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July 21, 2011

Open Thread 161
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 12:01 AM *

Two words that end with -gry are angry and hungry. There are three words in the English language. What’s the third word?

Continued from Open Thread 160

Continued in Open Thread 162
Comments on Open Thread 161:
#1 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 12:12 AM:

"Language", of course.


#2 ::: Evan ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 12:12 AM:

Hunangry -- hunger for Hunan-style cuisine coupled with anger that you haven't gotten it yet.

#3 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 12:25 AM:

Maugre, as in maugre her heed.

#4 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 12:38 AM:

"...Yes, I think it can be very easily done.
Just put some bleachers out in the sun
And we'll do it in Open Thread 161."

#5 ::: edward oleander ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 12:52 AM:

That which you seek is never where you find it.

#6 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 01:09 AM:

Gry, when used in a trollish comment.

#7 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 01:51 AM:

There's a bit of history to this puzzle.

This is the first time I've ever seen/heard it.

I remember being caught by the spoken puzzle "How do you pronounce MacAlister? MacDonald? MacGregor? Machine?"

#8 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 01:57 AM:

I call shenanigans. There are way more than three words in the English language...

#9 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 02:26 AM:

Xopher - from open thread chapter 160, verse 920;

Could the twilight Sparkly Vampire Mormon metaphor you're looking for be the phrase "White and Delightsome"? In the BoM, the Lamanites, who were cursed with Native American swarthiness, were promised to become White and Delightsome once they finally accepted Teh Gospul. You won't find this in any Book of Mormon those friendly young men called Elders give you for free; look for one published before 1981, when some clever-clogs at The Church realized that whole thing was kind of racist and quietly changed "white" to "pure".

#10 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 02:41 AM:


Like trolly, but with fewer wheels and less aggravating.

#11 ::: Phil Palmer ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 02:42 AM:

Gurjbeqjbhyqorbtelnfva EhcregZheqbpuhfrq gbybbxzberbtel gunaguvf.

I hope I'm wrong because then there's four words in the English language. Soon there will be enough that we can print them on paper and sell them to each other.

#12 ::: Dave Crisp ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 03:24 AM:


#13 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 03:27 AM:

WorldCon in 4 weeks! Who's going to be there?

The party-floor rooms have been all booked up (for some time), so I myself will not be able to host a Fluorospherian party. This does not preclude a Gathering of Light, though.

#14 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 04:33 AM:


Some of the versions on that page are the sort of riddle that really winds me up, in that if you accept the answer then the question doesn't make sense.

One in particular hinges on whether "what" is the literal word what, or the introduction of a question - but if it was the literal "what", then no question has been asked, so where is the riddle? Sometimes, the answer is clever enough to make the twist amusing rather than annoying, but rarely.

It's also annoying when a riddle would admit multiple answers no less realistic than the one the questionner has in mind, but the questionner insists on one particular answer.

And don't even get me started on bl**dy hobbits.

My favourite riddle (probably because it's one of the few I can actually remember) is: "Greater than god, more evil than the devil. Dead men eat me, but live men who eat me die. What am I?"

If riddles and puzzles are your thing, and you haven't been through it yet, you owe it to yourself to try planetarium.*

* Disclosure: The creator is a friend of mine.

#15 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 04:50 AM:

Well for starters, "gry" is a word, even without any disemvowelment.

The Straight Dope on this riddle and gry

Dave @ 12: That's what I was going to post.

#16 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 05:24 AM:

Maugre, as in maugre her heed.

"Maugre" doesn't end in "-gry"...

The SD article lists "aggry" as a sort of bead from West Africa, which makes sense because a) Accra is in Ghana and it might be related, and b) there's a sort of multicoloured marble (the glass ball, not the stone) called an "aggie".

#17 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 06:09 AM:

Russ@14: I once saw a version of that submitted to the Usenet Oracle. As I recall it went:

What do men love more than life,
Hate worse than death or mortal strife?
What does the contented man desire,
The poor man have and the rich man require?
What do misers spend and spendthrifts save
And all take with them to the grave?

I don't remember what the Oracle's answer was except that it was a spectacular non sequitur, but I did take the time to work out the intended answer to the riddle. I like that version because it rhymes, although I wish it had the bit about "those who eat it die" in there somehow. (Any of our resident poets want to take a stab?)

#18 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 06:24 AM:

From sundry reports into the UK phone-hacking scandal, with an example of why Google are being silly about names:

David Cameron has unveiled the final terms of reference of Lord Justice Leveson's inquiry into phone hacking, announcing his remit will extend beyond newspapers to include broadcasters and social media.

The prime minister also named the panel of six people who will work with the judge on the inquiry.

They are the former political editor of Channel 4 News, Elinor Goodman, the former political editor of the Daily Telegraph, George Jones, the former Ofcom director David Currie, Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti, Sir David Bell, the former chairman of the Financial Times, and Sir Paul Scott-Lee, a former police chief.

I suppose I should carefully avoid Google from now on. I'm clearly not the real David Bell.

And I wonder why "social media" have come into this. I can see the connection to privacy, but what's the connection to what's been going on? Newspapers and broadcasters, that makes sense as being news reporting businesses.

#19 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 06:38 AM:

Paul @15 -- In the linked article, Cecil Adams suggests that the answer to the riddle (as Adams has phrased it, which is a little different from Jim's and Randall Munroe's phrasing) is "three" -- it's hard for me to see how this makes any sense. The answer "Language" as given by David @1 and by Munroe's character makes sense but I find myself in agreement with Munroe's other character (not to the point where I would cut off anybody's hands, but) -- riddles whose solution depends on a portion of the question being understood as being enclosed by quotation marks when it was not phrased that way at the time of asking, are not clever or satisfying. The response that "there are more than 3 words in the English language" is a fun one though, I particularly like Phil @11's take on it.

#20 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 06:41 AM:

"Don't make me Hongrois. You wouldn't like me when I'm Hongrois."
- Bruce Banner

#21 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 06:43 AM:

Kathryn in Sunnyvale @ 13... I'll be staying in Atlantis.

#22 ::: londonbard ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 06:50 AM:

@David Goldfarb, 17

We could add this to the riddle,

"Some eat me in pursuit of health,
some eat me from the lack of wealth
those who devour me often die,
and will possess me, bye and bye."

#23 ::: londonbard ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 06:56 AM:

unfortunately I was distracted and I can't see a way to delete my earlier comment - for "me" read "it".

#24 ::: londonbard ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 06:57 AM:

unfortunately I was distracted and I can't see a way to delete my earlier comment - for "me" read "it".

#25 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 07:14 AM:


--Dave, like an elided intermittent motion

#26 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 08:25 AM:

David Goldfarb #17: This riddle site has your verse as (currently) #36. The answer, as I'd expected, was (rot13) "abguvat". What the famously mischievous Oracle might have answered, I couldn't tell you....

#27 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 08:40 AM:

Gry is also a danish female name...
not just a trollish comment.

It's pronounced sort of like Groo.

#28 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 08:57 AM:

Actually, the OED lists "puggry" as a variant of "pugree", a type of turban. That's four. A fifth is "aggry" or "aggri", the "y" ending is listed first, "A word of unknown origin and meaning, applied to coloured and variegated glass beads of ancient manufacture, found buried in the ground in Africa; they closely resemble the glain neidyr or adder stone of the Britons."

The "gry" is listed as "The smallest unit in Locke's proposed decimal system of linear measurement, being the tenth of a line, the hundredth of an inch, and the thousandth of a (‘philosophical’) foot." Curiously, there's also a verb to gry, "To rage, roar" with one citation, Carew's 1594 translation of Tasso: "The hearing this doth force the Tyrant gry, With threatfull sound."

#29 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 09:06 AM:

riddles whose solution depends on a portion of the question being understood as being enclosed by quotation marks when it was not phrased that way at the time of asking

(The canonical example being "... Can you spell that without any R's?")

#30 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 09:26 AM:

Truth comes in the gaze of eye and ear
and is released in ways that we find best
in simple language; nothing can be expressed
but in a form and fashion that is dear
to ordinary hearts. Now we adhere,
in principle and practice, to the test
of frailty in all that is confessed
by guardians who will not succumb to fear.
Duty requires action as well as speech
from those told off to watch the border wall
for signs of trouble coming with the spring;
but courage makes us all extend our reach,
makes us imagine ourselves ten feet tall
and gives our hearts and voices cause to sing.

#32 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 09:45 AM:

David Harmon@26

At least a quarter of the riddles there made me wince and go "No! That doesn't work!!!".

Some are genuinely clever though. If revealing the answer doesn't elicit "oh, now I see it!" from your audience, then I guess you're doing it wrong (#153 did that for me, but I doubt it's universal).

A couple I just didn't understand how the riddle was supposed to relate to the answer (#140, #144 and WTF is #129 on about?).

The Modesto Kid@29

Huh. And here I thought the canonical example was:
"[difficult word]. How do you spell it?"
"I, T."


#33 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 10:04 AM:

bryan @ 27... It's pronounced sort of like Groo

Just don't call her a Mendicant.

#34 ::: Peter S ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 10:10 AM:

Argh. I hate this question. When I was a librarian idiots would often come in with this, but they never knew it was a trick question and so ask, say, "What word ends with gry that's not hungry or angry?"

I'm with xkcd on this one.

#35 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 10:45 AM:

Linkmeister, #7: Isn't that last one supposed to be "machinery"?

Kathryn, #13: My partner and I will be there. I would definitely be interested in a Gathering of Light, if it's planned for a time when I can be there (AKA when the dealer room is closed).

TMK, #29: The example I'm most familiar with is, "Constantinople is a long word. Can you spell it?" (The answer, of course, is "I-T".)

#36 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 11:03 AM:

Lee @ 35... Maybe we'll finally get to sit down and drink that cocoa.

#37 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 11:10 AM:

Frangano #28 Curiously, there's also a verb to gry, "To rage, roar" with one citation, Carew's 1594 translation of Tasso: "The hearing this doth force the Tyrant gry, With threatfull sound."

I bet that was a typo for "cry."

#38 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 11:15 AM:

Inspired by:

riddles whose solution depends on a portion of the question being understood as being enclosed by quotation marks when it was not phrased that way at the time of asking

b) Riddles whose answers are atrocious puns; c) riddles that from a great distance seem to be legitimate questions; d) riddles asked by the emperor; e) riddles that merely annoy; f) He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named; g) those riddles whose solutions are themselves riddles; h) riddles with no answers.

#39 ::: Fuzzy ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 11:17 AM:

I've just recently been introduced to the portmanteau "hangry", which is when you're angry because you're hungry. It's a useful word around our house because my wife and I both get that way (for grumpy-tending values of angry) if we don't eat regularly.

#40 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 11:22 AM:

The one I remember from the schoolyard is "Constantinople is a very long word. How do you spell it?" to be said in a sing-song rhythm, similar to a skipping chant. It may even have been a skipping chant in my locale, though I don't recall which came first, chant or riddle.

#41 ::: Larry ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 11:24 AM:

I've heard two versions of this. I submit that the answer is 42.

#42 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 11:32 AM:

An interesting publishing-related question: With the rise of ebooks, what's going to happen to giving books as gifts?

Can you give someone a particular ebook as a gift? If so, how? Generic gift cards (or the electronic equivalent) aren't the same thing as giving a particular title, quite aside from the issue of nonphysical gifts not being as satisfying.

#43 ::: Merav ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 11:36 AM:

The traditional answer to this on the language newsgroup I was on in the early 90s was "newgry" because inevitably the first question out of the mouth of a newcomer was the one that started this thread, so anyone asking it was dubbed a "newgry" (said to rhyme with newbie) and was welcomed to the group and asked not to do it again.

Alternately, in the Muppet newsgroup I belonged to in the same chunk of time, the group moderator simply kept in his .sig file "The names of the two old guys in the balcony are Stadtler and Waldorf." This chimes in my head daily as I walk past the Stadtler grill in what is now the Pennsylvania hotel on my commute home, which is possibly why I remember both these things 15 years on.

#44 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 11:38 AM:

Worldcon: We will be there. And for the first time, it's a Worldcon without extra obligations such as kids or staying with family. We'll be in the Peppermill but without a stroller, the walk is nothing.

#45 ::: Jenna Moran ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 11:39 AM:

Isn't the archetypal answer to the original question Jungry?

#46 ::: Clarentine ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 12:01 PM:

@Larry 41 - the answer is always 42. It's just pronounced differently.

#47 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 12:06 PM:

Clarentine @ 46... Quarante-deux?

#48 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 12:09 PM:

Yosemite Sam kin get powerful hongry.

#49 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 12:13 PM:

Lee @ #35:

James Blish had a character named MacHinery in his story "And Death Shall Have No Dominion... ".

#50 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 12:17 PM:

I'll be at Worldcon, in the Atlantis.

#51 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 12:22 PM:

Do you pronounce the capital of Kentucky "Louisville," "Loueyville," or "Looville"?

#52 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 12:29 PM:

James @38: Like

#53 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 12:32 PM:

(for grumpy-tending values of angry)

So, "grangry"?

#54 ::: SarahS ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 12:36 PM:

Jim @#51

LOO-uh-ville, and that middle syllable nearly disappears.

#55 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 12:36 PM:

Jim @51 Do you pronounce the capital of Kentucky "Louisville," "Loueyville," or "Looville"?

My husband's family is originally from Louisville. They had a joke about the guy who says "I'm from Lewis-ville," to which the only possible response is, "No, you're not."

Their choice was none of the above on your list; it's closer to "Loo-uh-ville"

#56 ::: SarahS ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 12:37 PM:

Oh for heaven's sakes.

"Gee, what's that hook doing down here?" said the naive little fishie as she swam along.

#57 ::: SarahS ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 12:39 PM:

OtterB @55

We have been suckered. But good.

#58 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 12:42 PM:

SarahS @57, so we have, darn it. Pffft.

#59 ::: Dave DuPlantis ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 12:46 PM:

Jim @51: I've heard that before ... growing up in Bloomington, IN, we weren't that far away. The accents seem to change right around that latitude (with allowances for IU's campus; there's much more of a twang outside the city limits), so the question of pronunciation is something that definitely catches people's ears. (Sadly, quite a few people were hooked by the question as well. I'm not sure I was one of them, but it's possible. I was young, intelligent, and eager to share what I knew with the world, whether or not they wanted to hear it.)

#60 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 01:24 PM:

Throwing aside the inane quibble version of the riddle, I got a couple of free drinks back in the 80s from the bartender at Steak & Ale for this. He had a bet on and was looking for an answer, and I had a bit of a hunch and found "maugry" listed as a variant in the OED. It came to mind because of the title of the play "Le Roi Malgre Lui."

I've seen commentators reject "maugry" out of hand, but hey: OED, suckers!

ps: Back from China.

#61 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 01:34 PM:

Another one I remember from school - try saying "Silk" to yourself out loud, three times.

What do cows drink?

#62 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 01:39 PM:

Russ @32:

A couple I just didn't understand how the riddle was supposed to relate to the answer (#140, #144 and WTF is #129 on about?).

#140 doesn't work as written -- vg arrqf gb or jvggra va hccrepnfr gb jbex. For the others, your guess is as good as mine.

#63 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 02:06 PM:

Lee #35: I infuriate students who ask me "How do you spell that?" by responding, quite reasonably, "t-h-a-t".

#64 ::: Q. Pheevr ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 02:06 PM:


...Rot-13 doesn't work so well on IPA, does it?

#65 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 02:11 PM:

James Macdonald #37:

Frangano #28 Curiously, there's also a verb to gry, "To rage, roar" with one citation, Carew's 1594 translation of Tasso: "The hearing this doth force the Tyrant gry, With threatfull sound."

I bet that was a typo for "cry."

It is possible, although there was no standardised orthography for English at the time. Your typo, I presume, was meant as a sort of illustration.

#66 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 02:16 PM:

I'll be at Worldcon, working as usual (and on 4 panels). I hope to make it to a Gathering if one happens.

#67 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 02:17 PM:

Russ @#61: Another one I remember from school - try saying "Silk" to yourself out loud, three times.

What do cows drink?

Adult cows, generally water; calves drink milk, which their mothers produce for that purpose and not so we can make crème brulée and ice cream.

A green house is made of green bricks but a greenhouse is made of glass; you don't bury the survivors; one person is going to Saint Ives; do you have any other questions?

#68 ::: SarahS ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 02:26 PM:

Leo Rosten:

The first riddle I ever heard, one familiar to almost every Jewish child, was propounded to me by my father: "What is it that hangs on the wall, is green, wet -- and whistles?" I knit my brow and thought and thought, and in final perplexity gave up. "A herring," said my father. "A herring," I echoed. "A herring doesn't hang on the wall!" "So hang it there." "But a herring isn't green!" I protested. "Paint it." "But a herring isn't wet." "If it's just painted it's still wet." "But -- " I sputtered, summoning all my outrage, "-- a herring doesn't whistle!!" "Right, " smiled my father. "I just put that in to make it hard."

#69 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 02:28 PM:

...and you call the white part of the egg the "white."

#70 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 02:29 PM:

SarahS That's actually pretty funny.

#71 ::: Q. Pheevr ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 02:54 PM:

Picking up the "gry" thread from Fragano@28, James@37, and Fragano@65:

I wondered about whether gry might have been a variant spelling of cry, too. It would really help to know whether the OED's sole example is actually the only known source for it, or whether it's just the only example the compilers of the OED saw fit to include.

The Italian word Carew translated with gry was freme, which I think is something like 'quiver' in modern Italian, but more like 'grumble' in Latin and perhaps still in Tasso's Italian. Elsewhere in the same work, Carew renders it as murmur, fret, and jangle. This doesn't seem particularly conclusive either way as to the status of gry, I'm afraid; 'cry' does fit into the same broad semantic field as the other translations of freme, but there's enough difference to suggest that gry could have been a distinct word.

#72 ::: jnh ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 03:49 PM:

James D. Macdonald @51:

Do you pronounce the capital of Kentucky "Louisville," "Loueyville," or "Looville"?

I pronounce it "Senax-sreg"

#73 ::: Emily H. ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 03:52 PM:

Mary Aileen: You can give e-books as gifts. On the Kindle, at least, you buy the e-book, and then the giftee will receive a message in their email, and can choose to download the book. Which is not quite as satisfying as the old routine of shaking packages under the tree -- "It's shaped like a book!" "I wonder why?"

(Since getting my Kindle, the only book I've received as a present is a very large well-photographed cookbook...)

#74 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 03:56 PM:

Bill @160:859 -- Chad Post of Open Letter Books has a piece about the Borders collapse that is worth reading.

#75 ::: Ken ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 03:58 PM:

riddles whose solution depends on a portion of the question being understood as being enclosed by quotation marks when it was not phrased that way at the time of asking, are not clever or satisfying.

The problem is that the riddle is meant to be spoken. Barring wholesale adoption of Victor Borge's phonetic punctuation, in speech there is no difference between three words in the English language and three words in "the English language".

"Twa/Twe/Twi/Two" similarly works better when spoken, while "Macalister/Macdonald/Macgregor/Machinery" works better when written. (In my opinion.)

#76 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 04:21 PM:

Ken @75: there's a clear difference in pausing, if not in phonemes, between "the English language" and "'the English language'" when I'm speaking them. If I'm wanting to mention the phrase, I put pauses around it; if I'm wanting to use it, I don't. There would also be an increased emphasis on the word "the".

That is, of course, if I want my listener to hear the difference. I'll bet you that I can be unambiguous for 90% of the people I'd talk with, on the telephone, on that one, without adding a single change to letter-style pronunciation.

#77 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 04:23 PM:

in speech there is no difference between three words in the English language and three words in "the English language".

This is not true for me or many other people I know -- there is a characteristic change in intonation when I am speaking and I hit a portion of text in quotation marks. Can't quite describe it but I know what it sounds like. Do you really read those two phrases identically?

#78 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 04:24 PM:

Twa, Twe, Twi, Two
I smell the blood of a chick named Gry.
Be she narc or be she head
She knows that Rosebud was a sled.

#79 ::: eyelessgame ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 04:26 PM:


("metagry" and "mugry" also work, of course.)

#80 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 04:27 PM:

Russ #32: Yeah, the site is lacking in depth and explication -- I just googled a phrase from the riddle.

As noted by lorax #62, they plain muffed #140's answer. #'s 129 and 144 there look like they've been yanked out of context -- #144 needs a picture or other setup, and #129 smells like a pun from another language.

Ken #75: in speech there is no difference between three words in the English language and three words in "the English language".

Speak for yourself★, dude -- I have no problem "pronouncing" quotes by intonation. On a good day, I can even pronounce semicolons!

★ So to speak ;-)

#81 ::: eyelessgame ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 04:30 PM:

What's the third word?

It's the word that comes after the second word. But that's not important right now.

word word word
....... ....... ^^^ (this)

#82 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 04:31 PM:

This is just to say
I have eaten "the plums that were in the icebox"

Which you were presumably saving for anagram cookies.

Forgive me, they were delicious
Mentioned, and now used.

#83 ::: Ken ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 04:54 PM:

You are all right, in that you can show a phrase is quoted when speaking. The riddle works because you aren't obliged to do that. That's also why this riddle and its kin are generally irritating - the first version I heard being Railroad crossing, look out for the cars, can you spell that without any R's?

(It also occurs to me that when actually quoting someone - versus the Quine type of word/referent distinction used in the riddle - probably the commonest marker is to change your voice to imitate the original speaker.)

#84 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 04:57 PM:

Emily H. (73): It's reassuring that one can give ebooks as gifts, although I agree that the lack of a physical object is still a problem.

the old routine of shaking packages under the tree -- "It's shaped like a book!" "I wonder why?"

When we were teenagers (roughly), my brother gave me a book* for Christmas five years in a row. He got tired of me feeling the package and saying "It's a book," so in year four, he put it in a big box. I picked up the box, hefted it, and said, "It's a book." So the next year, when he had yet another book for me, he took a small block of wood, put a note on it saying "this isn't your present; wait while I go get it," wrapped that, and put in under the tree. Come Christmas morning, I picked that up, hefted it, and said, "It's a book!" His face fell. I was *joking*; I had no idea it was really a book; but he didn't give me another one for many years.

*a different one every year, of course

#85 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 05:11 PM:

Lee @ #35, well, maybe. My memory of my dad's delivery could be wrong.

#86 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 05:18 PM:

Carroll: Why is a raven like a writing-desk?
Gardner: Because there is a "b" in "both."

...that's the only version of that joke I like.

#87 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 05:25 PM:

thomas #82: Hmm. Having baked ANZAC biscuits, I'm now wondering what anagram cookies would be like. Clearly, you'd need to rearrange them during baking....

#88 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 05:55 PM:

David Harmon @87 -- or you could eat the oatmeal version after stealing them with an F and making them meatloaf.

Or make a skit about ski cooties....

#89 ::: Q. Pheevr ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 06:14 PM:

This is just to say
I have eaten "a comprehensible tux with teeth"....

#90 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 07:01 PM:

SamChevre OT160!#944: Using technocratic broadly to mean "rule by experts", the Civil Rights movement, the gay rights movement, and the environmental movement have been heavily technocratic and shifted the baseline for governance in a technocratic direction.

Looking at this part, I don't think I buy it. You cite "courts and regulatory agencies" as technocratic and "unrepresentative", but that's a global attack which could be (and lately is) used against any government initiative. America for one is not a direct democracy -- it is not reasonable to expect every government action, or even most of them, to be directly approved by a voter referendum.

Additionally, "courts and regulatory agencies" are just how the government does things. Yes, criminal law does involve some direct government force, but even there, we explicitly frown on cops becoming "judge, jury, and executioner", precisely because the courts are meant to be the final arbiter of such things. For civil torts, the police rarely even get involved. Regulatory agencies are spawned to enforce goals and undertake projects which are too complex and situational to be encoded into simple laws. When the legislature tries to command the details, the agencies end up hamstrung and ineffectual.

Moreover, all three movements you cite began with bottom-up populist movements, and still draw most of their political power from the same. The reason there are agencies representing their aims is exactly because those popular movements gained power through the usual methods, including electing friendly officials, lobbying others, and generally making it clear to the elected officials that they had influence over a lot of votes. In contrast, the "gay rights" movement has had much less traction in government -- and that's largely because gays infamously don't vote as a bloc. (They tend to vote according to "whatever else they are" -- class, race, religion, profession, etc.)

#91 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 07:30 PM:

My teenagers used to come home from school and proceed to empty the fridge into their stomachs. The word they used for the feeling that prompted this action was 'fungry'. It was, I believe, an elision of the syllables 'ucking hu'.

#92 ::: Pfusand ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 07:31 PM:

David @87

You don't like "They both have inky quills."?

(Yes, we all know this is not standard punctuation.)

#93 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 07:38 PM:

Pfusand #92: I spent several moments wondering what that "they both have inky quills" was meant to anagrammatize to, before realizing that you had confused my comment with the preceding one.

#94 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 07:46 PM:

TexAnne @86 -- now that holds some promise. But why is a raven not like a writing desk?

-- because there is an "n" in "one", but not in "the other".

#95 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 07:47 PM:

Carroll himself of course gave, "Because the notes for which they are noted are not noted for being musical notes, and they are nevar put with the wrong end in front." I personally am partial to, "Because Poe wrote on both."

#96 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 08:25 PM:

Poe didn't use a writing desk?

#97 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 08:56 PM:

Fragano 63: I infuriate students who ask me "How do you spell that?" by responding, quite reasonably, "t-h-a-t".

Must be some new use of the word 'reasonably' I haven't previously been acquainted with.

#98 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 09:19 PM:

I'm actually surprised that nobody's mentioned the word "orgy" yet. Dyslexics untie!

#99 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 09:37 PM:

Poe and ravens... As the late cartoonist Phil Frank of San Francisco once said, there's not that much of a difference between a raven and a crow. It really is a matter of a pinion.

#100 ::: John Peacock ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 09:49 PM:

SarahS #68 - being Jewish by conversion, I hadn't come across that joke before I saw it in Neil Gaiman's brilliant "Mirrormask". My wife, Jewish by birth, knew it instantly, though the punchline she knew was "so it doesn't whistle!"...

#101 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 09:52 PM:

Kudos to Thomas at # 82.

Jim at # 51: It's just down the road from Vursales. (Francophiles will spell that differently.)

#102 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 10:04 PM:

Tim Walters @ 160/943: "My understanding (neither confirmed nor denied by the links above) was that the "liberal" in neoliberalism comes from the older, more-common-in-Europe use of the word to mean laissez-faire economics."

Yes, as I understand it (and this is fairly close to my area of academic expertise) neoliberalism is an outgrowth of the economics championed by the Liberal movement in the 19th century. Liberalism was a sprawling philosophy with positions on all sorts of things: economically, it held that free markets led naturally to increased liberty and created widespread wealth and all that. With the Great Depression, this theory understandably took a hit, and was largely replaced by Keynesian or socialist economics among social liberals. What we Americans call liberalism today draws mostly on the socially and politically oriented half of liberalism, not the economics.

Then that old-school economics made a comeback under the guidance of Milton Friedman, now called neoliberal economics, arguing that now we know better and we can do away with all this government regulation without worrying about crashes or inequality because the market will fix all if we just get out of its way. Thus you have the strange sight of neocons being passionate backers of neoliberal policies, and liberals often (though not often enough) critiquing theories that bear their name.

albatross @ 160/948: "You can definitely accomplish any of those goals in more or less technocratic ways, though. Frex, if you decide that you want people to use less gas, imposing a federal $0.50/gallon tax does it with little need for detailed expert tweaking of the world. Imposing mileage standards on cars, breaking cars into categories and allowing complicated exemptions and calculations in the application of those standards, mandating X% ethanol in gasoline, Y% sale of hybrids, etc., is an attempt to accomplish the same goal that's more technocratic in spirit."

Going off this example, I think you and I have orthogonal definitions of technocracy. I see it as less particular about particular policy choices or goals, and more about how those goals are determined and those methods chosen. A technocratic approach, to my mind, is one that employs expert (read: scientific*) opinion to set goals and pick methods rather than relying on direct or representative democracy.

Either the former or the latter approach you describe could be considered technocratic, as long as it was chosen on the strength of expert judgement rather than on popular opinion. What you're contrasting seems to me to be a more and a less bureaucratic approach. (I think it's true technocratic processes do tend towards complex, bureaucratic systems, but that is a second-order phenomenon. If the expert consensus is that a simple flat tax is the best approach and it was adopted on that basis, I'd still call that technocracy in action.)

* as opposed to expert theologians or artists or suchlike.

#103 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 10:09 PM:

I always think the 'Macaroni Grill' should really be the 'MacAroney Grill': Irish restaurant with a bar and grill on the side.

#104 ::: Ranting Nerd ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 10:10 PM:

Igry is a really great neologism: it's the feeling of almost physical embarrassment you get on behalf of someone else behaving badly/cluelessly/ineptly.

See also


#105 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 10:12 PM:

Ken @ 83

We always told that one relatively honestly -- with an appropriate inflection on the word "that" to set it apart.

It works pretty well, even without using an artificially neutral tone.

#106 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 10:16 PM:

Thomas @ 82: Umh -- you telephonic bathers exit?

#107 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 10:17 PM:

Jacque at 160.930: How does one go about choosing windows and a contractor to do the work? Caveats and pitfalls? Hard-won wisdom? Obvious questions to ask?

If everyone in a particular line of work is too busy for you except one contractor, avoid that one.

Albatross at 160.948: b. Complicated rules are subject to complicated gaming and lobbying, in ways that simple rules are not.

And further, big companies are better able to game the complex rules than small companies or startups which might have ideas about doing things better.

#108 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 10:22 PM:

I knew there was something wrong about that riddle.... ('Lou'ville', where the apostrophe is a semi-schwa.)

#109 ::: moe99 ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 10:33 PM:

any thought to this development?

#110 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 11:27 PM:


I may simply be using the word incorrectly. I think of technocrats as people in government who are trying to take a pretty active hand in running the society, based on their expertise. So once we've decided on goals, I think of a more technocratic approach as being one involving detailed regulations requiring a lot of expertise and trustworthiness of the regulators, as opposed to some less technocratic approach like passing a relatively simple law or tax or something.

In all cases, one problem with reliance on expertise is that it can become a way of simply excluding most of the population from having a say. For example, there is a relatively young homeland security bureaucracy in the US, complete with college programs, and practitioners in the field who can and do claim that only they can make the decisions that will keep us safe.

A more fundamental problem is that experts often are much less expert than they imagine. We have a great many economists offering advice about various bits of policy we should adopt. But most of them don't actually seem to be abele to make nontrivial predictions of the future on a reliable basis, and the consensus of mainstream experts on proper economic policy looks much less like scientists learning more about reality from observation and experiment than it does like the kind of intellectual fads and pendulum swings and cliques that you see in politics.

#111 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 11:32 PM:

Open threadiness:

This factcheck article gives what seems to me to be a nice, relatively simple explanation of what the federal budget looks like, whre the deficit came from, etc.

#112 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 11:37 PM:

albatross @110:
I always understood a technocrat to be the political version of that variety of geek that thinks there's a technical solution to sociopolitical issues. Technical, in this case, includes legal-technical, e.g. legislating morality.

#113 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 02:20 AM:

Funny. I've always read "technocrat" as "one who's been educated to fill a job/perform a function," usually one in public administration. That's distinct from "He's the Minister of Education by virtue of his brother being the Premier."

#114 ::: Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 03:08 AM:

I used to have a website about the -gry puzzle. It was on GeoCities and I don't think it exists anymore. (A couple of years ago Yahoo, which had bought GeoCities, decided it no longer wanted to host free websites.) A lot of my favorite sources and explanations on the topic seem to now be quoted or paraphrased on Wikipedia so I doubt that I want or need to resurrect the thing now, but I still feel a bit of a proprietary interest in the topic. It was amazing, though, how many odd "solutions" or suggestions I'd get. For example, "orgy" and "energy" were popular "answers". Because, apparently, "-rgy" and "-gry" are the same thing to some people.

On the old Stumpers List (now Project Wombat) we had a running joke that whenever this question would pop up, it was time to change the oil in your car. (Come to think of it, my car does probably need that!)

Several years ago, in the April (as in April Fools) issue, Games Magazine had an article in which they printed the third word. Unfortunately :-) there was an ink blot over the (alleged) word, making it illegible.

There was once a site (top level domain indicating the Netherlands) with a very long list of -gry words -- all obscure, of course, except "angry" and "hungry" -- citing sources in literature and dictionaries. And then one time I went to check all my links and that URL turned up as a porn site. I had to remove it from my page, but it was a sad day for me because it had been such a great source.

#115 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 03:31 AM:

TexAnne@86 - "Why is a raven like a writing-desk?" - For me, this one evokes the sounds of Vixy singing that it "isn't like a writing-desk at all", in Girl that's never been. After that the monkey mind tends to wander off towards Poe or "Twa Corbies" or somewhere else non-Alicey.

#116 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 06:07 AM:

Carrie S. @67: What's brown and stick-y?

#117 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 06:24 AM:

Isn't the archetypal answer to the original question Jungry?

"Jungry" sounds like a perfectly cromulent word, meaning "like Junger" along the lines of Shakespearean, Byronic, Lovecraftian and so on.

"Into Thin Air was published shortly after The Perfect Storm, and the prose of its author, Jon Krakauer, certainly has Jungry qualities."

#118 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 06:45 AM:

Bill Stewart #115: Whoah. Now I have chills, and I haven't even looked for audio yet.

#119 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 07:33 AM:

26: The ads on that site are a but disconcerting. Whenever I click for an answer, I get an ad for professional treecare. So 'It is greater than God and more evil than the Devil... What is it?' 'Professional Treecare.' Etc.

Here is another riddle that doesn't work.

There were three knights going over the water
Saith the knight to the knight 'Call the dog after!'
Saith the knight to the knight 'What shall I name him?'
Saith the knight to the knight 'Thrice have I named him'.

But it isn't the knight who has named him; it's the speaker of the riddle.

#120 ::: Q. Pheevr ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 07:48 AM:

Andrew @119:

I think it works fine if the dog's name is Guevpr, but if the answer is supposed to be Frgu, then I see your point.

#121 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 08:21 AM:

Allan Beatty: It's just down the road from Vursales.

One of the enduring mysteries of Pittsburgh: why is it that we have Vursales and Dukaine rather than Versai and Dukwesne?

Russ @#116: A stick!

#122 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 08:44 AM:

Just to clarify--my definition of "technocrat" is closest to Linkmeister @ 113, with an added "and not because the voters chose him to do it."

Technocracy, democracy, and individual liberty all have characteristic weaknesses as modes of decision-making. Thinking about "what is this kind of decision-making structure good for" is a key piece of institutional design.

#123 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 09:28 AM:

WRT the word "gry"--compare the Spanish "grito", which is enshrined in the history of various Latin American countries (and Puerto Rico) as the Grito de Lares, the Grito de Dolores, the Grito de Yara, the Grito de Ascencio, the Grito de Alcorta, the Grito de Jajuya, and doubtless plenty of others, to such an extent that one sense of the word is "popular rebellion", as well as the original "cry", "scream", "shout"--as in the grito Mexicano, and the Mexican national anthem, where it appears in the first line of the chorus: "Mexicanos, al grito de guerra"

Per Wikipedia, this is the etymology of gritar (the verb) and its affiliates:
Medieval Latin crīdāre (“to cry out, publish, proclaim”), of uncertain origin. Perhaps from Latin quiritare "to shriek, wail" (--Diez), or of Germanic origin, from Frankish *krītan "to cry out, scream, proclaim" (--Littré), compare Middle Dutch crītan (“to cry”).

This is, not suprisingly, very close to the cited etymology for "cry".

Also, not that this has anything to do with the rest of the post, today's Google doodle represents for Alexander Calder; Wednesday's was either a post-season tribute to the green pea, or a birthday tribute to Gregor Mendel.

#124 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 10:12 AM:

Andrew M #119: Sorry about that -- I use AdBlockPlus myself (and NoScript).

#125 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 10:30 AM:

A huge explosion has hit Oslo.

Explosion in Oslo, Norway

#126 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 10:31 AM:

David Harmon@124: I wasn't complaining. It just came over as a rather bizarre answer to some riddles.

Q Pheevr@120: Yes, that would work, wouldn't it? I hadn't thought of that. There is an alternative proposal on which the dog's name is Nagre: this makes more sense than the 'official' answer, though it stil makes 'thrice have I named him' false.

#127 ::: GraphicMark ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 11:09 AM:
brain hurt bingo

#128 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 11:34 AM:

Another interesting couple of open thready links:

Social Security for beginners.

This isn't a new comment from me, but the MSM seems to me to be providing incredibly lousy coverage of the budget debate, debt limit, default, etc. The coverage seems to largely center around reporting the talking points of the parties. Blogs and online resources strike me as quite a nice way to supplement the quality of that reporting.

This article discusses the fact that not raising the debt ceiling doesn't mean default. However, what it does mean is sudden, massive budget cuts in crisis mode. Which is the sort of thing you can do in a genuine crisis, but which is nuts to do in a manufactured crisis.

This post by Megan McArdle and this later one also seem to me to do a reasonable job of discussing why not raising the debt ceiling is a spectacularly dumb idea, and also pointing out that there's a vast difference between wanting to cut spending or raise revenue or balance the budget in the abstract, and having actual plans for what spending to cut and what taxes to raise. For obvious reasons, few politicians are all that keen to honestly nail down what will be cut or what taxes will go up, since the size of the deficit is large enough that there's no way for this not to be painful.

