

According to my fabulous girlfriend, I've miscounted my sonnets -- it's either nine or ten now. Oops.

Also, she wishes me to know that her river is the Prut, but I claim poetic license on that.

#575 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2010, 11:51 AM:

Ginger @573 Threaten her with a sonnet on her nitpicking.

(I'm so happy for you both! Yay for love!)

#576 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2010, 01:00 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz @553: I've been wondering for years whether people might need to eat insects—we presumably did so for most of our evolutionary history.

There are various species available in multiple seasonings and confections in the sweet shop down the street.

#577 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2010, 01:05 PM:

Some of those Modesty Blaise covers really miss the character. To show one fetishistic black catsuit is a misfortune. A whole series of covers looks like carelessness.

#578 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2010, 01:16 PM:

Lee @556: Any interest? What part of the planet are you on? I can't take a cat, but I have a coworker who does a lot of cat rescue, and so might provide some good coaching. If you don't find a home for her promptly, you can find my email address by clicking on my name and looking at the footer on my homepage for my email address. (I'm in Colorado, btw.)

Janet Brennan Croft @557: I don't think I could take a running-around one. I may have to start looking at ferrets.

Yeeek!! Have you spent much time with ferrets? If not, pleeeeeeze do so before taking one on. Ferrets make hyper-Touretic cats look comatose, by comparison. They're like two-year-old humans that never grow up. Ferrets are the mil-spec "running around" pet.

#579 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2010, 02:05 PM:

Pericat @ 575... Threatening someone, even with a sonnet, is a rhyme.

#580 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2010, 02:20 PM:

For Teresa: hamstersaurus
And he's for sale!

Janet, #557: I second what Jacque says about ferrets. They are NOT the pet you want if you need to keep it in a cage! Friends who have owned ferrets talk about "ferret-TV", meaning that they are much more lively and interesting to watch than most of what's on the tube. Check out the small rodents instead.

#581 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2010, 02:55 PM:

DDB @569 -- thanks for that link to the Modesty Blaise covers. I'd never seen that blue version of A TASTE FOR DEATH -- I wonder what the story is on that! And they're missing some: the original Pan cover on PIECES OF MODESTY changed somewhere between the first and the fourth printing (I've owned both) to use a different model. One of the Titan comic-strip reprints reprinted it; I don't have it right to hand.

A Modesty trivium: the stories in PIECES OF MODESTY were originally published as separate sections in an Australian newspaper, with a little puzzle so that one could win some money. I've only ever seen one set of these, and I'm fortunate enough to own it now. I still love the stories myself, though they're a bit dated. As for movies, Serge: the 2002 MY NAME IS MODESTY is a movie I can wholeheartedly recommend to fans of MB, it being set in the Louche Gang days before she met Willie (apparently they couldn't find an appropriate person to cast for the part). But it's got the right feel and doesn't put its feet badly wrong. I need to find my copy and watch it again.

#582 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2010, 03:10 PM:

Tom Whitmore @ 581... I've heard good things about the 2002 movie. As for the earlier movie... I rented it earlier this year because I kept wondering if it was that bad. It was. Only worse.

#583 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2010, 03:18 PM:

I recently (within the last two years) re-read the Modesty Blaise series. While Modesty and Willie remain great characters, and their interactions continue to entertain, I found myself stumbling again and again over the not very subtle homophobia throughout the series. Additionally, the repetitiveness of the plots began to grind me down. I still enjoyed I, Lucifer, but found myself skimming the other novels, and eventually gave up reading. Ah, well...

BTW, speaking of books: I stayed up late last night finishing Michael Lewis's The Big Short. OMG. Wonderful, and terrifying.

#584 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2010, 03:27 PM:

Serge @579 What can I say? I have no metrics.

#585 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2010, 03:35 PM:

Lizzy @583:

I enjoyed The Big Short, but I think in the end I prefer Liar's Poker. Much of that, I think, is because of the ages that he was when he wrote them.

Liar's Poker is a coming-of age narrative, since Lewis himself was doing just that as the events of the book took place. And in many ways, the situation that both books describe was doing the same thing: growing up, growing in complexity, becoming established.

The Big Short is more a narrative of middle adulthood, both of Lewis and of Wall Street. And though it's a true narrative (as far as I am aware), I found it a harder book to read.

#586 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2010, 04:09 PM:

pericat @ 584... I guess judges have heard verse defenses.

#587 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2010, 04:14 PM:

pericat, Serge: I promise, I will throw the book at her.

Which book? Ah, the one she insists I am writing, of poetry. Besides, she was right: I am up to sonnet number 10 -- we each missed one and I found the last one, which was really the first one.

I would have written another one today, but got called into an emergency surgery, and now have to finish up the routine daily reports before I head home.

#588 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2010, 04:18 PM:

Lizzy L.@583: I'm bothered by the background magical universe (Lucifer's talent, the stuff Collier investigates, and so forth). And the villains tend to be over-the-top insane people that feel like the one remaining bit of the comic book heritage (no evidence for that, I can't read comics). I don't find homophobia particularly outstanding compared to those problems.

But I really like Modesty and Willy and their friends, and I don't mind the near-superhero abilities of Modesty and Willie because they make it so clear that they worked hard to learn them; they weren't just handed them.

#589 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2010, 04:24 PM:

Paula Lieberman #567:

The processing in the body "breaking down" "fructose" before it "gets absorbed" is a key consideration.

Umm. No.

There isn't any real doubt that fructose has effects which glucose doesn't have. I'm well aware of this. I see the research presented at conferences. My point is that the fructose in sucrose should have the same effect as the fructose in HFCS. The liver sees roughly equal fructose and glucose mixtures in either case, because sucrose is broken down into fructose and glucose by sucrase in the gut.

There are good reasons to think that HFCS* is worse than ordinary pure-glucose corn syrup. What's much more dubious is that HFCS is significantly different from cane sugar. That would take a much more complicated mechanism, and a fairly implausible one.

Contrast this with lactose intolerance, where there is a difference between lactose and a glucose/galactose mixture because many adults don't produce the enzyme needed to break down lactose, but the gut bacteria do. We know this sort of thing doesn't happen with sucrose because the effects would be pretty obvious. What's just about conceivable is that something much more subtle happens that makes HFCS and sucrose different. I'm not aware of any evidence at all that this happens, but it isn't impossible.

* and, to an even greater extent, agave syrup, which has rather higher fructose concentrations.

#590 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2010, 04:28 PM:

Ginger @587 She slices, she dices, she versifices!

#591 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2010, 05:17 PM:

abi - an article on the US national bookbinder. It talks about how he does the hand-binding at the ends, and the middle is about whether they'll stop doing it.

#592 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2010, 05:47 PM:

I HAVE had ferrets, though it's been about 20 years since the last one passed away. The cage-to-size-of-animal ratio has to be quite large if you want to cage them, and there must be many sources of entertainment and stimulation inside. Also, you really need a pair because they enjoy society. But yes, "ferret TV" is endlessly amusing, and if I got any they'd be out loose pretty much any time I was at home. (They are also quite portable for traveling, though I don't think I could take any to work.) Oh, well -- perhaps best to wait till I can move to a new apartment that allows pets.

#593 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2010, 06:39 PM:

Dave Bell #577: The leather catsuits might be "careless", but in this context, the bikinis and other cheesecake smell of outright misogyny. ("Oh, it's about a woman -- make her as naked as we can get away with... and nevermind what the story's about, muscles aren't sexy!")

#594 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2010, 10:16 PM:

Perception bias illustrated: When I saw the crawl headline "Russian tiger team hails success", I thought "Ack, more 'cyberwar' braggadocio".

Nope, endangered species protection. Yay Russians!

#595 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2010, 11:17 PM:

Dave, thanks for sharing that. I fear for all our wild cats, who have to live in the shadows of humans and sometimes fall prey just because they cause conflict and hurt people and the animals they depend on for food.

Knowing there is a group set up to protect Amur tigers in Russia is a big deal. it makes me a little less afraid for their survival.

#596 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2010, 12:52 AM:

David Harmon @ 593: I believe that was a play on 'The Importance of Being Earnest': "To lose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness."

#597 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2010, 01:57 AM:

Is there a publication date yet on the next Mageworlds book? I'm re-reading the series and remembering all over again how much I enjoy it, and would like to find more.

#598 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2010, 03:05 AM:

Marilee @591:

Thanks for the reference.

I bet I can name, within two guesses, the tannery where he got that goatskin. I'd give it a 75% chance that it's Harmatan in Northhamptonshire, even though I am fonder of my old local tannery, Hewit's.

Neither is in London; if the skins were flown in from there, then he must have ordered them through Shepherd's. Though if he's ordering from a reseller, why didn't he use Talas, which is American?

Which is to say, there are so few bookbinding leather suppliers anywhere that even I can name the entire supply chain of vegetable-tanned goatskins.

#599 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2010, 03:42 AM:

David @593

Well, yes, the Pan Art Department had some pretty terrible thinking going on. As I said, missing the point big-time.

The first book was a novelisation of the movie, and my recollection is that the black catsuit and the pose on that cover are pretty directly from that.

There's some commentary on the assorted movies here, with various images, and the black catsuit does appear occasionally in the comics. But it's a bit like the default image of Emma Peel, although the TV series credits make the look far more crucial.

And besides, there's always The Queen of Sin and the harem-girl episode.

#600 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2010, 05:53 AM:

Dave Bell @ 599... Actually, the first novel was the script that O'Donnell had written for the movie, but the latter left him so unhappy that he decided to turn the script into a novel. By the way, it's my understanding that his dream casting for Modesty & Willie would have been Julie Christie & Michael Caine.

#601 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2010, 05:55 AM:

I think Emma Peel first wore the cat suit in the episode where a dept store's owner is building an atomic bomb in the basement. If I remember correctly, a Dalek also shows up in that story.

#602 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2010, 09:02 AM:

Paula #595: Yeah, that sort of thing gives me hope for humanity. might not end up rotting in our own wasteland after all. (The way some folks treat wild creatures makes me embarrassed for my species!) Brin had it right -- biodiversity is the true wealth of our planet.

#603 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2010, 09:27 AM:

The London Review of Books considers GW Bush's memoirs. One almost expects to hear reports of copies of the book bursting into flame in sheer mortification.

#604 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2010, 11:08 AM:

Serge @601: Not only that, but if it's the one I'm thinking of, you can see a Yogi Bear figure in the background in a shot or two.

#605 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2010, 11:14 AM:

Janet Brennan Croft @592: I HAVE had ferrets

Okay, then you would know what you'd be getting into. Whew!

I'm a little extra twitchy on the subject since, for a long time, a friend of mine was Colorado Ferret Rescue, and far too many of her residents were alumni of households that had no clue what they were getting themselves into.

Being properly credentialed Weasel People, then, you might enjoy this.

#606 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2010, 11:16 AM:

fidelio @ 603: That is a splendid review. I remain in awe of such writing.

#607 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2010, 12:10 PM:

Jacque -- oh lordy, that's familiar. Weasel help indeed. Which is why a cage can be handy from time to time! I still remember my mother-in-law, who was deathly afraid of all animals, standing gibbering in the hallway because a ferret had run UNDER the arch of her high-heeled shoe before we could catch it. And somewhere I have a home movie of a ferret being carried around by my daughter when she was a toddler, its hind end swinging like a pendulum and an expression of pure martyrdom on its little face. (The cat does the expression even better in the sequence where she is making it play pat-a-cake...)

#608 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2010, 12:30 PM:

A moderately happy ending -

My brother found Mom's Xmas gift in the garage rather easily ("I just thought, where would Dad put this where Mom wouldn't see it, but where I wouldn't forget it...") and Mom called to exclaim her appreciation of said gifts - one of which is a lovely hand-carved Nativity triptych, which is neeful, as her cat has been systematically abusing members of her current Nativities.

What's going on with Dad, who worked a double-shift yesterday because he agreed to "switch shifts" with someone who didn't bother to check that day's schedule, has yet to be determined.

#609 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2010, 01:11 PM:

nerdycellist, I'm glad you got at least this much of it sorted, and that your mother liked her present. I hope your family can get through the rest of it as well.

#610 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2010, 01:43 PM:

Jacque, #605: FYI, the link on your "Weasel Help" page that's supposed to go to the "Weasel Help Song" is broken. Searching on the title yields a bunch of pagan-oriented pages which include the lyrics, but nothing that's the lyrics by themselves.

nerdycellist, #608: Glad you got at least that much of the mess straightened out. Also, a thought on why you might have such a strong over-reaction to "not being listened to": to be ignored is to be put into an inferior position, told that your words aren't worth consideration. This happens in a lot of contexts, but I suspect that the important one here is "parents who don't listen to children". How many times, when you were growing up, did you try to tell your parents something important and have them completely ignore every word you said -- and then blame you for "not having told them" when things went south? That sort of thing tends to leave one with very strong triggers around the behavior in question. Every time someone doesn't listen to what you're saying, it bounces you right back to that kid who knew there was going to be trouble and couldn't do anything about it.

#611 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2010, 01:50 PM:

Jacque @ 605... Being properly credentialed Weasel People, then, you might enjoy

"Yes, I did call you a weasel, but in a good way."


#612 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2010, 02:45 PM:

re 603: One would think that the unlikelihood of anything related to Dubya even being aware of Foucault, much less caring about him, would severely diminish the opportunity for such a conflagration.

#613 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2010, 03:19 PM:

Lee @ 610 -

How many times, when you were growing up, did you try to tell your parents something important and have them completely ignore every word you said -- and then blame you for "not having told them" when things went south?


It might be a shorter list if I pointed out the few times I was listened to. (although I would have a hard time defining "important" as it applied to my life.)

I always assume I don't have anything to post on the annual Dysfunctional Families thread, but I guess I'm wrong. Glad my siblings are able to help out though. For having some semi-functional parents we seemed to grow up fairly self-sufficient.

