Back to previous post: Fecal necessities

Go to Making Light's front page.

Forward to next post: Air Crash in Reno

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

September 15, 2011

Open Thread 164
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 01:22 PM *

  • NEW - Different color from previous design.
  • ALL NEW - Parts are not interchangeable with previous design.
  • EXCLUSIVE - Imported product.
  • UNMATCHED - Almost as good as the competition.
  • FOOLPROOF OPERATION - No provision for adjustments.
  • ADVANCED DESIGN - The advertising agency doesn’t understand it.
  • IT’S HERE AT LAST - Rush job. Nobody knew it was coming.
  • FIELD TESTED - Manufacturer lacks test equipment.
  • HIGH ACCURACY - All parts fit.
  • FUTURISTIC - No conceivable reason for it to look the way it does.
  • REDESIGNED - Previous flaws fixed—we hope.
  • DIRECT SALES ONLY - Manufacturer had a big argument with distributor.
  • YEARS OF DEVELOPMENT - We finally got one to work.
  • BREAKTHROUGH - We finally figured out a use for it.
  • MAINTENANCE FREE - Impossible to fix.
  • MEETS ALL STANDARDS - Ours, not yours.
  • SOLID-STATE - Heavy as hell.
  • HIGH RELIABILITY - We made it work long enough to ship it.
  • NON-REFUNDABLE - We couldn’t make it work long enough to ship it.

Continued from Open Thread 163

Continued in Open thread 165

Comments on Open Thread 164:
#1 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 01:26 PM:

NEW AND IMPROVED - That product you liked? We ruined it.

#2 ::: Dave Kuzminski ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 01:38 PM:

OUTSTANDING - Usually by itself in a remote field gathering rust.

#3 ::: Stepehn Frug ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 01:39 PM:

CLASSIC - Same piece of crap we've been selling you for ages.

#4 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 01:44 PM:

Serge will surely reach through the internet and shake his finger at me most disapprovingly if I don't make use of this open thread to announce that Ellen Datlow's new anthology, Blood and Other Cravings, with some familiar names in the TOC, is out in stores now.

News from The Grand Masquerade: The weather in New Orleans is fine. I have played in my first Vampire 20th Anniversary edition game. Today I'll by playing in a Mage: Dark Ages game. Last night we mildly annoyed the storyteller by using cell phones to make all information common amongst the party; he started making people roll dexterity + technology to succeed. "1 success." "OK, you get three words. What'll they be?" I don't think we'll be able to get away with that tonight. Also, Cafe Fleur-de-Lis (300 block of Chartres) still makes a damn fine omelette.

I have not yet been to the vendor room to see if Lee is here. They appear to have buried the vendor room behind a lot of long sign-up lines. I'll wait until registration is mostly done before braving my way through the depths of the Royal Sonesta foyer.

#5 ::: Nightsky ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 01:44 PM:

But not for you.

#6 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 01:46 PM:

MODEL SHOWN INCLUDES FOLLOWING OPTIONS which double the advertised price

#7 ::: Steve Downey ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 01:50 PM:

HIGHLY CONFIGURABLE - If you change anything, it will break, and we will blame you.

#8 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 02:21 PM:

ONE SIZE FITS ALL--as long as they are not from planet earth

LIMITED EDITION CAPSULE COLLECTION--already on Ebay at 10x the price

VINTAGE--old and expensive

RETRO--old and expensive and not as good

#9 ::: salixulon ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 02:21 PM:

WILL SAVE YOU UP TO $100 OR MORE - We're not promising anything. Your guess is as good as ours.

#10 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 02:24 PM:

FREE GIFT WITH PURCHASE-not free and not a gift

#11 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 02:29 PM:


We're doomed.

#12 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 02:29 PM:

EASY TO ASSEMBLE: better remember where you put the drill . . .

#13 ::: Affenschmidt ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 02:35 PM:

WORLD-RENOWNED: you've never heard of it/him/her, and that's probably for the best.

#14 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 02:36 PM:

MARK II - The actual finished product

Oh, and for the links section: Pharyngula has moved

#15 ::: thanate ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 02:45 PM:

@8: here I thought RETRO meant "made to look like something old, but out of cheaper plastic and slightly the wrong colors."

#16 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 02:50 PM:

PROFESSIONAL EDITION - Somebody would have to pay you loadsamoney to use it.
PRESTIGE - In the time-honoured classical sense!
NOVEL - Oodles of fiction follow.
MUST-HAVE - For the sake of my two poor wives and seventeen orphaned cheeeeeldren!
WORLD-BEATING - We're flogging it hard to everybody.
SECURE - We could tell you how to use it, but then we'd have to kill you.
QUALITY ASSURED - The Quality are living high on this assurance.
TRADITIONAL - The Brand's first name is 'Aunt'.
VISIONARY - Hogwash.
SOLUTION - Eyewash.
GREEN - Because that is the sort of customer we like!
FAMILY FUN - Not childish enough.
FREE - (as suffix) Missing. (as descriptor) You agree to give us your body, mind, immortal soul, and a hot tip for the 2:30 at Haydock. But not, immediately, any money.
FOR ONE MONTH ONLY! - Before we cut our losses and call in the pest exterminators.
ACCLAIMED - Claimed.
VALUE - 50% water.
DELUXE - 50% gas.
CRAZY PRICES!!! - Because, by the Lord Harry, we so need some crazy buyers!!!

#17 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 02:56 PM:

Didn't someone do something similar with book blurbs? Or for movies?

#18 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 03:02 PM:

Now that I'm done with cancer treatment and recovering rapidly, I’ve shifted my focus back to looking for a job. So just in case someone on here might know of something, here's what I'm about.

I’m a technical writer, software QA analyst, and technical support analyst. I’ve written manuals, business requirements, functional specifications, detailed test plans, and diagnostic procedures for technical support.* (I’ve also written – or rewritten – most of the important memos for almost every boss I’ve had in the past decade.) If I understand something myself, I can explain it to anyone. I start from the end-user perspective, but also have the ability to communicate with hard-core techies.

My LinkedIn profile is here. Or if you hate LinkedIn or just aren't on there, you can email me at my posting name's first word underscore hatton at yahoo with a commercial TLD.

*That is, “scripts” that can be followed by a relatively non-technical support person to determine what problem a user is having, and collect the information needed to resolve it.

#19 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 03:04 PM:

I have a comment being held for moderation. My guess is that it's because I linked to my page on YvaxrqVa.

Come to think of it, that may not be allowed here. If not, please accept my apologies as you ditch the comment.

#20 ::: Yarrow ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 03:05 PM:

BREATHTAKING - Breathing can be restored for a slight additional fee.

#21 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 03:20 PM:

Xopher: It isn't that mentions of L1nk3dIn are forbidden, it's that so many links to 'em are in comment spam that we want to look at them first before approving them.

#22 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 03:25 PM:

James, makes perfect sense. Thanks!

#23 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 03:33 PM:

A brand new open thread seems like a good place to mention that Ryan C. McKellar et al. found A Diverse Assemblage of Late Cretaceous Dinosaur and Bird Feathers from Canadian Amber -- and they got photos!

#24 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 03:34 PM:

Hmm: perhaps a better link would be: photos!

#25 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 03:51 PM:

PORTABLE - two men and a small boy can wrestle it on and off a lorry.

FREE INSTALLATION - by our crack team of housebreakers.

OFFER MUST END SOON - we are filing for bankruptcy.

UNREPEATABLE OFFER - unprintable, more like.

LIMIT OF ONE PER CUSTOMER - nobody would want more than one.

#26 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 03:53 PM:

AS SEEN ON TV - in an infomercial played at 3am in lesser markets that you would have immediately turned off had you mistakenly turned to that channel.

NEXT GENERATION - because just calling it version 2.0 would be boring.

#27 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 03:53 PM:

STABILITY UPGRADE -- the previous version was too stable, but we've fixed that now.

MILITARY GRADE SECURITY -- our entire security expertise is derived from watching James Bond movies and episodes of 24.

UNBREAKABLE ENCRYPTION -- one of our coders thinks were using SSL somewhere.

HIGH-RELIABILITY -- sorry, it's down right now, try back later.

CLOUD-BASED -- we don't know where your data is, either.

#28 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 03:53 PM:

Xopher, I've forwarded your pitch to the FG, who is in software design and may know someone who knows someone...ya know, how it goes.

Now I shall keep my fingers crossed for you.

#29 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 03:57 PM:

To be precise, "portable" was defined by my second electronics teacher, back in '72 as meaning something with a handle attached to the top, regardless of whether it was liftable or not.

#30 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 03:59 PM:

Thank you, Ginger! Every little bit helps, and you never know which seed is going to fall on the fertile ground.

#31 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 04:09 PM:

Xopher, I sent you an e-mail (hopefully I understood your directions correctly). Look for a message from ymereJ rensO and let me know if I need to try again.

#32 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 04:10 PM:

Modesto Kid, got it, and that's a really good lead! Thanks.

#33 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 04:14 PM:

Kip @ #29, see, for example, the Compaq Luggable.

I once did 8 months worth of financial statements in 12 hours on one of those. My company borrowed it from our (then) Big Six accounting firm.

#34 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 04:20 PM:

Xopher--sounds similar to some of what;s on my resume (except I have not been exploiting LunkedOut (avoids Words of Encagement)

I have a phone screen tomorrow morning, by the way. There are a lot of postings looking for software QA people within 60 miles or so of Boston these days, on Monster and Dice, Update your dice resume and you should be getting contacted from recruiters. Getting called back after you email the resumes, is a different issue. The phone interview is a month and a half after I submitted the resume....

#35 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 04:21 PM:

READY TO WEAR - isn't.

#36 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 04:25 PM:

@24: Yes, but where do I get my glow-in-the-dark cat?

#37 ::: giltay ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 04:31 PM:

ENTERPRISE — Requires at least three consultants and six months to install. Will run glacially slow.
MODULAR DESIGN — You'll need to purchase every module but one to get it to do what the salesperson says it will do.
X-DAY WARRANTY — End-of-life at approximately X+7 days.
REVOLUTIONARY — Untested or incomplete.
INTEGRATED — Proprietary.
WEB-ENABLED — We just heard about this cool new thing called the Internet.
AWARD-WINNING — Do you remember how that ugly building downtown won an award?
SCALABLE — Runs on desktops and servers.
PROFESSIONAL — Our staff wear ties.
INNOVATIVE — A little bit better than our last product.
MISSION STATEMENT — Here are 10 words.

Kip@29: Exactly what I was thinking (except it was my Dad, in the '80s or '90s).

#38 ::: giltay ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 04:32 PM:

And one from my youth:

TEARLESS — Stings so bad your tear ducts clog up.

#39 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 04:33 PM:

Audio edition:

WARM: distorted
CREAMY: distorted
VINTAGE: distorted and noisy
EXCITING: harsh and distorted

#40 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 04:40 PM:

Linkmeister @ 33 -

Sweet! My wife still has a Kaypro. Wordstar!

#41 ::: Harry Payne ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 04:55 PM:

I was once helping my mother choose a new TV, when she told the shop owner she wanted "something idiot proof". He grinned and replied, "Nowadays we prefer the term user-friendly".

#42 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 05:24 PM:

EASY TO USE -- except by you, your mother, your grandmother, and your significant other. Your kids, no problem.

24 HOUR SUPPORT -- in Malaysia, after a two hour hold, on an unreliable connection.

WE WILL HELP YOU SWITCH YOUR ACCOUNT FROM ANYWHERE -- except the following providers (long list)

YOU WON'T REGRET THIS DECISION -- much. Did I mention we lie a lot?

#43 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 05:39 PM:

I would amend MISSION STATEMENT - 10 words we once chose we will never consider again.

Or, perhaps:
10 words
we decided looked good once
business as usual

UNCLUTTERED INTERFACE - you won't be bothered by the cruft you never used. or by the cruft you did use, for that matter.

#44 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 05:42 PM:

Hmm, how about an e-bay re-enactment type stuff version:
Authentic - yes, its authentically crap/ modern.
medieval - taken from a film set some time between 450AD and 1600.

#45 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 05:46 PM:

We do not reach the edge and simply wait
for others to catch up and find us there
but plough on further, deep in the affair
where there's a margin between will and fate;
nothing's disclosed, nor open to debate,
since we are subject to recoil from care
or be abused and chided anywhere
we utter speech. All choices have to grate.
There is no reason that we must return,
like beaten dogs in summer, to this place
yet still you find us trying not to run
from any anger, facing the harsh burn
of baying voices shouting out disgrace
at all of those who brave the brassy sun.

#46 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 05:51 PM:

Torch version:
ULTRA BRIGHT - as bright as whatever junk we can find to fit at the lowest cost is. Or - only if you are a mole.
LONG LASTING BATTERIES - if you don't mind the last half of their lifetime being quite dim.

#47 ::: Steve Downey ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 05:52 PM:

GENUINE AUTHENTIC - a poor copy of the real thing

#48 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 05:57 PM:

Roy G Ovrebo #14 - I didn't think Pharyngula had moved, he's still posting at Science blogs. Rather that posts are being put up at both sites, and probably anything that might upset national geographic will go on the freethoughts website.

#49 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 05:59 PM:


TERMS AND CONDITIONS APPLY: none of this ad is actually true.

and from pharmaceutical ads

DATA ON FILE: no-one one would believe it if they saw the data.

#50 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 06:10 PM:

Nicole, #4: No, we're not there this year -- they priced us out of the room. Jumping from $25/table to $250/table is serious sticker shock, and our sales there haven't historically been good enough to support that.

Open Threadiness: a really cool low-tech solution for poor people whose houses are dark because they're all crammed together with no windows.

#51 ::: Dawno ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 07:01 PM:

For everyone who believes all hamsters are created equal: Dwarf Hamster Anti-Sizeism Petition (via Regretsy)

#52 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 07:32 PM:

guthrie @ 48: Ah, you're right. I prefer the rude and offensive version, myself.

In other news, one of the ships of Hurtigruten (the Coastal Steamer) has had an explosion and fire in the engine room killing two and is at the time of writing listing badly (live coverage from NRK here).

#53 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 09:06 PM:

The version I heard: has at least one handle on it and can be moved from place to place via truck. (See, particularly Tek 500-series oscilloscopes. Forty pounds, one handle on top.)

#54 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 09:47 PM:

I'm so sick of TV shows getting Wicca wrong. Stupid "Wiccans" on True Blood who can't even pronounce Samhain right, and who apparently do magic exclusively to cause harm to others, instead of, you know, never doing that at all. "An it harm none," dammit.

Now there's a new and even stupider show called The Secret Circle. AGAIN with the genetic witches, AGAIN with the focus on spells and magic.

Not that we don't do spells and magic, of course. But imagine a show about Christianity where all Christians do is divide loaves and fishes, all the time, and nothing else about the religion is explored at all. It's not like loaves and fishes aren't important, they're just hardly central to the message of Christianity.


#55 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 09:48 PM:

Kip W @29:
I've always heard that one as "Army portable".

thomas @49:
Usually more like "from a study we paid for under highly artificial conditions that would never pass peer review".

#56 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 10:04 PM:

Xopher, the only episode of True Blood i've ever seen (while visiting at an open-paln resort style house in CO where one could not escape seeing/hearing the gigantic TV unless one holed up in the hosts' bedroom) was horrifying. There was some passing mention of wicca done wrong, but the rest of it totally squashed any desire to watch any of it at all. Suffice to say it was a gratuitous (by my standards, not necessarily all) act of sexual violence happing during the the act. Plus I really don't like vampires. At all.

Despite friends telling me 'but it's really good, you should try to watch other episodes, they're not that bad." No. I won't. That was plenty.

#57 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 10:09 PM:

Yeah, it's a little heavy on the gore for me, too.

These writers need to realize that Wiccans aren't like vampires and werewolves. We actually exist, and they're defaming us.

Actually they probably know that. It's either deliberate or indifferent. Fuck them and the horse they rode in on.

#58 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 10:16 PM:

One thing that can be said in favor of "True Blood" is that it's better than Starz's "Camelot".

#59 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 10:20 PM:


#60 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 10:41 PM:

PRIVACY POLICY - By policy, you have no privacy.

#61 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 10:57 PM:

I don't think I'll ever be a big fan of The Daily Mail, but as a History major I have to say this is really cool.

#62 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 11:31 PM:

Note: my wife walked by my computer while it was on Google+ and pointed out that Terry Karney had already linked to the cool thing. I didn't intend to steal your thunder, Terry--I hit it when cruising around the site after reading about those vile T-Shirts from Topman...

#63 ::: gottacook ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 12:15 AM:

LIMITED, as part of a car name (e.g., Chrysler PT Cruiser Limited Edition): We'll make as many as we can sell.

Most people here, on a somewhat related note, would probably appreciate Bruce McCall's 1981 New Yorker piece "Rolled in Rare Bohemian Onyx, Then Vulcanized by Hand."

#64 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 12:38 AM:

SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED - Thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle.
SELF-ASSEMBLY - We give up. You figure it out!
INSTRUCTIONS - Excerpts from overheard mobile phone conversations, translated via Vietnamese by Google.
SELECTED - We rolled d%, didn't we?
PRIVILEGE CLUB - You failed your saving throw, didn't you?
BONUS - Surplus.
EXTRA - Superfluous.
EXTRA FREE! - An offer that is extra nothing.
PREMIUM - Give us a prize, then!
PRIZED - Out of your warm, lax hands. By a sick kitten.
WE VALUE YOUR CUSTOM - To a degree quite inexpressible in action.
* - This is our fingers, crossed behind our backs.

#65 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 02:02 AM:

Gee, no one has mentioned RARE CORINTHIAN LEATHER -- leather made in New Jersey.

#66 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 02:04 AM:

Web-Enabled: " We hear there's this thing called the "Inter Net" ?"
2.0: So last decade, except in Enterprise
Social: The hotness what comes after 2.0
Cloud: The fuzzy wetness what comes after Social ...

This is starting to feel like the sound of music ...

#67 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 03:23 AM:

Xopher -- good luck in your job search! I will ask around where it seems likely to do good, and forward you any nibbles that I happen upon.

Lee -- sorry to hear that. That is indeed a jaw-dropping price-jump, and I imagine you're not the only vendor who correspondingly jumped ship. I never did make it back there all day. It's so very buried, I suspect those vendors who did buy in are regretting it.

I can at least report that many other aspects of the con are improved from last year. From a gamer attendee perspective, it appears they've scaled up operations to accommodate more players, and more new players at that.

I spent much of this late evening at the Carousel Bar in the Monteleone, earnestly explaining RPGs in general and World of Darkness in specific to an older man who was just as earnestly trying to understand it. He'd asked me what the convention was about, and seemed a little worried about about all the intimidating costumes and fake vampire teeth.

Xopher redux -- Like I needed another reason to avoid True Blood, right? I never made it past the first book in the series it's based on, and can't vouch for whether the religious misrepresentation was inserted at TV adaptation time, or whether it was Charlaine Harris's invention.

It reminds me, though, of a conversation I had with a writer friend about the book she's working on. Basically, she's doing it right -- approaching a similar situation with a lot more mindfulness and empathy. See, one of her main characters is a member of a culture that actually exists in real life, but one which is very secretive and very misunderstood. She told me that she'd decided to rename said culture in her book because she recognized she'd been taking some artistic liberties with the details about them for the sake of plot, and she didn't want to misrepresent them. Especially considering how misunderstood they were already. She didn't want the actions of her made-up characters to be held against any real-life people. So though similarities would remain between the real-life community and the fictional one, the fictional one would no longer pretend to be that real-life community.

So she's handling this from a position of a lot more respect, I think, than the True Blood folks are. Unfortunately, while she's not published yet, True Blood is in its -- what? 3rd season? Justice appears to be absent from the equation. Deep sigh and bleargh.

#68 ::: Chris Lawson ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 04:40 AM:

To quote the real estate version (

Bijou – Cramped

Compact – Very cramped

Convenient for local schools – Convenient for several thousand local schoolchildren passing through your front garden; their parents parking their SUV’s across your lawn and half a ton of sweet wrappers stuffed through your letterbox every morning and afternoon.

Deceptively spacious – Cramped even if you are a midget contortionist

I could see you in this place – Seeing that this is a phrase uttered by the agent while he/she is in the property showing round the potential purchasers, it doesn’t require a huge leap of immagination

If you don’t snap this up, someone else will – In other words, “Why don’t you just get your chequebook out now and let me get on with the rest of my day?”

In need of modernisation – Which means, “how this building remains standing is something of a mystery”

It’s got potential – This house is a wreck

Much sought-after – Sales agents will tell you that every house on their books is “much sought-after”. If they are all so “much sought-after”, why are agents necessary? Couldn’t you just sell your house to one of the vast hordes of people coming in each day and night seeking it?

Original features – The property benefits from many “original features”. In other words the place hasn;t had any work done on it since 1974

Popular area – Yes, of course it’s a popular area. People live there. They live there because once upon a time someone built some houses there. It is therefore a popular area!

Spectacular view – This property has a spectacular view – well, it would if you removed all the other buildings round it

This one’s going to go quickly – I am waiting for to get your chequebook out!

Up-and-coming area – If you move into this area you will be a bit like a pioneer staking your claim in a wild, lawless territory

Vibrant area – Probably vibrating with the sound of 500-watt loudspeaker systems, the rumble of riot-squad trucks and sub-machine-gun fire

(The) wow factor – All houses put up for sales these days must have a “wow factor”. This is often a nice fireplace in the front room or it could be a sacrificial altar in the guest bedroom

You could build on it – Said even when the property involved already has 36 storeys

#69 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 05:13 AM:

Mycroft W @ #43...

Mission statement: The customer always comes first.

The only people who put this into practice are the members of the oldest profession.

#70 ::: alex ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 06:51 AM:

Xopher - perhaps it may be that Wiccans in the alternative universe in which vampires, werewolves, maenads, shapeshifting man-dogs and telepathic fairies all co-exist [and gleefully f*ck each other] aren't the same Wiccans that exist in your universe?

And just remember how awful they are to any Christians they feel like cruelly misrepresenting...

What we won't do, of course, is to have a conversation about how many people need to believe something how strongly before it becomes protected against casual ridicule. Because that always ends badly, and everybody who counts already hates nasty atheists anyway.

#71 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 07:09 AM:

Cadbury @69: giggle

#73 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 08:12 AM:

re 68: "It has potential" I believe translates to "It's still standing".

#74 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 08:28 AM:

Xopher: My sympathies: it must be fantastically annoying. I'm not a Wiccan, nor particularly well-informed on the subject, and some of the cobblers I stumble upon in fantasy still makes my feet hurt.

I seem to see, as through a glass darkly, into a parallel world where the romances spun of the Christian minority hardly leave them any time for coffee mornings or arguing about whose turn it is to run the tombola, what with all the laying on hands, fish grooming, and summoning Ashtaroth that they must constantly be doing. And we will absolutely not even get into the sort of visions their slinky, edgy, unattainable 'Lady Madonna' keeps sending the chosen one of the Graced Blood to advance the plot...

(My Muse is pricking up her ears. I must stop immediately, before she gets bad ideas.)

Are there any books, fantasy or otherwise, which you'd recommend to an outsider as striking a really genuine note?

#75 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 08:29 AM:

re 3: I believe "classic" means "we admit that the new and improved version was an idiotic idea" (e.g. Coke Classic).

re 40: I think my old Kaypro 4x is living in a basement closet but I have no idea whether it will boot. I specifically got it as the Kaypros were the first things out that were close enough to an appliance computer and which had proper 80x24 screens. My Amiga is long gone, though.

#76 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 09:11 AM:

I have an Amiga 500, 1000, 2000, 3000, and 4000.

#77 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 09:58 AM:

Gray @74: I am also not a Pagan, cannot claim to know whereof I speak, but I quite liked Patrick Farley's admittedly and consciously over-the-top representation of Wiccans in one of his Electric Sheep comix. I believe it is still online -- you might check at, to which my employer's servers do not permit me access at the moment. (I seem to recall but am not sure that Farley is a Wiccan.)

#78 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 10:05 AM:

Xopher... In last year's movie "Solomon Kane", the Dour Puritan battled Bad Witches of the traditional nasty literary kind. After he was wounded, a woman fixed him up, and he was quite offended that she was a Wiccan, but she put him in his proper place with a few choice words.

#79 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 10:28 AM:

Ugh. I stopped watching True Blood last year, when the repeated stalking, torture and rape of a character was played for campy laughs. Not. Funny.

I caught up a couple of eps after that storyline was resolved and tried to watch this season, but the depiction of Witches/Wiccans who, unlike Vamps and Werewolves, do actually exist IRL, was so sloppy, dumb and bigoted I had to shut it off again.

I've read all of the books except the last two, which feel like word-count padding filler to me, and the Wiccans introduced by Harris feel much, much more realistic and human. I do not remember any bs storyline about how witches were burned at the stake on account of them being actual evil witches. My sympathies to all Pagans who get yet another round of pop-culture ignorance.

#80 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 11:00 AM:

Gray Woodland @74: I'm Pagan, and so far the best urban fantasy writer wrt Wicca is Rosemary Edghill -- try her Bast mysteries:

Speak Daggers to Her
The Book of Moons
The Bowl of Night

I had always hoped there would be more, as I wanted to see Bast run her own coven, but since it's been so long since the last one came out, I'm guessing that won't be happening.

I also like how S. M. Stirling has been handling paganism in his Emberverse books.

#81 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 11:13 AM:

Jim, my reliable source of good ideas, Frances, had this to say:

You should make a poster of this post.

"And the background should be some guy holding a wrench, scratching his head in complete confusion, with a weird thing with gears and stuff all over it, and loose springs and screws here and there, and paper spewing out of the empty shipping box. And he should add a goofy thing for 'assembly not required' and 'no tools needed' and 'easy to assembly' and maybe the dog in the corner, cowering in fear in the poster."

I think she's onto something. :)

#82 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 11:16 AM:

Looking for a word, thinking someone here might be able to make a suggesion. I would like to title a book review "100 years of X" where X is something distinctly in opposition from "solitude" and making a clear reference to "100 years of solitude" -- the meaning I am looking for is along the lines of "crowded, bustling activity". I was considering "proliferation" but I don't think that works very well at all.

#83 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 11:53 AM:

The Modesto Kid @82: "100 years of festivity"? Also "100 years of partying". Both possibly a little too upbeat (but it does sound like a variety of hell to me).

#84 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 11:55 AM:

Checking in from Baton Rouge, where it was actually cool yesterday instead of the 90°F that was forecast. Our new grandchild is as cute as a button, and the first photo of her is up on my blog. I'll put some more up on Flickr or Picassa later today. Unfortunately I didn't get any of her in LSU colors for the game yesterday.

#85 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 12:01 PM:

On the True Blood note:
EDGY - now with even more rape, gore, tits and the occasional naked male (back)(because we have to).

Ugh. Violence is okay on TV, sex is not. So, to push the sex factor - oh, I know, add violence! Why didn't anyone think of that before!

#86 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 12:03 PM:

Modesto Kid: not helpful, but the thing that comes to mind is "Morrolan's party."

Now, as an introvert, that does sound like a great thing - as long as I can come *and go* when I want. Bursts of 1/2 an hour at a time, maybe at 1600, maybe at 0300? Wonderful. But I bet it isn't intended to work that way...

#87 ::: Tangurena ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 12:15 PM:

WORKING AS INTENDED - Broken as intended.

#88 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 12:18 PM:

Modesto Kid: "Mobbed", "teeming" and "thronged" are the ones that come to mind, despite not being the right part of speech.

#89 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 12:25 PM:

Modesto Kid @ 82: How about "Mardi Gras"?

#90 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 12:30 PM:

Julie @89: grin. Thanks for suggestions all. "Teeming" is good and I wish there were a handy way of making it into a noun.

#91 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 12:56 PM:

100 Years of Multitude

#92 ::: Bill Detty ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 01:03 PM:

ERGONOMIC: As uncomfortable as possible short of out-and-out torture.

ERGONOMICALLY DESIGNED: Same as above, but not by accident.

EASY TO INSTALL: At the insistence of our lawyers, our techs won't touch it.

#93 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 01:09 PM:

Nicole, #67: Oh, they didn't have any trouble selling out, and I know at least 2 regular vendors who are there -- but they're gamer/vendors who make very game-specific (and popular) stuff; our merchandise isn't nearly as closely targeted. If you do get back there, I'd be interested in hearing a brief summary of who's there and how sales appear to be doing -- have you still got my e-mail?

TMK, #82: What about "sociability", or something related to that? isn't helping much.

#94 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 01:18 PM:

TMK @85: Why not just "100 years of crowds"? The bustling and activity is pretty clearly implied in that phrase, to me.

#95 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 01:27 PM:

"crowds" might work. "multitude" is probably the winner.

in HLN, an area man just received the briefest spam of his life to date:

From: Dr Ge Haijiao
Subject: (empty)

Transaction!!! interested?

He thanks Dr. Haijiao for the brevity.

#96 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 01:40 PM:

Mycroft W @ 85... True Blood (...) the occasional naked male (back)

Count yourself lucky that if Skarsgaard buns were sighted, they were Alexander's instead of his dad's.

#97 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 02:05 PM:

I was going to say "bustling," but dang, "multitude" looks good.

#98 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 02:12 PM:

NEW RECIPE - the old recipe tasted better but contained some banned ingredients.

#99 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 02:17 PM:

CUTTING EDGE: We think we've fixed everything that might cause it to blow up.

NEW TECHNOLOGY: The hardware's great, but don't expect driver support for another year.

#100 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 02:24 PM:

'Picturesque meant - he decided after careful observation of the scenery that inspired Twoflower to use the word - that the landscape was horribly precipitous. Quaint, when used to describe the occasional village through which they passed, meant fever-ridden and tumbledown. Twoflower was a tourist, the first ever seen on the discworld. Tourist, Rincewind had decided, meant "idiot".'

#101 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 02:26 PM:

Lee @ #50:

That is indeed really cool. One might even say (with appropriate apologies to everyone but Serge) it's brilliant.

#102 ::: giltay ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 02:48 PM:

Mycroft W@43:


MISSION STATEMENT — In which we demonstrate that a committee can't even write a readable 10-word sentence.

#103 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 03:00 PM:

NEW IMPROVED FORMULA: If it was your favorite perfume (for example), we've jiggered with the scent so that not only doesn't it smell anything like it used to, it will actually make you feel as if your sinuses have been scrubbed with a rusty barbecue brush wrapped in a rag soaked in bleach and give you a headache when you try to wear it.

NEW IMPROVED FLAVOR: If it was a favorite food of yours, it won't be anymore, but you'll keep buying it in the hope we'll come to our senses and change it back. If it was the food you gave your pets, they will turn up their noses at it and, if they do decide that eating it is better than going hungry, they will upchuck at every other meal.

#104 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 03:03 PM:

"Our goal - to dominate this species."

That was the mission statement uttered during a board meeting of evil aliens in the Skiffy Channel's series "The Third Wave". I kept expecting an evil alien to make a crack about the boss telling them now why they'd gone halfway across the galaxy.

#105 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 03:06 PM:

Nicole 67: Your friend does sound a lot more respectful. I haven't read the books either, or watched that much of the series, so I can't say where the misrepresentation originates.

alex 70: Well, I can rely on you to try to goad me (and others) on any topic I might be upset about, so I think I'll confine myself to pointing out that "vampires, werewolves, maenads, shapeshifting man-dogs and telepathic fairies" do not exist in THIS universe, and thus cannot suffer from mistaken beliefs generated by the actions of their parallels in the TB universe, and that Christians (and I haven't watched enough TB to see how they're treated) are not a religious minority, especially in the US, and are familiar enough that any mischaracterization of them is unlikely to have much impact on how they're treated IRL.

What we won't do, of course, is to have a conversation about how many people need to believe something how strongly before it becomes protected against casual ridicule.

Indeed not. IIRC you're in the UK, so you probably don't understand that in the US the protections on freedom of religion are specifically designed to protect the minority against the tyranny of the majority. The "how many" numbers are therefore anathema to any discussion of religious freedom as it exists in this country.

Moreover, no one, especially me, is talking about my religion being "protected against casual ridicule." (I'm assuming that you mean protected by law, and my response is to be read in that context.) I would object to any such legal protection, because it violates a different clause of the First Amendment (freedom of speech). And in this country, IIUC, defamation has to be personal (and untrue, unlike in the UK) to count; if someone gets up and gives a whole speech presenting the anti-Semitic Blood Libel for truth, they can't be arrested or suppressed by law, or even sued by anyone, unless they can make a direct connection between the speech and actual harm they've suffered (and even then the case is hard to make).

They can, of course, be resented, denounced, and boycotted. So can the writers of TB.

Lastly, if I were to have a conversation about such a thing, I would have it exclusively with people I trust to be fair and openminded, and therefore you and I will never have that conversation.

everybody who counts already hates nasty atheists anyway.

I suspect your definition of "everybody who counts" is a "no true Scotsman"ish one, but I have spent a fair amount of time both in public online fora and in private defending atheists against misrepresentations and lies against them. Your past behavior suggests that I certainly don't "count" by whatever definition you're using, but I'm not the only one (or even the only non-atheist!) doing that.

Gray 74: I love it! That would be a marvelous satire. Unfortunately hardly anyone would get it.

Unfortunately there's a fair amount of silliness about Wicca even in books written by Wiccans (though they're generally not depicted as stupid and evil the way they are in TB and books written by ignorant people). So I would suggest Starhawk's The Spiral Dance as a good introduction to Wicca; Starhawk (who started writing under her Craft name to avoid embarrassing her well-known mother when the latter was alive) is, to my mind, a bit light on magical ethics, but her book (which is non-fiction) will give a basic understanding of what the whole thing is about.

TMK 77: Looks like there's a lot of stuff there. Perhaps I'll look at it at some point, but for now I've had my fill of OTT representations.

Serge 78: That's great! Never heard of that movie before now.

nerdycellist 79: Thank you. It's heartening, but not surprising, to learn that the really nasty shit was added by a bunch of asshole TV writers, and not by Harris.

#106 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 03:22 PM:

If the rains should appear one day in a thousand years,
we'd drink the sky and sing with voices sweet and clear
of scorching dust; and hopeful sprouts would peek about
and dream of better days before the Drought.

The jealous Sun would rage and burn the misty dew
and scourge the world with fire hitherto
unknown in deadly, dire calamity,
a punishing catastrophe.

#107 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 03:31 PM:

I don't know much about Wicca or, more broadly, paganism, but I also have enjoyed the way SM Stirling has built up several interestingly and weirdly different post-Change societies--ranging from ones that are fairly straightforward extrapolations of what exists now (Richland, Iowa, the Dominions,Corvallis, CORA, Deseret, Boise, England) and stuff that's radically and interestingly different (Portland, the Mackenzies, Norland, the Cutters, the Rangers, the Order of St Benedict). A big part of the series involves beliefs--both how they tie a community together when the world falls apart and everyone reverts to primary loyalties, and also how they allow different people to interact well or poorly with the Changed world. There are important characters whose religious belief ranges from cynical observance for form's sake (Sandra) to indifference (Tiphaine, Mike, Ingolf) to intense commitment (Rudi and his mom, Ignatius, most of the younger characters).

Another really fun idea (I don't know if it's true, but it's plausible and fun to think about) is the way basically crazy obsessive ideas/beliefs form the core around which new societies form in times of disaster. Portland and the Rangers and the Cutters all seem to follow that pattern, like a small community of a few intense believers just shape the world around them. (I keep thinking the Change made faith or belief more powerful in affecting the world around it.)

#108 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 03:32 PM:

Twas brillig, and the slithy gnomes
Did eat my posting in the wabe

#109 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 03:32 PM:

It just rained a bit, and people are freaking out in disbelief; Asimov's Nightfall came to mind.

#110 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 03:35 PM:

Chris Lawson:

I vaguely recall seeing some joke definition of "convenient to public transit" that was something like "Heathrow flight path directly above house."

#111 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 03:38 PM:

Xopher @ 105... That's because "Solomon Kane" was never released in North-America. Why? I don't know. It wasn't cheesy or anything. My wife and I are fans of actor James Purefoy so we wound up buying the European-region DVD.

#112 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 03:39 PM:

Xopher (105): I took alex to be writing tongue-in-cheek, ridiculing rather than defending those positions. But I could be giving him too much credit.

#113 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 03:44 PM:

me (111): I hadn't seen the latest additions to the other thread yet. Never mind.

#114 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 03:48 PM:

Serge -

We bought Solomon Kane in our last batch of AmazonUK orders. Liked it a lot more than I expected. Also bought in that batch was Black Death, with Sean Bean. That one delivered much more than expected. Kind of depressing, but the depiction of "witches" was I felt well done. That one is available in the US now, for those without region-free players.

#115 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 03:50 PM:

Earl #108:

Alas, over here it was just a few spatters on the window, and the sidewalk dried up in five minutes. But a mid-afternoon 84 degrees--now that is to be cherished.

#116 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 03:54 PM:

Mary Aileen 112: Actually I hadn't either. I was basing my interpretation on older behavior. Look at his VAB for a broader impression; it's almost never fair to judge a person by one or two posts, especially if they're pretty angry.

#117 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 04:06 PM:

nerdycellist @ 113... Calling "Black Death" depressing is a bit of an understatement. Then again the title shouldn't have a person expect a Fred Astaire musical.

#118 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 04:08 PM:

Coincidence? Virus?

I had paused "The Incredibles" with commentary and had been working on something else when my system seemed to freeze up. Ctrl+alt+delete gave me the systems running, none of which were out of whack, and arrow keys did move up and down but I was unable to select other options with keyboard commands. I tried esc and got a full-screen book-cover-quality painting of space with a meteor going through, and bold yellow italic sanserif letters saying


I manually turned off and restarted, and noticed that although the red laser in my mouse was on, the battery-ok light was not. Replaced the battery.

Everything fine, since.

So what was with that space screen?!?

#120 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 04:27 PM:

#118 Carol Kimball

Perhaps you discovered an easter egg?

DVD QUOTE OF THE WEEK: From the first audio commentary track on THE INCREDIBLES: "The filmmakers I most admire recognize the value of teasing moments and milking moments. Think about a good storyteller who tells good stories in a bar, they don't blast through a story. They stop and savor moments. And they know which moments they can milk. And all of my favorite filmmakers have the confidence to slow down. Versus, I won't name names, but a lot of successful hacks, who by having rapid-fire editing all the way through never have to d eal with the issue of is anybody paying attention, because they keep throwing stuff at you. And to me, there's an edge of desperation about that. The kind of filmmaking I most admire takes a moment to savor things, because there are also many things that a movie can offer." —Director Brad Bird on his aesthetic, Disc One, 00:57:09.

#121 ::: Mike McHugh ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 04:44 PM:

TMK @82: Networking? It's probably just me, but the handshake of the damned has a business card in it.

#122 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 04:47 PM:

Jim - I'm sure you're right. In fact, I'd just listened to Brad Bird say that line, but hadn't connected it.

Perhaps it kicked in because the DVD had been paused so long? Who knows?

#123 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 04:53 PM:

Serge @117:

I kinda like the idea of a musical about the Black Death. That may be because the last musical I saw was the Threepenny Opera, which is moderately black at times.

Let's see ... Book: Astaire and Rodgers are on a tour of Greece and Italy in the mid 14th Century. Stopping at Venice they're stranded when the ship's crew hears rumors about an outbreak of the Plague and hauls anchor without waiting for the passengers. The romantic duo are separated when Astaire tries to help a young street hustler with a case of contagion in the family and Rodgers meets an old flame. Epidemiology ensues.

Song and Dance Numbers:
Halfway between Europe and Asia (Venice is My Kind Of Town)
Never Tell the Doge What You Really Mean
Close the Gates Before They Run For the Hills
Bring Out Your Dead
A Plague of All Lawyers
Splitting What's Left

#124 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 05:01 PM:

From Open Thread 163:

Lizzy @926: Yes, I am younger than 60. And my mother was one of those quiet feminist types, the ones who just projected the strong assumption that of course women were just as intelligent and capable as men, and who would ever think otherwise? It was years before I found out that it had ever been otherwise. Also note that she studied paleontology with the help and support of pretty much that entire department of the University of Wyoming and her (single*) mother.

She does tell amusing anecdote about the classes being addressed as "Gentlemen and Miss H."

I also remember how appalled my dad was when he realized he'd never expected to have me mow the lawn (he was bemoaning the fact that my brothers weren't there to do it.) On the other hand, he did teach me to use a chainsaw.