There seem to me to be two elephants in the room in this discussion that are obscured by focusing on short-term political games of chicken:

a. The long-term millstone around our necks w.r.t. the budget is Medicare, because of ever-increasing medical care costs. Those rising costs (demonstrably not being spent on anything useful, since other countries that spend a fraction of what we spend get objectively better outcomes) are a massive drain on the private economy, as well as a massive drain on the federal budget. If we don't find a way to get those under control, the kind of cuts contemplated in these short-term spending cuts probably don't matter much.

b. Our military budget is insanely bloated, and we continue to drag our feet leaving countries where we're at war and to get involved in more countries over time. Countries that are in budget crises (we're not, but that's the conceit of the negotiations right now) can't afford endless expensive interventions in random third-world countries, occupations of distant foreign countries, etc. There's a very disturbing layer of unreality to the whole discussion when we're talking about massive shutdowns of government services or defaulting on the debt or not paying social security benefits, but we can't talk about pulling the rest of the US troops the hell out of Iraq (from which we've formally withdrawn, though we still have something like 50,000 troops there and God knows how many mercenaries) or Afghanistan or ceasing our apparent intention to get involved all over Africa.

#129 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 12:16 PM:

Albatross: However, what it does mean is sudden, massive budget cuts in crisis mode. Which is the sort of thing you can do in a genuine crisis, but which is nuts to do in a manufactured crisis.

Unless, of course, the massive budget cuts are your true goal! AIUI, Medicare used to be rather more efficient, but has suffered regulatory capture (mostly by the insurance companies) and various backstabbing moves from the GOP. "Ignore that ball and chain -- you need to move with efficiency!"

#130 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 12:19 PM:

albatross, #128: WRT your point (a) -- isn't that a potent argument for real health care reform? If other countries get better care for a fraction of our costs, then the way to stop Medicare from being a millstone is to emulate them.

#131 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 12:28 PM:


Yep. Obama's healthcare reform seems to me to have been substantially captured by the insurance companies, and I am deeply skeptical of its ability to lower costs. OTOH, as long as we have Medicare, we have the seeds for a single-payer system sitting in place. IMO, that's why Republicans have been proposing replacing it with some completely different voucher-based scheme--because once it's completely gone, there won't be such a seed from which we could grow a single-payer scheme in a straightforward way.

However, in the US, Medicare has done better at cost control than private insurers, but has still had constant cost inflation. There pretty much has to be some kind of positive feedback loop in there somewhere explaining this, involving what services are covered (and how much they're covered for) vs. how much of those services are requested.

#132 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 12:30 PM:

GraphicMark #127: Thank you! For the lazy, their key insight is that the -gry riddle is corrupted from an oral version. Their proposed original has "three words ending in G or Y" as a red herring for yet another quine trap.

#133 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 12:33 PM:

I don't have time to look for cites, but I'm pretty certain that US health care costs differences are substantially driven by the fact that providers earn much more in the US. (I'm guessing I saw it on Incidental Economist.)

That's not an easy dynamic to change.

#134 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 12:34 PM:

Open thready badness:

A CIA black site in Somalia. This goes along with the "tor" prison in Afghanistan. I assume there are more such sites, in various dangerous-to-visit-and-report-from places, where we or our contractors are still applying the electrodes to suspected terrorists' tender bits.

I very much hope that, one day, I get a chance to read a complete history of the Obama administration's war on terror decisions. The massive difference between rhetoric and practice probably doesn't need much explanation--Obama is a career politician, after all. But I'd like to know if he started out intending to betray all that rhetoric, and if not, what changed. (Scary briefings from the CIA on terrorist threats? Recognition that the anti-terror-lobby was powerful enough to derail all his other plans if he got on its wrong side? Damning blackmail photos? What?)

#135 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 01:46 PM:

David Harmon@118, there's a "Listen" button just under the Lyrics label at the top of the page. And yeah...

#136 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 02:46 PM:

Re: particles.

Some years back, I finished reading Franken's Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot with a small pang of regret that there was no more of it to read. I wasn't going anywhere for another minute or so, so I idly turned the page to the index and was rewarded beyond my wildest expectations. It's certainly one of my favorite indexes (indices feel wrong).

Another great one is in one of Gary Larson's volumes of cartoons: every entry begins with the words "The one where..."

#137 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 02:51 PM:

I'm not sure what to think on the spending cap thing.

On one hand there are the Republicans, the self styled responsibility party that wants us to live within our means and has said things like not paying mortgages and other things that underwater individuals owe is a moral failing. They're also pushing hard to bring the country close to default and using that default to not pay obligations to the public. This makes me think that default, like corporate bankruptcy but unlike personal obligations, is simply business. The obligations of individuals to Wall Street apparently remains a moral issue.

On the other hand, there's Obama and the Democrats, who seem to be handing out rope to the Republicans for them to do with what they can.

I hope someone responsible has a plan for unilateral action. Obama seems to have ruled out my favored "The constitution says we can't default, so I'm preventing it" action.

#138 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 03:29 PM:

Open Thread:

The (current) Dr. Who fans may want to check out these young chaps, who have just released an album based on the recent series*. At worst, they're remarkably competent.

The whole thing's listenable online (or, of course, buyable). It pushed my buttons so I thought I'd share :D

* That's supposed to be series, plural. I'm not sure how you mark that. Series's? Series'?

#139 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 03:50 PM:

I'm finding myself astronomically put out by this new movie: Another Earth

I'm willing to suspend disbelief up to a point, but a duplicate Earth 100,000 miles away (or so it appears) that isn't wrecking both planets and the Moon?

I've no problem with fantasy, but this is not presented as such.

#140 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 03:59 PM:

Russ @138 -- playing in the background now, and it's interesting.

#141 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 05:03 PM:

Russ, 'series' is both singular and plural. No help for it, I'm afraid.

#142 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 05:24 PM:

tigry  [tī´grē]  adj.  burning bright.
    — In the Forest of the Night.

#143 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 05:35 PM:

              Why Be Caws

A raven’s like a writing-desk in that
You’ll find both in woods and dens, whereat
     Both have flaps, legs, and bills,
     Both possess inky quills,
And both produce notes that are flat.

Their traces are left all around,
On the walls and the stalls and the ground;
     But sometimes the laws
     May require they give “cause”
Whereby they may hold what they’ve found.

They may never say words, yet — no joke —
With the harshest of voices they’ve spoke;
     And though Poe wrote on both,
     Yet I give you my oath,
They’ve done more on him since his croak.

#144 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 05:56 PM:

Steve C #139: Duplicate Earth, down to duplicate individual human beings with duplicate lives -- save perhaps for slight alterations in events -- such that one can travel by spacecraft to see one's own alternate life?

Sounds like fantasy to me. As much to the point, sounds like a Twilight Zone plot, where the physical implausibility of the setup is practically irrelevant -- it's mere flimsy backdrop to the parable being told.

#145 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 06:06 PM:

Pyre@143: Bravo!

#146 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 06:08 PM:

albatross @ 110: "I think of technocrats as people in government who are trying to take a pretty active hand in running the society, based on their expertise."

The only part of that that doesn't seem right to me is the "active" part--sometimes the expertise they're bringing to bear indicates that a simpler, less involved approach would be preferable. (For example, technocrats have been advocating tax code simplification for ages, but the complicated, bureaucratic mess we have now has been defended by the democratic legislative body.) I feel your definition defines technocracy by its failure modes rather than by its ideal, kind of like describing democracy as governance by the howling mob. Yes, it can be that, but that isn't what it necessarily is. (And all the things you point out are definitely real failure modes for technocracy.)

#147 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 06:17 PM:

Pyre, 142-3: Those were just what I needed today. Thank you!

#148 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 07:22 PM:

Pyre #143: Oh, excellent!

#149 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 07:50 PM:

My favorite index is in Thomas Rockwell's The Portmanteau Book (a collection of kid's humor) because it has a story embedded among the entries, in lines sort of like

Bob's All Night Grocery, store robbed by Johnny the Snake. See Johnny the Snake.

(I made that one up, but that style)

#150 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 08:40 PM:

Hyperlocal news... Rep theater showing "Serenity" tomorrow. Man will be there.

#151 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 08:47 PM:

An AKICIML question:

In this Ta-Nehisi Coates thread , the question has arisen as to how land-use regulation works in the Netherlands. This seemed like a question someone here might want to answer.

#152 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 08:51 PM:

That got me too, looking at the still attached to the review. The tidal effects ought to be noticeable even to science-deniers.

#153 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 08:55 PM:

In science news, scientists studying microRNA in reptiles have found that the nearest relatives of turtles are lizards.

Turtles are the lizard version of armored tanks?

#154 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 09:43 PM:

Sam Chevre @ 133

"...I'm pretty certain that US health care costs differences are substantially driven by the fact that providers earn much more in the US."

US provider reimbursement structures are pretty badly misaligned, in several ways (including fee for service reimbursement and a debatably misplaced emphasis on specialty care over prevention). It's probably one of the potential cost-saving strategies receiving the most attention right now, right next to patient engagement.

But questions like yours make me wonder if a true comparison is really practical. Consider differences in tax structure (so, total comp vs. take-home pay), individually purchased benefits vs. government provided (such as healthcare), comparative student debt loads and (again) government subsidization of same... It seems like there are a lot of variables that would make it difficult to conduct a dollar-for-dollar value comparison between similar professionals.

I'm not saying it couldn't be done, and maybe it has been; I just think it's one of those areas where it's possible to generate some really deceptive numbers, potentially without meaning to.

#155 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 09:46 PM:

Steve C #139, P J Evans #152: Indeed. And it's not like the issue hasn't been addressed before; Fritz Lieber's The Wanderer did it right in 1964! But then again, the movie as described really does sound like it's essentially a fantasy or parable, rather than science fiction.

#156 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 09:57 PM:

In more sciency stuff:
Incoming shuttle, from the other side. A glowing trail....

#157 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 10:36 PM:

Does anybody in Central Texas want to catnap a sweet little ginger tabby boy? His current people are consistently leaving him outside without water. He's currently with a friend of mine who already has all the cats she can handle.

#158 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 12:26 AM:

I got a new computer today, an HP Pavilion. My old Dell is 6 years old. I love the monitor, don't like the keyboard (it's flat and mushy-feeling) but will get used to it, and am having trouble shifting the data from the old to the new machine... My IT guy will be out of town from Sunday through Wednesday. Oh, and my e-mail program is f****d.

But the new monitor is gorgeous, my DSL works, and I found my way to Making Light. :-)

#159 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 01:19 AM:

Annnnnd I just totally lost my temper with some jackass on another site who brought up that stupid "redheads have no souls" thing, as if it were new and funny instead of old(ish) and stupid.

Fuck you, South Park. Failure to all your works and all your pomps.

#160 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 01:54 AM:

Xopher @ 159

The stupid seems to be rather thick this week. I nearly devoured the hlepy idiot who tried to make a morality tale out of a critically injured friend of mine... It's still tempting to go back and say a dozen unforgiveable things before bedtime. So, so very tempting...

#161 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 03:45 AM:

Allan Beatty @107: On windows and contractors: If everyone in a particular line of work is too busy for you except one contractor, avoid that one.

Hah! Ahem. Yes. :-) We hope that you did not come to this principle experimentally...?

#162 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 03:51 AM:

albatross :@110: experts often are much less expert than they imagine.

From my dad:

"ex•pert:" where "ex" is the Latin prefix meaning "out of, from, without, former." "Spurt" is a drip of water under pressure. Hence:

"expert" = A drip, far away from home, under pressure.

#163 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 04:01 AM:

albatross @128: Have bookmarked your links for further contemplation. Meanwhile, what's your take on this?

#164 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 05:02 AM:

Patrick's sidelight about Borders compels me to mention I stopped in at my local Borders today, the first day of their liquidation sale.

10% off on most books. I have a B&N membership, and can usually get a better break than that on the hadcovers and trade pbs I buy at B&N. But it's a better price break than I get on regular paperbacks, so I picked out about a half-dozen paperbacks from the SF/F section.

And then looked at the line of people snaking thru the store, and figured I'd probably have to wait in line for about an hour before I could actually buy the books I'd picked out.

And I put the books I'd picked out back on the shelves, and left without buying anything. I wasn't the only person doing so.

When your store has that many people in it (about five times as many as I'd ever seen there at one time before), wouldn't it make sense to have more than one cash register working? Jeez.

#165 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 06:23 AM:

SamChevre @151:

Even before I clicked over, I had a reasonable idea who had asked the question. That commenter frequently cites examples to do with the Netherlands because she goes there a couple of times a year, and she's the kind of reflective traveler who integrates her experiences into her worldview.

She has family just north of Amsterdam: a daughter, a son-in-law, and two grandchildren. The family isn't Dutch; they lived in Scotland before. So part of her experiences have been tracking their assimilation. That makes her examples particularly effective*.

In short, it's a small internet, and you've just met my mother.

* Warning: TVTropes link. Take this ball of string and unravel it behind you as you go.

#166 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 08:50 AM:

On health-care costs:

What Makes the US Health Care System So Expensive from Aaron Carroll at "The Incidental Economist.

This is a good thorough walk through a lot of the components, and how much different they are than expected.

On technocratic government:
Bounded technocracy is the way most groups make most decisions. If we're planning a weekend of meetings, and you say "Sam's good at food. Sam-- you've got a budget of $500, and make sure there's a good option for vegetarians." That's basic bounded technocracy. I think both that some decisions are best made by experts, and that an account of politics and institutions needs to take that into account. So when I say that neo-liberalism is a technocratic development of liberalism, that's not a criticism: it's a description.

The weak point is that a lot of times technocracy is a way of doing things that no one wants done, or at least no one wants to be blamed for doing. Albatross @160/948 point c

#167 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 09:24 AM:

abi @165 In short, it's a small internet, and you've just met my mother.

I'm getting no end of amusement out of this, which I needed this morning.

#168 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 09:38 AM:

abi #165: I am reminded of a conversation I had with an American businessman in Belize 22 years ago. We were talking about persons we knew who had been imprisoned in a South American country for drug smuggling, and suddenly realised we were talking about the same person. Given that the friend in question is not American, I'd say that we live on a very small planet.

#169 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 09:42 AM:

There are usually two registers open at the one that's about to disappear from my neighborhood. (It was busy Wednesday night, but not that busy.)

#170 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 09:54 AM:

abi #165: In short, it's a small internet, and you've just met my mother.

Who, dismayingly, seems to have been banned by Mr. Coates, for "derailing the thread". I am not equipped to evaluate this conflict (that is, I don't know his rules, nor her history there), but in my context of getting "there" from "here", I find it startling.

#171 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 10:26 AM:

David Harmon @170:

I don't know TNC's rules or her history there either, and even if I did, it would be insanely inappropriate to speculate on the matter.

I would say, as a general point, that no commenter fits every community out there. Sometimes people find themselves in what is no more than a bad fit that takes a while to surface. And then, sometimes, the process of realizing that is of a nature that there's no way out but the one.

#172 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 11:05 AM:

Jacque, #162: That line is only funny until you realize that it's yet another expression of the "knowledge is useless" meme. What's the good of learning about something if people are just going to mock you for having done so? Worse, that attitude gets into our political and legal systems, with results that we're seeing now.

#173 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 11:47 AM:

SamChevre @ 166 -

That's about the best analysis I've seen of health care costs and the factors that go into them. Thanks for posting.

#174 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 12:16 PM:

Lee @172: Uh, hrm. My knee-jerk reaction is "Tain't neither!" Maybe because neither I, myself, nor my father, held the "knowledge is useless" view (both of us run to the Fibber McGee school lf learning).

I think my dad picked this up during his days as an entrepreneur, watching various consultants peddling their wares, who turned out to be unable to back up their claims when challenged on the particulars of their knowledge base.

I, also, have encountered too many "experts" who turn out to be less knowledgeable in a field, than even I, the idle onlooker. And, more to the point, less knowledgeable than they claim to be.

I can kind of see your point. In a generalized way, at least. But to me, the point of the saying is to disparage those who make a claim of knowedge they can't support, which is too high a percentage of those who claim knowledge.

YMMV, I guess.

#175 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 12:33 PM:

Lee @172 re Jacque @162 it's yet another expression of the "knowledge is useless" meme

Mmm, maybe. It reminded me of the standing joke on a previous job that an expert was someone who was more than fifty miles from home and carrying a briefcase. The intention there was not to mock genuine expertise; on the contrary, it was backhanded support for local knowledge that didn't get enough respect. ("We've been telling them for years that they needed to change X, but nobody would listen until this overpriced consultant came in and told them the same thing." Or, worse, the overpriced consultant sold them a one-size-fits-all solution that didn't fit local conditions.)

#176 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 12:49 PM:

abi #171: Fair enough, and I'm not curious enough to go delving through TNC's site. I will, however, take the warning that he apparently doesn't favor the sort of wandering discussion that is so central to ML.

#177 ::: siriosa ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 02:16 PM:

Kathryn @13:

I'm at the Peppermill. It's my first Worldcon. I welcome hints, tips, advice.

So excited! Trying to be a thoughtful Hugo voter, I'm reading the entire packet.

#178 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 02:59 PM:

HLN: Area woman's root canal took longer than expected and included drilling into the roof of the mouth so anesthesia could be delivered to the tooth itself before the nerve would _shut up_. Left side of head still somewhat achy, 3 days later, but not in the "there's an infection in there" way, more in the "muscles are still feeling assaulted" and "things are still a bit swollen" way. Cannot yet chew on that side.

Area woman's 15-yo dd safely returned from camp.

Area woman's cat received clean bill of health, pending blood test results. Cat is apparently close to Platonic ideal of "cat" (he's a classic brown tabby).

He's lost a whole pound, bringing him down to a healthy 15 lbs., body conformation "perfect" and well-muscled. No change in kidneys detected by feel; if bloodwork also looks good, we may be able to try using just the dietary supplement and cut out the prescription diet (which will save me a few bucks). Cat was also vaxxed (it's been at least 3 years, so he was due) and had his nails clipped

("My," said the vet, "his claws are sharp." "Yes," I said, "he loves his scratching post and have I mentioned that he catches and eats mice?" "Oh," she said, "he _eats_ them?" "Yes," I said, "and he's very neat about it too." [dd, beside me: "You never told me he was _eating_ them!" -- uh, no, because when he started eating them you were younger and more squeamish.])

Vet asked, "was he neutered later in life?" Because apparently he shows characteristics generally present in male cats who reached adulthood intact. I explained that we had no idea as he was an adult adoption.

He's around 13 now (judging by his teeth), and, unless the bloodwork shows something weird, in pretty good shape.

Area woman and daughter had lunch at new conveyor-belt sushi place in local mall. Fun and tasty.

In general, happiness.

#179 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 03:00 PM:

Sam 166:

That series was really well done, and very informative. I like the way he made the points about spending relative to our wealth (it's not a surprise that we spend more than Portugal, because we're richer, the issue is that we spend more than you'd epect from our wealth) and about not getting better outcomes corresponding to our increased spending.

#180 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 03:10 PM:


It seemed like a reasonable enough piece, but like most politicians' comments on this stuff, it omitted all the details.

I suspect the two sides of the negotiation have backed themselves into positions from which they cant come to agreement. The Rs appear to be bound to unrealistic demands because of fear that offending the Tea Party wing of their party will cost them big in upcoming elections. Obama seems to have proposed concessions in spending and taxes that would make it very hard for him to get his proposal past congressional democrats, and that would keep a lot of democrats home on election day. Having the talks break down (with what looks from the outside like bad faith negotiation on the side of the Rs, though theres no way to know for sure) seems like it will make further negotiation very difficult indeed.

I suspect that some Rs believe that a disastrous budget crisis, perhaps leading to a default or a shutdown or SS checks not going out, and likely triggering a huge worsening of the economy, will push Obama out and get them into power, and specifically will help their wing of the Republican party get the nomination and the white house. As the old quote goes, once we've burned the place down, all that will be left is ashes, but they'll be our ashes. At the same time, I have to admit this may simply be my immense dislike for the crazy end of the Republican party coming out in my assumptions.

#181 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 03:14 PM:

OtterB @175: Yes, that. Exactly. Though you added a dimension I hadn't thought of: backhanded support for local knowledge

Ironic, given some recent turns where I work. Let's just say, this principle, In Action. Ahem.

#182 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 03:20 PM:

siriosa @177: Budget some time (I usually plan a couple of hours), as early as you can, to scan the program book and the program carefully, with particular attention to why you're there. (Helps to have this clear in you mind ahead of time.)

There will innevitably be multiple items occurring simultaneously that you want to see; helps to have them prioritized (I carry highlighters in a spectrum: yellow means most important, orange means important, and pink means nice if there's nothing else going on, frex.) ahead of time, so that you can map your movements ahead of time and save in-time attention for what's going on around you and not have to think too much about where you want to go next.

Scanning the program book ahead of time (with particular attention to guests and general topics) also reduces the likelihood that you'll glance back later and spot some[thing/one] you regret having missed.

Remember to budget in time for Art Show, Hucksters Room, Masquerade, meals, parties, and anything else you might want to make time for.

Who me? Anal Retentive Virgo? Yes. Why do you ask?

#183 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 03:28 PM:

Melissa Singer @178: Yes, this is not inconsistent with my experience of root canal aftermath last summer. (Blessedly, the procedure itself was not particularly uncomfortable, and the doc & assistant provided a fun floorshow thoughout.)

I trust they gave you the Good Drugs? You are also doing anti-inflamatories and heat-packs on that side of your head?

WRT eating/chewing, I commend to your attention my Cream of Dinner Soup recipe, with particular emphasis on Tasty Additives. It was designed for precisely this sort of occassion. :-) (Please note: I'm told olive oil is anti-inflamatory, and makes a marvelous CoDS ingredient.)

As to the Spherical Cat of Uniform Density (who is now less spherical), someone once told me that they did some research on house-cat nutrition, and the profile works out to precisely and exactly Whole Mouse.

#184 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 03:57 PM:

Ours seemed to prefer Half Mouse - specifically, Front Half Mouse. With sides of anything else edible they could catch.

#185 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 04:10 PM:

siriosa, #177: In addition to what Jacque said (which I heartily endorse) -- be careful about trying to cram too much into a day. Worldcons can be exhausting! Make the con work for you, not vice versa; you'll have more fun and more pleasant memories in the long run that way.

Do you know other people who will be there? Make time to hang out with them, at meals or in the evenings while doing the rounds of the parties.

Check the message board periodically -- it's usually near registration -- and if people might be looking for you under a name that's not on your badge (such as "siriosa"), add that name to the list on the board to make it easier for them to find you.

(Aside: Might it be a good idea to add the name "Fluorosphere" to the message board, so that announcements about the Gathering of Light can be made more easily?)

Oh, and while you're in the Dealer Room, do come by and say hello -- I'll be at the Starcat Designs booth, which may or may not be listed separately from Instant Attitudes. I had fun meeting my fellow community members in Denver, and look forward to doing so again.

#186 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 04:13 PM:

siriosa: Seconding what Jacque said, though what I do is go through and circle everything I'm interested in, then go through each hour to find what I'm most interested in and highlight that. Be aware that things might change as you discover that some guests are fabulous speakers no matter the topic. For instance, I hadn't heard of Edward Willet before the Denver Worldcon, but now I will gladly go to any panel he is a member of.

Evil Rob likes author readings; I like the quirky stuff. At ConJose in 2002, they had an improvised storytelling with Terry Pratchett, Phil Foglio, Tad Williams, and an author I'd never heard of whose contributions included work on the Uncle John bathroom books and fantasy erotica. She was really, really good. My only regret with that panel is that nobody thought to tape it. The first day is a day where you can kind of get a feel for what you like to do—don't be afraid to change your schedule accordingly! If somebody says not to miss something, it's okay to skip it if it's not your thing. Some people don't like awards ceremonies, for instance, so saying they *need* to go the the Hugos is inaccurate.

Do not forget author signings. The website will have a list of attending authors; I prioritize the ones I want autographs from and snag my three books (preferably hardback.) If you're bringing lots of books, make sure you have a good transportation system for them. Backpacks are doable, but only just... this was one case where a stroller for the little one we had was really helpful. A personal mini shopping cart would work, and so would a little red wagon if you can get it there. Big name authors have very long lines, so it behooves you to get there early—and don't just accost the author in the hall asking for autographs if they've got a signing slot.

Unless you're a professional photographer, just bring a point-and-click. A notebook is also handy if you're the sort of person who writes or draws. The convention is giving out water bottles; make sure you use yours!

Mmm, let's see... ideally, what you want is a backpack with your schedule, your water, your wallet or purse, something to write on, something to write with, and something to capture memories. And no more than a few books if it's a backpack—if you need to make multiple trips for signings, make sure you have time to get back to the Peppermill. 15 minutes there + 15 minutes back unless you catch one of the hourly shuttles.

Other than that, schedule time for SLEEP and FOOD and HYGIENE (pool time can substitute for a shower if you rinse yourself off on either side.) You won't get enough of any of them unless you plan ahead.

#187 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 05:43 PM:

If only actor Rhys Ifans had taken the sensible Convention Survival advice given by the commenters of Making Light...

#188 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 05:50 PM:

PJ Evans, #183: "Ours seemed to prefer Half Mouse - specifically, Front Half Mouse."

Didn't give a rat's ass about the rest, eh?

#189 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 06:27 PM:

Jacque: "Expert" is in fact from Latin, and to say that the "ex" is Latin "ex" is correct. The other part not so much.

#190 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 06:33 PM:

siriosa (177): Also useful: Worldcongoing, if you haven't read it already.

#191 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 06:47 PM:

No, not at all. (The other thing was, they'd bring some of their 'food' into the house while it was still alive and able to run around. Then the cats would get bored and expect us to deal with their 'food' for them.)

#192 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 06:56 PM:

Grave of the Firefilies: Wrong thing to watch so soon after Sunny died.

#193 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 09:35 PM:

This seems odd. Surfing channels tonight, I noticed that Lifetime is showing Magic Beyond Words: The J.K. Rowling Story.

Seems like a decent idea for a made-for-cable movie. I wonder if it's any good. Lifetime will show it a few more times:11 PM EDT tonight, 23 July, and 2 PM EDT tomorrow, Sunday, 24 July.

There are not very many biopics of fantasy or SF writers, are there? I know about Shadowlands, and there was a TV movie about L. Frank Baum, The Dreamer of Oz, and I suppose most film versions of Cyrano de Bergerac would count (but not the Steve Martin one). Gothic, about Mary Shelley and her friends.

Verne and Wells have been characters in fiction, but did they ever get the docudrama treatment? Professor Tolkien?

Over here, we were steeped in Harry Potter the last two weekends; K tuned in a marathon of past movies, then rented the last couple in the series, trying to keep the whole plot in her head. I joined her to re-watch Movie Seven, Part 1, so as to be ready to continue with the new one. Last Sunday, we culminated with a trip to the theater. Perhaps K will be interested in a movie about Rowling herself.

(It is an embarrassment that in the time it took to make eight Harry Potter movies, I have only read three and a half Harry Potter novels. I'll catch up someday, I hope. I can see that the films left out a whole lot.)

#194 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 09:46 PM:

Tolkien hasn't had the pure biographical treatment, but there have been a couple of things that have mixed biography and criticism. They're in my office -- I can pull titles Monday if you want.

But speaking of _Shadowlands_, something very interesting has recently come to light -- a sequence of sonnets Joy wrote to C.S.Lewis early in their relationship was discovered among the papers of one of her friends. They run the gamut -- guilt and anguish over her ruined marriage, longing and even lust for Lewis (some hot stuff there, which you wouldn't think, unless you think Harriet and Peter), depths of despair and self-loathing (from a woman who elsewhere comes across as tough-minded, with a fine sense of her own worth and skills), anger at God, acceptance, and a measure of peace. In the discussion when they were read at Mythcon, there was much speculation as to whether Lewis ever saw them at any point, and what that would have meant. Outstanding poems, and Don King will be editing the collection and publishing it next year.

#195 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 09:49 PM:

As far as the budget crisis: The Economist has stated in no uncertain terms that the R's are idiots and the cause of the problem. As I refer to them, "Those notorious leftists at The Economist..."

Expertwise: My first company had one or two people who came in. They spent a couple of days talking to us, crunched down our info to a shorter, vaguer version (with factual errors) of stuff everyone knew, then gave it back to us and expected us to be pleased with the results.

Of course, we were a 40-person company doing e-beam microlithography, all engineers, no meetings, many geniuses (genii?); not quite the usual soft target for bad consultants.

#196 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 10:10 PM:

Jacque @#183:

I've had something like 10/12 root canals by now, yet each one remains a unique experience. The last two have been atypically uncomfortable post-procedure; I hope this is not a consequence of age (though the ones I had last year were not a problem).

Consequently, no heat-packs, as I've never had to before. And most anti-inflammatories and I don't get along, so I'm generally reliant on Tylenol. As for the Good Drugs, I prefer to skip them, as they make me feel uncomfortably disconnected from the real world and nauseate ma at the same time. So I've been genteely suffering, alas.

Thankfully I can chew on the other side without trouble (though a mouthful of ice cream which strayed across the perimeter nearly sent me through the roof when it hit the drill site).

Jacque @183 and P J Evans @184:

That Mouse is an optimal diet is not at all surprising. My cat also became more sociable/social as he became a better mouser, as I've mentioned before, and that also seems to be a known side-effect of hunting--it's good for their minds as well as their bodies.

TMI Alert!

Alex either eats the entire thing (leaving me no mess to clean up) or peels them and eats the skin, leaving rather a mess.

However, there haven't been any for a few months, since spring started heading into summer. He'll probably have more furry prey in the fall, but has had to content himself recently with flipping over waterbugs and nibbling on their legs.

All things considered, he's a nice boy, if not a lap cat.

#197 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 10:30 PM:

siriosa @177: 'Nother coupla thoughts:

Find somewhere central and just sit down once in a while. Let the con come to you. A good Cosmic Spot* is worth its weight in Unobtanium.

Also, if your objective is meeting people and going out to interesting dinner parties and suchlike, identify one or more "node" type personalities, and bob along in their wake a lot. That's how I got to know most of Fandom—through Jon Singer.

*Thank you, DavE Romm for the coinage

#198 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 10:33 PM:

B. Durbin @186: If you're bringing lots of books, make sure you have a good transportation system for them.

I encountered Ed Bryant with his little push-cart loaded down with a couple sizeable boxes. "What's that?" I inquired. "Donor organs," he said.

#199 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 10:39 PM:

Bill Higgins @ 193: The Whole Wide World is about Novalyne Pryce's kinda-sorta relationship with Robert E. Howard, and is quite a good film.

#200 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 10:40 PM:

Melissa Singer #196: 10-12 root canals? Damn, and I thought I had lousy teeth!

PS: Just out of curiosity (triggered by juxtaposition), are you connected to Jon Singer, or is that just a coincidence of names?

#201 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 10:41 PM:

Melissa Singer @196: peels them and eats the skin

Oh dear. It really is too hot; this made me laugh quite unreasonably. I had visions of him demanding pickled mouse skin, or requiring them fried and salted.


Ah hates July.

#202 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 10:43 PM:

Coincidence, I'm betting. Do you also collect sewing machines? (He has several rather fine vintage models.)

#203 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 10:46 PM:

Lee @ 185: Might it be a good idea to add the name "Fluorosphere" to the message board?


My very minor con advice: cons often have lively jacuzzi parties, so bring a swimsuit if that appeals. I always forget but Not This Time For Sure.

#204 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 10:48 PM:

Me @ 199: That's Novalyne Price. Sorry for the typo.

#205 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 10:53 PM:

Fall is a wonderful time of year for cats who live near farms: harvest season results in lots of tasty little things running around. (For their people, maybe not so much.)

My current cat is friendly, but she isn't a hunter so much as a watcher of small moving objects. She didn't try to catch the lizard that got into one apartment, but she did point it for me (after which I caught it and put it outside: alligator lizard).

#206 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 10:53 PM:

Bill Higgins @ 193... Verne never got the docudrama, as far as I know, unless it was done after I left Quebec. Movies or shows in which he appeared... 2000's "Secret Adventures of Jules Verne". There was 1958's "From the Earth to the Moon". Anything else?

#207 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 10:53 PM:

Re: Jon Singer --

Total coincidence afaik. Reportedly, we've only been Singers for a few generations--my grandfather changed it from Zenger when he naturalized.

While I do not collect sewing machines, there are several Singer models in the family, including a pedal-powered one originally owned by my non-Singer grandmother.

(I may be wrong, but I do not believe Jon Singer and I have ever even met.)

As for teeth, well, it's largely genetic--my dad's teeth were also terrible. But my oral surgeon thinks that a fall I had when I was 16, which knocked out my two top front teeth, probably caused long-term damage to my jaws which is bearing fruit all these decades later.

I should also mention that virtually all of these root canals are in teeth which had previously been filled. Over time, decay can work its way in around and under the amalgam, and when you don't have a lot of tooth left, root canal and crown is often the best answer.

#208 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 10:56 PM:

Lee @ 185... A Fluorosphere message area is an excellent idea.

#209 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 11:02 PM:

I had heard about a Tesla docudrama, where he'd have been played by Christian Bale, but there's nothing about it on

#210 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 11:12 PM:

Melissa Singer #207: Yeah, it is a common name. But I figured it was worth asking, 'cause you sure can't tell over the Internet!

As I've noted before, my dad's family changed their surname in the 40s (the old one was too German), when he was a little kid. Pity they couldn't change their weak teeth so easily... the lot of us inherited them. I've had plenty of cavities⌖ (and all four wisdom teeth out), but only one root canal.

⌖ There's a family story there too (on the other side), but best not to speak ill of the dead.

#211 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 11:57 PM:

Melissa Singer #196

My mother always did say that the vitamins were in the skins.

#212 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 12:09 AM:

I'm recording the Rowling bio-pic now. I expect it to be long on inspirational sappiness, but who knows?

* * *

This provides some cold comfort:

It's so gratifying to leave you wallowing in the mess you've made

#213 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 01:11 AM:

I'm recording the Rowling bio-pic now. I expect it to be long on inspirational sappiness, but who knows?

* * *

This provides some cold comfort:

It's so gratifying to leave you wallowing in the mess you've made

#214 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 01:19 AM:

Re indexes:

In the index for Common Lisp The Language (2nd edition) by Guy Steele, Jr. the entry for hyperspace has 2 page numbers; the second page is 1093. There are 1029 pages in the book.

The entry for Floob-Boober-Bab-Boober-Bubs is also interesting.

#215 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 01:22 AM:

#212 and #213 were the result of a really odd connect problem.

#216 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 02:50 AM:

David, #200: Heh. I embarrassed myself with that one from the other direction at the Discworld con.

P J Evans, #205: We've had a couple of wasps sneak into the house recently. Spot thinks they're lots of fun to chase! Fortunately, she hasn't actually caught one yet...

Open threadiness: The art of the fugue is not dead.

#217 ::: Ide Cyan ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 02:51 AM:


#218 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 03:43 AM:

Melissa Singer @207: (I may be wrong, but I do not believe Jon Singer and I have ever even met.)

I have a hard time imagining meeting Jon Singer and not remembering.

#219 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 07:58 AM:

"Wash is my co-pilot."
- seen on the back of a car yesterday

#220 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 08:33 AM:

Re. Teresa's Particles, The Indexer ran a selection of entries from Butler's index back in the last century. I particularly love "Pantheism lurking in rhubarb" -- the book's full text is online at

A simple verification of the autumnal character of rhubarb may, at first sight, appear to be found in Covent Garden Market, where we can actually see the rhubarb towards the end of October. But this way of looking at the matter argues a fatal ineptitude for the pursuit of true philosophy. It would be a most serious error to regard the rhubarb that will appear in Covent Garden Market next October as belonging to the autumn then supposed to be current. Practically, no doubt, it does so, but theoretically it must be considered as the first-fruits of the autumn (if any) of the following year, which begins before the preceding summer (or, perhaps, more strictly, the preceding summer but one — and hence, but any number), has well ended.

#221 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 09:33 AM:

So do you find a spiritual hedgehog hiding under the pantheistic rhubarb?

#222 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 10:08 AM:

Which Samuel Butler, though? The Erewhon guy lived in the 1600's, and Wikipedia knows not of any Samuel Butler who lived in 1913.

#223 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 10:22 AM:

Erik, 222: I'm pretty sure Erewhon is 19th century. It doesn't read at all like the Renaissance.

#224 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 10:46 AM:

Now I bet you this is going to get ol' Rupert's attention.

#225 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 10:57 AM:

TexAnne @ 224...

What do you have against Ruper Everett?
("Rupert Murdoch, Serge.")
One mustn't rejoice in the misfortune of others.
...must... NOT... rejoice...

#226 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 11:09 AM:

Bill Higgins @ 193: I'm not sure if W.S. Gilbert counts as a fantasy author, but I saw Topsy-Turvy last night, and boy howdy, does it rule. So I'm going to recommend that.

#227 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 11:12 AM:

I just got a new computer, and I am getting used to Windows 7, after years of using XP.

Transferring the data from old to new machine has been tedious and there have been some problems, but I think it will all get done. The new monitor is gorgeous: I can't believe the difference from the old (six years old, 17 inches) to the new 20 inch screen.

Any recommendations, as I work with Windows 7? I am absolutely not tech-savvy, so anything you recommend should be monumentally simple. Any traps to avoid?

#228 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 11:44 AM:

Tim Walters @ #226:

The Sorcerer has a love potion, Iolanthe has faerie folk, and Ruddigore has curses and ghosts, so I think we can claim Gilbert as a writer of fantasy.

I'm slightly disappointed it was so easy: I was working myself to start arguing that The Pirates of Penzance counts as fantasy, on the grounds that the plot is resolved in a fashion bears no discernable resemblance to anything that might conceivably occur in real life.