#614 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2010, 04:59 PM:

re 603: And I'm *certain* that "Team DP" was absolutely accidental, and that he has no other reason to phrase it that way than to cut the story to page length.

nerdycellist: I'm glad things worked out to the extent that they are.

#615 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2010, 05:43 PM:

Nerdycellist #613: I too am glad that much worked out. And you comment: For having some semi-functional parents we seemed to grow up fairly self-sufficient. Umm... that's not "in spite of", NC -- that's "because"! When you can't depend on other people, you learn to do for yourself.

#616 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2010, 06:13 PM:

Given the current plague of spam on old threads, I have a suggestion. How much trouble would it be for the mods to close comments on any Open Thread more than a couple of months old, and on any other thread that's not likely to receive more legitimate comments, at the same time that they're cleaning up the spam spill?

Obviously there are some threads, such as Why We Immunize, where doing that would be a poor idea; but by shutting down ancient Open Threads and things like outdated current-events threads, we would gradually reduce the availability of spam targets on the blog overall.

#617 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2010, 06:53 PM:

And yet, Lee, I've seen threads that were dormant for significant time start up again. There's a cost-benefit analysis to be done, surely. There already is one that says "leaving them open is better than closing them"; it was, I'm sure, informal, as will any other that gets done. The recent spate may make it worth revisiting. As usual, it's our hosts' choice.

#618 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2010, 07:32 PM:


Close old threads and have an occasional catch-all "old business" thread (or simply use open threads for the purpose). If an old thread really hots up, then... perhaps it can be reopened? I don't know how that part works. If it doesn't, then make a sequel thread with an appropriate title and a note directing to the old one. I'd expect that the more threads remain open, the more work it might be to run around killing the spam, but again: What do I know? And when did I know it? Why am I holding this knife?

And while I'm suggesting things, I suggest everybody who reads this send a dollar to me, at this address...

#619 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2010, 07:57 PM:

Kip W: #618: Careful, that Sales pitch might land you in the Soup!

In their place, my initial algorithm would be to close threads that fit any two of the three: Already have sequel/followup threads (including N-1 Open Threads), more than a year old, and OP detached from current events (which would buff most of Jim's "Preparedness" threads).

Then of course, I'd be prepared to make exceptions based on judgment and common sense, and/or to add followup threads as needed.

#620 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2010, 08:06 PM:

PS: Of course, the mods already have two "standard reasons" to close a thread, but those aren't much help here: Toxic eruption, or approaching the Deadly Thousand.

#621 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2010, 08:52 PM:

ferret rescue?

#622 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2010, 08:58 PM:

Serge 601:

Emma Peel wearing a cat suit: why ask why?

#623 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2010, 03:31 AM:

Erik @622, Serge @601.

Emma Peel's first series had a US title sequence, all episodes, with the black catsuit. But it didn't appear in-story until the fourth. And I think it started with Cathy Gale, before that. The in-story black cat-suit was supplanted in later series, and I've seen a variety of explanations. Perhaps Diana Rigg was a bit more flexible, and seams would split. Perhaps it was the switch to colour.

I've not seen the department-store episode but the catsuit there, according to report, was part of a promotional-model outfit: Mrs. Peel was dressed to sell a sci-fi toy of some sort.

#624 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2010, 03:46 AM:

Dave Bell: The in-story black cat-suit was supplanted in later series, and I've seen a variety of explanations. Perhaps Diana Rigg was a bit more flexible, and seams would split. Perhaps it was the switch to colour.

I don't think it was flexibility: Honor Blackman was flexible enough to write a book on self defense, but (as I have mentioned before) they switched to leather clothing for her (I gather the most infamous item was a dress) after she threw a stuntman in the series and the bottom spilt out of her pants. On live TV. Anyway, they kept that in mind when doing outfits for Mrs. Peel at the beginning: I suspect you're right about color being the main reason for the varied catsuits (or Emma Peelers as they were called at the time), along with stretchier fabrics to take the demands of any throws/falls/etc.

#625 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2010, 08:19 AM:

Did Tara King ever wear a catsuit?

#626 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2010, 09:49 AM:

Sam Harris, speaking truth.


The truth, however, is that everyone must favor the "redistribution of wealth" at some point. This relates directly to the issue of education: as the necessity of doing boring and dangerous work disappears--whether because we have built better machines and infrastructure, or shipped our least desirable jobs overseas--people need to be better educated so that they can apply themselves to more interesting work. Who will pay for this? There is only one group of people who can pay for anything at this point: the wealthy.

To make matters more difficult, Americans have made a religious fetish of something called "self-reliance." Most seem to think that while a person may not be responsible for the opportunities he gets in life, each is entirely responsible for what he makes of these opportunities. This is, without question, a false view of the human condition. Consider the biography of any "self-made" American, from Benjamin Franklin on down, and you will find that his success was entirely dependent on background conditions that he did not make, and of which he was a mere beneficiary. There is not a person on earth who chose his genome, or the country of his birth, or the political and economic conditions that prevailed at moments crucial to his progress. Consequently, no one is responsible for his intelligence, range of talents, or ability to do productive work. If you have struggled to make the most of what Nature gave you, you must still admit that Nature also gave you the ability and inclination to struggle. How much credit do I deserve for not having Down syndrome or any other disorder that would make my current work impossible? None whatsoever. And yet devotees of self-reliance rail against those who would receive entitlements of various sorts--health care, education, etc.--while feeling unselfconsciously entitled to their relative good fortune. Yes, we must encourage people to work to the best of their abilities and discourage free riders wherever we can--but it seems only decent at this moment to admit how much luck is required to succeed at anything in this life. Those who have been especially lucky--the smart, well-connected, and rich--should count their blessings, and then share some of these blessings with the rest of society.

#627 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2010, 09:51 AM:

I doubt we'll think of anything new pro or con closing more old threads. But a factor that hasn't been mentioned yet, this time around, is that some old threads are found in searches and people show up and say something interesting. Those posts would very probably not happen if they had to figure out what other thread to go to and how to refer to the thread they meant and so forth.

Anyway, not my decision.

#628 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2010, 01:35 PM:

Open-Threadiness: I am about to depart for a weekend of debauchery snowshoeing and possibly skiing with my fabulous girlfriend. Additional sonnets have been and are being composed, some of which will eventually find their way here. The Ex is staying at my house to take care of dogs, cats, kittens, and son.

If I don't have a chance to post again this weekend, I wish you all a very happy and healthy New Year!

#629 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2010, 01:46 PM:

Happy New Year, Ginger!
Have some debauched skiing and snowshoeing!

#630 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2010, 01:59 PM:

Ginger @628:

Enjoy the weekend, and happy New Year! Do try to get some time outdoors on your winter sports weekend. It's kind of traditional.

#631 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2010, 02:06 PM:

Happy new year, Ginger!

#632 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2010, 02:06 PM:

Abi @ 630...

Thanks again for the DVD of "Les aventures extraordinaires d'Adèle Blanc-sec".
I haven't watched it yet, but will soon.

#633 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2010, 02:54 PM:

I have a technical question about my new laptop.

I set up its screen saver to kick in after 5 minutes of inactivity. The way to do this was pretty obvious, even for Windows 7. Or so I thought, excerpt that the screen saver isn't coming up. Any idea what step I might be missing?

#634 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2010, 02:57 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz #494, M Evans #550, Lizzy L #532:

Found the site which has current diabetes data by region (and country): North America & Caribbean, Western Pacific etc.

#635 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2010, 03:05 PM:

As it happens, right now I routinely close old threads that a) have the last n number of messages either spam or reporting spam, b) are old, and c) don't have continuing comment value.

I only do this when a thread comes to my attention due to spam; there are a lot of threads here, and checking each one (then checking it again in a week or a month, then checking again...) would be time consuming.

#636 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2010, 04:13 PM:

#589 thomas

[Various things.... there are also considerations that when people ingest -stuff- the -stuff- is rarely pure anything.... some stuff is indigestible unaccompanied by other stuff. Some things have highly non-linear responses.... people can die from drinking too much water, eating predator liver in quantities which vitamin poisons with some vitamin or other, die from too much beta carotene (someone turned bright orange and died from being a habittal drinker of a gallon or more of carrot juice a day...)... there was a medication which a company developed that blocked allergic effects of eating up to half a peanut by people deathly allergic to peanuts (but a drug company which was funding the company which developed it, was working on its own medication, and kept the investee's newly certified drug off the market.... )
(Anyway, there can also be trace chemicals which the presence or absence of, can make a huge difference in biochemical effects... for that matter, how much study I wonder has there been done on looking at the effects of varying the ratios of fructose and glucose.... and then there is Monsanto's latest questionble living through chemistry product, Aspartame PLUS hazarous to health chemical sweetener

(Aspartame is wonderful [sarcasm] stuff, Ted Atwood tells me it breaks down into stuff which includes formaledhyde....]

"gut bacteria" are down in the INTESTINES, after the food's gone -through- the stomach!

Googling time
fructose stomach

Kids with Unexplained Stomach Pain May Have Fructose Intolerance

Teen girls most effected by the digestive disorder
10/18/2010 | Sara Huffman | Children with unexplained, recurring stomach pains could haven intolerance to fructose, a new study finds.

Googling on
fructose liver

...American College of Gastroenterology's (ACG) 75th Annual Scientific meeting in San Antonio, Texas, the study, "Fructose Intolerance/Malabsorption and Recurrent Abdominal Pain in Children," investigated a total of 245 patients with unexplained chronic abdominal pain (alone or associated with constipation, gas or bloating and/or diarrhea) and found 132 to have a sensitivity the monosaccharide.

The patients ranged in age from 2 to 18 years old, with a median age of 11. 150 of the 245 patients were female.

....All of the 132 patients with a positive BHT for fructose had a nutritional consult with a registered dietician and were placed on a low-fructose diet. Using a standard pain scale for children, 88 of the 132 patients (67.7 percent) reported resolution of symptoms on a low-fructose diet.

#637 ::: M Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2010, 04:31 PM:

Thank you, Soon Lee.

#638 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2010, 04:51 PM:

It looks as though HFCS is about 128% as sweet as sucrose--ordinary sugar--which should mean that people would only get 86% of the fructose that they would get from the breakdown of an equivalent sweetness of sucrose.

As has been pointed out, the sucrose gets split in the intestine, so the stomach doesn't get exposed to fructose from that source. On the other hand, since fructose is the sugar in fruit...

What I wonder is whether the industrial food business is using far more sugar than human evolution ever had to adapt to. It's not the HFCS that's the problem, it's the excessive use of all sugars.

#639 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2010, 04:58 PM:

#635 Jim Macdonald

(loosely to a tune of a particular Jack Hardy song I can't remember then name of)

Old threads, old threads
Left open through the years
As the comments on them wax and wane.

Forgotten bites and sentiments
And the range of thoughts from wise to inane

From the dust of yesteryear's thoughts
To where are today
What next comes, who can say?

#640 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2010, 05:17 PM:

Jim, #635: So you're already implementing the policy I was suggesting, and the current spate of spam is just an indicator that there are still a lot of target threads that haven't been hit yet. Good enough.

Dave, #638: I don't think there's any adjustment made for the difference in sweetness. I've had a couple of friends who were raised overseas mention that when they first came to America, everything -- most notably desserts, but other things as well -- seemed almost sickeningly sweet by comparison with what they were used to.

#641 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2010, 05:50 PM:

#638 Dave
Fructose in fruit comes with fiber and various nutrients and gels (all that pectin in apples, for example) and no milkfat. Probably the healthiest stuff in ice cream is agar (gelatin from seaweed). Creampuffs are full of fats and oils (maybe some from milk--often there's hydrogenated refined originally-vegetable oils), sweeteners, wheatstarch, etc.

Nasty things about a lot of studies is that they ignore -systems--type considerations.... few things are "independent", but studies often don't even bother considering "might there be dependencies, what might they be, and how can we address studying them?"

Stupid made-up example on the spur of the moment: studying fatalities in crosswalks WITHOUT also looking at where, where, time of day and year, conditions [rain/show/clear/heavy traffic/no traffic], it is at a light, is the light -working- etc. ?

One of the most extreme cases of "average doesn't tell the story" I dealt with involved use of barcode printig.... the US Postal Service probably dwarfs every other organization in the world in using barcode.... it prints/reads billions of them per year. Putting the USPS into the data dramatically skews the average. I created some charts which showed just how far off the average without the USPS data, was from the average with the USPS data.

That sort of skewing can occur in biological systems. The human body is extremely complex and has biochemical and biomechnical and even bioelectronic operations and control systems. And the input can -overload= the control and processing systems, and there are inputs which can literally fatally poison it.... the processing can't compensate or compensate fast eough, to not die or be otherwise fatally compromised.

In autoimmune diseases, the control system and processing can't sufficiently compensate to prevent the disease or do all that well containing damage from it.

#642 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2010, 08:35 PM:

Knowing that there are a fan or two of his here, I thought I'd note this:

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has named Richard Thompson to the 2011 Honours List as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire.

Well done, sir, and may you and we continue to enjoy the honour and the reason for it for many years!

#643 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2010, 09:10 PM:

It looks as though HFCS is about 128% as sweet as sucrose--ordinary sugar--which should mean that people would only get 86% of the fructose that they would get from the breakdown of an equivalent sweetness of sucrose.

I'm pretty sure that's mixed up--HFCS is designedly the same sweetness as sucrose. I think the 128% is relative to regular corn syrup.

#644 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2010, 09:37 PM:

A friend sent me a wonderful YouTube clip. I tried to post it here, but couldn't. If you go to YouTube and type Christmas Food Court Flash Mob, you'll find it. You'll smile.

#645 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2010, 10:10 PM:


Here is the link:

Another such flash mob drew so many well-intentioned people that the mall suffered structural damage.

#646 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2010, 11:02 PM:

Ginger, I'm so happy for you! Being in a relationship that inspires you to write sonnets is a wonderful thing! A joyful, healthy year to you.

And, everyone else, to you too.

#647 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2010, 03:04 AM:

Happy New Year, everyone!

