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May 6, 2012

Open Thread 173
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 01:27 PM *

Trail mix (sometimes called Gorp) is an ad-hoc snack made from mixed dry ingredients including (neither necessarily nor limited to) dry cereal, roasted peanuts, chocolate chips, raisins, small pretzels, and/or similar items.

The ingredients are mixed by stirring them together in a large bowl, then divided into individual plastic bags and given to children to carry on hikes.

Neither particularly good-tasting nor good-for-you, it is popular because it’s inexpensive, easy to make, lots of above-said and afore-mentioned children can safely participate in its production, and, besides, it’s traditional.

Continued from Open Thread 172. Continued in Open Thread 174.
Comments on Open Thread 173:
#1 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 01:44 PM:


I'm feeling much more spirited today. Rays of the supermoon maybe. Off to The Avengers!

#2 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 01:49 PM:

Huh? What? Trail mix isn't particularly good tasting?

That stuff is like crack to me.

Not good for you, check. But if you're actually hiking, really strenuously marching along, it may be just what you need. Carbs and sugar and a bit of salt.

As a snack food, it isn't great.

The same goes for "spots drinks." For some reason Gatorade and the like would fly off the shelves of the cafeteria free-drinks fridge at work. This, in an air-conditioned office full of developers, QA folk, and technical writers.

#3 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 01:49 PM:

Ah, the Avengers. We will be getting that from our local public library when we get to the top of the waiting list. That will probably be some time in 2013, judging by how long it took us to see Thor (and we're still waiting on Green Lantern).

#4 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 01:53 PM:

Stefan Jones: "Spots drinks"? You mean like Orbitz?

As for the Avengers, at least we can watch the Premakes:

#5 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 01:56 PM:

My church isawesome!

Included with the bulletin this morning was a petition and fund-raising flyer standing with American nuns with a (currently not working) link to the National Catholic Reporter's online petition. Bonus:'s site links to's petition (presumably if one is uncomfortable with a religious website), which under Why People Are Signing begins with a stringent statement from an archbishop.

I cannot imagine this happening at either of my mother's churches, but I'll soon find out.

#6 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 02:08 PM:

The petition URL: .

I must not be getting enough sleep.

#7 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 02:17 PM:

I'm not a huge fan of trail mix, but that's because it's all mixed together. I have recently (like in the last few years) started enjoying Chex mix, though I feel very mature eating even the weird chexes* I don't like.

*The Hy-Vee brand of Chex is called Crispy Hexagons. It is worth buying for that alone.

#8 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 02:27 PM:

Some of the trail mixes are heavy on candy, and so really not good for you. (I was making my own for snacks, using mixed nuts and assorted dried fruits.)

#9 ::: Tim Hall ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 02:32 PM:

Gorp-Metal - A short-lived sub-genre of Progressive Rock originating in Cardiff in about 2009. At the genre's peak a concert in Wath-upon-Dearn in South Yorkshire was announced from the stage as "An evening of Gorp-metal".

I have recently been accused of being the originator of the term, an accusation which I strenuously deny.

#10 ::: Madeline Ashby ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 02:33 PM:

I don't know about it being "bad" for you. High-calorie, yes. But on those "Oops, I forgot to eat!" days, a life-saver. Also better, in my experience, for perking one up during those "When is lunch?" or "It's 4:45 and the prof has just asked if we can stay late!" moments than carbs or caffeine alone. The protein and fat from the nuts and seeds can keep you going longer and more evenly than a straight sugar rush. There's a reason it's called "student mix" in Europe.

#11 ::: Tim Hall ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 02:35 PM:

(And what was it about my post that tripped the spam filter?)

[A comma with no space after it before the next word. Check your URL. -- Publius Perseflage, Duty Gnome]

#12 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 03:11 PM:

Being denizen of no place ready set
within the bounds of the sublunar realm
is nowise daunting, the facts overwhelm
only the weaker minds; instead each debt
incurred in course of duty or regret
is paid in full by shade of oak or elm
in memory of the old man with cracked helm
by one who can't resist that final bet.
Each night is sacrificed so that my rest
becomes a loss that's added to the pile,
just one more line that goes into the jest,
another little twist. Those are in style.
The truth is always harder than the lie,
that's what they tell us; then they say goodbye.

#13 ::: Tim Hall ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 03:19 PM:

Aha. URL Borken, which explains it.

#14 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 03:36 PM:

Back In The Day, what is now called "trail mix" was commonly known hereabouts as "gorp."

#15 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 03:39 PM:

Huh. A quick Google informs me that this term is actually an acronym for "Good Old Raisins and Peanuts." Who knew? And here I thought it was just a clever random neologism.

#16 ::: Tim Hall ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 03:42 PM:

Or the old RuneQuest monster which I once described as "a baby Shoggoth".

[Check your URL in the "Don't Make Me Type This Again" section. -- Adros Pettifog, Duty Gnome]

#17 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 03:54 PM:

Gorp? Gorp? That is...completely new to me.

Madeline Ashby @ 10: Oh, those "I forgot to eat," and those "Some donkey forgot to tell me I wasn't going to get a chance to eat," moments!

I wish I'd known about Student Mix when I was a student. Or when I was employed at Chaos Central Polyversity*, even more so. That sort of stuff works far better for me loose than in the compact sticky bar form, which fifteen years after a certain lean period I can still hardly bear to contemplate.

Though my favourite portable cereal leans towards the other side again: the compact, dense, fruit-lush style of flapjack...

*Chaos Central Multiversity, on the other paw, would have been interesting.

#18 ::: Renee ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 04:02 PM:

Aha! The perfect topic to ask this question.

Lo, many moons ago (waaaaay too many...) I was introduced to gorp, and it was an acronym. The O was oatmeal! R was for raisins! And P, of course, was Peanuts.

Damn me if I can remember the G...


#19 ::: ErrolC ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 04:02 PM:

I used to have scroggin quite often while tramping, I don't remember thinking that it didn't taste good! I ahve seen it in supermarkets, we used to make it ourselves.

#20 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 04:05 PM:

Granola? We certainly used to make it with granola back in college.

(I always had to be careful with gorp, because the combination of raisins and chocolate makes me feel like hurling.)

#21 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 04:42 PM:

Ah yes, scroggin. I almost never eat it unless on a tramp, when (high calorie) energy dense* foods are desirable.

*We went through a phase of trying to work out what the food with the highest kJ/100g was by reading labels of items on supermarket shelves** but in the end decided that it was probably a bit excessive taking blocks of butter as tramping food.

**We could have googled it, but running around the supermarket going, "What about this?" was way was more fun.

#22 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 04:43 PM:

Acronym for 'good old raisins and peanuts' is what I heard.

#23 ::: Madeline Ashby ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 04:45 PM:

@Gray Woodland: The only sticky bar I've really enjoyed was the Greens Plus Chocolate Energy Bar. Dark chocolate outside, soft green mass of phytonutrients inside. Like a Mounds, but green. But that was seven years ago, and the formula has since changed. I don't know if they're still good, and I can't find them in Canada anyway to check.

#24 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 05:06 PM:

I doubt any of these things would be good for me, but it's worth mentioning Kendal Mint Cake.

#25 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 05:22 PM:

"Gorp" is also said to stand for "Gobs Of Raw Protein."

I think we have folk-etymology* at work.

*Not to be confused with folk-entomology, or "What's that bug?"

#26 ::: grackle ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 05:48 PM:

Nor to be confused with folk-aetiology for that matter

#27 ::: Madeline Ashby ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 06:07 PM:

@Dave Bell: Probably good for social cohesion on long-haul hiking and mountaineering trips: it's a high-protein confection that also freshens one's breath.

#28 ::: Jonathan Crowe ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 06:33 PM:

Trail mix on the trail is wonderful. The problem is when you're home from the hiking/the camping/the salamander-stalking/the death-defying mountaineering and you've still got three or four pounds of the not-very-appetizing-any-more stuff left (because you made way too much of it) ...

#29 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 06:51 PM:

*The Hy-Vee brand of Chex is called Crispy Hexagons. It is worth buying for that alone.

Had Edwin A. Abbott managed to parlay Flatland into a multi-volume fantasy series, I reckon A. Square Meets the Crispy Hexagons of Flatland would have been volume eight or nine.

#30 ::: Velma ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 06:51 PM:

My favorite gorp mixture (for myself) involved dried cranberries, cashews, and white chocolate chips -- my coworkers thought I was insane.

(I've not made it in ages. I wonder how dried blueberries or cherries would work. Yes, expensive, but tastier, I'd bet.)

#31 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 07:16 PM:

Of potential interest to Their Lowlinesses.

Velma, that mix sounds fabulous to me! It's like taking the standard recipe and kicking each ingredient up a notch.

#32 ::: Megpie71 ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 07:49 PM:

Hi all.

I'm wondering whether I can pick the collected brain of Making Light on the subject of bookmark sorting, storage and retrieval tools. I've recently had to replace my computer (losing between 6 - 8 years worth of bookmarks in the process) and as a result, I'm recreating things, but I want to organise them from the get-go.

I've put up a post over on Dreamwidth about what I'm looking for (essentially, I'm using the Firefox all-in-one sidebar as a bookmarking platform, and I'm not wanting to spend huge amounts of time either organising or duplicating bookmarks elsewhere). But I'd appreciate any input people can give me on the subject.

#33 ::: Bruce H. ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 08:00 PM:

I've thought of making pemmican with unspiced beef jerky, dates, cashews, and cocoa butter, but never actually tried it.

#34 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 08:05 PM:

I haven't made GORP in at least a decade, but I was fond of a great (and slightly lethal) mix of dried cranberries, hazelnuts and dark chocolate.

#35 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 08:12 PM:

For a period during Beka's toddlerdom -- after she was interested in regular solid-food snacking -- there were a list of reasonably shelf-stable snacky foods she would eat ... some of, at any given moment. And other things on the list she would utterly reject in any given snacking instance (but love later).

When I noticed I was packing four or five little Rubbermaid containers, one for each item, to take on train/car journeys for kid provision, I decided to try making a 'trail mix' of them -- it worked pretty well. She'd pick out whichever subset of the mix she was willing to eat just then and leave the rest (or hand them to me), and I only had to pack one seal-box.

Ingredients included at various times: Cheerios, bran flakes, raisins, quartered dried figs, quartered dried apricots, sunflower seeds, small chips of beef jerky.

She went through a period where all she was willing to eat for days on end were sunflower seeds and figs, which worried me until I read the 'nutrition facts' on the package and marveled. :->

#36 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 08:16 PM:

HLN: Local woman is Chutneyed† by Jack Campbell's new Lost Fleet novel. "They meet homicidal aliens who look like slightly bovine teddy bears," she explains, "and now I want to make a teddy bear-cow."


see footnote here

#37 ::: PurpleGirl ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 08:40 PM:

A hiking friend told me that "gorp" stood for Godawful raisins and peanuts. He dropped the "o" or maybe exchanged the "o" with an "a". He used chex cereal, raisins and peanuts. Maybe he used oats but I don't remember.

#38 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 08:40 PM:

Ah, gorp. An unfortunately deadly snack in the most common incarnation (peanuts, dammit!) -- and worse yet, one guaranteed to smear contagion around every surface and through the air.

#40 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 08:54 PM:

Heh heh heh, Mary Aileen!

#41 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 09:00 PM:

D. Potter at #5: that is awesome! Checking out the link in 5...4...3...2

#42 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 09:07 PM:

I signed the petition and am e-mailing the link to friends.

#43 ::: LMM ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 09:17 PM:

@21: Long ago, I read an autobiographical story about a trek to the South Pole via dogsled. By the end of it, all the humans were burning so many calories that they were consuming sticks of butter as snacks.

#44 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 09:37 PM:

We picked up our entry packet for the Art Car Parade today. We're entry #15! Given that the first dozen or so entries are reserved for various Indignitaries, there's a good chance that we might be the first open entry in the parade. Houston locals are cordially invited to come down and see us -- Saturday, May 12, parade officially starts at 1:00 but you're free to wander up and down the staging area looking at the cars close-up for a couple of hours beforehand. More information here. We'll be on the tie-dye-covered tandem bike, and our entry name is "Dyeing 2 Ride Again".

#45 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 09:44 PM:

Xopher (40): It's a curse, I tell you!

::shakes head sadly::

#46 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 09:52 PM:

I wonder if, like Gorp, Chex is also an acronym, or partially so:

Crispy Hexagons = C. Hex

#47 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 09:52 PM:

Bruce H. @33: I've contemplated making really-and-for-truly pemmican since buffalo is available at the health-food stores, and choke cherries can be picked locally at the correct time of year.

Elliott Mason @35: There was a study done eons ago on spontaneous child nutrition. Basically they took a preschool class, and just laid out a buffet of every imaginable food, available for grazing at all times, and then just stood back and watched what the toddlers picked. It would change from day to day, might include a week binge on, say, cucumbers, or might feature, maybe, bananas and beef liver. But sure enough the aggregate total would shake out to a balance diet. Throwing refined sugar into the mix would, of course, blow the whole thing out of the water. But it seems that naive childhood appetite is pretty good and regulating diet and nutrition.

Unfortnately, can't think up what would be adequately targeted Google phrases, and I remember hearing about this back in the '60s or '70s.

#48 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 09:55 PM:

Also -- here, have some morris dancers (from last Tuesday).

#49 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 10:43 PM:

Chex aren't hexagons, though. Too bad, as that's a great idea.

#50 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 10:47 PM:

Sarah@48, is your link borked or eaten by gnomes? I can't get either Firefox nor IE8 to acknowledge it, though they've shown it in a different color.

At least around here, our two local Morris sides danced and then the sun came up, so it must have worked.

#51 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 11:12 PM:

Sarah, was the link about Morris Dancers either of these:

#52 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 11:37 PM:

Moveable Type deletes the links when certain kinds of malformed URLs are present. Most commonly this happens when someone forgets to put in the quote marks. What happens then is the gnomes take the post away (for having a malformed URL). If the post was by someone they know, they release the post but alas! the URL itself is gone to where even a gnome can't find it.

#53 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 12:11 AM:

Aw, thanks for those links, Magenta. Brings back memories. It's been too many years since I went down to the park to watch them dance the day in.

For those not familiar with the Minnesota Morris teams pictured, the men of the MTM (Minnesota Traditional Morris) are kitted out with their green baldric and the yellow badge in the center that led to their nickname. The yellow badge has a frame of green laurel leaves around a dancing moose. The MTM are known far and wide as men of moose laurels. Seriously -- check their website.

(Hey, we're talking about a team who improvised a dance called the Bloodington Beaver, which was danced in the Bloodington style to the "Leave It To Beaver" theme song. They made it up during a party in my apartment. A lease-breaking party, but that's a story for another time. Fun bunch, though.)

#54 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 12:57 AM:

Gorp not good-tasting? You're obviously doing it wrong. My preferred mix involves mixed nuts (sans peanuts), assorted dried fruits (including, but not limited to, raisins and cranberries), a relatively small quantity of M&Ms (sufficient to average around 1 per handful), and whatever cereal is available for filler.

*Like several others here, I mostly eat it on the trail, on hikes of several hours duration and a few thousand feet elevation change. For this purpose, it's the perfect food.

#55 ::: Laura Runkle ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 01:05 AM:

Diatryma@7 Alas, the Hy-Vee Crispy Hexagons are not a Chex analog, but rather a Crispix analog. I, too, find them very tasty for making snack mixes. The Chex analog is called something else, but I am too lazy to run the ten minutes to Hy-Vee this minute to remember just what. It's time to go to bed, rather than the grocery store.

#56 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 01:08 AM:


Why is it that all the fun stories I hear about lease-breaking parties and rent parties come from Minnesota? I've been to such parties in New York, but somehow they never become the stuff of legend.

#57 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 02:15 AM:

For my own part, I don't like any kind of nuts. (Unlike xeger, I won't go into anaphylactic shock or anything, I just don't like them.) It's a texture issue for things like almonds where I like the flavor; but walnuts and peanuts are very popular, and I dislike walnuts and hate peanuts. So most gorp is pretty well out.

#58 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 02:39 AM:

My preferred mix is almonds, good quality semisweet chocolate chips, and either raisins or dried cranberries. When I trained to walk a marathon, I ran into issues with nausea using this snack when walking longer distances. GU was too ghastly (sucking sugary slime out of a pouch?!) and I settled on Sharkies. I recall one of the coaches saying that nobody gets sick on Sharkies. They are non-tasty gummy bear sorts of things which are fortified with electrolytes. Remembering Sharkies is so not making me nostalgic for my days of getting up at 5am on Saturdays to train!

#59 ::: janetl has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 02:42 AM:

I mentioned getting up at 5am on Saturdays to exercise, which no doubt triggered shock and disbelief.

#60 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 04:03 AM:

LMM #43:
Very sensible if you're wanting to get the most calories for least weight.

ISTR Peter Hillary (Edmund's son) who attempted to get to the South Pole following Scott's expedition talking about taking foods with just that in mind: "...high-calorie cereals and meat swimming in olive oil and butter."

#61 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 04:09 AM:

Dave Bell @24: Kendal Mint Cake is still my energy source of choice for longish distance running (up to marathon). For longer distances (ultra), and for 20+ mile runs in training, I alternate with malt loaf or fig rolls or flapjack. The gel manufacturing companies despair!

Madelaine Ashby @27: No protein involved in Kendal Mint Cake - pure sugar and peppermint oil.

And for anyone not getting to the Lakes sufficiently regularly to keep stocked up on the minty nectar, Lakeland (the kitchen store) have started selling it - in their shops and by mail order. Unfortunately at present only in a mixed box of one brown bar, one white, but I can hope they will offer two brown bars shortly - and at least it meant I didn't risk running out of the stuff on my recent (cold, wet and windy - had to be Manchester) marathon. [Which I completed in the respectable time of 3.47].

Might try a trail mix during the summer - will probably need more variety on my 50-miler in August.

#62 ::: dcb has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 04:11 AM:

I've just been gnomed. I think that's my first time. And I've no idea what for.

#63 ::: Tim Hall ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 05:01 AM:

Adros Pettifog, Duty Gnome #16

Hmm. Defaulted to the wrong value *after* I'd posted once with the correct URL. May be a strange browser-caching issue, or an obscure bug in the code.

Why am I testing on a bank holiday?

#64 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 08:50 AM:

My morris link was to my flickr set; let me try a link to one of the individual photos, maybe that'll work (also, flickr was being generally uncooperative last night).

#65 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 09:15 AM:

*sigh* Borked, but cutting-and-pasting it into the bar works. I give up.

#66 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 09:26 AM:

Jacque @ 47:

Maybe that study would be mentioned somewhere in web resources on "intuitive eating," an approach towards adult nutrition that runs along those lines -- learn to listen to your body, because it will ask for what it needs. Try the keywords "intuitive eating" in combination with "children," "study," etc.?

I try to listen to my body. Sometimes it requires a slightly longer-term integration of data. I have symptoms of reactive hypoglycemia, which means if I don't eat for more than 4 hours, my body starts yelling for ALL THE SUGAR AND STARCH. My body is still asking for exactly what it needs -- my blood sugar is low and needs to be raised. But if I follow that boom-bust sugar cycle I'll feel bad long term. What I really need to do is eat to avoid that situation -- and I'm learning to recognize how I feel after eating a meal of protein, fat, and fiber-rich carbs vs. a meal of refined starches and sugar.

#67 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 10:04 AM:

Sarah @65:

The format for URLs is given above the comment box, just north of the spelling reference.

To turn your photo URL into a live link, type this:
<a href="">Here</a> is a picture from my photoset of the Toronto Morris dancers.

What you get when you do that is:
Here is a picture from my photoset of the Toronto Morris dancers.

You can check the color of the link at preview stage. If it looks like this:
Here is a picture from my photoset of the Toronto Morris dancers
...then recheck your syntax.

#68 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 10:34 AM:

65 & 67: And for them as wants a little technological assistance, here's my handy-dandy linkmaker:

(Note that I haven't gotten around to making it smart enough to clip out the slash escapes from apostrophes and the like. Will do that Some Day Real Soon Now.)

#69 ::: JM ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 11:13 AM:

Something has just crystallized for me: I realized that whenever I encounter janetl's posts, I picture her as the protagonist of Tam Lin, having taken Thomas's last name at marriage.

Velma @30: Delicious combination! I basically only buy cashews as a present for my father, but if I made more money, yum. My current favorite gorp-adjacent accidentally-ruin-your-dinner snack is granola-ish bars made with oats, peanut butter, honey, and molasses, to which I add dried cranberries, walnuts, unsweetened coconut, and chocolate chips.

HLN: Local woman becomes aware of novel-in-progress's similarity in premise to not only a Stephen King novel but a currently popular YA series and regards her 300 very slowly written pages with queasiness.

#70 ::: Brenda Kalt ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 12:17 PM:

JM #69 Good luck with the HLN. May your queasiness subside and / or require minimal tweaking.

My version of HLN is that I just sent off a story with a bold new idea, and now I'm worrying that somebody published the same bold new idea in the past 6 months without my noticing.

Que sera, sera.

#71 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 12:18 PM:

Oddly enough, gorp in my family is totally different thing: ground beef, alphabet soup, tomato soup, spice to suit, serve on toast.

Trail mix is fun, though, but I too used it more for those "0800 class, 0900 class, 1000 class, 1100 class, 1200 class, 1300 class, lab from 1400-1700" days. (Tuesday and Thursday, that semester, was pretty light, though).

#72 ::: Clarentine ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 12:28 PM:

David Goldfarb @57 - I have always been told that peanuts are not nuts (that is, not tree nuts, which are what we usually mean by the term). Peanuts are legumes.

None of which, of course, changes your opinion of them. >:-)

(Myself, I loathe tree nuts - texture issue, I think - and adore peanuts.)

#73 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 12:45 PM:

Bruce @56: I dunno, maybe it's "Minnesota, land of 10,000 anecdotes"?

Mine are tame. You should hear the ones about the Bozo Bus Building, which was before my time.

#74 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 01:30 PM:

dcb, #62: I'm not a gnome, but I will guess that "energy source" might be a Phrase of Power, based on the spam I get. (This is also a test; if this comment is held, I was right.)

#75 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 01:36 PM:

...aaand my guess was apparently wrong. Good to know.

#76 ::: Ayse ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 01:46 PM:

Even at my most energetic hiking stage of life, I never really used trail mix of any sort. The small pieces tend to go flying everywhere as I try to eat, and I have never been keen on leaving a food trail leading right up to my camp.

Trail mix also seems optimized for walking and eating, while I tend to prefer to sit down when eating. Maybe I'm the least graceful human on the planet, but walking and eating invariably results in food all over me and occasionally results in me choking on the small pieces of food I manage to get in my mouth. Sometimes at lunch I will go sit in the park near my office and watch people walk and eat (hot dogs! pretzels! burritos!) and marvel at how they don't choke to death. It's like watching a ballet that only I can appreciate.

#77 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 01:48 PM:

Mycroft W @ 70 : That reminds me of a certain semester in undergrad (where I was taking all of my classes on tuesday and thursday to have a couple full days in my research lab on monday and wednesday)... and of my first semester in grad school. Now that I'm a second year, life is somewhat saner in that regard.

#78 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 01:55 PM:

I just spent my last afternoon in Poland at the Wedel Chocolate Lounge. O!M!G!

#79 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 01:55 PM:

Lee @74:

It's "marathon", actually. I'm not sure of the history of its inclusion. Amusing guesses welcome, probably not actually using the word.

(I'll have to fish this comment out of moderation. But it's always a pleasure having a cup of tea with the gnomes. They see so much of the darker side of the internet, and yet they are kindly.)

#80 ::: Tracie is gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 01:57 PM:

Dear Gnomes, Please enjoy the chocolate I bought for you.

#81 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 02:00 PM:

The gnomes served me chocolate. Thank you, Tracie!

#82 ::: Madeline Ashby ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 02:09 PM:

@dcb: You're right. When I read "high energy," at the wiki, I immediately thought "high protein."

Also, if someone could teleport some GORP to my place right now, that would be great. Why I let the granola be put away on such a high shelf is beyond me.

#83 ::: Mishalak ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 02:51 PM:

If I thought I could get away with it I would plant a Hazelnut "tree"[1] in my yard. I adore them more than all other nuts except possibly macadamias. But I like all nuts and nut like seeds. MMmmm, soy nuts. And they go so well with a homebrew. But I think I shall be content with my apple trees as from what I have read they take less water. And in the fall I intend to order some really fresh chestnuts from an outfit I found in Kansas, no more frequently moldy or dry pathetic things from the megamart! Funny though, I seem to love all those things from the songs and most people I have met say they hated roasted chestnuts when they tried them. Ditto christmas pud. And I think I shall make some sugar plums for memorial day. Perfect desert as it is ground up nuts and dried fruit, two of my favorite things. Plus gluten free for my friends who cannot enjoy pie.

[1] Hazelnuts or filberts are actually just very large bushes that can be trimmed into a tree like shape. There are quite a lot of these sorts of "trees" out there. Tree lilacs being one of the worst offenders. Bah. That's no tree!

#84 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 02:56 PM:

Just gonna note this without comment, since the topic has been discussed here at length: if all the male avengers posed like the female one.

#85 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 03:05 PM:

Well, actually I will comment: I'd've read a lot more comics growing up if poses like that were common with male superheroes. Which probably explains part of why they do it with the female ones.


#86 ::: Eric ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 03:39 PM:

Xopher @83:
In the interest of credit to the artist (since that site doesn't seem to give any attribution), here's a link to what appears to be the original. The artist in question has a couple others in the same vein.

#87 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 04:00 PM:

Years ago, when I was a teenager, I went on a youth-group trip to Colorado, where we did some hiking in the mountains. The guides fed us something they called HB Bread, or Hudson Bay Bread, which was really a kind of dense granola brownie. THIS looks like a reasonable approximation of what it was, though I seem to remember some dried fruit in it, too.

It was intensely sweet, even for teenagers. The best way to eat it was covered in a quarter inch of peanut butter, which cut the sweetness somewhat.

But I'm sure it was a great energy food...

#88 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 04:16 PM:

Tracie @#77 -

I am jealous. I brought home some canisters of the drinking chocolate to make at home. It wasn't the same. I'll be visiting Poland again next year with my parents and Wedel is definitely on the itinerary. We'll go to the one in Cracow, since the "Oh no - I really shouldn't..." food in Warsaw will be the paczki at A. Blikles.

#89 ::: David Wald ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 04:56 PM:

Mishalak@82: And in the fall I intend to order some really fresh chestnuts...

I'm definitely tired today: I managed to misapply the general context twice in reading that one sentence. First, after the mention of trees I thought you were going to order chestnut trees; and then, given all the mentions of hiking, I jumped straight to remembering how fallen chestnuts turn into ball bearings for hikers on the trail.

Roasted chestnuts can be really good, but my experience is that roasted nuts sold from streetcarts, at least in New York, are all smell and no flavor, which could turn anyone off of them.

#90 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 05:33 PM:

The first time I saw the word "Gorp" was in Peanuts. (CAUTION: PEANUTS MAY CONTAIN GORP)

There's a trail mix bar at Wegman's. One could include or leave out whatever works. And pay for the privilege, of course.

Dad used to make trail mix with mostly peanuts, raisins, and some chocolate chips. Last time I visited him, he was making granola — and dang, it was really good. I wonder if he ever makes bannock these days. He worked on his recipe for years, and had gotten pretty good with it. He also spent a long time working up a dry mix he could take camping and make hush puppies over the fire.

And on another topic, there's a new chocolate place in town. I must go see if they have anything like the rich, somewhat dark hot chocolate we drank in Italy. It was like slightly runny pudding. (Okay; really runny.) I did get a block of semi-sweet from Trader Joe's once, and tried my hand at it. I melted it down. Not having a double boiler, I put it in a metal measuring cup and floated it in the hot water in a pot on the stove. It was okay, but not what I was aiming at. (Note to self: Remember how fast those boutique places come and go in Pittsford. Go soon.)

#91 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 05:37 PM:

The following comment-spam posts received within the past 24 hours are the reason for the gnoming of "marathon":

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Dont run a marathon without the proper training. Unlike many activities, training for a marathon is serious business. Fail to train properly, and you not only risk failing to complete the race, you also risk seriously injuring yourself.

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Thank you for your article on running. I am struggling with the whole aspect of running races. I have done many over the years, and I am not a fast runner. Last year I found myself training and not enjoying any of my running, and it led me to a half-marathon melt down and hamstring injury. I have since started over in my running, and I appreciate the idea that we dont have to enter races to enjoy what running brings to each of us. Thank you for that validation. The line between running for fun and running races because you feel you have to is very thin for me, and your article helped me take a huge step in my thinking!

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thought the process of registering for the Boston Marathon could definitely be improved. But I dont have any suggestions. I ran into trouble when they said my credit card could not be verified? So I had to re-enter a different card numberbut when it was all said and done, they actually did charge the first credit card. So now I have to inform them of this and hope when I actually get the charge officially run threw the system that I only got charged once instead of twice. What a pain! Because of this it took me longer to fill out the registration.

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Open reg from oct to dec. Charge a $10 processing fee and let in the best 26,385 runners weighed by sex and age as seen in the big races of that year. So if 40% of the people that finish marathons in a year are women, then 40% of boston should be women. If 10% of the people that finish marathons are age 40 to 44, then 10% of boston should be 40 to 44. Note: I think finishing a Marathon means running it so all times greater than 5 hours should not be considered in the weighting. This means each year the qualifying time will be different but then the boston would represent the best. Oh and charity should be allowed in but those runners should have the class to say if they did or did not qualify when they tell people that they run boston.

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I just did the Providence marathon in VFF Sprints yesterday. Absolutely loved it and feet felt great. Cant wait for the next one.

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Someone ran the Toronto Marathon in under 2 hours? I think you are lying! And why dont you beat that?

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Thank you for your article on running. I am struggling with the whole aspect of running races. I have done many over the years, and I am not a fast runner. Last year I found myself training and not enjoying any of my running, and it led me to a half-marathon melt down and hamstring injury. I have since started over in my running, and I appreciate the idea that we dont have to enter races to enjoy what running brings to each of us. Thank you for that validation. The line between running for fun and running races because you feel you have to is very thin for me, and your article helped me take a huge step in my thinking!

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I am so excited to get the updates and tips on how to train! This will be my first marathon and I am a little nervous but will be so excited when I finish it! Will you be sending out the tips to your email list as well so I dont miss any of them?


Brad,Marvin Scaff recommended the post to me and you are dead on. I am running for Mayor of Tampa and constantly have to remind people that are ability to create a new and different path for this City is a marathon not a sprint. Thanks for the intellectual and real world backup.

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Hi I completed the seabank marathon this year for my first time EVER! I was really pleased with my time which was 7 hourse and 41 minutes. so not too long really. Hope to do it again next year, well done to everyone who completed it.

In contrast, in the same period there were only two legitimate posts that used the word "marathon," they were the first to use it in months (if not years), and both were released pretty promptly.

#92 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 05:38 PM:

Kip @ #90 -

Your pudding-like Italian hot chocolate sounds similar to Wedel's drinking chocolate. If the canister I brought home is as close to the lounge's recipe as the server promised, it has to be melted with dairy product rather than water. The canister indicates a combination of whole milk and heavy cream that the fluorosphere informs me is roughly related to Half-and-Half.

#93 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 05:52 PM:

And the answer is: The word "marathon" has been used in 126 legitimate posts since ML began, included this post, my last, and abi's above.

We had as many spams using it in a typical week as we get legitimate uses in a typical year.

#94 ::: Doug K ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 05:58 PM:

like Chris, I find GORP quite delicious, when made with expensive ingredients.. in all cases the chocolate chips should be M&M's or Smarties since they don't melt. When impecunious I'll still eat raisins peanuts and M&Ms, but the upmarket mixes are much preferred. Maybe one reason I love the stuff is it evokes memories of mountaineering days, which are few and far anymore. These days my kids stripmine the gorp for the M&Ms so I usually end up getting just remnants.

Megpie71, on bookmarks: currently I have over a gig of Firefox bookmarks, many of which are defunct. Once Firefox came out with decent bookmark search and sync, I put the 'organize bookmarks' project onto the large and growing heap of 'things to do, for which life is too short'. Even dimly-remembered marks can be found in an instant or so, and the sync preserves everything in that much-feted cloud.

#95 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 06:19 PM:

That's bizarre, Jim. I wouldn't have thought !Thermopylae would be so common in spam.

#96 ::: Ayse ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 06:26 PM:

Jim, all my friends seem to be training to run a 42.2K race this year (or at least a 21.1K race), and it is refreshing to see how infrequently such things are discussed here. If I never hear another person talk about a m*r*th*n again it will be too soon.

#97 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 06:29 PM:

If for some reason !Thermopylae has become wildly popular and commonly discussed, that would explain why it's been showing up in spam so much recently.

They're showing up at the rate of one or two every 200 spams.

#98 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 06:34 PM:

Xopher & Eric: Here's another one from the same artist on that theme. Note what he says about it.

I bought a terrific print of his at Anime Boston. It's a 3-way crossover between Sherlock, Dr. Who, and Bill & Ted, and I nearly fell over laughing when I spotted it.

#99 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 09:06 PM:

HLN: We are very pleased to welcome a son, Jacob, born this morning. He and mama are both well.

#100 ::: Jo MacQueen ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 09:08 PM:

Lee@98: This one? It's certainly making me grin.

#101 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 09:09 PM:

SamChevre @ 99 : Congratulations!

#102 ::: emilly ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 09:24 PM:

Kip W @ 90 - the instructions i most often hear, in regards to melting chocolate over the stove, say not to let the hot water touch the container you're melting the chocolate in - it should only be hot because of the steam. So maybe that was why your improvised double boiler didn't work so well.

But if you're making hot chocolate from solid chocolate, why not melt it in some milk? Heat the milk up, drop your chocolate in, let the chocolate melt slowly. That doesn't need a double boiler, as the milk will insulate the chocolate. Use more solid chocolate, if you want a thicker end result.

#103 ::: janetl has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 10:13 PM:

JM @ 69: Something has just crystallized for me: I realized that whenever I encounter janetl's posts, I picture her as the protagonist of Tam Lin, having taken Thomas's last name at marriage. - Dash it! I am discovered!

SamChevre @ 99: Wonderful!

Kip W @ 90: emilly @ 102's advice sounds good. Chocolate also melts quite nicely in the microwave. Chop into smallish bits (doesn't need to be as small as choc chips, but don't do a solid bar). Put it in a glass bowl, heat for 30 seconds or minute, stir with a spatula, and zap it some more as seems needed.

HLN: It is warm and sunny in Portland! Area woman sat on the front porch, in short sleeves, and was perfectly comfortable. She admired the crisp edge on the front lawn, achieved with considerable effort on Sunday afternoon, and savored it knowing that such a thing was unlikely to be seen again for many months to come.

#104 ::: Susie ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 11:07 PM:

Sarah @ 64: Thanks for the wonderful photo set! I missed the last Toronto ale and will probably miss this year's, so appreciated the glimpses of familiar faces. Hadn't seen the molly (?) dancers before (with the very bright colors and face paint). Did they dance to voice(s) or instrument(s)?

#105 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2012, 11:13 PM:

nerdycellist @92: (You know who else is a nerdy cellist? Agent Phil Coulson, in the Avengers movie. Just passing that along. Anyway.) Aha! I did use milk when making my experimental hot chocolate, but I didn't happen to have any cream. If I'd given it a thought, I could have gone to the truly convenient neighborhood convenience store for some. Heh. It was 1/2% milk. Note to self…

emilly @102: Further refinements noted. I'm stunned that the hot water shouldn't touch the container — why is life so complicated? — but cheered at the notion of melting it in the milk. I'm thinking I might hit the chocolate store tomorrow.

janetl @103: The scary thing about all this is that I may end up knowing too much. Specifically, finding out just how much fat was in that heavenly chocolate I drank in Firenze and being afraid to order it again.

Who am I kidding? I'd order it again.

#106 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 01:11 AM:

Mishalak @ 83 ...
[1] Hazelnuts or filberts are actually just very large bushes that can be trimmed into a tree like shape. There are quite a lot of these sorts of "trees" out there. Tree lilacs being one of the worst offenders. Bah. That's no tree!

Bah. Anything that can work up having trunks in the 8-12" diameter (or larger) range is something I'm willing to consider to be a tree (and I've also climbed both hazelnut and lilac trees).

As far as "large bushes" go, that's all about how they're pruned -- if they're a large bush, the same needs to be said for most Japanese maples.

#107 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 01:19 AM:

Congratulations, Sam!

#108 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 01:27 AM:

I recall Graydon's old chocolate recipe, which involved melting chocolate in cream with some sugar. It takes a while to get really smooth, as you want to raise the temperature slowly, but you can certainly drink it... as long as it's still hot... and you should probably stick to small cups.

#109 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 01:58 AM:

Sam @99:


I suspect this counts as offsetting some of the bad luck you've been having...?

#110 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 02:28 AM:

SamChevre @ 99:

Congratulations! May you all have many happy years of family togetherness.

#111 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 02:36 AM:

I wasn't actually gnomed @ 103 -- just forgot to edit my name. Sorry!

#112 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 03:26 AM:

abi @ 79; Jim @ 91 & 93: Fascinating. I woud never have guessed that was being used as spam. So, can I safely refer to "26.2-mile races"? Also, is "ultr*" subject to the same problem? (Guess I'm about to find out). Yes, there are more and more of us running 26.2-mile races (and longer, which is what I'm now training for)

Mishalak: We have hazel as part of our native-species hedge (which I planted after we chopped down the Leylandii and now getting sufficiently bushy to be useful to birds. Doubt we'll get any hazelnuts from it as I suspect the squirrels will beat us to every single one, unless I get some tough weldmesh and put it around each individual nut while they're growing.

Kip W "and make hush puppies over the fire" Okay, what are "hush puppies" in this context? I only know them as a brand of shoes.

Sam: Congratulations!

#113 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 03:35 AM:

Sam @ 99: Congratulations!

#114 ::: GlendaP ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 04:03 AM:

dcb @112

Hushpuppies are deep-fried blobs of cornmeal batter, usually served with fried fish or fried shrimp.

#115 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 05:03 AM:

Mary Aileen @ 172-902 inspired me to have a look and see if any of Walter Scott's other titles were susceptible to being made less intense, but I ran aground on "Waverley", which sounds like it already has.

#116 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 07:02 AM:

Paul A. @ 115: Good point. The best I can offer is Pilfer Pinkie.

#117 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 07:16 AM:

Mycroft @71, in my Girl Scout days, a variant on that was "campfire stew". Hamburger plus whatever canned soups the girls brought (vegetable, alphabet, etc.)

SamChevre @99, congratulations.

#118 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 07:20 AM:

SamChevre #99: A thousand felicitations. May his life be long and happy.

#119 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 08:16 AM:

(Moving this to the topic where it belongs.)

Intuitive eating... can anyone identify the science fiction novel where this was a theme? It came out circa 1968, probably by a British author. Colonists on a new planet had to let themselves go into a trance and let their subconscious selves and archetypes tell them which plants in the new world were good to eat. Everyone had visions from the mythologies of their respective ancestors. Growing up in lily-white* South Dakota, this was my first exposure to people with names like Parvati, or to many of the mythological traditions in the book.

* Away from the reservations, that is.

#120 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 08:41 AM:

SamChevre @ #99, add mine to the pile of congratulations, and also a wish for adequate sleep over the next few months!

dcb @ #112, what GlendaP said, plus that they're called that because they were allegedly flung to the hounds to get them to be quiet.

#121 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 09:15 AM:

Soon Lee #21: Alas, food's energy density is limited by the fact that the carbohydrate types have a more-or less constant energy density (per weight): Sugar, starch, and protein all run 4.3 calories per gram, while fat doubles that at 8.6. Also, none of these is terribly compressible beyond a certain point.

SamChevre #99: Congratulations!

#122 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 10:01 AM:

Rest in peace, Maurice Sendak. At least he got to be on Stephen Colbert before the end -- or, rather, at least we got to SEE him be on Stephen Colbert. :-> I will always love the story of the mural he put on the wall on Park Avenue. And as a parent, my favorite line from the New York Times obit is definitely this one: "oundly praised, intermittently censored and occasionally eaten, Mr. Sendak’s books were essential ingredients of childhood for the generation born after 1960 or thereabouts, and in turn for their children."

#123 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 10:02 AM:

SamChevre (99): Congratulations!

