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January 21, 2012

Open Thread 169
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 07:14 PM *

War had come to an end, but famine came in its place. There were three men who each stole a sack of corn from different owners, but they were all caught. The first owner brought his thief to the judge, and the maidens said everywhere that he had done right. The second owner took the corn away from his thief and let him go in peace. The maidens said he has done well. The third owner went to the thief’s house, and when he saw what misery was there, he went and brought a waggon-load of necessaries to relieve their distress. Frya’s maidens came around him and wrote his deed in the eternal book, and wiped out all his sins. This was reported to the Eeremoeder, and she had it made known over the whole country.

(From The Oera Linda book: from a manuscript of the thirteenth century. Cornelis Over de Linden, Jan Gerhardus Ottema. Trübner & Co., London, 1876)

Continued from Open Thread 168. Continued in Open thread 170.
Comments on Open Thread 169:
#1 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2012, 07:37 PM:

The law in its infinite wisdom, eh?

#2 ::: Chris Lawson ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2012, 07:50 PM:

What a great story.

#3 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2012, 08:28 PM:

What memory paints is never truly told
yet what we find are more than ghosts of care
since every sunset turned the green trees gold.

We do our best to praise and not to scold,
to bring about a time that is more fair,
what memory paints is never truly told;

there was less good in crazy days of old
when crudity and harshness were laid bare
since every sunset turned the green trees gold

we thought less then of hearts cruel and cold
ruling a world in fetters of despair,
what memory paints is never truly told

but now the tale is starting to unfold
the outline's wholly visible out there
since every sunset turned the green trees gold.

There's no more talk of how much has been sold
nor or the price to put upon the air;
what memory paints is never truly told
since every sunset turned the green trees gold.

#4 ::: Rob Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2012, 10:02 PM:

This story inspired me to look up the Parable of the Good Samaritan on Wikipedia (here).

It is intriguing to read about the theologians who strained and stretched to turn the parable into an allegory about the return of Christ. As if they could not admit that one of Jesus' primary concerns were the poor and the wretched.

#5 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2012, 10:06 PM:

It says something about my participation here that when I got QTLEBOV as my letter-tray in a popular online scrabble-like game, I had to blink away an instinctive, "Why are you being mean to Nancy, stupid letters?" reaction.

#6 ::: Sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2012, 11:33 PM:

From the last open thread:
PJ Evans @ 870 - wait, you have a K5A too? My parents heard my "I want more tools for my mixer for Christmas please!" and ended up at a kitchenaid outlet store somewhere in the carolinas in Dec. The sales guy was...very confused about the model number. I have a dough hook and the paddle now. Previously, I just had the whisk.

If one can find a running K5A or equiv., one should pick it up. My grandmother taught food preservation (freezing/canning) at NYU in the late 40s, and swore by this very mixer. I have yet to find something that makes it even pause, including hard cookie doughs and massive amounts of bread. Heavy, steel, space-hog that it is.

#7 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 01:12 AM:

Rob, #4: All too often, they still can't.

#8 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 01:22 AM:

Jules, 168/920: Hmmm. Although I appreciate the recommendation, given that this isn't a real project, just goofing around with something for a storyline in my head, I'm not enthusiastic about spending money for software to do it. Would you happen to know of any freeware packages of that nature? They don't have to be high-end by any means -- this is mostly a case of "I'm too lazy to want to do this with pencil and graph paper."

#9 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 01:23 AM:

Tweet of the Day:

"Tonight South Carolina passed a referendum saying it's okay to cheat on your wife as long as you're sufficiently racist." -- Frank Coniff

#10 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 01:55 AM:

Lee @8: I resemble your remark (and having just purchased a new house and wanting to play Furniture Tetris with virtual items or paper inSTEAD of full-scale, full-weight ...), and am watching responses too.

#11 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 02:13 AM:

When people ask me about simple 3D modelling packages, I say "Sketchup." I know this is irony in this thread -- but it's the only one that I *didn't* bounce off of like a brick wall. (I did eventually make a little progress learning Blender, but it was *much harder* to do the first thing.)

Unfortunately I can't recall my exact learning process for Sketchup for you. I think I started with , which is halfway down their "getting started guide", but it successfully got me to do the first thing, which was to make a brick. Then I made some cylinders and a dome (next item on the "getting started" index) and after that it was all detail work.

#12 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 02:17 AM:

Stefan Jones @ #9, I'll see your Tweet of the Day and raise:

Tweet from Jesse Taylor (@pandagon)

"Given what South Carolina did tonight to keep a black man in office, I think they've atoned for any previous racism."

#13 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 02:34 AM:

Andrew Plotkin @11: And if the third dimension is not necessary (i.e. one wants to draw on virtual graph paper), what would be good for that?

#14 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 03:42 AM:

HLN: Local area woman is offered bribes of housecleaning in trade for running a small house-LARP. Woman's friends immediately propose rules and setting modifications to reward in-game babysitting.

Woman is overheard commenting that it's nice to finally be getting back to normal...

#15 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 07:50 AM:

Andrew Plotkin... simple 3D

There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call The Twilight Zone.

#16 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 09:52 AM:

AKICIML: I know that Colleen, Sheila, and Donna are all names that mean "woman", essentially. Are there other such names? And are there male equivalents? (The closest I can think of is the military nicknames--Joe for America, Tommy for England, Jerry for Germany.)

#17 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 09:57 AM:

B. Durbin: Carl reputedly means 'manly'. And I know it used to be used as a particle (as in housecarl) just meaning 'dude'.

#18 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 10:13 AM:

Elliott Mason (10): A low-tech solution: When trying out furniture configurations for my apartment, I draw the room(s) very precisely on graph paper (including doors, windows, radiators, etc.), then cut out (and label!) exactly proportional rectangles to represent each furniture piece. Shuffling the furniture-bits around on the graph paper is much, much easier than moving the actual furniture, and I don't have to keep erasing and redrawing for each new configuration.

#19 ::: CCClaudia ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 10:17 AM:

B. Durbin: "Adam" means "man," in Hebrew, though the story and the history of other people with the name overshadow the literal meaning of the name pretty strongly. And there are people who name their sons "Guy."

#20 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 10:17 AM:

B. Durbin (16): Adam means 'man'. Does Nina actually mean 'little girl' or does it just look that way?

#21 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 10:43 AM:

Stefan and Linkmeister: I liked Jon Stewart's comment when Ron Paul was roundly reviled by the SC audience when saying we should treat other countries as we'd want to be treated. "You heard correctly. South Carolina just booed the Golden Rule."

B. Durbin @16: How about Manny? (And I was going to say Guy as well. Too slow again.)

Mary Aileen: Nina means "fine linework" — okay, okay, it doesn't. It's a Hirschfeld joke.

#22 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 10:47 AM:

And Andrew means "manly." (Rrrr.)

#23 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 11:12 AM:

CCClaudia @19:
And there are people who name their sons "Guy."

Being rather dull and prosaic, it's kind of the other way 'round.

Guy is short for Guido, a variant of William. It only became slang for "man" when one Guido Fawkes, in the pursuit of his political agenda, made himself the prototype of generations of stuffed dummies: Guys.

#24 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 11:20 AM:

Abi @ 23... Guy is short for Guido, a variant of William

Guido the Conqueror?
Also known as Guillaume le Conquérant, in Français.

#25 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 11:45 AM:

But it became slang for 'man' long before anyone in recent centuries named their son Guy.

(Guido the Guy reminds me of that famous tourist's assistant, Guido the Guide. And his successor, Son of Guido.)

#26 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 11:47 AM:

When I want to draw on virtual graph paper, I fire up Inkscape ( and turn on the "grid" option in the view menu.

#27 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 12:02 PM:

Mary Aileen @18: Yes, the point was to avoid me having to find my graph paper (and spoiling several sheets while I start and restart my diagrams). :->

My grandmother was an interior designer. She had the most amazing set of stencils, all in a set scale, with cutouts of different couch shapes, tables, chairs, in footprint, for drawing on room plans.

#28 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 12:39 PM:

Kip W... Guido the Guileless or Guido the Guilty?

#29 ::: Brenda Kalt ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 12:53 PM:

Feeling chatty but have nothing interesting to say. . .

#30 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 01:52 PM:

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the metonymous "Dick"....

#31 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 01:55 PM:

In the after-concert socializing last night a friend whose classes have resumed shared this bit with me re his freshman students.

Somehow or other he used Romney as an example of something in one of his classes. He recalled that one cannot take for granted anything that one of his age knows as a matter of course. So he asked the class, "You know who Romney is?"

A lot of blank stares, then one student says, "Isn't he one of those white dudes who wants to president or something?"

His freshman are so young and thus non-historical* that a lot of them take for granted that the office of the POTUS being held by a black person is a matter of course.

Love, C.

* As this is the music department and most of the music majors are either planning to be djs, hiphop producers or have gospel and church music as their career path, he gets frustrated at this non-historical consciousness in music as well. Despite what a lot of people might think, these kids don't the history of the music they want to make either, past what they came to consciousness knowing.

#32 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 01:58 PM:

Tom @30:

Or, in Britain, "Willy".

#33 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 01:59 PM:

Elliot Mason @ 10 & Mary Aileen @ 18:

Mary Aileen's process is one I've seen used in professional settings as well. The pieces can be marked up, colour-coded, etc, in as much detail as you like, and for added stability, spray the back of the paper that you drew your pieces on with photo-mount glue before you cut them out. You can then place and peel them many times, and they won't drift away in between.

It's a low-cost, soothing activity, and every skill needed is one you learned in kindergarten.

#34 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 02:15 PM:

abi @32: Or my husband's classmate's brother, Peter Head. His parents were British by extraction, they had no excuse.

His younger brother (who was friends with my husband in high school) was Matthew, but was universally renamed 'Ned' for the rhyme by his classmates early on.

#35 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 02:44 PM:

And there's "Jack", which supposedly comes from the 14th century as a term for "any common fellow". It's interesting how that came to be a term for a mechanical device, and then came to be associated with masturbation.

#36 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 03:06 PM:

B. 16: I know that Colleen, Sheila, and Donna are all names that mean "woman", essentially.

Well...kind of. 'Colleen' is derived from a phrase that literally means "little hag," though it's not nearly as negatively connoted as that makes it sound. And I was taught that 'Sheila' is a Gaelicization of the Roman name 'Julia'. It's come to mean "woman" now though.

Kip 21: How about Manny?

Usually short for Manuel or Emmanuel, which means "God with us."

#37 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 05:25 PM:

Abi @ 32... Chilly Willy?

#38 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 05:27 PM:

I wonder what the Trickles were thinking when they named their son Richard.

#39 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 05:38 PM:

Serge @37:

Let's just say that the film title "Free Willy" caused a lot of stifled giggles in the UK. A lot.

#40 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 05:49 PM:

Abi... Oh right... The other meaning was recently brought to my attention.

#41 ::: Jordin ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 06:14 PM:

Elliott Mason @ #13: You don't mention whether you're on a PC or Mac. I've recently become enamored of EazyDraw as a 2-D drawing program, and I'd recommend it for "drawing on virtual graph paper" but it's only available for OS-X. It's $95, but you can download a trial version for free that has all the features except that it limits you to something like 50 objects, and you can get a 9-month trial of the full program for $20.

I tried out several cheap (relative to Adobe Illustrator) drawing programs before settling on EazyDraw; there are definite differences in features and "feel". What sold me on EazyDraw was that it has builtin tools for drawing mathematical curves: parabolas, sine waves, Gaussians, etc., with handles to directly adjust things like the frequency and phase of sine waves and the width of Gaussians. (Not something most people need, I suppose, but a source of great joy and delight to a physicist.) But it also seems to (usually) work very intuitively for me* -- YMMV.

*And when it doesn't work the way I expect, the online help and/or the manual have been very helpful, unlike, say, Microsoft Office help.

#42 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 06:52 PM:

abi 39: Let's just say that the film title "Free Willy" caused a lot of stifled giggles in the UK.

There was a guy at my gym who had a "Free Willy" which he'd added "Limit one per customer."

#43 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 07:05 PM:

I made fruitcake this morning. Nuts, candied fruit, rum, that sort of thing.

I'm used to waiting before trying out my own baked creations, but in this case I have to wait ten weeks.

Since I had the blender and measuring stuff out, and the over on, I also made two ordinary mix cakes to bring to work tomorrow.

#44 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 07:24 PM:

You know what? I feel nothing. Don't feel victory, don't feel schadenfreude, certainly don't feel sorry for him. For his family, maybe. Not for him.

#45 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 07:24 PM:

Serge@24: Guido the Conqueror? Also known as Guillaume le Conquérant, in Français.

"Or," to quote a professor of my acquaintance, "as those of us in Anglo-Saxon Studies call him, William the Bastard."

(Actually, "Guido/Guy" has a separate etymology from "Guillaume", even though they're both originally Germanic; the former is from Wido and the latter from Wilhelm. You can find the name "Guy" in the US in Francophone populations -- our local grocer's first name is "Guy", for example.)

#46 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 07:26 PM:

This is clearly the sort of thread where I should mention my friends the Johnson Brothers: Peter, Willy, Douglas, Clyde, John-Thomas and, of course, Dick.

#47 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 07:30 PM:

My favorite of the phallic names belongs to a family friend: Dick Held

#48 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 07:35 PM:

re: Rob Thorton's #4, one of my published short stories was a retelling of the Good Samaritan parable as a mystery/detective story.

"The Rest of the Story" in Highwaymen!, edited by Jennifer Roberson (DAW Books, 1997).

Pretty good story, if I say so myself.

And I am astonished that "new" copies of the anthology on Amazon are being offered at about $50, and by one seller at $267. (Used reading copies are available for a penny.)

#49 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 07:38 PM:

re Benjamin Wolfe's #47, there was also the occasional ANALOG contributor Peter Manly.

#50 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 07:49 PM:

One of my coworkers, years ago, called a new coworker Richard, even though he'd introduced himself as Dick. "I just can't bring myself to call someone Dick," he told me.

Two weeks later, the new coworker's character having been revealed, he was calling him Dick without so much as danglin' his foot near the brake.

#51 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 07:50 PM:

Elliott Mason #34: About twenty years ago (in the summer of 1992, in fact) I met a chap from Australia named Richard Head. I seriously wondered what his parents were thinking.

#52 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 07:54 PM:

There was the immortal moment in cricket commentary when Christopher Martin-Jenkins announced (covering a test match between England and the West Indies) "the bowler's Holding, the batsman's Willey". This had a large part of the listenership in England in stitches.

#53 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 08:01 PM:

pericat @ 33:
Elliot Mason @ 10 & Mary Aileen @ 18:M/em>

Mary Aileen's process is one I've seen used in professional settings as well. The pieces can be marked up, colour-coded, etc, in as much detail as you like, and for added stability, spray the back of the paper that you drew your pieces on with photo-mount glue before you cut them out. You can then place and peel them many times, and they won't drift away in between.

I've tried using Visio for furniture layouts, and found that I preferred scale drawings on grid paper, and cut-out furniture. I used a Post-it Note gluestick on the back of the furniture. I did this for changes at home, and for (smallish) spaces at work. It was most valuable at work. Presented with a Visio file, people tended to look at it onscreen, and not mess with it. Gathered around a table with moveable bits of paper, they moved things around, talked, and reached a much better solution.

#54 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 08:09 PM:

Add one to the sins of Newt Gingrich: forcing me to agree with Chris Christie. Except that I don't think Newt could beat Barry O in the general, and I don't think it's a bad thing that Newt embarrasses the party.

#55 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 08:15 PM:

On the naming subthread, I simply note that the spouse and I have agreed that upon spawning, any boys will have my last name, and girls will get his. Because there are some family names that are just more difficult for a girl while growing up. As I am well aware.

#56 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 08:25 PM:

#55: You've GOT to name a son Max . . .

#57 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 08:26 PM:

Serge @28: Guido the Guide. (See also: deadpan, perfection)

#58 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 08:29 PM:

There's also the name "Homer," especially if the last name is "Sapiens." Ecce Homer!

#59 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 08:30 PM:

And let's not forget the guy who chose this moniker: Peter O'Toole.

#60 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 08:30 PM:

...I always thought 'ecce homo' meant "ybbx ng gur snttbg."

#61 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 09:03 PM:

Stefan Jones @56: I was playing the 'pornstar name' game with some coworkers when I worked a phone bank (the recipe we were using was "Your first/favorite pet, street you grew up on"). We all agreed that the guy who came out as Rex Clark was far and away the winner, especially since he could do a plummy old-timey-radio-announcer voice and pretend he was introducing a hard-bitten detective story starring same.

Mine's either Lucy Fairfield or Sydney Clybourn, depending which 'my' and which 'grew up' you pick ... the joys of a divorced family.

Buttons Claribel (who was a rather large man) was acclaimed by all to have the 'worst' one, aside from the guy whose last name came out '95th,' which is just unfair.

#62 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 09:06 PM:

Xopher HalfTongue: I am often amused and becroggled at the fact that Torontonians have no problem calling the kind of milk I grew up calling "2%" ... Homo Milk. Says so right on the cartons, in the store, in big sans-serif type.

#63 ::: Pfusand ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 09:22 PM:

So... Guy Williams was sort of William Williams. Sigh. That's right down there with John Johnson.

Graph paper! No longer do we have to fear using up the last of our graph paper. Go to the search engine of your choice and type in "graph paper". You will be rewarded with a fine selection of web sites that will permit you to select from a wide array of grid sizes and styles, which you can then just send to your printer.

#64 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 09:38 PM:

And, if you want to actually spend money, there's a software product called Print-A-Grid that does a nice job of graph paper on standard-sized sheets. As long as you want squares or rectangles, anyway, and run some version of Windows it recognizes.

#65 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 09:56 PM:

Pfusand @63: Ian Johnson always reminded me of Torpenhow Hill.

#66 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 09:56 PM:

Yeah, porn names can be interesting. I grew up with middle-name/street you grew up on, with occasional pets' names thrown in. Rose Pleasant sounds like a children's book character, Ceiba Pleasant like someone got confused when naming the character. We agreed that one family in my high school had the best slash worst, living on Rt 20.

#67 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 10:01 PM:

Elliott, I was once a bit startled to see "LOL HOMO" on my grocery receipt. Put out, too, until I realized it was for Land O' Lakes Homogenized Milk.

#68 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 10:33 PM:

Homo around here in Canada is 3.5%*; 2% is 2%. If we're talking milk, anyway.

Oddest dairy designation I have learned in North America is "blend", as in

Add a 1/2 cup of blend
Turned out to be what we call "Half and Half", 10% butterfat cream.

A runner up is the recently introduced "dark chocolate milk."

* Butterfat, that is. Some homogenized milk in Canada is "unspecified" or natural butterfat content. That runs around 3.5%.

#69 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 11:04 PM:

Henry #68: we call it half and half in the US, too. I've never heard it called "blend" -- maybe that's a Canadian term? On the other hand, I don't even want to think about "fat-free half and half," although I see it in the supermarket.

#70 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2012, 11:30 PM:

That's right up there with 'fat-free cream cheese'. Or even 'low-fat cream cheese'. (Which both exist.)

#71 ::: Emma in Sydney ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 12:11 AM:

Fragano @51, at one time we had two state parliamentarians named Richard Face and Richard Head. Mr Face was actually named John R Face, but he went by 'Dick'. They both chose a public career, which I think was courageous, under the circumstances.

#72 ::: Keith Kisser ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 12:19 AM:

Luckily, my mom talked my dad out of naming me Richard.

#73 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 02:15 AM:

And then there are the unfortunate combinations that result from marriage. One couple whom I've known for many years (they're both software engineers; we've worked together at several companies) chose to arrange their hyphenated name as Wirfs-Brock, because doing it the other reminded everyone of deli meat.

#74 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 02:18 AM:

My parents knew a couple whose last names were Hyman and Abuser (I shit you not). They decided to forego an engagement announcement, which at the time was always the two last names with a hyphen between them. Neither combination really sounded all that good.

#75 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 02:20 AM:

And on another topic, I'm disgusted and slightly amazed by the people defending Joe Paterno. Sorry, but if he wasn't a good man in life (and I think he wasn't), dying doesn't make him one.

#76 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 03:03 AM:

Ping Teresa: from Clockwork Con, a plush hamster in a steampunk outfit. I'm told he even has his own gun, although he wasn't wearing it at the time.

#77 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 06:49 AM:

Emma in Sydney #71: Ouch.

Going in the other direction: Twenty years ago, when I was engaged in research in Surinam, people told me there was one politician in the country who everybody thought of as honest, above-board, and of exemplary integrity. His name: Fred Playfair.

#78 ::: LMM ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 07:06 AM:

@43: I brought the last of my Christmas fruitcake to an SCA social yesterday. It went over quite well.

Ten weeks is a bit of a wait (she says, having made one batch of fruitcakes) -- how many did you make?

#79 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 07:28 AM:

P J Evans #70: On the other hand, neufchatel isn't bad.

Bruce Cohen #73: I recall one marriage of an Iranian immigrant and a Germanic-descended American. They could not get their surnames to play nice with each other, nor either's with the other's given name. They wound up inviting suggestions for a married name from the mailing list we all socialized on. (The one they picked was quite nice, actually.)

#80 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 08:04 AM:

Xopher @ #67, that made me LOL for real!

Combining surnames: my kids went to school with kids whose parents, surnamed Helfman and Meyer, had both taken and passed down "Helfmeyer". I thought that was pretty elegant, and avoided the accumulating-more-names-with-every-passing-generation problem.

#81 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 08:07 AM:

Oops. That should have been Frank Playfair. Dratted memory.

#82 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 08:33 AM:

Debra Doyle @ #45:

I read somewhere once that he actually preferred "William the Bastard". I don't know if it's true, but the reason adduced was that his bastardry was an acknowledged fact that hadn't done his career any harm, whereas calling him "the Conqueror" made him out to have taken England by force, when his preferred spin was that he was king of England by right and that unpleasant business at Hastings was only necessary because Harold tried to steal it from him.

#83 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 09:01 AM:

Open Threadiness: an inspiring Dave Brubeck video to brighten an otherwise unpromising day.

#84 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 09:11 AM:

I wonder what the Trickles were thinking when they named their son Richard.

And being in the US while someone called Rich Pratt was running his election campaign was a very special experience...

#85 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 09:35 AM:

Lee (76): That is incredibly cute.

#86 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 10:05 AM:

Open threadiness:

My Dad just sent me this article: The New American Divide in the Wall Street Journal. (Link should work - although the WSJ has a paywall, I don't have a subscription and this link worked for me. Dad has one, and sends me links from his iPad all the time.)

My Dad is rather conservative, and I'm rather less so, so I have a hard time seeing things the same way he does. I'm having trouble unpacking this article - I can't tell whether the author is saying "The whole problem in this country is lazy folk who won't get jobs, go to church, and stay married!" or something more subtle/less blame-y. Is this an example of dog-whistling, or is it too blatant for that? Or am I reading from an "excessively liberal bias"? Or missing something else entirely?

The question/article seemed broader than the political open thread, but if it should be punted over there, that's fine.

NB: I'm a relatively infrequent commenter, so if I don't respond right away, I'm not ignoring you, I just don't have time to post right then. I do read dang near every word posted to this site, though!

#87 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 10:27 AM:

On the subject of "names the juxtaposition of which provides amusement", there was in my congressional district, a few years back, a contest between Mr. Goode and Mr. Weed.

Amusement was provided.

#88 ::: Susie ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 10:36 AM:

Lila, 83: Made my morning! Thank you!

#89 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 11:52 AM:

cajunfj40, #96: Well, here's one huge problem with that article:
It's not that white working class males can no longer make a "family wage" that enables them to marry. The average male employed in a working-class occupation earned as much in 2010 as he did in 1960.

Why is that a problem? Because (1) there are proportionately many fewer such occupations available now, after decades of job-exporting, so that many working-class men are unable to find jobs at all; and (2) expenses have risen much more than wages over the past 50 years, so that a man making as much in 2010 as he did in 1960 (even adjusted for inflation) has less than half the buying power he did then. Failing to mention either of those factors makes that statement a flat-out lie.

There are a lot of other problems, but I don't want to be greedy. :-)

#90 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 12:14 PM:

Mary Aileen @ 18 I do that too. Measure the rooms/furniture in inches and draw them in millimetres and you don't even need to do any calculations!

#91 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 12:24 PM:

Help! I've just been given a new laptop for work (which is good, because my old one just died and really my netbook is not up to being used as a desktop-replacement laptop).

HOWEVER, it's using Windows 7. So far, I loathe it - I use XP in Classic View and I can't work out how to control 7 at all. What does it even mean by "show as link" versus "show as menu"? Can someone please direct me to somewhere I can find this stuff. For example, what are "Libraries" and how do those differ from Folders within My Documents?

Any assistance greatly appreciated because so far this shiny new expensive machine is about as much use to me as a shiny new brick...

#92 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 12:29 PM:

Cajunfj40, @86: I think that article does a good job of pointing at certain trends, but its conclusions/recommendations don't follow very well from its observations. There's no connection between them, as far as I can tell.

#93 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 12:44 PM:

Is it stereotyping to point out that the author of The New American Divide is the co-author of The Bell Curve?

#94 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 12:48 PM:

dcb @ 91:

AFAICT (writing from a laptop that also has Windows 7*), "Libraries" contains the folders that used to be called "My Documents", "My Pictures", "My Music", and "My Videos", now cleverly labeled as "Documents", "Music", "Videos", and "Pictures". It's just a different way of navigating to the folders you've always had (and in my case, never used until now).

I'm not sure about "Show as Link" versus "Show as Menu" - can you provide more context?

*An improvement over Windows Vista, although not over XP.

#95 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 01:01 PM:

After nearly 10 years in L.A. without one, it is becoming time for me to purchase a car.

This will be the first car I have purchased, and I have decided to go with a certified used model. My CU just sent me a postcard letting me know I'm pre-approved for a loan about twice what I'm willing to pay for a vehicle, and I'm thinking of going with the Costco Auto program, wherein they negotiate a low price with a dealer and I'd just have to show up and test drive. I hate the haggling BS. So does anyone have any advice - helpful or hlepful - about the process?

#96 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 01:15 PM:


Murray has been thinking about this for awhile now, writing periodic articles, and sometimes writing books. I don't think he's dogwhistling at all--he's saying what he believes.

The core of what he's saying is this: The families and neighborhoods of successful upper-middle class people and working-class people have become a whole lot more different, over the last 30 years or so, and this is largely working out badly for the working class people. He's limiting his observations to whites so he can focus on the class issues without having them confounded by racial/ethnic differences.

I haven't tried to delve deeply into this, but it looks plausible to me. A lot of this seems to be driven by two things:

a. Much more choice and freedom--you can organize your life in ways more to your liking in much bigger ways now than 30 or 40 years ago, for good and for bad. The same increase in social permissiveness that lets middle-class lesbian couples live together openly and raise kids, also lets some guy father three kids by three different mothers. The same increased choices that let me get news and commentary from multiple different countries in two languages also allows someone else to get no news, ever. And so on.

b. There's this re-enforcing effect of social class and occupation. Most people who go to college and end up married met their spouse at college or at work, so people with similar intelligence and education often end up married. One result is that it's easy to be quite distant from people with different backgrounds--how many people do you interact with on a daily basis who haven't read a book since high school, or who would have found getting through college an incredibly demanding, barely-possible ordeal?

My not-all-that-informed take is that the statistics on the divergence between educated and working class people are real, but that his precise diagnosis of the causes are a lot more speculative. But I haven't read his book, so maybe he does have strong evidence there that I just haven't seen yet.

#97 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 01:27 PM:

When the subject of interesting names came up, my mom would always bring up the time she worked as a nurse's aide at a local hospital (local to her in Tulsa) either during or just after high school, and how everyone in the place would have to stifle giggles when, over the intercom, would come a page for "Dr. Dangler, Dr. Harry Dangler!"

#98 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 01:47 PM:

nerdycellist @ 95, I'm in a networking group with an auto broker who might be able to give you some assistance in your quest. My understanding is that the service to you would be free, and everything I've heard him say indicates he's more interested in getting clients the cars they want--including used cars--at the best price, than in pushing particular makes or models.

If you'd like to get in touch with him, his name is Michael Cole, and he's with the Greg Gill Company. Email is michael (at) thegreggillcompany (dot) com, phone is 323 929 2277 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              323 929 2277      end_of_the_skype_highlighting. Just tell him Syd from his BNI chapter sent you. :)

#99 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 01:56 PM:

Cajunfj40 - not being American all I know about Murray is the bell curve racism. So I think he concentrates on whites because thats who he cares about and is familiar with. Whether or not that amounts to deliberate racism or not I don't quite know. Moreover he could easily turn round and say "This is the perfect prescription for blacks and mexicans, if only they'd be like us white people everything would be fine."

I too found the article difficult to comprehend. Further to Lee at #89, there is also the consideration that productivity has vastly increased since 1960 so why is the pay still the same? Where's the extra productivity gone? Why, into the pockets of the top 0.1 or 0.5% of the population, as shown in graphs all over the internet.

So in effect what he is calling for is more social involvement by rich people. He has nothing more than a call to action to counterpoint the prevailing social, political and economic trends. I almost admire him for the weird combination of romanticism and idealism that he shows. BUt then I consider that even if his call to arms was effective, it wouldn't actually result in the proper redistribution of resources and power that is required.

Other problems are that he seems to be blaming the media for all the problems and as we know the media are all liberal weirdos pushing sex and drugs on our children. Never mind the rapacious corporations that are behind it all and the total lack of actual liberal values in them.

#100 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 02:07 PM:

#86 I read the Murray article a few days back, and it set off alarms.

Yes, not having a strong, intact family can be a bad thing, economically.

But he seems to be trying awfully hard to make that the sole, central difference between Then, when everyone was happy and prosperous, and Now, when the damned immoral underclass is dragging us all down thank you very much damn moral relativist free-love Sixties!

In the end, it's Newt Fodder.

#101 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 02:14 PM:

albatross, cajun:

The fact of decreasing socioeconomic mobility and many of the mechanisms by which it occurs don't seem terribly controversial (outside of politics). The idea that stopping "non-judgementalism" among the wealthy is more useful than economic changes is, to put it mildly, more controversial.

I think a respectable left-wing position would be that the parts of the change that are bad are mostly driven by economic changes and can be ameliorated by economic policy, and that comparisons with the previous periods of high inequality (the Gilded Age) would be helpful. * For example, see John Quiggin's book "Zombie Economics" ( the sections on the Great Moderation and on Trickle-down). [You can read the online draft]. Quiggin is unabashedly left-wing, but a serious economist.

[*] To the point, but unfortunately apocryphal:
Fitzgerald: The rich are different than you and me.
Hemingway: Yes, they have more money.

#102 ::: Keith Kisser ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 02:51 PM:

Cajun (et al):

Roy Edroso gave the Murry article a solid thumping here.

What Murry is promoting is his standard Neo-Feudalist line (with a subtle hint of racism), summed up nicely by one of the commentator's at Roy's site: "We need Donald Trump, Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian to educate poor people about the sanctity of marriage, intellectualism and the virtues of honest toil."

#103 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 03:03 PM:

#91/#94 - Windows 7 "Libraries"

If you right-click the "Libraries" thing, there's a "Windows Explorer" that's a good deal more familiar. There are a bunch of Internet blog posts on civilizing "Libraries". The most scary thing is that "Libraries" do not update in real-time, you have to manually refresh them.

#104 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 03:05 PM:

I thought the Murray article fit with what I observe pretty well.

I'm feeling extra cynical today, so this is my basic summary: the elites can buy themselves a stable environment, and making it so the working class can't buy itself a stable environment suits the elites just fine; it serves to cement their position.

Certainly, everything I hear from people my parents age would fit the following narrative: in 1960, if you waited until marriage to have children, and stayed married, you could easily ensure that your children's peer group was overwhelmingly composed of children whose parents had done the same, no matter how poor you were. In 2011, you have to be in the top half of the income distribution to do so.

#105 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 03:40 PM:

Melissa Singer @168/854: my niece is designing a guinea pig amusement park already, lol.

Coupla pointers: baby pigs love to run around things.* Tunnels are all well and good, though (evolutionarily speaking) they're also a good place to get trapped (and therefore eaten). High-value guinea pig locations are: routes around things, and little covered spots to hide under. Routes-around-things that are inside of covered-spots-to-hide-under are double-plus fun. (Stools or toy tables with towels draped over them make excellent covered spots.)

A large play area wherein fun objects can be moved around into different configurations can offer days and days of fun.

For the convenience of the human, I suggest leaving a small cage in the play area, in the same location every day. When it's time for piggy to go in, place some yummy treat in the small cage, and say "[Pig's name], come get a treat!" Repeat this phrase, the pig will eventually connect treat/location/phrase, and be much easier to collect at the end of the day. Chasing the pig around the play area is a mug's game, especially a young pig. Trust me on this.


* I've concluded that, evolutionarily, what they're doing is rehearsing escape routes, so that when that predator does attack, the nearest escape route is already well loaded into muscle-memory. The down side is that they don't actually use their vision to navigate when they spook, so if a new obstacle is placed in a familiar escape route, a startled (which doesn't take much) pig will run *smack* into it at full speed.

#106 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 04:16 PM:

Henry Troup @103: Thanks for the "Right click for Windows Explorer" tip - that's more than our IT guys could tell me...

Okay, so how come there's a "My Documents" under /Username AND there's "Libraries" containing "Documents", "Music", "Pictures" etc. ? And is there ANY positive in using "Libraries" or should I just ignore it and put everything into My Documents? And why are My Music, My Pictures and My Videos separate from My Documents instead of inside My Documents?

And why are "Libraries" and "Username" under "Desktop rather than simply being on C:???!!!

(And I'm using "Win7 Professional", if that makes any difference to the answers.)

Singing Wren @94: Lost where I found the "Show as link/Show as menu option - I'll look again tomorrow - it was either while I was trying to get a normal "Windows Explorer" view or when I was trying to get the programs to all show up, I think...

#107 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 05:01 PM:


I'll admit, I can't quite get from what you quoted to what I read. His standard Neo-Feudalism? Really? WTF?


How would we determine whether the observable differences are more about economics or more about other social forces? It's not obvious to me. For example, all those numbers Murray's citing seem to have moved in the same direction for educated middle class and working class people; they've just moved farther for the working class. That's not intuitively what I'd expect if the problem were economic. Further, church attendance is not 100% outside the realm of economics (if you have to work full days on Sunday, then showing up to church regularly will probably be a lot harder than if you have Sundays off), but it's probably a lot more strongly determined by beliefs and choices than by economics--poor people with lousy jobs who are religious do, in fact, make it to church pretty regularly. Similarly, the whole society is richer in material terms now than in 1960, and yet there are a lot more unwed mothers now than in 1960. The rate has gotten higher for everyone, and the spread between educated middle class and working class has gotten bigger. It's not clear to me why this is plausibly explained by economics--since birth control is a hell of a lot cheaper than caring for a baby, it's very hard for me to see this change as mainly one of economic circumstances. The higher rate of being out of the worlkforce, on the other hand, seems very likely to be economic, and probably is some mixture of people who are on long-term disability, people who have given up finding work, men staying home with the kids while their wives/girlfriends work, and probably some fraction of people who work off the books to dodge creditors (particularly child support). But this is a guess--evidence is worth much more.

My guess is that this is the set of secondary effects of a whole lot of social change that we've seen in the world over the last few decades. Further, I suspect greater freedom and more choices and less of a straightforward set of models or paths you can follow to have a broadly successful life all work out a lot better for smarter, more educated people with families that can bail them out when they get in trouble, than for dumber, less-educated people without that kind of safety net. While I'd like to see our society less set up to grind people at the bottom up in the gears, I also suspect that a lot of this is outside any kind of change we could do via policy.

#108 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 05:50 PM:

SamChevre, #104: So you think he's looking at cause and effect backwards? That sounds about right.

On looking over the article again, I do note that he mentions something a lot of people in his peer group don't like to acknowledge: what I call "nominal Christians" and he calls "the effectively secular". There are a lot of Americans, not all of them poor, who still self-identify as Christian (at least to some extent), but who either don't go to church at all or at best go only once or twice a year. Because of them, we have neither a religious nor a truly secular society, and that betwixt-and-betweenness causes us a lot of trouble. Most right-wing pundits are perfectly willing to lump the nominal Christians in with the genuinely religious ones and pretend that those numbers represent the actual representation of Christianity in our culture.

albatross, #107: Yes, birth control is much cheaper than caring for a baby. But to get effective* birth control, you have to have access to a doctor who will prescribe it, and money enough to keep buying it, and the kind of schedule that allows you to use it regularly. Or, in some cases, you have to have access to a doctor who will perform the procedure (Essure). Many working-class women don't have that kind of medical access, or their insurance plans don't offer any coverage for birth control, and it ain't cheap! For younger women who don't already have children, finding a doctor who will do the Essure procedure (which is a better choice for people who have problems with hormonal birth control) can be dicey. There's a lot of sexism that goes into that entire issue, and that's before you even start getting into the economic-class issues.

* By which I mean, something that works reliably more than 90% of the time, doesn't take a lot of effort to use, and can withstand minor user errors. OTC barrier methods in particular are notoriously unreliable, even when you don't have to deal with a partner who's resistant about using them.

#109 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 05:54 PM:

guthrie @99, I suspect that Murray underestimates the degree to which he is thought of as "that racist Bell Curve guy" by a large proportion of people who recognize his name, which explains his unfortunate choice of subtitle ("The State of White America") for his current book.

Still, he explains in the text of that essay why he's concentrating on white people: because he's examining statistics on class differences, and if you try to mix in race differences with class differences, you can't tell what is due to which.

The thing that struck me as weird was that he goes on about how fewer "Fishtown" men in their 30s and 40s work today, but doesn't talk about how many women are working compared to back before 1960. Well, maybe it's not so weird, since bringing those data out into the open could endanger his oh-those-lazy-poor-folks thesis.

#110 ::: LMM ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 05:55 PM:

The conclusion of the Murray article reminded me a lot of Orwell's quote on Dickens: Murray seems convinced that, of their own will, the rich will voluntarily choose to be better people.

I have a hard time believing this conclusion. It seems far more likely to me that the rich, given the option, will choose to isolate themselves. The world may be filled with wonderful people, but we only have time to interact with so many of them -- and if, as Murray suggests, the rich have very little in common with the poor, what's the use of interacting with them? Not to mention, all of Murray's suggestions -- encouraging one's children to go into military service or sending one's children to a sub-par school -- all require sacrifices that I can't see many people choosing to make if they're not required to.

Murray doesn't even want to apply social pressure to the rich to make this kind of move (it's one's patriotic *duty* to encourage interact with the lower strata). He just thinks it would kind of be nice.

In short, even if one accepts his premises, it's very difficult to accept his conclusions. His data, taken at face value, suggest that the US has a problem. He doesn't seem to offer much of a solution.

#111 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 06:07 PM:

As I pointed out when chatting to a friend, todays elites can isolate themselves better now than at pretty much any time in the past (Unless you were the emperor).
Air tight and conditioned vehicles going from underground garage to undeground garage, executive jets, high walls with modern security. Personal water supplies plus the money to buy top class healthcare and good quality guaranteed E Coli free vegetables etc etc.

As compared to the 19th century when they still got the kind of diseases that the poor got (Albeit somewhat less seriously) and were far more exposed to the public.

#112 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 06:33 PM:

Lila @80 said: Combining surnames: my kids went to school with kids whose parents, surnamed Helfman and Meyer, had both taken and passed down "Helfmeyer". I thought that was pretty elegant, and avoided the accumulating-more-names-with-every-passing-generation problem.

Two of the triumvirate making one of my favorite podcasts [n.b.: contains a lot of swearing and moderately coarse humor from people who otherwise sound like they'd fit right in here at ML] are named Helen Zaltzmann and Martin Austwick, and have long been in a relationship with each other. I'm not QUITE caught up to the present (I've been listening to them all in order), so though I know they married, I don't know if they implemented the technique they mentioned around Episode 100, and became Helen and Martin Zaltzwick. I think it's a perfectly lovely name, along the lines of LA's current mayor.

nerdycellist @95: in re buying a car without haggling, my household has been exceedingly satisfied with CarMax, if they exist out by you. Website makes browsing simple, and they'll drive a car from a dealership a great way away to your local one so you can test-drive it. The price is the price, which I greatly prefer to the 'traditional' method of car buying, and their maintenance wing/warranty services are very, very good.

Lee @108 said: to get effective* birth control, you have to have access to a doctor who will prescribe it, and money enough to keep buying it, and the kind of schedule that allows you to use it regularly. Or, in some cases, you have to have access to a doctor who will perform the procedure (Essure). Many working-class women don't have that kind of medical access, or their insurance plans don't offer any coverage for birth control, and it ain't cheap! For younger women who don't already have children, finding a doctor who will do the Essure procedure (which is a better choice for people who have problems with hormonal birth control) can be dicey. There's a lot of sexism that goes into that entire issue, and that's before you even start getting into the economic-class issues.

I agree with you, with the positive quibble that the Obama administration has just stated they're going to put teeth in the 'all insurance plans must include birth control with no copay, yes, even if they're bought by Catholic hospitals for their employees' provision, which gives me great hope for the universe. Doesn't help women with no coverage at all, but still leaps and bounds better. Additionally, you make Essure sound like a comparable procedure to Depo, when in fact it's just a new (less invasive) method for tubal ligation, which is a sterilization procedure, not birth control properly speaking, as bc can be started and stopped at any time to control the spacing of your children; sterilization pre-supposes you don't want any more. I do still agree with your later statement about OTC barrier methods being extremely sensitive to non-perfect compliance and technique-in-use.

#113 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 07:13 PM:

HLN: Area man accepts offer, at increased hourly rate, on contract-to-hire. Area man now has a multitude of forms to fill out, and is going to miss his sabbatical.

Area man does realize that if things work out, this could be last official job he has before retirement.

#114 ::: Chris Lawson ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 07:32 PM:

My 70s porn name is Roderick Studley, Seriously.

#115 ::: Chris Lawson ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 07:36 PM:


Murray arguing for political regression on the basis of shonky premises that don't even lead logically to the conclusion? Quelle surprise!

#116 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 07:44 PM:

I'm enjoying the Brubeck immensely, though "Moscow Nights" would have rocked the Kremlin too. We were in the right place at the right time to see Brubeck and his band in Northampton maybe four years ago, and I felt so damn lucky.

He played "Over the Rainbow." It's my favorite recording of his. Of course he doesn't do it the same, but I still wish I'd whispered "Thank You" in the moment before the applause started. I wasn't too far back in the house.

#117 ::: Chris Lawson ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 07:50 PM:

Avram @109: Knowing Murray's previous work, I suspect the reason he limited his review was because he could only get the dataset to say what he wanted within those limitations. After all, if he wanted to look just at class effects, he could have taken data on Hispanics, blacks, and other ethnicities and studied them as separate groups along class lines. What's more, as someone who co-wrote a very large book on statistics and intelligence, he should be fully aware that there is a statistical tool called regression analysis that allows researchers to look for the strengths of various interacting variables like, ooh I'm thinking, race, class, sex, education, etc.

So when he says he wanted to simplify the analysis, what he means is that he wants to pick and choose his data. I would also say that, whether he means it or not, calling it The State of White America seems to imply that only white Americans are worth studying. Did he really mean to say "this is a really important subject, but for the sake of simplicity I'm only going to examine the 64% of Americans who are white"?

#118 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 07:55 PM:

I have no porn name. I've never had a pet. There may have been some turtles in the house when I was little, but I barely remember them and I'm reasonably sure they didn't have names.

Though I must say the last name Oakwood is pornable.

#119 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 08:38 PM:

Xopher @118: I think "Turtle Oakwood" has a nice ring to it.

#120 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 08:40 PM:

My grandson's name is Dick. He insists on it, although his mother prefers to call him by his middle name, which like many middle names, is a family surname.

Dick's last name does not create an embarrassing phrase with his first name, but he encourages the thought, both by his behavior, and, well, his behavior. Specifically, when employed as a chef, he wore those tight checked pants chefs often wear, personalized with a name tag running vertically down the front.

And his behavior in general (he's headed for middle age, but still acts like a teenager) leads to frequent use of the formulation "Rightly is he called ..."

#121 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 08:50 PM:

Xopher @ #118, John @ #119, or "Cooter Oakwood", which sounds like the lead in "Hick Dicks from the Sticks."

