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March 9, 2012

Open Thread 171
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 05:48 PM *

When the nomads came to El Lola they had no more songs, and the question of stealing the golden box arose in all its magnitude. On the one hand, many had sought the golden box, the receptacle (as the Aethiopians know) of poems of fabulous value; and their doom is still the common talk of Arabia. On the other hand, it was lonely to sit around the camp-fire by night with no new songs.

The Book of Wonder; Lord Dunsany

Continued from Open Thread 170
Comments on Open Thread 171:
#1 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2012, 06:31 PM:


Futon shopping for the spare room. I feel so domestic.

#2 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2012, 06:42 PM:

dcb @920 on open thread 170 re rolling backpacks. I have no experience with the Jansport Driver (although it looks good). My daughter has been using a "deluxe rolling book bag" from LL Bean for a couple of years now, switches back and forth from wearing it to pulling it, and it's holding up quite well. But it's a bit smaller than the Jansport.

#3 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2012, 07:25 PM:

dcb at open thresd 170 #920:

I have a three year old (different brand) of rolling backpack which is about the same size as the one you mention. It works fine.

I bought it after lugging a shoulder bag containing a laptop and a bunch of paper three miles through San Francisco one day. On that trek I noticed the high number of people passing me with their roller packs, so I replaced mine. So of course I haven't back to SF on business since then. I do keep my office stuff (laptop, chargers, paperwork, computer glasses) in there and use it daily. It's wearing well. I had a day off not too long ago and hauled it around Phoenix all day on public transit. Quite comfortable.

If I were looking for a replacement, I'd consider that Jansport - it has better wheels than mine and may be more comfortable as a backpack.

#4 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2012, 07:58 PM:

Re: John Carter of Mars.

The Oregonian, not normally very friendly to genres other than horror, gave it a "B", which for them means it's a good movie. They never give more than an "A-" and that's rare. The reviewer said it's only real drawback was that it was too ambitious, that they'd stuffed it too full of pulp action which might be hard for some people to follow, but that the tone was just right.

He also said that what a lot of us have been saying since we heard the title of the movie, that the marketing campaign was run by tone-deaf morons.

#5 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2012, 07:59 PM:

Two bits of news that may affect people here:

Peter Bergman of Firesign Theater fame has died of cancer.

And AT&T has been helping spammers by allowing opt-out subscriptions via text message for (at least one) horoscope site with no real web presence. Check your bills!

#6 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2012, 08:04 PM:

to Melissa Singer, from OT 170:

re: Wrist Braces and notKnitting

Hand-Eez (spelling may be incorrect) are a brand of supportive elastic fingerless gloves sold at many craft stores. They're not bad in the early stages of RSI. I've got one around somewhere, but I don't use it often.

There are more supportive elastic wraps (basically, a rectangle of heavy, slightly stretchy fabric with some velcro at the ends) that can go around either the right or left wrist, but you effectively have to put them on one-handed, and that's difficult.

Ace makes a wrist brace that has metal more-or-less shaped to fit the curve of a human hand inside a cloth cover. It's got gel padding in the palm, and has three velcro straps to hold it in place. The cover is removable, but I've never bothered. Since it's shaped, these are sold for the left and right hands separately. I've got one for each hand. At my doctor's recommendation*, I wear them to bed when my wrists are acting up.** This is probably the best time to wear them, since what you gain in serious wrist support you lose in flexibility. (It's darn near impossible to type while wearing one, and needlework is even harder. I've tried.)

OTC anti-inflammatory drugs provide some relief from pain and soreness, but don't really treat the underlying problem. ("Don't do that any more" does work, eventually, but it's really annoying waiting for that point.) Cold packs (or alternating cold and hot, making sure to start and end with cold) may also provide some relief. It doesn't seem to have done any harm when I tried it, anyway.

The combination of the hard wrist braces plus rest seemed to work best for me when I had really bad wrist problems (both wrists) a few summers ago. This translated to about 2 months of no yarn crafts, then no more than 1/2 an hour per night (often less) for the next few months.

Melissa, would your mother be able to do finishing work (things like weaving in ends and sewing seams) for the other knitters in her group while she can't knit? For me at least, the sewing motions are sufficiently different from the knitting motions that I can often do one even when I can't do the other.

* I'm a programmer by trade. My hobbies include knitting, crochet, embroidery, sewing, gardening, and auto racing. This is a recipe for RSI.

** That is, I put them on when I go to bed, and take them off in the middle of the night when they get too annoying.

#7 ::: Simon Gyrus ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2012, 08:34 PM:

Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) @4:

John Carter of Mars should have sold itself: a splashy poster with JC sword fighting a Thark, with two moons in the sky. The slogan: "Before Star Wars, before Avatar, before Transformers, there was JOHN CARTER OF MARS!"

Done. Here's your hundred bajillion dollars.

Instead, they acted like it was 1976 and there was no tested market for big sci-fi action films. in an era when they make everything look the same, they have the actual forerunner to half the science fiction films of the last half century and they act as if they accidentally remade Solaris. Again.

#8 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2012, 08:51 PM:

Simon Gyrus @ #7, what's odd is the marketing suits in Hollywood are the right age to have grown up on Star Wars. Maybe that's it, though. "If we do this, it'll just look like a rehash, so maybe we should go big."

#9 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2012, 09:11 PM:

Someone told me the Really Cool Kids are hanging out I almost didn't come. But it's all my friends! So I guess I can hang here too.

What? We're the cool kids now? Nahhh!

#10 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2012, 09:22 PM:

The circle's now completed that is plain
even to those who will not trust their eyes,
who weighted down by hope and by surmise

have given little thought to the campaign
and left the door quite open to the spies.
The circle's now completed that is plain

for those who come here seeking rapid gain
and always eager to hurt or despise
the slow and gentle, baffling them with lies;
the circle's now completed that is plain.

#11 ::: Simon Gyrus ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2012, 09:46 PM:

Mind you the lousy marketing isn't going to stop me form seeing John Carter, but I'm waiting until it's in the cheep, second run theater over in Beaverton. Sucks being poor. My wife and I have to choose our summer movies carefully. JC of Mars looks good but it can stand on its own. We're waiting for the Raven next month (this month's movie budget is being gobbled up by Muppets on Blu Ray), then Moonrise Kingdom in May.

#12 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2012, 09:49 PM:

Simon Gyrus @7: John Carter of Mars should have sold itself: a splashy poster with JC sword fighting a Thark, with two moons in the sky. The slogan: "Before Star Wars, before Avatar, before Transformers, there was JOHN CARTER OF MARS!" goodness, but that would have turned me off right away, and I'm actually mildly interested in the movie. There's nothing quite like an advertisement emphasizing that it's based on an older property to make me assume it's going to also have the sorts of opinions, premises, and values that are gently referred as the "product of their time." I had, in fact, been rather hoping that this adaptation of an Old Book would be adapting it in many ways to make it a bit more modern in approach. Yes? No? Fnord?

#14 ::: Simon Gyrus ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2012, 10:21 PM:

Fade Manley@12:

By all accounts the filmmakers have updated the sensibilities from the original novel but that doesn't mean you can't tie it in to the lineage that it engendered. It's a way of saying, if you liked X, you'll like Y, without it being a crass and ridiculous comparison in this case.

(And always Fnord.)

#15 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2012, 10:58 PM:

Fade Manley, there's a lot of science fiction labeled 'classic' that I have to be in the right mood for because 'classic' often means 'great if you haven't read this decade's work'. It's easier to read if I treat it like a text rather than a story-- here are the opinions of the day, oh look, here's an idea that hadn't been seen before, I don't think, isn't it interesting that this bit's now a given rather than the plot of the book. It's like when I started reading romance novels and found they kept half my brain occupied with analysis.

#16 ::: Lylassandra ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2012, 11:02 PM:

In response to Patrick's recent particle: I have wondered about the "eating in public" thing as something an alien culture could find revolting about us, possibly equivalent to taking care of other natural needs. Can you imagine the horror of these Notearthians when the first thing we try to do to welcome them is stage a banquet? How would that damage relations? How would we even figure out why they find us so revolting? How would we build mutually habitable space stations?

Possibly I have too much free time, but I enjoyed the mental side-trip.

#17 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2012, 11:31 PM:

@16: There was a Jack Vance novel which had a human culture which considered public eating disgusting. He showed some interesting adaptations, such as how travelers in the same air-car dealt with a meal.

#18 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 12:20 AM:

Well, I just got back from seeing John Carter. I read several of the original series when I was twelve or thirteen. I am trying to remember what parts of the movie were actually in the book and where they were flying by the seat of their scriptwriter pants.

They left out the part about Wbua Pnegre naq Qrwnu Gubevf univat n fba jub ungpurf sebz na rtt.

#19 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 12:21 AM:

Melissa Singer @ 904 in thread 170: Resting a repetitive stress injury does help, but isn't enough for a severe one. I highly recommend seeing a physical therapist -- a certified hand therapist if you can find one. I am all too experienced with hand/wrist/arm RSI, because I fall back into bad habits of too much computer, and not enough other things. Physical therapy treatments reverse the damage remarkably quickly. Nerve glides, focused stretches and strength building exercises, ultrasound, and so on.

Singing Wren's recommendation @ 6 of using something to keep wrists straight while you're asleep is a good one. My doctor recommended that, too. Alas, I couldn't get to sleep with them on, but I know I wake up with my wrists in knots, and I'd do better if I could tolerate something to keep from curling up my arms. It is best to avoid using any kind of splint or brace when you're awake, though, unless it is fitted for you by a physical therapist, with instructions on how long to wear it, and what kind of activity to do. A brace keeps the wrist straight, but it also stops some muscles from working, while others work harder, and that can do damage.

As for the knitting group, can't she just hang out? When I was unemployed, I invited friends over for craft group. They were knitters and sewers and did their thing, and I fussed about with something and just enjoyed the company.

#20 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 12:48 AM:

Fade Manley @ 12:

No question, Burroughs was a racist, a sexist, and probably somewhat of a Confederate revanchist (a lot of Northern whites born after the war fell for that "romance of the lost cause" bullshit). It can be hard for someone born into a more liberal time to deal with that. That's often partly offset by first reading his stories in early teens, when the sense-of-wonder and the romance of exotic places distracts you from the nasty stuff.

I came to Burroughs much later, in my late 40s in fact. My early pulp experience was the Lensman series (also racist and sexist). So when I read the John Carter books I had to tiptoe around the bigotry; I found that there was enough reward that I could do that. But I couldn't hack Tarzan, the racism there was just too rank.

Given that one of the writers of the movie is Michael Chabon, who understands sensawunda and is sensitive to bigotry, I have some faith that the script is reasonably free of Burroughs' contemporary attitudes, while retaining the tone and qualities that really do make the stories "classics".

#21 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 01:06 AM:

Speaking of "John Carter of Mars"... We'll be seeing it tomorrow, I think. Melinda Snodgrass was the guest at our club's meeting tonight. She talked about many things, including her own work on Disney's first crack at Barsoom circa 1990. My favorite anecdote was that her version of the script had a 15-minute segment where Carter spends smost of his time with Martian female Sola who teaches him the local languages and customs. One executive asked if the audience might by then begin to think she was the love interest, instead of Dejah Thoris. Melinda's response? "Huh... She's 10 feet tall, green, and has tusks."

#22 ::: Simon Gyrus ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 01:28 AM:


There was an episode of Enterprise where a first contact scenario went awry because the aliens were put off by the sight of the mess hall. They stormed off the ship, disgusted. The crew eventually figured out that this species views eating the same way we view defecating, as a private affair.

#23 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 01:41 AM:

I went looking for the trailer to the John Carter film and found at the top of the search a review from a Salt Lake City TV station's reviewer. His grade? A-minus.

Huh. "How does it play in Peoria?" Pretty well in LDS-Land, apparently.

#24 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 01:50 AM:

Linkmeister @ 8:

Remember, this is Disney. The last clue of their marketing people dried up and blew away in the 60s, which is why they had to turn creative control of large parts of their film production to the guys from Pixar. They still had a few people who knew how to make films (I know, "Pocahontas" is a counter-example, and there are others whose titles I don't recall because they went direct to DVD), but not a one who had any idea of how to sell them.

#25 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 01:54 AM:

I'm waiting for the Skiffy Channel to try and compete with John Carter of Mars by giving us "Jack Carter of Eureka".

#26 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 01:58 AM:

Lylassandra, #16: This NewTrek fanfic uses that idea as a major plot point. Don't let the term "fanfic" scare you off -- this is extremely well-written. Excerpt:

"That," she said from behind her hand, "is disgusting."

"That," Nyota said, swallowing, "is my mom's cooking." She held out the mostly-full container. "Want some?"

"You -- you -- masticator!" Gaila shrieked, backing away in revulsion.

Which was how Nyota discovered that although Orion society had absolutely no taboos about sex, it had a lot of taboos about food and eating, and she'd just broken all of them.

#27 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 02:09 AM:

Saw John Carter tonight, and I was the only one of our party who said "Meh." Very nice effects, some lovely settings, and terrible dialogue and unexciting acting by the humans. Others disagreed with me. But then, I never could get through Burroughs, so I suppose this is a moderately faithful adaptation.

But I'm excited by the trailer for The Avengers!

#28 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 03:37 AM:

Burroughs is a mixed bag of attitudes, and this is based on his first published novel. But, in this day and age, I would be unsurprised if John Carter himself was little changed, as a person, while Dejah Thoris were to become a piece of rather ordinary Hollywood hack work.

She is not a weak and feeble woman. She is not your typical action heroine swooning over your muscle-bound male lead. She is a Princess of Mars, and she lays eggs, darn it!

(We can be pretty sure that dinosaurs were sodomites, it seems to be a inevitable part of terrestrial egg-laying anatomy, but should we make that assumption about Martians?)

#29 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 06:26 AM:

Lylassandra #16: There's a few classic stories (from Heinlein's Lucky Starr juvies, iirc) dropping the human protags into a Venusian society which views eating as very private....

In the real world, I would never expect to see that in a normal human society (eating in groups is pretty basic to us). It might, however show up in an abnormal society -- say, one marked by vicious long-term food shortages, to the point of "don't let anyone see you found a scrap to eat". I doubt such a society would be tenable for more than a generation or two, even if they didn't starve to death outright....

#30 ::: LMM ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 06:27 AM:

@26: Let me second that: that is *very* well-written.

#31 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 06:48 AM:

Simon Gyrus #22: As always in SF, "the alien is the mirror to the human".

Humans can show pretty nasty streaks of xenophobia and intolerance. But imagine how bad that would be if we hadn't had so much exposure to other species on our own planet! (E.g., I'm currently living with a creature for whom defecation does have a social aspect, albeit at some distance.)

#32 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 08:33 AM:

David Harmon @29, that's from the Heinlein juvenile Space Cadet (the Lucky Starr books were Asimov under the pen name of Paul French)

The heroes demonstrate to the Venusians who have taken them captive that they are indeed civilized, by complaining about their treatment - they haven't even been given privacy for eating!

#33 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 09:13 AM:

Dave Bell @28: In the movie John Carter is still a Confederate veteran, though one no longer interested in any cause who mostly just wants to be left alone, but that's of no more real significance than in the books. Dejah Thoris is much changed, however. Now she's a scientist who's also very handy in a swordfight, which is a positive change. She's much more passive in the books, if memory serves.

#34 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 09:14 AM:

#16 ::: Lylassandra

There's also Sturgeon's "Granny Doesn't Knit", notable for having an old woman as a major character and The Person Who Knows What's Going On.

Less annoying than some, but it's also an example of Women Get To Do Cool Stuff Because Men Are Prevented From It Because the Author Says So.

Examples: Toby Bishop's Horsemistress Saga-- women ride flying horses because the Goddess has made it so that only women can ride flying horses.

Naomi Novik's dragon books: there are some women dragon riders because a few breeds of dragons don't tolerate men.

Racial variant: In one of Russell's Men, Martians, and Machines stories, space ship doctors are black because blacks are the only people who don't get sick from teleportation(?).

#35 ::: Andrew Wells ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 09:32 AM:

Rugby for me this afternoon - first Wales beating Italy, and then France beating Scotland. And then friends coming over this evening.

#36 ::: Andrew Wells ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 09:42 AM:

Um, that's Ireland beating Scotland this afternoon. I clearly haven't woken up yet.

#37 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 09:52 AM:

Continued thanks for all the input about knitting and RSI.

Mom says she's seen a hand specialist and a therapist, and "rest" was the prescription. No therapy, no braces. It's possible that this is ageism in action, so I may suggest another attempt and a different doctor.

Alas, my mother is not the type to go and "hang out" if she can't contribute. She's very determinate in some ways. If the "mission" is to knit, then if she can't knit, she has no mission. Couple that with her usual problems (being older than everyone else in the group by about a decade, being kind of a negative-minded person in some ways [though she doesn't think she is]), and we are, once again, stuck, social-wise.

But she's in a cheerier frame of mind these days, despite this week being the 9th anniversary of the hellish week before my father's death. Unless she's masking, but she doesn't seem to be (much).

#38 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 10:37 AM:

Melissa Singer @37:

Bad doctor! Bad therapist! No biscuit!

I'm betting this was her primary care physician and his/her chosen therapist.

If your mother's insurance will cover it, have her see either a sports medicine doctor, or a chiropractor who specializes in same. An another alternative may be an occupational therapist.

It wouldn't surprise me if this is ageism in action on the doctor's part, but there's no excuse for not trying as many avenues as necessary until she gets relief.

My Mom, the RN says -- "accupuncture."

#39 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 10:42 AM:

Nancy Lebovitz @34: In Novik's defense (defence?), I think it's pretty clear other breeds of dragon would ACCEPT women, it's just that the British Admiralty wouldn't even consider offering women for bonding except in the case where it's been proven the dragon really most sincerely will NOT take a man, nohow, noway.

For example, in China and Australia, several dragons (even of Western breeds, in that last case) bonded quite cheerfully to female riders with nothing much said about it.

#40 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 10:42 AM:

The most poignant comment on the passing of Peter Bergman, over on the guestbook:

"Less sugar."

#41 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 11:26 AM:

Thanks for the comments re. wheeled backpacks - I think I will get one.

#42 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 11:47 AM:

@Serge #25:I'm waiting for the Skiffy Channel to try and compete with John Carter of Mars by giving us "Jack Carter of Eureka".

SyFy ran an utterly forgettable "Princess of Mars" adaptation a few years back:

I got about ten minutes into it before giving up.

#43 ::: James Moar ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 12:08 PM:

David@29 Marune, the Vance book where that shows up, does paint the human society in question as a particularly extreme one.

#44 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 12:09 PM:

Dave 28: She is not a weak and feeble woman.

But does she have the heart and stomach of a king?

#45 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 12:16 PM:

Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) @20: Thank you! That really is a helpful explanation. All of my previous exposure to Burroughs was through his Tarzan novels, which even to my unenlightened and sheltered junior high self seemed shockingly racist at times. (I'm pretty sure that if I went back and read them now, "at times" would disappear from that assessment.) So after hearing repeatedly about the Confederate soldier aspect of the John Carter thing, I've been...hesitant. But it's sounding increasingly like it might actually be my sort of thing. Michael Chabon's involvement is an especially bright sign.

#46 ::: LMM ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 12:58 PM:

@37: Couple that with her usual problems (being older than everyone else in the group by about a decade, being kind of a negative-minded person in some ways [though she doesn't think she is]), and we are, once again, stuck, social-wise.

Being older than everyone else is a *problem*? Most of the knitting groups I've been a part of, the older women serve to anchor the group -- knitting is one of the few social activities I've seen that is *really* diverse age-wise. (Gender-wise, not so much, but age, yes.)

#47 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 01:26 PM:

LMM @46: It may cause a social problem, if the stuff they all want to talk about is (a) all from earlier points in her life-tree [if they're all moms of young kids, or just starting up households, whatever] or (b) all things that people in their thirties grew up feeling are normal that older folks don't know or care about [internet-peer-group social stuff, movies and TV the older person is bored by, computer stuff].

It can lead to trouble finding topics of common interest, I mean, depending on the individuals involved. Having knitting around to talk about makes it more common-tasky.

I do know that the reason I gafiated from the SCA is that my primary social outlet in it was a sewing guild that did a lot of volunteer sewing, for royals and such (or on each other's embellished court-wear). I quit having the energy and spoons to invent new projects for myself, and simultaneously there quit being as many 'bring hands and help' projects going on, so I sat there for several weeks' meetings with nothing to do and felt awkward. The major conversational gambits were things like, "So, El, what are you researching for your next garb project?" ... and I wasn't, and so on. So I quit going.

#48 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 01:43 PM:

Melissa Singer @37: WRT tendonitis: I'd was having a lot of trouble coupla months ago (compliments of my terrible computer settup at home); my doctor put me onto an ointment called "Traumeel." Rub some of that on the trouble spots every night before bed for a while, and things really did improve. Bonus: it smells nice. It's arnica plus some other stuff, including belladona. I got mine at Whole Foods.

Also, a Google search on knitting ergonomics produces a nice fat list of results. (That's always been my favored solution for these kinds of things: Stop Doin It Rong.) Don't know how amenable your mum might be to changing her knitting style, but being able to knit might be enough of an incentive. (I know how nuts I get if I can't draw.)

#49 ::: lightning ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 02:03 PM:

Actually, one of the things that struck me when I first read the Mars books was the *lack* of racism. John Carter went from Arizona, where the "red" Indians were the Bad Guys to Mars, where the "red" Martians were the Good Guys. As the series went on, he had all sorts of polychromatic Martians, all of whom were presented in very favorable terms -- except for gur Oebja Znegvnaf, jub unq cnyr fxva, terl rlrf, naq yvtug oebja unve -- Natyb-Fnkbaf. They were mean, cowardly, sneaky, treacherous, and just plain Bad.

#50 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 02:04 PM:

Did the books have gur gureaf, gur gryrcbgngvba qrivpr, be gur enl gung qvfthvfrq crbcyr? I only read (I think) the first six or so out of nine or so.

#51 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 02:29 PM:

Nine novels, two collections of shorter stories, in the Barsoom series: 11 books total.

#52 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 03:01 PM:

I've found that if I don't have a project at Knitter's Breakfast, I do feel like something of a poser-- but I work slowly to begin with (lack of outside discipline) and like to eat while I'm there. I've found that having a notebook open on my lap helps a lot to make me look busy even if I'm not-- sketching out a cross-stitch pattern, figuring out spacing on things, 'planning', which is general enough that you don't have to have results of any kind. It might not help your mother feel like she's actually doing anything, but if some of the issue is 'they are judging me because I am empty-handed*' that might help.

*which did eventually happen to me-- someone gave me a pair of toe-up two-at-a-item magic-loop socks, explained 'knit' to me, and didn't mind that I knit damned tightly and couldn't do any of the shoving-around parts.

#53 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 03:06 PM:

Melissa Singer @ 37: I agree with the reading of agism. When I was doing marathon training, the coach warned us about doctors/chiropractors/podiatrists who said "if it hurts, stop doing it". I found a podiatrist and a chiropractor who both ran marathons, and got the treatment I needed. I recall my mother, years ago, saying she told her doctor that it hurt when she lifted her arm like this, and he said "then don't lift it like that". When I had a similar issue recently, I got physical therapy that identified and treated a rotator cuff injury, and now do exercises to keep my shoulder working right.

Jacque's point about ergonomic knitting is great. I know someone who developed RSI from knitting, and her physical (or what it occupational?) therapist treated the problem and taught her changes in her knitting technique.

#54 ::: janetl has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 03:08 PM:

I just posted, and the gnomes high in the steel and glass tower held my post for review.

#55 ::: James Moar ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 03:15 PM:

Gureaf nccrne va gur frpbaq obbx, naq nera'g fhpu sne-ernpuvat znavchyngbef nf cerfragrq va gur svyz. Gur gryrcbegngvba qrivpr vf arj gb gur svyz, cebonoyl fvapr gur harkcynvarq nfgeny cebwrpgvba bs gur obbx jbhyqa'g ernyyl unir cynlrq jryy. Abg fher vs gurer'f n fbhepr sbe gur qvfthvfrf, gubhtu.

#56 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 04:53 PM:

It's weird because mom's regular doctor is a geriatrician who literally just said my mother is a poster child for preventive medicine (i.e., incredibly healthy despite being nearly 80), so it's hard to think it might be ageism, and yet . . . having accompanied her to the dr. this past week, yeah, mom was in much better shape than most of the people in the waiting room.

LMM, Elliott Mason has it about right--there's enough of a cultural/life-stage difference, even between those in their late 60s and my mom, to make things not entirely comfortable, conversationally. Many of these women are recently retired, while mom's been retired for more tan 20 years. Most are still married, vs. my mother's widowhood (not that she's still a grieving wreck, mind you, just that it's different). Plus, she's a Depression Child and was old enough for WWII to have had a big impact on her (even living in the US). 10 years makes a huge difference.

I see it myself--I've tried very much to be friendly with the parents of my daughter's friends as she's grown up, but the families/people I had the longest and strongest connections with are fewer than 10 years younger than me. It doesn't matter that we're parenting children of the same age; we're at different stages in our lives apart from that. And I can have a lovely conversation with someone close to me in age even if their child is 10 years younger than mine.

A decade isn't necessarily a barrier to communication or to friendship--it depends on the subject, the medium, and the kind of relationship--but it can make a difference. When I was dating, I never went out with someone more than 5 years from my age in either direction, for similar reasons.

#57 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 06:34 PM:

I was reading an interesting article in the Winter 2012 issue of DEPAUW MAGAZINE*, about sepsis and septic shock.

Septic shock is extraordinarily dangerous if not caught and treated fairly early on. Even if you don't die, effects can be catastrophic. One patient mentioned in the article spent four months and fifteen major surgeries in the hospital, including amputations of both lower legs, all the fingers of her left hand and part of the right-hand fingers.

But the article also reports unexpected beneficial after-effects when someone recovers from sepsis: The patient mentioned above came out of it with a better sense of smell, and a new ability with math and statistics. Hardly a fair exchange, but still one is surprised that there would be those benign changes along with the malign.

The quote that hit me between the eyes, though, was "In some patients, previous conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension and diabetes, disappears# It's all over the place in terms of what happens to people, for the good or bad, and we don't understand why#"

That hit me because back in 2009, Hilde went into septic shock twice in several months due to fast-growing UTIs# And while I can't guarantee it happened subsequent to those episodes, yeah, it was about that time that Hilde's own rheumatoid arthritis seems to have gone into remission# She hasn't had any of the painful flare-ups she used to have#


I wonder if there's some kind of a "rebound effect" that occasionally will allow someone healing and recovering from sepsis to heal and recover some aspects of their health to better than they'd had previously# And if so, I wonder how that mechanism works, and if it could be isolated from the deadly disease that seems to trigger it#

I'd post a link, but that issue of DEPAUW MAGAZINE isn't online yet# But here's a link to Sepsis Alliance, whch promotes awareness and early treatment of sepsis.

*I'm not a DePauw alumnus, but our late friend Anne was, and the magazine continues to arrive after her death. I suppose I should notify them someday, but the issues have interesting content.

#58 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 06:37 PM:

And I have no friggin' idea why some of the periods in that post got replaced with hashmarks.

#59 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 06:43 PM:

On a very random note, the Amazing Girlfriend and I grabbed a 24" printer off eBay a couple weeks ago - and after several days of cursing at it, syringing the ink lines and installing new printheads, it's up and running!

Why did a couple grad students want a huge honking printer? Well, one of them (me) has a serious photography hobby... and we can print conference posters on it (in 24" strips).

New, it's a $1700 printer... used, and with all the new bits, we sunk about $400 into it, which makes it an excellent deal

#60 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 06:48 PM:

Lee @ 26, Lmm @ 30, thirded! Very well done--thank you, Lee, for the recommendation. I'll be checking the author's other links.

I *so* wish my Trek library wasn't--weren't? argh--in storage. ***sigh***

#61 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 07:00 PM:

I've met 36-inch inkjet plotters, which are good for that kind of thing also (yes, if I had room for one, I would try to get one). In fact, the really high-end printing of photos is done on inkjets - 8 or even 12 colors. At one time. (What you can learn at trade shows....)

#62 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 07:15 PM:

Just wanted to share the sad news: Jean Giraud died today.

#63 ::: JeanOG ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 07:17 PM:

Erik@50, James@55: V qba'g erpnyy gur qvfthvfrf va gur svefg guerr obbxf, juvpu ner gur bayl barf V'ir erernq erpragyl. Gb or ubarfg, gur gureaf ner gur bar cneg bs gur zbivr gung qvqa'g srry yvxr n ybtvpny hcqngr gb gur obbxf. V qb guvax gur punatrf jrer gurer ynetryl gb perngr na rkcynangvba sbe Pnegre'f gryrcbegngvba.

I like the new and improved Dejah Thoris. I can easily see book!Dejah becoming movie!Dejah given the opportunity. And Woola made me very happy.

#64 ::: Andreia Blue ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 07:25 PM:

I picked up a copy of The Scholars of Night today at the local paperback exchange, and I'm reading it now. It reminded me of Making Light.

#65 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 07:26 PM:

Bruce Arthurs #57: It's likely that the mechanism would be different for different diseases.

For rheumatoid arthritis, the massive inflammation is going to result in a lot of production and death of white cells of various kinds, and it could be that the net effect is to get rid of autoimmune disease in some people. Along the same lines, bone marrow transplant also cures RA in some people (though not reliably).

In principle, you might be able to target antibodies and some nasty payload to precisely the cells causing trouble, if we knew what they were. That could give the beneficial effects without needing septic shock or bone-marrow transplant, and without even the milder collateral damage of the current anti-immune RA treatments. There's active research on better antibody-based treatments for RA.

For hypertension and (Type II) diabetes, I'd guess that weight loss is the main mechanism. :(

#66 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 07:49 PM:

Xopher @ 44: Or the wingspan of an albatross?

#67 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 07:52 PM:

My reply to Xopher @ 44 has been gnomed. (Contained a link to a relevant "Hark, a Vagrant" comic.)

#68 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 08:02 PM:

We tried (along with our lab) to get a 42" plotter through Craigslist, but it turned out to be an impractical problem - when I came across the 24" version (knowing that other labs do exactly this for posters), we decided that it was the right size.

I've seen the 12-color monsters (things like the current-generation HPs)... they're cool, but I'd rather use a slightly older model where the cartridges are cheap to snag off eBay when I want to.

#69 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 08:03 PM:

Jean Giraud (Moebius) has died, age 73. He changed the way I look at the world.

#70 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 08:53 PM:

"Something so huge that it seemed unfair to men that it could move so softly stalked splendidly by them..." I just found out that I am missing the story from which the bit you headed this thread off with was taken, so I don't know if I got that quote right, but it's another part of that story, particularly exquisite.
There are some potential Dunsany fans lurking around here, I am sure. If they are stimulated into hunting down his works, that will be one of your good deeds.

#71 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 09:05 PM:

Bruce Arthurs: #57: Well, my first thought was that rheumatoid arthritis and (both sorts of) diabetes are largely autoimmune problems, and a major immune battle might well shake up the system enough for recovery to require sorting things out a bit.

For hypertension, the shock might likewise trigger a general reevaluation of blood-pressure feedback. The brain effects of your first example are tougher, but could represent neurogenesis and rewiring after taking some diffuse brain damage.

#72 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 09:56 PM:

Random observation: tomorrow's weather forecast indicates 28°F at 7AM, rising to 64°F by 4PM.

No wonder I'm having so much trouble picking the right coat...

#73 ::: Nanette ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 10:08 PM:

It wouldn't surprise me if this is ageism in action on the doctor's part, but there's no excuse for not trying as many avenues as necessary until she gets relief.

My Mom, the RN says -- "accupuncture."

And/or a good chiropractor/kinesiologist, and!
turmeric. In capsules, not just a few sprinkle.
Easy, cheap, and possibly quite helpful.

#74 ::: Nanette ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 10:14 PM:

Also, I know you guys have a secret code of strange letter substitution, but i don't have the key. I am sad. Can you whisper the secret?

#75 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 10:25 PM:

Nanette: It's ROT-13. translators aplenty on the web; just copy and paste.

#76 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2012, 10:27 PM:

Oh, and thanks for the suggestion of acupuncture; 'twas already on my list, but might not have been, so the reminder's welcome.

#77 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2012, 12:13 AM:

This is for Syd, who is sometimes disguised: an article about a McGill student who is homeless by choice. It won't be directly useful, as that guy's situation is quite different, but may be obliquely so.

What I particularly noticed in the article is that, as a McGill student, he has the right to be on campus at any time of the day or night. They can't run him off, not that anyone is trying. From my experience with homelessness, that is huge. If one can find a spot from which one cannot be legally dislodged, well, but that is the crux of all displaced persons issues. "Once they gain a toehold..." The big thing of course is to get that toehold.

#78 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2012, 12:36 AM:

Grump. I'm trying to submit my Hugo nominating ballot, and I keep getting this error message:

"You must supply either your name (first and last name, or just last name), city and postal code or your membership code from one of the conventions."

I have filled out my full name, full address, AND THE GODDAMN PIN CODE THEY SENT ME. Am I going to have to go try to find something with my Renovation membership number on it, most of which has probably been thrown out by now?

#79 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2012, 01:44 AM:

Lee, check your cookie settings.

#80 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2012, 09:39 AM:

Nanette (74): Adding to what Melissa said, is easy to use and easy to remember.

#81 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2012, 10:41 AM:

Well, I remembered that I could probably still find my Renovation membership number on their website, and that solved the problem. But still, that was an OR, not an AND.

#82 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2012, 01:31 PM:

Jim, check your Diffractions. You made an error in adding a new one that conflates it with two old ones....

#83 ::: Lin D ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2012, 01:57 PM:

The problems of holding conversations with groups into which one does not fit is why I like fandom, and MakingLight. After finding fandom, I realized I really was a social misfit, in mundane society. It's nice here. Thank you.

#84 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2012, 04:09 PM:

On communication: Sometimes I really sound like a geek.

For instance, on Friday, someone asked me why I was in the office after 6 PM, and I explained I was going to the Whisperado CD launch, adding that I would be leaving soon to get something to eat and that I might actually consume alcohol that evening.

Yes, I said, "consume alcohol." Not "have a drink" or "have a beer," but "consume alcohol." I say things like that all the time, and don't realize until afterwards how much slightly awkward/formal speech/word choices sound really odd and awkward to most people.

It's my nerdy nature.

My kid does it too, though she's not a nerd--she's just picked up the patterns from me.

A lot of the time I don't even realize it until I see the "huh?" look in the other person's eyes.

#85 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2012, 04:57 PM:

Should I assume the "cooking bananas" in the sidebarred Fiery Banana Soup recipe are meant to be plantains?

#86 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2012, 05:11 PM:

The cooking bananas are, indeed, platanos.

#87 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2012, 05:27 PM:

'Nother thumbs-up for John Carter of Mars. Cued by positive comments here, my buddy Brian and I went to see it yesterday. An afternoon entirely well-spent. (Although I could have lived without the 3D-fail. Did not enhance the experience.)

And a shout-out to Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little for alerting me to the new Himalayas restaurant in our neighborhood. That spot has had trouble keeping a decent restaurant since our loyal-and-true Cheers Chinese Cuisine left some while ago. We hope Himalayas sees considerable success in that location.

#89 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2012, 05:47 PM:

Jacque @88: That's a good one - right up there with the "I hate taxes, but I like roads, schools, hospitals, bridges, a fire brigade..."

#90 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2012, 08:46 PM:

pericat @ 77, that's an interesting article. And yes, it strikes me that to be "successfully" homeless, having at least one location from which you can't be rousted (like a university campus with amenities for keeping clean, etc.) would seem to be key.

For my case, I haven't had a place to sleep since Thursday night. (Usual notification re: lengthiness of comment...)

While I was at the Women's Room that afternoon doing a load of laundry, my coffee-house benefactor went to the "Adult Center" (as opposed to the family center) run by Passageways (OT 170, March 5 comment) to see if he could score me a place to sleep, since E was back in town that day and I had to be gone again. He was told by the daytime security chief that (1) it was too late to get me in for Thursday, but (2) said chief gave him a completed homeless verification form to pass along to me with the advice that (3) I go to Passageways first thing Friday morning and indicated the form he provided my benefactor would help me get a bed for Friday.

So for Thursday, I decided I'd try to pull an all-nighter and camped out at the 24-hour Carrow's, but about 4:00 AM I gave up--left the restaurant, moved my car to a slightly darker section of the parking lot, reclined the driver's seat and tried to get at least a couple of hours' shut-eye.

I was so hyper-aware of every sound, every car driving by, every set of headlights that washed across the wall my car faced, that I gave up after half an hour and went to McDonald's for breakfast, then went to the Passageways office so that first thing upon their being open for business, I could (I hoped) secure housing for the night (and possibly Saturday as well, since E is again heading out of town today, Sunday, for a couple of days).

The first flaw in the plan was that, since I already had a case started, my case manager wouldn't be able to see me until the afternoon--mornings are for new clients and other duties, apparently. I was told to come back at 1:30. I could do that, and went to the library to hang out until time to return. Fifty minutes after I got back to Passageways, my case manager walked into the waiting room and asked me what was on my mind. I handed over my form and told her what the security chief had told my benefactor.

More flaws surfaced. It seems security guy hadn't been aware that case managers no longer have the ability to assign "walk-ins" (so to speak) for overnight housing; instead, everyone has to go through the process of case manager interview (done)/supervisor interview (nope)/waiting list/assignment. Because the case manager knew I'm trying to get into PATH/Petco, it didn't occur to either of us to discuss housing options post-cold weather shelter but pre-PATH, other than the "rolling" shelter that's a 2-gallon round trip away from here. When I mentioned I was trying to conserve gasoline as well, she apologized that they were no longer able to offer gas vouchers for such situations. Seems the city decided to stop funding them. And anyway, she said at the end of the conversation, all the beds at their facility had already been assigned for the weekend, and any available last-minute assignments would have been given to people entering the facility as residents.

I'm not ashamed to say I couldn't quite keep the tears out of my eyes, due as much to lack of sleep as to extreme disappointment. My case manager was quite obviously sorry she didn't have any alternatives to offer...but there was nothing she could do, so I left.

And then I had a bit of an idea. I killed time at the library and Starbucks and so on until I felt it was late enough, and then I drove to the police station in the area where I'd rented the room and paid $2 for an overnight parking permit--I'd bought both single-night passes and monthly passes during my tenure at the apartment, since there was no way I could leave my car in the residents' parking area. Drove back to the general area of the apartment, found a spot to park...and curled up in the back seat, my sweater-wrapped purse serving as my pillow, a trash bag holding my real pillow and comforter camouflaging my feet, and the rest of my under a purple flannel duvet cover pulled up far enough to keep my hair out of view but with enough space to breathe.

It was a tad cramped, of course, but I managed about 6 hours' sleep. Not bad.

So of course I decided to do the same thing last night--and I kept listening to my own heartbeat (something else I'm hyper-aware of since I was diagnosed with high blood pressure), and couldn't get the duvet cover properly situated, and I got overheated and felt little rivulets of sweat trickling across my hairline and down my back and again, I just gave up. Went to Carrow's, told my server I was sorry but I wasn't hungry, I just couldn't sleep, and she was very nice about the fact I only ordered water and a cup of tea.

So, 6 or so hours of sleep over three nights. Not helpful. First thing I'm going to do at E's once she's on her way is take a nap.

And tomorrow I start the county's job program, so we'll see how that goes. And first thing Tuesday, I'll be on the phone to see if the women's shelter the other homeless gal told me about has any openings yet.

I so want a job.

#91 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2012, 09:00 PM:

Re RSI: I slept with wrist braces on both hands for months. I didn't like them much, but the alternative was to wake with my hands aching and useless every morning, and spending an hour getting them functional again. I referred to them disparagingly as "the anti-Onanism devices" (and it's true -- I had to take them off).
I had "release" surgery on one hand and marvelously it turned out I didn't need to wear the braces on either hand afterward.
Next, I intend to learn actual typing, because writing a whole novel with just index fingers and right thumb is not good for my hands either.

Re John Carter: How long has it been since Thor came out? Since we saw that last night, it will probably be about that long until we see this film (we still haven't seen Green Lantern).

Simon Gyrus @14: I was interested to hear that one of the writers said, "So this guy fought for the Confederacy, and then he was adopted by one race and married into another? Hmmm."

Erik Nelson @18: I hope they are just saving that for a sequel, and didn't retcon it. It's absurd, of course, but enjoyably weird, almost more like something by William rather than Edgar.

MD2 @62, Tom Whitmore @69, re Moebius: As I have said elsewhere, he certainly left his mark on the world.

Pericat @77: A place, any place, from which you cannot be ejected is a precious thing indeed. It is called, "home". This man is not homeless at all.

Melissa Singer @84 re geekspeak: When I was in the Navy, I got into a hassle with a fellow, and an officer sat us down together. He accused me of sneering at him by going out of my way to use words he didn't know. I replied that I was just speaking my native dialect, having grown up in an academic household. The officer asked me if I thought the problem was all on the other guy's side and I said, "I suppose it's a reciprocal relationship." To the laughter that followed, I said, "See?"

Jacque @88: THANK YOU! I am so stealing this!

Syd @90: I have a home (for now), but I also SO want a job. So very much.

#92 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2012, 09:18 PM:

John M. Burt @ 91, please consider the good-job mojo on its way to you, should you desire it!