*Mom's father was killed in WWI and she was "adopted" in-family, so no dad custody.

#125 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 05:18 PM:

I haven't watched any True Blood (not sure I really want to—text usually comes across as less nasty even on the same subjects), but I have read the books, which come across as more adventure novels (with heavy doses of sex) than vampire porn. Sookie does a lot of developing in the books from someone who's almost crippled because she can't screen out the (other people's) voices in her head to someone who is trying to define her identity as a strong woman. Though that phrasing probably gives the books too much credit; they're definitely aimed towards "quick and entertaining."

As far as the witches/Wiccan bit goes, she does have a brief comment on the distinction when they first come up, as in somebody says witches, another character says Wiccan? and the first replies back with, no, we're talking the old-fashioned scary kind. Then they proceed to do a whole bunch of other totally erroneous assumptions, but there is a distinction made between witches/people who are Wiccans and witches/people who do black magic.

Like I said, still wrong (probably much more than I know), but at least not setting out to be deliberately offensive.

As to the series, well, television producers get almost everything wrong even when they're trying to be nice. It doesn't surprise me that they've totally erased any distinction and gone straight towards Hey, magic! Wouldn't it be cool if...?

#126 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 05:20 PM:

albatross @107: (I keep thinking the Change made faith or belief more powerful in affecting the world around it.)

Several of the characters HAVE interacted with theirs or others deities, usually while in some form of trance state or when weakened by wounds (although Juniper seems able to do it at will) -- this has been shown in several of the books.

The most recent examples are Rudy's interview with the Maid, Mother and Crone when he acquires the Sword of the Lady -- and the dialog with Odin via an entranced priestess in an earlier part of the book.

And even nonbelievers are shown to become believers when faced with a metaphysical threat (Tiphane in Tears of the Sun).

#127 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 05:35 PM:

Bruce Cohen @ 123... I see Edward Everett Horton as the Doge.

#128 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 05:40 PM:

My first exposure to "True Blood" was at 2004's worldcon in Boston. At the end of a panel, a woman introduced her teenage daughter to Charlaine Harris, who autographed one of her books for the young lady while the latter was literally bouncing up and down in excitement. That was cute.

#129 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 05:55 PM:

I'd just like to say that I have nothing against Charlaine Harris. I've heard good things about her, and her vampires aren't prettied up and dumbed down like Certain Others I Could Mention. That's part of why I was pleased to learn that apparently it was the TV writers rather than Harris who did the icky stuff with the alleged Wiccans.

#130 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 06:07 PM:


It's clear they're interacting with something. It's not at all clear to me they're interacting with what they think they're interacting with, though anything powerful enough to cause the Change is probably pretty hard to distinguish from the gods. We know of one civilization which had a 3500 year jump on developing technology relative to the pre-Change world on OTL, and which also has Swindapa and Marian as important founding characters in their history, like us having skilled actors and historians recreating an interview with Abe Lincoln or Julius Caesar. OTOH, the CUTter Ascended Masters occasionally spout off 20th century tech speak. And other religious figures who show up seem like themselves.

#131 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 07:08 PM:

albatross, #107: I would say rather that in times of great stress and upheaval, anyone with a strong vision and a few followers can start a "snowball effect". Portland wasn't just Norman and Sandra, it was most of the local SCA group. Corvallis had the University. The MacKenzies had Lady Juniper and a basic mindset drawn from the pagan and Rennie communities. The Cutters, IIRC, were a small and relatively harmless group -- but they already had the heavily-hierarchal kind of organization which made them easy for the Unabomber to take over and subvert.* Anywhere that civilization didn't break down completely, there was someone, or a group of someones, with a strong idea of What Must Be Done.

BTW, am I the only person who thinks that Mike was a bit of an asshole? Not a bad person, but he had several unpleasant (and counter-productive) habits of thought that he never got over, and the whole business with Rudy happened because he lied to Signe in the first place.

Earl, #109: I caught the "Nightfall" reference; thanks for elucidating. And envy.

Xopher, #129: The vampire books are the only one of Harris' series that I haven't been able to get into at all. Everything else of hers that I've read, I like very well. I recommend the Harper Connolly mysteries (Grave Sight, A Grave Surprise, An Ice-Cold Grave) as an example of treating the supernatural very respectfully.

* That's not a spoiler, I promise! It's throwaway information which has nothing significant to do with the Cutters as they appear in the book.

#132 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 07:13 PM:

I've been in the real estate market recently, so I can add a few.

MODERN—Exactly like all the other new homes.

CHARMING—Has been remodeled without sufficient regard for structural integrity.

CONVENIENT TO SHOPPING—Close to a 4-lane highway on which you can drive several miles to a shopping center.

#133 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 07:21 PM:

Then there's the Black Death World Tour t-shirt.

#134 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 07:33 PM:

I'm sitting here thinking: That musical has to have Mel Gibson in it.

Then I realize --- Mel Brooks. Totally confusable, really.

#135 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 08:28 PM:

Lee @ #131, Amen. The other series (there are three besides Sookie's) by Harris are very good indeed.

I just picked up Book #1, Dead Until Dark, off the library giveaway shelf. I'll try it again. The first time I did it didn't appeal.

#136 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 08:29 PM:

Bruce: She's adorable!

#137 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 09:15 PM:

'In need of modernisation' is 'fixer-upper' in the US.

#138 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 09:20 PM:

Up here in Maine you'll see the phrase "Needs TLC."

My spousal unit opines that this unfolds to "Torch, Lighter, Can-of-gas"

#139 ::: Carrie S ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 11:17 PM:

Re the Change series: I think that as the series has gone on the "supernatural" has gotten more obvious. In the whole first trilogy, nothing happens that's too weird, if you're willing to buy the action-movie competence of Stirling's characters to begin with. But it's not long into the second series that stuff starts happening that you just flat-out can't explain with "Oh, Juniper's really devout" or the like. I mean, the High Seekers...

Lee: Yeah, Mike can be a schmuck. And also a huge hardass, which shades over into schmuck pretty easily. Myself, I think Signe really, really overreacted to Rudy, but it was dumb of Mike to sleep with Juniper in the first place, given that the last interaction he and Signe are described as having before he sets out on the trip is a hot kiss. Later he talks about how they "weren't even really involved", but that's not how I read it; he's just trying to be the injured party.

#140 ::: Daniel Boone ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 11:42 PM:

Re: the Change books -- it may be of interest that the Lady Juniper character is a Tuckerized edition of folk singer Heather Alexander, who is credited in at least some of the books for song lyrics used therein. Obviously that's just IMO, but there are numerous extremely-strong character similarities.

I first encountered Heather Alexander at BayCon '92, where she was much in the filk room (as were a couple of other peeps whose names I see here from time to time.) Then I made a friend who turned out to be something of a wanna-be groupie (that sounds nicer than "stalker") who induced me to go with him to a great many little bar gigs Heather played between Half Moon Bay and Marin County during 1992 and 1993. My friend was into hanging around after, helping pack and carry amps and such, and striking up conversations; I was more the silent sidekick, which left me in the bizarrely asymmetrical position of feeling like I knew someone fairly well who probably never even heard my name. ;-)

When I read the first book in the Change series, I couldn't stop going "LOL, OMG, that's HEATHER!" every other page.

#141 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 11:52 PM:

Allan Beatty—how about:

COZY—600 square feet or less.
SPACIOUS—1500 square feet after unlicensed garage conversion.
AFFORDABLE—At least we'd like you to think so. OR So badly damaged that it's finally dropped to your price range.
GIANT BACKYARD—Total lot size .15 acre in my neck of the woods. Yes, I've actually seen that one in action.
PRICED TO MOVE—Really. Yes, really. C'mon, won't you make one tiny little bid?
WE HAVE ANOTHER OFFER—We want you to up your initial amount in a bidding war against a totally fictional construct. (We did not fall for this one, BTW; half a year on the market and somebody comes up with an offer just as we do? Please.)

And no longer accurate:


Oy. I'm not even going to comment on that one; I'm sure most of you know someone who got hurt by it.

#142 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 11:55 PM:

Lee: I rather like the Aurora Teagarden mysteries too, and the Shakespeare ones (that's a town name, not the Bard.)

I will warn anyone who wants to pick anything of hers up that they are mysteries with violence and bodies in them, so they are probably extremely triggery. Especially ones such as the one-off A Secret Rage.

#143 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 12:32 AM:

SERVING SUGGESTION - Does not contain actual food.

#144 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 01:10 AM:

Lee @131 - On the other hand, I was jolted out of the most recent (afaik) Harper Connolly story by a serious mistake in genetics. I can accept story premises that I believe are unreal better than I can those that get reality wrong.

#145 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 02:04 AM:

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little @ #4: Has it been a year already? Wow. At least the Grand Masquerade wasn't two weeks ago, when TS Lee was here making everything rainy and disappointing, just when I had family visiting from the UK (for the first time, in one case). And, it seems to be cooling down ever so slightly, although I'm terribly envious of all the people talking about the coming of autumn when it's still nearly 90 degrees here.

Lee: Sorry you couldn't make it, but yes, I do not blame you for not wanting to pony up that much of an increase.

#146 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 02:24 AM:

Carrie, #139: Oh, yeah -- the first trilogy was very much "So this happened, now what?", but the last couple of books particularly have gone all Chosen One and Sacred Quest. I don't mind that particularly, and I really like the characters, so I'm still reading (and was relieved to hear at Worldcon that there will be at least one more book beyond the one that just came out).

The two things about Mike that really bug me are (ROT-13 for spoilers):

1) Ur arire fgbcf guvaxvat gung nalbar jub vfa'g fgvyy zragnyyl va gur yngr 20gu praghel vf ahgf. Guvf vf cnegvphyneyl abgvprnoyr va uvf nggvghqr gbjneq Nfgevq -- arire zvaq gung fur'f znqr n shyyl shapgvbany nqncgngvba gb gur Punatrq jbeyq naq vf cebivqvat n hfrshy freivpr, ur pbagvahrf gb guvax bs ure nf puvyqvfu naq abg-dhvgr-pbzcrgrag -- ohg vg yrnxf bhg va bgure jnlf gbb, naq vg ernyyl tengrf ba zr rirel gvzr V er-ernq gur obbxf.

2) Ur syng-bhg yvrq gb Fvtar nobhg uvf syvat jvgu Whavcre, naq pbagvahrq gb yrg ure oryvrir gur yvr sbe 10 lrnef, hagvy vg jnf vzcbffvoyr gb qral gur gehgu nal zber. Vs ur'q GBYQ ure evtug jura ur svefg tbg onpx, V guvax fur jbhyq unir unq n ovt uvffl svg naq gura tbggra bire vg; nf vg jnf, gurer'f n qrrc-frngrq tehqtr gurer juvpu vf obhaq gb pnhfr ceboyrzf sbe Ehql riraghnyyl. Naq gurer jrer frireny bgure vafgnaprf jurer ur jnf yrff guna gehgushy jvgu fbzrbar whfg gb fnir uvzfrys fbzr unffyr, juvpu V pna'g erpnyy bssunaq ohg erzrzore abgvpvat ng gur gvzr. Vg fbeg bs haqrephgf gur jubyr Ornexvyyre rzcunfvf ba "ubabe" sbe zr.

B. Durbin, #142: Yes, I very specifically warn people that A Secret Rage is likely to be triggery for rape/sexual abuse survivors. OTOH, I think it does a very good job of getting "into the head" of a rape-survivor character, and so may be a useful read for those who are not survivors themselves.

#147 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 04:13 AM:

Just got an odd little variation on the Nigerian scam email:

From Thu Sep 15 17:44:11 2011
Date: Fri, 16 Sep 2011 02:38:38 +0200 (CEST)

We are writhing to know if it is true that you are DEAD? Because we received a
notification from one MR. GERSHON SHAPIRO of USA stating that you are DEAD and
that you have given him the right to claim your funds. He stated you died on a
CAR accident. He has been calling us regarding this issue, but we cannot
proceed with him until we confirm this by not hearing from you after 7days.


I've had plenty of people suggesting that I should claim the funds of someone dead in a car accident, but this is the first going in the other direction!

#148 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 05:41 AM:

Breaking bible news: hand-written, hand-illuminated bible completed at last. (Via.) In my picky personal way I was a bit disappointed that it turned out to be NRSV rather than Vulgate.

Breaking not-quite-hyperlocal, merely restricted to England and Wales, fish on Friday news too.

#149 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 06:24 AM:

Anne Sheller @ 144 ...
Lee @131 - On the other hand, I was jolted out of the most recent (afaik) Harper Connolly story by a serious mistake in genetics. I can accept story premises that I believe are unreal better than I can those that get reality wrong.

[Trying to avoid spoilers] I can't for the life of me recall if it was outright wrong, or sticking with the sort of purely mendelian single-trait inheritance that's typically taught in high school (and doesn't apply quite like that for most things other than peas).

#150 ::: Carrie S ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 09:46 AM:

Lee @#146: arire zvaq gung fur'f znqr n shyyl shapgvbany nqncgngvba gb gur Punatrq jbeyq naq vf cebivqvat n hfrshy freivpr, ur pbagvahrf gb guvax bs ure nf puvyqvfu naq abg-dhvgr-pbzcrgrag

Nf sne nf V pna gryy, *rirelbar* guvaxf bs Nfgevq nf ahgf va fbzr jnl. Vapyhqvat ure uhfonaq. Gurer'f gur bar fprar jurer gur gbc Qharqnva ner ba gurve jnl vagb Pbeinyyvf naq Nfgevq fgnegf zhfvat nobhg ubj gur pvgl vfa'g nf cbjreshy nf vg hfrq gb or, naq Rvyve unfgvyl pbzrf hc jvgu n jnl gb qvffhnqr ure sebz qrpvqvat gb yrnq vg evtug onpx gb orvat terng.

That doesn't make Mike less of an ass. ;)

#151 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 10:33 AM:

B. Durbin #141:


#152 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 10:55 AM:

I'm thinking of sending this to everyone in my address book.

Even if it does raise some cognitive dissonance. :)

Stop forwarding

#153 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 11:23 AM:

Steve with a book: I kind of like the NRSV, though I understand your disappointment. And re your other link: I don't see how being limited to fish (as opposed to beef, pork, lamb, etc.) can possibly be considered a penance. Not now. I understand and have no issue with the concept of the community finding ways to do penance on a regular basis through, say, abstinence, but have a hard time recognizing the penitential aspect in being told to eat fish, except, I suppose, in conforming one's desires to a rule... Ah. Of course. Scratch what I just said. It is all about conforming one's desires to a rule not of one's own making. Got there in the end.

Brain slow this morning.

#154 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 11:47 AM:

GARDEN APARTMENT-- It's on the basement level and can get flooded.

#155 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 11:57 AM:

#148 ::: Steve with a book:

Thanks for letting me know about the Saint John's Bible-- I thought it had been finished a while ago.

The book about the making of the Saint John's Bible-- _Illuminating the Word_ -- would probably be of interest here. If you like finding out what it took just to get big enough sheets of parchment appropriately prepared, or the logistics of organizing that people to make the pages, this is the book for you.

They tried going to Israel for parchment, but it turns out that it's when it's prepared for Torahs, there's a grain because of the heavy horizontal strokes of the Hebrew letters, it's not finished for writing on two sides, and it can't really take the amount of paint needed for illustrations.

#156 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 12:16 PM:

I seem to recall reading once that part of the eating-fish stuff in Britain was intended to support the local fishermen, under the Tudors. Political, partly, in other words.

#157 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 12:55 PM:

Xopher @54: the worst of it is, I may find myself testing the limits of my facepalming and yelling-at-the-screen tolerances, for The Secret Circle, because... Thomas Dekker. I'm betting that even the superior eye candy won't sustain my patience more than three episodes' worth, though. After all, Jamie Campbell Bower didn't keep me watching Camelot past the second episode.

Dear TV people: how about putting the delicious eye candy in something with a good script?

#158 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 12:56 PM:

Lee: If I make it down there, I'll let you know. I peeked in between one thing and another this morning, but I wasn't really shopping so I didn't look with any close attention. The room is about a third of the size of last year's room, I can say that much.

EClaire: A year already, yes! Kind of amazing. I seem to have lucked out, because the temperature hasn't been that bad since the day I arrived. This morning a cool breeze keeps blowing and I think it might be in the 70s.

Regarding Dead Until Dark -- I'm glad to hear impressions of the author are largely good ones. I got a rather bad impression of her because the first book seemed to give off this "totally uneasy about teh gay" vibe. It may in fact be that Sookie starts off uneasy about gay people, and develops past it, but I got the impression that the uneasiness was the author's. I forget the small things throughout that built that impression for me, but the big thing was the early scene -- I think the first time in the book where the text puts same-sex relationships on stage? Certainly the first such with Sookie as witness -- in which a vampire first enjoys how freaked out Sookie is by watching his human toy give him a blow job, and then sends said toy over to tempt Bill and get him infected with Vampire AIDS.

Given how consciously and sympathetically she seems to use the parallel between her fictional vampires "coming out of the coffin" and the real-life QUILTBAG population, I can only assume she didn't realize that this early scene was playing right into popular homophobic talking points, namely "I have nothing against them, but why have they got to push their deviance in my face?" and "OMG GAY D00DZ R OUT TO GIVE YOU AIDS"

What I'm trying, and failing, to remember, is whether the rather fabulous chef I heard about in True Blood existed in the novels. I do know the TV show called the vampire disease with human carriers by a different name, like Hepatitis V or something.

I'd reread the book to refresh my memory, but I gave my copy away, and the narrative style sort of got on my nerves. I kept turning pages going, "Gods, this writing is awful, but I just need to know what happens next!" So if I'm remembering any of this totally wrong, by all means correct me. I'd be happy to know the book wasn't as unsettling as I now recall.

#159 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 01:01 PM:

One minor puzzle about the reintroduction of meat-avoiding fasts on Friday is that everyone seems to be saying the fast was abandoned in England and Wales in 1985. I was in Catholic schools before then, and the fast was always talked about, like the Latin mass, as something that people used to do in the past and didn't do any more. Avoiding meat on Fridays was something that you might only do nowadays as a penance in Lent. I think I assumed that Vatican II had abolished it everywhere at about the same time as the Eucharistic fast got attenuated to 1 hour.

#160 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 01:38 PM:

Rikibeth @ 157... You actually watched two episodes? You are made of stern stuff.

#161 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 01:45 PM:

Serge @160: If JCB had stopped GAWPING LIKE A GOLDFISH, I'd have watched more. Despite my tendency to snark about "oh, right, you're not ACTUALLY Voldemort, you're his younger brother," and "Would you like me to tell you how many conceptual anachronisms were in this scene's dialogue? No? GOOD, because I LOST COUNT," and " know, that has got to be the unsexiest sex scene I've watched since Excalibur." And the constant "Arthurian geneaology, UR DOIN IT RONG." (I have opinions. I know there are variations from my opinions that can also be considered canonical, but I didn't like the variations in this show one bit.)

I couldn't force myself to watch a third. I think I might have watched our DVD of Sweeney Todd instead, where JCB looked the way he OUGHT to.

#162 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 01:52 PM:


Yeah, Mike basically thinks *everyone* who came out well but himself and maybe his immediate family (other than Astrid) and maybe Aylward, is a bit crazy. Note that he thinks Astrid is nuts, Arminger is living in a teenage fantasy, Juniper is rather flaky in the gods-and-magic area, etc. I almost think this is the kind of crazy that got *him* through the Change--he was able to hold onto his own worldview despite the massive shock that anyone's worldview had to take from the Change.)

I tend to think that Mike has a lot in common with the bossmen in the midwest. Other than the pagan aspects (driven by Juniper and Astrid), the Bearkillers transplanted to Wisconson or Idaho would fit well enough with what's there, and would probably have been incorporated pretty seamlessly into the larger organization of Boise or Richland, with Mike ending up as one of Thurston's most trusted generals/advisors, or as a local bossman in Wisconson or Nebraska or Missouri. He and they retained a lot of the old pre-Change assumptions about the world, including the American flag, arranging and training military units, etc. More fundamentally, they retained the 20th century worldview, in which magic and superstition and fervent religion all look like being a little crazy or at least rather gullible.

In fact, the stuff back in the midwest is mostly what I'd have expected to arise from any civilization wide collapse--Iowa and Richland and Boise and Deseret are easy to see rising from what's there now. Norland, the PPA, the Mackenzies, the Rangers, and the CUTters are all weird as hell by pre-Change standards. And they represent a huge change in beliefs and assumptions that has in many ways let them adapt a lot better to the new world they're in. Ingolf makes a comment about how the bossmen back home used to regularly add "and president of the United States" to their titles of "bossman of Richland, governor of Wisconson," etc., till they finally gave up claiming it as kind-of pointless.

#163 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 02:00 PM:

Lizzy L@153: well, what the monks wanted was, seemingly, something of its time, not a mediæval replica or pastiche, hence the modern language, which is fair enough except that modern Catholicism hasn't proved terribly good at doing contemporary art that lasts well (think of any number of ghastly 70s hymns and concrete churches streaked with rain-induced rust marks). Since Vatican II, aesthetics and dogma have got tangled together in a really unproductive way.

Nancy Lebovitz@155: I saw this piece about a female Torah scribe a while ago, and found myself getting superstitiously nervous on her behalf in case she made an awful blunder—whenever I watch someone do something labour-intensive and exacting, I kind of worry that my suckiness at doing such things will propagate to them back in time through the Internet and make them screw up.

#164 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 02:26 PM:

The monks wanted something of its time, but they felt they kept a bit of medieval spirit by having local insects and flowers in the border.

In re the orthodox Jewish woman who's a scribe: It gets to me that she can't display her certificate because the rabbi who signed it doesn't want his name known. I'm angrier at the community which has created this situation than I am at his lack of courage.

The long slow slog, this time for judo.

#165 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 02:28 PM:

Rikibeth 157: That's exactly my feeling about TSC! Though IMO Thomas Dekker is never as sexy as when he's playing John Connor, but...can't have everything.

And I first saw JCB as 11-12 in the reboot of The Prisoner. A jaw-droppingly beautiful boy, but seriously messed up (as who wouldn't be in that situation). Or maybe, if I'm honest, and seriously messed up...I admit I'm sometimes drawn to the troubled, not to take advantage of them, but because I'm a compulsive caretaker.

#166 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 02:36 PM:

Carrie, #150: Nf sne nf V pna gryy, *rirelbar* guvaxf bs Nfgevq nf ahgf va fbzr jnl.

Jryy, fur qbrf unir gung bar bofrffvba gung'f abg dhvgr ubbxrq vagb ernyvgl. Ohg gur guvat vf, rirelbar ryfr erpbtavmrf gung fur'f n tbbq yrnqre jvgu n eryngviryl-unezyrff orr va ure obaarg nobhg gung bar guvat. Jvgu Zvxr, vg nyjnlf frrzrq nf gubhtu gur bar guvat bhgjrvturq rirelguvat ryfr nobhg ure. Naq fur'f abg gur bayl bar -- fbzrgvzrf ur frrzf gb srry gung jnl nobhg Whavcre, gbb.

Nicole, #158: Yikes! Last year's room was none too large -- if they've cut it down that much, they probably only have 3 or 4 vendors in all.

albatross, #162: That's about right. He can't see anyone who's made a different adaptation than his as being competent. In some important ways, it reads as though Mike is still stuck in high school, with a teenage-jock mindset.

*click* Ah, that's what it is that keeps bugging me about him. No character growth.

#167 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 02:47 PM:

Xopher @ 165: Ah yes, The Prisoner remake. Awesome Ian McKellen, JCB as a beautiful troubled woobie, and a main character who did NOTHING to keep me interested in the plot. The remake's relation to the original (which I loved) was tenuous at best. Although I applauded when Rover showed up.

I tend to watch anything with JCB in it because my best friend and I use him as the visual for a character we write... a modified version of Anthony Lindley from The Fall of the Kings, but transplanted into a story-universe we built ourselves. Lindley in the book got a completely unsatisfactory ending, so we adopted him, decided that he was half-Fae (not uncommon in this world), and gave him an adoring lover who could handle all of his assorted flakiness. We like looking after the troubled ones, too...

I rather shamefacedly admitted the adoption to Ellen & Delia, who created him, and they said "oh, good! Someone ought to take care of him!" I was relieved.

#168 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 02:49 PM:

OK, I've lost track. What series are you talking about with the arrested-adolescent Mike? I'm pretty sure it's one I haven't read but it sounds kind of interesting (mod the asshole character...but then I watch NCIS, where characters who aren't assholes are generally victims in one way or another (except Abby, and even she can be jerky sometimes)).

#169 ::: Carrie S ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 02:50 PM:

Xopher: The first book is called Dies the Fire, by SM Stirling.

#170 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 02:56 PM:

Wow, looked it up. I think I have heard of that. Thanks, Carrie.

#171 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 03:09 PM:

Xopher, #170: Gripes aside, it's a fabulous series -- every book in it is now on my Desert Island list. But really, seriously, read it in order.

HLN: Water falls out of the sky, locals ecstatic! Current temperature under 80°.

(We had a thunderstorm. Probably about 0.1" of rain total. The ground is so dry here that it left no mud even on bare patches.)

#172 ::: Carrie S ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 03:10 PM:

You should give the first one a try, Xopher. One of the main characters is a Wiccan!

#173 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 03:11 PM:

Ah, right, that's how it came up, isn't it? I got all confuzzled.

#174 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 03:27 PM:

Over in the Reno air crash thread, there's a link to a news article on a Georgia station. I watched the video they link to, and a couple of others about different topics. Every one of those videos was preceded by an ad showing a fat kid talking about being bullied at school. The message? "Being Fat Hurts Kids. End Childhood Obesity".

That's right. Not one word about stopping the BULLYING. The kids -- the victims -- are being blamed for being fat, while the bullying is perfectly okay. I am so angry I don't even have words.

#175 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 03:34 PM:

The place where I used to live in west Texas got enough rain this week to put it over the two-inch line for the year. Even the kids in first grade were happy about it.

#176 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 05:01 PM:

Rikibeth @ 161... On the other hand, I don't think that sexy is what "Excalibur" was aiming for in those scenes. And when someone said 'Camelot', I didn't feel like launching into a song & dance number.

#177 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 05:05 PM:

Rikibeth... Remember a couple of months, when I mentionned that a baby tarantula had tried to get into our house. ("How could I forget?") This morning, one of its relatives was in our kitchen. Dare you click HERE and find out? I have this feeling that it'll solidify your wish never to visit Albuquerque.

#178 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 05:51 PM:

Serge...I watch In Plain Sight in fascinated horror, because it's my personal nightmare to be cut off from everyone I know, and not be able to do any of the things I know how to do. I probably couldn't even comment on blogs, because my style is distinctive. Also, it's set in Albuquerque, which they pretty much go out of their way to portray as a place no one would voluntarily live (and hot, dry places are not my friend).

Now you've added yet another element to the nightmare. I forgot that y'all have scorpions out there, just like wild, with no glass or anything. I firmly believe humans should leave scorpions their places, and not try to live in places that have them...or exterminate them utterly if we really have to take their planet land.

I will continue to be pleased to see you at conventions in non-scorpion zones. I will not, however, visit you in arachnid hell.

#179 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 06:06 PM:

HLN: Local man reads stories of Medal of Honor recipients, cries a little, vows never to knowingly sit in the presence of one without a specific invitation to do so.

#180 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 06:17 PM:

Xopher @ 178... I forgot that y'all have scorpions out there

And giant ants spawned by atomic tests.

#181 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 06:20 PM:

Radioactive stuff. Everything there is radioactive, right? If you see snow, dive for cover because it's actually fallout? And if you think the sun is coming up...check your almanac, because it just might be another H-bomb test!

That's what faded all those colors in Santa Fe, you know. H-bombs.

#182 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 06:27 PM:

Xopher @ 181... And if you're in a small New Mexico village, pray that it's not the one where the Andromeda Strain first struck.

#183 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 06:35 PM:

And also the hills have eyes there. And they have too many young guns and natural born killers there, as well as other good, bad, and ugly people.

Worst of all, they do high school musicals there! *flees screaming*

#184 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 06:38 PM:

Xopher... In case it might change your mind about New Mexico, the local SF con is named after the Bubonic Plague.

#185 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 06:42 PM:

Yes, I've heard of BuboniCon. I thought it was a surprisingly honest name for a convention. And you do actually have Y. pestis-carrying squirrels there, though I understand Colorado is worse on that particular score.

#186 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 06:48 PM:

Serge @ 177, Xopher @ 178: I'm making my annual visit to Arcosanti in a few weeks. Plenty of scorpions, tarantulas, and black widows there, with the occasional brown recluse. And there's nothing quite like watching a guy wrangle a Mojave green rattlesnake ("the aggressive species") into a bucket while wearing a T-shirt that says "Trust me. I do this all the time."

#187 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 07:01 PM:

XopherI understand Colorado is worse on that particular score

So it'd seem. Remember Connie Willis's intro speech for the Hugos at Denvention?

#188 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 07:09 PM:

Tim Walters @ 186... Brown recluses and black widows are more worrisome than the big bugs, and not just because you don't see them until you've disturbed them.

#189 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 07:23 PM:

... and speaking of being thrown right out of a book by inaccuracies -- one of the main characters in the book I'm wading through being awestruck at the idea that master archers might be firing _three_ arrows a minute.

As nothing near a master archer, I can easily fire three arrows a minute -- and I've seen a master archer fire a dozen in 30 seconds with high accuracy. *ARGH!!!*

#190 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 08:07 PM:

Oh. My. Gods. I just saw a Denny's commercial for a new sandwich that's part of their "Cheesy Choices" menu. It's a burger topped with macaroni and cheese, and worst of all it's on white bread.


#191 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 08:15 PM:

HLN: Area man is top-1% author on Amazon.

That just shows what Amazon sales ranks mean. My book is a graduate-level textbook in a minor subarea of statistics. I'm happy with it selling about five copies per week on average (according to Bookscan), and I expect my publishers are also happy, especially as that doesn't include their direct sales.

What's a bit more surprising is that the book is routinely in the top 5% of Amazon sales rank for paperbacks, and occasionally breaks through into the top 1% in good weeks, like the start of the academic year. Nearly all of the eight million books that Amazon ranks must sell zero copies. So much for the Long Tail.

#192 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 08:27 PM:

I'm watching the second season of In Plain Sight. Like.

Once it's done, I've got Treme in my queue.

It's stunning, how much better television series have become over time. The Wire remains at the top of the list by far (indeed, it may be time for me to re-visit the first two seasons), but In Plain Sight and Justified are really good. So is The Closer, thought not quite up to their level.

#193 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 08:41 PM:

Anybody remembers the Skiffy Channel's miniseries "The Hidden Room"? Some of it was filmed near the building where I work, her ein Albuquerque.

"The Man Who Fell to Earth" was filmed in New Mexico. I even walked around on what was supposed to be the alien planet.

#194 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 09:05 PM:

I couldn't figure out how to work that in. I should have added 'people falling to Earth' in there somewhere.

#195 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 09:10 PM:

xeger #189:

In SCA archery we do a 30 second speed round - regular arrows, regular bows, and I can consistently get 4 shots off in 30 seconds.

I'm nowhere near mastery, usually I get 2 on the target at 20 yards, and 2 complete misses.

Now, with a crossbow, I do maybe one a minute, but the crossbow takes longer to reload. Or at least mine takes me a while to pull the string and load; I've seen experts get three or four per minute, but I expect that they practice rather a lot more than I do.

#196 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 09:15 PM:

Xopher @ 194: You could have said "David Bowie naked," but I'm not sure that would have the deterrent effect you were after.

(I just watched The Man Who Fell To Earth last week. I'd forgotten how much nudity there is in it. Of both sexes, for once. Not a great film, alas, but Bowie is excellent.)

#197 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 09:33 PM:

More Real Estate to English translations:

STEPS FROM PUBLIC TRANSIT -- We never said how many steps. Several thousand is still steps.

CLOSE TO PUBLIC TRANSIT -- Not close to a station, mind you, but the tracks run right past the back yard.

#198 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 09:42 PM:

GREAT VISUALS! --> "The Story? Not so much."

#199 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 09:53 PM:

Xopher @190: There are a lot of things wrong with that.

#200 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 09:55 PM:

TMK: there's almost nothing RIGHT with that.

#201 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 10:04 PM:

Starting with the idea of mac'n'cheese as a sandwich topping.

#202 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 10:20 PM:

Patrick Connors @ 195 ...
In SCA archery we do a 30 second speed round - regular arrows, regular bows, and I can consistently get 4 shots off in 30 seconds.

Yup -- when I was in practice, I'd usually do 6 or 7 in 30 seconds, and usually hit the target (but I'm not going to claim any sort of decent grouping or anything beyond hitting the target).

Now, with a crossbow, I do maybe one a minute, but the crossbow takes longer to reload. Or at least mine takes me a while to pull the string and load; I've seen experts get three or four per minute, but I expect that they practice rather a lot more than I do.

Always :) Unfortunately, the book was exceedingly clear that they meant bows, not crossbows :(

#203 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 11:51 PM:

My daughter's new favorite class is the Earth and Atmospheric Sciences class in which her professor said, "I"m going to show you a film clip; there's some action in the foreground but what I really want you to look at is the rocks in the background; they are the famous Vasquez Rocks in California." Then he showed them Kirk's fight with the Gorn.

There's a nice parallel between "three arrows a minute = master archer" and "twenty books a year = heavy reader", at least from my perspective (I shot faster than that in my first archery class; and I nearly got up to 20 books a MONTH when I first discovered the Aubrey and Maturin series).

#204 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 11:55 PM:

Forgot to say: Xopher--ewwww! I thought deep-fried mac & cheese on a stick was bad! (My daughter works at the Grit, a vegetarian restaurant that makes fantastically good macaroni and cheese--it's in their cookbook. The horrid cholesterol-laden burger joint that used to be across the street from them used to buy mac and cheese from them to fry when they ran out of their own stuff. Fortunately the latter went out of business and the former is still going strong.)

#205 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2011, 12:14 AM:

Re: New Mexico

I like the place, though I've only spent a few months there, and all in the Albuquerque area. There's a beauty in the desolation of the desert that I've seen elsewhere in the Southwest that attracts me (and if I need to be in a hot place I'd rather it was dry than wet; I'm typing this in Louisiana, which is not my favorite climate in the world).

But In Plain Sight aside (and I watch it and enjoy it), I've just discovered another fictional treatment of N.M. which I like. It's Jane Linskold's novel Child of a Rainless Year. When I picked it up from the shelf at Powell's I expected it was going to be a Paranormal Romance, and was surprised and pleased to discover it was that and much more than that.

Off tangent: Serge, is The Hidden Room that 3 part miniseries starring Peter Krause and Julianna Margulies that was theoretically what Warehouse 13 was spun-off from? That was a very good piece of fantasy, one of the best fantasy movies I've seen in the last few years. I'd love to visit the room :-)

#206 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2011, 12:24 AM:

I kinda like deep-fried mac & cheese balls -- they're not so very different from arancini, the fried risotto balls. They just have to be done well, with a very light crumb breading and the oil hot enough that it seals them instead of soaking them. And, of course, it has to be good mac & cheese.

#207 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2011, 12:46 AM:

Dusk - a shooting star
Almost at the equinox

I'd gone for a walk about an hour before sunset, checked my watch and found that it had gone blank (a day after my wife had taken in some other watches to have their batteries changed :-) As our lives have become more digital, a stopped clock is no longer right twice a day, but since it's the weekend before the equinox, maybe having time stop and hang in the balance is supposed to be symbolic of something. I'd gotten to the far-enough end of the park and was heading back over the hill, the sun had set but it wasn't really dark yet, and I saw the tail end of a meteor fly by and explode in a small burst that I'm pretty sure weren't just fireworks (in spite of the fiesta music coming from over the other hillside; sounded like somebody's birthday.)

I should stop before this post turns even further into a bunch of tree-hugging hippie crap (tm), but it really was a good afternoon. And the last line of the poem was supposed to have a verb, but they all kept coming out trite and I realized that it already had enough syllables and was better left hanging, which I could pretend was done deliberately for artistic effect or something.

#208 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2011, 12:55 AM:

Rikibeth@206, that sounds really good. Of course, I suspect that at Denny's it's a bad imitation of Kraft's fake-orange-colored imitation mac&cheese, rather than my mom's homemade version (which was pretty good, except when she left it in the oven a bit longer and it got crunchy around the edges, in which case it was exceptionally good.) But even so, for Denny's, mac&cheese as a sandwich topping sounds about as good as anything they're going to make, so sure..

#209 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2011, 01:09 AM:

Xopher, when I was a child my mother was an indifferent cook. That is to say that she had to feed a lot of people on very little money and a kitchen that I have come to see as very badly set up for the function it is expected to perform. (Sometimes I dream up renovations for other people's spaces. This is one of my preferred ones to dream renovate.)

The upshot is that in an attempt to use up leftovers in new and exciting ways, she sometimes missed the mark. Badly.

I present to you: Macaroni and Cheese Pizza.

It was worse.

#210 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2011, 01:11 AM:


everything you love will die

all lives end in loss and pain
for those who die, for those who live

this truth, this is the sacrifice
that you will make, the armoring
of innocence bartered

the dire calculation
of trading innocence for cynicism
far more difficult the reverse
and far more painful

though truly, this is the loss
that armor dulls the pain
but loses the heart
and the strength of innocence
is in the baring of the soul

and to peel away the callus
is to look into the chasm
and accept there will be hurt
and dare to love

in the face of calculation
and the bleeding of the soul
and there is no escape from loss

there is no escape from love
but only a retreat from the truth

that everything you love will die.

Life and Hope will dance with Death
(though to her friends, her name is Change)
and only the phoenix will rise from the flames.

#211 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2011, 01:25 AM:

Larry Brennan (#143) -- I thought "SERVING SUGGESTION" meant "none of the food items shown is included in the package".

#212 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2011, 02:05 AM:

Willa Cather's description of New Mexico is luscious.

As a former Arizonan, I like the neighbor to the east just fine. It's got higher mountains than Az. does, which doesn't hurt.

#213 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2011, 04:13 AM:

There's a food wagon somewhere in the LA area that I want to try to catch up to the next time I'm out there; they serve a grilled mac-and-cheese sandwich. Given that grilled cheese sandwiches and mac-and-cheese are two of my absolutely favorite things, the idea of combining them... well, what's not to like?

Lila, #203: Ah, but could you shoot more than three arrows a minute accurately in that first class? :-) Speed counts, but it's not everything.

XthreadX -- in the Changed World series we've been discussing above, master-level longbow archers are repeatedly described as being able to shoot at the rate of 1 arrow every 3 seconds, with very high accuracy.

Those who like the Western scenery might be interested in this collection of pictures I've taken during our 2 vacation trips thru the Western National Parks. (I'm debating whether or not to add the Carlsbad Caverns set, given that the scenery in that one is of a somewhat different nature.) I am at best a mediocre photographer, but you don't have to be very good to get great images out of these places.

#214 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2011, 04:51 AM:

To tie a couple threads here together:

HLN: A few weeks ago, local man finds out that Denny's - which has been gone from the metro-and-suburbs area here for years - still has a presence about 20 miles west down the interstate. Since this is less than the 300 (!) miles local man would have to drive to get to an Arthur Treacher's, a short road trip is planned. Unfortunately, the choices on the menu together did not add up to "worth driving 20 miles for", really. A satisfactory lunch was had ... but apparently they're never bringing back ANY of:

split pea soup
fish basket
grand slam sandwiches
or anything else that I really really liked about Denny's.

When I lived in Los Alamos (about 2 years) and Albuquerque (about 6mo), I used to eat at Denny's once a week for their fish basket & split pea soup. It makes me unhappy when marketing decides that PERFECTLY GOOD menu entries have to vanish to make way for whatever the new hotness is. (And don't get me started on 'when good companies decide that the only flavor they'll carry/make consistently is a BROCCOLI flavor', argh.)

When I was in that area, I don't recall ever meeting one of our small arthropod friends up close and personal-like ... but I did describe NM repeatedly as "where they store all the unused scenery from the other states". (Which becomes apparent because to go from anywhere to anywhere else, there, is a 50-mile drive...)


#215 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2011, 06:44 AM:

Also set in New Mexico: BREAKING BAD

#216 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2011, 07:56 AM:

MINUTES FROM TOWN -- depending on your skill with a swamp buggy or snowmobile.