Lee @610: broken link

Unsurprising, as that page is ancient.

Erik Nelson @621: ferret rescue?

Hm. Being rescued by any of the ferrets I knew seems a dubious proposition at best. It would seem far more likely that they'd just be saving me for later. Dessert, maybe.

HLN: Guinea pig notices heat come on, puzzled by sound and interesting-smelling breeze. Local human puzzled as to why this is worthy of note.

#648 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2010, 03:08 AM:

An early Happy New Year to all the fluorosphere. I get to work the overnight shift at a convenience store this coming night - pray for me, if you are so inclined.

#649 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2010, 03:15 AM:

Bruce @ 642: Cool!

#650 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2010, 03:21 AM:

Happy New Year, in case I forget to drop in and wish it to you tomorrow.

2010 has been kind of a weird year for me - though I'm not sure I could express just how - but I seem to be in a good frame of mind as it winds down. I wish you one and all an unambiguously positive 2011.

#651 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2010, 03:33 AM:

Lizzy, Stefan:

Good link. The comments depress me, though.

How quickly discussions of "us" turn into discussions of "them", or over-narrowings of the boundaries "us"-ness.

#652 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2010, 06:29 AM:

There's still a ton of spam that never gets through. We're constantly adjusting the filters.

#653 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2010, 07:10 AM:


It amuses me that when I check the spam filters on my email, Gmail's link targetting protocols suggest a bunch of recipes for spam (including, today, spam primavera, spam imperial tortilla sandwiches,and spicy spam kabobs). Has anyone ever found a use for any of these (other than posting them on Daily Kos back in the days when this was a recommedned way of dealing with trolls over there)?

#654 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2010, 07:41 AM:

RIP Rosie

#655 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2010, 10:25 AM:


Met with an old friend in serious shape who I believe will clearly benefit from the new health insurance rules . . . but he's worried about Death Panels.

May the new year find the management of Fox News afflicted with anal boils.

#656 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2010, 10:28 AM:

Store I visited with my sister and nieces the other day which I like:

Five and Under.

Kind of the next step up from a Dollar Tree.

Instead of B-movies and forgotten TV shows, the DVD section has two or three year old movies.

The game section had a few "German" board games on closeout . . . probably sold for $30 originally.

I picked up a neoprene sleeve for my no-name-brand tablet computer. $5.00.

#657 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2010, 11:54 AM:

Re: the Decision Points review, I found this passage illuminating and deeply sad:

It wasn’t that he didn’t care about black people. Outside of his family, he didn’t care about people, and Billy Graham taught him that ‘we cannot earn God’s love through good deeds’ – only through His grace, which Bush knew he had already received.
#658 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2010, 11:56 AM:

Greetings from the future:

It has been 2011 for about an hour, here. Looking good so far.

Happy new year, everybody!

#659 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2010, 12:07 PM:

Same to you, Paul A!

#660 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2010, 12:57 PM:

Paul A,
What's it like there in the 2nd decade of the 21st century? Does everyone have tricorders?

Happy new year to all the wonderful people of the fluorosphere!

#661 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2010, 01:35 PM:

Katheryn from Sunnyvale @660:

Cough, cough.

#662 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2010, 01:49 PM:

Cold morning.
Feather clouds stream across a wintry sky;
Old year passing by.

An early and heartfelt Happy New Year to all the folks on Making Light.

#663 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2010, 02:04 PM:

Egg nog and cookies at my place!

(To those who can't make it, happy new year anyway!)

#664 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2010, 02:06 PM:

Panettone, champagne and fireworks that would be illegal in a saner land here! But now I'm thinking some eggnog might be nice, too.

#665 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2010, 02:18 PM:

abi @c 661...

"It's Life, Jim, but not as we know it, not as we know it, not as we know it."
- from Startrekking Across the Universe

#666 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2010, 02:23 PM:

#656: Correction to self: 5 Below

#667 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2010, 02:42 PM:

Bruce Adelson @ 642:

And Annie Lennox is made an OBE (for working against HIV in Africa, not singing), and David Suchet a CBE.

Happy New Year, all! I've still got about 12 hours to go, so I'll see you in 2011 then.

#668 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2010, 03:17 PM:

Stefan Jones #655: ... anal boils which are not covered by their health insurance!.

#669 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2010, 03:56 PM:

David Harmon at the neighbour of the beast:, an irresistable craving for vindaloo curry, and no toilet paper within a thousand miles softer than 40 grit emery cloth.

(FX: wanders off humming "Ring of Fire" softly to himself.)

#670 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2010, 05:01 PM:

I am now a Level II Corruptor of the Young:

My nieces just made two pans of double-layer mint/chocolate fudge under my instruction.

And I am about to put four episodes of Doctor Who on their laptop.

[twirls moustache]

#671 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2010, 05:05 PM:

Stefan Jones #670:

Would that I had been so corrupted by an uncle like that. (Of course, I had no uncles at all, so I'm not comparing.) Long may your moustache flourish!

#672 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2010, 05:13 PM:

Serge 665:
And I feel fine.

#673 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2010, 05:46 PM:

Erik Nelson @ 672...

Only going forward 'cause we can't find reverse.

#674 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2010, 05:54 PM:

and boldly going forward where no man has gone before

#675 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2010, 06:00 PM:

Happy New Year, Abi! And to all the rest of you Europeans who are way ahead of us here in the US!

#676 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2010, 06:07 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @660: tricorders.

Abi@598: "even I can name the entire supply chain of vegetable-tanned goatskins." - and dried dragon skins as well...

#677 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2010, 06:17 PM:

Abi@664: "and fireworks that would be illegal in a saner land" - BoingBoing has a story about George Bush Fireworks which would might meet that definition... (I actually saw that story after reading your posting, so my first reaction was to remember doing New Years fireworks on the beach in Hawaii with my sister and her kids, who live there.)

#678 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2010, 06:45 PM:

Happy New Year, everyone. We've set of rockets and waved sparklers around, shaken hands with the neighbors and smelled the gunpowder thick in the air.

I think we're to bed now.

#679 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2010, 06:56 PM:

BoingBoing story comments has a link to my firework stand Flickr set.

#680 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2010, 07:03 PM:

Happy New Year!

I think I found this here last year, so it feels right to link it back again.

#681 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2010, 07:10 PM:

And a Happy New Year from London, UK. Big Ben has chimed.

May it be a happy, healthy and peaceful year for us all.

#682 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2010, 07:24 PM:

Happy new year to you all. Not only has Big Ben chimed, the fireworks people have made absolutely certain London knows that midnight has passed. Being 3 hours north of London, we watched it on tv, but it was a most splendid pyrotechnic display.

#683 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2010, 08:02 PM:

Happy New Year, people to the east.

Someone on another website, commenting from Australia earlier in the diurnal cycle, said "It's already 2011 in the Southern Hemisphere!" *facepalm*

#684 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2010, 08:29 PM:

My friend Paul sent the following in my reply to a New Year's message that suggested that maybe we'd finally get jet packs and robot maids in 2011:


¡uɐɟǝʇs ooʇ noʎ oʇ ɹɐǝʎ ʍǝu ʎddɐɥ ˙dn ǝpıs ʇɥbıɹ ǝɥʇ ǝʇıɹʍ oʇ ɐıןɐɹʇsnɐ uı ǝןdoǝd sʍoןןɐ ʇɐɥʇ ʎboןouɥɔǝʇ ʇsɐǝן ʇɐ ɹo

He's on vacation down under . . .

#685 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2010, 08:43 PM:

And in New York... Dick Clark's still at it!

#686 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2010, 08:58 PM:

Here's hoping a tall dark-haired man is first over your threshold for luck in the new year! I'm getting ready to settle down with a movie (most likely Down With Love, a fine retro rom com), a cocktail, and a toothsome selection of cheeses and salami. See you on the flip side!

#687 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2010, 10:25 PM:

HLN - Local woman is loaned two books in Lee & Miller's Liaden series by a friend. Startles dachshunds by repeatedly shouting "How did I not know of these earlier!" before rushing to scour the net for the whole series.

#688 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2010, 10:25 PM:

HLN - Local woman is loaned two books in Lee & Miller's Liaden series by a friend. Startles dachshunds by repeatedly shouting "How did I not know of these earlier!" before rushing to scour the net for the whole series.

#689 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2010, 10:36 PM:

Sorry for the double post.

#690 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2011, 12:07 AM:

Juli, you have much to look forward to.

Don't forget, if second-hand copies are proving difficult or expensive to get hold of, that Baen is in the middle of bringing the main sequence back into print.

Which two was it?

#691 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2011, 04:19 AM:

There's an argument that since the internet, and all sane computers, run on UTC, and the display of local time is a convenience for humans, we should all celebrate New Year by that timing.

It doesn't make much difference to me.

#692 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2011, 07:54 AM:

Juli Thompson @ 687: If you can't find print copies and are willing to read electronically, they are available from Baen as e-books in a host of formats, with many of the stories from the early Chapbooks available in two collections (Liaden Unibus I and II). There are also further Chapbooks and some books available directly from Lee & Miller's SRM Pulisher website - see

Be careful when ordering any books, because many of those now being produced collect two or three of the original books together, so there's a risk of buying the books stand-alone then buying the same books again. I discovered these back when the first three novels came out (late 1980s) and then a few years ago rediscovered the expanded series.

#693 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2011, 10:11 AM:

Paul@690: She loaned me Local Custom and Scout's Progress.

Dcb@692: Thanks!

When she loaned them to me, my friend mentioned that the authors had made poor choices in publishers, and the books are very hard to find. I'm relieved to hear that Baen is involved now. Thet are a known quantity in publishing, and I'll be passing them along to her.

#694 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2011, 10:57 AM:

Happy New Year, all of you!

By the way, what's with ML's squeezed-up text?

#695 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2011, 11:04 AM:

Bruce Cohen @667: Oddly, I heard the news about Ms. Lennox just as I was reading your post. I kowtow to her, with a "we are not worthy", and then add a standing ovation, which is very well-deserved indeed.

#696 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2011, 11:05 AM:

...and that should have read "heard the news on the radio just as..." Ante meridiem is no time to wake up and try to type coherently.

#697 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2011, 11:13 AM:

Happy New Year to all the MLers!

NYC is still a mess of unshoveled snow and the slop that is melting under it. The car has a good parking space until Monday. We may well see in the first dayclear of the New Year as I saw the last dayclear of the old year: Got out 9 double-spaced yesterday before heading out to the traditional NY's Eve haitian vodún celebrations with dear friends. Those pages need re-writing, re-organization and re-moval of waddage, and they are calling with a very loud voice.

Love, C.

#698 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2011, 08:12 PM:

Some video of our kitten visitor exploring the bed. Her right eye still seems to be inflamed; I think a follow-up visit to the vet is indicated. But she's definitely feeling livelier, and my partner describes her as "an appetite on four legs".

#699 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2011, 08:50 AM:

Happy birthday, PNH!

#700 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2011, 09:01 AM:

Happy Birthday, Patrick!

#701 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2011, 10:46 AM:

Happy Birthday, Patrick!

(and many more, all at least as happy)

#702 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2011, 11:28 AM:

Happy birthday, Patrick!

#703 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2011, 11:28 AM:

Happy birthday, Patrick!

#704 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2011, 11:49 AM:

Happy birthday to Patrick! Have many more. Not right away, of course.

#705 ::: Laina ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2011, 12:17 PM:

Happy Birthday, Patrick!

#706 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2011, 12:17 PM:

Happy B-day, Patrick!

#707 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2011, 01:08 PM:

Happy birthday, Patrick. May it be a good day and a good year!

#708 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2011, 01:27 PM:

Thy tip, hardback Papyri!

And many more.

#709 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2011, 01:40 PM:

Happy birthday, Patrick!

#710 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2011, 02:20 PM:

Bardic Happy Harp Kitty
(and that almost sounds like it means something).

And many returns of the sun to your day.

#711 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2011, 03:11 PM:


Craigslist is a great service. But the people who shop on Craigslist... pretty much suck.

I've been working on our friend Anne's estate, and tried putting some of her furniture on Craigslist for sale about a month ago.

This is not cheap, flimsy, particle board stuff, but good, sturdy, solid wood furniture dating from about the 1950's. Stuff that's already served several generations, and will easily serve several generations more, and more after that, for anyone who buys them.

I priced them at what I considered outrageously low prices. What I've found is:

1) No matter how low you price something on Craigslist, people who respond to your ad want to pay less. A lot less. They don't really want to see your stuff on Craigslist; they want to see it on FreeCycle.

2) People who email about wanting to look at the stuff, when you email back, nine times out of ten will never contact you again.

3) People who actually make an appointment to see the items will, nine times out of ten, never show up.

At this point, I've decided to contact some of the local estate-auction companies. Trying to sell Anne's stuff myself is just too much hassle.


#712 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2011, 03:31 PM:

Hau'oli lā hānau, Patrick.

#713 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2011, 04:24 PM:

Happy birthday, Patrick!

Craigslist varies a lot by area -- in Seattle, it seems to work much better than that, Bruce. Karen's had pretty much excellent experience with it.

#714 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2011, 04:43 PM:

Yes indeed, Happy Birthday!

Love, C.

#715 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2011, 05:18 PM:

Bruce Arthurs #711: When I was selling my boss's vintage radio (at his request ;-) ), the first guy who responded wanted to buy it at less than half price, with various denigrations and other attempts to pressure me. We waited a few weeks, and someone did show up who bought it at the "intended" bargain price ($225->$200).

#716 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2011, 05:43 PM:

Juli Thompson @ 693: I think it's more that they had bad luck with publishers. Their first three books sold - but didn't sell well enough to get them further contracts. They built up their readership by using online selling of Chapbooks etc. and got a new publisher. Then Meisha Merlin went under, due, I believe, to cash flow problems. Fledgling and (because the story got too long for one book) Saltation were financed by the ransom method* (I subscribed to both and it was really interesting seeing the work-in-progress followed by the finished product) because they didn't think a publisher would be interested in a "side" story. Turned out they were wrong (perhaps because the level of subscriptions showed they had a strong, loyal readership).