#229 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 11:48 AM:

Erik Nelson @ #222, TexAnne @ #223:

Erewhon was published in 1872, and its author lived from 1835 to 1902.
Erik, you might be thinking of Thomas More's Utopia, published in 1516.

#230 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 12:42 PM:

Jacque @202: A lasting regret, from when we lived in Georgia (circa 1982) is that a sewing machine store disposed of a huge "SINGER" sign with three-dimensional letters a foot or more high, and I couldn't collect them and give them to Jon. We didn't even have a car at that point. Just think, he could have been lugging them around all these years, every time he moved, and silently thanking me for bestowing them upon him.

Tim Walters @226: Gilbert wrote lots of fantasy elements into his plays. Apart from Sullivan, he managed to write one where a fantastic device forces people to tell the truth while still believing they are lying (The Palace of Truth), and one where another fantastic device obliges people to be what they pretend they are (The Mountebanks). Let us not overlook the central fantasy elements in Iolanthe (or, the Peer and the Peri) and Ruddigore (or, The Witch's Curse), as pointed out by Paul A @228 (along with The Sorceror).

Bartolo (who has been transformed into a clockwork Hamlet): "I'm being oiled by Nita, and she -does- tickle! I don't like it. At least I do like it, but it's wrong." [from The Mountebanks]

And yes, TOPSY-TURVY rocks. We were near the end of rehearsals for The Mikado when several cast members journeyed down to The Naro to see that. As the house lights came back on, Fred Arsenault (our Ko-Ko) leaned over the balcony and shouted "CNU is doing The Mikado! Go see The Mikado at CNU!" I just wished that someone had stood up at the end of our Mikado and urged people to go watch TOPSY-TURVY, thus restoring the comic balance.

#231 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 01:23 PM:

Confusion about when Samuel Butler lived was my error, misreading Wikipedia's list of several people named Samuel Butler.

But still, the PDF says:

"This was published originally without an index,
but the author provided one for the edition published by A. C. Fifield in 1913."

However, Samuel Butler of Erewhon fame died in 1902, and no person on Wikipedia's list of Samuel Butlers was alive in 1913.

#232 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 01:26 PM:

Wasn't Rupert Murdoch the person who was cursed to commit one crime a day, or die?

What? That was Rupert Murgatroyd? Never mind...

#233 ::: siriosa ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 02:06 PM:

This is why I mostly lurk on Making Light: you all are so fast, so clever, so generous. It's impossible to keep up.

Many thanks to Jacque, Lee, B. Durbin, Mary Aileen, Tim Walters, and Teresa for the Worldcongoing post. I feel more prepared already. (Swimsuit! Folding rolly cart! Multicolored highlighter!)

#234 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 02:27 PM:

Erik Nelson @#231

Not impossible, it could well be that the author provided the index in response to requests, and it was then sat on until a new edition was produced. That could easily be several years after the death of the author.

#235 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 02:47 PM:

Open Thready- dance! Someone posted this and said "Why don't we have entertainment like this anymore?"
I threw out a generic link to the LXD, but does anyone have other suggestions? The Nicholas Brothers are an awfully hard act to follow, it turns out.

#236 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 02:49 PM:

Sandy B. @ 195:

From 1993 to 2001 I worked for a company called GemStone, which for all intents and purposes invented the object-oriented database, and which was very early into the market for Java application servers. For a couple of years in there part of my job was talking to "industry analysts" like Gartner, Inc., who bill themselves as "technology researchers". They consistently misunderstood both the technology and the marketplace, and made predictions about the trends in both that were either wrong or so ill-informed as not to be even wrong. And these guys sell their white papers for thousands of dollars per copy.

#237 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 03:26 PM:

SandyB, WOW.

That's pretty much how I feel about Buster Keaton's stunt work and Carol Burnett's comedy. (I was very pleased to find out that this dress is now in the Smithsonian.)

#238 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 03:33 PM:

Lila @238:

Your exclamation of surprise is, unfortunately, the standard abbreviation for the Milieu of Martial Arts, wherein is valued agriculturally produced metal. And those who harvest said metal are known to also produce tinned meat in abundance.

#239 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 04:31 PM:

A piece of the previous open thread which moved faster than I could at the time:
Melissa Singer @ 797: The actor who played Hemingway did a wonderful job of reminding me why I don't particularly care for Hemingway's fiction.
Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers)@896: Then you might also enjoy Waiting for the Moon in which [..] Bruce McGill [...]plays Hemingway as a drunken asshole.
Xopher@898: Playing him otherwise would be misplaying.

My mother was born in Neuilly, a suburb of Paris, in the late 20s. Her parents were Midwestern-Americans - Grandpa was studying literature and Grandma was painting. They moved back to the US a few years after Mom was born. In their later years, it was easier to talk to them about Paris in the 20s, which they remembered quite well, than about last week, which Grandpa was no longer so clear on. He commented that "the whole Hemingway scene was going on around us, but we didn't know it at the time." On the other hand, Grandma had known Hemingway in high school, and didn't like him; he'd already been a jerk back then.

#240 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 04:36 PM:

Sandy B. @235: I really, really like a lot of the dance compositions created/performed for the current reality TV show 'So You Think You Can Dance'. Video of just the dance sequences is available various places around the internet, both licitly and il-.

#241 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 08:12 PM:

It seems extraordinarily shortsighted to bemoan the lack of quality dancing these days--there are breakdancers all over the world who are just uncanny to watch, and if that's too modern for you, swing and tap are still going along quite nicely. There is, in this age of youtube, no shortage of excellent dance to watch to your heart's content, and it's not even hard to find on the old tee vee either--amateur dance is well represented among reality programming. It's pretty silly to bemoan the lost art of dance entertainment.

#242 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 08:42 PM:

It seems to me that what's missing is light-hearted silly commercial entertainment from the US which includes dance. Bollywood does it.

It's entirely possible that there's US stuff I've missed. Any suggestions?

#243 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 08:53 PM:

Have I missed the word on whatever happened with janetl's messed-up delivery? The big box that wouldn't go away?

#244 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 09:06 PM:

Is there any word for a phrase which is not (orthographically) a palindrome but which sounds as if it ought to be? I saw a picture of a nice sign the other day and thought to myself, "Nice sign!" and then "hmm, that is not a palindrome -- but what is it, then?"

#245 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 09:42 PM:

I'm looking for something that is clearly as good or better than that clip from "Stormy Weather". My two choices at the moment are either this or this . Either way I repeat: the Nicholas brothers are a HARD act to follow.

#246 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 10:07 PM:

Help me, please, fluorosphere! I'm looking for traditional murder ballads in which men kill their (pregnant or otherwise) lovers. A trip through Child's Ballads hasn't turned up many, but there must be more out there - any ideas?

#247 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 10:15 PM:

Sarah, I'm sure you've already got the classic Pretty Polly.

#248 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 10:24 PM:

Murder ballads?

Try Maria Marten.

#249 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 10:27 PM:

re 247

Down by the banks of the Ohio

#250 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 10:29 PM:

heresiarch, 242: *cheers* I hadn't seen that, thank you! Man, I miss tapping. (Tappers tend to have as many endorphins as climbers do. It's awesome.)

#251 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 10:36 PM:

Unclear what the relationship between Lee Brown and Little Sadie is, in Little Sadie. But she sure-enough winds up dead.

#252 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 11:03 PM:

You don't mention what you found in Child. Presumably you found Mary Hamilton (Child 173) and Lizie Wan (Child 51)?

#253 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 11:25 PM:

There's The Cruel Ship's Carpenter, which is very similar to Pretty Polly, except with the addition of a Doleful Homicidal Ghost.

See also, The Banks of Red Roses.

Also, Child #4, Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight, if you want to think about girls 1 through 6. Here's Pete Seeger singing it.

#254 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 11:32 PM:

Also: Rose Connally (AKA Down in the Willow Garden).

#255 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 11:45 PM:

More murdered pregnant girlfriends: Jellon Grame (Child 90)

#256 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 11:47 PM:

I'm watching the beginning of the ("unauthorized") J.K. Rowling bio-pic.

The production is better quality than I thought, but there's a distinct "George Lucas in Love" vibe to it. This could be taken as a lazy trick, or as cheeky self parody.

#257 ::: siriosa ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 12:09 AM:

Dancing in America:
East Oakland
The young ones still have the talent. For some reason it's not in demand for the big screen.

#258 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 12:26 AM:

I was going to mention Nick Cave's Murder Ballads album, but then I saw you wanted traditional ballads. It seems as if one or two of them are semi-traditional?

#259 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 01:08 AM:

Some versions of Reynardine, especially those in which the title character seems to be a werewolf. I'm currently learning The Mountains of Pomeroy, which is a 19th century reworking of an earlier murder ballad, the title of which I can't recall. In The Mountains of Pomeroy the maiden runs off to be with her outlaw boyfriend (Reynardine) and just happens to drown. Accidentally. Yeah, that's his story and he's sticking to it. Long Lankin/Lamkin. Omie Wise, ripped from the (19c) headlines. Surely someone has already mentioned Tom Dooley, but just in case ...

#260 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 01:28 AM:

Máire Ní Maoileoin, an Irish language murder ballad, with a poetic translation/adaptation by the George Sigerson, the same guy who did The Mountains of Pomeroy. In English, Máire Ní Maoileoin is rendered Molly Malone, but this song has absolutely nothing to do with the more familiar song.

The narrator flatters pregnant Máire, promises marriage, then knifes her in an empty church and tosses the body in the river (in Irish) or leaves it on a mountain (in English). He feels just awful afterwards.

#261 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 02:23 AM:


L'écolier assassin (here as covered by Malicorne... liner notes from the album say this is the Canadian version of a medieval song from Charentes and Nivernais).

#262 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 03:18 AM:

Sarah, #247: Son, Oh Son (as performed by Boiled In Lead). If it's not traditional, it was certainly written by someone who knows all the tropes; I've always assumed it was a Child variant.

#263 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 07:51 AM:

Speaking of traditional music, I'm right now reading a fascinating book, Faking It: The Quest for Authenticity in Popular Music. I knew some of this story, but it's interesting to see it marshaled in the service of an argument.

#264 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 09:05 AM:

MD-carré, 262: I think the liner notes are mistaken; it's possible that it's a medieval story, but the tune and language are in no way medieval.

#265 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 09:34 AM:

Sarah -- the Singing Hall Sisters perform an absolutely knockout version of "The Knoxville Girl" in the movie "Looking for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus".

#266 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 10:04 AM:

It looks like LiveJournal is being an unreliable piece of crap today.

#267 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 10:56 AM:

HLN: area man rides biathlon, comes in last (and by courtesy, as DNF would have been more exact--the last checkpoint was unmanned when he got there.) Area man consoles himself with the fact that riding the first 10 miles with a trail-a-bike and 4-year-old was a considerable handicap, and that he shot 100%. Also, despite ignoring it (it was over 100 and high humidity), recommends this most excellent post.

#268 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 11:12 AM:

Livejournal is giving me errors I haven't even seen before, Serge, but Down For Everyone Or Just For Me claims it's just me. So it's somewhat comforting to know they're wrong.

#269 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 11:19 AM:

Fade Manley @ 269... It's Down For Everyone.

#270 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 11:35 AM:

Re Particles (almost literally):

VASELINE URANIUM TEDDY BEAR should be the name of a band. Or maybe a fanzine.

#271 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 11:37 AM:

Kip W @230: ::cough COUGH:: snarkle *snark!*

For, um, somewhat liberal values of "thank." Heh.

#272 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 11:41 AM:

Open threadiness:

This piece by Connor Friesdorf points out the awful effect on the world that Grover Norquist has had. Basically, if you want smaller government, demanding that politicians make government spending painless for taxpayers is exactly the wrong thing to do.

Supply side economics and the silly "starve the beast" slogan combine to offer politicians on the right justification to do exactly what is politically least painful--spend as much as they want, but never raise taxes to cover the costs. That justification has led us to the huge deficit about which the Republican party has suddenly gotten serious, after many years reassuring the world that deficits didn't matter. They'd be right to take those deficits seriously, IMO, but of course, they don't *really* take them seriously, anymore than Democrats *really* take antiwar or civil liberties concerns seriously. It's just a bludgeon with which to club the other party.

When the Republicans return to power, of course, concerns about the deficit will have no weight, compared to whatever spending they want to plan. Certainly, concerns about the deficit today don't cause the leaders of either party to seriously question our bloated military, spy agency, or homeland security budgets. Serious people don't discuss cuts to those things.

#274 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 01:45 PM:

John Arkansawyer, 264

Authenticity and Chinese Recipes

For one thing, if you're trying to be authentic, you are almost certainly trying to imitate people who were just doing what made sense to them without caring about being authentic.

Tentative theory not in the article: I believe that one of the things which drives the search for authenticity is an effort to get outside one's usual way of doing things.

#275 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 02:27 PM:

I was woken up by thunder & lightning this morning. Rare enough in this part of Oregon that it's kind of a pleasant surprise.

And doubly so because I had been stuck in one of those Back in School dreams, in which I discovered that I was due to attend some kind of literary seminar class where two books I'd forgotten to read, didn't have, and couldn't find in the library were going to be discussed. They were The Deliverance (a novel, but not Dickey's) and Camera Camera Camera Film (film criticism).

#276 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 02:28 PM:

If you are used to buying books from Amazon with the Kindle app in your iPad or iPhone, be careful about doing the next app update. Apple is requiring all users of IOS to make purchases using its own system, thereby ensuring Apple gets a cut.

Amazon-Apple book purchase change

#277 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 02:30 PM:

Nancy: Your link seems to work, but the page comes up blank.

#278 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 02:34 PM:

I'm finding it rather odd that apparently one of the big right-wing bloggers cited in one of the sidebar pieces uses the name Baron Bodissey -- a Jack Vance character who never appears onstage.

#279 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 02:46 PM:

Lee #263 If it's not traditional, it was certainly written by someone who knows all the tropes; I've always assumed it was a Child variant.

It's a variant on Edward (Child #13) with the tune and refrain from The Cruel Mother (Child #20).

See also, Folksongs are Your Friends

#280 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 02:59 PM:

Murder ballads: There's the Barbadian folk song
Millie gone to Brazil.

#281 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 03:23 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz #275: A very interesting article, though there were a couple of places where I thought they might be overanalyzing things. Notably:

Several Chinese cookbooks published in the 1990s are heavily dosed with nostalgia for an immigrant or rural Chinese past. In Martin Yan’s Culinary Journey Through China (1995) he writes fondly about his mother’s primitive Cantonese kitchen, and praises her cooking as “more than sustenance. It’s what food is at its best in Chinese families, a nourishing symbol of well-being, harmony and family connection” (11).

The end-note seems to be missing from the paper, but I'll note that Yan's comment would be just as true if you struck out the word "Chinese".

And Amen to you on the warning about authenticity -- if you're not careful, you can end up condemning innovation, growth, or just adapting to new conditions. To stick with your Chinese-cuisine example, consider hot peppers, which were not native to China! But they caught on quickly....

#282 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 05:00 PM:

Murder: Not exactly traditional, but Black 47's "Black Rose"?

#283 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 05:12 PM:

Cancer Update

(I've ROT13'd things I think might be Words of Power.)

So, I went to the doctor today. Upshot: not as bad as the worst fears or as good as the best hopes.

First, the scans didn't find that the cancer had spread far, but there were "a couple of little spots" in some lymph nodes on the left side of my neck, so they're going to take them all out (ALL of them) and examine them to see if I need radiation. So I still don't know for sure whether I'll have to or not.

The surgery will be done under general anesthesia, which is actually a relief to me, since I really don't want to be aware of what's happening or hear the conversation in the OR. They'll take out the tumor and the lymph nodes, and graft skin from my thigh onto my tongue. That's not temporary as I thought I had understood, but a permanent skin replacement. In response to a stupid question by me, the resident explained that the skin layer taken is too thin to include hair follicles, so that's one minor worry off my mind!

Surgery will be August 5. I'll be in the hospital for some days (probably about five) after that. I'll have a feeding tube that does into my nose and down into my stomach, because obviously I won't be able to eat for a while. I'm planning to buy a small dry-erase board!

Since the surgery is so soon, I'm off AFNVQF until then. Nprgnzvabcura is not nearly as effective as vohcebsra on this particular pain; one vohcebsra pushes the pain down to tolerable, but one aprgnzvabcura is completely ineffective as far as I can tell. I'll try two in the next cycle. All the AFNVQF in the house are currently in a plastic bag in the freezer, so I won't forget and take one.

That's it for now.

#284 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 05:18 PM:

Re: ballads

Thanks so much, all - you're fabulous, and these should keep me busy for a quite while. (Heresiarch, it was actually the recent re-release of the Nick Cave album that prompted my request, in a roundabout way.)

#285 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 05:25 PM:

Xopher: *hugs*

#286 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 05:35 PM:


Thinking good thoughts for the best outcome.

#287 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 05:37 PM:

Xopher, best of luck and hope everything goes perfectly with surgery and recovery!

#288 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 05:41 PM:

Xopher, good luck, and I hope your doctors subscribe to the librarians' motto: The only stupid question is the unasked one.

#289 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 05:41 PM:

Yes, I've had problems getting to livejournal too, from about 8pm BST onwards.

#290 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 05:54 PM:

Xopher @ 284: Good luck!

I believe in always asking all the questions one can think of; not only does it potentially improve one's health, it can make better doctors out of the folks working with the patient.

HLN: Area woman drives son, 15, to his grandparents house in NY, and is pleased to have him being sociable again. Despite a regrettable tendency to say "No" when he means "I don't really feel like it", the teen is more agreeable and pleasant than he's been in some time. Grandparents agree; cousins can only wait to see him soon. Beach time in Cape Cod is planned; dogs are deposited at kennel and cats are being cared for at home, by friends who adore them. Ex sent a box of salt water taffy along for all the relatives. Relatives reply with polite thanks.

FG is busy working on deadlines and stressful work stuff, but area woman plans to take FG to the beach in California at the end of September.

#291 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 06:01 PM:

Xopher #284: Best of luck! And yeah, getting hair on your tongue would really have been adding insult to injury!

#292 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 06:03 PM:

Janet@289: While I am wholly with you in well-wishing Xopher, I have to disagree about the questions.

I used to work in a copy shop that was owned by two brothers named Brian and Martin. One time I was taking a woman's order, and in the course of things it came out that she thought I was Brian. I told her I wasn't. So then she guessed that I was Martin. I said, "No, my name is David." Her reply was, "Are you sure?"

#293 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 06:04 PM:

Xopher, best of wishes to you.

"or hear the conversation in the OR"

Might have been Cosby who said in a comedy routine that the word you don't want to hear in the OR is "Oops."

#294 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 06:08 PM:

Hanged I Shall Be for suddenly whacking her on the head, dragging her by her hair, and tossing her in the river. He also lied to his mother. Down in a Willow Garden. He too shall be hanged, having poisoned her, stabbed her, and thrown her in the river, apparently at the urging of his creepy father. On The Banks of Red Roses he serenaded her with his "charm flute" (obtained on his last D&D campaign, no doubt), treated her to tea at his place, then took her to some dank cave, stabbed her and shoved her in the waiting grave. It was getting crowded down by the river.

#295 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 06:14 PM:

The chorus to all these murder ballads is, of course, "Rickety-tickety-tin."

#296 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 06:14 PM:

Xopher, good luck and good wishes go with you.

Stefan Jones @ 276:

I was sleeping with the dogs last night1 when the lightning started (actually I was awake and reading at the time and the dogs were sleeping) so I was available to calm them down. Luckily there were only a couple of big blasts near us, so they settled down soon. There wasn't any rain here, which may have been because the lightning never got closer than about 2.5 miles. Did you get rain?

1. It's been hot and muggy here for the last couple of days, and we had a fan in the bedroom window to cool us off. Unfortunately, I sometimes can't sleep with a fan blowing on my head; I woke up about 2 and couldn't get back to sleep, so I went out to read for awhile and try to sleep on the reclining love seat that Spenser, our terrier, likes to sleep on.

#297 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 06:26 PM:

@ Xopher: I hope all goes well. If I lived in the area I'd loan you a netbook or tablet . . . but a whiteboard is a good idea.

@ Bruce: You know, I looked for wet pavement when I left the house for my morning dog walk @ 6:10 am or so, and it was pretty damn dry. The thunderbooms rolled through @ 4:50 am. Not enough time for any accompanying rain to dry.

Kira is afraid of thunder, but doesn't really show it other than to quickly lie down by the side of the bed and just kind of withdraw.

#298 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 06:51 PM:

Xopher :284: Hugs and good thoughts!

the resident explained that the skin layer taken is too thin to include hair follicles, so that's one minor worry off my mind!

I would think that's an entirely appropriate concern! Especially in light of the woman I met who had an autograft of skin from her thigh onto her palm. Yes, she did, indeed, have hairs on her palm. Big, narsty, curly ones, too.

#299 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 06:53 PM:

Achievement / discovery of note.

I repaired a "found" flat-screen monitor this weekend. A 22" wide-screen. It wasn't lighting up.

Following up on something my brother mentioned, I looked up "capacitor replacement." Apparently, a lot of the broken home electronics going into landfills are doing so because of popped / leaking capacitors.

A forum on a site called led me to a description of how to open the monitor. Sure enough, there were a half-dozen or so blown electrolytic capacitors. (The barrel-shaped ones with exposed silver disks on top. The disks visibly bulge or ooze tan goo when the capacitor is bad.)

Another site sold monitor-model-specific collections of capacitors . . . although you can order them from any electric supply shop.

It took maybe an hour to de-solder and replace my salvaged monitor's "caps." After that it just turned on. Total cost about $15.00. Now my Windows system has two big-ass monitors!

There's something very satisfying about resurrecting discarded hardware this way, and I plan on doing more of it.

#300 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 06:55 PM:

Best of luck to you, Xopher!

#301 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 06:56 PM:

Well, I was awakened at oh-dark:thirty by the Racoon Brothers getting stuck in the dumpster. Again.

"Mom! Help!! We can't get out! MOOOOMMMMM!!!!"

"C'mon dears, jump a little harder! You can do it!"

"MOM!! Help! MOOOOMMMMM!!!!"

Thirty feet from my open bedroom window.

I let them stew for about an hour before I rescued them. They're getting bigger; aren't they supposed to be getting smarter about this stuff, too?

#302 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 06:59 PM:

Xopher: Best of luck. You'll be in my thoughts.

TexAnne (296): Hee!

#303 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 07:04 PM:

Xopher, while you're lying about with interesting drugs in your system, maybe you'll muse on continuing your vampire novel?

I'll be thinking of you (even more).

Not to slight anyone here on any of the threads, either. I carry the lot of you around, and, oddly, that lightens my life.

#304 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 07:05 PM:

Stefan Jones @300: Hm. That's very interesting...

I am, of course reminded of the time during lab in electronics school that Fred put his 30μ cap in the circuit backwards.

We're all sitting there, concentrating intensely on our respective projects when—


We all turn around to see Fred sitting there, blinking in bemusement, white stuff littering his beard, with a cloud of white smoke expanding lazily around his head.

Then, some years later, I was telling a coworker about this, and he reported how he derived cheap amusement from putting caps in backwards across the arc-welder. (With a blast shield up, of course....) (!?)

#305 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 07:12 PM:

@Jaques: A friend described a similar experience, with a "cap" the size of a coffee can!

You can bet I double-checked the placement of each and every capacitor before putting on the solder.

I was especially wary after realizing that on the particular brand of "caps" supplied in the kit the negative side was marked with a colored stripe; on the kits I'd built to date the positive lead side was marked thus. (The stripes had in each case the appropriate symbol, but you had to look . . .)

#306 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 07:20 PM:

HLN: Either I am no good with personnel (which I suspect) or there's a good reason my job stood open a year and a half before I took it (which I also suspect) or the heat is getting to everyone (which is self-evident). I just want to put everyone in their respective playpens and go away and maybe not come back. Not only do all three of them remember every slight for the past 30 years they've worked together, they will remember them on each others' behalf and remind the other party of their injuries if they start looking balanced and productive and at peace with the world. I can't even keep track of who is allied with whom this week anymore. I think I need to read some nice Stoic philosophy and meditate on a glass of wine. And picture giving them each a good shake and telling them to grow the heck up. "You tattle on each other like little boys!"

#307 ::: Mike McHugh ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 07:48 PM:

For the last few years, the word "capacitors" just reminds me of this story. It made an impression.

#308 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 07:51 PM:

If I hear 'capacitor', I think 'interrocitor'.

#309 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 07:52 PM:

Bonne chance, Xopher!

#310 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 08:01 PM:

Xopher: may all be well, may all be well, and may all manner of things be well.

Keep us posted.

#311 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 08:14 PM:

Xopher #284: The best of luck to you.

#312 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 08:17 PM:

Xopher, all the best.

I don't know how long it will be before you can be verbally communicative again, but if it's of any interest, there are communication apps for the iPod/iPhone for use of people without speech.

#313 ::: J Homes ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 08:31 PM:

More good wishes for Xopher.

J Homes.

#314 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 08:43 PM:

Good luck, Xopher.

#315 ::: Laina ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 09:19 PM:

Xopher @ 284:

Good luck!

#316 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 09:21 PM:

Xopher, best of luck.

#317 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 09:43 PM:

Thank you, everyone.

Carol 304: Xopher, while you're lying about with interesting drugs in your system, maybe you'll muse on continuing your vampire novel?

Not very likely. Bad vampire fiction drives out good. The middle of a fad of cheapass sparkly vampires isn't the time to try to write good vampire fiction.

#318 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 09:47 PM:

Well, it wouldn't be the best time to try getting good vampire fiction published, but it does sound like a good time to write it.

#319 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 09:54 PM:

siriosa @177: Oh yeah, another thought for Worldcon. (Disregard if your feet require support.) I've found that it's useful to be able to randomly go barefoot, and also have shoes on hand for random trips outside, to restaurants, etc. I'm a particular fan of tai chi shoes which are as close to bare feet as I've found, and also, tucked together, fit neatly in a back pocket.

#320 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 09:57 PM:

Janet Brennan Croft @307: Perhaps a seltzer bottle is indicated? :-)

#321 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 12:03 AM:

Good luck, Xopher. You're in my prayers.

#322 ::: A. J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 12:20 AM:

Call for brainstorming! I'm looking for a band name for something that's not quite a band. I've asked some of my peers on social networking sites, but haven't come up with a satisfactory suggestion just yet: what would you call a musical/spoken word project consisting of short (2-3 minute) monologues about quirky metaphors for science concepts, set to synthesizer music and some sound effects?

The first track is about myelinated and unmyelinated axons, and is titled "The Subway Trains in Your Nerves." I'm taking subject matter from biology, chemistry and physics. Think of something styled a bit like Laurie Anderson's music but more didactic in intent; less didactic and less cheesy than Schoolhouse Rock.

Rather than being grade-school-science level, these are targeted toward adults - two major audiences, I assume: students taking undergrad science classes and preparing for exams like the MCAT, and science-literate adults who enjoy knowledge and quirky perspectives.

The current/default name is "The Science Monologues Project" - which I kind of like, it has the advantage of doing what it says on the tin. I'll stick with that name if nothing else clicks, but I'm still trying to come up with something clever and punny that engages the audience and conveys the general idea of the project. "Science Diction" is taken by NPR, naturally. (Bugger.)

So - anyone got any naming suggestions?

Additionally, if you have a favorite science concept you'd like me to feature, or if you're interested in participating yourself, give me a buzz. I'm always looking for ideas, and stage 2 of the project will be about bringing other people on board. You don't need any musical talent - just enough passion about a given science concept to write and/or recite the equivalent of an elevator pitch for it.

#323 ::: A. J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 12:29 AM:

To Xopher: May you come through with the best possible outcome.

In general, regarding asking questions in medicine, I highly recommend Dr. Jerome Groopman's How Doctors Think - it has a series of clinical anecdotes demonstrating where heuristic thinking works and where it doesn't, and where patients can put a lever to switch the doctor out of one or more cognitive failure modes.

#324 ::: A. J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 01:33 AM:

I wish to note that a post of mine appears to have been caught in the spam filter, about an hour ago, for unknown reasons.

#325 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 01:45 AM:

Sending good vibes, Xopher.

#326 ::: siriosa ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 02:43 AM:

Xopher: Holding you in the light, and will burn a candle on the 5th.

Jacque: Funny thing about my feet. Before I went to Europe the first time (not that long ago, either), I field-tested several kinds of shoes, to see which I could walk in the longest with the least pain. All of them hurt. A lot. On a whim, I put a pair of flipflops through the same tests, and My Feet Didn't Hurt. So I traipsed through Europe in flipflops.

In my case, tai chi shoes are a step *up* in respectability. Barefoot's my one true love.

#327 ::: Dave Howell ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 03:08 AM:

Apropos of nothing preceding, I found myself unable to resist giving a short lesson in punctuation to somebody who posted a comment in a blog wherein they protested a previous commenter's use of "scare quotes." "Why did you scare quotes around [specific term] as a descriptor? It's a common adjective . . ."

"Scare quotes?" Good grief. Beware! The frightening punctuation approaches!

#328 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 03:08 AM:

Xopher: Best wishes!

#329 ::: Dave Howell ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 03:21 AM:

Apropos of nothing preceding, I found myself unable to resist giving a short lesson in punctuation to somebody who posted a comment in a blog wherein they protested a previous commenter's use of "scare quotes." "Why did you scare quotes around [specific term] as a descriptor? It's a common adjective . . ."

"Scare quotes?" Good grief. Beware! The frightening punctuation approaches!

#330 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 04:12 AM:

Jacque, #320: I've found a useful variation to be "take several pairs of shoes, and change off as needed". Note that this means different styles of shoes, not multiple pairs of the same kind! I generally have at least 3 -- a good pair of walking shoes, something a little dressier (but still comfortable) for the evenings, and my battered old surfer flops to give my feet a nearly-barefoot rest from time to time.

Xopher: GoodThoughts being sent for the best possible outcome.

#331 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 07:31 AM:

Jacque #320, siriosa #326: Heh. Just yesterday, my cleaning lady was telling me she has a lot of trouble finding shoes that even fit, because of her bunions. She was wearing sandals, I'm not sure if they'd have qualified as "flip-flops". She's wary of the surgery, because the people she's known have had mixed results. (While she didn't actually mention cost as an issue, she is a freelance cleaning lady, married to an auto mechanic....)

#332 ::: SarahS ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 08:38 AM:

Wishing you well, Xopher.

#333 ::: Dave Howell ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 08:45 AM:

Myself @329: And once again, I teach myself to never post before researching. I would never have guessed that anybody would actually think the term "scare quotes" was relevant, useful, or needed. I was wrong. I now know what goes in the #2 slot on my list of The Stupidest Things in the English Language. ("Utilize" is still #1.)

#334 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 08:57 AM:

I always thought "scare quotes" were "tyrannosaur quotes"- you physically mime the quote marks while saying the phrase, like you're doing a tyrannosaur impresssion. I do not know the origin of the phrase.

In total non-news, some microfamous person got thrown out of San Diego Comic Con for having an outfit that showed an illegal amount of butt. I did the "Dogs looking at quantum physics" face for a surprisingly long time, before realizing that "story did not happen exactly as told" was the simplest explanation.

#335 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 09:53 AM:

The Modesto Kid @245: You may be thinking of Plaindromes, which I saw twenty or so years back in GAMES magazine. All the joy of that beloved tortured syntax without the burden of reading the same way backwards and forwards. Examples included:
"Stella, Edna and Otis deified Satan."
"Money-man I; an Adam; not even a doom."
"Able was I ere I saw Hackensack."

Xopher: Wishing you good things in the quantity just one notch below where they become annoying and burdensome.

#336 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 10:17 AM:

Kip W.: Not exactly what I had in mind, but an indubitably useful concept to have on hand. BTW my current favorite palindrome: "A slut was I ere I saw Tulsa" -- opens up room for speculation about Napoleon's misspent youth and his sojourn in Oklahoma.

#337 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 10:34 AM:

Xopher: More best wishes from here.

Ginger: Yay!

Sandy B: In my irl social circle, we call that gesture "air quotes."

#338 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 10:43 AM:

This explains the warm, wet feeling on the back of my neck: Trickling down

#340 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 11:00 AM:

Xopher, good thoughts and energy headed your way.

Ginger: Hurrah!

#341 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 11:08 AM:

David Harmon @331, I have bunions, and I've found they don't give me a bit of trouble as long as I stick to Converse or Doc Martens - both of which I wear with arch-supporting insoles. It's dressy, feminine shoes that are the problem.

My doctor has promised to write me a note that says "Rikibeth has bunions and must wear shoes with a roomy toe box and solid arch support" if I'm ever in an office job where they give me hassles for wearing Doc Martens with a skirt.

#342 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 11:15 AM:

Sandy B. @334: I always thought "scare quotes" were "tyrannosaur quotes"- you physically mime the quote marks while saying the phrase, like you're doing a tyrannosaur impresssion. I do not know the origin of the phrase.

AIUI, "scare quotes" is a derivative of "air quotes," which you so aptly describe above. I infer that some people got in the habit of using quotes to emphasize or discredit a term, often in a tone of sarcasm.

#343 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 11:19 AM:

Tracie @ #295: It was getting crowded down by the river.

I don't know as how I ought to have laughed at that, but I did.

#344 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 11:22 AM:

And speaking of failure modes for feet, I've lately been having a lot of pain and inflamation in my achilles tendons and calf muscles. I've also noticed a swelling on the tendon above my heel. Very annoying, particularly as I can't figure out what's causing it, or how to get it freakin' STOP. Correlates somewhat in time with the extra weight I've put on over the last year.

Very irritating; walking doesn't clear it up. Seems to make it worse, in fact. At some point, I'm going to have to break down and see a doctor, but I'm always wary of doing that; having had more than one instance of a doctor making things worse. (Like the time I went in with a mild neck injury, and finally escaped a couple of years later after a hysterectomy, and suffering from iatrogenic major depression.)

I always default to thinking in terms of exercise/physical therapy for stuff like this, but this is a new issue, and a little random Googling hasn't turned up any great insights.

#345 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 12:03 PM:

Russ @160.435 et seq.: new results confirm that individual photons cannot travel faster than the speed of light. The article features some discussion of why this precludes time trave.

#346 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 12:42 PM:

Carol #304:

What she said. I've been remiss recently, as I've been on the road, but believe me that thoughts are being directed/held as appropriate.

#347 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 12:51 PM:

HLN: Local woman, while being non-local for a week, discovers following equation:

(No stockings + right foot a quarter size larger than left + one-hundred-degree days in NYC = big blisters on right foot only.)

Thank all gods for well-broken-in Topsiders. Too bad they kept coming untied.

#348 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 01:01 PM:

Jacque @ 344. Try googling "plantar fasciitis"; mine was treatable with exercises to stretch the calf muscles and Achilles tendon, which is often the case. If you find some of the exercises on-line, it might be worth trying them to see if they help any.

Also: Xopher! Xopher! Xopher! We are all determined: things will go well!

I am so glad you won't have to deal with having a hairy tongue.

#349 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 01:16 PM:

Steve, #338: "And we laugh and laugh and laugh, but when the cameras roll we don a solemn frown / On the end of the ship that's rising while the other end goes down!" - Roy Zimmerman

Jacque, #344: IANAD, and online diagnosis is always risky, but what you're describing there sounds to me like a classic case of tendonitis -- which will indeed be exacerbated by exercise. Have you tried OTC anti-inflammatories? If you have and they haven't worked, what you may want to ask your doctor for is a stronger variety.

Also, yes, it may very well be related to your weight gain. I was having all sorts of foot and ankle trouble over the last couple of years, which have cleared up remarkably since I've dropped some weight.

#350 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 01:32 PM:

Ginger @ 291... woman plans to take FG to the beach in California

Who'll be Annette, and who'll be Frankie?

#351 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 01:36 PM:

AKICOML: Since the LiveJournal outage yesterday, my attempts to crosspost from DreamWidth have been failing. Is anyone else having this problem?

#352 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 01:39 PM:

fidelio @348: "plantar fasciitis"

Ah! That's what I was doing wrong. I was missing the T. (Also, I was vaguely under the impression that this referred to inflamation of the bottom of the foot which is, conspicuously NOT affected.) Thank you!

Lee @349: Have you tried OTC anti-inflammatories?

I have, and they are only somewhat effective, and not a resonable solution for the chronic nature of the issue. I am extremely wary of the stronger NSAIDs, as that was what pushed me over into the medical cascade after the neck injury. (I have inflamatory bowel disease, which can respond oddly to NSAIDs, especially in large quantities.)

I finally got new batteries for my kitchen scales today, so hopefully weight-loss will ensue. (I find that actually recording my calorie intake is much the most effective motivator to cut it back.)

Thanks for the recs, folks!

#353 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 01:53 PM:

Lee @ 351... FB let me link back to an LJ entry of mine, but G+ can't connect to LJ.

#354 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 01:56 PM:

Jacque @352 Just as one data point - some years ago, I finally went to a podiatrist about a tendonitis problem that I'd been living with for months. (I'd been living with it due to an expectation that going to the doctor would net me nothing but the Just Lose Weight lecture.) He made custom orthotic inserts for my shoes and within a few weeks things were at least 90% better. So there may be options in the midrange between exercises on one end, and major medical interventions on the other end. He also said, by the way, that losing weight would probably help but that weight was not the only cause of problems like that.

#355 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 01:59 PM:

Eric Schneiderman, the Attorney General of NY, has filed a legal brief in support of Windsor in Windsor vs. United States, challenging DOMA.

