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August 15, 2011

Small furry Monday
Posted by Teresa at 09:51 AM * 56 comments

Lucius, my insanely hirsute Syrian rescue case, is becoming an eccentric old hamster. Lately he’s been working on the art of getting a drink without having to wake up.

It was with a mixture of amusement and fellow-feeling that I observed him this morning, his eyes nearly shut, sucking on a spot halfway down the tube of his water bottle. Con: not going to get any water out of the middle of the tube. Pro: looked awfully comfortable.

I waited a minute or so before quietly saying “Heyyyyy, Loosh,” which woke him from his nap. He opened his eyes an additional 1/128”, found the end of the tube, got his bedtime drink of water, and trundled off to sleep for the day. If he belonged to a vocal species, he’d have been making Sleepy Old Guy noises.

Patrick is still coming to terms with the brevity of hamster lives. I tell him it’s not that they’re so short; it’s that they burn through them so much faster than we do ours. I hope that’s true. I think it is.

Comments on Small furry Monday:
#1 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2011, 11:09 AM:

Good morning, Hammie!

#2 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2011, 11:45 AM:

they burn through them so much faster than we do ours

"The light that burns twice as bright burns for half as long - and you have burned so very, very brightly, Roy."

#3 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2011, 12:02 PM:

The light at the end of the tunnel is an approaching hamster (with a flashlight).

#4 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2011, 12:29 PM:

Appreciative of my rescue turtle (found in the tenant's parking lot and saved from the attention of a cat and November's weather). I've had it for about 15 years; don't know how old it was when I found it (painted turtles have an estimated life span of 35 years). It is not a social animal, and doesn't require a lot of attention* — but is does seem happy in the warm weather to see me when I feed it (in cooler weather it is more letharic and less interested in eating).

Old comic book plot: Scientist working on life extending formula. Inspiration: turtles lives long, redwoods live longer. Succeeds in creating formula and tries it. Denouement: turtles move slowly**, redwoods and immortal scientists don't move at all.


* Still have to attend to its environment.

** This one can move quickly. Take it out of its tank and put it in the middle of the room, it can scoot into the further corner under a desk in a couple of seconds.

#5 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2011, 12:41 PM:

Rob Rusick @ 4... Speaking of turtles, here is a photo I once took during a team-building exercise in Golden Gate Park.

#6 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2011, 12:48 PM:

As I noted at least once over video, I seem unable to avoid going from Loosh to Loiosh, which gives your hamster quite another character indeed.

#7 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2011, 12:56 PM:

Re turtles:

My daughter had a painted box turtle as a pet for a while, when she was maybe 9? She took faithful care of him, or it*, fed him treats, and would take him outside occasionally to enjoy the sun in our garden under careful supervision. One day while she had him outside, she got distracted and turned her back for a few moments, and he was just gone. Completely invisible. We searched and searched, through all the bushes, under every plant, under every rock, and after all the tears and the recriminations, he could not be found.

About 10 months later, we found the neighbors' kids playing with a turtle they'd just found in their garden. Yep, there he was again. As best we could guess when we discussed it, he'd been missing his normal seasonal hibernation, so after he vanished he'd found a spot to dig a burrow and hibernated for twice as long as the usual time.

The neighbor kids were totally charmed with him, so she decided they could keep him.

* You try to tell a turtle's sex if you're not a herpetologist.

#8 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2011, 01:02 PM:

Serge Broom @5: Cool shot. They look much like my turtle — varieties of painted turtles are found in all of the lower 48 states.


Team-building — did they give you enough props to make a Voltron?

#9 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2011, 01:13 PM:

Clifton Royston @7: You try to tell a turtle's sex if you're not a herpetologist.

The past couple of years mine has laid eggs, which is a significant clue. Doesn't have a mate, so they wouldn't be fertile.

That said, I am curious where mine came from — I am quite distant from a pond or river. I've wondered whether someone had done a 'Born Free' ("run free, little turtle, run free").

#10 ::: Fred ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2011, 01:32 PM:

Serge #2- exactly what I was thinking.

Teresa- Well, I've pretty much mastered the art of drinking wake-up coffee in my sleep :) Besides, he's awfully cute.

#11 ::: Del Cotter ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2011, 02:32 PM:

@5: "What do you mean I was adopted?"

#12 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2011, 02:34 PM:

"Patrick is still coming to terms with the brevity of hamster lives. I tell him it’s not that they’re so short; it’s that they burn through them so much faster than we do ours. I hope that’s true. I think it is."

