Back to previous post: Spectral Evidence

Go to Making Light's front page.

Forward to next post: At Least We Try To Stay Civil About It

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

June 10, 2011

Open Thread 159
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 12:50 PM *

Some of this and that. Continued from Open Thread 158

Continued in Open Thread 160
Comments on Open Thread 159:
#1 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 01:36 PM:

Was it really 100 degrees in New York yesterday?

(Yes, a comment about the weather. Because I can't remember whether 53 is a prime number.)


#2 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 01:53 PM:

Not only yesterday, but today as well. Sylvia I expect is happy about this turn of events as today is her class's end-of-year swimming pool party, and the weather report was calling for thunderstorms which would have caused the swimming pool to be closed. My friend Ian I imagine is less thrilled, given that the school where he teaches is having field day today (a sort of day which requires the teachers to be out in the sun all day supervising).

#3 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 02:02 PM:

HLN: local man hears a coworker exhorting her husband telephonically not to "buy anything tourist-trappy", spends remainder of lunch break turning the compound "tourist trap" over in his head, trying to come up with interesting word play. Not much to show for the effort, though it did seem like there must be a place somewhere for the term "purist trap". And like a horror novel could be written with the Empire State building elevators as its setting, under the title "Tourist, Trapped".

#4 ::: Rob Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 02:07 PM:

The DC Comics reboot looks very interesting. Frankenstein getting his own book? How '50s.

#5 ::: JM ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 02:07 PM:

Two-wrist trap?

#6 ::: JM ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 02:11 PM:

HLN: Local woman who accidentally named a god after an artificial sweetener in a story has said story picked up by what y'all would call a literary fanzine, sends editor a new version with a renamed god, says, "Whew!"

#7 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 02:15 PM:

Congratulations, JM!

#8 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 02:26 PM:

The Modesto Kid @ 3:

It's right next door to the Roach Motel.

JM @ 6:

Way to go!

#9 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 02:37 PM:

Alas, the hyper-literary merit of a god named after an artificial sweetener (or, to be more accurate, an artificial sweetener named after a god), is lost to future grad students.

One will, however, find this comment thread, use it as the basis for a dissertation, and thus launch a long and stalwart career in academia.

#10 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 03:05 PM:

I'm kind of cranky that Game of Thrones conflicts with the Tony Awards on Sunday. No, I do not have a DVR. Yes, I could watch GoT on Monday, but then I'd be a day behind! Woe!

I don't suppose those who are interested in both Game of Thrones and the Tony Awards are legion though. I may be all alone in that part of the Venn diagram.

#11 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 03:24 PM:

The Princess Aspartame wandered through the halls of Castle Splenda, waiting to greet her sweet lover, Prince Stevia.

#12 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 03:27 PM:

In his house at Olestra dead Succanot lies dreaming.

#13 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 03:33 PM:

"The trouble is that all the really good fantasy names were trademarked by cosmetic and food conglomerates," grumbled the grizzled old scrivener, "and that's why we're drinking honeysnot-nectar at a pub called Bumfodders."

#14 ::: SarahS ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 03:33 PM:

SteveC. @#11

As saccharine an opening sentence as one could hope for!

#15 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 03:36 PM:

SarahS @ 14 - soon the two royals will be glucoser.

#16 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 03:46 PM:

I dunno, that Prince Stevia sounds like a sucraloser to me.

#17 ::: Q. Pheevr ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 03:47 PM:

SarahS @#14 - Indeed, it is without equal!

#18 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 03:58 PM:

"Bow!" he cried. "Bow down before the lord Sinistrose, and despair!"

#19 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 04:02 PM:

Greek musical comedy song: Aspartame

"À-Sparta-me, à-Sparta-youse"

#20 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 04:04 PM:

And if they run away, barefoot in the snow, they may lactose before it's all over.

(Expanding into sugar puns, I realize. Couldn't resist that one.)

#21 ::: JM ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 04:15 PM:

All of these lines are more entertaining than anything that appears in the story!

#22 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 04:25 PM:

The Modesto Kid @ 3: And like a horror novel could be written with the Empire State building elevators as its setting, under the title "Tourist, Trapped".

Perhaps it could involve monks going on Trappist tours, and shopping at Trappist tourist traps.

#23 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 04:46 PM:

Tim Walters @22 Perhaps it could involve monks going on Trappist tours, and shopping at Trappist tourist traps.

"You're a monk? I thought monks stayed in their abbeys. You're traveling all over the country stopping in every roadside souvenir stand and tacky little gift shop."

"I'm a Tourist Trappist."

#24 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 05:32 PM:

Monk arrives at Fisherman's Wharf in horse-and-buggy: "Trappist tourist in trap tours tourist trap."

#25 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 05:54 PM:

Time for the von Trapps?

#26 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 06:08 PM:

A Franciscan friar arrives on Fisherman's Wharf in Frisco and gets a job in a tourist trap making fish and chips.

He is disappointed with his assignment in the shop, however. While he'd wanted to be the fish friar he became the chip monk.

#27 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 06:12 PM:

The Troll Tourist listened, horrified, to the sound of "Trip, trap" coming closer and closer.

#28 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 06:23 PM:

Then Trapper John MD comes in tapdancing while the bugle plays Taps.

#29 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 06:29 PM:

Cyclamates, on the other hand, sounds like a brand name for a friendly robot. Maybe one that fills the other seat of a bicycle built for two.

#30 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 06:32 PM:

@ Jim Macdonald: There's a Fisherman's Wharf in Frisco?

(It's a California thing.)

#31 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 06:33 PM:

Frames! This is the second link I meant.

#32 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 06:39 PM:

D. @1: 53 is indeed prime. I'm not sure how you get from there to the weather in New York, but okay, I'll give it to you.

Further bridge update: I'm going to be playing in a two-session pairs tomorrow with the Grand Life Master. When he called to invite me, he spent some time venting about a client who had played really badly -- maybe it's just he thinks I won't stop him venting, but there was a definite flattering undertone of "you wouldn't have been that crazy".

And in other hyperlocal news: I got a paying gig as an audiobook narrator!

Here's how it happened: Neil Gaiman posted on his journal about a contest, the prize to be a part in the new audiobook of American Gods. Well, of course, thousands of people entered -- and the first cut was a voting process. It quickly became clear that to have the slightest chance, I would need to spend the next three weeks spamming as hard as I could to try to get everyone I know even slightly to (give their email address to the Bookperk website and) vote for me. And I decided I wasn't willing to do that.

But: after the contest was over, Neil Gaiman post on his journal about his involvement in a new clearinghouse website to put book rightsholders together with audiobook narrators. I set up a profile, and since I had it handy I put up my American Gods contest entry as a sample. I was traveling that weekend (it was Memorial Day weekend) and I figured that the next week I'd put up more samples and do some auditions.

Well, before I had a chance to do that, John Betancourt of Wildside Press listened to that sample and decided to give me an offer to produce Ursus of Ultima Thule, by Avram Davidson. I have the chance to make a little money off my hobby. This will make me feel less guilty over not having a proper job.

#33 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 07:28 PM:

David Goldfarb @ #32, When hobbies turn into paying gigs that's the best kind of work there can be, as I'm sure you know.

#34 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 07:46 PM:

IT LOOKS LIKE I'LL HAVE A JOB! In theory it starts Monday, and involves telephone support for high-end exercise equipment (one of the Olympic athletes who signed the banner in their offices included a sketch of Doremon for some reason). My time doing data support for laptops, smart phones, and Google's Nexus One helped quite a bit in the interview process. It's been a tough ten months, but things may be starting to look up! No Worldcon, unfortunately: our budget is too hammered.

#35 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 07:50 PM:

Nerdycellist at 10: Maybe you can channel surf between the two of them and watch the Throny Awards.

#36 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 08:02 PM:

Or Game of Tones.

All the betrayal, incest, and treachery for the Tonys happens BEFORE the broadcast. There's the difference.

#37 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 08:09 PM:

David and Bruce: Congratulations to both of you!

On a related note, my daughter confided to me at dinner this evening that when she was in elementary school she had a secret desire to be a dancer and/or a model. She is not built like a stick figure, and at that age she was rather uncoordinated, so she kept this desire to herself.

Recently, however (and she's now in her 20s) she has taken up belly dance, and the proprietor of our local bellydance-fashions shop wants her to model some of the clothes for the shop's website. "So I suddenly realized my dream had come TRUE!" she said. "I feel like I'm seven again, only this time everything is happy!" (Cue both mom and daughter getting a little verklempt.)

#38 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 08:14 PM:

"I spent all day in there trying to figure out if the shopkeeper was real."
"Typical Turing trap."

#39 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 09:31 PM:

Xylitol looks to me like a much better skiffy villain name.

#40 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 10:22 PM:

Oy, is it Friday yet?

Stressful month is stressful, and there's plenty more to come. Well, at least regular classes are done for my son, with only exams next week and then the summer beckons, albeit with summer school first off.

But before we get there, we had another lovely episode of "Run Away" which lasted for hours. It started at school, where he was informed that he could not make up a science exam, and then went to the one class that he has the most trouble in, whereupon he erupted and departed. He left the school at high speed, and disappeared.

Hours went by. The first cop to respond, around 2 pm, dismissed my Ex with attitude, and told her to "check with his friends" and maybe call back later. She was rightfully enraged, because we were thinking of the previous occasion (in which he ended up with alcohol and passing out, an event we want to prevent from ever happening again). We called friends, and Ex even called the toxic girlfriend's home number, which our Son had helpfully entered into "his" cell phone. Toxic's grandmother answered the phone, and she attempted to be helpful. Toxic herself pretended to be helpful, since she's not involved at all and can be as angelic as she can imitate. None of this actually works.

We call again to the police non-emergency number around 6:30, this time getting one of the officers who responded the first time he disappeared. He remembered many of the details, and had his notes in his little notebook.

We called other friends, to try to find the person who had dispensed the alcohol. One of his best friends told us that Son admitted to being at the library on Occasion #1, and the loading dock of the school on Occasion #2. The police officer headed for the high school, while Ex headed for the library.

She found him. He complained that his butt hurts from walking all day.

They came back to the house (it's my week with him) and the police officer came back to close the case. When asked, Son doesn't know if he wants to hurt himself, which made all of us uneasy. We all agreed he needs to go to the hospital, so the police officer took him while we followed (actually, we led them all the way); while the officer was checking him in, Son mumbled that he didn't feel well and collapsed.

They threw him on a gurney and got an IV in; his blood pressure was way low and he was pale. He'd been walking for hours on a hot day, with not enough fluids, so yes, he's dehydrated. They ran a CT to rule out head injury, and gave him a liter of saline in about an hour. We sat with him and watched his color improve. The PA gave him a snack, he napped, we appreciated the colorful episode occurring in the next bay, which he slept through. The psych nurse assessed him, finds out we are a psychologist and a veterinarian, and released him to us. It is now 4 am.

I took him home, where he promptly fell asleep again. I got about an hour of sleep, took a shower, get him up and head off to work. He slept in my office all morning.

I mainlined caffeine all day, but still developed a raging migraine by the early afternoon. We managed to get an appointment rescheduled to that afternoon, with the therapist who is supposed to help with the ADHD. It was a very good session, and we all feel good about things.

His psychiatrist erupted in demands that he be enrolled in a partial hospitalization program immediately. We are not so sure, and she tried her darndest to pressure us.

I can see her point, and I can also see the Ex's point of view. I am tasked with mediating between them, but we ran out of time for the conference call and agreed to work on details. We'd already been working on getting him into a substance abuse program for adolescents, because of his high-risk background. Psychiatrist thinks this is less important now than a psychiatric program.

Did I mention that I am heading into one of the most stressful weeks of my profession, the triennial audit? The anxiety levels are rising at work, and the pressure has ratcheted up even before his Little Walkabout. Luckily my boss is very understanding, but I cannot just abandon my professional obligations.

The psychiatric program that his doctor wants him admitted to is not geographically close, unlike the substance abuse program. Ex leaves for a national meeting in her profession right before my audit begins, and doesn't return until the day our specific part begins. It will be entirely up to me to bring him to and from this outpatient program on a daily basis.

Not surprisingly, this is making me angry. The psychiatrist is pulling out all her tricks to pressure us, and I don't care for them. I appreciate her concerns, but the more she pushes, the more she loses my cooperation.

As for Son, now that school is over, bar the exams, he's much more pleasant overall. Getting him away from his toxic emo friends and his toxic loser girlfriend, plus removing the daily stresses of his classes, as well as the increased dose of his regular medication has all combined to settle him a bit.

So, this knot under my shoulder is where the tension is tonight. Since he's with me, I can't spend the night with the FG, but I've got some good books, a purring kitten, and a chance to vent.

There's no alcohol in my house now, I've blocked the Playboy channel that my son somehow ordered from Fios (and I have yet to call them up and yell at them about), and the A/C is doing its job.

Someday it will all be worth it.

#41 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 11:00 PM:

Oh, Ginger, honey, if I may, lots of hugs. May the kitten's purrs be especially soothing.

#42 ::: Ken ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 11:19 PM:

The Modesto Kid @ 3: There already is a horror movie called "Tourist Trap". Pretty bad overall, though I kind of like Chuck Connors' performance.

#43 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 11:29 PM:

Ginger, continued good thoughts. I'd say that psychiatrist sounds like a jerk, but that would be redundant.

#44 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 11:32 PM:

HLN: Local man receives big box of origami cranes. They are beautiful, and he is grateful. "Thanks for organizing that, TexAnne," he says.

Same local man is also laid off again, this time from the little part-time job. The company owner was really nice about it, but he's going another way with the company that doesn't include us. Gave us a nice little parting bonus and promised excellent recommendations.

So the cranes were especially timely.

#45 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 11:53 PM:

There's good things, to offset the ongoing drama. The cats purr on my lap as often as they can get on it; the dogs have not been able to trash the house (as they were doing for a while, until I installed a much Bigger Gate); I have a house and a decent job; my parents are in good health and enjoying life; I have a Fabulous Girlfriend who is incredibly supportive (and we just passed six months of dating); we are in fairly good shape for the audit, and did I mention my Fabulous Girlfriend? Even my son, when he is not going walkabout, is a decent kid with a fondness for Dr. Who, and a developing ability with puns. He is hoping we can keep the new kitten, who showed up the night he never came home, as no one in the neighborhood seems to be missing a kitten. New Kitten is friendly and sweet-natured, although he hissed when the dogs suddenly galumphed into the guest room.

Plus, it is June and the cherries are especially good this year.

#46 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 11:53 PM:

Ginger: Someday Sonny will realize how lucky he is to have you.

Xopher: That's not a big box. The big box is arriving Tuesday. It was a pleasure to do it! And I hope you can find a better job soon.

#47 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 11:59 PM:


Hugs and sympathy. Also virtual migraine medicine; I know what that's like. It sounds to me like your son is able to deal with the ADHD better when he doesn't have the toxic friends around to trigger his impulses and his frustration; is there any sort of summer activity you could get him in where he'd have adult supervision and some kids around him who are interested in doing something? That might give him a chance to decompress without your having to get him to the psych appointments all the time.

#48 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2011, 01:00 AM:

A peculiarity: when I'm looking at the front page, the embedded video link goes to the "Space Flute Duet" video with Ian Andersen and Cady Coleman. If I'm actually looking at this post, it shows the right video. This is not the first time such a thing has occurred, so it must be a peculiarity somewhere in the code.

#49 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2011, 03:46 AM:

A hug for Ginger, and gratitude to the cop who took it seriously.

#50 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2011, 05:20 AM:

@ B. Durbin, 30: as a several-generations Californian, I feel on solid ground when I say -- with all due respect -- that the whole "not Frisco" thing is a prissy attempt at respectability, unworthy of a town with the kind of wide-open roustabout history that San Francisco has. Who is it that calls it Frisco? Itinerant workers, hoboes, sailors. These are not people I want to expunge from the history of my community. (my earliest relatives in California were a "hurdy-gurdy girl" and the ship's caropenter who jumped ship to be with her).

#51 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2011, 07:10 AM:

This is just to say
I have found the data
that was in the database

which you were
trying to deny existed

Forgive me
I'm tired
and the data was
in the database.

#52 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2011, 08:15 AM:

In case anyone was wondering, Under A Flaming Sky is a fantastic book, but definitely not one that you want to read when you can't fall asleep. You won't be able to put this book down until you're done.

Luckily for me, I read fast.

#53 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2011, 08:37 AM:

I'd like to understand more about the ideas of Jurgen Habermas. I don't know much at all. Where would I start?

#54 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2011, 08:45 AM:

Ginger and Xopher: hugs and a wish for less Interesting Times.

#55 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2011, 08:48 AM:

David and Bruce, congratulations.

Xopher, sorry on the job situation.

Ginger, continued supportive thoughts.

#56 ::: James E ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2011, 09:28 AM:

An open-thready concatenation of Making Light interests: the New York cops are still making up offences with which to ticket cyclists. This time it's wearing a skirt short enough to "distract motorists". And, on top of all that, their target was a Dutch woman who runs a bicycle company, was over for a cycle show and was keen to experience NYC's much-vaunted bike-friendliness...

#57 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2011, 09:45 AM:

Ginger: Gevalt!

#58 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2011, 10:13 AM:

Ginger: Virtual hugs, and sympathies. Good luck with the audit.

a) Sympathies, and good luck for a new job.
b) Just a reminder, I don't know whether the cranes I folded are in the little box or the big box; I think TexAnne left them in the envelope I packed them in, but be careful when opening it not to lose the "extras", particularly the teeny tiny newspaper cranes (I think they're in a clear plastic bag within the envelope, but I can't quite remember).

#59 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2011, 10:18 AM:

Xopher: My sympathies, and best of luck.

#60 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2011, 10:20 AM:

For a short while we sit and watch the sea,
the ships that pass, the people on the shore,
and then turn back to what we were before.

There's understanding here of what must be,
a straightforward accounting of the score:
for a short while we sit and watch the sea

smile at the world, knowing that we agree
on the good things, that no one could want more,
than such warm moments till the final door;
for a short while we sit and watch the sea.

#61 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2011, 10:25 AM:

Real heat occurs at all temperatures above what I consider to be the Third World Band benchmark -- 'ninety-six degrees in the shade, real hot'.

#62 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2011, 10:37 AM:

xeger @ 51... Is it time for more dirty jokes about databases?

#63 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2011, 10:41 AM:

A big hug, Ginger.

#64 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2011, 11:06 AM:

Ginger, I spent a weekend really, really anxious and not knowing why until the boy pointed out that I was talking about this book a lot, and maybe that was why I was so stressed. I read it chapter by chapter, mostly, though it wasn't suited to it. That spread the horror out a bit.

I thought it was cool what he did with his great-grandfather, too.

I'd actually warn people you were about to read it because I, at least, process things by passing them on to other people. I've learned to aim worry-about-others to friends who don't know the others so I don't end up with a worried me and a worried friend, but there's not much one can do to share, "I read this truly scary chapter and this happened," without at least a little of the original coming along.

#65 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2011, 11:46 AM:

Diatryma @ 64: The writing was so vivid, and I have enough experience fighting fires (and seeing dead bodies, thanks to my pathology training), that I had no trouble visualizing events, which made for exciting reading. He did a great job in this book. It did distract me very well from the other sources of tension and worry, so in this case, it helped -- but in a normal life, you're right. Normally, I would not want to read this kind of book without someone to stand by and say "it's just a book, now, not real any more".

(It was either that, or stay awake thinking of ways to exact my revenge upon the Toxic Girlfriend.)

Xopher, condolences on your job going the way of the dodo, again -- and best wishes for another job to appear on your doorstep. Thanks for the hugs, too.

(And thanks to Fragano, dcb, Serge, Janet Brennan Croft, TexAnne, Bruce Cohen (STM), Lila, Julia Jones, Melissa Singer and Diatryma -- all very appreciated!)

Now, then. Time for a cuppa, and a bite to eat, then back to the guest room to clean out more of Ex's old crap (papers from 1999! Stuff from her parents' house! Clothing that fits neither of us and might not even fit the Son, who is now officially 5'10"! I am keeping some of his old drawings, though..)

#66 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2011, 02:38 PM:

Some recently written poetry that I'm pretty happy with: Image and Meter (and Rhyme? No, not yet.)

#67 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2011, 04:28 PM:

If anyone's been paying attention to my posts here over the last months, you've probably guessed I'm not that happy with my current job.

(It's not so much the actual company I work for, but the jobplace I've been assigned to, which is dysfunctional in a lot of ways. I've been trying to get reassigned to one of the other properties the parent company has contracts with, but no luck so far.)

But yesterday I found a job opening listed online that I took the time to update my resume and send off to them.

It's for a security position, but it's someplace I actually applied to for several clerical positions back in 2008, after I'd retired from the Postal Service and thought I'd be able to get back into office work.

A good-sized (and expanding) osteopathic college. Two miles from home, as opposed to fifteen. And their starting pay is over three dollars an hour more than what I'm currently paid. And there aren't any bars on-campus regularly producing poorly-behaved, over-moneyed drunks with attitude and a sense of entitlement.

So I'm keeping my fingers crossed on this. (Can I at least get called in for an interview? It was really frustrating back in 2008, sending resume after resume into the black holes of HR departments.)

#68 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2011, 05:00 PM:

Bruce Arthurs @ 67... My fingers are crossed.

#69 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2011, 05:37 PM:

The Modesto Kid @ 66:

Very good work! I especially like "Crystal Armies". See, alliteration and assonance are just as useful in poetry as rhyme.

#70 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2011, 05:41 PM:

It has finally stopped raining (in June! in California!) and as a consequence, I am AMAZING this week.

I am pretty sure that my solar-powered good vibes are equally awesome right now, so they are definitely up for shares to anyone who can use them.

Good wishes, free, to a good home!

#71 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2011, 07:49 PM:

Those of you who are Facebook friends of mine will have seen this already, but I wanted to share with the whole class.

My dream last night: The Doctor had been turned into a vampire. He'd gone totally evil, so we had to stake him in hopes he'd regenerate back to non-evil. Then I realized: We only had one stake. I had to run to Lowe's to get one for the other heart.

There are vampires in Doctor Who canon, sort of. But this was clearly Buffyverse vampire rules. Could the Doctor even be vampired? I don't remember Buffyverse vampires ever trying to turn a non-human.

(P.S. After picking up the stake in the lumber aisle at Lowe's, I decided to grab some holy water. It was stocked in the home decor aisle, alongside some baskets and decorative mirrors. In my dream universe, Lowe's apparently caters to the handy homeowner with a need for vampire-slaying accessories.)

#72 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2011, 08:17 PM:

Lucy Kemnitzer @ 50: "as a several-generations Californian, I feel on solid ground when I say -- with all due respect -- that the whole "not Frisco" thing is a prissy attempt at respectability, unworthy of a town with the kind of wide-open roustabout history that San Francisco has."

Digging around the site B. Durbin linked to, the twenty-five dollar fine for using the name "Frisco" was being levied by Emperor Norton. I took that to mean that B. Durbin regards sensitivity to the use of "Frisco" in the same way that she regards Emperor Norton: benignly and endearingly ridiculous.

#73 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2011, 08:29 PM:

As I remember it, the guy who really got ticked about "Frisco" was the late Herb Caen, whose three-dot column appeared in the Chronicle (and, briefly, the Examiner) for approximately forever until he died in 1997.

#74 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2011, 08:41 PM:

I was just in Frisco. Not that one, the one that's part of Dallas. They don't call it the Frisco Ikea anymore -- it's the Dallas Ikea now. But that whole area is just booming fantastically. I get a little lost every time as my usual landmarks get swallowed up in sprawl. (Ikea dangerous. Good thing car not too big. Took many pictures of perfect things to buy when the bank account recovers a bit from the house I'm closing on Friday.)

#75 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2011, 09:02 PM:

Completely off-topic -- but this is an Open Thread: I want to express my firm opinion that Representative Anthony Weiner is a jackass, that he has exhibited extremely poor judgment, and that he ought to have his cell phone confiscated; in fact, he should just be grounded for about 6 months.

No pie for you, buddy!

Did I mention his poor judgment?

#76 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2011, 09:29 PM:

Lizzy L, agreed. However, I think it's up to his constituents whether he sticks around in his job, not to all the moralizers in the press and among his fellow Democrats.

#77 ::: Melssa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2011, 09:54 PM:

At the moment, polling of actual Weiner constituents shows 56% in favor of him keeping his job.

I, a long-term Weiner constituent, am currently undecided. I've never felt that being a sexual jack*** necessarily disqualifies one from being an effective politician. I've never really felt that a politician's sex life was anyone's business unless he or she is breaking the law--or the person is hypocritical with regard to sex-related matters (like denouncing gay people when you are gay).

And Weiner has been an effective politician in many ways.

But the lying bothers me. A lot. A whole lot. Just once, I wish someone would step up and say, Yes, I did this, and I was a jerk to have done it, and I'll do my best never to do it again.

Compounding my discomfort is the fact that a couple of years ago, I introduced my young daughter to Weiner at a local event and that as she's become politically aware over the last few years, she's come to respect him.

She's possibly more disappointed than I am; not surprising because she's 15 and becoming steadily more interested in and aware of politics. She has taken to riding her bike past his apartment building and is trying to figure out the best way to send him a letter conveying her disappointment as a future voter.

I've never thought he should be Mayor of NYC; I don't think he compromises well, and compromise is key in that job. But I thought he did a good job in Washington.

If the election were tomorrow, I don't know that I'd vote for him again. But the election is not tomorrow, and I do not think he will resign, nor do I think the district will recall him.

His potential replacement is a total loser.

More concerning is the idea that the district may be redistricted out of existence, as NY is undergoing redistricting. It's a stupid district anyway--a really weird, stretched out shape--but I'm worried that we'll be stuck in a district where our choices will be machine politicians, idiots, or worse.

#78 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2011, 09:56 PM:

Caroline, #71: Could the Doctor even be vampired?

According to Paul Cornell's novel Goth Opera, the answer is yes.

(According to the novels, Doctor Who vampires can turn anything--Kate Orman and Jonathan Blum's Vampire Science featured vampire crack squirrels and Fred the Eternal Snail.)

#79 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2011, 10:20 PM:

If I could be granted two wishes, they would be:

1.) That politicians would stop taking pictures of their junk and just do their damn jobs.

2.) That the media would stop yammering on about politicians and the pictures of their junk and just do their damn jobs.

I mean, if they're so bored that they have all this time for junk photography and reporting on junk photography, I've got a lot of vacuuming and laundry they could be helping out with.

#80 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2011, 10:38 PM:

nerdycellist @ #79: "I mean, if they're so bored that they have all this time for junk photography and reporting on junk photography, I've got a lot of vacuuming and laundry they could be helping out with."

Oh, wow. I can think of a dozen members of the press who'd be well-taught if they were required to do a few of those normal household chores. Prima Donnas all.

#81 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2011, 12:28 AM:

nerdycellist @ 79:

This isn't a case of failure to do their jobs; they're doing them quite well, just not for our benefit. News stories like Wienergate and so on are very useful to the media and to other politicians: they make great distractions from the other news stories they're rather we didn't pay any attention to, like the Forever War, the Great Recession, the constant attack on Constitutional rights, the migration of the Overton Window, etc. Don't need circuses when you've got Paris Hilton. Sure could use some bread, though.

#82 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2011, 12:44 AM:


This seems like the usual pattern for the MSM. Trivial stories that are easy to tell, have some sex scandal or easy-to-get outrage, and don't take too much thinking tend to dominate TV news coverage.

#83 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2011, 01:12 AM:

Serge @ 62 ...
xeger @ 51... Is it time for more dirty jokes about databases?

I already feel dirty[0]... but I can't imagine how you'd come up with clean jokes about databases...

[0] Today we've reinforced the understanding that Timing Is Everything...

#84 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2011, 02:10 AM:

This is just to say
I have flushed the pages
that were in the cache

and which
you were probably
saving for reuse

Forgive me,
they were dirty,
and this needs
a punchline

#85 ::: mjfgates ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2011, 04:13 AM:

It's easy to make dirty jokes about databases, but as soon as you commit them to anything, they aren't dirty anymore.

#86 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2011, 08:10 AM:

Not if it's between consulting adults.

#87 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2011, 09:59 AM:

This is for The Me Who Is Not Me, from back in Open Thread 158:

just for the schadenfreude value, here's a story of a couple in Florida who foreclosed on their bank.

#88 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2011, 12:48 PM:

I'm not actually convinced that Weiner did anything at all to apologize for. There aren't any allegations that he was sexting anyone who was a) underage, b) paid for sex or c) less than desirous of seeing his bits. There's nothing hypocritical here either: Weiner has a long record of supporting rights to privacy and sexual freedom. At most, he was being a lousy husband: not, under our current legal framework, a crime.

And while it seems to me probable that Weiner's actions were unknown by and hurtful to his wife, that's not proven--it doesn't seem impossible that she knew about and was okay with or even approving of the sexting. It's not that much less likely a sexual kink for the partner of a famous and powerful person to have than a power-tripping kink is for a politician, is it?

Likely or not, whether this is reprehensible (a word I've repeatedly seen used in this story) or just kind of embarrassing and personal hinges upon an assumption that none of us are in a position to verify. To assume we know the character of Weiner's marriage is to rely upon a set of conservative, patriarchal relationship norms that I'd really like to see have less normative power, not more. So what, precisely, is the feminist or liberal basis for being outraged by this story?

The only crime he is unambiguously guilty of is giving the right wing and their mainstream enablers something to shake their heads at with faux outrage and poorly-concealed prurience. Again, not something I want to normalize in our society as inherently wrong. I'd rather not lend them that power.

#89 ::: LizardBreath ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2011, 01:03 PM:

c) less than desirous of seeing his bits.

I thought there were. Plenty of consensual bit-exchange, but my understanding was that the original mistaken tweet, the underwear shot, was sent to a woman who had been messaging non-sexually with him, and that his only explanation was that it was a joke.

If it were true that all of the lewd pics were requested or at least made sense in the context of voluntary communications with him, I'd agree with you. But it's my understanding that at least that pic was unsolicited.

#90 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2011, 01:13 PM:

Open-thready: Terry Pratchett sets in motion the process that will lead to his suicide.

#91 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2011, 01:55 PM:

The problem with Weiner was (aside from the unfortunate name that makes the jokes too easy), he went and denied it. Rather than "Heck yeah! I sent it! If you're feeling left out I can put you on the distribution list!" he went the Anonymous Hacker route. What, he thinks we're stupid?

Same problem Bill Clinton had, instead of "I did not have sexual relations with that woman," he should have said, "I done her standin' and I done her lyin', / If I had wings I'd have done her flyin'," and walked away. The right wing wouldn't have liked him any less, and he'd have been in less trouble overall.

#92 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2011, 02:02 PM:

The Modesto Kid's link is in Spanish, so the gist of things is that he's filed the documentation necessary for assisted suicide in Switzerland. The only other point of note in the article is that 70% of those who filed paperwork for this option did not, in fact, choose it.

#93 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2011, 02:05 PM:

The Modesto Kid @90 -- the documentary that article talks about is getting a preview showing at the second North American Discworld Conference in Madison nest month. The first was a great deal of fun, and unfortunately I won't get to the second.

#94 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2011, 02:33 PM:

Over on Facebook, writer M.K.Hobson brought to our attention that there is a brand of dog food called "Old Yeller". I kid you not.

#95 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2011, 02:47 PM:

More open-threadiness:

if you're interested in the subject, University of Chicago Press is giving away a free e-book this month called The Lavender Scare: The Cold War Persecution of Gays and Lesbians in the Federal Government: you can get your free copy here, by sending them your e-address. Once you've asked for it, the download link will be good for a year -- so if you think you might be interested later, you may want to get a copy now. I have not read it yet, but it certainly looks interesting.

#96 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2011, 04:25 PM:

Heresiarch @88

If we were talking about some random marriage? Right there with you. Fuck your ideas about marriages, they're both adults, let them decide what they want for themselves. Unless they put "to be the only recipient of my sexy photos" in between "to have" and "to hold," we don't really know.

But in this case, we're talking about a very powerful person married to a person of no special notability, and this powerful person is the husband, and we live in a society in which male adultery is much more tolerated than female (to the point where we have a special slightly-nicer word for a male adulterer).

So it's hard to say whether, in supporting Mr. Weiner, we would be speaking up for the right to make our own marriage rules. We might instead simply be supporting the right of powerful men to do what they want.

#97 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2011, 04:43 PM:

Devin @96: "...married to a person of no special notability..."
I think his wife is somewhat notable. Opinions can differ, of course.

#98 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2011, 04:58 PM:

I think his wife is pretty notable, too. One of the things that griped me about coverage were repeated reports that Huma was not "standing by her man," that she had not appeared at any of his press conferences.

Um, she's in North Africa with the Secretary of State . . . .

#99 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2011, 05:04 PM:

Kip @97

Opinions? I don't know enough to have an opinion, I'd never heard of her until this, and the coverage I've seen has mostly referred to Weiner's marital status without actually talking about his wife. I had to look up her name.

Now that I have? You're absolutely right, she's got some weight. Still probably less than her husband, though, at least in terms of profile and prestige if not actual power. (For instance, I'm sure her husband's position is often mentioned in her capsule bio and his wife's is rarely mentioned in his.)

#100 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2011, 06:41 PM:

Open threadiness: Today, while waiting in line to dine at the fabulous Al's Breakfast, I was watching my 4yo daughter run circles around a telephone pole to the many instant smiles of others in line and remarked to my wife "We've pulled the pin on a cute grenade." I thought a bit, and asked this question, which I thought ML denizens may well be able to answer, and likely give examples: "I wonder if anyone has ever written about weaponized cuteness?"

Any ideas or examples?

#101 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2011, 06:57 PM:

I would say Heinlein's "I am a thirty-second bomb. Twenty-nine, twenty-eight, ..." is pretty close to weaponized cuteness, myself. But I'm weird.

#102 ::: Mike McHugh ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2011, 07:05 PM:

Puss In Boots in the Shrek movies would be another example.

#103 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2011, 07:18 PM:

The Powerpuff Girls?

#104 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2011, 07:21 PM:

It's not my business how Weiner and his spouse conduct their marriage. I think Weiner showed piss-poor judgment in assuming he could send photos of his private parts and other sexually suggestive stuff to women he didn't know -- one of them a 17 year old -- with no consequences, and then lie about it. I have no opinion on whether he should resign; I leave that up to his constituents and his colleagues. They can tell him what they think in a variety of ways -- maybe by sending him pictures...? It may be that his constituents would prefer to have someone else (someone with fewer testosterone issues) representing them in Congress, I don't know. Maybe they think, No big deal, at least he isn't taking bribes (as far as we know.) He's not my Rep, so I don't know what else he's done, maybe he's been an effective legislator for his district. But he appears to have the moral gravity of a giddy fifteen year old boy: surely they have other choices.

#105 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2011, 07:24 PM:

A lot of kids with superpowers, actually. The Dresden Files' Ivy, for example, or basically any child-shaped fae. Something Positive had a Super Stupor comic to that effect-- if you, the villain, see that your sole opponent is a child, just chop your own head off because life is going to be very unpleasant.

#106 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2011, 07:58 PM:

B Durbin @ 92:

Yup. The most interesting results to come out of the implementation of the Death with Dignity Act here in Oregon (after all attempts to stop it by people outside the state1 were foiled) were:

  • Most of the people who filled out the forms never went any further; some were asked about this, and said they were satisfied that the option was there if they really needed it. I can't get figures for this right now; the state health services website seems to be broken.

  • Doctors who opposed the Act realized, when the legal dust had settled, that a large part of the approval was that most patients didn't believe they were getting adequate pain control from their doctors. This resulted in the formation of an organization of doctors to lobby other doctors to improve their treatment

1. The original initiative won with a majority of just over 51% of the vote; the attempt to repeal it with an initiative funded from outside Oregon failed with a majority of over 60%. Oregonians don't like people from outside the state trying to stop them from doing something they've decided on, even if they weren't very sure when they decided.

#107 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2011, 08:08 PM:

LizardBreath @ 89: "If it were true that all of the lewd pics were requested or at least made sense in the context of voluntary communications with him, I'd agree with you. But it's my understanding that at least that pic was unsolicited."

Hm, well, I could be wrong--as I understood it, she and Weiner had an established, flirty relationship.

Devin @ 96: "So it's hard to say whether, in supporting Mr. Weiner, we would be speaking up for the right to make our own marriage rules. We might instead simply be supporting the right of powerful men to do what they want."

I think I'll wait for Abedin to request a knight in shining armor in the form of the internet before I volunteer myself for the task. Unilaterally appointing ourselves her defender isn't empowering her to speak--it's just raising yet more clamor in the space where her voice ought to be.

cajunfj40 @ 100: "I wonder if anyone has ever written about weaponized cuteness?"

There is a short story, I think it was in a Year's Best Fantasy anthology, in the form of a scientific study on the involuntary nature of the cuteness reaction. It goes from clinical to unutterably disturbing with effortless grace. I'm trying to remember what it was called--does it ring any bells for anyone?

#108 ::: JM ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2011, 08:25 PM:

Tom Whitmore @93: Oh, man, almost I wish I hadn't clicked on that link. Going to the NADWCon would make Mr. JM's year, and we're just in Milwaukee, but financially there is no way. Perhaps I'll start saving now for 2013.

#109 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2011, 09:20 PM:

Weaponized cuteness: David and I used to talk about "area attack: cuteness, 10-foot radius." Clearly we came from an RPG background.

#110 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2011, 09:27 PM:

JM @108 -- the first was quite marvelous; the second should also be amazing, and we won't know if there's going to be a third one until it happens. Seattle bid for the second, and I don't know if there's a movement afoot to try to do a third one at this point.

#111 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2011, 09:39 PM:


My dreams take place under a leaden sky.
The pale gray of a heat-washed summer haze,
the dark gray of an overcast evening,
the sullen charcoal of a night spent out too long.
No sun, no stars, no clouds.
Look up into the featureless gray
to squint your eyes into the sunbleached blue,
or into the starless sky, our guiding lights
extinguished by the city glare? No need
to look for guides.
My direction is ever north.
North, over canals plumbed deep
or rivers filled to the brink,
overpasses high or crossings wide,
through traffic and buildings, the bridges
in Eugene that never were,
steam tunnels in Spokane,
walkable highways in Denver laid bare
under treeless landscapes,
near the power of the Sacramento River
miles away (the depth helpfully noted
on the concrete side of the canal)
and even through deserted streets
on the route to my parents' house.
Trudging through the distance
fifty blocks, or fifteen miles
of urban wilderness,
destinations unknown and unknowable,
through visions bled of color
in beige, and taupe, and dust,
always dust.
Open landscapes, open to the gray
(don't look up)
the open sky on the journey north.

#112 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2011, 09:42 PM:

Heresiarch @107

Except I wasn't actually suggesting that anyone should rush to any defense. "X doesn't need support" is hardly the same as "We must rush to the defense of Y."

#113 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2011, 10:56 PM:

cajunfj40 @100: "I wonder if anyone has ever written about weaponized cuteness?" Any ideas or examples?

I recall a Norman Spinrad story (collected in a short story collection 'The Last Hurrah of the Golden Horde') where the big reveal was the alien invaders were fluffy bunnies with soulful eyes and green fur. In slang, they were called NC's for 'non-combatants' — they had a variety of 'discouragements', but they were not capable of physical violence.

#114 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2011, 11:26 PM:

B Durbin/Modesto Kid:

His reason for not wanting to fill out the forms (he's got a damn book to finish) was also kind of a neat point.

#115 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2011, 11:35 PM:


Weinergate is a perfect scandal for MSM types. It requires no intelligence or thought to understand, it's got plenty of opportunity for mock-outrage and easy jokes, and there are pictures already available.

The interesting question I have about the recent sex scandals involving politicians is whether anyone was using them as leverage to get desired legislation backed or voted for. The Edwards case is really striking that way--Edwards could have ended up as president, and the ex-staffer and sham husband he was paying off would have *owned* him. (Or perhaps the Enquirer, Fox News, or the FBI would have owned him. Quite possibly, all four.)

I wonder if there's any way to research the role of blackmail on politics. I keep thinking it would be interesting to look for some kind of pattern that looked very different between, say, congressmen with sex scandals in their future and congressmen without them.

#116 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 12:32 AM:

Weaponized cuteness: I have a faint memory of a PKDick story about bombs that looked like three year olds.

#117 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 01:31 AM:

Speaking of weaponized cuteness...

#118 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 01:33 AM:

albatross @ #115, If one were a conspiracy theorist one would wonder whether Weiner's transgressions were being searched out to avert his ongoing attempts to get Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from any SCOTUS decisions about the Affordable Care Act. See here.

There are links there to discussions of Thomas's financial dealings, his wife's political actions on behalf of certain Tea Party organizations trying to stop the bill's passage, and other somewhat questionable choices he and she made which might be considered conflicts of interest.

#119 ::: etv13 ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 02:20 AM:

Ginger: As the mother of a teenager, I truly sympathize. But as the mother of a teenage girl, and one whose psychologist gets a pretty decent share of my monthly income, I have to ask: Is the Toxic Girlfriend, like, thirty or something? Or is she just a kid with problems of her own, and the last thing she needs is her boyfriend's parent griping about her on the internet?

#120 ::: Errolwi ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 02:30 AM:

As a follow-up to the Chilean volcano, you can look at the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centres' info at

Many air schedule disruptions in Australia and New Zealand (in addition to Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil) due to the ash travelling around Antarctica, and being at the altitude that jets prefer to fly. Altitudes effected in the reports are stated as Flight Levels, FL270 - FL350 is 27,000 - 35,000 feet. While in many instances jets can safely fly under or around the ash, they burn more fuel doing so.

And just to get the boot in, multiple significant aftershocks in Christchurch today (4.4 to 6.0 mag). No reported deaths, several more failed buildings, power lost to tens of thousands, etc.

#121 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 02:56 AM:

At The Mountains of Cuteness

The author is weird.

#122 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 03:57 AM:

Bruce Cohen #106

As I understood it the Oregon law is much more restrictive than the Swiss one, and Pterry might well not be eligible in Oregon -- you have to be mentally competent and have less than six months to live, a combination that is difficult to achieve if you have Alzheimer's, even his relatively unusual variant. Of course, given the uncertainties in life expectancy with most serious illnesses there may well be ways around this.

#123 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 04:11 AM:

Errolwi #120.

It seems that Air NZ has decided to trust the ash forecasts and fly around/below the clouds, but Qantas and Jetlag are cancelling flights with great abandon.

Fortunately my flight out of Auckland tomorrow is Air NZ, so I might make it.

#124 ::: Mike McHugh ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 04:36 AM:

Weaponized cuteness: I forgot about Zero Hour by Ray Bradbury.

#125 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 07:36 AM:

Weaponized cuteless... The Martians in Philip K Dick's "We Can Remember It Wholesale"?

#126 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 07:53 AM:

Nancy @ 116: Weaponized cuteness: I have a faint memory of a PKDick story about bombs that looked like three year olds.

In the story Second Variety there were killer robots that looked like a small boy with a teddy bear. Could that be it?

#127 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 08:28 AM:

I read several of the Barber stories including "Mountains of Cuteness"--found them mostly quite enjoyable. The idea of beings hardwired to have an aversive reaction to what most of us consider adorable, resonated with me, as my cuteness response is limited to the feline variety and the young of other species leave me cold.
One of the other stories featured goggles that would automatically mosaic any offending images. I wished I had something like that, as there are some other shapes my soul is allergic to.
Comforting purrs to Xopher and Ginger and others here in need.

#128 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 08:40 AM:

Angiportus @127

It's the inversion. all the things the protagonists thinl of as normal which ought be provoke gibbering insanity.

Then there was the story about the armoured trams fighting against the horrors of the EU. It was the iron rails, you see.

#129 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 09:09 AM:

albatross #115:

There may well have been some short-term goals to that effect, but I suspect the neocons are playing a longer game, of politically crippling or removing any Democrat who dares to try and clean up the system. Thus, the stuff that Linkmeister #118 points out would have marked him for destruction regardless of what particular legislation he could influence.

#130 ::: David Harmon sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 09:30 AM:

repair dentrue #130: Clips a bit of text from earlier in the conversation, with a denture blog (?!)for payload.

#131 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 10:03 AM:

Open threadly change of subject.

At the risk of outing myself as terminally uncool*, what exactly is wrong with paintings on black velvet? There is obviously some visual effect that is being sought by using that as a canvas--what is it? And why is it a bad thing? Is it just because black velvet paintings are stereotypically enjoyed by poor folks who like to have pictures of Jesus and Elvis hanging on their walls, or is there some objective problem with black velvet as a medium?

*that ship sailed a long, long time ago anyway

#132 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 10:44 AM:

Mary Aileen @132: Don't have a good answer, but your question sparked a memory of a junior high school art class where we did crayon drawings on watercolor paper and then brushed ink over them. The crayon wax resisted the ink, giving the same kind of contrast you'd get from black velvet paintings.

