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October 28, 2012

Open Thread 178
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 06:52 PM *

In honor of the current weather, the Beaufort Wind Scale:

Force Wind
Appearance of Wind Effects
On the Water On Land
0 Less than 1 Calm Sea surface smooth and mirror-like Calm, smoke rises vertically
1 1-3 Light Air Scaly ripples, no foam crests Smoke drift indicates wind direction, still wind vanes
2 4-6 Light Breeze Small wavelets, crests glassy, no breaking Wind felt on face, leaves rustle, vanes begin to move
3 7-10 Gentle Breeze Large wavelets, crests begin to break, scattered whitecaps Leaves and small twigs constantly moving, light flags extended
4 11-16 Moderate Breeze Small waves 1-4 ft. becoming longer, numerous whitecaps Dust, leaves, and loose paper lifted, small tree branches move
5 17-21 Fresh Breeze Moderate waves 4-8 ft taking longer form, many whitecaps, some spray Small trees in leaf begin to sway
6 22-27 Strong Breeze Larger waves 8-13 ft, whitecaps common, more spray Larger tree branches moving, whistling in wires
7 28-33 Near Gale Sea heaps up, waves 13-19 ft, white foam streaks off breakers Whole trees moving, resistance felt walking against wind
8 34-40 Gale Moderately high (18-25 ft) waves of greater length, edges of crests begin to break into spindrift, foam blown in streaks Twigs breaking off trees, generally impedes progress
9 41-47 Strong Gale High waves (23-32 ft), sea begins to roll, dense streaks of foam, spray may reduce visibility Slight structural damage occurs, slate blows off roofs
10 48-55 Storm Very high waves (29-41 ft) with overhanging crests, sea white with densely blown foam, heavy rolling, lowered visibility Seldom experienced on land, trees broken or uprooted, “considerable structural damage”
11 56-63 Violent Storm Exceptionally high (37-52 ft) waves, foam patches cover sea, visibility more reduced  
12 64+ Hurricane Air filled with foam, waves over 45 ft, sea completely white with driving spray, visibility greatly reduced  

Devised by Rear Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort in 1805 to standardize weather observations by ships at sea. Beaufort’s scale was officially adopted in the 1830s when Sir Francis was British Admiralty Hydrographer of the Navy. Beaufort invited Charles Darwin to accompany Captain FitzRoy on a survey voyage; that voyage saw the first official use of the Beaufort Scale.

Originally the scale’s observations depended on the appearance of a ship’s sails (0: All sails hang loose—12: All sails close reefed). With the advent of steam the observations were changed to the appearance of the sea. In the 1850s observations of flags and trees were added for stations ashore.

While the Beaufort Scale has been generally replaced by observations of true wind speed using instruments, today’s storm warnings still follow Beaufort’s nomenclatures.

Continued from Open Thread 177. Continued in Open thread 179
Comments on Open Thread 178:
#1 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2012, 07:13 PM:


Rainy in Portland, no wind at all. I wish the East Coast only had to deal with rain. Take care!

#2 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2012, 07:17 PM:

There's block in downtown Houston, at the corner of Lamar and Louisiana, where the Bernoulli principle is demonstrated perfectly. One building there is shaped as a semi-circle. When the wind is from the north, the building adds at least 10 mph to the wind velocity because of the narrowing and then expansion. It makes an interesting walk to my bus stop when the cold fronts come in.

#3 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2012, 07:21 PM:

HLN: Area astronomy guy goes out to local observatory on public viewing night, shoots several images of nearly fully moon.

Nearly full moon

#4 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2012, 07:34 PM:

Santa Ana conditions usually run force 6-9. It's so much fun. Not.

#5 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2012, 08:05 PM:

They've already closed my teenager's school for tomorrow, not surprising. Teenager's dad lives a few blocks from a hospital and rarely loses power, so the kid is going to ride it out with him. My brother is on Long Island, but on the north side, and not currently under evacuation orders; I'm hoping he'll do all right.

I've said before that I'd give up electricity and running water to live the lives I've given my characters in 1805, but what they had that I don't? SERVANTS. And much better heat, cooking, and lighting sources than I'll have. No fireplaces or coal ranges in this house.

#6 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2012, 08:10 PM:

Too late now, but for future reference, an old-fashioned oil (or kerosene) lantern puts out a sufficient quantity of light to read by. I'd guesstimate it's as bright as four or five candles at least. We keep a "decorative" one as a centerpiece... full of oil and ready to go in case of power outage.

#7 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2012, 08:16 PM:

In response to Abi's sidebar item about the "houses" of Lienster Gardens which are really false fronts for subway train ventilation:

There is something like that in New York too.

Visible from a high highway in the Bronx as you ride the Greyhound bus into the city, there is a huge block-long row of false-front rowhouses, with no roof and with huge-diameter-pipe equipment behind the facades.

Is it for ventilating the subway? Could be. I'm not sure. Looks more false-frontish than the one in the London picture.

I have also seen telephone exchange buildings with nonfunctioning windows placed there to give a sense of scale that blends into the neighborhood.

#8 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2012, 08:29 PM:

I've seen power substations with high (fifteen to twenty feet) walls that make them look like buildings.

#9 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2012, 08:48 PM:

(Riposted from 177 -- good fencers make good neighbors, after all):

The other day, the Ex called to discuss the schedule for the Son, and then told me she's "seeing someone". I very carefully did not suggest a double date. The Son apparently told her "Finally!", for which she punched his arm -- and which he demonstrated upon me. "Like this," he said.

The FG and I had a good laugh.

In other news, the earth goes around the sun. Grass is green, dogs and cats are living in harmony, and tea with milk is good.

#10 ::: Stephen Frug ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2012, 09:02 PM:

Useful chart, thanks. I never know how to interpret wind MPHs in terms of feel/effects.

Any idea of what wind MPH is considered unsafe to drive in? I'm trying to figure out about going to work. (Obviously it's easy to say, 'stay home'... but of course that has its own consequences, albeit longer-term. So I'd like a sense if anyone has one.)

#11 ::: Fred ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2012, 09:10 PM:

Off topic- but Patrick and Teresa, be well; I'm moving to San Francisco next month. I've definitely enjoyed our occasional intersections, and will treasure the memory of being introduced to Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and Patrick and Elise with their ukeleles, and introducing you to "Drum Boogie" from Ball of Fire.


#12 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2012, 09:34 PM:

Force 7 can be driven in without a lot of trouble, but much stronger than that means you should slow down and be ready for the car to go sideways without warning. (Definitely hazardous for slab-sided, top-heavy, and tall vehicles.)

#13 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2012, 09:41 PM:

Wind effects on cars depend on what quarter they're coming from and your vehicle's sail area. Rather, I'd look at what the wind was doing to the landscape. Wires and trees down ... bad idea to be driving through there. I expect trees would start coming down before something as low, heavy, and aerodynamic as a passenger car would be blown off the road.

#14 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2012, 09:54 PM:

Jim, it's not so much being blown off the road as being shoved sideways when a gust hits (like being on an east-west street with high north winds: intersections become more-than-usually hazardous). Generally, when there's a lot of tree breakage, the word goes out to stay home if you possibly can. (They close freeways in California when it gets bad.)

#15 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2012, 09:56 PM:

Fred, good luck on the move. I'll miss hanging out with you at Quarter and the like. (Guess I'll just have to get back to San Francisco soon. Shouldn't be hard to lure me there; I didn't get to spend half as much time with half as many people as I would like last week, though it was chock full of fun.)

#16 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2012, 10:55 PM:

Currently from my office window in Auckland the trees are indicating Beaufort 4 gusting to 6. The weather station says 18 knots gusting to 30. It's nice when things work out properly.

#17 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2012, 11:04 PM:

HLN: Stuck in Ohio, with a lot of fen, singing, whisky, stories. Plants are in the garage. Having, all in all, a good time.

#19 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2012, 11:28 PM:

Gnomed. How about some of that nice Whole Foods chocolate with pear and almond?

#20 ::: Keith Edwards ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2012, 11:57 PM:

When I was young, my family lived for 3 years in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.* We of course had our fair share of hurricanes, but were only forced to evacuate for one. We spent the night in the high school gym, near the port, where we could be boarded onto Navy ships if the storm turned directly on us.

This was my first experience with te hurricane party. Everybody brought snacks, water, soda (and a few beers for the adults) and we turned the radio to the Armed Forces Station and listened intermittently to weather updates and pop music.

We stayed up all night, running around playing, listening to the rain and wind and never quite knowing just how close we came to being shuffled into the hold of a Navy transport and bobbing our way to Miami.

Anyway, if I have a pint to this rambling bit of memory, washed up by the storm, it's stay safe, but remember to enjoy yourselves. There's a weird energy to a storm and if you can channel it into a party with your neighbors, it's a lot more enjoyable than just sitting around, being anxious.

*This was 1984-87, when the base was a naval training station/ curiosity of Cold War politics. We moved there a dew weeks before my 8th birthday, so it was all a great adventure, like moving to a small town in Florida, though one surrounded by shark infested water and land mines. I had a wonderful time, riding my bike on a tropical island playing with my friends. I'm of course not at all happy that my childhood home has been turned into a gulag for Afghan taxi drivers who were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

#21 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 12:04 AM:

HLN: Man's hotel robbed at gunpoint. No one hurt. Filkers undisturbed as they sang. Front desk staff fine. Whisky offered, declined.

#22 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 01:37 AM:

Here's a question: would British naval captains have been using the Beaufort terms widely between their invention in 1805 and their official adoption in 1830? And how much resemblance did the terms bear to ordinary/colloquial usage prior to 1805? Was Beaufort's list something like the old SCA joke I remember which quantified amounts from "some" through "lots" all the way up to "metric shitload" as a way of gauging enemy troop strength?

#23 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 01:51 AM:

The terms were in wide use for a century before Beaufort. What he did was standardize the definitions, with objective criteria, so that weather observations reporting (for example) a Strong Breeze would mean the same thing regardless of who did the reporting.

#24 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 02:05 AM:

The Australian Weather Bureau changed its description of heavy weathers from the Beaufort terminology after the 1998 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, when many of the participants didn't realise that in predicting storms it was actually predicting something stronger than even a strong gale.

The storms - the worst weather ever to hit the race - were probably in the severe category at sea, on the lower side of "hurricane". Six sailors died, and five boats were sunk.

#25 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 02:49 AM:

the worst weather ever to hit the race

And even in good years it's not a friendly piece of water. The TV coverage of the race will cause sensitive souls to blanch and rapidly exit the room.

In 1998, 115 yachts started and only 43 finished.

#26 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 03:05 AM:

The Vendée Globe is scheduled to start next month, on the 10th. Speaking of sailing. And the Sydney to Hobart.

#27 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 04:05 AM:

Giants won the ball game. San Francisco has transitioned from a drunken party into a riot, at least around 17th & Mission where @QuinnNorton is live-tweeting. Sigh.

Good luck with the storm on the East Coast, folks.

#28 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 04:26 AM:

Paarfi, alas, does not sustain his usual incomparable style, in the account linked to by our inestimable hosts. One might surmise that the latter part of the passage is no more than an incomplete sketch, an aide memoire for the sequence of events, intended to be replaced after additional research into the matters recounted.

Seldom can it be said that he does not provide a full account of events and circumstances, in his final telling of a tale.

#29 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 04:28 AM:

When there is a big storm in the Bay Area, they close the bridges. The Golden Gate bridge gets a lot of wind even on a nice day. I wouldn't want to be on it in a storm. Not that it is seriously dangerous, but it would be no fun having to wait for a tow on a sidewalk while the rain blows at you from all directions including up from below.

Riding the local ferries during a storm can be interesting. One time I was on the boat to San Francisco, the rain wasn't bad, but the clouds were down to the water and visibility was about 20 feet. I was standing at the bow when the captain asked us to shout out if we saw anything. Eventually a San Francisco pier appeared and we docked. It was not where we were suppose to dock, but I think everyone was happy with the captain's choice to get to shelter.

#30 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 04:40 AM:

While the actual broadcasts may not be easily accessible from beyond the UK via the Internet (this seems slightly odd if true) the BBC Shipping Forecast does use the Beaufort Scale. So the wind might be "5 or 6, decreasing 4".

The web-page version is available here.

I can never remember the difference between backing and veering.

#31 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 04:51 AM:

TomB @29:

On the Forth Road Bridge north of Edinburgh, there are two intermediate stages between "traffic as normal" and "bridge closed due to high winds."

Just short of closing the bridge is closing it to high-sided vehicles. That lets passenger cars go, but reroutes the trucks inland to the shorter, more sheltered crossing at Kincardine.

But there's a stage before that that always looks Noachine to me: they pull all of the trucks out of the traffic and send them across two by two. I've never quite understood the logic of it, but I've seen it happen a number of times.

#32 ::: dichroic ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 05:47 AM:

Here in the netherlands, where people tend to be hyper-aware of waether (seriously, you can predict the weather later in the dat by how many people are commuting on the bike paths int eh morning) people tend to talk about wind in terms of the Beaufort Scale - they'll say it's at Force (Kracht) 4 instead of 22 km/hr in casual conversation.

#33 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 07:08 AM:

Ob. political commentary: THe Atlantic dredges up Romney saying that we cannot afford federal disaster relief.

#34 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 08:21 AM:

I notice that the scale makes a dramatic example of a whole series of physical regime shifts. As the wind increases quantitatively, the water's behavior goes through several qualitative changes.

#35 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 08:23 AM:

Dave Bell @30: I don't know if this applies to wind, but "backing" and "veering" strike me as having intuitively obvious meanings comparable to how they'd be used for cars. So "backing" would be a 180-degree change of direction, and "veering" would be for other angles. My brain wants to limit it to >90 degrees, but that could just be about the way I use the word to describe a vehicle's behavior.

#36 ::: kimiko ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 08:41 AM:

I'm in the path, so last night I dug up exactly what Jim has, except with a mph column. Linky.

Jim, any comments on gusts vs sustained winds? Peak gusts predicted to be 74mphm, but sustained at that time point is only 43?

I'm pulling my data off of's "hourly weather graph", which you can get to by getting a local forecast for your zip code, and then looking for the link for the hourly weather graph for that location. Sample for Baltimore, MD, here.

Thanks, K.

#37 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 09:24 AM:

Dave Luckett @24: That very distinction (between storm and gale) is pertinent for people reading the Lake Michigan forecast at the moment, where the influence of Sandy is being felt. Small craft advisory until 1 this afternoon, when the gale warning commences, running until 4 a.m. Tuesday when the storm warning begins.

As I said in the other thread, I am trying to wrap my head around the concept of 20 to 25 foot waves with the occasional big one up to 33 feet. That's what the National Weather Service warnings say, anyhow.

Damn, but this storm is big. Frankenstorm indeed.

#38 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 09:30 AM:

abi @ 39, that makes me think of my father-in-law's stories of driving across the Mackinac Bridge (to get from one peninsula of Michigan to the other). He said under certain wind conditions, they'd send each car across paired with a fully loaded truck as a windbreak -- I guess on the grounds that a fully loaded truck would weigh enough not to take flight itself.

#39 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 09:50 AM:

Terry Karney@17 and 21: Things seem to have gotten ... interesting ... for a while there between 11:04 and 12:04.

#40 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 09:51 AM:

Backing and veering:

Look down on your location. See the direction the wind is coming from? (Note to all: An east wind is a wind coming from, not going to, the east).

The wind is changing directions: First east, then southeast, then south ... clockwise. That wind is veering.

Another east wind. It too is changing directions; east, northeast, north. Counterclockwise. That wind is backing.

How to remember it: Counterclockwise is going backward.

Gusts are winds of less than a minute, but usually less than twenty seconds. Sustained winds are winds of more than a minute's duration. To be a gust the difference between the sustained wind and the gust must be at least nine knots.

(A knot is one nautical mile per hour. A nautical mile is 2,000 yards. There are sixty nautical miles in one degree of latitude, which makes navigational calculations very easy.)

#41 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 10:03 AM:

Another Beaufort scale page, with more details and an abi-specific introduction.

The wind here has been a steady breeze for about 24 hours at this point.

#42 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 10:14 AM:

I, for my part, like the colloquial Jamaican term for a hurricane: breeze blow. It's one of the nicest bits of natural understatement I know.

#43 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 10:18 AM:

The wind traps each in their own tiny room,
blasts out the silence, and makes all take stock
for in the morning we face one last doom;

it was but yesterday we saw the bloom
pallid yet vibrant, not a thing to mock.
The wind traps each in their own tiny room

on this dark day when the only perfume
is bitter scent of ashes, our knees lock
for in the morning we face one last doom

with no sun rising to relieve the gloom
nor to bring warmth to the hard barren rock.
The wind traps each in their own tiny room

for hearts to harden and for minds to fume
while each lost traveller waits on the knock
for in the morning we face one last doom.

The golden cradle will serve for a tomb;
To learn that fact will not come as a shock.
the wind traps each in their own tiny room
for in the morning we face one last doom.

#44 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 10:32 AM:

P J Evans @ #8:
power substations with high (fifteen to twenty feet) walls that make them look like buildings.

Toronto used to go all-out in disguising its residential power substations.

#45 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 10:41 AM:

I am thinking of King Canute today:

sedile suum in littore maris, cum ascenderet, statui iussit. Dixit autem mari ascendenti, tu meae ditionis es, & terra in qua sedeo mea est: nec fuit qui impune meo resisteret imperio. Imperio igitur tibi, ne in terram meam ascendas, nec vestes nec membra dominatoris tui madefacere praesumas. Mare vero de more conscendens pedes regis & crura, since reverentia madefecit. Rex igitur resiliens ait. Sciant omnes habitantes orbem vanam & frivolam regum esse potentiam, nec regis qempiam nomine dignum praeter eum, cuius nutui coelum terra mare legibus obediunt aeternis....

(he commanded that his chair should be set on the shore, when the tide began to rise. And then he spoke to the rising sea saying “You are part of my dominion, and the ground that I am seated upon is mine, nor has anyone disobeyed my orders with impunity. Therefore, I order you not to rise onto my land, nor to wet the clothes or body of your Lord”. But the sea carried on rising as usual without any reverence for his person, and soaked his feet and legs. Then he moving away said: “All the inhabitants of the world should know that the power of kings is vain and trivial, and that none is worthy the name of king but He whose command the heaven, earth and sea obey by eternal laws”.)

#46 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 10:57 AM:

Not sure what made the crew of The Bounty think they could avoid the storm, but I hope they find the last two crew-members. Sad to see that ship go.

#47 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 10:58 AM:

Going into Hospital. Good wishes appreciated, but you may hear nothing from me for a while.

#48 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 11:04 AM:

Dave Bell @47:
Going into Hospital. Good wishes appreciated, but you may hear nothing from me for a while.

Wait, what?

All good wishes, and I hope your stay is brief and effective.

#49 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 11:07 AM:

Dave Bell #47: Best of luck to you.

#50 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 11:08 AM:

Good wishes headed your way, Dave Bell.

#51 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 11:13 AM:

Dave Bell... Good wishes on their way to you.

#52 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 11:15 AM:

I am having some odd experiences these days.

This past weekend, I noted on Facebook that an old friend (whom I had not seen in propia persona for nigh on three decades) was celebrating a birthday. So, naturally, I sent him birthday greetings.

Hours later, I saw, on his wife's FB wall, that he had died just a couple of days before. I felt devastated.

#53 ::: Mike Bakula ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 11:32 AM:

Nancy @18, I can confirm that it's not fun to fly kites in 20+ kt winds. I got to do this, flying 15lb UAV payloads in Canada, and both the line tensions and wear on the hardware are scary. Jackets, gloves, and a climbers care for not getting anything wrapped around you are mandatory. Our biggest kite ran 3 meter span, and flew on 500 pound Spectra line. Ground anchors were useless -- we used the truck's frame, with carabiners and nylon webbing to keep the kite line away from the metal.

#54 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 11:39 AM:

Dave Bell (47): Best wishes. May all be well.

#55 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 11:52 AM:

Dave Bell: best wishes for a quick and uneventful recovery.

Fragano: how unspeakably awful. My condolences to you and to her.

#56 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 11:55 AM:

A great deal of detail on navigation in extreme weather situations here.

Including notes on backing and veering winds. At one point in my career I had this chapter memorized.

When you see the advice, "It may not be possible to receive any assistance at sea and if the vessel is lost to sea, there is little chance of survival of individuals on board" you'll understand why.

#58 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 12:10 PM:

Steve C. @3: Awwww-rooooo...

#59 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 12:31 PM:

Stephen Frug @10: Any idea of what wind MPH is considered unsafe to drive in?

If the wind is blowing semis over, it's probably not a good day to be out.

#60 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 12:37 PM:

C. Wingate @33: that fits right into something I was thinking this morning, that conservatives often have a problem with things that don't scale well. There's a point at which disaster relief is much better handled at a high level....

Nerdycellist @46: you might want to ask Doug Faunt, known to many here, about that. He was on the Bounty, and has posted to Facebook that he's fine.

Dave Bell @47: Good wishes from here too!

#61 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 12:38 PM:

It's too bad they're not calling the new publishing venture Random House Penguin. I always prefer my house penguins randomized.

#62 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 01:04 PM:

re 61: Personally I would go for Random Penguin House.

re 60: Beyond that, historically the states frequently choose to do a bad job, or the state (e.g. Mississippi) simply can't do it by themselves, or (see under "major NE storm", pick a storm, any storm) there's a multistate response that requires coordination. I suspect what this is really about (besides knee-jerk rhetoric) is making sure that the local guys who have ins at the state house get their paybacks.

#63 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 01:43 PM:

Since the federal government is closed today and he hadn't received any other guidance, hubby - who's a contractor - stayed home. Around noon, his team lead called and asked rather indignantly whether he was coming into the office. "Well, no," my husband replied, "given that Capital Weather is telling people not to be outside after noon."

Tell people in DC that an inch of snow is going to fall and they panic. Tell them there'll be derecho-like destruction and dangerous wind speeds, and they shrug and go to work anyhow. I don't envy all the people who will be commuting home in the high winds this evening.

#64 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 01:45 PM:

Oops, that was supposed to go in the "Riding it out" thread.

#65 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 01:57 PM:

Re 62 & 61, I would have voted to shorten it to Random Penguin myself.

#66 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 02:01 PM:

OtterB #65:

Whereas I'm fond of Penguin House, meself.

#67 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 02:08 PM:

Those are all good, but I vote for "Random Penguin".

#68 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 02:09 PM:

Speaking of parhelia, and tangents...

(Sundogs, halos -- apparently Sandy blew in a lot of high-altitude ice crystals this past weekend.)

#69 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 02:26 PM:

Dave Bell: best wishes for a speedy recovery.

#70 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 02:31 PM:

Dave Bell, good luck in hospital.

#71 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 02:41 PM:

We've been lucky wrt to high winds in the Northwest this year. October is the regular month for windstorms (the worst one was the Columbus Day Storm of 1962 in which Portland recorded a 116 mph gust, and more anemometers were destroyed than records set). But every few years we get to see what high-end Force 12 looks like. The year after I moved to Portland, we had 95 mph gusts, in which roofs were peeled back and ripped off; a few years ago we got 105 mph gusts, and boats and light planes were picked up and smashed. I've been in the open in 50+ mph winds and walking is difficult; I'm not going out in anything stronger if I can help it.

#72 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 02:43 PM:

Jacque @ 59

If the wind is blowing semis over, it's probably not a good day to be out.

Once upon a time when I was driving cross-country on I-80 heading back home to California, I'd been encountering a bit of wind around dinner time coming down the pass into Salt Lake City, but figured that I could keep on my planned schedule to get as far as the Nevada state line before finding a motel room for the night.

Coming out of the west side of the city into the salt flats, I suddenly entered an obstacle course consisting of semis and other trailer-like-objects lying on their sides on the interstate. In the dark. Fortunately there were still some motel rooms available in SLC.

#73 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 02:58 PM:

Thanks, Tom Whitmore@70 - I just had it explained to me by someone who knows more than Tall Ship Pretty! that the last place a ship should be in a storm is in dock. Which of course when I think about it, DUH. Sounds like there's no good place to be when this sort of weather hits.

#74 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 03:29 PM:

There's Coast Guard footage of the folks being rescued here; Doug is clearly visible among the people being unloaded for significant time starting at about 10:59 in the 11:14 video. We cheered when we saw him!

#75 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 03:42 PM:

Back from Fire Ant Frolic, and playing catch-up...

Rikibeth, #5: And if you had lived back then, you still wouldn't have servants. You'd be one of the servants, as would most of us. I'll take the electricity, clean water, and mechanical devices, thank you.

Terry, #21: Yikes! That's the weirdest thing that's ever happened at an OVFF, I think. Glad to hear nobody was hurt.

Jim, #40: Thank you; I'd always wondered why a knot, but was too lazy to go look it up. (Although I do dimly remember that the word had its origin in a physical knotted rope.) The fact that there are 60 nautical miles to the (latitudinal) degree makes a whole lot of other things fall into place.

Dave Bell, GoodThoughts being sent.

#76 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 03:58 PM:

Lee, I wouldn't actually have been one of the servants; I'd have been living in a primitive cottage in a shtetl. It's why I said I'd trade with one of my characters.

And if the power goes out, I'll be a little worse off than even my shtetl ancestors, because of the lack of cooking fires and equipment to deal with an un-electrified household.

#77 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 04:00 PM:

Good thoughts to Dave Bell--recover well! Also, Husband and I are hoping that all of you in Sandy's path are safe. (I really hope our friend in Brooklyn listened to Husband on some of the storm prep...)

#78 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 04:05 PM:

One thing I forgot to mention -- the featured band for Fire Ant Frolic, Wild Asparagus, is from western MA, and they're stranded in Austin because all the airports near their homes are closed. The event organizers were looking for volunteers to host them for a few days.

I have photos and videos from the event here.

#79 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 05:49 PM:

Just finished season one of Game of Thrones. Now I'm helplessly fantasizing about Peter Dinklage playing Miles Vorkosigan.

#80 ::: J Homes ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 07:27 PM:

Apropos of the "too windy to drive" subthread, if wires are coming down, STAY AWAY. No matter how stable and secure your actual vehicle is.

J Homes.

#81 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 10:08 PM:

The only time I had to deal with a downed wire, it was dead at the time (but hadn't been when it came down - although I didn't know that until some time later).
(It was the power drop to the house I was living in, and not too long after it came down, power went out in the area. Made it fun reporting it, too.)

#82 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 10:31 PM:

Lee # 75

There was a knotted line attached to a piece of wood that you'd throw over the stern back in the Old Days of Sail and count how many knots paid out in thirty seconds to get an idea of your speed through the water.

(Since the water itself is moving this won't tell you speed over the ground.)

#83 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2012, 02:32 PM:

I'm trying to find a quotation here. I'm pretty sure it was Teresa who said it, but I don't remember when, or whether it was in a top-post or a comment, nor can I remember enough of the exact wording to do a phrase search. It was to the effect of, "There are people who will try to convince you that your share of America is worthless, and you should let it go. Don't believe them, because they will happily snatch it up." Only it was much better said than that. Can anyone point me to it?

#84 ::: Craig ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2012, 04:12 PM:

Sent this to family in Milwaukee last night:

Hurricane weather:
Harsh winds blow the autumn leaves;
I sit in darkness.

#85 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2012, 05:35 PM:

Best of luck to Dave Bell!

HLN: My boss brought his new dog into work today. A cute little ball of fluff named Stone -- and I got a groan by noting that was about what he weighs. Of course, that's going to change quickly... Stone is a 5-week-old St. Bernard puppy.

#86 ::: Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2012, 06:16 PM:

Sad to report this note from old time fan Dave Hulan about the passing of another classic fanzine fan (& stubborn progressive), Dave Locke. This was originally posted on the Southern Fandom e-list:

On 10/30/2012 5:02 PM, DAVID HULAN wrote:
A little over an hour ago I heard from Brian Locke that his father had passed away over the weekend. Brian had been out of town and when he went by Dave's house to check on him he found him dead. He was going to let various people in Dave's phone book know directly, which is why I waited, but I figure an hour is probably enough delay. [....]

In recent years, I knew Dave mostly from his participation in several other Yahoo e-lists populated by fanzine old timers. He was living in Vermont after relocating there from the Midwest. Those of you who were active on rec.arts.sf.fandom may also remember him.

Dave kept his hand in as a fanzine fan. Most of his recent issues can be found on

#87 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2012, 08:03 PM:

Jacque @ 79:

OMG, yes! And, let's see ...

Michelle Pfeiffer as Cordelia Naismith
Mandy Patinkin as Aral Vorkosigan
Alan Arkin as Grandfather Piotr for the prologue scenes,
Tahmoh Penikett as cousin Ivan
Gina Torres as Sargent Taura
Enver Gjokaj as Armsman Roic

so many character ...

#88 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2012, 08:24 PM:

Ohh, a Vorkosigan film would be good. I'm no use with actors, I'm only fit for sending emails and online posting about how they need to make sure it fits the books and complaining about how badly they've done the characters. Yes I am a bit cynical.
Mind you I was alright with the remake of Casino Royale; a sensible modernisation of an old story.

More importantly with a Vorkosigan film, who would you get to direct it?

#89 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2012, 08:48 PM:

Bruce, I've always favored Julianne Moore and Harrison Ford for Cordelia and Aral.

#90 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2012, 09:10 PM:

Sebastian Stan as Byerly Vorrutyer.

#91 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2012, 11:39 PM:

Has anyone here ever done a DIY wall texture application? That is, spraying drywall with plaster-like glop to make a nice even patterned surface?

I'm trying to decide between DIY and hiring a contractor.

#92 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2012, 01:00 AM:

Stefan Jones @91:

I sprayed a ceiling with acoustical texture many years ago, and was never really happy with the result. The next time I painted I stripped the stuff off and painted it flat. If you have the money available, I'd recommend a contractor.

#93 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2012, 01:10 AM:


Moore might work, but I'm not sure about Ford. I've never seen him portray a character as complex as Aral.


I was thinking about Joss Whedon to direct. He certainly would be able to understand the SFnal aspects of the stories. If "Hulk" hadn't been such a disaster I'd suggest Ang Lee, because he's done Jane Austen: "Sense and Sensibility", martial arts: "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and romantic comedy:"Eat, Drink, Man, Woman". Maybe he could recoup "Hulk".

#94 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2012, 01:29 AM:

#92: I'm finishing a garage. Drywalled, and fairly well taped, but not what you'd expect to paint and look great. My inspector suggested the texture spray as a way of covering up the rough work.

But . . . I am dealing with a garage / shop. The paint is there to brighten things up and make the wall cleanable. I may just patch up the holes and dings, prime and paint.

And: The money and effort I would have put into texture I might better put into a floor treatment.

#95 ::: CZEdwards ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2012, 01:41 AM:

Stephan Jones @ 91:

I've done trowel textures (where you spread thin plaster over the wall with a trowel; gives a rustic plastered wall look) several times. It's time consuming, and because of the differences in individual ergonomics, only one person should ever work on any single wall (the differences will be noticeable). It's a skill and an art; muscle memory has to be learned and it's a practice, man, practice thing. It has the same downsides as painting - prep takes longer than the actual painting, furniture will be in the way, floors must be protected - but takes longer. It also renders the wall unsuitable for future wallpaper.

It can be delicate and does not survive well during earthquakes or significant house shifting. On the other hand, it is pretty, and is neither flat nor orange peel. If you tint the plaster powder with powdered pigment, it looks lovely, even unpainted, and the tinted plaster can serve as a permanent base color. (downside - ALL plaster must be tinted at the same time; colors will not match otherwise.)

I've rarely seen a good amateur spray job; again, art and skill. Orange peel is a knock-down texture (i.e. sprayed on then leveled with a trowel). Too often it ends up looking like the wall got covered with baby stalagmites. It's also hard to paint.

It's a big job. The last time I did a room was a non-master bedroom, about 10x12. The entirely empty room took about 4 days total, including bull nosing the convex corners, feathering the concave corners and replacing the moulding. Without those details, it looks like bad DIY. Have you considered textured wallpaper? That paints and re-paints beautifully, covers a multitude of wallboard sins and will survive washing, small children and most dogs.

#96 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2012, 02:22 AM:

Given that the Amazing Girlfriend and I are living in an apartment with orange peel texture on all walls, whatever you do - don't do that!

#97 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2012, 03:40 AM:

waiting to see what antibiotics do. it could still be very serious. infected wound on foot.

internet tech here ancient

#98 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2012, 07:35 AM:

Bruce, I admit I was casting primarily for looks. Julianne Moore has the requisite talent along with the red hair, but you're right, Aral might be a challenge for Harrison Ford. But he does have the right sort of shorter broad build and saturnine features like Bujold described. Also, though Indiana Jones in the first movie wasn't the most subtle character, I think he hit a lot of the important notes for Aral.

Mandy Patinkin would certainly work, though, and might fit the looks even more. I just had to adjust my mental image from "Inigo Montoya" to the present-day "Jason Gideon." (There's also the weirdness that present-day Mandy Patinkin looks disturbingly like my dad.)

Joseph Gordon-Leavitt for Gregor? And who would you choose for Simon Illyan?

With adult Ivan, I think Helen Mirren would make a fantastic Alys Vorpatril.

It's a pity that Miles' type is TALL, because I'd love to see Michelle Rodriguez as Elli Quinn, but she's so tiny.

Here's an interesting one: who would you cast as Bel Thorne?

#99 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2012, 08:06 AM:

Dave Bell @97, Youch. Take care of that foot, ok?

#100 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2012, 09:52 AM:

Connor Friedersdorf on not voting for Romney/

The American Conservative (paleocon magazine) writers discuss how they plan to vote.

Megan McArdle's lack of excitement about the candidates.

Reason magazine's contributors talk about who they plan to vote for

However little they show up on TV, it's worth remembering that there are a *lot* of conservatives out there who have zero love for what the party has become or who it's running for president. One of the most hopeful signs in current politics, to me, is the number of people who are explicitly feeling betrayed and are willing to say so, even in an election year where both sides are (as always) telling us this is the most important election ever.

#101 ::: James E ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2012, 10:44 AM:

An addendum to the Tobermory Cat-Troll Diffraction: the Guardian picks up on the story. The Artist creates what would have in any case been a hilariously obvious sock-puppet to argue his side in the comments... then rather gives the game away by accidentally using the first-person pronoun in his very first comment...

#102 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2012, 10:57 AM:

Today, with the election coming up, I'm very thankful to be an American.

My sister's husband is Kenyan (Luo), and his family has some political involvement. We heard from her last night that she will probably be in the US next March, as the Kenyan elections are then and her husband thinks that it would be safer for her not to be there.

For all that this is a close race, and feelings are high on both sides, I'm not worried about my personal safety, or that of any of the candidates' distant relatives. And for that, I'm thankful--having been reminded that it isn't something to take for granted.

#103 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2012, 01:51 PM:

James, #101: I notice that the author talks about having gotten "nasty little fantasies of what his friends would like to do to her if they got up close and personal". That's almost certainly rape threats, although she's being too polite to say so outright. But it's the standard mode of cyberbullying when a woman is the target.