* I think that's the right name - release the first chapter; once a certain amount of money has been given, release the next chapter, etc. I think they had enough to finance Fledgling by the time they had released about 12 chapters. Subscribers giving at least $25 got the promise of a signed copy of the book - although sadly my copy of Fledgling arrived with only one signature (Sharon Lee), not two.

#717 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2011, 05:54 PM:

Back home after ten days away, and utterly out of ideas as to what to cook myself for dinner.

It is so tempting to buy junk food. I bought and deliberately chopped up salad fixings so as to guilt myself into including at least that in my meal plans.

Fortunately, the thought of ramen noodles makes my stomach churn right now.

#718 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2011, 06:49 PM:

Stefan Jones, I have been eating grilled ham and cheese for dinner for the last three days. I would have been eating truffles* for breakfast, but I brought those to a New Year's party and they disappeared pretty fast. The ham, though... oh, ham, you are so delicious. And, since you aren't a cookie, fudge, or a truffle, you count as healthy!

*truffle: contains Oreos, cream cheese, almond bark, and nothing else.

#719 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2011, 08:02 PM:

Yeah, I came home with a sack of treats which cry out "we come in many colors; eat a few of each and we're a balanced diet!" whenever I open the snack cabinet.

I provided the equivalent of that ham of yours to several people back east; I handed out gift boxes of smoked salmon to relatives.

FWIW, I settled on:


Rice, with black beans & sausage soup and an added can of black beans on the side.

Corn with chilis.

Almost everything from cans. I have lots of cans I need to work through.

#720 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2011, 08:10 PM:

Bruce at #711, I also picked up a creep who was trying to con me when I advertised something on Craigslist here in KCMO.

It was a bariatric electric wheelchair/scooter, rated to 450 lbs. I posted the ad, hoping for $1,500 I could give to my friend's daughter. He had passed, and she was looking to liquidate the household stuff so there was less to clean out.

About that same time (but after the ad) I spoke with a co-worker, I had just started working again at the job I still have. She let me know that such things were hard to sell because medicare pays for them new but won't pay for a used one.

The guy, who apparently was using a library computer, told me he was sending the money. Nothing showed up. I wrote a couple times and his emails started getting creepy.

I'm Real Glad I didn't give anything but my email information. I finally told him I considered is emails spam. And if he contacted me further he'd be talking to the police, because he was trying to get me to give personal information after I realized he was just a creep.

#721 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2011, 08:22 PM:

#655 Stefan

How does one deprogramm FuxAddicts from their frozensolid Belief in Fux as Truth--there is a gas station which has it on and the attendants are fully vested in that mindrot bullshit believign everythign else is LYING to them. However can they be redeemed from that insanity?!

#699 etc
Happy Birthday, Patrick! [echoing all the others]

#722 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2011, 08:53 PM:

A pair of posts, to link my old email to my new one; I thought I'd already done that.

#723 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2011, 08:56 PM:

To link the two emails, here's the old one.

#724 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2011, 08:58 PM:

I saw "TRON: Legacy" today.
It was better than "Prince of Persia".

#725 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2011, 09:10 PM:

Bruce Arthurs at 711: what you said, squared.

I recommend the estate-auction houses. They come and get the stuff, they are professional, yes they take a cut but it's worth it, and they send you the check within a reasonable amount of time. If you don't want to store stuff, if you really want to simply dispose of it in a respectful fashion, they are an excellent option.

#726 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2011, 09:45 PM:

You can't. They have to figure it out for themselves, and it isn't likely to happen.

#727 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2011, 09:46 PM:

#724: I thought Tron Legacy was . . . passable. Slick entertainment with very pretty graphics and workmanlike acting. But no real surprises, worldbuilding by plot convenience, and no relevance to our world. I don't feel my time or money was wasted, but if I weren't going to the movies with a family with strict PG limits I'd have rather watched True Grit.

#728 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2011, 10:29 PM:

Dinner the last two nights here has been:

Black eyed peas, cooked with a ham bone (with the difficult bits of ham left on it) which we'd stashed in the freezer this fall until we'd have time to cook beans with it, over brown-rice-medley-plus-the-last-of-the-normal-brown-rice.

Salad including The Last Of The Crumbly Stinky Party Cheese, The Last Of The Black Olives, and Sadly Not The Last Of The Innumerable Clementine Oranges. (See, before the holidays we had got a box of clementines, which we weren't eating fast enough. They went on sale after the holidays and we were given ANOTHER box. Some time this week we're having chicken-and-oranges over rice, and after that I'm at a loss. Suggestions welcome on what to do with about two dozen short-code little bitty oranges.)

And for afters, the last of the peanut butter balls, petits-fours, gingerbread cookies, and chex mix.


#729 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2011, 10:35 PM:

#724 & 727:

Tron Legacy (the short version): Needed more light cycles.

Tron Legacy (the long version): Very pretty graphics, 3D was handled very well*. The use of actual UNIX commands (and used for the correct purpose) was an unexpected bonus. No memorable dialog, so in that it was much like the original. Any deeper meaning or social commentary you may think you see is probably there purely by accident. Needed more light cycles.**

*sayeth she who gets headaches from poorly handled 3D.

**I'm hoping they get an extended scene in the Blu-Ray release.

#730 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2011, 10:37 PM:

What "TRON: Legacy" needed was David Warner to chew on the scenery.

#731 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2011, 11:01 PM:

Orange bread?
Also, you could juice them and freeze the juice. (Not sure if grating and freezing the peel is worth it.)

#732 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2011, 11:23 PM:

Thena, #728: Where are you located? If you're close enough to Houston or Atlanta (where I'll be this coming weekend) or LA (where I'll be the following weekend), I'll be happy to take those clementines off your hands.

#733 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2011, 11:31 PM:

I adore clementines... but the ones I got after Christmas aren't very good at all. Sometimes they're amazing, sometimes they're fun to peel but disappointing to eat.

#734 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2011, 11:54 PM:

It's my understanding that we can start voting for the Hugos. Also, if I remember correctly, Making Light is eligible in the fanzine category, and so are its hosts & moderators for their writing.

#735 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2011, 03:02 AM:

@729: "Any deeper meaning or social commentary you may think you see is probably there purely by accident."

I disagree... there were too many fragments of social or philosophical commentary for it to be accidental. And none of them really came together to form anything. I diagnose too many script rewrites; somebody worked hard to make a great movie, and then it got diced. Probably by forcing in too many light-cycle scenes, honestly.

(I don't know that any version of it *was* a great movie. Only that I can see the symptoms that somebody tried.)

#736 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2011, 03:38 AM:


There's a bit of a spectrum on that, and it can show in SF movies, with it being so dependent on ideas. At one end, maybe movies such as Blade Runner, then The Matrix in the middle with its use of the ideas struggling against the action-movie memes, and this movie at the other end, where you can at least see that somebody tried.

Maybe it's a quirk of my thinking, but I tend to look past the spectacle and ask why, or sometimes how. It's partly why I don't watch horror movies, I'm maybe too rational. You see a clip from some Japanese movie, the sort of shock-horror which frightens politicians, and I'm thinking, "Obviously the guy's real leg is under that cloth-draped table." I don't react in the way the film-maker expects.

You think anyone is going to accept a letter of transit in Casablanca at face value, when everyone knows they've been stolen? But that's not what the story is about. Maybe I should fan-fic it with Rick as a skilled forger?

Casablanca gets away with it, partly because of the sort of men that both Rick and Captain Renault are. You watch them walking away into the fog, and you can imagine that Captain Renault has been quietly and deliberately ignoring the obvious for the whole film.

#737 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2011, 03:50 AM:

HLN: My mother died a couple of hours ago, in hospital, after a long, slow, decline, and a final illness. In some ways, we're already used to her not being around. The last few months have been a prolonged observation of a collapsing wave-function.

None of us here feel good, but there's a sense of relief that it's all over.

I can anticipate the sympathy from all here. And thanks.

Vera Grace Bell, neé Thompson. b. 1927-03-30 d. 2011-01-03

#738 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2011, 05:58 AM:

Stefan Jones @717 -- I'm totally ready for healthier stuff right now, too, but I'm not ruling out ramen entirely. Was thinking a ramen soup with added fresh (and/or frozen) vegetables and maybe a few shrimp might be nice for lunch.

I/we didn't eat completely unhealthy over the holidays, it was just too much, too often. (Je ne regrette rien!)

#739 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2011, 06:25 AM:

Dave @#737

My condolences, may all your memories of her be happy ones.

<#include VirtualHug.h>

<#include CocoaDustedTruffles.h>

<#include SingleMalt.h>

#740 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2011, 06:43 AM:

Sorry for your loss, Dave.

#741 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2011, 06:48 AM:

Dave Bell @ 737: Sympathies for your loss. May you soon start to remember the good times with your mother, rather than the decline.

#742 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2011, 07:49 AM:

Dave Bell #737: My sympathies too. Even with plenty of warning, it's never easy.

#743 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2011, 08:07 AM:

Dave Bell @737: My condolences. Not only is it not easy with plenty of warning, but the whole "plenty of warning" part itself can be very hard.

#744 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2011, 09:21 AM:

Dave Bell @ 737 - My condolences.

#745 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2011, 09:23 AM:

I really enjoyed Charlie Stross's post about reasons to be cheerful.

#746 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2011, 10:32 AM:

My condolences, Dave.

#747 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2011, 11:26 AM:

My condolences too, Dave.

#748 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2011, 11:29 AM:

Sorry to hear, Dave. Hoping otherwise good things for you and your family.

#749 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2011, 12:08 PM:

Dave, my condolences.

#750 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2011, 12:13 PM:

Thena #728:

Risotto plus hot italian sausage plus specially-bought black-eyed peas yielded one fine hoppin' john, my favorite way to invite New Year's luck.

Clementine clafoutis? I tried making that a couple of years ago and it was an excellent way to use up a few. (Think I found the recipe in the NYT.)

Clementines do indeed vary; I first fell in love with North African ones when I was in Italy. The Californian ones are all over the map, but I avoid the Cuties in favor of the Darlings. Alas, Cuties are all I've seen this year.

#752 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2011, 12:27 PM:

Dave: I'm sorry for your loss. As a friend pointed out to me when my mother died, "you haven't just lost your mom, you've lost your job" (of taking care of her); I found that took a lot of adjusting to.

#753 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2011, 12:29 PM:

Dave, I'm sorry. The advance warning doesn't always help, any more than knowing you're going over the side of a slippery rock before it happens helps.

#754 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2011, 12:37 PM:

re Tron: I would have liked the second half of the movie, but seeing as how the main character was carrying it on a chain around his neck at the end, I guess we'll have to wait.

Also, it should get an award for "Most Use of Skintight Clothing in a PG Motion Picture". And I miss the old one's Wendy Carlos score: the constant ominous thrumming got on my nerves after a while. And I wish Boxleitner had gotten more than ten lines; I had to go home and play a B5 episode just to hear him talk some more.

There's a note at IMDB from Bridges about the surreal feeling he had being scanned for the movie.

re 729: I noticed the Unix too. The Lorem Fortranum of old movies really gets on my nerves.

re 736: I don't think that Casablanca can really be faulted for that since, IRL, that's pretty much the way that sort of thing played out-- not precisely, but between defects of communication, corruption, and sheer stupidity, bogus papers work all too well, and the real things fail often enough. But I understand exactly how you feel: I am prone at times to fall into analyst mode, particularly when it comes to plotting (which is where Avatar lost me, seeing as how it is constructed entirely of tropes).

Worst part of seeing PG-rated movies right now: that gratingly overblown Justin Bieber biopic trailer.

#755 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2011, 12:57 PM:

Dave Bell #737: My condolences.

#756 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2011, 01:05 PM:

Dave, #737: My condolences on your loss. May she be remembered well.

#757 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2011, 01:08 PM:

Dave Bell (737): My condolences. Fast or slow, it's never easy. Take care of yourself.

#758 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2011, 01:22 PM:

Andrew Plotkin @735 -- it's established in the film that Renault is good at ignoring things -- "I'm shocked -- Shocked! -- to discover that gambling has been going on here" is only the most obvious example.

Serge @734 -- Nominations are now open, not voting. Different step in the process. Aside from that, your comment is accurate.

Dave Bell -- I add my condolences.

#759 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2011, 01:27 PM:

Tom Whitmore @ 758... Thanks for the correction. I did mean that nominations were open.

#760 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2011, 01:37 PM:

About Capitaine Renault and the letters of transit... Movies have an advantage over prose in that they set the pace and it's only after the story has been told that one gets a 'refrigerator' moment. That's how scriptwriter Ernest Lehman described the cropduster scene in "North by Northwest": you wake late at night, you're hungry so you look for a snack in the fridge then you suddenly go "Wait a minute, that was totally absurd." In the case of "TRON: Legacy", I had refrigerator moments from beginning to end, and it was a reminder that, when technology can allow anything, anything is what you get. Watching it, I found myself thinking that "TRON" was a better film. It was using the cutting-edge tech of its era, and used its limitations to create a place that was more alien than what the recent movie offered.

#761 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2011, 01:58 PM:

Dave Bell @737:

My condolences as well on the loss of your mother. There's never a good or easy way to lose a parent, neither the swift nor the slow.

#762 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2011, 03:02 PM:

@Dave condolences.

My aunt and cousins had recently been through a similar situation; my uncle passed leaving behind a mix of sadness and relief.

#763 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2011, 03:03 PM:

Dave Bell @ #737, my sympathy and condolences too. Watching a long slide and knowing you tried your hardest to slow it down doesn't make the final fall any easier to accept.