Which is why you should keep them the hell away from candles. Don't forget the story about Mrs. O'Leary's hamster! (The confusion over that is because when Mrs. O'Leary found out how the fire got started, she had a cow.)

-----

We had a desert tortoise stay overnight with us a few years back. It had been being kept in a drug house down the street from a friend's home, and was left behind after the house was raided and the occupants arrested. It wandered out and got picked up by our friend, who passed it on to us. We contacted the Arizona Herpetological Society, who picked it up the next day for more appropriate care and, I assume, eventual release back into the wild. (Took a bunch of photos, which I should really post on Flickr one of these days.)

#13 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2011, 02:44 PM:

Oh, Teresa, the image you paint is intolerably cute. And I nearly killed myself not laughing out loud. Thank you so much for this.

Pix? Soon? Plz?

#14 ::: janra ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2011, 05:36 PM:

I remember reading an Asimov essay a long time ago. "The slowly moving finger" I think it was called. What I remember from it was that the small, short-lived species had quick heartbeats and the large, long-lived species had slow heartbeats - and all of them, regardless of perceived longevity, had an average lifespan of about a billion heartbeats.

#15 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2011, 05:58 PM:

Small short-lived species. Like us.

#16 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2011, 07:07 PM:

Janra@14

Although, from what I recall, humans actually live several times the number of heartbeats that most animals do.

(I also seem to recall that the comparison tends to be about maximal lifespans rather than average.)

#17 ::: janra ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2011, 07:37 PM:

You could be right, it's been a long time since I read the essay in question. A very quick google search only turned up bibliographies and people talking about it, not the text of the essay itself, and then I had to go do something else.

I wonder if it's in one of my Asimov anthologies that I was collecting as a teenager. I should check those next time I'm in the same city as they are.

#18 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2011, 08:55 PM:

7
If you have two (or more) turtles, you can watch them figuring it out. (Followed, quite possibly, by Interesting Scenes from turtle lives.)

#19 ::: A.J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2011, 12:30 AM:

On the topic of small animals with short lives, and comfortable ways to go (of which dozing off until one does not wake is certainly not the worst): we just lost our 17-year-old cat, Buddy, a gentle and loving marmalade kitty with a thyroid malignancy (some may recall we had a livejournal auction to provide him with radioidodine therapy a year ago, which gave him some good months he wouldn't have had otherwise, and we are indebted and grateful to the good folk of LJ for this) - on this occasion we had him in for surgery, which he made it through, gave normal blood work, and then promptly died. Probably his heart just gave out, and not a huge surprise - his condition had been hard on it and he was 17. Still, we had been expecting him to make it through and come home, and it was a bit of a shock.

In the midst of our melancholy we all agreed we were thankful for one thing especially: even though we hadn't been able to be with him, the veterinarians we go to are such sweet people and have such a wonderful way with cats that we knew he'd been surrounded by people he liked. He would not have felt abandoned or alone.

That seems incredibly important to us right now, and there are many other vets who may have decent competence but these folks always listen to us AND to our animals. Every cat we've taken there has taken a shine to them.

So it makes me want to say a kind word about them, for the benefit of Portland people - Broadway Veterinary Clinic, 2315 NE Broadway St. I'm planning to send them a card with my gratitude for this fact, and also for the fact that when I first landed in their office, toting a very stretched pocketbook and a cat with bad dental problems, they never said one unkind word about our economic difficulties (and even gave us a break on the charges.)


Serge Broom @ 2: Okay, now somebody has to write Blade Runner hamster AU fic.

#20 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2011, 06:40 AM:

Clifton Royston@7: Oddly enough, there's just been a discussion on one of my professional lists about sexing turtles with PCR, and the state of the art is "not proven". Turtles don't have chromosomal gender; like other reptiles, sex is determined by the temperature of the incubating eggs. Predominantly cooler eggs develop into males; warm ones into females.

A.J. Luxton @19: My condolences on your loss, and my professional gratitude for your kind words about your vet. It's hard for us to lose our patients too, especially when it's sudden and unexpected.

#21 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2011, 08:24 AM:

abi@6 - I have a suspicion that Loiosh should really be spelled Lajos, but then that was my eldest uncle's name before it was Americanized to Louis.

#22 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2011, 08:41 AM:

Anne Sheller @ 21: Yes, that is the original spelling for that name; it was modified by Stephen Brust in his Taltos series.

