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April 1, 2011

Open thread 156
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 11:00 AM *

Two verses I thought were very important when I was twenty:

Not yet is the spirit of that pristine valor
extinct in you, when girt with steel and lofty flames
once we fought against the empire of heaven.
We were—that I will not deny—vanquished in that conflict:
yet the great intention was not lacking in nobility.
Something or other gave Him victory: to us remained
the glory of dauntless daring.
And even if my troop fell thence vanquished,
yet to have attempted a lofty enterprise is still a victory.
La Strage degli Innocenti, Giambattista Marino, 1632, trans RT
When the dust has cleared
And victory denied
A summit too lofty
River a little too wide
If we keep our pride
Though paradise is lost
We will pay the price,
But we will not count the cost.
Bravado, Rush

Some days I don’t know if I’ve grown up, narrowing my bounds to the possible and the price I can pay, or simply grown smaller.

Back to Open thread 155.

Comments on Open thread 156:
#1 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 11:13 AM:

I dunno, I think a lot of Rush has some relevance to grownups: I can learn to close my eyes to anything but injustice...

#2 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 11:20 AM:

I love Rush right up until the moment the singing begins. I wish I could buy a Rush instrumental album...

#3 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 11:31 AM:

I'm still learning how to be an adult, and I'm over 55, but unfair acts tend to undermine my self-pretense at grownuphood.

#5 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 12:08 PM:

Skwid: Geddy Lee is certainly a member of the Man With A Sharp Stick school of singing. Or do you dislike the actual lyrics?

#6 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 12:08 PM:

Terry @ 926 of #155

Bullshit. There is something that photographers have to have - I call it having the eye, to be able to make me see the beauty, the story in the picture within a single frame. Painters/graphic artists need to be able to create that same impression, but it's not bounded by the constraints of being reality outside the painting. Photography, by virtue of the medium, is.

Granted, an amateur can take several hundred pictures, and because the nature of reality is wondrous, they'll get a few decent shots. I'd say that's more a quality of the subject than the artist. People who don't understand this should try to take appealing pictures in a circumstance where the likelihood of income is dependent on those pictures. (I am not a particularly good photographer. I have learned to do decent pictures of houses. I suck at trying to photograph my own art.)

#7 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 12:17 PM:

sisuile @ 6 ...
Bullshit. There is something that photographers have to have - I call it having the eye, to be able to make me see the beauty, the story in the picture within a single frame.
Granted, an amateur can take several hundred pictures, and because the nature of reality is wondrous, they'll get a few decent shots. I'd say that's more a quality of the subject than the artist. People who don't understand this should try to take appealing pictures in a circumstance where the likelihood of income is dependent on those pictures.

This sounds like an "artists are born, not made" argument to me -- and I can't agree with that.

It's certainly true that some people do have an excellent place to start from, by way of some natural talent -- but if they don't nurture, practice and learn and practice and practice some more, that's not going to get them all that far.

Similarly, somebody that may not have that natural flare can certainly get to the point of being highly skilled, through lots and lots of learning and practice.

All that said, it's often the case that people don't want to put in the obsessive amounts of time and effort required to get to the point of 'just' being good.

#8 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 12:19 PM:

sisuile: I think he was lamenting the popular perception of the subject, which is that "anyone" can take the pictures if they have the tech.

#9 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 12:23 PM:

Iolanthe opens tonight! I really think that people are going to enjoy it.

When Britain really ruled the waves (In good Queen Bess’s time) The House of Peers made no pretence To intellectual eminence, Or scholarship sublime; Yet Britain won her proudest bays In good Queen Bess’s glorious days! Yet Britain won her proudest bays In good Queen Bess’s glorious days!
When Wellington thrashed Bonaparte, As every child can tell, The House of Peers, throughout the war, Did nothing in particular, And did it very well: Yet Britain set the world ablaze In good King George’s glorious days! Yet Britain set the world ablaze In good King George’s glorious days!
And while the House of Peers withholds Its legislative hand, And noble statesmen do not itch To interfere with matters which They do not understand, As bright will shine Great Britain’s rays As in King George’s glorious days! As bright will shine Great Britain’s rays As in King George’s glorious days!
#10 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 12:52 PM:

Xerger @ 7 - No. Because 'the eye' is like 'the voice' in the previous open thread. Some people are born with more of it than others and are naturally better at it, but no matter what, it's a skill to be honed. It's a way of thinking and looking at things that (while possibly partially instinct) is a set of skills that can be learned like any other set of skills. It takes time and effort. I mostly have it for Part of that was taking photography and art classes when I was younger, part of it is looking at thousands upon thousands of house pictures, and part of it is taking hundreds of pictures of actual houses. But in my world, houses are mostly looked at in pictures*, and it's part of my job to make them look at their best. I never learned the same skills on the more micro level necessary to photographing my art.

*If 90% of buyers start their home search online, and 95% of those select which homes to look at based on online listings, you can imagine the ratio of how many times a house is looked at online to how many times someone wants to see it in person. According to our metrics, the low end of the ratio is about 100:1.

#11 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 12:52 PM:

Carrie S. @ 5, you got the right of it. I rather like their lyrics, actually.

Hmm...could anyone recommend any good Rush covers? That might be cool...

#12 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 12:52 PM:

I have a decent, if not exceptional "eye" for photography. I've noticed that when I've had the time to shoot a lot/often, I get better pictures than when I just pick up the camera to snap things. I've also noticed that I don't take all that many cellphone photos (in circumstances where others are snapping away) because I'm never really happy with the images (shots of my daughter are exempted, though even there I am likely to shoot 5 or 6 of the "same" image and keep only 1).

A good camera makes me better, but time put in is what really makes the difference.

My grandfather had an excellent eye. Some of his pictures of NYC and of people (from the 30s through the 60s) are just amazing. After his death, one of his daughters took all his photos and stills and for several years she prepared Thanksgiving slide shows for the family's delight. She was planning to digitize the lot eventually.

I definitely think of photography as art. Like any kind of art, there's a range of quality--greeting card photos are not in the same category as, say, Ansel Adams (okay, that's an easy citation, I know, but I really do love his work) or an artist whose work I saw for the first time a couple of weeks ago, Jean Pagliuso:

I think many people think of photos more in the context of school portraits or snapshots rather than as art. And many people don't realize how much it can cost to have something matted and/or framed. I do needlepoint, and there are times when the framing is more expensive than the materials used to make the thing being framed. So I expect folks undervalue the cost of the presentation when assessing the "worth" of an image they're thinking about buying.

imo, of course.

#13 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 01:00 PM:

I can certainly understand telling yourself that you won a "moral victory" in order to keep from being quite so discouraged that Good lost and Evil triumphed. Isn't that what a lot of us are doing in the political arena these days?

OTOH, it's also important to remember that a "moral victory" rights no injustices and puts no food in the mouths of the poor. The rightness of your cause matters, but so do results.

#14 ::: rea ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 01:04 PM:

Is this a good place to dance with joy over the fact that I went to the library yesterday, they had Tiassa already, and it was both not what I expected and every bit as good as I hoped?

#15 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 02:41 PM:

Sqwid @#11: You might check out the more recent albums, from about Test for Echo on, maybe even Hold Your Fire--Geddy's voice has changed with age, and he doesn't shriek quite so much as he used to.

#16 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 02:43 PM:

If you've got gmail, you might want to check out the link to Gmail Motion. It may not be around after today.

#17 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 02:53 PM:

Abi: Bravado still resonates for me, but less for myself than for my fictional characters. The common thread in my protagonists so far, regardless of age, gender, or other personality, tends to be that they're all that sort of idealist facing those sorts of odds; even if they win, they know the cost is going to be huge.

I'd say it's because I'm barely staying above water these days, much less making any grand contribution, except that it's been that way since I was a teenager.

Skwid: I can take Geddy Lee's voice better as he's gotten older; the first albums, he's nigh unlistenable, and it's only the quality of the rest of the songwriting that makes them worth hearing. Yet, it tends to be earlier and middle-era music that shows up on the radio. You might likewise find more recent work more bearable. (I thought the same of Richard Thompson's voice early on, and I outright *like* his on the last couple of albums. I don't think *that* will ever happen with Geddy Lee.)

But you've made me think: I can't actually think of anyone who's covered a Rush song. I mean, I'm sure several newish bands have done so while playing at clubs and the like, but I can't think of recorded covers. I'll have to ask my brother. (We're both fans to some degree of the band, but he's more likely to read up on trivia and the like about music. I just listen.)

#18 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 03:01 PM:

Platypus, murnival, serpentine, vortex: I got *four* sets of cranes today! If you haven't mailed yours yet, we continue to be in no hurry--I'm not done stringing, and I still have some Interesting Life Events between me and a trip to the post office.

#19 ::: Braxis ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 03:36 PM:

@ #155 Combining singing and Alan Cumming in one glorious package!

#20 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 03:50 PM:

Carrie S. - That is an excellent way to describe that particular kind of voice, of which I am also not so fond.

Regarding the "with the right equipment anyone can be a photographer". I think there's a second step in there, like 1.) Collect Underpants, 2.)...?... 3.) Profit! If "anyone" has the right equipment and ALSO learns technique, than "anyone" can certainly take professional-like photos.

I am a keen amateur cellist with a good ear, and a few years ago I noticed some issues in technique that weren't coming through as I had hoped so I purchased a new bow. My cello teacher and I spent nearly two hours at the luthier trying out bows. I was astonished at how much the better quality bows made my playing less work - at least on the right hand - and wound up purchasing a bow that would have been worth nearly 10x as much had the button not been replaced. (ah, musical instrument provenance, how you amuse me! And make quality equipment affordable!) I can certainly tell the difference when I switch to my old back-up, but the new bow does not, alas, cause my cello to spontaneously spout forth Elgar without a lot of work on my part. It helps my smooth out my string crossings, but it's still my own right arm and shoulder that will have to keep that prelude to Bach's 1st suite from making anyone seasick. (still working on that. this celloing takes a long time to do right.)

#21 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 03:56 PM:

I promise not to spend all my time spamming Making Light with N2S links, but I wanted to mention that I've done a post on numen, faith, religion, and lack thereof in worldbuilding.

It's something that came up in the Bab 5 threads and I wanted to gnaw on the subject for a while.

#22 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 04:07 PM:

Few are the leaves and buds late on these trees
that heart grows weak, and even time might ail
as weathers slowly change while the clouds sail
above our heads driven by random breeze
towards the east. Nothing that wants to please
our needy minds as this brief cold must fail,
the warmth return before our hopes turn stale,
and just in time our anger turn to ease.
But in the night some matters are too deep
for ordinary dreams, and break my rest
to let me know that there is no mistake:
relief shall not be granted by kind sleep,
the warmth of bed is not a comfy nest;
but there are worse fates than coming awake.

#23 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 04:34 PM:

Skwid, #11: Well, this is a database of cover versions; unfortunately, searching on band name produces a list of songs that band has covered, not songs by them which have been covered by other groups. But you might try entering some individual Rush song titles and see what comes up.

I'm the opposite of you about this; I like Geddy Lee's voice just fine, but the lyrics make me itch now that I'm old enough to recognize Randroid bullshit when I hear it. Not to mention that Rush in general is still associated with the worst breakup I ever had, although that's not as much of a sticking point now as it was 20 years ago. :-)

#24 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 04:43 PM:

Cheryl @888/155: Oh! I'd never guessed it wasn't available everywhere - you can even get diclofenac in gel form without a prescription over here now.

Terry Karney @926/155: Sympathies. I think that's a great shot - the focus on the drake so the detail of the feathers comes though is amazing. I get a lot more good shots than I used to - but only because with digital I can afford to take lots and lots of pictures. Even then, my photographs are mostly not great - there are only a handful that I can say, truly, "yes, that's a good picture", and I recognise that those are mostly by luck, not judgement, because I don't have a good enough eye for composition etc. So, anyway, I recognise good photography when I see it. I don't buy it mainly because we don't have enough room on the walls for all the pictures we've already got.

#25 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 04:50 PM:

The River of Truth is clotted with lies
by demagogues, haters and fools.
The Liberty Tree is stunted 'neath skies
of menacing clouds shaped like ghouls.

It's easy to see with hindsight's regret
that trouble was coming our way.
It's harder to fix our problems, beset
as we are by our failings' decay.

Can Freedom be bought by terror-fed fear,
by trading away all our rights?
Instead let's insist that all we hold dear
is worth fighting for. Set your sights!

#26 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 05:00 PM:

TexAnn @18: Great!

#27 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 05:13 PM:

xeger #7, sisuile #10: Agreed, talent is at best half of great art. I'm a classic example -- I have the artist's eye (and enhanced color vision) that runs in my family, plus a drawing talent that's enhanced by my own neurology. But if I want to be even as good an artist as Mom or Grandpa☘, I'll have to put a lot more time and practice into drawing than I have been. And that includes shouldering through a lot of the discouragements that have tripped me up in the past....

And back to Terry Karney #926: Most of them don't get lots of people saying, "I could do that."

Sure about that, dude? I've (over)heard similar comments at a number of art shows, in various media. (Plus, my Mom does abstract paintings....) The woman who curled her lip at your Audubon-quality duck photo was just a standard-issue ignoramus, and there's plenty more where she came from -- enough to sneer at every field of art.

☘ Grandpa got praise for his paintings, and a few of them got displayed around town, but there was no question of him getting fame and fortune for them. Mom, likewise, has had a few shows locally, and even sold a few pieces, for prices in the low three digits. Even with my stepdad framing and matting them, that's no great profit over costs and painting time.

#28 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 05:36 PM:

Velma @ 942, previous open thread:

Welcome to the Upper Left Coast! When you've gotten settled and grown to know Seattle, be sure to drop down here to Portland for a day or two to see the sights. We have excellent beer and damn fine music.

#29 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 05:46 PM:

Re making a living from art:

Eva, my partner, was an art teacher with a BFA, and I come from a family of mostly business people and artists (I'm the only techie in the lot); I have an aunt who is a retired photojournalist, a cousin who is a sculptor, another cousin who was a musician (and her husband was a ceramicist), another cousin who's a film and tv director. When our younger son decided he wanted to be a fine artist, we were very careful not to dissuade him especially because we know from our friends and relations that it's possible to make a living at art, but we did try to get him to understand that one of the requirements for making a living at painting and drawing is the desire to market yourself and your work, something that neither Eva nor I were ever good at doing, which is why she stopped trying to sell her drawings, and I have remained an amateur photographer.

Eventually, our son decided to be a commercial graphic artist, probably in part because his then girlfriend, now wife, was doing that. They're both out of school and have jobs doing what they love to do, and enjoying it. I'm glad that Jeremy made the decision he did; I don't think he would have enjoyed the marketing part of selling his work, but I would have supported him and helped him get established if he had decided differently.

#30 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 05:52 PM:

Persephone #949, previous OT: Are kids who want to be professional athletes discouraged in the same way as kids who want to be professional artists?

I don't think so, at least not in the USA. Cynically, I'd say that's because the upper reaches of our school system feed directly into professional sports, and thar's money in them thar field goals!

#31 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 05:55 PM:

Melissa Singer @ 12:

I've been an amateur photographer for 50 years now, since I was 15, and, while I do have somewhat of an eye, I was never strongly tempted to try to make a living from it. My aunt was a photojournalist, and a friend of Henri Cartier-Bresson, and I've studied their work as well as other photographers such as Walker Evans and Edward Steichen. If you look at a lot of photographs you can see that there are different styles of vision, different eyes, and comparing my own to others who are well-known has made me humble about my talent. It's also made me realize that having a particular kind of eye lets me understand better the work of others with that same style; I was very surprised, but pleased, when I realized that the reason I like Cartier-Bresson's photos so much is that I see things in a way that's similar to his (but nowhere near as clearly as he did). But it's enough for me to know that I do have a vision and to enjoy the pictures I have taken that have worked well.

#32 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 06:05 PM:

Open threadiness:

My friend Bill Gawne posted this on Facebook, and I thought a number of people here would enjoy it:

Take me to the arena, Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some dormice in honeycomb. I don't care if I never go home.
So let's root, root, root for the lions.
...Not the humans they maim.
Munching two, three more body parts at our Caesar's game.

Also, Kodak has a cute April Fool's Day joke up. And for font geeks, do a Google search on Helvetica or Comic Sans.

#33 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 06:13 PM:

As an occasional crafter and would-be artist I run into the "You charge how much for -that-?!?" thing all the time.

As a labor-politics nerd, I also think a big part of the problem is in the general public attitudes toward labor and its price, particularly when someone else is doing the laboring, along with a general ignorance of how retail markup works.

F'rex, an oversimplification:

If I knit a dishcloth, and wish to sell it, well. In this market I'm likely to get about two dollars at a church fair or similar - that's the market rate. It's knit with cotton yarn which regularly sells around here for 1.79 per ball (2-2.5 oz) which is enough to make one dishcloth. If there's a sale, the yarn goes down to 1.25 per ball, so I might stock up, but that incurs the incremental costs of running out of places to put the yarn. There are also incremental costs over time in the purchase of knitting needles, scissors, maybe a pattern book if I'm replicating an existing design, gas to drive to the store and the craft fairs, booth fee (if there is one), and of course the big investment is my own time, of which it takes me something around three hours to knit up an average size dishcloth if it's a pattern I know well. (I used to average about one a week when my daily commute involved a 20-30 minute wait at the end of the workday.)

If I were going to make a living wage - say, 10.00 per hour - at knitting dishcloths (just for the absurdity of the proposition) the minimum cost of that dishcloth would be around $35.00 (labor, materials, and incremental cost of production). Given that average retail markup for dry goods is 40-60%, you're looking at $50-70 for a dishcloth.

The market price, around here, is about $2.00. And I've had people complain about why I charge so much, because their grammy used to sell them for a dollar. All I can do is point out that they take two dollars worth of yarn, and I'm not getting paid for the time to make them, and the customer generally shuts up and sometimes buys one.

But why should creative labor be devalued? Anyone could do it, but not everyone has time to do it, and people who don't have time (or energy, or ability, or inclination) to do it have the option to pay for someone else's time spent doing it. I suspect it has to do with bigger labor issues altogether, but that's a rant for another website.

#34 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 06:51 PM:

abi @ 21... I promise not to spend all my time spamming Making Light with N2S links

You are shameless.

#35 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 07:06 PM:

Thena #33: The problem here is that you're "competing" with machine-made goods. (For visual arts, that would be mass-produced posters and the like, other media left as an exercise for the reader). In this day and age, hand-knitting a dishcloth as such doesn't make economic sense, because you can get them so cheaply from the "Satanic mills". ;-) Recall that this was a major issue in India's struggle for independence, mostly because Britain (by design) had all the factories.

Worse, the cheapest factory goods undercut the long-term values which might otherwise affect a purchase -- durability♩, specific purpose, individual expression. Of course, if someone wants "a dishcloth that my friend Thena made with her own hands," that's another story -- but that's not the usual case for sales. Other exceptions would be a dishcloth "just the right size to cover the challah I bake every Friday", or one with (e.g.) Mike's Janus poem woven into it. In all those cases, you can get it... but you do need to pay extra. Where the factory dominance is drastic, so is the markup for "custom" or "quality" work.

And if The Powers That Be have decided that you and your neighbors shall have no more money than needed to buy basic necessities, or have convinced you that all your discretionary income should go to "keeping up with the Joneses"....

♩ Indeed, quality in general -- q.v. the underwear discussion from the last OT.

#36 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 07:40 PM:


Precisely so, which is why I don't hand-knit dishcloths for a living.

(I do insist upon selling them not lower than break-even price, though, because I have limits. The satisfaction I get out of knitting a dishcloth is why I keep doing it, but I'm not willing to pay other people to take clutter out of my house, which is the net benefit to me of selling the things.)

#37 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 07:55 PM:

Also - (and why do I think of the rest of the idea immediately after posting a comment?) - it's that "cheapest common denominator" meme that iterates toward things like art photography, other arts, heck it's probably at play in the whole "my e-book should be $1.99" (or whatever) argument as well.

And of course it's fueled in part by stagnant wages, rising costs, and limited discretionary spending. I am of the opinion that it's a reinforcing cycle: wages are stagnant in part due to devaluation of labor (by management / the market) which in turn leads to workers (in their role as customers) not being able to afford discretionary products and services, which cuts profits for those entities, which leads back to stagnant wages, less spending, etc. I think it's a failure mode of a market economy, this grudging reluctance to pay anybody for anything.

And yes, cheap underwear is definitely /not/ what it used to be.

#38 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 07:59 PM:

I see that Manning Marable died today.

#39 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 08:08 PM:

You know what I hate?

Even more than underwear that develops more than the required number of holes far too quickly?

Gorgeous Friday afternoons that make you look forward to the weekend and then hearing that the forecast is "MORE #$^%#$%^$ RAIN."

#40 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 08:11 PM:

Thena #37: Total agreement here on all points. Regarding the "market failure" aspect, I'll add that there's a deep confusion of drives (and purposes) involved: The people who control the factory (and its surrounding commerce), see the factory's purpose as "making money" instead of "making textiles".

#41 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 08:20 PM:

From 155:

Lee: No. She had looked at more than the one print. She was making a statement about the idea of paying that much, at all. She wasn't really interested in buying anything, she just stopped to look because I was there.

Lori: I can well imagine. When film was my only medium I was happy if I thought there was a salable frame in a roll. As I got better I came expect 4-6 per roll worth the effort of looking at in 4x6.

in the present:

Sisuile: I can't tell if you are agreeing with me (that salable photographs are more than just "luck" and not everyone can do it), or trying to tell me (the professional photographer since about 1990) I made that argument.

xeger: I don't think the photographer as artist is born, not made, but I also know that the craft in the art is huge. That duck shot, was more than just being lucky. It was planned. I walked that pond I don't know how often, getting the sense of the wind, and the patterns of the ducks, so I could take advantage of the flyway on day when the wind was just so, and they would be coming in with those hills in the background. So yeah, I'm agreeing with you, but as B. Durbin says, the general perception of photography is the opposite.

The photographer isn't, "making" but rather, "taking". The pictures are just out there, anyone can get them. Which is true, but far wide of the mark. That's why I tell people they can use my camera. The pictures are there, just waiting to be collected.

Melissa Singer: Skill is the result of work. I don't know about the greeting card question. I've got a lot of photos which would look good as either cards, or wall art. But that's the sort of work I do To borrow your example, I am workig in the manner of Ansel Adams. I spend a lot of time looking at things and imagining what they will look like as a print. I miss the black and white I I had when I was shooting film all the time. If I had the F3 in my hand, it was color, if I had the FE2 it was black and white.

The amazing thing (it's back to practice) was that I could look at things and know which body to grab first.

dcb: Ansel Adams hated 35mm, because the rolls (24 frames) let people be lazy, and just shoot with the idea they would get a decent picture. For all his talent/skill he was blind to the virtues of practice. No... he was blind to the fact that not everyone could; nor need, do the math required to make a 4x5 (and larger) exposure.

I shot a lot of film when I was learning ("film is cheap"). I was probably shooting 2 rolls a week. 72 frames. I indulged myself and bought a number of rolls of Ilford HP5, "motordrive" which was on thinner stock and had 72 frames per roll. That let me learn to shoot action. The drake in that shot is the result of me burning about 10 rolls on the diving team at Pierce College.

Digital made me understand the reason Adams was of his mind, and the failure of his imagination. Anyone can get a digital camera, set it to jpg, and shoot more frames on that disk, in an afternoon than I was likely to shoot in a year. Which is fine, but it doesn't make you a better photographer.

It just means you have more opportunity to get it right by happenstance. Where Adams failed was in not working on how to train people to work in the new paradigm.

flickr, for all that it sometimes drives me nuts, is really good for seeing how other people "see", and there are places (hit, miss, maybe; Why?, or "Strobist" which are all about the critique and means). One can end up in a permanent workshop.

David Harmon: I've heard the comment about abstract art, but I don't think it's as pervasive. I've heard lots of dismissive comments about abstract art, but the number of times I've been at a gallery show, and heard someone say they could do as well, "if I had the equipment"... I can't count.

I've never done a show where someone didn't tell me that, usually indirectly, as that woman did, but sometimes in words plain as day.

#42 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 08:36 PM:

The inaccessible opens its arms
Either my universe keeps shrinking
Or my skepticism won't stop growing
Pursuer and pursued
I flutter on the perches of a cage getting smaller and smaller
And whose door is open
Wide open

From Gyula Illyés, I believe (and a quick search seems to confirm). Sorry for the poor translation. I immediately thought of this when reading the post.

#43 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 08:39 PM:

Note: if you're wondering how the planet of idiots could possibly have developed all that cool (if rather gonzo) technology, you're approaching Mom and Dad Save the World all wrong.

#44 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 08:43 PM:

Addressing Abi's OP: Consider that by tradition, circumstance, and (as it turns out) neurology, a person's attitude toward risk tends to change drastically over their lifetime.

If a (single, childless) 20-year-old blows all their money on some risky project or investment, they face a personal loss, but they don't risk the welfare of their children (a.k.a. the Ultimate Bottom Line). And even on the personal level, they'll have far more energy, resilience, and above all time, to go do something else for a living.

When you're 30 or 40 and your kids need to be fed, clothed, etc., they need to be more careful, because it's not just them who might go hungry. And still later, when the kids are grown up and making their own way -- hey, that might be the time to try out a new career, or go into art, or take a flyer on that startup (with the benefit of added life experience)! Especially if the kids are doing well enough that they could potentially support you (and might have to anyway, in yet another couple of decades). Of course, older folks are also more likely to have spare money to gamble with!

A somewhat similar calculus applies to threats to life and limb, including risky hobbies such as mountaineering or parasailing, adventures abroad, careers that put you in harm's way, "standing up to the Man", and so forth. Here the older person might not have the full vigor of youth, but their life experience (and perhaps a few decades of training or working out) gives them a different sort of edge.

#45 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 09:21 PM:

Terry #41: Actually, for abstract work, the comment is often "my kid could do that"! Which also reflects more on the speaker than the art, but still! Remember Jackson Pollock?

Of course, the arts and artists that most resistant to "I could do that" are those where the level of technique and skill are just so obvious, that such a claim isn't remotely credible. That would include (inter alia) closely realistic depictions, highly-finished sculptures, intricate stuff with lots of structure, or anything that presents too much numen to ignore. So then the idiots just turn to the opposite pole of that bozosphere: "Oh, well, I don't have the Talent for that, but nothing I could do about that, some people are Just Born Gifted...".

#46 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 09:50 PM:

Melissa Singer #951:

For some years I have wanted to put together an anecdotal book of children's stories of divorce and custody.

Go for it! Ideally, before "your daughter's friends" and other candidate interviewees scatter to the winds.... Oh, and "never married" doesn't make you "an outsider" in this context, not if it's the kids' viewpoints you're looking for, rather than their parents'!.

#47 ::: VictorS ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 09:57 PM:

Velma -- there's lots to do in Chicago, depending on your tastes & inclinations. The Art Institute is what I'd put first on the list to do. For food -- the classic local dishes are Chicago-style hot dogs, Italian Beef sandwiches, and Chicago-style pizza. All are good, particularly if you're not a nominalist with regard to pizza & hot dogs. All will let you know you've arrived in a different city. There's also a number of very good Greek restaurants in the downtown area.

If the weather is good enough and you're up to it, there's an architecture-by-boat tour down the Chicago river. The river embankments also have a number of mostly-hidden cafés which are lovely, modulo weather. We've done the cafés, and seen the architecture, but haven't done the tour.

We've also made a point of visiting the lakeshore whenever we're in town. We look out at Lake Michigan, look at one another, and say "that's _fresh_ water?" (Then we look out at what used to be Meigs Field and curse the Mayors Daley. It's a Flight Simulator thing.)

It's been a while since we crossed the country by train, but it's probably worth mentioning that the food, the experience, and the scenery were all better the farther west we were.

Your stopover in Washington will probably be too short to do much. The Postal Museum is about two blocks away if you want something to fill an hour or so. If you have more time, the rest of the Smithsonian is only a bit farther away.

#48 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 10:11 PM:

terry, that photo is, IMO, worth the price. It isn't something 'anyone could take'. (For one thing, most people probably wouldn't be seeing the duck coming in for a landing. They're looking at the ducks on the water already.)

Having grown up in a family where most of the art on the walls was abstract to some degree, it also isn't something 'anyone can do', and especially not 'your kid'. You have to learn what to leave out, for one thing....

(I knit socks for my pleasure. I'll knit socks just to give to other people. Good yarn can run $20 for a hank that will make a pair; clearly it isn't an economical sound way to get cheap socks. But they're prettier and might last longer.)

#49 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 10:24 PM:

David: I'd say the, "my kid could do that" folks aren't making an actual comment on the difficulty/skill of the artist, but a value judgement that it's not really art. They aren't only saying their kid could do it, but that it's something only kids should do, or that no better than that is all they can do.

VictorS: I recall the first time I saw The Ocean. It was the Pacific. I was not impressed. I was comparing it to Lake Eirie. To an eight year old it was, at best, no better; and it stank wrong.

I have since come to a better appreciation of the ocean, but that memory sticks with me.

P J Evans: It's worth more than that, really. I put it at the lowest point of return. The one at which I can say to myself I didn't give it away. If I'd been at another venue (one with overhead; where I was the cost was just my time), the price would have to be at least double, just to recover the price I had it at there.

#50 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 10:59 PM:

David: I'd say the, "my kid could do that" folks aren't making an actual comment on the difficulty/skill of the artist, but a value judgement that it's not really art. They aren't only saying their kid could do it, but that it's something only kids should do, or that no better than that is all they can do.

VictorS: I recall the first time I saw The Ocean. It was the Pacific. I was not impressed. I was comparing it to Lake Eirie. To an eight year old it was, at best, no better; and it stank wrong.

I have since come to a better appreciation of the ocean, but that memory sticks with me.

P J Evans: It's worth more than that, really. I put it at the lowest point of return. The one at which I can say to myself I didn't give it away. If I'd been at another venue (one with overhead; where I was the cost was just my time), the price would have to be at least double, just to recover the price I had it at there.

#51 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 11:28 PM:

Open threadiness:

I just got back from the best concert I ever attended.

It was right up there with seeing Baryshnikov dance the Nutcracker when I was 14.

If any of y'all get the chance to catch Edgar Meyer, Bela Fleck and Zakir Hussein--GO.

#52 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2011, 11:45 PM:

I'd like to hear Bela Fleck play a duet with Jake Shimabukuro.

#53 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 01:19 AM:

Watched the first 2 hours of "Camelot" tonight. Meh... In spite of Joseph Fiennes as Merlin and in spite of Eva Green as Morgan.

#54 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 01:46 AM:

Alan Cumming...

In "X-men 2" with Famke Jansen.
In "GoldenEye" with Famke Jansen.

#55 ::: Rob Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 02:08 AM:

Of course Rush is a trio of very fine musicians but I find that their songs tent to saunter instead of rock. Admittedly I have a punk-hardcore-goth-rockabilly heart so YMMV.

Apropos of absolutely nothing, Bauhaus was a very potent live band (see "Swing the Heartache: The BBC Sessons").

#56 ::: Rob Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 02:19 AM:

To be a little clearer, I actually have a punk-hardcore-goth-no wave-rockabilly-psychedelic-blues-tradfolk-avantjazz-electronic-experimental-noise heart.

Hope that helps. :)

#57 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 07:15 AM:

The angel tipped his halo, wiped his sweat
(It sparkled like a thousand stars) and caught
His breath. He risked a peek, and said he thought
That this assault was beaten off. "I get
The feeling that it isn't finished yet,"
I said, and he grinned crookedly. "You ought
To see it at Samhain. We hold the fort,
But only just. This is an easy set."

"Why do they climb beyond the stars, and then
Assault the Gates?" A weary shrug. "They think
They're badass boys." He peered over the brink
And cocked his piece. "And here they come again.
Some folks do things because they can. But these,
They do it 'cause they can't. More ammo, please."

#58 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 07:55 AM:

Terry #49: David: I'd say the, "my kid could do that" folks aren't making an actual comment on the difficulty/skill of the artist, but a value judgement that it's not really art.

And isn't that essentially the same as the lip-curler you mentioned? "$75... for that?" does sound like a rather thoroughgoing dismissal of your work's value. And you'll surely be aware that the dismissal of photography-as-art goes back to the beginnings of photography, long before the point-and-click era.

I'd say that the dismissals are very much in the same vein -- regardless of the justifications given, the basic point is to denigrate the art's value as deeply as they can get away with. Certainly, both give me the same strong sense of "their parents didn't raise them right". Price-points aside, that sort of thing is plain rude... which is arguably the real reason we're still kvetching about "whose art gets disrespected worse". ;-)

#59 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 12:38 PM:

Rob Thornton: Have you listened to Boiled in Lead?

#60 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 12:39 PM:

Rob Thornton @55/56, I was going to say "marry me!" based on your musical tastes, but now I'd include the caveat of you wearing headphones when you listen to the "experimental noise" stuff. But you can play all the live Bauhaus you want! ;-)

#61 ::: Rob Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 01:06 PM:

@59 I have not heard Boiled in Lead but I have heard of them. Please do recommend! Come to think, hasn't Brust referred to them at one point or another?

@60 No prob with the headphones Rikibeth, I listen to that stuff at work anyways because it drowns out my coworkers.:) BTW, have you heard the Gun Club?

Also, if you have a chance, download Soft Cell's "Tainted Dub/Where Did Our Love Go?" from Amazon. This tune is the B-side to the original 12-inch and it is seriously whacked-out psychedelic instrumental electrogoth.

#62 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 01:08 PM:

David Harmon @58

I think there is a different timbre to the statements. I think in the case of some abstract art, the hard part's conceptual. I don't think there's much argument that, leaving aside the conceptual parts, a sufficiently patient and motivated sixth-grader with a T-square could paint a Mondrian. If it's not art, it ain't much. (It is art, of course, but some folks inevitably disagree.)

In the case of photography, the hard part is the bit you don't see. Sure, if Terry loaned me his camera, I could take the same photo. Oh, and could you tell me where to stand, too? And check my focus? And point out the duck coming in? Then just tap me on the shoulder when it's time to hit the shutter, and I should have that all sewn up!

So leaving aside the question of "is it art?" that photograph represents a serious investment of craft. It's worth paying for even if it categorically is not art. I'd pay for a really well-made bookcase or jacket, right? Maybe those things are art, but even folks who don't think so would agree that they're worth real money.

#63 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 01:15 PM:

Rob @61 Let me second the recommendation for Boiled in Lead!

No, I haven't heard the Gun Club. *adds to list*

Is the "Tainted Dub/Where Did Our Love Go" version the one I already know that segues into "Where Did Our Love Go" when the radio version did not, or is it yet another thing? I have eight assorted versions of that song (and if the Gloria Jones soul original didn't make it to my current iTunes I'll have to fix that) and would be happy to add yet another.

Allow me to speak up for Full Story At Midnight, a young psychobilly/horror rock band out of Tucson. All I have at the moment are demo tracks, but I'm pretty fond of them, rough spots and all. The frontman has promised me the mp3s they recorded live from the soundboard at a show last month. They'll be touring this summer.

#64 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 01:19 PM:

Okay, half a song in, and I know I LOVE the Gun Club. Thank you!

#65 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 01:20 PM:

Dave: I'll grant the lip curl was in a different vein from, "I could do that", but I don't think it's quite as dismissive as, "my kid could do that."

The first is saying it's nothing close to being worth the price, the second is saying it's worth nothing.

The "I could do that" folks are in a third category. They aren't saying it's non-talent (the "my kid" category), nor that it's just not as valuable as the artist is saying it is ("for this?"), they are arguing that it's not really either.

They also fall in a wider spectrum of reaction. Some are wistful. Some are (foolishly) jealous. The thing is we have image of the artist as struggling. Not with money, but with the art.

He is sweating over the piano, to find the right notes. She is staring at the canvas, trying to make the colors work, or hewing at the marble to make a Pieta appear.

And the response not liking (or worse, understanding) the modern forms, is to belittle them. To mock the artist.

With photography we have the problem of the machine. The image of the photographer is the guy who pops shot after shot in the model shoot, or the reporter who is in the right place at the right time. In fiction the critical images is often gotten by accident, and unknown to the photographer until much later.

It's not seen as work. It's luck, or raw talent; not craft. I get it all the time, the idea that being a serious photographer is easy. That all one does is walk around and "take" pictures.

The sense that asking more than 10 bucks for an unmounted print is somehow cheating. It's not that photographers get more abuse, in some ways we get less (so long as the picture is some sort of either, "pretty", or "real" we aren't likely to get told it's pointless, stupid, or worthless), but instead we get dismissed as not really artists, because the camera does the work.

#66 ::: Rob Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 02:15 PM:

Rikibeth @63 "Tainted Dub/Where Did Our Love Go?" is the instrumental B-side to the track that you mention. It's a total freakout.

@64 Glad you like the Gun Club. :) Dare I mention the Birthday Party, Nick Cave's second band? They are one of my alltime favorite groups....

#67 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 02:33 PM:

Re "My name is all day Monday"

My game is oh-so-mangled text strings and things.
Look at my words, you might be in despair.

#68 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 02:33 PM:

Soft Cell's masterpiece is their Jimi Hendrix medley. For certain values of "masterpiece."

#69 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 02:35 PM:

Oh, and my Boiled in Lead recommendation is Orb.

#70 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 02:39 PM:

Rob @66 Downloaded and listend to Tainted Dub, and, while I enjoyed the heck out of it, I must remember not to play it for the housemate or the teenager, as their tolerance for extended noodling is very, very limited. They even balk at ten minutes' worth of "Bela Lugosi's Dead" or "This Corrosion."

Knew about the Birthday Party already, and I agree with the admiration even if I wouldn't put them favorite.

My Boiled in Lead recommendation is Antler Dance.

#71 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 02:46 PM:

Tim Walters @68, that medley is... special!

And, Rob Thornton, I forgot to add -- my count of Tainted Love versions is now up to 13, and I recommend the one by Dave Phillips & The Hot Rods.

#72 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 02:57 PM:

My recommendation for Eighties British arty dub is "Animal Spacier" by the Slits (the dub version of "Animal Space"). YouTube doesn't have that, but they do have Earthbeat from the same album, which is much, well, earthier--but also really good.

#73 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 03:43 PM:

Dave Luckett @ 57:

Very nice!

But it reminded me of something, so now I have to ask the Group Mind about a skiffy1 story. It was published, I think, in Fantastic Universe magazine in the mid-to-late 1950s. The main character is Lucifer (yep, the Ruler of Hell); I think it was in first person, but using the voice of one of Damon Runyon's gangster characters. IIRC, the plot involved Gabriel's trumpet being stolen, and Lucifer helping to find it; there's at least one scene in a jazz club where Gabriel hangs out (but doesn't play, because that would be the Last Set). Anyone know the title or author?

1. Every time I type that I wonder if there's some relationship between science fiction and skiffle bands.

#74 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 04:34 PM:

Rob Thornton -- to add to the list, try out The Levellers (anarchist UK group similar to the Grateful Dead in that they perform a lot more than they practice -- and their sound differs widely from album to album. Their version of "Devil Went Down to Georgia" is just amazing; on the same album with their version of "Plastic Jesus"....), The Oysterband (or Oyster Band), Black 47, and (a bit farther back) Horslips. And for the silly side, 3 Mustaphas 3.... You may also find God's Little Monkeys interesting. I have no idea why I love "New Maps of Hell" (their first album) but I do. More UK anarchist music.

I'm more a fan of the older Boiled in Lead (The Old Lead CD) but "From the Ladle to the Grave" is where I started with them. I do like something with a tune, myself.

#75 ::: Jenavira ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 04:47 PM:

previous OT, 946 et al, on pining:

This rubs me the wrong way, and I shall de-lurk and try to tease out why, for it is one of the "know thyself" problems I have been working on lately, and also it seems like an assumption that could stand to be challenged.

It's the assumption of "pining" that bothers me, mostly. I am an asexual and aromantic person; that is, I have no practical interest in sex and I don't tend to fall in love. I do have enough of a romantic strain in me that I don't find it impossible that I ever should fall in love, but it hasn't happened yet (at twenty-six) and it hasn't seemed likely. Since I am uninterested in sex or having children and perfectly happy to have my social and emotional needs fulfilled by friends and family - and lucky enough to have friends and family who can and will support me emotionally - I don't particularly care whether or not I ever do fall in love.

But suppose it does happen. Suppose I go out tomorrow and meet a wonderful person and I fall in love with them and they fall in love with me, and we are perfectly happy together. And then suppose that person dies. I am still the kind of person for whom potential romantic partners are vanishingly rare. Perhaps I will never meet another one in my life, but I still have my friends and family and am perfectly happy with them and do not feel the lack of a romantic partner. Am I pining? I certainly don't think I would be. I would be perceived as pining,*** I'm sure, but that doesn't mean I'm wasting away, unhealthily attached to a dead person.

I know that I am an unusual case; most people do feel the need for a romantic partner. And I don't think that encouraging that sort of melodramatic pining is a good idea, because I agree that it can be unhealthy. But I've seen Marple adaptations* that do introduce her lost young man, and she never seemed to me to be pining. She remembered him fondly for a bit, and then the scene was over, and everybody moved on. I find depictions like that to be a great comfort, since it is so rare to see positive depictions of single people (single women, specifically) and I have never yet seen a wholly positive depiction of an asexual person in television or movies.**

*the series with Geraldine McEwan, for instance, I was very fond of
**I can recall one in a book - Elizabeth Bear's Grail - and there may be more, but they're still vanishingly rare
***This is the part I have the biggest problem with. I grew up in a conservative Christian town, certain there was something wrong with me, not because I wanted to have sex but because I didn't. I knew I disliked the church's opinion on premarital sex. Ideologically I ought to be having sex. But I didn't want to. So clearly I was either a prude, which I didn't want to be, or seriously broken. It took me a long time to realize that just because something is a destructive socially acceptable position for many people doesn't mean it's inherently bad.

(Alas, the one time I feel strongly enough to de-lurk, and I've gotten terribly behind in the conversation. I am loving the discussion of art and making a living on it, I just haven't had anything to contribute.)

#76 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 06:28 PM:

Dave L., #57: Some folks do things because they can. But these, They do it 'cause they can't.

The whole poem is excellent, but that bit just jumped out at me. I know people like that.

Devin, #62: Because (generally speaking) I have no talent whatsoever for painting/drawing, I am inclined to view anything of that nature that I could reproduce, or produce something in the style of, as Not Art. I would never say that to the artist, of course, because that would be beyond rude, but it's how I feel. As for Jackson Pollock, he is of historical interest as the first person to do what he did, but no more than that.

Other fields of artistic endeavor don't trigger that response in the same way.

Terry, #65: ISTM that the people who feel that way have probably never done any photography themselves. Since I got my little digicam, I've become quite the shutterbug -- and if I hadn't already realized how much work there is in taking a really good picture, that would have taught me. Yeah, sometimes there's luck involved, but you have to know how to invite the luck too!

Tim, #68: Interesting. I like the style, but I'd forgotten how badly the lyrics to "Hey Joe" squick me out. One of these days I swear I'm going to start a webpage collection of pop hits in which it's assumed that a woman is the property of a man and he has every right to kill her if she's unfaithful. That's all part of the rape culture too.

Rikibeth, #70: I like SoM, but only certain songs; however, "This Corrosion" is one of my favorites. It's a terrific dance piece. If there's ever a movie made from Gaiman's Sandman, they should do the soundtrack!

Jenavira, #75: There's a huge fannish scrum over whether or not the new BBC version of Sherlock Holmes is asexual. Enough people are convinced that he is that there's an entire LJ community devoted to fanfic based on that assumption - asexy_holmes is the name of it IIRC. Sounds as if it might interest you.

AKICOML: Back in the 80s there was a one-hit-wonder group called The Innocents. I used to have their (eponymous) album on vinyl, and then later on cassette, but both seem to have disappeared from my collection. Their style was what I call "bubblegum & jangly guitars". A look thru the torrents produced references to a band from the 60s who are definitely NOT them, and a band from New Zealand who I think are a little too early still (70s rather than 80s). This is all complicated by the fact that I can't remember any of the song titles on the album, although I'm sure I'd recognize the right ones if I saw them. Does anyone else have any suggestions about where to look?

#77 ::: Rob Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 06:51 PM:

A few little tidbits on SF and music:

Here is a picture of Jimi Hendrix reading a Penguin SF anthology.

Howard Waldrop's "Flying Saucer Rock'N'Roll" is named after a nifty rockabilly tune by Billy Lee Riley and the Little Green Men."

Here is the website for Bloodhag, a thrash metal group that "does short songs about science fiction and fantasy authors." Probably the only metal band with a song titled "Gene Wolfe" and a reading list that includes "The Female Man." They used to prominently feature a quote from a rather startled-sounding Thomas Disch.

#78 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 07:27 PM:

Hyperlocal news: Area retiree finds that new library will be 1/3 smaller than present one, pitches hissy fit, and is partly mollified by library staff. They say the space sacrificed is comprised of a no-longer-needed meeting room and processing area, now that we have joined the county system, but I still feel bait-and-switched.
Citizen uproar, by many others in addition to myself, is expected to rage for a while.
Our current library is a world-unique structure set athwart a river that with recent crappy weather is running a bit high, but not like some of its past legendary performances. The half-building-half-bridge is expected to find some sort of public use in the future. Our new home will be some blocks away; I have restrained myself from suggesting that the river be re-routed to run under it.
Fond memories include finding a huge cottonwood wrapped around one of the support pillars after record flood in '90; putting my ear against an internal column and hearing the current; seeing the awed responses of citizenry around the time of the crest; counting salmon in the autumn during normal flow; seeing swimmers and inner-tube riders pass below; internal chaos after a 6.8 quake; herons, mergansers, and so on outside, and of course more literary discoveries than I can count.
Jenavira,#75--Elizabeth Moon's Paksenarrion, so far as I can recall, was asexual. I just turned old enough to qualify for the senior discount in some places and I have never been sexually or romantically interested in people, so it was an unexpected relief to find a kindred spirit.

#79 ::: Robert Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 07:40 PM:

Pardon the double dip but here goes:

Lee @76: I tried the name "The Innocents" at and came up with this. They are from 1982 so maybe that's what you are looking for?

Tom @74 Thanks for the recommendations. The Levellers and the Oysterband were around when I was in undergrad college radio (not surprisingly) but I never did get around to trying them out. If you like the 80s folk sort of thing, an Austin folk group of that time named Poi Dog Pondering did a great atheist anthem (of sorts) called "Bury Me Deep."

Tim @72 Looks like those tunes are only on singles and not on any compilations beyond a radio interview LP. Argh!

@ Boiled in Lead recommendations - Thank you so much. Since everybody seemed to call out different things, I will probably use Allmusic and Amazon to get more detail and figure out which one will appeal to me most. I will provide feedback in Open Thread 157. :)

#80 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 08:14 PM:

Rikibeth @ 70 - Antler Dance was the tape playing in my last Honda Civic wagon at the moment when a Cadillac tried to occupy the same space as it. "Rasputin" was the song playing. I've listened to it several times since, but for some reason it makes me nervous.

My car was totalled, but I managed to make it to Winnipeg for Conadian, bruised and battered and limping, and not sure how I was going to get from Columbus to Portsmouth on my return trip.

#81 ::: Jenavira ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 08:14 PM:

Lee@76 - Yes indeed. I love the new Sherlock, and I think there's a good argument for him (as well as the Conan Doyle Holmes) as asexual, but he's hardly unproblematic. He self-declares as a sociopath, for one thing; also he's an asshole.

Angiportus@78 - I knew there would be something I was unfamiliar with. I enjoyed Moon's The Speed of Dark and have been meaning to read more of her one of these days; sounds like I might move it up the list.

#82 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 08:28 PM:

Jenavira @ 81

I do think it's only fair to warn you that Paks is fairly brutal and involves (as I recall) more than one rape. So, definite informed decision-making territory, although I'll agree that it's a fantastically well-written book. (Just not something I can personally take more than one of every 10 years or so.)

#83 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 08:38 PM:

Lee @23 (also Skwid @11): I found this, which seems to be the link you (Lee) were talking about. If you (Skwid) scroll down, you will find Rush songs covered by others.

#84 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 08:53 PM:

Robert Thornton @ 79: Looks like those tunes are only on singles and not on any compilations beyond a radio interview LP. Argh!

Hm. Return of the Giant Slits was reissued on CD in 2007, and has both tracks (and is excellent all the way through IMHO). It comes with a (not particularly great) bonus disc that includes a radio interview--maybe that's the source of confusion. I guess it could be out of print already.

Since everybody seemed to call out different things, I will probably use Allmusic and Amazon to get more detail and figure out which one will appeal to me most.

I am dying of frustration, because my sole publication credit is the BiL entry in the MusicHound Guide To Folk, and I can't find it online or on my hard drive. The short version: Old Lead is the most British-folk-centric; Ladle and Orb expand into world music, and the playing (especially the drumming) goes from pretty good to outstanding; Antler Dance replaces the punk elements with metal/rawk. You won't go wrong with any of those. Songs From The Gyspy, a concept album, did not work for me. Silver, the recent reunion album, is quite good, but I wouldn't start with it. Alloy is a career overview compilation, if you want to go that route.

#85 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 09:34 PM:

Jenavira: I'm going to be 52 this year. I've had a handful of relationships (sexual and not). I'm not motivated by sex, nor by visions of romantic love; when I was your age I used to lament about having to go through all the dating stuff to get to the part I liked, where we just spent a lot of time being with each other without everything having to be "special." I was happiest sitting on the couch with someone I really liked, reading and/or watching TV or whatever.

I don't consider myself completely asexual since I am fond of eyecandy of various sorts, but I am definitely of low libido.

And pretty much content to be single.

I did decide to do the motherhood thing, once I was in my 30s. Totally different kind of relationship and a totally different kind of love. The parenting thing was not, for me, connected to the partnership thing.

When I was around 40, a new dr. suggested that hormone therapy might help with the low libido thing (and potentially increase my desire for a love relationship). I wasn't interested at the time (I had a 5-year-old, after all), but I might have considered it when younger.

I'm the only one in my family like this, afaik. My offspring, who takes after me in many ways, does not in this one.

#86 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 09:46 PM:

On abstract art: oh, Iowa, you tried to sell the Pollock and FAILED. The university has a donated Pollock, and twice, the idea has been put out that we should sell it for a scholarship fund or flood recovery money. The conversation gets ridiculous. A friend of mine theorizes that the people who are most in favor of selling it are those who don't see it as art at all-- it's just splatters (which it's not) and anyone could do that (which they could, but it wouldn't be this painting and it wouldn't have the fractal thing and it wouldn't be Pollock, now would it?) I confess, I am not a Pollock-getting person in the slightest, but as long as Pollock is Pollock, the painting matters.
It's now recognized as the kind of discussion that will do nothing but make people hate each other.

On "I could do that": I try not to say this, but sometimes, I could. A friend of a friend sells $50 scarves at craft fairs, and they are gorgeous... and made of novelty yarn from Hobby Lobby. That kind of thing's not cheap and it's not always easy to work with, but knitting it is easier than crocheting it and for heaven's sake, fifty dollars? Or more? Value is weird.

My problem is also that I am, in general, a messing-with person. I see some simple cross-stitch pieces and go home resolving to copy them because I can. I've done it before, with egg-shaped Santas that came out low-quality but hell, Mom displays them proudly and is impressed. With something I have actual skill at, I am much more likely to make exactly what I want, rather than the almost-right someone is selling.

It's such a weird tangle of issues, ranging from, "No, really, this is totally a thing people do so you can do it too, just try," to, "Value your labor, people," to, "Just because you can do it in general doesn't mean you can do this specific thing," and such. So I stick to very small cross-stitch pieces with dirty words on them and I give them to friends.

(this post is way more rambly than I want it to be, but my choices are say things a bit wrong and then eat or try to say things right and end up eating an hour later and one of these is not a choice right now*)

*also I am speaking in teacher

#87 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 09:47 PM:

If I might be so bold as to toot my own horn: I believe some select number of you all might enjoy listening to this tape that my band has recorded. Mountain Station.

#88 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 09:52 PM:

Devin #62: I don't think there's much argument that, leaving aside the conceptual parts, a sufficiently patient and motivated sixth-grader with a T-square could paint a Mondrian. If it's not art, it ain't much.

Ooh, did you pick the wrong example! ;-) The thing is, Mondrian started out as a conventional painter★, doing scenes and such like his peers. Along the way, he became interested in "visual rhythm", that is, the spacing of features within pictures (his own and others'). The abstracts he became famous for are the endpoint of that exploration, and trust me, getting the "feel" of a late Mondrian takes more than a T-square.

Pollock was another classic case: Like Mondrian, he went delving into one particular aspect of image, until he'd pulled it loose from everything else. During his lifetime, I doubt Pollock himself completely understood what he'd found, but it turns out that his work (unlike that of his contemporary imitators) has fractal dimension. This is not usual in human constructions, but is common in natural forms.

Terry Karney #65: At this point, I think we're in violent agreement. Note that "the camera does the work" (of exactly replicating the scene in view) was one of the original arguments against considering photographs as potential art. After all, how could it be art if the artist didn't have all the learning and skill needed to create that realism theirself? Art and science both, sometimes advance one funeral at a time.

★ It's worth noting that most abstract artists, and all of the "great names", started out as conventional artists, or at least were trained as such.

#89 ::: Rob Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 09:54 PM:

Tim Walters @ 84 - So that's why I've heard of Boiled in Lead. When I read The Gypsy, yon author mentioned Songs From The Gypsy in the back if I recall correctly. I just started using Rhapsody, maybe BiL are on this service. But I am looking forward to hearing them. I figure that if I like early PiL, I will *definitely* like early BiL. ;)

#90 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 09:54 PM:

I, too, have some folk-rock in my checkered past.