#124 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 10:54 AM:

Susie @ 104:

That was 'Wolf at the Door.' I believe only one of them was a man in drag. They were described as "the newest group;" I'm not expert enough to recognize any of their dances, though they seemed simpler than some of the others. (The most complex being those of the Toronto Women's Sword, to whom my stills don't really do justice.)

#125 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 10:58 AM:

Cally @ 87 -- Hudson's Bay Bread sounds a little like parkin but with no flour at all.

#126 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 11:42 AM:

Congatulations, Sam and Mom!

#127 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 11:43 AM:

Elliot Mason @ 122:

I was bemused by the Times obit calling him "a shtetl Blake", though it does have a ring to it. The most interesting interview with him I can remember was one (on 60 Minutes IIRC) made when he was working on the sets for a production of the "The Magic Flute". He persistently refused to accept praise for the work, saying that it was the result of his responding to Mozart's genius.

If, as seems unlikely, the staff of The Night Kitchen restaurant hasn't thought of it, I suggest they hold a wake for him there. I would try to be there; I don't travel much anymore, but it's only 150 miles form home for me.

#128 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 11:56 AM:

dcb, #112: The best hush puppies also have chopped onions in them.

#129 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 12:28 PM:

Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are is extremely special to me.

Every child should have it, but especially rambunctious kids who need to be reassured that their mothers will still love them, even when they are very bad.

#130 ::: Mishalak ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 01:21 PM:

xeger @ 106 ...
Seriously, I agree, but ever since I was little I have had an inferiority complex about many of the trees of my native pine savanna. I was always disappointed by their height and the lack of the inky darkness described by Tolkien et al. in fantasy. For example Acer glabrum var. glabrum, the native maple, allegedly can reach ten meters but I never saw one much exceeding four.

DCB @ 112 ...
I also worry somewhat about the squirrels. However I intend to try two methods of dealing with them in my garden. First, the motion activated sprinkler. Second, trapping and taking them on a little trip to the eastern plains of Colorado. Theoretically they could survive on the treeless plains so it is not technically murder. Should I have an evil laugh?

#131 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 01:30 PM:

For me, it was not only Where the Wild Things Are but also In the Night Kitchen and Chicken Soup with Rice. Especially the last, which I read many times to my children.

#132 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 01:40 PM:

I think I was old enough that I didn't get "Where the Wild Things Are" at the picture book age; I think I came to it as a teenager with a part time job in the library.

From early on, I remember his pictures from "A Hole is to Dig," which was a favorite of my grandmother's.

#133 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 02:15 PM:

When I was 15 or so, we went to visit some friends out of town. They had lived in China for a time, and the plan was to make steamed pork buns. We made scores of them, but then, there were 11 people to feed: two couples, three teenagers, three toddlers and a baby.

And there was a serious shrinkage problem: newly steamed buns got pilfered almost as fast as they were set out to cool. All this took place in the soundscape of "Graceland". Indeed, I can't hear Paul Simon singing she comes back to tell me she's gone... without a brief flash of the memory of ducking into the closet with the Venetian-blind doors, juggling a too-warm bun from hand to hand as he elaborated: As if I didn't know that. As if I didn't know my own bed.

Why am I telling this story? To what is this relevant?

Over dinner (and don't ask me how we had any appetite left, after that long day of forming, steaming and stealing), I boasted that I could recite Where the Wild Things Are word for word.

Inevitably, since two of the toddlers lived there, there was a copy of the book about. I still remember sitting at the table, telling the story, while our hosts sat across from me with the book in their hands, checking me.

I think the prize was a steamed pork bun.

And it was still hot.

#134 ::: LMM ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 02:19 PM:

@99: Congratulations!

#135 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 02:50 PM:

meta amusement. The recent comments list shows:

albatross on Stand Your Ground
albatross on Grilled Pizza

Which led me to wonder for a moment why albatross was standing on the pizza.

#136 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 02:51 PM:

Where the Feral Things Might Be

"Feral" is less intense than "wild", right?

#137 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 03:12 PM:

At least, when I'm standing my ground on the grilled pizza, I don't have to eat GORP.

#138 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 03:13 PM:

Congratulations, SamChevre, Jacob, and Mommy!

#139 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 03:24 PM:

SamChevre: Bright Blessings for the health of mother and child, and for the sanity of the parents going forward. May Jacob's life be long and happy, and may he bring happiness to others.

Also, I hope that despite his name he never has to wrestle all night with a dislocated hip.

#140 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 03:26 PM:

Patrick's sidelight on the NYPD reminded me that a far too common occurrence in police repression of public protests includes the removal or covering of police identification.

I was wondering if it would be possible to make such removal or hiding a criminal offense. (An exception for undercover officers, of course, duh, though I would NOT want such an exception for detectives and supervisors whose "uniform" is a suit and tie.)

Essentially, if you have the power to detain, imprison, or use deadly force against members of the public, the public should have the right to know your name and/or badge number.

At the least, it would be interesting to see the arguments against such a law. (I note that it's already "policy" to require such ID in many police departments, but frequently unenforced and only subject to administrative discipline.)

I make such a suggestion, of course, only because I am a pinko-liberal-socialist-commie-Muslim-atheist-treasonous-traitor. Why else?

#141 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 03:36 PM:

Bruce Arthurs @140:
I was wondering if it would be possible to make such removal or hiding a criminal offense.

The challenge is in enforcing that. Who's going to arrest them?

My suggestion would be that if your identification is not visible, you're not a cop. Any arrests you make are false imprisonment; any physical actions you participate in are common assault. Pursuit through the civil or criminal courts, post-facto, permissible.

I know, I know, see my own objections. But a girl can dream.

#142 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 03:45 PM:

Sam @ 99 and Mama: congratulations!! Welcome and blessings, Jacob!

#143 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 04:01 PM:

Congratulations and felicitations Sam and Mom, and welcome, Jacob!

#144 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 04:07 PM:


The Agitator keeps running pictures of riot police and SWAT teams with ski-masks on.

Here is one example, though to be fair, the police are dealing with very dangerous suspected prostitutes at a massage parlor, and so probably must fear reprisals. (I wonder if the cops were worried some of the women would recognize them as regular customers.)

Here's another one, where the drug squad brought a tank and wore masks on a marijuana raid. I gather they found a smallish amount.

Here there are masked SWAT cops, regular police looking like policemen, and a bunch of guys in riot gear who look like someone watched Star Wars too many times at an impressionable age.

If you saw these images in a movie, you would know exactly what they meant.

#145 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 04:42 PM:

Also worth looking up is the Fresh Air interview with Sendak. He was despairing and bitter at the time, but sill wonderful to listen to.

* * *

I've got lines from the "Really Rosie" cartoon running through my head.

There really was a Rosie in Sendak's childhood. He tracked her down after a lot of effort. I recall he described her as a dowdy housewife, and she did not remember Sendak or her childhood thespian streak. How sad, to have grown up so thoroughly.

#146 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 04:44 PM:

abi @133, I like that. The last line caught me by surprise, and is poignant.

Carrie S @136 Where the Feral Things Might Be "Feral" is less intense than "wild", right?

I don't think of feral as less intense. The Not Perfectly Behaved Things, maybe.

#147 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 04:53 PM:

Mishalak at #83, I concur with Xeger (#106) that there's not much difference between a large shrub and a tree. I have noticed that many plants that humans like to cultivate, or anyway host in their yards, really want to be thickets, and to this end will send up numerous shoots from their roots. This includes plums as well as filberts (around here, it's common to call the cultivated kind filberts and the wild kind hazelnuts, but they are the same thing really).

I wonder have you tried just planting a handful of nuts, to see if they will grow? We have a lot of rain here, but also some very prolonged dry spells, and our filberts seem to grow very well without additional water. All of the seeds are fertile as far as I know. There are commercial crosses, but they will all sprout. To set fruit, they prefer to have a nearby mate of a different variety (you can tell by comparing the nuts), and they are wind pollinated. They have the cutest teeny tiny scarlet female flowers in January or so.

#148 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 04:54 PM:


Congratulations to all three of you!

#149 ::: Madeline Ashby ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 05:47 PM:

For those of you looking for an even more portable fruit-and-nut snack, may I present gotgamssam, or walnuts wrapped in persimmons:

Also, for those planting nut trees, I recommend a black walnut. They grow tall and fast, and provide excellent shade.

Welcome to the world, Jacob!

#150 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 06:13 PM:

Madeline @149

Just as long as you note that black walnut husks are very, very, very staining.

#151 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 06:18 PM:

Hmm. Stainful? Stainiferous? My vocabulary has failed me, alas. Staineriffic! Stainitudinous! <retreats in confusion>

#152 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 06:54 PM:

@151: Color-fast.

#153 ::: Marty In Boise ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 06:59 PM:

The New Yorker has briefly undone the paywall for this lovely Art Spiegelman / Maurice Sendak collaboration from 1993. It's an interview in comic-strip form, and includes one of my favorite Sendak comments:

"People say, 'Oh, Mr. Sendak. I wish I were in touch with my childhood self, like you!' As if it were all quaint and succulent, like Peter Pan. Childhood is cannibals and psychotics vomiting in your mouth! I say, 'You are in touch, lady--you're mean to your kids, you treat your husband like shit, you lie, you're selfish… That is your childhood self!"

#154 ::: Marty In Boise ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 07:06 PM:

And to SamChevre, mom, and Jacob of course!

"Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you've got about a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you've got to be kind."

Kurt Vonnegut, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater

#155 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 07:35 PM:

abi @ 133:

And it was still hot.
I saw what you did there. And I liked it.

#156 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 07:59 PM:

Black walnuts have many excellent qualities, but they will also kill nearby plants. See for example

#157 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 08:52 PM:

Thank you all for all the good wishes!

Just to note--it wasn't so much that the last couple weeks were bad as that they were tiring. Expecting a new baby real soon now? A good but tiring thing. Having done analysis of sufficient importance that it's going up to the CEO? A good but high-stress and time-consuming thing. Having your two-year-old get a significant cut from a toy parking garage? And be more upset about getting woken up than about the cut? Not good, exactly, but in the long term will provide more amusement than trouble.

I just don't want to confuse my situation--tiring, but greatly blessed--with something really hard.

And open-threadiness/AKICIML: the "Body Worlds" exhibition by Gunther van Hagens will be at the local science museum this summer. Should I take my 4-year-old daughter, who wants to be "a doctor that works on arms and legs" and is entirely fascinated by skeletons and bones?

1) She has stuck to this for over a year, and fairly actively pursued it--as in, any bone in a piece of meat she want to know what it is, and what sort of joints it fits, and what the corresponding bones on her are.

#158 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 09:09 PM:

Hyper-Local News - novice quilting project meets with approval of cats.

#159 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 09:33 PM:

I appreciate the Super-Mario-on-a-medieval-manuscript sidebar item.

Other video games that would go well with medieval manuscripts?

Joust (the one with the guys with lances on flapping birds that stood on clouds.)

#160 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 10:02 PM:

Cally, #151: I think this case calls for a rework: "Black walnut hulls stain like whoa." :-)

People who work with period dyeing techniques love black walnut hulls; they make one of the darkest (and yes, very color-fast!) brown/black shades available.

SamChevre, #157: Best thoughts to you, your wife, and children. And yes, I think you should take your daughter to that exhibit. If she's that interested in the subject, she's unlikely to become bored.

You can also start reading to her out of forensic mysteries as soon as she's old enough to deal with adult-level vocabulary. I recommend books by Aaron Elkins, which generally don't have anything really gruesome or otherwise problematic in them. The first few of Sharyn McCrumb's Elizabeth Macpherson humorous mysteries are also pretty good.

#161 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 10:18 PM:

Along the lines of Chutneying ... John is reading the Princess Bride (30th Anniversary Edition) to our daughter a chapter at a time, and he didn't know the (Doylean side of the) story of how the existing chapter of Buttercup's Baby came to be.

Short version: he buried a 'mail me an SASE' joke in a nested footnote and got far more response than he expected. This is very similar to what happened to Phil Foglio in the comedy-porn comic book XXXenophile -- his April 1 cover claiming there was going to be a XXXenophile collectible card game got so many people to mail him checks that he made it happen.

Is there a term for this? Authors/creators making a passing joke that is then caused, by overwhelming consumer/fan demand, to actually exist? I don't count things like bringing Sherlock Holmes back from Reichenbach because that feels like a different thing entirely (more akin to what Mass Effect fans are trying to do over the ending of that saga; call it a Fanon Retcon Demand?).

When was the first one people know of?

#162 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 10:21 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz at Avengers.94: Yes, it was Bedlam Planet. Thanks!

#163 ::: Allan Beatty has been gnomed... ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 10:23 PM:

... for the first time ever. The URL was properly formed, so I assume it must have been extra tasty.

#164 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2012, 10:44 PM:

Sir Walter Scott claimed, in a footnote to Ivanhoe:

[Plot twist redacted] has been much criticised, as too violent a breach of probability, even for a work of such fantastic character. It was a tour de force, to which the author was compelled to have recourse, by the vehement entreaties of his friend and printer, who was inconsolable on [event that Scott was forced to retcon].

#165 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 12:32 AM:

Elliott Mason @161: Another amusing one from the SF world is Gene Wolfe's book The Castle of the Otter, which was a title printed by Locus when one of the people there mis-heard the title Citadel of the Autarch, the fourth volume of The Book of the New Sun. Wolfe was so taken by it that he put together a batch of related material and a small press (Mark Zeising) published it.

#166 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 01:23 AM:

Elliot Mason @ 161:

The earliest one I know about is the November, 1949 issue of Astounding. A year before a reader sent a prank letter to the magazine with a review of the stories in that issue written just as if the issue had already been printed. The editor, John Campbell, went along with the joke by publishing the letter in the November, 1948 issue, and then get the writers listed in the letter to write the stories it described. He did so, and they were published in the Nov. '49 issue just as the letter said. One of the stories was the first part of a two-part serialization of Heinlein's short novel "Gulf". There were also stories by Isaac Asimov, Theodore Sturgeon, Lester del Rey, A. E. van Vogt, L. Sprague de Camp, and the astronomer R. S. Richardson. See the Wikipedia article on Astounding for more information.

#167 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 01:23 AM:

There was also a "Get Off the Unicorn" which came about when someone in a catalog of forthcoming books (by McCaffrey?) misspelled "Get Of The Unicorn" and the author liked it better than the planned title.

#168 ::: Josh Berkus ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 03:25 AM:

Gorp in Nepal -- at least, locally-made stuff -- is a mixture of peanuts, fried ginger, dried hot peppers, puffed rice and roasted soybeans. I'm not sure how nutritious it is, but a few peppers and strips of ginger will make you forget you were hungry in the first place.

#169 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 03:56 AM:

Kip W@90, Emily@102 - My hot chocolate recipe is a variant on that. Put a layer of chocolate chips in the bottom of the 2-cup pyrex measuring cup (so that's 2-3 tablespoons), cover with water, nuke for 30 seconds, which gets them almost melted. Stir into a mush, add a cup of milk, stir again, and nuke until almost boiling (about 1:45 in my microwave.) I suppose it would work ok with more chocolate or less milk.

#170 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 09:58 AM:

Come on, ladies and gents!
MK Hobson's Kickstarter Project for novel "The Warlock's Curse" has only a few days left to reach its goal.
Go and help!
Click HERE.

#171 ::: Serge Broom has been GNOMED ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 10:03 AM:

Stuck in Gnomansland.

#172 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 10:41 AM:

SamChevre @157: my 4-year-old daughter, who wants to be "a doctor that works on arms and legs" and is entirely fascinated by skeletons and bones

Visible Body
Google Body
Gray's Anatomy

Plus: my mom got one of these when I was little, and I spent endless hours taking it apart and putting it back together.

#173 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 11:00 AM:

Fun spam subject heading I just received: sin up today!

#174 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 11:04 AM:

Serge Broom @ 170: I loved the first two books in M.K. Hobson's series (The Native Star, The Hidden Goddess), so I've supported that Kickstarter for the concluding book, too. It's sad that the publisher didn't pick up the third book. The strong characters, cool alternative-history worldbuilding, suspense -- tasty, tasty stuff. I love me a good female hero, I do.

#175 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 11:14 AM:

Not exactly gorp or trail mix, but I sometimes buy snack packets of pecans, walnuts, and raisins and eating them on the subway home from the gym. (These and a dozen or more other small bags of nuts, fruit, etc. are available at subway newsstands, among other places.) Last week, I bought and ate one on the way home after a round of clothing shopping. Successful shopping, but I hadn't had enough lunch beforehand.

I'm sure I could get a better price by mixing my own, but sometimes it is worth paying for convenience. And the actual tradeoff isn't between the pre-mixed bag of nuts and raisins and mixing my own. It's between that bag, or stopping off for hot chocolate (tasty but not cheap), or just being hungry until I get home. Except on the days I'm in the mood for a banana: street-corner fruit stands are a wonderful thing.

#176 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 02:35 PM:

Regarding gorp and similar food products: It made a big difference to my life when my sweetie figured out that I had trouble maintaining my blood sugar.

When I am in grocery stores, I have been known to pause to gaze fondly upon food items which I bought on earlier sugar-crisis occasions in order to bolster myself: bottled orange juice, M&Ms, little tubes of salted peanuts hanging by the checkstand.

Lifesavers. No, I don't think Life Savers ever played that role, come to think . . . .

#177 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 02:38 PM:

Jacque @172 and SamChevre @157: We had a "learnin' about bodies" kid, too. He was so ecstatic when we gave him a Visible Woman kit for his third birthday.

Kathe recommends teaching her the word "orthopedist".

#178 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 03:12 PM:

I've been getting a bit tired of raisins as one of the few practical small snacks for current weight-loss efforts, so I had a small fit at the store last night. Result: personalized gorp consisting of dried cherries, dried blueberries, and honey-roasted pecans. Total crack-y goodness. I looked round for unsweetened large-cut coconut to add in but found none.

#179 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 06:39 PM:

Since I'm not on Twitter, I'll respond to one of TNH's tweets here.

I can raise one eyebrow, and it's not genetic for me; I have distinct memories of teaching myself to do it. I would look in a mirror and raise both eyebrows while holding one down with a finger. Eventually I managed to work out which muscles to use and which not, to raise just one.

(And before you ask: yes, it was totally inspired by the way Spock and McCoy would constantly go around raising one eyebrow at each other.)

#180 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 07:03 PM:

Re the eyebrow: me too! I didn't use my fingers; I started by frowning my eyebrows down, then sort of trying to pull them up and down at the same time, until I figured out how to lower one eyebrow. That gave me some asymmetry to practice with. I think the whole learning process took about a year (of very sporadic effort).

I, too, was entirely imitating Kelley and Nimoy.

A friend used to admire my skill at doing this. She made this point more than once. Eventually I pointed out that she had been admiring my skill for longer than it took me to learn it.

#181 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 07:12 PM:

John and I can both loop our tongues (make a tight u or o with the tip); neither of us can cloverleaf or any of the other fun things. However, Beka and I can both (or, rather, she did when she was an infant; right now she can't do it on purpose) turn our tongues over 180deg along the axis going from my chin to my throat -- a barrel-roll, as it were. John can't, and can't even figure out how to start addressing those muscles.

John and I can both Spock on either side; so can Beka. She also instantly winked with each eye, correctly, upon being introduced to the concept of a wink (at about 2.5yo), which I found mindblowingly precocious, as I remember teaching myself to wink without closing the other eye (spending hours in front of a mirror).

#182 ::: Elliott Mason is gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 07:13 PM:

Here, you hardworking gentles, have some delicious Banana Whatnots; tasty AND good for you (7 cookies is one whole banana and 1/3 of a cup of oatmeal!).

#183 ::: Jo MacQueen ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 07:26 PM:

I thought this would be the better thread in which to say so, but I realised I had to say something while reading the Breaking Rings post and comments.

I love the names of the duty gnomes!

{tips virtual hat to the gnomes, and walks off with a happy smile on face}

#184 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 07:47 PM:

David Goldfarb@179: yeah, me too. Unfortunately I learned how to raise the "wrong" eyebrow due to doing it in the mirror, and then somehow found the other eyebrow unteachable.

#185 ::: dido ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 08:18 PM:

Jo, the gnomes have been making me happy too!

HLN: area woman told her Classical Tradition class to "write whatever you want for 8-12 pages" and they did; risky, off-beat, personal, lovely essays. One of my favorites? 'The Homeric Hero as Paradigm for the Klingon Warrior Ethos (though ST itself leaves me cold).

#186 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 08:29 PM:

It seems to me that our tradition of the warrior (from whence comes the Klingon) is more derived from Rome and Rome's ideas of Stoicism than from Homer. If you actually read Homer it can sometimes be quite shocking how far the Homeric hero is from our ideas of a warrior, mainly in how they express strong emotion. They weep, they tear their hair, in really extreme cases they even fall down and roll around in the dirt. (For some reason we see a lot more of them expressing anger or sorrow than joy, though I think Odysseus returned to Ithaca does kiss the ground.) None of this tight-lipped stone face stuff.

#187 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 08:45 PM:

Elliott Mason @161:
Is there a term for this? Authors/creators making a passing joke that is then caused, by overwhelming consumer/fan demand, to actually exist?

There may be a more specific term, but it sounds like a variety of defictionalization. (TVTropes link omitted, look it up yourself if you want.)

#188 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 09:42 PM:

So if I have a monstrous headcold for which I am taking Afrin at night, I should also continue to take Zyrtec, since the allergy stuff works best when taken consistently over time?

I usually know this stuff but this cold has made me stupider than usual. (than colds usually do)

#189 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 09:56 PM:

SamChevre: Slightly belated but heartfelt congratulations on Jacob's birth!

#190 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 10:04 PM:

Melissa Singer @ 188: Is Afrin just a decongestant? While Zyrtec is just an antihistimine? That could work. The thing to watch out for are over-the-counter products with a bunch of different ingredients, so you end up doubling-up. The most dangerous is getting too much Tylenol (Acetaminophen).

#191 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 10:07 PM:

Janetl: even at this dumb, I wouldn't mess up the Tylenol thing. Not actually taking any just now. (and I track it on my cellphone, as noted elsewhen on ML)

But I think you're right about the decongestant/antihistamine thing . . . now that I am breathing better (thanks to the Afrin), I have a little more brainpower.

#192 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 10:28 PM:

Elliott Mason @161: I think there is a name for that, yes, but I can't remember what it is. Drat. I just read it in connection with MSPaint Adventures, I think.

dido @185: The Homeric Hero as Paradigm for the Klingon Warrior Ethos

For the five million and ninth time, I so wish Mike was here. I would love to see what he had to say about that -- and he'd have something to say, for sure.

#193 ::: Alex ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2012, 05:12 AM:

Re eyebrows, there is a very funny passage in Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting in which Renton becomes neurotically obsessed with the fact Sick Boy can raise one eyebrow, in the classic Sean Connery/James Bond gesture, and he can't despite hours of practice, and it starts to embody his ambivalence towards SB. In fact, he convinces himself that SB has carefully trained himself to do it and that this exemplifies his artificial and shallow character.

And then he slopes off to get high, or is he targeted in some kind of violent assault? It'll be one or the other.

#194 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2012, 07:55 AM:

I think I can raise one eyebrow, but to be perfectly honest, it's hard to tell. I'm blonde and I wear glasses. Years ago, I realized that my functional eyebrows have lenses in them.

#195 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2012, 08:17 AM:

I learned to raise one eyebrow while trying to teach myself to wink with the other eye.

Long ago, I had an acquaintance who could do the wave with his brows.

#196 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2012, 11:08 AM:

"We can get back to hating each other AFTER we save the world from total time implosion, okay?"

So says Atomic Robo to Doctor Dinosaur after something goes very wrong at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, in a one-shot story published as part of May 5's Free Comic Day. Yes, I got extra copies for faraway friends.

#197 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2012, 11:13 AM:

There seems to be some considerable variation in the interactions between the frontalis, corrugator, and procerus muscles. Your basic "Spocking" involves the frontalis, plus the ability to, as David Goldfarb points out, activate only one side. For extra emphasis, one needs to add in the opposite corrugator muscle. (One of my clubmates in my high school Star Trek club could get as far as the unilateral frontalis activation, but left out the corrugator, so she tended to look kind of asleep.) Additionally, one needs to be able to do all this while maintaining regular eye-contact. It's a complicated business.

Here's a nice virtual face to play with, except that it doesn't seem to allow unilateral expression.

The expression that continues to elude me utterly is where one activates only the corrugator, and basically folds the proximal ends of one's eyebrows upward. Some people can almost make it a right angle. I've got those muscles—I can feel them, right there. But I can't get more than delicate dimples above my eyebrows. It's a puzzlement.
/facial anatomy geekery

#198 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2012, 11:14 AM:

...and now my forehead is all cramped up...

#199 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2012, 12:00 PM:

AKICIML, Equine Health Division: So, is this little guy underweight? Or is he just oversupplied with skin? (He's the cover model for this publication.)

#200 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2012, 01:25 PM:

Jacque @ 199

Looks like a typical light-boned foal to me. If she were a draft breed I'd say "a bit skinny"

#201 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2012, 01:32 PM:

HLN: headcold has manifested a fever, unpleasantly. And a crown has fallen out of my mouth, also unpleasantly, especially since I will not be able to go to the dentist, or even make an appointment, until my fever is gone. Luckily the tooth has been root-canaled, so it's dead, but it's a big tooth and in the middle of one side of my upper jaw (the side I usually chew on, natch).

Mother's Day will probably be kind of miserable as a result.

#202 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2012, 02:05 PM:

Unless your dentist says not to, you can put the crown back in place using toothpaste as a temporary "glue."

I hate crowns...

#203 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2012, 02:26 PM:

And now, for your reading pleasure, the incomparable Charles P. Pierce:

Romney is essentially an entitled fopdoodle who divides the world into two classes, Himself and The Help, and who is running for president because his golden life has taught him the essential lesson that there is nothing in the world he can't charm and/or money-whip into his pocket if he really, really wants it.

Read more:

#204 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2012, 10:09 PM:

It's very late, but I'm signal-boosting anyway. Extra Call tomorrow AM, in NYC, via the "you should be reading him if you aren't already" Ta-Nehisi Coates.

#205 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 08:27 AM:

So I pre-ordered a certain novel published by Orbit from Barnes & Noble. It officially comes out on May 22nd. I received my copy on May 9th.

If you go to B&, they will offer to let you pre-order the ebook, but are perfectly happy to sell you and ship you the book -- which has STILL not officially come out yet on any other website, or on the publisher's list.

How can I most productively complain to B&N about this screwup on their part?

#206 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 08:56 AM:

Elliott Mason: That's not a screw-up. Most books do not have a "hard" on-sale date--a date before which no books may be sold/shipped. Some do, particularly huge things like Harry Potter titles--and if stores or other merchants violate the on-sale date, they generally have to pay penalties (or worse). But the vast majorities of books can be shelved and sold whenever the merchant wants . . . and hardcovers are printed, bound, and shipped several weeks ahead of on-sale date to ensure that copies can go on sale in all parts of the US at the same time.

So it's not at all unusual, or even problematic, for B&N to have, and ship to you, a copy of a book 2 or 3 weeks in advance of on-sale date.

ebooks, however, go "live" when a publisher says so. For an ebook, all on-sale dates are "hard" on-sale dates--fixed to a specific day/date. Until the publisher's software says so, the ebook doesn't exist, even if the files are all converted and set up and sitting there, ready to go.

#207 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 09:00 AM:

Melissa Singer @206: I understand (from hearing about a previous such thing), however, that the author does not get any credit in 'first week sales' for anything shipped this early, which affects the author's ability to get the publisher to buy future volumes.

So it's assholeish. Not to mention it makes legions of fanboys upset that the ebook is 'delayed'. Amazon is honoring the publisher's desired launch date ... but B&N isn't.

#208 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 09:13 AM:

Elliott: as far as "credit," that depends on the publisher's sales reporting software (and the intelligence of the people reading the numbers).

#209 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 09:27 AM:

Melissa Singer: it doesn't count for the New York Times Bestseller List, for sure. But I've been told that in some cases pre-orders as a class don't count for that, so (chalking it up, in Moviebob's words, to "Publishing ... Is ... Weeeeeird!")

#210 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 01:19 PM:

I remember teaching myself to do the eyebrow, with some initial help from fingers, though in my case it was Horace Rumpole and not Spock whom I was trying to be.

Likewise, I taught myself the Vulcan salute (that was Spock), and to wink with either eye (I don't now recall what brought that on).

#211 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 01:39 PM:

I'm kind of gobsmacked at the moment. Samuel R. Delany just answered, on Facebook, a long-running question of mine about him. I' I certainly didn't expect that. Wow.

#212 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 02:06 PM:

Paul A @ 210... it was Horace Rumpole and not Spock

Leo McKern as a Vulcan?

#213 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 02:07 PM:

Open threadiness: This slide presentation (PDF) seems to me to do a nice job covering the European debt crisis at a high level.

#214 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 02:19 PM:

Further proving that everything is connected, Benedict Cumberbatch played young Rumpole in a recent production for BBC Radio 4.

#215 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 02:54 PM:

I can't raise one eyebrow. I can't whistle, either. (Or roll my R's).

I do remember teaching myself to do the Vulcan salute as a child. I could only get one pair of fingers to stay together -- either index and middle, or ring and pinky. The other pair would always spread apart.

So I scotch-taped each pair of fingers together. I didn't think that would actually teach me how to do it; I just wanted to pretend I could do it, and see what it looked and felt like.

But after I took the tape off, I could do it for real. The tape must have helped me isolate control of the right muscles.

I wish I'd figured out something like that for the muscles involved in eyebrow-raising, whistling, and R-rolling. I wonder if my brain's still plastic enough to acquire those fine motor skills at nearly 30.

#216 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 02:59 PM:

John A Arkansawyer @ 211... Congratulations! I think Carrie Vaughn felt the same way when Kurt Busiek posted a comment on her blog after he read her comics-homage novel "After the Golden Age".

#217 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 03:07 PM:

#211 ::: John A Arkansawyer:

If you don't mind, what did you ask Delany, and what was his answer?

#218 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 03:33 PM:

I clicked on the link to the article on visualizing English word origins (etymology being a fascination for me) and upon viewing the second example, I simply ROFLed.

I'm color deficient, mainly in the pink-orange range, and the author chose to use various shades of pink with orange for highlighting text. As a result, I cannot tell which is red next to orange and which is pink next to orange -- or red. Some of what I know must be orange looks pink. The pink occasionally looks red. The red looks brighter than most pinks, but identical to the orange; and the light oranges look paler than the pale oranges.

I lost track of the words as I tried to ascertain which color I was looking at. I'll have to go back to this page with the FG and see how it looks on her computer.

#219 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 03:39 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz @ 217: I'd wondered for a long time whether he knew Jim Carroll. He said they were very slightly acquainted. That answered (I think!) the question under my question, whether he'd had Jim Carroll in mind when he wrote Hawk the Singer in "Time Considered As A Helix Of Semi-Precious Stones". I suppose the answer is no. If I'd known I'd get an answer, I might've asked directly.

#220 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 03:42 PM:

Caroline, #215: I can't do the Spock eyebrow either, or roll an R. I can't whistle "normally" or produce a tune, but I can make the whistling note of surprise (or a wolf-whistle) by inhaling.

What I can do: curl my tongue into a U-shape; wink with either eye independently; make the Spock salute with either hand -- although I never mastered the further trick of alternating that with a W-shape (middle & ring fingers together, index and pinkie separated); I can get either hand into that configuration, but the "alternating" part defeats me. The Spock salute, however, feels perfectly natural on either side.

#221 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 03:56 PM:

For those who want them, pics linked in my name.

#222 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 04:12 PM:

SamChevre @221:

Baby! Adorable!

#223 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 04:16 PM:

Lee@220 reminds me of a completely useless little trick that I practiced when I was young: I'd put one hand into the Vulcan salute, and the other into the W-shape...then I'd move each hand back and forth between the one configuration and the other. Without a lot of practice, it's very hard to keep the hands in opposite configurations, and not fall into making them be the same.

#224 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 04:24 PM:

The Delany question I've wondered about is what cultural fugue might be.

#225 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 05:11 PM:

Question for the commentariat: my buddy Brian mentioned to me last night that he's been tasked with coming up with an archiving scheme for assembling all of his organizations photos (plus attendant metadata and, potentially, other associated docs such as Powerpoint presentation, web info, &c) into a single resource. I was thinking Aperture, as mentioned by Caroline @172/469 might be a place to start.

For a full-on, institution-wide archive/access resource, I'm wondering if Drupal might be the way to go? (This institution already runs their web resources off Drupal.) (My experience is in Sharepoint, which I gather is a parallel animal.)

Anybody have any thoughts/strong opinions?

#226 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 05:13 PM:

Bruce, 127: If you mean the Night Kitchen in Seattle, it has closed. And I never even got to eat there. :-(

#227 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 06:11 PM:

TexAnne @ 226:

Crap! I never got to eat there either, and I only live 100 miles away. Is MadGastronomer staying in the business?

Serge @212:

McKern had a hand gesture that even Spock might have had trouble with; check out the High Priest's mudra in Help. I've been trying to do that for almost 50 years now, and I just can't keep the ring figure stuck straight out from the palm while simultaneously keeping my middle finger straight at right angles to it.

#228 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 06:27 PM:

Bruce, 227: I hope so, but I doubt it will be soon.

#229 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 07:18 PM:

SamChevre @ 221 - what adorable chubby-wubby babyness!

#230 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 07:34 PM:

And in more news from Arizona: a high school baseball team forfeits its championship match because they wouldn't play against a team with a girl on it. Ew. Cooties.

#231 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 07:54 PM:

Forefront of the 18th century, they are.

#232 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 07:58 PM:

These are our current 3 rescue kittens. We really need to re-home these babies -- we've got enough cats as is. We're guessing them at about 9 weeks right now, still young enough to bond with a forever owner. We will transport up to 4 hours' drive, and pay for neutering when they're old enough. Please pass the word to anyone who might be interested in one or more of them.

#233 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 08:12 PM:

Bruce Cohen @ 227... I'll have to check that McKern gesture next time "Help!" is on. My favorite line is when the scientist says "With this ring, I could - dare I say it? - rule the world!" I can see that the Beatles's version of "LoTR" would have raised a few eyebrows.

By the way, is it true that Spock's Live Long & Prosper is a Jewish sign?

#234 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 08:19 PM:

Yes, it's the sign made by the kohanim during the Priestly Blessing.

#235 ::: Lin D ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 08:23 PM:

Swooping by for one of my periodic visits. Sharing.

Chocolate Weapons

Thought of Teresa immediately.

#236 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2012, 12:05 AM:

Lee, re: kittens: Where do you live?

#237 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2012, 01:15 AM:

Carrie, #236: I'm in Houston. A 4-hour driving radius covers most of eastern Texas and a chunk of southern Louisiana -- and I'd be willing to go up to 7 or 8 hours for a promise of overnight crash space so that I wouldn't have a grueling day-trip.

#238 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2012, 07:32 AM:

Geekosaur @231Forefront of the 18th century, they are.

Circa 1745

"The greatest cricket match that was played in this part of England was on Friday, the 26th of last month, on Gosden Common, near Guildford, between eleven maids of Bramley and eleven maids of Hambledon, all dressed in white. The Bramley maids had blue ribbons and the Hambledon maids red ribbons on their heads. The Bramley girls got 119 notches and the Hambledon girls 127. There was of bothe sexes the greatest number that ever was seen on such an occasion. The girls bowled, batted, ran and catches as well as most men could do in that game."
#239 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2012, 08:35 AM:

Tome @ #230: "Sports build character." And character is like luck: there are two kinds.

I'd much rather have the Central Washington team as my neighbors, colleagues, elected officials etc. than the Our Lady of Sorrows team (ironic name, much?).

#240 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2012, 10:23 AM:

More belated congratulations to Sam Chevre and family.

#241 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2012, 12:10 PM:

Lee: Sadly, I think it's more than 8 hours from Houston to Pittsburgh. :(

Your kittens are, as is traditional for kittens, epically cute.

#242 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2012, 12:59 PM:

Thanks very much to the ML denizens who helped me get the assorted aggressive ad programs off my computer.

Apropos of nothing--I once stumbled across a blog that featured awesomely tacky real estate listings in NYC. There was a prewar overlooking Central Park that was decorated entirely in Ugly Bachelor, with knotty pine paneling and a portrait of a dog in a business suit over the fireplace; another place that looked like a little girl's dress-up box had exploded; and so forth. The piece de resistance IMO was an apartment that was completely black--black marble floors, black marble countertops, black marble clear up the walls IIRC with black-painted ceilings, even a black fridge. The ad said that it was "for the ladies."

Has anybody seen this blog? My searches keep turning up anti-development groups and episodes of Ugly Betty.

#243 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2012, 01:57 PM:

Awww, yay, Sam! He already looks opinionated! Adorable!

#244 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2012, 02:09 PM:

The first successful kidney transplant from a deceased donor was half a century ago this year.

Hope (Eerie).

Brains grow old and hands grow cold
And death we never can doubt
Time's cold wind, wailing down the past
Reminds us that all flesh is grass
And history's lamps blow out

But the Igors have landed; tell your children when.
Time won't drive us down to dust again.

We know well what Life can tell:
Reuse, replenish, reclaim
And today our fragile blood and flesh
Can play its part in a grander mesh
And serve another's aim.

For the Igors have landed; tell your children when.
Time won't drive us down to dust again.

From all who died out of history's tide
The best we cherish and hold
We see the light through borrowed eyes
Our hearts can strive for another's prize
And race as their dreams unfold.

For the Igors have landed; tell your children when.
Time won't drive us down to dust again.

(Hope Eyrie by Leslie Fish, copyright Random Factors. Igors by Pratchett).

This wasn't planned, particularly, but I've been earwormed by the chorus for days, so I gave up and started writing.

#245 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2012, 02:41 PM:

Thomas @244: When I stick that in my filkbook, under what name shall I credit it? :-> You can email me at 2ells2tees via that g-mail place if you'd rather not post it here.

#246 ::: Jörg Raddatz ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2012, 03:31 PM:

Open thready:
When walking near a Dutch restaurant, I saw a handwritten sign advertising "Aspergeroomsoep" - cream of asparagus soup.

But due to bad kerning, it really looked like "Asperger oom soep" - Asperger uncle soup. Cognitive dissonance ensued.

#247 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2012, 03:36 PM:

Elliott Mason: it's Thomas Lumley

#248 ::: AnotherQuietOne ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2012, 05:56 PM:

Lee @237 - I've signal boosted your kittens on FB as I have a fair number of people in the region. Paws crossed!

#249 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2012, 06:12 PM:

Sam: Congratulations!

Thomas: that is very nice.

#250 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2012, 07:59 PM:

Thomas @244: Applaudable! Do you do Usenet? I think would enjoy that one.

#251 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2012, 08:16 PM:

Kip W.

I never really started Usenet -- I read a bit of comp.lang.c, but that was when it was dying. I hadn't realized for a long time that chunks of Usenet were still alive and well.

I should investigate.

#252 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2012, 10:02 PM:

Dropped in here for no particular reason:

The teen informed me earlier today that Fifty Shades of Gray started life as Twilight fanfic.

#253 ::: JM ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2012, 10:38 PM:

Jacque @225: I have strong anti-Drupal opinions! Most of the syllabus approaches for the course I teach encourage their instructors to use Blackboard for their course websites, but mine requires that we use Drupal, and it is a royal pain -- slow, ugly, hard to navigate, unintuitive, requiring several extra clicks for most commands. The messaging and calendar functions simply Do Not Work. When Drupal users complain of their woes to Blackboard users, the Blackboard users look horrified.

Caveat: It's possible that my department has happened to buy/license/set up the site in a way that doesn't make full use of Drupal's capabilities. I've heard that Drupal's website has more attractive templates than the ones available to us.

I don't have a better option to offer for your purposes, so I guess I'm just doomsaying. Sorry!

#254 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2012, 01:47 AM:

Jenny Islander @ 242:

All black, eh? About 10 years before we bought our house the previous owners remodeled the kitchen, and they put in black composite counters and black sinks. I hates them so, precious! You can't tell whether they're clean by eye, so when I clean (the sinks especially) I have to braille every square inch of the surface to make sure I've got all the grease and food particles. I sure would hate to have to live in an all black apartment, though I suppose anyone who can afford that apartment in Manhattan doesn't do their own cleaning.

#255 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2012, 02:11 AM:

Melissa @252

That origin seemed to get mentioned pretty often, here in the UK. Were the clever fellows of the book business trying to sneer?