#104 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2012, 02:14 PM:

Stefan Jones @94: My dad used to do wall texture by the simple expedient of mixing sand into the paint. I would probably go with something a little softer and larger grit, like fine grade sawdust.

#105 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2012, 02:25 PM:

@Jaque, CZ: Thanks. I'm leaning toward something lower-effort than spraying on wall texture. I'll be rolling on primer and paint anyway, so adding texture to one may be enough.

I really want to get the garage painted, and the floor coated, within a week of getting the keys to the place. Fixing the space up after I set up shelves and a work table would be much more difficult.

First project in shop: A deck diaper. The main-floor deck overlooks the tiny back yard. Rain drips right through. I'm going to make a mini-roof to hang under the deck, so the rain flows outwards.

#106 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2012, 02:36 PM:

Bruce Cohen @87: Gina Torres as Sargent Taura

::blink:: Would never have crossed my mind, but...yes.

Modulo age, how about Nathan Fillion for Ivan?
Or maybe Jeffrey Donovan.

Gregor: Goran Visnjic.

How about Alan Cumming for Bel Thorne?

While we're poaching Game of Thrones, how about Sean Bean as Aral?

Jason Momoa as Sgt. Bothari.

& @93: I was thinking about Joss Whedon to direct.

And write the screenplay.

#107 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2012, 02:42 PM:

Jacque, I try to leave Sean Bean out of things. Much as I've admired his acting, I hate to even mentally assign new roles to someone who's got a history of domestic abuse.

#108 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2012, 02:44 PM:

Rikibeth: Hadn't heard. Maybe that's why his credit doesn't appear in the Game of Thrones IMDB page.

#109 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2012, 03:24 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 105 and previous

I may just patch up the holes and dings, prime and paint.

That's what I'd recommend. It's a garage; a textured finish will make the walls look dirtier over time; even unfinished drywall, painted, doesn't look too bad to me.

#110 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2012, 03:27 PM:

Joseph Gordon-Leavitt for Gregor? And who would you choose for Simon Illyan?

I would like to nth the casting of JGL as Gregor. And I'd cast Chris Evans as Ivan--he can do the aggressively-lazy young Ivan, but has the depth to showcase Ivan's growth.

For Illyan, I'd go with Giovanni Ribisi; he can pull off the unobtrusive look that is so much a part of Illyan, but can turn on the personality when he needs to.

Charlize Theron for Ekaterin.

#111 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2012, 03:54 PM:

Dave Bell

Oh dear. Best wishes that you heal quickly and completely!

#112 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2012, 03:58 PM:

Dave Bell @97
Continuing good wishes being beamed your way. Sorry it's ancient internet equipment, but glad there is some.

#113 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2012, 05:17 PM:

This afternoon, Making Light keeps freezing up pageloads while "waiting for". Or rather, it loads the page, but doesn't actually pan down to the response I clicked on, and the (new) greasemonkey script, which had been working fine, seems to fail to load.

Even as I type this, the tab has the swirling "page loading" symbol instead of the eclipse.

Is it just me?

#114 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2012, 05:27 PM:

Cally Soukup @113: no, not just you. I've been getting the same thing for several hours now. (My computer's running Chrome on Ubuntu.)

#115 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2012, 05:29 PM:

Cally Soukoup@113

It's definitely not just you.

If it helps, on the browser I'm using right now (one of the Mozilla-type browsers) I can get to the clicked-on response by going to the location bar and hitting return (when the top of the page has appeared, but the "page-loading swirl" is still turning). The "page-loading swirl" continues to turn but since I'm on the correct response I can then simply click the "stop loading" button.

#116 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2012, 05:33 PM:

Cally @113:

It looks like the feed.css and feed.js from blogads is experiencing gateway timeouts. (I'm using Firebug to watch the page load).

I'm not sure what we can do about this; I think it's got to be blogads who sorts it out.

#117 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2012, 05:53 PM:


Thanks, it's good to know it's not just me. I'm sure it'll be worked out eventually.

I've found that after waiting several seconds to make sure the page really did load, if I hit "stop loading" it jumps down to the comment I clicked on. Ubuntu/firefox.

#118 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2012, 05:56 PM:

I've been getting wonky behavior on all of the web pages I've tried to access. I'd been presuming it had to do with other known issues with this machine.

#119 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2012, 05:56 PM:

Amanda Tapping for Cordelia?

#120 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2012, 06:01 PM:

The method Cally mentions @117 is working for me as well, with Firefox on Windows XP. Hitting the "stop loading" button after a second or two allows the rest of the page to function normally.

#121 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2012, 06:39 PM:

Why not Tilda Swinton for Bel Thorne? She's done the man/woman thing before ...

#123 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2012, 11:45 PM:

Somebody on LJ pointed me to this.

(Comparison chart, in cartoon format, between Obama at his worst and Romney at his best. Just in case you thought there was no difference.)

#124 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2012, 01:15 AM:

joann @ 121:

I thought of Tilda Swinton, but then lightning struck me: Enrico Colantoni. Think about it before you decide I'm crazy, and remember "Galaxy Quest".

Jaque @ 119:

Tapping has part of what's needed for Cordelia, the action, but I'm not sure she has the depth, especially for the later Cordelia. I guess I'm too picky; I haven't found anyone I like unreservedly for Cordelia, and I think getting her right is even more important than getting Miles right. In some ways Cordelia is the heart of the series: she anchors both Aral and Miles, and gives them a vision that goes beyond contemporary Barayar.

One of the problems with casting the Vorkosigan saga is that you need to cast a lot of the characters both early and late in their lives: Cordelia, Aral, Ilyan, Alys Vorpatril, etc. For old Ilyan ("Memory" and after), how about Patrick Malahide?

And nobody has mentioned Mark. I've got nothing. Anyone?

#125 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2012, 01:22 AM:

Jacque @106:

Jeffrey Donovan for Ivan would work very nicely. He's got the comic chops to handle Ivan's silliness, and the dramatic experience to keep Ivan solid below the waterline. And I'd completely forgotten until I just looked him up that he played D.I. Dave Creegen in "Touching Evil".

#126 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2012, 02:18 AM:

Bruce Cohen @124: Enrico Colantoni

Oh. My.

(But then, I'll wager he could play Marilyn Monroe, and pull it off.)

The dirt obvious for old Illyan would be, of course, David McCallum.

I would be fascinated to see Dinklage have a go at Mark.

One of my frustrations with Tapping is that she has a lot of presence that doesn't often get used to good effect. This is one of the reasons I'd like to see her try Cordelia.

you need to cast a lot of the characters both early and late in their lives

Yeah, I was kind of quietly trying to ignore that problem. :-)

#127 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2012, 03:08 AM:

Presumably you have whoever plays Miles double as Mark. I bet Peter Dinklage could pull it off.

#128 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2012, 03:26 AM:

Bruce, #124: Mark is going to have to be a CGI character based on whoever plays Miles, in the same way that Gollum was based on Andy Serkis or the Hulk on Mark Ruffalo. They'll split-screen scenes where the two interact.

Also, I looked up Enver Gjokaj, and I'm just not seeing him as Roic. You'd almost need a body-builder type from the description, and he has to be movie-star hot as well. Hmmm... Chris Evans? He might not want a supporting role, though -- although Roic definitely becomes a very strong role in the later books.

#129 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2012, 07:11 AM:

Rob Rusick @904(177): I just bought an LED TV (brand Element) from the local Target [..] it has one bad pixel in the upper left, which shows as a red spot on a dark field [..] is this a 'take it back to the store' defect?

Benjamin Wolfe @907(177): It usually depends on the store; I know most online retailers require more than one bad pixel to authorize a return, but I've no idea what brick and mortar policies are.

Thanks for the reply; pardon my late response. Having put the question out there, I thought I should at least set out the resolution.

Browsing the internet, the sense of the room was that it would take more than a few bad pixels to justify a return, and you had a fair chance of getting a TV with similar or different defects in exchange (although you had to consider that people who were having bad experiences were the most likely to write about it).

One post suggested that Target would take a TV back in the first 30 days, no questions asked. Don't know if that is the actual policy, but I did call the store back and described the problem to the electronics manager. He said absolutely it's a defect, bring it back if you want.

He had another of the same model to make an even swap, and he offered $30 off on the cost of a same size Vizio LCD TV if I was willing to pay $30 more on the exchange (i.e., a $60 difference in price we'd be splitting in the middle). I went that route, and it is a nicer TV than the one I first got, with no picture defects.

So a vote for dealing with the local merchants, even if you could save some money ordering online.

As an aside, I'd felt silly bringing up such an issue (literally a pin-prick) while other people are dealing with hurricanes. It was a small concern, but it has its place.

#130 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2012, 08:48 AM:

CassyB, if you're reading this, please email me. Your address is stored in my computer, which I can't get to right now.

#131 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2012, 09:21 AM:

Mary Aileen @130, email sent!

#132 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2012, 12:17 PM:

The news is not good. Possibility of amputation, between ankle and knee. The infection is deep.

Call me Hopalong.

#133 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2012, 12:19 PM:

Dave Bell -- healing energy on it's way, an' it be your will.

You will be in my thoughts.

#134 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2012, 12:26 PM:

Dave Bell, I hope that prognosis turns out to be overly pessimistic. Wishing strength and health for you, skill and compassion for those caring for you.

#135 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2012, 12:29 PM:

Dave Bell (132): Oh, no! Thinking good thoughts for you.

#136 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2012, 12:49 PM:


FWIW, you're in my prayers.

#137 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2012, 01:53 PM:

Dave Bell @132, sorry to hear it. Prayers and good thoughts continue to be directed your way.

#138 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2012, 02:17 PM:

Different Doctors have said slightly different things, but I think I have to be prepared for the worst. So far, I have been comfortable, but that cannot last, I reckon.

And I have to tell my family...

#139 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2012, 02:20 PM:

Dave Bell... :-(

#140 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2012, 02:22 PM:

Dave Bell,

Crap; I'm sorry to hear that. I'll be thinking about you and wishing you well.

#141 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2012, 02:26 PM:

Dave Bell, sorry to hear that. Continuing GoodThoughts.

#142 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2012, 02:29 PM:

Aw, Dave, I'm so sorry.

#143 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2012, 02:54 PM:

@Dave Bell: Damnit. Let's hope it isn't necessary, or you keep as much leggage as possible.

#144 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2012, 03:27 PM:

Yow. Dave, add my good wishes to the others stated here. I hope you emerge intact.

#145 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2012, 03:35 PM:

Dave Bell, holding you in my thoughts.

#146 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2012, 03:40 PM:

Two things for people who might need something to brighten their day a bit:

12-year-old uses D&D to help his dad with a science research project -- and gets first-author credit on the resulting paper.

An Unexpected Briefing -- WETA and AirNZ are having fun, and we get to share it.

#147 ::: Lee is visiting the gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2012, 03:41 PM:

Probably for a very long URL. Would Their Lownesses care for some of the Aussie version of Good 'n' Plentys?

#148 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2012, 03:51 PM:

Dave Bell

Yikes! I hope they're overly pessimistic, and the antibiotics can take care of it. Failing that, good luck with quick healing after the surgery!

#149 ::: Tamlyn ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2012, 04:05 PM:

Dave Bell - good thoughts sent your way.

#150 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2012, 04:44 PM:

Dave Bell: sympathies. Thinking good thoughts your way.

#151 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2012, 05:44 PM:

Dave Bell -- good wishes from here as well.

#152 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2012, 05:44 PM:

Over on another thread, albatross says in passing:

I know a couple people in my field (we're scientists if you count computer science) who don't buy human-caused global warming (AGW), but the overwhelming majority do.

I know computing science people, and I know IT people real well, and I've concluded that, as a class, we're kind of lousy people so far as our political and social views are concerned.

Would someone please convince me I'm wrong? I want to be wrong, so this should be easy.

#153 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2012, 05:48 PM:

Dave Bell @ 132:

The news is not good. Possibility of amputation, between ankle and knee. The infection is deep.

Call me Hopalong.

Will do!

Yo! Hopalong! Dave Bell is looking for you!

I hope that makes you laugh instead of cringe. I'm cringing in sympathy and hoping for the best.

#154 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2012, 05:50 PM:

And, as usual, I've forgotten how the <blockquote> tags work. Sigh.

#155 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2012, 05:58 PM:

Dave Bell #132: Ouch, my sympathies! At least you can commiserate with Paula....

#156 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2012, 06:14 PM:

Bruce Cohen #124: For Mark I'd suggest Andy Serkis.

It is obvious that The Vorkosigan Saga has to be a miniseries.

I have my own candidate for Bel Thorne: Hilary Swank.

#157 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2012, 06:14 PM:

Dave Bell #132:

Oh dear. I wish you the best.

#158 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2012, 06:54 PM:

Dave Bell: Thoughts and prayers for you and your family.

#159 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2012, 07:33 PM:

Dave Bell @ #132: Much sympathy, hope it all works out for the best.

It gives me a bit of a flashback, that was my middle of May. I'm walking again with a prosthetic but it was a very long summer. If there is anything I can do to help, offer personal support, etc. email me directly. Hugs across the e-ways and prayers for good, safe healing.

#160 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2012, 08:12 PM:

Just popping in to say that I would read the HECK out of a Paarfirotica novel-length novel thing. And then, unashamed, would probably do so again.


#161 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2012, 08:50 PM:

Dave Bell, additional prayers and thoughts for you and yours from here.

#162 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2012, 10:02 PM:

Yes. Mr. Bell, sir, my best wishes and a hope that magical antibiotics suddenly reverse the prognosis.

#163 ::: CZEdwards ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2012, 10:42 PM:

Best wishes and sympathies, Dave Bell.

#164 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2012, 11:00 PM:

Dave Bell: Good thoughts from this corner.

#165 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2012, 11:01 PM:

I'm thinking Pete Postlethwaite for Bothari.

#166 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2012, 01:25 AM:

eric @ 165:

Very regrettably, Pete Postlewaite died in January, 2011.

#167 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2012, 01:28 AM:

Oops. I guess I didn't check to see if he was actually available.

#168 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2012, 03:44 AM:

Dave @ 132

Sending good vibes. Take care.

#169 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2012, 08:15 AM:

On a different vector:
Someone brought bacon doughnuts to work for Halloween: basically largish doughnut balls topped with sugar glaze and crumbled bacon. Smoke does not go with sugar glaze. Less smoky bacon would have worked much better.

#170 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2012, 08:30 AM:

Saw patches of frost in the meadow this morning (~8:00), first time this year. (I'm sure it's frozen overnight before this, though.)

#171 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2012, 09:10 AM:

Wow. I don't know if anyone else here has read this piece, but I think it's fantastic. It's about politics, and it is a thing of beauty.

#172 ::: Carrie S. has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2012, 09:10 AM:

Perhaps I borked my link?

#173 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2012, 09:53 AM:

Carrie S. @ 171, thank you so much for sharing that. I just read the whole thing, and you are correct, it is a thing of beauty.

#174 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2012, 10:22 AM:

Seconding thanks to Carrie @171. That is a wonderful piece.

#175 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2012, 10:28 AM:

Has anyone heard from Xopher lately? He hasn't posted for awhile, and he lives right in one of the areas that's been really clobbered.

#176 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2012, 11:53 AM:

Carrie S #171: Thirded; that is a gem, and very neatly encapsulates what I've been saying for months, only more articulately and with lots of supporting evidence.

#177 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2012, 12:01 PM:

albatross #175 and others: Lenore (a mutual friend in Hoboken) posted yesterday on FB that Xopher was fine and had gone to City Hall to volunteer.

#178 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2012, 12:11 PM:

Thanks, all, and Paula in particular.

The final decision will be Monday, yet I cannot but assume the worst. There is no sensible chance of a better outcome.

I have some previous experience of trauma and surgery so I view that aspect with some equanimity. The rest will be interesting.

#179 ::: Jerry Spears ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2012, 12:41 PM:

PJ Evans - I see your name on this. did you go to High School in Colorado

#180 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2012, 12:54 PM:

Dave #178: You have my best wishes, and if the worst comes to pass, my hopes that the surgery and recovery is as straightforward and easy as possible.

#181 ::: Andrew Wells ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2012, 02:48 PM:

Dave Bell, good luck!

#182 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2012, 04:25 PM:

Dave Bell, you have my prayers and best wishes.

#183 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2012, 05:28 PM:

There are any number of TV channels which seem devoted to the terrible history of Nazi Germany. Maybe the old pictures are cheap.

And there is so much AH fiction.

I have just thrown a very dead Otto Skorzeny off the Orient Express. Should I worry?

Anxious Author

#184 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2012, 07:21 PM:

#183 Dave

AH in a story writing in the past several years is a near-automatic I-will-neither-buy-nor-read for me...

#185 ::: Gobby ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2012, 08:16 PM:

Xopher Halftongue is fine but has no electricity or internet access.
-A Friend

#186 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2012, 08:55 PM:

No. (I think if I was ever in Colorado, I was too young to remember it.)

#187 ::: Harry Payne ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2012, 09:16 PM:


Shocked to hear about your leg. You have my and Omega's email addresses?

#188 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2012, 09:27 PM:

I got my ticket for November 29's theatrical release of Melinda Snodgrass's "The Measure of a Man".

#189 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2012, 10:07 PM:

Dave Bell - you have my sympathy and prayers. Hope all goes as well as it can and that you recover quickly.

Tracie and Gobby - good to hear about Xopher. I'd been worrying.

#190 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2012, 05:39 AM:

Paula #184

I woould be ashamed to have written some of the WW2 AH I have seenn in the last few years, and some of the as-you-know-adolf passages are truly dire.

I fear our younger people are no longer aware of what was at stake. The SS-mann is becoming the anti-hero.

And so Skorzeny: brave and clever, but he was Waffen-SS in Russia, and he told us his own legend, spun to save his neck.

#191 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2012, 07:35 AM:

Dave Bell: best wishes for a good result and speedy recovery.

(I'm currently coming to grips with having a family member in hospital.)

#192 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2012, 09:01 AM:

I have a problem with what I think is the material behind PNH's uppermost link to "An eminent member of the British conservative party". Namely the member in question is, shall we say, extremely unpopular with the barking-mad right wing of his own party, who have been known to smear political opponents in the past. Innuendo linking him with Jimmy Saville would be, shall we say, par for the course.

I have no way of knowing whether the allegations about said eminent member are true or not; I'm just noting that there are people within his own party who would benefit from such allegations, whether baseless or otherwise.

Politics is a dirty business, especially in the UK in the dog-days of the Thatcher/Major/Blair neoliberal consensus.

#193 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2012, 09:03 AM:

Dave Bell @132: oh shit is all I can say.

(My mother is recovering from having her left leg amputated between knee and hip on Wednesday. Not diabetic, just poor circulation and infected leg ulcers that got out of control ...)

#194 ::: Joy Freeman ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2012, 12:24 PM:

How does it go? AKICWML?

Can anyone direct me to reality-based reporting/analysis/opinion on how/whether fracking affects earthquakes? I am just beginning to look into this, but I fear I don't have the scientific chops to sort fact (or at least well-reasoned, knowledge-based speculation) from fud.


#195 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2012, 02:54 PM:

Boy, based on the report on This American Life this week, the New Hampshire Speaker of the House is a piece of work and needs to go now...

#196 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2012, 02:57 PM:

The Science News cover story for the September 8th issue was on fracking. It should have further references.

#197 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2012, 02:58 PM:

And, since he seems to have been instrumental in an act to get immunization out of the schools since it was a government intrusions, well, he may have his name attached to some future events he might not like.

#198 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2012, 04:41 PM:

Dave Bell, all good wishes for the best possible outcome.

Glad to hear that most of the Fluorosphere in the areas affected by Sandy have come through at least relatively well, but still wishing the damage and loss of life was significantly less. Also hoping that we as a species can get our collective heads wrapped around reality in time to ourselves some good, since ignoring the problem will only make it impossible to ignore much sooner than later.

Did my one-month mini-review yesterday...or rather, I reviewed myself--fairly well, based on the phrasing of the items under review. Then was told by my supervisor that we'll talk about what she reported to HR, and the differences between her review and mine, on Monday. I know there's nothing dire on hers, because she's the type who would have told me about any major screw-ups or issues, but of course I can't stop trying to figure out where I over-rated myself. (Which may get a mention on the DFD thread, $%#*%^ those stupid Tapes...)

#199 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2012, 05:26 PM:

Syd @198, but of course I can't stop trying to figure out where I over-rated myself.

It's just as likely the disparities are where you UNDER-rated yourself, you know...

#200 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2012, 06:45 PM:

(I'm posting this here so you can warn others; I suspect you'all are probably savvy enough not to fall for this.)

BEWARE! "Global PC Cure" is a scam outfit posing as support for various providers and computer companies


DO NOT CALL 1 888 958 7518, or ANY OTHER number from a page with "globalpccure" in the domain.

My aunt had trouble with her AOL connection. She gave me what she thought was the AOL support number, which she had googled for.

When I called, there was no company introduction.

They IMMEDIATELY wanted me to turn on remote access. They were DESPERATE for me .to give them access. I hung up, and they CALLED BACK! "Global PC Cure" is a SCAM.

Again: Taking advantage of a Google search hack, they POSE AS YOUR PROVIDER'S TECH SUPPORT LINES!

#201 ::: Stefan Jones, gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2012, 06:46 PM:

I posted a warning about a scam outfit that included a number NOT to call.

Man, I am pissed at these people. They actually called me back when I hung up on them.

#202 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2012, 07:40 PM:

"Global PC Cure" advertises by spam.

#203 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2012, 07:49 PM:

Charlie Stross @ 193:

Damn, that's hard. Good luck to your mother and a good recovery.

#204 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2012, 07:53 PM:

Dave Bell @ 190:

IIRC, Skorzeny spent the last years of his life here in the US, where I am sure there were people in power who would have loved to use his expertise for the good of the US military. To which end it made good sense to give him good public relations. I recall an article I read in the early '60s about him, which tried to do precisely that.

#205 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2012, 09:08 PM:

Yow! So busy with the show, I got miles behind here. Too late for most comments, but I have to say, Dave Bell @132, oh, man, I hope things come out better than they're looking now. Yow.

#206 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2012, 09:19 PM:

Stefan Jones: Scammers like that have been very active recently. I am a bad enough person that I want to find the guy who did this and hug him and squeeze him and call him George. Which I suspect says ugly things about me...

#207 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II has been Gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2012, 09:22 PM:

Probably because I included a wonderful link to a website with a bad reputation (for good reason, though not for anything tied to the link) showing something that had been done to a scammer like the one that Stephan Jones was talking about. I've got some frozen Lean Cuisine Swedish Meatballs and noodles...

#208 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2012, 11:33 PM:

Cassy B @ 199, I appreciate the vote of support, but considering that the things I was rating myself on were understanding of the computer system (B), attendance (never absent or tardy--A!), helpfulness to my teammates (well, I offer to help, and I do help, so I guess that's an A as well!), company spirit (oh, look, another A), and a couple of things I can't recall but which also seemed, upon reading, like I'd earned As there as well...I don't see too much room for "Why didn't you rate yourself more highly here?"


But come Monday I'll know what my supervisor is evaluating, and understand the discrepancies between the way I read the questions and the way the company intends them to be read.

Damned if I'll accept less than an A on attendance, though. :)

#209 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2012, 12:19 AM:

Dave Bell, best wishes for a speedy recovery, whatever the decision.

In regards to the Vorkosigan casting, I always assumed that Miles would be CGI'd because you would have to portray him at some many different points in his life and health. By the time he gets married, he mostly just looks short—but in Warrior's Apprentice, he's crooked and braced. Not to mention the wound tally that his skin tells. I'd go for a middle-aged actor and digitally de-age him to get some of that unreality about his looks—that "set with pain" kind of feature set.

I'd also consider looking to theatrical actresses for Cordelia. You'd have a bigger range to work with than "Hollywood pretty" and you could probably pick someone with a vast range of experience who might never otherwise get cast on film. (I always think of Cordelia as a woman who is not so much pretty as striking—and the latter is a facet of personality.)

#210 ::: Mel R. Pew ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2012, 12:29 AM:

John A Arkansawyer @ 152:

I know computing science people, and I know IT people real well, and I've concluded that, as a class, we're kind of lousy people so far as our political and social views are concerned.

Amongst IT practitioners (a number of whom don't have 4-year computer science degrees, though they may have a technical degree in another field, or a 2-year associates degree, or technical training from the military), especially those who are self-taught and have achieved a measure of professional success, I've found a strong libertarian streak.

Some of this is left-lib, but far more is right-lib, and there is usually an accompanying aversion to common forms of authority.

They often demonstrate a prickly independence and believe they are qualified to judge for themselves any issue which has a scientific or technical basis, and in so judging, they're rarely inclined to believe in the wisdom of others, even if those others are highly trained and experienced, thinking (incorrectly) that to rely on others is to accept their authority unquestioned.

This is why there are a good number who refuse to accept AGW and react negatively to the overwhelming acceptance of AGW by practicing scientists, characterizing them as sheep who refuse to think for themselves.

Further, because a good number of them have been self-taught and achieved success in that way, they strongly believe in boot-strapping ones own way to success, and denigrate those who have to rely on the aid of others, especially when that aid comes in the form of government-sanctioned welfare--since they see the taxes from which the welfare comes as a violation of their ethics.

So they generally disdain collective (read: government) actions to aid the poor and indigent. (And it can't be overlooked that this disdain happens to fall disproportionately on minorities, leading an dispassionate observer to accuse them of racism as well.)

I can't convince you you're wrong for I happen to agree with you.

#211 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2012, 02:50 AM:

B. Durbin @209 -Cordelia was also striking, as a facet of having a convenient sword-stick handy...

#212 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2012, 10:16 AM:

Speaking of sword-sticks, this sword-bracelet is awesome!

#213 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2012, 11:07 AM:

So. I am now using Google Chrome.

I happened to mention to my husband (whom I love very much) that my browser had begun c-r-a-w-l-i-n-g, and also that I hadn't found the time or spoons to try the next solution on the list to get rid of the latest outbreak of DNS Redirectitis. So my husband (light of my life) did what I was afraid he would do (which was why I tried not to mention it until he noticed on his own) and stayed up until chicken o'clock doing stuff to my computer. He downloaded some program or other from Symantec that we hadn't already been using, found "something," deleted it, realized that my IE was still c-r-a-w-l-i-n-g, and decided that I should use Google Chrome.

So here I am on this new browser.

Anything I should know? Security holes, hidden fees, sites the browser routinely ignores?

#214 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2012, 11:35 AM:

I've been using it work for Google Streetview. Haven't noticed anything major, except for the total lack of a searchbox. (There may be a way to get one, but I haven't gone hunting for it. Yet.)

#215 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2012, 11:37 AM:

Xeger @212, nothing in the description says how long the "rapier" is; if the bracelet is a standard bracelet-size (say, 3-4" in diameter) then, judging by the second-to-last photo, wouldn't the "rapier" really be more of a hold-out knife, about 9" to 12" long? (Still cool, mind you...)

#216 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2012, 11:45 AM:

P J Evans (214): It looks as if the address box doubles as a search box. Before I discovered that, I just went to Oddly, when you do that, Google does *not* then appear in the dropdown list of recently visited sites (not sure of the formal name for that, it's the one from the "back" arrow in the upper left). Disconcerting, at least to me.

#217 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2012, 12:23 PM:

Jenny Islander @ 213: I mostly use Chrome. From time to time, a website doesn't seem to be working as I'd expect, so I try it in Firefox and it works there.

Back in the day when IE dominated, it wasn't uncommon to see websites that only worked reliably with it, but that's pretty rare now for any "consumer" website. It is still the case for some corporate web apps that are only intended for employees to use.

Both Firefox and Chrome do very frequent updates so I wouldn't expect to see security holes. No fees. As to ignoring sites — that would be a function of the search engine you decided to use.

In Chrome, just go to the URL address bar and type your search. No need for a separate search box. It defaults to using Google search, but you can change that. I'm using it on a Mac, and to change my default search tool I go to the Chrome menu and select Preferences.

#218 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2012, 03:05 PM:

Dave Bell--

I am so sorry to hear this. I hope whatever happens goes as well as possible and that your recovery and rehabilitation go as well as possible.

#219 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2012, 03:22 PM:

Cassy B. @ 215 ...
Xeger @212, nothing in the description says how long the "rapier" is; if the bracelet is a standard bracelet-size (say, 3-4" in diameter) then, judging by the second-to-last photo, wouldn't the "rapier" really be more of a hold-out knife, about 9" to 12" long? (Still cool, mind you...)

Details, details ;D Maybe it's a Highlander sword bracelet, or there's a portal of holding involved... :)

#220 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2012, 03:38 PM:

xeger @ 219... The kind of portal of holding that allows funny-sounding Highlanders to carry a katana within their trenchcoat's lining?

#221 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2012, 03:44 PM:

Serge Broom @ 220 ...
Elegantly and without being noticed, at that !

#222 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2012, 07:11 PM:

re particle on AirNZ Hobbit safety video. All the AirNZ safety videos are like that -- entertaining the first few times and really, really trying for frequent flyers. I've already seen the Hobbit one three times.

#223 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2012, 07:52 PM:

Jenny Islander@213, I haven't used Google Chrome in a few months; my biggest problem with it was that it was a real memory hog, resulting in it crawling along while the disk swapped, so I couldn't handle anywhere near as many open tabs at once as recent versions of Firefox. (Unfortunately, my work laptop is running 32-bit Win7 instead of 64, because that's what the IT department wants us to use, so I can't add more RAM.) Obviously if it goes faster for you, great!

The other main differences I noticed were that not all of the extensions were quite as flexible (such as some of the link-handling things), but they've been getting better. I had a nagging suspicion that Google might be tracking user behaviour more than Firefox does, so I've tended to limit Chrome to technology-related reading, but I don't have any current evidence for that.

#224 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2012, 10:52 PM:

Hmmm... Is it a new ML policy to delete not just spam comments, but also the comments that point out their spamminess? Or maybe it's been this way for a long time and I never noticed. Just curious.

#225 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2012, 10:57 PM:

Mary Aileen @216: The latest version of Safari for Mountain Lion (the one I haven't been able to figure out how to make run Java applets) does the same address bar doubling. I guess it's the coming thing. Really, there's no reason why the two need to be separate.

Serge@224: I've noticed that happening as well -- I wouldn't say it's been going on for a long time, but it's been a least a few months. I'm fine with it, personally.

#226 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2012, 11:49 PM:

David Goldfarb #225: The latest version of Safari ... does the same address bar doubling. I guess it's the coming thing. Really, there's no reason why the two need to be separate.

If you were sufficiently paranoid, you might not want all your mistyped URLs to go to the search engine, but Firefox defaults to doing that even with two bars.

#227 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2012, 12:39 AM:

Serge 224

For the past several months I've been hiding (not deleting) the spam-flag comments, once they've served their purposes.

You'll still see them in the View All links.

#228 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2012, 01:25 AM:

Bill Stewart @ 223: I switched from Firefox to Chrome awhile ago, when I realized that Firefox was hogging memory when I had a lot of tabs open. I think the two browsers leapfrog each other — one is better with memory for awhile, then a new version comes out and the other one has the edge.

#229 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2012, 02:37 AM:

I just got Scrivener as part of a bundle. Does anyone know of any good videos on the program?

#230 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2012, 06:04 AM:

Bruce, Scrivener seems very flexible, and I have a copy myself. I cannot help from hospital, but explore: find the methods which suit you. There is no one true road.

#231 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2012, 07:12 AM:

I am on a long road but it is headed in a good direction. Today the Doctors decided not to eesort to surgery. I hope the improvements continue.

They have just removed the "nil by mouth" notice and lunch looks good.

#232 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2012, 07:17 AM:

Dave Bell @231:

Stomps, cheers, whistles! I hope things continue to improve!

Also, eet smakelijk.

#233 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2012, 07:17 AM:

I've been a part time reference librarian for about eight years now and can say that most of our patrons have trouble distinguishing between the address bar and the search box. At first I tried to educate people, but it was pointless and so I stopped. Browser makers have been quite aware of this all along; I've been seeing people put the things they're looking for in the address bar and getting search results for quite some time now (possibly that whole eight years?)

I suspect that Google decided it would make a good way to simplify Chrome's interface.

#234 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2012, 07:26 AM:

Dave Bell, glad to hear it! Keeping my fingers crossed.

#235 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2012, 07:47 AM:

Dave Bell: three loud cheers!

#236 ::: Lila got gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2012, 07:48 AM:

Possibly for an overly-generic message of congratulations to Dave Bell (yay Dave!).

#237 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2012, 08:00 AM:

Dave Bell, that's excellent news. I hope you heal quickly!

#238 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2012, 08:01 AM:

Dave, that's excellent news; may the news continue to be good!

#239 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2012, 08:22 AM:

Dave Bell: Wonderful news! May all continue to go well.

#240 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2012, 08:25 AM:

HLN: Local woman coins new term for thoughts that spin endlessly and unproductively: 'brain gerbils'.

In other news, local woman is still living unlocally until her power is turned back on. Local woman is very grateful for generous sister, who hadn't counted on having a house guest for several weeks instead of several days.

#241 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2012, 09:12 AM:

Yay Dave! Hooray for antibiotics! I hope you continue to heal quickly and completely! And now I've used up all my exclamation marks for today....

#242 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2012, 09:22 AM:

I don't usually do this sort of thing, but I'm tired, and have not the spoons to keep at this one:

Trying to tel them (without losing my shit) that the US Civil War was actually about slavery... tiring.

That they are making a specious argument that post-war racism, chain gangs, etc. PROVES the war wasn't about slavery; and then goes of on bizarre tangents about slavery existing today...

I'm still coping with the disruptions of Sandy (and no, I don't have it as bad as many, but it's still an unholy mess, and I'm going to be affected; directly, for at least another month, with commutes of something like three hours to work... for a six hour shift, minor; compared to no house; but if I don't I will end up with no-house, etc.).

Then again, this is sort of me venting; it's not that I really need support in the whack-a-mole category. Spoons, thin on the ground.

#243 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2012, 09:33 AM:

Dave Bell... Yay!

#244 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2012, 09:37 AM:

David @ 225... Jim @ 227... Thanks. I had written some of those alerts and couldn't see them when I came back so I was wondering if I had actually hit the 'post' button. I was beginning to consider the need for stronger coffee. As for why I only now noticed, please refer to my earlier caffeination-related words.

#245 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2012, 09:43 AM:


There are definitely still consumer/general user sites out there that work in IE and mostly work in Safari, but fail in various ugly ways in Firefox. (Some of them are definitely not internal-only: I cannot get anything useful out of Cigna, my health insurance company, using Firefox. Only spurious errors claiming that my password is wrong.)

#246 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2012, 10:20 AM:

When the spam-flag vanishes, that means that particular spammer has been dealt with.

#247 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2012, 10:23 AM:

The Pie-Song of Dinas Vawr

The pummmpkinn pie is sweeter. but the fish has crispy batter.
We therefore deemed iy meeter to gorge upon the latter.
This so annoyed the ladies who had served pie full of spices,
That they called a strike connubial, denying us all vices.
And so in each November, we eschew all fish and batter,
Pumpkin pie for ever! And no more Lysistrata!