Brief here:

#356 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 02:30 PM:

The Modesto Kid @245, I can't answer your question, but have many fond memories of the Black Cat! Man, I miss Boone.

#357 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 02:32 PM:

Sarah @247, how about Tom Dooley? I'm somehow related to the actual Tom Dula by marriage (dubious honors). (Also, on the same side of the family, to the Fosters, but I don't think my branch is related to Laura.)

#358 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 02:57 PM:

The Modesto Kid @ 345:

You can't kill a good SF trope that easily. See my comment on Futurismic.

#359 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 04:06 PM:

Jacque @344, as others have said, sounds very much like plantar fasciitis. Easily and not too expensively treatable, if my case is any indication, and yes, losing weight will help. Several other things that help: arch supports in all your shoes (custom made is good but even commercial can help -- in my dressiest shoes, I use the stick-in support from one brand in the left shoe and another brand in my right shoe), foot stretches before getting up any time you've been off your feet for 15 minutes or more (pull the toes straight up towards your knee, or see these, this exerciser, and a new thing my podiatrist gave me a few years ago -- a washable foot wrap they custom-make in the office with cotton padding and elastic wrap. I get about half a dozen new ones made every year at the start of sandal season. If it's really bad, a shot of cortizone right into the foot will give you relief for a while. Also bicycle rather than walk if you can.

#360 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 04:08 PM:

Jacque @342: The two terms are independent: I don't believe either derives from the other.

Air quotes are gestures made with the fingers to signify quotes, like air guitar.

Scare quotes are quotes used to discredit (or at least withhold support from) the utterance, as opposed to attributing the utterance to a third person. They are used to warn that the utterance is misleading.

Certainly written quotes may be used either to attribute or discredit a phrase. On the other hand, while air quotes are usually used as scare quotes, they may denote attribution. For instance, the statements

He asked, "Who is innocent?" during wartime.
He asked, "Who is innocent during wartime?"
may be hard to distinguish when spoken. I have seen people raise their fingers in air quotes to indicate the quoted phrase when saying such a sentence.

Spoken attributive quotation is sometimes indicated by using the words quote and unquote to surround the quotation. These words may also be used as oral scare quotes, but they are usually spoken together, preceding the scare-quoted statement. See, for example, explanations by The Free Dictionary or John Lawler.

Hope you appreciate this "educational" interlude.

#361 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 04:11 PM:

I have a request of the collective knowledge here - specifically, I want to have a phrase translated into Latin. (It's for a joke: it'll be displayed on a "regiment banner" for painted miniatures, along with a bell-curve shape. The recipient is a statistician post-doc in his non-gaming time.)

The requested phrase is, "Normal, and proud of it!" or, if that's too tricky in terms of the rendering, "Proud to be normal!" will also do.

Many, many thanks in advance to anyone devoting some spare brain cells to this little puppy of mine...

Crazy(quite possibly proving it with this request, too)Soph

#362 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 04:27 PM:

re plantar fasciitis: I had a mild case of it about ten years ago -- mild because it responded to treatment, went away, and has not come back. I recommend you look at your shoes, and discard any that are not fully supporting your arch. Bad shoes are a major cause of pf.

Arch supports, good. Drugs -- I support your caution.

My pf did affect the sole of the foot. Not every case does.

#363 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 04:31 PM:

BTW, I have a new e-mail address. I don't wish to display it, but if you have my old e-mail address and send me an e-mail, you will receive a response from the new address. I recommend you do this ASAP.

Messages sent to the old address should reach me for a week at least, probably more.

Major gripe: new e-mail cannot import old e-mail Address Book. This is stunningly inconvenient.

#364 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 04:33 PM:

crazysoph @361:

My first impulse is ordinarius laetusque, or, for a female character, ordinaria laetaque.

#365 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 04:41 PM:

regarding orthotics/arch supports: For many years I wore custom supports--I have flat feet and tend to walk on the outer edges of my feet.

However, those buggers are expensive, and not always covered by insurance.

A few months ago I tried one of those Dr. Scholl's "stand here and we'll tell you what's wrong with your feet" machines in Walgreen's, and bought the still-expensive-but-a-lot-less-than-orthotics supports the computer recommended. They took a little getting used to but are now settled in and my feet hurt much less.


#366 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 04:41 PM:

Lizzy L @ 363 -

Can your old e-mail export the address book as a .CSV file and the new one import the same? That's fairly standard among e-mail packages.

#367 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 04:41 PM:

Dan Hoey @360: Hope you appreciate this "educational" interlude.

Ah yes. That makes total sense.* Thank you!

* I figured someone who actually knew what they were talking about would chime in here at some point. :)

#368 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 04:42 PM:

HLN: No juvenile racoons were reported trapped in local dumpster during previous night. Gods are thanked.

#369 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 04:45 PM:

Greetings, Abi!

re #364: well, I'm reckoning it's for a whole group, and probably, to look at the figures I know he's painting, male.

So, 1st person plural male?

Crazy(unpacking the resulting phrase for the Latin-challenged is a plus, many thanks to you again)Soph

#370 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 04:47 PM:

crazysoph @369:

ordinarii laetique

#371 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 04:51 PM:

Janet Brennan Croft @359: as others have said, sounds very much like plantar fasciitis.

Except that, upon investigation using the correct spelling, plantar fasciitis seems to refer specifically to the bottom of the foot. Except that my actual feet don't hurt at all. The discomfort migrates around between my ankles and my knees, with particular emphasis on my achilles tendon above the ankle.

Near as I can tell from reading, plantar fasciitis can involve the heel, but on the bottom of the foot.

#372 ::: A.J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 04:55 PM:

My post still seems to be in the spam filter after over 18 hours, so I'm going to try again and see if it goes through this time. Please excuse the double post, if double posting occurs.

So. Herein follows request for help naming a thing.

I'm working on a spoken-word audio project which will be going live shortly. It consists of monologues about science concepts: not kid-level, but rather the sort of thing that college students studying basic sciences will find useful as a study aid, and science-educated adults (like: the folks on this blog, the readers of science magazines, et cetera) will find entertaining/edifying. Each monologue centers around a quirky metaphor, and is backed by synthesizer music.

I got the idea to do this because students I was tutoring, and teachers I was studying under, both gave me positive feedback on my tendency to turn concepts into accessible metaphors, and I thought, "Hmm! I could make these into bite-sized downloadable lessons!" I've been going for a flavor that's a bit like Laurie Anderson but somewhat more didactic. Less didactic, and less cheesy-jingley, than Schoolhouse Rock.

As I expand, I'm hoping to get other people on board, so if you're interested in playing around with this too, or just have a suggestion for which concepts I should hit - let me know.

In the meantime: I'm currently calling it "The Science Monologue Project", which is kind of classy-like and does what it says on the tin, but I'm also looking for suggestions - I was hoping to have a clever wordplay in the name somewhere. I just haven't found the correct balance yet; most of the ideas I've come up with or gotten from others are either too cutesy or too esoteric. I want smart-but-accessible, fun but not hokey. Any ideas?

#373 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 04:56 PM:

I tried "stand here and we'll sell you stuff" supports for two incidents of about half a day each. I started getting SHARP pains in the inside of my knees both times. It did not feel like "This is you being sore from using muscles differently", it felt like damage, and I availed myself of their money-back guarantee.

I may have made the wrong choice, but I'm cautious with my knees.

#374 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 05:02 PM:

I see that the 9th issue of Miriam Libicki's "Jobnik!" is out.
Details HERE...

#375 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 05:13 PM:

A.J. Luxton @ 372: brainstorming...

"Science Particles"
"Under The Microscope"
"Reality: Under The Hood"

#376 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 05:17 PM:

To Xopher:

I wish you a successful result and speedy recovery.

#377 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 05:24 PM:

A.J. Luxton @ 372 -

"Speaking of Science"
"Science Out Loud"
"Science Diction"

#378 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 05:29 PM:

Oh, well, Science Diction is used by NPR for a series by Ira Flatow, I found after Googling it.

#379 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 05:39 PM:

It occurs to me I may have not wished Xopher luck on the tongue thing. Luck! (or extra luck, if I already covered it...)

Open Threadily: Has mid-July always been big for releasing books [summer vacation reading?], or is it just a coincidence that Game of Thrones and the latest Dresden novel came out so close together?

#380 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 06:01 PM:

Jacque @371, the last time I had a flare-up it was mainly the back of my heel. Here's a question the doctor asked me: is it at its worst when you first get out of bed in the morning? Is it at its second worst when you get up after being off your fee t for a while? Those are good signs of pf,because what happens when you rest is the inflamed ligaments tighten up and pull over the heel and/or across the bottom of the foot. Still, feet are both weird and important and IANAD. Heck, on one of my feet some of the pain comes from the ligaments on the TOP overcompensating for the bottom!

#381 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 07:12 PM:

Dan Hoey #360:

Shorter version of your explanation of scare quotes: they are a punctuation shorthand for the phrase "so-called" .

A lot of writers using that phrase insist on using the quotes as well, which is remarkably redundant.

#382 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 07:22 PM:

joann @ #347, ouch. I can at least offer help for the "coming untied" part.

Jacque: There is yet another treatment option for either plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendinitis: a so-called "night splint". It's not actually a splint, but a boot-like device that keeps your foot at a 90 degree angle to your leg as you sleep. (Most people plantarflex in their sleep; that is, the foot moves in the direction of the sole, making the angle between the shin and the top of the foot greater than 90 degrees. This tends to tighten/shorten the Achilles tendon.) You wear the night splint for a couple of weeks usually. It's awkward, but usually not painful. Like all durable medical equipment, it's expensive, but plantar fasciitis is common enough that someone you know may have one you can borrow.

#383 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 08:03 PM:

Steve at 366: don't know. Probably. The friend who is/will be assisting me with all this stuff would know, but he took his kids to Universal Studios Sunday, and won't be back until tomorrow or Thursday.

Thing is, I'm terrible with computer housekeeping. I've been using computers for nearly 30 years, and I can barely manage to keep the damn thing backed up. (I can, though.) Stuff that other people can do without thinking, like restoring a data file, I don't know how to do and have to be talked through. The more complex an operating system becomes (Windows, I'm looking at you), the harder it is for me to make the sorts of transitions I need to make now.

I will eventually, figure out or be shown how to do everything I need to do for my work, for e-mail, for whatever. But it will take a while.

#384 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 08:20 PM:

Ginger... Are baby tarantulas known to bite if you let them climb on your arm as a way to take them elsewhere?

#385 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 08:33 PM:

Jacque @342 the 'Pedia entry for "scare quotes" cites uses as early as 1956. The entry for "air quotes" claims the phrase was coined in the pages of Spy magazine in 1989 (though the gesture dates back at least to the 1920s).

#386 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 09:19 PM:

They're what I wear when (a) I'm not at work, (b) it isn't raining, or (c) I'm not doing gardening. which covers a lot of time. I've walked miles wearing them (to the grocery store and back).

(My biggest problem is finding pairs where the straps don't try to put holes in my feet and the soles are flexible.)

#387 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 09:28 PM:

Ian's Shoelace Site (which I believe Patrick has linked to in the past) teaches the same lesson. I found that that helped, but what really helped was switching to Ian's Secure Shoelace Knot. It's a little more complicated to tie, but I've never once had it come undone on me; and unlike a double knot, it can be undone simply by pulling on the lace end.

The one problem I've had with it is that occasionally the lace end will slip through one of the loops, which causes the laces when pulled on to knot up firmly instead of coming undone. But this is no worse than the double knot I used to use was, and most of the time is better.

#388 ::: siriosa ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 09:38 PM:

P J Evans @386
(My biggest problem is finding pairs where the straps don't try to put holes in my feet and the soles are flexible.)

I *know*. Why don't at least *some* of them attach the straps under the arch? I have permanent calluses on the front sides of my heels.

My favorite pair is getting old and crusty now, but I love them so: inch-thick soft footbed, and fluffy yarn crocheted around the straps. Hilarious, and comfortable. (If my household had a crest, our motto would be "comfort and hilarity.")

#389 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 10:40 PM:

On me, the back ends do nest under my arch (probably because the smallest women's size is still two sizes larger than my shoes). It's the front end that causes the problems. (What idjit thinks that putting a knot where the straps join is a good idea, even if it's just a lark's-head knot?)

#390 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 12:29 AM:

I think the reason that the term "scare quotes" caught on more than "sarcasm quotes" is that it's often used in print to make something sound dodgy when there's actually nothing wrong with it. For example: Doctor X said this about the product looks far more reliable than "Doctor" X said this about the product. The use or abuse of this has led to a number of fun side effects, including how it makes the old form of slogans look disreputable. "Safety" is Our Middle Name! is a good example; it's the sort of thing you might see posted as a billboard at a physical plant. Thirty years ago, when that sign was created, that's how you punctuated it, but now... well, it looks a bit sarcastic, doesn't it?

#391 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 01:06 AM:

B Durbin @ 390... Doctor X was first played by Lionel Atwill, then by Humphrey Bogart.

#392 ::: CZEdwards (aka the Other Constance) ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 01:24 AM:

@ Jacque, re foot and leg owies:
This may just be an observation of no use, but I'm noticing much more fatigue and connective tissue stress on my M/F walks since... Early June-ish? M/F is a big county trail loop, while my other days are more urban. I note that the County did not grade the trails this spring, and the alternating morning heat with afternoon rain seems to have packed and baked my trail to a nice clay brick. It feels like sidewalk this year - no give to the path at all. Thus, my wretched-knee induced troubles are giving me the warning signs - find a softer path.

It might be worth tracking your paths versus pain.

#393 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 01:42 AM:

Something wierd here... I've been shivering with cold in my bed, unable to sleep, even while face & sometimes hands are reporting "warm". Adding layers doesn't seem to help. Last input was a plate of ravioli left over from last night, with leftover jar sauce from same. Last output was hemorroid-type pain and (after simethicone) much gas, No other signs of illness. Currently drinking warm Gatorade.

#394 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 03:49 AM:

David Harmon @393, that doesn't sound good. I've run up the Jim&Debra signal, but it's the middle of the night here.

You're having chills, which go with fever, which frequently means infection of some sort. Do you have a reliable thermometer? Are you monitoring your temperature?

Any other symptoms -- muscle aches, woozleheadedness, general weakness, other?

Gatorade is good. For that matter, water is good. If you can tolerate ibuprofen, aspirin, or naprosyn, there's a good chance they can knock down your fever and make you more comfortable.

Fevers of unknown origin should be closely observed.

With any luck, Jim should have some better advice.

#395 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 06:11 AM:

I can neither diagnose nor prescribe, and wouldn't even try it over the 'Net if I could.

Can't rule out food poisoning, which is what you clearly suspect. If this doesn't resolve quickly, I recommend seeking face-to-face medical attention. Sudden-onset, unexplained fevers can have serious causes, and, untreated, may have serious sequelae.

#396 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 06:54 AM:

OK, I seem to have survived the night. Adding an autumn coat to the layers (and turning off the AC) did seem to master the chills enough for me to sleep. (Natch, later in the night I woke up hot, and had to shed layers again.) I am now tired, hot, and still slightly achey, but feeling much more coherent.

The other symptoms were somewhat masked by circumstance -- muscle aches are common for me what with a bum shoulder and weak back, and I attributed my "woozleheadedness" to "1AM and I'm so 'cold' I can't &%*#$# sleep!" I have dug up my thermometer, and am now primed to use it if anything of the sort happens again. (I don't think I'd ever experienced chills like that before, which added to my confusion.)

And yeah, partly I was thinking possible food poisoning, but also miserable enough to think "fuck, if they find me dead maybe they can at least figure out what". I actually was considering calling for an ambulance, but I've had distinctly mixed experiences with that over the years, and yeah, General Confusion was marching about. In retrospect, I probably should have at least called my sister, who's my ICE entry for various good reasons....

Hmm..., my temp's 100°F even. I do believe I should still call my sister....

#397 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 07:08 AM:

Serge @391: is this as in "Doctor X will build a creature?" (at the late night, double feature picture show!)

Don't mind me. Rocky Horror lyrics and audience response lines are as reflexive for me as puns are for you, and TWICE I've only realized after the fact that my initial attraction to certain people was rooted in their resemblance to characters from the movie.

#398 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 07:27 AM:

David Harmon #396

If the question ever arises in your mind, "Should I call the EMTs?" the fact that it even occurred to you to ask means the answer is "Yes."

#399 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 08:05 AM:

I'm hunting for a job to start after my current contract ends on September 30. This is the first time I've had to actively seek employment since 2000, so of course I'm using Monster and CareerBuilder. Those work all right, but I'm sourly amused at all the headhunters out there who e-mail me requests for information that is already present in the profiles I've created. Did they think I didn't mean it when I said available October 1? Did they skip over the part where I specified the salary I was willing to accept? Did their eyes glaze over when I said I was staying local in the Houston area?


#400 ::: SarahS ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 08:31 AM:

This? At #384 from Serge Broom?

Ginger... Are baby tarantulas known to bite if you let them climb on your arm as a way to take them elsewhere?

That's a week's worth of horrified shuddering right there, is what that is. YIKES!

(I hope no one gets bitten, and I approve of baby and adult tarantulas, as long as they stay very very very far away from my skin, thankyouverymuch.)

#401 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 08:42 AM:

OK, the hospital called back. I'm now waiting for my hiking buddy to pick me up to take me there. (I had left a message to tell him I wouldn't be hiking today; He responded before my sister, and offered to drive me.)

#402 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 09:06 AM:

David, IANAD, but I understand that first thing in the morning tends to be a low point for fevers.

Best wishes for right diagnosis and swift recovery.

#403 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 10:02 AM:

It occurs to me that a layer of baby tarantulas might make effective insulation in case of recurring fever. They could snuggle up to you like adorable eight-eyed puppies!

... I'm not nice, am I?

#404 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 10:07 AM:

Rikibeth @ 397... That would be he. By the way, any of your friends looks like Richard O'Brien? (By the way, noticed that the latter was in 1981's "Flash Gordon"?)

#405 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 10:09 AM:

David --

I'm glad you're going to the hospital. If your temperature was 100 F. after you stopped having the chills and started feeling more like yourself, it was likely up in the serious range.

What scared me was that you sounded kind of hazy, but you knew something was wrong.

Have you never before been lightheaded like that before? Fever always addles my brains (though of course I'm predisposed to be addled). It's what Amanda's jonquil speech in The Glass Menagerie is about: as a young debutante she had a mild but chronic case of malaria, and was charmingly stoned all the time on account of the fever.

#406 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 10:10 AM:

SarahS @ 400... Want me to tell you of the time I herded an adult tarantula out of our backyard by shooing it away? And did you know that Leo G Carroll was mentionned in the opening "Rocky Horror" song, thanks to his playing a mad scientist in "Tarantula"?


#407 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 10:13 AM:

Tarantulas can bite if they have to, but they're generally mild-mannered critters.

#408 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 10:37 AM:

Teresa Nielsen Hayden #405: Have you never before been lightheaded like that before?

Very rarely from illness -- I don't get sick very often☣, but when I do, it does tend to throw me for a loop. On the other hand, low blood sugar or fatigue can also screw with my head, and those are much more common for me.

Anyway, the doctor thinks it's an "enterovirus", aka "summer virus" or "24-hour flu". He prescribed rest, fluids, and call him back if I'm still sick Friday morning. I'll probably call in sick at the bookstore tomorrow.

☣ During 10 years in Cambridge, I went to the Emergency Room twice; I don't think I ever went while I was in NYC (another 10 years).

#409 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 10:51 AM:

Serge @ 384: Any size tarantula can bite, although younger ones may not deliver as much toxin. I prefer to avoid them entirely, but that's just me. I remember finding a wolf spider once (a small spider with very large eyes); it was an interesting encounter. The leopard spiders in my parental home were even more interesting, but I digress.

I have no idea what kind of spider actually bit me; I know only that it itched for weeks. I had to bandage my arm to keep my from scratching myself raw.

HLN: A beautiful day on Cape Cod, where the Son has encountered the hotel wave pool and now claims to be too tired to do anything else. Alas for him, our plans today include a little drive up to Wellfleet to see the wildlife sanctuary, lunch, some walking around Hyannis, and perhaps more swimming. Life is good. Area woman decides that summer isn't such a bad season after all, when it isn't 90+ degrees with 90+ humidity. FG is still fabulous, although not actually present.

#410 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 10:57 AM:

Ginger @ 409... Were one to be bitten by a tarantula, would you recommend going to ER right away, or putting up with the pain? That baby tarantula I met yesterday was pretty mellow, and if I had let it climb in my hand, that might have been ok, but I decided to play it safe and scooped it up in a dustpan.

#411 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 11:28 AM:

Confirmed arachniphobe here -- would you please stop talking about handling spiders...

I'm having shudders and cold chills here, all fear induced.

#412 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 11:44 AM:

Serge Broom@406

Ah, the immortal rhyme of "Carroll" with "Barrel" :D

I love The Rocky Horror Show to bits, but never have gotten around to looking up the names dropped in Science Fiction/Double Feature, so thank you for the edification.

#413 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 11:56 AM:

Sorry, Lori.

#414 ::: Ambar ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 12:26 PM:

Mike@308: simply beautiful.

#415 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 12:35 PM:

Russ @ #412:

Better or worse, in your opinion, than the time Sondheim rhymed "raisins" and "liaisons"?

#416 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 12:38 PM:

B. Durbin @ #390:

Another fun side-effect occurs when people use quote marks for emphasis in hand-written signs:

Our vegetables are "fresh" and "cheap"!

#417 ::: MinaW ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 12:38 PM:

Xopher - Good wishes!

Request for advice:

If I wish to say "seize the coffee" in Latin, instead of "carpe diem" (seize the day), how would I fudge it? They didn't have coffee, I think in ancient Rome...

"Carpe cappuccino" at least would be understandable, and uses an Italian word. But I'm sure it's all wrong.

I used the English for a fabric design for the upcoming coffee fabric contest at Spoonflower, but I'd like a Latin-ish version too for a t-shirt and mug.

#418 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 12:38 PM:

Serge, no, none of them look like Richard O'Brien. The stealth Rocky Horror characters were a Frank and an Eddie.

I didn't notice him in Flash Gordon, but I did in Dark City. Brr!

#419 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 12:49 PM:

O'Brien was also the villainous Pierre Le Pieu in Ever After.

#420 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 01:03 PM:

Rikibeth @ 418... He was Prince Barin's buddy, and he made the comment that he didn't get what the latter found so attractive about Ming's daughter. :-)

#421 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 01:09 PM:

I seem to remember that O'Brien played an evil sorcerer in a Jason Connery episode of "Robin of Sherwood".

#422 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 01:11 PM:

#399 Steve
Recruiters do robot searchs, they don't actually -read- the on-line profiles, they do searches, and by some mode out go the emails--perhaps it's completely automated keyed to key words, even.... They pay attention to the people who respond--that wastes the recipients' time and effort, not the recruiters' time and effort, for winnowing things down... Some actually make phone calls from e.g. profiles posted in, however.

I got a mere two contacts, one of them by both email and phone, for the same contract opening, on Monday...

#423 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 01:19 PM:

Paul A@415

As my wife pointed out to me yesterday, I am currently very much enjoying an album one of whose songs contains the rhyme:

"But I'll be just a story
So live well and love Rory"

I am in absolutely no position throw stones.

#424 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 01:28 PM:

I got the phone call from Mom -- come quickly, your father is fading fast. So I'm off to Virginia this afternoon. This is not exactly a surprise, but it's still hard.

#425 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 01:35 PM:

Paul 417: Those are called "grocer's quotes."

#426 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 01:36 PM:

Tracie @425, expected is not the same as trivial. It is, as you say, still hard. Condolences.

#427 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 01:36 PM:

Tracie: my sympathies, and a wish for safe travel.

#428 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 01:41 PM:

My sympathies, Tracy.

#429 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 01:41 PM:

Brooke Gladstone: ...for example, there's Bad News Bias, which makes you think the world is a much scarier place than it actually is, and that's a very bad thing.

Stephen Colbert: How bad? Could it kill us?

#430 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 01:46 PM:


Grace be with you. Also, if you are perchance going to be in Richmond, I can be reached at my commenter-name at gmail, and will be honored to help in any way.

#431 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 02:17 PM:

Ginger #410: Wellfleet? I think you just missed my sisters' annual gathering there....

Tracie: My sympathies, and I wish you strength.

Just woke up from a 3-hour nap (which at this hour, would have told me I was sick if I hadn't known). Hoping I can get some trolley noodles down, my appetite does not feel normal.

#432 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 02:18 PM:

I'm sorry, Tracie; I've taken that trip and it's not a good one, even when you have known it was coming soon.

#433 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 02:20 PM:

Tracie: my thoughts are with you.

as you say, expected or not, still hard.

#434 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 02:25 PM:

Tracie: strength to you in this difficult time.

#435 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 02:31 PM:

Tracie, thoughts and prayers...

#436 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 02:39 PM:

Open Thread question, directed at Ginger, (if you don't mind -- if you do, apologies, just ignore) and at anyone who may have pertinent info or comments:

My vet recently recommended Rimadyl for my 8 year old dog, who's got some arthritis in his hips and spine. It really helps him. (Yes, we are taking the appropriate safeguards, regular blood tests, etc.) It's also quite expensive. I can get it online;I can also get the generic, Novox, same active ingredient. My vet makes faces when I talk about the generic; she wants me to use Rimadyl even if I don't get it through her.

Anyone tried it? Anyone know anything?

#437 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 02:48 PM:

Tracie: Thinking good thoughts for you and your family. Expected or not, it's never easy.

#438 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 02:49 PM:

A.J. Luxton @372:

"Science Faction"

#439 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 02:55 PM:

LiveJournal is suffering another DDOS attack. Access has been spotty for a couple of days, and may continue to be for a while yet. I would definitely support the death penalty for people who do this kind of crap.

Tracie, my sympathies.

#440 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 02:57 PM:

Janet Brennan Croft @381: Definitely fits the pattern of "more sore after rest." Hm. The shortening Achilles tendon...I've noticed that if I'm dilligent about sitting with my feet on my footrest at work, that helps.

Hm. Searching Mayo Clinic for "Achilles Tendonitis," I think I found my mistake. They say: stop exercise if it starts hurting. I was running into this when I started walking home from work last year, and tried to power through it (as usually works with other leg issues). Oops. May have to break down and see a doc and get signed up for physical therapy.

And also lose some weight.


#441 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 03:04 PM:

Tracie @425:

Safe journey, and strength when you get there.

If you need listening ears, we're here.

#442 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 03:11 PM:

Lizzy L vet recommended Rimadyl for my late J-Chin, Bandit -- way too expensive for my pocketbook, so we compromised on a dosage of one baby aspirin and one Cosequin* at day.

*Note: This is expensive too, I eventually found a human dose capsule of glucosamine/chondroitin that was much cheaper.

#443 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 03:56 PM:

Portions rot13ed for Lori's benefit:

Serge Broom @385: Ner onol gnenaghynf xabja gb ovgr vs lbh yrg gurz pyvzo ba lbhe nez nf n jnl gb gnxr gurz ryfrjurer?

Gur Ohggresyl Cnivyyvba urer va Qraire unf n erfvqrag gnenaghyn jubz lbh pna ubyq sbe n zbzrag, vs lbh fgnaq va yvar. Ure anzr vf Ebfvr.

CZEdwards @393: It might be worth tracking your paths versus pain.

That's easy: it's all pavement.

I think at least part of the problem is my shoes: I have what used to be a wonderful, perfectly-fitting pair of Sauconys (Sauconies?) that, due to a span of poverty followed by blistering laziness in shoe-shopping (have I mentioned I hate shoe-shopping?) are still in use but are steadily dissolving around my feet. At the very least, I need to get some new walking shoes, but have I mentioned? I hate shoe-shopping.

Ginger @410: V guvax V'ir gbyq guvf fgbel urer orsber, ohg n dhvpx Tbbtyr qbrfa'g svaq vg: n sevraq bs zvar jnf jngpuvat GI va ure snzvyl ebbz jura ure yvggyr srznyr sreerg Cvkvr pnzr oneeryvat bhg sebz oruvaq gur fgrerb pnovarg, jbys fcvqre cynfgrerq bire ure snpr Nyvra snpr-uhttre-snfuvba.

Sevraq fuevrxf, yrivgngrf, lryyf sbe ure uhfonaq, naq gura ergverf gb gur fnsrgl bs gur xvgpura juvyr ur qrnyf jvgu gur fvghngvba.

Onggyr ercbegf rafhr, hagvy gurer'f n cebybatrq fvyrapr. "Zvxr? Jung'f unccravat?"

"Cvkvr, qba'g or tebff," Zvxr fnlf. "Rng gur yrtf, gbb."

Tracie: My thoughts go with you.

#444 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 03:58 PM:

Lori, thanks for the suggestion, but he can't take aspirin. (Neither can I.) Rimadyl really works well for him, and I'll pay for it if I have to.

#445 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 04:17 PM:

Jacque @444: Is there a DSW near you? I don't like shoe shopping either but it's easier there than almost anywhere else, at least for me.

#446 ::: Dawno ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 04:30 PM:

Hope it's not too intrusive to the conversations above to announce the return of my Army Sgt. son and the entire 525 BfSG from their 12 month tour in Afghanistan! I am one *happy* mom.

#447 ::: A.J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 04:37 PM:

Steve C @ 379: Oh, I know ... grrr! That's the original name I had for the project, actually, but the "great minds think alike" Google search killed it.

Jaqcue @ 439: I loved it and then of course Googled it and found a music compilation already named that. The trouble is that scientists are such a punny set, apparently, that there's nothing new under the sun.

Tim Walters @ 376: "Under the Microscope" is taken by various people. "Reality: Under the Hood" isn't, but it's not quite snappy enough, too many syllables and not the right rhythm... Close, though.

I'd call it "Propyl People Ether" if I thought enough folks would get the joke, but it's enough basic sciences stuff that I think only a narrow slice of my audience will have had organic chemistry already.

Tracie @ 425: Strength and sympathy to you.

#448 ::: A.J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 04:38 PM:

Steve C @ 379: Oh, I know ... grrr! That's the original name I had for the project, actually, but looking for it on a certain srch ngn killed it. (I'm going under the theory that naming said srch ngn is what's causing my posts to be held.)

Jaqcue @ 439: I loved it and then of course Ggld it and found a music compilation already named that. The trouble is that scientists are such a punny set, apparently, that there's nothing new under the sun.

Tim Walters @ 376: "Under the Microscope" is taken by various people. "Reality: Under the Hood" isn't, but it's not quite snappy enough, too many syllables and not the right rhythm... Close, though.

I'd call it "Propyl People Ether" if I thought enough folks would get the joke, but it's enough basic sciences stuff that I think only a narrow slice of my audience will have had organic chemistry already.

Tracie @ 425: Strength and sympathy to you.

#449 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 04:40 PM:

Dawno @ 447... Let's hear it for this happy mom!

#450 ::: A.J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 04:40 PM:

Oye. I've made two attempts at responding to name suggestions and offering sympathy to Tracie, but both of them got caught in the spam filter. I have no idea why, and am all out of ideas (there weren't any URLs in there nor spammy keywords and I tried very hard to strip out anything remotely suspicious on the second go.) Look for my response above this comment when it comes through, I guess.

#451 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 04:41 PM:

Dawno (447): Yay!

#452 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 04:52 PM:

Dawno: Yay! And welcome home to your son.

#453 ::: Tim May ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 05:07 PM:

MinaW@ #418:

If I wish to say "seize the coffee" in Latin, instead of "carpe diem" (seize the day), how would I fudge it? They didn't have coffee, I think in ancient Rome...

For what it's worth, the Latin Wikipedia article is at "Coffeum", and gives the following alternatives: "cafaeum", "cafea", "cafeum", "caffeum", "cofeum", "coffea", and "potus Arabicus". The task of putting any of these into the accusative case I will leave to those with more recent Latin experience than my own.

#454 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 05:14 PM:

Melissa Singer @446: Is there a DSW near you?

There are a couple in car-commuting distance, but none in useful bus/biking distance. :(

Dawno @447: Yay, Army Sgt. son!

#455 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 05:22 PM:


Area woman both amused and appalled at the gentleman* attempting to scalp a front-of-the-line wristband for George RR Martin signing at bookstore.

* i believe the term I actually used was "cockbag", but "gentleman" is much more believable in a print newsmedia context.

#456 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 05:51 PM:

Tracie: Sorry to hear.
Dawno: Glad to hear.

Jacque: I bought a new pair of shoes today*, at least 3 months after I should have, and my feet IMMEDIATELY felt happier the moment I tried them on. Shoes are important and it's easy to forget that. You live as long as your shoes do, etc.

*FNF jnyxvat fubrf if anyone cares.

#457 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 05:55 PM:

This whole shoe thing is particularly annoying, because I spent the first thirty years of my life happily as shoe-free as I could manage.

In my Mary Sue universe, uppercrust, la-dee-dah formal is bare feet. Hmph! say I.

#458 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 06:02 PM:

Eisntein wasn't shoe-free, but he was sock-free.

#459 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 06:08 PM:

Dawno: hooray!

#460 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 06:16 PM:

Re: plantar fasciitis -- My wife was diagnosed with it some years back, and told to wear good shoes all the time for a while.

I started getting something similar. Pain in the feet getting out of bed, mostly in the bottoms and areas that would stretch when putting feet down. But shoes make it _worse_. Especially my good, supportive Haflinger clogs, but reasonably well fitting Asics were bad as well. I can actually tell now when I'm wearing the clogs a lot because it fatigues the front of my shin.

Turns out that my feet do a lot better not wearing shoes for a while. I've always been the sort to want to wear shoes and socks all the time, especially on our harder floors (we have some ceramic/stone tile over concrete, carpet over concrete, and wood over concrete). It's taken some getting used to the hardness, but my feet are a lot happier. (It does help that I work at home and no one cares if I wear shoes to work or not).

#461 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 06:23 PM:

Tracie @ 425:

My good thoughts and wishes go with you.

Dawno @ 447:

Yay! Dancing in the streets! (Been on both sides of that, know what it's like, very happy for you).

A.J. Luxton @448:

Chortle! "Propyl People Ether": Please use that, it's priceless!

But if you want something even less classy, how about "Not Quite So Mad Science"?

#462 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 06:53 PM:

One of my old postal customers was a retired spider wrangler, who had supplied mobs* of spiders for Hollywood horror films and whoever else had a need for mobs of spiders. (Do you really want to think about people who have a need for mobs of spiders?) He still kept a number of different types of tarantulas as a hobby, and showed me his Bird-Eating Tarantula once; it was a young one, only about six inches across.

He also had a gorgeously restored '56 Chevy that I faunched over. If I had turned out to be the sole survivor of a worldwide plague, I would have picked that car up as my preferred mode of transport along the empty streets and highways.

*What is the proper pluralism** (as in "murder of crows") for a mob of spiders?

**And is "pluralism" itself the proper term for what I mean?

#463 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 07:05 PM:

Odd Pet Behaviors:

My dog has had the runs the last few days. This means extra trips outside, including the wee hours.

Last night, I thought I'd give her a chance to dump a load just before bed. She found, near a malfunctioning lawn irrigation sprayer, a mess of mud and soggy grass . . . and ate several mouthfuls, with great enthusiasm.

And didn't have to "go" the rest of the night.

Now, I know that dogs eat grass when they have belly problems, but mud and grass? Is this an instinctive canine folk medicine thing? I know that the key ingredient to Pepto Bismal is bismuth. Could a swallow of mud have the same effect?

#464 ::: Laina ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 07:17 PM:

My sympathies. Travel safely.


#465 ::: A.J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 07:58 PM:

Bruce Cohen @ 462: Hmm. Again a little too long, but it makes me start thinking about mad science variations.

This is likely to be the Science Monologues Project for at least a while yet, I think, unless these thoughts coalesce further. Maybe Propyl People Ether can be an album title...

#466 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 08:39 PM:

Jacque @442 "Cvkvr, qba'g or tebff," Zvxr fnlf. "Rng gur yrtf, gbb."

Chortle. I've had ferrets and I can picture this whole sequence vividly.

#467 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 08:56 PM:

Dawno 447: Welcome home to the military son!

Bruce 463: And is "pluralism" itself the proper term for what I mean?

I always called them collective nouns, but I'm not entirely sure that's the correct term either.

#468 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 09:13 PM:

Stefan Jones: the ingredients in Kaopectate are kaolin (clay) and pectin (the substance in apples that makes jelly jell).

I would not be at all surprised to find that mud + grass had a similar effect.

Bruce Arthurs: the proper term for a large group of spiders is Too Damn Many. Also, they have too many eyes and too many legs apiece each.

#469 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 09:22 PM:

Tracie: my sympathies, and may the emotional stress and pain be as least stressful and painful as possible.

Dawno: Good news is a good thing to hears about, there is so much that isn't. Congratulations to you and yours on the positive stuff, and thanks for bringing some brightness to bear.

Meanwhile, though I have long been -off- the mailing list of the Concerned Women of America
(back then run by Beverly LaHaye, wife of the infamous Timothy LaHaye, who had the temerity to witness at the Dalai Lama in Jerusalem, and then she turned emeritus and the leadership went to males....her editorial were alwas about how the proper role of women is as the supportive wife, and yet there she was in DC lobbying hundreds of miles from being the stay at home housewife she exhorted OTHER women to be....), someone someone put me ON the @*^#O@W!! US Chamber of Commerce email list very recently. I have nothing polite to say about that group.... here's the piece of crap they emailed:

From: "Bill Miller, U.S. Chamber of Commerce" { }
Subject: The Important Days Ahead
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Friends of the U.S. Chamber

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Dear Friend,

America faces a choice as we move closer to 2012.