#93 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2012, 11:27 PM:

I have a baking question.

Te paper ran a recipe for Irish Soda Bread. It looks pretty easy, and I'd like to make some loaves to bring to work some morning next week.

Now, I thought it would be cool to bring them in fairly warm . . . that is, bake them in the morning.

Can dough of the Irish Soda Bread sort -- no yeast, just baking soda and baking powder -- be prepared ahead of time? The previous day, that is, and refrigerated?

#94 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2012, 11:45 PM:

I wouldn't want to try it. That kind of leavening doesn't hold well at all.

#95 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2012, 11:53 PM:

Stefan@93 - soda bread uses an immediate acid-base reaction for the rise, so you can't do the dough ahead of time. You really need to mix the wet and dry ingredients, make sure that they're well mixed, knead a couple times, and plop it in the oven/skillet. On the other hand, it's a fast thing, flour, soda, salt and buttermilk, so the prep really only takes a few minutes.

Fwiw, there are several different soda breads. The authentic ones are simple, peasant food. there are soda farls, which are quarter rounds cooked on a skillet. There's a wheaten loaf, which is a more free form oven loaf. Then there are the ones with 'stuff' in them, which are mostly inauthentic, as far as I can tell.

#96 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2012, 12:25 AM:

Syd @90: {{{{{HUGS}}}}} Welcome to the modern day nightmare. I'm so sorry you have to go through this.

#97 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2012, 12:25 AM:

Syd @90: {{{{{HUGS}}}}} Welcome to the modern day nightmare. I'm so sorry you have to go through this.

#98 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2012, 12:26 AM:

Syd @90: {{{{{HUGS}}}}} Welcome to the modern day nightmare. I'm so sorry you have to go through this.

#99 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2012, 12:29 AM:

Sorry. Connection fail.

#100 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2012, 01:07 AM:

Thanks for soda bread warnings!

Night-old will have to do.

#101 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2012, 01:09 AM:

Re: "Knitting fifty bees" in Particles:

"Fifty bees is too many bees even when you're not tiny." - Chris Sims

#102 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2012, 01:11 AM:

pericat @77: We had a member of the Honors program camping out in the backyard for the better part of a year after he started developing environmental allergies to the apartment buildings around campus. (Hardly surprising; if you're at all sensitive to chemicals, industrial cleaners aren't going to do you any favors. He's the person I know who is allergic to chocolate.) He got hassled by security sometimes, but he really did start looking scruffy.

I do like the idea of "home" as "the place where they can't kick you out." Puts the idea of permanent homeless camps into perspective.

#103 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2012, 01:12 AM:

Oh! That's right.

I have a new nephew! A couple of weeks early, but pretty sizable all the same. Hooray for the lucky number!

#104 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2012, 01:19 AM:

That McGill student: There are some pieces of his life that only work because he's under (say) 25, and some pieces that only work because he has access to a full college campus.

As far as youth, last time I slept on a hotel floor I was about 35. I don't know if I was sore for two days, but I was certainly sore for one. Likewise, I think, "sleeping on the ground."

Also, I was certainly a lot more frostproof 20 years ago, when I went to McGill, than I am now. And certainly less afraid, which is both a good and a bad thing.

As far as the college campus: as the story mentions, he tends to use it as a several-hundred-room house. With patrolling guards who, one could argue, work for him.

Hugs, Syd.

#105 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2012, 01:52 AM:

We had our first FaceTime video call from our first grandchild today. She's just 8 months old, and we haven't seen her since we visited in Louisiana when she was 4 months old. She spent most of the time trying to climb up on the display to see what we were and getting picked up and swung around by her parents when she got too close, and we spent most of the time waving at her and saying hello. Both of our dogs got jealous and sat down in front of us to be petted.

I love the 21st century.

#106 ::: Mea ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2012, 02:34 AM:

Syd, more hugs and hopes for a quick resolution to the housing hurdle.

Do you have a start date for the petco option, or is that churning in paperwork uncertainty? All this uncertainty is horribly stressful, so I am hoping that they can give you a date for when things will get more stabilized. in the meantime, warm thoughts, and I hope you are at your friend Em's place tonight, getting a sound night sleep.

#107 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2012, 12:03 PM:

I saw "John Carter (of Mars)". It's over 2-hour long and I was never bored, but... Right off the bat I guessed this wasn't going to be the movie I had hoped for.

#108 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2012, 01:26 PM:

Stephan Jones @ 93
Can dough of the Irish Soda Bread sort -- no yeast, just baking soda and baking powder -- be prepared ahead of time?

No, baking powder doughs hold poorly, and baking soda doughs don't hold at all. BUT--if you mix the dry ingredients, mix the wet ingredients, and grease the pan the night before, it takes less than 5 minutes to get the bread in the oven in the morning. (I do this for "puffin"--muffin batter baked in a cake pan--quite often.)

Melissa Singer @ OT 170
On the wrist pain issue, I will second the advice to at least check with a chiropractor. A few years ago I had a non-specific wrist/finger pain issue that made typing extremely painful, which ended up being a slightly dislocated elbow. A chiroprator fixed it less than minute. (As in--even touching the keys hurt when I left the office, and it was painless to type when I got back.)

#109 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2012, 01:28 PM:

Syd, continued good wishes coming your way. Thanks for keeping us posted; if you're silent too long, I worry about what's up.

#110 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2012, 01:34 PM:

Jacque: I'm not sure I'd call it a nightmare. I eventually wake up from those. :) Grossly inconvenient and damned depressing, however, would be spot on.

B. Durbin, Sandy B. and Mea, re: the McGill student, all the things you mention are what combine to make his an interesting and quite possibly unique case. I was never really exposed to the idea of camping out when I was younger--in fact, I can recall only two instances of anything like camping; one involved a "pop-up" trailer with soft beds, the other an air mattress in a tent shared with friends. Sleeping in my car is doable, but not long-term comfy unless I could find a non-roustable spot where I could just recline the front passenger seat, as curling up in the back seat might lead to circulation issues from the knees down (nowhere to stretch them out, and might blow my "cover" as a pile of laundry if my feet stuck out). :)

Re: PATH/Petco, my case manager there (who has already been reassigned, darn it--nice guy) told me the wait time for PATH overall was running, on average, 3-1/2 months. The facility with the Petco affiliation might be running longer or shorter, but he didn't know for sure. This is one of the reasons he asked me to communicate with him at least once a week. I will continue to be in touch with his replacement on that timetable unless she specifies something different.

Coffee House Guy, however, called this morning and said he'd gotten me a referral to a place in Glendale. Based on the website I found via the address, it's called Ascencia and was at one time a PATH facility, but is no longer affiliated with them. They have emergency housing--40 beds--as well as other services to help the homeless.

The potential drawback is its location in Glendale, which is a little further away from LA/Pasadena/Alhambra than is strictly convenient for at least the next three weeks, that being the length of time I'm slated to participate in the county's GROW job program (in Alhambra, M-F starting at 1:00 PM). Yes, I still have the car, and my GROW case manager said I would receive a bus pass as part of the program; but the public transit system in LA is...not as useful as one might like, with a patchwork of county and city buses, plus the Metro Rail trains and subways. If it takes me, say, two hours each way (wait times, transit times, changes to other buses, perhaps), that cuts out a lot of time I could be on the computer looking for work.

On the other hand, not sleeping in my car!

So I will call Ascencia and see what's up there, and explain that my "ultimate" goal re: shelter housing is PATH/Petco, and that I'm also hoping to get one of the first come, first served slots at Good Shepherd (the women-only place the gal at the cold-weather shelter told me about), based on its propinquity to the PATH location where I'd meet my case manager. We'll see what happens.

And yes, Mea, I'm at E's through Tuesday night, bless her heart, and I luxuriated in going to bed early (for me, 10:45 is early!) and sleeping in a little. "Stressful" is also a good descriptor, and I'll have to call the clinic where I got my BP meds to see if I can get in one morning this week, since I'm almost at the end of the scrip and I don't know if the doctor is going to want to extend it.

Okay, just made the call to Ascencia. The man to whom Coffee House Guy referred me gave me the name and number for their intake coordinator, so I've left a message there--including that I'm okay through Tuesday night and won't be available for a conversation after 1:00 PM re: GROW. Now for some brekkie, then getting ready for said jobs program.

Also, again...I met a gal on Saturday morning in line at Passageways' adult center (called Union Station, not to be confused with the train station of the same name in downtown LA). Friday was her first night homeless, and I was the only other woman standing in line at the time, so she struck up a conversation with me. Her story is...well, I won't share it, but suffice to say I told her about Making Light in general, and about the DFD thread, and invited her to stop by. If a new Susan shows up in a regular thread, it might be her. I hope she visits--if for no other reason than being able to pass along what I'm learning about shelters, etc. I did tell her about the Women's Room and I hope she goes there, too.

Thanks, all. :)

#111 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2012, 01:42 PM:

Otter B, I guess I was in preview when you posted. Thank you also for looking out for me.

I'll admit, since most of what I'm posting these days is on what might be called the "heavy" side of the emotional spectrum, I do sometimes hesitate--I don't want to take over a thread with my stuff, but because it's "now" stuff, the DFD thread doesn't feel entirely appropriate. But if it's been several days since I last posted and I'm in a don't-want-to-spill-all-over-the-OT mood, I'll at least pop in long enough to wave. :)

#112 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2012, 01:56 PM:

Syd (111): I can't speak for anyone else, but I'm always glad to see your updates.

#113 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2012, 02:11 PM:

Syd, I'm also glad to see that you're still kicking. I can't do more than read, but I do wish you the best luck.

#114 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2012, 02:20 PM:

Add me to the list of folks who are following your "adventure" with great sympathy, Syd; your updates are appreciated.

And in good news, the Democratic Underground vs. Righthaven suit has been decided in a really positive way. Two good points: hosts aren't responsible for what commenters post, and quote-and-link of 5 sentences (or possibly more) is explicitly "fair use." Both are important! Link is to the EFF story.

#115 ::: Lylassandra ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2012, 04:54 PM:

Thanks for the various recommendations, all.

#116 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2012, 05:22 PM:

Syd, you are much in my thoughts, and I very much prefer hearing from you than not. :-)

#117 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2012, 07:25 PM:

Jacque @ 87: And a shout-out to Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little for alerting me to the new Himalayas restaurant in our neighborhood. That spot has had trouble keeping a decent restaurant since our loyal-and-true Cheers Chinese Cuisine left some while ago. We hope Himalayas sees considerable success in that location.

...! I would not have pegged you for that cuisine, as it's usually got non-zero levels of capsaicins in everything but the rice pudding. On the other hand, Himalayas isn't Royal Peacock. There are levels.

Our neighbors Kit & Allie & Austin were overjoyed to see it there, being huge fans, so they told us. When I went in last week, the owner said that she was pleasantly surprised to find that they'd moved into the neighborhood where, apparently, all their most loyal customers lived.

#118 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2012, 07:36 PM:

(More good thoughts winging their way toward Syd, to be put at his disposal.)

#119 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2012, 07:38 PM:

An amazing effort to explain the scale of everything from the Planck Length to the estimated size of the universe. Great for kids, with easy-to-understand explanations and a touch of humor.

I have to admit I never knew that Cesium was the largest atom; now I not only know that, I understand why.

#120 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2012, 07:47 PM:

Ditto the appreciation for Syd's reporting, and more hopes for speedy re-employment and re-homing.

#121 ::: Tamlyn ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2012, 08:40 PM:

Syd: I, too, appreciate the updates.

My own house hunt was going well, and my stress levels might have finally started going down... so of course my future housemate had to have a change of mind about something and things are firmly back in uncertain and stressful.

#122 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2012, 09:24 PM:

Syd: I knew generally and vaguely that navigating the "safety net" involved twisty, turny passageways, paperwork and a lot of time and fortitude. Your tales stun me with the reality, especially given your smarts and high level of organization.

#123 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2012, 10:47 PM:

Potential Gathering of Light: who else is going to WisCon? Do we want to try to arrange a dinner-gathering (or whatever) beforehand?

I shall be there with my loinspawn, so my meal runs will of necessity include her as well (for good or ill).

#124 ::: Laura Runkle ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2012, 11:08 PM:

Syd, thank you for the updates.
Xopher@119, wow! Powers of 10 on the Web, with wonderfully snarky commentary. Thank you.

#125 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2012, 11:23 PM:

Xopher @ 119, thanks for that link--both fascinating and fun!

To all, thank you. I appreciate knowing that I have not, in fact, been overdoing it. Should I ever do so, however, please let me know. :)

Small correction, Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little @ 118--I'm a girl Syd, not a boy Syd. But you aren't the first and likely will not be the last. And imagine my surprise today, while waiting to go to the iso room to visit my cats, when I heard one of the techs call for "Sydney"--and discovered he didn't mean me, but rather the similarly red-haired and overweight cocker spaniel belonging to the only other person in the waiting area!

I just sat there and giggled a while.

Tamlyn @ 121, sorry the housing situation has become bollixed up--good mojo headed your direction for quick, smooth resolution and reduction of stress!

#126 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2012, 11:30 PM:

Syd: My first pet who was really-really mine (and not my parents') was a garter snake. We named himer Sydney, because it was impracticable to actually determine hiser sex, and honestly didn't matter much. We most often used male pronouns for him, as a matter of convenience; he acquired a roommate eventually, another garter snake, whom we named 'Leslie' and generally used female pronouns for.

Because Sydney's color patterns were especially vivid, he resides in the collections at the Field Museum now, floating forever in formalin.

My mom did let me bury the gerbil in the yard, but most of my herp pets have ended up in bottles. Sometimes I think other people would think my childhood was weird. :->

#127 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2012, 11:44 PM:

Elliott Mason @126: Compared to people who have their dogs freeze-dried so they can look at them forever and ever? Not even....

#128 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 12:01 AM:

My apologies, Syd -- and my thanks for your patience with my mistake.

Again with the good wishes to you!

#129 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 12:11 AM:

Nicole, really--no harm done, and no worries!

Elliott Mason @ 126, re: weird, what Jacque said. As to naming the snake Sydney, I'm just going to conclude you were ahead of the game on seeing it as cool. Unlike when I was growing up, when it was so UNcommon a female name that people were forever calling me Cindy.

Perfectly good name. NOT, however, my name.

These days, people who hear my name rather than see it tend to ask if I spell it as in "Cyd Charisse". Nice to know classic films (or old movies, depending on exactly which examples we're talking about) are still getting watched.

#130 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 12:45 AM:

One of the active fans in the Bay Area when I grew up was Sidonie Rogers (known as Sid), Syd. It's one of the names I've long recognized as gender-ambiguous.

#131 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 01:02 AM:

And now, a change of hats to post about something that just happened on FB.

So, there's this guy I "met" via his postings on one of my friend's pages--they play the same general category of musical instrument. Said guy tended to be amusing, and we had some occasionally clever repartee going, so one of us sent the other a friend request and we commented back and forth on each other's posts. He even sent me a sympathetic FB message or two several months ago when certain other life situations were blowing up... So far, so good.

I get back this afternoon and get online to catch up with the day's events. And I see this guy has posted a cartoon showing an average-looking, or possibly dweebish-looking, man, angry/irritated look on his face and arms akimbo, and the right-hand side of the cartoon is taken up by words to the effect that women will wear wigs and fake nails and get this and that cosmetic surgery, yada yada--but then say they want a REAL man.

A couple of other people had commented on the cartoon before me, brief but displaying what appeared to be a high level of agreement with the sentiment expressed. So I commented that yes, of course women want real men, preferably ones who will think they're beautiful as they are so they don't feel the need to have all that crap done to meet some ridiculous societal standard for beauty.

One of the first posters then commented, "Angry are we??!?! lol" and the other BWAHAHAHAHAHA'd all over the place.

My next comment, addressed to the "Angry?" commenter, pointed out the approximate percentage of the population made up by women and some of the more egregiously sexist things still taking place--in general terms, no stats, but easy enough to find in the real world (or even on the Internet!), including reference to the recent talk-radio comments and not-pology by Rash Limp-baugh (sorry). I then suggested that when "Angry?" commenter had lived a lifetime in a world where a similar level of sexism, directed at men, had been extant for several thousand years, he should check back in and let us know how well he likes it. I then compounded my "error" by suggesting he would use my comment to conclude I hated men, when in fact I was just tired of the double standard. I even quoted a decades-old Elayne Boosler routine, to the effect that "men don't care if the inside of a woman's breasts is filled with a foreign substance but they'll throw a guy out of baseball for corking his bat."

While this is going on, another FB acquaintance, female, has seen my comment show up in her sidebar, so she goes over and "likes" both my comments. Then "Angry?" commenter proceeds to write a comment of similar length to mine, pointing out how he doesn't have a sexist bone in his body and he didn't know I was female because he was going by the name (!!) and I don't have a profile pic (actually, I do, but it's a head shot and I'm wearing a silly hat, so I suppose my being female might not be hugely obvious), and he's only been around since the '60s and can't help me with what happened back in the Biblical days, and maybe I should just lighten up a little and be glad there are people in the world who love me.


At this point, the guy who posted the cartoon shows up and says, "Yeah, what he said."


So I replied that I'd be happy to lighten up when he starts posting an equivalent number of sexist-toward-men cartoons, and said that if he's already keeping parity in that way to please direct me to the previous examples of same, because it seems I'd missed them. And there was something else...was this where I quoted Elayne Boosler, maybe? I just don't recall. Oh, wait, I remember--I said that we get this kind of stuff out in the wider world all the time--so it hurts more coming from our friends.

Guy who posted the cartoon then asked whose f$cking page it was? And I replied that it was his, of course, and that I assumed the cussing meant I was no longer welcome, at least on this topic--but if it was wrong of me to "tell" him what to do (post sexist-to-men cartoons), why was it okay for him and the "Angry?" commenter to tell me what to do (lighten up).

And I waited a few minutes to see what the reply would be...and then realized that all my "updates" related to this post had disappeared from my feed. So I checked my friends list, and he's removed himself; I checked the list of our mutual friend and can't see him there, either, which I assume means he's blocked me; and for good measure, I checked that FB message exchange, and I can no longer even message this guy.

My female FB acquaintance? I checked with her, and she's apparently been banned too.

I am left wondering if my last comment contained far more inflammatory snark than I intended, and that I so offended this guy thereby that he felt banning me was his only option--and I'm willing to admit to the potential for snark, when what I intended to convey was that I was done commenting on that post regardless of whether or not it was his preference that I stop--or did I maybe hit a nerve he didn't want to have hit?

Either way, there's nothing I can do about it, barring getting in touch with our mutual friend and asking him to carry a message for me, which is (a) ever so high school and (b) disrespectful of our friend, dragging him into the middle of the situation (it's a situation?), not to mention (c) am I really interested in being friends, even electronically, with a guy who seems to just not get why that cartoon wasn't funny to me? Or gets it and doesn't care?

Well, it makes a change from my other posts! ;)

#132 ::: Syd has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 01:09 AM:

My comment that would have been around #131 has been captured. There were no links; I referred to a highly popular social networking site by its initials, which are the sixth and second letters of the alphabet; I used a substitute name for a radio host who has recently received much criticism; and I substituted a dollar sign for the second letter of an adjective/gerund formation of a word proverbially said to have originated as an initialism for "fornicating under consent (of the) king".

And it's long, but that hasn't stopped me before. :)

[The Word of Power was "HAHAHAHA," a letter-group very seldom used by Honored Guests here, but quite common in comment-spam. --JDM]

#133 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 03:59 AM:

Syd, add me to the list of people interested in hearing about it, as things develop.

#134 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 07:57 AM:

"Darn it. I just realized that if I bake the weasel head, his nose will melt."

Posted on Facebook by Hugo-winner Mary Robinette Kowal.
Yes, she's making anoher puppet. What did you think she was talking about?

#135 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 08:24 AM:

Just because it's funny: Misnamed toys

#136 ::: Steve C. was just gnomed! ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 08:26 AM:

Moi! I'm shocked! Well, mildly surprised.

#137 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 08:48 AM:

Xopher #119: Not the first I've seen, but your new one is much better done (if a bit crankier on the scrollbar).

#138 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 09:31 AM:

Syd: what Jacque said. I want to know how you are doing, please -- but not if it becomes a burden for you.

#139 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 09:51 AM:

Potential Gathering of Light: is anyone coming to RavenCon?

#140 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 10:46 AM:

Syd, #131: No, you're just obviously one of those angrymanhatingfeministbitches with no sense of humor. And he's no loss. CWAA.

Steve C., #344: That's hysterical! But not really worksafe.

Anyone within driving distance of Houston: This Saturday is

Time: 7 PM until we kick the last stragglers out (usually between 2 and 3 AM)
Place: Our house -- 3715 Nfpbg Ynar, near 290 & 610
Bring: Alcohol if you want it, and a chocolate or fruit goodie to share. Folding chairs are also a good idea.

Hope to see some of you here!

#142 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 12:14 PM:

Re: my recent gnoming, thanks for the explanation, Jim. Not something that would otherwise have occurred to me.

#143 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 12:23 PM:

The last time I checked, Paypal operations in Europe, which would include that case, were based in Luxembourg. They seem to go to where the tax rates are lowest. They are legally a bank, and that means banking regulations apply.

They're still there:

Who provides the Service?

The Service is provided by PayPal (Europe) S.à r.l. et Cie, S.C.A. (“PayPal”) to registered users in the European Union (each a “User”)

PayPal (R.C.S. Luxembourg B 118 349) is duly licensed as a Luxembourg credit institution in the sense of Article 2 of the law of 5 April 1993 on the financial sector as amended (the “Law”) and is under the prudential supervision of the Luxembourg supervisory authority, the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier.

I would be unsurprised if they can get away with this particular case, but their procedures could be defective even if their reasons are not.

This is the sort of thing which might be worth raising with an MEP, but I'm represented by several. six in all. One is an overt Fascist, one wants us out of the EU, one is a Conservative, and one is a ex-Conservative who now claims to be a Liberal Democrat. And another one quit at the end of January (what happens now?).

Paypal might be a monopoly, and the way they control such things as eBay is a possible conflict of interests.

#144 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 12:35 PM:

Theft is theft.
Do you support webcomics? Take this one question survey:
1. Do you take the RSS feed of over 90 webcomics, rip the images, put them in your Android app, and then put your own advertisements next to them in order to make money?
Congratulations: If you said “Yes”, then NO, YOU DO NOT SUPPORT WEBCOMICS.

Especially since one of the webcomics involved is xkcd, which has a very explicit "Thou Shalt Not" about that sort of thing right there on every page.

Digger has already sent a takedown notice, which is how I found out about it -- I read Ursula's LJ. My partner has notified xkcd, User Friendly, and Penny Arcade. If you happen to follow one of the smaller comics in the list, it would be friendly to let them know this is being done to them.

How much you wanna bet that this guy thinks he's made it all okay by saying he'd remove anyone who complained? Me, I think he deserves to have the Internet dropped on his head.

#145 ::: FaultyMemory ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 12:40 PM:

I'm personally based in the States, where PayPal is not legally considered a bank. I have approximately zero knowledge of the legal treatment of PayPal UK, or the practical application of UK law thereto.

Financial best practice in the US is that PayPal is really appropriate only when your operation is too small to be taken seriously by a bank. By the time your operation is large enough for PayPal to think you're fencing enough stolen goods to be a problem, a bank will be willing to give you a real merchant account, with rates better than PayPal's, and customer service that doesn't assume you're a crook by default.

Actual practice in the US is that a whole lot of people start out with PayPal because it's convenient, and then stay with PayPal because it's easier not to change something that, on the surface, appears to work.

#146 ::: FaultyMemory got gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 12:41 PM:

Awesome. My first gnoming. I've arrived.

#147 ::: FaultyMemory ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 12:46 PM:


To split a hair, theft is removal of a physical object from the possession of another, without permission. Taking a copy of an object, without permission, without disturbing the possession of the original, is not theft. It is copyright violation, and should be called such.

I'm not supporting scumbaggery, but I am insisting that scumbaggery be properly described.

#148 ::: pedantic peasant ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 01:35 PM:

Feds just settled for $25 Billion over "foreclosure irregularities"

My favorite part: "A representative for Wells Fargo declined to comment. At Ally, a spokeswoman said that when managers became aware of 'procedural deficiencies,' they 'took quick and decisive action to address it.'" Where, apparently, "deficiency" means "Can't process them fast enough" and "address" means "to streamline the process regardless of legal issues."

Fifty years from now the history books will be speaking of the return of laissez faire capitalism.

#149 ::: FaultyMemory ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 01:39 PM:


Considering the US banking industry got a bailout on the order of $16 Trillion when their bad practices made the economy go pear-shaped, the $25 Billion settlement is a slap on the wrist.

#150 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 01:56 PM:

FaultyMemory, #149: Worse yet, not one penny of that $25 billion will go to the people who were actually damaged by those actions -- the ones who were foreclosed on improperly and/or fraudulently. Once again, the People Who Matter get the diamonds and the ones who were hurt get the shaft.

#151 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 02:13 PM:

FaultyMemory @145: Als, some merchants whose transactions are primarily online may find using PayPal a lot easier than setting up their own e-commerce site. I have a merchant account at a local bank, and have done so for years. But taking PayPal online gives me something the bank doesn't.

Not that I love PayPal. But without it, I think my business would drop off considerably. (Maybe I'm pessimistic. Dunno. Not likely to risk it at the moment.)

#152 ::: elise is having tea with the gnomes, apparently ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 02:14 PM:

I wonder what got me this invitation to tea with the gnomes. Probably one of those punctuation thingies combined with a typo.

Pass the biscuits, please?

[The fatal words were "merchant account", advice on the obtaining of which has been more than occasionally offered where it was neither needed nor wanted by people whose explanation of the differentiation of asses and elbows would not be reliable. -- AS]

#153 ::: pedantic peasant ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 02:18 PM:

Faulty memory @ 149 and Lee @ 150:

Yeah, I know, for both comments. Burns me more than I can say.

I know most victims of foreclosure are without financial resources, but at this point, since the report and settlement indicate a finding of fault, I'd love to see some enterprising lawyer get all the victims of foreclosure together for a class action suit against these big five.

On a fictional note, I have a story I've been trying to write for ten years where the American people -- by amendment and acclamation -- pass a "Law of Corporate Citizenship" that says,
first, that the CEO is always liable for the company's actions, regardless of what he knew, and is always a separate but inseparable party to any lawsuits for misbehavior and malfeasance;
second, that the same is true for any lower officers, board members, and other members of the firm;
third, when a company is found guilty of a crime, it is required to close down for a length equivalent to a prison term, and any capital is sold to pay damages to its victims, and
fourth, lawsuits for damages or fines for violations are assessed on top of seizure of whatever total profits or savings the company made from its illegal policies, said figure to be determined by independent audit.

#154 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 02:35 PM:

Elliot @123: I'll be at WisCon. Having a Gathering of Light there could be fun, though my schedule is always pretty fierce at that particular convention. Stop by the dealers' room and say hi, whatever gets arranged, OK? I'll be the one with all sorts of shinies (jewelry) with names.

#155 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 02:53 PM:

elise @154: I did that last year, and it didn't turn into much (possibly because after the dinner break I need to sit in my room watching the kid sleep -- that may change, this year). I did enjoy seeing you, though. :->

#156 ::: FaultyMemory ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 03:02 PM:


For going on four hundred years, the whole point of incorporation has been to protect personal assets and freedoms from the consequences of bad business decisions.

The irony that the "party of personal responsibility" in the US is also the de facto "corporations can do no wrong" party is not lost on me.

Even since the personal bankruptcy "reform" of the early 2000s, which touted "personal responsibility" as a major driving force behind making several new classes of debt non-dischargeable, I have been of the opinion that a corporation's privileges and immunities are a matter of law only, and like any law, they may be revised or revoked as the legislature sees fit.

Given the abuses of law and society perpetrated under the shield of incorporation, I think in the US we are overdue for some revision to that law. While there may yet be merit to the idea that incorporation allows for the assumption of large business endeavors that cannot be undertaken by a general or limited partnership, the avoidance of legal responsibility should not be considered a business risk. Accordingly, I propose that laws governing corporations be revised such that the board of directors of a corporation are held personally liable for criminal acts perpetrated by the corporation, and for indebtedness incurred by the corporation as a consequence of criminal and civil liabilities.

It is, after all, a matter of personal responsibility to obey the law.

#157 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 03:09 PM:

pedantic peasant @ 153:

For the last couple of years I've been advocating a change in the status of corporations. Instead of being legally persons, they should legally be equivalent to domestic animals. This would make some human, the legal owner, liable for damage done to other humans or to their property by the corporation. It would also remove them from political financing; if dogs and cows can't make political contributions why should any other animal?

#158 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 04:35 PM:

I assume 'Sidney' is a male name and 'Sydney' is a female name. That may be because one of the girls* in The Borribles is named Sydney, and it was the first time I encountered the name with that spelling.

*Yes, she's prepubescent...permanently. Unless she gets her ear-tips cut off. You really have to read this book.

#159 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 04:40 PM:

Re Jim's diffraction: Author Goes Nuts (in Germany).
The second link gave me this: Greetings, my friends and fans - but also her relentless critics and enemies. Behold pure and praise me, or me schießet Auf'n moon - may you and schätzet my work or binds me to the stake. The main thing fair! Either way, I'm inclined my head in front of you - sometimes in order to better recognize what a cobbler because that comes from her sable. Welcome! Look in and judge fine - or read and shoot!
Google Translate. Thanks ein fickender Haufen!

#160 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 06:01 PM:

I just got this from one of my former choir directors:

(Stephen Colbert Sings A Hymn, Alle, Doo-dah.) (unless I mean "Doo-dah, Luia." Some jokes are just not meant to be transcribed.)

#161 ::: FaultyMemory ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 06:05 PM:


The spirit of the German text might be better translated as:

Greetings, beloved friends and fans - but also our relentless critics and enemies. See me without fault and commend me, or kick me over the moon - like and value my work or bind me to burn at the stake. In the main: fair! Doesn't matter, I will bow my head before you - from time to time also, the better to understand what cobblers rap on us for and why. Welcome! See me pure and judge me fair - or read and kick!

('cobblers' is probably a reference back to 'kick over the moon'. also, the last sentence had internal rhymes that do not survive the translation.)

#162 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 06:17 PM:

TexAnne @160: I am reminded again of my friend Batya's reaction when people question her 'right' to be involved in discussions of cultural appropriation ... because she's white, you see, and nobody's white culture has ever been tokenized like that. Except, as she points out, the fact that it can be extremely trippy for a Jew to stand among Christians whose hymns are all talking about Jerusalem and God's Chosen People, la la la, without any of them actually twigging to the fact that Psalms have been set to music and sung liturgically since long before the turn of the Common Era. :->

That hymn in particular is very Old-Testamentical (of the flavor that talks about the Old Testament to highlight Prophecy Achievements Unlocked, as it were), and I wouldn't put it past Colbert in future to actually sing Anglo settings of translated Hebrew stuff and pass it off in his kayfabe way as evangelical. Especially given the way he and Jon Stewart love to riff on the Jew-vs-Xtian thing.

#163 ::: Jo MacQueen ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 06:32 PM:

Xopher@158: Possibly elsewhere, but here in New South Wales there seem to have been a number of males named after the state capital.

(I just put both 'Sydney' and 'Sidney' into the relevant search field of of the client database for my place of work, and all of the Sydneys seem to be as male as the Sidneys, going by their middle names.)

#164 ::: etv13 ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 07:06 PM:

pedantic@153: I don't know how serious you are about your proposal, but the problems with it go really quite deep. For starters, shutting a corporation down for the length of a prison term would mean putting potentially thousands of mostly innocent people out of work. Aside from the dubious ethics of putting innocent people out of work, the political ramifications would mean that prosecutors would be very reluctant to bring such charges against large corporations, who are the very entities whose criminal behavior is likely to cause the most harm. Similarly, what ethically responsible person with anything to lose is going to want to take on the management or directorship of a company knowing that for reasons entirely out of their control they could be held criminally liable? (If an individual is personally involved in criminal activity, they are already criminally liable, whether or not they were involved in their capacity as executive or director of a corporation.) Not to mention that strict criminal liability of that sort goes against the grain of the Anglo-American common law and very possibly the U.S. Constitution. I think the Citizens United decision was very ill advised, but there are ways to rein in corporate misconduct, and even corporate political activity, without going to those lengths. Nationalizing the banks and replacing their upper management, rather than bailing them out in the manner we did, might have been a good start.

#165 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 08:03 PM:

Speaking of transcription, this seems to be an afternoon for humorous typos in Closed Captioning. The best one was an attempt at spelling polkadots: "poke yeah dots".

#166 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 08:48 PM:

My German's a litle rusty, but I didn't actually invite Google Translate to help♯ me out in this instance. I could probably have managed with my Collins German Dictionary.

Thanks, FaultyMemory, for a better translation than I managed.

I have no idea where the sable came from.

♯or hlep♭
♭oder hlefen?

#167 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 08:49 PM:

One of my classmates was a Sidney (female).

#168 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 09:22 PM:

Managed. Managed. Urgh. My brain is infested with an infestation. Must. Not. Post. So. Late.

#169 ::: pedantic peasant ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 10:41 PM:

And for something completely different (as some are wont to say) there's a really cool photo exhibit on line at the Smithsonian: Best Facial Hair of the Civil War.

That's the American Civil War, with both sides well represented.

#170 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 10:46 PM:

Since my poor FG just came down with shingles*, I thought I'd share the information I sent her: WebMD and eMedicine.

*She thought she'd gotten poison ivy, but it was in a classic location for herpes: on her face, just above her eyebrow and to the side. In anatomical terms, supraorbital, infratemporal. I told her she should check with her doctor to rule out Shingles, and sadly, that's what the doctor agreed it was. I know I'm at risk myself, since I had chickenpox at a later age (16), but at least I'm not likely to get anything from her. Still, her doctor said rest for two weeks, and she's taking that seriously.

#171 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 10:49 PM:

Ginger @ 170... My best wishes to your FG.

#172 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 10:51 PM:

Argh, Syd, just arrrrgh. Your FB anecdote explains why I'm afraid to get into *any* sort of conversation on FB that goes deeper than "Yay I like that photo!" - and, when I do, why I tend to then run away and never read any responses.

I encountered a similar "stoopid womens" incident recently -- thankfully/unfortunately, not in a medium that encourages feedback. I call it "DJ Fail."

The evening DJ on one of the Denver area stations -- pretty sure it was KBPI 106.7 -- he's doing bits between songs to entertain the listenership, like you do. He tells us about this opinion poll that "Ask Men" (dot com?) ran recently, asking women between ages X and XX to answer the question, "Would you rather be very intelligent or have big boobs?" Apparently, he says, about 50% answered "Big boobs, because it would get them further in the workplace."

He then laughs and says he doesn't know whether to be all AWRITE! or C'mon, People, What's Wrong With You? In other words, he's torn between celebrating that so many women want to give him eye candy, and despairing that so many women are STOOPID.

He makes absolutely no mention, of course, of a third option: despairing of a sexist world in which so many of us women get the message that we're going to need to look sexy to get anywhere in corporate USA.

The irony, of course, is doubled when the next thing on the air is an advertisement for KBPI's Babe of the Day.


That is all.

#173 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 10:56 PM:

Oh, and following that link -- I was relieved to see that the PayPal issue regarding Behind the Sofa has been resolved.

From the joint statement released by Steve Barry and PayPal:

PayPal has apologised to Steve Berry for the way it handled payments for his book about Doctor Who, Behind The Sofa. It is working with Mr Berry to make sure funds are released as they are needed to pay the publisher and other suppliers.

PayPal placed restrictions on Mr Berry’s account because the payments were received months before the book was available. This is in line with PayPal’s policy of protecting buyers in case they don’t receive goods that they have pre-ordered. But we should have explained things better and worked more quickly to find a sensible compromise to ensure the success of this very good cause.

I was chagrined at the "we should have explained things better" part until I realized that "we" in that sentence was "PayPal." Joint statements can be confusing.

#174 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 10:59 PM:

FaultyMemory@149 that 16trillion number includes some money many many times, as some of the programs were overnight loans that could be done many times in succession. So 10 million borrowed for a month turned into 300 million of borrowing.

Those numbers were then combined with longer term numbers to make the whole 16 trillion as close to a meaningless number as you can get.

#175 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 11:01 PM:

Had that three years ago, just about. Same location. If she can get antivirals, so much the better. (Send her sympathy from someone who's been there, done that and doesn't want it again: thanks ever so much, H. zoster.)

#176 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 11:14 PM:

Ginger: sympathies to the FG. My brother had shingles about 15-20 years ago and it was no fun at all. He had the chickenpox very early because he caught them from me. I was about 7 and he was about 2.5. I haven't had shingles, knock wood. (The teen has had the vax, which apparently reduces the risk of shingles.)

#177 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 11:19 PM:

Bruce Cohen @165: I have probably said it here before, but the best closed captioning typo I've seen so far is the one Mike found. In a program about WWII, they were talking about Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, and Josef Gerbils.

The one on mythbusters about blowing stuff up using sheep charges wasn't bad either.

#178 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2012, 11:48 PM:

Nicole, I've heard it said that the average woman would rather be goodlooking than smart because the average man can see better than he can think.

This manages to insult women AND (to a lesser extent) men AND also put "what women want" entirely in terms of the Male Gaze. Is that what they call a trifecta?

#179 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2012, 12:41 AM:

Xopher, re: the spelling of my name, I tend to think of "Sidney" as a primarily male spelling, and "Sydney" as a primarily female one--based strictly on the fact that my name (actually my middle name) comes from my maternal grandfather: his middle name was Sidney. I assume my mom changed the first I to a Y because she, too, looked at "Sidney" as a male name.

In the world outside my head, it appears to be a toss-up, as Jo McQueen's 163 would indicate.

Ginger, sympathies to the FG re: her shingles; my aunt had a bout or two and was miserable, so please consider the fast-recovery mojo on the way.

Nicole @ 172, Xopher @ 178, yeah, it's sad when people demonstrate so clearly that Getting It is not what they're doing. I have to admit, I'm wondering if the friend I share with the guy who blocked me will notice that Block Guy and I are no longer swapping quips and ask me why...

#180 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2012, 02:07 AM:

Xopher HalfTongue @158: I'm also acquainted with a woman named Sidne.

#181 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2012, 03:19 AM:

Hmm. I have a netbook (an ASUS Eee PC) which has been sitting on the closet shelf for a while. My sister wanted to take it on a three day trip to the Mainland, but we couldn't get it to access the WiFi router I have in the back room. Moreover, when we tried to type on it, half the letters jumped cases, so the "p" became a "6", the "l" a "3" and so on. I have no idea why. So she left it behind.

Anyway, I brought it back to the back room, cabled it with an extra Ethernet cable I have, and am running Windows Updates (it's running Windows 7) to see if that might clear my problems. I discovered that the last installation of updates was 11/23/2010. There are 97 "important" updates.

Well. Maybe 15 months of updates really will fix at least the wireless part of the problem. I have no clue why the keyboard has gone wonky. Even the external USB keyboard ignores some letters when I type on it.

I've tried downloading drivers for the keyboard. This is annoying. It's disconcerting to type a letter key and see a number displayed. You double-check the caps lock and the num lock, confirm neither is on, and then try the key again, thinking you've lost your mind.

#182 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2012, 03:23 AM:

I should have said, I plugged in an external keyboard just to be able to type "asus drivers" into a search box rather than "as4s dr5vers," which gets me no good results.

#183 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2012, 04:17 AM:

Linkmeister @181

My Asus eee PC got a replacement keyboard last autumn. It cleared up a few problems, rather like yours. They're pretty cheap parts. But I'd recommend a coat of varnish on the key tops before the markings wear off.

I didn't find it a hard job, but I'm maybe more adventurous than some. There are PDFs of service manuals out there on the web, covering this sort of work. But there may be model-specific aspects.

I must admit, an eee PC with Windows 7 seems a bit strange to me. Mine is an early all-solid-state model, running fine with Linux.

Wi-Fi, my first inclination would be to check just which security/encryption standard the router is set to use. The Linux wi-fi setup tool I have is a lot less untidy—everything in one place—than the way Windows does it.

#184 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2012, 08:50 AM:

In re gendering Sidney/Sydney sight-unseen; there is a baby-naming tendency in the US since at least the mid-80s that any name with excess (or, sometimes, any) Ys in it is by definition female.

This leads to things like my daughter's classmate Mykylya. (Pronounced identically to Michaela, or at least how Michaela used to be pronounced when I was in school -- mih-KAY-luh).

Her male classmate Cashmere takes me rather more aback, though it's a perfectly well-spelt common (to me; I knit) word. And her classmate Aaron Sun, who is Korean, amuses my Farscape-geek side more than I can say, because it's pronounced EXACTLY like Aeryn Sun. He's a boy, though. And in his mom's view, his 'real' name isn't Aaron, of course, that's just his American/Christian name for forms, because nobody spells anything in characters over here.

#185 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2012, 08:53 AM:

@Serge: John Carter was never going to be a movie of my vision of Barsoom, but I thought it was great. Given the look and plot they chose, it could all have been horribly grim, but they got a good deal of humour in there, too.

#186 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2012, 09:05 AM:

Elliott Mason @184:
Pronounced identically to Michaela, or at least how Michaela used to be pronounced when I was in school -- mih-KAY-luh.