#256 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2012, 02:46 AM:

One of my all-time favorite book series started as a Star Trek fic with the serial numbers filed off, so I have no beef with fanfic going pro. I don't have a problem with somebody writing fanfic for a fandom I personally find shallow, problematic, and sloppily written, because a good writer can make a good story out of any canon you could name. But 50 Shades of Grey is fanfic of Twilight that commits some of the same errors as Twilight, such as a seriously life-altering condition being good when it's time for the hero to be sexy and bad when it's time for the hero to be sad.

#257 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2012, 06:30 AM:

Jenny Islander #242: I dunno if this was your original blog, but there is Lovely Listing.

#258 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2012, 07:54 AM:

JM @ 253 ...
Caveat: It's possible that my department has happened to buy/license/set up the site in a way that doesn't make full use of Drupal's capabilities. I've heard that Drupal's website has more attractive templates than the ones available to us.

Heh. I'm used to hearing no end of miseries about Blackboard, with Drupal being considered reasonable. I suspect much depends on what you're trying to do with either, and how they've been set up.

#259 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2012, 08:49 AM:

Completely different open-threadiness:

Jeff Peachey (a book conservator) has written a decidedly entertaining paper Conservation of the Journal of the American Institute for Conservation: results of a survey and treatments (pdf) detailing his trials and tribulations in trying to 'conserve' the "... bent, torn, sometimes wet and in one case burned to a crisp ..." journal of his trade.

It's well worth the read :)

#260 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2012, 09:21 AM:

Melissa Singer @252, in re Fifty Shades of Grey starting out as Twilight fanfic:

Yes, and Lois McMaster Bujold's Shards of Honor was originally Spock/Klingon fanfic, I am reliably informed (before she rubbed off all the serial numbers and invented her own planets and made Spock a girl). :->

Jenny Islander @242 Was it Lovely Listing? They're not what they once were, since ICanHazCheezburger took them over, but they're still kind of interesting.

#261 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2012, 10:54 AM:

No sneering here--I've read a lot of fanfic and stuff that started as fanfic, and published some.

However, while the work's origin may have been mentioned a lot in the UK, it wasn't mentioned here, at least not in anything I read. So I wasn't aware of it, and figured other people might not be as well.

#262 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2012, 11:04 AM:

AnotherQuietOne, #248: Thanks!

Melissa, #252: And this priceless bit showed up in the "FanficRants" community on LJ recently:

Fanfic author... I don't even know... I just...

You wrote an AU version of _Twilight_ that's based on _50 Shades of Grey_. Isn't that sort of like dividing by zero?

Bruce C., #254: I'd take your black sinks and counters over the pure-white ones in my old condo. If they were not absolutely pristine and spotless the entire kitchen looked grody. I want something that can have a few dust flecks on it without looking like I haven't cleaned in 6 months.

#263 ::: Lee has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2012, 11:05 AM:

I'm too not-awake-yet to figure out why.

#264 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2012, 11:22 AM:

Holy crap, we made the Chronicle! (I think that's a direct link, but if not, we're picture #3.)

#265 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2012, 11:31 AM:

No, not Lovely Listing. It had a definite NYC focus.

#266 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2012, 12:11 PM:

Re Jim's Diffraction link on the Harvard Book Store success story. I'm very pleased to see that. I have fond memories of browsing through that store back in the early 1970's. At the time, Eva and I lived in Brighton. We had a regular walk we took on the weekends from our apartment east on Western Ave. to the Harvard Street bridge, across into Cambridge, then up to Mass Ave., stopping in the Harvard Book Store to browse for an hour or so, then back down Putnam to Western Ave and straight across the river and back to Brighton. It was a brisk walk that kept us in good shape and kept up our book supply.

#267 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2012, 01:59 PM:

Dell had a media event in Copenhagen and booked a comic known for his anti-woman rants:

The moderator of the day is introduced. Mads Christensen. I slowly realize; THAT Mads Christensen. A media personality known (among many other charming traits) for his very conservative and critical approach to women in the work place.

So here I am at Dell’s huge and very professional summit with founder Michael Dell, top people from Microsoft and Intel, impressive power points, expensive commercials, matching polyester ties and all that jazz, and then the – by Dell chosen – moderator starts to rejoice the lack of women in the room. “The IT business is one of the last frontiers that manages to keep women out. The quota of women to men in your business is sound and healthy” he says. “What are you actually doing here?” he adds to the few women who are actually present in the room.

Here's Dell's response after the blog post circulated on twitter:

At 5.26 pm Dell wrote. ”@christianevejlo we are sorry if some were offended. Dell works for women in corporate life.

How is it that media flacks don't grasp that "sorry if some were offended" is not actually an apology?

Here's the full post: DRESSCODE- BLUE TIE AND MALE

#268 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2012, 02:04 PM:

Well, janetl, that IS the company that was shocked! shocked! to learn that the stoner they hired to advertise their product was...a stoner.

#269 ::: MilesToGo ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2012, 06:10 PM:

Open thready doggerel.

Evening With Friends

you'll start with champagne,
and you'll laugh

then you'll have a margarita,
and you'll tell stories,
maybe even some true ones

but you'll end with Campari and cold coffee,
their bitterness paling
in the company
of your withered dreams

take an aspirin before bed;
it makes the morning easier
when you wake up alone

or don't

it's not like it matters

#270 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2012, 06:41 PM:

RE: Teresa's particle on the American Bishops.
First they went after nuns, now they're going after Girl Scouts. Who's next? We discussed this over lunch, and were stumped. The best guess was kittens.

My sympathy to the people in the pews.

#271 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2012, 08:06 PM:

The correction to Jane Espenson's biography that I mentioned here has been accepted by IMDB, but for reasons of their own they've demoted it to "Trivia," deleting her entire biography.

Strange are the ways of IMDB.

#272 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2012, 12:37 AM:

janetl @ 270: Marys.

#273 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2012, 02:13 AM:

ObOpenThread: xkcd # 1052 is only about a week old at this point. ...there are already at least fifteen different videos on youtube of one person or another singing it.

As I noted somewhere else, it memes when it's meme-engine time.


#274 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2012, 03:24 AM:

janetl @ 270:

First they came for the nuns, and I did not speak out, for I was not a nun.

Then they came for the Girl Scouts, and I did speak out, for I was not a Girl Scout.

Then they came for the kittens, and the mother cat clawed the crap out of them, and that's the last we've seen of them.

#275 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2012, 07:43 AM:

Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) @ #274:


#276 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2012, 12:15 PM:

Well, life got interesting here last week. Mom's Yorkie, Isis, had to have emergency eye surgery ($2K+) and we almost lost her to the anesthetic.*

We're not sure who took a chunk out of Isis' cornea, and she was so good at hiding the problem that it was infected before we realized she was in trouble. We took her to her regular vet, who sent us on to the specialists at MedVet.

Surgery went fine, but they had trouble getting her to wake up. So she wound up spending the night under the supervision of the ER vet, who called at 10pm to let us know she was awake, and trying to walk around, and what a sweet dog she is...

She was released at noon the next day, and the tech told us the ER vet kissed Isis before he left for the day. I think she made a conquest.

So now she's getting eye drops and lubricant gel every four hours, as well as pain meds and antibiotics a couple of times a day.

And Mom has eye surgery on a malfunctioning tear duct next week. The icing on the cake was finding out my dentist hadn't received the check I sent paying off my outstanding balance on that account.

One piece of good news -- OPM has finalized my annuity, so I'll be getting a catch-up check and receive the full annuity payment each month beginning in June. Hurrah!

*They had to use a paralytic -- propofol.

#277 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2012, 12:24 PM:

Lori: Ouch! My sympathies to everyone.

#278 ::: dido ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2012, 01:34 PM:

Jacque @199 : S/he looks pretty normal to me; all of our foals have looked seriously ribby for the first few weeks, much like Spots there, despite eating almost non-stop.

#279 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2012, 02:57 PM:

I'm glad Isis made it through -- and I'm not surprised that the vet took a shine to her. We often do fall for our patients. You might consider sending them a photograph of Isis once she's healed.

(Pedantic note: Propofol isn't a paralytic; it's referred to as "Milk of Anesthesia" for its appearance, but it's just an anesthetic. It can cause apnea (lack of breathing) during induction, but it sounds more like she was slow to wake, which is more typical of older animals that have been given barbiturates. )

#280 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2012, 03:45 PM:

Thanks, Ginger -- when they x-rayed Isis (when she wouldn't rouse) there was fluid in her lungs, we were told that "may be a reaction" to the drugs. She's not a young dog, she's at least 7 years old (she's a rescue so we don't have a firm birthdate).

Once they got her awake and moving, the next x-ray showed that the lungs had cleared. By morning blood pressure was normal, and she was eager for breakfast.

She is the sweetest little dog, and we were tickled by how smitten the ER vet sounded when he called. I do plan on sending them a picture and a thank you note -- after her hair grows back! She looks a little rakish with one half of her face shaved.

I'm so glad there are two of us to do the medicating. Mom holds Isis, and I try to get the drops into her eye. When it comes to putting the gel on, I feel like I'm trying to ice a moving cake...

I really am impressed with MedVet, and I gave the receptionist info on another charity that helps people with vet bills.

#281 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2012, 06:15 PM:

I propose that we add Undead Press to the list of trashy unethical publishers, and "you should be grateful, not complaining" to whatever list now contains "But honestly, Monica..."

#282 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2012, 06:31 PM:

And the name Anthony Giangregorio should be on a list too.

#283 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2012, 07:55 PM:

Open-threadiness: a friend linked this comic-strip summary of Nicolas Tesla (who's up there with Pascal and Cantor in my "awesome geeks pantheon").

#284 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2012, 08:05 PM:

Random thought: An 'irrigator' irrigates. Shouldn't that mean that an 'alligator' alligates?

What would 'alligating' be?

#285 ::: J Homes ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2012, 08:20 PM:

Mar Aileen @284.

Using more garlic/leeks/shallots than the recipe calls for?

J Homes.

#286 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2012, 08:32 PM:

Mary Aileen, and if you get alligated, you might need to be docted.

#287 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2012, 08:56 PM:

My father used to quote an interchange that went something like:

"He alleges that..."

"You mean he's an allegator?"

It sounds like Pogo but I don't know.

#288 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2012, 09:33 PM:

Lee @264: You made the print edition, even! I just got around to looking at the Sunday paper, and the photo you linked to was on the front page of section B.

#289 ::: Tamlyn ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2012, 10:13 PM:

Got back from a five week holiday yesterday which involved two weddings - a friend's I was a bridesmaid at and my brother's (both lovely).

Went to work, didn't even get a hello from my manager. A couple of comments from co-workers, "Oh, you've been away? For how long? Five weeks? I kind of noticed you weren't here a couple of weeks ago." I feel so loved *rolls eyes*

Now I need to clean up the mess my new very-un-computer-savvy housemate made of my computer.

I'm glad I was able to keep up with Making Light while away, though you are all still much too scary to post much ;)

#290 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2012, 10:38 PM:

"Alligator" was originally an Arabic term for one who follows Ali a bit too closely.

(ps: There was a fake news item in an early season of Saturday Night Live where some public figure was made to say, "I not only deny the allegation, I deny the alligator." As the figure was not white, there was a slight Amos & Andy feel to the jest.)

#291 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2012, 03:03 AM:

Kip W.@290

The line "I deny the allegation and defy the alligator!" has been attributed to a lot of people; I first heard it sometime in the 1960s, so it goes back aways. I've seen "I deny the allegation and deny the allegator" attributed to the Amos 'n Andy radio show, which would mean it goes back to at least the mid 1950s, and possible as far back as the late 1920s.

#292 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2012, 03:13 AM:

Kip W, #290: As Al- is the prefix, the root word would be ligator, which I take to mean "one who ties knots" (specifically ligatures).

Those clawed paws must be very nimble, and the ligatures would come in handy for holding captured prey beneath the water's surface....

Not to be confused with Al-litigator (despite the amazing resemblance).

#293 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2012, 03:56 AM:

After seeing American soldiers doing baton-twirling routines with antique rifles I find I just have to link to the drill display of the Queens Colour Squadron, RAF.

This year is, incidentally, the centenary of the Royal Flying Corps. In 1914 the naval element of the RFC split off as the Royal Naval Air Service, and in 1918 they recombined to form the Royal Air Force.

#294 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2012, 08:32 AM:

My sister was watching Henri last night, and I laughed my head off, then realized it was wonderfully Fluorospherian. Therefore, I am linking.

What is it? It's a cute internet cat video ... with a voiceover as if the cat's internal monologue was a nihilistic Left Bank intellectual. (Paw the Deux) Subtitled in English for Anglophone enjoyment, of course. :->

And if you can make it to "The whipped cream in the bathroom is not whipped cream" and not giggle, there is no hope for you.

#295 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2012, 08:35 AM:

Also, Henri tweets (but of course).

Recent examples as of this post:

- When I'm outside, I always eat grass, though it makes me sick every time. Just like you with vodka.

- I shudder to think what might happen to this house if I didn't lie in this sunbeam all day. The sacrifices I make...

- The kitchen is the cook. The scissors are the barber. The hairball is the cat.

#296 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2012, 11:04 AM:

Hyperlocal news... The local SF club's latest meeting involved the showing of "Damnation Alley", which man had not seen since its 1977 release. Best scene was Jan Michael Vincent and Dominique Sanda being chased by rubber-eating cockroaches in Salt Like City.

#297 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2012, 12:00 PM:

Bruce Cohen @291: The line "I deny the allegation and defy the alligator!" has been attributed to a lot of people; I first heard it sometime in the 1960s, so it goes back aways. I've seen "I deny the allegation and deny the allegator" attributed to the Amos 'n Andy radio show, which would mean it goes back to at least the mid 1950s, and possible as far back as the late 1920s.

1860: "I denies the allegation and I scorns the alligator."

#298 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2012, 12:09 PM:

These alligations are a croc!

#299 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2012, 12:24 PM:

Mary Aileen #284: I knew an old-time lefty in New York who used to quote a politician of the 1930s (I wish I could remember who) who said "I reject the allegations and the alligator who made them".

#300 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2012, 12:27 PM:

Serge Broom #296 "Salt Like City". I presume that's the home of the Crystal Cathedral.

#301 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2012, 12:46 PM:

Damnation Alley? I have vague memories of George Peppard in an Amazing Tanklike Vehicle.

#302 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2012, 12:47 PM:

Fragano @ 300... Probably, but the film didn't have the budget for even a miniature Crystal Cathedral. As they kept moving east toward Albany, they were able to afford only 3 guntoting sore-covered bozos.

#303 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2012, 12:51 PM:

Niall Mcauley @ 301... That's the one. Amazingly, the one black guy in the team wasn't the first person to get killed. He was the *second* person to be done in, by the abovementionned cockroaches, which had a taste for human flesh, not just rubber.

#304 ::: Brenda Kalt ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2012, 03:43 PM:

HLN: Local woman prepares Coke float. Vanilla ice cream and Coca-Cola have not been in the house at the same time in years (maybe ten). Mmmmmmmmm-mmmmmmmmm.

#305 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2012, 06:42 PM:

Today while giving Jemma, our Lasa Apso, her pills I fumbled the vial and spilled them on the floor; unlike with all other pills she decided she likes the taste of them and gobbled as many as she could get to before I got onto the floor, pushed her away, and swept them all up. I think she got 3 or 4 of them, possibly more. Since this was Rimadyl, an NSAID, I immediately called our vet and asked if I should bring her in, didn't spend the time looking up dosages myself (she's a small dog, about 10 kg, so it doesn't take much to make a toxic dose of most things). The vet told me to bring her in immediately; I did, and they took her in at once and induced vomiting and put her on an IV to flush as much out of her system as possible.

She's doing OK at this point, but the plan is to keep her on the IV drip for the rest of the day, leave the catheter in so I can pick her up this evening then bring her back tomorrow for some more. That way we can give her about the same treatment as if she stayed overnight, but she gets to be comfortable at home (and also the vet isn't set up for overnight stays, so she'd have to be moved to an emergency clinic and then moved back, more movement than I'd be happy with unless we were more concerned about the size of the dose). As far as we can tell she got a marginal dose that wouldn't have been at the toxic level except that she's 12, and the guideline is to lower the dosage level for older or infirm dogs.

I'm grateful that we have a good vet, who's become somewhat of a friend, and his office is about a 2 minute drive or a 10 minute walk. And I'm glad I didn't wait around to see if she developed symptoms, but called up right away.

#306 ::: Bruce Cohen (Writer to Gnomes) ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2012, 06:47 PM:

My last post, which didn't have any URLs at all, has been gnomed. I suspect it was because I named a medication, though I wasn't aware it was one taken by humans. If the gnome on duty wishes to discuss the problem, I'd be pleased to take tea on the lawn by the gnomen.

[We get tons of spam advertising Rimadyl. Usually combined with "dog arthritis." -- Polycarp Teromin, Duty Gnome]

#307 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2012, 07:58 PM:

Julie L at 297: Is Q. K. Philander Doestick the author's real name?

#308 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2012, 08:06 PM:

Bruce Cohen at 306, glad no harm was done. My 9 yr old, 60 lb dog takes chewable Rimadyl, and you have just described one of my nightmares -- though I suspect a stern "Leave it!" would make my dog back up in a hurry. He's good about that.

#309 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2012, 08:08 PM:

And I have also been gnomed, for an obvious fault. Polycarp T., my apologies. I should have been more careful.

#310 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2012, 09:13 PM:

Erik @307: The book's title page identifies the author as Mortimer Thomson.

#311 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2012, 09:27 PM:

My aunt & uncle host jazz concerts in their living room:

I haven't been to one in years -- they're down in the Bay Area -- but I often leave baskets of fancy food for them to leave out at the next concert, because this kind of thing strikes me as civilization at its best.

#312 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2012, 10:55 PM:

Stefan, #311: Not my most-preferred style of music, but I absolutely agree with you about this sort of thing being a hallmark of civilization.

#313 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2012, 11:16 PM:

LN: Dad was apparently on TV news in the Upper Peninsula today (an Escanaba station), celebrating his 87th birthday by playing piano for the mostly younger folks at a retirement home.

I talked to him on the phone for a half hour or so today, and he heard about five minutes of it.

#314 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2012, 11:19 PM:

Coincidentally, a Pogo quote by Albert Alligator came up in our household yesterday: "I never been to alligator school, but I alley-gates good."

#315 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2012, 11:44 PM:

"Pay the Alligator": lyrics and performance.

#316 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2012, 12:44 AM:

Well, if you're interested in gatoring, here's a bit of history....

#317 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2012, 01:41 AM:

Elliot Mason, Henri's ennui est magnifique!

#318 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2012, 01:43 AM:

Lizzy L @ 308:

Jemma doesn't accept "drop it" or "leave it" as valid commands, or anything else that would prevent her from eating something she thinks might taste good. She's a rescue; we got her at 9 and by that time she was chronically overweight (riding the line of obese even though the shelter had her on a diet). We got her back to a reasonable weight and got her to enjoy exercise, but at the cost of having her constantly looking for food: she'lll eat a scrap of paper or a tissue, and she gobbles her meals as if she's been fasting for a week.

She's home now, and sleeping comfortably. I suspect that she wasn't best pleased about having to puke up her breakfast, though the tech told me that she enjoyed eating the activated charcoal ("She eats with her whole face" was how he put it). She was wildly excited when I picked her up from the vet; she came out dancing around even before I called her name (she's blind, and her sense of smell is not really keen, so she probably didn't know I was there until I said her name).

Tomorrow the vet will run a minimal blood panel to see if there was any effect on her kidneys; our best guess right now is that the dose was small enough, and we got it out of her fast enough that the probability of damage is low.

#319 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2012, 02:16 AM:

Bruce Cohen @ 318: Well done on the quick action. As I struggle to get my cat's daily pill down him, I shall remember that easy pill ingestion isn't necessarily a Good Thing.

#321 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2012, 02:28 PM:

Tamlyn @289: I'm glad I was able to keep up with Making Light while away, though you are all still much too scary to post much ;)


Did I make ya jump?

#322 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2012, 03:01 PM:

I am rolling my terrible eyes and gnashing my terrible teeth over here.

Wild rumpus is scheduled for 19:00 EST. Be there or TNH will stare into all your eyes without blinking once. And then you will be seriously fucked.

#324 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2012, 03:44 PM:

abi: Be where? Be here? If not, where's there?

#325 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2012, 04:28 PM:

Be in RumpusSpace!

Which is everywhere, if you're doing it right, and nowhere to be found if you're not.

#326 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2012, 06:04 PM:

One of the pieces of Surprise Landscaping that came with our new house (no sign of it in February, and then suddenly: Plants! this spring) is a stand of peonies at the back corner of the house.

They've been enthusiastically coming up and budding (ants and all). It became clear a few days ago that they weren't white, because the sepals parted far enough to show pinkish petals beneath, but they were still tight-fisted spheres.

Yesterday, they were still tight-closed.

Today, we buried my grandmother. I came back from an exhausting end to several days of Family Stuff, parked in the garage, and as I walked through the yard, I saw:


Drifts of blowsy full-spread VERY VERY PINK, precisely the color my grandmother liked best in flowers.

They smell like her, too; strongly floral, slightly baby-powdery, but nowhere near the cloyingness of gardenia.

I have vases, somewhere in boxes. I can't find any of them just now. I took a leftover, washed Super Huge Bathtub-o-Soda cup from Wendy's, filled the bottom with rocks, and cut a handful of peonies to bring inside.

Hi, Grandma. I miss you already.

#327 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2012, 06:57 PM:

Elliott #326:

Your first link is munged with a bunch of neilsenhayden stuff at the front.

#328 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2012, 07:01 PM:

@322: Well? Well!? ::taps foot::

#329 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2012, 07:05 PM:

I think I'll just sit down over here and not make much noise. I like it quiet.

#330 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2012, 07:07 PM:

In my fair city, the Wild Rumpus is our Halloween parade.

#331 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2012, 07:08 PM:

::tap tap tap:: ::looks at clock:: ::tap tap tap::

#333 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2012, 07:13 PM:

Elliott Mason @326: Drifts of blowsy full-spread VERY VERY PINK, precisely the color my grandmother liked best in flowers. ... They smell like her, too

Going out in style, wot?

#334 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2012, 07:14 PM:


#335 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2012, 07:18 PM:

I heard that the cool kids are having their Wild Rumpus up at the country club.

#336 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2012, 07:22 PM:

I gotta go...! Don't let anything cool happen until I get back.

#337 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2012, 07:23 PM:

(I actually grew up in a town where a significant number of the kids in school were from families who belonged to country clubs. In my neighborhood, the only way you got into a country club was as a waitress or golf caddy.)

#338 ::: Dr Paisley ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2012, 07:25 PM:

Just to let everyone know, my wife, Paula Helm Murray (aka Dragonet), is currently recuperating from surgery to clean out a massive infection in her left foot. She's going to be in the hospital for a while, until they determine that everything is ok. She does have her laptop and the Intartubes to keep her from going stir crazy. Good thoughts, etc., will be gratefully appreciated.

#339 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2012, 07:28 PM:

Hopes & Wishes for a quick recovery, Paula!

#340 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2012, 07:41 PM:

"Country club." What a strange concept . . . it seems utterly alien to where I'm at. I'm pretty well off; my co-workers are pretty well off. I know some of them play golf. But paying to belong to a cliquish place with a pool and a riding table and a ballroom?

I'm having this seriously weird feeling here, like I have false memories of growing up in a Jack Vance novel, or a sit-com.

#341 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2012, 07:47 PM:

random AKICIML question:
are there programs or methods to display a set of Windows windows rotated at angles other than the usual 0/90/180?

#342 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2012, 08:12 PM:

Paula: feel better! I've only had small, minor infections. Ones needing surgery—ow!

#343 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2012, 09:03 PM:

Good wishes from here!

#344 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2012, 09:41 PM:

Elliott Mason: my condolences on your loss.

Paula Helm Murray: feel better!

Dr Paisley: thanks for stopping by to let us know about Paula.

#345 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2012, 09:42 PM:

Serge Broom @320: video is marked "private"


#346 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2012, 09:58 PM:

Rumpus Rumpus Rumpus!

<hugs> to El if you want them, and best of fast and complete healing to Paula.

#347 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2012, 10:19 PM:

Elliott 326: Sorry for your loss, but glad you got the peonies.

Dr. Paisley 338: Good thoughts coming her way, Doc!

#348 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2012, 11:03 PM:

I had my wild rumpus on a bike. Finished my conference, took one of the bikes from the rack in front of my hotel, and hightailed it through Boulder, up along a stream flowing through a rocky canyon, and further up some of the hillside roads to the west. Then I got to zoom down a windy mountain road back into town.

And tomorrow I step into an airplane and head for home, where I hope to find supper waiting for me.

#349 ::: Eric ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2012, 11:09 PM:

Serge Broom @320 and Mellisa Singer @345:
The video in Serge's link appears to have been marked private some time today (worked this morning, doesn't now). It was the video from here set to appropriately dramatic music, though I can't remember the musical credit.

#350 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2012, 12:27 AM:

Paula! Feel better better better soonest. I send you shiny thoughts of goodness.

Elliott, that's really cool about the peonies blooming. A grand fanfare for your grandmother. May memory be a blessing.

#351 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2012, 01:09 AM:


I had a time of peace after I used MalwareBytes. But yesterday it began once more. This time it's more sophisticated. For example, if I Google "llamar conjugation," the link I click won't take me to the site it says it goes to, but instead to a site that promises the cheapest rates for calls to Cuba. The sites I get appear to be legit, in the sense that they appear to be well made and probably belong to the companies whose names are on them and AFAICT these companies do sell the products they purport to sell. So at least I'm not getting any crappy, amateurish "search" pages that recycle the same seven or eight links. (Drywall? Seriously?)


1. What does the Fluorosphere suggest as the next step, since MalwareBytes keeps telling me that nothing is wrong?

2. Do people who pay to get onto this "service" really believe that anybody is going to go, "Hey, I was looking for a casserole recipe, but I can't find it because every link goes to this women's clothing catalog site--oh well, might as well buy a hat?"

#352 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2012, 01:20 AM:


I would make sure Malwarebytes, and all of your other security programs, are up to date. If you CAN'T update them, something has dug itself really deep.

You might consider totally removing your browser. Uninstall it, and any helper programs. Remove all cookies. Empty out the browser cache ("temporary internet files").

Scan for troubles, then reinstall the browser.

#353 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2012, 02:11 AM:

I'm sending positive vibrations through the aether for Paula. I've had infections that had to be removed surgically; I sympathize most deeply.

#354 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2012, 03:00 AM:

Eric @ 349... Melissa Singer @ 345... That was strange. The video had shown up on FB and on G+ in the morning. Glad there's another place where Rickman's Tea Time can be enjoyed.

#355 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2012, 03:05 AM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @ 341... Can't help with that. Sorry. By the way, did you ever receive my email about this year's Hugo Ceremonies?

#356 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2012, 03:09 AM:

She hasn't been around here much these days, but I saw on Facebook that Miriam Libicki, who was busy with her comic-book "Jobnik", recently completely another project - the birth of a cute little girl.

#357 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2012, 05:12 AM:

I've sorted out the first link Elliott @326. Needed an http:// before the www.

My condolences, Elliott -- she was clearly a wonderful woman. I hope the peonies, and the magic of their appearance, ease your grief somewhat. If you need to talk further about your loss, you know that we're here for you, right?

#358 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2012, 05:14 AM:

Dr. Paisley @338:

Tell Paula we're thinking of her. Or, if she's reading this, Hi Paula! We're thinking of you!

I hope that the foot heals quickly and painlessly.

#359 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2012, 05:22 AM:

Jacque @331:

I wasn't rumpusing on Making Light, because I did not happen, at that point, to be online. We all rumpus where we are.

Don't ask where I was. I'm still cleaning up.

I'll schedule the next one to be when I'm at the keyboard. Which means it's gonna be early for Americans, which means weekend. Saturday, 3pm Eastern Time?

#360 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2012, 07:03 AM:

Dr.Paisley... Pass my good wishes on to Paula, and that I'm looking forward to seeing her at the worldcon.

#361 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2012, 07:04 AM:

Elliott Mason... My condolences.

#362 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2012, 07:05 AM:

Best wishes for swift healing, Paula.

Elliott Mason, sorry about your grandmother, but how wonderful with the peonies.

#363 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2012, 07:42 AM:

I couldn't rumpus yesterday, but I shall make up for it this weekend at my very first fiber festival. (!) I'm going to be a booth babe (!!) for the Tsarina of Tsocks, (aka half of the people who wrote _Lobscouse and Spotted Dog_). (!!!)

#364 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2012, 08:59 AM:

#351 ::: Jenny Islander

Check to see that something bad isn't sending you to a proxy server.


#365 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2012, 09:34 AM:

I don't know that I'm ready to talk about my past week, much (possibly over on the DFD thread, eventually), but the Peony Incident just struck me as so overwhelmingly Fluorospherian I had to share. :->

In the odd-coincidences front, my grandmother died the Friday before Mother's Day (which was the 11th this year). Her husband died the 12th of May ten years ago; her mother died the Monday after Mother's Day (I misremember the precise date) in 1992.

It's sort of a rough holiday for us, historically. Considering my Dad was born on Thanksgiving (well, the year he was born; his mother -- an obstetrician, mind! -- stayed home with contractions for quite a while thinking they were gas pains from feasting) and my Mom was born on Christmas ... my stepmom's birthday is Veteran's Day. Makes remembering easier. :->

#366 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2012, 09:57 AM:

Elliot Mason @ 365 ...
My empathies :(

#367 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2012, 09:57 AM:

TexAnne @ 363... I'm going to be a booth babe


#368 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2012, 10:54 AM:

Elliot, my sympathies -- my mother's relatives had the habit of taking their final departure in July. In Virginia, this usually means sweltering heat for the funeral. Wonderful about the peonies, though.

I love the tree peonies, but they are hellishly expensive if you buy named varieties. There is one I covet that sells for $$$ a plant, so it is highly unlikely I'll be willing to plunk down that much money for one.

Paula -- healing energy headed your way if that be your will. Dr. Paisley, thank you for the head's up.

Isis is doing well and is not amused by the plastic ruff she's wearing. The rest of the canine crew have finally adjusted to it -- it spooked them a little when she first got home.

#369 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2012, 11:47 AM:

Lori Coulson @368: The day of the wake was 85degF out (and we were inside in the funeral home's air conditioning for 7 straight hours). The burial, however, was down to 69degF and streaming warm sunlight -- perfect for the graveside service, because it wasn't uncomfortable to stand there being sunned on (the cool breeze), nor did anyone need bulky coats on top of their good clothes.

I don't know that I'll ever buy a peony plant, but the house did come with these, and I kind of like them. I don't think I'll take them out (though I might donate one or two to individuals wanting to add one to their yard; it's a fairly dense stand).

This year is sort of a moratorium on landscape additions; we need to get the front bushes completely removed by professionals (they're far too close to the porch-base wall, and the raised bed they're in is causing water infiltration), which means the entire front yard will be a dug-up wasteland until that's done. Plus, everything is so in-flux in terms of what we want to get done on the house with deadlines that things like making the backyard more how I'd design it is definitely a 'care about it next spring' problem.

My favorite nurseries mostly take orders in the winter for spring digging, too, so it's rather late to get plants from them. I do know I'm going to buy several fruit trees from Trees of Antiquity for next season, and at least a flat of columbines from Possibility Place (and possibly something like wild ginger for front-yard ground cover).

John just reminded me that I intended to make a home-improvement (and garden porn) blog about this house; I'm starting to actually feel the urge. I do have a bunch of photos queued up that could go in posts in it. I'll have to pick a good name, though. :->

#370 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2012, 12:08 PM:

OpenThreadiness -- see some of you at the Nebulas?

#371 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2012, 01:28 PM:

I've been lurking the last few years, life has been weird, but I'm turning to the people who I know can help!

My friend Jay is deployed in Afghanistan, he's trying to remember a book. I'm pretty sure I've read this one, but I don't recall the title or author either. Since we're all usually pretty good at this sort of thing (this is our preferred genre), I thought I'd pop back up. Thanks!

Jay says: There is a novel, I suspect written in 1985-1990, possibly as late as 1992, by an author I can't remember with a title I can't remember.

The cover of the trade paperback was mostly orange, with a spacecraft over a flat landscape with three or four small suns in the background.

The plot: Humans living on a mostly agricultural planet are snapped up in a nighttime raid by aliens. They're confused, and families are split up in the chaos. They wake up on alien transports, which bring them to a pocket universe created by a different group of aliens than the ones that abducted them. Once in the pocket universe, most of the humans are trained as soldiers to fight a war against a computer intelligence that is trying to eliminate the aliens who created it. They are trained by the same leonid aliens who abducted them. The leonids were originally meant to be the army, but it turns out they were terrible at being soldiers, but very good at training soldiers. So the original aliens resort to abducting human populations to serve in the army, since humans tend to make good soldiers. They have done this multiple times. Two of the humans abducted in the beginning of the book somehow land apart from the others, behind the computer lines, and start to search for their friends. The end of the book has the two "lost" humans figuring out much of the history of the pocket universe, and identifying where the other humans are. It's a cliff hanger, implying a second volume.

So -- what's the name of the book, and does Amazon have it?

#372 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2012, 03:32 PM:

Tania @371, I've referred your question to a newsgroup (rec.arts.sf.written) that has been known to strip a query down to mere footnotes in minutes. Though last time I did this for someone, I got zero responses, so you never know.

#373 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2012, 04:03 PM:

Thanks Kip. I've not been on any rec.arts.sf.* in, well... at least 10 years. Dammit. I miss those days. :)

#374 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2012, 06:20 PM:

TexAnne @363 - there might be an amusing reaction if you tell her that Gannet says hello. :D

#375 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2012, 06:34 PM:

Naomi, 374: I'll do that! Heh.

#376 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2012, 06:48 PM:

Tania, I got a response!

"Christopher Rowley's Golden Sunlands?" asks James N., and provides this image link.

(I don't know if that means it's on Amazon or not, but I figured answer the first part first.)

#377 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2012, 06:54 PM:

Tanya@371, if one side are leonid, could they be Kzinti? The story you're describing doesn't look like a match for the Wikipedia summaries of the Man-Kzin Wars (which were mainly written by people other than Niven himself), but it could be something in that space.

#378 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2012, 06:56 PM:

On Wildly Rumpusing - My plans for the weekend are to go to Maker Faire on Saturday, and then drive up to northern California to watch the annular eclipse later afternoon Sunday.

#379 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2012, 07:25 PM:

Mariah Bear infographic on how a book is born.

#380 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2012, 09:36 PM:

Tania @371, though not all the details match, this also sounds vaguely like McCaffrey's Freedom's Landing.

#381 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2012, 09:46 PM:


I don't actually know the answer to your question, but David Drake has written books with humans abducted by aliens to serve in their military.

#382 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2012, 09:49 PM:

Bill Stewart @379

Me too! A FoaF who keeps very good track of all things weather suggests that Shasta will be clear, Redding partially cloudy, and Tahoe-Reno partially cloudy. These forecasts can change: I'll check for new ones tonight.

#383 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2012, 10:39 PM:

Oh, rasf*. Those were the days.

#384 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2012, 10:46 PM:

semi-wild Rumpusing: teen and I will attempt Ninth Avenue Food Festival one day this weekend, possibly on top of shopping for a party dress for her (Sweet Sixteen season has begun).

#385 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2012, 11:01 PM:

"Oh, rasf*" sounds like one of Yosemite Sam's favorite cuss words.

#386 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2012, 11:04 PM:

Have people heard that writer Anne Crispin has been fighting cancer?

#387 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2012, 11:09 PM:

Jim @385: Yeah, it rather does sound like Snazzum, doesn't it?

#388 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2012, 11:11 PM:

I first heard of nattering and grommishing through fandom, so it's weirdly appropriate.

#389 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2012, 11:46 PM:

A Funny Thing Happened in the Food Line... except that it wasn't funny, it was disturbing. I dropped by one of the local grocery stores yesterday to buy some veggies. As I lined up at the cashier, I glanced, as one does, at the piled up food items presented by the customer ahead of me. There must have been 25 items, and there was not a single item of fresh or healthy food in the batch. Every. Single. Thing. was boxed, wrapped, pre-cooked, heat-n-serve, loaded with sugar, bad fats, preservatives, and salt, there were no vegetables, not even canned vegetables. The only meat was processed ham. Lots of snacks and candy, sugar drinks, but no, this wasn't party shopping, it was obviously what this person eats all the time.

It frightened me.

#390 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 12:34 AM:

#389: I've seen that too. Plenty of times.

Not three hours ago the guy ahead of me bought:

Block of cheese. Package of sliced deli meat. Tortillas. 2 lb. package of sandwich cookies.

This particular manifestation of "convenience" is slowly killing us.

#391 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 01:52 AM:

Where I am would be on the track of the annular eclipse...except that it will rotate around behind the earth before the annular phase begins. The sun will set while partially eclipsed. Where I'd have to go to see annular is sufficiently far away to make it not worth it. (For total I'd do it.)

#392 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 03:44 AM:

HLN: Area woman's daughter, with some technical advice but very little actual assistance, completes her first skirt.

(The tweet says she was "mildly pleased", but actually she went outside so that she could jump up and down and shriek with excitement.)

Area woman had been deeply dubious of the fabric choice in the store, but is now prepared to eat her words. It looks adorable.

#393 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 06:27 AM:

Bill Stewart @ #379: Mariah Bear infographic on how a book is born.

Heh. I like how
(a) there are several paths that result in somebody quitting the publishing industry and taking up an alternative lifestyle;
(b) each of these paths leads back into the main infographic, as the somebody decides to write a book about their experiences...

#394 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 06:32 AM:

Melissa Singer @ #345, Serge Broom @ #354:

I got there shortly before the Youtube version went private, and there was a notice explaining that it would be disappearing soon because the person who uploaded it wasn't the copyright holder, and the person who was had politely asked them to desist.

#395 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 06:50 AM:

Paul A @ 394... It certainly made many a Rickman admirer happy.

#396 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 06:51 AM:

abi @ 392... Bravo!

#397 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 08:12 AM:

According to today's "Two minute hate"[1], the Japanese have a word for hlep: arigata-meiwaku: "An act someone does for you that you didn't want to have them do and tried to avoid having them do, but they went ahead anyway, determined to do you a favour. Then things went wrong and caused you a lot of trouble, yet in the end you had to express thanks."


[1] The "Metro" free newspaper[2] in the UK, produced by the publishers of the "Daily Mail" (a.k.a the Daily Heil or the Daily Hate), it only takes two minutes to read from cover to cover if you skip the advertisements that fund it.
[2] Also referred to as: "yesterday's news today".

#398 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 08:17 AM:

Stefan Jones, Lizzy L, while I certainly do have moments of judging others (Roommate Daniel bought frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a case of small bottles of water a week... and his OKCupid profile said he loved to cook) that sounds a lot like either my normal grocery trip (add milk and bread to the first) or a grocery trip where I've decided to be extravagant (the second). I don't have the resources, time, or daring to experiment with cooking right now, so my grocery trips are pretty appalling. It's cans and box food for dinner, chocolate milk and peanut butter and jelly for everything else.

This doesn't stop frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches from being a bad decision at every possible juncture, but the block of cheese, deli meat, and tortillas, that's all actual food. Add a can of refried beans and that's my extravagant food, which would feed me every night for a school week and leave me feeling very proud of myself for making something with ingredients.

#399 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 08:50 AM:

Re: groceries.

I am a great fan of frozen vegetables when time and energy are scarce. Dump in bowl, microwave 2 minutes, add butter and salt, microwave 2 more minutes: eat. (Of course, this is from the guy whose kindergartener likes broccoli[1]

The one that makes me go "grrr, people are strange" is the "natural foods" aisle at my local Kroger. It's an entire aisle of frozen processed food, meeting various dietary criteria[2], but the only thing in the aisle that's in my category of "food" is eggs and some milk products.

1) My wife's hair is reddish-brown; the answer on the paper is of very unclear derivation.
2) It would be very helpful for someone who needed to avoid gluten.

#400 ::: Susie ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 09:24 AM:

Lizzy @ 389, Stefan @ 390:

Just last Sunday, a friend wondered out loud what other supermarket shoppers think of her in the summer, when she buys all her produce at the farmer's market (her grocery cart thus giving a very distorted picture of her diet).