#23 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2011, 08:58 AM:

Once upon a time, we had a turtle in our bathtub. (Bathtub had shower doors then.) It was dropped off by one person, to be picked up by another, after an SCA event. As I recall, we had some folks over for brunch, and someone needed to use the bathroom. Said someone came out and asked "do you know there's a turtle in your bathtub?" We assured them it was not a surprise to us.

***

I recall the Asimov essay pointing out that humans are an outlier with about four billion heartbeats, maximum. I make the classic "four score and ten" with heart rate of 60 around 2.2 billion, though. If you make the rate 80, closing in on 3 billion; the four billion number involves a heart rate * age (years) product of 7610 - for 100 years at 76 bpm (or 76 years at 100 bpm.) For the maximum record human lifespan, an average 63 bpm.

#24 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2011, 09:11 AM:

Janra at #17:

Google Books suggests that "The Slowly Moving Finger" is the final essay in Asimov's collection Of Time and Space and Other Things, and also appears in Asimov on Science: A 30-Year Retrospective. (Many of his essays were remixed into new collections such as Asimov on Astronomy, etc.)

The invaluable ISFDB tells us that the essay first appeared in the February 1964 issue of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

I got hooked on Asimov's science essays as a teenager. Gobbling them like salted peanuts, they eased the way through chemistry, biology, and math classes-- I found I was already familiar with many of the concepts-- and persuaded me to read many of Asimov's full-length books. (Over sixty, I once counted.)

#25 ::: Jörg Raddatz ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2011, 10:09 AM:

Ginger #20: I have sometimes thought that the extinction of dinosaurs and related great reptiles might have been caused by a similar method of sex determination - that not the immediate impact killed them, but the following temperature change led to only one sex emerging from the eggs until no new fertile eggs were laid.
Note that I know almost nothing about this beyond what I have seen on TV.

#26 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2011, 10:42 AM:

Teresa: I was still chuckling about this post this morning, and have felt compelled to share it with my coworkers.

janra @17: If it's Kleiber's law you're referring to, here's what may be the original 1947 paper here (behind a paywall, unfortunately). Here's an article in Nature.

P J Evans @18: If you have two (or more) turtles, you can watch them figuring it out.

It's really difficult to conclusively sex guinea pigs before about two weeks, because their little parts are so, well, little. But I've noticed that one can usually pick out the boys in the litter: even while they're still nursing, they're already sniffing about the girls in a Most Interested fashion. The girls can be identified by the responses of males in their presence by the same behaviors, scaled up.

Ginger @20: I can concur. A good vet is a pearl beyond price. I'm especially grateful to my current vet; their practice is open on Sundays, if you believe. And since the pigs innevitably have their health crises outside of regular business hours, this has saved us more times than I care to count. (They used to be open during all the hours the emergency nighttime vet was not, but that went south along with the rest of the economy.)

Jörg Raddatz @24: not the immediate impact killed them, but the following temperature change led to only one sex emerging from the eggs

Huh. That's a really interesting idea.

#27 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2011, 10:57 AM:

A.J. 19: I'm so sorry for your loss.

Jörg 24: But dinosaurs were not reptiles, right? They were the ancestors of modern birds, or the relatives thereof; warm-blooded, not cold-blooded creatures.

I didn't know until Ginger's post that reptilian gender is not chromosomal, so I don't know much about this either, but IIRC bird gender IS chromosomally determined, though not by the same kind of arrangement mammals use.

#28 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2011, 11:40 AM:

And in Large Furry News Monday, some llamas get a regular break from the heat.

#29 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2011, 11:43 AM:

Xopher @26 -- I doubt we'll really know whether (at least a subset of) dinosaurs were homeothermic rather than poikilothermic until we develop time travel -- would you care to take the rectal temp of a velociraptor? (Bakker's theories are interesting, and I still don't think he's got the whole story -- and dinosaurs as a group cover a lot of different species.)

#30 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2011, 12:20 PM:

A.J.: condolences. The right vet makes a huge difference at such times.

Re: llamas: dd's camp usually has a couple of llamas in the "animals" area. The last two summers, one of dd's favorite activities has been to walk a llama around camp. Apparently the hardest part is getting the halter on; after that, they're pretty calm. This summer's llamas tolerated dd well enough that a couple of times the guy looking after them would seek her out and ask for her help in corralling one of them.

Apparently you get a lot of Cool Points by walking a llama, especially if kids from other camps are visiting. Points off if any of them get spit on. (no one was ever spit on while dd was in charge)

She's too old for camp now and will miss the llamas.