#91 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 09:58 PM:

Rob Thornton @ 89: For an early PiL fan, the best place to start listening to Boiled in Lead would be "Fück The Circus" (but it's really more like Flipper, I think). On unfindable 7" vinyl and not at all typical, though.

#92 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 09:59 PM:

I should have checked first--"Fück The Circus" is included on the Alloy compilation.

#93 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 10:01 PM:

Remember the discussion in early March about emergency oxygen being removed from the toilets in American planes? I believe Terry Karney brought it up here on Making Light. Here's a link about the secret directive. When it became public in March, and people objected that someone in the bathroom wouldn't be able to get to oxygen quickly, that was dismissed with talk of how rare fast decompressions are.

Well, here it is less than a month later, and a large hole causes Southwest flight to make emergency landing.

#94 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 10:03 PM:

Modesto Kid @87: I got this when trying to expand End-of-central-directory signature not found. Either this file is not a zipfile, or it constitutes one disk of a multi-part archive.

Do you have anything that streams?

#95 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 10:12 PM:

I don't understand why "I could do that" is even a bad thing. There are plenty of artists whose work is technically amazing but really terrible, and plenty of artists whose work is technically simple, flawed even, yet wonderful (both examples based on my taste, of course).

"Don't be afraid of something just because it's easy to do." --Brian Eno

#96 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 10:33 PM:

Tim @ 94 -- Hm. Odd... I can link the tracks individually. And try to figure out what's going on with that.

#97 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 10:39 PM:

Diatryma @ 86:

I've noticed that, at least for fiber crafts of the variety sold at craft fairs, your average customer is willing to pay more for materials than for labor, or technique. This leads to situations where Thena's dishcloths can't sell for more than $2.00, while your friend's friend can sell scarves from Hobby Lobby's novelty yarn* for $50.

I've also noticed that the actual cost of the materials doesn't matter near so much as the perceived cost. Plain cotton yarn has a low perceived cost. Anything that sparkles has a high perceived cost. Self-striping or variegated yarns are somewhere in the middle. I've looked into pricing on Etsy and at craft fairs, and come to the conclusion that if I ever try to sell any of my knitting or crochet, I need to pick something where I can use an expensive-looking yarn (preferably one not too much more expensive than a plainer yarn). Something like scarves from novelty yarns actually fits this description pretty well.

*I personally find novelty yarns (any manufacturer) easier to crochet than to knit. But this is probably because I've been crocheting for almost 20 years, and I've been knitting for less than 5. Once again, the value of practicing a skillset is illustrated.

#98 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 10:46 PM:

Ok, I put a little streaming thingy at the link.(Hopefully all the links in the xspf file are correct. I'm just listening to the first song now and it is correct.)

#99 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 10:48 PM:

Melissa Singer #85: I used to lament about having to go through all the dating stuff to get to the part I liked, where we just spent a lot of time being with each other without everything having to be "special."

Um. <Wanders off to consult mirror> Modulo the sex drive thing -- as I've noted elsewhere, mine is strong but frustrated, and I've decided it's an annoying distraction.

<psychogeekery>: Common misusage aside, libido isn't actually the the same as sex drive, it's much more fundamental. In the "hydraulic model" of psychology, the libido is the basic life-force, the metaphorical fountain that feeds into everything else. The confusion became common because for most people. yes the sex drive is a primary outlet for the libido, and even something of an indicator for it. But as I recall, you go out and do quite a bit of "stuff", so I'm pretty sure your libido is just fine, regardless of your absent sex drive.</psychogeekery>

#100 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 10:52 PM:

Robert @79 -- already have PDP, and really like the whole album "Bury Me Deep" is on. They never got back to that level of fun (IMO).

#101 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 11:17 PM:

Rob, #77: That Bloodhag site is... interesting. I wonder, is it filk when it's about the author instead of the book?

And @79: That looks like it might be them, although the song isn't one I recognize. But the period is right, and so is the sound. Now do you suppose anyone has the album and has ripped it to .mp3 format?

Kip, #83: No, that's a list of songs by other bands that Rush has covered. Skwid is interested in songs by Rush which have been covered by other bands.

#102 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 11:17 PM:

Robert & Tom: Oh, a subject dear to my heart! Poi Dog Pondering was mostly the brain-child of Frank Orrall, who comes from Hawaii and had a string of great little-known bands here in the late '70s and early '80s, including the Squids and the earlier versions of Hat Makes the Man and Pagan Babies, before he headed off to Austin and slightly-less-obscurity. Very cool guy, and I love the way he looks at life.

He's still doing some version of Poi Dog Pondering along with Internet DJ casts and stuff; his current website is here:

#103 ::: Don Simpson ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 11:20 PM:

David Harmon @ 88:

I remember a book with a very large number of Mondrian's works, arranged in chronological order, showing how Broadway Boogie-Woogie and it's ilk slowly evolved from paintings of trees; the branches becoming straighter, sparser, and so on, into severe geometry and limited color. I liked the middle part of the sequence, with shallow arcs.

#104 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 11:53 PM:

Back in college, mumbledy-mumble decades ago, I wrote a computer program that would construct designs of Mondrianian sensibility and print them out (as ASCII-art) on a continuous feed line-printer.

#105 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2011, 11:59 PM:

Well, I wrote a haiku earlier today in tribute to my new eBook reader, so if I can't churn out anything longer than that for today's NaPoWriMo effort within the next hour, here it is:

Microfiber cloth
Clears my finger's path to Truth.
Nook Color: sensei!

#106 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 12:17 AM:

Singing Wren: completely right. Value is weird.

I think the knit vs crochet thing is a combination of factors, and I haven't actually tried to knit with eyelash anything yet. There's the stretchiness and lack thereof of novelty yarn, which would make knitting harder, but it's also much more difficult to see stitches, which makes crocheting harder. When I made the Big Bird scarf*, I couldn't see any of my crocheted stitches, so I just jabbed at appropriate intervals and tried to keep it approximately rectangular.

*a friend likes yellow. The yarn looks like someone shaved Big Bird.

I was at a craft fair yesterday and I kind of wanted to tell one woman, "No, really, we're buying this because it is cheap, but this is cheap because you apparently have no idea what you're doing." 'This' was a bracelet with Sculpey charms of breakfast food, like a tiny waffle with butter, a wee orange, and an adorable little banana. For five dollars.

And I hate that I can either buy underpriced things and feel guilty or look at properly-priced or overpriced things and never get to have them.

A thing on photography: my primary stumbling block, besides that I don't have money, is that photographs are prints. It takes an incredible amount of work to get the image, and then you can reproduce it as many times as you want. In my head, there's a painting that is expensive, then there are prints which are less expensive; with photography, the original doesn't actually exist, and I don't know how to reconcile that.

But I am not the target customer for a lot of photography.

#107 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 12:18 AM:

David Harmon@88: While I completely agree with you that a sixth-grader could not do what Mondrian did, it does seem to me that the (valid) reason you give why not is neatly encapsulated in Devin's phrase "conceptual parts". Given a Mondrian to copy, I suspect a sixth-grader with a t-square could make a perfectly reasonable copy.

#108 ::: Rob Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 12:35 AM:

Lee #101: I don't own the album and I don't see it on Amazon or Rhapsody. Allmusic says that the album came out on some label named Boardwalk. I would never suggest trying a P2P solution because that would be evil and wrong (and also because I am uncertain that it would be successful). In the end, I suspect that if you really really want the album you might have to fork out big bucks to some record dealer who found it after digging through a thousand garage sales.

Tim Walters @ 84: Found Return of the Giant Slits on Amazon but it looks like an import at the moment. Most of them are going for $20-$28 but some mercenary is actually selling an import copy for $104!

Also, thanks for the BiL intro suggestion for this PiL fan. I was kidding of course but its nice to have an entry point. :)

Tim @ 95: As a Flipper fan, all I can say is "Amen, brother, amen!" However, Television is a little too complex and through-composed for me to think of it as "simple but great." To me, this is a better example. Of course, legendary music critic Lester Bangs might have nominated these guys instead. But that's pushing the boundaries....

#109 ::: Rob Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 12:39 AM:

Correction: I used the phrase "through composed" incorrectly. Please pretend that those words are not there. And so to bed....

#110 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 12:40 AM:

I wonder if the "I could do that" response to painting* is connected to painting's strange economic system. A primitivist CD might annoy the listener, but it's inexpensive, and it's not likely that the artist is getting rich from it, so the mere existence of it isn't offensive to most people. On the other hand, seeing something that seems very easy to do (say, an all-white painting) in an art museum, knowing that it's valued at a gazillion dollars, is something of an affront to one's core values about reward vs. effort. Even mine, a bit--as mentioned above, I don't mind things that are easy to do, but I'm less sanguine about fetishizing the specific objects that result.

*And sculpture.

#111 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 01:43 AM:

Also, on risk: when I left grad school, I had to remind myself that I am twenty-five. There is nothing I can do that will ruin my life.

I'm heading to twenty-seven now and kind of wish I'd spent the last two years miserable and saving money, but again, not a life-ruiner. Given my background, I'd have to work hard to do anything permanently damaging. I'm lucky to have that background.

There will never be a better time for some risks.

#112 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 02:39 AM:

If you took a photograph of a particular style of spectacles, dropped onto a pavement, and called it "The Death of John Lennon", many people would know the cultural context. It would have a lot less meaning for those who didn't.

Similarly, a lot of classic art is full of obscure references, which the target audience of the time would have understood. But there is clearly a lot of work done to get to the end product, and the picture carries a lot of information that isn't in the context.

Jackson Pollack and Mondrian, on the other hand, produced stuff that depends very heavily on the context: such things as the sequence of development of their work. And if you tried to measure how much of the information is in the actual work, how much in context, you might find the works to be very different from more representational art.

I don't know if that's a useful distinction, but it's a way of looking at the problem which seems to explain some reactions. Without the context, is there anything for somebody to "get"?

You might be able to apply that to books, too. Is the stuff we like a bit more dependent on context? When we talk about well-done incluing, does it depend on the audience as well as the writer?

#113 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 03:05 AM:

Rob Thornton @ 108: Aquarius has RotGS for $27. Not much help price-wise, but perhaps a better place to shop.

However, Television is a little too complex and through-composed for me to think of it as "simple but great."

Fair enough. How about By This River by Brian Eno? I think most people could learn to play it on the first day of piano lessons, but it's wonderful.

#114 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 03:13 AM:

Dave Bell @ 112: "I don't know if that's a useful distinction, but it's a way of looking at the problem which seems to explain some reactions. Without the context, is there anything for somebody to "get"?"

Another way of saying that is, art is a conversation.

#115 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 04:56 AM:

Diatryma: Prints are, sort of, the original. Back in the day, when it as chemicals and dark rooms, each print was slightly different from all the others (even when the printing data is recorded, and all the key features are replicated [same type of enlarger, same f-stop on the enlarging lens, same distance from film plane to paper, same paper type, same filter pack, same exposure time, same developer, same time in the developer; stop bath, and fixer), things won't be quite the same. Even if you do ten prints back to back they won't be quite the same.

You might not notice it from one print the next, but the tenth will be obviously (if only slightly) different. Because the chemicals will change, the enlarging light will be a slightly different temperature, the emulsion on the paper isn't, quite, perfectly the same from sheet to sheet.

Rob Thornton: I would say "From the Ladle to the Grave" or Orb are the places to start. I'm torn between them to decide which I like best. This is, in part, because I discovered them when Orb was being produced, so they played some of it in concert, but the only CD they had Was "Ladle", which (had it been vinyl, I'd have worn out).

#116 ::: Rob Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 08:07 AM:

Tim @ 113: You shop at Aquarius? I love you man! :)

That Brian Eno track is awfully nice. I tried "Here Comes The Warm Jets" many moons ago and it wasn't to my taste. But I like this quite a lot. I will put my mitts on "Before and After Science."

By the by, when it comes to the British folk-rock genre I am fond of Steeleye Span's "Please to See the King." It's got an emotional and lo-fi sonic edge that my Velvet Underground-loving heart appreciates.

Terry @ 115: Thanks. It turns out that Rhapsody has all of the BiL albums available for streaming so I have some listening to do!

#117 ::: Sandra Bond ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 08:09 AM:

Bruce@73: would that be "When Gabriel" by John Brunner, perhaps? First published in the UK magazine Science Fantasy in 1956, but it was reprinted in Fantastic Universe for April 1957. To be found in his collection OUT OF MY MIND. Good old Brunner.

#119 ::: David Hodson ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 10:14 AM:

Rob Thornton @ 116: "By This River" is from the second half of "Before and After Science". The first half is closer in style to "Here Come The Warm Jets", although more bouncy and less abrasive. You might also want to try "Another Green World", which is more relaxed overall.

#120 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 10:16 AM:

David Goldfarb #107: Given a Mondrian to copy, I suspect a sixth-grader with a t-square could make a perfectly reasonable copy.

So could a digital camera and a large-format printer, and those wouldn't be limited to Mondrians! Your point is...? For that matter, there's any number of notable sketches that I could copy without too much practice... and in some cases, without tracing paper. That doesn't make me equal to their original creators.

The thing is, even without having an intimate familiarity with Mondrian's full canon, I can see that his works aren't just random collections of lines and rectangles. So can almost anyone else with "a fair bit" of artistic background. (Remember, I'm not an expert artist or curator, myself!) And remember again that Pollock's imitators of the time did not capture the key feature of his art.

But, on consideration, there is a fair counterweight available for such arguments. The thing is, all the arguments about context and primacy can be summed up in four words: "been there, done that".

Following in the footsteps of Mondrian, or Pollock, or Picasso, doesn't get you "artistic cred", because they broke the trail for you. Copying the masters can certainly help with your own artistic growth, but if you want to be recognized for more than wall decorations, you need to make your own path. But the original masterworks stay in the museums for the same reason that museums collect technological "firsts", or period clothes and tools -- the point of museums is exactly to present that sort of history.

Note that it's also possible to accidentally stumble across someone else's trail, and that gets a distinctive response in art: "You have rediscovered so-and-so's mid-career style. Keep going, but in your own direction." And if you think that's only a problem in visual arts, try poking through some novels from 100 years ago. (<plug>Daedalus Used Books of Charlottesville.</plug>) But somehow, putting novels in a museum doesn't have quite the same effect. ;-)

#121 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 10:24 AM:

Open-threadily: a suggested addition to the blog's HTML cheatsheet:

&lt;angle brackets> = <angle brackets>

#122 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 01:10 PM:

Rob Thornton @ 116: You shop at Aquarius? I love you man! :)

It's my local. And just a few blocks from Borderlands!

That Brian Eno track is awfully nice. I tried "Here Comes The Warm Jets" many moons ago and it wasn't to my taste. But I like this quite a lot. I will put my mitts on "Before and After Science."

As David Hodson noted, Another Green World is more like this overall (and is generally considered his masterpiece). The album most like that song, though, is After The Heat by Eno, Moebius, and Roedelius (the latter two of whom are playing piano and synthesizer on "By This River").

By the by, when it comes to the British folk-rock genre I am fond of Steeleye Span's "Please to See the King."

That's my favorite of theirs (and not just because, as an electric dulcimer player, I'm required to like it by federal statute). Interestingly, I ran across a fan poll of their albums once that had it dead last, after rare, pointless odds & sods records like Individually and Collectively. Sometimes I don't understand people. Anyway, you should try Ten Man Mop if you haven't already--it's quite similar, and almost as good.

And I can't believe I've gotten this far without recommending Cordelia's Dad, who are fabulous whether doing punk versions of Sacred Harp tunes or drony acoustic numbers.

#123 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 01:20 PM:

There's plenty of good Steeleye with enough variation to make it seem silly to me to try to pick a "best" album. Different ones for different moods. Parts of Sails of Silver never fail to give me chills, for example -- not considered their best by very many people.

#124 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 01:24 PM:

Oh, and have you heard Jah Wobble's English Roots Music? A truly amazing take on traditional British ballads. Reading this reminded me to listen to it again.

#125 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 01:58 PM:

Rob, #116: My personal favorite Steeleye album is Below the Salt. That's partly because it's the first one I ever heard, and partly because it has no songs on it which I think of as clinkers (almost every other Steeleye album has at least one). I'm less happy with their more recent work, after Maddy Pryor and Tim Hart left the group, but OTOH they are still putting out new stuff, and how many other bands can say that after 30+ years?

#126 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 02:09 PM:

For those of you wishing to acquire Boiled in Lead music, you might want to get it from:

which is run by one of the members of BiL, Drew Miller.

Also, check out their site:

There are a few sample songs and videos there.

Disclosure - Drew is an old friend of mine.

#127 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 02:15 PM:

Lee @ 125: [Below The Salt] has no songs on it which I think of as clinkers (almost every other Steeleye album has at least one).

Exactly my opinion, except that it's Please and Mop that are clinker-free ("John Barleycorn" is the track on Below The Salt that fails for me). Every album has at least one gem, though.

(Offer good for classic-era Steeleye only. Best served with Martin Carthy.)

#128 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 02:28 PM:


Local woman attempts to donate blood, but is thwarted by $IRONCOUNT = n - 1, where $IRONCOUNT >= n required for donation.

#129 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 02:34 PM:

Singing Wren @128, sympathies. That happened the last 3 or 4 times I tried to donate blood, that I fell fractionally low. (My doctor said in the meantime that I'm fine.) I haven't tried for a couple of years now, which makes me feel mildly guilty.

#130 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 02:36 PM:

re BiL: People might also be curious to know that Adam Stemple is Jane Yolen's son.

#131 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 02:56 PM:

Tim Walters @ #127, Is John Barleycorn the same song that Traffic played on their album of that name?

#132 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 03:23 PM:

Linkmeister @ 131: The lyrics are almost the same, but the tune is completely different. A teeth-grindingly perky, saccharine tune, complete with an interpolated "fa-la-la-la, it's a lovely day" chorus. It pulls up the corners of your mouth by main strength. It makes The Free Design sound like Bauhaus.

OK, I'm exaggerating juuuust a bit. If Nic Jones performed it with this tune and left out the chorus I'd probably like it. But Steeleye's version is too sweet for my taste.

Decide for yourself.

#133 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 03:23 PM:

Singing Wren #128: yeah, that kinda sucks. I got turned down once for excessively low blood pressure.

Terry Karney #130: Heh, small world.

#134 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 03:30 PM:

Rob: I consider Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy to be Eno's best record from that period, followed by Another Green World and Before and After Science. I like Here Come the Warm Jets OK, but in my opinion, it is nowhere near as good as the other three; the songs never quite seem to get a focus.

A sampling of one of the best (and poppier) songs from each:
'Burning Airlines Give You So Much More' (Taking Tiger Mountain)
'St. Elmo's Fire' (Another Green World)
'King's Lead Hat' (Before and After Science)

#135 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 03:35 PM:

Traffic's version: perky it ain't. This is live in Cincinnati in 1970.

#136 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 03:46 PM:

Hyperlocal News: Area man goes to mall with girlfriend, is reminded why malls are Serious Suck and Fail. Has awesome day anyway, but the couple vow not to try that mall again*.

*At least, not without a tank division with lots of mortar rounds. The place reminded me of Nashville way, way too much... blech.

#137 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 03:55 PM:

Open-threadiness rant:

I loved Google's April Fools jokes, including the ad for an Autocompleter. That is, I loved it until I got to this line: Like, so fast that you can do 20 searches before your mom does 1?

"Your mom…" comparisons are common in high tech. I'm one of those few women who work in the software industry. The first time I heard one, I didn't particularly notice it. But as they mount up, they get very tiresome. Don't tell me they are ageist rather than sexist* -- have you ever heard a "your dad" comment like that?

Despite women making up more than half of college graduates, very few are majoring in engineering. Women who take up careers in engineering are more likely to change careers than are men. There's much debate as to the causes of this (and I'm sure there are several, compounding each other), but the constant drip, drip, drip of sexism in the high tech boy's club is definitely part of it.


*Not that I endorse ageist jokes, either.

#138 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 04:00 PM:

Singing Wren #128: I've only been turned down from donating blood for low iron count once. It was a good thing for me, because that's how I discovered I was anemic. I was 5 months into training to walk a marathon, and my supposedly safe, prescription anti-inflammatories had started my stomach bleeding. Healthy exercise, indeed!

#139 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 05:09 PM:

Here's a "didactic cinquain":

Open Source
VirtualBox Windows compatible
Drupal technology stack development

#140 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 05:52 PM:

Singing Wren: you are probably fine. My understanding is that men have much higher hematocrits than women not because women are sick or menstruating but because men's blood changes in puberty. Unless you actually are anemic, it's only that you don't have superblood. That's why I do automated platelet donation instead-- I can have a lower hematocrit that way. Besides, I'm a platelet factory most of the time. I'm due to donate five days after my stuffy nose goes away. Must start megadosing on iron....

#141 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 05:53 PM:

The only time I saw Steeleye Span was when their Horkstow Grange tour came to Brigg.

They were performing the song about 10,700 metres from the place the song is named for, and in the town where Steeleye Spand fell out with John Bowlin', on a market day.

I've done business "under the Angel", where the grain buyers and seedsmen congregated. There used to be a cattlemarket, nice and modern, where the Tesco supermarket is now.

I've seen things you wouldn't believe, C-beams glittering...


#142 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 05:59 PM:

Lee @101: As I said, the top half of the list is "Songs covered by Rush." (Quoted material is copied and pasted from the web site.)

BUT scroll down, and you get to "Rush songs that have been covered" right there on the same page. Did you scroll down, like I said in comment #83? You go past a dozen or so "Songs covered by Rush," and then a longer list of "Rush songs that have been covered" begins.

#143 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 06:04 PM:

janetl @ #138: I was 5 months into training to walk a marathon, and my supposedly safe, prescription anti-inflammatories had started my stomach bleeding. Healthy exercise, indeed!

Huh? If it was indeed the meds that caused your stomach to bleed, how was the exercise unhealthy?

#144 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 06:10 PM:

One of my favorite Rush songs is Battlescar, a band duet with Max Webster. Well, technically, it's a Max Webster song played as a band duet with Rush.

#145 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 06:23 PM:

janetl #137: My sympathies! Despite having a pretty good sense of where those jokes come from ("the dozens", via various 80's/90's comedians), that doesn't excuse ongoing use. And even for the joke, it would have been better if they weren't dissing a big chunk of their readers....

My mom would do better if she still had a command line! Incantations she's fine with; modal and submodal widgets, not so much. (Admittedly, Windows often makes me crazy!)

#146 ::: Michael Bloom ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 06:32 PM:

Rush covers: There's a neo-prog-rock label called Magna Carta that did a number of tribute collections of important prog-rock bands. They have three of Rush, called Working Man, Subdivisions, and New World Man. I've only heard the first, and it didn't excite me particularly-- too much prog-metal formula for me. (They also did tributes of Genesis and Yes that are quite good, if you like that kind of thing, in part because the various performers include prog-rockers of note, people like Richard Sinclair (ex-Caravan) and Mike Keneally.)

Haven't kept up with Rush themselves either. For me they peaked with Moving Pictures.

Re BiL, I like Orb a lot. I have a cheesy little folk band to whom I'm now trying to teach BiL's version of "Hard Times."

Re Mondrian, it's not just the minimalism, it's the very astute sense of proportion. Anyone who tries to say "I could do that!" in my hearing will be required to demonstrate. I can however state from experience that "Broadway Boogie Woogie" makes a singularly infuriating jigsaw puzzle.

#147 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 07:08 PM:

Lila @ 143: Huh? If it was indeed the meds that caused your stomach to bleed, how was the exercise unhealthy?
Oh, I was just being a bit snarky. The only way I could do long distance training was with an anti-inflammatory to keep the pain down. I did finish that marathon, but I subsequently concluded that my body is not designed for distance travel!

#148 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 07:15 PM:

Ah. I myself am, in the words of the song, built for comfort, not for speed. ;-) My workout these days is the PTA exercise plan: one rep of 50 exercises a day (as I demonstrate them to patients).

#149 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 07:23 PM:

Sandra Bond @ 117:

That sounds right, thanks. My local library's catalog doesn't have any of Brunner's collections that contain that story, so I guess I'm going to have to make that trip to Powell's I've been putting off.

#150 ::: Andy Brazil ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 07:27 PM:

The first time I saw Steeleye they were touring Now We Are Six - at the time the only album of theirs I'd heard. Thomas the Rhymer was my gateway drug into folk music. It's interestng to note therefore, that on reflection, my favourite album is their first (Hark the village waits), particularly their version of Lowlands of Holland. Which is almost completely unlike most of the rest of their output. Of the later stuff, can I put a bid in for Parcel Of Rogues as clunker-free?

But the most memorable of all the times I've seen them live was without doubt the version of Long Lankin they did on the tour of Commoner's Crown: it's much more effective live than on the album - a genuinely scary song.

Oh and I'll see you a John Barleycorn and raise you a Spotted Cow for Beneath the Salt's dire song.

Another fine band is The Men They Couldn't Hang - somewhat akin to the Oysterband and the Levellers in being of a punk-folk/Pogues tradition.

#151 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 07:41 PM:

janetl @ 137:

Rant received and understood. It's weird, though: I've seen exactly what you're describing in two companies and one university I've worked at, where the cultures were toxically male-oriented. But, almost every other place I worked in the 38 years I was in the high-tech industry I had colleagues who were women, and very often managers who were women (more often women than men, unless I'm counting wrong), and while there were occasional problems, that drip, drip, drip was mostly absent. It could be I've been lucky; it could be I was more selective of the places I worked than I was aware of; it could be I just wasn't seeing it if it wasn't waved in my face the way it was at those other places. It's certainly the case that many of the women I worked with were very sensitive on the subject, and had many horrible stories to tell.

#152 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 08:00 PM:

Tim, #127: Just out of curiosity, do you have any idea what "When I Was on Horseback" is about? It sounds like it's referring to an actual historical event, but my Google-fu has never been strong enough to find one that fits.

Linkmeister, #131: Same song, entirely different melody. I heard Steeleye's version first, in a context which attached some good memories to it. But I can definitely see how if you heard Traffic's (musically-superior) version first, you'd find it intolerable.

janetl, #137: And the funny thing is, back when *I* was graduating from college, computer programming was one of the few fields where women were on a reasonably level playing field, because the entire career field was so new. Amazing how quickly that went away...

(And if I were making that sort of joke, it would certainly be a "your dad" one. But that's my personal history talking.)

Diatryma, #140: because men's blood changes in puberty

You got a citation for that? The explanation I've always heard is that men don't throw away significant amounts of blood every month after puberty. My personal experience bears this out -- after I got my implant and stopped having periods, I never had trouble donating blood again. This seems to me like a much more plausible explanation than "men get super-blood at puberty".

Kip, #142: I did scroll down, but apparently not far enough (either time I looked). My apologies.

Andy, #150: "Hares on the Mountain" may not be quite into clinker territory, but it's the one I didn't import from that album because I could be perfectly happy never hearing it again. OTOH, there's also "The Weaver and the Factory Maid", which is in my Best of Steeleye playlist.

#153 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 08:10 PM:

Lee @152

I've always thought it was a variant of the St. James Hospital/Unfortunate Rake song, in which there's a young man who's dying of syphilis. They all seem to have similar verses describing the funeral. The page I link to says that some of the variants change the cause of death, but there's no reason it couldn't be the date of an encounter that led to his contracting the disease.

#154 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 08:12 PM:

Andy Brazil @150 -- and TMTCH's single version of "Rain, Steam, and Speed" is significantly longer (and IMO better) than the album version.... A song about Isambard Brunel -- what could be more steampunk?

Michael Bloom @146 -- I didn't know Magna Carta had done that much -- I've got the CD reissue of their 1969 first album, which is sort of *meh* to me.

#155 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 08:26 PM:

Lee, I'm basing it mostly from this post from Figleaf's Real Adult Sex. While the graphs are completely made up-- they're the closest thing to a hand-waved graph in the one can get on a blog, I guess-- the conclusion is a bit worrying. I mostly wanted to reassure Singing Wren that not passing the hematocrit doesn't mean she's unhealthy.

#156 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 08:36 PM:

Andy Brazil @ 150: Of the later stuff, can I put a bid in for Parcel Of Rogues as clunker-free?

Not with "The Wee, Wee Man" on it, you can't. :)

For that matter, "Alison Gross" goes on longer than I want it to. Although the super-distorted guitar at the end is nice.

I wouldn't want to live without "The Weaver And The Factory Maid," though. Or "Caviar From France" (as we used to call it).

Lee @ 152: My understanding of "Horseback" is the same as Naomi Pankhurst's. "Streets of Laredo" fits in there as well (especially John Cale's version).

#157 ::: Michael Bloom ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 08:44 PM:

Tom Whitmore@154: This is not the band Magna Carta, this is an indie label from upstate NY. Their area of expertise is '70s-style progressive rock, with the arpeggiated synth parts, odd time signatures, and general orchestral demeanor typical of the breed. Of their lot, probably the best match for the fluorosphere would be a band called Tempest, who sound a lot like Jethro Tull used to (and not the band drummer Jon Hiseman put together in the '70s). Their tribute CDs were, as such things often are, an opportunity for the lesser known artists in their stable to get more exposure to an audience predisposed to appreciate them.

Ah, the '70s. I saw Steeleye Span about a dozen times back then. I liked them better before they added drums-- no complaint with Mr. Pegrum, I just thought the texture was more compelling without. I completely agree with Lee@152 about both "Weaver and the Factory Maid" (transcendently brilliant arrangement, especially the bit where the vocal and the fiddle exchange parts!) and "Hares on the Mountain" (twaddle). I pretty much stopped getting their records when they started writing their own songs, not because the songs were bad, but because the productions were so cluttered, they obscured everything I enjoyed about their performances. BiL's records sound a lot more like their live set.

Last month I got to play a lucrative GB gig, where GB stood for "green beer." I snuck in "Saucy Sailor"-- and Traffic's version of "Barleycorn"-- amidst the "Wild Rover" and "Molly Malone" type repertoire.

#158 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 10:29 PM:

General open thread query:

Does anyone here have some beloved local soap-maker who sells online? (Preferably within the continental US, as soap is the sort of thing that's heavy enough shipping fees add up quickly.) It probably says something about my laziness--or aversion to driving--that when my favorite local soap-maker stopped setting up her stall in easy walking distance, and moved to a craft fair south of the river instead, I decided to go looking online instead of following...

But I want decent soap, darnit, which smells like actual herbs and fruits and things, not like a faux rendition of them. Which seems to mean handmade soap, because in my experience very expensive soap just smells more pungently of fake renditions of the scents it claims to be containing, whatever it says on the ingredient list.

#159 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 10:30 PM:

I love Steeleye Span! Saw them live just once, but listened to their albums and walked around singing their songs for decades. I filked "All Around My Hat" and won a song contest in the MSU Tolkien Fellowship (in-jokes, though, so not so funny if you're not "in"). When I was in my 20s "Saucy Sailor" showed off my voice perfectly, though I put a little more dirty grind into it than Maddy did! Not sure I can do that anymore; I think I'd cough.

And of course they're the band that introduced me to "Gaudete" -- which I've since sung in a choral arrangement of the original tune (not the SS arrangement). Up there with my favorite Christmas carols!

And I knew a girl named Alison Gross in high school. She was probably one of the most beautiful young women I ever met (and a really nice person, too, a rare combination in my experience), so I used to sing "Alison Gross, she must be the loveliest witch in the North Country!"

#160 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 10:49 PM:


My parents' upstate neighbors run a place called Sunfeather that is apparently a pioneering legend among boutique soap makers.

For years we had a regular supply of "trimmings" around the house. I used plenty of it. I'm allergic to certain perfumes and can testify that the soaps I tried didn't set me off. You Mileage My Vary.

#161 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 11:10 PM:

I use the Steeleye Span setting of "The False Knight and the Schoolboy" for group singing at SCA events; it may not be authentic, but it's the most singable version I know of.

On a completely different note: Say you have a humanoid species that has two functional hearts--Gallifreyan, whatever Megamind is supposed to be, whatever. What does that sound like? Lubdublubdub? LUP-dup-dup LUP-dup-dup?

#162 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2011, 11:11 PM:

Fade, #158: Try Cammie's Handmade Soaps. She's local to me, and although I'm not a big scented-soap fan myself, hers always smell nice. I take that as an indication that's she's using quality ingredients.

#163 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 12:00 AM:

A member of the Dirt Band, I think it was John McEwan, had a special once on the old Nashville Network on some western songs. The version he presented of The Dying Cowboy (which was the first time I connected it in my mind with St. James Infirmary) had several touches I never heard in the nicer versions. He wanted six pretty whore-girls to carry him along, for instance, and roses thrown in either the coffin or the grave so he wouldn't stink too much. Stink notwithstanding, it was a breath of fresh air.

I'd like it to be McEwan, because I saw him on stage as an opening act for Michael Murphy (I was treated to the show as a last-minute replacement for someone who couldn't make it, that's why), and I came away with the utmost respect for him. I've recounted my memories of the show enough times, probably in this very forum, that a shepherd's crook would catch me by the neck and drag me off if I started to do it again, so I'll leave off here.

Lee @152: No sweat, but thanks for saying it.

#164 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 12:53 AM:

Michael Bloom @157 -- I liked Tempest when my friend John Berger was with them. His fiddle was just what they needed. He used to play for Berkeley Morris, and I could tell you stories about his wedding (to Kalia Kliban, daughter of...). I heard them before and after he was with them (they being local) and I could tell a real difference.

Deirdre McCarthy, a lovely bodhran player, did a cassette only album with a group of others as Red Branch, and she had a truly amazing song called "To The Sea" which I still love to listen to.

#165 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 01:02 AM:

Fade @158: Have you considered getting unscented soap base and melting it with the essential oils of your choice?

Or you could make your own soap from scratch with fats/oils and sodium hydroxide. The big hardware chains seem to've discontinued pure dry NaOH (formerly sold as "Red Devil" lye), but unbranded lye granules are still available on eBay (often keyworded with "soapmaking" or "biodiesel"). It's a fairly simple process, though you do have to handle NaOH with moderate respect for safety. Saponification charts are readily available online.

I used to render out kitchen fat, keep it in the freezer, and turn it into unscented soap when the fat stash reached a minimum batch size[*]-- technically, I'm still saving the fat, though due to dietary changes we haven't been generating as much of it for the past few years. Which is a good thing, since my soapmaking rate was far outstripping our normal soap usage rate. Sometime this winter, I found several pounds of forgotten soap stashed in a corner and grated it for laundry purposes.

[*: Minimum batch size is determined by the precision level of whatever scale you're using. Usually you do want a certain percentage of "overfatting" to guard against excess lye, an error margin of ~1 oz lye translates to an error margin of ~8 oz fat. I was usually starting with 4-5 lbs fat per batch.]

#166 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 01:20 AM:

Diatryma @155, Lee: iron

It is true that hematocrit serum iron concentrations increase in adolescence in males and then decrease after age 60 or so, but remain more or less constant in females. I've put a graph up for iron, based on the NHANES 2007-2008 US survey of about 6500 people. The graph shows serum iron, the median and upper and lower quartiles for men and women as a function of age. I just realized I didn't label it, but it is color-coded. Hematocrit looks similar. The middle-age wiggles may be real but are more likely just an artifact of the smoothing.

I don't think this in itself contradicts the two standard explanations: women lose iron each month, and men on average eat more meat. In particular, the fact that it's true for iron as well as for hematocrit supports these arguments -- it's not that men can somehow make more or longer-lasting red blood cells, it really is that women are more likely to be constrained by iron availability.

There isn't any particular advantage to having high hematocrit or iron, as long as you aren't anemic, but you can understand the blood bank being very conservative on this issue. My mother stopped donating blood because she hovered around the lower limit and was rejected about half the time.

#167 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 02:16 AM:

David Harmon @145

I think in this case "your mom" expands to "could your mom figure out this software?" rather than to a "yo momma" joke. The jokes as a genre aren't, I think, especially sexist (of course, many and perhaps most of the specific jokes are, but because they use sexist stereotypes as punchlines rather than because of the format). I think they're somewhat similar to the old-timey cliche of picket-fence-type white boys arguing over who's dad would win in a fight, or has a better job, or whatever. (And there are obvious demographic reasons why "Your daddy" jokes weren't common in the dozens.)

Janetl @137

Damn, I do that, and I never even thought about how shitty it is. Thanks for pointing it out.

#168 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 04:38 AM:

Singing Wren @ 128: Sympathies. They won't let me donate because I'm a couple of pounds below the mandated minimum weight. Fit and healthy, and normal (low end) BMI, but... and I don't want to yo-yo my weight (concentrate on putting on two pounds, give blood, then concentrate on getting rid of it again so my clothes fit properly and I feel right) just to give blood. Used to be, they'd take 1/2 pints, but they don't do that anymore and haven't since just before I got old enough to try to donate.

#169 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 05:05 AM:

Devin @167

Some of the older, apparently sexist. jokes may have had some purpose in dealing with widespread social awkwardness. Consider the strand of mother-in-law jokes you find in older British comedy. It flourished at a time of housing shortages after the war, when newly married couples pretty much had to live with one set of parents for a while. (And see for an example, The Glums in the radio show Take It From Here.)

The humour can seem pretty ugly, but for both sides it's possible to see the jokes as a combination of a warning and reminder that things could be far worse. The stand-up comedian saying, "Take my mother-in-law... ...Please," is expressing a thought that most of his audience would recognise. And he's talking from the inside of the situation: it's my mother-in-law.

The context has changed, but that last point is still there in modern comedy: you have the family member as the invented subject of the humour. You might, through the wonders of modern TV, have the comedian holding a conversation with himself, in the role of an exaggerated ethnic mother, and you see the exasperation, and the love.

I wonder when it will be that comedians build their humour around strange on-line relationships, in ways which aren't just mocking the idea of two geeks in basements, hunched over keyboards. Will such jokes have to be told in a virtual world, before they can be seen as about people like us?

"Take my copy of Norton AV... ...please."

#170 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 05:19 AM:

A lolcat saying "On the Internet, everyone thinks you're a dog"?

#171 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 07:32 AM:

Tim Walters @156

I'm happy to be in agreement about song origins!

However, I feel compelled to say that my last name is Parkhurst, like Charley Parkhurst (the stage coach driver who turned out to be a woman) instead of Pankhurst, like the famous feminists.

#172 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 07:35 AM:

Drat. I realized that I should have rephrased that right after I hit post. Charley Parkhurst was raised a girl and lived an adult life as a man. I am not sure of Charley's reasons, but I should have considered that Charley might have been trans, and been more careful in my phrasing.

#173 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 10:56 AM:

Devin, my particular mother is a good person for "Could your mother figure out this software?" However, if I were to have children, I would not be, since I program for a living at the moment.

I know men my mother's age who are just as unsure/uneducated/unwilling to learn as she is. How come they aren't being held up as examples of the "simple" user, but the women are?

It's sexist, pure and simple.

#174 ::: Rob Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 11:13 AM:

Wow, all this Steeleye Span talk is inspiring. I will use the power of Rhapsody to check t out.

BTW, is anyone else into the other 60s British folk, folk-y, and folk-rock types like Dolly Collins, the Young Tradition, C.O.B., or the Incredible String Band?

#175 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 11:24 AM:

Devin @ 167

Nah, it's sexist because it's always your little old (female) grandmother who's used as the example of ineptitude and lack of comprehension. I've yet to hear someone say "write this like your little old grandfather is going to have to understand it." Men are assumed to age gracefully into a period of accumulated wisdom, and women are assumed to become cute and fuddled and increasingly domestic and homebound. It's not limited to this example, but this is a pretty good example of the trend.

I expect it to shift, as more women are encouraged to be intellectual and have independent careers, but right now the concept is pretty thoroughly embedded in the way I see people talking about the elderly...

#176 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 11:26 AM:

Fade, 158: I'm quite fond of sheep's milk soap. Her yarn is also fantastic.

#177 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 11:28 AM:

KayTei @ 175... Men are assumed to age gracefully into a period of accumulated wisdom

We are?
We do?
A period of what?

#178 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 11:45 AM:

KayTei: Nah, it's sexist because it's always your little old (female) grandmother who's used as the example of ineptitude and lack of comprehension. I've yet to hear someone say "write this like your little old grandfather is going to have to understand it."

Clearly you have never done on-line support for wireless data cards, or heard the comments after a long call. The amount of men over 65 who buy their first computer and card just before climbing into a camper and without getting the store to set the combination up is staggering, and they always call from a fringe data area and don't want to understand what that means. We had a lot of comments internally about manuals needed for grandfathers...

#179 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 11:48 AM:

This is going to be a nervous week... or, more likely, a nervous couple of days. Back in November, I applied for two graduate fellowships - the National Science Foundation's GRFP, and the Defense Department's NDSEG. They both say that they'll announce results in early April, and the current theory says that results will come out in the next day or so. I'm nervous as hell about this - my girlfriend [who applied for the same two fellowships] is also nervous as hell about it.

We've known that now-ish would be when they'd announce funding results for both of these, but I just found out that NSF-Fastlane [the online submission and announcement system] is going down for maintenance from 11pm-2am tonight. This is not a frequent thing - the last one I can think of was about a week before the deadline in November.

Gah. I haven't had funding applications in play since the very end of 2007 - and those were undergrad, internal-to-the-university things... very small beer in comparison to the GRFP or the NDSEG. Today and tonight are going to be a bit nerve wracking...

#180 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 11:52 AM:

Various: My partner Karen's mother helped invent the database (working at the National Bureau of Standards in the 1950s) and recently installed her own DSL line; and mine was working on machine translation of language in the 1960s. So, that whole "mother as non-tech-savvy" concept seems just silly to me....

Rob Thornton -- you do know that several people on this list know Heather Wood of the Young Tradition moderately well, don't you? She used to work for Tor, among other things. And yes, I am fond of that type of music.

#181 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 11:55 AM:

Rob Thornton @ 174: BTW, is anyone else into the other 60s British folk, folk-y, and folk-rock types like Dolly Collins, the Young Tradition, C.O.B., or the Incredible String Band?

Why, yes. I was raised on it, even--my family lived in England in the mid-Seventies, my dad is a folkie, and I was listening to all of those artists (except C.O.B.) as a pre-teen. Other favorites were Mr. Fox, the City Waites, Gryphon, June Tabor, Nic Jones, the Pigsty Hill Light Orchestra, and of course Fairport and their spin-offs (particularly The Compleat Dancing Master).

Naomi Parkhurst @ 171: Sorry about that! I shouldn't post in a hurry.

#182 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 11:56 AM:

Serge @ 177 -

I tell my wife that men store maturity and wisdom in their bellies. That's why they keep getting bigger.

#183 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 11:57 AM:

And sometimes you can hear all that maturity and wisdom gurgling.

#184 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 12:04 PM:

Steve C @ 182... Now I understand why I have a flat tummy.

#185 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 12:06 PM:

Hey Tim, remember Fred Wedlock?

#186 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 12:19 PM:

Devin #167: Well, that's the thing -- I strongly suspect that the preexisting "yo momma" jokes fed into the stereotyped use of "your mom and computers".

Here's the thing: "Chain" jokes tend to represent widespread social anxieties. "Elephant" jokes rose out of racial anxieties (Brunvand's secretary figured that one out for him), "dead baby" jokes addressed anxieties about abortion, and so on. Indeed, there was already a chain for "supercomputers", dealing with the fear of "all-knowing and perhaps all-powerful" machines. ("Your wife is cheating on you, your car needs an oil change, and your moose is pregnant.")

But, the form and face of computers changed, and so did the social anxieties. Now computers aren't something you go to visit like an oracle -- they've invaded our lives! Everyone has to deal with them -- at their job, at the bowling alley, making reservations for a vacation♣, getting money from the bank. And they're still mysterious, even "magical", uncooperative and sometimes downright abusive. (And that's how the experts feel !!!.)

So, we started seeing new "joke chains". There was the "hapless secretary" chain, but then secretaries went out of fashion! So the collective unconscious went casting around for a new focus, and those "dozens" derived jokes were hanging around at just the right time.... Admittedly, the stereotype we're discussing isn't quite a chain joke, but even so, I think it's hooked into that same current of anxiety. Every invocation of the stereotype reassures us that even if our poor mother can't handle these newfangled computers, we're up to speed, we know the lingo, we can figure it out for her... we haven't been left behind.

♣: On my recent trip to Costa Rica, I personally got bit by a bug in American Airlines' reservation system: If, while struggling with their slow and cranky pre-registration system, you accidentally hit the Great Big Button saying "I'll have a baby with me", it's Game Over. You are no longer allowed to pre-register, and even the AA phone staff can't convince The System that really, there is no infant anywhere in your vicinity. You will have to wait in line and get your boarding pass from the agent at the airport. The airline staff know this bug all too well, and there's nothing they can do about it.

#187 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 12:19 PM:

Re Steeleye Span... I went browsing youtube a couple of years ago, after they played a concert in Boston. (It was great.)

Youtube was great too. It has clips of the group from last year, and clips from the 1970s (taped from old TV shows), and the 1990s and the 1980s and the whole lot. It's just fascinating to flip around and watch them... well, living. (I'd say "ageing" but it's utterly the wrong connotation.)

#188 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 12:19 PM:

Tom Whitmore @ 185: I had to google his name, but I certainly remember "The Folker." And Bernard Wrigley was a big favorite as well.

#189 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 12:31 PM:

Speaking of Steeleye Span and my childhood, somewhere I have a recording of the pantomime-style Christmas special they did for BBC radio in 1975 or '76. Which sounds cool, but isn't, really--it's basically a commercial for All Around My Hat. Still, an interesting rarity.

#190 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 12:33 PM:

Fade @158: Not local, but good products: Lush (

No animal testing, small batch production, sustainable sourcing of ingredients.

Not cheap, but very good value for money. I am devoted to the Honey I Washed the Kids soap and the Coco Lotion moisturizer; my daughter uses Big shampoo and Veganese conditioner. We've used a number of the bath bombs and other products over the years as well.

#191 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 12:39 PM:

I suppose it shouldn't have surprised me to find other Steeleye Span fans in existence at ML, but of course it does, at least partly because since I've been going round for the last 10 years or so thinking that I was more or less the only one left. (I guess its possible that I'm the only East of the Bosphorus and west of the Himalayas.)

I'll add to the chorus of those who aren't too keen on their version of John Barleycorn: I find it tends to remind me of
this.1 On the other hand I can't listen to 'Bedlam Boys' without a shiver.

(I have a slightly bad conscience about posting this link, since I guess it's a fairly 'othering 'about mental illness. But a) Music! and b), while I've got quite a lot to say about that issue, #spoonfail on that conversation right now.)

1. Also: 700 Elves? Really?

#192 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 12:41 PM:

Aargh. 'It's'. #punctuationfail.

#193 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 12:43 PM:

And then there's Ashley Hutchings -- I probably have one of the larger collections of his various projects around, but it's nowhere near complete.

Steeleye's 1999 CD The Journey, from a live concert featuring all the different lineups of the band (almost all that weren't "currently dead", as Heather would say), is an essential album as far as I'm concerned. Gives a good feel for the different approaches they've taken.

#194 ::: hedgeprog\\\\folk ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 12:48 PM:

re: #185, Tom Whitmore

Hey Tim, remember Fred Wedlock?

His story's seldom told.

(I am no Tim.)

#195 ::: Zelda ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 12:54 PM:

Fade @158: Soapmakers I'm fond of from various renfaires and fiber fests:

Seventh Sojourn
Simpler Thyme (that's just the first page of varieties)
Ivy Soapworks

I've never done business with any of them online, but I do like their products.

#196 ::: Dave Langford ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 01:01 PM:

One for the amusement of Tor folk here. I just had email from Macmillan about new stuff at, and clicked the included manage/unsubscribe link. This led to a helpful page saying first (copied and pasted to ensure acuracy): "There are no newsletters or alerts available for subscribtion at this time. Please try again later." And then, "Signup". And after that: "There are no newsletters or alerts available for subscribtion at this time. Please try again later."[address required but here removed]

PS: Another sign of the times is that "subscribtion" has some 462,000 Google hits.

#197 ::: Jeremy Preacher ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 01:24 PM:

Fade Manley @158 - You could check out So.A.P (South Austin People.) I am an anti-fragrance person myself, but they're well-regarded in town. And you gotta love the slogan - "Strong Enough for a Dirty Hippie, but Weak Enough for a Dirty CEO."

#198 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 01:45 PM:

Hedgeprog\\\\folk: We'll give you a yard of German plywood anyway. I really should dig through the old LPs and digitize that.... (I still say "Thee's Gottin Whur Thee Casn't Backoot Hasn" is one of the odder songs nominally in English.)

#199 ::: Timothy Walters ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 01:52 PM:

Tom Whitmore @ 198: Don't forget the plectrum.

#200 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 01:52 PM:

YMMV on Lush - I find their scents so strong I have to hold my breath while I pass their shop, and I'm not particularly scent-sensitive.

As far as "mom" jokes, aging, and perceived gender differences, has anyone caught those "most fascinating man in the world" beer commercials? The ones with the grandfatherly man who looks a bit like a cross between Papa Hemingway and a tanned Santa Claus, and the narrator mentioning several unlikely scenarios (which I'm guessing are cribbed from those Chuck Norris websites) while said Fascinating Man swills Dos Equis surrounded by 20-something female models... can anyone think of a female pop-culture equivalent? Like the most interesting woman with a lady who looks like Barbara Bush Sr, surrounded by Robert Pattinson lookalikes and drinking Patron, as a narrator tells the story of her unlikely derring-do. No? That's because we're stuck in the middle of a sexist culture.

#201 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 01:55 PM:

nerdycellist, 200: Robert Pattinson? No thanks--give me Jason Momoa any day.

#202 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 02:01 PM:

TexAnne@ 201 -

Well yes, but I was just going for the age-difference. I'm guessing the age difference between BBSr and Jason Momoa is closer than that of the Interesting Man and the models surrounding him.

But thanks for mentioning Jason Momoa! (a recent conversation with a friend this weekend debated whether there is a shirt shortage on whatever set he's working on. If so, then I support the shirt shortage.)

#203 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 02:16 PM:

nerdycellist, 202: Good point. I have a hard time thinking of Pattinson as eye candy--he's far too close to my students' ages. Of course, I have the same reaction to the "Interesting" Man and those models. (This is not to say that I find all age-difference relationships horrible, just ones like Hugh Hefner's, where it's pretty clearly a power trip for the old guy.)

#204 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 02:17 PM:

Tim Walters @181: Ah! To me, The Compleat Dancing Master looked like a book I bought at Boosey & Hawkes, containing all the music from all the editions of Playford's "Dancing Master" series. I liked it so much I ordered additional copies for my dad and sisters. The album looks interesting, though )quibble( with 19 or so songs, it's short about 516 of being truly complete.

#205 ::: JM ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 02:22 PM:

Jason Momoa, yes please.

Sounds like it's time for me to seek out some Steeleye Span besides their version of "Tam Lin," which is all I know (and which figures heavily in one of my favorite daydreams, about adapting the book to film) (but what young actor has both the looks and the gravitas of Thomas Lane?).

#206 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 02:27 PM:

Tim Walters @113... That Brian Eno song is fantastic. Thanks for linking!

#207 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 02:29 PM:

Devin, #167: Thank you for recognizing janetl's point, instead of defending the practice (which is what a lot of guys would do). And a suggestion for an experiment: if you are in an environment where that sort of joke seems to flourish, try gender-inverting them and see what kind of reaction you get. I, for one, would be very interested in hearing the results of that.

Melissa, #190: I have a lot of friends who adore Lush, so when I've had a chance to visit one of their stores I've generally done so. The issue I have with them is that they don't offer shower gel, and I'm not a bath person, so the bath bombs are useless to me. (Also, I have yet to find one of their fragrances that I like as well as BPAL, but that's an entirely separate thing.)

TexAnne, #201: Nice! But I'll see that and raise you Isaiah Mustafa (aka the Old Spice Guy), who is not only physically hot but has one of the world's hottest voices as well. It took me a surprisingly long time to consciously notice how important voice is in my "this guy is attractive" filter.

#208 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 02:30 PM:

KayTei @ 175: Sorry, while I agree that the "even your mom" comments are sexist, I do not buy that men are culturally stereotyped to "age into wisdom." Maybe two centuries back, if then.

Does the phrase "Get off my lawn, you damn kids" ring a bell? Or all the jokes around "asking for directions"? To the extent that old women are supposed to become dotty and housebound, old men are expected to become doddering, irascible old fools who can't hear and don't listen.

#209 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 02:41 PM:

Melissa Singer @12: I have a decent, if not exceptional "eye" for photography. I've noticed that when I've had the time to shoot a lot/often, I get better pictures than when I just pick up the camera to snap things.

About a year ago I resolved to put in "Gladwell's 10K" on my drawing (which I figure will wind up taking me ±10 years).

For various reasons, I haven't been able to get in my daily drawing for about the last month, and boy am I feeling it.

I can still draw okay (e.g., no conspicuous decline in quality), but whereas before the break, drawing was fluid and fun, now it's arduous and difficult.

I remember this from the days when I was practicing karate. Long weekend off, and it felt like I'd lost a belt-level of skill.

#210 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 02:46 PM:

Jacque, 209: "After one day without class, the dancer knows; after two days, the teacher knows; after three days, the audience knows."

#211 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 02:51 PM:

AKICIML, fabric care division:

I recently purchased a linen skirt that has metallic (lurex) threads woven into the fabric (sparse metallic on outside, heavy on inside) and not only did they neglect to include a fabric care label, but no one at the catalog house seems to have any idea either, other than "dry clean only".