#401 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 09:48 AM:

Diatryma, I would have been happy to see peanut butter, jelly, tortillas, a block of cheese, a can of beans, milk, or bread in the pile. Those are perfectly acceptable foods. None of them were in the pile. Also, we are not talking about poverty driven food choices here: I was at the Grocery Outlet, where the veggies and even the fresh chicken are CHEAP, cheaper than Doritos and M & Ms. I know because I'm poor and that's where I often shop. I was not looking at this person's food choices and thinking, Bad Person! I was looking at them and thinking, Diabetes! Heart attack!

#402 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 10:06 AM:

Belated good wishes to Paula.

#403 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 10:41 AM:

My grocery shopping is always deceptive. Whenever I go to the supermarket, whatever else I'm picking up, I always have several clamshells of mixed salad greens and usually a bag of mini-carrots. My rabbits eat most of both.

Speaking of which:

HLN: Area bun's bladder stones have returned, but they don't seem to be growing so vet and bunny mum have decided to put off another surgery for now but are keeping an eye on the situation. Area bun declined to comment on this development, being too busy hopping around and devouring any greens that come her way, but she certainly shows no other signs of being unwell.

#404 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 10:58 AM:

Not to say that a cart full of processed food does NOT equal diabetes/hypertension/heart attack, but it could also indicate multiple kids at home, multiple jobs, no time to cook. My appalling foodstuff to Real Food ratio is about 50/50, and I have no kids. I do have lots of obligations, and what winds up being a 15 min lunch break three days a week. The "real" food is bought at farmer's markets and whole foods - because nothing is worse than mediocre vegetables. The regular grocery store is where I stock up on processed nonsense, because while I enjoy cooking, I don't always have the time to do so. As a fat woman, I am always aware that my grocery cart is being judged. As a 40-year-old, I've ceased caring.

#405 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 11:17 AM:

Lizzy and Stefan: As Susie @400 noted, it's possible that person bought all their produce at the farmer's market, or earlier in the week. Or a number of other factors could be in play that you, not knowing their lives, can't guess.

Also, I wonder whether "obviously what this person eats all the time" is code for "this person was fat."

#406 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 11:24 AM:

Around here, the other thing that a cart full of what Lizzy L describes could indicate is that we just did our Real Shopping at Central Market, where we got the meat, the fish, the fresh veggies, the fresh fruit, the imported cheese ... the stuff we pick up at the regular grocery is what we haven't found first at CM. A normal Tuesday night's regular grocery haul might include canned tomatoes, canned broth, cans of V-8, hot sauce, some jack cheese, individual packets of nuts and raisins for lunch snacks, shampoo and cat food. If you were to assume that that was our complete regular diet, you'd be way wrong.

#408 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 01:35 PM:


Personally, I find that when I have some time to plan and think through food, and when I expect either me or my wife to have time to cook, my grocery cart looks okay--a mix of convenience foods and real foods. (I'm a big fan of frozen cook-in-the-bag microwave veggies and box mixes of salad greens, since it means that even on a night when I have no time to plan anything and the dinner is something thrown together, I can easily add a vegetable.)

But when things are really chaotic, I end up buying a lot of convenience food, since it's a way to make sure that everyone will eat even when we have events every night of the week. Lunchables, frozen lasagna, microwaveable mac and cheese packets for the kids, cans of soup, hot dogs, deli meat--all those have the property that even if you get home at 7 and the kids are hungry and the homework still needs to be done, you can make sure everyone gets something to eat. (Ideally, you can use the aforementioned frozen microwave veggies to get something with some nutritional value in alongside the grilled cheese and canned soup.)

When I was younger and single, I had almost no idea how to cook. *All* my home-cooked food came from a box or a can and was made in a factory, excepting only hamburger. Over time, I learned to do better, but it still requires planning and time and attention, which is often in short supply in our busy house.

If there are two or three things I can suggest to get a little ways out of that trap, they're:

a. Get a cookbook of easy recipies--I think we have a Betty Crocker "Good and Easy" book. This is a nice source of basic how-tos for someone who has no idea how to make something that doesn't come with instructions.

b. Get a rice cooker with a vegetable steamer basket on top. This means that the starch and vegetable of a real meal is always about 30-35 minutes away. (The veggies can be fresh or frozen, though it works better to rinse them off for a couple minutes if they're frozen.)

c. Start accumulating a few things you know how to make. Pasta is easy, using jarred sauces. Similarly, there are easy recipes to make pork chops and chicken in the oven with almost no work or attention. Over time (from my experience) you can end up with enough things you know how to cook that hot dogs or boxed mac and cheese are things you use on unusually chaotic nights, but at first, it's fine to alternate--one night you make something real, the next it's mac and cheese from a box plus frozen veggies, the night after that, it's something more-or-less real like hamburger plus rice and veggies from the rice cooker.

d. I found having a few tools really helpful: A steamer basket, a minimal set of pots and pans, a quick read meat thermometer (I have little intuition for when something is done even now), a spaghetti strainer, a rice cooker, etc.

This is all from the perspective of someone who's not much of a cook and has limited talent in that direction. A good cook can do a lot better, but if you're in the trap of mostly eating from boxes and cans, these are steps that helped me get out of that trap.

#409 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 01:39 PM:

Just an aside to the above: When I had no idea to cook, do you know why I always bought box mixes rather than ingredients? Not because of convenience--I had enough time to cook. Not because of cost--the box mixes were more expensive per serving.

I bought box mixes because they came with directions. I have no idea whether other people are like that, but for me, that was the selling point--I knew I could make them because while I knew nothing of how to cook, I knew how to read.

#410 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 01:51 PM:

Re: groceries

I think I get what Lizzy is driving at, though. I too do my shopping in more than one place--fruits and veg and quiche and goat cheese and bread and a few other baked goods at the Greenmarket (in various combinations depending on the season).

Once every couple of months I go to the larger of the local supermarkets and stock up on paper goods, pasta, tuna fish, cookies, cleaning products, frozen veggies, pasta sauce, and other things of that nature, including some speciality foods (like Annie Chun's Soup Bowls and certain varieties of veggie burgers and refrigerated pasta) that the smaller supermarket doesn't stock.

Once a week I go to the smaller local supermarket to fill in, replacing milk/juice/butter/eggs/cheese, buying whatever I feel like cooking that night and don't already have at home, and buying deli meat/cheese for lunch for work.

I buy fish at the big supermarket (fresh fish concession within the store) and meat and sometimes fish at the smaller supermarket.

So sometimes my load of shopping looks very odd indeed--last weekend I bought ground turkey, 4 sticks of butter, a quart of orange juice, a package of frozen peas, two rolls of toilet paper, half a pound of sliced low-salt ham, and half a pound of sliced muenster cheese.

I buy frozen stuff and boxed stuff and jarred stuff, but very little canned stuff (other than mushrooms and beets) and almost no prepared stuff.

I suspect that's what caught Lizzy's attention--the amount of prepared stuff, which tends to be higher in salt and higher in fat and higher in chemicals.

I agree that prepared stuff tends to often correlate with small children at home and/or multiple jobs; I bought more prepared foods when my daughter was younger because it was harder to get a meal on the table in a respectable amount of time. Then I taught myself a few tricks and my daughter learned more patience, and now we have fresh-prepared meals, or at least microwave-reheated meals that I cooked earlier, at least 5 days/week.

I also think that many people really do not know how to cook; I've run into a lot of people who, like me, were never taught to cook by their parents or in school. So prepared food is easier for them than learning about cooking or ingredients.

And I don't think Lizzy's remark was code for "this person is fat;" I'm fat, and I eat a pretty "natural" diet. And my daughter has whipcord-thin friends who eat nothing but junk.

#411 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 02:00 PM:

I'm reminded of the friend who bought a big hunting knife for his brother as a birthday present. While he was at the big box store to get it, he picked up a few other things that he needed. Looking down at his selection when he got to the cashier, he realized that did not look good: knife, duct tape, ...

#412 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 02:19 PM:

nerdycellist, #404: As a fat woman, I am always aware that my grocery cart is being judged. As a 40-year-old, I've ceased caring.

I think you've just summed up this entire subthread in two sentences. Bravo!

#413 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 02:32 PM:

abi 392: Adorable doesn't begin to cover it! I almost squealed myself, it looks so cute.

#414 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 02:44 PM:

I actually took a picture of a typical dinner last month:

Preceded by a green salad, not shown, eaten while the vegetables were finishing steaming. (Eaten from the same bowl as the steamed vegetables, in fact.) The salad and vegetables are on the menu five days a week.

The main course is almost always something I cooked a huge batch of in advance and either froze in portions (old cottage cheese containers) or am ladeling out of the pot through the week: Pasta, some kind of rice dish, stew or soup. Sometimes I'll cook rice and half a package each of two prepared Indian entrees.

Tomorrow morning I start a new batch of beef stew. It's short on starchy vegetables; it is meant to be served over polenta, which I'll make a batch of tomorrow evening.

* * *
Sunday breakfast:

I go for an extra dog-walk on Sundays to earn that . . .

#415 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 02:46 PM:

Xopher @ 413... When I met Abi two long years ago, I think she said something about her daughter liking "Girl Genius" especially for the costumes.

#416 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 02:52 PM:

nerdycellist at 404, yes, I know that the person in my story might be dealing with multiple kids, multiple jobs, no time to cook, etc. As I thought I said, my reaction was one of fear and concern for the person.

However, you and others (Persephone, joann) make a great point that this person may be choosing to buy veggies, fruit, and other, more healthy stuff in a different place. I should not assume that what I saw purchased the day I was in line was indeed all that person was eating, -- and I was assuming that. Thank you all for pointing this out to me.

I spent 11 years as the caregiver of a diabetic parent. I've had one heart attack. I try to eat smart and safe. I don't count calories, but there are foods I choose not to eat. I can't afford to eat as healthily as I would like. My friends would probably say I'm obsessive, maybe borderline fanatic, though only for myself; I don't march around telling other people what to eat, even when I want to.

Let me move temporarily from the particular to the general. I think agribusiness is killing us, literally. I think the stuff we eat interacts with our individual genetics and we get diabetes and heart disease: I don't think this is even controversial.

I think a lot of people (for many reasons) choose convenience foods over real foods, and are harming themselves and their families by doing so. I don't WANT my friends and neighbors to get sick. My assumptions about my neighbor in the store may indeed have been incorrect. The point remains, processed food, imitation food, food which is mostly sugar, preservatives, and gluten, is unhealthy. I am not saying my neighbor is a Bad Person for eating all that crap -- I was not a Bad Person for the years I lived on egg noodles, oreos, and Top Ramen. I was ignorant, and I paid for that ignorance by developing coronary artery disease.

One way to create conditions under which this could change is to go after the corporations: find a way to influence Kraft and General Mills. The best way to influence them is to hurt their profits, and one way to do this -- perhaps the only way -- is by getting individual people to stop buying cheap, unhealthy products. But people will only do this if they believe -- really, truly believe -- that these products are bad for them.

If people don't believe this, there's no reason at all for them not to buy and eat cheap unhealthy crap. And so -- back to the particular -- I am frightened for my neighbor ahead of me on the food line.

#417 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 02:58 PM:

Melissa Singer @410, of course there are fat people who eat very healthily (there are fat vegans) and thin people who eat nothing but junk food. In general, fat people eat more or less the same amount and quality of food as thin people. But the assumption that fat people eat unhealthily is widespread in U.S. culture, so an assumption that a particular person eats junk food all the time, based on seeing one shopping trip, is going to happen to fat people a lot more often.

#418 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 03:06 PM:

In re kids, crafts, and adora-bubble-ness, I made this. Sweater and model. :-> It's like pulling teeth to get her into my handknits lately, so I was pleased to get her to pose so I could upload a proper 'finished' picture to the ravelry project.

#419 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 03:09 PM:

Hilary Hertzoff @403 - I have no idea if anything in my case is similar enough to yours, but I (not a rabbit) had a kidney (not bladder) stone a year for a while, until my sister told me that Adele Davis recommended magnesium, as it would allow my body to (if my memory's good here) precipitate the minerals as it went along instead of collecting them all just upstream of the Very Narrow Place that Hurts. In the twenty years since then, I haven't had a stone.

#420 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 03:12 PM:

Elliott Mason @418: Aww!

Lizzy L @416: Thank you for that. Making Light regulars are unlikely to indulge in thoughtless stereotyping, and I appreciate your willingness to reconsider that assumption.

#421 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 03:34 PM:

abi, #392: I would also have been deeply dubious about that fabric! But in combination with the T-shirt, it makes a pulled-together and stylish outfit. Did she already have the shirt when she picked out the fabric, or was it bought with the finished product in mind? Either way, I applaud her taste.

Elliott, #418: That's pretty -- and I'm not normally all that fond of sweaters. Thank you for including both links, because Ravelry wants me to have an account before I can see anything there.

#422 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 03:41 PM:

Elliott Mason @418, adorable. And the sweater is cute too.

#423 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 03:45 PM:

Lee @421:

She's had the T-shirt for almost a year -- she's going to outgrow it soon. That will be a sad day, unless I rescue the design for an appliqué for a jean jacket or something.

She's a fan of a YouTube game vlogger called CupQuake. She's a young woman who plays games and makes videos about them. She also kind of natters on about art, and her engagement, and life in general. Since (for obvious reasons) Fiona is not allowed headphones when viewing YouTube, I've got a reasonable idea of CupQuake's character and values. And I wholly approve of her -- she talks about things like practicing to become a better artist, and the importance of communication and compromise in relationships.

So if Fiona wants to wear cupcakes around, I am doubly OK with that.

#424 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 03:46 PM:

Elliott Mason @418:

What a lovely sweater, and what a charming model wearing it!

#425 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 03:50 PM:

Lee @421: I only included the rav link for people who already have accounts and want to geek out about what pattern I used, etc. :->

For the record, it's an Elizabeth Zimmerman 'Cousin Nalgar' sweater, with a knit/purl texture pattern of Charlie-Brown-esque zigzags, the stripe width being determined by three digits of the Fibonacci sequence, until I got to the yoke, which is paired up/down triangles of solid knit and purl.

#426 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 03:52 PM:

Lizzy -

I am 100% with you on the perniciousness of agribusiness in the US. My roommate is allergic to corn, which means very little of our food is actually bought at the mainstream grocery stores. Just trying to avoid HFCS, Dextrose, Maltodextrin and Modified Food Starch means more cooking for us, less "junky" pseudofood for dinner. I would dare anyone to try and find a coupon in their Sunday Circular for a food item that does not contain corn (Fruity Pebbles. Some varieties of Orowheat bread. That's pretty much it...). These national brands are all pretty much controlled by maybe two or three parent companies who evidently do nothing but harvest corn.

At the last appointment I had with Incompetent Endocrinologist, he took me off both Metformin and Blood Pressure meds, (funny thing - when they got rid of the automatic BP Terror Machine and used a regular old Sphignomonometer with a properly sized cuff, I actually have borderline low BP! Imagine that!) and continued with the thyroid replacement I will be on for the rest of my life due to Cushings. Modifying my diet in minor ways helped with the blood sugar and cholesterol, but I am still Morbidly Obese. My body got fat and wants to stay fat. I will continue taking care of it, but I will still be the fat person at the grocery store who sometimes has a bunch of Instant Lunches that I can keep in the freezer in perpetuity because they're on sale this week, or a pint of Ben & Jerry's in my cart because even a fat lady gets to eat ice cream every now and then. And you can't tell how healthy a person is by looking at them.

#427 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 03:55 PM:

Persephone @417: If it had been my mother who was surveying the shopping, the statement would indeed have been code for "that person is fat." And anyone who knows my mother would have understood that from the anecdote.

But Lizzy didn't say anything about the person's weight.

I felt that you assumed a subtext that was not present, and I thought that did a disservice to Lizzy.

Hence my post.

#428 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 03:56 PM:

I've seen quite a few Kickstarter Projects come my way, not just for books but also for a puppet show.
I must say that Marc Scott Zicree's idea of funding an SF movie thru Kickstarter was especially intriguing.
Of course I made a contribution.

Details can be found HERE.

#429 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 04:03 PM:

Also totally agree about agribusiness. Which is one of the reasons I try to buy local, including supermarket stuff (like organic milk from upstate NY).

Some people only seem to have half a handle on the problem. Like they'll buy something organic, but organic from 3,000 miles away is still not a terrific purchase.

#430 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 04:14 PM:

nerdycellist, believe me, I know that you can't tell how healthy a person is by looking at them. I am a lean, non-smoking, very active martial arts instructor who 6 years ago had a heart attack. Even in the hospital, flat in bed, drugged, waiting for the f**king blood clot to dissolve, people kept telling me how healthy I looked!

#431 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 04:57 PM:

Ah, Modified Food Starch, how I hate thee...

Every time something new and interesting shows up at the grocery store, you turn up on the list of ingredients. I've gotten to the point I ignore the food ads on tv, because I know I won't be able to eat the stuff.

I'm overweight, I'm trying to remedy that by getting more exercise...and will be getting a ski machine next month. It's the only indoor exercise equipment I actually like using.

But having to read the labels to avoid MSG, we discovered that too many products (green beans!) had added sugar, and when we tried to cut down on sodium as well, ai yi yi.

We've recently discovered we love homemade pizza. I do the dough, Mom makes the sauce, and she and Jan choose the toppings. I may be biased, but it's better than any we can buy.

#432 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 05:20 PM:

I agree about agribusiness, but I have to not think about it most of the time. My threshold for 'I just won't eat then' is really low and I am a picky eater with a lot of coping strategies-- right now, I'm alternating real food with not real food, which means I eat a can of soup with Club crackers one night and a couple onion bagels with fake butter the next. When I buy food, it's either food that keeps forever or food I know I'm going to eat in the next week or so. Anything outside that feels high-risk.

#433 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 05:25 PM:

Sugar in green beans? WTF.

I recently found some green beans at the Farmer's Market that were exactly as I remembered the ones from my childhood garden, down to the slight fuzziness. In attempting to steam in them in the microwave I believe I may have slightly undercooked them, which was a great idea; when mom used to have me pick and clean the green beans, she'd have to account for about 20% shrinkage because I'd eat them right off the vine.

I have found that the antipathy I developed towards fruits and vegetables throughout my teens and twenties was due to mediocre frozen and suburban grocery chain stuff. Moving out to CA and actually eating what was seasonal has been a revelation. I still can't stand cruciferous veggies, and peaches and apricots still activate my gag reflex (thanks, Auntie L for that formative childhood experience) but I am grateful for the return to the fat, misshapen tasty carrots of my youth, as well as all manner of new-to-me foods. (Mangoes are MADE OF CANDY everyone!!!!) I just wish I were a little better at preparing veggies.

#434 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 05:27 PM:

Tangentially, it occurs to me that some of this is seasonal. My supermarket purchases include a lot more fresh vegetables in February or even May than in August—because in August I can get all sorts of good vegetables from the farmers' market, and may not go to the supermarket produce aisle for anything except the occasional lemon or lime. In February what I get there is bread and fish and apples. (They had even sold all the cauliflower by then; I wound up buying frozen.) This May, the farmers have been bringing some early lettuces and radishes: but if I want a cucumber or bell pepper or most other fresh vegetables, it's the supermarket. (By the end of winter, the supermarket is better even for root vegetables.)

A hypothetical person evaluating my supermarket shopping basket would think I ate more fruit and vegetables in winter than in summer; the reality is the other way around.

#435 ::: Ellen ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 05:58 PM:

Nerdycellist @433. Roasting cruciferous veggies at high-heat in the oven may open whole new horizons for you. Clean, chop into smaller pieces (florets, slices, sections depending on which member of the cabbage family you're dismembering), toss with oil and salt to taste, roast at 450 or higher til the edges are brown. Result is nutty, not cabbagy, and some squabbling over who gets seconds of the Brussels sprouts in my household. As always, YMMV.

#436 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 06:42 PM:

Kip W @419 Bunnies have a very different metabolism than humans so magnesium isn't likely to help. The stones are mostly calcuim (which their bodies don't process very well). Pepper's currently on a daily dose of potassium citrate (same principle, different chemical reaction) but it's mostly to prevent more calcium from building up - it's unlikely the stone will get smaller. If things stay the way they are, we'll eventually arrange to remove the stones surgically, but for now we want to make sure they aren't growing.

#437 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 07:49 PM:

Elliott Mason (118) I haven't seen anything that cute since my first family of kids was young. My first mother-in-law was a terrible sour old creature who couldn't say a nice thing if her life depended on it. But she knitted wonderful sweaters and things for the kids, and she sewed lovely dresses for me (I still wore dresses then), with the excuse that she had made them for herself and somehow, they just didn't fit. As if. (She: 5'5", 140 lb, I: 5'10", 120 lb)

Poor old woman. I don't know what had happened to her that this was the only way she could express her love. She would have died ill and alone if my ex-husband's current wife (a wonderful person) had not invited her into their home and cared for her (he wouldn't).

I hadn't thought about her in years, but seeing that darling sweater brought it all back.

#438 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 08:13 PM:

HLN: Today being Bike To Work Day, area woman rode her bike to work, on her day off. Which, as it turned out, was a good thing, as our intrepid bikist left a little later than ideal, got lost in a neighborhood (luckily not too far off the beaten path), had to detour in a roundabout way to get back on the track, rode slowly (too many dratted hills! who put all those hills there?), and eventually arrived at work. On the way back, she successfully navigated the trail, stopped at this guy's hot dog stand, albeit the new one, given by Discovery Channel; had a half-smoke and a soda while sitting on a bench outside the building, and rode for home.

"I was on my way back when I realized that I had an organic reason for doing so poorly on the hills: I'd forgotten about donating Double Red Cells about two months ago, and I was told it takes four months to recover -- so I'm probably still anemic! No wonder I kept running out of energy!" said the area woman as she walked up the last and most awful hill near home.

Upon her arrival, she said, she parked her bike, removed her helmet, turned on the ceiling fan, sat down on the couch, and took a lovely nap with her delighted cats.

Later in the day, she entertained a visit from the Ex, who had stopped by to "clean off" the furniture that will be officially moved on the morrow. She is now awaiting the arrival of her Fabulous Girlfriend, after which they shall partake of curried chicken and a Venezuelan chicken stew.

#439 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 08:26 PM:

Bill @ 378

In what unjust universe does Maker Faire overlap Pin-a-Go-Go?

(Though as to Rumpusing, ours will probably be deferred to Sunday afternoon, when the games are slightly fewer but the crowds and noise are slightly less.)

#440 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 08:33 PM:

HLN: Area retiree slices up bell peppers, dips in secret sauce* and roasts them on flat pan at 350; unbelievable deliciousness ensues.
Low temps were used because of uncertainty about what nonstick coating of pan could take. Lining pans with foil at higher temps resulted in pinholes in the foil and possible aluminum infusion into the food. (Label on new pans did not say what the max temp tolerance for that coating should be.)
Retiree had already tried this with green beans, after learning it from parent; expects to try it with cruciferous vegs soon per Ellen, #435.
* soy sauce, with some Worcestershire, red wine and olive oil

#441 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 08:57 PM:

Further HLN: Area retiree secures 7% increase in range for #1 trebuchet by bending tip of release prong; is still trying to figure out all the theory. #1 treb is now throwing at 54 times length of arm at 100:1 mass ratio, which is moving up on reasonably decent, I guess.
Jenny Islander, #351: "llamar conjugation"--How do you conjugate llamas?
Or do I really want to know?

#442 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 09:24 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale@382 - Thanks! We're staying in Dunsmuir, so Shasta and Redding are both options (though Shasta tends to have mountains in the way), and Burney looks like another good possibility (east of Redding on 299.)

KayTei - There are an amazing number of competing activities this weekend. Pin-a-Go-Go looks like fun. The USGS is having its triennial open house (even though a lot of its target audience may be eclipse-watching.) One local town is having their annual art show in the park and pet parade.

#443 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 09:25 PM:

Cauliflower and broccoli florets, raw, are improved by being dipped in something like plain yogurt or sour cream seasoned with curry powder (about a teaspoon per 6-ounce carton). Let the dip mellow for an hour or so in the fridge before using. (Cherry tomatoes go well with curry dip, too. I might try it with carrots.)

#444 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 11:44 PM:

Bill @ 442

I suppose it was eventually inevitable.

But I admit everything snuck up on me this year...

#445 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2012, 11:58 PM:

Astronomical Fidget Ring on BoingBoing - Gorgeous object with a rotating band made of meteorite iron and gemstones representing 9 planets. (The price is also astronomical, but it's nice to look at. BB article points to more details over at The Mary Sue.)

#446 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2012, 01:36 AM:

My best to Paula: infections and the aftereffects are nasty stuff. Nothing like a visit with a surgeon and being told "Well, Bruce, I guarantee that I got it all cut out but with the drugs you're on I have no idea when it will heal. I can promise you that I'll supply you with a supply of Schedule 3 narcotics to take before you visit the bathroom until you can use the toilet without screaming."

That reminds me--have I mentioned how MUCH the last two years have SUCKED? I'm been 60% ectoplasm so many times that I keep expecting Helen Duncan to show up.

#447 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2012, 01:44 AM:

On another topic: has anyone here read both Performing Flea by P.G. Wodehouse and the revision Author! Author! by P.G. Wodehouse? If you have, which one is the one to get?

#448 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2012, 02:00 AM:

The Evening's Work:

Study of Slow Cooker and Rocket

The stew smells odd. I don't have a fine touch when it comes to spices, and wine was the cheapest I could find that didn't have a screw top. (And I had to use a corkscrew on a Swiss Army Knife . . . I don't drink, so . . .) Hopefully it will taste OK.

The rocket is a vintage Aerobee.

#449 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2012, 03:12 AM:

Huh. I had to type my personal info in the little boxes. Second time in two days that's happened.

Anyway. Have we heard anything recently from Syd?

#450 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2012, 01:26 PM:

Mr. Snarly has been struggling with an upper-respiratory infection. The other two both had it and have thrown it off, but he's the smallest and least-thriving of the three, so today we took him to the vet. $200 later he's had antibiotics and eye-drops and de-worming, and been tested and found negative for FIV. And boy howdy, did he live up to his name! They had to use heavy gloves to hold him, and he screamed like someone was trying to neuter him without anesthetic.

We're hoping that maybe part of the reason he's antisocial is that he just hasn't been feeling good, and if we get this knocked down he'll be friendlier. But if not, I'm afraid he's going to end up being neutered and released back into the feral colony.

The other two are now perfectly friendly and adoptable, and they romp. They're kittens. It's what they do.

#451 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2012, 03:17 PM:

Bill Stewart @445
Oh, wow. Want, although not for $4k.

We're likely to be in the same area, there is a chance of light clouds, but those could make viewing better.

All - via boingboing, this site illustrates what the eclipse tomorrow will look like for various states. If you're in TX (and NM to some extent), you can get a sunset annular eclipse, which means a ring of fire sets on the horizon (That's the only safe direct-view of a non-total eclipse). If you're in driving distance of Lubbock or nearby, please consider driving to a stunning sunset.

#452 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2012, 03:18 PM:

Re Avram's Phosphene on the combined Latin/Cyrillic font... is there anyone else apart from me who gets very very annoyed at the use of mock-Cyrillic on book covers, with Я used as a 'Russianish' substitute for R, etc.? Or am I just being an asshole when I get haughty and pedantic about this? The text used for the title of Jed Mercurio's 'Ascent' here actually transliterates as DSCEIT, or possibly even DSSEIT. Is it just me? Tell me whether it's just me. Grr.

(I know there are rules to the design of covers and that these things aren't just thrown together randomly but... hey, the designers are tripping my flinch reaction here.)

#453 ::: Steve with a book just got a comment Gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2012, 03:21 PM:

A comment of mine has been Gnomed, either because I used a Cyrillic character in it, or because I used a slightly naughty word in reference to myself, or possibly for both reasons, or neither.

[URL format for the book link, I'm afraid. — Auricula Meretricula, acting duty Gnome over Kabouterdag weekend.]

#454 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2012, 03:23 PM:

On the eclipse -
this map shows the northern and southern boundaries of the Annular (ring) part of this eclipse. Being right inside the edge of the boundaries means you could get nifty visuals like Bailey's beads, although just for seconds.

#455 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2012, 03:48 PM:

Oh, rats, once again I get about 85% totality for a solar eclipse. I haven't been in the path of a totality in more than 50 years (although that time I had a small reflecting telescope with a smoked glass filter, so I got a pretty good view).

#456 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2012, 04:05 PM:

Leather purchased! For those who don't recall, this is to repair the bag I made last year, which has worn through in several places. My original plan was to hit a thrift store for an ugly jacket, but that involves shopping, whereas going up to the elk ranch folks at the farmer's market just means digging through a pile of scraps and trying to match the color. Near-perfect match achieved, three dollars paid, and hopefully I won't bungle this too badly. I do wish there were more tips on sewing leather to fabric. Like what kind of stitch is strongest, handsewingwise. I'd use my machine, but it's not in tune right now.

#457 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2012, 04:12 PM:

Steve with a book, it's not just you. And I can't even read Russian; I can only decode Cyrillic because of its similarity to the Greek alphabet. OTOH, my pedantic-o-meter is usually set on about 6.5. (4 is knowing what a dangling participle is, and caring. 8 is getting pissed off when people mix Latin and Greek in genus and/or species names.)

#458 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2012, 04:19 PM:

Linkmeister @449, I've been wondering about Syd too.

#459 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2012, 04:23 PM:

Steve with a book @452: Definitely not just you. I'm sure it would be even worse for me if I'd ever actually studied a language that uses the Cyrillic alphabet.

#460 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2012, 04:28 PM:

August. 2017 has a 100% total eclipse (tomorrow is 95% partial). Crosses the whole US. Just remember to oppose any Worldcon bids outside of North America that year to avoid a schedule clash. It is the most SFnal thing on Earth.

#461 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2012, 04:35 PM:

Tangential to the audio/video taping of cops discussion: something I've wondered about for a while is why court reporters still have jobs in the days of cheap video cameras which can record everything which occurs in a courtroom.

#462 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2012, 05:18 PM:

Lee @ 450: The other two are now perfectly friendly and adoptable, and they romp. They're kittens. It's what they do.

I like the way kittens are not - quite - subject to gravity.

#463 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2012, 05:24 PM:

Thank you, mod-gnome, for so quickly releasing my comment and introducing me to the word Kabouter.

Lila@457, David Goldfarb@459: thinking about it a bit more, I suspect that my reaction to this has something to do with the lack of respect non-Latin scripts get, even from those who should know better. I only dabble in languages and get a lot out of reading stuff by actual academic linguists. They will stoutly, and quite rightly, defend languages against accusations of lack of expressive power or ugliness or grammatical overcomplication, but when it comes to the script they're written in, they can be surprisingly dismissive. It surprises me that top-class experts in Chinese can seem to be a bit embarrassed about the characters, and (apparently) sort of wish that they'd go away. If the survival of a language for thousands of years is something to celebrate, the same should go for the writing system. These things matter to people.

#464 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2012, 06:36 PM:

Steve with a book @ 452

I don't know the Cyrillic alphabet, but I am continually annoyed by people who use a Greek-alphabet majuscule sigma as an "E"; it's an "S", you ignorami.

#465 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2012, 08:18 PM:

Steve with a book @452: Since taking a 'geography of the former Soviet Union' class (which involved touching upon Cyrillic pronunciation briefly), my husband has unilaterally changed how our family pronounces "Toys R Us" -- it's now Toys Ya Us. If that's how they're going to spell it, we might as well pronounce it that way. :->

#466 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2012, 08:36 PM:

nerdycellist: When I was a kid, I wondered why popular culture said that kids hated vegetables, because vegetables were Awesome. When I grew up and moved out of California, I discovered what many kids were exposed to. Oh.

On that note, the hierarchy of vegetables goes like this: Fresh is better than frozen (by an almost invisible margin if you're going to cook them), which is much better than canned. One of the things our kids love is peas and corn, dumped into a bowl and nuked to thaw. And around here, they are not in season at the same time*, so it's a frozen-only dish.

*I have a friend up in Portland who has posted a picture of her pea plants. In Sacramento, those got pulled up at the end of April, and lettuces are a winter crop only. So I didn't know that most people considered lettuce an essential part of salad until I was an adult, because salad came from the garden, not from the store, and lettuce just didn't happen.

#467 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2012, 08:39 PM:

SamChevre @464: Said with all love ... I'm pretty sure ignoramus is fourth declension, so the plural is ignoramus, often spelt with a bar over the U and pronounced 'ig-no-rah-MOOOSE' with emphasis.

Having hunted around in my favorite unicode resource for the u-with-bar-over character and not found it, I am reminded of the various Bohemian tombstones I've been transcribing, and how Czech apparently has a whole different relationship with diacritical-enhanced letters than any other language I've previously tried to decode!

#468 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2012, 09:09 PM:

Kip @419, I would be exceedingly wary of recommending magnesium for any non-human animal with bladder stones based on experience with humans -- my cat had an extremely frightening bout of urinary blockage due to struvite crysals earlier this year and is now on a veterinarian-prescribed low-magnesium diet as a result. Cats aren't rabbits, either, but this experience so wildly divergent with your human one is enough for me to say that cross-species medical advice probably isn't a great idea.

#469 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2012, 10:18 PM:

We grew bush beans, tomatoes, and bush zucchini in the summer, and had a well-shaded spot where the lettuce would grow into April or May (we grew leaf lettuce, which can be used when it's very small, so it can be grown for that even longer). Also fruit - I've been spoiled for peaches and apricots since I was a kid. Peas and corn - frozen is good enough, if you don't have the space or the weather for them.

#470 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2012, 10:21 PM:

Bruce Cohen @465, last time there was a total eclipse (that I can recall being there for), I was working in the physics department at University of Houston, where there was an observatory on the top floor, mostly unused because of air quality. I wanted to see how big an image the large scope could put onto a piece of cardboard, and several of us went up with some professors to give it a shot. Results were good, though not stunning. It was certainly worth doing.

lorax @468, I mentioned my experience (and included at least two caveats) with the expectation that if the suggestion was taken at all, it would be to discuss it with the vet. It still does not seem to me that I was pushing for any hasty action.

#471 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2012, 10:42 PM:

Jo won!

Wonderful all around.

#472 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2012, 12:12 AM:

Elliott Mason @467: Actually "ignoramus" is not a Latin noun at all, of any declension. It's the first person plural (present active indicative) of the verb "ignoro". The usage as a noun dates from the seventeenth century. I see nothing particularly wrong with pluralizing it according to the second-declension rule, although the English "ignoramuses" might be a little better.

#473 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2012, 01:56 AM:

[Delayed comment posting, I typed the comments up two days ago, and am finally pasting them in now....]

#296 Serge

There are really good reasons why Damnation Alley the film get little viewing. Mentioning the film caused Roger Zelazny to shudder....

#338 Dr Paisley

If the hospital stay is boring
Things may be going well.
Stuck for some days in the while away
Being watched for what who can tell,
The place is full of doctors
And nurses leaving pills,
And hospital bed as a place of dread
Doesn't have a lot of frills.
Here's hoping that that boring,
Is the boring of good kind
And the stay soon ends and the body mends
And that all will end up fine.

#474 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2012, 02:06 AM:

Elliot Mason @ 467:

Is this: ū the character you're looking for? It's listed as "Latin Small Letter U with Macron", and the code is U+016B HTML Entity &#363; as shown here.

#475 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2012, 02:11 AM:

Elliott Mason @465, Christine has long had a habit of pronouncing the middle of "Toys Я Us" as "ya".

#476 ::: Bruce Cohen (Maker of Gnomographs) ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2012, 02:23 AM:

My last post is being held by the gnomes, possibly because I used an uncommon Unicode character and a literalized string that normally denotes an HTML Entity. If you like, I could post my rant about the tribulations of quotation and literalizing in text manipulation and representation, with special venom for PL/SQL. Thank you for your support.

[It was held because the format of the URL you used. Not that that rant is unwelcome or uninteresting, but in this context, it does not address the problem at hand. — Auricula Meritricula, duty gnome pro tem]

#477 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2012, 02:40 AM:

Kip W @470,
May I ask if you're sure it was a total eclipse you saw -- big black hole in the sky where the sun should be, stars visible in an opal-purple sky, etc? I don't recall Houston being in the path of totality for any recent eclipses, and the description sounds partial not total.

That said, partial eclipses are nifty, and annular doubly so. Total, though, like 2017 will bring - that's just pure numinous beauty.

#478 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2012, 03:59 AM:

Paula Lieberman @ 473... Yes. Zelazny had seen one version of the script that he thought was quite good and faithful to the original, but wasn't aware of the 'improved' script that what was later used until he saw the final results. It's my understanding that his reaction involved more than shuddering. Speaking of Hollywood... It's been quite neat to follow Melinda Snodgrass's comments about her "Wild Cards" movie, and a reminder that it's not always a process that turns into a horror story.

#479 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2012, 04:00 AM:

@Linkmeister no. 461: IME it's so disturbing wrinkles in the tidy progression of the court mechanism can be ironed nice and flat.

Reality: I have jury duty. Hubby is out of town. That's OK because I can grab a relative or at last resort pop the kids into day care. I have to call the court after 3:30 p.m. every day to see if I have to go in the next day. The place closes at 4:30. That's OK because there's a number to call if something comes up.

So at 4:20 p.m. the day before I have jury duty, one of my kids suddenly spikes a fever and projectile vomits all over her legally mandated car seat and a good portion of the car.

Obviously my first order of business is to get my screaming puking child out of the car, away from my other two children's legally mandated car seats and the back of my neck. Luckily we are already parked. I get her calmed down enough so that she won't drown out any phone calls, then call the court. Busy, busy, busy . . . closed. Okay, I call the trouble number.

There is no answering machine at the trouble number. Click.

Check my ethics here: Handing my violently ill child over to a day care full of other people's children is not okay, yes? And handing her over to a relative who has her own very important things she cannot be too sick to miss is also not okay, check?

The court opens at 8 a.m. so I camp out on the main line starting at 7:45, get somebody at 8:05, she does not identify herself, I explain that I have a severely contagiously ill child, she tells me to wait for a summons. Seriously? Yes, seriously, she repeats this, wait for the summons.

So I do.

At the hearing, I am told that the clerk failing to identify herself was my fault, that since I was not willing to expose family members or day care workers or young children to my vomiting feverish child I should have brought her to the cout with me on the day I was supposed to serve (in a building with recirculated air and several hundred people, some of whom were old and frail), that my not knowing that the clerk was full of baloney was my fault, and that there being no answering machine at the number I was supposed to call after hours was not the court's problem. (That last part was not verbatim; he just blew through his mustache.)

Adjusted reality, per the paper the court reporter typed up for me to sign: I had made the whole thing up but the court reporter was too polite to say so in those exact words. The judge said that he was willing to "let it slide" this time.

I signed it and went home. Problem solved.

AFAIK the after-hours you-must-call-this phone still has no answering machine.

#480 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2012, 04:08 AM:

For those of you who didn't know, the electronic packet containing the final Hugo nominated tales is now available.
The committee has been having troubles with sending the emal notifications.
Use the PIN you were provided in earlier communications.

#481 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2012, 04:15 AM:

Oh, forgot: In the adjusted reality, my "excuse" was that "I had not arranged for child care."

The part about my child being hot to the touch, vomiting profusely, and contagious was not in the two lines on the paper.


#482 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2012, 04:28 AM:

#481 Jenny

That's when it's time to contact you state representative and if there still be such a thing your local muckracking TV new director.... And your the Board of Health, too, for that matter, they ought not to want a projectile vomiting infectious child in the court building!

#483 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2012, 07:22 AM:

Jenny @481: That's because in the kyriarchy's view, parenthood is an inconvenience that can always be handled by Other People (one's wife, for example -- wait, you don't have one? And you call yourself a citizen!).

There are a lot of situations where perfectly ordinary decent-parent behavior can get one fired or otherwise penalized over "putting your kids before (insert here thing that is obviously FAR more important".

#484 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2012, 07:41 AM:

Be it noted that Steve with a book @ 463's link includes a truly excellent Katalog of kabouter.

Auricula Meretricula: is kabouterdag celebrated in different places on different days? Or are you on duty especially early?

And are your political sympatthies in line with the kabouterbeweging?

Jenny Islander @ 479, 481: Aargh.

Linkmeister @ 461: Presumably, its quite important that court reports should be searchable.

#485 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2012, 07:50 AM:

OT: Does anyone know why the SFWA's website would be inaccessible from Turkey?

#486 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2012, 09:35 AM:

Jenny, #481: Unfortunately, what you're up against here is that the judge hears that kind of story a dozen times a week from people who are making it up, and he can't read your mind. In the absence of checkable documentation (the name of the person you spoke to, a doctor's note about your child's illness), this is what he's going to assume. No, that's not how it should work, but in the presence of a cultural meme that says "anything goes to get out of jury duty" it's what we're all stuck with. "I'll let it slide this time" is code for "I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt because you don't have a previous record of pulling shit to get out of jury duty."