#764 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2011, 03:17 PM:

Well, I'm sure you will all be glad to hear that I did indeed get in some snowshoeing and cross-country skiing (neither of which I've ever done before, since the one time I was on cross-country skis 30+ years ago lasted all of 30 minutes not counting getting the skis on..), and only just missed out on some downhill skiing (couldn't wait for the next ski school class, sent Fabulous Girlfriend off to hit the slopes as a reward for being patient while cross-country skiing the day before). We also danced until midnight, had champagne, kissed, and ahem. We attempted to watch Russian cartoons on YouTube, but the resort wifi was slower than cold molasses, so we gave up on those. The four days went by so fast!

The Ex and the Son apparently also had a good time at my house, taking care of dogs, cats, and kittens with only a few scars on their ankles to prove it.

Thank you Serge, Abi, Albatross, and Xopher -- I hope your New Years' celebrations were just as much fun.

Happy Belated Birthday to Patrick!

Dave Bell: my sincere condolences on your loss. As others have mentioned, even with advance warning, it's a hard process to go through.

#765 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2011, 03:23 PM:

Ginger @ 764... Watching Russian cartoons on YouTube counts as 'ahem'?

#766 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2011, 04:22 PM:

Serge @ 765: Yeah...I mean, Yes! That's it. How did you ever guess?

#767 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2011, 04:55 PM:

Ginger @ 766... It's that keen intellect of mine again. Speaking of Russian cartoons, years ago I saw one about a fat cat whose owner wanted him to remove wild birds off her farm, but unfortunately all he wanted to do was to fly like them. If there's a link to that, let me know.

#768 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2011, 05:06 PM:

I would like to point out that our Gracious Hosts will be at GAFilk in Atlanta, GA this weekend, where Patrick is the Super Seekrit Guest. Perhaps there should be a small Gathering of Light during the course of the weekend; I suggest that Saturday evening would be a good time. If those folx not attending the con itself want to have dinner during the banquet (6:00), I'd be happy to join you; the banquet room and dinner dance opens to everyone once food is no longer being served, and Patrick's concert is immediately following, at 8:30. Interested parties can e-mail me at fgneqernzre@zvaqfcevat.pbz -- I'll be leaving on Thursday, so let me know before then.

#769 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2011, 05:13 PM:

Apropos of nothing in particular: imagine the fun you could have if ICANN were to permit the .pbz suffix.

#770 ::: Lydy Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2011, 05:35 PM:

Dave, my condolences. Expected doesn't mean easy.

#771 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2011, 05:57 PM:

Ginger: really glad to hear you had a good vacation. Hope you get to try the downhill skiing sometime - it's fun.

#772 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2011, 06:24 PM:

Dave Bell@737

My condolences.

#773 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2011, 07:17 PM:

Dave Bell at 737: I'm sorry for your loss. I've been there. Be kind to yourself.

#774 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2011, 07:51 PM:

Dave Bell: I'm sorry for your loss.

#775 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2011, 08:06 PM:

Serge @767: It sounds like a Kot Leopold cartoon. I'll look for it, but if you google that name you should find those cartoons. ("Kot", as others more versed in Russian will tell you, means "cat".)

dcb @ 771: It looked like fun! I had a lovely time cross-country skiing, so I'm not complaining -- she was very patient with me, and is clearly an experienced skier. She deserved some quality downhill skiing time!

#776 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2011, 08:07 PM:

Dave Bell: my condolences as well. I wish for you that all your memories of your mother be happy ones.

#777 ::: Laina ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2011, 08:38 PM:

Dave Bell - I'm sorry for your loss.

#778 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2011, 11:07 PM:

#737 Dave

My condolences. Such situations, are always sad ones.

#779 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2011, 12:10 AM:

Ginger: The generic word, for "cat" (as in a pet) is кошка (koshka). кот is more specifically a tomcat.

BTW... Your girlfriend needs to show you the Birthday Song of the Crocodile Zhenya.

Trust me.

#780 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2011, 12:27 AM:

Dave, Condolence. It's always hard,and I don't know which is worse, the sudden end, or the lingering one.

I'm sorry.

#781 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2011, 03:19 AM:

Thanks, guys.

I'm going to have a rough day, didn't sleep well, and I'm combining a routine hospital check for myself (routine, but I worry a little) with starting on the paperwork (documents to collect from the hospital, for a start).

And I found I'd missed taking my assorted tablets yesterday...

#782 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2011, 05:37 AM:

In other news: In a couple of days I'll be off to Costa Rica for a bit over a week, from where I won't have Internet access. Preparations are getting a bit crazy, so I'm giving an initial "goodbye" now, even though I may manage another few posts.

#783 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2011, 07:12 AM:

Terry @779: Thanks! I will make sure to watch Crokodil Gena with her.

And now for the latest sonnet:

We stand under the stars and watch them unfold into brightness
As the night deepens across the sky, and the glow of sunset fades;
We find the familiar shapes of the constellations in the deepness
of the night, and holding hands, we negotiate the barely visible icy facades
That line the trail. In the darkness and in the woods, we steal kisses
That fog our glasses, and strain against the layers that protect us
Against the chill air. It is winter, but our love keeps us warm, encompasses
Us in invisible protection against all hurts thus far. Each caress
Serves to remind us and renew our passion, for each other as well
As for life. Old pains are left forgotten, while new joys are shared
And a new life is engendered by love, towards which we propel
Each other through our thoughts and feelings that are declared
Each night, each kiss, each time we remove the space between
Us, each time we look to the stars above, or into eyes so serene.

#784 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2011, 07:17 AM:

Ginger @ 775... I just looked Kot Leopold on YouTube and there are are quite a few of those cartoons out there. They're not the one I was thinking of though. By the way, if you don't want to make your Lady cry over kitties, don't look up "Allegro Non Troppo Valse Triste". If you want her to laugh over kitties, look up "Simon's Cat".

#785 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2011, 09:04 AM:

Serge @ 784: Due to the vagaries of menopausal hormones, I'm more likely to be the one crying over sentimental cartoons, commercials, and the like.

I do like "Simon's Cat" and that's a good one to share -- thanks for the reminder!

#786 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2011, 09:46 AM:

Found elsewhere on the web, presented here as a riddle...what do these have in common?

A candle flame seen at 30 miles on a dark, clear night.
The tick of a watch under quiet conditions at 20 feet.
One teaspoon of sugar in two gallons of water.
One drop of perfume diffused into the entire volume of a three-room apartment.
The wing of a bee falling on your cheek from a distance of one centimeter.

As googling any of the sentences will get you the answer, I'll just ROT13 it here for the impatient: Gurl ner yvzra sbe gur svir frafrf, qrfpevorq va rirelqnl grezf. V fnj vg urer , ohg nccneragyl vg'f sebz n 1962 cncre*.

*Tnynagre, R. (1962). Pbagrzcbenel cflpubculfvpf. Ubyg, Evaruneg, Jvafgba

#787 ::: Chris W. ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2011, 10:19 AM:

Rot 13'd to avoid spoiling Russ' riddle.

V jbaqre vs nalbar unf qbar n fvzvyne fghql sbe gur frafrf (yvxr onynapr, cebcevbprcgvba, grzcrengher naq cnva) juvpu nera'g vapyhqrq va gur pnabavpny svir.

#788 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2011, 10:59 AM:

Russ @786: These are all things the President pays more attention to than the concerns of his liberal base.

#789 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2011, 11:02 AM:

BTW, there's a new stone in the Toon River Anthology:

Even though Cora was friends with Blondie,
She used to ask me why I didn't just fire him
And let him stay fired. He didn't get much done,
And he took long lunches and he goofed off
At his desk all day long. Oh, he was honest
But I couldn't trust him with any important work,
So I fobbed off the clients I didn't care about on him,
And let him reorganize the stock room from time to time.
Some of the board members mentioned him in meetings,
With pointed references to 'Dead Wood' and such,
And one even hinted that those little bits of hair that stuck out
Bore some kind of resemblance to my own. He didn't last.
A man can stand for just so much. No, he wasn't my son,
But I made a promise to J.B. when he disinherited the boy
That he'd always have a job at J.C. Dithers and Company
As long as he lived. I kept that promise, hard as it was.
But I never promised I wouldn't kill him, and one day I did.

from the New Pals Club Web-Log

#790 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2011, 11:17 AM:

Who owns your digital downloads? (Hint: it's not you)/i>

Steve Jobs once said, "People want to own their music." Someone better tell the folks who run the iTunes Store and its competitors.
When you pay for a digital music track or album from an online service, you get a limited set of rights and you most assuredly don't own those downloads.

One of the commenters on the article posted,

"Digital contracts average Internet surfer and shopper is supposed to read, understand and agree to over 30,000 lines of contract terms and conditions. [which equates to] about 1 year's workload for a lawyer to review, interpret and summarize the effects of such contracts.... Many of the contract terms would be disallowed or invalid in a traditional face-to-face transaction, but ...courts,..generally [uphold] these online terms and conditions contracts....

"..bricks-and-mortar businesses have ..begun similar practices. I...was presented with a cash-register tape almost 3 feet long with printed terms and conditions on both sides to a checkout counter with other people behind me. Obviously the writers never intended for customers to actually read the text....

terry flores
01/03/2011 07:28 PM

#791 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2011, 11:54 AM:

Dave Bell @737: Oof. It's hard feeling relief when one feels one "should" feel only sadness. For me, the grief comes later, when I recall a conversation I'll never get to finish, or think of something s/he would have enjoyed, that now I can't share, for example.

You have my sympathy.

#792 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2011, 12:08 PM:

Boggle. Double-triple Boggle with Whipped Cream and sprinkles. Why didn't this guy meet his fate 65 million years ago with the rest of the dinosaurs?

#793 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2011, 12:21 PM:

C. Wingate @754: Lorem Fortranum

Oh, dear Ghu. Where else would this expression even make sense? I love Making Light.

#794 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2011, 12:22 PM:

Dave Bell, my condolences. May you have the support and help you need, and may her memory be for blessing.

#795 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2011, 12:26 PM:

Lee @768: GAFilk

Something is squirming around in my brain to the effect that if Ted Sturgeon had ever been a GoH at one of these, would he be the GAFilk de Fish?

I'm not Serge. Can you tell?

#796 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2011, 12:36 PM:

I wanted this in a separate post, because it felt strange to combine my sympathy for Dave Bell and my longer comments on the last couple weeks of my life.

I've just had, I think, the most informative couple of weeks of my life - it started with my scaring myself very badly when a friend wound up in hospital (she was only in for three days, but her being ill and my reaction to it forced me to do a lot of very serious thinking). I've come to an understanding of myself, my psyche and my view of the world that was long overdue.

I also spent ten days in Italy with my family (a long-promised vacation), which was glorious - and filled with beautiful sites, excellent food and much relaxation. Even fourteen hour flights from Rome to LA are fine when you're sitting there thinking and writing* and coming to a new understanding of things.

I've spent the last two weeks being happier than I've ever been - I've been going to sleep smiling, waking up smiling (and this is before coffee, for a serious espresso-head) and I've been serene to a degree that would have astounded the me of three weeks past.

I'm beginning to understand so much now - about prayer, about why one prays, how one (I believe) should pray, about liking one's self, why people believe in repairing the world, and what it means to put others before yourself. I feel like I'm becoming a real adult, on my own terms.

Right now, I'd like the courage to tell the friend who sparked all of this everything - she knows a little of it, but there's so much more to tell, and I'm afraid of pushing her away if I tell her everything.

To borrow a great line that isn't mine: I left good a long way back (with apologies to Spider Robinson).

*: Something like 90 journal pages; call it 40,000-50,000 words in the last two weeks.

#797 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2011, 12:37 PM:

Jacque @ 795... I'm not Serge

Tonight, on "To Tell The Truth", host Philip K Dick asks...
"Will the real Serge please stand up?"

#798 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2011, 02:02 PM:

Jacque, #795: Click thru on the link and take a look at the GAFilk logo. It changes from year to year, but it always incorporates the GAFilkefish. And yes, the "e" is a separate syllable.

#799 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2011, 02:47 PM:

Benjamin Wolfe @796:

If I were to describe the last year (the year I turned forty), many of the things I would say would bear a striking resemblance to your comment.

Which is not to say it's all sunshine and roses and little soft pink kittens. The trick is keeping going with the prayer and the liking one's self, the giving and the fixing, even when the sleet is dripping down the back of your neck, your community's enmeshed in a flamewar, you're prey to galloping insomnia, and your boss is the Heironymus Bosch of process design.

But you know? It's possible to do so, and it makes the sleet and the flames, the sleeplessness and the weird demons disguised as weekly metrics reports that much more tolerable.

#800 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2011, 03:52 PM:

Is there a viable non-NewAge alternative to prayer for atheists that doesn't involve joining a meditation cult?

#801 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2011, 03:57 PM:

Abi @ 799... weird demons disguised as weekly metrics reports

I want to read that story.

#802 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2011, 04:06 PM:

" forgot the cover sheet on your weekly Cthulhu Report".

#803 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2011, 04:11 PM:

But... But.... I did post the report on the infernet!

#804 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2011, 04:14 PM:

Earl Cooley III @800 -- depends entirely on how you define those terms, which are fairly highly loaded. Lots of meditation can be done entirely on your own -- no interaction with others required, hence no cult. Just reading several books to find what form actually works for you, and practicing. Lots of practicing.

And some forms of prayer can be aimed at oneself -- if one leaves God out of the start of the serenity prayer, it's still useful ("Grant me the power to change what I can change, the serenity to accept what I can't change, and the wisdom know the difference" -- God may be one source of that granting, the universe another, and pure chance a third.

#805 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2011, 04:15 PM:

You know what I like?

Those shabby little brick-shaped fruitcakes distributed by bread companies leading up to Christmas.

I eat narrow slices of them, toasted, for breakfast.

There, I admitted it.

#806 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2011, 04:20 PM:

Stefan Jones (805): I like those, too. I don't even bother toasting the slices.

#807 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2011, 04:25 PM:

When I read about fruitcakes, I think back to John Hemry's JAG-in-space novels, one of which had the crew celebrate the Holidays by placing a fruitcake in a torpedo tube and then launching it.