#248 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2012, 11:03 AM:

Dave Bell, great news!

#249 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2012, 11:50 AM:

HLN: My Amazing Girlfriend is taking her oral qualifying exam this morning - I'll be waiting outside for her when she's done.

#250 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2012, 12:51 PM:

#242 ::: Terry Karney

I'm not up for dealing with those arguments, but the url is one of the greatest urls in the the history of the web.

#251 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2012, 02:09 PM:

@Dave Bell: Congrats on renewed hope, and enjoy breakfast / lunch!

#252 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2012, 02:14 PM:

Dave at 231: Yay!!

#253 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2012, 03:42 PM:

Dave: that's good news. (I've just seen events leading up to a leg amputation and, well, it's a procedure that's best avoided by any means short of death.) Hope the good news continues.

#254 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2012, 04:33 PM:

Bruce @ 229: The makers of Scrivener have a number of tutorial video on their site here.

#255 ::: jnh ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2012, 05:34 PM:

Dave Bell: Wonderful news! I hope it heals quickly and well, and I am sure your post-NPO meal tasted wonderful!

#256 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2012, 05:39 PM:

Dave Bell -- O frabjous day! Excellent to hear. (Hey, if you can reference Thomas Love Peacock, I can reference Carroll....)

#257 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2012, 06:02 PM:

Dave Bell, hip hip HOORAY. I would rather no one whom I hold in any kind of esteem have to go through what I went through this summer. Yes I am getting around and walking pretty normally now. But it was a long delay to walking, and I still wear out pretty quickly.

Hugs of joy across the e-ways!

#258 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2012, 08:22 PM:

HLN: My Amazing Girlfriend passed her quals! We're both qualified to be doctoral candidates now!

#259 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2012, 09:05 PM:

Congratulations to both Dave Bell and Benjamin Wolfe's AG.

(Aside to Benjamin Wolfe: I'm going to be back in the Bay Area around Thanksgiving and for the week after. Want to meet up? Drop me a line at goldfarbdj at gmail.)

#260 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2012, 09:06 PM:

Not sure where best to put this because I haven't been following the political threads, but Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed a bill to allow voters displaced by the storm to vote in any precinct with an affidavit ballot. At the end of that article are links with information about changes in New York polling places due to Hurricane Sandy.

#261 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2012, 09:21 PM:

Benjamin Wolfe@258: Congratulations to the Amazing Girlfriend!

#262 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2012, 09:37 PM:

Benjamin Wolfe: Yay.... and....

YAY! "\o/"

#263 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2012, 01:56 AM:

Dave Bell, hooray!

#264 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2012, 02:22 AM:

So I just discovered that in order to bookmark anything using Google Chrome, I have to get a password, establish a username that can't be any of my first sixteen choices plus a G-mail account when I already have three email accounts to check daily, and oh goody now I can comment on a zillion other sites I rarely if ever have the time or inclination to read yayz!!!! Also they want my cell number, and my age and gender so they can decide for me that I want to see ads for shows that middle-aged ladies presumably enjoy (I don't have cable) and products I might like (hi ho, weight loss ads, go to Hell kthxbye).

I'm keeping my bookmarks in a text file on my desktop. C&P works just fine without a password.

#265 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2012, 02:23 AM:

Dear gnomes, I am sorry that I cussed at that browser. Would you like some homemade dark chocolate chip cookie bars?

#266 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2012, 03:35 AM:

With any browser - I generally use Firefox, but this certainly applies to Chrome as well - I suggest running an adblocker (I like AdBlock Plus, which is free and very, very good). Google will still want your phone number (as an authentication measure if you need to recover your password), but at least it'll block the ads for lousy TV.

#267 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2012, 04:42 AM:

I decided to just plain not get a password. I don't have the time, I don't have the spoons, and I think that making me get a password in order to use the bookmark feature in my copy of the fricking software is something the gnomes would not like to read.

#268 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2012, 09:27 AM:

Dave Bell: That's great news; hope it continues.

Terry Karney@242: Vent away - it's allowed!

Benjamin Wolfe @258: Congratulations to your AG.

Jenny Islander @264/267: Sympathies, I totally agree with your assessment, and I think you made the right decision.

#269 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2012, 09:47 AM:

Jenny Islander @ 267: Google would dearly like you to log into Chrome with a password. I think that allows you to share bookmarks across computers and such-like, but I don't know — I've never logged in. I save bookmarks on the computer I'm using without using any Chrome password..

#270 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2012, 09:57 AM:

Dave: That's great news!

Terry: There will never be an end to people who are offensively and stupidly wrong on the internet. So while it's worthwhile to show the flag now and then and point out that nonsense being spouted is indeed nonsense, it's not like you're falling down on the job by not jumping in to correct the latest bit of idiocy.

#271 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2012, 10:19 AM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @ #206:

Being much lazier, my usual response to being rung up by an accented stranger keen on helping me fix a terrible problem with my Windows PC is "What if I were to tell you I don't have a Windows PC?"

So far, this has had the same effect as lying outright; apparently Indian scammers are not getting paid enough to untangle English conditional clauses.

(Actually, I find that "I don't have one of those" efficiently disposes of most of the accented telephone calls I get, and usually I don't even have to bend the truth; I genuinely don't own either a house or a mobile phone, and that rules out most of the things accents have tried to sell me lately.)

#272 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2012, 11:03 AM:

Paul A...

Two days late, I know, but...

#273 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2012, 11:42 AM:

Benjamin Wolfe at 266: thanks for that recommendation. I just installed Adblock Plus (I use Firefox).

BTW: to all ML folks who might be tempted to buy an HP desktop computer: do not do it. I purchased an HP Pavilion last year from my local Staples. It lasted 15 months before the motherboard crashed and burned. (No, I did not have an extended warranty.) I have replaced it with a Dell computer. (My last Dell computer lasted 6 years.) I still own two HP printers, and have nothing bad to say about them (especially the LaserJet, which is seven years old and has given me no trouble; if it were to die tomorrow I would feel that I had gotten my money''s worth), but I cannot recommend HP computers.

#274 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2012, 12:13 PM:

I'd concur with Lizzy L's comment on HP computers - my Amazing Girlfriend had a HP Laptop, and I've never seen a worse laptop-oid object. Myriad technical problems - including two logic board replacements - in a 2ish year period. Stay very far away from their computers.

That said, the Amazing Girlfriend and I bought a monstrously large (takes 24" rolls of paper) HP printer off eBay back in March or so - I refurbished it (my guess is that it'd sat in a Florida warehouse for a year or two, so the printheads were very, very dead), but after a few evenings of work, we've got a great printer for $450 or so (between parts and the printer itself) versus $1600 for one new. It's a lot of fun to print 24x36 prints at home (that's larger than you'd think, if you've spent years with a 13x19 printer). HP inkjets, especially the older ones, are absolute tanks. Amazingly, it's cheap to run (I grab genuine HP cartridges off eBay, and I hunt around for cheap good paper). I think the aforementioned 24x36 print is $5 or less to do.

I've less experience with their laser printers, but the only thing I'd advise against is buying really cheap generic cartridges... the lab bought one for a $1000 HP laser that everyone uses, and it nearly dumped a load of toner all over the guts of the printer. We'd killed one laser printer with that trick a year and a half ago, so you'd think the lab would learn...

#275 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2012, 12:15 PM:

Congratulations to the bipeds!

And that "Manboobz" page... I can't tell if those people think they're forming a coherent argument, or if they just learn that they do as well, or better, with incoherent ones. Either way: Depressing.

#276 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2012, 01:35 PM:

Serge Broom @ #272:

Thank you!

(For the record, I follow the tradition of the birthday octave, so anything less than a week after the official date still counts as on time. Especially if the reason you didn't give greeting any sooner was because I wasn't around.)

#277 ::: Paul A. has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2012, 01:39 PM:

My reply to Serge has been gnomed. The enthusiastically grateful Words of Power, I believe.

I scoffed all the mint-infused dark chocolate, but there are still some biscuits in the pantry if the gnomes would like.

#278 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2012, 03:56 PM:

Re the Fibonacci Cabinet Parhelion, it's indeed beautiful and impractical. It's actually a Golden Rectangle cabinet, of course.

This reminds me that it's actually a little odd that Fibonacci is chiefly remembered for his sequence (which he didn't even discover himself) that approximates Φ/the Golden Proportion, when actually he did something much more important: he introduced Arabic numerals to Europe, by writing Liber Abaci (The Book of Calculation), which explained the essentially mechanical process of calculating with them. Just about all of our technology would be impossible without Arabic numerals (or some other place-significant system).

#279 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2012, 05:27 PM:

Lizzy L (273)/Benjamin Wolfe (274): Oops. I bought an HP desktop last summer, partly on the advice of the library's tech guy, who says Dells have gone way downhill lately.

#280 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2012, 05:31 PM:

I haven't exactly had great experiences will Dell machines either - I've used their laptops and desktops, and unless you're buying very high end from them, they're pretty junky (and terrible to service).

#281 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2012, 05:48 PM:

Benjamin Wolfe (280): I've had low end Dells before with no problems. My library recently switched from Dells to HPs; we never had any particular problems with the Dells, either. Nor the new HPs, so far.

#282 ::: Chaomancer ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2012, 06:13 PM:

So, I don't post here often, and I am unsure of my etiquette - but this seems like a twitter # that will provide some entertainment to those that read and post here, and I've not seen it mentioned. Hope this is an appropriate place for it!
Some genius played off Romney's unfortunate PA rally, and this happened.

#283 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2012, 06:31 PM:

Any suggestions for a movie to watch while avoiding election coverage?

#284 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2012, 07:12 PM:

Not to say that all Dell computers are bad, rather that when I've had to fix them - even for something as simple as ripping a hard drive out to make a full copy - the Dells have always made it harder than it needed to be because the company hasn't been willing to spend a few extra dollars for better machining on the case parts. That, and historically, they've been really bad about standardizing on parts within a machine's lifetime. If you've got their service agreement, they're great - but I'd expect them to burn through parts (one of my labmates, who has one of their XPS [high-end gaming] laptops, has had pretty much every single part replaced twice over in three years... and he's nicer to it than I am to my Macbook Pro). My advice to anyone with Dell computers: buy the service plan that makes them come to you.

That, and their LCDs are at the perfect intersection of quality/price for me (I'm staring at a c.2006 24" panel right now).

#285 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2012, 09:15 PM:

Mary Aileen,

Import from the fruitcake thread: Would you like to me bake the baked good for you, and ship it downstate for you? (I will need the recipe.)

#286 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2012, 09:26 PM:

Dave Bell #231: That's excellent news.

#287 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2012, 09:26 PM:

Nancy C. Mittens (285): Thank you for the generous offer, but I'd probably do better to send the recipe to my mother and let her make it for the family holidays.

#288 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2012, 09:28 PM:

Lizzy L (273)/Benjamin Wolfe (274)/Mary Ailen (279) ...

From what I can tell, it doesn't much matter if it's Dell or HP or small fury aliens from alpha centauri -- one brand is going to end up working well for some people, and not for others, and vice-versa.

I'm in the camp that's had horrible experiences with Dell, and hasn't had problems with HP (laptops/desktops, in specific). Then again, I've had horrible experiences with Wells-Fargo, and good ones with BoA -- and know plenty of people reporting the inverse.

Mileage varies, frequently horribly.

#289 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2012, 09:30 PM:

Xopher HalfTongue @ #278:

For a moment there, I thought you said he was responsible for Liberace.

#290 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2012, 10:03 PM:

We have HP desktops (or on-floor) at work and they've actually done pretty well for us.
We also have a color platter (we used to have two), and it's a good machine (it's a 1055).

You can buy rolls of plotter paper through big-box stores; it isn't as expensive as you would expect. Good for sewing patterns, too, if you get the bond paper instead of the coated paper.

#291 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2012, 11:14 PM:

Finally checking back in here after an extended 'cannot handle internet socialz' period. Sorry to any who've missed me. All Very Well Here; kidlet has now suddenly begun engaging often in fluent imaginative play (of the 'telling an interactive story as we walk around the house pretending to be on a Quest' sort), so I think she hit some quantum neuron density/interconnectedness/whatever.

Also, I am knitting a scarf for my sister ... in worsted-weight cashmere. This stuff is made of snuggly softness, like everything a dryer-sheet commercial has ever promised you.

And I have a big pot of stew including pork bits and beets that is just the right thickness! I have a recurring stew problem; they tend to either come out watery or cool to such a state that they have to be sliced to put in a bowl for reheating.

Today, the kid not only got a good solid nap, but was asleep before 9:30PM, so we may have a much better morning than FOR WEEKS. I can hope, anyway.

#292 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2012, 11:18 PM:

PJ Evans @290: For making sewing patterns, I like the huge rolls of wrapping paper that go on uber-sale around New Year's. The clay-coatedness seems (to me; anecdata) to help them last through folding and refolding.

Odd amputation factoid, for any for whom it might someday become relevant: there are certain lengths of foot prosthetic (measured from the floor to the point where they mount on your leg) that are more prevalent in the Cool And Functional Prosthetics department. If you end up with an unusual length, you may be limited to assistive devices with less design and awesomeness. Quite a few of our returning wounded warriors in the US armed forces are opting to have a little more taken off to put them into a 'better' size quantum range. Something to raise with one's doctor, anyway.

#293 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 01:07 AM:

Chaomancer @ 282: Thank you! I can't think of a more delightful way to hear that Romney's conceded, as apparently happened in the last few minutes.

#294 ::: Clifton has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 01:09 AM:

Oh dear gnomes, you would not *believe* the Vietnamese tofu in peanut curry that we have in the fridge. I insist you try some with the fried rice!

#295 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 10:12 AM:

An example of how the Dunning-Kruger Effect applies to sex. NSFW link.

#296 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 10:34 AM:

I was watching a film built around the impact of technology. In a war against an evil empire, a mad scientist devises an insane weapon to destroy an impossible target. A force of picked pilots is trained to carry out the mission, knowing they face certain death.

They make their attacks trying to hit a precise target as they fly directly at the enemy guns. At great cost, they succeed, and the survivors return to their base.

There is no glorious parade. Their leader has a few letters to write...

#297 ::: James E ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 11:58 AM:

Dave Bell@296: Heh. And in this one the good guys get the eminently whistleable march theme...

#298 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 12:25 PM:

Re HP vs Dell: I'm still using the 20" monitor that came with the p-o-s HP desktop: it's a very good monitor.

I didn't buy the Extended Warranty this time either.

Used to be computers were over-engineered, you know.

#299 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 12:48 PM:


Does the RIAA allow that?

#300 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 01:05 PM:

Dave Bell #296:

Was the film by any chance 633 Squadron?

#301 ::: Howard Bannister ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 03:33 PM:

@abi: the link "The Gop and Me" really moved me. I'm relinking that around; thanks for linking it.

#302 ::: Dave Bell whistles a tune for Jim ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 04:02 PM:

Hitler has only got one...

Sorry, wrong tune.

#303 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 04:16 PM:

Open Thread-y:

Anyone here have an experience with Portable Apps? I'm particularly interested in Portable Firefox and Thunderbird. Any idea how big a flash drive one would need to use both? I can't seem to find that information anywhere. You'd think it would be on the Portable Apps site somewhere, but if it is, they hid it very well.

(As an aside, why is it that FAQs so seldom have answers to *my* questions?)

#304 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 06:10 PM:

I have a pet problem, and I'm looking for advice. AKICWML, so I figured I'd try here first.

My roommate has an exceedingly affectionate cat. She also has a dog, who sleeps with her. During the night, the cat would step on the dog, startling the dog, and waking her up. Her solution was to shut the cat out of her room at night, which is perfectly reasonable.

Before she moved in with me, my roommate had two cats, one of which she had to give away due to the pet limit in our building, so AffectionateCat is lonely at night. She used to just sleep under my bed, but recently she's been sleeping on my bed with me. Again, fine; I had a cat who slept with me when I was a kid. The problem is, this cat sleeps calmly for a few hours... then wakes up and starts trying to lick my face, or paw my face, or rub her whiskers against my face, which wakes me up.

I don't want to just shut her out in the living room every night, but I might have to resort to that in order to get solid sleep. Is there any good way to discourage her from moving about/poking me in the face, while still allowing her up on my bed?

#305 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 07:29 PM:

Mary Aileen @ 303: A quick look says that you don't need a particularly big drive to do it - the management app is about 6MB, Firefox is ~70MB, Thunderbird is ~30MB. It lists install size at the download button for each app.

#306 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 08:02 PM:

Benjamin Wolfe (305): Thanks. That's what I needed to know. I wasn't seeing the install size by the download buttons, but I guess I just overlooked it.

#307 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 08:26 PM:

Mary Aileen @#303 asks:

Anyone here have an experience with Portable Apps?

I used Portable Firefox for a while about 2 years ago, so newer versions (and newer flash drives) should do better. I found it to run pretty slowly compared to the regular version, with all the reading and writing to the flash drive. Otherwise it worked the same and was a good way to have my browser history and bookmarks stored off of the computer and accessible on any usb capable pc. The biggest annoyance was how long it took to save when quitting. As for size of drive, I think I ran it on a 512K or so stick, certainly no bigger than 2gig. It was a vendor freebie, and they tend to be smaller. Bigger gives you more room for other stuff, too.

#308 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2012, 08:47 PM:

Leah @304: If AffectionateCat has the common feline aversion to citrus, maybe you could find an orange-scented facial lotion or hair product to apply just before bedtime? I don't know whether anyone makes orange-scented pillows or linen sprays. Or whether bergamot might be sufficiently citrusy to ward her off-- if it is, maybe tucking some Earl Grey teabags into your pillowcase might help?

#309 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 01:27 AM:

Leah Miller @ 304 ...
I don't want to just shut her out in the living room every night, but I might have to resort to that in order to get solid sleep. Is there any good way to discourage her from moving about/poking me in the face, while still allowing her up on my bed?

It takes a bit of time/repetition, but I've found that responding to being woken up by hissing and going determinedly back to sleep (or at least pulling the blankets over my head) is clearly understood feline vernacular[0].

If said feline continues to pester after being hissed at and ignored, hiss vigorously, and push off the bed with an object (or a limb under the blankets).

If you actually pay any sort of vaguely positive attention to her when she wakes you up, she'll keep on doing it :(

The result with my cats is that they don't wake me up (anymore). They'll cheerfully be pests once I _am_ awake (or at least semi-conscious), but not until then.

[0] This also turns out to be well understood by 6yr olds, when they wake you up, although somewhat embarrassing to explain to their parents, once you're fully conscious.

#310 ::: ErrolC ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 05:10 AM:

Dave Bell #296:

Well this weekend I'm going to see a Mosquito fly over a dam, is that close?

#311 ::: CZEdwards ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 05:44 AM:

European cyclists, may I beg crumbs of your expertise?

Premise: in about 18 months, I will have the happy coincidence of sufficient time and capital to do a historical demography /book research trip that can combine East Anglia and Waterloo, and possibly time for other fun, depending how the final schedule works out. I plan to take advantage of trains and bicycles - I don't want to even consider trying to drive. I won't be camping, having located a B&B in Suffolk central to my interests, and London I have covered well enough. It's Belgium that's got me wondering.
A) Eurostar says it accepts a limited number of bicycles by reservation. How early do I need to make that reservation? (I'm looking at March, April or October of 2014, so can I assume off season?)
B) is Belgium as bike friendly as The Netherlands?
C) my now rusty, but once serviceable French seems to be coming back with study and exposure. I have a year to improve that. My American English is military brat variety, meaning I have a chameleon accent (this can be embarrassing). Any other languages in which I should acquire a working vocabulary? (assuming my Norteno street Spanish and moribund Russian will be useless.)
D) any guides/maps/must see suggestions?
E) any legalities I must imprint in my head?

I'm a good walker, and average 70 hilly miles a week on my bike at altitude; I'll be increasing that over the next year. I've bike toured before, though never with a convenient base.

#312 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 09:23 AM:

cajunfj40 (307): Thanks. That's good to know. I mainly want to be able to take my own bookmarks and history with me, but there are ways to work around that.

#313 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 11:09 AM:

Belated congratulations to Dave Bell - that is *seriously* good news, as we say - and to Benjamin's AG.

And to Xopher, I can't say how good it is to see you posting here again. I was quite concerned, what with all the Martian Death Tripods marching through Hoboken and - what? - oh yes, flooding.

I offer a toast to all who have made it OK through Sandy, the US election, and other recent tribulations. It goes as follows: Let's have a couple months of pleasant calm, OK?

#314 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 11:32 AM:

Thank you Clifton. I have a suggestion for the wording of your toast: "To dull times!"

#315 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 01:16 PM:

May I grouse? A group of which I am a member has just suggested we "chip in" for a combined x-mas gift to an important member of said group. The amount that was suggested is the equivalent of what I spend on the one carefully chosen Xmas gift for my Family Member - we do Secret Santa to keep the costs down, so only one Family Member must be bought for (although we all get stuff for the Baby, because that's just fun). It is optional, of course, but it sure makes me feel poor, cheap and/or the only person who is not a grown-up in the group. Because a real grown-up would have that amount of money just lying around in the sofa cushions to "chip in".

#316 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 01:55 PM:

nerdycellist @315: Because a real grown-up would have that amount of money just lying around in the sofa cushions to "chip in". Speaking as a grown-up who is currently having to impose "austerity measures" on her own budget. Just: no. :-)

#317 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 02:22 PM:

nerdycellist #315: Not in the least. I'm a grown-up, and I'm also our sole income, and Husband has been looking for work since he was laid off in March. (Most of the time he doesn't even get rejection notices--this week he's gotten three in a row. And his bennies run out on the 29th of December.) The moneys, they are tight, and your income has nothing to do with whether you're a "real" grown-up.

Honestly, your situation is yet another example of why I don't like "let's all chip in" gift arrangements--all too frequently, the person making the suggestion has no idea that what might be a reasonable amount for hir to spare might be impossible for others.

#318 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 02:42 PM:

Mary Aileen, #303: Obviously, your questions are not frequently asked. :-) It's the same reason that lengthy telephone voice-mail menus almost never cover the issue I need to talk to someone about -- I don't call when I have a problem I for which I can find the answer online.

nerdycellist, #315: First, What They Said. What you're seeing here is a variety of privilege in action -- "I can do this, so of course everybody else can too."

Secondly, it's very likely that you're not the only one having that reaction. Can you bring yourself to speak up and say, "That amount of money doesn't fit into our household budget"? Because if you do, there's a good chance a few other people will do so as well, and a different approach will be proposed.

#319 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 02:53 PM:

Help, my e-mail has just been hacked -- need advice!

I have two e-mail addresses, one gmail, one an old earthlink address which I maintain but no longer use. Today I received messages from a bunch of folks suggesting that the old address has been hacked: these folks got a stupid commercial message which was definitely not from me.

What should I do? I can contact earthlink and cancel the old address, that seems simplest. Is it sufficient? Should I do anything else? Advice much appreciated!

#320 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 02:57 PM:

Do you use the old email address for anything? Do you have emails saved there that you want to keep? Contacting Earthlink is a good place to start and you should be able to migrate anything saved to gmail without too much trouble.

#321 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 03:06 PM:

Benjamin, the answers to your questions are yes, & no. It's the e-mail address I use at a few -- not many -- websites. But that's easy to change.

I'm thinking it's really time to cancel the address. I've kept it only because it was an old business address.

#322 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 03:12 PM:

It's possible that your account was not hacked. I seriously doubt the spam was actually sent from your account. Checking full headers of the spam would probably show that the real origin of the mail was somewhere in Bulgaria.

It's trivially easy for spammers to type just anything in the FROM block of their spam; sometimes it turns out to the a real email address.

#323 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 03:25 PM:

re: "Let's all chip in"--I really like the way this is done at my office.

"So-and-so has such-and-such--lets give them a gift from the group. There will be an envelope on my office door until Friday." Whatever's in the envelope on Friday goes to the person. Absolutely no transparency as to who gave how much.

#324 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 10:47 PM:

I like that method better. My office just passes around cards to be signed, because it's a small family company and they all know how little we make...

#325 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 11:02 PM:

Mine passes around an envelope or a folder with card and (if a gift is involved) an envelope. No one knows if, or how much, you give. (There's usually a check-off list on the front, because people aren't always at their desks when the card is passed around.)

#326 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 11:23 PM:

I like the anonymous envelope idea. The gift was suggested "in good faith" and it's optional, but I'm already butt-hurt. I will probably pitch in about $20-$40, which I can do and still afford Ardala's physical therapy, a pair of non-Croc shoes for the winter and decent food for the month. I need to find a non-rich group of associates. They mean well, but they're just not in the same reality that I am.

#327 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2012, 11:25 PM:


An old college buddy, whom at least two semi-regulars here know (and that others may know from his years as a guest liason for a local SF convention), found out that his daughter has an aggressive cancer.

Meaning he may lose a second child to cancer in five years.

I'm thinking of a Kickstarter project to locate God's balls, so I can arrange a kicking party.

#328 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 12:07 AM:

Jim, thank you. It's possible I was caught up in the Linkedin hack; it's the e-mail address I linked to them. I've canceled the Linkedin account, and will cancel the old e-mail account tomorrow. I spent a lot of time this afternoon changing passwords, just in case. Grrr.

#329 ::: Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 12:54 AM:

Jim (& Lizzy):

I sent Lizzy a full set of headers early this morning, when I received the spam message from her account. The spam used the ISP's SMTP servers and did not appear, to me, to be a case of simple email address harvesting.

If Lizzy changed the password to something strong,this afternoon, that should probably be the end of spam from it through the ISP's SMTP servers. Typically, the way accounts get cracked like that is that the account has been targeted for some reason (i.e., public display on a high-traffic website) and the old password is easy to crack.

Lizzy: it might not hurt to run an A-V scan on the computer with a good, current utility to rule out the presence of keystroke loggers that could have trapped the old password.

If you do cancel the old account, you may want to see if you can arrange to have its mail forwarded to another "neutral" free account, for awhile, if you think anything real might still be sent to it.

#330 ::: Lenny Bailes gnomed at 329 ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 12:56 AM:

Telling Jim and Lizzie that the ISP's SMTP servers were used in the spam from her account, so it probably wasn't just an incident of address harvesting.

#331 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 06:18 AM:

The internet service at this hospital is a decade-old heap of steaming Microsoft crap.

(It rebooted and I saw the version numbers)

#332 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 08:16 AM:

Good news, if my foot continues to heal as it has, I might be home on Monday.

#333 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 08:39 AM:

Dave, I hope that it does - then you'll have real internet again.

#334 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 09:03 AM:

Re: Dave at home with real internet access

...and a foot.

Wonderful news. Thanks for the updates, wherever they happened to take us.

#335 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 09:48 AM:

nerdycellist @ 326 ...
I like the anonymous envelope idea. The gift was suggested "in good faith" and it's optional, but I'm already butt-hurt. I will probably pitch in about $20-$40, which I can do and still afford Ardala's physical therapy, a pair of non-Croc shoes for the winter and decent food for the month. I need to find a non-rich group of associates. They mean well, but they're just not in the same reality that I am.

$20-$40 sounds eminently reasonable to me. I'd almost wonder if they're stuck in "keeping up with the Jones" mode, and it's all Potemkin's houses on their part. Has a specific gift been identified that justifies $$$$$ ?

FWIW, the general question is one that seems to show up in advice columns on a regular basis -- "My friend(s) keep on insisting on doing $$$$ things, and I literally can't afford to be friends with them".

The advice seems to boil down to one or more of "suggest less expensive things to do with them", "say flat out you can't afford that", "hint delicately", "do what you can" or "find new friends", none of which are especially helpful.

#336 ::: xeger got gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 09:49 AM:

Huh, gnomed... and I didn't have any urls at all, this time. Maybe it was the excessive number of dollar signs.

#337 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 11:14 AM:

Dave Bell... Bravo!

#338 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 11:28 AM:

Over $20 bucks per donor for AN OFFICE GIFT?! In my entire Federal career the most I was ever able to pitch in was $5. And individual baby shower/wedding gifts (if I was attending) were always under $20, because that was what I could afford.

Of course, some of the limitation on amounts was due to Federal ethics rules (for which my personal budget was grateful).

#339 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 11:28 AM:

Dave Bell @332:

*does traditional ancient internet happy dance*

#340 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 11:59 AM:

The group gift I'm contemplating is not an office gift. It is from my church's governing body, of which I am a member, to help defray immigration costs of a minister. The email came from a member of the group who is a lawyer, and was enthusiastically seconded by a member of the group who is a homeowner in a very expensive neighborhood. (actually, pretty much anywhere around here is a very expensive neighborhood if you are a homeowner). Again, entirely voluntary, but honestly, if I had that kind of cash lying around, I wouldn't be so far behind on my pledge.

I'm crabby, but not nearly as crabby as I get when someone passes the hat at work for the VP's birthday gift (really? she can't buy her own stuff and needs the peons to contribute) or the frequent harrying emails encouraging me to chip in to some manager I've never worked with's baby shower. In both cases, we're not "friends", can barely qualify as "colleagues" and they make much more money than I do. Those requests are easy to laugh at and blow off; this request is for a person I admire, from a group I like and for a good cause. It's stickier for me to deal with emotionally, although quite simple for me to give only what I can afford. I doubt seriously that there will be any judgement from the group - only myself.

#341 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 12:20 PM:

nerdycellist @340, that is indeed different from the office situation. If you're the only one judging, I suggest you treat our friend more kindly. :-) You may also want to be up front with the group that you want to contribute and will contribute but can't afford the suggested amount. I have, on occasion, chipped in more than my share on things like that, because I was in a position where I could and I knew others were not. (I've had the shoe on the other foot, too.)

Re the office, I once worked in a small office where the norm was that if you wanted your birthday celebrated, you brought in the cake, bagels, or whatever. We did do the occasional baby shower.

#342 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2012, 10:29 PM:

This is . . . wow:

Best use of Condescending Willy Wonka this year!

#343 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 01:03 AM:

Dave Bell - Good to hear that. May the good news keep coming.

#344 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 03:23 AM:

Patrick's Sidelight about killing in the name of safety is bouncing off of a thought I've been having about being hit by a car on Thursday.

I've been hit by cars twice, and nearly-missed once, since I started biking in the Netherlands. This last one was definitely the worst: I fell off my bike, lost some knee skin, and (it develops) got a couple of small but dramatically-colored bruises.

Two of the incidents occurred at T-junctions where I had right of way across the "top bar" of the T. Cars which had stopped (or paused, at least) on their way up the stem didn't see me and started to move again. The third incident was similar, except that the driver was turning from the top bar onto the stem, across my (right-of-way) bike path.

In all three cases, the speeds involved were trivially slow. The drivers, even when they didn't see me, were just not going fast enough to do me any significant damage. There simply wasn't enough momentum in the system to spend.

The other thing to mention is that my commute includes a number of roads where the cycle path is either marked by road color alone, or where there is no cycle path. And yet, I've never been sideswiped. I feel crowded by a car about once a fortnight, but "crowded" means "what are you doing within half a meter of me?".

The roads I cycle on generally have limits of 50 kph (about 30 mph), and are engineered so that that speed feels about right, or perhaps a little fast. There are speed readout cameras along the route, and I note that most cars are under the speed limit rather than touching or exceeding it. A car going 55 kph looks and sounds deeply wrong.

I've been watching one of the roads be gradually re-engineered over the last few years to make it slower: it's been narrowed down, and visually narrowed even more with the addition of visible bike lanes*. It has chokepoints where only one car can pass at once, so that oncoming traffic has to wait. (The bike lanes go around the street furniture that defines the chokepoints; this is a feature for the cars.)

Obviously, this is all in Foreign Europe, where we Do Things Differently.

* Their presence is a social signal rather than a legal one anyway. Cars can drive in the bike lanes if there aren't bikes in them. And cyclists can ride outside of the bike lanes without breaking the law.

#345 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 09:26 AM:

abi @344: Chicago is undergoing a massive sea-change in street design, walkability, and bike-friendliness. I think it's basically being imposed from City Hall top-down (with input from walking-friendly aldermen) and very little publicity -- as I've said before, Chicago is a feudal despotism, but sometimes it works in my favor.

This year, the city began installing true protected bike lanes (with bollards between the bikes and the cars, and sometimes with the parked cars between the moving ones and the bikes), as well as 'buffered' bike lanes (which have a 3-5' wide zebra-striped zone between the bikes and the moving cars). In Jan 2012 there were none. Now they are on track to possibly have 20mi of them before snow flies and construction stops.

This is staggeringly fast change, especially for Chicago.

Because there has been almost no communication aimed at the public (though I don't know what would do any good, aside from enormous signs in the actual streets), some cars are treating the wide, protected lanes as a sort of curbside 'express' lane that cars can of-course drive in, despite the bike symbol painted on the pavement; in Chicago, it is illegal (and a ticketable offense) for a car to be driving/parking in a bike lane at any time.

The city is also attempting to roll out something they keep calling BRT that is basically express busses with a painted 'bus-only' lane, and are going to be putting them on some streets that, while currently serving arterial levels of traffic, are right now only two (wide-ish, but not 16') lanes of traffic, two lanes of parking, and occasional median left-turn boxes. They want to put the busses on the left edge of the lane, which will nix the turn-boxes entirely. Massive screaming matches are ensuing between the business-owners on the street, who do not want parking taken away, and drivers, who DO NOT WANT (in the gif sense) to have only one lane of car traffic in each way on the biggest, most arterial north/south street for a mile in each direction.

It is a puzzlement. And a culture clash.

And I'm certain the instant they stripe those bus lanes cars are going to be driving in them constantly, because the CPD hasn't had the manpower to actually ticket people for moving violations and car-operability problems (headlights out, etc) for over a decade now. :-/ They'll probably put license-plate-reading cameras on the busses or the bus-specific traffic signals or something and send out robo-tickets, but still. People are going to be angry, because taking a bus lane from a street already too tight for its rush-hour traffic is NOT the same as reorganizing nice wide lanes to find space for bikes.

And some drivers are already angry enough about the bike lanes to be deliberately rage-driving at bicyclists. :-/

But even in just this partial year, the protected bike lanes are providing 'arterial' ways to bike into the central business district and other places; we are already so much more bike-commutes-possible-to-non-daredevils than I thought was possible last year.

As each street gets repaved in the usual schedule, it is being specifically investigated for its suitability for a 'road diet,' which takes pavement width (and sometimes lanes) away from cars and uses it for other things, plus the installation of pedestrian refuge islands, etc. This is now policy, and it is proceeding ahead with the inexorability of a highway snowplow and what feels like the speed of a hooning motorcyclist.

Exciting times to live in Chicago and be a transit-head, I can tell you.

#346 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 09:53 AM:

Teresa, thanks for the link to "Questionnaire". I LOL'ed. If you haven't read scifigrl47's stuff, check it out. Her particular forte is Tony, Jarvis and the bots, and she is awe-inspiring.

#347 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 10:32 AM:

Here's another brilliant Avengers fic: Contrary Advisor. There's also a sequel, which is even better. The author's note says that the person does not wish to be identified, so I shan't speculate, but I have a really strong feeling.