One of my male Italian colleagues is named Michele, pronounced mih-KAY-luh. But then, in my last job, I worked with a man named Anne (AH-nuh).

Moving abroad has certainly scrambled my ability to guess gender based on name.

#187 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2012, 09:47 AM:

abi @ 186... I worked with a man named Anne

Ever heard of the Jayne Austen Book & Gun Club?

#188 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised and grumpy ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2012, 11:37 AM:

Last morning at E's place. Called Good Shepherd; no beds available today--"Call again tomorrow." Will call Ascencia. Hope to speak with a live person rather than a machine.

Woke up two hours before I planned. Sick. Full-on hacking-cough mode, voice mostly gone. If I have to leave a message at Ascencia, maybe the voice issue will inspire a call back?

I went for several years where I didn't get sick at all. The last few years, I could count on one bout somewhere between December and February.

This is the third time in two months.

I mean, I know my immune system is likely as effective right now as a window screen made of Swiss cheese would be at keeping out flies, but this is ridiculous. And it feels like the same damned thing over and over, so I don't know if I just keep catching variants of the same bug, or if I haven't really gotten over the first bout and keep relapsing.

I'm TIRED of it. And I don't have a place to sleep tonight. Yet, anyway. If I can't get in at Ascencia today, I'll try begging my Passageways case manager for an overnight bed at Union Station. And if that doesn't get me anywhere, then I'll call E's sister and ask if there's room in her driveway for me to park there and sleep in the car. (She did say I once I could spend a night on their sofa if needed, but she's got kids and I don't want to pass them what I have.) I'm okay with sleeping in the car, if necessary, but I don't want to have to worry about the cops finding me and asking me to move along.

I've got too much to do to be sick, especially with the jobs program requirements. Now all I want to do is cry. I hate this. I hate it I hate it I hate it.


#189 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2012, 11:51 AM:

Ah, Syd, sorry to hear it! Being sick just makes everything harder. Virtual hugs beamed your way.

#190 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2012, 11:56 AM:

Syd (188): Ugh. My sympathies.

Will you accept an Internet hug?

#191 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2012, 12:01 PM:

Syd @ !88: My sympathies! Being sick on top of everything else is not fun. Count me in for another virtual hug if you like.

#192 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised and less grumpy ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2012, 12:11 PM:

I called Ascencia. The very nice woman who answered the phone told me a little more about how their process works: 4 intakes a day lasting 3 to 4 hours, Monday through Thursday between 7:00 - 11:00 AM, first come, first served. I think she said it still only gets me on a waiting list. She said they only had 3 come in so far today, but there's no guarantee that they'd still have that last space by the time I got there--and that intake time would run me late for the jobs program, and they are VERY touchy about that. Anyway, this woman suggested I be there before 7:00 AM tomorrow so I stand a chance of being one of the first 4.

Which might--might--cover me for tomorrow, doesn't doesn't help for tonight.

So I called my Passageways case manager. Fully utilized the level of "pathetic" provided by being sick and not having a place to sleep. Result:

I'm in for an emergency overnight bed at Union Station Adult Center! And I can park my car in the staff lot, and as long as I'm there by 7:00 PM, I'm good--which was worrying me a bit because if I'd had to be there during business hours, I'd have been SOL due to the jobs program ending at 4:00 PM.

Well, that's a relief.

#193 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2012, 12:30 PM:

Ginger @170: I had shingles (in my 20s, for all love). It was comparatively mild: a half-dollar sized patch on my side, near my waist. (I'm told I had one chicken pock, as a kid.) Nevertheless, I remember feeling just astonishingly run-down for, like, two months.

Syd: {{{hugs}}} It really does seem excessively unfair that you should have to deal with all this sh*t and be sick, too. Sadly, not surprising; stress is notorious for knocking one's health out the window. And you've had more than your fair share.

#194 ::: FaultyMemory ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2012, 12:41 PM:


No prob. It was fun, dredging up high school German and distilling meaning out of isolated-word online dictionaries.

#195 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2012, 01:32 PM:

A new Simon's Cat is out.

Shelf Life

#196 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2012, 03:30 PM:

Syd @ 188: Arrrrgh. Internet hugs from me too, if you want them.

And @ 192: Hooray for a small victory!

I wish so hard I could give you more concrete help. If it helps to know someone is thinking of you -- I am. I may be on totally the wrong coast, in a whole nother industry from yours, but I'm keeping eyes and ears out just in case I do happen to hear of some opportunity or resource that could help you.

And you know, as I type that, I think of something and I don't know why I didn't think of it before.

This may be a long shot. But if you have a graduate or professional degree, and a past or present affiliation with any of the schools listed on this page (where "affiliation" means "degree, current enrollment, postdoctoral training, employment, or faculty appointment"), you can apply to American Journal Experts as a contract-basis copyeditor of academic and professional journal articles, book chapters, etc. Assignments and submissions done completely online.

I do contract copyediting for them and I can confirm that they are a reputable organization.

I have no idea of your educational background or whether you've studied or worked at any of those universities. I apologize if those conditions make this whole idea useless to you (and I really wish I knew of something like that with fewer arbitrary conditions). But just on the off-chance, I wanted to mention it.

#197 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2012, 03:50 PM:

Encyclopedia Brittanica discontinues its print edition.

244 years... That's a pretty long time.

#198 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2012, 04:52 PM:

Before I forget to mention it, the dogwoods have bloomed in Charlottesville!

OT: Surreal abandoned amusement park in Berlin.

#199 ::: Ian C. Racey ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2012, 05:11 PM:

@198 David Harmon

I wonder if that's where they filmed the movie Hanna. It looks a lot like it, and it did take place in Berlin.

#200 ::: Lin D ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2012, 06:09 PM:

Meeting of Light: Is anyone going to Lunacon?

#201 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2012, 06:42 PM:

Lin @200 I live near enough to the con hotel that I shall be commuting. I don't have any specific plans yet regarding panels and other events yet, though.

#202 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2012, 07:01 PM:

I'll be at Lunacon all weekend. Saturday will be my busy day; Friday and Sunday are currently clear. Susan is going, too, and so is Terry Karney. All three of us are on programming.

#203 ::: Lin D ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2012, 08:16 PM:

Mary Aileen, I will look you all up on programming. I'll be trailing The Wombat all weekend, who's on programming on Saturday. Hilary Hertzoff, we'll see what happens.

#204 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2012, 08:17 PM:

196: I got all excited until I saw it wanted people with a minimum of a Master's degree.

#205 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2012, 08:19 PM:

Ian @ 199:

I was wondering that too, so I did some googling. Wikipedia says that it is the same park: SpreePark in East Berlin. It's been shut down for awhile, but still has an operating website.

#206 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2012, 08:39 PM:

Lin D (203): I hope to see you there. If you catch me after a panel, we can probably talk for a bit. There's a picture of me on Serge's Making Light and Faces, so you know who to look for.

#207 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2012, 09:30 PM:

Lin D @203 and Mary Aileen @206 This is where I remember that I meant to send a photo to Serge and never got around to it. :(

I find the schedule on the web is very hard to read. However it looks like Friday will mostly be dealer's room and filking for me (so, flexible). I'll be getting to the con between 5:30pm and 6pm - I have to work until 5pm and I may or may not stop for food on the way.

#208 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2012, 09:34 PM:

I should add that I tend to be very shy about approaching people and would probably do better with a set meeting time.

#209 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2012, 09:37 PM:

Hilary Hertzoff (207): I hope to see you there, also! We may run into each other in the dealer's room Friday. Or the Art Show reception/Meet the Pros party, if you're going to that.

The web schedule is so hard to read that I haven't yet tried to figure out what panels I might like to attend (as opposed to be on). I hope the printed one comes out better.

#210 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2012, 09:38 PM:

Since we're talking about meetups, is anyone besides me going to be at PaxEast in April?

#211 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2012, 09:38 PM:

Hilary (208): A set meeting time would suit me fine, too, if we can agree on something. But do feel free to come up to me after one of my panels.

#212 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2012, 10:07 PM:

Mary Aileen @211 I'll try, but I've said that before and chickened out.

Probably the best way to recognise me is that I'll be carrying a messenger bag made of TARDIS and celestial print fabric all weekend and if I'm sitting in a panel (or in the con suite), I'll probably be knitting socks (pale blue) or fingerless gloves (multicolored yarn, mostly red, black and white) on dpns.

#213 ::: Brenda Kalt ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2012, 11:39 PM:

Syd @188 By the time you read this it will be tomorrow, so I hope you're feeling better. Even if you aren't, hang in there. I'm adding my {{{hugs}}} to the ones already on the way.

#214 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2012, 12:50 AM:

Elliott Mason @ 204: Yeah, they want graduate or professional degrees. The documents to be edited tend to be pretty field-specific, so an advanced knowledge of the relevant jargon is important. Especially because most of the documents are written by non-native English speakers, so it's important to have read enough similar literature that you can figure out what specialized word or phrase they meant to use. I've occasionally edited papers outside of my field, and found that I kept having to look up literature in that field to get the jargon right.

So I can see why they require those degrees; there would be a correlation between having an advanced degree in a field and having read lots of the literature in that field. And you really do need familiarity with the literature to edit for usage in a specialized paper.

The limited list of universities -- now that, I really don't understand.

#215 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2012, 01:07 AM:

The limited list of universities is to indicate that they're Really Serious about having people who've got legitimate credentials, not just mail-order degrees. It's much easier to point to a list than to vet every single university an applicant might have gone to. It makes winnowing out the applicants easier and it reassures the clients.

#216 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2012, 01:58 AM:

Syd, more {{{hugs}}} from me, also.

#217 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2012, 03:12 AM:

The open thread, having threaded, moves on (and waits for no poster)...

- Xopher, just so. It can be depressing.
- Syd, renewed sympathies. Get well soon.

#218 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2012, 04:54 AM:

Caroline @214: I was hopeful, because I've done jargon proofreading before. When I was in grade and high school, for example, I copyedited the Herpetological Review and the Journal of Herpetology ... my mom edited for them, and being hyperlexic, I bugged her to pass me the pages as she finished. By the third issue where I caught significant errors she'd missed, she called up the editor and told him to put me on the masthead.

That and five bucks'll get you a cup of coffee, but it was fun -- lots and LOTS of PhDs out there know all kinds of amazing things about their field, but not how NOT to write their sentences backwards and inside-out (and these were mostly English-native writers, just academic ones). Of course, I was also reading Science magazine nearly cover-to-cover every ish, so I guess jargon isn't a problem for me.

#219 ::: Elliott Mason got gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2012, 04:55 AM:

I wonder if it was punctuational or link-related.

#220 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2012, 05:50 AM:

Syd @188@ {{{{{HUG}}}}} - 'cos you need it. Sympathies for the cold, and the lack of housing, and the lack of job, and... Good thoughts heading your way, as always. Hope you feel better soon, that emergency overnight housing morphs into long-term housing, and that a good job comes your way soon.

#221 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2012, 06:04 AM:


Borked link. Irretrievably borked, too; all I see are the <a> and </a> tags.

#222 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2012, 06:24 AM:

abi @221, plus my 218: Aha. I was just linking to the journals; they're both put out by the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, and are easily googleable, so I won't bother trying to cutpaste on no sleep again tonight. This morning. Whatever. :->

#223 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2012, 08:45 AM:

Syd: {{{HUGS}}} from me too, I haven't been weighing in much, but it's good to see you're surviving, and chipping away at your trials.

#224 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2012, 09:56 AM:

Linkmeister @181, check the netbook's keyboard for a Function button. It may have gotten accidentally pressed, and will cause that "letters replaced by numbers and symbols" issue. Pressing it again should fix the problem. It's often located in the lower left-hand corner and may say "Fn" or "FN" in blue.

#225 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2012, 12:44 PM:

Syd, I've also been lurking and listening with concern and hope that things will get better for you and I would worry if you stopped posting.

And along those lines, the information about contributing to the kitties' boarding costs came up while I was short of funds. I've now finally completed the refinance of my mortgage and am back to having spare cash. Can someone contact me with the information on how to do so? It was long enough ago that I've lost it.

#226 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2012, 12:52 PM:

Most useless and irritating call of the month: National Geographic, to thank me for being a member. Bad enough. But I'm not a member, having only bought a gift from their store catalog. Inanity ensued.

Wouldn't have gotten out of the tub to answer this except I'm expecting a delivery that is supposed to call in advance. I've gotten three robo-calls this morning--is it related to sunspots, phases of the moon, or something quantumly entangled with the Priority Bit that makes printers fail at the most inopportune times?

#227 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2012, 01:17 PM:

Hilary @225:

You have mail on the account you use to post comments here.

#228 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2012, 02:02 PM:

HLN: Woman finally emerges from two-month stint of stress and depression, thanks to new appropriate medication and new cat. Said cat rejoices in the name "Alfred Pennyworth Borden Baughman-[spouse's last name], the Ridiculous Cat", and is a roughly 6-9 month old tuxedo boy full of charm and cuddles, and has wormed his way into woman and husband's hearts in about a week. Elder cats, Circe and Bubastis, are of mixed feelings about New Cat, but transition going remarkably well.

Syd, I'm sorry I don't have any help or ideas to offer, as I don't have any contacts in the LA area. I'm thinking the best of thoughts for you, though.

abi, if you'd forward me the information, as well? I can't spare anything this week, Ridiculous Cat kind of rearranged my finances, but next paycheck I certainly can.

#229 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2012, 02:21 PM:

Jennifer @228:

Congratulations on Ridiculous Cat; he sounds lovely.

Also, mail: you haz it.

#230 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2012, 02:26 PM:

Mary Aileen @211: But do feel free to come up to me after one of my panels.

Hilary Hertzoff @212: I'll try, but I've said that before and chickened out.

Mary, pin a 5.5x8 sheet of paper on your lapel, on which is scrawled in big letters: "Hilary Hertzoff, where are you?"


#231 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2012, 02:33 PM:

My beloved owner in Days of Yore was a tuxedo name of Squeaky. He was very possessive of me, especially once that nasty old dog passed away.

#232 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2012, 02:37 PM:

Abi @229 - I thanked you in email but thanks again for getting the information out so quickly.

Jacque @230 - That may well work. ;)

#233 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2012, 02:50 PM:

Jacque (230), Hilary (232): Nah, If I see a TARDIS-bag-wielding person in the audience at one of my panels, I'll just say loudly, "Hilary! Come up and see me when we're through here!" ;)

Or maybe I'll make a pre-emptive announcement at all of my panels, whether or not I see her. (Not really.)

#234 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2012, 03:02 PM:

abi: Thank you, for both the congratulations and the info. :)

We're pretty sure, from Freddie's behavior, that he was abandoned fairly recently -- he's very well-socialized, and his fur wasn't too rough the day he followed me home (after I gave him some scritches -- there's a lot of outdoor-indoor cats in our apartment complex, and Husband and I tend to keep an eye on the ones in our area so we can call the Humane Society if they look abused or abandoned or hurt, and the best way to do that is to pay a little attention to them every so often.) He wailed so piteously when I went inside that I thought he might be hungry, so I put a bowl of food out and he tore into it. IME, cats don't eat like that unless they're extremely hungry, so I consulted with the Husband and brought him inside.

Originally I planned to leave him in the guest bathroom for an hour or two, then transfer him to our computer room, but while he was perfectly happy to be in the bathroom as long as I was in there, his cries when I left him alone in there were heartbreaking. (And I'm pretty immune to cats yelling "Let me out! Let me out!")

So, now we have a third cat, and he has very obviously decided that we're HIS FAMILY. That includes the older cats, and poor Freddo is entirely confused when he walks over to cuddle and gets hissed at. They were all in the same room this weekend, though, and at one point ON THE SAME COUCH, and there has been the occasional nose-touch, so the integration is going better than I could have hoped.

The hole in our hearts where our previous younger cat (a floofy orange male we called Tiggar, who was just as flouncy and bouncy as his name implies, and who died of kidney failure due to melamine poisoning several years ago) was mostly healed, but now I think it's been filled.

We've been very lucky with our cats; with a couple exceptions, they've been good-natured, affectionate, and even-tempered, and I'm at the point where I think things turn out best when we let the universe match us up with a cat. (The exceptions were due to serious illness, in one case, and doing a favor for a friend, in the other.)

#235 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2012, 06:35 PM:

Jennifer Baughman #234: who died of kidney failure due to melamine poisoning

Was that from the big pet-food contamination incident? My sympathies!

#236 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2012, 07:21 PM:

persephone @ #224, thanks. It didn't work, but all suggestions gratefully accepted.

#237 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2012, 09:10 PM:

Mary Aileen @#233 and Lin D. If it helps, I do tend to check twitter frequently during cons. Same name as the lj link I finally remembered to put in the url box. :) I also check email, and an lj pm will catch me that way.

#238 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2012, 12:19 AM:

HLN: Went for a second job interview at the beginning of this week. Went much more smoothly than the one last month.

In fact, I nailed it; got the call this afternoon that I was the top applicant. Still have the drug screening, physical and background check to do, but I expect to start within a few days.

I'll be working for the Security department of a popular golf-club manufacturer. ("Popular" as in their facility covers nearly 50 acres.) Still graveyard shifts, 40 hours as opposed to the 32 I was working at the previous job, but over four days so I still have three days off per week.

And that extra 8 hours will come in handy, since the Unexpected Expense of the Month Club's March selection was over three thousand in auto work.

(It's the first major servicing and other work the car's had in the five years we've had it, so it's not much more than I figure on for carwork on an annual basis, but still....)

And I even start at a half-dollar more per hour than I was making previously. AND the commute will only be 8 miles, instead of 15, which should save at least a tank of gas per month. Essentially, that's an extra 25 cents per hour.

And no drunks to deal with! (At least not on a regular basis.) NO DRUNKS!!! Yee-hah!

So I'm feeling pretty good about all that.

Lest the universe let me feel too cocky, though, I discovered after getting home from that interview that someone had used my credit card number last week to order $500 worth of muscle car parts over the Internet.

Serious annoyance. After I informed the credit card company, they contacted the parts vendor, who claimed they'd been informed (supposedly by... me?) that the card had been stolen, and that they'd deleted the order before shipping the parts. (So why was that charge still sitting on the list of credit card transactions, with no sign of a reversal after an entire week?)

New card & number issued, fake charge reversed, and that one charge seems to have been the only fraudulent transaction. Still, it'd be nice to know when and where and how my card number got compromised, and to know who the [expletive] [expletive] [vulgar noun] was who used it.

#239 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2012, 12:39 AM:

Congratulations, Bruce! And boo on the card-stealing. I'm glad your group was on top of it.

#240 ::: etv13 ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2012, 03:39 AM:

Does anyone have any pointers to resources in Texas (Houston area) for protecting an elderly woman from predatory neighbors? Since my uncle's death several months ago, my aunt has been "helped" by neighbors she didn't know before, who have been suggesting to her that she should make them joint signers on her bank account, and give them joint title to her house, so that she can leave them these things without their passing through probate. My aunt in conversations with my mother (her younger sister) is affectionate one moment, then calls back an hour later to scream at her. I would have at least some inkling of what to do about this in California, but I am not at all familiar with Texas welfare agencies, elder care laws, and the like, and would welcome any suggestions.

#241 ::: etv13has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2012, 03:42 AM:

Apparently I have unwittingly invoked a Word of Power.

#242 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2012, 04:51 AM:

Open threadiness: Some things I have to share, such as this remarkable thesis -

"The emergence of history as such gestures toward the fantasy of the nation-state. The discourse of normative value(s) is homologous with the (re)formation of power/knowledge. The illusion of civil society asks to be read as the legitimation of agency."

I had to sit down and think a bit about that one. The source is even more interesting than the sentiment.

#243 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2012, 05:37 AM:

Bruce @238

Here in the UK we're told that transactions of that sort, essentially mail order, are only delivered to the cardholder's address, and the card companies have checks in place on data submitted—"Verified by Visa" for instance—but I recently miskeyed my house number and it all went through OK. Since the delivery address is my next-door neighbour I'm not worried too much, but this is just the sort of mistake that you'd expect a computer to notice.

#244 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2012, 05:56 AM:

etv13 @ 240

List of general TX resources, from the federal Administration on Aging.

Speaking of AoA, you might try visiting the National Center on Elder Abuse, for more context/information.

Finally, HHS has an eldercare locator, which may also be of help (the list of categories includes elder abuse).

As far as elder care laws go, IANAL, but in a slightly different situation, we were looking into "elder exploitation," "financial abuse," and "undue influence."

#245 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2012, 08:42 AM:

Dave Bell @243: The only address-portion (US) retailers can get from the credit card companies is zip code. They don't have the rest, so cannot verify it.

#246 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2012, 08:59 AM:

Addendum to my 245: However, a lot of e-tailers down here won't let you enter separate shipping and billing addresses, and consider that a safety feature. We've run across that with the grandparents attempting to buy stuff for my kid -- they see no reason to ship it to Toronto when we live in Chicago.

#247 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2012, 09:51 AM:

Elliott Mason (246): How the heck is that a safety feature? I don't have anything delivered to my home address, because it just sits on my doorstep until I get home. Except for the time UPS delivered a signature-needed item of mine to a neighbor of unknown reliability without my (prior) knowledge or consent. (That neighbor did happen to be okay, but UPS should have gotten my approval first!)

#248 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2012, 09:53 AM:

etv @240:

The State of Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services:


Your aunt sounds like she may need a legal guardian if none of your mutual relatives live close enought to keep an eye on her.

#249 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2012, 10:34 AM:

Mary Aileen @247: Heck if I know. Probably the same people implemented it as made my husband's bank update its 'safety procedure' ... Last night, he was required to pick three 'security questions' from the same short list of nine, and provide text answers to them that included no numbers and were between 4 and 10 characters long. I mean, seriously, if you're going to require 'security questions' then (a) allow any input into the 'answer' field, and (b) LET PEOPLE TYPE THEIR OWN QUESTIONS. Or, at minimum, have THREE SEPARATE lists or 20+ options or something ...

Basically, for people who answer the questions 'straight' (and not facetiously/abstractly, as we do in this household), this bank is requiring all account-holders to make their accounts trivally hackable (with research into the lives and histories of the account-holders).

Very secure.

#250 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2012, 10:56 AM:

Elliott Mason (249): Yeesh! That is seriously bad.

#251 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2012, 10:57 AM:

Elliott Mason, I have my security answers written down (and on my computer) because my credit union had a list of favorites. Really, UICCU? My favorite movie, drink, and person? Way to create problems with that last one. I've also been tripped up by 'high school mascot' because I can never remember if there's a 'the' and any capitalization.

#252 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2012, 11:34 AM:

Gray Woodland @242: Nifty site there.

"The poetics of the gaze may be parsed as the invention of the image."

#253 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2012, 11:36 AM:

etv13 @240:

Here's where I'd start: About Texas Adult Protective Services

It sounds like her neighbors are working up to financially exploit her, and that's something that Adult Protective Services actively gets involved in.

Phone: 1-800-252-5400
Website: Texas Abuse Hotline

#254 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2012, 11:42 AM:

David @234: Yes, it was. He was prone to urinary tract and renal problems anyway, and though we acted as soon as we found out about it, it was too late. He went from fine one day to mildly lethargic the next, and the next day, when we came back from running a few errands, he was dead. It was traumatic; because he was still eating, drinking and socializing, we were in 'monitor and take to the vet if it gets worse', and we never got the chance. Husband blamed himself for a long time afterward.

Bruce @238: Congratulations on the new job, and glad the credit card was only an annoyance, instead of an actual loss! There's a rash of card fraud out there -- my card had to be replaced recently, as well as two of my friends'. I wish they'd do more than just tell us 'a local restaurant' or 'a banking database' -- I'd like to know who, so I can take my business elsewhere.

#255 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2012, 11:45 AM:

Diatryma @252: I'm careful to squint at the questions and answer them skew/facetiously. For example, my mother changed her legal first name after high school, so when they ask for "mother's maiden name" I give the one that only appears on her birth certificate and not any of her later docs. For 'high school' I've been known to answer "Willoughby Chase." As long as I'm careful to be consistent in my squinting and remember what facetious answer I gave them (for which I can make a hint-sheet that addresses the direction of facetiousness without giving the answer), we're golden.

I also like really weird fictional proper nouns for passwords, especially from the kinds of universes where punctuation is part of a name. Then I can leave a sheet that hints towards the universe and character/country/horse/whatever and it's reasonably secure.

Obviously people like Yoda and Gandalf are too popular, but.

#256 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2012, 12:01 PM:

Hyperlocal news...

Man discovers that it's possible to do the Walter Huston Happy Dance while sitting.
(Man's tax consultant said he'd overpaid the state AND Uncle Sam in 2011.)

#257 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2012, 12:21 PM:

For those jonesin' for a right-proper carnival ride Wheeeee!!!! ...

#258 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2012, 12:32 PM:

Also, for those with a taste for Gamelan and/or Javanese Shadow Puppet Theatre, tune in 8pm ET tonight!

#259 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2012, 12:39 PM:

Quite a ride, Jacque!

#261 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2012, 01:05 PM:

Re: security questions (Elliott Mason @ 249, Diatryma @ 251, Elliott Mason @ 255): It drives me crazy that most "security questions" are facts that are trivially Googleable or easy to discover from public records if you've got someone's name. If you ever listed family members and talked about your high school or college on Facebook, posted photos of your pets on Flickr, or discussed your wedding on The Knot, then the entire internet already has your answers to like 80% of "security questions." Even if you're entirely pseudonymous and carefully file off all serial numbers online, a family member, friend, or lover who was maliciously motivated to mess with your bank account would easily know those answers. These things are not Top Secret Classified Knowledge, and they shouldn't be treated like things only one person could know.

I either answer security questions oddly/fictitiously, or put in gibberish "answers" (basically treating the security questions like extra passwords). (So far, I haven't run afoul of restrictions about number of characters or using alphabetical characters only.)

Either way, I write the security questions and answers for each website in a "secure note" in my password safe program, requiring my master password to access the note. That way I can have non-Googleable security answers while not having to remember what "wrong" answer I gave at each particular website -- and having at least one more layer of security than just writing them down in the clear.

Like anything else in my password safe, it's only as secure as my master password, of course. But I can't think of a better solution. At least until I become Dictator of the Internet and hire Bruce Schneier to forcibly re-engineer (with extreme prejudice) everything on the internet to use something less stupid than passwords and security questions.


#262 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2012, 01:32 PM:

The websites that make you use "security questions" aren't checking to see if you know the right answer. They're only checking to see if you put in the same answer.

How would they know that your first pet's name wasn't 7eDa$7uB and that your mother's maiden name isn't H73AZese?

#263 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2012, 01:51 PM:

Elliott Mason @ 218: lots and LOTS of PhDs out there know all kinds of amazing things about their field, but not how NOT to write their sentences backwards and inside-out (and these were mostly English-native writers, just academic ones). Of course, I was also reading Science magazine nearly cover-to-cover every ish, so I guess jargon isn't a problem for me.

Oh Lord have mercy, I definitely know about PhDs who can't write an intelligible sentence in their native language about a topic they basically invented. You were doing God's work there.

I find that copyediting for non-English-native writers can be a somewhat different problem. Sometimes a particular word or phrase gets translated literally, rather than getting translated into the corresponding English jargon, and you have to make the connection and know what they intended to say. Those are fun, like crosswords.

Sometimes their usage of a specialized term is (or sounds like) perfectly grammatical English, but standard usage of that term in the field is quite different, and you would be unlikely to guess that unless you'd encountered it before. It's like reading "'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe" -- but in this field, "brillig" is always used in the plural, "gimble" is always a transitive verb, and "wabe" is an adjective that can't be nouned.

Often, it's more like reading "Brillig, the wabe gyred and gimbled toves slithy." Unless you already have some knowledge of each of the unfamiliar words, you'll have real trouble sorting out the grammar to construct a sentence that says what the author intended.

In short, with English-native writers, context is usually helpful. With non-English-native writers, a lot more situations arise where context is no help at all.

#264 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2012, 01:55 PM:

@262: Aw crap! Now I gotta go change my answers!

#265 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2012, 02:49 PM:

I suspect that we're approaching a card number singularity in the US, based on the length of time that I've kept a particular card number. I had the same number on my cards for years, then there was one issue 5 years ago, and now in the last year or two, I think the numbers last about a year or so. Once, someone bought a bunch of private servers, once someone booked a trip to malaysia, Once they just ran preauths on netflix and the sony psn network. (And probably more I'm forgetting).

For me, it's more of a hassle than anything else, especially changing around all those auto pay bits that make my life that much more sane.

Tangentially related, I've got a passing familiarity with the PCI data standard. One would think that they would actually follow that standard closely on their own website. One card issuerer (which starts with D) managed to send me a copy of my password which I'd been using on their site for years. From the phone conversation that preceded the email, I'd bet that the rep had access to it. At least they now have their login form totally ssl. It used to be hosted on a non-ssl page. So (potentially) totally broken, especially when they put a lock icon next to the form in the page. I strongly suspect that they're balancing the costs from customer service vs the costs from exploits, and it's more expensive to have call staff than to chargeback a merchant.

#266 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2012, 02:52 PM:

A Cape Cod clinic is offering a free pizza with a vasectomy during March Madness.

I don't know whether to think this is inspired marketing or a sexist atrocity.

#267 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2012, 02:53 PM:

Someone is doing a project on Wikipedia griefers, a video called The Encyclopedia Game. There's a Kickstarter project.

#268 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2012, 03:10 PM:

Hilary, Jennifer...thank you, on behalf of my furballs. :)

Speaking of the furballs, Garbo actually came all the way out of her carrier when I visited yesterday! Of course, she soon went back in, and seems to have decided that the amount of in-carrier petting I was giving her is now too much, because she's taken a couple of swipes at me when I reach inside it. But--she came all the way out while I was in the same room!

Wednesday night at Union Station was...ever so appreciated. I was running some kind of fever--actually had to go to my car at the break during the jobs program that day and get my sweater, which is almost unheard of for me. Sleeping in my car would have been miserable. And I was able to overnight there again last night--and my case manager set me up with a bed for the weekend as well. :D

I just wish someone had mentioned that showers are only permitted in the evenings; I got up this morning, got my hair just wet enough to make for a really bad hair day, and got the word from one of the staff about the evening schedule. I didn't think, under the circumstances, that trying to get an exception was politic, but my hair looks like hell.

Still sick. Mostly coughing with a little sneezing, which is more than enough. Coffee House Guy, who if I haven't mentioned it before is a chiropractor, got some antibiotics for me from one of his MD friends. On his advice, I took two while we sat in Starbucks working.

I guess they weren't meant to be taken on an empty stomach, because about ten minutes later, my stomach was even more empty. Urgh. But that's the only time it's happened, hurrah!, and I think the coughing is getting a tiny bit better.

Monday morning I meet with my new case manager at PATH. She said she was going to check on the wait time at the PATH/Petco facility, so I may have a little more clarity about the future.

Thanks again, everyone. Knowing you care, helps. :)

#269 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2012, 03:21 PM:

Randolph @267: shared elsewhere. Very good production on their shorter pieces!

#270 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2012, 03:34 PM:

Caroline @267: Right-o. Sorry, I just got excited at the thought someone might pay me to do technical copyediting ... 7 years unemployed and counting, and back when I was actively sending out resumes, I applied for over 100 positions (most office-work or actual wordsmithing) and got not a single (*&^%&* callback. Not one. Disheartening. So I gave up, went back to school (I now have an AA), and took parenting leave.

It's just about hitting the point where I'm going to have to suck it up and try to dive back into the job market again, and it terrifies me. My resume is all over the place (I was DOING editing and document production at most of them, but nobody HIRED me for it and my job titles don't match).

Several of the positions I applied for Back When (and I live in a metro area containing several textbook publishers, which seemed promising) said there was a proofreading test they'd give you, which I salivate at the thought of ... but none of them called me in to take it.

#271 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2012, 03:56 PM:

Syd @268, thanks for the update. Hope you have a good weekend and get well.

#272 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2012, 04:26 PM:

Bruce Arthurs @238: Sounds like the stars are aligning usefully for you. Yay! 'S wonderful to hear some good news.

#273 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2012, 04:36 PM:

I keep finding stuff these days: if it's too much, let me know.

Mike Daisey lied to Ira Glass, and all of us who saw "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs", because he thought it made better theater. I like my people who write fiction to actually admit that's what they're doing. They often give better information that way. The play was very effective, but pretending there was more truth in in than there was -- that makes me distrust what was true and useful.

#274 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2012, 04:45 PM:


The combination there is just so jarring--get a vasectomy and we'll throw in a free pizza? It's like something from The Simpsons...,

#275 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2012, 05:14 PM:

James McDonald @262: The websites that make you use "security questions" aren't checking to see if you know the right answer.

Ross Anderson (Cambridge computer security guy) points out that some banking websites, for example, have as part of their terms & conditions that all the information you give them is accurate to the best of your knowledge. He speculates that saying your mother's maiden name was "7asdf234ra!!!sd" could violate this* and make it easier for them to avoid any liability for problems.

* unless, of course, it really was

#276 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2012, 05:19 PM:

#273: Foxconn is celebrating the retraction of the story by hanging colorful bunting on their anti-suicide nets.

* * *
This is a strange news day. The co-founder / star of the Kony 2012 video was arrested for, um, public pleasuring and vandalizing cars.

#277 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2012, 05:32 PM:

Syd, I trust that others here with actual medical training would chime in as appropriate, but I would be very wary of antibiotics issued through non-official channels. Problems with drug resistence and so on....

Otherwise, continued good wishes. It's frustrating to me that we haven't been able to do better by you.

#278 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2012, 05:33 PM:

Elliott Mason @270: You have my sympathies. If it's not too hlepy, once you start getting into resume-building, I'd suggest a functional resume, rather than a chronological resume. The functional resume highlights what you can do, and downplays any employment gaps (like parenting leave). Also, don't worry about job titles not matching with what you actually did; employers will be looking at the things you accomplished, rather than the job titles. (Especially these days of layoff survivors frantically trying to cover downsized teammates.)

#279 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2012, 05:51 PM:

Congratulations, Mike Daisey! You've just taken ammunition away from every whistleblower, every left-winger, every person who might take a risk to stand up in front of a corporate tank...

apparently I'm too mad to get a coherent metaphor going.

#280 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2012, 05:53 PM:

Old-timey gamer folk: M.A.R. Barker, creator of the Tekumel setting, has passed away at age 83.

#281 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2012, 06:40 PM:

Woo! Troupe of Indian Fancy Dancers just started up outside.

Sometimes, it's very cool, working on the Boulder Pearl Street Mall. (Sometimes, like when the guy does drum solos on his buckets for hours on end, well, not so much.)

#282 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2012, 06:43 PM:

Stefan Jones @280: Barker also wrote a few well-received novels, published by DAW in the US.

#283 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2012, 07:48 PM:

#282: Read them, loved them.

Barker wrote at least two more novels, but I understand that they aren't up to the standard of the first two. More travelogue-ish.

#284 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2012, 08:55 PM:

Re: Map of Ikea Particle

I have consulted with my husband. We've taken the invisible shortcut to kitchenware at least once.

#285 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2012, 11:10 PM:


There are security questions you enter, but then there are also "knowledge based authentication" questions, where some service looks up stuff about you in public and commercial databases and then asks you about it. ("Which of the following addresses have you ever lived at.") This is fundamentally wrongheaded (an attacker could presumably have the same public/commercial databases at hand), but it solves a practical problem--lots of people want to verify the identity of the person they're talking to, but don't have much prior interaction to build that verification on.

#286 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2012, 11:46 PM:

Stefan @280: Well, dang. Rest well, Professor Barker. I will always remember hearing tales from friends who gamed regularly at the Hall of Ancient Splendor, sometimes called other affectionate names.

Excuse me. I have to go hang up my wind chimes and then throw some cinnamon around.

(Hello, Victor, Michael, Jeanne, and anybody else who's reading this.)

#287 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2012, 12:29 AM:

Jennifer Baughman @278: I wouldn't know where to start. I completely retooled my resume in 2004-ish (when I got Very Serious about the job search and signed up for a quarter's membership in a local jobseeker's community resource thing), sent it out a lot lot lot, got nothing, got depressed, talked to a counselor there, and when I said "I bet they're making a 'college' pile and a 'no college' pile, and never getting around to call my pile," he said, "So go back to school." I said, "I have no time and no money," and he said, "Time, you got. And HWC is $75/credit hour, get to it."

So I did … now I have my 2-year degree.

I've looked at 'rewrite your resume' websites, and not only do they seem to be trying to convince me to make the resume version of the stuff Websites That Suck used to make fun of (Strange paper! Headshot photos! Funny typefaces! Blinking scrolling marquees! None of these are a good idea, according to the jobseeker-resource community I was once in …)

I have not actually sent out my resume since getting my Associate's. The plan was to fit in the second kid quickly and go right on to finish my 4-year degree, none of which (for financial reasons) now seem likely to happen before I re-hit the job market, and I'm freaking out over here.

If any experienced and helpful (or hlepful, I'll take hlep at this point) Fluorospherian is willing to run an eyeball over my resume and give me their opinion of what needs machete-ing, I'm happy to send it under separate cover for such consultation.

#288 ::: etv13 ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2012, 12:39 AM:

KayTei, Lori Coulson, Jennifer Baughman: Many thanks to each of you. That's very helpful.

#289 ::: gaukler ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2012, 12:44 AM:

I've spent many happy hours in the worlds that MAR Barker created. He will be missed.

#290 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2012, 12:46 AM:

Singing Wren @284: I recognize that map, too, which is funny, because 'my' IKEA (by which I mean the one in Schaumburg) is different than any other non-Swedish IKEA. The Bolingbrook one, also somewhat near to me, is identical to the one in Stockton, CA -- it might well have been delivered flat-pack and assembled on site with myriad Allen wrenches, but the Schaumburg one is special.

It's the biggest non-Swedish IKEA in the world☘. It's three very high-ceilinged floors, with a central moat-like ring atrium surrounding an island middle-bit on each floor; the 'go find your stuff in the racks and put it on your huge cart' section is the ENTIRE FIRST FLOOR. The Medish Sweetballs are in the center island-section on the top floor, diabolically tempting you to go eat first.

There are also meatballs, sweet rolls, and a reduced-selection menu right near the checkouts, where it is very convenient to send half your party to eat while the other pays ... because in my experience it is very easy to eat upstairs before shopping and SPEND SO LONG SHOPPING you need to eat again at the checkouts. Also, it makes the entire checkout-line area reek of tasty, tasty cinnamon. The bastards.

Also, it looks like it's made of LEGO, which is double-awesome. You can see it from the highway.

☘ It was going to be the biggest anywhere, bigger than their Swedish flagship, but late in the planning process Schaumburg decided 5 floors was faaaaar too tall and nixed it.

#291 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2012, 01:37 AM:

Jacque @ 258:

Thanks for putting up that notice; unfortunately I didn't see it until 10:30 PDT, so I missed the video. I'm going to have to check the open thread more often, I see. Damn, I love gamelan music, and I'm fascinated by Wayang Kulit. I have pages of notes that I took a few years ago while playing around with the idea of making a computer animation of a shadow play, and decided I just didn't have enough free time to do it justice. In the process I think I found every book written in English about the subject, and managed to buy copies of several of them.

#292 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2012, 03:34 AM:

Elliott Mason @287: If any experienced and helpful Fluorospherian is willing to run an eyeball over my resume and give me their opinion

I'll take a look. I can claim reasonably good resume-fu. (While I don't tend to send resumes out unless I'm ghoddamned sure I fit the qualifications—which means rarely, I tend to get a hit-rate on the order of 1 in 3, which is apparently high.) My email is at the bottom of the page linked to my name here.

Also, please describe to me your ideal job, if you would.

Also, go have a Google at Liz Ryan. She came on the scene after I got my current job, so I haven't really had a chance to road-test her theories, but they make a hell of a lot of sense to me.

Bruce Cohen @291: Yeah, sorry. I got short notice because Jon Singer got short notice. One hopes they will put up a video at some point.

#293 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2012, 03:35 AM:

Bruce, again; I presume you know Jon Singer? If not, you will want to make his acquaintance. Introductions can be arranged if desired.

#294 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2012, 05:05 AM:

tl;dr: Jobhunt trigger warning.

Jacque @292: My ideal job would pay at least $400/wk (minimum in IL is $8.25/hr, excluding tipped positions, so that's not that hard if it's full-time), include only the kinds of job stress that don't flatten me and make me feel inadequate, and provide enough variety and challenge to keep me engaged on a daily basis. It doesn't have to offer bennies, because I get them through John.

To unpack that a little, I do very well in customer-service sorts of jobs (either helping people figure out what they want and buy it, or tech support/tutoring), I have exceptional verbal skills, and a minor superpower related to finding typos. I am very good at finding the frame or metaphor that makes (insert arcane thing here) intelligible to someone who was having trouble with it, as long as I understand {arcane thing). I even enjoy certain amounts of repetitive data-entry, alphabetization/filing, and organizing.

I do BADLY in jobs that involve outbound cold-calls or any kind of daily rejection/you-suck. I can handle stressed customers spewing at me because I'm closest, as long as it's not most of my job. I do very, very badly where there are ill-defined areas of wild uncertainty, or where (as in the computer game Myst) I am turned loose in a complicated environment with very little guidance from superiors as to exactly what my priorities ought to be.