Trouble is, it needs ironed/pressed. Before tonight. And will continue to do so any time I wear it. So what should my ironing regime include? Is steam OK? How high should I set the iron? Iron front or reverse of fabric? Do I need a towel? (currently thin cloth cover on padded board) Anything I've forgotten/don't know about?

#212 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 02:57 PM:

joann, 211: The linen can take anything you can throw at it. The lurex will probably melt. Start with a cool iron and a press cloth on a barely-damp skirt. The problem is that dry linen doesn't let go of its wrinkles, but the steam might melt the lurex.

Or you could just give up and call them "rich wrinkles." How else will people know it's real linen?

#213 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 02:58 PM:

And on the mothers/women as computer users thread, there's always Eric S. Raymond's hypothetical, non-technical computer user: "Aunt Tillie". The sexism alone is one of the many reasons I don't like it.

#214 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 03:11 PM:

nerdycellist and Lee, re Lush:

I'm scent-sensitive too, but don't have a problem in Lush stores, and I've been in 3 different ones in the NYC area. Bath and Body Works, otoh, destroys me every time I walk in.

I will admit that many of the Lush products I use are very lightly scented, though.

Lee, they make shower gel and other shower products, though the emotibombs don't work well unless you have a small shower.

#215 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 03:12 PM:

While we're on the topic of who gets skewered as incompetent on the computer, I have to point out Tom Smith's Tech Support for Dad (this version featuring a special guest appearance by none other than Tom's dad).

Averts stereotype: (1) it's about Dad rather than Mom; (2) the verse wishing that all software writers will end up having to teach their dads about their stuff.

Neutral: it's autobiographical, with the exception of that one verse.

Reinforces stereotype: the last line brings in Mom as the punchline.

So, good -- but not as good as it might have been.

#216 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 03:37 PM:

TexAnne #212:

Thanks! this is about what I thought.

There's "rich wrinkles"[*], and there's "deep creases, product has clearly been been folded to fit box". This is the latter.

[*] I do rich wrinkles really well.

#217 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 03:41 PM:

joann, 216: Might hanging it up while you take an extra-hot shower help?

#218 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 04:04 PM:

Clifton @ 208 - The problem with stereotypes is that they tend to have some basis in reality. So confused and housebound really does describe my female relatives over...85, and their husbands were old men who couldn't really hear and didn't particularly listen about 70 or so (the irascible part, not so much. I mostly was (am) around older men who tried hard to be good people, even though they couldn't hear, and weren't good about listening).

TexAnne @ 210 - Amen.

Joann @ 211 - TexAnne is right that hanging in the bathroom with a hot shower will probably take care of some of the wrinkles, and set up for the next step I'd recommend. While it is still damp from being in the steam bath, set your iron medium low to low, and iron carefully through a towel, using a lot of force and not a lot of heat.

#219 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 06:03 PM:

TexAnne 203: I have a hard time thinking of Pattinson as eye candy--he's far too close to my students' ages.

I have a hard time thinking of Pattinson as eye candy because I just don't think he's very attractive. Taylor Lautner, who's even younger, is pure eye candy. ("Oh, you're bleeding! I'll take off my shirt with a flourish of pecs, pits, and deltoids, and use it to blot the blood instead of, say, going back 40 feet to the garage for a cloth.")

As for Jason More!More! ...well, I suspect my nickname for him has adequately conveyed my feelings, but in his case it goes sooo much deeper than eye candy. There's a kind of deep, primal attraction, not unmixed with fear, that I experience when I see him. Also, unlike the others so far mentioned, he's actually a good actor.

#220 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 06:17 PM:

nerdycellist @ 202... I wonder how many shirts Clark Savage Jr wrecked thru his long career.

#221 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 06:30 PM:

Jenny Islander @161: That's an interesting question. Basically, are the two hearts beating in phase?

It would depend on a few things: the natural periods of the two sino-atrial nodes; conduction properties throughout the heart; innervation and response to sympathetic or parasympathetic stimulation. Are those the same in the two hearts?

That's assuming you just have two independent human hearts. (IIRC the Doctor's heart sounds are of two hearts beating at similar speeds, out of phase, but not 180 degrees out of phase.)

This also makes me wonder how the whole circulatory system is set up. Does each heart handle one side of the body? Are there two independent and redundant circulatory systems?

And what in the heck would the Doctor's ECG look like?

#222 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 07:17 PM:

Caroline @ 221... I think the 1999 movie with Paul McGann as the Doctor dealt with some of that.

#223 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 08:22 PM:

I have come back to this thread, and now have something over a dozen tabs of Interesting Soaps open. ...and I'm caught up in a paralysis of indecision. Thanks to everyone who gave me these links and suggestions! Now I just need to fret over Soap Comparison Points for the next few days until I break down and order whatever has the simplest interface...

#224 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 09:41 PM:

Um. Randall Munroe's latest news. Like the first guy on the forum said, this doesn't look good.

#225 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 10:36 PM:

I found my Innocents tape! It just wasn't where I had thought it would be. Rob, you did indeed have the right group, although the sample on that site is not on the album I have -- I wonder where it came from? The entire story, for anyone who's interested, is here.

#226 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 10:46 PM:

I'll cede the word "assumed," which I agree is more absolute than it should be. But I disagree that elder men as experts and mentors are an outdated stereotype. A stereotype with competition, sure. But I do think it's a positive stereotype that's applied a lot more broadly to men than to women, despite the fact that I think things are evening out in real life in a way that has outstripped the stereotypes.

I'm appreciative, I guess, that there are places where people pull in grandfathers as examples of nonexperts too, but I have never in my life heard anyone do that, whereas I've heard lots of LOL examples. Which argues to me that that's progress, of a sort, but I still observe that the imbalance exists generally.

#227 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 11:48 PM:

This bodes ill: I haven't written today's poem yet for NaPoWriMo, and I only have about 75 minutes left until midnight local time.

#228 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2011, 11:57 PM:

Earl, haiku and limericks are both poetic forms. So is the strophe beginning "Roses are red."

#229 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 12:29 AM:

Hmmm... I haven't done a Burma Shave poem in a while.

35 minutes left, no pressure, right?!

#230 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 01:02 AM:

Don't surf the web
While in the nude:
Your webcam might
Betray your mood.

#231 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 03:51 AM:

A brief followup to my earlier comment in the thread: both my girlfriend and I have been awarded NSF GRFP Fellowships!

#232 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 03:56 AM:

re donating blood: I gave up at the gallon mark. I, for all that I meet the minimum, don't have enough mass to donate comfortably. An hour of semi-shock, and a couple of days of no wind are the usual result of donating.

I am actually fond of John Barleycorn by Steeleye Span, and while I like their Bedlam Boys I've spent too much time singing it, in lots of rounds of pick-up street signing, that it's not quite the thing anymore.

re Lush. I like their shampoo rounds (the one's which smell like lapsang souchong) and the "Prince" shaving cream. I have to steelmyself to go in and buy it because the act of entering the store is a physical assault on my mental function. For which reason I tend to stock up (and so have more of the little tins for soap than I shall ever need).

re "The most interesting man in the world" (leaving the problems of the sexist meta-culture out of it, for the moment), what struck me about them (four years ago when they started) was the tag line, "I don't always drink beer, but when I do, I prefer Dos Equis." That little twist of acknowleding the merit of other beers got my attention.

The problem of his age is that he is supposed to have done so much that he can't be younger than 40, at the very far end of believable. That's about the upper end of where we say women (as a class) are still attractive. That's a problem.

Makes ya wish Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy were still around.

Jacque: re 10,000 (or as I learned it, "the first million words are crap."), the thing about pictures is the 10,000 have to be intentional. One doesn't knock out an oil painting (or even a sketch) the way a lot of people treat photography. Even a quick drawing is someone trying to represent something.

I really need to go back to serious photography blogging.

#233 ::: Sandra Bond ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 05:31 AM:


Unshaven Joe
A would be hero
On ChatRoulette
Scored a double zero
Burma Shave!

#234 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 05:34 AM:

Benjamin: Hooray... Ramen for everyone.

#235 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 07:46 AM:

Benjamin Wolfe: congratulations.

#236 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 09:41 AM:

Congrats, Benjamin!

#237 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 09:42 AM:

Benjamin Wolfe #231: Congratulations!

#238 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 10:39 AM:

Congratulations, Benjamin and girlfriend!

#239 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 11:18 AM:

sisuile @6, xeger @7: In re 'the eye' -- some people really, really don't and can't have it, but it's like not being able to sing: a lot more people can train it if they want to and are willing to put in the work.

There are mechanical compositional and shot-making rules that can approximate good taste until you learn what makes your personal art-brain stand up and pant hungrily: shooting 'by the book' makes acceptably good/interesting pictures, to a point.

Shooting off six billion frames for the one chance 'good' shot woooooorks, but to get more consistently able to produce what you want, you need to start having a sense, before the shot comes along, that a good shot is impending, so you can get your camera out and shoot it. That only comes with experience, AFTER you develop your personal eye.

I went through several years of trying to get more consistent about getting the results I intended out of photography, and what worked for me personally (besides blowing off hundreds of thousands of frames shooting -- my pro-photographer grandfather kept saying, "Film is cheap, shoot a lot") was looking at images, whether by me or someone else, that really struck me, and trying to see what some of them had in common with each other.

Wandering through a gallery exhibit, or a museum section, and consciously choosing to notice which images arrested me, made me stop and gaze ... works for paintings, too, since (at least for me) the part of my artbrain that has lusts doesn't care if the thing it's looking at is photorealistic or not.

Increasing your control of the technical issues of your shooting (focus, exposure, lighting, etc) can improve your shots, but I've taken several completely blurry, accidental, messed-up shots (usually when turning a camera on and not intending to shoot) whose composition and overall effect were nonetheless compelling to me -- they look kind of like abstract art, or charcoal drawings.

The next step after shooting a lot, however, has to be -- fairly quickly after you shot them -- going over your pictures and ruthlessly culling out the uninteresting/bad ones, while being mindful of what you may or may not have done differently from frame to frame. Curation is an active part of making art (different people will choose different shots to keep out of a 100-shot run), and self-criticism is the only way to consistently up your 'win' percentage.

I gave a speech once (public speaking class in college), with powerpoint, about taking the first steps to improve your photography beyond 'decent-to-bad snapshots'.

To Bruce Cohen @31: I've noticed that some other photographers/painters out there have the same eye-attractions as I do. it's interesting walking through an exhibit and going, "Bleh, ehh, pretty I guess, WOW I wish I'd shot that, pretty, pretty, HUH that's gorgeous but I'd never try to shoot that." The work of Ansel Adams, for example, I find numinously gorgeous, but I would never try to shoot like that, because his lusts are not (mostly) mine.

Carrie S. @15 said, in re Rush: You might check out the more recent albums, from about Test for Echo on, maybe even Hold Your Fire--Geddy's voice has changed with age, and he doesn't shriek quite so much as he used to.

My sister-in-law is a massive Rush fan, and has been since her turbulent pre-teen years. She has attended many live concerts, watched every video available, etc.

It is her considered (half-facetious) opinion that Geddy Lee only went through actual puberty in his 40s, because since then his voice has dropped and richened and he has ACTUAL CHEST HAIR now. Well, a bit. Before he was bald as an egg, there.

David Harmon @88: The Art Institute in Chicago has a selection of Mondrian's representational works. In particular, every time I go through I am drawn to a small (it's like 4x6, or so?) landscape with a hill, a tree (in the foreground) and a house (in the background). It's all in neon shades of yellow and pink, and it *vibrates*. I took down the title and went to the gift shop in hopes I could buy a postcard or something, but no dice, and nobody else has reproductions of it either. I iz heartbroken. All the Mondrian I can buy online is his colorblocked stuff, or his (even older) normal-colors landscapes, all of which are nice, but they're not the one I love.


Argh, I go away for one weekend and you guys make hundreds of posts in a new Open Thread. :-> I'm posting this and coming back to read the rest so it doesn't take up three screens when I'm done.

#240 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 11:21 AM:

Earl @230, I laughed, out loud, to an empty house. Bravo!

#241 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 11:29 AM:

Congratulations, Benjamin! That must be such a relief.

Hyperlocal news: Woman dreams that her latest order of stuffed-animal eyes came with an antenna for their Twitter feed. Woman concludes that she has a strange mind.

#242 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 11:30 AM:

Benjamin Wolfe, congratulations.

Am I the odd one in the bunch here? I love the scent overload in Lush stores. I can't abide Yankee Candle or Bath & Body Works -- all the synthetics and petrochemicals give me an instant headache. But the Lush scents are, for the most part, plant-derived, and when I walk into a Lush store, it's like a big fluffy blanket of Pretty Smells, and it instantly lifts my mood. The only complaint I have is that the combination is so strong that it's hard to pick out individual notes, and I sometimes have a hard time deciding whether I'll like any particular product. I tend to wing it, and the only ones I leave on the shelves mention fennel prominently (licorice, yuck).

Also, very amused at Terry describing the Soak'n'Float shampoo bar as smelling like lapsang souchong, because I'd had it tagged in my head as smelling like campfire, and, as I mentioned before, lapsang souchong tastes like campfire to me. I wash with conditioner these days (and if I could afford it, it'd be Retread all the way, but it's a small fortune) but the shampoo bar I like for scent is Godiva, which is primarily jasmine.

I guess the upshot of this is, if people want Lush products but can't comfortably walk into the store, and their web ordering encounters trouble again, feel free to ask me, and I'll happily go breathe in Pretty Smells some more!

#243 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 11:35 AM:

Congrats, Benjamin! That takes away a lot of worry about funding.

#244 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 11:43 AM:

Congratulations, Benjamin, both for your grant and for avoiding the inevitable resentments that would have arisen had only ONE of you gotten a grant.

(I'm sure you and your girlfriend would have dealt with the resentments reasonably; it's just nicer not to have to.)

#245 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 11:45 AM:

It looks like LiveJournal is effed up for the 2nd day in a row.
Different issues this time around.

#246 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 11:50 AM:

HLN: woman cancels business trip for first time in 30+ year career due to what seems to be flu (despite having been vaccinated).

Oddly enough, I have been feeling for at least a month that Something Was Going to Go Wrong around this trip. Did the worry bring on the illness? I suspect not, since it's been going through the office like a reaper through grain.

#247 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 11:59 AM:

Fabric update:

Ironing, low/med setting, heavy towel on top, spray towel and press down, worked partially. I still had some deepish folds, but wore it anyway. Several weeks' hanging before my fictive god-daughter's wedding will probably help considerably.

#248 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 12:04 PM:

Serge #245:

FWIW, I've had similar issues today connecting to *and* this very site.

#249 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 12:30 PM:

Benjamin: Congratulations to you and your brilliant grilf!

Joann: That kind of problem across multiple sites used to be indicative of a major Internet routing problem, but these days it is more often indication that a major ad site is messed up...

#250 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 12:37 PM:

I think I'm going to have to change my NaPoWriMo deployment strategy to mitigate deadline pressure; I'll have several poem ideas working at once; when one looks about to pop (like an Aliens chest-burster) it gets escalated to the top of the list and deployed as that day's poem, and a fresh poem idea will take its place.

#251 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 12:39 PM:

Jenny Islander @ 161: "On a completely different note: Say you have a humanoid species that has two functional hearts--Gallifreyan, whatever Megamind is supposed to be, whatever. What does that sound like? Lubdublubdub? LUP-dup-dup LUP-dup-dup?"

Auscultation requires precise positioning, so you're only going to hear the sounds of the heart that you're closest to. On the other hand, identifying a loud murmur -- which heart has it? -- would be an interesting exercise. The EKG will have a different waveform, because it's reading electrical activity, and doing so with respect to orientation of the recording electrodes (which is why the EKG looks different when you switch from I to II to III..). The change in the EKG waveforms will really depend on how the two hearts are (1) arranged and (2) synced.

#252 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 01:04 PM:

Wouldn't a double heart sound like the ultrasound of twins, corrected for body size?

#253 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 01:29 PM:

Rikibeth @ 252: Ultrasound is an imaging system -- it uses sound, yes, but it doesn't give you data of sounds. You can visualize each twin's heart separately on the same screen, because they're separated by space. Ultrasound is like sonar.

#254 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 01:34 PM:

joann @ 247 ...
Ironing, low/med setting, heavy towel on top, spray towel and press down, worked partially. I still had some deepish folds, but wore it anyway. Several weeks' hanging before my fictive god-daughter's wedding will probably help considerably.

I'd suggest using a much lighter pressing cloth -- something in the hanky-weight range -- and starting carefully at the low end of the steam-producing settings for your iron.

Keep the iron moving fairly quickly -- pressing and holding is far more likely to cause the lurex to melt -- and experiment with moving the heat upwards.

Beyond that, I always iron linen on the wrong side, or with a pressing cloth, to avoid the dreaded shine -- and if you're worried about melting, ironing on the wrong side, even with a pressing cloth can help with that, as well.

#255 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 01:42 PM:

Serge @118: Heh. shades of...

#256 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 02:02 PM:

@"your mother could do it" jokes[sic]: I think of it as the I Love Lucy effect. That's not fair to Lucille Ball, but that's where I first remember seeing "girly = cute and incompetent" stuff.

There are still grandmotherly types out there who act out the old "too girly to change a tire/lightbulb/video driver" stereotype, but I think of them as my parents' generation, ie 75+. (On the other hand, I myself am starting to feel more and more Amish. I still have a landline. I don't text. In five years I might be raising barns. )

Humor tends to persist a little while past its relevance, doesn't it? I remember Benny Hill having a blackout-curtain skit -seen on American TV in the late 1970's. I don't know when it was recorded, but it was in color.

#257 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 02:09 PM:

Ginger, maybe I'm thinking of the Doppler stethoscope, then. The kid is 15, it's been a long time since I was listening to a heartbeat in utero.

#258 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 02:21 PM:

So the shutdown merry-go-round is still whirling. To the best of my knowledge the effects will be:

Social Security: Benefit checks are automated, and will go out.

New applications for benefits could be screwed, at worst, no applications would be taken during the shutdown, at best, you can apply but no action would be taken. Either way, there would be some delay in receiving your benefts.

And few if any staff will be available to answer the phones.

Medicare could be a problem -- my guess is that medical bills would be submitted to CMMS but not processed for payment. This will cause problems for doctors et alia because they still have bills of their own to pay.

Defense: Everything military will keep running, but the supply/pay side which is manned by civilians won't -- which will mean our troops won't get their paychecks.

National Parks will close at midnight on April 8th. The Smithsonian will also be closed. The government loses revenue every day these are closed, and it also harms local businesses that depend on the tourist traffic.

HHS -- most agencies close. (CDC, FDA, NIH...)

IRS -- I have been unable to find out what will happen here. I'm guessing you'll still have to file your tax returns by the 15th, and that they will be processed when funding resumes.

Agriculture -- food inspection will go on, county extention offices may be closed.

Education -- closed, this will probably delay some grants.

If anyone is interested, I'll report more as (if) I hear from other federal agency employees.

#259 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 02:24 PM:

Is it possible for the mods to correct my fat-fingering my own name?

#260 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 02:38 PM:

Lori 258: I'm guessing you'll still have to file your tax returns by the 15th

18th, this year. Holiday in DC or something.

#261 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 02:58 PM:

A holiday? When the 15th is a Friday?

Oooookkkaaayy -- it's not listed on the Federal activity planner.

They can't possibly be doing it for Palm Sunday* can they?

*In the past, the IRS has extended the deadline when the 15th falls on Easter Sunday.

#262 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 03:09 PM:

Lori, 261: It's Emancipation Day in DC.

#263 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 03:14 PM:

Lori @258--we're sort of wondering, here at my DDS (and no doubt at all the others)--we're operating on pay from the state, which comes from money sent by the feds. Doesn't this get regularly sent out at the start of every quarter? Or do I have that wrong? Should we count on this having been sent before 4/8? last time, in the Age of Newt the Fatuous, we kept on working, because the state operated on the assumption the money would show up eventually, but we are now in the Age of Orange John, and I don't know if we can count on that.

Maybe it's time to take another look at Gramm-Rudman, which sucked but at least got those cuts applied to everything, not just a few things.

#264 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 03:19 PM:

The Tea Partiers are perfectly happy to have a government shutdown. They fundamentally oppose government, and really hate poor people* and want them to die.

*And, not incidentally, people who have a serious illness—cancer, say—and no insurance.

#265 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 03:43 PM:

fidelio @263:

Lord and Lady bless -- I forgot about the state agencies that get federal funding...

My best guess is that you MAY be funded until June 30, if the funds are received on a quarterly basis, because HHS usually releases those funds to each agency at the beginning of the quarter.

I doubt they'll shut you down because you're evaluating claimants for SSDI, right? I think, whatever happens, your state will get the funds (if they haven't already) because you have a contractual relationship with SSA.

I think the states' Medicaid programs and SCHIP may be in the same boat.

#266 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 03:54 PM:

Lori @258: I'm sure you know about essential personnel, but I'm adding info here in case it helps anyone else. Every agency has essential personnel, both federal and contractor, who have to work no matter what. (These are also the people who must go to work when the government shuts down for bad weather or in emergencies.) If the government shuts down, these people still report to work, but won't get paid until the shutdown is over. It's not fair, but it does ensure that the government's critical missions go on.

What you'd need to do to figure out whether, say, the IRS will be processing returns, is to find out whether those positions are considered essential. (It seems the answer is no; Bloomberg says the IRS is still figuring out what to do in the event of a shutdown in the middle of filing season.)

I wrote a month ago about how a shutdown works, if anyone's interested. The article is from the contractor perspective, but if you skip down below the embedded video there's general info.

This is all at the federal level; I assume the states have equivalent essential positions, but that's not my area of expertise.

#267 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 03:57 PM:

Me @266: What you'd need to do to figure out whether, say, the IRS will be processing returns, is to find out whether those positions are considered essential. (It seems the answer is no...

Er. The answer would be no to whether those are essential personnel, rather than no to processing returns. The things you see .2 seconds after hitting the Post button.

Unsurprisingly, open government initiatives such as the IT Dashboard and are suffering from the maybe-impending-shutdown and will be one of the first areas to run out of funding.

#268 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 04:02 PM:

Lori--I do hope they do; experience has shown we can carry on in the hopes that the money will show up once things get sorted out, but the doctors and other healthcare providers may not be so willing to play along. We'll keep our fingers crossed that those payments have been procesed, or are being so this week.

#269 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 04:13 PM:

janetl @137 said: "Your mom…" comparisons are common in high tech. I'm one of those few women who work in the software industry. The first time I heard one, I didn't particularly notice it. But as they mount up, they get very tiresome. Don't tell me they are ageist rather than sexist* -- have you ever heard a "your dad" comment like that?

A relevant post over at Sociological Images.

Lee @152 talked about men-vs-women giving blood

What my doctor told me some years ago was that, if you lose some non-horrific amount of blood, your liver doesn't have to process those dead cells, and it stimulates your system to make fresh, non-worn-out blood. Adult, menstruating women already do this, and therefore get no particular additional personal health benefit from donating regularly; post-menopausal women and men DO get a significant boost to their anti-bad-heart-attack-causing factors by donating blood on the recommended schedule, because of the aforementioned (and badly remembered by me) specific sequelae of donating.

Before a certain age, nobody's recommended to donate, because we usually don't meet the minimum body-mass requirements. I remember my high school had blood drives set up in its cafeteria several times a year (mostly for the staff/faculty and people who came in from outside), and only a very few of the largest seniors, usually the athletes, qualified to give. You had to be over 16 (for legal reasons), and over something like 120lbs. My grandmother was never eligible to donate in her life, because she was slightly built and always under the minimum weight.

The minimum weight limit is, of course, to make sure that the (fixed, standardized) volume of blood they take from you is unlikely to be over a critical percentage of your total supply at the time.

David Harmon @186 spoke about issues around making airline reservations with/sort of with an infant involved

We just got back from a weekend in Toronto so my kid could see her grandparents (and I could go to a con, woohoo!). We flew Porter, a newish airport based out of Toronto flying tiny little propeller planes. Porter is Exceedingly Civilized, and despite being priced at or below what American charges, you get free everything: free (GOOD) in-flight sandwich, the Toronto departures lounge has unregulated coffee-and-cold-drinks-and-snacks for the taking, etc etc -- PLUS they use REAL GLASSES in flight, which I haven't seen on a plane since I was six and they had real ceramic coffee cups and actual metal silverware!

That was a digression. Suffice to say, we like Porter. However. There is a massive stupid in their reservation system. We boughg the tickets in December for a flight in March/April involving my daughter, whose birthday is in February. You may opt to buy a seat or not for an 'infant' (0-2 yrs of age); you are required to buy a seat for any child 2 or older. Infant seats are priced differently than child seats. It requires you to enter name, sex, and date of birth for all passengers.

She was not yet 2, but would be by the time we flew. It refused utterly to let us buy a 'child'-priced seat for her, because it was doing date validation against current date, not date-of-flight, for age purposes. We had to call up and have the (professional, friendly, and skilled) live human being book our tickets, because the system just couldn't handle us at all.

In re Lush and smells I have a friend with a really weird allergy/sensitivity (yes, I know, technically allergies are only proteins and this isn't, but it ACTS like severe hay fever) to an entire family of aromatic chemicals, including the smells of lavender and pine. He thought it was a bunch of odd individual things until he was chatting up a chemist at a party (as you do, at fannish parties), and it came up. The chemist said things like, "Oh, and pine? And ..." and listed off several other my-friend-thought-them-unrelated smells, as my friend started to have that In The Presence Of Omniscience nervousness mentioned upthread in relation to supercomputers. The chemist grabbed a napkin and doodled a structure. "You're allergic to these," he said, with some term that starts with polycyclic. And then he listed off the ten or fifteen most commonly-encountered ones, which from the odors you wouldn't think are related, but are only a few dangly bits off of each other in chemical structure. My friend found this knowledge very useful, and has since googled a much more extensive list of things to know to avoid.

He can't even go within three doors of a Lush in a mall without needing to fall over for a while, alas.

#270 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 04:23 PM:

Re scents: I'm highly sensitive (asthmatic-type reaction) to a lot of fragrances, natural* as well as artificial. I figured out a while back that edible scents (vanilla, cinnamon, citrus, apple, any food) are fine; non-edible scents are the problem. The only exception is pine (and related evergreens); it's fine, even though it's not a food.

*the gardenias on a co-worker's desk almost killed me

#271 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 04:26 PM:

And gloriosky, with that, I iz caught up. Yay!

Open-Thready Footwear Question

Do any of you fine MLers (shorter than the word starting with F) wear monkey-feet shoes? That's the brand/model I have, there are others. They have toes, and are designed to act as close to being barefoot as possible, while avoiding things like glass punctures.

My pair is Quite New, and while I've geeked with local owners of similar before, I'm wondering if I have quite the right size. The common wisdom I knew before going to try them on was, "If you've never worn them before, the right size will feel too small." I'm wondering if these feel too small because they're the right size, or because I need the next size?

40s wouldn't go on -- the 'neck opening' as it were was simply too small to even make an attempt at getting my toes into the pockets. 41s is what I have, and there is a constant (not necessarily unpleasant) touch at my toe-webbings. What makes me suspicious they might be too small, though, is that there are instructions in the manual for shortening 'extra length' off the arch strap, and my arch strap doesn't even reach halfway across the shoe, while still being quite tightened. Also, if I leave the strap flapping, my heel is still snugly seated in the heelcap, which is what the strap is meant to do.

I'd try on 42s, except nobody stocks them, so I'd have to return my 41s and order them from the website to try them on, at which point if they seem too big I'd have to mail them back and re-order 41s on the second return, which just strikes me as kind of silly.

of course, I'm a customer thinks doesn't exist; one of their past Giftmas radio ads called me a 'laser-beamer'. I know exactly what I want, down to the precise model and size, and I never return anything. :-> Well, I've returned to Zappos, but that's because they have an explicit 'order 2-3 pair of adjacent sizes and return the one that doesn't fit' policy, so I did.

#272 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 04:27 PM:

Mary Aileen: Do roses affect you? And pine nuts are edible, though they don't have a scent. I wonder if you're sensitive to the things that make plants Not Food. /talking out of hat

#273 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 04:34 PM:

Persephone @266: It's probably obvious by now, but I'm "non-essential" personnel.

So are the auditors who work in the same office, we were all sent home last time. If it works out the way it did in 1995, we'll come in to work Monday morning, and be sent home immediately if there are no funds.

Why am I not surprised that the IRS doesn't know what it will do? (I'm betting most Federal agencies don't really have plans, despite what they're saying to the media.)

It must be crazy at Treasury, Defense, Commerce, DHS, Transportation, Agriculture, and Justice because they're rarely shut down -- usually their appropriation bills pass with little public notice. HHS, Education, SSA, Energy, Interior, and Labor are the ones most often subjected to the dread shutdown.

#274 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 04:40 PM:

Lori, 273: DHS??? Oh good grief. *That's* going to make airports fun.

#275 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 04:42 PM:

TexAnne (272): Roses--any flowers--are a problem if they have a fairly strong scent. I can usually tolerate light florals, although they're not ideal; heavy florals are Right Out.

I hadn't considered the existence of pine nuts; I wasn't thinking about the actual trees so much as pine-scented candles and cleaning products. Interesting.

#276 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 04:49 PM:

Terry Karney @232: The Gladwell 10K is specifically about time spent (e.g., ten thousand hours) to achieve mastery, whatever that works out to in units-produced.

For photography, I expect it would be in the gazillions of frames shot divided by (one hopes improving over time) good/bad ratio.

Similarlywise, with drawing, I seem run between 6 to .2 drawings/hour, with a hit rate on the order of 10%.

#277 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 04:54 PM:

Lori @273... What agency are you with, if you don't mind me asking?

I don't know how agencies are doing on shutdown contingency plans (poorly, I'd imagine), but a federal employees' union is suing the OMB to get what plans do exist released. The union apparently filed repeated FOIA requests and was ignored.

Lots of federal agencies are really trying these days to create continuity of operations (COOP) plans for emergencies, but I've never seen anything related to this type of shutdown, only shutdowns caused by actual emergencies such as natural disasters or explosions. If an agency has a robust set of emergency plans, it should be fairly easy to adapt its COOP plan for a shutdown.

#278 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 04:57 PM:

nerdycellist #200: How about the 1337 series of comics on XKCD?

#279 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 05:08 PM:


Among other things, a government shutdown seems rather likely to kill the weak recovery in the economy. It's nuts, but that doesn't mean they won't do it.

#280 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 05:13 PM:

Persephone @277...I'm in Health and Human Services, when I started working for the department, it was called Health, Education, and Welfare.

True, the emergency plans are a good base, the problem will be who and how many to leave "on duty" to handle the bare minimum that will have to be done.

I don't envy DHS -- think of how many TSA folks will be working without getting paid...and think of the resentment that is going to brew. Most of those folks have never been through a shutdown.

This one is unusual because every Executive branch agency is unfunded. Every single one.

#281 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 05:23 PM:

albatross @279...I'm not sure we're in a recovery. Wall Street may be -- but Main Street? I don't see any evidence of it.

I think we're in a depression, and without a New Deal style action, i.e. putting people to work and paying them, the economy is going down the tubes (if it hasn't already).

I've been looking a real estate lately, and was shocked to find houses in my grandparents' neighborhood up for sale for half their assessed value. These properties had not been forclosed on. They're not selling, even at bargain basement prices.

#282 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 05:52 PM:


"Among other things, a government shutdown seems rather likely to kill the weak recovery in the economy."

Do not dismay. The benevolent and merciful Invisible Hand will rescue those who are truly Worthy from hunger and shame.

#283 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 06:03 PM:

Based on the billboards I saw driving through Oklahoma last weekend, I don't think we're in a recovery. (1/3 ads, 1/3 PSAs, 1/3 blank.)

#284 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 06:06 PM:

Housing is indeed the pits, and will be for a while. But other elements of the economy -- business investment, employment, manufacturing -- are on the upswing, so it is a recovery. It's just not a very robust one. And perhaps that's good. Booming economies seem inevitably to lead to bubbles.

#285 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 06:15 PM:

Lee @225: When I saw the name, I thought it would be the French group "Les Innocents," whose 1996 album "Post-Partum" I downloaded from WFMU and thoroughly enjoyed.

Speaking of WFMU, they have an interview tonight (part 1 of 2) with Robert Crumb about why old music is the only good music, and the show it's on — Antique Phonograph something — keeps a huge archive of its past shows, so if I miss it tonight (as I certainly will, having another commitment), I can go back and hear it later. And see it, as they will also post video.

David Harmon @224: [re: XKCD] Oh. Oh, shit. I saw that earlier and didn't know what… hm. Rats.

TexAnne @283: Used to look forward to the Oklahoma Panhandle part of the Colorado-to-Texas drive at holiday time because I would sometimes see a big IMPEACH EARL WARREN sign, which I thought was funny. Dad didn't see the joke — he would have agreed with the sign.

#286 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 07:37 PM:

Xopher, #264: And this despite the fact that a significant percentage of their most rabid adherents are either (1) retired and on Social Security and Medicare, or (2) disabled and on SSDI/Medicaid. I suspect (or I hope) that this is going to come back and bite them on the ass.

More to the point, their avowed goal is to destroy the government. I keep thinking, "You* voted for those people KNOWING what they represented. What the HELL did you expect to happen?"

Elliott, #269: WRT parent/teenager conflict, we had surprisingly little of that from my partner's daughter. While I'm sure some of the reason is just that she was unusually level-headed for an adolescent, I am also convinced that part of it was us encouraging her to find out who she was, separate from us, rather than trying desperately to mold her into a miniature copy of us (the way my parents tried to do to me). By giving her space to find her own way (along with support where necessary, but not bailing-out from every consequence of bad judgment), we made the whole "parent/teenager conflict" paradigm look much less attractive. Also, she got relatively much more freedom than most of her peers; we were leaving her on her own to house-sit while we went to cons pretty much from the time she was in high school. She knew that freedom would go away in a hurry if she abused it -- so she never did.

* For appropriate values of "you" -- not you personally, Xopher, because you certainly did no such thing.

#287 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 08:01 PM:

Elliott Mason @ #269, I'm guessing it was polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH's).

#288 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 08:19 PM:

The Invisible Hand grasps; and, having looted,
Moves on: nor all thy laws undisputed
Shall lure it back to return half a halki,
Nor all thy Tears' ink-wash a contract, diluted.

#289 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 08:19 PM:

Hmmm... I went to, where Robert Reed has new story "Our Candidate". There's a button that allows me to buy it for my Nook. Except that it doesn't. The link takes me to Barnes & Noble's Nookstore, which says the story isn't available. I am confused.
("Like that's a difficult thing to do.")
I heard that.

#290 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 08:37 PM:

Lila @287: I think it was a somewhat more specific term than that (he has no problem with charred/grilled foods, frex).

#291 ::: vee ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 09:02 PM:

Tendril from upthread, last seen at Dave Bell @112, regarding Jackson Pollack and Mondrian being better appreciated in context--

Does the same go for Mark Rothko?

I'm part of the camp that doesn't understand Rothko's appeal. Granted, I've never tried to reproduce one, so I'm not sure about the technique that would go into making one of his canvases....

#292 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 09:07 PM:

Kip W #285: As someone on the forum pointed out, those are plausible numbers for simple post-treatment survival of many cancers.So it's not so much "added threat" as "The Big Bad should never be 'presumed dead'."

#293 ::: Timothy M Walters ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 09:15 PM:

vee @ 291: Rothko's paintings have a numinous quality that appeals to me in a very direct way; if that's not the case for you, I don't know if more context would help. I will say that reproductions don't convey much in his case, so if you haven't seen an actual canvas, that would be worth a try.

I get a similar effect from Motherwell, but not from the superficially similar Diebenkorn and Still. I'd like to know why, but I don't.

#294 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 09:28 PM:

Jacque: I know the rule of 10,000 hours (it's not new to Gladwell). I was pointing out the context in which I learned it, and there is something to be said for making the measure of intellectual (vs. muscular) training to be a bit less temporally linked.

Elliot: Culing matters, though I am not as ruthless as I'd like, in part because a lot of images which are borderline to my creative aesthetic now, may not be later, and in part because of the time problem.

What I do is cull things as I am looking to edit. But I confess to having a different perspective on photographs than most.

To toot my horn and squee a bit, Marna was talking to Ctein, at Torcon, and mentioned me. His response was something on the order of, "oh yeah, he takes some good pictures." I mention it because it relates, sort of, to some of the other things which help improve one's art (no matter what it be): the feedback of other practitioners. A good photography class teaches f-stop, and lighting, and (one hopes not slavishly) the "rule of thirds" (I say not slavishly because I know people who, almost relexively, reject anything with a primary subject not on a "power point/third line", which drives me bats, but I digress), but the real strength of it is that one (in a good class; by my lights), has to show one's work, and get feedback.

That makes one actually look at how/what is working for others, and why it does/doesn't work for oneself.

flickr is a blessing, and a curse. It's a great place to get a look at other people's pictures, but it's (barring a few odd nooks and crannies) a desert for good critique. I do my best to give a good comment when I think a photo works, but most of what one gets isn't more more than, "you rock, great shot" with nothing to say why.

I will say that, when evaluating a work (no matter what it is) one should consider striking the word, "like" from the lexicon. What I like is irrelevant, mostly because it can't be argued with. What "works" is the phrase I use, and then explain what that is (be it the moody atmospherics of the light, or the clever use of an archaic grammar to cover the class-structural elements of the society in a story). Happily (and to my surprise) this is almost always met with understanding. More often than not with thanks.

When I'm next in Chicago, I'll try to find that Mondrian and take a picture for you. If I could take the sorts of photos I did to make the Magritte jokes, I can probably make a decent card for you.

#295 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 09:34 PM:

Terry, 294: If I may? "Aussi n'est pas" is gibberish. "Ça non plus" means "this isn't either," which I think is what you were going for.

#296 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 09:37 PM:

If this were a parliamentary democracy, Prime Minister Boehner's job would be on the line in about 6 weeks.

#297 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 10:18 PM:

Kip W @ 285, I used to drive by Earl Warren Park in Castro Valley CA fairly often. It was always pleasant to see signs with his name that didn't have the word "Impeach" in them, though he'd retired around the time I was becoming aware of politics and I grew up in an area where there'd been few if any actual anti-Warren signs back when they were popular.

#298 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 10:19 PM:

apropos of nothing in particular, I want a petrified bogwood sphere. WAAAAAH. they're beautiful.

#299 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 10:29 PM:

Lori, I'm considered essential personnel, according to our department manager. we make sure tax money gets to the bank in my particular set of units where I work.

and someone said we'd get paid for the period we worked eventually. it's not very reassuring. On the other hand, I don't pay for a lot of gas to get to work. (it can take as long for me to walk from my parking place to my work station as it does to drive to my parking place in the garage....)

#300 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 10:51 PM:

Bill Stewart @297: My middle sister is eternally grateful to Lady Bird Johnson, because we were on one of our Colorado-to-Texas drives back when she was suffering from colitis (my sister, not the First Lady), and our desperate search for a bathroom brought us to Lady Bird Johnson State Park, which had one. We still told jokes about LBJ and Mrs. LBJ, but always with the understanding that we were profoundly in her debt.

#301 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2011, 11:03 PM:

vee @291, Timothy M Walters @293, on Mark Rothko: Timothy's right, reproductions of Rothkos are utterly useless, they look like they're cut out of construction paper. In person, they ... hrm. They throb? If you're lucky enough to find a museum with several (or a theme exhibition that's careful how they're hung), and can get into a room with a few well-spread around with whitespace around them, it's a very (for me, anyway) brain-chemistry-altering situation, and I'm not sure how to explain it. If you stand there and stare for a while, kind of relaxing in a meditative sort of way, spreading yourself out mentally to just exist, they are suddenly much richer than a single color (because they're so incredibly layered and slathered in paint). If you go up close to one and inspect it, it has an amazing texture to it.

Especially the ones that are a square/rectangle of color with white canvas around it; they seem to be about to try to burst free and do ... something. Some of them give me forebodings that it would be a bad something if they got loose; some are definitely more uplifting, in a walk-into-the-TARDIS kind of way.

Simon Schama's Power of Art has an episode about him that comes close to explaining why I care, if you like documentaries.

Terry Karney @294 said: To toot my horn and squee a bit, Marna was talking to Ctein, at Torcon, and mentioned me. His response was something on the order of, "oh yeah, he takes some good pictures." I mention it because it relates, sort of, to some of the other things which help improve one's art (no matter what it be): the feedback of other practitioners.

At FKO this weekend past, I was going through some of my oldest extant curated digicam photos, because I knew there were shots in there of a fannish child who was VERY MUCH YOUNGER in 2001 than she is now, and I now know her mother much better than I did then, so I thought I'd copy out the pictures onto a thumb drive for her. It derailed (because she showed interest) into some of my other shots, including my 'artsy' ones -- self-deprecatingly named that, because back then I felt kind of weird indulging my artlusts when I didn't know quite why I was doing it (or how to do it very successfully). We didn't get much past 2003 before other events intervened, but she was vocal in her opinion that I'm good.

eeeeeeee I'm good? And that was, well, a long time ago, and I have both gotten better and learned how to use my cameras better. I'm convinced that a lot of the skill of digicam shooting is learning where your individual instrument's limits are (for a while, one of my cameras was VERY VERY BAD in low light -- orange freckles everywhere in the black bits), and making the most of its strengths. Plus developing your eye. And practice. Obviously. But learning how to really know what your camera's going to do when you point it at a given thing and snap the shutter is like nerdycellist upthread going bow-shopping, methinks.

It doesn't matter how expensive and cool your camera is, if you don't pay attention to how what-you-see differs from what-it-shot. :-> I've seen some staggeringly awesome art prints taken on cellphone cameras.

Oh, and minor point of order: Elliott. Two Ls, two Ts. Not that I've done anything with that lj yet, but I figured I should camp the name when people gave me some guff for my previous-and-current lj name having an 'a' on the end and therefore being 'obviously female'. :->

Terry, again: flickr is a blessing, and a curse. It's a great place to get a look at other people's pictures, but it's (barring a few odd nooks and crannies) a desert for good critique. I do my best to give a good comment when I think a photo works, but most of what one gets isn't more more than, "you rock, great shot" with nothing to say why.

For occasionally thoughtful criticism (and other great shots to look at), plus creativity prompts, I rather like They post weekly (or some other timeframe) 'themes' to shoot to, which you need to shoot and upload an entry for by a certain date, then everyone who entered can vote and comment. I got some stupid you-suck-or-rock comments (and a lot of people who assumed anyone participating would OF COURSE be a Photoshop master, and that therefore some minor camera-related and no-editing-software-to-speak-of related problems with my photos were stupid carelessness or disrespect for the contest), but a lot of really thoughtful ones, too, and also through the process of voting helped work out some of what I really liked/found my eye. I used to figure if a given shot of mine averaged out at over 5 stars it was a serious winner, because compared to a lot of what was entered I would never, ever have expected to score above 8. I'm just not nearly that polished and pretty-looking.

Terry, again again: When I'm next in Chicago, I'll try to find that Mondrian and take a picture for you.

eeeee! I am broke broke broke, but would happily trade a grand amount of fannish craft barter for such a print. I don't recall if it's kept in a gallery with "NO CAMERAS" signs or not (some are, some aren't, at the AI).

#302 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2011, 12:38 AM:

Lori @ 281 - my area is at least in a recovery, including housing. While it's mostly anecdotal at this point, the office and company statistics compared to last year are astoundingly better, and that's without taking into account the inflation in home sales due to the tax credit Feb-May last year. Prices are still low, but good houses are selling - my people have been in competitive bidding situations at least four times since the first of march, and the good houses are selling within the first couple of weeks, esp. in the higher price ranges. Also, local unemployment is down, job creation up, spending up. It's pretty positive in the central midwest.

Re: impending gov. shutdown - a friend of mine is essential personnel for the national archives, however, none of their support staff are essential. Not the clerks or the file monkeys or the IT staff, and we were laughing this morning about the reaction from the IT staff to the horror of letting people use their computers unsupervised.But their essential staff are not enough to keep things running...he's not looking forwards to it,

#303 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2011, 12:49 AM:

sisuile @302: We've been househunting off and on for over a year now. About a month ago, a bunch of houses I had semi-bookmarked on Redfin suddenly sold (including the one we were THIIIIIS close to MAKING AN OFFER ON, dammit!), and simultaneously to that, my agent mentioned he suddenly had a flock of new-to-him buyers interested in actively seeing properties.

So something changed, I just don't know what. I live in Chicago, for those curious (and my agent mostly works in the Western suburbs).

#304 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2011, 01:20 AM:

I posted my Gumby poem to the wrong Open Thread. Ah, well.

#305 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2011, 03:15 AM:

Elliott: No worries. I get to spend more time at the AI. What I recall from the way it was set up the permanent exhibits allow photographs, but the temporary vary.

That's also the way most museums I'm acquainted with do it, so I might be extrapolating.

#306 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2011, 07:02 AM:

Kip @300 -- Now I am shocked at how it has never occurred to me how Lady Bird Johnson's initials are LBJ. Her husband was the last president (well, to date) not to have been in office during my lifetime.

#307 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2011, 07:44 AM:

The most obvious thing that struck me about the Carol Emshwiller particle is that the occasion coincides with Yuri's Night, and this year is the fiftieth anniversary.

Even more reason to party!

#308 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2011, 10:17 AM:

Just in case anyone is interested, the abstracts deadline for Mythcon 42 (Albuquerque, July 15-18) has been extended to May 6th. Your friendly local paper coordinator can be reached at mythlore, living at mythsoc, which happens to be an org. (And speaking of Mythlore, the spring issue is at the printer. Good stuff for Tolkien and Lewis geeks this issue, particularly those who also like Dante, and a piece on Glen GoodKnight, our late founder.)

#309 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2011, 10:50 AM:

There's a new Babylon 5 post over on N2S, if anyone's interested.

#310 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2011, 10:56 AM:

Paula Helm Murray @299...the "non-essentials" have always been paid in the past, including that 21 day furlough in 1995-1996.

It just dawned on me today that the State Department will be experiencing its first shutdown. That ought to be real interesting for the embassies.

I will have been with the government for 33 years next month, and I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times we have had funding at the beginning of the fiscal year.

#311 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2011, 10:56 AM:

Lori Coulson @258: I wonder if a class-action lawsuit would be in order....

#312 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2011, 11:06 AM:

Terry Karney @ 305... I get to spend more time at the AI

...with HAL 9000 and Forbin's Project?

#313 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2011, 11:13 AM:

albatross @278: One should not read l337 in any of its parts at work...ow. I think I sprained something.

#314 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2011, 11:58 AM:

Timothy M Walters #293:

Not just see one in person, but really sit down and commune with it for at least 5-10 minutes. (This is why I always recommend the Rothko Chapel.) So much of what makes a Rothko a Rothko is in the sense of the artist's hand, and in the way the painting responds to light. What looks like a monochromatic field--you think, oh, wall paint, big deal--is nothing of the sort.

#315 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2011, 12:28 PM:

Yes, to all the positive commentary on Rothko's work, including the Houston chapel.

Love, C.

#316 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2011, 12:42 PM:

Morton Feldman's composition Rothko Chapel translates Rothko's art into sound very well. I recommend the New Albion recording.

#317 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2011, 02:50 PM:

TexAnne @ 283: Based on the billboards I saw driving through Oklahoma last weekend, I don't think we're in a recovery. (1/3 ads, 1/3 PSAs, 1/3 blank.)

I saw yet another one of those "Recession 101" billboards the other day. The first one I saw was two years ago. They're done up to look like a spiral-bound notebook and say helpful things like "Bill Gates started Microsoft during a recession" and "Stop worrying about the economy, you're scaring the children". There are others too, but I don't recall what they say. They don't appear to have any other identifying information, such as who's paying for them.

I hate those billboards.

#318 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2011, 03:50 PM:

Light at the end of the tunnel? House Republicans have been told to remain in DC this weekend. Congress had originally planned to recess for two weeks.

I'm now starting to see numbers -- 800,000 to be furloughed. That's 800K mortgage/rent payments, car payments, Ghu-only-knows-how-many credit card payments, plus groceries, medicine, gas, utility bills, etc. ad nauseum.

One Democratic Congressman is saying non-essentials will not get paid for furlough time. This is not going to be good for anyone, and it's damned well Congress's fault for not passing a budget.

Looks like I'll be visiting the unemployment office and filing for benefits next Monday.

#319 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2011, 04:10 PM:

Lori--I wish you the very best of luck in dealing with this, and may the time lost for everyone be as little as possible.

I remember 1995; it did not impress people as much with the Republicans' determination as Newt et. al. thought it would. I think Boehner and the rest of the leadership realize this; I don't think the new crowd does.

I agree, though, that Congress, as a group, should have got the lead out and passed the appropriations bills a good bit earlier--say, in 2010.

#320 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2011, 04:18 PM:

Thanks, fidelio -- I came within 24 hours of filing for unemployment benefits in 1995. I have some savings -- but they will only stretch so far and if we don't get paid for the time we're furloughed, I have to make it up somehow.

But I am just heartsick over those who, due to no fault of their own, are living paycheck to paycheck. That means a lot of the employees we've hired in the last year, some of them still trying to get their finances in order after being unemployed for quite awhile.

#321 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2011, 04:56 PM:

Haven't read all of the thread (to date) yet, but I have to comment on David Harmon at #88, who says: "It's worth noting that most abstract artists, and all of the "great names", started out as conventional artists, or at least were trained as such."

Many years ago I saw a short film based on Jackson Pollock's transformation (it was fictionalized, but easily recognizable) called "Bowl of Cherries". If anyone knows how to get this film in any format at all, please tell me. I've been hoping for years to show it to my husband, but we have never found it. It was one of my favorites.

#322 ::: LMM ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2011, 04:57 PM:

@287: Glancing at Wikipedia, I'm going to guess that it's a class of complexes derived from terpenes, but without further details I can't guess anything more specific. (I am a chemist, but not *that* kind of chemist.)

#323 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2011, 05:01 PM:

Ok -- new wrinkle -- the Federal courts are going to be closed if the shutdown happens.

This is really weird, the judges' pay is funded, but the staff (clerks, court recorders, guards) isn't, so all of the courts must close too.

#324 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2011, 05:35 PM:

I'm wondering how many of the government's best and brightest will end up in the private sector, permanently. (And how intentional that is.)

#325 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2011, 05:57 PM:

David Harmon @324...anyone that can leave probably will, what I'm expecting to see is loads of retirements. I might have stayed another year, but with pay frozen it seems best to get out before they change the retirement benefits even more.

I'm planning to be gone by the end of this year, earlier if budget constraints cause my department to offer early outs.

#326 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2011, 05:59 PM:

I keep coming to things I want to comment on, and I'm so out of step! This time I want to caution people not to rely on information for the Figleaf's post linked to by Diatryma at #155.

I happen to know rather a lot about hemochromatosis. It's an interesting condition, but it is *not* a disease primarily of men. Primarily, it's men who suffer from it, but that is because women who inherit the necessary genes (it's a simple recessive) don't *suffer* as much from it, because of, yes, menses. Postmenopausally, it starts to manifest in women. As you may have guessed from this information, the usual treatment is bloodletting.

How do I know all this? I inherited the necessary genes. And had to warn all of my semi-numerous progeny about it. Their understanding varies according to how carefully they listened to the explanation.

I don't think the other information at Figleaf's place is well-founded or well-described either, and I am very much against the use of plausible but totally made-up graphs and charts in any sort of "explanation".

#328 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2011, 06:45 PM:

#327: This would be a good time to short-sell stock in companies that deal in overpriced gold coins, post-apocalypse seed banks, and survival back packs.

#329 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2011, 07:08 PM:

Xopher @327, thank you for sharing the good news.

Dancing in the streets, it's a new dawn, it's a new day!

#330 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2011, 07:47 PM:

HLN: Middle-aged woman has quadruple bypass surgery. She is in the second week of inpatient therapy, frustrated and depressed at the pace of her recovery. After all, they just split her sternum, pulled open her rib cage, ripped out her heart and attached a bunch of leg veins, stuffed it back in, then wired and glued her back together.

I'm also depressed that of the 65 lbs I lost in the last 2 years, I've put 32 of them back in less than 2 weeks with fluid retention, and gained 3 sizes. I'm assured by everyone that that this too will pass ... and pass ... and pass... but it meant that I had to get someone to buy me clothes for rehab because I got rid of the old ones that would have fit. And shoes. My shoe size went up 1-1/2 sizes. Sigh.

#331 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2011, 07:52 PM:

Tracie, best wishes for a quick recovery!

And the fluid retention will go away.

#332 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2011, 07:53 PM:

Interesting. Earlier today I was seeing similar stories, with no mention of his crashing ratings. I had to do a websearch to find out he was down by nigh on 1/3 of his audience.

#333 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2011, 07:59 PM:

Hang in there, Tracie, and let me know if I can do anything to help. I have a pretty flexible schedule on Wed., Fri., and weekends.

#334 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2011, 08:07 PM:

HLN: Cancer patient has two teeth pulled in preparation for the next stage of treatment. Both dollar cost and pain levels MUCH less than anticipated. Bleeding minimal. Oral surgeon the soul of compassionate consideration, in sharp contrast to the one who did patient's tongue biopsy.

Oral surgeon tells patient that alcohol-containing mouthwashes may be implicated in oral cancer. Patient thinks this would explain a lot, having used alcohol-containing mouthwashes for oral hygiene for decades.