#348 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 11:04 AM:

I just listened to an interview with John Williams on NPR. Of course they didn't ask him to sing the lyrics to the Indiana Jones theme (are you kidding? This is NPR) or, God forbid, the theme from Superman, but since it came out that he writes lyrics to his themes when he's doing them I keep wondering what the hell the ones are to The Time Tunnel or Jaws.

#349 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 11:44 AM:

Nerdycellist @340:

Church related...that is different, I was so grateful at KTC that our donations to the temple or a lama were given in an blank envelope, so it was simple to give what you could afford.

I'll admit I see no graceful way of handling your fellow group member's request. The best I can come up with is a private email stating you don't have the funds to cover that large a donation?

Wish I had some better advice to offer...

#351 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 01:17 PM:

So, someone made an assertion on Twitter, I asked him for examples, and after a couple of angry Tweets, and without further response from me (it was a few minutes, no more) he blocked me.

On the other hand, I got reTweeted by Peter Sagal, so overall life is tweet sweet.

#352 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 03:44 PM:

HLN: Local area woman signs paperwork to start the short-sale process, making the future simultaneously more concrete and more random. Woman idly wonders what else has accumulated over the several collapsed lifetimes presently tucked away, in addition to the four garbage bags of half-used cosmetic products.

(For the curious, we're hiring a storage unit, and will be moving most of the non-garbage into it. From there, we can handle it a car-load or a day at a time. But I'm a little averse to making permanent decisions when I'm under this much stress; it's a good way to make bad judgements. And yes, the cosmetics went into the trash for hygiene reasons.)

#353 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 10:25 PM:

@KayTei: Is the kipple from the former tenant? I didn't realize that cleaning out the home was part of a short sale.

* * *
I watched Cloud Atlas this morning. It was just short of overwhelming. Highly whelming, I guess. A significant cinematic achievement, I think.

#354 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2012, 10:55 PM:

Stefan @ 353

Don't I wish! I'd leave it behind in a heartbeat (or hire a dumpster and chuck it all)!

A lot of it is my mother's (who lived here prior to her death) and my aunt's (likewise) and my grandparents' (which both of them inherited) and my sister's (from her life pre-novitiate) and my husband's and my accumulated stuff. It used to also include stuff being held for two of my uncles and my brother, but they have thankfully retrieved their belongings so that I can have less to worry about.

A lot of it has sentimental value, so I'm reluctant to part with anything the family might regret losing, while people are still struggling to come to terms with my mother's death. A small amount has practical value, as we have several family members starting new lives who can benefit from not having to repurchase. Hence the storage unit, until we can decide who inherits what and what else gets donated.

#355 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 11:32 AM:

Leah Miller @ 304: I don't want to just shut her out in the living room every night, but I might have to resort to that in order to get solid sleep. Is there any good way to discourage her from moving about/poking me in the face, while still allowing her up on my bed?

Xeger @309 is quite correct that hissing is feline for Leave Me Alone. It works, if done with conviction. My sweetie can't pull it off, but I can.

The other technique for sleep in a house with cats is to never feed them less than 20 minutes after getting up in the morning. When we fed our cats first thing in the morning, they woke us up when we slept in on weekends. When we added the time gap, they forgot about the link.

#356 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 01:17 PM:

News from the dept of this is tempting but insane to consider but it *is* tempting...

On December 8 (then the next day), some theaters will be showing the whole "LoTR" trilogy.
The extended version.

#357 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 01:22 PM:

The Alamo Drafthouse does an extended trilogy marathon every year, and every year it ends up being scheduled against something else, or when I don't have the money. When they do it, it's a hobbit feast, with a full multi-course meal (and wine with each course!) served through the day, matched when possible to actual instances of meals (or at least mentions of food) on screen.

Some day. Some day.

#358 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 03:07 PM:

Fade Manley @ 357... That sounds neat. I know some people who do the one-day "LoTR" marathon with friends at their house. That means more comfortable seating, and quickly accessible bathrooms. I asked what they'll do when the "Hobbit" trilogy is done. I expect that strong coffee will be required.

#359 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 05:35 PM:

Friends of mine rented a small theater in Niles for a LOTR showing a few years back. It held maybe 50-75 people, which was just about right for their household, family, friends, filkers, and other local fen. Things were slightly interrupted by an hour of power failure, but it was a nice day. They've occasionally done a Bilbo's Birthday party, complete with various hobbit food throughout the day, though the last time I got to one of those we spent more time watching Firefly episodes than LOTR.

Niles is an old railroad town at the corner of San Francisco Bay and the mountains which was the hub of a lot of silent movie filming, with Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin and others using it, and the theater also functions as a silent movie museum. (Ithaca NY, where I went to school, also did a lot of silent movies, with the "Perils of Pauline" and trains falling into the gorge, and former movie-star mansions gradually turned into fraternity houses.)

#360 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 05:44 PM:

Fade, #357: I've done an extended-LOTR marathon at my place. Food was potluck, and there was a pee break after every disk. Makes things much easier on everybody!

I share your regret about having to miss the LOTR marathons-with-food. One of my friends is renting the Alamo Drafthouse for a private party during the first regular showing of The Hobbit on the 14th, and my partner and I will MAKE time for that.

#361 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2012, 07:45 PM:

The Riverview Theater in Minneapolis usually shows all three LotR movies sometime during the winter holiday break. I just checked their website, and they can't this year, due to the upcoming release of The Hobbit. I've never gone; it's usually sold out.

#362 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 08:05 AM:

Regarding TNH's IJsheiligen particle (which I read half a paragraph of in Dutch before realizing it was in Dutch): the article talks about how climate change has brought summery weather earlier in the year, but also cites several instances of night frosts in June in recent years.

I wonder whether the dates of the last night frosts will change in the future, and if so, which way. We had a chilly early summer this year, because the upper-atmosphere winds that usually warm northern Europe were elsewhere, or weaker, for most of June and much of July.

Wouldn't it be ironic, in kind of an uncomfortable way, if the forces of warming and the forces of (northern European) cooling were to strike an exact balance, leaving the IJsheligen in place?

#363 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 11:07 AM:

On the Roman dodecahedra: None of the descriptions are adequate for me to figure out what's going on with them. Are they all the same size? Are the circular holes in each one all the same sizes? It's clear that the size of hole varies within a dodecahedron, but how do they vary across them? If they're intended to be pipe-bore measurements, the variation should be small. And the icosahedron is a completely different beast, which looks like a censer to me (the holes are much smaller, good for letting smoke out but not for measuring). The dodecahedra have holes that are too big for this. And the wheat-planting explanation: nicely complex, but why the hell would they build something that complex for a fairly simple measurement? And how would they tell which way up the dodecahedron should be, since the different sizes of hole would give different results?

Personal theory: they are mentioned in various documents, but they have a name that is not associated with them. It's probably some sort of pun.

#364 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 11:39 AM:

Tom #363: If I got it right, the wheat-planting guy said the icosahedron had one pair of big holes through it, but the additional faces let you put that at enough angles.

For why to build them: Hey, portable, durable, and they double as knicknacks. :-) Hmm... Brass-worker's challenge?

#365 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 11:47 AM:

Dave Harmon @364: But why build them all the same, and not build other items that had the same purpose/effect? Occam's Razor applies here. There are enough examples found to indicate there was some reason for consistency in making these.

The Wikipedia article on the dodecahedra mentions different sizes, but doesn't make it clear if the sizes are the sizes of the holes or the sizes of the dodecahedral sides. I can read it either way.

#366 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 12:19 PM:

Apparently, each of the holes is a different size. The "Campbell" fellow quoted in one of the articles says that's so at least for the one he found, and the other pictures shown in the three articles suggest the same.

Also, I was moved to inquire, and discovered that "dodecahedron" in Latin would be Dodecaedri.

#367 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 01:37 PM:

O, joyous day!

I'm home, with continuing bipedal locomotion.

And decent Internet access.

Flawed though it sometimes can be, the NHS is still pretty good.

#368 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 01:41 PM:

Dave Bell @367, excellent news all the way around.

#369 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 01:45 PM:

Dave Bell... Huzzah!

#370 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 02:51 PM:

Hmm, those dodecahedron are an interesting mystery.
I completely discount the wheat sowing one, beccause why use a complex object when you have your own eyes, skin, and the possibility of using buildings for far greater accuracy? (Although using standing stones for astronomy had probably died out long before) Plus you would expect an entire class of objects that work in similar ways- technology doesn't exist on its own, people use it in lots of different ways.

Reading Wikipedia, the suggestion of pipe diameter checking could be tested by making a database of the hole diameters and positions of known dodecahedri.
Another question would be, what allow are they actually made of? Wikipedia says bronze, and that with their distribution suggests they are a completely civilian object with no connection to the military.
Which would then rather damage the pipe diameter hypothsis.

They do remind me of the stone balls found in Orkney, which have no known use but are quite decorative.
The candle idea is interesting, but why so many different sizes of hole when normally you just cut the candle to size?

And some sort of survey instrument connection would sound plausible but I don't recall reading of any missing necessary parts for Roman survey instruments, and of course you'd expect to find them closer to the mediteranean.

Circles and circles within them remind me of the cup and ring marks found in Scotland, which are a lot earlier than these, and yet I wonder what sort of religious links there might be.

#371 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 03:18 PM:

Glad to hear it Dave!

#372 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 04:08 PM:

stone balls found in Orkney

Weights for simple pre-loom weaving - the kind where you tack your warp strands to a rafter and move the weft either in a ball or (more sophisticated) on a shuttle.

Not talking lace-weight yarn here - something thick and substantial. Perhaps the weft is roving. Gets wool from fresh off the sheep to a bed covering as quickly as possible.

#373 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 04:45 PM:

guthrie: I discount the wheat-sowing idea because it'd be much simpler to make an L-shaped doodad with a line across the bottom bar; when the shadow from the upright hits the line, that's the right day (or the day you base your calculations on, at lesat).

Personally, I think some bronzesmith decided to make a cool little thing to demonstrate his skillz, and it caught on.

#374 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 04:56 PM:

I can't remember (or find) the attribution from one of those time-traveling stories, but the old woman who lived with her brother (Wales?) was doing a variation on this type of weaving, where the strands formed both the warp and weft, with the fabric woven on the bias.

IIRC the visitor was done in by the brother.

#375 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 05:18 PM:

Roughly like this guess about paleoweaving.

This looks like the flat braid sailors make, but it was with many more strands, a piece of fabric. The weights made me think of yoyos, and googling the Orkney stone images showed them looking like yarn could easily be wound around them. As soon as technology (or more likely, space) made looms possible, this was supplanted as it was enormously labor-intensive.

Anyone got the story? Part of the dynamic was that the locals developed a folk tradition and laid for the new crop of insensitive travelers who showed up every generation or so.

#376 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 05:20 PM:

Could it be used for sizing something like reeds? (Gods know why, I don't.)

I thought I might have a lead and looked through a book on Villard de Honnecourt's drawings (medieval builder) to see if there might be something similar roughly a millennium later, but no joy ... not even things that might require something like that in order to function. (Closest drawing was for a way to build a keystone arch, and I couldn't imagine how you would need different-sized whatevers to actually set it up.)

#377 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 06:23 PM:

You know those plastic toy balls with holes of different shapes, and different shaped blocks to put them in? Maybe it's a toy or puzzle, to teach kids about objects of different sizes. Although you'd think there'd be toy balls to go with it nearby. Unless they were wooden?

#378 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 06:31 PM:

I'm saddened to learn of the death of Kevin O'Donnell. His books were a great deal of fun, and he was a real mensch the times I got to talk with him. Thank you, abi, for pointing to his memorial page.

#379 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 06:43 PM:

Roman dodecahedron: Pshaw. They're obviously artifacts left behind by the Van Daniken aliens.

(BTW, in the category of things that don't move the cursor around the screen: if you're used to the trackpad on your macbook, and you sit down to a desktop mac with a wifi track board, rubbing your finger around on the tabletop in front of the keyboard does absolutely no good.)

#380 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 07:00 PM:

There have been some disturbing allegations against Kevin Clash, the muppeteer behind Elmo. He has taken a leave from his work with Sesame Workshop while this all gets dealt with; I have a sinking feeling that no matter how it is resolved, whether the allegations are proved true or false, his career may be over.

If they are true, he deserves it, of course, but ...

#381 ::: Laertes ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 07:15 PM:

I was born in 1968. As a teenager, I spent a lot of my meager spending money at the Waldenbooks in the big mall the next town over.

I knew the SF&F section well, but now that I think about it, I don't think I ever saw a trade paperback. Was that just not a thing back in the 80s? Was it a thing but I just didn't notice? As far as I knew then, the life cycle of books was a hardcover release for, like, libraries or rich people, and then some time later a mass-market paperback release.

#382 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 07:23 PM:

#381: I remember SF trade paperbacks appearing . . . hmmm. Late 70s? Well, I remember receiving a gift-copy of a Larry Niven book in that format. "Jigsaw Girl?" And a copy of a fantasy novel whose title escapes me. "Parsifal" maybe?

#383 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 07:27 PM:

#380: That's sad news. I find Elmo profoundly annoying, but was impressed by Clash's drive and talent, as show in a documentary about him.

#384 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 07:45 PM:

Trade paperbacks are a lot more common now than they were when I was a kid, at least. I can remember getting angry when it became common for books to go hardcover-trade-mass market rather than skipping the middle step.

#385 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 08:16 PM:

Thank you, abi, for the parhelion pointing to Kevin O'Donnell's memorial. Though I never met him, I enjoyed his books immensely, especially the McGill Feighan series. He had a distinctive voice and style, and he will be missed.

#386 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 08:16 PM:

abi@362, one of the real risks of global warming is that Arctic ice melts could disrupt the Gulf Stream and other parts of the North Atlantic thermohaline circulation, in which case Europe's climate could end up in deep trouble, considering that you're a bit north of Saskatoon, and Edinburgh's about even with Ketchikan.

#387 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 09:56 PM:

Laertes @381: trade paperbacks were scarcer then, but they did exist. They go way back, actually -- the Tauchnitz paperback editions predate the modern mass market paperback, and dime novels predate them. In genre, bestseller The Sword of Shannara was a 1977 simultaneous hb/tpb, to give an early example of tpbs rising. I could give dozens more off the top of my head. My google-fu isn't giving me a start date for the Quality Paperback Book Club, but I think it's in the 70s; and Time/Life was certainly doing some wonderful tpbs earlier than that.

#388 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 11:39 PM:

That Roman Dodecahedron?

Looks to me like a puzzle with the loop of cord and the ring missing.

#389 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2012, 11:52 PM:

If you magnify it enough, the inscription says "Dudus, mea Pumilio totaliter appropriatae vestra barbarus."

More seriously, though, the Romans did a lot of gambling, with knucklebones as the traditional dice.

#390 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2012, 12:34 AM:

They even gave different odds to the way the astraguli fell. Too bad Google keeps sending me to astragalus the herb rather than astragulus the bone, or I'd have useful links for you.

#391 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2012, 10:57 AM:

Dave Bell, that is wonderful news. Glad you are ambulatory and still bipedal.
Hugs across the e-ways!

#392 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2012, 11:26 AM:

Mel R. Pew @210: Well, that's kind of what I was thinking. Gloom.

It's balanced out somewhat by a seemingly disproportionate number of them (not me!) being kind and generous personally, which I think is why libertarianism is still taken seriously.

On another gloomy topic, does anyone know more about these folks' stuff?

We're planning events at church and folks are zeroing in on the videos available at this site. Something about it makes my BS meter tick but I can't find any reason why. Do you know more?

#394 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2012, 04:28 PM:

Fuming a little. One of the jerkier inhabitants of another site just responded to a systematic takedown (not mine, another guy's) of his political nonsense with "you have kind of a crush on me, don't you?"

Then he asserted there was nothing homophobic about that.

Frackin' jackhole.

#395 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2012, 04:33 PM:

Xopher #394: It's amazing how that goes, isn't it? You have my sympathies; my husband gets called all sorts of homophobic slurs when he out-logics a right-winger, and it throws them into a tailspin when he's not offended, and then points out their homophobia.

#396 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2012, 04:34 PM:

Dave Crisp: But only one Time Lord to operate the resulting structure.

#397 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2012, 04:45 PM:

If you happen to encounter a phisher over dinner, please point out to them that it kind of blows their cover when they put their entire message, including all of the html code, in the subject line of their email.


#398 ::: Dave Crisp ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2012, 04:58 PM:

Xopher @394: I have to admit I was a little taken aback by that too. I knew the guy was a dickweed, but the "LOL U GAY" came rather out of left field.

and @396: now you've got me wondering what the SCP guys would make of a sonic screwdriver

#399 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2012, 05:27 PM:

He's intent on proving himself an ever-greater dickweed.

And I was working, for a while, on an SCP writeup of the Golden Helmet of Mambrino (provides invulnerability but if worn in bright sunlight convinces the wearer that s/he is a barber).

#400 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2012, 06:10 PM:

The guy who accused "Elmo" puppeteer Kevin Clash of an underage relationship has withdrawn his claim.

I still find Elmo annoying, but I'm glad the talented Mr. Clash is cleared.

#401 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2012, 09:34 PM:

I will be in Chicago for training from the 9th to the 14th of December. I am expecting it be intense, so I would prefer not to plan anything on a weeknight - would anyone be interested in a Chicago area mini meetup in the late afternoon of Sunday the ninth?

#402 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2012, 09:48 PM:

Re: The "disaster utopia" sidebar: The article utterly neglects the findings of games theory regarding cooperation vs. conflict, which easily explains the "disaster utopia" effect. The larger society is an open field where cooperation and conflict are mixed... but in a disaster, suddenly there's a Big Enemy present, and people band together against that.

The disruption of normal social patterns will help with that -- when your office is underwater, your relationship to your boss is liable to change!

#403 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2012, 09:51 PM:

Nancy C Mittens, in re a Chicago Mini-Gathering-of-Light Dec 9th: I'm in, possibly with my preschooler, depending on venue and activities.

#404 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2012, 10:15 PM:

Stefan Jones: There's at least one claim out there that this was to forcibly out Clash, which is a jerk move.

#405 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2012, 11:15 PM:

My favorite line from the SCP Wiki FAQ:

When a mod says "Stop" they mean, "Talk louder and more stupid", right?

#406 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2012, 11:52 PM:

Nancy Mittens

I'm not sure about my schedule, but I'm interested. Email at my first and last names all shoved together at the company of yahoo.

#407 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2012, 03:09 AM:

It seems that my source for a change in the tax rules which Amazon apply on Kindle Royalties was wrong.

It's still a case of dealing with a US company, wherever you are in the world, getting 30% of the Royalties withheld for the IRS, and jumping though the labyrinthine hoops of international tax management.

Considering how much business Amazon do in the UK and bow they take advantage of those same labyrinthine hoops to minimise the tax they pay, I find it hard to have any sympathy for what happened earlier this week, when they were hauled over the coals by a parliamentary committee. And the European Commission has them in their bomb sights over the way they're based in Luxembourg to take advantage of that country's unusually low tax rates.

At the moment, the rate difference on ebooks is so great that anyone selling them to the EU really has to operate from Luxembourg, or face a cost penalty of some 15%.

UK tax on Amazon--it's going to hurt me, but I cannot totally suppress my joy at the thought of them being kicked in the corporate nadgers.

#408 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2012, 10:26 AM:

Stunning video; this is going on my list of unicorn chasers.

#409 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2012, 10:53 AM:

It's today's Astronomy Picture, also

#410 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2012, 12:06 PM:

Beautiful and informative videos: they each take a full day's movements of the vehicles of a public transit system and animate them as white dots on a black field, sketching out streets and routes like a bloodstream.

There are ten or fifteen cities/regions animated so far.

#411 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2012, 12:50 PM:

This is intolerable. Dear God. My church has much to answer for. I hope this hospital can be called to account.

#412 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2012, 12:50 PM:

Remembering scenes from Cloud Atlas is like having flashbacks.

I may have to see that movie again.

#413 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2012, 02:24 PM:

I recently read some links, probably at ML, about the history of the religious right and abortion-- in particular that the religious right wasn't even interested in opposing abortion until something like the seventies. Does anyone else remember where they were?

In the course of searching, I found a lecture by Randall Balmer which has quite a bit of detail about the anti-abortion plank getting added as an odd side effect of Bob Jones University having discriminatory racial policies and not wanting to lose tax-exempt status.

#414 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2012, 02:41 PM:

Nancy @ 413

You may be thinking of this:

and/or this:

#415 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2012, 02:59 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz @413, you want the Slactivist. Fred Clark's writing is interesting in general. He is most well-known for his dissection of the Left Behind books, but I find much of his writing illuminating.

#416 ::: Naomi Parkhurst has been gnomed. ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2012, 02:59 PM:


#417 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2012, 03:03 PM:

Slacktivist, most likely.

#419 ::: Cally Soukup joins the gnomes for lunch ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2012, 03:06 PM:

Egg fried in a hole in a piece of bread?

(I bet we were all gnomed for the same link)

#420 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2012, 03:10 PM:

Cally, it looks like it!

#421 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2012, 04:00 PM:

I've adjusted the filter that's been taking out Slacktivist.

#422 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2012, 04:41 PM:

Stefan Jones @353: I watched Cloud Atlas this morning. It was just short of overwhelming. Highly whelming, I guess. A significant cinematic achievement, I think.

OMG! Me too. What you said. Etc. I may have to see it again. (I wonder if the DVD version is going to be 5 hours; looked like they cut some stuff out.)

#423 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2012, 05:21 PM:

Dave Bell: Yay!!

Tom Whitmore @390: A search on astragulus bone seems to produce what you're looking for. Searching on astragulus bone game produces a Wikipedia article on knucklebones as the top result.

#424 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2012, 06:11 PM:

Is anyone besides me having trouble getting the "younger than a happy meal" article to load? It won't do it for me.

#425 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2012, 08:17 PM:

I'm not seeing it on the front page, so try here.
In case the link doesn't work, it's from last February, at Slacktivist.

#426 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2012, 10:19 PM:

Lizzy @ 411: The death of Savita Halappanavar was avoidable. Dr. Jen Gunter also blogged about that here, and made some very good points about the medical malpractice that occurred.

#427 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2012, 11:31 PM:

Ginger, thanks for the link. I had no doubt that the medical care offered to this women was sub-standard, but I appreciate having that confirmed.

I am having a very hard time with this.

#428 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2012, 11:43 PM:

P J Evans, that direct link won't load. I tried going right to it, and I tried sneaking up on it from the previous entry in the archives, and that page just. won't. load.

Any suggestions?

#429 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2012, 11:46 PM:

The page is loading fine for me. Clear cache, restart browser?

#430 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2012, 11:51 PM:

Lizzy @ 427: It's very important to me too, for many reasons. The entire situation is just a violation of basic human decency. An Irish friend of mine requested that I write to the Irish Embassy, and other places, to add my voice in protest. I am composing a letter, carefully.

#431 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2012, 09:59 AM:

Ginger at 430: my issue, alas, is with my church, and writing a letter will not help. Not that you should not write as many letters as you like: there's plenty of culpability to go around.

#432 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2012, 01:25 PM:

"Let's all chip in" gift arrangements: my least favorite coworker is (finally!) retiring this month. Another coworker just sent around an email suggesting we get him something "really nice" as a retirement gift. Maybe an iPad? Since payday is the day after the party, "just tell me the amount you're committing to."

Um, no. Particularly since, given my current situation, things like vet bills have to come out of savings.

A second email just came around: "Oh, just pay what you're comfortable with." For me, that will be a big, fat, goose egg.

#433 ::: Kyndra ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2012, 05:00 PM:

AKICIML : I have been tasked with producing the annual Christmas pageant at our church (US Episcopal not very high). The tradition is to use a lessons and carols format and have the pageant at the beginning of the main service on Sunday morning. The last two pageants have focused on Mary and the Incarnation and this year I'd like to focus a bit more on the shepherds and angels since the Sunday School has been following a theme of "The Good Shepherd"

I have a decent selection of older children/youth for readers etc. and three or four lower elementary age children who can read/sing etc. I don't have a good script. The last two were written by someone who is no longer with us...ideas and or links would be much appreciated...K

#434 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2012, 06:51 PM:

Kyndra, I have no good idea for scripts, but you could use Jefferson Airplane's Good Shepherd as a soundtrack. ;)

#435 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2012, 06:55 PM:

"Musicians duet better."

Bumper sticker sighted today.

#437 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2012, 08:36 PM:

Kyndra @433: Dr. Rivka (who once wrote Respectful of Otters and is now chronicling her homeschooling experiences at Tinderbox) wrote a really interesting little-kids pageant based upon The Friendly Beasts a while ago, and another more general one in 2010

#438 ::: Kyndra ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2012, 09:45 PM:

Elliott Mason @437

I remember her writing those now that you mention them...thanks!...K

#439 ::: Kyndra has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2012, 09:46 PM:

Can I offer a nice cuppa? ...K

#440 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2012, 10:23 PM:

Department of Totally Frivolous Literary Questions: In Barrayaran society, is the syllable "Vor" always unaccented? (Example: would Ivan's last name be pronounced VORpaTRIL or vorPAtril?)

#441 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2012, 10:44 PM:

Lee @440: According to one of LMB's mailing list FAQs, Vor surnames generally have the second syllable stressed.

#442 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2012, 10:45 PM:

I'm not sure if I've ever heard anyone say it out loud; I've always heard the latter pronunciation in my head ("vorPATril") and indeed all the Vor names I can think of off the top of my head I accent on the second syllable.

#443 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2012, 01:24 AM:

I think Vorharopulos (which I think is probably vor-ha-ROP-u-los) may be one exception. I think the rule is that the root name keeps its stress, and the Vor- prefix is never stressed. (That would be wrong if Vorkosigan is after Kosygin, which is stressed on the second syllable.)

#444 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2012, 01:34 AM:

Hmm. Looks like it is. Which would mean either there's no consistent rule, or Vorharopulos is vor-HAR-o-pu-los.

#445 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2012, 04:04 AM:

Xopher, maybe the stress shifts over time. If somebody is of a family with recent Vor-status, maybe it is still an unstressed prefix, but things shift over a generation or two. But cousin Fred might still use Vor-ko-SY-gin when he wants to make a point: near in blood but not Vor.

As the generations pass, the balance shifts, and the non-Vor name is no longer so close in lineage, and the stress shifts.

Does that sound plausible?

#446 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2012, 06:33 AM:

HLN: Area woman's small New England town is shaken by clergy misbehavior incident (controlled substances type) by the officiant of the congregation next door. Area woman feels slightly guilty for being relieved it's Not My Church Thank God.

I hate it when stupid things like this happen.

#447 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2012, 09:48 AM:

Thena @446: Clergy misbehavior incidents -- and things misreported/twisted into presumed clergy misbehavior -- can be really, really disruptive.

My parish priest when I was in grade school was a gentle, friendly, enormous redhead of a man, who instantly put all his non-pastor-duties time into ministering to AIDS victims when that whole story broke. Visiting The Sick, like you're supposed to. Bringing them meals. Helping them into and out of bed. And so on.

He got side-eyed kind of hard by the more conservative members of the parish, but they were also a little proud of him for 'going so far' in following the directives of the Gospels to minister to the outcast and undeserving.

Until he suddenly had a positive test.

Then they instantly all moved to assuming he was a Dirty Homosexual, and always had been, and also a liar and unfit for his collar ... and they defected en masse to other congregations. I have no idea what, if any, his preferences were; it always seemed more likely to me that he got innocently infected in the course of caring for sick people with lots of loose body fluids sitting around.

He spent his last two years bedridden in the rectory, being cared for by the priest who would be named pastor after him (but, in a staggering gesture of compassion from Cardinal Bernardin, he was allowed to remain pastor in name until his death) and some of the nuns from my school's penguin-house ... and visited almost never by some of his former staunchest friends and allies in church work.

It was sobering for me to be on the sidelines of, especially because I never really bought the 'only bad people get AIDS' narrative, because my mom was friends with mass quantities of artists, queers, and self-identified Freaks.

Many years later I was shocked to realize that I am in a sort of mini-generation, psychologically: to the kids the age of the characters in Fast Times at Ridgemont High (a bit older than me), the worst things that could happen from wild sex were pregnancy and syphilis, and you could get a shot for syphilis. To my baby sisters (13+ years younger than me), AIDS has never been untreatable, and cancer is way scarier.

But to me and my tranche, for a formative period of our lives, AIDS was scarier than cancer. Scarier than ANYTHING. Because not only 'could you get it' in all kinds of random ways (like public toilets, Halloween candy, and water glasses), turning up postive meant everyone you knew would assume you were Evil.

Ryan White was my age, roughly.

#448 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2012, 12:09 PM:

BP will pay $4.5 billion in penalties and plead guilty to felony misconduct in relation to the Deepwater Horizon spill.

Note: this has no effect on any of the civil lawsuits currently in process against BP.

#449 ::: Lee has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2012, 12:10 PM:

Link to a Reuters article, or a Word of Power perhaps.

#450 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2012, 01:09 PM:

Regarding Jim's latest Diffraction, End of the Line for Twinkies--

This story has been much circulated on Twitter and elsewhere, but if you actually look at it in detail -- even on a site as reflexively pro-business and anti-union as CNN Money -- several things are clear. First, this is a maneuver in a bankruptcy-court game of chicken. Second, it's a maneuver in an extended piece of union-busting. Third and most pertinent to the silly headlines being attached to this story, there is approximately 0.00% chance that this is actually the "end of the line" for venerable brands like Twinkies, Drake's Devil Dogs, and Wonder Bread. Appalling though these products are, their long-established popularity means that they own miles and miles of space in grocery-store planograms all over America. So someone is going to keep making these products under these brands.

What's happening here is that the current ownership of Hostess Brands is trying to get the best deal it can in an ongoing bankruptcy proceeding, and is taking the opportunity to get a nice unions-spoil-everything narrative into the national media.

#451 ::: Bob ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2012, 01:23 PM:

Didn't someone already make a movie about the malevolence of Twinkie filling?

(This movie was so bad, it was good. Something like Plan Nine meets The Blob.)

#453 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2012, 01:46 PM:

May I add that Hostess isn't owned by anyone in the food business: It's owned by a couple of venture capital groups.

#454 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2012, 01:50 PM:

We could have a remake of Little Caesar called Little Twinkie, with classic line "Is this the end of RICO?"

#455 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2012, 02:09 PM:

For some reason, I had read Jim's Diffraction as ending in a question mark, and so applied Betteridge's law of headlines:
"Any headline which ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no".

#456 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2012, 02:33 PM:

*has a sudden vivid memory of the expression on Patrick's face when he saw the Hostess Bakery Thriftshop with a sign that said "BARGIN DAY"*

And it can't be the end of Twinkies. Twinkies are forever, man. The Twinkie abides, as it were.

#457 ::: elise got gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2012, 02:34 PM:

The gnomes are welcome to eat the foodstuff mentioned in the gnomed post. :-)

#458 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2012, 04:00 PM:

Elliott Mason, I am of the age that I know who Ryan White is without having to think about it.

#459 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2012, 04:09 PM:

Lila (457): Me, too. Although I might not place the name immediately without the mentions of AIDS.

#460 ::: Robert West ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2012, 04:21 PM:

> So someone is going to keep making these products under these brands.

I think that's clearly true, although there's also a good chance that the new owner of the brand will alter the recipe.

Of course, there's no way to tell if Hostess alters the recipe, so it's not that big a change.

#461 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2012, 06:48 PM:

Lee @448:

The largest fine in US history, and it's still just a slap on the wrist. It's less than BP's net profit last quarter.

#462 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2012, 06:48 PM:

What would be interesting would be if Bimbo Bakeries -- Hostess' largest competitor, who is doing quite well, thank you, despite being fully unionized AND paying better wages -- were to buy the rights to the brand names and make them into decent products again.

Robert, #460: If you were to compare the ingredients list on a current package of Twinkies to one from 30 years ago, it would be painfully obvious that Hostess has indeed altered the recipe. Finer levels of difference may be seen, over time, by checking the order of the listed ingredients. Which isn't exactly what you were talking about, but is still a point worth making.

#463 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2012, 07:01 PM:


I once picked up a Bimbo Bakery "Gansito" snack cake.

I ate about half of one of the two in the package. I stopped because it tasted . . . odd. After teasing apart the various components I narrowed down the "Eehhh" factor to the "chocolate" coating, which had a "carob and burnt bread crumbs" vibe.

I put the cake on the ground and called over Kira, my dog. She picked up the cake-half, rolled it around in her mouth, put it down and gave me the stink-eye.

#464 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2012, 07:10 PM:

Bimbo Whole Grain White sandwich bread (or, as we call it on the running grocery list in my house, "toast bread") is pretty good, though. Better than the Wonder "whole grain white."

#465 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2012, 10:38 PM:

Shirt seen this morning at LA Union Station (subway part):
Occupy Mars

#466 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2012, 11:21 PM:

Dave 445: Yes, it does. Also, if you're speaking a language with a second-syllable predictable-stress pattern, that would make them shift over time (but none of Barrayar's languages do, so that's out).

I'm reminded of the fact that Schröders who came to the US became Schroeders, and half of them became SHROW-ders and the other half SHRAY-ders, because ö just isn't a sound in English.

#467 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2012, 12:02 AM:

Stefan, #463: Take a look at the website I linked, though, and notice how many well-known, high-quality brands are part of the Bimbo line. They've been buying up smaller companies and then NOT wrecking the product for a couple of decades. I can see Bimbo deciding to rescue the Hostess name from its quality freefall and reverting the recipes back to what they were using 30 or 40 years ago.

#468 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2012, 12:22 AM:

@Lee: I hope they can pull it off.

But those Gansitos . . . just horrible.

#470 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2012, 11:05 AM:

HLN, post-Sandy division: Local woman's apartment has power! Heat, hot water still not available. "But I can manage," local woman insists. "I have electric space heaters."

Local woman is currently living non-locally, visiting parents in another state. "I'll stay until after Thanksgiving, then return home," she reports. "I'm anxious to get back to my own stuff."

#471 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2012, 11:28 AM:

I'm putting this in the open thread since the post about TSA stupidity and malice is a bit stale now.

In the news this morning in the SF Bay Area is the report of a man arrested at Oakland Airport for possessing an "elaborate watch ... which had a large leather strap with a protruding toggle switch, wires and fuses and a circuit board." The man "told authorities he is an artist and the watch was one of his art pieces."

No big deal you might think. But TSA decided this item fell in the category of "bomb-making materials" and arrested him "under a section in the state's penal code that says that 'a person who possesses any substance, material, or any combination of substances or materials, with the intent to make any destructive device or any explosive without first obtaining a valid permit to make that destructive device or explosive, is guilty of a felony.'" Oh, but he did other suspicious things! Like not checking any luggage!

Never mind that the bomb squad examined the watch and found no explosive materials of any kind. Their spokesman's evaluation of the device? "He had every component to make a trigger mechanism. Was it? No. But was everything there? Yes."