I did really, really badly at the job where they wouldn't let me tell them two months ahead of time that a given weekend was impossible for me to take a shift, because I would be IN ANOTHER CITY those three days ... because they drew up the schedule every week and told you the preceding Friday what your shifts were starting Sunday. I flew out Friday at 7, and found out when I flew back in Monday at 9 that I was marked 'absent with no excuse' for my Sunday shift. I had requested it off, I was in the book, but they decided to ignore it AND NOT CALL ME. Very very unsettling jobstress for me, that kind of uncertainty/lack of respect for boundaries. A shame, as it worked very well for me in most other ways. I've been considering reapplying there and seeing if they're still INSANE. Only problem: my name was different the last time they hired me ...

I'm ok with nights and weekends; I have worked jobs where I had to be there at 5AM.

Jobs I have really enjoyed:
- Pushing wheelchairs/assisting travelers inside O'Hare airport
- Cashiering/clerking at a B. Dalton bookstore
- Serving (volunteer) as copy editor and general Quark-monkey for my community college's student newspaper
- Helping run/inaugurate a new restaurant downtown (cashiered, policed steam trays, sparkled up the room for diners, inventory, office work, light cleaning)
- Editing (volunteer) for those scientific journals and as a beta reader for Seanan McGuire
- On-site tech support consultant in my college's computer labs (aka "Hey, the printer's broken ...? / I can't get into my email!")
- Collating, editing, laying out, and preparing for publication one booklet of the ChiCon 2000 pocket program.

Now I need to find the hard drive my most recent resume drafts are on ...

#295 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2012, 08:48 AM:

Elliott, I think you're wise to disregard the advice about making your resume blingy if you're not applying for some kind of creative design position. I'd be happy to take a look at it - not a professional resume writer, but I have done hiring and was support for my husband through several rounds of unemployment.

I will say that I think I'm fairly good at resumes that will be read by actual human beings, but my track record is lousy for ones where some automated system will be identifying keywords.

#296 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2012, 10:41 AM:

Elliott @294 Might be hlepy & please disregard if you already thought of this :-)

What you say in @294 reads to me like someone who might do well as an agency contract temp, something I did off and on for around 10 years in two different states. It may or may not be an option given the labor market in your area, but it could be worth investigating.

One of the things I liked about temp work was that it gave me an easy out if a job situation wasn't a good fit: work out the contract (anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months) then let the agency know it wasn't working (and why) and no harm no foul. The agency could find the client a new chew toy if they wanted one; I'd be on the list when another situation that matched my skill set came up.

Another thing in a weak labor market is that some employers will hire temporary labor when workload starts to increase rather than making permanent hires too soon, or in the case of government/institutional employers, due to the length and complexity of their hiring process. It's also a way to get some recent work experience on a resume if one has been out of the workforce awhile.

Cons include some degree of instability and usually no benefits, and a fickle labor market. Child care arrangements may also be an issue since temp jobs can sometimes be short notice. The agencies I've worked for have generally asked how much notice a worker needs to be ready to show up for a job - I've had the privilege of reliable transportation and no dependents so I can usually be available next business day, but that's not a hard and fast requirement for every job: the people working temp at my current workplace (government sector) usually get a few days notice of the "Hi, it's Thursday. We have a spot for data entry in Augusta starting on Monday, are you available?" variety.

Apologies if this is hlepy and TMI - I share because it has worked well enough for me that it might be of use to someone else. Admittedly it took four years of jumping from temp agency to temp agency and applying for every vacancy that came open for me to get my most recent client to hire me permanently, but I've been hired by clients a few times before. (And laid off repeatedly, but that's just modern employment for you.)

#297 ::: Throwmearope ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2012, 11:13 AM:

@Singing Wren 284--

I made my first (and thankfully last) trip to Ikea right before Christmas. I know, timing, timing is everything Roger Wilco. It was a nightmare.

But the signs labelled shortcut and pointing to a semi-solid wall were the worst feature. My oldest son kept offering to fix that for them. The flimsy walls did look easy to kick over.

HLN--Local woman finishes week long on-site computer training at work with (most of) her faith in humanity restored.

With a couple of caveats--a complete medical software for documenting office visits that didn't consider I might want to document some people are allergic to penicillin. 'Cause #1--that never happens and #2--why would anyone in the medical field care?

I state with pride that I can, however, document with ease an allergy to acacia berries (there's a prescription I write twice a day, gotta admit.)

#298 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2012, 11:55 AM:

a complete medical software for documenting office visits that didn't consider I might want to document some people are allergic to penicillin

My reaction is FAIL - because I'm one of the people who is no-shit-allergic to penicillin. (Anaphylaxis is so much fun. Not.)

#299 ::: Throwmearope ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2012, 12:20 PM:

@P J Evans, #298--

You are so not alone. I can document penicillin allergy now. Only took me an hour and a half to figure out how to "create" an allergy. The worst thing is, the "scrubber" that should keep me from prescribing amoxicillin (a form of penicillin) if somebody's allergic to penicillin is null and void if you "create" a custom allergy.

I sent in a request for a patch, since they only had 2 antibiotics in the entire list.

#300 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2012, 12:24 PM:

Ditto on the penicillin warning fail -- I've been lucky so far, I found out I was allergic when the dentist gave me some after the last procedure.

All I got was a rash, and it dawned on me then that the reaction I'd had to the last time I'd received an injection of same (losing breakfast) was another flashing red light.

What's really weird is that I'd never had ANY problems with penicillin before -- tetracycline* yes, but not Old Faithful.

*It won't stay down, so there's no point in taking it...

#301 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2012, 01:47 PM:

One amusing security question recently: a website that clearly needed an actual proofreader asked me for my "favorite past time." That's actually a more interesting question than the "favorite pastime" that I suspect they were asking about. And much better than having to remember what nonsense I entered for questions that really don't apply, like "high school mascot" or "first car you owned." (I may or may not put "none" rather than hope I will remember what cartoon character I said was my favorite on some random day three years ago.)

#302 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2012, 04:47 PM:

Here's pretty much how I feel about St. Patrick's Day in this area: Drowning the Shamrock, by Frank Delaney. Excerpt:

All these kids from New Jersey and the five boroughs
And hundreds of cities, all drowning their sorrows,
With bottles and glasses and heads getting broken
(Believe me, just ask the mayor of Hoboken)
All that mindlessness, shouting and getting plain stocious —
That isn't Irish, that's simply atrocious.
(Hoboken canceled its SPD parade to try to curb the violence that plagued last year's event.)

#303 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2012, 04:50 PM:

Vicki #301: Mine's the Spring and Autumn Period. What's yours?

#304 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2012, 04:54 PM:

Jacque @ 292, 293:

I've got a tab open on their streaming page and I'll refresh every once in awhile to see if they put up the video.

No, I don't know Jon Singer, and I would appreciate an introduction if he's into wayang kulit.

#305 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2012, 05:30 PM:

OK, here's something important developing....

Parents treating severely disabled children to limit their growth.

This is straight-up bioengineering -- altering someone for external purposes, in this case making them easier to care for. The couple of examples cited were totally disabled, and would necessarily require intensive caretaking.... I agree that keeping those two small probably will improve their quality of life, by making it far more practical to bathe them, groom them, transport them, and so on.

But then, they're describing two out of 60-odd kids that are currently getting this treatment... and that's one hell of a slippery slope, there.

#306 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2012, 06:50 PM:

Throwmearope @297: I would say that medical software that is unable to record a penicillin allergy is...not medical software.

Dick Harmon @305: I have studied that case before. It is indeed troubling.

The closest I have come to a situation like this was a 400-pound woman who needed two caregivers to assist her onto her her bedside commode, and there were only two people working nights at that place. The management offered her the choice of either moving to a facility that could provide 24-hour care, or to get an indwelling catheter. A smaller intervention, but still troubling.

#307 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2012, 07:47 PM:

Jacque @ 277:

It's frustrating to me that we haven't been able to do better by you.

You're kidding me, Jacque, aren't you? You wonderful marvelous people have kept me afloat--emotionally as well as financially--more times than I can count. You've made helpful (NOT hlepy!) suggestions. You've offered options, opinions, shared experiences, searched for solutions...honestly, if I hadn't had ML and the Fluorosphere watching my back, I don't know what I would have done...but I doubt it would have been pretty.

It isn't the Fluorosphere's job (or that of any of my other friends, online or meatspace) to solve my problems for me, and I don't expect it. (Although if someone does happen to drop the magic word in the right place that helps me find a job good enough to help me start the climb out of this hole, I will kiss the ground they tread (or at least blow kisses to the air they breathe. :)) But I appreciate the hell out of ALL the help you've all given me since I started posting about Life During/After Foreclosure.

Speaking of which, I'm still enthusiastic about the book idea, but do you think it might be considered a little too much like The Girl's Guide to Homelessness? I know the details are significantly different (although how different, other than age, I don't know--I've deliberately not sought out that book because I don't want it hanging around in my head while I work on mine), and I haven't heard that there's been any kind of glut on the market re: the topic...but I'm curious what y'all think.

Elliott Mason, I SO feel for you re: the job situation. I've applied for a boatload of jobs in the last 2 years myself, and been lucky to get the autoresponder "got your resume" email. The only interviews I scored--both in 2010, dadgummit, other than the recent apartment management ones--came from (1) a recruiter who found me on the website where one is linked in (in case the formal site name is a Word of Power), and (2) an editor at an ad agency whose email about needing a proofreader was forwarded to me by two separate people. Either job would have been great, and the latter interview, while it didn't lead to a job (editor said the company decided not to hire anybody after all), did get me some temp work.

Frustrating. Jacque--and any others who might be willing--may I also send you my resume for dissection? I have one functional and one that's sort of hybrid; I use the latter for jobs doing financial proofreading.

Thank you all!

#308 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2012, 07:52 PM:

David Harmon @ #305: The blog Single Dad, Disabled Daughter has a lot to say about that treatment. Single Dad knows whereof he speaks--he has an adult, severely disabled daughter for whom he is sole caretaker. (Link goes to a list of all the posts tagged "Ashley"; tabs at top can take you to the earliest, most recent, or other categories.)

#309 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2012, 08:31 PM:

Lila #308: Indeed -- The important article is his first, Ich bin ein cripple.

I note, however, that the "pro" perspective is also represented in the comments (as a minority). We here are mostly SF fans; we're familiar with the idea of modifying human bodies for various purposes, going at least back to Brave New World. We're also more than usually aware of the limits to human dignity -- notably, that the universe-at-large shows little concern for it.

My question here, is whether this is something that has usable potential for good. As one of the commenters to the DwDD post made explicit, a large (especially very large) immobile patient does get worse care, simply because it's harder to care for them. So the direct alternative here is potentially worse care down the line. The Dad's devotion is touching, but what happens if his daughter lives, say, another 25 years? When she's in her 40s, and he's in at least his 60's, who will be taking care of her then?

And we need to remember that there's another alternative lurking in the shadows, an older and darker one, from times when taking care of a permanently crippled and non-communicative person was so difficult as to be usually impractical. And though it's frowned on now, euthanasia still happens -- committed not only by the callous, but by the desperate.

But as DwDD and his commenters note, deciding for someone who's unable to speak for themselves is ethically fraught... a "living will" is one thing, but who gets to decide for someone who's never spoken and never will? It may be that we humans are not morally advanced enough to decide such things fairly.

#310 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2012, 08:50 PM:

David Harmon: given that these patients are not able to feed themselves, a much less invasive means of keeping them a moveable size* suggests itself: reasonable calorie input control. Given that eating (for those able to swallow) may be one of the few pleasures available to them, that option is also not without problems, but I think it's certainly less fraught than major surgery.

Also, the term "pillow angels" makes me queasy as hell. This may be a clue either to the mindset of the Ashley advocates, or just to my own prejudices.

Overall, I'm glad it's not my decision to make. But I hope parents like SingleDad will also get their turn at the podium.


*I refer to a healthy weight for their frame size, not artificially limiting growth

#311 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2012, 10:21 PM:

#240 ::: etv13

I don't know the answer to that question, but I will say it's an urgent matter, and perhaps urgenter than you know because people like that can move more stealthily to isolate somebody like that than you might realize. There are people for whom that house has already burned down, people for whom that ship has already sailed.

#312 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2012, 10:31 PM:

Also, the term "pillow angels" makes me queasy as hell.

Yeah. Also the changes Ashley's parents chose went beyond "avoiding puberty and periods" into an what I'd call an aggressive de-sexualization. (Details elided for the squeamish.)

#313 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2012, 12:42 AM:

Tangential data-point on profoundly disabled kids:

Some friends of my parents have a grandchild who was, from birth, doomed by a brain defect to immobile, permanent infant-hood. Almost no response beyond what you'd expect from a few-month-old.

The parents were pointedly and specifically warned that any "accidents" or illnesses would be carefully and aggressively investigated. This suggests that there might be a history of parents in these situations taking . . . measures.

#314 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2012, 12:53 AM:

I need to post that I am really enjoying the new Leonard Cohen oevure, Old Ideas.

It is Real good. If you like the music Mr. Cohen produces to start with.....

#315 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2012, 12:54 AM:

On a happier theme:

I was very pleased with John Carter (of MARS! damnit), which I saw at an early bird matinee today. Not a perfect adaptation or perfect film, but a rollicking great adventure.

I think E.R.B. would have loved it. It is truer to the source novels than, say, most Tarzan movies, and the changes aren't stupid or offensive.

The theater was more full than I'd expected from the mixed reviews. The audience included a high proportion of what I have to call old nerds. My kind of people, mind you. I suppose the kiddies were all across the hall watching the Lorax (blech!)

There's a media-imposed stink of failure on the film that's totally undeserved. It's a bummer that this will doom any chance of more films. Or of miniature tharks, thoats, and such that could be used for gaming!

#316 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2012, 01:51 AM:

Bruce Cohen @304: Email me at the address at the bottom of the webpage linked from my name. I will make introductions. I suspect y'all will enjoy chatting.

Syd @307: No, I'm not kidding, but I'm glad that we have been able to help to the degree that we have. At the very least, that you don't feel left twisting in the wind is a victory, I suppose. I dunno. I find it appalling and terrifying that your situation is even possible in what we laughingly call a civilized society. But then, I want a pony for Christmas, too, so ... yeah.

And, sure, send me your resume. Also, may I have permission from you and Elliott Mason to put you-all in contact with each other? That will streamline transmission of such resume wisdom as I have to offer. Also, as you two have not-dissimilar job objectives, you might be of some assistance to each other.

Of all the job-search information I've read in the last ten years, the number ONE top recommendation is that networking is the most valuable effort you can make. Given that you-all (and I) have large chunks of continent between us, this is somewhat mitigated. But, likewise, we have continent-wide personal networks, so that compensates somewhat, as well.

BTW, both of you: if you are on L!nked!n, connect to me. If you're not, go ahead and sign up and connect to me. I haven't done much with LI, but people whose opinions I respect advocate for it.

#317 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2012, 08:37 AM:

David Harmon @305 and 309, and others.

In general I would not expect the slippery slope to run in the direction of providing excess treatment to kids with severe disabilites. My daughter with disabilities is not in this category, but through online support groups I know parents whose kids are. I don't remember hearing this particular option discussed, but I remember discussions of how to get financial support for installing a lift system that can be used to get a 6-foot-tall teenager with no motion control from bed to bath. And disussions about encounters with doctors who shrug off health issues because, well, these kids' lives aren't worth living anyway.

I do agree that these decisions are ethically fraught for someone who can't express an opinion of their own. But many health care decisions for these kids are; there's often only a choice of the lesser of evils. I haven't studied this particular issue, but it seems to me like an option that should be left on the table.

#318 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2012, 09:44 AM:

Anybody who wants is welcome to contact me; my gmail address is a mnemonic for how to spell my first name ( 2ells2tees ). I've only avoided that Linky networking site for as long as I have because I need one more set of login information to remember like I need a hole in my head ... but I probably ought to. Various people I care about have sent me connection-invitations over the years, so I know they have (or had) accounts for me to link up to.

#319 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2012, 09:49 AM:

AKICIML, kidstuff edition: My grandmother got my daughter Jingle the Husky Pup for Giftmas. Initially, she wasn't very interested; now she is. Unfortunately, his storybook went missing sometime in December.

EBay is failing me; nobody seems to be selling a secondhand storybook with no toy dog.

The 'make the dog do something' cues are several words long and very specific; in the storybook they're written in red. If anyone out there in the Fluorosphere has access to (either of) Jingle's book(s) and is willing to type in some or all of the story/cues, I'd be willing to barter fannishly in return.

#320 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2012, 10:41 AM:

Re: Jim's "Authorial Sins" side item: Surely "Wrath" should be the ABM, and "Envy" the lure to vanity-press scams?

#321 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2012, 12:25 PM:

Re TNH's Particle on Homer Eon Flint: In the way of such things, I ran into his grandson while playing bridge at the campus coffeehouse at UC Berkeley. He was astonished to know that I'd heard of his grandfather -- I think the topic came up because we were talking about SF. I recommended he come over to the Magic Cellar, where I introduced him to half-a-dozen people who were amazed and pleased to meet him.

The grandson's name wasn't spelled "Flint", but (IIRC) Flyndt because his family changed it.

Flint died under mysterious circumstances. I don't remember the story very well, but I'm sure Dick Lupoff does -- ask him if you see him.

#322 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2012, 12:46 PM:

So, the Virginia Festival of the Book starts next Wednesday.... Looking over the programs, it's amazing how many of my reactions are informed by my experience here at ML....

And an interactive play of The Snow Queen is happening right on my corner....

#323 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2012, 02:37 PM:

Elliott @ #319, It looks like Hallmark sells storybooks separately from the toy. However, it appears you can't buy Jingle stories online; you have to find a store near you (or a friend who has one nearby). The online store doesn't include that particular pup.

#324 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2012, 03:55 PM:

Re security questions, I am only comfortable with those when I can ask the question (i.e., nobody is going to be able to web-search a question like, "Whose ponies are the best?", especially if the correct answer is "I agree").

David Harmon @198: Years ago, I imagined a roller coaster designed to seem shaky and unreliable, for extra thrills. Now, I imagine a complete theme park on the theme of "abandoned theme park", complete with entering through a hole in a chain-link fence just past the ticket booth and a staff dressed in UX gear.

Mary Aileen @247: UPS is less reliable, prompt and secure than that horrible government delivery system. But on the positive side, it does cost more!

Jason @315: Saying John Carter (of Mars) is closer to the source material than are most Tarzan movies is faint praise indeed . . . .

#325 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2012, 04:22 PM:

Vella Munn, a multiply-publisher writer, is Homer Eon Flint's granddaughter.

#326 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2012, 04:24 PM:

319, 322
I was out and the local Hallmark was not out of the way: no Jingle books in the store.

#327 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2012, 04:34 PM:

Jacque @ 316:

I find it appalling and terrifying that your situation is even possible in what we laughingly call a civilized society.

This, me too. Me three. Me infinity.

Union Stations not only houses people, they offer shower services, meals (breakfast and lunch for both residents/overnighters and walk-ins, dinner for those sleeping there that night as far as I can tell), etc. There are people who look like me, socioeconomically speaking (or based on visual indicators of our possibly shared former socioeconomic status), there are folks who quite obviously ought to be in a safe place under the care of compassionate mental-health professionals, and everything in between:

She's here because her younger (half?)sister, their mother's favorite, manipulated their mother and then tossed out her older sister--and everything older sister ever gave to their mother. Did I mention she's in her early 60s and had been acting as caregiver for her mother?

He sat down across from me at dinner on Friday and asked...well, I don't recall now, but something leading to was I a conservative. I said no. He then proceeded to tell me about Errol Flynn's kids, their histories, his (apparent) admiration for the son who threatened his sister with either incarceration or being committed if she didn't start playing by the family rules--that is, her brother's rules. Today, the same guy started telling the same stuff to one of the volunteers who served us breakfast.

That man has coughed for half an hour straight.

She's six months' pregnant and, according to one of the other women, continues to smoke both tobacco and weed.

That gal took a face-plant into her cheeseburger at dinner the first night I was here and was taken away by the paramedics. She's back now, seems fine, but I haven't asked what was wrong--I just told her I was glad she was okay.

He's dressed pretty well, from his hooded parka to his shined shoes--but he's waiting for breakfast with the rest of the homeless folks.

She was warned not to leave her stuff in a certain place, but I guess she didn't really think the staff would move it. They did, and she was distressed--offended, even?--that as a result, all her stuff got rained on. I think she may have had a stroke at some point: she limps on her right foot a bit, or perhaps drags it, and she doesn't seem able to use her right arm.

Some folks have weather-ready clothing and shoes. Many don't. Some look like they're wearing everything they own. Some look like they need to own more to be warm.

I saw her, and him, and them, and that couple, too, at the cold weather shelter.

We're all in the same boat. It's crowded, and it has huge holes, and the people who are bailing are barely ahead of the water. And then there are the people trying to knock more and bigger holes in the boat because the people in the boat are too effing lazy to deserve help.

Really? Really? I mean, sure, there's likely a segment of the population (frex, my late aunt) that chooses not to work and relies on other people to provide for them--and possibly some that don't care whether they're provided for or not, they just don't care about "the rules". But for the most part, O You Who Knock Holes in Boats, if you think we CHOSE this, you are deluding yourselves because it's more convenient than facing the fact the system is broken--and fixing it will Cost You Money.

I have this idea for, I don't know, a campaign ad or a PSA or something. Two photos: the first features a group of people, diverse re: ages and ethnicities and sex/gender, who fit the stereotypical image of "homeless person". The caption says, "See these people? They're homeless."

Second photo is of a group of decently dressed folks, equally diverse, some carrying briefcases or laptop bags, backpacks, etc. They could be any random bunch of people. Caption: "See these people? They're homeless, too. Maybe you can come up with some justification for not helping the first group--but what's your excuse for not helping the second?"

The point being that homelessness isn't an issue of "morality", it is--or should be--an unfortunate phase that people can get out of with help. Maybe I'm not expressing it as well as I'd like, but I think you see what I mean.

Would it do any good? In this political climate, I doubt it. But it's nice to dream.

#328 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2012, 06:03 PM:

Yeah, Syd, you really need to write that book.

#329 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2012, 07:11 PM:

Syd, like Jacque I want to see the book, but actually I'd like to see something sooner. Op-ed piece or essay somewhere? I don't know enough about that market for writing to know where you might submit. But your reality comes through so strongly in your writing that I wish it could be shared more widely than just us here on ML.

#330 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2012, 07:15 PM:

Jacque, OtterB, thank you. I actually signed up at the Daily Kos with the intention of posting there on the subject.

Ask me if I've been able to come up with anything I think is worth publishing on that site... ***sigh***

#331 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2012, 07:26 PM:

Syd, re something for Daily Kos: If you can't write your own story well enough for them, have you considered interviewing other folks you've met through being homeless? I know it's a lot easier for me to tell someone else's story than to tell my own. And I think you could build an audience through doing a series of stories much better than trying to tell a single one. Just a suggestion, use if useful.

#332 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2012, 07:33 PM:

The standard there isn't that high. (I've posted, once.)

#333 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2012, 07:59 PM:

Back from Lunacon. I did get a chance to meet both Lin and Hilary (separately), although we were going in too many different directions to chat long.

The con was fun, marred only by the fact that I dropped my credit card in the dealers room this afternoon and didn't realize it until I got home and unpacked. I've cancelled the card, and there were no fraudulent charges, so it's only a big hassle, not a disaster.

Breaking news: While I was previewing the above, I got an email (reply to my query) saying that the card was turned in to con ops. They're going to mail it back to me. Hooray!

#334 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2012, 08:12 PM:

Like P J Evans @ #326, I went past a Hallmark store while aiming for a used bookstore in the same mall (where I found Volume 5 of Kate Elliott's "Crown of Stars" septet, thereby filling out the entire series in my collection). I asked the clerk about Jingle Pup storybooks, and she told me they sold "only at Christmastime."

#335 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2012, 08:43 PM:

HLN: Local woman completes first-round revisions to novel, contacts prospective beta-readers. Now while I'm waiting for the next round, I suppose it's time to research just where one sends an alternate-history Ruritanian regency lesbian romance with magic and a touch of swashbuckling. If I'd stopped to think about marketing while I was writing it, I think my head would have exploded.

#336 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2012, 10:31 PM:

Re: Security Questions

The one I particularly loathe is "What city was your mother/father/self/spouse born/graduated in?", on forms that do not allow you to have spaces or punctuation in your answers. Besides being trivially easy to mine from social networks, have they never heard of the following cities: New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, New Orleans, St. Louis (and others not on this list)?

#337 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2012, 10:34 PM:

"My life is filled with shame and despair."

So said teh 6-year-old daughter of local writer Daniel Abraham after her feeling under the weather. It is not known whether or not her mom Kat ever spent time in Midwich.

#338 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2012, 10:36 PM:

What Mary Aileen failed to mention was that she walked away with several prizes in the masquerade, and deserved every one.

We did have a few minutes in the con suite where we mostly talked sewing. Before I forget completely, the pattern for my messenger bag was McCall's M5824 and the fabric was Madman in a Blue Box on Spoonflower.

I just uploaded new pictures of the messenger bag to flickr (hhertzof) since I finished the revision just before Lunacon. I'm very proud of it as it's one of the most complex patterns I've ever completed and all the alterations I made worked.

#339 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2012, 10:39 PM:

HLN: Local Area Woman has her first gnoming Probably words of power, as there were only two links (Mary Aileen had asked about the pattern for Local Area Woman's bag and the TARDIS fabric involved).

I feel like I've passed a rite of passage or something.

#340 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2012, 10:51 PM:

Job Search Open Threadiness:

Like a number of others on here, I'm actively job hunting. I'm lucky: I'm currently employed (if grossly underpaid) in my chosen field, and my field (IT in general, .NET programming in particular) is supposedly one of the stronger ones in my local job market.

I'm still freaking out about it on a regular basis. Latest freakout was Friday, after my first phone conversation with a recruiter.*

Recruiter seems perfectly nice, and interested in placing me in a good job. OK, the commute will suck, but most of the good IT jobs are in that part of town.

But I've never worked with a recruiter before. Networked for jobs, yes. And I've got relatives in other fields (academia, mostly) who've worked quite successfully with recruiters, so I know a good recruiter can be very valuable. I keep feeling like I should Be A Grownup, and Take Responsibility for my own job search. Never mind that hooking up with a recruiter fulfills all sorts of Capitalized Shoulds.

Does anyone have any experience on working with recruiters (especially IT recruiters) that might make this easier on me (or send me running away screaming - I'm not picky)?

Job search freakouts not uncommon. I can haz reassurance, plz?

*I'm not an extrovert. I do not play an extrovert on TV. Friday, I got to go from phone-call-with-stranger triggery to an appraiser visiting the house for a pending re-fi (stranger-in-my-house triggery). I was twitching the rest of the evening.

**That's how I broke into IT in the first place - a friend needed a new minion, and knew I was looking.

#341 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2012, 10:53 PM:

"Give Mom my love when she comes back from the Underworld."

I'm reading Seanan McGuire's "Discount Armageddon".
So should you.

#342 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2012, 11:09 PM:

Singing Wren @ 339: Think of the recruiter as a HR person at the hiring firm. They are not working for you; they are working for the employer. In this case, they are possibly working for more than one employer, but it's much the same. Their attitude isn't as tough as a hiring manager's, because they don't have a future long-term relationship with you. While they don't want to annoy the firm with a bad hire, they really want to get someone in and get their fee. The fact that they don't get paid until the hire has been there for a period of time does restrain them from really short-term thinking.

They are often focused on filling slot A at company A, but occasionally are thinking in terms of getting a general sense of your abilities, for future reference for several different companies.

So -- treat it just like a first interview with any employer. Not fun for most of us, unfortunately. If your local market is like the one in Portland, Oregon, there are a variety of openings for .NET developers. Let yourself be picky!

#343 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2012, 11:14 PM:

Serge Broom @ 340: This is the page in Discount Armaggedon that I bookmarked --

"Oh?" I asked, interested despite myself. "What did they say?"
"That you were all insane."
"Ah." I sat up again, grinning at him. "That's pretty much true. We're all crazy. But crazy has its benefits."
"What benefits are those?" he asked warily.
"Crazy gets all the knives."

#344 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2012, 01:42 AM:

Singing Wren, could you go into a bit more detail about the recruiter thing? I am getting to the point where I need new jobsearching tools, and that's one that I knew existed, but of course no one ever does that. Like the one site with the linking: it's there, but no one uses it. Or Monster.

If I want to use a hammer, first I have to know it exists. So I am doing my best to turn weird things nobody uses into things everyone does, of course, how silly that I haven't.

In the past week, I applied to one probably-not job and one oh-please-oh-please-maybe job. It's rare that I apply for jobs I know I'd be good for. It's rare that I find them.

#345 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2012, 02:09 AM:

Besides that linking social media site, there's one that predates the Internet: 40Plus. It was originally aimed at professionals over 40, but some chapters have broadened the scope to ages younger than that. Do a Google search for chapters in your area (they may still list in the paper phone book Yellow Pages under recruitment or executive search, too).

Here's the Northern CA site. Ignore the date on the last posting; the job info below seems to be current.

#346 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2012, 02:22 AM:

Serge Broom @ 340: I actually gave up noting the killer lines after about the third chapter, because there were just too many of them. Starting with the heading quote for the prologue...

I haven't had so much fun in quite a while. Most highly recommended for anybody not allergic to high-tension silliness.

#347 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2012, 03:10 AM:

janetl @ 343... Gray Woodland @ 346... And wouldn't we also like sharing our Greenwish Village (which is really a sublet from a lady Sasquatch while she's visiting Canadian relatives), with mice who take everything we say as a religious pronouncement, whether it's the act of waking up or the need to purchase new socks?

#348 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2012, 05:00 AM:

job search subthread: Seconding Linkmeister @345 in the recommendation of 40Plus. My husband went to the DC-area chapter a few years ago when he was laid off en route to his employer going belly-up entirely. He got some good things from them - interviewing practice, ways of describing past layoffs and job changes without sounding bitter or flaky, and most especially social support. I will say that he's an engineer and didn't find them especially helpful for job leads, and he had to take the job hunting advice with a grain of salt (they kept telling him he needed a one-page resume, which is good advice for many fields, but a technical job needs to have sufficient specifics on one's technical experience).

In my experience, recruiters are most helpful for technical jobs and less for things like Syd or Elliott are looking for. It's already been said that a recruiter doesn't work for you. Do not feel you need to be loyal to them; don't stop your job hunt efforts outside the recruiter. They have employer slots they are looking for candidates for. Good ones understand the field, and all of them have some level of access to job information that you may not see advertised elsewhere. Companies that do enough hiring will use the recruiters to pre-screen resumes, and if the recruiter is forwarding your resume to a company they will often give you helpful pre-interview tips on exactly what the manager is looking for. But, from the recruiter's point of view, if they've sent 5 strong resumes to company X, it doesn't matter that you would have been equally strong and they didn't send yours.

#349 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2012, 07:39 AM:

Singing Wren @340: My FG is a .NET professional; drop me an email (the one in my name here will do) -- I can forward it to her for networking (or is that .NETworking?) if you would like.

General resume discussion: Federal resumes are a different beast from the "usual" and they are never "one page", so yeah, you need to match your resume to the job application. The good news is, USAJobs seems to be finally free of bugs (although you have to re-enter some things and you must recheck your previously-uploaded resume as the changeover did mess it up).

#350 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2012, 08:15 AM:

Ginger, they changed the resumes? Drat. The job I am actually qualified for got one of mine I didn't think to check. Hopefully, they'll still like me.

#351 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2012, 10:04 AM:

Hilary (338): Thanks for the pattern info. That's a terrific bag; you can be justly proud of it.

#352 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2012, 10:07 AM:

Diatryma @ 350: I'm not sure if they've changed FedRes requirements recently, but the new online applications don't upload documents, they convert them to a standard format. The revised USA Jobs site had messed up some formatting, but the information was all in there.

#353 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2012, 10:25 AM:

Re: Federal Jobs

The government seems to always be in search of IT folk. IF Obamacare isn't repealed, HHS will be needing a lot of people in various areas to manage the required oversight.

If you are at all interested in a Federal position, apply now, and pray that you're hired BEFORE Congress changes the retirement bennies.

If a Republican wins, you can expect an increase in available positions because the Executive Branch always gets larger during Republican administrations.

#354 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2012, 11:19 AM:

Singing Wren (ref myself at 349): I seem to not have an email embedded; use the following letters -- n e i v e t 2 -- at the aoldot com address, and I'll .NETwork youse.

#355 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2012, 11:26 AM:

Serge Broom @337: So is the shame-and-dispair-filled 6yo by any chance this young lady?

If so, please inform her progenitor that we are awaiting the publication of The Great Goat Escape with great anticipation.

#356 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2012, 12:02 PM:

Open threadiness: New York Times Sunday Review Your Brain on Fiction

Short version: neuropsych research indicates that reading sensory words (e.g. cinnamon, leathery) activates the same brain regions as experiencing the sensations. Also, people who read more fiction show more empathy.

So who needs a holodeck?

#357 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2012, 12:22 PM:

Lila @310: Also, the term "pillow angels" makes me queasy as hell.

My StFnal brain ("What if?" "If this goes on....") insists on extrapolating this idea out to it's psychotic extreme, and offering up the prediction of a black market in perpetually infantalized "babies," for those folks who, "love babies, but it's a shame they grow up."

#358 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2012, 01:30 PM:

Simon Gyrus @ 7: John Carter of Mars should have sold itself: a splashy poster with JC sword fighting a Thark, with two moons in the sky. The slogan: "Before Star Wars, before Avatar, before Transformers, there was JOHN CARTER OF MARS!"

At first they pretty much did. Here's an early poster. Moving away from this line (and title) was a mistake, IMO:

#359 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2012, 01:53 PM:

Singing Wren: My husband has found each of his jobs over the past decade exclusively via IT recruiters, to the point that he's developed relationships in that industry. He's offering to give you a reassuring portrait of Life With Recruiters, if you'd like me to put the two in touch.

Best way to email me is probable to use the link in my signature here use the Ye Olde "Contact Me" Pop-up" link on that page. It's rudimentary, but it generally works.

#360 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2012, 01:54 PM:

Wow, that last sentence entirely failed to parse. I hope its intent was fairly obvious.

#361 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2012, 01:55 PM:

Jacque @ 355...

That is indeed the young lady in question. I'll ask her parents if she has shown any literary inclinations, but she appears destined toward a career in Science. Science!

#362 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2012, 02:32 PM:

I've been involved with recruiters from both sides, hiring through them and being hired through them (these were engineering jobs, and the recruiters were all specialists in high-tech industries). The one major drawback I've seen to using recruiters in either direction is that many of them use the shotgun approach: they ignore the employer's requirements and dump any resume on them that has at least one word in common with the job title. This forces the hiring managers to be ruthless in discarding resumes because that's the only way to get through several hundred to select the ones you're going to consider at all. It also means that often the recruiter is not presenting you at your best by emphasizing your strengths and unique experience.

Still, I have gotten jobs through recruiters, so it is possible. But I agree that you should not expect the recruiter to do all the work: keep looking yourself just as hard as if you hadn't engaged the recruiter.

#363 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2012, 02:55 PM:

Just a quick drop-in, I'm way behind here, but a quick Googling for mentions on ML didn't show anything about this new MMO my wife showed me a story about so I decided it would be prudent to add one.

The concept of "The Written World" (not quite in beta yet) is that players alternate between being author and protagonist, and the worlds created are persistent and mapped, and possibly branching. Sounds really neat, but I've not the storytelling nor game-playing chops to really give it a thorough going-over as an idea. Thoughts, anyone?

#364 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2012, 03:10 PM:

For what it's worth, I think what clinched my own job interview last week was when the security head interviewing me said the job would require spending long stretches of each shift patrolling the property by myself, and I replied "I spent thirty years with the Postal Service spending most of each day on the street by myself. That probably counts for something."

Jacque, #357: Bob Shaw had something like that as an unexpected consequence of immortality treatments in ONE MILLION TOMORROWS. The protagonist sees a woman with a baby carrier,, then realizes with shock that the handle of the carrier is worn thin from use and that the baby's eyes show the intelligence of an adult, trapped in an infant's body.

Serge, #361: But if that young lady hangs around with that "grumpy old guy" enough, she'll end up as a Mad Scientist. BWAA-HA-HA-HA!!!

#365 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2012, 03:23 PM:

Open threadiness in world events:

Al Jazeera has obtained confidential documents prepared for the Syrian president by his intelligence and security chiefs from a Syrian official who was a mole for months. He brought these docs out with him when he realized he was close to being discovered. They include operational reports and plans from the daily coordination meeting of the heads of all Syrian intelligence agencies.

#366 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2012, 03:33 PM:

Okay, okay, AKICIML: I wanna know what the resin is that this guy is using...? The artist's website is in Japanese.

#367 ::: Jacque been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2012, 03:34 PM:

doo-wah, doo-wah ...

#368 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2012, 03:52 PM:

Bruce Arthurs @ 364... Humph... They laughed at me at the University too!

#369 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2012, 04:14 PM:

Serge Broom @361: Well, there's still Herr Pater, n'est-ce pas?

#370 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2012, 06:11 PM:

So, I go to post a comment on the excellent Ta-Nehisi Coates' blog, and it requires a login of one of several IDs. OK, so I pick Twitter, since that's where I saw T-NC's tweet that drove me to the blog in the first place.

Up pops a window saying I'll be authorizing the comment system application (which I won't name, to avoid Google-juicing it) to a) modify my Twitter profile and b) post Tweets in my name!

Excuse me?!?!?! Who the HELL would allow THAT? I bailed, and didn't even look at the other options. There are things that are OK to just do, things that are OK to do with permission...and things that aren't even OK to ask for. Post Tweets in my name? That's in the last category.

Apparently some don't care, because there were plenty of comments on T-NC's blog. And I certainly don't blame HIM (pretty sure the choice of comment software was The Atlantic's, not his). But really, fuck that out the door.

#371 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2012, 06:13 PM:

I cruised around his website with Google translate but didn't see anyplace where he named the resin. My guess is that it's some form of silicone; you can get it in highly transparent varieties that keep their form stable after curing (it's used to cast biological samples like circulatory and nervous systems).

#372 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2012, 06:44 PM:

@371: Actually, it belatedly occurred to me that the obvious thing to do is ask McGuckin's.

#373 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2012, 07:26 PM:

janetl, OtterB, Nicole, Bruce Cohen:

Thanks very much for the information about recruiters. I am somewhat less freaked out about dealing with this recruiter. I'm glad to hear that my first instinct (keep applying for jobs on my own) is correct.


The recruiter in my case actually contacted me through the linky site. Recruiter sent me a message, I replied, and things went from there. "Things" in this case means I sent a copy of my resume, and we set up a time for an initial phone interview regarding a job posting. This particular recruiter works for a company that provides temporary and contract stafffing in the IT field. I'm being recruited for a contract-to-permanent position. In theory, and assuming no personality conflicts, the fact that I'm a US citizen means that I'm likely to be hired on as a full time employee after the contract period is over. In practice, I have no idea.

I'm really not sure how one goes about getting in touch with a recruiter in general. I'm sure it must be possible, and I've got a former co-worker who still gets calls at my current work number from recruiters he wasn't interested in working with.

Is the linky site perhaps more popular in some industries than others? I know the majority of my contacts there are in IT. But I also made a point of connecting with a bunch of my college classmates as we were approaching graduation, so that surely skews my perception.

Nicole, Ginger: You have mail!

#374 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2012, 07:40 PM:

Open threadiness: my jobhunt continues, helped out with coaching from a friend on The Modrun Jobhunt. For example, here's the written version of my "elevator pitch":

My core skills all revolve around communication, in writing and in person. I’m an excellent technical writer, and have worked in Quality Assurance and Technical Support, primarily in the financial industry (banking and insurance brokerage). Whatever my formal role, I take on the documentation tasks; I’ve written specifications, user manuals, and branching diagnostic procedures for help-desk personnel. I was once asked for a business requirement for a provisioning system and wrote a specification complete with SQL script templates, saving months of back-and-forth time with the developers. I'm happiest in a multidimensional environment where I have a variety of contrasting tasks.
One thing I'm doing is learning Python, which I quite like except for its use of whitespace as a scope delimiter. I took a detour to learn JavaScript after seeing some postings that required familiarity with it. Its control structures are all the same as C! So I already knew half the language.

Anyway, I'm writing little toys, tools, and games in JS (and later in Python), and I'm to put them on the web so I can show them to appropriate people as part of the jobhunting process. A friend generously offered to host them. I'll post here when I have something worth showing.

#375 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2012, 07:44 PM:

Singing Wren @ 373 -

I'm really not sure how one goes about getting in touch with a recruiter in general.

If your skills have any level of demand and you register your resume with CareerBuilder, Dice, and Monster, they'll contact you. Boy, will they contact you.

#376 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2012, 10:52 PM:

Job-hunting sucks. And we may be going right back to it -- Husband's contract ended today. He was initially hired as a 90-days contract to hire, and in December the contract was extended another 90 days (allegedly because he wasn't performing up to par, but that was retracted a few days after the contract extension when his supervisor "cleared things up").

When Husband left work today, he was told that he was working through Wednesday (the date of a major site rollout); however, management two and three levels up the chain from him were still 'discussing' what was going to happen. He's terrified that they're basically going to work him through the rollout, and then kick him out the door.