I never had the opportunity to use it, but when I was doing commercial art, I had the big box of crayons (64 colors) in case that was going to be the solution to an illustration problem. Black wasn't the only color that could have been used with that sort of resist method.

#133 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 10:45 AM:

B. Durbin @111: For some reason this reminds me of the dream the Continental Op describes in Red Harvest, trying to trail someone through the named streets of a dozen interchangeable (to his POV) cities. It's poetry of a different sort, but somehow kin.

"Weaponized cuteness": Perhaps in the Ambush Bug (comic) story where a city is invaded by a monstrously large Koala, and all that the bystanders can say are things like "Look how he holds his hands — just like a little man!"

There must be some spot in this discussion that I can use an Indiana Jones line I came up with years ago (maybe when there were only two movies): "Kittens. Why does it always have to be kittens?"

Mary Aileen @132: I always wanted to make a big-eyed black velvet portrait of Ayn Rand.

#134 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 10:47 AM:

David #129:

Presumably the Repubs would like to push all Dems out of office. Most don't hand it to them on a silver platter. Further, wrecking your political career with a sex scandal is not exactly limited to Democrats being targeted by Republicans.

My question is, is there any way to look at the records of politicians in the years before their career-ending sex scandal and find some pattern of blackmail-induced actions.

#135 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 11:13 AM:

#126 ::: Paul Duncanson

Thanks for the link. It might be the story I remember, but I can't be sure.

Having just read "Second Variety" and M.L.N. Hanover's Darker Angels, I'm wondering whether there's anything available about fiction that includes identity paranoia-- not being sure who's who or possibly who's what.

#136 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 11:45 AM:

Kip W:

Somehow, it seems like tribbles would make an excellent starting point for weaponized cuteness. Just not to Klingons.

#137 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 11:46 AM:

Mary Aileen #132: You do not strike me as uncool.

#138 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 12:02 PM:

Kip 134: I always wanted to make a big-eyed black velvet portrait of Ayn Rand.

I've always wanted the same thing on cork. With concentric circles marked with point values.

Cancer news: seeing the ENT-onco guy today at 1:30 EDT. Think good thoughts.

#139 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 12:05 PM:

Mary Aileen @ 132: Eleanor Dickinson is a successful contemporary artist who paints on black velvet sometimes.

#140 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 12:08 PM:

Xopher: good thoughts numberless as the leaves of trees.

#141 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 12:24 PM:

To Mary Aileen @132, in re paintings on velvet: Black velvet(een) is matter than matte, as it were. Even a black-painted canvas or suchlike isn't nearly as light-eating as a black velvet surface.

This has a really neat artistic effect, especially if the colors used to paint with are bright and contrasty and popping.

The reason 'Oh, dear, black velvet' is a cliche is a twofold interrelated one, at least in my family: for some reason in the 30s-50s, it became a really popular medium for folk artists of excessive sentiment and dubious skill (and then the commercially-created stuff copying them), which meant that a lot of the stuff available on it is (a) of dubious skill and secondarily (b) soaked in schmoopy twee-ness.

So in the same way that many fen hear 'filk' and flash-associate "Offkey weirdos singing detailed lists of character attributes that don't rhyme" or hear 'furry fan' and think "Smelly creepy sexual pervert who goes around dressed head-to-toe in plush with cutouts in strategic locations", lots of the random art-buying public hears 'black velvet' and groans, "Oh, dear goodness, not ANOTHER sad clown/big-eyed puppy/glowing cottage/dyspeptic Jesus!"

#142 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 12:25 PM:

Ginger @40: Gevalt. Now I remember why I never wanted kids.

Well, sounds like you're doing a stellar job of coping. And you know the timing is not accidental, right? I mean, what are Months from Hell at Work for, if not to provide an opportunity for your homelife to come spectacularly unglued as well, right?

Tiresome that you're having to expend valuable reserve Managing your support structure, too.

Well, continue keep us informed here, and if there's any practical assistance I can offer remotely, I can be reached at the com of panix, with my name+m.

#143 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 12:28 PM:

HLN: It's screaming orange poppy season! Screaming orange poppies are screaming orange!

#144 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 12:29 PM:

TexAnne @46: Xopher: That's not a big box. The big box is arriving Tuesday.


#145 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 12:40 PM:

Xopher: Keeping good thoughts for you on the job front.

Bruce Arthurs @67: Don't be bashful about checking in with them to be sure they've received your application. I got one of the best jobs I've had, in large part, due to judicious pestiferation; initial hire didn't work out, so they called me! Good luck to you!

#146 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 12:56 PM:

Hyperlocal news... Man takes day off work, spends 2.5 hours pulling backyard's last weeds, then proceeds to have a container of cheap strawberry ice cream for breakfast.

#147 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 12:58 PM:

Jacque @ 145... And the Box is bigger inside than it looks from the outside

#148 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 01:00 PM:

Apparently Albuquoique isn't considered important enough for the theatrical release of the expanded LoTR films this month. Waugh!!!

#149 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 01:02 PM:

Good thoughts from here too, Xopher.

#150 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 01:07 PM:

The Modesto Kid @90: Open-thready: Terry Pratchett sets in motion the process that will lead to his suicide.

Okay, the Future is almost finished. We have legalized suicide. We have effective machine translation. Can I haz Alzheimer's cure, plz?

#151 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 01:15 PM:

Mary Aileen @ 132

Perhaps it's the fact that black velvet is not the "Old Tyme Classic" of linen, canvass or wood used by the masters? Or maybe it could be because early users of black velvet were less than stellar artists?

A few years ago, I watched an artist draw on 600 grit sand paper with art pencils. (The sand paper was black/carbide) The result was amazing. The tooth of the paper grabbed and held all of the pigment. The color saturation was amazing.

#152 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 01:16 PM:

"Weaponized Cuteness": The SCP series over at TV Tropes has a couple of examples, ranging from Tribble-analogues to a bouncing blob that everyone thinks is the cutest, unless properly psi-shielded....

#153 ::: Sandy B. sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 01:21 PM:

I know it was mentioned, but #130 [as of this writing] is spam.

#154 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 01:29 PM:

limited time offer:

I believe this is today (June 13) only, but you can get the Broadway cast recording of The Book of Mormon from Amazon for $1.99.

#155 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 01:29 PM:

Jacque @151 -- as B. Durbin notes in 92, my 90 was alarmingly imprecise. But yes, a cure for Alzheimer's disease is a consummation devoutly to be wished.

#156 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 01:30 PM:

Xopher (139): Thinking good thoughts for you.

Tim Walters (140): Thanks for the link. I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who thinks black-velvet paintings (can) look kind of nifty.

Elliott Mason (142): Thanks--that makes a lot of sense. (both parts of it)

Victoria (152): Perhaps it's the fact that black velvet is not the "Old Tyme Classic" of linen, canvass or wood used by the masters?

That's always been my suspicion. The "not very good" probably feeds into it, too.

#157 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 01:40 PM:

Mary Aileen, #132: IMO, it's more a reaction to the often terminally tasteless subject matter. There used to be someone in the Nashville Science Fiction Club who did astronomical art on black velvet, and his paintings brought high prices at convention art auctions. (I still have one, of a spiral galaxy). Sadly, he died at a relatively young age.

The only practical issue with black velvet is its propensity for collecting dust.

#158 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 01:54 PM:

Xopher: ... and on the health front.

#159 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 02:20 PM:

Mary Aileen @157: I've noticed that certain materials/techniques tend to get ZOMG POPULARZ among certain segments of the try-to-make-homemade-art community, and thereafter are widely ridiculed for decades afterwards because of the horrible examples someone's aunt tried to fob off on them five Christmases running, etc.

Black velvet is one. Macrame is another.

Does anyone else have one of those 'paint it yourself' ceramic sculptures in their house? We have two toad planters, and my grandmother has a set of monkeys with pose-them-yourself-before-glazing arms, and an elephant. I periodically see other exemplars of the exact same models in thrift stores, grouped with other 'kitsch nobody buys'.

I also have several late-70s Craft It Yourself!! type books full end to end of utterly unfortunate projects that nonetheless do demonstrate useful techniques ... if you were to apply them yourself to projects YOU have designed in line with your OWN tastes.

#160 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 02:44 PM:

Elliott Mason (160): Heck, I have not one but two of those paint-it-yourself ceramic sculptures. I painted them myself; it was fun. And the blue and green tabby cats are kind of cute, IMO. :)

I also dabbled in paint-by-numbers as a kid, although I never finished one.

#161 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 02:53 PM:

Lee @158: I've got one too, mine is a solar eclipse show the "Bailey's Bead" effect.

#162 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 03:05 PM:

I've still got (somewhere) a plate for which at 8 or so (IIRC) I drew a picture (misspelling my own middle name) on this round tracing-paper looking thing. Then my Mom sent in my and my sisters' drawings, and they came back transferred onto plates.

#163 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 03:06 PM:

Good thoughts, Xopher, good thoughts...

#164 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 03:14 PM:

etv13: Good point. At that time, I was under the impression that she was 18, and based on her emails/texts to my son, much more sexually experienced than he is (or was).

I spoke to her grandmother today -- because he disappeared instead of taking his English final, and it turned out that she'd borrowed a phone from their mutual friend, said phone being the one he started texting from my phone when I gave it to him this morning. Anyway, her grandmother told me that she's 16, so yeah, she's just another idiot teen. However, she's one who has been leading everyone into lying, sneaking around, stealing, etc., so I think she's still toxic.

The bottom line for me is that my son is in a bad place; he cannot be trusted out of sight of any grownup. My Ex and I have finally come to agree with his psychiatrist and will be putting him into a partial hospitalization program, as soon as we get our hands on him again.

His exam was at 10 am. It's now after 3 pm, and we have no idea where they are. Her grandmother hasn't found her; the friend-with-the-phone's dad is looking for his phone; it has a GPS and he will notify us as soon as the phone gets turned back on.

Until then, I've got patients to see and things to do, and blood pressure to bring back down, and probably some food to eat, I forget. Oh, and a FG to see tonight, for the first time in more than a week.

#165 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 03:21 PM:

Ginger @ 165... I've got (...) blood pressure to bring back down (...) and a FG to see tonight

I expect that the latter will take care of the former.

#166 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 03:24 PM:

Xopher @ 139: Good thoughts for you, as always!

Jacque @ 143: Oh, yes. It's like the Friday Afternoon Before The Long Weekend (and the Full Moon) Effect, only more so. The FABTLW(FM)E is known to veterinary staff and probably to medical staff as well. The most bizarre cases, or the most demanding ones, always show up around 3 pm on Fridays, right after all the Important or Helpful people have left the building. It's intensified by the full moon. I've lived through enough of them to know this is not just some Urban Legend ("no shit, there I was.."). I can only ask "Why?"

Bruce Arthurs @ 67: Good luck with your application!

#167 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 03:38 PM:

Serge @ 166: I certainly hope so!

#168 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 03:39 PM:

Ginger: Good thoughts/wishes headed your way.

As a pet parent, instead of the FABTLW(FM)E, it's The Dog/Cat Gets Sick After The Vet Clinic Closes.
Most recently, Honey's brush with an intestinal bug.

Since then I've found out that I have two clinics close to me (within 10 minutes drive) that are open 24/7 -- one at the Ohio State University and the Bethel Animal Hospital.

Ohio State handles most of the K-9 emergencies -- up to and including Med-Flite for the injured canine. (Zanesville's force had a dog shot last year, he's now on inactive duty with the force.)

#169 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 03:42 PM:

Good thoughts and wishes going out to Xopher and Ginger.

#170 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 03:54 PM:

Ginger: I'm wishing you strength and patience going through this.

I look at my three (all quite younger than teenagers) and hope I can handle whatever they do that will keep me up at night when they're teenagers.

#171 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 03:59 PM:

Knitted liripipe. Pattern available in German and English.

#172 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 04:09 PM:

Ginger: I write this gingerly (no pun intended). As you know, I feel your pain, having been a depressed teen.

This is going to sound weird, but I am so, so glad that your son is going through this now, while he's still in high school. While you're there to watch over/out for him (painful as that is), to help him, to force (or attempt to force) certain kinds of changes/treatment.

It's much, much harder and more dangerous to have this kind of collapse while in college. I was almost-but-not-quite suicidal when my crash came, in sophomore year (I was 18); a friend who was eventually diagnosed as bipolar literally used to go walking on the railroad tracks, hoping the train would come, and would call me at 1 in the morning to have me talk her out of it (she was 20). In both cases, our parents had no idea what was going on for months on end. I went home for winter break that year and begged my parents not to send me back to school and thank god they listened; my friend was essentially "turned in" by her roommates and was hospitalized for a while.

Continued strength to you, and a listening ear.

#173 ::: etv13 ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 04:18 PM:

Ginger: I'm really sorry you and your son are in such a tough place. I wish you both all the best.

#174 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 05:00 PM:

I had dream last night that I got to visit abi. I have to say, my favorite of the local customs was the keeping of a small pool in the atrium of one's house. I was particularly fond of the little fishes that would poke their heads up out of the water to beg for treats.

#175 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 05:10 PM:

Ginger @167: I can only ask "Why?"

Hah! I know! Ask me! Ask me!!!

See, it's the same reason you wake up at Oh-Dark-thirty with a great story idea, or suddenly understanding why Xopher spells his name the way he does.*

It all has to do with solar radiation, see. Sunlight (of whichever wavelength) interferes with the Galactic Download. It's why life is relatively boring and straightforward during the day.

During the Full Moon, you get the double-whammy, because not only does the Sun interfere with Galactic Download during the daytime, but moonlight interferes at night as well, so you have a whole planetful of sentient beings running around basically without instructions or supervision for several days in a row.

See? 'Splains everything!


* Though to this day I don't get why that particular bit of intelligence was that urgent.

#176 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 05:34 PM:

Jacque @ 175... I had the pleasure of visiting the house in which Abi grew up. There was no pond with begging piscines, so I presume she made up for that lack of her tender years when she acquired her own demeure.

#177 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 05:39 PM:

I saw "X-men: First Class" yesterday at a theater that runs public-education shorts before the show proper. This one was about teenagers and smoking. Part of it went like this. Really, it did.

"Do you want to smoke?"
"No. I'd rather dance!"

And the kid does exactly that in front of the very embarassed other kid.

#178 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 06:23 PM:

Dave Bell,#128: I liked the way that Barber told it from the other side, that what some people consider terrifying is ordinary to other minds, and vice versa. He sent up the Lovecraft mythos, at least in its less intellectual forms, and the consumerized/kitsch form of cuteness peddled to kids, both at once. And in great detail, a coherent world, or so it seemed to me when I read it.
Mary, Bob, Elliot: good explanation of the effect of black velvet as a background and also the stigma which has become attached to it. Someone said that black actually rests the eyes momentarily so the colors against it seem brighter. I learned about crayon and pastel resists, with watercolors, in middle school; I daresay it was the best thing I learned in school. But using other colors besides black was my own idea.

#179 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 06:31 PM:

The place I saw the most paintings on black velvet was Nogales, Mexico. Maybe there's some stigma attached to them because of where they're frequently seen (tacky touristy traps in border towns)?

#180 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 06:43 PM:

For a while there was a museum of black velvet paintings in Portland. To judge from the video stories on the place, they played up the "slob art" angle.

#181 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 06:47 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 181: I hope they called it the Museum of Mighty Fine Arts.

#182 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 07:13 PM:

@Tim: Actually, "The Velveteria."

Here is their web page. It looks like they plan on reopening, but not in Portland:

#183 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 07:19 PM:

So, today I went to the ENT clinic. A great many things happened there (finally saw the actual doctor THREE HOURS after my appointment time); but here's the upshot:

  • There's no apparent involvement of lymph nodes or anything beyond the left front part of my tongue.
  • More scans are needed. I can't have contrast x-rays, because I'm allergic to the contrast medium (found that out the hard way), so I'll have contrast MRIs (different contrast medium, not iodine-based) and maybe PET scans.
  • Probable course of treatment is surgery to remove the tumor and "about a centimeter" around it. (This should leave the entire right side of my tongue intact (per the doc), which is a good, good thing.) They probably will take out a few lymph nodes on that side, to examine them microscopically just to be sure there was no involvement the scans missed.
  • Based on evaluations done at and after the time of the surgery, a determination will be made as to whether chemo and radiation are needed. I heard that as good news, since it had been sounding like they were a definite.
  • Time frames are a matter of 4-6 weeks...they said. This might prove optimistic, given the bureaucracies involved, but it's very hopeful.
This all took a long time, and the financial department was closed by the time it was done, so I have to go back tomorrow to deal with them.

Overall, I'm more optimistic about my health situation than I've been in a very long time.

And then, on top of that...well, TexAnne, that WAS the big box. I know because the GINORMOUS box arrived today! Thank you so much, and thank you everyone who worked on all these cranes.

Pictures of me with them when I've had a chance to unpack them...or some of them...and hang them up.

Ginger...continued good wishes and blessings.

#184 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 07:34 PM:

@Xopher: Good news! Still a hell of a lot to deal with, but things sound contained.

#185 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 07:40 PM:

Xopher @ 184 That sounds like good news to me! And I'm happy to hear the cranes arrived. May they brighten your home.

#186 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 07:44 PM:

Mary Aileen @161: I am mainly amused by mine because I got them as hand-me-downs from different branches of my family, and they were the same original kit. A fraternal-twin pair of toads, as it were, and a set of (I've told my cousins I want the monkeys as my inheritance when we eventually split Grandma's things) eventually four graduated monkeys, all in whites and yellows.

David Harmon #163: my grade school did a deal with a company that sold special mugs along those lines -- the kid decorated a specially-shaped piece of paper, the class's papers were mailed back to the company, and in a week we got plastic mugs with our papers 'permanently' sealed inside, putatively in a dishwasher-resistant way.

Xopher @184, in re The Boxen: [voice="Helen Alpha Narbon"] Heh heh heh. [/voice]

#187 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 07:54 PM:

Glad to hear, Xopher!

#188 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 08:17 PM:

Xopher, it was a pleasure. *hugs*

#189 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 08:21 PM:

Xopher (184): "no apparent involvement of lymph nodes" is a *very* good thing. Continuing good thoughts wending your way from me. Here's hoping you can avoid the chemo, too, because that's a whole lot of No Fun.

#190 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 09:27 PM:

Xopher, that's excellent news. May it continue.

#191 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 09:44 PM:

Xopher, wonderful news!

#192 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 10:01 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 183: I visited the Velveteria before it closed, and enjoyed it very much. It was a big collection of paintings on black velvet, and the content fell into categories: wolves howling at moon, two dolphins leaping to form a heart, tropical beaches, naked women, and Elvis and other famous people (Martin Luther King, Jr., JFK,...). The level of technical skill was often quite high. The only one with really poor figure drawing was of Anderson Cooper wearing a thong -- I suspect it was painted from imagination, rather than using a model.

#193 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 10:56 PM:

Hyperlocal news... Man's wife receives very nice check from Tor after signing contract for contemporary-fantasy trilogy. Woot!

#194 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 10:59 PM:

Xopher #184: Congratulations!

#195 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 11:00 PM:

There's also the Museum of Bad Art. It's pretty snarky, but no worse than an Eye Of Argon reading, I guess. And I genuinely like this one (slightly NSFW), so there.

#196 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 11:04 PM:

Does it double the kitsch, or square it, when a black velvet painting is also a paint-by-numbers kit?

(Dare I admit remembering painting one of these kits when I was young?)

#197 ::: Velma ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 11:22 PM:

Good thoughts for Ginger, Xopher, and Bruce.

in Hyper-Local News: Local Area Woman continues to find that after thirty years of not living with cats, she has no immunity to feline mind-control rays. This has led to staying up till 2am to make sure The Ruler of the Household can come back in, and offering him roast pork, ham, and chicken before she eats any herself. The Spousal Sort, who is somehow more resistant, finds this hilarious.

#198 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 11:48 PM:

Emergency preparedness webpage not getting enough hits? Just add zombies!

#199 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 12:29 AM:

#197 (Dare I admit remembering painting one of these kits when I was young?)

I actually bought a paint-by-numbers kit not long ago. White wolves. I haven't tackled it yet.

I also FOUND a partially completed paint-by-numbers set in teh trash. The "canvas," paint, and brushes, all in the box. It looked like the previous owner had gotten around to two of the colors. It's a Kincaid-esque cabin-in-the-snow sort of scene.

I put it with the white wolf set. I figure if I'm ever laid off it will be cheap entertainment.

#200 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 06:47 AM:

Stefan Jones @ 200... I can't see mentions of Kincade without thinking of this homage by our very own Mary Dell.

#201 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 07:02 AM:

Hyperlocal news... After reading a Krugman column, man is reminded he's only 9 years and a few bits away from being eligible for Medicare. Man is sure that Reality made an administrative mistake.

#202 ::: alex ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 07:43 AM:

Anyone got any thoughts about this:

Other than 'I am a labrador retriever', of course.

#203 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 07:50 AM:

Xopher, that sounds like good news! Hugs if you would like any. Fingers crossed for the best outcome of all tests.

Wesley @78: I knew there would be an authoritative canon answer! The only canon vampires I knew of were the Vampires of Venice and I don't think they could turn anyone.

#204 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 08:09 AM:

Xopher@43 I'd say that psychiatrist sounds like a jerk, but that would be redundant.

Because of the description of that psychiatrist's behaviour, right? Not because all psychiatrists are jerks.*


Great news! You have my positive thoughts.

HLN: Missing Doctor Who (already! But they split the season and it's not back until autumn), area man orders "An unearthly child"** from the BBC. I probably won't just work forward from that point, but you never know.

* Note: All psychiatrists are not jerks.
** Resisting the strong temptation to torrent it on the grounds that providing financial support for things I want the beeb to make more is a Good Thing. Episodes not currently commercially available are, of course, an entirely different matter.

#205 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 08:53 AM:

Ginger--I agree with Melissa Singer (@173). It sucks that you all have to go through this now, but that heavens you have your ducks in a row and are proactive about it, and that neither you nor your ex are in denial about it. My best wishes to you all as you wade through this swamp.

Xopher @184--While it stinks you should have to deal with this at all, I am glad you are getting definite answers and that they are better than you'd hoped for. May this not be the last of the positive news!

Jacque @176--That's genius.

Velma @198--You're screwed, unless you take advantage of the first barefooted discovery of a fresh hairball in the dark in the middle of the night to wrest control from the feline would-be overlord. Even then, you may only be able to attain partial independence of thought. They're sneaky little monsters. (I'd tell you about my recent dead bird incident, but really, everyone here has enough of an imagination that I think we can skip the sordid details.)

#206 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 09:29 AM:

More to come, but the quick summary is, both are gone (and the girlfriend's mother is - like us -- beside herself with worry; her daughter has suddenly gone from being on the honor roll to repeating 9th grade a second time). Neither of them is in a good place, and the police are looking for them, as is every family involved. No word overnight.

#207 ::: David Wald ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 10:21 AM:

I'm slightly surprised no one has yet mentioned the Austin Lounge Lizards' song "Paint Me On Velvet"

#208 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 10:24 AM:

Ginger: very sorry. (first thought: Damn! second thought: Oh, no!)

#209 ::: David Wald ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 10:57 AM:

Ginger: I don't know what to add, but best wishes and hopes.

#210 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 11:14 AM:

Ginger #207: Fingers crossed.

#211 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 11:16 AM:

Ginger, you and your family continue to be in my prayers. As do you, Xopher.

#212 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 11:26 AM:

Ginger: fervent prayers from here.

Xopher: doing a slightly restrained Snoopy dance (so as not to incur bad mojo by premature celebration)

Serge: Congratulations to your wife AND Tor!

#213 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 12:14 PM:

Ginger, hang in there; Xopher, that sounds like a much better prognosis; -- good energy headed your way.

We have a new little one in the house, a four month old male Japanese Chin. His name is Katana, and he is just brilliant. And he cries when I leave the house, even though my Mom is there with him all day.

Really looking forward to retirement at the end of this year, so I can spend more time with him and Honey the Wonder Chihuahua.

#214 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 01:14 PM:

@Ginger: Oye, gevault. Fingers crossed for a quick & satisfactory resolution.

#215 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 02:31 PM:

Ginger, that's awful. Hugs and good thoughts.

#216 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 02:50 PM:

update to me @ 107: It seems that LizardBreath is correct that the picture that opened the Weiner scandal was, from the woman's point of view, totally out of the blue. I think that dramatically changes things. That's something to be legitimately outraged about.

However, I agree with this blogger here:

This isn't a consent scandal. To be fair, we do have consent scandals in our media. Dominique Strauss-Kahn is a consent scandal, for instance. But can anyone look deep into their heart and say that this would be going down any differently if every single woman involved was saying, "I was completely into it. Cock pictures, yum!" No, we cannot. Hell, if anything, that would probably just make it worse....Weiner's completely consensual chat logs are being given even more attention than the single picture we know was non-consensual, and the reason is there's more there to feed the prurient interest.

When I mentioned to the repeated use of the word "reprehensible" to describe Weiner's actions, they were in reference to the chat logs. I agree with Marcotte that insofar as consent is part of the scandal, it's a very minor part. It's the violating-social-norms part that's by far getting the most play.

#217 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 03:17 PM:

Yeah, finding out he sent her that pic out of the blue flips me into thinking he should resign right now.

Sigh. Stupid bastard. One of the very few real liberals left in Congress, and a really effective one, and he sabotaged himself by being a total asshole.

#218 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 03:20 PM:

The Missouri has broken through a levee. Luckily, it's in a rural area, and the Army Corps of Engineers has been workings on a secondary levee for Hamburg, the closest town. Water levels have, in many places along the river, already passed record levels.

Please note that most of this water is not snow melt, at least farther downstream. Most of this is from rain this spring, which is being released from dams along the Upper Missouri to make room for the high levels of meltwater expcted from the snowpack as it melts. So there's more water yet to come, which will pass down through the Mississippi eventually.

#219 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 03:30 PM:

The whole Weiner sexting scandal is a study in how societal fears shape debate. Clinton and Gingrich engaged in old-fashioned low-tech sin, Weiner had the gall to do something only possible with new technologies. It's more risible because it's part of the Internet/Texting/Sexting thing, and we don't know all the consequences -- the horror. Plus, it's smirky, little-boy juvenile behavior.

He should have had the sense to stick to dirty handwritten letters and smudged Polaroids.

#220 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 03:31 PM:

Xopher: A relief to hear the promising health news!

And when you look at the cranes you will know [cue the ominous music] We're Thinking Of You.


#221 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 03:38 PM:

David Harmon @163 & Elliott Mason @187: I was rather boggled to discover* that you can now get your photos glazed onto rather good quality ceramic bathroom tile. At a resolution that is not conspicuous to (at least my) naked eye, which says it's 300dpi-plus. The miracles of modern, and all that.

The sample in the store used some Hubble imagery, which I thought exceedingly cool.


* Though I don't know why, this being the future, and all.

#222 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 03:47 PM:

Velma @198: Area Woman ... has no immunity to feline mind-control rays. This has led to staying up till 2am to make sure The Ruler of the Household can come back in, and offering him roast pork, ham, and chicken before she eats any herself.

...thereby schooling him that coming home late means Mommie Haz Treats!

It takes me a good half-hour to forty-five minutes to get sat down for my dinner after work because I have to: 1) Pen whoever's loose during the day, 2) let the first shift of boys out, 3) put hay in the girls' downstairs (so that they will come down and entertain the boys), and 4) hand-feed the special-needs-kid-du-jour.

All this while being yelled at by whoever hasn't been served yet.

Yeah, right. Humans are the pinnacle of evolution. Sure, go on, pull the other one.

The Spousal Sort, who is somehow more resistant, finds this hilarious.

Is this maybe related to the idea that you don't have to run faster than the bear, you just have to run faster than your companion?

#223 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 03:59 PM:

I am presently engaged in the more-than-once-a-year reschooling of the cat to remind him that waking the Big One before her alarm goes off results not in food but in being shut in the bathroom until it's actually time to get up.

(I'm not Mama; my daughter is. I am, however, the One Who Provides Food 99% of the time.)

#224 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 03:59 PM:

Well. Say what you will about technology, but I for one welcome our GPS overlords.

The runaways have been corralled and retrieved by their respective families. It boiled down to one fortuitous email I sent yesterday.

It had occurred to me that the phone number being texted was the property of one friend, E, but was being carried by the girlfriend, C. However, I remembered that E was a son of -- an E, Junior -- so I googled E, Senior and found him. He's employed by the same school system. I emailed him to let him know his son's phone was with my son's girlfriend. When he called me, he let me know that his phone has GPS.

They had turned off the phone, so we waited all night. Around 1 pm, the phone was turned on, and the location was immediately posted to E, Senior, who passed it on to the police as well as to the worried parents. The police acted swiftly and caught them. My son is currently with my Ex, at the facility where he will be enrolled in a partial hospitalization program immediately. Which reminds me, I need to call his psychiatrist.

Yes, Serge, my FG did take good care of me last night.

Xopher, that's fantastic news! Virtual hugs from me.

#225 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 04:06 PM:

Ginger, that's good news. Terrific news, actually. Glad for you, him, and all concerned.

#226 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 04:06 PM:

Ginger, I am very glad to hear the latest update. Have some more virtual hugs -- I imagine that right now you can use all the hugs, even virtual ones, you can get.

#227 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 04:08 PM:

Velma @198--William Faulkner (in The Reivers), as part of a discourse on animal intelligence:

There is a fable, Chinese I think, literally I am sure: of a period on earth when the dominant creatures were cats: who after ages of trying to cope with the anguishes of mortality — famine, plague, war injustice, folly, greed — in a word, civilized government — convened a congress of the wisest cat philosophers to see if anything could be done: who after long deliberation agreed that the dilemma, the problems themselves were insoluble and the only practical solution was to give it up, relinquish, abdicate, by selecting from among the lesser creatures a species, race optimistic enough to believe that the mortal predicament could be solved and ignorant enough never to learn better. Which is why the cat lives with you, is completely dependent on you for food and shelter but lifts no paw for you and loves you not; in a word, why your cat looks at you the way it does.

I have at times quoted this to various resident felines. The usual replace is a long, indifferent look, followed by some diligent grooming.

#228 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 04:11 PM:

Ginger: Whew! Y'oughta see if any local wildlife biologists have a radio collar you could borrow....

#229 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 04:21 PM:

Jacque @ 229: My intention is to take one of those ankle bracelets they put on convicts, and add the dog training collar electroshock capability. It will send an alert message to the guardians ("warning! individual has exceeded the boundary!") and it will shock them back into the proper area of operations.

I just need some money to bankroll a prototype..

Julia Jones @ 227: Absolutely correct! Hugs welcomed.

#230 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 04:23 PM:

Ginger @230:
Hugs welcomed.

Coming at you from the Netherlands, then. And one for FG, who is clearly being F above & beyond the call.

#231 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 04:24 PM:

Ginger, glad to hear that they have been found, and glad to hear that you had cooperation all around. Wishing all the best for all involved for the road ahead.

#232 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 04:27 PM:

Ginger: Whew! And many, many hugs. (You know the nice thing about hugs? When you give one, you get one back right away!) And abi is right: hugs to the FG as well.

#233 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 04:33 PM:

Ginger @230--you know those radio devices that lock the wheels of shopping cats if they're pushed across the the boundary line? I'm just sayin'.

But *whew* indeed. Hugs all around, and virtual chocolate, too.

#234 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 04:34 PM:

Ginger: Glad to hear that this has worked out (so far). Smart use of technology, there....

So, the boy's going inpatient for a while; any idea what's happening to/with the girl at this point?

#235 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 04:35 PM:

Ginger, I've lost count of how many times I checked in here today, hoping for (relatively) good news.

So glad that they've been found!

#236 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 04:41 PM:

fidelio @234:

those radio devices that lock the wheels of shopping cats if they're pushed across the the boundary line


I guess the reason I've never seen a cat with wheels is because the ones I've met are, as you yourself quoted Faulkner saying, "completely dependent on [humans] for food and shelter". So they don't need to shop.

But now I know how feral cats are kept within their boundaries.

#237 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 04:58 PM:

Ginger: hugs to you, FG, Ex, and son.

sigh of relief on this end.

best wishes for the girlfriend too.

#238 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 05:08 PM:

Hugs all around!

The last I heard, the girlfriend's mother was taking her to Children's Hospital for a full workup, because she is very worried about this turn of events. I wish her the best of luck, as her daughter sounds like a carbon copy of our son -- even to the ADHD -- and will likely also need inpatient care for a while. The two of them were feeding off of each other, it sounds like, and making each other more toxic, or at least egging each other on.

One of the true heroes of this operation was E, Senior, whose GPS saved the day. I made sure to send him a grateful thank-you note.

fidelio @ 234: I always wondered about those shopping cats. I think I had one for a while.

#239 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 05:13 PM:

@Ginger: Glad to hear wayward teens are corralled.

Is the Toxic Girlfriend getting enrolled somewhere as well?

* * *
SFnal thought:

For a modern teen, who has grown up dependent on cell phones, texting, etc., thinking of them as part of the environment, the whole GPS/tracking thing must seem like the something utterly sinister and overwhelming, akin to the setups in some depressing YA novels.

#240 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 05:28 PM:

(I wrote 240 before seeing 239)

#241 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 05:33 PM:

Ginger: Great news.

#242 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 05:45 PM:

Good the hear that kids are back...good luck.

#243 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 05:57 PM:

Xopher, #218: Why this keeps happening, and how to stop it.
You all know who That Guy in your organization is. Everybody always does. Stop making excuses for his behavior, stop shaming his victims, and have him out of there immediately. Six other men will quit in protest. Do not try to stop them. Then apologize to his victims for having been so stupid. Then take a good look around and see who you've been overlooking because they didn't have that entitled, aggressive personality you mistook for strength of character. Give them the good jobs.

No matter how "progressive" a man seems to be, if he treats individual women like sex objects rather than people, he doesn't deserve a progressive leadership position. And it's not like there aren't any grown-up men out there who could be hired to take over!

Ginger: Glad things worked out with no significant damage. I hope that both your son and his GF get the help they need to get back on track. Would moving him to a different school next year be feasible/helpful at all? IOW, would it be more likely to end up as "out of sight, out of mind" or as "Romeo & Juliet revisited"?

#244 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 06:47 PM:

Ginger: I'm very glad the kids were retrieved safely. *hugs*

#245 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 07:10 PM:

Good luck with the random-walk teen[s].

#246 ::: Jon Baker ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 08:23 PM:

As none of the cognoscenti have replied yet, I though I'd do a bit of Amazon-searching on behalf of our Arkansawyer (@53).

Habermas, a very short introduction gets uniformly good reviews, while other "introductions" are described as "as hard as Habermas himself".

Or, for something shorter, try the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

#247 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 08:24 PM:

what does FG stand for?

#248 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 08:38 PM:

Erik, in Ginger's case it's for Fabulous Girlfriend.

#249 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 08:55 PM:

abi @ 237... Over there, do they put the cat before the horse?

#250 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 08:58 PM:

Lila @ 213... Thanks! I wish we didn't have to wait until October 2012 before the first book comes out, but I'll make sure to remind people when it's time. :-)

#251 ::: David Wald ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 09:22 PM:

Serge@250: do they put the cat before the horse?

They have to if there's a king on the horse, so the cat can have a good look.

#252 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 09:47 PM:

HLN: Whew. Incredible storm just went through here. 75 MPH winds, quarter-sized hail, torrential rain, the woiks. Sounded like the hail was going to come right through my windows. Knocked over my bike, sucked a window screen right out and tossed it into the courtyard, and my balcony garden is flattened. More rain coming...

#253 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2011, 10:16 PM:

What happens if we upset the apple cat?

Melissa Singer (@somewhere up there) and fidelio @206: I agree as well and have even told my son that now is the time to be making mistakes. I guess he decided that meant he could go all out.

The FG sends her thanks for her hugs, and is happy to be Fabulous.

#254 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2011, 12:02 AM:

#253 Janet: Where's "here"?

#255 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2011, 12:02 AM:

#253 Janet: Where's "here"?

#256 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2011, 12:39 AM:

James, 255: Somewhere in Oklahoma, IIRC. It's probably the same system that's coming up I-44 right now; the NWS says it's moving east at 40mph.

#257 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2011, 09:06 AM:

abi @237 (and others) Of course, keeping cats indoors doesn't stop them from shopping; I keep my credit cards with me at all times rather than resorting to the old "I-can't-use-them-because-they're-home-in-the-freezer" stunt, just in case mine decide to do a little on-line shopping* while I'm gone.

Also, anyone who has seen a cat try to go from Full Tilt to Stop on a smooth surface knows they really do have wheels--just no brakes. Oh, and why you can't see the wheels? They're tucked away, sort of like the wheels on a bush plane, up under the skis.

*So far these have been no deliveries of things like this or this, or (and it's a good thing in this weather) this, let alone this sort of thing or a couple of these. I try to do any on-line shopping at work, because the longer the furry reprobates at my house live in ignorance of the fact that the luxuries they consider no nore than their due are only a mouse-click or three away the better. As far as their reading habits are concerned, they can make do with what's already in the house. I do not need their help bringing in more.

#258 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2011, 09:08 AM:

I am moderated, alas! Too Many Links, I suspect. Could someone show up with the keys, please?

#259 ::: David Wald ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2011, 09:18 AM:

Ginger@254: What happens if we upset the apple cat?

I think it goes straight for your tongue.

#260 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2011, 09:42 AM:

#259 ::: fidelio

It was indeed too many links, but see! you are released!

#261 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2011, 11:04 AM:

I have never needed to control access to my credit card-- like much other Essential Plastic, it lives in my bag, which is often attached to me-- but I did encase my library card in a block of ice a year or two ago. It took a few tries to get something that I couldn't just crack open.

This did not really make me jobsearch more, but it was a step in the right direction.

#262 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2011, 11:12 AM:

Stefan Jones @240: SFnal thought: For a modern teen, who has grown up dependent on cell phones, texting, etc., thinking of them as part of the environment, the whole GPS/tracking thing must seem like the something utterly sinister and overwhelming, akin to the setups in some depressing YA novels.

I expect the appropriate paranoia comes with the territory. I would, in fact, expect them to be significantly less overwhelmed than an adult in the same situation, who hasn't grown up with on-line consciousness, and the expectation of a cyber-audience.

Let's just hope that the parties concerned haven't gotten around to reading any Cory Doctorow yet.

#263 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2011, 11:23 AM:

Jacque @ 263: Oddly enough, I had my son read Little Brother a while back. He was not very enthusiastic about it.

#264 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2011, 11:29 AM:

Ginger: Silly, you should have tried to keep him from reading it. ;-)

#265 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2011, 11:40 AM:

James @ 255, Norman, Oklahoma. I came through okay, and so did my car and bike, but other parts of town are without power, tree limbs are down and telephone poles snapped, sheds and fences blown over, gardens destroyed, and there's still some ponding in streets which were calf-deep last night. (We have lousy drainage here.) Really some of the worst weather I've seen, even when I've been out while the tornado sirens were going off -- and the sirens didn't go off for this one. The temperature dropped from 100F to the mid sixties at some sites within 20 minutes. Not that we didn't need the rain, mind, but it would nave been nicer if not in frozen lumps.

#266 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2011, 11:46 AM:

Jacque @ 265... On the other hand, Ginger couldn't keep him away from "Atomic Robo"

#267 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2011, 11:48 AM:

Ginger, glad for your recent success, fingers crossed for more, and always the mild amusement over the fact that "Ginger" doesn't rhyme with "finger." Small thoughts. Probably better to focus on the first part of this comment.

I'm also keeping the Best Wishes light on for Bruce D. and Xopher.

#268 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2011, 12:33 PM:

Alan Siegel disses an archetype; Haitian immigrant defends. Either way the Ferrari ends up in the bushes.

#269 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2011, 02:38 PM:

Hyperlocal news... Man receives from his higherup's higherup a Gold Coin Award. Not really a coin, not really made of gold, but man thinks it looks nice next to Ganesha and photo of poney-riding wife.

#270 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2011, 03:54 PM:

The current Google doodle is a feed from the lunar eclipse now visible on the other side of the world. When the slider is all the way to the right, it's showing the moon as it is right then.

#271 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2011, 05:05 PM:

Steve C (271): Nifty! Thanks for the pointer.

#272 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2011, 06:05 PM:

C. Wingate, #269: Sounds like some of the arguments that go on over creaky, outdated (and sometimes really distasteful) stereotypes in 20th-century SF, or in Georgette Heyer's Regencies. Can you still enjoy the piece as pure fantasy even though some of the assumptions in it are hinky?

#273 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2011, 07:21 PM:

Well, I though the guy who associated Ferris Buehler with B'rer Rabbit pretty much nailed it.

#274 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2011, 07:31 PM:

Serge: remember the Gahan Wilson cartoon where a guy is being instructed that his [fabulous Aigle D'Or] is actually some gold foil wrapped around a disc of stale chocolate?

#275 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2011, 07:42 PM:

It's been a hyperlocally newsworthy day. The long-term dean of our library has announced he will retire in a year. And there was much rejoicing, in a quiet and well-organized sort of way.*

*Who am I kidding? I know I could hear one of my colleagues clear across the back office when she read the e-mail. People witnessed me saying words I've never said in the office before.

#276 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2011, 09:13 PM:

People here were the ones to tell me about Lobscouse and Spotted Dog, the Patrick O'Brian cookbook. I hunted for it a couple years ago, then ordered it for Christmas last year because I have a dad who likes Patrick O'Brian and is just about as nerdy as I am. I had to wait, then they cancelled my order because it turned out not to be in the warehouse after all. Sad sad.

I got home today and Dad said he bought me a cookbook. Apparently, Amazon likes him enough to have it in stock.

I have the nerdiest cookbook ever of today! Hee! And Dad's probably sixty percent done with it already.

#277 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2011, 09:18 PM:

HLN: My amazing girlfriend just got her evals back from her first semester of being a TA - and got a 6.2 out of 7 (I got evals back as well; 6.3/7, but I'd taught before last semester). We're happy.

#278 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2011, 10:10 PM:

Diatryma: try the frumenty. It's yummy.

#279 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2011, 10:10 PM:

Diatryma, 277: You know that knitter whose Northanger Abbey sock I linked to a while back? She's one of the authors.

Benjamin, 278: Yaaaaaay for the both of you!

#280 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2011, 10:38 PM:

Cat leaping onto table top and discovering that claws don't have much grab on wood.
The cat was very embarrassed.

#281 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2011, 10:43 PM:

Let me say this about Ferris Friggin' Bueller:

Anyone who ends a post on a messageboard with the words:

"Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?"

is 90% likely to be a troll.

#282 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2011, 10:59 PM:

Carol Kimball @ 275... Mine isn't likely to go stale, and has the advantage that it can't be explained away if ever I get a review the gist of which would contradict the high quality of work that the Coin signifies. Me, cynical?

#283 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2011, 11:07 PM:

Janet Brennan Croft @ 276... Ding dong, the witch is dead?

#284 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2011, 01:05 AM:

Hyperlocal news... Man reading Hugo nominees on Nook finds that Nook has fits whenever it comes across illustration of virtual monkey in Ted Chiang's "The Lifecycle of Software Objects".

#285 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2011, 02:05 AM:

If by any chance you've ever wanted to see me wearing makeup, now's your chance.

#286 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2011, 06:42 AM:

Happy Bloomsday everyone! The illustrated Calypso is now complete at Ulysses, Seen.

#287 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2011, 06:53 AM:

New email address is shiva at esc3 dot com.

Old view all by

#288 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2011, 06:56 AM:

Well, I tried to link my new email to my old "view all by", but it was moderated. sigh. I guess I'll add the second linking post when it gets out of moderation.

old: shiva at io dot com
new: shiva at esc3 dot com (the former Illuminati Online) was sold as a domain name to strangers, effective at the end of the month.

#289 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2011, 07:19 AM:

open threadiness and AKICIML

A book purchasing question:

If I buy a book at full price from one store and at a discount at another, does that affect the royalties given to the author? Or is this one of those things that depends on individual contracts and such?

Thank you.

#290 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2011, 08:18 AM:

Here's a link to my new view all by.

By the way, I've started uploading some of my poetry to deviantART.

#291 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2011, 08:19 AM:

I bet Abi and the other software testers in the community have some tips for me. I'm looking to help my bosses out by spreading the word that the Wikimedia Foundation is looking for a software testing lead. Of the testing-related associations and guilds and tribes that I could reach out to, which are most likely to be fruitful?

Second: yesterday I learned what a mock is (in the context of unit testing) and successfully resisted making any jokes about mockery, referring to unit testing as "going mach 10," or filking "Mock Lobster (Rock Lobster)" or "Mock (Mop)." How long will this last?