#217 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2011, 08:39 AM:

HLN: Local man gets several phone messages of the sort one leaves for friends when arranging a meetup. As local man does not recognize voice at all, these appear to be wrong numbers, although interestingly enough the intended recipient has the same first name as local man. From one of the messages, local man deduces that caller and intended recipient are in a different time zone from local man.

In other news, local man worries that computer has broken when power switch doesn't seem to work. Takes computer to nearby Best Buy. Apparently computer just got frozen during last shutdown. Best Buy staffer fixes problem in a few seconds, no charge.

(I think what he did was remove the battery pack for a moment then put it back in.)

#218 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2011, 08:59 AM:

Bruce Arthurs @ 215... And also... 1978's "Supeman" scenes when he's chasing a missile... The godawful "The Astronaut Farmer"... "Earth 2"... The Tony Hillerman mysteries on PBS... "Thor"... Whedon's "Avengers"...

#219 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2011, 09:30 AM:

Well, I've loved NM every time I've been there. I made two trips out there this summer, one to Albuquerque and one to Santa Fe, Ghost Ranch, and Taos. I've had a beaded art piece percolating in my back brain for a few years, based on the mesas of eastern New Mexico along Route 40 and a scrap of copper ribbon from my stash, and I finally got a good start on it at a craft circle last night. Found the perfect beads for the yucca flowers in Santa Fe, and last night someone gave me some beads that will be perfect for the leaves, so it's all coming together!

#220 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2011, 09:34 AM:

Going back to New Mexico as the alien planet from which David Bowie came, here is yours truly on said planet.

#221 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2011, 10:39 AM:

Serge @220: Are you sure you're not on Tunisia Tatooine?

Oh, wait. Sky's the wrong color for that. Carry on.

#222 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2011, 11:22 AM:

HLN: Local man reads Subversive Activity, enjoys it immensely

"It's by Dave Luckett," he told our reporter. "He mentioned it on Making Light a few months back: the one where the modern conventional submarine gets invented early, in 1875, and havoc ensues. Fluorospherians might particularly appreciate the scene where the hero quotes Shakespeare to the heroine and she ad-libs a rebuttal in blank iambic pentameter, but that's far from the only pleasure the book has to offer."

#223 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2011, 12:04 PM:

Boulder is unusually blessed with an IHOP that produces fairly tasty food fairly consistently, and it has fairly reliable wi-fi.

Boulder's Denny's has wi-fi too, but there the similarity ends. And yet I really want to try that mac & cheese sandwich.

#224 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2011, 12:09 PM:

I have tried the mac and cheese sandwich. And lo, it was pretty good, at least by Denny's standards of lunch food.

#225 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2011, 12:25 PM:

B. Durbin #210:

I like. Thank you for sharing this.

#226 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2011, 02:25 PM:

The Modesto Kid @ 77: Thanks: I've dipped into the comic a little already, though not found the Wiccan-related stuff so far.

Lori Coulson @ 80: Oh, yes. I really love the Bast books - I ran across an omnibus a decade or so ago, and highly recommend them to all and sundry. I thought they had the ring of an author who knew whereof she spoke, but of course that is an external perception, and anyway one point of view is not much perspective.

Sterling's Emberverse books have a lot of good points, but seem to be getting denser and denser with worldbuilding dumps as they progress. I'm still following them, though.

Xopher @ 105: I suspect you may be right about the satire, which is unfortunate, since it's the sort of thing I'd incline to write under a pseudonym like "Jack Hammer (He's Not Very Subtle)". Eh well!

Thanks for the Starhawk recommendation, which I shall try to follow up in the fairly near future.

#227 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2011, 02:28 PM:

HLN: Woman discovers, via an email list both she and her spouse are on, that emails sent to her main email address are sometimes not getting delivered. Spam folder is empty. Woman puzzled.

#228 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2011, 08:38 PM:

Fragano @ 225: Thank you. That means a lot, coming from you.

#229 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2011, 08:40 PM:

Gray @226 -- the Wiccan one does not appear to be linked from his main page any longer. It was one of the early E-Sheep comix.

#230 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2011, 09:49 PM:

Great line from Masterpiece Mystery: "If the city of Oxford ever prided itself on being ahead of its was in the thirteenth century."

#231 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2011, 09:51 PM:

UNISEX: Designed to fit the male managers in our office

#232 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2011, 10:34 PM:

RUGGED CONSTRUCTION: Whatever you do, don't lean on it.
ERGONOMICALLY DESIGNED: No one can figure out how to hold it.
CLEARLY SUPERIOR DESIGN: In fact, we can't even figure out which way is up.
FOOLPROOF ASSEMBLY: We were too cheap to include assembly instructions.
LEAVES THE COMPETITION BEHIND: Laughing so hard they can't stand up.
THE CULMINATION OF YEARS OF ENGINEERING DEVELOPMENT: We canned the entire R&D group for this fiasco.
WE ASKED YOU WHAT YOU WANTED: The marketing group was certain they knew better than the customers; we should have fired them too.

#233 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2011, 11:13 PM:

Misattributed quotation time!

A friend posted:

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. --Mark Twain

That really does not sound like Mark Twain to me, and he is a Quote Magnet. Other people's quotes stick to him.

Does not appear in the Google Books corpus prior to 1995.

Appears in 1998 in Up Words for Down Days by Allen Klein, attributed to Mark Twain.

Appears in 1999 in P.S. I Love You by H. Jackson Brown, attributed to the author's mom.

Twain enthusiast cannot confirm attribution, doubts it.

Earliest appearance in the Google News Archive is the Miami Herald for 9 August 1998. Not clear whether it is attributed to Twain or not.

Can anyone carry the ball further?

#234 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2011, 11:31 PM:

Paul A @ 222: Thank you. I'm very glad you enjoyed it. Have you got a rare unsigned copy?

#235 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2011, 11:45 PM:

Not sure who said it, but it doesn't sound like Twain at all (says the guy who spent all afternoon reading Twain).

#236 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2011, 12:33 AM:

Also, "So throw off the bowlines" doesn't make a lot of sense.

If they're talking about unmooring, those should be "bow lines" rather than "bowlines" (which latter I wouldn't throw off unless I wanted my mast to fall down), but that would still leave the question of what to do with the stern line and the spring lines.

It sounds to me like someone who'd never been within fifty miles of the coast trying to sound all yo-ho-ho-matey nautical with their extended metaphor.

#237 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2011, 01:47 AM:

Open threadiness: If you are a fan of Mike Daisey's monologues, it may interest you to know that he's a science fiction fan. I just attended most of his 24 hour monologue, All the hours in the day -- a piece that I don't think he's going to try doing again, at least not anytime soon. The recurring characters included Philip K. Dick, dressed in Obi Wan Kenobi's Jedi robes. There was also a riff on Battlestar Galactica.

#238 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2011, 02:06 AM:

That quotation sounds more like Frederick (Fritz) Perls, the founder of Gestalt Therapy. I have a vague memory of a popular 1960s poster with some sayings of his. At a certain time in my life if the Desiderata poster wasn't on the wall in my neighbors' dorm rooms, the Perls one was.

#239 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2011, 02:09 AM:

A-a-a-nd here's the Perls poster I was thinking of.

#240 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2011, 02:52 AM:

Dave Luckett @ #234:

Alas, no; my copy is signed, and inscribed with a message expressing the hope that it will succeed in being amusing (which it indeed did).

#241 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2011, 06:05 AM:

HLN: local man sends a letter to the Daily Express, gets a phone call from a journalist, and sends an intensely compressed version. Both by email, so he has copies to refer to. The letter gets printed this morning. About two and a half lines are the local man's work: over two thirds is the work of the journalist, praising the original, flawed, article.

Did the local man mention he used email, and so has copies of what he wrote?

#242 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2011, 06:22 AM:

Hyper Network News: Net-aware local man takes blatant advantage of Google's respect for Making Light to link his name with the Daily Express on his terms, with his version of events.

Maybe the English reputation for irony should be allowed to retire.

#243 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2011, 10:28 AM:

Open thready story:

Coming back from Hawaii a couple weeks ago with my family, I had a very interesting experience. It seems to me that experience speaks to something pretty common and fundamental about US society right now.

The plane was clearly full, and the airline people making announcements were very interested in getting everyone to check their carry-on bags. Over the course of the 45 minutes before we boarded, they implored us to check our carry on bags as a courtesy to others. They warned us that the TSA and FAA watched this flight very carefully because it was going to DC, and hinted that people who had too-big bags would somehow get in trouble with them. They warned us that the flight was full, and that anyone whose bags didn't fit would have to drag their bag all the way back out of the plane to check it. On and on they went, with a mix of (mostly bullshit) threats and (mostly bullshit) appeals to the passengers' better nature, to get us to check some bags so there would be some more room.

Note that I fly all the time. I have often seen or heard much milder forms of this, but never laid on this thick or this over-the-top. Threatening passengers with the TSA was an especially weird addition.

So, anyway, we were going to board early because we had a toddler with us. I still considered checking one of our bags, which would be an inconvenience on the flight, but not disastrous as long as we didn't get stranded somewhere without our luggage. After all, it did seem like they were overfull, and we had a bunch of other luggage checked already. I might have even done it if not for the weird threats of intentional inconvenience or getting in trouble with the TSA, which pissed me off.

Then, the airline started boarding first class passengers, and also some people in pilots' uniforms from the airline, who I guess were flying in free seats or something. Every one of them carried at least the number and size of bags they were allowed, sometimes a little more. Of course, nobody said anything to them.

And I was enlightened.

This is what America looks like: Appeals to shared sacrifice and threats of strict enforcement of the rules for the nobodies, while the important people calmly recognize that none of this applies to them. It's why we can talk about cutting social security and unemployment benefits, while folks working at bailed-out financial companies continue to get huge bonuses. It's why we talk about how union members need to give up rights to collectively bargain and accept a worse deal, while we never say the same thing about contractors or CEOs. It's why scandals generally end up with nobody but the whistleblower and maybe a couple of low-level nobodies facing any actual consequences.

Shared sacrifice and rules are for the little people. Important people are above such concerns.

#244 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2011, 10:44 AM:

This is incredibly cute. This is a coworker's dad.

#245 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2011, 11:16 AM:

The Modesto Kid @82: "100 years of multitutes?"

#246 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2011, 11:18 AM:

Steve C @91: Baugh!! I searched before I posted. Stoopit compooter.

#247 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2011, 11:53 AM:

Bill Higgins--Beam Jockey @233/ James Macdonald @ 236:
It's worth keeping in mind that while Mark Twain's experience with sailing ships was as a passenger, Sam Clemens's experience as a river pilot would have left him in no doubt about how a vessel is properly tied up at a wharf, and how it is properly set free from those moorings when embarking.

Also, too, this is utterly sappy--and Twain is never sappy unless he's getting ready to bite in the last line.

So, on the grounds of both technical knowledge and style--I don't buy it.

#248 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2011, 12:30 PM:

fidelio @247:

Also, too, this is utterly sappy--and Twain is never sappy unless he's getting ready to bite in the last line.

That was my thought, too. Quite aside from the factual issues, the style is completely wrong for Twain.

A number of Twain experts agree with this assessment:

though they haven't been able to find the original source, either.

#249 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2011, 12:35 PM:

There's a restaurant (formerly a drive-up) in Newport News called Monty's Penguin. Yes, there's a giant penguin on the sign, and they have some beaten-up styro sculptures of penguins holding enormous soft-serve cones inside. The place was owned by a Vietnamese family when I lived in NN, and besides having a good Chuck Wagon, they also made my favorite mac & cheese side dish. Just mac and cheese, with some grease. I used to speculate that they deep fried it — it was dessert quality.

#250 ::: Columbina ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2011, 01:05 PM:

I see in the Boston Globe today (I would link it, but I refuse to negotiate their new paywall out of principle, even though as a paper subscriber I'm supposedly allowed in there for free) that up in the wilds of New Hampshire, a historical marker has been erected honoring Betty and Barney Hill's UFO sighting.

All I could think of as I read the piece was Jim Macdonald's piece from 2007. I kept shouting in my head, "They saw the light on Cannon Mountain!"

[Sorry if I spoiled the punchline for those of you who haven't read Jim's fabulous point-by-point demolition of the Hill account. It's good reading even if you know how it ends.]

#251 ::: Columbina ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2011, 01:39 PM:

Correcting myself - I see the marker isn't actually new (comment #331 on the thread linked above), so apparently the thrust of the Globe article was the anniversary today. Headcold must have affected my reading skills.

I hadn't been to that page since Ms. Marden showed up. You're a gentleman, Mr. Macdonald. I'd have kept in her full excerpt and invited her to do something rude with her utter misinterpretation of Fair Use.

#252 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2011, 01:52 PM:

I forgot about that Marden copyright troll. Boy, was she a jackhole.

#253 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2011, 02:15 PM:

We lived in Farmington, NM for about a year which comprised the second half of first grade and first half of second grade.

Very odd year, comprising very odd memories. The house we rented had a finished-and-converted garage which served as the "rumpus room," which had beautiful wooden drawers built in all along one wall.

When we moved in, I found, abandoned in a kitchen drawer, a lovely pair of teak chopsticks in a nice teak box. I learned how to use them from watching Alvin and the Chipmunks.

When my dad watered the lawn, he had to be specially careful not to get the water on the windows, 'cause you'd never get it off.

First winter there was a real challenge, because it was so dry that the skin on my hands would crack, practially as I watched.

We went on a couple of trips to the Aztec Ruins National Monument, which was pretty cool, except that the name was horribly confusing to little first-graders, given that they were actually inhabited by people of the Pueblo (Anasazi?) culture.

Also, I had a wee moment of squee when I saw that the Stargate Universe episode "Malice" was filmed in the Bisti Badlands about fifty miles south of Farmington.

#254 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2011, 02:48 PM:

Xopher HalfTongue @185: Colorado is worse on that particular score.

Yeah, we occassionally lose a prairie dog colony to the plague.

#255 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2011, 02:50 PM:

Bill Higgins @233: There's a 1989 cite from the UK International Labour Conference with the tweaked spelling "Sail away from the safe harbour", attributed to Twain.

#256 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2011, 03:05 PM:

Jacque @ #253: "I learned how to use them from watching Alvin and the Chipmunks."

That may be the best sentence I've read on the internet in weeks.

#257 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2011, 03:19 PM:

janetl @237: Speaking of PKD sightings, I just watched The Gospel According to Philip K. Dick on Netflix. Pretty interesting, though the editors were far more entertained by their little animated interludes than was warranted.

#258 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2011, 03:48 PM:

followup to 255: Drat, 1989 seems to be a faulty compilation date; the actual speech that uses this quote is from 2006.

#259 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2011, 06:17 PM:

Harlan Ellison suing filmmaker.

Summary: Ellison claims that the new Justin Timberlake vehicle "In Time" is substantially based on his short story "Repent, Harlequin! Said the Ticktockman", and at least one advance reviewer has said the same thing (link in article). Ellison is suing to block the release of the movie.

It's been a long time since I read the story, so I can't tell just from looking at the trailer how much similarity there is. But if the movie is being openly acknowledged as based on the story, and Ellison wasn't paid for the rights, then I have to side with him. Ellison doesn't write the sort of formulaic stuff that can be copied unintentionally.

#260 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2011, 07:29 PM:

Don't Ask, Don't Tell ends tomorrow. Gone.

#261 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2011, 07:33 PM:

And not before time. I have a friend in the Navy who's probably going to come out all OVER the place.

#262 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2011, 09:36 PM:

#243 ::: albatross

You might like to look at this:

" ... Adam Curtis's blog The Medium is the Message. It contains a lot of embedded archival video (Curtis is a filmmaker for the BBC), so that simply reproducing the text of a post would miss the point. I'll come back to this later, when I finish something new I'm writing, but meanwhile, you can get lost in this blog for days. As a teaser, here's the lede of a long recent piece -- this is just the opening -- and to give you an idea of the range, this history of free-market crusaders and think-tanking in Britain also embeds a half-hour 1965 documentary about Screaming Lord Sutch, which is actually germane to the story, because pirate radio is part of this history . . . though i prefer to see "free market" in scare quotes . . .

The Curse of Tina

The guiding idea at the heart of today's political system is freedom of choice. The belief that if you apply the ideals of the free market to all sorts of areas in society, people will be liberated from the dead hand of government. The wants and desires of individuals then become the primary motor of society.

But this has led to a very peculiar paradox. In politics today we have no choice at all. Quite simply There Is No Alternative.

That was fine when the system was working well. But since 2008 there has been a rolling economic crisis, and the system increasingly seems unable to rescue itself. You would expect that in response to such a crisis new, alternative ideas would emerge. But this hasn't happened. ..." ]

#263 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2011, 09:37 PM:

My comment in response to Albatross got held for review. As far as I can tell the links were not borked, but there are two of them ....

Love, C.

#264 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2011, 10:29 PM:

B. Durbin @210, since I've been bugging you to write more poetry, I just wanted to say thank you.

#265 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2011, 11:42 PM:

#243, albatross:

This is what America looks like: Appeals to shared sacrifice and threats of strict enforcement of the rules for the nobodies, while the important people calmly recognize that none of this applies to them.


Shared sacrifice and rules are for the little people. Important people are above such concerns.

I've been seeing this trend for years. I am minded of the Soviet Union, circa, oh, 1974 or so.

#266 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2011, 11:52 PM:

(Apologies for the double post; the first time I bungled the quote and made it look like I wrote Albatross's last line)

#243, albatross:

This is what America looks like: Appeals to shared sacrifice and threats of strict enforcement of the rules for the nobodies, while the important people calmly recognize that none of this applies to them.


Shared sacrifice and rules are for the little people. Important people are above such concerns.

I've been seeing this trend for years. I am minded of the Soviet Union, circa, oh, 1974 or so.

#267 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2011, 12:18 AM:

Just a suggestion - if you never see a houseplant in your friend's apartment, including the balcony, perhaps a living plant is not the best hostess gift. I am terrible with flora and a friend gave me some sort of potted flower thing on Saturday and I swear to god it visibly wilted after a half an hour here. It is now on the patio where it can get some sun, soil moist, and continuing to die dramatically and slowly. I have neither the money, time nor expertise to diagnose this thing, but boy will I feel like a jerkface when it finally gives up the ghost.

Cut flowers or Jade Plants, people! One more death on my head...

#268 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2011, 02:16 AM:

Perhaps some of you remember the case where a compacter security company named Palintir proposed a campaign of harassment and intimidation against journalists and bloggers like Glenn Greenwald, as a way of undermining their support for Wikileaks? (This was when they were claiming to have Imcriminating information on Bank of America. Of course, a guy in the organization spontaneously decided to delete all that information, because of his deep concern for the privacy of all involved. Surely there was no bribery or blackmail involved there.).

Well, I'm sure this is exactly as innocent as that decision to leave Wikileaks and delete the incriminating B of A documents. Only a paranoid would suggest that this was indimidation or a failed attempt at blackmail. No, I'm sure this unsourced story was simply the result of some public-spirited citizen making sure the civil service rules w.r.t. outside employment were followed precisely. Certainly, there's not a whole industry devoted to using blackmail and intimidation to silence or control influential or troublesome people. And I'm sure that this sort of thing has nothing at all to do with the remarkable uniformity of, say, TV news sources dealing with stuff like the various bank bailouts and later disclosures of various secret or hidden bailouts.

#269 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2011, 02:16 AM:

nerdycellist: The other sort of indoor plant that can be useful for people who usually kill them is something that overacts.

My coffee tree (which I had to leave in Seattle) was a good example. It's got big glossy dark-green leaves, and as it gets short of water it first looks less glossy, then droopy, then seriously wilted, then on the verge of death, and if you water it, it bounces right back overnight. Unfortunately it doesn't like low humidity, which limits the parts of the US where it can grow indoors.

#270 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2011, 03:56 AM:

Interesting. I was starting to wonder why the BoA shoe never dropped.

#271 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2011, 08:08 AM:

Thomas, I have a couple plants I use as indicators for the rest. Dracaena doesn't react to much, really, so I water everything on the same schedule as soon as the Christmas cactus or prayer plant start looking unhappy. It's not as dramatic as you describe-- I'm good with houseplants and don't need as huge a signal-- but it's better than nothing-nothing-nothing-DEAD.

#272 ::: Columbina ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2011, 09:08 AM:

I kill even jade plants. Only plants I can keep alive are cacti and aloes, because they thrive on benign neglect. Give them as much sun as you can give them, water them once a month regularly (aloes) or approximately (other cacti), and otherwise ignore them completely.

Best thing about keeping cacti is that one's cats don't try to eat them. Or, rather, they seldom make more than one attempt.

#273 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2011, 10:08 AM:

Jacque at #253:

Aztec Ruins National Monument could be a headline.

#274 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2011, 10:15 AM:

I have spider plants. You can neglect them until they're gray and wilty and look pretty dead, and they spring back (minus some leaves) when you water them. If you want to keep them extra healthy, you water them once a week.

My general inability to remember to water them that often is one reason I recoil from having a pet. Poor thing would die of neglect pretty quickly.

#275 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2011, 10:22 AM:

Julie L, finding an example of the quote I was seeking, in #255:

This demonstrates one way in which Google Books can often be misleading. If you examine page 8/1 of that book, you'll see that the passage you cite is actually from 2006.

Google Books often lists "serials" such as magazines by the date of their first issue. (They're getting their metadata from the libraries whose holdings they scanned, or from services that peddle metadata to librarians.)

As a result, Google might claim a date for a string within Record of Proceedings, International Labour Conference of 1989, when the particular issue found was really from 2006.

The careful user will not trust the dates claimed by Google Books for serials, but may attempt to verify dates by other means.

#276 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2011, 10:24 AM:

Am I the only one who still uses Yahoo Mail? Anyone else having trouble getting into it? I'm getting a variety of messages, including "connection timed out."

#277 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2011, 10:42 AM:

#274 ::: Xopher HalfTongue @ 274: My general inability to remember to water them that often is one reason I recoil from having a pet. Poor thing would die of neglect pretty quickly.

Unlike plants, a cat or dog will inform you of their needs very, very clearly. And promptly.

#278 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2011, 10:58 AM:

Xopher @ 276 -

Seemed a little slow, but I managed to connect and retrieve mail.

#279 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2011, 11:06 AM:

janetl, that may be so, but...fear. Also my apartment is too small and too messy for a cat or dog. Most I'd consider would be a hamster.

Steve, that's distressing, because I still can't get in at all.

#280 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2011, 11:24 AM:

Xopher, there are some issues reported.

Down right now?

(could change, but at this moment, it says, Likely service interruption.)

Lots of different servers involved, so some may be able to get mail, while others can't.

#281 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2011, 11:24 AM:

Xopher @ 274... My general inability to remember to water them that often is one reason I recoil from having a pet


#282 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2011, 11:31 AM:

And now I'm in. Temporary problem, I guess.

#283 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2011, 12:45 PM:

Happy DADT Repeal Day everybody!

#284 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2011, 01:06 PM:

Yes! Here's a video of a young soldier coming out to his dad, from this morning.

This guy has been tracking his experiences as a gay soldier on YouTube for a while. He refrained from showing his face until now, and chose to make this the day he'd tell his dad.

I had tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat the whole time. His dad reacts very well, in fact you really couldn't hope for better.

#285 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2011, 01:45 PM:

On a lighter note, a metaphor for the federal budget process. The guy is clearly a Republican.

#286 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2011, 02:17 PM:

I am considering subscribing to Audible to mitigate the effects of soul-sucking data entry job. Anyone already a subscriber with hints or comments?

#287 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2011, 02:44 PM:

Whoa, this is about the open-threadiest link I've seen in days.

#288 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2011, 02:47 PM:

The Modesto Kid @287: Thanks. My brain hurts now. :)

#289 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2011, 02:55 PM:

Someone else on YouTube says that AreYouSuprised is an airman, not a soldier as previously stated. How they know this I'm not sure, since AFAIK AYS only says he's active duty military.

#290 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2011, 03:33 PM:

OK, here's a weird question. The basic term for a member of each branch is:

Army - soldier
Navy - sailor
Marines - marine
Air Force - airman
Coast Guard - ?????

I'm pretty sure 'coastie' isn't the right term. Anyone know?

#291 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2011, 03:47 PM:

Xopher @290, Wikipedia says the formal name is "Coast Guardsman".

#292 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2011, 04:54 PM:

Xopher @284, thank you so much for sharing that video. And excuse me, I … seem to have something in my eye.

#293 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2011, 06:23 PM:

albatross @243: Yes, that's the problem in a nutshell. I was flying back from a conference early this year and got to watch a business man throwing a hissy fit because the airline stewards wouldn't bend the rules and let him take on a whole extra piece of (oversize) carry-on. The stewards just kept being polite (he was anything but) but insistent, and I thought how well they handled it. I do dislike people who, having brought on a big-as-possible roller bag AND a large laptop case PLUS two large duty-free bags use all thair bags to fill up the overhead storage, rather than putting any of them under the seat in front.

#294 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2011, 07:17 PM:

Geoffrey Chaucer passes on some correspondence from the Chief Pardoner at the Hospital of St. Mary of Rouncevalles about sudden changes in their services.

I strongly suggest making sure there is nothing in your mouth before reading the message Master Chaucer has so generously shared with us.

#295 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2011, 07:35 PM:

You (Teresa) say, in the mouseover of the sidebar particle for the book "Properties and Powers of Everyday Matters": "If science were a branch of magic, it would be written like this." Well, actually, it's the kind of writing you get when science is a branch of philosophy, which at the time it was. Science was called natural philosophy back then.

#296 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2011, 08:38 PM:

Bill Higgins @275: Yeah, I caught the mis-cited date up in #258 :|

As another possible (but also possibly unreliable) lead, the search string mark twain earthwatch twenty pulls up two apparently British magazine ads which Google Books dates to 1997; they're for an organization called "Earthwatch", and have the opening line (but nothing else) of the disputed quote--


#297 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2011, 08:40 PM:

"One hundred years from now, I will be remembered more for the things I didn't say than for the things I said." —Mark Twain

#298 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2011, 09:04 PM:

"The only thing worse than being remembered for the things you didn't say is not being remembered." --Oscar Wilde.

#299 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2011, 09:41 PM:

"Oh, I wish I'd said that." -James MacNeil Whistler
"You will, James, you will." -Oscar Wilde

#300 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2011, 09:46 PM:

Xopher, #299: ISTR having encountered that joke going in the opposite direction. It's meta!

#301 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2011, 09:49 PM:

Yes, now that you mention it. I was combining two of them. The one that goes the way I wrote it is later in the same sketch:

*stony silence after Whistler attempts a joke*

Whistler: Oh dear. I wish I hadn't said that.

Wilde: You did, James, you did.

#302 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2011, 12:11 AM:

Janetl@277...#274 ::: Xopher HalfTongue @ 274: My general inability to remember to water them that often is one reason I recoil from having a pet. Poor thing would die of neglect pretty quickly.

Unlike plants, a cat or dog will inform you of their needs very, very clearly. And promptly.

And for as long as it necessary.

We feed our cat at 9am/9pm (with a pill hidden in the food). Our catsitter during BurningMan fed her at 7am/7pm. We did get the cat back to our schedule, but in the process she was quite willing to meow for an hour twice a day to let us know we were forgetting her, WOE.

#303 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2011, 12:31 AM:

My dog's little reminder to feed her is barfing. Poor thing heaves if her tummy is empty for too long. We have a timed "snack tray" to allow us to feed her four small meals per day. She has also learned to gently remind us when her snack tray doesn't open as expected - a nice two am corgi bark is usually enough to alert me that I have been remiss in my snack tray duties. Redonk.

Plant is still dying, with dramatically wilting yellow flowers no less.

#304 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2011, 01:45 AM:

I'm trying to reduce my cat's food a bit-- from a quarter cup twice a day to a fifth of a cup twice a day-- and oh, she is not happy. But her way of reminding me of things is to be more affectionate. Between that and her being shut in my room a lot of the time and wanting out, I've come close to closing the door on her.

A gardening question: pokeweed. I had assumed, because it's all about the gigantic roots and also throughout the yard, that I do not want this near my compost heap. My roommate, who grew up more rural and gardeny than I did, is puzzled by this. Am I being unreasonable? If I am, is there anything that will work to reassure myself, whether it's letting the pile of poke in the driveway sit a week before composting it or what? I mean, I'd happily throw it on the heap if I could microwave all of it first. But I kind of feel like it's a bad idea to throw all that greenery and rootstuff on the pile.

#305 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2011, 01:53 AM:

Hooray for the nullification of DADT and the closet doors opening and the blackmail threats and the hiding no longer required. The segment on ABC new gave the name of the the service member they'd shown only in non-identifiable images before, as "ring-knocker" Air Force lieutenant. As noon as DADT was gone, as Marine and his boyfriend married--next up, I expect, lawsuits regarding inequitable treatment of spouses. Massachusetts already has a lawsuit in suing the federal government over the discrimination at the federal law of couples legaly married in Massachusetts, who the Fed does not accord married benefits and rights and privileges to,...

The unmasked Air Force lieutenant said that there were sexual assaults (presumable male on male) at the Air Force Academy which were unreported, because if the victims reported them, they would have been thrown out (as opposed to the sexual assaults on female cadets, which the Schmuck's misadministration had tried to keep covered up. The Evangelicophilia which went on, included disrespect and abusiveness towards non-Christians and women.... and I wouldn't be surprised if the the sexual predator males assaulting other males, were evangelizers.... the Air Force Academy is not far uphill from the likes of James Dobson and Ted Haggerty, and retired military officers whose contacts with cadets is to take the to supper at their houses and heavily evangelize at them--and during the Schmuck's administration and going forward with the Schmuck's burrowed in appartchikes (removal requires having new appointees above with the interest and authority to do neocon-eviction... however, Obama's effectuality at getting his candidates approved by Congress to head up federal agencies and departments of them, has been utterly miserable.... and so the malicious nihilist ideologically zealous appartchiks, controilling controlling the actions of the US Governmeent....

#306 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2011, 02:29 AM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @ #302, I don't care if that episode is 4 years old and I may have read it contemporaneously, it's hilarious. Bravo.

#307 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2011, 04:50 AM:

Paula @305

So the people who commit rape get away with it. and since there is usually a strong element of power and domination in the motives, there must be an accumulation of ugliness in the senior ranks of the military.

I'm not saying a military organisation can work to the same standards as a civilian organisation, but how can anyone respect a superior officer who might have behaved in that manner? This isn't a drill sergeant trying to turn a civilian into a soldier. It's in the same territory of conduct prejudicial to good order and military discipline that messing around with a subordinate's wife is. It is breaking down the mutual trust that a military depends on.

That argument of trust was one of the excuses for the anti-gay attitude. What matters is what you do, not what you are. By their fruits shall you know them.

#308 ::: Antonia T. Tiger ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2011, 05:09 AM:

A general reminder:

NaNoWriMo starts in a few weeks. You know the drill. Write 50000 words in the month of November. Hopefully, it turns out as some sort of novel, but they don't have to be good words.

I'm in two minds about trying this year. I don't really have a strong idea. But if you want to try, it's worth doing a little preparation.

I have a few paragraphs involving Holmes and Watson, on a River Police steam launch in the fog, hearing the blasts of a Police whistle. But I think they're only witnesses to the start of a story, and I have no idea what the rest of it is.

I seem to be surrounded by a plethora of literary dead ends. And the setting I've used in previous years seems to converge on the World War, with some ugly implications from the warping of history.

Maybe I shall just go back to that 1920s lynch-mob, about to meet up with a bunch of guys who took Joe Hill's advice.

#309 ::: john ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2011, 06:53 AM:

Erik Nelson #295: I don't think the immense digressiveness, or the general incoherence, of Properties and Powers are due to science being considered a branch of philosophy - philosophers might be offended! I think they're highly personal to the author.

A slightly earlier (1860) example of philosophy written for for children might be of interest: The Chemical History Of A Candle. Of course, it's probably unfair to compare the prose of a professional author to that of a working scientist...

#310 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2011, 07:58 AM:

john: I heartily agree about Faraday's candle lectures. Definitely the Mr. Wizard/Bill Nye of his day, except that he was an actual scientist. Also, famous scientists giving free lectures to kids is Made of Win.

Also also, Dover has a nice inexpensive edition of The Chemical History of A Candle, as well as two other sets of his lectures.

#312 ::: KévinT ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2011, 12:01 PM:

HLN: Long-time lurker and infrequent commenter from France will be going to the States for the first time ever, next October! He'll be staying in San Jose for two weeks.

Any recommendations from the fluorosphere on where good beer/live music/conversation can be had in that area?

#313 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2011, 12:44 PM:

#307 Dave:

I suspect cadets, not commissioned officers--the sexual predators on the female cadets last decade were male cadets, not commissioned officer (or non-commissioned officers, for that matter....)

I strongly suspect the evangelizers and their supporters for the climate--one of the AFA instructors I knew when I was stationed in Cheyenne Mountain, said that the section he was in, there was a fellow suspect of being homosexual--the fellow was unmarried, never went out on dates with women, didn't seem to be interested in women, and so what, the other people in the section didn't care--but that was 1975-1977, and the recidivist repressionists hadn't taken over, and didn't have the backing of the Executive Branch of US Government to promote their evangelizing and crusading Christianity (Dobson etc. had free run of the White House, which had the doors open to them, 2001 - 2008.... and the promotion of that walking piece of intolerant sectarian bigotry, Boykin, instead of being cashiered for abrogation of the Bill of Rights and conduct unbecoming as regards religions tolerance and such, got promoted from two stars to three.... that being but one of the many metrics that the 2001 - 2008 misadministration committed mass malfeasance and criminal varied-from-negligence-to-deliberate-conspirary depriving millions of people of life, liberty, self-respect, respect, the pursuit of happiness, health, property, security, and limb....

#314 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2011, 03:15 PM:

@313 Paula

I would suspect Cadets too. But Cadets graduate and become officers and get promoted. And they could get away with it. What sort of officer does that lead to?

#315 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2011, 03:34 PM:

dcb @ 293:

We flew back to Portland from New Orleans the other day. On the leg from Atlanta to Portland (fly east to go west, old man) the plane had been oversold by about 10 seats. Once they bought off the excess with cheap tickets, we had a full flight. The flight attendants kept up a constant refrain of "you get one carry-on bag in the overhead racks; if you have another you either have to put it under the seat or check it with us." And, lo, everyone seemed to be listening to them, because they got the plane filled and out of the gate on time, with no arguments that I saw (I was in the front of the plane and got on early because I need canes to walk at any speed, so I would have seen one).

Also, it seems to me that there are more amenities and a hair more service than there was 4 years ago, the last time I flew. We even got a meal on that long leg, praise Delta!

#316 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2011, 03:55 PM:

Apropos of nothing, I was shocked to read on Mike Glyer's File:770 site that Dan Hoey, author of the lengthy palindrome in the sidebar of, died on August 31 by his own hand.

We hardly knew him, but he was very gracious when he found we were accidentally quoting his palindrome without attribution. We subsequently met him at a Boskone. He seemed like a very good egg,

Like nearly every other calling-card site in the world, is months if not years out of date. It needs a complete redo.

#317 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2011, 04:30 PM:

#276 ::: Xopher HalfTongue

Have you switched to their new format? Believe it or not it is an improvement, at least in appearance, plus there are a few more options.

It's not my personal or my primary e-ddress, but I use it a great deal for list serves, netflix notifications, online subscriptions to newspapers and so on. It always seems to work. But then mine is a paid account, from when it was my primary e-ddress.

Love, C.

#318 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2011, 05:30 PM:

Lila writes in #310:

Also, famous scientists giving free lectures to kids is Made of Win.

On a related note, this Saturday in Chicago:

"Find us in front of the Chicago Wrigley Building on the afternoon of Saturday, September 24 and ask the Nobel Prize winning Physicist, Dr. Leon Lederman, anything you want about science, technology, and the physical world!"

As I wrote the last time Leon set up his card table on the sidewalk, "I will totally do this myself, after I win the Nobel Prize."

#319 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2011, 09:54 PM:

HLN: Local man takes low-carb wrap, spreads it with I Can't Believe It's Not Butter*, places sliced peppadews on one side, folds it over.

Man reports that all the flavors are enhanced by the combination and that the overall result is actually delicious. He confesses that he's a little surprised by this.

*I can.

#320 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2011, 10:19 PM:

Great quote from Elizabeth Warren, running for office in MA:

"I hear all this, you know, 'Well, this is class warfare, this is whatever.'—No!

There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody.

You built a factory out there—good for you! But I want to be clear.

You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for.

You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate.

You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for.

You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did.

Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea—God bless. Keep a big hunk of it.

But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along."

Link, with video, here.

#321 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2011, 10:30 PM:

A while ago, Abi posted a description of a yummy tasting meal of beef and rice that her family is fond of. Since it sounded so good, I decided to try it in my own kitchen. And it was good - very good.

So tonight, my husband had friends over to tinker in the garage. I have, somehow, ended up in the role of team chef (not that I mind - it's easier to cook for 4 than 2). I wanted something quick and warm to make, so I tossed together my version of beef and rice.

It was a resounding success, and the friends who were over both wanted me to give them a copy of the recipe. So many thanks, Abi, for your original post about such an easy and tasty meal!

#322 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2011, 10:46 PM:

#321 Singing Wren:

Would this be the beef-and-rice recipe you're thinking of?

#323 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2011, 10:57 PM:

Jim Macdonald @322:

That would be the very one (although I have made modifications to the seasonings for my version). Many thanks!

#324 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2011, 10:59 PM:

Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!! I just entered NPR's Three Minute Fiction contest! (That's the contest for fiction of 600 words or less.)

The restriction on this one was that one character must come to town and one character must leave town. Since I already had a story idea along those lines, I wrote the shortest version of it I could.

It was 800 words.

I saved that version, then cut adjectives and descriptive sentences and "he said"s until I got down to EXACTLY 600 words.

I just submitted it. Now I'm kind of freaking out.

#325 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2011, 11:53 PM:

#314 Dave

Cadets graduate and become second lieutenants, the greenest of the green when it comes to officers, and have to lay low at least in the Air Force for the first couple years....

One really scary appalling story--the Base Commander of the most prestigious base in Canada, last year was investigated and identifeid as the perpetrator of multiple counts of rape and murder of female members of the Canada Forces.... big giant SHOCK there....

#326 ::: Lenore Jean Jones/jonesnori ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2011, 11:59 PM:

Xopher @324 - deep breaths. You are feeling very calm....

#327 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2011, 12:08 AM:

Xopher—remain calm. You never know when you'll get a good result.

Incidentally, I Can Also Believe It's Not Butter, but I have found that for many applications, a droozle of olive oil hits the required taste notes while not pretending to be butter. Rice, for example. Olive oil on rice is virtually indistinguishable from butter on rice for a fraction of the amount. Other applications are, of course, more variable, but you might look into that.

Unless you're allergic to olives.

#328 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2011, 12:09 AM:

#320 Tom
Apparently Scott Brown threw a snit fit hearing that Elizabeth Warren came out ahead of him in the latest opinion poll.... What CAN one say about someone who made a fortune by funding companies only if they offshored their software development, who as a nude centerfold model in Cosmopolitan as a Harvard student but who spouts that same women should have no jurisdiction over their own bodies for reproduction crap as the malevolent moralists he's not -completely- in lockstep with--only 97.5% in lockstep with....

Meanwhile, the Repuke Party in MA is telling Harvard it should suspend paying Elizabeth Warren's current salary (Seth has a story about Harvard's payment policy for tenured professors when it's annoyed at them....) because of the perception that Harvard, by paying her the salary, is thereby showing it promoting her political campaign.... Harvard pointed out that it has longstanding policies regarding what is and not acceptable and the Prof Warren is in compliance with the policies. She is teaching a class, and says that she enjoys teaching and will continue to teach the class while campaigning. The Globe article pointed out that Scott Brown continued to collect his salary as a state legislator while running for Senate and the Republican Party did not object, and Mitt Romney was out of state for 200 days of the last 265 days he was in office as Governor [that is, he was an absentee governor...) but continued to collect the salary, and the Republican Party did not object....

Regarding one giant misstep that Martha Coakley made in her campaign (she lost to Brown), Elizabeth Warren commented that she knows who the members are of Boston/Massachusetts professional sports teams and is a fan.

#329 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2011, 12:15 AM:

No, I'm not, thank heavens, and I LOVE ME SOME RICE WITH OLIVE OIL!!!! That's some kinda tasty.

Damn. Now I want some. But I think I'll go to bed instead.