So there you go. It wasn't a trigger mechanism ... but it _could_ have been! Any device that some TSA agent could _imagine_ that you might be able to make a trigger mechanism out of can land you in jail on felony charges.

San Jose Mercury News story here.

#472 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2012, 11:50 AM:

Mary Aileen, excellent news! Best wishes for an uneventful return after Thanksgiving.

#473 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2012, 11:53 AM:

I saw that at SFGate. It was the watch, in combination with the oversized shoes with hollow soles and the military-type shirt with built-in tourniquets.

#474 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2012, 12:03 PM:

Regarding Avram's Phosphene "What Twitter is turning into": So that's the reason for preceding @-replies with a period! Huh. Color me slow on the uptake; when I first started seeing it, I thought it was a bit of crud on my computer screen. Multiple times.

"Web 1.0 was good enough for my pappy and my grandpappy and it's good enough for you, ya darn whippersnapper. Now, git off my lawn."

#475 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2012, 12:38 PM:

Ooh, want to hear some internal rhymes? Look:

Opportunistically lying in wait and grinning giggling lamely at the ashy glow of the painted wall in the streetlamp and suddenly I hear a dead man walking round the corner and the dying fall

You're making up your mind and nervous, humming inanely snatches of the anthem of your good old school out west; forgotten the words and meanings subtle meaninglessness, your time has not yet come so you play the fool

And suddenly crumpling and falling, lifeless, playing a wrinkled fool, to an audience of jaded friends

You're running now frantic feel the rhythmic pace and all the scenery's the same just one repeated shot flickers past and you could swear you've been out here before Mr. Hitchcock; and this stupid mistake will not be your last
nor the last of the creatures entrusted and painted and lined
with precious gems, heirloom for a generation
of bureaucrats --
you switch back now and look him full in the face
and suddenly you find you cannot recognize this familiar caricature, this crudely sketched archetype of disquiet, or you do not want to (and so you fail to), unfamiliar expression you know so well, could trace it out in the dark you reckon soft ivory fingers on imaginary skin and so you stare into his absent eyes and identify yourself with his absent character and longing

And you so long to be there, to be present.

#476 ::: The Modesto Kid Got Gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2012, 12:39 PM:

(and he is not sure why?)

[A filter has been adjusted. -- Fius Ceosro, Duty Gnome]

#477 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2012, 12:41 PM:

Rikibeth (472): Thanks. Unfortunately, I managed to book a much earlier flight than I had wanted to. I misread the arrival time as the departure time. So I'm going to have to get up by 4:30 AM next Saturday to catch my flight. Oops.

But I'll be glad to get home!

#478 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2012, 12:49 PM:

#471 Heather Rose Jones

Hmmm.... do you think they know how to make a trigger mechanism out of a bag of dried beans, or a clothespin and a gum wrapper?

The list of things that you can't make into a trigger mechanism is a whole lot shorter than the list of things that you can.

#479 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2012, 01:06 PM:

Is that really true? My followers don't see my replies to people I follow unless they follow them too? Damn, I had no idea. You put the dot before the @?

#480 ::: The Modesto Kid wonders if his blog has been blacklisted by the gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2012, 01:10 PM:

One more try

#481 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2012, 01:39 PM:

¡Gracias, señor Ceosro!

#482 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2012, 02:09 PM:

Xopher (479): That can't be right. I see tweets in reply to people that I don't follow all the time. Including tweets from you responding to a variety of other people.

#483 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2012, 02:27 PM:

Then what are they talking about? I'm confused.

#484 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2012, 02:29 PM:

P J Evans, #473: I notice they don't show a picture of the watch. I would bet my betting nickel that it's a steampunk piece. Yes, even with a circuit board involved.

#485 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2012, 02:33 PM:

Xopher (483): Beats the heck out of me. I'm not only a Twitter newbie, I'm also terminally confused in general.

#486 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2012, 02:44 PM:

Nicole @474, Xopher 479, it doesn't have to be a dot. Any text'll do; a dot is just easy to type and minimally obtrusive.

Here's the official skinny from Twitter, though I don't see a date on it, so it might be obsolete. There are two things discussed there: @replies (I think that's pronounced "at-replies") and mentions, the former being a sub-category of the latter.

A mention is any tweet that contains a user's handle with the @ sign in front of it, anywhere in the body of the tweet. An @reply is a mention where the @handle is the first thing in the tweet. That's why sticking a period at the front of an @reply demotes it to a regular mention. (Maybe you could use a space instead? I don't know; I haven't tried it. It's possible that Twitter trims leading whitespace.)

Supposedly, people only see other people's @replies if they're following both the sender and the recipient. And if someone you're not following sends you an @reply, it shows up in your Mentions tab instead of your normal timeline.

#487 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2012, 02:44 PM:

Since the guy was on his way home from something, I wonder if he'd worn the watch on the flight out, or if he'd bought it while he was in the Bay Area (which seems more likely).
I can see, though how a collection of items, each one innocent in itself, could fit together to make a suspect picture for someone whose job is looking for such things.

#488 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2012, 02:44 PM:

As discussed here before, I made honigkuchen† today, from my grandmother's recipe*. It's cooling now, then it needs to go into an airtight tin to age** until Christmas. I used dried pineapple, apricot, and cherry instead of the candied orange and lemon peel. I almost forgot to put the honey in, until I realized it was way too dry. And I had to substitute baking powder for the baking soda††; if my mother has any of the latter, I can't find it. So I hope it comes out. The crumbs that fell off when I took it out of the cake pan were good, so that's promising, at least.

†honey cake, very similar to Lebkuchen
*or a cookbook recipe with her annotations, anyway
**Grossmutti used to make it in October for Christmas, so I'm starting late.
††According to the Internets, 2-3 times as much baking powder makes an adequate substitution for baking soda.

#489 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2012, 02:50 PM:

Avram (486): Supposedly, people only see other people's @replies if they're following both the sender and the recipient.

This part is definitely not true. I frequently see @replies from senders that I follow to people that I don't. I don't see @replies directed to people I'm following, but I wouldn't expect to when they're posted by people I'm not following.

#490 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2012, 03:48 PM:

For what it's worth, I almost always only see @replies directed to people I also follow. There are a few exceptions:

1) The @reply is malformed in some way; a mistyped name, a name accidentally run into the subsequent word, or a reply that's made by typing the name in manually instead of using the reply button.

2) The @reply has itself been retweeted by someone, at which point I see it like any other retweet.

3) The @reply has had a period slapped on front.

#1 is mildly annoying but a common mistake; I ignore those. #2 usually indicates the tweet not only stands alone sans context, but is exceptionally interesting, or is being retweeted by the person who it was sent to, and thus I have the full conversational thread.

#3 drives me absolutely batty, to the point of unfollowing people who do it regularly off my feed.

See, the whole reason to not see @replies unless you also follow the person they're going to is that they're...well, replies. And a reply to something I can't see is meaningless cruft 90% of the time. It's like listening to half of a phone conversation.

Occasionally, people will use the .@reply method to share something more widely that they're also directing at a particular person. In which case... it's annoying formatting, but at least still containing useful content. But I've often seen people use .@reply in baffling ways, so that I'll see a tweet stream that looks something like:

.@horribleperson That's a filthy lie! Never repeat it again!
.@horribleperson No, that's not true either.
.@niceperson Well, yes. But only if you add cream after you've blended the sugar and butter already.

It's maddening. If an @reply can't stand on its own without any context apart from it, it's probably a bad idea to break it out to make sure all followers see it. And I implore all those who have just discovered this function to use it carefully, because I am apparently a twitchy person with finicky beliefs about how social media get used.

#491 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2012, 04:24 PM:

.@490 It's like listening to half of a phone conversation.

@Hofstatder: Sonata for Unaccompanied Achilles

#492 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2012, 04:25 PM:

I used it for a bit after seeing that, but now I see good reasons not to. I'm pretty sure I see @replies FROM all my followees, whether I follow the recipient or not. That's how I want it. So no more .@replyies for me.

#493 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2012, 12:59 AM:

A Roman Catholic priest and bishop in Minnesota have told a teenager that he can be confirmed only if he denounces gay rights.

The priest who's been denying the confirmation (and also denying the family communion!) is Father Gary LaMoine. Here's the address of the church:

Barnesville Assumption Church
307 Front Steet North
Barnesville, MN 56514

Fr. Gary LaMoine (Pastor): 218-354-7320

The bishop who told Lennon Cihak that he could be confirmed if and only if he denounced his support for gay rights is Michael J. Hoeppner. His address is

Diocese of Crookston
1200 Memorial Drive
Crookston, MN 56716

Bishop Michael J. Hoeppner: 218-281-4533

It's not the whole church. There are plenty of parishes where nothing like this could ever, ever happen. Just a couple of bad men. Very much in line with the Pope's position, but they affirmatively took action to tell the kid he has to do a Galileo. And IIUC denying the family communion is extreme and outrageous.

#494 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2012, 07:43 AM:

Wait, what? Excommunicating a family because one of its members supports legal protection for people who behave in a manner the Church considers unacceptable?

Folks, as a backslid Episcopalian I feel comfortable telling you that my former co-religionists would be happy to have you. If, y'know, you wanted to be welcome somewhere.

And if you wanted to shake the dust off your feet as you come in the door, nobody would blame you.

#495 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2012, 07:49 AM:

Lila, 494: Well, we have some vicious assholes too. The Diocese of South Carolina just voted to leave the EC-USA. But I'm pretty sure the Minnesota diocese is full of normal people.

#496 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2012, 09:16 AM:

Speaking of the Episcopalian Church, I still miss Aidan Quinn's all-too-shortlived TV series "The Book of Daniel".

#497 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2012, 09:22 AM:

Anybody interested in a Gathering of Light on Monday, December 3, at 6:30pm? D Potter and I will be meeting at Oakland's Breads of India, a couple of blocks from the 12th Street BART station. Interested? My email address is sergeunderscoreLJatcomcastdotcom. Or post here.

#498 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2012, 11:03 AM:

Serge at 497, wish I could join you, but I teach Monday evenings. Tuesday evening I am free, if there's any possibility of a change in the day. But I expect not -- sparkle on!

#499 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2012, 11:21 AM:

Xopher at 493, I have read that the priest is now denying that he refused the boy confirmation, and he is also refusing to answer any questions. His behavior, and that of his bishop, sucks.

This case, and of course the death of Savita Halappanavar in Ireland, has been making me crazy, to the point where I have considered severing my membership in my parish. (My pastor has never done anything like this.) I have made my peace with staying, for now, by adopting the idea of a parallel church. The parallel church is the real one, the one which feeds the hungry and shelters the homeless, the one which celebrates Christ's resurrection and which teaches that we are all God's children. The bishops -- well, they're welcome in it anytime.

#500 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2012, 11:23 AM:

Good morning, Your Lownesses! Would you like some persimmons?

#501 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2012, 11:53 AM:

Lizzy L: Tuesday would also be fine. (Serge sent email.)

#502 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2012, 11:59 AM:

Lizzy L @499: Yeah, the way I figure it is that the bishops would be welcome at my church, but that we stink too much of diversity and love and charity for them. Heh.

(Although I wouldn't want to issue a direct challenge, what with the cathedral a twenty-minute walk away...)

#503 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2012, 12:02 PM:

Lizzie L. #499

The Church (Pope, cardinals, archbishops, etc.) is to the church (the Body of Christ; the faithful) as the Worldcon Committee is to fandom.

#504 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2012, 01:06 PM:

Serge or D., if the Oakland Gathering of Light has been switched to Tuesday, would you post that here, please. Thanks.

#505 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2012, 01:11 PM:

Let it be known henceforth that the Gathering of Light mentionned earlier will instead be held at 6:30pm on Tuesday, December 4, at Oakland's Breads of India.

#506 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2012, 04:57 PM:

#503 ::: Jim Macdonald

The Church (Pope, cardinals, archbishops, etc.) is to the church (the Body of Christ; the faithful) as the Worldcon Committee is to fandom.

At best.

#507 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2012, 08:22 PM:

Jim 503: There we go.

Also, though you may not have seen it, I want to apologize here (as I have on Facebook) for suggesting on Facebook that Catholics should switch to the Episcopal Church. This is not like suggesting that Boy Scouts switch to Campfire (although there are similar issues with local vs. national/global organizations, church affiliation is a much deeper thing).

I was intemperate and stupid because I was so angry about this. I've left the post up for now, but I'm considering taking it down. It was just plain wrong to say that, and I deeply and unreservedly apologize to my Roman Catholic friends and anyone else I offended with that stupid remark.

#508 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2012, 10:17 PM:

Let it be known henceforth that the Gathering of Light mentionned earlier will instead be held at 6:30pm on Tuesday, December 4, at Oakland's Breads of India.

Ah well, I was just about to post a "yes" for the Monday, but then I scrolled down. I'll think of you-all while I'm out dragonboat paddling. I missed last week's practice because I was sick and will miss this coming week's because I'll be in New York, and probably the week after because I'll have just flown home. So I think I really need to show up for practice on the 4th.

(I did think about inquiring about possibly meeting people while I'm in NYC, but my primary purpose there is is to hang out with my newish girlfriend and the various socializing schedules are already a bit complex.)

#509 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2012, 10:26 PM:

Heather Rose Jones @ 508... I hope you will come.

#510 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2012, 11:17 PM:

Serge @ 509

The practice runs from 6-7pm. If you don't mind me showing up in my damp-and-salty exercise clothes, and if there's still anyone there ca. 7:30 I can swing by afterwards.

#511 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2012, 11:20 PM:

Heather Rose Jones @ 510... No problem at all. See you at the Gathering!

#512 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2012, 11:32 PM:

Jim Macdonald @503: The Church (Pope, cardinals, archbishops, etc.) is to the church (the Body of Christ; the faithful) as the Worldcon Committee is to fandom.

And remember the crazy site-rotation fan-feuds between Rome and Avignon?

#513 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2012, 12:08 AM:

Serge Broom @497(and later): I'm returning to the Bay Area for Thanksgiving Day, and staying on until the next week to play in the North American Bridge Championships...but I'm flying back to Houston on Monday the 3rd. Sigh.

(At that, to accommodate me we'd need to move it back to the previous week, and forward in time to 5 or so -- I'd need to be back in San Francisco to play by 7:30.)

#514 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2012, 12:27 AM:

David Goldfarb @ 513... Drat! Well, if your plans change, let us know.

#515 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2012, 01:21 AM:

Seeing as I have non-refundable plane tickets, it's not at all likely.

#516 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2012, 04:53 PM:

Another followup with the doctor, another "looks OK, come see me in three months." Many more of these and I'll start thinking the cancer's really gone for good.

Not yet though.

#517 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2012, 04:55 PM:

Just call me Xerxes!

#518 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2012, 04:57 PM:

Good news, Xopher! One case where like the "negative," eh?

#519 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2012, 05:05 PM:

Hoping for the best, Xopher!

#520 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2012, 06:07 PM:

Xopher: yay!

#521 ::: Nameless Regular ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2012, 06:08 PM:

Anonymizing for obvious job may or may not be tenuous right now, but today I got a feeler from a place in Montgomery, Alabama. Does anyone have recent experience there? I do not wish to move to a red state, but if the city is blue I could probably stomach it. (For triangulation purposes, I am to the left of many people here, but to the right of Steve Brust.)

#522 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2012, 06:34 PM:

Way to give cancer the raspberry, Xopher!

#523 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2012, 08:12 PM:

Nameless: I have no personal experience with Alabama in general or Mongomery in particular; but a quick web search turns up this county map which has Montgomery County going for Obama over Romney by a margin of 62%-38%.

#524 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2012, 08:39 PM:

David G., #523: According to the Census Bureau, that's a reasonably close match to the breakdown of black vs. white population in the city. I have no idea what the breakdown between liberal and not is across racial lines.

Nameless Regular may be able to get a better feel for the political atmosphere at this potential new job by dropping a few leading comments in an interview and seeing how the people there react. Since those are the people with whom sie will be likely to be interacting the most, it will at least provide a clue as to whether the work environment itself will be comfortable or not.

#525 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2012, 09:15 PM:

Jim at # 503: So like Nestorianism, only applied to the Body of Christ rather than to the nature of Christ Himself?

#526 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2012, 09:53 PM:

Cally Soukop,

I will now go upstairs and try to remember the password of my gmail account.

Elliot, my gmail account is my name with the middle initial at the obvious.

We can probably do setup over email?

#527 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2012, 10:19 PM:

Jim 503: I've been thinking about this, and I think it's actually even worse than your analogy would suggest.

Fandom, at least the affluent and/or conveniently-located portion of it, has some influence over the composition of the Worldcon committee. In addition the concom changes every year (with repeats). The RCC hierarchy is static for years at a time, and no layperson has ANY influence over its composition.

Which doesn't make it any easier to leave, and makes the laypeople even less to blame for the actions of the hierarchy than fandom is for the actions of the Worldcon committee.

#528 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2012, 10:24 PM:

Nancy C. Mittens

I tried writing you and Elliott an email, but it bounced from your address. I suspect I misunderstood your address.

#529 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2012, 10:25 PM:

Nameless Regular, the people and companies I've known that were located in Montgomery or Huntsville were all in the aerospace and/or defense industries. The only part of Alabama I've spent any time in is Birmingham, 30 years ago, and it's probably changed a lot since then. (I was there for a month on business, and it was a coal and steel town where the mills had closed but hadn't yet been replaced with new business, and visually reminded me a lot of a warmer Ithaca NY.)

#530 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2012, 12:06 AM:

Montgomery is sufficiently civilized to have a Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (my first cut for "civilized to consider living there," although I am not UU) with a multi-racial transgender/genderqueer minister.

There is a decently active SCA group there. Montgomery is the home of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, which has a wonderful permanent site (2 theaters, gardens and grounds, an outdoor stage with thatched roof). Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery Symphony Orchstra. Public radio. Belly dancers. I don't know if there are currently any cons there, but it is about 1-1/2 hours to Birmingham, which is also civilized and does have cons.

#531 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2012, 12:09 AM:

Montgomery is also only about 4 hours from southern Atlanta, and hence GAFilk. It's where my partner and I tend to stop for the night on the way to and from Atlanta events.

#532 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2012, 12:12 AM:

Serge, D., Heather Rose, and all in the Oakland area: my heartfelt apologies, but my schedule this week just got seriously crazy, and I think no matter what I do, there's no way I can join you Tuesday night. Of course, you should move the whole thing back to Monday if that works better for everybody. I regret this, because I'd love to do it, and I am sorry to be such a PITA.

#533 ::: Laura Gillian ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2012, 12:12 AM:

Excellent news, Xopher at #516! Boring checkups are the best kind. My mother is 10 years cancer-free now, and she still gets more than a little worried every year at scan time. From what I've seen, I think that's something that sticks with you, but it gets better over time. I hope everything continues as well in your case.

#534 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2012, 12:14 AM:

Question for the hivemind!

I made a big pot of soup. Eight cups of stock, beans, chicken, vegetables, etc.

Right now it is cooling on my balcony. It is raining heavily, but it is not particularly cold. Low mid 40s tonight.

Can I leave that soup out there overnight, or should I try to fit in the refrigerator?

#535 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2012, 12:29 AM:

Depends on how concerned you are about something interesting growing in it. USDA recommendations strongly suggest putting it in the fridge (that's warm enough that some nasty things might grow in it, and the recommendations err on the side of safety). I'm relatively unconcerned, but at mid-40s I'd put it in the fridge rather than leaving it out; mid-30s, not so much. And one does have to get up early so it doesn't get caught in the warming up.

But I've occasionally left soup out, covered, on the cold stove for the night and not had problems. Not recommended. Uncovered: seriously not recommended.

#536 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2012, 12:45 AM:

The soup will ultimately get put in plastic containers and frozen. I think I'll do that tonight, just before turning in. (Actually, cooled in the fridge overnight, then frozen after I make room up there.)

#537 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2012, 01:08 AM:

Proof of soup!

It is not exactly soup-making weather, but I had six big carrots about to get wilty.

#538 ::: Laura Gillian ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2012, 01:19 AM:

I'm not sure I'd say I recommend it, but when I make a big pot of soup/stock, I often forget to cool it down until bedtime and it can't go in the fridge hot lest it heat all the other food. In such cases, I cover the pot while it's still at a simmer (and presumably microorganism-free), turn it off, leave it overnight and try not to think about it too hard. The next morning, I bring it back to a full boil before carrying on with any soupy plans. If I ran a restaurant, I wouldn't be so cavalier about food safety, but I haven't had any problems so far (knock wood).

#539 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2012, 06:26 AM:

Lizzy L @ 532... Curses! We'll stick with the Gathering of Light on Tuesday for now. That way, should you schedule uncrazy itself...

#540 ::: Antonia T. Tiger ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2012, 10:47 AM:

The frozen plums were sweeter,
And the bacon rolls were fatter.
I know you like the meatier,
So I left for you the latter.
I went and washed the dishes,
As partial expiation.
They really were delicious,
I'll bring some new creation.

#541 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2012, 12:45 PM:

I have made my tofu pate (or "pâté de foie tofu" as one of my friends insists on calling it, despite being told repeatedly that tofus don't got no livers*) for Thanksgiving.

Because I've been sick, I wore a mask and gloves the whole time, and tasted by dropping a sample into a separate tasting bowl with a separate fork, and taking it into another room where I unmasked long enough to taste it.

This was probably unnecessary, but I did it in case it wasn't. The pate is loaded with protein, and will sit in the refrigerator until Thursday, so I didn't want to take the risk.

Come to think of it, it probably has enough garlic in it to kill any pathogens short of prions.
*Though I did do a riff one time about executing the poor little tofu blocks and extracting their tiny livers, gorily dripping soy milk.

#542 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2012, 12:52 PM:

My batch of soup filled 9 x 16 oz. cottage cheese containers!

I froze all but two, adding to the variety of my home-made frozen entrees.

#543 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2012, 02:14 PM:

I'm having an occasional issue in posting. I put in my name and email, type a comment, and click preview. Preview shows up and displays my text. But the text is not in the comment box on preview, so when I click post, it tells me that comment text is required. The only way around it seems to be to copy the text to the clipboard before I click preview, then paste it back during preview.

It doesn't happen every time. (Didn't happen this time, for example, but did the previous time.)

I'm on Firefox 16.0.2, so it tells me.

#544 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2012, 02:30 PM:

Antonia T. Tiger, brava!

#545 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2012, 03:31 PM:

OtterB @543: I ran into a variant of that. Preview disappeared the last half of my comment. Turns out I was using a less-than sign, but forgot to use the html code, so Preview evidently decided it was an unclosed tag of ill intent, and just deleted it.

#546 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2012, 04:27 PM:

Stefan, #536: We routinely follow the procedure outlined by Laura @538, and have never had any problems with it. The key is to boil the soup covered and then leave it that way, which provides ample sterilization for letting it sit overnight.

Huh, that's weird. Usually my posting information survives a reboot, but this time apparently it didn't.

#547 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2012, 05:03 PM:

Stefan, Lee:

Nearly all the relevant pathogens and their toxins are destroyed by heat -- the main concern then is that the reheating has to be sufficiently thorough, which is much easier to achieve for soup than for solid things.

One important exception involves rice: Bacillus cereus will grow on cooked rice and while heat kills the bacilli, their toxin is heat-stable. There have been outbreaks of 'fried rice poisoning' from this: Chinese-style fried rice needs pre-cooked rice.

#548 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2012, 07:00 PM:

Oh crap, so to speak. My dog just pulled me out for a second evening walks, and produced a loose bloody stool. :-(

I have a call in to my regular vet, but am wondering if I should take her to the emergency-care center (which involves calling my 70-year-old mother to drive to a new address at night. :-( ). The EC center was carefully non-committal on the phone, saying that without seeing her, they couldn't tell if this was an urgent situation.

Gracie does not appear to be in any particular distress, and is currently resting in her cage.

#549 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2012, 07:15 PM:


I don't think this is a "go tonight" emergency.

In any case, they will want a stool sample, so they can check for parasites, look for mucous, etc.

I use a plastic yogurt container for messes like that. Use the lid to scoop it in. Pack everything in a plastic bag.

When my dog went through this a few months back, she was prescribed antibiotics and went on a white rice, boiled egg, and cottage cheese diet for a few days.

#550 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2012, 09:19 PM:

Stefan Jones: I use shopping bags to collect the stools, so I just stuffed them into a secure ziplock. and thence into the fridge. Unfortunately, she is now asking to go out again. (9:20 PM).

#551 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2012, 10:29 PM:

Cally Soukup at #528,

I am not sure that is even my email address.

At any rate, try redrose3125 at the juno place with the commercial dot.

#552 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2012, 12:26 AM:

@David: Don't feed Gracie until you get her diagnosed. No sense putting a strain on her guts -- and giving her more ammunition -- until then.

Canned pumpkin is another potent dog-gut-soother. I've put a big scoop on top of warm rice when Kira has the pukes.

#553 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2012, 01:02 AM:

Dave Harmon #550: in her delicate state, she may need to go out lots more than normal. Make sure she drinks plenty of water. I used watered down boxed chicken broth to tempt Bella to drink when she was bored with regular water. Hope all goes well at the vet.

#554 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2012, 02:13 AM:

Re "The Maple Leaf Dog" -- Susan Wood turned me on to Stringband back in the day (and you'll find my name among the pre-purchasers on the album "Thanks to the Following", which was the one before "The Maple Leaf Dog" IIRC). And after watching the video, I had a dream in which someone at a convention said, from the stage, "Mexican chihuahua." About a third of the audience started in singing the song, and I commented to someone that it was because of it having been posted here. And that it was not particularly comprehensible to most non-Canadians (especially those who don't know Bob Bossin's political stances)....

#555 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2012, 05:11 AM:

I went in to the blood bank today and they persuaded me to donate platelets instead of whole blood. (My blood type is A, which means my platelets are extra desirable for some reason.) It turns out that great strides have been made in the technology of apheresis machines in the last few years. The machine they had there required a needle in only one arm instead of both -- which meant that I could finish reading Wolf Hall instead of having to watch television -- and it took a good deal less time, only 90 minutes instead of 150-180. It said my donation was 6.5x1011 platelets, which seems like a lot.

#556 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2012, 07:25 AM:

Gracie took me out for a couple of long evening walks... she was quite active in her usual fashion, but when she tried to poop, she apparently couldn't produce anything. Clinic opens at 8, I'd better get ready.

#557 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2012, 09:48 AM:

David Goldfarb, I love donating platelets. For one thing, I have a lot of them and not as many red cells, so it's easier for me to do platelets. And then I get to sit through a winter's morning covered in blankets on a heated recliner while helpful people bring me drinks (virgin White Russians, specifically, because why not get ridiculous?) and things to eat.

Some of it is also that my mother's mother got platelets and planned to live years on them, but it was 1982 or so. It's a weird connection to have, but that's some of why I do it.

#558 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2012, 10:06 AM:

Diatryma, I have to ask: is a virgin White Russian significantly different from a coffee milkshake? Mind you, I am using "milkshake" in its Boston meaning, sans ice cream. If it had ice cream, it would be a frappe. :)

#559 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2012, 10:49 AM:

Given my twisted skein of vague subclinical blood-sugar, dehydration, and vasovagal issues that leave me basically non-functional for a day after blood donation, I tried to talk the Red Cross into letting me donate platelets rather than whole blood. But I'm O-, so they fought. Hard. They wouldn't even give me the info form without several minutes of arguing about how they really needed my whole blood. I haven't followed up on the sign-up process because of the amount of arguing that would surely ensue.

Ah well. A nice warm recliner, movies, and beverages did sound nice.

(I know I could just quit donating blood if it affects me so much. But I feel a moral obligation to share the O- bounty.)

#560 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2012, 11:11 AM:

Dave Harmon @556: Gracie's symptoms sound like mine when I'm having a colitis flare-up.

#561 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2012, 11:15 AM:

Caroline @559: I know I could just quit donating blood if it affects me so much. But I feel a moral obligation to share the O- bounty.

You could also just use this as a Dire Threat to get them to knock it off with the argument. "You want platelets? You're on! You want whole blood? Sorry, gimme a call when you want plateless. And I'm not having this conversation twice."

#562 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2012, 11:28 AM:

Speaking of blood donation:

One thing that drives me frantic nowadays is in the movie The Greatest Show on Earth (Cecil B. DeMille, 1952).

(I first saw that movie on re-release probably in 1958 or 1959, and loved it. I had a pet tomato horn-worm I named The Great Sebastian.)

Anyway: In the course of the plot, the circus manager (played by Charlton Heston), is injured in a train wreck. He has a very rare blood type: AB-negative. He needs an immediate transfusion! The only other person on the circus train with that blood type is The Great Sebastian (Cornel Wilde) his rival for the affections of Holly the Aerialist (played by Betty Hutton).

The Great Sebastian agrees to provide the blood, and a direct transfusion is performed by Buttons the Clown (Jimmy Stewart), who never takes off his makeup because he's really a physician on the lam from the police. And it works, and all's well, even though Charlton Heston gets the girl, and the cops get Jimmy Stewart (because the fact that he can do a transfusion reveals his Secret).

And nowadays, like I say, I'm all "Wait a minute! AB-negative really is a very rare blood type, but it's also the universal recipient! Charlton Heston could have gotten a transfusion from anyone on that train, possibly including the orangutan!" But that wouldn't have resolved the plot, so, well.

(The Ringling Brothers circus participated in making that movie; the money they received for doing so paid off the last of the claims from the Hartford Circus Fire. One reason to see the film is to see Emmett Kelly.)

#563 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2012, 11:37 AM:

Jim @562:

"Wait a minute! AB-negative really is a very rare blood type, but it's also the universal recipient!

I always thought AB+ was the universal recipient? Am I remembering wrong, or is 'negative' here a think-o?

#564 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2012, 11:38 AM:

Good luck, David Harmon. I hope your Gracie is OK.

#565 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2012, 11:40 AM:

I may be able to make the Gathering of Light. I'm hoping to be able to bring a friend who is visiting from the Denver area (as in, I haven't seen him in person since 2004.) This would be a Good Thing.

#566 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2012, 11:48 AM:

This video is fun.

Meerkat Polka Band

It builds on a long-running advertising campaign that is so well-known in Britain that this video doesn't need to say anything. We recognise the characters, and know the product, and just give goofy grins. Might be they're sponsoring the TV show, I don't know, but some clever guys have built the context and this is how it pays off.

And the number of YouTube views is enormous.

I don't know how much of the nature and quality of the advert can be attributed to the restrictions on British TV advertising, the content, the time limits, and the effect of the BBC, but I suppose the guys who made this know that, if they annoy the audience, they just switch to the Beeb. When you're looking at the shouting about how the BBC has managed its news programs, remember that without the BBC you wouldn't get this. Without that evolutionary pressure, we would have on TV, as we had for the captive audience of the cinema, the restaurant that was so good that the chef ate there himself.

#567 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2012, 12:18 PM:

The blood-type in the film is AB- (I'm certain that what happened was that the scriptwriter looked at a list of blood types and saw that AB-neg was the rarest blood type in the world and said "Ha! I'll use that!" without going into the implications.)

AB in general is the universal recipient; the Rh factor will come into play if the patient is a female of childbearing years, or a male who has previously received a transfusion of Rh+ blood.

Since neither of those cases applies, I discount it.

For really universal receipt, yes, you want to have AB+ blood.

(Should anyone wonder, I personally have A+ blood. My mom was Rh-, but neither I, nor my brother or sister, ever had any problems. I don't know either my brother or sister's Rh type, though....)

#568 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2012, 12:21 PM:

I just want to express my warm wishes to all the folks at ML, moderators, posters, lurkers, and all, in advance of the holiday. May you enjoy Thanksgiving: may it be a day of good food and fellowship. May your time with family be calm and unfraught. May your pets be healthy. (*Waves to Dave Harmon.) May you be healthy. May the people you love be healthy, and if they are not, may they at least be comfortable and pain-free. May all sentient beings find peace. Thank you for your friendship, for your wit and honesty and courage. I give thanks for you.

#569 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2012, 12:53 PM:

I'm O+, but CMV-negative (that's cytomegalovirus, a relatively common infection). They used to love when I'd come in to donate platelets, because they split them up into 4-packs for neonatal use.

On a different note, those who knew Vanessa Schnatmeier will be sad to learn that she died suddenly this week, of a hidden endometrial cancer. She was one of the highlights of LA fandom in the early 70s, and a very wonderful person.

#570 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2012, 01:02 PM:

Well, I'm back from the vet, and Gracie has picked up yet another diagnosis... roundworm. :-( So for the next 5 days I'm squirting goop into her mouth. Also, reducing her anti-inflammatories, and a couple of days of giant chewables for the soft stool. After discussion with the vet, she still gets to come over Mom's house for Thanksgiving.

Thanks for the well-wishes, everyone!

Now I just have to get some eggs, and do the trial cornbread today and the real thing tomorrow.

#571 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2012, 01:58 PM:

Hooray for Dave's foot! And Xopher's checkup! And people who give blood!

That includes me, because I'll be giving double red on Friday. The Red Cross loves me because I'm O-. I hope they'll still love me if I ever need some back.

#572 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2012, 02:07 PM:

This feels weird.

The Tolkien Society's archive is currently in the hands of the UK's National Archive, and I find that my occasional Tolkien fanzine of the 1980s is tucked away there.

It came up on a Google search, and I am slightly staggered.

#573 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2012, 03:26 PM:

Back on Open Thread 177, Post #732, I posted, Wish me luck: I just hit "send" on the e-mail conveying my novel manuscript to the first publisher on my list.

I may now announce that I will shortly receive for my consideration a contract from Bella Books for this very work. This will be my first novel sale. To say I am ecstatic would be a true statement but probably low of the mark.

#574 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2012, 03:40 PM:

Heather Rose Jones @573, congratulations!

#575 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2012, 03:47 PM:

Caroline, #559: What they did to you is WRONG. Emotional blackmail is not the way to get people to Do The Right Thing; it just makes them reluctant to do anything at all, as has happened with you.

I don't generally have trouble donating blood, but I can't do it on their every-8-weeks schedule; I need a minimum of 12 weeks between donations or I spend the afternoon pale and panting in the bathroom. This is just what my body does, and I don't care what they want, I won't damage my own health for them. Fortunately, I've never had to say that more than once in any given conversation (although sometimes I've wondered about the quality of their record-keeping, if that information isn't right there in my file).

This sounds like a place for Assertiveness 101. "I can't donate whole blood because it puts me flat on my back for 24 hours." No matter what they say to you, just keep repeating that sentence over and over again.

Or, y'know, just stop going altogether. No matter what your blood type, that is an acceptable option if they're mistreating you.

#576 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2012, 04:04 PM:

Heather Rose Jones (573): Congratulations!

#577 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2012, 05:15 PM:

Heather Rose Jones... BRAVO!

#578 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2012, 05:27 PM:

Heather Rose Jones, congratulations! Admixed with a touch of envy, in my case, as I haven't heard back from any of the places I've sent mine, but nevertheless, I'm delighted for you!

#579 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2012, 05:42 PM:

Brava, Heather Rose Jones!

#580 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2012, 05:46 PM:

Wonderful to hear, Heather!