("Cooter", in addition to being a popular Southern nickname, is also the colloquial name of the red-eared slider, a type of turtle formerly popular with pet stores.)

#122 ::: LMM ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 08:52 PM:

Chris @ 115: I'm not particularly surprised -- just that the 'solution' is so weak that one would think that even he would see the flaws in it. (Hoping for *voluntary* sacrifice of *any* aspect of one's children's future in exchange for some sort of vague social good?)

#123 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 09:21 PM:

John, I was thinking Oake Woode sounded goode.

Older, sounds like a Dick all right.

#124 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 09:31 PM:

I know there's a CarMax in Burbank - it's next to the train tracks and next door to a Home Despot. That implies the existence of others in the area of Los Angeles.

#125 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 09:34 PM:

May Dick Tufeld RIP. He was perhaps best known as the voice of the Lost in Space robot. He was 85 years old.

Lost in Space Robot

#126 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 09:37 PM:

Re porn names, my first pet was a dachshund named Fraulein. Combining nearly anything with "Fraulein" typecasts me as someone who will be found dressed in thigh-high boots and carrying a riding crop.

Also re Dick as a given name ... I collaborate on occasion with someone at work named Dick. My email system inevitably warns me that I might want to reconsider my language when I send him a message.

#127 ::: Allan Beatty aka Scampy Dakota ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 09:48 PM:

dcb @ various: In Windows 7, a library is a collection of folders that is merged together for display. For example, your Pictures library could consist of your My Pictures folder on your laptop plus another folder on your laptop where you save photos for a particular project plus a folder on a network share. When you save something to a library, it really goes into one of the folders, which you choose when you set up the library.

Libraries are not real folders, so they are not in any other folder or on any particular drive.

I have not been using Windows 7 long enough to work out any routines where explicitly using libraries would save me time for my particular patterns of working. Maybe I would have by now if I were not switching back and forth between 7 and XP all the time.

Show as link/show as menu has to do with how some of the items on the start menu are organized. You can have "Control Panel" open up a window with icons for all the control panel applets, or you can have it lead to a submenu listing all the applets.

#128 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 09:52 PM:

Elliott, Mary Aileen, janetl: I used Visio to place the desk and shelves in my den before moving, and it worked fine for me. But I only had to please myself. Like you say, it may have been a different story if I was planning the layout with other people.

Yes, Visio costs. At home I have an ancient version on diskettes bought at a thrift shop for $15, and it's one of the reason I still keep my oldest computer—can't figure out how to install it without a real diskette drive.

#129 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 10:07 PM:

Using either the name of my family's first pet or my own first pet, my porn name is either Bitsy or Sunny Matthews. Maybe they're sisters.

#130 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 11:04 PM:

Why my brother doesn't use a nickname.

#131 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2012, 11:29 PM:

Quirt Sparky here. You might remember me from such porn classics as DEEP STOAT and BEHIND THE GREEN SLIME.

#132 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2012, 02:19 AM:

Avram @109

I checked with the family statistician. When Murray says he had to do this white-only thing to exclude effects of racism, he only proves he is a crap statistician. It's a commonplace problem and their are accepted solutions to it.

#133 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2012, 03:39 AM:

Allan Beatty aka Scampy Dakota @127: Thank you! That's really helpful. Actually I -can- see a possible use for Libraries for me, now I know what they are (grouping e.g. Papers_Master (which is in my Archive folder) and Papers_in_Development (within my Backup* folder).

Thanks also for the show as link/show as menu - and for reminding me where I found that option!

*Backup folder - stuff I'm working on/using at present, so needs backing up regularly

#134 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2012, 08:27 AM:

Dave Bell @ 132

I would rather strongly disagree with your family statistician.

There ARE accepted statistical methods for dealing with confounding variables (and note that between whites and blacks racism is not the only confounding variable; the cultural and economic effects of historic racism are widespread; expanding to "all Americans" introduces even more confounding varialbes); HOWEVER, those methods have their own set of problems and biases, and in economics and sociology arguing over whether those confounding variables have been actually properly accounted for is a never-ending issue.

If what you want to look at is the relationship between cultural change and economic change, taking a more homogenous population makes the analysis far easier.

#135 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2012, 01:12 PM:

Syd -

Thanks for the referral! I'll keep it in mind once I have a down payment.

One of the things I'm confused about is the whole logistics of the thing. The info I got from my credit union indicates that I can take the pre-approval postcard to the dealer and then have the dealer fax over the purchase order and proof of insurance.* As a first-time car buyer, I don't have any car insurance but I understand under California law I can't actually drive the car off the lot without insurance, in addition to not being able to actually pay for the car without said policy. How do I go about setting up an insurance policy before I have the car?

* this also means I (and my roommate) will have to take off a day of work to buy the car - none of the likely dealerships are convenient to public transit, and the Credit Union is only open on weekdays. I guess it's worth it just for not being jerked around by the Big Banks, but it's still pretty inconvenient.

#136 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2012, 01:40 PM:

nerdycellist, for questions about car insurance--since I also don't know how one would get insurance for a car one hasn't bought/leased yet--you might try Rod Pyle at 310 421 0940 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              310 421 0940      end_of_the_skype_highlighting. He's the insurance agent in my networking group and should be able to answer all your questions, whether you end up getting your insurance from him or not. Or, if you have homeowner/rental insurance, check with your agent to see is s/he also does auto and, if so, ask your questions there.

My guess is that you'd tell the insurance agent the kind of car you're hoping to get, so s/he can at least have a temp policy (including a premium payment, I would think) arranged while you car shop and do test drives. Then when the deal is finalized, you'd forward that info to the agent, who would make the needed changes to the temp policy (including adjusting the premium) so you're covered all the way along.

General observation: that automatic Skype highlighting is...annoying to me personally, and returns even after I delete the text that creates it (which I never included in the first place, having typed the phone number rather cutting and pasting with Skype text intact). Is it now a Web default for anything that looks even remotely like a phone number?

#137 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2012, 02:09 PM:

Syd @136, I also am annoyed by the automatic Skype highlighting. It causes my eye to skip over the phone numbers when I'm reading a website and, e.g., spot and call the fax number (which doesn't seem to be highlighted, though you'd think it would be). And yes, anything that looks remotely like a phone number. Item numbers in an online store, for example. I thought it was something to do with having Skype installed on the computer. If there's some way to turn it off, I'd appreciate knowing.

#138 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2012, 02:53 PM:

SamChevre, #134: That's a valid point, but one would think that in that case he'd want to do such analyses on several otherwise-homogenous populations. If they all show the same effects, it's much stronger support for his hypothesis; if they don't, then maybe said hypothesis needs some refinement. So why did he only look at whites?

Oh, wait. I suspect I've answered my own question.

#139 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2012, 03:00 PM:

Syd #136: Interesting, but I am not seeing any highlighting on those numbers. Could it be something do do with your browser? (I'm using Firefox on Ubuntu, but I don't have Skype installed.)

#140 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2012, 03:35 PM:

Syd @ 136 and OtterB @ 137: I'm using Firefox on Mac OS X, and I do have Skype installed on my machine, but I've never seen any phone-number highlighting in my browser.

Syd, in your post, I see the text "310 421 0940 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 310 421 0940 end_of_the_skype_highlighting". Nothing is actually highlighted for me; it's just that plain text.

Google results imply that this might be caused by you having a Skype add-on or toolbar installed in your browser, which apparently happens by default when you install Skype. (I really hope it doesn't auto-interpret the text inside the quotation marks above, because then the above paragraph won't make any sense to you at all.) In Firefox, you can go to Tools - Add-ons to check for such an add-on and disable it; I have no idea where IE keeps such things these days.

I guess that add-on wasn't installed when I installed Skype. (I haven't used Skype in quite a long time, so I haven't updated it recently. That might be why.)

#141 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2012, 03:54 PM:

I see text outside the number, or rather I see the number, then begin_of_the_skype_highlighting , then the number again, then end_of_the_skype_highlighting.

I'm using Firefox.

#142 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2012, 04:29 PM:

P J Evans (#130) Dick's father has, carefully, always been known as Richard.

#143 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2012, 04:41 PM:

Hey, Syd @136, it's the Skype Firefox extension, which apparently gets installed when you install Skype unless you uncheck it.

From the Firefox tools menu, choose the Skype extension and uncheck the number highlighting box.

The first time I did this, the box was not checked, so I didn't think this was going to work. But I went back a second time and it showed up checked, so I unchecked it, and voila.

This may be what Caroline's gnomed post @140 was going to tell us.

#144 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2012, 04:52 PM:

nerdycellist at 135: As I recall from the last time I bought a car (last year) -- the dealer asked me if I needed insurance. I didn't, because I have it, but I asked him what if I did need it, and he explained that I could purchase one month's insurance provided by a company of the dealer's choice, which would give me time to purchase insurance through one of the usual companies, Allstate, Geico, etc.. It was one of the "extras" on the purchase contract, and the cost was added to the final purchase price. I don't recall what the fee for that one month was.

#145 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2012, 05:09 PM:

You can turn off the Skype number thing in IE as well - I've had to do it several times. I think it was in Tools-Options (when using XP and IE8 - sorry, it's been a while since I lastt had to remove it). Where it will have been hidden now I'm being forced to move to Win7, I don't know, but no doubt I'll be back on here to ask if I can't find it, because I'm intensing to install Skype on the new machine shortly.

Got Firefox installed today, which is a GOOD THING(TM) because although I prefer how my e-mail appears in Web Access in IE, the combination of 7 and IE9(?) is greying out the text box when I try to write an e-mail - so I can read emails, but not send new ones or reply. Grrr.

#146 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2012, 05:27 PM:

Thanks to all for the Skype info. I guess what threw me is that this is the first time I've seen it do the highlighting in a comment rather than in an email, etc.--mostly, I suppose, because I tend not to put phone numbers in comments. I followed OtterB's advice and unclicked the number highlighting in Firefox Tools.

#147 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2012, 05:43 PM:

re 117: Chris, I have to say your analysis is strained. Yes, you can do regressions on all these things, but it's a lot easier to pick out an effect by controlling them out of the data in the first place. I don't think there's anything wrong with his data. The issue here as in pretty much anywhere else this may be discussed revolves around what is causing what. For instance, in the marital department, are people not getting married because their economic situation is insecure, or for other reasons? Or to turn it around the other way: is raising income the only way to attack the familial issues?

#148 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2012, 06:06 PM:

David, #139: Here's what I'm seeing:

Rod Pyle at 310 421 0940 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 310 421 0940 end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Except that the number in the middle has 14 spaces on each side of it which apparently get stripped out in preview. I'm reading ML on a desktop using Windows XP and Firefox v 3.6.25, and I don't have Skype installed.

#149 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2012, 06:14 PM:

  makes a space that isn't stripped out, just for futref.

#150 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2012, 06:30 PM:


I donated blood for the first time today. Or tried to.

Despite lots of painful wiggling around of the needle, the technician couldn't find a spot, and could only wring out 73ml.

I was willing to put up with it a bit more, but there's apparently a time limit.

Got my cookies, though.

#151 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2012, 06:51 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 150, bummer! I'm sorry things didn't go so well, but you rock for trying!

The tech's level of skill and experience affects things. The majority are very good at what they do, but every now and then I get someone who isn't so good, with results similar to yours. Also, apparently one of my arms has a much easier vein than the other; I've learned to request left arm.

All this is to say, if you do decide to try again at some point, you have a good chance of things going better.

I need to go donate blood myself, so thank you for reminding me!

#152 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2012, 07:39 PM:

I had a really bad stick with the kidney stone I had about 6 weeks back. I told her I was prone to "rolling". She tried to stick me without a tourniquet, as may be imagined, she missed the stick.

Then she chose to not start a new one, but to catch the vein. Given the rest of the pain I was having, I wasn't happy. I refused to let her try to stick me in the same arm for the IV line she wanted to put in next. I also insisted on a tourniquet.

When I am convinced I can do a better stick, the tech isn't winning any points for skill.

#153 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2012, 07:45 PM:

Interesting follow-up: I just walked into the break room. A co-worker who habitually wears T-shirts had donation bandages on BOTH arms.

The same technician who stuck me tried and failed twice to get a decent bung tapped into this guy, who claims to have really big easy-to-reach veins.

#154 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2012, 08:14 PM:

Stefan Jones, I have had a similar experience, only once--a stick that was quite painful and did not provide enough blood for a full unit, so that they had to stick the other arm. All other times, I've had a nearly painfree, rapid donation session.

#155 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2012, 08:28 PM:

After trying to get into Boing Boing for a while, and seeing it stuck trying to load files from, I have to wonder at the wisdom of making a website so dependent on handshaking with other sites. It's like a string of Christmas lights wired in series and the third one is burned out. [/rant]

#156 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2012, 08:37 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 153: Yikes. It sounds like someone needs a bit more training.

#157 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2012, 09:11 PM:

Re fooling around with graph paper for room arrangement: I just use Excel. I take a big chunk of it and fiddle with the column width till I get nice little squares (I find a width of 1.57 works well).

My porn name is Butch Logan.

#158 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2012, 09:23 PM:

Dcb at # 133: And thank you for asking the question. While checking my answer, I found where to turn the Recent Items list back on. (I thought they had just taken it out of Windows 7!)

#159 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2012, 09:45 PM:

Re: Blood draws, I once had one done by an older gentleman who was clearly just learning, being supervised by an experienced technician. He assured me "Don't worry, I'm going to go nice and slow."

And he did, despite my trying to explain that it's really much easier when done quickly, while his supervisor gave me "I'm so sorry" looks.

#160 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2012, 09:46 PM:

Lee #148: I'm seeing the "begin/end of skype highlighting" too, I just was saying that I wasn't seeing any actual highlighting.

#161 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2012, 10:08 PM:

Stefan, #150: BTDT. I have to have blood drawn from my dominant arm to have any chance at all of getting enough before the vein closes down. If they were using your non-dominant arm, I suggest trying the other one on your next visit. It doesn't make any difference unless you're going to be doing hard manual labor immediately afterwards.

#162 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2012, 10:09 PM:

I give blood regularly, and I learned to warn techs that my veins are monsters, but they roll. I didn't warn the new phlebotomist last time and oh, it was not a fun stick. I'm always willing to switch arms or machines-- I give platelets via apheresis-- but I have had sticks that were almost pleasurable. I also let the blood folks know to keep me warm, no seriously, give me the warm saline bag now, and a blanket, and is the chair on? Because if it's not we're going to have a fun time, aren't we.

More interestingly, my veins used to be parallel to my arms, and now they're something like forty degrees off. First time I saw those guidelines drawn, I had a start.

#163 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2012, 10:18 PM:

Steve C @155, I used to have a problem with TypeKit-using sites hanging my browser, to the point where I blocked it by adding to my hosts file.

It later turned out that it was a combination of TypeKit and some Safari extension (I forget which one) that was causing the trouble, so I stopped using that extension and unblocked TypeKit.

#164 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2012, 10:37 PM:

I can't give blood until after July, because we were on the Great Wall of China, which is considered a malaria threat. So no regular calls from the Red Cross for a while.

#165 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2012, 10:58 PM:

Thanks, Avram - I'll see what I can do on my Mac.

#166 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 12:01 AM:

My porn name:

My childhood home was on a corner, of Ninth and North. My family had a hamster early on whose name I've long forgotten. The earliest pet whose name I remember is King Friday the parakeet. I suppose my favorite pet is my current dog, Kira.

So I could be Kira 9th, or King Friday 9th, or King Friday North, or -- and I suppose this is the winner: Kira North.

#167 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 12:06 AM:

Quite apart from how I react (not great) my meds mean I can't. But, before I realised that being wiped out; in low grade shock, from every donation, I'd managed to give a gallon; made that in Basic Training. Got my pin and everything.

#168 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 12:09 AM:

Stefan Jones @166 -- at least "King Friday IX" has a sense of history about it. I expect it's okay to turn Arabic to Roman numerals here.

#169 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 12:42 AM:

Stefan Jones @ 150: The techs at the Red Cross are generally very good. You might have gotten the exception, or you might have veins that roll (I've also heard them call squirmy veins). I'm an easy stick, but I know someone who always gets a nasty bruise, even with the tiny needles that are used to just draw a sample for a medical test, let alone the bigger needles they have to use for blood that will be used for transfusions. If you don't have any trouble when blood is drawn for a cholesterol test or such, then it was probably User Error.

#170 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 04:01 AM:

Allan Beatty @ 158: Glad to be of service! Yes, I too have found stuff I needed while demonstrating to/finding stuff for someone else. No doubt I'll be back with more queries.

Terry Karney @152/167: Sympathies for the kidney stone - no fun at all. Re. blood donation, they won't let me, because I'm a couple of pounds under the minimum weight and I draw the line at deliberately piling weight on just to give blood, then having to get rid of it again so I feel normal and my clothes fit me properly.

#171 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 06:00 AM:


Hi dcb - I wonder if you saw my post to you at the end of the last open thread? [me]3llr at the google mail is my address if you want to reply - if you have nothing or would rather not, never mind and sorry to bother you :D

(apologies to everyone else for thread clutteration)

#172 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 07:59 AM:

On car buying and insurance: You can call insurance agents before you buy the car. (In my experience, if you know what year and model of car you're getting, they should be able to give you a firm quote; and I suspect even if you don't, they can give a fairly good estimate.) Once you know what you're getting, and have a quote that you like, your insurer can issue a policy that starts the day you take possession of the car.

It's worthwhile shopping around for auto insurance, particularly if you haven't had it previously. Quotes in many areas can vary a *lot* from company to company, and not every company will want to insure an unknown risk. I got my first auto policy through the same company that provided my renter's insurance; since they already "knew" me through that, they were willing to take me on, and offered a discount for bundling the two policies.

(I've never bought through a dealer-- private party sales FTW!-- so I've always lined up insurance myself before getting the car. It can be done.)

#173 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 08:08 AM:

I'm not sure how much blood I've given; doing platelets means they look at how many times I've donated and do math. Except they base it on one donation being three units, and while I think I'm up there, I'm not averaging three. One of these days, I'm also going to write to the blood center and ask for all the records so I can graph the hell out of them.

#174 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 09:50 AM:

I miss donating blood. The last time I managed to was in May 2010, between my two tattoo sessions; I deliberately left a blood-donation window so I could do my bit before getting more ink.

Since then, I've traveled to places for which the Red Cross dictates long waiting periods (4 months for the USA, 6 months for the Philippines and sub-Saharan Africa), and the waiting periods and trips have overlapped. Grmbl.

Maybe this year. I mean, they give us beer in these parts!

#175 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 10:41 AM:

Terry Karney @167 said: Quite apart from how I react (not great) my meds mean I can't. But, before I realised that being wiped out; in low grade shock, from every donation, I'd managed to give a gallon; made that in Basic Training. Got my pin and everything.

I don't *like* donating (needles make me oogy), but I have good coping strategies and a strong skill at dissociation. Usually one of my arms is being cooperative and the other is being a right bitch -- 2/3 of the time, the right is fine (one of my phlebotomists said admiringly, "It's just like the dummy arm they train us on, easy as pie," which I suppose is a compliment), but on the times it is NOT fine I have to warn them to jump ship early or else my entire inner elbow is aching hamburger for a week. I usually do double-red-cell lately, because they need it and I'm O+ … extra ooginess there from the cold, filtered remnants being *put back in* argh argh argh.

What wipes me out completely, though, is dental work -- I had a sort of a twinge of recognition when you mentioned low-grade shock, because every time I get up out of that chair recently I'm icy cold all over, a little shaky, mentally definitely not firing on all my cylinders, and exhausted. I tend to zombie up onto the train, hide in my book as hard as I can the whole way home, and sleep for several hours. Not the good sleep, either, the 'I am under mild general anesthesia' passed-out unable-to-get-up sleep.

I wonder if the continual low-grade fight-or-flight freakouts I get in the chair (for an hour or so straight) are adding up to something like physiological shock, and if so what I can do about it.

#176 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 11:09 AM:

Xopher #118: You can have my porn name, then, Slim Ingrave...

#177 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 11:33 AM:

My porn name is Smokey Lee, which sounds more like a stripper from the glory days of burlesque than a porn star.

#178 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 11:41 AM:

A few random thoughts on blood-draws from a former phlebotomist:

While it's true that an extremely skilled phlebotomist can get a good blood draw from almost anyone ("almost"), it's also the case that people's veins vary enormously in how easy they are to get blood from -- and not always in ways that can be predicted before trying to insert the needle. So a bad stick isn't necessarily a sign of an incompetent phlebotomist.

If you find yourself in a position to be stuck on regular occasions (either as a donor or for medical reasons), pay attention to which of your veins cause less trouble than others and let future phlebotomists know. There are default choices, but if you know that the default is less likely to work for you, there's a pretty good chance you can convince them to skip it. (For example, my mother's donor-vein-of-preference was in her non-dominant arm, most likely because she played cello and the muscular development in her left forearm was abnormally good.)

I used to love being on the "call for a donation as soon as the waiting period is over" list at the Red Cross (I was negative for antibodies to cytomegalovirus, which makes me an ideal donor for newborns) but alas when they tightened the restrictions for cumulative time spent in Europe I got banned. I've always wondered whether I'd be able to donate in Europe (where the same restriction clearly wouldn't apply) but the reference in #174 to a waiting period after visiting the US suggests I might get caught by the converse restriction instead.

#179 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 12:02 PM:

Heather Rose Jones @178: I have a friend who is young, healthy, and O+, but is lifetime banned from donating (to any of the blood folks that take donations in her state, anyway) because her first steady boyfriend had been an active bisexual before getting in a relationship with her.

She has had sex with a male who has had sex with a male since 1978, which means she (and anyone else he's ever had sex with) is permanently banned, despite over a decade of clean STD screens of all sorts.

I have another friend who is permabanned from donating blood anywhere in the US because he grew up in the UK ... although he's been a strict vegetarian since before the BSE cutoff date, so he has never eaten a British cow!

#180 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 12:18 PM:

I used to donate blood fairly regularly. The last several times I've tried, my iron level is always too low. I'm sitting borderline in some way - my doctor checked it out and said I don't need to worry about it, but it's just under the Red Cross cutoff. As this has happened consistently over a couple of years, I guess it's my new normal. Sigh.

#181 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 12:26 PM:

...hey Teresa/Patrick: THE SEARCH BOX IS MISSING. It's not on the Making Light homepage, or on the nielsenhayden one, or on any of the separate article pages. And yes, I -can- go use Google to search for the Slushkiller post, restricting it to Making Light, but I want to search HERE! Plz give it baaaaaaack...


#182 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 12:52 PM:

And, hopping back up the thread a moment, I see Jack has been mentioned as a man's-name-for-man, but by now John also qualifies, right? And then you get alllll its variants in other languages, Juan, Johann, Ivan, Jon, etc.

(And "since 1978" is still the restriction? Bah. That's _34 years ago by now_, people - if AIDS were going to show up in you it would have DONE SO already. But yeah it probably takes longer than that to do the studies to get the recommendations to take to the board that decides the restrictions that Jack built. I'm also on the "they don't want my tasty tasty blood ever" list, whether I actually want to give or not...)


#183 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 01:29 PM:

David DeLaney @182: The restriction is on anything involving male/male sex anytime since 1978, because that's 'when AIDS happened,' sort of. So the blood system considers any male/male sex since that date to mean all later contacts are plague carriers, whether of AIDS, that awful Hepatitis whose letter I can't remember, or whatever.

I still think people with a good long history of test-result printouts should be able to appeal and get back on the ok-donors list, but I suppose it's simpler for them to just outlaw huge swathes of the donating population. I mean, it's not like they have a shortage of blood donors, or anything, right?

#184 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 01:42 PM:

Can people please try to ensure that it's easy to distinguish the applied vampirism posts from other Openthreadiness?

HLH (istory): Local boy, 10, sent to psychiatrist for counseling and coping strategy development. "I thought he was just being cranky about needles, but then found out from his dentist that he's been having all his work done without anaesthetic for over a year. It's a real phobia, I guess," said local boy's mother.

In other words, I'm going squidgy just from reading around the conversation. I'm all applause for those who do the donation, and really feel guilty not doing it myself, (and I DON'T want to stop the conversation or have it go into rot13!) but I'm guessing that they'd rather not have my blood than deal with the hysteria to get it.

#185 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 01:48 PM:

Applied vampirism:

Back when I was donating blood regularly (I'm on the can't-ever-donate-again list now, too), I had nice big veins in my arms, but they liked to roll. The worst was the time the needle went into the vein right by one edge and continued back out again. Boy, was that a massive bruise!

Now I'm frequently having blood drawn for tests, and my only good vein is one in the back of my right hand. (I'm right handed.) A stick there always hurts; I've had phlebotomists apologize profusely, even though I tell them it's not their fault. Last time, the phlebotomist didn't like that vein and insisted on using one in the left hand--then she complained that it wasn't working very well. Well, yeah. That's why I told her to use the other one. At least she didn't try for the arm; I'm sick of getting stuck four times in the arm before they give up and do it in the hand anyway.

[Warning text added - AS]

#186 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 01:49 PM:

So maybe we could start the blood donation comments with Applied vampirism: to allow Mycroft to skip them.

(Just C&P this into your comment:

<strong>Applied vampirism:</strong>


#187 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 01:59 PM:

Mycroft W (184): Apologies for the unmarked Applied Vampirism post at 185. I hadn't seen your request yet when I was composing that.

#188 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 01:59 PM:

Applied vampirism:

I can't give blood; the blood bank won't let you deposit once you've had a withdrawal from their UK branch.

But I was already having my doubts as to the wisdom of it, because one of the two times I have ever fainted was half an hour after giving blood (so, after I was away from the nice people with the cookies). The other time was when I was still bleeding after giving birth, because of which, see the first paragraph here.

It's a shame. On the evening that I first met Jim Macdonald, he one look at the backs of my hands and exclaimed enthusiastically, "You have really great veins!"

I take it as a compliment.

#189 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 02:02 PM:

Mary Aileen @187:

I have glided in like a mist and left the appropriate warning. Then I turned into a bat and flew away.

#190 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 02:07 PM:

Abi @ 189... Darn. Now I want to watch that Bugs Bunny cartoon.

"I am a VAMPire!!!"
"I am an UMPire."

I can't remember if that exchange was before or after Bugs turned himself into a baseball bat.

#191 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 02:11 PM:

HLN: Area woman reports that assaulted toe seems substantially recovered. In the last few days, area woman has worn heels for a couple of hours and cut the toenail on that toe without more than a fleeting instant of "hmm, shouldn't hold the toe in that position." Walking has been hunky-dory for at least a week.

There's still an oddly-shaped bruised-looking spot on the top of the foot near the base of the neighboring toe, which I suspect is from compression of the foot during the original injury, but it's smaller and not as colorful as it was before.

Toe has returned to normal color, size, and shape, and can be curled, though not yet clenched, without a twinge.

In other news, area woman has purchased Sherlock Season One DVD set and says the unaired pilot is worth seeing. Quite different in a number of ways.

#192 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 02:19 PM:

Porn name: Honey Taylor. (Honey the hamster was my first four-footed pet.) Although the second street on which I remember living might be the more interesting choice--Honey Via Vista!

Also, dropping the disguise at least for now. I took the last 4 kitties in need of new homes to Pasadena Humane yesterday. It still hurts. I did get to see the 4 I surrendered on Friday, although they're still in cages in the hospital section rather than the "general population" (sounds uncomfortably like prison). So...if you know people in Los Angeles and environs who might want to adopt a wonderful cat from a shelter, please direct them to the Pasadena Humane Society and SPCA site, ask them to click on the header to view all pets at the shelter, and either View All Cats or search by ID for:

ID A300990, Bastet
ID A300988, Shadow
ID A300987, Scooter
ID A300986, Jules
ID A301151, Runyon
ID A301150, Blaze
ID A301149, Patch
ID A301148, Damon

If they want to get two kitties at once, recommended pairings are Bastet/Scooter, Jules/Shadow, Damon/Runyon and Patch/Blaze.

Please keep your fingers crossed that my fur-bebehs find good homes soon. True, it means I won't be able to visit them anymore, but at least they'll be safe and well cared for.

And if you could also occasionally cross your fingers that I find a decently paying job before Cat Friendly Friend of Friend has to ask me to leave so the room can be rented to someone who can actually pay rent, I'd greatly appreciate it. :)

#193 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 03:39 PM:

I was in the "afraid I'd be squicked out by donating blood" category, until my dog put me to shame by leaping up onto the donation table and being utterly unphased by having a needle stuck in her neck thirty six times before aging out of the system.

Here is a video of Kira giving Unit 34:

Just after I turned off the camera, Kira jumped back up on the table.

#194 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 03:44 PM:

Applied vampirism:

Elliott Mason @ 179: Didn't they change that to a 12-month ban? Men who have had sex with men since 1977 are still perma-banned, more's the pity. But I think the question for women has been changed to read similarly to "Are you a woman who has, within the past 12 months, had sex with a man who has had sex with another man since 1977?"

From the Red Cross eligibility criteria page:

You should not give blood if you have AIDS or have ever had a positive HIV test, or if you have done something that puts you at risk for becoming infected with HIV.

You are at risk for getting infected if you:

  • have ever used needles to take drugs, steroids, or anything not prescribed by your doctor
  • are a male who has had sexual contact with another male, even once, since 1977
    have ever taken money, drugs or other payment for sex since 1977
  • have had sexual contact in the past 12 months with anyone described above

Diatryma @ 162, may I ask what happens if they don't keep you warm?

I think I've mentioned before that a few years ago, I started having what I think is a delayed vasovagal reaction to being stuck with needles larger than those used for vaccines. It happens when I give blood, and it happened when I had a fine-needle aspiration biopsy (which came back normal, for the record). I feel completely fine before, during, and immediately after the procedure involving a needle. Then I stand up and walk a few steps -- to the canteen, in the case of donating blood. I am fine for another minute or two, enough time to get a snack and start eating it. And then I pass out.

I have learned that if I stay lying down for 15 minutes or so after the procedure, especially if I can drink some juice during that time, then I avoid the passing-out part. So it hasn't stopped me from giving blood. It just means that I no longer drive myself to and from blood-donation appointments.

Since my husband also donates blood and he has no ill effects, we just go together and I let him drive home. I tend to feel slightly tired for the rest of the day, but that's about it.

#195 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 03:49 PM:

abi (189): Thank you.

#196 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 04:34 PM:

Non-applied vamiprism: Thank you so much, Abi and all. I am, in fact, reading them, but the ability to prepare for it and quit when I can't take it any more is really appreciated.

And I can't imagine I'm the only one...

#197 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 04:37 PM:

Applied vampirism:

Heather Rose Jones @178, I've always wondered whether I'd be able to donate in Europe (where the same restriction clearly wouldn't apply) but the reference in #174 to a waiting period after visiting the US suggests I might get caught by the converse restriction instead.

It varies from country to country. I'm in Germany, and Pendrift is in Belgium, IIRC. I only had to wait 4 weeks after coming back from vacation in the States this year. (Rules get changed, though, too -- they sent me home in 2009, saying I'd have to wait longer -- 6 or 10 wks, can't remember exactly.) In any case, one big concern is incubation time for West Nile.

#198 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 05:36 PM:

Hi Russ: Thanks for re-posting; life got busy and I missed that. Do you know whereabouts in London? There are some places, but London is a big city and I don't want to direct her to some place that's going to take her an hour and a half or two hours to get to (yes, still within London). I'll start thinking and we can continue this by e-mail. I'm dbourne residing at the initials of the Royal Veterinary College on the ACademic network of the UK (and I'll try to e-mail you as well).

Syd: Missed re. your kitties as well. {{{{{HUG}}}} Sincere sympathies and I hope that (a) they find good homes, soon; (b) you get a reasonable job, also soon. Sending positive thoughts your way.

#199 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 05:38 PM:

Hmm, I have a story (WIP) where the main character is sexually abused by a neighbor for an extende period, and yes, it shapes his character to some extent. The only woman in the story is never maltreated (except by the monsters, but no human lays a hand on her). This story

Applied vampirism:

I am, of course, on the "we don't want your blood" list, and was even before I got cancer. But even before that I had to stop giving blood. I gave blood twice: the first time I threw up, and the second time I had some kind of BP crash reaction. They were very, very concerned about me that second time. I don't know what my BP was when it crashed, but the BP that made them decide I was ready to go back to work was about half what it was before the donation.

I think the permanent exclusion on sexually-active gay men has more to do with politics than medicine. Look at the criteria listed in 194: having sex with a gay or bi man excludes you for 12 months if you're a woman, but permanently if you're a man. The real risks don't run that way at all.

But I'd like to point out that we can't blame the Red Cross for this. Those rules come from the CDC, and they're the ones who don't dare let the snttbgf back in the donor pool. If they did, there'd be an outcry from some people who genuinely fear that the blood pool will be contaminated, and a lot of people who pretend that they do but really just want to keep stigmatizing gay men. (Do I have to explain why that's not a reasonable cause to keep this restriction in place? I'm assuming not.)

#200 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 06:08 PM:

Melissa, #191: Re un-aired Sherlock pilot, I agree that it's worth seeing. But I also think the one they aired was considerably improved orpnhfr gurl tnir gur onq thl n zbgvir sbe jung ur jnf qbvat gung jnfa'g whfg "orpnhfr V pna".

#201 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 06:42 PM:

Applied Vampirism: In random conversation last week, a friend told me that a friend of hers was, simply, lying to the blood donation people about his sexual history: he practices safer sex, and has had recent HIV and STD tests, and doesn't think it's reasonable that they wouldn't take his blood if they knew he was bisexual. (I did mention one point that my friend hadn't known, which is that they don't ask about sexual orientation, but about activity: a gay or bisexual male who has never had sex with another man is not excluded. However, that doesn't apply in her friend's case.)

I sympathize and am inclined to agree with this man's decision, not least because so many people who could donate won't, for whatever reasons. As Xopher said, it's not as though the Red Cross is turning away long lines of willing donors. If this person is in fact practicing safer sex, the risk there is pretty low. I'd rather the people who take the donations focus on things the person who wants to donate can actually know, and not implicitly assume that every woman who has sex with men knows whether those men have ever had sex with another man.

The person we were talking about is a friend-of-a-friend, and wasn't in the room, so it's not as though my opinion would be likely to influence him in any case. (I'm not sure how the subject of blood donation came up; possibly via my week-old tattoo and my friend's plans to get another tattoo.)

By the way, this conversation was in Quebec: it's not just the American Red Cross or the CDC that has those restrictions on donations from men who have ever had sex with other men.

#202 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 06:47 PM:

I just said online that Romney isn't a "head for the hills disaster" like Santorum (frothy mix frothy mix), and that thank gods and Iowa Bachmann isn't in the race, because she's a "get the nice Dutch people to hide you in their attic" disaster.

Too much? I would honestly fear that Bachmann would try the camp fact I'm not sure Santorum (frothy mix frothy mix) wouldn't.

#203 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 06:52 PM:

Xopher @202

I have, over the years, heard a few incomplete stories about young men and abusive "religious" camps used to counter the wrong sexuality.

That's not a crazy fear.

#204 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 07:18 PM:

Dave, I know someone who was tortured by Evergreen International (no link because I don't want to give these mudderfrackers Google juice), so I know about that. I was talking about implementing it as a government program. Maybe I'm paranoid, but some of my worst paranoid fears of 10 years ago are facts today.

#205 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 07:26 PM:

My porn name was Surge.

#206 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 08:00 PM:

Applied vampirism:

Caroline @194 said Didn't they change that to a 12-month ban? Men who have had sex with men since 1977 are still perma-banned, more's the pity. But I think the question for women has been changed to read similarly to "Are you a woman who has, within the past 12 months, had sex with a man who has had sex with another man since 1977?"

For the Red Cross, yes. Not all vampiric charities use the same rules; LifeSource is my local semi-monopoly, and they have significantly more restrictive rules. I've been considering what to tell them when I start undergoing more comprehensive transition activities; if I keep answering the 'female' questions, the beard hair is going to cause confusion, and if I switch to the 'male' questions, well … I'm married to a man, so I may be auto-banning myself if I answer THOSE questions accurately.

I'll probably ask someone the next time I go in, or, more accurately, on my way out, post-cookies.

#207 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 08:00 PM:

It occurs to me that since so many people on ML apparently have Skype, some of y'all might want my 'digits', which are alphanumeric, in that my Skype username is elmason76. I trust you will use this knowledge only for good. :-> If I'm 'online' for Skype purposes, I am interruptible, if you are bored, and would like to video-chat me.

#208 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 08:06 PM:

Elliott, won't the hormone therapy exclude you in any case?

#209 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 08:08 PM:

Xopher @208: The progesterone-ish ones (chemically equivalent in some cases to Proscar and Rogaine, which also have non-trans therapeutic uses) do, but not testosterone. I looked it up.

#210 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 08:45 PM:

applied vampirism
with apologies because the cat tore off my Shift key, and I am not used to using the right-side one:

When I am not warm, my donation gets interesting. First off, I am cold, though I often don't notice because it's a hospital and I'm usually a little chilly. Eventually, I get alerts on the machine and/or buzzing in the vein where the needle is hitting the wall; this also causes an alert. If they don't adjust either my temperature or (usually) the draw pressure, everything happens more and more often, and then I'm pulled from three platelets to one and I feel kind of like I've failed. Keep me warm, and my veins stay wide open.

Best nap I've ever had was in a donation chair. That was amazing.

here endeth the vampirism

Weirdly, I cannot type without Shift in Dvorak. I'm glad I retain my qwerty enough to get by. I kept trying to switch keyboards because *something is wrong with this one* and it didn't work because what's wrong isn't the layout. Likewise, it doesn't help to reorganize my sentences to avoid apostrophes. I have apostrophes! Apostrophes are not the problem!

Now I just have to steel myself to krazy glue the key back on.

#211 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 09:10 PM:

Diatryma @210: In re Applied Vampirism, the place I do my double-red has electric heating blankets to wrap around their donors. I don't ask for one, because it's not that big a deal for me, but the platelets people get them by default (they also get a laptop on a little padded desklet, because both arms are tied down; you bring your own DVD in and you can watch a movie).

#212 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 09:15 PM:

Lee: Completely agree. The actual ep. was much better in many ways. But the shorter one had some good stuff in it, including n pyrnere frafr gung Fureybpx unq qbar qehtf jura lbhatre. Gur 90 zvahgr irefvba vf zbre nzovthbhf, juvpu vf bxnl, ohg V yvxrq gur funecre fgngrzrag. V nyfb yvxr gur "rirelguvat ryfr vf zrng" ovg, gubhtu V nz infgyl zber ragregnvarq ol gur boivbhf qryvorengr nzovthvgl va gur svany cebqhpg.

Something the co-creators comment on in the commentaries is how much they got away with in the episodes, including having the title character be off-screen for a full 12 minutes in Study in Pink.

#213 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 09:53 PM:

Anál nathrach,
orth’ bháis’s bethad,
do chél dénmha

Serpent's breath,
charm of death and life,
thy omen of making.

Merlin, aka Nicol Williamson, has passed away.

#214 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2012, 10:51 PM:

Elliott @211, re Applied Vampirism. In 1970, I donated white cells for an experimental treatment for my brother's aplastic anemia. Each session was 4 hours and they could and did do it 8 days in a row. It was very cold, and all I got to watch was soap operas and game shows. The next part of the treatment was one of the earliest bone marrow transplants.

I'm currently "deferred" from blood donation because of surgery, blood transfusions and meds, but I've given gallons through the years. Robert Heinlein personally recruited me (AB+) for the National Rare Blood Club at Midwestcon in 1976. (My mother was impressed.) (Hell, I was impressed.)

#215 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2012, 12:32 AM:

OK, knitters, tell me this isn't fun.

#216 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2012, 12:34 AM:

Xopher @215: There are a bunch of patterns for those and THEY ARE ALL AWESOME.

#217 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2012, 12:37 AM:

Refers to vampirism but no needling

Back when I was donating, it was mostly platelets. I did get called once for a white cell donation for someone with non-Hodgkins lymphoma (random match through the organ donation records that come with doing platelets), and I had an unpleasant reaction to the anti-coagulant they used -- all of the negative effects of being drunk without any of the positives. They didn't ask me back for that.

#218 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2012, 08:00 AM:

applied vampirism

Men who have had sex with men since 1977 are still perma-banned, more's the pity.

My boyfriend's in the local blood bank's list of denied donors due to a single blowjob in college. It's kind of stupid, especially since he's O- (and has a health condition for which regularly donating blood would be a perfect therapy).

I've given four or five times now, and tried rather more often; the problem's always low iron, of course. At the moment I am not donating, because I'm trying to get pregnant; the blood bank seems to have finally caught on to this. :)

#219 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2012, 08:16 AM:

Hyperlocal news... Man and woman celebrate the 26th anniversary of their tying the knot.

#220 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2012, 08:17 AM:

applied vampirism
Elliott, I do get the heated chair, and the blankets come from a hot cupboard, but not a wraparound thing. My blood center does apheresis with one needly-- the only time I've had both arms stuck at the same time was when I gave white cells, which was kind of trippy. Between the higher dose of anticoagulant and not being able to move for two and some hours, I felt buzzy and dissociated and shambly. Not bad-shambly, like when I make bad decisions involving blood, eating, walking home, and a hot day, but weird-shambly.

#221 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2012, 10:48 AM:

Serge: Congratulations to you both!

#222 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2012, 12:37 PM:

Applied vampirism:
Pendrift, I don't think you can give blood after having a tattoo, regardless of where you've been. It's always on the questionnaire, anyway, at the Red Cross.

Oft-told tale: The first time I gave blood, there were also a bunch of frat brothers who were donating in the name of a comrade who'd been in an accident. One was clearly very nervous about the whole thing. You could tell by his jokes he was petrified. I asked my donation to be in the name of the injured frat brother as well, because his behavior seemed (and seems) heroic to me, and so I thought I'd help his contribution go further.

#223 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2012, 12:40 PM:

Extra cool, one of my favorite movies, and hard to find, is apparently on YouTube now! WESTWARD THE WOMEN is an underrated epic of a harrowing trip, and every emotion in it is earned. I checked the TV movie guide for this every week for about a decade before it finally came along and I was able to get a recording of it. Now here's a print in lovely black and white, as it was intended.

The name is obscured in the titles. Most parts are RT_W and a number (Robert Taylor, Westward, I guess), but part 2 is totally outside the normal scheme, so you can find that here. For the rest, go to the poster's video stream, where they follow the original naming/numbering scheme.

TCM shows this once in a while, but I don't think it's commercially available unless there's some old VHS release I don't know about. Seriously, it's a classic.

#224 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2012, 01:15 PM:

Melissa Singer @ 221... Thanks!

#225 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2012, 01:16 PM:

Anyone have comments yet on Google's new privacy policy? Link to a WaPo story on the backlash against it.

#226 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised again ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2012, 02:53 PM:

DAMMIT. Cat Friendly Friend of Friend has received an eviction notice (not related to my presence; CFFoF's situation has been like mine, job-wise, and rent has gone unpaid for several months). CFFoF also feels there's no real option to stay here due to previous and ongoing issues. The only reason I was taken on as a roommate was for my potential to help the situation financially (which I knew), but I don't recall hearing, until a few minutes ago, that my very presence as a roommate could have a negative effect on CFFoF's child custody arrangement--even without the cat part of things. This strongly indicates that CFFoF's search for new digs will not include a place for a roommate who can't pay rent--and has 4 cats.

Meanwhile, I'm not having any luck on the job front--haven't been looking as hard as I should have been because I was so wrapped up in trying to get the 8 cats re-homed, true, but the resumes I have sent out haven't gotten any replies.

So now I'm facing finding another place to live, one that will let me have cats, but I literally am down to my last couple of hundred bucks (if that much) because my unemployment has run out (as in, there wasn't all that big a pot of it in the first place, since my last job was part-time and lasted less than a year, and it's gone now).

I'm sure I qualify for some kind of public assistance (food stamps are probably a good bet), but even low-income housing assumes you have some income. None of my friends have room for me, with or without the cats.

I have no idea what I'm going to do.

#227 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2012, 03:00 PM:

Syd, drat! So not needed.