#31 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2011, 12:44 PM:

I learned about nest-temperature-dependent sex determination of turtles while tagging loggerhead sea turtles on the Georgia coast. Apparently efforts are underway to develop a blood test for sex determination (based on hormones, not chromosomes). More info here.

#32 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2011, 01:03 PM:

Turtle sexing: I hear that when lifted, a male turtle can make their sex embarrassingly obvious.

Dinosaur sexing: whether or not dinosaur types had chromosomal sex or not (and if most didn't, that may be why birds do!), a lot of modern reptiles (and fish?) are already being affected by global warming.

Vets: props to Charlottesville Cat Care Clinic

#33 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2011, 01:03 PM:

Turtle sexing: I hear that when lifted, a male turtle can make their sex embarrassingly obvious.

Dinosaur sexing: whether or not dinosaur types had chromosomal sex or not (and if most didn't, that may be why birds do!), a lot of modern reptiles (and fish?) are already being affected by global warming.

Vets: props to Charlottesville Cat Care Clinic

#34 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2011, 01:17 PM:

Vets: Trylon Vet Care, Forest Hills, NYC. AAHA-accredited (1 of only 4 practices in Queens). Good for birds, snakes, lizards, etc. as well as furry pets.

#35 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2011, 02:16 PM:

My son and I found a smallish Aegean tortoise on the campus of the university where I work a few years back. Someone who seemed to know what they were talking about told us that you could sex them by looking at their underside: males have a concave chest, and females do not. We decided to call her Rosa, in defiance Mme Barebones firmly stated conviction that all female tortoises are called Sophie.

#36 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2011, 02:29 PM:

There's a concreted-in pond in downtown Nara that is from what I can tell, 77% turtles by volume. The walls are far too steep for the turtles to climb: I hypothesize that a few turtles wandered in at some point and unable to get out, have been working on a bunny ladder ever since. There is one log in the pond, and on sunny days the turtles on it are two or three deep. It is the only dry land they will ever know.

#37 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2011, 02:41 PM:

My son and I found a smallish Aegean tortoise on the campus of the university where I work a few years back. Someone who seemed to know what they were talking about told us that you could sex them by looking at their underside: males have a concave chest, and females do not. We decided to call her Rosa, in defiance Mme Barebones firmly stated conviction that all female tortoises are called Sophie.

#38 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2011, 02:57 PM:

The two versions of my post at 34/36 contain a small, and almost indiscernible difference which is crucial to their correct interpretation, and which will have far-reaching implications for our understanding chelonian sex-determination. Ahem.

#39 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2011, 03:17 PM:

praisegod barebones #34 (or #36, if he prefers):

Why does Mme. B. believe they're all called Sophie?

#40 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2011, 03:41 PM:

heresiarch @35: There's a concreted-in pond in downtown Nara that is from what I can tell, 77% turtles by volume.

Some years ago, on my first visit to LA, a friend and I went to Huntinton Gardens. While wandering past the pond in the Japanese Garden, I overheard fellow tourists say, "Oh look! The turtles are out today!" "Ooo!" "Ahh!"

I looked and looked, couldn't see a damn one. And then, in one of those perceptual shifts that is so startling, I suddenly realized that what I had initially taken to be low cobblestone walls were, in fact, rows and stacks of turtles, basking (somewhat) in the sun.

#41 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2011, 04:18 PM:

me @39: "Oh look! It really is turtles all the way down!" "Hm. I thought they'd be bigger."

#42 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2011, 05:53 PM:

My son is of the opinion that all turtles are named Fred regardless, and has been known to point to one on a log and say, "Look! A Fred!"

#43 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2011, 09:13 PM:

Female box turtles are flat underneath, but males (who are usually-but-not-always red-eyed) are concave. And have minds with only two tracks: females and food. In approximately that order. (I have actually seen a female look at a male and stop him in his tracks, after which he turned and walked away.)

#44 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2011, 09:18 PM:

Janra at #17:

Google Books suggests that "The Slowly Moving Finger" is the final essay in Asimov's collection Of Time and Space and Other Things, and also appears in Asimov on Science: A 30-Year Retrospective. (Many of his essays were remixed into new collections such as Asimov on Astronomy, etc.)

The invaluable ISFDB tells us that the essay first appeared in the February 1964 issue of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

I got hooked on Asimov's science essays as a teenager. Gobbling them like salted peanuts, they eased the way through chemistry, biology, and math classes-- I found I was already familiar with many of the concepts-- and persuaded me to read many of Asimov's full-length books. (Over sixty, I once counted.)