#335 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2011, 08:30 PM:

Xopher @334: I've had to have two teeth extracted because they were rotten; my oral surgeons in both cases jokingly said they wished people would come to them to get the healthy ones out, as they were much simpler to remove and would have much faster healing afterwards. Seems it's true, as well as being blackly funny. :->

#336 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2011, 08:44 PM:

Xopher: bright blessings on that surgeon. May everyone you come in contact with through this whole process be that good.

#337 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2011, 10:04 PM:

There's been a movement to get advertisers to leave his show; he'd lost quite a few, because the more reputable businesses didn't want to be associated with him any more.

#338 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2011, 11:07 PM:

Elliott 335: These teeth were decayed. They had to come out because you can't have tooth decay and then have radiation in your mouth.

Lila 336: From your keyboard to the gods' monitors.

#339 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2011, 11:19 PM:

joan #314: My cousin lived across the street from the Rothko Chapel, and I visited it one time. Oh, well.

#340 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2011, 11:47 PM:

Open Thready middle-of-the-night question...

I don't read Tom Clancy, but I know some of the folks here do. How, if at all, has his writing changed since using torture went from being an automatic "this is the Bad Guy" indicator to being something that people expect and support us doing? Who would Jack Ryan torture?

#341 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2011, 12:02 AM:

@Tracie: That weight will pass. My father put on twice what you did after his valve replacement!

It took a few months but he's doing much better, starting from a much worse starting point.

Hang in there. Same to Xopher.

#342 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2011, 01:04 AM:

Spring in Buckland, taters and brew,
Horse races, games and tricks, true life.
Singing and dancing with contests, it's true!
No shadows linger, there's no strife.

Spring in Angmar, wretched with dread,
No birds sing songs of hope and life.
Whispers of prophesy best left unsaid,
Omens of burning, ice and strife.

#343 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2011, 01:31 AM:


#344 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2011, 01:41 AM:

Skwid #2: I love Rush right up until the moment the singing begins. I wish I could buy a Rush instrumental album...

Here's a Rush instrumental you might like.

#345 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2011, 01:48 AM:

Lee @ 340:
Who would Jack Ryan torture?

Now that would make an excellent T-shirt.

#346 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2011, 01:54 AM:

Lee @ 286:

My paranoia has been acting up lately; I've developed a theory that the Tea Party and its backers aren't really out to destroy the government because they have plans to use it for their real goal: a massive eugenics experiment in which a large percentage of the middle and lower classes will have all access to health care and economic safety nets removed. The plan is part of a Malthusian amelioration that might be described as "slow motion genocide".

I hope I'm wrong.

#347 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2011, 02:21 AM:

Bruce, #345: But would it? The answer depends a lot on whether a gung-ho torture enthusiast (i.e. someone who would argue the "ticking time bomb" scenario seriously) would look at it and think, "He wouldn't... and he's the hero," or "He doesn't need to, [Character X] handles that," or "But that's fiction, and Real Life is Different."

Note that I put in that last bit because there must be some people, even among the torture enthusiasts, who don't think that 24 is a documentary. But I do think that for a lot of them, all they know about the subject is what they see/read in spy thrillers. We've had a few of those here, as you may recall. And I wouldn't be above turning that meme against them, but only if I thought it might work.

#348 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2011, 02:26 AM:

Lee @ #340, I think Ryan had a few opportunities when he was a CIA temp and refrained from torturing anyone. After he got to Executive level there and in the Executive Branch he wasn't in the field.

His colleague and friend John Clark, on the other hand, wouldn't have cringed had he felt it necessary.

#349 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2011, 08:02 AM:

Older, thanks for the information! I knew the graphs were iffy-- they are real-looking enough to be not really right as handwaving, but there's not much I-draw-this-graph-in-the-air one can do on the internet.

#350 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2011, 09:03 AM:

Xopher #338: Aha. Well. I had one that was bad enough they reached in for it with the pully-things and the whole top broke off. Which was what provoked the humorous statement from my dentist that he wished more people came in to have healthy teeth pulled, because it'd be easier. :-> Later in that extraction, I had a grad student working over me from one side and an undergrad assisting from the other; the grad student remarked to me on my way out that she hoped I didn't mind if she said she hated that tooth. "I didn't like it much either," I said, muffledly. Then she said, "The only good thing about it is that I got to show Glen all six tricks I know for extracting stubborn roots!" "... Glad to be educational," I said.

#351 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2011, 09:15 AM:

Elliott Mason #350: So, that day your purpose in life was to be a lesson to others? :-)

#352 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2011, 10:52 AM:

Elliott Mason @ 350 ...
... the grad student remarked to me on my way out that she hoped I didn't mind if she said she hated that tooth. "I didn't like it much either," I said, muffledly. Then she said, "The only good thing about it is that I got to show Glen all six tricks I know for extracting stubborn roots!" "... Glad to be educational," I said.

Heh. That reminds me of why it can be good and bad to have your local emergency department be part of a large teaching hospital...

I'd taken a friend to the emergency department for some sort of wretched chest/sinus/throat ailment, which turned out to be strep throat.

The doctor was exceedingly pleased that it was a classic case of strep throat, and asked if he could bring his students through to look -- and when permission was given, gave a mini-lecture, which included the memorable phrase "... and as you can see, the throat is completely covered in fuzzy white patches..."

#353 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2011, 11:14 AM:

Linkmeister @348: I think this was addressed in Sum of All Fears?

Tracie & Xopher: Healing and comfort to you both.

#354 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2011, 11:32 AM:

Ghods spare me! I just had to explain to an employee* going on leave why she cannot take her laptop with her...

IF the government shuts down all laptops and PDAs will have to be returned to the office by Monday morning. Any use after 12:01 am April 8th is subject to $1,000 fine and possible loss of job.

I guess I'd better ask the IT folks how they want the PDAs secured -- the laptops are locked to the respective desks.

*higher pay grade than mine

#355 ::: edgar lo siento ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2011, 11:51 AM:

um, guys, it's happening again:
twitter via Hiroko Tabuchi:

M7.4 quake rocks east Japan. Tsunami alert in Miyagi, Tokyo jolted too. This aftershock bigger than '95 Kobe quake.. Checking on Fukushima.
1 hour ago

#356 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2011, 11:53 AM:

HLN: Local woman discovers a very small world, as she attends city-sponsored transportation survey thingy, gets to talking to person standing next to her while we both stare at maps, and discovers that he is the person who rented our last-house-but-one after we moved out. (We'd been there 16 years, they were from down the street while they remodeled.)

#357 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2011, 11:55 AM:

edgar lo siento @355: NPR had an interview with a woman who lives on reclaimed Tokyo Bay sludge/landfill, which apparently underwent some very serious liquefaction.

... oddly, that story seems to be an aftermath-of-March-11 one, not about a more recent quake. Hrm. Still, fascinating pictures.

#358 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2011, 12:09 PM:

That reminds me of why it can be good and bad to have your local emergency department be part of a large teaching hospital...

Similarly, the dermatologist I went to for mole patrol a few years ago is part of UPMC--that's the University of Pittsburgh, which has a great big huge giant med school. Both the guy I saw and the specialist he asked to come and give a second opinion had med students with them. I didn't mind, but it was funny; there I am, mostly naked, with people coming in and out of the room to look at my skin...

#359 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2011, 12:34 PM:

Earl 343: prophe(s/c)y?

Prophecy. With 'c' it's a noun; with 's' a verb. I stand among you and prophesy; heed my prophecy.

Also, 'prophecy' is pronounced PRAH-feh-see (or PRAH-feh-C, if you like), while 'prophesy' is PRAH-feh-sigh.

#360 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2011, 12:37 PM:

"I sigh as I prophesy; I see a prophecy."

#361 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2011, 12:43 PM:

Nice mnemonic, Lila!

#362 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2011, 03:38 PM:

Jacque @ #353, yes. I had to look up the plot summary in Wikipedia; I haven't read the book in ten years. Nice to know my memory hasn't completely failed me.

#363 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2011, 03:58 PM:

Tracie @330: Glad the surgery went well (or went, at least); sympathies for the frustrations of early-stages of convalescence.

Xopher @334: Glad you got a nice oral surgeon. I seem to have a pleasant and sympathetic new dentist - does make a difference, doesn't it?

HLN: First appointment with physio goes well. Physio writes letter and (different from last time) GP agrees x-ray would be good to confirm healed/not-yet-healed/not present metatarsal stress-fracture, considering continuing point tenderness and recurrent other painful symptoms on attempted return to running after 6 weeks of rest. Will visit x-ray dept. tomorrow.

#364 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2011, 04:42 PM:

Hyperlocal news... Man has to look at Blackberry to know which day of the week today is. Man's cubicle neighbor says he needs a vacation.

#365 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2011, 04:43 PM:

Linkmeister #348:

I recall in one of the later Jack Ryan books when he's president, he makes an offhand remark to an aide that beating answers out of people mostly just gets them to tell you what you want to hear. This was written after the torture scandal came out, I think, and I wouldn't be surprised if Clancy was putting words he'd heard from some source of his into Ryan's mouth.

#366 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2011, 04:47 PM:

re teaching hospitals: They can be really nice if one has something spectacular. I was assigned an intern when my sulfa allergy made itself manifest (thank god for military healthcare. On the private side I'd probably have died).

I was the subject of grand rounds, at least one monograph, saw something like 14 doctors from four different teams (not counting my attending, and the folks from rheumatology who came in to see how "their" patient was doing), had x-rays, a spinal tap,pulmonary biopsies/endoscopy, dermatologic biopsies, sonograms, and god knows what all else.

I found out a lot about my, general condition, from all the people I was able to ask questions, and from the questions they asked me.

I suspect, when all is said and done (to digress) the time as an interrogator let me grasp what's important in that sort of situation from the things I get asked, and then keep the person talking about that subject, in ways that inform me.

#367 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2011, 05:46 PM:


Another new post up on N2S: De Nieuwe Batavia, about using life in the Netherlands as a way of writing about life in space.

First of another worldbuilding series, like the Allochthonia posts on expat life as a metaphor for life in alien cultures.


#368 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2011, 07:24 PM:

Lee @ 347:

I've never been able to read Clancy; I tried and couldn't get more than 20 pages or so into any of the books. So all my knowledge of Jack Ryan is from movies, and I distinctly remember Harrison Ford putting a bullet in the kneecap of an IRA terrorist to find out where the bomb was in "Patriot Games".

OK, if Jack Ryan wasn't into torture, how about a T-shirt that reads, "Who Would Jack Bauer Torture?".

#369 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2011, 07:26 PM:

Today I realized that the definitive political slogan of our time is a simple modification of one from the mid-20th century:

I've got mine, Jack ... and I've got yours, too.

#370 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2011, 07:28 PM:

369: Or:

"I've got mine and . . . hey, I bet the government gave you that."

#371 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2011, 07:34 PM:

I finally saw Tangled and I was pleasantly surprised. I had read reviews that referred to Rapunzel as the sidekick in a story about a guy. Actually it is about Rapunzel. It's about being raised in a toxic family situation that masquerades as a sheltering home and the perils of escape. It's about people who say they love you as they sweetly cut you down to size and the horror of discovering that someone has been battening on you for years. Oh, and about a really hot guy who needs to quit living in a fantasy world, a horse who badly needs a vacation, assorted Thud Beefchunks who dream of making beautiful art, and a little old man who wants to be Cupid. Plus the whole movie is gorgeous!

#372 ::: CZEdwards (aka the Other Constance) ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2011, 08:19 PM:

@308: Janet Brennan Croft, thank you, thank you, thank you. I had no idea mythcon was anywhere remotely nearby this year. I've been trying to get to that specific conference for something like ten years, but a couple of years ago, I just gave up, figuring that money, time, job and life were never going to align. (Blast falling out of the con/conference loop.)

I'll throw this out -- assuming no massive singularity, I will be going. I'm in Boulder County, CO, and I'll be driving. I'll have room for up to three other adults and moderate luggage or two and major or one and massive. If anyone's interested, my contact info above works and isn't a spam trap.

#373 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2011, 09:25 PM:

Healing and strength to Tracie and Xopher.

#374 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2011, 01:32 AM:

Jenny Islander @371:

I saw Tangled last weekend, and immediately thought, "well, that's this year's Dysfunctional Families Day post just about written."

Because, Mother Gothel. Jeetje. Even how she and Rapunzel say "I love you" is abusive:

MG: I love you.
R: I love you more.
MG: I love you most.

Someone writing that thing knew how these things go, knew it from the inside. That's not just warmed-over stereotypes. That's authentic experience speaking.

#375 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2011, 09:49 AM:

CZEdwards @372, that's great! There is a fair Boulder contingent of Mythies -- in fact we held it there a few years ago. You might want to throw out your carpool offer on the Mythcon page on Facebook or join the mythsoc listserv. is our webpage.

#376 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2011, 10:02 AM:

If you've got yours, and you're not the strongest guy around, thank a government.

#377 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2011, 11:19 AM:

Well, one piece of good news, the part of HHS I work for is 80% funded from already appropriated funds so the earliest we might be furloughed is next Friday.

I'm still hoping they get their act together much sooner than April 15th.

#378 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2011, 12:17 PM:

Question for Portland, Oregon Fluorospherans: I will be in Portland for a few days later this month. It is mainly a college visit to Portland State for a daughter. Staying close to campus, planning to tour the campus and attend a session for prospective transfer students, planning on a day to get out of the city in the direction of Mount Hood and the Columbia River gorges, have an additional day in the city pretty much unscheduled and without a car. Since I have, by a combination of nature and nurture, raised a fellow bookstore junkie, a trip to Powell's is on the agenda. What else should we go see to help decide if a kid who likes both urban places and outdoor activities will be happy here? Or, what else should we go see just for the heck of it?

Also, is there fiction set in the vicinity that you would recommend? Genre of any type except horror welcome, on the light side by preference.

#379 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2011, 01:13 PM:

This furlough is so not like 1995-96 -- if there is a government shutdown, we will be working Monday through Thursday, with our furlough day being Friday.

Now we may be working without being paid until Congress finally gets funding in place, but at least we know we will be getting paid eventually.

Last time, I spent three weeks worrying while I cleaned house and baked bread. My partner told me she wished I could stay home all the time, she was making her co-workers jealous describing the baked goods that were waiting when she came home from work each night!

#380 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2011, 02:11 PM:

#378: On your day out of the city, you will want to see Multnomah Falls. Trust me.

Portland has lots of Indie movie theaters. If you need a little down-time, you can find a variety of movies at Regal Fox Tower, the Living Room Theaters (right near Powell's) and the 21st Street Theater.

The hills west of downtown have assorted good things. A Japanese garden, a forestry museum, a good zoo, and some amazing views. You can get to the heart of it by taking the Max to the Washington Park station.

Voodoo Donuts is good for a laugh.

In addition to Powell's, consider Reading Frenzy. Fanzines and alternative stuff galore.

The Saturday Market, which is also around on Sundays, is a good thing. Take the Max to the Skidmore Fountain station.

#381 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2011, 02:43 PM:

Lori, in your agency, are they calling them essential and nonessential personnel? Excepted and nonexcepted? Something else? A coworker of mine is writing a piece on the language being used around the shutdown and would love to hear what's being used at the agencies. Most of my contacts are contractors. Any answers would only be used generically, of course; he's really only interested in the specific terms being used.

#382 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2011, 02:45 PM:

Also, we just found out that my husband will indeed be affected by a shutdown, so I suddenly have a personal stake in this. The nature of the contract he's on made us think he'd be immune.

His company's letting its employees go in the hole on vacation time until they use it all up; after that, no one knows.

#383 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2011, 02:57 PM:

It looks like I'm going to be affected. We were planning on taking the kids to the Hoh River Rainforest this weekend (part of their spring break). It's a national park. Oops.

At least there's the beach. But most of it is national park too.

I think I'm going to have a very upset 4yr old call the Republican leadership and give him a piece of his voice.

#384 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2011, 03:23 PM:

Hey everyone: some of you at least may remember that I was working on an audio version of Jo Walton's Tam Lin play. I've finally got that up on its own site: Tam Lin

I encourage you to check it out and let me know what you think.

(My permission to use the copyrighted music specifies that I should mention Davey Arthur in any publicity I do; this arguably qualifies, so: the recording features music composed by Davey Arthur.)

#385 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2011, 03:36 PM:

Persephone @361...everything we're receiving from OMB and our own HQ is using "excepted/non-excepted" rather than "essential/non-essential" -- they took a lot of flack over the latter term in 1996. I am noting that the media seems to be stuck in the latter mode.

I am very, very lucky -- because OIG has oversight of Medicare and Medicaid we are being funded at 80%. Which is why we're getting the four day work week.

Sorry to hear that your husband's job is part of the collateral damage -- I hope someone kicks some sense into the Republicans soon.

#386 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2011, 04:12 PM:

Jenny @371, Abi @ 374

I walked out of that movie, saying to my best friend, "Well, your father certainly doesn't want your [much younger] siblings to see *that*."

She agreed. Then took them the next week, for the 8 yr old's b-day present.

The conversations of the adults with children as we came out of the theater were...revealing. Children will often ask the most interesting questions, and can be so fast with pattern recognition. I say kudos to Disney on this one: the girl rescues the guy, with a 'female' implement, it subtly models both healthy and emotionally abusive relationships, showing why they're abusive and making people think about some of those triggers, and does it's best to turn many stereotypes around.

#387 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2011, 04:35 PM:

A friend of mine had said she didn't want to see Coraline until I told her about the avpr-ng-svefg crefba jub fybjyl gheaf vagb na nohfvir yvgreny zbafgre, nyy gur juvyr fnlvat "V ybir lbh," naq jubfr ynfg yvarf ner n fpernzrq "Qba'g yrnir zr! Qba'g yrnir zr! V'yy qvr jvgubhg lbh!" (Spoilers, not grossness.)

Then she said "OK, I have to see this movie now."

I think that movie also shows how parents don't have to be perfect shining angels to be good loving parents.

#388 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2011, 04:59 PM:

Speaking of things Coraline--film version--my nearly 15-yo saw this in a toy store and had to have it because it resembles the "other" people in certain respects (and because this one comes with a mouse . . . ):

There's a whole line of the things. DD and I both think they're a little creepy for the target market, but commenters on Amazon don't seem to share our qualms. The one with the blue eyes is somehow weirder than the rest. The minis are not as creepy as the full-size ones; I think it's the strange joints that make the big ones so odd.

#389 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2011, 05:20 PM:

@378 Portland, portland, portland. Four and a half stars, would definitely buy again, wouldn't have left in 2005 if I could have found steady work. So, everything Stefan said at 380 plus the following:

This time of year, a visit to the Rhododendron gardens (SE 28th and Woodstock, close to the #19 Woodstock bus line) is gorgeous. Tuesdays used to be free (it's run by the Rhododendron Society and the gate fee is used for upkeep.)

Multnomah Falls is beautiful and easy to access from the freeway, but if you have time, get on the Old Columbia River Highway at Troutdale and stop at all the other waterfalls too. Latourell is still my favorite.

The Portland Museum of Art is approximately between PSU and Powell's. Just sayin'.

There are a number of neighborhoods suitable for strolling around shopping and finding a snack - NW 23d north of Burnside, SE Hawthorne between SE 20th and SE 40th more or less, the Sellwood District, other places I didn't much bother with. NW 23rd is a streetcar ride from downtown; the other two are on the east side and accessible by the #14 and .... I think #40 bus respectively. Check the Tri-Met website for current public transit info.

Oh, and there's Washington Park and the Zoo, accessible by a couple of busses and they have their own MAX station on the westside line.

#390 ::: Cynthia W. ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2011, 05:26 PM:

Ah - teaching hospitals. My father has worked in one (neurologist) my entire life, so every check-up I had growing up seemed to involve about a dozen people, often performing the same exam over, and over, and over again.

#391 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2011, 05:46 PM:

I feel like I'm inside a bubble here -- I just found out the reason the Republicans are balking is that they put a rider on the CR that totally defunds Planned Parenthood...

I am doing a slow burn. Three out of four times when HHS has been part of a shutdown it has been because some rightwing Republican twit has their knickers in a twist over what they call "brtn funding." Conveniently ignoring the fact that Planned Parenthood has never had brtns performed at any facility they run. The PP clinics DO refer clients to physicians that may do these procedures.

The Republicans seem unaware that one of their ilk got the Hyde Amendment passed, which prevents Federal government funds being used to provide said medical procedures...

#393 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2011, 06:57 PM:

Lori @391
Actually, some PP clinics do perform that procedure. But it's perhaps 5% of what they do. Mostly it's birth control, check-ups, STD tests and treatment. Which is also *evil* in those peoples' opinions, because it means someone, somewhere is having f/u/n sex.

#394 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2011, 07:10 PM:

Soon Lee 392: Tying into another subthread, who owns the archives?

#395 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2011, 07:45 PM:

David Harmon @394:

It would appear (from posts at sister forum Analog's) that the shutdown was in response to some troll posts; hardly seems a measured proportionate response to me.

As for ownership of the archives, I don't know. If I was inclined, I could have a go at recovering what I can from Google's caches, but I regard most such conversations as ephemera & won't be bothering. What bothers me more is the loss of community. Despite everything, there are/were a small number of active commenters whose posts I enjoyed. The vileness, since the creation of a 'Basement' section for religious/political topics was mostly compartmentalized & mostly avoidable.

IIRC, the archival method with the greatest proven longevity is still pencil on paper, which doesn't have the file transfer speeds required for today's connected world. I have yet to find an optimum solution for archiving my personal stuff.

#396 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2011, 07:48 PM:

HLN: First weekend off in over a month. Thought I might catch up with web goings-on only to find Asimov's offline & LJ having access problems due to DDOS attacks. Maybe it's a hint to go outside & get a life.

#397 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2011, 07:49 PM:

Carrie S. @ 358

I didn't mind, but it was funny; there I am, mostly naked, with people coming in and out of the room to look at my skin...

I had a similar experience once except, rather than a mole, I was being examined for potential urinary tract surgery. (Let's just say my feet were in the stirrups at the time.) I could have said no, of course, but I'm rather broadminded about participating in educational experiences.

Nothing quite like having your anatomy pointed out to a gaggle of med students with the comment, "Never seen anything like this before." (To reassure the reader, it turned out to be an exceedingly trivial issue.)

#398 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2011, 07:59 PM:

I had a series of uncomfortable treatments recently, and I found that it really helped to have an observer in the room-- student, volunteer, whatever. Not only could they get things for me or the boss medic, I had an audience.

And clearly, I have to set them at ease, make them laugh, et cetera, because it is my duty to make the world comfortable for everyone.

It may be based in issues-- okay, it's totally based in issues-- but as a coping strategy, "Make them laugh," isn't bad. It distracted me, it made me feel good about myself (because here I was, not being a useless helpless worthless person who needed or wanted anything from anyone ever) and it meant I didn't have as many awkward conversations with the medical folks.

#399 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2011, 08:14 PM:

Otterb #378, Forest Park, a genuine forest with fire lookouts and all, within the city. Also the various crests and bottoms along the east edge of the river. Especially Oaks Crest and Oaks Bottom (south of the Ross Island Bridge).

#400 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2011, 08:15 PM:

OMG! Forgot Portlandia. But of course you will see Portlandia.

#401 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2011, 08:33 PM:

My experience as a medical teaching dummy involved somewhat less exposure - I had some eye trouble in college, and Berkeley had a program where you could get a 2-hour eye exam for $5, which involved a bunch of students holding things off in my peripheral vision and charting where the edges and blind spots were and pointing flashlights in my dilated pupils. When they were done I got to stumble home wearing the clunky cardboard sunglasses they give you, which meant going by the high school having kids making Devo jokes at me.

#402 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2011, 08:49 PM:

Lori @385... Thanks! That's very helpful. Does the 80% funding mean that you'd be (assuming a lengthy shutdown, which, God forbid) working four days a week through the shutdown, or only the next four?

Husband arrived home and (gently) woke me out of a cold-induced nap to tell me his entire contract had been designated "essential," so it appears he won't be out of work after all. Unless something changes again. Fingers crossed.

The more I read about the implications of this possible shutdown, the more staggered I am. Apparently the entire DC city government will shut down, too. I'm going to a performance at the Kennedy Center this weekend and had to check to make sure the Metro was still going to run. (It is.)

#403 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2011, 08:51 PM:

Serge@245 and PNH Sidelight on LiveJournal's problems in Russia - There's now been a DDOS attack on Novaya Gazeta, a Russian independent newspaper. AP story says "The onslaught on Live Journal started with an attack on the blog of anti-corruption activist Alexey Navalny, Kaspersky Lab analyst Maria Garnayeva said on the company's website.", and also that President Medvedev was really annoyed that LJ was down.

#404 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2011, 08:57 PM:

It's more than just PP: they seem to realise they have boxed themselves. They need to look relevant to the base, or the base will move to the teabaggers, so they are using the problems of this budget to squeeze in things which, in a normal budget wouldn't make it out of the box. So they are trying to force it into this one.

They hope (not likely) that the fact of this being last year's budget means they can hang a stoppage on the Dems, the only problem being this is their package, and they've been saying, "our way or the highway," which means they've pretty much taken possession of this.

And they can't (IMO) keep the Republican party from either fracturing, or becoming the Tea Party. What the teabaggers want is to have gov't killed (though they've not thought out what that means to them; they just figure they get to keep what they've got, and pay no taxes). That's not going to happen, not until/unless they get into power.

The rest of the base want's Teh Gay back in the closet, and women in the kitchen; where they both belong, so the men can run things. If a little bit of putting those uppity folks with darker skin back in their rightful places, well that's just a lagniappe.

Since that can't really happen (and Wisconsin gives me hope about a pushback from the Progressive/New Deal side of the Democratic base), there isn't really any way to keep them all in the same tent.

The question is, when will the Dems wake up, read the polling data, make the changes the majority want, and put the present Republican Party lunacies into perspective (thus forcing the tripartite split the Republican Party is now looking at, the NeoCons, the Tea Party, and the Fundy-Party: There is overlap in all of them, but each has a core set of ideas the others find anathema).

I am afraid they won't do it until the system is so out of balance it ends up torn apart and has to be completely rebuilt. That would be really painful.

#405 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2011, 09:52 PM:

David, #384: I think that came out very well indeed. There were a couple of blips as I was listening, but that could easily have been my computer rather than your soundtrack. Amused aside: I have most certainly danced to that melody of "Tam Lin", and I suspect I have it on multiple recordings as well.

#406 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2011, 11:06 PM:


I am afraid they won't do it until the system is so out of balance it ends up torn apart and has to be completely rebuilt. That would be really painful.

Alas, the US has been running the Windows 3.1 of representative government since 1789 or so. [1] We're past due...

[1] It was state of the art when we installed it, but the newer releases have features to deal with a lot of stuff that they just didn't think of back then... and unfortunately, we've let it go so long that I'm not sure how much longer we can keep patching this thing before it just won't run at all. Assuming the hardware doesn't quit on us first...

Screw it all. Pessimistic pessimist is going to bed on the assumption that if the world ends in a hour, she won't notice.

#407 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2011, 11:47 PM:

Soon Lee at 395:
shutdown in response to trolls?
Sounds like the government.

#408 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2011, 11:57 PM:

I'm in the hospital again, but this time I have an ebook reader with decent wi-fi (a Nook Color).

#409 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2011, 12:51 AM:

Bill Stewart @ 403...

Michael Medved should have stuck with reviewing turkey movies.
("Serge, it's Medvedev, not Medved.")

#410 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2011, 01:08 AM:

Erik Nelson @407:

Don't know about that. What I do know is that the infection has spread to the Analog forum. Given the scarce resources devoted to moderating (Admin is away weekends with no cover; no members have moderation privileges), I expect that on Monday when the work week commences once more, Analog's forum like Asimov's, will be shut down permanently. Dell will have decided that it's more trouble than it's worth to keep their fora running. Until then, the multiple tbngfr images uploaded by the troll remain up.

I am both saddened & angered by this.

#411 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2011, 01:33 AM:

OtterB @ 378: The previous replies have the bookstores and other points of interest well covered (at least for a short trip). You also asked about fiction set in Portland. While there are some wonderful books set in Oregon, there aren't that many set in the city of Portland. Beverly Cleary's of course, but those are a bit young for you.

Ursula K. Le Guin's "The Lathe of Heaven" is set in a future Portland.
Chuck Palahniuk wrote "Fugitives and Refugees: A walk in Portland, Oregon". It's described as a combination memoir and travelogue. Sounds quite intriguing -- I'm going to look it up. Probably won't inspire you to have your daughter go to school here, though.
You said "no horror." Chelsea Cain writes mysteries set here. Not quite horror, but too bloody for my taste (I'm a wimp).
Sharan Newman's "The Shanghai Tunnel". Sharan lives in Portland, and is known for her novels set in the medieval period, but this book is set in Portland in 1868.
Lono Waiwaiole's Wiley mysteries are set in present day Portland. Despite his name, Lono is a Portlander. These mysteries are noir.
April Henry is local, and has written several mysteries set here.
Philip Margolin is a Portlander who writes legal thrillers. One set in Portland is "The Associates".

You did mention heading into the Columbia Gorge. Mary Freeman (a.k.a. Mary Rosenblum) wrote a series of (relatively) cozy mysteries set in a fictional town that seems intended as Hood River, which is a town in the Gorge.

Now I want to take Tom Spanbauer to task for not having set any of his wonderful books here.

#412 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2011, 01:52 AM:

OtterB: More on Portland! If you have an iPhone, download the app PDXBus. It's free, and is great for using the local Trimet mass transit. You can search for nearby stops, ask it how to get from where you are to another location, and so on. Trimet didn't write this app. They made their API accessible, and various people have written apps for it. (Smart government!) This app is the most popular, and is done for free by a local, public-spirited developer, Andrew Wallace.

Should you find Powell's full city block of bookstore confusing, you can download an app for it, too. It's called meridian, and it has info for both Powell's and the Portland Art Museum. In the museum, ask for directions to the two-story wall of 'artifacts' by glass artist William Morris.

If you pass public art that you like, download PortlandArtPDX, and you can look up info about it.

Oh, and the earlier comment about Voodoo Doughnuts being fun is an understatement. Voodoo is delicious and very, very fun.

There's a perfectly amazing garden right in downtown Portland -- Lan Su Chinese Garden. It's a bit of a hike from the PSU area, but once you're at Powell's, you're halfway there.

#413 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2011, 03:59 AM:

Merav sent this to me today, and no one else has mentioned it, so... Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring played by gravity on a "wooden staircase" in some woods of Kyushu.

#414 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2011, 06:46 AM:

Stefan Jones, Thena, older, and janetl - thanks for the Portland suggestions. Washington Park sounds like a winner. Multnomah Falls definitely goes on the agenda - nice pic, Stefan. Thena, the rhododendron garden sounds nice. janetl, special thanks for the book recommendations. It's one of my travel quirks - I like to read things set where I'm visiting. And older, I'd never heard of Portlandia. I have been enlightened. :-)

#415 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2011, 08:53 AM:

I'm taking note of the Portland suggestions as well. We're hoping to make it to the rose festival in June. Portland sounds like the sort of city we'd love to live in, so it would be a combined vacation and scouting trip.

#416 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2011, 08:54 AM:

There won't be a shutdown -- this week, at least. Congress just passed its seventh continuing resolution.

#417 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2011, 09:53 AM:

abi @374: That dynamic is why I could never quite appreciate the children's book Guess How Much I Love You. Some people find it reassuring; I saw it as creepily competitive.

The other one that freaks me out is Love You Forever. I am given to understand that children at a certain developmental stage find it deeply reassuring. I only encountered it as a young adult, and my reaction was "His MOTHER is SNEAKING IN THROUGH HIS WINDOW to sing him a lullaby WHEN HE IS A GROWNUP? Can't she let him live his own life, please?" *runs screaming in horror*

The one we liked, when my child was small, was I Love You, Stinky Face, where the child imagines all sorts of unpleasant creatures he could turn into, and the mother reassures him that she'd love him even if he were a skunk, or a terrible meat-eating dinosaur, or a swamp monster, or what have you, with details of how she'd take care of the creature's particular needs.

A friend of mine with a notably overbearing mother was freaked out pretty strongly by Rapunzel, for how true it rang.

(now wonders if this post will be held for too many links)

#418 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2011, 10:52 AM:

The thread's current discussion reminds me of the late-1990s spoof of the Barney-the-Du=inosaur song.

I hate you, you hate me,
We're a dysfunctional family,
With a M-16, And a pistol full of lead,
We just shot off Barney's head!

#419 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2011, 11:05 AM:

re: teaching hospitals. I'm usually okay with extra observers. I remember once being used as a demonstration of "textbook case of anaphylaxis" for some students. I was a little too out of it to really care.

My current mental health care is through a teaching hospital. The part that's surprised me is that none of the students accompanying the resident have been familiar with Hyperbole and a Half.

The one time where I refused to let a student observe was when I was giving birth. No. I am going to be BUSY here, and I don't KNOW you the way I know my nurse-midwives, and you can just go observe someone else, thanks. Childbirth was overwhelming enough without having a total stranger around.

#420 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2011, 11:13 AM:


So, we get to do this same manufactured crisis/washington monument ploy again in a few days. This is *not* a commercial for the highly functional and competent form of government enjoyed by the United States.

#421 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2011, 11:37 AM:

Rikibeth #417:

My wife had the same reaction to that one. The one I found a bit creepy was The Giving Tree. (Hey, it loves me and provides everything I need; let's chop it down and make something out of it.)

#422 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2011, 11:55 AM:

albatross @417: I loathed The Giving Tree from childhood. Every adult reading it out was presenting it as if it were this beautiful parable of unconditional love; my reaction was "He's no good for you, Tree! Throw your apples at him and make him go away!" Of course, I had a strongly negative reaction to ANYTHING that involved cutting down trees and leaving stumps from just about the same age -- Dutch Elm Disease hit in a big way when I was six, and huge, lovely trees in my town that had been there since the Revolutionary War started to sprout blazes of spray paint and then to become mere stumps. I wept for those trees. I'm tearing up now.

I later heard gossip that Shel Silverstein was kind of a terrible romantic partner, and that the story was obliquely addressing that, and it made me feel much better.

#423 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2011, 12:24 PM:

#413 ::: Terry Karney

Merav sent this to me today, and no one else has mentioned it, so... Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring played by gravity on a "wooden staircase" in some woods of Kyushu.

Stunning beautiful.

#424 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2011, 01:02 PM:

Is Abi OK? (re the Netherlands mall shooting.)

Yes, I know it's statistically unlikely that even in a small country Abi'd have been present, but even so it must be a shock to wake up and learn that kind of thing had happened in your neighborhood*. (I may be projecting here, because I was shocked to hear something like that had happened in the Netherlands.)

*I tend to think of small countries like the Netherlands as "neighborhoods" where everyone kinda sorta knows each other, even tho' the shooting was 25 miles from Amsterdam.

#425 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2011, 01:13 PM:

Re: fiction set in Portland:

If you read fanfiction at all, this one -- Graduate Vulcan for Fun and Profit -- is a rather charming tale set partly in a future Portland, written by a native of the city.

#426 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2011, 01:26 PM:

I am fine; I was power-washing the first half of the back patio all afternoon (a tremendously satisfying activity; everything was greeny-grey and is now light and clean and delightful). I only found out about the shooting when I came in and found my mother's email.

I happen to know that Alphen a/d Rijn is in the province of Zuid-Holland, because I have been helping my 10 year old study the province in topographie. And I know that a mass shooting in Dutch is called a "schietpartij", a shooting party.

Other than that, I have no local insight. It's surprising and upsetting that this should happen, and my thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected.

#427 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2011, 02:15 PM:

Re creepy children's books. I know a lot of people find it creepy, but I loved "Love You Forever." My mother died unexpectedly shortly before I knew I was expecting my first child, and so the message at the end of the book of love passing down through the generations really hit me.

I didn't like "The Giving Tree," for the reasons others have said.

I also hated "Rainbow Fish," whose message about unselfish sharing seemed to me to say "If there is anything out of the ordinary about you, it will make people jealous, and to appease them you have to give them whatever they want." Or, alternately, "People can ask for pieces of you whenever they want and you have no right to refuse." Yuck, yuck, yuck.

Debra @425 thanks for the fanfic link. I'm enjoying it.

#428 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2011, 02:19 PM:

Re the shooting: I was looking at the article on it on the Dutch English-language news site ( Their articles are generally a little sparse on details, but are written from a Dutch, as opposed to foreign, perspective.

And there was this note where the comments tend to be:

Comments have been disallowed for this article. We know from experience that some subjects generate a massive stream of comments which conflict with our guidelines for submissions and this is one of them.

Interesting and, in my view, sensible. I think there are entire newspapers who should consider the policy.

#429 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2011, 02:25 PM:

Rikibeth @417:

I have always had exactly that reaction to Guess How Much I Love You. It's not a contest. And if it were a contest, then the kid should get a chance to win.

and @419:

I was actually fine with student observers while I was giving birth. I didn't really expect to know them socially thereafter, though the all came into my field of view and introduced themselves.

Quite frankly, you could have marched a circus through that room, complete with elephants, and I would not have cared. It was a rapid, painful delivery (my daughter has a big head), and I was somewhat distracted from peripheral details like observers.

No students observed my C-section. But Martin did. He even, at the surgeon's enthusiastic suggestion, took pictures.

#430 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2011, 02:51 PM:

Earl Cooley III -- best wishes for a speedy recovery and uneventful stay! Glad you've got good reading material.

Re: teaching hospitals -- when we first moved to Germany, someone gave us a tip to try the university dental school. Since we were still apartment-hunting in a pretty large geographical area, that sounded like a good idea.

It wasn't a bad experience, but I felt like I was in an auto repair shop. All the examination chairs in one big room seemed like so many car hoists. Advanced dental students did most of the work -- professors would come by regularly and inspect, occasionally saying things like, "You missed a spot" or, "What about back there?" Forever after, I've always wondered how well my dentists would pass such an 'inspection.'

#431 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2011, 02:53 PM:

@ 429... you could have marched a circus through that room, complete with elephants

How do you know that they didn't march a circus through that room, complete with elephants?

If I ever meet your daughter, the first thing I'll say to her is "I hear you have a big head."
(Yes, I have taken lessons with Vulcan diplomats. why do you ask?)

#432 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2011, 02:54 PM:

Rikibeth #417: Guess How Much I Love You, is, I think, pointed at a particular age range, and perhaps at particular developmental issues as well.

Love You Forever is one of my family's favorites -- I think Mom accumulated 3 or 4 copies as birthday gifts over the years!

Agreed that The Giving Tree is horrific -- the ultimate codependency! That said, a good deal of Shel Silverstein's stuff is Not Suitable For Children anyhow, and I suspect this was a labeling failure.

At the bookstore, I just ran into a copy of one of the old Ant and Bee book, which are the first books I remember reading from. Glancing through it, I saw no obvious reason why it should have fallen out of fashion, as it clearly has. (I went looking when my nieces and nephews were young.)

#433 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2011, 03:19 PM:

Terry, #404: they've not thought out what that means to them; they just figure they get to keep what they've got, and pay no taxes

For values of "keep what they've got" which conveniently include all the benefits they get from a properly-functioning government. This is inherent in your comment, but I wanted to make it explicit.

A Republican schism would be a consummation devoutly to be wished. I just wish it would happen a little faster.

janetl, #412: S.M. Stirling's "Changed World" series features Portland in a major way. Not that this helps anyone wanting to read fiction set in current-day Portland, because it all happens after a supernaturally-caused apocalypse. :-) Nonetheless, I'm thoroughly hooked; the series is currently on book 7, and looks as though it will conclude in book 8, in the B5 tradition of "tell your story and then stop".

Rikibeth, #419: I got my first Norplant for free by virtue of participating in a teaching program at Vanderbilt Hospital. They were teaching local OB/GYNs how to do the procedure, under supervision. So in this case it wasn't students watching, it was the professor.

Debra, #425: OMG that is amazing. Have I mentioned that I'm a sucker for well-written back-story fic? This one just moved into a 3-way tie for my all-time favorite Trekfic. (The other two are a ClassicTrek version of Kirk's rescue from Tarsus IV and the start of his relationship with Spock, and a NewTrek story about Uhura and Gaila as first-year cadets.)

#434 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2011, 03:21 PM:

Open threadiness: The sad death of a tree has lead to the removal of (yet more) lawn, and a new big partially shaded bed to plant. I am somewhat paralyzed by options, though I know there will be at least one blue-flowered hydrangea involved. Off to the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon plant sale to look* and ask questions. 74 specialty nurseries in one place!

*Uninformed impulse buying will no doubt take place, too.

#435 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2011, 03:32 PM:

Rikibeth @417 said: The other one that freaks me out is Love You Forever. I am given to understand that children at a certain developmental stage find it deeply reassuring. I only encountered it as a young adult, and my reaction was "His MOTHER is SNEAKING IN THROUGH HIS WINDOW to sing him a lullaby WHEN HE IS A GROWNUP? Can't she let him live his own life, please?" *runs screaming in horror*

There's a song based on it that I've heard sung in filkcircles (AKICIML: author/composer cite sought?) whose chorus is, "I love you forever, I'll like you for always. As long as you're living, my baby you'll be." It's less creepy in that the adult mom thing is a memory on the part of the kid ... and then the last verse is the kid coming to his elderly parent, who can no longer remember the words, and singing the same chorus to them.

I'm tearing up right now; this thing kicks me in the squids. It's lovely, in the same way that the "Cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon" etc song does. Admittedly, I prefer the Star-Wars-themed parody of that one I have ("My son trained with Ben just the other day; said, 'Thanks for the lightsaber, Ben, let's play! Can you teach me the force,' Ben said, 'We'll start today, but we've a princess to save, we should be on our way ...")

#436 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2011, 03:36 PM:

janetl @434: If you're in the market for edible-fruit-making woody plants, I highly, highly recommend Trees of Antiquity, who specialize in heirloom varieties, have very good customer service, and whose shipping/packing I have found impeccable. Plus they're not that expensive.

#437 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2011, 04:01 PM:

Elliott Mason: this thing kicks me in the squids. It's lovely, in the same way that the "Cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon" etc song does.

Yes, this! That "circle of the generations" thing is one of the primal archetypes, the themes running through the whole of human life. To cross threasd & blogs, close contact with deep archetypes can be numinous in and of itself!

#438 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2011, 04:21 PM:

It hasn't taken till Monday: both Asimov's and Analog's fora have been shut down.

#439 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2011, 04:31 PM:

Serge 418: I remember that, except that I heard the first line as "I love you, you hate me."

#440 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2011, 04:52 PM:

OtterB @427: I also love Love You Forever, probably more than Sarah did. The absurdity of the mother's devotion seemed to me to be the proof that she really meant it.

On the other hand, I'm a big fan of Uncle Shelby, yet have never read The Giving Tree, so I reserve judgment there. But allow me to quote (in full, sorry) my favorite poem from Where the Sidewalk Ends:


Listen to the MUSTN'TS, child,
Listen to the DON'TS
Listen to the SHOULDN'TS
Listen to the NEVER HAVES
Then listen close to me --
Anything can happen, child
ANYTHING can be.

#441 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2011, 05:04 PM:

David Harmon @437: Not so much the circle of generations as going from the nurtured beloved infant to the wrenched caregiver who has to watch the capable, loving parent become a frail, uncertain, memoryless thing trapped in meat. But you still love them. And you have to care for them, as long as they need you ...

#442 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2011, 05:09 PM:

Kip W @440: Then again, he also wrote "The Little Blue Engine," as a clear reply to The Little Engine That Could. The first two verses pastiche/summarize the original, and then it closes with:

With a squeak and a creak and a toot and a sigh,
With an extra hope and an extra try,
He would not stop — now he neared the top —
And strong and proud he cried out loud,
“I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!”

He was almost there, when — CRASH! SMASH! BASH!
He slid down and mashed into engine hash
On the rocks below... which goes to show
If the track is tough and the hill is rough,
THINKING you can just ain’t enough!

In the originally-published volume (Where the Sidewalk Ends), it immediately follows a double-full-page spread of art and poem about a girl who decides she's going to eat a whale, and darnit, she does. Takes seventy-some years, but she does it because she said she would.

There's a lot of interesting intra-work conversations going on in that book. :->

#443 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2011, 05:21 PM:

Elliott @ 435
There's a song based on it that I've heard sung in filkcircles (AKICIML: author/composer cite sought?) whose chorus is, "I love you forever, I'll like you for always. As long as you're living, my baby you'll be."

Had a vague recollection that the song was actually in the back of the book. Alas, I don't own the book, so in trying to find confirmation on the web, I instead ran across the author's site, which has a REALLY interesting discussion of the song, it's origins, and he's actually collecting versions of the song that people have developed based on the book! Which I thought was nifty and delightfully surprising.

#444 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2011, 05:39 PM:

Wow. 46% of Mississippi Republicans think interracial marriage should be illegal. That sounds like more than half of them thought it should remain legal, but actually 14% were "not sure."

Mississippi GOP Damn.

#445 ::: Kevin Reid ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2011, 06:56 PM:

On the topic of medical students, Timothy McSweeney's Internet Tendency has Playing Doctor: Robert Isenberg works part-time [as] a standardized patient, an actor who helps train medical students. Students are aware that SP's are actors, but they are not allowed to know about their actual identities. All names, and many details, have been changed to protect student privacy.

#446 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2011, 07:36 PM:

albatross @420: Agreed. I told the husband, who doesn't follow politics, that the entire sticking point this time was funding for women's health care. His incredulous reaction was something to behold.

#447 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2011, 07:46 PM:

Elliott Mason @442: Well, just because anything is possible doesn't mean it will always happen. I like the mixed messages he sends in his fake kid books the best, like "Uncle Shelby's ABZ Book" or the take-off on the Boy Scouts that he did in Playboy, back in the day.

He was also friends with Jean Shepherd, I believe, which never hurts someone in my estimation. Shep was a pretty interesting character, who revealed what he wanted to reveal and hid a lot. I read a biography of him that was somewhat revelatory. (The Old Man ran off with a secretary and never came back.)

#448 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2011, 07:57 PM:

@447: I'd be interested in a link to that biography.

I listen to old Jean Shepherd shows during my morning dog walks when NPR is doing pledge breaks. One of the shows I listened to in February inspired me to finally try building a model airplane!

Shepherd also knew Kerouac, and claims that a character in On the Road is based on him.

I always figured that Shep's father just kicked the bucket early. He's out of the picture in Shep's army stories.

#449 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2011, 08:42 PM:

OtterB, Persephone:

All the suggestions made so far are excellent; I'd strongly second the recommendation of the Japanese Garden (in the West Hills accessible from the Zoo light rail station) and the Chinese Garden (downtown). Also, probably the best view available within half an hour's drive of the city is on top of Council Crest, at about 1100 feet above the rivers, with an almost unobscured panoramic view. Depending on your available time and leg strength you can take drive, bike, or hike up to the top. On a normally clear day you can see Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams, Mt. Jefferson, and Mt. Rainier (peeking around from behind St. Helen's).

#450 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2011, 08:51 PM:

Elliott Mason #441: That's just one arc of the full circle, albeit an important one: that particular arc may have been a big part of what made us human. (Q.v. "grandmother hypothesis") To me, the next step onward, to the man singing to his child, is just as moving -- but that part, we do share with the beasts.

#451 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2011, 09:47 PM:

Stefan Jones @448: Here's the book: Excelsior, You Fathead! The Enigma of Jean Shepherd. Indeed a fascinating read. You can look inside the covers at that Amazon listing. I don't have the book, having checked it out of a library some time back.

Sounds like you may already know about the Shep Archives, but in case you or anyone here doesn't, they're linked at this WFMU blog post (and I went there instead of directly to the actual archives because the post also mentions a WFMU show called "Aircheck" that looks like a fine collection of random radio shows miraculously saved from floating off into space forever.

#452 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2011, 10:40 PM:


I saw some reference to that. It seems so incredibly out of whack with anything I've seen that it seems like it can't be right. But if it is, damn, that's mind-blowing. Like the point where you're having a conversation with a stranger, and you suddenly realize he's living in an entirely different reality than you are.

#453 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2011, 11:04 PM:

albatross, #452: You don't live in the South. I'll bet you could find 15-20% of Republicans right here in Houston who'd agree with that, and 10% of Democrats (mostly older) -- the Old South mindset tends to trump political affiliation. I've heard the damndest things from people you'd have sworn would know better. Rural Texas would be as bad as Mississippi. "Post-racial society", my fat pink ass.

#454 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2011, 11:10 PM:

Seconded. It wasn't that long ago that an Alabama high school principal told a multiracial student, "Your parents made a mistake."

#455 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2011, 11:12 PM:

albatross @452 said: Like the point where you're having a conversation with a stranger, and you suddenly realize he's living in an entirely different reality than you are.

I had one of those the other day. My sister at Annapolis was talking about how Sucker Punch looks (to her and her peer group) like kind of a fun movie. I said (a) the trailer makes it look like it's not really my cup of tea, probably, and (b) it has caused polarization in the moviecrit blogs I'm in -- some of them like it, and some hate it, or have serious problems with it because they feel it has a lot of innate, underlying antifeminist assumptions☂, and that in general I am even more likely to avoid movies that seem to be starting fandom shooting wars.

She said, "Well, but it's empowering, 'cause you can kick ass. And it's all about individualism and heroism and self-sacrifice, anyway. I don't see what that even has to do with feminism." Because, of course, self-sacrifice is the most common ROUTE to heroism for female characters in Hollywood movies. Sigh.

Note: I have not seen the movie. But from having read a whole bunch of reviews that pick fights with each other and disagree strongly, I'm guessing the moviemaker THOUGHT he was making a transgressive, GrrlPowrrrr! empowering film. Only he doesn't hide his biases as well as Stephen Moffat, methinks.

The implications of my conversation with her (which ranged wider than this; I'm paraphrasing and condensing rather a lot) involved an awful lot of Privilege Bingo coming out of her mouth in ways I didn't know how to address, and a lot of complete lack of understanding on her part of what I was even going on about in terms of disliking Hollywood's ongoing assumed misogyny. I wonder if it's some subset of her upbringing, or if a lot of her generation of current college-going women just really do not even have their consciousnesses slightly raised yet on the subject?

At least she agreed with me that the Sucker Punch trailer has a really seriously creepy pedo-feeling vibe running through it, so all is not lost.

☂ Innate antifeminist assumptions: everything panders to a male gaze; the protagonist can never actually fight her real oppressors, only extremely abstracted fantasy ones; fur raqf hc ybobgbzvmrq naq cebonoyl encrq rgreanyyl ol ure fgrcsngure (rot'ed for SERIOUS TRIGGERS, as well as spoilers) as her 'only' way to help her friend escape; all the violence is done salaciously; etc

#456 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2011, 12:28 AM:

Mississippi has the lowest per-capita rate of passport ownership in the country - that means that a lot of people there have never left the US at all, and probably most of them have never left the state. (And apparently they're still having trouble finding the 20th century.)

#457 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2011, 03:08 AM:

Diatryma @398: I had an audience. ... clearly, I have to set them at ease, make them laugh, et cetera, because it is my duty to make the world comfortable for everyone....It may be based in issues-- okay, it's totally based in issues-- but as a coping strategy, "Make them laugh," isn't bad. It distracted me, it made me feel good about myself ...

Hey, I regard it as my ghods-given right dammit to make the world comfortable for me. If bystanders get a giggle, too, all the better.*

But I figure, if I'm going to be "in the saddle," as it were, I'm damnwell gonna do what I need to to manage my anxiety, and that means liberal application of goofy humor.**


* After making a joke at my teeth-cleaning yesterday, my dentist came out and told me that it was a pleasure to have patients who didn't lose their sense of humor while at the dental office.

** And, in point of fact, if a medical provider can't muster at least a weak smile, I regard that as a failure/refusal to connect, and is a serious down-check. I don't go back to those people if I can possibly avoid it.

#458 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2011, 03:26 AM:

HLN: Despite investing in technological jimcrackery, woman completes tax returns precisely one year to the day after previous year's returns were completed. "It's like this weird law of nature," she complains.

Local guinea pigs could not be reached for comment, it being well past their bedtime.

#459 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2011, 03:56 AM:

Was curious, so popped over and watched a Sucker Punch trailer. Pretty special effects but, um, ew?

#460 ::: CZEdwards ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2011, 04:36 AM:

Elliot Mason @455 & Jacque @459:

Yeah... Like Jacque, I watched the trailers. And... hm. I guess it could be fairly potent satirical social commentary... but I'm pretty doubtful, given the director's past efforts. I have a nasty feeling that one will be one I should see, but not one I will at all like. Given that it's a spring action flick, I hope that means nobody expects it to do very well, and since it arrived at/around midterms, it will be mostly ignored... (I have similar feelings about tls shrggd.)

However, I nth recommend Tangled. My niece asked for it for her upcoming birthday and for the first time ever, I have zero conflict in giving it to her. Not that her mom (my sister) is manipulative, but niece's paternal grandmother is a Mother Gothel. Niece needs armor. (Now, to check that Jo Napoli is within Niece's reading ability...)

#461 ::: CZEdwards ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2011, 04:54 AM:

HLN: Thundersnow. Or possibly hailstorm. (I'll know when I look for dents in the car in the morning...)

#462 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2011, 06:34 AM:

In re. the Mississippi poll, the explanation is in the last paragraph of the article where it talks about it having actually been illegal until a supreme court case overturned the law. At least some of those 46% are saying what they said because they think SCOTUS shouldn't have had the power to overrule the state government on the matter, rather than making a moral comment on whether such a law should exist. They're saying, "our state made it illegal, so it should be illegal, regardless of what those meddling out-of-state lawyers think."