#228 ::: JM ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2012, 03:19 PM:

Applied vampirism:

As far as I can tell, I'm not allowed to donate under the current rules because one of my husband's exes is a dude -- never mind that they broke up at least 10 years ago and everybody involved has a clean bill of health. I will sheepishly admit I'm perfectly willing to lie about that but have sort of been using it as an excuse not to go back after my last, very unpleasant, donation.

Theoretical nomenclature:

My porn name would be Stupid Bird Irons, and I shudder to imagine what subgenre that name might fit into. I wish we'd been kinder to those parakeets. If I use my first adult pet, I get Daphne Pleasant.

#229 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2012, 03:37 PM:

My porn star name is Melissa Sunnyside. Clearly one of those girl-next-door characters. Or, perhaps, a top ("Sunnyside up!")

#230 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2012, 03:40 PM:

Syd #226: What about Social Security? Definitely go for the food stamps.

#231 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2012, 03:54 PM:

Abi @ 229... one of those girl-next-door characters

Like Philia in "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum"?

#232 ::: etv13 ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2012, 04:25 PM:

Syd: forgive my asking, as I'm sure you have provided the info before, but I lack the technical chops to find it -- what is your field, employment-wise? You live in LA county, right? Would/could you live/work in OC?

#233 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2012, 05:06 PM:

Tom Whitmore @225, re Google:

My impression (after a little bit of looking at,, and is that this new policy isn't a big change in what Google is *doing*. It explicitly states a bunch of information-sharing (between Google services) that is already implicitly allowed by their current policies.

Some of my friends are dismayed by the direction Google is heading (as distinct from this particular hop). Some are dismayed by the recent changes to Google search behavior (more G+ stuff on the results page). I am more or less insulated from the debate, because I was already in the habit of isolating my Google services from each other.

#234 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised again ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2012, 05:47 PM:

etv13 @ 232, what I'd like to do is proofreading or copy editing (been freelancing, or trying to). My background is in accounting, but I did fund accounting for 20 years, which always struck me as "not real accounting". It did give me the ability to do financial statements, though, and some of the jobs I've applied for have been with accounting or financial services firms needing people to prep and foot/crossfoot financial statements. Most of my work has been with electronic files, but I've done a little hard-copy work for an ad agency.

I also have at least 450 hours of massage therapy training under my belt, but since I never wanted to go for my own license, I never got my transcripts. And I've been concentrating on CranioSacral Therapy, so my more traditional style is more than a little rusty. (As in, I can't remember the anatomy and tend to perspire on my practice body...)

And there's general "front desk" work such as I did for the PT clinic that closed last August--taking client calls, scheduling appointments, making sales call (horribly uncomfortable for me, but I got better at it), dealing with clients in person at the desk, filing, etc. It wasn't a "heavy" desk for most things except for getting hectic at the top of the hour.

I do live in LA currently, but I have no objection at all to living and/or working in OC (living, of course, subject to being able to pay for it).

No forgiveness necessary. :)

David Harmon @ 230, the food stamps are the thing I do after finishing this entry--well, starting the process, anyway. Re: Social Security, I'm not close to the right age yet for regular benefits. As far as disability is concerned, I don't have a physical one, and re: disability for depression...well, I don't have any kind of track record for treatment of same. Hell, I haven't been to regular medical doctor in more than a decade (if not longer), let alone seen a mental health professional. Unless my hypnotherapist counts, since he could likely "testify" that I've been depressed--but that wasn't the focus of our sessions, and he would have referred me out for that anyway.

I'll spare y'all the saga of the hour I just spent on the phone with the IRS re: their placing a levy on the pittance in my checking account for an old income tax bill. At least the rep I spoke to said he'd place me on "Currently Not Collectible" status and fax paperwork to my bank for a reversal of the levy.

The hits just keep on coming! /sarcasm

#235 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2012, 08:31 PM:

Re: Abi's sidebar on "One Strange Headline": That's one strange story, even without the celebrity linkage!

#236 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2012, 08:40 PM:

Yeah, that headline pegged my Weird-o-meter.

#237 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2012, 09:12 PM:

Steve C. #236: And it's a full summary of the story! I mean, I expected that at least "badger den" would be slang for some human den of iniquity, but no.

#238 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2012, 09:12 PM:


Area dog goes to her 4-week follow-up appointment after knee surgery, is given the OK to take a walk on her own four feet, even up and down the driveway. And there was much rejoicing.

Surprisingly good-looking surgeon who assisted on her TPLO procedure mentions that stanky dog must have been recently bathed because she has such a gorgeous shiny coat. Area woman decides that grain-free salmon based kibble is a good investment if it allows dog to go without bath for 4 months with no scooting and super shiny coat.

#239 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2012, 09:19 PM:

Re: Teresa's "Inside the wreck of the Costa Concordia., I note with interest the following: The Italian coastguard pleaded angrily with the captain of the stricken super-liner to return to his ship, according to recordings released on Tuesday. Schettino is accused of multiple manslaughter, causing a shipwreck by sailing too close to shore and abandoning ship before all his passengers and crew scrambled off.

Interesting byplay there....

#240 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2012, 10:51 PM:

I suspect Keyser Söze was involved.

#241 ::: Olderk ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2012, 11:14 PM:

Carrie S (#218) Does your boyfriend have hemochromatosis? I have it and in Oregon I am not allowed by the Red Cross to donate blood. Apparently every state Red Cross is a separate organization, and each makes its own rules, so even though there is nothing at all wrong with my blood, I am not allowed to donate. I think their reason is that I would benefit personally by donating and for that reason, I can't be allowed to. But in some other states it is allowed.

#242 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2012, 11:15 PM:

Abi @ 229, I would peg --er, categorize -- "Melissa Sunnyside" as a porn actress noted for her well-formed rear end and/or sexual practices involving same.

So, what do you think my persona / specialty would be as "Brock Howe"?

[One possibility is that it would become a running gag that the first time I undressed, each partner would look at my belly and my willy and say, "How?"]

#243 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2012, 11:32 PM:

Wait, why is it good for people with hemochromatosis to give blood? Possibilities for vampire fiction bouncing around in head.

#244 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2012, 12:49 AM:

Xopher @243: Wiki suggests that sufferers get ridiculous iron overload because their guts absorb more than they really need, and (if left unbled) the excess tends to accumulate detrimentally in a variety of tissues, leading to serious health results starting in 'the third to fifth decades of life'.

#245 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2012, 12:55 AM:

My shift key is fixed! It's finicky, but I can type again without subconsciously switching keyboard layouts or straining my other hand. I flicked off the other shift key, stole its underpinnings, confirmed that the primary shift's underpinnings were broken beyond repair, and scooted things around. Now the hole in my keyboard is on the other side, and I am more willing to experiment with reattaching the key because I don't use it anyway.

#246 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2012, 01:00 AM:

Diatryma @245: Interesting. I do tend to prefer one shift over the other (for the record, left; I am right-handed), but when I was formally taught touch-typing (in high school; I was a monster-fast typist before then, but my high school computer teacher showed me I was actually cueing with microglances downwards) we were encouraged to use whatever shift was closest/most ergonomically simple for a given set of keypresses. In fact, the typing-tutor software we used would give bonus points if you alternated shift keys for every capitalization in a given passage, once we got up to that level in the difficulty and skills-being-taught.

#247 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2012, 01:12 AM:

applied vampirism

Kip W @ 222: In Belgium we're allowed to; there's a 4-month waiting period. I got my first tattoo in January 2010 and the second one in May, a week after my blood donation.

#248 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2012, 01:30 AM:

Andrew Plotkin @233 -- thanks for the info!

Syd @234 -- given the state of massage licensing in California (even now that there is some state level certification), you could probably practice anyway. There's a law that allows anyone to do any sort of healing work they want as long as they explain adequately what their training and background is. If you'd asked me 8 years ago, I'd have been able to give you the bill number, but it's been too long. And things might have changed....

#249 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2012, 02:44 AM:

HLN: in celebration of leveling-up, local woman decides to visit, even if just for a short time, Brussels and Amsterdam.
"The window of opportunity for travel opened, and I flung myself towards and through it, finally" she said. "Too often all I do is firmly shut the window, for no good reason. Brussels is the capitol of chocolate! How could I tell myself to not go?"

#250 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2012, 03:13 AM:

Applied vampirism:

Kip W @ 222:Pendrift, I don't think you can give blood after having a tattoo, regardless of where you've been. It's always on the questionnaire, anyway, at the Red Cross.

In Portland, Oregon, the questionnaire asks if you've gotten a tattoo in the past 12 months. I hadn't, but asked what would happen if I said "yes". The answer was that if I got it anywhere but Portland, I'd be banned for a year. If the tattoo was done in Portland, the wait was shorter (but I don't recall exactly what it was). This agreed with what I'd already heard about Portland having tough licensing, making it one of the safest places to get a tattoo. Naturally, my brain queued up the line from the Portlandia song: "The tattoo ink never runs dry!"

Xopher HalfTongue @ 243: One of my coworkers died from the effects of hemochromatosis. He was about 40 years old. The iron overload damaged all of his organs. He was a very active, healthy person and presumably hadn't ever had much in the way of bloodwork done, and there aren't any obvious symptoms of the disease, until there's real damage done. He was feeling crummy, which he thought was just not shaking a winter cold, and it dragged on. When he finally went to the doctor, he was immediately hospitalized, but died within a few weeks.

Regular blood draws, such as a blood donation, can take care of the problem. Some Red Cross regions no longer allow people with the disease to donate. I believe the rationale is that they are donating to get free medical treatment, rather than out of the kindness of their hearts, and therefore might be lying in answering the screening questions. It's rather infuriating.

#251 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2012, 03:25 AM:

Re hemochromatosis: my memory is that the British Red Cross, after taking all of your details, gave you a sticker sheet with two bar codes. You were to choose one and stick it to your paperwork.

One was "discard my donation"; the other was "don't discard my donation".

This was so that people who could not donate blood for whatever private reason didn't have to decline to participate in blood drives. It occurs to me that it would also work for hemochromatosis.

So would a charity that drew the blood and then donated what was suitable onward.

Vexing that there isn't (to my knowledge) any such thing.

#252 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2012, 06:26 AM:

Kathryn @249:

Brussels chocolate addresses, I haz them, if desired. Beer too. And lots of other things too.
Don't hesitate to drop me a line. My handle at gmail will do the trick.

#253 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2012, 07:58 AM:

Olderk @#241: He doesn't have it full-blown, but he's creeping up on it. He could be donating every eight weeks with no ill effects (whereas I have to wait twelve or it lays me out for days afterwards).

Apparently it's common in people of northwestern European extraction, which he is.

#254 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2012, 08:10 AM:

Elliott Mason, I got a little used to the right shift, but I wasn't taught to use it at all. I'm used to keeping my pinking fairly near the left shift. Alternating would be a useful skill. I also do the microglances thing if I'm typing qwerty-- not much use in Dvorak-- and I have found that I have an incredible amount of trouble typing from a page because I have to look at the computer screen to make sure I've caught all the typos I've made and corrected them. Then I lose my place on the page and it takes me longer. For a while, I transcribed with the monitor off.

#255 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2012, 10:28 AM:

Elliott (246)/Diatryma (254): I tend to use the shift key on the alternate hand; trying to make two simultaneous keystrokes with the same hand is beyond my level of coordination.

#256 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2012, 11:36 AM:

applied vampirism
Thanks, Pendrift and janetl, for the new information. I'd seen the tattoo question in Georgia, Virginia, Massachusetts, and New York, and had come to think of it as a standard thing for the Red Cross (in the U.S., which I neglected to state).

#257 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2012, 12:30 PM:

This is one of the best things I've seen in a long time. I absolutely love it.

German schoolteacher builds her own TARDIS

#258 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2012, 12:37 PM:

applied vampirism

It's been some years since I was able to donate blood (taking blood pressure and psycho-active meds, had hetero-transfusions, and I'm 65) but when I did the techs loved me because I've got really good veins (and that's something I'm happy about because I've been stuck a lot in the last 10 years or so, what with major surgeries, regular blood screens, and regular "minor" procedures like spinal injections under sedation, MRIs, and CAT scans with contrast agent).

The only problem I ever had donating was once when I got a little overzealous about pumping and got dizzy halfway through. The tech figured out the problem and just had me stop for a few seconds and I got to finish out the donation. The cookies were especially welcome after that.

I have had a high hematocrit all my life, but not high enough to cause problems. It's just that every time I get a blood screen someone remarks, "Hey, that's a lot of iron; guess you're not anemic."

#259 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2012, 01:08 PM:

Hmm. I have to see if I can donate blood—my dad did for years and years but I have the family trait of a slightly low hematocrit.

(Every time—I mean EVERY SINGLE TIME—we had a blood drive at my campus, I had a cold. Except for the one time I didn't but had a solid ten hours of classes overlapping the drive.)

#260 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2012, 02:03 PM:

Steve C @ 257... That was neat!

#261 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2012, 02:04 PM:

For most of my life, I couldn't donate due to prescription drugs; one of the few times I did, I was refused for excessively low blood pressure.

#262 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2012, 02:10 PM:

David Harmon @261 refused for excessively low blood pressure

In college, my now-husband, who was doing a lot of long-distance bicycling at the time, was rejected for too low a pulse rate (in the 40s, as I recall). A few quick trips up and down the stairs solved that.

#263 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2012, 03:01 PM:

My wife and I went to see "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" last night. The first 105 minutes of had us checking our watch, but the last 45 minutes made up for it, starting with the homage to "Two Mules for Sister Sara", later followed by Stephen Fry in the nude - a sight that is not for the faint of heart.

#264 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2012, 03:15 PM:

Applied vampirism:

Is there any reason why the Red Cross shouldn't charge for taking blood from people with hemochromatosis?

#265 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2012, 03:48 PM:

Open threadiness:

This Cracked Piece made me think about Jon Scalzi's post on what it was like to grow up poor.

#266 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2012, 04:00 PM:

Has anyone seen The Artist?

I know the reviews are good, but I'd appreciate more personal comments.

I'd either have to take a train downtown or drive a half hour to a theater.

#267 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2012, 04:06 PM:

"Serge, you are officially a super human creature."
So wrote "Wild Cards" co-creator Melinda Snodgrass to me today.

#268 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2012, 04:50 PM:

Stefan Jones @266:

I have not seen it, but the five people I know who have have wholeheartedly recommended it as both good and funny.

#269 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2012, 06:05 PM:

HLN: Local woman vacuums the living room, while local cat lies calmly on the woman's desk, even when the vacuum cleaner comes within a meter or so.

Local woman emails her partner, who says that the cat attacked the vacuum a few times, then apparently concluded that he had defeated it and lost interest.

This is plausible, but doesn't fit well with the idea that cats dislike vacuum cleaners because of the noise. I read somewhere that vacuum cleaners are designed so most of the noise is in a high range that humans can't hear, and cats generally can. This cat's hearing is generally good. However, local woman, her partner, and their cat now have a cleaner apartment, so that's good.

#270 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2012, 07:44 PM:

I finally managed to get my dog onto the Rivanna Trail today, by carrying her past the bit of highway with all the scary cars. (She is just light enough for me to do that.) The trail's not in great shape, but we established that Gracie isn't too unruly on a trail, indeed she went sniffing right along it.

#271 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2012, 07:46 PM:

HLN: Local woman is flying for the first time since the X-ray backscatter and millimeter-wave scanners were introduced to most U.S. airports. She plans to opt out of the scans, on the principle that she would prefer the pat-down to having naked photos viewed by complete strangers with unknown security/privacy measures (and having to get patted down anyway if the scanner sees some kind of "anomaly"). However, local woman is nervous and worried about the possibility of the TSA turning an opt-out into an unpleasant confrontation.

I've never been a nervous flyer before, but one hears horror stories about power-tripping security officers, and the thought of dealing with that is provoking a lot of anxiety.

Thanks, security theater.

#272 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2012, 08:05 PM:

Vicki @269: We have an old Hoover (actually a Hoover-branded item; all metal guts and a blue Bakelite case on the outside) that is the one beagle-safe vacuum in the house: its noise is so low-range that it apparently doesn't incandescently annoy the dog the way all the others do.

The Roomba's noise is apparently not offensive in itself, but its tendency to appear to actively hunt him is enough to put it in the 'IT MUST DIE IT IS EVIL' category for him.

#273 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2012, 08:10 PM:

Caroline @271: I have resolved to opt out and take the pat-down in lieu of the porno-scanners, should the opportunity arise. However, because we mostly fly with our toddler at the moment (and it is my lot to supervise the toddler through security, in our family job-divisions), she and I get to go through the magnetometer and pretend it's 1999 or something. There's even a sign in the security line-up that tells you to leave the kid's shoes on.

The reason I have resolved to force the issue and take the physical check if necessary is that, to me, the new scanners are effectively a strip-search, and I find it violently offensive that they feel everyone wishing to board an airplane deserves a compulsory strip-search. So I choose to make a stink and foreground the injustice, for as long as they choose to have the policy.

If you are resolved to opt out, allow an extra half-hour of security time (over and above your previous estimates), just in case. How power-trip they are will vary airport to airport, and even checkpoint to checkpoint, and is not really under your control. Remain calm and polite and you should be fine, though.

#274 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2012, 08:15 PM:

Elliot Mason @ 272... 'IT MUST DIE IT IS EVIL'

Maybe your dog remembers the Outer Limits's vacuum-cleaner creature.

#275 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2012, 08:31 PM:

Did you know that in 1904 someone published an illustrated poem entitled Rubaiyat of a Persian Kitten, parodying Edward FitzGerald's Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam?


#276 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2012, 09:04 PM:

heresiarch @ 275... Let's not forget Rocky & Bullwinkle's "Ruby Yacht of Omar Kayam".

#277 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2012, 09:08 PM:

WRT security theater: Given the choice between the naked-picture backscatter scanner and a pat-down, I'll go for the scanner every time. Not that I don't think it's offensive either way to pretend that passengers need to be searched in such a manner. But, for me, I'm relatively indifferent to people looking at me naked (even if I were really naked in front of everyone in the airport! I'd be most annoyed about ambient temperature) whereas the pat-down is OH GOD SOMEBODY IS TOUCHING ME. I deal poorly with casual touch at the best of times.

It's pathetic that I have to be grateful that they offer a choice.

#278 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2012, 09:26 PM:

With a strong family history of cancer, and a personal history of being molested, I pick "C. None of the above" and have resigned myself to never flying again. Too bad, because I used to love flying.

#279 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2012, 10:04 PM:

applied vampirism

Nancy Lebovitz @264:

Well, they've already gotten the pound of blood next to your heart, so charging a fee on top seems excessive to me.

I don't know why they're so fussed, honestly. That the donor might secretly benefit from the act of donating, rather than be in dire need of cookies and juice? Is the blood unusable? If not, just take it and move on, would be my thinking.

#280 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2012, 10:11 PM:

Gotta agree with Rikibeth - I don't care if they see my X-ray image, but then I am:

a: an actor, so quite used to Being Seen,
b: a bit autistic - don't like being touched, and
c: rotund and over 50.

Last time I flew - and I am not a frequent flier - I went ahead and took the backscatter route. I thought it'd be faster than the pat-down line.

I had to opt-in to the backscatter. The TSA crew seemed a little surprised.

So I go through, they take the x-ray, then send me to the little "wait here" spot. And I waited. And waited. It took longer than the pat-downs. Took almost as long as my wife, who flies with a Rascal scooter (and that has to be inspected as well). Turns out my belt buckle caused artifacts in the images. This does not inspire confidence, but after all it is security theater, so it's comedy mixed with tragedy.

Next time I'm going through that line in, I dunno, a toga or something. Maybe singing "Comedy Tonight". A funny thing happened on the way to the jetway.

#281 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2012, 11:10 PM:

A fun little playlist: Turn off your mind relax and float downstream. Also I had a whacky idea that "The L&N don't stop here anymore" lyrics would sound really good sung to the tune of track #2.

#282 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2012, 11:18 PM:

Pendrift @252,

Thanks! Email has been sent to your account at gmail from mine, although I might not see replies before arriving in Brussels (leaving in 12 hours...probably should start packing. And remembering that everywhere else, winter has stayed*)

* winter did arrive here, for which true hats and jackets were needed, but it stayed 2 days.

#283 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2012, 12:02 AM:

Patrick Connors @ 280... I'm singing "Comedy Tonight" right now.

#284 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2012, 12:43 AM:

I wear gun-range ears when I vacuum. I realized years ago that some of the reason I didn't vacuum was that when I went to turn on said appliance, I cringed away. I do not like the loud noise, I will leave the room if someone else is vacuuming most of the time, and as long as I can find the ears, I don't care if they use them. I was also raised to wear ears for lawnmowing and power tools.

#285 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2012, 12:45 AM:

re: #276 ::: Serge Broom

heresiarch @ 275... Let's not forget Rocky & Bullwinkle's "Ruby Yacht of Omar Kayam".


#286 ::: Antonia T. Tiger ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2012, 08:22 AM:

The Spontoonie Writers' Collective, having seen the particle on Viable Paradise, wish me to inform you that they provide topless tropical maidens, grass skirts optional, at no extra charge. However, getting to the Spontoon Islands is your problem.

Your humble correspondent understands that the Tourism Collective's annual calendar has again been banned by the US Mail. The theme this year was Aviation Mechanics, and the inspectors totally misunderstood where Miss August was putting the oleo strut.

#287 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2012, 08:38 AM:

Caroline @ 271:

I've only flown once since the scanners (have they actually deployed the millimeter-wave gadgets in the US? All I've heard about is the X-ray machines) were installed: Portland to New Orleans and back last September. I asked that I not have to remove my shoes because I wear braces on both feet, and I explained that the magnetometer would get excited about the big titanium screws in my back. At Portland, where they don't have the scanners yet there was no problem; the TSA guy looked at my shoes, waved a wand magnetometer over me to determine that all the metal really was in my back, and sent me on my way.

New Orleans was a different story. They argued about my shoes for a bit, then, when I took them off they changed their minds and told me I hadn't had to. Since they were already off, I left them. They sent me through the magnetometer anyway, and then insisted I go through the scanner. I had intended not to, because AIUI the X-ray dosages are much higher than they've admitted to, but at that point I was beginning to wonder if I would make my flight, so figuring I wasn't going to fly again for a year or so, I agreed. Then they got some sort of anomaly in the scan and insisted I get a pat-down anyway.

I agreed to the patdown, but then they acted like they had no idea of what to do, so they took me into a room off the corridor and left me there for 10 or 15 minutes, then came back and made such a production out of the patdown, what with explaining it yet again, then explaining it as the guy was doing it, that it took another 10 minutes. By the time they were done and I could start putting myself back together, putting my shoes on, getting my canes and my carry-on, the whole thing had taken half an hour, I was sweating from the effort (for the first year or so after my last back surgery any physical effort like walking 100 yards or carrying anything involved a lot of sweating).

I made it to the gate where Eva was waiting for me and getting pretty worried, just as they started boarding, so there was no problem with the flight, but I was tired, irritated, annoyed, pissed-off, and several other sorts of peeved.

The lesson here is that how the TSA people will treat you depends very much on which airport you're at, and how far outside the normal procedure you make them go.

#288 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2012, 10:38 AM:

Apparently some of the millimeter wave scanners (but not yet the backscatter X-ray scanners) have had software modifications so that they now only show generic body diagrams, with possible "threat areas" highlighted. See this LA Times article from July.

It's not clear how accurate they are; some posters on flyertalk are noting frequent false positives (leading to a patdown) with what they call the "gumby software"; though it's also not clear if the false positive rate is worse than it was with the previous software.

(I haven't heard anything definite about whether the original high-res scan from which the "gumby" is derived is retained or viewable by some other means. EPIC is apparently pursuing this question at the moment.)

If it turns out that the millimeter wave scanners don't show or retain high-res images, I'd be willing, if not particularly thrilled, to go through them. (Unlike the backscatter X-rays, they don't involve potentially unsafe levels of ionizing radiation.) So far I've managed to use airports where I've only needed to go through a metal detector, though I don't know how long I'll be able to keep that up.

About half the body scanners in US airports are millimeter-wave, and half backscatter. (The millimeter wave ones are like booths you walk into; the backscatter ones are like big boxes you walk between-- they keep reminding me of a particular scene in the last chapter of Watchmen.)
This FlyerTalk post has a list of what types of scanners are at different airport checkpoints, though I'm not sure how up to date it is. (I think I saw a MMW scanner at the checkpoint for PHL terminal B, for instance, that's not mentioned on the list.)

#289 ::: Throwmearope ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2012, 10:50 AM:

@Bruce Cohen #287--

I agree with you about treatment varying from airport to airport. I wear custom made shoes (mostly because I walk about 9 miles a day--don't ask)and they are difficult to put on. So I have an industrial size shoe horn that has a rounded metal tip and a rubber handle.

When leaving Denver, I asked for the patdown so I could keep my shoes on. The TSA lady said something about how she wasn't touching me in a sexual manner. I told her I'm a doctor and I stick fingers places you'd much rather I didn't, all day long. She made a squicky face and sound.

So I asked her about my shoe horn and could I keep it in carry-on for the return trip. She said that that would be fine.

Leaving San Fran after the conference, the TSA guy got to my carry-on and told me to step out of the line. I told him it's a shoe horn for Pete's sake. He said a flight attendant might be intimidated by it. I hit my palm with the rounded tip a few times and told him the airlines needed better flight attendants in that case.

Bunch of people around us started laughing, and he waved me through, dangerous shoe horn and all.

#290 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2012, 12:08 PM:

I agree about the different airports. I find that the most courteous folk are at the smaller airports. Heck, I had one screener joke that he was going to steal my tasty tasty cookies at the Eugene airport when he checked my bag. (I have a number of metal bookmarks and had forgotten that I had one in my carry-on—once he found the book, he just waved me through.)

#291 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2012, 12:32 PM:

B. Durbin @290: The converse to that is that in smaller towns, they set the machines FAR more sensitively; I went through security at O'Hare and then at Sacramento, wearing the same outfit both times, and I went straight through in the former case and lit it up like Christmas at Sacramento. The tiny metal fittings all over my overalls (my preferred airport clothing at the time, so I could put my boarding pass in the chest pocket) set it off and I almost had to strip right at the checkpoint. They changed their minds and wanded me, but it still took nearly 45min of fuss.

#292 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2012, 12:44 PM:

Some arrests of Rupert Murdoch's staff in the UK. If only they could get Murdoch himself, I'd do a happy dance. But I supposed that's beyond hope.

#293 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2012, 12:58 PM:

Why Jan Brewer lives in a state with so little water. Thanks to Jeffrey Bryson on Facebook for pointing that out.

#294 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2012, 01:15 PM:

Stefan Jones @266

I saw The Artist last week -- I hadn't really heard about it previously but my BFF wanted a spontaneous dinner-and-a-movie after work and that was what she had in mind.

I found it entertaining and enjoyable, if only because it provided scope for my over-analytic brain processes. The conceit of telling a story about silent-era actors using not only silent-era techniques but thoroughly stereotypically silent-era story tropes struck me as a bit of an extended industry in-joke rather than as a creative or innovative storytelling approach. (Don't anyone take this the wrong way, but I found it reminiscent of some of the convoluted self-referential filk music parody-chains in its underlying symbolic structure.)

Highlights included the nightmare sequence and the point when you realize that the creepy stalkery situation is meant to be understood as really creepy and stalkery in contrast with the original silent-film trope in which it might be played straight.

When stripped of the silent-film conceit and when the stylized story tropes are filtered out, I found myself left with A Star is Born populated with characters with unlikable personal lives and questionable morals. So, all in all, for me it was an enjoyable "gimmick" film but one without lasting artistic merit.

#295 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2012, 01:40 PM:

Serge Broom #263: You and Susan share one watch?

#296 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2012, 01:57 PM:

Jim's Diffractory link to Browning's To Edward Fitzgerald reminds me of a poem by the Jamaican poet Mervyn Morris.

Mervyn's second collection, Shadowboxing had come out and received a somewhat bruising review from the Trinidadian critic Victor Questel. Mervyn was, not entirely surprisingly, displeased at this. He responded with a poem which took on Questel's review (with several nice pieces of wordplay relating to boxing). The real sting was in the title, "For Q", which has to be read aloud to be properly savoured.

#297 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2012, 01:58 PM:

I am developing a survey for university faculty members. I am having trouble with the "C" key on my keyboard. This leads to my typing things about the "faulty" survey. Honestly, I don't think the survey is that bad. Neither are most of the professors.

#298 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2012, 03:08 PM:

Fragano @ 295...

What can I say? When two people have been together for 26 years, they become synchronised so why wear two watches?


#299 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2012, 03:48 PM:

Serge Broom #298: That's a good thing, I'd say!

#300 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2012, 03:48 PM:

Open threadyness inquiry:

Concerning Joan Aiken's Wolves Chronicles -- if someone has read most or all of the titles, I'd love to hear what you think of the alternate history component of the series.

Something that struck me is the contrast in the U.S. reviews of the early volumes and the reviews of the last ones.

In the earlier volumes' reviews the reviewers might mention there are words and phrases that are so purely English and even English nineteenth century -- despite it's King Jame III and not Queen Victoria -- or een foreign, such as Welsh, that American children might not understand initially, but their students and own children didn't find this a problem, but rather an expansion of their enjoyment. The young readers soon figured it out.

The reviews of the later volumes flatly stated that these foreign words would be a problem for American kids.

Love, C.

#301 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2012, 03:50 PM:

O, one more question re the Wolves Chronicles:

Could these be considered steampunk?

Love, C.

#302 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2012, 04:30 PM:

John Mark Ockerbloom @ 288: Yup, I checked that flyertalk post yesterday. Apparently it's MMW scanners at my home airport, with metal detectors also used, so it may be possible to get into a line which directs you through the metal detector. It's mostly X-ray backscatter at the airport I'm returning from -- although a friend who lives in that city says he's always managed to get in a line that uses metal detectors.

I'm wary of the X-ray backscatter scanners because of things I've read implying that the machines are capable of outputting a much higher dose of radiation than they nominally use for the sca, so that it would just take a mistake in adjusting the settings.

Rikibeth @ 277, I can understand being more squicked by the invasive pat-down than by the invasive imaging. Both are just awful as a condition of traveling freely.

I'm not generally embarrassed or ashamed at the idea of being seen naked, even by strangers -- as long as I have some control over the situation and a reasonable expectation of privacy, sensitivity, and professionalism from the people involved. I don't feel like I have any of those things when it comes to the TSA scanners.

I also don't feel like I have any of those things when it comes to the TSA patdowns. But at least I get to keep my clothes on and get to personally see the person doing the patdown, which is some small amount of control over the situation. Or at least that's my emotional logic.

If this wasn't for a promising job interview, I would be continuing to avoid flying. Sigh.

#303 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised again ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2012, 05:01 PM:

I went to PHS to visit my kitties this morning. (I suppose that should be "my" kitties, since I surrendered them, but you know what I mean.) Five of them were in one cat care facility, one was in the other, but there was no sign of the other two, so I checked at the front desk.

It seems that Patch and Blaze (female black calicos) are still so stressed, they had to be placed in the feral cat ward. The last notes on Patch's file were that she was hanging out in the back of her "den" and was a little hissy, but Blaze sounds like she's been close to full-on kitty panic attack mode. According to the gal at the desk, they'll be reevaluated tomorrow...and there's no notation on either cat's file that they're in danger of being put down. Yet.

So if y'all could cross your fingers that my scared little girls calm down enough to escape being destroyed as too feral to be adoptable, and instead find loving new homes, I'd really appreciate it.

And if any of you know anyone in SoCal who'd be willing to take on a currently unable to pay rent roommate with cats, please let me know; CFFoF has begun looking for a new apartment for the family and it's not (quite understandably, considering the contents of our discussion a couple of days ago) going to be an arrangement that includes me. And even low-income housing (assuming I can qualify for it) kind of implies one has to have some kind of income.

Re: myself @ 234, I spent 4-1/2 hours at the local DPSS office (Department of Public Social Services) on Friday. Luckily, I qualified for expedited food stamps, which means I get to show up after 3:30 Monday afternoon and pick up my benefit card and can buy groceries the same day--huzzah!

I also applied for General Relief, which is a county loan program. (Yay, now I'll owe money not just to people I actually know, but to the entirety of LA County!) It also includes a mandatory work program--as in, attend a 2-1/2 hour class, and I have to look for at least six jobs in the next week (and those jobs have to have a phone number so my aid worker can call to verify that I applied, which means most of what I can find online is probably not going to count). Have to say I'm not thrilled with the idea that any government agency is basically going to have its nose in my life to the extent this seems to entail...but I guess if it helps me get back on my feet, it'll be worth it.

#304 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2012, 05:24 PM:

Constance: re Wolves.

The series is not at all consistent in style, content, or alternative historicity. I've read all except the two most recent.

Wolves of Willoughby Chase itself isn't really part of the series (except that it shares characters). It's not even fantasy, and it's only really alternative history in that it has wolves. It's just straightforward historical fiction. It's more like Frances Hodgson Burnett with less-dated attitudes (and, IMO, better writing).

Whispering Mountain is set in alternative history -- it has a Scottish crown prince, and it has ?Maltese former slaves hiding out in a caves in a Welsh mountain. It's more a fantasy than an alt-history novel -- it's only alt-history because we know Wales is a real place, and because there's little or no magic.

[On the linguistic/kids-these-days point: The Welsh words wouldn't be known to US kids, but they wouldn't have be known to English kids either. They certainly weren't known to me. When the meaning is important, it's clear from context]

In Black Hearts in Battersea the alternative history is more important, partly because there's a Lost True Heir story, but it's still alt-history primarily because London is a real place rather than to investigate the alternative.

[The fact that "Battersea" doesn't have the associations that it did for 1960s London is probably a minor loss-in-translation]

After this, the plots got more grandiose.

Night Birds on Nantucket is largely not fantasy or alt-history, but the Macguffin is an implausibly huge gun. It's still not remotely steampunk.

The Stolen Lake is fantasy, with fairly loose connections to the other books.

The Cuckoo Tree is also fantasy, although it's back in alt-history England. It's also the last one of the series that I enjoyed.

The later books such as Is Underground and Cold Shoulder Road
I have read but not re-read. They could perhaps be considered to have steampunk elements, but not all that convincingly.

#305 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2012, 06:06 PM:

Well, I drove to the somewhat-distant fancy suburban theater where The Artist was playing. I did some shopping along the way there and back to justify the trip.

I didn't see the movie, because the fancy multiplex theater was charging FIFTEEN DOLLARS AND FIFTY CENTS for a ticket. Why? Because it was showing in one of the theater's "parlor" auditoriums, as opposed to the big venue where tickets cost just $8.00.

I was considering taking a ride downtown to see the film at Fox Tower, a multiplex where indie and artsy films are shown.

But given Heather's remarks at #294 I'll wait for a video release.

#306 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2012, 06:29 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 305... the big venue where tickets cost just $8.00

"You will laugh, you will cry, you will kiss three bucks goodbye."
- from 'Hardware Wars'

#307 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2012, 06:31 PM:

I wouldn't call the Wolves Chronicles steampunk at all, either.

As an American kid, it took me a while to realize that they were alt-historical: I didn't have the English monarchs engrained in my mind, so would-be-usurping Hanoverians didn't strike me as odd. Certainly no odder than the rest of the goings-on.

I should re-read those. It's been quite a while.

#308 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2012, 07:14 PM:

syd, I'd swear I saw you post the cats' PHS ID numbers someplace, but I can't find it. I'm writing a cousin in Alhambra to see if she knows anyone who might want a cat or two. Can you post the numbers on your blog?

It's a faint hope, but . . .

#309 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2012, 07:15 PM:

A request for info from Syd has just been gnomed.

#310 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2012, 07:35 PM:

Thank you for responding, thomas and Mary Aileen.

I've never read the Chronicles, so I looked them up, reading synopsis and description of the volumes. Thus the questions.

Love, C.

#311 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2012, 08:05 PM:

I have no idea how that k got onto my nym. I usually just type "O" and the auto-complete offers me "Older" and I click on it. I did that without really looking and was surprised not to see the usual at the top of my post.

Elliott Mason (#244) has it right. I have a bunch of physical problems which may be the result of the hemochromatosis. It is an interesting condition. The mutation has been traced to a particular area and a particular time, and it's especially common in people with celtic ancestry. When you list the conditions it can cause or contribute to, it seems like it must be the secret cause of old age.

Carrie (#253), when I was first diagnosed, I had to be drained of a pint of blood every week, and I was still working. Boy was I sick the next day! Later I had to go in only every other week, and then after one of the operations that have unfortunately become more common in my life, I had a remission of some sort. I still get the blood test regularly, but my numbers are always good lately, so I don't have to have the blood removed.

I don't see why my perfectly good blood should be wasted. It seems like it could be stored by the clinic where it is drawn off, but no, they can't do that, the Red Cross has a monopoly on the storage of blood. And they don't allow the storage and use of my kind of blood in this state. There have been petitions filed, but it hasn't changed yet. Although it might, since some state Red Cross organizations do allow such donations.

I understand the objection; it's one reason why I never accept a receipt when I donate to a charitable organization. It's not really a "donation" if I get something in exchange (like a tax deduction). But, you know, I could pay the R C, same as I have to pay the clinic, and then they'd have the use of the blood.

I'm not supposed to eat high-iron foods like dark green veggies and red meat. The funny thing is that with all the different "conditions" I have, if I really did follow all the rules, I probably couldn't eat much of anything. Same is true for common painkillers. I can't take them. Too bad about those painful conditions!

I do try to observe all the rules as much as I can stand to. (Observing the rules: "Woops, there goes one now!")

#312 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2012, 08:21 PM:

I seem to recall my father donating platelets because he had an oversupply. (Celtic ancestry: check.)

#313 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2012, 08:23 PM:

thomas @304 said: Wolves of Willoughby Chase itself isn't […] even fantasy, and it's only really alternative history in that it has wolves. It's just straightforward historical fiction. It's more like Frances Hodgson Burnett with less-dated attitudes (and, IMO, better writing).

I pointed out to my Millenial-generation sister that Wolves of Willoughby Chase is basically Lemony Snicket's 'A Series of Unfortunate Events', only not post-ironic. Rather, it is the sort of thing Master Snicket was riffing on (or, Aiken riffed and Snicket counter-riffed and exaggerated for effect). They are definitely all the same sort of genre, though.

#314 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2012, 08:37 PM:

Elliott Mason (313): Oh, that's interesting! I never made that connection before. Now I definitely have to re-read The Wolves of Willoughby Chase.

#315 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2012, 09:03 PM:

Myself @281 -- the idea about changing the key of "The L&N don't stop here anymore" turned out to be a great one, we will certainly be playing that at our next show. If any of you are in norhern NJ or handy to there and would like to hear us play, we'll be at Crossroads in Garwood in two weeks. Or if you'd just like to listen to a song of ours, not put in the time and travel to see us live, do check out This Wheel's on Fire, brand new and I think one of our nicest recordings to date, both in the sense of being one of the best performances we have caught on tape thus far and of the recording's sound quality being better than previous attempts.

#316 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2012, 09:17 PM:

The Rubaiyat, when FitzGerald made his version, simmered quietly for a while and then suddenly took off, becoming a runaway monster hit. You can find parodies of all sorts — golf, bridge, and I don't know what. I ran into them at Gutenberg a while back, and have since managed to forget most of them. But the thing itself — well, people greeted each other in the street with lines from it, not unlike the Jane-ists Kipling wrote about who founded a fandom on the works of Jane Austen.

Spontoon Islands. Whenever I see those, I remember that I had never heard of them when, around 1981, I made an engraving for my printmaking class of a clock tower rising out of the sea, and with my mind recalling a totally irrelevant quip from a friend, named it "Spontoon!" So you can imagine my consternation whenever I hear about this Islands thing.

#317 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2012, 09:18 PM:

Re: Joan Aiken's Wolves books. I read the first three, The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, Black Hearts in Battersea, and Nightbirds on Nantucket and enjoyed them. Later, I read The Cuckoo Tree and it was starting to lose its appeal for me. Perhaps because it was becoming fantasy, or maybe it's because I was ten years older. The second (which I read first) remains my favorite, and I didn't realize until later that the history was alternate. I was really captivated by them and hope to feed them to my daughter at some point. I found a book with the first two or three in it, though sadly it lacks the fine illustrations by Robin Jacques (do I have the name right?) that pulled me in when I was twelve-ish.

#318 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised again ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2012, 09:32 PM:

Linkmeister @ 308, I posted the ID numbers at my #192 above--but I've also taken your suggestion and put the info in a blog entry here. And trust me, any hope is better than none! Thank you. :)

#319 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2012, 09:41 PM:

Kip W: The Whispering Mountain might be worth a try, given the ones you liked. On the other hand, I haven't reread it for a while, and it is the sort of story the Suck Fairy likes to target.

Elliott Mason (313): I haven't read Lemony Snicket, but that sounds about right.

#320 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2012, 09:59 PM:

syd, I'll email a link to that post with the IDs to my cousin and cross my fingers for you and the cats.

#321 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2012, 10:37 PM:

thomas @319: I've only read the first one and a section of the second; while I greatly admire the fifty-dollar nature of the words used (and the fact that he trusts his young readers to pick it up as they go along), the unrelenting on-purpose angsty OH WOE WOE THERE IZ NO HOPEZ tone of it was unpleasant enough I gave up.

#322 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2012, 11:12 PM:

Elliot Mason @ 291: I have to do a double-take when I see Sacramento listed as a smaller airport. Yes, I know it is in comparison to the big airports like O'Hare, but my basis for comparison are places like Eugene and Spokane, which are tiny enough that about half the flights are boarded from the tarmac.

(I would still like to see the new terminal here; we've got a sculpture by the guy who did the big blue bear in Denver. Plus it will be nice to dance on the grave of the old terminal and sing "na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye.")

#323 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2012, 11:18 PM:

Burbank (AKA 'Bob Hope') - all the flights board from the tarmac, because they have no boarding tubes. It makes for small jets, not that they have room for large ones anyway. On the other hand, it's definitely travel As It Used To Was.

#324 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2012, 11:21 PM:

B. Durbin @322: There's only one concourse of gates at Sac, and it's not very long (by my standards). However, Sac is still a 'major' airport by my PERSONAL standards, because my mother lives near Eureka/Arcata, where the 'gates' are actual knee-high swinging gates that don't lock, and you can drive out to the airport to have dinner (in the sole restaurant) overlooking the runway (just the one), if you like ... and it's the 'big' airport in its area because its runway is long enough to take planes with TWO propellers on them!

#325 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2012, 11:27 PM:

HLN: Local homeowner had an OUTSTANDINGLY productive day of packing (thanks to a public-spirited fellow Fluorospherian who came to visit). Enough boxes were packed, sealed, and labeled to fill a large closet floor-to-ceiling more than once.

It is, however, distressing how much stuff still REMAINS to be packed ... well, at least I can get to the back rows now, having cleared off a lot of the loose fill.

I am hella looking forward (sometime a few months from now) to being able to unpack the 85 Diamond boxes of paperbacks -- just the paperbacks, and just the ones that are in the really nice boxes; it's far from all my BOOKS -- onto shelves and organize them and alphabetize them and cuddle them and smell their lovely pages, my precioussss ... this is now going on eight years of 95% of my books packed in a basement and inaccessible without box-spelunking, and lo, I am mightily tired of it.

Heck yeah, I'm building book-eaters. I'm even going to build a modified book-eater to serve as my spice rack -- pix when I have them. :->

#326 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2012, 11:39 PM:

Elliott Mason @ 324... my mother lives near Eureka

"So. Invisible killer drones."
"Yep. Keeps getting better."

#327 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2012, 12:36 AM:

Open Threadiness:

Does anyone know if the second verse of Twinkle Twinkle Little`Star that shows up in Terry Pratchett's Nation is an actual verse from someplace or a Pterry-invention? I've been singing it to Joseph anyhow, but I got curious.

HLN: My* husband has a job offer! (Okay, he needs to receive the paper. He has the official word, though.) It pays well, he likes the people he's met, and he thinks he'll like the job as far as he knows of what it consists. Considering he's been out of work since March, when his POS boss terminated him while on medical leave** (#^%@&&%), and worried he might not be able to find a decent job without the certifications for doing what he was already doing (Which said boss kept promising to send him to training to get, but never made any attempt to deliver as far as we know), this is all joy and relief. And I could have made that sentence more convoluted if I really wanted.