The bit about the after-hours trouble number not working, however, is something which should be pursued -- if not by you, then by an ombudsman or media outlet. If they're giving out that number for the purpose of reporting last-minute issues, that IS their problem to fix.

#487 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2012, 09:38 AM:

Diatryma @ 456 ...
I do wish there were more tips on sewing leather to fabric. Like what kind of stitch is strongest, handsewingwise. I'd use my machine, but it's not in tune right now.

Backstitch :)

#488 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2012, 10:19 AM:

It is always fascinating to see how badly Safari iPad handles pictures on Making Light. John Kessel must be very uncomfortable with that More What growing out of his chest...

#489 ::: Lin D ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2012, 11:01 AM:

With regards to vegetables, I've always loved them. Except for peas and lima beans. My poor paternal grandmother, not seeing my brother and I grow up, due to divorce and related situations, served peas for dinner. My brother and I both looked at them with trepidation. How to be polite while eating something that makes one throw up? We erred on the side of saying "I don't like this." My grandmother asked, "what do you like?" Carrots, corn, squash, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower.... Poor lady had never run across kids who liked *real* vegetables.

#490 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2012, 11:12 AM:

Diatryma @456--Saddle-stitching is good for leather--it does take two needles, but the stitches lock together and make a good, durable join. I think it would work for a leather-to-fabric assembly as well, although you might want to look into a lighter thread--upholstery weight, perhaps--than is used in leather-to-leather work.

#491 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2012, 11:19 AM:

Lin, have you ever eaten new peas right out of the pod, uncooked? Vegetable heaven.

#492 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2012, 02:37 PM:

praisegod barebones @ #484, you know, somehow I hadn't thought of that material as a primary source document, but of course it would be.

Ah well, I've only been in court once or twice in my life (once for a week or so of jury duty -- Jenny Islander, your story is horrendous. I agree that the non-message-taking phone number is a problem that the judiciary system needs to fix pronto).

#493 ::: Lin D ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2012, 04:00 PM:

Melissa, I eat snow peas with enthusiasm, and in recent years, I've eaten fresh, just harvested peas and found them quite tasty. I don't know what it is about canned peas (tolerable in stews or casseroles) or frozen peas (vile!), but I just don't like them.

#494 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2012, 05:10 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @477:
It would have been around 1983-4, if that's any help. Perhaps it wasn't total, but it was major. I don't recall stars, but then I wasn't outside.

#495 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2012, 05:46 PM:

This is a test post from my new iPad 2.

#496 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2012, 06:11 PM:


I find frozen peas a reasonable substitute for fresh. Canned peas are an entirely different thing. (I liked canned peas when I was a child, and had never had fresh; I don't like them now, but I don't think it's just that I've had the real thing. Tastes change.)

#497 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2012, 06:16 PM:

I wish to register a complaint.

The movie slated in Jim's diffraction, Battleship, is indeed very, very bad.

However, it is not, as stated repeatedly in the linked review, worse than the Transformers movies. In fact, it is very like a Transformers movie with all the jive-talking, racist, Megane Fox's leg humping sexist robots removed, which is a slight improvement.

After the hero's character was introduced in the first 20 minutes, I was hoping the actual aliens from Alien would show up and kill everyone.

But that's a mild reaction compared to Transformers Part Deux, where I hoped time travelling aliens would show up and kill Michael Bay at birth, leaving me to watch Brad Bird's Transformers movie.

#498 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2012, 06:35 PM:

I saw Battleship.

Don't judge me.

"How bad can it suck?" I asked myself. I mean, a movie shot on-board USS Missouri. If nothing else I can just look at the pretty, pretty ship.

"How bad can it suck?" was a question that the movie-makers wasted no time in trying to answer. We start off with a meet-cute that was cut from Failure to Launch for being too unbelievable, one that left the lingering question, "How does someone with a felony conviction go on to become a Naval officer? How'd he get the security clearance to be a TAO?"

Even by the standards of the Transformers films this is a bad movie. I could feel my IQ lowering with every minute I spent in the theater.

If you find that you have to see this, I'd recommend taking along earplugs. The dialog is worse than anything you could imagine, so just imagining what they're saying would be an improvement. The protagonist is an arrogant prick; I can't believe that none of the characters slapped his face off because I sure wanted to.

For all the time that's given to Liam Neeson in the trailers, he essentially has a walk-on. For all that the film is called Battleship, most of it (the parts that don't look like they're out-takes from a particularly insipid romantic comedy) are set on a destroyer. A destroyer that they badly mishandle.

If you look at that destroyer, you'll see that most of the time it's showing the ball-diamond-ball dayshapes, which mean "I am constrained in my ability to maneuver" (probably because they have a camera barge alongside). That mostly sums this thing up: Even the ships are unable to act. For all that we see of the crews of these ships, they each seem to have about three people on board. Then they shuttle those three people from one ship to another.

In order to get into this film your disbelief doesn't need to be suspended. It needs to be hanged, drawn, and quartered. Cliches that were rejected by 2012 for being too cheesy are brought out front and center here; witness the alien spacecraft constructed of elements that aren't on the Periodic Table. And the space aliens! Although they are explicitly supposed to come from a planet that's nearly identical to earth (and have no trouble breathing our air, etc.) they are unable to handle the brightness of our sun and so must wear dark glasses! Take off those glasses and they're nearly helpless. (No, I am not making this up.)

When finally, finally, they get underway on Missouri (in the last twenty minutes of this film), they completely misuse her. Our heros are standing on the most awesome stand-off weapons system in the world ... so they close to within a thousand yards of their opponent before doing anything.

A battleship has a crew of about five thousand people, and they all have jobs. Nevertheless our guys manage to sail her and fight her with a scant dozen people (presumably there are no other ships, and no personnel, in port that weekend). For reasons that escape me, a ship that's explicitly a static display vessel has live warshot ammo on board. Of special note is the scene where our band of heroes struggle to carry a sixteen-inch shell on their shoulders the length of the ship, all while the rail for the chain hoist designed to lift and move those shells is clearly visible in frame.

Given that this is a movie based on one word, "Battleship" (the name of a Hasbro game), the film makers could have done anything. Gone in any direction. Gotten creative. But noooooo.....

Stay away. Far away. Not even popcorn will save this movie.

#499 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2012, 06:57 PM:

With regard to Battleship, it's only fair to supporting actors Rihana and Gregory D. Gadson to observe that both of them gave their work in the film far more than the script deserved.

(I was, possibly, a tiny bit more entertained by the movie than Macdonald was, perhaps because I went into it with, if possible, even less in the way of expectations.)

#500 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2012, 07:00 PM:

I will make sure I don't see it.
Meanwhile, today they were supposed to start moving Iowa from Richmond to San Pedro, where she'll become a museum. (You can see her in Richmond in some of the Google aerials. In some others, she's still in the mothball fleet in Suisun Bay, with a towboat pushing her sideways. Those gun turrets are awesome!)

#501 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2012, 07:01 PM:

Debra Doyle @499: My favorite reviewer noted that Rihanna showed signs of being able to believably act a character ... if only they'd given her one. Perhaps she'll get another chance in a different movie.

#502 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2012, 08:16 PM:

On Rihanna's performance, I will just say well done.

Her character did not have to take off her clothes for no good reason (so, not at all). She was not held hostage because she's a girl and the important characters are not. Nobody referred to her race or sex before or after large aliens kicked the shit out of her.

(Movie still really, really sucks but...)


#503 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2012, 09:13 PM:

Jim, #498: I had been under the impression that the movie was intended to be a live-action version of the board game. From your description, it sounds as though that would have been a better movie!

#504 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2012, 09:24 PM:

Jim Macdopnald @ 498... must wear dark glasses! Take off those glasses and...

...Carrie Fisher lowers her gun and goes "Oh Jake..."?

#505 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2012, 09:44 PM:

Lee @503: By all reports, this screenplay was making the rounds for a while before the Hasbro title tie-in got attached to it -- which got it greenlit almost instantly, because the studios are all about making things with instant title-recognition lately, even if their actual connection to the original property is paper thin.

#506 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2012, 10:00 PM:

Sounds as if they should have made Hungry, Hungry Hippos instead. It could hardly have been worse.

#507 ::: mjfgates ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2012, 10:17 PM:

"Hungry Hungry Hippos: You Are the Marble"

Yep, that sounds like a much better movie. Hippos, but with extendable necks, so that they can snap out and grab people from ambush thirty feet away. Then they get into the New York City sewers, and from there into the ground floors of buildings. A scene with Wall Street full of suits fleeing'n'screaming while varicolored hippo heads snap out of the bank entrances, picking them off one by one... in 3-D, of course... what's not to love?

#508 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2012, 10:47 PM:

You're friendly astronomical correspondent took some images of the eclipse from the Houston area.

Red sky at sunset:

Eclipse at sunset

More pics:

Eclipse pics

#509 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2012, 10:59 PM:

I watched for some time with a pinhole viewer. Here in Los Angeles, we got a much thinner crescent (something like 75% of total).

#510 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2012, 11:02 PM:

And ... I have now seen American Warships (original title American Battleship) on Syfy.

And I know why Universal is suing: Despite being a four-weeks-script-to-screen cheapie from the folks who brought us Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus it's a better movie.

#511 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2012, 11:24 PM:

Here's my eclipse set from halfway up the state of California, so call it about 90% totality. The best view, actually, was the pinhole crescents in the thousands from the trees, projected on the house.

Afterwards, I saw a large gathering of the neighbors out in front. "Watching the eclipse?" Well, that's where they started... but then they started watching the nesting Swainson's hawks. CUTENESS!

#512 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2012, 01:58 AM:

Re: eclipse tourism ... the next big one I'm anywhere near, 21 Aug 2017, happens to fall on the day before my husband's 43rd birthday. Do I smell a family vacation?!? :->

Two spots nearish Chicago, under the middle of the eclipse track, that would justify a long weekend of OSSIM ending with eclipse: Mammoth Cave in KY and Cahokia Mounds in IL just outside St. Louis.

What other visitable spots near the track can you guys spot?

(there are several things that claim to be zoomable Google Maps things, but none of them zoom in much; this site seems to have some good closeup static maps of various parts of the track)

#513 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2012, 04:58 AM:

Robin Gibb, of the Bee Gees, has died.

#514 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2012, 05:07 AM:

I was in the wrong area for the eclipse this time around, but I really highly recommend getting to see one. I drove about 600 miles and it was seriously worth it the one time I did -- and I got to see a phenomenon that made huge sense but I hadn't seen anyone talk about.

We were in a river valley. As the terminator went along the valley, a very thin wall of fog was visible right at it, moving along with it -- not enough to obscure anything, just enough to be visible. Lovely phenomenon. And totality looks like nothing else (the movie Dragonslayer actually got the feeling of eclipse light right, if you can see it in a theater).

#515 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2012, 06:09 AM:

mjfgates @507

I'm writing the first draft right now.

OFFICER OVER THE RADIO: They're all around us! [GUNSHOTS, EXPLOSIONS, SCREAMS] We need reinforcements! Watch out Bunton! Oh God Bunton, I never meant to sleep with your wife! I'm so sorry, it just... [CRASH, STATIC]
GENERAL: Godammit! I can't afford to lose any more men. I need answers. What good are you pencil pushing nerds if you can't give me answers? Why are they attacking us?
GOOD LOOKING FEMALE SCIENTIST: We think... we think they're hungry. Very hungry. Really, really hungry.
GENERAL: Hungry. Hungry hippos.
[Close up on computer screen that shows 4 hippos attacking the military strongpoint from the cardinal directions]

#516 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2012, 08:01 AM:

Neil W @ 515...

"What do we say to them?"
"Welcome to California."
- 1953's 'War of the Worlds'

#517 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2012, 08:40 AM:

Serge #516: If we're being at all realistic, that should be:

"Welcome to California. Are you carrying any agricultural products? Have you visited a farm on your homeworld or in any other state in the last 7 days? Do you have any Mexicans in that spaceship?"

#518 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2012, 10:08 AM:

Elliott Mason @ 517... After which the three men, one of whom is Mexican, STILL get turned into little piles of ash.

#519 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2012, 10:12 AM:

Serge @518: Then someone walks up and sticks a sign on the pile that says, "This item contains substances known to cause cancer by the government of California." :->

#520 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2012, 10:29 AM:

Elliott Mason @ 519... That reminds me of a conversation I once had with a Los Alamos scientist about the possible carcinogens that fly off Mothra's wings.

#521 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2012, 11:24 AM:

Serge @520: I do approve of labeling for potentially dangerous substances, but California's Prop Whatever 'carcinogen-warnings' rules ceased to pass the giggle test for me when I checked into a hotel and saw a sign affixed to every entrance door that said:

"This facility contains substances determined by the state of California to cause cancer."

That's really not a helpful warning! As Willow said, a vague disclaimer is nobody's friend. Either knock down the hotel as a deathtrap or tell me what, specifically, I'm supposed to worry about, y'know?

#522 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2012, 11:29 AM:

Kip W @470, I didn't think you were pushing for hasty action, but I did want to share my experience as well in case someone might otherwise have been prompted to try hasty action despite your caveats.

#523 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2012, 11:30 AM:

Elliott... Oh, goodness...

#524 ::: Stephen ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2012, 12:09 PM:

Elliot @512

I have a 2017 eclipse track that I've made in Google Maps, and so it is well and thoroughly zoomable, though some minor accuracy errors are no doubt present. I took NASA data and plotted it every few hundred miles, so it's good enough for site planning. Everything shaded sees at least some totality, with longer stretches near the blue line.

The absolute max point of that eclipse (2:40 of totality) is near Hopkinsville, KY -- Mammoth Cave isn't far off, but is outside of the totality band. My targeted watching area is Edgar Evins State Park in TN, 50 miles east of Nashville.

#525 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2012, 12:45 PM:

Neil W @ 515:

I suggest that the hippos be taken down by trained Sandpipers or Oxpeckers who groom the hippos while carrying speakers that play hypnotic suggestions into their ears.

#526 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2012, 12:50 PM:

#515 Neil W (and more up-thread....)





...the worst hurricane in living memory....



WIND tears roof off building. RAIN pours in. FIRE and SMOKE.


...these winds help to evaporate even more water vapor from the ocean, spiraling inward toward the center...

SOUND: ALARM BELLS lost in the howling wind.

MIST pours from broken windows of Biological Test Facility, only to be whipped away in the wind.



...the governor has ordered mandatory evacuations of all low-lying areas....


A TREE is blown into a WALL which collapses, causing a STEEL DRUM marked with a skull-and-crossbones to fall over and spill. Thick GREEN LIQUID pours over the floor, mixed with the lashing rain from outside. Thicker mist forms.




The wind is making the sign vibrate. MIST passes over sign, obscuring it, and through fence.


...this one looks like it's bigger than Katrina....





HIPPOS lounging around lagoon.

WIND is making the SIGN swing.

MIST snakes along the paths of the zoo.





It's sunny and bright. A car pulls into a driveway in pleasant subdivision filled with well-tended lawns.

ARTHUR SMITH exits car and walks up to the front door, where he is met by JANE SMITH (his wife).


(Kissing him)

How was your day?


Could have been worse. I think I have the DNA sequence modeling software ready to go.


You'll have to talk to your son....


He's only my son when he's done something wrong. What is it?


His report card. Again.



A youth-league softball game is in progress. CUTE KID is up at bat. Bleachers are full of proud parents.


#527 ::: Stephen has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2012, 01:33 PM:

...presumably for how non-human the URLs for specific Google information (in this case, an eclipse-relevant GMaps overlay) appear.

#528 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2012, 02:07 PM:

"Chutes and Ladders" could be made into an interesting, sinister movie with YA appeal.

Imagine a Juvenile detention facility -- maybe real, maybe a virtual reality thing -- where recalcitrant yoots are put through ethical choice training. It all starts out sensible and helpful. Make the right choices, and you not only avoid the humiliation of sliding down a chute but you get better food and more tolerable quarters.

Then the trials and proper choices start showing ominous political bias, and it becomes clear that the inmates are being conditioned to become the dirty tricks & jackboot youth wing of a reactionary political movement.

Now, on to Candyland . . .

#529 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2012, 02:09 PM:

"Chutes and Ladders" could be made into an interesting, sinister movie with YA appeal.

Imagine a Juvenile detention facility -- maybe real, maybe a virtual reality thing -- where recalcitrant yoots are put through ethical choice training. It all starts out sensible and helpful. Make the right choices, and you not only avoid the humiliation of sliding down a chute but you get better food and more tolerable quarters.

Then the trials and proper choices start showing ominous political bias, and it becomes clear that the inmates are being conditioned to become the dirty tricks & jackboot youth wing of a reactionary political movement.

Now, on to Candyland . . .

#530 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2012, 02:19 PM:

Serge @523: Because John's just like that, he investigated, and found that a lot of buildings got that label because some of the plasticizers on the insulation of the electrical wiring, throughout the building, contained (insert here).

#531 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2012, 02:23 PM:

Jim Macdonald (526): I'd watch that. Also much love for mjfgates @507.

Who has the number for the programming department at SyFy?

#532 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2012, 02:32 PM:

Recruiter: Hi, here's a job requirement. We want you to interview for it. Interested?
Me: Yeah, interested...but it says A, B, C, and D and I don't have A or B.
Recruiter: Yeah, but they're having a hard time finding anyone with C or D, so they may want to talk to you anyway.
Me: OK, as long as it's clear that I don't have A and B.
Recruiter: OK, I talked to them and told them you don't have A or B, and they still want to talk to you. Phone interview first.
Me: OK, I'm certainly willing.
Recruiter: OK, it's set up. The person you'll be talking to is named X.
Me: OK.
[Phone rings for the interview, but it's person Y instead.]
Y: Tell us what you've done with [system that includes A, B, C, and D].
Me: I've done C and D.
Y: You haven't done A or B?
Me: I'm certainly familiar with A and B, but I haven't done them.
Y: Well, we need someone who's done A and B. Thanks for your time.
Me: [very polite noises]
[end phone call]
Me: [gnashing of teeth]

#533 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2012, 03:38 PM:

Since Syfy and Universal share the same parent company, and have done through several owners, I find it amusing that no one from programming had any sort of connection (or thought of one) on the Pictures side. I mean, I guess as long as Universal is suing the unrelated production company and not their sister basic cable channel everything must be above board.

Xopher @532 -

I had a similar experience when I was a temp. The agency got a call while I was speeding through my typing test. The company requested bilingual Spanish, and I made it quite clear several times that I spoke no Spanish. The agency said they were looking for at least two people, one of whom had to be bilingual. I showed up for an interview at the company (such BS - that's what the temp agency is for) that morning and the head of the company lectured me about how dedicated I'd have to be, then perused my application (as separate from the one I submitted at the temp agency) and used my having been a vocal major in school as a springboard for an interrogation about whether I really moved to LA just to be an actress, and that I had to give that job 100% and not skip out for auditions or whatever. (Yes. Because a 220 lb 30 year old woman is going to try to be a movie star,) After learning I didn't speak any Spanish, he got cranky but eventually "hired" me. The person who showed me around pointed to the incredibly chemically noxious dry-cleaning department, staffed exclusively it looked like by hispanic employees, and then told me who I'd have to ask for the key if I wanted to use the bathroom - "those people" were not allowed in certain bathrooms because "they're disgusting." The end of my first and only shift was spent sitting on a folding chair at a folding plastic card table that was sagging under the weight of 15 year old computers, learning how to answer phones and being taught small tidbits of Spanish so I would be able to take people's orders.

I called the agency the next day to tell them to send me somewhere else, and they snippilly informed me that the head of the company felt I was unsuitable because I didn't speak any Spanish and I would not be asked back. The agency doubted they could find me any other assignments, since it was hard to place someone who had disappointed one of their major clients, but they'd keep my name on file.

#534 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2012, 04:20 PM:

A few days ago, I mentionned Scott Zicree's use of Kickstarter to fund his movie series "Space Command". Not only was the financial goal reached within 3 days instead of 59, but it's now been largely exceeded. I expect that Guillermo del Toro's spreading the word didn't hurt.

#535 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2012, 05:16 PM:

Xopher @532 - I feel that pain. I was at a restaurant with a nice piano, and asked if they need players for piano bar, and played some of my pieces. I was referred to a manager. I told him I play classical, jazz, and pop up to the 1970s, and played some, and they gave me a slot.

Then they called and said their regular guy was out and asked if I could come and play sooner, so I came in. Manager said not to play too much "old stuff." I explained again, but said I'd try to play my more recent things.

So with most of my work off limits, I did my best with what was left. After a while, he asked me why I didn't play stuff from the 80s and 90s, and I explained again, as simply as possible. I said I could do classical, and he said they already had a guy who did that. (Because there's only an hour's worth of classical music for piano.) That was it for that place. Imagine, not being able to magically switch my entire repertoire at the drop of a hat.

I heard the sort of player they like, before my gig. Played everything alike: arpeggios forever. Easy to ignore. I never went back.

#536 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2012, 05:46 PM:

Kip W - ah, the Nordstrom Piano, as my church's musical director likes to call it.

My grandpa had a band that played nightclubs from the late 20's to the mid-60's. He decided to hang it up shortly after the request portion of the evening exceeded the accepted parameters of polynesian and tiki music. My mom recounts the evening a snotty youngster made an inappropriate request. Grandpa and the rest of his band dutifully referred to the selection in their fake books and proceeded to perform the squarest, most dead-pan version of that song ever. Mom was unclear on whether he was being deliberately musically obtuse to show his contempt, or if he was singing in full good faith. I really wish I had a recording of him singing "Na-Na, Na-Na, Na-Na, Na-Na, BATMAN!!!" accompanied by ukelele and full Royal Samoan backup.

#537 ::: Cassy B ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2012, 06:58 PM:

Stefan @528,

There's already a not-dissimilar novel along those lines; William Sleater's House of Stairs.

Wiki summation

Book gave me nightmares....

#538 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2012, 07:08 PM:

Just heard from the vet that my remaining cat, Hanako (13 yo, female, ex-feral, terrified of everyone except me) has 3rd stage kidney disease, and ALSO needs $1000 worth of dental care. If I don't do the dental care, because $1000 is a Fucking Lot of Money and it comes out of my retirement fund, my kitty gets to spend her remaining time in pain.

Will do the dental care next month. Best case, she lives another 2 years or so. Worst case, we're looking at months. No way to know. Oh, and the dental surgery itself could precipitate a crisis with the kidneys -- or not.

It's a small thing, right. Only money. Only a cat. So many other people, people I love, are dealing with much worse.

Damn it, damn it, damn it.

#539 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2012, 07:23 PM:

#537: After finishing my write-up, I realized that I'd read something like it decades ago, involving red and green lights. I'm pretty sure that the Sleator novel was it.

#538: "Damn it" x 3 sounds about right . . . that is an awful situation.

Is there really no way, through testing, to know how the kidney situation is doing?

#540 ::: Stefan Jones gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2012, 07:24 PM:

An entry responding to cat sadness and Sleator novel was held for revue.

#541 ::: Cassy B ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2012, 07:36 PM:

Lizzy @538,

{hugs} Furry family is still family.

#542 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2012, 07:45 PM:

Paula: Hope you heal quickly. Elliot, condolences.

My new dog issue: On her early-afternoon walk, something seemed to frighten my dog about midway through, and she wanted to go back early. Twice this evening, she's refused to go out, appearing scared (tail tucked, shivering, retreating back into the house). This is... unheard of for Gracie, who normally loves her walks.

I'm not sure how worried I should be here....

#543 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2012, 07:53 PM:

#541: When my dog was new (to me) she was scared of metal plates in the sidewalk, sprinkler systems, cars backfiring, and a few other triggers. While she never wanted to not go out, she wasn't eager to go toward the areas that had the Scary Things.

Eventually this behavior went away. Kira still hates explosions, but she no longer refuses to return to a place where she heard (say) a backfire.

I'd bring along toys and/or extraordinary treats and see if that (and lots of encouragement) helps Gracie get moving.

Is she small enough to carry?

#544 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2012, 07:58 PM:

David at 541, did you turn in the same direction and/or take essentially the same route both times? If so, try going in a different direction. (Forgive me if you've already thought of this, tried it, and had it not change a thing. That's all I've got at the moment.)

Cassy B: thanks.

#545 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2012, 08:12 PM:

I'd just like to say that in general the fact that there are "bigger things" going on, or other people are dealing with more severe issues, blah blah blah, is no reason not to mention what you're going through right now. Pain and trauma to a beloved pet is important.

More importantly, shared pain is lessened; shared joy is increased. Share your pain and joy.

Besides, if you're not allowed to talk about your stuff if someone else's stuff is worse...that leads to a) only the person with the very worst stuff ever talking (and that isn't comfortable even for that person) and b) competitions for either i) "my stuff is worse than yours" (on sites with less mature commenters) or ii) "your stuff is so much worse, you go ahead" (more likely here). Neither one is a good way for a community to spend its time.

#546 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2012, 09:11 PM:

Lizzy L, sympathies.

#547 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2012, 09:14 PM:

Lizzy -- we just had to get one of our cats treated with radiation for her thyroid -- similar amount of money. And she's recovering nicely. May you have as good a result with Hanako!

#548 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2012, 09:34 PM:

And I somehow didn't wish Lizzy well on her cat. I do, Lizzy. I was caught up in the other thing. Sorry.

#549 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2012, 09:57 PM:

Lizzy @538 - I've been there. Removal of bunny bladder stones is expensive and the monitoring of same requires periodic x-rays. There was a point before the last vet visit when I was wondering if I'd end up exhausting my cushion on the x-rays before we even got to the surgery (thankfully, the stones seem stable and the next visit is in 4 months rather than one). But one does these things for one's family.

May your cat get through the surgery as smoothly as Pepper did.

#550 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2012, 10:37 PM:

Linked at Daily Kos:
Ethnic maps of major US cities, based on the 2010 census. It's very interesting to run through the entire set of images.

#551 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2012, 11:09 PM:

Xopher, Tom, Hilary, thanks. Thanks to everyone else, for making this a place where I can post about a cat's pain (and my own.) Xopher, your comment at 545 helps. I'll remember it.

#552 ::: Leroy F. Berven ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2012, 11:48 PM:

Jim Macdonald @ 526: You and Steve York have just outlined a double feature . . .

#553 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2012, 12:06 AM:

Lizzy @538

I wish you the best possible outcome for you and your cat!

#554 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2012, 12:07 AM:

Lizzy L @ 538 ...
Bah. It's not _only_ a cat or _only_ money -- it's love and pain and caring.

#555 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2012, 12:18 AM:

Stephen @ 524: Your 2017 eclipse track shows it going through my town. Now, it the clouds would just stay away this time that'll be great!

Jim Macdonald @ 526: That screenplay is so, so plausible. Keep a copy of this for your future movie credit lawsuit.

#556 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2012, 12:21 AM:

Elliott Mason: You've been to the California I know and shake my head over, that's for sure.

In 2017 we can also be solar tourists. Evil Rob has family in Eugene and we go up there a lot anyway, and it's only a short hop north to Salem and totality.

P.S. We get Gareth cool presents for his birthday. For his fourth birthday, we got him an eclipse. (Gareth shrugs and goes on playing in the sandbox.)

#557 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2012, 01:27 AM:

Lizzy L @ 538: Sympathies and best wishes.

Xopher @ 545: Many times this. The fact that this community so very much doesn't suffer from the conservation-of-compassion fallacy is a great part of why it works for me.

#558 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2012, 01:57 AM:

Lizzy L, sympathy and good wishes for Hanako. Pets are family too; the only difference between them and the family humans is that we're the ones who have to take care of them when they're sick or hurt because they can't do it for themselves.

#559 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2012, 04:22 AM:

HLN: your humble correspondent has bought an Android tablet, and been struggling with the different thinking behind computers controlled by touch-sensitive screens.

1: Identifying eBooks by the cover image is difficult. Likewise movies. Though it is a decent media player.

2: The documentation is lousy.

3: This is a product of the Facebook generation.

4: The elephant in the room of such things as Internet TV is the ability of ISPs to deliver enough bandwidth to customers: both the speed of the connection, and the capacity to deliver media streams to so many customers at the same time.

5: Sturgeon was an optimist.

#560 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2012, 04:29 AM:

SpaceX have successfully launched their Dragon capsule, which is now headed towards a rendezvous with the ISS.

There are reports of a secret item of cargo.


#561 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2012, 05:34 AM:

Lizzy L @ 538... My sympathies.

#562 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2012, 08:00 AM:

Dave Bell @ 560:

Nah, they're saving that for the Moon mission.

#563 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2012, 08:24 AM:

Dave Bell @559: The new Netflix player (on their main website) has driven home to me that very many sites I use are doing their darnedest to make interfaces that look like they are well-designed for tablet-PC usage, be the ONLY available way to use their services. :-/

#564 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2012, 08:44 AM:

Lizzy L @ 538: My sympathies, and what they said. For what it's worth, kidney disease is not painful, although cats can get more easily fatigued (like people), and the appetite can decrease. Dental work will make her feel better sooner.

There's also kidney-specific diets, in case you don't already know about them. More than one company makes them, and most cats find them delicious enough to eat.

#565 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2012, 08:49 AM:

Open threadiness. This looks like something I would expect to find mentioned here, but if someone's already posted it, I don't see it.

Medieval illuminated initial cookies

I found it from a link at Elizabeth Moon's newsgroup.

#566 ::: OtterB has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2012, 08:50 AM:

Not sure what caused the visit to the gnomes, but I did bring cookies.

[URL format, I'm afraid. But thank you for the cookies, and the conversation. It is always a pleasure. — Violetta Eustacia di Valetta, duty gnome]

#567 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2012, 08:55 AM:

Lizzy L #538: My sympathies on your cat!

Fearful dog: Whatever was up, it cleared up completely this morning. Best guess was noise or odor from the river reconstruction spooked her. We'll see how she is this evening....

#568 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2012, 09:28 AM:

“Hail! Hail the Priestess of Unexpected Violence!”

Those of you who’ve had the pleasure of reading Seanan McGuire’s novel “Discount Armageddon” might be interested in knowing that they can read some short stories set in 1928 that tell us how Verity Price's grandparents met. While the first story was published in “Westward Weird”, a DAW anthology, the other two are available for free HERE.

#569 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2012, 09:33 AM:

Ginger at 564: thank you. I do know that kidney disease is not actually painful -- I've had other cats who've had it -- and I am very grateful for that. The dental issues do not seem to bother the cat as much as one would think, given the extent of the tooth rot, but my vet assures me that dealing with the bad teeth will actually improve her health, since she won't be fighting off a low-grade infection all the time, so I'm doing it.

I really appreciate the comments and kind thoughts from everyone. I'm feeling more able to cope today. Hanako is perky and happy and has no idea that she's sick, of course, and spent the night curled against me, as usual. She's now yelling for her breakfast.

#570 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2012, 10:00 AM:

Lizzy and Hanako -- hang in there. I'm assuming the kitty has CRF? If so, lots can be done to keep her comfortable. Lizzy, is she on subcutaneous fluids?

Having just plunked down megabucks on Isis' emergency eye care, I sympathize. But Isis is doing well -- she even lets us know when it's time for her eye drops. Sweetest dog ever.

HLN Garden report: Lotuses are putting up "coin" leaves, so I increased the water depth. My black Iris, Gamecock, is in bloom. We ARE four weeks ahead of schedule, the figs are setting fruit (Maybe enough for preserves this year?) and the roses first flush will be over by Memorial Day.

I'm still waiting for my tropical waterlilies from Tricker, and I guess I'll get the solar fountain birdbath out in the yard this week. I don't think we're likely to get a frost until October. Gleeful forecaster predicting 90F+ for this weekend...

#571 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2012, 12:28 PM:

David H., #567: My first thought, when reading your initial comment, was that she'd caught a whiff of a Very Large Predator -- something like a puma or a wolf. I suppose construction smells could provide something similarly scary.

#572 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2012, 12:45 PM:

Congratulations, Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant!

"Mira Grant's trilogy, Feed, Deadline, and Blackout, optioned to Rachel Olschan, producer at Electric Entertainment, by Pouya Shahbazian of FinePrint, on behalf of Diana Fox at Fox Literary."

#573 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2012, 12:49 PM:

Lizzy L: good thoughts for Hanako.

I've been in your place (too many times). Looking back, it's clear that I would regret not taking care of my Small & Dainty Overlords far more than I regret spending the $Ks.

#574 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2012, 01:11 PM:

Kip W @ 535... Cue in Billy Joel's "Piano Man"?

#575 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2012, 01:39 PM:

Lori at 570, thanks for the good wishes. She's not on fluids yet; she doesn't need to be. She's still drinking lots, pissing lots, and eating wet foods with gusto. We'll cross the treatment bridge when we get there. Could be months, could be a couple of years. At the moment I just want to get the dental stuff done with. I'm going out of town shortly, so the surgery is not going to happen for another 3 weeks.

She does not tolerate being handled very well, so sub-q fluids may not be possible when that time comes. When it does, I will make her as comfortable as I can with minimally invasive treatment.

#576 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2012, 01:41 PM:

Keeping you in my thoughts, Lizzy.

#577 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2012, 01:50 PM:

Lizzy L: Weird thing about the sub-Q fluids: a lot of times, the critter will clue in to what's going on. I had to water Gustav twice a day, back when she was sick, but after the first couple of days, she became much more cooperative; I think she noticed she felt better afterward. A friend reports that her cat would actually start stropping her ankles when it was time: kitty could clearly tell she felt better afterwards.

The biggest thing is to be assertive with the needle stick, for obvious reasons.

#578 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2012, 02:21 PM:

HLN: Yesterday, local man's university graduated 12 PhDs. Local man served on five of their committees, chaired three. Feels very weird about it. Thinks other people are supposed to be the grown-ups.

#579 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2012, 02:21 PM:

Lizzy (and others) Family members is family members. I didn't take on their care with the secret reservation that I could dump them if it got hard.

That said, I have been glad that euthanasia is acceptable for animals. When your Little Sister's lungs are full of tumors so she can't take a good breath, it's a relief to be able to let her go where there is no more pain and suffering.

#580 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2012, 03:32 PM:

Open threadiness (unintentionally semi-relevant to Fragano's #578):

What Should We Call Grad School (dot tumblr dot com). (Consists entirely of animated gifs, so if you Do Not Want animated gifs, be forewarned.)

Clearly from a wet-lab biology POV, but still made this computational-electrophysiology biomedical engineer say "It's funny, because it's sad, because it's true."

My favorites include:

I will repeat what I said on FB about that last one:

Helpful hint for well-meaning friends and family: Ph.D programs do not have predictable, nicely laid-out program schedules. It is not just a matter of passing a list of required classes and then a big final exam. Instead, it depends on how your research goes, which is unpredictable and not entirely in your control (experiments can fail, papers/grants can get rejected, etc.) So being asked "When are you graduating?" is kind of like having someone in the backseat asking "Are we there yet?" when you're driving lost through a trackless, unmapped rain forest where you keep having to dig the jeep out of quicksand, repair the alternator with chewing gum and coconuts, and stop and cut down some trees so you can build your own bridge across an unexpected gorge.

Grad school: It's kind of like a Top Gear special, except Jeremy Clarkson lives in your head so he can mock you more efficiently.

#581 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2012, 04:18 PM:

Last night I watched Derek Jacobi as Brother Cadfael in The Pilgrim of Hate. Well acted and beautifully shot, but why did they frack around with the plot like that? In the book, someone is healed by what appear to be miraculous means; he is unfakably not well before the event and unfakably just fine afterward. In the movie, this character is a con artist. In the book, one man stalks another with vengeful murder in mind, but when it comes down to it, he can't shed blood. In the movie, this character is dangerously unbalanced, commits one horrific murder, and almost commits another. The script also adds disgusting descriptions of a human body being boiled down to its bones--seriously, they squicked out my husband and he enjoyed the Aliens movies. Why not leave in the joyous and humane parts of Ellis Peters's story? There's plenty of grotesquery and violence in the series as it was written!

#582 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2012, 04:36 PM:

Caroline, that last is important. I sometimes wonder what might have happened if I'd gotten results-- in seven years of research in three different fields, I had one, "Kick ass!" exclamation, and that wasn't anything I could realistically follow up on.

#583 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2012, 05:07 PM:

Jenny, that infuriated me as well. I think that episode was written by someone caught up in cynicism, or perhaps the series had been admonished to make sure everything was "realistic," which to me means "don't make that series," because there are miracles in those books...not least of which is the 20th-Century liberal feminist Cadfael appearing in them at all!

I think someone had just read one of the more strident angry atheists (that is, not one of the ones whose attitude is "well, the evidence doesn't support religion" but "anyone who believes in religion is either stupid or a con artist; religion must be destroyed"), and made the episode reflect that. The second part is even harder to understand, but bitter cynicism accounts for both.

They shouldn't have done it.

#584 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2012, 06:28 PM:

Jenny, #581: I was similarly disappointed in The Sanctuary Sparrow -- there's an entire subplot in that one that appears out of nowhere! I'm willing to grant them a certain amount of license about cutting things out, but it really pisses me off to have them put stuff in.

#585 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2012, 06:51 PM:

Lizzy, I'm sorry. They're so much more than "only a cat." We had to take Alias to the vet for the last time this weekend, and it still hurts. I hope Hanako does well and you have lots of good time together.

#586 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2012, 06:51 PM:

Serge Broom @574 - Cue in Billy Joel's "Piano Man"?
Urg. I should like that song, autobiographical and pithy as it is, but I can't get over the fact that all it does is go over the same chords, over and over, to an unrelenting oom-pah-pah that never changes. If that had been the only thing he wrote, I'd hate the man.

Fun fact: The science fiction club back in Virginia used to meet (in part) every Friday night for dinner at the Jolly Ox (as Steak & Ale was obliged to rename their place during the reign of the blue laws), and invariably grumbled about the music they had to talk over. For a while, before we lived in the area, they were grumbling about young Bruce Hornsby. I'll bet he did some grumbling of his own.

#587 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2012, 06:54 PM:

Lee @584 - Yeah, it bugs me when an adaptation feels the need to cut from the original in order to shoehorn in some cutesy conceit of their own.

Someone at PBS did Twain's "The Innocents Abroad" and decided it would be clever to have the same person play all the guides (presumably because Clemens invariably called them all Ferguson). And then decided it would be even cleverer to have the characters recognize it, and have him really be the same person, and not just the same actor. I think that's where I stopped taping and started rewinding. I don't remember anything else about the show.

#588 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2012, 07:10 PM:

The same-actor thing can be used to good effect. I remember a production of MacBeth where the Witches were played by the same actresses who played all the servants in the castle, without changing costume. Added a layer of creepiness, especially since (of course) MacBeth didn't recognize them.

#589 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2012, 07:38 PM:

Melissa at 585: thanks. I am sorry about Alias.

I stopped watching the Cadfael series, much as I love Derek Jacobi, because I felt it departed unnecessarily not only from the letter of the text in some cases, but from the spirit, and the spirit was what kept me reading the series. Edith Pargeter worked too hard as a researcher and writer to be disrespected in that way.

Xophr at 588, that sounds brilliant. Creepy, yeah.

#590 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2012, 09:32 PM:

Kip W @ 586

The science fiction club back in Virginia used to meet (in part) every Friday night for dinner at the Jolly Ox (as Steak & Ale was obliged to rename their place during the reign of the blue laws).

Just on the random chance--was that in Richmond, just west of the Alcoa building on Broad? If so, it's across the highway from where I work, and was torn down within the last few months.

#591 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2012, 12:48 AM:

I love my Florida porch★!

I'd kind of always known I was going to, but I thought I was going to for purely winter use (somewhere to sit and be sunny when it's ick ick cold outside).

What I hadn't realized was its amazing utility in the liminal seasons, especially to my particular preferences. In our old house (whose back porch was spacious and non-dog-permeable, but entirely open to the elements), for well over half the year I preferred to leave the back door wide open for the breeze, the sun, and the dogs' freedom to access their Smell-o-vision set.

Last weekend, we hit 90degF outside, and I turned the thermostat to 'off' so the boiler wouldn't go off as I practiced what my mother raised me to call Victorian Air-Conditioning☘, sucking the high-sixties nighttime air into the house. Then it cooled off Monday, with a daytime peak temp somewhere right around 70degF. Monday night it cooled down again, and even with our windows shut, we lost some degrees, so the morning indoor temp was just a bit on the chilly side of comfortable (but not enough for me to turn on the boiler again).