#463 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2011, 07:18 AM:

re 462: If I were living in Biloxi and were asked so blatantly prejudiced a question by a Yankee pollster, even my normally truthful nature would be severely tried, and I might very well tell him all about how he had interrupted my relations with my sister too.

#464 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2011, 07:52 AM:


Not in a few days. The key players have already reached agreement for this stage of the process (the budget from now until the end of September). The one-week continuing resolution is just to make sure there's enough time to work through the routine procedural delays.

There is still some chance of a gradual shutdown in a few more weeks over raising the debt limit and a very good chance of a shutdown over the FY2012 budget sometime in October or November.

#465 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2011, 10:14 AM:

C. Wingate #462: What's prejudiced about the question? How do you know the pollsters were 'Yankees'? It seems to me that you are awfully eager to defend bigots.

#466 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2011, 11:26 AM:

Sydney Lumet has passed away.
Time to watch "12 Angry Men" again.

#467 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2011, 12:27 PM:

A friend invited me to "Sucker Punch" and I checked out the reviews beforehand: we then went to "Rango." "Sucker Punch" cost 82 million and has taken in something north of 33 million so far, with many voicing concerns that the disjointed narrative and really sexist elements show that the director may not be the right person to do the new "Superman" movie. I was willing to give "Sucker Punch" a go despite the bad reviews but there were repeated comments about how the last 2 minutes really ruined the film, which made me curious enough that I rooted around to find out what the "gotcha" was. Uck. I have a little rule: if a film uses a plot element that was squick-free in an earlier film that used it only because it had Sean Connery as the lead, then you'd better have Sean Connery as the lead. This one has Emily Browning, so I gave it a pass.

#468 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2011, 12:28 PM:

Gosh, C. Wingate. Those darn Yankees are so bigoted, it's like they think the state used to have laws against interracial marriage or something!

#469 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2011, 01:14 PM:

Jules, #462: Which is also one of the arguments that was used to support slavery. Sorry, doesn't fly; civil rights trump "states' rights".

In fact, I'll bet if you framed a question about slavery in the same way, you'd get pretty much the same percentage of people saying it should still be legal.

#470 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2011, 01:14 PM:

Bruce Durocher @ 467... What I've read about his "Superman" has me very leery about that project, except for Viggo Mortensen playing Zod. What I hear about this other film doesn't bode well.

#471 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2011, 01:16 PM:

I can understand lashing out against a pollster who I think is looking down on me and mine. I have an irrational dislike of most of California because a friend hated Iowa so much, after all.

Sucker Punch: Figleaf again, this time linking to someone else. He does that a lot, actually, with his own sucks-for-men-too analysis.

Hyperlocal news: woman begins process of selling hair.

#472 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2011, 01:38 PM:

abi @ 374: My Nana used to do the "I love you the most" bit. However, "I love you the most" was a perfectly acceptable retort, with the back and forth going for a while, which I think is the essential difference.

#473 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2011, 04:28 PM:

re Poll questions (dons professional hat): I've not opined on it (though I have some opinions, in general) because I don't know how the questions were worded; nor presented.

The nesting/ordering of questions is more important then the questions themselves. Not in all cases, but with things as problematic (because of the broader cultural disdain) as this one, the overall context is critical to both an honest response (on the part of the subject) and of a meaningful one.

There are several questions about this specific poll which need to answered. If we assume (arguendo) the real question one of, "states' rights" we have to wonder how absolutely they take it. If they think individual rights are actually local grants (which is what saying a state is allowed to outlaw any sort of marriage it sees fit does), one wonders if they really think any part of the Constitution is binding?

The answer is, almost certainly. So thenwe want to know what parts of the Federal Gov't they see as unacceptable. That's where the broader context of the racist tendencies comes into play; because I am sure they would say the Feds are legitimate in the existence of an army/navy/etc. But what of programs like Food Stamps, Medicare, Social Security, interstate highways, the EPA?

At what point do they say, "no, this is local,"?

If that's what the pollster wanted to know, there were other ways to get the answer. On the other hand, something more topical (e.g. "Should states be allowed to 'opt out' of the healthcare reforms recently passed?") runs the risk of not finding out how severely the disconnect between local/federal writ runs, since it's not abstract.

I don't know, off the top of my head, what I would use to test that question, but (properly framed) it may be that race/civil rights are the best way to investigate that issue, because they aren't tied to (so many) topics presently masking the question (immigration, healthcare, spending in general).

It's tough thing, designing a good poll.

#474 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2011, 04:33 PM:

Diatryma@471: I can understand lashing out against a pollster who I think is looking down on me and mine.

Exactly. It's the "nobody but me is allowed to kick my dog," phenomenon in action. I may think that a goodly portion of my neighbors and relatives aren't worth the powder it would take to blow them up -- but that's for me to say, and not for somebody else to. Especially not somebody from out of town.

#475 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2011, 06:33 PM:

@abi #374: Yes, yes, yes! My kids are rewatching the borrowed DVD yet again and I still horripilate when "Mother Knows Best" begins. The lyrics, acting, animation, and direction combine to hit every--single--button. The part where, after Mother Gothel has systematically shut away all the light, and Rapunzel is anxiously lighting candles, and then "Mother" comes along behind her pinching them out? And the look on Gothel's face--! She is enjoying herself. Horrible. Horrible.

#476 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2011, 06:54 PM:

HLR*: Area woman wishes to know whose bright idea it was to set the default font size in the MS Access SQL editor to 8 points

*Hyper-Local Rant

#477 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2011, 07:35 PM:

I enjoyed Tangled a lot. I saw it in the theater . . . not in 3D though.

But I have little desire to see it again. This is kind of rare. I generally see Pixar films at least twice (not necessarily in the theater the second time around); I'd like to see How to Train Your Dragon again. But Tangled? Just no urge there. Not sure why.

* * *

NEW animated film worth seeing, if it is playing near you: The Illusionist. Bittersweet story about a second-rate stage magician who takes a rural chambermaid under his wing. It is based on an unproduced script found in the files of Jaques Tati.

#478 ::: ianracey ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2011, 07:50 PM:

Elliott Mason @435:

re: "Cat's in the Cradle"

When we were having a hard time choosing the music for my dad's funeral, my mum said, "Well, his favourite singer was Harry Chapin." (I would have said his favourite singer were the Rolling Stones, but I concede that she knew him better than I did.)

"Well, what was his favourite Harry Chapin song?"

"Something about 'Thousands of Pounds of Bananas'."

"'Thirty Thousand Pounds of Bananas'," I said, "is about a guy who's killed when a big rig wrecks on the highway." (Dad had just died in a highway accident with a big rig.)

"Bloody hell. We're not playing that."

"Well, Harry Chapin's most famous song is 'Cat's in the Cradle'."

"The one about, 'We're gonna have a good time then, son'?"


"We can't play that at a funeral. We'll all just have to sit there and weep and no one will be able to say anything."

We ended up going with "Three Lions on a Shirt", the England football team anthem.

#479 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2011, 07:58 PM:

Serge @ 470: What I've read about his "Superman" has me very leery about that project, except for Viggo Mortensen playing Zod.

You should be leery of what you've read about the project. Viggo Mortensen is not playing Zod.

#480 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2011, 08:20 PM:

ianracey, #478: I'd have said that Harry Chapin's most famous song was "Taxi" -- but that's not really suitable for a funeral either. In fact, I don't think many of Chapin's songs would be; they tend to range from bittersweet to out-and-out downers. I still have trouble listening to "Mr. Tanner".

#481 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2011, 08:21 PM:

Elliott (two "t"s :>): I'd've gone with "Dance Band on the Titanic.

Then again, I want a rollicking wake, and if I die in a wreck with a big-rig, I hereby endorse the singing of 30,000 lbs of Bananas.

#482 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2011, 08:30 PM:

Jules 462: So? Just as wrong. We have a Supreme Court for a reason, and part of that reason is to prevent states from making oppressive laws.

I say they (the 46%) are a bunch of racist bigots and I say to hell with 'em.

#483 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2011, 10:00 PM:

Paul Duncanson @ 479... I had read that Viggo had been approached. That obviously fell thru. Anyway, I'm leery of Snyder's "Superman" because, if I remember correctly (and I may not), he was going to make him more macho and assertive. Goodie... More "300" crap?

#484 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2011, 10:04 PM:

ianracey@478--my father considerately not only left the name and number of the Dixieland band he wants played at his funeral, but left funds to pay for it. It is thoroughly like my father to leave directions for a last party in his honor, but at least we know exactlly what music to play.

#485 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2011, 10:06 PM:

Diatryma @ 471... I have an irrational dislike of most of California

Sorry to hear that you feel that way.

#486 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2011, 10:39 PM:

Serge: For all its failings, 300 was a very faithful adaptation of the original comic. As was Watchmen (with the obvious exception of the part of the ending that would have been laughed at if done the same as the comic). For those reasons, I am guardedly optimistic about Snyder. His Superman will probably be recognisably a Superman based on the comics. Which comics? Who knows. Superman has been through quite a few reboots and rewrites over the decades (and has often been a bit of a dick). Playing him a bit more macho than Brandon Routh's Superman (which is all I had heard they were aiming for) wouldn't be outside of the range of comics Superman by a long shot.

#487 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2011, 10:54 PM:

Michael, as an 'exempt' government employee, the whole experience is disturbing . The waste in terms of meetings telling us what is probably going to happen are probably expensive in terms of the number of employees that need to be told, etc.

I'm not going to start in about how I find the whole thing so stupid as to be beyond belief. I'm working on an essay for my daily Kos place to express that.

#488 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2011, 10:54 PM:

Michael, as an 'exempt' government employee, the whole experience is disturbing . The waste in terms of meetings telling us what is probably going to happen are probably expensive in terms of the number of employees that need to be told, etc.

I'm not going to start in about how I find the whole thing so stupid as to be beyond belief. I'm working on an essay for my daily Kos place to express that.

#489 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2011, 10:58 PM:

Paul Duncanson @ 486... I'll be quite happy to see my fears turn out to be unfounded. That being said, this year I am rather looking forward to "X-men: First Class". I'm not that invested in "Thor", but I do hope they don't screw up "Captain America".

#490 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2011, 11:31 PM:

My feeling on Zach Snyder:

He's got a great eye. He has a frustrating, inconsistent brain.

"Watchmen" seemed to me to say that Rorschach Was Right. Not about the ending... about the world. On the other hand, the history of the last 50 years, with superheroes, at the start was brilliant. And it did look great.

"300" had the entire homefront subplot added which, IMO, only made the story worse and uglier.

"Sucker Punch": looked great. It may even have been the subtle, thoughtful feminist screed that some of the reviewers thought it was (though I doubt it.) I had problems with the construction of the story, though.

Two storytelling things were going on that I particularly disliked. One was the dream logic, which didn't match up. Sbe vafgnapr, svefg qernz, fur trgf gur svefg oevrsvat. Lbh arrq gb trg sbhe cybg gbxraf. Bar vf n xavsr. Urer ner lbhe jrncbaf. Vapyhqvat n fjbeq. Boivbhf flzobyvfz gvzr: qba'g lbh trg gur fjbeq jura lbh trg gur xavsr? Jura fur jnf trggvat "sver", gur ragver qernz jnf shyy bs ure, naq gur grnz, yvtugvat guvatf ba sver ORSBER fur tbg gur sver. V qba'g erzrzore gurz tvivat ure n znc gb trg gur znc, ohg vg pbhyq unir unccrarq.

The second thing was the internet pandering checklist. The story is set sometime in the past, vague but probably the 30's to the 50's. But the dream fights are full of things that couldn't have been in her brain- chain guns, mecha, steampunk zombies, Japanese polearms, orcs, laser sighted Uzis,etc etc. (obligatory: )

These are my teeth. They grind.

#491 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2011, 11:41 PM:

I too have high hopes for X-Men: First Class. Some of the writers and the director have both proven that they can make a workable comics-based movie and the trailers looked prety good. Even as kid, Thor seemed like a stupid idea for a super hero and I stayed far away. I like some of the production design in the trailer but I don't know if I'm even tempted to consider downloading a pirated copy.

Captain America never did anything for me either so I probably won't go see it but the trailer did something I never thought possible: It made the costume believeable.

#492 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2011, 11:57 PM:

Paul Duncanson @ 491... They are getting better at making comic-book costumes one won't snicker at. That being said, "Captain America" is the only non-indie comic I still read, thus my feelings of trepidation.

#493 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 12:03 AM:

So... Fragano's objections to C Wingate's dismissive comments about racism overall received far less weight than did historical justifications for the latter's attitude. That's disappointing.

#494 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 01:55 AM:

The superhero movie I'm really hoping won't suck is Green Lantern. I've been a big fan of Green Lantern for most of my life, although I'm more of a fan of the idea of the character than of anything they've actually done with it in the last couple of decades.

#495 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 03:25 AM:

Serge: To be fair, there is really only one person who can respond, directly, to Fragano's comment. I can't answer for C. Wingate on those points, and for me to try, would be uncharitable.

#496 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 04:50 AM:

C. Wingate @ 463:
e 462: If I were living in Biloxi and were asked so blatantly prejudiced a question by a Yankee pollster, ...

The poll was done by an organization called Public Policy Polling, based in Raleigh, North Carolina.

So... probably not Yankees.

The press release for the poll, which includes the complete list of questions, is here [PDF file]. The overall poll is just a series of questions about prominent national and local conservative political figures (e.g., "Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Sarah Palin/Mitt Romney/Hudson Holliday?"), and questions about which of them respondents might vote for in an election for governor or president.

The interracial marriage question comes near the end, a bit out of the blue (the actual question was: "Do you think interracial marriage should be legal or illegal?"); it's followed by a question about how the respondent sees their own political stance ("very liberal/liberal/moderate/conservative/very conservative"), and then questions about their age and gender. It's rather hard to see anything condescending in the overall sequence of questions, nor is there any kind of obvious "state's rights vs federal government" subtext.

Based on the analysis section, the pollers were interested in how different politicians' support varied as a function of respondents' age, sex, ideology, and attitude towards interracial marriage (which I'm guessing might have been intended as a proxy for hard-core racist attitudes).

Also note that those polled were "usual Mississippi Republican primary voters", so you're getting the more dedicated conservatives in this poll.

#497 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 10:13 AM:

I'm not sure if the Periodic Table of Storytelling has made it here yet ...

#498 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 10:22 AM:


It's a pretty jarring result, at least to me, so I can see wondering if there's some explanation other than the idea that a large fraction of GOP voters in one of the states in 2011 actually think interracial marriage should be illegal. I don't have any intuition for what went into the answers given in the poll, but I'll note that C Wingate's hypothesis, if correct, would not be defending bigots, but rather defending people willing to say bigoted things to screw around with annoying outsiders.

That said, for pretty obvious reasons, I suspect Fragano has a better handle on what fraction of Southerners think interracial marriage should be illegal than I do.

#499 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 10:41 AM:

Persephone @402...Whew, shutdown averted (until mid-May I'm guessing).

IF we are furloughed it will be one day per week, and the IG has said our schedule will be Monday thru Thursday with Friday off for the duration of the shutdown.

I feel sorry for the folks I hear on talk radio, who seem to think that "government shutdown" means good-bye to Congress.

Part of me would love to see the President order the entire government to shutdown for 48 hours -- no planes, close the borders and Customs...

#500 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 10:49 AM:


I propose that first, they try a complete shutdown of their support staffs. Let Congress and the White House do without aides, groundskeepers, cooks, secretaries, maintenance people, guards, janitors, IT people, etc., for a couple weeks. Leave a skeleton crew of secret service/park police guys for safety, but let the rest go to seed.

#501 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 11:12 AM:

CZEdwards @461: HLN: Thundersnow. Or possibly hailstorm. (I'll know when I look for dents in the car in the morning...)

Pea size. Lawn outside my building was white, and not in a snowy way, when I went to bed. (Diagnosis further supported when I got a phone solicitation the following evening from A-Ability Auto Glass. "Sorry, I don't own a car." *click* )

#502 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 11:14 AM:

Serge @ 493

Never found an effective way of arguing with anyone who started by generally dismissing anyone who doesn't live in an approved regional area as "smug." I'll just take my ball and play with someone who doesn't start from a position of stated contempt.

#503 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 11:17 AM:

KayTei @ 502... Thanks. That's an excellent suggestion. :-)

#504 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 11:28 AM:

Saw "Source Code" yesterday. Best thing were the coming attractions, especially the one for "X-men: First Class", and for George RR Martin's "Game of Thrones". It's my understanding that the latter is very happy, and others who went to the premiere last week enjoyed it a lot too.

#505 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 11:40 AM:

Albatross @ 500 -

I propose that first, they try a complete shutdown of their support staffs. Let Congress and the White House do without aides, groundskeepers, cooks, secretaries, maintenance people, guards, janitors, IT people, etc., for a couple weeks.

That pretty much happened with the shutdown in 1995. The Secret Service had to dispatch agents to take the presidential limousine to a car wash because the staff that was responsible for washing cars was furloughed.

#506 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 12:11 PM:

Terry Karney @481, ianracey @478, et al, on funeral music: I have said, and people thought I was kidding, that I'd really like that Prince song that starts with the spoken-word piece:

Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called LIFE.
Electric word, life. It means forever and that's a mighty long time ...

Etc. I don't know why people think I'm kidding when I say it. Of course, from my point of view, the purpose of life is clearly to carry water uphill, and humans are just especially good at being anti-entropic (if I'm allowed to redefine 'entropic' as including the mental/emotional/societal tendencies that lead towards negativity and breakdown).

My mom wants a New Orleans style jazzband at her funeral: dirges and black umbrellas to the burial, then Dixieland and dancing from there to the wake.

Serge @483: Because clearly a creature with superhuman powers of strength, vision, flight, etc, is going to feel insecure enough to NEED to do macho posturing? Uh huh. I prefer classic!Clark. :->

David Goldfarb @494: In re the Green Lantern movie, there was some interesting intersectionality in some bits of internet fandom between people who are actually conscious of race!fails and racebending, but who haven't been in fandom very long ... there was a momentary howl of protest from people who were pissed that the new movie "made Green Lantern a white guy." I guess he's been a black guy for long enough there are people who don't remember he ever wasn't ...

#507 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 12:12 PM:

467: I have a little rule: if a film uses a plot element that was squick-free in an earlier film that used it only because it had Sean Connery as the lead, then you'd better have Sean Connery as the lead.

Bruce, care to elaborate? Here or on the Red Mike thread?

#508 ::: Velma ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 12:18 PM:

Hyper-Local News: "Local" for the deSelby-Bowens is now the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle. We took Amtrak -- New York to DC, DC to Chicago, Chicago to Seattle -- last week, arriving in time for Scraps' parents fiftieth wedding anniversary party, and are settling in, waiting for 8,000 CDs to descend upon us. Moods: missing loved ones in NYC, giddy about Seattle.

#509 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 12:20 PM:

re 496: Oh, I saw the poll's origin,1 though Raleigh has gotten a rep for being one of the more Yankeefied parts of NC. I wouldn't really know, as the last time I went that far south was twenty years ago, shortly after I was married, when my wife and I visited my father's relatives in Charlotte. I suppose that they didn't think highly of miscegenation, though I never asked. Look, as far as I recall I don't know anyone from Mississippi, black or white or Vietnamese (I seem to recollect that some "boat people" settled along the coast there). My main knowledge of the place stems from seeing it in 50th among the states in a bunch of lists, and a long passage from Florence King about here misspent college education. Who knows, maybe Republicans are the troglodytes this poll makes them out to be, but then, you have to wonder what they thought of Michael Steele2. The thing is so cartoonish that a different but equally cynical part of me would like to think that there was massive lying the other way, on the principle that there is no exaggeration of American life these days that is great enough to represent the reality. A third part is boggled that anyone would be stupid enough to admit to such a prejudice even to an anonymous pollster. There are some mightily odd results down there in the cross tabs, such as the revelation that the kids are as opposed to intermarriage as the old folks are.

If there is a point to this rambling response, I suppose it's that I make a fairly off-hand comment, and people jump all over it in what I perceive as their eagerness to demonstrate that they are untainted with racist thinking, whereas Xopher in 482 makes a patently dismissive comment, and it passes by without response. I don't understand racism, at least of the overt kind, so actually making the "illegal" response on this survey is absolutely foreign to me, as something I would ever actually believe. I understand being treated as the object of contempt at the deepest level of my soul.

1I do see from the Wikipedia page that PPP is "Democratic Party-affiliated". I also note on their masthead that while Debnam might be a local (and his origins are unclear), the other three hail from Ann Arbor, upstate NY, and Reno.

2of Maryland, to my great embarrassment

#510 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 12:21 PM:

Speaking of Superman, I've been enjoying re watching episodes of Lois and Clark via Netflix streaming. I think the casting was good, and the stories were usually quite entertaining. I like the concept that Clark was the person and Superman was something he did.

#511 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 12:25 PM:

I make a fairly off-hand comment, and people jump all over it in what I perceive as their eagerness to demonstrate that they are untainted with racist thinking

So now you can read our minds? Or are you trying to weasel your way out of this by making yourelf the victim?

#512 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 12:29 PM:

Elliott Mason @ 506... By the way, would we trust somebody that powerful if he went around forcefully telling us how to run our lives, or would we prefer that he preach by example while frequently saving us from our own stupidity?

#513 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 01:36 PM:

xeger @497, that should come with a NSFW warning, as in "you will get sucked into TV Tropes for three hours." (Can't wait to dive in...)

#514 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 01:46 PM:

Serge, you labelled my comment "dismissive [...] of racism" and referred to my "attitude" in a fashion which I (and I think any reasonable person) would interpret as derogatory. I interpret that as a personal attack.

I was hardly trying to explain the result; what I found more curious was the asking. I simply cannot imagine, in the bastion of right-thinking that is Montgomery County, Maryland, that a pollster would call me up on the phone and ask me such a question.1 It says a great deal about PPP that they thought it worthwhile to ask.2 It may well be that the sentiment of voters in MS is well-represented, but likewise the perception of Mississippi is on display.

And my "perception" of the motivations in play here is based on twenty-five years of watching this sort of argument on on-line discussions; of course it can be wrong. It could just as well be a product of my frustration of having my statements exaggerated.

1But then again, I am a registered Democrat in a liberal-ish state, and therefore perhaps may be presumed untainted.

2And I'm not sure what the high proportion of "illegal" responses among Sara Palin's supporters means, but I don't think it can be anything good.

#515 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 01:46 PM:

C Wingate @509:
I understand being treated as the object of contempt at the deepest level of my soul.

Much as I do not wish for anyone to be, or have been, treated as an object of contempt the way that, for instance, ReVonda Bowen was, I hope you are going to tell me that there is a story behind that sentence, one containing events that predate this thread and indeed your presence on Making Light. Or at least run in parallel with it.


#516 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 02:04 PM:

I have an open thread sort of questions -
I'm a moderator on a forum for re-enactors in the UK, and all of us moderators have notives an increase in spammers willing to create user ID's and then hang around, with or without posting. We're getting something like 2 or 3 spurious new members every day, many of whom get banned immediately because we can see that they are spammers due to the links they put in their signature file. The rest get caught because we have to pre-approve their first post.

So far we're holding, but it is getting a little dull. There is a captcha code to fill in when registering, which I assume cuts out the bots, and I got the impression that there are people at work here, not just well written computers. Now they've taken to including paragraphs from novels, noticeably Ann McCaffrey. Does anyone have similar experiences? It isn't like we've got more than 2 or 300 active members at any one time, but somehow the spammers are making our miniscule corner of the web less fun than it used to be.

#517 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 02:07 PM:

C. Wingate, #509: I make a fairly off-hand comment completely contemptuous and dismissive comment full of unresearched and unwarranted assumptions about (1) the pollsters and (2) the nature of the poll itself

There, FTFY.

I understand being treated as the object of contempt at the deepest level of my soul.

So much so that apparently it's very easy for you to assume it happening, on someone else's behalf, when it's not there. I have the same problem WRT toxic family environments; the difference is that I'm more aware of it than you seem to be.

#518 ::: figleaf ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 02:08 PM:

@Older, #326: I think my first reply got caught in moderation. My offhand speculation about hemochromatosis notwithstanding, I just want to point out two things about the Kate Clancy post I cited.

First, her graphs were made up in the sense that a professor drawing graphs on a blackboard during a lecture would be made up. She used arbitrary numbers to produce a graph to illustrate curves that in her informed opinion resembles curves one would get using clinical data. And the standard interpretation of men as baseline normal tends to make it look as though women's iron levels decline after puberty when, in fact, they stay steady and men's increase after puberty.

Second, she raised the point to illustrate a problem that led to 85% of women in one study receiving improper treatment for gastrointestinal bleeding, on the gendered assumption that the culprit had to be menstruation. If one group of people suffering from GI bleeding gets treated for GI bleeding and the other is sent home with iron pills and reassurance that if it doesn't clear up they can always get a hysterectomy that's... well, that's a data point, eh?

Regarding hemochromatosis in men and women, I agree I shouldn't have relied on memories from thirty years ago or more. But while a five minute spin around the intertubes isn't the same thing as college-level instruction it still doesn't look like the answer is "hemochromatosis isn't a problem for women until menopause." Menstruation does help iron accumulate at a lower rate in women, and men do start from a much higher baseline of iron than women. But symptoms don't really start to manifest in women or men until middle age. So I still think both men and women are ill served by the assumption.


#519 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 02:36 PM:

Lee, we have a difference of opinion over exactly how intentional the pollster's attitude is. You dismiss the possibility; the more I look into it, the more evidence I find that their questioning might not be not innocent, on both levels. And maybe it's just me, but as I said once already, I that if a Republican pollster called me up, fishing for prospects of their possible opponents, and abruptly asked me about some stereotypical liberal excess (I dunno, pick one, I'm having a failure of imagination at the moment), I think I would be irritated. That's my personal reaction, and you are entitled to react differently. You aren't entitled to infer my politics this way.

#520 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 02:43 PM:

C. Wingate--Making off-hand remarks can be a good way to get your fingers pinched. So says my mother, and she's often right about a lot of things.

Speaking as someone who has lived in Mississipi, whose family has lived there since the Choctaw were pried off the lands they believed were theirs since they and their cousin-tribes rose from the ground at Nanih Wayia, I am sorry to say I find that question entirely reasonable as a sort of calibration marker on racial and governmental issues. In many places, there are single, specific issues that will have a disproportionate effect on voting preferences and likely outcomes. In Mississippi, it is race and racial issues. The Kindle is adquate as a device for reading Making Light but is a lousy platform for typing long comments, so I'll save my detailed observations as to why this remains true and is hard to change in the Deep South, and simply say that Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Louisiana, and eastern Texas were settled and defined in their original form on the basis of conscious racism: racism justified kicking out peaceful tribes like the Choctaws and tribes that were trying to live peacefully with their new neighbors, having determined they couldn't be beaten. Racism justified the importation of countless enslaved people-racism and love of money and power more han justice. There really is more going on there than simply "Those rude Northerners are questioning our ways again." (Yes, admitting this is Noy Fun.)

It does irritate me that the only thing so many people can find to say about Mississippi is "OMG! Howling bigots!" but at the same time I have to admit that sadly, in many cases it's a valid observation.

#521 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 02:47 PM:

guthrie @516:

Are they advertising anything in particular? Can you set up a Words of Power filter? IP address filtering? Some kind of automated flagging?

My experience of these things is that they come in waves, by the way. This should pass, if you keep pulling them up by the roots.

I try to entertain myself by being creative as I nuke things. Thus do I translate "spam deleted" and "posted from [IP address]" into the language of the spammer. I once wrote a ballad in deletion messages (only visible in the Recent Comments at the time). I've also used spam texts to write a sonnet. These things add interest to the otherwise dull task of cleaning up the cruft that accumulates from the internet like lint on dark velvet.

#522 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 02:59 PM:

Lee @517, inter alia

Ah, note that C. Wingate's 463 is a hypothetical scenario. It begins "If," continues to describe a counterfactual circumstance (Wingate does not live in Biloxi, the pollsters may not have been Yankees), and then gives the author's imagined response to that circumstance.

So maybe a little less vigor in attacking "unresearched and unwarranted assumptions," hey?

#523 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 03:13 PM:

Devin @522:

That's a stunningly narrow reading you're performing there. C Wingate did not make that comment into the air, observing the Winged Victory of Samothrace, while the rest of us came and went talking of medieval armament.

He made it in the context of people actually living in Biloxi being asked this question by someone he presumed (at 7:18am EST on April 10), and by the phrasing of his comment therefore implied, was a Yankee. Based on that, he used the example of his own theoretical reaction to create an expectation that a reasonable person would assume a more repugnant position than he actually held.

The comment must be read in the context of the conversation that gave rise to it. And in that context, "unresearched and unwarranted" is perfectly fair description.

#524 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 03:14 PM:

Lori Coulson@499: Part of me would love to see the President order the entire government to shutdown for 48 hours -- no planes, close the borders and Customs...

Umm, no, with the government actually shut down, you would have almost no planes, because the air traffic controllers are Federal, but the borders themselves would be open, as they should be. Closing Customs doesn't mean people can't come in, it just means they're not beating up writers or tearing up cars to search for cocaine or stealing laptops to search for thoughtcrime or asking if your papers are in order. Maybe they'd lock a few gates at the Canadian bridges, but it would make the land and boat crossings a much more civilized place.

Sorry for ranting, but a quarter century ago I saw that the US Customs official poking at my suitcase was wearing a shoulder patch saying "US Customs Service, Defending Liberty since 17xx", and had to bite my lip to avoid ranting about having had a revolution to get rid of tax collectors like them (I was on my way back into the US), and that was back when they were still separate from La Migra and the Border Patrol thugs. It's much harder to be polite to them now.

#525 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 03:17 PM:

Figleaf #518:

I'm not finding anything in the moderation queue following #326.

#526 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 03:32 PM:

**waves at Fragano**

IJWTS that I too am aware that you have direct, first-hand, long-term knowledge about attitudes towards interracial marriage in the Southeastern U.S.

**continues about her business**

#527 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 03:32 PM:

I have lived in the South (defined as the Old Confederacy) for nearly 40 years now -- over 2/3 of my life. And I have learned several things in the process:

1) It is absolutely not true that all Southerners are willfully-ignorant, bigoted hicks.

2) However, it also must be said that the stereotype is not completely without basis.

3) Those who do fit the stereotype tend to self-label in various ways. One of the most obvious is that, when pressed toward having to acknowledge that they are defending an untenable position, they resort to the epithet "Yankee", and assume that this ends the discussion.

Aping that behavior and then arguing that it's really a way of being open-minded doesn't strike me as being any better.

#528 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 03:59 PM:

C. Wingate: I don't know that your comment was, per se, dismissive of racism, but it was apologist for the people who expressed it. On a different note, this is my take on why they weren't "dicking with the yankees"

1: That requires the person being polled to know the things you had to go and look up.
2: Requires that the Republicans being called thought such a response, to a "liberal" pollster, to be somehow useful, and not likely to backfire.

The sort of person willing to go to the work to determine the, presumed, bias of the polling company (which isn't as cut and dried as all that, unless it's a push-poll), isn't all that likely to decide to hand what is seen as the opposition such a handy stick to beat them with. The person who isn't so clued in, isn't going to be as likely to have the contrarian reaction.

In addition that requires a fairly high level of reflexive contrarianism. By the time one gets to the end of a questioning pattern like this the responses tend to be not terribly analytical. The respondent has acquired the habit of response. So a significant number of the respondents have to take a step back (saying to themselves, "what's this question about?") and then decide to give the unflattering lie.

Since doing that is predicate on so many factors, I'd have to say I find your apologia unconvincing.

#529 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 04:04 PM:


An interesting question this raises, which comes up in many other contexts, as well: How do we ever get to meaningful consensus on political issues, as a country, with this size of political disagreement, regionally varying, in existence?

It makes me wonder how much of the dysfunction of our political system is simply the consequence of irreconcilable differences in values and beliefs and ideas. Assuming the poll is correct, something more than a quarter of voters in Mississippi must believe this. How the hell do you even have a national conversation over, say, gay marriage or civil rights law or affirmative action or federalism, when you're starting from that kind of gulf?

And what does it say about the world that you would never hear that view stated in public in the respectable media? At one level, that's good, because banning interracial marriage is an incredibly awful idea. At another level, it's creepy, because how many other widely-held beliefs are never discussed, and why should I think most of them are bad ideas?

#530 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 04:07 PM:

Abi #521- no, it is all sorts. I just banned a new member with a homepage link to a page about bose headphones. The text was poor english, and I have real trouble working out what the point of it all was. Other spammers include various Eastern European offerings, or trainers (Running shoes that is) or handbags or whatever. Some even link to pages on forums, where that page is an advert for those drugs they try to sell you by email. It is a real mixture, maybe a conspiracy theorist could make sense of it all.

#531 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 04:16 PM:

On a personal level: Being part of a dismissed class (Californian, Urban [of two different polities, each with a specific set of prejudices against them], Liberal/progressive) I get a fair bit of the stereotyped reactions (because I've spent a lot of time in places like SE Ariz., E. Tenn. SLC Utah) and the Army, in general, tends to be a bit conservative (trending slighting right of US center, but with some seriously extreme parts).

I've seen a lot of reflexive reactions to me. I don't know that (even if they had a heavy drawl) my first reaction would be, "Redneck Hick" if they were polling me. I can't say how I'd be affected (because I am not the typical respondent to questions, even moreso than most here), but that's not my first expectation.

Barring a push-poll, I figure the trend is going to be more honest than not (polling is rare, and people want to be heard). The question is more, what does the data mean. I don't know that they explanation that it's an expression of "state's rights" (even without the problematic meaning of that phrase), from the structure of the poll. There is no establishing question to warrant that assumption, and no follow up to confirm it.

Which leaves an open question (for apologists to exploit), but on it's face, it's about a groups opinions about interracial marriage, and (by extension) the role/status of non-whites (esp. blacks*) in society.

*because non-blacks make up a much smaller portion of Mississippi when one is looking at non-whites. I was in Basic with guys (from Missouri) who had never seen a non-white, in person, in their lives. They had also never met a non-Christian.

#532 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 04:17 PM:

Abi @523

Maybe I'm saying more than I mean to say, let me try again:

Wingate says, in part, "If I...were asked so blatantly prejudiced a question by a Yankee pollster..."

To me, that doesn't make an implied claim that the pollsters were Yankees. (For one thing, there's no implication, no palmed cards. It's explicit.)

Instead, it's a hypothetical. The implication that I read into it (and maybe this is overly generous, or maybe it's "stunningly narrow," but it's how I read the comment originally) is an implied "And if I didn't live in Biloxi, or if I were asked this same question by a pollster who wasn't Yankee, then I'd probably respond differently."

It is, of course, perfectly valid to say "Well, I looked it up and the pollsters were all locals, so that can't have been a factor." It is NOT, to my eye, valid or charitable to say "Well, I looked it up and the pollsters were all locals and you should have done that first." (Since the pollsters' regional background was given as premise only and not as researched fact.)

Further, let's assume C. Wingate is totally right, all the pollsters were from Brooklyn and everyone who responded did so because they hate Northern condescension. That's still totally creepy. I mean, I understand that hate, right? I'd be totally on your side if you lived in Biloxi and your response to that question was "Fuck off, Yankee." But when your response is instead to go all antebellum, that carries the rather creepy implication that you hate Northern condescension more than you hate Jim Crow.

By totally flawed Godwin-baiting analogy, I bet if you called a bunch of German households with an American accent asking about anti-semitism, you'd get an awful lot of "fuck off, Yankee" (and rightly so) but very little feigned anti-semitism.

#533 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 04:35 PM:

albatross @ 529 -

An interesting question this raises, which comes up in many other contexts, as well: How do we ever get to meaningful consensus on political issues, as a country, with this size of political disagreement, regionally varying, in existence?

And we're in the same country, speaking the same language, with a common culture and a shared history. And we still focus on divisions to the point that meaningful debate is almost impossible. (Of course, that depends on your conception of meaningful debate. I don't think meaningful is equivalent to convincing.)

But now extend the problem to foreign lands and cultures, and the problem is even harder. Our "maps" are different. Our mental models see reality in different ways. Sometimes I think the astonishing thing about international relations is not how well they work, but that they work at all.

Still, there's no other choice but to try. I forget who said it, but this quote comes to mind about the human condition. "Our trouble is that we have neolithic emotions, medieval morality, and godlike technology."

#534 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 04:44 PM:

Devin @532:

I think where we differ is that I (and Lee, I think, and possibly others) feels that C Wingate made that stated assumption as a form of assertion. He didn't choose to discuss that hypothetical at random, because it was easier to type than "Englishman" or "stammerer". There was no need to bring Yankees into the matter at all.

But he did (unwarranted), and he did it without looking into that assertion by assumption (unresearched).

I think your analogy about the Germans is an interesting one. I would certainly expect that if I did that, I would get rather fewer than accurate anti-semitic responses. Even people who still think these things tend to discuss them in private, among friends. The social stigma of admitting them, even to a pollster, is too substantial.

I'm not sure, in other words, that C Wingate's alternative explanation really makes things better.

#535 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 05:07 PM:

Steve C @533:

But now extend the problem to foreign lands and cultures, and the problem is even harder. Our "maps" are different. Our mental models see reality in different ways. Sometimes I think the astonishing thing about international relations is not how well they work, but that they work at all.

In many ways, it's actually less difficult across national and linguistic boundaries. To quote Philip Larkin,

Lonely in Ireland, since it was not home,
Strangeness made sense. The salt rebuff of speech,
Insisting so on difference, made me welcome:
Once that was recognised, we were in touch

It's easier to accept and work with the differences of people who are supposed to be different than you. I often think that one of our greatest problems in the US is that we have to exaggerate and emphasize our dissimilarities, because (a) they exist, (b) they come with perceived hierarchies*, and (c) they're not defended and validated by interpreters and diplomats.

We do our best with regional pride, accents, and local traditions. Because separate may not be equal, but it's better than being unequal without an excuse.

* I think a lot of Southerners feel looked down on by the rest of the US. I think this is an accurate perception. But I think the matter is complicated by both some genuine and unfair economic disparities, and some real and unashamed bad behavior both past and present.

#536 ::: figleaf ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 05:12 PM:

@James D. Macdonald, #525: no problem. I've got a problematic URL that gets caught most of the popular spam filters. I'm pretty sure I got a message saying my first post was in moderation but it was late and I may have just screwed up.

One way or another my alternate URL seems to be working fine.

Thanks for checking!


#537 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 05:56 PM:

Abi @ 535: I think a lot of Southerners feel looked down on by the rest of the US. I think this is an accurate perception. But I think the matter is complicated by both some genuine and unfair economic disparities, and some real and unashamed bad behavior both past and present.

Yes, this. When I moved to the DC area from rural North Carolina, the cultural and economic differences were staggering. The people here live in a world of such privilege and opportunity. They also love to hear me talk, particularly when I first moved ("Say something! Anything!"), and occasionally assume I'm stupid due to my (very mild) accent. I have a coworker who likes to make "jokes" like "in the mountains where you're from, they're all short buses, right? Right??"

However, the second part of that statement is true as well. Before my sister's mixed-race son was born, my mother was genuinely upset because "people will be so mean to him." My in-laws (who, for the record, are from New Jersey, though they fit in well in their adopted state in many ways) are out-and-out racists.

(And yes, I don't think I'd ever actually spoken with an African American until I moved here. I also met a Jew for the first time here. My home county is 98.99% white.)

#538 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 06:19 PM:

Abi @534

"I'm not sure, in other words, that C Wingate's alternative explanation really makes things better."

I agree, that's what I meant in that last bit: on the one hand, fewer sincere opponents of interracial marriage (that's good) but on the other, more people who consider sticking it to the Yanks more important than letting people marry whoever they love (that's bad, and probably on the balance worse).

Turning it around, I bet if you called French households and asked (obnoxiously) about eating snails, or Scottish households and haggis, you'd get far more people claiming to be fans of the dishes than sales actually support. That's not creepy, because sticking it to the yanks is more important than standing up for sheep-organ nonconsumption.

So I think it's right to stand up for your peoples' harmless habits, but not the harmful ones. Claiming to like haggis is a sort of trivial "I'm Spartacus," while claiming to hate interracial marriage isn't.

I think I see what you're saying about assumption-selection. I'm relatively happy writing or reading hypotheticals about plausible events without needing to prove that they happened, but now that I think about it, had I wished to make the same point (I've no basis for doing so, I've never been a Southerner and as established I think the stated response is creepy anyhow) I would have prefaced that with something like "I think it matters who the caller is:" and closed with "But if they sounded like a local, I'd have done differently." Making the other possibilities explicit does make the whole thing more balanced, I suppose.

#539 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 06:39 PM:

Persephone, #537: In the interests of accuracy, it's not just the South where those attitudes are found; pretty much anywhere sufficiently rural is going to have a lot of them. Some of the stuff coming out of "the heartlands" these days is every bit as appalling. And then there's the attitude toward Detroit in much of the rest of Michigan...

#540 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 07:03 PM:

AKICIML: Posit a person who needs to transfer from one NY train line to another. Should the person go through Penn or Grand Central?

#541 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 07:18 PM:

I'm home from the hospital. Tired but home. Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers.

#542 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 07:24 PM:

#540: Depends on what you mean by "train line."

Penn and Grand Central serve different sets of commuter lines. Different subway lines run through them too . . . there's a nice short shuttle line connecting them.

Can you provide specifics?

#543 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 07:27 PM:

Tracie: Woohoo!! Hopefully we'll get some rain tonight to wash the pollen down a little!

#544 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 07:41 PM:

Stefan: Um...not yet? The hypothetical person has an interview on each end of the state (hence the reluctance to give details in public). Prices and times are roughly the same on the two possible lines; the main difference is going to be which station is easier for a frazzled person to navigate.

#545 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 07:41 PM:

Devin: 1: Contextually, I don't think your, "no palmed card, it's just a hypothetical" holds water. It was more a postulate: If those yankees called, than a, "if some yankees called." Moreever yankee, in context is perjorative (see the comments about perceptions [not all false] that "Yankees" think all Southerners both backwards and ignorant, as well as inbred and stupid.

And the palmed bit was the associated, "and since those were the results we can then assume it was reactionary, not honest," which is where it moves to question begging (the answers show racism, the can't be honest answers, so it must be that they were taking offense).

As to Germany, I think you would get very sincere statements about how they aren't anti-semitic†, and those who say there is anti-semitism, will couch it, e.g. when my battalion commander asked me if there was much of a problem with underaged drinking in the barracks (it was a disciplinary hearing, I was a character witness for the guilty party). I said there was underaged drinking in the barracks (he wasn't stupid), and (with my company commander the first shirt looking on) went on to say I didn't think it was as bad as in the civilian part of town, because we didn't let them get out of hand (which was true, but not completely honest).

The issue isn't the same for escargot and haggis; because, as you say, claiming to like them isn't seen as inherently evil.

Lee: I so agree (see above my comments about being from Calif. It's only going to be a new layer when I'm in New Jersey (all the problems of being from New York, with none of the respect).

†firefox doesn't know semite, anti-semite, anti-semitic, nor anti-semitism. It's really disconcerting to suddenly question one's ability to spell words one is certain are correct.

#546 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 07:46 PM:

#544: Grand Central is probably a bit easier to navigate. It is "one place."

Penn Station is essentially two places. One area services the LIRR, the other Metro North and some New Jersey commuter lines.

OTOH, if you're coming in from an airport, and take a train in, you'll end up in Penn, and not having to find the shuttle to Grand Central would be a good thing.

#547 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 07:47 PM:

I have just discovered that my preferred font is that of, "apathy and disrepect for those who get things from me written in it.

Lawyer slags Times, and those who use it

It happens that I like it. I am a serif kind of guy. I also seem to recall the readability surveys about serif/sans on screens are less clear than it was reported.

Then again, the person who wrote that was quoting a guy with a book to flog (Typography for Lawyers).

I do think, however, Jay Shepherd is a great name for a lawyer.

#548 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 07:53 PM:

Stefan, 546: Could you elaborate on that "one place" idea? Are all the lines mixed up, or is there an area for each line?

#549 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 07:54 PM:

544/546: Small addition/correction: Penn Station is essentially two places. One area services the LIRR, the other Metro North and some New Jersey commuter lines plus Amtrak.

#550 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 07:55 PM:

Lee @ 539... That's certainly true. It's also true that there's plenty of racism in suburban and urban areas.

#551 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 07:59 PM:

Open-threaded My, how the times have changed dept: How well would you do with the 1869 Harvard Entrance exam?

Me? Not a chance.

#552 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 08:02 PM:

TexAnne: Penn Station's two "areas" (LIRR, and Metro North / Amtrak / NJTransit) each have their own waiting areas, ticket booths, etc. They're easily distinguished and a short walk from each other, but the seperation is something to consider if you are switching from the LIRR to one of those other lines.

Grand Central is one big combined place.

#553 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 08:03 PM:

TexAnne (548): The waiting/boarding area for the LIRR is completely separate from the area for the others. I find it quite confusing to go from one area to the other.

Also, I believe (but could be wrong!) that Metro North goes into Grand Central. I don't remember seeing it in the Amtrak/NJ Transit area at Penn Station, and it's definitely not in the LIRR area.

#554 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 08:06 PM:

Given Stefan's #552 (which I hadn't seen when I wrote #553), it sounds as if I am wrong about Metro North.

#555 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 08:47 PM:

Steve C @551 -- I'd have been able to do most of it, but not the Greek, when I graduated from high school. These days I couldn't manage the Latin, as I've been away too long. Some other parts would require me knowing the context of the use of certain words. The math stuff is all pretty simple.

#556 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 08:54 PM:

C. Wingate #509: I'd call you clueless, but that might be ungenerous on my part. Still...

"There are some mightily odd results down there in the cross tabs, such as the revelation that the kids are as opposed to intermarriage as the old folks are."

That's not odd. Again and again, the poll data indicate that, against the national grain, young Southern rural and exurban whites are not breaking as cleanly on race as the rest of the country. Data from the 2008 election showed that whereas younger white voters outside of the South went for Obama, in the South they didn't. Mississippi, in particular seems to be very reactionary, though you'll also find such attitudes in rural Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. Less so in North Carolina and Virginia, I gather.

Let me give you an anecdote to illustrate the case, with the proviso that the plural of anecdote is not data. A couple of months ago I had a young man in my office who told me his name, when he did I ventured to say that it was rare for me to have famous people in my office. The young man's name is Genarlow Wilson, and he became famous, or notorious, because of a sexual act. In his case it was a sexual act committed in high school with a girl who happened to be under age. Happens all the time. He got into trouble in spite of the fact that both parties consented to the act. But because he is black and the young lady in question was white, and this was in Douglas County, Georgia (a suburban county, not the back of beyond; I live all of a mile from the county boundary) he ended up in prison. His case became a cause celébre and he was released after a public campaign in his favour, fortunately. Had he and the girl been black (or had both of them been white), I doubt very much that there would have been much of a fuss (and certainly no prison sentence). Now I will grant you that my own marriage goes unremarked (much) at my own place of employment, but my wife (who happens to work in Douglas County) feels that it would unadvisable for me to appear at her place of sabbatarian employment lest she cease to have a job.

#557 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 08:54 PM:

Hyper-local news:I just got rid of my phone company DSL and switched to cable.

For Making Light purposes, that means that all my previous posts have an email address that is no longer valid. How do I tie the new one into the old one from here on out?

#558 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 09:01 PM:

Lila #526: Thanks. *Waving back*

#559 ::: Harriet Culver ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 09:04 PM:

#554 Mary Aileen, I'd have said you were right the first time; AFAIK all the Metro North lines run into Grand Central. I'd say it's probably a case of google is your friend. But I'd say that Penn Station is best for Amtrak, for travel to Long Island, New Jersey, and the subway to various destinations. GCT to Westchester and Connecticut.

For actually getting around New York City, not New York State, one probably wants the subway, and if one can't reveal the destinations then a private glance at the system maps at


will lead to info about Metro North AND the subways.

(back to lurking)


#560 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 09:11 PM:

I'd like to point out, just 'cause, that the plural of anecdote is data, but that one datum does not a categorically true case make.

Analysis makes a great deal of difference in knowing what all those collected anecdotes actually mean (taking into account the frames of reference, validity of sampling, etc.).

#561 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 09:12 PM:

And I'd just like to say that people who say they think interracial marriage should be illegal are ipso facto racist, whatever excuses they later make for themselves, or others make on their behalf.

To claim to be racist is to be racist. Period.*

*Well, comma. Barring being an undercover investigator/spy of some sort, which category most emphatically does not include people being polled over the phone and deciding to be assholes to a pollster with a northern accent.

#562 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 09:28 PM:

Linkmeister, #557: Well, the method most commonly used here (post something from your old address giving the new one, and then something from the new address giving the old one) won't work for you at this point. I'd suggest finding your most recent post that uses the old address, and then making a post with a hard link to that one from the new address. That will at least link up your View All By for all practical purposes.

#563 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 09:36 PM:

All: Thank you for the NYC advice! I took a closer look at the map, and thought about what my luggage is likely to weigh, and decided that Penn is the way to go.

#564 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 09:36 PM:

Lee (562): The pair-of-posts method would work; he'd just have to make one last one with the old view-all-by, to link to the new v-a-b. But your suggestion is also reasonable.

#565 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 09:52 PM:

Lee @ #562 and Mary Aileen @ #564, thanks, I think.

This one uses the old email address. I should then say here (in the body of the comment) what the new email address will be?

And then post a new comment using the new address and say in the body of the comment what the old one was?

Sorry, I haven't paid much attention to this when other folks have dealt with this issue.

[AS: Here is Linkmeister's new view all by. Click on it to find more recent comments.]

#566 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 10:13 PM:

Fragano, there are people to whom I will not show some of my family's pictures, because those people think in ways very like those of the people your wife works with.

#567 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 11:01 PM:

Terry @545

"Devin: 1: Contextually, I don't think your, "no palmed card, it's just a hypothetical" holds water. It was more a postulate: If those yankees called, than a, "if some yankees called." Moreever yankee, in context is perjorative (see the comments about perceptions [not all false] that "Yankees" think all Southerners both backwards and ignorant, as well as inbred and stupid.

And the palmed bit was the associated, "and since those were the results we can then assume it was reactionary, not honest," which is where it moves to question begging (the answers show racism, the can't be honest answers, so it must be that they were taking offense)."

Hmm, yes, I see what you mean there. Thanks.

(My firefox knows antisemitism but not anti-semitism.)

Xopher @561

To claim to be racist when it is safe to do otherwise is to be racist, perhaps. It's not just spies and investigators, it's also PJ Evans and Fragano's wife. (You could slice that finely and argue that they aren't claiming to be racist, just not claiming the full extent of their anti-racism, but it's easy to imagine similar situations just on the other side of that line.)

#568 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 11:04 PM:

Mary is right.

I think I was confusing Metro North (YES, leaves from Grand Central) with another line (Pascack Valley).

But the New Jersey lines, and the NY line I was thinking of AND the NY line I take to my parent's home in upstate NY (Otisville), do run from Penn.

WONDERFUL MAP of the entire MTA and NJTransit system here:

#569 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 11:35 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @556: I lived 20 years in Virginia (and before that a half decade or so in Georgia and Texas), and it seemed to my unscientific eyes that mixed couples were a frequent occurence, exciting no comments or glances, and that any group of more than two kids was more than likely to have more than two races.

This was, in my estimation, the fruit of rightful hypocrisy, by which I mean that open racism had become unfashionable in many places, so many racists had to pretend they were better than they really were, and as a result didn't pass on as much of their poison to their kids. There's still a way to go, but progress has been made.

#570 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2011, 11:53 PM:

Devin, #567: "It is not a lie to keep the truth to oneself." - Spock*

I see a difference between "claiming to be racist" and "not making an anti-racism argument under circumstances that would do no one any good and yourself harm".

Tangentially related: I've just opened up a can of worms on someone else's Facebook page, by calling another commenter on a blatantly racist statement. It's not going to be pretty (she's already started a bingo card), and I don't know how long I'll be able to sustain it without getting into a fight on someone else's lawn, which I don't like to do. Nonetheless, it seems important to me to say something; one of the reasons people get away with that kind of crap is because they don't get called on it enough.

* Technically, of course, it can be; that's called a "lie of omission". But that's not the discussion we're having here.

#571 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2011, 12:07 AM:

Harvard Exam: Unfamiliar, but not necessarily difficult; I don't have the background, so I don't know how hard the questions are. Interesting to go through some geometry that I haven't thought about for close to 30 years.

#572 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2011, 12:09 AM:

Harvard Exam: Unfamiliar, but not necessarily difficult; I don't have the background, so I don't know how hard the questions are. Interesting to go through some geometry that I haven't thought about for close to 30 years.

#573 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2011, 12:12 AM:

Sorry for the double post separated by some time; I don't know what happened there.

In apology I give you the following wonderful bit of NSFW... something.

#574 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2011, 12:26 AM:

Lee @569

Sure, there's that. But what if you get asked a direct question? Now "just don't say anything" isn't an option anymore, it's down to "confront racism, with attendant risks" or "lie."

I was seeing a girl, for a few weeks recently, who wasn't real up on her feminism (to the tune of some pretty basic 101 shit). I elected to duck those arguments. I tried to indicate that I didn't agree without suggesting that she shouldn't, because a) going all ideologue-dude on a woman about feminism doesn't seem quite right somehow, and b) dating ain't exactly the time to put your prickliest side forward.

Personally, I think everyone has a sort of Hippocratic duty to do no harm. That's basic. Don't burn any crosses, don't send anyone to the back of the bus, don't speak up in support of those who do.