*I know the convention is "area woman" or "area man", but "area woman's husband" just didn't seem right.

** In virtually every other province in Canada, that would have violated Employment Standards, as well as being scuzzy in general. Here, it only would have done so for maternity leave.

#328 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2012, 12:38 AM:

Steve C @ 257: My husband was actually corresponding with her, as he's building a TARDIS (well, a shed in shape of one), bit by bit over the last few years* -- and she asked for help with her English. The whole thing struck me as cool.

* My new pottery room has Tardis bits in it!

#329 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2012, 01:03 AM:

OtterB @297 -- Have you ever read Serge Lang's The File: A Case Study in Correction? It's complete documentation of a kerfuffle about a faculty survey (The Survey of the American Professoriate) that literally kept me up all night reading it. (Hey, it's just one more letter, right?) It's an amazing sourcebook for doing a sociological analysis of just how science was being done in the US in the late 1970s. No, you can't have my copy, but there are 3 or 4 available on ABE....

Constance @300/301 -- I've read most but not all of them, and had no problem with the language. I enjoyed the alternate history part of them. They're much more steam than punk, however. I much prefer Aiken's short stories, which are wonderfully bizarre. And I see others have already answered you well at more length than I have....

Kip W @317 -- Wolves was illustrated by Edward Gorey originally; the next several were indeed Robin Jacques.

#330 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2012, 05:57 AM:

Older @313 I do try to observe all the rules as much as I can stand to. (Observing the rules: "Woops, there goes one now!")

Genuine LOL at that one.

Elliot Mason @321 the unrelenting on-purpose angsty OH WOE WOE THERE IZ NO HOPEZ tone of it was unpleasant enough

Thank you. I'd been reading this discussion, and remembering only that I read one or two of these waybackwhen but hadn't much cared for them but not sure why. This would explain it.

Tom Whitmore @329, I haven't read it. It looks intriguing, but the copies on ABE are pricey. I put in for it through interlibrary loan.

#331 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2012, 07:37 AM:

Lenora @327- Congrats to the Mr.!

#332 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2012, 07:53 AM:

Lenora Rose@327:

Jane Taylor's "The Star" ("Twinkle Twinkle Little Star") has 5 verses as originally published. Here's a copy of the poem as reprinted in a biography of Jane Taylor and her sister. The text is essentially the same as the one that appears in the 1818 edition of Rhymes for the Nursery that's on Google Books.

#333 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2012, 09:39 AM:

Open-Thready request for program advice:

The 6-month trial anti-virus stuff I got when I bought this laptop is going to expire in about a week.

What freeware should I replace it with (inexpensive stuff also okay)? I've previously used AVG free, which I like--is it still good? (I'm running Windows 7.)

Many, many thanks.

#334 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2012, 10:03 AM:

Melissa Singer @ 333... I like BitDefender.

#335 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2012, 10:24 AM:

Melissa Singer (333): I like Avast. Our tech guy put it on all the library's computers, too.

#336 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2012, 02:24 PM:

@ 329 Tom Whitmore --

Thanks for that information.

I've been looking for a 'classic' series of middle-school -- which Aiken's books seem to be -- to send to a young friend, that feature a female or two as protagonists. She likes history a lot and I want to be careful not to ruin that liking with the rong thing.

There was so much juvenile literature published after I outgrew it that seems to be very good. As well as an awful lot that is awful, particularly in terms of language and history sophistication, i.e. it's either dumbed down and / or so focused on HOW I FEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEL and EVERYBODY ELSE IS WRRRRRRRRRRRRRONNNNNNNNNNNG -- eeeeuuuuu.

I read an enormous amount of the stuff back in the day when I was that demographic, and I have my favorites but middle-school age group I'm unsure of, since when I was in it all my preferred pleasure reading featured animals as the protagonists. I didn't like books that had people.

Love, C.

#337 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2012, 02:37 PM:


Area amateur astronomer takes telescope to local observatory on beautiful clear public viewing night, astounds patrons with views of the Moon, Venus, Jupiter, and the Pleiades.

#338 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2012, 02:42 PM:

Tom Whitmore (329): Wolves was illustrated by Edward Gorey originally; the next several were indeed Robin Jacques.

The paperback editions that I own have covers by Gorey and interior illustrations by Jacques.

I started a re-read of the series last night; they only take an hour or so each. As I remembered, Black Hearts in Battersea is much better than The Wolves of Willoughby Chase. I just started Nightbirds on Nantucket, which was my second favorite.

My favorite Aiken children's book is the non-series The Shadow Guests.

#339 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2012, 02:57 PM:

Constance @336 -- A classic source of middle-book series with lots of interesting women would be Tamora Pierce -- pseudo-Medieval fantasy with lots of different things for girls to grow up to be. I still read YA fiction -- it's some of my favorite writing. You might also try Frances Hardinge's Fly By Night; I've just gotten and started the sequel, Fly Trap and am enjoying it. Somewhat gritty post-literacy novels without a huge amount of fantasy in them. The first contains a line I truly love: "She realized that she didn't want a happy ending, she wanted more story."

Frances @338 -- I think (but I'm not sure) that the original hardcover had Gorey illos as well. But that's a place where my memory is being uncertain.

#340 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2012, 03:25 PM:

The thing is she doesn't want fantasy. She wants straight-up historical fiction.

And yes, I was the Bearer of the Terrible News that Phoebe the Spy was all made up -- not a bit of historical fact in it.

She wants a novel like Johnny Tremain -- though that's just a might too old for her this winter -- but one that has a girl in the central position.

Love, C.

#341 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2012, 03:26 PM:

I've just read David Lodge's A MAN OF PARTS, a "biographical novel" about H.G. Wells.

Apparently, the "H." stood for "Horndog". Even though I'm on record for open marriage as an option, Wells' love life as presented here -- seducing the virgin daughters of his friends, repeatedly? fathering illegitimate children on his lovers, repeatedly? -- makes him come across as a self-rationalizing ass.

The book treads lightly over Wells' science fiction, and places heavier emphasis on his social- and politically-themed works. Wells was, at heart, a utopianist who wanted world peace and sexual freedom. In that respect, his science fiction and a deal of his political writings weren't so much predictions of the future as 1) warnings against it, particularly the mechanization of warfare and the militarization of technology, and 2) a hopeful desire for a perfect world, as seen thru Wells' eyes and interests. (i.e., it would be a better future if everyone was as smart and rational as H.G. Wells.) Like other utopianists, this sometimes meant he blinded himself to the human race's own venality and selfishness, and Lodge presents Wells at the end of his life as a fairly bitter and disillusioned man. He may have been a prophet, but on those issues which mattered most to Wells, he was a failed prophet.

Lodge makes some of Wells' later, now mostly forgotten, novels, sound interesting, and I've downloaded several from Project Gutenberg onto my cell-phone's e-reader. Glancing at the beginning chapters of MR. BRITLING SEES IT THROUGH, I'm struck by how dense the writing is, and at what a leisurely pace it takes getting to where Mr. Britling actually appears. One of the points Lodge raises on several occasions in A MAN OF PARTS is what a brisk and accessible writer Wells was compared to Henry James (the subject of Lodge's earlier -- and more successful, I believe -- biographical novel AUTHOR, AUTHOR).

#342 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2012, 03:48 PM:

Constance @340 I'm a fan of Captain Kate, by Carolyn Reeder, about a girl who takes her family's barge down the C&O canal with the help of her stepbrother. Seems to be out of print, though.

I asked my now-college-age daughter; most of what she remembers is fantasy, but she recommends Girl in Blue, by Ann Rinaldi, about a teenager who pretends to be a boy to be a Union soldier and ends up as a spy. I haven't read it myself. She also recommends Adam of the Road as great historical fiction (and I second that) but, alas, a male protagonist.

How about Anne of Green Gables? Caddie Woodlawn?

And, actually, the American Girl doll-and-accessory franchise is annoying but the books I have read (and I read a number of them aloud) aren't bad.

#343 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2012, 04:11 PM:

Constance @340 I'm a librarian and I work with this age group.

Some good relatively recent middle grade historical fiction:

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
May B. by Catherine Starr Rose
Moon over Manifest by Claire Vanderpool
Countdown by Deborah Wiles

Sadly none of these are series, though. I'll consider the matter again when I get to work on Monday

#344 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2012, 04:11 PM:

As an historical novel of action, Anne of Green Gables won't work as well -- though the first book in particular is wonderful.

Caddy Woodlawn could be a good one. Thanks! Good particularly because its set on a frontier during a time "Indians" were still a real threat to the settlers. Which then brings up the questions why are the Indians a threat and it's really the settlers who are Wrong For Stealing The Indians' Lands, so how can we like Caddy? Yes, these are the kind of responses one can expect these days, because they learn these things at the knees of their mothers and fathers and their parents' friends and at school! Very different from when I was that age. See why I beg for advice?

Are there any historical novels featuring a girl of that age or a little older that are located in Big Historical events between, say the end of the Civil War and World II that anybody knows of?

I bet there are, but I'm finding doing a net search particularly frustrating unless I have an actual title / author I'm looking for. This is the same for the library journals's reviews of the juvies too in the databases.

You go into the bookstores and the titles are all about love, mean girls, or something ironic and snarky. Those books are everywhere and available to her if she wants them. But she doesn't. At least at the moment.

Just soze you know -- I appreciate your suggestions and advice very much.

Love, C.

#345 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2012, 04:12 PM:

Oh, I did think of a series. If she doesn't mind mystery mixed in, the Enola Holmes series by Nancy Springer is excellent.

#346 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2012, 04:18 PM:

I just thought of something: There are loads of books featuring strong girl protagonists set in the first half of the 20th century, like Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor. The Civil Rights movement was long. This is perfect.

Thanks again, and I will continue to look up any other suggestions you all bring.

Love, C.

#347 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2012, 04:30 PM:

Constance @340: I really liked Side Saddle for Dandy, written in 1954 by Nancy Faulkner (illustrated by Marguerite de Angeli). It is set right around the birth of the US in the South-but-not-deep-South, and involves a well-born but allowed to run wild with her brothers young lady whose aunt decides to take her in hand for proper 'finishing'. THere is a conflict with the local Native Americans portrayed, and I don't remember if that was the pre-Independence stuff that George Washington blooded himself in or the French-and-Indian War; it doesn't make much difference either way to the protagonist. Her father had always gone out of his way to be nice to the local natives, in general, and he treated his slaves (he owned some) well. Especially for when it was written, it is very sympathetic to the views of the people of color in it.

It's been decades since I read it, but it has a strongwilled girl in it who learns that there are more survival skills than just living rough, riding horses, and acting like a boy: the drawing-room also contains realms of knowledge that can be useful, but you don't need to let it take over your whole life. :->

Also, if you can get them secondhand, the first six or seven American Girls' novels are pretty good -- they just cost the earth and come with marketing tie-ins. The more recent girls' books are, um, not nearly as engagingly written, as they start to become extruded product, IMHO.

#348 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2012, 04:47 PM:

Constance @340: Historical fiction series for MG-to-YA readers, with a female protagonist? Can do! Try Bloody Jack, by L.A. Meyer, and sequels. The protagonist starts out as a street kid in London who dresses up as a boy to get a position on a Navy ship, but ends up roaming well across the United States as well; I've read up as far as Mississippi Jack, which gives you some idea of the scope. High adventure, but pretty strictly historical, with an engaging narrator; I recommend them thoroughly.

The first book is fairly high-MG, but it shades into YA rapidly, as the protagonist grows up. So you'd probably want to start strictly with the first book, with the others available as the reading/maturity level catches up. (The protagonist hits puberty during the first book, for an idea of age group.)

#349 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2012, 04:48 PM:

Constance @340: How historical is historical -- does 1943 count? Ellen Klages' "The Green Glass Sea" is wonderful.

#350 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2012, 04:48 PM:

Bruce Arthurs @ 341... Did you know that Wells and his son almost got Sergei Eisenstein to come to Hollywood for the filming of "War of The Worlds"? Later, in the 1930s, an upcoming young director tried to convince him that the book could be adapted to a modern setting. That too fell thru. The young director's name? One Alfred Hitchcock.

#351 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2012, 05:00 PM:

Constance, how about Esther Friesner's recent Threads and Flames? Not action per se, but clearly situated in real historical events. The protagonist, a young immigrant from Poland in the early 1900s, ends up with a job at the Triangle Shirtwaist factory...

Also, take a look at The Reb and the Redcoats. Young American prisoner of war during the Revolution taken back to England; one of the main viewpoints is the oldest girl of the family that are responsible for keeping him. Nice job of "there are humans on both sides here."

#352 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2012, 05:13 PM:

Becoming historical, as they're about the middle of the 20th Century -- Debbie Notkin was (and may still be) a great fan of the "My Friend ..." books by Jane Duncan, which are not all that easy to find except in libraries. They're a little more adult, but perhaps might grab your friend -- if you're reading this, Deb, you might give a better view of them.

#353 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised again ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2012, 05:42 PM:

I was checking my kitties on the PHS site this morning before going in for a visit and discovered that Jules no longer appeared. So when I got there, I went first to the section where he was being kept. He was still there, but sure enough, across his cage's ID card was stamped "ADOPTED"!

So, on the plus side, in a few days (or sooner), Jules can get out of the cage and will, I profoundly hope, live a long and happy life with people who will love him as much as I do. On the (admittedly selfish) downside, it means I won't ever see him again.

Much better for him to be out of the cage and in a loving home.

Patch and Blaze, unfortunately, are still in the feral ward, but still no notation on their files that would indicate near-term plans to put them down as unadoptable. One of my friends told me there might be a last-chance option, i.e., if it doesn't look like they'll be adopted for any reason, the shelter would call me. The idea being, I guess, that I would either take them back or be able to notify a rescue group to get them them from the shelter. I haven't asked about it strictly because I can't afford to adopt them, and even if I could, I'm not far from being homeless myself--where would I keep them?

Still keeping my fingers crossed that they calm down soon...

#354 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2012, 05:52 PM:

Tom Whitmore @329: Cool! The first version of the book I read had illustrations by somebody else — even at that age, I could recognize Gorey! Well, there's another reason to pick up every copy of the book I see in a store and look through it.

#355 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2012, 06:07 PM:

Steve C.@337 reminds me: has everyone here been looking up and west just after sunset, recently? Venus and Jupiter are close in the sky, and will be getting closer in the next couple of months. Watch it, it'll be cool.

#356 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2012, 06:25 PM:

Syd, congrats on the partial good news and hoping for improvement.

#357 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2012, 06:37 PM:

These all sound fabulous -- I just looked them all up. I think I must have read Side Saddle for Dandy, since -- Horse.

Bright April, that was written by the same woman who illustrated Side Saddle.

Thank you. You all have made my quest so much easier. Though perhaps in another sense maybe you made it more difficult because now there are so many choices! And all of them seem, judging by the consensus of your observations better choices than Aiken for Young Reading Person Who Loves History.

Love, C.

#358 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2012, 06:39 PM:

These all sound fabulous -- I just looked them all up. I think I must have read Side Saddle for Dandy, since -- Horse.

Bright April, that was written by the same woman who illustrated Side Saddle.

Thank you. You all have made my quest so much easier. Though perhaps in another sense maybe you made it more difficult because now there are so many choices! And all of them seem, judging by the consensus of your observations better choices than Aiken for Young Reading Person Who Loves History.

Love, C.

#359 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2012, 06:49 PM:

Constance @ #340, I **heartily** recommend The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly, which is set in Texas in the 1880s and is indeed straight-up historical fiction with an engaging protagonist, a girl from a large family who bonds with her gruff grandfather over the writings of Mr. Darwin.

Also, if she'll tolerate magic in the setup, Delia Sherman's The Freedom Maze is an amazing, amazing book. (Girl is transported from her grandmother's house in 1960 Louisiana to her ancestors' plantation in 1860 Louisiana, and is mistaken for a mostly-white slave sent from the owner's brother's place. Awesomeness ensues, without sugarcoating, but age-appropriate.)

#360 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2012, 06:59 PM:

Constance @ 340

I can second Caddie Woodlawn -- I loved it as a girl. Also Laura Ingalls Wilder, obviously.

A recommendation that doesn't seem like it would be feminist, but really is pretty much entirely about women who are smart and able to take care of themselves, is Noel Streatfeild's Ballet Shoes. I'm not sure it was intended to be "period" fiction, but since it was written in 1936, it has a pleasantly dated feel.

My prospective sister-in-law, who is a kickass feminist, recommends "Catherine, Called Birdy," which is one of her favorites, and more Medieval-era. I haven't read it, but I trust her judgement considerably.

#361 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2012, 07:02 PM:

Constance @357: If Classical Antiquity is the right sort of history, there are assloads of Mary Stewart books, too, though not all with female protagonists.

I don't know if the age is quite right, but MZB's 'Firebrand' is really cool and accurate on all the ancient technology, and a plausible feminist gloss on the Homer. Might make an interesting parallel read, for a college class or something; I read it for enjoyment before I was in high school.

#362 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2012, 07:07 PM:

Kay Tei @360: There's a 2007 movie of Ballet Shoes that I really enjoyed; I watched it because Netflix recommended it me on the basis that Emma Watson (of Hermione fame, though with straight hair) plays Pauline.

Now that I know it's a book, I have to make sure a copy is on our bookshelves before our daughter is quite old enough to read it. :->

Also, strongly seconding Catherine, Called Birdy.

#363 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2012, 07:32 PM:

Tom Whitmore (352): I adore the My Friends books, but they're definitely not middle grade fiction, even the ones about Janet's childhood. Duncan did write some children's books about the same or similar characters: the Janet Reachfar* books and the Camerons** books. It looks as if some of the former are in print.

*The My Friends books are about Janet in various stages of her life, written for adults.
**Although the names are different, the Camerons are clearly the same characters as Janet's niece and nephews.

#364 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2012, 07:45 PM:

David Goldfarb @ 355 -

Steve C.@337 reminds me: has everyone here been looking up and west just after sunset, recently? Venus and Jupiter are close in the sky, and will be getting closer in the next couple of months. Watch it, it'll be cool.

That's right. The closest approach will be on the evening of March 14, though it'll look great all through March. At conjunction, they will be 3.16 degrees apart, or the width of six full moons.

Jupiter Venus conjunction

#365 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2012, 08:42 PM:

There's a book about Deborah Sampson, the Revolutionary War soldier. No idea how good it really is, but I loved it as a tween. Google tells me the title is "I'm Deborah Sampson," but I could have sworn it was longer than that.

The Little House books have been smacked very hard by the racism fairy. :-(

Seconding Ballet Shoes and all the other Streatfeilds I've ever read, which is most of them. There was an earlier BBC version, in the 70s, which is AFAIC far superior. They had real actual dancers, instead of people pretending in ill-fitting shoes. And my dad approved of Petrova's aeroplanes.

#366 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2012, 09:30 PM:

TexAnne @365 I'm Deborah Sampson, A Soldier in the War of the Revolution, and I'll second the recommendation.

#367 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2012, 09:36 PM:

TexAnne @365 I'm Deborah Sampson, A Soldier in the War of the Revolution, and I approved this message.

Oh, come on, I had to.

#368 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2012, 09:36 PM:

Elliott @ 361

Yes, that's the one. I started to watch the movie, but "book is even better" syndrome kicked in and I only got about halfway through. It was well done, it just wasn't my version...

TexAnne @ 365

That... hadn't even occurred to me as a problem. It's been years since I read them, and those weren't the bits I'd really remembered... drat.

#369 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2012, 09:47 PM:

Constance @ 340

As an afterthought, it occurs to me that I was in Junior High when my mom slipped me my first Jane Austen novel.

#370 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2012, 11:13 PM:

Elliot Mason @ 325: When I worked at Borders, I noticed that most of the bookshelves had a slight backward tilt. It's between 5º and 8º, to which my husband immediately replied "Oh! A radian!" which of course means I never took shop, why on earth would I know that they use radians in shop? At any rate, when I build my bookshelves I want to have a backward tilt, because that makes for good stability. Yes, you actually need to have a back with that style.

(I was very sad when our Borders closed and I have no means of transporting shelves, or I would have bought at least five of the eight-footers. Yeah, they're hardback-sized, not paperback, but they're solid suckers.)

#371 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2012, 11:22 PM:

Catherine, Called Birdy is good. I didn't love it at first, but it improved on rereading.

Zilpha Keatley Snyder has Cat Running and other books, though Cat Running is the only one that fits, I think. Check out the Orphan Train books if you can; I don't know if they're still in print and anyway I've only read two (the library had the first and some smattering but I wanted to read the whole series, so I didn't) but the first, at least, is good-- a family of many is sent West on the orphan train and the eldest, Frances, masquerades as Francis to stay with the youngest. Hattie Big Sky got a lot of notice recently; in it, a young woman inherits a farm in Montana or somewhere like that, as long as she can get a harvest in. Voight's Homecoming and Dicey's Song are favorites of mine, though I really didn't like the third as much. They're contemporary-1980s, which is an interesting perspective-- you can talk some about what makes something historical and what assumptions we make about the present.

#372 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2012, 12:37 AM:

Nesbit's The Railway Children has a certain amount to recommend it as well, if we're going to look back.

#373 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2012, 01:19 AM:

I haven't yet read all the books in the series, but I liked the first four books of Lloyd Alexander's Vesper Holly series1. She's a late Victorian orphan of an eccentric archeologist, who has, as Alexander puts it, "the digestive talents of a goat and the mind of a chess master. She is familiar with half a dozen languages and can swear in all of them." The backgrounds of the stories are often fictional countries, so they're not strictly speaking historical, but they're not fantasy.

Lloyd Alexander was the author of the "Prydain Chronicles" which Disney butchered to make The Black Cauldron animation. The Prydain books are among my favorite YA fantasies, but they don't fit the request because the protagonist is male (although he couldn't possibly have survived even the first book without the female lead character).

Alexander wrote mostly YA books, but he was also a translator. He translated the first English edition of Jean-Paul Sartre's La Nausée.

1. The books, in series order, are: The Illyrian Adventure, The El Dorado Adventure. The Drackenberg Adventure, The Jedera Adventure, The Philadelphia Adventure. and The Xanadu Adventure.

#374 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2012, 02:07 AM:

#104 SamChevre
In the 1960s and 1970s, publications on supermarket checkout stands had articles about the economy and the plight of people on the short end of the stick and dissatisfaction with the social and political orders.... Today, the supermarket checkout counter stands haven essentially nothing which discusses such things--they're loading with trashy tabloids full of stories about Media Personalities behaving badly and ads for whatever, fashion magazines pushing cripplewear clothing and fashion products, Family Circle and Woman;s Day and Good Housekeeping full of Inspirational Stories and recipes with "ingredients such as Brand Named Stuff and weight loss-related products promotion and flooring company products etc..... basically, the content on the shelves in the supermarkets ignore anything political or economic other than "how to mind your family budget" and "ways to work the existing system to get some income"--no rabble-rousing or even questioning the ethics of big business and government officials and organized relgious partisanship

#107 albatross
There are some very different demographic segments in the "unmarried people having children" category--women who're in their 30s or 40 who want kids but have never found Mr (or Ms....) Right, along with teenagers having babies because Mommies Matter or because any education they may have had about fertility control failed to effectively prevent pregnancy (they may have been persuaded/forced to forego birth control(including being brainwashed against it...), may have had it fail, may have been clueless, may have been misinformed or not properly using it... There are big differences between a pregnant 14 year old, and pregnant self-supporting woman with a stable income who's decided if she;s to have children, it need to be now...

#311 Older
Those old Celts and you their descendant, needed/need to bleed....

#333 Melissa
I used Microsoft Security Essentials, free from

#340 Constance
Perhaps Four Horses for Tishtry by Chelsea Quin Yarbro, the book is a YA historical novel set in ancient Rome. St Germain appears in it, however, it's not a St Germain book in the sense of being about St Germain. Tishtry shows up in I think Blood Games, which is one of the mainline St Germain novels, and a lot grimmer than Four Horses for Tishtry.

#375 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2012, 06:48 AM:

Oh, another good historical YA is Susan Cooper's _Victory_, about a modern girl who somehow winds up on Nelson's flagship. I can't remember if it's time travel or psychic dreams or what--so if the "no fantasy" rule is ironclad, it wouldn't be suitable. But the historical Age of Sail stuff is impeccable, and, well, it's Susan Cooper.

#376 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2012, 08:28 AM:

B. Durbin #370: I suspect you misheard that, possibly it was "a gradient". A radian is a very large measure of angle, nearly a third of a circle. (Specifically, there are π radians to a circle.)

#377 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2012, 10:44 AM:

Because a large portion of the fun of consuming fiction is (for me) babbling about it afterwards and picking it apart with likeminded people, is anyone else hereabouts watching and enjoying 'Grimm' or 'Once Upon A Time'? I'm finding them very worthwhile, but haven't yet found any online outlets for thinky aftermathing in regards to them. Ideally, it'd be something like EBear's Criminal Minds recaps/sporks/discussions, but in that case I'd also like a pony ...

Recommendations welcomed.

#378 ::: individ-ewe-al ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2012, 10:54 AM:

Constance: historical fiction for middle-schoolers with female protags: Rosemary Sutcliff, though most famous for her boys, has a couple of good ones. The Queen Elizabeth story is wonderful, and there's Song for a dark queen which is about Budicca /Boadicea. I'm also very fond of Flame-coloured taffeta, set in the 18th century, with lots and lots of action.

The other one I was very into at that age was Cynthia Harnett. She's well-known for doing serious historical research; for an adult reader, the books can seem slightly didactic. But for someone who's excited about learning history via stories, she hits just the spot. Mostly late Mediaeval through early Renaissance. The Wool-Pack is about a boy and a girl; most of her stuff has important female characters though usually male protags.

#379 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2012, 11:26 AM:

Elliot Mason@377

The only Grimm/OUAT online discussion that I'm currently aware of is the one that Teresa Jusino has been posting over at

(I'm sure there are others, but I haven't really been looking for them.)

#380 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2012, 11:54 AM:

@ 376

Nerdery: 2 pi radians to a circle.

The main point stands, though.

#381 ::: Kyndra ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2012, 12:48 PM:


The Maude Reed Tale by Norah Lofts Medieval England
Most of the Ann Rinaldi books have female heroines
A Spy in Williamsburg by Isabelle Lawrence
Elswyth Thane's Williamsburg Novel Series - covers the American Revolution to the beginning of WWII and have a number of female heroines. They may be a bit mature for her...
Barbara Willard's Lark and the Laurel series- both male and female heroines- Medieval England

There are some others that are right on the edge of my brain but won't pull up...

#382 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2012, 01:21 PM:

Elliott Mason @377: I've been watching OUAT since the beginning, mostly with delight (as has my teenage daughter, and I'm always glad to have more TV I can watch with her--Sundays are now Once and Downton Abbey and no internet!). Grimm has grown on my since it started but I haven't seen them all and haven't liked all that I've seen.

This week's Once was in the "not as good" column for me. While not as bad as the cave-in episode, it was on the weak side.

#383 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2012, 01:29 PM:

What I'm doing is making a file of all these titles, and then give them along with the books I decide on to The Reading Person Who Loves History.

I'll make a birthday card of the list, with lots of sparkle stuff. I can do sparkles and ribbons and copied historical art images and pretty paper. That's as far as my non-existant art project skill runs ....

Love, C.

#384 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2012, 02:04 PM:

Interstate news... Man in Bay Area instead of 1000 miles away from co-workers. Plane barely touches ground that man is reminded team is a chicken and that management is the decapitated head.

#385 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2012, 02:04 PM:

Open threadiness: After a few weeks of "reserved" status my library told me it was my turn to read Kate Elliott's new book in her Spiritwalker series, "Cold Fire." I'm one of those people who reads the Acknowledgments page, and I discovered that the very first name given credit was a certain Fragano Ledgister, who, Ms. Elliott says, spent hours helping her develop an invented Creole for the characters she's placed in the book's version of The Antilles.


#386 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2012, 02:13 PM:

Eliott Mason @ 377:

Eva and I have been watching both Once Upon a Time and Grimm since they started, and enjoying them both. If I had to choose between the two, of course I would have to choose Grimm because it's the first TV show shot in Portland (other than Portlandia that is) that actually uses Portland as a setting (and uses it quite well, I think). But there are other reasons to like it: good dialog and some interesting character development for instance.

OUAT is working at somewhat of a disadvantage, in that the characters are pretty much fixed to start with (the Wicked Queen is wicked, Snow White and Red Riding Hood are good, Rumpelstiltskin is greedy and selfish, usw), so they show how the characters came to be what they are in flashback. That works well, but it leaves me wanting to yell at the characters to remember who the Queen is and not to trust her.

#387 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2012, 02:19 PM:

One of my favorite things about Grimm is that, while it is still set in the lulu-land TV world where things don't work quite like they do in ours, the police procedural parts of the 'police procedural' are much CLOSER to being right. The cops don't handle evidence at the scene! They at least mention to each other that various kinds of misbehavior around suspects might need a warrant! The detectives interact convincingly with uniformed officers (instead of all work being done, and all clues being found, exclusively by detectives)! Photos can't be enhanced to supernatural levels to find the murderer's face in the reflection on someone's sunglasses in a shot taken by an ATM cam! It reminds me of Castle in that way, how the characters know their world isn't as ridiculous as CSI/L&O is.

I just wish The Fiancee weren't such a horrible cardboard cutout shaped like a woman, but, well.

I adore how hard Once passes the Bechdel test, again and again, and how it deepens even the 'evil' characters by showing us stories behind stories.

#388 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2012, 03:24 PM:

I have an interesting response to Regina in Once. I know she's evil evil evil, and at the same time, I admire her ability to (most of the time) be a step or two ahead of everyone else. She's got amazing control over her emotions, to the point where you know someday she's going to explode, and when she does let go, you can see real pain. Yet evil she is. Makes it hard to believe Henry and Emma can even defeat her.

And Rumple--ye gods, what an interesting character he's turned out to be. (in the weeks where we watch Once and then The Good Wife, there's sometimes a little resonance because there are characters in both shows named Mr. Gold.)

Zl crefbany gurbel vf gung Ertvan vf gur Zvyyre'f qnhtugre sebz Ehzcyrfgvygfxva, gubhtu V'z abg fher jung unccrarq gb ure svefgobea puvyq. Vg jbhyq rkcynva ure pbaarpgvba gb Ehzcyr, ure sngure'f fbzrjung bqq qrqvpngvba gb ure, naq ure ernpgvba gb Unafry naq Tergry (abg gb zragvba Urael).

Bar bs zl sevraqf vafvfgf gung gur jevgre qhqr vf bar bs gur Tevzz oebguref, ohg abg nyy gur fgbevrf hfrq va Bapr ner Tevzz fgbevrf, fb V'z erfreivat whqtrzrag.

#389 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2012, 03:37 PM:

Syd @353: You might double-check with the shelter. When I had to surrender my Sandy back in '07, they gave me to understand that I could get her back if she was deemed unadoptable; I don't recall any mention made that I would have had to pay an adoption fee. (But then, this was a different state, so who knows?)

Better to know and be prepared than get caught off-guard?

#390 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2012, 03:50 PM:

Elliott Mason @377: anyone else hereabouts watching and enjoying 'Grimm' or 'Once Upon A Time'?

I tried one ep of Grimm and spat it out. I've been watching Once Upon A Time regularly because, of course, Robert Carlyle. The folks over at the Gateworld Carlyle/Rush thread do some discussion, in between passing around pix. I've found OUAT generally watchable, though I'm not in love with the "Lassie, Timmy fell down the well?" level of writing in some of their eps.

#391 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2012, 04:07 PM:

Melissa Singer @388: And Rumple--ye gods, what an interesting character he's turned out to be.

Carlyle is having waaaay too much fun playing him. :-)

#392 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised again ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2012, 04:10 PM:

Jacque @ 389, I will ask that question today when I visit. Ghu knows they don't deserve to be put down just because they're scared out of their wits.

On the other hand, Scooter has now dropped of the adoptions page, too, so I don't know whether I'll get to say goodbye or if she's already gone to her new home.

On the other other hand, I'm likely to be out of a living arrangement within a month. CFFoF has had some propitious timing re: expected funds and may, therefore, not be facing eviction after all; at the least, there will probably be a bit more time to look for a new place. But the concern about my (or any roommate's) impact on the child custody agreement still exists, and without a job, I can't pay rent anyway--so I basically have until the end of February to find a new place. For me, and (at least) 4 cats, with no way to pay rent right now. Hoping the latter changes due to the GROW program, if not my own job search efforts, but I can feel the fear about my financial situation starting to pound in the back of my head.

#393 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2012, 04:19 PM:

Syd: Keeping fingers crossed for you.

#394 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2012, 04:37 PM:

Jacque @391: I only know him from The Full Monty and it took me a long time to figure that out (well, it was 1997 and I wound up resorting to imdb), so he has been a very pleasant surprise. DD, otoh, has never seen him (or most of the cast) before, so my moments of "wow, I haven't seen Giancarlo Esposito since X" mean nothing to her.

#395 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2012, 04:38 PM:

Syd: What Jacque said goes for me too.

#396 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2012, 04:47 PM:

Paula Leiberman (#274) Or maybe since my bad-tempered ancestors spent so much time bleeding anyway, they were the only population in which the mutation could get a foothold. A lot of mutations start out worse and get less worse as time goes on.

#397 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2012, 05:00 PM:

Elliott 377, 387: I'm watching and enjoying Grimm, but lost interest in Once Upon a Time after a few episodes. Part of what I'm enjoying is a fantasy series where the silly words (in this case the names of the abnormals "monster" species rather than spells) are in twisted German instead of twisted Latin.

And yeah, it's cool that they're at least aware that the Constitution exists and that photographs aren't Slow Glass windows into the moment they were taken. But I like Nick a lot (yeah, part of it is just that David Giuntoli is hot), especially the fact that he is much less inclined to wantonly slaughter all the "monsters" (who are PEOPLE, dammit) than they think he is. Apparently Grimms are normally fanatical psychokillers.

I think the last episode I saw foreshadows Juliette becoming less of a cardboard cutout. I personally think she's going to turn out to be one of the non-humans, though I have no idea how she's hiding her true nature from Nick. THAT would certainly make her more interesting, and also justify her being kind of bland up until now. But hey, she did also save his life, right? She may be a pretty shallow character, but at least she's not a Damsel In Distress who does nothing but cower and scream.

#398 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2012, 05:39 PM:

I have problems with both GRIMM and ONCE UPON A TIME, but mostly the latter.

With Grimm, I enjoy the cop-with-eccentric-sidekick meme (done before, lots, but Grimm does it well). I grinch a little that there seem to be so many non-humans in Portland; if that's indicative of the rest of the world, there must be tens of millions of them. One single Grimm at a time is supposed to keep a thumb on them?

(BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER had somewhat of a similar problem, but that was mostly handwaved away by the presence of a Hellmouth in Sunnydale, which could both produce from and attract to the various Big Bads and Medium Bads seen during the show's run.)

My problem with OUAT is that the basic premise is... how do I say this politely?... f'ing stupid. The Evil Queen, for essentially petty reasons, decides to force all Fairydom to live in a boring small town for hundreds of years. Not only that, but she's going to live in that same boring small town for hundreds of years too. Yeah, that sure sounds like a lot of fun.

Also, Robert Carlyle is wasted on OUAT. His scenery-chewing (scenery, hell! entire ecosystems!) scenes as Rumplestiltskin just make me cringe. It's only when he appears as his modern-day incarnation Mr. Gold, with that fine air of restrained menace, that he really shows his acting chops.

#399 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2012, 05:48 PM:

Bruce, I just thought that the non-humans figure that if they go to Portland they'll just blend in with the eccentric humans there.

As for Robert Carlyle, yeah, good actor. Trouble is, you see Robert Carlyle, you know the character is not a nice guy, and is probably a sadistic monster or just a narcissistic sociopath. Somebody needs to cast him against type as a kind, sweet, helpful, selfless person...or, better, as someone who everyone thinks is the usual Robert Carlyle character, but is really harmless or even a hero.

Nahhh, never happen.

#400 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2012, 05:54 PM:

"Once Upon a Time" never clicked for me, mainly because the fantasy scenario on which it based is so plain-vanilla. Evil Queen, Snow White, Prince Charming, Dwarves, etc.

Yes, I've read that they've done interesting things jazzing and riffing on that premise.

I'm not sure if I'd like Grimm as much if it wasn't set in the local Big City, but it is the one that has grabbed my attention.

#401 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2012, 06:13 PM:

Re: Robert Carlyle = monster

Check out "Marilyn Hotchkiss' Ballroom Dancing & Charm School".

Do it now.

#402 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2012, 06:16 PM:

Ack, hit "Post" rather than "Preview".

MYBD&CS via Netflix recently was the first I'd seen Robert Carlyle since "the Full Monty", so when y'all have been talking about his current associations for you, I had to go look him up to be sure we meant the same guy.

#403 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2012, 07:56 PM:

Bruce Arthurs @ 398:

I grinch a little that there seem to be so many non-humans in Portland; if that's indicative of the rest of the world, there must be tens of millions of them.

Nah, man, it's Portland. This is the town where the most common bumpersticker says "Keep Portland Weird" (and the 2nd most common is "Keep Portland Beered"). And Oregon still has most of its forest, so there's lots of places for the beasties to hide.

Xopher @ 397:

Yes, I think Juliette is due for a little reveal sometime soon. Vg frrzf gryyvat gung gur jbttyrf jub jrer jngpuvat Avpx'f ubhfr fnj ure ybbxvat ng gurve ubhfr naq uheevrq gurve puvyqera vafvqr. V guvax fur'f tbvat gb ghea bhg gb or fbzrguvat fpnel. Which, on previewing, looks a lot like something a Blutbad might mutter to herself.

And I agree about the police procedural being much more realistic than most shows. Also the dialog between Nick and his partner and Sgt. Wu really sounds like professionals discussing their work. Most of all, for me, the character of Monroe, Nick's informant in the monster world, is being very nicely developed. The expert informant is very often the weak link in detective stories, because they end up just being human encyclopedias with 24/7 business hours, and no lives of their own. But Monroe's starting to get his own motivations for helping Nick, which should make for some interesting conflicts.

#404 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2012, 08:15 PM:

Bruce, that's exactly what made me think she's not as ordinary as she seems.

#405 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2012, 08:39 PM:

Tennessee may be one of the most backward states in the Union (sales tax but no income tax; how regressive can you get?), but that doesn't mean everyone in TN is bad, or even that none of them are great. This restaurant would be a good place for as many people as possible to patronize.

#406 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2012, 09:34 PM:

Xopher @ #405, I know, right?? I have been to Knoxville a couple of times for the AAU National Taekwondo competition; if I ever go again, I will definitely look for that place. (Knoxville also has a quite nice zoo, incidentally, for those looking for a venue for a postprandial stroll.)

#407 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2012, 09:36 PM:

Xopher, Washington (parts of which are quite progressive) also has no income tax and a hefty sales tax. Apparently, trying to change that has resulted in many politicians losing their jobs.

#408 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2012, 10:41 PM:

Xopher @399: I take it you have not seen Robert Carlyle in the "Hamish MacBeth" series?

#409 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2012, 11:09 PM:

No, Ginger, I haven't.

#410 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2012, 12:39 AM:

Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) @ 403: About Juliet -Vg frrzf gryyvat gung gur jbttyrf jub jrer jngpuvat Avpx'f ubhfr fnj ure ybbxvat ng gurve ubhfr naq uheevrq gurve puvyqera vafvqr. V guvax fur'f tbvat gb ghea bhg gb or fbzrguvat fpnel.

Here's what I think: V guvax gur "crbcyr" jngpuvat Avpx'f ubhfr ner purpxvat bhg gur ybpny Tevzz, naq jura fur fubjrq hc, gurl'er greevsvrq gung gurl'ir orra genpxrq qbja. Fur'f fpnel nf n eryngvba bs uvf.

I'm thoroughly enjoying Grimm because of the Portland setting, and the fun of looking for people I know who worked as extras. For those of you who are out of town, Portland really is that green. We have a huge park full of big trees within city limits, and Nick's neighborhood is typical of a big section of town. Voodoo donuts come in those big pink boxes (stamped "Good Things Come in Pink Boxes", and "The Magic is in the Hole"). My favorite is the one with cream cheese icing with oreos; however, the one shaped and decorated like a vampire, with a red jelly filling and a pretzel stick stake is adorable. The mouse's store was the Rebuilding Center (re-cycled house parts) leavened with mannequins from a warehouse where a friend of my has studio space.

I thought the quality of the first two episodes was high (I loved Aunt Marie!), but that there was a slump after that. The bee episode, for example, made no sense to me. I thought the last two episodes were pretty good. For me, the star is totally Monroe. My impression is that there is more than one Grimm at a time. What I'm trying to figure out is the cbyvpr pncgnva. He hasn't shown any sign of being a monster, and he didn't like having a Grimm Reaper show up. It's things like the "Grimm Reaper" that make me happy with the show.

By the way, those extras include science fiction author David Levine (shown as a police detective, holding a microphone), fan and zine author Kate Yule (not actually on screen yet, but her car was), and author Mark Niemann-Ross. MNR was sitting in the restaurant in the mouse episode. So was my sweetie, but his face was morphed into something else. I don't know if author Mary Robinette Kowal has shown up in Grimm, but she has in Leverage. Portland isn't a very big city, and we're really enjoying this whole TV thing!

#411 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2012, 12:40 AM:


Poor old Blue.

Never knew what hit her.

#412 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2012, 12:54 AM:

Robert Carlyle? On the one hand, he's been deeply scary to British viewers since "To Be A Somebody", the Cracker episode where his character killed (among others) the ninth doctor a cop who was a regular character on the show. Guest starring in that episode was his big break as an actor.

But on the other hand...wee Hamish Macbeth! Like Benton Fraser but sweeter! With Jock and TV John and all the folk in Lochdubh!

I suppose it's a kind of pulling rank to say that I've been deeply conflicted about Robert Carlyle longer than y'all have. Well, there you go.

#413 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2012, 02:01 AM:

janetl @ 410:

Yeah, I thought that was what was happening with Juliette at first, but then I wasn't so sure. The writers clearly have something in mind for her (and that makes me think well of them), but I think it's going to be a bigger surprise than that.

For me, the star is totally Monroe.
Indeed. The two main characters are Monroe and Portland. Nick's OK, but he's still a fairly generic Determined Young Detective. Hank, on the other hand, has already shown signs of being more than a Generic Chocolate Sidekick (sorry, I just couldn't call him vanilla).

I think the episode that sealed the deal for me was the one with the Three Bad Wolves. Nice twisting of the original tale.

#414 ::: FaultyMemory ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2012, 02:16 AM:


Next time you get Voodoo Donuts, take a good look at the box. They're not really Voodoo; they're actually the square root of oodoo.

#415 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2012, 03:35 AM:

Constance@340,344: ... perhaps one or more of the Heyer historical romances? As I understand things, the standards she was writing for mean that the romance parts contain 0% actual pieces that would be offensive to the average middle-school girl or her mother, and she has several that are taken from various periods of (British) history...

Syd@various - Apologies if this ends up hlepy. Have you thought about checking with various temp-service agencies in your area for at least part-time work, while you're looking for things you actually want to do? Places like Manpower or Staffing Solutions? On the premise that some income is better than no income, and a part-time job that doesn't use all your skills, or maybe not any of them but typing and phone-talking, is still a job?

(And, er, it wouldn't hurt, would it?, to ask the shelter if they could pass along "thank you for adopting this kitty" notes to the new owners of Scooter and Jules? If you can, it might give you a bit of closure too.)

Xopher@405: We do have our moments here in Knoxville. And yes, the Bistro at the Bijou is on S. Gay Street. Not too far from the intersection of Church St. and State St. I am NOT making this up...


#416 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2012, 07:39 AM:

Re Robert Carlyle:

I saw him first in Trainspotting, and next in The Full Monty, which resulted in a bit of perceptual whiplash. So I'm never sure what kind of character to expect him to be playing...

#417 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2012, 08:14 AM:

I'm not sure I'd call Heyer 'nonoffensive', even restricted to the romance plots. I just finished Bath Tangle, which was disappointing from the moment I realized I had misread the fancy letters on the title and it was not 'Bath Jungle'. The romance plot to that one includes abusing a seventeen-year-old girl until she cracks and takes an action only two people in her life will support her in-- and that's the best-case scenario, which doesn't actually happen. Good Heyer is good, but the more I read, the less likely I am to recommend her wholesale.