#292 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2011, 09:43 AM:

Sumana Harihareswara @ 292... Don't forget the Holy Mockerel.

#293 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2011, 10:18 AM:

Naomi @290: It depends. If the discounted book was just a regular edition on a discount, like when B&N discounts all NYTimes bestsellers by a certain amount, then the author receives the usual, contractual royalty, which is based on cover price, not on how much you actually paid for it.

If, however, the discount edition was a remainder, then the author receives a different royalty. Remainders are considered a bulk sale and different rates apply.

If you bought both copies of the book within a short time period, the author very likely received the based-on-cover-price royalty, as with few exceptions, books are not generally remaindered for at least 6 months after publication. Rarely, a book is "remaindered in place," but that's pretty uncommon. (Howard Stern's memoir was, iirc.)

#294 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2011, 10:30 AM:

IIRC, Charlie Stross, who is at a convention, has discussed this, and where there are steep discounts, while it is still a percentage of the publisher's set price, the royalty percentage is reduced.

I expect he has promised to give Amazon a Vir-like wave when it's head is put on a pike.

#295 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2011, 12:41 PM:

I'm having one of those "Do I speak up?" moments. I find this* squicky and cruel. My boss (who is generally a very nice lady) finds it hilarious. For the moment, I'm contenting myself with sitting here gritting my teeth.


*Starts after the ad, of course.

#296 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2011, 12:52 PM:

Looks like Anthony Weiner is resigning.

#297 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2011, 01:27 PM:

And now I'm pissed because Weiner gets hounded out of office while Rangel stays in after doing much worse.

#298 ::: CZEdwards (aka the Other Constance) ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2011, 01:28 PM:

Jacque@296: I find it creepy, squicky and cruel, too. (Also, incomprehensible, but this may be a generational thing, since I barely remember L. Welk.)

I don't know HOW I'd speak up, because it pings so many not-okay radars. Possibly with a "SRSLY? Really? SRSLY!!?!?11?!"

#299 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2011, 01:33 PM:

This probably belongs in a politics thread, but they're all too specific.

So it's Austin City Council run-off time, and I get a phone call from a bunch called ChangeAustin. Now, you've all seen me rant on the subject of political and charity phone calls, and the only reason I'm picking this one up is that it's begun to seem as though if you don't pick them up, they'll only call back again--and again.

I give them my standard spiel: please don't tell me who you're trying to get me to vote for, because if you do tell me, I'm telling you right now that I'll either vote for their opponent or not vote at all. (Unsaid here is the fact that I already voted early, over a week ago.)

And so it occurs to me: Austin's already changed. And in a way that's made anybody who still relies on phone calls a political dinosaur. Here's a town where you can't go into a coffeehouse without tripping over at least two web startups, most of them social media of some sort, the town where SXSW Interactive lives, fer gossake, and you're doing phone calls. And I must not be the only person who finds this somewhere between cognitively dissing, offensive, and a pain in the rear every election season.

So: is there any general solution outside of a registry for political/charitable Do Not Call? How do we get everyone moving toward less intrusive methods of influencing voters and getting contributions?

#300 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2011, 01:36 PM:

Melissa Singer at 298: "hounded out of office" --

I have a different take on it. Let me start by saying I am not in Weiner's district. However, I can imagine this: I e-mail my Congressman to ask him for help in dealing with a problem (immigration, sewage, a permit, who knows.) In that e-mail I compliment my representative on his excellent work, etc. (A few compliments are in order when you are asking a guy to do something for you.)

My Congressman e-mails back a picture of his c***k.

Am I pleased? Excited? Aroused? Not hardly, Jack. (Yes, I meant that.) First I want to slap him silly. Then I want him to resign.

#301 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2011, 01:39 PM:

Jacque @296 -- I'm with you. But then, a great deal of what many people find funny just bounces off me. "Humor of humiliation" isn't funny, IMO.

#302 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2011, 01:47 PM:

joann @300, columnist John Kelso is of the opinion that Austin lost its soul "the day they knocked down Don Politico's Tavern on Sixth Street. I think it was 1980."

#303 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2011, 01:47 PM:

Jacque @296

It's... Both? The parts that were laughing at the bizarre concerns and worldview of the whole Lawrence Welk thing were actually kinda funny. It would be nice if they'd just made that the joke instead of "it's funny because she's desperate," which, you know, it isn't.

Hopefully your boss was laughing at the one and not the other.

#304 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2011, 02:18 PM:

CZEdwards @299: I don't know HOW I'd speak up, because it pings so many not-okay radars.

I finally settled on emailing back: "I find myself not laughing because a number of my friends share physical traits with that 'comic' sister." (I should have said, "a number of my friends and I.")

This was the most obvious ping for me, though your assessment may help explain my confusion about my reaction.

Possibly with a "SRSLY? Really? SRSLY!!?!?11?!"

I would be, shall we say, insufficiently confident that my intended meaning would be adequately clear. ::sigh:: (And I'm already getting brusque reaction. So far, no response to my email, though.)

#305 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2011, 02:21 PM:

I'm finding US politics endlessly depressing right now.

I'm kind-of mixed on Weiner--after the scandal broke, if he'd weathered it, he would probably have been a better congressman, since there *wouldn't* have been this huge blackmail threat potentially hanging over his head[1]. OTOH, telling powerful men they can get away with crap like sending pictures of their c--ks to random women is a bad idea.

And the Obama administration has come up with a justification for ignoring the War Powers Act that makes zero sense. (Helpful hint: If some other country starts blowing up targets inside the US with missiles, we won't have any trouble figuring out whether that country is engaging in a war against us.) It's of a piece with the rest of what this administration has done on the war on terror, which is to be Bush Administration 2.0, with saner rhetoric and better grammar.

Watching part of the Republican debate the other night did not make this situation feel any better. The best possible situation is that they know they're spouting nonsense, but it's always possible that some or all of them really believe it. (After all, that's how things turned out with the Iraq war--some significant fraction of decisionmakers seem to have actually believed their own BS.)

I don't see this ending well for us. I wish I did.

[1] And I'd love to know who was holding onto those photos before this scandal broke, and what concessions they were able to wring from him.

#306 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2011, 02:35 PM:

I do remember Lawrence Welk, and I didn't get it either. I have no idea what they're referring to with the young lady with small hands.

I thought at first it might be the joke:

Q. How do you make your cock larger?
A. Get a girlfriend with little hands.

But that didn't make any sense in context. So I confess myself baffled.

#307 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2011, 02:57 PM:

Devin @304: The parts that were laughing at the bizarre concerns and worldview of the whole Lawrence Welk thing were actually kinda funny.

Oh, don't get me wrong: I find the whole Lawrence Welk phenom to be weirdly alien and entirely worthy of parody (insofar as I can stand parody), while at the same time admiring their earnest commitment to "innocence" (which I share, in some respects).

::sskkrrreeeeeekkkk!:: Oh Dear Ghu, tell me I did not just overhear the following:

Boss's boss (who's been sharing the SNL hilarity) says to boss: "Thanks for sending me _____! You just redeemed yourself from being a geek."

[[Diatribe regarding B'sB less than optimal attitude and conduct toward me since I started working here shall be left to the imagination of the reader]]

The ghods put bigots on this Earth to test us, and make us strong."

#308 ::: Mary Aileen points to old spam on a closed thread ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2011, 03:12 PM:

Undeleted spam at #156 and #158 here. #162 and #165 also look spammy but are probably jokes.

#309 ::: CZEdwards (aka the Other Constance) ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2011, 03:15 PM:


I think my problems with it were the number of layers of squick. There was (In no particular order of squickiness)
1) Make the physically different one the butt of the joke.
2) Make the neuro-atypical one the butt of the joke.
3) All of the siblings involved in the money making scheme (because, assuming four siblings, assuming three are talented at X activity, fourth is not... of COURSE the 4th must be included.)
4) Women as interchangeable commodities.
5) Women as such completely interchangeable commodities that the inclusion of one unsuited to X activity will be included on the premise that "nobody will notice".
6) Guy hangs out on corners objectifying women. (When one reaches the point where the only interaction one can have with members of one's romantic preference group is to leer from a distance...)
7) Women portrayed as okay with this and encouraging it.
8) Guy not realizing that his objectionable behavior is the cause of his own discomfort.
9) Guy continuing his objectionable behavior.
10) Presentation of the fantasy of group/sister incest/serial dating/polygyny.

I admit that the neuro-atypical and physical differences took a LONG time to even ping with me -- there was just so much already there. I'm pretty sure I'm missing some references -- I don't watch SNL, nor Will Farrell, nor L. Welk nor retro Andrews Sisters type performances -- so whatever this skit's comedic basis blew past me. The whole thing just felt really, really uncomfortable, and while I get that it was trying to play on the discomforts built into 5 and 9 (and trying to do so in 3 minutes)...

I'm sorry about the brusque reaction. I know that getting people to explain why they find X funny when I *just don't get it* usually fails pretty spectacularly.

(And yes, I am really, really over thinking this, but hello... s'what I do.)

#310 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2011, 04:14 PM:

AKICML: Mac users: I have a bunch of scanned .jpg photos on a flash drive, and when I attempt to import them into iPhoto on a MacBook I get a notice that some 104 of them are in an “unrecognized format” and they won’t import. I can read the photos from the flash drive in Preview on the MacBook just fine.

I imported them into Picasa on a Windows PC with no such trouble.

The scanning was done on an Epson NX400 all-in-one with the results originally placed on a Toshiba Windows laptop.

Has anyone got any ideas as to why this is happening and more importantly how it can be resolved?

#311 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2011, 04:47 PM:

Linkmeister, there's some "unrecognized format" advice here:

Good luck.

#312 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2011, 04:50 PM:

I've posted here from time to time about my friend Kirstin and her battle with melanoma.

She has decided to withdraw from the last-ditch experimental protocol she just started and to enter hospice care.

Many of us knew this was coming, but that doesn't make it easier.

I'm trying, now, to figure out what to put into my next letter, as it will likely be the last letter.

She's an Episcopalian who was in divinity school. I'm a Reform Jew who is practically secular. To say that we have very different perspectives on death and what comes after is a huge understatement. And of course, this isn't the time for that.

I'll miss her terribly. We've known each other for 15 years but never met. We've had many conversations about faith, humanity, and family, and we've learned much from each other. At any rate, I know I've learned from her, and she says she's learned from me.

She's 40. She's been fighting cancer for 3 years.

And now, a PSA: Please use sunblock. Or make sure you're covered. Or stay in the shade. See a dermatologist if anything looks weird to you, especially if a new spot appears somewhere on your skin or an existing spot changes shape or color or becomes itchy.

#313 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2011, 04:54 PM:

CZEdwards @310: And yes, I am really, really over thinking this

Well, no, I don't think you are. As I say, I just went "Ewwww!" and the only one I could pull into consciousness was the physical aspect, but I think you're right on all the others, as well. (That I don't have same-sex sibs possibly exempts me from 3 and 10.)

Interestingly, I think you hit on some deep cultural issues that completely whizzed right past me, over and above the more obvious (to me) bigotry issues.

#314 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2011, 05:03 PM:

And in better news, we just finished up our Post-Month-From-Hell fiesta potluck (including quality sopapillas delivered fresh) and


The call has gone out for staff members to volunteer for the emergency preparedness team, so I have an excuse to whip out the CDC's Zombie Apocalypse page. Mwa-ha!

I'll have to see if I can wangle TPTB into signing us up to CU's Zombie Apocalypse class, too.

#315 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2011, 05:03 PM:

The Other Constance: for corporate reasons, I don't have a flash player and so can't see the clip, but having read your post @310, I know exactly what you're talking about, because I do watch SNL.

And those sketches always make me deeply uncomfortable.

#316 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2011, 05:16 PM:

Linkmeister @311: Double-check the file suffix. (You may have to turn that on if you usually have it turned off.)

I'm wondering if some of them are .jpeg instead of .jpg. Might not make a difference, but that's where I'd start.

#317 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2011, 06:09 PM:

Steve C @ #312, thanks. That may or may not provide a solution but it's more than I'd found in previous searches. One of the suggestions is "re-scan in color mode." Well, no. That's 180 B&W pictures with ascribed tags and labels that I don't want to redo if I can avoid it.

Jacque @ #317, I've visually checked them in the list of files with unrecognized formats the MacBook kicked out during the partially-failed Import process and they all appear to be .jpg.

If anyone else has run into this before, keep suggestions coming, please. If I get it resolved between new microwave installation this afternoon I'll advise.

#318 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2011, 06:24 PM:

HLN: Local woman notices freezer door isn't quite shut and doesn't shut when she nudges it. Then realises it's been like that for probably 24 hrs and there's lots of ice all over the front of the drawers and... Unscheduled full defrosting session follows, with added check-the-food and oh look, these semi-defrosted items? guess that's what we're eating the next couple of days.

#319 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2011, 07:07 PM:

re 296: Ick. I couldn't finish it.

#320 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2011, 07:21 PM:

C. Wingate @320: Me either (I made it to the mention of mustard). Not having seen the whole skit, I can't speak to the entirety of the intended joke, but the laughs in the part I saw were, so far as I can tell, because:

a. A 'player'-type attractive guy was getting attention he didn't want from a girl he didn't want it from (see also this topic on TVTropes)

b. She is deformed and probably has Down's Syndrome or similar mental impairment. Freaks are of course innately pathetic and funny.

There is an extra meta-category:

c. The sisters are clearly amused by their outcast sister giving Pretty Boy a hard time, and are therefore smugly laughing at him in their heads instead of 'rightly' shutting her away and preventing her from inconveniencing society.

NOTE: I do not agree with the horrible, hateful mindsets that agree these categories are automatically funny, I'm just attempting to describe them as I see 'em.

#321 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2011, 08:38 PM:

OK, I watched as much of that SNL sketch as I could stand, which went until it became evident that the one woman had abnormally small hands, and well AFTER the point where I was offended.

I wasn't offended by the guy-on-corner-hitting-on-passing-women aspect, because sometimes a sketch making fun of things that used to be acceptable and no longer are is a good thing: making fun of crass behavior and having everyone laugh drives home the point that the behavior is unacceptable--sometimes. It can be done in an isn't-that-cute way that has the opposite effect. But no modern man would identify with the dork in this sketch.

The only thing I noticed that was odd about the fourth sister on her initial appearance was that she had a really high forehead. I also have a really high forehead (which these days goes all the way to the crown). I had no idea why the audience was laughing (but then I've wondered that about SNL in general for about 30 years). Then she said something and her voice was odd too, and they laughed some more. At no point (remember I didn't watch much of it) could I make out what she was saying, so the non-neurotypical aspect escaped me completely.

Admittedly, I don't get a lot of comedy. Most of it just seems cruel to me. But SNL hasn't been funny (to me) in decades, except for occasional flashes of brilliance when they do political humor. They're a scraping-the-bottom-of-the-barrel kind of show, going for cheap laughs at the expense of anyone vulnerable, with no conscience (or, to my mind, sense of humor) at all.

In general, I think less of people who watch SNL. I tend to rate them lower on intelligence, good will toward their fellow people, thoughtfulness and (especially) taste than I do people who do not watch SNL. I assume that SNL sketches will be offensive, and they almost always are (especially the ones that get broadly circulated by the idiot hordes on the internet).

Do you speak up? Well...for me this falls into the general category of "my boss is an idiot, what do I do?" Same answer as for other forms of idiocy.

#322 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2011, 09:28 PM:

Open threadiness:

I don't know how many of you follow Juan Cole's blog. I do. So I found this to be interesting and unsettling. The Bush administration used the CIA to try to dig up dirt on Cole, in order to discredit him as an opponent of the Iraq war.

Would anyone like to place a bet on anyone other than the whistleblower facing any legal consequences for this? My money's on "look forward, not backward." After all, it's not like anyone important was inconvenienced.

How about a second bet? How many other war opponents were investigated in the same way, and discredited or silenced? Will we ever know?

#323 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2011, 10:35 PM:

#321 ::: Elliott Mason a. A 'player'-type attractive guy was getting attention he didn't want from a girl he didn't want it from (see also this topic on TVTropes)

The Trope is "Rape Is OK When It Is Female on Male." (Yeah, I know, don't go to TVTropes unless you've packed food and water, and told someone where you're going and when you expect to be back....)

Imagine my surprise to find one of our own books mentioned:

In A Working of Stars by Debra Doyle and D. James Macdonald, a spy, Iulan Vai takes advantage of a convalescing Arekhon's semi-consciousness to have sex with him even though his semi-conscious state means he cannot truly consent. Arekhon believes she is his lover, Elaeli. Even more creepy—this act becomes the start of a relationship.

I didn't exactly see it that way.

#324 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2011, 10:57 PM:

Okay, completely unrelated to anything else on the thread:

I just listened to one of the weirder half-innings of baseball in my experience.

Braves vs. Mets, tied, bottom of the 10th inning, Braves at bat.

First batter is walked on 4 straight pitches.

Second batter repeatedly attempts to bunt and keeps hitting fouls, then stops trying to bunt and hits into a double play.

Third batter hits a double.

Fourth batter hits what should have been a routine ground ball, but the fielder drops it. (Inexplicably, this is scored as a base hit rather than an error.) There are now runners on 1st and 3rd with 2 outs.

The fifth batter (Jason Heyward) steps up to the plate...and the pitcher balks.

Game over.

#325 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2011, 12:18 AM:

Lila @325: Ah. That explains this picture.

#326 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2011, 12:33 AM:

Bear with me; I'm feeling atmospheric.


The only real problem with the neighborhood is that it's lower middle class. You know, the kind of place that has front yards with waist-high chain-link fences, concrete bollards at the T-juncture, or lawns comprised primarily of dandelions, because of course nobody has in-ground sprinklers. It's a neighborhood that's old enough to look worn but not nearly old enough to be historic. Little houses, 3 bedroom 1.5 bath, yards in front and yards behind, folks sitting in front in folding lawn chairs that have seen better decades.

On the houses are little flashes of personality: over here, a number of windchimes; over there, ceramic cherubs adorning a decorative brick fence. You might remember this little bit of suburbia from your childhood, back when you were foolish enough to be ashamed to bring your friends home, lest they see the cracks in the shower, or the peeling paint on the walls.

This is the sort of neighborhood that has above-ground pools only.

And then, one block over, it changes into straight middle class. The houses are a few years newer, a bit larger; the siding has been replaced, the windows updated, the paint fresher. At some point, a professional landscaper has been at the front yards and the residents maintain it well.

This is the neighborhood where people own edgers.

It's obvious that this is where the median lives, with the occasional upper-middle-class resident who got there by living below his means. This is where you find the ironwork plaques hanging on the wall, or the fake folksy stuff that you buy at the craft store. You will never find a glass-bottle windchime here, but you will see birdhouses.

Which is a pity, because it's those little bits of quirky charm that really make a neighborhood cool.


#327 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2011, 01:47 AM:

Open threadiness: After trying to complete a product registration form online with the freakin' Whirlpool Corporation for twenty or thirty minutes and experiencing repeated timesout due to "no signal from the upstream server" I understand why the new microwave oven manual had a cardboard product registration card to be mailed the old-fashioned way.

$17B in sales last year and they can't make their website work properly. Man.

#328 ::: CZEdwards ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2011, 03:46 AM:


I know this! At least, I think. Had a similar problem when dealing with some images of old maps. The problem is a known issue in iPhoto '09 (I don't know if '11 fixed it) because iPhoto, being camera and photo management software, is designed to work with cameras, not scanners. Both cameras and scanners tag images with digital data, including the color space and color profile. Most digital cameras tag all photos as RGB, even those taken as B&W. Scanners, especially older ones, may tag B&W images as grayscale. As far as iPhoto is concerned, grayscale doesn't exist, and even if it does, iPhoto won't admit to knowing it. So when iPhoto sees a jpg that is tagged grayscale, it crosses the street and looks away.

There are a couple of ways to trick iPhoto into associating with grayscale, but none are elegant. First, make sure that this is actually the problem -- open the file info on a dissed image and look under "More Info"; compare this data to data from an image which iPhoto accepted. If the line "color space" says Gray, that's it. If not, these tricks may work, or you may need to locate your closest Genius bar.

Remove the flash drive, then turn off the auto-import function in iPhoto. (iPhoto => Preferences => General => Connecting Camera Opens: => No application.) Quit out of iPhoto, restart it, then reconnect the drive, find one of the neglected images in the Finder, and drag and drop it alone into iPhoto. iPhoto is snobby about grayscale, but it also gets overwhelmed when trying to process multiple images and just gives up on the ones that are too hard. It can often handle 1-2 grayscale images if that's all it's being asked to do.

If that doesn't work, you should still be able to save those neglected images to the hard drive without benefit of iPhoto. Once they're saved, disconnect the flash drive and try to drag and drop an individual image again. There is no logical reason why iPhoto should accept data by trackpad/hard drive that it refuses by USB, but it sometimes does. If you can't save those images to the hard drive, then the problem is not iPhoto, but either the media (unlikely -- flash drives are amazingly tough) or the file directory on the flash drive (more likely).

If iPhoto still won't accept the images after saving them to the hard drive, the next step is to convert them to another format. Preview can do this easily (Select All, Open With..., Save As...) as a batch process (but try it with a single test image first). .png MAY work, but it still has the color space problem. So does .tif, but iPhoto rarely finds .tif disagreeable. However, .tifs are enormous. I've heard that there's another workaround using Contenta Converter to convert .jpg to .jpg, but I haven't used it so I have no opinion.

If THAT doesn't work, you'll have to modify the image data tag itself to change grayscale to RGB (this won't change the image visually) and that is both brute force (as in every image must be modified by hand) and requires image processing software. For me, that's Photoshop Elements (relevant tab: Image => Mode => RGB) but GIMP can do this too. (I haven't used GIMP in years, so the how... I'm not entirely sure.) This is the best known means to get unsupported images into iPhoto, but pretty, it's not. (Really, I wouldn't have scanned those maps if I'd known what a right royal pain this would be... but of about 240 images, only 60-100 would not yield to being individually, lovingly placed in iPhoto without the benefit of a format change, and only about 10 needed a walk though Photoshop Elements. So there is hope...)

There is a vaccine for this, for future reference: modify your scanner preferences. Most scanners are set to "auto", meaning the scanner decides if it will process in B&W or color. Set the scanner preferences to always use RGB. (Every scanner's software is different, so the how of this, I leave to the user. On my Brother, it's under Preferences => General.)

This sometimes fixes general Apple wonkiness: trash the Library preferences file ([USERNAME] => Library => Preferences =>[ApplicationName].plist), empty the trash, shut down, restart, restart the application. Killing that file resets the application's preferences, but leaves the application and the data intact. (This also works when iWork applications start doing the spinning beachball of death.) Make sure the application is closed -- +Q -- not just idle, before messing with the Library.

iPhoto does what it's designed to do very well, but it gets persnickety when asked to do things outside its ambit. In my experience, iPhoto is the pickiest Apple software and the most random in deciding what it will and won't do. There does seem to be a hardware connection -- I have more issues with iPhoto on my Macbook Pro than I did on my MacBook (they're the same age, running the same OS, and the hard drive now in the MbP used to be in the MB) -- but WHY iPhoto tends to act like a brittle socialite, I have no idea.

#329 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2011, 04:02 AM:

CZEdwards at #329, Thanks! At this hour it's too late to try those suggestions, but I'll give them a shot tomorrow.

All the pics are B&W from the 1920s to 1950s, so maybe the scan settings fix will solve for the future 200 or so from the 1950s forward.

#330 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2011, 08:47 AM:

B. Durbin @327, very evocative. Also see Sam Vimes on growing up on that very edge in Ankh-Morpork, as compared to his life after marrying Lady Sibyl. Alas, my Pratchetts are all in a box, hopefully to be unpacked within the next few days.

#331 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2011, 10:45 AM:

The medical update: facility psychiatrist wants an MRI on our son, to rule out organic lesions, because he is not acting like a normal ADHD child at this point. I will probably know a little more after the family session this afternoon, but it's clear that they want to work him up -- which means his release isn't imminent. This is a good thing, even if the Ex dislikes having him stay longer.

In related news, I have been sleeping much better at night. It's downright luxurious!

In unrelated news, the pressure is still high as we make our final preparations for the institutes-wide audit beginning next week. Our site visit is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon through Thursday evening. After 6 pm on Thursday, I will begin my long-awaited Day Off.

#332 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2011, 10:58 AM:

Jacque @296: I found it insufficiently humorous. The Welk personation was a bit weak and showed an insufficient acquaintance with Lawrence Welk and with Stan Freberg and Spike Jones versions of him, either of which would have helped here. Will Ferrell's bit started off with at least some promise, and his moves (with fake tap sounds) were entertaining enough. The Lennon Sisters sang with no harmony, for which I must blame the arranger. The tiny hands thing wasn't funny enough for the whole bit, and they seemed to sense that and start having her say really bizarre stuff to try and make do. This wasn't a good enough move. It went on too long, especially for a cheap shot at a strange person.

All in all, it didn't make me feel like I'd been missing anything when I quit watching the show after Phil Hartman left.

Linkmeister @311: When I have this problem, it's with iPhoto not acknowledging .jpg photos that are in grayscale. After I convert them to RGB, it's okay with them. It just wants me to waste storage space. I have no idea if this is what's happening with you. (Ah! Based on your comment @318, it might be. If you have Photoshop, make a one-button command to change to RGB. It may be possible to do this as a batch operation, but I've never done that. Pain in the keester, all those photos, but it should be as easy as open-change-save-close. Or open-change-close… and it prompts you to save.)

(ps: CZEdwards is all over this one and probably has what you need. I'll note that my system even rejects individual jpegs in grayscale. I'll add that I always scan in RGB, because it sometimes means I can fix things that would be just too bad if I'd scanned in grayscale — which means it scans in one of those colors and saves it as gray, and may inherit whatever's wrong with one color.)

#333 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2011, 12:49 PM:

Ginger 332: Wow. I don't even know what to hope for in that case, except that all will ultimately be well for you and yours. *hug*

#334 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2011, 12:55 PM:

Janet Brennan Croft @331: This is actually my neighborhood. I live in the latter part, the firmly middle-class one, but I was intrigued to notice the subtle differences (and the sharp demarcation) as I was walking the kiddos back from the (farther but nicer) park. Our house is a bit under par for our neighborhood at this point (remember that scolding letter I posted a while back?) but I hope to have some quirkiness showing eventually. Maybe once we fix out balsa wood dragon from Tijuana so it doesn't look so much like a lizard.

Incidentally, there's one house which is absolutely fascinating. It's totally out of character in that it's sorely neglected in amongst the well-kept-but-aging side. Wood siding with a partial coating of pink paint (worn away), a side fence gone so you can see into the backyard, which no longer has the chest-high weeds but is still pretty much wild, and which has a satellite dish. You know, one of the old ones that's about eight feet across. There's no portico or porch, so the front door, in the middle of the wall, just opens straight out into the weather.

I keep looking at that house and thinking that there's an HGTV project in it. Maybe 'how to turn a clunker into gold for under $X'.

#335 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2011, 01:10 PM:


Continued good wishes and energy headed your way.

#336 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2011, 01:18 PM:

HLN: Area man goes to see "Super 8" in cinema
Pre-show trailers are 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes', 'Captain America', and 'Captain America'

#337 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2011, 02:03 PM:

I have another question about personal Google maps. They have a "Collaborator" function, which would be useful for my project. The tutorial is unclear on a couple of things:

1) Does each person you add as a collaborator have to have their own Google account in order to edit your maps? (I'm assuming the answer to this is Yes, because it doesn't make sense for it not to be, but as noted, the tutorial was unclear.)

2) Can you have a Google account with an e-mail address that's not on Gmail? (I think the answer to this is also Yes, but I want to be sure before I start talking to my potential collaborators about this.)

#338 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2011, 02:23 PM:

Jeff Masters at WeatherUnderground on the Missouri flooding. This has closed parts of I-29 now; all levee breaks are in rural areas so far.

The heavy rains in May that are a part of the problem came out of moisture dragged up to the northern plains by the same system that produced the Joplin tornado. Eastern Montana picked up nearly ten inches of rain; the average yearly precipitation there is 14.5 inches.

At least a couple of nuclear power plants are in the flood are; here's a bulletin from the Ft. Calhoun plant in Nebraska.

#339 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2011, 03:22 PM:

Lee (338): The answer to your second question is Yes. I have a Google account using my Yahoo ID.

#340 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2011, 03:26 PM:

BEHOLD! The rune-festooned mystic lantern I built over the last couple of weekends.

It pulses and glows most satisfactorily. I left it out on my balcony last night, to scare off bats and flying monkeys.

#341 ::: Kevin Reid ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2011, 03:28 PM:

Lee #338:

1) Assuming the adding consists of supplying an email address, then Yes — but they will have to sign up for an account in order to actually edit. The email address is the account "username".

2) Yes. In detail: Each Google Account has one or more associated email addresses, one of which is “primary” (used as semi-public identifier, mail sent from for sharing invites, etc.), any of which can be from any mail provider. You can change all of that any time, except that if Gmail is in use on that account, the Gmail address is necessarily primary.

#342 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2011, 03:43 PM:

Paul A @ 337... I hope I will want to see "Captain America" twice.

#343 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2011, 03:45 PM:

Ginger #332: Ouch. I'm sure the idea of brain lesions is unsettling, but best to "find out or rule out" early. And really, you never know -- missing a separate condition because you "knew what the problem was" can be tragic.

#344 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2011, 03:55 PM:

Lila @ #325, I once saw a game end with the runner on first being hit by a line drive for the third out. I think it was Glenn Hubbard of the Braves, so it was a while back.

Kip W @ #333, Thanks. I think, tedious as it is, Preview/Save might be the easiest. I don't have Photoshop and don't want to learn a new piece of software for one purpose right now. I will certainly try to remember to reset my scanner software for "Always RGB."

Lee @ #338, based on my experience with shared Picasa albums, the answer to #1 is yes. Nobody can even comment on any of the 185 photos in the album without a Google account, which was a lesson learned early in the project. I threw it open to the group, saying "if you can identify who so-and-so is in that picture, comment on it!" and got zip back. It turned out that only about three of the 80 people on the mailing list had Google accounts, and nobody was much interested in creating one solely for that purpose.

#345 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2011, 03:57 PM:

We saw the Rise of the Planet of the Apes trailer when we saw the X-men movie. It does look interesting.

#346 ::: JM ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2011, 04:57 PM:

Melissa @313: I'm so sorry about your friend. I hope her passing is peaceful and surrounded by loved ones.

HLN: Area woman wonders, irately, how common it is for publishers to employ one person who handles all the money and does things like go on long vacations without making any arrangements for her absence, and who even in the best of times must be hounded for weeks to be convinced to cut a check to a subcontractor for an invoice that came due weeks earlier. Meanwhile, said subcontractor eats beans, stops paying her health insurance premiums, and watches her husband attempt to treat his asthma with mind over matter.

#347 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2011, 05:11 PM:

Ginger @332: Sympthies for the continuing uncertainties. Good thoughts for everything working out to as good a conclusion as possible. Glad you're getting some sleep, at least.

Bruce Arthurs @67:* Good luck with that application.

Xopher @ 184:* That's sounding about as good as possible. "Be Well" thoughts continuing to go your way.

* Just realised my written-in Notepad comments from a few days ago never made it to an actual ML posting.

#348 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2011, 05:13 PM:

That was interesting. We had a family meeting with the social worker and the facility psychiatrist, then with our son as well. He was sullen and angry, and barely communicating at all.

They did an MRI this morning; I have reviewed it (the official radiologic report will be released no earlier than Monday); I see no major lesions but I do see a subtle yet interesting lesion in the occipital lobe. I feel like Mr. Spock, going "Fascinating!"

What does the MRI lesion mean? At this point, very little. They are putting him on lower doses of his ADHD meds, in case that's the cause of his psychosis, and they are adding two meds, one for psychosis and one for depression. We have to figure out whether his psychosis is related to the ADHD meds, to a possible depression, or to some other cause.

Ugh. It's actually more upsetting than I thought it would be, I guess because I had expected him to be in better shape. It's still early; I'll keep my fingers crossed and focus on the final prep here instead. I'm on call this weekend and will be repainting some cabinets here at work.

Home to feed the cats-n-dogs, then to the FG's house for some rest and relaxation.

#349 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2011, 05:26 PM:

Hang in there Ginger!

#350 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2011, 06:06 PM:

Ginger, I hope everything works out well.

#351 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2011, 06:23 PM:

Best wishes for good outcomes, Ginger. Hang in there.

#352 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2011, 08:04 PM:

Ginger: keeping you and yours in my thoughts.

#353 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2011, 09:07 PM:

Ginger -- I'll keep metaphorical limbs crossed for you (the rather solid ones are doing a distressingly excellent job of crossing and uncrossing at unhelpful times, and would thus be less helpful than one might desire).

#354 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2011, 09:45 PM:

Another new Muppet Movie teaser trailer, ending with possibly the best tagline for any movie ever.

#355 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2011, 09:49 PM:

Best wishes to you and to DJ, Ginger...

#356 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2011, 09:54 PM:

Ginger, you know we're rooting for you here.

#357 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2011, 10:38 PM:

I'd been offline and so reading your posts here all at once.

I'm sending good thoughts your way, and I hope you have time to gather back some strength. It's tough with medicine and family where you're waiting to find out more [not quite sure how to describe it... those ambiguous moments where things might be getting better, but still they aren't yet good] and you need both patience and stubbornness. Wishing you both.

#358 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2011, 11:04 PM:

Well, there are much worse mommies than this one, to be sure. But geez, wotta jerk.

#359 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2011, 11:09 PM:

Xopher: fast-forward 40 years. "Sorry, mom, there weren't any beds available in the good nursing home."

#360 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2011, 12:04 AM:

How about "sorry, Mom, this is the biggest cardboard box I could find for you"?

#361 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2011, 12:33 AM:

"But see how nicely I've decorated it!"

#362 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2011, 12:40 AM:

Ginger - Good wishes to you all from over here, also.

#363 ::: Jörg Raddatz ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2011, 03:11 AM:

Ginger, we are wishing you the very best.

#364 ::: long ago ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2011, 04:17 AM:

Teresa, that fabulous folk-art hard-hat looks like nothing so much as scrimshaw work from a 19th-century whaler.

It would be extraordinary to find out that the artist was the great grandson or granddaughter of a whaler.

#365 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2011, 02:57 PM:

Yes, this is the interesting phase -- more "fun" when you're the diagnostician versus the family, but still a challenge.

He's claiming that he hears voices, sees things; he's admitting to cutting, fire-setting, and drinking; he says he's running away because he doesn't want to be with us (and there's the fact of our separation) and there's his sudden revision of his family history (that we "took him away from his Spanish-speaking family" -- his birth mother had married a Latino guy when he was just two, and Jose's family was indeed Spanish-speaking, but they weren't his relatives).

The facts that we can identify, in contrast, are these: his first love, A-, who dumped him back in October/November, is still on his mind (I've found a lot of drawings with her name on it, dated well after the breakup); his drawings became darker in recent weeks, with bleeding hearts, "emo" versions of himself, and angry statements. Although he denied feeling any sorrow from the breakup, it's clear that he took it hard and continued to miss her -- he probably went into a depression and didn't know how to get out of it (as many people do not); being a teen, he thought he could tough it out without asking for help (that is an ongoing issue for him).

The voices and hallucinations are troubling because we don't have a cause for this. Potential causes of psychosis include his medication, his depression, some other mental illness -- which he says has been going on since third grade. There's several reasons I don't believe him on this, but the attending psychiatrist has to take him at his word, at least for now.

The drinking is interesting; he claims he's taken alcohol from other people's homes (i.e., from the parents of friends). He's also claimed that he started getting alcohol when he was very young, from his grandfather (his maternal grandfather was an alcoholic with serious psychologic issues); we're not sure if he understands the difference between getting a sip of Pappy's beer when he was five versus stealing vodka and passing out drunk.

The good news is, today when the Ex visited him, he was not angry and was even smiling at least once; the staff mentioned that he'd been hyper and slow to follow directions (which is his "normal" unmedicated behavior). They're welcome to watch him be hyperactive, and confirm the diagnosis which we already know.

In other news, the FG and I returned many DVD disks to their proper boxen, discovering in the process that I still had a working disk of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", which we then watched. It's still good even when you know the ending.

#366 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2011, 03:15 PM:

HLN, eggcorn edition: Local man loses all confidence in a parental advice book on page 2 when the author* uses "on the lamb" to mean on the run. I mean, how did she think that worked? The mind boggles.

Ginger@366: Best of luck. At least you know where he is now. I hope he gets the help he needs (rather than any other well-meaning intervention).

*I suppose it could have been an over-zealous and oddly ignorant copy-editor, but it doesn't bode well.

#367 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2011, 03:21 PM:

Ginger @ 366... Thank goodness there's your FG.

#368 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2011, 04:39 PM:

#118 Linkmeister

How can pressure be put on to eject Mr Thomas? The news media won't push, obviously....

I'm thoroughly disgusted that Boehner (handouter of tobacco industry bribes checks to Republicans on the floor of the House of Representatives itself, in full view of anyone in the chamber or gallery of the chamber) and Blount and Thomas haven't been driven into departure from office, for their malfeasances... And there;'s Ryan the slimebucket who's got greasy money from the federal handouts to Big Oil.... ...

And then, on the topic of who bears responsiblity for the economic mess in the USA of today, there is

"EXCLUSIVE: New Documents Claim Intelligence on Bin Laden, al-Qaeda Targets Withheld From Congress' 9/11 Probe
Monday 13 June 2011
by: Jeffrey Kaye and Jason Leopold, Truthout | Report"

'"In addition, I and the deputy of that team, [redacted], especially carried the burden of knowledge of how close DoD came to bin Ladin and perhaps being able to reduce the number of lives lost on 9/11 ..."

"The deputy ... is believed to be Kirk von Ackermann, a former Air Force captain and intelligence analyst, who was working for the US Army as a contractor in Iraq and disappeared in October 2003 while traveling between Tikrit and Kirkuk. A computer, a briefcase containing $40,000, and other materials were found in von Ackerman's vehicle after he went missing.

"....three months after Iron Man filed his complaint with DoD's inspector general, in August 2006, the Army Criminal Investigative Service concluded that von Ackerman had been kidnapped and killed. His remains have never been found nor has anyone claimed responsibility for his death.

"Von Ackerman's tragic story ...reported by journalist-blogger Susie Dow on the web site e Pluribus Media....


"(U) The purpose of this letter is to formally complain to the DoD Inspector General that then-Joint Forces Intelligence Command (JFIC), when instructed in or before May 2002 to provide all original material it might have relevant to al-Qa'ida and the 9/1 1 attacks for a Congressional inquiry, intentionally misinfomed the Department of Defense that it had no purview on such matters and no such material. Consequently, JFIC's role, and thus DoD's role, in the pursuit of al-Qa'ida before 9/11 and timely analysis of the targets actually struuck by the 9/1 I attackers have remained unknown even to senior DoD officials."
" The reports were first prepared in the summer of 2000, in support of JTF-CS, and were briefed to the JFCOM J2, JTF-CS J2, and senior JFCOM staff. including the DCINC and J3. The JTF-cs commander may have also attended the briefings. .. first version of the briefing was enritled "The WMD Threat to the U.S.", {information cut off date 16 July 2000). The briefing slides emphasized that New York City was the most difficult ... The oral briefing itslif was much more sensitive, indicating that the World Trade centers # 1 and # 2 ware the most likely buildings to be attacked in the U,S., followed closely by the Pentagon. The briefer indicated that the worst case scenario would be one tower collapsed onto the other. The possibility of striking the buildings with a plane may have been discussed then - it was certain.... is leading up to the briefing. The acting Deputy proposed in the red cell analysis that the building could be struck by a jetliner. Discussion followed on contacting World Trade Center security and engineering ... but the idea was not further explored because of a command climate discouraging contact with the civilian community. However, at the end of the briefing, the JFCOM J3 directed that the national military terrorism exercise of FY 02 be based on a New York worse-case scenario. He indicated he would've preferred to have done so in FY 01, but the military was already financially committed to another use (a cruise ship) in FY01.
(U) These same briefing slides were revised into a briefing on "The Chemical and Biological Threat to the U.S." (information cut offdate 14 September 2000). This briefing included a more detailed slide on "some Likely Targets" which was not included in the original slides, but was evidently included in the original briefing. The slide listed three cities as most likely to be attacked: New York City, Washington, and Los Angeles. The slide listed the first such New York target as the, Wall Street District" and in Washington as the "Pentagon". The oral briefing again emphasized theWorld Trade Center and Pentagon as the most likely targets...."

-- one of the people I was working with on Hanscom Air Force Base said that the Executive Branch -knew- the 9/11 atrocities were in planning and the Executive Branch -wanted- it to happen...
no accident

#369 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2011, 05:11 PM:

long ago, #365: The folk-art hard-hat is, I'm pretty sure, one of the pair found on an episode of STORAGE WARS, a reality show about people who bid on abandoned storage lockers, and what they find inside. Some pretty interesting stuff, sometimes.

Russ, #367: My pet peeve at the moment regarding poor spelling is the person at work who, when typing Dispatch Log entries and having a word come up underlined in red to indicate a misspelling, adds the misspelled version to the wordprocessor's dictionary. There are at least five different versions of "building" in that dictionary now.

I've also noticed that most of the typos and misspellings in work documents are made by the younger members of the staff.

#370 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2011, 05:57 PM:

Russ @367 -- saddle up and ride!

#371 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2011, 06:31 PM:


I could rant.... I could /rant/... about what People Younger Than Me are doing to Gnu's Own English As She Is Spoke And Writ.

But I will spare you that, because better writers than I am have done plenty of that long before my time.

And it's still true.

#372 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2011, 06:37 PM:

"I've been on the lamb," the fugitive said sheepishly.

#373 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2011, 07:14 PM:

If anyone here is interested, I've posted another Babylon 5 writeup on N2S.

(Actually, I've posted it whether people are interested or not. So there.)

#374 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2011, 07:28 PM:

Ah, but I'm interested in the writeup, abi. So there.

#375 ::: JM ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2011, 07:31 PM:

"On the lamb" is understandable in a way -- "lam" isn't a word we use in any other context. If you're using the idiom as a unit without thinking about it, you might well assume it's made of familiar words.

Of course, if you're in a position to write (or copyedit) a book for publication, you probably shouldn't be using idioms without thinking about them.

#376 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2011, 08:24 PM:

Steve C @373
In the wild and wooly west?

#377 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2011, 09:37 PM:

"On the lamb" reminds me of one of my favorite bemuddlements of English--"would as leave"; lief, man, lief--it's a cognate of lieb in German.

#378 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2011, 09:54 PM:

"He lamb bastard me in front of all of my friends!"

#379 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2011, 10:29 PM:

And I'd as lief not get into the distinction being lost between "lose" and "loose" -- found, betimes, even here.

#380 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2011, 12:51 AM:

Finally caught up to date here. Ginger, my best thoughts are beaming at you as I type; I hope that now you can work out your son's problems once and for all.

#381 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2011, 12:52 AM:

@Tom Whitmore—I have often found amusement in imagining someone losing the dogs of war.

#382 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2011, 12:56 AM:


Area man discovers very large bump on back, which turns out to be an infected cyst. Surgeon takes one look and schedules outpatient procedure to take it off. Wife remarks that husband appears to be growing a second head on back.

Procedure goes very well, and area man spends the next four days on vicodin (and several more to come) resulting in absolutely nothing getting done, not even reading favorite blogs. But goofy smile won't come off area man's face.

#383 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2011, 01:38 AM:

B Durbin:

"Say, have you seen the dogs of war? They seem to have gotten out of their pen last night, and I can't find them anywhere."

#384 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2011, 01:59 AM:

The one I've seen recently is "incredulous" when what is meant is "incredible."

#385 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2011, 02:17 AM:

"On the lamb" is completely hair-brained, but isn't it "let slip the dogs of war?"

#386 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2011, 02:36 AM:

That was the original Shakespearean quote, thomas; but it's been misquoted enough that it's just as simple to misquote as to quote directly and still be quoting someone....

#387 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2011, 06:41 AM:

B. Durbin @382 -- aw, dogs of war.

#389 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2011, 09:22 AM:

@320-322: Wow. Y'all have stronger stomachs than I do. I watched just enough of it (without sound, skipping ahead a quarter the duration at a time) to get the idea.


I still can't get the taste out of my brain.

I will have to say this for reading Making Light: It's made me a lot more conscious, and conscientious, about stuff like this. Even when something sails over my head, I can often at least detect the breeze now.