#808 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2011, 05:33 PM:

Russ @ 786: I assume, or guess, gur yvzvgf bs uhzna frafbel creprcgvba?

#809 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2011, 06:07 PM:

"I don't even bother toasting the slices."

What? Now that's crazy talk.

If you don't toast the pieces you're just eating cake for breakfast.

As opposed to eating toast.


On my lunch break I visited the Safeway down the street and bought six of those fruitcakes. I intend to pack them away and unfreeze one a month.

#810 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2011, 06:08 PM:

I got to eat a lot of a fruitcake relative in Italy: Panforte di Siena. Nom nom nom!

#811 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2011, 06:45 PM:

Stefan Jones (809): Now that's crazy talk. If you don't toast the pieces you're just eating cake for breakfast.

Yes? Your point being?

I've been known to eat pumpkin pie for breakfast, too.

How is that different from any of these canonical breakfast foods: toast with jam, pancakes/waffles/French toast with syrup, cinnamon rolls, or Danishes?

#812 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2011, 07:02 PM:

#811: Hey, I was being silly!

Last week I had for breakfast things like leftover cinnamon buns, panetone, and chocolate covered biscotti.

#813 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2011, 07:21 PM:

If you want an essentially atheistic meditative practice, you might want to investigate vipassana meditation. This is one of the early meditation forms from Theravada Buddhism, which in its original form was closer to a depth psychology than a religion. (All the layers of religion about worshiping Bodhisattvas and Buddhas and so on have accreted over the ensuing centuries.) There are a lot of religious forms associated with it, but you can choose to take them or ignore them.

I'm not a teacher, but vipassana meditation as I understand it consists in sitting still and focusing your attention on your breathing, and simply watching other thoughts and letting them go by as they come up.

The form of Zen meditation called "shikantaza" or "just sitting", which is typically taught in Soto Zen, is very similar if not identical. Just sit still, breathe. Each time your mind goes off wandering bring it back to just sitting and breathing. "Like a door swinging in the wind in an empty house", one teacher has said. Another variation often given to beginners in Zen practice is to sit still and count your breaths from 1 to 10, and then start over at 1. The advantage of this is that it's easier to realize when your mind has wandered and you've ocmpletely lost track of counting.

I don't think there is much room in any of those three approaches for anything superficially religious or mystical. If you sit down and try them, however, you are likely to find that any one of them is extraordinarily harder than it seems, and they have the potential to take you a very long way into understanding your own mind. Eventually you may find you want a teacher, but that's up to you.

#814 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2011, 08:51 PM:

Open Threadiness: Today I learned that Japanese people say "Moshi moshi" when they answer the phone because foxes can't pronounce 'moshi moshi'. I also learned that they say "moshi" twice instead of once because ghosts can only say "moshi" once.'s not necessarily weirder than any place else, it's just a particular kind of weird. (Perhaps I find this attractive because I come from a place where people hang empty bottles on dead trees to catch ghosts. Blue ones, particularly the dark blue ones like Philip's Milk of Magnesia bottles, work best.)

#815 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2011, 09:21 PM:

One more thing prayer- and meditation-related:

I don't pray because that has never felt right to me. What I do instead from time to time is try to focus on feeling grateful - intensely grateful for my living a good life in so many ways, intensely grateful for being human, intensely grateful for existing at all, intensely grateful for the cosmos as a whole, intensely grateful to the cosmos as a whole. I think maybe what I get out of this is something like what others get out of prayer.

#816 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2011, 09:40 PM:

Stefan Jones (812): I know. I should have left the smiley in.

You also ran headlong into one of my pet peeves; I've wanted to make that particular point for a long time now. Sorry about that.

#817 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2011, 11:01 PM:

A Justin Bieber biopic? How is that possible???

#818 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2011, 11:11 PM:

Stefan @ #805, I like those because the don't use the dreaded Citron as one of the dried fruits. Our local brand was Manor Bakery, who's recipe was bought by IBT but still produced and often available in the bread thrift shop (Woot, it's $2 rather thaN $5 A block. WOOT)

#819 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2011, 11:19 PM:

The fruitcake blocks I bought at Safeway over lunch are from Benson's Bakery of Bogart, Georgia.

No citron, but a lot of scary ingredients. I'm not so sure about toasting it now, for fear of setting it off.

#820 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2011, 11:21 PM:

Horn tooting:

Returning to my Role Playing Game roots, I wrote a little adventure for the Villains & Vigilantes game system. SF themed, or at least Sci-Fi themed, ripped off from any number of short stories and Outer Limits episodes.

Official Press Release- January 1, 2011

The rest of it:

#821 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2011, 11:28 PM:

Allan Beatty @ 817... Are you sure you weren't watching the Skiffy Channel's year-end "Twilight Zone" marathon?

#822 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2011, 11:36 PM:

Lila @814: Thanks for that information. When we made up the cell-phone bit in "The Mikado," one of my fellow chorus members gave me the information that Japanese people answer the phone "Moshi moshi," and that was all I knew about it. Foxes can't say it once. Ghosts can't say it twice. It makes sense. I owe you.

#823 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2011, 11:36 PM:

Serge 821:I'd rather watch that than a Twilight marathon.

#824 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2011, 11:46 PM:

Erik Nelson @ 823... I'd rather switch to AMC and watch "Van Helsing" five times in a row.

#825 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 12:34 AM:

Lila: That is very cool; I had never heard that explanation even though I lived in Japan as a kid.

I will trade you a bit of trivia for it: Did you know that some fox spirits apparently emigrated to Hawai'i with the Japanese in the 1800s? There have been occasional fox-possessions here, at least up until a couple decades ago (I don't know when the most recent one was) and a few priests of some sects who specialized in exorcising fox spirits.

#826 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 12:38 AM:

Serge @824: 'Van Helsing' is an American Movie Classic!?!

#827 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 12:48 AM:

My friends just lost one of their pet birds (a canary, to old age and disease), and asked for a sonnet to remember her by.

Here's what I wrote:

To Twiggy, on Her Passing
Not the superthin model who spawned a Look,
But a lovely yellow and brown little bird
With an attitude and a momma who undertook
The careful task s of avian husbandry and preferred
To care for her flock like the precious children they
Could be. Twiggy flew across the room to nest behind
The curtain rod above the large window, with an array
Of straws for her nest. She and her friends dined
On the best in seeds and wholesome foods, plus
Treats, as their momma quite spoiled them all ,
No matter what species – she made a fuss
Over their health, well-being, and would marshall
Her resources to ensure their care. Despite this love,
Twiggy’s days drew to a close, and now she nests in the sky above.

Ten Golden Feathers
Ten feathers floated down on a gentle breeze
And became something more , a new life, golden,
Each one folding into the others into a frieze
Of a bird that then came alive, who served to gladden
The hearts of all who knew her. She flitted about
The room, raced the other birds, darted into their
Cages and slept in companionship or in her hideout
Above the window, a bird without compare.
Ten golden feathers, each fitted to each,
Shifted into a precious yellow-brown bird
Brought somehow alive, perhaps to teach
Us all the meaning of love, no matter how absurd
It may seem; love crosses all boundaries and time without end;
Ten golden feathers, together, which once created a precious friend.

#828 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 12:50 AM:

One of "worldly" the advantages to prayer (specifically the rosary), for me, is that it's an exercise of the mind that moves me, by following its steps, from whatever state of mind I was in to a peaceful and reflective one.

If you're mathematically inclined, you could do some complex and layered proof or working-out. A linguist might get some of the benefits out of writing out declensions and conjugations. Memorizing and reciting poetry might also have the same effect.

I guess the question to ask is, what would you want out of this? Or, put another way, what interests you about it?

#829 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 01:11 AM:

Mary Aileen @811:

Toast (or cake for that matter) is just a delivery vehicle for preserves. I like berry jam (marionberry especially), marmalade, and lemon curd, but recently I discovered Key Lime curd1, and it is just awesome on raisin toast.

1. I know, no whey.

#830 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 02:46 AM:

Question for the Encyclopaedia Fluorosphericana (subsection: vets).

The kitten appears to have demodex. We were given lime-sulfur dip to treat her with, but given the weather and other considerations, we've been holding off, especially as the vet said this wasn't normally contagious between cats.

I've done some web research. I would bet my betting nickel that what she's got is d. gatoi rather than d. cati -- she's still doing a LOT of grooming and biting, even after we dealt with the fleas. I've found several sites which suggest that d. gatoi is in fact communicable, though it appears to require close contact, which has not happened yet. I've found one site which suggested that Revolution was effective against demodex, several others which said it's not, and even one (run by a vet) which says the lime-sulfur dip isn't effective for this.

I'm not asking for an online diagnosis or treatment suggestion -- but if you know anything about feline demodex, and specifically d. gatoi, that I could talk to my vet about, I'd appreciate hearing it.

Aside from this issue, the kitten is vastly improved -- affectionate, bouncy, and playful -- and she smells like a healthy cat, which she didn't when we brought her in. She's been introduced to the other cats, and while they aren't exactly being friendly yet, there's no overt hostility, no stalking and growling, just the occasional hiss when the little one gets too close. I think we might actually be able to integrate her into the household.

#831 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 06:48 AM:

A skim with Google suggests that d. gatoi is new enough that the possibility is worth a mention, but it's also different enough from d. cati to be distinguished. But the vet might well tell you that the best way to tell is to see whether the lime-sulfur wash does any good. The vet might think something less polite. The stuff is potentially messy, and indoors needs some care, but you do need to use it.

Sorry, but you look to be in a bit of a corner here.

#832 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 06:50 AM:

A skim with Google suggests that d. gatoi is new enough that the possibility is worth a mention, but it's also different enough from d. cati to be distinguished. But the vet might well tell you that the best way to tell is to see whether the lime-sulfur wash does any good. The vet might think something less polite. The stuff is potentially messy, and indoors needs some care, but you do need to use it.

Sorry, but you look to be in a bit of a corner here.

#833 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 09:02 AM:

I was too lazy to cite last night but here are my sources for foxes can't pronounce "moshi moshi" and ghosts can't say "moshi" twice.

Fans of this sort of thing: if you haven't seen the 1964 movie "Kwaidan", go get it. It's awesome. So is Akira Kurosawa's "Dreams".

#834 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 09:05 AM:

Lee @ 830: The main reason -- well, two main reasons that Demodex is not considered contagious are (1) most cats can carry some mites without any disease and (2) an active Demodex dermatitis usually indicates some sort of underlying condition that affects the cat's immune system. The normal cat with the normal immune system is perceived to be fairly resistant to the mites, which are superficial -- that is, they live in the superficial layers of the skin (either the hair follicles or the keratin layer, which is the "dead layer"). If this is a young kitten, her immune system might not be fully up to speed yet, although if you have a lot of trouble with the treatment, you may have to take a closer look at her health.

Personally, I would start with ivermectin or revolution and use one of those topically, possibly even topically alternating with systemic administration (based on my experiences with mites in mice, which are also persistent and difficult to eradicate). You may need to alternate the ivermectin (or revolution) with the lime-sulfur or even amitraz, both of which are strong-smelling and require careful handling. Expect a longer course of treatment in order to successfully eliminate the mites, as you'll be killing off adults in waves that are replaced by newly-hatched young. Most mite species have an 11-day life cycle, so a one week on, one week off cycle of treatment repeated about -- well, in mice we repeat 6-8 times but we're checking for the presence of mites during the treatment phase and consider it a success once we get 3 consecutive negative tests.

You can email me directly at the email linked in my name, and you can certainly have your vet email me for discussion.

#835 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 09:17 AM:

Clifton @ #825, are there literal foxes in Hawai'i as well? If not, that must make it a lot more difficult for the fox spirits to hide.

Also, Lee: IANA vet, and I have not treated a cat with lime/sulfur, but it worked like bloody MAGIC on my rescued dog (some folks may remember her before and after pix). Yes, it's messy and it stinks. We found a wire crate with towels and a small ceramic heater with fan made the drying-off process tolerable.

#836 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 09:20 AM:

Hm, I thought the email address would be obvious -- but in any case, here it is: -- feel free to use it.

#837 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 10:23 AM:

abi at 828 : I believe I get much the same feeling from wrapping tefillin each morning - even after doing it daily for years, the combination of the physical ritual and the mindful state I try to attain is deeply calming. Even if I only take ten minutes to pray, it can be enough. There are some days where it takes longer, and I try to give myself that time when I can.

Side note on this: I started wrapping tefillin several years ago because I found it intrinsically appealing - but in the last two-ish weeks, I've gotten so much more out of it that it's striking.

#838 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 10:31 AM:

Abi @ 799... weird demons disguised as weekly metrics reports.

Serge @ 801 I want to read that story.

Hasn't Charlie Stross got round to writing it yet?

#839 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 10:56 AM:

I admit it -- I'm hopelessly hooked on supercool geek toys like this one-watt blue laser that finally arrived the other day.

#840 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 11:14 AM:

Steve C. #839: Heh... and I remember when a blue light was the key component of Hobbit's "nerd detector". ("Hey, is that a blue LED?!" <beep beep beep>)

#841 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 12:47 PM:

If ever you put together a Trivial Pursuit contest, here is one that most people won't know the answer to.

In which Disney movie did a drag queen appear?
#842 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 01:12 PM:

Stefan Jones@805, how do you toast slices of fruitcake without setting the brandy on fire? (Or is setting brandy on fire an effective way to wake up in the morning?)

Some years my wife has made fruitcake, especially when the grocery store was selling candied fruit for 1/4 of the price after Christmas, but usually we just get store-bought and soak it with either brandy or triple-sec. Many years ago, a friend at church referred to her mother soaking fruitcake in orange juice, and we gave her puzzled stares for a minute or two before realizing that that's probably what people who Don't Drink soak their fruitcakes in.)