Tuesday noonish, as the sun came over and hit our Florida porch, it warmed up to 'quite nice," and I propped open the kitchen door (which goes from kitchen to porch) while closing the outer one to keep the still-quite-chilly exterior air, well, exterior. I went out there to sit in the sun and read with the kid, then came back in and left the door open.

Time passed, and the porch heated up quite noticeably. By 4PM, its greenhouse effect (and a single open door, with no fan involved) had heated up THE ENTIRE HOUSE's overall temperature nearly 4 degrees, which is amazing and awesome.

I've sewn some blackout curtains for it to bounce unwanted infrared photons back out, after it gets so very hot we won't WANT the extra insolation, but this is a really nice feature for the outer edges of 'three season living'.

Also, it has two windows on either side that, if propped open, suck a wonderful cross-breeze right through, keeping the porch at external average air temp even when it's Fully Sunny out.

★ I am amazed that Googling has not turned up any definitional or wiki-type sites to cite, so you're going to have to take my word for it: in northern-states parlance, a "Florida porch" is an enclosed porch whose walls are largely window, usually facing south (though mine faces west). In their purest form, they are truly an outdoor room, not designed to be interior to the building.

☘ In Victorian Air-Conditioning (a strategy that works best in old houses that haven't been massively rearranged and remodelled), one opens one's windows at night and pumps in cool outdoor temperature, then closes them up in the morning to let the house coast on its own insulation until the internal temp once more rises higher than the external, at which point you repeat the cycle.

Ideally, this is after the sun has 'gone over' and the external temp is one you can tolerate; however, if the house isn't well-insulated (or you have massive south-facing unshaded windows) -- or if the nighttime temps aren't getting down into the habitable-comfort band because it's the depth of summer -- you'll have several-to-many hours of Too Hot in the day. Which is what our electrical window-AC units are for: respite.

#592 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2012, 10:41 AM:

Headline at Huffpo: "Doctor Who Helped Find Bin Laden Sentenced To Prison" They can't keep Doctor Who in prison!

(Seriously, "conspiring against the state"? They aren't even pretending to be against Al Qaeda, are they?)

SamChevre @590 - It was in Hampton, right by the Coliseum Mall by I-64.

#593 ::: pedantic Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2012, 10:51 AM:

Kip W @ 592... Obviously HuffPo doesn't know that his name isn't Who, but the Doctor.

#594 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2012, 11:39 AM:

Elliot Mason @591:

Delightful -- we're having some renovation done on our "three season room" this Summer. A downspout problem has caused some rot in the baseboards,* so we're having that torn out, a knee wall added (the windows come within a foot of the floor, and the youngest cat has discovered how to dismantle them), plus new windows and a new storm door.

Once that's finished the gutterman is coming to fix the downspout, and put in a drain to carry the water out to the woods at the back of the lot.

Isn't owning a house fun?

*We think this is where the visiting mice have been getting in...

#595 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2012, 11:58 AM:

Elliott Mason (591): In Victorian Air-Conditioning ... one opens one's windows at night and pumps in cool outdoor temperature, then closes them up in the morning to let the house coast on its own insulation until the internal temp once more rises higher than the external, at which point you repeat the cycle.

That's what we did in Atlanta when I was growing up, although I never heard that term. We eventually installed a whole-house fan in the attic to help cool off overnight. It worked okay, since we were acclimated to it; I wouldn't be able to stand it nowadays. My parents finally broke down and got actual air conditioning about 15 years ago, more for humidity control than temperature control. (My mother, who grew up in the southern California desert, firmly believed that "the only air conditioning you need is a shade tree and a breeze." I, a child of the humid South, thought she was crazy.)

#596 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2012, 01:32 PM:

Mary Aileen: It wouldn't work in a lot of climates. I live in Chicago, and it doesn't even work in most houses here that were built/substantially rebuilt after 1945: the windows are too small and they don't line up with each other in the room plan for proper whole-house exhausting, plus the ceilings are too low.

I've discovered in the last few years that my higher brain functions basically shut down somewhere around 86degF (taking wind chill into account; I'll last longer if I'm sitting in front of a fan, etc).

I have never lived in a house that had central air conditioning, and I've never (in old houses) hit my no-brain point for more than a week or two each summer, if properly exhausting the house at night. The problem is when the NIGHTTIME temps are 84ish; you can't pump the house low enough during the day to get you anywhere.

Last weekend, we discovered that even with 90+ outside, this house only coasts 4-6 degrees upwards in temp in a whole day, which is very, very nice: it's stucco, in a very mature-trees neighborhood, and it's set quite close to the houses on either side (so the south-facing wall of the house is in shade almost the whole day). Plus the brand-new roof we paid to put on (ouch ... but at least it will last) is white, so that's got to be helping.

There's a huge gabled attic space; sometime before Beka's in college I want to be able to afford a house-exhausting fan up there to draw hotness up through the hatch in the top of the linen closet and out through the roof vents on summer nights.

#597 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2012, 01:45 PM:

The US Navy, along with some other interested parties, is celebrating the bicentennial of the War of 1812 and has a Twitter account for that very purpose--@Navy1812.

#598 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2012, 01:50 PM:

Elliott Mason (596): Atlanta generally gets down into the 60s overnight, even in the height of summer. With lots of trees around for shade, it didn't generally get above 80° in our house in the daytime--not bad if you're not moving around much. But my heat tolerance got a lot lower since I started spending a lot of time in air conditioned environments (i.e., once I started working summers, in my late teens).

#599 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2012, 02:01 PM:

So I occasionally read other sites' comment threads (this place has spoiled me for a lot of them, but there are a few that seem worth my time now and then). I was reading >a thread elsewhere about Being Made To Feel Old By Kids These Days that is roughly equivalent to ML's recent "Like sunlight through ..." thread (which I can't find flipping back through the past several months of archives, alas), and there was a jewellike comment deep in the thread that I am so glad I got down to!

Someone had said, "Bullhockey," to which another replied, "Huh? I thought it was bullpuckey" or some such, and significantly farther down the conversation, someone who goes by DensityDuck said this:

“Bullhockey” might be fun. It’s like field hockey, but with an angry bull loosed onto the field. Every five minutes or so the bull is hit with a Taser to make sure he stays mad. The players’ hockey sticks are sharpened on the non-blade tip, and if a player kills the bull then his team immediately wins the game.

It’s sort of like Quidditch, really, if the Golden Snitch wanted to kill you.

Another longtime commenter there immediately declared that DensityDuck had one the thread, and I agree. In fact, if a Fluorospherian had said it we would be very proud of them, so I thought I'd pull it from its context and admire it here (while duly linking back to provide credit and breadcrumbs for those interested).

#600 ::: Elliott Mason is ashamed ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2012, 02:04 PM:

Won the thread. Had won the thread. Geez ...

#601 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2012, 02:50 PM:

Jim: Tesla's Cat is a marvelous piece, and inspired us to look up the cat's name. It's pronounced very close to "Magic" (with a schwa-like a as the second vowel) and just means "cat" in Bosnian.

#602 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2012, 03:07 PM:

Elliott Mason @599: bullhockey

The humor potential of this idea is much eroded for me by the fact that the description reasonably fits traditional bullfighting which is, IMnpHO, a barbaric practice.

#603 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2012, 03:11 PM:

Great Googly Moog today!

Another doodle you can play on, and adjust all the settings, and record four tracks. Because it's Robert Moog's birthday.

His name, I have been told [cum grano salis] sounds more like "mogue" or "moag" than anything that rhymes with part of Google, but it seems like the synths that bear his name are universally pronounced -oog anyway.

(I could have done without the snippy note about my browser, though. Looks to me like it behaved exactly the same in SeaMonkey as it did in Chrome.)

#604 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2012, 03:15 PM:

Time for the latest update:

The Ex has moved into her new house, complete with the remaining furniture and young cat from my house. The refinancing settlement is set for tomorrow Friday morning. Even though the Ex has some minor articles left in the basement, I plan to retrieve all keys and/or change the front door locks. I'm tired of worrying about her entering while I'm gone, which is her habit. I'm looking forward to having my house to myself. I've already got new art work to put up on the walls, and some ideas for the repainting that also needs done.

#605 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2012, 03:18 PM:

Ginger... Glad to hear!

#606 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2012, 03:51 PM:

Ginger: Happy nesting!

#607 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2012, 03:55 PM:

Jim C. Hines wins another Internet for his collection. And do read the comments!

Ginger, #604: Establish an "Ex-box" somewhere convenient, into which random bits and pieces of her stuff can be collected as you find them, to be handed off later. It took half-a-dozen handoffs to completely clear my ex's stuff out of the house, and the last one was sent by mail from Texas.

#608 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2012, 03:59 PM:

Ginger... Hopefully your son will understand that the Hex is not to be given access to the new lock's key.

#609 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2012, 04:14 PM:

Ginger #604: Thus ends the chapter and begins another.

#610 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2012, 06:32 PM:

Fearful dog update: She's continued to be fearful of noon and evening walks, but not morning. Yesterday was thundery and rainy, so I discounted it because I already know she's scared of thunder and doesn't like heavy rain. But when she did it again this evening (I was away for noontime), and this the rain was gone, I decided to push a bit more. With a combination of petting and pulling, I got her out the door, and within a few minutes she untucked her tail and started behaving more normally. (Still panting,but it is hot and muggy.)

So now I'm still not sure what to make of it, but I less worried about something serious going on (illness, injury, etc.

#611 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2012, 06:40 PM:

fidelio @597

The first Monday after the 24th August is usually a Bank Holiday in the UK.

But don't tell the US Navy that. Or the US Army.

And we maybe shouldn't tweet about this Making Light blog entry.

#612 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2012, 06:59 PM:

Fragano Ledgister #578: yeah, I'm still faintly startled when "some kid" calls me sir.

Melissa Mead #585: My condolences. That's always hard....

And Lizzy... at least you have the money to spend on her! If Gremlin hadn't been so obviously terminal, I don't know how much treatment I could have gotten for her anyway....

Elliott Mason #591: Florida porch: in northern-states parlance, a "Florida porch" is an enclosed porch whose walls are largely window, usually facing south

Do screens count? If so, my parents have one here in Virginia. I'd never heard the term, but I've mostly lived in townhouses and apartments.

Just got back from physical-therapy evaluation, with a new exercise sheet.

#613 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2012, 07:20 PM:

David Harmon (612)/Elliott Mason (591): I'd never heard 'Florida porch' before; the term I know is 'sun porch'*.

It always surprises me when Long Islanders call an enclosed room tacked on the front of a house a 'porch'. Most of them don't even have particularly big windows**. To me, 'porch' implies open, with or without screens (despite my childhood house's "back porch", which was basically a sun porch, although we never called it that).

*'sunporch'? I'm not sure if it's one word or two.
**although I suspect most, if not all, of them started life as open porches

#614 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2012, 07:25 PM:

Kip W.
His name, I have been told [cum grano salis] sounds more like "mogue" or "moag" than anything that rhymes with part of Google,

Yes, it's basically same as in Dutch or German: 'oo' is a longer version of 'o', so 'Moog' is like a stretch version of 'Mog'.

English is the outlier here, because of the Great Vowel Shift.

#615 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2012, 07:37 PM:

David Harmon @612: In my idiolect, a screened-in porch is a screened-in porch; a Florida Porch is heavily windowed and mostly elements-proof (though often not terribly insulated). The defining feature of a Florida Porch is its runaway greenhouse effect when sunlit (which is not to say they necessarily make a good greenhouse in the botanical sense; often they whipsaw on temperature far more than plants would like).

#616 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2012, 08:41 PM:

One of the things that sold us on our new home was the sun porch off the second floor bedrooms. The greenhouse effect is great enough that in the winter we often left the heat off until going to bed.

#617 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2012, 09:10 PM:

David Harmon @ 612: Thank you.

#618 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2012, 11:07 PM:

Lizzy: sorry to hear about Hanako's troubles, and many sympathies, as I have btdt a few times myself now.

Currently I am dealing with less dire versions of both problems. Alex (15ish) has a broken fang--it's been broken since he came to live with us, and the vet says to leave it alone until/unless it becomes problematic. So every time he doesn't eat, or paws at his mouth, or licks excessively, I start keeping mental track . . . .

He also has kidney disease, though not stage 3. So no fluids either for us.

Generally I do not offer treatment options to other pet people, but I've learned that many vets do not use this particular item. Has your vet discussed Renal Essentials with you? Alex has been on them for 3 years without any progression of the kidney condition, which I think is pretty good (the last cat I had with kidney disease lived only a few months). 2 pills a day, added to his canned food. I have it down to a science now: crush in pill crusher, put in bowl, add an amount of warm water (to taste/texture--Alex likes his food at a texture that's easy to stir), add food, mix, serve. It's possible that Hanako's condition is too advanced, but it might be worth investigating.

Otherwise, my thoughts are with you and your kitty.

#619 ::: Cassy B ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2012, 11:10 PM:

Elliott @615

My term for what you call a Florida Porch is either a Florida room or a sunroom.

(In fact, we had one built on our house some years ago; we call it the sunny-room because the cats love it best when it's sunny....)

#620 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2012, 11:23 PM:

Cassy B: Our garage's human-size door (the one that opens into the yard and has a knob, not the roll-up one that goes into the alley for car use) has a threshhold that's nearly a foot off the ground. When we bought the place, there was a set of little wood slats ground into the dirt there as a footing-securer, but it was still a decided climb up into the garage, rather like hoisting oneself into a very high SUV.

While we were disposing of the remains of the previous (structurally-unsound) playset, I looked at the former top-of-slide decking square, which was sturdier than a lot of the rest of the wood, and had an Idea. I removed the things that made its bottom not-flat and set it in front of the garage as a little stoop or decking piece, and it works really well. I had to brace it up underneath with some discarded bricks here and there, but it's stable, and it roughly halves the distance, turning it into two quite doable steps instead of one hoooooooist step.

The very next morning, our younger beagle, Boston, installed himself FIRMLY upon it in the sunshine and gave me a speaking look: "Thank you for the lovely dog-sized sundeck. This is mine now, and I adore it."

It's the first thing in the yard to get sun. On cold days he prefers the concrete sidewalk, but he definitely prefers the dog-deck on hot days. Maybe because it has airflow beneath, being a slatwork system of wooden boards?

Still, it's always good when the dogs proclaim that some change in their environment Is Good, rather than freaking out about it and being worried for a week. :->

#621 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2012, 12:05 AM:

Oh, and for those of you who tumbl (clearly, the verb form for "use tumblr", right? Right? ... Or just me?), I have one of those things now. Also I occasionally make with the twittering. You know, if you care. If not, ignore. :-> They're both very low-volume compared to many producers of content via those websites.

#622 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2012, 12:09 AM:

R.I.P. Diane Brown, a kind soul and I-Con's long time SF author-track worker.

#623 ::: Errolwi ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2012, 12:38 AM:

Our 1920's weatherboard house in Auckland NZ has a 'porch'. This structure was clearly added on at some point, it has a lower floor and roof than the house. We are fairly sure that the bi-fold doors and ajoining floor-to-ceiling windows are a more recent modification, probably done at the same time as the wooden deck and removal/piercing of two internal walls. As a result you can stand at the kitchen bench, and look though the dining area, lounge, porch and bi-fold doors to the garden. The porch has solid (i.e. not glassed) walls only at each end (it's a little more than a bookcase + armchair deep) and the outermost sixth or so of each end of the internal wall.
It's a great place to sit and read, and we call it a porch, even though it is pretty much a carpeted, one-small-step-lower, extension of the lounge.
The house also came with a cat-step. This is made of the same wood as the deck (but not attached to it), about a foot square and a few inches high. It was (we've moved it elsewhere, it's a handy support for the ramp we use when moving the BBQ) placed on the deck, in front of the cat door in the lower-most windowpane in a porch window. I imagine that going direct from the deck to the cat-flap would have been quite a 'step' otherwise.

#624 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2012, 04:33 AM:

Today's strange discovery: someone has posted the LibriVox dramatic reading of The Picture of Dorian Gray as a series of YouTube videos -- nothing wrong with that, they're public domain and all -- and a whole bunch of web sites out there have now embedded some of them as spacefillers. (Frex, a resto-bar in India which doesn't have a menu on its site...but does have the videos of two random chapters.) I have to admit I never expected that.

(Why yes, I do ego-google now and then.)

#625 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2012, 05:31 AM:

Request for advice here: I've never been comfortable with crowded, noisy places. One of the consequences has been that I've never been able to enjoy a live rock concert. Walked out of a Beach Boys concert (many years ago) even before the opening act had finished. Didn't enjoy an REO Speedwagon performance last year, at a property where I was doing security and couldn't leave, even though there were only about a thousand people there.

But... the local Musical Instrument Museum hosts a performance series, and one of the upcoming performers is... Richard Thompson.

I must admit this tempts me. A lot.

And I'm pretty sure a number of people here have seen Thompson in performance. So I ask, what's the ambience like at his concerts? How loud is the volume? How noisy or rambunctious the audience?

(For the record, I do regret letting pass a couple of opportunities to see Warren Zevon perform before his death.)

#626 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2012, 05:38 AM:

Elliott Mason, re 620:

In a hot environment, removing yourself even a few inches from the hot ground can make a significant difference.

One of the survival tips for people whose car breaks down in the desert boondocks is to take the spare tire out of their car and use it as a seat to put distance between yourself and the ground while awaiting rescue.

#627 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2012, 09:36 AM:

Anyone who enjoyed Avatar: The Last Airbender (or liked the concept but never got around to watching it): Nick has all the episodes (so far) of the sequel-series, The Legend of Korra, available on their website via streaming video, for a limited time.

I highly recommend it; it does not use idiot plots, it is actively feminist and diverse, and the worldbuilding and writing are pretty awesome. It contains spoilers for Avatar inasmuch as lbh svaq bhg gung gur znva punenpgref sebz gur ynfg zbivr jba, naq gung fbzr bs gurz ner fgvyy nyvir 70 lrnef yngre, which are pretty minor as spoilers go, but I rot13'd 'em anyway just to be careful.

I don't know if the video is viewable from a non-US IP address.

#628 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2012, 10:13 AM:

So much for this being a "quiet" neighborhood...

When I got up this morning, my partner said, "YOU can sleep through anything!"

I replied, "What happened?"

It seems that when she was bringing her older Sheltie back from his morning walk, she heard a sigle shot and glanced over in that direction to see a body fall. She thought about checking on the person, then remembered that Columbus has had several murder/suicides recently and decided not to stop.

She came back to the house, waited until she saw the police and EMTs arrive, then took the younger Sheltie out for his run, stopping long enough to tell a police officer what she'd heard and seen.

When she told me about it, she said she wondered if she should have checked on the fellow, and I said: "What is the first rule regarding accident scenes?"

She replied: "Don't become another victim."

She went on to work this morning. The detectives just called wanting to interview her, so I guess her day is going to get more interesting...

#629 ::: Cath ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2012, 11:02 AM:

Bruce @625
I've seen Richard Thompson twice in soft-seat theatres. I don't care for loud noises either and I found the volume quite tolerable. The crowd skewed heavily Boomer, for what that's worth. We listened quietly and intently to the music while applauding vigorously after each song. If you've never seen him live, I highly recommend it - I was spellbound all the way through. I believe you wouldn't find it too uncomfortable. Do go!

#630 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2012, 11:49 AM:

Exactly fourteen weeks from now, the worldcon will begin.

#631 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2012, 01:52 PM:

"We should have talked to Serge two months ago."

So said a representative of another group here at work when, off the top of my head, I provided information that the rest of my team didn't know, and this for a project I was made aware of only two days ago.

Frankly, there are lots of things here that'd run better here if they talked to Serge first.

#633 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2012, 06:59 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz @632: I've already seen the drones they are using in the air over Austin. It's not a comforting thought at all.

#634 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2012, 07:18 PM:

Pffft. Don't worry, they'll only use those drones on brown people and hippies, not real Americans!

(But seriously . . . I've read that even the righty-wingy media is expressing alarm over domestic drones. They're talk of bounties for shooting them down.)

#635 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2012, 08:57 PM:

I'm alive. I'm a foot short and facing some dietary and lifestyle changes. Still hoping to see folks at Worldcon, should be ambulatory by then though I will be renting a scooter.

More to come. Love you all.

#636 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2012, 09:06 PM:

Ouch. My sympathy to you.

(I fell down a step or two yesterday. The 90 percent of the damage that's visible is spectacular, but the chipped tooth is the only long-term problem. Maybe now they'll believe me when I say I can't multi-task.)

#637 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2012, 10:40 PM:

Paula Helm Murray @ 635... Still hoping to see folks at Worldcon

...and we hope to see you.

#638 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2012, 10:59 PM:

Doc Watson is in critical condition after a fall.

#639 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2012, 11:07 PM:

Melissa at 618: thanks, and warm wishes to Alex. David, yeah, I can pay for the dental stuff, and will, because it will spare her pain. Melissa, my vet has not mentioned Renal Essentials. I will ask, thanks.

Paula, welcome back!

#640 ::: Tracie is gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2012, 11:09 PM:

The gnomes are probably as concerned as I am about Doc Watson. I must have left out a space, or maybe I should have linked to an NPR story instead of Google news.

[We look closely at links to, since a typical spammer trick is to make a link to Google that will only connect to their target website (searching for unique strings). -- Orfeo Steincabin, Duty Gnome]

#641 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2012, 12:44 AM:

Serge @637,
I've been remiss in commenting/replying to your email about the upcoming Worldcon, which, falling as it does on a Labor Day weekend, unfortunately overlaps with Burning "flame effects are a costume" Man. B&I are unlikely to be in Chicago.

#642 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2012, 01:40 AM:

Welcome back Paula. Enjoy Worldcon!

#643 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2012, 04:22 AM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @ 641... Enjoy the Burning Man!

#644 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2012, 08:36 AM:

Paula, welcome back!

#645 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2012, 10:35 AM:

Update on yesterday's post -- the local media are calling this an accident.

Apparently the deceased was carrying long guns in the trunk of his car. When he went to get something out of the trunk, one of the guns discharged. News sources are in conflict as to whether the man was DOA at the hospital or on the scene.

My guess is "at the scene," Mom the RN says he would have bled out before the squad could get here, so anything my partner could have done would have been moot. Mom says she's glad oathsister did not go to render aid -- says it's the sort of sight that gives folks nightmares.

#646 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2012, 12:27 PM:

Be not weary in well-doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

Or, in Ta-Nehisi Coates' words:

If you will allow me to express this by analogy, I would say it like this: Moving from the "marrying your daughters" phase of the struggle to the "how come there's no white history month?" portion is exactly how progress works.

#647 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2012, 12:45 PM:

Oh, my. Watching Music Within, and was just hepped to the existence of ugly laws:

No person who is diseased, maimed, mutilated or in any way deformed so as to be an unsightly or disgusting object or improper person to be allowed in or on the public ways or other public places in this city, or shall therein or thereon expose himself to public view, under a penalty of not less than one dollar nor more than fifty dollars for each offense.
#648 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2012, 02:39 PM:

Hyperlocal news... Man has been asked to help with judging the Children's Costume Contest at the upcoming Albuquerque Comics Expo. Man's name was suggested because " like costumes and will not crush the souls of children..."

#649 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2012, 03:50 PM:

" like costumes and will not crush the souls of children..."

You cursh one childs soul and they never shut up about it.

Have fun!

#650 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2012, 04:16 PM:

Neil W @ 649... Thanks! I'd better be nice to the contestants because one of them is likely to be the daughter of Daniel & Kat Abraham, and that 6-year-old was recently heard discussing non-Newtonian fluid mechanics with a chemist. I wouldn't want to be the one responsible for turning her into a supervillain.

#651 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2012, 06:50 PM:

Memorial Day, 2541

A single image survives the ravages of time,
tagged with commentary, remembrances, names...
so many names.

Sophontology expert systems struggle to understand
the ruined shrine world, frozen in a state
of maximum entropy.

Conflict resolution algorithms do not suffice
to measure the cost of pain, of loss, of futility,
of shattered memory.

A single image survives....

As Memorial Day Nears, a Single Image That Continues to Haunt

#652 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2012, 10:50 PM:

Paula Helm Murray @ 635

I hope you heal quickly and with a minimum of discomfort, and I look forward to seeing you at Worldcon, where I suspect I'll be envying you the scooter, though not its cause. I forsee lots of shuttling back and forth between prep room and consuite in my future....

You might want to get in touch with Disability Services for Chicon for information about scooter accessibility; I remember from the virtual walkthrough that there's one small block of function (or exhibit?) space that is unavoidably wheelchair inaccessible. And if memory serves, to get to the Illinois Center (where the small shops and restaurants are) you'll have to go around the long way outside. They'll be able to fill you in better than I can from my vague and fading memories, though.

#653 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2012, 11:29 PM:

Thank you, Earl.

#654 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2012, 11:46 PM:

Bruce Arthurs: May I suggest you ask your doctor for a small amount of an anti-freakout med*? I have known at least one person with serious crowd issues to use one of them on occasion of unavoidable large family gatherings.

*Carefully phrased in an attempt to avoid gnoming. Let's see if this works.

#655 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2012, 11:58 PM:

I am astounded to discover that St. Hildegard of Bingen is in fact alive and well and working at Tor Books. Does the beard mean she is in fact the evil, alternate universe St. Hildegard, or is it just part of her well-thought-out disguise?

#656 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2012, 12:03 AM:

fidelio, #655: Hildegard has been in the news lately, or perhaps you hadn't noticed? Even popes have to notice a grassroots hit, sooner or later.

#657 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2012, 02:19 AM:

Reading the Olympic particles, two things struck me.

1: I am more inclined to trust a British soldier with a missile launcher than a British policeman with a gun. And the soldiers will, when it is all over, pack up their kit and go away.

(1a: The Munich Olympics, though there is definite paranoia about terrorism.)

2: Some up-market clothing brands emblazon their products with a discreet company logo. This would seem to fall foul of the rules, but is anyone even going to notice a Lacoste polo shirt? Even though that discreet crocodile is effectively a rich man saying the same thing as the French Connection UK logo on an East-Ender's hoodie.

(2a: One might almost think the rules are an attempt to blackmail clothing manufacturers.)

ObKipling: Danegeld

#658 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2012, 09:56 AM:

I find it hysterical that the Europeans commenting on the BoingBoing article about Eurovision spend so much time attacking Americans for being so insular that they've never heard of Eurovision without once mentioning Kohaku Uta Gassen. When a local no-budget TV station used to run the NHK feed every year we'd watch it, transfixed.

#659 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2012, 12:49 PM:

Iowa is on her way. Pictures here. (You can't quite see it in the first picture, but right at the right-hand edge is the SF fireboat Phoenix saluting.)

#660 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2012, 03:06 PM:

I have a lot of trouble typing the word 'lieutenant'. Partly it's because it's one of the few words I still have to consciously spell, but somehow the physical act of typing it is also difficult. I don't know why.

This has just become important because I now have a nephew (of the heart) who is one, of the 2nd variety, following his graduation yesterday from the US Military Academy at West Point. That was a joyful occasion. He wants to see combat, and I'm torn between wanting him to get what he wants and wanting him to be SAFE, DAMMIT.

Anyway, the abbreviation 2LT is easy to type. And his commissioning officer (this guy) assures me that in five years he'll be a Captain. So not sweating it too much!

#661 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2012, 03:25 PM:

Xopher @660, congratulations and best wishes to your nephew.

#662 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2012, 03:31 PM:

My best wishes to your nephew, Xopher.

#663 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2012, 03:44 PM:

Patrick NH* @656--I had, in fact, noticed that. I was just surprised to find out about her current employment in publishing, although not that the Vatican was in a new set of trouble.

*Or should I say St. Hildegard?

#664 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2012, 05:40 PM:

Thanks, everyone. I'm not sure how to pass that back to him, except "I was bragging about you to my online community (without mentioning your name) and they congratulate you and wish you well too."

The weirdest thing for me was the cheering of the goat. The only time when the graduating cadets are allowed to cheer for a classmate is when the person who is at the bottom of the class goes up. They all stand up and cheer.

I thought this was really mean at first, but Lt. Nephew explained that it's more of a "we're glad you made it" thing, because the next guy down from the goat got kicked out of USMA completely (and that sucks because then you're just in the regular Army with no commission). Nephew's class started with 1300, and about 890 graduated. Also, they take up a collection for the goat, which winds up giving him a fair-sized chunk of cash.

All in all, the whole thing was an interesting cross-cultural experience.

#665 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2012, 07:04 PM:

Xopher @ 660

Add my congratulations for your nephew; that's a lot of hard work.

And I completely understand SAFE, DAMMIT!

#666 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2012, 08:08 PM:

Xopher @ #660, add another to the chorus of congratulations and best wishes for both achievement and safety. I have a great-niece who's just starting out in the Navy, so yeah.

#667 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2012, 10:59 PM:

Xopher @ 660

Congratulations, and best wishes, to your nephew.

My wife's little brother is just back from his 2nd tour in Iraq--4th combat tour--so I know that "please please come back safe, and as sane as you can be" feeling well.

#668 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2012, 11:10 PM:

SamChevre @ 667... Glad to hear about your wife's brother.

#669 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2012, 11:39 PM:

#660: Ah . . . I never knew they called the last place guy "the goat." My father mentioned doing something similar at Fort Schuyler, the merchant marine academy.

* * *

I didn't have enough time to plan a vacation of any sort for Memorial Day weekend. I really could have used one, but a half-assed ramble would have been less relaxing that doing nothing.

So, I finally buckled down and "ripped" my CD collection. Three boxes, each about 1/3 the height of a banker's box both otherwise the same size.

I finished a few hours ago, with a collection of 70s music.

And I have to say, having this giant heap of music in one spot is heady.

And I still have tomorrow off.

Staycations. Not a bad thing.

#670 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2012, 02:32 AM:

Xopher, #660: Congratulations to your nephew!

Stefan, #669: Lucky you. I've got a lot of my CDs ripped, but there's still a box about 4 x the volume of an average shoebox, filled 2 layers deep, plus 3 or 4 assorted piles elsewhere to go thru. And that doesn't count the couple of hundred cassette tapes (many of them out-of-print filk tapes) that I'm trying to digitize and archive.

#671 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2012, 02:39 AM:

Xopher @ 664:

Congratulations to your nephew; I hope he gets a good assignment and comes back safe.

SamChevre @ 667:
Congratulations to your brother-in-law on a safe return.

I don't know if it's still done this way, but people who flunked out of West Point or Officer Candidate School used to do the rest of their term of service as Buck Sargents, because of the training and experience the school gave them, so it's not quite as bad is it might sound.

#672 ::: Antonia T. Tiger ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2012, 04:59 AM:

Just so folks know...

I've been watching Iron Sky...

Nazis from the Moon.

And I though my effort for NaNoWriMo, last year, was going a bit too far. (Rocket Vixens of the Solarian Patrol.)

But the American astronaut feels like the wrong sort of comic role to me. He's black, which has a sort of plot point, both the Moon Nazi reaction and the motives in US politics, but there's a bit too much of the steppenfetchit in how the character behaves.

#673 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2012, 05:03 AM:

The thing about cheering the goat sounds like the Red Lantern Award in the Iditarod. People stick around to clap and cheer because the last musher in to Nome still finished the race, which is so tough that teams have to scratch every year. Red Lantern winners get interviews and respectful coverage like this:

The Red Lantern, AKA the Widow's Lamp, was hung outside Alaskan waystations in the days when dogsleds hauled freight and mail all winter long as a signal--arranged via telegraph--that a musher was out on the trail. When the team made it safely to their destination, word went out and the lanterns were extinguished. The last musher to make it to Nome puts out the lantern hanging on the official Iditarod archway to signify that all mushers and dogs are safely in.

The less romantic, but more Alaskan, explanation has to do with the red lantern hung on the caboose of a train--"at least ya made it, buddy." But the last musher in gets genuine applause regardless.

#674 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2012, 06:58 AM:

Just wanted to pop in and say I really enjoyed the history of people and culture of Iceland particle. I knew all the stuff in it but hadn't seen it pulled together in that same way.

Yay :)

However the thing about the difficulity of assimilating non-actual from the original settles Icelandic people is very true. It's such a small country and it ends up very tribal, like a giant extended family that happens to be a country. So you basically only end up a member if you aren't already if you marry into it and even then you're a "son/daughter in law" rather than actual son/daughter.

Because you basically only qualify as a "proper Icelander" socially if you grow up there and have some blood ties to the natives. Even children of Icelandic couples who grow up elsewhere beyond age 5 or so are a bit of an edge case. Immigrants will almost always be treated with a oh you decided to come and live here? how quaint, so when are you moving back home? type attitude.

On a mild upside if someone moves to the country and marries an Icelander and has kids, the kids will be seen as proper Icelanders. The immigrant will probably never go past "Honorary Icelander" status even if they end up living there the rest of their lives.

As a language aside, the blood relation or not thing is a fairly big deal back home in many ways. It's even reflected in the language, the Icelandic versions of aunt/uncle etc. are usually only used to refer to your actual blood relatives. So my dads sister would be my aunt but her husband wouldn't be my uncle. I still find that weird in English that it's collapsed down and you loose the distinction of who's your actual blood relative. That's probably not a bad thing though tbh.

Small countries..

#675 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2012, 10:51 AM:

Open thready economics: The end of the Euro.

#676 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2012, 11:14 AM:

Re my earlier mini-rant about the Brother Cadfael TV series: I recently watched The Potter's Field and liked it a lot. The plot was condensed in order to fit into the allotted time, not arbitrarily messed with; a very fraught scene added near the beginning replaces several pages of musings about one character's intolerable situation, for example. One of the characters is less steely and more anguished than in the original, but overall it was an excellent production. Beautifully shot, well acted, and carries the tragic feel of the original book quite well.

#677 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2012, 11:15 AM:

More open-thready goodness: pictures of the Golden Gate bridge 75th anniversary party, starting with the fireworks. (It's a large photogallery: 80 pix.)

#678 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2012, 12:43 PM:

I watched Taking Chance last night (the fact-based story of a Marine Colonel who volunteers to escort a Marine on his final journey home to be buried). It's really excellent and if you haven't seen it I recommend it. But it made me think of a thought experiment:

Let's make a videogame that plays like Call of Duty (if that's multiplayer), but where each player gets only one life; and when they win OR there's only one player on a given team left, the battle section of the game ends, and the remaining player(s) must bring all the bodies home and break the news to their families.

If it were anything like realistic, I'd bet only the ones who get killed their first time would play a second time.

Sica 674: I still find that weird in English that it's collapsed down and you lose the distinction of who's your actual blood relative. That's probably not a bad thing though tbh.

We do have the phrase 'by marriage' to make that distinction, but it's not used that often. In fact I'm called "Uncle Xopher" by a number of children people of the generation after mine to whom I am no relation at all, by blood or marriage or anything but affection (like the one who just graduated from West Point).

#679 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2012, 03:32 PM:

The last player picked in the NFL Draft has been called "Mr. Irrelevant" since 1976.

#680 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2012, 04:15 PM:

Again thanks, everyone. I have to get Lt. Nephew's new email address from his mom and tell him some of this stuff.

SamChevre 667: My wife's little brother is just back from his 2nd tour in Iraq--4th combat tour--so I know that "please please come back safe, and as sane as you can be" feeling well.

Glad he's back safe. May it be ever thus.

Bruce 671: I don't know if it's still done this way, but people who flunked out of West Point or Officer Candidate School used to do the rest of their term of service as Buck Sargents, because of the training and experience the school gave them, so it's not quite as bad is it might sound.

I think it might depend on why they're kicked out. The Colonel told us a horror story about a cadet who was kicked out a week before graduation for the Honor Code violation of being married while still a cadet. He was given the rank of Specialist, and sent to Vietnam, where he was killed in action.

They might be less vindictive for an academic failure, methinks.

#681 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2012, 12:14 AM:

Xopher: Good luck to your nephew, and may he somehow end up in the kind of amusing situation that led to my cousin meeting her future husband. (She's Navy, and so is he, and I can't repeat the story as I only heard it once but there were misunderstandings and wacky hijinks involved, and he's the kind of giant that all the little kids fall in love with instantly.) It makes for good stories even without being one of the protagonists.

#682 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2012, 04:25 AM:


Periodically (this time after signing up for Rdio) I look for a Lena Horne song that was referred to on a TV series called "Nothing Sacred". The lines they quoted were
"'When I see the world's glory/What can I say?/I do not think/I'll kill myself today.'"
and there was also a snippet of the song. The only reference I can find on Google is to a review of the TV series. Does anyone know more?

#683 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2012, 11:05 AM:

Open Threadiness: I downloaded the Hugo Voter Packet, and have been happily reading my way through the short fiction (I'd already bought novels). I read Rachel Swirsky's novelette When Dennis died, his brain winked out of life and reappeared in another place, and really liked it. Then I looked at the Hugo ballot, and was mystified to not find that title on it. Instead, there's Fields of Gold by Rachel Swirsky. I fumbled about a bit before I figured out that it's the same story. It was published in Eclipse 4 under the shorter title. The packet has a PDF with the correct title, but the ebook formats that I tried had the longer one.

BTW, I'm going to Worldcon for the first time this year. Very excited!

#684 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2012, 11:09 AM:

Janetl @ 683... See you there.

#685 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2012, 11:09 AM:

Janetl @ 683... See you there.

#686 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2012, 11:28 AM:

re Thomas' #682: I found reference to a Lena Horne song called "I Don't Think I'll End It All Today", from a 1958 Broadway musical titled JAMAICA.

There's a YouTube video that includes the song, sandwiched between two other songs from the musical: Jamaica 4. It's actually a duet with Ricardo Montalban.

The printed lyrics don't seem to be available online. One lyrics website cites "legal restrictions" as the reason.

#687 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2012, 11:41 AM:

Today's SINFEST webcomic is especially acute (and also cute).

With a lot of the Sinfest strips, it helps to be aware of some of the characters and continuity. But this one stands on its own.

#688 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2012, 12:40 PM:

Anyone have typography advice for me?

I'm putting collections of my parents' poetry into a couple of books and planning to print copies via a POD service (not publishing them or selling them, just printing as gifts for family & friends). Planning a 6x9 trade paperback. I want them to look like proper poetry books, and since my folks wrote most of the poetry in question back in the 1950s thru the 1970s, something that has a bit of a vintage feel wouldn't be bad.

I'm drawing my own widgets and chapter ender thingies but I'm clueless about what fonts would look good and what sizing and spacing to use. I need to fit a lot onto a page, if possible, but without making it uncomfortable to read...ideas?

#689 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2012, 12:40 PM:

Patrick: thanks for including the link to the obit about Leo Dillon. He was a wonderful man, kind and funny as well as a great artist.

#690 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2012, 12:44 PM:

Mary Dell #688:

I'm personally fond of Palatino Linotype.

You probably shouldn't go below 12 point.

#691 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2012, 03:44 PM:

I just heard that Leo Dillon has died.

#692 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2012, 03:46 PM:

"Palatino" would make a good name for a breed of small horse.

#693 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2012, 07:26 PM:

Mary Dell at 688:
In my opinion the typeface Gill is very resilient in terms of staying legible under severe reduction and other adverse conditions, if you don't mind sans serif.

#694 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2012, 08:59 PM:

"Palatino" would also be a good name for a friendly subatomic particle.

#695 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2012, 09:01 PM:

Doc Watson, extraordinary musician, has died at 89. May the road rise to meet you, Doc. I love your music. You will be remembered.

#696 ::: Jörg Raddatz ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2012, 09:06 PM:

I have just discovered a new (for me) flavor of crank. offers a unique, ahem, interpretation of North American and world history, including the "facts" that
~ the Anishinabe (the autonym of the Ojibwe, Odawa,Potawatomin and other Algonquin nations of the Great Lakes region) were the most important ethnic group ever
~ practically all Native American nations were wholly or partly Anishinabe, including those who speak completely unrelated laguages like, say, the Navajo, the Seminole or the Kwakiutl. They were all brainwashed by white historians, you see.
~ once upon a time, the Anishinabe were the inhabitants of Atlantis, the world's leading civilization. It is white propaganda to claim that Atlantis never existed.
~ The Anishinabe were the rulers of an united North America when the Whites invaded. The Iroquois were white, you see, and their famous Five Nations were the English, the French, the Spanish, the Dutch and the Swedes.
~ But long before that, the mighty Native Americans (the site calls them this almost every time) invaded and conquered first Greenland, than Iceland and parts of the Old World. They were the "Vikings of European legend", didn't you know?