Beyond that, I recognize your action in calling out racist statements as good. But I don't think it's an unqualified duty. If you're too tired, or this is risky ground for you, or you just don't feel up to it today, I don't think you're doing wrong by skipping it.

I've been in situations where someone thought I was their racist ally, and they said some shit to me with the obvious assumption that I was gonna support them. So far, it's always been people I could safely tell off (and it helps that I have a talent for fighting pretty dirty without ever quite saying anything actually impolite), but it's not hard for me to imagine someone being put in a position of either tacitly supporting their boss's racism or risking their job.

I saw Xopher's post juxtaposed with PJ Evans', and I felt a little bad because I was pretty damn sure Xopher didn't mean to condemn those sorts of lies of omission, but a certain reading of his post could sound like a condemnation. I think we're all in agreement here, I just wanted to broaden the exception from "spies and investigators" to recognize that there's a whole range of "undercover" that different people adopt, ranging from failing to interrupt a conversation between strangers, through lies of omission or my I'll-say-I-disagree-but-I-won't-try-to-convince-you, up to nodding along with your dad's complaints about Mexicans so he'll finish paying for your education, and ending with spies and investigators.

#575 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2011, 01:12 AM:

Xopher @ 561: Agreed. Of course, I don't really get the whole "race" concept, seeing as I either go macro or micro with descent (genetic markers or DNA universality comes to mind.) More to the point, I suppose, I grew up in one of the most racially integrated areas in the nation, and was a little appalled when I moved away and discovered that some people really do think that the color of one's skin indicates their mentality or personality.

Yeah no. I'm more likely to have a meeting of the minds with a geek of any color including green than I am to agree with someone whose skin just happens to be my color but is, for example, into drunken frat parties.

#576 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2011, 01:48 AM:

Linkmeister @565:

When you get the email address, post a new comment, with a link to the (view all by) from that comment. I will the use my moderatorial magic to insert the (view all by) from the new email address back into comment 565, and the link will be complete.

(And who, she asks with a rhetorical flourish, is the linkmeister now?)

#577 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2011, 02:54 AM:

abi @ #576, "When you get the email address, post a new comment, with a link to the (view all by) from that comment"

Er. A link to the view all by in my #565? Okay.

Old view all by.

My new (well, not new but formerly rarely-used) email account is connected to this comment.

I may have gotten the name before you, but I bow to your mad skills.

[AS: turned your link linky]

#578 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2011, 07:33 AM:

B Durbin @ 575... I'm more likely to have a meeting of the minds with a geek of any color including green

- Kermit the Frog

#579 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2011, 07:34 AM:


One other key point to keep in mind is that the poll is not a poll of all Mississippi Republicans. It is a poll of "usual Mississippi Republican primary voters".

#580 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2011, 08:01 AM:

Linkmeister @ 577... I bow to your mad skills

I for one welcome Abi and her mad skills.

#581 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2011, 09:02 AM:

Michael I @ 579:
One other key point to keep in mind is that the poll is not a poll of all Mississippi Republicans. It is a poll of "usual Mississippi Republican primary voters".

Yes. It occurs to me that any "kids" [as C. Wingate characterized them] who are "usual Republican primary votes" are likely to be atypical for their age group, which might explain why they seemed to be as racist as the older respondents.

#582 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2011, 09:16 AM:

Fragano's comment at #556 includes, "That's not odd. Again and again, the poll data indicate that, against the national grain, young Southern rural and exurban whites are not breaking as cleanly on race as the rest of the country." Makes me think that Mark Rosenfelder had a point. For those not interested in link-following, there are five ideas on that page for changing how the US is organized. The last one is, basically, "Let the Confederacy go".

Sounds good to me.

#583 ::: Andy Brazil ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2011, 10:01 AM:

Umm, daring to venture into US culture from t'other side of pond here - is it possible that after a series of questions on contemporary politics, the respondants heard "marriage" and "illegal" and responded to a question on gay marriage without actually processing the actual question? How often would someone be asked about inter-racial marriage nowadays? If some portion of the interviewees were answering a different question to the one they were actually asked, it would perhaps make more sense.

#584 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2011, 10:35 AM:

Xopher #561:

So, do you figure the conmen in _The Producers_ were really Nazis, too?

Racism and screwing around with pollsters or polls are fundamentally different things. I don't see how blurring them together makes the world any clearer or easier to understand.

An interesting thing to note is that, in this discussion, many people have chimed in with personal experiences and anecdotes that support (a). Since the main reason to suspect (b) is that it's such a bizarre thing to hear people say they believe[1], I find that pretty interesting.

[1] If we saw a poll saying that half the likely Republican voters in Mississippi believed in the tooth fairy, we would conclude that either the pollsters or the people being polled were playing a joke on us.

#585 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2011, 10:42 AM:

Andy Brazil @583

While it's possible they thought they were answering a question about gay marriage, I've just looked at a pdf of the poll in question, and every single other question (that isn't part of the demographic bit at the end) is a question about "Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion about person X" and "Which of this list of people would you vote for". Not a single question there to prime the pump on gay marriage, and I can't think of any terms for gay marriage that sound even remotely close to the word "interracial".

#586 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2011, 10:48 AM:

[Somehow, I deleted my (a) and (b) in editing, so that post made no sense at all. Trying again:]

Xopher #561:

So, do you figure the conmen in _The Producers_ were really Nazis, too?

Racism and screwing around with pollsters or polls are fundamentally different things. I don't see how blurring them together makes the world any clearer or easier to understand.

There are broadly two possibilities here:

a. The response reported on the polls reflects the actual beliefs of the people polled.

b. The response doesn't reflect their actual beliefs--they were playing a trick of some sort on the pollsters, or misunderstood the question, or whatever.

An interesting thing to note is that, in this discussion, many people have chimed in with personal experiences and anecdotes that support (a). Since the main reason to suspect (b) is that it's such a bizarre thing to hear people say they believe[1], I find that pretty interesting.

[1] If we saw a poll saying that half the likely Republican voters in Mississippi believed in the tooth fairy, we would conclude that either the pollsters or the people being polled were playing a joke on us.

#587 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2011, 10:59 AM:

Persephone partner's experience with life in a small NE Ohio town is very similar to yours. While there were African-Americans in her town, she had never seen a Asian until she came to study at Ohio State.

I boggled when she related this to me many years ago, because I'm an Air Force brat -- and in addition to African-Americans, there were Koreans and folks of various European countries on base. (The Scots lady down the row in base housing taught my Mom and I what good tea really is, and how to make it properly...)

I find I switch back to a Virginia accent every time I visit, and I have a tendency to drop into it when I encounter a Southerner visiting Central Ohio.

#588 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2011, 11:01 AM:

Open Thready Badness:

A UN investigator who works on torture allegations was denied access to Bradley Manning.

We're apparently operating black sites in Afghanistan.

No doubt, this is all a misunderstanding, and everyone's rights are being fully respected. I mean, I've been told by two successive presidents that all torture and mistreatment of captives has stopped, so how could I fail to believe that? Besides, we're better than the dirty Commies Muslims Republicans, so how dare I complain about our actions?

#589 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2011, 11:27 AM:

Devin @574: going all ideologue-dude on a woman about feminism doesn't seem quite right somehow

I laugh, because I did have a boyfriend go all ideologue-dude on me about feminism. To the extent of buying me a copy of The Female Eunuch. (Don't remember if I ever read it.)

In one of those classic de l'escalier moments*, I should have asked him if he'd ever had a man refuse to teach him how to use a lathe because "I don't want your little fingers to get hurt."


* which occurred five years later. Okay, I'm a little slow....

#590 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2011, 11:32 AM:

Lori @587... I tend to drop back into my southern accent whenever I go back to NC. It's protective coloring, and strangers are noticeably politer when I do it.

Accents are fascinating. I grew up on the boundary of "southern" and "mountain" accents. A random visitor at the National Cathedral once pegged my father, also visiting, as being from a particular NC county based purely on his accent. (And he was right.)

#591 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2011, 11:46 AM:


I have done the linky linky thing. Your records will now be browsable from one another.

#592 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2011, 11:49 AM:

TIL that when you eliminate the last panel from Peanuts strips, you get nothing but existential angst and despair.

#593 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2011, 12:01 PM:

Andy Brazil @583:

Umm, daring to venture into US culture from t'other side of pond here - is it possible that after a series of questions on contemporary politics, the respondants heard "marriage" and "illegal" and responded to a question on gay marriage without actually processing the actual question?

I've seen that hypothesis ventured elsewhere, and I don't buy it. The numbers are far too even for that; if Mississippi Republicans were asked about same-sex marriage, the numbers against would be more like 90%. Now, it's possible, I suppose, that only 50% of them misheard the question, but that starts to sound like special pleading.

Keep in mind that Alabama, next door to Mississippi, only officially repealed their ban on interracial marriage (which had been invalidated by Loving vs. Virginia in 1967, and not enforced since then) in 1999. Previous attempts to repeal it had died in committee; it's not like everyone just forgot it was there.

#594 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2011, 01:21 PM:

TexAnne: signage in Penn is sometimes problematical. Do not hesitate to ask for help if confused.

#595 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2011, 01:28 PM:

Melissa, 594: No worries! I'm a world-champion direction-asker.

#596 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2011, 01:44 PM:

TexAnne: I am amused to contemplate what the contest would look like.

#597 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2011, 01:45 PM:

#579 ::: Michael I:

One other key point to keep in mind is that the poll is not a poll of all Mississippi Republicans. It is a poll of "usual Mississippi Republican primary voters".

This is not cheering, since people who vote in primaries are apt to have more political influence than those who don't.

#598 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2011, 02:44 PM:

ajay: Bruce, care to elaborate? Here or on the Red Mike thread?

I'll be happy to post on the Red Mike thread. I don't do ROT-13, so I'm not going to risk what might be a spoiler in an Open Thread where with my luck I'll get burned for doing so.

#599 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2011, 02:54 PM:

abi @ #591, Thank you, o gracious Linkmaitresse!

#600 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2011, 03:17 PM:

Linkmeister @ 599... La maîtresse des liens, oui, oui!

#601 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2011, 03:34 PM:

Carrie, #582: I've seen that before, and had already noted one point of outstanding naivete; now there's a second one, but that may be a function of when the original was written -- I can't find a date on it.

The one that's been there all along: [I]f I thought an independent South would disenfranchise and lynch its black citizens I wouldn't propose the idea even in jest. It's precisely because I think the South has gotten past its racist history that I think it's safe to reopen the question of independence.

Egad. I don't know where this guy lives, but it sure as hell isn't anywhere that he gets news from the Southern states. Lynchings (in the sense of white-on-black hate killings) have never stopped, although now there is at least some chance that they'll be prosecuted. And right now, there are several states floating legislation which is effectively designed to disenfranchise non-white citizens.

The new one: In other words, we'd have the big business, but not the government dominated by big business

As recently as 10 years ago, I might have believed that. Now? No fucking way -- anybody who's paying the least bit of attention to the national news can see that much.

albatross, #586: The point is that this is not a bizarre thing to hear people say they believe... in Mississippi, or any other state of the Old Confederacy. That belief has never been eradicated. Disgusting, yes; bizarre and improbable, no.

Persephone, #590: You have described why I feel less safe in rural areas of the South. Despite the length of time I've lived here, my Midwestern accent has never become more than slightly modified; and especially if I'm traveling alone, as soon as I get more than a mile off the interstate that pegs me as "uppity Yankee bitch woman" whether I am polite or not. One side effect of this is that I'm actually more comfortable interacting with blacks in such an area; I have more confidence that if I treat them with courtesy, they'll return it. (There's an interesting discussion on the contrast of various forms of privilege here, but I'm not up to going into it right now.)

#602 ::: Earl Coole III ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2011, 03:35 PM:

For the lite version of ML, would the Great Powers please consider adding navigation links to make it easier to go directly to the end of a long page and back to the top again?

#603 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2011, 03:44 PM:

This is just to say that typing can be finicky on a Nook Color.

#604 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2011, 04:38 PM:

I don't recall seeing this here before, so if it's a repost I apologize:

Why Jessica Verday pulled her story from a theme anthology.

Summary: after having a story accepted for the anthology Wicked Pretty Things (described as "dark fairy romance" and apparently at least partly intended for the YA market), Verday was told that she would have to rewrite it to change the gender of one of her protagonists, because same-sex romance (note: G-rated, NOT erotica, just romance) wasn't acceptable. Verday said not just no but HELL no, and yanked her story altogether. Other authors did the same in support. It's been a pretty major kerfluffle, and there's a good roundup here.

Am I wrong in thinking that a rewrite of that magnitude should not be requested once the story has been accepted? That's not just minor editing changes.

#605 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2011, 05:01 PM:

Lee, good on Jessica Verday!

And no, you're not wrong. And Trish Telep was engaging in prior restraint based on her supposition about the homophobia of the publishers! Sorry, Trish, when you coddle others' (in this case imaginary!) homophobia, it becomes your homophobia, wrestling with gay men in Glasgow notwithstanding, just as "but if I let Mexicans eat in my diner, I'll lose my white customers" isn't the white customers' racism, but that of the diner owner who makes that statement.

#606 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2011, 05:11 PM:

My mother (ca. 1965) was pegged to a very small region of Cleveland while at a party in college (Duquesne), because of her diction.

I have a very plastic ear, and get taken for a non-local/not automatically American when out of my local region.

This has been, mostly, helpful

#607 ::: LMM ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2011, 06:08 PM:

@604: I can't speak for anyone else, but without having read the details, it would have been hilarious had the changes made been cosmetic: change the name, change the pronouns, and then publish the explanation online.

#608 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2011, 08:47 PM:

Kip W #569: Oh, no doubt. And I have no trouble in Atlanta either, nor in other places in the South. But I'm not trying to date the prom queen. I have had to explain to an idiot Delta flight attendant that I felt entitled to sit next to my wife when she was trying to make me move 'for safety and comfort' (because darkie should not be sitting next to white lady) on a flight from New Orleans to Atlanta.

#609 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2011, 11:43 PM:

Fragano @608: I don't warrant my observations for anywhere but Virginia, and then for the parts I lived in, but it's still kind of impressive to me that the capitol of the Confederacy has loosened up that much. Atlanta's a big city, so they may be a bit less awful as well. Athens, when I saw it, seemed like a real mellow college town with a cool mix in population. In the early 80s I lived in a small town in Georgia, and things sometimes looked different there. It may be that Virginia looked better to me from having lived below the gnat line first.

There's a long way to go, and I'm sure you know that better than I do.

#610 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2011, 11:51 PM:

re 601: The point--as least as far as I was concerned--was not at first that it was a strange result, but that it was a strange question. Do they ask that in other parts of the country? You can see for yourself that they do not; indeed, a sampling of other polls on their site only turned up a NH poll in which they asked about gay marriage and another in the same state in which they asked for "tea party" affiliation (and these might have been the same poll; I've forgotten). They are a Democratic polling outfit, so it's reasonable to think that they asked the question in hopes of getting an embarrassing-for-Republicans answer.

Don't put me in the position of coming to the aid of Mississippi, because I won't. If the message is that the state is exactly as bad as everyone's stereotype of it, well, there it is.

#611 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 01:03 AM:

Donald Trump apparently is one of the favorites among the GOP's Presidential wannabes.
Oh my.

#612 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 01:06 AM:

Hyperlocal news... Man spends 3 hours screwing together a desk for wife, after which she receives an offer for a 3-book contract from Harlequin. That plus Tor contract will keep wife busy.

#613 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 02:22 AM:

Serge @ #612: "Man spends 3 hours screwing together a desk for wife, after which she receives an offer for a 3-book contract from Harlequin"

Obviously the one followed the other as night follows day!

Which means, of course, that when next she needs projects (about five years from now, I'm guessing) you'll have to get a new desk for her. It's kinda like lighting a cigarette while waiting at the bus stop. In my experience that ensures the next bus will arrive within three minutes.

#614 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 06:57 AM:

I have been reading the Alexander Pope version of The Iliad, and his over-use of eye rhymes is starting to piss me off.

#615 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 09:10 AM:

Lee @#601: Yeah, those couple sentences are wrong; I'd rather see US assistance for non-white CS citizens in getting the heck out. Then the South could sit there and fester in its bile and no one would care.

Except we'd have to work out a way to fit in Utah. Well, Alaska isn't contiguous to the rest of the US, either...

I really don't like being so down on an entire region of this country. I feel like I'm committing exactly the same sin.

#616 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 09:36 AM:

Time for an idle suggestion by the person who doesn't have to do the work!

I clicked "see all by" for Serge. I am given the last 20 and an option to see ALL by, which in this case is 16 thousand some-odd. Would it be reasonable to create some sort of subcategory, e.g. lists by year? (Xopher is around 10K, so Serge is not THAT much of an outlier.)

(I was trying to find the name under which Serge's wife publishes. I read it once.)

#617 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 09:42 AM:

Sandy B @616:

1. Susan Krinard; website here.
2. Serge is, in fact, an outlier. I can't recall if he's our most prolific commenter or merely in the top 10. It just happens that Xopher is also one.

#618 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 10:08 AM:

Carrie@615: I really don't like being so down on an entire region of this country. I feel like I'm committing exactly the same sin.

Speaking as someone who, while she lives now in New Hampshire and has done so for several decades now, was born and raised in the south, I'm glad to hear at least someone in this discussion admitting to feeling that way.

#619 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 10:14 AM:

Debra Doyle: The hell of it is, I feel like I'm at least justified--but then I would, wouldn't I? I can point at all these horrid things that happen south of the Mason-Dixon (the southern border of *my state*, no less) and say, "See, look at all those awful Southerners." As if the people I'm condemning can't do exactly the same thing, and be exactly as justified. I hate it.

#620 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 10:57 AM:

Carrie S., Debra Doyle: I see people in my circle regularly moving from "detesting viscerally the actions and preferences of a significant subset of 'Real Americans'" to "spewing contempt and hate at a subset of Americans", and I have a hard time explaining to them why it makes me uncomfortable.

So you two aren't alone, by any means. I just don't know what to do about it. I keep interjecting qualifiers and editing my friends' sentences, and they think I'm nitpicking.

#621 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 11:00 AM:

Two different coworkers made "Southerners are stupid and inbred"-type jokes at me yesterday, fully expecting me to find them funny. Does it not occur to them that I'm going to be offended? It's like saying nasty things about fat people, then, when called out over it, saying "well, you're not that fat, I wasn't talking about you."

I, personally, know someone who was the product of incest. This person is a member of my extended family. Not a friend of a friend or hearsay. (And the perpetrator? From Pennsylvania.) Abuse isn't funny, it's not a joking matter, and though I don't have a basis for comparison, I'm sure it's not limited to the south, so the rest of the country can just stop looking down on us.

I struggle with some classist tendencies, especially since I feel like I "escaped" my origins, but others insulting my home just for the fun of it is getting really old.

That doesn't mean there's a problem with discussing the really troubling survey results in Mississippi, of course.

Someone upthread pointed out quite reasonably that racism is also easy to see in, for example, the Midwest. The difference is that, in the culture at large, racism in the Midwest is an unfortunate side effect in those good, strong, heartland, family-friendly, values-holding folks, while it's only to be expected of those stupid, backwards hicks in the South.

#622 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 11:00 AM:

Carrie: I know how that feels. One of the main reasons I hated the Bush II administration so much was that it caused me to spend eight years biting my tongue to keep from saying things like, "This is what happens when you let the wrong sort of people go into politics."

#623 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 11:03 AM:

Elliott Mason @620, also Carrie S & Debra Doyle

I also am glad to hear someone saying this. I'm actually not reading this open thread any more because of this, just peeking in now and then to see if a different topic has emerged, and so happened to catch this interchange.

#624 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 11:06 AM:

Serge 611: Donald Trump apparently is one of the favorites among the GOP's Presidential wannabes.

Their whole party is an exercise in style over substance (or maybe hype over content); they also believe the country should be run as if it were a private business (sane people know that's a disastrous policy). The Donald would be the perfect candidate for them.

Canada, o Canada, I feel your icy allure ever stronger with each passing day.

Earl 614: I have been reading the Alexander Pope version of The Iliad, and his over-use of eye rhymes is starting to piss me off.

Dude, he died in 1744. Different things rhymed then. Even 19C hymn texts rhyme 'die' with 'majesty'. ("In humble pomp ride on to die/Ride on, ride on in majesty.") That's because 'majesty' was pronounced MADGE-eh-stye back then (and in England). I'm not sure anyone ever used "eye-rhymes," though of course it could happen.

Carrie 615: I'd rather see US assistance for non-white CS citizens in getting the heck out. Then the South could sit there and fester in its bile and no one would care.

You forget three things (at least): 1. Gay and Lesbian people would continue to be born, so a rescue program for them would have to be ongoing; 2. Not even all the whites, indeed not even all the poor ones (that is, too poor to get out on their own) deserve to "fester," even now; and 3. Even if everyone left in the former Confederacy was somehow guaranteed to be a scumbag, their children might not be and their grandchildren probably wouldn't be.

No easy solution to the problem of the South. Better minds than ours have tried to come up with a solution, and just walling them off isn't going to work.

Ibid. 619: I can point at all these horrid things that happen south of the Mason-Dixon (the southern border of *my state*, no less) and say, "See, look at all those awful Southerners." As if the people I'm condemning can't do exactly the same thing, and be exactly as justified. I hate it.

Just so. Not to mention the fact that there are racists everywhere; I understand that the modern Xh Xyhk Xyna was started in Pontiac, Michigan. It may be more ingrained in the culture in the rural South, but I bet there are places in, say, upstate New York where a white girl can't date an Arab guy without risking at least his life and possibly hers.

#625 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 11:07 AM:

Elliott Mason @#620: I see people in my circle regularly moving from "detesting viscerally the actions and preferences of a significant subset of 'Real Americans'" to "spewing contempt and hate at a subset of Americans", and I have a hard time explaining to them why it makes me uncomfortable.

My boyfriend has taken to referring to the Speaker of the House as "John Boner". not approve.

#626 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 11:10 AM:

Forgive me; I had hoped that it was clear enough from my comment about people looking down on Southerners that this was, in my view, a bad thing. I had intended to make it more explicit, but I'm not thinking very clearly right now (bad cold).

I apologize for any offense I've caused or perpetuated in this thread. For the record, I don't like, approve of, or agree with the fact that many Americans look down on Southerners (or any other group of Americans).

#627 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 11:17 AM:

Xopher said, "Not to mention the fact that there are racists everywhere."

My aunt and uncle, for example. :P They've got no problem with black people, but "Arabs" "just make [them] unconfortable" because they "have no pride". So I learned at Thanksgiving last year.

My family are all Democrats, voted for Obama, but they also live in a little tiny mountain town. Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh in the west, Philly in the east, the Confederacy in the middle.

Of course the first time I heard that, it was "Alabama in the middle," and round we go...

#628 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 11:40 AM:

"Man spends 3 hours screwing together a desk for wife, after which she receives an offer for a 3-book contract from Harlequin"

Like birds and nestboxes. Obviously you build a desk to entice book contracts.

My own new desk is being delivered shortly. I'm just sayin'.

#629 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 11:42 AM:

Xopher @624 the problem of the South

This may be the point where I have to step out of the thread.

#630 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 11:44 AM:

There are a good many things that are said without thought -- automatic utterances that are as reflexive as scratching an itch, and disparagement of other peoples, regions, races, etc., tends to fall into that category.

But, just as one learns to not scratch certain areas in public, one may also learn to avoid thoughtless speech.

#631 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 11:52 AM:

Gawd, that didn't sound as nearly as preachy in my mind as it appears written down.

#632 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 12:00 PM:

re 611: UGGGGGH.

Meanwhile, in another venue, I need to hammer on some libertarian gits who are going down the "the war wasn't about slavery" line, with a stopover at "St. Paul said you had to be nice to slaves, so I guess that means that slavery is OK." Elsewhere, Ta-Nehisi Coates lowers the boom on sloppy "it was complicated" teaching about the war.

#633 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 12:02 PM:

Persephone, I thought it was clear from context that I was objecting to the notion of "letting the Confederacy go" and just tossing the baby (southern states) out with the bathwater (racists like the 46% of likely primary-voting GOP in Mississippi who think interracial marriage should be illegal).

Still, my phrasing "the problem of the South" was thoughtless and actually, now that I look at it, pretty bigoted. Will you accept my apology for it? I meant something more like "the complexities of cultural interactions between northern and southern states of the US, with the many problems that racism on both sides of that line causes, and the profound political impact that all these interactions have on the nation as a whole." But I didn't SAY that, and what I did say was pretty stupid. Again, I apologize.

#634 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 12:19 PM:

Least favorite eye rhyme so far: "move" and "Jove".

#635 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 12:25 PM:

Xopher @633... Thank you for clarifying; that does help a lot. Your actual point makes sense.

Given the coincidental coworker idiocy this week, I'm feeling pretty defensive about the whole issue. I'm trying to keep it under control, though.

#636 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 12:28 PM:

Earl, it's not an eye rhyme. Pope probably pronounced those so they did rhyme, in his natural speech. Shakespeare wasn't eye-rhyming when he rhymed 'proved' with 'loved' at the end of Sonnet 116; they really rhymed back then (something like [PR|L]OH-vehd, I believe).

Pope is more recent, but long enough ago that a Jove/move rhyme is quite possible.

Find them irritating if you want, but don't blame Pope, that's all I'm saying.

#637 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 12:29 PM:

Persephone, thank you for accepting my apology. My fault entirely.

#638 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 12:30 PM:

abi @ 626... When I watched Eccleston's first episode of "Doctor Who", I was a bit perplexed at first about why Rose would bring up the animosity between North and South, then I realized that this is an alternate reality where Gettysburg is in Scotland.

#639 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 12:35 PM:

they really rhymed back then (something like [PR|L]OH-vehd, I believe).

I've heard people pronounce the "Not proven" verdict as "not proh-ven". So, yes, sounds credible.

#640 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 12:43 PM:

Xopher @637... Thanks for thinking about it. This sort of thoughtful argument and self analysis is one of the reasons I love Making Light.

#641 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 12:54 PM:

The days grow warmer
And the nights are longer;
I look at you, my lovely charmer
And see our love grows only stronger.
Together we talk, laugh, watch movies,
Ride our bikes for miles in parks;
Share our complex life histories
And marvel at the amazing arcs
Of our previous separate lives
That brought us somehow
Together. How life evolves!
Everything up until now
Was incomplete without you –
Miy kohaniy Yizhachok, ya tebe liubliu.

#642 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 01:08 PM:

Ginger @ 641... Still working on wrecking heterosexual marriages, I see. :-)

#643 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 01:11 PM:

Sandy B... I've got only 16000 posts?

#644 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 01:14 PM:

Serge @ 642: Every chance I can get! I'm out there, spreading my evil by holding hands in public, etc., etc. -- and other things too nefarious to describe on this site. Suffice it to say that my evil is squamous and rugose, and in no earthly color!

#645 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 01:21 PM:

Serge #642: That was my thought too! ;-)

#646 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 04:01 PM:

I can relate to this. :)

#647 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 04:02 PM:

Earl, #634: John Donne rhymed love/prove and deceit/bait. Pronunciations really do change over time.

#648 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 04:16 PM:

HLN: Woman discovers to her dismay that the Baltimore police have declared her 50% at fault in an auto accident in which she was actually not at all at fault. Her insurance company, however, is perfectly happy to deny reimbursement for the rental car she was forced to use while her car was in the shop for two weeks.

#649 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 04:17 PM:

New York City residents: I'm doing some geeky standup comedy Thursday, April 21st, at 7pm at Seaburn Bookstore, 33-18 Broadway, in Astoria, Queens. Admission's free. (Also hoping to hit Pacific Standard in Brooklyn this Friday, but that's not a sure thing yet.) I think Avram's probably coming.

#650 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 04:59 PM:

For my part, after reading Greek and Latin verse in the original, I find that any use of rhyme in its translation annoys me. I think it was Nabokov who coined the phrase "Begrimed and beslimed by rhyme", and that fits precisely. English has its own perfectly fine tradition of blank verse, why not draw on it?

#651 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 05:19 PM:

On racism: fivethirtyeight's "We're voting for the n***er" story was from Pennsylvania. This is subject to a lot of interpretations. The North isn't always less racist? Racists hate the abstract more than the individual? Pennsylvania is embarassing? EVERYWHERE is embarassing?

I can believe that when you subdivide enough, you get more than 50% embarassing: carve out Mississippi*, carve out Republicans, carve out "likely primary voters" [likely extremists?], and you can start getting a pretty small group to draw statistics from.

*Brief research shows Mississippi around #18 of 50 in SAT scores, pretty much tied for last in median household income. "Thank god for Mississippi" may be obsolete. I don't know, haven't ever been there.

#652 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 05:27 PM:

I was born in Virginia, then we moved to Mississippi for a few years, then spent most of my childhood in Alabama. I hated it, hated it, hated it. The week I turned 18 I moved to Wisconsin, and I've never been back to the South except to visit my parents*, who still live there. (And are nice people.)

For years, I felt justified in saying very harsh things about the South, because I was unfortunate enough to be forced to live there. It's only with age and maturity that I've been able to let that go, and I know that there is still a lot of reflexive prejudice in me on the subject.

I've gotten to the point where I can talk about positive attributes of the region, with sincerity, but I was not at all surprised by the poll, and I will never voluntarily live in either Mississippi or Alabama again.

All of that to say that I sympathise with Carrie S. @615 and following. It's very uncomfortable to find that I'm not so different than what I'm complaining about.

*I did get a master's at Mr. Jefferson's University, but that's not in Alabama, which is the place I really hated.

#653 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 06:49 PM:

Ah, David G @650, but what of "I do not like thee, Dr. Fell"? One case where the added rhyme (IMO) amazingly improves the poem.

#654 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 07:38 PM:

Juli Thompson #652: <waves hand from vicinity of UVA>

I live in Charlottesville, and we're basically a blue dot in the middle of Southern red.♣ I doubt that's due to Mr. Jefferson's ghost; but it may well be due to his university! Certainly, racism isn't limited to the South, but it's more visible there, in large part because of the failure of Reconstruction.

But really, tribalism in human societies is pretty nearly universal and sometimes more "rational" than one might think. Even some famously egalitarian societies have lately been having trouble with new colors of immigrants.

But consider that our now-contracting world is going to face many more of the ugly resource conflicts that have been ripping up Africa and the Middle East. This is complicated by the point that some sub-tribes are distinctly bad actors, who have no qualms about drafting their more-peaceful neighbors into their fights.

None of this is to say we shouldn't be fighting tribalism, including racism... but remember that it's been a fixture in the past -- if we ever manage to root it out of any long-term human society, that will be a first!

And there's also the inarguable point that some people really are fighting for racism -- an assortment of politicians, celebrities, and plutocrats who variously profit by dividing people against each other.

♣ See also, recent Perriello campaign.

#655 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 08:48 PM:

Tom: Okay, I'll give you that one. "Nearly any" rather than "any", if you prefer.

#656 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 09:12 PM:

Note to self: The abstract which has been written badly can be edited and improved. The abstract which has not been written will continue to suck.

(Sayeth she who has just written what is possibly the world's worst abstract.)

#657 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 09:12 PM:

Sumana Harihareswara: I'd come, but I don't land until about 2130.

I will be in Jersey/New York from 21 April to 1 May. It's passover, so visiting may be problematic. I'll be moving in July.

#658 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 10:02 PM:

C. Wingate @#632 linked to a Ta-Nehisi Coates piece, which reminded me of an old post of mine back in the William F. Buckley thread and that I apparently was never exposed to the primary sources quoted in that Ta-Nahisii Coates piece. It is an odd feeling to discover that one's early education was rather, er, politically influenced. NOLA was my hometown a long time ago, and I have lots of family in MS and AL.

#659 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2011, 11:10 PM:

Terry @657, I am also attempting to set up a performance for Friday the 22nd; hope to update this thread when that happens, will definitely update my blog.

#660 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2011, 12:19 AM:

Might be doable. It's during Passover, but that's neither your fault, nor problem.

#661 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2011, 12:58 AM:

C. Wingate@632, start your libertarian git friends on Jeffrey Hummel's Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men. His main point is that there are two rather separate questions - why the South seceded, and why the North reconquered them.

The South did have other issues, but basically it was slavery, slavery, slavery, spam with slavery in it, slavery, and some slavery on top. Sure, there were economic issues involved, but they mainly revolved around slavery-based plantation agriculture, and the South did shoot first, at Ft. Sumter, but the North was pushing them, which they perceived to be a threat to their slave-holding.

The North's issues were much more complicated, with nationalism, economics, Manifest Destiny, and other things, and while they certainly would have banned slavery, Lincoln didn't even get around to the Emancipation Proclamation until 1863, when the war wasn't going well and his poll ratings were lousy.

I don't agree with the people who argue that slavery would have faded away in a few decades for economic reasons if the North had let the South go; people don't give up either privilege or evil easily. Would there have been less evil if it they'd relied on economics and preaching to get the South to give up slavery instead of having a war that killed over a million people and caused problems that apparently haven't healed yet? That's a tougher call, and anybody who tells you hindsight is 20/20 is way wrong.

#662 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2011, 01:42 AM:

Bill, #661: Even during the heart of the slavery era, slave-owners commonly rented out their slaves for physical labor in warehouses. It's very likely that as agriculture became more mechanized, surplus slaves would have been transferred to manufacturing jobs such as the iron-oriented ones around Birmingham, AL... and any who couldn't be made profitable that way would simply have been killed.

Open Thread: Colorado chef brags about serving patrons who inquired about gluten-free pasta regular pasta instead.

Apparently he believes that celiac disease and gluten allergies are imaginary fad diseases, and takes obscene delight in serving his customers something that might kill them.

#664 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2011, 08:23 AM:

One of the worst-weirdest bits of racism I've heard of, small-scale, was a friend in Long Island whose mother forbade her to use her middle name because it was Italian and people might think she was Hispanic and hurt her. Both my hometown and my current town of Iowa City are trying to deal with an influx of people from Chicago who are causing problems in the school districts; 'people from Chicago' means 'black and often poor and raised with different strategies and skills' emphasis on the black. My racist uncle has lived in the Midwest as long as I've known him. My parents, from near-Chicago/Maryland and rural New York, were happy when the boys calling my sister years ago started sounding white. I have complained about black names, ostracized a black classmate, mindlessly labeled the single Asian person in a story while not marking all the white people, described biracial Puerto Rican/white people as all looking the same except for my cousins, and failed again and again and again.

No one gets to rest. No one gets to point to someone else and say, "They're the problem," because there is not one problem discrete enough to point to. I don't get to point to Mississippi and blame them, I don't get to point to my family in central Pennsylvania and blame them (actually, the racist uncle's on the other side), I don't get to point to my parents and blame them, not unless I am pointing with all my fingers and one's straight at me.

I do get to keep working and encouraging others to work. "I'm trying and sometimes failing," isn't much, but it's better than, "I'm not trying at all."

#665 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2011, 08:37 AM:

And the South, like most places I suppose, is odd and somewhat schizophrenic, and what you hear depends not only on who you ask, but on who you are.

On one hand, I find the poll unsurprising; I lived near and in Jackson TN (barely an hour from Mississippi) and know that a lot of older people, black and white, were very hostile to inter-racial romances.

On the other hand, two of my sisters have lived in that area* in small towns, and have had long-term (10 years for one, 8 for the other), stable relationships with black men; neither of them, nor their partners, report any particular hostility/criticism from anyone other than jealous ex-girlfriends of their partners.

*One still lives there, and is married to a black man; one moved away a few years ago, but lived there for 5 years with her boyfriend.

#666 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2011, 09:06 AM:

Ginger @644-Some of the colors they've come up with for spring and summer clothes this year are pretty damn uncanny, even on polo shirts and such.

#667 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2011, 10:16 AM:

Lee #662, Naomi Parkhurst #663: IIRC, at least one restaurant owner has faced felony charges after Chinese "politeness covering language failure" collided with a customer's peanut allergy.

#668 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2011, 10:17 AM:

re 661: My guess is that there's no hope in trying to get the libergits to read anything out of their pet sources. Indeed it seems that over the course of the past several years their position has increasingly hardened: they blame Lincoln, Wilson and FDR for all our political "woes" and look to Ron Paul as the second coming of Ludwig von Mises. Sometimes I think it is the influence of too much Thomism, as most of them are trad Catholics (or Anglican Tiber-crossers, which can be worse); they seem to believe that you think things out once, and that settles it, and you never have to revisit the question ever again. Of course they follow Lew Rockwell's crowd assiduously. Really the main reason I continue to engage with them is that I figure that someone wandering in on the conversation ought to hear a non-insane side to things, not to mention the refutation of out-and-out falsehoods.

I think you are right to doubt the gradual disappearance of slavery.

re 658: I had never seen the Mississippi declaration passage before either, and I hunted down the other three states' declarations for comparison:

Texas: The controlling majority of the Federal Government, under various pretences and disguises, has so administered the same as to exclude the citizens of the Southern States, unless under odious and unconstitutional restrictions, from all the immense territory owned in common by all the States, on the Pacific ocean, for the avowed purpose of acquiring sufficient power in the common government, to use it as a means of destroying the institutions of Texas and her sister slaveholding States.

Georgia: The people of Georgia having dissolved their political connection with the Government of the United States of America, present to their confederates, and the world, the causes which have led to the separation. For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slaveholding confederate States, with reference to the subject of African slavery.

SC starts off with a loooong exposition about states' rights but when it comes to specific grievances, well, slavery is the first thing they mention: We affirm that these ends for which this Government was instituted have been defeated, and the Government itself has been made destructive of them by the action of the non-slaveholding States. Those States have assumed the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions; and have denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of Slavery; they have permitted the open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloign the property of the citizens of other States. They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection.

I don't know why even middle school books omit these, as they are abundantly clear to anyone who can read at all.

#669 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2011, 10:21 AM:

IHNFU,IJLS "eloign".

#670 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2011, 10:50 AM:

SamChevre@665--This is very true. You often don't know, when talking to someone, which side of these things they are going to come down on.

I said earlier [520] that there was more I could say about why racism is an enduring issue in the southern states. Now that I have a real keyboard at hand that will not require constant thumb abuse to employ, here's some of it:

Enabling activities on the part of the rest of the US cannot be disregarded. As several of us have noted, we live in a racist society, even those of us who are not just "not-racist" but actively "anti-racist". Some of this is passive, the result of existence in a racist society, where actual eradication of these attitudes, habits, and practices take hard, constant work, when we really have a lot of other problems that also have to be dealt with all the time. Some of it is active, and has been going on for a very long time.

Most of the original 13 states allowed slavery to begin with; it was only in the southern states that is was seen as an economic necessity rather than a convenience. One of the reasons many felt slavery would fade away with the progress of the new century (the nineteenth) was that the tobacco land of Virginia and Maryland was playing out, indigo in South Carolina was ceasing to be a significant trade crop, and rice in South Carolina and Georgia were lesser players. Southern planters looked at cotton as a new cash crop, and were appalled at the amount of labor it took to clean the seeds out of the individual bolls and prepare it for market.

Then the Industrial Revolution took a hand, and Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin, a device which mechanically removed the seeds, and all of a sudden the southern Indian tribes needed to be sent west to the plains so that white people could have their land, with its suitable growing season, to farm cotton on a grand scale.

Plenty of people saw no problem with this expansion and the new life it gave to the slavery system. Northern textile mills owners were deighted to have an aditional fiber to work with, and constantly agitated for tariffs to protect the market for their products, and discourage exportation of raw cotton. Northerners who wanted to get rich quickly flooded into the southern states and territories and became planters themselves.

It's only a slight exaggeration to say everyone wanted a piece of King Cotton, and along with King Cotton came the harlot, Slavery. People could say they would, themselves, never own a slave, and still feel no qualms about making money off the materials produced by that institution. Congress passed acts permitting the extension of slavery into new territories; Texas was extracted from Mexico and later absorbed into the US in large part because Mexico did not permit slavery at that time. The fugitive slave acts were passed, and not just because northern politicians felt they had to play along to get support for their bills from southern politicians. The argument that a man should not be able to be alienated from his property because said property didn't like the system was allowed to stand because too few would stand up and argue back that talking about a human being in the same terms as a mule or a cow was intolerable.

Too many people were prepared to believe that Africans and Americans of African descecnt were intrinsically inferior; both too lazy and indifferent to work to support themselves, and also to "savage" and violent to exist in "civilized" company without constant repression, for their own good and that of others.

After the Civil War was over, and Reconstruction was dismissed as too expensive and too politically unpopular, many in the southern states found ways to get back to something like "the goold old days". Share-cropping came in, as well as the institution of "convict labor"--and so what was at one time one of the largest steel producers in the US came into being. (see, Lee @662? You were right about that--but then Montgomery Bell and other iron masters in Tennessee and elsewhere were using slave labor heavily--some said that work at Cumberland Furnace was worse than any feld work they'd done because work expectations were harsher, and the men there were separated from their families altogether.)

As far as white southerners were concerned, racist insitutions were not wrong at all in the eyes of the rest of the US--let us recall that Brown v. Board of Education involved the Topeka Schools, and we don't ordinarily think of Kansas as a southern state. In most of the rest of the country, what was enforced by law in the southern US was suported by social attitudes elsewhere. The KKK in the 1920s had virtual control of the state of Indiana; Ossian Sweet, MD, and his wife were assaulted in their home and then tried for attempting to defend themselves in Michigan. These are scarecely rare instances and examples.

It wasn't until the pro-Civil Rights parts of the New Deal (which were generally successfully resisted in many places--Social Security did not, at first, apply to domestic or agricultural workers--which meant, in the southern states, African-Americans; the FHA enabled red-lining everywhere) and (O! final straw!) Harry Truman (from the proudly segregated state of Missouri) integrated the military and the Democratic Party adopted Hubert Humphrey's civil rights plank for the 1948 party platform that Southern Democrats felt the need to actually fight their party, instead of just imposing their expectations on things. As far as they were concerned, they just had the honesty to admit openly what plenty of people around the country believed but might not go on the formal record about--and the sorts of things said even nowadays by people like Rush Limbaugh, Patrick Buchanan, and others--either flat-out or in coded terms gives this belief some support.

So, yes, we enabled these attitudes, as a nation, and in many cases shared them. As to persistence long after the end of the Civil War and the passage of the 14th Amendment--well, I've gone on long enough for now, and I think I'll add my thoughts on that later.

#671 ::: Rob Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2011, 11:04 AM:

I was wondering if anyone had advice on where the software documentation jobs (if any) are in New York City. I have the credentials, I'm just wondering if there are avenues of entry that I don't know about besides the STC.

Since this is late in the thread and I don't expect much of a response, I hope its OK if I repost in the next open thread.



#672 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2011, 11:36 AM:

I just have to share this! Sound Sculptures!
supreme geekyness with speakers, paint, photograpy, and software discovered via NPR's photo of the day.

#673 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2011, 11:40 AM:

fidelio, #670: I notice that you address tobacco, indigo, and rice, but not sugar cane. During that period, was there any reason to think that cane harvesting and processing might become less labor-intensive?

#674 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2011, 11:56 AM:

Re: the Atlantic Management particle:

This blog post talks about a non-obvious impact of allowing pharmaceutical companies to do direct to consumer advertising--the path to power in those companies now mainly goes through the advertising/marketing/sales/legal departments, rather than through the lab. This turns out not to be all that great an idea.

This is a speculation on Marginal Revolution that much of management theory amounts to ways to obscure things enough that you can get people with very different interests all pointed the same direction.

I don't have any management training, nor do I have a particular interest in that direction, so I'll admit I may be missing the vast value of management techniques and an MBA.

#675 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2011, 12:01 PM:

Victoria @672: Oh, COOL!!! Thanks for posting that!

#676 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2011, 01:07 PM:

Lee @673--At that point, sugar cultivation was either in the Caribbean, none of which was part of the US, and to a small extent in Louisiana, which was not, until after 1803, part of the US. It took industrialization to make cane less labor-intensive as well, but it was always a smaller player than cotton, which is what drove the settlement of the deep south east of Louisana and was behind the drive west into Texas. So Washington et al. were probably not thinking about sugar cane--although the economic value pfthat commodity was one of the obstacles faced by British abolitionists like Wilberforce.

#677 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2011, 02:23 PM:

albatross 674: Re: the Atlantic Management particle

Thanks for alerting me to that. I've passed it on to a few friends for whom it might be ... appropriate.

Each new fad calls attention to one virtue or another—first it’s efficiency, then quality, next it’s customer satisfaction, then supplier satisfaction, then self-satisfaction, and finally, at some point, it’s efficiency all over again.

Do you suppose Pantone dictates which one is current every year?

#678 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2011, 02:40 PM:

Oh My God!!!
A new "Coyote/Roadrunner" cartoon!!!
Right HERE...
That's all, Folks!

(My many thanks to Jane Fancher for passing this on.)

#679 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2011, 03:08 PM:

674 albatross, re: Marginal Revolution post: Part of the question is:

Do companies think that they create net value when they [conflate to marketroid-speak]?

My answer to that is cynical, but probably correct: No, but I think that that users of the jargon believe that the value of their work is higher when in jargon, or at least that the people with firing responsibilities (I'm sorry, "those charged with day-to-day management of the department, including employee lifecycle decisions") think so. And because those people are in the same world, they *also* think that the people above *them* value Manglementspeak over one-syllable Anglo-Saxon, so therefore, they *do* value it more in their subordinates.

It also tends to homogenise management, aiding the belief that management is a universal, transferable skill, which is of course of net value to managers (which I think is where we started?)

It doesn't much matter whether it is of net value to *the company*; the people making the decisions for the company, and the people being decided on, do think it is of net value, and so it will happen and continue to happen.

Note: I am not anti-jargon per se, and certainly in my world of IT, use of jargon in a protective, rather than a increased-shade-of-meaning, or one term means 100 words, way, is too common to count ("job security" is a Jargon File term, after all). So it's not just an M.B.A. problem.

#680 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2011, 03:43 PM:

Well, here's an interesting development. One of the major organizers of the National Organization for Marriage (one of the world's great caconyms)'s huge tour against marriage equality has changed his mind. He details his reasons, and says that the tour itself made gay and Lesbian people real to him.

#681 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2011, 03:45 PM:


I think self-deception is a large part of successful deception of others. People who can deceive themselves that they're extraordinarily valuable are probably better at deceiving others that they're extraordinarily valuable. And there is nothing on Earth easier to get most people to believe than that they, and people like them, are extraordinarily valuable.

I imagine this is a part of the appeal of the sort of theories of management that claim that a good manager should be able to manage anything--take him from the drywall manufacturing plant and put him in charge of a software company or a chain of hair salons or a regulated power utility, and he'll do just fine. And also part of the appeal of MBAs.

But I also think there's a great deal in common between politics and management, especially as the organization gets bigger and more diverse. In both cases, the interests of different groups are so far apart that it's often quite hard to get everyone pulling in the same direction, there are some groups who are too powerful to directly challenge even if the boss thinks they're an anchor tied around the company's/government's neck, some ideas or statements of fact are unspeakable, etc. And there seems to me to be a fair bit in common between politicians' doubletalk and elaborate verbal constructs (cf "revenue enhancement," "legacy assets," "enhanced interrogation," "extrajudicial killing") and those you sometimes see in even moderate sized companies.

#682 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2011, 04:05 PM:

A key map: Map Showing the Distribution of the Slave Population of the Southern States of the United States Compiled from the Census of 1860

Abraham Lincoln had a copy of this hanging on the wall. You can plainly see the cotton region in the south and the tobacco region of the VA/MD tidewater.

It's a bit iffy to characterize the North as "enabling"; maybe "codependent" would be a better word. One of the things they did teach me properly in school was that the political system was rigged from the very beginning to placate the slave-holding south; Lincoln's election represented the point of failure for this and secession declarations say precisely that. I don't think, at that point, that the north's appetite for cotton was enough to bring economic pressure against slavery, because what they wouldn't buy, the Europeans would. (The overall war strategy reflected this: blockading southern ports was key from the beginning.) Plus, having one's things take makes one stubborn, whether or not it is justified in some system or another.

Possibly the only thing that might have tipped the balance would have been large-scale confiscation of slaveholder property, and I'm dubious that even that would have sufficed.

#683 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2011, 04:47 PM:

@Lee no. 662: Per the comments, as of last night, the chef is jobless and has left the state. Hopefully he will also be prosecuted for his culpable ignorance. He could have killed somebody!

This reminds me of a letter to either Dear Abby or Ann Landers about a group of friends who had regular potlucks. One of them developed a tomato allergy that required her to start carrying an Epi-Pen. She overheard one of her friends telling another friend about a plan to hide tomatoes in the potluck food, spring the surprise on the letter writer after the meal, and end this silly attention-getting "life-threatening allergy" charade once and for all.

Ann's/Abby's response was as close to "Holy crap get out of there!" as I can recall from that venerable pseudonym.

#684 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2011, 04:50 PM:

Well, Jenny, you have to admit it COULD have ended it once and for all...

Those are not people to have as friends. Or acquaintances. Or allow within X, where X is the maximum distance you can get a restraining order to exclude them from.

#685 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2011, 05:06 PM:

Serge @ 678 -

I had seen that one earlier on Vimeo, but it got pulled soon after for copyright violation. We'll see how long it lasts on Wimp.

It is absolutely hilarious. It has the flavor of the old Chuck Jones classics plus the much greater detail possible in computer animation.

#686 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2011, 05:10 PM:

Steve C @ 685... As a punishment for their copyright violation, I think they should be forced to... create more of those cartoons. That'll teach them to mess with les Frères Warner.

#687 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2011, 05:14 PM:

C. Wingate #682--I think it's important to remember that political and social attitudes changed a fair bit between 1787, when the Constitution enshrined the compromises intended to make the southern states happy, and the 1850s. There are a lot of reasons for this: the efforts of the abolitionists to sucessfully propagandize the issue, increased and improved means of travel and communication, which made it easier for people outside the southern states to get some idea of what the slavery system was like up-close, the altogether charming behaviors of southern politicians and spokesmen, including John C. Calhoun and his nullification doctrine, Bully Brooks and the attack on Senator Sumner, the Border Wars in Kansas and Missouri, the hysterical insistence on the expansion of slavery by southern politicians (to keep the votes in the Senate even, not because areas like Kansas offered much scope for plantation-based agriculture), the Fugitive Slave Acts--all these helped change things. Attitudes across the northern states altered a great deal in that time--even between 1827, when the final parts of New York's emancipation legislation went into effect, and 1857. It was harder to look away, and there were more people determined to make it so. Even as the textile industrialists bought cotton produced by slaves, people in the same places were leading abolotitionist agitators.

You are quite correct about Lincoln's election coming at the failure point in the system; prior to that time, southern slave owners and those aspirant to that status (there was always greater social prestige granted in the southern states to large land-owners than to successful businessmen and professionals, so people who made money moved into the slave-holding class as a symbol of their success) had no reason to believe they would not be allowed to continue as they were. The rise of abolitionism and increase in non-slave states only alarmed them in that they were determined to keep a parity in the Senate, to prevent national abolition legislation. As far as they could tell, as long as they had that things would never change.

The inability of the Democrats to settle on a single candidate in 1860 brought in Lincoln, and things fell apart rapidly at that point--not because Lincoln was in a position to do much, if it comes right down to it, but because the southern political leaders had worked themselves into a tizzy and couldn't think what else to do.

Complicity: How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery by Farrow, Lang and Frank is worth a look for the economic interactions in the first half of the nineteenth-cuntury that encouraged enablement.

#688 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2011, 05:25 PM:

re 681: I think the big difference between the political variety and the managerial variety is that the former is almost entirely concerned with the obfuscation and euphemism, whereas the latter is principally concerned with self-importance. Consider well the famous passage by White: "The businessman says that ink erasers are in short supply, that he has updated the next shipment of these erasers, and that he will finalize his recommendations at the next meeting of the board. He is speaking a language that is familiar to him and dear to him. Its portentous nouns and verbs invest ordinary events with high adventure; the executive walks among ink erasers, caparisoned like a knight." Managers also lie like politicians, of course, and for exactly the same reasons, and when politicians want to elevate the petty business of day-to-day operations, they inflate like businessmen. But the distinction between the two kinds of bloviation is usually apparent.

In a technical field, there is another aspect which I'm absolutely sure is functioning in the big pharma case: there are lots of technical people who can also manage, but people who go directly to business schools generally cannot do the technical stuff. Therefore there is a huge status face-off, because the technical people are always threatening to make the business school people irrelevant by producing their own management. But it's bloomin' obvious that the people who are both technical and capable of management are the superior choice to run things, so the face-saving response for the MBA is to declare that technical knowledge is really irrelevant, and the business school cultus becomes that it's actually a liability to know anything about the business the company is in.

#690 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2011, 06:33 PM:

The management particle just goes to show what I've thought since reading a book called "The naked Manager" by Robert Heller. Published in the late 60's/ early 70's, I found that the management in the places I was working in the early 21st century were making the same mistakes as their predecessors.

So yes, better management of a company is a good thing. What I oppose is the deification of management, the treatment of it as the end, not the means to another end. Perhaps the best example is in British univerities. The impression I have gotten over the last couple of years of reading about them and their predicaments, added to my own limited experience, is that as soon as the cult of management is established, the university begins to suffer. Departments will be threatened for no reason other than someone thinks they don't make enough money right now or aren't sexy enough, or will be remodelled despite being both profitable and effective in teaching, because they need to be structured to be managed. The number of managers of course increases as well.
(See the UCL institute of Pharmacology, deceased)

The end result is that much of the original rationale of the university, i.e. education, scholarship, innovation, are suborned and made to feed only the managements ego, in a centralised fashion. It may be more efficient in a measurable way, but I bet it isn't any better in terms of the original aims of the universities.