#390 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2011, 09:24 AM:

#370 Bruce
The storage facility that Arisia (the convention in Boston in January) stores things in, had space rented by a woman who had a refrigerator or freezer in storage there. She'd moved east from California years before, and had brought the thing with her. Before she left California she'd reported that her husband had disappeared.... she made a deathbed confession or sent a letter, confessed that she'd killed him and stuffed his corpse into the big white box she'd put in storage in the storage facility... and the authorities found the corpse in the refrigerator/freezer, where it had been for something like 17 years or more....

#391 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2011, 09:26 AM:

Modern technology and spellchecking and the literacy debasement and profit pressure, effects such grammatical offenses as "baited breath" in book, and in people writing comments on the Internet....

#392 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2011, 09:26 AM:

Lila @325: I just listened to one of the weirder half-innings of baseball in my experience.

Trivially easy to explain: leftover tidal effects from the previous day's eclipse.

#393 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2011, 09:44 AM:

Xopher@334: Ginger 332: Wow. I don't even know what to hope for in that case, except that all will ultimately be well for you and yours. *hug*

I do: something that is concrete, specific, curable, and covered by insurance.

#394 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2011, 09:55 AM:

Stefan Jones @341: BEHOLD! The rune-festooned mystic lantern I built over the last couple of weekends. It pulses and glows most satisfactorily. I left it out on my balcony last night, to scare off bats and flying monkeys.

Oh, that is very cool! By Star Trek, out of Harry Potter. I want one.

In related news, that kite store* I keep plugging? They've got a black-light alcove now, With black-light posters, lava lights** and variants, and glow-in-the-dark stuff.


* Their website is really inadequate for conveying the atmosphere of the place. It's been pointed out that I could start a fan site. Doubt that'll happen, but I might go in there and do a video tour of the place, at least.

** Lava lights have sure come a long way since I was a kid. Now they have 'em with shiny metalic lava.

#395 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2011, 11:23 AM:

HLN - Area Woman upgrades laptop from underpowered and non-updatable (yet still loved) netbook to refurbished macbook pro. Area Woman discovers she is nigh computer illiterate when staring at the included discs and wondering whether they are back-ups, or updates that she should install. Woman also not looking forward to having to relearn how to use trackpad, considering getting trackball mouse like she has at work. Photobooth also played with.

#396 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2011, 11:25 AM:

Has anyone read Simon Pegg's new book? The folks at :"Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" had him on the week, and when they asked if there were any fan groups that were too weird for him he said "Babylon 5." I was wondering if there was any mention of why that was in the book...

#397 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2011, 11:42 AM:

To help nerdycellist @ 395 : the discs included with your new macbook pro are (pretty much) backup discs for the OS and pre-installed applications. There are some drivers and such that don't get installed by default, but these days, better to have your macbook pro find the newest ones online than to grab the copies off the included DVDs.

The only time I usually grab those discs myself is either after setting up Boot Camp (dual-booting it into Windows), or if it really, really dies. Keep 'em anyway though.

#398 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2011, 12:04 PM:

Thanks, Benjamin. Glad my first guess was correct. I've just set up a household account in addition to my own Admin account and enabled the firewall, since I'm not certain our network has a working firewall. The last computer to be configured was my roommate's desktop. She switched on the Firewall thingy and was given an OMG THIS IP ADDRESS IS TRYING TO ATTACK YOUR COMPUTER - DO YOU WANT TO LET THIS HAPPEN?!!? so she rightly clicked the button to say, Hell No, and then was not able to access the internet. (must have been our own IP address...) So logically she just disabled the firewall.

Yeah, and she wonders why her desktops last three years before succumbing to junk and garbage.

#399 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2011, 12:30 PM:

Ginger: I second what Jacque @393 says.

Open Thread political prediction: Digby has a post up on Hullabaloo in which she informs us that Congressperson Michele Bachmann is claiming that President Obama intends to force Medicare to run out of money so that senior citizens will have to enroll in "Obamacare." How this is going to happen and why the President might want to do this is not addressed, AFAIK.

Digby concludes her post by wondering how the Republican candidates for President will deal with Bachmann. I hereby suggest: they will LOVE this assertion. They will adopt it, they will want to marry it and have its babies. If they don't, they are fools, because it's a perfect (if insane) line of attack for them.

End Open Thread political prediction.

#400 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2011, 01:30 PM:

OpenThreadiness garden rant -

WHY on Earth does anybody consider wild violets unwelcome weeds to be destroyed at every opportunity?

They stay ankle-height, they fill in damp shady places, and they make attractive little purple flowers in the spring time, and you don't have to fuss around with them. They just do it, all by themselves. And they're edible, if you have a mind to.

So why on earth when I google wild violets do I only get a page on how to kill them?!

Haz a sad. Going outside to talk to my violets now.

#401 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2011, 03:48 PM:

Open Threadiness: Keith Humphreys initiates a discussion of E R Eddison's The Worm Ouroboros over at The Reality-Based Community, here.

#402 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2011, 04:21 PM:

Thena - I had the darndest time getting violets established, but once they did, wow! I don't necessarily want them everywhere, but I agree with you, they're nice to have around. Wild strawberries, forget-me-nots, ramsons and woodruff have all shown similar enthusiasm in my yard. Some gets ripped out, a lot stays, everyone's happy.

HLN: Local woman finds fresh gooseberries in supermarket. Arrival of summer officially confirmed, despite cool, showery weather. Fact immediately celebrated with favorite gooseberry cake.

#403 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2011, 04:29 PM:

Oh, Thena, I wonder if I could get wild violets established at my new house or it it's just too damn dry and hot here in OK. I used to make violet jelly every year -- delicious.

In HLN, area woman has so far managed to survive 2.5 days of moving in 100F plus heat with only a mild headache. She credits her survival so far to frequent rest and rehydration breaks and parking in the shade at the destination, plus weeks of conditioning by setting the AC at no lower than 78. Her friends are smarter than she is and are in deep hiding this weekend. She is happy to note that the last of the fiction is in the car right now.

#404 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2011, 04:53 PM:

Thena: I'm with you. I lost all respect for Southern Living magazine when I saw "How To Get Rid of Those Pesky Violets!" in there.

I love my violets--I have both purple ones and white ones, with the relative frequency of each color varying from year to year. Not enough of them to make jelly or similar, but enough to enjoy seeing them.

#405 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2011, 04:59 PM:

Janet, 404: FWIW, violets do very well in SW MO (except when destroyed by overzealous yard-cutters, grrrr). They flourish in the eternal shade of my north-facing yard, but they also go nuts on sunny, well-drained hilltops next to the henbane.

#406 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2011, 05:24 PM:

TexAnne @ 406... destroyed by overzealous yard-cutters

Yesterday my wife called me an overenthusiastic weeder.

#407 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2011, 05:31 PM:

I love violets too, although I don't recall whether I have any in my yard. Hm.

In other news, the Ex visited the Son again today, for about 15 minutes (seems to be all he wants to do, with the activities they offer); she reported that he was no longer angry or sullen and even hugged her when she left. I am cautiously optimistic that this is positive progress.

I was busy today, repainting some drawers at work. They're the standard issue government tan, and had developed scratches along the bottom drawers, which were repainted with something alleged to be the same color, only it turned out to be pale green instead. I picked out a nice dark brown to repaint with, and successfully painted over those areas (creating a two-toned module) without also painting the walls or the floor. Well, the bleach cleaned up the floor.

HLN: young cat decides she likes the portable pop-up speakers attached to area woman's iPod; attempts to eat it despite repeated warnings from said woman. When asked, the puzzled human replied, "I'm not sure what she's attacking -- is it the music? I thought everyone liked Miles Davis!"

#408 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2011, 05:36 PM:

Thena @ 401 ...
WHY on Earth does anybody consider wild violets unwelcome weeds to be destroyed at every opportunity?

The damn'd things get _everywhere_, and they overrun plants that I'd like to grow -- not only that, they're bloody near impossible to remove, with those sprawling, easy to break, knotty roots.

It's much the same as periwinkle -- it's fine under certain conditions, but an outright pest in others.

#409 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2011, 05:52 PM:

Thena, #401: That's odd; when I googled "wild violets", the first page that came up was this. The second page was the Wikipedia entry on violets, which includes all sorts of interesting information both positive and negative. I'm with you -- they're pretty ground cover for areas which are hard to cultivate otherwise, and as such deserve to be valued.

#410 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2011, 06:10 PM:

Ginger @ #408, try Coltrane. Or switch to rock and play something by Bruce and the E Street Band which includes a big sax solo by the late Clarence Clemons, who passed away yesterday.

The cat may be too young for those jazz cats.

#411 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2011, 06:34 PM:

Jazz Cats

(by Alicia Austin!)

#412 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2011, 06:38 PM:

Bruce Arthurs @412: Small world phenomenon -- I worked with her sister.

#413 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2011, 06:51 PM:

Hyperlocal news... Man just learned that Derek Jacobi was in Santa Fe, only 50 miles from here, for a this-weekend-only presentation of "The Tempest", after which he answered questions from the audience, including, yes, his being in a "Doctor Who" episode as the Master. Man wishes he had known.

#414 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2011, 06:58 PM:

I remember the first Worldcon art show Alicia had stuff in (1969) and still have a small piece of hers from that show. Couldn't afford the really good stuff.

#415 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2011, 07:12 PM:

"Man, my dogs of war are killin' me!"

#416 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2011, 07:18 PM:

Well, THAT was interesting...

I'm not a great cook: would love to be able to use the kitchen without worrying about it, but my repertory is limited, despite owning a copy of The Greatest Cookbook in the History of the World. Anyway, one of the things I have accumulated is a NordicWare Tender Cooker, which is a microwave pressure cooker (and still in production--I'd recommend it). It is perfect for cooking corn on the cob or rice, but the very few recipies in the cookbook date from the days when 600 watt microwave ovens were the most powerful available. I'd like to use it for other things (I understand pressure cooked risotto is outstanding), but since so few recipies came with it I decided to search online.

There's not much available on the thing outside of the guy who had his blow up and mess up his microwave and who seems to have decided his life to spreading the word everywhere the Tender Cooker is mentioned. I ended up on a site for pressure cooker enthusiasts, where the site owner showed up when someone else who was using one posted a request for recipes.


The poster was given a little lecture on how the Tender Cooker wasn't a real pressure cooker because it didn't reach 15 P.S.I. and how he should try, say, Yahoo! for info on how to use *fad* cooking equipment--the implication that he'd be welcomed back after he switched to a real pressure cooker was unstated, but obvious.

So, I figured I'd ask around here in hopes someone has played with one of these beasties. I sure as hell am not going to post anything on that pressure cooker board in this lifetime, thank you. I can scan/type in some of the recipes that came with the cooker if that would help give someone a steer on what I could try cooking with it. Thanks!

#417 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2011, 08:37 PM:

Bruce @ #417, I think I'd just try any pressure cooker recipe and see what happens inside the microwave. If the regulator valve behaves properly on your equipment then the food shouldn't turn to mush. This pressure cooker risotto recipe looks good, and it doesn't look like the ingredients would break the bank.

#418 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2011, 08:51 PM:

Linkmeister: thanks for the recipe--I'll pick up the ingredients next time we hit the market and give it a try.

#419 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2011, 10:11 PM:

Knitting content:
I have a lavender cashmere☀ triangular lace shawl on the needles right now that has gotten to the "HOW many stitches across is that last row??" stage. I decided it could use some white beads before the cast-off, for weight and pretty. I did not realize how much more screamingly tedious beading it☂ would be than doing a standard row, especially since I'm beading it on a 'pattern' row and not on the plain purl-back row. By the time I realized all these things I was about thirty beads into it and the thought of ripping them and starting over was too depressing to contemplate.

I packed it up to do at a con over this past weekend. I also realized there would be times I couldn't face it, so I packed supplies and a pattern for a new, low-stress, quick-working project.❦ Sunday morning I realized the new project was 3/4 finished and I hadn't put a single new bead on the other one! Argh. With some encouragement from (knitting) friends, I sat down and bulled through it, and there are now slightly more than twice as many beads on it as there were ... and slightly over half the total. Progress!

It's for my third-year-of-study-at-Annapolis sister [henceforth 'Auntie Squid,' to distinguish her from 'Auntie Jarhead,' our mutual younger sister, who is (a) going into the marines sometime soonish★ and (b) living with♦ John and I now], who mentioned via chat that in her cabin offduty on her summer cruise her shoulders are getting cold. I hope to have it bound off, blocked, and ready to gift during her upcoming 10-day leave, which starts this next weekend.

I've only got the bead row and 3-6 more rows after that to go, including the cast off. I can do this ... sigh. It only took me 2-3 hours (while conversing, so during documentary-watching would work) to do the bit-more-than-25%-of-total I did this afternoon. I just need to motivate.

☀ How did I get multiple thousands of yards of very nice thin 85% cashmere/15% silk yarn when I have no yarn budget at all? In a $6 thrift store sweater, that's how. Unravelling for the win.

☂ Using the 'crochet hook' method, which is not itself innately tedious to me ... however, the particular white beads I have, though big enough to go over the yarn fine, have small (and very randomly deformed -- cheap beads) holes, and about half of them are too tight to do that way, so I have to use the dental-floss method, which is approximately eight times slower. And I have to sort through them to figure out which are big enough and which are not.

❦ Namely, a half-circle lace shawl for my stepmother that ISN'T 'too good'. Her shoulders get cold at work (sitting at a desk typing), so I knit her a shawl for Christmas. Pink, mohair, beaded, Estonian flower-lace pattern. She adored it on sight, and gushed, "Oh, this is so nice! It's far too good for work. I'm only going to wear it to shul!" Headdesking ensued on my part. The new one is navy blue, larger gauge, soft and snuggly, and not nearly so intricate. Also hand-washable, silk/acrylic. Here's hoping it actually gets allowed to be used at work!

★ Complication ensues. Too long for this footnote. Will expand if people are interested.

♦ Yes, we have a teenager in the house. Also a toddler. Sometimes they can be thrown at each other for mutual amusement, which is nice.

#420 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2011, 10:57 PM:

nerdycellist @396: I'm mac-native, so my comments should be taken with a block of salt, but once I was exposed to a trackpad, I fell in love.

But not consciously. I was in the Apple Store a coupla weeks ago, and needed to look up something online. When I stepped up to the machine the helper-elf directed me to, I notice peripherally that, instead of a mouse, it had an out-board trackpad. The only reason I noticed it was that I have a mental alert running for "drawing pad" related items.

I don't even remember actually using it, and couldn't tell you how, it was that intuitive.

#421 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2011, 11:13 PM:

Jacque, here's a drawing of Sarah I made on the trackpad of a laptop when she was three. She was asleep on me.

#422 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2011, 11:28 PM:

Elliott Mason @420: Will expand if people are interested.

People are interested. :-)

during documentary-watching

I have a three-tiered mental ranking system for video entertainment:

✭✭✭ Worth watching, e.g., story is completely engaging and/or visuals worth devoting focused attention to.

✭✭ Interesting enough to have going while I draw or do other artsy-crafty activity.

✭ Too lame/boring/objectionable/bad even to run as background. It has to be pretty damn bad to fall into this category.

Sadly, the vast majority of Netflix's three-star content comes only on DVD. But that's probably just as well. So far, they have enough two-star content to supply my drawing needs. And if I run dry there, I've got Hulu, podcasts, and the libraries stock of audio books to fall back on. (Though the latter is a pain, requiring as it does actual schlepping of physical items back and forth. Fortunately, the library is only a few blocks from work. They do have downloadable content, but the one time I tried it, it was Windows only.)

#423 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2011, 11:32 PM:

HOLY moley! Teh tunders, dey bangy-boom!

Most of the guinea pigs just jumped, but poor Woofie was so startled he fell over and spun-out on air a few times before he could connect with the floor and dive for cover. Whee!

#424 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2011, 11:38 PM:

Kip: Waw!

I got an old, used drawing pad a couple of months ago. (How old? Mac laptop came with; whole bundle was $75.)

I've tried it a couple of times, but so far, I'm whelmed. I'm having to use it on my iBook, as I don't have Photoshop new enough to work on my new mac, and that whole system is sluggish enough that it takes a good beat before motions made with the stylus show up on the screen, which I find messes up my coordination. Also, you have to life the stylus WAAAYYY off the pad to reposition the pointer. I predict the latter will become second nature with use.

I was sorely tempted to buy the track-pad when I saw it, but I don't know if my old mac would talk to it. (Hm. It talks to my new keyboard just fine. Hm.)

But it's still easier to draw with the mouse.

#425 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2011, 11:39 PM:

Now it's raining!

Happy Jacque is happy!

#426 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2011, 11:41 PM:

I understand the the expanded "LoTR" is about to be released on Blu-Ray. I'll be very interested in hearing if its picture quality will be so superior to the DVD's that it'll be worth replacing the latter.

#427 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2011, 12:04 AM:

#420 Elliott

Have you considered getting and using a bead reamer?

#428 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2011, 01:31 AM:

HLN: One of the upstairs felines is persuaded to come and get a proper skritching/petting. The feline that owns yours truly is right miffed upon getting a whiff of post-skritching hands, and proceeds to hiss, growl, and hide under the bed. Ahhh, the joys of feline interactions, and (dysfunctional) integrations.

#429 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2011, 01:32 AM:

Ginger, is it possible that your stereo is able to reproduce cat-whistling sounds that kittehs can hear and humans can't? They're accurate up to 22kHz, but may have artifacts above that. Or is it just that Charlie Parker had enough influence on Miles that she's chasing imaginary birds?

Linkmeister@411 - the late Clarence Clemons, who passed away yesterday - Oh, no! I'd heard about his stroke, but hadn't seen this. I'd seen him live once or twice, many years ago, and he was always a good guy.

#430 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2011, 01:57 AM:

Bill Stewart, he was just the latest in a recent string of musician's deaths. Andrew Gold died on June 3. He was in Ronstadt's backup band for "Heart Like a Wheel" and "Prisoner in Disguise" as well as a solo performer later in life. He had a heart attack at 59.

#431 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2011, 09:04 AM:

re 401: A judicious quantity in the lawn is decorative but they are rather weedy in the garden proper. Fortunately a hula hoe makes quick work of them.

#433 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2011, 09:24 AM:

Elliott Mason #420: Also a toddler.

Well, that (or at least a child) I guessed when you dubbed your sisters "Auntie".... ;-)

#434 ::: Jen Birren ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2011, 09:57 AM:

#427 Serge:
Or if the quality is too good, and makes the CGI pop out too much.
(Like on old stuff where it gets remastered for a DVD release and suddenly you can see the wires.)

#435 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2011, 12:41 PM:

Ginger: Hugs... been thinking about all you've written lately and trying to formulate a response which would likely end up epic length - sadly my experience is sounding more and more relevant - but anyway, just... hugs.

#436 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2011, 12:45 PM:

Bay area people:
I'm trying to find a good home for a charming, rambunctious, two-year-old cat named Behemoth. (Acquired name as a kitten; he's not particularly huge.) My daughter is moving to NYC for grad school and can't bring him with her both for logistical reasons and because she's assuming she's likely to end up in a no-pets place. She would be greatly relieved to know he's with good people.

NYC people:
See above - she'd also appreciate any leads on a room/apartment share with nice people in Brooklyn. Any help along those lines would also be invaluable.

#437 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2011, 01:25 PM:

Question for the Encyclopedia Fluorosphericana:

I'm trying to sign up for a Tumblr account, and they want a URL -- but when I tried to enter my website URL, it told me that I could only use letters, numbers, and dashes. What am I missing here?

#438 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2011, 01:39 PM:

Lee (438): Could they mean 'username' instead of 'URL'? Or was this in addition to picking a username?

#439 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2011, 02:21 PM:

Lee #438: What, no colons or slashes? I think they screwed up.

#440 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2011, 02:25 PM:

My understanding of tumblr is that you enter [username] when you sign up, and that becomes your space at [username]

So they don't want slashes and colons. They want to know what the distinct portion of your tumblr URL will be.

#441 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2011, 02:39 PM:

abi @ 441... they don't want slashes and colons

There goes a certain segment of fanfic.

#442 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2011, 03:39 PM:


Area Woman's spoiled rotten, pain in the dupa dog costs 3x the expected amount in vet bills. Detailed physical exam by vet, including extreme stretching and doggie feeling-up, show Area Dog to be merely slightly arthritic and not have any spinal injuries. Blood tests show interior of Dog to be functioning within acceptable parameters. Some glucosamine and administration of a special doggie-nsaid as needed may help alleviate extreme pokiness and stiffness.

Area woman wondering if same course of action should be taken herself.

#443 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2011, 03:55 PM:

nerdycellist @ 443... My doguette Freya just went thru the same ailment, the same diagnostic, and the same medication. Plus anti-inflammatory pills because, besides having arthritis, my old girl also broke something called the spondylosis. She appears to enjoy moving around without pain.

#444 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2011, 04:05 PM:

Both the Cooper and Fort Calhoun nuclear plants are now close to the point where they will have to shut down--the levee breaks in Missouri have bought them some time, as these caused the water levels upstream to drop a bit, as the land behind the levees flooded. The predicted rains for this area are not going to help anything, though.

I-29 is closed from Rockport, Missouri up to Nebraska City, Iowa, and around Council Bluffs, Iowa; there are also closures on state and county roads.

Amtrak has had periods of suspended service on the the Empire Builder and California Zephyr lines; the former is mostly because of the increased water levels on Devils Lake. Closures on the latter have been around Omaha, because of the flooding on the Missouri.

#445 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2011, 04:52 PM:

NPR wants to know what your top 5 SF&F books of all time are, for an upcoming top 100 list. Fluorosphere: illuminate!

#446 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2011, 07:14 PM:

Open thready: has ML mentioned this Youtube tourist ad? It seems vaguely familiar.

#447 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2011, 08:06 PM:

Jacque @ 425:

This is one of those subjects that elicits screams of frustration from me. One of the reasons I got involved with computer software in the first place (that was more than 30 years ago) was that I read Alan Kay's description of the Dynabook, the handheld computer that was designed to be a sketchbook, musical instrument, notebook, and camera. I wanted one as soon as I read that paper, and I was willing to help in inventing it if that would make it come any faster.

So I started using a mouse in the early '80s, and I tell you three times, "drawing with a mouse is like drawing with a bar of soap." That doesn't mean that you can't get really good at drawing with a bar of soap if you practice enough, but the question is, do you really want to?

My primary computer for the last 11 years has been either a Mac Powerbook (2000 to 2007) or a MacBook Pro (2007 to now), and the primary graphic interface on both of those is a trackpad. I've done some fairly fiddly things in Photoshop using the trackpad (take a look at the Magnetic Lasso for a really masochistic kind of task), but again, do you really want to?

So about 7 or 8 years ago I bought a WACOM tablet, and then another one when I replaced the PowerBook, and that's worked pretty well for me. The WACOM is very configurable; you can change the height at which it stops drawing, the way it reacts to buttons on the pen, the sensitivity to velocity changes, and even whether and how it reacts to the angle the pen makes with the tablet. With a good piece of software (Painter, for instance), you can make drawings that look (and to some extent, feel like when drawing) pastels, water colors, oils, or pencil.

#449 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2011, 08:19 PM:

HLN: Local woman pulls boneheaded move, turns to community for help.

...I grabbed a rock-bottom fare to Fourth Street, from Kansas City, utterly forgetting that Sisuile lives in St. Louis. Borrowing a guest room that's five hours away from the airport is not the best idea ever. Are there any nonsmoking Fluorospherians within a reasonable distance of KC, who don't mind a dope sleeping on their couch Wednesday night?

#450 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2011, 08:56 PM:

OtterB @ 449: Pointing out that poll is not helpful to me -- someone is wrong on the internet!

#451 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2011, 09:08 PM:

OtterB : That gave my girlfriend and I a good laugh - we'd both grown up on the comics.

#452 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2011, 09:11 PM:

TexAnne @ 450... What's that about dope and nonsmoking?

#453 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2011, 09:24 PM:

Serge, 453 (and who are we kidding, the rest of the time too): Pbblthphtblppth!

#454 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2011, 09:52 PM:

Clifton Royston @ #437: Does Behemoth have a sister named Thursday?* (Sorry I don't have a home to offer; our house is at cat saturation point.)

*obPatrick O'Brian

#455 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2011, 09:53 PM:

OtterB @ #449, that study needs to be broadened to American comics before it can be taken as meaningful. I nominate Serge as lead investigator, particularly of those published by DC Comics.

#456 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2011, 10:04 PM:

Linkmeister @ 456... You'd have to ask someone else, regarding. I know more about Marvel. For example, there was a Doctor Strange story about where crimefighters go after getting banged up, especially teenage ones who don't want Dad to have to explain the injuries to their health care provider. They go to the Night Nurse, who really is a doctor, but the only way she could justify wearing a cape (even a short one) was by dressing up like an old-style nurse.

#457 ::: Dr Paisley ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2011, 10:50 PM:

Someone mentioned wanting to see a movie about the guy who had to go through the proposals for vendors in the Death Star Food Court. Chaos ensued. Start at the bottom and move up (not a euphemism).

#458 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2011, 01:04 AM:

abi, #441: Thanks, that worked. [grumble] If they mean "username", why don't they say "username"? [/grumble]

Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to have solved the problem for which I was wanting a Tumblr account: to see if I could track down the person who wrote the "Sexual Assault Prevention Tips Guaranteed to Work" list in the first place. We'd like to license it for a T-shirt. Anybody here got a clue?

#459 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2011, 08:50 AM:

HLN: Area retiree sees year's theoretically most north-shifted sunrise, renews many-year-faded reference mark on wall, shifts self back toward bed.
Happy solstice everyone, even if it isn't officially till later today...

#460 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2011, 11:27 AM:

Bruce Cohen (Mr. Microscope*) @448 WACOM is very configurable

I think that's what I got (ca. 1998, however). I'll have to investigate this further. I was rather surprised when I plugged it in and it just worked. I was expecting to have to deal with software installation or something. (Damn good thing I had an AppleTalk/USB adapter—and I was retiring my old keyboard at the same time.)

I need to fiddle with it more. (This is one of those times when having taught myself to write with my left hand comes in useful; I have a concrete metric for the difficulty of acquiring new coordination skills. I get impatient, but not nearly as frustrated as I would if I didn't have that in the back of my mind.)

* Sorry, can't resist beating an old joke to death.

#461 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2011, 12:32 PM:

It appears that they are starting to run out of sand for the sandbags in the Missouri River valley--ordinarily, they dredge a lot of sand and gravel for local use out of the river, but given the current conditions it's not safe to do that right now.

In case you were wondering, you can fill about 60 sandbags from a single ton of sand. St. Joseph, Missouri has used about 365,000 sandbags to protect locally vulnerable place and build up their levees--so that's over 60,000 tons of sand used in a single locality.

More on the Ft. Calhoun and Cooper plants. Apparently, Ft. Calhoun was refuelling in April, and when word came there would be significant flooding on the Missouri, they decided not to restart the plant until later on, when the flood would be over.

From the Department of Your Tax Dollars at Work, the National Weather Service charts the river levels. The blurb for Brownville, about the middle of the page, has the details on when the Cooper plant shuts down.

#462 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2011, 01:07 PM:

Serge @ #442:

Slash fanfic I have heard of, but colon fanfic... do I want to know?

#463 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2011, 02:08 PM:

Paul A #463: Plus there's post-colonial fanfic, for those who are beyond colon fanfic.

#464 ::: jnh ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2011, 02:37 PM:

in re: wild violets, etc.

There was the year that the Oregano bolted. Mowing the lawn became very fragrant. Very, very fragrant.

#465 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2011, 02:49 PM:

I've decided (well, the mower was broke, and then I didn't have time, and then I was away, and then it was too wet, and there are frogs in there now and...) to let the lawn grow this year, so I have a small field of various seedheads, about knee-high, blowing in the breeze next to my native species hedge.

#466 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2011, 04:00 PM:

Time for the update! After a conference call with the attending psychiatrist, it sounds like my son is in better shape; he's no longer reporting hearing voices or seeing apparitions. He's more mellow, smiling and even hugged my Ex at the end of her visit the other day.

In other news, my Ex indicated earlier today that she is seeing a therapist now. I did not immediately exclaim "FINALLY!", but I certainly thought it.

In other other news, my Great-Aunt Lee passed on; she was the last of the seven siblings to go, and was my grandmother's closest sister. At the age of nearly 98, with her kidneys finally failing, she was ready to go, so she did. I can only wish her spirit "Bon Voyage!"

They left Lyuta, in what is now Ukraine, nearly 80 years ago. I'll go have a shot of slivovitz in her honor, and learn some more Ukrainian from my FG.

But first, more paperwork. Tomorrow, we begin our Examination. (cue scary music)

#467 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2011, 05:00 PM:

Apparently my non-functioning printer was a sign that I didn't successfully remove the virus a while back. It's now shutting off virus checking and choking my PC to death.

I'll probably be off for a day or two. Taking the box to the shop. $$$, but it can't be helped.

#468 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2011, 05:05 PM:

Ginger: Woohoo!

Xopher: Crap! Hope it's not too expensive or time-consuming to fix.

#469 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2011, 05:51 PM:

Jacque @423: There are also some free-streaming video sources online, like Hulu and Retrovision, with old movies and TV shows, sometimes with commercials, sometimes without.

fidelio @445: I had no idea the California Zephyr was even running! It's the train I came from California to Colorado on in 1959 when I was almost three, with the green glass observation car. I was thinking some day I'd ride the Canada Zephyr just to relive the experience, but if there's a California Zephyr, well!

Bruce Cohen @448: I've been using a Wacom for years. At work, I had asked and asked for a track ball, and when I finally got one — and liked it a lot — I realized it wasn't so good for tracing shapes (for masking purposes in Photoshop, for instance), and sadly went back to a regular mouse. Then I got a Wacom tablet which had both a pen and a mouse, and it could stay in one place, which gave me back some precious desktop real estate. I do a lot of my drawing on it now, helped by various Photoshop features, notably layers and undo.

#470 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2011, 06:01 PM:

Xopher @ 486: Sympathies. I -think- I've just about finished removing mine, with the help of one of the amazing volunteers at Had a nine-day wait after posting my request for help in the appropriate forum (that's how overloaded they are) and it's taken two days of back-and-forth (do this; post the resultant text logs... now do this...) but I think I'm going to have a working, virus-free laptop again (I've been using my netbook for the interim). Start-up time is now 3-4 minutes, not 10 minutes plus, for example.

#471 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2011, 06:21 PM:

One system scuttled due to virus grief was enough for me.

I turned my laptop and "media" tower into Linux systems.

I know longer "surf" with my remaining Windows system. It is there to run games, Corel Draw Quicken, and tax software. I turn it on infrequently enough that I end up updating definitions and running scans each time.

@Jaque #395: Oh, that is very cool! By Star Trek, out of Harry Potter. I want one.

Mission accomplished. I wanted to create a generic genre movie prop. Is it a life energy containment vessel? A sorcerer's focus? Only the script can tell!

Bonus: In a dark room, multi-colored runes play across the ceiling. Very trippy.

I found a source for the lamps online. Recreating it would take about $100 in parts, and an understandably large amount of labor. But I'd be willing to come up with a quote if anyone actually needs an insane artifact for their den.

#472 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2011, 07:43 PM:

Ginger #467: Excellent! The kid and you both still have a job of work cut out for you, but it's so much better if he's not miserable while you're sorting things out. Have the docs figured out how to follow up on the lesion and any other findings?

#473 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2011, 08:20 PM:

jnh@465 - Many years ago, when I lived back east and had a lawn, the mint planted next to the house escaped into the lawn. Running the lawnmower over that strip of grass was always pleasant.

#474 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2011, 09:29 PM:

Ginger @ 467

Good to hear good news! I shall continue to send positive energy your way...

#475 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2011, 09:33 PM:

David Harmon @ 473: The official radiology report came back clean, so I shall keep this to myself for now. If I can get someone else to see the same thing, then I'll bring it up with his regular psychiatrist. There are such things as incidental findings -- things that look like they should be meaningful but in reality are not clinically important. This may be one of those. It's certainly a very subtle thing. We don't need to treat incidental findings, only clinical presentations.

#476 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2011, 09:54 PM:

Idle Dos Equis musings....

“He sings Space Opera. His Hugos actually fly in space. His sixth sense is wonder. He’s the Most Interesting Science Fiction Writer in the World.”

#477 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2011, 09:54 PM:

TexAnne # 450, anyone bite? If not, contact me at We live about 30 minutes from the airport if you are not driving during our wee rush hour.

#478 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2011, 10:14 PM:

Ginger... Glad to hear things have improved.

#479 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2011, 10:33 PM:

Ginger: how good to hear good news!

One of my daughter's friends just went into in-patient care for what will probably be at least two weeks. She's 15 and has been in therapy for at least a year; she's also been cutting and was drinking heavily in the fall. Both behaviors have decreased in recent months and then about 3 weeks ago she started cutting again.

A relationship issue seems to have been the trigger; she called the suicide hotline and they convinced her to talk to her parents. They and her therapist decided it was time to try a short inpatient stay.

#480 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2011, 11:17 PM:

HLN: The books are all moved and unpacked except for two boxes of cookbooks which will require another trip to Ikea. Area woman relearns the lesson that owning a home means never having to wonder what you will spend your extra money on. Also wonders why the previous homeowners did not put a more convenient outlet in the bathroom when gutting and renovating, but appreciates the tidy attic.

#481 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2011, 11:18 PM:

Electrosidey: I recently started listening to RAM based on... drawing a blank... some blog (not the linked one; that'd be too easy). WFMU maybe? Well, I do know that WFMU is where I picked up the cover version not mentioned in that one: Percy Thrillington's. Mr. Thrillington has a very sophisticated sound. He should go far, as long as he can resist the temptation to try and write symphonies and oratorios and stuff like that.

#482 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2011, 11:48 PM:

Got the Macbook after roommate's desktop's demise due to viruses and crapola (see previous firewall confusion) left us to ask too much of my teeny early-gen netbook - one with a fairly feeble linux kernel and not quite enough memory to update. Roommate is currently shopping for a Linux desktop. I, being in charge of portable computing, have selected possibly more laptop than I need. We are neither of us interested in going back to Windows. Still working out random "You Are Not Connected To The Internet" messages that have no basis in reality, but I'm still pleased with the ridonculous expense.

#483 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2011, 12:59 AM:

Kip W. @470: We took the California Zephyr from Sacramento to Denver several years back, and it's a journey I wouldn't mind repeating were it not for the littles. I did a Flickr set here. Keep in mind that I only used iPhoto to do basic color correction on these images; at some point I should probably do some of them up all fancy-like.

#484 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2011, 01:10 AM:

Disabled? Don't fly Frontier Airlines.

Note that while the original pilot claimed it was about "safety issues", the pilot of a later flight saw no reason to be concerned. IMO this was a case of bigotry pure and simple.

#485 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2011, 01:24 AM:

Janet Brennan Croft @ 481 ...
HLN: The books are all moved and unpacked except for two boxes of cookbooks which will require another trip to Ikea. Area woman relearns the lesson that owning a home means never having to wonder what you will spend your extra money on. Also wonders why the previous homeowners did not put a more convenient outlet in the bathroom when gutting and renovating, but appreciates the tidy attic.

No kidding! I wish I could say that the sense of wonder that routinely fills my body when observing prior doings in my house wasn't closely related to "I wonder why/who..."

#486 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2011, 02:05 AM:

Janet Brennan Croft @ #481, xeger @ #486, this house was one of the models for the neighborhood, so not pre-owned. Yet when we (well, my parents; I hadn't moved back from overseas at that point) had occasion to call in an electrician to look at some outlets in the kitchen and the family room, his remark to my mother was:

"Lady, whoever wired this house was drunk."

#487 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2011, 03:41 AM:

Wait! you're allowed to have power outlets* in the bathroom? Those have been outlawed over here for decades (health and safety).

* Other than a dedicated shaver socket.

#488 ::: Glenn Hauman ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2011, 04:40 AM:

Has the sex-offender law thread been closed?

#489 ::: Adrian Smith ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2011, 05:11 AM:

Teresa's post has a look of finality about it.

#490 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2011, 06:35 AM:

dcb @488

Wait, so what is it about a "dedicated shaver socket" that makes it healthy and safe but all other electricity unhealthy and unsafe? Also, how is it dedicated? I'm curious what stops me from just plugging in my waterproof floating toaster so I can have toast in the bath?

I don't think I've ever lived somewhere that didn't have at least one outlet in the bathroom. They have to be ground-fault-interruption protected, of course.

#491 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2011, 07:04 AM:

Glen Hauman... Adrian Smith... And there was much rejoicing. Yay!

#492 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2011, 07:07 AM:

dcb @ 488... I read your last comment as "...a dedicated Shaver rocket..."

#493 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2011, 07:15 AM:

Linkmeister #487: Quite likely that's more-or-less why they'd set it aside as a model house.

Devin: #491: It's possibly the GFI outlet he's referring to; in America, those are shockingly uncommon, but some areas' building codes require them specifically for bathrooms.

#494 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2011, 08:16 AM:

"Lady, whoever wired this house was drunk."

About a year ago, I discovered why I can't run, say, the microwave and the bathroom heater at the same time: all the power in my house goes through one breaker.

This...needs to be fixed. It could be an easy fix, or it could be a hard one, depending on how far from the breaker box the splitting out happens. Sadly, right now I'm more worried about the wall that may or may not just fall off, so rewiring will have to wait.

#495 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2011, 08:52 AM:

Kip @470--The Cailfornia Zephyr. Amtrak's routes tend to repeat famous old passenger routes, so they also have the Empire Builder, the Sunset Limited, and the City of New Orleans, among others.

Also, after several years of argument and debate, Amtrak and BNSF have committed to a permanent fix for the Devils Lake problems which have made such problems for the Empire Builder route, although this will do nothing for the problems resulting from flodding on the Missouri this year. (The Atlantic has a three-part series on this endorheic body of water starting here, then continuing here, and ending here.)

#496 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2011, 09:03 AM:

It is a proper GFI outlet, but it is INSIDE the cabinet BELOW the sink. With no handy little holes -- as yet!! for cords to snake through.

It's a sixty-year-old house, and while it was pretty seriously renovated, it does have elements of what the real estate ads call 'character' -- notably the fact that the bathroom and laundry room floors slope down a little bit to the wall where they meet! But inspection showed no serious structural problems with the floor joists or walls -- that's just the way it's settled in over the decades.

The previous owner and renovator was pretty obviously NOT a cook -- the oven is absolutely pristine (even the broiler pan has never been touched), installed smack up against the wall, and has no vent. Not even a cabinet above it where I could get a microwave/vent installed. Home Depot will be getting a visit from me today. There's also no dishwasher, and no under-sink outlet to make installing one easy. (But the fridge is huge -- and the only thing in it when I looked at the place was frozen TV dinners. Sad.)

#497 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2011, 09:23 AM:

Devin @ 491: A dedicated shaver socket is one which only shavers fit into - they have different plugs from other electrical appliances (two small round pins). They're commonly associated with the light for the mirror and they have a 120V/240V switch so North American shavers work as well as UK/European ones.

Our codes don't even allow a light switch on the wall inside the bathroom door - it's a pull switch or it's outside the room. According to Wikipedia, the shaver sockets have a "built-in isolation transformer".

Wait, more info. Since new regs came in, 2008, in a LARGE bathroom, you can now put sockets in, so long as they are more than 3 metres from the bath or shower and have an RCD.

It's interesting what one just takes for granted.

#498 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2011, 09:38 AM:

Note, as it's solely a nomenclature difference, that a GFCI and an RCD are the same thing.

They require that all the current flowing out flow back in--if there's any current leak (which a short causes) they turn the power off.

#499 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2011, 09:57 AM:

B. Durbin @484: Oh, I'm going to look at these slowly! Thanks for the opportunity to retrace the earliest trip I can remember.

Mom and I were on that train, and I wanted to see the observation car. I remember going up some stairs, and there was carpet and a green glass dome, and then Mom said we had to let somebody else enjoy the view (nice things were for other people) and that was it for the dome. I remember nothing outside the train. The thing that impressed me most was the metal toilet, bolted to the tread-metal floor, with a pedal beside it that dumped everything right out on the tracks. This was so earth-shaking to me. By the time I was in sixth grade, I convinced myself I must have imagined it. They'd never do that! And not long after that, I found out that I hadn't imagined it at all.

What a world!

Then we arrived in Denver, and Grandma and Aunt Mary were there to welcome us at the station, and there was a kiosk selling flip-flop blocks, and that got most of my attention. Dad and my three sisters had their own adventure, driving across the desert in a VW bus. Martha or Givhan said she had a dream after that that they were on that drive and an arrow came in the window and stuck in Dad's head.

Linkmeister @487: The house I grew up in had previously been owned by a professor who taught electrical wiring at Colorado State. He used to have his students come in and add outlets and lights and switches. There were a lot of them. I saw recent photos of the house, which is up for sale again ($370k), and they've removed the Quikheater that used to be in the bathroom. Huh. It's probably "the upstairs bathroom" now — much remodeling has been done. If I had to move back in, I'd do it. The trees we planted are now approaching 50 years old, and are a big selling point.

fidelio @496: It makes sense to repeat famous routes. Even if the tracks were taken up, they're still graded and might have tunnels they can reuse.

Janet Brennan Croft @497: The previous owner and renovator was pretty obviously NOT a cook…
Maybe it was Richard Nixon. I sort of remember hearing that he was not a cook.

#500 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2011, 10:28 AM:

I'm not sure this is appropriate, but it feels necessary.

One thing needs to be said on the frozen thread that wasn't. It's this:

James D. Macdonald: I'm sorry. When I made the statement you last cited, I had reread in haste and anger where I reread at all, and missed several blatant things. I spoke in idiocy. You owe nobody any apology -- but this one is definitely and decidedly owed to you. I'm sorry.

#501 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2011, 10:31 AM:

496/500: Almost without exception Amtrak's trains started out life as the grand old train routes. On that fateful day in 1971, almost all rail service in the country ended, except for that of six railroads (ironically in the context of the discussion, D&RGW was one of those, so that the California Zephyr was not one of Amtrak's original routes). Men climbed aboard the same trains that had pulled in the night before, and headed out over the same routes as before, except for the many, many discontinued trains. There have been various rationalizations over the years, due to changes in terminal trackwork (often because the big union station was going to be abandoned) or because of mainline abandonments (e.g. the disappearance of almost all of the Milwaukee route). As a rule, when mainline gets abandoned, it stays that way forever, at least in the USA. Track maintenance is expensive, but even restoring trackage on an abandoned RoW is staggering. As far as I know the only genuinely new trackwork in the country has been built to get into the Powder River coal fields. But Amtrak's system has the same trains as the old private system because they have always been the same trains. When Rio Grande and Southern threw in the towel, the California Zephyr and the Crescent Limited slid right over into Amtrak's side of the board.

#502 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2011, 11:02 AM:

Ginger: Good news! A huge relief, I imagine. Hope your auntie has fun in her next phase. I love the whole Ukrainian aesthetic. (One of my regrets is not taking the egg-decorating lesson in my high school Russian class.)

Kip W @470: There are also some free-streaming video sources online

True true. Carries about the same breakdown of ratings, with perhaps 30% fewer three-stars. :-)

I tend to use Hulu for first-run TV, and there's only a half-dozen series that I watch that way.

The one thing I do miss about broadcast TV is surfing past stuff and occassionally getting caught by something. That's how I stumbled over Stargate. I gather broadcast—and cable?—is moving away from "scripted drama," which is a stone drag, because I have less than no use for "reality" TV.

#503 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2011, 11:05 AM:

Stefan Jones @472: Huh. How big is it? I actually have a lamp shade that might serve.

#504 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2011, 11:25 AM:

Kip @500--to add to what C. Wingate noted at 502, Amtrak runs its trains on track belonging to other railroads. IIRC, freight takes precendence over passengers under the operating agreements they use, which account for a lot of the delays Amtrak experiences. Some railroads don't want to make the effort to accomodate Amtrak's needs, and therefore there isn't passenger service on their lines; the biggest holdout is CSX, which is why passenger train service in the southeastern US is either along the coasts, or strictly local commuter or excursion lines.

Track repair is an ongoing need, whether it's road beds, where the ballast (gravel bed) needs replensishing, the ties need replacing, or the rails have to be relaid, to say nothing of the switching, safety and warning systems. Missouri's DOT estimated, in 1995, the cost of rehabbing a local shortline road as around $248K a mile. That allows for 176 tons of steel, 600 tons of ballast, 3000 ties and 50 kegs of spikes, plus all the extras, for a mile of plain road, without crossing, switches, or anything else extra, 16 years ago. I expect adjusting for inflation would add at least $100-$120K. This is on already graded and prepared ground, since they're talking about replacing and repairing, not installing new lines.