#330 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2011, 01:06 AM:

Xopher, #324: Good luck with the story submission!

Also, if you want a change of pace, sesame oil works well in most applications where olive oil is used. It's my standard substitute, because I don't care for the flavor of olive oil.

#331 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2011, 09:58 AM:

Open threadiness:

my daughter's latest viedo, in which she rants amusingly about her drama teacher's refusal to let her dye her hair before the performance on 10/14, even though no one will see her hair (she's playing a cancer patient and will completely cover her head with a scarf):

(note: she understands that it is typical for an actor not to be allowed to change her/his appearance during a run)

#332 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2011, 12:49 PM:

Patrick @316: You could have read it here, too. I regarded Dan as a good, if infrequent, friend, and it's terrible to lose him like that. Last time I saw him was at a DC con. He had shaved the facial hair I was used to seeing on him, which changed his looks entirely. Best memory was hanging with him at the Ditto in Virginia Beach, whenever the hell that was.

#333 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2011, 01:21 PM:

B. Durbin @ 327: Oddly, allergic to olives *might* not mean allergic to olive oil. My husband is the former (not epi-pen levels, but sick for two-three days levels) but uses olive oil with no visible harm. Something in the pressing.

Incidentally, since I'm here and AKICIML, anyone ahve good suggestions for very lower back / hip stretches to alleviate pain in the heavily pregnant? I'm already doing some, and I do notice a difference the nights I do them versus the nights I just crash into bed, but one never knows which new suggestion is the right one.

#334 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2011, 03:23 PM:

Lenora Rose -- I used to get some relief by sitting backwards on a straight-backed dining room chair, leaning on my arms crossed over the top of the chair back. I'd often put a pillow somewhere in front of my chest.

#335 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2011, 03:31 PM:

Hey, what's happened to the FTL particle reported by CERN particle? I tried commenting but got an error.

Alternate link ere.

If true, then whoa...

#336 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2011, 03:34 PM:

OT: Rules of Productivity.

Some crunchy food for thought there (like why the 40 hour week works), with citations.

#337 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2011, 03:37 PM:

Lenora Rose @ 333

My wife found the yoga cat/cow poses to be very helpful.

Totally off-topic: I love my neighborhood. Night-before-last, riding in, there was a perfect neighborhood vignette. Two youths, with skateboards, had set up an empty PBR box in the middle of the road, and were attempting to jump over it.

#338 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2011, 04:05 PM:

I looked at some of the winners from previous rounds. They were all little prose poems with (usually) at most one actual event (except for the round where a couple of events were specified; then only those things happened).

Also re-listened to the segment where they introduced this round (I'd only heard part of it on the radio), and the writer and creative-writing teacher who's going to be judging this contest had this to say about her philosophy of short stories:

A story more or less comes down to a moment, a moment where something changes forever...something that now reverberates through someone's life...
My heart sank when I read that. She's going to hate my story, where a great many things happen and the point is that nothing changes, for anyone (at least until they're done with what they're doing, which could take decades).

So: not going to win this one. It was a good exercise anyway, cutting a quarter of the words out of my original draft, mostly to its gain, I think (though I certainly have a fondness for some of the cut text, like "Main Street, with its brick walkways and rustling trees, some now red in this brisk autumn," which now reads "Main Street"). So it's not a waste. Also, now that I know I won't win, I can relax.

Of course, I stand ready to be pleasantly surprised.

#339 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2011, 04:08 PM:

Soon Lee @ #335

A question for the Ministry of Disturbance?

#340 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2011, 04:09 PM:

SamChevre 337: My wife found the yoga cat/cow poses to be very helpful.

I initially read that as "yoga cow pat poses." First yoga pose that sounded like I could actually do it (especially when I'm feeling like shit).

#341 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2011, 04:26 PM:

Anybody else getting this when trying to get into Facebook?

Account Temporarily Unavailable

Your account is currently unavailable due to a site issue. We expect this to be resolved shortly. Please try again in a few minutes.

#342 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2011, 04:28 PM:

Soon Lee @ 335 -

If these neutrinos think they can just break the speed laws willy-nilly, things could just crumble to pieces.

It's the law!

#343 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2011, 04:40 PM:

Serge @ 341 -

My Facebook is fine right now. Down Right Now is reporting it's up.

#344 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2011, 05:00 PM:

Steve C... I'm still unable to access FaceBook. I'll wait a bit longer. Must be patient.

#345 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2011, 05:03 PM:

Serge: I was on Fb right before coming over here, re-setting some settings.

Maybe the outage is regional?

#346 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2011, 05:28 PM:

Melissa Singer.. That's probably what it is. My fingers are crossed that it's nothing like someone having hacked it my account. That'd greatly irk me.

#347 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2011, 05:34 PM:

HLN: Local woman reads faster than the stilted narration on yearly information security training; is frustrated by the requirement to wait for narration to finish before continuing to the next slide.

#348 ::: JeanOG ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2011, 05:49 PM:

Serge @ 346:

That usually means a server is being restarted or a section of the database is temporarily locked. (They're getting ready to roll out more changes.) I don't think I've ever seen it last more than 20 minutes.

#349 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2011, 06:06 PM:

Xopher HalfTongue @324: I just submitted it. Now I'm kind of freaking out.

Ah, but such a glorious reason to freak out. Go, you!

#350 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2011, 06:37 PM:

Neutrinos have always been my friends. I feel confident that they would not let me and Prof. Einstein down.

(Still want to read the preprint when it's released tomorrow!)

#351 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2011, 06:46 PM:

Whenever anyone mentions neutrinos, I always think of this.

#352 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2011, 06:51 PM:

I should have put this in my previous: my favorite bit from that song is "And now I'm passing through/the one who's known as you/and yet you'll never know I do!"

#353 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2011, 07:28 PM:

Lenora Rose @333 -- not to say you shouldn't stretch -- but be aware that pregnancy releases hormones which make it easy to stretch tendons/ligaments more-or-less permanently, so be careful with the stretches. I don't know enough about your situation to say more!

#354 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2011, 07:29 PM:

Oh, and the Particle link for CERN is definitely borked, as it currently points to a link.

#356 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2011, 11:21 PM:

JeanOG @ 348... Thanks. The outage lasted hours, but I was finally able to get in.

#357 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2011, 11:24 PM:

According to the trade press, Facebook is deploying a newer shinier user interface, so perhaps that's why it's down.

And if the CERN experiment works correctly, those missing particles should be arriving here last week.

#358 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2011, 03:05 AM:

Open threadiness: I just got a letter from an outfit called Event Horizon of Bryan, TX, who are running what they call an EBook project, and who want to know if I want to place my backlist with them (they do not specify a fee) to be turned into e-books, to be marketed by them to "all major sites" and at their own website.

Event Horizon appears to be a brand or trade name operated by an outfit called Britton & Knowles.

I found their website, which doesn't say much.

Everything about this screams "Yog's Law violation" to me. But they got my name and address from somewhere, and I don't know where.

Does anyone know anything about them?

#359 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2011, 03:32 AM:

Soon Lee @335:
I wonder if it's worth (to me) hunting down and reading that preprint. I know of several varieties of FTL phenomena (the expansion of the universe, at sufficient distances, but that's IIRC just calculated and not confirmed; IIRC quantum entanglement ("EPR paradox") was confirmed to be FTL a couple years ago; waveguides can also have FTL effects) and one apparent one (some forms of quantum tunneling, which IIRC are only apparent and not actual FTL effects). I think the only one of those that can possibly apply is the waveguide one; if it's related to the expansion of the universe then they have even odder physical phenomena than just FTL, since there shouldn't be a way for a neutrino beam to affect it!

I should probably note that there isn't an actual restriction on FTL so much as on transmission of information FTL: IIRC any attempt to isolate or monitor one of a pair of entangled particles causes the other one to alter its state as well, preventing it from being isolated or monitored; and waveguides similarly have something (group phase velocity, I think?) which is FTL but which is incapable of carrying information.

#360 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2011, 03:35 AM:

That's Thomas W. Knowles. They're publishing Neal Barrett, Jr.'s backlist, for example.


#361 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2011, 04:21 AM:

The CERN Particle is now fixed.

(And Patrick and Teresa have been delivered to the airport in good time, to continue their extremely complicated travels. And now the house seems strangely empty and quiet.)

#362 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2011, 06:46 AM:

Dave, 358: Assuming it's the same Thomas W. Knowles, he's been in Texas fandom forever. I like him personally, and AFAIK he's got a good professional reputation. ("AFAIK" because obviously I'm not in Texas fandom anymore. Sob.)

#363 ::: Debio ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2011, 08:20 AM:

Open threadiness:

I've been trying to find things that will help me overcome my reluctance to de-lurk and join the wonderful community here. Well, I found something mildly entertaining. It's of the smirk "that figures" type.

I use yahoo in Japan for my internet/email purposes. The spell checker in said email does not have the word google in it. Whether capitalized or not, it comes up with the red squiggly line.

I just had to tell someone. Sometimes the silliest things entertain me. Too bad my son won't stay two forever, I'll have to find another silliness outlet before he turns 15.

#364 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2011, 08:51 AM:

Tom Womack, patrolling the Internet while America slept, has spotted a link to the "speedy neutrino" paper from the OPERA collaboration at CERN and Gran Sasso.

#365 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2011, 09:21 AM:

Now we have the Italian version of "If daddy did it it must be okay".

#366 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2011, 09:34 AM:

Bill Higgins @ 363... Coming soon, Gaston Leroux's "The Phantom Particle of the OPERA"?

#367 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2011, 09:49 AM:

Debio @362--That is silly, for certain values thereof. Oversight or pettiness? You be the judge! /radio announcer voice

#368 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2011, 10:08 AM:

Lenora Rose @ #333, I second the cat/cow recommendation. You might also try the 90/90 position for pain relief at rest, for example when you get home from work or after prolonged standing. Lie on your back with your hips and knees bent at 90 degrees; rest your calves across the seat of a chair. You want the chair height to be such that some of your weight is on the chair and some on the floor; i.e. your back touching the floor but without your full weight on it. (Illustration at the bottom of this page.) (More general advice here.)

#369 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2011, 10:46 AM:

O the grabby gnomes who seek the comment spam
O the grabby gnomes have hidden my message from me
They've found a word of power
Or links that are malformed

O the lousy gnomes and O the nasty spam
O the lousy gnomes have hidden my message from me
They never say just why
They make it go astray
They filter closely and hide my message away

O the grabby gnomes and O the nasty spam
O the grabby gnomes have hidden my message from me
I'll give the gnome a guinea
I'll give the gnome his fee
I'll give him a guinea to release my message to me.

#370 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2011, 10:48 AM:

Debio @ 362... I wonder if 'google' has become a verb in French. I can imagine the gasps of horror at l'Académie Française if it has.

#371 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2011, 11:01 AM:

#360 ::: abi:

The CERN Particle is now fixed.

Ah, but what does "fixed" mean in this context? Has the particle been adjusted so that it obeys the speed limit? Sped up so that it's clearly ftl instead of annoyingly ambiguous?

Had a nice flowing banner made of extra-tiny sub-sub-atomic particles attached that says "Time to revise your physics"?

#372 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2011, 11:34 AM:

Lenora @ 333

Thirding cat/cow. Also, are you watching your posture when you walk? Counterinstinctually (or so I found it), leaning your shoulders back to compensate for the extra weight is the wroing thing to do. I also found that walking for a bit, using my best posture, tended to unlock my hips.

Safe back strengthening exercises may also help...

#373 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2011, 11:45 AM:

Jim @368:

How is that even possible? That's like the time I lost the St Anthony medal. (Good pastiche.)

Nancy Lebovitz @370:
Ah, but what does "fixed" mean in this context?

Well, it's already a neutrino, so I spayed it as well.

#374 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2011, 12:13 PM:

As my FG the former theoretical physicist likes to say, "The Heineken Uncertainty Principle: you can never be sure how many beers you had last night."

She also sent me this joke:
When a travel agent was asked if faster-than-light flights were available, she said, "Yes, but tickets must be purchased at least three weeks in advance and a Saturday night stay is required."

#375 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2011, 03:35 PM:

OK, AKICIML. One of my friends "tagged me" in a photo on Facebook that isn't actually a photo of me at all, but a screen cap of the Google definition of "Santorum." It appeared in my picture row! I clicked the X but Facebook warned me that people would still be able to see it on my Photos page. How do I delete it from there?

In general, I don't want other people on Facebook to be able to put things on MY photos page! Is there any way to stop this?

#376 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2011, 04:51 PM:

mini-television review:

I saw the new version of CHARLIE'S ANGELS last night. It was painful to watch. Sometimes a bad script can be semi-salvaged by good acting. Sometimes bad acting can be ameliorated by a good script.

CHARLIE'S ANGELS had neither good writing or good acting. The three actresses playing the Angels projected not a drop of personality or charisma.* It was a dull, leaden slog through sixty minutes, an hour of my life that I'll never have back again.

For the love of God, ABC, kill this misbegotten mess off quickly.

*Whereas, from the original series, Jaclyn Smith still rings my Interest-O-Meter even today.

#377 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2011, 05:07 PM:

Bruce @375 Yet the first of the cinematic remakes was wonderful. Not surprised, though.

#378 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2011, 05:14 PM:

Xopher @374 - You should be able to de-tag yourself. The link is on the photo page on the lower-right-hand corner. As to prevention, I'm not sure if changing the preferences in "Privacy Settings / How Tags Work" actually lets you prevent others from tagging you. I'm pretty sure it does.

#379 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2011, 05:28 PM:

Xopher HalfTongue @ 374: Here's how I have Facebook tags set, and it works for me --

Click the down arrow next to the "Home" heading, and go to "Privacy Settings".
Next to "How Tags Works", click "Edit Settings".
Turn "Tag Review" on. That way, you get to approve/reject photo tags.

#380 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2011, 06:08 PM:

Larry, yes, thanks! I can remove the tag, but it also gives the option of just removing the photo from my profile, which was what I really wanted. So that's done.

janetl, thanks! I've done that. I'll see them from now on. I don't really mind being tagged (though that may change if I discover something bad about it that I don't know now), but having pictures appear on my profile at the whim of my FB friends strikes me as a bad, bad thing.

#381 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2011, 06:31 PM:

Xopher HalfTongue @ 379: I've also prevented anyone from posting to my wall. If one of my Facebook Friends says something intemperate in a comment on a post, my other FB Friends are only likely to notice it if they've also commented on that particular post. A post to my wall, however, will go in the feed that everyone sees automatically. Given the range of political opinions in my family and friends, that could get very awkward.

#382 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2011, 08:13 PM:

Grrrr! I'd quite like to buy this ebook, but unfortunately, for whatever reason, all of the sellers seem to feel that fiction is too dangerous to let out of the country, and won't let me buy it!

Perhaps they're worried that there's some sort of digital plague attached to the bits ... or that they'll be a foreign and problematically invasive species...

#384 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2011, 09:21 PM:

xeger @ #381: "Perhaps they're worried that there's some sort of digital plague attached to the bits ... or that they'll be a foreign and problematically invasive species..."

Nah. They just expect those bits to overstay their tourist or work visa and are acting preemptively so they won't have to deport them down the road.

#385 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2011, 09:24 PM:

I was amused by the LA Times story about the neutrinos reporting that they were travelling 65 nanoseconds faster than light.

#386 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2011, 11:56 PM:

Xopher @ 324 and 338: It's a good reason to panic. And as for the assuming rejection based on their commentary - well, I always assume rejection, too, and as you say, it only means you can be pleasantly surprised. But it's possible.

And even a judge's prior preferences might not change that. My high school music teacher (Who, as well as being a damn good music teacher, had his last CD come out last year) mentioned handing a new composition to one of his teachers, and having the teacher bring it out in front of the class, point out all the ways it broke "the rules", and all the things it did wrong.... only to end with, "And you know? Listen. It works."

On stretches:

Thanks, all who responded. I've been doing cat stretches and finding them helpful, but I hadn't consciously or consistently been arching the other way much (the "cow" part of the pose.) Oddly, when I took yoga (before I was pregnant, after, I didn't look for a prenatal yoga class until it seemed to be too late to get into one) this pose hadn't come up. I'll definitely try a couple of the other suggestions.

Tom Whitmore @ 353: I'm aware of the risk of over-stretching - I have a slightly wonky hip, and I strained (But thankfully not sprained) my ankle last month, both of which make good remainders. But in the long run, the risks of not stretching are greater.

KayTei @ 371: so long as I'm wearing a support belt for the belly, and yes, minding my posture, walking has remained good for me - as was biking until I put a screw through my tire... Swimming was better - I just wish the pool I usually went to didn't choose to close for a month in the middle of all this. Buoyancy + reduced impact of gravity FTW, every time.

#387 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2011, 12:12 AM:

Lenora Rose @386: glad you know the risks, and know your own body well enough to know what's necessary for you!

#388 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2011, 12:23 AM:

Xopher @ 383: Yikes! But a good illustration (heh) as to the utility of the Oxford comma. My opinion is that while overuse of commas, can, be, annoying (and I've seen them used that poorly), underuse can risk clarity of communication. I take it on a case-by-case basis.

#389 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2011, 01:18 AM:

I just read and enjoyed Vonda McIntyre's "Supreme Court of the United States Defines Personhood" (available at BookViewCafe). Barely satirical. Then again most of this century has been one big dark satire.

#390 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2011, 01:52 AM:

geekosaur @ 359:

waveguides can also have FTL effects

Yes, that's the old phase velocity vs. group velocity relationship: they're inverses, so one is always faster than light and the other slower, except when they're identically c. But the phase velocity is the faster one and can't carry information. Jim Blish tried to use that as a basis for an "ultrawave communicator" in the Okie stories that propagated at 1.25 * c, but I think he knew it was technobabble.

One article about the speedy neutrinos mentioned the possibility that the error was in measuring the phase velocity rather than the group velocity of the neutrino pulse.

#391 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2011, 02:23 AM:

Serge @ #389, satire? Then what's the bloody point?

I'd call it a horror story myself.

#392 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2011, 09:13 AM:

Linkmeister @ 391... It's that too. If someone from 1968 had written a story set in the 21st Century we're stuck with, that person would have been described as a crazy Leftist who hates Nixon and all things Republican. Or, if it had been written in 1975, it'd have been described as a future as goofball as the one in "Death Race 2000".

#393 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2011, 01:22 PM:

Good grief. I'm listening to John Hodgeman interviewing George R.R. Martin on The Sound of Young America. It's fascinating.

#394 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2011, 01:28 PM:

Annnnd they've already published a transcript of the interview, and it's also streamable and downloadable. Here it is.

They talk about fandom and everything. Hodgeman even used the word 'fannishly' about himself with respect to his attitude toward Martin.

#395 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2011, 01:41 PM:

HLN: Woman finds closest yarn store as well as second-closest library. "This could be dangerous," she said. "I hope they finish renovating the closest library soon."

#396 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2011, 08:33 PM:

Lenora @ 386

Glad you've got alternatives that work. (I was going to ask if there's a public pool nearby because it's still so summery out here, but they generally all seem to close from at least Sept - May in my experience...)

#397 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2011, 10:43 PM:

Crossing with the lead paint thread...

LEAD PAINT — UNKNOWN on the disclosure form means it was built before the 1970s so you'd better assume there is some.

That's the situation with the house we just bought. We don't have children so we'll worry about lead paint when it's time to renovate. At our old house we are paying people to handle it properly before it goes on the market.

#398 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2011, 11:45 PM:

Is there a website that lists (or from which I can figure out) which SF books are currently out in Canada and the UK and not the US? Bakka is calling, and this weekend it's a local call.

#399 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2011, 11:49 PM:

KayTei @ 396: Outdoor pools usually close by Labour Day. The usual pool is attached to my husband's gym, so indoors, but it's a very low fee. It reopens next week. And a friend invited me to her usual pool today as part of her own need to get back into shape/swimming, which was sheer delight.

#400 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2011, 08:15 AM:

Based on the stories of murders in Mexico as covered at Boing-Boing, does anyone else want to see the folks running Google+ and Mark "privacy is no longer a 'social norm'" Zuckerberg explain publicly how their "no pseudonym" world is the One True Path and that the decapitations are just a local glitch?

#401 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2011, 09:13 AM:

Bruce @400: That story is awful. But it does not sound to me like an argument against Google+'s refusal to allow handles -- Macias Castaneda was using a handle on Nuevo Laredo Vivo. The Google party line about anonymity includes (if I'm not mistaken -- I have not been following it especially closely) the statement that handles are a poor way of ensuring anonymity, which argument is strengthened by the killing of Macias Castaneda.

#402 ::: Throwmearope ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2011, 10:54 AM:


Local woman is gifted a fossilized piece of mastodon poop (at least, that's her best guess based on the size of the thing) from the dozer driver who accidentally discovered Colorado's largest find of ice age fossils. There's even a fossilized blade of what looks just like buffalo grass in it.

Local woman notices most of her friends don't think that fossilized mastodon excreta is nearly as nifty as she does.

#403 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2011, 11:07 AM:

A small Speculation on Doctor Who, concerning events in the first two episodes and mid-season.

This is a bit spoilerish, but not a lot.
Nzl Cbaq'f certanapl, naq gur Tnatre Nzl.

1: Nzl, va gung svefg fgbel, vf hapregnva jurgure fur vf certanag. Jr ner yrq gb oryvrir gung Nzl naq Ebel unir orra yvivat na beqvanel Rnegu-obhaq yvsr sbe fbzr gvzr. Gurl unir fgnegrq jbaqrevat jung gur Qbpgbe vf qbvat, naq svaqvat bqq pyhrf gb uvf cerfrapr va uvfgbel.

2: Jr ner tvira tbbq ernfba, zvq-frnfba, gb oryvrir gung Nzl Cbaq'f qnhtugre jnf pbaprvirq ba gur GNEQVF.

3: Gur boivbhf nffhzcgvba vf gung Tnatre-Nzl jnf perngrq ng gur gvzr bs ure pncgvivgl ol gur Fvyrapr.

Qb gur ahzoref nqq hc?

V fhfcrpg gung gur gvzr vagreiny orgjrra ynfg GNEQVF gevc naq gur fgneg bs rcvfbqr 1 vf n ovg gbb ybat sbe n certanapl gb rfpncr abgvpr. Gur qhengvba bs gur frnepu sbe gur Fvyrapr, orgjrra rcvfbqrf 1 naq 2 vf haxabja. N zbagu, creuncf?

Vg vf cbffvoyr gung gur pbaprcgvba gbbx cynpr bss-fgntr juvyr gur GNEQVF vf mvccvat nebhaq va rcvfbqr 2, ohg V qba'g ernyyl svaq gung pbaivapvat. Vg qbrfa'g srry evtug sbe Ebel. Naq, uhzna ovbybtl orvat jung vg vf, gurer vfa'g gvzr sbe n qrsvavgr certanapl gb fgneg.

V erpxba vg vf zber yvxryl gung jr ner frrvat Tnatre-Nzl sebz gur irel ortvaavat bs gur frnfba. Juvpu zrnaf gung gur onq thlf unir n frafbe-cnpxntr jngpuvat gur Qbpgbe'f Qrngu.

[Spoilers, sweetie! -—AS]

#404 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2011, 11:08 AM:

If you call it a coprolite, they'll still be impressed (and you don't have to explain what it really means).

#405 ::: Throwmearope ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2011, 11:23 AM:

@P J Evans, #404--

Luckily for me, it's remarkably well preserved, and looks just like, well, poop. So I'm not sure that using the technical term for it would increase its appeal.

#406 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2011, 02:06 PM:

Dave Bell @403

Va bar bs gur rcvfbqrf (N Tbbq Zna Tbrf gb Jne, V oryvrir) fbzrbar fnvq gung gur onol jnf pbaprvirq ba Ebel & Nzl'f ubarlzbba va gur GNEQVF naq ng fbzr cbvag gur Qbpgbe fnvq gung Nzl zhfg unir orra gnxra orsber gurl yrsg sbe Nzrevpn (guvf zhfg unir orra va rvgure Gur Nyzbfg Crbcyr be N Tbbq Zna Tbrf gb Jne).

[Spoilers, sweetie! —AS]

#407 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2011, 02:13 PM:

All right, I don't have access to BBC America in my area (it's not available on my local cable system), so I have to wait for the DVDs to see Doctor Who. Series Six is not available on DVD yet, so I haven't seen a single episode of it.

Could you please ROT13 the discussion of it? I haven't seen anything since A Christmas Carol. Could a mod ROT13 the spoilerific bits of 403 and 406?

Vertical spacing doesn't help me that much. I already saw some words (I think they were 'Nzl Cbaq'f certanapl) which were spoilery.

#408 ::: James Moar ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2011, 02:15 PM:


V guvax Tnatre-Nzl univat orra cerfrag fvapr gur fgneg bs gur frnfba unf rvgure orra pbasvezrq va fubj be ol gur jevgref (V unq nffhzrq orsber gung gur fjvgpu pnzr jura gur Fvyrapr pncgherq ure).

Gur Fvyrapr uhag vf fgngrq gb unir gnxra 3 zbaguf. V guvax jr whfg unir gb gnxr vg gung gur gvzr orgjrra gur Nzl naq Ebel'f cevbe GNEQVF gevc naq gur ortvaavat bs rcvfbqr 1 jnfa'g dhvgr ybat rabhtu sbe n certanapl gb or qrsvavgryl erpbtavfrq.

[Spoilers, sweetie! —AS]

#409 ::: James Moar ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2011, 02:16 PM:


Cross-post, sorry.

#410 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2011, 02:19 PM:

Could a mod ROT13 the spoilerific bits of 403 and 406?

And 408.

James, no problem.

#411 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2011, 03:07 PM:

To the Brits and other Whovians:

I know it's a persistent issue that the Americans, with their Netflix and their Hulu and all, are always discussing things we haven't seen (GoT, anyone?). And that's leaving aside the books we overseas people don't get, or don't get electronically, or get later and dearer. We're usually on the sharp end of Gibson's quip that the future is here, albeit unevenly distributed.

But turnabout is not fair play, and the poor lambs don't all know why "You don't work for the council, do you?" is such a funny thing to say. Of your charity, keep the spoilers to a low roar, will you? I've ROT-13'd a few things.

To the Americans and others behind the curve:

Welcome to the rest of the world. Now you know why some of us get crabby about media discussions.

#412 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2011, 03:25 PM:

Good God. Mark Hamill is 60 years old today. Gasp, wheeze. (that's just me).

#413 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2011, 03:34 PM:

Throwmearope@405 -- it occurs to me that somebody possessed of marketing know-how could sell Coprolite as the new, improved, low-calorie version of Copro.

#414 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2011, 04:18 PM:

Apologies to Xopher and anyone else who I accidentally spoiled and thanks to Abi for ROT-13ing my comment. I assumed that since the discussion was regarding the first half of the series which finished up three months ago, it was safe, but, of course, that isn't necessarily the case.

#415 ::: Throwmearope ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2011, 04:23 PM:

#413--Modesto Kid

No comment, just chuckle.

#416 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2011, 04:43 PM:

"Sherlock Holmes's origins revealed, in the UK Guardian, here

"A lost first novel by Arthur Conan Doyle leaves clues to how he created one of literature's favourite characters" By Matthew Bell. With extracts.

[ "The book's manuscript formed part of a collection of private papers that emerged at auction in 2004 and was bought by the British Library for nearly £1m. Written in four black notebooks, the 130-page work has now been transcribed and typeset for worldwide release to accompany an exhibition of Conan Doyle-abilia at the British Library." ]

Love, C.

#417 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2011, 05:11 PM:

Throwmearope: Cool!

My teenager would also think fossilized poop is cool. So would many of the people I work with.

#418 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2011, 05:27 PM:

abi, thanks. And I for one have been pretty careful about ROT13ing spoilers for things others may not have seen (I did for my few comments about GoT (with one slip) and about Torchwood: Miracle Day and even Children of Earth, which was shown in the UK first IIUC).

#420 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2011, 10:27 PM:

Speculations about potential solution handles for the last episode of Doctor Who (via Evil Rob, who's pretty good at these sorts of things):

1. Gur Qbpgbe fjvgpurq fubrf jvgu uvf tnatre. Guvf zrnaf gung ur unf npprff gb n fgnovyvmrq tnatre znff gung vf, va rssrpg, uvz. (Erzrzore gur pbzzrag nobhg gur GNEQVF fgnovyvmvat gur tnatref.)

2. Nzl erperngrq gur havirefr. Gurer'f fgvyy fbzr jrveqarffrf bhg gurer eryngrq gb gung, vapyhqvat n srj tncf nobhg Qnyrx nggnpxf ba Rnegu naq gur vqrn gung gur crbcyr bs Rnegu jbhyq xabj nobhg Gur Ynfg Praghevba va fcvgr bs gur snpg gung ur jnfa'g fhccbfrq gb rkvfg va guvf irefvba bs gur havirefr. Gurer'f cbgragvny gurer.

3. Ba gung abgr, jul unfa'g nalobql cbvagrq bhg gung Ebel'f tbg dhvgr n srj praghevrf bs rkcrevrapr ba gur qbpgbe? V zrna, jr nyernql xarj nobhg Wnpx Unexarff, ohg Ebel'f tbg n ybg bs gvzr ba gur Qbpgbe.

At any rate, who knows? I would have liked it if it were even more complex than it is.

#421 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2011, 12:10 AM:

Dave Bell @ 403: Gur boivbhf nffhzcgvba vf gung Tnatre-Nzl jnf perngrq ng gur gvzr bs ure pncgvivgl ol gur Fvyrapr.

Gung qbrfa'g jbex nf Nzl svefg frrf gur rlr-cngpu ynql orsber fur vf pncgherq ol gur Fvyrapr.

#422 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2011, 12:19 AM:

Justice delayed.... but movement may be coming. The mainstream media reporting may, of course, be silence.... I remember seeing "Silence = Death" stencilled? on sidewalks in Boston and Cambridge, before by years the 2001 - 2008 misadmininistation....

Warning, graphic, ugly, appalling pictures, with the US Government the perpetrator of the torture and abuse. The pictures seem to be among those that the US Government was blocking from the US public seeing/finding out about with undeniability, when the Abu Ghraib atrocities initially got out to the public in a big way via photographic evidence and the appalled reports of those appalled by the goings on.

And apparently one of the Circuit Courts has stripped Rumsfeld of immunity.... at long last.

#423 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2011, 01:09 AM:

Do you know this movie?

Sometime in the early 1970s I saw a short movie before the main feature in the movie theatre in Davis, CA. It was a dance movie, with music but no dialog, and I have the distinct impression it was made in France. In the movie the dancers were dressed as chess pawns, with spherical gauze canopies over their heads. That's all I can remember for certain; I've been trying to find that movie for several years now, but even IMDB hasn't helped. Anyone remember it?

#424 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2011, 05:20 AM:

On Doctor Who...

I don't expect a full resolution in the screen-time left for this season. But we know how quickly things can be done. Blink and you miss something. Srmmrf ner pbby.

It looks as though the 2012 season will be some sort of autumn start, which would also be appropriate for 2013 and the 50th anniversary.

Guvf vf abg n fcbvyre.

#425 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2011, 01:35 PM:

Open-thready: any of you who are around lower Manhattan tomorrow evening might like to come to Kate Beaton's Hark, A Vagrant! launch party. (Assuming I know this crowd like I think I do)

#426 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2011, 01:50 PM:

(If you do come, say hello -- I will be the guy who looks approximately like this.)

#427 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2011, 02:11 PM:

Debio @363: Too bad my son won't stay two forever, I'll have to find another silliness outlet before he turns 15.


#428 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2011, 02:22 PM:

xeger @382: all of the sellers seem to feel that fiction is too dangerous to let out of the country.

I ran into this a while back. It's apparently a foreign rights licensing issue. Which is really dumb: "So licencse the rights, already! Paying customer here!!"

#429 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2011, 03:09 PM:

Competitive ferret-legging.

#430 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2011, 03:15 PM:

Throwmearope @402: Bumper sticker seen at CU:

Coprolites happened

#431 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2011, 03:49 PM:

One of my online friends just told me he has β+-thalassemia, which I actually hadn't heard of before. Not sure why he didn't tell me before now (we've been friends for years).

I think the reason he finally did tell me is that I was worried that the cancer he was treated for a few years ago was coming back...but apparently the thalassemia accounts for his frequent illnesses and so on.

#432 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2011, 05:10 PM:

in re Doctor Who:

Nyy V pna fnl vf gung V'z naablrq rabhtu ol gur gerngzrag bs Nzl gung V'ir tvira hc. V'yy jngpu guvf ynfg hcpbzvat rc, naq gura V'z tbar.

Fb, pbatengf Fgrcura Zbssng, V thrff. Lbh'ir svanyyl qevira zr njnl sebz n fubj V'ir orra jngpuvat fvapr V jnf gra.

#433 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2011, 05:39 PM:

Xopher #431: Thalassemia and sickle-cell: two more reasons that malaria really sucks.

#434 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2011, 10:11 PM:

Hyperlocal news: Area retiree is tickled to discover that Jupiter is bright enough to make shadows when it shines into a dark room in a rural area.

#435 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2011, 01:32 AM:

This is just to say

I have stolen
the plums
that were in
the icebox

so I could make
a plum cake
for breakfast

Forgive me
it sounds delicious
so moist and
so sweet

(You have to scroll down a bit for the recipe. I only just read it, so I can't say for sure it's as good as it sounds...but it makes my mouth water just to read it. And this is as close to poetry as I'm likely to get.)

#436 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2011, 08:04 AM:

Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) @429: Yes, but is it fair to the ferrets?

#437 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2011, 08:23 AM:

Area retiree is tickled to discover that Jupiter is bright enough to make shadows when it shines into a dark room in a rural area.

Warning: area retiree may have wandered into a Larry Niven short story.

#438 ::: debio ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2011, 08:31 AM:

Jacque@427 Hmm. Ferrets, I've thought about that off and on. I'm sure my son would love them. My wife however.

Silliness is a part of my life. I would hate to give it up. I've made it to 42 so far without giving it up. I'm looking forward to senility so I don't have to make excuses anymore. Right now I just blame it on the infamous "American Gyagu" thing.

As to to competitive ferret legging. I would be at a distinct disadvantage.

1. I get to feeling sorry for cute critters.
2. I have a disability that makes walking and balance difficult. Since ferrets fall into the cute critter category for me, I would really really hate to fall over and squish one of the little guys. But if anyone volunteers to take my place...

#439 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2011, 09:38 AM:

ajay, #437--what story would that be?

#440 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2011, 09:54 AM:

Angiportus: It's called "Inconstant Moon".

#441 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2011, 11:42 AM:

I would really really hate to fall over and squish one of the little guys.

Exactly why you can no longer find cars safety equipped with ferret bags.

#442 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2011, 06:13 PM:

Open-thready link: Science News just posted an article on how miracle fruit works. Having participated in a miracle fruit tasting at the ML party in Denver at the Worldcon, I was quite interested.

#443 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2011, 06:19 PM:

Constance, #416: This bit in one of the excerpts caught my eye:

Here is this old gentleman, who is a kind-hearted man enough... howling out for a war which would put a third of the world into mourning, and all for the sake of some grievance which is so shadowy that it rests upon the supposition of a supposition. What makes him more dangerous is that he is in deadly earnest over it – so earnest that he is quite ready and even eager to risk his own life upon the quarrel. Imagine the danger of an autocratic system of government by which such a man as this might find himself at the head of a state with unrestrained powers of pursuing what he would call a spirited policy towards his neighbours.

Depressingly prescient, except of course for the "ready to risk his own life" bit.

Syd, #435: Would you use black, red, or prune plums for that cake? Would pluots work? Or does it matter?

#444 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2011, 11:29 PM:

Open threadiness: A federal employee being questioned and threatened for linking to a Wikileaks document from his blog.

One thing that came up in the article: the internal State Dept news summary excludes news stories based on Wikileaks cables, because of classification concerns. I have to admit, that leaves a remarkably unpleasant taste in my mouth. It's like something from the old Soviet Union. In order to push te idea that Wikileaks Is Bad, the authorities in State actually prefer to have their employees less well-informed than the rest of the world.

#445 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2011, 01:19 AM:

Lee @ 443, I'm not 100% sure that it matters. From the photo, I'd guess Molly Wizenberg used black plums, but it's hard to tell--and she's written quite rapturously about prune plums in the past! Personally, I prefer black plums over red, so that would be my default...although I'd be willing to try it with prune plums if I found some lovely ones. As long as you use the same weight regardless of variety, I'd say experimentation would be in order. :)

Re: pluots, this article says that they have a much higher sugar content than either plums or apricots. Since the batter contains golden syrup, honey and brown sugar, pluots might make it rather too sweet, but YMMV. (Considering how much I like hot fudge sundaes, I'm probably not the best one to comment on whether a dessert is too sweet!)

#446 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2011, 02:14 AM:

This is just to say
I've been reading the
Urban Arrivals thread

which has shown me
the number of books and poems
I have left to read

before I can safely say
I am literate
or at least well-read.

#447 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2011, 04:17 AM:

Open threadiness, or why I heart working in a museum:

Yesterday on the museum mailing list. (Originally in French.)

Message 1: (Invitation to an info-lunch with the screening of a documentary film on Lake Tanganyika, with requisite blurb.)


Lake Tanganyika (1,470 m deep), reservoir of 17% of the planet's freshwater volume, has barely begun to reveal its many secrets. [...] Don't miss it!

Message 2:


This sounds like an interesting info-lunch. However, I wish to point out that the volume of surface freshwater is 100 times smaller than that of fresh groundwater, which in turn has a volume three times smaller than that of the freshwater found as ice in the ice caps. So saying that Lake Tanganyika holds 17% of the planet's freshwater reserves is at the very least a lapsus scripti. 17% of 0.003% would be closer to the truth.

Have a nice day,
Scientist 1

P.S.: And I am not even counting deep "geological" water which is inaccessible to humans.

Message 3:

It all depends on the definition we're using.
We are indeed talking about 17% of the volume of liquid surface freshwater (excluding groundwater and the ice caps).

Thank you, Scientist 1.

Scientist 2-slash-documentary-filmmaker

P.S.: The volume of water in Lake Tanganyika is nonetheless significant: 18,800 km3!

#449 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2011, 05:46 AM:

Earl @448:

I'm disappointed that he made it a cased-in hollow-back volume with false bands. It's neither a durable nor a particularly skilled binding style. The book won't feel as good in the hand as it would were it fine-bound (tight back, sewn on raised cords), and it'll decay faster.

It's rather like doing your illuminations in felt-tip pen.

#450 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2011, 08:22 AM:

I watched the last episode of Season 5 of Supernatural last night, and now I'm torn.

If the show had ended there, as it was clearly supposed to, I'd be OK; it was a sad ending, but a satisfying one, and made it clear which of the brothers was really the protagonist--something the whole thing up to then had been wobbly about.

But it doesn't end there. There's more show. I don't know what to do with this knowledge.

#451 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2011, 08:28 AM:

Carrie S. @450: It is my opinion that Season 6 is a classic example of shark-jumping.

From what I'm seeing of Season 7 recaps, they may have turned the boat around. I am, as yet, undecided about whether I have the energy for it.

#452 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2011, 12:03 PM:

I'm thinking that Amazon has changed the game with its new Kindles. The $199 price point for the Kindle Fire is going to draw a lot of people into buying a tablet, but who have held off before because of the cost.

New Kindles

And a $79 e-ink Kindle is also going to get some business.

#453 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2011, 01:07 PM:

HLN: Husband asks local woman's advice for appropriate time period in which to set short story series. Local woman responds with perfect time period, expounds on reasons time setting is perfect, and provides many many things to read for background and genre inspiration. Husband, local woman, both very happy.

#454 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2011, 01:22 PM:

I don't know how interesting a cover band video demo page is if you're not hiring a cover band, but ours is up: "Somebody To Love" and "SWLABR," recorded live in the studio for extra rockitude. If nothing else, you can see me wearing tight electric blue pants.

We are, of course, available for weddings, parties, cryonic interventions, etc.

#455 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2011, 02:28 PM:

Beloved cat Tommy has kidney disease. Not going to do s-q fluids, etc: he hates even being given a pill, and I don't want him to run and hide from me while I try to prolong his life. He's not comfortable, has stopped eating despite Pepcid, is beginning to vomit froth. Crouching, hiding. It's almost time.

Sad Lizzy is so very, very sad.