#45 ::: Valdis Kletnieks ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2011, 10:11 PM:

praisegod@37: I see what you did there. Well played. ;)

#46 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2011, 12:19 PM:

Naomi Parkhurst @42: "Look! A Fred!"

In Norwegian, the definite article for a masculine noun is the ending -en. So "a tortoise" - "ein skilpadde"; "the tortoise" - "skilpadden"[1]

Now my mother has a tortoise, an ancient one that has been in the family for decades. For obscure reasons this wee reptile is known by the patronymic name Pedersen.

My cousin's kid will refer to any tortoise or turtle as "ein peders". It's hilarious but perfectly grammatical - if there's a masculine noun "peders", "pedersen" will be the definite form.


[1] well, it's more likely to be a feminine noun in nynorsk, but this fits better for dialectical purposes.

#47 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2011, 04:33 PM:

joann @ 39: Repeated (but not too frequently repeated) questioning leads me to believe that she clearly and distinctly perceives it by the pure light of reason (perhaps in much the same way as Deep Thought deduced the existence of income tax and rice pudding from 'I think therefore I am').

In any case, she's mistaken. When I did my BA, the college I studied at had a tortoise called Rosa Luxemburg.

#48 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2011, 04:43 PM:

Roy G. Ovrebo @46 'My cousin's kid will refer to any tortoise or turtle as "ein peders".'

What a wonderful and hilarious back-formation!

#49 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2011, 11:37 AM:

praisegod bb #47:

Whatever works for her. It seems to me much more likely, however, that any tortoise's name is something long, relatively unpronounceable, and full of the sort of apostrophes that are meant to indicate various glottal stops. (Maybe it's the True Name, and the public name is read "Sophie" but pronounced "Rosa", or similar offer.)

#50 ::: A. J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2011, 01:28 AM:

Thanks to all for condolences. Ginger @ 20, not long after I posted this, they sent us a card with personal notes from all the doctors there, probably both because Buddy really was a very special cat (he was the cat whose heartbeat they could never hear properly because he was always purring like a motorcycle engine) and because it happened on their watch.

The day before the surgery, my partner expressed concern that, if he didn't make it, it was her fault, because she was making the decision. I said to her, "There are several people who have gone hundreds of thousands of dollars into debt, and spent years working their fingers to the bone, for the right for it to be their fault - or at least their responsibility."

I said it almost pridefully and out of deep respect: this comes amid a year of pre-med classes and volunteering and reading books on clinical decision-making and MCATs. I'm taking the plunge of applying to med school late in the cycle this year (which means I'm plugging things into AMCAS right now - aiee!) and I've been thinking long and hard on what it means to want to go into medicine.

Most especially, I've been spending a lot of time sitting the fact that with Entropy on the other side of the chessboard one will always lose the tournament, but winning a few matches is well worth the struggle.

(Why yes, I read a lot of Diane Duane, why do you ask?)

And the corollary: that the decision to stand and fight means that Death will sometimes batter through the defenses and failure will sometimes rest on my head, whether or not I did anything wrong, and Doing The Best We Can - and working to change what that means so that the best is better - is the most honorable thing possible.

#51 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2011, 11:14 PM:

AJ @ 50: Yes, that is the part they don't teach -- in either veterinary or medical school -- but it ends up being one of the most important aspects of medicine. How does one deal with the Enemy? Death will always win, eventually. I take my consolation in first fighting it to the best of my abilities and then in knowing when to give up gracefully, so my patient has the best possible death. It's a hard set of lessons to learn.

#52 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2011, 06:55 PM:

AJ, thank you for post #50.

#53 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2011, 10:52 AM:

AJ & Ginger: Ah...but those times when you win...!

My little Bobby, just this very morning, failed to evade my evil advances, and got hisself summarily *snuggled*, thanks to the kind offices of my local vet a couple of months ago.

#54 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2011, 12:00 PM:

The times when you win are glorious...but best of all, no matter the outcome, is knowing you did the right thing.

#55 ::: Tom Whitmore sees polite spam ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2011, 12:04 AM:

Polite but persistent -- don't these bots have lives?

#56 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2011, 02:10 AM:

janra, #14 & Michael, #16: I remember that essay. Yes, the maximum lifespan when counted by number of heartbeats is remarkably consistent across all forms of life (well, those with hearts, anyhow) except humans, who live several times longer than the norm.

heresiarch, #36: If you take a moment to think about the implications, that comic is deeply creepy.

(Apparently I missed this thread altogether. I'm pretty sure it was because I was on my way to Worldcon at the time, and not checking ML regularly. So the spammer did me a favor.)

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