I'm not even sure that it's legal for him to work without some form of contract; IANAL.

It's frustrating and frightening.

#377 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2012, 11:48 PM:

Re: resin

When I was in college, 40+ years ago, Frank Stella was doing cast-resin pieces with the initial (thus top) clear coat in the mold being a 2-part resin (he had an exhibition in our gallery and we met him and talked about his work). Several of us played with the stuff, and what you got when you mixed pigment in. There's got to be a lot of info not only of whatever that was but of what Time Has Marched On blah blah blah.

All the ones I know of were epoxies, where the carrying medium was nasty stuff. Good ventilation mandatory if you want to keep brain cells.

Crafts stores used to carry this stuff, for people who wanted to make a paperweight with a dandelion gone to seed in it. You layered it up.
McGuckin's would be a good place to start.

#378 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2012, 11:51 PM:

Singing Wren @ 373: What Steve C. said at 375 — post your resume, and the recruiters will come. My impression is that Monster isn't so much for the developer crowd. Dice is better. Reportedly, stackoverflow is the best for IT, but I don't have any experience with it myself.

I definitely recommend having a listing on the Linky site*, and getting linked up with people that you work with, or would like to work with. I like getting weekly updates as to what people have changed on their profiles — promotion, new job, whatever they've posted as a status (if anything). It's nice to have a way to keep in touch with respected co-workers without going over the line into "friendship" in Facebook or the like. I've worked with people that I had no desire to discuss religion, politics, or books with — but whom I treasured as hard working, reliable, bright, positive and all those other good things. The Linky site lets me keep that connection at least tenuously alive after jobs change.

When I'm looking for a job, I appreciate being able to research a company, see if there's anyone there I know, and contact them with questions. It's useful to learn 'Omigod, don't go there, they are crazy and dishonest' before I've customized the the resume and created the perfect cover letter.

I do not ask for recommendations on the site, and don't write them. That aspect of the site squicks me.

Don't worry that recruiters won't be able to find you unless you link to hundreds of people. The free membership limits how you can contact people unless you're linked to them, but recruiters pay for a membership that lets them do more.

*For readers who are puzzled by this reference, the full name of this business networking site is a Word of Power that will get you gnomed.

#379 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2012, 11:59 PM:

Albatross at # 285: "knowledge based authentication" questions, where some service looks up stuff about you in public and commercial databases and then asks you about it. ("Which of the following addresses have you ever lived at.") This is fundamentally wrongheaded (an attacker could presumably have the same public/commercial databases at hand)

The credit bureaus do this, because they have the information themselves without asking anyone else. What make of car did you buy two years ago? Which of these dollar ranges is your monthly mortgage payment in? That sort of thing. This information isn't supposed to be available to an attacker, because US laws on credit-related data are stricter than for other personal data.

The commercial databases that are more readily available don't have the depth of coverage or reliability to be used for such purposes. I'm saying this from inside knowledge, although this is my own opinion and does not necessarily represent my employer's views. In fact my employer's opinion was different from mine when the Vice President for Creating Products from Thin Air still worked here.

#380 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2012, 12:02 AM:

Aargh. Frank Gallo, not Frank Stella (we had them both).

Also lots of info on how to do resin sculpture for the googling (or is it binging, now?).

Looks like the Japanese guy was mixing his stuff up in an old coffee press pot. I loved the sumi-e of the final goldfish.

#381 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2012, 12:02 AM:

Heather Rose Jones at # 335: I suppose it's time to research just where one sends an alternate-history Ruritanian regency lesbian romance with magic and a touch of swashbuckling.

Let us know when and where it's published. It's time I expanded my reading horizons to include regency.

#382 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2012, 12:17 AM:

Micheal's craft stores carry that transparent resin stuff.

#383 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2012, 12:40 AM:

HLN: Local woman falls down stairs, resulting in baby daughter sustaining a broken leg, but no other significant injuries. Woman heard making extremely appreciative comments about local healthcare practitioners. (For the record, nope, it really was an accident, and yes, I'm always ridiculously careful on stairs, which makes it frustratingly random.)

In other news, related to the job sagas, I've been recommended for a specific job, by a former manager, whose recommendation and opinion I value extremely. I'm presently ambivalent, however, as I've seen the management team they're referring me to in action elsewhere, and they may or may not favor the "demonstrating your dedication by getting visibly agitated and working lots of overtime" model of achievement. I am trying to decide whether to interview, emphasizing my own very low drama approach or whether to just give this one a miss, on the assumption that even if they hire me, they're unlikely to change...

#384 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2012, 02:39 AM:

Is the linky site perhaps more popular in some industries than others?

Yes. In the academic world we hates it, precious. Our jobs get properly advertised, not networked, so it doesn't help us any, and we get spammed heavily by it. Every month or so I go in and deal with the backlog of connection requests I've been sent, but I never use it for anything else.

I can see that it has the potential to be very useful in other settings.

#385 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2012, 06:13 AM:

KaiTei... Best wishes to baby daughter.

#386 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2012, 06:17 AM:

Allan Beatty @ 381... It's time I expanded my reading horizons to include regency.

May I recommend Madeleine Robins's Regency mysteries about Miss Sarah Tolerance? Sarah is heterosexual, but she swashbuckles.

#387 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2012, 06:48 AM:

KayTei @ 383: Aaargh! Best wishes to you both.

#388 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2012, 10:05 AM:

KayTei @ 383: Oh, dear. I've heard that babies heal very fast. May that be so.

Heather Rose Jones @ 335: I suppose it's time to research just where one sends an alternate-history Ruritanian regency lesbian romance with magic and a touch of swashbuckling.

I have not idea where you should send it, but it sounds like something I'd love to read. I enjoy Madeleine Robins' Regency swashbuckling. I just discovered The Parasol Protectorate, and I'm finding them great fun.

#389 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2012, 10:23 AM:

KayTei, oh no! Hopes for swift healing.

#390 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2012, 10:26 AM:

KayTei @383: Best wishes to you and the baby.

So glad it wasn't worse.

No second-guessing yourself; that's why they're called _accidents_.

#391 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2012, 10:31 AM:

Good luck and thoughts to those looking for jobs. I'm currently aware that I need to update my resume "just in case" and I'm totally lost. I'm not particularly educated, but I can be trained to do nearly anything. My current position was defined once by the SAP system, but has morphed enough to serve the needs of the business that I'm really not sure how to describe my skills.

In other news, I have recently confronted one of my fears - buying a car, facing my lousy credit. I feel that if I can get past that, I may be able to delve into the resume/job issue again.

#392 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2012, 01:09 PM:

Hm. "Don't make me type all this again" checkbox not working. Let's see if deleting my browser history helps....

#393 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2012, 01:10 PM:

Argh. No dice. Anybody else running into this? Mods? Halp?

#394 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2012, 01:20 PM:

Allan @381, janetl @388,

Thanks for the encouraging words -- trust me, when it gets to that point (I'm thinking positively: "when") I'll let the entire world know where to get their hands on the book. But that's still a ways down the road. In the mean time, I'm allowing myself to celebrate all the minor milestones along the way.

#395 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2012, 01:36 PM: getting tired of typing her name. (Am I incredibly lazy, or what?)

Re: resin

Turns out McGuckin's does have clear resin; coupla forms of it. They also confirm my recollection that this stuff is horrifically carcinogenic, too. So yeah: ventilation.

Carol Kimball @380: Also lots of info on how to do resin sculpture for the googling (or is it binging, now?).

Googling. Trust me. There's a reason MS is advertising Bing so hard. </snipe>

I loved the sumi-e of the final goldfish.

With a broom, no less.

KayTei @383: I'm always ridiculously careful on stairs, which makes it frustratingly random.)

Snow snakes. They're endemic where I live. ;-)

nerdycellist @391: I'm really not sure how to describe my skills.

Does it help any to describe the kinds of problems you like/are good at solving?

#396 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2012, 01:47 PM:

For the fans of Maru-san

#397 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2012, 02:11 PM:

KayTei #383: I'm sending good thoughts for you and the little one, for quick and easy healing.

And as it turns out, Husband didn't have two final days. He went in this morning and was back out within half an hour, desk contents in box. He's taking it pretty well this time, which is good, but it's still a blow. We were just getting back on our financial feet.

#398 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2012, 02:43 PM:

janetl, #378: Is there any setting on a Linky account which will prevent the software from scraping your address book and spamming all your friends with repeated requests demands to join? If not, that's something people should be aware of; they may want to create a clean (i.e. with no address book attached) e-mail address for Linky use.

#399 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2012, 03:20 PM:

Jacque, have you tried re-booting?

#400 ::: Throwmearope ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2012, 03:50 PM:

@KayTei #383--

The dog swept my legs out from under me when I was carrying my oldest son down the stairs. My son was about 2 at the time. We were living in California.

Fortunately, I was 8 months pregnant then with my second child and I was so ginorme I just bounced. All the way down about a dozen steps.

My hubby* yells out from the garage, "Hey, are we having another earthquake?" Strangely, I let him live.

Then the two-year-old looks up at me and says, "Again, Mommy, again!!!!"

*This is the same husband who when I asked him how a person could lose 80 lbs and still be fat, said, "I don't know, dear, but you've done it."

#401 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2012, 03:58 PM:

Artists get up to the damnest things.

#402 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2012, 04:00 PM:

Jim: yup. Didn't help. (I suspect it's the bronze age browser I have to use, though why it would just start doing this this week...?)

#403 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2012, 04:20 PM:

I really can't help you, Jacque: I'm not seeing those symptoms myself.

#404 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2012, 04:41 PM:

Jim: *sigh* Oh well. Probably a Planetary Alignment. Or I'm holding my mouth wrong.

I wonder: is this a function of JavaScript?

#405 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2012, 06:37 PM:

Jacque, it's definitely a cookie, and probably JavaScript is the code that writes the cookie. If you've disabled JS I bet it won't work.

Once you HAVE the cookie, of course, you shouldn't have to check the box again unless you want to change your name/address/url. Nice thing about this: if you put in 'sees spam' after your name and DON'T check the box, it throws away the extra after that one post. At least it does on my browser.

#406 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2012, 08:40 PM:

Lee @ 398: Is there any setting on a Linky account which will prevent the software from scraping your address book and spamming all your friends with repeated requests demands to join? If not, that's something people should be aware of; they may want to create a clean (i.e. with no address book attached) e-mail address for Linky use.

Oh, I don't know. I've been using it for a very long time, and it's commonly used in my circles, so I don't hear about that. If it's like some other websites, there's probably a step when you sign up, when it asks for access to your email contacts "to help you get set up". If you say no at that point, it shouldn't have any way to see you contacts. Anyone you link to is already a member, so they're fine.

"Should" is, of course, a dubious word.

#407 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2012, 08:54 PM:

I had to retype mine a couple of weeks ago, for reasons I don't understand. It's a computer thing, I guess: occasional amnesia on the part of the software or the machine.

#408 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2012, 08:59 PM:

Abi: you got the otters up! I was lol when my 15-yo showed me that. It's such a better match than the cats that had previously been cited.

Now, of course, I keep seeing otters and hedgehogs . . . .

And then there's this--Mycroft and Watson:

(if the URL doesn't work, search images for Stephen Fry and hedgehog)

#409 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2012, 09:04 PM:

Lee #398, janetl #406: Well, the Linky spam is actually one reason I'm actively resistant to signing up -- I get annoyed when they send spam in my friends' names, and I certainly don't want to inflict that annoyance to others.

#410 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2012, 09:33 PM:

Tentatively identified most of the trees edging my backyard as Siberian Elm. Called "one of, if not the, world's worst trees...a poor ornamental that does not deserve to be planted anywhere" and considered an invasive weed tree. Well, they give pretty nice shade, through right now the samsaras are messy and they're trying to put out suckers all over themselves. They were planted in dustbowl states because only Siberia has worse weather.

#411 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2012, 10:12 PM:

Janet Brennan Croft #410: Did you spot the larva in the Wikipedia photo? ;-)

#412 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2012, 10:28 PM:

And they'll come up from seed if they have a chance.

My parents' place in Texas came with a big elm (about 40 feet tall) in one of the back corners.

#413 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2012, 11:25 PM:

A standup routine in which the comedian describes 'the best meal I ever had' when he was a teenager. It involves perhaps the most utterly annoying-to-targets non-destructive teen prank I've EVER heard of.

Caution: contains reference to Tom Jones songs. :->

#414 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2012, 11:36 PM:

Many thanks for the good wishes. Of course, my daughter is completely unfazed, and is using the cast to brace herself up so she can scootch around even more effectively. I'm assuming at that point that she'll be just fine.

Jacque, I don't have any solutions, but I can confirm the problem -- my "don't make me type this" box cut out weeks ago, and I've been assuming that one of the defensive programs on my computer is interfering with it somehow, like by eating all my cookies or something. It's equally impacted on both firefox and Aieee, and my auto-installations are all up to date, so I decided it was probably less work to keep retyping my name than to track down and fix.

#415 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2012, 11:58 PM:

Jacque @ 395

I meant to note -- we have a colony of invisible turtles out here that seem to fill a similar ecological niche to your snow snakes.

#416 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2012, 06:36 AM:

Speculating wildly, with silliness in mind:

1: Today is the 60th Anniversary of the first rock concert (complete with audience riots), the Moondog Coronation Ball in Cleveland.

2: This year is also the 60th anniversary of the Accession of Queen Elizabeth, at the age of 25.

She would have looked good in a poodle skirt... The world's first rock'n'roll monarch?

#417 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2012, 09:24 AM:

Happy birthday, Teresa!!!

#418 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2012, 11:20 AM:

Happy Birthday Teresa!

(thanks, Serge, I'd lost track of it.)

#420 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2012, 11:46 AM:

408 Melissa Singer: This is relevant to my interests.

#421 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2012, 11:49 AM:

Happy Birthday, Teresa!

#422 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2012, 12:02 PM:

Mycroft: I keep meaning to ask and then assuming you must already know . . . .

Are you aware of Sherlockology? (spoiler replete for season two as they are British, but they are very good about warnings)

Also, the Save Undershaw Preservation Trust is looking for 10,000 likes on Fb for good reasons (as opposed to a Fb scam).

And, forgive me, I don't remember where you live, but my teen has fallen in with the Sherlock NYC crowd and says the meetups are fun and that she's usually the youngest person there (but they're nice to her and her friend A anyway, a dead giveaway that this is fandom in action).

If you're a t-shirt kind of person, redbubble has some amazing Sherlock ones. The teen just received "The Canon."

#423 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2012, 01:02 PM:

Teresa, I hope that you have a good day today.

#424 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2012, 01:31 PM:

Happy birthday, Teresa! Enjoy. HAVE FUN.

#425 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2012, 01:45 PM:

Happy Birthday, Teresa!

#426 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2012, 02:14 PM:


"This is your birthday song; it isn't very long."

#427 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2012, 02:29 PM:


*puts on hamster-costume hat*
*dances around*
*presents T with a large basket of newly-discovered arcane citrus fruits*

#428 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2012, 02:54 PM:

Melissa @422: is there a good place around Sherlock for me to post what I thought was going on in "Reichnbach Fall" and see if others agree? As I was watching it, what was going on was quite clear, and there are all sorts of little pointers ("Vg'f n zntvp gevpx" being the most obvious one for anyone who's studied fgntr zntvp). I keep hearing that Moffat says that nobody's really figured it out, but I think I have a solid idea about what happened and I want to know if anyone else thinks the same.

#429 ::: FaultyMemory ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2012, 02:57 PM:

Regarding "Karen Wright":

Supposedly a fairly standard way to shipping, um, contraband is to post it to an addressee who isn't home during the day, so that the box gets left on the porch. The actual intended recipient (who doesn't live at the address) collects the box from the porch. The addressee generally has no idea that hir porch is being used as a dead drop.

In this case, best guess would be that someone with access to the St Martin's Press mailroom was the intended recipient of the dead drop.

#430 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2012, 03:04 PM:

Tom @422: An awful lot of it seems to be on Tumblr, but let me ask the teen, who may know of a non-Tumblr aggregation. I know there is a HUGE amount of speculation, including theories which include elements of that thing you mentioned.

Last night the teen and I had a serious debate about the layout/blueprint of 221B before I threw my hands up in despair and concluded that it is literally impossible to re-create in a realistic fashion. This offends the architect who lives in my brain but/and is also apparently a big debate point in the Sherlock universe.

#431 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2012, 03:59 PM:

Xopher HalfTongue @405: it's definitely a cookie, and probably JavaScript is the code that writes the cookie. If you've disabled JS I bet it won't work.

Okay, that makes sense. Far as I can tell, I have JS enabled, and it seems to be working elsewhere.

Poking around (in IE7 ::SIGH::), I go to Tools > Internet Options > Browsing History > Settings. This brings me to a dialog titled "Temporary Internet Files and History Settings." I click on the "View Files" button, and up comes a directory with a listy-list of lots of items, and I do see some things labeled "cookie" that have a address. That's as far as my 'puter-fu takes me.

#433 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2012, 05:32 PM:

Hoping you have a wonderful birthday and a great year, Teresa!

#434 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2012, 05:43 PM:

Happy birthday Teresa!!

Regarding "Karen Wright", I lol'ed at the comment: "Best query letter. Ever".

#435 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2012, 06:02 PM:

Happy Birthday Teresa!

#436 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2012, 06:31 PM:

Happy Birthday Teresa!

#437 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2012, 09:00 PM:

Where's the connection for "Karen Wright", please?

#438 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2012, 09:16 PM:

yay, Teresa! (and many more)

#439 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2012, 09:28 PM:

Carol Kimball (437): Jim's Diffraction on "Why They Haven't Read Your Manuscript Yet."

#440 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2012, 09:41 PM:


Did you click the "dont make me type all this again" button?

Teresa: Happy birthday

#441 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2012, 09:44 PM:

Open threadiness:

This post discusses the massive prosecutorial misconduct in the Stevens corruption case. That has always looked to me like an internal power struggle within the Republican party, though I dont know enough to be sure.

#442 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2012, 10:48 PM:

Happy, happy birthday! Woo-hoo!"

#443 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2012, 11:13 PM:

Said it already elsewhere, but: Happy Birthday, Teresa!

#444 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2012, 11:24 PM:

Harpo birdbath!

#445 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2012, 06:19 AM:

Janet Brennan Croft #444: WithWhy a duck?

#446 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2012, 08:51 AM:

Belated birthday greetings to Teresa.

Drat, you're now older than me for five whole months.

#447 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2012, 09:53 AM:

David Harmon... Honk!

#448 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2012, 10:57 AM:

I suppose Facebook has its uses. It alerted me to Teresa's birthday. I said a bit there a few days ago, but now that it's the actual day (or thereabouts), here's a bit more: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

#449 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2012, 11:26 AM:

David @445: I'm a stranger here myself.

#450 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2012, 11:58 AM:

@Melissa Singer in open thread 170

Only just had a chance to look at your offspring's work - startlingly professional. Have clicked the appropriate button :D

#451 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2012, 12:02 PM:

Well I never - that's the first time I've ever been gnomed. An overly brief post to contain a link?

At least it gives me the chance to include the "Happy Birthday Teresa" I'd intended, but which slipped my mind between starting to type and hitting post :P

[It was a broken link. The usual cause of that is not putting in the quote marks around the URL in the link. -- JDM]

#452 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2012, 12:18 PM:

albatross @440: Did you click the "dont make me type all this again" button?


#453 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2012, 12:23 PM:

A belated "happy birthday" from me too, Teresa.

Elise: was that a Windup Girl reference? (Just started the audiobook this week).

#454 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2012, 12:55 PM:

Lila @452: nope. try again.

(Did someone call me schnorrer?)

#455 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2012, 02:32 PM:

Lila @453:

Here ya go.

(I hate it when people turn quotes into guessing games. This is me speaking personally, not ex cathedra, but it always feels like I'm half the butt when there's a joke everyone else is in on and I'm left out. And I loathe that feeling.)

#456 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2012, 03:08 PM:

Apropos of abi's Parhelion: One woman's encounter with the new Texas law.

#457 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2012, 03:53 PM:

Abi and Lila, my apologies.

#458 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2012, 03:59 PM:

The site commonly abbreviated Ef-Bee appears to be down, at least for me, and for several hours now.

Anyone else?

#459 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2012, 04:09 PM:

Melissa Singer... Effbee has been up and running all day for me.

#460 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2012, 04:10 PM:

Jennifer Baughman @ 456... What a wonderful world the creeps are building.

#461 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2012, 04:28 PM:

And as soon as I posted about it, the site came back.

Must be the good spirits around this place.

#462 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2012, 04:38 PM:

Just FYI, I got a virus-scan warning when I connected with an ML page earlier today (sorry, I failed to note which page—I think it was the homepage). Just now, when I clicked on the link @456, it brought up a page saying I was getting blocked because a virus infection was noticed on my machine.

#463 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2012, 04:57 PM:

Serge Broom @460: Oh, I'm livid. When I was young and working temp jobs, lo these 20 years ago, I had no insurance, and no sick time, and desperately needed a full checkup; I went to Planned Parenthood (past the gantlet of big-haired protestors) for my checkup. With all the cuts, I wouldn't be able to do that these days.

I'm sending letters. I don't know what good they'll do, but I'm advocating, I'm speaking up, I'm doing everything I can. I'm ashamed to live in a state that thinks nothing of violating women's rights in such a vile manner.

#464 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2012, 07:08 PM:

Jennifer Baughman #456: That account brought tears to my eyes.

#465 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2012, 07:18 PM:

A less pleasant sign of spring: Just removed my season's first tick from my back.

#466 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2012, 07:43 PM:

OK, I watched Alien Encounter on the Science Channel, mostly because Scalzi was on it.

In the second episode, they have an alien spaceship powered by a solar sail driven by lasers...mounted on the ship.


The Science Channel.

Fortunately Scalzi probably wasn't involved in that part.

#467 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2012, 07:47 PM:

Melissa Singer @458, 461, are you familiar with (also known as "down for everyone or just me")? I've found it very useful in cases such as yours, though the one time that I used it when EffBee actually was down it was slashdotted and was itself down.

#468 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2012, 07:57 PM:

I put a pic of Gracie on that HugDogs site.

Xopher #466: Actually, I think that would work, though probably not half as well as an external laser. Since you'd still have the reflected laser light heading back along the ship's path (and exiting the ship/sail "system"), there should be at least some action/reaction going on.

#469 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2012, 08:26 PM:

Xopher @ 466... I suppose you're going to tell me that Wylie Coyote kept breaking the laws of physics.
Say... Didn't the Mythbusters try something similar with a sailboat?

#470 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2012, 08:31 PM:

David, in that case it would work a LOT better to omit the sail and point the lasers backward. It's nonsense.

#471 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2012, 09:07 PM:

lorax: I will try to remember that, and thanks for offering it.

#472 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2012, 09:09 PM:

Xopher #470: Good point.

#473 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2012, 03:23 AM:

Would it work a LOT better? I'd expect it to be just about exactly the same as pointing the laser backward -- a tiny bit less for whatever amount of laser light was absorbed instead of reflected.

#474 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2012, 09:24 AM:

David Goldfarb #473: I doubt the efficiency of the reflection good enough to even rate "almost as good", let alone "exactly the same".

The real problem, though, is that with the laser on board, it has to propel its own mass... including its power plant, fuel/battery, and any other support systems.

#475 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2012, 10:09 AM:

Um...I'm confused. I was referring to elise's birthday wish @ 427 including "arcane newly-discovered citrus fruits", not to anything Melissa said. No apologies owed to me in any way. Sorry if I inadvertently hit a button.

#476 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2012, 11:56 AM:

Teresa, your link to the LJ post on forging antiquities is locked. I have a LJ account and I can't read it.

#477 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2012, 12:47 PM:

David, even if the sail is a perfect mirror and all the angles are worked out so that NONE of the light goes back toward the ship (and the sail was more or less parabolic)...the sail still has mass, which makes it a pure loss, even if a subtle one.

And considering the size of the thing, even a zero-mass sail would cause drag against interstellar hydrogen.

The point isn't that you absolutely can't drive a ship that way, it's just that it's a really inefficient and stupid design.

#478 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2012, 01:45 PM:

David Harmon, Xopher:

No, mounting the lasers and the sail on the same structure just means that you add energy to the photons emitted by the laser, and get it back when they hit the sail, minus whatever inefficiencies there are in the laser and the sail. Result: no net change in momentum of any part of the structure relative to the rest of the universe (though the opposed momentum of the laser and the sail will cause a tensile force between the two; if you had a powerful enough laser you could rip the structure apart and the laser and the sail would move away from each other, though the net momentum would still be zero relative to the center of mass of the structure, the structure would just have gotten bigger). If you just let the laser beam go, you get to keep the reaction the laser gets when it emits the photons (not much per photon, so you need a really intense beam to get any thrust to speak of).

If the laser beam + sail idea actually worked, it would be a Perpetual Motion Machine of the 1st kind: one that gets more energy out than you put in.

#479 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2012, 01:55 PM:

A friend elseweb points out that "throwing photons backwards is just abut the least efficient possible way to turn energy into thrust. The same energy content of particles with actual rest mass would produce enormously higher thrust."

Of course, then you need to carry that reaction mass. Probably still a win, but not something you can do for hundreds of thousands of years without refueling, and the show assumed that the aliens had figured out how to get free energy on the way from the "dark energy" of the universe. Handwaving, but at least explicit handwaving.

#480 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2012, 03:34 PM:

I'm taking a poetry class on traditional forms (which would never have occurred to me before I started hanging around here). Thus, a sonnet.

The mangrove roots itself along the shore.
It lives in land and water, stretched between,
and makes a home where hatchlings can be born;
Holds sand grains, nutrients, and things unseen;
Protects the coastland, nature’s treasure chest,
And opens branches to the salty air
Where pelicans and herons come to nest
In raucous twilight bustle circling there.
It’s not pristine, not tranquil; it’s a stew,
A muddy swamp. What value can we find?
Yet from the chaos life begins anew,
And from the muck, the glory, by design.
In liminal conjunction, so do I
From roots in earth and water touch the sky.

#481 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2012, 03:59 PM:

OtterB, that's terrific! It's both emotionally moving and scientifically informative. I haven't seen that combination before, ever (that I recall).

*tempted to write a sonnet about the Great Vowel Shift*

#482 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2012, 04:02 PM:

Xopher, I would really, really love to see a sonnet about the Great Vowel Shift.

...see, now I'm wondering if someone should set up poetry swap-meets, like fic exchanges and the like. "Will provide haiku cycle on British Literature topic of your choice in exchange for a Shakespearean sonnet on linguistic history."

#483 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2012, 04:04 PM:

The Female Gaze: Okay, so half the reason I go into my art store is to stare at their department manager. Let's call him "Fred." He's 60-ish, has long, sandy hair with just a dash of gray, is slender, and has a bass-player's slouch. He's very humble (sometimes excessively so—I suspect he could benefit from some time in the DFD thread) and sweet-natured, and has a really warped sense of humor. (Let's be clear that I also really enjoy the company of the other, great folks who work in that store, as well.) So.

Well, the bastard has gone and grown a beard.

Last time I was in, he was just starting it. When I was in there today, it's in full, and nicely trimmed, and he's obviously gotten used to wearing it.

I was, um. Well, let's just say, it was a little warm in that store. And the air seemed a bit thin. And the ground felt kind of unstable.

It's a damn shame he's married. I could so very easily feature inviting him into my lair. Really, one of creations nicer accomplishments.

#484 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2012, 04:16 PM:

OtterB, that's lovely!

#485 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2012, 07:28 PM:

Nicely done, OtterB.

Fade, I'd like to see a poetry exchange; it'd probably motivate me to write more poetry.

#486 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2012, 07:53 PM:

Jim, the "Kicking the Amazon Habit" sidebar item does not work for me. Not sure if it's the link or my browser.

#487 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2012, 08:18 PM:

Jacque @ 483... When I finally decided to grow a beard, my friend Elisabeth, surprised at my new facial pilosity, showed her appreciation by gently pulling on it while saying "Hmmm..." That was 31 years ago, but there are things a nerd doesn't forget.

#488 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2012, 09:05 PM:

lorax: thanks for pointing out; I was wondering whether Crooked Timber was down just for me, but it seems to be more widespread.

#489 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2012, 09:22 PM:

Seconding Fade Manley about Xopher's suggestion. Although in the right wrong circles, a poem about the Great Vowel Shift could spark endlesss arguments.

#490 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2012, 09:41 PM:

Serge Broom @487: When I finally decided to grow a beard, my friend Elisabeth, surprised at my new facial pilosity, showed her appreciation by gently pulling on it while saying "Hmmm..."

A nice beard just kind of makes me want to, you know, nuzzle.*

* Consider this fair warning.

#491 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2012, 09:53 PM:

Jacque @ 490... :-)

#492 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2012, 10:16 PM:

#486 ::: Magenta Griffith

It's working for me at this moment. The link takes you to G+. Perhaps you have to sign in with a Google account?

#493 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2012, 10:22 PM:

Jacque @ #432:

As is so often the case, that song is older than many people realise.

#494 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2012, 10:39 PM:

OtterB #480: A good try, but in the first quatrain your a/a rhyme doesn't quite work ("shore" doesn't rhyme with "born"), and in the third quatrain "find" doesn't rhyme with "design". It is a good try, and, as a poem it has merit, but as a sonnet it needs a bit of work.

#495 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2012, 10:57 PM:

I'm pretty fried from a long day, but mini-recount of the Virginia Book Week SF/F session I attended tonight (one of only two in the program :-( ):

Jack Williamson (The Lost Fleet series), Randy Asplund (artist), Leona Wisoker (Secrets of the Sands et seq.). All were friendly and interesting. (Leona claimed she wasn't interesting; I beg to differ.¹)

Abi take note: With the decreasing demand for painted cover art and illustrations, Randy's new sideline is hand-making books, with medieval materials and methods. He brought a sample, which was gorgeous -- calligraphy, illumination, gold leaf, and at least one groan-worthy visual pun on a Bible verse.

¹ She also has a very clear voice, which I noticed happily because my hearing loss usually gets snippy about high-pitched voices. (that is, most women & almost all children) Alas, I'd run out of cash so I couldn't buy her book at the talk, but I got her free-sample booklet, and a bookmark.

#496 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2012, 11:13 PM:

David Harmon @ 495... The "Lost Fleet" series is by John G Hemry under the pen name of Jack Campbell. He also is a fan of singer Petula Clark and of the Three Stooges, whom he used for a demonstration of Quantum Physics at the 2006 worldcon. None of that has anything to do with his books, I just felt like telling you.

#497 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2012, 11:28 PM:

I may be too tired... I will check the program in the morning.

#498 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2012, 11:43 PM:

493 ::: Paul A. @493:As is so often the case, that song is older than many people realise.

Ah-HAH! I knew it! I've never seen the Disney Robin Hood, but even the first time I encountered Hamster Dance, I thought it had a distinctly Roger Miller-ish flavor. Here's the actual transform.

Ah...Roger Miller. One of the Immortal Knights of Inestimable Silliness.

(Damn. He passed away almost twenty years ago. How the hell did I miss that?)

#499 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2012, 11:44 PM:

Baugh! Coding fail. Speaking of being too tired....

#500 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2012, 12:28 AM:

OtterB @ 480

If that's what you can do on assignment, I'd like to see you play with more poetic forms. That's clever, and well done.

#501 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2012, 12:43 AM:

Some Making Light tech advise needed. Normally I leave a bunch of tabs open in Google Chrome on my laptop to the active threads, and then refresh before starting to read again so I see the new comments.

Recently, however, I got an iPad. You can't do the Chrome thing with Safari on OS X, since it seems to live to kill tabs that haven't been refreshed constantly. Has anyone worked out something using RSS, or another browser, or something so that I don't have to post at the end of every thread I read and then do a search for my name? Thanks!

#502 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2012, 12:57 AM:

Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) @478: That doesn't seem like it can be right to me: what about the momentum of the light that reflects off the sail and then goes out into the universe at large? That has to be balanced by a change in momentum of the spaceship in the opposite direction. Yes, you'd do better to leave off the sail and just point the laser the opposite way (and you do hugely better mounting the laser somewhere stationary behind the ship, of course) but you do still move.

#503 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2012, 01:26 AM:

Wait, so now David is Galileo: "Still, it moves." :-)

#505 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2012, 05:08 AM:

Fragano @494:

In a community which recognizes this as a villanelle, it's a sonnet.

I particularly like the way the octave is so richly descriptive, while the sestet is analytic and narrative. A nice turn.

#506 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2012, 06:17 AM:

re Serge @496, David Harmon may have tpyoed "Jack Williamson" for Jack Campbell, but at an ABA in Anaheim back in the 90's, I met a non-SF author who shared Jack Williamson's name. Interesting guy, a long time reporter who'd had his first novel published, BUT NOT WARRIORS, about the Japanese internment camps during WWII and the unfit-for-combat soldiers who were assigned to guard the camps.

At that same ABA, I met yet a third Jack Williamson, who ran a small press devoted to books about goat-breeding.

#507 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2012, 07:03 AM:

I've now had a bit of sleep, and yes, that was a fatigue-induced braino for Jack Campbell¹, (mundane name John Hembry). (Of course, Jack Williamson's presence would have implied that were were in an S/SF story rather than a panel. ;-) )

For the other two, I'd had their card and pamphlet in front of me. (Even in the morning, Randy Asplund's card is still pretty trippy....)

#508 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2012, 08:18 AM:

Speaking of Jack Williamson... Is there anybody else hanging out here who will attend the Williamson Lectureships this coming Friday in Portalès?

#509 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2012, 08:21 AM:

Greg Bear about SFnal ideas... "If you have this incredibly original SFnal idea, Jack Williamson probably already thought of it... In the 1930s", or words to that effect.

#510 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2012, 09:21 AM:

Book Week: Unfortunately I'll be missing Michael Mann's talk, as it's in 45 minutes... which I could possibly make if I sprinted up a muddy trail to the bus, but I'm just recovered enough to realize that isn't a good idea. (And I already did most of that to get to the SF/F panel, which is how I got this tired.) I will try to make the Book Fair proper, which runs until 4:00.

#511 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2012, 10:03 AM:


I wonder if the crash was an attack. There must be incredible amounts of money at stake, if trading moves to a different market.

#512 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2012, 10:26 AM:

Serge Broom @ #508:

According to Terrance Dicks, his friend and mentor Mac Hulke had a saying that to write for television you need a strong, original idea - but it doesn't need to be your strong, original idea.

#513 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2012, 10:45 AM:

Paul A @ 412... It's my understanding that Williamson was laid-back about his ideas being re-used by others, even in movies. After all, SF has had a long tradition of its participants borrowing from each other, which is how it grew, and Williamson also benefitted from that.

#514 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2012, 04:54 PM:

Ta-Nehisi Coates on the Brian Lehrer Show talking about Trayvon Martin.

Listen to that when you're feeling strong. It contains three 911 calls, and in the third you can clearly hear Trayvon Martin screaming for help. He's absolutely terrified.

#515 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2012, 05:21 PM:
"You know, if I had a son he would look like Trayvon," said Obama.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, appearing on a nationally syndicated radio program hosted by Sean Hannity, called Obama's remarks "disgraceful."

"It's not a question of who that young man looked like. Any young American of any ethnic background should be safe, period," Gingrich said. "We should all be horrified no matter what the ethnic background. Is the president suggesting that if it had been a white who had been shot that would be ok because it didn't look like him?"

No, Newt. What Obama meant was that if the kid were white he wouldn't have gotten shot in the first place. Or, if he had been shot, the shooter would have been arrested on the spot and right now would be charged with murder.

#516 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2012, 09:01 PM:

Jim Macdonald #515: And what Newt meant was "how dare Obama, as a member of the ruling class, identify himself with one of Those People whose abuse is part of the 'natural order'".

#517 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2012, 09:04 PM:

Also: Just saw Hugo with my family. Wow. I don't see too many movies these days, but this one was totally worth those almost-3-hours. Also, the point at which I teared up told me a fair bit about my current life-deficit. "What is my purpose?", indeed....

#518 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2012, 10:46 PM:

I'm watching a highly amusing program on the Cooking Network that involves having a modern couple relive a week in various periods of time. This includes blood testing, etc. before and after eating whatever for a week. Bear in mind this is in England.

Tonight they are doing the 1960s. I just saw the most obscene Banana Candle salads I've ever seen (the bananas appear to be covered in nuts, it is apparently from a magazine or recipe book cover).

A lot of it is Yikes!

#519 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2012, 11:46 PM:

David Harmon (#516) -- I think what Newt meant was that the president had no business referring in any way to Trayvon's (and his own) color, because by so doing he was disrespectin' the white boys of the world. Newt is awfully white, doncha think?

#520 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2012, 11:47 PM:

@Newt Gingrich: No, Mister Former Speaker, what he meant was that he took the matter especially to heart because Trayvon looked like he could be a member of his own family, and that makes a difference. It just does. I know that, because I do have a son and he did look like Trayvon Martin when he was 17.

There's also the fact that a teenager who looks like he could be the President's son (or my son) died because he looked like he could be the President's son (or my son).

#521 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2012, 11:56 PM:

The 40's and 50's even more than the 60's were *the* era of the food-that-looks-like-a-different-thing. I remember that time with great loathing, as I was then in elementary school where a large part of my home economics class was devoted to that kind of "cookery". I remember the banana candle. And I remember the peach-half-and-cottage-cheese "salad" that was supposed to look like a fried egg sunny side up. They were *all* obscene, even if the banana candle was a little more so.

#522 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2012, 12:02 AM:

By the way, I would like to read the Particle on the forging of antiques, but I can't. First the site told me I was not logged into Live Journal, but I was. So then I tried resetting my password and logging in again, but then the site decided to deny my access on the very first page. Is it possible that there's a link to somewhere else involved? And if so, could I have it and just go there directly?

#523 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2012, 12:04 AM:

Xopher @466 re solar sail with laser mounted on the same ship: I thought the main reason to aim a laser at the solar sail was so you could burn all those ergs back at home...?

Bruce Cohen @504 re the stock market that crashed its own stock: Perhaps the lesson in this is that not every human activity should be a limited liability corporation with stock openly traded on the market...?

David Harmon @507 re "Jack Williamson's presence would have implied that were were in an S/SF story rather than a panel": the appearance of some random person named Jack Williamson would imply you were in a Wilson Tucker story, of course.

Paula Helm Murray @518, having just watched my wife do a web search with the term "banana candle salad", I'd be interested to see one which was not obscene.

#524 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2012, 12:09 AM:

Paula Helm Murray @ 518: My local pub has old food advertisements varnished onto the table tops. I think they're from the 40s and 50s. They all involve whipping up a meal using packaged products, and they are terrifying.

#528 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2012, 01:14 AM:

Sorry; I have no clue how that double post happened. I think I only hit POST once.

#529 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2012, 01:34 AM:

I always had the impression that ordinary food didn't get magazine covers, and the actual cooking and eating habits of people were maybe 10% "this year's novelty items" and 90% "the stuff we grew up with". I'm thinking of the fondue sets from the '70s that got used three times in a decade* and then stayed in the back of the garage until the move. Those got a LOT of publicity, didn't they?

If it turns out that Americans ate lost-to-history canned-food recipes once a week on average... I want to know that. I don't know what it would mean, but it has to mean something.

* Swordfights by unsupervised small children do not count.

#530 ::: etv13 ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2012, 03:44 AM:

@SandyB 529: My mom had a fondue set (a silverplated one, at that) that never once got used.

A few months ago, we all (my parents, husband and daughter) spent an enjoyable hour or so laughing at the pictures of food in my mom's early sixties Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. It featured the signature dishes of well-known restaurants, and many of them looked atrocious. And I say this as a person who actually likes canned peaches topped with cottage cheese, and lime-and-pear-jello.

#531 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2012, 03:49 AM:

Open threadiness: Dance + illuminated costumes = awesome

#532 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2012, 03:50 AM:

Gnomed. I probably should have expected that, posting just a link to a video.

#533 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2012, 05:23 AM:

Weren't the banana candles mentioned here a few years back in a post about "Mormon Food"?

Having cooked some of the recipes out of Poppy Cannon's 1951 THE CAN-OPENER COOKBOOK, and found a fair number pretty tasty, I certainly don't look down on convenience foods.

But I've also done enough "real" cooking to be a fair judge of when a "convenience" of "quick" recipe's results will be acceptable. Some of Poppy Cannon's recipes I wouldn't make in the first place. (Can you even find "canned hamburgers" anymore?)

I think a lot of people and families have a basic repertoire of about a dozen or so dishes that get rotated over and over. And once they learn the steps for those, they don't feel moved to learn "extra" dishes to make, or different techniques to change the dishes they do know.

That was pretty much how my mom cooked when I was growing up. Sometimes my dad would give us a break in the rotation by making some of the things he learned during his Navy years. You know you're bored with the usual routine when creamed chipped beef on toast is a treat.

(I don't mean to slam my mom for her cooking. She wasn't a bad cook. But definitely not adventurous or ambitious in the kitchen.)

#534 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2012, 06:37 AM:

Older #519: I think your version is more-or-less Newt's "cover story" -- but I'm pretty sure his real game is looking for ways to delegitimize Obama on sublimnal levels. The thing is, one classic motif of stigma (including race and class based versions) is "the only person worse than X is a non-X who defends X". I suspect Newt just tried to dogwhistle Obama as a "n*gger-lover", without realizing just how small a circle that's going to fly with. He's certainly oblivious enough.....