#691 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2011, 06:39 PM:

HLN: Despite sleep deprivation, thundering herds of stampeding humans, and being nibbled to death by ducks, woman does not commit homicide.

#692 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2011, 06:56 PM:

fidelio @ #687, The change in American attitudes toward slavery was probably accelerated by the abolition of slavery by Britain in 1833 and by France fifteen years later.

#693 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2011, 08:51 PM:

Rob Thornton@671: I do tech and I live in NYC, but I tend to work in smaller organizations that don't employ full-time tech writers. If you're looking for full-time work solely doing tech writing, I imagine the big firms (IBM, Google, Wolters Kluwer, Wall Street financial firms) are the places to look. If you can also branch out into business analysis of various kinds, that'll put you in line for research & consulting positions at places like Forrester, Gartner, 451 Group, the big tech consulting firms, etc.

Have you hit the various tech meetups in NYC, or tried a recruiter like Robert Half?

#694 ::: Rob Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2011, 09:01 PM:

Sumana Harihareswara@693 No I have not tried those groups. Thanks for the suggestions. Funny, the post about your stand-up reminded me why I'd like to move up there.... :)


#695 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2011, 10:36 PM:

Argh. I heard the following dialogue on television just now:

EMT: He needs a transfusion.
Woman: [Mom] is O negative, the universal donor.
EMT: Doesn't matter. He needs about three units of his own type, AB negative.*
[Mom's] Son: Test me.

And yes, Son turns out to be AB negative, even though his mother is O negative.**

*Bullshit. He does not. O negative can give to AB negative just fine.
*Bullshit again. He could only be A negative or B negative. He couldn't be AB unless his mother was either A or B.

#696 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2011, 10:44 PM:

C. Wingate and fidelio @ various:

Thanks for this discussion. I sort of knew a lot of this stuff in general, but the particulars are fascinating.

Speaking of management-speak, if there's one phrase I'd like to have rooted out of the lexicon (among a great many) at the moment, it would be "going forward". I should have kept a tally, but I think I heard it about 24 times in 30 minutes.

And for everyone else:

Kids from a school in Bondi Beach get a visit from a dinosaur.

#697 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2011, 10:45 PM:

Serge at 678:
But it's only three minutes and two seconds!

The proper length for a Looney Tunes cartoon is six and a half minutes. This is because the producer once asked a distributor what the shortest film is they'd distribute (thinking he'd save money by making them as short as possible) and their answer was six and a half minutes.

#698 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2011, 11:15 PM:

Erik Nelson @ 697... Yes, but what awesome 3 minutes and 2 seconds! MeepMeep!

#699 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2011, 11:53 PM:

Xopher #695: Depending on the genre, they could be setting up for next month's arc: "Mom... I found out I'm adopted," :-)

#700 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2011, 12:23 AM:

WRT "management" and universities: I don't remember where I found this. I hope it wasn't here.

#701 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2011, 01:43 AM:

Xopher@695: Actually, the blood type thing is possible: Mary Kuhner (who is a working research geneticist) once mentioned on Usenet that there exists a recessive trait that suppresses the production of blood antigen proteins, effectively causing you to be type O no matter what your genetics. So the mother could be, say, type A with the suppressor trait and the father could be type B, and their son could then be AB.

I have personal experience with this. My parents are both type O, but my brother is type B, which ought to be impossible. (And no, wiseacre, there is no doubt about his parentage.) So one of them must have the suppressor trait -- I suspect it's my dad, as I have a cousin who is type AB, suggesting that there's B genetics on his side.

#702 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2011, 02:18 AM:

C. Wingate, #682: One of the things they did teach me properly in school was that the political system was rigged from the very beginning to placate the slave-holding south

Yes indeed, although I don't remember learning it in school, but from 1776. In the notes in the back of the libretto book, the authors mention that the quote which was rendered as "If we give way on this, our children will never forgive us" was actually "If we give way on this, there will be trouble a hundred years hence; our children will never forgive us". They couldn't use it as written because modern-day audiences would have thought they were employing 20-20 hindsight; the prediction was off by only a decade.

KeithS, #696: Wow! Think we could get him to a Worldcon? Even if it's not eligible for the masquerade, think what a hall costume that would make!

#703 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2011, 02:59 AM:

Xopher: That's irksome (though as pointed out, not impossible). M*A*S*H used to annoy me with the desperate need for AB+.

#704 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2011, 06:45 AM:

Serge @ 686:
Warner Brothers actually made three new CGI Road Runner shorts; there's another one here.

#705 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2011, 09:03 AM:

Linkmeister @692--It absolutely was, with William Lloyd Garrison et al. adopting many of the methods, arguments and maneuvers employed by Wilberforce and his crowd.

C. WIngate @689--Data is good, even when distressing.

Keith S. @696--I'm glad it isn't just annoying.

#706 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2011, 10:55 AM:

Peter Rewin @ 704... Another one? I'll go look as soon as issues with my jobs's Wile E Coyote-like system are taken care of.

#707 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2011, 12:55 PM:

David 699: It was Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. So no, she'd shoot him, assuming he was a Terminator duplicate.

David 701: Wow. I did not know that.

Of course, I bet the writers didn't either, there's no reason for an EMT to know it, and Sarah Connor would know about blood (but not that obscure genetic fact). Not to mention that it's still absurd to claim that the universal donor can't donate because the recipient "needs his own type."

I would never cast doubt on your brother's parentage! Wiseacreage only goes so far.

As for that gene...that has potential uses if they can make it work. Imagine if all donors could donate type O blood, regardless of their usual type, just by taking a pill every day for a week or so. (There probably would be other consequences, though. Autoimmune response...echh, better not go there.)

Terry 703: Yeah, desperate need for the universal recipient type. Hey, does that mean that if you have AB negative blood, you can take a donation from anyone who's Rh negative? That is, not only AB neg (and, of course, O neg), but A neg and B neg as well? It seems like it should.

#708 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2011, 12:57 PM:

This should be of interest to just about everybody who uses computers and/or money - some information on the successful FBI/DOJ takedown of the CoreFlood botnet:

In other news, I'd like to apologize to C. Wingate for my inappropriately sharp sarcasm upthread, and join in the thanks for the historical detail he and others are providing here.

#709 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2011, 01:25 PM:


I grew up in the 70's and 80's and there's a series of kids' science fiction I'm trying to remember (which could very well be older than me). Two boys and a girl Do Science. There's a House of the Future (with robot appliances that get out of control) and another book where they shrink...

It's on the tip of my tongue, and I'm not having any luck with Google.

Help, please?

#710 ::: JM ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2011, 01:30 PM:

Naomi: That's the Danny Dunn series (by Williams and Abrashkin, IIRC), which I loved as a kid and which you're tempting me to go buy on eBay.

#711 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2011, 01:41 PM:

JM @ 710

YES! Thank you.

#712 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2011, 01:46 PM:

The Danny Dunn series apparently holds up well to re-reading as an adult. (It was referenced at a panel on re-reading childhood favorites at Lunacon last month.)

#713 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2011, 01:59 PM:

Xopher @695, plus all the others: Why not "And we're happy to take your donation, ma'am, but it will take a little time to process it for transfusion, and he needs a transfusion sooner than that"? IIRC, surely there's a little more involved than just shunting the blood from Donor at point A to Transfusee at Point B. There's a reason blood volume expanders get used a lot in emergency situations, but I guess those lack the sort of !Drama! they like in Hollywood.

Also, pharmed blood from umbilical cord stem cells sounds like an awesome project.

#714 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2011, 02:02 PM:

HLN: Woman's mother is in hospital (for a relatively minor thing that will stay minor with proper attention) for five days before woman's father emails with the news. Woman is annoyed, worried, and grateful for prayer and/or positive energy.

#715 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2011, 02:11 PM:

TexAne @714:

Oh, gracious. I'll say a word where words are said, and have a virtual hug as well.

#716 ::: LizardBreath ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2011, 02:13 PM:

Although the Danny Dunn time travel book nearly drove me mad when I read it as a child. The dopey poet friend ends up in a loop, where he's present twice in the same place (say, for the sake of describing it, the first time through the loop he's wearing a red shirt, the second he's wearing a blue shirt). And the book describes the scene in which they're both present. Later in the book, we hear the poet describe what it's like being in the same scene for the second time, and on his second time through, he's not the one in the blue shirt, he's still in the red shirt, but this time he can only perceive what's going on, he can't change his actions. He never lives through the experiences of the guy in the blue shirt.

When I read this, I spent ages worrying over how it could possibly make sense. Years later it occurred to me that the writer had simply screwed up, and it took a substantial weight off my mind.

#717 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2011, 02:30 PM:

TexAnne @ 714... Good thoughts on their way.

#718 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2011, 02:32 PM:

TexAnne, hugs and bright blessings where they're wanted.

#719 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2011, 03:14 PM:

TexAnne @ 714 -

Sending prayers your way. My parents routinely pull that sort of nonsense (last time was a mom's latest stay at a Mental Health Facility a couple of years ago). Frustrating!

#720 ::: hannakr ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2011, 04:02 PM:

I did not know that about the blood types and the suppressor genes. That's really interesting.

I thought I'd learned somewhere that in some cases it is better to give a patient matching blood than to just default to O- but Wikipedia doesn't back me up. I probably got it from a medical drama.

Wikipedia does say (in the Blood Donor article) that O- is only the universal donor for red blood cells. For plasma donation, AB is the universal donor. Still, I doubt M*A*S*H was doing plasma transfusions.

#721 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2011, 04:05 PM:

Xopher@707: Oh, I'm absolutely with you that the writers were just blundering (and on more than one count). I meant to say so and forgot to put it in. But it made a nice excuse to display a shiny obscure fact.

#722 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2011, 04:06 PM:

Prions like Möbius strips, cavorting,
Seduce other proteins to fold just so.
"Come dance with us", they sing, distorting;
Terpsichore weeps frozen tears, laid low.

Fouled hekatombs burned in thoughtless panic,
The stench of despair offends Olympus.
"What blasphemy is this?" great Zeus thunders,
"Yet again, unheeding Man defies us!"

"Our honey-tongued daughter suffers in chains,
No banquet worth remembrance lacks her dance,"
Mnemosyne hugging the knees of Zeus explains;
She cries, "please free her from her awful trance!"

Asclepius toils to find remedies,
He offers Hope, but no sure guarantees.

#723 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2011, 04:38 PM:

Completely OT even for an open thread, but:

if the dance break at the end of this video does not make you smile, you are legally dead.

#724 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2011, 04:47 PM:

Xopher, #707: When I had my bad wreck back in college, one of the things I remember hearing discussed was that even though they could have given me O blood*, it was preferable to give me my own type (I'm AB+), and they had to fly some in from St. Louis to Nashville. So I suspect the "universal donor" thing to be more a matter of "in cases of absolute crash emergency where it is not possible to get a matching type". Of course, IANAD; enlightenment would be welcomed.

* Or any other type, since AB is the universal receiver. As I am RH-positive, I think that also applies to RH-negative blood; it's the other way around that you don't want to do.

#725 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2011, 04:58 PM:

The Mayo Clinic offers a brief explanation of the blood type thing.

More detail and a game (!) from the Nobel Prize website.

#726 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2011, 05:32 PM:

TexAnne sympathies, one of my parents has been disturbingly late (like WEEKS) in reporting the demise of two of my relatives on that side of the family.*

Hugs and good wishes.

*Looks like I have my post for this year's dysfunctional families day...

#727 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2011, 06:05 PM:

House Democrats grow a spine!

Summary: Rather than trying to defeat a lunatic TPer-approved "budget" bill, House Democrats simply voted "present" en masse -- leaving it up to the Republicans to decide whether this legislation was going to pass or not! Faced with the threat of passing a measure so toxic that it would be political suicide, Republicans had to vote "no". The bill failed by a narrow margin.

And the TPers still don't get it. They're seeing this as being breathtakingly close to victory.

#728 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2011, 06:17 PM:

David 721: And it was very shiny indeed, and I'm very glad to know it. Ditto the information that it's actually better to give the true matching type...though the situation in the show was definitely an "absolute crash emergency." OTOH I'm not sure a teenager could give three units of blood without being really sick afterwards, but oh well, Hollywood knows as much about medicine as they know about anything else, which is Not Very Much.

#729 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2011, 07:11 PM:

TexAnne #714: Thinking good thoughts for you.

#730 ::: vee ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2011, 08:05 PM:

Apropos several hundred comments ago, distinct subthreads re: Mother Gothel and TV Tropes, led me to this page which sort of ties them together: Hilariously Abusive Childhood trope page.

Which made me ponder my own childhood, on discovering that, while I understand many people find the given examples "hilarious", my own experience leans closer to Dude Not Funny territory.

I try not to think too much or too often about how controlling my mother is, as I currently live at home. But abuse? Isn't that something that happens to other people...?

#731 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2011, 08:13 PM:

vee @730:

I try not to think too much or too often about how controlling my mother is, as I currently live at home. But abuse? Isn't that something that happens to other people...?

Nope. It can happen to anyone, and it doesn't always leave bruises. It's still real, though.

Want to talk about it?

#732 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2011, 09:56 PM:

vee #730: Also, that's nervous laughter at best you're hearing. I've certainly heard some horrific stories from real life, but the humor of the "H.A.C." examples sounds an awful lot like chain jokes (that is, powered by anxiety). Basically, they're the descendants of the "dead baby" jokes that were current in my 70's childhood.

#733 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2011, 11:32 PM:

Hm. I wonder if some of my stories are Hilariously Awful Childhood tales. I can't call them abusive-- they aren't, not at all-- but some of them are weird.

One time, Mom left for a few days (might have been to march on Washington because Oprah told her to) and Dad took care of the two of us, me four or so and my brother two or so. I was sick or at least sleepy, so I slept. He didn't know to wake me up and make me drink something, so I ended up in the hospital, dehydrated. I am told I did not like the IV. Years later, I connected this with the huge cups of water brought to our rooms as part of bedtime.

Another time, this one that I remember, I had bubble gum and somehow ended up with it plastered over my chin and dried into something like unto concrete. Dad tried to get it off, then brought out a metal can of something that said 'removes gum'. From furniture and carpets, Dad, but I didn't lose too many layers of skin.

I see these as something like the stories of my aunt falling through the floor of a house at a construction site at night-- Dad's family played in them. Or, more recently divulged, "I remember when they built this highway, right by our house. We used to sneak out at night and play on the equipment. They put up a fence but we cut a hole in it."

I know they're hilarious (at least to my family). But are they awful?

#734 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2011, 12:52 AM:

Xopher: As a rule, one prefers to type match. In a pinch any type which is the same/less than the type being matched will work.


AB+ gets all
AB- takes any negative
A+ takes any negative, O+ and A+

I'm O-.

#735 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2011, 01:04 AM:

vee: Abuse is abuse. How to measure the definition is the hard part. Intent matters, some. Effects matter more.

There were things done to me, which I would call abusive; now. I didn't then, and I don't know that they would be abusive now, save that I can't see them as anything but, and so wouldn't be able to do them (is informing a child the people who have the right to discipline them will know, "what you did,", or the corrolary, "Wait 'til your father gets home," abuse? I don't know, but I can't do it. If I am going to hold off on correction/discipline until I consult someone else, the person in the dock doesn't need to know; that's a small and private hell, and I'm not going to open the door to entry).

If it scarred you, then it was abuse.

#736 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2011, 01:22 AM:

I have to share. I was culling the photos I took yesterday and today, and there was one which made me yell out loud, and then give up the culling to edit it.


There is a B&W version too. I need a name for it.

But it's a pretty good shot, IMO.

#737 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2011, 01:30 AM:

Terry @ 736

Oooh, I like the black and white version. It glows...

#738 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2011, 04:06 PM:

TexAnne @714: Sympathies and another virtual hug, if you want it.

Terry Karney @336: That's beautiful.

vee @730: What abi said.

Diatryma @733: No, those -do- sound funny. Potentially disastrous, but not actually, so...

#739 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2011, 05:21 PM:

Terry@734: Surely A+ shouldn't get "any negative"? B or AB- would cause a problem. Any O or A.

#740 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2011, 05:21 PM:

Lincoln planned to issue the Emancipation Proclamation for quite some time. But he knew he had to hold off on it until there were Union victories and the voters felt stronger confidence in the administration's war effort. Thus he issued the Emancipation Proclamation after the Union victory at Antietam.

Personally, it seems to me that we will never get anywhere in this north - south divide until all the myths of the glorious lost cause are no longer taught in school, such myths as:

- the Civil War wasn't about white supremacy, slavery and the infinite expansion of slavery were to be the laws of all the lands of North America.

- the south started the war.

- the south didn't lose the war.

And so on so forth.

Many, many southerners know these things to be false, but the century and a half of mostly neo-slavery, Jim Crowe and the mythologies make it hard for them to make headway.

I am deeply impressed by the people, black and white, of local education, cultural and religious institutions where we are living. They matter-of-factly continue their efforts of integration and historical truth-telling. In this region they will win, because all those well-meaning folks, like my doctor, etc., who do believe that "we here treated our slaves very well, and we freed almost all of them before the war, and it wasn't us who sold black people down south -- that was them, down there in Virginia, and all successful societies like Rome were slave societies, etc." are getting older all the time, and one day will be gone.

Love, C.

#741 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2011, 05:29 PM:

Constance, #740: "... and all successful societies like Rome were slave societies ..."

The mind boggles. Are they really arguing that no society without slavery (including I think every first-world nation since the 1900s!) has ever been "successful"? More to the point, are they arguing that post-slavery American society is not successful?

#742 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2011, 06:03 PM:

Terry Karney #336: Gorgeous!

#743 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2011, 07:09 PM:

O-negative here. The first time I gave blood, there was a group of frat brothers who were all donating for one of their own who had been in a car accident. One of them was clearly petrified, making nervous jokes and otherwise betraying his fear. Yet he donated anyway. To me, that kid was a hero, and I doubled his donation by asking that my blood be given in the name of the injured frat guy. Sometimes I think I should have told him, but that would have been like saying I'd been listening to them.

These days I give double red cell donations. At least my blood is in high demand.

#744 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2011, 07:09 PM:

(Great shot, Terry!)

#745 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2011, 07:20 PM:

In disturbingly hyperlocal earworm news, one can sing "Truckin'" (the Dead tune -- portions of it at any rate) to the tune of the Bridge Over the River Kwai theme. Also: we are currently staying in Guilin and I am finding it hard to believe that George Herriman did not spend some formative years here.

#746 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2011, 10:44 PM:

Terry, beautiful photo.

#747 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2011, 11:05 PM:

Terry, that's a wonderful shot! (Snowy egret....)

#748 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2011, 11:08 PM:

My blood type is A+. Back in Oakland, the Red Cross had gotten me mostly off of whole blood donation and onto platelets; apparently platelets from type A donors are especially desirable for some reason. Since coming to Texas I've reverted to whole blood -- if someone here were to ask me to do platelets I'd probably do it, but I haven't been able to bring myself to volunteer for it.

I have been donating whole blood on close to an 8-week schedule, at least -- the main gap has been a time when I was having trouble keeping my hematocrit up. My birth father tells me that he has trouble with that too, to the point where his doctor has actually advised him to stop donating. I've started taking iron supplements daily, which has helped.

#749 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2011, 11:10 PM:

The only time I can see 'wait til your father gets home' as a valid statement is when the person speaking was the one injured by the kid. (Backtalk, in my family: my mother didn't feel she could handle the punishment in cases like that. I think she was afraid of what she might do, so it had to wait.)

#750 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2011, 11:26 PM:

David Goldfarb @748: I don't quite get why they want double red from me. True, they get two pints worth of the red, but then it's much longer between donations.

Maybe they're trying to save on cookies and fruit juice. If so, I'm ruining that for them by having extra cookies. (Mmmmm... blood cookies.)

#751 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2011, 11:51 PM:

#741 ::: Lee

Mostly it's because they don't really know what they're talking about. There have been very societies or nation-states that were overtly slave nations, slave economies, and among them was the Confederate States of America. Which you see by doing something as simple as reading the Constitution of the CSA.

What those elder people don't understand is there's a difference between a society, a nation or an economy that has slavery -- one like Rome, for instance -- and a society, a nation, an economy that is based on slavery (and with the CSA, white supremacy). In other words the CSA was a slave society and Rome had slavery. History shows how well that worked for the CSA, to establish itself only because it wanted a slave society and a slave economy. That was its only reason d' etre, and it was not sufficient.

Really, when the CSA seceded they didn't even have a single paper mill in any of the member states! How can you have a government or carry on a war without paper? In order to print up their constitution and everything they had to order paper from the North.

Love, C.

#752 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2011, 12:18 AM:

In regards to the Hilariously Abusive Childhood trope, I recently heard the statement, "Oh, Dad split up with my mom when I was four, shortly after we burned the house down."

Jaw on floor. Turns out that her mother thought it was perfectly acceptable to sleep the entire day and let the kids play while their dad was at work*. And she smoked. So the four-year-old and the five-year-old were playing with the lighter... might sound funny to some, but it's only because she was recounting it that way. Nightmarish scenario.

FWIW, the speaker and her brother are lovely, well-adjusted people who are immensely talented. I'd never have pegged them as having anything that crazy in their background.

*Does anyone else want to throttle that mom in The Guild? HAC trope for sure, but man, it went to Dude, Not Funny for me.

#753 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2011, 04:54 AM:

Constance: I'm not sure I agree that Rome wasn't a slave driven economy. Part of what led to the serf structure of post Rome was that the agricultural slaves of Rome had become tied to the land they worked (this made aspects of the taxing easier on latter Rome). The pervasiveness of slavery was much wider as well in Rome, and the state's use of slaves was direct in a lot of ways; as well as the uses to which owners put slaves (gladiators) being more explicit in the relative lack of worth of the slave.

The level of state management of slaves was more overt too, in that collecting slaves was a part of the job of the military, the gov't owned slaves, etc.

#754 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2011, 08:20 AM:

Peter Erwin @ 704... Heheheheh... Thanks for that "Roadrunner" cartoon, and my apologies for misspelling your name @ 706.

#755 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2011, 08:37 AM:

A complete history of the Solviet Union, Arranged to the Melody of Tetris -- absolutely worth watching, but don't blame me if you get earwormed.

#756 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2011, 11:04 AM:

My mother knew better than to pull "wait till your father gets home" because of what happened when her mother did it.

Story goes as follows: when my mother was about 5 years old, tiny and presumed frail, she dwelt (from her perspective at least) in the shadow of her brilliant, outgoing, talented elder sister (10 at the time).

Said sister was practicing the piano, and kept making the same mistake over and over. Like ya do.

My mother, exasperated, pulled her sister off the piano bench by her long, glorious hair.

My grandmother, appalled, sent her to her room with a "wait till your father gets home!" (I think she had NO IDEA what else to do.)

Later, when my grandfather came home, he listened to the recital of this fell deed, which ended in, "What do you think of a child who would do such a thing?"

Without even looking up from his newspaper, he replied, "I think she's probably going to grow up to be a musician."

#757 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2011, 11:43 AM:

Lila (756): And did she?

#758 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2011, 12:00 PM:

More or less. Her voice teacher flung a music book across the room when my mother announced she'd decided to get married rather than have a professional singing career.

After marrying my father (an electrician at the time, he later devoted his life to teaching sight-reading), Mama ended up teaching high school English, doing some voice teaching on the side. One of her students became an opera singer. (And said student's pro teacher commended my mother for taking such good care of the student's voice.)

Meanwhile, elder sister got a theater degree, acted for a while (including working with Andy Griffith in summer stock), married a dancer whom she met while acting, and ended up teaching creative writing.

#759 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2011, 12:08 PM:

Rome wasn't established upon slavery as its raison d'être however. Slavery was one of its businesses, and so much so that among the reasons manufactured for hating Julius Caesar was his attempts to put some limits upon slavery, at least in Rome the city. His reasons were that the number of slaves were not only a potential danger to Roman citizens, but with so many slaves performing all the work it depressed business and employment for Roman citizens and increased the really dangerous, as opposed to perceived dangerous, mob, the citizens who lived on the dole.

Whereas the CSA was established to be a slave state, among the few or maybe even the only states ever to do so. Read the CSA constitution and you will see the difference between that and Roman society that included slavery. As well as slavery as the raison d'être for the CSA, the concomittant raison d'être of the CSA was white supremacy. It's in the CSA constitution also, as well as in the secession speeches from the governors of Mississippi and many others.

Love, C.

#760 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2011, 12:11 PM:

There was a supreme irony, of course, in Caesar's desire to reduce the number of slaves in Rome, as he was directly, personally responsible for so many slaves on the market, bringing down prices, with his victories in Gaul. Slave sales of the peoples he conquered contributed greatly in paying off his magnificent debts incurred on his road to supreme power. His frenemies were more than aware of this.

Love, C.

#761 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2011, 12:16 PM:

Speaking of the genre - literary divide, as is so often the case on ML, you all might like taking a look at this, a review of THE USE AND ABUSE OF LITERATURE by Marjorie Garber in the NY Times Book Review.

[ “The Use and Abuse of Literature,” the latest book by the prolific Harvard literary scholar Marjorie Garber, is in part about this “centripetal movement” in artistic appreciation “from the edges to the center, from the outside to the inside, incorporating once disparaged genres and authors into respectable, canonical and even classic status.” We’ve all seen the process applied to television and cinema and comic books (now called, in a Maileresque turn, “graphic novels”), but Garber reminds us that this tendency has existed throughout history, bringing biography and Renaissance drama (Garber’s primary academic specialty) and even the novel itself in from the cold, along with private forms like letters and journals that never wished for such consideration. “What once wasn’t literature,” Garber writes, “is now at the heart of the canon.” ]

Love, C.

#762 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2011, 12:19 PM:

In disturbingly hyperlocal earworm news, one can sing "Truckin'" (the Dead tune -- portions of it at any rate) to the tune of the Bridge Over the River Kwai theme.

I really did not need to know that. *shakes head, hoping to dislodge earworm.*

#763 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2011, 12:34 PM:

Constance et al, re. the slavery discussion: I don't have anything to contribute, but I'm listening (well, reading, but that kills the alliteration) and learning. Good stuff.

#764 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2011, 12:52 PM:

Oh. My. God.

Via Cake Wrecks (of all places), Peter Jackson's vlog--filming begins on The Hobbit.

I *so* needed that.

#765 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2011, 02:42 PM:

HLN: this moose now knows that the life expectancy of a solid fuel central heating boiler (at least 2 cwt (100kg) of cast iron) hauled to the kerbside is under 90 minutes (before a passing scrap collector rings your doorbell at 6 pm on a Sunday).

It was _entertaining_ watching the two of them trying to get it onto the back of their lorry. (They succeeded at about the fourth attempt.)

(Less entertaining was the effort expended in hauling it out of the sunken pit it was in - it was used to heat the old greenhouse during the winter - ramps and winches were used, but 5,000 slaves and some log rollers would have been handy if it wasn't such a confined space.)

Ah well, done now, and my back will recover in a week or three.

#766 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2011, 03:42 PM:

Modesto Kid@745 - In disturbingly hyperlocal earworm news, one can sing "Truckin'" to the tune of the Bridge Over the River Kwai theme.
Yow, dodged that bullet! I really can't do that, because the childhood lyrics for Bridge over the River Kwai tune keep me from remembering the Truckin' lyrics in order, so it all just get tangled and the earworm didn't stick.

Guilin - wow, that's gorgeous - reminds me of some of the rougher landscapes in Hawaii. I've always liked the Chinese mountain landscape paintings. When I was a kid, my mother would take us to museums in Philly and Kansas City which had good Asian art collections, and while I was more interested in the lions, dragons, and foo dogs, I did get exposed to the landscapes as well.

#767 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2011, 03:43 PM:

Q: In all the news stories you have seen so far reporting Libya as using cluster bombs in attacks against the rebels, have you seen a single report which mentions that the US and allied forces are estimated to have fired between 1 and 2 million cluster munitions in Iraq, much of that into civilian areas, or that the US has refused to sign the international treaty against the use of cluster munitions? That took me all of 5 minutes to verify.

#768 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2011, 05:04 PM:

Clifton @ #767, one also wonders just who sold Libya the cluster bombs in the first place. Wiki says at least 28 countries have produced them.

#769 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2011, 05:45 PM:

Constance: I'm still not sure I agree. No, there is no founding document which makes Slavery the raison d'êon;tre of Rome, but I think that's a bit of card palming; since Rome couldn't have functioned without them, and the structures of slavery were kept (if modified in general appearance) when Rome stopped "Rome", and so perpetuated to the middle ages (if not the present, look at the release of the Russian serfs).

But there are very few states (and pretty much none, prior to the US) which have condifying documents. Sparta was a slave state, but they didn't make a constitution declaring it, they just had the needed apparatus to enforce the status of the Helots, built all else around that.

So I think the qualification you make is a bit of special pleading.

#770 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2011, 05:46 PM:

Crap; raison d'être

#771 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2011, 05:50 PM:

Back a few Open Threads ago, I had this comment that described my work environment.

I'd thought I'd stated it specifically in that comment, but my basic gist, my fear, was that If Things Went On without taking steps to change direction, eventually someone was going to end up hospitalized or killed on our property.

I was right.

#772 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2011, 06:21 PM:

Linkmeister @ #768

one also wonders just who sold Libya the cluster bombs in the first place.

Spain, apparently. (According to the BBC.) but they looked suspiciously NATO standard (120mm mortar projectile with all markings in English), so could have been any army's "old stock".

#773 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2011, 06:38 PM:

Terry -- I truly disagree with you because there was no sense in the times of the ancients that there was equality, or liberty, and all the rest that this nation was founded upon.

The CSA constitution goes to great lengths to make it clear -- unlike the US constitution -- that the rights laid out are for WHITE MEN and white men alone, and that other men are born into the state that slavery is natural to them, subservience to WHITE MEN is natural to them, and the natural state of particular group of people, those descended from Africans is to be enslaved by WHITE MEN. It says it right there in the constitution of the CSA.

No other state ever was created with that idea that people descended from Africa were naturally born slaves born to work for their owners in perpetuity, from one generation unto another, forever and ever, unto the end, whatever it is.

Love, C.

#774 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2011, 07:04 PM:

Bruce Arthurs @ #771, that's horrible. I hope the gentleman makes a full recovery.

#775 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2011, 07:06 PM:

Constance 773: The CSA constitution goes to great lengths to make it clear -- unlike the US constitution -- that the rights laid out are for WHITE MEN and white men alone

Since that will be very valuable in my next online conversation with some Confederate-romanticizing loon who tries to tell me the Civil War wasn't about slavery, I went to look for the specific clauses in this copy of the CSA Constitution, and couldn't find it. In fact, Firefox claims the word 'white' doesn't even occur in the document (and 'race' appears only once, forbidding the importation of "negroes of the African race" from any foreign country except the US).

Could you assist? I could really use that quote.

BTW there are plenty of places where it talks about the disposition of slaves and so on, but I can't find the innate racial destiny thing.

#776 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2011, 07:36 PM:

Bruce Arthurs #771: Yeah, sometimes it sucks to be right. Any chance of the incident being played into an actual change for the better?

#777 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2011, 08:06 PM:

Xopher @ #775, I don't speak for Constance, but she may be thinking of other documents/speeches than the CSA Constitution. Those make it pretty clear.

See, for example, the Cornerstone Speech by the CSA's VP Alexander Stephens:

Our new Government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and moral condition.

#778 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2011, 09:07 PM:

Constance: Sparta meets your criteria; for being founded on the idea of a permanent slave class (and making it purely those from Africa is both a special pleading, and moving of the goalposts from your original claim).

I am not arguing that the CSA wasn't founded on a bedrock of perpetuating slavery (I can't I've made that very claim, more than once; in great detail), but I don't think it's sui generis and there were no other states (say Brazil, in addition to Sparta, or the various parts of the Caribbean) which didn't have as intimate a need for slavery, lest they cease to exist, but lacked for the situation in the US which made it both needful, and possible, to spell it out in black and white.

#779 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2011, 09:11 PM:

Linkmeister, thanks. That should do it!

#780 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2011, 09:22 PM:


An excellent guide to all this is Confederate Reckoning: Power and Politics in the Civil War South (2010) by Stephanie McCurry, Harvard University Press.

One of the brilliant things Stephanie does in her book is to show how this CSA constitution was written and for whom. She also then shows how it failed all those that the constitution was supposed to be written for, and who it was to protect, such as women, who, of course (like elsewhere) were not expected to stand for themselves whether politically, legally or economically, any more than slaves or anyone born from African heritage.

She also traces the the southern intellectual trains of thought that were connected to European and South American retrogressive exclusionary citzenship and political participation throughout the world, such as in Russia and Colombia and Cuba in the wake of their revolutions for independence from Spain.

Also see the speech that Jefferson Davis gave upon resignation from the U.S. Senate at secession:

But nowhere else was there exclusion and perpetual denial of all rights even to self, even to one's reproductive capacity, as there was in the CSA, based upon and only upon descent from an African heritage, and unto perpetuity, no matter how white you were now after generations of your forebears being raped by their owners.

You also might want to take a look at the new state constitutions of the CSA, and the inaugural addresses by the governors.

* The three-fifths clause in the U.S. Constitution isn't about calculating a slave as three-fifths human, but about his economic worth -- as Pierce Butler crowed back home in South Carolina after the Constitutional Convention, he'd GOT IT! Representation based upon wealth, for it was the most wealthy of men in his world who had the most slaves, he being among them.

Love, C.

#781 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2011, 09:39 PM:

#778 ::: Terry Karney

Constance: Sparta meets your criteria; for being founded on the idea of a permanent slave class (and making it purely those from Africa is both a special pleading, and moving of the goalposts from your original claim).

As described hereSparta's commercial economy wasn't slavery.

No way is focusing upon the CSA's determination that those who were descended from Africans a strawman, in terms of their constition or the economy. That was the justification, and there was no other state -- not not Brasil either, which with the Iberian legal system of coartación, which was in practice with the African slaves and other slaves of the Iberian peninsula long before 1492.

The CSA's economy was slavery; the slaves themselves were money. Slaves were the CSA's capital. Even on the CSA's financial notes, on the their requests for loans from abroad, the African slaves were depicted for they were the CSA's wealth. That was the system: buying and selling and mortgaging slaves plus an endless supply of cheap land that was worthless without slave labor. That was how it worked. The entire economy was wrapped up in the buying, selling, overseeing, transporting, supplying of, chasing down of slaves. When the 4 million slaves were emancipated the CSA had NO ECONOMY. Everyone's wealth was wiped out just like that. It took a hundred years for it to come back.

Love, C.

#782 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2011, 09:58 PM:

Constance: I don't think we are ever going to come to any meeting of minds. You don't think you are changing the terms of debate, but I can't see it any other way.

When you say, Mostly it's because they don't really know what they're talking about. There have been very societies or nation-states that were overtly slave nations, slave economies, and among them was the Confederate States of America. Which you see by doing something as simple as reading the Constitution of the CSA., and I say Rome was, Sparta was, The Sugar Islands were,etc. you reply the Ancient World didn't understand equality they way we do (cmt 773).

That's non-sequitor, and irrelvant to boot.

You admit that the level of economic affect slaves had was such that Rome's free people really couldn't compete, thus making them disaffected, but the wealthy were upset enough by Julius Caesar's attempt to limit slavery that it was one of the things his enemies used to justify their opposition. When support of slavery is a major part of the politics that leads to a civil war (and the complete change of the system of gov't) I'd say slavery was fundamental to the state.

The same was true in Sparta. No helots, ties to the land and in perpetuity, no Spartans to make a living in the profession of arms. Slave weren't the coin of the confederacy, that was tobacco, and indigo and cotton and rice. The same was true in Rome, and in Sparta, and in Haiti, and in Missionary California.

It's a difference of degree, not kind. That, because of the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution; and the Declaration of the Rights of Man, and even (though they would hate to admit it) the proclamations of Toussaint l'Overture, it was incumbent on the CSA to make that fact explicit, lest the same things they were protesting should arise again, is the reason one can make it so plain that slavery was fundamental.

But it was fundamental to other places too.

#783 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2011, 10:11 PM:

Clifton #767:

Nope. Nor did the NPR story I heard on it mention that the US is one of the major powers that hasn't signed the convention banning cluster bombs.

Note, I have no idea if it's a good, bad, or indifferent idea to ban cluster bombs. Just that a major US news source is about as likely to bring up that kind of jarring fact, in a news story about a current US war, as Pravda was to mention Soviet imperialism in a news article condemning the latest bit of US imperialism.

#784 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2011, 10:27 PM:

The CSA constitution looks like it is written with the idea that "negroes", "slaves" and "negro slaves" are all synonyms.

In the bill of rights [sic] it says
"No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed."

In talking about adding new territories and states, it says

"In all such territory the institution of negro slavery, as it now exists in the Confederate States, shall be recognized and protected by Congress and by the Territorial government... "

I didn't see anything in there about the race of a citizen (or gender for that matter) but I didn't see anything in there about what makes a citizen at all.

Be right back, brain feels nasty.

#785 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2011, 09:01 AM:

More China adventures -- this morning we flew into Beijing. (Staying at Michael's House, which I recommend strongly to anyone bound for Beijing.) Sylvia and I just got back from watching Rio dubbed into Mandarin, and it seemed delightful in a way I'm pretty sure it would not have if I had understood the dialog. Also: the cinema attached to China Film Art Research Center is an excellent place to watch a movie, corny kid's animation or otherwise.

#786 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2011, 09:26 AM:

Cool Physics break.

These guys are essentially bouncing slow neutrons down a "corridor", and getting information about quantum gravity from the paths they follow. Very ingenious!

#787 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2011, 09:53 AM:

Open Threadiness:

This guest post at Naked Capitalism by William Black talks about how overt fraud in the mortgage markets has overwhelmingly not been prosecuted or even investigated, especially where the big financial players are involved. One particular chilling excerpt was this one, which had echoes of the missed warnings about 9/11:

The FBI warned in House testimony in September 2004 that there was an “epidemic” of mortgage fraud and predicted that it would cause a “financial crisis” if it were not stopped. It was not contained. Everyone agrees that the mortgage fraud epidemic expanded massively after the FBI warning.

This similarly echoes the warnings given to the SEC about Madoff's Ponzi scheme, which were also ignored.

It's hard to know whether this is an example of intentional blindness, or simple bureaucratic inertia or incompetence. In the case of 9/11, it's hard to see how anyone in the government had an incentive to let the attacks happen[1]; in these financial cases, it's easier to imagine a few key people being on the take, one way or another. But in all cases, we have this pattern that serious folks in a position to be taken seriously raise a warning, but are ignored, leading to a massive disaster. And we'll probably never know what went into the decisions to ignore those warnings.

[1] The worst terrorist attack in history had the effect of strengthening the Bush administration, but how could anyone have *known* that would be the case ahead of time? It could just as easily have led to Bush being hounded out of office for being asleep at the switch. Even outside of the security problems of building a conspiracy of Americans willing to take part in a huge attack on America (that is, the day of the attacks, half the people in your conspiracy shoot themselves, and the other half turn themselves in to the nearest FBI office or confess to the first reporter they can find willing to listen), the incentives don't work out here. But the parallel is still disturbing--it suggests a pattern of routinely ignoring serious warnings of impending disasters.

#788 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2011, 10:47 AM:

Is anyone watching the HBO Game of Thrones? There's a scene change that shocked me: *spoilers* gur svefg gvzr Qnal naq Qebtb unir frk, gur obbx znqr ure na npgvir, pbafragvat cnegvpvcnag: svefg guevyyrq jvgu gur tvsg ubefr Qebtb tvirf ure, naq gura frqhprq ol uvf harkcrpgrq graqrearff. Va gur GI frevrf, vg jnf n encr. Ab pbafrag, ab vagrerfg. Guvf obguref zr svefg bs nyy orpnhfr JGS UOB!?! Pna'g fubj n tvey univat n tbbq gvzr jvgu ure ubefr ybeq? Frpbaq bs nyy, orpnhfr gur Qbguenxv va guvf frevrf ner orvat cbegenlrq va n irel, funyy jr fnl, enpvny jnl, cnegvphyneyl gur jbzra. Guveq bs nyy, orpnhfr vg oernxf gur fgbel. Va gur obbxf, Qnal snyyf va ybir jvgu gur Qbguenxv crbcyr naq phygher, va ynetr cneg orpnhfr sebz gur bhgfrg fur vf tvira ntrapl: n ubefr, n ebyr va ure bja frk yvsr, n dhrrafuvc. Jvgu ure frkhny rapbhagre jvgu Qebtb erqhprq gb n encr, gung qbrfa'g znxr nal frafr: jul fubhyq fur frr gurz nf nalguvat bgure guna fnintrf, yrnea gurve ynathntr naq rzoenpr gurve phygher? Vg gheaf na harkcrpgrq, purevfurq pbaarpgvba orgjrra gjb uhzna orvatf vagb n pnfr bs Fgbpxubyz flaqebzr.

#789 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2011, 11:07 AM:

I chuckled on seeing this comment about a review of the ATLAS SHRUGGED movie:

"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs."

(From someone named DP on )

#790 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2011, 11:33 AM:

More fun financial news here.

Defaulting for internal political reasons seems incredibly unlikely to me, simply because it would hurt the oligarchs that have contributed so much money to politicians currently in office. But if it happened, nobody on Earth actually knows what it would look like. (In the media, some people will say they do know what will happen. They are lying to you, and perhaps to themselves as well. Really.) And power struggles offer opportunities for some really stunningly dumb things to happen.

Of course, this couldn't possibly happen. It's unthinkable. Like Lehman Brothers going broke, or Ireland and Iceland abruptly switching from miraculous economic success stories to banking collapses that suck massive amounts of wealth from the rest of the world to cover them.

More and more, US politics has the feel, to me, of watching a bunch of club-wielding cavemen having a fight between tribes in the control cabin of the generation ship. And perhaps this is just sleep deprivation and middle-aged grumpiness coming out, but I increasingly see US politics in terms rather similar to Kettle Belly Baldwin's explanation in Gulf--but with the caveat that there's no organization of intellectual supermen backstopping them. (Though no doubt there are many groups that imagine themselves capable of stepping into that role, despite a lack of greater wisdom or deeper insight than anyone else.)

#791 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2011, 11:34 AM:

albatross #787:

[1] The worst terrorist attack in history had the effect of strengthening the Bush administration, but how could anyone have *known* that would be the case ahead of time? It could just as easily have led to Bush being hounded out of office for being asleep at the switch.

Not really -- the idea of setting up some scary threat and taking credit for fighting it, goes back to the Roman Caesars, and probably further. ("Let a lion loose in the street")

Even outside of the security problems of building a conspiracy of Americans willing to take part in a huge attack on America

No, no no. ShrubCo didn't have to hire anyone, they just had to warn off or stonewall the FBI, CIA, police, etc. when they tried to take action. If you want to get more conspiratorial, consider the Saudi connection, but it could just as well have been something else.

Shrubco knew perfectly well that such attacks would be no existential threat to the nation, or to them personally. If a few civilians were killed, so much the easier to whip the panic.

But the parallel is still disturbing--it suggests a pattern of routinely ignoring serious warnings of impending disasters.

Which is also a natural human tendency -- q.v the tales of Cassandra. But when that kind of passive-aggressive stuff shows up in the halls of power, it's everyone else that suffers.

#792 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2011, 11:56 AM:

Lee @702: Think we could get him to a Worldcon?

Actually, something very similar showed up at the Denvention Masquerade in '08. I wonder if it was by chance the same person.

Though convergent evolution is entirely possible; the design is nearly identical to one which I've contemplated for a number of years; just never got around to actually executing.

I'm impressed that the guy can actually run in the thing. The kids' reactions to being loomed over are hilarious. Like their little primal mammal DNA remembers. "Run away! Run away!"

He moves like he can see; I wonder how that works?

#793 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2011, 12:20 PM:

Terry Karney @736: Oh, Terry, that is GREAT!

Looks like somebody who's really happy about something, or really pissed. :)

#794 ::: vee ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2011, 12:21 PM:

abi@731, Terry Karney@735, dcb@738, and anyone else who I might have missed (and hereby apologize for so doing)--thanks for the offer. I'll hang out and wait for the next Dysfunctional Families Thread to exorcise those demons.

In the meantime, I'm working on my compassion/patience. Also my plan to move out of the house.

#795 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2011, 12:43 PM:

heresiarch @ 788 -

I had exactly the same reaction to that as you did, down to the implications of the character arc, naq gur vpxl bgurevat bs gur Qbguenxv. V thrff gung'f jurer ernqvat naq jngpuvat ner gjb qvssrerag guvatf. Zl ernqvat bs gur obbx znqr vg pyrne gung gur vqrn gung gurfr crbcyr jrer "fnintrf" jnf uryq ol n pyrneyl haflzcngurgvp punenpgre (Ivfrelf) naq ol Qnanrelf zber nf n fvqr-rssrpg bs ure fubpx. Nf jr yrnea zber nobhg gurz, gur Qnanrelf CBI puncgref orpbzr zber haqrefgnaqvat bs phygheny qvssreraprf. V jbeel gung gur rkpvgvat trrxrel bs znxvat n arj ynathntr sbe gurfr crbcyr whfg sbe gur GI fubj vf tbvat gb ghea vagb whfg nabgure jnl gb znxr gurz fbhaq yvxr n ohapu bs oneonevnaf. V thrff V'yy frr - I actually liked the rest of the episode, but that story line could have been wonderful, and now it's going to be roll-my-eyes, take a potty break time.

#796 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2011, 01:28 PM:

On cluster bombs, the BBC news a few days ago specifically stated that neither Libya or the USA are signatories to the treaty banning their use.

#797 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2011, 01:54 PM:

re 789: I like the comment from the fellow who matched up Dick Cheney with James Taggart, because he was absolutely right.

#798 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2011, 02:19 PM:

Hyperlocal news... Man unsure whether his post-merger employer the Riddler or the Joker.

#799 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2011, 02:21 PM:

Thanks Guthrie. At least the BBC is reporting more completely.

#800 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2011, 02:50 PM:

Oh, fiddle-de-dee. I'm trapped in moderation. Only one URL, I promise!

#801 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2011, 03:07 PM:

Linkmeister @ 800 -

The philosopher who said "all things in moderation" wasn't posting comments on a blog/forum/whatever. :)

#802 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2011, 03:50 PM:

Steve C # 801, it was a direct response to your post at #789 . . .

I pointed out the origin of the phrase you quoted from comments at It comes from John Rogers at Kung Fu Monkey back in 2009, and I had a link to the post where he wrote it.

#803 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2011, 03:59 PM:

Linkmeister (802): At risk of belaboring the point, I believe Steve was making a pun on 'moderation'.

#804 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2011, 04:31 PM:

Mary Aileen, I recognized that. While not as bad as some of Serge's puns, it did cause a small frisson. I was stoic, however, and decided to move on. ;)

#805 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2011, 04:34 PM:

While not as bad as some of Serge's puns, it did cause a small frisson.

I have something to aspire to. ;)

#806 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2011, 04:44 PM:

Great Expectations, Steve!

#807 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2011, 04:45 PM:

The Dickens you say!

#808 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2011, 04:48 PM:

Linkmeister (804): Oops. A cynic would say I did it on purpose, but actually I'm just over-literal.

#809 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2011, 08:02 PM:

If anybody is going to be at Boston Anime this coming weekend, my partner and I will be running the Pegasus Publishing booth in the dealer room. If there's interest in a Gathering Of Light while I'm there, I can be contacted at frira-bar-guerr svir-avar-sbhe sbhe-frira-mreb-avar.

#810 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2011, 08:22 PM:

A Wiscon Gathering of Light?

I know that, at minimum, I and several lurkers who seldom post will be attending. It seems a fairly Fluorospherian sort of con in general, so I bet we're not the only ones.

Anyone want to suggest places a dinner run could go? I'm far from local, and this is my first WisCon since the early 90s (true fact: it was my second convention! My first was GenCon) so I don't know the environs of the hotel.

#811 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2011, 12:33 AM:


Last week everyone in the building got a notice taped to their door, noting that dog owners were supposed to pick up after their dogs, that dogs were supposed to be on leash, and that dogs shouldn't be allowed to pee in the hallways. There was a table of fines for letting your dog's dumps go un-picked-up.

I always feel paranoid when things like this happens. Did my dog take a dump when I didn't notice? Or let herself out when I was at work to pee in the hallway? I felt like going to the apartment office and explaining that I never did those things.

This afternoon, as I was taking Kira on the final dog walk of the night, I passed a down stair neighbor's door as . . . the lady of the house was letting their pit bull puppy out.

No leash. Of course.

He immediately started following me and Kira out to the parking lot. I stopped for a moment to let the owner catch up. Complimented her on the fine looking dog, etc, as she put her hand on him to guide him back, then went on my way.

"Come back! Come back! Here Bhudda!" asks the owner, plaintively, as the dog again took off after us, "Come back!"

Yeah, right. Untrained puppies excited about canine company instantly obey their owner's every whim. Eventually she caught up with Bhudda and dragged him back.

When I got back there was, of course, a fresh dog-dump just off the walk in.

Where, of course, it would lie around until the grounds keeper picked it up.

It totally burns me how utterly careless, lazy, and thoughtless people can be. Both of Bhudda's owners are physically able people. Plastic dog-crap disposal bags are free for the taking at a half-dozen dispensers set around the property. Leashes cost a buck at the Dollar Tree. There are four dog-training places within three miles.

But, no. Bhudda's experience with the outside world will be the 20' from his door to the dirt spot by the parking lot, at least until the day he gets excited and runs off and gets hit by a car.

#812 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2011, 02:07 AM:

HLN: The words "enterprise" and "software" in combination never, ever, ever suggest joy and easily solved problems...

... and the odds that things will be better in the morning are poor, but proportionate to the degree to which one would desperately like them to be working.

#813 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2011, 02:17 AM:

Major bit of new knowledge for me today, acquired in the course of touring the (formerly) Forbidden City: Assuming I understood our guide correctly, as early as the fifteenth C. AD, the imperial court of China was already using Unix in its concubine management systems! Talk about early adoption... Also: walking along Di'anmen Dajie, the sign in front of a fast food restaurant urges me to "Eat Pie! Eat Pie! Eat Pie!"

#814 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2011, 02:22 AM:

Stefan, #811: Well, at least now you can point the building management at one of the culprits. Suggest also that a well-placed security camera could do double duty.

Pit bulls are lovely dogs which have the bad fortune to appeal to asshole owners.

#815 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2011, 06:45 AM:

HLN: Area woman is unable to tell the difference between Italian and Dutch.

I was looking at the menu page of the place my office is trying out for Tuesday Night Pizza. My thoughts, in order:

"Huh. These must be elaborate pizzas; all the descriptions are two lines long."
"Why are they repeating themselves?"
(five minutes' reaction time)
"Hang on, the first lines are in Italian and the second lines are in Dutch."

Turns out I'm equally fluent in both Dutch and Pizza Italian*.

* a language heavy on nouns and light on verbs

#816 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2011, 06:46 AM:

Okay, Jeffrey Rowland just pointed me at Scott Adams' latest screed.

I haven't been keeping up with Adams for a while (less controversy than not working in an office for 10 years), but damn, that's sad.

#817 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2011, 07:27 AM:

abi @ 815...

What about French pizza?
("Quelle horreur!")

#818 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2011, 08:13 AM:

abi #815: Now, is the word "sourdough" Italian or Dutch?

#819 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2011, 09:55 AM:

"Le pain, le pain, oooooh..."
- Docteur Smith

#820 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2011, 10:11 AM:

"The bread, the bread, ooooohh"

#821 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2011, 11:00 AM:

David Harmon @816: Aha, that one is much more relevant to frequent ML topics. I thought you meant this one, which my dad forwarded me in a smug-sounding email.

Note: my dad's degree is in nuclear medicine (radiology tech and tracking isotopes, not an MD), a field in which he has never been employed. He spent most of my life programming computers, by preference in Pick, and is now a home inspector.

#822 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2011, 11:44 AM:

abi @815: Turns out I'm equally fluent in both Dutch and Pizza Italian*.

At last! An actually appropriate occassion for my favorite French expletive: "Quelle fromage!"

#823 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2011, 12:58 PM:

Yeah, once Scott Adams got a devoted following of droolers he felt it safe to reveal that he was batshit insane. He has these theories about physics, see, and they're pretty much at Alexander Abian or Ludwig Plutonium's level. Relativity is all a mistake because the rate of time is changing somehow in some vague fashion, so all scientific observations regarding physics, cosmology, geology, or paleontology can be dismissed. If you start there, it's easy to get to "cavemen and dinosaurs were contemporaries", though he probably actually started with the wacky creation science ideas and then cast around for 5 minutes to come up with some vague handwave about physics to make it sound more plausible to himself.

He really doesn't get even the most basic concepts of science such as that hypotheses are supposed to be based on evidence, and theories are tested by making predictions and then doing experiments to verify or disprove them. That other column linked about college suggests why: he didn't listen to a single class he took because he was too busy figuring out how to scam people.

#824 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2011, 01:04 PM:

Seen elsewhere and quoted (and I assume this may go into moderation for obvious reasons):

The .xxx domain has gone live in the Interet root zone. As the only sites up (as of when I saw this) belong to the .xxx domain registrar, "it might at this moment be the only top-level Internet domain which contains no p0rn."

#825 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2011, 01:31 PM:

Wow... The more of Scott Adams I read, absent the situational truths of Dilbert (though I begin to wonder how he managed to make fun of the Pointy Headed Bosses: he seems much more in tune with them in the "fail forward" piece), the more I am amazed.

I never really demand people be rational in everything they believe, but the Intelligent Design stuff pretty much soured me on him.