The communter rail line in Nashville runs on tracks owned by a local short-line road; there's another right-of-way north of town that runs down from Clarksville to Nashville; however, most of the track has been torn up and the trestles removed; the only bridge of any size left, as far as I can tell, is the turnbridge over the Cumberland River, which would need major work as it hasn't been used in a very long time. Replacing the track alone, for a distance of around 50 miles, would run at least over $18 million, if we used the MODOT estimate adjusted for inflation as a starting point,* and that's not covering the other necessary items--trestles, crossing, signals, switches, stations, and turnouts, among other things. That's also assuming the roadbed does not need significant amounts of regrading, which it almost surely does. I don't know if the additional costs would double or triple the costs for railswork alone--but I'm assuming that the higher figure is more likely.

Please note that this does not include the purchase of rolling stock, either, or its operation and maintenance.

In places where the track and its appurtenances have been removed, replacing the line is a costly proposition; in places where the old line has been diverted to other uses (for example, the KATY train in Missouri, once a railroad, now a hiking and cycling trail) the right-of-way would have to be reacquired, generally at some cost. In places where there's been no railway at all, you would have to go through all the same steps that would be needed for building a new road of any kind--buying right-of-way, surveying, layout and grading, and so on.

Here's a .pdf of an Amtrak report on the restoration of service along the Gulf Coast Connector route, post-Katrina. Note that CSX has already repaired the track for its own use; this is about the things needed to restore passenger service along that line. That track repair cost, per this Times-Picayune article, $250 million for 40 miles or so of track. Relocating the line farther inland is estimated in the same article to run at least $700 million. Katrina did a lot of damage to the bed--the ground on which the track lies--with significant losses in that area, as well as bridges and trestles. While an abandoned line might not be as badly damaged as one that's been hit by a large, severe hurricane, this suggests my figures above are underestimates, to say the least.

#505 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2011, 12:29 PM:

Ginger, glad to hear things continue to look better with your son. And hoping that when the work crisis is over, you get to take a deep breath and decompress (but not explosively).

#506 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2011, 12:38 PM:

Amtrak in Washington and Oregon has some of the most frequent, cleanest, and most comfortable trains there are, all but the Coast Starlight, which has old rolling stock that is often filthy, car personnel who are overworked and impatient with riders (I noticed that same distinction on the Great Northern, and I suspect the challenge of dealing with decrepit rolling stock is a real part of that attitude) and which is often late coming and going because of track conflicts in California; my family and I had a nightmarish eight-hour wait at Emeryville caused by a Amtrak train being trapped on a locked siding.

The conflict between freight and passenger track between Olympia and Tacoma is about to be "solved" in the worst way possible: the glorious beach-adjacent line from Nisqually to Tacoma is being left to the freights, and Amtrak will follow the old Army Line along I-5, through Joint Base Lewis-McCord, and through the post-industrial moonscape of Nalley Valley.

#507 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2011, 12:55 PM:

My mother-in-law died Friday last. Right in front of us, which was embarrassing for her - I know that's not what I mean, but I'm damned if I can think of anything more appropriate. Looked startled, said "Oh, dear", in that puzzled sort of way that English ladies of a Certain Vintage do, and keeled over.

I'm pretty sure she was dead before she hit the floor. Peace, Jim - we tried CPR, got on the horn to the ambulance right away. It was there in ten minutes, despite her living in the country, and there was nothing they could do. She was gone.

It's the first time I've had to deal with someone dying right there. Sally's still in shock. Grief. Grief.

Jesus, it's weird. She was eighty-three, and sick and frail. She'd left firm "no resuscitation" instructions. Doctor, when consulted, simply nodded. He'd been expecting it, was what it seemed to say. Sally wishes that he'd shared the knowledge - but he couldn't, could he?

I came away, and wrote this. It's typically self-indulgent. I don't like it much. But I have to say something.

Redcoats seem like aliens. Some fall;
The ranks march on. Again, the winnowing.
Again the gaps are filled. Unwavering,
And blank as bricks, the moving scarlet wall
Reforms, moves on. When hit, there's some - not all -
Who break their ranks, and scream and writhe and cling.
Most perish at attention, not a-sprawl.

How strange! How very eighteenth-century,
To die by files, in ruffles, wigs and starch.
The harrow passes through, but it must be
Ignored. The dead are left. The rest must march,
And not look back until they're also spent.
And all of us march with that regiment.

#508 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2011, 01:14 PM:

David, my sympathies for your and your wife's loss. A shocking thing.

You may not much care for the poem, but I like it. Thank you for including it. I like all your poems, come to think of it.

#509 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2011, 01:16 PM:

Also, flooding on the Souris River (part of the Red River of the North watershed) is forcing evacuations in Minot, ND. The causes are the same as the flooding over on the Missouri--a large amount of snow melt and heavy spring rains.

But Lake Champlain is dropping, after a couple of months' worth of flooding.

#510 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2011, 01:43 PM:

Dave @508: My condolences to you and your wife.

#511 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2011, 01:56 PM:

Dave, #508: My condolences; that had to have been a terrible shock, and especially for your wife. Take care of her.

#512 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2011, 02:12 PM:

Dave @#508, my sympathies, and I agree with Lee @ #512. Take good care of your wife (as well as yourself).

#513 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2011, 02:15 PM:

Lee @ 459

You may already have this info, but...

The creator of the list itself.

The person who signed the artwork.

#514 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2011, 02:42 PM:

Dave @508:

Oh, how awful! The only comfort is that she clearly didn't suffer.

Take care of yourself and your wife.

#515 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2011, 03:03 PM:

re 505: I would add that even when an abandoned RoW is "railbanked"-- that is, title is retained in anticipation of possible reactivation-- bringing it back into service generally sets off a lot of NIMBY battles. For example, the old B&O line around the west side of DC would be perfect for the "purple line" they've talked about building: it runs right up to the existing Red Line in Silver Spring, and it connects all the inner suburbs along its path to the Georgetown waterfront. But it is at present the Capital Crescent Trail, and between the sense of entitlement about that and the fact that it runs along a lot of backyards that haven't heard a train pass in two decades, I'm doubtful that the'll be able to use that route.

Also, Fidelio, I think you've got your Amtrak routes a bit mixed up. Most southeast routes do run on CSX, with the exception of the Crescent, the Cardinal, and the Piedmont. The Cardinal is a composite of the old C&O George Washington and the NYC James Whitcomb Riley. This would tend to make it an all-CSX train too, since CSX is C&O's successor and most of the Conrail ex-NYC trackage went to CSX. However, it has been rerouted so much over the years that it now runs over seven different railroads, including three out of the six class Is and a shortline in Virginia. The Piedmont runs over a regional owned entirely by the state of North Carolina. That leaves the Crescent.

For a very long time the south has been covered by just two railroads: NS and CSX. CSX's predecessors ran the main trains along the coast, plus a bunch of shorter east/west routes which mostly disappeared because the places they connected weren't big enough. NS consists (logically) of the old Southern plus the N&W system. The latter, like the C&O, ran mostly east/west, and like the C&O was pretty much a big coal conveyor belt, in this case pointed at the docks in Norfolk. Let me put it this way: when they merged the parallel Virginian Railway, they put all the eastboard traffic on the N&W and the westbound on the VGN, simply because the grades on the latter were less and therefore hauling the empties back was cheaper. N&W's last name train (the Pocahontas) ran Norfolk to Cincinnati which as you can imagine isn't a major route; Amtrak didn't pick it up.

Southern ran the Crescent (DC-New Orleans) as a point of corporate pride through the 1070s. All their other routes were gone by that point, so when they threw in the towel, there wasn't anything else for Amtrak to take over, especially including equipment. (N&W had a stash of cars used for steam excursions but the NS merger was some years in the future.) That's why almost all the routes use CSX trackage. Now, CSX and NS have notoriously different corporate cultures, especially back when they were freshly merged. CSX had for years a reputation as being a PitA to deal with, not to mention that they care next to nothing about corporate image. It doesn't surprise me that the fight with Amtrak a lot.

#516 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2011, 03:27 PM:

Evolution, easily explained.

Pericat, #514: Thanks! Now I just need to figure out how to contact those folks using Tumblr, which appears to be not as simple as one might think; clicking on the "Comment" link did nothing.

fidelio: I just want to mention that your updates on the Midwest floods are much appreciated. Texas, meanwhile, is having a series of wildfires, one of which is in a position to threaten the Texas Renaissance Faire site if the wind should shift the wrong way. Fortunately, we had some rain this morning, and there's more in the forecast for the next day or two.

#517 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2011, 04:07 PM:

Dave (508): My condolences to you and your wife.

#518 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2011, 04:22 PM:

Dave: my condolences also to both of you.

#519 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2011, 04:28 PM:

Dave @ 508--My condolences to you and your family. It's hard to get one's mind around a sudden loss like that, I think, because there's no reason to see it coming, the way there is with an illness.

#520 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2011, 04:50 PM:

Dave @508: I'm sorry for your loss. And at such a time, you give us a poem. Thank you.

#521 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2011, 04:58 PM:

C. Wingate @510--Somehow I had absorbed the idea that a lot of the southern routes were Norfolk & Southern. Around here, the main lines were the Louisville and Nashville and the Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis (absorbed by the L&N, which was then absorbed into the Seaboard Lines, which was then acquired by CSX); none of the old passenger routes, such as the Dixie Flyer, the Hummingbird, or the Dixie Limited survive. There is no interest (per an acquaintance who started working on the L&N and retired from the CSX, which is supported by other things I've heard) in adding passenger lines in cooperation with Amtrak in the interior southeast; so the explanation may well be that CSX has all the aggravation they want in that regard already, and does not want to have to make the adjustments and accomodations in their freight operations necessary to allow for the addition of such passenger lines.

Everything I have ever heard about the CSX suggests that they truly don't care what you think. They're a big damn' railroad, and they're here to haul stuff.

Once a railroad right of way loses its rails, the will to put them back down becomes awfully weak, even if the right of way isn't put to other uses. Railroads are an efficient transportation mechanism, but they're noisy, and are never (just like every other form of transportation!) entirely risk free.

#522 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2011, 05:24 PM:

Dave Luckett: My condolences to you and your wife; that kind of death is hardest on the survivors: no matter how old and frail she was, no one expects to see family drop like that.

#523 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2011, 06:11 PM:

Dave @ 508: My condolences to you and your wife. That sort of death is hard on those who see it - but at least you might be able to take comfort, in time, from knowing, because you were there, that she didn't suffer, and she wasn't alone when she died.

Thank you for the poem.

#524 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2011, 08:11 PM:

Dave Luckett #508: My condolences and sympathies, to both you can your wife. As for whether dying in front of you would be embarrassing for her... well, she died at an advanced age, in the company of her family, painlessly, and without undue spectacle....

#525 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2011, 10:24 PM:

Lee @ 517 - there's a link in the sidebar which says "Ask Me" and takes you to a form. Hope this helps!

#526 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2011, 11:38 PM:

For those following the news about the Bush administration's attempt to get the CIA to dig up dirt on blogger Juan Cole, Democracy Now has an interview with Cole and a CIA agent who was involved in (apparently) refusing the Administration's demands.

In a properly run country, there would be an investigation, followed by one or more former Bush administration officials getting free food and lodging at federal expense for the next several decades. My bet is, we'll "look forward, not backward" on this whole affair. It's not like real people were being hurt, after all.

#527 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2011, 11:45 PM:

Naomi, #526: Thank you, that worked. May I just say that I am COMPLETELY unimpressed by Tumblr at this point? That was a lot more work, and a lot less intuitive, than it should have been, as witness the fact that I had to ask for advice here on every single step of the process!

#528 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 12:28 AM:

Dave Luckett: My condolences.

dcb and others: GFI outlets are not common in bathrooms. But they are exceedingly easy to install as replacements; turn off the power, and swap the outlet according to the instructions. (A familiarity with basic tools such as screwdrivers and needle-nosed pliers is required.) FWIW, we mapped our breaker box, then decided it was too confusing to worry about. We just turn off the main breaker when we want to do electrical work (after parking all computers.)

Our WTF? house moments are reserved for the designers. For example, there's nowhere in the bathrooms to install towel bars. And there's a garage-style open vent in the living room. Not the weirdest house I've ever lived in by a long shot, but the weirdnesses were all created by professional house builders, which is odd.

#529 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 12:43 AM:

Dave @ 508: My condolences to you both. That's about exactly how I should hope to go - if only my loved ones wouldn't have to be on the other end of it. What a cruel shock!

Count me in with those who think the poem is very fine.

#530 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 02:23 AM:

Because I can't afford one right now I've been entering every contest I can to win an iPad 2. Recently I ran into one that requires you to friend an outfit called kliqo on Facebook: I haven't done so because enough of my FB friends have been spammed by others that I'm hesitant to do anything there at all beyond adding comments to their posts. With that in mind, has anyone heard anything about, which is running the event, either good or bad? I looked over the Terms of Service at the site to check for cooties and despaired: it feels four times the length of Gone With The Wind...

#531 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 03:59 AM:

HLN: Area woman is relieved to find that renewed computer slowness and stickiness after malware removal was due only to AVG 2011. With AVG 2011 uninstalled, computer is back to starting up in a reasonable time and running without annoying pauses.

Query to the Fluorosphere: what would you advise as a new free antivirus program, for someone who has to run in Windows (thankfully still XP) and is using IE as well as Firefox?

#532 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 04:25 AM:

Query to the Fluorosphere: what would you advise as a new free antivirus program, for someone who has to run in Windows (thankfully still XP) and is using IE as well as Firefox?


#533 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 05:54 AM:


I've used Avast! for several years without problems (it occasionally nags you to relicence/consider buying the pay version, but I guess that's to be expected).

If you're up to a bit of comparison shopping, this site is trustworthy and detailed, although it reviews both pay and free products.

#534 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 05:57 AM:

dcb @ 532: I've had fair results in the past with the free editions of AVG and Avast antivirus programs.

I note that one or the other is sometimes just about unusable on some given XP system for no discernable reason, whilst performing quite sweetly upon another machine. In each such case to date, the other program has always done the trick.

But my day-to-day experience with them is relatively limited, since my own main computer has been running a commercial security suite for many years now.

#535 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 06:16 AM:

Lee @528 At one point I was going to use Tumblr for a project of mine, but I ended up deciding that their interface made no sense.

#536 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 06:57 AM:

tykewriter @533:

I believe dcb @532 specified has to run in Windows. You even quoted that very statement.

You might want to dial the evangelism down a notch or two. At least far enough for reading comprehension to become engaged.

#537 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 07:21 AM:

tykewriter: [Comment redacted]. Thanks, abi.

Russ: thanks; Avast is one of the ones we're considering.

Gray Woodland: AVG has always been fine before, but the people have obviously been noticing some problems with the 2011 version (although it appears to be okay on my netbook at present). Seven+ minute startup time, two-second hour-glass lags on mousing over files in Windows Explorer and delays-to-the-point-of-reclicking when trying to actually open or close a file or program made yesterday very frustrating (after two days of running this and that program and posting logs of results back, to get rid of the malware, had appeared to be successful). Uninstalling AVG 2011 has cut the start-up time in half and stopped all those delays (so far - I'll begin to trust the system is okay after a few more days, with luck).

#538 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 07:31 AM:

B Durbin @ 529

GFI outlets are not common in bathrooms.

I'm just curious--where is this? (Since NEC has required GFCI circuits in bathrooms since the 70's, I assumed that bathroom circuits were GFCI-protected in anything built since the mid-80's.)

Also note that in the US, one GFCI outlet can protect any down-current outlets if correctly wired. I would rather strongly recommend GFCI-protecting bathroom outlets--it's a cheap DIY retrofit, with significant safety advantages.

#539 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 07:59 AM:

dcb @538: Yeah, I think we might have run into the same problem. The identical version of AVG worked at greatly different efficiencies on two ostensibly similar desktops, being an utter PITA on the second; and it worked fine on one laptop, but failed altogether on another. If it wasn't 2011, it was certainly very recent.

That laptop is now running Avast - which, however, had serious issues, of a kind I no longer remember, on one of the desktops abovementioned (not mine, but set up by me).

I never did figure out any sensible reason for any of these variations. I wasn't familiar with previously: thanks for drawing my attention to it.

#540 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 09:08 AM:

I've been using Avast with no problems for a number of years. My parents have been pretty happy with it, too, after I recommended it.

#541 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 09:48 AM:

Ta-Nehisi Coates has another op-ed in the Times today, about Rick Perry and his history of wrongful conviction and refusal to pardon.

#542 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 09:48 AM:

Gray Woodland: Yes, bleepingcomputer is very useful. From my (thankfully) limited experience, the volunteers heping out on the Malware forum really know their stuff. Mind you, they've got so many requests for assistance that you may have to wait 8-9 days after posting your problem and initial logs before anyone gets back to you. The alternative, however, was format the hard drive and start re-installing programs from scratch. Since I lack backup disks for the initial installation for this laptop (it shipped with XP installed but a Vista backup CDROM) I really didn't want to go that route.

#543 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 10:12 AM:

Hyperlocal news... Man celebrates the 17th anniversary of his first taking the Pledge. No, not the cleaning product.

#544 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 10:56 AM:

Serge, congratulations on your anniversary.

Coates' Op-Ed in the Times today is terrific. (Link at 542.)

#545 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 11:51 AM:

Congratulations on your anniversary, Serge.

#546 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 12:33 PM:

Dave Luckett: I'm so sorry for your loss.

#547 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 12:43 PM:

On Windows virus-fighting: We've been using the free Avira on our home XP box, and other than occasionally nagging us to buy the premium version, it doesn't seem to get in the way. I don't have personal experience with it stopping a virus; to my knowledge we've never gotten one on that box. But Consumer Reports thought highly of it, last I checked.

To minimize our attack profile, we only run Firefox as our web browser, except on specific sites we need to use that require something else. We also stay religiously on top of security updates for Firefox, Adobe, and Windows (using either "check for updates" on startup or automatic updates).

We also run either NoScript or AdBlock Plus as addons. I prefer the former myself, but for kids and others who don't want to keep evaluating and giving script permissions to various sites, AdBlock seems to automatically stop lots of the more obnoxious or dodgy scripts.

#548 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 12:44 PM:

Jeff Masters, at Weather Underground, has a still shot, with link to a Youtube video, showing water overtopping a levee in Minot. So you can have something new to show up in your nightmares, don't you know.*

The same post has a shot of a water release from a dam in China--they're having floods there as well. This shot includes spell-bound onlookers, which gives some perspective on the amount of water involved.

*The people who know these things think the water levels in Minot will pass the previous record, set in 1881, some time tonight. Needless to say. other places along the Souris river are suffering as well, and when the water moves downstream into the Assiniboine, it will end up in Winnipeg before it makes it into Hudson Bay.

#549 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 12:59 PM:

Dave Luckett:
My condolences to you and your wife. For your mother-in-law, not knowing what her wishes may have been, I offer tentative felicitations. When it's my time to go, I truly hope it's that way for me; I've seen enough of the other way in the last few years.

"Take me in one swoop, God - don't let me dwindle." 'God's Gallipoli', Poi Dog Pondering

#550 ::: dajt ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 02:06 PM:

#533, #537: With modern Linux systems on modern hardware, you can do both: run a Linux hypervisor with Windows guest(s). This allows you to easily back up and restore the complete state of your Windows "machine(s)", which is great as long as your back up copies don't get infected with anything.

I wouldn't recommend this setup for hardcore gaming, but it works fine for random websites that require Windows, etc.

#551 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 02:12 PM:

HLN: Area kitty doesn't return for dinner, nor for breakfast. She has never missed a meal before. Littermate and humans very concerned.

#552 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 02:20 PM:

Massachusetts building codes used to require light switches outside the bathroom, but allowed power outlets, even before GFCIs became common. Either that, or the house I grew up in (built 1961) was very selective about how it observed code. The light switches were outside the room (providing my little brother with an opportunity for mischief) but we were certainly able to plug in hair dryers, space heaters, and other charming hazards. Note: an electric space heater is not the same thing as a heated towel rack. I ruined a favorite blouse that way. I think the rule about outlets might have specified a minimum distance from the bathtub.

The code was later revised, or else regularly ignored, since I've seen a great deal of newer construction with GFCI outlets and the light switches on the inside. I STILL look outside the bathroom first for the light switch as a matter of habit.

#553 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 02:50 PM:

Sorry for my inappropriate smart-arsed fly-by. My only excuse is that I was late for the gym.

My arse is getting smaller though.

#554 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 02:51 PM:

dajit @551:

dcb could also run Windows VMs on a Windows box for doing risky operations and accessing chancy sources. But that's not actually what she asked about. Furthermore, you'll note in comment 538 that she was already exasperated by tykewriter's interjection. So do you really think that she's in the market for reasons to switch to Linux?

Me, I trust that she's technically capable and aware enough that if she wants to tear down her operating system and install a new one, she'll either do it or ask questions about that. What she asked about was antivirus software that runs on Windows.

I don't want to get into the OS religious wars, really I don't. So I'd be quite grateful if we could not turn this into an exercise in evangelism. Or I'm going to start addressing people as "Elder".

#555 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 02:51 PM:

Rikibeth #553:

I had always figured that the one case of light switch only outside the bathroom (here in Texas) was because there literally was no place for it inside the bathroom except for behind where the door opened, which would have been rather inconvenient, particularly for those middle-of-the-night visits. OTOH, light switches outside are extremely rude to whomever may be sharing the bedroom with the person making said visit.

Our current configuration involves an outside switch and an inside one, the outside one because the door is right between the sink and the shower. There are GFCI outlets at one end of each sink counter.

#556 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 02:59 PM:

abi @ 555... I'm going to start addressing people as "Elder"

Well, I did become a programmer when COBOL was it, and we punched cards.

#557 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 03:06 PM:

I, too, was going to recommend going the linux route, with Virtualbox and a Windows guest. It's how I work at work, it's how I run things at home.

If you are really paranoid, you set it up the way you want, snapshot it, and revert to snapshot on shutdown. Now it means you can't actually keep anything new on it...

However, that does involve much more linux knowledge and general computing knowledge (and willingness to try things until it stops not working) than the general "I still have to use Windows and IE" user has. Much more. Since you say IE and Firefox, my *strong* recommendation is to use IE only for things that don't work in Firefox, and less strong recommendation is to only use IE for things that don't work in Firefox and you are *required* to use (the third case of only works in IE but isn't required becomes "go somewhere else").

So as far as I'm concerned, any free RTAV (I installed ClamWin on the box at the bridge club) works if you're behind a router with built-in firewall (and you're not deliberately doing Bad Things) will work. Including the nagware.

I don't, actually, mind nagware per se - I think it's quite reasonable, especially the way the AV companies I've seen are doing it. I've been less thrilled, however, with all of the nagware companies (especially AVG, which I loved for years) because of their deceptive upgrade-into-pay-version games and their "try to make it as hard as possible, without being in fact impossible, to find the free version" games.

AVG has the bonus of having installed without warning their linksniffer program which would check everything before showing you the page. What it was supposed to do was stop you from going to a page that could take you to a virus page; what it did was make any legitimate web page (with its average hundreds of links) take 7 seconds to show up instead of .5. They backed down, but I don't really trust them to not make another "reasonable" decision and pass it along mandatory to all the non-computer mechanics I "help".

#558 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 03:25 PM:

Add to previous: "more knowledge than ... user has" - "or wants". Wants is important, and it continually frustrates me that we can't get past 1930s automobile, where you needed either a chauffeur who was a mechanic, a chauffeur *and* a mechanic, or learn to be your own mechanic just for day-to-day driving.

#559 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 03:26 PM:

dajt @ 551: I need to work in Windows. I write/edit a large (30K+ pages) website on wild animal health and management which is written in FrontPage - so I have to use that. And my (work) e-mail is in Outlook, and... So no, moving over to Linux with Windows guest(s) isn't really an option.

We've now installed Avast and we'll see how it behaves.

eric @ 552: Hope she comes back soon! Let us know, please. N.B. you might want to ask neighbours to check they haven't accidentaly shut her into a shed or garage.

#560 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 03:28 PM:

Lizzy L @ 545... Modesto Kid @ 546... Thanks!

#561 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 03:59 PM:

dcb @560, is that site available to the public, and if so, may I/we have a link to it?

eric @552, last time I had a cat go missing, I found him huddled under a bush by the front door several hours later and after quite a bit of looking. He was always keen to escape, but invariably went tharn if he succeeded. In his world, I was not supposed to let him win that particular trial.

But all that's just to say that if you live in or near bushes and overgrowness, it's worth beating the bounds if you've not done so already. Not just calling while facing them, but physically getting right up close.

#562 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 04:50 PM:

pericat @ 562: We went Open Access last month! So, just go to and click where it says "Wildpro" on one of the tabs at the top (or where it says "Click here to launch" on the splash panel, but that's got JavaScript involved). You then need to click through the disclaimer, then you're in Wildpro - there's a link to the library at the top and the volumes of the encyclopaedia are listed down the right hand side.

#563 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 06:02 PM:

Does anybody remember when the promo film for "London in 2014" was first released on the web? If this year, I was thinking of nominating it for the Short Subject category.

#564 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 06:02 PM:

...of the Hugos.

#565 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 06:19 PM:

For antivirus on Windows, I use a mix of AVG Free, Malwarebytes, and SuperAntiSpyware.

#566 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 06:34 PM:


Last time our little escape artist successfully got all the way out [1] she was lured out from beneath the neighbors' deck with the Magic Red Laser Dot of Cat Summoning.

[1] Since then she's a) slipped her harness and got up under the car, from which forcibly extricated, and b) attempted to slip out between ankles during unloading of vehicle into house, which resulted in getting humanhandled back into the house and shut into the bathroom for the duration.

It's been awhile and the weather's improved somewhat; I'm expecting another escape attempt as soon as the damp weather clears.

Also @eric, good luck on retrieving your Escaped Prisoner.

#567 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 07:16 PM:

She's still not come home. She's a somewhat outside cat, who has never missed meals before, and will come running when whistled for or when the food bag is shaken. Her name, not so much. I don't think that she's just ignoring us.

We're in a rural area, where outside the yard is mostly forest with 4-6 ft high salal and other thick vegetation (like blackberries. tasty, but pointy). It's setup well for small animals to run through it and totally hide from the big ones.

Her sister managed to stay out all night earlier this year, probably trying to hit on the local boy cats. She got grounded for a couple weeks, and fixed to boot.

Cars probably aren't a huge hazard here (and I've checked the roads), there's just not that much traffic. But there are Hawks, Eagles, Owls, Raccoons, Coyotes, and large Dogs, any of which could make her disappear.

I'm off to knock on the doors of neighbors who are at the edge of what may be her range.

#568 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 07:49 PM:

Eric @ 568: Good luck -- I always hated the uncertainty when a cat failed to return. It's one the main reasons I converted to keeping mine indoors all the time; I just couldn't deal with the stress.

HLN: Exhausted woman is exhausted after an 9 hour review of the program, from top to bottom and back again. Off to let the FG take care of her, now that the animals are fed, played with, and given treats.

#570 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 09:30 PM:

eric, #552: GoodThoughts being sent for your kitty's safe return. I've never lived in an area that was rural enough for me to feel safe letting mine outside.

David, #570: Yay indeed!

#571 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 09:47 PM:

tykewriter: Linux.

Congratulations! I recommend you go to the Making Light discussions that I started here and here. You're now become the poster child for the behavior described!

#572 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 09:58 PM:

Dwelling on the topic again, I'm not sure that "helpiness" is better than Lurking Maggie's "hlep." "Helpiness" does have the advantage of working well with Stephen Colbert's word, but "hlep" does have the advantage of concision...

#573 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 10:09 PM:

Bruce #572:

Somehow, this line of discussion is reminding me of the Sublimer missionary in Excession.

#574 ::: CZEdwards ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 11:09 PM:

HLN: Local woman realizes that moving 1000 miles away from her family was not far enough. Local woman wishes she was raised by wolves. Local woman considers changing email and phone number, and is thinking Vermont, the Puget Sound and Australia sound very nice and very far away, except for the packing and moving (or disposal of) 2 tons of books. Local woman recalls that she was promised Moon bases by 2010 and is feeling distinctly cheated. Local woman recalls how happy she was as an only child. Is it Dysfunctional Family Day yet?

If anyone knows of jobs in the Phoenix Metro area for a project manager (not, unfortunately, software PMing) or accounting experience, please let me know. Or for that matter, just about any admin-ish type work. Or... kinda anything willing to hire a 50+ with management experience and a gap in her resume. Because if my mother doesn't get back to work, soon, I'm going to end up with a parent living with me, or a parent living with my [redacted] sister, neither of which will do much for anybody's mental health.

#575 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2011, 11:56 PM:

#570 David

And of course Pres. Obama won;t get the credit for that OR for getting James "Whitey" Bulger. The criminal mastermind's in custody again, and his female companion, a day after the FBI put out the word, "Have you seen this woman?" someone had given them a tip of "Yes, I have seen her" and the FBI collected its long-time Most Wanted criminal, and his companion. Someone;s got one whopping payout- $100,00 for Grieg, and $2,000,000 for Bulger....

The Obama administration deserves the credit. Bulger's been implicated in 19 KNOWN murders. I had to stop reading Brutal, a memoir of one his henchmen--who turned detractor after finding out Bulger sold him out after Bulger said "never cooperate with law enforcement" -- Bulger failed to stay within the code of the criminal which code he promoted...--. It reads like fiction, but it's not, it's cold-blooded relating of criminal murderous brutal depravity....

Obama's predecessor had 8 years to get Bulger, and instead put a presidential gag order on the FBI records about Bulger.... deneoconization apparently had gone far enough to get the FBI unshackeled from the Schmuck's actions (suppressing FBI agents and offices which wanted to investigate suspicious Middle Easterners in the USA with no innocuous-seeming reasons to be here, taking jumbo jet flight lessons and not wanting to learn to land then, and that special unit of intelligence following Osama bin Laden and warning of an attack such as airplane again the World Trade Center--ostentatiously ignored by the Schmuck who kept putting off being briefed about the threat from Al-Qaida. I want to say "Damn him and his cronies to hell" and -mean- it...

Anyway, the FBI, this week, a year and a half after Obama took office, has taken into custody a man who evaded the FBI for 16 years, and made chumps of the entire FBI apparatus for decaded before that. Kudos to the FBI, and the President, and the Attorney General and all the staff.

#576 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 12:02 AM:

Um, two and a half years, not one and a half, Paula. You're usually better about your numbers than that.

#577 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 12:38 AM:

Serge @ 557:

Well, I did become a programmer when COBOL was it, and we punched cards.

And what had the cards done to you that they deserved to be punched?

#578 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 01:21 AM:

Bruce Cohen @578

I heard they refused to address Elder Serge by his proper title.

#579 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 01:44 AM:

I understand Obama is planning to withdraw his troops from you, Serge. Was it your breath?

#580 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 01:48 AM:

SamChevre: "Since NEC has required GFCI circuits in bathrooms since the 70's, I assumed that bathroom circuits were GFCI-protected in anything built since the mid-80's."

Well, that would be why, then. I've never lived in anything built since the mid-80s. Grew up in a house that was a 1957 build, which means cinderblock tract house (and I highly recommend cinderblock or its functional equivalent for hot climates; that's a good 20-25º heat reduction in wall thickness alone.) Went to college in a dorm that was probably 1970s era and then to an apartment that was definitely 70s era; a house built pre-code by dimwits; another 1970s apartment; a lovely little 1960s apartment with a pink oven; a short stay at my in-laws' lovely 1920s farmhouse (rewired mid-80s but by the homeowner, so no GFI outlets) and then to Denver—another 1970s apartment. Here to Sacramento and an early 1980s apartment with shower heads at an appalling 5'6" in height, and then to my current house, a 1980 build. Which meant no GFI, but at least we don't have to worry about lead paint or asbestos.

Four states. Six of those living spaces were in a three-year period (and I HATE moving.) Never lived in anything recent and I only just noticed.

#581 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 02:00 AM:

David Harmon @ 570: "FBI raids 'scareware' scammers."

FBI raids hosting facility containing computers rented by scammers. FBI takes away a stack of computers. Several other people renting computers at that facility wake up to find their servers offline or missing. (This affected Instapaper and Pinboard, although both had servers in other locations to fall back on.)

The Instapaper guy just reported that his server came back up, although he still thinks the FBI had possession of it for a couple of days.

#582 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 02:32 AM:

B. Durbin @ #581 "a lovely little 1960s apartment with a pink oven"

Oh my. I've been around my share of avocado and harvest gold appliances, but pink is new to me. That must have surprised every visitor you had in the place.

#583 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 03:35 AM:

Thanks for all the constructive suggestions for antivirus software. I'll let you know how Avast behaves. This weekend I'll try to run Flash Disinfector (may need to turn Avast off - AVG certainly didn't like it) to check & give some protection to all my thumb drives and external hard drives. Might run Malwarebytes over them again as well.

B. Durbin @ 581: Never lived in anything recent - We're back to that USA/UK difference again*. I'd consider all the buildings you mention to be "recent" except for the 1920s farmhouse!

The farmhouse we moved to in 1981 was about 250 years old at that time - thick walls indeed, and the barn roofed with large slabs of stone (not slate like on the main house roof). The house I live in now was built in 1929; the main disadvantage is that the (brick) walls are solid, no cavity, so we can't put insulation into them, but the rooms are larger than in houses built in the following decade. I would have quite liked a Victorian house (there are quite a few round here) but we didn't find one which suited us, while this one is just right (there's an extension on the back which was the previous owners' home cinema and is my home office/library).

CZEdwards @ 575: Sympathies!

*The British think 200 miles is a long distance, the Americans think 200 years is a long time.

#584 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 04:05 AM:

Has anybody here heard of a blogger named Bellatrys, AKA Philosopher at Large or P@L? If so, have you heard from/about her in the past two years? She appears to have dropped off the face of the fluorosphere. I am only associated with her in that I used to read/post at her LJ and I recommend her hilarious illustration of a scene in the first Gor book* to people wondering what the heck goes on in John Norman's mind.** AFAIK she thinks I'm--how did she put it?--something about a lazy privileged housewife, a stooge of the patriarchy, and a Christian (spit) to boot--but I still admire her and think about her occasionally. She wrote some mind-blowing posts about what it's like to be gaslighted by your own parents ("Heisenberg's Bastard"), life in a patriocentric household, and the philosophical underpinnings of the Discworld. Then she just--poof.

I hope she won the lottery or lucked into a fantastic job.

*She simply illustrated it exactly as written:*** the hero receiving a manly welcome-back hug from his local sidekick. But she used all of Norman's descriptive details about the characters from throughout the book. It's a mostly-naked bear on his knees hugging a mostly-naked twink. Also note that the princess they just rescued has been sent off to do . . . something or other.

**Penises. Penises everywhere. Penises and spit.

***A professional animator, who I won't name because she is also trying to sell a comic to people in the same demographic as the authors she used to illustrate "for," used to do this for bad fanfic. It's amazing how many of these Mary Sues looked incredibly silly when they were illustrated simply as they had been written, without exaggeration. Norman's lack of self-awareness**, but generally less skeevy--more a matter of not realizing that a character with lavender hair and eyes that looked like rainbow-colored archery targets probably wouldn't be the best choice to blend in as an ordinary student while spying on the bad guys, even at Hogwarts.****

****I just realized that I am feebly trying to imitate Bellatrys's excellent command of stream-of-consciousness prose. I hope she's okay. Unfortunately, as of two years ago, signs pointed to Probably Not. Anybody know?

#585 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 04:10 AM:

dcb @563:

Oh yeah...was it you that was inquiring after pix of guinea pigs a while back that I spaced responding to properly?

#586 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 04:21 AM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @572,3" "hlep." "Helpiness"

This kind of behavior is labeled, in our family, "weasel help"

#587 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 08:28 AM:

Hyperlocal News: Man dreams of a vinyl Springsteen bootleg opening with "Whispering Pines" and a woman who let him put his arm around her and lean on her shoulder.

#588 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 08:43 AM:

Jacque @ 586: Yes. Could still use some. Also domestic mice and rats. We put pictures in quite low-res (about 50 KB, so no use anyone stealing for use in printed publications) and with a photographer/copyright notice. Occasionally we get requests from people asking for the contact details of the photographer so they can talk about using the picture elsewhere (we do provide a link to the photographer's website, if appropriate).

#589 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 11:07 AM:

Linkmeister #583:

We once had a pink oven. And it had sideways-opening double doors. (Which was the only neat feature about it.) Over twenty years later, a friend we had to dinner still recalls the thing with fond bemusement.

Me, I remember the rest of the house (late 50s) with absolute horror; after the carpeted half-bath, the painted-over flocked wallpaper, the gold-painted columns in a living room nook, the pink-veined black tile and pink fixtures in the main bath, the pegboard shelves in one of the bedrooms, and an incredible musty smell from the carpets, the fleas that took up residence when the houses on both sides inexplicably became vacant simultaneously were just the last straw. It still took an encounter with "The Secret Garden" (I'd never read it before) to promote enough healing that we could persuade ourselves to *go rent something else*.

Five months was way too much.

#591 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 12:31 PM:

Jenny @585: Has anybody here heard of a blogger named Bellatrys, AKA Philosopher at Large or P@L? If so, have you heard from/about her in the past two years?

I've been wondering about her too. Her last posts to dKos were in Oct. 2009; her last posts to LJ were in Dec. 2009.

Someone posted in Dec. 2010 that Bellatrys was "missing since early January 2010, possibly dead." I don't know where the Jan. 2010 sighting was.

I've thought about trying to contact her via an old PayPal donation button, but IIRC that address points to a now-expired domain.

#592 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 12:38 PM:

In the news, the troubling, upsetting, gripping story of Sunny Sheu's harassment and (perhaps) murder at the hands of the NYPD/Queens prosecutor/Queens superior court.

#593 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 12:39 PM:

I have a comment being held for review, I guess because it has a link to Black Star News.

#594 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 12:46 PM:

The Modesto Kid @594:

It was actually held because the link was munged beyond retrieval. Want to try again, slavishly copying all of the punctuation elements in the HTML Tags section above the comment box?

#595 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 12:50 PM:

Oh! That's weird. Let's try: In the news, the troubling, upsetting, gripping story of Sunny Sheu's harassment and (perhaps) murder at the hands of the NYPD/Queens prosecutor/Queens superior court.

seems to work. Thanks, abi.

#596 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 12:52 PM:

We still have the pink oven this place had when we moved in. It's ancient but still works well enough we can't justify replacing it (especially as it's an odd size and would probably require reconstruction of the cabinets it fits into.)

However, we no longer have the previous hot pink and turquoise kitchen counter and color scheme for the kitchen. Some peoples' color sense is very different from mine.

I vaguely remember Bellatrys but know nothing about her, sorry. I can hope she's alive and well.

#597 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 12:53 PM:

Um, I first learned to program in BASIC and on punchtape (in high school; in college we used punchcards.

Yes, I'm _that_ ancient.

#598 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 12:54 PM:

Um, I first learned to program in BASIC and on punchtape (in high school; in college we used punchcards).

Yes, I'm _that_ ancient.

(apologies if this posts twice; spotted missing punctuation after hitting post)

#599 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 12:54 PM:

(A nice feeling of frisson though, to have my comment held for moderation! Gotta be a first time for everything...)

We watched Midnight in Paris last night and loved it. Among its many, many great moments it has Gertrude Stein talking briefly about science fiction.

#600 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 12:55 PM:

Someone with better skills than me needs to write a ROT13 type page which translates a URL into the appropriately formatted HTML.

#601 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 01:01 PM:

Jenny #585: I'd been wondering about her too. You're absolutely right, she has dropped off the face of the net. I hope nothing bad has happened to her.

#602 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 02:35 PM:

Are there countries that have notably good justice systems?

I'm talking about being careful that their charges and trials make sense. Probably no plea bargaining and no jail informants, forensic science kept reasonably current, no resistance to DNA testing, that sort of thing.

#603 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 02:50 PM:

Peter Falk and his crumpled raincoat have departed for the last time.

#604 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 03:46 PM:

Steve C @601: Someone with better skills than me needs to write a ROT13 type page which translates a URL into the appropriately formatted HTML.

You wish is my command.

This is me, testing its output: Steve C @601

Suggestions for enhancements welcome, especially if accompanied by relevant code.

abi: care to have a go at breaking it, and then tell me how to make it better?

#605 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 03:51 PM:

Obvious afterthought: our kind hosts have included link HTML below in their Post a comment cribsheet, right ahead of the Spelling reference

#606 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 03:56 PM:

Jacque @ 605 -

Nicely done! Thank you!

I did notice that when I use an apostrophe in the words box, it puts in an escape slash, but I can live with that.

Steve\'s Page

#607 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 04:15 PM:

RE: Ghastly Color Schemes

James Lilek's Interior Desecrators is a hoot. A hardcover gift book full of pictures of awful, awful, awful 1970s decor, plus snarky commentary.

#608 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 04:23 PM:

Jacque @606 -- yes, but people regularly run afoul of that (my guess is, because of the double-quotes before and after the link address). Hell, I've run afoul of that, regularly (and catch it in Preview).

#609 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 05:14 PM:

Fragano @ 604... So I heard.

#610 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 06:23 PM:


We survived our site visit with no glaring errors and probably keep our full accreditation for another three years.

My son is out of the hospital, and staying with the Ex for the rest of the summer. We will be doing several varieties of therapy -- his, ours (n=3), ours (n=2), theirs (n=2) and adoption services (all three of us again, I suppose).

He is in much better shape now, although still dealing with anger and is mad at both of us, albeit for different reasons. Unfortunately for me, the Ex is now also mad at me, for dating without her knowledge.

Tomorrow I have a graduation party to attend, and there are animals waiting for me to get home, plus a FG waiting for me at her place.

I hope everyone has a lovely and safe weekend!

#611 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 06:43 PM:

Ginger @ 611... there are animals waiting for me to get home, plus a FG waiting for me at her place

Decisions, decisions...

#612 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 08:14 PM:

Back to Boolean logic school for you, Serge. Ginger's statement was "plus (and) a FG", not "or a FG".


#613 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 08:19 PM:

Linkmeister @ 613... The sentence, as written, suggests that the animals are staying at the FG and are looking forward to then go home. Maybe Ginger meant "...THEN the FG...", not "...PLUS the FG...". On the other hand, the FG is a plus.

#614 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 09:00 PM:

dcb @589: Will this do? I uploaded the full-size, uncropped version. Feel free to whack it down to whatever you need. (One reason I thought that pic might be particularly useful is that it was taken less than 24 hours after the babies were born, so you have adult and juvenile forms.

Also domestic mice and rats.

Sorry, nobody in our house has a tail. Only people I even know with a tail tend to be order carnivora. I could maybe ask my vet if she has any clients who have any interest in modelling.

#615 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 09:17 PM:

Do you have diabetes?

Do you know someone who does?

Then you might want to read this. It's one very small study -- only eleven participants -- but it's an amazing result. If it can be duplicated, this may be a serious breakthrough in diabetes research. These researchers devised a way to reverse insulin resistance and normalise fasting glucose, i.e. they reversed Type 2 diabetes.

It's fascinating, if it can be duplicated. And no, they are not cranks. This is real.

#616 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 09:22 PM:

Dear mods,

I have succeeded in invoking the Gnomes of Access, and have a comment in quarantine. The reason for the quarantine is almost certainly explained by the content of the comment*, and if you can provide and answer to that question, that will serve quite as well as the comment itself.

* Comment content...wait, isn't that a brand of tea?</serge>

#617 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 09:25 PM:

me @617: e.g., while the comment preview (and my link maker) will tolerate incomplete special character codes, it seems that the spam-catcher will not. Which is fine, and as it should be.

#618 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 09:28 PM:

and: In fact, leave the borked comment in limbo where it is. Thanks!

Steve C @607: Try:

Steve&#39;s Page.

I've added a link to a special code reference to the link maker for such occassions.

#619 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 09:43 PM:

Jacque #617 et seq....

What evoked the Gnomes wasn't the link, nor was it the &#39; code.

All by accident, the word "bizarre" immediately preceded by three dots, looked to the filters like a three-letter extender associated with "business" that shows up in a lot of spam.

#620 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 09:44 PM:

HLN: Local boy pig mourns that girl pigs won't talk to him. "But they're so beeeaaaauuuuuutiful," he wails.

#621 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 09:46 PM:

Jim @620: "bizarre" immediately preceded by three dots

How, um, bizarre! (She says, valiantly resisting the impulse to repeat the offense.)

Thank you for checking up on it for me.

Teknolajeez, tey is deh weerd.

#622 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 09:49 PM:




#623 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 09:50 PM:

Test complete. Test sat.

#624 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 09:50 PM:

I've been wondering where bellatrys has been as well. I remember and aquaintance she seemed to know, and will probably contact that person and see what's up. I will pass on whatever I can.

#625 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 09:50 PM:

Test complete. Test sat.

#626 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 09:51 PM:

Ginger @ 611: the Ex is now also mad at me, for dating without her knowledge.