#535 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2012, 07:22 AM:

Newt is playing off of the right-wing line that the racial problem is solved; we now live in a "post-racial society". So when anyone "plays the race card" now, it's asking for special privileges, guilt-tripping a society that has already Done Enough, and trash-talking America into the bargain.

It's like that citrus cleanser that gets advertised on cable, this belief. It washes all the birtherism, hoodieism, differential application of laws, and dogwhistles cleaner than clean and allows them to be considered unironically, as legitimate views in the polity.

#536 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2012, 07:49 AM:

Thanks for the comments on the sonnet, all. Xopher @481, I'd read the sonnet about the great vowel shift! You sent me out googling for science and poetry ... there's actually some nice stuff out there, though I think Sturgeon's Law applies. And I think a poetry exchange sounds like fun.

Kay Tei @500, more forms are covered in class. Depending on how the results come out, more forms may arrive here. Except the sestina will be too long (and doesn't seem to be my form anyway).

Fragano Ledgister @480, I think the inexact rhymes are admissible. An earlier draft had an correct rhyme in place of one of the ones you pointed out, but I think the replacement is stronger in meaning. The ideal, of course, would have both.

#537 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2012, 11:58 AM:

I seem to remember something like a banana candle in the 1896 Fannie Farmer cookbook. Less obscene - it used a section of banana.
It helps to remember that bananas used to be expensive and unusual imports.

#538 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2012, 12:18 PM:

OtterB #536: It takes a while to align art and craft properly. You have to go by how it feels to you and how it sounds in your ear.

#539 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2012, 01:26 PM:

50s convenience food: What probably disturbs me the most in the old food ads displayed at the pub are the canned meats. There's spam, and a variety of other brands.

#540 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2012, 01:47 PM:

Gotta go, right now, but I can't resist mentioning this:

I just read the "Sookie Stackhouse Companion" which has a final chapter containing recipes for many of the food items mentioned in the books.

These recipes reveal the true secret of Southern cooking -- packaged products.

None that calls for "canned hamburgers" though.

#541 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2012, 02:01 PM:

I'm bemused by the way that Amazon appears to be handling copyright. And the whole concept of differing national laws.

Briefly, because of failures to renew, there is a lot of SF from the 1950s and early 1960s which is, in the USA, in the Public Domain. So it gets onto Project Gutenberg. But in most of the world, operating under the Berne Convention, the minimum is for copyright to last 50 years after the author's death.

So, OK, I can go to Project Gutenberg and get this stuff. I'm just not sure what the legal position is for me, here in the UK. There's the Rule of the Shorter Term which maybe applies. It does in Germany, but does it apply in the UK?

And then I look on Amazon and find cheap e-books that are filled with such stories. And some of them are, frankly, horribly-formatted. If you want a readable text, go to Gutenberg.

Thing is, there I am, seeing this stuff on the UK site, and I don't know if it's even legal here, but they'll take my money, and hand over the VAT, and there are living authors who won't get a penny from their work. That just feels wrong.

I had a look at whether there were any UK-based e-book publishers, but the only ones I found easily were the usual outfits at the vanity press end of the range.

I have some web space. I have some stories I have written. Looking at the hassles (You deduct US income tax?), I think I might as well give them away.

#542 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2012, 02:24 PM:

Bruce Arthurs @ #533, "Can you even find "canned hamburgers" anymore?"

Yeah, but now they're individually-wrapped in boxes of four or eight and found in the freezer case. White Castle sells their version in Hawai'i, about as far from the company's natural habitat as you can get and remain in the US.

#543 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2012, 03:04 PM:

janetl #539: Hey, I sometimes eat spam! (Admittedly, not yet this year.) As far as I'm concerned, it's shelf-stable, stackable, meat on the cheap.

I'm more bugged by canned bread. (But then, I bake my own bread! ;-) ) Of course, there's the classic: whole cooked chicken in a can. That one looks gross, and reportedly is pretty unappetizing straight (as per "Don't Eat it, Steve!"), but I suspect it's perfectly usable as an ingredient.

#544 ::: Dave Crisp ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2012, 03:33 PM:

In Re: Solar Sails :-

It just so happens that I've recently re-read The Mote in God's Eye, and it's probably worth pointing out that the Crazy Eddie Probe (the craft which kicked off the events of the book) had a sail the diameter of Earth's moon, and that the laser cannon barrage which launched it made the Mote the brightest object in the sky from thirty-five light years away (drowning out the red supergiant that lay between it and New Caledonia) for about forty years, and it still only reached 0.06c.

Of course, Mote is fiction, but it's certainly towards the harder end of the scale as SF goes - IIRC, even the Alderson drive was "not inconsistent" with the understaning of physics at the time it was written.

#545 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2012, 04:47 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @ 538 (well, actually, mostly @ 494): Having studied a number of 16th century sonnets, some of which are decidedly sketchy about scansion and near rhyme (and these are the ones considered good enough to be worth preserving and studying), I think there's room for a bit of slack in sonnet format without saying it's not a sonnet.

I'm not saying there's no room for critique of the work, even on the grounds of not-quite rhyming that you chose (one person's close enough to pass is another's grating misstep), just that "as a poem it has merit, but as a sonnet it needs a bit of work" strikes me as invalid.

OTOH, your comment about art and craft is spot on as a general principle, being a chief reason I stick to prose. I could *craft* a sonnet, but I haven't much poetic art, and few would want to see the results.

#546 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2012, 06:09 PM:

Sandy B @529: I don't know how widespread was food preparation based on commercial products, but I know there was some of it going around, because I have cooked for people in their 80s using nothing but canned and dried foods (at their insistence).

What really got to me was their preference for recontituted coffee creamer over fresh milk or even instant milk . . . .

#547 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2012, 06:47 PM:

Linkmeister, 542: I think you're talking about frozen hamburgers-complete-with-bun. From the context in the Can-Opener Cookbook, "canned hamburgers" were cooked hamburger patties in something politely referred to as "gravy"*, sold in cans.

*I think the "gravy" used there was probably similar if not identical to the stuff surrounding the "Salisbury steak" found in really low-end, cheap TV dinners. Basically water thickened with cornstarch, plus a bit of beef flavoring. Pretty ghastly.

#548 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2012, 07:03 PM:

OK, this is great.

While I'm fully cognizant of the fact that they may have selected the people who reacted best, they got some people who reacted spectacularly well to the scenario. I particularly love the mother and daughter at the end, who clearly really get it.

#549 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2012, 07:07 PM:

And after a bit of Googling, I find that some of the survivialist-type suppliers still provide "canned hamburger". It comes out of the cans as a solid roll, and you can slice the roll to desired thickness.

#550 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2012, 07:48 PM:

Xopher @481: Were you aware of Cat Faber and Callie Hills' wonderful song, "Yogh and Ash and Thorn"? It's mostly about the letters English lost, but the Great Vowel Shift gets a look-in.

Fragano @494: They do rhyme (shore/born, find/design) in my dialect. :-> The vowels are identical, at least, even though their trailing consonants are not. This tells me that OtterB probably speaks much as I do.

Botanical AKICIML: There's a raised bed in my (new) house's backyard that is growing, rather determinedly, a plant I cannot identify. Its stems are square, and its leaves and tiny lavender flowers ALSO look like (a) mint, but when I take a leaf and smoodch it up in my fingers, it smells, um, like a random green leafy weed. No particular strong botanical scent at all. Anyone know what it might be?

Amusing Irony, Fanzine Department: Some of you might once have received my perzine. It was entitled Rain on Cherry-Blossoms.

I now have a cherry-tree in my yard, and it's flowering. :->

#551 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2012, 07:53 PM:


Catnip? Mine doesn't smell like much to me but my feline overlords beg to differ.

#552 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2012, 08:05 PM:

Thena @551: That's a very good thought, but I don't think so. Catnip's leaves are not so ... fissurey around the little veins as this plant's are, and also this plant has tiny tiny tiny VERY lavender flowers tucked up among the opposite-placed leaves, flowers on every tier, not a separate flower-spike.

In fact, until they got taller (and the leaf-shape became more apparent) I was thinking Creeping Charlie ... but CC's flowers are blue, and it doesn't get tall, and it doesn't, of course, have square stalks.

I should post a photo, but my camera is currently still at the friend's house where it fell out of my pocket on Friday, so. :->

#553 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2012, 08:34 PM:

Elliot Mason #550: I don't hear it, alas.

#554 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2012, 08:50 PM:

@552 It took me a long time to remember the name but the next thing I thought of was Ajuga (lgt wikipedia).

when you find out what it is, I'm curious now :-)

#555 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2012, 08:56 PM:

I don't know if this rant has been by Making Light lately. It's what I hate about tablets, all wrapped up pretty.

#556 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2012, 08:58 PM:

Lenora Rose #545: I bow to your superior expertise as to the validity of my original comment.

#557 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2012, 09:50 PM:

Also cell phones that can do almost everything - if you can remember how the obscure commands that work those features. All I want is a phone....

#558 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2012, 09:56 PM:

Canned hamburgers (upper right), from a 1953 ad for Swift canned meats. Yum.

#559 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2012, 10:12 PM:

Elliott 550: Were you aware of Cat Faber and Callie Hills' wonderful song, "Yogh and Ash and Thorn"?

No, I wasn't! Thank you.

They do rhyme (shore/born, find/design) in my dialect. :-> The vowels are identical, at least, even though their trailing consonants are not.

Wait, are you saying that the final consonants are identical or not pronounced in your dialect? Because otherwise you're talking about assonance, not rhyme.

#560 ::: Xylo ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2012, 10:15 PM:

Elliott Mason at 552: Red Deadnettle?

#561 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2012, 10:40 PM:

My housemate went into her room and her light crackled. She went to open the basement door (to check the breaker box maybe?) and noticed SMOKE.

With the voice of Uncle Jim echoing in my ears, saying "They would rather be called out for nothing than not called when it's a problem," I called 911. They told us to wait outside and they'd send the fire department. Because the house did not seem to be actively on fire, we grabbed assorted electronics, My kid grabbed school stuff, and my housemate also took her Tae Kwon Do gear, and we went outside. And there was lots of black smoke coming out of the chimney.

They were not kidding when they said they'd send the fire department. Two cop cars, three fire trucks, and one fire SUV later, they isolated it down to the furnace on the neighbors' side of the house. They shut down both furnaces to be sure, and then they used super-heavy-duty fans to blow out any carbon monoxide.

No heat and hot water until we can get our oil company out tomorrow to reconnect it. No light in my housemate's room, either, until an electrician comes and looks at the crackly light. Luckily we still have an LED lantern from the power outages earlier this year.

So much for getting writing done tonight, I think.

#562 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2012, 10:57 PM:

Rikibeth @ 561: Whew - glad it didn't come out worse! Excellent, fast reactions on your part, and the fire department.

#563 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2012, 11:13 PM:

Rikibeth: You did well.

#564 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2012, 02:36 AM:

Bruce Arthurs @ #547, certainly the White Castle ones are like that. But we have local Hawai'i brands which sell frozen patties ready-to-cook in bags. They can be pre-flavored teriyaki or plain.

#565 ::: Jen Birren ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2012, 07:03 AM:

Not to do with food, but another programme which a) has the excellent Sue Perkins in it * and b) is amusing and charming:
All Roads Lead Home- a show in which three people learn how to navigate by reading the landscape, and then take long walks. Lots of lovely views, and cameraderie. (And two women! And they're both over 40! And the man listens to them!! I hadn't realized quite how much my expectations were set up that if there were both men and women fronting a show, the man would be The Expert. Here they were all muddling through together)
(NB: Filmed in the UK, where [eg] exposed/windswept trees point northeast. Your Prevailing Winds May Vary.)

*Also Alison Steadman and Stephen Mangan. I now want to see them together in all the things.

#566 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2012, 07:06 AM:

Xylo #560: Hah -- that stuff is carpeting big chunks of the "front" field in my development, to the point where I can't help but step on it when walking the dog.

Sandy B. #555: It's been around regularly, but still current... despite Apple's recent introduction of, gasp, two-fingered gestures.

#567 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2012, 10:10 AM:

I like canned hamburger. I have never bought it, but I've canned it lots of times. (Canned meat--just chunks of meat--is also good.)

It lets you make dishes that taste like a "cooked-all-day" stew quickly. I have never managed to make breakfast gravy to my taste with anything else. (1 quart hamburger, 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 gallon milk, salt and pepper to taste.)

(Remember--since the Amish and some conservative Mennonites don't use electricity, they don't have freezers; canning meat is common. While the church I grew up in did have electricity, many of the people hadn't grown up with it.)

Relatedly, it's the only place you might find a contemporary cookbook with a recipe that starts "thoroughly scrub a barrel."

#568 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2012, 10:46 AM:

Xopher Half-Tongue #559: One of the things I find interesting about the difference between Spanish and Portuguese prosody and English prosody is that assonantal rhymes are far more the norm in Iberian than in English verse (just as hendecasyllabic meter rather than pentameter is the norm). Half-rhyme catches on in English poetry when continental models are in vogue.

It may also go the other way. I'm going to have to read more Fernando Pessoa (who was fluent in English) to see whether his work (or that of Alberto Caiero, Ricardo Reis, or Álvaro de Campos, to mention the names under which some of his verse was published) was influenced by Anglophone models.

#569 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2012, 11:44 AM:

And, appropos of absolutely nothing: my ML cookies are back. (Well, on this machine, anyway.)

Sunspots, d'ya suppose? (I'm just happy I don't have to type in my particulars every time....)

#570 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2012, 11:45 AM:

#555 ::: Sandy B.

I don't know if this rant has been by Making Light lately. It's what I hate about tablets, all wrapped up pretty.

Yeah, like talking dolls - the first I remember was Chatty Kathy. Instead of having them interact with their environment or have conversations, "play" rapidly devolved into holding the doll stationary and pulling the string, to see what the random selection of phrases would be. So much for enhancing verbal skills...

#571 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2012, 11:46 AM:

Fragano, if I remember my failed attempt at writing Norse saga verse in English correctly, half-rhyme is where the end consonants but not the vowels match, so that half-rhyme + assonance == full rhyme. Is that how you're using the term?

I remember reading something in HS that looked like a sonnet, but all the "rhymes" were either assonances or half-rhymes. I'm pretty convinced it wasn't a mistake!

#572 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2012, 11:53 AM:

#567 ::: SamChevre
...I've canned it [hamburger, meat] lots of times.

Yes, pressure canning is becoming a lost art. I use my pressure cooker frequently in Denver to save time and gas, and still have all my canning paraphernalia. The grocery and hardware stores carry the rings and lids, and the jars are widely available either new or used.

Freezing is usually quicker and easier for vegetables, which take only a quick blanching - the flavor and texture are much better - but for things like stew meat, you can't beat canning.

Maybe I'll keep my stuff...

#573 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2012, 11:57 AM:

Xopher @ 559

Speaking only for myself, the final consonant on "find" is diminished. (I'm sure there's a technical term for it, but I don't know it -- sort of sub-pronounced, so it's not as distinctly audible?)

#574 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2012, 11:58 AM:

Jacque @569 my ML cookies are back

For a moment this had me expecting a recipe. Though if the cookies are moving under their own power, I'm dubious about trying them.

#575 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2012, 12:07 PM:

For canned meat, there's always Au Pied de Cochon's duck in a can.

#576 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2012, 12:43 PM:

Elliot Mason @550, your purple-flowering plant is probably henbit or deadnettle. We have both here in the mid-Atlantic, and I'm rather fond of them though they're considered weeds.

The latter has completely taken over our little townhouse yard this spring, where we never had a problem with it before -- maybe because it's gotten so warm so early? (The flowerbeds, on the other hand, are completely full of wild sweet pea vine. I just spent 45 minutes delicately picking the weeds from around my flowering bulbs, and cleared a spot about two feet wide and four feet deep in the bed. What a pain.)

#577 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2012, 01:39 PM:

Xopher @548: Thank you so very much for that link. I will pass it along, to be sure.

Sam Chevre and other meat canners: I presume you acidify to ward off botulism? What do you use, and how does the meat taste? My father always put a tomato in each quart of non-acidic veg like green beans. Tomato sounds like a good thing to go with beef.

#578 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2012, 01:43 PM:

Speaking of classic poetic forms used for odd purposes ...

I once embarked on an alliterative saga that would be a detailed mnemonic for the Krebs Cycle portrayed allegorically as a heroic quest[1]. It had great promise, but as I started working on it well after the biology exam for which it might have retrieved my grade from the toilet, I didn't have sufficient motivation to continue.

[1] Pity the poor hero, for no sooner does he return home victorious than he must set forth anew!

#579 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2012, 02:07 PM:

John M Burt @ 577

meat canners: I presume you acidify to ward off botulism.

No; you just cook the meat at a high temperature for a long time. Canned hamburger in quarts is 90 minutes at 15 pounds pressure (240 F /116 C).

The meat ends up tasting pretty much like it would if you simmered it for 12 hours. (Which is a strongly deprecated but still used method of canning meat--boil the jars overnight.)

Safety note: you CANNOT acidify vegetables enough to boiling-water can them safely (unless you are making pickles). Unmodified tomatoes are borderline; green beans in tomato juice are NOT A GOOD IDEA. AT ALL.

#580 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2012, 02:15 PM:

John @577:

I don't pressure can, but I do boiling-water canning, and I will tell you that canning safety guidelines have changed significantly in recent decades, and using old techniques or recipes is a very bad idea. In particular, modern tomatoes are no longer acidic enough to be safe to can on their own without additional acid (they're borderline), and certainly not enough to be used as an acid source for other vegetables. All of my books say that non-acid vegetables (including specifically green beans) must either be pressure-canned or pickled; there's basically no way to acidify them enough to render them safe without pickling them. I'd imagine the same is true of meats.

#581 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2012, 02:17 PM:

March Silliness.

I mean, honestly.

In related news, USA was running a marathon of NCIS episodes in which Gibbs (played by Mark Harmon) behaves erratically or has mental problems of one sort or another. They called it the "Mark Madness Marathon."

#582 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2012, 02:57 PM:

Heather Rose Jones @ 578:

Epic biochemistry! I like it.

A Song of Isocitrate and Phosphate

The Mitochondrion Book of the Phosphorylation

The Wheel of Thymine

#583 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2012, 03:04 PM:

Xopher #581: Hey, athletes are famous for being superstitious. If you look at how individual superstition gets formed (google for "superstitious pigeons"), it makes sense -- they're in a high-stakes activity with a lot of random variation in the results of their actions, and that's a natural breeding ground for such beliefs.

#584 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2012, 03:34 PM:

Oh, I know. But that doesn't keep it from being silly.

#585 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2012, 04:05 PM:

Bruce Cohen, Speaker to Managers @582

Lord of the Benzene Rings

(Heather Rose Jones @578, I like it. No doubt it would have helped memory.)

#586 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2012, 05:41 PM:

Re the new Doctor Who trailer...what are the Borg and R2-D2 doing in the Whoniverse? Is this a special crossover series?

If so...what happens when a TARDIS goes through a Stargate at Warp 9? Inquiring minds want to know.

#587 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2012, 05:50 PM:

Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling! Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes... The dead rising from the grave! Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!

#588 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2012, 06:05 PM:

That sounds...bad.

OK, Doctor, important safety tip...

#589 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2012, 06:07 PM:

I remember making banana candles with my grandma, although my kiddie cookbook called it Candle Salad, and there were no nuts involved. (Those went on the Pear Bears.)

#590 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2012, 07:56 PM:

You can't catch me! I'm the gingerbread man!

#591 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2012, 08:22 PM:

I'm still waiting for the Tardis to materialize inside Hogwarts. Sonic wand!

#592 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2012, 08:34 PM:

David Harmon@583: they're in a high-stakes activity with a lot of random variation in the results of their actions, and that's a natural breeding ground for such beliefs.

See also actors, sailors, and freelance writers.

#593 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2012, 09:03 PM:

Well, the Doctor is know to be familiar with Rowling (referring to her as "Good old J. K.").

#594 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2012, 09:05 PM:

(known, not know, in the previous -- l'esprit de la posting-delay....)

#595 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2012, 09:27 PM:

Rupert Graves is in the Doctor Who trailer.

Robert Graves!

#596 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2012, 09:27 PM:

Debra Doyle #592: Yup. A point I didn't mention, but which also applies to all your examples: Confidence is critically important to their work.

While I'm here, I need to correct my comment at #198: In my excitement, I completely misidentified the profusely flowering trees which were the most spectacular thing at the time.

Those were not dogwoods, which in fact have not flowered yet; they are Bradford pear trees. (These are ornamental pears, without edible fruit.) They are popular down here, because they are gorgeous in both spring and fall. (Their autumn leaves run through basically every color you see in autumn leaves, sometimes all at once.) Their big flaw is that they're fragile, tending to lose entire branches from the trunk. (WP suggests that their growth pattern actually strains the branch bases.)

#597 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2012, 09:37 PM:

Why I have several editions of the Blue Book: it gives instructions for all kinds of stuff (including freezing, these days).
What I'd like to know is can you use a pressure-canner to replace water-bath canning, and how would it work?

#598 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2012, 09:43 PM:

Also, more weather: We're supposed to get a chill tonight. A neighbor was saying "frost", but TWC says it'll bottom out at 35°F. Dunno what that'll do to the flowers (or the ticks, for that matter)

We've also got scads of violets (both purple and white) scattered among the grass, as well as other flowers I haven't identified.

#599 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2012, 09:52 PM:

From down in Sugar Land this evening, we have the Moon Venus and Jupiter

#600 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2012, 11:13 PM:

Tom@593: And earlier on in that same episode, the Doctor had asked Martha, "Have you read the last [Harry Potter] book? I cried." The episode aired a few months before Deathly Hallows was published.

#601 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2012, 11:21 PM:

My current employer (by a double acquisition), is hiring for a fair number of people for jobs in Hollywood, and a few in other locations that may be of interest to some here who are looking. There are a couple of support desk jobs, and accounting jobs, plus misc. IT stuff.

The website is the obvious one, right at the bottom is a careers link that will take you to a Taleo HR tool. Like all HR tools, it's cranky on a good day. It hates the back button, for example.

j2 (the j is lower-case) does "cloud services for business", fax, voice, email, CRM, etc. I'm part of one of the email operations.

Hope this is helpful to someone. Contact me if you want to know a little more (I've been to the Hollywood office exactly once, but I have a couple of team members there.)

#602 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2012, 11:39 PM:

P.J. Evans @ 597

Yes, safely and easily, as canning under pressure achieves higher temps than a boiling-water bath. Default would be same times at 15#, though this would result in over-processing - hardly a problem with stewed tomatoes.

There are a number of books on pressure canning - I have ones by Mirro (maker of pressure cookers) and Ball (maker of canning jars/lids). Your county extension agent (if they're still out there) would be a resource if you strike out at the library.

#603 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2012, 03:33 AM:

Steve C. @ 599: I was looking at that conjunction on Sunday evening and decided my camera couldn't do it justice, so thanks for posting that!

#604 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2012, 03:51 AM:

Otter B @ 2, Patrick Connors @3: Just to say, thank you for your encouragement; I got the wheeled backpack, placed an old walking sit-mat into the back for a few mm extra cushioning, and it was great. Not only is it slightly larger than my normal backpack, which was useful as I needed to take my running gear with me (and allowed me to bring back several boxes of my favorite Pickwick tea bags - Zouthout, Sterrenmunt and Roibos original spice blend), but it rolls well and it was so much more comfortable pulling it along than carrying a heavily-filled backpack down those interminable airport corridors. Price was good by going for what's presumably an old colour pattern, and it has a 30-year guarantee (which hopefully indicates reasonable build quality).

Aside: Airport security theatre. The x-ray showed up something potentially dangerous on the way back - possibly liquids???? I shrugged - nothing like that in the bag. They pulled everything out my bag and finally decided it was... (drum roll) my minimalist running shoes!

#605 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2012, 08:09 AM:

And this morning, there was indeed a bit of frost edging the ground cover, notably the leaves of those violets. Can't tell yet how much damage that will do....

#606 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2012, 11:01 AM:

Driving home from MidSouthCon on Sunday night, there was an interesting conjunction of the crescent moon and two planets -- one considerably higher than the moon, one somewhat lower, the whole thing in the shape of an obtuse angle. It was much too late for either of the planets to have been Venus; we were speculating Jupiter and either Saturn or Mars.

Also spotted on the way home from the con: a pickup truck towing a white trailer labeled [something-or-other] Rentals... and "Caution: Zombies".

#607 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2012, 11:49 AM:

Xopher Half-Tongue #571: I'm using "half-rhyme" to mean both assonance (where the vowels but not the consonants don't match) and consonance (where the consonants but not the vowels match). True rhyme requires that both match in sound (if not always in orthography:

It's no hard thing some verses to indite,
For them to rhyme, now, is another plight.

#608 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2012, 11:50 AM:

Xopher Half-Tongue #571: I'm using "half-rhyme" to mean both assonance (where the vowels but not the consonants don't match) and consonance (where the consonants but not the vowels match). True rhyme requires that both match in sound (if not always in orthography:

It's no hard thing some verses to indite,
For them to rhyme, now, is another plight.

#609 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2012, 11:57 AM:

Fragano Ledgister @ 608

True rhyme requires that both match in sound(if not always in orthography)

The lifeboat that's kept at Torquay
Is intended to float in the sea;
The crew and the coxswain
Are sturdy as oxen
And as strong and as brave as can be.

#610 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2012, 02:35 PM:

Lee@606: That was Venus and Jupiter: the higher, brighter one was Venus. See Steve C.'s photo linked to above (taken on Monday, when the moon had moved to just above Venus).

#611 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2012, 02:50 PM:

One of my college buddies emailed me this last night:

"I was just outside. The crescent Moon is quite close to Cosoom (both fit in my binoculars easily at the same time), with Sasoom some distance
below. Barsoom is high in the east."

#612 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2012, 04:49 PM:

David Harmon #598: And I find that just about when I posted my #598, the dogwoods (at least the Japanese dogwood in my developments, were blooming.... it's probably a good thing I'm not a professional naturalist.

#613 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2012, 07:03 PM:

I always wanted to write a poem where all the words are spelled like they rhyme but don't.

#614 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2012, 08:30 PM:

SamChevre #609: A fitting example. Of course, you could, if you wanted another, have quoted Pope's Rape of the Lock:

Here thou, Great Anna, whom three realms obey,
Doth sometimes counsel take, and sometimes tea.

#615 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 12:54 AM:

Ursula K. LeGuin on The Death of the Book (Suggested subtitle: "NOT!"

How much of anything can you do in the e-world without reading? The use of any computer above the toddler-entertainment level is dependent on at least some literacy in the user. Operations can be learned mechanically, but still, the main element of a keyboard is letters, and icons take you only so far. Texting may have replaced all other forms of verbality for some people, but texting is just a primitive form of writing: you can’t do it unless you no u frm i, lol.

It looks to me as if people are in fact reading and writing more than they ever did. People who used to work and talk together now work each alone in a cubicle, writing and reading all day long on screen. Communication that used to be oral, face to face or on the telephone, is now written, emailed, and read.

None of that has much to do with book-reading, true; yet it’s hard for me to see how the death of the book is to result from the overwhelming prevalence of a technology that makes reading a more invaluable skill than it ever was.

#616 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 01:30 AM:

Eric @613: I always wanted to write a poem where all the words are spelled like they rhyme but don't.

I think that I shall never hear
A poem as lovely as a pear.
A pear, not plum, upon a bough:
Ripe, sweet, and tender, not too tough;
A fruit more beautiful than fugues
Or melismatic riffs or segues.
No, poems and plays-- old rot like "Hamlet"--
Are useless to a hungry gourmet
Who'd far prefer a tangerine
Or even crisp roast porcupine
With apple juice to wash it down.
But too late now, that pig has flown,
And nothing's left but empty prose.
Say, which road leads toward San Jose?

#617 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 01:33 AM:

(oops-- sorry for misspelling Erik's name as Eric. Esp. since the two spellings might not rhyme?)

#618 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 03:12 AM:

Julie L. @ 616/617:

Very nice! But uh, doesn't "hear" and "pear" rhyme?

And is there a difference in pronunciation between Erik and Eric?

#619 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 03:20 AM:

"Hear" and "pear" don't even come close to rhyming in my dialect. "Hear" rhymes with "ear" and "pear" rhymes with "air".

#620 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 03:50 AM:

David Goldfarb @ 619:

I wasn't aware that "ear" and "air" don't rhyme either...

Ok, after checking Wiktionary I see there's a difference.

#621 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 04:01 AM:

See, now we get into accents, and I can quote one of my favorite examples:

As Bad as a Mile
Philip Larkin

Watching the shied core
Striking the basket, skidding across the floor,
Shows less and less of luck, and more and more

Of failure spreading back up the arm
Earlier and earlier, the unraised hand calm,
The apple unbitten in the palm.

It took me years to twig to the fact that in Larkin's dialect, "arm" very nearly rhymes with "calm" and "palm". (There's a very slight consonance.)

#622 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 05:31 AM:

abi@621: Alan Moore wrote a wonderful comic called Promethea, and he had "bar", "far", and "star" all rhyme with "Promethea". I assume that works in his dialect, but it sure doesn't in mine. (The poet in question was a native New Yorker, so I'd be interested to have people who know that dialect comment.)

Roy G. Ovrebo: Hear, leer, jeer, seer, mere, clear, ear, near.
Pear, dare, care, air, wear, there, rare, glare.

Do all of these have the same vowel sound for you? And, out of curiosity, where are you from?

(In case it's not obvious, for me all of the first set rhyme with each other and with none of the second set, and vice versa.)

#623 ::: errolwi ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 05:46 AM:

Roy G. Ovrebo @620
Never mind rhyming, it wasn't until I'd been in the UK a year that I discovered that people get confused because in your dialect, 'ear' and 'air' sound the same!

#624 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 06:09 AM:

The students in the creative writing class I attend kept trying to call a poem I slipped into a piece of fiction-for-children a sonnet and I had to disagree with them:

Ring this bell, or maybe don’t
My metal heart finds it hard to care
I will teach you, or I won’t
Many things if you’ll just dare

The reason adults cause confusion
Secret treasure; when boys lie
Correct use of the semicolon
The recipe of a famous pie

All of this, or less, or more
Ring or not. The choice is yours

Confusion and semicolon don't quite rhyme, even when I try really hard.

(Arm and palm and clam all rhyme for me in the far south east of England. Ear and air, not so much.)

#625 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 07:15 AM:

Julie L. #616: <applause, lapsing into giggles>

#626 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 08:09 AM:

Julie L @616, I love it.

#627 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 08:48 AM:

Julie L. @ 616:

Tasty! Also juicy!

#628 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 08:50 AM:

Apropos of nothing at all, something that rolled through my head while I was reading Julie's poem: is Philip Dick's "The Minority Report" a case of precognitive dissonance?

#629 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 09:20 AM:

Precognitive dissonance should mean you believe your crystal ball more readily when it predicts things you expect than things you don't expect. And that is probably a real phenomenon with important implications for economic forecasting, medical diagnosis, and intelligence analysis.

#630 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 09:22 AM:

David Goldfarb @ 622:

English isn't my native language. (Norwegian is.)
The air/ear difference is evidently one of those subtle things I only catch when they're pointed out to me.

#631 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 09:24 AM:

Julie L #616: A nice set of eye-rhymes.

#632 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 09:28 AM:

Julie L. @616: That's great! I take it you've seen this (I find a different attribution every time I look for it, but oh well, here are two versions):
The Chaos
English Pronunciation
Probably doesn't work quite the same for Americans as for Brits.

David Goldfarb @ 622: I'm with you on this. Brit, brought up in Manchester.

Roy G Ovrebo @620/errolwi @623: In which dialect(s) do "ear" and "air" sound the same?

#633 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 09:57 AM:

Teresa, to answer your question about if Steampunk costumers have discovered Czeck tank helmets, the answer is yes.

I went looking for a canvass flight helmet pattern and found a web page where a guy had duplicated the helmets in broadcloth and foam.

#634 ::: John F W Richards ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 10:06 AM:

David Goldfarb @ 622
Alan Moore wrote a wonderful comic called Promethea, and he had "bar", "far", and "star" all rhyme with "Promethea". I assume that works in his dialect, but it sure doesn't in mine. (The poet in question was a native New Yorker, so I'd be interested to have people who know that dialect comment.)

Well Alan's from Northampton which is a tad North of my Oxfordshire origins but Promethea would be pronounced Pro-Me-Thee (Like Sea but with a TH) - Are so the "bar" Bah-Are, "far" Fa-Are and "star" St-Are rhymes are fine by me. I must confess I can't think of an alternative. How would you pronounce it?


#635 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 11:11 AM:

HLN, subset weather:

Highs remain consistently in the 80s here in Northeast Georgia. This is a problem because the trees have not yet leafed out enough to produce shade.

Also, I saw a mayfly this morning.

#636 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 11:21 AM:

Earworm du jour. (Or de la semaine, ahem.)

At least it's pretty.

#637 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 11:25 AM:

I think "Promethea" rhymes with "bar", "far" and "star" in any of the cluster of English dialects that use the letter r to lengthen the preceding vowel*. In those dialects, "bar" sounds like "baa".

My best friend at university had one of those accents. For him, "iron" and "ion" were homophones. He was also prone to inserting an "r" sound (a real one, not a giraffe call) between words if one ended with a vowel and the next one started with one.

* or, alternatively, as a quaint and unpronounced visual element on the page, like some kind of intraverbal fleuron.

#638 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 11:40 AM:

Lila @ 635: our northeast Georgia highs in the 80s aren't that uncomfortable for me (yet) but they are disconcerting. So far, i haven't turned on the a/c -- ceiling fans are doing the trick At least there is a breeze, which causes dunes to form in the pollen accumulation. We're seeing fireflies already but they're flying higher than usual.

#639 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 11:52 AM:

Julie 616: Love it! Applause.

David 622: All the words in your first set rhyme for me except 'seer', which I pronounce as two syllables: see-er, with the /iy/ sound in the first syllable much less rhotically modified than the ones in the rest of the set.

New York dialects (and there are many) evolve back and forth from rhotic (pronouncing 'r' as a liquid consonant after a vowel) to non-rhotic (lengthening the vowel slightly with no liquid), as the middle and working classes try to imitate the upper class, and the upper class tries to avoid sounding like the others! I think at this point it's become a jumble, with no clear class markers...Governor Cuomo speaks non-rhotically, but he might be trying to sound like The Working Man.

In any case, in a non-rhotic dialect 'bar', 'star', and 'far' all rhyme with 'Promethea' (if the stress on the name is on the final, which isn't how I'd pronounce that).

This is also why comic-book writers have characters say 'er' as a hesitation syllable. It's pronounced /ə/ (which I would spell "uh" in my dialect)! But because I was reading it from a rhotic dialect, I imagined people pronouncing the full liquid consonant, and even started saying it myself, as did other people I know, and a brand-new word was produced! Silliness.

It wasn't until I got to college (university) and started studying linguistics that I found out why so many of my schoolmates said "ink pen," which struck me as redundant. My parents are from Chicago, and I spoke like them. My Michigander schoolmates spoke a dialect where the vowels /i/ (as in 'bit') and /e/ (as in 'bet') are not distinct, so that 'ink pen' disambiguates between 'pen' and 'pin'. They didn't write 'ink pen'; it was strictly spoken (and it's rather hostile editing IMO to leave in the word 'ink' when transcribing an interview, since it looks dorky in writing).

Curiously, I never noticed that my schoolmates had an accent relative to me, other than wondering why they said 'ink pen' and a few other things like that—word inclusions rather than pronunciation. When I'd been in NYMA for a year and called my school for a transcript, and the operator answered "Michigan State" with three diphthongs (/miəšiəgən steyt/, more or less MIH-uh-shih-uh-guhn stait) and I cringed. I knew then that I wasn't moving back to Michigan. By then the New Yorkers had stopped making fun of me by talking funny, you see.

abi 637: Every dialect of English has an automatic consonant that separates vowel-ending and vowel-beginning words, because no word in English begins with a vowel phonetically. In my dialect (and I suspect in yours) the automatic consonant is a glottal stop, which is not otherwise used as a consonant (well, to pronounce /t/ before /n/ in my dialect, but not on its own). In non-rhotic dialects (as in Boston or BBC English), it's often /r/, which is still unambiguous, because even though the real phonemic consonant appears at the beginning of a syllable, after a vowel it does not: in that position it's always the automatic juncture consonant.

#640 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 12:37 PM:

Neal W @624 -- Are your students innumerate as well, or did you leave out a quatrain? Or, as the princess said, "Aren't you a little short for a sonnet?"

Xopher @639: to say that no word in English begins with a vowel phonetically, sounds like specific linguistic jargon and is likely to cause confusion in general discourse, IMO. For the practical purposes of most people, there are a lot of words that begin with vowels: if you're saying that words start from an unvoiced state, and that only vowels are voiced, I can understand why this would make logical sense. But the question of what a vowel is in common usage is very different from a technical definition. (This continues a discussion elsewhere on this very site.)

#641 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 01:07 PM:

Tom, I mean that the actual sound at the beginning of a word is always a consonant. Lots of words begin with a logical, structural vowel "sound." That's a phoneme.

Example: 'elephant', if said in isolation, begins with a glottal stop. Feel that little catch at the beginning? Very hard for English speakers to begin the word smoothly, without that little catch. Say 'the elephant' and you have a different consonant: the glide that ends the pronunciation of 'the'. 'The deer' has no need for an automatic phonetic consonant, because the phoneme /d/ is also phonetically a consonant (and hence the vowel in 'the' is /ə/ instead of /iy/, by English sandhi).

#642 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 01:15 PM:

So would Bostonians say 'the/r/elephant'?

#643 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 01:24 PM:

Jacque: no, because they have the same ə/iy sandhi as everyone else; that is, there's a y there at the end of 'the', so no need for an automatic /r/ to pop in.

If someone made an elephant out of full soda cans, though, they might pronounce 'soda elephant' with an auto-/r/.

#644 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 01:26 PM:

My college friend would certainly put an r between the soda and the elephant.

(Another sentence I never expected to write, ever, in my entire life.)

#645 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 01:39 PM:

abi, #637: There are some Midwestern American dialects which pronounce "wash" and "washing" with an extra R -- "warsh" and "warshing". My father had that, and literally could not hear the difference between the way he said them and the way I do.

Tracie, #638: Fireflies in March??!!! That's fully 3 months earlier than I usually look for them!

Xopher, #639: Hey, waitaminnit -- I grew up in Detroit, and we most certainly did distinguish between "pin" and "pen". I didn't encounter the "ink pin" thing until after moving to Nashville -- and even there, it was primarily people with strong deep-rural accents who used it. Were your Michigander classmates from rural areas?

#646 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 01:45 PM:

Nervous muttering of acknowledgement to all.

Also, a shameful confession that I am completely unable to remember how to pronounce "slough" as a geographical feature. Every so often, I look it up and promptly forget again whether it rhymes with "two", "thou", "tough", or something completely different. (As a verb, it sounds like "sluff". I think. As a noun? *headdesk* )

dcb @632: Yes, I have seen those :) and shall promptly invoke Kevin Wald's "Fraught".

#647 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 01:46 PM:

Xopher (639): When I first encountered the usage 'ink pen'*, I thought it was to disambiguate the writing implement from a place to keep animals ('pig pen'). As such, it made a fair amount of sense to me.

*I think it was in writing, not speech--dialogue in a book, perhaps?

#648 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 01:55 PM:

I think, Xopher (@641), that what you're pointing to as a glottal stop is the same thing I'm pointing at as "an unvoiced state." Different words for the same thing. The stop happens somewhere, not necessarily at the glottis: it's one part of how we determine what a word is. Odd to look at the formation of "a nuncle" into "an uncle" in that context, though. I wonder what leads to the shift of the unvoiced pause there?

#649 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 01:56 PM:

Lee, Detroit, like most cities of its size and above, has a mishmosh of dialects. The rule of thumb that I learned was that if a person pronounces the name of the city with the stress on the first syllable, they're descended (linguistically) from people who came up from the South after the Civil War (both freed slaves and poor whites).

My school was a borderline one. Some of the students were Michigan State faculty brats like me; others were farm kids. (I was too clueless to notice the class resentment there.) Whether the i/e ambiguity was confined to the farm kids I don't know.

#650 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 01:57 PM:

Xopher: as a complete non-linguist, the best explanatory example of a glottal stop I can think of is the consonant in "uh-oh". Sometimes you hear toddlers pronounce it "ut-oh". They can hear that there's a consonant there but haven't worked out how to make it.

#651 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 02:03 PM:

Tom, it's complicated. There's no automatic consonant because there's a real one, the /n/. What moved was the perceived juncture; the /n/ at the beginning of 'nuncle' was reanalyzed as a sandhi before 'uncle', but phonologically not much changed.

#652 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 02:10 PM:

As far as a New York accent goes, most folks from here will tell you there isn't one . . . because there are at least three.

What most people think of as a "New York accent" is (depending on what they are hearing/thinking of) a Bronx or Brooklyn accent (they're similar but not identical). Except that people who watched a lot of "The Nanny" think that's the New York accent, but it's actually a Queens accent, which is closely related to a Long Island accent.