#843 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 01:27 PM:

Serge @841: Jryy, gurer'f Qvivar, va gur yvggyr zreznvq (pncf hapnccrq gb znxr nafjre yrff ivfhnyyl boivbhf). V jbhyqa'g or fhecevfrq vs fnyhqbf nzvtbf be gur guerr pnonyyrebf unq yvir-npgvba pebff-qerffref va n pneaviny fprar, sbe gung znggre. Uz. Qbrf Orggr Zvqyre pbhag? Naq Ehcnhy jnf n ibvpr va Urephyrf.

#844 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 01:32 PM:

#842: The fruitcake in question is inferior mass produced product which has probably been no where near brandy. Night Train, maybe.

This week I'm polishing off another holiday treat in the morning, panetone. A nothing-special $5.00 loaf, but still wonderful.

#845 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 01:32 PM:

Kip W... Not that one. A few decades before.

#846 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 01:45 PM:

No, there are no (physical) foxes in Hawai'i. That's one of the interesting things about the phenomenon.

There are reputedly a lot of ghosts and spirits of many varieties here, both from original native Hawaiian forms such as the nightwalkers, and brought along with all the various cultures that immigrated here over a couple centuries. There are also still certain places here (heiaus, mostly) which still feel magical - not the cute pretty meaning, but "be very very careful what you wish for while standing here, because you might get it."

#847 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 01:46 PM:

Bruce Cohen (829): Toast (or cake for that matter) is just a delivery vehicle for preserves*.

Or cinnamon sugar!

*I initially read this as 'preservatives' and thought you were dissing baked goods.

#848 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 01:47 PM:

Steve C@839: One watt? Yikes. Play laser tag with the cat AND pop balloons?

#849 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 02:27 PM:

ddb @ 848 -

It'll definitely pop balloons, but the documentation material specifically warns against using it to play with the kitties. It comes with a pair of laser goggles that are so dark it makes the world look deeply blood-red.

#850 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 02:31 PM:

Steve C.@849: Yeah, at 1 watt I imagine the safe eye time is very brief, and nobody sane would risk a pet's eyes (or a person's) on the bet that they were moving the thing fast enough all the time.

#851 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 02:42 PM:

Benjamin Wolfe @837: wrapping tefillin

I initially parsed this as "wrapping Teflon."

#852 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 02:48 PM:

Clifton @ #846, Honaunau gives me that feeling.

If any Fluorospherians vacation on the Big Island, that place is worth a visit. I don't know how a site can be both calming and eerie at the same time, but it is.

#853 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 02:55 PM:

Serge @ 841 -

I have vague memories of a scene from The Jungle Book where one of the characters dressed up as a woman, but I'm probably mistaken.

Could it have been Dumbo?

#854 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 03:08 PM:

Stefan Jones @844: This week I'm polishing off another holiday treat in the morning, panetone.

"Which color?"

"Not Pantone! Panetone."

::SIGH:: "Oh."

#855 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 03:14 PM:

I must be the last person to have noticed that Borders is in trouble...

#856 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 03:35 PM:

Jacque @ 854... I really am becoming a bad influence if there's now some html named after me.

#857 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 03:43 PM:

Steve C @ 853... Crossdressing has a time-honored tradition in animation, as Bugs Bunny often showed. The movie I was refering to is live action "Moon Pilot", from 1962. Tom Tryon is an astronaut visiting his family in San Francisco before he's about to go up, but there's this cute redhead lady with a French accent who warns him that humans can't withstand the rigors of space. Yup, she's an alien, literally. His boss tries to capture her and has San Francisco's Finest round up all the redhead ladies they can find, except that, after a moment, you realize that one of the 'women' in the lineup isn't one.

#858 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 03:47 PM:

#854: My first attempt to spell that came out more like pantone than panetone.

I asked my cow-orker for the correct spelling; he's was raised in northern Italy and presumably reliable.

#859 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 04:11 PM:

Re prayer-equivalent for the non-religious. You might take a look at the book The Joy Diet by Martha Beck. She tends a bit New-Agey but I find her for the most part very sensible. Publisher's Weekly review on the 2003 book says: "The Joy Diet, designed for the soul rather than the body, is composed of 10 steps that, once learned, are to be practiced on a daily basis to achieve greater fulfillment and a happier life. Beck strongly suggests becoming thoroughly familiar with each step, by practicing it for a week, before adding the next step. According to the author, the first step, spending 15 uninterrupted minutes a day doing nothing (meditating, engaging in repetitive physical activity, staring at some natural motion like flowing water), is the hardest to learn and the basis for all the other activities. She contends that a daily period of mindful silence provides a sanctuary that no one can ever take from you. The other nine steps include methods for dealing with emotional pain, identifying true desires, employing creativity to realize yearnings and taking appropriate risks."

And the mention there of creativity makes me think, another place to look is The Artist's Way, which I think I found through a mention here several years ago. There's also an Artist's Way at Work that I find helpful.

#860 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 04:39 PM:

Serge: I believe technically that would be XML, wherein one can define one's own tags.

#861 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 04:42 PM:

Serge, PS: Besides, I believe that is the wrong verb tense.

#862 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 04:44 PM:

Anyone else here a fan of Dick Cavett?

#863 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 04:44 PM:

Jacque @861: There's no need to be tense -- this thread is full of meditation and prayer.

#864 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 04:53 PM:

Ginger: That sound of gears grinding is me trying to come up with a clever response.

#865 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 05:11 PM:

Jacque @ 864... That sound of gears

...reminds me that a steampunk outfit I'd really like to see a lady wear is a gear shift.

#866 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 05:16 PM:


"They only groan because they're grown-ups." —Jose Feliciano

BTW, Serge came to mind while I was reading this.

#867 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 05:25 PM:

Serge #865: So you can strip her gears?

#868 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 05:33 PM:

Jacque @ 866... Nah. For one thing, the dynamics between here and the physical world are different and I can't make jokes or puns on the spot. In Gatherings of Light, I'm likely to be the person who simply sits there and listens while others do the talking.

#869 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 06:03 PM:

Stefan Jones@844, most of the fruitcake we buy is of similar quality, and there's a bottle of Fruitcake-Quality Brandy on the bottom shelf of the cupboard to go with it, which fixes that problem. (The drinking brandy is on the top shelf, not out of snobbery but simply because the bottle is taller and doesn't fit on the bottom shelf, but it does keep us from mixing up the two.) Even a couple of days of soaking helps.

#870 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 06:45 PM:

Serge: But your puns are so...unanticipated, and utterly spot on. There has to be some sort of superpower in play, there.

By contrast, with very rare exceptions, I look at what I can tell is a straight line, and I think to myself, "Yup. There's a pun in there. I can smell it!" And I wait. And all I hear is crickets.

#871 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 06:55 PM:

Serge @857: I saw that in the theater when it came out, but if my memories are accurate, I probably spent more time crawling around behind the seat than I did watching the movie. I think we were in the balcony of the old Lyric theater in Fort Collins, which was gone before 1970. I seem to recall the building was torn down, and for a while I could see the imprint of the stairs to the balcony on the wall of the adjacent building. (Now I wonder if I really do remember that. Curse you, age!)

#872 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 07:17 PM:

Jacque @864: I can't help it; it's involute-ary. I am one of those who can think of puns on the spur of the moment, although I did try to refrain from mentioning anyone's rack.

#873 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 07:53 PM:

Jacque #870: You have to understand Serge's secret. He's a reincarnated ancient Roman. Back in the time of the Cæsars he was the Puntifex Maximus.

#874 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 08:05 PM:

Jacque #864: For me it's variable -- if I don't think of the pun immediately, I'm probably not going to at the keyboard... but it might pop up in my head half a day later, while I'm offline and doing something completely different.

I will admit that once or twice, I've managed to force a pun by going to Google and/or thesauri for inspiration. Of course, that only works if I can find something that'll fit!

#875 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 08:14 PM:

Ginger: Do we need to pin you down about this, before Jacque goes orbital? Or would I just end up getting the shaft if I tried?

#876 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 08:16 PM:

Fragano @ 873: and I am a veteran of the Punic Wars.

#877 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 08:24 PM:

Clifton @879: The helical! Ah, it's hypoidthetical anyway.

#878 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 09:26 PM:

I think Teflon tefillin have issues. It'd be really hard to wrap them properly to start with. And the idea should give rabbis fits.

#879 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 10:18 PM:

Randomness: I just heard that Ruby Tuesday's has an allergy menu, including a lot of celiac-compatible stuff. Anyone know anything firsthand about this?

#880 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 11:17 PM:

David Harmon, while I can't speak from experience at a restaurant, their website has this menu, which has sections for egg, fish, shellfish, milk, MSG, wheat/gluten, peanut/tree nut, and soy.

I sometimes find myself in the company of punsters, mostly the boy. He tends to stick to the obvious and obligatory, while I will say, "Then there's the obvious joke," and mystify him until someone makes me explain.

#882 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2011, 12:18 AM:

David Harmon, my previous reply is apparently chock-full of Words, but if you google 'ruby tuesday allergy menu' you can get to PDF with a bunch of recommendations on it, sorted by allergen.

#883 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2011, 01:05 AM:

This here's probably the .pdf menu from Ruby Tuesday that Diatryma cites in #881. It's organized by type of allergy (Egg, Fish, Gluten/Wheat, Soy, Shellfish and some more).

#884 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2011, 01:06 AM:

Huh. My comment is also being held, although it has only one link.

#885 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2011, 01:13 AM:

Both comments are released from Purgatory. I'll tweak the relevant regex.

#886 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2011, 02:47 AM:

I'm curious, Serge: do puns come easier or harder for you in French? Or about the same?

#887 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2011, 05:04 AM:

Kip W@788 These are all things the President pays more attention to than the concerns of his liberal base.


Chris W.@787 & Clifton Royston@808

Your noprizes are in the post.


Fascinating! Thank you :D

The reason I popped in was to post a link to a Reg article I just read, which I think is my favourite in a long time (for those not familiar, the Register has a sarcastic tone but is not a spoof paper - the news is real).

#888 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2011, 07:03 AM:

Diatryma et. seq Thanks -- Promisingly, I see they've noted problematic sauces and such, along with other non-obvious items, in each category.

#889 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2011, 07:59 AM:

Was it the list of allergens that set it off?

#890 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2011, 09:43 AM:

Kip W @ 871... I probably spent more time crawling around behind the seat than I did watching the movie

You must have been too young to notice how cute the leading lady was.

#891 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2011, 10:00 AM:

Total OTness: The current latest two stories at "In the Pipeline" will be of interest.

Abi, et al (or should that be Abi, et .nl?): I hope everything's okay around your area.
James, I see you've updated your Immunization page with CNN, but this links to BMJ.

#892 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2011, 11:30 AM:

David Harmon @879: Randomness: I just heard that Ruby Tuesday's has an allergy menu, including a lot of celiac-compatible stuff. Anyone know anything firsthand about this?

Can't speak to Ruby Tuesday, but the Teahouse in Boulder does. Jon Singer, who, if memory serves, has issues with: gluten, dairy, onions, and yeast (at least) was able to get quite happily and satisfactorily fed there. Me, I just have to remember to tell them to lay the hell off the pepper.

'Minds me, now that I have a proper camera, I need to go catch some pix. Hey, Niki!! Wanna go when you get back?

#893 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2011, 12:14 PM:

Linkmeister @852:

I've been there, it was the first place we visited on the Big Island. There were sea turtles swiming near the beach that day.

All the heiaus we visited invoked that sensation -- as did Halema'uma'u.

#894 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2011, 03:52 PM:

A last thought for Earl @ 800: There is also the philosophy of the stoics - Epictetus, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius - which is still highly relevant.

Stoicism seems to me rooted in a kind of skeptical agnosticism: If the gods exist and are good, they should be pleased if we do good, and we should do good things to please them. If they don't exist, we should do the same good things simply because it is right to do good and we are pleased to.

My daughter did a course on philosophy recently and came out of it fascinated with the stoics; she bought several books on stoicism with her Xmas money and has been reading them. (This is the girl who usually reads nothing but Twilight.)

I have seen very good reviews lately for this book, one of the ones she picked up: A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy.

#895 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2011, 04:11 PM:

And one thought for Earl from me:

Many of these traditions, both the sitting-in-silence ones and the rosary/wrapping tefillin/repetitive things, are about doing fewer things (0 or 1) and doing them more mindfully.

Stop thinking about work tomorrow, the weekend's housework, next month's budget. Be where you are right now. No more.

That kind of intensive reality is also available from taking a walk in the woods, bending down, and looking at a leaf until you have appreciated, and memorized, and loved, every vein in it.

#896 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2011, 04:14 PM:

Diatryma @889:
Was it the list of allergens that set it off?

No. We had a spate of spam from Russian internet domains.

I've tweaked the filter to require a / after the .ru before it holds those links for moderation now.

#897 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2011, 04:22 PM:

Benjamin Wolfe @837: I started wrapping tefillin* several years ago because I found it intrinsically appealing - but in the last two-ish weeks, I've gotten so much more out of it that it's striking.

I've been startled to discover that drawing (especially when I can do it uninterrupted for two or more hours at a time) has been having some startling effects.

In addition to being intrinsically pleasurable, I've found myself having better memory function, and generally being more "present" in interactions with other people.

* First time I saw a photo of those, I thought to myself, "Why are they wearing little tiny Cray 1s tied to their foreheads?"

#898 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2011, 04:25 PM:

In this day and age, this latest analysis will merely cement the resolve of the true believers:

Wakefield’s article linking MMR vaccine and autism was fraudulent

#899 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2011, 04:48 PM:

Serge @890: Yeah, I was young. At that age, I was cute enough that a nice young bank teller we knew used to kiss me all the time, and I used to run away from her.

#900 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2011, 04:48 PM:

Serge @890: Yeah, I was young. At that age, I was cute enough that a nice young bank teller we knew used to kiss me all the time, and I used to run away from her.

#902 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2011, 05:19 PM:

All right, question for the Hebrew (I assume) speakers out there. I have a list of four attributes, "Balance, Love, Strength, Shekhinah." But I need an appropriate English word for that last.