#456 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2011, 02:35 PM:

Poor Tommy, and poor Lizzy.


#457 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2011, 02:37 PM:

I'm so sorry, Lizzy. I'll keep a good thought for you and Tommy.

#458 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2011, 02:59 PM:

Oh, Lizzy, sorry to hear such sad news.

Peace to you and Tommy.

#459 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2011, 03:03 PM:

Thank you for your kindness; it helps.

#460 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2011, 03:07 PM:

debio @438: I would really really hate to fall over and squish one

Well, of course, there's always the noncompetitive ferret-in-a-sock. And, of course, that's what hoodies are really for.

Lizzy L @455: Oh, it's hard, it's hard. I'm in that countdown with my Tiny. Her mammary tumor has gotten big enough that when she's reclining, the back leg on that side doesn't touch the floor. (Knock on wood) she is so far still enthusiastic about dinner, and can move quickly when she needs to. But the time is coming.

Hugs to both of you.

#461 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2011, 03:16 PM:

Lizzy L: All I can say is that you're doing the best you can for Timmy. Our oldest Siamese is 17 this year, and I know his health will eventually fail -- facing it doesn't make it any easier.

Oodles of sympathy from me and my fur-kin...

#462 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2011, 03:35 PM:

My furry is 16 and beginning to show her age. I am not looking forward to the inevitable - and it isn't the first time. (I still remember the cat I grew up with, who developed cancer on his nose at the age of 14.)

#463 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2011, 03:52 PM:

Lizzy @455: I'm so, so sorry for you and Timmy. You have my sympathies.

#464 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2011, 03:53 PM:

#452 Steve
Plastic touchscreens are on the way--the MyBoogieBoard uses it but that is not a computing device, it's electronically erasable touch display, not electronically displayed digital content touchscreen interface. HP has made material which is fabriclike to make into digital touchscreen displays, but that was R&D stuff the last articles I saw on it/.

The Kindle devices aren't designed to be datapad computing devices... and my attitude toward devices which don't multitask and offer multiple window utile capability are even less complimentary than what I said about Mac-in-the-boxes at the dawn of the WIMP-GUI era.

I don;t understand why device makers refuse to make products that the keyboard doesn't have to mechanically be hinged to the display....

#443 Lee

"red" plums along with Shiro plums and black-red purple-red ones, are "Japanese" plums and the same species. They also can interbreed with apricots for apriums and plouts. They are a different species from prune-plums which are "European" plums and not compatible I believed for cross-breeding. Prune plums are what prunes and prune juice and stewing prunes are made of. Japanese plums go into plum wine and are for fresh eating and such.

#455 Lizzy
My sympathies to you and Tommy.

#465 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2011, 04:39 PM:

So sorry Lizzy. Please make plans ASAP.

Our old family cat, we let go too long, and the vet had closed for the night, and his last hours weren't good. You don't want that, for you or Timmy.

#466 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2011, 04:45 PM:

HLN: Area woman is excited about tomorrow's first aid course, for several reasons:

1. Her CPR certification lapsed mumble years ago*.
2. DEFIBRULATORS! How neat are they? Ask her tomorrow!
3. After the first aid course comes the evacuation and rescue course! With real fire!
4. After the rescue course she gets to have a natty yellow vest to hang on her office chair! And carry a pager around the office! And have SUPER POWERS!†
5. She gets to try out a new ferry crossing on the bike ride to the training center!

* Hint: two countries of residence ago
† The ability to demand that everyone follow my commands counts as a super power to me. Even if they only do it when my command is to leave the building now.

#467 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2011, 05:21 PM:

I'm sorry, Lizzy.

#468 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2011, 05:37 PM:

abi @466: Yes, but will there be zombies?

#469 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2011, 05:49 PM:

Expunged from the record....

George Herbert Walker Bush, apparently a betrayer of US citizens held in custody in Iran in the wake the of the fall of the Shah, for partisan political purposes....

#470 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2011, 06:15 PM:

Lizzy L:

If you think it's getting to be time, then it's definitely time. Not all cats have the iron will that our Sophie had. We respected that she didn't want to leave us, but I wouldn't repeat that.

Strength and hugs to you.

#471 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2011, 07:23 PM:

Lizzy L, my utmost sympathy. Even when you know it's time, it's so hard, and it hurts.

#472 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2011, 08:23 PM:

Lizzy -- very sorry to hear about Tommy the cat. That's a really hard decision/situation, and I send you any hugs you can accept around it.

#473 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2011, 10:38 PM:

Lizzy, my other half and I will be thinking of you and Tommy. It's never easy, is it?

#474 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2011, 11:39 PM:

Lizzy: My sympathies.

#475 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2011, 03:41 AM:

Lizzy L @455: Sympathies for you and for Tommy. It's never easy to make the decision, but sometimes an easy death is the last gift we can give to our beloved pets.

#476 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2011, 04:23 AM:

Steve C @452

There's the usual wailing and gnashing of teeth about prices of the new Kindles outside the USA.

The cheapest US price seems to be "advertising supported", and Amazon seems to be able to get out of paying sales taxes in the USA.

There's a 20% difference between the UK and the USA, just because of different laws on which price to advertise.

#477 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2011, 05:21 AM:

Lizzy L, adding my sympathies as well. Thoughts your way and Tommy's.

And good thoughts to everyone else who needs them, for what it's worth. I haven't been following the threads for umptymumble weeks.

#478 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2011, 06:49 AM:

Lizzy L., my sympathies to you and Tommy.

#479 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2011, 07:46 AM:

My sympathies to Lizzy L and Tommy, and Jacque and Tiny, and all others in the same situation.

#480 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2011, 02:05 PM:

Lizzy L, Jacque: Ah, I'm sorry for you and Tommy and Tiny. It was a tumour that got our one family moggy, at thirteen: Harley Two Cats, the friendly black panther of the infinite length, whose purr rumbled as deep as his namesake's. Those were a bad set of days, and I miss him still, six years on. All my sympathies.

#481 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2011, 02:48 PM:

Adding to the chorus of sympathy. Wish I had something more useful to say than "me too."

#482 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2011, 04:20 PM:

Lizzy L, my sympathies.

#483 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2011, 05:20 PM:

Lizzy L, my sympathies as well.

#484 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2011, 07:00 PM:

Thanks all. Tommy's gone. It was quick and gentle; he died in my arms, and he was not frightened, or in pain.

Bless you.

#485 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2011, 07:02 PM:

Lizzie L, my sympathies.

#486 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2011, 07:46 PM:

A blessing that it was quick and gentle.

#487 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2011, 08:28 PM:

Lizzy, the last duty we owe our pets is the hardest of all. You did good.

I'll pet my cat and tell her about Tommy. If I may make the suggestion, do something nice for Lizzy when you get a chance.

#488 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2011, 09:03 PM:

Randomness: if you get a transfusion from yourself, is it really a cisfusion?

#489 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2011, 09:07 PM:

Xopher: I like it. Though I do have a fondness for the word "autologous" as well.

#490 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2011, 09:07 PM:

Kip, thanks for that. I did and I am. I just took my dog for a long solitary walk -- ducks, a hawk, a pond, silence -- and now I am going to go eat comfort food at my favorite Chinese restaurant. I tend to fast when stressed, so a meal (with a good book) in a place I feel at home will be soothing.

My other cat, Hanako, AKA The Pillow With Legs, is now going to experience being the only cat. She's twelve and a half and has always had to share the attention with at least one other cat, and for the last eight years, with a dog. No more. It will be amusing to see what she makes of it.

#491 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2011, 09:14 PM:

Lizzy, I'm so sorry.

#492 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2011, 09:21 PM:

Lizzy, my condolences. I had to do that for my Mina, and... well, it hurts, but it's one of the things you take on when you bring them into your life. Don't be surprised if a year from now you're still glancing at her favorite places around the house, as though expecting to see her there.

#493 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2011, 10:57 PM:

Lizzy: my condolences.

Even when it's the right thing to do and the right time to do it, it's not easy. Glad you took Lizzy-time today.

#494 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2011, 12:33 AM:

In the course of a memorial thread on Dan Hoey over at RASFF, Keith Lynch mentioned he had saved over a thousand newsposts by Dan — posts that Google Groups doesn't seem to have, in very large part. In response to a request, Keith agreed to put this archive online. He still has to sort the 1993-98 portion, but the first draft of the archive is up at .

Keith has requested that folks report anything that looks wrong, and if anyone has messages from him that he doesn't (other than 93-8, at this point), he'd like to know about it. There's more over at the newsgroup. I've refrained from quoting the post directly, as I have not asked permission, but since it's a public group I didn't think it would hurt to put the information up. (Somebody should tell me if I'm wrong.)

#495 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2011, 12:52 AM:

Lizzy, thinking a lot about you and Tommy.

#496 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2011, 02:53 AM:

Lizzy, my and Hilde's sympathies.

We'll be getting a new kitten, a male sealpoint Siamese, as a successor to Gremlin in early November. The big majority of our cats have always been rescues, but Hilde used to breed Siamese herself and we've always had at least one. The breeder says she'll have photos in about a week (the litter was born on September 2nd, and the kittens aren't out of the nesting box quite yet).

#497 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2011, 07:42 AM:

Women and girls who sort of want to get into tech, especially open source, but are worried they aren't skilled enough, or are facing the "need experience to get a job to get experience" catch-22:

The GNOME open source software project's outreach program for women has just opened to a new round of applicants. It's a way for women anywhere to dip their toe into tech and open source by doing remote internships -- translations, art, documentation, coding, and other tasks.

There's a USD5000 (five thousand dollars) stipend.

The deadline is October 31, and part of the application process is making a tiny contribution to GNOME, so if you're going to apply, start the process soon.

This outreach program is in its third or fourth round. Looks like it works. I'm happy to chat privately with anyone who has questions about applying - email me.

#498 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2011, 08:40 AM:

Surprising news in the RFP (local black-owned newspaper) this morning.

Cast of characters:
Christopher Haynesworth, black, convicted of 3 rapes in 1984; he has consistently maintained his innocence.
Ken Cuccinelli, Attorney General of VA; very conservative Republican, known for his opposition to global warming theories.
Mark Warner, former Governor of VA, who ordered a review of all rape cases where DNA evidence was available.

One of the DNA tests showed Haynesworth to be innocent in one of the rapes he'd been convicted of; the other cases had no DNA evidence.

Guess the rest of the story.

Phppvaryyv unf uverq Unlarfjbegu nf n pyrex, naq vf nccrnyvat sbe n jevg bs npghny vaabprapr va gur IN Fhcerzr pbheg.

#499 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2011, 09:02 AM:

Lizzy L@484 ...
Thanks all. Tommy's gone. It was quick and gentle; he died in my arms, and he was not frightened, or in pain.

My empathies and sympathies to you.

#500 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2011, 11:41 AM:

Lizzy L #455: I'm sorry to hear that. My sympathies.

#501 ::: James Moar ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2011, 12:47 PM:

Gollancz has released the first lot of its SF Gateway ebooks. There's about 800 of them, with a lot of good authors in there. So far, I've bought ones by Ian Watson, Tim Powers, Sladek and Silverberg.

Texts are a little prone to OCR errors, but I'm very glad they're doing this.

#502 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2011, 02:10 PM:

Lizzy L @ 484: I'm pleased it went so well and glad to hear you're looking after yourself. Hope Hanako enjoys the extra attention.

Bruce Arthurs @496: good luck with the new kitten (when he arrives). May he have a good personality!

#503 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2011, 04:43 PM:

Somewhat Local News: The evening of Tuesday Oct 4, there will be a meeting of the Making Light Colorado Front Range Little Old Ladies* Sewing Circle and World Domination League.

Lemme know if (a) you want to come, (b) you know folks who might enjoy joining us, and (c) have a good venue to suggest. My email address is at the foot of the web page linked to my name.


* One needn't be little, old, or a lady to participate.

#504 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2011, 08:25 PM:

This afternoon I had a nice idea for a greeting card, one meant to be sent to new parents congratulating them on the blessed event: The front of the card is the big black scaly bird which Gorey drew for the cover of the Autobiography of WB Yeats (at the bottom of this page), modified to be carrying a stork's bundle in its beak; open the card and read the lines, "All changed, changed utterly:/ A terrible cutie is born."

#505 ::: Debio ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2011, 08:33 PM:

Jacque @ 503

Please tell me how many of your members have blue hair.

Did you know there is a world wide secret organization of blue haired old woman bent on Domination?

Watch out for blue haired women. That's all I'm saying...

#506 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2011, 08:39 PM:

Jacque @503: One needn't be little, old, or a lady to participate.

I'm imagining a guest appearance by Dr. Doom: "Came for the world domination; stayed for the sewing".

#507 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2011, 09:08 PM:

Jacque @ 503, if I were in your neck of the woods, I would be there with bells on! Even though I'm not little, old, or particularly talented with needle and thread. Although I did take a sewing class a few decades ago and came out of it with a couple of pairs of shorts, a nice pair of dress slacks, and a couple of cute pillows.

I still remember having to rip out several inches (or possibly feet) of thread when I discovered I'd sewn the inseam and rise in the wrong order and wound up without leg openings...

#508 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2011, 09:36 PM:

HLN: After learning her newly widowed mother has fallen and broken a rib and is hospitalized, area woman travels 12 hours to Augean stables Mom's house and tries to ... well, she isn't really sure what she's trying to do. Several more van-loads of refuse are taken to the county dump, the administrative offices of which are located at the corner of Furnace Rd. And Mordor Dr. Really.

Area woman's Mom surprises her by announcing that she wants to have house renovated before selling it, even though it will be a tear-down even after renovation. (Too small for the market in this area, but on an extremely valuable piece of property.) Without even looking beneath the surfaces, croggled woman sees that the minimum the house needs to bring it up to code is: new roof; joist replacement; attic floor replacement: drywall replacement; stud replacement (extent unknown); complete rewiring; complete replumbing; remodel 3 bathrooms; remodel kitchen; replace windows and screens; rip up carpet and replace or refinish hardwood underneath; replace carpet in den or install new floor; replace stairs to finished basement; rip out moldy 1950s paneling; replace moldy floor and ceiling; whole house mold remediation, including ducting; prime and paint everything. This will add nothing to the sales price of the house.

Area woman considers posting to the Dysfunctional Families thread, but is just too tired.

#509 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2011, 09:43 PM:

Jesus God, Tracie. Wouldn't a spot of arson be simpler?

But seriously. Is there anyone your mom will listen to? Could a realtor tell her the land is worth more without the house, and be believed?

#510 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2011, 10:29 PM:

HLN: Area man belatedly realizes, several weeks after being taken off a beta blocker, that beta blockers have a side effect of blunting affect. And that when you go off a drug that has a side effect, you rebound against the side effects.

#511 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2011, 11:16 PM:

(Waves hand wildly about Boulder next Tuesday)

Me! Me! Little, old, gray-haired. "Lady" only insofar as one who strives "never to insult anyone unintentionally". I will be done with my meetings and errands mid-afternoon and hang out at the gallery at the Boulder Public Library until the time and place of the Gathering of Light. I will be knitting, which by politeness is a kind of sewing. Certainly handwork. I will leave my power tools parked in Denver.

I'm not putting laundry bluing in the rinse water yet, Debio. And there is NO conspiracy of us, erm, them, to rule the world, despite the upcoming coincidence of Debio's unfortunate demise...

#512 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2011, 11:53 PM:

Lila #509: Actually, I was hoping for an unfortunate non-injury accident involving the neighbors' 100+ year oak they were taking down yesterday. There's still hope for the 2 dead oaks behind our house.

She said she was going to have our other neighbor, a very good remodeling contractor, give her an estimate. I'm hoping that between him and a good realtor, she will be dissuaded.

The lot is 1.4 acres in Fairfax County, Virginia, backs up to a golf course, and is just outside Fort Belvoir, when they have built the new Army Medical Center to replace Walter Reed. To say nothing of the tens of thousands of other military and civilians being transferred there. Say "location" three times fast.

On the other hand, she could just change she mind next week.

#513 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2011, 01:26 AM:

"I was hoping for an unfortunate non-injury accident involving the neighbors' 100+ year oak they were taking down yesterday. There's still hope for the 2 dead oaks behind our house."

If they're dead it's only a matter of time. Maybe you can run the hose on the house side of the tree?

Though really, this just brought to mind that today I went to the big park—which was created to save its grove of oak trees—to set up some scarecrows for a competition at the harvest festival. Okay, "Giant Pumpkin Festival", but that's harder to say. Had to walk a big circle around some tree-cutting they were doing. Oaks need that, I suppose. It was annoying.

Not nearly as annoying as what was pointed out to me after the tree crew had cleared off. Apparently, some poor vendor got his truck pulverized by a falling limb. (And that was all—no injuries.) Nasty way to start a sales weekend.

The park worker shrugged and said, "That's why we have insurance."

#514 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2011, 02:26 AM:

Tracie @ #512, Good lord. In that location the land has to be worth $100K or more all by itself. We bought a house in 1962 in Annandale for $27,500 and sold it six or eight years later; even then the property values were skyrocketing, and that was long before the Metro came out to Fairfax City and other intra-Beltway environs.

#515 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2011, 06:09 AM:

Carol Kimball @511: All righty, then. BPL Gallery is location of MLCFRLOLSC&WDL covenence, again. (Nominalization of the verb 'convene,' right? Right!?)

Tracie @508: Perhaps a word strategically placed in the appropriate ear would get the house condemned, thereby simplifying the decision process?

#516 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2011, 06:11 AM:

me @515: "again?" I think I meant "then." (Checks timestamp.) Okay; obviously time to go to bed.

#517 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2011, 06:43 AM:

Lizzy L @484: Ah, well be done. Vaya con Dios, Tommy.

#518 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2011, 07:02 AM:

Debio @505: Watch out for blue haired women. That's all I'm saying...

Oh that explains the lady I saw in the grocery store last week. Only a quarter of her hair was blue. Well, turquoise really. All becomes clear.

(I wonder if my neighbor counts. She has blue hair. Also purple. And brown. Depends on her mood that day.)*

Rob Rusick @506: Dr. Doom

::SPLARFL!:: It's just lucky for you, she said darkly, that I wasn't sipping my tea. ::looks over glasses::

Syd @507: I still remember having to rip out several inches (or possibly feet) of thread when I discovered I'd sewn the inseam and rise in the wrong order and wound up without leg openings...

"As ye sew, so shall ye rip."

Carol Kimball @511: I will be knitting, which by politeness is a kind of sewing.

I will probably be doing...whatever that thing is that I do. Need to finish my second set of slippers before winter sets in. (Ugh. Means I have to lug my clay feet to work. Well, one foot, anyway. Those things are heavy.)


* Makes recognizing her an interesting challenge. I'll be chatting away happily with this nice person I just met in the parking lot, and it slowly penetrates..."Oh. I know you. Oh, right! You're her." ::sigh::

What was that I said about time stamps?

#519 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2011, 11:38 AM:

The "A Quick Guide to Inspector Spacetime" link in Patrick's particles is broke; it looks like it has a stray pair of quote marks in it.

#520 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2011, 12:11 PM:

The Modesto Kid @519:

Fixed. Thanks for the heads-up.

#521 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2011, 12:39 PM:

Jacque 515: Nominalization of the verb 'convene,' right?

I'm pretty sure that would be 'convention'.

Yeah, I know. People say 'ept' as the positive of 'inept' too, and forget the word 'apt'.

#522 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2011, 01:58 PM:

I think Trajan has fallen: there is a new "it" font.

Example 1
Example 2
Example 3

#523 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2011, 02:40 PM:

Xopher@521: I believe "convent" is also a nominalization of the verb "convene".

#524 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2011, 03:23 PM:

The act of convening is convention.

The stable result of having convened is a convent.

#525 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2011, 03:53 PM:

So, we have openly had American citizens assassinated on the orders of the president and his staff. The acceptability of this is now, in effect, bipartisan consensus policy--neither party's leadership is opposing it. The power for the president to order American citizens killed without any external review or judicial finding or anything is now, effectively, one of the powers of the president.

This power will be in the hands of the next president, and the one after than, and so on. Having decided that he can order American citizens killed on his say-so alone, I have a hard time imagining Obama or his successor will have much trouble establishing that he has the authority to order American citizens detained indefinitely, as well. If he has them shipped to a war zone, they can be kept without access to US courts. And of course, if the citizens are tortured or imprisoned for years illegally, nobody will ever face any legal consequences about it in the US, though they may end up not wanting to vacation in Europe anymore. As best I can tell, there is nothing preventing this power being used within the US, if the president orders it done.

The worst part is, this is just one more step along the logical progression of our policies, and it is entirely in keeping with the apparent consensus at the top of our society.

#526 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2011, 04:17 PM:

HL News: "Jaysus! I Spoke Too Soon."

So here I am, going, “No fires, no earthquakes, no hurricanes, no floods, no 9/11 terrorism terrors for a whole two weeks. We can relax now, finally, until maybe blizzard season, which could begin in November, who knows?


Downstairs neighbor on the opposite side turned on all the stove's burners without lighting them, and left. He also left his big ridgeback dog inside -- in a cage. Our beloved Across-the-Hall neighbor of many years, who lives above him, smelled the gas, called the fire department and they broke down the door. Asshole hasn't come back yet. Cops are there. This could be a terrorist event, the cops said. I wonder .... Is this a young always indulged who has lost it because the economy is bad and he’s not getting what he’s entitled to, and decided to take it out, whatever it is, on the rest of the world. Including the expensive pedigree dog? Is the dog now an inconvenience and dumb guy thought this was a way to get rid of it? And the rest of us in the building at the same time? Did he decide to kill himself and kill the dog too? The fire department and the cop busted down the door. They said the inside of the apartment looked like a dog house, whatever that means.

I have never met this guy, but I have met his dog, via the dogwalker who came in from Connecticut. The dog, Shipley, is lovely, good natured, happy, healthy, well-cared for.

Never a dull moment on this street. Ned’s off to do the prep work for the art benefit auction he’s auctioneering for tonight. I feel still shaky as heck, despite running errands and so on.

I wonder if we're ever going to know what happened. All we do know is that somebody tried to kill us -- mass murder, because it would have killed everyone in th building. If this guy ever does return he faces some big criminal charges.

Poor dog.

EDITED TO ADD UPDATE TO THE ABANDONED DOG: Shipley's not in a shelter, he's in the apartment of the neighbor across from his owner. Dog's very upset. It seems the fellow's cell phone was left behind in the apartment -- but he was out all night his neighbor says, but she got a text from that phone, though no way of knowing it was him, at 3 AM asking if she were home. She was basically asleep and didn't respond. She says he liked to date crazy Russian girls.

This is when a writer’s mind is a drawback because I have come immediately with so many stories -- when I know NOTHING -- and surely none of them are what happened. O wait, I’m not so bad – here, from a friend in New Rochelle, a composer who watches too much television: “the cell phone was left behind to trigger a fir so the fellow could disappear, get new identity and a start a new life safe from the Russian mob.” The writer says: “Too many holes in this plot.”

In the meantime Occupy Wall Street protests are taking place all around the country, from Boston to Portland, but the NY Times can't mention that. Instead they run an opinion poll as to whether this is a carnival of silly people, or yes, an unfocused hippie stunt.

Love, C.

#527 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2011, 04:19 PM:

In the "I do not think it means what you think it means" category, there is a new Mexican restaurant (I don't know how authentic it is) in the neighborhood called El Chupacabra.

#528 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2011, 04:25 PM:

Constance: Holy fucking shit. Narrow escape. I'm glad this terrorist asshole failed to murder you, and that sounds incredibly lame as I type it.

#529 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2011, 04:57 PM:

Constance #526: I'm glad you're alive. That fellow sounds crazy.

#530 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2011, 05:00 PM:

Constance, I'm glad you're okay. And everybody in your building. To say nothing of the dog. Jeez Ess Christ.

#531 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2011, 05:06 PM:

Sympathies to Lizzy L., relief to Constance, and a query: are any NYC Fluorospherians free next weekend? I'm considering having some actual fun Fri-Sat, and perhaps even Sun if I get enough accomplished beforehand.

#532 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2011, 05:55 PM:

Open-thready: I am wondering whether anyone here has read the two books, What We Did With Father by Roy Lewis and Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino, and will be able to recommend me some more books based on how much I love those two.

#533 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2011, 06:00 PM:

Constance, he may have been hoping for a fire, but what usually results from something like that is an explosion. The utility companies are Not Happy when people do it deliberately.
(I hope they catch up with him and charge him with attempted arson.)

#534 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2011, 06:25 PM:

Holy shit. Constance at 526, I hope they find that narcissistic jackass neighbor of yours and let him feel what it's like to be inside a scary cage -- like The Tombs, for example. Thank you for letting us know that the dog is well, cared-for, and safe, despite being no doubt confused. Good that you and the rest of the folks in the building -- hell, the block -- are okay.

People are weird.

#535 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2011, 06:41 PM:

TexAnne (531): I'm free Friday and Sunday, although I have to work Saturday.

Constance (526): I'm glad everything's okay (other than your nerves!). Good thing your neighbor was home to smell the gas.

#536 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2011, 06:50 PM:

Mary Aileen: Yay! Let's see if I can finish all my work between now and then...

#537 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2011, 07:12 PM:

Lizzy L #455: My deepest sympathies. It's been six months since my Gremlin (no relation to Bruce Arthur's cat of the same name) died, and I still half-see her when I walk back into my home.

#538 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2011, 07:45 PM:


Wow, what a terrifying thing to happen. I wonder what was going on in his head, or if he was just massively out of touch with reality somehow. If he's found, I suspect he's going to be spending a good long time in either prison or a mental hospital.

#539 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2011, 07:53 PM:

Constance #526 Yikes! Glad you're OK!

Xopher, #488, The Modesto Kid #504 : Rimshots for both of you.

Everyone: Happy Rosh Hashana! (Jewish New Year) I'm just back from a few days down in Brooklyn with my stepmother. It was great seeing family and friends, but oh, man, the overload!

#540 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2011, 08:48 PM:

Patrick's latest particle about infographics currently points to a website that doesn't exist. Not sure where the issue resides.

HLN: Local man, while preparing tuna helper, notices that it calls for TWO cans of tuna. Since this disagrees with memories from many years, checking of other boxes in cupboard takes place; they want two cans each also. Local man briefly wonders if he's stepped across universes again, and makes the tuna helper with two cans; checking stored recipes for Betty Crocker (since they DON'T PRINT MICROWAVE DIRECTIONS on their boxes, I don't know who they think their major demographic for it IS) shows that no, he wasn't dreaming, one can's been the norm. Tuna helper turns out very tuna-y, but quite edible; noms are had.

I've read Cosmicomics (and own it) but not the other one; you might like some other Calvino? If you can find Mr Tompkins in Wonderland by Gamow, you should like that... or any of the Mathematical Games collections by Gardner. (Or, since I haven't pimped it to anyone for a couple weeks, the Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality fanfiction...)


#541 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2011, 09:13 PM:

Constance @526 - That's the scariest thing I've heard in quite a while. Glad you're OK, and as others have said, when your erstwhile neighbor resurfaces, he can expect to spend quite a while under the tender supervision of the state.

Bruce @527 - You're in Seattle, no? There's been a restaurant by that name on Phinney Ridge for some time - never eaten there and haven't heard great things from friends who have.

And generally - the NY Times appears to have finally taken the Wall St. protests slightly seriously.

#542 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2011, 09:34 PM:

David DeLaney @540:
Re Tuna Helper: both of those are recent changes. Since I was one of those people who always added two cans anyway, I guess I'm a better fit for their demographic. As for the microwave directions, my guess is they got tired of people complaining because they didn't stir it enough and the noodles all congealed into a lump.

#543 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2011, 09:49 PM:

David @540, good suggestions; I've read/played with Gardner's mathematical games but never in collected format. Read some other Calvino and liked/loved it but not in the particular way I love Cosmicomics... Don't know Mr Thompkins in Wonderland, I will investigate. And thanks for the rimshots!

#544 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2011, 09:54 PM:

Constance: Yikes! Glad you're all safe, and I think your jitters are perfectly justified. It's one of the hazards of apartment living--there are always neighbors you don't really know.

Last night there was an extremely loud argument on a neighboring floor of my building, which began in an apartment and spilled into the hall, and which was pretty scary to hear. It culminated with a loud bang, and my teenager looked at me and I said, "it was a door, not a gun." We sat in semi-rigid terror for about twenty minutes, but there was silence after that.

TexAnne: Me, maybe, depending. Must do laundry and food shopping (because the following weekend is NYCC) and I will have no time for anything domestic).

David: I suspect the recipe has changed because tuna cans are rather smaller than they used to be.

General Open-threadiness: The Nova episode called Surviving the Tsunami is riveting.

#545 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2011, 09:56 PM:

TMK @532 -- You would probably enjoy much of Borges, Lem's Tales of Pirx the Pilot, and I wouldn't put Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita outside the possible range. Also Edward Whittemore's (no relation) Jerusalem Poker and Sinai Tapestry, though the last two books in that series are just unutterably depressing (as one might expect of books that look at the Middle East in about 25 year chunks from the end of the Victorian era). These are all books that changed the way I look at the world. If you want something not as well written, but as strange, you might find the Illuminatus! trilogy fun. If we were in person, I'd narrow in on what you like in those books to fine-tune what I'd recommend.

#546 ::: Lenore Jean Jones/jonesnori ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2011, 10:00 PM:

David Delaney @540: Tuna cans have gotten smaller. They used to be a standard 7 oz size, and now are 5-6 oz. That may be why. I usually use one 5-6 oz can and one mini-can (the type that come in three-packs, intended as single servings) when I'm making a casserole; that would probably work for Tuna Helper too.

Lizzy @484 - my condolences on your loss of Tommy. I've been through it, too, and I have too older cats now (also two younger ones, but it can happen anytime). They crawl into our hearts and make themselves at home, don't they?

TexAnne @531 - I'm around, too.

#547 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2011, 10:18 PM:

Constance--I'm glad you and your neighbors and the dog are all OK. Beyond that, all I can come up with is AIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

followed by WTFF?

#548 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2011, 10:20 PM:

My post is being held by the gnomes. Please, someone with that power, reason kindly them and set it free.

#549 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2011, 10:22 PM:

Thank you all for your concerns and good wishes.

We've returned from the art benefit auction the spouse was scheduled to do today (we have no money to donate to the art(s) communities of which we are members, but what we do instead are donate skills, such as spouse's Kansas City,Missouri Auction School license and ability -- he's really, really good as an auctioneer, and he rocked the house -- despite shills placed in the bidding. He knows the business.)

And in these auctions you don't get to roll the numbers, you gotta keep rolling in whatever until somebody bids, which in these days in particular is not easy -- you keep the bidders so entertained until somebody bids.

In the meantime, we are waiting to find out what really is what.

We've not had a drink in months (due to el Spousal Unit being video-ed very upclose in December in a performance and me not drinking either in support and solidarity) -- but we're now at home drinking a beer.

Thank you all. What a weird world we're in.

You know, you all are part of it too, any time any place. It the domestic terrorism we need to fear far more than terrorists from over there.

Love, C.

#550 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2011, 10:33 PM:

Constance: one thing I hope you DON'T have to deal with is said neighbor moving back in. Me, I would never sleep soundly again.

Seconding Melissa @ #544 re Surviving the Tsunami.

#551 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2011, 01:32 AM:

Constance—stupid/dangerous neighbors are the major drawback to apartment living. We'd been in our apartment for six weeks when I was at my parents' place for poll workers' prep (lo these many years ago) when I got a call from my husband, saying that if we saw our apartment complex in the news, the fire was in another building, everything was fine.

Turns out some idiot thought that if one Duraflame log were good, three would be better. Yeah. Thanks for giving me nightmares, jackass.

I hope they throw the book at your former neighbor, and that it's weighty and has a hard spine.

#552 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2011, 01:35 AM:

Catching up a little--

Lizzy L @ 484: my sincere sympathies. Even the most correct decision can hurt like a mother, so I'm glad you're also taking care of yourself.

Constance @ 526: Buddha on a bicycle, that's...scary as hell. Glad that Across-the-Hall Neighbor was home and called the authorities so quickly--and also glad that lovely dog didn't succumb in the time before their arrival. Good mojo is being sent authorities-ward that they can quickly find the might-as-well-be-a-sociopath and prosecute vigorously for attempted arson, if not domestic terrorism.

Generally noting that the Inspector Spacetime sidelight is frickin' hilarious and makes me wish I had the ability to instantly catch up on all relevant lore so I could play along!

Also, finally got around to watching the 2009 Star Trek film. I think the casting was pretty much brilliant, if unexpected--I would never have thought of Karl Urban for Bones!--but man, they retconned the hell out of that thing, didn't they? Have to admit, though, that I'm interested to see what comes next.

#553 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2011, 01:39 AM:

B. Durbin @ 551: I hope they throw the book at your former neighbor, and that it's weighty and has a hard spine.

Also very sharp corners. Metal corner protectors, perhaps?

#554 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2011, 02:46 AM:

Larry Brennan: West Seattle. This one opened at Alki.

#555 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2011, 03:05 AM:

Constance @ 526: Great. Galloping. Typhon. I'm so glad you're all right. - Well, there's a chap who's earned a nice secure tenancy in a different kind of apartment block! I hope he finds his way there soon, or to somewhere else he's harmless.

What, what, what?

Melissa @ 544: Ouch - deep sympathies. I've never lived in an apartment block, but I've drawn a household like that in the rented-out downstairs flat below me. (What we Brits call a maisonette: converted house, upstairs and downstairs have separate street doors; I have a long lease on the top one.) That was an unpleasant couple of years. The odds of its happening aren't so bad as they are in a block, but when they do the effects are kind of... concentrated.

#556 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2011, 04:44 AM:

Constance @526: This is on a par with the guy, in the apartment building a block over, who attempted to use tupperware to cook his dinner on the stove. With predictable (to anybody but him apparently) results.

Some while later, he decided, evidently, that starting a fire in his fireplace was too hard, so he used charcoal starter.

Burned the building to the ground, and killed the two people (and the puppy) in the apartment above his. Managed to disappear before the police found him.

I can't help but wonder if it's the same guy.

#557 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2011, 07:37 AM:

Tom @545 -- Thanks! I have heard so many times that Master and Margarita is something I ought to read, your recommendation was the straw that broke the camel's back in that I finally took the trouble to look up and see what is being recommended -- it sounds stellar and is getting a position of privilege on my list. Borges is one of my very favorite authors, possibly the author on whom I've spent the most time over the past two years, particularly if you count the time put in learning to read Spanish as going towards Borges, which it mostly does. I'll look up Prix, really enjoyed Cyberiad when I read it recently. (It was indeed what inspired me to reread Cosmicomics.)

#558 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2011, 08:24 AM:

Off topic... A friend of Ray Bradbury told me yesterday that the latter has actual bottles of dandelion wine in his home.

#559 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2011, 09:18 AM:

The smell of gas is artificial. Nearly three hundred people, mostly children, died to give us that at the New London, Texas, school explosion in 1937.

There's a long history of people in one apartment killing the folks in the next with fire, explosion, or carbon monoxide.

You can get combined CO/explosive gas detectors for reasonable prices. Kidde and First Alert both make models available for under fifty dollars.

And everyone has a smoke detector, right?

#560 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2011, 09:23 AM:

The Modesto Kid #543: I believe you've conflated two Davids, but you're welcome anyway!

#561 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2011, 09:29 AM:

Aha: indeed I have.

#562 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2011, 09:57 AM:

HLN: Doyle and I have a short-story reprint in Comets and Criminals, an e-zine.

#563 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2011, 12:21 PM:

TMK @557 -- Be aware that there are two quite different translations on The Master and Margarita. I found the Mirra Ginsberg one much less wonderful; others have felt differently. Read a few paragraphs of each before picking which one you want. The prose styles make a difference.

#564 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2011, 01:55 PM:

Considering the past behavior of Amazon when it comes to the value of their online data mining in actually showing you what you want to see, and the whole GLBT tagging thing, and that every single thing that uses the only browser for the device will go through Amazon's servers, I admit I'm waiting eagerly for the golden moment where a new Kindle Fire user hits a popup raunch site by accident, fights their way out of it, and then sees "Based on your history, Amazon recommends..."

#565 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2011, 01:56 PM:

Smoke detectors are installed in all the apartments -- but people often disconnect them because these are small apartments and frying bacon can set them off.

Neighbors with guns are also a great danger. But most of all, all these years, I've worried about fire from candles, cigarettes, drugs, whatever. Though having been through a previous gas turned on without the fire event by a mentally disturbed downstairs neighborn in the same apartment, it never seems to be in the forefront of my mind as danger.

BTW, we were told there aren't any detectives available to work on the mystery of who turned on that gas because the guy isn't officially missing yet -- not enough time passed -- and because the NYPD is too overwhelmed with keeping the city safe from the violence of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

This is what the police state looks like, it looks like.

Goin' for a walk along the river now, as balm for nerves.

I want everybody to be safe, but somehow Homeland Security, the Patriot Act, more and more guns in private hands and the ever escalating suveillance and privacy invasions don't seem to be reassuring.

Love, C.

#566 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2011, 02:11 PM:

I heard once about a guy who was assaulted - physically - by someone who was, when the police were called shortly afterward, sitting on a bus stop bench. The police said they couldn't come because they all had to be downtown for an NBA championship parade.
What I hear about them is that if it doesn't involve shots fired or finding bodies, don't bother calling.

#567 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2011, 03:09 PM:

Tom @563 -- Useful knowledge to have on hand. Forewarned is four-armed.

#568 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2011, 03:16 PM:

I read elsewhere that some Marines have decided to show up on Wall Street in full uniform and to stand between abusive cops and peaceful protesters. That would be interesting to behold.

#569 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2011, 03:19 PM:

WRT translations of Bulgakov, LanguageHas says, "I have read Ginsburg's (which, as Wikipedia says, "was from a censored Soviet text and is therefore incomplete") and the Burgin/Tiernan O’Connor, which is quite well done (with excellent notes) and which I would certainly recommend above the Ginsburg, though I have no idea how it compares to the others. I would not recommend Pevear/Volokhonsky simply because they annoy me, but that is obviously not a factor anyone else need take into account." -- in comments at

Wikipedia says, "Several literary critics have hailed the Burgin/Tiernan O’Connor translation as the most accurate and complete English translation."

#570 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2011, 03:30 PM:

Serge 568: I had the same report pointed out to me last night, with their arrival time specified as 10:00 pm. What I haven't seen is a report that they actually showed up.

#571 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2011, 03:58 PM:

Regarding apartment living: I've lived in apartments literally my whole life (except for some summers), and in 50+ years have experienced fewer "bad" neighbors than I have fingers on one hand. I'm not counting plain old noisy people--that's to be expected (though the people above my mother, who have two teenage boys and a long hall, seem to be prime specimens).

My worst experiences were in smaller places. When I lived in a two-storey, two apartment building, my downstairs neighbor had two large, loud dogs that terrified the mail carrier to the point that mail was not delivered to the building (and we got fleas).

When I lived in a three-apartment brownstone, we had to call the cops one night on our downstairs neighbors because it was clear that the guy was beating up the girl. The cops came, and quickly, too, and took him away.

I've mostly lived in big buildings and the worst troubles have been when a neighbor of my mother's died and was not found for a few days and when someone was shot to death in the lobby of my mother's building in what turned out to be a Russian mob hit. In my own building, there was a fire a few years ago in someone's kitchen, but damage was restricted to that apartment. And there are a number of older residents in the building, so ambulances appear on a regular basis.

The thing is, these buildings have 200 or so apartments in them, so you're going to have difficulties from time to time. If these were all single-family homes, it would be the equivalent of a (very) small town. The advantages are things like my daughter getting a call for last-minute babysitting work at 8 PM that night, working 8:30-11:30, and never leaving the building.

#572 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2011, 04:05 PM:

Myself @569: in comments at this thread

(a hugely entertaining comments thread in its own right, I hasten to add)

#573 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2011, 04:22 PM:

James D Macdonald @ 570... I hope they were not somehow stopped, and that they will show up.

#574 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2011, 04:24 PM:

If it's not too tiresome for me to mention...after a few months of being too busy to do anything on it, I've got back to the Babylon 5 rewatch over on

Here endeth the spamming.

#575 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2011, 05:25 PM:

abi @ 574: yay!

#576 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2011, 05:40 PM:

Serge 573: My thought wouldn't be that they were somehow stopped, but rather that they never actually existed.