The Queens/LI accent is, imo, really a type of Jewish accent that has spread beyond the original population. I sound much more "like a New Yorker" (actually, that would be "like a New Yorkah") when I've spent a lot of time with my mother and aunts, who grew up in Brooklyn and on Long Island and who have the New York Jew accent that is often now interpreted as Queens/LI.

Most of the time, I don't have much of an accent, which I ascribe to going to high school with people from all over NYC (and the world). We all learned a kind of middle-atlantic way of speaking that did not retain a lot of local markers, and most of us could slip in and out of it depending on where we were and who we were with.

#653 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 02:12 PM:

#622 David Goldfarb: one of the things that caught me with my ancestry is that while wear goes with pear, Wear goes with ear. And as my relatives are all Wearsiders...

(oh, and so does weir, which was critical knowledge for survival in Calgary (until the fix-me project came through, at least!)

#654 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 02:33 PM:

Again, same idea, different words, Xopher. I might make a distinction in speaking "a nuncle" vs "an uncle", but it would be small and subtle and probably only in my mind....

#655 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 05:37 PM:

Xopher, #651: There are other examples of the same process -- the one I most readily recall is "a napron" becoming "an apron". And if I'm speaking formally (or with "telephone enunciation"), I still insert that little pause and glottal stop between the N and the following vowel, rather than running them together.

We see the opposite shift happening with the tendency of some people to backform "another" into "a nother" -- often encountered as "a whole nother".

(Incidentally, I never heard anyone pronounce "Detroit" with the accent on the first syllable while I was living there either.)

#656 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 06:22 PM:

Weather/dog: Hmm. It's due to rain (TWC says "scattered thunderstorms"), but the sky doesn't look all that bad... except that Gracie wanted to go home early -- she started leading me home after only 15 minutes! Given that heavy rain is the only weather than fazes her, I'm wondering if she knows something I don't.

Also, my feet are not happy feet just now -- The most painful part seems to be just dry skin (putting on more cream RSN), but my ankles are also complaining about the last week (uneven meadows, stairs, and extra walking for Book Week).

#657 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 06:25 PM:

And, the rain just started. We'd probably have had another 10 minutes, but it would have been real close.

#658 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 06:32 PM:

For me the last vowel of "Promethea" is a schwa, Xopher's /ə/ above, which is quite different from the vowel in "bar" or "star" -- and that's leaving aside the question of the R, which (in my rhotic dialect) is present in the latter words and quite absent from the former.

I remember when I was working at Copymat one day a customer came in and asked if she could use an "inkpin". I'd never encountered or even heard of that usage before, and it took a fair amount of backing and forthing before I finally worked out what she wanted. I sometimes worry that she thought I was making fun of her.

Melissa Singer @652: Well, the question in my mind is whether someone from New York, needing to improvise a poem to invoke a demigoddess, would naturally reach for "star", say, as a rhyme for "Promethea". Is that plausible?

#659 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 06:54 PM:

Open threadiness, this made my evening:

#660 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 07:14 PM:

OK, I am dumb. Maybe someone here can help me - I feel like I'm missing large parts of my vocabulary, but it turns out I'm just not too handy.

I finally received my license plates on Monday. When I went to put them on my car, I noticed that my rear license plate frame is bolted on with a hex bolt/screw(I think that's the right name for this doohickey with a six-sided head) that doesn't have a slot or notch for a screwdriver or allen wrench. I'm not certain what tool I will need to borrow to undo the fastener. Can someone who knows their way around a toolbox better than I give me a keyword or a link to a picture of said tool?

Conveniently, the front license plate frame is affixed with screws that can be removed with a screwdriver - but it's the rear plate that's mandatory.

Honestly, I thought Ikea furniture construction would be the most complicated hardware-related crap I'd ever deal with.

#661 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 07:18 PM:

Oh, and I should mention I tried one of these adjustable wrench dealies, but it kept slipping off no matter how small I adjusted it. The angle was extremely awkward. Maybe I just need a smaller one?

#662 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 07:21 PM:

If anyone was curious, it turns out that stroller-pushing uses a very specific set of muscles (roughly equivalent, I find after later experimentation, to those used by lying flat on one's back and holding aloft a broad weight in one's palms vertically at about one's nipple's latitude). This is only interesting or notable to me in that they are muscles I apparently have not been exercising much lately ... and I walked the just-over-a-mile each way to and from the library with the kid in the stroller yesterday.

An experiment that bears repeating, though perhaps I also need to have a think on things I can add to my lackadaisical fitness regimen to make it a bit less uncomfortable next time.


However, I also came home with a takeout menu for the Korean joint out there that advertises itself for its "Famous ginseng chicken soup," which sounds yummers in the extreme.

One of the very few things I miss about our old house is that the library was less than half a mile away, along quiet residential streets with wide sidewalks and my choice of sun or shade almost the entire way.

We are currently almost precisely equidistant from our three closest branches, all right around the mile+ line, and confusing mixes of streets that don't go through makes routing a little more complex if I don't want to take the (narrow-sidewalked, very busy) arterial streets.

#663 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 07:24 PM:

David Harmon @583: Your mention of sports and superstitions has caused part of the movie Bull Durham to get stuck in my head. ("Rose goes in the front, big guy.") I recommend the movie for oh so many things, and the gentleness with which that particular line is delivered is definitely one of them.

#664 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 07:25 PM:

nerdycellist @660 -- what you need is either a socket wrench in the appropriate size (handle, plus a cylinder the inside of which has a hexagonal hole which just fits the bolt), or some form of end wrench (which has an open slot at one end which should also just barely fit). If you have to buy something, there are variable end wrenches which will fit to four sides of the hexagon: the width is controlled by a little screw-cylinder in the handle (not one with a slot on the end, just a cylinder with screw threading that your fingers can turn). Again, adjust so the screw/nut you want to remove just fits.

The socket wrench is the most convenient if you have a set: the handle usually has a ratchet that allows you to remove (or return) the screw while only moving the wrench through a portion of its circle. The others usually require taking the wrench off the screw and putting it on again so you can move it through the correct arc (sometimes you have to flip it over to do this).

Hope that's helpful, or that you hear from someone else who can describe stuff better!

#665 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 07:28 PM:

n @661 -- that's the adjustable end wrench I was talking about.

#666 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 07:35 PM:

nerdycellist: You need a socket -- they're like a cylinder of steel with a hexagonal long void in them. You fit them over the hex bolt and use a rachet-handle to turn them. They often come in large sets ('socket sets') like this one, but can also be bought ala carte at hardware stores (i.e. just a handle and just the socket you need -- measure the hex-bolt's head or press a piece of paper on it nice and hard to take an impression).

#667 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 07:42 PM:

Sica #659: Very cool, very funny. And HappyPlace is going in my bookmarks! Also, they noticed the Snatchel (knit vaginas) Project.

#668 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 07:47 PM:

While I have a huge mechanics ratchet & socket set, what I use most often is a cute little set that comes in a trade-paperback-sized flat box. I keep it in the tool & emergency stuff bin in my car's trunk.

It has maybe a dozen sockets and one medium-duty ratchet handle and extension. Just enough to deal with license plate bolts, the hardware holding the battery in, the hex-head machine screws holding the side view mirrors, etc.

The set cost me about $15. I believe I got it out of a bin in an auto parts store.

#669 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 07:51 PM:

Does anyone know of a national-level chain store that reliably carries old-fashioned wood-slat futon frames and futon mattresses?

Online searches of the usual suspects show lots of futons, but not of the cheap old fashioned sort.

I can go mail-order, but as you can imagine the shipping is considerable. More than a tank of gas.

#670 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 08:01 PM:

Nerdycellist: a local mom-and-pop hardware store might let you try several sockets to see which one fits, and only have you buy the one that does. A big-box store will, of course, only sell you a set, though a small set may cost only ten or fifteen bucks. (Not sure about pricing; haven't bought one in years.)

There are also screwdriver handles which fit the sockets, so you can snap the socket into the screwdriver handle and just use it like a screwdriver.

I do hope one or all of us have been helpful, and not hlepy!

#671 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 08:03 PM:


It just occurred to me that my local Autozone is willing to loan their tools for use in their parking lot if you give them your drivers license as security; they may have a socket (and wrench) of the right size.

#672 ::: David Harmon has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 08:05 PM:

trying to link back to Happyplace?

#673 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 08:42 PM:

Stefan Jones @669: Most of the futon frames I see lately are metal tubing, not wood slats -- cheaper to manufacture nowadays, which makes my head spin slightly.

#674 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 09:37 PM:

Lee 655: And if I'm speaking formally (or with "telephone enunciation"), I still insert that little pause and glottal stop between the N and the following vowel, rather than running them together.

Yes, in "careful speech" things are pronounced somewhat differently. But careful speech isn't where these changes happen!

(Incidentally, I never heard anyone pronounce "Detroit" with the accent on the first syllable while I was living there either.)

Had a boss from there who said it that way. He definitely showed other signs of southern language descent.

#675 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 09:50 PM:

David Goldfarb @658 wrote: "Well, the question in my mind is whether someone from New York, needing to improvise a poem to invoke a demigoddess, would naturally reach for "star", say, as a rhyme for "Promethea". Is that plausible?"

Hard for me to say, since I'd never heard of Promethea before; I suspect a significant number of NYers would think of Prometheus far more easily, given this guy (by Paul Manship), who lords it over part of Rockefeller Center:

However, in terms of pronunciation alone, that's easy: No. NYC is not Boston; we pronounce those final "r"s. At least we do nowadays, most of us. But if the writer in question was thinking of Tony Curtis and his "yondah lies the castle of my faddah" (which may never have happened), accents of that intensity have mostly faded over the last several decades (Fran Drescher's Flushing doesn't sound like that anymore). So it would depend on when the poem was supposedly written as well as where in NYC the writer was from.

Clear as mud, right?

#676 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 10:04 PM:

Elliott Mason @662: Are the stroller handles the right height for you? An awful lot of people find that strollers are just too short. I'm short myself, so I didn't have problems except with one of my cheapie strollers which was very short, but I have a lot of taller friends who struggled.

There are places that sell extenders, if that's part of the problem.

#677 ::: GlendaP ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 10:12 PM:

nerdycellist @661 Will the jaws of the adjustable wrench fit snugly against two opposite sides, not corners, of the head of the hex bolt? If not, it's the wrong size.

If yes, make sure you position it so the main pressure is against the fixed side, not the adjustable side. Or you may just have a poorly made wrench that doesn't stay in adjustment.

However, what you really want is an offset wrench (of the correct size), or a socket set.

#678 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 10:18 PM:

Melissa Singer@675: When the poem was composed: at the present time (which is to say, just before the turn of the millennium) but in an alternate universe with flying cars and superheroes. Where in NYC Sophie Bang was from, I can't say with any certainty, and given the alternate-universe stuff it may not matter anyway.

However, my strong suspicion is that Alan Moore was composing in his own dialect and not thinking about others.

#679 ::: GlendaP ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 10:20 PM:

Xopher @639 My Michigander schoolmates spoke a dialect where the vowels /i/ (as in 'bit') and /e/ (as in 'bet') are not distinct, so that 'ink pen' disambiguates between 'pen' and 'pin'.

I'm from Texas, and I pronounce 'bit' and 'bet' differently, but 'pin' and 'pen' the same. I've also never heard anyone say 'ink pen' except in response to a listener's confusion.

#680 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 10:31 PM:

Fascinating, GlendaP. What about these pairs (S/D):

1. Dib and Deb
2. Pill and Pell
3. Din and den
4. Pip and pep
5. Tin and ten
6. Bic and Beck
7. Kin and Ken
8. Gin and gen (or Jen)

(Feel free to ignore those, but I'd love to try to figure out if there are phonological criteria.)

And my remarks about unkind editing stem from reading an interview with Eminem (whom I hate, but who I have to admit came off as quite thoughtful) where they quoted him as saying "I have to sit down with an ink pen and work it out." Also, "do you have an ink pen?" is a question I've been asked more times than I can count (and of course I did, they could see them right there on my shirt pocket...usually three or more).

#681 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 10:42 PM:

In my dialect, slough (the water body) rhymes with two. (I've seen it spelled 'slu' on some older maps.)

#682 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 10:55 PM:

David Goldfarb: I suspect you are right. I'm not sure, in any case, that Alan Moore has heard enough NY-ese to be able to write in that dialect anyway. I know I wouldn't try to write Cockney even though I've watched an awful lot of Eastenders (not recently, but for at least a decade).

And in any case the accent has shifted. Just this past weekend I saw the very first Law & Order with Jerry Orbach (still much missed). When he opened his mouth, New York came out. It's unmistakeable.

That was in 1992 and Orbach was in his late 50s. 20 years later, most NYers in their 50s don't sound like that.

#683 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 10:58 PM:

Xopher @680, a data point from a North Carolina native: the pairs in 3, 5, 7 and 8 are all pronounced identically, much more "ih" than "eh." ("Pigpen" and "Big Ben" would each have "ih ih" as their vowel sounds, with the second "ih" shaded ever so slightly toward "eh.")

"Ink pen" was pretty common when I was growing up; since "pen" and "pin" were pronounced exactly the same, requesting an ink pen rather than a straight pen (a small, pointy metal thing often used to hold seams before sewing, in case that wasn't clear) was occasionally useful. If the pen in question was in sight and could be pointed to, or was obvious from context, it wasn't necessary.

#684 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 11:00 PM:

Myself @683: Straight pin, not pen.

#685 ::: GlendaP ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2012, 11:52 PM:

Xopher @680

1. Dib and Deb - different
2. Pill and Pell - different
3. Din and den - same
4. Pip and pep - different
5. Tin and ten - same
6. Bic and Beck - different
7. Kin and Ken - same
8. Gin and gen (or Jen) - same

Interesting! The 'n' changes my pronunciation of the 'e'. Looks like 'm' does too: 'him', 'hymn', and 'hem'.

#686 ::: GlendaP ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2012, 12:09 AM:

myself @685 To phrase it less clumsily:

In casual conversation I pronounce 'en' and 'em' as if they were 'in' and 'im'. When I focus on speaking clearly, those are the ones I correct.

#687 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2012, 12:10 AM:

Sounds like in your dialect /i/ and /e/ are not distinct before a nasal consonant.

Can't think of an English word ending in -eng to test against bing, ping, sing etc.

#688 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2012, 12:56 AM:


I have summarized what I know of the Illinois accent as, "Hi, I'm from Ellinois. I drink melk and I sleep on a pellow." I've gotten confused between pin and pen, mostly thinking someone said 'pen' when they said 'pin', but 'ink pen' says 'fountain pen' to me.

#689 ::: GlendaP ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2012, 01:00 AM:

Xopher @687 They aren't quite a proper pair, but 'string' and 'strength' fit the same pattern for me.

#690 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2012, 02:42 AM:

The wind map in Abi's parhelion is as cool as an extremely cool thing with extra wind chill to make it cooler.

#691 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2012, 03:19 AM:

Elliott Mason @662: Distance from Library. Sympathies; my only real suggestion is to try to mentally turn it into a Good Thing (TM) that you can get two miles of walking (and arm/shoulder)exercise in without trying just by going to the library!

#692 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2012, 08:52 AM:

Melissa Singer @676 asked: Elliott Mason @662: Are the stroller handles the right height for you? An awful lot of people find that strollers are just too short. I'm short myself, so I didn't have problems except with one of my cheapie strollers which was very short, but I have a lot of taller friends who struggled.

It's a 'jog' type stroller, with three enormous wheels with knobbly tires; the handle has a swivel thing so it can be rotated to different angles (partly for folding, but also for height); I keep it at just about mid-ribcage, which I was told was about right.

In re weed identification sub-thread; I've held onto all the suggestions, I promise, but Life Is Nuts. I intend to go take pictures today, which will help all you helpful people with better data than my verbal flounderings can provide. :-> Henbit is looking good, but none of the photos on those websites look quite like what's in my yard (different maturation stages, for one thing).

#693 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2012, 08:55 AM:

dcb @691: Considering the only two things I 'miss' about the old house are its closer-ness to library and the fact that its stove had the broiler in the drawer at the bottom as God intended!, I think it's a general win across the board for the new house.

And once I figure out how to rig an adult pull-up bar on the horizontal member of my kid's swing-set, onsite exercise is going to get simpler.

#694 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2012, 11:42 AM:

Neil W @ #624: Arm and palm and clam all rhyme for me in the far south east of England.

Okay, I'll bite. In what dialect does clam rhyme with palm and arm?

#695 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2012, 12:15 PM:

Omnia -

Thanks for all the extremely helpful info on tools! I went into the toolbox last night and found the case that came with my cordless drill contained sockets as well as drill bits. I'm charging the battery up now and am confident the right size socket is available. I'm also pretty confident that the tool kit my dad provided me with has some rather good quality useful tools that I should ask him about next time he visits. Maybe we can arrange an exchange of knowledge; he can show me how to use tools (like the advanced primate I am) and I'll demonstrate praline-making, or using operant conditioning to train a pet.

In other news, I find myself spending an inordinate amount of time contemplating an inconsequential decision: do I update my Jezebel (gawker) login? If so, do I link to my current, semi-anonymous Twitter, make a new fake twitter, or use a new fake gmail address. Right now I'm leaning toward the just not updating. I'm an infrequent commenter, have been berated at times by other commenters who either don't get my sarcasm or don't appreciate it, and at one point in recent memory I nearly got into a flame war regarding cheese.

#696 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2012, 12:40 PM:

Extra, Extra!

Christopher Priest rants against Clarke Awards! Charlie Stross morphs into Internet Puppy! Hilarity Ensues!

Charlie, forgive me for putting the link up here before you could. I've been laughing about this since 3:30 AM local time, and I just had to put this up or burst.

#697 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2012, 02:08 PM:

abi @ 644

'This language lets us say things that we couldn't ever mean
Describe the hippos of the zemindars, a-dancing on the roof
And ideas sleeping furiously, both colourless and green.'

#698 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2012, 04:11 PM:

Paul A. @694: Try calm.

#699 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2012, 07:02 PM:

Open threaded coolness: The winds of the US

#700 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2012, 07:28 PM:

Steve C.: Currently third down in Abi's Parhelia. (grin)

#701 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2012, 07:34 PM:

David Goldfarb @ 700 -

D'oh! Must be the winds circulating in my head to make me miss that.

#703 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2012, 10:45 PM:

What patterns would you notice if you superimposed the vowel shift map on top of the wind map?

(indeed, vowels are made of wind)

#704 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2012, 10:45 PM:

What patterns would you notice if you superimposed the vowel shift map on top of the wind map?

(indeed, vowels are made of wind)

#705 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2012, 10:46 PM:

sorry sorry about about the the double double post post

#706 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2012, 03:02 AM:

TNH's particle on why publishers fail is interesting, but I wouldn't say the reasons, in the cases listed, are all that publishing-specific. I'm not saying you need an MBA to avoid the traps, but it really is a lot of basic business administration that is being copulated-up. There are things about the publishing business that are different, and which affect how a start-up works, but not setting up the company properly isn't one of them.

And even self-publishing of the "bung it on Amazon" sort has some pretty basic things to pay attention to. I would be inclined to argue that some of them arise from Amazon having a poor grasp of how to handle a business spanning multiple nations. See the recent kerfuffle about different editions of the next book by Charles Stross for an example.

If you are not in the USA, and want to sell an e-book through Amazon, you still have to deal with a US company, which will withhold US tax from all payments they make to you, and involve you in all sorts of complications over your tax liability in your country of residence. I suspect that my total income might be low enough to be worth submitting a US tax return to recover the withheld monies. Oh joy!

Actually, Smashwords does the same on US Income Tax, but they don't pretend to be a company in the UK when they sell the e-books. I'd really have to do some digging to see whether the same rule applies, but low-value consignments don't get charged VAT or import duty--it would apply to DVDs, but does it apply to downloads? Amazon, UK-based for delivery, hits the customer for 20% VAT, and is suddenly US-based for paying the author.

Anyway, you don't need to make publishing-specific mistakes to set up a train-wreck.

#707 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2012, 04:33 AM:

a business spanning multiple nations

First read as 'spamming multiple nations'.

#708 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2012, 08:34 PM:

RaceFail on the other side of the box office.

Summary: Idiots are complaining about characters who are described as being black in The Hunger Games being played by black actors. Some of them are obscenely explicit.

#709 ::: Lee has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2012, 08:35 PM:

Probably due to mentioning a sensitive topic.

[Actually because the URL included a common contraction without its traditional apostrophe. Madlibs-style spam is noted for this same characteristic. I speculate that it's because their lists of random phrases are delimited by quote marks or apostrophes. -- JDM]

#710 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2012, 08:48 AM:

Fragano, is something biting you IRL?

#711 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2012, 03:29 PM:

Why is a raven like a writing desk?

This one is even more so.

Tunable pipe organ. When you play the right melody, secret compartment opens. Puzzles in all drawers. It's arty and crafty!

#712 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2012, 04:44 PM:

David Harmon #710: Were that the case I wouldn't be discussing it in the public square.

#713 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2012, 04:48 PM:

TNH: Anent your latest particle, see:

There is also a play based on this book. I saw it performed here in Atlanta some years back. A script is available:

#714 ::: Fragano Ledgister hath been Gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2012, 04:49 PM:

I posted two URLs. This led to my (wholly innocent) post being seized by the watchful Gnomes in the tower.

#715 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2012, 05:55 PM:

Hyperlocal news... Man back from Williamson Lectureships in New Mexico's Portalès. Man had a great time, and will soon post photo of Connie Willis arguing with Ty Franck about British TV series "Primevals", with Daniel Abraham worriedly stuck between them.

#716 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2012, 06:21 PM:

Speaking of words that end in ough, wasn't there a song called Shoughoughl ough tough Boughoughlough?

#717 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2012, 06:47 PM:

Re: Jim's Diffraction on Joel Stein, "pretentious git" isn't the half of it. If Stein had written that he'd read a representative sampling of the category and gave us an essay on "here are the reasons I don't think they're worth an adult's time," then maybe I could take him seriously. But as it stands, he's written drivel and is apparently proud of it.

Twit. Makes me wish my Potter books weren't in storage--and that I had the funds to travel to Stein's location and camp out on his doorstep while I read, say, "Half-Blood Prince".

Then again, why should I care about his opinion? It's obvious he's just trying to generate heat, not light.

#718 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2012, 06:59 PM:


#719 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2012, 07:17 PM:

Teresa (particle) Fragano @713--When my office was downtown we were rejoiced (well, I was, and I don't see how others could have failed to be as well) by the annual meetings (convocations? assemblies?) held by the National Baptist Convention, which featured ladies in HATS. Hats that you couldn't just wear, but hats you had to know how to work. Joyous, magnificent hats that said "Clothing is not just a set of utilitarian coverings to be assembled primarily for convenience with no other considerations involved."

No parade of overly-made-up, tall, thin models down a runway had half as much celebratory art in its midst.

#720 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2012, 08:00 PM:

I've just returned from a mini-GoL near I-Con, featuring Mary Aileen and me. She's terrific, of course. Hopefully next time I won't be utterly brain-dead after an afternoon of wrangling dusty old costumes for the school play.

#721 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2012, 08:03 PM:

Fidelio #719: Black women's church hats are truly wondrous and magnificent things. An immense amount of thought and care goes into choosing them.

#722 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2012, 08:48 PM:

TexAnne @ 720... Glad the two of you could meet.

#723 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2012, 09:10 PM:

TexAnne (who is also terrific) and I had a very nice dinner and talk. We were both a bit brain-fried, so we didn't linger as long as we might have. But it was good to be able to meet up.

#724 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2012, 09:18 PM:

Mary Aileen #723/TexAnne #720: I'm glad that both of you could meet. Gatherings of Light are very good things. They don't happen often enough.

#725 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2012, 12:07 AM:

TexAnne: How is I-Con? My friends and I ran it during my collitch years. (Lots of friends are still involved, but I haven't been in about 14 years!)

#726 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2012, 02:55 AM:

Syd @ #717, I assume you don't subscribe to Time magazine. If you did you'd know (even if you avoided actually reading it) that a full column of that kind of pretentious verbiage is there on the penultimate page of the magazine, lurking. It's invariably vapid material just like that in the NYT essay to which Jim linked.

Once upon a time Time had world-class columnnists. Newsweek too. Newsweek in particular under Tina Brown has sunk to depths unheard of (to my mind) in a weekly newsmagazine. On the other hand, since it was about to go under until bought by Sidney Harman (married to former Ca. Congressman Jane Harman and builder of Harmon International, the audio systems outfit) for the princely sum of $1, I guess you really do get what you pay for.

#727 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2012, 03:26 AM:

Teresa's particle on Easter hats reminded me of one of my favorite photographs by a photographer I consider one of the 2 or 3 best of the 20th century, Henri Cartier-Bresson. It's remarkable how a few people from France like Cartier-Bresson and de Tocqueville were able to get inside the real nature of America so well.

#728 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers)'s previous comment has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2012, 03:30 AM:

Probably something odd in the URL to a photograph on the Magnum site; it had a lot of what looked to a very quick look like base-64 coding in it, but I didn't checkt it out in any detail.

But do tell the gnomes their taste in photography is excellent.

#729 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2012, 03:53 AM:

I've run across an old villanelle that I wrote in 1991, so I thought I'd post it here. This is not autobiographical; ISTR vaguely that it was inspired by a book, but damned if I can remember which one now. OTOH, it does seem to fit with current events reasonably well.

If I think my love is fair
(though not just in the common style),
Why should other people care?

Brilliant eyes and silken hair,
A singularly charming smile
Make me think my love is fair.

Do they think I'm unaware
of looks and whispers? What a trial -
Why should other people care

That I do what they wouldn't dare?
I'm not hurt by their denial;
I still think my love is fair

And we make a perfect pair,
Though the world may show its bile.
Why should other people care,

Or try to make it their affair
Who I walk with down the aisle?
If I think my love is fair,
Why should other people care?

#730 ::: errolwi ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2012, 05:17 AM:

dcb @#632 : I'm from New Zealand. I'm not sure how differently I say ear/air, but it was close enough to confuse the people I was talking to.

#731 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2012, 08:50 AM:

Stefan, 725: Alas, I couldn't go.

#732 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2012, 08:56 AM:

TexAnne @ 731... No worldcon either? :-(

#733 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2012, 10:09 AM:

Stefan Jones (725): I'll field that one, since TexAnne didn't make it to the con itself (too insanely busy).

I-Con feels a bit smaller these days, and some of the familiar dealers were missing, but it's still a good convention for comics/media/gaming types. Since I'm mainly a literary fan, it's not a very good fit for me. But it's semi-local and I have friends there, so I go anyway (about every other year, on average). It rained again this year, as semi-usual. The SUNY Stony Brook campus is under construction, which makes things awkward in terms of what buildings/spaces are available. Walking from the Indoor Sports Center (home of the dealers room and autographing) to the Javits Lecture Center (home of other major programming) is *so* much fun in the rain. I understand I-Con will be moving to Hofstra next year, because of construction issues.

#734 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2012, 10:23 AM:

Lee @729: Is it very wrong of me, given the date you put on it, to wonder if it had anything to do with the Linda Hamilton/Ron Perlman Beauty and the Beast?

It's a lovely villanelle.

#735 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2012, 11:05 AM:

April Fool's Joke to Destroy Civilization - Wash. D.C., April 1, 2012 (UPIP)

Unnamed government officials admitted off the record today that the end of civilization as we know it will probably occur late in the afternoon, east coast time. The disaster (not to be confused with the crash of the stock market that is sure to follow as financial leaders pull their pocket cash out of the economy in order to flee with their minions, mistresses, and cats in their hover yachts to their island headquarters) will be the result of an April Fool joke first mentioned on Twitter at 12:37 AM, claiming that leaders of the Democratic Party, meeting in secret, had decided that they could no longer tolerate the insanity of the Republican Presidential Primary race, and discussed ways of dealing with the crisis. Their solution, based on the strategy of UN Agenda 21, the plan for world domination by non-Americans, is to have the Muslim President issue a Presidential decree that registration as a Republican voter is legal cause for a mandatory 72 hour institutionalization for diagnosis of mental illness.

Unfortunately, this tweet was read at about 1:20 AM by a member of the National Rifle Association, who immediately notified all members on his branch of the NRA emergency telephone tree. By 4 AM more than 1 million NRA members had fled to the hills with their assault rifles, Stinger anti-aircraft missles, and nuclear hand grenades, where they are scheduled to assemble in tactical units no later than 2 PM. Their plan, called Operation No Chad Left Unhung, is to then descend on nearby cities to take back America from what they call "the creeping liberal menace". Government sources expect things to go downhill from there.

#736 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2012, 12:01 PM:

Writing Mystery/Thriller/Suspense is harder than it looks when you're Squeamish about killing

#737 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2012, 12:10 PM:

Open threadiness: Cool! Scalzi goes Manga:

#738 ::: Brenda Kalt ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2012, 12:12 PM:

Jim @736 Do tell?

#739 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2012, 12:23 PM:

Rikibeth, #734: Thank you! No, it wasn't about that, because I never watched BatB (that was during the period when I had no TV). But it could be -- or it could be about an interracial couple, or a gay couple, or one with significant class or gender differences, or in which one partner is physically disabled. Hell, it could be about a human and an alien! I do remember making a deliberate effort to avoid language which would indicate the gender of either the speaker or the lover. The one thing that is very clear is that it can't be about a child or an animal, as it makes a reference to getting married.

The notes I found with it say that it started out to be funny, but turned unexpectedly serious.

#740 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2012, 12:52 PM:

#737 janetl: Wow! And only a year after the original novel, too! Can't wait!

#741 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2012, 01:06 PM:

Here's some greit cursing from the Archbishop Gavin Dunbar.

#742 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2012, 03:07 PM:

And XKCD owns April 1st. The comic is different for different countries, browsers, referral links, if you're coming in from an American military vessel or base, along with additional modifications for local disasters, colleges, and a congratulatory one if you used Netscape. I don't even want to THINK about the level of effort involved.

#743 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2012, 03:36 PM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @742 -- cool!

Also, the geohashing site linked with the words 'this online tool' at the end of this entry:

is definitely worth a look.

#744 ::: Debbie has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2012, 03:39 PM:

Not sure why, unless the gnomes are having their fun today?

#745 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2012, 04:07 PM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @ 742: Oh, it's fun trying different browsers to see what I get! I did have to turn off noscript.

#746 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2012, 04:21 PM:

xkcd: There's no permalink to it, either. Some limitation in the way he's scripted it, or another comment on perception and context?

#747 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2012, 04:22 PM:

#739 ::: Lee
... I never watched BatB

"Bat-by" doesn't convey anything like "Beauty and the Beast". Clusters of title letters and their apparent pronunciations and/or acronyms that do, or ones that don't would make an intriguing thread. Unfortunately, I can't think of any.

#748 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2012, 04:24 PM:

500 Years of Female Portraits in Western Art

One of the loveliest things I've seen in some time. I may start each day watching this.

#749 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2012, 05:45 PM:

janetl #746: Possibly he doesn't want to make it a permanent installation -- that thing has to be taking a fair bit of resources, and may not age well.

#750 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2012, 05:57 PM:

The Modesto Kid #741: Quhan ye haiff been cursit by Gavin Dunbar, ye know ye haiff beenn cursit.

#751 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2012, 06:55 PM:

(This one is for Nina Simone)

Green is the color of my true love's tail,
Her fangs my willing flesh impale;
She's the fiercest howl and the saddest cries.
I love the sky wherein she flies.

I fear my love and she ignores;
I fear the clouds wherein she soars.
But sometimes I wish the wine-dark sea
Would take us both and set us free.

Green is the color of my true love's tail,
Her fangs my willing flesh impale;
She's the fiercest howl and the saddest cries.
I love the sky wherein she flies.

I drift with the tide for to earn my keep,
So to drown lost sailors in the briney deep.
I'll write her a poem, just a few short rhymes,
And suffer shame ten thousand times.

Green is the color of my true love's tail,
Her fangs my willing flesh impale;
She's the fiercest howl and the saddest cries.
I love the sky wherein she flies.

#752 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2012, 06:59 PM:

I went to my local bookstore's website this morning, and noticed a post where they described how they are keeping the doors open in a down economy and a tough market for the little guy selling books. They looked back over the past year, describing changes they've made and how these have worked, and they said this:

And here we want to say something about the Occupy movement. This is the piece we did not expect and could not have planned. Both nationally and locally, the movement that hit the streets last fall has been a boon to many small businesses like ours. For the first time in years, independent booksellers across the country are posting sales increases. It is clear to us that consumers have been affected by this movement, and are taking action to ensure that local economic entities (credit unions, non-chain businesses, brick-and-mortar stores) do not disappear. There are many who complain that the Occupy movement has no focus, no goal, and no effect. We are here to say that our business is experiencing the positive effect that education and public awareness can have on a community. Our sales have consistently increased since October. These increases are crucial to our survival.

#753 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2012, 08:02 PM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @ 742

Do you know of any way to see the complete gallery of comics?

#754 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2012, 08:44 PM:

I was worried because I hadn't heard from "Syd, somewhat disguised" recently... then I tried searching for "Syd" and not "disguise".

Is it still a facepalm if you hit yourself really hard?

Thinkin' about you, Syd.

#755 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2012, 09:07 PM:

Carol Kimball @ #747:

It does work rather better as the abbreviation of the latest Batman TV series.

#756 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2012, 09:21 PM:

Cally Soukup @ 753: There's a xkcd forum discussion with people describing what they're seeing for today's comic in different contexts.

I wonder how much downloads of the Opera browser increased today? I know I'm not the only person who has installed it for the first time. (The comic looked the same as Mac Safari for me.)

#757 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2012, 09:44 PM:

The xkcd for MSIE in the northeast US is ... lovely.

#758 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2012, 09:50 PM:

janetl #756: Also, there have been occasional tweaks, and the comic has acquired a permalink. A couple of different sites have also been collecting comic versions, notably Reddit.

In other geeky news, Googling "hexadecimal" or "octal" is currently returning result counts in that base. This also led me to discover a collection of multiplication tables for bases up to 60, including the author's own extended set of numerals..

#759 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2012, 11:28 PM:

The one at The Perry Bible Fellowship is sort of cruel...

#760 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2012, 11:30 PM:

Anybody here heard of a program that camps out on your computer and hijacks your browser to a different search engine whenever you try to search? I am getting yanked over to Happili, Get Results Fast, and something called Argent or Surgent or something like that whenever I use Google, GoogleBooks, or Alta Vista. I see a page of links from the search engine I was using, but if I click one, I get Happili or one of the other ones. I don't want them. Even if they aren't actually fronts for something that wants to do me harm, they are lousy search engines. The only way to get around this yankage is to note the exact address of the item I want to see and type it into the address field.

So, two questions:

1. Is there a name for this class of annoying program?

2. How do I make it go away? I have Norton. Yes, yes, I know, Norton sucks, but the computer person in this household insisted on Norton for years and I didn't feel like arguing. He is now interested in things that aren't Norton. What could we use to kill this thing? It's more annoying than the Microsoft paperclip. It's almost as bad as a Bitty Bush.

#761 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2012, 11:55 PM:

#760: You computer may have a serious, serious "infection."

Browser redirection is just a symptom.

You browser should have a security preferences menu. It should have a "warn when sites try to install add-ons" option. (That's on FireFox, but IE should have something similar.) If you can't change the exceptions, that's really serious.

Try to update Norton's definitions. If you can't, that's another sign of trouble.

You should be prepared for a Windows (I assume) reinstall.

Back up your vital data, preferably to a NEW backup drive . . . you don't want to accidentally infect your "good" backups. This new backup media (thumb drive, CD-ROM, whatever) should be treated as infected . . . scan first before restoring.

Do you have a rescue disk for your system?

#762 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2012, 02:36 AM:

I had something go bizarrely wrong with my computer, a few days ago, and ended up reinstalling Windows. I took the chance to upgrade to Windows 7. There's still a lot to do.

One of the symptoms was a redirection loop when logging into Google Mail. It affected Opera and Chrome, but not Firefox.

I was getting problems over accepting cookies, which may have led to the redirection.

It coincided with automatic updates to several programs, including my firewall and the Opera browser, and it hasn't been the first time that Google Mail and Opera have been awkward with each other. So, even now, I don't see an "infection" as the only possible cause.

#763 ::: mjfgates ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2012, 03:08 AM:

Jenny Islander @760: The happili redirect thing does not seem to be a virus, as such; instead it's a malicious browser plugin. This is good, because you probably won't need to go quite as far to get rid of the thing.

The one thread that I found with a happy ending was at . I'm also seeing people directing others to that thread, from threads on other forums, so it's probably your first, best stop.

You might not be able to get to that, so I'll sum up: in Firefox, go to Tools...Add-Ons, and turn off everything that you don't know is good. In the case covered above, the plugin was called "Performance Cache." If that's there, try disabling it; if not, you might try disabling ALL of the add-ons. You can add the ones you actually want back in, later.

#764 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2012, 05:34 AM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @ #742:

Also the size of the browser window.

The one I get here in my default browser is composed of five panels of varying widths, and if the browser window isn't wide enough to contain them all it dynamically picks a subset that fits the available space.

(At first I thought it was just three panels. Then I happened to maximize the browser to see something in another tab properly, and when I switched back to the xkcd tab...)

#765 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2012, 08:17 AM:

Jenny Islander @ 760 -

Back when I was running Windows as primary system, I had good luck using the downloads at Malwarebytes.
It's possible that it might be able to salvage your system without doing a fresh install.

Malwarebytes dot org.

#766 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2012, 08:40 AM:

Re: Food Timeline sidebar: I note with interest that at the Very First Cocktail Party, in 1917, the Manhattan and Martini were already considered "old-fashioned".

#767 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2012, 11:18 AM:

HLN: Local man learns that the office firewall now thinks that is a spam site...

#768 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2012, 12:26 PM:

Jim: the second article in the Amazon series at the Seattle Times is about Amazon squeezing publishers. That was in this morning's paper. Tomorrow's about their sales tax adventures, and Weds will be about warehouse jobs.

#769 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2012, 05:53 PM:

***grins and waves at Sandy B. @ 754***

#770 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2012, 06:46 PM:

HLN: Local man learns something interesting about his cable remote. Apparently it takes slightly more energy to send the "0" signal than it does other numeric signals. At least the "0" key was not working before local man replaced the batteries and now is working, while several of the other numeric keys worked even with the old batteries.

#771 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2012, 06:56 PM:

I'm thinking of roasting my first chicken this week.

I was astonished to learn that my mother, whose parents ran a restaurant and cooked for the family for decades, had never done this until just recently.

She'd fried and roasted chopped-up parts of chicken, but never baked / roasted a whole one . . . until one of her Florida neighbors showed her how. Maybe roasting whole birds isn't an Italian thing?

I already have a roaster & lid. The only thing that makes me nervous is carving the finished bird . . .

(My dog will play her bit, cleaning out the greasy pan afterwards . . .)

#772 ::: Stefan Jones is gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2012, 07:00 PM:

My link-less post about roast chicken was held for review.

#773 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2012, 11:56 PM:

Stefan Jones, I reassured myself when I roasted a duck that it didn't matter if I knew how to carve the bird, we could just set the whole thing on the table and pass out forks. This is in fact the second-best way to eat a rotisserie chicken, just after bare hands.

#774 ::: Diatryma, gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2012, 11:57 PM:

My linkless post replying to Stefan's degnomed chicken post has been gnomed. Did I make a terrible typo?

#775 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2012, 02:38 AM:

Is anybody else going to be at Anime Boston? If so, look for my partner and me at the Pegasus Publishing booth in the dealer room.

#776 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2012, 03:34 AM:

Diatryma, gnomed:

Did you quote any part of Stefan's comment in your reply? Maybe you managed to hit on the same bit that got him gnomed.

#777 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2012, 07:57 AM:

What happens to a Jane Austen heroine after the tale has been told of how she met the Love of her Life?

Scientific inquiry, of course.

Yes, Mary Robinette Kowal's "Glamour in Glass", her followup to "Shades of Milk and Honey", is coming out next week.

#778 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2012, 12:13 PM:

Stefan @771, roasting a chicken is dead easy, honest. If I may suggest something simple for your first one? Quarter an onion and poke holes in a whole lemon, and stuff those into the cavity. You'll have wonderfully moist, slightly lemony chicken (the lemon juice steams out the holes and keeps the breasts and insides moist).

#779 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2012, 03:05 PM:

#778: I like the sound of that.

I wonder if an orange would work. I have many oranges on the edge of not-freshness.

* * *
Question for the group:

I read an interesting post on a cooking site about brineing and roasting chicken, with a followup about making stock.

One of the stock procedures called for roasting the carcass with a bunch of onions before the boiling step.

Can you DO anything with the onions and other vegetables used in stock making? Or are they all played out?

#780 ::: Cath ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2012, 04:58 PM:

Stefan @779

I usually dump the flabby long-boiled veggies after making stock. Once in a while I puree and strain them and use to thicken gravy or stew, but it's extra work that contributes more to texture than it does to nutritional value. The folks at Chowhound appear to concur.

My favourite roast-chicken tip is to sprinkle the bird with mild or smoked paprika before cooking. It turns the skin a nice tasty-looking brown.

#781 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2012, 05:11 PM:

Political considerations overruling FDA scientists' decisions.. I don't necessarily disagree with the policy decisions from the administration here, but it's interesting that here, as in many other areas, the Obama administration has continued the pattern of the Bush administration--in this case, in overriding scientific agencies' decisions for political reasons or to keep the scientists on-message.