At first, I thought that it was some kind of trap for lazy students, not unlike the LOTR "reviews". But there is way too much earnest madness in it. I even saw contact data for those who want to become the Anishinabe priests and leaders for their reservation, working to convince their Native neighbors that they are in truth Algonquians and all of their own traditions were in fact fabricated ...

#697 ::: Jörg Raddatz was gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2012, 09:09 PM:

Hi. It is nice here among the gnomes, but why I am held, they cannot say. (There was one URL, no more, and AFAICS no strange punctuation.)

[Two words separated by a comma, but no spaces. -- Drivi Ronua, Duty Gnome]

#698 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2012, 09:43 PM:

Wow. Jörg, that's amazing. It's almost as crazy as Fpvragbybtl (ROT13'd to avoid wasting the gnomes' time).

#699 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2012, 11:51 PM:

Is there a filk song about All The Crazy On The Internet? I think such a song could be massively entertaining.

#700 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2012, 11:59 PM:

I lost track of the thread where matters of planned obsolescence were being discussed, so I'll announce here that I got the beaters for my salvaged-from-the-trash stand mixer:

The machine works great. Now, to look for things to beat . . .

#701 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2012, 02:33 AM:

"It is nice here among the gnomes"

For some reason that really hit me and I burst out laughing. Thank you, Jörg.

#702 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2012, 02:42 AM:

For those wanting to see more of the Dillons' work, there's a good set of stuff at this blog.

#703 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2012, 02:50 AM:

Bruce Arthurs #686: That's it. Murky buttercups, as the French say.

#704 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2012, 02:55 AM:

"Palatino" would also be a good name for a friendly subatomic particle.

But since it's the supersymmetric counterpart of the palaton, it has not yet been observed. The Large Hadron Collider might find it.

#705 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2012, 04:25 AM:

Lizzy L @ 695: Amen. He was one of the best. I remember some lines I think I first heard here:

I have seen the David
Seen the Mona Lisa, too
And I have heard Doc Watson play "Columbus Stockade Blues".

- Guy Clark, Dublin Blues

And I wish today that I could say the same.

#706 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2012, 06:42 AM:

Stefan Jones @692: "Palatino" would make a good name for a breed of small horse [Steve C. @694] also [..] for a friendly subatomic particle.

My Subatomic Pony (aka My Littlest Possible Pony).

#707 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2012, 07:35 AM:

My Subatomic Pony sings!

Collect the whole Concerto Palatino Choir!

"Charm and beauty..." - Journal of High Energy Physics

#708 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2012, 08:09 AM:

We'd have to look for the supersymmetric partner of the Palatine with the Large Hadrian Collider.

#709 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2012, 09:05 AM:

Bruce Cohen@708

Although if we're not careful we might get Palpatine instead of Palatine...

#710 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2012, 12:35 PM:

Ah yes, my favourite office from Avalon Hill's Kingmaker: Chamberlain of the County Palpatine of Chester.

#711 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2012, 03:20 PM:

I thought Palatino was a Renaissance choral composer...

#712 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2012, 03:56 PM:

"Palatino" isn't the Italian translation of Richard Boone's TV series "Have Gun, Will Travel"?

#713 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2012, 09:02 PM:

I though Palatino was a very small part of the mouth.

#714 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2012, 12:02 AM:

This week's issue of The New Yorker is a science fiction issue. Some nice bits; and online I just ran across Emily Nussbaum's meditation on Doctor Who and cult television, which I found quite interesting. While there were certainly season-long story arcs before The X Files (it's the whole idea behind soap operas), the comment that the current Doctor functions as a meditation on fandom is quite good.

#715 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2012, 01:28 AM:

Queen Victoria's journals are now online. You can view them in her original handwriting, a typewritten transcription, or a transcription by her daughter Beatrice.

#716 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2012, 03:23 AM:

A while back, Jim diffracted a warning about the movie Battleship.

A week ago (It only just made the top ten on the BBC's news pages) the BBC reported it has flopped at the box office.

In the real world, Cdr. Sarah West has taken command of HMS Portland, a Type 23 frigate of the Royal Navy.

#717 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2012, 08:25 AM:

Last night, I watched the Star Trek: Voyager episode "The Void" -- and I swear there are Sontarans in it. Not identified as such, and not really acting like Sontarans . . . . but the minute I saw them, I said "They stole those aliens from Doctor Who!"

(I'd love to see the Doctor encounter Q. They'd either be nemeses or BFFs, and I'm really not sure which.)

#718 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2012, 09:31 AM:

Medical care for civilians in Afghanistan, or how the effort to keep track and do things right has led to the opposite result.

I don't know how to do the emotional side of this adequately, so I'll just say that when a civilization is hooked on chasing the wrong things, there are no obvious solutions.

#719 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2012, 09:33 AM:

I've apparently sent yet another probe to explore the black box of gnomish policy.

#720 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2012, 11:00 AM:

Bruce Cohen @ #708

Just where is the kid when you need them?

#721 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2012, 11:27 AM:

Cadbury Moose... One of the secondary characters in "Girl Genius" is a Bosun called Higgins.

#722 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2012, 12:00 PM:

Open Threadiness: Does anyone here know how Fritz Leiber's novel _The Big Time_ was revised over time?

Tor Books in 2000 published an edition of Leiber's _The Big Time_ with a 2000 copyright notice. The story had been published various times before; in particular, in 1958 in two parts in _Galaxy_ magazine, and in 1961 as one half of an Ace Double Novel.

There is a copyright registered for the 1961 book version, with a new matter claim of "revisions". The renewal for that claim in 1989 further elaborates "rewritten and rev. version with at least 50% new material".

Does anyone happen to know if the Tor edition is based on the 1958 magazine version or the 1961 book version? Or can anyone tell me any clear differences between the 1958 and 1961 versions? (On a quick scan I don't see obvious differences between the Tor edition and the 1958 magazine version, but it's possible that the revisions are subtler than I thought. I don't have a copy of the 1961 book version handy to compare it to.)

The reason I ask is that I want to ensure that I can evaluate the legitimacy of online editions at various places on the Net. As I've been able to determine so far, the 1958 magazine publication appears to be public domain in the US, but any revisions made for the 1961 or 2000 publications are not. So versions based on those later editions at least should not be online without the permission of Leiber's estate, but versions based on the original 1958 publication look to be okay (at least in the US).

#723 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2012, 05:43 PM:

Caroline @717: I recall a 'Doctor Q' thread running through a couple of Star Trek episodes.

In an episode of TNG, Q meets Picard's friend Vash and they hit it off — the episode concludes with her going off with Q to explore the universe.

A later episode in DS9 has Vash trying to get away from Q. He tracks her down, and they argue:

"What I hate about you is your know-it-all attitude!"

"But I do know it all."

When it becomes apparent he can't compel her to come back, they say their good-byes, and he says to her:

"What I liked about traveling with you was seeing the universe through your eyes. To me, a nebula is just a big cloud of gas. To you, it was something wonderful."

#724 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2012, 07:06 PM:

Openthreadiness: a Federal Appeals Court (First Circuit, in Boston) has declared the DOMA unconstitutional on states' rights grounds. It will be interesting to see how the Supremes treat this one -- think they'll choose to hear it? (from Jean Weber on G+.)

#725 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2012, 07:35 PM:

Open Thready cri de coeur:

This has nothing to do with anything, but you are my friends and I'm hurting.

In the past four days:

A colleague's child was diagnosed with leukemia. She's 2.

A local physician's assistant (I didn't know him; my boss did) was murdered.

A person I knew back in high school is having insane family meltdown problems and has sent me (among others) a very long rambling letter full of unverifiable allegations and I seriously DO NOT WANT as I have no data on anyone's story and no way of getting any.

I would very much like to hide in a culvert for a month or two.

That is all.

#726 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2012, 07:57 PM:

Lila (725): Oh, no. ::hugs::

#727 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2012, 08:08 PM:

Lila @725 Heard, witnessed. Hoping that those pieces of this which can get better, do get better.

#728 ::: Cassy B ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2012, 09:46 PM:

Lila @725, heard, witnessed, and sending many many virtual fluffy comforters to make that culvert more comfortable. {hugs}

#729 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2012, 11:22 PM:

What do you do with artisanal mayonnaise, paint with it?

#730 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2012, 12:40 AM:

I call it 'home made' and put it on edible stuff.

#731 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2012, 02:23 AM:

Lila @ 725:

Not good. Good thoughts and high hopes coming to you, and I hope they help.

Living in culverts is no fun (I spent a night in one once, and it was most unpleasant). I suggest a camping trip with no phone; I have some old camping equipment that's in pretty good shape if you want it.

#732 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2012, 03:47 AM:

Lila @725: It's hard being a compassionate soul when there's hurt afoot in the world. I hope your culvert comes with comfy warms and snuggles.

#733 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2012, 08:22 AM:

Regard HyperCard-pfeh, NoteCards was around before it, and in use by a US spy agency allegedly, it was an application written by Xerox and ran on e.g. the Xerox 1186 (or what is 1180?) which Xerox didn;t really want to support as a product, but the US Government could be persuasive at the time. Unlike HyperCard, which for me was an exercise in frustration because of the single-tasking single-windowg Mac habits which prevents actually having two cards in the HyperCard desk from being on-screen at the same time and -seeing- to link things across cards and such, NoteCards was multiwindowed and the host machine had a 1000 X 1000 pixel display... So I could actually see what I was going, and define links by type, create entire connected sets of objects with text and/or graphics and such on them, and the virtual cards could be different sizes. HyperCard was just plain frustrating for me to try to use.... it was full of noxious serial linear one thing at a time paradigm, and inimical to a messy desk-type sort like me...

#734 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2012, 09:36 AM:

#724 Tom
The three judges who made the ruling did so unanimously. However, the Supreme Court has four InJustices--Scalia, Alito, Roberts, and Thomas--who never let little things like secular law get in the way of their religious dogma that their religion Matters more than anyone else's "rights," and their credo trumps anyone else's "secular" or other-religious-values practices. The swing vote belongs to Kennedy, who is more aligned to the views of the four InJustices, than to impartiality and "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" and freedom from the tyranny of evangelizers who use religious dogma as excuse to be interfering busybody bullies....

(The basic tenets of e.g. the Southern Baptist Convention include that the congregants in good standing MUST constantly reach out to other people engaging in conversion activities. The concept that this is unwanted unwelcome intolerant -harassment- is outside the perceptions of the tenets and those who follow those tenets... it's the mindset that stated unequivocably that it is anti-Semitic to NOT conduct conversion activities at Jews, on the basis that it is WRONG for people to hold any other religious beliefs and values and practices (and wrong for that matter to be an athiest...) than Southern Baptist credo and practice, and proselytizing is a sign of respect and concern and caring and working to enlighten enhance the lives of those unfortunates who are not Southern Baptists.... [Ugh. Ugh. Ugh....]

And yes, the InJustices are not Southern Baptists--but they in many ways ACT as though they were....

#735 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2012, 09:42 AM:

Since AKICIF...

What does Nachrichtenübermittlungs-Oberführer mean?

Yes, I'm watching Iron Sky. Oberführer is obviously the SS rank, which comes between Brigadier and Colonel.

Nachrichtenübermittlungs gets "news transmitting" from Google Translate. I don't think I'm getting a useful translation, but I could see it coming out as "blogger" or "news anchor".

The subtitle does translate "Herr" as "Mr."

And watch for the new version of the scene from Downfall (At 16 minutes.)

#736 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2012, 11:25 AM:

May I make a small family boast? My niece graduated from Albert Einstein College of Medicine on Wednesday. She's not exactly the first doctor in the family--we have lots of PhD's--but she is the first medical doctor. We're all very proud of her.

#737 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2012, 11:40 AM:

Lila: Listening, and hoping that helps a little.

Tom et al.: If the Supreme Court wants it, there's clearly a federal question, possibly two: whether DOMA violates equal protection and whether, if it doesn't, Congress has the authority to pass such a bill (the Tenth Amendment question in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' lawsuit). Conversely, there are very few cases the Supreme Court has to take, and they might decide to leave well enough alone, with a ruling binding only in the First Circuit, which would affect very few people, because that district is Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire.

So, same-sex married couples in those states would have to be allowed to file taxes jointly, and (in theory, I take no bets on practice) immigration would have to look at what state same-sex couples were in if one was a U.S. citizen and the other wanted to live in the U.S.

Beyond that, Maine would have to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere. Massachusetts and New Hampshire have same-sex marriage, and a recent executive order means Rhode Island now recognizes same-sex marriages performed elsewhere (as well as having civil unions).

Back to "is there a federal question?" there is something a bit odd about Immigration rules being different in Massachusetts than in New York or Georgia.

#738 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2012, 12:52 PM:

To all and sundry: thank you. It does help. Part of what's hard is the realization that I am only a witness to all this grief; none of it's MY grief, so I feel like an idiot and a poser.

To Bruce: That is a very thoughtful (getting out in the wilderness would be exactly the thing) and generous offer, and I thank you. Part of my problem is that the person whose child is ill is the person who subs for my boss and/or me when one of us takes a vacation, does continuing ed, etc. Hence, for the foreseeable future time off for either of us is going to be quite problematic.

Right now I am coping by watching obscure TV on Netflix (The Unusuals--Jeremy Renner is the lead. After the horribly disjointed pilot, it got quite good before it abruptly got canceled) and writing Avengers fanfic. I can't go to ANWR, but Hawkeye and Black Widow can.

To Mary Aileen: congratulations to your niece!

To Paula: I heartily agree with you on SBC. I went to a school they tried to dictate to (luckily the school stood up to them). The contrast between "people have different beliefs" and "we have the right to enforce our beliefs on everyone else" is something the Religious Right completely fails to get.

#739 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2012, 01:20 PM:

Callahan's quote is right - "Shared grief is lessened..." but it is also *shared*. That means that even the people it doesn't affect directly grieve and are hurt.

It's one of the things good societies do for each other, and the payment, if any is needed besides "shared joy is increased", is "shared grief will be lessened, too, when it's your turn."

So there is nothing "poser" about your hurt; it's just that you chose to bear it. That's because you're not a sociopath. I kind of like that in the people *I* associate with, and I'm sure many people here agree with me.

So keep well, and don't worry about needing assistance, or vent space, or whatever. The need is part of Doing Good Works.

#740 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2012, 01:34 PM:

Mycroft W @739. Yes, this.
Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind.

#741 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2012, 02:10 PM:

I just discovered The Museum of Endangered Sounds.

Lila, I'm sorry. Sending good wishes and hugs also.

I also have been watching The Unusuals! I agree, it got better fast. Just finished Disc 1 and am looking forward to 2. I wish there were more.

#742 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2012, 02:10 PM:

Lila @ 738:

Right now I am coping by watching obscure TV on Netflix (The Unusuals--Jeremy Renner is the lead. After the horribly disjointed pilot, it got quite good before it abruptly got canceled)

That or a marathon reading of fantasy trilogies was going to be my next suggestion. I agree about The Unusuals, I loved the sideways scripts and characters that really were quirky, and not "Hollywood quirky". And I especially like Amber Tamblyn and Adam Goldberg (who's now got a similar part in a new show called NYC 22, which regrettably is more formulaic and ordinary than The Unusuals).

#743 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2012, 02:11 PM:


*looks around, confused*

Where did all these, um, very pleasant short people come from?

#744 ::: I. M. Gnomed (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2012, 02:14 PM:

My last post, containing no links at all, has been sent via the vast underground pneumatic tube system that underlies the land of SteamPunkia to the high tower of the Gnomes. It must have been something I said.

[Indeed. "Marathon." -- Lucian Lubernal, Duty Gnome]

#745 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2012, 03:29 PM:

HLN: had a long conversation with my regular vet, back from vacation. We have agreed that Hanako is not going to get dental surgery. She's not in pain, and the stress on her kidneys would, my vet thinks, likely be too much.

I am relieved. Also sad, because my vet thinks that Hanako is more likely in stage 4 kidney failure than stage 3, and that she is looking at about 6 months life expectancy. There are some bloodwork anomalies, so we're going to re-check the tests, and there are some things to try -- but I don't think much will change, and it will all have to wait until I come back from the trip I'm scheduled for. Two more weeks.

Not going to do expensive or scary procedures. Comfort is all.

Thanks for listening...

#746 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2012, 03:39 PM:

Listening and sending good thoughts, Lizzy.

#747 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2012, 05:58 PM:

Oh, Lizzy, I am so sorry. *hugs*

#748 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2012, 06:09 PM:

Lizzy (745): I'm so sorry. ::hugs::

#749 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2012, 06:16 PM:

Lila and Lizzy: Sympathies and GoodThoughts offered.

#750 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2012, 06:42 PM:

Best thoughts, Lizzy. You're an excellent cat parent (from my experience) and I believe the decisions you're making are good ones, even in a painful situation.

Lila, heard. Not much more to say.

#751 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2012, 06:48 PM:

Sometimes sorrows come not single spies, but in battalions. Even when they're not your sorrows, there's a kind of dreadful weariness that comes of seeing noting but trouble wherever you look around you.

I hope you find joys, even small ones, to compensate.

Mary Aileen @736:

Lizzy @745:
Commiserations. I hope you (continue to) make Hanako's life a good one for the time she has left.

#752 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2012, 08:44 PM:

Thanks, all.

Some animals leave a huge hole in your heart when they depart: Tommy was such a cat, for me. Hanako -- not so much, though she is a sweet companion, and I love her, and will do what I can to spare her suffering. And I know it will get harder as time goes on.

At the moment, she is comfortable, eating, drinking, talkative, etc. I take great pleasure in that.

#753 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2012, 09:13 PM:

I'm so sorry, Lizzy.

#754 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2012, 09:20 PM:

Ambiguous business names (all seen on actual signs):
Central Casting
ASAP Liquidation
Los Angeles Stripping

(The ambiguity has to do with the other kinds of business that they could be.)

#755 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2012, 10:19 PM:

Lizzy: So sorry. These are never easy decisions, but I believe you are making the best ones you can.

Lila: witnessing.

#756 ::: pedantic peasant ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2012, 10:47 PM:

Dear fluorosphere:

I have been listening to audiobooks on my commute. For the last 12 to 18 months, I've been listening to the entire JD Robb "in Death" series, read by Susan Ericksen. I really liked Ericksen, because she did a good job individualizing voices.

Now I need a new audiobook, or preferably, a new audiobook series. Anyone care to make some recommendations?

#757 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2012, 11:50 PM:

Pedantic Peasant, I'm not an audiobook person, but I really do appreciate when readers make it clear who's talking. Especially with the In Death books. The later ones have been really sparse with the dialogue tags.

#758 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2012, 12:04 AM:

ObOpTh: " the frozen land of Amercia, they were forced to eat Romney's minstrels. -- And there was much rejoicing."


#759 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2012, 12:50 AM:

Sorry to hear the news, Lizzy.

This might sound odd, but you might ask others -- visitors -- how Hanako seems. I suggest this because it may be hard to spot, on a day by day basis, the degree of decline that might help you . . . well, to Decide When.

Our last family cat, we knew he had kidney disease, but didn't really "notice" that he was ready to go. And we waited too long.

#760 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2012, 03:59 AM:

Dave Bell @735: I don't know for certain, but I know that "Nachrichten" literally translates as "message", and "übermittlung" (according to machine translation) is "transmission". So some sort of officer in charge of communications? I don't know what Iron Sky is, so I lack context.

pedantic peasant @756: I'm sort of fond of the audiobook I recorded. I won't link directly to it, since I'd consider that spamming, but I will say that if you search for my name on it'll come up. It's a very quirky sword-and-sorcery novel. (The hero is a werebear, and there are some stream-of-consciousness passages about what Avram Davidson thought being a bear might be like. A tip: if you're not enjoying those, you can fast-forward a bit without missing anything important to the story.)

#761 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2012, 05:18 AM:

pedantic peasant @756: Now I need a new audiobook, or preferably, a new audiobook series. Anyone care to make some recommendations?

Well, I love Spider Robinson's audiobooks. (The ones he reads. I'm sure Whitener, the other reader of some of his books, is all very well and good, but his voice is just wrong.)

#762 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2012, 08:04 AM:

One note on the recent ruling overturning DOMA.

It may be worth noting that Justice Kennedy was the author of two key pro-gay rights decisions (Romer vs Evans and Lawrence vs Texas) so there is a fairly good chance that he would be supportive of the recent ruling.

(Scalia and Thomas are lost causes. Probably Alito as well, although I'm not actually aware of his record on gay rights. Roberts could surprise here. Dubya (who appointed him) was firmly in the plutocratic wing of the GOP. And the plutocratic wing doesn't really care about gay marriage.)

#763 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2012, 09:29 AM:

pedantic peasant: far and away the BEST audiobooks I've ever heard are Patrick Tull's readings of Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey & Maturin series (Master and Commander + 19 more). If you like them, you're set for a LONG time. If you can only buy one, get The Wine-Dark Sea. It's got everything. (Jo Walton has a great series of essays about the books at, including recommendations for which ones don't suffer by being read alone or out of order.)

Also good: Joe Mantegna reading Robert B. Parker's Spenser novels--the author's and reader's styles are a particularly felicitous match. Ditto Wil Wheaton reading John Scalzi. Stephen Briggs does a great job reading Terry Pratchett. And Jonathan Davis was very good reading Paolo Bacigalupi's The Windup Girl. I'm also partial to Bailey White reading her own Quite a Year for Plums. She has a whispery, scratchy voice that may not be to all tastes, but I like it; and of course she has the appropriate South Georgia accent. Bad Southern accents are as fingernails on the blackboard of my red-clay-engrained soul.

For nonfiction, Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods is hilarious. Warning: may cause you to run off the road if read while driving.

#764 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2012, 09:31 AM:

The NYTimes on Leo Dillon (apologies to those who cannot see it):

#765 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2012, 12:18 PM:

#736 Mary Aileen
Congratulations to your niece!

#766 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2012, 12:25 PM:

Thanks for the link in favor of hypocrisy-- from what I've heard, China having some idealism in its constitution and laws has given people who want to make the place better some leverage.

It seems like a complicated question, though. Perhaps the truth is more valuable if it tends to lead to useful action.

#767 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2012, 12:34 PM:

Strange dream last night.

I was living in a much bigger and fancier apartment than I have in real life, in a much bigger building with many apartments per floor.

I heard the screech of tortured metal from the apartment door. I went and opened it, and there stood one of my neighbors from down the hall, played in the dream by Nicholas Hoult, thank you brain, holding a drill.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

"Drilling out the lock on your front door," he replied, matter-of-factly.

"Why?" I asked.

"Because I'm a burglar," he explained.

"I'm calling 911," I said.

"Okay," he replied.

I went inside and did. The dream ended soon after.

What got me about this was his total casual blandness, as if breaking into your neighbor's apartment was the most normal thing in the world, and as if there were no downside to the neighbor being home at the time.

Mary Aileen 736: Congratulations to your niece! (Thanks to Paula for the tip; I'd missed that comment the first time.)

#768 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2012, 12:55 PM:

Xopher, #767: That dream almost reads like a political allegory. "Yeah, I'm doing this illegal thing. So what?"

#769 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2012, 01:20 PM:

At least Richard Nixon was ashamed enough of his deeds that he tried to cover them up.

#770 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2012, 02:27 PM:

To accurately resemble Nixon's bunch, Mr. Hoult should have been wearing a jumpsuit with "Acme Plumbing" on its breast and back.

#771 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2012, 03:35 PM:

Thanks for the congratulations, all. She's going into neurology, although I don't know what subspecialty. Her boyfriend* is doing his residency in internal medicine, then planning on cardiology.

* They met in college and went to med school together.

#772 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2012, 04:37 PM:

pedantic peasant, Lisa @ 763 recommended Wil Wheaton reading John Scalzi. I thought I'd mention that Scalzi's new book, Redshirts comes out next week. I heard Scalzi read from it on his last book tour, and it sounded good (my copy is on order at my friendly local bookshop). A pixel-stained techno peasant has kindly created a splendid video of Star Trek clips set to the song that Jonathan Coulton wrote for the book.

#773 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2012, 09:02 PM:

janetl @662 - This week, not next week. It's in my local Barnes & Noble right now. (In hardback; I'm waiting for paperback, sorry Scalzi...)


#774 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2012, 09:51 PM:

Scalzi is coming to Houston on his book tour, and I plan to pick up a copy then.

#775 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2012, 10:18 PM:

Scalzi is also coming to 4th Street, as are a few of the other regulars here -- should be a very pleasant convention this year! Despite the fact that he's promised to bring his ukelele.... (actually, that's a plus!)

Full disclosure -- I am on the committee, and rather committed to it.

#776 ::: Tom Whitmore visits the gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2012, 10:26 PM:

I hope they know that they're invited to 4th Street as well! We promise them good tea.

#777 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2012, 10:27 PM:

All right, enough. Anybody here got strong opinions about powered speakers for a computer? I'm finally getting tired of my hand-me-downs' intermittent relationship with the right channel. Rr.

Less $$ is better, of course. I'm not an audiophile, but I'm willing to spend a little extra for a little extra quality.

#778 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2012, 11:29 PM:

David DeLaney @ 773: This week, not next week. It's in my local Barnes & Noble right now.

My first thought was "Why hasn't the bookshop called me to pick it up?!?!", but then I checked the publication date for Redshirts. It's June 5th, so your local B&N is misbehaving.

#779 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2012, 11:30 PM:

I hope Scalzi is bringing his ukulele to Fourth Street.

#780 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2012, 12:27 AM:

Misheard Fortuna made my day.

#781 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2012, 01:33 AM:

David Goldfarb @ 774 -

Scalzi is coming to Houston on his book tour, and I plan to pick up a copy then.

Hey, I'll see you there. I didn't know he was coming to Houston, but then I did a search on Whatever. Redshirts sounds like loads of fun.

#782 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2012, 01:45 AM:

Definitely listen to Scalzi anytime he reads his own work. I went to a reading where he read "Judge Sn Goes Golfing", and nearly fell out of my chair I was laughing so hard, and I did have tears in my eyes when he was done.

#783 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2012, 01:58 AM:

#780: I was surprised how much the misheard lyrics sounded like the soundtrack -- and I've sung Carmina Burana from memory in performance (someone who isn't me forgot to bring their music that night).

#784 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2012, 02:19 AM:

It is reputed that all knowledge is to be found here, but this is definitely an unreasonable test.

I'm trying to track down the name of children's (probably `intermediate reader') book written in New Zealand, and distributed at least as far as Australia, probably some time in the mid to late 1970s.

The story features a family of (?3) kids who survive a light-plane crash in the southwest NZ rainforest, and evade Bad Guys who (spoiler alert) turn out to be trying to catch kakapos. Rivers are crossed, edible stuff is found, bird rustlers are foiled, endings are happy.

The paperback cover is a mixture of greens -- probably with trees or something, but it's the colour that I remember.

I've tried Teh Google, but it tends to get hung up on more-recent kakapo-related books. As a byproduct I did find out that wonderful picture book "My cat likes to hide in boxes" came from New Zealand.

#785 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2012, 02:47 AM:

Steve C.@781: Any chance you'll be at the HMNS on Tuesday (assuming clear weather of course)? I'd certainly like to meet you FtF.

#786 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2012, 02:48 AM:

Jacque #777:

My experience with computer speakers is that they are now Good Enough (for people like me: non-audiophiles listening to mp3 or streaming audio).

I've got a set from Logitech (X-140), which were not far from the low end at the local hi-fi supplier. With the volume turned down they are great for listening while typing, and turned up they are acceptable for a large room. At the moment, I'm listening to Finzi's clarinet concerto on them. They were about NZ$50, should be cheaper in the real world.

I would suggest going to a music and electronics store rather than a computer store.

#787 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2012, 03:21 AM:

777, 786:

FWIW . . . computer speakers and/or computer speaker systems frequently turn up at thrift stores. Sometimes quite nice home theater type sets with subwoofers and surround sound.

I know this because I'm looking for a set for a co-worker; her TV requires a certain interface.

#788 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2012, 06:58 AM:

Thomas #784:

Not kakapo but moa: Is it Terry and the Last Moa? It has some of the story elements you describe & is around the right vintage.

#789 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2012, 07:22 AM:

Or "Hunter" by Joy Cowley? Neither have all the elements you describe.

#790 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2012, 10:13 AM:

Open-threadiness: pasta for hamsters.

#791 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2012, 12:29 PM:

Stefan Jones @ #780

Misheard Fortuna made my day.

This moose was horrified at one point! Ewwwwww....

To make up for it, there were the meerkat and timescape clips on the same site.

(FX: Lays in a supply of cookies in case of a visit to the gnomes.)

#792 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2012, 12:32 PM:

Stefan Jones @ #780

Misheard Fortuna made my day.

This moose was horrified at one point! Ewwwwww....

To make up for it, there were the meerkat and timescape clips on the same site.

(FX: Lays in a supply of cookies in case of a visit to the gnomes.)

#793 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2012, 12:56 PM:

David Goldfarb @ 785 -

I've already committed my volunteer time to the George Observatory for the transit. I'd like to meet as well, and I'll look for you at the Scalzi signing.

#794 ::: David Wald ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2012, 01:29 PM:

Following up on the memories of Leo Dillon, I'll throw in a plug for one of our all-time favorite picture books, Pish, Posh, Said Hieronymus Bosch (which possibly also belongs in the spelling thread), text by Nancy Willard, art by not two but three Dillons. Really fun, brilliant, ever so slightly twisted work.

#795 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2012, 01:39 PM:

Jacque @ #777 : I've gone through maybe four sets since 2004 (what can I say - I was in college through '08 and was hard on gear) and I've found Altec Lansing's cheap speakers to be serviceable. I've got a pair now, which ran me about $30. If you want to spend more money, JBL's Duets are nice, for around $50.

I miss my Klipsch 2.0 system though - I don't want a subwoofer, and they were the nicest 2.0s I've had. Unfortunately, they're long out of production, and their 2.1 system has a subwoofer nearly as large as my Mac Pro.

#796 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2012, 01:43 PM:

782 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) @ 782: "nearly fell out of my chair I was laughing so hard" - That's what it was like when I was fortunate enough to listen to Terry Pratchett reading his own work, some 20+ years ago. Some people -did fall out of their chairs. Many of us laughed until we cried, and my ribs ached afterwards.

#797 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2012, 01:44 PM:

782 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) @ 782: "nearly fell out of my chair I was laughing so hard" - That's what it was like when I was fortunate enough to listen to Terry Pratchett reading his own work, some 20+ years ago. Some people -did- fall out of their chairs. Many laughed until they cried, and my ribs ached afterwards.

#798 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2012, 06:02 PM:

On aching ribs: "Live Action Thog's Masterclass" should carry a government health warning if Mike Cule is doing the readings. He can deliver _anything_ with a completely deadpan expression/air of innocence (as appropriate).

I remember having to leave the room and lean against a convenient pillar until my sides stopped hurting at one convention (Adelphi, ISTR).

#799 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2012, 06:08 PM:

Soon Lee:

No, neither of them. It was definitely kakapo. Thanks for the suggestions.

#800 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2012, 08:33 PM:

I've got a pair of $35 powered Creative speakers which work just fine for me for iTunes listening on the desktop. If I want serious listening I'll go use the CD player in the other room with the 80-watt Pioneer CS-88s (c. 1973 and still in fine form).

I was surprised to see Harmon-Kardon's name on the speaker plate in the doors of my new-to-me 2005 Mini.

#801 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2012, 09:55 PM:

Calming Manatee has a blog, too, where the manatee responds to real people.

#802 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2012, 10:12 PM:

Steve C. @793: Since I don't have access to the car on weekdays, there's no way I can get down to the George Observatory. Oh, well.

#803 ::: ej pryor ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2012, 11:37 PM:

thomas @ 784

Could it be X Marks the Spot by Joan de Hamel? It's hard to find much info about it, but Twentieth-century Children's Writers describes it as "an adventure story about three children surviving under difficult circumstances after a helicopter crash in the New Zealand bush... The sub-plot is the discovery of South American poachers out to capture the rare kakapo parrot."

#804 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2012, 11:57 PM:

Jacque: I will also put in a good work for Logitech. They seem to work pretty well for my speakers, and they have a number of price-efficient options.

#805 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2012, 12:13 AM:

ej pryor #803:

And Google books has this which fits: "Cop the pilot is badly injured when a helicopter crashes on a secret mission. Stranded passengers Peter, Louise and Ross have to try and make their way across uncharted bush to find the mysterious X. Other people are after it too, who turn out to be unscrupulous, dangerous men."


#806 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2012, 01:52 AM:

ej pryor, Soon Lee.

Yes! That's it. I remember the cover, and the story is definitely correct. Many thanks, and suitably impressed sounds and gestures.

The Fluorosphere is even more omniscient than I had realized.

#807 ::: David Wald ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2012, 09:10 AM:

Stefan Jones@529: Now, on to Candyland…

My wife suggests that Candyland should be made by Tim Burton in stop-motion animation.

#808 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2012, 09:50 AM:

"I have been and always shall be your friend."

That was 30 years ago today.

#809 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2012, 11:05 AM:

The funniest public speaker I ever heard was Roger Zelazny. I was lucky enough to be present at both his "Chicken Effect" speech (Bubonicon in... 1976?) and his story about Philip K. Dick at a French SF Festival (1977 Milehicon). I wrote that latter one out as best I could from memory for one of my fanzines back then; perhaps it's time to dig it out and reprint it. I thought it stood up well in print, even without Zelazny's wonderful delivery.

#810 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2012, 01:15 PM:

HLN: Man spends thirtieth anniversary of meeting ex-wife with ex-wife.* Both are happy. So is wife, who is getting her first real holiday in a year. Less pleasant: Having to travel an extra day each way.

More HLN: Man has second print publication of poems in recent years (and first in Caribbean-based publication in decades). Is still shocked and chuffed.

Yet more HLN: Man asked to submit paper for major upcoming conference, on the basis of two completely different papers. Man is not sure why.

*Ex-wife and wife spend hours conspiring with each other. Man's family arrangements confuse large numbers of people.

#811 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2012, 01:25 PM:

Fragano @ 810... Man's family arrangements confuse large numbers of people.

"Is puzzlement."
- Yul Brynner

#812 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2012, 02:23 PM:

Fragano @ 810:

Man has second print publication of poems in recent years


#813 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2012, 03:12 PM:

AKICIML, Livestock edition:

My parents have two dogs: Sunshine, a female Brittany Spaniel (my father's dog) and Zorro, a male Norwich Terrier (my mother's dog). Zorro is younger than Sunshine, but higher on the pack hierarchy.

Unfortunately, Zorro enforces his position in the hierarchy with his teeth: he tends to nip at Sunshine's lower forelegs. She's been taking refuge up on the picnic table in the backyard, where he can't reach (he really is a very small dog). Unfortunately, they want to redo the backyard, and that may include removing the picnic table.

Rather than providing her with an alternate refuge, is there some way they can get Zorro to stop nipping her? He's not fantastically well-trained, but I suspect we could get my mother to put some more time into the matter, if it would increase the domestic tranquility.

#814 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2012, 03:12 PM:

Fragano (810): Congratulations!

For all of it, including the confusing parts.

#815 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2012, 03:53 PM:

Abi @ 813... I'd suggest building something like a pedestal for Sunshine because male dogs can be rather hard to convince to stop doing the dominance thing. The pedestal would take less space than a table, and could be made decorative.

#816 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2012, 05:01 PM:

Bruce Arthurs @809: Roger Zelazny ... story about Philip K. Dick at a French SF Festival (1977 Milehicon). I wrote that latter one out as best I could from memory for one of my fanzines back then; perhaps it's time to dig it out and reprint it.

Yes, please do. On teh IntarWeebz, plz, as I'd love to read it.

abi @813: Ah-hah! The Dog Whisperer addressed exactly that question: the key is to communicate to dominant dog that he is not the pack leader; rather, the relevant human is.

The episode is online; within which geopolitical designation does your mother reside? If it's the US, tell her to look on the National Geographic Channel's website, and search for "Dog Whisperer." (Or rent the DVDs). If not; Arrangements Might Be Made.

I actually recommend The Dog Whisperer. I find his approach makes a lot of sense, and the eps are fun to watch, too.

If desired, I can chase down the (somewhat) direct URL when I get home this evening. Also, here is Cesar Milan's website.

#817 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2012, 05:14 PM:

Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) #810/Mary Aileen #813: Thanks.

Further HLN: Man has, after ten years in rank, finally been promoted and has contract in hand to prove it.

#818 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2012, 05:49 PM:

At the risk of being "hlepy", please, please be careful with Cesar Milan. Many of his techniques are highly outdated and cross the line into abusive - several techniques, such as alpha rolls, actually lead to more dog reactivity and biting. Here is some info on Dominance Theory and why it may not be what we should be looking at when training dogs.

I am not a dog trainer myself, but I can recommend a fabulous LJ Community Dogs In Training that includes several certified dog trainers and I think a behaviorist or two. I can lob your question to that board and see what they come up with if you'd like, or you can post yourself. It's a pretty open group.

#819 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2012, 09:03 PM:

Since I mentioned being Chutneyed by Jack Campbell's latest, I thought I'd share the results: a teddy bear-cow. (They're cute. They're fuzzy. They're implacable.)

Also, my niece's graduation present.

#820 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2012, 05:56 AM:

HLN: A local woman's cat needs minor surgery that involves general anesthesia, op itself goes very well, however this morning when vet checks on previously mentioned cat. The cat then savages vets hand and escapes into the room when vet tries to put cat back into her kennel.

Said cat then proceeds to find a tiny hole half way up the wall and leaps through it and into the wall.

Vet is currently in process to dismantle wall to get cat out.

Local woman is mostly in hysterical giggles and really really wants her cat back

On the upside, cat is recovering well from surgery and has the honor of being the only cat in 10 years to attempt this escape route.

#821 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2012, 06:44 AM:

Fragano @817, congratulations on both the poetry publication and the promotion.

Sica @820, poor vet and poor cat, and I understand your hysterical giggles. If only we could listen to the story the cat will have to tell about it.

#822 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2012, 06:56 AM:

I phoned the vet an hour and half ago and could hear banging in the background. They were quite busy and said they'd phone me back if there were news.

Im fully prepared to take the afternoon off work and hopefully get her sooner. I hope the vet's not too badly hurt. I haven't cut her claws in a while so they're in full velociraptor glory

#823 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2012, 07:44 AM:

Tabitha was a semi-indoor cat, and her claws could get like that. The give-away is the sharpness of the tips. She was quite placid about getting them trimmed, even letting relative strangers such as my brother take a hand. But I think you had to be aware of when she thought the session had gone on too long.

#824 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2012, 10:42 AM:

A cool animation my teen spotted:

stop-motion "guacamole:

#825 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2012, 11:18 AM:

HLN: Local woman finally has a new bathroom sink, after literally years of nonsense and replacing washers at least once a fortnight to reduce leakage, and a previous promise of a new sink that never turned up. And now can stop feeling as though her job is "wait for the plumber every other morning" rather than "look for work." Yes, I have also been looking for real, paid work but when one activity controls large chunks of my schedule and the other doesn't, it shifts what feels like my priorities.

#826 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2012, 12:33 PM:

HLN: Local woman reports "the other shoe dropped" as the second of her pair of aged cats (17) was found deceased this morning.

Survivors in the household include woman, her husband, their adult daughter, four dogs, and two young cats who spent the morning sitting very close together and grooming each other.

#827 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2012, 12:40 PM:

Melissa Singer @ 824:

Thanks for that link; that was delightful. Exactly the kind of whimsical humor that stop motion can bring out best. Did you know that technique used to be called "pixilation"? As in pixies, not pixels.

#828 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2012, 01:12 PM:

Lila: many condolences on the loss of your cat.

Bruce: I did not know that! Thank you. Goes well with pixilated . . . .

#829 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2012, 01:33 PM:

Lila (826): I'm sorry for your loss.

#830 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2012, 01:53 PM:

Lila #826: My condolences.

#831 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2012, 01:55 PM:

Lila, I'm sorry for your loss.

#832 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2012, 04:11 PM:

Lila: Hugs.

#833 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2012, 04:27 PM:

17 is a good age for a cat -- still, painful, and hugs sent as appropriate to Lila.

#834 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2012, 04:28 PM:

It seems that some people's zealotry is easily kindled.

#835 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2012, 04:45 PM:

Lila @826:

I'm so sorry for your loss.

#836 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2012, 06:20 PM:

Lila, my condolences.

Fragano, many congratulations.

#837 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2012, 06:44 PM:

Lila @826: Sympathies. It's never a good time.

abi: I too am rather wary of Cesar Milan and his premise and techniques.