#418 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2012, 09:54 AM:

Florida has hefty sales and use taxes and no income tax (or did when I lived there). The idea was "all those tourists come down here and use our infrastructure, public safety, etc. Let them (help) pay for it." This worked until the touristy herds thinned out. Unprepared food and prescription drugs are exempt.

#419 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2012, 09:56 AM:

abi, I consider myself fortunate to have found DVDs of the whole "Cracker" series at rather low prices, thanks to a video store here that's sadly gone under. I rewatched them all — a rich and somewhat painful process.

#420 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2012, 11:21 AM:

Diatryma @417: I also made the mistake of browsing beyond recommendations into other Heyer titles that "looked interesting" and thus reading Bath Tangle. I'm still rooting for the protagonist and love interest to die in a horrific boating accident three pages after the end of the book, to make up for what terrible people they were. I may need to go reread Cotillion and Sylvester just to get the taste of that one out of my mouth.

#421 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2012, 12:06 PM:

Xopher HalfTongue @399: cast him against type as a kind, sweet, helpful, selfless person...

24: Redemption
Stone of Destiny
Born Equal
Class of '76
The Mighty Celt
Marilyn Hotchkiss' Ballroom Dancing & Charm School
Black and White
The Full Monty
Hamish Macbeth
Carla's Song
Go Now

or, better, as someone who everyone thinks is the usual Robert Carlyle character, but is really harmless or even a hero.

Dead Fish
Plunkett & Macleane
I Know You Know
The Tournament

#422 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2012, 12:57 PM:

Syd: Great news re. Jules and Scooter. Sympathies for Patch and Blaze, and for your continuing housing & job problems. I take it that the apartment manager thing didn't come to anything? Thinking of you.

#423 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2012, 01:02 PM:

Diatryma@417 - Maybe not 'wholesale', but she did do 6 historical-fiction books among the romances and mysteries, so I'm thinking it's possible that one or two would be suitable? I have not actually READ any of the historical ones yet, though, and could well be wrong.

Some of the romances (and yes, I haven't read all of those yet, and some could be real stinkers) could probably qualify as semi-historical - not about real people and events, but set in a background that was How Things Worked In Regency England. Don't know if that would be close enough for the original querent's young girl.

Shutting up now about Heyer!


#424 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2012, 03:08 PM:

Flight update: I totally caved and got scanned. I was already putting so much mental energy into preparing to be "on" for a full day of interviews (literally from 8 AM until 4 PM) that I just wanted the security check to be over already. I just didn't have the spoons left over to steel myself for a potential argument with someone on a power trip.

The whole experience felt squicky -- not enough to upset me badly, but enough that I don't like the idea of repeating it. I think it was being required to assume a completely vulnerable, undignified, hands-above-head "surrender" position. It just underlined "we're going to invade your privacy and there's not a damn thing you can do about it."

People directly behind me opted out both times, and from what I saw, it wasn't made into a confrontation or an argument. The TSA agent at the airport with the X-ray backscatter scanner actually said to the guy who opted out, "Yeah, if I flew all the time I wouldn't want to go through these things either."

Having actually observed people opt out of the scanners and have it not result in an argument, I'm significantly more likely to do so the next time I have to fly.

I think the interviews went well. I liked what I learned about the company, the team, the work, and the people, and I hope they liked what they learned about me. I should hear back soon.

#425 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2012, 04:58 PM:

RE Avram's particle:

I'm on the do not call list. I look forward to using the website. I don't have caller ID; I hope that doesn't hinder registering a complaint.

When that Cardholder Services place calls, I usually "hit one" (or whatever) and:

* Act extremely enthusiastic and really stupid. ("Sorry, which card was this for?")

* Really slowly introduce myself, say hi, then break it to the caller that I'm just wasting their time.

* Ask for a supervisor. The merest mention of "do not call registry" will make 'em hang up immediately.

#426 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2012, 05:09 PM:

The sun just came out and lit up my cubicle wall.

Boom-deyada, boom-deyada, BOOM-deyada, boom-deyahda.

#427 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised again ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2012, 05:18 PM:

David Delaney @ 415, not a hlepy suggestion at all. I admit I've been so focused on getting permanent work, even if part-time, that temp agencies fell off my radar. I don't know that registering with them will get me any brownie points for my General Relief work program, but it may help ME.

dcb, the apartment manager job was a no-go, either because the owner wanted her nephew to remain as manager or because my having cats was an issue. (The owner is apparently so strait-laced that she didn't like renting to people with children, regardless of legal residency regs.) But I'll get back in touch with the woman I interviewed with, since they have other buildings in other parts of LA.

On the subject of the cats...I visited today (shelter was closed yesterday) and went immediately to the section where Jules had been on Sunday. Discovered he was still there but also still has "ADOPTED" across his ID card--and since there weren't any attendants in the room to tell me I should follow the signs and not touch the cats, I gave him some good skritches and told him to have a long and happy and loving life with his new family (just in case his new people collect him before I visit again).

Then I went to the other "adoptable cats" section and found that both Scooter's and Runyon's cages were empty. I visited with Bastet and Shadow and Damon, then went to the admin desk to check on the other two. Scooter was indeed adopted on Sunday.

Runyon was put down because he went ballistic when they took him out of his cage for a med check (I had told them when I surrendered him that he and Damon had both had one episode each of Feline Urinary Syndrome (FUS) that was being managed with diet, hence the med check). Apparently it was the vet, not one of the techs, who recommended euthanasia, and I don't suppose once that had happened, my boy had any chance at all.

So I asked about Patch and Blaze--and they'd put them down, too. For the horrible crime of being scared out of their minds and not settling down enough to move out of the feral cat ward.

And the hell of it is, if it had just fucking occurred to me to ASK when I visited on Sunday, "Well, if they don't calm down, can I take them back?", maybe I could have done just that. But I didn't ask, not for any of them, because it didn't occur to me that Runyon was in any danger, and every time I checked on Blaze and Patch, I was told that they weren't very crowded right now so they'd have some time.

I find myself almost willing to pray to $Deity (in which I do not believe) that my other three can find homes very very soon--before they get scared in front of the wrong person.

My babies. My poor babies.

#428 ::: Tiger Spot ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2012, 05:30 PM:

Oh, Syd, I'm so sorry.

#429 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2012, 05:32 PM:

Oh, Syd, I'm so sorry. They even knew you'd been visiting just to check on your cats, it should have occurred to them to ask.

The vet genuinely offends me, though; I've had cats go ballistic at the vet. It happens even with good owners, not recently displaced and confused animals.

Sorry. Good wishes for the others to find happy homes.

#430 ::: Tamlyn ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2012, 05:58 PM:

I'm so sorry, Syd.

I hope the others find homes soon.

#431 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2012, 06:03 PM:

Oh Syd, I'm so sorry. What a horrible thing to happen. Apologies for the idiot member of my profession - unfortunately we do have our fair share of idiots. Best of luck for the others. Thinking of you.

#432 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2012, 06:15 PM:

Syd, I weep for you and your babies.

#433 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2012, 06:45 PM:

Elliott, #321: Isaac Asimov used to say that his guideline for writing YA fiction was "make your hero 17 years old, and then go ahead and use a full vocabulary". It wouldn't be bad advice for any YA writer, I think.

...and #324, your mother lives near Eureka? One would think that they'd need a larger airport there just for the Global Dynamics jets.

Constance, #340: I don't know if this is what you're looking for, but I do recall seeing a whole series of "fictionalized biographies" featuring female historical characters, aimed at about the 10-14 age range, a few years ago. No recollection of any of the titles or who the publisher was, but they were prominently featured on the book tables at CostCo.

David D., #415: I'd be hesitant about recommending Heyer to someone who wasn't adult enough to deal with the sometimes-dicey social stereotyping. Also, the number of plots which involve a young woman and a much older man, while perfectly appropriate for the period in which they're set, read oddly to a modern eye.

(Just finished re-reading A Civil Contract. Adam & Jenny are fine, but Julia & the Marquis of Rockhill would squick me badly if they didn't have an author standing over them to make sure it came out okay -- she's not much older than his daughters, and in modern terms would be an obvious trophy wife.)

#434 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2012, 06:59 PM:

Syd, I'm so sorry.

#435 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2012, 07:03 PM:

I have no trouble believing that non- or semi-humans would gravitate to Portland. I lived there as a child and for much of my adult life, and I would gravitate there myself if I could hack the high rents and the air pollution. Since I left, I've always felt kind of like an exile. Actually, to me Portland seems so much like a suitable habitat for semi-humans that for a while now, I have been writing short stories about people I've known, cast in fairy-tale or fablish terms.

How many cities do you know of that have a forest within city limits? And I don't mean just a park with a lot of trees, I mean a forest sufficiently forest-like that people have been known to set up camps and live there for years undetected. When I was young, there were more of them, but they have all been cleared and made more "accessible" except for Forest Park.

There was such a situation in the city where I now live, but a recent "improvement" effort cleared the area of underbrush and many of the trees, displacing several occupants, including the guy who had built a quite presentable small house in the depths of the greenery. This is alas the effect of overpopulation, among other things.

#436 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2012, 07:15 PM:

Re foods with misleading names:
Me: This is called Fettuccine Alfredo.
Son: Is this chicken in here?
Me: Sure. You didn't think they still made it with real Alfredo, did you?

Bruce Arthurs@398: Trapping your relatives in misery (and being trapped with them yourself) seems like a recurring theme in the Dysfunctional Families thread . . . .

Diatryma@417: I'm not sure which title, "Bath Tangle" or "Bath Jungle", sounds more like pr0n.

Fade Manley@420: Sometimes "Suddenly, they were all run over bv a truck" is actually the most satisfying ending.

Stefan@426: Take it when it is offered.

Syd@427: Another "So very sorry", and so very sorry I have nothing better to say.

#437 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2012, 07:25 PM:

Syd, I am so sorry, so very sorry. You must be in such pain. You did the best you could. That's all I can offer, and it ain't much. You did the best you could.

#438 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2012, 07:43 PM:

I'll "ditto" what Lizzy said. You've gone to extraordinary lengths for your cats, Syd. Some of them have new homes; yet more may get them. Take care of yourself, now, and after getting established yourself look forward to making a home for cats again.

* * *

Portland also has an extinct volcano within city limits. And while not technically in the city, some pretty outrageous waterfalls.

#439 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2012, 08:23 PM:

As I understand it, Stephan, an extinct volcano is one which has been moved (by tectonic action) away from the hot spot underneath. But Mt Tabor is still above the hot spot, so it's "dormant" rather than "extinct". Of course, as a kid, I was eager to embrace this explanation, so it may not in fact be correct.

#440 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2012, 08:51 PM:

Syd, I am so, so sorry.

And angry. Not at you. At the shelter people and at the vet. (I had a cat once who needed three people and leather gloves to be handled at the vet. He was otherwise the sweetest beast in the world. If anyone had suggested he should be put down because of his behavior at the vet, I would have performed violence on them.)

#441 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2012, 09:14 PM:

#415 David DeLaney

Many thanks, but Georgette Heyer is so not in the mix! :)

Love, C.

#442 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2012, 10:25 PM:

Syd, I'm very sorry for your loss. Also, what Lizzy L said.

#443 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2012, 10:26 PM:

Older @439: I think "dormant" and "extinct" refer to the time since the last eruption (that includes ash and gases as well as lava, by the way) and may connect to how much heat is still detectable. But I am not a geologist, and this isn't one of the bits of geology I had to be up on for my most recent job.

Hot spots aren't the whole story, because many volcanoes aren't over/caused by hot spots. Plate boundary interactions also produce volcanoes: island arcs form where oceanic crust is subducted. Hawaii is the classic example of hot spot vulcanism. The Aleutians are an island arc. The Cascades are also the result of plate boundary activity, not a hot spot. Mount Rainier is visibly not yet extinct: there are glaciers high on its slopes, but not all the way to the top.

You get undersea volcanic activity, forming oceanic ridges, where plates are moving apart. Put a mid-ocean ridge over a hot spot, and you've got Iceland, a hot spot volcanic island that is being pulled apart.

/expository lump.

#444 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2012, 10:45 PM:

Mount Shasta and Mount Lassen, at the south end of the Cascades, are dormant. (Lassen last erupted about a hundred years ago.)

#445 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2012, 10:59 PM:

Sherri L Smith, Flygirl. WW2 female pilot training, and the protagonist is a young black woman passing for white so she can get in.
Christine Fletcher, Ten Cents a Dance. Also WW2, this time a young white woman who takes a job as a taxi dancer. Also deals with race some, and dancing slash sex slash abuse slash supporting our troops.

My method of picking Heyer is to wander around the library disconsolately because I'm not carrying enough books, then remember that I'm very slowly reading hers. I go to her shelf, I look at the titles, I try to remember which ones I've read, and I pick more or less randomly by title. I'm more likely to pick words than names because I can't remember all the names, and I am not inclined to pick up the ones I now know are connected because that means I'm reading them out of order, see also why I think all series should be labeled as such. Then I go home, am perhaps terribly bored, and Heyer goes back on the shelf for a month or two.

Bath Tangle was interesting because of its insistence on 'clever' and 'stupid'. It makes me wonder what sort of people Heyer thought the Regency populated with: I know some people who are dumb as rocks, some who simply cannot follow my conversations about books, some who are mystified that I can just make up crocheted objects, but except for the first set, none of them are stupid. I don't think I'm terribly clever, either. It seems to me that Heyer is asking me to take a lot on faith that Character A is oh so clever and Character B dull but good-hearted and Character C pointlessly silly when all I see is A being exasperated and C being slightly more likely to use slang.

#446 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2012, 11:03 PM:

Syd, I'm so sorry for your loss. It's so hard to bear, when you make the best arrangements you can and it still goes pear-shaped. Hugs and hope for your situation to start getting better soon.

#447 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2012, 11:30 PM:

HLN: Local woman, in the course of doing some quick-and-dirty research for a Benjamin January tour while visiting New Orleans, discovers that the names of the streets in the French Quarter have not been constant. Clearly, much more research (and a city map dating from the 1830s) is going to be required; fortunately, a book with same is available from Amazon.

Local woman is also disgruntled to discover that pretty much all of the places she wanted to go in the French Quarter are closed on Mondays. Local woman foresees another trip (probably next winter) which will involve driving over on Monday and doing the running-about on Tuesday.

#448 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised again ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2012, 12:24 AM:

To all, thank you so much. I appreciate your support more than I can say. It's going to hurt for a long time--right now, I can't see how it will ever stop hurting--but I know I did the best I could given the circumstances.

#449 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2012, 12:46 AM:

It may indeed never stop hurting, Syd; and all the signs point to it becoming a much less present hurt, in time. I'm so sorry you have to go through this. We recently had a vet suggest putting one of our cats down (she's started biting, hard); another, however, suggested various behavioral mods which are working pretty well. He also suggested prozac, which we tried, but the cat stopped eating anything when we dosed her food with it (dissolved in fish oil -- there's a local compounding pharmacy that does meds for animals as well as people).

#450 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2012, 01:19 AM:

Older @ 435:

How many cities do you know of that have a forest within city limits?

Two in the US: Portland, where I've lived the last 35 years, and Philadelphia where I lived for the first 15 years of my life. IIRC, Forest Park in Portland is about 5,000 acres, and Fairmount Park in Philadelphia is about 4,100 acres out of a total of 9,000 acres of park. Fairmount isn't as dense a forest as Forest Park, but there are miles of trails, and it includes a lot of the land on the banks of the Schuylkill1 River. I've lived in a number of other cities, and in all of them I missed having that forest land a short drive away.

1. Pronounced something like "Skookill". And that's another commonality between the 2 cities: both have rivers running through them the pronunciation of whose names are used to tell if a speaker is a resident of the city. In Portland, it's the Willamette River, and the accent is properly on the 2nd syllable, not the 3rd.

#451 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2012, 01:30 AM:

Syd @427:

I'm so sorry to hear this. I don't have anything useful to say. I'm just grieved for you and the cats.

#452 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2012, 01:55 AM:

Syd, I'm with Melissa Singer @ #440. I'm so sad about it, and angry, too.

That hardly lives up to the word "humane" in the organization's name.

#453 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2012, 02:25 AM:

I'm so sorry, Syd.

#454 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2012, 06:54 AM:

Syd, I'm very sorry for your loss, and I share the outrage over the shelter's actions.

#455 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2012, 07:54 AM:

Syd, I too am very sorry for your loss, as well as the larger morass you've been mired in for this long time.

#456 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2012, 07:57 AM:

It appears that the TSA does not have much of a sense of humour:

The US is secure against drunken Irishmen, at least.

#457 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2012, 08:00 AM:

John M. Burt @ #436: Sometimes "Suddenly, they were all run over bv a truck" is actually the most satisfying ending.

That actually happened once on one of the few TV shows I watch regularly. Well, only one person got run over by a truck, but it was the villain and it was very satisfying.

#458 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2012, 08:01 AM:

I'm sorry to hear, Syd.

#459 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2012, 08:02 AM:

Syd #427: I'm sorry for your loss. I'm just shaking my head at the inhumanity of the shelter.

#460 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2012, 08:39 AM:

Syd, which if any of your cats are still at the shelter? I know a group of people who're pretty good at the pet mojo, and I'm going to see what they can do. I'm just sorry I didn't think of it earlier.

#461 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2012, 09:20 AM:

Syd #427: I'm sorry for you. And yeah, that vet sounds like a lazy asshole.

#462 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2012, 09:30 AM:

Syd; god, that's awful. I'm sorry for your kitties, and for you. It's shocking.

#463 ::: Lydy Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2012, 10:03 AM:

Oh, Syd. I'm so sorry. I don't know what to say. That you did the best you could is not enough, but it's what you could do, and that has to be enough. Except that it isn't. Except that it was. Life sucks. I'm so sorry.

#464 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2012, 11:44 AM:

Syd, I'm so sorry. *hugs*

#465 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2012, 12:31 PM:

The flying person sidelight puts me in mind of my own past glories. That's the back of my head in the last panel!

#466 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2012, 12:46 PM:

Syd @448: It's going to hurt for a long time--right now, I can't see how it will ever stop hurting--but I know I did the best I could given the circumstances.

I think I mentioned elsewhere that I went through something similar in '07. I had to trim my herd by five. One made it out alive (and was adopted promptly). The other four ... didn't. They were sick, and the Humane Society would have put them down, so I went ahead and my vet do it.

I had largely moved on, but I still have pangs. (I particularly miss Mr. Fuzzy Logan, who was the Best Guinea Pig EVAR.)

It doesn't help at all that Gustav went through the same illness that made those four unadoptable. She came out alive and healthy, but that's because I had the resources (emotional, as well as financial) to pour into her care. It's hard not to think back to then with the "if only" tapes running.

Carrie S. @460: Syd, which if any of your cats are still at the shelter?

Her web page says Bastet (ID A300990), Damon (ID A301148) and Shadow (ID A300988) are still there (as of her post yesterday).

Irrespective of impending mojo, Syd, I would instantly if not sooner call the shelter and make sure they contact you before making any more "irreversible" decisions regarding your kitties. (I'm appalled that they didn't offer to do this in the first place.)

#468 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2012, 01:29 PM:

T -- your Reddit link at the top of your Particles (Five Years Ago Today) leads to a 404.

#469 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2012, 01:31 PM:

(Actually, Reddit's got at least 3 different 404 pages that that has led me to, each one of them a different cartoon, including two skiffy ones. How many do they actually have?)

#470 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2012, 01:52 PM:

I fixed the particle. A quote mark had pulled a disappearing act.

#471 ::: Jörg Raddatz ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2012, 02:04 PM:

Syd, that is just terrible. I am very sorry for your loss, and more than a bit angry at the shelter people. My condolences.

#472 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2012, 03:22 PM:

Open Threadiness: here's another artist putting male superheroes into the kind of poses in which female ones are usually drawn. Worksafe except maybe for the Iron Man pose, which features dorsal nudity.

#473 ::: john who is incognito and definitely not at work ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2012, 04:24 PM:

Jim, I read this article about the massive pileup on I-75 and thought about you: "there was a hard decision to make on where to send the big crowd of people who were not injured - out into the swamp where there are alligators or alongside the road where we could not see what the hazards were?"

#474 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised again ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2012, 07:03 PM:

Carrie S. @ 460, as of a few minutes ago, I confirm what Jacque said at 466: Bastet (ID A300986), Shadow (ID A300988) and Damon (ID A301148) are still on the adoptions page, so I assume that means they're still available. They were, as of my visit earlier today, being kept in the front Cat Care Center (pass the store and turn left before you hit the gate into the dog kennels). I'll cross my fingers that your friends can help. And please, please, don't worry about not thinking of it sooner--hell, right now I'm having to convince myself NOT to think that if I'd just gotten my sh!t together 2 years ago, none of this would be happening. Totally counterproductive.

Jacque--asking them to call me re: irreversible decisions is a good idea. I'd call, except on top of everything, I've caught some variant of the creeping crud that today has pretty much shot my voice, so I'll go back when I run my errands and make that very request. (At least I can whisper in person.)

#475 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2012, 07:41 PM:

(This is the only place I can think of to put this. You're welcome.)

After a discussion else-net of the Dune miniseries, and coincidentally re-reading an old ML thread that touched on 'kwitzatz haderach', I have the following earworm:

This old man,
He played one;
He played kwitzatz
On his thumb

With a kwitzatz
Give the dog a bone,
This old man
Came rolling home.

(It's only the chorus that's really stuck in my head, but that's more than enough, thank you.)

#476 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2012, 07:47 PM:

Mary Aileen... There is also the Quizz Kid Had A Rash and the Shaddup Mavis.

#477 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2012, 08:01 PM:

Mary Aileen, for me it was only the second of the two quatrains, but yeah.

#478 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2012, 08:31 PM:

Syd, you've been much in my thoughts. I realized I've put off posting in magical-thinking hopes that I, or others, would be able to up with anything that would make it better.

You have pretty much all of the part of my heart I loan out.

#479 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2012, 08:47 PM:

AKICIML: OK, half of a sphere is a hemisphere. What's the parallel term for a third of a sphere?

I have some beings in my roleplaying universe who have have a brain with three sections in the same sense that the human brain has two hemispheres (stuff underneath doesn't count, etc.). What do I call those?

Anyone who knows or cares to speculate is welcome to answer, though I'm pinning my principal hopes on David Goldfarb.

#480 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2012, 08:58 PM:

Kip W (477): I think we're talking about the same thing: the second of the two quatrains is the chorus.

#481 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2012, 09:13 PM:

Xopher HalfTongue #479: For a brain in particular, we would call them "lobes"; for example, the octopus' brain has ten lobes.

#482 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2012, 09:22 PM:

I believe it was here that I encountered the novel-template 'Fond Memories of Vagina' ... ah, yes, via Janet Brennan Croft last summer.

I thought of it recently, because I picked up a book randomly off a sale table (it purported to be a Sekrit Conspiracy involving a possible surviving Shakespeare manuscript, with skullduggery and librarians -- what's not to like?) and was a little surprised when reading it. It kept seeming like Not At All My Sort Of Thing, until I suddenly realized: the protagonist of the novel desperately wishes that the novel he was in was Fond Memories of Vagina, so he keeps trying to derail onto that, until all this inconvenient PLOT and ACTION and FEAR FOR HIS LIFE keeps coming up, and he has to stop his FMoV musings to, y'know, tell the reader what's actually happened.

I'm still not sure if I like it, but it certainly amuses me more now. I'm allllllmost certain the author is doing it on purpose (i.e. he finds FMoV silly too), but it's played so kayfabe-straight I can't quite tell. And I can forgive an author a lot for actually bothering to do the backstory setup to prove his protagonist really CAN pick a dude up and swing him into another bad guy during a fight (in a non-superpowers world), before he needs to have it happen.

The novel is Michael Gruber's The Book of Air and Shadows, if anyone has been moved to look into it. It has several more sympathetic characters than the nominal protagonist, I promise.

#483 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2012, 09:30 PM:

David, the problem is that that's ambiguous. The human brain has frontal lobes and temporal lobes etc., but the two "halves" are called the left and right hemispheres. These brains look like human ones except that there's a whole other piece equivalent to one of the hemipheres in the back.

Runs their wings, which are more complex than just organs of flight.

#484 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2012, 09:57 PM:

Xopher: the traditional comparative anatomy approach would be to call it the "third hemisphere" or "posterior hemisphere." I draw this conclusion by analogy. In human beings, the main muscle that flexes the elbow is called the biceps brachii, "two-heads of the arm", because it has two "heads" or proximal attachments.

The analogous muscle in dogs is also called the biceps, even though it has only one head. The triceps, on the other hand, has the canonical three heads in humans, but is still called "triceps" in dogs even though it has four heads....

This comment is subject to correction by Ginger and other fluorospherians who actually know what they're talking about.

#485 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2012, 10:21 PM:

Lila, they aren't animals. They're sentient beings who never saw humans before the PCs showed up (and in a sense haven't yet, because the PCs are...modified). So I doubt they'd use the term 'hemisphere' when discussing their own anatomy, when they've never seen a creature with only two of them.

And yeah, speaking English: think translator microbes.

#486 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2012, 11:12 PM:

Xopher: would they think of them as parts of a sphere at all?

For euphony, and to suggest what an equivalent English word might be, I'd use terisphere. Has the "feel" of threeness, and isn't as harsh as trisphere (which would mean three spheres, anyway, rather than a third). Peri- meaning partial or around, for a rhymic referent. Context should make it pretty clear what it means anyway.

#487 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised again ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2012, 11:33 PM:

Well, I went back to the shelter and, of course, took the opportunity to visit with My Three. Shadow is in a cage on one side of the room, while Bastet and Damon are on the other. While I was visiting with Shadow, Damon and Bastet started to meow ("Hey, Mom! Come pet us, too!").

About that time, a vet tech (or volunteer) came in, went straight to their cages and started talking to them. She turned around to ask me if I was planning to take a cat, and I explained about surrendering 8. I pointed out which ones had been mine, told her about the 2 who'd been adopted...and then started to tell her about the 3 who'd been put down.

When I mentioned Runyon, her eyes got big. She said she'd liked Runyon, that he was a sweet boy. Yes, true, he'd gotten out of his cage once before when she was working with him, but she'd just "chased" him until she caught him, cuddled him until he calmed down, and he was fine--and she DIDN'T report it to anyone, because she understood his problem. And she said that when she found out what the vet had done, she was appalled and said the vet was, in no uncertain terms, an idiot and a jerk--and she (the tech) wasn't the only one who thought so.

She commiserated with me about Patch and Blaze, thought it was unfair they hadn't been given more time to adapt...and said she would do whatever she could to increase the chances for Bastet, Shadow and Damon to be adopted. :)

After another conversation with another visitor or two re: Kittehs We Have Known, I went to the admin desk to ask about being notified if anybody should decide any of mine should be put down...and was told they don't do "last chance" notification for owner surrenders.

Stupid blanket policy. You'd think it would be case by case so they could separate owners who were surrendering their animals because they got tired of them (or some other bogus reason) from people like me who obviously cared about their pets but were forced into this action by circumstance. Anyway, the gal at the desk checked everyone's file and said they all had positive comments, nothing negative--and I reminded her she'd told me herself that there'd been nothing negative to the point of euthanasia on Patch's or Blaze's files a day or two ago. (She had the grace to look kind of sad about it.) The only suggestion she could make was for me to check with the desk on a daily basis so that if any negatives showed up, maybe I could do something about it.

So...I tried, and I know my critters have at least one person on staff batting for them. Better than they'd "officially" had before. :)

#488 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2012, 12:31 AM:

Syd, that's just foul. Add my sympathies to the mix, please...

#489 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2012, 01:49 AM:

Washington has made some progress toward being the n+1th state with gay marriage. The state senate has passed the bill (with my conservative Christian democratic senator being the one that put them over halfway! She had a great message about it when she announced her position. ) It should pass the house, and the gov has said she'll sign it.

Unfortunately, then there's a likely initiative challenge.

But hey, it's a victory.

#490 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2012, 02:56 AM:

Xopher: the word "hemisphere" derives from a special Greek word which meant "half". There's no similar word for "one-third" (any more than we have one) so if you want something Greek-derived you'll need to pretty much just calque "one-third-sphere". I don't know off the top of my head what that would be, but cursory research suggests it would be "hentritasphere".

#491 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2012, 03:27 AM:

The work of yours truly fucking saved the day at the office.

#492 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2012, 05:44 AM:

Xopher @ 479: I'd be tempted to go sideways, and call the sections ridings.

#493 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2012, 05:51 AM:

Xopher @479 I also would get away from "spheres" altogether ... maybe sectors?

#494 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2012, 09:28 AM:

Serge @ 491 -

That gerund's placement in your status report could be parsed a couple of different ways. :)

#495 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2012, 09:32 AM:

Steve C @ 491... F*cking gerund! :-)

#496 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2012, 10:37 AM:

In other news, the Susan G. Komen Foundation has decided to defund Planned Parenthood, because it's being investigated by Congress. Komen's action isn't because PP funds abortions, oh no; Congress's investigation may be about that, but that isn't what SGK is worried about. Or so they say.

#497 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2012, 11:26 AM:

Syd: The only excuse I can think of for such a stupid and cruel policy is if they are really understaffed and overworked. And that's only the thinnest of excuses, even then.

#498 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2012, 12:37 PM:

Well, I can at leasst put in a good word for our local Humane Society branch.

Aliera is one of the cats we took in after their owner, our friend Anne, passed away several years ago. Sometime Monday night or Tuesday morning, Aliera got out of the house (probably thru the front bedroom window whose screen keeps falling out) and couldn't be found when her absence was noticed.

Yesterday afternoon, we got a call from one of the Arizona Humane Society's field operatives, letting us know she'd just picked up a slightly damaged cat whose tag had our phone number on it. She was actually calling from the next street over, Acapulco Lane, so we had Aliera back just a couple of minutes later. She had a puncture would on one leg, probably from a dog, and a slight limp, but was otherwise okay.

Anne had lived in the house behind ours, on Acapulco Lane, so I wonder if Aliera had been trying to get back to her old home after she got out. Hard to believe she'd still think of that after two years, especially since Aliera is... well, not very bright.

So, "Thank You" to the Arizona Humane Society (and the unknown person on Acapulco who called AHS to report an injured cat).

#499 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2012, 12:54 PM:

Xopher HalfTongue @479: I have some beings in my roleplaying universe who have have a brain with three sections in the same sense that the human brain has two hemispheres (stuff underneath doesn't count, etc.). What do I call those?

David Harmon @479: For a brain in particular, we would call them "lobes"; for example, the octopus' brain has ten lobes.

I called similar characters in a similar project 'trilobites', with some jokey reference that they were not prehistoric crustaceans.

#500 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2012, 01:12 PM:

Mary Aileen @480: Yep, that's the part that used to go through my head. My sister was remarking the other day that, as a family, we have propensity for having the same little bit of melody go through our heads for a long time. It's not only true for me, but it's often a really short bit of melody.

As I got older, though, I seem to have gained some degree of control over it. Having a music player helps too.

#501 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2012, 02:42 PM:

Anybody else here get words as earworms? Yesterday, I had the word "liebfraumilch" repeatedly going through my head. For the love of Ghu, why!??

#502 ::: vee ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2012, 02:49 PM:

Kip @ 500, Jacque @501: Not so words or music snippets as earworms for me, but bits of poetry. Was useful once. Wedding vows came out in iambic tetrameter!

Of course, my brain's playlist promptly followed afterwards up the Marvell/Raleigh mashup with Nelly's "Hot in Herre".

You know that commercial where the protagonist with the tooth that picks up radio signals ends up pulling out the tooth after it plays something not in the preferred genre? It was sort of like that.

#503 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2012, 03:39 PM:

Jacque @ 501: Unless its trajectory grazes your taste-buds, I think you have not too much to complain of.

But the haunting is surely annoying. The words 'nugatory', 'superfine', and 'peristalsis' have at various times been particularly irritating worms, though happily not in combination.

vee @ 502: You appear to have more class than I do. I did once have to pull myself back from an elaborate series of curses which were coming out in iambic tetrameter. I was sounding like a bargain-basement Vainamoinen, and even given the flagrant provocation, passers-by were beginning to look at me funny.

On the other hand, it did cause the offending* whippersnapper to conclude that I was a bigger nuisance than he was, and depart abruptly in high dudgeon. Which was probably the optimal outcome. But I'd rather not do it again.

*He was trying to sell a doctrine to which I had no interest in subscribing, by the time-tested principle of never taking "No", "I neither know nor care," or "Speaking of going to Hell, laddie...!" for an answer.

#504 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2012, 03:46 PM:

I tend to get little musical tags associated with certain words. For example, 'herring' always brings up a line from a folksong: "shoals of herring". Annoyingly, I'm not sure what song it's from, although it's on one of the CDs I own.

Or I'll get a line or two of a song on repeat. If I can remember and sing the whole song, I can usually get rid of the earworm.

#505 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2012, 04:02 PM:

Look and see! It's old Gray Woodland,
Bargain-basement Vainomoinen
speaking like the Kalevala,
writing words that fall so rhythmic
making all Light-readers jealous!

#506 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2012, 04:05 PM:

Gray Woodland @503: Unless its trajectory grazes your taste-buds, I think you have not too much to complain of.

But, see, I don't drink wine, have never drunk the particular variety in question, and in point of fact haven't even seen a bottle of the stuff for something in excess of thirty years.

If the Universe is trying to send me a message or otherwise Tell Me Something, I think it needs to find an updated code-book.

#507 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2012, 04:46 PM:

I am fairly suggestible when it comes to earworms; I have friends who evoke "Elijah Rock" or "Secret Agent Man", and sometimes I get the song even though I haven't read the cue word. I also get strings of syllables, but more rarely-- I think the last time was a limerick I particularly liked.

#508 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2012, 04:57 PM:

myself (504): Ah, interesting. The song is in fact "Shoals of Herring." Apparently by Ewan MacColl, although that's not the version I have. Nor do I have any of the others that come up on the first few pages of Google results.

Oh, here we are; it's Schooner Fare (I thought so!), from their album "Day of the Clipper."

#509 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2012, 06:03 PM:

re 505: For no good reason I heard that with the distinctive beat of Hiawatha.

#510 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2012, 06:04 PM:



#511 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2012, 06:49 PM:

David 490: Thanks. Yeah, 'hentritasphere' is a little unwieldy. Since Classical Greek is the only language ever that had more words in it than English, I considered it possible that they had more fraction words than we do! Thanks for your help on this.

Serge 491: I had trouble parsing that too. My first try started with 'truly fucking' and failed. Then I also failed once I realized 'fucking' was an intensifier, but still had 'truly saved the day', and that left 'The work of yours' not making any sense. Once I realized 'yours truly' was the set phrase, the rest fell into place.

Gray 492: That would be interesting. A possible source of puns, in fact.

OtterB 493: Since even the human brain isn't remotely spherical, that also makes a lot of sense.

Serge 495: Editing! Gerunds! Death!

Rob 499: Great minds think alike. I think someone made that very pun in my game; alas, I can't actually remember whether it was me, though I'd certainly like to claim it was.

Jacque 501: Some time ago I complained that 'Et lux perpetua luceat eis' ("...and let perpetual light illuminate them") was running through my head over and over. It wasn't BAD, exactly, but it was a little creepy. Still, I liked it better than what happened just a couple of weeks ago, when the Glass-like repetition was on the sentence 'je ne parle pas Français'. Actually it was more like "je ne parle, je ne parle, je ne parle pas, je ne parle pas Français," followed by several repetitions of the whole phrase, then starting over. It eventually had music too.

Anyone else recognize 'sometimes behave so strangely' as the most famous example of this?

Gray 503:

"Landslide, whirlwind, fire, and flood;
Dust and smoke and steam and mud."

That's the beginning of a fairly nasty curse, which fortunately I have never uttered in its entirety or in anger. I wonder if that would have scared off the whippersnapper. If not...I suggest snapping a whip at him.

C. 509: Incorrect. You heard that with the distinctive beat of Hiawatha because it's written in imitation of the Kalevala...which was written in imitation of Hiawatha. That's a VERY good reason!

#512 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2012, 06:56 PM:

Synchronicity: BBC's "The World" is running a story about earworms right now.

A few weeks back the theme song to the 1960s kiddie-cartoon Do-Do, The Kid From Outer Space was playing in my head over and over.

I'd seen an episode on YouTube, and couldn't get the damn thing outa my head.

(Did you know that all of the dialog in that cartoon was SPOKEN IN RHYME? It's kind of eerie.)

#513 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2012, 07:04 PM:

Xopher: oh duh. For some reason I was trying to figure out what HUMANS would call it, not what the possessors themselves would call it. I can only claim extreme work-related fatigue as a flimsy excuse.

#514 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2012, 07:08 PM:

earworm: When I am surfing the net and I get a 404 message, I find myself singing, "oh four, oh four has my little dog gone?"

If I look at my watch and it happens to be quarter to four, I find myself humming "chattanooga choo-choo"

#515 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2012, 07:10 PM:

For the record, sunfish are really weird, biologically and anatomically. And there is now evidence that they use albatrosses to clean them of parasites, the way gnu and alligators have species that like to hang out around them and groom annoyances off.

I was reading these pages and others and going, "Wow, that's actually really cool," and suddenly realized it was a Fluorospherian sort of topic, so there we are.

#516 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2012, 07:13 PM:

When I hear that poem about "and death shall have no dominion" I want to sing it to the tune of "yes, we have no bananas"

#517 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2012, 07:18 PM:

Earworms subthread: Having a toddler around has substantially changed the mix of songs available to me for earworming, especially as she croons (with somewhat random attachment to the tune) nonsense syllables to the songs she hears at school, while in the back of the car when I am driving.

She sounded like she was working on part of Yellow Submarine for several minutes the other day, until I realized it was a fairly seriously mangled version of Clementine. I hadn't realized those songs had an affinity of structure, until then.

And then there was the time my brain started earworming "One-eyed, one-horned, flying purple people eater" over and over, then resolved that chorus by jumping straight to "Makes the rainbow bright bright bright!" That latter is the end of a song whose melody I learned while singing the words "One little, two little, three little Indians" ... they don't teach it that way anymore. Now it's "Red orange yellow, green blue purple" x3, ending "Makes the rainbow bright bright bright!"

I'm pleased they're reclaiming good kid-song melodies from unfortunate words. However, sitting crosslegged is now apparently universally (in Chicago daycare classrooms, and I gather in California as well) called "Criss-cross, applesauce," when I learned it (from books ... naturally) as 'tailor-fashion', and other people used to call it something more unfortunate.

#518 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2012, 07:43 PM:

Xopher HalfTongue @511: it was a little creepy.

See also, distracting: <internal dialog>"Hm, I need to take my vitamins." "Liebfraumilch." "Huh? What does that have to do with vitamins?" "Liebfraumilch!" "Uh, okay. Well, lessee. Need to do the dishes." "Liebfraumilch?" "??. Right. Whatever. Oh yeah, time to let the boys out to play." "Liebfraumilch." ::sigh:: "Donkey! Quit chewing on the chair!" "Liebfraumilch!" And so on.

Not an earworm exactly, but the other morning I woke up at 3am: "Ah! This web page is a directory! I could find the other directories and copy the photographs directly from there!" "Yes, thank you. Very interesting." Roll over, close eyes. Five minutes later: "This web page is a directory! I could find the other directories of photographs and copy directly from there!" An hour of this goes by, and I finally work out that I am not going back to sleep, and I can't shut down or derail this train of thought. So I get up, go get a snack.... ::SIGH::

"Landslide, whirlwind, fire, and flood;
Dust and smoke and steam and mud."

"When in danger,
When in doubt,
Run in circles,
Scream and shout!"

Elliott Mason @515: For the record, sunfish are really weird, biologically and anatomically.

Heh. I was watching some nature special on Netflix the other day, and contemplating the notion that molids look like God was interrupted by a phone call halfway through the design, and it was finished up in a hurry by some innept apprentice angel.

Elliott Mason @517: Clementine

...inevitably comes into my mind to the tune of Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring." Which, then, invariably provokes a contemplation of all the other 4/4-song mashups.

#519 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2012, 07:57 PM:

Apropos of nothing: The recent Captain America movie included a line about how Cap couldn't get drunk because his metabolism runs five times as fast as other people's. Someone online did the math and concluded that he therefore has to eat about 14,000 calories a day to stay healthy.

So here's my question: How do you pack that much in without eating becoming a chore? What would you do for someone who had to consume that much food every day?

#520 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2012, 08:06 PM:

#519: Steak and eggs and a big bowl of oatmeal with fruit and cream for breakfast.

A coffee cake to go with your 10 O'clock coffee.

Some fast food burgers have a rather stunning number of calories. A few of those, washed down with shakes for lunch. A plate of brownies for dessert.

Cheese and crackers by the plateful.

Appetizers, rich soups, big helpings of steak and fries. Ice cream sundeas for dessert.

#521 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2012, 08:09 PM:

Erik at 516: oh, thank you very much.


#522 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2012, 08:10 PM:

Jenny Islander @519: So here's my question: How do you pack that much in

Lots of butter?

without eating becoming a chore?

You don't. I had a friend who had a metabolic disorder that meant that she had to eat 3000 calories a day, just to keep from losing weight. I remember heading out after a visit one night, and turning around to see her sitting down to a 7-quart dutch oven full of boiled chicken wings. She had a very resigned look on her face.

What would you do for someone who had to consume that much food every day?

One trick she came up with was that she would find out which buffet the local college football team was going to after a game and show up when they arrived. Then she'd pick out the biggest, hungriest-looking linebacker, and bet him she could eat more than he could. Loser pays. (She was 5'7", and maybe 98 lbs soaking wet.) She never had to pay.

I seem to recall hearing that, especially late in the season, bears will only eat the brains of the salmon they catch, simply because they can't afford to consume anything with a lower food density by that point, in order to store up enough fat for the winter.

#523 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2012, 08:29 PM:

Maybe Cap could start the day with a specially formulated smoothie packed with calories. Something like the peanut butter-powdered milk-sugar-vitamin concoction that is used to bring severely malnourished children back up to a healthy weight as quickly and safely as possible might work. Maybe he could suck down one of those and then just eat like a lumberjack for the rest of the day?

Of course, during WWII, he has to do this on Army chow. I guess they just butter everything for him and make him drink evaporated milk straight from the can. When he's in the field, though, he has to do it on Army field rations. I suppose they could just pack some tubs of shortening . . . ugh.

#524 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2012, 08:47 PM:

Elliott Mason, I can go on for days on school songs. I have a good ear for them, so I can usually get close enough to sing along even if I've not worked in the room before. What drives me up a wall is when teachers who cannot sing insist on using them-- if I can't tell that you're using the same 'days of the week' song as every other kindergarten in the district, it's not an effective tune.

#525 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2012, 08:50 PM:

My husband says: "Check out old The Flash" comics.

Same problem, apparently.

#526 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2012, 09:00 PM:

If you need more calories than is easy to eat, eating can become a chore; one thing that helps is that appetite and need for calories work in sync if your metabolism is working right.

When I hauled hay professionally, the first 2 weeks I was working, I lost 10 pounds.[1] (The heat is a very effective appetite suppressant.) After that, I used to carry a bottle of cooking oil, and take a swallow of it every half-hour or so.

1)I went from 165 lbs to 155 lbs--at 6'4".

#527 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2012, 09:25 PM:

I had an e-mail show up in my box this morning, telling me that Whisperado's new album is out. It's sold at least one copy....

#528 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised again ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2012, 09:46 PM:

Almost a very good day for my shelter-kitties: as I walked in, I passed a trio of women (my age or thereabouts, probably), the gray-haired one of whom was saying, "I'd really like to take two of them, I think that would be nice." And I said to myself, "Wouldn't it be nice if she was talking about two of mine!"

So I'm visiting with Shadow a few minutes later, and who should walk back in but the same trio of women, and who do they go to first but Damon and Shadow? And of course they noticed me, so we all started chatting, and the gray-haired lady was indeed interested in adopting my two boys--and when I told her the whole story, she decided she'd take Bastet as well, and asked if I wanted visiting privileges! Before we got around to swapping contact info, one of the adoption liaisons came in to do the out-of-the-cage introductions with the ladies and each of the cats. When that was done, they started to leave the room, and the gray-haired woman said to me that they'd be back in a few minutes.