#581 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2012, 07:55 PM:

Heather Rose Jones, congratulations!!

#582 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2012, 08:31 PM:

Heather Rose Jones: YAAYYYYYY!!!

#583 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2012, 08:47 PM:

Heather Rose Jones #573: Well done!

#584 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2012, 09:00 PM:

Dave Bell @ #572, how cool!

Heather Rose Jones @ #573, congratulations!

#585 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2012, 10:04 PM:

Jim @567, thanks; I thought there must have been some nuance I was missing.

#586 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2012, 10:12 PM:

This is just to say
that I am
grateful for
the Fluorosphere

and all who
dwell therein.
You are
lights in the dark

and laughter
and knowledge
and friends
including the gnomes

#587 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2012, 11:34 PM:

@Heather Author, author! Yes, you!

#588 ::: Laura Gillian ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2012, 11:36 PM:

Heather Rose Jones, Congratulations!

Lizzy L at 568 and Syd at 586, though I am a mere lurker, your posts make me feel all warm and fuzzy. I hope you and all the other residents here have an excellent Thanksgiving, full of good things.

#589 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2012, 11:49 PM:

Hurrah for Heather Rose Jones!

#590 ::: Laura Gillian was gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2012, 11:49 PM:

I do not know why, but I offer you some apple cinnamon coffee cake and a nice cup of tea.

#591 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2012, 12:27 AM:

Heather Rose Jones @ 573: Congratulations!

#592 ::: Tamlyn ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2012, 02:46 AM:

Heather Rose Jones @573: That is very awesome! Congratulations

I've only donated blood a few times. After the first time they tend to go "Oh she's given before" *STAB*

Yeah, I'm a bit of a coward. But it hurt.

#593 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2012, 04:16 AM:

Open Threadiness.

Has everyone noticed that Mordor is having a timely burst of volcanic activity, just in time for the Hobbit release?

There's a clump of three volcanoes. At the moment Tongariro is erupting. Ruapehu looks as if it's about to start. Mt Doom itself, Ngauruhoe, isn't doing anything yet, but it's typically the most active of the three.

#594 ::: ErrolC ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2012, 05:33 AM:

Note that there were around 400 people doing the Tongariro Alpine Crossing at the time, many of who had at good view (see video in thomas' link's sidebar).

#595 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2012, 07:16 AM:

And when you're watching that video, for what seems like the long time the background appears static, and then you see the clouds of ash start to move. Even then, it's never as fast as a Hollywood movie would show.

#596 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2012, 11:09 AM:

Hoping all the USians (and ex-pats) have a happy Thanksgiving!

#597 ::: jnh ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2012, 11:10 AM:

Happy gobble a gobbler day!

#598 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2012, 11:42 AM:

WRT blood donations: Ain't no way I'd donate platelets. I need every one I've got.

To back up a bit, for several years I donated whole blood regularly. I have a problem with watching myself bleed, as in I faint very easily, so I wouldn't watch even the preliminary finger stick, but otherwise I was pretty good with it. A bit under the weather for a day or so, but not knocked down.

Then, in preparation for some surgery, I had some tests run, and was found to have a low platelet count. After some more tests, including a bone marrow sample (a pain in the ass), I was diagnosed with idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura. In English, that's a low platelet count for no apparent reason. I was told that my case was mild and wouldn't require treatment except for that upcoming surgery. I took prednisone iirc for a couple of weeks before and after surgery. Came through fine.

No cancer found, no transfusions required, so after recovering I went back to donating. Every time I went through the screening questions I'd tell them about the ITP; they'd check their guidelines, ask a few more questions, and I'd be cleared to donate. Then I developed an allergy to the antiseptic they used. No biggie, just a bit of itching and redness, but I was deferred from donations for about a year. Then I got a letter that said they were using a different antiseptic, and I'd be able to resume donating. Went to the next blood drive. They'd changed the guidelines. Now I can't give because of the mild ITP.

You can't have my platelets. I ain't got enough to share.

#599 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2012, 12:20 PM:

Hello all!

First, congratulations to Heather, Dave, Xopher, and all who have something to be thankful for!

Second: Can we please go back to tagging the needle stuff? It's squidging me out again (is it really just me?) but, as before, I really don't want to curtail the discussion.

#600 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2012, 12:27 PM:

In re Blood Donation

They usually want me to give double-red, which I think is just red blood cells, filtered out. It means I can only give half as often, but I'm O+ and healthy, so.

I wonder if they're going to have a problem with my testosterone supplements, if/as/when; it's not contraindicated in the Big List Of Stuff (though a lot of the anti-androgens some of my ladyfriends take are) as far as I can tell, but they may balk when I go in to change the marker on my record.

Also, they may get confused when my marker is 'M' but my answer to 'have you ever been pregnant' is yes. :->

I may be immediately kicked out for having marker 'M' and answering yes to "Have you ever, since 1979, had sex with another man?" Because around here that's an automatic no-donate-ever-never-again. :-/

#601 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2012, 01:15 PM:

I just had a stroke of genius: when draining bacon, instead of using paper towels, put it on top of the kale you're going to cook in bacon grease anyway. No sense wasting the good Lord's bounty, amirite?

#602 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2012, 01:38 PM:

A virgin White Russian is just milk. I once had a phlebotomist offer me the yogurt from her lunch. I love my blood people.

I'm O+ and CMV-, so they like my blood. And I come in pretty regularly. It's more of a chore now than it used to be, but many things are these days.

#603 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2012, 02:04 PM:

Yet another surgery from which I've recovered. Now awaiting results from laboratories. I'm thankful to have awakened from anesthesiology with doctors making encouraging noises about a successful procedure.

Congratulations to Dave Bell and his continued bipedalism!

#604 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2012, 02:13 PM:

I have a recipe-related question: possibly I should post it into one of the Dysfunctional Family areas, but it doesn't really rise to that level of annoyance/damage so I can ask here.

My in-laws are good people, but the majority of them are very much descendents of Cornwall when it comes to food: the sister-in-law is from San Francisco and I don't have a good fix for her outside of Francophile from a Jewish family that always has a baked ham for Christmas.

Anyway, several years ago my wife and I did the Thanksgiving thing for the family--we generally don't do it because a majority of the family is allergic to cats and we have two. My wife has tried cooking non-UK items for different occasions because there are all sorts of food from all over and it's good to try different things. (Mormon Funeral Potatoes were a hit, thanks Teresa!) Anyway, because the bird needed was large she brined it based on The Joy of Cooking's recommendation. The bird came out great: that wasn't the problem. What drove me around the bend was the discussion when they hit our house.

"You brined the turkey?" "Why would anyone brine a turkey?" "I don't know anyone who's ever brined a turkey, do you?" "I've never had a brined turkey." And So Fricking On And On.

My wife dealt with it because she knows what kind of traditionalists her family are when it comes to food. *I* was this close to speaking in tongues, because, with the exception of the time Mom made a different dressing for the turkey and my sister pitched a four-level tantrum, my family was of the "you're a guest and the food is meant as a gift, you eat it and enjoy the company, damn it" persuasion.

Anyway, we get through the meal and years pass. The topic of what folks bring for this years's Thanksgiving comes up a few weeks ago. S-I-L says that for that number of people she's going to do a brined turkey. This time the overwhelming thrust is "That sounds fine."

My wife is fine with this. It frosts me all over again. My question is this: assuming I make it to Thanksgiving next year I have a year to plan. What's out there that I could make for a side dish that could cause a greater stir than a brined turkey did for these folks when presented, but will taste great enough that they can't resist it? I assume that the phallic Mormon salad that Teresa described is a bit too obvious, and since some are diabetic and the existence of Hostess is uncertain I can't just go to the Twinkie Casserole that appeared in The Geek Cookbook years ago. A Poi cake like Jon made for me after I described to him the one I had in Hawaii doesn't sound over-the-top enough. Any suggestions?

#605 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II has been Gnomed while asking advice for a future Thanksgiving. ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2012, 02:15 PM:

Since it was a food question, I can offer the Gnomes some of whatever ends up being cooked...

#606 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2012, 02:24 PM:

Elliott, #600: I may be immediately kicked out for having marker 'M' and answering yes to "Have you ever, since 1979, had sex with another man?" Because around here that's an automatic no-donate-ever-never-again. :-/

Yeah, I get asked if I have ever, even once, had sex with a man who has had sex with another man, since 1979. To which I answer, truthfully, "Not to my knowledge." In point of fact I may have -- at least one of my sexual partners in the 80s considered himself bi -- but I don't know, and I do know that HIV/AIDS does not have a 30-year incubation period! (IOW, if I had been exposed, I'd bloody well HAVE it by now.)

The fact that this question has not been changed to reflect reality during the last 40 years is Security Theater, and the only genuinely stupid thing about the entire process; they're ruling out people who (by this time) would be perfectly safe donors.

#607 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2012, 03:41 PM:

Xopher: Congratulations!

Heather Rose Jones: Congratulations!

My sincere thanks to all of you for listening and being supportive during those dark days, and for being happy along with me when life got better.

I've made two pecan pies, on request of the FG's daughter, and will be heading off to dinner at their new house.

#608 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2012, 03:43 PM:

Bruce @604: How about purple sweet potatoes?

There are several different kinds; the only one I've tried so far is the pale-skinned Okinawan variety, which is blotchily purple on the inside when raw and turns amazingly deep, vivid purple when cooked. (There's a picture/recipe here of a gelatin dessert made with them, showing the actual unretouched color.) It might be interesting to attempt a baked casserole with them using grape juice instead of orange juice, although any acidic juice should enhance the purpleness. Alkaline ingredients will turn the anthocyanins a rather nasty pea-green, though.

I gather there's a more recently developed US mainland variety with purple skins. Haven't tried those yet, nor the purple non-sweet potatoes.

#609 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2012, 04:07 PM:

I'm not a fan of the traditional Thanksgiving sweet potatoes with brown sugar, marshmallows and the like. I do think sweet potatoes are delicious baked or boiled and then flavored with lime juice and salt.

I love this sweet potato soup. I replace the margarine with butter, and grate fresh ginger, instead of using ground ginger, and I add lime juice to taste.

#610 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2012, 04:36 PM:

Bruce @ 604

One of my friends did an asian-fusion thanksgiving dinner, with a turkey stir fry and ginger sesame rainbow carrots and kind of a five-spice cranberry kumquat relish/chutney thing and plum wine sorbet... anyway, it was delicious. We who were there still gloat over it.

#611 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2012, 08:42 PM:

I'm giving thanks for having all manner of friends and acquaintances (here and elsewhere) to whom I can boast of my recent happy book-related news and not feel self-conscious or, well, boastful. Thank you all and may you have equally as much to be thankful for.

#612 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2012, 09:37 PM:

For over-the-top, there's always green jello with canned mandarin oranges and some other bright-colored fruit; it's classic Midwestern 50s but not as appalling as some of the variations on the genre. Or you could do a tomato aspic, which gets the jello-ness without being sweet.

(As a vegetarian, I no longer use real gelatin, and haven't done enough with the agar alternatives to get predictable results. The last one I tried was a coffee gel; the packaged Asian-grocery version had sugar, agar, and instant coffee, and I've since made it with straight agar, real coffee, and less sugar. Cut it into ~1" cubes for serving.)

#613 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2012, 10:39 PM:

Bruce D., #604: I don't have any recipes to recommend, but I do have a thought that might help your blood pressure.

First off, I am totally with you on the topic of "don't complain about the food that you're being served as a guest in someone else's home," and I also totally get why it feels like "how come it's a BFD when I do it, but business as usual when SHE does it?" It occurs to me, though, that the difference may be less you vs. her than a combination of "well, it tasted okay the last time" and several years during which they may have had more exposure to the idea itself.

I'm not there, so I can't guarantee that there aren't nuances I'm missing. But it's worth considering, I think.

#614 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2012, 11:15 PM:

I agree with Lee. I hadn't heard of brining turkeys a few years ago; it's been all over the radio shows for the intervening time. And you broke the new ground and everyone was upset (unexpected changes always bad), but then they tried it and it was fine, so now it's OK.

It's NOT fair. They should acknowledge that you were ahead of your time (at least within the family) and that you were right and they were wrong. Also, snowballs should last a long time in hell.

#615 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2012, 11:30 PM:

I'm thankful for the Fluorosphere, which, like Heather Rose Jones says above, is one of the few places I can boast about having been chosen as a co-Fan Guest of Honor with my sister Cassy. I'm seriously flattered, and seriously croggled. And, apparently, need to read up on clone stories. And maybe learn something about anime. (About which I know approximately nothing. I'm assured this doesn't matter, but it IS primarily an anime con.)

Any suggestions?

#616 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2012, 12:29 AM:

Speaking of Jell-O molds:

That was my contribution to tonight's potluck dinner, which was a dairy-free / gluten-free deal.

A co-worker made a wonderful, although extremely dense, sweet potato pie with nut/oatmeal crust.

#617 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2012, 01:47 AM:

Cally -- an anime you would probably really enjoy is Read or Die. There are both a three-episode arc (the OVA) and a long arc (the video); they are very action-filled and have a lot to do with loving books. And paper magic. The video is a wonderful reversal of the Yellow Peril stories of the early 20th century.

If you want short snippets about anime, my old acquaintance Gilles Poitras has done a couple of Anime Guides for various purposes. Check out his website for more info. He's a regular at Other Change of Hobbit, very approachable and encyclopedic in his knowledge. And fun.

#618 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2012, 04:37 AM:

Cally @ 615

Following on Tom @ 617, the first episode of ROD TV has one of my favorite combat sequences ever.

Anime is a pretty broad category. What kind of movies and TV generally draw you in?

#619 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2012, 09:52 AM:

Cally: I'd be happy to run you through some on my Neflix and Hulu, so you're at least familiar with titles/visuals of main characters on some of the most widely-known series. I don't claim to be an expert, but I'm handier to you than some proper experts.

Also, you'd love Read or Die. :->

#620 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2012, 11:22 AM:

So I am trying to write differently...

I am walking up the main staircase of the Adelphi hotel, which is in the city of Liverpool. The afresaid staircase is in the style of the Titanic, which is at the borrom of the Atlantic and looking more than somewhat shabby after a hundred years. A hundred years of Liverpool is having its effect on the hotel, but not so much. Only the lower parts of the staircase are giving this impression of exuberant wealth as rich guests are keeping themselves closer to solid ground.

I am seeing that a young lady who is wearing clothing of bright red is coming down the staircase. Her chief garment is a catsuit of red latex, which is fitting in a way that is covering everything and is concealing almost nothing, which is making her quite a sight. She is wearing her hair in a long braid, and is prompting me to think that she is a doll of the professional persuasion, as she is dressing in this manner and walking down the stairs of the Adelphi hotel, which is a place which is reputed to be troubled by a surfeit of such dolls.

When she is reaching the top of the particular flight of steps which I am ascending, I am noticing certain things which are making me revise my assessment. First, when compared to such professional dolls as one is suspecting her of being, she is skinny of hip and flat-chested. Besides, I am seeing that her shoe heels are almost flat. Second, she is wearing a black belt as decoration, and a members badge for the Science Fiction Convention which is taking over the hotel is hanging from the belt-buckle.

I am feeling uncomfortable at looking at the badge, and she is grinning, with a glint in her eye which is suggesting she is finding my reaction amusing. I am not agreeing with this opinion.

I am thinking I should say that something like this did once happen in a different hotel, and the young lady was more respectably dressed, but still of striking appearance.

I think I have missed my target, as far as the style goes.

#621 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2012, 11:24 AM:

Elliott: that would be very handy, yes! Thanks!

Now, about clone story recommendations (or disrecommendations?) Seems to me the latest story that arguably applied was a recent Miéville, and before that, a not at all recent Bujold. (Avoiding titles for possible spoiler reasons). I read tons of clone stories back in the late '70s early '80s, but I can't think of very many since then. I guess they went out of style....

#622 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2012, 11:25 AM:

The ROD OVA gives you a whole new view of what Librarians really do.

#623 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2012, 11:32 AM:


That's part of the problem; I see few tv shows, and fewer movies <wry>. Mostly I watch things like Mythbusters, and British murder mysteries. I suppose I need enough of an overview that I don't feel like a complete idiot when everyone around me is talking about anime. After all, most geeks subscribe to the "lucky 10,000" philosopy, and would be happy to explain references, but I'd hate to drag the conversation down to "explain EVERYTHING to Cally" territory!

The nice thing is that the con won't be happening until next fall, so I should have time to go over to El's and/or rent (I don't have Netflix) some videos.

#624 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2012, 11:53 AM:

Dave Bell: I love it! More! And I agree with you - there is something a little off with it. It feels like the narrator is trying to be "the narrator" rather than being him, does that make sense? That he's not really "of that world", just wishing he was - like this was some officer in a holodeck sim?

"young lady" is non-narrator vocabulary, for instance - "tomato", maybe, especially considering the red? "and is prompting me to think that" feels like it should be something like "which is making me ponder that" or "and I would six-to-five that".

"The person to whom you are currently conversing" needs to be more continuously alive, and telling more stories since 1946. So, yes, please, and thank you!

#625 ::: Mycroft W: gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2012, 11:55 AM:

...probably for non-standard grammar. No food right now, but I do have Vitamin D pellets, given the lack of day-hours up here currently. Maybe they would be of use in the Deep Majestic Halls where the sun famously does not shine?

#626 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2012, 01:19 PM:

We can have multiple anime-party weekends. :->

#627 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2012, 02:13 PM:

Cally @ 623

I think Elliott's solution sounds like the most fun way to gain a familiarity. I'm only a passable anime fan independently (I watch it about as much as I watch anything else, I guess), but I love watching it with friends and/or enthusiasts.

Do make sure you fit in some Miyazaki. They're charming stories.

#628 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2012, 02:15 PM:

The costuming of _Master and Commander_.

I want a prequel starring Chris Hemsworth, but I don't know who should play the younger Stephen. Any ideas?

#629 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2012, 02:30 PM:

TexAnne @ 628... Hiddleston?

#630 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2012, 03:11 PM:

Xopher HalfTongue @541: "I have made my tofu pate (or "pâté de foie tofu" I can has recipe? Also, congrats on the latest "okay".

Heather Rose Jones @ 573: Congratulations!

Linkmeister @603: congrats on good surgery outcome.

Re. Blood giving: they won't let me, 'cos I'm (healthily, for my height) slightly under the minimum acceptable weight. And I'm not about to gain a kilo just for that purpose. especially when the first time I tried, they basically said (after I'd explained that I was from a medical family, had discussed this with several qualified doctors and organised for a day when I didn't have anything active afterwards) "you've turned up, knowing you're slightly under our minimum weight requirement, therefore you obviously haven't thought about it you silly little girl - go away." Somehow the posters asking for donors still manage to make me feel guilty for not donating, even though I've tried...

#631 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2012, 03:18 PM:

They won't let me donate blood any more because I spent too much time in Europe (or, actually, off the coast of Europe, which is like being in Europe only without the fun of being in, y'know, Europe).

#632 ::: ErrolC ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2012, 03:25 PM:

Jim Macdonald @631 Me neither, I was there for two weeks too long in 1996. Hopefully at some point they will have enough data to revise things.

#633 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2012, 03:30 PM:

Mycroft W.@599: Sorry -- I have to admit I'd completely forgotten about that.

Heather and Cally: Congratulations!

#634 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2012, 03:41 PM:

TexAnne, Serge: I am FLAILING at the thought of Chris Hemsworth as a younger Jack. But Hiddleston would be all wrong for Stephen. Honestly, they should go back to the book description rather than trying to find a match for Paul Bettany. I nominate Blake Ritson on the short-and-dark front, though I believe he'd need light contacts if they were really doing it right.

#635 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2012, 04:03 PM:

A Black Friday shopping suggestion: pick up a box of donuts at your favorite local shop. Swing by the nearest Walmart, and deliver them to the striking workers.


#636 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2012, 04:49 PM:

Jim and Errol: My husband's friend Herbie is from Scotland, and therefore lived there until he came to the US for college -- but he's been a vegetarian since he was 12, which (given that he's my age) is well before the BSE thing.

But he's still on permanent deferral on the grounds of too many weeks in a row spent in that hive of disease and villainy.

In re Cally's Anime Project Miyazaki is a very good suggestion. There's a lot that can be done by sneaking volumes of manga, too; their storylines often vary when they're animated, but for basic 'not looking ignorant' purposes they're nearly as good.

I need to figure out a couple good exemplars to bring her up to speed on the how-to-watch-anime protocols -- the ways in which their assumptions about what shorthand things 'make' the viewer know differ than Western animation. Pokemon did it for me as a gateway case, but I'm not sure it has enough virtue on its own to get me to subject her to it. :-> Fruits Basket definitely HAS the 'anime weirdness' to it, but may not be a good first exposure.

Anyone want to help me spitball options?

#637 ::: Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2012, 05:19 PM:

The Kelvin Doe (Bee-Man) video that Teresa just linked to is inspiring to watch!

#638 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2012, 05:59 PM:

Elliott Mason @636: Gankutusuo is an odd possibility (The Count of Monte Cristo as SF, with some very strange animation), though that might be throwing someone in at the deep end. I'm definitely a fan of Leiji Matsumoto -- and Galaxy Express 999 is probably a good gateway drug, I was assuming that Cally has seen at least some Miyazaki! That's pretty mainstream these days. Though perhaps The Castle of Cagliostro might help in the kind of training you're talking about -- it's more Japanese in its sensibilities than later Miyazaki, and very surreal.

If you want something longer, Bleach does a better job of capturing the storytelling style of silver-age Marvel comics better than anything I've seen since those days. There's enough exposition in each episode to feel satisfactory, and enough complication to make my brain work. For a younger version, Dragon Ball Z is silly and enjoyable. The World Martial Arts Tournament at the start of season 7 is remarkably funny, and requires very little background to make sense.

And I don't think of myself as being a particular anime fan, despite these recommendations. I've just seen some that I like, and I tend to go watch as much as possible of a series that I enjoy.

#639 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2012, 06:00 PM:

(Oops: Gankutsuo, not Gankutusuo)

#640 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2012, 06:01 PM:

Cally #623 - oh boy. You would like to know more about anime? You've already had good advice, I don't know how good my suggestions might be, but as someone who has watched 'Read or Die', and 'Neon genesis Evangelion' and 'Trigun' and 'Visions of 'Eskaflowne and the 2 films, 2 series and 1 film of 'Ghost in the Shell' *pauses for breath* and liked them all! I may not be the best guide of course, and these are all the better known ones, which doesn't guarantee that they are best, but that lots of people find them accessible and enjoyable.

Mythbusters and murder mysteries eh? I suppose there's some mysteries in 'Ghost in the shell stand alone complex'. And it's more obviously accessible for anyone who has any science fiction knowledge. The film is rubbish unless you like certain kinds of film, therefore not necessarily a good place to start unless you are a teenager/ on certain kinds of drugs. But I could be completely wrong.

Or you could pick a type of anime and watch a few of them, so becoming somewhat familiar with them. I suppose anime is broadly divided into a number of categories, with Read or Die being sort of action adventure with meek heroine and mad science, which is a bit of crossover really.

Other types include "Sodding great big robots with guns that are controlled by a human pilot and do battle with other huge robots every episode". This sort of plot is enlivened by the pilots often being teenagers, with plenty of angst and worries to go around.

And "Romance with a clueless man in the middle of it all whom the women are oddly attracted to although I can't see why." Or there's the "Strange hero wanders the world righting wrongs and doing battle with people, ending in a cataclysmic meeting with his ancient nemesis that will decide the fate of the world."
Then there's ones that are decidedly erotic, or funny or indeed both.

I recall that the 'Patlabor' films are old but fairly straightforwards, I think they are likely a good introduction to anime (they fall under the mystery with great big robots category). And Miyazaki is definitely also a good introduction, 'Laputa: the flying Island' and 'Nausicaa of the valley of the winds' are good.

#641 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2012, 07:21 PM:

WRT the anime list:
How about Big O and Cowboy Bebop, which both fit the mystery profile? So, in certain ways, does Witchhunter Robin.

#642 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2012, 08:50 PM:

Tom Whitmore @638: If you want something longer, Bleach does a better job of capturing the storytelling style of silver-age Marvel comics better than anything I've seen since those days.

I hadn't thought of it like that, but yeah, it kinda does.

I'm not a fan of Bleach myself, but it turns up on one of the cable channels I watch a lot, and sometimes I let it run while waiting for the next thing and reading Twitter. Bleach has some wild character designs, I'll give it that. And a lot of the fight dialog comes across as weird alternate-universe porn.

#643 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2012, 08:55 PM:

fidelio, 641: Let us not forget that Cowboy Bebop has one of the all-time great theme tunes of TV history, and a corgi!

#644 ::: mjfgates ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2012, 09:13 PM:

Cally@638: Other anime you could check out if you want a break from explosions and huge swords: Azumanga Daioh and K-On are two of the most popular series in the "kids in high school" subgenre, and have exceptional voice acting in the English dubs. I've watched several episodes of each over the shoulder of one teenager or other.

#645 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2012, 09:24 PM:

Avram @642: Bleach is also completely casual about homosexuality (both male and female) in high school students, which is fascinating. There's a fair amount of lesbianism in Read or Die, but no obvious gay male interest (though I think there's some in the background around Joker). Anime seems to be a lot more accepting of alternative sexuality whenever it deals with sexual attraction than American animation does. And it's less likely to make a big deal of sexuality than (e.g.) French animation does.

#646 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2012, 12:24 AM:

dcb 630: If you don't mind it being a medievalish recipe—full of "until it looks right" and "until it be enough"—sure. I haven't used a recipe recipe for that stuff in years.

#647 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2012, 02:50 AM:

This is just to ask:

I have eaten
five-eighths of the plums
that were in
the icebox

leaving five
for breakfast

Forgive me
for asking
how much
a plum weighs.

#648 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2012, 05:22 AM:

When I first got interested in anime, a burning question was "subbed or dubbed", meaning subtitles with original Japanese voices or dubbed with (usually) american English speaking actors. A quick search of the internet indicates that the question is still around.
Not that you'd be interrogated as to your preferences, but I bet there's still some argument going on over it, especially at a con.

Personally I don't mind either; the interesting thing is how subbed and dubbed are often a little different from each other, with differences in the words used. IT seems to me that dubbed sometimes gets closer to the original Japanese meanings, albeit whilst making it a little harder for foreigners to understand, whereas a dubbed version will have had colloquial things translated into things understandable to the target market. E.g. jumpers etc mentioned on the SF sales thread I think.

#649 ::: James Moar ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2012, 08:00 AM:

guthrie@648, I think one reason why sub/dub is less of an issue is the switch from videos, which can only be one or the other, to DVDs, which can easily provide both. I much prefer watching subs, myself, but it's personal preference.

#650 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2012, 09:50 AM:

guthrie @648: My first anime experience was Armitage III, with the first three segments dubbed and the last chapter subbed (the person acquiring for the con couldn't find a copy of the last one subbed). It was really jarring to watch the final act -- major plot points are apparently different, and the female main character's entire personality was significantly drippier and more submissive. I've not gone back and watched the first chapter in the dub to see how they set it up; it definitely made me prefer subs overall.

I'm sure there are other dubs that aren't that egregious; I've only been able to get Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood in dub, for example, and it seems all right ... but then, I've never seen the sub. :->

I see my purpose (if I may be so pretentious) in being Cally's pusher as more of a "help her dabble her toes in the medium and acquire basic literacy/familiarity" than "mainline entire series". If you're going to be at an anime con, I think it's probably more important to be able to vaguely recognize a whole range of cosplay and understand something of what the fanvidders were trying to reference with the clips they picked than to be able to have an entire arguing-about-different-continuities conversation about every popular anime ever.

#651 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2012, 10:41 AM:

James Moar @ #649: I think one reason why sub/dub is less of an issue is the switch from videos, which can only be one or the other, to DVDs, which can easily provide both.

As long as the dubbed version is only dubbed, and the official English-language version hasn't gone so far as to monkey with the visuals as well. The days of an anime being hacked up and used to tell a completely different story are probably behind us, thankfully, but still I know of at least one, fairly high-profile, anime series made within the last decade where the DVDs of the English-language version do not include the Japanese soundtrack as an option because the English-language episodes have been re-edited to the point that the original soundtrack would not match up. Which is a pain, because I loved what I got to see of the Japanese version, and the American version, between the rewritten dialogue and the bits that have been cut entirely, lacks (not to say deliberately jettisons) the heart of what I loved.

#652 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2012, 10:43 AM:

Rikibeth @ 634... I am FLAILING at the thought of Chris Hemsworth as a younger Jack

When I hear that someone is flailing, I envision Kermit. :-)
By the way, Hemsworth was in 2009's "Star Trek".

#653 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2012, 10:54 AM:

Serge: I have an animated gif of Kermit flailing that I use on tumblr to express the sentiment.

And my appreciation of Chris Hemsworth seems proportionate to the length of his hair. Hence my excitement at the idea of him as Jack Aubrey, with the long golden queue!

#654 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2012, 11:29 AM:

As a bit of a tangent on the Anime subthread, I got introduced to Miyazaki's work by a family friend when I was a little kid - and only recently realized that there were two dubbed versions of My Neighbor Totoro. There's the Disney-distributed version (out sometime in the last few years) and there's the Fox version (from the early 1990s). To my ears (and my brother's), the Fox dub is the Only True Dub for us - it's what we grew up with, and it's a sufficient part of our respective childhoods that I'm pretty sure we wore out the tape.

#655 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2012, 01:28 PM:

Xopher HalfTongue @646: full of "until it looks right" and "until it be enough" - well that would still give me a start. I'm trying to develop some alternatives to cheese as my standard "I need a snack with protein". I don't see myself going vegan, but I do want to reduce my reliance on dairy products.

#656 ::: Fragano Ledgister is off with the raggle-taggle gnomies o! ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2012, 01:38 PM:

Lifting my head up from the word mines: "The capital of Mineck was derailed in 1944, when a battle between Germany and the Soviet Republic. The battle left rapid death, and the city itself was left in ruins."

Do I have grounds for early retirement?

#657 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2012, 02:20 PM:

Oops. Forgot to remove the gnome mention. Drat.

#658 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2012, 02:22 PM:

But, while I'm at it, this further, ahem, gem:

"Poetical economy conceals the nature of labor."

I'll say it does.

#659 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2012, 03:40 PM:

dcb, here's a short version.

Take extra-firm tofu (get the kind that comes in a plastic tub). Drain it (wash and dry the tub) and grate it with a cheese grater. Squeeze as much water out of it as you can (this is the hardest part, but the more water you squeeze out the more you can flavor it later). I used to do this by handfuls, but that's a huge pain and doesn't work any better than using cheesecloth (still have to squeeze it hard), which I do now.

Put it in a bowl, pour some olive oil over it, and mash it with a fork. At this point I start grinding it with a wand blender, because I like it very smooth, but you don't have to.

I actually reduce some wheat-free tamari (I like the San-J brand) by half and use that. Add it and blend until it looks like pate. Add black pepper to taste and a whole lot of garlic (I use store-bought minced garlic in oil). Keep in mind that the garlic will get stronger, though I have to say that among MY friends the only criticism I got this year was that it could have been more strongly flavored. At this point you can use the wand blender on it again if you want.

Now, mix in the caramelized onions. (It's easy to caramelize them in a slow cooker. You could also use (finely-chopped) sauteed ones. I've tried it with raw, but it makes a VERY SHARP pate and I'm not sure of the food safety.) Add olive oil until it will stay together in a blob.

Pack the pate into the tub. Cover it with plastic wrap, then with foil (make sure they're both tightly closed). Put it in the refrigerator for at least a couple of days. I've never kept it for more than a week, but three days is noticeably better than two.

You can turn it out of the mold onto a plate if you're presenting it fancily with pate knives, surrounded by crackers. Or you can eat it out of the tub if it's just for you.

#660 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2012, 03:58 PM:

For tofu-squeezin' you can also put a piece of cheesecloth (or fine plastic/wire screening, if you have some handy that's clean) on a sturdy wire cooling rack, spread your grated shreds out evenly, fold the cloth around it to make a flat packet, put another cooling rack on top of it, and weight the heck out of it. Place over your sink or an inch-deep pan to catch the liquid.

#661 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2012, 05:01 PM:

Xopher @659: Thanks. Got a bit of translating to do due to trans-Atlantic differences in what's available, but I'll see what I can do.

Elliott Mason @660: thanks for the extra squeezing info.

#662 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2012, 05:07 PM:

Ah. You can use a softer tofu but you have to get more and squeeze more. You can use a jelly mold if the plastic cartons don't exist.

You can probably slice some fresh garlic and blend it with a wand blender for the same effect. Or grind it in a regular blender or food processor.

Forgot to mention that the black pepper is better if you grind it fresh.

That's all I can think of that might not be available. Is there anything else?

#663 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2012, 08:13 PM:

Elliott @ 650

Do you have any idea where you might start? Maybe if you post what your own list looks like, we can help identify gaps where our genre-preferences diverge from yours.

#664 ::: jnh ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2012, 08:21 PM:

Fragano Ledgister #656:

In the lead-up to World War II, some people in central Europe came up with the fascinating idea of mounting their entire capitol city of Minick on railroad carriages. They figured that by doing so, they could readily move their city away from the fighting to safety on a moments notice. Unfortunately, the combination of a shortage of coal for the engines, differences in track gauge between Russia and Western Europe, and the incredible inertia of an entire city on wheels proved to be their downfall. Thankfully, death came rapidly to the citizens before they realized that their beautiful mobile city was in ruins.

Oops, that was capital of Minick. So they just mounted the tops of the columns of their historic buildings on trains? That was a weird idea. Not surprising that it didn't work.

#665 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2012, 08:40 PM:

The banksters of Mineck were worried about the approaching war, so they bundled most of their gold bars, stock certificates, and other instruments of exchange on to the last train out of town.

Shrapnel from the battle hit the switches, derailing the train, and with the the capital of Mineck.

In a lesser-known disaster, the remaining capital was sent by ship, which was sunk by gunfire from land on both sides while navigating a narrow channel, the famous Wall Strait Financial Crisis.

#666 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2012, 08:49 PM:

Xopher: yum. Pâté de soy gras?

#667 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2012, 09:10 PM:

KayTei @663: As long as it wouldn't be derailing the thread (along with the capital of Mineck, alas, alack-a-day!). :-> Probably not tonight, though; tonight is bad for thinky writing.

#668 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2012, 11:04 PM:

jnh #664: As an explanation, that has a certain, ahem, gracefulness.*

thomas #665: Capitalism gone awry!

Ah yes, the Wall Strait crisis. Nothing quite so tragic had happened since King John lost the Royal Treasury in the Great Laundry Mishap in the wash.

* I wondered if it had been a problem with the spindizzies myself.

#669 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2012, 12:58 AM:

Lila 666: That's much better! I shall steal.

#670 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2012, 02:59 AM:

Elliott @ 667

...I hadn't realized an Open Thread could be derailed. Is it on train tracks too?