Will we continue to overtax, overspend and allow government to impede economic growth? Or will we empower America’s small businesses, entrepreneurs and job creators to lead the charge?

In 2010, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce engaged in the largest voter education program in our nearly 100-year history as highlighted in this video
{ }
– leading a change in how things are done in Washington. *But we have even more to do in 2012.*

In order to ensure our country’s best days aren’t behind us, we must fight to preserve the American Dream in the days ahead. At the U.S. Chamber, we believe in free enterprise. We know that peopl with passion, great ideas and the will to succeed are what make America great.

*The bottom line is that the federal government doesn't create jobs; _businesses _create jobs. *

As the Chamber's National Political Director, in 2010, my team worked with our grassroots advocates across the country to hold politicians accountable for their votes on wrongheaded policies. In order to continue what we started, we will need your help.

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Through _Friends of the U.S. Chamber_, we’ll make sure you know how your elected officials voted on the issues that impact our economy. Through election news and legislative updates, you’ll have the tools you need to make a difference.

America’s future depends on the path we choose in the days ahead. I look forward to working with you.


Bill Miller
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I have nothing polite to say about Mr Miller, his attitudes, his campaign, and the US Chamber of Commerce. Yeah, sure, business create jobs... GE is moving its X-Ray business heaquarters to China and immediately hiring 65 engineers to start there, along with lots of other people.

#470 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 09:49 PM:

Steve C -- thger tresponses you may get from recruiters are, as Paula noted, Artifacts Of Automation. At least these days you (usually) get emails that actually key to the skillset you mention in your resume. (Having said that, I have gotten some responses that, try as I may, I can conceive of no rational way that job opening could match *anything* in my resume)

Paula -- that same thing just happened to me today. At about 10:00 I got a phone call for a possible contract, settled on a rate, forwarded references and fresh copy of the resume. At about 6:00 I got a phone call from another headhunter, for the same position. I told him, thank you, but sorry, I've already been submitted, and described the opening, word-for-word matching his job req. Then he asks me is he can submit me. I explaine, again, that I've already been submitted.

It turns out the first call was from an agency that would have submitted to IBM Global Services for the contract, who would have had me working (under the IBM nameplate) for the prime contractor. The *second* one will be submitting to the prime contractor itself, and promtly quoted an hourly rate 3 dollars higher.

It has been *ages* since I was involved in a bidding war. And I've been on the bench since June of last year. I've been submitting to contract reqs that, if I were accepted, would have me living out-of-state, away from family, for 6 to 12 months.

ANd I still see the maroons in the GOP / pseudo-libertarian / tea-party camp who claim that we shouldn't have any federal extensions of unemployment benefits, and that if the money dried up all those lazy-a** people would go back to work right quick. Damn wasters of oxygen some of them are.

And I bet if they were put in the same bucket they wouild be yelling to high heaven that it was their taxes that fund it, they should get their money back in the form of benefits, you betcha!

#471 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 09:51 PM:

HLN: Local man's AC unit is "a solid block of ice," per the HVAC guy, and requires $350 worth of freon. Since this also happened a year ago, there must be a leak somewhere, and it will happen again next year, so the right solution is for local man to spend about 10 times that much to replace the coil and the line and one other thing local man can't remember.

Local man is out of work and does not have that kind of cash. Local man will have to continue to leak ozone-destroying gas into the atmosphere for one more year.

Local man unhappy.

#472 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 09:58 PM:

Augh, Xopher. Much sympathy for Local Man. Our AC died abruptly last summer, and had to be replaced at great expense, which we were fortunate enough to be able to handle at the time. We now have a much more efficient and modern model... But the appalled noises the repairmen made when extracting the old version were impressive indeed. (I believe the phrase "On a scale of 1 to 10, for removing the old one this, is a 10" was uttered.) And being AC-free for several days was not a good thing at all.

#473 ::: Dawno ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 10:01 PM:

Thank you everyone - just got back from a great evening out with son & DIL.

Tracie @425 my thoughts are with you and your family.

#474 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 10:31 PM:

But jumping spiders have headlights!
No, really, one pair faces straight forward and is much larger than the rest. Gives them a really good range of vision, too. I've watched one when it suddenly saw me - it's quite noticeable, even in very small spider.

#475 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 10:41 PM:

#469: Damned if it did. Kira produced nice firm nuggets this evening.

#476 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 10:47 PM:

Tracie @ 425: My sympathies. As others have mentioned, even when expected, it isn't easy to lose family.

Lizzy L @437: I have no issues with using generic formulations, and if Rimadyl works for him, that's a good NSAID to use. I like ketoprofen, because it's injectable and I use it in more than one species (rats, mice, ground squirrels, rabbits, monkeys, dogs, and cats..the last two are personal). Rimadyl does a great job for dogs, and is worth trying as the generic form.

Stefan Jones @ 464: Possible. Keep in mind that correlation is not causation, and that it may also just have been good timing.

Lila @ 469: The difference is, kaopectate isn't an anti-inflammatory; bismuth is.

Dawno: Yay! and Congratulations! and all the happy stuff.

HLN: Travelling woman, sharing motel room with teen son, suddenly realizes he's talking in his sleep and wished she could have taped this. "Nothing made sense, which is typical of sleep-talking," she admitted, "But it would have been amusing to play it back for him."

#477 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 11:18 PM:

Thank you, Ginger.

#478 ::: Tim May ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 12:40 AM:

Bruce Arthurs @ #463

And is "pluralism" itself the proper term for what I mean?
As Xopher says, it's a collective noun; or, more specifically, there's "term of venery", as popularized by James Lipton's 1968 book An Exaltation of Larks.

#479 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 01:24 AM:

Bruce Arthurs @ 463: Combining spiders' horror-value and favourite hobby, may I suggest the collective noun 'loom'?

#480 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 01:36 AM:

Interesting open threadiness:

This James Fallows piece from last year does a nice job of explaining some of the sense of decline in the US, along with many of our strengths and advantages.

#481 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 04:16 AM:

I take back everything I said about Supernatural over in Open Thread 159: Season 6 episode 14 is the laziest piece of writing I have ever seen on television (and I watched Smallville).*

When the good times no longer make up for the bad, when one of you just isn't trying any more and the other spends all their time angry, when you both feel like you're just marking time - maybe it's time to walk away.

Carrie S.@121 - :D

The Modesto Kid@346

Well, it precludes one of the more plausible routes to time travel - there's still Bruce Cohen@359, and I didn't see anything there about vortex manipulation. Or Ocarinas.

Serge Broom@422

IMDB has him in five episodes of Robin of Sherwood, and in...wait, Spice Girls**?! What? I don't even...

* Only as far as Season 7; I'm not a masochist.

** A movie which would have been immeasurably improved by giant worms.

#482 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 05:39 AM:

re #371 - Many, many thank yous, Abi!

since I still want to gnaw over this, I'm going to email for more communication. Does the un-good cackling-at-crack-of-dawn-fowl still work?

Crazy(and hoping to learn more...)Soph

#483 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 06:29 AM:

Wait, ocarinas?

#484 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 06:31 AM:

(By the way has everybody watched this yet?)

#485 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 06:48 AM:

Hi folks. (and congrats to Dawno on son return).

Spent yesterday mostly asleep, with occasional breaks for noodle soup, refilling water bottles, and checking in here. Still running ~100°ree;F fever as of waking, with chills and generally feeling like sh*t. Using my fridge whiteboard to keep track of Tylenol (extra strength) doses. I suspect I need a laxative, as it's been like 3 days since I produced a stool.

Other HLN: Last night, I called in to say I would not be making it to the bookstore today. Also, the development's handyman came by to fix a pair of light switches that weren't toggling properly, and left neither of them working at all.
Typing skills seriously disrupted, but it seems my spelling and HTML reflexes are still working.

#486 ::: David Harmon vs. Teh Gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 06:49 AM:

Prior message captured, presumably due to NSAID mention.

#487 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 06:51 AM:

The Modesto Kid,

Ocarinas. Important part of the Zelda Nintendo games. They let you/Link (protagonist) time travel.

#488 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 07:13 AM:

#487 David Harmon

No, it wasn't the NSAIDs. (We so very seldom get spam advertising "Get Tylenol without a prescription!") The real reason was far stupider. Filters adjusted.

Meanwhile, rather than a stool softener, may I suggest drinking a whole lot of water? I suspect you're major-league dehydrated.

#489 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 07:19 AM:

Also: Keeping in mind that I can neither diagnose nor prescribe, am not a physician, and do not intend to practice medicine without a license; the following is presented for amusement purposes only:

Taking a dose of ibuprofen exactly half-way between each dose of Tylenol reportedly smooths out the ride. The two drugs have different mechanisms of action, so (so I read once) you can do this.

#490 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 08:20 AM:

The Modesto Kid@484

Ocarinas. Also, Kazoos.

Hmmm...I wonder if it's just wind instruments. I'll throw it out to the floor: How many instruments do we know of that allow one to travel through time?

#491 ::: SarahS ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 08:21 AM:

Jim @490

My pediatrician has recommended the same thing for my kids (from infancy on) when dealing with stubborn fevers. In our experience it has worked quite well and been without side effect.

(and I'm a doctor, but not the useful kind, so I merely report personal experience.)

#492 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 08:28 AM:

Dawno @474 and earlier-Yay!

#493 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 08:31 AM:


My wife (who IAD) takes Paracetomol (which I believe is the UK/generic equivalent of Tylenol) in parallel with Ibuprofen for the reasons you state. Again, simply reporting personal experience :D

#494 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 08:53 AM:

Jim and Sarah, alternating doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen has been recommended to me several times by doctors and dentists for pain and inflammation. Seems to work pretty well.

#495 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 09:20 AM:

Anybody wants to start the day with some Black Blood of the Earth?

#496 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 09:55 AM:

How many instruments do we know of that allow one to travel through time?

I have found the steel pipe to be useful in this regard. But I was sucking on it rather than blowing.

#497 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 10:41 AM:

David Harmon: IANAD but I second the recommendation for lots of water. Even if you think you're drinking enough, you're probably not.

There was a virus going around the office a few months back that landed victims in bed for nearly a solid week, with fever for at least 5 days. There were almost no other symptoms (which is why we concluded virus) but it was incredibly debilitating.

#498 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 11:23 AM:

Xopher -- quick question for you -- Have you ever attended Pagan Spirit Gathering?

#499 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 11:31 AM:

#471 Craig
At the Career Center yesterday, I overheard the discussion that employers don;t want tlo hire anyone who's been out of work for an extended period of time.... They are very risk-avers, want people who have the latest and most recent work experience and experience in the -current- technologies and equipment and methods... basically, if you have a job, you are more attractive as a candidate, and the longer one's been out, the harder it is to get hired... and the profitable companies are continuing to downsize in the USA, and move operations to Asia... Too bad more situations like what happened with Dell a few years ago don;t happen--which is they got forced to move corporate customer call center tech support jobs -back- to the USA. For that matter, I wonder if there are going to be increasing labor shortages in China along with labor costs going up due to competition for the same trained people....

#500 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 11:56 AM:

Bruce Cohen @462: "Not Quite So Mad Science"?

"Barking Science"?

According to this page the collective noun for spiders is "cluster." Seems unimaginative to me. I'm sure we could do better...?

Gray Woodland @480 Combining spiders' horror-value and favourite hobby, may I suggest the collective noun 'loom'?

Given that they "weave" webs, that works.

Serge Broom @496: I recall the one time I managed to OD on chocolate. ::shudder::

#501 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 11:59 AM:

Is LJ getting pounded again? ::sigh:: What's the deal, anyway?

#502 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 12:07 PM:

Russ @ 491: How many instruments do we know of that allow one to travel through time?

Mellotrons seem to have a tendency to get one stuck in the past.

#503 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 12:16 PM:

Jacque @ 501.. How much chocolate DOES it take to reach overdose? As for this supercoffee... Its creator originally wanted to name it after the Tar Creature that killed ST-TNG's Tasha Yar, but decided to instead pay homage to "Big Trouble in Little China".

#504 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 12:26 PM:

Years ago, I explained to my wife that the French for 'peanut butter' is 'beurre d'arachide'. Since then, she can sometimes be heard calling it 'beurre d'arachnide'.

#505 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 12:37 PM:

Hi folks... feeling a little better here, despite starting another day with 100°ree;F fever. Typically, the stool issue started to resolve almost as soon as I complained about it. Still kinda crampy, but things seem to be, um, moving along there.

Unfortunately, my ibuprofen turned out to be a good year past expiration date, which is why I was taking Tylenol. (Until recently, I was on an antidepressant which was a liver-loader, so I had been avoiding Tylenol.) I do have Naproxen (Abreve), does that offer the same option with Tylenol? On the other hand, I'm currently feeling good enough to venture out and pick up the ibuprofen. It helps that I was able to eat some real food just now -- the last of the ravioli, caprise❦.

Even feeling good enough to turn up articles about "The Black Blood of The Earth", a coffee extract with 40x the usual caffeine content... First a rather amusing review, then the guy who makes it. One cute bit from the latter's Q&A: when some misguided fan asks him for Warren Ellis's address ("Youve sent him BBotE so u got it, rite?”), his response starts with "You are setting off multiple creepy alarm bells", and works up to "... double plus hell fucking no."

❦ with cherry tomatoes, fresh Mozz, basil (from a frozen cube, yay Trader Joes!), olive oil, and salt.

#506 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 12:39 PM:

Whoops, apparently not coherent enough to realize how I got to that link... sorry Serge.

#507 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 12:41 PM:

David Harmon @ 507... :-)

#508 ::: individ-ewe-al ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 01:02 PM:

Jacque @502, there's a lot of rumours flying around; the most reasonable-looking explanation I've seen is this one. Short answer: it's Russian politics on one level or another.

#509 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 01:02 PM:

Stefan @464, IANAV, but I wonder if your soil has a high clay content? After all, another treatment for the runs besides Pepto-Bismol is Kaopectate (or was? I haven't looked for it in years, but I took it as a child), and the "Kao" part of that is "kaolin," or clay. Loading your guts full of clay certainly sounds like a method of stopping them up, anyway.

#510 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 01:07 PM:

"terms of venery" sounds contagious.

#511 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 01:57 PM:

individ-ewe-al #509: Oy, talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face!

#512 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 02:10 PM:

Jacque @501: How about [ARACHNOPHOBES DO NOT CLICK] "terrifying writhing mass" for a collective noun for spiders?

When I think about a group of spiders, that specific image comes to mind. It's the only time I've seen spiders in a natural group.

#513 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 02:15 PM:

Individ-Ewe-al @ 509... I certainly am glad I never set up and automatic-payment plan with LiveJournal now.

#514 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 02:17 PM:

Caroline @ 513... That makes me think of Fred Astaire & Leslie Caron.

#515 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 02:32 PM:

A couple more nice links:

Meet the aquatheramin.

And one for Jim: Fire and Rescue's [not so] Little Moment of Win.

#516 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 02:35 PM:

#510: Willamette valley soil doesn't seem particularly clay-ish to me, but I'm not a good judge of these things.

In any case, dog is producing dramatically hard, dark wads of poo, which is a very nice break from the runs. (I'd been carrying a bag of crushed up dried leaves and/or grass to pack around the runny mess before picking it up.) Also, Kira seems in a lot better spirits. I suspect she was ill with something. Hopefully the mouthfulls of dirt scoured it from her system.

(Apologies for talking about dog poo while some here are dealing with health issues or losing loved ones.)

#517 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 02:57 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 517... By the way, Willamette was the setting for an excellent episode of "Leverage" only 2 weeks ago.

#518 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 03:03 PM:

Just peeking in to say I will be at Worldcon this year, and am looking forward to reconnecting and newly meeting my fellow Fluorospherians once again.

Xopher, you shall be sorely missed out there my friend, and my thoughts are with you. I bet Reno doesn't have a goth scene worth speaking of, anyway...

To those who love being barefoot, I have to ask: have you tried Five Fingers? My Sprints are in their astonishing third year, and I absolutely adore them.

#519 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 04:03 PM:

Serge, #514: I bit the bullet and got a permanent account shortly after I set up my LJ, so I don't have to worry about payments. (And I've now been on LJ long enough to have recouped that investment.) I hope that they'll eventually be able to overcome this issue; they've done so before with similar things, so I'm not screaming "The sky is falling!" yet by any means.

More worrisome to me is that DreamWidth, which I use as a backup/mirror site for my LJ account, is running very slowly today as well. I hope the Russian hackers haven't decided to go after them too just for fun.

#520 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 04:04 PM:

Open Threadiness and HLN Update:

Middle-aged woman reconnects with friend from 30 years ago, says this was fun.

"Too short, but fun!" admits friend, who then points out that a bit more advance notice might have meant more time for dinner. The women agree to meet sooner than 30 years from now.

#521 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 04:09 PM:

@Serge: That was "Willamette City." Which I thought was made up, but it is an actual town located deep in the Cascades.

(Hillsboro, where I live, may actually be in the Tualatin rather than the Willamette valley.)

Leverage is actually filmed in and around Portland, standing in for Boston and various parts of the world. They used Mount Hood for an Alaskan widow-maker in the season opener.

A month or so back I saw, on my way back home from work, a sign with an arrow and "LEVERAGE" printed on it. It pointed down a side street leading to an office park . . . and, I assume, a location shoot. I'll keep my eyes open for the park to appear in an episode.

#522 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 04:32 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 522... They might have made that slight change to the city's name because of that episode's subject. That being said, better chance with running into a "Leverage" shoot.

#523 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 04:37 PM:

Lee (520): One reason for Dreamwidth running slow could be all the refugees from LJ setting up accounts.

#524 ::: Fox ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 04:42 PM:

Mary Aileen @524: it's complicated.

#525 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 04:51 PM:

Caroline @513, I'll have to be picky and say those aren't spiders and therefore don't scare me at all. Had they actually been spiders it MIGHT have worked. Daddy long-legs are actually in the order opiliones or harvestmen. No venom, no bites, and fun to pick up, sez this old Girl Scout.

#526 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 05:23 PM:

Serge Broom @504: How much chocolate DOES it take to reach overdose?

Well, lessee. This was a while ago, but what I can remember was:

one (1) Haagen Dasz Chocolate Decadence (one slice chocolate cake, one scoop choc ice cream, one wedge of dark chocolate)

some uncounted number of handfuls of M&Ms

two (2) (I think) pieces of Tactical Nuclear Chocolate Cake* (recipe available upon request—assuming I can find it)

* One seven-inch, two-layer cake will SINK five die-hard chocolate freaks and leave almost half the cake left over.

individ-ewe-al @509: Short answer: it's Russian politics

::SIGH:: "Some people's children..."

Caroline @513: HOLY moley! Whaddya suppose that's a little spider rock concert? (Like the ones ants hold out on the sidewalk sometimes?)

How about "a felt of spiders"?

Skwid @519: have you tried Five Fingers?

I've seen them, and I've tried them on. Too Much Technology. :) (I also have visions of breaking a toe on something.)

Janet Brennan Croft @526: Daddy long-legs are actually in the order opiliones

For phobic purposes, that's a remarkably fine distinction.

#527 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 05:42 PM:

I am not a physician. I can neither diagnose nor prescribe. Please consult a physician or pharmacist for information on drug interactions.

This post is for amusement purposes only.

Naproxen probably doesn't interact with acetaminophen, but beware of overdosing on it. You shouldn't take it more than two or three times per day (and please eat something when you do, and avoid lying down for ten minutes after you take it). The reason that the acetaminophen/ibuprofen trick works so well is that you take them on the same schedule; they have approximately the same onset time and the same half-life. That doesn't work out as neatly with naproxen.

#528 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 06:28 PM:

Jim #528: Hmm. The extra-strength Tylenol (500mg) tells me to take it at 8-hour intervals, while the ibuprofen (200mg) says 4-6 hours.

#529 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 06:56 PM:

Recently I was reading advice from Michelle Sagara, endorsed by John Scalzi, to authors participating in panels at conventions. Scalzi's brief summary: "The panel isn’t about you."

In light of this, I admire the tasteful way one author chose to promote her new novel.

#530 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 06:58 PM:

If you take 500 mg of acetaminophen every four hours, you come in well under the maximum daily dosage. And if you take 200 mg of ibuprofen every four hours, you're under the maximum daily dosage. So every two hours, take one or the other, alternating 'em.

Don't set an alarm clock to catch up during the 8 hours you sleep at night.

And do drink a whole lot of water (or, better, ginger ale).

If it isn't better tomorrow, consider the next options. Fevers that last days ... not good.

#531 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 07:11 PM:

With respect to NSAIDs and acetaminophen/paracetamol (APAP), they do act by different mechanisms. The mechanism of action for APAP is not known; we only know that it works somehow, and that it is metabolized by the liver. It is cleared in 2-4 hours.

The NSAIDs work by interfering with the cyclo-oxygenase pathways and to some extent, the lipoxygenase pathway. The NSAIDs are primarily metabolized by the liver as well, but there's more renal involvement in the excretion. The half-life for each NSAID depends; ibuprofen runs about 1-2 hours for an oral dose.

Combining APAP and NSAID have been known for years to be synergistic, but be careful as individual responses to either can be -well, idiosycratic. There are reliable reports of liver failure from single doses of APAP combined with alcohol.

Personally, I used to use aspirin and acetaminophen, but I stopped using either of these for various reasons. I use ibuprofen and occasionally a naproxen. Because of the potential for adverse effects, I am very careful about mixing APAP with NSAIDs, even though all of these are OTC.

NSAIDs are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which include aspirin, ibuprofen, ketoprofen, naproxen, and so on. Acetaminophen and paracetamol are not NSAIDs, but are analgesics. OTC means over-the-counter.

#532 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 07:23 PM:

James D. Macdonald at 531 -

I just now saw a news item that McNeil is reducing the maximum recommended dose of Extra Strength Tylenol from 4000 milligrams per day to 3000.

Tylenol reduced dosage

#533 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 07:25 PM:

Quick note, on an afternoon when I despair of getting caught up on the latest Open Thread:

I'll be at World Con. I hope to see some of you there!

Also at Gen Con, as mentioned/hinted-at in the Heartbreaks&Heroines thread. I mean, it's my husband's first time behind a vendor booth, how could I not be there?!

#534 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 07:28 PM:

I was given advice by my spine doctor to use double the standard dose of Ibuprofen in the months before my last surgery; he said that dose was quite safe, and that my level of pain required it. Since the surgery I've used the acetaminophen / ibuprofen combination as Jim describes several times during recovery, before the pain went away completely. The only problem I've had is that Ibuprofen's blood-thinning effect is greater on me than it used to be and using it for more than a day or so at normal dosage makes me liable to cuts on the skin from very low pressure contact or abrasion. Not serious, but a little messy and disconcerting.

#535 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 07:45 PM:

Tangentially related to the medical thread: I had a doctor tell me that for stubborn cases of heartburn (where more serious problems have been ruled out), you can safely take twice the recommended dose of Pepcid or a similar antacid. Doubling the dose apparently gets you to the level of a prescription version, without the extra cost. She noted that this should not be done for more than a day unless you've already seen a doctor about it.

#536 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 07:50 PM:

#533 Steve I just now saw a news item that McNeil is reducing the maximum recommended dose of Extra Strength Tylenol from 4000 milligrams per day to 3000.

500 milligrams every four hours for the sixteen hours you're awake works out to 2000 milligrams.

#537 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 08:19 PM:

Nicole @ 534... Good, very good. See you soon.

#538 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 08:47 PM:

David Harmon @ multiple - if your problem is intestinal-bacterial, yogurt or its relatives can be quite helpful in restoring flora balance. (If you don't tolerate dairy well, acidophilus pills can do the job.)

#539 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 09:22 PM:

I'm a chapter into A Brief History of Neoliberalism and am already feeling my blood pressure rise. I am uncertain whether I'll be able to read the whole thing, and it's not a long book. I may skip to the last chapter, which discusses possibilities and alternatives.

#540 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 09:49 PM:

Xopher, you are in my prayers. I also called my daughter to request prayers from her church. I mentioned that you favor Hindu deities and she said "We're all over it!" She was also greatly amused when I told her about ganache Ganesh.

Everyone, thank you for your thoughts and prayers. Dad is unable to eat or drink and has an advanced directive (thank you, Mom & Dad!). He's mostly unresponsive, but he did seem to acknowledge me today. We can only wait now.

#541 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 10:47 PM:

NSAIDS: The XS Tylenol actually instructs two of those 500 mg caplets, every eight hours. Is this a case of "stupid instructions"? I've been told by doctors that the "standard" dose of ibuprofen has way more slack than Tylenol; in particular, Midol has 800 milligrams of the same.

In fact, I've been feeling a lot better this evening, to the point where I'm startled to find that my temperature is still reading 100°ree;F. OK, I was still feeling some "chill" this afternoon, but even so, I'm now starting to wonder about the thermometer. It may be time to trade in my classic mercury thermometer for a digital version.

In any case, my doctor's instructions were that if I wasn't recovered by tomorrow morning, go back in. So I'm now taking 1 of each pill before bed.

Bruce Cohen #535: One of my hiking buddies was taking aspirin for his heart, but at first he was taking a full aspirin a day (that's supposed to be a "baby" aspirin, 1/4 the dose). Whenever he got scratched or scraped on the hikes (which he often did), he bled quite alarmingly!

#542 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 12:02 AM:

Tracie, you and your father and family are in my prayers too.

Both of my parents went too quickly for there to be any last visits by me; I was 600 miles away and both died on Sundays. No way to get the cats kennelled and leave until the next day, and I wouldn't have made it soon enough even if I'd left right after the first phone call.

#543 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 01:51 AM:

Serge Broom @ 518: You mean the Leverage plot actually said that they were in Oregon? Cool! I'm Tivo-ing it, but haven't caught up yet.

I saw them filming near a church in NW Portland a few weeks ago, and they were filming at the Benson Hotel for several days last week. There were lots of extras waiting patiently on the sidewalk. They were all dressed in pastel colors, which makes me wonder if the setting was meant to be someplace like Palm Springs or Florida. I've never seen a group of Portlanders that large that didn't include black clothes.

#544 ::: siriosa ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 02:39 AM:

Tracie @541
You're waiting *together*. That's incredibly valuable. Holding you all in the light.

HLN: Area woman cleans out dresser, filling three boxes with donations; is rewarded with one entirely empty drawer.

#545 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 06:35 AM:

janetl @ 544... I can't remember if they actually said the episode was set in Oregon. It may well have been me making assumptions because of the name. That being said, it was an excellent episode, and it was nice seeing Danny Glover.

#546 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 07:08 AM:

Okay... I'm not saying that I couldn't still be feverish, but this mercury thermometer has now given me one too many readings of 100°F even, even if there were a couple slightly lower mixed in. Off to the market for a digital one....

#547 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 08:29 AM:

The digital thermometer seems to be saying that in fact I'm not actually feverish anymore, in fact running a little cool (98°F). Annoying but unsurprising is that it's "done" beep is completely inaudible to me.

I am still feeling *hot*, but that's consistent with the environment.... (I probably should pick up a room thermometer at some point.)

#548 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 08:48 AM:

Jacque @527, I suppose for phobic purposes daddy long legs just have too many legs, but I find them cute and friendly; I always politely pick them up and move them if they are in my way. I've never seen a clump QUITE that big, though.

#549 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 08:53 AM:


I only just thought of reading the mercury "cold" -- definitely busted, it reads 100 right out of the tube. I know damn well I was having chills Wed. and earlier yesterday, but now I have no idea what my actual temperature curve looked like. :-(

And Mom suggests I get a Lyme test on principle -- I just called the doctor to see what he thinks of that, but had to leave a message with the nurse.

#550 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 09:12 AM:

So, John McCain compares the Tea Party to hobbits? I loved Stephen Colbert's elaboration on that, especially when he showed off the sword that Viggo Mortensen had given him.

#551 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 09:19 AM:

David, 550: I got my digital thermometer after I realized that the fever was making me forget to shake the mercury down. So at least you're not alone.

I still have my mercury thermometer. How does one dispose of them properly?

#552 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 09:28 AM:

TexAnne @552, does your local solid waste department have a hazardous materials dropoff? That's what I did with my old mercury thermometer.

#553 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 09:51 AM:

TexAnne: #552: In fact, I'd been trying to shake it down, but I've never had a good sense of how much is "enough". And the last day or so I was storing it vertically, bulb-down.

Regardless, I think my reflexive Luddism loses on this one. I do still wish they'd make electronic beeps more suited to the hearing-impaired!

#554 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 10:05 AM:

Serge @#551, that Colbert clip made me laugh until I cried.

David @ #554, or equip them with a blinking LED to go along with the beep (you could look in a mirror).

#555 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 10:07 AM:

Browsing back through this thread, I was inspired to check out Dr. Quine himself (on Wikipedia). I was amused to find that among his "notable students" are listed both Theodore "Unabomber" Kaczynski... and Tom Lehrer.

#556 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 10:15 AM:

Naomi, 553: I'm not sure. Yet another thing to do before moving. Gah.

David, 554: My default was "as long as my mom did, and then some more in case I'm doing it wrong."

#557 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 10:29 AM:

TexAnne #557: Unfortunately, my childhood memories are way too spotty for me to do that. On consideration, I'll also note that a "user interface" demanding even 30 seconds of vigorously waving about a glass object (without breaking it), from someone in the shape I was in Wednesday, is... problematic.

Living alone has definite downsides, even if I am used to it. :-(

#558 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 10:47 AM:

Dave Harmon @554: As a one time nurses aide* I can tell you that most mercury thermometers have a designated area you're supposed to shake the mercury down to -- below the temp scale on most of them. It requires a certain snap of the wrist to do it quickly.

*Took several patients' temp, respiration and pulse every morning evey day I had the job...

#559 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 11:48 AM:

As a mom-related postscript/vent:

Damn, but when my Mom gets an idea in her head, she doesn't let it go easy! I just had to talk her down from dragging me to the Emergency Room for a Lyme test, when (1) it's not an emergency anymore, (2) I've already got a query in to the doctor about getting such a test, and (3) no, she wasn't the only way I could get to such an appointment, so her trip to visit my Distant Sister (and even my Local Sister's simultaneous vacation) didn't mean the test had to be today instead of next week.

At least I know it's not age-related, as she's always been like this -- even (my sisters assure me) before I had enough self-determination to be aware of it.

Lori #559: After wrist-flicking the mercury therm for a minute or so, I've managed to get the reading below 98. I think I'll stick with the digital....

#560 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 11:50 AM:

Me #560: she's always been like this -- even ... before I had enough self-determination

Come to think of it, there may be a connection here.... :-(

#561 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 12:21 PM:

Open thready interesting datapoint:

This Monkey Cage post describes a really interesting change in polling results on sexual morality: In 1990, about the same fraction of people--around 80%--thought homosexual sex and extramarital sex (adultery, not premarital sex) were always wrong. By 2010, about the same fraction thinks adultery is always wrong, whereas fewer than 50% think homosexuality is always wrong.

#562 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 02:04 PM:

Re shaking down a thermometer: you shake it a few times, then read it. If it still registers above normal, repeat. If not, you're done. "Enough" just means getting it back down below the normal-temp mark.

#563 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 02:14 PM:

David Harmon @560 Damn, but when my Mom gets an idea in her head, she doesn't let it go easy!

In our household we refer to this as having a mind like a lobster trap. Ideas go in, and they don't come out again.

#564 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 02:31 PM:

#554, #546: Yes, "The Van Gogh Job" was specifically set in (Willamette City) Oregon!
* * *

Sometime in 2008, a particular campaign was described as "like watching a burning piano fall out of an airplane onto a puppy farm."

I get that feeling about This Week in Politics, except the puppies all have magnesium water bowls and have just been immersed in highly flammable flea dip.

I figure this is an excuse for brownies. I'm going to make up a couple dozen cupcake brownies, with each batch having some interesting add-in or another. Chewy chocolatey crunchy Prozac. I'll pass them out at meetings on Monday and Tuesday.

#565 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 02:42 PM:

OtterB @564: Ideas go in, and they don't come out again

And then they mutate beyond all recognition while they're in there. (she said, thinking of some co-workers)

#566 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 03:08 PM:

Serge @ 546:

Yes, the story explicitly put them in Oregon, and a large part of the episode was shot in the Oaks Park roller rink, with the big pipe organ there as a supporting character.

The most recent episode had a lot of outside shots of an office park that I think was one not far from where I live. It's on the edge of a small lake with a lot of wet lands around it (they didn't show any of that), with a year-round flock of ducks and a regular population of herons. Lovely place; a financial advisor I used to use had an office on the second floor of a building on pylons right over the lake, with a balcony facing the lake. We used to sit outside and talk about finances and watch the birds catching fish.

#567 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 03:14 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 565:

What an ugly image, but so apt. I've been wondering this week why Oregon politics attracts so many long-term sexual predators. Makes me want to take a shower in degreaser.

#568 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 03:16 PM:

So, I just spent half the day offline waiting for the maintenance crew to fix my stairway light switches. Again, though the first time I was mostly abed with fever. (At least this time, I got to shut down the computer gracefully!)

It's supposed to be your classic XOR pair, but since I moved in, the bottom switch has instead been an override to the top switch. (I never bothered to tray and get it fixed until now.) After their first try, this was unchanged. After this second try, the top switch now overrides the bottom switch. Managed development or no, I'm starting to regret not taking up my brother-in-law's offer to fix it.... <fumes>

#569 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 03:22 PM:


Yeah, same here. As I've said many times in the past, all this would be a lot more entertaining if it were happening to someone else's country. (Though the stuff happening in Europe's debt crisis *is* happening to someone else's countries, and it's also rather cringe-inducing.

#570 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 03:54 PM:

@Bruce#567: Amberglen in Hillsboro? I ask because passing by Amberglen a month or so ago I saw a sign with an arrow and "LEVERAGE" painted on it pointing into the place.

#571 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 04:17 PM:

In regards to Politicians Behaving Badly, I think it's just the end result of no personal accountability in positions of power for who knows how long. (I'd say back to the eighteenth century for American politics, but then I'm cynical.) It takes an awful lot of integrity to stand up to a predominant mindset, and most people who seek power, well, just don't have that level of integrity. So they begin to believe that anything's okay as long as you don't get caught.

The major difference right now is that it's much, much easier to get caught. And most politicians haven't adjusted their mindsets to that, or to the fact that "plausible deniability" doesn't work too well anymore.

Side note: I recently saw an analysis of women in politics that said the reason there's fewer women in positions of power is that women, in general (obviously, there are exceptions) get into politics because they want to get something done, while men in general get into politics because they want to be somebody. Any thoughts on that? If it's true, that would certainly explain why there tend to be fewer scandals attached to female politicians.

#572 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 04:26 PM:

Stefan Jones.. Bruce Baugh... Thanks. It was especially nice to have the main story told in flashbacks, but with Nathan's group playing the parts. Nathan of course is the sheriff who may be brusque but who hates injustice. I love that show.

#573 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 05:00 PM:

Bruce C (STM) #567:

Was that office park in Beaverton? Sounds kind of familiar, somehow ...

#574 ::: A.J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 05:10 PM:


David Harmon @ 486: Whatever you do, do NOT take bisacodyl. Once was enough. Silly me, I read the package insert but not the Internet before trying it (I always do my 'net research before taking a new prescription drug, but tend to worry a little less about OTCs) - never again. Small print somewhere says that cramping is a normal side effect. It does not say that feeling like you've been punched in the gut is a normal side effect. It is, apparently. World of hurt.

Best thing I've found for initiating regularity is the Trader Joe's Fiberful bars, if you're in a TJ's-enabled part of the country. They're psyllium husk in a fruit leather matrix and actually quite yummy to boot.

Ginger @ 532: I'm curious. Where have you found these reliable reports? I dug through the literature a few years ago, having heard this before but getting mixed answers from doctors about it, and found a journal review of case reports stating that almost all of the acetaminophen/alcohol interactions that sent people to the ER were in habitual alcohol users - not necessarily alcoholics, but steady drinkers, the sort of 3+ drinks-a-day thing it warns about on the box. (That was where I stopped worrying about having had one several hours apart from the other.) I'd like to know what your source is because I've been trying to get to the bottom of this.

Bruce Cohen @ 535: Be careful. The safe doses for ibuprofen for a short-term time period are higher than the box dose, but daily use over years in that manner tends to cause kidney damage. (I suspect I have some renal weakness from taking such a regimen for repetitive stress injuries - it doesn't show up on tests, but it takes quite a lot of damage before it does.) So - useful short-term, problematic long-term.


Leverage discussion:

As a Portlander, I frequently giggle up my sleeve at Leverage. "Heh heh Boston is that now?" at the Park Blocks. "O HAI ART MUSEUM!" But I squee at what they're doing with Hardison and Parker and quite hope to run across filming one of these days.

And... ahh, Oaks Park. I extra'd in a film there once. (Roller-skating in the background during the main character's daughter's birthday party.) Untraceable, it was called, a thriller the main thesis of which is "the Internet is scary and makes people do scary things!" Oy. But you don't generally have any idea of what a film is about when you extra in it, unless it's very small and/or they feel like telling you.

#575 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 05:25 PM:


So the moral of that story, boys and girls, is: Don't ask an auto mechanic to do a bike mechanic's job.

Had a slow leak on my front wheel, finally got around to swapping out for the spare tube. As always, had trouble getting the last of the tire's bead over the rim before going over to air it up.

"Ah!" sez I, thinking myself clever. "I'll get the guys at the tire shop could to do it!" The tire shop being, handily, on the way to the gas station that has the air compressor.* "I'll bet they've got strong hands."