Forty minutes later, I figured that either they had way too much paperwork to adopt an animal...or the woman had changed her mind and hadn't had the heart to come back and tell me. One check with the adoption office later, and theory 2 was proven correct.

Dammit. Still keeping my fingers crossed for them.

#529 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2012, 09:56 PM:

Jenny Islander @ #519, I read an account of two women doing a sledge-hauling trek across Antarctica. They had to consume about 6000 calories per day, and part of their solution was to eat a stick of butter every day. They got REALLY sick of butter. Also chocolate.

#530 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2012, 10:12 PM:

Jenny, #519: Lard sandwiches.

Also, eat the whole mouse, not just the muscle meat. :-)

#531 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2012, 10:47 PM:

Syd: Well, where there's one, there's more. Here's hoping.

Lee @530: Also, eat the whole mouse, not just the muscle meat. :-)

Especially if you're a cat.

If you're in a situation (like the high arctic) where you're forced to live entirely on animal-based food, be sure to eat fat and organ meats as well as muscle; otherwise, you'll die of malnutrition. But don't eat the polar bear liver; vitamin A overdose will kill you. :-)

#533 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2012, 11:27 PM:

#530, #531

And eat it raw - cooking meat destroys vitamin C. You'll need a good diuretic. Labrador tea works but tastes bad. The chief trade good in Northern Canada for a long time was black tea. Good diuretic, and relatively pleasant to consume. (Also, you will get parasites from the raw meat.)

Arctic bicyclists use the stick of butter trick. Apparently it also does odd things to your digestion. The quarter-pound stick is just about 1000 calories.

One of the outdoorsy magazines I sometimes read had a "what to pack on the Iditarod" article. I realized that there was no "people food", only fifty pounds or so of ground frozen caribou meat. And a tiny stove for the driver. You sleep with the dogs and you eat the same food. He did say we drew the line at the frozen ground skin-on salmon the dogs got for treats.

(The Iditabike has a rule that you must camp out the night before the start, with only the gear you are taking with you. Consumables can be replenished in the morning. Apparently many people quit during that night. The organizers remark that "we have not yet had our first fatality"; they know it's a dangerous sport.)

#534 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2012, 11:43 PM:

Speaking of musical Tesla coils: Arc Attack does Dr. Who:

I've seen these guys live at MakerFaire NYC and it is an amazing experience.

#535 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2012, 11:50 PM:

C. Wingate @532: Whee! Dueling banjos on Tesla coils! That was fun.

I once had the deep happiness of seeing Bill Keith, Tony Trischka, and Bela Fleck sharing a stage at a workshop up at the Winnipeg Folk Festival. At one point they were all struck by a shared wicked idea, and they played Dueling Dueling Dueling Banjos Banjos Banjos. It was hilarious and glorious and really, really cool. The amount of fun they were having with each other was a joy to be around.

#536 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2012, 12:14 AM:

I watched the Disney flick The Sorcerer's Apprentice the other day and was struck by the uber-nerdiness of the main character. He's a physics student doing something with a great big Tesla coil in a barely-repurposed subway station or something like that, where there's a lot of miscellaneous metal stuff around the walls. Whenever the coil zaps out at one of the metal thingamawhatsits, it produces a sound. Eventually he notices that each thingamabob produces a particular sound.

So he programs the coil to zap the different metal whatchamawhosies to produce the opening bars of one of his hopefully-someday-girlfriend's favorite songs. And shows her. D'awwwww.

#537 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2012, 12:35 AM:

And shows her. D'awwwww.

No, that should be, And shows them all! Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha!

#538 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2012, 12:51 AM:

It's a pity that to get good sound reproduction you have to crank the things down low enough that you don't get big sparks. And the bass response stinks.

#539 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2012, 01:31 AM:


Last night, while watching early 80s New Wave videos, I was thinking of this short film someone sent me, and a small knitting project inspired by a space western, and wondering how long it would take me, and if I could get it done in one go (haven't knitted anything in ages) or if I'd have to frog it several times.

Yup. Ribbit. Ribbit good.

#540 ::: Mea ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2012, 02:05 AM:

Open thready question. Reading persuasion again, and Jane Austin has this biting quote

"He had, in fact, though his sisters were now doing all they could for him, by calling him "poor Richard," been nothing better than a thick-headed, unfeeling, unprofitable Dick Musgrove, who had never done anything to entitle himself to more than the abbreviation of his name, living or dead."

My question - did Jane really just do that? Was the double meaning of dick in circulation, or am I reading our modern crude double entandre into Jane's more innocuous slam?

#541 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2012, 02:08 AM:

Not sure, Mea—it could just be the classism inherent in "Richard" vs. "Dick".

Syd, I'm so sorry. I'm sending good adoption karma your way!

#542 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2012, 03:56 AM:

Xopher HalfTongue @479: Segments. Like in an orange.

Syd: Let's hope the next would-be adopter works out!

#543 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2012, 04:16 AM:

Jenny @ 519: What holds for Cap's metabolism should also go for Red Skull's. I guess that's why Hugo Weaving chewed so much scenery.

#544 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2012, 05:55 AM:

And Syd, just read what happened. I'm so sorry to hear that, and am sending good thoughts aplenty.

#546 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2012, 07:06 AM:

Mea @540: "The Straight Dope" says that the penile slang use is only attested from ~1890, though they admit that print references may lag significantly behind vernacular speech.

Syd: I'm so sorry. I'd been looking at your kittehs' pix on the humane society page since your initial post, and iirc Runyon's expression in his cage had especially reminded me of my own grey tabby Spot in his younger/smaller days. (Spot is now trending to considerable pudge, but still permanently bewildered.) Keeping my fingers crossed for the rest of them, and for you... could you maybe put up a PayPal donation button ot something like that on your own page? Despite Regretsy-reported PayPal incompetence, they're still the most straightforward avenue I can think of.

#547 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2012, 09:44 AM:

Constance @340:

Historical fiction, female protagonist

Lost Queen of Egypt, Lucille Morrison 1937 (The Heretic's daughter)

Brief Gaudy Hour Margaret Campbell Barnes (Anne Boleyn)

The Unwilling Vestal Edward Lucan White

This one is really dense, but quite fun.

#548 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2012, 10:12 AM:

Jenny Islander @536: I watched the Disney flick The Sorcerer's Apprentice the other day and was struck by the uber-nerdiness of the main character.

When Patrick and Teresa and I were watching Downton Abbey, Patrick kept going into transports every time the Dowager Countess of Grantham made a scientifictional reference -- and there were quite a few. I hadn't noticed the first time I watched, but he is right: she's a science fiction reader.

#549 ::: JM ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2012, 10:14 AM:

Earworm subthread:
I don’t get earwormed by words but by names. Clarissa Pinkola Estes and Lesli Linka Glatter are both dead to me through no fault of their own. I also had trouble with the name of one of my students last semester, Novfurvx Fuevxnagvn (ROT-13, not Klingon), which not only got stuck in my head but did so to the tune of "Skimbleshanks the Railway Cat."

NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour crew had an entertaining earworm battle recently.

Elliot @517: As a small child in the late '80s and early '90s, I learned from the local Baptist church's Vacation Bible School that boys sit like Indians (cross-legged) and girls sit like princesses (legs tucked to the side). Trying on the other gender's style was, uh, not encouraged.

#550 ::: Mea ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2012, 10:28 AM:

Julie @546. Thank you, that link is great. So in Jane's time Dick was a nickname for the common man...and possibly a hard cheese, but sounds like that usage might have come after Jane was writing. Good to have the proper context to appreciate what remains a deft slam by Jane.

Syd: you and your cats are in my thoughts.

#551 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2012, 10:59 AM:

JM @549, in re princess-sitting: Wow, how long did they encourage them to sit on the floor like that? It'll mess up your hips, knees, and spine. Srsly.

#552 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2012, 11:11 AM:

Jenny @ 519 -- re: Cap's 14,000 cal/day requirement

Internet sources(*) indicate that when Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps was in serious training/competition mode he consumed 12,000 calories per day. I imagine some of it was from supplements, but from what I recall of tv interviews, crappy junk food was a mainstay.

(*) Take them for what they're worth

#553 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2012, 12:21 PM:

Re: Calorie requirements. Years ago, I read a science article about the Great Famine in Ireland. Apparently the average adult male in Ireland consumed ten pounds of potatoes per day. No wonder the potato blight (and other factors) was so devastating.

#554 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2012, 12:55 PM:

Elliot #517:

I always heart that described as sitting Indian style when I was a kid. (I then assumed it was American Indians we were talking about, but I don't know--it could be referring to India Indians.)

Lots of kids' songs are extremely earwormy--probably because they're all based around catchy, relatively simple tunes, and they're often very familiar tunes.

#555 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2012, 01:01 PM:

I was watching a programme on the BBC last night, first of three on the history of how armies were fed and kept healthy, and, for the First World War, about the only thing they could specify for a good diet was calories. Hence Maconochie's stew.

We have come a long was since then, though the modern individual ration pack for the British Army still included beef jerky.

The portable stove invented for use in the Crimea remained in British Army service until after the Gulf War, which sounds a little off, but might reflect a stock in the back corner of a warehouse.

#556 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2012, 01:04 PM:

Elliott, #551: Oh, but that's okay, because sitting like a lady trumps your health. Otherwise you might tempt a boy to Sinful Thoughts.

#557 ::: JM ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2012, 02:38 PM:

Elliot and Lee: I don't remember having to sit that way for long periods, but Sitting Like a Lady would have absolutely trumped any other concern. It was the kind of church where female members wore skirts or culottes even while climbing trees, and where my sister's friend got thoroughly scolded for the alluring tightness of her sweater across her 12-year-old chest. I am very glad my parents sent us there only for VBS.

#558 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2012, 03:01 PM:

JM (557): female members wore skirts or culottes even while climbing trees

In the late 1930s, my mother was the only girl in her class wearing pants to school, because skirts were way too immodest for a little kid who persisted in hanging upside down on the playground equipment.

#559 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2012, 03:23 PM:

Mary Aileen @558: I think I like your mother!

#560 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2012, 04:11 PM:

dcb (559): She's pretty cool. And props to my grandmother, for dressing her active little girl in pants despite others' disapproval.

#561 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2012, 04:43 PM:

I stopped liking criss-cross sitting in second grade; I don't like the feel of the bones in the sides of my feet being right on the floor. It's kind of like doing knuckle pushups without a mat or something. Between that and some lost flexibility, I'm almost always on my left hip. I try to switch, but my right hip isn't as comfortable.

I would really like to know of a little girl who said, "But princesses sit on THRONES."

#562 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2012, 05:00 PM:

Lori, 547: Eeeee! Thanks for reminding me! I loved The Unwilling Vestal so very, very much. Smart, pragmatic protagonist, who puts up with nobody's crap, SAVES ROME!!! I must reread it...I'm fairly sure the Suck Fairy won't have been at it. (Well, there's the usual "girls can't do stuff" vibe, but that's the Romans, not the author.)

And lo, Googlebooks has a PDF. I think I'll interrupt my O'Brian reread tonight.

#563 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2012, 05:32 PM:

I was at Circuit City once with Steve & Elaine Stiles, looking at CDs. I was pondering Rhino's "Appalachian Stomp" collection, and Elaine came up and asked what I was looking at. I said I'd found a collection with just about all the bluegrass I really knew well. There was "Foggy Mountain Breakdown," and "Orange Blossom Special," and "The Ballad of Jed Clampett," fer cryin' out loud, and "Dueling Banjos," and… Elaine pointed at the CD at this point. "That's my brother," she said. Turns out her brother, Steve (not her husband Steve, mind you) was the under-credited second musician in the classic duet. Well, I had to buy it after that, and I'm still glad I did. "Rocky Top" is great, for instance.

footnote: "Ten Little Indians" was written by Septimus Winner. Both parts are well known — "Ten little Indians, going out to dine…" and "One, little two, little three…" He also wrote "Der Deitscher's Dog" ("Oh, vhere, oh vhere has mein little dog gone…"), and — under the pen name "Alice Hawthorne," — "Whispering Hope" and "Listen to the Mocking Bird."

The footnote has nothing to do with the first paragraph.

C. Wingate: It's a pity that to get good sound reproduction you have to crank the things down low enough that you don't get big sparks.
If you're playing Traffic, it helps to crank it up a little for the low spark of Tesla coils.

#564 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2012, 05:33 PM:

Held for review. Is it standard procedure to mention it? If so, I am.

#565 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2012, 05:41 PM:

Kip, yes, it is. It's helpful to the mods.

#566 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2012, 05:53 PM:

It is well-paid, but a nearby outfit is offering a job, driving heavy machinery, that is Temporary, 12 hours per day 5 days out of 7.

That's sixty hours a week. I have driven heavy machinery on those sort of days, and I know that it doesn't take many days like that before I'm making silly little mistakes in the last hour or two. And I didn't have the travelling time on top.

Temporary job: I bet they don't tolerate little mistakes either.

#567 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2012, 05:59 PM:

Diatryma @561 -- agreed on the "grinding the ankle bones into the floor" feeling being really bad. I tend to sit either with my feet below my butt or in a half lotus. Full lotus was for when I was more flexible.

Kip W @563 -- it helps because when your comment is released, it can replace the mention of it being held by gnomes -- which makes the conversation a bit more connected, as sometimes twenty other comments can intervene. Also, if you mention the gnomes in the NAME slot, it makes the moderators' job easier for finding where gnoming has occured. Maybe it only needs to go in the text, and they search; but in the title, easy to see. abi and other mods, which do you find easier?

#568 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2012, 06:00 PM:

"Insanely exploitive job available. We'll expect you to work all your waking hours until you're falling-down exhausted, but not to make any mistakes. We'll pay you a lot, but it's a temporary job because we go through like three, four people on month in this position. You can keep it until you make your first mistake or until it ruins your health, whichever comes first."

#569 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2012, 06:07 PM:

I prefer it if the gnomes get into the gname as well, but since I read everything on the site eventually, it's really just a timing advantage. Mind you, that's that many more people reading your content rather than your marker.

You'll note that (because we're explaining things), we've now answered a comment that's been renumbered by the release of the gnomed comment, and our up-refrences are, as Jack Aubrey would say, all ahoo.

I'm going to leave it thus, though, because renumbering them masks the structure of Why We Do These Things This Way.

Also, by the way, I do appreciate the efforts that everyone makes to make the mods' lives easier. Both the spam-flagging and the gnome-marking really do help. And every time I see them, I'm grateful in a more general sense that we have the kind of community that cares enough to do these things.

#570 ::: Nanette ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2012, 06:09 PM:

Re: Eliot 482

"The novel is Michael Gruber's The Book of Air and Shadows, if anyone has been moved to look into it. It has several more sympathetic characters than the nominal protagonist, I promise."

I loved several of Gruber's earlier books, but this one- I quit maybe 1/4 way through. And then gave it to Goodwill. Sigh . Your description/reference was awesome and thank you for putting a form to what I hate (d) about that sort of book and author. gahh. Why I never read what I call pretentious east coast prep school over-hyped lit.

#571 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2012, 06:16 PM:

Nanette @570: Did you get far enough in to hit the subplot with the bookstore employee and the Weird Badass Chick With The Unnecessarily Abusive (possibly fictitious) backstory? That was where it really picked up, for me, and became much more my kind of book ... and shortly after that it became clearer to me that the author was writing the protagonist as THAT big a prat for artistic purposes, and not because, well, he liked him that way.

Mind, I still haven't finished it, but my opinion of it would have been very different if I quit earlier than That Chick's reveal.

#572 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2012, 06:18 PM:

Elliott (482)/Nanette (570): I rather liked The Book of Air and Shadows, but I do remember not being thrilled with it. Elliott may have put his* finger on why, but it's been too long for me to be sure.

Maybe I'll try some of Gruber's other books; The Book of Air and Shadows didn't give me any desire to read further at the time.

*this is the correct pronoun, isn't it?

#573 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2012, 06:20 PM:

Kip W @563 said: If you're playing Traffic, it helps to crank it up a little for the low spark of Tesla coils.

Heard and witnessed, you stinker. You didn't think you were going to get AWAY with that, did you? :->

Amusingly, I wouldn't've gotten that at all if it weren't for filk; a Chicago filkcircle regular from Milwaukee covers the original song fairly regularly in circle, but I'd never heard it before him (and have still never heard anyone but him perform it). I think I'm the wrong generation; I get the impression it was one of those 'played to death on radio' things at some point?

#574 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2012, 06:26 PM:

Mary Aileen @572: Yes, thanks.

#575 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2012, 07:41 PM:

NPR's All Things Considered is doing a fascinating story about the once upon a time glory of lard, and how Upton Sinclair and Proctor & Gamble helped disgrace it.

They've got a chef putting on a "lard exoneration dinner."

#576 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2012, 08:02 PM:


And 12 hours a day, 5 days out of 7, is less than the legal driving hours for truckers (which are less-often pushed now than they were[1])--14 hours a day, 6 days a week is legal cab time.

Trucks are remarkably safe relative to cars[2], but I could not drive those hours.

1) Truck drivers are paid by the mile--they have a strong incentive to drive longer hours.
2) About half the accident rate per mile driven, measured by both fatalities and damage.

#577 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2012, 08:05 PM:

Elliott Mason @ #573, the original Low Spark of High Heeled Boys is eleven minutes long, so it didn't get played on AM radio at all. It showed up on college stations and album rock FM stations.

Three great great great musicians, those guys in Traffic.

#578 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2012, 08:42 PM:

The Big Book of Real Trucks, by George Zaffo (a children's book from maybe the forties) says "A truck driver may not drive for more than ten hours. That is the law."

#579 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2012, 09:17 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 575: Lard have mercy?

#580 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2012, 09:19 PM:

Ginger @ 579: Cheese have mercy

#581 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2012, 09:33 PM:

janetl @580: Edam! You're too gouda for me.

#582 ::: Nanette ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2012, 10:30 PM:

I did not get as far as the Chick! :)
I happen to have an interest in Santeria, and he has 3 books set in Florida that involve that in a
very interesting way. Also, move a bit faster and have interesting protagonists. I would read more in that vein. He does write well. Well ghost writing should teach that skill. lol

#583 ::: Nanette ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2012, 10:40 PM:

Xopher? @511

Happen that you would share the rest of the landslide/whirlwind curse? Looks really interesting.

#584 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2012, 12:35 AM:

Ginger #581: I'd join in, but I've got jack.

#585 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2012, 01:25 AM:

SamChevre, #576: I can and have driven 14 hours in a single day -- that's about what my partner and I consider our maximum for 1 day's drive time -- but it's grueling, and I certainly wouldn't want to try doing it day after day. And 14 hours of driving time works out to more like 15 or 16 once you add the time taken up in stops for fuel intake (human and vehicular) and waste removal.

B. Durbin, #584: That's a damn cheesy pun.

#586 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2012, 01:28 AM:

Nanette, I'm feeling a little oath-discomfort already. Also, I don't really remember the rest.

#587 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2012, 05:28 AM:

Update to my posts in OT 168 regarding my coming job loss/change:

After hearing multiple times that the changeover to in-house security would take place on February 5th, I was surprised to see myself scheduled for February 5th on the latest schedule sheet. Apparently, "take place on" actually meant "after" February 5th. So my last day there will end on the morning of the 6th.

My parent company, the one that's been contracted to provide security to my workplace since they started construction about four years ago, has been very difficult to pry hard information out of. It wasn't until my shift supervisor sent a complaint to the top HR person at Corporate HQ that the employees who aren't shifting over to the in-house security team finally got a firm word on whether we would be "unassigned" or "laid off". (We're being laid off. This is actually good, because it means those employees can collect unemployment while they look for new work.)

Only about half the current employees are switching over to the in-house team. The entire supervisory staff is leaving. Most of the people staying have said they're only doing so until they can find someplace else as well. (I'm not the only employee here who's been unhappy and frustrated over various issues.)

At the same time, there's been little sign of new employees being hired. I've heard (possibly rumor; believe with caution) that management had received 150 applications, but only 3 people had been qualified. One of those people started training a few days ago... but didn't show up the second day.

I've heard my current company will have an opening soon at one of their satellite properties. It's one I worked at occasionally before being assigned to the Scottsdale property three years ago, liked it there, and the commute would be half what I've been doing. So I've put in an application to try and get back on the company's books, and to try and get assigned there.

#588 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2012, 07:07 AM:

Speaking of musical Tesla coils: Arc Attack does Dr. Who

I've been trying to detect some correlation between the music and the movements of the guy in the metal suit, and not had much success; have I concluded correctly that he's basically just there to add visual interest?

#589 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2012, 07:19 AM:

I started _The Unwilling Vestal_ (1918) last night, and there's a detail that passed me by when I was small: the main character is described as being 9 but looking 18. There's a bit of smooching early on that's awful if she's a child but perfectly innocuous if she's 18. So that's what I'm going with, because I'd really hate to lose this book. I imagine the author didn't want his heroine to be 48 when the book ended, but that's no problem at all for me.

#590 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2012, 07:33 AM:

Stefan Jones @ 575... Ginger @ 579...

Tolkien's "Lard of the Rinds"?

#591 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2012, 07:35 AM:

TexAnne @ 589... the author didn't want his heroine to be 48

That would make her a bit young for me.

#592 ::: Mea ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2012, 01:09 PM:

I also started reading the unwilling vestal based on the recommendations here. I agree, TexAnne, that the under ten age jars with the behavior in the early chapters - especially the courtyard scene. The main character reads to me like a precocious 14 year old.

Also on a Making Light recommendation, I've been reading the Kissable Mouth blog postings on Victorian paintings and how Victorian men thought of little girls. I don't have anything clever to say other than the Kissable Mouth blog makes for interesting companion reading.

#593 ::: Nanette ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2012, 01:26 PM:

Xopher @586

All good then. I did not know if you had personally created it, or what. Most of what I use is either written by me or "public" source so I don't have the same kind of restrictions. Still, awesome :)
Be well.

#594 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2012, 02:42 PM:

Open thready squeeeee: The baby platypi in Teresa's Particle are *so* *frickin'* *cute*!!

Ahem. Yes.

#595 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2012, 04:28 PM:

No, Nanette, I think I may not have explained oath pressure is because I'm oathbound not to do baneful, coercive, or manipulative magic. Spreading a curse poem (of my own creation, but never used by me) is just uncomfortably close to that boundary.

#596 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2012, 04:43 PM:

I couldn't figure out how to play the Tesla Coils from the provided instructional video, either.

Those truck driving hours: wow. Going across the country I did half or less of the driving, we did less hours than that in a day, we took numerous days off, and I was exhausted and uncomfortable after the first day. I'm guessing there are people who are better at it than we are, through training/experience or by nature or a combination. (I couldn't do 17 straight hours of surgery either, but people do. )

Syd: Terribly sorry to hear.

#597 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2012, 05:55 PM:

To whoever it was that recommended Burn Notice, thank you! It's wonderful!!

#598 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2012, 06:09 PM:

The discussion about truck-driving hours prompted me to go look up the regulations, as 14 hours driving per day seemed high.

And so it is, at least officially.

Here in the US, you're allowed a maximum of 14 hours a day on duty, of which 11 hours can be driving hours. Driving time means actual time at the vehicle controls. The rest of on-duty time is for paperwork, fueling, loading/unloading, etc.

Still, a long, long day at the wheel.

#599 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2012, 06:27 PM:

Jacque @ 597... I'm not the person who recommended "Burn Notice", but I've been following it since the beginning, which is why I'm greatly irritated that I completely missed the current season. By the way, did you know that Gabrielle Anwar's Indian dad worked on the "Oppenheimer" miniseries, where Sam Waterston played the Father of the Bomb?

#600 ::: LMM ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2012, 06:29 PM:

@592: Do you have a link? Google is rather unreliable when it comes to those terms....

#601 ::: Mea ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2012, 06:44 PM:

It helps to get the name right. It is the kissed mouth, at

And the unwilling vestal is available as a PDF from google books, as someone up thread said.

#602 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2012, 07:33 PM:

The basic rule for the EU trucker is 9 hours per day, no more than 56 hours in any one week, no more than 90 hours in a two-week period. Also an 11 hour uninterrupted daily rest period, and an additional 45-hour weekly rest.

These rules don't apply to the job I referenced, but the Working Time Directive would limit working hours to 48 hours per week.

I'm not sure how that job can be lawful as advertised, but the UK government has been rather dismissive of the WTD.

#603 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2012, 08:05 PM:

Gutenberg also has The Unwilling Vestal.

#604 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2012, 08:26 PM:

Re: Vestal -- I'd totally forgotten the age thing, just that I'd enjoyed Brinnaria's adventures. Must check the book boxes in the basement...I used to have a hardcover (library sale) copy.

I am posting from my new computer, and it is wonderful. I'm no longer worrying that the beast will expire before I finish a sentence.

#605 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2012, 08:51 PM:

From the fertile minds that gave us "Blackadder the Third"...

"Dish and Dishonesty"
"Ink and Incapability"
"Nob and Nobility"
"Sense and Senility"

#606 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2012, 09:28 PM:

There was a novel about vestal virgins that I read in the 60s. The main character proves her innocence by carrying water in a sieve-- this is presented naturalistically, as something that's possible if the sieve is evenly woven and carried absolutely level.

Anyone remember it?

#607 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2012, 10:10 PM:

Patrick Connors @ 598

Thank you for the correction.

#608 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised again ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2012, 10:17 PM:

As always, many thanks to you all for the emotional support you continue to give me. You play a huge part in helping me get through the day, and I appreciate it enormously.

Bastet, Damon and Shadow are still available for adoption, yee-haw and other forms of enthusiasm. One of the behaviorists was working with Bastet today, giving her many pettings while she (the cat) was still in her cage. The behaviorist said the staff lets her know which of the cats are still on the shy side so they can get some extra attention, so that's a good sign, I think.

Bruce Arthurs @ 498, trust me, I'm not holding any other locations of the Humane Society/SPCA responsible for the decisions of a few at this location. (Although for all I know, the same vet who put down Runyon might also have decided Patch and Blaze had had more than enough time to settle down, and put them down as well--and there's a part of me that would like to lay it all at the feet of that one idiot vet.)

Julie L. @ 546, you're not the first person to suggest I put a PayPal button on my blog(s). My only concern is that the Donate button, based on what I've read on the site, seems pretty clearly intended for actual charity/nonprofit donations (e.g., to 501(c)(3) organizations) rather than personal gifts. Of course, it's possible I haven't dug around on the site far enough. But it's a good suggestion, and I have to admit it's also tempting--even as the idea that it will "advertise" I still need help makes me cringe a little.

#609 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2012, 11:02 PM:

Linkmeister @577: There was a shorter version they used to play on some stations. I imprinted on the 11-minute one, but because I found a used copy of their "On the Road" LP, I imprinted on the 17-minute live version as well, and enjoy both now. And recently, via iTunes, I also added "Glad" and "Freedom Riders" to my iPod, which filled a deep need.

Serge @605: Also "Amy and Amiability" and "Duel and Duality." Great minds there, channeling Austen and Ostensibility.

#610 ::: Lin D ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2012, 11:18 PM:

With regards to Anne of Green Gables, I like them for the feel of the times, and how close people in a small town can be ("If you covered all your windows, went down to the basement and sneezed, the next day Mrs. Rachel would ask about your cold.") Yeah, I've read them a lot.

After the last Anne book, Anne of Ingleside, there are two more, about her children, and five neighborhood children. The first one, Rainbow Valley covers their younger years. Rilla of Ingleside starts when Rilla, Anne's youngest, just turns 15. And just as some foreign duke getting killed in some town called Sarajevo. It's most definitely a coming of age story, and is touching, sweet, heart breaking, poignant, and I've worn out at least two copies. Rilla stands on its own, but reading Rainbow Valley makes some of the references, and some of the characters who most definitely are, have more depth and history.

#611 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2012, 12:30 AM:

I watched "Mission Impossible III: Ghost Protocol" this morning.

I thoroughly enjoyed it, but don't think I'll remember anything specific about it by tomorrow. I don't have memory problems; it was just this amazingly shallow all-on-the-screen film.

#612 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2012, 01:01 AM:

Kip @ #609, huh. Well, I stopped listening to AM radio shortly after that album came out (1971) as I headed off to the Navy, so it's possible I just didn't hear a shortened version.

I'm all in favor of your recent iTunes acquisitions. Fine choices both.

#613 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2012, 02:51 AM:

Kip W @ 609... "Puns and Punishability"

#614 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2012, 09:02 AM:

Hyperlocal news... Man attends birthday party for two local fangirls. By the end of the party, man was oldest person in the room.

#615 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2012, 11:48 AM:

Nancy@606: There was a novel about vestal virgins that I read in the 60s. The main character proves her innocence by carrying water in a sieve-- this is presented naturalistically, as something that's possible if the sieve is evenly woven and carried absolutely level.

That would be The Unwilling Vestal, as referenced above. (I read that one back in junior high, too.)

#616 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2012, 12:06 PM:

I'm wondering if I was wrong about that short version. There's no mention on Wikipedia — and if anything, they say too much on some topics. Still, poking around to see if I was wrong did turn up a live solo version by Steve Winwood at the piano, so I'm glad it worked out as it did.

#617 ::: Kip W, gnomed y plumed ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2012, 12:11 PM:

Gnomed? What'd I say? It was just my usual charming obscenity-laced personal attacks, with twelve or thirteen links. I swear, they're so sensitive!

[It was a broken link. The usual cause for that is trying to link a URL without using quotemarks. -- JDM]

#618 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2012, 01:20 PM:

I was just remembering a book I read as a child, but I can't remember the title. Some kids go to an alternate world (no, not Narnia). I remember at one point they go underwater, and have to make the transition to water breathing; the only difficulty is had by Christopher, who sneezes and is immediately surrounded by a school of inquisitive surgeon fish.

I believe that's also the book that makes the howling error of explaining that unicorns are horses with wings, but I can't remember for sure.

Anyone recognize this?

#619 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2012, 02:08 PM:

So my rabid-Sherlock-fan teenager has made a video riffing on the sh*t people say thing . . . .

Spoilery if you haven't seen Season Two (not terribly spoilerific but there are clues).

#620 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2012, 02:09 PM:

So my rabid-Sherlock-fan teenager has made a video riffing on the sh*t people say thing . . . .

Spoilery if you haven't seen Season Two (not terribly spoilerific but there are clues).

Apologies if this posts twice; browser hiccup'd.

#621 ::: DanR ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2012, 03:08 PM:

Antilocal news: Two years since Haiti's grande catastrophe, and my visit there:

Haiti: a land forgtotten

#622 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2012, 05:13 PM:

Xopher at 618:
The Sea Fairies by L. Frank Baum?
Wet Magic by E. Nesbit?

One of the Fillory books perhaps?

#623 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2012, 05:32 PM:

605,609, 613 (Serge and Kip W>)

Aunts and Answerability
Nonsense and nonsensiblilty
Incense and Insensitivity

#624 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2012, 05:36 PM:

chairs and charitability?

#625 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2012, 05:36 PM:

Erik, 622: I can't lay my hands on my copy of _Wet Magic_ right now, but that does ring a bell. The idea feels very Nesbity somehow.

#626 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2012, 05:45 PM:

Stefan @ 611: I watched "Mission Impossible III: Ghost Protocol" this morning.

I thoroughly enjoyed it, but don't think I'll remember anything specific about it by tomorrow. I don't have memory problems; it was just this amazingly shallow all-on-the-screen film.

That shallowness and un-memorability (while still fun) is a feature of the whole series. So much so that you've totally forgotten one of the films. Ghost Protocol is the fourth.

Even when I recognised your mistake (which took a moment), I had to pause and think more before I could remember any detail at all about the second. All I can really remember about the third was thinking "What a waste of a Philip Seymour Hoffman," every time he was on screen.

I know that there are four but that's about all I know about them. Maybe it's the MPAA making sure we don't retain any copyrighted material in our memories after the end of the screening.

#627 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2012, 06:20 PM:

Xopher @618, TexAnne @625 -- I doubt it was the Nesbit, as I've read that and I thnk I'd remember that gaffe; but possibly Kingsley's The Water Babies from a similar period, which was lying around the house and I just couldn't get into. My mother has a lot to answer for in terms of my love of fantasy and SF (E. Nesbit and Doc Smith -- it's from my father that I got Tolkien and Peter Dickinson, among others).

#628 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2012, 06:20 PM:

Melissa Singer @620: To quote that video, "Reblogged!" My 18yo Moffat-obsessed sister needed to see it. :->

#629 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2012, 06:23 PM:

Erik, pretty sure it wasn't Baum...completely wrong style, and even then I knew his name and would have recognized it. E. Nesbit is possible, but only part of the story was set underwater. I don't know.

#630 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2012, 06:29 PM:

me @616: Here is the link to Steve Winwood at the piano playing a short version of "Low Spark of High Heeled Boys."

Sometimes the HTML I put in a comment vanishes on preview. This time might have been my own native brilliance, though. Looking at the code for the comment makes me suspect myself.

#631 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2012, 09:20 PM:

#626: Really? That was number four?

I don't remember anything about the first one, other than I enjoyed it . . . but not as much as this last one.

The other kind of film I generally watch only once are ones which are so incredibly memorable, and painful, that I couldn't put myself through them again. Not painful bad. Emotionally painful. Pan's Labyrinth, for example. I did see that again, by way of making my parents finally see the DVD I'd loaned them. I managed to keep from weeping by pretending it had a happy ending.

(I have the DVD of "The Orphanage," by some of the same folks as done Pan. I'm not sure if I'll ever watch it. Oh, my, was that a rail-gun-driven steel-encased 2x4 to the gut.

#632 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2012, 11:18 PM:

Xopher @618,629: Maybe _Encounter Near Venus_ by Leonard Wibberley? (Or possibly _Journey to Untor_? I haven't read either in quite a while.) Same guy who wrote The Mouse That Roared books.


#633 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2012, 01:22 AM:

Dave @ #632, Thanks! I had no idea Wibberley was as prolific as he was. My goodness, Wiki tells me he wrote over 100 books! All I've ever read are two or possibly three of the "Mouse" books.

#634 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2012, 09:06 AM:

Open Threadiness - from the annals of lazy journalism, I give you a Guardian article which manages to insult both e-books and genre fiction in the same breath, whilst offering nothing of value in return.

#635 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2012, 09:37 AM:

Melissa Singer@620

I...hadn't been aware of "Alone On the Water". Not sure why I just did that to myself. I blame Moffat for only 3 episodes a season, or (more likely) his cast for having so much else to do.

P.S. Your teen's video is excellent :D

#636 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2012, 10:21 AM:

Elliott: hope she liked it.

Russ: So, so sorry! Haven't read it myself (believing that the teen deserves some genre things that are hers and hers alone) but I can tell when she's reading it, because she cries every single time and either I can hear her sniffling or she comes out of her room with red eyes and nose.

And thanks for the compliment. She wants a quite expensive camera for her next birthday because the film bug has hit her hard. I am thinking it will have to be a joint gift from me and her grandmother.

#637 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2012, 10:22 AM:

Erik Nelson @ 623 and 624... "Crême and Crematorium"?

Speaking of stories set during the Regency, Mary Robinette Kowal's fantasy novel "Glamour in Glass" is coming out on April 10.

#638 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2012, 11:14 AM:

Melissa Singer@636

No apology needed - it's excellent, and so good to see that there's a living fandom even while the show is off the air. I probably shouldn't have read the story in the middle of the working day though; it's rather effective.

#639 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2012, 11:16 AM:

Mary Robinette Kowal's fantasy novel "Glamour in Glass"

Note that this is a sequel to her novel "Shades of Milk and Honey".

#640 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2012, 11:37 AM:

Michael I @ 639... Or a followup to Robinette Kowal's first book. By the way, she's working on another that she described as "Jane Austen Writes Ocean's Eleven".

#641 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2012, 11:40 AM:

Russ: try doing an image search for V oryvrir va Fureybpx Ubyzrf (Rot-13 for your protection . . . google gives the best results, which differ slightly depending on whether or not you include the last word in your search string) to see a fraction of what the fandom has been doing to keep itself occupied.

busy, busy fandom.

#642 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2012, 01:58 PM:

I'm surprised no one has identified the true source of the platypi in fedoras: Perry the Platypus, from Phineas and Ferb.

(My kids know him in Dutch, as Perry, het Vogelbekdier.)

#643 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2012, 02:14 PM:

Russ (634): Wow. Even the headline is insulting...and then the article manages to go downhill from there.

#644 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2012, 02:14 PM:

Samuel Youd, perhaps best known as the John Christopher who wrote wonderful YA science fiction (e.g., the Tripod books) passed away on Friday:

His stuff blew me away in elementary school, and I still think about it now and then. The Guardians came to mind recently.

I somehow assumed he'd died some years back. I'm glad he lived a good long life.

#645 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2012, 02:44 PM:

Abi @ 642... John G Hemry pointed that out yesterday to Madeleine Robins on her FB page. According to him, the show had a musical episode about Reverse Engineering, much to his pleasure. Yes, he IS an "Analog" writer, why do you ask? :-)

#646 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2012, 04:11 PM:

Patrick @sidelights: What Marx, Anarchism, and Web Standards in your Sidelight is showing, and quite well, is the uses and pitfalls of jargon, aka professional language. And the difficulty when words have both a common meaning and a jargon meaning, and the confusion that results. I like the article a lot, as it's a nice broad-ranging one that really has solid examples.

But if we try to define every term we use completely every time we use it, we won't get any communicating done at all. It's a conundrum.

#647 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2012, 04:20 PM:

Tom: Or we could talk in math. :-)

#648 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2012, 04:55 PM:

Jacque -- we'd still have those pesky definitions to deal with. Is i "any integer" or "the square root of -1"? Is "c" a constant (as in integration), or a variable (as in algebra), or some other usage? Even something as supposedly simple as math has all these contextual clues that make it problematic....

#649 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2012, 04:58 PM:

Tom Whitmore #646: Indeed -- and it's a fundamental issue: Every field of expertise develops its own collection of commonly-used referents and routines, and they need words to address them. Sometimes repurposed common words will do, sometimes they need to coin new words. But the new words aren't transparent to outsiders.

Note that there's a subtle but troublesome difference between fluency in a subject, and fluency in its jargon. Also, excessive jargon production can also be used to hide that "there's no there, there", which makes many people suspicious of all unfamiliar jargon.

#650 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2012, 05:09 PM:

Which is why, David Harmon, I really like that article. It never mentions the term "jargon": and it shows what you're pointing to very well. "Jargon" is a great example of a word which has a technical definition (specialized language) and a general one (obfucatory verbiage): almost self-referential.

#651 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2012, 05:31 PM:

Tom Whitmore @648: Even something as supposedly simple as math has all these contextual clues

Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra.

Yeah well. Actually, I realize belatedly that I had a brain-mush: I was actually thinking of math's relative lack of ambiguity. Need for context is a different kettle of greeps.

<emily latella>*nevermind*

David Harmon @649: Note that there's a subtle but troublesome difference between fluency in a subject, and fluency in its jargon.

One of my stranger superpowers is that I can often interpret unfamiliar jargon with reasonable accuracy on the fly. But this depends heavily on the speaker being fluent in the subject. Likewise: one marker of a good teacher who actually knows hir subject is the ability to teach the subject without falling back on jargon (to wit: Tom's liking for the article). (I understand that this was something Richard Feynman excelled at.)

Contrariwise, if a student is feeling confused, is it because they are confused, or because the teacher is being confusing?

#652 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2012, 05:49 PM:

One important distinction is between knowing the words and knowing the concepts. If you start out knowing what a derivative is, frex, explaining marginal cost and marginal revenue to you is not so hard--you already have the important concept, you just need the word. On the other hand, sometimes you need to know the concept, and knowing the word doesn't cut it--for example, lots and lots of people run aground for lack of actually getting what a statistical distribution is (particularly, that it's not defined entirely by its mean).

#653 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2012, 06:04 PM:

albatross @652: knowing the words and knowing the concepts

Statistics is one field that will fairly reliably break my magical secret decoder ring.

#654 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2012, 07:25 PM:

Forgotten Art Supplies sidebar item.

Brings back a lot of old memories for me. I helped my father self-publish a book in the seventies, and worked for weekly newspapers in the eighties and nineties and zeroties.

One thing I find remarkable is I once had a catalog for a company called Formatt (which sold stuff similar to Zip-a-Tone, with self-adhesive acetate film that had shading patterns, lettering and iconic symbols. You cut it out with a razor blade and smoothed it down with a burnisher), but now this company has vanished without a trace, in the sense that there seems to be no reference to its former existence to be found on the internet.

#655 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2012, 07:58 PM:

Oddly enough, it is not possible to mention something here and still have no mention of it on the Internet!

I remember Formatt as well -- similar to PresType, for patterns.

#656 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2012, 07:59 PM:

A Leon Hale column in the Houston Chronicle reminded me of some youthful adventures.

Did anyone here ever hitchhike? I did. Back when I was 19 I thumbed it from Houston to San Antonio for my brother's wedding. Took about 5 hours and five different rides.

A friend of mine hitched from Chicago to San Antonio is about 48 hours. That was way more than I would have ever attempted.

I did meet some interesting people. Some I would not have wanted to spend too much time with, but no one that ever made me afraid.

#657 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2012, 08:25 PM:

Jacque @ 653... Statistics is one field that will fairly reliably break my magical secret decoder ring

Lies, damned lies, and statistics?

#658 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2012, 08:45 PM:

Steve C @ #656, yeah. I hitched once up the back road (US 89/93) from Tucson to Phoenix. Ten hours, four rides to go 120 miles. Dumb college kids we were. We should have stood on the on-ramp to I-10 with a sign reading "PHOENIX".

#659 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2012, 09:16 PM:

I hitchhiked in the Bay Area a bit in the old days (late 60s/early 70s) but the only long-distance hitch I took was from Barstow to SF when a car broke down. Years later, Connor Freff Cochran got a ride from the same person (he remembered Bonnie Dalzell's Borzoi...).

#660 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2012, 09:23 PM:

OT fannishness: The teenager and I were sitting on the couch and she was trying to get something to load on her computer. It was resisting.

She muttered "petaQ" before closing the laptop and stalking away.

Yes, when my daughter is not thinking about it, she curses in Klingon.

#661 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2012, 09:26 PM:

Xopher at # 618 et al.: I might have that book in a box that is still packed from moving 5 months ago. If no one else comes up with it, give me a poke and I will make an excuse to open the box Saturday.

#662 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2012, 09:35 PM:

If you visit the "Jim's Diffraction" on the Zeusaphone, click on the name of the camerawoman, Bloggingchick, and scroll down through her other videos, presently you will come to one labeled "B. H. Sings Benson, Arizona."

This made me realize that a performer hopes, when someone captures his performance on Youtube, that he will be lit well. That his uke will be well-tuned. That his clothing will be sharp. That his hair will be combed. That he will not hit the wrong chord, nor falter in the lyrics. That the camera will start before the song starts, not afterward.

And that none of these things are guaranteed to be true.

That said, I am not unhappy with the result.

Thank you, Bloggingchick.

#663 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2012, 09:45 PM:

Allan, I'm not sure how I'm going to check, actually. If it has the line 'Christopher, however, sneezed' it's probably the one, but unless I can search a full text online I won't be sure.

#664 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2012, 09:55 PM:

Erik Nelson @654: As part of my saving nature, I saved three catalogs, circa 1979-80, for the product lines of Chartpak, Letraset, and one other that used to be of pressing interest. Part of it was that I might opt to order something from one (or look at the CSU book store for it), also, I was not above copying stuff by hand, from typefaces to clip art dingbats. I did an apa roster in lettering styles chosen for each member. The third one might have been Formatt.

Steve C @656: I never hitchhiked. I think the one time I tried it I ended up walking anyway. My sisters and friends and I picked up plenty of hitchhikers, though. A pleasant enough short-term social situation, usually. My sister's dog grew up while she was hitching all over the place, and as a result was always only too happy to go somewhere in the car. When she was visiting us, if anybody went out to the car, Mazhda would be all for coming with. "But we're just going into town. You'd just be sitting in the car for a half hour!" Yeahyeahyeah, I'm good with that! Let's go!

#665 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2012, 10:20 PM:

Ross (634):

That article is phenomenal-- it doesn't just insult genre fiction and ebooks, it offers, if anything, a heavier swipe at anyone who reads serious fiction.