I find several things about the story unlikely. One is that political activity while in uniform violates several general orders and regulations. Another is that dress blue uniforms are expensive; they'd be unlikely to put them in danger of being torn or dirtied. The last is that 10:00 pm is a darned unusual time for arrival. Unlikely to make much of a visual statement, not timed well to make the evening news, and an hour when the chance of actually performing their stated mission would be unlikely to be necessary.

So I'd be very interested in hearing if anyone spotted them.

#577 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2011, 05:58 PM:

You're not the only one wondering.
(Best guess is that, if they're real, they're also retired. But no one seems to know if any showed up at all. Just the one twitter message, nothing else.)

#578 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2011, 06:16 PM:

James Macdonald @ 576... The thing about going in uniform did seem strange. If they don't exist, well, it wouldn't be the first time that the 21st Century has disappointed us.

#579 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2011, 06:24 PM:

It would make more sense for the Marines to show up wearing, say, matching Semper Fi t-shirts or some such. (You say it's cold? Okay, but: Marines!)

#580 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2011, 06:31 PM:

re: Melissa Siger's #571:

Back before Hilde's mother passed away, when Edna was living in an assisted living home, I got a call from her one day. She had called to complain that the police wouldn't let her leave her room. And the helicopters were really noisy, and she couldn't hear her TV.

I turned on my own television. Lo and behold, there were live aerial views of the assisted living home, on several channels from several news copters.

It turned out an armed and mentally unhinged woman had led police on a high speed chase, ending up in the home's parking lot. The woman had then run inside the home's dining area, where she waved her gun around at the residents. (This was between meal times, so thankfully there were only a few residents present.) When she refused to drop the gun, a policeman fired twice, killing the woman. So the reason Edna wasn't allowed ut of her room was because there was a dead body on the dining room floor.

(I felt really bad for the cop, who got a triple-whammy that day: He had to shoot someone. He had to shoot a woman. And he had to shoot a woman who was clearly -- about six months -- pregnant.)

It later turned out the woman was an ex-employee of the assisted living home, so it wasn't just coincidence she went there.

#581 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2011, 06:32 PM:

re: Melissa Singer's #571:

Back before Hilde's mother passed away, when Edna was living in an assisted living home, I got a call from her one day. She had called to complain that the police wouldn't let her leave her room. And the helicopters were really noisy, and she couldn't hear her TV.

I turned on my own television. Lo and behold, there were live aerial views of the assisted living home, on several channels from several news copters.

It turned out an armed and mentally unhinged woman had led police on a high speed chase, ending up in the home's parking lot. The woman had then run inside the home's dining area, where she waved her gun around at the residents. (This was between meal times, so thankfully there were only a few residents present.) When she refused to drop the gun, a policeman fired twice, killing the woman. So the reason Edna wasn't allowed ut of her room was because there was a dead body on the dining room floor.

(I felt really bad for the cop, who got a triple-whammy that day: He had to shoot someone. He had to shoot a woman. And he had to shoot a woman who was clearly -- about six months -- pregnant.)

It later turned out the woman was an ex-employee of the assisted living home, so it wasn't just coincidence she went there.

#582 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2011, 07:13 PM:

Bruce: damn, that is a bummer. For a brief while, I was expecting something different. I used to play piano at a rest home, and one day one of my regular listeners, a sweet old lady, was very worried because (she said) terrorists had taken over the place. They looked just like the regular staff.

I sure didn't know what to say. First of all, it was so sad to see her slipping this way, it almost hurt. Second of all, what could I say? I tried to comfort her. Worst of all, I don't think I saw her again after that.

#584 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2011, 12:38 AM:

That's lovely (@583).

#585 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2011, 01:39 AM:

Occupy Wall Street is starting to get video clips on the BBC news in the UK.

What we got was a view of the Police trying to clear a crowd, taken from above, an upper-floor window, perhaps.

There were some cops in what I would regard as the default all-blue uniform, the sort of uniform you'd expect see in a TV show.

The ones acting aggressively were mostly wearing white shirts.

I don't have the full context, but it's not really what I would think of as a Police uniform. So what sort of cop are they?

#586 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2011, 03:07 AM:

Xopher @ 521

I'm thinking "adept" might be more apt as a direct antonym to "inept." In that it provides the clear parallel root that people using "ept" are looking for, if nothing else.

#587 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2011, 04:35 AM:

There is going to be a Russian version of Life on Mars

So, modern Moscow cop finds himself in the 1970s... It's certainly a different world, and I could see it working.

Some of DCI Hunt's lines might work very well:

[Tyler and Hunt have forced a henchman to strip to his underwear in a cold store, to encourage him to answer their questions]
Gene Hunt: My friend is going to ask you some questions. Personally, I hope you don't answer them, because I want you to die in here and end up inside a pork pie.

#588 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2011, 11:47 AM:

Larry @541: There's a photo going around comparing the original publication of that story to the latest version -- it got edited soon after its initial publication to be much more "blame the victim". IMO, that's not taking the protests seriously, that's trivializing it. "Oh, those crazy people, look what they did now."

And yet, it's more than most other media outlets.

#589 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2011, 12:19 PM:

The New York Daily News has had coverage of Occupy Wall Street pretty much every day. Some of it's human interest stuff (like the story about the pizza place that is now churning out OccuPies or the park's unofficial mailcarrier, who goes to the local post office twice a day to pick up mail being sent to the protectors), but they're also talking about the marches and police actions and some of the bigger picture.

Today there was a story about the TWU's (Transit Workers Union) opposition to using city buses (and union drivers) to ferry the arrested protesters around, complete with a TWU spokesperson's statement that the TWU supports the protesters. No word on whether the TWU will actually refuse to supply/drive buses for the NYPD the next time this happens, though.

#590 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2011, 01:12 PM:

I think, if I have this right, via people who are working at the Park, the marines are there, helping, doing jobs and so on. Not marching, and certainly not in uniform.

If you haven't seen it / read it yet, and are unclear as to what this 'unfocussed' action is about, I posted the Occupy Wall Street declaration of issues they are protesting here.

There's also a YouTube that I can't make myself watch of some of the people who are part of the problem drinking champagne and laughing at the Occupy Wall Streeters. They live in a converted bank at 55 Wall. My friends on the Eastern Shore told me they'd watched it so that how I heard about it. "Let them eat cake!"

The reason I can't bear to look is because on 9/11 it was very wealthy people sitting on their yachts anchored in the Yacht marina at the World Financial Center, drinking champagne, wine and scotch, blaring Jimmy Buffet tracks and talking at the tops of their voices about their projected cruises to the Bahamas and Caribbean region generally for the winter that upset me so much.

Love, C.

#591 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2011, 04:22 PM:

"keeping the city safe from the violence of the Occupy Wall Street movement."

*headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk*

#592 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2011, 04:46 PM:

Dave Bell @ #585, The "White Shirts" are the upper-echelon police officers, managers of the blue-shirted cops.

#593 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2011, 05:56 PM:

Linkmeister @592

I suppose one of my great-uncles could be classed as a white-shirt, over 70 years ago.

Yes, they're still cops, with the same powers of arrest as any other cop. But, what I saw of events in New York, they were in the front line, and losing the ability to be in charge. At best, it was micro-management.

#594 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2011, 06:43 PM:

Dave Bell @ #594, I'm wondering if it's a reflection of possible concern that the blue-shirted guys, public sector union members all, might be in sympathy with the protesters.

#595 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2011, 08:17 PM:

Here's a little more light being shed on the situation with the (retired) marines at Occupy Wall Street.

#596 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2011, 10:33 PM:

The next time that TCM shows 1952's "The Crimson Pirate", I'll make sure to watch the whole thing. I mean... Burt Lancaster in drag? A pirate who uses a montgolfière to foil the bad guys?

#597 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2011, 01:24 AM:

I really like this take on the utility of the Occupy _______ efforts, from M.K. Hobson: Chicken soup for the revolution.

Occupy Portland starts this Thursday. We lack a symbolic location for it. Corporate headquarters have been melting away from Portland for years.

#598 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2011, 05:33 AM:

It looks like the NYPD, at best, lost control on Brooklyn Bridge. At worst, they might have used agents provocateurs to sucker protesters onto the vehicle lanes where they could be arrested.

They don't seem to have been prepared to handle mass arrests. There's a logistic problem: every arrest takes police officers away from controlling the crowd while they deal with the initial paperwork of detailing who made the arrest, on what charge, and who the arrested person is. The lawyers could do very well out of this.

(The British Police and Courts worked out procedures for this in the 1980s.)

An account from The Guardian in the UK

#599 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2011, 06:56 AM:

HLN: Area woman has lipoma removed from her shoulder. Local anesthetic, a 3cm incision, and 40 minutes to get rid of about half a banana's worth of fat that's been sitting atop her clavicle for the better part of a decade.

Woman is particularly proud of how little English she required everyone to speak during the process, without losing the sense of the information and instructions. Although she did tell the anecdotes she contributed to the operating-room chat in English*.

Woman now awaits the wearing-off of the anesthetic, having ensured that a dose of paracetamol is available if needed.

* In particular, the stories from her first-aid and CPR course last week. Turns out neither the surgeon nor the nurse knew which song famously has 100 beats per minute -- but the student intern did.†
† Staying Alive. Our instructor said, dryly, that it was probably a bad idea to sing it, much less dance, while doing compressions.

#600 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2011, 07:23 AM:

Also from the first aid course: I frequently have trouble remembering physical sequences of movement. This makes things like "what you do with which limbs to put someone in the recovery position" difficult.

The sequence of moves performed on the recumbent form is:
1. One arm L-shaped (upper arm perpendicular to the body, elbow bent, so the hand is about level with the head
2. Back of the other hand against the cheek (the head will rest on this when the body is rolled over on the side)
3. One knee bent

(One then pulls the body onto its side and adjusts the angle of the head and knee.)

One of my classmates was working on his partner. He performed step 1, murmuring, "Walk like an Egyptian," then did step 2 and said, "Vogue". When he did step 3, I supplied, "Cancan", and he shot me a quick, amused look.

And now neither one of us will ever forget the sequence of moves to put someone into the recovery position.

#601 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2011, 08:02 AM:

HLN: Someone left what I think is a plum out on the counter of the pantry near local man's cubicle at work.

Apparently plums are not as popular here as they are on ML, because it's been there since at least yesterday morning.

#602 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2011, 08:07 AM:

In #598 I mentioned that the British Police had devised procedures for mass arrests.

I expect they have had to change details.

20-odd years ago, the key was a Polaroid picture of the arresting officer (clearly showing the number on his uniform) and the person arrested. The Custody Officer would also note down the charge and one or two other details. I can't recall if the camera put a timestamp on the image.

It was a solid enough connection that the rest of the written form could be filled in later, without any arguments from a court. You didn't have to worry about getting names correctly spelled.

You could do it now with a digital camera, but would they want a printed copy of the picture attached to the form?

#603 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2011, 08:44 AM:

Woman now awaits the wearing-off of the anesthetic, having ensured that a dose of paracetamol is available if needed.

Mention of which drug invariably gives me an earworm for a while, of the Gang of 4's "Glass".

#604 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2011, 11:06 AM:

Michael I @601:

I believe the removal of the plum from the theoretical icebox devalues it greatly. By about 50%, if I recall the approving descriptive adjectives correctly.

#605 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2011, 11:08 AM:

Fade @604 -- But, but how are you ever going to get to eat a maximally delicious plum?... I guess walk-in refrigerators are the obvious solution.

#606 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2011, 11:27 AM:

Modesto Kid @569: I just finished the "good" translation of Master and Margarita -- which the FG said was a well-translated version -- and we are still watching the Russian tv adaptation on YouTube. If you search for Master and Margarita, plus English subtitles, you'll find the entire 10-ep series, broken into 5 sections per episode. She said a lot of very good Russian, Ukrainian, Polish, etc. actors were in it.

It's also helping my reading comprehension in Cyrillic, not to mention my "ear" for the spoken language.

OT: I'm out of town at a meeting; the FG happens to be vacationing in the same town at the same time. Much learning is had, along with much fun.

#607 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2011, 11:57 AM:

Shall I pen a little note? Do I dare to eat a plum?
I shall climb into the icebox, and sit upon my bum.

#608 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2011, 12:03 PM:

abi: Congratulations/condolences on your hemibananaectomy.

#609 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2011, 12:24 PM:

Lunchtime thoughts:

I have taken the stew
which was in the fridge
and which I assume was fair game
for lunch

hope I was right
and that I have not fucked up
dinner plans

it was (after nuking) delicious --
so warm
so savory

#610 ::: TexAnne sees awesomeness ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2011, 01:44 PM:

(I got tired of seeing trolls and spam. Seeing awesomeness is much more fun.)

Kip W, 607.

#611 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2011, 03:20 PM:

Charles Pierce at Esquire: "...If you won't stand up with John Lewis on an issue of voting rights, then you'd have rolled dice for the robe on Golgotha."

Whoa Nellie, how come I just started reading this guy? I hate coming late to the party. He throws lines out like this all the time. Dayem.

Read more:

#612 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2011, 05:17 PM:

#599 abi: but is that the version played backwards, and with one beat taken out of every second bar so that it's in 7/8 time, played at full volume out of one set of speakers and recorded across the room, or is it the standard version of Stayin' Alive, that you don't sing while doing compressions?

#613 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2011, 05:32 PM:

Lizzy L @ #611, read his book. It's full of material like that.

#614 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2011, 05:41 PM:

Mycroft W.: That first version is really only suitable for robots, who rarely require CPR.

#615 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2011, 05:47 PM:

Ah, I wish I could remember the name of the music blog where I read this one. See, this pianist is more or less abducted by some mob characters. "The boss wants an accompanist," he is told, "And you're the one he wants. This gig plays five thou." He's scared and flattered as he's led to a fancy club, which is dark and almost empty. He doesn't see the boss. "He's behind them," he is told by a torpedo jerking a thumb at a curtained booth. "Here's your piano."

The piano is a fine Bösendorfer, and he's happy to find that it's in great shape and has been recently tuned. "What do you... what does he want me to play?" asks the pianist. "Just one thing. Strangers in the Night." "I can play that," he says with relief. "Good," says the torpedo. "Only you've gotta play it in da key of D." "Okay, I can transpose." "And you gotta play it in 5/4 time." 5/4 time? "Well... okay, I guess I can do that."

So he starts playing the intro, and he's joined by a voice — gruff, but not unmusical — which sings, "Strangers in the fuckin' night, exchangin' fuckin' glances..."

(And thanks, TexAnne, for making my day.)

#616 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2011, 06:01 PM:

HLN: Local man successfully hooks up the Netgear Powerline adapters, and we now can have a wired internet connection wherever we have a power outlet.

#617 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2011, 07:39 PM:

HLN: Local woman's computer suffers second hard disk failure in a little over a year. Fortunately, recovery is easier (and much less expensive!) this time around. Less fortunately, backup software is found to be... not as useful as it could have been, and will be replaced.

(The desktop is back up and running again, after only 3 days instead of a month. I still have to sort thru the data copied off the failing drive for anything added or changed after Aug. 11, which was the last full backup we could get to, and I'll have to reinstall my label-printer software -- but my e-mail was fully recovered by a separate process and is up-to-date.)

#618 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2011, 08:27 PM:

janetl @ 597:

If it weren't for the fact that it's in the middle of the second ring of suburbs, so there would be few passersby to see what was going on, the Nike campus would be perfect. Large corporation, rather paranoid about the people who live nearby (they built a 10 foot berm all around the campus, which is about 45 acres), and almost all of its manufacturing is offshore.

#619 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2011, 08:31 PM:

Meta question: I have the Greasemonkey MLCommentTagger script installed, but it's not marking things as read. I've checked that it's turned on. Is there anything else I need to do?

I'm running Firefox 3.6.

#620 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2011, 09:12 PM:

"Staying Alive" seemed faster than 100 BPM to me, and sure enough it's 104. Close enough, obviously, but those wanting CPR exactitude with a catchy mnemonic could try What's the Matter Here? (album version).

#621 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2011, 10:20 PM:

I suspect the cardiac dance would be appropriate to link at this point: the original and the update, with a soundtrack.

#622 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2011, 10:21 PM:

About my exciting weekend in NYC...never mind. I looked at my calendar, my tottering piles of grading, and the boxes that I have yet to unpack, and I decided that I need to finish settling in before gallivanting around the town.

#623 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2011, 11:18 PM:

Manhattan and environs will still be there, TexAnne. Worth the wait.

#624 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2011, 11:54 PM:

I hear that posted an excerpt from Lisa Goldstein's "The Uncertain Places". That was a wonderful and gracious gesture since the novel wasn't published by Tor. Whoever is responsible, thanks for helping others discover her story.

#625 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2011, 12:16 AM:

How many singing cowboys named Tom can you think of? As far as I'm concerned, there was only one: Lonesome Tom Lehrer. Here he is in his greatest feature, an 8-1/2 minute documentary about a moment in American history known as "The Dodge Rebellion."

Enlightened viewers of the present day, please be aware that America's ethnic minorities apparently used to talk sort of weird. The things you learn in these here historical presentations.

#626 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2011, 12:34 AM:

Tim Walters @620:

Given the vagaries of recollection and the inevitable stresses of the minute, 104 beats per minute is acceptably close. And more people know it than know all the 10,000 Maniacs songs in existence.

Next question: the protocol is actually moving from 100bpm to 120bpm. Can you suggest a song of similar popularity (cross-generational) that's +/- 5% of that figure?

#627 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2011, 12:38 AM:

Hyperlocal news... Man watches 2002's "My Name Is Modesty". Twice. Enjoys it greatly. Twice.

#628 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2011, 12:40 AM:

Abi, a very cursory search turned up "Du Hast" by Rammstein. Thanks to a roommate with that taste, I am now both prepared and earwormed. But not certified, alas.

#629 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2011, 12:50 AM:

Diatryma @628:
Negative wedding vows. An interesting choice, if not quite as interesting as "Staying Alive". (Typical Rammstein; the lead is a pun "du hast mich"/"du hasst mich" ("you have me"/"you hate me", roughly).)

#630 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2011, 01:01 AM:

Well, it was the first one on the lists that I recognized. It's earwormy as anything, it has a really obvious beat, and it's not going to make anyone burst out laughing, probably.

Oh, and marches! Totally forgot about those. Wikipedia tells me modern march tempo is 120bpm, so those of us with brass in the family can pick whatever Sousa we like, as long as we don't think that this is the end, because it's not.

#631 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2011, 01:11 AM:

abi @ 626: I'm better at guessing tempos than popularity, but here are the first ones I thought of:

Elvis Presley, Suspicious Minds: 116
Michael Jackson, Billie Jean: 117
Beatles, Twist and Shout: 125
Led Zeppelin, Houses of the Holy: 124
Madonna, Holiday: 116
Madonna, Like A Virgin: 120 (ka-ching!)

I would guess that either the MJ or Madonna would be pretty widely known worldwide.

#632 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2011, 01:18 AM:

#599 Abi: † Staying Alive. Our instructor said, dryly, that it was probably a bad idea to sing it, much less dance, while doing compressions.

I've always used "Fifteen men on a dead man's chest," but I'm very careful not to sing along.

#633 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2011, 01:34 AM:

I have discarded
the plums
that were in
the fridge

and which
you were saving
knows why

Forgive me
they were spotty
so soft
and so moldy

#634 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2011, 01:39 AM:

I think "Like a Virgin" is the winner, both for beats and popularity. Though if Souza marches work, then Monty Python fans are in luck.

The class meets again in a fortnight to do the rescue section of the course. I'll mention it then.

("Fifteen men on a dead man's chest"? I suppose, swapping every 2 minutes, that's a good half hour before anyone has to repeat. Way to keep fresh.)

#635 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2011, 01:41 AM:

abi, #634: It's a double win, because a lot of people who might not care about Madonna will have heard Weird Al's "Like a Surgeon" instead. :-)

#636 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2011, 02:13 AM:

abi @ 634: Though if Souza marches work, then Monty Python fans are in luck.

The Monty Python version of "Liberty Bell" is right around 120, although interestingly I remembered it as being a lot slower.

But 100 seems awful fast for "Dead Man's Chest." The linked version is 80-ish.

#637 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2011, 07:01 AM:

Kip @625 -- too wonderful. Thanks, thanks.

#638 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2011, 07:17 AM:

TexAnne: There's always plenty to do/see in NYC, so anytime, there will be fun to be had.

Regarding rhythm and actions: in my theatrical fencing days, we used to use The Anvil Chorus to set the pace for fights.

#639 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2011, 07:54 AM:

Um, Madonna? It's been a little while, but IIRC, most of her songs have the main beat swimming in melodic flourishes, let alone lyrics. Not that that's bad in itself, but I can't imagine using them to time CPR!

#640 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2011, 07:59 AM:

Oh, hey, "I Will Survive" is 117 bpm.

#641 ::: Kevin Reid ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2011, 10:26 AM:

Reminiscing on #638: one of the now-obsolete pieces of software I really miss is After Dark’s Looney Tunes Screen Saver. It wasn't just stills or full-screen animations — every one of them was randomized and elaborate, and many of them started with your screen image from before it activated.

Relevantly, there was one which had Yosemite Sam running about on the screen, and one of the events that would occur was a segment of the Anvil Chorus — accompanied, of course, by falling anvils to be dodged, which would leave holes in the screen/floor.

#642 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2011, 10:37 AM:

HLN: Local woman ends up at the local minor injuries and accidents clinic with the rubber tip of her in-ear headphones lodged deep in her ear canal due to absentmindedness while half asleep on a plane.

Local woman is presently banned from putting anything in her ears for 2 weeks and has purchased a set of over-ear headphones to tide her over.


So yeah, that was fun.

#644 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2011, 10:50 AM:

Madeleine Robins's new Sarah Tolerance Regency mystery novel is now available for pre-order, right HERE. Woot!

#645 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2011, 11:25 AM:

Bill Higgins @ 643... a ridiculously large TV monitor has been brought in so that MCR participants might view the other locations. I do not know why it was needed, but "because the Main Control Room doesn't have enough display screens" cannot have been the reason.

Of course not.

#646 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2011, 11:31 AM:

David Harmon @ 639: In "Like A Virgin" at least, the beat is very clear, at least after the short intro.

Man, what a terrible song.

#647 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2011, 11:42 AM:

At #642, Sica writes: Local woman is presently banned from putting anything in her ears for 2 weeks

Except her elbow, of course.

#648 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2011, 11:45 AM:

TexAnne (622): Another time. The city, and your fellow MLers, will still be there.

#649 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2011, 12:15 PM:

Tim @646 Then how about Like a Surgeon? The beginning of the video is even on-topic (sort of).

#650 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2011, 01:02 PM:

NY Times yesterday:

Citing Police Trap, Protesters File Suit

"We believe the N.Y.P.D. engaged in a premeditated, planned, scripted and calculated effort to get the protesters off the street,” said Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, which is representing the protesters."

Democracy Now's Amy Goodman and two of her team have just received $100,000 from the class action suit brought against the NYPD due its illegal actions against free speech protestors and journalists during the 2004 repub con here in NYC.

The often brilliant and on point Glenn Greenwald takes about the non-journalist behavior of NY Times economics columnist here -- well worth reading.

Sorkin didn't even notice the Occupy Wall Street actions until an unidentified baning CEO called him to find out the answers as to whether or not they were a threat to his, the banker's, personal safety.

The know it all but all too frequently getting it wrong, as she even confesses in this piece, Joan Walsh, weighs in too.

These are worth reading, they really are, if you have any interest in this spreading Occupy Wall Street action.


#651 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2011, 01:06 PM:

#622 ::: TexAnne

But do attempt to get here before the end of Gorgeous October! Well, it's usually gorgeous here in October. It certainly is gorgeous here today!

Love, C.

#652 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2011, 02:28 PM:

HLN: woman admits to having exceeded her limits for animal-related chores, still allows herself to be peer-pressured into incubating 23 eggs (of which only six come from her own chickens).

Is it wrong to pray for failure?

#653 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2011, 02:51 PM:

This is just to say...

I've finished filling out the retirement paperwork and it is now on its way to our specialist in Maryland. My official retirement date will be December 31, 2011.

...33 years, 7 months, and 10 days...

#654 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2011, 03:22 PM:

James #632:

Just did a First Aid course where the instructor (clearly with a black sense of humour) recommended this song.

#655 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2011, 05:57 PM:

HLN: Area woman afraid she's coming down with Something, regrets biking to work. OTOH, stories of stoic Scandinavian cycling kind of inspiring, in a kill or cure sort of way. Banzai! to mix a couple of cultures.

#656 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2011, 06:38 PM:

Serge Broom @644
Madeleine Robins's new Sarah Tolerance Regency mystery novel is now available for pre-order, right HERE. Woot!

I don't supposed anyone knows where I can get the first one, Point of Honour? Preferably as an ebook, but I'll take a paperback (that doesn't cost more to ship than to buy, please). All the reviews make me think I'd really like this series, and I enjoyed Althea by the same author, but I really don't want to start with the second book...
(I don't have a Kindle, so I don't think I can buy it from Amazon even if they have it. I may be wrong.)

#657 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2011, 07:17 PM:

#656 ::: Cheryl

Go to Book View Cafe's store or the Sarah Tolerance website.

Love, C.

#658 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2011, 07:39 PM:

Soon Lee @654 Brilliant!

#659 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2011, 07:48 PM:

Apple's Board announces Steve Jobs has died.

#660 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2011, 07:58 PM:

Constance @657

Go to Book View Cafe's store or the Sarah Tolerance website.

Thanks; it doesn't seem to be available. Oh well - I'll keep looking at second hand stores, I guess.

#661 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2011, 08:08 PM:

CNN obit on Jobs here. He's a man who made a real difference in the world.

#662 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2011, 08:37 PM:

We really should have seen this coming when he stepped down. I for one did not. I mean, I knew it would probably happen eventually, but I didn't figure out that his stepping down meant it was imminent. Knowing his personality I probably should have.

#663 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2011, 08:38 PM:

Cheryl... I got the earlier Sarah Tolerance books, which were published by Tor, thru Barnes & Noble.

#664 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2011, 08:41 PM:

Xopher @662 -- I took his comment that he *could* no longer maintain as head of Apple at face value -- he was a precise speaker. I hoped he had a little longer (not so much a hope if he was suffering!).

#665 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2011, 10:14 PM:

Cheryl--I'm afraid Point of Honour and Petty Treason are not available as ebooks yet--Tor owns the rights and hasn't gotten to putting the books up in that format. And The Sleeping Partner (Sarah Tolerance #3) isn't available in eformat yet either.

If you want to get in touch via my website, maybe I can find a copy of PoH for you...

#666 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2011, 10:51 PM:

Serge, #644: Thanks! Boy, have I been shopping online today... a book, a leather corset, 3 kurta shirts, and a steampunk-suitable hat with long skirt to match. Why yes, it is coming up on Halloween, why do you ask?

#667 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2011, 10:57 PM:

I was a bit surprised because I knew he was stepping down due to health problems, but not that those problems were quite so immanent.

#668 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2011, 11:52 PM:

Bluntly: I took the sudden resignation as the beginning of the death watch.

I'm glad Jobs had some time to sort things out and be with his family.

I think I'll watch Toy Story this weekend. Job's triumphs at Apple the last decade or so have eclipsed his turning of Pixar from a maker of peculiar shorts to a cultural force.

#669 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2011, 11:56 PM:

I turned 50 on Monday. I don't know if it's a delayed effect of chocolate cake (a surprise by co-workers) and a rich comfort food meal that night, but for the first time in years my gall bladder is kicking up.

It's almost a relief having a "STOP EATING SO MUCH SHIT!" alarm.

#670 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2011, 01:03 AM:

I'm reminded a bit of the end of Isaac Asimov's life. In his science essays for The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, he often wrote of how much he loved doing them and how he would stop only when the Grim Reaper pried the typewriter out of his cold dead hands. Then the issue of F&SF came which announced that, due to Asimov's health problems, he would no longer be writing them.

Two or three months later he died, and while it was a sadness to me it did not come as a shock.

#671 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2011, 10:38 AM:

Steve Jobs, Isaac Asimov -- there's a whole slew of personalities for whom "I'm stepping down from this thing I believe in immensely" carries an extra connotation, at least in hindsight.

Jack Layton, for another one from this year, and the only reason I can't *quite* argue for Jim Henson is that the infection which killed him itself worked pretty fast.

One thing I do notice about all these people is, in spite of their flaws, each one remains admired in their field(s). Each was described at some point as driven.

Even most of those who do have a vision can't quite live up to that level of passion, and more, of *drive*.

(I note that this list is all male. This is coincidence. I have no doubt that as many driven women are out there -- But Layton is recent enough, and similar enough, to spring readily to mind, especially for an NDP-inclined Canuck, Henson was a formative event for me personally, and Asimov was someone else's example.)

#672 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2011, 10:57 AM:

Lenora Rose @671:

I'm not inclined to say that it's coincidental that the list is all male. It's one more small example of how much our society punishes and pushes back against women who might otherwise become those luminaries of their fields. It's not coincidence that women with driven, assertive personalities acquire very different criticism and pushback then men do.

But that doesn't make those people you've mentioned any less visionary, notable, or important.

#673 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2011, 12:34 PM:


Me, too. Am I misremembering, or was it pretty much known or strongly suspected that he was suffering from pancreatic cancer? I had assumed he had resigned because he was dying.

I loved Patrick's comment in the other thread. He shaped the world for the better in a bunch of ways. He was behind the wonderful stuff produced by Apple, NeXT, Pixar, and then Apple again, and probably a bunch of stuff I don't know about.

#674 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2011, 12:42 PM:

Open threadiness:

I very much recommend reading Glenn Greenwald's commentary on the Awlaki assassination and the process that is apparently used to decide who goes on the hit list. If you read about a regime that had this kind of star chamber thing going on in a book, they would be the bad guys, the evil empire that the heroes of the book were trying to escape or evade or fight. More generally, a great many of the things we've seen in the last couple decades (like having protests mostly ignored or distorted by the official media, having the cops routinely arrest and beat up anyone videotaping them, having some massive surveillance apparently happening on the American people by agencies that have become above any oversight) would all, in a book or movie, be the signs that told you who the bad guys were. And then you get to the torture program, which may or may not have completely stopped. And the targeting of unfriendly journalists, including blowing them up, detaining them for years on end, and allegedly torturing them. And the response of the whole media-ruling class axis to Wikileaks. And on and on.

I don't think this is going to end well for us. I'm not sure it will end better in other places, but I have a very, very bad feeling about what's in store for us the next decade or two.

#675 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2011, 12:44 PM:

B. Durbin @ 667: I knew he was stepping down due to health problems, but not that those problems were quite so immanent.

The pedant in me wants to say something clever about immanent health problems, but the rest of me is up past his bedtime and not feeling very clever.

#676 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2011, 02:55 PM:

Did Estee Lauder and Coco Chanel and Catherine Graham ever step down?

#677 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2011, 02:58 PM:

albatross @673. He was known to be suffering from pancreatic cancer, but not the standard pancreatic carcinoma (which is the one with the uniformly dismal prognosis).

His disease was described as 'neuroendocrine', which probably means a tumour of the islet cells. These are sometimes curable surgically, and are treatable but not typically curable with chemotherapy. One reason they have better prognosis than pancreatic carcinoma is that they can be diagnosed early if the tumour overproduces one of the pancreatic hormones.

#678 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2011, 03:39 PM:

@663 Serge and @665 Madeleine
(Holy Cow!)

Thanks - my being in Canada means that Barnes & Noble doesn't really work (I'll end up paying more in shipping and fees than I will for the book).

I'll head to your website, Madeleine, if you still think you can help out a Canuck.

#679 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2011, 03:41 PM:

Cheryl: Tor is working on getting the entire backlist into electronic form, but it's taking more time than we'd like to convert thousands of books. I'll see if I can goose matters on Madeleine's books, but make no promises.

#680 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2011, 04:11 PM:

@679 Melissa Singer

Thank you!

I'd like to say, my issue was more in the nature of a general lament, rather than being a complaint against author or publisher (how dare you not have what I want!). I appreciate the responses very much!

#681 ::: FaultyMemory ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2011, 04:12 PM:

Open threadiness:

My wife needs knitting testers for a shawl/shrug pattern. Ravelry link:

Interested knitters please make contact via Ravelry.

#682 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2011, 04:35 PM:

Cheryl @680: Not taken as a complaint, taken as an expression of interest. Such things are useful when one must convince another department to do a thing faster/sooner than they intended to.

#683 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2011, 07:04 PM:

So, I finally found the charger for my camera battery, charged it up, cranked up the camera and looked at what was on the memory card.

Among other things, I found this video, apparently from January 2009 (it says January 31, but this is clearly a rehearsal for an Epiphany service, so that seems dubious). It's me, my late friend John, and another guy from the choir singing a Mendelsohn trio. I'm the fat bald guy in the middle, with the high voice.

The quality is very low, and the camera is wayyy too close to the piano. And IMO the tempo is plodding, but the director decided that. But I thought I'd post it anyway.

#684 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2011, 09:44 PM:

Another sad loss, for some here: Scottish guitarist Bert Jansch, someone whose work I've liked for over 40 years.

#685 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2011, 09:56 PM:

Xopher, 683: That's lovely. Thank you for sharing with us.

#686 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2011, 10:43 PM:

Xopher @683, how lovely! What's the name of that piece? (And for the record, you looked very nice.)

While things of a musical nature are being shared, I should share this. A number of open threads ago, I talked about growing up convinced I couldn't sing, and getting back into music as an adult. Here's a bit from the recital I was in in August: Un Giorno Per Noi and The Willow Song. I've come a ways since January.

I'm not brave enough to share video of these yet, but this was in a church, and the second involved a barebones set of a folding table and chairs. The dais of this particular church is narrow and my teacher is big on stage movement, so part of my solo involved me precariously edging around the table and trying not to fall down the steps.

Some of my fellow students are naturals at stage movement. I am not. This is why I'm focusing on oratorio rather than opera: I can just stand and do my thing rather than using 75% of my brain on movements.

Also of note: Part of the reason I thought I couldn't sing was because I was terrible at singing pop songs. It dawned on me a few months ago that that's true, because my voice is just too high. I can't reach most of [insert female pop star here]'s notes. Then again, most of them can't hit a high F, so we're even.

#687 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2011, 11:19 PM:

Open Threadiness: Men-Ups!

(Photo set of men posed in the kind of positions used for pin-up cheesecake shots. They're sort-of beefcake, but rather more dressed than beefcake usually is... which just increases the absurdity.)

#688 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2011, 11:38 PM:

Lenora Rose: Isaac Asimov actually died from AIDS (contracted during open-heart surgery) and they didn't announce it at the time because of the furor when that tennis player (Ashe?) said that he had it. It was in the selected biography that his estate put out some years after his death.

And Jim Henson apparently died from "flesh-eating bacteria" or, actually, nasty staph. So it wasn't him putting off going to the doctor for a while that killed him; it was putting off going to the doctor for a day that did. Can't blame him for that.

#689 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2011, 12:11 AM:

Persephone, one thing I was always reminded to do while singing was to emote, make facial expressions, et cetera. I kept thinking, "But I'm singing." Everything went into the voice.

#690 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2011, 12:24 AM:

TexAnne, thanks!

Persephone, it's from Mendelsohn's oratorio Christus.

#691 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2011, 12:25 AM:

Diatryma, I scribbled a cartoon while I was in a production of "Kiss Me, Kate," showing a dog with a top hat dancing on top of a ball with a sparkler going on his tail, waving a flag; and behind him is this guy in Danskins with a buzz cut and fancy glasses saying, "The tail! WAG THE TAIL, you stupid mutt!"

#692 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2011, 12:31 AM:

Persephone, my research reveals that it's "Say Where is Born the King of Judea" from the unfinished Christus, which... whoops. Xopher, unsurprisingly, beat me to it. If I hadn't stopped to leaf through my score of Saint Paul, I might have had a chance.

#693 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2011, 01:13 AM:

Fade Manley: You're right. Coincidence isn't quite the ideal word. I mostly meant that no, these all being men isn't actually reflective that this kind of drive is limited to that type of person.

B. Durbin: I knew about ASimov's actual diagnosis, but I'm not completely sure why it's relevant to brign it up, as it doesn't change how he chose to go - working until he couldn't.

AS for Jim Henson - He had at least the first symptoms of not being well documented twelve days before he died (He was on Arsenio Hall). While the final slide was as fast as you say, there was a chance he could have been treated in time. But... if Wikipedia is to be believed, then aside from cancelling one late-on recording session, he kept moving most of the time in between.

Paula - Thanks for the list of women. I must admit they're in fields with which I am not as familiar, but it does help that someone could think of them.

#694 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2011, 01:16 AM:

Open threadiness (hmm, that might not be the most appropriate denotation, considering....

A [wet]Tarnkap? [sp}

Of course, I would be surprise if it worked all the way "from DC to daylight"...

#695 ::: jnh ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2011, 09:50 AM:

abi (599, 600, 626), Tim Walters (620):
re: CPR and First Aid:
Since the key phrase is "about 100 beats per minute" Staying Alive is right there both in rhythm and attitude, plus most people (at least the ones that I teach CPR to stateside) know it. While it is the right rhythm, Another One Bites the Dust would be rather inappropriate.
From a technical standpoint, as long as the chest rebounds fully (so the heart has refilled enough), you aren't going too fast. The American Red Cross has posted its class material online at
I like your recovery position sequence, abi, but the Red Cross currently has me teaching a different version (High Arm IN Endangered Spine) [pages 21-22 in the Participant's Manual].

#696 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2011, 09:54 AM:

Kip and Xopher, thanks for the info! My Mendelsohn exposure is nonexistent, so now I have a place to start.

Diatryma @689, that's it exactly. Right now, it's all I can do to breathe and sing - movement is just not a priority. It's good to have a teacher who makes you stretch your abilities, because adequate stage movement really is a basic performing requirement, but a week before that performance I did tell her in a fit of frustration that I could move or sing, but not both!

For a November performance, I'm working on a solo from Handel's Dixit Dominus. No stage movement, but oh, so difficult. And fun! We spent half my last lesson just figuring out places to breathe. "You picked it," said the teacher, amused.

#697 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2011, 10:00 AM:

Lee @687, those pinups are fascinating! Very much in line with this project, which reproduces poses in fashion shots with regular people (to both amusing and thought-provoking effect).

#698 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2011, 10:45 AM:

A new Simon's Cat is out!

This one is perfect for anyone who's introduced a new cat into a household and disturbed the feline universe.

#699 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2011, 11:08 AM:

Steve C @ 698... Simon must be crazy to have let another cat into his house.
(Yes, I do have 2 cats and 3 dogs, why do you ask?)

#700 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2011, 11:28 AM:

Open Threadiness: From - The Nobel Peace Prize for 2011 "The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2011 is to be divided in three equal parts between Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work. We cannot achieve democracy and lasting peace in the world unless women obtain the same opportunities as men to influence developments at all levels of society."

#701 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2011, 11:54 AM:

Persephone #696:

Which solo, if I may ask?

#702 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2011, 12:15 PM:

joann @ 701... Napoleon, or Han.

#703 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2011, 12:50 PM:

Serge #702:

No, I don't think you have a Handel on it.

#705 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2011, 01:24 PM:

Persephone 696: Oh, to start Mendelsohn, the Incidental Music to a Midsummer Night's Dream is good. It includes this song, a setting of Shakespeare's text.

#706 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2011, 03:28 PM:

Conclusion of the Downstairs Neighbor Drama, at least for now, as teported today by the Young Men who are the building's maintenance people. The landlord didn't bother informing any of us, however.

The neighbor did return, and the fire department department that investigates all fires and suspicions of attempted arson, evidently interviewed the fellow up and down, sideways and backwards, forwards and up and down again. They concluded that this was an accident, with no criminal intent of any kind.

However, it still remains fact, that we survived this non-intentional accident purely by good luck, i.e. good luck of smart and paying attention neighbor. Otherwise we'd be, as my brother put it, just atoms floating above Manhattan, and the building a hole in the ground, and maybe some other buildings and people gone too.

I really, really hope they've put the fear of the gods into that neighbor.

How such an accident could happen, all I can think of is that there was a very drunk person involved, who without matches, wanted to light a cigarette, and couldn't figure out how to light the burners due to the drunkeness. Not the neighbor, for he doesn't smoke. But a friend? Again, here I go, making up stories. I will never know.

Love, C.

#707 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2011, 03:32 PM:

To make up for that previous post, here's an entirely different sort of HL news.