Tire shop guy was very helpful, but I already knew I was in trouble when he tried to use his fingertips to power the bead over the rim. Sure enough, when that didn't work, he pulled out a screwdriver. A bent screwdriver. "Sigh," I thinks to myself. "Oh well, I did buy a new tire patch kit with the spare tube."

First screwdriver is insufficient unto the purpose, so he adds a second one. Meanwhile, I'm wistfully remembering my bike-tire wrenches, sitting on my desk at home.

Last ten inches of bead is made to go over the rim, I thank him kindly, and go on my way.

At the gas station, the tire airs up nice and hard, but I can't get a pressure with my gauge. "What the—?" Oh, wait; tire's soft. Hm. Two more iterations: Yup, he holed my tube.

::SIGH:: So now I'm home, patching my spare tire.

Isn't there some parable about a shortcut that isn't?

* Why didn't I ask to use the tire shop's air hose? Because I'm a potato, as previously demonstrated.

#576 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 05:55 PM:

Oh jolly -- I just realized the U.S. Debt Ceiling deadline coincides with Mercury going retrograde...

As if things weren't "interesting" enough.

#577 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 05:57 PM:

Jacque @ #576, obLOTR:

"Shortcuts make long delays"

#578 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 06:17 PM:

A.J. Luxton #575: Oh, I went even more natural than that... I picked up a couple of pounds of fresh cherries! (Occasional handfuls as snacks, I'm not crazy!)

#579 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 06:33 PM:

Lori Coulson: The Ghods planned it that way. They just like watching us writhe on the spit.

Linkmeister: Ah! Yes, indeed.

Okay: original tube mended, reinstalled, inflated, and returned to bike. Knock on wood, tube is still holding (minimal) pressure.* Now all I gotta do is patch the spare tube. Ahem.

The really irritating part is that I know damn well I can get the tire back on the rim without the use of utensils. But one does have to hold one's mouth right, and I only actually manage it about three times out of four.

HLN: Woman has been watching too much Grey's Anatomy. This becomes clear when a short walk stirs up familiar aches and pains, and she finds herself thinking, "Oh Noes!! I'm having superannuated hyper-articulation of my imfamous anterior portcullis! Woe!"


* You would think that a gas station sited at the intersection of three major urban bike routes would have pressure in their compressor high enough to satisfy a road bike. But nooooo. I have to go over to the university, or a bike shop, to air up my tires properly.

#580 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 06:44 PM:

David Harmon @542: In fact, I've been feeling a lot better this evening, to the point where I'm startled to find that my temperature is still reading 100°F

What sort of thermometer are you using? If it's one of those old mercury- or alcohol-in-glass types, you're remembering to shake it down after each use, yes?

Just in the spirit of being a wild datum, I've shown a 100° temp while I feel fine and have no reason to suspect illness. Granted, it's usually after bombing up Iris Ave. on my bike to get to a doctor's apointment on time. But still....

#581 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 06:46 PM:

me @581: Finally reads through all of David's comment. Duh.

Actually, thinking about it, I guess one shakes down the thermometer before each use. Especially on hot days.

#582 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 06:55 PM:

Lori 499: Not in this life. I mostly went to Rites of Spring, and I think I attended Panthea once.

Serge 504: How much chocolate DOES it take to reach overdose?

I volunteer as a test subject!

#583 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 07:02 PM:

jacque #580: Oh Noes!! I'm having superannuated hyper-articulation of my imfamous anterior portcullis! Woe!

As an antidote, I suggest reading Gray's Anatomy, as that "diagnosis" sounds like an octogenarian's sex offense.

#584 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 07:10 PM:

David Harmon @584: One of my favorite throw-away movie gags is in the first Addams Family movie. Grandmama is in the kitchen, cooking dinner, referring occassionally to a couple of grubby old cookbooks propped up in the foreground.

After a second, I actually parsed the titles, and fell over laughing. The one on the left is The Joy of Cooking. The one on the right: Gray's Anatomy.

#585 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 07:12 PM:

Xopher #583: Hmm... What years? I went to several in the late 80's, starting with the infamous HellRites, when some asshole on USENET posted an "advertisement" to the effect of "Drugs and Easy Pagan Chicks! Go to Rites of Spring!", thus flooding them with random idiots. That was when they started requiring references from prior attendees....

#586 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 07:13 PM:

...actually clicks link: Gray's Anatomy ONLINE!? SQUEE!!!

#587 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 07:17 PM:

David, aka Rites of Scream. Did you know there were 666 attendees? I was there.

I went many years in a row. Only missed the last five years or so. It just became too much trouble to get there.

#588 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 08:16 PM:

I only went to a few before I left Cambridge and Paganism. I'm not going to go into all of my reasons for leaving Paganism because that would just get nasty, but one of them I can talk about, and I met her at Rites (if not HellRites, then the next one): A Fire/Air novice should not fall in love with a likely-fey Water Witch. (And yes, we both damn well embodied our respective elements. I've since gained some Earth....) That "relationship", and my desperate escape from same, seriously damaged me down to my personal magics. Most of 20 years later, I haven't fully recovered.

#589 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 08:42 PM:

Jacque, #576: Not exactly the same thing, but -- "The hurrier I go, the behinder I get" is an Amish proverb.

Lori, #577: Yeah, that'll bring every crackpot out of the bushes. The ones that aren't already in Congress, that is.

David, #586: Heh. That reminds me of the (possibly apocryphal) story of the college-town SF club that had a schism which turned into a vicious fan-feud. On the weekend that one of the groups was holding their annual con, a couple of people from the other group plastered the campus with flyers saying "ALL THE BEER YOU CAN DRINK, ALL WEEKEND, $20" and the dates and con hotel. Or so I was told, back in the day. Obviously, this was in the days when it was customary to have beer as well as soft drinks in the consuite, a custom which has since largely died out due to liability issues. I know of a few cons which still serve beer, but these days they're very much in the minority.

#590 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 08:50 PM:

Xopher @ 583... I volunteer as a test subject

The things that people will do for Science. Science!

#591 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 09:07 PM:

Xopher #588: If I recall correctly, one self-named "Magus" (aka "Buddha") claimed to have been the 666th. Of course, he was a dubious enough character that even then, I knew to keep a saltshaker handy when he was talking.

#592 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 09:20 PM:

On 'fever' thermometers:
I've been using the liquid-crystal-on-plastic-strip kind for years, after breaking a glass thermometer accidentally. The LCD type are accurate enough (about one degree) to know if it's really a fever.

#593 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 09:23 PM:

I decided to go straight through A Brief History of Neoliberalism rather than skip to the end and find out whodunnit, and I'm glad I did. The second chapter is largely historical. It took me back to the late seventies and the eighties and exactly why that time period sucked so badly even though it was so much fun. I also had two epiphanies, one about neoliberalism versus neoconservatism, which I'll save for a bit. The other one was this:

"Creative destruction" and "disruptive" and all that are neoliberalism in a nihilistic form. The quote that I've hated for a long time--Mark Cuban: "I love to fuck with people, and I love finding ways to make more money"--sums it up.

I can't say I'm enjoying this book, but I am getting a lot out of it.

#594 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 09:24 PM:

David, I'm sorry to hear that.

#595 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 09:35 PM:

HLN: 15-yo friend of area woman's 15-yo dd is hospitalized for the second time since late June for mental illness: initial diagnosis, depression (w/suicidal ideation). 2nd diagnosis: early bipolar disorder (w/suicide attempt--but that may have been caused by one of the meds prescribed the first time). plus cutting.

Area woman is trying to figure out what, if anything, to say to parents of hospitalized person. I don't know them really at all--I know the teenager a bit, from hanging out, but I've met the mother only once.

Yet our children are friends and I feel I ought to say something.

Advice welcomed. (DD is okay; alas, at 15, this is not the first time she's dealt with a friend in trouble of this kind.)

#596 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 09:48 PM:

Xopher #595: The hardest part is that it wasn't and isn't in me to hate her. We were both deeply incomplete people, but we didn't have enough in common that we could have filled each other's needs.

#597 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 09:50 PM:

#595, continued: Thanks for your sympathy.

#598 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 10:13 PM:

So far behind on everything after this last week, but I just wanted to drop in and express continuing support for everyone going through rough patches right now. I'm continuing to broadcast positive energy and good thoughts...

#599 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 10:25 PM:

Melissa Singer @596: Maybe something along the lines of "I hear from DD that you've all been going through a difficult time lately. I'm so sorry. Is there something I can do to help?" Even better, if you can identify a pragmatic need that they have (food is the classic, but do they need their lawn mowed, or help dog-walking, or... you get the idea) and it's something you can pitch in on, offer proactively.

If it's not practical for you to offer help, than instead of "is there something I can do to help?" maybe just go with "I wanted to let you know I was thinking of you, and DD and I both hope your daughter will feel better soon."

#600 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 11:33 PM:

Lee @ 590 - You may be thinking of what happened to Archon, when the local daily effectively posted "all the beer you can drink, $30 for the weekend!" in an article about the con. Archon doesn't like members of the press, now.

Tracie - my sympathies. It's been a hard year.

Xopher - Good luck!

HLN: woman looks at pile o stuff in front hall to be stuffed in car tomorrow and wonders why the hell she does this pennsic thing. Woman then checks twitter and the squeeing reminds her. In the mean time, application of tea and chocolate is considered.

#601 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2011, 01:15 AM:

Stefan Jones @ 571
joann @ 574:

The one I'm thinking of is on Hall Blvd just west across the freeway from Washington Square. Back in 2009 it was a great place to walk the dogs because most of the buildings were either unoccupied or very lightly occupied due to the Recent Financial Unpleasantness, so there was nobody who might care about having dogs there.

But I might have been wrong, the building they used in leverage might have been in Amberglen; I don't remember that one very well because it's been 10 years since I worked in that area.

#602 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2011, 01:33 AM:


I just watched the episode. Not Amberglen. The highway up front could well be 217, which makes your theory more tenable.

Very funny episode.

#603 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2011, 03:04 AM:

While confirming my understanding of a bit of medical jargon on Grey's Anatomy, I stumbled across this little gem: How to identify your xiphoid process (so you can stop bugging Dr. Cranquis about it)

#604 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2011, 07:04 AM:

Lori Coulson #577:
Oh jolly -- I just realized the U.S. Debt Ceiling deadline coincides with Mercury going retrograde...

That explains a lot!

#605 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2011, 07:37 AM:

Melissa Singer #596: You don't know the parents well now.... Yes, start with simple physical offers as described above (physical needs come first).

But consider also, that they may need a confidante or "wailing wall" who isn't freaked out by the whole "mental illness' thing. Obviously, that's something you need to think about carefully before undertaking! But "if you choose to accept it", I suspect it won't be a matter of asking, so much as hinting that you're open to the role.

#606 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2011, 07:57 AM:

Melissa Singer @596:

Because of the stigmas around mental illness, the parents may find themselves either subtly shunned or quietly blamed because of their daughter's illness.

Simply being there and being ordinary, unfazed, and pleasant will probably do more than you can imagine.

#607 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2011, 08:02 AM:

abi #607: Good point, I was skipping a step or two there.

#608 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2011, 11:38 AM:

Bruce C # 602:

A bit of work w/ maps tells me that the place you're thinking of is the place I'm thinking of. We're behind on the current season, so I'll have to wait until we get caught up. But if it was shot there, then roughly 25 years ago, I worked for the San Jose branch of a company that occasionally flew me up to confer with people in buildings I may see in the show.

#609 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2011, 02:58 PM:

Things That Make You Appreciate Making Light, Part 6.02 X 1023: elsenet I told someone that insisting on an exactly balanced budget would mean you couldn't have SURPLUS budgets either. He replied saying that's good; government shouldn't make a profit.

I explained that there's no way to pay down the existing debt without running a surplus (unless you count paying down the debt as spending). He replied that yes you could, but cutting spending more.


#610 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2011, 03:00 PM:

ohnosecond: " cutting spending more."

#611 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2011, 03:39 PM:

Open thread goodness:

All the folk music lovers might be aware of this project, but perhaps not.

On 24th June 2010 – Midsummer’s Day – acclaimed singer, Jon Boden, launched an ambitious new project – A Folk Song A Day. Every day for one year Jon is posting a traditional song online to promote the art of ‘social’ (or communal) singing. Now largely confined to football grounds and places of worship, social singing was once the domain of public houses throughout the land. Ending with 12 digital albums (one released each month), containing a total of 365 songs, Jon Boden will also be providing a unique, traditional folk song resource for those looking for inspiration; social singing made possible by contemporary technology.

#612 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2011, 03:59 PM:

Why punctuation is important:

Charlie...puts aside his college plans when his mother passes away in order to take care of his 9-year-old brother.

"My darling child, I cannot care for you properly while I'm a ghost, however, I can. So I must pass away! Don't cry."

So why's Charlie delaying college? To perform an exorcism! Must be it.

#613 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2011, 04:17 PM:

Xopher@613: here's a dangling modifier rather than bad punctuation, but with the same effect: Aussie radio, of a corpse: 'In an advanced state of decomposition, she was said to be an affectionate mother.' (Stolen From....)

#614 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2011, 06:20 PM:

I have to admit there are some glaring gaps in my SF reading, so when a friend tagged me on Facebook today with a question about a short story I didn't have the answer--but I'm hoping that someone here will, so I can repeat it with proper acknowledgements and look like a Hero of the Revolution.

She says she's been trying to remember the name of "an old, old science fiction story I read told in the first person about a guy who endured an entire day of advertising on every, every surface. It seemed so implausible at the time. Anyone remember the story? Google drawing a blank." She says she's sure it's not Bradbury because it's first person. This rings NO bells for me. Any ideas? I'd ask Tom, but I suspect he's out enjoying the weather.

And that brings to mind another one, this time for mine ownself. Does anyone know if "The Further Adventures of Baron Munchausen: The Gulf War" by Ian McDonald has ever appeared anywhere besides the July, 1996 Interzone? I'd sort of like to read it, and I can't afford Interlibrary Loan this week...

#615 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2011, 09:25 PM:

Bruce @ #615, I don't really think this is it since it's a novel, not a short story, but Frederik Pohl's The Space Merchants has an advertising theme to it.

#616 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2011, 09:41 PM:

#615: Another possibility:

"The Tunnel Under the World" by Pohl.

There was another story whose author I forget. It is set in a near future where little loudspeaker chips are attached to retail packaging. They cajole, sing ditties, etcetera.

#617 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2011, 10:47 PM:

Stefan Jones #617: IIRC, they actually tried that in the 80's... not only was it too expensive, but the shoppers Did Not Want.

#618 ::: johnofjack ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2011, 11:29 PM:

My favorite bad sentence (alas, deliberately bad--one of the incorrect answers on a skills assessment at a community college in the early 90s):

"Barking for hours every night, the police were called by John, who complained about the dog."

#619 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2011, 11:33 PM:

Another deliberately bad sentence, as part of a writing guide:
'Being bad grammar, the writer should not use dangling participles.'

#620 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2011, 12:03 AM:

Well. Dad seems to be having some small problems that may put an end to his independence, so everyone's treading carefully. After taking care of Mom through her 14-year decline, he was finally getting a bit of freedom, and being unable to drive would put a spike right through that. He's 84. Here I thought the big problem was going to be getting his piano here from Michigan, and it might turn out to be how to get Sarah a visit with her grandpa, who she's only seen on two occasions in her life.

Oh, yeah, we're back from China. Flickr photoset here (~340 pix):
Shorter flickr photo subset here (~120 pix) because nobody's going to look at the long one. Both have captions that narrate the trip somewhat. If things are too obscure in the short set, refer to the long one and see if that helps. Or comment and I'll explain at length. Really.

Ginger @521: And a couple of days later, my sister was reconnecting with someone from 30 years ago. There's a lot of that going around, it would appear.

A.J. Luxton @373: "Radio Blackboard"? (Whatever you do, don't make it "Chalkboard" — Google will tell you why.) "Science Crispies"? ("Science Shots" is taken.)

#621 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2011, 12:12 AM:

ps: The Dread Cthulhu, in ancient Chinese pottery form, from the Hefei Cultural Museum. Nihao Fthagn!

#622 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2011, 02:56 AM:

Linkmeister: The Space Merchants has an advertising theme to it.

True. but I remember it as third person omniscient rather than first person.

Stefan Jones: Another possibility: The Tunnel Under the World" by Pohl.

Haven't read it. Is it first person?

David Harmon: IIRC, they actually tried that in the 80's... not only was it too expensive, but the shoppers Did Not Want.

I remember when Lucasfilm released Star Wars as a game for the Amiga. Each box had a little dot you could press to make it play the theme from Star Wars. Since we were the third largest Amiga dealer in the world by sales volume we tended to order things in boxes of fifty.

When that game arrived I had a lengthy talk with the UPS driver, who made it clear that if we ordered that title in that large an amount again all our packages would be held at the base. Seems that each time they went over a bump they got fifty versions of the theme, all starting at slightly different times, and it was driving them nuts.

I read that the reason the Talking Coke Machine was such a flop in the USA and a hit in Japan is that in Japan they did a lot more than playing a mournful little dirge and saying "I'm a Talking Coke Machine!"

#623 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2011, 06:30 AM:

David Harmon, did you give me your illness? I had no idea that's how computer viruses worked. * I was fine (I FEEL FINE!) last night, it's just a little post-nasal drip, thankyou, probably just allergies to something. No, I'm fine really, no need to cancel the handyman, who is setting hanging our giant Battle of Trafalgar tapestry and putting together our new TV stand that looks like a card catalog - in exchange for a nice steak dinner. OK, maybe some Zyrtec D and a nice cup of tea with honey. See, I feel better already (not that I felt lousy in the first place mind you).

Thank you for bringing up that I look a little peaked, it's nothing. Oh, your thermometer says I'm running a 100 degree fever? Huh. Let me just get the alcohol out of the linen closet to sterilize this and... why in the hell is my linen closet wobbling. Are we having an earthquake? Oh, my towels are soooo soft! Yeah, maybe I shouldn't go see Cowboys & Aliens, which I've been looking forward to for months now.

OK, took another Zyrtec D, had the fine folks at Papa John's bring me dinner (I had a much more wholesome one planned, but really didn't trust me in the kitchen, what with all those sharp objects, and the gas burners and the non-as-soft-as-my-towels linoleum.) I'll take the dog out for her last piddle and get settled. Won't even read a chapter of AFFC, I'll just sleep. Hey, why is my breathing not working? Especially since I'm not sick. Hmmm. This is problematic. I'm supposed to be at church tomorrow to deal with a continuing vestry emergency.

Still not sleeping. Wait, do I have some mucinex lying around? That is the wonder drug! I took that the last time I Wasn't Sick after all that international travel wore me the hell down. It helped. Oh I see. Just Mucinex D, which I can't take until my Zyrtec D wears off, around 7 am. Why am I so freaking cold? I'm usually sweating to death in my otherwise comfy bed. Think I'll get my big comforter. Nostrils still not working that great. May as well get up. And now I'm at 101. feh.

* yes, I know that's not how I Didn't Get Sick; I believe the real disease vector was part of the Universe's payback for getting grouchy at my roommate, who I swear to god is the worst sick person in the world, last week when she had this. I assumed that if I avoided it all week until she was recovering, I was immune to whatever DramaQueen virus she had caught. Apparently not.

#624 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2011, 07:35 AM:

nerdycellist #624: Oh no! I hope you can arrange a doctor's visit on a Sunday morning (do not go walking into a full church!), if you haven't already....

If it is the same as mine, it'll be vicious but brief... but then it may well be something completely different, perhaps with more specific treatments.

Hell, the more I think about my first night with the nasty chills, the more retroactive-nerves I get. I don't think I'd even taken a Tylenol that first night, and I've gotten hints since of Damn, That Was A Dangerous Fever.

#625 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2011, 07:39 AM:

Correction: Comparing your datestamp you your letter, I infer it's still Saturday night for you, so if you haven't passed out yet, you can still go to the doc Tonight!

#626 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2011, 08:25 AM:

Bruce E. Durocher II: #623: Heh! The Law of Unintended Consequences strikes again....

Talking Coke Machine: Thankfully I managed to miss that one.

I'm pretty jaundiced about talking machines, given that I have enough trouble understanding humans, even when I can ask them to rephrase things. (Which reminds me, I need to start the process for my next pair of hearing aids... an audiologist warned me that at least one of mine is liable to die outright, RSN.)

Let alone if a machine wanted to use voice audio for its only feedback mechanism... happily, manufacturers seem to have a little more sense than that.

#627 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2011, 10:04 AM:

So last night I finished A Brief History of Neoliberalism.

My second epiphany from earlier reading in it was modified a bit by the time I reached the end: On average, neoconservatism is a little kinder than neoliberalism, unless and until it decides you need a dose of military or police violence, which is hell on earth.

Would I recommend the book to others? Yes, I think so. It was good, in its brief way, on how neoliberalism perverted or co-opted various positive and progressive tendencies. It was not ambitious in suggesting remedies, preferring instead to point toward hopeful signs and tendencies, and leaving the future as an exercise for the reader. I think that was wise. It was somewhat prescient in predicting a financial crisis of some sort occurring right about now due to Bush-era imperial military spending.

Possibly the most important thing I took from it was a reminder that political theories are typically used ideologically and are altered or abandoned as they serve the needs of those who use them. This was particularly striking on the point of Bush-era spending, which was Keynesian budgeting in the service of neoconservatism. Both neoliberalism and neoconservatism are in fact opposed to Keynesian spending, but are willing to use it when it serves the purposes of those in power.

My favorite thought in it* was the suggestion to reframe human rights discourse in terms of FDR's Four Freedoms.

So yes, it's a good book and worth reading, well to the left of most people I know and (I think) most people here.

Any insight from people who know more about the book's subject matter than I do would be gratefully received.

One oddity: Just by going by the printed page, the book looked British (Oxford University Press), even though the author is not.

*which oddly, I had anticipated**
**which may indeed be why I was so pleased to see that notion set in print

#628 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2011, 10:31 AM:

David Harmon @ 625 -

I'm pretty sure this is the same thing my roommate had, only exactly a week later, meaning I'll probably call out sick tomorrow. I posted that at about 4 in the morning so I won't be going to the Doc today. Sadly, LA has far fewer options for Docs in the Box than the midwestern suburb I grew up in. I should be fine, if whiny, if it's the same thing my roommate had. I already sent my regrets to the Rector's Warden and will be missing church and possibly Bonus Meeting. Ironically, I think it was a combination of the sleepless night I spent after last thursday's late bonus meeting plus my special lady times that made me susceptible to whatever this bug is. I told them if we do the Bonus Meeting on Thursday, I have to leave at 9.

Fever's gone down to 100 - I'm going to have a bowl of cereal and take a mucinexD and see if I can handle walking the dog and breathing well enough to get some sleep today.

#629 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2011, 11:15 AM:

nerdycellist, try checking for 'urgent care' places in your area. They're usually competent if not fancy, and they're available on weekends.

#630 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2011, 11:30 AM:

Nerdycellist, take care of yourself. Stay well-hydrated, and seek medical advice. Same as above: Some fevers can have serious causes, and may lead to sad results.

#631 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2011, 12:22 PM:

John A Arkansawyer @ 628: "One oddity: Just by going by the printed page, the book looked British (Oxford University Press), even though the author is not."

David Harvey is British, though he's spent most of his life in the US.

#632 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2011, 02:44 PM:

I have been absent long enough for my login information to disappear. Apologies, but I've been at Clarion West, and now I am not. I am trying to figure out how much internet I have to catch up on.

#633 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2011, 03:56 PM:

David Harmon @625: It's probably a bad habit, and will likely kill me someday, but I actually enjoy a good fever. Once I've figured out that's what's going on.

Went into the hospital a few years ago with gastrointestinal distress (what was in all likelihood an instance of what I later discovered to be a flax seed allergy). I finally got warmed up and was actually starting to feel comfortable, when the nurses discovered that I had a 101° temp. They wanted to ice me down. I don't think they actually took a step back at my Look, but I flatter myself that they did. Suffice to say, ice was not brought.

@627: I'm pretty jaundiced about talking machines

For a while, Apple was setting the audio assist to ON by default, so whenever we'd get an upgrade at work, you'd be innocently going about your business, and the minute you tried to do something, Mr. or Ms. Machine would emit parsable-sounding noises.

Let me put it this way: I wouldn't actually fall down in a seizure, but functionally, the result was just about the same. Not only were the noises not actually parsable, but I've got something screwy in my auditory processing where, if I hear speech, especially if I can't hear it well,* I HAVE to listen, and it overrides everything else—most conspicuously, my ability to think.

And, you know, it's really hard to type with your fingers jammed in your ears while you're singing "LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU."

So, needless to say, my first action with a new computer would be to find the $#!$@#!! accessibility and turn it the f*ck OFF.


* I speculate this is a result of having grown up in a house with a lot of fighting. One gets in the habit of Keeping Track of people and their moods and actions.

#634 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2011, 04:28 PM:

heresiarch @ 632: So that explains it--thanks! Anything else that I've misunderstood I'd greatly appreciate knowing about.

#635 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2011, 06:33 PM:

Jacque, #634: They wanted to ice you down for 101°?! Egad. The only time anyone has ever even suggested that, let alone done it, to me was when I had mono and my fever had hit 105° and was still rising. They shoved the maximum safe dose of aspirin into me and brought out the towels and ice water. It wasn't pleasant, but I didn't complain because I knew why they were doing it.

#636 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2011, 07:40 PM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @ 615:

How annoying! I'm fairly sure I know the story you mean. It was first person with a female protagonist, published sometime in the 1960's, probably in Fantasy and Science Fiction. But I can't remember the author's name (the author was also female, I believe). I remember that the crux of the story was that it was illegal to silence the speakers on the products (it had been ruled "constraint of trade" by the Supreme Court), and so the protagonist had to endure a cacophony of cereal boxes as she walked through the market as well as suffer through the commercials at the breakfast table.

#637 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2011, 07:58 PM:

@Bruce#637: That's the one I had in mind.

#638 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2011, 08:26 PM:

Bruce Cohen: That sounds like it's in the same ballpark, if not the same story. I'll pass it along to my friend and we'll see what she says. Thank you!

#639 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2011, 08:44 PM:

(Manufactured) Financial Crisis Therapy completed:

I baked 6 dozen brownie-cupcakes. About half with M&ms, half with candied peanuts. Ate two which tore apart in de-panning.

The worst part of making brownies is cleaning the pans. Nothing I've done really makes them stick-free. I guess I should spring for those little paper cups.

#640 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2011, 08:52 PM:

Over here, the cicadas have seized almost complete control of our aural landscape -- how about by you? I reworked slightly my translation of an utterly lovely poem about cicadas.

#641 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2011, 09:07 PM:

#641: Haven't heard them in years. Not a Pacific Northwest sort of creature, I guess.

#642 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2011, 09:17 PM:

The Modesto Kid @641, I can even hear the cicadas over the air conditioner. But I don't really notice them unless I'm paying attention. I guess because I went through an incredible hatching of the 17 year variety in Tennessee a while back -- they were EVERYWHERE, you couldn't keep them out of buildings, they flew right into you like you weren't there, and really deafening, not just a pleasant summer background noise. Driving was, well, sorry, but it was crunchy.

#643 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2011, 09:47 PM:

Stefan Jones @ #640, have you tried silicon baking mats? I have one I use for drop cookies and it works like a charm.

#644 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2011, 10:03 PM:

Assigned a proxy for the Vestry Matter and spent a goodly portion of the day napping with my dog. Fever has broken, but I'll probably call out of work tomorrow for more napping and hydration. Roommate is now making all the food, which is the opposite of what usually happens around here. So yay! Salmon and shrimp I didn't have to make myself. With a fresh mango-chili-lime lassi for dessert to get some vitamin C into my system.

#645 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2011, 10:03 PM:

Assigned a proxy for the Vestry Matter and spent a goodly portion of the day napping with my dog. Fever has broken, but I'll probably call out of work tomorrow for more napping and hydration. Roommate is now making all the food, which is the opposite of what usually happens around here. So yay! Salmon and shrimp I didn't have to make myself. With a fresh mango-chili-lime lassi for dessert to get some vitamin C into my system.

#646 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2011, 10:12 PM:

nerdycellist #629: OK, you're "on the spot" and I'm not... but as Jim hinted at, assuming you've got "what was going around" is dangerous.
I'm pretty sure we've both seen first-hand tales here, of cases where someone's doctor assumed they knew what was wrong, so they didn't check... so the patient was fucked. You don't want to make that kind of mistake for them!

Jacque #634: Ah, well, I was not feeling toasty warm that first night! Even the next day, I got an odd look from the handyman when I answered the door in multiple layers, when he was stripped down for the weather.

Re: talking machines, I'm probably not quite on your level of sensitivity... but one of my adaptations to being hearing impaired, is to reflexively locate voices and eyeball-check their source, in case they're talking to me.♪ Obviously, I don't appreciate having that spammed by non-sentient objects.

♪ Once a conversation has started, I can manage my attention fairly well, if everyone is in view. Trying to mediate between, say, a phone call and F2F conversation, just doesn't work....

#647 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2011, 10:20 PM:

Is there a word for a phenomena in fiction where you're set up to despise a character, then feel like a total shmuck for jumping to conclusions?

This comic is brilliant (in terms of effectiveness), horrifying, and ultimately moving:

Stuffed Friend

#648 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2011, 10:30 PM:

Of interest in the NY area:

The Museum of the Moving Image (in Astoria, easily reachable by subway) has just launched Jim Henson's Fantastic World, about Muppets and more. It will run through mid-January, but the screenings will change a bit as time passes. Currently they are running Muppets 101, about Henson's early puppetry, the development of the Muppets, Sesame Street, and the Muppet Show. Muppets 201 will follow in a few months. The Dark Crystal and various Muppet movies can also be found on the film schedule.

Henson's widow Jane will be speaking on September 18th (the Sunday of Maker Faire weekend); on the 24th and 25th there will be a screening of a compilation of Muppet musical numbers, hosted by Larry Grossman, in honor of the 75th anniversary of Henson's birth.

There's more interesting stuff to come.

The exhibit takes up about half a floor of the museum, but the rest of the museum's exhibits are worth your time as well.

There's about a week left in the museum's Paul Newman festival, which will be followed by a Frank Sinatra festival, and then, in September, there will be a Gus Van Sant retrospective (I really want to see _Milk_).

Most screenings are included in general admission, which is $12 for adults.

#649 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2011, 10:34 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 640: I've never tried making brownies in cupcake tins. In a square pan, I always use parchment or tin foil, which obviously doesn't adapt for cupcakes. Do you use the baking spray with flour? That works like a charm for cakes in a variety of pans, but I think brownies are trickier than cake.

Then again, if just two broke out of 6 dozen, that sounds like a suitable number for the baker to "have to eat".

#650 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2011, 10:39 PM:

nerdycellist @ 646: Sounds like you've got things sorted out well. I hope you feel better soon!

I wish everyone would (could) stay home one full day without fever before they went back out into circulation. You can't really know you're over it until you've gone a full day -- no fever in the morning doesn't mean you won't have one later in the day. We'd have fewer relapses, and less spreading the wealth around.

#651 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2011, 10:39 PM:

#650: I used shortening with flour sprinkled on top.

I'd say about 2/3 of the brownie-cupcakes popped out intact with a little help from a plastic knife. Some broke apart leaving M&ms stuck to the bottom of the cup. Others came out in two pieces.

Also observed: The cooking rate of the same batter in different types of cupcake tin.

#652 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2011, 10:41 PM:

Thanks for the various advice on speaking with dd's friend's mother/parents.

I hope to get an update on the situation from dd tomorrow, and then will reach out.

#653 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2011, 10:44 PM:

Janetl: I'm with you on the stay home until you've been a full day without fever thing; it drives dd crazy when I won't let her go back to school just because she wakes up cool. (and she then drives me crazy, that last day--but sometimes she's been hot again in the afternoon . . . )

I use the paper thingies for cupcakes, myself. It makes transport and consumption easier as well.

#654 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2011, 10:46 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 652: Baking spray with flour in it is kinda magic. There's more than one brand, and I haven't noticed any difference between them. I go a little nuts with complex Bundt cake pans, and there's no way you can run a nylon knife around them to release. With the flour spray, I've never had one not drop out just fine.

Of course, having said that publicly, I am now doomed.

#655 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2011, 11:28 PM:

Stefan Jones #648: Umm, I'd cut that description off after "horrifying". Checking TV Tropes....

#656 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 12:16 AM:

Stefan Jones #648: actually, I realized it just passed midnight here, and I made my saving throw against WikiWalking. I may come back to this later, but my initial thought is: for the girl, it's just a Reveal. For the rabbit, it would be a subversion of the "expected trope", perhaps Lbh Ner Abg Nybar.

#657 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 01:23 AM:

Dad died late last night. Mom and I were there. He just stopped breathing after several days of being unresponsive. Mom asked me to play some harp music while we waited for the hospice nurse. Cremation arrangements made today -- Mom got an extra matching container for herself. Tomorrow I start making arrangements for a funeral with full military honors at Arlington, at a date to be determined, but probably November. Arlington has a wait that long. I think November is a good month for funerals.

Song for the Night Sea Journey
By Jennifer Cutting

Oh Lord, be with us when we sail
Upon the lonely deep,
Our guard when on the silent deck
The midnight watch we keep.

And help us to remember
All the times securely kept
When, after the tempest,
The waves lay down and slept.

O give us light, direct our course,
Until our hearts renew,
Let not the dark shadows obscure
The stars from our view.

#658 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 01:52 AM:

Tracie @ 658 ...
Condolences, empathies and blessings to you, and to your mother.

#659 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 01:54 AM:

Tracie @658:

My condolences, and may you have strength in the coming days.

#660 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 02:03 AM:

Condolences, Tracie -- not an easy time.

#661 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 02:04 AM:

I'm glad you could be there for him, Tracie.

#662 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 02:15 AM:

My condolences as well, Tracy. Best wishes to you and your family.

#663 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 02:21 AM:

My condolences, Tracie.

#664 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 02:37 AM:

My condolences for your loss, Tracie.

#665 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 06:18 AM:

My condolences, Tracie.

#666 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 06:31 AM:

Tracie @ 658: My condolences, and all best wishes to you and your mother.

#667 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 07:30 AM:

Tracie #658: My condolences.

#668 ::: johnofjack ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 08:16 AM:

My condolences, Tracie.

#669 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 08:38 AM:

Tracie, I'm very sorry for your loss.

#670 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 09:19 AM:

Tracie #658: My condolences.

#671 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 09:32 AM:

Open threadery:

Today is the First of August, and in honour of the day first a quotation from an Act of Parliament and then a villanelle inspired by said act.

3° & 4° Gulielmi IV, cap. LXXIII

An Act for the Abolition of Slavery throughout the British Colonies; for promoting the Industry of the manumitted Slaves; and for compensating the Persons hitherto entitled to the Services of such Slaves.

Article XII

"All and every the Persons who on the said first Day of August One thousand eight hundred and thirty-four shall be holden in Slavery within any such British Colony as aforesaid shall upon and from and after the said first Day of August One thousand eight hundred and thirty-four become and be to all Intents and Purposes free and discharged of and from all Manner of Slavery, and shall be absolutely and for ever manumitted; and that the Children thereafter to be born to any such Persons, and the Offpring of such Children shall in like Manner be free from their Birth; and that from, and after the said first Day of August One thousand eight hundred and thirty-four Slavery shall be and is hereby utterly and for ever abolished and declared unlawful throughout the British Colonies, Plantations, and Possessions Abroad."

So now all clocks are showing the time's passed
for wearing chains, and keeping dark heads bowed,
since August Morning has come round at last.

Although the sons of hate may stand aghast
we know our parents wept but were not cowed;
so now all clocks are showing the time's passed

and we will leave. Till now we had held fast
but we can show the world that we are proud
since August Morning has come round at last.

So long a silence, then the thunderblast
of our rejoicing -- we were good and loud --
so now the clocks are showing the time's passed

for humble patient service, we will cast
away all bondage, tear apart the shroud,
since August Morning has come round at last.

With our free hands we sanctify the past,
as for the future: we face it unbowed;
so now all clocks are showing the time's passed
since August Morning has come round at last.

#672 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 09:38 AM:

Tracie, my condolences to you and your mother.

#673 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 10:04 AM:

My condolences, Tracie.

#674 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 10:08 AM:

Tracie, I'm so sorry for your loss.

#675 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 10:58 AM:

Tracie: my condolences to you and your mother.

#676 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 11:02 AM:

And, Florida offers YA Darwin award: Man Finds Brick Of Unknown Substance, Snorts It, Dies.

... and the headline doesn't cover half of it.

#677 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 11:05 AM:

OT, with a side of serendipity:
Moon Church-Sushi Connection -- who knew?

#678 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 11:40 AM:

Russ @ #482: and in...wait, Spice Girls**?! What? I don't even...

Pretty much everybody was in the Spice Girls movie, for a value of "everybody" meaning "British actors like Richard O'Brien". I'm not sure I blame them, either; work is work. Bob Hoskins got paid for walking out of a phone booth and down a pathway out of shot, which is nice work if you can get it.

#679 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 11:49 AM:

Russ @ #491: Hmmm...I wonder if it's just wind instruments. I'll throw it out to the floor: How many instruments do we know of that allow one to travel through time?

The New Twilight Zone had an episode called "The Convict's Piano", where anyone who played the piano was transported to the time period of the music they played.

"Attack of the Cybermen" has a TARDIS shaped like a pipe organ, but I don't suppose that counts as a real musical instrument.

Monica Dickens' Messenger series has time travel by music, but if I remember correctly it was the tune that did it, regardless of the instrument it was played on.