What part of "ex" does she not understand?

Glad to hear that all the other drama in your life is starting to turn towards resolution.

#627 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 09:54 PM:

Test 3



#628 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 09:55 PM:

Test 4


#629 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 10:01 PM:

Allan Beatty @627: "Ginger @ 611: the Ex is now also mad at me, for dating without her knowledge." What part of "ex" does she not understand?

::chuckle:: Yeah, that was my thought, as well. One suspects incompletely resolved feelings on the issue. (Which is probably not news.)

One sympathizes, though. I can't imagine that it's easy to share care and upbringing of a child with someone with whom one's relationship is, um, fraught. One can't reasonably just get away, and I'm sure that engenders a whole 'nother layer of issues.

Ginger, you have my sympathies, as does your ex, and everyone involved. I hope y'all can navigate your "growth opportunity" to maximum benefit of everyone.

#630 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 10:03 PM:

Test 5


::shrug:: Seems appropriate.

#631 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 10:47 PM:

Ginger: thanks for the update. I'm so glad to hear that things are improving (anger aside).

Hoping for more improvement through the various manifestations of therapy . . . .

Warm thoughts to you and everyone.

#632 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2011, 12:54 AM:

Jacque @ 619 -

That works - thanks!

Steve's Page

#633 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2011, 12:57 AM:

Fragano Ledgister @604: Peter Falk and his crumpled raincoat have departed for the last time.

Loved Columbo — checked out a lot of things just because Peter Falk was in them.

This was one of my favorites of his movie appearances.

He hadn't got as much when he pawned his armor, but that had been many years earlier.

#634 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2011, 01:04 AM:

Hyperlocal news... Man annoyed that DVR's malfunction meant no recording of season premiere of "Burn Notice". Man even more annoyed when cable company said that, according to their records, he doesn't have a DVR.

#635 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2011, 07:20 AM:


I'm not sure asking the users to learn special codes if they want to use a humble apostrophe works as a long-term strategy, particularly since the point of the link maker is presumably to save people from having to think too hard about special codes in the first place.

If it were my link maker, I'd let people use their apostrophes, and add a search-and-replace pass to de-escape the escaped apostrophes before printing the output. It ought to be safe to do so; an apostrophe only becomes a special character needing to be escaped in particular contexts, and I don't believe any of them apply in this case.

#636 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2011, 08:45 AM:

615 ::: Jacque @615: That will do nicely - I can even caption it with a comment about the fact that guinea pigs are born fully furred and with open eyes, that these are only 24 hours old.

How do you want your name for the photographer/copyright statement? You can e-mail me if you want at dbourne (at)

Ginger: thanks for the update; glad to hear things are improving.

#637 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2011, 11:09 AM:

If you are in the mood for something astonishing and inspiring this Saturday morning, you ought to go read about Jose Antonio Vargas coming out for the second time in his life.

#638 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2011, 11:25 AM:

@dcb: "The British think 200 miles is a long distance, the Americans think 200 years is a long time."

One of those moves—from Spokane to Eugene—took place over six weeks. We'd load up the car on Wednesday, drive down the Gorge, unload, spend two nights, and leave brutally early on Friday so I could be at work by 5PM (radio slavey.) 464 miles, one way. Over 900 miles each week because the idea of driving a moving van down the exceedingly windy Columbia River Gorge was too scary.

Anyways, I'm a West Coastie. Any house here over a half-century is usually either downtown* (and therefore expensive) or the premium house in the neighborhood (and therefore also expensive.) The 1920s farmhouse is my in-laws' and is the old farmhouse in a suburban block.

*I grew up in Sacramento. One historical feature of the city is massive flooding of the type that made them eventually raise the city by twelve feet. (Seattle did the same thing but Sacramento doesn't have enough of the original underground to make for good tours.) I was an adult before I realized that Victorian houses did not normally have a sweeping staircase leading up to the front entry on the second (first in your parlance, UK person) floor, and the servant's quarters on the ground floor. Or that the magnificent front porches were that way to double as boat docks.

#639 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2011, 11:28 AM:

If you are in the mood for something astonishing and inspiring this Saturday morning

That is to say, in the course of being astonished and inspired by they news from New York State this Saturday morning.

#640 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2011, 01:08 PM:

I have been reminded of another term we may need a more elegant name for that I think is tangentially related to Hlep/Helpiness/Weasel Help. An example is probably in order, so here we go:

This week there's a blog post that's tearing around FaceBook which features a husband, a wife, a friend, bath towels, shopping, and a non-towel purchase--I've got a link below. What's fascinating to me are the replies to the piece.

Most posters found it hilarious--I agree it's funny, but would have found it funnier if I hadn't spent the whole thing thinking about what a dick the husband was at the beginning of the post. Some just didn't get it and were therefore aggressively against it. Some were sexist assholes. Some were passive-aggressive assholes. One was passive-aggressive because she was in desperate financial straits and the apparent waste of money made by making the purchase rubbed it in hard. Some are trying hard to win places in Teresa's Troll Garden. All those we've got good names for, so they're not pertinent.

The ones that bother me are in a class that the only name I have for it is "Swallow a slug," a term that was come up with by a psychologist named Jennifer James that used to do a local radio show in this area. It's the urge to help by giving unsolicited advice that's borderline toxic to the recipient, rather than Hlep/Helpiness/Weasel Help. Hence the name James gave it: "Here's a banana slug. Swallow it!"

I'd always thought the best example I'd seen was from a local newspaper columnist who had been in the first or second group of Green Berets ever created: it was so far back his training was mainly done on skis in mountains. He was going through the equivalent of a graduation ceremony at the end, and after picking up his diploma/certificate/what have you was on the podium shaking hands with the guy that had helped create the program when that official made his only comment of the day beyond "Congratulations, Insert Name Here": "Hinterberger, don't screw up." See, it looks helpful but does harm, and it is much nastier in its mental effects than Hlep/Helpiness/Weasel Help.

Scattered through the 1K+ comments here you'll fine folks giving relationship advice because they can see clearly that the blog's author is in a toxic relationship, or lecturing on class theory and why the author's raising of thousands of dollars with her blog for charity in the past really isn't relevant, and so on: folks posting out of the blue, handing her a banana slug, and urging her to feel it sliding down her throat while she chows down on it. I keep thinking there's GOT to be a better term for this--anyone have any better suggestions?

#641 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2011, 01:21 PM:

How about "pleh," for the opposite of help.

#642 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2011, 03:42 PM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @641 -- I've always heard that sort of thing referred to as pissing in someone's Cheerios, whether it's specifically advice that's being given thereby or not.

#643 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2011, 04:21 PM:

The trouble with 'pleh' is that it's not obviously* a variant of 'help' (unlike 'helpiness' and 'hlep'). How about 'maladvice'?

*Without the surrounding discussion, I wouldn't have noticed that 'pleh' is 'help' spelled backwards.

#644 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2011, 04:38 PM:

Many thanks to the people who suggested the train as a way to get from Montreal to Ottawa. It worked very well.

#645 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2011, 04:46 PM:

On helpiness. Although this doesn't apply to the two occasions that I remember triggering a discussion here, the other side of the problem is also real -- the sort of question that Raymond Chen characterises as "How can I inflate a bicycle tire with a potato?", or for local sensibilities "Should I register my copyright before sending my manuscript to PublishAmerica?". Sometimes it really is best not to answer the question that was asked.

#646 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2011, 05:37 PM:

Steve C. @633: That works - thanks!

De nada. It's just a mutated version of my Colorado property tax calculator.

#647 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2011, 05:39 PM:

Bruce @ 641

"You're in charge, but don't touch the controls"? Yeah.

I'm fond of anti-help, personally. I have this mental image of wonderfully dramatic explosions as the anti-help runs into determined HELPers and they mutually explode all over somebody's forum...

(Golly, I'm glad I don't mod any forums these days...)

#648 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2011, 05:40 PM:

Paul A. @636: If it were my link maker, I'd let people use their apostrophes, and add a search-and-replace pass to de-escape the escaped apostrophes before printing the output.

Go for it! You write the code, I'll stick it into the .php file.*

* This is my suBtle way of saying I haven't learned how to do that in PHP yet.

#649 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2011, 05:46 PM:

dcb @637: That will do nicely - I can even caption it with a comment about the fact that guinea pigs are born fully furred and with open eyes, that these are only 24 hours old.

Actually, make that 12 hours old. I think a couple of them were even nibbling on lettuce that evening for dinner. (It is possible, apparently, for baby guinea pigs to go straight to solid food and survive without ever nursing.)

My full name is accessible by clicking on my name at the header of this comment. (Not that I don't want to email you; it's just that it's hot, and I'm tired, and email involves opening a Whole 'Nother Window. ::dainty swoon::)

#650 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2011, 05:55 PM:

dcb @584: The British think 200 miles is a long distance, the Americans think 200 years is a long time.

Boulder County is celebrating its sesquicentennial this year. We haven't even been around "a long time" by American standards!

#651 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2011, 07:06 PM:

@Nancy Mittens #625: Thanks.

I don't really know why it's bugging me all of a sudden. If we were both Christian, I would take this niggling feeling as a prompting to pray for her as well as look for news of her welfare.

#652 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2011, 07:20 PM:

Lee 485: Disabled or give a damn about people who are? Don't fly Frontier Airlines.


Ginger 611: Unfortunately for me, the Ex is now also mad at me, for dating without her knowledge.

What the HELL business is it of hers?!?!?! Geez, some people.

#653 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2011, 07:32 PM:

Lila @ 325: I think the Giants may have outdone your weird inning today:

A rare scoring opportunity seemed to pass by the Giants when Schierholtz bombed a ball from Tribe starter Justin Masterson to left-center field, only to trip on his way to third and get tagged out in a rundown by Cleveland first baseman Jack Hannahan. But much like Carlos Santana's errors at first on Friday gave San Francisco a chance to overcome its lack of offense, a pair of fielding errors by Phelps kept the Giants alive Saturday.

After Schierholtz's miscue, Miguel Tejada chopped an easy out to Phelps, but the throw went just wide enough to draw Hannahan off the bag and allow Tejada to slide safely into first. After Chris Stewart flied out, Cain knocked a ball that went in and out of Phelps' glove, putting two runners on for Andres Torres. The hero of Friday night's 4-3 win, Torres drew a walk off lefty Tony Sipp, who relieved Masterson, to extend the rally.

Sipp flinched with the bases loaded and Emmanuel Burriss in the batter's box, leading home-plate umpire Bob Davidson to call a balk that scored Tejada.

That was the only run of the game.

#654 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2011, 08:09 PM:

Friday night's Dodgers - Angels game was weird too:

Bobby Abreu drew a two-out walk and stole second base in the top of the first inning. That was followed by a single by Vernon Wells, who took an overly ambitious turn around first base and found himself in a rundown. While the Dodgers were occupied with Wells, Abreu tried to sneak home. He was easily thrown out.


Alberto Callaspo scored a run for the Angels in the second inning, but barely — he touched home plate an instant before Jeff Mathis was thrown out at third base for the final out. Earlier in the inning, Mark Trumbo was picked off at first base by catcher Dioner Navarro.

So, to recap: In the first two innings, the Angels were caught stealing, thrown out at the plate, picked off first by catcher Dioner Navarro, thrown out trying to advance to third on a single and picked off first again by Navarro.

Sadly, none of that mattered. The Angels still won 8 - 3.

#655 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2011, 08:11 PM:

Xopher @ 653... Maybe the Ex is unclear on the 'Ex' concept. Or maybe she realizes that she once had an FG.

#656 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2011, 08:26 PM:

Noodling around on the Web last night produced a vague childhood memory of a much-loved book which I cannot now identify by Google. Ravelry -> (various steps in between) -> offhand reference on Wikipedia to a legend about the Empress Cunigunde planting a linden tree. (of course! Why not?)

Cunigunde! Linden trees! There was a book in my childhood which I think belonged to my father's sisters before me, and which thus predates 1960. I don't remember if the characters in it were toys; I have a vague feeling that they might have been? (Unless I am somehow confusing it with the Adventures of Bangwell Putt, which is otherwise entirely unrelated.) I'm pretty sure it had a fantastic element to it. Anyway, there was the Empress Cunigunde (possibly spelled differently) and a linden tree. Book was definitely in English.

The memory is teasing me now. Help? I've had lots of good answers to questions in the past from the Fluorosphere, for which I am thankful.

#657 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2011, 08:33 PM:

About hlep, helpiness, or pleh: I'm soaking in it!

As those of you who look at my LJ know, I am deeply into the madness that is chicken raising, and just survived a strenuous time that saw me building two quarantine facilities in ten days: four days into the marathon construction, I fell and cracked two ribs. The amount of unhelpful nonadvice I've gotten about raising chickens and coping with related chores while attempting to follow medical advice about healing my ribs has been astonishing, equalled only by the flood of same stuff I got when I first let people know I'd been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

The fasting study is fascinating; it is not, however, relevant to that person you know who was diagnosed with Type 2 more than five years ago, who is now insulin dependant and is prone to inexplicable and dangerous morning lows. It may lead to a revolution in treatment, but it is important to note that it closely resembles the way newly diagnosed Type 2 people were treated circa 1958, a methodology which was abandoned when it led to other health problems in some patients. And it is at odds with other studies which suggest that fasting can worsen Type 2 diabetes in some individuals. There obviously needs to be follow-up studies made to differentiate between people who are helped by the two-week, 600 calorie fast, and people who have their symptoms made worst by low-calorie regimens, but after fifteen years of following the publications, I am not optimistic that such studies will be undertaken.

#658 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2011, 08:51 PM:

For those who like that sort of thing: a rather silly piece of music I made entirely with mouth sounds (with some electronic processing).

#659 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2011, 09:03 PM:

Tim Walters @659: That is exceedingly silly. Parts of it remind me of what you'd get if a didgeridoo reincarnated as a motorcycle, or perhaps the other way around.

Other parts remind me of the score for Forbidden Planet.

#660 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2011, 09:24 PM:

Naomi Parkhurst@657:

I am vaguely reminded of a Joan Aiken short story, but I don't think that would be pre-1960.

#661 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2011, 09:29 PM:

thomas @661

Hrm. The feel of it in my memory isn't much like Joan Aiken's writing and I am reasonably certain it was multi-chapter. I could be wrong about the age.

(But now I want to go read Joan Aiken, so there is that benefit!)

#662 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2011, 09:36 PM:

JESR @ 658... Best wishes, regarding your treatment. And with coping with the coop.

#663 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2011, 09:38 PM:

albatross: How about "pleh," for the opposite of help.

I'd go for it personally, but it's the punchline of a joke from SNL most famous as "too tasteless" for Johnny Carson to use on The Tonight Show...

Debbie: I've always heard that sort of thing referred to as pissing in someone's Cheerios, whether it's specifically advice that's being given thereby or not.

Interesting! I'd never run into that particular variant, but have run into "So who pissed in your/his/her/their Wheaties?" as the response made after someone verbally tears someone else's head off with no warning.

Mary Aileen: The trouble with 'pleh' is that it's not obviously* a variant of 'help' (unlike 'helpiness' and 'hlep'). How about 'maladvice'?

Maladvice could work for helpiness/hlep/what have you as well, but it might work better as a replacement for the "swallow a slug" category, which is more damaging advice than inept advice. Then again, it lacks the kick-to-the-throat emphasis which makes "swallow a slug" so effective. What do you think?

KayTei: I'm fond of anti-help, personally. I have this mental image of wonderfully dramatic explosions as the anti-help runs into determined HELPers and they mutually explode all over somebody's forum...

Welcome to Slashdot! I gave up on it the second or third time I ever looked at it when I hit an old discussion on mental states where someone with Asperger's syndrome put in a description of how he perceived the world and acted upon what he perceived, and suddenly it was "scream incoherently" day with dozens of comments about "pay attention to people around you and shut up!" and how he was just milking it/faking it/blowing it out of proportion/lying/using it to excuse his being a SOB to everyone he knew, with those few trying to take his side getting in a flame war of their own. (Trust me, the guy's post evidenced nothing to trigger such a response.) I closed the URL and never looked back...

JESR: The amount of unhelpful nonadvice I've gotten about raising chickens and coping with related chores while attempting to follow medical advice about healing my ribs has been astonishing, equalled only by the flood of same stuff I got when I first let people know I'd been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

That reminds me of when I first ended up in the hospital with diabetes, accompanied by pancreatitis and a triglyceride count of 3,000. (100 is normal.) An in-law had had pancreatitis which was treated by removal of his gall bladder, and because of this another in-law developed a minor fixation that if I had my gall bladder removed it would take care of the diabetes. Uh huh.

#664 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2011, 10:05 PM:

Bruce E. Durocher II (664): I was suggesting 'maladvice' for the "swallow a slug" category; apologies for not being clear. It's not as visceral as "swallow a slug," but I think it conveys the intended meaning more succinctly.

#665 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2011, 10:21 PM:

Courtesy of visiting my sister today, I am currently eating jam made from raspberries that were picked this morning. On bread that came out of the oven 15 minutes ago.... Yum!

#666 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2011, 10:40 PM:

David Harmon @ #666 (! Run away!), I have made apple butter in my bread machine, but not recently. I did make some flatbread the other day which wouldn't be averse to some kinds of jam.

#667 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2011, 10:58 PM:

JESR at 658: you're probably right. I try to stay hopeful. I don't have diabetes (at least, not yet), but I have intimate experience with it: my mother was an insulin-dependent brittle diabetic for 35 years, and I was her caregiver for the last eleven years of her life. I WANT this result to be duplicated many times, I want many more studies to be done, I want more info, much more info, I want -- ah, sh*t. I want a cure.

#668 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2011, 11:07 PM:

Bruce, everybody's got a theory about what you can do to cure your diabetes forever: in my case I'd be well dead if I followed any of it, as I am prone to scary lows pretty much at random (except related to caloric intake the previous day), and whereas highs are bad for your eyes (and a bunch of other organs, but that's how the saying goes), lows will kill you.

#669 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2011, 11:15 PM:

thomas@661 -- Aiken's first two story collections were 1953 (All You Ever Wanted) and 1955 (More Than You Bargained For). In odd bibliotrivia, they were combined into the volume All and More (in the 1970s -- appears to have this wrong, listing it just as a reprint of the first and not giving a date); when released in pb in 1974, they didn't have room for the whole book so they called it All But a Few. So it's quite easy to have Aiken short stories from before 1960 -- you wouldn't even have to go to the magazines!

#670 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2011, 12:44 AM:

I looked at that diabetes study as well, and I'd only take that treatment as an inpatient. The crashes would be spectacular. And that was a quite small study group, as well.

For myself, a brief flirtation with a modified South Beach diet worked pretty well a few years back - I dropped a few pounds and reduced my blood sugars. Now I'm doing Weight Watchers, mainly because their tools and methodology interest me. The message at my first meeting was "Eat your veggies and exercise". No surprise there.

#671 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2011, 12:53 AM:

Dave Luckett:

My condolences for your loss, and my sympathies for the manner in which it occurred. I too was moved by your poem, though I can understand why you dislike it. I've written poems in the immediate wake of sorrow and grief, and my experience is that no matter how good the poem may be, it still holds the edge of the knife to my throat.

#672 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2011, 01:51 AM:

I read that piece about the giant metal chicken, and I thought it was moderately funny.

The thing is, I found the author's claim that it's reality thoroughly amplified for humorous purposes very plausible. If it had been literally true, it would describe quite an awful marriage, and I'm wondering what I was using for cues that it wasn't true.

#673 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2011, 01:55 AM:

It re the diabetes study: another aspect is that the net effect of eight weeks of extreme undernourishment might be worse than type 2 diabetes.

From another angle, it seems as though getting fat out of the pancreas might have a very good effect. I wonder if liposuction is feasible.

#674 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2011, 02:11 AM:

Nancy, I wouldn't think so. The pancreas is so vascular that you can't do surgery on or near it without the patient simply bleeding out. I would think lipo would be too rough for that organ.

My dad died of the mechanical effect of a tumor of the membrane surrounding the pancreas. They couldn't do anything about it because it was optimized for that location, and they couldn't touch it.

#675 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2011, 06:49 AM:

Tonight is the season premiere of "Leverage" on TNT.

#676 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2011, 07:40 AM:

JESR @658: I am deeply into the madness that is chicken raising, and just survived a strenuous time that saw me building two quarantine facilities in ten days

One gets the sense that chickens could take over one's life quite as much as guinea pigs do.

HLN: Local woman awoken at cocks-crow—by a cock crowing. "Didn't realize we had residences around here that would admit the keeping of chickens," she remarks.

#677 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2011, 08:02 AM:

Speaking of diets optimized to manage blood glucose, the prickley pears are in bloom. Local woman contemplates terrorizing resident prairie dogs to liven up her salad.

Nb: Prickley pear jelly doesn't. Makes a lovely syrup, though.

#678 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2011, 08:09 AM:

<dispeptic scowl>
Oh, and yes, I do know what they do with guinea pigs in Peru. Thank you. Not least because abso-freakin'-lutely everyone* seems to feel compelled to point this out to me.
</dispeptic scowl>

* Though no one in this conversation. For which I am grateful.

#679 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2011, 10:33 AM:

JESR @658 and others.

I think Diabetes being divided into just two types is likely to be an over-simplification. Control of blood-sugar is a complicated process, and the likely biochemical flaws which can lead to high blood sugar levels must cover a wider range.

In this particular instance, I think the media often failed to make even the basic Type-I/Type-II distinction.

But it doesn't, at this stage, sound outright crazy that a particular sort of diabetes can be usefully treated in this way. The problem is going to be in finding the people with that precise problem.

#680 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2011, 10:34 AM:

Re the diabetes study: I agree, no one, and certainly no diabetic, should reduce caloric intake that much without direct medical supervision. I would like to see more study, however.

A non-diabetic friend of mine, about ten years ago, facing hip replacement surgery, decided to go on a medically supervised fast. He became an in-patient at a facility in California which specializes in supervised fasting. He did not eat for (I think) about 28 days. Lots of water, regular blood tests to make sure he was not screwing up his kidneys, etc. He lost about 30 pounds. He said the hardest part of the fast was what not eating did to his sleep patterns.

#681 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2011, 10:58 AM:

Re the diabetes study: that's basically the point of bariatric surgery, which is now being touted as a cure for diabetes. The post-surgery diet for gastric bypass is EXTREMELY restricted (no solid food for 8 weeks, for example).

#682 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2011, 11:44 AM:

Jacque @ 650: Okay, got it; I had read it from there but didn't want to just presume that's how you wanted it to appear.

HLN: Area woman nearly falls asleep at family dinner out for husband's birthday. Comes home, sleeps 11.5 hours. Feels somewhat better. Comments to husband: "Now the laptop is virus-free, and curtains etc. messed up in getting the new double-glazing fitted are sorted, let's try to get to bed early and not be in massive sleep-deficit again by next weekend."

#683 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2011, 12:16 PM:

Lila at 682: that particular outcome of bariatric surgery was what prompted the folks who did the diabetic study to do it. They theorized that the reason bariatric surgery often reverses diabetes is because the surgery forces people who have it to undergo what they call "acute negative energy balance." They designed the study to reproduce "acute negative energy balance" without surgery. It worked.

#684 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2011, 01:00 PM:

Serge @ 676: Thanks for the heads up about Leverage!

Patrick Connors @ 671: I'm a big fan of the Weightwatchers program. It's a healthy, commonsense approach and builds habits that can help you maintain your weight loss. The points system (instead of counting calories) is a subtle brain hack that works on me. The meetings aren't for everyone, but they help me. The recipes are actually really good - lots of fresh vegetables, whole grains, lean meat, herbs and spices. Mind you, I don't touch their prepared foods. Highly processed stuff that would make Michael Pollan swoon.

JESR: Careful! Judging by what I see in Portland, chickens are the gateway drug to miniature goats. Kids are adorable.

HLN: Area woman, who has had some form of remodeling going on since April 2nd, believes she only has 3 more weeks to go.

#685 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2011, 02:28 PM:

A more realistic assessment from the NHS of the diabetes study can be found here:
(courtesy of a Jim Smith on Charlie Stross's blog, which got hit with a heavy dose of helpiness on this topic.)

#686 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2011, 03:19 PM:

Clifford at 686: More realistic than what? I said it was an amazing result. I think that's true. I didn't say everyone should immediately go forth and diet -- good lord, no. I made no claims for it, and I stated very clearly that much more research was required. Dave Bell's comment appears to me to be quite apt.

But if you are made uncomfortable by my enthusiasm, I'll temper it by saying: this study could be a one-off, and this whole approach could turn out to be useless.

It's still worth looking at.

#687 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2011, 03:21 PM:

Lizzy L: Yep. For the surgery to work, you have to adhere to the diet. The risks of the surgery itself are not trivial, and there's also a risk of severe malnutrition afterwards. So it's certainly tempting to look for a way to cut out as many of those risks as possible by just doing the diet without the surgery.

One problem inherent in this situation is that currently there is more money to be made by doing surgery than by simply severely restricting calorie intake.

I am not a big fan of bariatric surgery, but I'm also not competent to evaluate its cost/benefit ratio. Being a PTA, my preference is always going to be in favor of prevention--healthy diet and appropriate exercise for everyone from the get-go--but that position is also controversial. I suppose the best we can hope for is lots of different options, and a populace educated enough to make choices on sound individual grounds.

#688 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2011, 04:34 PM:

HLN: Our Siamese, Gremlin, is back home from the emergency clinic. Ate a little chicken, drank a little water.

He still seems a bit restless and uncomfortable. Much improved over last night, though, when he had a sudden episode of severe respiratory distress, as if choking.

How bad? Bad enough that the initial note at the clinic showed him as "DOA". Chest compressions and oxygen brought him back.

(Note: I'm fully aware that driving 80mph on city streets is a bad idea. On the other hand, if I hadn't, Gremlin probably would have come home in a cardboard coffin.)

Cause still uncertain, though the possibles aren't reassuring. No actual obstruction in the airway. Possibly cardiac in origin; when I take him to his regular vet tomorrow, we'll see about getting a cardiac ultrasound.

Other mixed news: The finger on the hand I tried to hold him with when he first started choking looks like it'll heal without stitches. (The clinic was concerned about the blood on Gremlin's fur, until I told them it was mine.)

#689 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2011, 05:00 PM:

HLN: Local woman is frustrated with weedy lawn, buys broadleaf weed killer. Too hot to apply now, so she googles for advice. Internet floats the idea of planting an all-clover lawn.

Local woman admits clover patches are green even in nasty droughts, and low-maintenance lawn appeals to her laziness about yard work when it is a million degrees and a million percent humidity (i.e. late May through late October).

But local woman will probably be selling house within 1-2 years, and is concerned about ability to sell house with clover lawn, since most people will assume it's weeds. Neighborhood is lower-middle-class to working poor; appearances of traditional respectability (like grassy lawns) matter.

That said, lawn looks like hell now (full of dandelions, crabgrass, whatever those tall spiky-leafed weeds are) and local woman is definitely not enough of a motivated homeowner type to battle it into grassy submission, nor does she have the funds to pay a lawn service to do battle. Clover lawn would be significant visual improvement over the status quo.

Thoughts? I'm leaning toward saying the hell with it, returning the weedkiller to the store, and overseeding with white clover this fall. Since no rain and 90-100° F temps for 4 months straight seems to be the new normal here, perhaps a drought-tolerant lawn will become a selling point.

#690 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2011, 05:04 PM:

Bruce Arthurs @689: Re. driving speed: I'm sure I'd have done the same, if it was Freya doing the apparent chocking and I couldn't do anything about it myself. Sympathies, and best wishes for Gremlin's continuing health and for the investigations turning up nothing nasty.

#691 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2011, 06:31 PM:

Bruce Arthurs @689: I hope Gremlin's exams turn up nothing too difficult to handle.

Regarding that finger, though--if he bit you, keep an eye on it. Nearly all the people I know who have been bitten have developed infections.

#692 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2011, 07:07 PM:

♩ ♩ ♩ ♩
It's summer tiiiiiiiimmmmmeee
and the guineas are oblaaaaate
No one's jumpinnnnnnn'
'cause it's too damn hoooooot
♩ ♩ ♩ ♩
You'll getcher dinner
at dinner tiiiimmmeee
So quitcher sqeakiiinnnnn'
'cause I can'tdoanythingabout iiiiiitttt
♩ ♩ ♩ ♩

#693 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2011, 08:27 PM:

Okay, this is too bizarre. Donkey and JJ have been extra- and unaccountably fussy the last couple of days.

Nearly as I can work out, it's because I've been spending most of my time this weekend either reading or drawing on the computer. Unlike hand-drawing, which almost requires background noise of some sort (music, tv, etc.), computer work is like reading; I can't do it with background noise.

Apparently the boys are fussing because I'm being too quiet.

#694 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2011, 08:29 PM:

Caroline @690: re: clover lawn — maybe you could keep some bees too.

I imagine they might have some home security value (your hive is guarded by bees).

Probably wouldn't add to the resell value of the house.

#695 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2011, 09:44 PM:

Our lawn in Westwood was primarily dichondra, which was pretty. It can be left alone or mowed as the owner pleases, or so UC-Davis says.

#696 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2011, 10:52 PM:

Caroline @690: If you're willing to survive a short-term really bad look for your lawn, you could solarize it. That means you cut it as short as possible*, soak it, then cover it with clear plastic for six weeks. The idea is that the hot summer sun will bake the weeds (and everything else) out. It sterilizes the soil down to about six inches and improves it to a certain extent.

If you do it, you will probably have to replace the plastic sheeting at least once. Once it gets holes it's useless and you'll want to replace it before it shreds entirely. If I were to do this to my front yard, I would put a sign up explaining the process so that the neighbors didn't think I was a total flake. But I'm going to be doing this in the backyard, where a prior owner planted mint, which has (of course) done some serious encroachment into the yard.

Incidentally, the ONLY reason that clover is considered a weed is because when they created those broadleaf weed killers, it got the clover too. Clover in the lawn used to be desirable because it's a nitrogen fixer, a natural grass fertilizer. So I'd say that if you do this, do a seeding of grass and clover both. They'll cycle back and forth as the soil needs, and you won't have to fertilize your lawn.

*Look up those spiky-leaf plants. There are some, like nutgrass/nutsedge that you'll want to dig out before doing this process, as the solarization may not kill off the re-seeding "tubers."

#697 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2011, 10:59 PM:

I don't know how many of you are familiar with geocaching, where somebody hides a cache and gives the coordinates online so that others can find it. My parents geocache and my mother pointed me to this very funny video. The thing that struck me is that this is, basically, filk (something the songwriter may have never heard of.) It's a song about this strange thing that's going on, the singer doesn't understand it and totally misinterprets it, and it's got zombies and aliens and giant bugs wrapped up in a country song. There have to be similar songs about conventions...

#698 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2011, 11:31 PM:

Another season premier of note:

Royal Pains, USA, Wednesday.

It's an odd show. Medical mysteries ala House, social justice element ala Leverage. Oddly laid back, humor-drama.

* * *

Hmm. Odd. My dog is intently watching The Simpsons. She generally pays the TV no attention at all.

#699 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2011, 11:31 PM:

re 616: My great aunt cured her type-2 diabetes when she was in her seventies, but the way she did it was breaking her hip, ending up in the hospital, and refusing to eat to the point where she lost something like eighty pounds. She did manage to keep the weight off and healed up properly, but still it struck me even at the time as an extreme sort of treatment. And it did nothing towards curing her of living like a Dear Old Thing straight out of Southern Ladies and Gentlemen.

#700 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 12:53 AM:

Oh, wah! Netflix says it's going to stop streaming B5 after 7/1/11. Feh.

#701 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 02:47 AM:

Jacque @ #693:



I'd like to run
On my wheel tonight
Have some fun
On my wheel tonight
I'd like to run on my wheel tonight
Have some fun on my wheel tonight
But I'm all done with my wheel tonight
'Cause it's Too Darn Hot.

#702 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 03:04 AM:

Jacque @ #649:

Something like this:

if (get_magic_quotes_gpc())
  $linktext = str_replace("\\'","'",$_POST['linktext']);
  $linktext = $_POST['linktext'];
#703 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 04:07 AM:

@B. Durbin No. 698: I haven't heard one about cons, but there are some about the SCA. In "Harmless Historical Nuts," which is supposedly based on a true story, the SCA is investigated by the FBI. Then there's "Are You in a Play?" about the most common question SCAers tend to hear if they wear their garb in public.* "Freaking the Mundanes" is what happens when people who have gotten one too many stares decide, "The hell with it," and let their freak flags fly. And of course, there's the true tale of an encounter between "the very first of the lady knights within the SCA" and a fellow with a switchblade late at night in Central Park, "I'll See Your Six." ("And raise you 35!")

*This is connected to the SCA folktale about the SCAer who replied, "Why, yes! We're doing dress rehearsals for Hamlet," only to get a sad look and the reply, "Aw, damn, I thought you might be in this outfit called the SCA, I've been looking for them since I was a kid . . . " A lesson in chivalry and discretion.

#704 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 08:28 AM:

#698 ::: B. Durbin

In re geocachers having filk: Fandom isn't nearly as unique as it likes to think it is. However, I haven't heard of any other hobby group which has developed its music as far as fandom has.

#705 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 08:38 AM:

Jenny Islander: I didn't know the I'll See Your Six story had a song! I must find someone who can sing it for me at Pennsic this year.

Makes me wonder how many of the other NSTIW* stories have songs. The Cliffs of Insanity would make a good one, I think.

*: "No shit, there I was..."

#706 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 09:53 AM:

#688 Bruce
Is your Siamese being talkative or not, regarding how the cat is feeling...

#689 Caroline
The mythology behind lawns is somewhat toxic from the get-go--proof of one';s ability to support a cow, AND then not even having a cow--that is, one not only can afford a cow and its upkeep, but can afford to have all that expanse of grass and the effort and ecodestruction to have the grass and NOT have the cow (don;t need the income/products from the cow, are wealthy enough to conspicuously have unused land in extravagant wasteful takes-lots-of-upkeep prettylawn.

The whole thing is about aesthetics and values and going FAR out of the way to have an artificial "pretty" uniformity...

The driveby assholes yelling "MOW IT! I wish would extirpate themselves in their joyriding at something that their cars wrecking fatally against, wouldn't cause society any more effort to repair....

Lawn chemicals are the leading suspect in the breast cancer hotspot of Newton, Massachusetts, being a breast cancer hotspot. Lawn chemicals poison ground water and beneficial insects and even children, and cause noxious growth of undesirable (either from sheer volume, or of pest plants, and generally both...) vegetation and then dead zones in streams, rivers, lakes, seas, and oceans when the vegetation starts rotting with bacterial growth and the bacteria consume all the oxygen creating noxious dead zones (which is what's happening/happened to huge areas at the outflow of the Mississippi and off New York and New Jersey, etc.)

Lawns consume enormous amounts of clean water, and to what benefit? There are water shortages in many places, and most of that water gets squandered on non-native lawn grass for people;'s sense of "nice"... as opposed to native vegetation more suitable to an area and which often gets endangered... why, it even turns out that all those "good" red worms in soil, are BAD for New England native species, which want a thick coat of fertile leaf humus of decaying leaves on the forest floor--the red worms eat the decaying leaves instead of complex extensive fungal colonies which break down the leaves into nutrients and matter which supports healthy forests and everything that lives in a healthy forest.....

Just WHAT benefit other than the brainwashed "it looks nice" do lawns provide? Lawnmowers and noisy and smelly and air polluting with fumes and greenhouse gases and fossil fuel consumption, mowing lawns is time-consuming, short grass allows dogshit and other excrement to wash into rivers--it's the primary source of coliform bacteria in the Charles River these days and the pincipal pollutant in the water of that river now... NOT mowing the damned grass at the waterside would prevent that because bugs and "good" bacteria would breakdown the dogshit and eat the coliform bacteria....

My mother had Type II diabetes. At least one of her sisters had Type II diabetes. Their mother had Type II diabetes. All of them were substantially overweight, my mother and her sister with more than double the body mass appropriate for their heights. My surviving aunt is not diabetic--but she's also not obese.

The Ornish diet, which reverses diet-caused heart disease, is also Type II diabetes preventive... it's rather draconian--it's mostly vegetarian, no refined sugars, no "white" carbohydrates of degerminated and dehulled grains, etc.

Most of the Type II diabetes in the USA appears caused by diet and lack of exercise, with it looks to me the diet being primary in the situation..

Dietary fads are strange things--black raspberries and Japanese knotweed apparently have more of the anti-cancer chemicals which all those articles urging people eat/drink pomegranate and red grapes/red wine/red grape juice/pomegranate juice/aronia/blueberries etc, that the berries etc. that articles recommend people eat.... I fail to comprehend -why- the articles don't more promote the more concentrated sources. The articles sometimes mention them, but....

(I have seen multiple mentions that Japanese knotweed, on the invasive noxious pest plant list for Massachusetts, is the primary commercial source of resveratrol--and that it is an edible plant... as for black raspberries, I fail to understand why even red raspberries, people will pay $4.00 for six ounces, but run for the Round-Up to rid their demanded lawn of any raspberry canes which would give them unpesticided fruit with minimal effort (the effort to pick the berries...)

#707 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 10:00 AM:

Is any other user of LiveJournal noticing that it takes a long time to load any page up, especially if it has links to photos?

(Yes, I'm the same old Serge - well, not that old - as before, but I thought it was time to finally use my complete nom-de-blogue here too.)

#708 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 10:11 AM:

Thanks, all. Keith agrees that we should dig out the worst of the weeds now, then overseed with clover and grass seed this fall.

Now we just need to charge up the electric mower and get it mowed. (A hassle when you don't have a garage where you can leave it on charge -- but less hassle than going to buy gas for it.)

I bought perennials yesterday for the small front garden -- white coneflower, purple beard tongue, Mexican heather with little purple flowers. Yay! All say they have low water needs once established.

#709 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 10:39 AM:

Years ago, at a local convention, I started to feel a bit sorry for people who had gone to so much trouble to fly their freak flags without a bit of recognition, and thought perhaps it would be kind to dress up mundanely and act amazed for a while: "What th—? There's a guy dressed up like somebody from that TV show, just walkin' around as bold as brass, and… oh my gosh, look over there! There's a woman who is extremely scantily clad! And… holy cow! There's a guy holding what appears to be some sort of outlandish animal! He's making people talk to it! He has his arm all the way up its butt! DEAR GOD IN HEAVEN, CAN SUCH THINGS BE?!"

#710 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 11:09 AM:

Serge @ 612, 614; Linkmeister @ 613: Indeed, the animals adore the FG, so she is definitely a plus. In this particular case, it was a series of events: first the animals, then the FG.

Allan Beatty @ 627, Jacque @ 630, Xopher @653: I was surprised by her reaction myself. We had been sitting with the Son in a meeting with the therapist (to determine whether he was ready to go home), and he had just stepped out to think, so the therapist turned to us and said something about the separation being a major issue for him (understandable) and then he said "..and you're moving on" (or words to that effect). She replied to his statement with this: "Some of us more so than others" and whipped her head around to glare at me.

It makes me laugh now. Who started this whole business? Why am I the bad guy for moving on with my life? Is she jealous that I have a girlfriend and she "doesn't"? (I put that in scare quotes because I am sure she has a special someone too, only she doesn't want to admit that either.)

Serge @ 656: Aw, Shucks.

I took the FG with me to the cousin's party, although we spent more time on the highway sitting in slow traffic for hours. Still, we appeared, I handed over the congratulatory card with the gift card to a bookstore (we are all bookworms on that side of my family); saw the parental units as well as my cousins, and ended up going to my parents house for the night (a 1.5 hour drive in comparison to a 3+ hour drive, which had just taken more than 5 hours to complete). I called the Ex to ask her to take care of the dogs and cats, which she was agreeable about, and I came home with the FG on Sunday.

Bruce Arthurs @ 689: Best wishes for a full recovery -- for both you and Gremlin. Some cats can get a severe asthma attack -- I caused one (accidentally) in my young Brady cat, when he walked into a cloud of "air freshener" that was a strong citrus odor. He began coughing at once, progressing very rapidly to a honking cough. I treated him with injectable steroids and he settled down fairly quickly -- it sounds like Gremlin had something even worse, though. I'm glad you got him to the clinic in time.

#711 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 11:37 AM:

me @693: Oh, phmph. Looks like the Windows-native fonts don't include the unicode quarter-note. Harumph. I wonder if these ♪ ♫ will work on the Mac? (I'm on Mac at home, Windoze at work.)

Paul A. @702: Hah hah! Very good. And yours actually scans! Hm. I wonder how hamsters do cope with the heat; they have very dense fur, if memory serves. But they also have a higher surface-to-volume ratio. Which could go either way, heat-transfer-wise.

Oh, Teresa...?

@703: Cool beans! And you incidentally learnt me the syntax for if statements and string replacements. I wonder if it would work as well just to replace the \ with nada? (I predict this will come up in other contexts besides apostrophes.)

Question: I deduce that the condition thingie get_magic_quotes_gpc() is a variable, but how would one define it upstream (or whatever) so that the if statement knows to run? (I suppose I could go look it up, but I'm trying really hard to be lazy here.) (Can you've tell my experience with php is still in the single-digit hours?)

Occurs to me that I should probably link this thing to my home page so people can find it via Google.

Hey, Fluorospheriat! If you were going to search on Google for a widget to make links for you, what search string would you use?

Jenny Islander @704: "I'll See Your Six." ("And raise you 35!")

I love that story. I heard it when I first came into fandom, way back in the day.

Around here, if you see people out in public with swords, check the blades. If they're live, they're SCA. If they're padded, they're IFGS.

#712 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 11:47 AM:

Bruce Arthurs @689: That's scary -- hope Gremlin will be ok. And yes, I'd put the pedal to the metal to get any of my critters to the ER should that be necessary.

You neglected to mention if your finger injury was inflicted by Gremlin's bite or claws -- if it was a bite, you really should contact your physician. Many bite wounds become infected, and treatment may be required.

Ginger, I got ticked when I read about the EX's reaction -- it's no one business who you date, and she gave up any "rights" when she walked out the door. Geez, talk about passive/agressive...

#713 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 12:27 PM:

Jacque @711: For a while there, in Central Park, if you saw people with steel blades (not padded, but sometimes tipped), it wasn't always the SCA. Sometimes it was a gang of people having stage combat class/practice rehearsal. For several years when our class wasn't large enough to be able to afford a space rental, we worked out in the park, a couple of blocks south of the Met Museum.

#714 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 12:45 PM:

Hm. Thinking about hamsters and guinea pigs, I think I've just just solved a conundrum.

At Denvention, I was sitting at one of the tables outside the art show chatting with a friend, when this fellow* came and sat down with us.

As conversation proceeded, I looked over and observed that he was fabricating a turks head as we talked. I commented, and he explained as follows:

It seems he suffers from ADD. He then described an interesting metaphor for how he experiences attention.

Attention is like (he said) three orthoganally-oriented hamster wheels, one each for the X, Y, and Z axes. As long as he can keep two of wheels spinning, he then has the third available for real-time interactions like conversation.

The conundrum comes from the issue of how to keep the hamster on the Y-axis from, like, falling off the wheel. One speculation is that one could make the wheel stationary, so the hamster's own angular momentum would keep him in the wheel.

But it just occurred to me: guinea pigs don't use wheels; their backs are articulated all wrong, and anyway they prefer to run on flat surfaces. They like to run around things (like tables, chairs, me...)

So what you need, then, is hamsters to run on wheels for the X and Z axes, and a guinea pig to run around the Y axis.

Problem solved.

The punchline to this story came when I glanced at what I initially took to be a simple gold chain around his neck. Upon closer inspection, I realized that each of the links was a micro-miniscule turks head.


* Yo, batwrangler! A bunch of your images need to be rotated.

#715 ::: Jörg Raddatz ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 01:00 PM:

Music in movies:
While waiting for another movie on TV, I catch the final scenes of a drama about a senior citizen and his much younger wife. You see them walking, talking and kissing, and an instrumental version of "My Way" starts to play. Very predictable.
Only I did not recognize it as this song at first. I registered it as the original version, "Comme d'habitude" - a chanson about a failing relationship where everything is done routinely, "as usual". Ouch.
Are there other songs whre the discrepancies between different-language versions are that big? I guess intentional parodies don't count.

#716 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 01:06 PM:

Ginger @710: then he said "...and you're moving on" (or words to that effect). She replied to his statement with this: "Some of us more so than others" and whipped her head around to glare at me. [...] Who started this whole business? Why am I the bad guy for moving on with my life?

You know, I'm remembering back to when you were reporting on this when things first started to get "interesting."

I also recall that you went to considerable lengths to give her a chance to change her mind.

What her behavior above suggests to me was that there was some action or declaration she had in mind (thought probably not consciously) that you were "supposed to" make. Something suitably heart-felt and dramatic, one presumes.