It's a purely gorgeous October Day here in NYC, on this Friday that looks forward to an entire weekend of the same gorgeous, perfect, weather.

And poor, poor, moi, I was forced to go out on a errand for a couple of hours. I had to walk up through Washington Square Park, among happy, pretty young people, up Fifth Ave. to the Agent's to pick up royalty checks. O, poor, poor moi!

Love, C.

#708 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2011, 03:44 PM:


When the host rode forth from Minas Tirith, to bring the might of the West against Sauron. and to break down his Black Gates, Eomer was seen to ride forth in red-laquered armour. Some said that it was an expression of defiance. Others said that it was to ensure that the Rohirrim who rode with that host would be able to follow their leader in the turmoil of battle.

Many years later, Faramir would tell his children that Eowyn had explained it to him, as they watched from the windows of the Houses of Healing. It was, so he explained, a likely last farewell. She had said, in a faint and hesitant voice, "He wears that garb so that I know that my red Eomer leaveth."

#709 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2011, 03:49 PM:

Dave Bell (708): Ouch!

#710 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2011, 04:17 PM:

Open threadily, Dr. Faustus at DeviantArt has uploaded a cover photo and sample pages of H.P. Lovecraft's "Call of Cthulu (for beginning readers)" and it is very well done. Dr. Faustus

#711 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2011, 04:33 PM:

I'm not a Hello Kitty fan. Really. But these are priceless. I think Hello Davros is my favorite, but it's hard to choose.

#712 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2011, 04:54 PM:

Oh, Simon's Cat. I have watched that interaction some. We are now to the point that Patina, anxious flee-kitty, has tagged Iggy, pushy friendly kitty. His eye is fine. He now backs off when she hisses. Progress!

#713 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2011, 05:14 PM:

Constance, 706: "How such an accident could happen, all I can think of is that there was a very drunk person involved, who without matches, wanted to light a cigarette, and couldn't figure out how to light the burners due to the drunkeness. Not the neighbor, for he doesn't smoke. But a friend? Again, here I go, making up stories. I will never know."

A few years ago at the Estrella War (2nd largest annual SCA event, after Pennsic), a participant went back to his small tent after a night of heavy drinking. Cold night, so he opened the valve on the tent's space heater... and then passed out before lighting the heater. The next morning, both he and his tentmate were found asphyxiated in their tent. [This is the most reasonable reconstruction of what happened.]

#714 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2011, 05:14 PM:

Dave 708: I don't get it. I suspect the problem may be the pronunciation of 'Eomer', which to me rhymes with 'HAY-or-hair'. Is that the pronunciation you're using?

#715 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2011, 05:17 PM:

Dave Bell @ 708: So this is Angband, nor are we out of it!

#716 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2011, 05:20 PM:

A friend of mine told me that some friends of his had a cat whose tail was always straight up and firm, to the extent of sometimes knocking things off of tables. I don't know what the cat's actual name was, but they called it "Boner."

#717 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2011, 05:28 PM:

Xopher (714): Try pronouncing it with a long 'E' in the first syllable.

#718 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2011, 05:59 PM:

joann @701, the piece I'm working on is "Tecum principium." I believe it's piece #3 in the Dixit Dominus. It's just beautiful.

#720 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2011, 06:09 PM:

Bah! Figures I managed to skim the recent posts in the wrong direction. I'll just skulk over to my corner and look like I meant to do that, now ...

#721 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2011, 06:44 PM:

xeger -- don't be embarrassed. By clicking on your link, and going through the Daily Mirror rather than YouTube, I ended up finding out that there's a Simon's Cat website and a daily comic strip. Which I had not previously known.

#722 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2011, 08:35 PM:

Tom Whitmore @ 721 ...
Indeedy, and there's an RSS feed as well...

#723 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2011, 08:47 PM:

abi: I've been told off and on that quite a lot of disco went at 120 bpm or pretty close to it. I have not personally tested this though. One advantage, if true, would be that you should be able to find extended dance mixes that can seamlessly flow into each other...

sica @642: Apologies, but that immediately started "My mommy said not to put beeeeans in my ears" running in my head. And when combined with the above comment, now it's a 120 bpm disco version thereof. Help!

Charles Schulz was another famous case of "stepped down from doing what he had loved for N decades, died a very short time later". (Also see the 'holding on until birthday / the Christmas holidays syndrome' thing.)


#724 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2011, 09:05 PM:

HLN, PSA version:

On behalf of my daughter and the rest of the sophomore drama students at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts: "Everyone who has twitter please tweet @ladygaga with the hashtag #gagaatsinatraforjamey help us show gaga and jamey we can make a difference"

Next Tuesday, October 13, FSSA presents "The Names That Hurt," a one-act play that talks about insult language, hate speech, and bullying. Presented annually by the sophomore class at FSSA, this year the performance is being dedicated to Jamey Rodemeyer.

What's the point of the Twitter campaign?

Well, one, to get more people to come to the show, and two, what they really, really, really want, is for Lady Gaga to come to the show. To show her that there people who get it, who are working hard to create not just tolerance but acceptance.

(Yes, my kid is in the show.)

We now return you to your regularly-scheduled comment thread, with apologies for the interruption.

#725 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2011, 09:13 PM:

Someday I'm going to get myself in real trouble and not be able to fix it. Someone on another site posted pictures of a Greek singer. I noted his blue eyes and said he had to have "barbarian blood." One of the Greek people on the site got all...upset.

I said "don't you know that blond people are all tattooed horseriding barbarians?" -Hoping, you see, that it would be obvious that I was joking.

It wasn't.

I explained, though, and he apologized for his bad English, which I pointed out was much better than my Greek (of which I have none).

#726 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2011, 09:43 PM:

My father retired from the Army after 28 years, and 20 years later retired from the Naval Research Lab, only to sign on as a re-employed annuitant for another 20. He officially resigned effective July 31 and died July 30.

#727 ::: Lenore Jean Jones/jonesnori ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2011, 12:26 AM:

Xopher @683 et seq.: It's Mendelssohn with two esses. (Is that how you spell the letter? I find I don't really know.)

Xopher mentioned that his late friend John sings in the video. He's the guy in the ponytail singing bass on the left side, and I was married to him from 1994 until he died in 2010 (actually I still feel married to him, and maybe always will). I was really, really happy to have this video, and immediately started champing at the bit to send it to people / post it. Xopher eventually yielded to my entreaties....

Oddly enough, our friend on the right, singing baritone, is from a family my family knew in Japan in the late 50s and early 60s. Both missionary families, from different denominations.

Persephone - I'm taking voice lessons, too. I'm doing Italian art songs at the moment, with some Handel and Bach thrown in. I've participated in one recital. I almost threw up beforehand, but was fine once I got there and realized most of the participants were kids. Low expectations, you know. I was so nervous I didn't ask anyone to come. I've promised Xopher to rectify that next time.

Steve C @698 - Thanks! I chortled all the way through.

#728 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2011, 04:21 AM:

AKICML, culinary division:

A while back, in a fit of speculative grocery shopping, I bought a packet of black rice at the local supermarket. It's now been sitting on the shelf, looking at me reproachfully for a few months. Does anyone here have any idea what it's best used for?

#729 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2011, 09:26 AM:

praisegod barebones @ #728: if it's the same as "forbidden rice" (actually a very dark purple), I just use it as a substrate for stir-fry or what have you. The flavor is noticeable, but subtle enough not to fight with other flavors. The texture is similar to long-grain brown rice.

#730 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2011, 09:34 AM:

Praisegod @728: I use it sometimes when I'm making a white fish. I like the contrast of the stronger rice flavor with the delicacy of the fish, plus it makes for a lovely visual--dark rice, pale fish, and some colorful veg . . . .

#731 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2011, 10:50 AM:

pgbb, #728: We've managed to make rice pudding with it a few times. It's a bit of a challenge -- the stuff takes a LOT more cooking than white or brown rice in order to stop being crunchy -- but it makes an amazing alien-looking deep-purple dessert. This is apparently a traditional item in Thai cooking; here's a recipe* which goes into technical detail about why it takes so much cooking (and also, incidentally, tells me what we were doing wrong).

* You'll need to scroll down to get to the recipe itself -- the first half of the entry is a dissection of the opera Turandot that wouldn't have been out of place on the Dysfunctional Families day thread.

#732 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2011, 11:52 AM:

This kid needs therapy to let go of his parents for good. Abusers will abuse, and the "cause" is really an excuse.

I wonder if he can be persuaded to press charges. Hopefully someone will dox the father and he can be publicly humiliated.

#733 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2011, 02:02 PM:

praisegod barebones @ #728: There's sweet black rice and non-sweet black rice. I haven't figured out sweet rices, but if it's the non-sweet one, Trader Joe's used to sell it and also sell small black lentils, which obviously belonged together. One cup each, 4-5 cups water, some reconstituted dried mushrooms, bay leaves, salt, oil. Cook until the lentils were done, probably 30-40 minutes. It came out very very black, and tasted pretty good. My musician friends liked it, and it's probably good visual contrast for whatever else you're serving.

#734 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2011, 02:48 PM:

Re: the food timeline particle - I love the idea of Byzantine Bread. I've got a mental picture of elaborately braided loaves with strands of different colors ultimately revealing some idyllic scene when sliced open.

#735 ::: Lenore Jean Jones/jonesnori ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2011, 04:07 PM:

Xopher @732 That's disgusting. You're right - he needs to let his parents go. But he'll have to do it in his own time.

#736 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2011, 07:36 PM:

Writing craft question:

I've been working on a story in tight third person POV -- basically, Protagonist-Cam, with occasional voiceover from his internal monologue.

I need to write a scene where the protagonist is not present. What's the least awkward way to do this? Show the conversation of the characters present, and no internal monologue from anyone? Naturally, they need to talk ABOUT the protagonist. Are there particular transitions I should use to minimize any awkwardness?

I'm feeling somewhat daunted here, because people have seemed to like the first part of the story, while I've vacillated between feeling ridiculously proud of each one of its 3300 words and wanting to explain just where every flaw is that I can see. I understand this is a normal thing?

Anyway, advice appreciated.

#737 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2011, 08:43 PM:

You're right - he needs to let his parents go.
Preferably when they're dangling over a mud puddle.

#738 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2011, 08:50 PM:

Rikibeth 736: If the content of what they're saying about the protagonist is what's important, a technique I've seen (and imitated) is the dialogue-only scene: just quoted conversation, with no description or identifiers. Gives the impression of a taped conversation being played back.

Kip 737: Or an active volcano.

#739 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2011, 09:37 PM:

Xopher @738: I'm not entirely sure that's the effect I'm going for. What I want is for there to be a wipe on the scene with the protagonist, and then in the next scene, the camera is observing the characters who are talking about the protagonist and issues that concern their relationships to him. We ought to be able to see the room in which those characters are sitting, at least as I picture it. An attribution-free tape playback feels too limited. But it's given me something to think about!

#740 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2011, 10:39 PM:

I kind of refrained from wishing violent death on them, opting for humiliation instead. It was a judgement call.

#741 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2011, 10:41 PM:

Maybe not that then. The point, though, is to make the scene without the protagonist a little "drier," less rich in feeling and description.

There are all kinds of variations, like writing the scene normally, but without ever mentioning a character's name. There are all kinds of ways to do it.

#742 ::: Catherine ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2011, 12:52 AM:

I'm always curious about the WHY of these things, so I have to ask: Teresa, what on earth were you looking for that led you to find that Peppermills of Distinction site? :)

#743 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2011, 09:21 AM:

Hyperlocal news... Man watches "Galaxy Quest" and still thinks it's a silly movie - in a good way.

#744 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2011, 09:56 AM:

Rikibeth #736: It occurs to me that if you've taken the trouble to maintain a tight POV rule so far, perhaps you should consider your motivations/goals for breaking it:
* If it's basically a social/backstory infodump, is this stuff that the protag will eventually learn? Does he, or for that matter the reader, actually need to know it (yet or ever)?

If so, you could frame it as a flashback, vision, recording, or retelling... but it might be less dumpy to spread it out over multiple conversations or other interactions. If this is the only such scene in the work, you might get away with hanging a lampshade on it, but if it's just the first such scene, you should frame it properly, and set up your rules for how and when you go into the alternate/godlike POV.

* If you need to show this because, suddenly, it's someone else's POV/motivations/etc. that's relevant to the plot, then I'd say just identify that character and just use their POV... but doing that only once in a big story will look awfully odd, and is tricky in other ways. In this situation, you should seriously consider either promoting someone to "backup POV" in general.

* To see a nice example of how a brief switchover can fail, look at Simon R. Green's recent Drood novel, The Spy Who Haunted Me -- the usual POV is Edwin Drood, but at one point his romance/sidekick Molly takes a side trip without him... and while she's catching him up to date, the author badly loses her "voice". :-( For the next volume (still in hardcover), I really hope he gets better at that, given that Rqjva fgnegf gur obbx qrnq.

#745 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2011, 10:47 AM:

David Harmon @744: Thank you! Those were useful things to think about.

So far, it's the only such scene in what I'm writing... and, I might as well say it, this is fanfic, and the scene without the POV character is between two canon characters, and essentially explains why the POV character, an OC, was never mentioned on the show. I think it's useful for the readers to know it, not just as an infodump, but to reinforce the canon dynamic between the two characters having the conversation, and to show that I'm not turning them into entirely different people with the introduction of this OC. It's very much not a flashback; it happens in a defined chronological sequence after the initial events.

One of the canon characters is sufficiently central to the plotline (hell, the story's ABOUT him, I'd just framed it through the OC's eyes because he started out UNCONSCIOUS) that I could easily promote him to backup POV. There are definitely things that will happen to him out of the OC's sight that he will NOT explain in a detailed fashion afterwards, and it might be revealing to show what, exactly, he's leaving out.

Then again, any scene without the OC could just be done in impartial-observer POV and probably still work.

I'm putting a lot of effort into keeping everyone's voices; what I'd never realized before is that listening in my head to the characters' PHYSICAL voices, those of the actors, could help keep me on track for that. Odd. Interesting.

Thank you! It's given me some things to consider. (And that non-POV scene is coming up fast, just as soon as my POV character gets a seriously-needed nap.)

#746 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2011, 05:34 PM:

Rikibeth@736 - So depending on what kind of fanfic it is, you either need to find a non-hokey way to say "Meanwhile, back at the ranch", or else cut to a new paragraph and italic font and describe the player piano music and the scratchy sounds of somebody writing "Meanwhile, back at the ranch" on a chalkboard... Or have your POV character, while falling asleep, mumble something about "Wonder what Naomi's up to right now..."

#747 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2011, 06:45 PM:

HLN: Local man discovers that microwave oven can be used to soften cabbage sufficiently for stuffing.

#748 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2011, 07:40 PM:

Bill Stewart @746: Ah, if only it were that sort of fanfic! You had me cracking up.

So far, I decided to let simplicity rule. POV character leaves hospital room. Cut to POV character letting himself in at home, putting away cat food, seeing photo that reminds him to call patient's sister, deciding to do it after he sleeps.

Cut back to hospital room. Patient and other character have conversation about plot developments and about POV character. Other character is chased out by nurse who needs to get patient ready for transfer from ICU to regular ward.

Cut back to POV character. Probably address conversation with patient's sister; definitely send POV character back to hospital for further conversation with patient.

It seems to move naturally enough without going into anyone else's head.

#749 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2011, 07:54 PM:

Xopher #732: That's a father who needs to be treated with a boot.

#750 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2011, 07:56 PM:

Xopher #732: After I posted I thought of a proverb my father used to quote: you can put a fool in a mortar and pound him, but he'll come out the same fool. Applying a boot, or other corporal punishment, to that young man's idiot father would have no likely moral or intellectual effect.

#751 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2011, 08:11 PM:

But it would be wonderfully satisfying, wouldn't it?

Actually I think the treatment for him is to be hauled into court, either on criminal charges or as part of a ruinous lawsuit. That bastard should never again have a moment's happiness.

#752 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2011, 08:22 PM:

Rikibeth #745: I'm glad I could offer something!

I don't know what conventions fanfic has for this sort of thing, but if it's largely "how your OC got into this story, and why he's not breaking it", I'd assume other fanficcers have run into this problem before! So, see who's handled it well, and what methods they used....

#753 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2011, 08:27 PM:

David @752: Oh, in this case, there is an entirely plausible, tragically real-world explanation for why the OC was never mentioned on the show. You see, I write slash...

So it's a very basic conversation of "you could have told me, you know, but I understand why you didn't" after co-worker has finally met OC Boyfriend in the hospital waiting room.

#754 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2011, 08:52 PM:

Rikibeth #753: I hadn't seen your #748 before my last post. Sounds like you've got things in hand....

#755 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2011, 09:43 PM:

Xopher HalfTongue @751:

But it would be wonderfully satisfying, wouldn't it?
Except that it's in some sense descending to his level. If he could learn from it, maybe, but even then I find myself thinking it sounds like "homophobia cure torture". Resist the urge; let him be the monster. Find a productive and morally superior response instead.

#756 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2011, 10:24 PM:

A follow-up to HLN at 6:52: Woman discovers praying for failure only prevents the one egg she wished to hatch not doing so, along with one a similar color and adjacent to it in the incubator. That's five chicks out of seven eggs in the first incubator down, and 18 more in the larger incubator to go (but not until Friday).

Woman is quoted as saying "Baby chicks are cute and fuzzy. I've always distrusted cute and fuzzy."

#757 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2011, 10:52 PM:

geekosaur, yeah, yeah, I know.

I just wanna beat the shit out that guy. I wouldn't, not really, even if I knew him, and I'm certainly not actually advocating it (you saw what I did advocate: criminal charges and/or lawsuits). I'm just expressing rage.

#758 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2011, 03:52 AM:

geekosaus, #755: It is within my ethical parameters to wish for him to reap what he has sown, and for the evil he has done to rebound against him threefold. The manner of its happening... is not my decision to make.

#759 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2011, 12:28 PM:

HLN: Woman switches offices with colleague, winds up back in office where she started 10 years ago. Office plants report they are pleased to get better light again.

#760 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2011, 01:01 PM:

Request for help from Russian readers: Please would someone give me permission to e-mail them a .pdf of a Russia scientific paper? What I need is a translation of (a) the title of the paper (b) the name of the journal; (c) the last four authors's names (I have the names of the first three authors because they are given in both Russian and English on another paper). There's useful information in the English abstract, but I can't use it if I can't reference it!

#761 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2011, 04:43 PM:

Xopher (#683) That was lovely. Probably not the very best recording that might have been made, as you said, but lovely all the same. Just what I needed to cheer up this very grey day.

It's funny that you referred to yourself as "fat" -- I always think these assessments are more in our own mind than in the minds of others (in other words, you didn't look fat to me).

#762 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2011, 04:54 PM:

That guy's father must be one of those heavily-armed right wing loons. Otherwise, what in the *world* is a "missionary base"?

#763 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2011, 05:34 PM:

Thank you, Older!

#764 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2011, 06:02 PM:

Older @762: While I can't speak for the father you refer to, a "missionary base" is generally just a piece of property owned by a missionary organization which is used for housing and/or administration purposes for the missionaries in the area. I grew up on one, and I can assure you that no one living on the entire base owned anything more dangerous than a machete. Which were rather necessary for encounters with the occasional venomous snake.

#765 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2011, 06:18 PM:

Older @762:
Christianity has a tradition of interpreting Biblical references to the "armies of the Lord" as meaning missionaries; compare "Salvation Army". So it's not at all unusual for missionary organizations to use (modified) military terminology.

#766 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2011, 10:47 PM:

Someone just pointed out to me that the fact that 'callipygian' is my favorite word says more about me than I probably want people to know.

#767 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2011, 11:34 PM:

dcb@ 760: You can email it to me; I'll run it past the FG as soon as I can. Is there a deadline on this request?

#768 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2011, 02:58 AM:

In local* news, area woman thinks that this short film does a great job of capturing the first day of Occupy Portland: Occupy Portland: Capturing the spirit in 4 minutes
Warning: The link auto-plays!

Local, by not hyperlocal: I was at the first gathering for about an hour, and joined the march later, but there were thousands of other people so this isn't just about me.

#769 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2011, 03:26 AM:

Ginger, thanks! I don't think I have your email address. Please could you email me (dbourne residing at rvc (dot) ac (dot) uk)?

No real deadline - I need to use the info. in it for a presentation next week, but I don't need to give the reference for that. However, I'll also be adding the info. to Wildpro and I -do- need a reference for that. It's about detection of West Nile virus in frogs and mosquitoes, and the genetics of it (appears to be a new variant).

#770 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2011, 07:40 AM:

dcb@769: I'll email from work, when I get there.

#771 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2011, 12:04 PM:


As a lot of people had yesterday off many went to Zuccoti Park to get a better sense of what is going on. It was really nice!

Love, C.

#772 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2011, 02:22 PM:


Thanks for being there. I can't be there physically because I can't stand or walk for any length of time, but I'm with you in spirit, and glad that there are people who can be there in the flesh.

#773 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2011, 02:26 PM:

Actual household conversation:

Me: You've been saying I should moisturize, so I went to Keihl's and bought some.
Wife: But this says "Pore Minimizing." You don't have large pores.
Me: It was the least icky moisturizer they had. You know I hate moisturizers.
Wife: But it might dry your skin!
Me: ???
Wife: Some of your skin is oily and some is dry so it might make the dry parts drier.
Me: It's a moisturizer, right? How can a moisturizer make your skin dry?


Both: Aaaauuuuggghhh!

#774 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2011, 02:35 PM:

Larry #773: My favorite moisturizer (and I also hate them):

Does not smell, does not feel icky, and a pot lasts a really long time. Winters in NYC are very dry and last year I had no skin trouble because I used this stuff faithfully.

#775 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2011, 04:06 PM:

There he goes, there's Nature Punchman
He's a demon outdoors!
He's a demon and he's gonna be punching someone evil soon.
Go, Nature Punchman!
Go, Nature Punchman!
Go, Nature Punchman, go!

#776 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2011, 04:14 PM:

Melissa Singer (774): Just double-checking: the description on that says "fragance free", but it also says "smells brilliant". It really, truly doesn't smell like *anything*, despite the pineapple juice, coconut oil, and rosemary?

I hate moisturizers, too, but Lubriderm's Sensitive Skin Therapy isn't too bad.

What do my fellow moisturizer-haters do for sunscreen? I kind of like (i.e., don't completely hate) PreSun Ultra gel formula, but it's hard to find. Are the sprays worth trying?

#777 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2011, 04:33 PM:

Mary Aileen @776:
"Fragrance free" specifically means nothing has been added specifically to provide fragrance. It says nothing about fragrances provided by ingredients that also serve other purposes.

(That said, "doesn't smell" is open to that question....)

#778 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2011, 05:00 PM:

Mary Aileen @776:

definitely ymmv, but here's my perspective:

I react badly to scents. Not to scents as much as to the things that are used to "carry" scents in most commercial products. Instant headache produces, for the most part; sometimes nausea-inducing. Scented candles, scented soap, scented deodorant--it can make my throat close up, my eyes water, give me a coughing fit, etc.


I can walk into a Lush store . . . I can spend half an hour in a Lush store . . . and have no problems. Yes, the store smells, but it doesn't aggravate.

That said, I tend to stick to Lush products which have little or no scent. The Honey I Washed the Kids soap, for instance, which mainly smells sweetish, and that mostly when you first open the package.

I had samplers of four different Lush skin lotions. One was Ye Gods Get That Away From Me in terms of smell. Two were not problematic to put on but the scent lingered on my skin and changed over time to Yuck.

Coco Lotion has--to my nose--virtually no "smell." I get no sense of "fragrance" when I use it, nor do I smell it on myself hours later. Vaseline Intensive Care smells more than Coco Lotion does, if that helps you any. Coco Lotion doesn't smell sweet, it doesn't smell flowery, it doesn't smell citrusy.

Mary Aileen, am I correct in remembering that you are one of the NYC-area MLers? If so, I recommend stopping in at a Lush store (there are 4 in Manhattan) and sniffing for yourself. I'll meet you somewhere if you want . . . the sales staff does work very hard to sell you stuff (I suspect they are all on commission) but they are very, very responsive when you (when I) talk about scent and other issues. I use the 14th Street and 34th Street locations most often and slightly prefer 14th Street as it is usually not crowded (and I can walk there at lunchtime).

I'm even about to try some hair products, which I am a bit nervous about, but my regular commercial product line has obviously been changed and my hair no longer likes it.

#779 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2011, 05:06 PM:

@776 Mary Aileen

What do my fellow moisturizer-haters do for sunscreen?

I have repellently oily skin (seriously - I could make bio-diesel, here!), and a fetish for avoiding sun exposure. I've tried lots of sunscreens, and the one I'm using right now seems quite good to me: Vichy Normaderm.

#780 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2011, 06:46 PM:

geekosaur (777): I know. That's why I asked for clarification.

Melissa (778): For me, it's specifically whether or not a product has any odor, natural or otherwise. Edible odors (that smell like things one can eat) don't usually shut down my breathing, but I'd rather not have them on my skin anyway. If I'm reading you correctly, that moisturizer would probably be a problem for me.

I'm on Long Island, and will be in NYC this weekend. I may have to check out the Lush stores, although I react very, very badly to high-pressure sales tactics. Very.

On second thought, maybe I'll just stick with Lubriderm. ;)

Cheryl (779): Thanks for the recommendation. Does it feel all goopy going on? That's what I really hate.

#781 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2011, 07:01 PM:

@780 Mary Aileen

Cheryl (779): Thanks for the recommendation. Does it feel all goopy going on? That's what I really hate.

No, it feels very light, and goes matte within seconds. It doesn't smell like anything, that I can tell.

That's just for my face; I use Aveeno on the rest of me. I not only have oily skin, I have sensitive skin, and I seem to be allergic to something I've still not nailed down. I will go into a mall or shopping centre just fine, and come out 45 minutes later with my face and neck covered in hives. It does not seem to be associated with passing a perfume counter, I never try make-up samplers, and I avoid touching my face when out in public, so I'm not sure what the heck is causing it. It has no respiratory distress accompaniment, and they disappear without leaving a mark within about an hour (as long as I resist scratching!), so it's not life-threatening. It's just really, really, annoying.

I find that Vichy and Aveeno products in general work for me. As in all things, YMMV.

#782 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2011, 07:10 PM:

Cheryl @781--Apparently allergens aren't the only things that can provoke hives-I worked with a woman who'd break out in reaction to both heat and cold, and there seem to be other causes as well.

#783 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2011, 07:41 PM:

Kip W, that's just...WTF, man. But so catchy!

#784 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2011, 07:52 PM:

Melissa @774 - Thanks - I'll check out Lush. FWIW, our local store is right across from the Occupy Seattle demo, so I'll be able to check that out too. That said, just going into Lush might give me a screaming headache from all the fragrances.

Mary Aileen @776 - My go-to sunscreen is Vichy Capital Soleil 45. It's a little gooey, but less so than most. It used to be available only in Canada, so I brought it home with me whenever possible. It's available here now, but I'm not sure if it's the same formulation.

Also, a funny observation about fragrances. Most fragrances in consumer goods (detergents, candles, air fresheners, etc.) give me a splitting headache. So, when my wife started getting into perfumes (determined to find the right one to wear for our wedding) I got nervous. What I've discovered is that most *expensive* fragrances ($120 or more for 100ml) don't bother me at all. The cheap stuff, headache city. I have no idea why this is, and I told my wife how I was feeling before I knew the cost of what she was wearing. The fact that she has a drawer full of samples and small decants saves our budgets from decimation by the likes of Tom Ford and Chanel.

#785 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2011, 08:05 PM:

Larry Brennan (784): That's two votes for Vichy sunscreens; I'll definitely have to check them out.

#786 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2011, 09:05 PM:

Hyperlocal news... Today man's wife received a *very* nice check from one of those cursed traditional royalty-paying publishers.

#787 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2011, 09:23 PM:

I've heard that the artificial fragrances are more likely to do that. (I mostly stay away from all of them, particularly detergents and shampoos. Too many of them set off my asthma....)

#788 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2011, 09:26 PM:

Melissa, #778: My partner is also hyper-osmic, and gets headaches from most commercially-scented products. (Finding unscented laundry detergent and deodorant can be a real PITA!) More to the point, he can't even go into a Lush store. And while Lush fragrances don't bother me, I have yet to find one there that I like as well as I like my BPAL.*

* Poor guy -- we met and moved in together before I discovered BPAL, back when I didn't use fragrances at all. Fortunately, I've learned how to calibrate my application so that it's noticeable to me without being intolerable to him. I also don't use it every day, which helps.

#789 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2011, 02:34 AM:

That article on urticaria is interesting to me: the hives pictured look just like ones I get a bit less frequently than once a year. It happens in March, when the weather is starting to warm up, and lasts for about a week, then goes away. Thankfully, I didn't get them this year, but in 2010 I got them three times -- once during a warm spell in February, then again in March, and then in March when they were almost gone, they came back for a second week just as bad as the previous two. In 2010 the itching was so bad that it interfered with my sleep.

#790 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2011, 05:41 AM:

I have a similar thing with cheap vs expensive perfumes. Not headaches but cheap perfumes make my nose itch and I start sneezing. Because of that I've never gotten into the habit of wearing perfume at all. (Same with incense, that makes me sneeze as well)

I was very surprised when I realised that the expensive stuff didn't make me start sneezing.

#791 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2011, 08:06 AM:

Cheryl @781: wow, that sucks about the Shopping Mall Hives. My theory is that there are so many fragrance-promoting stores and fragrance-wearing shoppers that the ambient allergen level in the air, distributed by the ventilation system, is setting you off. If it happened to me, I might consider taking a non-drowsy antihistamine like Claritin or Allegra before mall visits --but both theory and advice are pulled out of my ass, feel free to disregard if unhelpful.

Larry Brennan @784, Sica @790: As I understand it, the more expensive perfumes use a higher proportion of natural ingredients/essential oils for scents, compared to the cheaper ones which are mostly synthetics. Not universally true - Chanel No.5 is noted for being the first perfume to use a synthetic fragrance as a major note. (An aldehyde for jasmine, I think, but I am being too lazy to look it up right now.) Also as I understand it, the synthetic fragrances are more likely to be culprits in allergic reactions.

Personal anecdote: most synthetic fragrances smell awful to me/give me headaches. Not so much with vanilla, but vanillin is pretty easy to produce and seems to be a really good match for the natural vanillin in vanilla -- and, as I understand it, vanillin is produced from wood lignins, and is not petroleum-derived like so many synthetic fragrances. By comparison, the POWERFULLY SCENTED Lush stores, which are dominated by essential oil fragrances, don't give me headaches at all. That BLAST OF SCENT when you open the door is a blast of pure happiness for me, and I can hang out in there for an hour with no headaches. Even my housemate, who gets much stronger sinus headaches from synthetic fragrances than I do, and gets them more quickly, enjoys Lush stores and products.

My only complaint about their stores is that the ambient huge combination of scents makes it very hard for me to distinguish the profiles of individual products, and I wish they'd keep coffee grounds handy or let me take individual bath bombs outside (I've never asked, it seems gauche).

This reminds me that I have one of their fresh facial masks in the fridge, and I could use it today!

#792 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2011, 08:55 AM:

Security, especially about gmail accounts.

#793 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2011, 11:22 AM:

fidelio @782: Holy moly! I get those every once in a while. A few times, over my whole body.

Never gotten a good explanation. Last time it happened in a major way, I was having trouble eating due to a digestive issue, and dropped a bunch of weight abruptly. Explanation that made the most sense seemed to be that my liver had decided to detoxify (whatever the hell that means).

I occassionally get smaller, more localized occurrences, which I finally pinned down to a mild milk allergy, of all things.

#794 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2011, 11:51 AM:

Rikibeth (791): the POWERFULLY SCENTED Lush stores, ... BLAST OF SCENT when you open the door

That settles it. I'm never going anywhere near a Lush store if I can help it.

#795 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2011, 11:52 AM:

David Goldfarb @789 and Jacque @793--
Hives are weird. The more I read up about them, the weirder they they seem.

I am now going to stratch my arm with a hairstick and see if I still get a dermagraphic reaction.

#796 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2011, 11:52 AM:

David Goldfarb @789 and Jacque @793--
Hives are weird. The more I read up about them, the weirder they they seem.

I am now going to stratch my arm with a hairstick and see if I still get a dermagraphic reaction.

#797 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2011, 12:21 PM:

Mary Aileen @794: indeed, if you don't like powerfully-scented environments, and it's not a case of natural vs. synthetic, a Lush store is not the place for you.

A single product might be different, YMMV. They do mail order.

#798 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2011, 12:36 PM:

Hyperlocal soaps: Terralyn at the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia has excellent soaps for about half the price of LUSH-- I like a much higher proportion of the scents than I do from LUSH. Also, if you don't want to be overwhelmed by scents, Terralyn is just one booth in a huge market building, so the scents aren't concentrated.

I also recommend her toothpaste.

#799 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2011, 12:39 PM:

It's funny, because to me, Lush stores aren't that powerfully scented. It's a completely different experience than, say, walking through the cosmetics or perfume sections of a department store (hold my breath and go as fast as possible), or even walking past The Body Shop or Bath & Bodyworks (which I do on the other side of the street as much as possible).

Everyone's experience is different! (Also, the 14th Street store almost always keeps their door open, which probably changes things.)

BTW, I went home last night and smelled my Coco Lotion. It smells "creamy." How's that for not useful?

#800 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2011, 02:48 PM:

I got a flu shot this morning, and now I have the They Might be Giants cover of "Istanbul, not Constantinople" playing over and over in my head, really slowly.


#801 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2011, 03:51 PM:

Rikibeth (797): Natural odors can be just as bad; the gardenias blooming on a coworker's desk almost killed me.

I'd be curious to smell a single Lush product, but I'm not going to buy one without that. And the store's definitely don't sound like a good environment for me.

Melissa Singer (799): Oddly enough, I think I may know what you mean by "creamy". That doesn't sound too bad.

(I had a much longer version of this all typed out, but just as I was ready to post it after the fifth preview, I managed to kick out the plug on my computer. Oops!)

#802 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2011, 04:26 PM:

Istanbul Earworm, eh? Well...

Minas Morgul was Minas Ithil,
Now it's Minas Morgul, not Minas Ithil.
Been a long time dark for old Minas Ithil,
In the moonless night, by runic light.

The Uruk-hai in old Minas Ithil
Lurk in Minas Morgul, not Minas Ithil
So if you've a doom in old Minas Ithil
It awaits thee in fell Morgul.

Even old Mirkwood was once the Greenwood Great.
Why it changed, I dare not say.
[Evil One liked it better that way!]

So, take me back to old Minas Ithil.
No, the road goes not to old Minas Ithil.
All the lights are out, in old Minas Ithil--

Why did poor Minas Ithil pop its corks?
That's nobody's business but the Orcs.

[TTTO: Istanbul. New lyrics (c) 2002 K. Williams]

#803 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2011, 04:27 PM:

I see the version I used doesn't have "fair Minas Ithil" in the line before "fell Morgul." I shall fix that.

#804 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2011, 06:11 PM:

fidelio @796: I am now going to scratch my arm with a hairstick and see if I still get a dermagraphic reaction. Do let us know what the result is. (I do love being part of a community of people in which (a) people have enquiring minds such that they will do such things; (b) they can post about such things without getting "huh?" or "eew!" reactions).

#805 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2011, 06:15 PM:

Margaret Atwood takes another shot at SF

No sign of squids, articulate or not.

#806 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2011, 06:24 PM:

Suburban Wildlife Fun:

My usual morning dog walk runs through a county (?) park that is half frisbee golf course, half wetland area. Today, as I crossed the boardwalk through the wetland area, I noted a very strong skunk odor. My dog took a great interest in something lurking around (actually trying to leap over the boardwalk railing at one point), but I couldn't see anything and moved right along. No sense antagonizing a skunk who had already been annoyed enough to let loose once, right?

On the second pass through over the boardwalk -- we make two loops through the park -- Kira didn't notice anything worth barking at. But as we made our way out of the park a coyote appeared, which certainly did get her attention, of the "C'mon, boss, leggo, I can take that bastard!" variety.

I'm wondering if the coyote set off the skunk, and then booked out of the area only to find us. Better him than my dog; now that I know there are skunks lurking there I'm going to have to be more careful.

#807 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2011, 07:12 PM:

Topeka, KS has decriminalized domestic violence.

I guess they wanted to be known for something besides the WBC.

#808 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2011, 08:00 PM:

Mary Aileen @801 - Maybe you can send an agent into a Lush store to extract a sample for you - they should have them on hand. Then you can check it out without exposing yourself to the miasma.

#809 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2011, 08:03 PM:

Lee @807 - More evidence that budget cuts have consequences.

Here in Washington, our governor has fallen on the sword and managed a series of draconian budget cuts. She's not running again, so it gives the candidate from her party a shot at winning the election.

Honestly, I think that if you have to make terrible cuts, some of them should be as horrible as possible so as to build some support for actual tax increases to support services. We seem to be on the verge of releasing more than a few violent offenders from state prisons due to lack of money.

#810 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2011, 08:05 PM:

Larry Brennan (808): That's a thought. Thanks for the suggestion.

#811 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2011, 08:25 PM:

The posts about moisturisers raise an issue for me. Since I started losing weight (a deliberate process I assure you) in the spring of last year, I've had a problem. Last autumn and winter, and this autumn, as it's got cooler the skin on my knuckles and between my fingers has cracked and bled. I've been using hand creams as prophylaxis but they tend to be either too liquid, too oily, or too heavily scented. Does anyone have any suggestions?

#812 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2011, 08:45 PM:

Fragano @811: Corn Husker's Lotion, a glycerine-based product, is supposed to be very good at healing cracks. It is fairly liquid, and may not be as good at prophylaxis.

For preventing cracks, I'd want more of a balm than a cream. Bag Balm, Badger Balm, any of the vegetable oils that are solid at room temperature like coconut oil or shea butter-- anything to be a protective layer. They have a drier feel to them than the heavy-oily sort of cream.

I would also seriously examine the soaps I used to wash my hands. The worst cracking I ever experienced was the winter where I worked in a kitchen where my boss was too damn lazy/cheap to order separate hand soap, and topped up the dispensers with Dawn dishwashing liquid, which, of course, contains grease-cutting agents that take gunk off of dishes and oils right out of your skin. It was awful. If you can possibly switch to more emollient soaps, it might help too.

If you like the scents of Lush products, they make these things called "massage bars" which are essentially solid moisturizers. Less gooey-feeling on hands than lotions or creams, protective like a balm. Some of them smell like honey.

Good luck... I never want to have the winter of cracked and bleeding hands again, ever. Hope you don't either.

#813 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2011, 08:46 PM:

Lee @807 -- Topeka removed a city ordinance against domestic violence; it's still illegal at the state level. Which is a political move to get the county and state to stop demanding that the city pay for such prosecutions: a good example at a more local level of an unfunded mandate.

It's not about decriminalizing domestic violence: it's about who gets to pay for prosecuting it.

#814 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2011, 08:49 PM:

Fragano (811): In a similar situation, my sister liked Eucerin cream. (The original, in the squat jar, not the lotion.) It's fragrant free/unscented and not at all runny. She had an allergic reaction to a lot of moisturizers, but Eucerin was fine.

#815 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2011, 08:53 PM:

Following up Rikibeth @812, you might try using glycerin soap for hand washing.

#816 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2011, 09:12 PM:

Tom, #813: The problem with that analysis is that the county has already announced that they will not be prosecuting any more domestic-violence cases. (Which are only a misdemeanor in the first place, but that's an entirely different rant.) So... the city took their ordinance off the books, and the county refuses to prosecute these cases. No matter the motivation, between them they've declared open season on women* in Topeka.

* Yes, and the minuscule percentage of domestic-violence victims who are male, as well.

#817 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2011, 09:17 PM:

Lee @816: The county had announced they wouldn't prosecute. This is an attempt by the city to get them to back down on it. Yeah, it's a shitty pawn to use: but the county started with that pawn, not the city. So pin some righteous ire on them to start with, and let's get back to: it's a crime. Make sure it gets prosecuted.

The city removing their (redundant, with the state law in place) ordinance isn't significant by itself except as an exercise in brinksmanship.

#818 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2011, 09:27 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @ 811
Since I started losing weight (a deliberate process I assure you) in the spring of last year, I've had a problem...