(And in The House of Arden it was poetry, but now I'm definitely wandering off track...)

#681 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 12:53 PM:

I saw The Tree of Life on Saturday.

A beautifully filmed, well acted meditation of life and loss. With dinosaurs.

I've read stories about people walking out on the movie, angry and puzzled. I think I can understand why. It is not standard extruded entertainment product. It begins with a tragic death. It jumps around in time, including from 1970s Texas back to, well, the Big Bang. It demands a lot from the audience.

#682 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 01:11 PM:

OK, the heat is really out of hand... my "cold" tap water would make a warm bath!

#683 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 01:54 PM:

Re: Stefan Jones #648: That comic was apparently written by a fellow named Jason Tundplutt. However, I can't seem to find any other references to him. Does anyone know who he is or where his work might be found?

#684 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 02:58 PM:

@652 Stefan Jones

I used shortening with flour sprinkled on top.

When making chocolate things, I prefer to use cocoa powder for dusting. This avoids unsightly white splotches.

As for silicone baking sheets: my mother would not be without her silicone baking cups for cupcakes and muffins. If you're going to make brownies in cups, those might work for you.

#685 ::: siriosa ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 02:59 PM:

Tracie: I'm so sorry for your loss. It's likely that you and your mom will be in shock for a bit: it's a good time to do hard stuff, a bad time to be making big decisions. My algorithm for grief is: stay current with your crying, ask for help when you need it, don't drive until you're reliably in the present moment.

#686 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 03:00 PM:

Bruce#684: Sorry, that strip -- reposted without a source or link on the Whitechapel blog -- was the first and only time I've heard of that artist.

My first reaction to the main character of that strip, and re-appraisement after realizing what was going on, reminded me of this observation by John Shirley:

"I suppose some people are Born Assholes, just genetically or obstinately selfish, clueless, but I really think most irritating wince-inducing people one encounters, if you could watch a film of the highlights of their life, and their day, you'd be overwhelmed with sympathy, perhaps in tears with sorrow over what they've gone through, what they've lost, what they never found out, what was done to them."
#687 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 03:31 PM:


David Harmon @684: Does anyone know who he is or where his work might be found?

Poking around. Here's another one: Clarissa Ruins Thanksgiving. This one's equally horrific, if, subtle?

Okay, this looks promising (if that's the word...)

#688 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 03:32 PM:

David @684, Stefan @687: The name seems to be Jason Yungbluth, though I don't see "Stuffed Friend" on his site's archive.

#689 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 03:35 PM:

Julie L. @688: Here's what you're looking for.

#690 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 03:55 PM:

There are two more Clarissa stories a ways down the page here: "Bathtime Fun" and "Bed Bugs".

#691 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 04:07 PM:

@691: Crap. That one's blocked because of "sex."

#692 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 04:12 PM:

Ah. Unblocked here.

#693 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 04:24 PM:

Have been playing around with the tutorials on the Ancient Lives citizen-science project, which is getting volunteers to crowdsource transcriptions of Greek papyri; users have a cute little in-browser Greek typewriter to type on. It looks fascinating and I'd like to have a go at it, but it strikes me that for this sort of task one ought to be either completely ignorant of the language and just be playing match-the-symbol, or be very well-versed indeed in it. I think I know just enough Greek to make me dangerous at this game; I know I'll be influenced by my (probably broken) notion of what sequences of letters are plausible. What do ML's palæographers think?

#694 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 04:26 PM:

Ughh . . . . One comic looking into a damaged life was enough for me.

I feel like buying Clarissa a pistol.

#695 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 04:55 PM:

Stefan: I almost can't not. Ford's Second Imperative, after all.

#696 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 05:13 PM:

Thank you, everyone, for your condolences , hugs and good thoughts. My blood pressure tells me I'm dealing with things pretty well (also that I'm compliant with my meds, finally). Mom is doing her best to stuff her grief and anger, which is how she is normally, and at 96 she's unlikely to change. At least she wants me to read some Pratchett to her. Ooook!

#697 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 05:23 PM:

Tracie: Hah! Pratchett! Wish her much Pratchett happiness from the Fluorosphere!

#698 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 05:30 PM:

Tracie, I'm sorry for your loss.

#699 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 05:33 PM:

Tracie, my condolences.

#700 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 06:03 PM:

I strongly suggest that the Clarissa comics be linked in the top-post for the upcoming Dysfunctional Families Day.

#701 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 06:06 PM:

Tracie, I'm so sorry for your loss.

#702 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 06:10 PM:

Lee @701: I second the motion. Along with Tangled, of course.

#703 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 06:21 PM:

Stefan @695: I feel like buying Clarissa a pistol.


(Not mine; found it already linked from Yungbluth's DA account.)

#704 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 06:24 PM:

Hang in there, Tracie. You could surely use a dose from Dr. Terry as well.

* * *
@Lee#701: That sounds appropriate.

Clarissa will no doubt survive, and maybe her chipmunk will give the wolf tetanus someday, but I wish her childhood hadn't gone out the window along with that heap of stuffed friends.

#705 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 06:35 PM:

Jacque, Julie L: Thanks! Truly, All Knowledge Is Contained In (or Findable By) Making Light!

#706 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 06:36 PM:

Tracie, I'm sorry for your loss.

#707 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 09:00 PM:

Mina@418, I don't know a good way to say "seize the coffee" in Latin (although I'd advise against it -- you might spill some).
I did once create an alternative Oregon state seal in which the motto read, "Nostre caffeum pwnum votres".

This was possibly the first translation of "pwns" into Latin. Also possibly the last.

#708 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 09:25 PM:

John M Burt @ 708... "seize the coffee" in Latin

It's "Café Diem", according to TV show "Eureka".

#709 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 09:28 PM:

A.J. Luxton #373, my grown children attribute their interest in, and success in, science and technical fields to the stories I used to tell them when they were small. In some cases, very very small. I told them things like why there is a rainbow in the sprinkler, and how gravity works, and so on, when they were 4 to 6 years old. We called them "world stories". When I couldn't think how to explain something, I took the responsibility for not being able to figure out how to explain it, and told them to keep asking, and I'd tell them the story just as soon as I got it figured out.

My husband and I are both interested in talking to you about your project; how can we reach you?

#710 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 09:39 PM:

Stefan Jones (#517) -- I am surprised at your doubt as to the clay content of Willamette Valley soils. I've lived here nearly all my life, and in my experience it tends to be high enough in clay content that my yard cracks every summer -- that when my mother did a percolation test for some reason the water never did run out of the hole -- you get the idea.

Prehistoric events (the periodic Missoula Floods and the comings and goings of Lake Allison) left about 80 to 100 feet of alternating layers of gravel, clay, and other stuff throughout the valley, and in some areas up the Columbia as well. It's true, Hillsboro isn't really in the Willamette Valley, but it's in a tributary drainage, and I would have expected that some of the water went there also. (Those alternating layers, each one left behind by the draining of the lake between floods, are responsible for the valley floor being mostly as flat as a sheet of paper, instead of a deep V-shape between the Coast Range and the Cascades.) Fun stuff, not that I'm an expert.

On another topic, are there a lot of Willamette Valley residents here? Seems like there might be.

#711 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 10:18 PM:

Open Threadiness re conventions: the teen and I are going to Dragon*Con, virtually entirely for the fun of it, though I'm doing three panels to earn my keep. It will be my first major con for fun in pretty much forever, and I'll be celebrating my birthday during the trip.

Anyone else going to be there?

#712 ::: Stephen Sample ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 10:42 PM:

Paul A @260: Assuming that's the Colin Baker episode I'm thinking of, the Doctor does play part of Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor on it.

I'd be inclined to say that the ability to play music on it qualifies it as a real instrument.

#713 ::: Stephen Sample ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 10:44 PM:

Me @ 713: ...and of course, that's Paul A @ 680, not 260.

#714 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 10:54 PM:

Melissa Singer @712 -

I will being going to DragonCon. I'm a little disappointed that we weren't able to get the sewing machine fixed so I could make a costume or two - I'm going to feel very mundane.

#715 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 11:21 PM:

nerdycellist @715: Sorry about your sewing machine lack; how frustrating!

I join you in mundaneity, which is my usual condition, though my teen will dress a little (she bears a striking resemblance to Ramona Flowers, who she was at NYCC last fall, to great acclaim, and will also probably bring her storebought Trek costume).

#716 ::: Rainflame ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 11:56 PM:

I'm another Willamette Valley resident (Eugene/Springfield). My soil seems to have a lot of clay also.

#717 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2011, 01:00 AM:

Older @ 711: I'm another Willamette Valley gardener. Clay indeed -- I keep the soil amendments coming! I've gardened at 3 different houses now, and I haven't had any serious drainage problems.

My parents retired to an area in the southeast with very sandy soil. When I helped my mom out with their yard there, I was appalled at how much you have to water -- the water just vanished.

#718 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2011, 01:36 AM:

Older @ 111:

Sort of a Willamette Valley resident: I live in SW Portland, on the west side of the hills below Council Crest. So I'm on the other side of the hill from the Willamette River itself, but in the drainage which ultimately goes back to the Willamette further south and west.

#719 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2011, 10:03 AM:

Melissa Singer @712: Oh ghods, another Virgo! Hi there. I'm not going to DCon, but my birthday will have been two days before. I recommend cons as birthday prezzies to oneself.

#720 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2011, 10:34 AM:

Jacque @ 720: Alas, my family is full of 'em. My mother's birthday is a few days after mine and my uncle, my niece, and one of my little cousins were born in the first couple of weeks of September.

Obviously the adults in our family enjoy celebrating Chanukah and the New Year.

In my early years in the publishing world, I spent many birthdays at Worldcon. Generally, however, I was working, so the celebrating was minimal.

Two stick out in my memory: once my then-boyfriend sent a dozen roses to me at the convention hotel, an extravagant waste of money that was nonetheless much appreciated, and the 1984 LA Worldcon, where a group of friends and I celebrated by going to Disneyland on Labor Day. We had a blast and it was a huge relief after a lot of hard work.

#721 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2011, 11:25 AM:

They appear to have moved Worldcons earlier in the month which is Heresy I Tell You Heresy!!

Ahem. Which is a moot point anyway, given that I haven't had the chips to do any Worldcon save Denvention in about fifteen years.

I had my 21st birthday at Iguanacon in Phoenix. All puffed up, I decided to Buy My First Drink.

Waited for the bartender to card me. And waited. Finally prodded him: "Oh, the drinking age in Arizona is 19." What a let-down!

#722 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2011, 11:36 AM:

Jacque, when I worked at Water Pik, I'd go to Friday Afternoon Club with others from the assembly line, which was held at The Lift Ticket. It was a 21 place. After two or three weeks, it occurred to me that I wasn't 21.

I guess the explanation is that (1) I was almost 21, and (2) I didn't drink anything. Or maybe (3) nobody gave a continental anyway.

#723 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2011, 12:42 PM:

Kip: Yeah, well, I'd pretty much gotten all of my bar-hopping out of the way by the time I was 20, anyway.

Still, it was the principle of the thing, you know?

#724 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2011, 01:00 PM:

Jacque @ #722:

We're none of us big drinkers in my family, but family lore has it that my mother turned 21 just in time for the minimum driving age in this state to be dropped to 18.

#725 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2011, 01:01 PM:

Julie L. @704: I haven't thought of this in a while:

I have a low bacon number to a tragedy that took place in Boulder some years ago. Seems that one of the kids murdered one of the parents in their home in a particularly grisley fashion, then lay in wait and tried to murder the other parent when they got home.

Well, the other parent managed to fend the kid off. Police were called, ambulance carried the surviving parent off to the ER.

Local paper quoted surviving parent as saying, "I don't understand. I love my children!"

It seems that by this point, another sib had already been hospitalized for multiple suicide attempts.

An acquaintance of mine was somewhat closer to the situation, and knew the surviving parent through work. "Consider a situation," the friend said, "in which the attacking kid's behavior is, um, a reasonable response."

I never got any more detail than that. But that's probably already more than I really want to know.

#726 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2011, 01:02 PM:

Serge @ #709:

Clearly none of the geniuses in Eureka are linguists. I'm no genius, and even I can see why "Café Diem" can't possibly be "Seize the coffee".

#727 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2011, 01:07 PM:

Paul A @ 727... I wonder if Eureka has a seafood place called "Carp Diem".

#728 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2011, 01:20 PM:

OTOH "Café the Day" has a nice meaningless ring to it.

#729 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2011, 01:52 PM:

Jacque, #722: Worldcon has moved because Dragon*Con (which used to be in July) shifted to Labor Day weekend and settled there. Too many people in the industry want (or need) to go to both events.

Chicon 7 (next year's Worldcon) is GOING to be on Labor Day Weekend, because it's TRADITIONAL, dammit! I think it's going to hurt them, perhaps more than they realize.

Speaking of Worldcons, what's the status on plans for a Gathering of Light in Reno? I'm trying to make dinner plans with friends, and if it's going to be a dinner gathering I want to make sure I don't have a conflict.

#730 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2011, 01:56 PM:

I might be able to attend DragonCon, perhaps for a day or two. (I live a bit over an hour away, so day tripping is possible if not convenient.) I'll be happy to join you in festive mundanity, as I've been using my costuming-fu on behalf of my neighbors' 11 year old daughter's steampunk costuming. Quite adorable, in menacing sort of way.

#731 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2011, 02:04 PM:


As of right now there isn't an official Fluorospherian party: the party-rooms are all booked up*.

*although I read that regular rooms on certain floors can be used for parties? I've got a hotel room in the Atlantis.

#732 ::: VictorS ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2011, 02:15 PM:

Catching up after a long absence.

On the Gathering of Light: It looks like I'll actually attend Renovation; I'd love to meet y'all.

On Worldcons: one other reason for moving away from Labor Day weekend seems to be the difficulty of getting reasonably-priced hotel space over the holiday. Which is surprising - I believe a lot of cons got going because business hotels had spare capacity on holiday weekends.

On cupcakes: I haven't found a pan-liner that will allow proper browning of the cupcake (muffin) sides. A silicone cupcake pan should get the job done, but they're shockingly expensive unless you find them remaindered or on deep discount. They also need to be supported on a cookie sheet, which might be a drawback. Note that I may have a fundamental misunderstanding of the cupcake nature - I don't like losing half my pastry peeling paper off it.

#733 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2011, 03:12 PM:

Jacque #722:

The first time I got carded was on my 21st birthday. What was weird was, the drinking age had dropped to 18 a year or so earlier.

#734 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2011, 03:32 PM:

Jacque, the recent death of Eugene Fodor brought to mind a chain of thoughts (he had been in All-State Orchestra with my sisters one year, or maybe two) leading to an imperfect recollection. All-State was held at a campus where there had been a rather gruesome, headline-grabbing beating death not too long before, and one of my sister's fellow musicians suggested they head over to [Name Forgotten] Hall "and hunt for teeth."

My reaction at the time was the expected "Ugh! Tee hee." mix of feelings, appropriate enough considering that we lived just below the foothills of the Front Range, and for years there was the Deerheart Inn up on the other side of Horsetooth Reservoir, where people would eat and drink, and they'd have to get their post-drink selves into the car to go home; so they'd manage to thread their way around the south end of the reservoir, and down the hill, and not wipe out until they passed our house and got to the wide, gravelly curve leading onto Taft Hill Road, where we kids would go poke around the crash scene and never find anything more interesting than pieces of glass, alas.

#735 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2011, 04:58 PM:

Mmmmmm, Vietnamese iced coffee!

(Café Diem?)

(Never mind.)

#736 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2011, 05:42 PM:

The little slow lorises look just like Norfin trolls.

#737 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2011, 05:54 PM:

Things that piss off Xopher, part 1124: Hege Dalen and Toril Hansen rescued 40 teens from the Utöya massacre (multiple trips in their boat, being shot at more than once), but their heroism was largely ignored at first, apparently because they are a Lesbian couple.

I don't expect Faux News to come out with "Married Lesbian Couple Saves Teens from Christian Terrorist," but the New York Times? The Guardian?

#738 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2011, 05:57 PM:

Have a comment being held for review. Only one link, but maybe Words of Power.

#740 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2011, 06:37 PM:

Yet another example of hanging, er, dangling participles: "there's the plane hijacker on the run with a bundle of cash named DB Cooper."

Just thought I'd share.

#741 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2011, 06:59 PM:

What's the other leg called?

#742 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2011, 06:59 PM:

Older @711: My husband is from the Willamette Valley, and we lived there for a year. I grew up in the Sacramento Valley, which has a near-identical soil composition in terms of clay, and for much the same reason (long-term inundation1.) Currently I have a raised bed that I made by digging a bit, breaking up a hay bale, then spreading the dug up dirt and compost over the top. I still had to poke multiple holes with a spading fork to ensure drainage. Clay does NOT want to drain.

Victor: I had trouble for a long time with greasing pans successfully. I finally figured out that I had to spread oil around with my fingers—if I used a towel or a brush, I wouldn't get enough on the sides to prevent sticking. Messy but successful.

1The San Francisco Bay drains through a deep outlet called the Golden Gate (under the famous bridge.) Apparently, that outlet didn't used to exist; it's a few bare miles from the San Andreas Fault and plate movement eventually broke that outlet open. Before then, the greatly enlarged inland sea drained over what is now Santa Clara County. Take a topographical map and cover over the first fifty or sixty feet and you can get an idea of where the good farmland is.

#743 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2011, 08:53 PM:

Hands-on history lesson.

Florida Atlantic University's journalism class produces one issue using the tech available prior to the age of the PC. Hilarity -- and education -- ensue.

#744 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2011, 09:29 PM:

Kathryn @ 732: As of right now there isn't an official Fluorospherian party: the party-rooms are all booked up.

If we can't find a room, and there's too many for a restaurant, maybe we could hit the local park for an al fresco GoL?

Yori Park

We'd want to make it early or late enough to avoid the worst of the heat, though.

Based purely on the event list, Thursday evening might be the least overstuffed time slot.

#745 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2011, 10:59 PM:

My road to a deficit-free budget: the Republicans pass enough tax increases to get enough revenue to meet Bush's last budgeted expenditures, and the Democrats then make enough cuts to put things say 1% in the black. Seems to me like the GOP can hardly object: after all, they passed those expenditures three years ago, so they can hardly object to raising the necessary revenues.

#746 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2011, 11:38 PM:

C. Wingate #746: No, no, you're not getting the point here. The Republicans want to "shrink the government down to where we can drown it in the bathtub". And that's pretty close to their exact words!

You can't very well do that if you insist on covering expenditures, can you?

#747 ::: siriosa ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2011, 11:47 PM:

Lee @744: That's terrific. Thanks for pointing at it.

#748 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 01:00 AM:

If your contract allows you to take a "personal day" with pay and without notice because the Sun is shining, are you collecting Carpe Diem pay?

#749 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 01:24 AM:

David Harmon @ 747: Republican actions trump Republican rhetoric, and specific demands trump general aspirations. Specifically, the combination of an imperial-scale military, a naughtily tentaculate security state, and a Soviet-scale prison system, requires me to believe in an implausibly big bathtub.

That the Republican leadership would quite like to 'cut government' by leaving it formally beggared, and then selling all its powers and prerogatives to themselves at bargain basement prices, is on the other hand a proposition I would not care to try and refute.

#750 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 01:25 AM:

I'm not sure if I understand the "drown in a bathtub" concept. Is that possible? I'd like to see for a demonstration, maybe on Grover Norquist.

#751 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 01:26 AM:

HLN: Area man attempts to make chicken paprikash, only to find that when he shakes his tin of Hungarian hot paprika, what comes out is not paprika at all but strange round dark objects looking a little like sesame seeds. On closer inspection they appear to be insect eggs. Area man shudders, discards the contents of the pan (and the tin!) and goes back out to the market to get something from the deli counter.

(Local market has an excellent deli counter, but area man was looking forward to the chicken paprikash.)

(There was paprika in the tin when I bought it, and again up to some months ago. My best guess is that there were some eggs in it when it was tinned, and then the eggs hatched, and the insects then gorged themselves on paprika, laid more eggs, and died.)

#752 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 01:36 AM:

John @ 749

No idea, but if so, it follows that if you spend a sick day at home, petting the cat, it's purr diem...

#753 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 01:38 AM:

David Goldfarb @752: I remember, when I was first living away from my parents, an apartment-mate warning me that paprika was especially prone to harboring insects and/or their eggs, and to make sure that the paprika came out in powder, not clumps, as the clumps were likely to be concealing insect eggs. No explanation WHY, but thought you might like to know.

#754 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 02:50 AM:

Sneaky Hungarians, infiltrating American kitchens through paprika.

Do the Feds know about this?

#755 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 07:20 AM:

Linkmeister: those were larval Hungarians? It's worse than I thought!

#756 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 07:53 AM:

David Goldfarb #752: Eeek! I hope that garbage bag went straight to the dumpster (or local equivalent)!

I've similarly learned recently that when you smack a cockroach and a rectangular-ish piece comes off, that's not "bug guts", it's their egg case, which they were carrying,.

#757 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 09:07 AM:

Aw, baby cockroaches, how cute...

#758 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 10:37 AM:

David G #752, Rikibeth #754:

Area woman has noticed this phenomenon in the past, most notably some decades ago when she volunteered to make a party dip using the kitchen and spices of the hosts of the party. Embarrassment ensued. (Curiously enough, David, this was in Houston.)

I've noticed that this seems to happen with tins, not glass jars, and had theorized that it was something creeping in from outside, so I have been keeping my tinned spanish smoked hot paprika (aka pimenton) in a baggie. I just don't trust the Szeged stuff any more. Now I'm not sure I should trust anything else, drat you.

#759 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 10:58 AM:

I've never noticed any problems with my Szeged tins, but I wonder if keeping them in a very high cabinet, and not otherwise having an insect problem (besides miller moths, which I got rid of, and have prevented a recurrence by not buying out of the Whole Foods bulk bins) has helped with that.

#760 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 11:04 AM:

Anybody else having a lot of trouble with Yahoo Mail? My password didn't work, even though it's the same password (and has to be) for Yahoo Messenger, which logged on just fine.

#761 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 11:30 AM:

Xopher @761: no problems (currently) on my end, but Yahoo mail is often buggy.

#762 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 11:47 AM:

Lee @730: Hmphf. Why couldn't DragonCon move? Eh? Hmphf.

Kip W @735: Juvenile humans are remarkably gruesome little monsters, aren't they?

B. Durbin @743: During one of Jon Singer's visits out here, we collected a couple of buckets of bentonite clay from a friend's yard. I put a bunch of it in a big tub of water, mixed thoroughly, with the intention of letting it settle out and draining off the water and any contaminants.

Damn stuff never did settle. I'm not sure you could get a better suspension with corn starch. Weird stuff, bentonite.

greasing pans successfully

Easy peasy: color over the surface of the pan, using a frozen stick of butter as if it were a crayon.

C. Wingate @746: Seems to me like the GOP can hardly object: after all, they passed those expenditures three years ago, so they can hardly object to raising the necessary revenues.

::snort!:: ObB5: "Green!" "Purple!"

@752-760: I keep my spices in sealed containers in the freezer. "Infest that, you buggers!"

#763 ::: Joseph M. ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 11:57 AM:

Xopher @761: It's been fine for me this morning, but I was having quite a bit of trouble last night. It was helped when I switched from Firefox to Chrome, but whether that was a browser or just a timing fix I don't know.

#764 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 12:09 PM:

David Harmon@757: The tin went into a baggie, the baggie and the pan contents went into the trash, the trash went straight outside, yes.

Rikibeth@754: Now you tell me. <grin> My local market has jarred paprika (along with numerous other spices) in their bulk section; I'll look to see if they have hot paprika as well as sweet, and keep it in clear plastic bags if so.

#765 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 12:10 PM:

Huh. I just updated to Lion on the Mac, and it may be unrelated, but in Firefox, some things show up in a screwy, scrawly fake hand font. Wikipedia, for instance, and when I write a comment for LiveJournal I get the same thing. Encoding is UTF-8, but even when I change that it still happens. (This is still happening even after rebooting the system, and I can't find anything in Firefox's preferences that seems to address the problem.)

#766 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 12:16 PM:

The Modesto Kid @758 -- the common brown cockroach goes through several recognizable instars (growth stages) -- for odd definitions of cute, the small ones are actually pretty neat. Now, one of the big problems I have with praying mantides is that they look like attenuated giant cockroaches....

#767 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 12:25 PM:

Tracie, my sympathies.

#768 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 12:58 PM:

C. Wingate, #746: Seems to me like the GOP can hardly object: after all, they passed those expenditures three years ago, so they can hardly object to raising the necessary revenues.

That's applying logic and reason, which are seriously out of fashion in the Republican Party these days. Not only are they perfectly capable of passing the expenditures while simultaneously objecting to raising the revenue, they then use the resulting disasters as an example of "why government doesn't work"... and there are people who BUY it.

Jacque, #763: That's kind of my point. Dragon*con did move, to the date that was most advantageous for them. THEY don't think the fannish universe revolves around Worldcon, and this is very much a case of "Where does the 800-pound gorilla sit? Anywhere he wants to sit!" Nor does Worldcon have the leverage to do the same thing in reverse, because they have deliberately limited the size of their event.

#769 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 02:11 PM:

Kip W @766:

I found that the CSS on several sites (including the Making Light back end and Wikipedia) simply didn't load on Firefox after I upgraded to Lion*. I cleared my caches and it all got better.

* OK, now read that again without knowing that those animal words are computer programs. And swap them with other animal words. "It didn't load on Beaver after I upgraded to Gazelle."

#770 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 02:17 PM:

Abi @ 770... Leave IT to Beaver.

#771 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 02:20 PM:

Xopher -

I have been having periodic trouble with yahoomail this week. I have two accounts I check, and half the time I'll sign out of A and sign back in with B, but the mail page it shows me will be A. Also, they keep wanting me to sign in on a redesigned page that never works.

In other nooz, I just completed my Giant Company's Conduct training (just in case I was wondering whether I should accept that bribe from the governmental head of the developing nation I am trying to distribute product to...) and ran across this delightful piece of advice:
"On the job or in your free time, nothing you do should conflict with your responsibilities or duty of loyalty to the Company".

So now I'm going to have to ask myself things like "Does my birthday part conflict with my DUTY of loyalty to the company? Would a princess cake make me less loyal?"

#772 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 02:40 PM:

Serge @ 771: Or else we risk gorilla warfare?

#773 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 02:55 PM:

nerdycellist @772: "Does my birthday part conflict with my DUTY of loyalty to the company? Would a princess cake make me less loyal?"

Oh, dear. We have "code of conduct" training coming up where I work. I wonder if we'll get these same kind of non-informative instructions.

#774 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 03:22 PM:

Anyone have any ideas about how to help an almost 78-yo woman not be afraid of her computer/the internet?

It's fear, more than anything else, that is keeping my mother from learning anything about being online.

(And I mean anything--she panics when you tell her to close a window.)

#775 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 03:43 PM:

jacque @ 774 -

Our training was done entirely on the computer. I think it's basically so that in the event that someone with a lot of responsibility goes and does something bad, like insider trading or bribing government officials, etc., the Company can say, "Well, we made them complete and sign off on this Corporate Ethics policy..." Most of what was covered was and ever shall be over my paygrade. I do not handle sourcing, I'm never offered big gifts, and in any event, my ethics are generally much more stringent than corporate ethics - which was pretty much borne out by the random, drive-by mention in the training material that it was Wrong to do a [certain thing] even if The Company told you to do it. So not only does the Code hold me to its standards, now I am expected to be responsible for the Company as well.

For example... the one question I got wrong on the quiz gave a scenario wherein someone sends a racist email to everyone in the office except for the minority. There were three options for the answer, one was "nothing is wrong, people just need to laugh" or something, one suggested that it was questionable because it "might conflict with the Company's code of conduct", and the third stated that it created a hostile work environment. I chose that last one - the real answer was the wishy-washy, "maybe it conflicts with the Company's code". The word "WRONG" never appeared in that answer.

At any rate, the "DUTY OF LOYALTY" wording makes me worry less about being fired, and more about being court martialled.

#776 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 03:50 PM:

Melissa Singer @775: And I mean anything--she panics when you tell her to close a window.

Well, in the spirit of juggling (the first move you learn is The Drop), I'd have her do safe things that scare her a lot.

The challenge is to give her some mental model of how the computer works and what it's doing. Absent that, any given operation feels like it could spell disaster. And what model will work for her depends a lot on how much she's tracked the evolution of tech.

Don't know what kind of time you want to put into this project, but probably the first thing I'd do is contact your local senior center and find out (a) if they have any computer classes for seniors, and/or (b) if they know any seniors who are computer savvy who'd be willing to do some coaching/tutoring.

Because the trick is to provide her the resources to build an understanding that makes sense to her.

#777 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 03:54 PM:

nerdycellist @776: it was Wrong to do a [certain thing] even if The Company told you to do it.

Is Company Policy written so as to back up up if you refused such an order? (Hey! You in back! Stop laughing.)

#778 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 03:55 PM:

Abi, I cleared Firefox's cache, and I'm still getting a somewhat florid and baroque-looking scribetacular version of Wikipedia. A pox on it, but thanks anyway.

#779 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 03:56 PM:


s/back up up/back you up/

#780 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 04:10 PM:

Jacque @#777 wrote: The challenge is to give her some mental model of how the computer works and what it's doing. Absent that, any given operation feels like it could spell disaster. And what model will work for her depends a lot on how much she's tracked the evolution of tech.

This, very much. And, alas, she hasn't.

Example: a couple of years ago Nintendo came out with a crossword puzzle game for the DS. It took about 3 months of repeated explanations for her to understand that she could not just buy the _game_--she had to own one of the handheld devices as well.

Example: she was thinking, until perhaps this week, of buying a Nook Color--and upgrading to a wireless internet connection because then she wouldn't have to turn on the computer in order to download books. (that's how afraid she is of the computer.) I think we finally talked her out of this purchase, mainly because dd and I really did not want to become tech support.

She's become conversant with advances in TV/VHS/DVD, but each adjustment has been long in coming and painful for her and for me (see tech support, above. I do all her installations and fixes. When TV went HD, it took me a couple of months to get us both hooked up properly, largely because she didn't believe about half of what I told her she had to buy/do.)

> Don't know what kind of time you want to put into this project, but probably the first thing I'd do is contact your local senior center and find out (a) if they have any computer classes for seniors, and/or (b) if they know any seniors who are computer savvy who'd be willing to do some coaching/tutoring.Because the trick is to provide her the resources to build an understanding that makes sense to her.

#781 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 04:11 PM:

nerdycellist @ 772... "On the job or in your free time, nothing you do should conflict with your responsibilities or duty of loyalty to the Company"

In other words, your life is secondary to what your Employer wishes.

"Life! It's wasted on the Living!"
- Eric Roberts (as the Master) to Paul McGann (as the Doctor)

#782 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 04:13 PM:

WRT to weird corporate policies & pronouncements, the odds are good that it's being driven by lawyers afraid of potential liability.

"Hey. we're sorry that our VP pushed you down the stairs, but in our defense, we do have a policy concerning that very issue, and all employees are required to read it. See the attached file, employees_should_not_push.pdf"

#783 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 04:24 PM:

Serge @ 782:

Youth is wasted on the young.
Who else would it be wasted on?
Another thing my daddy said:
Life is wasted on the living,
Death is wasted on the dead.

--Peter Blegvad, Loss To Mourn

#784 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 04:44 PM:

"Ignore him. He's a common thief."
"As common as they come. But nothing compared to you. I steal gold and money. But you steal people's lives. So damn you! And damn the horse that brung you."
- Three-fingered Jack in "The Mask of Zorro"

#785 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 04:47 PM:

David Goldfarb @765, now, that's hardly fair. If I'd been there in the grocery store when you put the tin of paprika into your cart, I'd have mentioned it then, but I wasn't there, was I? Nor did you invite me to help you cook the chicken paprikash (which, just as a point of information, I love). This was the first I knew of it! ;-)

#786 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 04:48 PM:

Melissa Singer @781: Here's a snarky suggestion. Depending on financing, maybe she should hire a neighborhood kid to operate the computer for her? You know, like hiring someone to mow the lawn?

Another avenue to deal with the fear (again, in the vein of The Drop) is to buy a REALLY CHEAP old computer off craigslist or something, give it to her, and say, "Okay, go ahead. Break it. I dare ya! Sorry, no hammers allowed."

#787 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 04:49 PM:

I don't know if you heard, but DHHS ruled that health insurance plans have to cover birth control, in all shapes and sizes, because it is basic preventative care. Understandably pleased by an official acknowledgement of this reality of human reproduction, Planned Parenthood released a celebratory video which is of course in the form of a Bollywood-esque dance number. Of course!

#788 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 04:54 PM:

heresiarch @ 788... Oh, this video is great!

#789 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 04:56 PM:

To dredge back up the barefooting stuff from earlier, this is the best deal on Five Fingers I've ever seen...if you wear a 44-47 (That's 10.5-13-ish in U.S. Men's).

I'm flexible on where the Fluorosocial happens, but I also will have a room in the Atlantis, idea what floor.

#790 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 04:59 PM:

Jacque @#787: Alas, my mother hath a sharp tongue; I fear any hired help would feel the edge of it soon enough.

#791 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 05:03 PM:

Melissa, could it be worth asking your mother what she thinks about how her computer works and what might break it?

#792 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 05:05 PM:

Melissa Singer #775: Ouch. At her age, there's going to be a limited amount you can do, especially with current-era computers and their cryptic graphic interfaces. One quick thought before getting into tech issues -- is there any chance that her response to computers is part of a more general anxiety disorder, which might be treatable?

That said, here's how I'd go about it. In all cases, assume lots of handholding and reminders, but be alert for cases where your explanation is just not making sense in her world, and you need to explain it differently. As always, YMMV.

0) Talk about the screen, and how to look "into" it rather than "at" it. Then the mouse with its pointer, and finally the keyboard. Make sure to mention that "typing at" the keyboard only works when the computer is expecting it, but there are also "commands" which do various things even when you can't just type a message.♪

1) Introduce her to the "homunculus" model for programs, being careful to explain that these "little people" only know about their own jobs, and can't see outside the screen, nor hear anything that's not typed into their program. Explain how the computer has several different programs in it each doing different things, and go on with "the OS is a special program, whose main job is making a place for all the others to work inside".

2) Then work on teaching her what a window is, and how each window belongs to one program, but a program can have more than one window. Show her how to drag windows around, how to minimize and restore them, where they go when minimized, how they can go in and out of "focus", and so forth. Finish this stage with a brief introduction to the idea of menus.

3) Then pick out one or two programs to focus on, that will be "her" programs. Show her how to tell if the program is already running, and how to run it if it isn't. Show where "her stuff" is inside the program, how to play with it without breaking out of the program, how to save her work and load it back later (according to the nature of the program). Make sure the program defaults are set to a natural "Download directory", and show her how to find that directory with the file manager.

4) Once she's mastered that, you can start pointing out the "modal behavior"♫ of her program -- how to tell whether the program is expecting you to type text or not, how to do a multi-step task like writing and sending a message, perhaps even how to select things and copy/paste them.

5) If she's still with you, you can talk about the directory tree and different kinds of files, or whatever seems appropriate to her needs.

♪ For my very first computer job, I was (inter alia) teaching several older folks, including one terrified senior citizen who would poke at the keyboard, then ask "now what do I do?", without even attempting to read what was on the screen. It took me a little while to realize that she was looking at the monitor, rather than into the screen.

♫ This part is where my own Mom has the most trouble; she was fine back in the days of command lines, but the modality of a graphical interface is really confusing to her.

#793 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 05:25 PM:

My 80-something mother has taken to the Mac far better than she ever did with Windows, but there are still a lot of things which worry her, and I've discovered my patience level isn't as high as it ought to be.

On the other hand, imagine if you were trying to teach a senior how to use the 30-year-old-this-week MS-DOS.

#794 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 05:59 PM:

heresiarch #788: Oh, there's some scary bits in that article:

only 38% of all U.S. births result from unintended pregnancies.

Emphasis mine -- "only" 38%?! (Also, 51% of "publically funded" births, as if the births wouldn't have happened without someone to pay for the medical care.) Gaah.

#795 ::: Idgecat ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 06:10 PM:

On seniors and computers -- I'd be cautious about using the 'homunculus model'. Back in the '90s I taught computer skills at a low-income computer lab, we had a mix of students: elderly, disabled, kids. If the student has any tendency toward assigning blame or paranoia that model spells all sorts of trouble. Some people (sadly my father among them) basically take that model as an excuse to rage at the computer if anything doesn't go as expected. I took to using automotive analogies instead, a lot of comparing computer functions to the various controls and displays in a car. Safer.

#796 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 06:38 PM:

Oh, FOO. My favorite IT elf is leaving. I have my theories about why, and said elf has my sympathies. Grumble. Now we have to go back to Doing Things Correctly. Hmph.

#797 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 07:00 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz @792: Melissa, could it be worth asking your mother what she thinks about how her computer works and what might break it?

THANK you. That was the thought that's been writhing around under the old socks in the back of my mind that I was trying to find.

Similarly, if it's breaking the computer that she's afraid of. (That being the traditional anxiety.) Might ask her, "what are you afraid of?" With all the scare stories going around, she might be afraid of somebody sneaking in and stealing her identity or something equally not-implausible.

#798 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 07:05 PM:

How weird. I just got the error message:

Your comment submission failed for the following reasons:
Too many comments have been submitted from you in a short period of time. Please try again in a short while.

...but the comment went through anyway. I wonder, did it choke off a double-post?