The positive reinforcement training approach would be to train a different behaviour non-compatible with nipping, praising/rewarding for that behaviour, then ask for that desired behaviour whenever the nipping starts.

Fragano @834: Wonderful! Gave me a great chuckle.

Fragano @ 801: great news! Congrats.

#838 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2012, 06:46 PM:

Lila @826: Sympathies. It's never a good time.

abi: I too am rather wary of Cesar Milan and his premise and techniques.

The positive reinforcement training approach would be to train a different behaviour non-compatible with nipping, praising/rewarding for that behaviour, then ask for that desired behaviour whenever the nipping starts.

Fragano @834: Wonderful! Gave me a great chuckle.

Fragano @ 801: great news! Congrats.

#839 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2012, 06:47 PM:

Lila @826: Sympathies. It's never a good time.

abi: I too am rather wary of Cesar Milan and his premise and techniques.

The positive reinforcement training approach would be to train a different behaviour non-compatible with nipping, praising/rewarding for that behaviour, then ask for that desired behaviour whenever the nipping starts.

Fragano @834: Wonderful! Gave me a great chuckle.

Fragano @ 801: great news! Congrats.

#840 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2012, 06:49 PM:

And I must learn to check when the system says it's failed to post my comment...

#841 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2012, 07:26 PM:

Lila: My condolences on your loss.

#842 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2012, 08:51 PM:

Thanks for the kind words, everyone. Getting to see the Transit of Venus with my own (protected) eyes made my day a lot better.

Add my +1 to those who dislike Cesar Milan's approach. Victoria Stilwell strikes me as much more invested in understanding and changing the problem behavior vs. Putting The Dog In Its Place.

#843 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2012, 08:51 PM:

Lila, I'm sorry. It's never easy.

I agree with the warnings about Cesar Milan. A lot of what he demonstrates/teaches is outdated. That said, every dog is different.

#844 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2012, 09:32 PM:

Astronomy Picture of the Day has a feed from the (Eaarth-orbiting) Solar Dynamics Observatory. Right now Venus is halfway across the disk of the Sun. (The view updates about every 15 minutes.)

Lila, I'm sorry about your cat going so unexpectedly. (I'm not sure that there's any good way, really.)

#845 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2012, 10:21 PM:

Lila: my sympathies on your loss.

abi: Years back, I read a book on dog training by the Monks of New Skete; it struck me as very sensible and dog-oriented. You may be able to find it somewhere. Also, take a look for the Gentle Leader, which was devised by a veterinary behaviorist whose name escapes me at the moment. It comes with an indoor lead, for use in training; you may be able to reinforce appropriate behaviors and extinguish bad behaviors using the GL as an assistance.

HLN: Today, local woman bought her house from herself. Well, from herself and her Ex. Life goes on.

#846 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2012, 11:01 PM:

P J Evans #844

We should be able to see it live here, but there's cloud.

However, the Mt John observatory at Lake Tekapo can see it: live feed from earth-level here. Yes, it's upside down. We're in the antipodes here.

#847 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2012, 11:16 PM:

Lila, #826: My condolences. Seventeen years is a pretty good run for a cat, and IME it's a little easier when you don't have to take them in for that last vet visit, but it still hurts.

Ginger, #845: Congratulations!

We got out in the yard with some welder's filters (over sunglasses) and managed to see the teeny-tiny dot which was Venus silhouetted against the solar disc. It was cool.

#848 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2012, 11:26 PM:

It's night here now, but I'm still watching. (Satellites are fun.)

#849 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2012, 12:12 AM:

Walker wins in Wisconsin. Not a good sign, I think.

#850 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2012, 12:38 AM:

Lila, my condolences, I know it's never easy even when you may have been expecting it.

Conditions here were sunny with scattered clouds, but I could get neither my own cardboard-with-pinhole nor either of the binoculari borrowed from fellow chorus members to produce a usable image. So I checked out the Internet coverage a couple of times. I believe it's just about done by now.

Fresh Guacamole - "diced": Loud giggles.

ObOpenThread: Nobody else seems to have linked to this (hurriedly double-checks parhelia, particles, etc.) recent article yet; it's not the article itself (which is awesome, TY Jo) but the comment thread where magic started happening, and we can all see whose fault THAT is!

--Dave, will point at the moon for food

#851 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2012, 12:42 AM:

My comment has been engnomulated. One URL to, four paragraphs, words I wasn't expecting to be Powerful. May I offer a cookie?


#852 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2012, 01:16 AM:

My Transit of Venus photo:

I'm discouraged and dismayed about Wisconsin. Now "they" know how to win. And they'll do it over and over until they own everything.

#853 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2012, 02:37 AM:

#David DeLaney @ 850: Thank you for pointing out that lovely thread on! I think del's may be my favorite:

O Western wind, when wilt thou blow,
And gyre and gimble in the wabe?
Christ, that my love were in my arms,
And the mome raths outgrabe!

#854 ::: janetl has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2012, 02:38 AM:

For a link to and/or Poetry Abuse!

#855 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2012, 05:29 AM:

Lila @826 - I am so sorry :(

In happier pet news I have my cat safe and sound back at home and with a renewed appreciation of her capabilities.

Basically she's a ninja, or that guy from the mission impossible movies. Maybe Jason Bourne?

Set the scene:

Our protagonist wakes up in an unfamiliar place after a minor surgery, random parts shaved that shouldn't be. Quickly discovers that unfamilar place is a cage, there are several other prisoners in similar cages in the room.

A prison guard comes and opens the cage and takes our protagonist out to do more medical checks, protagonist goes meekly along while plotting escape plan.

When the guard has finished the examination and attempts to put our protagonist back into the cage the escape plan is put into action.

The guard is attacked and temporarily incapacitated, this is followed up with a fast run into the next room through a door left ajar

In the other room there are no escape routes either. No wait, there's an unfinished air vent at (human) shoulder height, and roughly the size of a palm. Yes! That'll do.

Our protagonist then manages to leap up the wall and disappear down a small hole barely bigger than her head while guard who has by this point gotten over the initial shock can do nothing but watch as our protagonist disappears from view into a wall.

Unfortunately the narrativium cuts out at this point and there's nowhere to go from inside the wall.

The vet had to take bricks out of the wall at the bottom to create an opening for her to come through. When I came to pick her up he was busy re-bricking the wall back up, and blocking off the hole she'd dived down.

Nikita's fine back at home now, very dusty with plaster dust and brick dust but I'm not giving her a bath there's been enough trauma so far. Just wiping her with a damp towel every now and then.

That unfinished airvent hole thing has been in the wall for 10 years and Nikita's the first cat to go through it.

Complete ninja

#856 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2012, 09:02 AM:

A primer on drones. Pro-publica is a really nice source of high-information, low-fluff stories rhat seem to be trying to inform their readers about the shape of the world, albeit subject to the usual flaws of journalism.

#857 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2012, 09:05 AM:

Open-threadiness/HLN: RVA Magazine recently posted some old pictures of Richmond, including a couple of my neighborhood. Look at the 5th picture down, of people in front of their house. If I'm guessing correctly, that was 3 houses down from where I live now.

Now look a few pictures down, "W. Cary St at Cherry". That's half a mile away, but in a different neighborhood.

It's interesting (and entirely unsurprising) to see how poor my neighborhood looks. It's still, I believe, the poorest white neighborhood in the city.

#859 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2012, 10:24 AM:

I just heard, Jon...

#860 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2012, 12:08 PM:

Sica (855): I'm glad you got Nikita back safe and sound.

#861 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2012, 12:20 PM:

Jon Meltzer @858: Oh, man.

Thank you, Ray Bradbury. Thank you for writing so many things that mattered, but thank you especially for Green Town, in Dandelion Wine. You wrote a place that I could recognize, a place that looked like the one I grew up in, and you said that there is magic and wonder and terror and mystery here too, even far from cities, even for a child, maybe especially for a child. You showed that we existed. You showed that we mattered. Your stories helped some of us navigate strange and familiar places.

You were good company.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you more than I can say.

Rest well.

#862 ::: elise is teaching the gnomes to play the Penny Game ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2012, 12:22 PM:

Apparently the gnomes were bored. I don't mind, though. They're picking up the Penny Game very quickly.

#863 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2012, 12:33 PM:

Just to show that there is still humor to be found in that great clstrfk called copyright. It turns out that all 3 of the nation-state sponsered cyberworms that have been discovered, Stuxnet, Duqu, and Flame use open-source libraries, and Duqu uses one that's GPL-ed. So someone has asked that the creators release all the source code for Duqu to the public, as required by the GPL. (via slashdot)

#864 ::: Bruce Cohen (Internet Garden Gnome) ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2012, 12:36 PM:

The gnomes are busy this morning; my last post with one link containing the name of an infamous internet worm has been stopped for inspection.

[The link was from a Hungarian domain, a tld which has previously been represented on Making Light only as a source of high-volume potted meat -- Regulata Oberwinningly, Duty Gnome]

#865 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2012, 12:48 PM:

Bruce, mine was in praise of Ray Bradbury. Maybe the gnomes are grieving as well. Dunno why they took yours, though. Perhaps they keep a terrarium full of Internet worms to observe?

[Believe it or not, it was addressing Jon Meltzer as "man" that did it. Spammers are a friendly, casual bunch, and are the Reason We Can't Have Nice Forms of Address. Thanks for teaching us the Penny Game. I hope you recall all of the rules to the gnomish pastime of Twisting Inward? You did pretty well for a first-timer. -- Regulata Oberwinningly, Duty Gnome]

#866 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2012, 01:33 PM:

L1nk3d1n has had a massive password breach. Reportedly some 6.5 million hashed passwords have been posted on a Russian hacker site, with a call for assistance in cracking them. If you have an account, a password change would be a good idea.

#867 ::: Lee has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2012, 01:34 PM:

Either l33ting the name of the Linky Site is no longer enough, or some other Word of Power was involved.

#868 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2012, 03:15 PM:

As a retired Federal employee I thought I'd seen enough ID document struggles when the entire office had to get security clearances.

I was wrong.

I have just spent 2 days helping my Mom try to get the documents to show when her name changed from maiden name to married name related to her second marriage. Said documents were lost in a house fire several years ago.

She replaced her birth certificate and Social Security card after the fire, but didn't bother with the marriage certificate or divorce decree...

She's got a Virginia driver's license* that expires soon, so she went to the Ohio BMV to replace it, only to discover that even though she's had the same legal name for the last 30 odd years, she still needs to show the name change as current documents don't match her birth certificate.

So we've mailed off forms and checks to the appropriate states for the necessary documents, hoping we'll get them before the 10th of next month.

Lesson learned: Keep any document involving a legal procedure no matter how long ago said event occurred.

*She didn't have a car when she moved here, and I was doing most of the driving plus she thought she might move back to Virginia before it expired.

#869 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2012, 03:33 PM:

Interesting open-threadiness:

Monkey Cage posts about media bias. My sense from reading the posts (but not the many linked academic papers) is that:

a. Media partisan bias that is measurable in any reproducable way tends to track with the median reader or viewer of that media source. Newspapers with more liberal readers will tend to skew things a bit more liberal, newspapers with more conservative readers will tend to skew things a bit more conservative.

b. There seems to be less evidence here, but media bias toward easy-to-tell, gripping, interesting stories is probably much more powerful and important than partisan bias. Fox may prefer to tell a story that helps Republicans over one that helps Democrats, but it won't try to tell a story that's complicated and hard to understand and doesn't have much of a resolution and isn't very satisfying.

c. There are several specific issues or areas where media sources have been documented to have been pretty explicitly biased, but I think those are less partisan than they are pro-establishment. For example, there was a study that showed that pretty much all mainstream media coverage of opposition to the Iraq war featured foreigners (Saddam Hussein and Jacques Chirac) making the antiwar case, not American politicians or protesters or activists. Another study showed that major media sources uniformly called waterboarding "torture" until it came out we were doing it, when it became "enhanced interrogation."

d. Coverage tends to be heavily influenced by activists and think tanks and PACs and such. My guess is that the ability to squawk when your side is offended and respond quickly to reporters' phone calls has a big impact.

Broadly, my sense is that systematic bias toward easy-to-tell, gripping stories with simple good guy/bad guy storylines, and systematic bias toward supporting the established institutions and powers against most serious challenges or protests, is really important. And that partisan bias probably mostly isn't.

#870 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2012, 03:40 PM:

There once was a duty gnome, Matt
who'd stuck my post under his hat
though I thought it was neat
a slight scent of canned meat
got it stopped for review, and that's that.

#871 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2012, 04:09 PM:

albatross @870:

It helps if you change your username when you're reporting a gnoming. Preferably, mention the word "gnomed", but anything that marks it out as "this is a call for mod action rather than a simple conversational post" would be helpful.

Because sometimes I'm not reading everything real-time. Skimming the recent comments is faster, and I do that more often.

#872 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2012, 05:34 PM:

Lila: My condolences.
Sica: LOL! Cats are commonly underrated. I've seen one climbing a fire escape. Not the stairs, the ladder!

My own pet news is unhappy; my dog Gracie seems to be infected with Lyme and/or Ehrlichia. She hasn't eaten or pooped today, and is staying huddled in my room. She was at the vet this morning, and I'm about to try and convince her to swallow some chicken, with pills in.

#873 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2012, 05:42 PM:

David Harmon: yikes! Best wishes for Gracie's prompt recovery.

#874 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2012, 05:48 PM:

Sica, that's pretty impressive.

David Harmon, back when I worked at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival, there was a three-legged cat named Tripod who lived on the second floor of a building whose "stairs" were a ladder. I'm pretty sure I've spoken of Tripod here before, so pardon the repeat, those of you who've heard it. The missing leg was one of the hind legs. Tripod was a very good-looking cat, and a champion shakedown artist of visitors to the festival. (Step one: Pose nicely by booth selling shrimp cocktails to visitors. Step two: When there are several visitors partway through their shrimp cocktails, stretch ostentatiously and settle back into Adorable Cat Pose. Step three: Wait for cries of, "Oh, poor kitty! She only has three legs!" Step four: Collect all the shrimp you can hold. Step five: Roll home at the end of the day and hop up the ladder to your sleeping lair, so you can do it again the next day.)

#875 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2012, 05:49 PM:

Eep, posted too soon. David, get-better-fast wishes to Gracie!

#876 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2012, 06:16 PM:

Wait a minute. Regulata Oberwinningly, Duty Gnome?

*bursts out laughing*

Good one!

#877 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2012, 06:18 PM:

Lee @ 866: Thank you for the heads-up! I went and changed mine.

#878 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2012, 06:37 PM:

How to change your password at L:inkedIn....

You can change your password from the Settings page. If you don't remember your password, you can get password help by clicking on the Forgot password? link on the Sign in page.

#879 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2012, 07:42 PM:

elise, #874: I can just see that! My first cat, Genevieve, was missing a hind leg. She lost it at birth; the umbilical cord was wrapped around it and when the mother cat went to separate the cord, she got the leg with it. I acquired her just post-weaning, from an independent pet shop which sometimes let regular customers drop off puppies and kittens to be sold. The owner gave her to me for free, probably because he didn't think anyone else would take a 3-legged kitten and didn't want to have to have her euthanized. (And it's not like he didn't make money on the deal, because I had to buy food and food dishes and a litterbox and litter and a couple of toys, because she was my first cat.) She lived to be 21 years old, and never had mobility problems except that she couldn't jump as well as the average cat. She could still get up on the sofa, but not up to a table or counter.

Sica, I love the ninja-cat story!

David, best wishes that Gracie recovers soon.

#880 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2012, 07:54 PM:

Gracie does seem to be feeling a little better... she went for a walk a couple of hours ago (walking much better), and she just came down to eat her kibble. She was also no trouble taking the pills -- despite my failure to "hide" them in cheese (changed my mind at the last minute). She actually licked the pills off the plate after eating the cheese! I guess sometimes her gluttony is useful. :-)

#881 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2012, 08:32 PM:

Re the L:inkedIn password leak: Lastpass (which I trust, but you should find it yourself) has a lookup tool where you can feed strings for hashing and testing against the leaked base.

After I changed mine, it showed as not known to be compromised. But simple (dumb) passwords like "password" and various female names over 6 characters all got hits.

The method I use for making passwords is this:
- I choose a short phrase including a number, say "3 quarks"
- I choose a not-too related word "tough" (I got that by taking the time, and looking at a related page of the Joy of Cooking. Technical term for this is "haystacking"
- these two are the basis
- I decide on a rule for replacing and inserting characters from the website name, say 4th character and initials between

So I might generate 3qukrksLItough and 3querksFBtough for two common web sites. These are long enough to be hard, and the method is easy for me to remember. Of course, that's neither my basis nor my detail algorithm.

Rather than a full set of entropy, I am reducing the relative entropy of my set of passwords. But to an outsider, it looks like full entropy.

Using a semi-random method e.g. random number plus book look-up gets a nice pattern-free spread. Using a non-English language might help, too.

BlueHost's password checker gave me a 96/100 strength for one I did earlier today.

For high use passwords, like corporate network login, I prefer random words from multiple newspaper stories on the front page the day I'm forced to change password (monthly).

Invent your own system, but please, don't reuse passwords identically across multiple web sites.

#882 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2012, 09:06 PM:

Ray Bradbury: Shaka, when the walls fell.

#883 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2012, 09:14 PM:

I once watched a cat go up a chain link fence. The fence was several feet high; the cat climbed up it. It was very much like watching a wooly-bear caterpillar go up a wall.

#884 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2012, 10:16 PM:

Today: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, Sword.

#885 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2012, 01:30 AM:

David Harmon: Here's hoping for Gracie's continued improvement. Voluntary ingestion of medication is an underrated blessing.

Henry Troup @881: I know a number of people who use variants on your algorithm. I've gotten nervous about actual words as even a portion of the password. I've discovered that a marvelous means of generating randomoid strings is to keep an eye out for rot-13s that look evokative (maybe of alien names or such), and then tune them a little for added randomation.

Even so, it's still a righteous flat-bread to do a full passwd cycle, given that I'm up to tens of accounts to keep track of. I've finally developed a list and a coding system so that if I forget whether I've changed a password, I can just refer to my list to figure out which version it ought to be.

The ones I really hate are the ones that won't allow special characters. Especially if you're transacting business with them. I mean, WTF? (I think the Apple-One temp agency had that, back in '07 when I was dealing with them. Hellooo.... Paychecks? Jeez.) And then there was the DVD site that (a) when you hit the "forgot password" link, emailed your password IN FREAKIN' CLEARTEXT—and then didn't have a provision for changing it—! I would have refused to deal with them, except they were the only ones that carried a DVD I really really wanted, for which there was no substitute.

Xopher: ...and here I thought it was feldspar.

Which reminds me, I need to go look up the meaning of gicleé. (How odd. I'd swear the gallery down the street spells it with second g instead of a c.)

#886 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2012, 01:31 AM:

884: *click* Oh. Right.

#887 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2012, 01:41 AM:

Lila: I'm sorry about your cat.

Sica: My big fluffy cat, who Does Not Like vets, probably does something similar in his mind every time he's in the back room at the vet's. He just doesn't have the body for it.

HLPN: Our chicks have gone out to the main coop, given their own safe big chicken free space with food and extra heat. They're still not quite sure what to make of the new arrangement. The only one who was really sure was the little silkie who had a scissor beak mutation. At 7 weeks, she was still small enough to get through the 2x1" fencing, and felt like she was only an ounce or two. Feather and bone. But she had more personality than all the other chickens put together. Totally fearless, she'd run under the big hens, bounce off their legs, and go through the chicken run fencing to see what was out there. She'd run right up to our shoes, just to get a ride back into the coop and under the lights. Then an hour later, she'd be out exploring again. We knew she wasn't going to last long, and this morning, we found her dead. I'm glad she didn't seem to be in distress yesterday while running around and escaping.

#888 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2012, 01:41 AM:

Lila: I'm sorry about your cat.

Sica: My big fluffy cat, who Does Not Like vets, probably does something similar in his mind every time he's in the back room at the vet's. He just doesn't have the body for it.

HLPN: Our chicks have gone out to the main coop, given their own safe big chicken free space with food and extra heat. They're still not quite sure what to make of the new arrangement. The only one who was really sure was the little silkie who had a scissor beak mutation. At 7 weeks, she was still small enough to get through the 2x1" fencing, and felt like she was only an ounce or two. Feather and bone. But she had more personality than all the other chickens put together. Totally fearless, she'd run under the big hens, bounce off their legs, and go through the chicken run fencing to see what was out there. She'd run right up to our shoes, just to get a ride back into the coop and under the lights. Then an hour later, she'd be out exploring again. We knew she wasn't going to last long, and this morning, we found her dead. I'm glad she didn't seem to be in distress yesterday while running around and escaping.

#889 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2012, 01:54 AM:

Bah. Doubled. Too bad there's nothing the gnomes could do with that.

Jacque @885: I've had a customer service person at Discover Card email me my password to the website in plain text because I was having some sort of login issue. I don't remember exactly what I'd asked for, a reset or reminder, but I certainly wasn't expecting my plaintext password back.

I was stunned that a company in an industry that generated the PCI compliance framework would have something like that happen.

At least now all stages of their login are on HTTPS. It used to be that they delivered the initial form on an HTTP page, and had a little lock image next to the form.

#890 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2012, 02:53 AM:

Back when I was farming, we knew several cats who were good at climbing ladders. And dogs.

#891 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2012, 07:37 AM:

Jacque #885: The ones I really hate are the ones that won't allow special characters.

Better: A major Email provider that limits passwords to 8 characters!

#892 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2012, 08:53 AM:

My bank not only strongly limits how many characters I can use and what can be in them, but has REQUIRED 'password hints'. I am forced to pick three from a list of eight, total, and provide them with answers to them that I can remember. Someone who doesn't have my password could answer a randomly-chosen two of my pre-picked hints and one personal-information question correctly and get access to my account.

To deal with the questions thing, I've trained myself to pick facetious (but very rememberable) answers to the standard ones. Example: for Mother's Maiden Name, you can pick a childhood nickname or some epithet she hates. For favorite teacher, a fictional character that strongly influenced your childhood ... and so on. It's MILDLY more secure, not nearly so social-engineerable off documents, and much more rememberable for most people than randomization.

#893 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2012, 09:15 AM:

Lila -- my sympathies, we have an elderly 'mese who seems to be indestructible, but I know that won't last.

David -- poor Gracie, Lyme? I knew dogs could get it, but I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.

Sica, I like to hurt myself laughing about ninja cat. We had one Siamese who'd had an eye infection as a kitten, which necessitated so many clinic trips that he grew to hate vets.

Several years down the road, we took Brigand for a routine checkup and he lost it. Came out of the carrier hissing, spitting and attacking all comers. The vet managed to get him under a blanket and on the table, where my partner and I held him down (with the vet keeping one hand on the heaving mass as well) while he got his shots.

I had the business end under my section of blanket, and when Brigand started chewing through THAT, I asked, "How much longer?!" The vet exclaimed, "Done -- on three let go!" so we did.

The cat and blanket shot four feet straight up into the air, and we got as far from the landing as we could. I would love to have a video of us, three adults, and we're fleeing from a 12 pound cat...

My partner managed to get Brigand calmed down and into his carrier, and we all avoided being bitten.
After that trip, we got cat restraints* for his next checkup.

*It's called a Catsack, all that protrudes is Kitty's head, and it has zippers in strategic places so the vet can give shots without getting clawed or bit.

#894 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2012, 11:13 AM:

Hyperlocal news... Albuquerque's Comic Expo is this weekend. Man has been asked to be a judge on the kids's costume contest because " like costumes and will not crush the souls of children..."

#895 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2012, 11:17 AM:

Dave Bell @890 - Did the dogs appreciate being climbed?

Lori Coulson @893 - Does the Catsack allow for extracting one paw at a time? If so, I may have to look for one. Gandalf (yes, he is gray) is fairly cooperative about taking pills and even getting shots, but clipping his claws is a battle.

#896 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2012, 11:32 AM:

This is what Freeman needs in Half-Life³:

The Stanley FUBAR.

#897 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2012, 11:49 AM:

Lori #893:

How does one get cat into cat sack? I ask because getting cats to actually get on/in anything is sometimes almost as problematic as the procedure one is trying to ease. (Current cat refuses even to be picked up, although she can sometimes be herded.)

#898 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2012, 11:57 AM:

David Harmon@891: Even better: the ones which won't tell you what the requirements/limits are until you provide them with your first-choice password and it's not allowed. THEN they say "must be x to y characters and must/must not contain..."

Dave Bell @890: Back when we'd just had our loft conversion and my father-in-law was fitting a proper loft ladder & hatch in to allow easy access to the remaining top loft/storage space (where the water tank is as well - we have great water pressure now), he'd left a ladder sticking up into the top loft, and the door to that room open. We reminded him that we'd asked him not to do that in case the cats climbed up. "Oh, don't worry, it's a round-runged ladder. They can't climb that" he said. At which moment one of our cats stuck her head over the the side of the loft hatch opening and mewed down at us: "boring up here, could you get me down now please?" Timing!

#899 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2012, 12:32 PM:

Lori Coulson wow yeah I'd like to see a video of that, cats may be small but they're very armed and proportionally very strong and agile.

Nikita's always been fine at the vets, howls and hisses and growls but physically just pretends to be a limp sack of potatos which makes it fairly easy to do whatever needs to be done, very much a case of bark worse than the bite.

We'll see what it's like next time. She's just about back to normal now and I've not had a problem giving her the antibiotics she needs now for the next week. Worrying mildly about getting her into a cat carrier next time I need to do that but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

#900 ::: pedantic peasant ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2012, 12:36 PM:

Thanks to all for the audiobook suggestions

HLN: Local man to return to full employment come September.

#901 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2012, 01:52 PM:

Re cats and getting them into things, a recent funny tweet from a friend:

Bought top-loading carrier just for cat. Carrier too small, cat too pointy. He's free, I'm scratched, carrier 4 sale.

It's amazing how much information can be conveyed in 140 characters or less. :-)

#902 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2012, 04:35 PM:

Discovered at BEA today that Workman has reissued B. Kliban's "Cat" and "Never Eat Anything Bigger Than Your Head."


My cat is a Kliban cat.

#903 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2012, 05:09 PM:

dcb @ #898, my late lamented Ginger climbed a round-runged ladder every night for 10 years in order to inconvenience me while I slept up in my loft. Her getting down involved a couple of tentative steps down a glass-fronted bookshelf and a leap onto the floor from there.

This was the same cat who would leap onto the outside of my window screen if I didn't open the front door quickly enough to let her in.

#904 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2012, 05:42 PM:

Tabitha did the loft ladder thing when we moved here. It was part of her new territory, after all. A couple of times afer that, she followed us up, but she didn't try to hide when we wanted to leave the loft.

#905 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2012, 06:26 PM:

The late lamented Sophie Cat was always trying to follow us up the steep ladder to the attic. Bad enough if she'd got stuck there when we closed the hatch, but the floor of the attic was simply some plywood over bags of insulation; the bags were very brittle, and the one time she strayed off the decking and walked on one, she broke the outer covering.

(Nothing to a very former cat of my DH, which took advantage of an actual hole in the attic floor that was covered with unattached cardboard and came sailing down, magic carpet-style, to a rather hard landing. Couldn't figure out why everyone was laughing their heads off, and stalked away, rather stiff-legged, in something perfectly balanced--unlike him--between outrage, disgust, and embarrassment.)

#906 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2012, 07:11 PM:

eric @887: We knew she wasn't going to last long

Ah, but sounds like she made the most of the time she had. Via con dios, wee silkie!

Elliott Mason @892: I would be tempted to send a strongly worded letter to the head of IT with a CC to the bank president, pointing out that there are other banks with which one could conduct business....

WRT the questions thing, I tried just using a stock answer, but anticipating that, the site said I wasn't allowed to use the same answer for multiple questions. ::SIGH:: I'm working on coming up with an algorithm wherefrom I can calculate the quasi-randomoid answer based on the question, and not have to remember anything. I have far more important things to remember, like "Where did I leave off watching Doctor Who?"


WRT vet adventures, I take (probably excessive) pride in how calm and pliable my pigs are at the vet. I've also got my vet trained to let me go back into the tech room with them and do the holding while they're doing Proceedures. We had a new tech come on staff a while ago, and she was very nervous about letting me bring Donkey and Tiny back together to get their masses aspirated. She was concerned that one's crying would upset the other. I was inordinately proud when Donkey took his aspiration without even flinching, as did Tiny, even when the vet missed on the first pass and had to do a second stick. (The biggest "trauma" of the whole trip was that Donkey couldn't figure out how to get past the lingerie bag he was zipped into to mount Tiny.)

Speaking of Donkey, he's out for his playtime, but had fallen down flat, sulking because (a) it's hot and (b) there are no girls out for him to talk to. Life Is Rough, you know.

#907 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2012, 08:52 PM:

joann @ 905

Nothing to a very former cat of my DH, which took advantage of an actual hole in the attic floor that was covered with unattached cardboard and came sailing down, magic carpet-style, to a rather hard landing.

Oh this brings back a memory.

My wife and I built ourselves a house shortly after we were married. It was mostly finished, but had no ceiling in the bedroom closet when we moved in. We mostly moved in Thanksgiving Friday, and spent our first night there on Saturday. We were awak-ish, but not yet out of bed, on Sunday morning when her cat fell through the temporary ceiling in the closet and landed about 18" from the bed.

#908 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2012, 09:53 PM:

HLN: After only one call to tech support, woman successful installs new* wireless router**. A few sharks gathered, but were discouraged by a firm rap on the nose.

*my first
**yes, I changed the default username and password

#909 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2012, 10:12 PM:

Bravo, Mary Aileen!
(I love wireless. I *hate* wires.)

#910 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2012, 10:23 PM:

Cat adventures:
My mother went into the utility room once, and discovered one cat on an upper pantry shelf. Which was only accessible by either climbing the front of the shelves (most of them were sized for cans) or by leaping three feet across from the washer as well as a couple of feet vertically. That cat was not height-challenged: she liked being up high (trees, cove lighting, the top edge of the back door when it was open.... (I saw her do a vertical jump from the floor that put her paws on a phone cord five feet up. I was holding the phone cord at arm's length above my head.)

#911 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2012, 10:26 PM:

Cat agility - a friend's Burmese kitten could leap from the floor to friend's shoulder, and he's a six-foot human.

#912 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2012, 10:36 PM:

We had our very own Ceiling Cat post-Ike; one of the neighborhood cats apparently decided to explore the attic via the hole in the roof, and was trapped there when we put a temporary patch over it. We didn't realize this for a couple of days, until we woke up one morning to find her peering down at us thru the hole in the ceiling! We tried to get her down, but she wouldn't come to us, and eventually we had to find the neighbor to whom she belonged, and who had been worried sick about her. Happy endings all around.

#913 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2012, 10:43 PM:

Melissa Singer @902: Kliban cats!

"Love to eat them mousies
Mousies what I love to eat
Bite they tiny heads off
Nibble on they tiny feet...."

(My apologies to mousies and mousie-lovers in the crowd.)

#914 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2012, 10:53 PM:

For some reason (or perhaps for no reason) my favorite Kliban picture was "Lyle Smells Phil's Wheels"

#915 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2012, 11:34 PM:

elise @913: That, in fact, is my Alex.

#916 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2012, 12:18 AM:

elise: Came home one day to find a squirrel tail and four paws on the lawn, in their respective positions. You have to deal with these things when you have cats.

#917 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2012, 12:44 AM:

HLN: If any of you are on Fitocracy, my username there is elmason76. If you already use the site, feel free to 'follow' me so we can rah each other on.

I'm trying to alternate 'leg days' and 'upper body days', but get significant workout in on one of them almost EVERY day. So far my leg days have included a 5+mi walk, plus (today) some weight work at home. I'm collecting neat exercises I can do with what I have handy by looking on ExRx and taking pointers from friendly people on a sub-board on Ravelry. Bench dips (thank you, sturdy coffee table) are my new favorite thing, though once I learn to do them properly I think 'Bulgarian' split-leg dumbbell squats will be my NEW favorite thing. [Why Bulgarian? No idea, but several places seem to call them that]

I'm using Fitocracy because (a) I'm a geek, so data comforts me and (b) a bit of rah-rah from other people helps me actually motivate to do it every day. Plus, (c) imaginary internet trophies! A personal high score list! What's not to like?

#918 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2012, 12:45 AM:

B. Durbin @916: Clearly the spectators admired your cat's ardor and verve, as they awarded him the paws and tail. :->

#919 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2012, 12:58 AM:

Cats in high places: Years ago, living in a rental house, heard a cat yowling unhappily. Searched house, found both cats alive and well, and not yowling. Circled, trying to gauge the direction. Attic? Got into the attic. No cat visible, and yowling was muffled. Circled some more, and decided it was coming from the (cold) woodstove. Opened the front of the stove, opened the damper -- and two eyes reflected back at me.

The stove could be lifted away from the pipe, and the neighbor's young Manx cat staggered out into a towel. He was filthy with soot, but seemed healthy enough. He'd apparently been exploring the roof and fell into the chimney.

#920 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2012, 02:01 AM:

janetl @ #919 "I had walled the monster up within the tomb!"

#921 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2012, 02:10 AM:

For those who know (former Mpls) fan and writer Jim Young -- he's currently in the hospital after emergency surgery for a brain tumor.

There's a Caring Bridge site for updates.

Jim was one of the head people on the original Minneapolis in '73 bid, is currently an excellent writer and went from a career in the State Dept into being an actor in LA. He's one of the Good Ones.

#922 ::: Tom Whitmore visits the gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2012, 02:12 AM:

Needing more sympathy than tea, I'm afraid, because the only link is to a C*r*ng Br*dg* site for Jim Young. All may be well, but it's hard to know right now.

#923 ::: Tom Whitmore visits the gnomes twice in succession ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2012, 02:14 AM:

Maybe a lot of spam from a sympathy site? Jim Young is in the hospital.

#924 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2012, 02:19 AM:

I just had three posts in a row sent to the gnomes. This is a test to see if they've decided they want all my posts.

[A false positive based on a partial match (""). Filters adjusted. -- Dulcetna Overcreest, Duty Gnome]

#925 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2012, 03:26 AM:

Probably gifting the gnomes here, but speaking of high-flying cats.... (Warning: large animated GIF)

#926 ::: geekosaur did indeed gift the gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2012, 03:27 AM:

Unsurprisingly, the URL was considered a little suspicious. Have some tea?

#927 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2012, 04:56 AM:

Nikita has a "likes heights" thing like most cats. I've moved somewhere with lower ceilings now so she doesn't really get to do it as much but she used to jump on top of my doors

Here's a photo of her

She used to leap up there either from the chair you can see in the photo next to the door or from my fishtank that's just out of shot.


Really enjoying reading your stories.

#928 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2012, 11:07 AM:

elise #913:

That--and associated picture--are on my #2 cooking apron. (Second-best because it's 35 years old and some of the food stains just won't come out, even after washings so repeated as to fade the whole thing more than somewhat.)

#929 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2012, 11:26 AM:

Sica #927

I am totally in awe of that cat. Current cat is not a jumper, and indeed is known for poking head up to top of (admittedly rather high) bed to make sure of height and that the coast is clear before scrambling up.

The last cat was more of a leaper, with a habit of getting on top of a freestanding book case and then leaping to the one placed four feet away. (That she ascended by way of the adjacent turntable stand caused us to be a bit more organized about keeping the turntable cover on than we might have been otherwise.)

This was also the cat who seemingly managed to get into the storage cabinet over the door in the bedroom via a tall dresser--at least we could come up with no other explanation for the rather characteristic scratches on the side of the stereo speaker that lived in that cubby. Bad enough, but I never figured out how she got on top of the dresser.

#930 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2012, 12:01 PM:

I'm too busy scripting a Downfall mashup, so I present for your entertainment:

William Shakespeare's Waiting for Godot

It's up to you now. I am, of course, waiting.

#931 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2012, 01:47 PM:

Sica@ 927: I have those chairs - they were my grandmother's. The full sister of the cat that climbed the ladder used to leap up and perch on the top of the door like that - she got there via the back of the sofabed.

919 ::: janetl : cats in sooty places My father-in-law also did stuff for us like re-wiring. On day a couple of hours after he'd left I realised I hadn't seen Freya for quite a while. Checked all rooms, opened cupboard doors. No cat. Called. Eventually got a little "mew" in response. Subsequent call-and-answer located her to somewhere under the middle of the hallway floor. Next step: work out which floorboard she might have gone down, and unscrew. Shine torch and call again. Cat eventually emerged, covered in black sulphur-smelling dust which obviously tasted awful (judging by her expression when she tried to lick it off). She did NOT like the subsequent bath, went limp and "do your worst - I don't care any more" when I started towelling her dry, then "I didn't mean you could do that! Help! Mummy trying to kill me!" when I got the hair-drier out (it was too cold to not get her properly dry).

#932 ::: alsafi ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2012, 01:58 PM:

AKICIML, regarding a folk tale I once read. It was about a young man gone to seek his fortune who encountered three animals/groups of insects (I recall that at least one of the encounters was with insects, I think ants) that he dealt kindly with, and who then came back in the second half to help him either complete three tasks, or out of three jams he'd gotten into. (Usually, I have a good head for this sort of thing, and my google-fu is pretty strong, but I'm striking completely out on this one, and want it for our weester-story on Sunday, to mesh with a sermon on meekness.)

Anyone familiar with this one?

#933 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2012, 02:35 PM:

alsafi @932: I think you may be striking out on that one because there are several stories that fit that pattern, though some of them involve a young woman instead of a young man. Usually the ants help separate grains or pull them out of the ashes, and so forth.

#934 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2012, 02:41 PM:

alsafi @ 932

AKICIML, regarding a folk tale I once read. It was about a young man gone to seek his fortune who encountered three animals/groups of insects (I recall that at least one of the encounters was with insects, I think ants) that he dealt kindly with, and who then came back in the second half to help him either complete three tasks, or out of three jams he'd gotten into.

I think this is more a motif than a specific story. A google search on "folk tale helpful ants sorting grain" turns up a number of relevant stories, including the Greek myth of Eros & Psyche and some of the Cinderella variants (as well as non-European stories as well). The ones I'm finding easily have female protagonists but I vaguely recall ones with male protagonists like you remember. Let's see, there's the ants gathering up flax seeds in the Welsh tale of Culhwch & Olwen, but I doubt that's the one you're thinking of because it's a much more complicated tale.

The motif index here lists this specific item as motif number H1091.1 "Task: sorting grains: performed by helpful ants."

#935 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2012, 04:27 PM:

Anne Sheller @895:

Yes, the Catsack can be opened to get to one paw at a time:



This nylon sack features a quick-close collar, two-way main zipper for front or rear access, an additional underside zipper for easier rear leg access, and zippered front paw openings. Also featuring a quick close zipper flap and pull-tab provide for quick, fur-free application. Available in two sizes; Medium is for 5-10 lbs. and Large is for 10-15 lbs.

Buyer be aware that it MAY take 2 people to get Fluffy into the bag...

#936 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2012, 05:29 PM:

The Car Talk guys are retiring. They say the show will go on (all repeats), but that's cold comfort.

Oh, well. Nothing lasts forever.

#937 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2012, 05:46 PM:

asalfi @932:

My favorite version of that story is one of the more obscure Grimm stories called "The Queen Bee", where the two elder brothers have already gone out to seek their fortune. The third, Witling, goes out to do so, and saves bees from being smoked out of their hive, ducks from being eaten, and an ant's nest from being stirred just for the fun of it (nasty brothers). Then the ants help him find the lost pearls of the princess; the ducks dive for her ring, and the queen bee choosees which of the three identical princesses had honey before falling into an enchanted sleep. This breaks the spell; he marries her, and the other brothers have to settle for the other two.

Another version I'm fond of, also from Grimm, is called the White Snake. In this one, there's a snake whose flesh, when eaten, allows one to understand the speech of animals. A servant eats the flesh, which is usually reserved for the king. He goes out to seek his fortune, and rescues fish drowning in air in reeds by a river; steers his horse away from the ants on the road when their king complains; and kills his horse to feed two baby ravens thrown out of their nest too soon. (Somehow the horse doesn't get to plead for its life...) Then he tries for the hand of a princess, and retrieves her ring from the sea with the help of the fish, gets her pearls from the moss with the aid of the ants, and sends the ravens to get the apple of true love from the far shores of the distant sea. He and the princess then split the apple and live happily ever after.

#938 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2012, 06:03 PM:

Without trying to shut things down here, I'd just like to note that Open thread 174 is now open for business.

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