This last one, his, "Sprezzatura" moments...

Let's try this the old-fashioned way. I'll give you all of the facts about this scandal, and some proper context, and you can assume every word of it is bullshit. And that leads me to my first point about context: As a general rule, you can't trust anyone who has a conflict of interest. Conflict of interest is like a prison that locks in both the truth and the lies. One workaround for that problem is to change the messenger. That's where an alias comes in handy. When you remove the appearance of conflict of interest, it allows others to listen to the evidence without judging. [emphasis in original].

The rest of the screed (I can't call it much else) make it plain that he doesn't care about truth, but about that appearance. All of it was to contain the damage of hoi polloi who dared to call him on his crap.

Because it's not as if having a real conflict of interest is the problem, it's people seeing you have one, and taking the self-serving excuses as if they were self-serving excuses.

I think I need to go find my pitchforks and pikes, and make a post about this, otherwise it will fester in my brain.

#826 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2011, 02:21 PM:

Serge 819: "Le pain, le pain, oooooh..."

Reminds me of the line I'm going to use in some script or story someday..."You're so ignorant you think 'Au Bon Pain' means 'It hurts so good'!"

Terry 825: Adams lost me when he joined up with PETA. I'm not surprised he's totally off the deep end now.

#827 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2011, 03:15 PM:

@Lee: Yes, my sister and brother both have nicely trained pit bulls.

I'm sure the apartment managers know which residents are the problem. They send notices to everyone out of . . . fairness? An excess of caution? Not trying to antagonize the culprits?

I could hand the people a spare leash. I could mention the swell dog park up the street where Buddha could burn off his about-to-be-adolescent energy. I could hang a pack of dog shit bags on the tree by where they drag the dog to relieve himself.

But I strongly suspect that all it would do is create resentment.

If my parking spot were on the right side of the building, I'd certainly consider the hidden camera angle. Repeated fines based on anonymous video evidence might do the trick.

#828 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2011, 04:27 PM:


I really liked the "Sarah Jane Adventures" show. Silly fun.

Doctor Who Star Elisabeth Sladen Passes Away at 63

Doctor Who fans around the world are currently in shock by today's news of the sudden passing of Elisabeth Sladen.

Sladen was most known—and absolutely beloved—for her portrayal of journalist Sarah Jane Smith on Doctor Who, a role that she made popular in the 1970s and reprised once again in 2006 alongside the revival of the series. This eventually led to her starring in the character's own program, The Sarah Jane Adventures, which was due to begin filming its fourth season soon.

According to preliminary reports from Doctor Who Magazine, as well as from Who alumni Nicola Bryant and Paul Cornell, the 63-year-old Sladen died of complications involving cancer.

#829 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2011, 04:49 PM:

Report on Elisabeth Sladen's death on the BBC website

#830 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2011, 04:57 PM:

Damn. I'll have to get the two seasons of her show that I haven't seen and watch them.

Still, dammit.

#831 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2011, 05:00 PM:

Open threadiness:

Glenn gets just a tiny bit snarky w.r.t. the newly urgent issues of Federal porn and online-poker enforcement. I'll just note that the DOJ doesn't seem to have the resources to prosecute much of anyone in the financial industry, even the ones apparently involved in massive fraud that helped inflate a bubble that wrecked the global economy. So it's good to know that they've got their priorities straight. (And of course, nobody's going to be facing prosecution for violating the written law w.r.t. domestic spying or torture. I mean, really, what kind of moonbat imagines that laws apply to the important people.)

#832 ::: Chris W. ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2011, 05:27 PM:

Re: Scott Adams.

Scott Adams lost me when I read one of his first books and he started advocating crank physics of the "I'm not smart enough to figure out why this doesn't work, therefore it must be a brilliant new insight into fundamentals of physics" variety.

He strikes me very much as just some guy who had one silly notion about starting a comic about pointy-haired bosses and hapless engineers that turned out to be a multi-million dollar idea, and as a result he has decided that he is a certified genius whose every silly notion deserves respect and deference.

#833 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2011, 05:31 PM:

Elliott Mason #821, Stefan Jones #827:

Actually, I found the "college" article remarkably rational, given a social-limited world-view (and I keep wanting to add various nasty remarks here).

Essentially, he's saying that he knew early on that he had no talent for Real Work, so he set out to make his living off his social ability, by manipulating and exploiting those around him. Having succeeded in doing so, he can now play "sour grapes" on the more successful students.

Not very nice, and "long-run stupid", but AFAICT that really is how "management" works, along with allied disciplines like "rainmaking" and "marketing".

#834 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2011, 06:04 PM:

David Harmon: I found the college one both smug, and condescending. He manages to claim to being a "B grade brain" while lording it over the "A brains" (who needed to study for years to learn to recognise a painting, and I can't find that specific quotation, which is pissing me off).

Some of the things he talks about are non-important (the indoor soccer club) and some leave some interesting moral questions (what happened when he and his friends left the dorms... was the system he put into place sustainable?).

He also has some classic pointy-headed boss thinking (better to be driving the bus, then to be under it... the world is an us/them interaction, and if you aren't willing to drive the bus you get what you deserve), and "I made nothing into something". Well, no. He doesn't describe, "making" anything. He describes playing with the system to get him to pay him for doing not much.

It's a successful method of making a living, and it's what MBA programs seem to teach. It's rational, in the same way every other version of FYJIGM is rational.

#835 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2011, 06:53 PM:

I rather suspect Scott Adams has the same disease as many another successful person--a combination of believing his vast (well-deserved, IMO) success in one area makes him likely to have deep insights into everything else, and a large number of people who are willing to treat his ideas and comments with too much deference.

That last one is corrosive, like pouring acid on your soul at the extreme point. It happens to a lot of successful people who draw some level of groupies. There's nothing in this world easier than convincing yourself that your ideas and opinions and insights are all incredibly valuable, unless it's convincing yourself that your ingroup is all smarter, nicer, and better-looking than everyone else.

The two together explain how you get actors and musicians and athletes spouting off about all kinds of stuff far outside their actual understanding.

The only way your BS ideas get filtered out is when they're challenged, and it's damned hard to do that for yourself. Especially when you've spent a few years convincing yourself that your sh-t doesn't stink.

#837 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2011, 01:12 AM:

HLN: Area man's father-in-law diagnosed with severe sleep apnea -- apparently complex apnea rather than just obstructive. Brother-in-law reports this as: "Yay! Dad has sleep apnea!" ("Yay", of course, as in "Yay this has been diagnosed and maybe can be treated!") Area man hopes that father-in-law's is as treatable as his.

#838 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2011, 11:15 AM:

Ginger @ 644... my evil is squamous and rugose, and in no earthly color!

That must cause problems when trying to coordinate the colors of your attire.

#839 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2011, 01:58 PM:

Serge @ 838: As my son likes to say, "I'm wearing black only until I can find something darker".

#840 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2011, 02:43 PM:

Ginger: Has he read Shadow of the Torturer, where the torturers wear "fuligin, the color that is darker than black"?

Hey, it's an opportunity for him to learn about fabric-reactive dyes! (I AM JOKING.)

#841 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2011, 02:50 PM:

A question for those knowledgeable about dogs (AKICITF):

As I posted before, my 11-year-old Lhasa Apso, Jemma, has gone blind recently. She's been completely blind for about a month now, and has adapted pretty well. She navigates around the house and yard without bumping into things too often, and handles the bumping without getting upset or confused most of the time. She's also dealing well with going to the park once a day; she's been going to that park for more than 2 years now, and knows it pretty well; she's even ok with finding the car again when she's done with her walk (she decides when she's done) even if it's not parked in exactly the same place every day.

But, every once in awhile she gets very confused. It starts either when she get's really excited (for instance, it's time for a treat), or when something gets her turned around (our other dog, Spencer, pushes past her to get somewhere, or she just forgets where she is). Then she loses her memory of where she is and what direction she's going in, and starts going in circles, often bumping into the same things over and over. If we try to steer her in the right direction she usually just ignores us and goes on; if we try to pick her up she tries to wriggle away and continue her circles. Most of the time the only way to stop her is to pick her up and hold her for awhile until she settles down, while petting and talking to her. When she does calm down we can put her down and she'll be OK again. Sometimes she figures it out herself (though never when she's expecting a treat because she's too excited) and calms down.

Has anyone else seen this sort of behavior in a blind dog? Do you know of any techniques for dealing with it, to calm the dog down and/or get their navigation working again?

#842 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2011, 03:17 PM:

Bruce Cohen @841: Have you done any training with her prior to her becoming blind? I mean basics like "sit" and "stay?"

If you have, you may be able to short-circuit the circling behavior by telling her to "sit." You may want to have her sit before you give her a treat, too.

#843 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2011, 05:31 PM:

Terry Karney #834: It's a successful method of making a living,

Indeed, parasitism can be a pretty decent living for a while, if your niche sticks around. (And if you avoid making one of the several Parasite's Big Mistakes.) I suspect Adams may have just done a PBM, namely displaying the "troll allergen" of sockpuppeting. Of course this isn't the first time he's turned off a section of his host population readership (he lost me at "creationism")... the question is, could this stuff be getting him new supporters from Wingnuttia?

#844 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2011, 07:25 PM:

He lost me when he stopped drawing funny stuff.
*checks the last two weeks of Dilbert*
Nope. Still lost.

#845 ::: jnh ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2011, 07:31 PM:

HLN: Today I was neither spat upon nor successfully kicked by Alpaca. I suspect that this is true for the rest of you as well, but in my case they actually had both the opportunity and sufficient cause — there are now 18 naked Alpaca huddled together out on a cold wet Maine day that had really nice full fur coats this morning.

I helped out at an Alpaca shearing†, and incidentally am in possession of a trash bag full of some of the nicer parts of "thirds"¶¬, and have no real use for them, but thought that there might be Fluorospheroids who would be interested in some free fleece.

¶¬ The farm was only interested in the "Firsts" (sides and back), and "Seconds" (neck), what I'm offering is what's know as "dirty thirds" that came off a barn floor and may contain small amounts of straw, Alpaca manure, blood, etc.

† I also shook the hand of the state AG, and urinated in his yard (in the first instance, I am polite and he is a nice guy even though we have quite different politics, in the second instance it was a farm, after all).

#846 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2011, 09:33 PM:

Xopher @840: No, he has not. Dare I even suggest it? This is the same child who has used up all the spray paint by painting various objects such as branches, old sneakers, and dog poop. Silver dog poop.

Perhaps I ought to wait before pointing him at other colors.

HLN: Area woman arrives home to find dogs have once again "escaped" from confinement and rampaged through the cat food and garbage. Area woman finds silver lining in the knowledge that the garbage was minimal and there were no longer any cans of beets on the counter, to be stolen and punctured upon the Nice Carpet in the other room. When asked what her plans were, the victim replied, "I'm making dinner and I'm taking it to my Fabulous Girlfriend's house. I'm not going to even think about the pups until tomorrow morning. They've had their walk and their last out, and they've gone to bed."

#847 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2011, 09:41 PM:

Ginger, Beets? Beets? Are the pups Russian wolfhounds?

#848 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2011, 09:50 PM:

Linkmeister @847: I know! At least the rug is reddish, so most of the beet juice is not noticeable. They're not even beagles ("Beagle Philosophy: Everything has a flavor.") -- they're labs. They've learned how to open cans with their teeth, and consequently have dined frequently on tuna, canned cat food, and beets. Well, they opened the beets.

Perhaps somewhere in their history there was a Russian dog. I am no longer as surprised by the inevitability of Ukrainians wherever I go.

#849 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2011, 11:18 PM:

This is infuriating: Michigan Cops Search Cellphones at Traffic Stops.

Search isn't the right word... Sieze all data is the right word.

They can, it seems, empty an iPhone in something on the order of 90 seconds.

A US Department of Justice test of the CelleBrite UFED used by Michigan police found the device could grab all of the photos and video off of an iPhone within one-and-a-half minutes. The device works with 3000 different phone models and can even defeat password protections.

#850 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2011, 12:11 AM:

Wow! Buddha the neighbor dog was at the end of a leash today.

I gave him a biscuit for doing a "sit" as I passed.

#851 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2011, 11:35 AM:

Hyperlocal news... Man receives confirmation from co-worker hailing from Russia that she likes their employer's now omnipresent bureaucrats as much as he does.

#852 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2011, 12:19 PM:

Hyperlocal news: the neighbors got a good laugh today if they were outside around 7:45 am. They got to observe their neighbor shoving a small plastic cup under her dog at intervals as he pissed on rocks, bushes, fences, etc. He was embarrassed, by the way, and clearly found the whole procedure demeaning.

#853 ::: Zelda ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2011, 12:40 PM:

Ginger @848: [dogs investigate unusual food]

With labs, you should expect some experiments.


#854 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2011, 02:03 PM:

Zelda @853: Thank you for saying that so I didn't have to. (I was busy keeping an eye on the felines. Yes, the labs are always followed by cat scans. Why do you ask?)

#855 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2011, 03:02 PM:

Zelda @ 853... flees dogged purr-suit?

#857 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2011, 03:26 PM:

Lizzy L@ #852 -

I learned recently that deployment of a Soup Ladle is the most efficient method for that sort of collection. Why the vets don't tell you that, especially in the case of very close to the ground bitches (my dog, although that also applies to me, come to think of it) I can only assume is part of their payback for having to analyze the stuff.

#858 ::: Mike McHugh ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2011, 03:26 PM:

C. Wingate @856: definitely bad news when taken in conjunction with the cellphone data seizures from 849, but it's not quite as bad - in that it's not transmitted over the air anywhere: physical access to something you own/sync with is required - (or as new) as it first seemed. (Although, given that it's not just iOS4 that's trackable, maybe "bad" is relative.)

#859 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2011, 03:29 PM:

Lori Coulson @ 842:

We tried some training when we first adopted her at the age of 8, but she had never been trained by her previous owners, and she's a stubborn personality to start with (basic Lhasa personality, plus raised as a couch-potato diva). So she sits on command sometimes, but not predictably, and she comes when she's in the mood. She never did get "stay".

She's getting a little better at my redirecting her physically; she'll allow me to point her in a different direction by moving her body and head around, but not when she's really excited. Unfortunately, my back and legs are still weak enough after my last surgery that I can't stand up from a kneeling position with her in my arms or perched on my shoulder, so I can't just scoop her up and carry her somewhere.

#860 ::: Zelda ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2011, 03:38 PM:

Serge @855:
We've already discussed what to do when there are fleas in your purr-suit.

#861 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2011, 04:10 PM:

Bruce Cohen @859...whatever works then -- the only rescue dog I've had (so far) came to us with beautiful manners, and I resolved that any pup I got after that would at least get the basics.

I sympathize with the back problem and dealing with a small(er) dog. My knees and ankles aren't the best, so teaching Honey (the Chihuahua) to "sit" and "wait" has been crucial. But it's still like trying to harness a bee* when I'm trying to get her ready for a walk!

*She always gets excited, and I've yet to find a way to moderate her enthusiasm.

#862 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2011, 04:17 PM:

Lizzy L @852: last time I had to get a sample from one of my cats, I had to clean the litterbox thoroughly, cover it with plastic wrap and put in a meager handful of litter (without the litter the cat just peed in the tub), pretend to ignore the cat until it went into the box, lurk outside the bathroom until the cat was done, tilt the box to make the urine run away from the litter, and draw urine into an eyedropper and empty it into the sample container until I had enough to take to the vet.

My current vet takes the urine samples in the office (needle straight into the bladder--not fun for the cat, but fast and sterile).

#863 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2011, 04:55 PM:

I've never had to collect pee from my dog. She is a social whizzer, carefully selecting locations and then lifting her leg or straddling the spot to pee on.

Poo is very easy to collect, of course.

#864 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2011, 05:13 PM:

jnh, I was not spat on or... actually, wait. Um. All my memories of this week are blurred together. I may have been spat on or kicked by a child. If not today, definitely yesterday. And the day before, I think. What constitutes spitting?

This is why I am not around a lot anywhere. Oh, children. You are a job.

#865 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2011, 05:22 PM:

Bruce Cohen #859, Lori Coulson #861:
Being now laden with dog-choosing/training books✍, I'm starting to learn about such training. This is made more important by the point that my knees (and shoulders) aren't what they used to be either.

✍ I grabbed the New Skete Monks' book, How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend from the bookstore where I work ( have the first edition). My sister then loaded me up with the IDIOT'S Guide to Choosing a Dog [etc], Choosing a Dog for Dummies, the Simple Guide to Choosing a Dog (Diane Morgan), and a volume simply titled Choosing a Dog (Nancy Baer and Steve Duno).

#866 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2011, 05:31 PM:

Diatryma @864: In re childcare being a real job ... a very true blogpost from a friend of mine.

#867 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2011, 05:49 PM:

RIP Max Mathews, one of the giants of my field, one of the architects of the modern world, and the guy who made HAL sing.

#868 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2011, 06:29 PM:

Terry @ #849, C. Wingate @ #856: We're living in the future, and it's a bad ripoff of 1984. With a side of Red Dawn, only we didn't have to import our repressive overlords from outside our borders.

I am beginning to get physically sick every time the news comes on the radio. (And I listen to NPR, not Faux.)

#869 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2011, 09:54 PM:


I just got a robo-call. The first line was: "This is a special message from Restore America's Voice." The second line, a new voice, said, "Hi, this is Mike Huckabee."

I slammed the phone down at that point.

#870 ::: LMM ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2011, 09:55 PM:

I've been waiting for the next open thread to ask this, but since it's coming up fast:

Is there a Fluorosphere get-together planned for Minicon? (And if so, are near-lurkers invited? -- My silence was for a good purpose, I swear! (*))

(*) Namely, completing my thesis.

#871 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2011, 10:13 PM:

Elliott Mason, hooboy is it a job. It is not paid nearly enough-- I can just about live on my hourly subbing salary, but if I could double what every special ed teacher makes I'd do it before touching my own paycheck. This week finally escalated to the point that I am no longer using specifics on the internet. But trust me, THIS WEEK. Last week, too.

Somewhat related, and because many people know many other people, I am once again trying to sell my hair. If you know a hair artist or anyone who would be interested, my ad is here. This is all going into the Clarion West fund because while special-ed substitute paraeducating keeps the cat in kibble, kibble isn't workshops. If you click, it also makes the ad more popular, which eventually may bring it to the attention of others.

#872 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2011, 10:43 PM:

Restore America? Do you need an install disk to do that?

#873 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2011, 10:47 PM:

David Harmon @ 865: The only dog training book I've read is Daniel Pinkwater's "SuperPuppy". Since I haven't compared it to other books, I can't say whether it is technically superior, but because it's by Pinkwater, it's entertaining! He is a skilled dog trainer.

C. Wingate @ 856: iPhone recording unencrypted log -- I sent feedback to Apple complaining, and also posted a comment on an Apple forum topic about it. I've been astounded at how many comments have been posted that say something along the lines of "Oh, you're all so paranoid. What's the big deal". I could think of several in short order, even before seeing the news article about Michigan police having devices that can pull data from cell phones:

- Victim of domestic abuse, whose abuser could check to see where they've been going.
- Employers snooping, taking the location data from employee's computers, where the employee has synched their iPhone to a work computer to have music handy, or has a company phone that they naturally synch with their work PC.

But, fundamentally, why do people leap to approve of a device storing personal data about you, and putting it on any computer you use with the device, without encrypting it or giving you the option to not store it? That seems to fundamental to me.

#874 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2011, 10:51 PM:

Stefan Jones @ #828 et al, here (via a comment on's tribute post) is a lovely tribute to Elizabeth Sladen: Goodbye, Sarah-Jane.

#875 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2011, 10:52 PM:

I get enough robocalls (mostly for carpet-cleaners) that I now pick up the phone and don't say anything for some time - if there's no speech from the other end, I hang up.

#876 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2011, 11:04 PM:

Apple has crossed the line into actually evil. It's not like they did that by accident. They're on the Mark Zuckerberg "privacy is dead" team.

#877 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 12:47 AM:


I've known for years that the BBC had done a TV series based on Stewart Brand's book on architecture, How Buildings Learn, which is about how buildings lend themselves to adaptation by humans . . . or resist it.

My sister, who is doing a term paper on library design, sent me a link to the series on YouTube. Ironically, after being up for two years it is about to have to come down.

I watched the first half-hour episode of six. Really well done.

#878 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 12:59 AM:

Sale pointy-outing message:

The DVD & Blue Ray combo of last year's wonderful "Fantastic Mr. Fox" is on sale at Target for $10.00.

Wes Anderson's idiosyncratic style is oddly suited to animated furries.

#879 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 02:29 AM:

AKICIML: Mending question: Is there any way to make it even a little easier to hem-stitch stretchy fabrics, like, say, a particularly recalcitrant polyester/spandex blend? I have never had such trouble getting fabric to stop puckering and pulling awry.

#880 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 03:06 AM:

Hyperlocal news... Man see bumper sticker "Palin/Coulter in 2012 - Go, Sarah!"

#881 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 03:11 AM:

LMM @ 870... Not going to MiniCon, but such events never cast out those cowardly near-lurkers into the dark corners of the party away from the canapés.

#882 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 06:28 AM:

@879 Lots and lots and lots of pins. Pin it every 2". If that doesn't work, pin it every 1". If that still doesn't work because it's slippery and uncooperative and stretches along dimensions of the spacetime continuum you don't have names for, pin it every 1cm or even every 5mm.

If you're machine sewing it, hand basting might help too - that way you can ease in the uneven bits with your fingers before sewing them down.

Hates me some stretch knit, at least for sewing.

#883 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 08:08 AM:

I've been working on the Mischievous Gnome Bag from Sew Liberated. It turns out I may hate sewing. Rather, I like it, but I require precision and am not capable of it. One bit of trim kept me near tears for about an hour as I sewed, ripped, pinned, asked for help, switched the pins, pulled, explained to a helpful fellow workshopper that this was a bit that would show and it has to be right while doing my best not to convey that her own sewing standards are clearly too low because they aren't, reminded myself that my seams do not reflect my worth as a person (even though Back of Brain says they totally do), and eventually, had one of the workshop staff do it for me.

Because making things is relaxing and fun, you know.

This is also why I don't think I'd be a good (or, eventually, sane) quilter.

#884 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 08:10 AM:

Oh, also: would it work to pin it to something that doesn't move? I know people who embroider T-shirts with freezer paper (not sure what it is but someone must know) and then pull it out from all the stitches.

#885 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 08:19 AM:

Diatryma, 884: I don't think freezer paper would help with hemming. It's paper with a very thin layer of plastic on one side. You draw on the paper side, then use a cool iron to stick it to the fabric. (It's also used in needle-turn applique.)

#886 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 08:19 AM:

Diatryma, 884: I don't think freezer paper would help with hemming. It's paper with a very thin layer of plastic on one side. You draw on the paper side, then use a cool iron to stick it to the fabric. (It's also used in needle-turn applique.)

#887 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 08:58 AM:

KayTei @#879: What Thena said, and also go very, very slowly. Part of the problem is the machine's feed dogs, which move the bottom layer directly but the top layer only indirectly.

Diatryma @#883: If you go with simple patterns until you get the hang of it, you might do OK; quilting cottons are pretty easy to work with.

#889 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 10:41 AM:

I am a good non-professional dog trainer. Theo, my current dog, is now eight. The books that worked for me when I trained him are the New Skete Monks book, The Everything Puppy Book, and a book called How to Speak Dog by Stanley Cohen, which is all about dogs' body language. I found it really helpful.

There a lot of good books out there. A lot of not very good ones, also.

One excellent piece of advice which I paid attention to in training all my dogs is: Your dog is a dog first, then a _________, (insert breed characteristics here), then Your Dog. In other words, look first at species, then breed(s), (if you can figure them out; sometimes you can't) then personality and experience of the individual dog. It astonishes me, the number of people who "own" dogs while knowing nothing and caring nothing about the species of animal they "own."

*eases off hobby horse now*

#890 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 10:53 AM:

Since someone mentioned sewing . . .

My brother is looking for an inexpensive sewing machine that he can use for things like hemming jeans and pants made from other fabrics and to run up some new curtains for his home office and things like that. He won't be using it every day, which is why he doesn't want to spend a lot of money, but it needs to be able to handle thicker fabrics, which may cost more.

Oh, and it should be able to make buttonholes, but I kind of assume that most machines can do that.

And it should be relatively easy for someone who has never done any machine-sewing to learn.

My mother sews but bought her last machine decades ago and so can offer no assistance. I do not machine sew; I can do all sorts of minor repairs by hand, however.

Recommendations heartily welcomed.

#891 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 12:21 PM:

Yet another back-my-head-against-the-wall polling result: huge portions of both parties think Obama wasn't born in the USA. I mean, 45% of Republicans think he was born abroad: that's stupid but comprehensible. But 25% of Democrats???

#892 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 12:25 PM:

Melissa Singer @ 890 ...
My brother is looking for an inexpensive sewing machine that he can use for things like hemming jeans and pants made from other fabrics and to run up some new curtains for his home office and things like that. He won't be using it every day, which is why he doesn't want to spend a lot of money, but it needs to be able to handle thicker fabrics, which may cost more.

I'd head to your local thrift shop, and look for an ancient, heavy-as-anything machine. Those tend to have gears of metal, not plastic, and are much better at sewing through anything[0]

Oh, and it should be able to make buttonholes, but I kind of assume that most machines can do that.

Er, well... depends on how pretty you wan those buttonholes to be. There's this huge gap in decent buttonholes between the early buttonholers and the arrival of machines (plastic, generally) that make decent buttonholes on their own.

[0] Fingers, if you're sufficiently dumb about it...

#893 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 12:39 PM:

Melissa Singer (890): xeger's advice is good, except that eBay may have a better selection than a thrift shop. Pre-1970 Singer's are workhorses; I recently bought a single-stitch machine made in 1950 (for $60 including shipping) that sews five layers of denim without any trouble at all (twelve layers at the seams was a little harder, mainly because it didn't want to go up over the bump without coaxing). He'd need a separate attachment for buttonholes, though.

#894 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 12:55 PM:

David Harmon @865...I also heartily recommend NatGeo's Dog Whisperer*.

For anyone thinking of getting a dog -- the AKC website has a little survey that you can take which shows what breed(s) are compatible with your lifestyle.

*Warning: Do Not let your Chihuahua view the "evil Chihuahua" episodes. You do not want your precious pup to even consider manifesting this behaviour.

#895 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 12:57 PM:

Actually, that whole 45% of Republicans believing something silly because it's being pushed by pundits on their side is creepy for different reasons. How many things are widely believed, not because they have anything to do with reality, but because we're told to believe them from people we broadly like?

#896 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 12:59 PM:

xeger @892, Melissa Singer @890: I'm seconding xeger here. Hit a thrift store. Make sure you look inside all openable flaps -- only buy all-metal-gears. Shouldn't run more than $20-40. Then ask around in your town (or hit the yellow pages); find a sewing machine repair place with an old guy in the back. He'll charge you $25 for a tuneup and lube job.

It will probably sew through four layers of denim, no problem. It may not do anything fancy (heck, it may not zigzag if it's old enough), but for curtains and such? Perfect.

If it's the kind meant to be mounted in a table, the old guy at the sewing machine repair place can sell you a case to put it in that makes it a 'sit on your table' sewing machine.

For buttonholes there are several schools of thought. The simplest acceptable buttonhole, for me, is two rows of medium-width very dense zigzag with bar tacks (total-width dense zigzag) at each end, and then slit the center carefully with a razorblade. You can do this semi-manually with nothing special as long as your machine zigzags, but your first ten might be a little uneven. :->

#897 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 01:00 PM:

Does anybody remember when Making Light's own "Boomdeyada" film was posted?

#898 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 01:07 PM:

Real estate AKICIML: I'm trying to decide if some behavior by a Realtor (capital-R) is simply annoying and unprofessional, or is actually something I can report as a breach of professional ethics to the capital-R people, local BBB, etc -- help?

We wanted to buy a given house. We sent offer paperwork to its seller's agent. Seller's agent said they passed it on to seller, but it was a short sale, so it'd have to go through the bank as well. Fine. We hear back from seller's agent: all is go, seller likes it, we'll see if the bank takes the price. Seller's agent says he usually doesn't hear back from that particular bank on short sale decisions in less than 8-12 weeks, so we should expect that.

Today, 7 weeks after that date, we hear back that they've got a sale finalizing with another buyer. Our agent contacts them with a gentle WTF, dude? kind of query. Apparently we were the 'second' offer; someone else had paperwork in before we did. This is the first we are hearing of it. As far as we knew, the seller had SIGNED THE CONTRACT and sent it on to the bank for approval.

So we just pissed 7 weeks of waiting time down the drain on a house we were almost certain not to get, instead of continuing to actively househunt and know we were second in line.

I'm mad enough I want to do something besides just sit here and fume and then write them off, I just don't know what actions are appropriate. I've only ever bought one house (the one I live in now), so I'm kind of inexperienced at All This.

#899 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 01:17 PM:

KayTei: I don't do any sewing myself, but my ex- Zora was rather expert. Do you have access to borrow a serger? That's what clothing companies and professionals use for hemming knits and that type of fabric. They stitch and overcast in a completely different way than a regular sewing machine.

#900 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 01:23 PM:

Lori @ 894: I am not an expert, but - are you sure? I'm sure I've seen other dog trainers saying that the "Dog Whisperer" TV show and the stuff that guy writes is completely wrong-headed, and that some of what he says (like talking of how you have to "dominate" your dog as an "alpha") is not only wrong but actively harmful to training a dog.

#901 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 01:28 PM:

Mary Aileen @ 893 ...
Melissa Singer (890): xeger's advice is good, except that eBay may have a better selection than a thrift shop. Pre-1970 Singer's are workhorses; I recently bought a single-stitch machine made in 1950 (for $60 including shipping) that sews five layers of denim without any trouble at all (twelve layers at the seams was a little harder, mainly because it didn't want to go up over the bump without coaxing).

My local thrift shop currently has a very nice old singer - the sort that I'd wholeheartedly recommend for anybody interested in such things (and would consider acquiring if it was certain that I was going to pass it along fairly soon), given that I may have a bit of a sewing machine problem (although not as bad as my hat problem)

He'd need a separate attachment for buttonholes, though.

I still owe Diatryma a parcel of sewing machine machine bits (mea culpa, I'm being even more than flaky, which is saying something) -- However it looks like I've still got an extra buttonholer kicking around after that...

#902 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 01:37 PM:

I'm marking the last set of essays before finals. As usual, I'm learning many new things. Among them:

The SkhM-48 (a vertical spindle machine) was produced in 1949 and brought satisfaction to the cotton growing industry.

The English language was created from that of an older Englishman.

However, in today’s society is hard to determine if one ideal from the aforementioned men.

Knowing one’s history gives an entitlement into where you come from and by what means did your ancestors achieve in living.

#903 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 02:03 PM:

KayTei @ 879 ...
AKICIML: Mending question: Is there any way to make it even a little easier to hem-stitch stretchy fabrics, like, say, a particularly recalcitrant polyester/spandex blend? I have never had such trouble getting fabric to stop puckering and pulling awry.

In no particular order (these mostly presume a sewing machine):
(1) Use a ballpoint needle, not a sharp[0]
(2) Use a zig-zag stitch
(2a) Use a longer stitch length
(3) If you have one, use a walking foot
(4) Use fusible stretch interfacing on the inside of the hem to stabilize the hem
(5) If you're using a machine, and can lower the feed dogs and/or change the pressure of the presser foot, try that
(6) If you're using a machine, try a teflon foot
(7) If you have access to a serger, that may help, but you'll likely still be wanting to turn the hem, so that the serged stitching isn't visible.

[0] The ballpoint should push the threads of the material aside, while the sharp will pierce them, making puckering/runs more likely.

#904 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 02:29 PM:


Yeah, the Apple location tracking thing p-sses me off no end. I'll have to think about how comfortable I am continuing to buy Apple products--I generally like their computers and I've loved my iPhone since I got it, but I'm not too thrilled with doing business with people who will silently and continuously violate my privacy to make their business model a little easier.

Suppose Apple determines that there's a good business reason to sometimes have my phone turn on its microphone and listen in on local conversations? Or occasionally take a picture from the camera and send it back? Or return information on what websites I visit, and when? Why should I not think they're doing all those things, since they're already recording my location?

#905 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 02:56 PM:

Clifton Royston @900...Cesare doesn't "dominate" the dogs* -- he uses distraction and body language dogs understand to produce correct behaviour.

He does emphasize that you have to be a "pack leader" -- your body language has to show the dog that you're in charge. In gaming language it's a "presence attack" not a physical hands-on encounter.

He also stresses that because many breeds were produced to do a job, they need to have that urge satisfied, and the closer you can get satisfying that the happier the dog will be.

Note -- with some breeds, getting them when they're puppies is a must. It's much easier to gently roll the 6 pound puppy onto their back and hold them there, than it is to do the same with the 6 month old 60 pound adolescent. Done at the right time, the dog never realizes you're the weaker specimen.

*If you can, catch the episode with the military Lab with PTSD, you will see Cesare at his most compassionate and challenged.

#906 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 03:07 PM:

Fragano @ 902: Ah, yes! The old SkhM-48! Good honest Soviet machinery -- put puny Westerners to shame! Ha -- with one of those babies, we could make our 5-year quota in one month.

*Sarcasm returned to OFF position

Somewhere, I'm sure, there's an entire novel dedicated to the SkhM-48. It fits right into the Socialist Realism niche.

#907 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 03:13 PM:

Happy 21st Anniversary, Hubble!

It looks like it was painted by Kelly Freas.

#908 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 03:14 PM:

Serge writes in #897:
Does anybody remember when Making Light's own "Boomdeyada" film was posted?

23 March 2010.

#909 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 03:21 PM:

I would echo everything that has been said about buying old battleship sewing machines. I have my M-i-L's Singer 2211, which is good enough but I still long for my mother's 301.

1"Featherweight" for this thing is only accurate in relation to the monsters used by cobblers.

#910 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 03:23 PM:

re 898: If he's part of a firm, you could try going up the tree, but since real estate is generally licensed by the state you might wish to register a complaint.

#911 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 03:51 PM:

xeger (901): have a spare buttonholer? Would it fit a Singer 99K, by any chance? ::puppy-dog eyes::

My mother taught me to do buttonholes by hand, but machine sewing would be much faster.

(The 99K is my new* machine; I'm still eyeing my mother's, which is probably a 301.)

*new to me, anyway

#912 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 04:01 PM:

An interesting take on the iPhone thing . If the guy's to be believed, the location data isn't all that accurate--in any dimension. (Nabbed from Slashdot.)

#913 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 04:04 PM:

HLN: Local couple celebrate Earth Day by getting city inspection of recently-installed solar panels. Meter attachment to follow in the next week or two.

#914 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 05:17 PM:

Mary Aileen @ 911 ...
xeger (901): have a spare buttonholer? Would it fit a Singer 99K, by any chance? ::puppy-dog eyes::

Heh. I think it does -- and given that I happen to have a 99K, that's also something that I could check.

(The 99K is my new* machine; I'm still eyeing my mother's, which is probably a 301.)

My 99K arrived via somebody leaving it out on the sidewalk a few doors down (our local signal for "if you want it, take it"). The only thing it needed was a replacement belt -- and it's been a fine workhorse since.

In my copious spare time, I'd like to spend some time futzing with my 319K -- it's a seriously geeky machine... This site has more about the 319K, and their collection of sewing machines is amazing (and amazingly well documented, too!).

#915 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 06:10 PM:

xeger (914): Wow, seriously geeky is right. I love all the amazing stitches one can do with the fashion disks.

#916 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 07:48 PM:

I finished the bag!

Context: I have been working on this bag for a week and a half. The woman I knew who had made one said it was a few hours' work.

Ten and a half hours later, I am done! It is solidly constructed, I added things I needed to add (like a hair-tie loop for my keys so I don't have to put them in the same pocket as my pens and such) and changed the top flap and had to adjust all sorts of things and we are just not thinking of how it could be better because madness STRAIGHT THATAWAY but.

I really, really shouldn't sew when stressed or when I haven't eaten a gigantic lunch. Only way I can explain why today was not stressful and yet the previous eight hours were about fifty percent trying not to cry because it wasn't completely perfect in every way.

And I have to remember that you make things because you like making them and because you want them to be exactly what you want, not because it is cheaper. Because hooboy, no. Had I been working on my own machine rather than renting workshop time, it would have been, but.

And xeger, no need to feel bad. Just email me before you send them because I think I've moved since the last address check and then summer happens.

#917 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 07:56 PM:

Bill Higgins @ 908... Thanks! You'd think I would easily remember that date.

#918 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 08:04 PM:

albatross @ 904:

Unfortunately, most of the carriers have been keeping records of cell phone locations for a lot longer than a year (IIRC one congresscritter discovered his carrier had logged his location 84,000 times). And we can be sure that they're not keeping the stuff in a file on the phone; and I wouldn't be surprised if they're selling the information, which Apple isn't (yet).

I looked at my iPhone's file, and AFAICT the location is information is not coming from GPS but rather from cell tower triangulation, which means it's not very accurate. And there do seem to be some outlier coordinates I was never at; supposedly the logger can sometimes get the cell tower ID wrong, and think you are someplace far away.

#920 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 08:31 PM:

Elliott: Do you have correspondence? If the agent said it had been signed, and forwarded to the bank you probably have grounds for some sort of legal action.

If that specific statement wasn't made it is likely to hinge on the implications of what was specifically said.

In any case, this sounds like a decidedly dodgy realtor.

#921 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 08:47 PM:

My sewing machine is an Elna 1010 - it's a basic machine, but quilters like it. There's one currently available on eBay, for $50.

#922 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 08:52 PM:

Jumping into the sewing machine thread.

Sometime last year, my parents mentioned that they were trying to sell my grandmother's sewing machine (which I didn't realise they still had). My immediate reaction was to say stop, don't sell it, I want it. It took some work to convince them that I wanted the machine, and no I didn't want them to sell it and send me the money and that I'd even pay for the shipping (New Mexico to NY).

They shipped it to me in November. It turned out to be a 99-24 in amazing shape with a bunch of the original attachments (I now own a ruffler!), the original manual and a bentwood case. In an added bonus, the attachments fit my 338.

It needs a good tune-up but I've checked to see that it runs and the rest has just been waiting until I have time to take it over to the nearest drop point for the local sewing machine repair guy.

The 338 can use the same cams that the 319 can, and I have a batch of them, but I mostly do patchwork and straight sewing so I haven't played with them since I was a kid.

And as long as we're on the topic, does anyone have good tips for cleaning out a sewing machine? I pulled quite a bit of lint out of the bobbin case the last time I used the machine, and I'm thinking that when I'm finished with my current project, it might be time to give it a good cleaning.

#923 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 09:20 PM:

When I was reading rec.crafts.textiles.quilting in the mid to late 1990s, people would occasionally ask for recommendations on machines. If they didn't want to spend a thousand or two on a fancy electronic machine with all the bells and whistles, the advice they got was to buy an old* Singer at a yard sale for $50 and have it refurbished as necessary. eBay is probably the contemporary equivalent; thrift stores seem to work, too, as does finding one on the curb(!).

*pre-1970, when the Singer family sold the company

#924 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 09:22 PM:

Hilary Hertzoff @ 922 ...
And as long as we're on the topic, does anyone have good tips for cleaning out a sewing machine? I pulled quite a bit of lint out of the bobbin case the last time I used the machine, and I'm thinking that when I'm finished with my current project, it might be time to give it a good cleaning.

It depends on what you mean by "a good cleaning" ;) At this point, unless it's badly gunked up, or isn't functioning, I'd generally stick with cleaning out lint, and providing oil as needed.

FWIW, I've used variations on: soap and water, penetrating oil, isopropyl, goo gone, meths, simple green, acetone, kerosene, magic eraser, meguire's mag & aluminum polish, meguire's plastic polish, standard (wood) wax, conservator's wax...

I don't think I've had to deal with anything on a sewing machine that was rusted badly enough that a bit of 0000 steel wool, or magic eraser wouldn't cope.

In general, I've found that dish soap (I think it's been mostly palmolive) and hot water does a pretty amazing job on gunked up metal parts (separated from the main body of the machine) -- obviously taking care to dry any parts so handled immediately -- and subsequent polishing and waxing if they're external parts. Internal parts tend to end up being oiled parts, so they're protected through other mechanisms.

If you love your decals, don't, Don't, DON'T scrub at them. Clean them carefully and gently, and use some sort of removable protectant (in my case that'd be the aforementioned wax) over it. An added benefit to using wax -- helps the fabric to slither :)

I suspect that the number of links below will get this post held for moderation... but:

Sewing machine maintenance
Cleaning old machines
Internal repair and adjustment
Overhaul your sewing machine motor
International Sewing Machine Collectors

#925 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 09:43 PM:

Re the Apple thing. I've a mixed mind. It would appear one can encrypt it. That's a plus. It ought to have been more public. Given the various things it's expected to do, that there is a file of the information isn't all that stunning.

Making it plain-text is actually (if it had been more commonly known) better than having Apple encrypt it, because that key wouldn't be as secure as one's own, and a lot more people would decide it's "safe".

At the moment it doesn't seem Apple is collecting the data, merely that the devices are, quietly, collating it.

So not quite in the facebook level of evil, but not all that swell.

#926 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 10:01 PM:

Wes Anderson's idiosyncratic style is oddly suited to animated furries.

I could see the appeal of the Mr. Fox movie... It would have been a pretty enjoyable movie if it had not pretended to be an adaptation of the magnificent Roald Dahl story with which it had nothing in common.

#927 ::: jnh ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 10:40 PM:

Diatryma @864:
Comparing Camelids to Hominids?
An adult Alpaca weighs 100 - 175 lb. or so, and packs quite a kick if you get in the way. Camelids use spitting as a defensive tactic, and the "spit" is really a mouthful of ruminate vomit, which is quite foul. I wasn't in range of the head except when catching them to bring in to be sheared. They had a quite strong motive to be nasty to us, however. To shear an Alpaca, you loop rope around all four of their ankles, and then stretch them out on the ground (once the ropes are on, they are dropped to the ground in a couple of seconds by dragging their front legs out from under them, the faster we do this, the less chance of the Alpaca hurting themselves or us). Once on the ground, the shearer proceeds to cut a small section from the shoulder as a fiber sample, then cuts off the "blanket" ("first") which is the back and sides leaving out the very belly. The blanket is saved as one piece and has the most desirable fleece. The neck area is sheared as a separate piece of fleece ("second"). The shearer can also cut to save "thirds" which would be the flank and upper legs. What is left over is from the belly and lower legs and tends to be matted and somewhat dirty. But you shear the entire animal, and can even have them given fancy haircuts (for an extra charge).
My friend was only going to sell the firsts and seconds, so the rest of the 'Paca was just sheared off and swept into a common bag (the good parts were bagged and labeled for each animal). The stuff I saved were some good pickings from the leftovers, but they had been in the back with all the rest of the stuff and aren't super clean.

While you have the 'Paca stretched out, hooves are trimmed and teeth ground as needed, and we gave them each a shot of antibiotic. The whole process took about 10 minutes per animal.

My job (as a random helper) was to fill the hypodermics, give some of the shots, loop the ropes around the hind legs (the shearers helper did the front legs since he was the one who supported the animal as it was dropped to the ground and controlled the head during the shearing (kept it still and used it to turn the 'Paca over when needed), sweep up between animals, and whatever else was needed. A shorn Alpaca looks a lot like ET, btw.

While Alpaca tend to be gentle, especially when hand-raised, they don't like to be separated from the herd, and really don't like being manhandled. The only really uncomfortable part for them is having their teeth ground, although they were all distressed (to varying degrees) by being stretched out on the floor. Once they were loose and back with the herd they settle down very quickly, and would actually approach us shortly after being sheared.

Alpaca hooves are optimized for rocky ground, and tend to be sharply pointed. If any of the 'Paca had actually connected with a good kick, it could have caused real damage. The bucked and fought enough that we were well aware of the danger and stayed out of the kicking zone.

#928 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 10:49 PM:

Many thanks. On the machine hemming (which I admit is extremely tempting for future), just to confirm, can you still get it near-invisible? I've never tried, because I sort of just assumed that the alternative on a standard sewing machine was something like what you get on jeans, only preferably in a less-contrasting thread color. (My skills with sewing machines are a little basic, I'm afraid.)

On the hemming project in question, I ended up having to rip out about three inches, tie off the thread I was working with, and start from a new knot. No idea why that worked, it was just one of those desperation moves. But between that, and pins at about one-inch intervals (and a lot of checking and tiny do-overs), the job got done, so that's one thing settled.

#929 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 11:03 PM:

KayTei @ 928 ...
Many thanks. On the machine hemming (which I admit is extremely tempting for future), just to confirm, can you still get it near-invisible? I've never tried, because I sort of just assumed that the alternative on a standard sewing machine was something like what you get on jeans, only preferably in a less-contrasting thread color. (My skills with sewing machines are a little basic, I'm afraid.)

This link gives a reasonable description of how to do a blind hem with a machine. I've generally found it quicker/easier to do a blind hem by hand, when I want it to be really invisible.

#930 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 11:07 PM:

Oh, jnh, I know seven-year-olds do not compare to actual livestock. But the combination of kicking and spitting-- and, I admit, the fact that my one lesson in how not to be kicked by a horse has come in handy-- was irresistible. However, one does not shave a first-grader, though one did end up naked this week.

#931 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 11:42 PM:

Hey, before we all continue peeing our collective pants over this iPhone-location-tracking thing, could we maybe first read this blog post by Alex Levinson? Levinson is a forensics expert who discovered this location-caching database within a few days of the iPhone 4 being released, and wrote about it in a book that came out last December. Among other things, he points out that this is not a secret database; it's support for iOS's Location Services, a public API. And if Apple actually does use this to track users' locations, they're in violation of California law.

Also, here's a tool to let you grab the same info off an Android phone. Android's phones don't cache the information as long, but they still cache it.

#932 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 11:48 PM:

OMG. Studio 60 is streaming on Netflix.

Well, there goes my productivity this weekend....

#933 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 12:26 AM:

Jacque @ 932: I loved Studio 60, too. I believe there were just the two of us.

#934 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 12:52 AM:

janetl @ 933:

Nope, Eva and I loved it too. That makes four of us at least.

#935 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 01:04 AM:

Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) @ 934, and Jacque @ 932:
When I read this blog post back in 2006, I thought "I'd watch that show!": If Aaron Sorkin wrote a show about baseball

#936 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 01:53 AM:

Diatryma @883: I am an avid crafter and artist, and can get so lost in a project that I can work until I can't move my arms anymore.

Sewing makes me insane. I mean, like, punching holes in the walls, insane.

janetl @935: If Aaron Sorkin wrote a show about baseball.

Well, he kinda almost did.

#937 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 10:08 AM:

re 931: um, not to rain on Levinson's parade, but by my on-the-face-of-it reading of the California statute, any app which uses this data as the basis for any behavior other than simply telling the user where he is (e.g. location-based ad presentation) is likely in violation of the statute.

And anyway, my objection is that the data cries out to be abused. When you're carrying around something which is the equivalent of a parolee tracking anklet, it's not much comfort to know that nobody is supposed to be using the data that way. It's only reasonable to assume that, since it's trivially easy to get into the data, it's going to be used that way.

#938 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 10:31 AM:

I have a me-hack that works very well. If I am in public, I have to behave. As with joking with doctors, this is perhaps taught along with 'you are a girl' but having never been taught 'you are a boy' I cannot really say. But if other people are around, I have to act calm regardless of my inner state. Eventually, I am calm.

Or, as I put it to one of the Home Ec Workshop staff, "I have never once destroyed a project in front of someone who wasn't in my family."

I must also give thanks to the woman who made the previous bag, which got a lot of compliments and lasted until the fabric could take no more abuse. This is her Etsy shop, though she doesn't seem to do bags much anymore. She is a wonderful woman who made my bag to order, fixed it last summer, and is always fun to talk to at the farmer's market.

I expect the new bag to last two to three times as long (cotton and linen vs cotton, denim, and two layers of pretty heavy interfacing) but the old bag was seriously nice.

#939 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 10:37 AM:

Re- dogs: I am one who emphatically does NOT agree with Cesar Milan. He is a very divisive character in the dog training community. He does appear to love dogs and have a rapport with them. From watching him, I notice that he does things that don't match what he says, and that he seems unaware of. I think his instinctive responses are what give him his success. If possible, ignore what he says and watch what he does.

David - look up clicker training. There is a lot of scientifically verified information on learning. Bailey (Bob or Marian, Marian sometimes under the name Marian Breland), Pryor, Spector are good names. Check related topics like TAG teaching as well.

The Karen Pryor Academy certifies trainers nationwide - that isn't a guarantee, but it's a place to start. There are good trainers in your area, I know from personal experience. The big plusses of clicker training are that you can do it yourself, and that, if you make a mistake, you won't traumatize your dog.

#940 ::: jnh ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 10:38 AM:

Oh, jnh, I know seven-year-olds do not compare to actual livestock.

Could you please explain that to the border collie that keeps trying to round up the children?

#941 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 10:54 AM:

David Goldfarb... Yesterday, I saw a car with the Green Lantern emblem adorning its rear window. (Mark Strong as Sinestro? What a strange casting idea. Not.)

#942 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 11:33 AM:

Juli Thompson #939: He does appear to love dogs and have a rapport with them. From watching him, I notice that he does things that don't match what he says, and that he seems unaware of. I think his instinctive responses are what give him his success.

<snicker>, but I can believe it. The amusing side is that if so, he's sort of "Clever Hans"-ed himself!

#943 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 02:13 PM:

C Wingate @937, except it's not that trivially easy. You need to (1) have physical access to the user's iPhone (and this is something of a problem, with cops getting into the habit of copying smartphone info during traffic stopovers), or (2) have physical access to the user's computer that has synced to that iPhone, or (3) write an iPhone app that makes use of that API. In case (3), Apple can reject your app from the App Store if it looks like you're doing something hinky with the data. (I don't know what protection, if any, Android users have from misuse of their location data.)

Why do you think your reading of the statute constitutes "rain on Levinson's parade"? The purpose of iOS Location Services is to tell the user where he or she is. See for yourself.

#944 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 02:25 PM:

By the way, there is now an Open thread 157.

#945 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 02:26 PM:

xeger @924 - I'm mostly looking to get the lint and dust out and then lubricate it as necessary. But I was resorting to my seam ripper to push lint out of the nooks and crannies of the bobbin area and I figure someone must have come up with a better way.

Thanks for the links.

#946 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 02:41 PM:

Hilary Hertzoff @ 945 ...
xeger @924 - I'm mostly looking to get the lint and dust out and then lubricate it as necessary. But I was resorting to my seam ripper to push lint out of the nooks and crannies of the bobbin area and I figure someone must have come up with a better way.

Ah! They make brushes specifically for removing the lint/dust, but a small, somewhat stiff paintbrush (think "medium toothbrush stiffness") works nicely as well. Acid swabs would probably work nicely too!

As far as oiling goes, light machine oil -- or the stuff they sell specifically for sewing machines, in bottles with a nice long tip -- works just fine :)

#947 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 03:46 PM:

jnh, that's a feature, not a bug. I have recess duty twice a day. If we had a border collie on staff....

#948 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 04:07 PM:

I made a garment with velvet 9or velveteen) once. It required cleaning the sewing machine every day; the pile comes off when you sew, and ends up in the bobbin race. I found that the little cleaning brush became slightly oily, and was actually more effective that way. (No, I haven't sewn fabrics with pile since then. Once was enough.)

#949 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 04:14 PM:

I just watched a very well-made little (production budget of ~$2.5 E6) SF movie called Sleep Dealer. IMDB gave it 6.1 stars (out of 10), but I'd be inclined to boost that to 7.5 or maybe even 8. It takes place in Mexico after the US/Mexican border has been sealed off to Mexicans going north, and migrant labor has been replaced by outsourcing to telepresence operators who plug their nervous systems into the net, controlling robots of all sorts from thousands of miles away. Although it gets into the politics of anti-terrorism and anti-immigration, and the damage that does to the Mexicans who outsource their labor, it's told as the personal stories of 3 people, and there isn't a Resistance cell or political speech in the whole movie. The special effects are simple and effective and the acting is good. Highly recommended.

#950 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 10:05 PM:

Serge@941: The trailers and such that I've seen so far, look promising. Of course, it's easy to make a good trailer, and much harder to make an entire good movie. But I live in hope.

#951 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 01:04 AM:

David Goldfarb @ 950... it's easy to make a good trailer, and much harder to make an entire good movie

Case in point, 2009's "Star Trek"?

#952 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 01:05 AM:

David Goldfarb @ 950... it's easy to make a good trailer, and much harder to make an entire good movie

Case in point, 2009's "Star Trek"?

#953 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 03:57 AM:

You know, call me hard to amuse, but I don't laugh out loud at TV very often.

But I'm on ep 7 of Studio 60, "Nevada Day" part 1. Something I utterly failed to appreciate the first time around: Steven Weber's, "I can't have an aneurism now, it would only give them satisfaction," tight-assed, frozen smile when faced with, (for example) the arrest of one of his employees, who just happens to be crucial to the closure of his boss's pet multi-billion-dollar deal...*

Absolutely freakin' classic. I did manage to get my rice down my esophagus and not my trachea.

And John Goodman as the judge. Oh dear, sweet ghods of Creation....


Was that vague enough, or should I have Rot-13ed it?

#954 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 07:37 PM:

Jacque @ 953:

Wait 'til you see part 2. Blows "Absolutely freakin' classic" into a cocked hat and leaves you gasping for breath (because you've been laughing much too hard).

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