#671 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2012, 08:43 AM:

Lila #666: A Beastly pun, despite being vegetarian.... LOL! ;-)

#672 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2012, 09:07 AM:

Xopher @662: Well, I had no idea what a "wand blender" was, but according to the internet it's the same as a "stick blender" or a "hand blender". Whatever the name, I don't have one - but I do have a food processor, which will probably do the same job. Never seen tofu in plastic tubs, but I'll see what I can find. At least I can tell from your instructions that the silken tofu is cartons is not the best for this. However, it's fantastic for orange chocolate tofu mousse - a dessert to die for (and vegan-friendly if you use the right chocolate).

#673 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2012, 09:28 AM:

dcb @672: The differences between tofu grades is basically how much water has been squished out of them. Silken is the wettest/softest; extra-firm is the other end of the spectrum.

#674 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2012, 10:17 AM:

dcb @# 672: A wand blender is for pottering about in the kitchen, I suspect.

#675 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2012, 11:38 AM:

Blood Donation:
@559 et al, could you call a local hospital and make an appointment to donate platelets there? When I donated whole blood, except for the last time, it was at the hospital. Went to a Red Cross blood drive, they got a false positive on one of the blood tests, and I can't donate now. (I should call and find out if that's still true.)

#676 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2012, 02:45 PM:

Cadbury Moose @674: Yes, that's about what I was thinking! (Only I hadn't managed the pun).

#677 ::: jnh ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2012, 04:35 PM:

Fragano #688:

I was kinda thinking Cities in Space meets Railsea somewhere in there.

I don't suppose you get a rum allowance to get you through your grading, do you? The examples you give us show not just incomprehensible english, but sloppy thinking and bad research. Do these folks not understand how much presentation will count when they get real jobs? If they can get past the resume and interview part, that is.

#678 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2012, 06:36 PM:

AKICIML: I don't have an OED to hand, and my google-fu isn't turning up a good listing of the earliest use of the word "sexology." I can date it back to at least 1904 (there's a book with that title published then, by William H. Walling). And I'm curious why the Wikipedia article on David H. Keller doesn't mention his writings (and editing) on that subject. There's got to be a good article somewhere on the relationship on the popularization of both science and sex by Gernsback and his stable of writers, and the relationship between the two of those ideas, but I don't know where it is. (Wikipedia on sexology is equally blank on the subject, as those who want it to be "scientific" seem to be glad to ignore the American market of the early 20th century in favor of the European.)

Any ideas?

#679 ::: Tom Whitmore brings the gnomes salaciousness ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2012, 06:37 PM:

I think the comment will be amusing enough....

#680 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2012, 06:56 PM:

jnh #677: Sadly, I have to mark papers while sober. I do get to have a drink or two over the holidays.

I explain to students that presentation counts. I explain that they need to proofread. I explain that they're responsible for what they put down on paper. None of it seems to penetrate.

#681 ::: Fragano Ledgister wonders what the gnomes want now ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2012, 06:57 PM:

I'll be happy to hand the gnomes some nice Demerara rum.

[Three (or more) spaces in a row trigger the gnomes. -- JDM]

#682 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2012, 07:43 PM:

Open-threadiness: I succeeded in taking a posed picture of a cat. Not perhaps what was planned for Sunday, but a noble achievement anyway!

Jeeves reading.

Why yes, my two cats are named Jeeves and Wooster. That's not surprising, what is surprising is that Jeeves turned out to be intelligent, and Wooster is ... easy-going.

#683 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2012, 09:04 PM:

The supplement says 1902. (The print's getting a little small for my eyes, at least without much better light.)

#684 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2012, 09:11 PM:

Tom Whitmore at #678:

My own Google-fu can push that back to 1867. Sexology as the Philosophy of Life: Implying Social Organization and Government by Elizabeth Osgood Goodrich Willard.

#685 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2012, 09:27 PM:


That would have been a capital ship.

#686 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2012, 09:44 PM:

Fragano at 680: I explain to students that presentation counts. I explain that they need to proofread. I explain that they're responsible for what they put down on paper. None of it seems to penetrate.

May I ask -- why not? This is a serious question. When you ask them why the paper isn't proofread, or why so many words are misspelled, what do they say? Do their answers make sense to you? If not, do you have other answers?

This is not snark -- I'm really interested.

#687 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2012, 10:16 PM:

"Go on! Eject me! See if I care!"
- M to 007 in 'Skyfall'

"Welcome to Scotland!"
- Albert Finney to the bad guys

#688 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2012, 10:44 PM:

#685 tykewriter:

I'd thought this was the capital ship....

#689 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 12:36 AM:

Fragano Ledgister @680: I'm reminded of the senior-year engineering-writing course I took, which was really effective in teaching that. It turns out that giving an essay assignment the first week in class and grading it with an average D+ grade will get jaded senior-year students to actually sit up and pay attention pretty darn well. (And then, to avoid skewing people's final grades, the professor let us resubmit revised versions in a couple of weeks.)

Tom Whitmore @678: The OED has the title you reference (though it dates it as 1902 -- if it's really 1904 you may want to send them a correction!), and the 1867 title that Bill Higgins mentions, but nothing else before 1912.

#690 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 12:52 AM:

janetl@ #682, what's more, Jeeves appears to be less than impressed with the book.

#691 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 01:33 AM:

Brooks Moses @689: 1904 was just the publication date of the earliest copy I found on ABE. I don't have one in hand....

Bill Higgins @684: Looking at that earlier work (thank you, Google Books), I can see that it used the word, and perhaps coined it, but it seems to have a completely different meaning -- that's a book with a much less scientific approach than either of the later volumes I found and seems to be using the term to describe a philosophy of social order rather than an approach to the study of sexuality in humans (and the ways humans interact sexually). It's a good citation for the word, though, and thank you!

#692 ::: Tom Whitmore brings the gnomes salaciousness again ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 01:35 AM:

Or perhaps it's merely the mention of a very large number of books. Assuming that other words ending in ...le elide the preposition "of" in modern usage, as "couple" has started to.

#693 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 03:04 AM:

Brooks @ 689

I ran into that tactic once. I wouldn't recommend it. It stands a high chance of backfiring, badly.

#694 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 05:47 AM:

Eventually, a joke is really going to happen...

Man charged after naked climber brings Whitehall to a standstill. Dan Motrescu will appear in court charged with possessing offensive weapon and criminal damage.

It is possibly a bit more than the headline suggests.

#695 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 08:26 AM:

Anime: Partly to help her organize the experience and partly for our own amusement, I was going to make a list of stereotypical (one could call cliched?)

anime settings: high school, space ship, secret organization, rural Japanese country town, big Japanese city, etc

and another of Stock Characters: the tall imposing dark-skinned guy; the crinkly-faced tiny old man; the crinkly-faced tiny old woman; the boy everyone thinks is a girl; the girl (often a bandit-queen or similar) who dresses in porno versions of men's clothes and is Stronger Than Any Man; etc

... and then a separate check-off list (or bingo card?) of

stereotypical plot twists/Stuff That Happens: the unrequited crush That Dare Not Speak Its Name; oh hai sudden nakedness!; leading two separate lives; OMGharem; etc

... so we can watch for them and appreciate their typicality when they happen.

Or maybe that's too organized to actually happen, but it's a sweet thought. :-> We could characterize each title we watch by listing off the things that apply to it, possibly leading to some interesting insights across titles.

Suggestions welcomed.

Some anime that use their cliches use them straight-faced, and some (Ouran High School Host Club for one; I'm certain I've seen others but I'm blanking) are deliberately satirizing their genres, which is hard to 'get' if you don't have the underlying assumption explained before you see it.

I'm thinking there may be some pause-requests coming from each of us -- from her when we hit a JAPAN IS WEIRD moment (thank you, Moviebob)/strange-to-Westerners narrative assumption, or from me when something very characteristic happens, so I can lampshade it and provide context.

#696 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 09:50 AM:

Elliot Mason @ 695... the crinkly-faced tiny old man

Didn't Mako do voice work in one anime series?

#697 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 09:54 AM:

Lizzy L #686: I get shamefaced looks, excuses about the amount of other work they have to do, and excuses about relying on the spellchecker. I have a fair number of students who get things more or less right. What worries me is a consistent number who can't be arsed to do anything about the standard of their written English, and who think that they are going to get away with sloppy writing and sloppy thinking in law school.

I've had students come back, after law school, and thank me for keeping at them. So I must be doing something right.

#698 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 09:58 AM:

Hyperlocal news...

Before "Skyfall" began yesterday, the theater ran ads, one of which vaunted a local clinic's wrinkle-erasing treatment. They called it...

"Vampire face lift"

I kid you not.

#699 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 10:47 AM:


I forgot an entire category of checkboxes!

Visual shorthand: the cherry-blosssoms (or other windblown item) of emotion; all those weird facial icons (sweatdrop, blush, bulgy vein, etc) that pop over the chibi-ized character; sliding the same still frame across camera multiple times for dramatic effect; random pratfalls that are never remarked upon again; etc.

#700 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 11:32 AM:

#697 ::: Fragano Ledgister

It wouldn't surprise me if a lot of them aren't sensitive to spelling themselves and therefore find it hard to have a gut level belief that other people care about spelling.

#701 ::: E. Liddell ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 12:31 PM:

Elliott Mason @695: If a successful checklist is produced, it should then be turned into a drinking game ("Finish your drink if the Boring Average Guy With All the Girls After Him then falls for the girl who has committed the most acts of physical assault against him since the beginning of the show!"[1]) and preserved for posterity.

[1] I've been an anime fan for, er, something on the order of fifteen years? Long enough that I've had more than my fill of bad harem comedies, even though I actively avoid watching them.

#702 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 12:44 PM:

Fragano, thanks.

#703 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 12:56 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz #700: That could be. On the other hand, I suspect that some errors are the result of overcorrection. Or fear of particular kinds of mistake (avoidance of "since" for fear of confusing it with "sense", for example).

#704 ::: TChem ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 01:01 PM:

Cally #615: Folks have given some good recommendations. Another thing that might be helpful is to just look through the titles and basic plots of current popular/well-received anime. This site's list of most popular anime aligns pretty well with what I'd think of when I think of the really popular stuff, and just knowing the names might make you feel less like you're having a Mad Libs conversation. I haven't spent a lot of time in the forums there but it might be a reasonable place to find opinions (plus you have the option of listing all the anime you've watched in your user account, so if someone is making lots of sense, you can see what they like.)

Another resource: is a former file-sharing site that now does everything legally, and has a strong anime focus; it'd be an easy way of catching a few minutes of a lot of series to see what you find compelling.

#705 ::: TChem, gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 01:04 PM:

I haven't been posting for a while so the gnomes weren't aware that I'm usually good for a bakery item or two.

#706 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 03:11 PM:

guthrie @648: When I first got interested in anime, a burning question was "subbed or dubbed"

Much to my surprise, I find that I'm of the "subbed" school. I'm surprised, because subbing doesn't have the same issues with animation as it does with live action. Watched "Grave of the Fireflies" last year. Started out watching with the dubbing on, but quickly switched over to subtitles. Somehow, hearing the voices in English was just wrong.

#707 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 03:51 PM:

The first person I knew who was a major anime fan, back in the 90s, had a button that said, "Subbing is for the Japanese-impaired. Dubbing is for the illiterate." Mentioning this only to show just how deep the snobbishness ran (in multiple directions) before anime became ubiquitous. A real fan was supposed to take the time and effort to learn Japanese and watch the shows in the original.

#708 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 04:04 PM:

I haven't watched all that much anime, but with most other films where it's an issue, my hearing impairment + hyperlexia puts me firmly in the "subbed" crowd. They have to be putting a novel up there, before I can't read the titles faster than I can parse the words. That goes double if the words are accented, unclear, poorly synced, etc, but it really does apply in general. Of course, subbing doesn't carry tonal cues, but even a native-language soundtrack can usually provide those.

#709 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 04:27 PM:

janetl @682: Jeeves reading.

You could snug cotton balls down over the book holder posts, to give the illusion that Jeeves's paws are holding the book. (Jeeves does not look like he particularly approves of what he's reading.)

Fragano @680: I explain to students that presentation counts. ... None of it seems to penetrate.

Lizzy L @686: May I ask -- why not?

Hammer isn't big enough?

#710 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 04:42 PM:

I'm very grateful for all the anime suggestions, and agree that I should probably plan to impose myself on El and family several weekends during the coming year. It will be nice to have at least a surface-level idea what people are talking about!

Now I just need to find and read up on recent-ish stories with clones. Bujold and Miéville I know, but I can't think of other recent ones.

#711 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 04:45 PM:

Dave Bell #620 - it's clearly Damon Runyon pastiche, to me anyway. Reasonable within that sub-genre, although that may be becoming obscure.

#712 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 05:06 PM:

Cally Soukup @710: recent-ish stories with clones

Two different takes:
David Brin: Kil'n People
Michael Marshall Smith: Spares

And of course further ramifications in many of C.J. Cherryh's Alliance-Union books (although many not-so-recent, particularly "Cyteen" (which I knew as a trilogy but nowadays seems to be marketed as a single book) from 1988 and the recently-published sequel "Regenesis".

#713 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 05:09 PM:

KayTei @693: I wonder what the difference is; it certainly seemed to work well, and reliably, in the class that I took. I'm sure there's a lot more nuance to it than just "give everyone a bad grade," for sure.

Specific things I can think of offhand are: It was a class about writing skills so this was obviously on-topic, and the professor's approach was handing the grades out at the beginning of class and then spending the rest of the class addressing them. He started with the class average ("it wasn't just you"), and then said that he expected us all to be getting A's on our papers by the end of the class and assuring us that his previous classes had done so. Then he went through the common problems in the essays and how to solve them -- IIRC, somewhat in outline form in that class, and then in depth over the next two weeks.

I think the crucial thing was that he gave us a solid basis of hope and a plan to get better, rather than giving us any chance to wallow in hopelessness.

#714 ::: jnh ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 06:18 PM:

Fragano Ledgister #680:

I explain to students that presentation counts. I explain that they need to proofread. I explain that they're responsible for what they put down on paper. None of it seems to penetrate.

Boy are they likely to loose out on the Lawyer Lottery! The profession is so tight right now that some law schools are downsizing. So, they'll get into law school if they can afford it, but beyond that their prospects are bleak. All that student debt, and no place to go.

#715 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 07:08 PM:

jnh, I swear I tried to mean 'lose' out.

#716 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 07:42 PM:

dcb @ #672

You can never have enough moose! (Er, mousse.)

Recipe, please - I have a friend with non-dairy requirements and this sounds simply superb.

#717 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 08:01 PM:

Cadbury Moose @ 716... You can never have enough moose!

Boris and Natasha beg to differ.

#718 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 08:50 PM:

Spillchuckers won't say if the word in question is correctly used; they only say it's probably a real word. If that can be gotten across, they'll do better.

#719 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 09:26 PM:

Jacque @709 & Linkmeister @ 690: Oh, Jeeves quite enjoyed Collared. I think he was just irritated at the way Wooster kept interrupting. The book is suspenseful and funny. The characters include a dog and a cat which (respectively) actually act like a dog and a cat. The humans unraveling the mystery are smart and stubborn. I like stubborn in a literary character. It's set in Seattle, and you'd swear it was written by a mossy-backed local.

Laura Anne Gilman's publisher wanted this book under another name, since it's a move from fantasy to mystery, hence the "L.A. Kornetsky", but they aren't keeping it a secret at all. Since her Retrievers series are very much mysteries as well as fantasies, it's not surprising that she can write a good mystery.

#720 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 09:59 PM:

O.K, time to close some tabs:

Dave Bell: first, I'm glad you are getting to keep all of your parts. I'll keep your suggestions on Scrivener in mind as I try to work with it.

Paul Duncanson: I'll look over those Scrivener tutorials--thanks!

Paul A: having the wrong OS obviously works as far as getting those Windows scammers to quit (although there have been cases where they've insisted that the folks they've called really *do* have Windows systems), but I'm a bad enough person that I like to think of the havoc caused by folks setting up malware for the scammers to download and letting them infect their networks.

Julie L.: How about purple sweet potatoes?

It's worth a try, but I do hate sweet potatoes enough that I'm not sure I'll make it through the testing phase. I'll look into it.

KayTei: One of my friends did an asian-fusion thanksgiving dinner, with a turkey stir fry and ginger sesame rainbow carrots and kind of a five-spice cranberry kumquat relish/chutney thing and plum wine sorbet... anyway, it was delicious. We who were there still gloat over it.

Well, that certainly sounds good, but I'm not sure I could handle that many courses--I'm not a very experienced cook, and if I go beyond The Greatest Cookbook In The World, Really, or The Cookbook Of Fate I rapidly get myself into trouble. Then again, The Cookbook Of Fate is very much a crapshoot to use to begin with.

Lee: I don't have any recipes to recommend, but I do have a thought that might help your blood pressure...It occurs to me, though, that the difference may be less you vs. her than a combination of "well, it tasted okay the last time" and several years during which they may have had more exposure to the idea itself...I'm not there, so I can't guarantee that there aren't nuances I'm missing. But it's worth considering, I think.

You're probably right. What hacks me is that it was my wife who brined and cooked the turkey and had to take the abuse...if it was me it would just be a matter of "Well, I'm not related to any of these people, so they can all pound sand."

Xopher HalfTongue: And you broke the new ground and everyone was upset (unexpected changes always bad), but then they tried it and it was fine, so now it's OK...It's NOT fair. They should acknowledge that you were ahead of your time (at least within the family) and that you were right and they were wrong. Also, snowballs should last a long time in hell.

True. Well, none of these folks (albeit very nice folks) are blood kin, so if it doesn't bother my wife I should just let it go.

On another matter: things are tight around here for the holidays (my employer has decided to move the company to New Jersey, and the travel expenses, lack of salary increases, and inability to sell the house in a month persuaded us not to move out there with them) so I'm looking to liquidate some stuff. One item is a Canon Cat (a very nifty computer system created by Jef Raskin and mismarketed by Canon) which I understand is still a well-liked collectable. Unfortunately e-Bay's completed auction feature doesn't reach back far enough to give me an idea as to what one is worth. Does anyone know where I can get some idea as to what they're gong for nowadays?

#721 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 10:14 PM:

E. Liddell @701: Oh, trust me, if this works out even a little we are SO blogging it. :->

#722 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 10:15 PM:


An anime that I use as a yardstick is Patalliro! If you can make it through that, you can handle damn near anything they can throw at you. (Oh, and checking on the Patalliro web site, it appears (I can't read Japanese) there is a cell phone app. Oh, BROTHER!

#723 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 10:25 PM:

Bruce: Thanks! I do hope Elliott is taking notes; I don't have Netflix. I'll have to archive this thread. <grin>

#724 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 10:49 PM:

Why Wall Street hates Costco.

Money quotes:
1) One analyst, Bill Dreher of Deutsche Bank, complained last year that at Costco "it's better to be an employee or a customer than a shareholder." [1]
2) "On Wall Street, they're in the business of making money between now and next Thursday," [Costco CEO Jim Sinegal] said. "I don't say that with any bitterness, but we can't take that view. We want to build a company that will still be here 50 and 60 years from now." [2]

[1] Well, DUH. It's the employees who do the work and the customers who provide the profits. Why shouldn't they reap more of the benefit than the stockholders, who are just in it for the money? This quote illustrates one of the things that's gone severely wrong with America.

[2] And that illustrates another wrong thing. By and large, the people who run our largest companies have completely abandoned long-term thinking in favor of short-term profits. It doesn't matter if you run the business into the ground as long as you, personally, walk away rich. Bain Capital, anyone?

I have an account review scheduled with my broker next week. Time to increase my Costco stock.

#725 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2012, 11:06 PM:

There's an odd, scrappy discount store in the NW called Bi-Mart. Employee owned. $5 lifetime membership.

If Wal-Mart is a wolf, Bi-Mart is an opportunistic, niche finding coyote. Really bare-bones. Walls lined with pegboard. Product displays often consist of stuff piled on palettes.

I've bought a lot of stuff from them through the years. Pet supplies, VHS and DVD movies, kitchen gear, canned food, a digital camera.

The one thing I'd fault them on: Their food selection is canned and boxed garbage.

#726 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2012, 02:07 AM:

Stefan Jones @ 725: I used to live near a Bi-Mart and regarded them with affection. Now that I moved into town, there are no Bi-Marts nearby. I do shop at Miller Paint, which is employee-owned.

#727 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2012, 03:49 AM:

Brooks @ 713

I think the thing that frustrated me about that class was that I went in to her office hours specifically to find out what I needed to change - and she didn't have anything concrete to offer me. It was this vague "Well, it seems like a good start, so if you work on it I'm sure it will get better. You shouldn't have anything to worry about, you have an entire quarter to improve." So I had no idea what I had done to earn that grade, and no idea what I could do to improve it.

I don't care about grades in their own right, but I interpret "inexplicably" low grades as an indication that my understanding is broken in some fundamental way. And then the professor couldn't help me match back up. It felt baffling and frustrating and arbitrary.

#728 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2012, 04:48 AM:

Teresa's particle about Cynical Creationist Craft Activities looks like fun! Trilobite plaster-or-jello-molds! Chocolate Raptor Claws! (Has to be a Jabberwocky pun in there somewhere.)

I can't tell if they're reusable or use-once, or quite what size they are, but at $3.50 it's not bad either way. Agar's a bit harder and slipperier than gelatin, might work better. And you'd get to have jello trilobites as a party snack.

#729 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2012, 04:59 AM:

Cadbury Moose @716:

- Whisk 2 x 349g carton (Mori-Nu) silken tofu in food processor/blender until it looks like thick smooth cream.
- Add a couple of tablespoons of soft brown sugar or demarara sugar and mix in.
- Melt 200g or 300g of good dark (e.g. 70 or 85% cocoa), vegan friendly chocolate (I use Green & Blacks) in the microwave.
- Pour the chocolate into the whisked tofu and mix in.
- Add a couple of teaspoons of orange oil/essence (to taste), mixing in.
- Decant into appropriate container, allow to cool and place in the refrigerator to chill.
- Use cook's prerogative to scrape out the bowl!

Note: you can also freeze this in single portions (or larger portions, if you want) for later consumption!

All the ingredients are available in Sainsbury's.

#730 ::: jnh ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2012, 05:40 AM:

Xopher 715:

Obligatory Making Light typo alert!
How did I miss that? No worries.

#731 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2012, 06:30 AM:

Lee #724: Notice how merely being successful isn't nearly enough here. The analysts and competitors are specifically dinging them for being too nice to their workers and customers. Some of the later quotes add overtones of "how dare this guy break ranks from our battle against the workers".

I hear that every year, their shareholder's meeting has to vote down proposals from "minority shareholders" (I suspect representing competitors) who want them to wipe out their progressive policies and get with the program of screwing their workers and eventually customers.

#732 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2012, 07:43 AM:

dcb @729, I love the idea of the tofu & chocolate mix, but don't care for fruit and chocolate combined. If I substituted peppermint extract for the orange oil, would that work?

#733 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2012, 08:24 AM:


vampire face lift

Do they make you sparkle?

#734 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2012, 08:49 AM:

OtterB @732: If I substituted peppermint extract for the orange oil, would that work? I don't see why not. I've thought about trying that myself - if you try it, let me know how it goes!

#735 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2012, 09:28 AM:

Open threadiness:

I have just spent five desperate days watching the second cricket Test between Australia and South Africa, from Adelaide, South Australia. The South Africans batted for two of those days solid to save the match, and they finally made it across the line with two wickets in hand, which is like saying their pitcher hit a line drive in the bottom of the ninth to get a runner home and tie the game. Only it went on for two... freaking...days.

There is nothing like Test Cricket. Nothing on earth. And the funny part is, anyone but a cricket tragic would add to that a fervent "Thank God".

#736 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2012, 11:46 AM:

KayTei @727: Oh, that's ... unforgivable. Yes, low grades "to get students' attention" are worse than useless if the professor doesn't know (or can't/doesn't effectively convey) what he or she is trying to get their attention to do and what to teach them to improve! I completely agree on that.

The other likely problem here is teachers who downgrade for stylistic "errors" like "passive voice" that are matters of personal preference rather than absolute rules, especially when they are doing so incorrectly. I expect that this sort of thing takes some care on the part of the professor to avoid, since if they knew they were doing this erroneously they wouldn't be doing it!

#737 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2012, 12:18 PM:

The quote that caught my eye in that article about Costco, from the CEO: "Having an individual who is making 100 or 200 or 300 times more than the average person working on the floor is wrong."

#738 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2012, 01:33 PM:

Dav H., #731: Oh ghod yes, the whining! But it's all because he gives the lie to their rationalization that "everybody does this, and we can't be competitive if we don't do it too". Oh, and the dipshit who called it a "cult stock" that's only popular because people love the company. Do they even hear what's coming out of their own mouths, and how stupid it makes them sound?

#739 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2012, 01:34 PM:

Costco considers its employee health-plan costs to belong under its 'marketing' budget. And they don't spend one red cent on ads, ever.

Saves them a lot of money.

#740 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2012, 01:51 PM:

Michael I @ 733... I hope not. I'd rather be wrinkled than have anything other than my conversations sparkle.

#741 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2012, 01:53 PM:

Re: Costco. I noticed in that article that they also save costs because of low employee turnover and low theft by employees - because the employees feel they're getting a living wage and okay conditions...

#742 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2012, 07:12 PM:

One of the odd little quirks of companies and employment policies which I have seen is the claim that if they train their own staff, said staff will then go and work for somebody else.

This fits rather well with the observation about the underpayment of skilled workers, but if everyone is underpaying, where are the newly-trained workers able to get more money. Does being a newcomer have a wage advantage over the internal candidate?

But there is also the possibility that the outsider doesn't know what they're really getting into. They don't know the petty aggravations imposed by the particular managers. Train somebody, and they can get out from under your thumb. It's not the money, it's power and authority that drives the movement of labour.

In the end, this may explain such things as the "unions" being blamed for the collapse of the British-owned car industry, when the same plants and workers can be stunningly successful under the ownership of foreign corporations. Jaguar and Land Rover struggled under American control, but now they are part of an Indian corporation, and are expanding. It is rather easy to think that, more often than not, the highest levels of corporate management, in the US and the UK, are inherently incompetent.

And the people in power will always want to find somebody else to blame for the bad effects of their decisions.

#743 ::: chris ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2012, 07:28 PM:

@695: At the risk of sidetracking your next several hours, or perhaps just missing your point, wouldn't that be an awful lot of work just to reproduce a proper subset of TV Tropes? (Not providing a link for fear it might attract gnomish attention, but it's easy enough to find by googling.)

#744 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2012, 08:28 PM:

Does being a newcomer have a wage advantage over the internal candidate?

I cannot say for skilled manufacturing, but in my profession (life actuary), yes, definitely. Raises at any one company are generally banded [1], but people who move are offered enough to get them to move--which is generally a good bit higher than what they are getting where they are.

1) Banded--the range may be 0%-5%, which would be about average; that means the maximum raise that you can get (without a formal promotion) is 5%.

#745 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2012, 09:33 PM:

In case you didn't know, Mary Robinette Kowal is working on a novel based on her Hugo Nominee novella and SF mystery "Kiss Me Twice". So far, three chapters have been posted on her blog. You'll need her to grant you a password.

#746 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2012, 11:12 PM:

Brooks @ 736

Well, I don't know about unforgivable. But it was the first and last class I took from her.

I think it partly stuck with me because she otherwise had such great information she was teaching. Why would anyone with that amount of Ooh, Nifty stoop to dirty tricks to get students to focus?

#747 ::: KayTei is gnomed! ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2012, 11:17 PM:

Homemade turkey soup?

#748 ::: CZEdwards ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2012, 03:21 AM:

Catching up after an OMGWTFBBQ spate of keyboard diarrhea. 

Dave Bell: congratulations and best wishes for continued recovery and a speedy return to health. Yay, NHS & antibiotics! Also, I really like your experiment above. Please, more?

Xopher Halftongue: hooray on the clear check!

Linkmeister: glad you're home and recovering. Also, best wishes and a speedy recovery. 

Heather Rose Jones: congratulations! Is it too early to set up a Google Alert? 

Re: affectionate kitty's I Can Haz Plai Timez: with ours, the hiss, then shove almost works, but with a bit of positive reinforcement added in the form of petting where we want them to be. This worked well from early adulthood to recently, but now we have short-term memory loss/senility in the mix so all bets are off. They might not remember why they were shoved.

So... Hypergraphia struck again, a two week spate this time. And apologies, because my internal editor is still vacationing. It's not over, but the awful part - the 36 hour days and not eating until blood sugar hits single digits because words, words, words - is done. [1]

I have hopes that this gush has salvageable story; on first re-read, it seems to, assuming major word topiary. I certainly see the parts written in hour 35, but I also see what I meant to say, which is an improvement over ten years ago. Yay for improving craft?

Just before it hit, I wrote something that I need a second set of eyes upon. It's first draft -- typos and grammar have been cleaned up, but it's not yet tight. The voice feels strong. Six weeks later, it still strikes me as powerful and worth working on... And deeply disturbing. I feel so ambivalent about it that I'm feeling paralyzed. I think this piece might have triggered this episode of hypographia (trying to write away from something I need to explore?) but I also have other pieces that need attention.. My current alpha readers are split, so no help deciding on this particular rabbit hole. It's about 5k words, so an average chapter for me (mine usually tighten to 3500 to 4000.)

I would be immeasurably grateful to anyone willing to read and comment upon what I'm calling my Thomas Covenant Goes Fifty Shades Greyer piece. In fan-fic terms, it's Hetero, Dark, NC-17/X. [3] It is fantasy and comes with a giant flashing trigger warning for explicitness and non-consensual sexual assault. The POV is the woman doing the assaulting. I have been writing her world for ages (it's my sandbox), and I've known this protagonist exists, but she's never taken center stage.

This piece scares me, but I don't think that's necessarily bad -- sometimes we have to stare into the abyss. I've gone into other dark places -- my three major pieces are about the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars, a civil war in my sandbox world, and a post-apocalypse with vampires, where Buffy the Vampire Slayer is considered a prophetic / semi-sacred text. I like dark complexity. The exercise and abuse of power and the means by which the powerless assert agency are major themes in everything I write, but this is extreme for me.

If you're interested, the email above is me and checked. My alphas, including those who don't read my sandbox world stuff, say that it introduces the world fairly well, but that's low on my priority list. I mostly want to know if it works or if I'm BSing myself because my brain is jumpy right now. I know I'm asking much, and thanks for considering. 

[1] My version does not appear to be related to either bipolar or depression, though it might be related to anxiety. [2] It is also not a seizure disorder, for which I give thanks to EEG.

[2] Every med I've tried has either caused extended block or gush, not an option. I like meeting my 2K per day word goal; I dislike blowing past it by 8-10K. If nothing else, the post episode editing bites and 21 hours a day of BICFOK is really unhealthy.

[3] I normally write PG-13 to R for mature themes, violence. Romantic stuff happens, but I don't write Romance. Erotica and slash aren't my usual fare.

#749 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2012, 06:51 AM:

CZEdwards, the post names no longer link to emails here. Inconvenient, but probably better for privacy.

I wish I could volunteer, but I know my limits, and the Thomas Covenant paperback hit the wall at high velocity at That Scene and I skip anything with "non-con" in the headers when I read fanfic in my preferred fandoms.

If you ever need a spare pair of eyes for the post-Napoleonic war stuff, though? My handle at gmail.

#750 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2012, 06:59 AM:

A reminder... There'll be a Gathering of Light at Oakland's Breads of India next Tuesday at 6:30pm. So far, D Potter and yours truly will attend, and possibly Heather Rose Jones a bit later.

#751 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2012, 07:56 AM:

dcb @ #734 (and earlier):

Many thanks! I have an elderly wand mixer (Bamix) used mainly for high-speed omlette construction, and may have a liquidiser attachment for the other mixer (a Kenwood of some ilk), so will try this out.

I wonder if Maya Gold would substitute for the dark chocolate and the orange essence?

(Then again, there's some "Essence of Ginger" in the cupboard from my Ginger Beer making days that might result in a rather fierce moose^H^H^Husse.)

This could be FUN!

#752 ::: Cadbury Moose has been gnomed around #751 ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2012, 07:59 AM:

Probably for mentioning brand names.

There may be some weapons-grade mousse available later.

#753 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2012, 10:05 AM:

The BBC discovers fan-fiction

It's a radio program, available on iPlayer if you're in the UK. Worth listening to, I think. There's some quite serious talk about such things as Dante as a Mary-Sue.

And there are people we know of, such as China Mieville and Henry Jenkins.

The conclusion seems to be that the last century or so, locked down by copyright, is rather exceptional in terms of creativity, and fan-fiction on the internet is one of the cracks in the dam.

#754 ::: Heather Rose Jonse ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2012, 12:44 PM:

Serge @750

A reminder... There'll be a Gathering of Light at Oakland's Breads of India next Tuesday at 6:30pm. So far, D Potter and yours truly will attend, and possibly Heather Rose Jones a bit later.

And possibly more promptly if it's raining. (Current long-term forecast suggests no rain that day, but rain cancels dragonboat practice.)

#755 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2012, 12:49 PM:

At the moment there's a trickle of spam getting through. This moves me to tip my hat to the gnomes and the back-of-the-house functions of the mods in general. Because I KNOW that we're seeing only a fraction of what comes in. There would be no conversation if we had to wade through it all, and I value these conversations.

#756 ::: CZEdwards ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2012, 01:50 PM:

@Rikibeth: thanks, and noted. For email... Constance4759262Edwards without the numbers, in gmail or czanne in the iCloud company

I completely understand, thus big warning first. My copy of TC hit that wall at least four times. I finally got thought it by reminding myself that I already hated Tommy the Rotter, and I've never read them since. (in part because Donaldson uses words oddly.) Yeah, non-con bothers me a lot, which is where the WTF is coming from.

I will keep you in mind on the other. Thank you, I appreciate the offer. I'm playing with the concept of vampirism as metaphor for PTSD and of course the privilege and power of class/wealth and vampirism. (also, the fact that "vampire" is an extremely obscure concept before John Polidori in 1819, and entirely unknown in the Anglosphere before 1734, so there's no pop culture of the myth in period. Revanants, yeah and ghosts, sure, but communicable undead? That's new in the Anglosphere, and the Nap. Wars are the meme vector.)

#757 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2012, 02:31 PM:

CZEdwards: I have sent you mail about the betareading thing, so if it doesn't show up shortly check your spam-trap.

#758 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2012, 02:34 PM:

Heather Rose Jones @ 754... rain cancels dragonboat practice

Vikings - and Viqueens - just aren't like they used to be.

#760 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2012, 05:26 PM:

By the way, did anyone else look at Teresa's particle about the fossil molds and immediately think, "Hey, those would be great for soap*!"?


Right. I'll be over here, puzzling about whether my ethics allow me to order from them and thus lend countenance to their approach. Also, wondering if they ship overseas.

* Soap was my chutney this October.

#761 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2012, 05:39 PM:

abi @760: Not specifically, but I've been wondering if the silicone novelty ice-cube trays I own could be used to make amusingly-shaped morsels of fruit leather in my oven. Since (a) when you fill them with water they're annoyingly difficult to empty , (b) my kid doesn't seem to want to eat fruity-yogurt icepops made in them, and (c) she seems similarly unimpressed with standard flat homemade fruit-leather. At least if it were star-shaped it'd seem more fun.