#666 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2012, 10:36 PM:

I think Antonia Senior was drunk when she wrote that. It reads like the kind of thing drunks write...or stupid people.

#667 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2012, 01:10 AM:

Well, the car shopping has begun in earnest. We were treated very respectfully at a Honda dealership, even when we reminded them we would not be purchasing until the tax refunds were out. Truly no pressure. We'll see how the Hyundai dealership works out. I'm really leaning toward the Honda Fit, mostly because of how configurable it is. I could transport both the dog and the cello simultaneously! Mind you, I'm not certain under which circumstances I might be required to haul both cello and dog, but I like to be prepared for all contingencies. Will check out the other compact before making a final decision. This is the first car I've ever bought and I intend to make it last a decade.

Talked to the Credit Union and the Insurance people today - bad news and good news. The bad news is the rate the CU is giving me on the loan is roughly .74 higher than I'd prefer. The good news is that because I have been listed as a driver on my roommate's insurance, I am considered an existing customer and will not need bridge insurance to drive the car off the lot, plus I qualify for dirt-cheap awesome insurance with a multi-car discount. I wasn't sure if you had to be married or civil-partnered for that, but I guess it really is just a household sharing one. Quite happy! I'll see if whatever dealership I go with can beat the CU's APR, but all told it's not really that high. It just doesn't look as nice as the other number I was thinking of. (it's also nearly 2 percent higher than last year's APR - their base rate went up; my credit is still the same.)

And on an unrelated note, I really appreciated the particle on autopsies, but I'm not so sure I should have read it right before bedtime. I'm completely fascinated by funerary and end-of-life practices, but I'm reminded of spending hours reading about mummification after a visit to the Field Museum as a kid and then giving myself nightmares. And then going back to my parents National Geographic stash to look for more articles on Egypt.

#668 ::: Antonia T. Tiger ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2012, 04:47 AM:

Xopher @666

Is "Antonia Senior" a real name?

#669 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2012, 05:41 AM:

605,609, 613,624 (Serge, Kip W & Erik)

Inns and Inability

Port and Portability


#670 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2012, 08:51 AM:

Steve C @656:

The summers after my junior and senior years in high school and after my freshman year in college I hitchhiked around the eastern US and Canada. The first year (1963) I went alone, starting in eastern Pennsylvania, hitching across Ohio, Indiana, into Michigan, and then back through Ontario, Niagara Falls, and into New York City where I hooked up with an old friend and his girlfriend to take the train to DC and the March on Washington where Martin Luther King gave his "I have a dream" speech. Spectacular way to end a trip.

I met a lot of interesting people along the way (I still regret that I didn't travel to UP Michigan with that Gypsy family I met, though it would probably have meant missing the March in DC), and saw some beautiful countryside. It's a great way to travel if you're not in a hurry and like talking to people.

The second and third trips were with other people, and weren't as much fun because two people (especially if both are male) get stuck more frequently than one. The second time, though, when we got stuck in Buffalo, NY, we found a movie theater that had been built around 1930, in the Viennese Opera House style with plaster gingerbread and puti all over the walls. We sat there out of the rain and watched James Bond films with about 3 other people.

#671 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2012, 09:00 AM:

Irons and Irony

Ponds and Pondering

Asses and Asterisms

Bounders and Boundaries

Anchors and Anchorites

Cops and Coprolites

#672 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2012, 11:13 AM:

Bruce @ 671

Oooh, now I want to read Bounders and Boundaries...

#673 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2012, 11:45 AM:

Cadbury Moose @669 Inns and Inability

I want this to be Inns and Inanity

Kip W @609 Austen and Ostensibility

I saw what you did there.

#674 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2012, 11:53 AM:

"Chicken and Chicanery"

#675 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2012, 12:08 PM:

The Atlantic is trying something cool: blogging the 1912 presidential election

#676 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2012, 12:26 PM:

"Cats and Catastrophes"

#677 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2012, 12:30 PM:

Anime and Animosity

Chic and Chicory

#678 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2012, 12:32 PM:

Between A and C, above:

Bars and Barratry

#679 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2012, 12:33 PM:

Dogs and Dogmatism?

#680 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2012, 12:35 PM:

Elves and Safe Tea

#681 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2012, 12:50 PM:

David Harmon, Jacque, Tom Whitmore et al. re. jargon: and then there are abbreviations and acronyms. A minefield of possible errors which, in the medical/veterinary worlds, for example, can be fatal. And although I'm pretty fluent in veterinary and medical terminology, there are specialist areas which are full of jargon, which I can only guess is passed down from supervisor to PhD student - 'cos nobody ever defines any of it in the published papers!

Cadbury Moose @ 680: Snort!

#682 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2012, 12:51 PM:

Flight and Flytipping.

(Yes, I know the sequence usually goes the other way about - but thereby hangs the tale...)

#683 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2012, 01:04 PM:

Hitchhiking... it was a fun sort of adventure for a lot of guys back in the 60s and 70s. And while there were some women who did it, for a woman it was a much riskier proposition. I remember reading about a study where men who had previously hitchhiked themselves, and had discussed their reasons for doing so, were asked what they would think about a woman they saw hitchhiking. Almost without exception, the first thing they said was that she would be "looking for sex". The idea that she might have the same reasons for hitchhiking that they did themselves wasn't even on the radar.

The one and only time I ever tried to hitchhike was a miserable and embarrassing failure. I was in high school, and volunteering at the local public library, and while it was a relatively easy walk from my house to the library, that day it was raining and I thought I'd see if I could catch a ride. I gave up in disgust when the very distinctive car* belonging to one of my fellow orchestra members went by without so much as slowing down.

* In retrospect, that was the first art car I ever saw. And the last one for quite a long time.

#684 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2012, 02:07 PM:


Today a federal appeals court in California ruled that Prop 8 is unconstitutional.

#686 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2012, 02:22 PM:

I see from the Grauniad that John Christopher has died.

#687 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2012, 02:31 PM:


*pumps fist* YES!!!

Here's the decision.

#689 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2012, 03:40 PM:

Wow, I seriously expected to get gnomed for that one.

#690 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2012, 03:51 PM:

Mycroft W @688: Verily, it is to *facepalm*

One predicts that a clue-by-four is headed in the direction of that school's administration, post-haste.

OTOH, Serge Broom's @684 suggests that, perhaps, clue-by-fours may be in season.

#691 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2012, 04:12 PM:

HLN - area woman has completed knitting the very first sweater of her lifetime, and is insufferably proud as a result.

Crazy(oh, yeah, and Stitch 'n Bitch is my BIBLE!!!)Soph

#692 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2012, 04:48 PM:

Mycroft, #688: I suggest that an appropriate response would be to assign the teacher to learn the Menominee language herself. Then she'd know whether or not the student was "saying something bad" instead of having to guess.

#693 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2012, 04:48 PM:

Somebody told me a bad joke, and I shared it on Facebook. My friends started to reply, and the ensuing discussion felt very Open-Thready, so here it is:

original post:
There's a new avian virus going around. Scientists have named it "Chirpies." It's a canary-al disease.

Don't worry; it's tweetable.
Mike Ott I got all egg-cited when I heard this beak-ing news!!!
Jerry Moncrief I'm calling fowl on this whole thread.
Thomas Neville But chicken this out. The duck who hatched up the cure almost didn't go to college. Her parents never saved up a nest egg, so it looked like college would beak the bank. Fortunately, she was a smart gull, and applied for a Pelican grant. That got her into Drake University, which really tern-ed things around. And because it was a grant, she didn't have any debt hanging around her neck like an albatross.
Karina Selvaggio I found some information to help us diagnose and prevent this mallard-y. Symptoms: *It makes it difficult to swallow. You often get horrible clumps of mucus that you have to hawk up. *It makes you shiver, quiver, and quail. *Fever gives you hot flashes. Sometimes, it helps to be stork naked. Make sure nobody comes to visit you, or they may see your boobies. *Discomfort leads you to toss and tern. *You may give off an unpheasant, fowl odor. 'Swan of the lesser-known symptoms, but it does happen. *You also may hear a slight buzzard in your ears. *Mood swings. You might get majorly emu-tional and grouse about your problems.
The cardinal rule to remember is that it is a canary-al disease. Remember not to share your heron needles, and be careful whom you shag. If you don't protect yourself, owl you stay safe from this disease?
If we all pigeon, we can stop the spread.
Joe Zemek It should be ill eagle to be so talon-ted.
I knew there was a reason I hung around here...
#694 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2012, 05:22 PM:

crazysoph @691: Huzzah!

In other news, have I mentioned how much I love my new house? After three exhausting days of moving some large fraction☂ of everything we own across town, yesterday while waiting for the husband to turn up with the toddler☆ I took a hot, long soak to unlax and rewind. Upon exiting the bath, I suddenly realized that I couldn't make myself go out to the garage☒ to fetch the microwave. Agoraphobia, ho! However, my annoyance at it has mellowed to pleased amusement -- this house ALREADY (after two nights spent) feels 'safe' and 'home' enough to my hindbrain that even when I'm being agoraphobic, I have no problems moving around to all its rooms and getting life done.

I just don't want to go OUTSIDE. Finally managed it today, though; 6min of dogwalking☢ in the back yard.

While we were moving, John and I kept remarking to each other on Things We Wouldn't Miss☥; so far I've only noticed two things about the new place that makes me miss the old one☪. It is also very nice to be moving into a house with fewer broken-nesses than the old one, though not completely, thoroughly unbroken and in Very Good Repair, alas. Still, it's an upgrade in almost every conceivable way.

-- footnotes --
☀ With, on one of them, the help of some wonderful friends and some highly energetic college and high school students (courtesy of acquaintanceship with my 18yo sister). If you're forgoing professionals, teenagers are definitely the way to go; if you have a mixed group, the boys will be more than happy to use their testosterone surplus hoiking your heaviest things up two flights of stairs. Because they haven't already helped four people move and learned it's a bad idea.

☂ Not including the items in our storage unit (which is already paid up for February, so we're waiting till we've got the main mass settled before we go empty it out), or the random assortment of thinly-sprinkled-throughout-the-old-house Utterly Mixed Stuff That Didn't Get Packed. I'm going to be retrieving that piecemeal over the next two weeks. Also not including the main mass of 'stuff in our basement,' which is nicely packed and on shelves and can be moved one minivan-load at a time over those same next two weeks.

☆ So we could attempt our first 'after a normal day' at-home evening. Went reasonably well, although during cooking we realized we hadn't moved (a) the can opener or (b) the bags of uncooked pasta yet, which led to hilarious improvisation. I also deeply crave a trip to IKEA to get various implements of destruction and organizational pieces so I can hang up my pots on the wall and get back to normalcy.

☒ For our garage, MANY HUZZAHS. It is drywalled, has a ceiling and a lot of insulation and good lighting, and is effectively a really, really big storage locker (we could park four cars in it if we were careful, and I'm not talking Smarts) only steps from our back door. Not heated, but still! The move was facilitated by having it available to unload the truck into in short trips so the truck could leave to be refilled. Note: the garage could hold three completely-full truck trips without being emptied, because it has three times the volume of the 15ft moving truck we rented. Big!

☢ Dogwalking two beagles on leashes, because we haven't dogproofed the yard yet, or gotten the pigtail tie-out so we can attach their tether to the ground, which is going to be our short-term solution. It's well tedious getting kitted out for outdoors with coat and shoes and all just to let the boys take a leak, and I'm looking forward to having time to set the infrastructure in place.

☥ A non-exclusive list of Things We Won't Miss:
- No water pressure to speak of
- Access to parking pad in back involves wrenching open two 10ft chain-link gates that don't want to go high enough to clear the blacktop of the alley
- Our black garbage carts at the old place are currently stolen; the city will supply new ones 'within 60 days'

☪ 1. Our gas stove doesn't have a broiler drawer; I'm going to have to learn how to broil in the top of its oven compartment instead; and 2. our nearest public-library branch is slightly over a mile away, instead of slightly under half of one. This makes a significant difference in my willingness and ability to just pop over and pick up my holds whenever I feel like it (especially in winter).

#695 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2012, 05:43 PM:

Gnomes and nominative determinism

#696 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2012, 06:04 PM:

OT eye-candy (note the wee bebbeh @ 2:43)

#697 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2012, 06:49 PM:

Antonia 668: I have no idea. It's the name on the article.

#698 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2012, 07:13 PM:

Clans and clandestiny

Logs and Logical Positivism

Fur and First Strike Capability

By the bye, Bounders and Boundaries is a lost volume in George MacDonald Fraser's Flashman series, from around the time of Flashman and the Tiger (The Road To Charing Cross) in which Flashman is sent to Afghanistan in an attempt to make the Second Anglo-Afghan war unnecessary. Flashman sucks at preventing wars, but manages to arrange a satisfactory (for the British Empire) outcome while pilfering and/or fondling whatever comes to hand.

〠 Yes I know there's no such word, but there should be.

#699 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2012, 09:50 PM:

Lee 692: I suggest that an appropriate response would be to assign the teacher to learn the Menominee language herself. Then she'd know whether or not the student was "saying something bad" instead of having to guess.

That's certainly appealing, but my personal fave would be to assign the teacher to cleaning toilets with a toothbrush...his/her own toothbrush.

#700 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2012, 10:11 PM:

Shouldn't the plural of 'platypus' be 'platypodes'?

#701 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2012, 10:22 PM:

Elliott: Congratulations on the move and the settling in, and may the rest of the plan work out as well. (That "van load at a time over two weeks" bit... I've said that too. It was more like six weeks.)

#702 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2012, 10:25 PM:

Browsing in Google streetview, I ran across an interesting sight.

#703 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2012, 10:33 PM:

nerdycellist @ 667. Once you figure out what you want, you might try throwing the specifics through It seems to be an online equivalent of a buying service, where they go out and get hard numbers for a deal on your car, and you just select one and show to sign stuff.

#704 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2012, 11:39 PM:

Xopher #700:
Shouldn't the plural of 'platypus' be 'platypodes'?

Perhaps it should be, but I would argue that the plural is 'platypuses.'

#705 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2012, 12:01 AM:

Well, yes. My point is that 'platypi' isn't right.

And of course they're wearing fedorae. </DCO>

#706 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2012, 12:04 AM:

Aaaargh. Sorry. Thought I caught it in time.

#707 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2012, 12:29 AM:

Xopher: If Pliny the Elder could pluralize "polypus"¹ as "polypi" (and we know that he did) then I think there's no reason why we can't do likewise with "octopus" and "platypus".

¹a classical Latin word covering both octopus and squid

#708 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2012, 03:29 AM:

"Pliny and Platypus"

#709 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2012, 03:49 AM:

Elliott: Congratulations on the move. May you all have many years enjoying the new house. And your garage sounds wonderful.

Being able to move over a period of weeks rather than all in one day is an amazing luxury. When my family moved house when I was 13 my parents took out a bridging loan for a week to have time to move. This included emptying, moving and refilling about 20 fishtanks of tropical fish, a fair-sized greenhouse of orchids, and an aviary or two, in addition to lots of books and all the more usual household stuff.

The pink-footed goose made the journey sitting on my step-mother's lap, looking out the car window interestedly.

#710 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2012, 04:11 AM:

Had my first job interview yesterday. The security director, who interviewed me, said I was one of 20 people selected for interviews from applications, which is good. The interviewees will be narrowed to two before the end of the week, but I'd be notified if I wasn't one of those two. (Also good. I remember how frustrating it was four years ago when applications and resumes just seemed to drop into a black hole.)

How'd the interview go? Ehhh... face-to-face conversation. especially with strangers, has never been easy for me. And self-promotion was something actively discouraged in my family when I was growing up. So I felt uncomfortable and awkward, and probably showed it.

(Lessons from childhood, paraphrased: Don't stand out. Don't display. Don't brag. Be average. Be normal. DON'T BE WEIRD. But I was weird. More on this probably belongs in the Dysfunctional Families thread.)

So I'll be surprised if I make that final cut. I guess my presentation skills are something I need to work on.

#711 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2012, 04:14 AM:

Had my first job interview yesterday. The security director, who interviewed me, said I was one of 20 people selected for interviews from applications, which is good. The interviewees will be narrowed to two before the end of the week, but I'd be notified if I wasn't one of those two. (Also good. I remember how frustrating it was four years ago when applications and resumes just seemed to drop into a black hole.)

How'd the interview go? Ehhh... face-to-face conversation. especially with strangers, has never been easy for me. And self-promotion was something actively discouraged in my family when I was growing up. So I felt uncomfortable and awkward, and probably showed it.

(Lessons from childhood, paraphrased: Don't stand out. Don't display. Don't brag. Be average. Be normal. DON'T BE WEIRD. But I was weird. More on this probably belongs in the Dysfunctional Families thread.)

So I'll be surprised if I make that final cut. I guess my presentation skills are something I need to work on.

#712 ::: Dave Crisp ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2012, 07:06 AM:

ObScalzi: "Pliny and the Platypus" is the name of my next band.

#713 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2012, 09:07 AM:

Dave Crisp @713: I actually wrote a paper in college called "Medea and The Frogs", which would also make a great band name (but was just a comparison of the two Greek plays).

#714 ::: LMM ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2012, 09:11 AM:

What is it with all the spam today?

#715 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2012, 09:43 AM:

Bruce @ #698

Pills and pillaging
Knobs and nobility
Lists and listenability
Whores and Horticulture (probably by Dorothy Parker)

#716 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2012, 09:50 AM:

Whores and Horticulture (probably by Dorothy Parker)

Not Frank Miller?

#717 ::: DanR ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2012, 10:32 AM:

Quest and Questionnaires
Bills and Billionaires

#718 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2012, 11:02 AM:

Elliott Mason #694:

Top-of-oven broiling is so much more convenient; in our last house, after a year of being down on the floor on my stomach every time I wanted to make nachos (frequently) we bought a new range that had an in-oven broiler.

#719 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2012, 11:41 AM:

Interesting...what a difference retirement has made: Since a week after my final day at work, everytime I've done my morning ground-and-center, I have already been grounded.

I used to have a sensation of everything aligning when I did the "ground" part, now I'm already there.

The critters love having me home, it's fantastic going to get groceries and not having to contend with a crowd, and stuff is actually getting organized,* and the feeling of ever present exhaustion is gone.

Oh, and I decided on the Viking mixer, seems Kitchen Aid mixers are all plastic gears these days. Ordered my Viking from King Arthur Baking Company. I should have it by this time next week.

*We've been working on the living room, next on the agenda is the mantle and the pet shrine. After that I'll be unearthing my bedroom....

#720 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2012, 11:50 AM:

P J @ 702

Feral wild* turkeys are endemic in the SF area. I believe (like pheasants) they were originally imported for hunting purposes.

*Yes, I know that "feral wild" is a bit of an oxymoron, but my intent is to indicate "wild-type" as opposed to "industrial meat-production variety", in combination with "introduced via human action into a non-native environment and naturalized there as a breeding species".**

**Yes, I realize that my footnote is longer than my basic post.

#721 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2012, 12:05 PM:

dcb @710: Elliott: Congratulations on the move. May you all have many years enjoying the new house. And your garage sounds wonderful.

With a garage like that, I'd be having evil thoughts about setting up workshops, painting studios, personal gyms....

#722 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2012, 12:11 PM:

Bruce Arthurs @711: I guess my presentation skills are something I need to work on.

You might want to go read up on the stuff Liz Ryan has been posting about job-searching. She presents a very interesting model, which actually discourages self-promotion in favor of "story-telling," which I've found neatly solves the need to stand out without pinging that "self-agrandizement" issue. Google phrase: Liz Ryan Human Voice Business Pain

#723 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2012, 12:13 PM:

David Goldfarb: Even when they're wearing fedoræ?

#724 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2012, 01:09 PM:

Joann @718: Except that you have to be constantly putting an oven rack high enough to do it, which then has to come out again to put large pots in the oven (since I was raised to do oven-simmering for the things some people were raised to use crock-pots for). Especially since the current oven is barely large enough to take a big pot at all -- one rack in bottom position and you're almost skimming the roof with the handle anyway.

I need to peer and see if there's a top burner; there's a bottom one, and I may not be ABLE to top broil.

Jacque @721: The reason it's like that is because the owner-before-last ran an artisanal-furniture business out of it. There are also copious outlets and a separate breaker-box. He apparently used space heaters in winter (and there's a framed-in hole for a window air conditioner for summer).

Right now, it's most useful as a stuff-staging area, so that things come from Old House to Garage and then are gone through before heading to their final destinations (throughout the house, or boxed neatly on shelves in the basement for long-term storage). My goal, which is possibly over-ambitious, is to not put any box into our basement until it has been opened and considered. I am strongly motivated to this goal by the fact that some of the boxes we moved in today's carload were last sealed in 2001 ... for our last move. And they're labeled things like "Papers, need sorted" or "Random shelf stuff".

#725 ::: Brenda Kalt ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2012, 02:05 PM:

Stephan @644, Fragano @686

I have mixed feelings about John Christopher and his books.

Re: The Death of Grass / No Blade of Grass: the plot is good, but the science is beastly. He basically assumes that any short green plant is grass and gets destroyed by the virus. Even before people starve, the countryside turns to mud. He never thought of dandelions or anything else with a visible flower.

Re: The Long Winter: The cover blurb says that this is "a science-fiction fantasy, a political satire and a suspense thriller," but I never felt the vibe of satire. To me, the book was appallingly racist.

I still have his books on my shelves, but my feelings continue to be mixed.

#726 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2012, 02:06 PM:

Elliott Mason @724: The reason it's like that is because the owner-before-last ran an artisanal-furniture business out of it. There are also copious outlets and a separate breaker-box. He apparently used space heaters in winter (and there's a framed-in hole for a window air conditioner for summer).


Just as well you don't live in Boulder, or you'd have crazy guinea pig lady pressing her nose against the glass, whining, "So, like, you want to rent to a boarder...?"

#727 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2012, 02:16 PM:

#725: I never read Youd's / Christopher's non-YA stuff. Technothrillers / cozy catastrophes never did anything for me.

#728 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2012, 02:40 PM:

Xopher @ 723... "Feds and Fedoras"?

#729 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2012, 02:49 PM:

Unless something goes horribly wrong, I'll be attending the Jack Williamson Lectureships at the end of March.

#730 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2012, 02:51 PM:

David Goldfarb @707: I'm pretty sure that "polypus" is not a compound of "poly" and "pus" (many-legged), but a noun which entered English as "polyp".

#731 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2012, 03:02 PM:

Elliott #724:

Clearly tastes may differ, but for me, oven-rack moving is minor compared to doing the Alligator on a floor that likely needs seriously swept before it is lain upon.

And yeah, I think it takes anyone about three days before they can even think of putting together a meal in a new house--if only because it takes that long to find the corkscrew. (In our case, it was making a proper breakfast; somehow the espresso machine had been buried at the bottom of the very last giant kitchen box. Packers so *not* for the win!) And the debates about where to put all the glassware ... eventually solved by putting things only The Tall Guy uses on shelves that only he can reach.

#732 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2012, 03:45 PM:

"Pits and Popularity"

#733 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2012, 04:56 PM:

joann @731: Aha. All previous stoves I've broiled in (with drawers), the procedure was "lean over, slide drawer out with hand, put foil-and-meat on it, push it back in with foot", which isn't at all onerous (to me). Its failure mode was related to pulling it out too far, at which point it flopped down on the floor and you had to kneel down and peer (into the HOT HOT HOT) to get it re-engaged on its finicky tracks. There's a several-week learning curve on how far out is 'too far'.

I wouldn't lie on the floor to broil, and I can easily imagine you wouldn't want to either. :-> I just don't know where I'm going to keep the extra oven rack when it's not in use; a solvable dilemma, to be sure.

The 'problem' (I hesitate to call it that, since sooooo much about this kitchen is droolworthy) is that there is about 6' of counter between the sink and the stove, with really odd drawer layout in it, and no other counters in the entire kitchen. There is one fairly shallow shelf above the long counter, with task lighting mounted behind it, and some weird sculptural decorative waves in the plaster above (which will complicate putting any further shelves up there).

Since, traditionally, I have lived in houses that keep the glassware in the upper cabinets, I'm somewhat nonplussed. We're using the disposable-but-washable Solo cups we bought for the "construction-site period", and I'm leaving the glass glasses packed for now until we figure it out; there are other far more itchy problems to be tackled first, like hanging up my frypans and reinforcing the (huge! Walk-in! 1910s-style!) pantry shelving so I feel confident stacking soup cans on them.

I also soonish want to have a Bookcase-Building Day (sometime after I've mathed extensively), which will include several similar-to-book-eaters shelving units sized and intended for other things, like my spice bottles (custom-width shelves for the different sizes of bottles! Tacking a furring strip on about 1" from the bottom to keep them from falling!), certain pantry items, &c. I was hoping to put off bookshelves till after the walls are painted colors, but that's not going to be possible given timings and money, so I'm going to have to build and finish the shelves, mount 'em, and at some (possibly much-)later time dismount them so the walls can be painted.

#734 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2012, 06:27 PM:

joann @731: when I moved into my first flat, it was good that I had a microwave, because I wasn't using the cooker until I'd cleaned it. Took several hours of work before I was prepared to put a pan onto the top of the stove. Took about 20 hours before I was prepared to put anything into the oven.

Elliott: Sounds like some good projects! One of these days I'm going to finally get fed up of the peach walls in my home office and paint them white, round the bookcases because I'm not moving them! When the carpet finally wears out, I plan that we'll both take a week off work, borrow a large tent/hire a small marquee, move everything out of the office into the marquee/other rooms of the house, paint it properly, put new carpet down and put everything back.

#735 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2012, 06:31 PM:

Elliott #733:

The broiler was really weird in that the drawer didn't actually slide out, the front door just dropped, exactly like the big oven door up above. Even weirder, I just realized, was that my very first totally-on-my-own apartment had a stove that did almost exactly the same thing. The drawer dropped down, and then you could slide the rack out. I didn't have a toaster, and I ate a lot of cheap steak, so I did about 75% of my cooking down there.

Kitchen counters/shelves: That *is* weird. Is there blank space you can fit rolling carts elsewhere in the kitchen? And is there a large pantry, some of which could be co-opted for plates and glassware? There's also the Welsh dresser solution, buffet below, shelves with plates above.

(As far as decorative sculptural waves go, unless you feel they're Great Art, just plaster them over.)

#736 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2012, 06:43 PM:

joann, #731: Your broiler drawer must have been very low indeed. Ours is at a convenient height for me (5'6") to reach the handle without having to lean over, and there's a storage cupboard beneath it. But when I had an electric oven for which I had to move racks to broil in it, I didn't consider that especially onerous either.

For broiling small items, we generally don't even bother with the big oven, but use the toaster oven instead.

#737 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2012, 06:44 PM:

dcb #734:

My last apartment with roommate was one of those deals where I answered an ad, moved my stuff in before Christmas, and took off five minutes later for the holidays. When I got back, a few days before my roomie, I discovered that somebody had had one hell of a Christmas/going-away party involving, among other things, burning pine needles on a grease-encrusted gas stove. (Fortunately they did not burn the place down.)** I'm well known for my opinions on the subject of Original Dirt, but this case seemed so exceptional that I immediately fell to and caused the entire bloody kitchen to become massively spotless. Fortunately nobody was there, or they would have been vaporized by my language.

** Very fortunately, in retrospect. For this was the apartment, or one just like it, that caused the death of at least one fireman in a massive flash-over fire about 20 years later.

#738 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2012, 06:46 PM:

lee, #736:

It wasn't just low, it was on the floor. Well, max three inches above. Standalone range, bottom housing was the bottom of the broiler.

#739 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised again ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2012, 07:04 PM:

Just got back from the shelter: Bastet has been adopted! Which, while bittersweet for me in the never-seeing-her-again sense, is very good for her. And because she's about 5 years old, she qualified to be adopted for free in their "Seniors for Seniors" program, and that's exactly what happened yesterday after I visited (very glad I timed it the way I did yesterday, else I might have missed seeing her).

Considering that when I was in on Sunday, she was getting extra "work" (consisting of many pettings in-cage) from one of the behaviorists, and by yesterday had been awarded the apparently coveted Green Dot* on her ID card, I think things worked out well.

Now if I can just find a job so I can actually afford to pay rent by the time the other 4 cats and I have to leave Cat Friendly Friend of Friend's place at the end of February...

*The Green Dot means "Very friendly/playful and comes readily to the front of the cage", and according to the woman at the admin desk who told me Bastet had been adopted, it's "The Highest!" Fortunately, both Damon and Shadow have been similarly dotted, so I'm hoping it helps their chances.

#740 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2012, 07:39 PM:

#715 ::: Cadbury Moose
Whores and Horticulture (probably by Dorothy Parker)

I can't find the attribution, but firmly believe Mason Williams is responsible for
"You can lead a horticulture but you can't make her think."

#741 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2012, 08:00 PM:

joann @735: the wavy wall is in significant (in places, 3/4") relief. I'm torn between trying to chip it off (possibly damaging whatever's under it, and DEFINITELY making a godawful dusty mess) and trying to screw solid wood rails over it in verticals (using wall anchors to make it firm) so I have something to put shelving on, just ignoring the fact that I'll be entombing voids behind the rails.

#742 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2012, 08:22 PM:

One of my college houses came with a Detroit Jewel gas range. According to the landlord it was original to the house, which made it around 1914. Loved that old thing. The broiler drawer was conveniently located right below the (admittedly smallish) oven, but the whole thing was raised up on legs, which made it convenient. Very similar to this one.

#743 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2012, 09:04 PM:

Syd at 739: that's good news about Bastet. Holding good thoughts for Damon & Shadow, and for your new job.

#744 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2012, 09:13 PM:

Carol Kimball @ 740... You can lead a horticulture but you can't make her think


#745 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2012, 09:21 PM:

I think what surprised me most was the location. (Although I've seen enough peafowl out wandering around that it shouldn't be that big a surprise.)

#746 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2012, 09:26 PM:

I lived for a while in a house with an old gas range where the oven and broiler were side-by-side, with storage/warming drawers underneath. I never did try the broiler.

#747 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2012, 10:37 PM:

"Baby Platypi in Miniature Fedoras" (sidebar link) is, sad to say, photoshopped. I just saw the link to the picture as it was without the fedoras.

#748 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2012, 10:42 PM:

Erik, could you share it with us? I bet the platypodes† are even cuter without the fedoræ†.

† At this point I'm just being silly for the fun of it.

#749 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2012, 10:48 PM:

not seeing any link to it except in Facebook's restricted album thingy walled garden, so maybe I can't.

#750 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2012, 10:53 PM:

Erik Nelson @ 747, I second Xopher's request for a link to the un-'shopped photo. I had a feeling it wasn't the real thing but still found myself caught up in Teh Cute--would like to see the little darlings sans faux chapeaux (note: not in the least sure that last is correctly spelled but am leaving it unresearched because, well...faux chapeaux!). :)

#751 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2012, 11:33 PM:

not sure this will work, but try here for infant platypi:

pretty easily searchable, btw

#752 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2012, 11:35 PM:

I have to say that fedoras are the perfect hats for baby platypuses. ('Shopped or not.)

#753 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2012, 12:45 AM:

I love that the young of the platypus are known, collectively (as baby swans are 'cygnets'), as puggles. So are wombats, I think.

#754 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2012, 01:48 AM:

Elliott, #753: A bit of Googling suggests that a young platypus and a young echidna are both puggles. A young wombat, however, is a joey.

(Notice how carefully I have sidestepped the issue of plurals here.)

#755 ::: Cal Dunn ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2012, 02:12 AM:

This page has pictures of a teeny echidna in various stages of development.

Wombat joeys are much less disputedly adorable, especially if you can overlook the enormous claws.

#756 ::: Cal Dunn has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2012, 02:18 AM:

Help! The gnomes have stolen my baby echidnas!

#757 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2012, 02:51 AM:

John M. Burt @730: This entry at the Online Etymology Dictionary says that "polyp" comes from "polypus", and explicitly states that "polypus" is πολυ - πους. Do you have a source that gives another derivation?

#758 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2012, 03:10 AM:

Syd@739: Great that Bastet has been adopted. Here's hoping that wonderful new homes for Damon and Shadow will develop soon, as well as a job leading to a wonderful (or at least reasonable and affordable) new home for you and the other cats.

#759 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2012, 05:34 AM:

Erik Nelson @ #747: "Baby Platypi in Miniature Fedoras" (sidebar link) is, sad to say, photoshopped. I just saw the link to the picture as it was without the fedoras.

This was in doubt? I thought it was obvious enough that it went without saying. (Also, of course, it would have been churlish to complain, when the picture was still cute regardless of its origins.) Then again, I do work with Photoshop.

#760 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2012, 09:34 AM:

I'm chuffed. The following has been bought for actual money by ACER, the Australian Council for Educational Research, for use in reading comprehension tests for primary (elementary) schools:

Afternoon, summer. In stillness and heat
The hills stand a tip-toe on rippling feet.
They’re not simply looming there, rugged and high,
In the silence of noon, at the edge of the sky -
They shimmy and flutter. What can they be at?
Why, they’re dancing! How strange! The hills shouldn’t do that.

The trees are supposed to dance when the winds pass.
They say that the breeze dances in the dry grass,
But the hills? They don’t dance. They stand, solid as stone -
Except on a hot afternoon. Then alone,
In the hush and the stillness the hills take their chance,
And the silent world wonders to watch the hills dance.

I'm a published poet! (Good grief!)

#761 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2012, 10:12 AM:

Dave, #760: That's lovely. It reminds me of a Zenna Henderson short story, but without the horror factor.

#762 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2012, 10:50 AM:

Lee @ 761... Speaking of Zenna Henderson, I recently saw that Francis Ford Coppola's 1972 movie "The People" is up on YouTube.

#763 ::: pedantic peasant ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2012, 11:23 AM:


Just read the post at 430. I am sorry. So sorry.

May things get better for you from here.


#764 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2012, 12:28 PM:

Thought I posted this before, but I guess I must have previewed and not posted.

Dave @760, I like that. Congratulations. By the quality of the work you post here, I'm surprised it's your first published.

#765 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2012, 01:50 PM:

Dave #760: Very nice!

#766 ::: pedantic peasant ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2012, 02:47 PM:

Jacque @ 647:

Tom: Or we could talk in math. :-)

Read that too quickly and got the cool but strange feeling you were encouraging us to talk in myth.

Which is, I suppose, its own sort of specialized language ...

#767 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2012, 04:30 PM:

pedantic peasant @766: Read that too quickly and got the cool but strange feeling you were encouraging us to talk in myth.

Go for it! :-)

#768 ::: Mike McHugh ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2012, 05:43 PM:

This is very funny (and accurate), but I wonder: does it travel?
A History Of Ireland In 100 Excuses

#769 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2012, 06:21 PM:

Dave @760: Well, they pale in comparison to your achievement, but I offer my congratulations anyway.

I've maybe mentioned it before, but my uncle read the guidelines of a poetry magazine that said "do not send us poems on spec," so he sent them a rhyming letter about it, and that got accepted and published as a submission.

#770 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2012, 06:48 PM:

Serge Broom #762: Wow... I had not known that movie existed. Yow!

#771 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised again ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2012, 06:53 PM:

I'm so tired of this crap...

Cat Friendly Friend of Friend had given me and the cats until the end of February to find another place to live--necessitated by the fact CFFOF was getting more and more concerned that my presence would become an issue re: hir child custody agreement.

Today CFFOF goes to the apartment management company's office to pay some of hir back rent--and is informed that they have received a call notifying them that CFFOF has a roommate and several animals, all of which are (of course) prohibited by the rental agreement. And they further inform CFFOF that they will give hir one week to "resolve the situation", otherwise they will pursue eviction.

So does anyone have, or know a person who has, a room (or otherwise unused garage) in the Los Angeles area that they might consider renting immediately to a quiet gal with 4 cats...said gal not able to pay rent at the moment because I haven't yet found work and don't know what--if anything--I'll qualify for re: the county's General Relief program?

And if they can't take me, might they be willing to foster my last 4 cats? Three of them probably wouldn't last a week at the shelter, being feral born and mighty skittish...honestly, I just don't know if I can face giving them up. Surrendering the other 8 nearly drove me into hysterics.

I swear, every time I think I've got a little breathing room, the noose drops back around my neck and gets a little tighter. I don't know how much more of this I can take, dammit.

#772 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2012, 07:01 PM:

Hang in there, Syd.

#773 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2012, 07:04 PM:

pedantic peasant @ #766: Read that too quickly and got the cool but strange feeling you were encouraging us to talk in myth.

Temba, his arms wide.

#774 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2012, 07:10 PM:

Paul A. @ 773, just where my brain went, although I was thinking of Darmok and Jalad at Tenagra. :)

#775 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2012, 07:23 PM:

Dave Luckett @ 760:

I like that a lot. In some ways it reminds me of the Pixar short animation Boundin' by Eban Ostby. There's a similar sense of magic taken at face value.

#776 ::: Melody ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2012, 08:26 PM:

Syd @774 And if your brain is wired a little differently (like mine), everything reminds you of Darmok and Jalard at Tenagra. :) Oleander and I have shorthanded this for intra-family situations to: Tenagra.

#777 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2012, 11:35 PM:

Syd at 771: without any names, I've put your need for housing up on my Facebook page, asking for help from my friends (and their friends) in the L.A. area. If anyone has a place they can lend/share, even if it's only for a short time, I've asked that they send me a message. I hope something comes of this.

#778 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2012, 01:03 AM:

Lizzy L @ 777, thank you from the bottom of my heart, whether anything pans out or not. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, though, since your post number is three lucky sevens! :)

#779 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised, has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2012, 01:09 AM:

I admire their dedication, but I'm at a loss to explain the necessity. Unless my remark on the potentially propitious nature of the number attached to Lizzy L's comment sounded like a gambling spam thingambob...

Um...cookies and milk, little gnomes?

#780 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2012, 01:15 AM:

Thanks to the moderator on duty (that you, abi?) for releasing my post from gnomulation before my system let me post notice of same.

#781 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2012, 02:00 AM:

In which I am a bad person: for complicated (i.e. stupid) reasons, I was thinking up titles for a line of monastic BDSM pr0n movies. Titles are not obscene, but might be disturbing. Also, if you don't like puns...these ARE pr0n titles.

Ibj bs Fvyrapr (Orarqvpgvar zbax jrnevat onyy tnt)
Ibj bs Fvyrapr: Gur Arkg Puncgre
Ibj bs Fvyrapr: Arire Pbzcyvar
Ibj bs Fvyrapr: Bire Frkg
Ibj bs Fvyrapr: Grepr Erznexf

And of course the boxed set of all of them:
Ibj bs Fvyrapr: Ubenevhz

#782 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2012, 02:42 AM:

I was so knocked for a loop by CFFOF's news today that I completely forgot to visit my boys at the shelter, so I checked the website for their listings. Both are still there--and Damon is a video star!

Will somebody do me a favor and tell me what they say about him? My sound card is dead.

#783 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2012, 04:43 AM:

Syd @782: They didn't say that much about particularly other than what was written underneath anyway. They let people know what the adoption fee covered in terms of microchip, vaccinations etc. and a future veterinarian visit and a certain amount of follow-up care. They mentioned that he likes belly-rubs, gave his adoption number a couple of times. They mentioned that he was talkative but he only utteerd one tiny mew, near the end, which the woman noticed. Poor cat! Dumped onto a stranger's lap like that, with the lights and all. But he behaved very well.

Good thoughts for your finding a new place to live.

#784 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2012, 09:59 AM:

In February, when there should be frost,
bright daffodils present in yellow bloom
such firm rejection of the winter gloom

it makes me smile. Not all the past is lost
and there are things that death will not consume
in February, when there should be frost.

We look on beauty and don't count the cost
of what it means to have full life resume
but take each step and see beyond the doom
in February, when there should be frost.

#785 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2012, 10:55 AM:

A 16th century guinea pig in Belgium.

#786 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2012, 11:29 AM:

Paul A @773: Moe, with two menacing fingers extended.

#787 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2012, 11:34 AM:

Wonderful essay by N.K. Jemisin on being a writer of color in genre, and on the power of myth

Dreaming is impossible without myths. If we don’t have enough myths of our own, we’ll latch onto those of others — even if those myths make us believe terrible or false things about ourselves. Tolkien understood this, I think because it’s human nature. Call it the superego, call it common sense, call it pragmatism, call it learned helplessness, but the mind craves boundaries. Depending on the myths we believe in, those boundaries can be magnificently vast, or crushingly tight.

(I found it via Martha Wells's LJ)

#788 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2012, 11:37 AM:

Syd, here's a rough transcript from the video. Ellipses signify places where I skipped things that didn't mean much.

"This is Damon, a three-year-old neutered male, and Damon is [number shown on screen] … a beautiful cat, beautiful cat, who is a domestic short-hair tabby, loves belly rubs… you know, cats also love -this-."

"So, tell us about the fee…"

"Damon's a $70 adoption fee…"

[more about what's included]

"…that's a GREAT deal!"

"Only three years old, and he was an owner turn-in, so he'd love for you to come in–"

"A wonderful cat."

"–and he seems to be very well-behaved… and he hasn't made a peep since he came in here, so if he's a vocal cat, you're going to have to tell us about it."

[that's mostly it, as far as relevant comments and not just details and numbers]

(I'm pulling for you, and the GOOD THOUGHTS light is on. I can't imagine how hard going through this must be. All I can do is pet my cat, who came from a shelter here in New York.)

#789 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2012, 12:20 PM:

Thank you, dcb and Kip W! I didn't suppose it was going to be anything earth-shattering, but you never know.

#790 ::: JM ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2012, 03:01 PM:

Dave Luckett @760: Congratulations on the publication; double congratulations on the actual money!

#791 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2012, 04:31 PM:

Syd, how did I miss that dcb answered you right after your post? Maybe I was looking for quotation marks.

#792 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2012, 05:37 PM:

I followed Patrick's latest particle (about "epically bad interface design") and I too thought that was obviously horrible, but then I read down to the comments where someone with experience in that kind of pistol-shooting competition argues that in fact it isn't.

(Short version: the only time that you normally need to check that gauge is when the cartridge is not connected to the pistol; there are various reasons why that's the best place to put it.)

#793 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2012, 06:03 PM:

Kip W @791: never mind; I think our two interpretations gave a pretty good idea.

HLN: Local woman puts on headtorch and goes for a night run in on snow in a local park at -5 C to do risk assessment for the start of the course for the following morning's parkrun*. And we're good to go so long as people put PS ahead of PB (personal safety before Personal Best times!).

*parkrun: free, 5K timed runs every Saturday morning in parks across the UK (also in Poland, Iceland, Australia, Denmark, South Africa...)

#794 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2012, 06:30 PM:

MilesToGo: I'm not Xopher, but I've had a first line/thesis for a poem floating around in my head for about ten years and haven't done anything with it yet:

Where would I be if I had what I dream of?

#795 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2012, 07:33 PM:

Dog development... It seems that if my dog Gracie is in her cage (even just shooed in) and I simply shut the door without latching it, she doesn't even test the door.... Eventually she whined to be let out!

Also, last week she did her first "rolling in a smell" thing. Still running me ragged on the walks. I realized those walks are soaking up 7-10 hours a week...

#796 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2012, 07:37 PM:

#795: When I first got Kira, a robust Belgian sheepdog, I dutifully worked her 6 - 8 miles per day. Clear around the big Intel plant at least once a day. Then she decided that she'd had quite enough, and would turn into a boat anchor when I started to head in that direction.

We currently do about 2 miles . . . down from the 3.5 miles of good weather months.

#797 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2012, 07:47 PM:

Elliott Mason @ 794, that is quite the thought-provoking first line. So much so that I've copied it into an easily findable document so I can think on it later. I make absolutely no claim to being able to write poetry--even my blank verse tends to strike me as juvenile at best and puerile at worst--but as the seed of a thought experiment? That I could do. Although it might be more than a little trigger-y for me right now, hence the saving of it.

I look forward to seeing what MilesToGo is inspired to write (ditto any of our other resident poets)--in hir own time, of course! Like Xopher's comment, this is in no way, shape or form a demand for "instant" poetry. :)

#798 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2012, 10:21 PM:

Fragano, #784,

Now that's a good one. Very telling use of the repeated line. Really shows that conventions can cease to be screen through which the point must pass, nor even reiterate or reinforce it, but can actually become the point themselves, in a way.