Yo, HUMANS! USE YOUR WORDS. In case y'all haven't noticed, telepathy hasn't evolved yet!

#717 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 01:12 PM:

Bruce Arthurs @689: Oh yes, sorry! I've been neglegent: best wishes for Gremlin's returning health.

This is a topic I find myself veering off of at the moment, as it begins to look like Sunny might need to have her Final House Call from the vet this week. (Ongoing health decline, compounded by her new inability to eat very effectively. She keeps demanding that I Do Somthing about it! ::sigh::)

#718 ::: :Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 01:12 PM:

#705 Nancy

The filk community refers to "found filk" things which would count as filk if written within the SF/F community but which came from elsewhere. So, there is a recognition that other communities do music....

#719 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 01:19 PM:

Jacque @ 716: Yanno, I get the same feeling. How does one go about tastefully and diplomatically indicating that after one has been dumped, one is "moving on" as suggested? Or does she think I'm "moving" too fast? (And if the latter, my reply would be "Oh come ON!")

Well, I did apologize for "not letting her know sooner", and she calmed down.

#720 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 01:27 PM:

Melissa Singer @713: Central Park ... stage combat class/practice rehearsal

Say! You don't happen to know a fella name of Teel James Glenn, do you? He's hard to miss. If memory serves, he's on the order of 6'6".

#721 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 01:30 PM:

Jacque: Sorry about Sunny.

Have you tried babyfood? The really pureed stuff.


#722 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 01:39 PM:

Jacque: why yes, yes I do. He and David Brimmer were two of my teachers. My third teacher was a guy who began as a regular fencing teacher/coach and branched out when a bunch of his students got interested in theatrical.

My sword technique started out as pretty classical as a result.

I studied for about 10 years and was assistant-teaching with the fencing teacher by the end. I was part of a group with Madeleine Robins, Lucie Chin, Duncan Eagleson, and assorted others, and we choreographed individually and in groups. We generally only performed once or twice a year; our big show was May 1st in Central Park.

I did rapier, rapier and dagger, quarterstaff (I loved that), some cape work, some hand to hand, and assorted other bits and pieces. Not good at falls or flips, alas.

I never certified (not enough time to prepare) and I gave it up when I got preggers and my center of balance shifted. I'm not sure my knees would hold up if I went back to it now.

But it was Huge Fun while it lasted, and the skill set is fun to have and fits right in with the archery and horseback riding (western only) and other "archaic" stuff.

#723 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 01:55 PM:

Hyperlocal news... Winds tend to blow detritus off the street and onto the bushes in front of man's house, but yesterday's harvest included a neatly folded $20 bill.

#724 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 02:03 PM:

Melissa Singer @721: babyfood

I've got Critical Care, which is the herbivor special care food. I gave her some of that last night, and her reaction was "Ack! Blech! Why are you trying to poison me!?" I won the wrestling match, though.

She's got deeper issues, and she's down to about 600 grams (from a norm of ~1200), so at this point it's mostly a matter of gauging her overall comfort level, and (I hate to say it but) the treatment/cost/survivability ratio. She did seem to enjoy wandering around in the lawn yesterday, though.

@722: Oh, what fun! I think there are a few videos on Youtube of the barbarians invading NYC. I met TJ at The Gathering in Denver, which was a Highlander convention. He did a neat hour-long demo. (which I actually have a copy of on tape—crap. It's time to start thinking about converting my treasured VHS stuff to CD or something. Rr.)

The women who were working the demo with him had apparently been taken somewhat forcibly under his wing. Seems they crossed paths, and they said, "Oo! Stage fighting? We do that!" When they demonstrated, he discovered that they were basically reproducing the fights they thought they were seeing in the movies, with no understanding of the technical illusions used to achieve those effects. The net result, as one might expect, was that they were doing some very dangerous shit.

Yeah, my turn as an Action Hero took the form of five years of Tae Kwan Do. I really really need to back to exercising regularly again.

Knock on wood, my knees are still in good operating order. Knees are good things to be paranoid about, IMHO.

#725 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 02:10 PM:

Jacque: I've been the recipient of similar looks.

The group I was in didn't do barbarians much; we tended to bits of Robin Hood, battles between Spring and Winter, and, one year, some very broadly piratical (our virginal maidens, upon being attacked by the pirates, ran for the nearest tree, and emerged from behind it with steel in hand).

I played in drag a lot. We never had enough men. We did a lovely show each May Day, though, from dancing the maypole to the Morris teams, from the jugglers to the swordfights. And then we'd picnic.

It was always astonishing to me to look around and realize that hundreds and hundreds of people were watching.

We made the evening news a few times too.

#726 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 02:15 PM:

Serge Broom @723: Winds tend to blow detritus off the street and onto the bushes in front of man's house, but yesterday's harvest included a neatly folded $20 bill.

Hence the term: "windfall"!

#727 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 03:03 PM:

Jacque @ 717: You've had her teeth checked?

#728 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 03:22 PM:

Jacque @ 726... :-)

#729 ::: Mike McHugh ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 03:28 PM:

Jacque@711: you could also use stripslashes(), like this:


But that doesn't help with if statements :) get_magic_quotes_gpc() looks for the magic_quotes_gpc variable, which is set in the php.ini file (or at least it is for the moment - it's marked as deprecated from 5.3.0 on).

#730 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 03:59 PM:

Bruce Arthurs: Best wishes for your Gremlin, and Jacque: Sorry about Sunny.

Ginger #719: Indeed... but given how the breakup turned out, you already knew she had communication problems.

#731 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 04:02 PM:


Despite incredibly lazy and unvoiced "Z"s, area woman sings at annual choir benefit, does not bring shame upon ancestors.

(area woman would like to note that this is not the most flattering angle she could have been filmed at.)

#732 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 05:13 PM:

HLN update: Gremlin went back to the emergency clinic last night, after starting to have a repeat of the previous night's choking. Caught the beginning signs sooner, so he was still breathing, sort of, by the time he got to the clinic.

Back in the oxygen cage, but he hasn't recovered as much as he did Saturday night/Sunday morning, and is still having to make an effort to draw breath.

An internal specialist came in this morning and did the ultrasound, followed by an endoscopy and collecting a sample of fluid from the lungs. The internist thinks it may be a type of pneumonia, so Gremlin's starting several wide-spectrum antibiotics; the actual results from the fluid samples will take about two days.

I have my fingers crossed that he improves with the antibiotics.

I'm not thinking about the costs piling up around the furry little bastard's care. Numbers like that make it hard for -me- to breathe.

#733 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 05:14 PM:

Jacque at 677: Guinea pigs don't lay eggs; my three (beautiful, graceful, somewhat un-chickenlike, L Frank Baum's inspiration for Billina) Silver-spangled Hamburgs quickly overwhelmed my refrigerator with cream-colored USDA Medium eggs as soon as they all started laying. Be glad you don't have the additional complication.

I'm not responding to any diabetes related comments today because it takes too much energy to compress what I know/have learned/have experienced into a reasonable comment, especially since I managed to put in about a quarter-mile of trips between the Weber and the kitchen making dinner last night, a diabetes treatment which has not yet undergone study. But to say the last time I looked, there were thirteen unrelated gene loci connected to Type 2, and the effects of having more or less of those is enough to confuse the subject even excluding differing life histories of bacterial infections and dozens of other things which seem to effect the way the genes are expressed.

Anyway, I want to talk about chickens. It's been so long since I've been by here that probably people don't remember I live on an actual working family farm: I'm looking to breed high-quality (although not show quality, which is another complicated matter I'm evading today) Hamburgs for eating and hatching eggs and sale of started birds, and possibly also Blue Laced Red Hamburgs although I'm rather thinking I'll ease out of those, since the Hamburgs are a nice, old, stable, Heritage Breed (dating to Tulipomania) and the BLRWs are... not so much. This is my photobucket album of chickens if you're curious.

I know the dangers of tiny cute goats, which is why I'm getting a Jacob sheep wether to munch down my lawn: I already have a shearer located. I also dumped a big amount of money on Beef Shorthorn bulls this year, with an eye to having an improved purebred herd to disperse when our advancing age and modern family size makes handling cattle problematic. I turned 59 in May, and am combining looking at the future with an unjaded eye with getting past delayed gratification on the chicken and lawn-eating-fuzzy-ungulate fronts.

#734 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 05:20 PM:

JESR @733:

I am totally interested in hearing about the chickens. And the sheep. We don't talk about sheep enough on this blog.

#735 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 05:28 PM:

JESR: thanks for sharing about the chickens. I love chickens, which I know is weird for a city kid, but I just think they're fascinating in all kinds of ways (not least of which is due to humans messing with their breeding).

When I was growing up, we spent summers in a part of CT that had a lot of small working farms and went each year to the big local fair, where my parents knew, if I got lost, to look for me in the chicken tent. Plain or fancy were equally intriguing to me, and I could spend hours looking at the different birds.

Not to mention they and their eggs are good to eat.

When my daughter was little, her kindergarten class went to a local "farm" that existed mainly to show city dwellers where food came from. The children were allowed/encouraged to touch the animals in certain areas. The group I was with wanted to touch a chicken. So with the permission of the farm people I climbed into the chicken pen and grabbed a chicken (had to chase it some first). I expect they thought I would fail, but I didn't, and all the kids crowded around to gently touch the bird's feathers. It was the first time I'd ever touched a grown chicken and was a huge thrill. I think I was as excited as the kindergarteners, if not more.

(Later on the same trip I had to shove sheep around and remove terrified children from the sheep pen. Apparently after all this, I was a god, even to the teachers. But for heaven's sake, they were just _sheep_.)

Anyway, lovely photos! More news about chickens, please.

#736 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 05:42 PM:

janetl #685: Careful! Judging by what I see in Portland, chickens are the gateway drug to miniature goats.

In fact, that was exactly the case here in Charlottesville -- first they allowed chickens in private yards, then they legalized dwarf goats. Of course, there had been a prior neighborhood here which had livestock in the yards -- that would be Vinegar Hill, the black neighborhood that got razed to develop Downtown.

#737 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 05:55 PM:

Abi @ 734... Even killer sheep?

#738 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 06:01 PM:

abi 734: We don't talk about sheep enough on this blog.

They look up.

Androids dream of electric ones.

All we like them have gone astray.

#739 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 06:05 PM:

And some have gone on the lamb.

#740 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 06:24 PM:

Our chickens are picking up the egg laying pace again after having taken most of the spring off for molting. We were down to 3-4 per day (from a dozen hens) and we're back up to 8-9. We've got an odd mix of birds - a handful of amaracuanas of different colors, 2 barred rocks, 2 silver laced wyandottes, 2 black australorpes, 2 rhode island reds. The boxes of eggs we give away have a rainbow from blue-green to dark brown. (And we always arrange them in color order).

In cat news, I think Athena is Gone. The neighbors on the road behind us saw a coyote in the time she was out, and no one has seen a trace of her.

#741 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 06:39 PM:

Xopher@738, Steve C@739

"That's the kind of woolly-headed, liberal thinking that leads to being eaten."

#742 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 07:33 PM:

I need to go feed the chickens, but first, an introduction. The eldest BLRWs crooned to each other in the dog carrier on the way home with us, and became, spontaneously, Ian and Sylvia. I did not remember Ian's surname until I was looking up YouTube content, and was aghast at my (well tested on Making Light) ability to make horrible and entirely involuntary puns. However, choosing Vocal Groups for Fifty, Alex as a source of chicken names has made coming up with names pretty easy. The three sisters who came next are Maggie, Terre, and Suzzy; the four teenage BLRWs in the hoop house are Anni-Frid, Bjorn, Benny and Agnetha, and the Hamburg cockeral in the textile-art Tower of Solitude is, of course, Elvis.

The sheep is an example of why Facebook is not unmitigated evil. I joined, after great resistance, right before my husband went in for T2 to Pelvis back surgery: it was simply the most efficient way of communicating with all the people who wanted to know how he was doing. My cousin's husband's friends list lead me to people I've missed every day of my life since we moved down from Yelm, and one of those, my dear friend Penny, raises Jacobs and sells rugs woven from their wool on Etsey. I was looking for a goat, originally, to do damage to my horrible infestation of Himalaya blackberries, but then the grass started to grow, and nobody was well enough to deal with it (nobody here including the lawnmower). Penny's photos of her lambs sort of sealed the deal, especially when I looked at a craigslist posting of a halter-tamed Cashmere wether and... goats, man: goats are just creepy.

#743 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 08:04 PM:

Jacque, #714: Hey, I know that guy! I see him occasionally in con dealer rooms. He makes absolutely gorgeous jewelry by tying knots in wire, and he also makes pretty, cheap knotted bracelets out of plain cotton cord.

nerdycellist, #731: Very nice! And coincidentally appropriate to at least one of the other current sub-conversations.

#744 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 08:15 PM:

Hyperlocal news... Man to attend party on Sunday at house that has been described as even more cool than Neil Gaiman's.

#745 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 08:20 PM:

Jacque @ 724 ...
I've got Critical Care, which is the herbivor special care food. I gave her some of that last night, and her reaction was "Ack! Blech! Why are you trying to poison me!?" I won the wrestling match, though.

FWIW, I found that kitten milk warmed and combined with (chicken) baby food seemed to work well -- easy to lap up, nutritious, and soothing. It's still knowledge I'd rather not have :(

#746 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 08:27 PM:

Hey, can anybody ID this moth? It was sitting on the wall outside the front door yesterday afternoon. My partner thought it might be a gypsy moth, but Google suggests otherwise.

In other news, TomB showed up at ApolloCon this year because he and his wife know our Fan GoH. Sadly, none of the other known locals (aka Steve C. and David Goldfarb) were in attendance, so only limited Light was Made.

(And while I'm on the subject, is anyone else having trouble with the Picnik edit mode in Flickr? Last night it just... stopped working... between editing one shot and the next.)

#747 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 08:33 PM:

eric: sorry about Athena's (presumably final) disappearance. My grandparents' cat was a free roamer, both at their usual home and at their summer place, and I was too young to be impressed by his ability to always come home, regardless of which house he was at. It's a sad thing when they don't.

#748 ::: Jon ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 08:40 PM:

It might be a Black Witch Moth; it looks a lot like the top right photo on this page.

#749 ::: Stephen Sample ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 09:14 PM:

Lee @ 746: It doesn't look like a gypsy to me, though I haven't been able to ID it. "Probably not a gypsy moth" is a pretty big category.

Where are you located and how big is it? I'm guessing it's something like 7-10 cm, based on the stonework?

#750 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 09:57 PM:

I think all the spam's gone now.

I don't think Movable Type is up to the task of marking-and-deleting that many spam messages in one shot. It crapped out on me more than once.

#751 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 10:03 PM:

A question from a friend, for the software people out here:
"Question for those with computer know-how: My 15 y/o has a choice of learning java or C++. I'm not sure I'll get any input into the decision, but I really appreciate any thoughts you all might have on the trade offs between the two options."

Any comments will be forwarded anonymousely. (Pun intended.)

#752 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 10:06 PM:

Definitely not a gypsy moth. I grew up in Massachusetts in the 1970s. Gypsy moths don't have blue on their wings anywhere. I don't remember any markings on them at all; they were, as I remember, a uniform dusty khaki.

Now, the CATERPILLARS, they were black, with white racing stripes and lines of dots, and they might have had a blue marking on them somewhere... but their guts were green.

Forgive me. I also remember the summer where NONE of the deciduous trees had leaves, because they were all eaten, and the not-very-effective girdles of aluminum foil coated with petroleum jelly around all the tree trunks, to try to keep the caterpillars from climbing, and the more-effective pheromone traps that my dad set out and somehow managed to get the lure all over his hands and then he was COVERED in the moths. I remember going around and helping my dad scrape egg sacs off the trees so he could douse them in lighter fluid and BURN them.

I hate them. I'm glad their population crashed. If they were ever to make a comeback, I'd be out there with any biological controls available. Horrible things.

#753 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 10:14 PM:

Jacque @717: My sorrowing sympathies for you and your kitty. Bromides fail me, but I know it's hard to go through.

#754 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 10:24 PM:

#763, Ginger:

How much programming does he already know? If none, start with Java, then move to C++ later.

If he already has some programming experience (I had some when I was his age), take the C++ and begin to learn about performance.

#755 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 10:29 PM:

Patrick Connors @ 756: Thank you! I've forwarded your comment to her.

#756 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 10:44 PM:

Ginger #763. I'd largely second Patrick Conners, but I don't think it would be a mistake to take Java anyway, whereas I think taking C++ as a first serious programming language would be a bad idea.

[I really don't like C++ and would try to substitute either Java or C in almost all situations.]

#757 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 11:28 PM:

dcb @727: You've had her teeth checked?

Incisors were mostly fine. Tips of the lowers had a slight angle. "Oh, I'll just nip off that little half-mm point—" 1.5mm later, she's now completely unable to scissor off a bite. (I don't feel too bad; when the vet did Bobby's incisors, he'd lost a quarter inch off his lowers before she was satisfied with the tips. Three weeks later, he could finally handle carrots again without technological assistance.)

Fortunately, she put away a good 5g of bell pepper before my half-assed dentistry. And Critical Care seems to be Food tonight, so she did 5-10g of that. Who knows? Maybe we can put off The Decision 'till next week.

Back teeth: no point. And this is the part that makes me want to cry. We already decided against surgery for the abdominal mass last year, as her prospects of surviving the general anesthesia are slim. Same problem with floating her molars.

Additionally, I blew all my disposable income on Bobby's teeth last month, and I've got the rest of the household to think about.

I really feel Bruce Arthurs @732. Somedays, my household feels like the US medical care landscape in microcosm.

Good luck with the antibiotics, btw. If it works, it works and hey! Win, right?

JESR @733: Pasta! Custard! Quiche! Meringue! Coworkers of mine have quite a little egg swap going. You should ask around. Unless all your neighbors have chickens, too. In that case, take up tempera painting, maybe? You've done the black light thing with the brown eggs, I trust?

sheep You probably already know this but: if you want the male sheep to go away, do not push on his head. Oh, he'll back up, all right. Just enough to get a good running start....

Obvious in retrospect, but I discovered this, um, empirically.

Serge Broom @737: Oh ghods; surfing around after your video landed me on this. Oh, deh Qte! It burnzzzz!

eric @740: Athena is Gone. :-( :-(

xeger @745: FWIW, I found that kitten milk warmed and combined with (chicken) baby food seemed to work well -- easy to lap up, nutritious, and soothing.

When I was bottle-feeding Gustav as a baby, we started her out on goat milk. Cheeper, easier to come by, and (I presumed) better adapted to an herbivor's digestive chemistry.

Handy side-benefit of this is that I have NO TROUBLE syringe-feeding her. In fact, when I head back to the kitchen after giving Critical Care to a patient, I'll sometimes swing by the big house and offer her a squirt. Unlike a lot of pigs, the big challenge is to then get the syringe back. (BTW, Sunny is the one on the far right, in healthier days. Gustav is the tricolor with her butt to the camera.)

It's still knowledge I'd rather not have :(

Yeah, well. There's lots of knowledge I'd prefer not to have. But, hey! Pet ownership. It's part of the package.

The bennies? As I speak, my bare foot is getting stropped by soft warm belly-fur as Woofie sneaks past.

Kip W @755: My sorrowing sympathies

Thanks. As I said, part of the package. One dividend, if you can call it that, of having lots of pets, is that you get good at this process. By which I mean—I'm not exactly sure what I mean. Maybe that you don't get yanked around so much by fear and hope. It still hurts and is frustrating, but it's not particularly traumatic anymore, if you see what I mean.

#758 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2011, 11:30 PM:

Mods: Le Gnomes, dey nom, s'il vous plait.

#759 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 01:03 AM:

Bruce Arthurs, eric, and everyone dealing with pet issues: sympathies and best wishes.

#760 ::: glinda ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 01:11 AM:

Rikibeth @ 754:

Similar experience with tent caterpillars in the '50s, early '60s. I remember my fater going after them, fairly successfully with a blowtorch...

#761 ::: glinda ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 01:17 AM:

Oh ghods, and I proofread that.


Can I blame the loaner keyboard for the tyop[sic]? (it's non-ergo, which ... heh. I've been using the ergo since '98, I think.) Can't blame it for me missing it on the preview, though. Sheesh.

#762 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 01:17 AM:

Jon, Stephen: I think Black Witch Moth is probably right. It was big -- wingspan more like 10-12 cm than 6. I keep thinking "as wide as my octave reach", but I don't think it was quite that large. I looked up the species guide referenced from that picture, and it sounds about right. I was quite amused to note that among its other common names are "Mah-ha-na (Mayan for 'May I borrow your house?')" Because, yeah. A little startling to come across unexpectedly!

#764 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 01:34 AM:

Ginger @ 753 ...
A question from a friend, for the software people out here:
"Question for those with computer know-how: My 15 y/o has a choice of learning java or C++. I'm not sure I'll get any input into the decision, but I really appreciate any thoughts you all might have on the trade offs between the two options."

That really sounds like damn'd or danm'd to me -- a lot really depends on what sort of experience (if any) 15 y/o has with programming, and what sort of thing they're interested in being able to do with the language.

Both are really spectacularly good at teaching bad habits, whether it's creating jangled messes of abstractions of references of abstractions, or keeping you so far away from the actual way that the underlying bits work that you never really get a grip on the fundamentals (like "Hey, did you know that doing things like _that_ is really bad for hardware pipelining?").

That said, there's probably better odds of actually making something interesting in java (at the presumed stage) than in c++, and I can think of few things[0] that are a better road to never wanting to program again than (say) "ToDay We wiLL wRitE a PRoGraM to CONvert UPPer casE To LowERcasE"...

[0] "Strip out all the lines of unused code from this 20-or-so year old commercial code base" comes to mind under the 'worse' list.

#765 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 01:40 AM:

Have the chicken fanciers here run across the Pickin' Chicken iPhone app? Helps you figure out what kind of chicken is best for you.

#766 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 01:41 AM:

Ginger @753: That is a tough question. In the long run, they are both good languages to know, but they are not that great for beginners. If the choice is only Java or C++, then I would say probably Java, unless the 15 y/o is incredibly bright and already building robots or something like that.

C++ is the programming equivalent of a machine shop with very powerful, precise, and versatile tools that can make anything -- but you really need to know what you are doing. Operating systems, drivers, and compilers are likely to be written in C++, along with any software that needs to have the best possible performance.

Java is the equivalent of a "good grips" set of tools. It has big rubber handles which are supposed to make it safer and easier to use, but you still need to know what you are doing if you don't want to make a mess of things. Java is very heavily used for internet server software and business applications.

I think Python would be a good language for beginners. It is simple, relatively easy to learn, and powerful enough that it is used for real work. It would give the student a chance to learn the fundamental concepts of programming without having to get into the intricacies of Java or C++.

Other languages to learn include Objective-C (for iOS and Mac OS apps) and Javascript (for web apps that run in the browser).

#767 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 03:23 AM:

HLN: Man moving to New Jersey is having party in E. Palo Alto.

July 9.

#768 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 03:54 AM:

Bruce Arthurs @733: Thinking good thoughts for Gremlin.

Sheep: we used to keep soay sheep. Back when dipping against sheep scab was compulsory, the next door farmer would give us a couple of days notice when he was going to dip his flock. Then, so long as we'd penned them, he would come fetch them, dip them and bring them back. Why did we have to do the penning? He wasn't going to ruin his sheepdog trying to herd soays (when nervous they don't herd, they scatter). With the benefit of hindsight, we bred for uncatchability. That is, when someone wanted one, the lambs that were easiest to catch got caught and went away - leaving the hardest-to-catch individuals in our flock.

eric @ 741; Sympathies re. Athene. I hope, whether coyote or something else, the end was quick.

xeger @746: Chicken baby food. Seriously? For a herbivore?

Lee @ 747: Looks like a Black Witch (Giant noctuid), although the illustration in the book I've looked it up in (A Golden Guide: Butterfies and Moths) doesn't bring out the beautiful blue edgings. Quite large, 3.5 - 6.0 inches the book says.

Jacque @ 759: Sincere sympathies. Sometimes, making that decision is the last, good, thng you can do for a beloved pet.

#769 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 04:18 AM:

Jacque @ #712:

magic_quotes_gpc is a system variable, set by whoever controls the web server. If it's switched on, the web server automatically escapes apostrophes (and other things); if it's switched off, the server doesn't. You can't define or redefine it in a runtime script (and in this case, if you could it would be simpler just to switch it off and not have the apostrophes escaped to begin with). What you can do is find out what it's currently set to, which is what get_magic_quotes_gpc() tells you.

If magic_quotes_gpc is set, the the code to un-escape apostrophes needs to run. Elsewise, the un-escape code is not needed (or wanted, as un-escaping text that hasn't been escaped can have unfortunate results). That's what the if statement is there for.

In this particular case, we could have left the if statement out, since we've established empirically that your web server is escaping apostrophes; but it provides a measure of insurance against the possibility that your server's setting may change someday without anybody bothering to tell you. (I have had this happen.)

I should have explained all of this @ #703, but I'm lazy too.

If you want to go beyond apostrophes and un-escape everything escaped by the 'magic quotes' routine, use the stripslashes() function as suggested by Mike McHugh @ #730; that's what it's for.

#770 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 08:17 AM:

HLN: Local man surprised to find self dreaming of Making Light last night. It was some sort of mega-yacht with extremely fancy SFnal systems mounted on it. If this be prophecy, Patrick and Teresa seemed to be hovering around the threescore-and-ten mark, which ought to put a rough expiry date on it. THEY FOUGHT CRIME.

Local man appeared in character of gumshoe, sort of like a younger kinder gentler less begirlfriended Travis McGee. Villain exceptionally nasty and tricky; motley crew of good guys, once combined against him, got him on run, but motley crew pretty badly mauled by this time. ML last seen limping in pursuit towards Secret Island Lair of Doom. Local man then recalled to local reality by Pertelote, who is not in sober fact a chicken but a talking Vietnamese alarm clock.

Local man recalls spending previous night assisting at the Harrowing of Hell by Emma Woodhouse, and getting stuck with most of the work of shoving Lamia and the Three Stooges back down again after Miss W's plans, against all expectation, proved less than comprehensively thought through.

Local man wonders whether he would have a novel chapter finished already this week, were the heavy summer weather not sweating all his story-juice out in his sleep.

#771 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 08:52 AM:

Many thanks for the comments on C++ vs Java -- I shall pass them all along and let her help her son.

#772 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 09:54 AM:

Terry @769 -- whereabouts in NJ?

#773 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 10:06 AM:

Ginger - also, the Computer Science AP exam calls for knowledge of Java, if this is a direction may want to go.

#774 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 10:11 AM:

Lee @ #746, 754: cool name! We had one of these hatch out in our house once, from what we thought was a dead pupa case.

Not quite as startling as when my daughter, lying in a hammock, looked up to find one of these (WARNING: scary caterpillar!) a few inches from her face. (Picture a blur leaving a rapidly spinning hammock behind.)

#775 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 11:09 AM:

... No matter how many times I remind myself, I see the abbreviation "FG" and think Fairy Girlfriend...

#776 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 11:41 AM:

dcb @770: we used to keep soay sheep.

I misread this as soy sheep. Good for those who prefer lactose-free wool, perhaps?

when nervous they don't herd, they scatter).

Like guinea pigs. Familiaphobe, I think is the technical term. I've fantasized about getting a miniature horse to pull a little miniature carnival wagon, and a sheltie, and going into business as a chemical-free lawn service ("We Mow! We Fertilize! We're Intollerably Cute!"), but training a sheep dog to handle scatterers instead of bunchers obviates more prior art than I want to contemplate.

Chicken baby food. Seriously? For a herbivore?

I think xeger thought I was talking cats, which is where (I deduce) zhe's experience lies. In fact, I think zhe says so explicitly.

Paul A. @771: stripslashes and magic_thingies

Ah! I had sorta deduced that, but thank you for verifying my thinking. Your clarification is very helpful. Thank you!!

Gray Woodland @772: THEY FOUGHT CRIME.

Oo!! Write it! Write it!!

Lila @776: WARNING: scary caterpillar!

HOLY moley!! I'm pretty sanguine about bugs (when spiders drop on me, I tend to scold them gently and carefully put them outdoors), but that thing would give me a turn. We get sphynx moths around here. They have impressive caterpillers.

Well, in better news, Sunny packed away a good 30-40mg of Critical Care this morning, which is an unmitigated Good Sign. (This is where the hope part of the equation starts to make itself cautiously felt.)

#777 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 11:43 AM:

Carrie S. @ #706: I didn't know the I'll See Your Six story had a song! I must find someone who can sing it for me at Pennsic this year.

Alternatively, YouTube has Ioseph of Locksley singing it at Pennsic in a year gone by.

#778 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 11:55 AM:

Jacque @ 778 ...
I think xeger thought I was talking cats, which is where (I deduce) zhe's experience lies. In fact, I think zhe says so explicitly.

I was indeed -- which is my bad for not reading in more detail. The theory[0] holds though, even if the specific ingredients don't ;)

[0] Semi-liquid food of the highly nutritious infant sort, heated to a pleasant, but not excessive temperature

#779 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 12:26 PM:

KayTei @ 777: Quick! Clap your hands if you believe in Fairy Girlfriends!

(cue sound of applause)

#780 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 12:41 PM:

Ginger... Have you and the FG watched "HB" together yet?

#781 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 12:42 PM:

Ginger @ #781:


#782 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 12:43 PM:

Paul A: Wow, thanks for the link. I might still have to find someone for a live performance, but this will do for the next few weeks.

Anyone else currently looking around going Dear Lord I don't have enough garb? It never seems to matter how much I do have, somehow...

#783 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 12:54 PM:

Belatedly re C++ vs Java to Ginger:

C++ is a very powerful language but is just absurdly complicated and IMO made a lot of wrong design decisions on how to extend the C language. Java on the other hand is overly cumbersome - it's very verbose to do the simplest thing - and has absurdly huge libraries to learn. I agree on C being a better language to learn the fundamentals than C++, but unfortunately that wasn't really the question. (I actually think Pascal, then C is one of the best learning sequence; I learned on Algol as one of my early languages. You get the structure concepts first, in a language where it's easier to get a running program, then you learn to appreciate conciseness when you get to C.)

On the whole though, between the two, I think Java is a better language for a complete beginner to learn on, as it has more "protect you from yourself" features so you can concentrate on getting your program to actually do something instead of on why it's core-dumping, crashing your PC, etc. Undergrad CS curricula have tended to agree on this too.

For a 15 year old, Python might be one of the simplest fun languages to learn, taking the place Basic once occupied but without teaching so much muddled thinking. This book looks interesting to give them: Beginning Game Development with Python and Pygame (And yes, you can learn two languages at once - in some ways it makes it easier because you start to see what's more universal and what's accidental to one language.)

#784 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 01:01 PM:

I took C++ as my first programming language, and my only formal programming course. Can't see that it harmed me. (My experience went like this: C++, FORTRAN [F70], F99, Python, Matlab, C.)

In general I'd recommend that people start with Python, though. It lets you get your feet wet, learn how to structure a program, without making you deal with the fiddly bits of C++ (declaring variables, allocating memory, pointers, etc.). But you can still make real stuff with it -- lots of people actually work in it. In fact, 99% of my work now is done using Matlab, which is basically a proprietary Python.

OTOH I can see the utility in having learned to handle the fiddly bits first, and then moving to a language where I didn't have to handle them. Now if someone hands me code written in a language with fiddly bits, I can understand it quickly.

(Did I ever mention the time I literally spent an 8-hour day trying to debug a C++ program that was throwing the most obscure and bizarre errors, trying more and more esoteric things, and finally right at 5 PM, realized I had left out a single semicolon? It was special.)

#785 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 01:01 PM:

Ginger #781: Does that mean you'll start calling the FG "Tinkerbell"?

#786 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 01:15 PM:

Serge @ 782: No (we've each watched it separately) -- but we just watched Rocky Horror together, as well as Big Trouble in Little China.

Paul A @ 783: Thank you kindly!

Clifton and Caroline: Thanks! Also added to the summary.

Fragano @ 787: Only if I get a good head start.

#787 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 01:48 PM:

Thank you, John Perich. I hate the Blood, Tits, and Scowling genre.

Whether I would equally hate Blood, Dick, and Scowling awaits the emergence of such a genre (or at any rate my contact with such), but I suspect I would.

#788 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 01:53 PM:

Caroline @ 786

I remember when the SAS version that had color-coding in the program editor came out--because the year before, I had spent a long night in the computer lab looking for an error that turned out to be a missing semi-colon.

On programming--between those two, I'd go with Java, just because it's less likely to entirely crash the computer--but really, VB in Excel will let you do an awful lot of cool stuff. (In the order I learned them: SAS, VBA, Mathematica, APL).

What can I say in my defense? I like numbers better than pictures.

#789 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 02:12 PM:

@786, 790, etc.

I mostly work in C# these days, which is pretty nice (about like Java, though recent extensions are going off in other paths, like LINQ.)

I used C++ .Net once recently. The changes for .Net made an ugly language much uglier, I didn't care for it at all.

As others have said, if it's precisely "C++ or Java", go for Java.

Python or Ruby are typically the modern choice for nice beginner languages.

I learned on BASIC and 6502 assembler, but that was on tiny machines, like Commodore PET/CBM. I've worked in those, IBM mainframe assembler, Pascal, C, C++, Java, JavaScript, C#, and various proprietary languages.

Tools for any of these can be had free - Microsoft has "Express" versions of C++ and C#, gcc is free and the Java world is all open source or very close to it.

#790 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 02:19 PM:

SamChevre, #790: Ah, punctuation errors. One of my all-time favorite buttons says, "COBOL programmers understand why women hate periods."

#791 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 02:37 PM:

Ginger @ 788... we just watched Rocky Horror together, as well as Big Trouble in Little China

Excellent choices, if I may say so.

#792 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 02:44 PM:

I keep THINKING I'll like the Blood, Tits, and Scowling genre, because I see the promotional material and expect a Costumes, History, and At Least One Actor I'd Enjoy Seeing Shirtless production. But the costumes are typically inaccurate at best and ridiculous at worst, I have to watch the Blood through my fingers because I'm a wimp that way, the Tits segments are rarely romantic the way I like them - they range from embarrassingly vigorous to outright rape-y, spoiling the attraction of $ACTOR with his shirt off, and the Scowling parts just leave me going "really?"

Not to mention, they frequently find a way to spoil the actor's looks, whether with an unfortunate crew cut (looking at you, The Tudors) or a directorial choice that gawping like a goldfish is the best way to convey youth and inexperience (that'd be you, Camelot).

There ought to be a way to rework this genre so it becomes irresistible to me. I don't think they've found it yet.

#793 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 02:46 PM:

Lee @792

C# has an evil property that identifiers are case-sensitive. I once spent a day dealing with a case error that produced a run-time infinite regression/stack overflow. It was something on the order of:

class myClass {...};

myClass MyClass; // declare the instance

... pages later ...

someOperation myClass();

I don't even remember how it came to be syntactically legal. I think because it was the valid constructor call.

#794 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 02:50 PM:

Whether I would equally hate Blood, Dick, and Scowling awaits the emergence of such a genre (or at any rate my contact with such), but I suspect I would.

Blood, Tits, and Scowling tends to have a lot of attractive male chests in it, too (and I share your aversion for tits, if only because I can look at my own whenever I have a mind), so I think it's probably the overall genre. I kind of like it myself, to my small shame.

#795 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 03:00 PM:

Now I'm wondering if Blood, Tits and Scowling maps to the Player King's "love, blood, and rhetoric." Blood is compulsory!

#796 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 03:01 PM:

Carrie, I think I meant a genre that includes parts of the male anatomy that network television (in the US) can't show you. (Yes, people from civilised countries, it's true: women's bare breasts are not allowed on network television here. Neither are bare male penises (even unaroused ones, which appears to be the distinction on UK television) or the buttcracks of either gender...though that last is a relatively recent prohibition.)

That said, I take your point...but I can see bare MALE tits even on, say, Covert Affairs, which lacks blood and scowling. (DAYUM that Chris Gorham has a nice chest!!!!)

#797 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 03:15 PM:

Rikibeth @ 794... the Tits segments are rarely romantic the way I like them

I keep wondering if those shows are involved in a conspiracy to make us not want to have Sex.

#798 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 03:32 PM:

Serge @ 799: How interesting! Neither my FG nor I actually watch television (in her case, no cable; in my case, highly selective, but grew up without television at all), and er. Yes.

Speaking of my FG (and when don't I take an opportunity to do so? Nevermind.), I believe she works in .NET, but she started programming after getting her doctorate in theoretical physics.

I don't think I have a point here after all.

#799 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 03:35 PM:

Captain Blood, Philip K. Dick, and Scowling Jim Cowling? ISAGN.

#800 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 03:46 PM:

(DAYUM that Chris Gorham has a nice chest!!!!)M/em>

Dude, have you seen Supernatural? Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, is all I'm saying. Those two are teh hott.

#801 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 03:55 PM:

Xopher #798 - I note in passing that penises have been observed in episodes of both Game of Thrones and Spartacus. Indeed one episode of Spartacus has a character who is mainly talked about because of his penis.

Although I generally enjoy the (emerging) genre, I do sometimes feel they're too unsubtle about it. Especially the scowling. You don't have to explain your every move to your sidekick/ally/lover/rival! Just do things, the reasons will become clear. Unless they're covered in blood (or tits).

#802 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 03:56 PM:

Carrie, while I concur with your opinion of Jensen & Jared (especially Jared, yum) there should never have been a Season Six, and I don't think I'll be watching 7. The story's gone down the drain.

#803 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 04:00 PM:

SamChevre @790: What can I say in my defense? I like numbers better than pictures.

Handy; you balance out those of us who like pictures better than numbers...even if you are a strange and incomprehensible alien species. :)

#804 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 04:07 PM:

Ginger @800: I don't think I have a point here after all.

That's because you're providing a straight line:

Q: How many theoretical physicists does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: Five: one to hold the lightbulb, and four to rotate the reference frame.

#805 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 04:12 PM:

Rob Brezny, who has a horoscope column that is worth reading—well, because it just is—offers this advice for Virgos this week:

Years ago I did a book tour that brought me to Eugene, Ore., where my sister and her husband and their daughter live. They came to my reading at a bookstore. My Virgo niece Jasper was 7 years old at the time. I was surprised and delighted when she heckled me several times during my talk, always with funny and good-natured comments that added to the conviviality of the moment and entertained everyone in attendance. Who said Virgos are well-behaved to a fault? Your assignment this week is to be inspired by my niece: With wit and compassion, disrupt the orderly flow of any events that could use some smart agitation.

Yeah. That's what I'm sayin'!

#806 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 04:22 PM:

Jacque @ 778: I think you will have to wait for our Gracious Hosts' memoirs, since I do not do celeb-fic; and anyway, if I tried, they might jet over in their Fluoromobile and express their sentiments firmly to me with their Hyperwave Kinetic Fluoro2-by-4.

and @806:

Q: How many cosmologists does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: All of them, to deal satisfactorily with the dark matter.

#807 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 04:24 PM:

Tonight's episode of "Rome: Blood and Tits" will feature blood sausages and birds.

#808 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 04:40 PM:

Jacque at 759: pushing on bull's heads works...even less well. Sheep are, in many ways, smaller, even stupider cattle. It's one of the other reasons I chose against goats, which are smaller, much smarter cattle with unfortunate ideas of jokes.

The egg oversupply has so far gone to bless young people working minimum wage jobs, most of them with BAs; it's a population which always exists in college towns but with which I have more contact than usual because my offspring are both in or near that demographic these days.

Tom Whitmore at 767, no, I got into this with my usual combination of Full Impulse Power and blind blundering, which is why I may eventually divest myself of BLRWs. I do wonder if that app is similar to the ones which always advise me that Dennis Kucinich is my perfect political match, even though I've always suspected him of not thinking things through very well (especially now that he's dabbling in the possibility of running in WA 10 when it is drawn).

#809 ::: Carrie S ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 05:04 PM:

Rikibeth: I'm just now starting Season 3, courtesy of Netflix. Would you say I should stop when I get to the end of 5?

I am partial to Jensen, myself. He's burlier than his costar, despite being slightly shorter.

#810 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 05:18 PM:

Those jokes cosmological went out to my astronomy club mailing list. I'm starting to hear the groans already. :)

#811 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 05:33 PM:

Carrie, considering that Eric Kripke originally envisioned a five-season arc, I'd say definitely stop there.

Your reason for preferring Jensen is why I like Jared better. ;-)

#812 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 06:18 PM:

Absolutely inspired cover photo.

#814 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 06:36 PM:

Headline of the week:


#815 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 06:46 PM:

I can't remember why I stopped watching Supernatural. Some kind of "can't stand it anymore" thing, perhaps, or maybe it was on opposite something I liked better. Oh, well.

That said, yes yes on Jared and Jensen. I prefer Jared, but...let's just say that were either of them to consume savory flatbreads upon my sleeping platform, I would not, on that account alone, expel him.

#816 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 07:05 PM:

Xopher: I haz a laff. :)

#817 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 07:50 PM:

Erik Nelson @816
Grin. It seems that way, doesn't it, but I persist in believing that virtue will win out in the end...

#818 ::: Carrie S ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 08:07 PM:

That said, yes yes on Jared and Jensen. I prefer Jared, but...let's just say that were either of them to consume savory flatbreads upon my sleeping platform, I would not, on that account alone, expel him.

As I once heard a (straight) guy say about Johnny Depp, the only reason to kick either of those two out of bed is to f*ck him on the floor.

#819 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2011, 10:21 PM:

Terry Karney @765: Cool stuff: Elizabeth I and the snake
I remember reading somewhere about this. Knight of the Garter, right?

#820 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2011, 01:26 AM:

RIP Martin H. Greenberg.

Damn. I've got a whole shelf of anthologies with his name on them, and more that he co-edited with someone else. A truly amazing career.

#821 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2011, 01:42 AM:

PET scan tomorrow. That's the same as a CAT scan, only they have birds and dogs and fish in the room too.

Seriously, my goshwow over being the subject of actual antimatter medicine is tempered by a certain amount of trep over being injected with radioactive stuff.

#822 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2011, 04:33 AM:

Modesto Kid... Jersey City.

#823 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2011, 07:17 AM:


Whilst I vowed at the end of season 5 that I would end there - since that is by all sane measures the finish, and a helluva finish too - I have given in and am about half way through season 6. Maybe it's because I went into it with low expectations, but so far I've enjoyed having the familiar characters around and they haven't done anything with the story that totally made me headdesk, or people-of-the-planet-Zeist'ed the mythos. Yet.

There are parallels with Buffy* - season 5 felt like the end, and maybe should have been the end (those whiny, whiny season 7 eps!), but it was great to get to spend more time with the characters and there were some truly some standout episodes in the last two seasons. I'm not expecting a "Once More with Feeling" from Supernatural, but I'm willing to give the series a chance.

They also seemed to learn from Buffy in that Sam's return is not without cost, and that cost (from my perspective halfway through the season) is not quickly or simply resolved.

On the previously raised tangential note, if I were ever to sleep with a man, it would be Jared Padalecki or Chris Helmsworth** that done made me do it***. They're just so damned *pretty*.

* Supernatural has always been a kind of Buffy-lite, for me

** specifically, that one shirtless scene in Thor

*** is a joke about being converted to teh gay offensive the way a joke about being "cured" from it would be? I may be abusing the privilege of the "default" orientation, here.

#824 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2011, 08:27 AM:

Ginger @ 800: We don't have a television. To steal from The Princess Bride: "In our house, television is called books". My husband overheard two of the workmen who were putting in our new double glazing wondering* why anyone would want to limit themselves to books, with all the channels available on TV. Our response, of course, is why would anyone limit themselves to the measly number of channels and programmes available on TV when there are so many books available? If you say that one author equals one channel...

Also: What Books Are For (scroll down for the caption if you can't see it)

Xopher: hope the scan goes/went well.

* Having, presumably noted the lack of a TV - and they had previously indicated they were impressed with the number of books.

#825 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2011, 10:03 AM:

It's people like this who make it possible for me to live in Georgia without throwing up.

Meet Paul Bridges, mayor of Uvalda, Georgia.

And oh yeah. He's a Republican.

(thanks to Fred Clark for the link)

#826 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2011, 11:00 AM:

Xopher (823): Best wishes. The radiation doesn't seem to do anything too nasty*, and the PET scan itself should be fine, although I think that's the one where they make you drink a truly vile concoction first.

*Unless I suddenly develop mutant superpowers after all the different radiation-injection tests I've had in the last six years. I'll get back to you on that. ;)

#827 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2011, 11:24 AM:

Xopher @823: As I recall, the radioactive stuff has a half-life of something like six hours, so I don't think you get to glow in the dark, or anything cool like that.