#799 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 07:47 PM:

Idgecat #796: Hmm. Being a non-driver, I Wouldn't Have Thought Of car analogies, and I'm still confused as to how you could take that past "those are controls, these are controls too".

I also wouldn't mind people raging at the computer, which can take verbal abuse without complaint. (Of course, if they're liable to physically attack it, that's another story!) Yeah, it's unproductive, but frankly, I'd rather they gripe about "that dumb program" than turn their frustrations against themselves with "oh, I'm just too stupid for this" or such, much less take it out on me!

#800 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 07:58 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz #792: Um, ouch. Yes, that comes first!

Linkmeister #794: Well, Mom wasn't a senior back then, but like I said, she actually did much better with the old Apple II and MS-DOS systems. Incantations she can handle fine. Figuring out which icon to push, or why pushing the button isn't doing what is usually does (e.g. modal dialog box, otherwise-wrong program context) -- well, that's tough.

I have to say that every time I work on her Windows box I end up with a headache, and I don't think it's all because I'm used to Ubuntu. Particular offenders are Picasa and her version of MS Word (2007?), for gratuitously non-standard control interfaces. And when I realized that Windows 7 had done away with the menu bar (at least by default), I was dumbstruck with WTF!

#801 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 08:12 PM:

"Duty of loyalty" is usually both reasonable, and innocuous to the honest--it's a rare example of something that sounds like it should be an HR "everything not required is forbidden" and then isn't.

In my line of work, "duty of loyalty" means that at work, and when dealing with information I have because of my work, I work for the company's benefit. I am fairly routinely in possession of seriously confidential information--"duty of loyalty" basically means "don't use it to enrich yourself/your friends."

#802 ::: Idgecat ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 08:16 PM:

David Harmon @ 800

Some of our clients/students were prone to physically attacking 'those evil computers' if they thought of the machines in anything resembling human terms.

Car analogies actually worked quite well so long as you included the various types of input required by different systems in a car (gas, water, radio controls, etc.) and were less likely to result in the instructor or machine being attacked by a frustrated student. Better they thought of the computer as a purely mechanical device than anything remotely resembling a person.

#803 ::: Dawno ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 08:18 PM:

Will also be at WorldCon, in the dealer's room hocking my wares. I'd love to come to a Fluorosphere meet-up, hoping it's not on Thursday night, though, I'm doing a "make it-take it" as part of the Art Night festivities that evening.

#804 ::: Dawno ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 08:19 PM:

oh darn - not "hocking" - I meant 'hawking'. Brain & fingers not connected today.

#805 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 08:41 PM:

Dawno @ 805... Darn. I was all set to look for Stephen Hocking's "A Brief History of Dime".

#806 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 08:53 PM:

Idgecat #803: Yikes! I'm quite glad I haven't had to deal with that sort of hazard. I'm still kind of stumped as to how to extend the car analogies properly, but then as I noted above, it's not such a natural metaphor for me.

And yes, the car analogy does have the advantage that unlike "little people", there's no prospect of bullying or intimidating the car (which property correctly transfers to the computer).

#807 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 09:02 PM:

various OTing as I've spent two weeks effectively AFK (yea, Toronto Nationals!):

- re: DragonCon, and Rikibeth: I thought Jennie Breeden made it clear that skirts and Docs were Correct Attire. Oh, and for those of that bent, "men in kilts with a leafblower."

- Tracie, condolences. I'm glad you were able to do something important for your mother in the process.

- Corporate Loyalty: the company deserves exactly the loyalty from me they give to me. I'm expected to be a shining example of The Company 24x7? I'm getting paid 24x7, right? No? I do promise to do nothing that will violate Company policy on Company time, even if I would be doing it off company time (i.e drinking in the evening to the point of being impaired at work) - that's okay. But otherwise? Unless I do something illegal, what I do do is None of your Concern and Not under your Control. Oh, and what's your policy on X? Because I'm not changing my position through a so-called "duty to loyalty".

- I have much sympathy for the Norwegians (especially the families involved and the Norwegian bridge players that had to be "on the job" in Toronto while this broke). Having said that, I am absolutely freaking over the "he's not really a Christian" crap (at least what Jon Stewart skewered), and the "there must be a muslim connection, and not 'it's time we killed us some muslims'" - and the one I saw today, where we need to make perfectly clear that this guy is unhinged, and isn't thinking clearly - because only brown people want to terrorize, white people are just insane. Sometimes a banana really is a banana, folks.

- Cicadas - I'd forgotten about them since I was away. They were in full song in Toronto, and I actually had to figure out what that buzzing sound was again before it went back to "normal".

- Computers - I found it useful to explain that by and large, if you don't know what you're doing, you can't do anything that will break the computer; that is, if it's off the 'net.

A computer that a person can play with, with tools to do stuff, that is isolated, so that even if it does break, it can be repaired, helps.

Not to hlep, so ignore this if it's inappropriate, but linux-on-a-stick/linux-on-a-CD is really nice for these sorts of things - there's nothing you can really do that can't be fixed by a reboot. OTOH, there's not much you can do that a reboot won't break, either.

- 417 Paul A: Our vegetables are "fresh" and "cheap"! Given what they're selling, shouldn't that be Our vegetable's are "fresh" and "cheap"?

- and Xopher: best wishes and hopes for localisation.

#808 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 09:39 PM:

Mycroft, that "men in kilts with a leafblower" is one of the reasons I don't intend to ever go to Dragon*Con, despite some of my favorite bands regularly performing there in addition to all the sfnal stuff. If it's not funny for someone to blow up MY skirt in public to reveal my underwear or lack thereof, it's no funnier when they do it to a man.

If I hear that that tradition's died out, then I'll change my mind.

#809 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 10:39 PM:

My mother liked to play solitaire on her computer (she started using one in her mid-60s). Games like that are about as non-threatening as anything I can imagine, and pretty close to unbreakable.

#810 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 11:18 PM:

I don't remember any leafblowers last time I was at DragonCon, but there were certainly plenty who seemed to be kilt-newbies; there was a lot of inappropriate bending at the waist, occasionally combined with Going Regimental. Not actually the thing I want to see while I'm enjoying my cup of coffee and danish waiting for a panel to start.*

* unless we've been previously introduced and we are in a less public place.

#811 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 12:40 AM:

Serge Broom @806: I was all set to look for Stephen Hocking's "A Brief History of Dime".

It all started with Number One Dime, followed shortly by a period of rapid expansion, soon reaching the boundaries of the Money Vault.

#812 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 12:41 AM:

heresiarch @ 788: I am absolutely thrilled that birth control will (finally!) be considered normal preventative care, and covered by health insurance. When I was a young woman, the monthly payment for the pill was a painful expense. There are a whole raft of reasons to be glad, yet a Republican relative of mine is ranting on Facebook about how Obama just doesn't understand economics, and this will drive up the cost of business and result in people being laid off. I...w.i.l.l...n.o.t...r.e.p.l.y. (gripping edge of desk)

#813 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 12:51 AM:

heresiarch, #788: Unsurprisingly, a Fox News paid mouthpiece "expert" compared the change to paying for pedicures.

Money quote (from Fox mouthpiece to Planned Parenthood representative): "You all make science a laughing stock. You present science and facts just to present your viewpoint." This after she'd just had every single one of her arguments shot down by hard facts and figures.

#814 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 01:05 AM:

Rob Rusick @ 812... Also known as the Inflationary Model of the Universe?

#815 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 01:09 AM:

Melissa @ 791

On the "hired help" situation -- it's still not entirely out of the question, if finances are not an obstacle. My husband has a lot of elderly clients for whom he does in-home tech support, and he's amazingly patient and sympathetic and good at helping people understand things and get past their initial fears. You might look into whether there's anyone in the area who's really good at that sort of thing -- not the neighborhood kid, but somebody who has invested in developing those specific skills.

#816 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 01:20 AM:

I can easily picture Fox News recommending its viewers go and buy recalled lots of virulent-salmonella-tainted meat, just to show the FDA who was boss.

#817 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 05:25 AM:

David Harmon@793

I'm not sure about trying to explain what the OS is. My mum has been playing about with her computer for at least a decade and can change settings etc., but still doesn't have a basic understanding of the model; it just seems to slide off when explained to her. To most normal users, I think the OS is as irrelevant as the desk the computer's sitting on.

I like your 3) though - there's an excellent chance Melissa Singer's mum is really only interested in a couple of programs which can be installed, set up, and then broadly left alone.

At the risk of being helpy, can I suggest something like an iPad, with a more appliance-y model that rarely exposes its guts? It's more difficult to break something that assumes its users should never see behind the curtain in the first place, which seems to be the Apple mindset. The other advantage is the touch UI: the majority of us are so familiar with a monitor-keyboard-mouse interface that we don't rememver having to learn it, but a touch screen is genuinely intuitive right from the get-go*. It depends what your mum wants to do, of course.

* As demonstrated by my 16-month old daughter's ability to play games** on my iPhone!

** In the interests of not oversating things, "play games" here means touching the screen to move along her "animal peekaboo" game. Although, oddly, she hase now discovered that the square button turns the game off and is more interested in doing that (she does the same with the tv remote...). Of course then it gets handed to daddy to turn it on again.

#818 ::: A.J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 06:47 AM:

Older @ 710, my email address is ajluxton at gmail dot com.

Xopher @ 740, etc: I had the bizarre thought recently that, by cutting college funding, the government is simply going into debt indirectly: tuition rises -> students take out unrealistic quantities of loans -> loan forgiveness programs for people who can't pay back unrealistic quantities of loans mean the government takes the hit 10 or 15 years later.

In short, students right now are in charge of borrowing money from the government, on behalf of the government, which the government will then have to pay back later. What an important job! Er.

#819 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 07:23 AM:

nerdycellist, I'm so with you on the "didn't need to see that here and now, even if I'd like it under other circumstances."

My housemate and I have a running joke about it, since we regularly browse some sites that feature male photo models. "You're just minding your own business, looking around the internet, when, all of a sudden, PENIS!"

Honestly, it's not the stills I mind, even. But I could do without the animated gifs.

#820 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 07:50 AM:

Rikibeth, nerdycellist: Jennie Breeden, at least, has made it fairly clear that only explicit volunteers (also, age-checked) are subject to kilt-blowing, and implied that it's happening at specific events (presumably also age-checked) for same.

Of course, that doesn't help with the "Regimental breakfasts"...

#821 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 09:39 AM:

Include me in the group that finds Dragon*Con too have too much "hey, I'm going to include everyone within range in my scene", whether the scene be nudity, bondage, or S&M. You're in a HOTEL. Get a ROOM.

#822 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 10:33 AM:

Rikibeth @ 820... the animated gifs

...or jpecks?

#823 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 10:41 AM:

Re: everyone

Thanks for the many useful suggestions! Seriously, there's stuff here I would never have thought of.

I have thought about an anxiety disorder of some kind but it's too tightly focused, I think, for that. Since my father died, about 8 years ago, mom has managed to manage all kinds of things she's never had to do before: buy a new car on her own, handle her finances (beyond the basics savings and checking accounts), buy new tvs and other equipment, etc. She remains "the busiest retired person I know," working as a volunteer in a local elementary school 2 days a week, knitting for charity as part of a knitter's group, going to museums/movies/theater alone and with friends. I can't help thinking that if she was struggling with depression and anxiety, her life would be more curtailed. She had outpatient knee surgery two years ago and recovery was slower than she liked but eventually complete, and her physical health is overall quite good.

She's also, alas, rather mean and judgmental, though she thinks of it as "being honest." This is also not a new development, though she has gotten harsher as she's gotten older, and is one of those people who believes that one of the privileges of age is the right to speak your mind no matter what (even if you have the facts wrong, as she did about the Dream Act last year, to give only one example). She is, consequently, Always Right and nothing is ever her fault.

Periodically I stop talking to her for several months, after some outrageous interaction (the last time was when she told me I'd bought my teenager a bike that was "too big" and presented herself as an expert in bicycles . . . the last time she bought one must have been 30 years ago, but still, she knows All . . .) .

I have been trying for more than a decade to get her to learn how to use a word-processing program. The woman is a stellar typist and I figured this would be the easiest way for her to become comfortable with a computer. But she refused and refused until her IBM Selectric finally gave up the ghost and she still has to phone me or my daughter to talk her through the basics.

She _is_ worried that her money--not her identity, but her credit card and bank account information--will be stolen online. She does not understand website security. She does no online banking or bill-paying; the recent shift of the US Treasury Bond buying system to online only has been a gigantic problem for us (and was done stupidly by the government, which did not help).

The suggestion of a tablet is very interesting, and other ideas offered were good as well. I will think on this all.

And thanks for listening.

#824 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 11:19 AM:

Promising open threadiness: In this press conference, Republican governor Chris Chrstie says things that seem entirely too sane and rational to hear from a Republican. Specifically, he's defending his appointment of a Muslim as a judge, and more-or-less openly calling the folks attacking the guy for being Muslim a bunch of idiots, while also saying that the concern with Sharia law is a bunch of crap.

I'm sure I'd find a lot to disagree with in his positions and actions in office, but it'd just do refreshing to are a major Republican politician talking like an adult. It may be that this kind of thing happens all the time and I just don't hear about it (Guy in Trusted Powerful Position Behaves and Talks Sensibly doesn't make for a good headline). But my sense is that there is an ugly dynamic in the larger party having to do with the gerrymandering of safe seats and the influence of some high profile Republican media personalities, which selects for eithe saying or believing a bunch of really crazy stuff.

#825 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 12:11 PM:

albatross, when we lived in Virginia some years back, the government ended up completely in Republican hands, and the governor and others figured they could now give everything away to their pals. Without warning, other Republicans in the legislature sort of morphed into Democrats (not in name), putting the brakes under their most egregious excesses. I keep hoping something like that will happen on a national level, but so far the safeguards the Grand Old Party has installed against creeping sanity are holding — on both sides of the aisle, to a too-large extent.

But the earlier incident sometimes gives me a glimmer of hope.

#826 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 01:51 PM:

Chris Weigant's solution to the FAA funding problem, as endorsed by James Fellows of The Atlantic: put all the congresscritters on the no-fly list until they come up with an FAA bill he can sign.

#827 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 02:02 PM:

David Goldfarb in re: spices—Try Penzey's online catalog. We get most of our spices through there and they're fresh and very high-quality without being overpriced.

#828 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 02:02 PM:

HLN: area woman's dentist discovers infection. reconstruction of last root canal postponed; new root canal scheduled for next week. dental insurance maxed out; estimated additional cost $2000.

#829 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 02:22 PM:

Melissa Singer re: hired computer help: Perhaps not to operate the computer for her. But a good computer tutor will undoubtedly have seen your mother's level of computer anxiety before, and will have the ability to remain calm and patient -- or at least simulate calm and patience -- even if they feel the sharp side of her tongue. Ask at senior centers, college CS departments, independent computer-repair shops, to see if they can recommend anyone really good.

It will cost $, but it may be easier for her to accept tutoring from a third party, rather than from a family member. Even without the sort of control/authority issues you've described, adding teacher/student relationship to a family relationship can cause tension, and it sounds like it's guaranteed in your mother's case.

#830 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 02:36 PM:

C Wingate @ 827... Oh, I'd love to see that happen.

#831 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 03:56 PM:

Let them fly to Washington, then put them on the no-fly list.

#832 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 04:13 PM:

Xopher: May all go well for you tomorrow. You'll be in my thoughts.

#833 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 05:08 PM:

About that: I'm to report to the hospital at 5:30 AM tomorrow. Yes, 5:30 AM. Surgery to start at 7:30. We'll see if that happens.

In better news, the cardiologist I saw today said that he's a bit skeptical that I need the heart medicine I've been taking for years. Now's not the time to take me off it, of course, but I'm seeing him again about it in September.

#834 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 05:09 PM:

I hope all goes well!

#835 ::: siriosa ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 05:43 PM:

Xopher: I'll light a candle before I go to bed tonight. May all go well.

#836 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 05:50 PM:

Good news is that good news is still possible:

Polygamist leader found guilty in child rape case

#837 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 06:09 PM:

At minimum, close the Congressional parking lot at National Airport (and if there's one at Dulles, close it too.) Make them walk across the street to the Metro (which would have been right next to the airport, except it would have required ripping up the Congressional parking lot for too long.)

#838 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 06:09 PM:

Stefan, did you read the comments? A load of yahoos slavering over the thought of Jeffs being raped in prison. I'm not saying I find anything about him to be savory, but I think I know where the crowds that used to watch executions has gone.

#839 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 06:33 PM:

Xopher, holding you in my thoughts.

#840 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 06:42 PM:

@Kip: Reading the comments in unmoderated venues like MSNBC is a sure-fire way to get really, really depressed and desiring to live in the forest with only woodland creatures for company.

#841 ::: LMM ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 06:56 PM:

I'm a near-lurker, so you don't know me, but I feel like I know you:

Good luck, Xopher.

#842 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 07:21 PM:

Xopher, you are in my prayers tonight.

#843 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 07:23 PM:

Having spent the last two years trying to fix my dumbass credit wrecking ways, the credit union has just informed me that I'm qualified for an auto loan for about 2x what I'd want to borrow at a not-terrible interest rate. My plans to purchase a friend's 12year old civic with about 140k miles on it at the end of the year may have shifted to buying a lower-mileage certified used car. And this news just a couple of weeks after getting my pension packet (I'm vested? Yay!). I thought cars and pensions were for real grown-ups.

Of course now I get to look forward to the bullshit car-buying process next year.

#844 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 07:48 PM:


I don't know if they handle used cars, but I really liked how AAA's car buying service handled things when I got my Civic.

#845 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 08:17 PM:

Xopher: both of us sending good thoughts here. May everything go smoothly and have the best possible outcome.

#846 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 08:52 PM:

Good thoughts from here too, Xopher.

#847 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 09:15 PM:

Anyone who is in or near London and wants to watch a dance performance based on Webcomix (specifically on Dinosaur Comics and on Subnormality) ought to check out Michael Kelland's show at The Yard.

#848 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 09:16 PM:

The suggestion I heard was to shut down Dulles, Reagan National, and Memphis.

(Memphis? I hear you say.
Yeah, planes with a white-purple-and-orange paint job use it as their hub.
24 hours without shipping and delivery would result in so much screaming that even a tea-party congresscritter should get the message.)

#849 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 09:22 PM:

nerdycellist, sometimes your credit union will take part in an auto sale; ask them if they do that.

Personally, I'd suggest taking someone along to the dealers who can back you up (or shut the salesperson down) - double-teaming the salespeople is good (and can be a lot of fun). Do your homework first, to decide what you want and how much you can afford, and remember that you're going to have to pay sales tax and registration too.

#850 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 09:30 PM:

Best of luck, Xopher!

#851 ::: Laina ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 09:36 PM:

Xopher - Keeping you in my prayers.

#852 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 09:51 PM:

Xopher: you have all my best thoughts too.

#853 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 09:52 PM:

This is just to say that if more people added the phrase "Making Light" to their Google profiles, I'd be happy to add them to my G+ circles.

#854 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 10:17 PM:

Thanks, everyone! I'm out. I've asked my friend Lenore to post updates to the Open Thread, so you may hear from her.

#855 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 10:18 PM:

From the "I never noticed!" file, two Star Trek episodes that were shot on the Andy Griffith "Mayberry" set. The last page has a shot of Captain Kirk and Edith Keeler walking past Floyd's Barber Shop. (linkjacked from RASSF)

#856 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 10:39 PM:

Melissa @ 824 & above...

My husband happened past as I was catching up on this thread, and asks me to additionally note:

1. He works with lots of people who are outspoken like that, and it is much easier to take (and they are generally on better behavior) when the person helping them is not family. You may need to go through a few people to find a good fit, but the results can be very good when you do find someone.

2. Often, in his experience, the fear is "I do not want to break this expensive thing that my child has bought for me." It can be very helpful to get a good backup system -- he says, a disk-image backup system, ideally -- which may help your mom feel more secure that anything she does wrong can be undone relatively easily.

#857 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 11:02 PM:

nerdycellist: One thing we've also found helpful is the ability to walk away, and letting the sales guy know this. The first time we had to buy a used car, we didn't have great terms from our loan (the loan would only pay up to 80% of blue book, and we didn't have anything to add to it because our car barfed up and died at an unfortunate time.) We let the sales guy know and he only showed us cars that fit within those parameters. The experience was positive enough that we recommended the place for years afterwards—something that's not common with car sales, I think.

#858 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 11:11 PM:

B Durbin @ 858... That reminds me of Mad Magazine's spoof of the "Planet of the Apes" movies, when Zaius explains to Taylor that first there are orang-outangs, then chimps, then further down the gorillas, followed by humans and finally used-car salesmen.

#859 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2011, 11:11 PM:

KayTei's husband here.

Follow up to the above comment.

If she only uses her credit card online, the credit card companies are very good about ensuring that if it does get stolen, she will not be out the money.

Additionally, (although you may not want to add to her anxiety by telling her this) much if not most credit card theft and fraud happens through local brick and mortar stores either through employees making extra swipes with the card, or through hackers taking over the stores credit card processing computers.

So using it online with a mainstream vender, such as amazon, is no great increase in insecurity. And the only way to really protect herself is to always check her credit card statements and call in anything she doesn't recognize.

#860 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 12:04 AM:

Now here's an odd little phenomenon I haven't encountered before. Brought home some sweet corn from the store, strip off the husk—and darned if there aren't little tiny leaves poking out, on the silk end of the cob. Like those end-most kernals are sprouting, right there on the cob. Anybody ever see this?

#861 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 12:06 AM:

My roommate and I have already arranged to be our own back-ups. I don't have a car now, so I can walk away no worse than when I came in. My roommate's car is still running, so she's also in no hurry. We're also looking into Costco's car-buying plan, where they pretty much negotiate the price, make sure dealer discounts are applied and set up the test drives for you and you don't really have to deal with the BS.

Why is buying a car so ridiculous? I wouldn't want to make that purchase without a test drive, but with my research-fu (added to my MLIS roommate's superior research-fu) it seems that I should just be able to, I don't know, get a car out of a giant vending machine or whatever, rather than doing all this dancing around silliness.

Now I have to figure out how much cash I'll need to have on hand, in addition to the CU loan.

#862 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 01:23 AM:

Interesting phone call I got this evening:

A local health agency worker cold-calling to track down a possible outbreak of e. coli infections (if that's the word) in the area.

The survey ended when I admitted that, no, there were no 60 year old women living in the house.


I wonder if they were looking for a particular person that someone with the disease had contact with.

#863 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 01:43 AM:

All extremities crossed on Xopher's behalf.

#864 ::: mjfgates ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 02:49 AM:

Jacque@861: I've seen the same phenomenon this year (corn shoots growing out of the end of a cob), just this year. I wonder if it's related to the incredibly early corn season this year-- we started seeing fresh corn in the supermarkets during the first week of May, which is just completely nuts.

A bit of open threadiness. Dover Publications does a whole bunch of neat paper doll books. This month's interesting one is "steampunk Peter Pan", featuring this Captain Hook: . He IS too sexy for his hat, ooh yeah.

#865 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 03:20 AM:

Thinking of you, Xopher.

#866 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 04:19 AM:

Thinking of you, Xopher, as the day passes.

#867 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 09:43 AM:

Adding my good thoughts for Xopher.

#868 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 10:14 AM:

Thinking good thoughts for Xopher as well.

#869 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 10:53 AM:

Xopher: Candle to Brighid lit for you (electric because I can't have open flame at work) and Tara has been petitioned on your behalf.

I will (re)light the candles on my altar I lit for you this morning when I get home from work...

All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well...

#870 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 11:53 AM:

nerdycellist @ 776: Our training was done entirely on the computer. I think it's basically so that in the event that someone with a lot of responsibility goes and does something bad, like insider trading or bribing government officials, etc., the Company can say, "Well, we made them complete and sign off on this Corporate Ethics policy..."

Yeah. And even if it's irrelevant at your current job, you may sometime change jobs.

We too did ethical training a short while ago. Surprise, surprise, you shouldn't unquestioningly choose the vendor that hands you a pile of money under the table.

But it was in quiz form, and English only. If we get more stuff like this, I'm considering asking someone how _ethical_ it is to put people through training in a foreign language.

#871 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 02:55 PM:

nerdycellist -- if you are looking at used cars, here is how I did it recently.

1. Research using Consumer Reports and to decide on models of interest. We prioritized reliability, longevity, and gas efficiency, and ended up focusing on Toyota Corollas, Toyota Priuses, and Honda Civics.

2. Research the hell out of currently available cars of those models at and Compare mileage, model year, Carfax reports (these are often free to you, paid for by the seller). This will help you define what constitutes a good deal in your budget range. For example, we discovered that all Honda Civics in our budget range were very very cheap because they were very very old and high-mileage. No one sells those things once they've got them.

Pay special attention to cars that have had all their maintenance done on time as reported on Carfax. These will almost certainly be in great shape.

3. Before you go shopping, call an independent mechanic you trust implicitly and ask them what their procedure is for inspecting a used car before you buy it. My mechanic charges 1/2 hour labor ($64) and provides a complete verbal and written report, including a verbal recommendation for or against buying.

4. Map the cars of interest you saw online, and plan your route. Include time for lunch. Then go talk to dealers, look at cars, and test-drive ones that interest you. We repeated this step for a few weekends running.

Fairly often you will arrive to find they already sold the car listed online. Ask them what else they have, but don't be afraid to just thank them and leave if nothing else is in your price range. This happened to us a few times.

5. When you test-drive a car, leave the radio off (except a brief test to see if it works). Listen to the engine. Take notes (really). Try the car on hills. Try it on the highway, to see how it accelerates. Make a tight U-turn, left and right turns, and listen to and feel the steering. Go in a parking lot and practice slamming on the brakes to see how they respond. Write it all down.

Dealerships will often let you take a car overnight for a test drive -- you sign a form and give your license info. If you are really interested, do this and continue testing hell out of it.

6. If you examine and test-drive a car you like, ask the dealer to take it to your mechanic. The dealer should agree enthusiastically. All of ours did -- they knew it meant they were very close to making a sale. If they balk at all, thank them and leave. Refusing to let you take it to your own mechanic is a huge red flag and an automatic no sale.

Listen to your trusted mechanic. We thought one car was great, but our mechanic found a lot of little stuff wrong and said he just had an overall bad vibe, like the car had been "rode hard and put up wet," and just not cared for. That was $64 well spent.

The cars we bought? Our mechanic said "I think you've got a winner" to both.

7. Negotiating price is a whole nother post. In brief: come up with your hard maximum and keep it to yourself. Start by offering something that feels ridiculously low -- try a little below the lowest price you saw for this car, even if that was for a higher-mileage, older one. They'll likely act insulted. Don't take them seriously. Wait for them to counter: "I couldn't sell it for less than $X." Go up a bit from your offer. Repeat until you either agree, or you've reached your hard maximum.

I like to act implacably reasonable and keep hammering them with facts -- "My mechanic says A, B, and C are concerns, and that could cost $N if it goes, so I can't pay more than $Y. I saw a lot of these for sale nearby and they're going for $Z."

And as you said, you can walk away. You have backups. If it takes another week to find a car, oh well.

Mostly, realize that negotiating is all a game. It's not serious and not personal. Treat it like a game -- like betting in poker with your friends. Everyone is trying to bluff, and someone will win, but when the hand is over everyone is still friends, because it was just a game.

I only figured this out during my recent car-buying experience (and negotiating with the other driver's insurance about my totaled car). It was a moment of satori.

There, that's my car-buying words of experience. As always, YMMV. Good luck -- you'll do awesome.

#872 ::: siriosa ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 03:08 PM:

HLN: Area woman spends 4 hours poring over the Worldcon program pdf, makes spreadsheet with times, locations, and order of preference for concurrent panels.

(A fluorospherian dinner would be fine any night, but I would like to go to Dawno's workshop and the Girl Genius Ball on Thursday night. Maybe a lunch?)

#873 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 03:24 PM:

Good thoughts, Xopher.

#874 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 03:24 PM:

Good thoughts for Xopher, and for Melissa Singer @ 829.

#875 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 04:07 PM:

A suggestion for scheduling the Gathering of Light:

1. I start a Meetup group
2. Interested Fluorospherians join the Meetup group
3. Members suggest events at their preferred space-time coordinates
4. Members RSVP yes to those they'd be willing to attend
5. Whichever event has the most responders becomes the official GoL

Would people do this? I'd be happy to pay the (small) fee, but would rather not if there's not a quorum.

#876 ::: siriosa ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 04:20 PM:

Tim Walters @876

I'd certainly be willing to do that. And contribute to whatever the Meetup fee may be.

#877 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 04:35 PM:

Xopher: I'm also wishing you good luck today and onwards

#878 ::: Lenore Jean Jones/jonesnori ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 04:53 PM:

Re: Xopher surgery

I got a call from the surgical resident about an hour ago. He’s out of surgery and doing really well. I just heard that he has two friends with him in recovery now, but he's not really with it yet. I plan on a good visit tomorrow when he'll be more awake, I hope.

The doctor explained that they had looked at the margins of the tissue removed from the tongue, and it looks clear of cancer. We’ll have to wait for a final pathology report to confirm that, and for the results on the removed lymph nodes, but that’s good news. They did take a skin graft from the thigh to replace tissue in the tongue, as expected. Because of tongue swelling resulting from the surgery, they have performed a tracheostomy (an opening at the neck into the trachea) to allow Xopher to breathe until the swelling goes down. That should be closed by the time he is ready to go home. This was an expected possibility and nothing to worry about. As Xopher said, better to do it on the table under anesthesia than under emergency conditions later!

There is a feeding tube in place, as he won’t be able to eat normally while he heals. He’ll be in the hospital for 5-7 days. It’s University Hospital, Newark, part of UMDNJ.

He walked into the hospital this morning (at 5 am! - I drove him and stayed until he was taken into surgery) with a “hospital communications kit” – whiteboard, notebook, and pre-prepared signs. He has his cell phone with him and should be able to text once he’s recovered from anesthesia and in a regular room. Don’t expect to talk to him on the phone for a little while, though!


#879 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 04:54 PM:

OK, I've created the group:

GoL Meetup

Vote early and often!

siriosa @ 877: thanks, but I've got it covered.

#880 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 04:54 PM:

Xopher: All going nicely, I hope?

#881 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 04:55 PM:

Lenore @ 879: He’s out of surgery and doing really well.

Very glad to hear this!

#882 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 05:15 PM:

HLN: Considering leaving tech, and taking up ballroom dancing. That way one step forwards, two steps back would be a plus, not a minus...

#883 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 05:27 PM:

xeger @ 883... Having fun at work, I take it?

#884 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 05:29 PM:

Tim Walters @ 880... I just signed up.

#885 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 05:31 PM:

Lenore @ 879... Thanks for the news.

#886 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 05:59 PM:

Lenore @879:

Oh thank Goddess! I've been popping in here every fifteen minutes this afternoon, and was beginning to fear that something was wrong. I shall now resume breathing.

Xopher: Hang in there -- energy on it's way!

#887 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 06:17 PM:

Lenore (879): Thanks for the news. I hope Xopher's stay in the hospital is uneventful, and that further investigation bears out the surgeon's hopeful-sounding assessment.

#888 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 06:21 PM:

Lenore @879: Thank you so much for the update! Glad to hear of the current promising news about the results. And very glad to hear Xopher has friends with him.

Still sending lots of good thoughts.

#889 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 06:36 PM:

Lenore @879, thanks for the update. Pass on good wishes when you see him.

#890 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 07:01 PM:

Thanks for the report, Lenore! Sounds good so far.

#891 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 07:12 PM:

xeger @ 883:

Or join the Foreign Legion, so that "March or Die!" applied to your job literally.

Glad to hear that Xopher's doing well.

#892 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 07:18 PM:

Tim, #880: I joined -- my Meetup nick is Celine, because that was my main online identity 10 years ago when I set up my account.

Dawno, when is your make-and-take scheduled on Thursday evening? Perhaps we could work around it...

#893 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 07:34 PM:

Tim Walters at 876 and 880:

I joined the meetup group, then noticed its name was specific to places I was not in. So I am a little confused, is it general all-over or specific to those of us in Reno or SF?

#894 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 07:35 PM:

Melissa Singer #829: Ow Ow ow. Best of luck. That sort of insurance situation is exactly what's wrong with how we do things in the U.S.; I'm surprised it hasn't yet spawned a new epigram....

#895 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 08:07 PM:

Erik Nelson @ 894: It's a short-term hack to help those of us who are going to Worldcon later this month pick a time and place to meet up there. I think any other proposed meetings will be talked about here.

Does that answer your question?

#896 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 08:42 PM:

Xopher: I was on the river most of the day (lots of turtles, at least 3 great blue herons, a female wood duck, a splendid crayfish with spots, 2 zebra-striped bottom-clinging fish, and surprisingly, 3 cattle send their regards), so I'm late to this particular party: but my best wishes for a swift and uneventful recovery.

#897 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 09:49 PM:

Lenore #879: Glad to hear this!

#898 ::: johnofjack ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 10:00 PM:

I'm glad Xopher is doing well coming out of surgery. I hope he has a speedy recovery.

#899 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 10:14 PM:

#884 ::: Serge Broom @ 884 ...
xeger @ 883... Having fun at work, I take it?

There are days...

Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) @ 892 ...
Or join the Foreign Legion, so that "March or Die!" applied to your job literally.

Somehow I don't think that this sort of Death March was quite where you were heading...

... but it's definitely what comes to mind :(

#900 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 10:45 PM:

Apologies if this posts twice; connectivity is weird tonight.

Lenore: Thanks for the news about Xopher.

Xopher, if you're reading, rest and heal well.

David Harmon @895: At least I have dental insurance; not everyone does. Also, I suspect the dentist gives me a "frequent customer discount" of some kind, as I generally max out pretty much every year due to multiple root canals (I also recommend them to friends).

Dentist cheerfully said, at least we're almost done (with root canals). I had already suspected I was running out of "real" teeth but it was a little weird to hear him say it.

#901 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2011, 11:23 PM:

Xopher, be well!

#902 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2011, 12:42 AM:

Lenore Jean Jones/jonesnori @ 879: ...a “hospital communications kit” – whiteboard, notebook, and pre-prepared signs

Xopher, I'm sending good thoughts your way, too.

Very good planning with a communication kit. I find myself pondering what I'd put on pre-prepared signs, based on my past times in hospitals. There would be some "oh, thank you so much" and some "omigod, who knew that cream of wheat could be so delicious!". Perhaps a "If the TV isn't changed from Fox news immediately, I am not responsible for my actions."

#903 ::: siriosa ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2011, 01:56 AM:

Lenore @879: Thank you so much for the report.
Xopher: The worst part is now in the rearview mirror. Now all you have to do is get better.

Tim: Joined Meetup, willing to miss a "Strolling with the Stars" either morning. Thanks for setting it up.

#904 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2011, 02:13 AM:

A further thought about the Gathering of Light at the Worldcon... is Xopher on Google+, or could he be set up with an account by then? (If he wants to have one at all, that is.) Then if someone had a laptop with a webcam, we could set up a Hangout and let Xopher (and others not physically present) be in virtual attendance. It would be like the Skype connection for abi in Denver, only (as I understand it) considerably easier.

#905 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2011, 03:23 AM:

Lenore Jean Jones @ 879: Thanks for the good news. More good wishes going Xopher's way.

#906 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2011, 08:29 AM:

Xopher and Tracie, you've been in my thoughts and prayers, and will be still. I've just been too tired to comment for the last few days. Thank you, Lenore, for the Xopher update.

Why am I tired? Worked 7 nights in a row. That way I get tonight and tomorrow night off, and can leave for Pennsic before my vacation officially starts. I'm going to start packing as soon as I'm back from dropping the cats off at the boarding kennel.

And since this is all open thready, something I wrote remembering my first night at Pennsic, more than 20 years ago.

The Camp by Night

Stars fill the sky;
I can not sleep.
Deep is the night;
Bright shines the moon.
Soon, I wander.
Yonder drums sound.
Round the campfires
Gyres the dancing.
Chancing by there,
Where the light ends,
Friends softly talk,
Walk slowly on.
Dawn seems too near.
Here, now, dreams call
All under high
Sky full of stars.

#907 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2011, 10:38 AM:

janetl @903: I am irresistibly reminded of the Joanna Russ story "Useful Phrases for the Tourist."

#908 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2011, 11:18 AM:

Rikibeth: "This cannot be my room because I cannot breathe ammonia."

#909 ::: Dawno ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2011, 12:06 PM:

sirosa@873 - thank you! I hope to meet you there.

Tim@ 880 - thank you, also, for starting the MeetUp space.

Lee@ 893 - the program PDF says it'll be from 7-8 in room KK2 "Beading Make & Take"

Also, the Renovation folk got my business name a teensy bit incorrect so I'm listed as 'Dawn's Beaded Lanyards & Jewelry' instead of Dawno's. I hope you'll stop by and say hi when you visit the dealer's room.

#910 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2011, 12:24 PM:

Dawno @ 910... I certainly will.

#911 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2011, 12:37 PM:

Lenore, thanks for the good news about Xopher!

#913 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2011, 12:43 PM:

So, like, did I hallucinate the following? Seems to me, when I registered my PayPal account, they said they never communicate only in email, that if they had something to say to a user, they'd put the message through the internal message system, too.

Well, I got a notification that I have to validate my PayPal account by attaching it to a bank account, but I can't find the internal message. Also, I sent them a query about this, and haven't heard back. (Or haven't been able to find the answer in my account.) I can haz Fluorospheric Wisdom, plz?

#914 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2011, 12:51 PM:

Yargh. Old bookmark; forgot new OT. Reposting my @914 therein.

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