Are you perchance, as part of your weight-loss plan, strictly limiting fats, or certain kinds of fats? That side effect is definitely worrisome--I'm not a doctor, but it's in the category of "I'd ask a good nutritionist ASAP" to me. My first guess is that you aren't getting enough of one of the essential fatty acids, but some of the vitamin deficiencies can also cause skin weakness.

#819 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2011, 02:37 AM:

Strangely enough, my sister and I had a conversation about moisturizers today- she has true allergies to a whole bunch of things plus fragrance sensitivities to essential oils; I'm allergic to sunflower oil, and sensitive to artificial scents, about half of natural scents (rose, yes; ylang ylang is migraine city) and, on top of that, am sensitive to a group of chemicals used as stabilizers/homogonizers/preservatives, most notably whatever it was they stuck in Johnson's Baby Shampoo in about 1990 to make it new and improved.

We came down to Eucerin, Bag Balm, and that's it; I can use Trader Joe's cheap moisturizer but it makes her break out, I use ShiKai's borage dry skin treatment, but it's out of her budget.

In the middle of winter I've been known to coat my face with EVO because Bag Balm was too sticky and hurt my chapped skin.

#820 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2011, 05:11 AM:

I don't have any trouble with scents, but I do seem to be allergic to glycerin, which makes shopping for shampoos and lotion about as much fun as you would expect. I noticed it when I realised that using certain shampoos I would get itchy bumps behind my ears. I made a huge list of all the scary sounding chemicals in all the types I'd tried and couldn't find a common thread. Then I started working in a vet clinic and washing my hands a lot more often, so I was using more lotion. I realised that with certain lotions my hands would actually turn red and start itching, which defeated the purpose. Finally realised the common element was glycerine, but since there are two different types, and they aren't labeled, I'm not sure which is actually the problem.

Don't even get me started on urticaria. More than 5 years of huge red welts whenever I absent-mindedly scratched my face? Not fun. I could actually write my initials in welts with the wrong end of a pen at one point.

#821 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2011, 09:05 AM:

EClaire @820--Dermagraphia! One of the odder things skin will do, and a hard thing to explain t people, who see the welts and wonder if you've been beaten a wire.

dcb @804--I still have the reaction, but perhaps because I take antihistamines every day this time of year, the marks aren't pronounced and fade quickly--it wasn't ever a terribly strong reaction, but either advancing age, the drugs, or both have weakened it considerably.

#822 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2011, 09:48 AM:

JESR @819: Oh yeah, olive oil for field-expedient moisturizer! During the Winter of Cracked Hands, sometimes I'd put a layer of vegetable shortening on beneath the vinyl kitchen gloves. The shortening was softer than Bag Balm, and it did a good job of protecting, and it was RIGHT THERE and we had a box about half the size of a ream of copier paper, so.

#823 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2011, 11:19 AM:

Rikibeth's story about the soap dispensers topped up with dish detergent reminded me of a Christmas vacation from college spent working at a mall pretzel place, which kept buckets around with sanitizing solution and rags. We used said rags to wipe down the counters and other things during the day.

While working there, my hands would get raw and chapped and burn. It got so bad I'd take a cup of ice with me on my breaks and stick my hands down in it to try to relieve the burning.

Just before I left to go back to school, I discovered that whoever had been closing up at night had been filling the buckets with raw bleach. And I was apparently the only one who'd complained about skin problems. *shudder*

Oh, college temp jobs. I do not miss you.

#824 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2011, 12:26 PM:

EClaire @ 820, my big unfortunate discovery was finding out last year while my husband was in the CCU during an interrupted full-back rebuild (seriously: the surgical orders began "T2 to pelvis") is that I'm allergic/sensitive to hand sanitizer. People say "but it's just alcohol" but ethanol and methanol and isopropol are not gels. As another data point: my ingrediants lable perusal when Nature's Gate conditioner became unusably "New and Improved" showed that one of the innovations was a complex alcohol.

Rikibeth, my moisturizing life would be a lot easier if I kept Crisco in the house, thanks for the reminder.

#825 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2011, 12:48 PM:

Persephone: AUGH RAW BLEACH! The saddest part is that it's not even as effective a sanitizer as when it's diluted, IIRC my ServSafe training.

JESR: those are inconvenient discoveries to make, aren't they? My sympathies.

I like(d) Nature's Gate conditioner, but my housemate loathes the smell, so it went off the list. Right now I've got a coconut-scented one, some random drugstore thing, because I use conditioner to wash my hair and avoid shampoo and so I need a convenient cheapie and it was on sale, but what I generally use as conditioner/styling product is, again, pure coconut oil. It's softened up my coarse-curly-dye-stressed hair beautifully!

How I knew it was turning autumn: the jar of coconut oil turned solid again, instead of entirely liquid.

#826 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2011, 01:19 PM:

Rikibeth #812: Bag balm or badger balm? My first thought was why would I badger the balm. Then I slapped my wrist. OK. I'll give it a shot.

Mary Aileen #814: Thanks.

SamChevre #822: Hmm. That is something to think about. I am taking fish oil, but you're right, I may be missing something. My body temperature is normally a degree or so below average (my engine runs cool, as I like to say), though I don't know if that has anything to do with it.

#827 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2011, 01:19 PM:

Rikibeth #812: Bag balm or badger balm? My first thought was why would I badger the balm. Then I slapped my wrist. OK. I'll give it a shot.

Mary Aileen #814: Thanks.

SamChevre #822: Hmm. That is something to think about. I am taking fish oil, but you're right, I may be missing something. My body temperature is normally a degree or so below average (my engine runs cool, as I like to say), though I don't know if that has anything to do with it.

#828 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2011, 01:56 PM:

I don't have a problem with hand sanitiser (the 85+% alcohol "kill 'em all" stuff) per se - but anything that says "with aloe" doesn't have *just* aloe in it - it has something that sets me off. Unfortunately, everything's moving toward the "scented" versions, so much so that it's really hard to find the works, but doesn't smell stuff.

If they could just keep with the "it doesn't have to smell to work" bit, or stop charging me more to *not* put in scents, it would make an awful lot of people happy.

Interesting note with that - there's at least two people I know that, having lived or worked intimately with people with these kinds of sensitivities, find that when they no longer do so, and can "go back to using that beautiful scent", find it's unbearable. The body's coping mechanism for chronic irritations is amazing, isn't it?

#829 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2011, 02:01 PM:


I'm curious about this. I've read two different explanations for wanting lower rather than higher concentrations of disinfectants:

a. For disinfectants that don't work against spores, a higher concentration may make the bacteria sporulate and become immune to the disinfectant. (But I'm not sure this is right, or where I read it.)

Since some disinfectants have to be taken up by the germs to be effective, maybe the effect here is simply that too-high concentrations that cause the bacteria to sporulate stop their normal operations. (But this is my speculation.)

b. I've read that higher concentrations of alcohol are less effective than lower concentrations of alcohol (that is, 70% is more effective than 99%) because alcohol denatures (unfolds) proteins, and that process works better with some water.

This link doesn't have any comment at all about (a), but does suggest that (b) seems likely to be true.

I'll admit, I'm posting this comment largely in hopes that someone who knows more than me (not hard) will correct me....

#830 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2011, 03:27 PM:

HLN: Local man has complete cardio workup triggered by surgery, gets full results two months later. Results completely normal, resulting in going off calcium channel blocker after twenty years with no ill effects. Even heart murmur found long ago appears to have resolved itself. Man attributes success to decades of diligent exercise.

#831 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2011, 03:40 PM:

Xopher (830): Yay for local man! What wonderful news.

#832 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2011, 03:54 PM:

#830: Good news, and inspiring.

#833 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2011, 05:04 PM:

Just in case nobody has spotted this.

#834 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2011, 05:19 PM:

Rikibeth @ 825: You've just triggered my "Someone is Rong on the Internets!" reflex. May I ask exactly what was said about diluted bleach being not effective? Because, she said guiltily, there's plenty of evidence to show that diluted bleach is a powerful and effective sanitizer, disinfectant, and (depending on amount of dilution) a sterilant. Each of these is a different meaning and is very specific; sanitization refers to living tissues, but disinfection and sterilization refer to inanimate objects.

Even down to 200 ppm (mg/L), it's pretty effective at sanitizing. Of course, since bleach is labeled in percentage (regular bleach is 5-6% chlorine, ultraconcentrated bleach is 15-16%) and not in mg/L or even ppm, you have to convert properly, so if someone's made a conversion error, that can get perpetuated for years.

albatross @ 829: bleach doesn't need to be taken up by cells. Chlorine free radicals destroy membranes and cell walls from outside. Hydrogen peroxide is also a free radical (peroxide ion is a powerful free radical); ditto for iodine, although it's less powerful than chlorine.

Alcohol isn't a disinfectant; it's only a sanitizer and the amount of sanitization depends on contact time. Alcohol denatures proteins, yes, and also disrupts lipid layers to some extent.

Xopher @ 830: Yay!

#835 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2011, 05:54 PM:

Ginger @834:
I think you misread: I understand her as saying that diluted bleach is more effective than undiluted, not less effective or ineffective. albatross @829 appears to be reading it the same way.

#836 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2011, 05:55 PM:

Ginger #834:

Rikibeth @ 825: You've just triggered my "Someone is Rong on the Internets!" reflex. May I ask exactly what was said about diluted bleach being not effective?

The point about it being a "reflex" is underlined by the point that Rikibeth actually said the opposite....

#837 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2011, 06:10 PM:

RE Cleaners:

When folks move out of their apartments they often leave out by the dumpster "take me" spot their cleaning supplies. A bucket, sometimes a mop, and always a bunch of cleaning supplies. Sometimes bought just for the occasion and thus barely used.

As a result, I haven't bought cleaners and such in years.

Right now I'm dubiously considering how to use this giant jug of pink goo called something like FABULUSO!

#838 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2011, 07:27 PM:

HLN: Local man discovers his touch-screen cell phone considers his fingertip and his cat's nose identical.

#839 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2011, 07:31 PM:

Bruce @838 Word to the wise - once you let your cat start tweeting, all bets are off even they only say "Meow" they'll say it thousands of times a month and always by SMS. And don't even get me started about cats and Angry Birds...

#840 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2011, 08:19 PM:

I just wanted to call out today's Girl Genius page, wherein Wolfenbach gets Genre Savvy (much to his own dismay).

#841 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2011, 10:11 PM:

Geekosaur and David Harmon: Argh! I saw the "more effective when diluted", and typed the opposite. It's still incorrect; chlorine bleach is more rapidly and thoroughly effective at higher concentrations. In fact, it's iodine that requires some dilution in order to be more effective, and that is true only of the "tamed" iodine. Povidone-iodine, commonly sold as "Betadine", is iodine bound loosely to a protein, which "tames" it. However, it's the free radical iodine ion that kills bacteria, so you need to dilute the Betadine, and increase the concentration of ionic iodine.

#842 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2011, 11:35 PM:

Ginger @ 841... it's the free radical iodine ion that kills

"Have you got a mission, James?"
"Yes. I am to eliminate all free radicals."
"Ooh. Do be careful."
- 1983's Never Say Never Again

#843 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2011, 12:07 AM:

Stefan Jones at 837, while I know nothing from my own experience of this Fabuloso of which you speak, an LJ friend finds solace and meditative bliss in hand-washing her floors with it, so it must be good, right?

Ginger at 841, please don't tell my husband about the bleach thing; he's prone to use an entire jug of the stuff to wash out a cold-case unused for a year (after being washed with bleach before being stored) and contaminated with nothing worse than a few spiders.

#844 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2011, 01:14 AM:

Serge @ 842:

My mission is to free all the enslaved radicals.

#845 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2011, 01:49 AM: his codename "C"?

#846 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2011, 01:51 AM:

#725 Xopher

Dorian Greeks included blonds, as in "Golden Greeks"


Regarding scents and such: sometimes the fixatives and preservatives can be allergens, and sometimes the dyes can be (it's extremely annoying to see Yellow Dye #1 replacing turmeric as jarred pickle ingredients in in recent years....)

I was very unhappy when White Rain stopped making hand lotion, my skin didn't dislike it (I don't know if it's still true, because last interactions with them were decades ago, but the likes of Nivea and Oil of Olay were not liked by my skin, and Vitamin E oil wasn't either....

Oh, and then there are the chemicals in hair salons/used in hair spray. The one than my late mother patronized in Florida, setting foot inside was instant migraine/sinus revolt.

#847 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2011, 01:56 AM:

Melissa Singer @ 799 ...
It's funny, because to me, Lush stores aren't that powerfully scented. It's a completely different experience than, say, walking through the cosmetics or perfume sections of a department store (hold my breath and go as fast as possible), or even walking past The Body Shop or Bath & Bodyworks (which I do on the other side of the street as much as possible).

Interesting. Lush is a 5 minutes or less guarantee of watering eyes, rapidly filling sinuses, sneezing and itching for me, and I also cross the street to avoid Lush :) The Body Shop doesn't usually bug me ... but I wholeheartedly agree about Bodyworks.

#848 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2011, 02:28 AM:

Paula Lieberman, one of the unfortunate side-effects of my ridiculous chemical sensitivities is that I've had to learn to cut my own hair more or less well because I got tired of having a three-day migraine every three weeks. Well, that and the fact that nobody ever cuts my bangs right, and they do this weird flip thing right over my nose.

Left to itself it's just too much hair for a person of my age, dignity, and occupation (farmer) to deal with.

#849 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2011, 04:39 AM:

I'm not usually too sensitive to scented stuff (I find Lush shops overpowering in terms of scent volume, but nothing more than that), but I went to a concert about a year back and found that the woman in the seat in front was wearing something (perfume? hair spray?) that had my eyes and nose itching almost as soon as we sat down. Luckily there were some empty seats a couple of rows back so I was able to move - rather than trying not to sneeze, all the way through the performance.

Rikibeth, Ginger et al. re. bleach: Yes, but the point is, for "normal" disinfection of floors, surfaces etc., it's used diluted. Using it neat in those circumstances is total overkill (not to mention expensive and a potential health hazard).

#850 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2011, 09:37 AM:

Ginger: I would be happy to be Rong. My thought is coming from an expired ServSafe certification. Perhaps the recommendation for diluted bleach solutions is that more concentrated ones are better at killing infectious agents, but less safe for human consumption.

In any case, diluted bleach will work, and not destroy the poor workers' exposed hands!

#851 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2011, 12:19 PM:

Rikibeth @850: I am happy to be the one who is Rong here.

#852 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2011, 03:05 PM:

I've always wanted to use thar as a protest sign: "Free the Oxygen Radicals!"

#853 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2011, 03:53 PM:

Larry Brennan @ 784:

You aren't the first person I've heard say that expensive perfumes are okay for them, but cheap ones cause headaches.

The fact that she has a drawer full of samples and small decants saves our budgets from decimation by the likes of Tom Ford and Chanel.

I can recommend The Perfumed Court as a source for others to acquire small decants. I have a little box of tiny little glass vials of Very Fancy Perfumes from there that were a couple bucks each.

I try to make everything else (lotion, deodorant, laundry detergent, fabric softener) as unscented as possible. That way, if I wear a scent (which I don't regularly do), it's on purpose and it doesn't have to compete with anything else. And in daily life when I'm not actively wearing perfume, I'm not bothering fragrance-sensitive people (I hope).

I quite like Dove's unscented deodorant (marketed for "sensitive skin"). Most of the other unscented stuff can be had at Target in store-brand form. (I haven't yet found unscented shampoo and conditioner.)

(My current favorite perfume is "Encens Flamboyant" by Annick Goutal. It is not as flamboyant as all that, but it is woody and smoky and pine-y, so it's not something I'd visit upon fragrance-sensitive people.)

#854 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2011, 04:40 PM:

Caroline (853): To get unscented shampoo, I finally had to resort to buying "shampoo concentrate" (which I use undiluted). They do sell samplers, if you want to try it out before buying a whole gallon.

Almay makes good unscented products. We used their shampoo exclusively when I was a kid, but they discontinued that when they expanded their product line. My mother finally found another fragrance free shampoo* at her local health food store, but it's not actually unscented. I forget the brand name, but I could find out if anyone's interested.

*We had no idea that it was fragrance sensitivities that were making my father sneeze so much, until he started using that shampoo. He had been going through at least a dozen handkerchiefs a week; all of a sudden that dropped to one or two per week.

#855 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2011, 05:08 PM:

Tomorrow at this time, I will have a grand piano.

I just like saying that.

#856 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2011, 05:13 PM:

Cadbury Moose @833: Thank you for that - I needed a good chuckle!

#857 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2011, 05:41 PM:

@853 Caroline

(I haven't yet found unscented shampoo and conditioner.)

I have used Neutrogena's unscented shampoo and conditioner.* I didn't much like how they left my hair, but I'll admit they lived up to the 'unscented' part.

*I had an allergic reaction to some fancy-foo shampoo/conditioner I got as part of a 'spa-basket' gift. I had to use a prescription on my hair (well, scalp) that left it wonderfully silky, and smelled a bit like a used hockey sock. After that was done, I switched to the Neutrogena, which smelled like nothing at all, and left my hair a tangled mess. I was very glad to go back to my cheap, boring shampoo & conditioner after all that!

#858 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2011, 06:14 PM:

Those pesky sneaky neutrinos may not have been traveling faster than light after all.

Looks like Einstein can relax

So much for my warp drive. :)

#859 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2011, 06:30 PM:

Scott Brown blames intern for plagiarism on website.

Even if the official explanation* is accurate... couldn't they find a template some other way than by swiping a rival's? I mean, there are companies that get PAID to create website templates! Oh, but I guess that would have meant supporting American jobs. Why pay a professional when you can do a quick-and-dirty cheat?

* Namely, that they were using Elizabeth Dole's website as a template, and some text was inadvertently left in place when it was copied over.

#860 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2011, 07:38 PM:

Caroline @853. Thanks. FWIW, my wife is already very well aware of them. It seems like we get a package every third day...

#861 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2011, 08:43 PM:

Rikibeth @850: Jim Macdonald's post How to Wash Your Hands does suggest using a dilute solution of bleach to clean surfaces, because more concentrated solutions will cause the germs to sporulate (as you had suggested).

#862 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2011, 09:04 PM:

Target has 'Suave Kids free and gentle', which is dye-free and only lightly scented. My system doesn't object to the fragrance.

#863 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2011, 11:04 PM:

Steve C. #858: The money quote: Simply put, the 60 nanosecond difference can be explained by the relativistic motion of the GPS satellites used to time the event.

And some yahoos still think science is just a matter of belief.... "It works, bitches!"

PS: Today's XKCD is cute, but damn, that hovertext is pretty depressing to someone who works in a used-book store!

#864 ::: Lenore Jean Jones/jonesnori ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2011, 12:24 AM:

I don't think anyone has mentioned my favorite moisturization technique. I use petroleum jelly, applied when the hands are still wet - a little dab to the back of the hands. Rub back of hands together, making sure to get some on the knuckles and between the fingers; avoid the palms and finger pads. Pat dry; don't rub or it will come off. It is, as you might expect, a little greasy, but not nearly as much as it would be if you put in on dry hands, and it's also more effective (you seal in the water). I use it all winter at home.

When I'm away from my house I keep a tube of Eucerin handy; it doesn't make me break out. I can also use the hypoallergenic version of Lubriderm - the one without lanolin. I don't like it much, though. I've also used the plainest Aveeno.

Oddly enough, I've never reacted (yet) to a shampoo or conditioner, but I often react to hand soaps, especially antibacterial ones, and hand creams, particularly with sustained use. It's possible that's because I don't shampoo nearly as often as I wash my hands.

I use Tussy deodorant, which is hard to find. I am allergic to the aluminum zirconium salts in 99% of anti-perspirants. The aluminum chlorhydrate in Tussy still irritates me somewhat, so I wash it off when I get home. Crystal deodorants don't irritate me, but I have a suspicion that they also don't work.

I don't have allergy issues breathing perfumes; my sensitivities are primarily contact-based.

#865 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2011, 12:39 AM:

I don't have terrible scent allergies, but my roommate has some sensitivities. We don't have smell in the laundry soap, but if I feel like I want a little hit of scent, I can always use a fabric softener in my loads. I'm generally OK with fragrance-free. We're doing OK with the scents in the Method line, and most of the simple green stuff is stink-free.

Right now I'm dealing with the opposite problem (warning: grossness! skip if you're easily disgusted!!!).
Ardala was sneaky on her post-prandial walk and managed to eat the slimiest, stinkiest poo ever. Attempting to remove it from her gaping maw only succeeded in getting in on my hand. It several hours later and I have now washed my hands thoroughly about 5 times, following up with a hit of the hand sanitizer gel each time. I no longer have any oil left at all in my hands (fingerprints are still there) but they still smell faintly of poo! Not happy!! Ardala also stinks (I may have attempted to reflexively wipe my hand on her fur) despite the doggie-wipes cleaning. I fed her a bit of turkey mixed with parsley in hopes that would help her poo-breath but she's going to have to sleep in the living room because she still stinks. Thank god she has her grooming appointment tomorrow. I hope they can get the stink out!

If anyone has any ideas about how to get the smell off me, I'm all ears.

#866 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2011, 12:49 AM:

nerdycellist, have you tried a little fresh lemon juice? It works for onions, maybe it would work for your problem.

#867 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2011, 12:50 AM:

Re deodorant allergies: around here (Cleveland area), the Degree brand has some deodorants based on silver chloride instead of the usual aluminum or aluminum/zirconium tetrachlorohydrate. I don't know how widely available they might be, though.

#868 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2011, 01:01 AM:

nerdycellist @ 865 : My brother's favorite method for getting nasty professional kitchen smells off his hands is to wash them with toothpaste. Sounds weird, works wonders.

#869 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2011, 01:12 AM:

A friend who needs to wash her hair daily (gushing oil, she says) has switched to home-made castille soap and a dilute vinegar rinse with good results. Thicker hair and less oil. In high school, beer was a popular rinse. Much the same as vinegar, but beer felt more daring. The smell dissipated quickly.

#870 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2011, 01:13 AM:

I don't know how well it works as a deodorizer, but I use damp, fresh coffee grounds as a hand cleaner when dealing with glue, grease, or other sticky stuff. I put the full, used coffee filter in a crock by the sink. Scoop up a half-handful and scrub away with my hands deep in the sink.

It's gritty, damp, oily, and "adsorbent" . . . all things that help get the gunk off. Leaves my hands smelling of coffee.

#871 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2011, 01:30 AM:

I don't have fresh lemon - I have "ReaLemon", whatever eldritch concatenation of lemon-esque chemicals that might be. Wonder if that will work?

The coffee grounds sound excellent. I'll try them tomorrow morning after I've had my cup.

#872 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2011, 01:44 AM:

ReaLemon™ is lemon juice and preservatives, not artificial.

#873 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2011, 02:35 AM:

Kip @ #855, that's wonderful.

#874 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2011, 03:25 AM:

Lee @ 859:

Wait, what? His defense against the charge of plagiarism is "I didn't write that autobiographical statement: I paid someone to put it together for me"?

#875 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2011, 03:28 AM:

Hey, the ReaLemon worked! Plus is made me smell fresh and lemony, and helped me discover several hangnails and scratches I was previously unaware of! I did finally find my beeswax-based hand lotion. It's in bar form and melts a bit with your body temperature. My hands are so raw from all the washing that the beeswax really helps.

Thanks all!

#876 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2011, 06:41 AM:

Are fanfic, media tie-in, genre, and self-published authors "real"? Aaron Allston's answer

#877 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2011, 07:33 AM:

I've been washing my hair with baking soda and conditioning with vinegar for a while now and it's been working well for me. Pretty much on a par with the handmade soap and vinegar rinse. I know someone else who uses citric acid for the conditioner--any mildly acidic thing will do to make the scales on the hair smooth down again and make the hair less likely to felt, I mean, tangle.

(why is it that both of my most active online communities are talking about fragrance sensitivities right now?)

#878 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2011, 08:53 AM:

HLN: Area man quite satisfied æsthetically with the sound of his latest composition.

#879 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2011, 08:54 AM:

Meta-HLN: Making Light gnomes find area man's link suspect.

#880 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2011, 10:36 AM:

Hm. I sometimes feel like I am the type of person who should use alternative hair products*, but the times I have, it's ended weirdly. All the long-hair advice is 'never ever wash it, and if it gets oily, wait it out until it's lustrous and beautiful' and that... well, I woke up this morning with Day 5 or 6 hair (I think 6 because I don't remember getting any comments about how long it is on Tuesday) and that's a new record. My hair felt lovely, was incredibly easy to brush, and looked like I'd put a quarter cup of coconut oil on it. I know people who can go a week without washing their hair with no visible change. I am not one of them.

So I probably won't try the various kitcheny shampoos, but it's good to know that they also work daily and as a detangler. I have been known to use... a lot of conditioner after a very stressful day. Because I can control if my hair is snarly in the shower.

*I don't actually mind using what I do-- Suave shampoo and conditioner, sometimes, if I have it, the Fancy Conditioner that costs more than a buck-fifty a bottle. I like how my hair is. But I have read enough things about long hair that say that oh, if only I did X, I'd have healthy hair, and I'm damaging it, and it's bad for the environment, and all the cool kids do X and have prettier hair, and honestly, it's exhausting having that much not-actually-peer pressure in my head.

#881 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2011, 10:42 AM:

Linkmeister, oh, yes! Yes it is! Piano time is now just about an hour and a half away. Ngongongong!

#882 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2011, 10:51 AM:

I was trying to grow my hair out all super-long, and those hair advices don't work for me. I have stick-straight, greasy hair. The longest I can go without shampooing is 3 days - and that's if the weather's been cool and I haven't exerted myself to add sweat to the grease mixture. Any longer and not only is my head miraculously adhesive, but it smells. Bad. Like people would notice it. But then I chemically process it (hair dye) anyway, so it's not that natural to begin with. I use super gentle phosphate free stuff, in tiny diluted amounts. The scent is not too strong, but sometimes I'm tempted to go back to the also gentle, phosphate free stuff that smelled of cloves and cinnamon.

I've compromised with length anyway. I think it's going to stay at about my shoulders. That way I can pull it up in a ponytail if I need to get it off my neck, but leave it down for fancyness. I did find that the long-hair peer-pressure about boar bristle brushes is right - it actually makes my second (or third) day hair look really nice and non-greasy.

#883 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2011, 12:25 PM:

nerdycellist @875 - maybe you could make a dilute lemon-water spray and see if that deodorizes your dog's coat. As long as it doesn't get on any of the wet bits, it shouldn't hurt her, and licking it off might help her breath.

Either that or give her more turkey with a refreshing lemon-parsley dressing...

#884 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2011, 02:28 PM:

Baldwin Model R, made in 1975. 4’9-1/2″ wide, 5’8″ long, 3’3″ tall, 658 pounds. It’s upstairs, acclimatizing, right over my head as I write this. I have a grand piano.

#885 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2011, 02:32 PM:

@884 Inquiring minds want to know how you got a grand piano upstairs.

Aside from "Carefully."

#886 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2011, 02:46 PM:

Do grand pianos have to acclimatize to their new surroundings, like goldfish to their new water?

Dog has been groomed and de-stinkified. Fortuitously, there is a laundromat across the street from the groomers, so we washed all her bedding while we waited.

#887 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2011, 02:57 PM:

Kip, 884: Congratulations!

#888 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2011, 03:06 PM:

One place along my former commute I'd regularly see two or three trucks from a piano moving company on the fringes of "Silicon Valley North". I asked one of the guys one day if they were moving servers now, and he said, no, it's all actual pianos, and they're quite busy. Was slightly boggled.

#889 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2011, 03:13 PM:

Steve @ #858
That's a pretty embarrassing "oops" to have made so much press with a honking big oversight. For one thing, that they weren't using independent time sources to synch with high accuracy. (n GPS satellites are not n sources, they are one. And one with known issues, at that.)

My local bus company bought cheap GPS receivers, that display uncorrected GPS time. The accumulated leap seconds are getting noticeable.

#890 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2011, 03:20 PM:

Thena, a moving team of three men — aided by me, when it looked like I could help — persuaded it to go up the six steps in the vestibule. Fortunately, it's a nice, open sort of place with a high ceiling and no severe walling-in of the steps.

nerdycellist, the piano is going to get used to its new environment for a while, though I can't resist playing it a little. It was rainy today, of course, but the piano was swaddled in movers' pads. Even so, it was distinctly humid on the case. By the time Art had attached the pedals and departed, it was already looking more dry and happy.

TexAnne, thanks! I'll be calling Dad up and thanking him once I've finished eating my lunch. (Dad, by the way, is a Texas boy, as was his dad. His grandparents were probably Texans as well. I do know that Grand-dad's grandfather came to Texas from somewhere else. His story is told in a chapter of a book of memoirs from Texas pioneers that I was able to find at Google Books.)

#891 ::: Lenore Jean Jones/jonesnori ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2011, 05:59 PM:

@867 geekosaur: I'll have to look at the Degree deodorants. Thanks!

#892 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2011, 06:34 PM:

Lenore Jean Jones/jonesnori @891:
Make sure to check the ingredients; most of them are the usual aluminum/zirconium business, the silver chloride ones are new. Around here the new ones have "Silver Ion Technology" on the front, but if it's a marketing trial (as seems likely) they may have different markings in other test markets.

(Cleveland seems to be a popular test market for some reason. There's constantly stuff on the shelves here that I've been unable to find in other markets, most of which vanishes without a trace after a few months.)

#893 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2011, 07:01 PM:


This is something I wondered about at the time of the Undabombing, and that I have been reminded of by the trial. I had thought that Muslim use of the Abdul ('abd-al-) prefix was always followed by one of the 99 Names of God, as in Abdullah, Abdul Karim, Abdurrahman, etc. What's the origin of Abdulmutallab?

#894 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2011, 08:10 PM:

HLN: Woman drops half-assembled dresser on her toe, spends Saturday evening knitting in a quiet ER. Further bulletins as events warrant.

#895 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2011, 09:00 PM:

TexAnne... Ow.

#896 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2011, 09:16 PM:

TxAnne @894: Ow! I dropped a ceramic piggy bank on my foot when I was very little, and the memory of that crash makes me cringe for your foot. I hope nothing is broken.

HLN: Area woman takes son, FG, and self on a five-plus mile bike ride, dines at Mongolian Grill for lunch, rides back, then takes son (alas, sans FG) to his afternoon soccer game, followed by a trip home for his shower and change into dress clothing, and thence to the Homecoming Dance. Area woman, quite tired, must still go back to get son from dance. When asked what the best part of the day had been, she replied immediately that "seeing my Fabulous Girlfriend for the first time in a week" was the highlight of her weekend, never mind the day.

#897 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2011, 09:53 PM:

TexAnne #894: That must have hurt like the blazes. My sympathies.

#898 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2011, 10:02 PM:

A further bulletin: toe not broken, dresser in pieces unintended by Ikea, shawl bigger, woman comforting herself with Chimay Bleue.

#899 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2011, 10:04 PM:

TexAnne @ 898... Maybe it's just me, but I thought that the style of the latest toe news was rather tarse.

#900 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2011, 10:26 PM:

Yay for whole toes, and for tasty beer.

#901 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2011, 11:59 PM:

In #884 Kip writes:

I have a grand piano.

Your piano has a grand pianist.

#902 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2011, 12:19 AM:

Truthiness Triumphant in Rick Perry's Texas:

Rick Perry officials spark revolt after doctoring environment report

Scientists ask for names to be removed after mentions of climate change and sea-level rise taken out by Texas officials

#903 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2011, 12:41 AM:

Inspired by an encounter with some Chariots of the Gods-style idiocy:

Higgledy piggledy
Erich von Daniken
Saw ancient astronauts
on ev'ry stone.

Super intelligent
visitors never will
leave us alone.

#904 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2011, 12:43 AM:

Thanks, Bill! I couldn't play as much as I wanted to today, but I did play the version of the Humming Chorus from Mme. Butterfly that I did for you and Colin that one time.

And now, here's something for all you Tintin fans (including me): fan-made unofficial credits for the upcoming Tintin movie that are elegant and stylish, and which make reference to all 24 Tintin adventures (including Alph-Art) in a minute twelve. I'd be on my feet clapping at the spot where James Curran signs his work. He gets it. He really gets it. Please, please, let the movie itself be even half this good. Sensawunda.

#905 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2011, 04:33 AM:

TexAnne @ 898: Sympathetic aaargh!, but glad to hear there's no break, and best wishes with the comfort.

#906 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2011, 10:07 AM:

Stefan @ #902: well, the only responsible thing for Perry to do now is to move the Governor's office to Galveston, and buy himself a beachfront house there. Without insurance, because it's just WRONG for some people to foot the bill for other people's problems.

#907 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2011, 11:06 AM:

Serge @899: Are you being ped-antic?

#908 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2011, 01:27 PM:

OT: Amusingly terse abstract.

#909 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2011, 01:47 PM:

TexAnne: Sympathies! Glad to hear it's not broken (the toe, that is).

Kip W: Enjoy the piano.

HLN: Woman marshals for local 10K race, in a place fairly near the start. Once released from marshalling duties, strips down to running gear, makes way to start and runs the route. Now has (unofficial) 10K time to target. Comments "Next year I'll run the race officially and faster!"

#910 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2011, 03:04 PM:

HLN: Local woman comes closer to a belief that the proposition that electrical devices are malign intelligences which sense weakness is not magical thinking but mere common sense.

In an interview, she said "Evidence dates back to the moment that a washing machine full of with two days worth of two toddlers worth of cloth diapers died at the end of the fill cycle. Other selected incidents include the pump dieing in the well the day before we were due to fly to London, and another washing machine biting the dust the night before my husband's back surgery. And then today, the freezer sensed it was full of food and the house was full of baby chicks and the yard was full of unfinished projects and a friend was driving down from north Seattle to help with the most unfinished of the unfinished projects and it stopped freezing things."

And yes, when under stress, this local woman actually speaks in italics.

#911 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2011, 03:17 PM:

JESR: yes, of course. How to fix? I'm going with propitiation: a little altar next to every electrical outlet.

#912 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2011, 05:16 PM:

JESR @910: Further evidence: kettles boil more slowly if you watch them. On the other hand, printers and photocopiers wait until you're just out of earshot (preferably having left said machine with a really large/urgent large print job to be going on with) then jam/run out of paper/run out of tonor/any combination of these.

#913 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2011, 05:39 PM:

dcb @ 912... The MythBusters once tested whether or not time flies when you're having fun.

#914 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2011, 07:06 PM:

I stopped running remote or after-hours print jobs because of that.

#915 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2011, 08:36 PM:

JESR @ 910... This local woman is a Bene Gesserit?

#916 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2011, 08:45 PM:

AKICIML: People sometimes complain that phones do so much nowadays it's difficult to find one that just does phone calls. My problem at the moment is the opposite: I would like to have a device that has the capabilities of the modern smartphone but doesn't do phone calls.

I used to have a nice one made by Hewlett-Packard, but apparently they've got out of the market.

Tablets are out; one of the capabilities I'm set on is the capability of fitting into a normal-sized pocket.

Since people around here a good about avoiding being hlepful, I'll note explicitly that on this occasion I'm willing to listen to explanations of why I should try a particular device even though it does do phone calls.

So, any suggestions?

#917 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2011, 09:01 PM:

Serge Broom, no, merely a stumpfarmer.

#918 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2011, 09:07 PM:

Paul A.@916: I haven't used one myself, but I gather an iPod Touch is basically an iPhone without the phone.

#919 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2011, 09:09 PM:

Paul A @916 -- I've been using an iPhone 3GS without having a phone or data plan, and it's quite serviceable that way. You don't have to pay for the phone part if you don't want it. I'm about to switch to using it for phone purposes because I'm getting my partner's old iPhone 4, and we can gang the service plan with the one on her new 4S and save money over what I'm paying for the simple phone (which I still prefer, but I also like saving money).

#920 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2011, 09:10 PM:

Addendum -- it works just fine with any wireless network, and I could skype with it if I wanted to call someone....

#921 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2011, 09:11 PM:

Paul A. @916:
Nokia's still got a few offerings in that space, but by and large it fizzled out, with one notable exception, and at the moment phones and tablets are about the only choices. It's a pity; Nokia had some good ideas, although poorly executed in the earlier go-rounds.

The exception is the iPod Touch. Whether you want to go there or not is of course a religious question all its own....

#923 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2011, 09:59 PM:

#904: That title sequence is wonderful.

#924 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2011, 10:27 PM:

Paul A. @#916

Many but not all parts and apps of my BlackBerry work just fine with the phone side turned off - there's a control panel applet to turn on and off the three separate radios, cellular, WiFi and Bluetooth. But it definitely has a phone if you choose to use it/buy a plan.

#925 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2011, 11:00 PM:

Adding another "Spiff!" to the kudos for the title sequence in 904.

#926 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 01:19 AM:

Paul A. @916, I do have an iPod Touch, and it pretty much DOES do all of the shiny things that a very clever phone will do, without the phone calls. For some of them, it helps to have wifi available; some functions are perfectly operational even when not connected to the internet.

I can speak especially well of the mapping capability. If you look up a route when you are connected, the directions will stay cached while you drive even with no wifi.

I have it primarily so that I have a calendar application on something that's entertaining enough for me to WANT to carry it around all the time, so the fact that I can also carry my entire music library, a bunch of Kindle books, and Plants vs. Zombies on it makes it more certain that I'll use the calendar.

#927 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 01:24 AM:

John #922: Not knitters -- embroiderers! Is anyone selling that as a t-shirt?

#928 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 09:47 AM:

Who's lying about what? . ....

CIA's Account of 9/11 Under Attack

By Rory O'Connor and Ray Nowosielski, Salon

16 October 11

...growing number of former government insiders - all responsible officials who served in a number of federal posts - are now on record as doubting ex-CIA director George Tenet’s account of events leading up to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States...

Teresa's comment made years ago about resenting being turned into someone who sounds like a conspiracy nut, applies more than ever.... I remain unconvinced of the FBI, or at least top levels of it, being ignorant of the threat posed by the Al Qaida jihadis taking flight lessons in the USA--as I keep so tediously repeating, two separate FBI field offices got told to cease and desist investigation of the suspicious to the field offices' personnel foreign nationals with no innocuous explanations obvious as to a)why they were in the USA taking jumbo jet flying lessions, b)where funding came from and why to pay their expenses for living in the USA and taking flight lesson, c) the occupant of the White House's' obdurate refusal regarding getting any briefing about the threat from Al-Quaida and begrudgingly finally acceeding to scheduling one for September 12, was it, 2001, having first scheduled his taking off the entire summer for vacation.... (meanwhile, there was condemnation of Pres Obama for taking a week or two of vacation on a Massachusetts island... what, someone who's affluent shouldn't/can't take a vacation in the USA on a Massachusetts island, but it's okay for s different president to have taken the entire SUMMER off on vacation in Texas?

As for the CIA, wasn't George Herbert Walker Bush was once the head of it?

#929 ::: Jon Baker ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 10:06 AM:

Amazon is starting to act as a publisher, reports the NY Times. No advance, but you also get a semi-traditional contract and don't have to pony up initial expenses.

#930 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 12:08 PM:

Anybody out there got a good recipe for prickly pear?

#931 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 12:15 PM:

I grew up with them growing by our driveway, and we never figured out what to do with them, Jacque. Short answer: not me!

#932 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 01:28 PM:

Jacque @ 930... Prickly pears usually are a recipe for disaster.

#934 ::: Syd sees spam-like material ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 03:31 PM:

In Spanish, at 936. Not as exotic as Russian, but hey, canned meat product is canned meat product...

#935 ::: praisegod barebones sees Spanish Spam ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 03:38 PM:

The spam in Spain can be removed without too much pain.

#936 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2012, 10:40 AM:

Regarding "throw off the bowlines" quote, attributed to Mark Twain:

I found it on page 13 of P.S. I Love You by H. Jackson Brown. Up in #233 I cited a date of 1999 for it; in fact, the book (ISBN 1558530711) first appeared in 1990.

I was led to this corrected date by a helpful page at The Quote Investigator, written a week or so after we were discussing the misquotation here.

No one can find an earlier date, particularly not among the writings Mark Twain left behind.

I attended a talk yesterday in which the speaker flashed this quote up in Powerpoint. I resisted the urge to leap to my feet and shout "Wait! Mark Twain didn't say that!"

Smaller type (our default)
Larger type
Even larger type, with serifs

Dire legal notice
Making Light copyright 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 by Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden. All rights reserved.