#828 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2011, 11:26 AM:

Xopher @ 823... being the subject of actual antimatter medicine

...should be ok with the ingestion of dilithium crystals.
That being said...
My best wishes.

#829 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2011, 02:43 PM:

On further medical-related news: the 6th Circuit has upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. The judge upholding it was a Bush appointee and former clerk for Scalia -- this is a case where a really conservative judge held that Obama's health care act is fully constitutional.

#830 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2011, 03:01 PM:

And on the Serial Comma Sidelight: It's not the serial comma problem that's distressing me here: it's one of the examples. "They had a choice between croissants, bacon and eggs, and muesli” should properly be "They had a choice among croissants, bacon and eggs, and muesli.” "Between" is properly used with only two choices or endpoints. Enumerating three choices with "between" is not a good example when the perfectly useful "among" is available.

Tried to post that as a comment there, but I think I failed to get past their login....

#831 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2011, 04:20 PM:

Serge Broom #830: Wouldn't that upset his equidilibrium?

#832 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2011, 04:51 PM:

Tom Whitmore @ 832: "Between" is properly used with only two choices or endpoints.

No, "between" is correct in that example.

#833 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2011, 05:18 PM:

I can read that distinction (in the definition you cite) differently, Tim Walters. But then, I frequently do. And other authorities disagree with that one.

#834 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2011, 05:26 PM:

Xopher @ 823: Best wishes!

Russ @ 825 on the *** jokes: as a man entirely het by inclination rather than conviction, yet agnostic as to how much of that's violently polarized upbringing as opposed to merely bimodal nature, I wonder how to regard offence at such humour. My inclination isn't that favourable. Monosexuality is policed even more viciously than heterosexuality IME: some of my nearest and dearest were liberals fervently opposed to homophobia, but reserved a bile for bisexuality which had to be heard to be believed, and could come up malapropos of the very strangest news stories.

Also not all such jests seem to me to be absolutely jests, and any demand for clarification of intent seems to me most creepily suspect whichever way the truth falls. So I surely hope you're on safe ground!

Lila @ 827: this passionate agnostic's life has improved very perceptibly since Fred Clark was introduced into it.

On serial commas: Oxford Guy says, Patrick's sidebar calls it right. This innovation is modish, faint-hearted, and graceless. What are we, Cambridge already?

#835 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2011, 05:36 PM:

HLN: Is he strong? Listen Bud

Yes, I had a PET scan today. For that procedure they shoot you up with some mildly radioactive material bound to a compound that mimics glucose, make you wait while it gets taken up into your tissues, and then watch with a gamma detector and tons of computing power. For some reason they also gave me a kind of chalk milkshake (at room temperature), which I dutifully drank. Bleagh.

Y'see, this particular material undergoes "positive beta" decay: it emits positrons. The positrons annihilate with electrons, and that emits two gamma rays in (nearly) opposite directions. The detector is in a ring around the part being scanned (for me, first head & neck, then whole body in 6-inch segments), and the computers figure out whether a given gamma ray is part of a simultaneously-released pair or not, and ignore the ones that aren't. Then they build an image based on where the gamma rays are coming from.

The part that I didn't know until today is why this lets them find cancer. Apparently abnormal cells take up this glucose-like-stuff-tagged-with-Fluorine-18 much more easily than normal ones, so they see a contrast in the final image.

So, right now, I have radioactive blood. Fluorine 18 has a half-life of 110 minutes, though, so I'm dramatically less radioactive than I was when I had the test, and by tomorrow I should be back to normal. They did tell me I probably shouldn't sleep next to a pregnant woman tonight (all pregnant women are hereby banned from my bed until tomorrow at least), and give me a sheet of paper to show to the Homeland Security guy in case I set off a radiation detector somewhere.

Now that I'm over the anxiety (or "scanxiety" as my cancer support group calls it), the goshwow of being the subject of ANTIMATTER MEDICINE is back full force.

And thanks for the good wishes, all y'all.

Russ 825: is a joke about being converted to teh gay offensive the way a joke about being "cured" from it would be?

Not to me.

#836 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2011, 06:04 PM:

Xopher: One wonders if any entertainment could be derived, in your condition, from laying on a sheet of photographic film while you sleep tonight, and then developing it in the morning. (The source of body-sized film, and the equipment to develop it is left as an exercise for the student.)

We hope that your all of your cells show themselves to be normal. Or normal for you, at any rate. ;-)

#837 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2011, 06:12 PM:

Jacque, they won't. I'm just hoping that the abnormal cells are still all in the well-defined tumor on my tongue, and not in my throat or lymph nodes.

#838 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2011, 06:38 PM:

Xopher (839): May it be so.

#839 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2011, 06:58 PM:

Tom, #832/835: IMO, if they had to make a choice of exactly one of the three items listed, then "between" is correct -- which seems to be the argument used in Tim's link as well. Also, "among" just sounds weird there, probably because it carries the wrong implication.

Gray, #836: Monosexuality is policed even more viciously than heterosexuality IME

My experience aligns with yours -- and suggests that a lot of what looks like straightforward* homophobia from the outside partakes of some of the bi-bigotry as well, particularly when it's directed at someone like a (married) toe-tapping Republican politician.

Aptly phrased by Omaha the Cat Dancer: "Bisexual -- that's when both sides think you're a pervert."

Xopher, #839: So mote it be.

* Sorry, couldn't resist.

#840 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2011, 07:20 PM:

#837 Xopher

Dr Xopher
He emits positrons,
Sets detectors off,
Ain't he unglamorous...

#841 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2011, 07:38 PM:

Hyperlocal news:
I got a FOURTH person contacting me about the same low for the market hourly rate contract job, today (three yesterday), third phonecall that sounded like it was from a call center in India... (position is in Waltham). One of them was an email contact, from someone who seemed to be in the USA with a US email address, and last name which I realized was the same as someone I was in junior high, high school, and Hebrew school classes with...--I don;t think there are many people in call centers in India who have American accents and speech patterns and that last name.

And separately I got a phonecall from a fourth person who works for Oxford [company which does recruiting/contract tech labor providing], over the course of the past three weeks.

The recruiters are the most active I've seen in many years...

(And here I have proof that yes, I have had at least three contacts this week, for purposes of showing Unemployment I am indeed jobhunting...)

#842 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2011, 08:51 PM:

As long as I wield a red pen in my little corner of the scholarly world, the Oxford comma WILL be used, respected, and celebrated. (As will brackets around ellipses indicating omitted material, footnotes instead of endnotes, and MLA 6th rather than 7th.)

#843 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2011, 08:55 PM:

I forgot to mention: I brought a book for the waiting time, but they wouldn't let me read it during the absorption period. They said if my brain was very active too much of the contrast compound would be taken up into it! So I was supposed to sit in the semidarkness and relax. I dozed, which was apparently optimal.

#844 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2011, 10:08 PM:

Serge @ #708: Is any other user of LiveJournal noticing that it takes a long time to load any page up, especially if it has links to photos?

Yes, I'm noticing that too.

#845 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2011, 10:11 PM:

Paul A @ 846... The LJ issue eventually got fixed. These days, it's my internet provider's site that's been quite slow since they spiffed it up.

#846 ::: mjfgates ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2011, 10:44 PM:

About that "Blood, Tits and Scowling:" I just finished reading C.S. Friedman's In Conquest Born. If anybody wants to do "BTS & Spaceships," the Braxana have it covered. As a bonus, you could get away with hiring exactly two actors for all of the Braxin roles, one man and one woman; "they're so genetically similar, after all!"

#847 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2011, 10:57 PM:

Xopher in all posts, I hope for the best for you. it is all very scary, odd and etc. Though I got the giggles when you pointed out you shouldn't sleep next to a pregnant woman. As if.

About two months after I got laid off (Dec 2007), my other partner Margene (our third in our poly relationship) was diagnosed with breast cancer. After many trials and tribulations of chemo and radiation, she's more or less better. I'm glad I was able to help her get to appointments when she wasn't feeling good, etc. without too much worry while I was getting unemployment.

Blessings, friend. Get well soon as possible.

#848 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2011, 11:15 PM:

In case people might be interested... Tomorrow morning, Turner Classic Movies is showing Anthony Mann's seldom seen "The Tall Target", a 1951 film about a detective who uncovers a plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln on the way to his inauguration. The name of the detective - played by Dick Powell - is John Kennedy

#849 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2011, 11:22 PM:

Editor, editor, WHAT editor, department...

Read excerpt at


#850 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2011, 04:03 AM:

Gray Woodland@836, Xopher@837

Cheers. Seemed worth asking. FWIW, I tend towards opinion that orientation is a continuum, not a binary, and actual expression is a complex reaction to both inclination and environment.

Also, I was not entrirely joking ;) I'll let you know what happens if either of those specific opportunities ever arises.

Carrie S

Sorry, forgot to mention but of course my @825 was meant for you too.


Good luck, and good thoughts. Fascinating that they wouldn't let you read...I wonder if it would have made a difference if the book was dull? Or if you could have messed things up by thinking too hard? Sounds like a light doze was indeed your best option.

#851 ::: hedgehog ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2011, 05:08 AM:

So: one of the denizens of Making Light has a positronic brain ...

Truely we live in our future.

#852 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2011, 08:46 AM:

I know this is coming from out of absolutely nowhere, but this two-part question has been eating at me for years. Now it's getting more and more mental traction, and I must ask for the ideas of people who have something to say on the subject. So:

In Robert Heinlein's Job: A Comedy of Justice:

1) Is Margrethe a charming, innocent woman or a totally manipulative bitch?

2) How would Robert Heinlein answer that question?

#853 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2011, 08:56 AM:

1) Is Margrethe a charming, innocent woman or a totally manipulative bitch?


2) How would Robert Heinlein answer that question?

He has his hero fall in love with her; thus she is ipso facto worthy of being loved, thus at the very least he wouldn't say she's a totally manipulative bitch.

#855 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2011, 11:26 AM:

I wrote this. I think I like it.

"And I am sunburnt," Beatrice says; she thinks
the Prince is making fun of her, or worse,
he's looking to indulge his princely kinks
with Leonato's niece. She'd laugh, or curse--
what does he think he's doing, sitting here,
and talking like her brother or her friend?
Though sharp-eyed she can spot no frown nor sneer,
a flip remark will bring this to an end.
But "Wouldst thou have me, lady?" and she gapes
for just a second; can't have heard that right.
A joke, then, but a gentle one, in case;
offending him would only cause a fight.
She wants someone to match her wit for wit;
Whoever might be, Pedro isn't it.

#856 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2011, 11:26 AM:

I saw Margrethe as a woman who was too good for Alex who fell in love with him for no apparent reason.

What did I miss?

#857 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2011, 11:26 AM:

Ginger @ ... um, appropriately upthread somewhere...


... It occurs to me that I really must work on my sense of timing one of these days...

(And yes, you can apply that to whatever prior statement of yours that you like, provided it doesn't make me out to be an impossibly unpleasant person.)

#858 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2011, 11:53 AM:

Margrethe is quite manipulative, and successful at it. I think Heinlein would have thought that was true. I don't think he would have called her a bitch.

#859 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2011, 12:23 PM:

Carried, #857: Very nice! This is an excellent example of the sort of fanfic I tend to like, albeit in verse form -- it fills in background data about one of the characters.

#860 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2011, 02:08 PM:

Carrie S: FWIW, I think I like it too. It always seemed to me Beatrice completely missed something there that had potential -- and Benedick's blithe, "Get thee a wife!" at the end of the play in his direction might have unintentional sting, coming from the successful suitor of the same woman.

IN general: One oddity of being so much a lurker (and not even a completely consistent visitor) for a long while is the difficulty of eanting to wish so many people well or better, or congratulate them on happiness, when the incident is no longer timely. One advantage of having read a bit more lately is seeing these things at all, and getting to at least think well-wishes at those in need of them.

#861 ::: CZEdwards (aka the Other Constance) ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2011, 03:02 PM:

HLN: Five year old neighbor entertains self in kiddie pool by belting out "Born This Way" and dancing.

#862 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2011, 03:04 PM:

Lee, thanks.

Lenora Rose, I always read Pedro's line as kind of surprised. Beatrice has just said "Your father got excellent husbands," and Pedro doesn't know quite what to do with it. And really, she's not out of the question as far as rank goes; she's Leonato's niece (personally, I think she's Leonato's daughter, which she may or may not know), and Leonato's an important guy.

If Pedro really wanted her himself, he had a darn funny way of going about showing it, what with the whole "fool them into being in love again" plan being his idea. :) I think he decided to test the waters just because she was someone he could have married and have no one be unhappy, and shrugged and gave up on it once it was clear she wasn't interested.

But Beatrice, I don't think missed it so much as chose to carefully sidestep it. She knows being married to Pedro might be nice and restful at first, but eventually he'd drive her crazy. Also, of course, she's still really in love with Benedict, so even if Pedro were better suited she wouldn't really consider him.

#863 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2011, 03:52 PM:

Xopher: Glad the prep & scan went okay; here's hoping the results are as good as possible.

By the way, platypus etc.: did you manage to unpack all the cranes yet? We wants to see the photos!

#864 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2011, 05:05 PM:

Carrie S. @864

It's one of those situations which can be taken in different ways. Beatrice and Benedict match each other in so many ways, and the whole scheme to "trick" them into marrying each other could be both recognition of that and self-defence. And if you use the mirror of Elizabethan society, you have the monarch and the potential spouse from a powerful family. Politically, can you give Leonato that boost to his status. And is Don John a surrogate for Mary of Scotland, a potential symbol for a rival faction.

Considering the date for the play, it can't be that strong, that obvious, but it must still reflect the general political reality that marriage for love is something Princes should be wary of. In a sense, Beatrice and Benedict show the possibility of love being something that may come later, while Claudio and Hero show the perils of love before knowledge.

There's a lot of other stuff in the play. A lot of other explanations. Things such as the mistaken identities are established theatrical themes, but what makes a particular play?

#865 ::: etv13 ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2011, 06:57 PM:

While we're on Shakespeare (great poem, Carrie S!), can I ask a question I've been wondering about for ages:

I read somewhere (somewhere fairly authoritative, I think) that in Shakespeare's day, the use of "thou" was already breaking down, and indeed, we see him using it pretty loosely in comedies -- Pedro's "thou . . . lady" and Juliet's "thee, my lord" and Rosalind's uncle calling her "you" and "thou" in the same speech. But I went through Hamlet once looking at this, and Hamlet never calls Gertrude "thou" (and Horatio never calls Hamlet "thou," either). What's up with that? Is it just that tragedy calls for greater attention to decorum (but then what's with Juliet?)? Does it actually tell us something about the relationships between these characters?

#866 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2011, 07:29 PM:

Kenneth Branagh signed to film recently rediscovered Shakespeare plays, "Abbott and Othello", and "Three Stooges of Verona"...

#867 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2011, 08:37 PM:

AKICIML: I have a lamp with a...see, I don't even know what to google for. The switch is a little rod? And it's stuck just shy of turning the lamp on. I'd like to fix it, but I'm afraid of making it worse.

#868 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2011, 08:51 PM:

A toggle, TexAnne?

#869 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2011, 08:54 PM:

TexAnne, is it the type you push through the fixture?

#870 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2011, 09:31 PM:

TexAnne, Amazon sells a kit which calls those things "push-thru" style. See the image to verify.

#871 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2011, 10:33 PM:

Linkmeister, that's the one. So I can't just fix the black plastic moving part, I have to replace the entire damn assembly? How very irritating! That's what a whole new lamp is going for at Target. (My broken one is somewhere between 12 and 20 years old, though, so I suppose I shouldn't wave my cane around *too* threateningly.)

#872 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2011, 11:25 PM:

TexAnne @ 873... I suppose I shouldn't wave my cane around *too* threateningly

I'd worry more about your knitting needles, were I close enough.

#873 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 12:06 AM:

Oh, Serge, have we taught you nothing? Blood is nearly impossible to remove from wool, if the needles are in use. But if one removes the knitting from the needles, one runs the risk of dropping stitches. Neither option is terribly appealing.

#874 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 12:10 AM:

TexAnne @875: Unless the knitter is like my mother, and has a bag of extra yarn, scissors, and -- oh, yes: needles.

#875 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 12:34 AM:

Ginger, when I have empty needles, that's a sign I don't have enough WIPs.

#876 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 12:54 AM:

Re the Palaeologus particle: a bit more googling reveals that his daughter had the excellent name Godscall Palaeologus.

#877 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 01:54 AM:

I suspect that the rigid distinction still made in French and German was breaking down in English, in Shakespeare's day. In those languages, one still addresses any unrelated adult who is not a personal friend in the second person plural, and the first person is used only for children, younger relatives and personal friends. In English, I believe the rule was looser: one addressed one's general adult equals in the first person singular if singular, the second being reserved for social superiors and the plural.

Hence, the furore about Quakers calling everyone "thou", even God. They got into severe trouble about it. Oddly, the usage is now inverted. One addresses God as "Thou", (or used to until a few years ago) but everyone else is "you".

Perhaps the reason for the loss of the first person singular in English was that curious British outward self-deprecation. It was polite to address all persons as though socially superior. Somewhat like the old conventional closer to formal correspondence, "I am, sir, your most obd. servant," when you were no such thing, and both of you knew it.

I find that rather difficult to believe, mind, but I can't think of any other reason.

#878 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 03:56 AM:

TexAnne, if it were me I'd change the entire assembly, if I could be sure I'd get the wiring back to the right poles (or whatever it should be attached to). I have a couple of lamps that need that done, and now I know there are kits available maybe I'll be brave and try it.

#879 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 05:31 AM:

Linkmeister @880

I'd agree. I've seen the internal workings of a lot of domestic electrical switches, and they're just not made to be fixed at that level. Even industrial three-phase star-delta starter boxes depend on quite complex sub-modules which are replaced rather than repaired.

It looks as though the job should be fairly simple. The actual lampholder will screw onto a mounting on the lamp. There'll be a ring clamping the lampshade holder, which unscrews upwards, and the base of the lampholder will unscrew to reveal the electrical connections.

#880 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 05:34 AM:

Dave Luckett: It wasn't a furore over referring to God in the familiar (cf, The Bible, "Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name). God was everyone's intimate.

It was the levelling of language in re everyone else.

It was still pretty solid in Shakespeare's day, that's why the scene between Hamlet and his mother is so powerful, he's beruking her by putting on formal language; much as someone today is being rudely formal when dismissing someone with, "Good day to you, Sir", or using "Mister" in address.

It's distancing language, and shows a certain disdain, and contempt.

#881 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 08:24 AM:

Dave Luckett @#879: Your point is well-taken, but your terminology is messed up. No one addresses someone else in the first person, at least not the first person singular; that's "I" and "we", and people consider it irritating when the nurse asks them "How are we feeling this morning?"--and I'd call it downright weird to have someone say "How am I?" when se didn't mean hirself.

"Thou" and "you" is purely a singular vs plural distinction; both are second person. It's precisely equivalent to "tu" and "vous" in terms of what the pronouns originally meant. Now, why it's more polite to call someone a plural pronoun, that I've got no clue on.

#882 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 08:30 AM:

Terry Karney (882): Like a former coworker of mine, who only addressed (other) women as "ma'am" when she was incandescently angry. (I grew up in the South; I use "ma'am" to be polite.)

#883 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 09:29 AM:

About singular/plural second person: I have seen a *recent* academic article, in French, criticizing the English use of the familiar "thou" for God as changing the essential relationship between individuals and Deity. I gathered the impression that pre-Reformation custom was to use the plural. I don't have enough period knowledge to check this, and the writer could have been a crank. Anyone? (Especially anyone who knows the Latin.)

As for the lamp assembly: given that the repair is the same cost as a replacement, I'd say it depends on how much you like the lamp. I was perfectly happy to pay my local hardware store $15 to replace a broken cord on my bedside lamp, and to buy a somewhat pricey new shade for it, but it's a lamp my grandfather made by wiring a porcelain vase, and it has great sentimental value, besides being very pretty. I might not consider it worth the trouble to repair a random mass-produced item if I could find a replacement I liked for the same price.

#884 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 09:34 AM:

Due to a laptop death, I am ridiculously behind on actually following this thread.

However, I had to share a very Fluorospherian link:

A hip-hop song about Alexander Hamilton's badassery, by the Tony-Award-Winning composer and lyricist of "In the Heights".

#885 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 09:46 AM:

Rikibeth, 885: That article is WRONG ON THE INTERNET. The Latin addresses God in the singular, since there was no use of the plural in the formal sense.

I have to wonder about the writer's personal politics. When the Reformation hit, most people went to "tu" in the translated prayers. In the 17th century, the Jansenists (read Puritans) switched to "vous". These days, it's a sign of extreme cultural conservatism. I have no data, but it wouldn't surprise me to find out that the Front National called God "vous."

#886 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 10:02 AM:

When I was a young boy...
("When Jules Verne was writing about the Nautilus?").
I heard that.
As I was about to say... The French text for the 'Pater Noster' used 'vous' to address God. A few years late, the text changed to 'tu'.

#887 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 10:23 AM:

TexAnne, Serge: the author was, indeed, highly culturally conservative. I didn't have the full context, but my very NOT conservative friend was driven into frothing fury at him/the article. I think he might have been some sort of royalist, which always sends her into a froth.

I am a simple creature: I was not taught to pray in English or Latin, but in Hebrew, and with such a poor foundation in the grammar involved that I can't remember if there WAS a distinction between second person plural and singular (I remember that distinction in third person). Once the study of French introduced me to the concept of a distinction rarely observed in English, I found it most useful for purposes of *flirtation*.

#888 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 10:27 AM:

Rikibeth @ 889... Once the study of French introduced me to the concept of a distinction rarely observed in English, I found it most useful for purposes of *flirtation*

L'amour, oui, oui...

#889 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 10:38 AM:

Serge @890: *checks back for accidental stripes of white paint* Le mew... le purr...

#890 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 10:58 AM:

Having caught up, I haz me some replies:

Lee @528 said: May I just say that I am COMPLETELY unimpressed by Tumblr at this point? That was a lot more work, and a lot less intuitive, than it should have been, as witness the fact that I had to ask for advice here on every single step of the process!

You're trying to use it in a way it was not designed to function (much). Tumblr is designed to be a high-speed output/throughput way of spewing images at a bunch of people who have opted in to get it, in an aggregated fashion. Its designers do not appear to feel that two-way exchange of information is at all desirable, and therefore have not included any easy way to do it.

The gentleman in Jacque's story @715, Loren Damewood, will be a guest of honor at MuseCon in Itasca, IL, the first weekend in August. Many awesome things will be made by hand and voice.

#891 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 11:21 AM:

Serge @890, Rikibeth @ 891: Sadly, the amour en Francais does not translate well to other languages, like (oh, just for example) Ukrainian. "Mon petit chou" becomes "Moya malenka kapusta", and makes her laugh.

#892 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 11:32 AM:

Rikibeth #885: A few years back, my mother, in order to explain the singular weirdness of English to her sisters, said that 'En inglés solo Dios es "tu"'. A point I hadn't thought of before.

#893 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 11:40 AM:

Ginger @ 893... Try "Mon petit joujou"

#894 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 11:47 AM:

Might as well update: my son started the outpatient program last Friday, did well over the weekend and into Monday, but then on Tuesday reported feeling the voices and was readmitted to the inpatient side. He also reported "attempting" to hang himself, although he said to another therapist that he'd only thought about it. In either case, the "rope" he reported having in his bedroom turned out to be a string, and there were no signs on his body that he'd even put anything around his neck. So, the question becomes "Is this delusional, hyperactive, or attention-seeking -- or all three?"

We've stopped his methamphetamines altogether (the ADHD meds), and have changed his antidepressant so he is now on Bupropion for both. There have been no voices since Tuesday, and no feelings of voices. However, since he admits to liking the hospital food, I feel he is still deeply delusional...

No, he sounds better today -- I had to call in to the family conference -- and he will probably go back to the outpatient program next week, once he is stable on the new medications.

In other health news, the little male kitten who appeared on one of the Disappearance Nights has now been neutered and checked for all sorts of things. He's positive for Giardia, which private practitioners are apparently now treating ("Back in my day, we just let that go..") and was treated for fleas. My elderly 18-yr old cat, in whom I suspected hyperthyroidism and started on methimazole prior to blood testing, was found to be very slightly hypothyroid, so I shall reduce her dose, and very slightly anemic. She had fleas too, so everyone has been treated and I am only imagining the little itchies on me.

Yes, even strictly indoor cats can get fleas. It happened to me long before the dogs came along, and they could have come in at least three different ways: stray kitty brought his own; dogs bring in from the outside every day, and fleas can come in through doors/windows or on fomites such as camping gear, which is stored in the same location as the elderly cat.

Everyone got topical Frontline, and I am now (for various values of "now") industriously washing all washable items in hot soapy water. Well, not me, Serge; the washing machine. The vacuum cleaners will be working busily this weekend, and I repeat prn for the next few weeks.

#895 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 11:56 AM:

Ginger @ 896... Well, not me, Serge; the washing machine

C'mon, my mind isn't that... ah... dirty.

Best wishes for the Son.

#896 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 11:56 AM:

Ginger @896, in re Giardia ... my mother came back from a trip feeling exceedingly poorly in a lot of weird ways, and her doctors (after many tests) basically said they couldn't help her, it must be psychosomatic.

She bitched about it to a vet of our acquaintance (at a herpetological society meeting -- he did a lot of different 'exotics,' plus work for a lot of the suburban horsey set), and he got interested as she listed her symptoms. "Would you mind if I tried treating you? Worst case you take some pills for a week, they might make you feel a little more run-down." Sure, she said. "Ok," said he, "How much do you weigh?"

Apparently he checked his chimpanzee dosing schedule and gave her a course of anti-Giardia meds, which cleared her right up. This would have been mid-80s.

#897 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 12:10 PM:

Addendum to my 898: I am reminded that it wasn't just talk-then-pills; he asked her at that meeting if she could bring him a stool sample, which he tested, and THEN issued pills.

#898 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 12:18 PM:

Serge @ 895: Моя маленька іграшка? I'll have to find out whether that's better than "kapusta". At least she laughs because it's not the usual sweet nothing, and not just because I cannot roll my Rrrs any more.

Elliott Mason @ 898: Interesting! I've had Giardia myself, in veterinary school, thanks to the island's lack of any water treatment, and the collection devices that were open to the environment. I forgot to boil all my water before use, and had a lovely case of it which I treated with an antibiotic. Which reminds me: I need to pick up some antibiotic for the kitten.

As intestinal parasites go, though, Giardia is one of the cooler-looking ones.

#899 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 12:31 PM:

#896 ::: Ginger

...such as camping gear, which is stored in the same location as the elderly cat.

You store your cat with your camping gear? We had a dog who liked to store himself with our camping gear, particularly as we were about to travel. Presumably hoping he wouldn't get left.

Glad to hear your news overall is getting better. I read most of it so late that comments wouldn't have been timely. Etc. for Xopher and others.

#900 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 12:43 PM:

Ginger @893 -

The idiom may not translate gracefully from French to Ukrainian, but I'm tickled that I understood it with my teeny amount of Polish - it's almost completely the same! I'm not sure my Polish relatives would appreciate being called cabbages of any dimension though, so I'll keep it to myself.

#901 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 12:43 PM:

Carol @ 901: She has the run of the basement, because she is elderly and In Charge. Also, because she yowls loudly at strange hours, so loudly that she did wake me when she was in the "sun room" next to my bedroom. (For comparison, thunder doesn't wake me, nor do the barking dogs, unless they are in the same room as I.) The basement has windows to the outside and I make sure she gets a decent view of the world.

TexAnne @ 877: Ah, well. Mom's been knitting for more than 60 years and even has a business card now. I've suggested a website, but that wasn't of interest. With three grandsons and plenty of other small children around to knit for (cousins, friends, random babies), she almost always has WIP. I have a design that I have to submit for her use, incorporating the Ukrainian trident on a blue and gold sweater. First I have to print out the trident on graph paper..

Serge @ 897: Not dirty, no; more of a mordant sense of humor. If you know what I mean, and I think you do.

#902 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 12:46 PM:

I am on Google+ now - just starting to play around with it. If you're interested, email me and I will "add you to a circle" which appears to automatically generate an invitation to you. So far the content is mostly people talking about how it compares to Facebook. The "circles" of friends feature appears to work well and be very easy to use, though I would still treat it as if anything you post is being posted to Usenet.

#903 ::: Riikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 01:03 PM:

Ginger, I'm dyeing to know what you thought Serge might have said.

#904 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 01:04 PM:

Ginger: That particular new word of power seems to do wonders for me, if it's not over-sharing, and seems to have a very low side-effects profile in general as I'm sure you know.

#905 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 01:46 PM:

Rikibeth @ 905... I came clother to making a really bad pun.

#906 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 02:06 PM:

nerdycellist @ 902: Western Ukrainian and Polish are amazingly similar -- and no, cabbages do not translate as well as one would hope. Duzhe dobre!

Clifton Royston @ 904, 906: I'm interested in trying Google +, and if you use my full name for my g mail address, it is my firstname dot lastname etc. As far as the Word of Power, it seems to be a good one. Being groggy or sleepy usually passes after some exposure.

Rikibeth @ 905: Well, I know he can use rather salty language, but I hear he is a prestigious alum of a good school. (Or is it the other way 'round?)

#907 ::: CZEdwards (aka the Other Constance) ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 02:36 PM:

Happy Canada Day, Canadians!

On a slightly related note (being that today is the first of the month and first day of the quarter): I got my personal "Check the Go Bag" reminder today. In the interest of public service: Do you know where your Go Bag is?

#908 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 03:17 PM:

Serge @ 895: Mon petit joujou, we have a winner! Moya malenka irashka is much better, according to a certain FG.

CZEdwards @909: Happy Canada Day! I have several Go Bags..

#909 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 05:58 PM:

dcb @728: You've had her teeth checked?

Well, Sunny went to the vet today, to see if her back teeth were what was causing her problems eating. Far as we can tell, they look great.

The vet was of the opinion that her front lower incisors were very long. (Which is a consistent pattern my household. Hm.) Evidently this constrains chewing to movement around the horizontal axis. Her chewing issues might be caused by an inability to rotate her jaw around the vertical axis.

Given that she's already subsisting entirely on liquid food, trimming her front teeth loses us nothing, and potentially regains her the ability to eat solid food, so we went for it. Additionally, she's been issued a course of antibiotics, in response to harsh breathing sounds. (She's been pretty nasally the last week or two; if she can't smell, that might also contribute to eating issues.)

Meanwhile, she was being intollerably cute, as we were discussing her situation and the options. "Fingers? Food! No food in fingers? Other fingers! Food! No food there either? Harumph."

Carrie S. @883: "Thou" and "you" is purely a singular vs plural distinction; both are second person.

1600ce Thou = 2000ce You
1600ce You = 2000ce Y'all

Elliott Mason @892: Loren Damewood

Hah! I thought that conversation might produce a name. Yes, Loren. I remember now....

HLN: Traveling home from vet's office, wad of cottonwood fluff lands square on end of woman's nose. Woman manages to simultaneously not crash bicycle and to refrain from inhaling fluff.

#910 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 06:06 PM:

Ginger @900: As intestinal parasites go, though, Giardia is one of the cooler-looking ones.

Oh, SRSLY!! Looks like one of those lame cartoon characters they come up with for public health PSAs.

#911 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 06:13 PM:

Ginger @903: Glad to hear things seem to be looking up with Son. (Ain't brain chemistry a bitch?)

thunder doesn't wake me, nor do the barking dogs, unless they are in the same room as I.

I was very surprised to discover that I can actually sleep through a chainsaw going ten feet from my bedroom window. The thump of the log hitting the ground will, however, wake me up.

#912 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 06:15 PM:

Mods: Your comment is being held for review.

Apparently the Gnomes didn't like my reference either to skull-juice or references to female dogs. Or something.

#913 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 06:38 PM:

Jacque @911: Here's to hoping the shorter teeth and the antibiotics assist. And yes, not being able to smell food properly could lead to reduced appetite.

And very well done not crashing the bicycle etc. (particularly since, I pressume, Sunny was being transported on that conveyance).

#914 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 06:54 PM:

And speaking of dog sleeping habits ("Oh? Were we?" "Doesn't matter, that was just to introduce the subject.")

Jemma, our Lhasa Apso, has been adapting to her blindness partly by becoming more affectionate, and by wanting to sleep near someone. Some nights that means our Rat Terrier, Spencer, who feels like he's being pushed out of his normal sleeping place (each of them has a couch in the living room with a blanket on it). So when he's feeling put upon, Spencer comes into our bedroom and goes into our closet, where he's made a nest out of some clothes we've stored there. It's rather disconcerting to be awakened in the middle of the night by scrabbling noises as he circles around to make his bed.

#915 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 07:25 PM:


In my experience, the drugs used for treating ADD and ADHD often have effects on other disorders in the same patient, sometimes disorders that hadn't been diagnosed, and for which the drugs are not normally prescribed. For instance, I started taking Strattera (Atomoxetine), a selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, a few years ago, and a couple of days later I started coming out of a depression I'd been in for a couple of years which nobody had recognized including me.

I know I don't need to tell you how to monitor drug effects; I'd just like to emphasize that sometimes there are effects that are way outside the scope of what you're expecting to see.

#916 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 08:42 PM:

HLN: Rental car local man is driving is rear-ended in a parking lot. Local man is driving rental car because own car is still being repaired from accident a couple of weeks ago.

#917 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 09:54 PM:

Test: chemistry

#919 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 11:04 PM:

Ginger: thanks for the update. continued good wishes for continued improvement.

Jacque: ditto.

Regarding sleeping: I'm a native NYer, so I can sleep through a lot of ambient noise (though I've gotten more sensitive as I've gotten older). However, sounds from the cat or the child can wake me out of the deepest sleep. I think my brain processes "noise from loved one" differently, even while asleep.

#920 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 01:52 AM:

@919 & 920: Maybe it's just me. :) I kill watches, you know, and in electronics school my mosfet never worked.

#921 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 01:58 AM:

Melissa Singer @921: sounds from the cat or the child can wake me out of the deepest sleep.

When I was house-sitting for a friend one summer, I discovered I am conditioned to respond subconsciously to certain animal noises.

I discovered this because one night I woke up in the wee hours, holding the front door open and waiting for the dog to go through. Unfortunately, this particular dog was not similarly conditioned, and so I wound up having to clean the puke off the carpet after all.

#922 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 02:01 AM:

Heh. Mods: Check your incoming. The Gnomes really don't like mention of certain neurological terms.

#923 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 02:04 AM:

Let's see just how determined they are: brn chmstry

#924 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 02:27 AM:

Open Thread 160 is now, um, open.

#925 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 03:07 AM:

In re "thou/you" and the Lord's Prayer, note that in classical Latin and ancient Greek up to and including Koine, the second person plural did not carry any nuance of politeness; the distinction was purely one of number. One deity being prayed to, therefore second person singular in the prayer.

#926 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 05:11 AM:


Should be sorted; I've had a word with the gnomes. The problem was that the phrase "brain chemistry" contains a substring that was the ID of a persistent spammer.

#927 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 06:28 AM:

test: chemistry

#928 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 07:56 AM:

Better living thru chemistry!

#929 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 11:00 AM:

Another possible flea vector for indoor cats: humans. Specifically, our vet suggested one might have gotten in on one of our shoes: dog to ground to shoe to cat. (This was some years ago.)

#930 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 03:00 PM:

Hm...she says, eyeing the thread suspiciously. Let's see:

Brain chemistry!!!

BTW, abi, I'm tickled with your useage of the word "sorted," which, IME, is still largely British.

I'll be curious to hear your accent someday; I'll bet it, um, varies.

#931 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 03:38 PM:

Jacque @932:

My accent is midatlantic.

I started out with your standard Northern California accent, with touches of rural laxity ("crick" for "creek" and suchlike).

When I moved to Edinburgh, I deliberately introduced (English) Received Pronunciation* vowel sounds and stress patterns into my speech to make myself more comprehensible on the phone. And, living there for some 14 years, I picked up a lot of idiom and usages.

Then we moved to the Netherlands. So I began to let the accent drift back to the US. (I also went back to American spellings and most American grammatical forms†). Then I took my current job, and landed in an environment with a substantial quantity of Brits.

So now my accent and diction are both moving eastward again.

Really, it's enough to make anyone linguistically motion sick.

* I can't seem to do Scottish phonemes, but at least I was on the right island...
† Though I still say "outwith"

#932 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 03:51 PM:

"You talk funny, Sutherland. Where you from?"
"Lots of different places."

#933 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 04:54 PM:

"Lots of planets have a midatlantic."

#934 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 06:05 PM:

abi @933: midatlantic


#935 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 07:20 PM:

It's kinda funny...east* of the Atlantic, 'mid-Atlantic' means an ambiguous mix of American and British speech values; west* of the Atlantic it refers to the East Coast region south of New England but north of The South, usually New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington D.C., Virginia, and West Virginia—with, of course, some disagreement about the exact borders (I, for example, can't believe that Virginia would get counted as anything but South, but perhaps there's some linguistic justification that I'm not familiar with).

So it's a matter of whether the "mid" part is latitudinal or longitudinal.

* Mod The Usual (Americans who read a lot, watch Doctor Who, or listen to the BBC pick up some British usage and I'm sure the reverse is true for some Brits)

#936 ::: Kevin Reid ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 08:49 PM:

TexAnne: You probably can't replace the little black rod, but you can replace the socket for far less than the price of a lamp kit. Any decent hardware store should be able to sell you just the socket. In fact, you might be able to replace just the interior mechanism and keep the exterior casing mounted.

You may have to disassemble the assorted nuts and hardware around the threaded tube ("nipple") which attaches the socket to the rest of the lamp — unless the cord is sufficiently free inside the lamp to let you just twist off the socket (loosen the set-screw on the side first).

The wires from the cord are connected to the socket through screw terminals. When re-attaching the wires, make sure that all of the strands are under the screw. (When last I studied this topic, there was a debate over whether hooking the wire over the terminals clockwise or counterclockwise ws better; I recommend here just doing whatever the old socket had.) The socket itself is simply press-fitted together and can be pulled apart by hand.

Also note that the wires coming into the socket are tied into a special knot which stops them from being yanked out the bottom of the socket (with possible electrification of the lamp's frame). You'll have to untie and retie this knot if you replace the base of the socket shell.

(Disclaimer: IANAElectrician; I recommend consulting a good book before taking any of this advice. But hopefully this comment helps illustrate the shape of a possible solution.)

#937 ::: Rainflame ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 08:52 PM:

Terry Karney@882
he's beruking her
I just gotta say I love that word "beruking".

#938 ::: Kevin Reid ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 08:54 PM:

This is just to say
I have written
a comment
which has been

— and I am informed that I should inform the moderators of this fact. It is on the subject of repairing TexAnne's lamp, and I would like to add to it that one should make sure to attach the wires the same way around as in the old socket, as Linkmeister suggests — the cord usually has a subtle cue as to which is which, such as ridges — unless the plug is not polarized, in which case it doesn't matter.

#939 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 10:57 PM:

Xopher, re the Southernness of Virginia: the Sweet Tea Line runs through Roanoke. North of there they just look at you funny if you ask for it.

#940 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 11:29 PM:

Ginger, in regards to the fleas, I have been told that though fleas will bite humans, they don't do well on people alone* and will die out if you keep up the Frontline treatments on the pets. So that's good. There are also anti-flea natural sprays with a heavy dose of clove and peppermint, and though you're supposed to use them on the pets, I have done a few Circles of Protection with them. Kind of a neat smell.

*I was wondering about having to bug-bomb—something I do not want to do with little humans who put things in their mouths. Turns out it's unnecessary if you treat the pets and vacuum.

#941 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 12:40 AM:

Kevin #938: The so-called UL Knot is perhaps better known (or described) as a two-strand wall knot.(Ashley Book of Knots, #775, page 140.)

#942 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 01:48 AM:

Xopher @937: ::cough:: I blink at you owlishly.

#943 ::: Kevin Reid ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 11:52 AM:

Thanks. I had my suspicions that that was not the best name for it given that there was not a Wikipedia article, but that's all I've ever heard it called.

#944 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 11:17 AM:

Xopher @937: Virginia is weird -- there is an area where the accent heard is identical to Elizabethan English (Poquoson), although I'm told that radio and television may be killing it.

Accents in the Tidewater Region differ from those in the Piedmont* -- and Richmond has it's own, as well. My mother can identify a fellow Virginian's birthplace after a brief conversation, and she explains this a lot better than I can.

*I suspect these reflect different social strata.

#945 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 11:35 AM:

B. Durbin @ 942: Yes, fleas do prefer their hosts to be of the canine or feline persuasion. As long as the environment is not saturated with them, you can treat pets and vacuum/wash the surroundings for treatment. Two months -- at a minimum -- should be enough to eliminate them through attrition.

If there are enough fleas to be visible jumping on/off a human, then they're saturated in the environment, and you need professional/bug bomb treatments.

#946 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 11:40 AM:

Ginger #947:

What about the corner condition: you can't see the fleas jumping, but there's lots of bites on your ankles?

(This question brought to you by hindsight, from the house way back when with the pink oven and a two-pronged flea attack.)

#947 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 11:47 AM:

joanne @ 948: Either of two possibilities comes to mind: (1) you're very attractive to fleas (I had a housemate who would get bitten by fleas while I sat on the same furniture at the same time, and didn't); (2) you're in a transition phase about to enter environmental saturation.

I haven't got any bites, but I'm not very attractive (to the fleas, Serge..), and I am not seeing their little bodies although I've looked.

#948 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 12:13 PM:

Ginger @ 949... I'm not very attractive (to the fleas, Serge)

You wound me to the quick, thinking I'd misinterpret your words.
That being said, my FG is quite attractive to fleas. I suggested it was due to her California Girl blood.

#949 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 12:54 PM:

Serge @ 950: Not misinterpret, but perhaps think I'd meant it in a more serious manner.

There was a youngish lady with Fleas
Who wished for her friend Serge to please
Enjoy his punnery
And assorted funnery
Without feeling any need to appease.

#950 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 01:13 PM:

Ginger #949: I am indeed very attractive to fleas, but my FH (Fabulous Husband) was also getting bit to sh*t.

This was a theoretical question, as the bites in question occurred back in 1988. We had the exterminators in, stayed in a motel for 2-3 nights, and then spent the next two months trying to figure out if it was the house itself, or after-effects of flea poison that were depressing the living hell out of both of us. (We moved, and were instantly happy again afterwards; it could have been either.)

#951 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 03:43 PM:

joann @ 952: With fleas, it's always better in hypothetical, isn't it? I've lived through an environmental saturation in my parents' basement as well as the much-more-endurable situations in which only the animals have the itchies.

I have no idea whether the flea poison could have been affecting you, but I'm glad you felt better after moving.

#952 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 03:54 PM:

Take my lice - fleas!

#953 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 04:25 PM:

We had a flea problem in the last place, and found an exterminator that put down some powder that was supposed to be Not A Poison, but reacted badly with the breathing process of the fleas. I think it was a salt, or a something along the lines of baking soda. It was supposed to last for roughly a year after application. It worked for as long as we were in that house, and we didn't notice any unpleasant chemically smells.

#954 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 07:45 PM:

eric @955: probably borax, whichdissolves their chitin and causes Many Problems. Or possibly sharp sand, the kind one sand-blasts with, which (when breathed into their spicules) gets caught in their innards and cuts them to pieces by the movements of their own bodies.

Both are pet-safe, as they don't do much to mammals. Well, borax tastes nasty and if you eat enough of it it'll give you the runs, but.

#955 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 08:21 PM:

Borax is a desiccant; it dries out the insect and works on roaches as well as fleas. I've used it myself, but you have to have enough of it in the right areas.

There's no one perfect solution to the Flea Problem, but a combined approach will generally keep them down to a minor nuisance.

#956 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 09:14 PM:

The 'sand' might be diatomaceous earth. (I have borax powder. Never tried it for fleas, but it's supposed to be effective on las cucarachas.)

#957 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2011, 11:56 AM:

P J Evans #958:

When I was flogging paint and hardware just out of college, we sold borax for the eradication of cucarachas. Didn't work a treat, but it sort of worked. Then I left Texas for California, and when I came back seven years later, someone had developed Combat in the interim. (Bunch of Aggies, I think.) The results were ... strikingly different. Bismarck-class creatures went from a daily parade to rare sightings.

#958 ::: Cadbury Moose hauls up the spam flag ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 04:38 AM:

Linkspam at #960

I have often wondered who posts all this spam, and sometimes wish (like Nero did) that they only had one neck. A firm grip for a suitable period would improve things considerably.

Smaller type (our default)
Larger type
Even larger type, with serifs

Dire legal notice
Making Light copyright 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 by Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden. All rights reserved.