#903 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2011, 05:21 PM:

Crossing threads back from ddb @ 160 in "Another exciting night in the ER": when I was about 19-22, I could lie on my back and, within a few minutes, relax to the point of "floating". Somewhere along the line, I lost that, which I regret. I -can- relax using a relaxation tape for assistance, and running helps to clear my mind. I'm presently on only a much-reduced running schedule (transitioning to barefoot-style/forefoot landing rather than heel-strike, and tying to take it slowly, as suggested), so I probably need to dig the relaxation tape out again.

#904 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2011, 05:40 PM:

Kip W @ 899... I was cute enough that a nice young bank teller we knew used to kiss me all the time

The building where I work has a bank's branch in the lobby and none of the tellers have ever tried to kiss me, and I've been there for more than a decade. Sniff...

#905 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2011, 05:40 PM:

If I had better balance, I think that I would learn Iaidō.

#906 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2011, 06:01 PM:

Kip W@901 Eh?

If it's worth saying it's worth repeating?


#907 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2011, 06:16 PM:

Among all the myriad alternate worlds, surely there is one in which the answer to the question "In which Disney movie did a drag queen appear? is: "All of them."

(Which would, of course, tie into the urban legend that Walt Disney was a secret informant for reputed crossdresser J. Edgar Hoover.)

#908 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2011, 07:39 PM:

Jacque @ 870:
And all I hear is crickets.

It is better to be silent and hear crickets than to speak and hear critics.

#909 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2011, 07:43 PM:

Bruce Arthurs @ 907:

Ah, but in this world Clint Eastwood is directing a movie in which Leonardo DiCaprio plays a cross-dressing J. Edgar Hoover.

#910 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2011, 08:06 PM:

You can be sure it's shady when the second repetition of "What company are you calling me from?" results in the telemarketer immediately hanging up.

#911 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2011, 09:33 PM:

Attention, anyone planning travel to GaFilk this weekend:

The local forecast has changed pretty drastically over the past 24 hours. Keep an eye on it, and plan accordingly. Hartsfield does not cope very well with snow.

#912 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2011, 11:06 PM:

I've about had it with The Mentalist. Tonight, in addition to their usual annoying interactions, they had several sequences of mixed martial arts (pretty fucking gratuitous mixed martial arts) intercut with plot-relevant stuff so you couldn't even skip it on DVR.

I think MMA is not a sport, it's just a modern regression to the barbarism of gladiatorial contests from Ancient Rome. (Another way to put that: sports are violence reined in and subject to rules; MMA is real violence with no (apparent) rules.) So I was none too pleased.

I don't quite know why I keep watching this damned show. Some of the characters are likeable (not the title character, who is a detestable smug bastard who enjoys being cruel to other people and getting away with it because he's (kind of) a cop), but boy it's annoying.

#913 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2011, 12:33 AM:

Xopher @ 912: I haven't watched The Mentalist. I had that kind of ambivalent relationship with Glee in the first season, but I don't get as irritated with it lately. I don't know if that's me, or if the show has changed.
I'm anxiously looking forward to watching Portlandia. It's a 6-part comedy on the IFC network that lampoons Portland. The trailer -- Portlandia Dream of the 90s -- is hilarious (at least it is to us locals). I fear the actual show might not work. Here's a snippet from an article in the NY Times.

The show’s creators are also bracing for reaction from the citizens of its namesake city. But Ms. Brownstein said that for sheer unpredictability the characters of “Portlandia” could never surpass Portland itself.
“The strange thing we all noticed,” she said, “is no matter how far out on a limb we went, we always ran into that person within two days.”
For example, Ms. Brownstein said, “the night we wrapped the pilot, the options were: go out to dinner, or we could watch a completely naked bike ride through the city.”
Before the obvious follow-up question could be asked, Mr. Armisen answered it. “We went to dinner,” he said.

#914 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2011, 01:21 AM:

My meditative practice is rooted in having pondered becoming a Jesuit.

One of the principles of the order is, "all to the greater glory of God."

They mean all. One is to strive to mindful in all one does of what it is to be able to do it, from making bread, to making beds.

Aikido has been very good for that too, one has to be "in the moment" if one is to have those moments of the sublime one has to be present, and earnest.

I don't know that, "balance" is required for Aikido; it helps, but I've seen some pretty ungainly people take it up. I find the practice builds balance.

#915 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2011, 05:03 AM:

Bruce Cohen (STM*) @908: "And all I hear is crickets." It is better to be silent and hear crickets than to speak and hear critics.

Well, I do seem to be dishing out quite a few straight lines, this thread. That's something, I suppose.

* Scanning Tunneling Microscope....sorry, can't help it.

#916 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2011, 05:13 AM:

Terry Karney @914: One of those Boulder Moments: We had snow over the weekend, and it has mostly melted off. However, walking home tonight, I chanced upon a sign, tacked to a tree:

Icy walks ahead!
Please be


Thank you.

#917 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2011, 09:07 AM:

There's no place like home. No place like home. No place...

Still doesn't work.

#918 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2011, 09:53 AM:

Terry Karney @ 914... My meditative practice is rooted in having pondered becoming a Jesuit

Darn, where did I put that photo of Derek Jacobi as Brother Cadfaël?

#919 ::: lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2011, 10:11 AM:

Xopher @ #912, you're far more tolerant than I am. I walk out of the room when the *commercials* for The Mentalist come on. (Insert all-purpose New Yorker cartoon caption here.)

Now I am amusing myself by imagining a society that would allow you to tap out when someone was sneering at you. Heh. It would probably end up like this.

The only TV shows I watch semi-regularly are Criminal Minds and The Antiques Road Show. (And I watch Mythbusters on DVD.)

#920 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2011, 11:08 AM:

Off to Costa Rica (via Washington DC) in a few hours! See you in a week-and-a-half!

#921 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2011, 11:46 AM:

David Harmon @ 920.... Safe trip!

#922 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2011, 11:51 AM:

Serge @918 But Cadfael was a Benedictine!

#923 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2011, 12:05 PM:

On mindfulness, one of the most amazing teachers of it (that you've probably never heard of) just died. Ron Kurtz, the founder of Hakomi, had a severe heart attack on Wednesday. Tribute page from the Association for Body-centered Psychotherapy here.

He was an amazing teacher, and a great man. I'm honored to have studied with him.

#924 ::: SeanH ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2011, 01:25 PM:

A topic of sometime interest for this site and its readers: via the BBC, I see that a judge has dismissed the "Willy the Wizard" plagiarism lawsuit against J.K. Rowling, writing that "The contrast between the total concept and feel of the works is so stark that any serious comparison of the two strains credulity".

#925 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2011, 02:12 PM:

Late in the open thread, a request: could anyone who has copies, digital or otherwise, of any episodes of Phil A Delphia, Secret Agent 86 email me? A buddy of mine's looking for them.

#926 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2011, 02:12 PM:

Rikibeth @ 922...

I knew that.
("No you didn't.")

#927 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2011, 02:13 PM:

A friend just pointed out that today was the 50th anniversary of the day that Ike broke all diplomatic relations with Cuba.

#928 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2011, 02:34 PM:

If we'd gotten the guy we hoped we were getting into the white house, it would have been a fine day to end the pointless embargo.

#929 ::: albatross hopes for a new open thread soon ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2011, 02:37 PM:

There once was a thread, 151 ("one-five-one")
which had a most interesting run
with posts pushing 1K
it was clearly the day
to create us a new, empty one!

#930 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2011, 02:55 PM:

929 is not pushing 1k yet. And I haven't had time to do any work toward the next OT before the weekend. Can we hold off on the poking and jostling of elbows till the high 900's?

Patience, please, folks. Life is occasionally busy, complicated, messy and tiring, even for your humble and obedient servant.

#931 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2011, 03:00 PM:

Abi... You're doing us a favor. Take you time and sing "Que sera sera."

#932 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2011, 03:27 PM:

SeanH @924: I see that a judge has dismissed the "Willy the Wizard" plagiarism lawsuit

What's that? I can't hear you over the sound of my eating lobster on the beach in a sportscar!

#933 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2011, 03:40 PM:

I'll never know what he was doing in a sportscar!

#934 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2011, 04:09 PM:

#922: "But Cadfael was a Benedictine!"

And tasty in the right drink.

#935 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2011, 08:29 PM:

so, who saw patton oswald's "ghost writer" bit on the daily show last night? very funny.

#936 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2011, 08:40 PM:

I don't recall which thread it was in which Morris West's name came up, but on the strength of that discussion, and my memory of his writing, I borrowed The Clowns of God from the local library. I'm spellbound. He's a terrific storyteller! Thanks, whoever brought his name into the conversation.

#937 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2011, 08:41 PM:

HLN: It was the first day of Moving at work today. We had to be off the old floor by two, for the sets of movers to come in and shift everything (separate crews for computers, phones, and non-electronic stuff). Much last-minute checking of drawers for Things To Keep, last minute labeling of items from moving crates to computers and phones, last minute checking to make sure all the computers were turned off (no, we nearly missed turning off one), and finally the annual fire-safety video (because we had to watch it sometime and we needed to kill some time today).

Monday we have to remember where we're supposed to be.

#938 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2011, 09:01 PM:

Lizzy L @936 [raises hand] I brought up West on the "Hooly Blisful Martir" thread, and was seconded by abi and Fragano Ledgister. Fragano mentioned The Clowns of God as one of his favorites, too. Glad you're enjoying.

#939 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2011, 10:38 PM:

I feel compelled to note that some of the posters in James Nicoll's LJ have accidentally invented Groachi Haiku. Somehow I'd have expected it to show up here first...

#940 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2011, 11:35 PM:

Whoops! I forgot to give everybody my Christmas card! Sorry for the lateness. You did get the Radio sonnet before anybody else, at least.

#941 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2011, 01:07 AM:

janetl @ 913:

We need to remind people to display the "Keep Portland Weird" bumpersticker.

Jacque @ 915:

And I thank you for the opportunities you provide.

Also, STM? "It's full of atoms!"

#942 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2011, 01:17 AM:

Throw Out the Weeper

Congress crimes have come
Freedom-lovers numb--
People fear the reaper
Tea Party crazies too
Impeach the crazies--

Come on Congress --throw out the weeper
Voters find some sense --throw out the weeper
Make a better country--fire the weeper
Make a better land....

Kinder times are done
Four shot years a run
Boehner Blunt and others
Corrupt until eternity
Boehner Blunt and others

Three hunded million gouged here everyday... Robber barons treated fine
Three hunded million gouged here everyday... Happiness for megamillionaries
Three hunded million gouged here everyday... The swindle's in and stronger watch it grouw--

Come on Congress --throw out the weeper
Voters find some sense --throw out the weeper
Make a better country--fire the weeper
Make a better land....

Love of self he shows
Kindness thrown with the old year
And it's clear the inequality grows
The door forced open and elections thown
Dirty money with court orders bless'd
Injustices running the courts
So be very afraid

Come on Congress... Start impeachment now
Please throw him out... Maybe then we can fly
Bad economy say goodby
Don't cooperate with Boehner
Against him take a stand
Don't cooperate with Boehner

Come out Congress... throw out the weeper
Parody is protected speech according to the Constitution of the United States of America

#943 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2011, 02:29 AM:

Kip W. @ #940: Whoops! I forgot to give everybody my Christmas card!

You did? In that case - Good news, everyone! Making Light is picking up messages from alternate timelines! (Also, you should see what the toaster's doing now.)

#944 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2011, 09:24 AM:


#945 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2011, 02:14 PM:

Elliott Mason @Argument du jour/162:

WRT the saving/queueing deficiencies in Netflix's streaming-only option, I came up with a hack: you can bookmark movie pages. I have the DVD option, so I don't have the issues you report, but I've done this for a couple of topics I want to keep track of without actually adding movies to my queue.

It is a hack, because you have to actually poke the movie page itself to see if it streams yet (among other deficiencies). But it has its uses.

As to the inability to search on actors, just for the heck of it, try this link, and tell me what happens.

#946 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2011, 02:16 PM:

Damn. More US (presumably) domestic terrorism. Best wishes to the friends and families of those killed.

#947 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2011, 02:23 PM:

Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) @941: STM? "It's full of atoms!"

Aren't most things?

#948 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2011, 02:35 PM:

Here's a hack: if people get too nervous about this thread hitting 1K, we could decamp to an old thread for a while.

#949 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2011, 02:55 PM:

Jacque @945 replied to me: WRT the saving/queueing deficiencies in Netflix's streaming-only option, [...] As to the inability to search on actors, just for the heck of it, try this link, and tell me what happens.

Oh, if I go inside a movie and click on an actor-name link, I do get (the streaming portion of) their filmography.

But putting their name in the search box searches it as if it were a movie title.

Search used to index more of the text (like descriptions), too, but streaming-only search does not appear to anymore, since movies that DO have certain keywords in their descriptions are not findable by searching for them, anymore.

#950 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2011, 02:58 PM:

Elliott Mason That's weird. I can kinda see their rationale for doing it that way, but that's an irritating change in functionality, nonetheless.

#951 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2011, 03:16 PM:

Open thread 152 is now open.

(I wish you guys would trust me to do these things in the proper season.)

#952 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2011, 04:15 PM:


Abi, we do trust you. We also know that you're human (and therefore must sleep and eat occasionally), and you live in a time zone 5-8 hours later than probably (at least, as a wild guess) 60-75% of us, and that an OT around here is capable of picking up fifty posts real fast when people start getting punny.

We just don't want to break the internets. Mostly.

#953 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2011, 02:28 AM:

Paul A. @ 943:

To the best of my knowledge, this is an entirely precedented occurrence.

(OK, I'm probably not the only person to rember that, but I couldn't pass up such a good opportunity to backform.1

1. Oops

#954 ::: Mickey Behm ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 12:30 PM:

Time for bed now, but will be back to read more tomorrow.

#955 ::: David Harmon sees probable spam ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 12:36 PM:

Looks like a ranging shot, with a commercial site for payload. Ironic given the site might (I didn't look too deep) have been an acceptable recommendation it a genuine posting.

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