#799 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2012, 10:24 PM:

"Where would I be if I had what I dream of?" as first line. The second line would have to scan "dah diddle dah diddle dah diddle dah DAH".

Very helpful. Not.

#800 ::: Laurel ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2012, 02:34 AM:

Syd, I'm so sorry - I keep hoping to see better news from you. I wish I wasn't on the other end of the country so I could at least foster a couple of cats. I'm thinking of you - and them.

#801 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2012, 03:03 AM:

Laurel @ 800, thank you--my kitties and I appreciate the kind thoughts. :) And trust me, I keep hoping to come here one day with better news!

#802 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2012, 09:25 AM:

Regarding Abi's parhelion on "eating dirt" -- it's a generally good article (I have no quibbles with its basic thesis), and a decent attempt at combining scientific writing with evocative prose. Only "decent" though, because there's some annoying flaws on both sides, when another revision might well have brought it to Huxlean levels of "outstanding".

Occasionally bits of hyberbole become distracting or misleading: the "age of bacteria" section could have been dropped entirely, and "Other than water, what little stuff we humans have inside us is largely dirt" is just wrong. There's no mention at all of impetigo (IIRC, the original "get sick by eating dirt", until we started vaccinating for it). Also, he cites a ruling of "pathological levels as consumption of more than 500 mg of soil per day", without noting that half a gram is a pinch of loam or a small pebble.

#803 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2012, 09:41 AM:

David @802 - we vaccinate for impetigo? This is news to me! My kid wound up with a suitably disgusting-looking case one year at summer camp, attributable to the widespread presence of dirt.

#804 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2012, 10:20 AM:

Rikibeth #803: Umm... <rummages, googles> Whoops, it looks like I mixed up "beaten by vaccination" versus "beaten by antibiotics" -- that is, it stopped being a major threat once it was treatable. Unfortunately, impetigo seems to feature S. aureus as a major player, so the advent of MRSA may have un-fixed even that. :-(

#805 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2012, 10:39 AM:

Dave Luckett @789: That may be part of why I've never gotten anywhere with it; I seem almost unable to write in anything but iambs. One reason I like putting tunes to other people's words is because that way I get to do stuff in other meters, like dactyls, which I can't write to save my life (without having them sound really awkwardly fake).

One of the few times I managed to break out of my trap was because I wrote the tune FIRST ...

In re the line, sometimes I phrase it as "WHAT would I be", which seems kind of closer to the realization that led to the line.

#806 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2012, 12:21 PM:

Here's an article I thought this crowd might appreciate:

"Four realizations that will ruin science fiction for you"

(But then perhaps we already know these things and science fiction is not ruined for us)

#807 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2012, 01:04 PM:

Erik Nelson #806: Eh, he's taken four tropes and blown them into an article.

#808 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2012, 01:29 PM:

And three of them are things that MY favorite writers are able to avoid to one degree or another.

#809 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2012, 04:10 PM:

Hey Syd -

Looks like the website LAist has posted Damon as their adoptable pet of the week
Crossing my fingers that this helps!

(also, I really, really want Stubby. But Ardala's expensive and it appears Stubby needs to be the only dog in the household. sad.)

#810 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2012, 04:51 PM:

nerdycellist @ 809, thanks for the link--I also hope it helps!

#811 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2012, 09:15 PM:

It is being reported that Whitney Houston has died.


#812 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2012, 09:16 PM:

Is it just me, or does the article Patrick points to about Kropotkin make others think of the way some Libertarians seem to think that society will align itself if given the chance?

#813 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2012, 10:02 PM:

I'd say so. Possibly Kroptkin's thinking was more sophisticated than that of some Libertarians, but I wouldn't want to bet on it. (The cities weren't that wonderful to live in, and I don't think they were free of kings, dukes, or whatever title the local political power had.)

#814 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2012, 10:08 PM:

Syd @811: Well, sad at least. I even remember one of her songs.

#815 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2012, 10:31 PM:

Tom Whitmore #812: Remember the title of Kropotkin's magnum opus? It was Mutual Aid. The key point that Prince Kropotkin was making was that in all social species survival depends on sociability. We do better if we collaborate and create rules that facilitate collaboration. In the mediaeval European city, rules evolved that facilitated coöperation without external compulsion among a variety of groups (guilds, community associations, confraternities) that made up the commune in Italy, France, and Spain. He recognised, of course, that there was still authority, in the form of kings, lords, mayors, and so on, but there was also this un-forced, self-governing autonomy that generated its own rules and its own structure without compulsion. One example of this is the university, which began as a collaborative guild (Latin: universitas) of teachers and students, about 1,100 years ago in Padua and Bologna.

Kropotkin's larger point, which shouldn't get lost, is that for a species to survive it has to find ways to coöperate -- and all social species except ours do so without government or law.

The man was a scientist -- a geographer -- and he sought to place his politics on a scientific basis. He wanted to get rid of the state with immediate effect, but I suspect that most American libertarians today would not be happy with a man who saw himself as a scientific socialist.

#816 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2012, 10:57 PM:

Re: Kropotkin's Mutual Aid, it's available for download from Project Gutenberg.

#817 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2012, 12:36 AM:

Xopher at # 618 etc.: So I opened the box of YA paperbacks and found three books about kids underwater. But I did not come across anyone named Christopher while rapidly leafing through them. I could have missed a minor character though.

If you want to look up reviews on Amazon and see if anything rings a bell, try:

  • Under Plum Lake by Lionel Davidson.

  • The Sea Egg by L. M. Boston.

  • The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley (already mentioned).

Now if you had asked about children cast away on islands or children marooned in time, I have lots of those.

#818 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2012, 01:06 AM:

I'm certain you're right @815, Fragano, which is why the similarity seemed so odd to me.

#819 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2012, 01:20 AM:

One comment-exchange on the Kropotkin article points out that Darwin's "survival of the fittest" wasn't what Kropotkin was arguing against in Mutual Aid. Darwin had a specific meaning in mind, but the phrase was taken up by so many—it's called "social Darwinism" but we may as well call it a self-serving piece of political new-speak—to give a justification for their greed (See also our whole thread on Marx, Anarchism, and Web Standards).

Dawkins, in The Selfish Gene, provides a reason for cooperation and altruism, but maybe doesn't go far enough. A huge percentage of the genes which any human carries are the same as those we carry. Yes, there are variations which matter, but the results of those variations matter as much when they are different as when they are the same. The variation of the genes is the froth on the top of a pint of beer, but because somebody is different (and it's usually not obvious) they don't get hit quite so badly by the Spanish Influenza, and so can help you survive.

The selfish gene is too selfish, and there again we're in the territory of a jargon-meaning being overloaded with ordinary English.

Meanwhile, the politicians who talk about the importance of "society" are the usual power-driven wazzocks, wanting to impose their rules on the rest of us, and if we don't agree we're obviously unfit to survive.

#820 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2012, 09:29 AM:

Dave, #819: As opposed to those who claim loudly and obnoxiously that "society" doesn't exist, it's only a con game for the benefit of those who want to Take Away Our Freedom. Generally keeping their noses firmly in the public trough all the while.

There is surely a sane position to be had between those two extremes.

#821 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2012, 10:28 AM:

OT Sherlock stuff

Elliott Mason: Your sister has probably already seen this, but I found it on a blog (stole it from my teenager [btw, I am highly amused that your sister is 3 years older than my daughter. I am so old . . .]. Sherlock, "A Study in Pink," rendered in teen-speak:

only spoilery if you haven't seen season one.

#823 ::: Throwmearope ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2012, 11:07 AM:

HLN--Woman forced by gubmint to upgrade all of her computer-y stuff at work is trying to learn new system.

So I'm working with 2 techs who both say this is what you do to change X. But watching their mouse clicks on our shared screen, that's not what they're doing. Their verbal reality contradicts their physical actions. (But they are reading me what the Help panels say.)

So I said, why do I have to click the box that doesn't work when you get to click the box that does?

Main result is they want me to wait until the in-person training (which is over a month from now) because I don't listen.

So for any help desk techies out there, the hostility you receive may be just pent up emotions from previous experiences.

And by the way, I'll show them not listening, I'm gonna play around with the demo system all month and figure it myself (which is what I did with the last system 11 years ago.) Neener.

#824 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2012, 11:51 AM:

Bet the techies you got don't even realize that they aren't doing what they say.

A couple of my co-workers just got some software (and went through training with it) that records what a user actually does and can turn it into a slide show, so we can learn the real way stuff works.

#825 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2012, 11:52 AM:

Melissa Singer @821: Technically, my sister is young enough to be my daughter, though it would have been an extremely inadvisable pregnancy for an awful lot of reasons ... When I first started dating he-who-is-now-my-husband, she was about 10mo old.

Sometime this spring, I will have been in a relationship with him for more than half my life, which seems some kind of milestone or other. :-> I've already known him more than half my life, as we were besties for over half a year before couple-ing up.

#826 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2012, 11:54 AM:

Open threadiness (unforeseen consequences dept.):

This article predicts that in its transition to IP-based telephony, AT&T will free up as much as 90% of the 25 million sq. ft. of the commercial real estate it has accumulated over the last century or so. This could make AT&T much more competitive with its competitors, which in turn might slow the trend of mergers and acquisitions in the telecom industry (or not, if the competitors feel the need to amalgamate in order to compete). But one thing the article doesn't mention: what effect will selling off that much commercial real estate have on the commercial real estate market in the US, which is just starting to climb out of the toilet it was dumped in by the bursting of the last bubble?

#827 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2012, 12:06 PM:

Elliott Mason @825:
Sometime this spring, I will have been in a relationship with him for more than half my life, which seems some kind of milestone or other. :-> I've already known him more than half my life, as we were besties for over half a year before couple-ing up.

I crossed the "half my life" stage of knowing Martin last June. I hit "in a relationship with him for half my life" on September 26 of this year, and "wanting to be married to him for half my life" on October 8*. "Married to him for half my life" isn't until the end of 2016.

It's an interesting set of thresholds to contemplate.

* Sometimes you choose, and sometimes you just realize. Realizing is faster.

#828 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2012, 12:33 PM:

Elliott Mason @ 825: My mother is 20 years older than her youngest sister, who is 5.5 years older than me.

So I get the spacing thing.

My father carried a photo of my mother and my infant/toddler aunt with him in Korea; he liked to show it to people and say, "that's my sister-in-law," to which people usually replied something like, "hey, why are you carrying a picture of your sister-in-law and her baby," and he'd say, "nah, my sister-in-law _is_ the baby." Because he liked to see the reaction.

My grandparents had 3 kids; the middle one was just about in the middle, almost 10 years away from each of the others. The youngest was born about 9 mos after my parents were married. Which creeped me out a lot until I realized my grandparents were only in their 40s at that time.

#829 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2012, 12:53 PM:

I'd suggest leasing it out to other businesses or turning into 'lofts' or other residential uses, but I suspect a lot of the space they'd be freeing up isn't suited for much besides equipment.

#830 ::: Sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2012, 01:03 PM:

Dropping into the thread without catching up -

Listened to a lovely interview with Brother Guy on NPR on my way home from church this morning. A good transition for me, and thank you for giving me more to chew on.

#831 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2012, 01:12 PM:

abi @ 827 -

Sometimes you choose, and sometimes you just realize.

That has to be one of the truest statements of the human condition I've run across.

#832 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2012, 01:26 PM:

I have a sister 20 years older than I am. Accordingly, I have a set of nieces and nephews approximately my age, and the great-niece who is currently boarding with us while attending U.Ga. is the same age as my youngest child.

#833 ::: Throwmearope ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2012, 02:38 PM:

@ PJ Evans, #824.

That's pretty much my take--they're so used to the system, they just click away.

For the in person training, I'm going to say, "Please show me the clicks you would make to fix this."

'Cause I don't want to have to do a support ticket every 5 minutes.

#834 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2012, 06:30 PM:

Went to visit my shelter boys this morning--and found that Shadow had been adopted not long before my arrival. According to the volunteer who told me about it, Shadow was adopted by a woman who had previously adopted from the shelter, and had reached the point where she could open her home to another cat. The volunteer said she and Shadow hit it off right away.

Which leaves Video Star Damon as my last kitty in need of a new home, and the same volunteer told me someone's been showing some pretty serious interest in him. I hope said person makes the leap and adopts my boy soon, if it's right for everyone; since I don't know where the remaining cats and I will be come this Thursday, I'd like to see Damon settled before I have to worry about whether I have the gasoline to come visit him.

Speaking of Thursday, I'll be calling my aid worker Monday morning to see if I have any available living options under General Relief...and whether they'll allow cats. If nothing else, a friend had me do a project yesterday and severely overpaid me, so it's possible I could board the cats for a little while--but that's a short-term solution at best.

#835 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2012, 08:53 PM:

Tom Whitmore #818: While I suspect that Kropotkin would have been alarmed by the American Libertarian Party, he was a libertarian with a small ell. It's just that he was an anarcho-communist rather than an anarcho-capitalist like, say, Murray Rothbard, or a minimal statist like Robert Nozick.

#836 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2012, 09:48 PM:

Fragano: sounds about right. Thanks!

#837 ::: Laura Gillian ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2012, 10:09 PM:

This is just to say:

I have Facebook'd
the story
that was in
the OP

and which
you had probably
for these readers

Forgive me
it was inspiring
so glad
and so warm

Thank you, Jim, for posting it. The story was so relevant to a number of disagreements I have been having lately that I couldn't resist sharing it. I did credit you and link back here; I hope that's ok.

#839 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2012, 10:55 PM:

A question for the many medievalists here: How is Barbara Ehrenreich's Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy as to her treatment of that period?

I just finished it and found it very congenial but was wondering what the more knowledgeable think.

#840 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2012, 11:02 PM:

Xopher at 618 etc: There was a Mary Poppins chapter where they go under the sea.

#841 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2012, 11:29 PM:

John A Arkansawyer @ 838 -

Oh, man, I'm still laughing....

#842 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2012, 01:28 AM:

John A Arkansawyer @ 838:

Really bad timing. I laughed so hard when I read that that I woke up my wife on the other side of the house. On the other hand, when I repeated it to her, she laughed almost as hard.

#843 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2012, 04:13 AM:

The "important request" on Craigslist, whatever it was, appears to have been removed.

#844 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2012, 07:55 AM:

Bruce Arthurs @ 843: Fortunately, I can reproduce it (so to speak). It was better, I think, in the original presentation, but:

Seeking Fling - m4w - 28 (Branson, MO)

Premature ejaculator seeks young, attractive woman for fling. Must have large breasts, big lips, a nice backside and....OH GOD...nevermind.

#845 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2012, 09:35 AM:

Re: that Trestle Press entry on the sidebar: Oh my. The arrogance and disrespect is breathtaking, not to mention the sneering refusal to provide any actual information whatsoever... Especially due to that last, just seeing that "interview" in isolation would be enough to make me file Trestle under "Scam Artists".

#846 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2012, 11:37 AM:

One more for Facebook:

How to get your comment button back, if you don't want to post every time you mean to start a paragraph.

#847 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2012, 12:31 PM:

#845 David Harmon

Yeah. And if Marvel wants to hassle someone for using Ghost Rider art for a commercial property without permission, there's Trestle standing there with a big "kick me" sign on 'em.

Sadly, the authors who haven't ditched Trestle are circling the wagons to defend their publisher against the jealous folks who were probably rejected by Trestle anyway who are trying to make a big deal out of nothing.

#837 Laura Gillian

I don't own the original. It's public domain and, I think, should be widely known. (Wasn't being widely known for his generosity the reward that the third man was granted?)

#848 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2012, 01:23 PM:

Cat Friendly Friend of Friend was doing some research this morning on my behalf re: homeless shelters that also accommodate pets.

There are apparently 2 in the entire state, one in Riverside and one in Hollywood. (There may be more, but they may be domestic abuse shelters, or they may just not be well enough known to show up under their own names during a search.) Anyway, please keep your fingers crossed that if no other housing solution presents itself before Thursday morning, my last 4 cats and I will be able to get in at PATH/Petco Place in Hollywood.

How other people manage to find these things and my searches never seem to makes me sad about my deficient google-fu. :(

#849 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2012, 02:11 PM:

Syd, somewhat disguised @848: Google-fu is partly a learnable skill, and partly dogged determination. Some things I'm really good at finding; others, not so much. Have you tried asking CFFoF what hir strategy was, that worked? Be prepared for hir not actually telling all the blind alleys that s/he went down to get there: most people don't remember those even a few minutes after they've discarded them.

#850 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2012, 02:34 PM:

Open threadiness:

More of the bloody bits of our foreign policy done in secret. (They apparently have also done some anti-drug stuff, so in some sense, it's even part of the implementation of our domestic drug laws they're doing in secret.)

I know it's just my dirty fucking hippitude talking, but I find secret intelligence and military operations outside all oversight, with ever expanding budget and mission, to be just slightly problematic w.r.t. that whole democracy things. Indeed, I can even imagine ways this sort of organization could be used in ways we might just come to regret.

I wonder how often these guys have been used inside the US. And how much more often they will be, in the future.

#851 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2012, 02:34 PM:

Tom Whitmore @ 849, I'll ask, but I have a feeling it was no more complicated than "homeless shelters that accept pets los angeles", which turned up PATH on the first page. I started with "homeless women's shelters".

Sometimes I have trouble asking for what I need. Even from a search engine, apparently. ***sigh***

#852 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2012, 02:56 PM:

Fragano #815:

Just an aside, but Kropotkin is a minor off-stage character in L Neil Smith's _The Probability Broach_, where he's the late husband of a very old woman in the book.

And there's a thread of libertarians who are quite interested in spontaneous order and law that arises without anything like the modern mechanisms of state enforcement or legislatures. David Friedman has written a fair bit about this stuff. (Though I think he's an anarchist.)

#853 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2012, 05:49 PM:

albatross #852: That's interesting. Thanks.

I'd be inclined to call such people 'anarchists' rather than 'libertarians'. Primarily because the idea that you can have order and justice without compulsion has had that name since Proudhon.

#854 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2012, 06:05 PM:

Tweet of the Day:

"Breaking Bad: Canada. Just a guy getting free cancer treatment" -- @megfraser

Sigh . . .

#855 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2012, 06:29 PM:

I need to rant. If you don't like rants, don't continue reading.

*deep breath*

I cannot BELIEVE that the Republicans in the Senate are working on a bill which will allow any employer to veto any health care procedure of their employer-insured employees, if they have unspecified "moral concerns." No. NONONONONONO. No. Also, WTF? This is insane. Need a blood transfusion? Nope, sorry, your employer is a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses and she thinks transfusions are immoral. Need to take statins, because your LDL is 290? Nope, your employer is a Christian Scientist, and has moral reservations about medication. Need Prozac or you can't get out of bed? Too bad, your employer has moral concerns about happy pills; they're bad for your character. Depression is a myth. Want to get your tubes tied because you've had 3 miscarriages and one very difficulty pregnancy, and you just can't do it any more? Forget it, honey, women are designed to bear babies. Suck it up. Need that extremely expensive cancer drug? Too bad. Cancer is God's will. Need insulin? Diabetes can be controlled with diet; you're too fat, that's all, and I have moral objections to enabling your self-destructive behavior.

As I said -- WTF?

I know it won't pass the Senate. But I don't, do not, DO NOT comprehend this. In a sane universe, Mitch McConnell would have taken Senator Roy Blunt (R-Bugfuckistan) into a chilly room, told him to sit down and be very, very quiet, and informed him that if he ever suggested anything like this POS bill again, he would find himself needing to spend more time with his family. I keep waiting for the ghost of Lyndon Baines Johnson to show up in the Senate chamber, pissed as hell and carrying a double-ought.

Can we have a do-over? Can we back it up and start again?

*deep breath*

Thank you.

#856 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2012, 08:09 PM:

[[applauds Lizzy's elegant rant]]

#857 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2012, 08:50 PM:

seconding the applause for that rant.
I have to admit that I'm not seeing a great deal of support for those guys out here in the real world. I think they all are living in some alternate universe. Possibly one where they're going to be the ancestors of the Ferengi.

#858 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2012, 09:09 PM:

Brava, Lizzy!

#859 ::: debio ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2012, 09:15 PM:

I'll third the applause and I'm not even living in the States now. The ramifications of this are just to scary to think about.

For employers to even be able to veto a procedure, they'll have to know about it. Does this mean employees will have to go first to ask permission from their boss?

"Excuse me, Mr. Fudd? Um, I have a cancerous growth on my left, err, yeah. Would it be okay if I got it taken care of?"

How is that a good thing?

#860 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2012, 09:23 PM:

The bright side of the legislation Lizzy so wonderfully rants about? The Dems, if they have the courage, have just been handed one of the best campaign issues they've seen in years.

I'm not an ad guy, but I could write the copy for the ones the Dems could run.

"Do you want your boss (pic of Daddy Warbucks or Monopoloy guy) choosing what kind of health care procedure you're allowed to have when you're sick or in need?"

#861 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2012, 09:59 PM:

So I sent an email out to a church committee I chair, after an email that mentioned giving me a nudge to get the agenda out on time for tomorrow's meeting, saying in the first line, "And I appreciate the nudge. Better a nudge than a noodge, I always say, and certainly better a nudge or a noodge than The Nuge."

A response came back, saying,

John, I didn't know the definition of Nuge, so I googled it:

Urban Dictionary: nuge
1. nuge. Blowing your nose into some whore's vag. I totally gave her the nuge ... That dude's a nuge, he looks like he's right off the cover of Cat Scratch Fever."

Imagine my chagrin. It did, however, let me give a little tutorial on the varying results of a google search on


the nuge

'the nuge'

and then get around to this:

I found it pretty funny myself, once I got over the shock. And I have to agree, one of those things is disgusting. And that reminds me of what a friend of a friend posted on Facebook recently:

"Gross! I just googled Santorum and all I found was this disgusting politician!"

It was an incident almost made of win in its own weird way. V qb jbaqre jul V bayl 'cebonoyl' qvqa'g zrna gur svefg qrsvavgvba, ohg V punyx gung hc gb rzoneenffzrag.

#862 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2012, 11:18 PM:

One weekend of The Pirates of Penzance down, two to go. Nice review up.

The only sad part is that we have to do one of the Big Three (Pirates, Pinafore, Mikado) every other year so that we can fund the Other Ones, some of which are absolutely stunning. And have more principle roles. Yes, Gilbert & Sullivan wrote more than three comic operas.

#863 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2012, 11:29 PM:

We'll see if there's any difference between a government death panel and an employer death panel.

#864 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2012, 11:33 PM:

There is a new definition to Romney now, to correspond to Dan Savage's definition of Santorum. When I Googled "Romney" earlier this evening, it was the fourth link listed.

It refers to the incident when he put the dog in his carrier on top of the car, and what the dog did.

It's gross, but, then, so are the Republicans.

#866 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2012, 01:20 AM:

Conflating because I'm tired and about to give up on consciousness:

"I'm sorry, guys, but this business with the insane legislators turning politics into religion just isn't up to the normal Gilbert and Sullivan standards. It's just not funny."

#867 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2012, 04:48 AM:

debio @859

One of the critical details is about when the employer decides what to pay for.

If a religious organisation decides not to provide insurance for contraceptive procedures, that's not the same as having to go the employer to ask for permission every time a health issue comes up.

The complications with that come in the definitions. Some things have contraceptive effects, but that's not why they are being carried out. Would a hysterectomy be considered a contraceptive procedure by some faceless administrator? There are going to be more admin costs for the insurance company to charge against the insurance income.

#868 ::: debio ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2012, 08:02 AM:

I'll just stay in Japan. The national health care system here is pretty good. The only thing I've seen not covered so far* are PGD IF procedures for my condition. And that is only because it's not considered life threatening for children.

Hospital stays are dirt cheap compared to America as well.

*I'm sure there is other stuff. I just haven't asked/looked/experienced it.

#869 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2012, 08:29 AM:

Re: Abi's Parhelia "Who's minding the kids? Not Dads"

Bujold puts it so well, as always:

"Why, the labor costs alone of bringing a child to maturity are astronomical. There must be something wrong with your accounting."

Her eyes screwed up in an expression of sudden ironic insight. "Ah, but on other worlds the labor costs aren't added in. They're counted as free."

Ethan stared. "What an absurd bit of double thinking! Athosians would never sit still for such a hidden labor tax! Don't the primary nurturers even get social duty credits?"

"I believe," her voice was edged with a peculiar dryness, "they call it women's work."

- Ethan of Athos (Ch. 16)

#870 ::: pedantic peasant ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2012, 09:25 AM:

Lizzy L @ 855:

A full ovation!

debio@ 859 and Linkmeister @ 860:

It may not be a case of telling your employer, but telling your insurer.

On the one hand, I can't imagine an insurance company NOT being happy to cut costs by reducing services; on the other, as someone who's kicked through several different employers, I know that in general insurance companies try to reduce clerical overhead by having x number of plans companies can pick from. I don't believe each company gets to tailor its own plan, so I wonder how much the insurance companies are going to go along? Are there going to be three or four "conscience packages" to choose from, or one single "bandages and aspirin" plan that dis-includes all the "morally objectionable procedures"?

The big problem with this in implementation is not so much the telling the employer, as it is: how well is what is not covered identified? As holder of one or two royally fnucked up plans, it would really suck (OK, really suck more) if the employer/insurer does not need to explicitly state their exceptions up front, but instead can refuse coverage on (im)moral grounds after the procedure!

#871 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2012, 12:11 PM:

Allan, #863: Exactly. I had the same thought, but hadn't been able to get it into a nice concise sound-bite format like that.

#872 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2012, 03:04 PM:

My visit to the shelter this morning was propitiously timed:

I immediately put a finger into Damon's cage to pet his paw and heard a voice say, "Please don't touch the kitties!" I stopped, of course, turned to face the speaker and replied that it was just that I was the one who'd had to surrender him. At which the speaker, a younger woman, told me to go right ahead and pet him.

Turned out she was the lead feline behaviorist, and she said she was glad to have run into me. She told me Damon was very popular, but she was concerned the "special diet" sticker on his ID card was scaring off potential adopters. So I told her he'd only had one instance of FUS; that his diet for a while before I surrendered him (and the rest) had not been exclusively his prescription food, and I assumed he hadn't had any problems peeing while at the shelter (which she confirmed); and suggested the idea of an over-the-counter urinary care food as an alternative. The behaviorist said she'd run it by the if that sticker IS the only stumbling block keeping Damon from a new home, it may be gone soon. :)

And she reiterated what the volunteer I'd spoken to about Shadow had said about his new owner: she's a great lady and it was pretty much love at first sight with Shadow.

To cap the visit, in the course of our conversation I mentioned my own imminent homelessness, and the behaviorist gave me the name of a local cat-boarding place. She said the owner is a great lady and, while there was no guarantee she could help me (with, for example, a reduced boarding rate, or maybe even a job)...she might. So I have another place to try today. Unfortunately, I can't tell her the behaviorist sent me, by that one's request. ;)

Been trying to reach the homeless-people-and-pets shelter, but every time I call the line is busy. My online friend back east asked my permission to give my details to a Unitarian Universalist minister she knows who might have connections in LA--said minister having expressed a wish she could do something to help me--so I told her to go ahead. And the job search continues, one of my friends having suggested I check the websites of all the local studios, which hadn't occurred to me--I've been checking places like Monster and Careerbuilder, plus some aggregator sites.

Keeping my fingers crossed...

#873 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2012, 03:09 PM:

Re: mine at 872, there is no spam--I thought I'd corrected my nym and saw too late that I was wrong. Would it be possible for a moderator to sub in this comment's nym instead, for purposes of keeping things identifiable?

Sorry about that, Chief...

[[Deed's Done -- JDM]]

#874 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2012, 03:25 PM:

Thank you, Jim. :)

#875 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2012, 05:54 PM:

Syd: Good luck; hope one of the avenues works out.

#876 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2012, 06:15 PM:


Setting: [asteroid interior? moon? L-5 colony?] Severely restricted living allotments.

Investigator called when reclamation system grid snags [metal hip joint?] indicating foul play.

[Crime boss?] has been quietly having henchmen do away with co-tenants, and removing walls/ceilings to get lavish personal space. Investigator forces door and looks down a couple levels...

Larry Niven's Gil Hamiliton? John Varley?

#877 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2012, 07:24 PM:

Right now, in Amsterdam, it's... Abi's BIRTHDAY!!!

#878 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2012, 07:24 PM:

Right now, in Amsterdam, it's... Abi's BIRTHDAY!!!

#879 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2012, 07:24 PM:

Right now, in Amsterdam, it's... Abi's BIRTHDAY!!!

#880 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2012, 07:35 PM:

Wait . . . how many abis ARE THERE?

#881 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2012, 07:49 PM:

If he were wearing a blue wool suit, would that have been a serge Serge surge?

#882 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2012, 08:11 PM:

The puns being spun can't be pinned on me. For once.

#883 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2012, 08:13 PM:

Stefan Jones...

"There can be only One!"
- the Kurgen

#884 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2012, 09:29 PM:

Happy Birthday, Abi!

(all three of you)

#885 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2012, 09:43 PM:

(all three of you)

The Greeks had to settle for three each of Graces and Fates. We get them all in one!

#886 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2012, 09:50 PM:

Happy birthday, and many happy returns of the day!

#887 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2012, 10:12 PM:

Happy happy happy birthday birthday birthday!

#888 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2012, 10:25 PM:

Happy Birthday, Abi (and any others).

It's also payday.

#889 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2012, 10:33 PM:

Carol Kimball @876 -- pretty sure it's Niven. I vaguely remember it.

#890 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2012, 10:33 PM:

Hippo Birdies, abi!

#891 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2012, 10:57 PM:

Happy Birthday, Abi!

#892 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2012, 11:16 PM:

Happy birthday, abi!

#893 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 12:35 AM:

Also, happy birthday, Abi!

#894 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 12:38 AM:

Happy birthday, abi!

AKICIML: I don't suppose anyone here has seen the movie Bullhead (Rundskop), and speaks Flemish? I just saw it at the Portland International Film Festival, and the English subtitles refer to the cattle at the Vanmarsenille farm as bulls. There are a lot of them, and they are raised to be slaughtered for beef, so I suspect that they are actually steers. This probably bothers me more than the usual translation issue because of the story in the movie.

It's a good movie, BTW. It's nominated for the Best Foreign Film Oscar this year. I suspect it's too grim, and features too many coveralls and muddy rubber boots to win.

#895 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 01:05 AM:

Well, thank you! What a lovely thing to wake up to.

ObIndigoGirls: Oh, how I wish I were a trinity... I guess birthday wishes really do come true!

(starts thinking really hard about world peace)

#896 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 01:10 AM:

Hau`oli Lā Hānau, abi!

#897 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 01:30 AM:

Happy Birthday, abi!

I was planning to say something very clever here, but I got distracted by Jon Stewart and Ricky Gervais discussing Panda porn. I'll come back when I've stopped laughing.

#898 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 01:30 AM:

Happy birthday, Abi!

#899 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 01:49 AM:

Carol Kimball @ 876:

* laughing subsides to frequent snorts *

That sounds like an Algis Budrys story from, I think, the early '60s. I wasn't able to identify it by title from his bibliography: he wrote a lot of short stories in the '50s and 60's, and some of them are classics, or should be.

* laughing resumes *

#900 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 02:30 AM:

pedantic peasant @ 870

In my experience, benefit customization is proportionate to the employer's share of the insurer's clientele.

#901 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 03:16 AM:

Bruce Cohen @897

I saw a pointer to some Panda porn about a week ago. The still you clicked on for the video looked weird, and the young woman involved had that skinny fake-teen look that is legally questionable in the UK. There is apparently a specialised website.

#902 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 03:16 AM:

Happy birthday, abi!!

#903 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 03:25 AM:

Happy Birthday abi!

#904 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 05:14 AM:

Lizzy L @855 and subsequent comments

The unspoken stupidity in all this is that a health insurance scheme which does not cover contraception will inevitably cost more. Pregnancies are expensive, plus the costs arising from the child, unless the scheme doesn't cover children and other family members.

If the outfits which want to claim the moral high ground are willing to pay the costs, I'll grant them some slight credit for that. Otherwise it's just the usual stinking hypocritical greed for power (and not just power over women--this will hit whole families).

(Thanks to Avedon Carol for reminding me of what should be obvious.)

#905 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 06:51 AM:

Abi: Happy Birthday!

#906 ::: LMM ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 07:36 AM:

If the outfits which want to claim the moral high ground are willing to pay the costs, I'll grant them some slight credit for that.

Except that, in the US, medical costs are a non-negligable part of the price of child rearing but are by no means all-encompassing. If the companies that insist upon providing health care plans that fail to cover birth control are willing to provide a separate (free) 'insurance' plan that covers the costs of diapers, daycare and college tuition, then we can talk.

More sarcastically, I suppose we would consider that a *real* 'living wage', but I doubt most of the organizations that would be attracted to such limited coverage would be willing to double or triple the salaries they offer.

#907 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 08:57 AM:

Abi, felicitations on your natal anniversary.

#908 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 09:03 AM:

Carol Kimball #876: Larry Niven, right, but it's in an Earth arcology. I'm not sure if it's Gil Hamilton or in the "Flash Mob" timeline.

#909 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 09:35 AM:

And happy birthday Abi!

My Mom's birthday party was last night, went pretty well. We didn't get to the tapiera quite early enough to make the first seating, but we got backup reservations at Peter Chang's local (and eponymous) restaurant. So... excellent Chinese food! Then back to Sis's for cake and gift giving. The jewelry I bought went over well, as did the (blank) memoir book my boss at the bookstore chipped in.

Also, I'd saved the cutest of the Gracie pictures for Mom's card, with my usual sketches inside. My niece Claire saw the card, took up napkin and marker, and drew her own sketch of Gracie. Someone who hadn't seen her work on it initially thought I'd given her the sketch, while I said "a seven-year-old drew that?" She's definitely our budding artist....

#910 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 11:20 AM:

HLN: Area woman plans to geek out at science conference. Will any (other) fluorospheriodots be in Vancouver for AAAS?

#911 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 11:27 AM:

Chiming in late: happy birthday, abi!

#912 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 11:28 AM:

Happy birthday, abi!

#913 ::: LizardBreath ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 11:39 AM:

876: I know the story: the cop actually gets inside the oversized apartment and doesn't initially realize that the extra room is more than tasteful decor that makes a tiny apartment look bigger; there's a confrontation scene where the killer explains that he's been doing the jobs of the people he killed for their apartments. I'd swear it's not Niven -- Varley feels right, or for some reason I'm thinking Harry Harrison?

#914 ::: LizardBreath ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 11:58 AM:

Might be "Roommates" by Harry Harrison, but I can't find a synopsis to check.

#915 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 12:04 PM:

Dave Bell @ 901:

Stewart and Gervais were talking about porn made specially for Pandas; apparently one of the reasons they haven't been reproducing in captivity is low sex drive and the biologists taking care of them thought that some carefully-targeted porn might help. Stewart was wondering whether they'd used CGi or panda suits.

#916 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 12:11 PM:

Who can solve a maze faster? Grad students or slime molds?

No wagering, please. (See text below YT video.)

#917 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 12:37 PM:

Kip @916: Slime molds, of course. Grad students are a much lower form of life (says the former grad student in two different disciplines*).

*Neither of them involved actual discipline. Sorry, Serge.

#918 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 01:13 PM:

Ginger @ 917... Where there's a whip, there's a way.

#919 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 01:43 PM:

Punning together is such a bondage bonding experience!

AKICIML: Anyone know why about 80% of the spam in my spam trap is in Arabic? I don't read Arabic, so I just delete them all, but it's been that way for a while. Did some malicious person sign me up for something, or does this happen a lot?

#920 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 01:55 PM:

Xopher, mine also. I have wondered why. I can't imagine that I gave anyone the impression that I read Arabic. I should ask my mother in law if she gets it and what it says in the titles. She does read Arabic.

#921 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 02:35 PM:

This is a test post. Something weird happened, and I want to see if it repeats.

#922 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 02:38 PM:

Yes, it did. Normally when I make a post and then back-page to the thread, my post shows up on the end of the thread. This time it didn't appear until I refreshed. Has something changed in the way posts are being processed?

#923 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 02:49 PM:

Older #920: Ask her if the Arabic spam is as disjointed and bizarre as the English stuff. And be sure to warn her how any offers she sees are surely scams....

#924 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 03:03 PM:

Oh, a discovery I made last weekend at a con that other people here may be interested in: there is a 1989 board game called 'Huggermugger' that is basically a Trivial-Pursuit sort of thing, only with English words as the only subject of questions (4 categories thereof).

I discovered in my first game that I am a word-obsessed weirdo, which makes me a savant at this game, and when playing in more 'ordinary' (though still fannish) company, I should handicap myself rather thoroughly to keep the game fun for all.

I discovered later that in proper all-players-are-word-weirdos company it can be outrageously funny, and fun.

Half the questions are, for me, utterly trivial (spell 'ophthalmologist'; which of these three choices is the definition of 'snaffle'), and the other half range from tricky to diabolical. When we got into full swing in the all-logorrhea-all-the-time game we stopped actually reading out the three choices of definition on those questions (though read them afterwards, as the fakeouts were sometimes quite well done).

Would Recommend Highly, if you can get your hands on it, and are in the sort of company who would enjoy it and not find it annoying.

#925 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 03:40 PM:

Elliott Mason @924: I was amused by your post since I have used huggermugger several times since Monday. I generally hyphenate it . . . .

#926 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 03:44 PM:

Happy Birthday Abi.
Mnogaja Leta !

#927 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 03:45 PM:

February 15! It's John Frum day in Vanuatu!

#928 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 05:22 PM:

Open Threadiness: I am bemused by abi's "What Size Am I?" parhelion as it suggests I wear a Size 14. Actually nearly all my clothes are size 10, and I am not talking about spandex here. A 14 hangs on me like a tent.

#929 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 05:29 PM:

Lila (928): I have the opposite problem with that. It thinks I'm a size 16, but I'm at least an 18 and more commonly a 20.

#930 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 05:32 PM:

Overheard from the next cubicle: "Thank you, John. Thanks for making the blinking stop."

#931 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 05:38 PM:

928, 929: To be fair to it, it's going by UK stores. I'm betting (because life couldn't possibly be easier in a way that makes shopping for women's clothes less sucky) there's a significant difference between that and the US standard sizes, at least in brands that aren't transoceanic -- no idea if Banana Republic and similar are consistent across all stores, or if they regionalize sizing.

#932 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 06:26 PM:

Lila, Mary Aileen - do check if you've ticked the correct box (it offers UK or US sizing). It tells me I'm 6-8 (UK) and really I've always been a 10 (UK) - well, 9 if they made stuff in 9, but they rarely do (M&S did a "petites" range for a while in the odd-numbered sizes, and their 9s fitted me wonderfully). Of course, that was before a bunch of stores got together and changed all the sizes, so waists are now less than 10 inches smaller than hips, for example. Humpf!

The other problem for me is that a lot of women's fitted shirts and jackets, I have to go up to a 12 to have room across the shoulders. Of course, it's then way to big across the bust.

#933 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 07:21 PM:

Re "What Size Am I?" -- I made sure that I had checked both US for size and inches for units. At 42-37-47. it tells me that I'm a size 16 across the board. NOT. I think it's right on tops (though I don't normally wear number-sized tops, I'm a L in unisex T-shirts and an XL in ladies-cut), which means that I might also be able to wear a 16 dress if it had a full skirt, but in pants I'm definitely an 18. Furthermore, there's no way I'm going to find anything that fits me in any of the stores she uses as examples, because everything in them is designed for women whose proportions are different from mine.

#934 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 07:33 PM:

Happy Birthday Abi!

#935 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 08:07 PM:

What size I am
What size I am
Nobody knows
What size I am

#936 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 09:06 PM:

Jacque @ 930... Your office is having an infestation of Stone Angels?

#937 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 09:14 PM:

dcb @ # 932, thank you--that was indeed the problem. Now I am bemused that a US 10 is a UK 14.

#938 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 09:30 PM:

I've been getting a lot of spam mail from Pakistan, in English.

#939 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 10:20 PM:

Happy Still-your-birthday-in-North-America, Abi!

#940 ::: BIll Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 10:24 PM:

Kip@916, Ginger@917 - Slime molds get paid better.

Xopher@919 - That's odd - spam isn't halal. (Actually most of the spam I've gotten from Arabic-speaking countries has been in English.)

#941 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2012, 11:49 PM:

New metaphor. Rick Santorum is the Tod Spengo of this campaign.

#942 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2012, 01:12 AM:

Carol Kimball @ 876:

The story is indeed by Algis Budrys: A Scraping at the Bones, published in Analog May, 1975 and a Nebula Award nominee for that year. I found a copy online and read the first and last paragraphs to verify it was the right story (which I believe is a reasonable fair use), but didn't read it all or download it because I'm skeptical that the story is really out of copyright.

Now that I'm reminded again of just how good a writer he was, I'm going to go down to Powell's and pick up as many of his short story collections I can find. I'd love to read The War is Over again. As short as it is, it packs enough punch that I can remember when I first read it, more than 50 years ago.

#943 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2012, 01:40 AM:

Thank you Serge, Melissa Singer, TexAnne, Lila, Kip W, Stefan Jones, Steve C, Xopher, albatross, Gray Woodland, janetl, Linkmeister, Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers), Benjamin Wolfe, Syd, dcb, Russ, Fragano, David Harmon, Jacque, Jennifer Baughman, praisegod barebones of the very beautiful music links, Michael I, and Bill Stewart, for the birthday wishes. It was a good day, partly because of all the little pellets of benediction the internet delivered me.

Also, Open thread 170 is up.

#944 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2012, 02:23 AM:

HLN: Area woman, realizing that she has either incorrectly transcribed* the number for the homeless shelter that takes people with pets, or incorrectly dialed it* (and then redialed it without checking the number again*), called a different number for the main organization. Explained that she would be homeless the next day and was told to come in and start filling out intake paperwork. After about an hour's wait, area woman spoke with a very nice woman who laid out the process, starting with the need to get a TB test; provided form to take to clinic for said test. Also gave woman form for a referral to a "winter" (emergency?) shelter in the SF Valley.

After a lengthy wait at clinic, area woman was called in to have BP taken prior to TB test. According to tech, woman's BP was high. After TB test, doctor stopped woman and took BP again; still high. Woman left clinic with prescription for BP med and was instructed to return Friday for test site to be "read", at which time BP would be re-taken.

Area woman would like to note that she rarely takes so much as an aspirin, assumes BP issue is stress related and hopes that the prescription never has to be refilled.

Are woman would also like to note that the nice woman at the shelter agency, when told that area woman has car, mentioned that area woman might actually prefer to sleep in her car in a friend's driveway rather than go to a shelter.

Area woman is now very scared of shelter system but doesn't know if any friends will offer a driveway.

Notice that area woman has not mentioned her remaining 4 cats. This is because the whole human shelter thing took up so much mental energy that she neglected to make intended calls re: potential boarding, low-cost shots (since boarding facilities require shots be current), etc. Her cousin has suggested seeing if county emergency housing vouchers are available and might be applicable at a motel that accepts pets.

Worth a shot, since area woman has to go back to Social Services to get new paperwork to re-do since what she gave to lobby caseworker on Friday was apparently lost before it could get to her regular caseworker on Monday.

Area woman realizes that she is still engaging in counterproductive behaviors and shooting self in foot by procrastinating on shelter and cat phone calls. Wonders if it's because she was just hoping that someone would come up with a viable solution and solve her problem for her. Has posted here because she felt uncomfortable making this the potential first post on a new OT and for some reason, thought the HLN meme wasn't appropriate for the Dysfunctional Families thread.

*Area woman has theory that these instances are all part of an "I don't deserve help" issue, wonders why she believes her own pending homelessness is to be taken less seriously than anyone else's.

#945 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2012, 08:13 AM:

Syd, you are dealing with a lot of shit, but you are dealing with it. Good for you.

#946 ::: pedantic peasant ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2012, 11:39 AM:

A very belated Happy Birthday, Abi.

Thanks for all you do here, and happy to hear you had a wonderful day.

Wishes that the rest of your neo-natal year follow suit.

#947 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2012, 12:05 PM:

David Harmon (923)-- My husband's mother is very very computer-savvy. I think there's no danger of her answering a spam message in any language. But, yes, I must ask her what they are offering.

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