This isn't an attempt to beat anyone up or claim equivalence or anything, it's just an interesting and disspiriting bit of data, one that isn't really susceptible to the "if we knew what they know" reasoning.

Perhaps the Bush and Obama administrations have done this stuff because it works, and this is just what federal science looks like in the future. I'm interested in knowing whether the Obama administration has told any federal scientists to shut up on politically hot issues.

In my darker hours, I suspect that the US political ad govenment system is spiraling down toward a much worse state, and that twenty years from now, we'll look back on the congress and administration and opposition party of 2011 with fond recollection of their competence and rationality.

#782 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2012, 05:40 PM:

Stefan @779: Yes, absolutely, an orange will work; it'll give the chicken a slightly sweeter edge, but I enjoy that as much as the lemon. You can also toss some herbs in with the onions and lemons or oranges, and the steam will carry some of the herb oils into the meat.

Roasting the carcass and onions (and I generally add carrots and celery, too) really brings out the flavor in the stock; I definitely recommend it. As Cath said, though, the veggies (and any meat left on the carcass) aren't really worth keeping. I never bother pureeing it.

My favorite stock trick is to do it in a crock pot; for some reason, I always have problems keeping the stock from boiling if I do it on the stovetop. Whereas I can just toss the assorted ingredients into a crock pot for eight hours, with the temperature set about 200 degrees, and it comes out perfect.

Cath @780 has a great point about the paprika sprinkles -- it does add a lovely hue (and taste) to the bird. We tend to use sweet Hungarian paprika, ourselves, but smoked or spicy can be used as desired.

I'm not the greatest cook in the world (Husband is the cook in the family, and he far outshines me), but I taught him to roast chicken. (And he promptly exceeded me. I'm so proud.)

The lemon trick works with other birds, too. I've managed it with cornish game hens, and brushed the outsides with a mix of butter and sweet vermouth. Scaling up, I've had a holiday turkey that was similarly roasted with oranges and lemons, and it was wonderful.

#783 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2012, 06:09 PM:

OH! I just remembered that an aunt had given me a jar of home-made "herbs du prevonce". I suppose that chicken roasting is just what that sort of thing is made for.

#784 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2012, 06:25 PM:

Those would be perfect!

#785 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2012, 07:18 PM:

In re long slow boiling, if you don't have a crockpot, my family trick is to use a stockpot/dutch oven/etc in the oven, with it set as close to 250 (on the low side) as you can manage it. YOMV, not all of them are accurate enough on their thermostats on the low end of their range, but if so, oven-simmering is the absolute bomb diggity of hands-off low-maintenance cooking. Works great for chili and spaghetti sauce too.

#786 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2012, 07:52 PM:

Elliott Mason @785: oven-simmering is the absolute bomb diggity

Ah, Elliott, see this is why I keep you around. ;-) Thank you for the much-needed chuckle.

#787 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2012, 08:17 PM:

This medieval recipe for Chykens in Hocchee also works well roasted or cooked in a slow cooker. Although the grape-garlic stuffing is technically edible, it really doesn't taste that good, so I don't worry about overcooking it. Use the redaction in the link or make up your own. It's tasty.

#788 ::: Tracie is Gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2012, 08:21 PM:

My post contained a link to a medieval recipe for Chykens in Hochhee. Apparently the gnomes are now fixing dinner.

#789 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2012, 08:55 PM:

Spice Hunter's 'Fresh at Hand' poultry mix includes lemon as well as various herbs. (I put some in corn bread and it was delicious.)

#790 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2012, 10:16 PM:

Bruce Cohen @735: I dunno, there might be something to be said for persuading the four million worst and stupidest Americans to run into the hills with their guns.

Between the ones who shoot each other, and the ones who starve to death, and the ones who never do come down out of the hills and create sustainable communities of their own far from the rest of us, the country might be greatly improved.

Damn, I'm starting to feel genocidal. That's not actually a good sign.

#791 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2012, 10:53 PM:

John M. Burt #790: Not to mention that I'm reasonably sure we don't have enough remote areas to support four million people "away from civilization"... especially if they're cutting down trees for fuel, hunting wildlife for food, dumping wastes into the watersheds, etc..

#792 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2012, 11:31 PM:

Most of them wouldn't make it through the first month, I suspect. They'd be the kind of people who 'go camping' with a portable TV and a stereo, run off a generator. Or in an RV.
I also doubt they'd know what to do with a deer if they were able to find one to shoot.

#793 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2012, 12:11 AM:

Could we have a bit less contempt for gun owners, please? That's my dad (and brother, and baby sister) you're talking about. It would be me except Dad's always come up with different birthday presents and anyway I want the pretty Taurus he has. 'Gun owner' is kind of like 'chicken keeper'-- there are a lot of people who fit the description, they have a lot of reasons, and you really can't assume that they're all the same negative stereotype.

#794 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2012, 01:28 AM:

Elliott Mason @ 785:

Yes, that and about half a bottle of beer. Use a very hoppy beer like an IPA if you want a little kick to your chicken; a porter or stout will give it a somewhat stronger, darker flavor. Don't use Bud Light, your chicken will rise up and smite you.

#795 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2012, 01:33 AM:

Day late and a dollar short in response to nerdycellist: A lot of hex heads are conveniently sized to be screwed in by a screwdriver that allows you to swap out the heads magnetically—that is, if you have one that swaps between phillips and slot-head styles, the socket on that is often what you need.

I'd been having a difficult time removing the slot-head blinds that came with our house until Evil Rob showed me that trick. Our electric screwdriver has just that sort of socket.

#796 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2012, 03:00 AM:

Stefan Jones: The problem our resident cook (initially) had with roasted chicken was not letting it rest after it came out of the oven. When carved immediately, it had an unpleasant texture and was watery. Letting it sit for about 15 minutes before carving made all the difference.

#797 ::: janetl has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2012, 03:04 AM:

The gnomes really seem interested in chicken roasting!

#798 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2012, 08:23 AM:

Contempt for some gun owners - the ones who buy them for what really are political reasons, and can't be bothered to learn how to handle them correctly. (They wouldn't be able to find deer anywhere but a zoo, because they'd scare all of them off.)

#799 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2012, 09:19 AM:

Another story describing massive domestic spying. Bamford is a serious reporter with a history of knowing what he's talking about in this area, and this is consistent with what I would expect is happening.

What do you suppose is the probabilty that James Bamford's emails and phone calls are all given special attention these days? What is the probability that, if such surveillance were revealed in public, anyone would face jail time other than the whistleblower?

#800 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2012, 09:38 AM:

A really interesting story on credit card debt colletion with echoes of the robosigning scandal. I suspect a great deal of the practical day to day world of law and finance is built on similarly shaky, fraud-susceptible records and business practices, but I don't know that for sure.

#801 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2012, 09:56 AM:

What's that about gnu control?

#802 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2012, 11:17 AM:

Serge #801: You'd have to ask the wildebeest herder.

#803 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2012, 12:38 PM:

Major celebration here -- no more credit card bills! I'm enjoying my retirement -- not having to get up at oh-dark-hundred is wonderful.

The bad news -- it may take six to eight months for OPM to finalize my pension payments. I'm receiving an interim payment of 33% of what I should be getting. Joy -- fortunately my emergency fund can carry me for the rest of the year, and I will get back pay once I'm finalized.

I'm having a great time with the garden -- getting the pond* up and running for Spring, and I've ordered some new waterlilies and lotus. Everything is blooming way ahead of schedule -- another weird Spring.

Marcon is this weekend -- are there any fellow Fluorospherians who will be in Columbus for the con?

*We have toadpoles, too!

#804 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2012, 12:39 PM:

Elliot Mason @785: I love the oven-simmering idea, though I don't think my cheap apartment oven would handle it. I've also got a couple recipes for pressure-cooking stock, but natch, that requires a pressure cooker. I have one, but I don't assume other people do.

Tracie @787: Sadly, I could not see that recipe for some reason; it sounds delicious!

I'm lucky enough to live in a town where I have ready access to many stores that sell high-end spices and cooking oils. There's a shop called Con'Olio that specializes in olive oils and balsamic vinegars, and it has some strange power to suck money out of my wallet. (Olive oil that tastes like butter, sicilian lemon white balsamic vinegar, honey mead balsamic vinegar, dark chocolate balsamic vinegar...) And it's right next to the Savory Spice Shop, which lives up to its name.

(What the dark chocolate balsamic does to a chocolate cheesecake I will leave to your imagination.)

Also, if anyone uses Evernote, there's a new app for it called Say Mmm, that's a meal planner/recipe clipper/grocery list creator. I may be in love.

#805 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2012, 02:15 PM:

PJ Evans @798:

(Also, in the penumbra, John M Burt and Bruce Cohen)

It wasn't immediately clear* from your comment that you meant that specific subset of gun owners rather than, say, all of them, or all of the members of the National Rifle Association.

It might be somewhat more conducive to good conversation and fellow-feeling to make the precise narrowness of your brush more plain in future. Or, if that spoils the hyperbole, consider a different approach to the entire comment.

If, on consideration, you feel that you might have been over-broad, an apology is always a useful medium of community felicity.

* this is me being tactful, by the way

#806 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2012, 02:49 PM:

abi @ 805:

I apologize for being over-broad in my characterization of gun owners. Ghu knows, I know and respect a lot of people who own and use guns recreationally. In this case I was really referring not to the set of people who own guns, but that subset who are fervent believers in the Festung NRA view of politics and individual rights.

#807 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2012, 03:10 PM:

Bruce Cohen @ 806

that subset who are fervent believers in the Festung NRA view of politics and individual rights.

It is possibly worth noting that I resemble this remark.

#808 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2012, 03:13 PM:

Jennifer Baughman @804: In re cheapness of oven, if you get a $3 oven thermometer (usually they have a big round dial and a flat foot perpendicular to it, intended to either sit on a shelf or hang beneath a wire-grate shelf), you can figure out what the calibration of your oven is pretty easily. Oven-simmer isn't terribly sensitive; anything between 212 and 275 is usually fine, so if you find 'that magic spot' on your oven's control knob, you can mark it with a dab of nail polish or something to enable you to accurately reproduce the desired set-point.

Usually all a more expensive oven will get you (aside from nice features and guaranteed even-ness of heating with fewer hot spots and weirdnesses) is a dial whose numerical markings can be trusted to be very close to what an oven-thermometer would read if placed inside the cavity during a full preheat cycle.

#809 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2012, 04:11 PM:

Fragano @ 802... And the NRhay?

#810 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2012, 04:17 PM:

@800: One could be tempted to spin up out of thin air some defaulted mortgages for Lunar Farside property and see if some of these collection agencies would buy them....

#811 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2012, 05:49 PM:


Probably so. My guess is that the whole bad debt market must be a battleground of smarmy companies trying to sell crappier than usual debt, and smarmy collection companies trying to underpay. I'll bet plenty of debt collection companies have bought debt not much less likely to be repaid than shares in lunar real estate, or radioactive land on Barrayar, or ....

My understanding is that the debt collection companies buy debt for pennies on the dollar. At that point, they only care about whether you owe the debt or not to the extent that this determines whether you'll ever pay up or whether they'll get into trouble for trying to collect it from you. If they can get a little money from the senile, confused, or the estates of the dead, that still works for them. Similarly, if they sometimes extort money from people who don't legally owe it, they still keep that money. And if a few widows or orphans starve, well, that's not their problem, is it?

#812 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2012, 07:15 PM:

Noticed on Scalzi's site a post reminding us that the Hugo nominations will be announced on April 7.

I'm kind of hoping that Hugo gets a nomination.

After all, it seems fitting that it would win a Hugo award...

#813 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2012, 07:49 PM:

Serge #809: Atchoo!

#814 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2012, 07:54 PM:

Michael I #812: Well, that assumes it's considered SF/F, which I find dubious. Aside from the dream sequences, the most SFnal thing in there is only a slight exaggeration of historically-attested clockwork automatons.

#815 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2012, 10:32 PM:

"The money was counterfeit - but the danger was real!"

So says the tagline of Robert Silverberg's "Blood on the Mink", a hard-boiled crime novel reprinted today for the first time since its original 1962 publication.

#816 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2012, 02:04 AM:

This is your moderator, standing with one arm over Diatryma's shoulder and one over SamChevre's and looking thoughtful.

#817 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2012, 02:16 AM:

I really, really don't want an argument about gnu control, so I'll simply say that all this stems from an April Fool joke I made, which may indeed have been in poor taste. If I offended you, SamChevre, I apologize. This is sore subject, I know, so I'm not going to try to explain what I intended any further. Please just act as if I never posted that joke or any followups, and I'll now stop talking about the subject

#818 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2012, 02:37 AM:

For clarity: this is not an argument over gnu control.

This is an exercise in respect for your fellow members of the community, however their views differ from yours. It's a worked example of the impact of over-broad generalizations and No True Scotsman defenses ('I didn't mean that subset of them...') on people we care about.

I'm happy to consider this subject closed when Diatryma and SamChevre are, but it also illustrates a shape of conversation I'd rather we didn't fall into.

Other applications of this rule are left as an exercise for the alert.

#819 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2012, 10:05 AM:

Has anybody else read Mary Robinette Kowal's review of Jane Austen's tale about Conan the Cimmerian on

#820 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2012, 10:24 AM:

Serge Broom @819: Yes, and I'd happily buy the full book. It's the first time I've found myself actually wanting to read about Conan.

#821 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2012, 10:33 AM:

Serge Broom @819: This year, Mary owned April 1st. I loved both the Jane Austen Sword & Sorcery piece, and her blog post unmasking her true identity.

#822 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2012, 12:54 PM:

Fade Manley... janetl... If Kowal 'really' is a man, then the person I met at last year's BayCon is an awesome crossdressing. That being said, for those unlucky people who missed it, here is the link to Jane Austen's "Sword and Sorcery".

#823 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2012, 01:36 PM:

@chickenstuffers, passim : preserved lemons are also good in a roast chicken (though no good for those on a low sodium diet), as is fresh garlic. When combined, though, you end up with an alarmingly turquoise stuffing. (I'd be entirely unsurprised if someone who posts here was able to give me chemical chapter and verse on why.)

#824 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2012, 02:06 PM:

OT PSA: Folks who went over and commented on Ingrid Robeyns post about autism (sidelighted by Patrick a few days ago) might also be interested in some of her other posts on similar topics there - she's posting a number of them this week.

#825 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2012, 02:06 PM:

OT PSA: Folks who went over and commented on Ingrid Robeyns post about autism (sidelighted by Patrick a few days ago) might also be interested in some of her other posts on similar topics there - she's posting a number of them this week.

#826 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2012, 02:15 PM:

Apologies for the double post - I have a new electronic device, and I'm not quite familiar with its quirks.

#828 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2012, 05:09 PM:

I am reading through a chapter of a doctoral dissertation by a very bright student who has some difficulty expressing herself clearly in writing. Sometimes because she's writing to impress, I swear. Then I read this:
"By the mid-1980s the US would occasionally cooperate in ad havoc bilateral efforts to interdict illegal narcotics." Presumably because they agreed to let slip the dogs of war.

#829 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2012, 05:34 PM:

This week, one of our local Weeklies noted that a particular patch of tulips is blooming 18 days earlier than it did two years ago. "Goddamn, we broke the planet", indeed!

#830 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2012, 06:21 PM:


Although "ad havoc" sounds like a pretty good description for a lot of those efforts...

#831 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2012, 09:21 PM:

Michael I @ #830, or even "add havoc."

#832 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2012, 09:58 PM:

I love the term "ad havoc." I need to add that to my vocabulary....

#833 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2012, 10:11 PM:

I apologize for posting a link to an article fragment, which requires a login to read the whole thing, but I'm posting anyway: Google Cancels eBooks Reseller Program, Dropping Indies: Both the ABA and Powell's Books indicate Google informed them on Tuesday it is cancelling their eBooks reseller partnerships as of January 31, 2013.

Could someone who knows more about the publishing industry shed light on this? At least two bookstore here in Portland act as agents for Google ebook. It gives their customers, like me, who read a mix of actual books and ebooks the option of supporting a local brick and mortar store even when reading an ebook.

#834 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2012, 11:57 PM:

Bruce Cohen, the joke was indeed in poor taste. I also think that Making Light has higher standards of community and apologies. I'd be okay with letting the matter drop completely if both of us were anonymous and I had no stake in the conversation or community, or if there were a gigantic status differential, but 'pretend it never happened' is not success in a situation where we know each other and are known to others.

#835 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2012, 01:49 AM:

Diatryma @ 834:

I apologize both for the original joke and for the apology that followed. I was wrong to make that characterization of NRA members as a group, and I was wrong to try to excuse that characterization in my apology. I can only say that I know better than that, but that I allowed myself to do it anyway; something I regret deeply. More than being sorry, I intend to work very hard to keep myself from making any similar error in the future.

This apology is directed to any one who was offended by my comments, and also to the ML community in general, for failing to uphold its standards.

#836 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2012, 07:54 AM:

Havoc, I know, was definitely added.

#837 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2012, 08:00 AM:

Havoc was Scott Summers's brother.

#838 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2012, 08:15 AM:

Thanks, Bruce Cohen. This is where, were I a gif person*, I'd have something involving a big sudden hug.

Also, now I get to brag to my roommate (the one I okay-checked with before posting) that my internet people are great internet people.

*I am not a gif person. I like them in very small doses with fairly long repeats. Unf*ck Your Habitat and other sites that use them as motivators are overstimulating and stressful. Yay for the escape key!

#839 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2012, 09:21 AM:

Diatryma @383: Yay for the escape key!

Does that stop gif animation?

[Goes over to Cartoon Brew, disables Adblock for the site. Reloads the page, then hits the escape key.]

How about that, apparently it does.

Cartoon Brew has a side-bar with overly active animated ads which made it impossible for me to read the page. Unfortunately, the ads were for their own site, and blocking them also blocked a lot of the graphics for their site. The escape key quieted that annoying ad block on the front page.

Thanks for the tip!

#840 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2012, 11:41 AM:

Rob, et al: Most browsers will allow you to set GIFs to animate "once only" - so it will eventually settle down. Having said that, when you *do* want to see an animated GIF, sometimes you have to generate it again, because otherwise your browser dedicatedly believes it's already shown it to you.

Plus, it's sometimes hard to realize when an animated GIF way down the page has already played for you before you got there, and all you see is the smeary image of the last frame of the GIF.

But it is another option for the "if it moves it dies" crowd (of which I'm very proud to be one). Now, if I could auto-set Fl*sh animations to "once only"...

#841 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2012, 12:33 PM:

Mycroft W @ 840:

I haven't looked at the other browsers yet, but one of the reasons I use Chrome for most things is that it has an extension called FlashBlock that allows selective blocking by whitelist and adds a context menu for flash screen areas that lets you run a particular flash animation once or enable it to run every time without affecting other animations.

#842 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2012, 01:59 PM:

praisegodbarebones @823: I must try the preserved lemons (perhaps with garlic!). Maybe with some ras al hanout instead of paprika for the rub...I may or may not warn my husband about the turquoise result, for humor's sake. ;)

#843 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2012, 02:01 PM:


There's a flashblock for Firefox. I wish there were an ad blocker for the iOS Safari browser--more and more sites are targeting annoying and intrusive ads specifically at iDevices. Among other things, the screen is also the only way to control what happens on the screen, so it's sometimes hard to scroll up/down/over without accidentally clicking on one of the ad links and being shanghaied off to some advertiser's site.

#844 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2012, 05:18 PM:

For anyone who does like the occasional silly animated gif, I recommend One gif at a time, repeats infinitely until you click on it. Then you get a new one. Repeat as desired.

#845 ::: Anonymous at the moment ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2012, 06:21 AM:

#636 ::: Jacque:

It's been a long time since I remembered Missile Command.

#846 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2012, 07:19 AM:

albatross @843 - may I recommend iCab Mobile for iOS? It's got a built in adblocker and other highly useful features. It's a for-pay app, but I much prefer it to iOS Safari. The developer is active and responsive. (The one annoyance is that there's no way to make it the default browser, but I suspect that's an iOS issue, not an iCab issue.)

#847 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2012, 09:29 AM:

I hate the way that Safari on the iPad works with Making Light.. It won't go to a specific comment from the front page but opens at the top of Open Thread xxx/What Have You, it won't save name/address/URL no matter how many times you use the "Don't make me type" button, and so on--that's why I haven't responded to the comments about the XKCD thing.

On another front, has anyone told Teresa about Metafilter's link to the worst conference poster ever?

#848 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2012, 09:30 AM:

I hate the way that Safari on the iPad works with Making Light.. It won't go to a specific comment from the front page but opens at the top of Open Thread xxx/What Have You, it won't save name/address/URL no matter how many times you use the "Don't make me type" button, and so on--that's why I haven't responded to the comments about the XKCD thing.

On another front, has anyone told Teresa about Metafilter's link to the worst conference poster ever?

#849 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2012, 09:35 AM:

And now the damned thing said my WiFi had a problem contacting the server and posted the comment twice on one button press. If I still knew someone at Cupertino, I'd sentence them to trying to comment here until the browser was fixed.

#850 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2012, 11:30 AM:

Bruce - I've found that the iPad won't go to a particular comment reliably if it's opening the page in a background tab, but it will if I just click on the link and go there in the foreground. (5.1, iOS 4 was better about that but much worse in general tab handling). I also haven't noticed the info not sticking around, but it does try to capitalize the h in http, which totally borks the link when movable type does its thing to it.

Now, my main complaint is that there's no reasonable substitute for arrow keys, forward delete, or any text editing where I need to change one or two characters. It's easier to select the whole damn line and retype it. Jobs was wrong on arrows in 84, and he's still wrong about them now.

#851 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2012, 11:33 AM:

Also, there no gesture for end of page, so my fingers have to do the hamster wheel thing to scroll down.

#852 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2012, 11:49 AM:

There are, we learn today, some advantages to being dictator of a central Asian oil producing republic.

#853 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2012, 12:54 PM:

eric: Now, my main complaint is that there's no reasonable substitute for arrow keys, forward delete, or any text editing where I need to change one or two characters

Well, *my* answer for longer text entry ended up being a Logitech Tablet Keyboard for iPad and modified Incase Origami Workstation, but tastes differ. Works a treat, except the down arrows won't scroll/page down in Safari itself--although it's fine in text boxes like the one I'm typing in now.

Also, there no gesture for end of page, so my fingers have to do the hamster wheel thing to scroll down.

Join the club. Did they think we wouldn't be able to handle it if they duplicated the top of page shortcut?

#854 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2012, 02:21 PM:

Hazards of pet ownership: Common expletives can become literal complaints. Oh well, she managed to do it out of the way without actually hiding it....

#855 ::: James Moar ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2012, 04:19 PM:

David: Common expletives can become literal complaints.

Though usually not the blasphemous ones, unless you keep really strange animals.

#856 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2012, 04:41 PM:

David Harmon @854:
Common expletives can become literal complaints.

At least you're not Dutch, then. It's the one language that uses disease names for expletives, as well as bodily functions, body parts and blasphemy.

#857 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2012, 04:53 PM:

abi (856):

Dutch ... uses disease names for expletives

As in, "Oh, bronchitis!"?

I can see that.

#858 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2012, 05:37 PM:

Mary Aileen @857:

Generally old names for diseases, so more "Oh, consumption!" (tering) than "Oh, tuberculosis!" (tuberculose).

#859 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2012, 05:51 PM:

Mary Aileen #857: Rather than telling someone where to go you tell them, for example, krijg de mazelen, "get the measles".

It's not as odd as Spanish. In that language, the commonest swear words include "cuckold" (cabrón -- an insulting term applied to a man) and "donkey dick" (carajo -- what you might call an all-purpose exclamation).

#860 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2012, 06:43 PM:

abi (858):

That's interesting, thanks. So it would be more like, "Oh, lingering cough!"

(I've had bronchitis* since the beginning of the year. It's...not fun. I could definitely see using 'bronchitis' as a swearword at this point.)

*It met my cough-variant asthma and formed a firm friendship. Hard to say which is actually in control at the moment.

#861 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2012, 07:21 PM:

Fragano @ 852:

Winning an auto race is easy if you're the one who controls who gets the gasoline.

#862 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2012, 10:29 PM:

Dear Fluorosphereans, thinking some of you might have titular ideas...

The Modesto Kid

#863 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2012, 11:38 PM:

Stock Accomplished! About five quarts worth. My apartment is . . . aromatic.

My dog got to eat the boiled-out hen-rubble, and the roasted liver. One damn happy dog!

#864 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2012, 04:13 AM:

To those who celebrate it, Happy Easter.

#865 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2012, 04:15 AM:

To those who celebrate it, Happy Easter.

#866 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2012, 09:49 AM:

In re the Easter quote: Is refusal to comply with unreasonable authority actually humility?

#867 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2012, 12:22 PM:

Open Threadiness:

I have a bicycle, a hybrid street bike (7-speed, handlebar shifts) which I bought for $450, about 5 years ago. Unfortunately, I found that my neighborhood was not nearly as bike-friendly as I'd hoped, so I wound up not using it... thus it's nearly unused. I am now considering selling it, either to my brother-in-law, or on Craigslist.

My question for the Teeming Hordes is, what should I be asking for it? I'm not sure how bike prices change over time -- whether I should be thinking "like new" or "somewhat obsolete", or some other factor.

#868 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2012, 01:11 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz #866:

Of course not. But besides the obvious, there are at least two big interactions between authority and humility: First, a tyrannical authority dearly loves to confuse "the virtue of humility" with unquestioning submission -- what the linked article calls "radical obedience". Secondly... humility in authority includes considering the possibility that you might be the "unreasonable authority" -- and that your subordinates or followers might actually have a point.

#869 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2012, 02:27 PM:

Bruce@853: "Did they think we wouldn't be able to handle it if they duplicated the top of page shortcut?"

(UI neepery follows)

This is not a straightforward addition, because the top-of-page shortcut is a tap in the OS status bar, which is always clear of controls. The bottom edge of the screen is often occupied by a toolbar (as in iPhone Safari, for example), so the OS can't just steal clicks for bottom-of-page gesture.

Double-tap in the status bar would be a reasonable choice. That's what I would do if I were in charge, which, sadly for the world, I'm not.

But I note that the scrolling UI detects hamster-wheel-like gestures and increases the scroll rate on each swipe.

#870 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2012, 04:10 PM:

Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) #861: In Turkmenistan, a country where opera is an illegal activity, the deeper fear is of spending time in a government facility meeting uniformed government agents who specialise in "enhanced interrogation".

#871 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2012, 06:52 PM:

I know quite well that gun owners are not all conservatives, fools, or any other kind of stereotype (I grew up with 'National Rifleman' in the house, before it went political). To any and all offended by my unintentional stereotyping, I apologize.

#872 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2012, 08:26 PM:

Okay, I am now officially cat-vacuuming (I've set aside today to work on this portrait, see....)

So, looping back to the query I made about hiring a contractor for double-pane window installation last summer, I've gotten strong recommendations from folks I know personally.

I find myself stopped by not having a script for dealing with this.* In particular, janetl's recommendation to "Drill them with questions" seems like a good one. Anybody care to contribute specific questions to the pool? janetl suggest starting with:

1. why their windows and their installation is better

Other suggestions?**

* So of course this is an excuse to put it off for a year, right?
** Like I said: cat-vacuuming.

#873 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2012, 08:39 PM:

Jacque #872:
2. How much will it cost?
3. When will they come in to do it, and how long will it take?
4. Who else in the area have they done this sort of work for?

#874 ::: Stephen Sample ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2012, 09:14 PM:

David Harmon @867: Offhand, I'd guess $200 ± 50, but that's without knowing anything about the bike. Some $450 bikes have a great frame and crappy components (or a crappy frame and great components); others are sort of average all around.

I'm guessing that it's got sort of mid-range components and probably a fairly heavy CrMo steel frame (or possibly Al, but, again, a heavy one). If so, it would be a pretty decent commuting-and-errands bike for a semi-urban area.

But I'd be surprised if you'd get much more than $200 for it unless there's some other outstanding feature (for example, I paid about $50 more for my last bike than I ordinarily would because it had an unusual frame size -- and one that fits me pretty well -- but for most people, that bike would be downright useless).

You should be able to check Craigslist for the specific model and year, and get a better picture of the going rate.

#875 ::: Mark A. York ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2012, 09:23 PM:

Speaking of obscure New England, or not so much, my ancestral epic is published. Enjoy.

Patriot on the Kennebec

#876 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2012, 09:31 PM:

Jacque, you say in the post you link to that it's for a condo.

Does that mean lots of neighbors in matching apartments?

If so, a) can you use a contractor your neighbor already used, and have them do exactly the same thing? b) are there any economy-of-scale benefits in getting together with your neighbors to hire someone?

#877 ::: Xopher HalfTongue sees banned jrk Mrk Yrk ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2012, 09:40 PM:

What the heck is Mrk Yrk doing back here?

#878 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2012, 09:47 PM:

Also, his VAB shows a post on The Cuff Link Museum, though it doesn't appear to be there if you go look.

#879 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2012, 09:58 PM:

I moved his post here from The Cuff Link Museum, Xopher. An Open Thread is a better choice.

I know it's him, and I know that he's spamming, but I'm just so pleased that he's finally sold his book to a real publisher--really, I am--after years of crazy-making spanning several boards, that I decided that Yog can be merciful.

#880 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2012, 10:24 PM:

Jacque @872: Another question -- ask about cleanup. Some window contractors do a great job on this (the ones we had install new windows recently did a great job!)

Also, who's responsible for getting both inside and outside appropriately painted to match what's already there?

In general, getting specifics on what they'll do, when, over what period of time, and how much it's going to cost you: good ideas. And I do recommend getting more than one quote. It's not always best to go with the cheapest: we didn't, and our experience was much better than expected. If they give you references for people they've worked with: check with those people. It can make a real difference on who you pick (or not!). Ask how long the installers have been working for them, too: that can be a useful measure.

#881 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2012, 10:54 PM:

I decided that Yog can be merciful.

*reflects that he has not labored for Making Light, neither made it grow; subsides grumbling*

#882 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2012, 10:57 PM:

Jim #879: Aww, that's sweet.

Jacque @872: Amen to Tom #880 about multiple bids -- indeed, if the lowest price is much lower, you likely want to Stay Far Away. Also, never pay (or at least, not more than half) before the work (including cleanup) is finished!

#885 ::: Mea ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2012, 02:17 AM:

Jacque @872
I'd ask if the windows are a standard size or if a special order is needed, if there is more than one potential supplier of the windows and if the contractor has opinions on which window supplier is best, whether the window manufacturer gives any guarantees, and if the preferred window supplier is local (and if not, what are the risks of delay?). And if there are any tax breaks for certain types of windows but not others. And how long the job will take.

Oh, and is the contractor bonded and insured?

#886 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2012, 04:04 AM:

Jacque @872

The UK term is "double glazing", and knowing that might help you get more info about the things to check on. But UK house construction can be very different from that in the USA, so it might hinder. If you have brick walls, the UK experience is going to be more useful.

It shouldn't be a long process, taking out the old window and putting in the new. Here in the UK, double-glazing is made as a pre-fabricated unit, and the window structure doesn't carry any loads from the wall. (And how it is fixed in the hole in the wall is significant.)

A webpage from a UK company, linking to videos and stuff about how they fit double-glazing.

It is, of course, advertising, but I think it's a fair outline of the process. The location is measured, the new window is made in a factory, and then the installers come to remove the old window and fit the new in one swell foop.

#887 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2012, 04:47 AM:

Yog is quite right to be merciful, and I add my sincere congratulations to his. Well done, Mark.

#888 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2012, 11:42 AM:

CISPA: The Web censors are back. :-(

(via The Daily What.)

#889 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2012, 11:59 AM:

Anonymous at the moment @845: It's been a long time since I remembered Missile Command.

I blink at you owlishly over my glasses. :B) ;-)

#890 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2012, 01:58 PM:

David Harmon @873: Good ones, thank you!

Erik Nelson @876: economy-of-scale Good point; I'll ask around.

Tom Whitmore @880:

That's actually a good point. I should ask around.

1. Do they do cleanup?
2. Who's responsible for matching painting, inside and out?
3. how long have the installers been working for them? (And, by implication, do they use subcontractors? I think upstairs guy does not.)

Very good additions, thanks!

Mea @885:

4. are the windows a standard size or if a special order?
5. is there more than one potential supplier of the windows?
6. Does the contractor have opinions on which window supplier is best? (Cogent point; upstairs guy is very specific about mfr. Reminds me; I need to look them up on the web.)
7. Does the window manufacturer gives any guarantees?
8. Is the preferred window supplier local (and if not, what are the risks of delay)?
9. Is the contractor bonded and insured?

Splendid. Lot's of areas that hadn't occurred to me. (I'm beginning to actually feel, like, prepared. Thank you!)

Dave Bell @886: The UK term is "double glazing"

Yes, thank you. That's the US term, too. I can just never remember it when I need it. ::rolls eyes::

Yes, that video looks informative, thank you! I've seen other units get their windows replaced; doesn't seem particularly exotic; the only nuance is if they try to take the windows out intact, or just bash 'em out. (At which point, Tom's question about cleanup becomes particularly pointful. Which reminds me, I'm not looking forward to excavating pathways to my spare room windows. ::SIGH::)

Thank you all, very much!

David Harmon @888: We are, sadly, not surprised.

#891 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2012, 02:15 PM:

Yog is quite right to be merciful, and I add my sincere congratulations to his. Well done, Mark.

Well, now I feel all bad and stuff.

#892 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2012, 02:48 PM:

Jacque #890: any reputable firm is going to take the windows out intact. Much easier to do, since it makes it easier to add the new ones into the old space. Since what they have to take away is pretty much exactly the same size as what they're installing, they have the capacity to carry it with them.

#893 ::: FaultyMemory ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2012, 05:20 PM:

Twitter moved me to write more doggerel.

To find a rhyme for silver,
Or any "rhymeless" rhyme,
Requires only an orange,
Sage, rosemary, and thyme.

with apologies to Stephen Sondheim

#894 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2012, 06:08 PM:

Jacque, re: the double-paned windows, my experiences will likely not be parallel, since I had a single-family dwelling rather than a condo, and it was about 11 years ago, but it might be worth checking whether double-thick double-paned windows are available from any dealers in your area.

As you'd imagine from the name, the space between the panes is twice that of the standard--spacing on a typical double-paned window appears to be 3/8" give or take a little, and my double-thick ones looked to have 3/4" - 1" between the panes. This allowed for more argon fill (argon being the insulating gas of choice for "my" manufacturer, Great Lakes Windows, and possibly the industry standard--I haven't checked), hence better insulation.

They sure worked: my old windows were single pane and had metal frames, and in the summer you could almost get burned by touching either glass or window frames. The replacements were cool to the touch even if it was 100+ degrees outside. And in winter, they really did help hold in the warmth.

Now, some potential caveats...

(1) My windows were not cheap: $17K to do 11 windows, ranging in size from a typically small (frosted) bathroom window to a living room window nearly five by six feet. BUT mine were custom sizes, because there was not a single door or window opening in my house that was anywhere close to a standard size. Non-custom would likely be less expensive, and the energy savings might be worth it in the long run. There might also be a tax break, if CO offers rebates or other incentives to switch to energy-saving alternatives. And part of my cost was increased labor on installation (see below).

(2) The above is written assuming your CCRs would let you put in vinyl-framed windows. That's all Great Lakes offered then, and from the glance I took at their site, it's still the case. They have several style options, though, so you might still be able to find something similar enough to your neighbors' windows to be acceptable to the Powers That Be. Not sure about the frames' "paintability", etc.

I was going to add a (3) re: the thickness of the windows in relation to the walls of your condo, but that has to be moot, because my house was an exception to the rule, construction-wise: 8-inch thick steel-reinforced concrete block. The installers simply, and quite literally, broke the old windows out, leaving the "rims" of the metal frames in place, then built the new vinyl framework to cover the metal frames. I imagine walls of standard thickness and material would have substantially fewer installation issues.

All the other questions are good ones, too, but I wanted to throw in the double-thick double-pane idea, too. As a comparison, a friend bought a house in the Palm Springs area, and while it was being built, my friend took me to the development and led me through all the models. One thing I noticed was that the windows--double-paned, of course, but only the standard thickness--were all warm to the touch at 10:00 AM on a relatively mild desert morning. I don't know if you're more concerned about keeping out heat or holding in warmth, or both, but here ya go.

#895 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2012, 06:17 PM:

Oh, and if we needed any more proof that certain conservapundits are a few bricks short of a hodfull, Glenn Beck's building his own Oval Office.

Buddha on a bicycle, the crazy just keeps on coming!

#896 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2012, 06:24 PM:

OK, I've now established that I can feel a (big) tick crawling up my leg under my pants. The problem is all the false positives.... :-(

#897 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2012, 06:53 PM:

On the other hand, Ashley Judd takes on the patriarchy.

Go, her!

(While I think her article touches on things close to the discussion going on in the "Out of curiosity and vexation" thread, it didn't feel quite on point, hence posting this here.)

#898 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2012, 09:31 PM:

Watching Great Expectations on PBS. Already several characters I want dead. Gillian Anderson is playing Miss Haversham as half vampire, half Volmae.

It's pretty great.

#899 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2012, 10:24 PM:

Open threadines: More on the ongoing war on whistleblowers.

Why do you suppose it has become so important to hammer the hell out of whistleblowers and leakers and annoying uncontrolled journalists lately? IMO, that's a question that needs answering. And what threat or promise convinced Obama to pursue whistleblowers more aggressively than even Bush did?

#900 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2012, 11:48 PM:

George Osborne is an idiot.

He's the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the top man in the UK government on the financial side, and he is shocked to discover that the rich avoid paying tax.

He's just given the British Press the soundbite they can use to kill his credibility. And a remark like that, what sort of politician would be fool enough to say it?

#901 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 12:01 AM:

Jacque: We replaced our single-paned aluminum windows a couple of years back, and the group we went with did it like this: All of our windows were custom—that's the way this company worked. They'd measure the windows that were there and get them built. Those windows are vinyl-framed and the sashes will take paint, but the caulking is a bit paint-repellant, so take note. They came, cut out the old windows in pieces, removed the frames, and screwed the new ones in place. Took about half a day with two guys. We'd gotten a home show deal and our total came to about $7.5K (which seems to be our home improvement target—that's also what the HVAC and solar cost.) That's with sliding doors but without replacing the bump-out "garden" window.

I would ask what their best value is. If they don't have multiple options, I would be wary—our sales guy didn't shoot for the moon, he gave us the options and told us where we'd get the best bang for our buck.

#902 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 02:51 AM:

Syd @ 897:

Ashley Judd is truly awesome. I've always liked her acting; it's really solid and believable in every part she takes. Now I really admire her thinking and her speech. Damn, she's a role model!

#903 ::: The Raven ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 06:18 AM:

Brief note on moderation: Josh Marshall, over at Talking Points Memo, is considering moving to Facebook comments and endorsing a "real names" policy. I hope they don't; I would hate to see their commenters become more conservative, and I would hate to see many women simply abandon the site. Marshall's remarks are here. If you care about such things, may I suggest you drop him a note.

#904 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 06:49 AM:

The Raven #903: Unfortunately, he's referred comments to a MediaLab post, which I can't comment on... because their MediaLab has already switched to Facebook comments, and I've long since blackholed the Facebook sites.

#905 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 11:42 AM:

David Harmon @ 867

If I had more details, I could be more help.

My guide is to look your bike up on Bikepedia, and figure that it's worth no more than half MSRP. Yours is new enough and a popular enough style that it might be a bit higher--say 60%.

If you want more detailed advice, you could reach me at my name at google's mail.

On Craigslist, good descriptions and a good picture (drive-side, in focus) are very helpful. Key descriptive features: what size, what wheel size, what brand/model/year, what model components. It's generally worth making sure that it's rideable.

#907 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 02:15 PM:

Bill Higgins... coughgasgsplutter

#909 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 03:57 PM:

Bruce Cohen @ 835 (and preceding)

Apology accepted.

Here's the thing; I wasn't exactly offended at any point--I was annoyed. (I try to save offense for problems where the energy can be used constructively.) I was much more irritated by #806 than by the initial joke. I've spent most of my life in the gun world, and you can't do that without knowing that some of the people involved are paranoid loons[1]. It is tiresome more than offensive to hear jokes about gun owners/NRA members that play up that feature. But once the discussion starts focusing on strong notions of rights vs the state, rather than on the paranoid lunacies--at that point it's very much directed at me and people like me.

1)Yes, some of the people I know are paranoid loons; I maintain that "paranoid loon" is a fair description of someone who refused to get birth certificates and Social Security nubmers for their children, and named their family the "Nation of {family name}.) They were kind, helpful neighbors, capable at all manner of useful things, and their perception of reality was several notches off.

#910 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 08:20 PM:

Stephen Sample #874, SamChevre #905:

Thanks for the responses! I did just oil it and inflate the tires, and verified that it is ridable. It's a Schwinn Voyageur, 21-speed with handlebar shifts ("straight" handlebars, that is, not "racing" type), and a couple of big waterproof panniers. "Heavy" frame seems accurate -- I can lift it, but wouldn't want to carry it around for any length of time.

Feel free to continue the discussion on the new Open Thread, I just wanted to get my thanks in on this one before it closes.

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