No idea what to do with the ones shaped "like cocktail olives"; I only got them because they were $.29 at the thrift store and I couldn't resist. They're a really odd size, and their bottoms are contoured, possibly making them problematic for fruit-leathering (because of uneven depth).

#762 ::: Elliott Mason got gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2012, 05:40 PM:

Possibly for illegal use of spaces. I am heartily sorry for my sins, either way. :->

#763 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2012, 06:09 PM:

re 760: If we did soapmaking in our house there would be a trilobite mold headed this way already.

#764 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2012, 07:07 PM:

abi #760: I am Quite Certain that somewhere on the 'Net you can buy fossil molds made and sold by actual museums, paleontology labs, science magazines, or other credible sources.

#765 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2012, 07:21 PM:

I would be happy to help fund the creation of a trilobite gingerbread mold.

#766 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2012, 09:59 PM:

Stefan, Google may not be your friend, but it's kinda useful sometimes:

Food-grade fossil molds. First page of a search for "trilobite molds". Admittedly, it was near the bottom of that first page, far past the "Discover Creation" folks, several real and reproduced fossils, a Kingdom of Loathing version, and a discussion on the Girl Genius forum. (The discussion digressed, but eventually someone suggested a custom-maker site: .)

#767 ::: Dave Harmon sleeps with the gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2012, 10:00 PM:

Link-heavy comment. Milk and molasses? I'm for bed soon....

#768 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2012, 10:03 PM:

It looks as if reasonable-ishly plausible trilobite cookies can be made with a standard cookie press and some added decorations.

#769 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2012, 10:45 PM:

More open-threadiness: an amazing "illusion knitting" gallery. Each piece really has to be clicked on to get the full effect from multiple angles.

Topical convergence would suggest that someone needs to come up with an illusion-knitting chart of Escheresque trilobites.

#770 ::: CZEdwards ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2012, 11:30 PM:

Carrie S @ 757: Sent. Thank you.

The talk of fossil molds makes me want to get out a half-geode, make that into a mold, then use either the clear type of soap (for non-edible) or agar jelly (for edible) to make geodes. It's the back half of the sphere that's got me pondering.

#771 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2012, 11:46 PM:

Dave Harmon: There is somebody I need to get those fossil molds for...

#772 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2012, 12:09 AM:

#753 ::: Dave Bell

That's a generally good discussion of fanfic, but I think the Dante of the Divine Comedy wasn't simply a Mary Sue-- he was accepted among the great poets (is it Mary Sue-ism when he actually was a great poet?), but he was a bit of a fool much of the time in the story.

#773 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2012, 01:36 AM:

Hey Australian fluorospherans: question arising from the "Dumb Ways to Die" link...when you say "pie" in Australia, is the default a meat pie?

See, in America we don't think meat pie unless it's specified, and a two-week-old apple pie would be stale and dry but not lethal. So I speculated that they must mean a meat pie, but obviously can't know unless actual Australians verify it. An Australian on another site said so, but I'm not sure I trust him (he's a bit...practical joker-y).

#774 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2012, 03:25 AM:

Yeah. "I had a pie for lunch" means a meat pie. If you have any other sort of pie, you usually have to indicate by words or plain context that it isn't a meat pie.

#775 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2012, 03:34 AM:

Heather Rose Jones @ 754... rain cancels dragonboat practice
If the rain's anything like today, the boats will fly across the bay without anybody needing to paddle them :-)

I hope to be at dinner next Tuesday as well.

#776 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2012, 06:12 AM:

Xopher: When I was a wee lad, the default Aussie "pie" would have been meat-filled... or at least a lot of meat-flavoured gravylike goop holding together some small amount of alleged beef. Now, mumble years later, the assumption would still be for a not-dessert item but some people might ask what kind of filling it contained.

Context matters though. If I said there was pie for dessert, no-one would think I was serving meat.

#777 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2012, 09:55 AM:

In re "having a pie for lunch": Does this imply that the typical Australian pie is single-serving? A little research suggests that the typical American pie pan has a 9" diameter-- intended for multiple servings.

#778 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2012, 10:17 AM:

If Australian [meat] pies are anything like British ones, they're single-serving affairs.

Scotch pies are about three inches in diameter and an inch or so tall. Bridies (onion and meat) are about the same volume, but made of a circle of pastry folded over. Ditto Cornish pasties.

Think Bic Mac sized.

#779 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2012, 10:19 AM:

Now I miss the Piemaker in Edinburgh.

#780 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2012, 10:36 AM:

Australian meat pies are either round or square, but they're single servings, about six inches in diameter and about an inch deep. They're filled with ground meat - beef, mostly - and onion gravy - more the latter than the former, if poor quality. But if well made, they're rather good. The lower case is usually "hot-water" pastry (I don't know if it has another name - that's the one I know). It's soft, but the top is flaky. You put red ned on the top - tomato sauce. Australian tomato sauce is, I think, not as sweet as ketchup, possibly because it contains vinegar.

#781 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2012, 11:14 AM:

There's an excellent store here in Austin that sells individual-sized meat pies that are to die for. They say it's Australian-style, and I have no reason to doubt them, though I suspect the standard Australian pie shop would have somewhat different flavor selections. (There are some that are distinctly Tex-Mex in composition.) Boomerang's, for those who are near enough to give 'em a try; they really are quite excellent, though selection gets limited as the evening goes on.

On a completely different note: I am wildly enamored of the blog Harmless Drudgery, by an editor at Merriam-Webster. And I'm all the more thrilled to learn that it's the sort of place where one really should read the comment threads; there's hilarity and information both in the comments to the second most recent post, in which she explains that, no, Shakespeare and Chaucer were not speaking more elevated English than modern English, and the lexicographers really don't convene in secret cabals to plot the downfall of the English language.

#782 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2012, 11:29 AM:

Bill Stewart @ 775... Hoping to see you!

#783 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2012, 11:43 AM:

Fade Manley @781, thanks for the link to Harmless Drudgery, I think. Tearing myself away from the archive now to get back to work.

#784 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2012, 12:09 PM:

Hyperlocal news... Local man is told by local writer that local man will be tuckerized in his next novel. As the story is part of the "Deathlands" series, local man expects he'll die a gruesome death. (That'll make it local man's second death as a duo of two other local writers are planning something similar for local man in the followup to their Hugo nominee i=of this year.)

#785 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2012, 01:55 PM:

Anyone know a source for Penrose tile cookie cutters? My Google-fu is not up to the job. (I did once find a 3D printer model for creating such a cookie cutter, one of the first times I've ever found a direct "want" for a 3D printer.)

I guess the ideal tool would be a Penrose tile sheet mold - roll the dough on it and it trims the whole sheet. Then you can re-arrange the pieces afterwards.

#786 ::: SandyB. ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2012, 02:02 PM:

I just ran into an odd cousin of the Suck Fairy. I was rereading Good Omens, after at least a 12 year hiatus, and I discovered that one of my favorite scenes... wasn't actually FROM that book. I have no idea what book it was from.

Obviously I don't remember this as well as I thought I did, but does anyone recognize this?

An angel and a demon are fighting, in some modern-day city. The rules of deific engagement in this universe are, roughly, that killing an angel or a demon just kills the material shell, and they can come back with a new one relatively quickly. But if you turn their material shell into a tree, for instance, they are stuck in the tree, and possibly can only think tree thoughts. So the demon sneaks up on the angel and starts turning him into a tree. The angel, losing mobility fast, focuses through several reflections (zoom and enhance!) until he spots the demon and releases a bolt of divinely intolerable light, shattering the car mirror, shop window, etc. and blowing the demon's body away.

#787 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2012, 03:44 PM:

SandyB, I have no idea, but if you figure it out, let us know! Sounds like something I'd enjoy.

#788 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2012, 04:20 PM:


Thanks for the recipe...just made up a batch with my 2y.o. helping. Unfortunately she wasn't fond of the result - unlike me* - but I can report that she very much enjoyed the process. One note...for the portions that looked right to me, this made up enough for about 8 people.

* perhaps a little bitter for her? Gu chocolate pots are her favourite dessert, so I was expecting her to love it. Maybe I will try with a little extra sugar, or lower quality (i.e. less bitter) chocolate next time.

#789 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2012, 06:23 PM:

Thanks, Dave and Paul. I thought so, but I wasn't sure.

#790 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2012, 08:08 PM:

Fade Manley @781 That is a very deep and engrossing rabbit hole. Thank you.

#791 ::: CZEdwards ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2012, 10:49 PM:

TexAnne @ 628:

Thank you for the link to Hello, Tailor. Delightfulest rabbit hole in months!

#792 ::: CZEdwards has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2012, 10:51 PM:

Sorry. Spaces, perhaps? I can offer a delicious vegetarian taco salad with fresh guacamole.

#793 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 08:22 AM:

Help request. I need to start a blog which my work can link to, in which I can write stuff about my training for, and running (I hope) 5 x 50-mile races during 2013. I've been recomended to use Wordpress, but I have absolutely no idea how to start. Sign up, I suppose, then choose a theme, then start putting stuff in? Do I need to/is it worth paying anything?

Any info/advice appreciated, here or by emailing dbourne at the (see caps) Royal Veterinary College on the ACademic network of the UK.

#794 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 10:55 AM:

dcb: My beloved bride has a wordpress blog; it seems to be pretty easy to work.

There's a "For Dummies" book on Wordpress that should fill in the edges.

#795 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 01:32 PM:


Paging Teresa! Can you drop me an email? I have something that I think may interest you.

#796 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 02:25 PM:

A bit of personal egoboo here: a textbook from Oxford University Press is using excerpts from one of our stories.

Available for preorder right now: Oxford English 2 by Paul Grover.

Oxford Insight English is a new series for the Australian Curriculum: English. The blended print and digital series has a strong emphasis on the language and literacy strands of the Australian Curriculum: English and provides students with a firm grounding in grammar and language use. It also has a significant obook-only literature component, with guidance on covering the cross-curriculum priorities and other classic and popular texts. The Oxford Insight English series offers:integrated coverage of the Australian Curriculum: English for years 7 - 925 focused units per book, covering grammar, punctuation, comprehension, reading, writing, spelling and vocabulary a wealth of engaging literary, non-literary and digital texts used as stimulus a flexible format with room for student answers in the write-in workbooks, or in the accompanying digital obooks extensive literature material including a range of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Asian texts, as well as those that link to the sustainability cross-curricular priority.
As long as I'm being shameless, the story in question is "Nobody Has To Know," and it's available in electronic form in our collection Vampires and Shapeshifters, or in paperback in its original anthology, Vampires edited by Jane Yolen.

#797 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 02:35 PM:

Sure-cure for chocolate addiction . . .

Oh, Baby!

The above would make an excellent prop for a Halloween zombie costume.

#798 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 03:47 PM:

Hey Making Light, I have a conundrum.

I've been asked to sing something at the office holiday party in a few weeks.* I'm tempted to go with something nice and dramatic, like "O Holy Night".

Except there are at least three Jewish people who work in the office, along with the lady who's Hindu enough to be a vegetarian. I think perhaps an explicitly Christmas song is contraindicated.

Anyone got a decent idea for a winter song that the party organizers are likely to have access to music for? The only ones springing to mind are "Winter Wonderland" and "Let It Snow"...

*: This is what happens when you win the karaoke competition at last year's party, apparently. Ooops.

#799 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 03:53 PM:

Naw...they're WHITE chocolate! (While it has its uses—the term 'Chambord ganache' springs to mind—I don't know anyone who's addicted to white chocolate by itself...or at least don't know that about anyone yet.

In other news...this xkcd moved me to tears, which is not my usual reaction, to say the least. Also, JoCo tweeted that he's flattered by the "Still Alive" reference.

#800 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 04:05 PM:

Carrie S @798 (after a quick riffle through the holiday repertoire of my chorus, omitting the ones that only work as 4-part harmony)

Jingle Bells
What Are You Doing New Year's Eve
Deck The Halls

Or something culturally but not religiously Christmas such as:
I'll Be Home for Christmas
All I Want for Christmas Is You

#801 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 04:08 PM:

xkcd's series on dealing with cancer could be used to illustrate a book for geeks dealing with cancer.

#802 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 04:22 PM:

re 798: There are all those wassail songs. If you want an odd one you could go with the Somerset Wassail, featuring the "girt dog of Langport".

#803 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 04:48 PM:

Jim Macdonald @794: Thanks. I'll try to set it up and blog my first post (??? is that the right phrase???) this weekend.

#804 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 04:50 PM:

Carrie S @ $798, "Silver Bells" is Christmas-oriented but secular.

#805 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 04:53 PM:

Speaking only for myself, and not for all Jewish people as that'd be impossible (ever hear the saying, two Jews, three opinions?), I would far rather hear an explicitly religious Christmas carol that's musically lovely than any of those overdone, saccharine, mawkish Tin Pan Alley Christmas standards. "O Holy Night" would be lovely.

That said, there are some rock Christmas standards that I like a lot. Greg Lake's "I Believe In Father Christmas" makes me tear up, but it might be just a little pointed for an office gathering -- "Hallelujah, Noel, be it heaven or hell, the Christmas we get, we deserve." Um. Right. Maybe not. Actually a lot of the rock ones I like best are really depressing.

As I said, I'd happily listen to a good singer perform "O Holy Night" over a lot of other choices. I personally feel like if I have to listen to "Winter Wonderland" ever again, I will start ripping speaker wires out of the wall. But if you want something not-so-religious, a wassail song might just do.

#806 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 06:10 PM:

Rikibeth @ 805... Did you ever see that Hanukkah picture that was going around months ago and featuring Harrison Ford?

#807 ::: Stephen Sample ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 06:20 PM:

Seconding the suggestion for wassail songs; or one of the Plough Monday carols.

Might be hard for the organizers to find music, though.

In the other direction, there's Deck Us All with Boston Charlie; the organizers probably can't find the lyrics, but the tune is easy to come by*.

* Less so if you believe that the tune is "Run for the Roundhouse, Nellie, He Can't Corner you There," as opposed to the more common "Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly."

#808 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 06:33 PM:

Stan Rogers' First Christmas Away from Home probably isn't available on karaoke, but it's pretty good and secular enough.

#809 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 06:35 PM:

..."Christmas in the Trenches" would be a bad choice, right?

#810 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 06:37 PM:

Advent at Ephesus. This is what Christmas is about. Buy this album and keep it at the top of the Billboard charts. (Knocked off 50 Shades: The Classical Album it did).

#811 ::: Tracie is Gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 06:39 PM:

Probably the YouTube lInk. Have a seasonal ale and put it on my tab. Thanks.

#812 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 06:52 PM:

Since it was traditional Christmas music that got my butt back in church (or knees back on the kneeler) I have a special love for them. I loved them when I was an agnostic, so I am not the best one to ask for an objective answer. That said, I do like I'll Be Home For Christmas. Otherwise, I'd be tempted to go with one of those bizarre allegorical Christmas songs that don't make any sense even to most Literal-Type Christians. What? There were three ships in the Bible? The Nina, The Pinta and the Santa Maria? Explain to me again what Holly and Ivy have to do with middle-eastern culture? And as beautiful as the song is, I don't think either Jeanette nor Isabella is mentioned in any of the gospels.

If all else fails, sing in a foreign language!

#813 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 07:16 PM:

Serge, no I haven't! Dare I ask?

Carrie S., I thought of that one too! While I'd unquestionably sing that with my friends, it miiiiiiight not be the thing for a festive office party. Per-maybe-haps.

nerdycellist, I agree about foreign languages being an excellent buffer.

#814 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 07:21 PM:

Well, if you want foreign languages, there's "Un Flambeau, Jeannette Isabella".

#815 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 07:35 PM:

In #798 Carrie S. writes:

Anyone got a decent idea for a winter song that the party organizers are likely to have access to music for?

Some tentative suggestions:

Hard to sing "Baby, It's Cold Outside" unless you can recruit a partner (or are good at doing two distinct voices).

I am not one of those who welcomes "My Favorite Things" into the Yuletide canon-- apparently just because it mentions snowflakes-- but if you feel differently it may be an option for your performance.

I am also not fond of "Frosty the Snowman," despite Tris McCall's reasoned advocacy of the song, but your mileage may vary.

As the Monty Python troupe would say, "Deck the Halls" hasn't got much Christmas in it...

If you have a very good sense of rhythm, consider humming Leroy Anderson's "Sleigh Ride" whilst clicking your tongue. I guarantee your audience has never heard anyone do this before.

Tom Whitmore writes in #808:

Stan Rogers' "First Christmas Away from Home" probably isn't available on karaoke, but it's pretty good and secular enough.

Yeah, but it's quite a downer.

#816 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 07:54 PM:

Stephen Sample @807, when I put "Deck the Halls" on my list, I found I couldn't remember the real words.

Walla, Walla, Wash...

Ah well. Some things are powerful once imprinted. There are a oouple of old Mad magazine parodies that do that to me too.

#817 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 07:55 PM:

Minor silliness from the grocery: I just bought a carton of Organic Valley eggnog. One side of the carton features a cute little "we family farmers care about you" piece, signed by... "George Siemon, CEIEIO".

(The eggnog itself is pretty good, but it's startling not to be getting that corn-syrup stickiness and god-knows-what viscosity.)

#818 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 08:16 PM:

Bill Higgins: In addition to not having a partner, I object to "Baby It's Cold Outside" on the grounds that it's basically The Date Rape Song.

I'm leaning towards "Adeste Fidelis" or possibly "O Little Town of Bethlehem" at this point.

#819 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 08:39 PM:

nerdycellist, thanks for letting us know that music got you back into church. I understand completely.

My parish is starting a new Social Justice ministry, (in addition to our St Vincent de Paul ministry, which among other things, feeds people). I put my name down for it. The first meeting, with our pastor, to discuss what projects we might look at, and what we might do, is tonight.

#820 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 08:40 PM:

Lizzy L is visiting the gnomes...

#821 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 08:42 PM:

I recommend paying for the 'no ads' setup.

#822 ::: Stephen Sample ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 08:56 PM:

Carrie S @895: Christmas in the Trenches would be quietly awesome, but yeah, probably not available as karaoke!

Similarly awesome, but probably even harder to find music for, there's "Christo ya Nacio" (which I learned from Pete Seeger), or Ewan McColl's "Moving On Song."

All three are beloved parts of our Christmas playlist around here. But they're not recommended for listeners of ...certain political persuasions.

OtterB @815: Deck Us All is hard to sing with other people, too, given the sheer number of versions Walt Kelly wrote (and how obscure some of them are).

I can think of at least 6 verses, and I'm sure I'm missing some.

I did enjoy getting the church choir to record it with four part harmony and feeling, though.

#823 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 09:00 PM:

OtterB @815: Well, you could always do the Barenaked Ladies version of Deck the Halls ... in which they replaced the words entirely with "Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young" repeated over and over.

(No, really.

#824 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 09:03 PM:

Right; let's try that as a real link. (Sorry.)

#825 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 09:06 PM:

Brooks Moses, You're not helping!


#826 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 09:36 PM:

Rikibeth @ 812...

Yes, dare ask.
"Keep the Han in Hanukkah"

#827 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 09:38 PM:

About the Gathering of Light at Oakland's Breads of India... I need to switch the evening back to Monday because Tuesday is the only time I can meet my sister-in-law. I hope that D Potter along with Heather Rose Jones and Bill Stewart can make it. And others too.

#828 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 09:43 PM:

Christmas in the Trenches is on my list of most depressing songs of Christmas. First Christmas is #1 on that list.

One fairly secular song of the season is Somewhere in My Memory, from the Home Alone movies. it does mention Christmas, but not in a religious context. On the other hand, it could be triggering because it's all about how wonderful it is to have the whole family together at Christmas time. Yeah, it was a bit triggery for me. And I was particularly creeped out by the Sims video set to the Bette Midler rendition.

Then there's Tom Lehrer's Christmas Carol, which I learned at age 8 or 9 from my mother, so it must be traditional. Shouldn't offend the religious sensibilities of people.

Or you can put them all to work and sing The Twelve Days of Christmas. Or The Twelve Days After Christmas. There are several YouTube videos of it. (I'm avoiding links because the Gnomes found mine crunchy a while ago).

#829 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 10:15 PM:

Well, my oldest cat has finally stopped setting daily records for "Oldest Cat I've Ever Had". She was nearly 20 years old, quite frail and tottery, but still in possession of a good appetite and strong personality. I found her having a seizure this morning, and chose to provide her with euthanasia. I wrapped her in a white t shirt spritzed with dilute bleach, her favorite aroma (she used to roll on newly mopped floors), and took her to the crematory.

I was beginning to wonder if her life would ever end, and here we are.

#830 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 10:30 PM:

Ginger, I'm sorry for your loss.

#831 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 10:37 PM:

A recitation rather than a song: The Bills.

#832 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 10:44 PM:

Ginger -- old cats are a blessing. We've recently fostered a 16 yr old, and he's just wonderful. At least your baby had a good innings, and it sounds as if you did well by hir.

#833 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 10:46 PM:

Sorry to hear, Ginger...

#834 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 10:54 PM:

I'm sorry for your loss Ginger. Your kitty was lucky to have such a kind owner.

#835 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 11:00 PM:

Carrie S@798:
If you want to go for something in Latin, there's always Personent Hodie.

#836 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 11:09 PM:

Ginger, I'm sorry for your loss.

#837 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 11:10 PM:

Ginger #829: My sympathies... 20 years is pretty impressive for a cat.

#838 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2012, 11:11 PM:

Ginger, I'm very sorry for your loss.

#839 ::: CZEdwards ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2012, 12:10 AM:

Oh, Ginger.... I'm sorry. That always hurts, no matter the circumstances.

Carrie S: Perhaps something entirely non-trad? We're militantly anti-religious holiday in these parts, but we do keep some music for "The Season" when we have to have family 'round or be 'round them. Looking over our playlist: A scad of Loreena McKennitt (I'm personally fond of Dicken's Dublin, but it's a downer); Pink Floyd's On the Turning Away, the Pogues Fairy Tale of New York (more Kirsty MacColl, less McGowan), and Smashing Pumpkins Christmastime. (most of the playlist is instrumental.) Most, save the McKennitt, should have karaoke tracks at iTunes; McKennitt's (basic) backing music is generally simple and I believe available in sheet form. I know she's released several holiday albums; those might serve as inspiration.

#840 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2012, 12:14 AM:

Ginger, I'm sorry.

#841 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2012, 12:19 AM:

Stupid semi-annual cold; post-nasal drip, aches and fever. The Internet tells me I have three days of being a germ vector. Not best pleased to miss the first day of Advent - my favorite season. But I'm certain my fellow altos will appreciate not being exposed to my germs. At least I'll miss the Great Litany, which, I'm sorry, makes me want to hit my face with my choir folder in the manner of Monty Python in between each verse. Feh.

#842 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2012, 12:30 AM:

Carrie 798: I can't imagine they expect you to come up with something that will answer for all different winter festivals. Pick something you like and don't worry about it.

I'm particularly fond of singing "Adeste Fideles" very slowly, almost like a Gregorian chant, then changing keys up and breaking into "Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful." This is an elaborated version of an arrangement I sang in high school.

Or you could sing "Throw the Yule Log On, Uncle John." You know...throw the yule log on Uncle John. Or "The Twelve Days After Christmas" ("...the first day after Christmas/My true love and I had a fight.").

nerdycellist 812: "Jeanette Isabella" (which I always thought of as addressing one person, not two) is a Christmas lyric to an older non-Christmas carol, kind of like "What Child is This." "Three Ships" is a weird medieval (or something) thing; it also has "Jesus Christ and his Lady" in it...they don't mean the Goddess, they just assume that every Lord has a Lady, just as they assumed Jerusalem wasn't an actual place on Earth, but some aspect of Heaven.

"The Holly and the Ivy" is synchretistic; it's trying to link Christianity to the older religious traditions of Europe, wherein liminal plants (ones that grow at the edge of the forest, rather than in open fields or deep in the woods) are sacred. Also, the words are so poorly fitted to the music that I strongly suspect they aren't the original ones.

Ginger 829: I'm very sorry for your loss.

#843 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2012, 01:30 AM:

AKICIML: I have a blogging project in mind which I think needs its own space, not just to cohabit with my existing livejournal.

Anybody have any recommendations for a blogging set-up to use? To avoid using? Any other pitfalls to avoid?

(I think that I would like to be able to have posts post themselves at a pre-set time. There may be other constraints that I only discover as I run into them.)

#844 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2012, 01:35 AM:

For an alternative, Weddings Parties Anything did Jolly Old Christmas Time, an Australian approach....

#845 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2012, 02:53 AM:

Serge Broom @696, I'm not much into anime, but many moons ago, before I canceled my cable service (157+ channels and not a blinkin' thing on I wanted to watch most of the time), I came across a rather odd and entertaining cartoon called Samurai Jack, for which Mako provided the voice of the villain, Aku. Might that be what you're after?

Also, did you in fact make it to the ST:TNG showing last night? If so, what did you think of the experience?

#846 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2012, 03:00 AM:

Mako voiced Uncle Iroh for Avatar, though that's not precisely anime by some people's definitions because the writing/creative team is all American (and the animators are Korean, I think). It is definitely a big fat love letter to anime, though.

#847 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2012, 03:34 AM:

Syd @ 845... I'm not much into anime, but some friends are so I know that Mako was Uncle Iroh in "The last Airbender" - the TV series, not the movie, which fans of the TV show apparently hate. And yes, I fondly remember Gendy Tartakovsky's "Samurai Jack", in which Mako was evil shapeshifting demon Aku.

The ST-TNG thing was neat. I was never a big fan of the show, but how could I pass the chance to watch one of their really good episodes, my friend Melinda's "The Measure of a Man" all cleaned up and edited back to its full length?

#848 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2012, 09:01 AM:

Oops. I repeated some of what Elliott Mason had responded to Syd. It *was* late. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

#849 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2012, 09:09 AM:

Ginger @ 829 ...

:( Sympathies and empathies.

#850 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2012, 10:18 AM:

Ginger, think of the greeting you'll be getting on the other side. (I expect to be told how mean everyone is, with someone running after yelling 'I wasn't done petting you!' And by a cold wet nose against my ankle, from the other side.)

#851 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2012, 10:41 AM:

Ginger, I'm sorry for your loss, though indeed from your LJ it sounds like the beastie had the best of all possible lives.

Re Christmas music: see if your library has the Oxford Book of Carols. It's a treasure trove.

Best version of 12 Days of Christmas EVER.

#852 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2012, 11:13 AM:

Japanese dude built a giant robot. Got wheels (road-worthy?), hydraulics, hands controlled by haptic gloves.

#853 ::: Dave Harmon has been gnomed... ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2012, 11:15 AM:

Not much food handy, but I've been browsing the cookie thread Abi linked to... thinking about it.

#854 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2012, 11:20 AM:

P J Evans @821: Was that for me re. WordPress? How much is it for that? I've just signed up for the basic version; the only alternative they offered was with all sorts of extras I didn't think I needed, at "$149 per year or $99 per year if you start with it" - that sort of pressurised marketing always gets my back up.

Also, I don't really want to have a blog. I'm only doing one because it may help with using my runs next year (5 x 50-mile races planned) for fundraising. I'm not about to pay $99 a year (or $149, since I didn't take it out on setup) for that.

#855 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2012, 11:31 AM:

Yes; brain fart on the comment number.

'Ad-free' is $30 a year; you get there through the 'premium features' button. It's in one of the boxes down the page a bit.

#856 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2012, 11:58 AM:

Ginger, my sympathies -- I have a tottery 19 year old Siamese, and have been convinced for the last year that one morning I'd wake up and he'd be gone.

Still, his appetite is I'm trying not to think to hard about his potential departure.

#857 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2012, 01:23 PM:

I believe I have a post in moderation, about blogging and wordpress. It isn't very long, can someone please rescue it?

#858 ::: Cally Soukup reports guthrie gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2012, 02:01 PM:

Just thought I'd put the gnomes in the header.

#859 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2012, 04:52 PM:

guthrie, I can't find your post in either the moderation queue or the spam bucket. It's just not anywhere.

I'm sorry. It must not have made it onto the system, somehow.

#860 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2012, 05:05 PM:

Ginger: sympathies on the loss of your cat. May the memory of those 20 years live with you for a long time.

#861 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2012, 05:05 PM:

Wait, I'm confused. Wordpress is free, at least at You have to install it on your own website, which has a hosting cost related to it, but the blogging software is free. Where are these $99 and $149 numbers coming from?

#862 ::: Linkmeister in the clutches of gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2012, 05:06 PM:

Without even a link to tempt them. My prose must have been judged exceptional!

#863 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2012, 05:07 PM:

My hiking buddy, Martin Bender, has just died. It was peaceful, with his family around him, and he was 77 and cancer ridden, so things went about as well as they could have... but still, I'll miss him, and I think so will most of the folks around him.

#864 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2012, 06:08 PM:

Dave Harmon: Condolences on your loss. May his memory be a comfort.

#866 ::: Fragano Ledgister wonders what the gnomes want now ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2012, 07:02 PM:

Dave Harmon #863: Sorry for your loss.

#867 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2012, 07:49 PM:

Dave Harmon, I'm sorry for your loss.

#868 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2012, 08:05 PM:

My condolences, Dave.

#869 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2012, 08:56 PM:

Thanks, all. Mom had me over for dinner with the kids (and Gracie), and I learned that he left his body to science, which is entirely characteristic of him). However, he also specified not just no funeral, or even a memorial. Yeah, he was an atheist, but I kinda thought he'd understand that funerals are for the living.... :-~

#870 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2012, 10:17 PM:

Dave, I'm very sorry for your loss.

#871 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2012, 10:18 PM:

Condolences to both Ginger and Dave Harmon--may memories of your loved ones bring you joy.

#872 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2012, 10:29 PM:

Dave Harmon: Condolences from here as well.

If he was that much of a scientist, would he be likely to care if you put together a memorial anyway?

Me, I hope folks have one hell of a party (probably several!) to remember me once I die. Makes a nice going-away present.

#873 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2012, 11:40 PM:

Dave Harmon, sorry for the loss of your friend. As you say, funerals -are- for the living.

Ginger, my condolences on your cat. 20 years is a long time to get used to them being around.

Either I don't have much going on, or I'm too busy to remember it. I had a lot of comments to read to catch up, and now I have nothing to say, not even about plums.

This is just to say
I took that bag of plasma...

#874 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2012, 11:44 PM:

Dave: I'm sorry for your loss. Maybe a wake is far enough from a memorial or funeral that it would be permissible.

Ginger, I'm sorry for the loss of your old kitty.

I do wonder about the bleach thing though. My little kitty loves bleach to the point of loving and licking and trying to eat my hands if I do any cleaning with bleach. It's almost catnip.

#875 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2012, 12:31 PM:

My prior thanks apparently got taken by the gnomes, so, thanks everybody.

#876 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2012, 01:14 PM:

These days little surprises me in student papers. This statement, however, rendered me speechless: "Delligently, I worked to find the similarities and differences between the two by analyzing biological, psychological, and social context of each group." The problem here is that the student was supposed to be laying out a research design in political science.

#877 ::: Fragano Ledgister hath been Gnomed again ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2012, 01:15 PM:

Gevalt! It's too late to promise their Lownesses my firstborn. Would a rum punch do?

#878 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2012, 01:34 PM:

Dave, I'm so sorry for your loss. May his memory be a blessing.

#879 ::: Fragano Ledgister hath been Gnomed again ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2012, 04:39 PM:

I warn students about relying on the spellchecker! In a piece on housing in Atlanta, I got this:

"This concludes everything was still under government control, it however began to see a shit when African-Americans emerged into leadership roles and it became more common to see Black academics." Somehow, I don't think that this was quite what the student intended.

#880 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2012, 04:42 PM:

This is to remind people that the Gathering of Light at Oakland's Breads of India will be on Monday, not on Tuesday, but still at 6:30pm.

(By the way, I won't have access to any site or email not related to my work tomorrow, in case you try to reach me.)

#881 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2012, 05:22 PM:

Julie @769
Thank you! I've been looking for a suitable thing to knit for an upcoming baby. These are marvelous. Bought the blocks/shapes one.

Now, where did I put that yard....

#882 ::: Lin Daniel has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2012, 05:24 PM:

Apologies and groveling and raisin bran muffins, perhaps? whaddi do?

#883 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2012, 05:25 PM:

Where did I put that yarn?

#884 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2012, 05:31 PM:

I'm a bit late to the discussion but here I am. Ginger and Dave, I'm truly sorry for both of your losses. It all hurts, but not loving our pets or our friends is impossible. Hugs.

#885 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2012, 06:24 PM:

Lin Daniel @ 883... Does Scotland Yarn deal mainly with crimes of fashion?

#886 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2012, 08:37 PM:

Ginger, Dave, I'm sorry for your losses.

Serge: Oh if only someone would needle fashion victims.

#887 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2012, 12:56 AM:

WTF is WRONG with people in Arizona? Keep seeing more and more stories about hate-filled bigots like this loser Tim Richard.

I know some fine people who are from AZ, and some fine people who live there now. What the hell is going on with all these crazy losers?

#888 ::: Xopher HalfTongue in gnomine domini ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2012, 12:58 AM:

Super chockie brownies?

#889 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2012, 01:39 AM:

You can send an email to the bastard from the staff page if you want. You have to give a valid email address.

I sent one titled "Your encouragement of hate." It went like this:

I'm sure you've already skipped this one because of the Subject line, but just in case I'm wrong: your "creative" punishment of the two boys caught fighting creates a hostile environment for gay students at the school, and may be a contributing factor in future homophobic assaults and bullying-related suicides.
I know you're not stupid. You must have known this. Therefore I conclude that you must hate gay people, including - perhaps especially - gay teenagers, and that you intended this as deliberate strategy. That makes you the enemy of gay people everywhere, and of everyone who cares about kids regardless of their sexual orientation.
It is my fervent hope that the Mesa School Board is in that category, and that they will remove you as principal.

I signed it with my real name.

#890 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2012, 02:10 PM:

Fade, #781: Interesting link! I have it bookmarked now. Also, thank you for the recommendation of Boomerangs -- I'll be in Austin in a couple of weeks, and may try to check it out.

Unrelatedly, if you would be interested in a private Hobbit viewing party at the Alamo Drafthouse, drop me an e-mail at fgneqernzre@zvaqfcevat.pbz for details. One of our friends up there is hosting it, and she's just opened up the invitation list.

SandyB., #786: That sounds almost like it could have been in one of the Young Wizards books, but I don't think the dates match up and Duane doesn't use "angels" and "demons" per se. Sorry I can't be more helpful!

Carrie, #798: Snarky suggestion: Tom Lehrer's "A Christmas Carol".

If you don't think that would go over well, it's easy to de-Christianize "Good King Wenceslas" -- the only thing that has to change is "therefore Christian men be sure", and "therefore everyone be sure" fits perfectly.

Tim Minchin's "White Wine in the Sun" would probably not be a good choice, although it's one of my personal favorites. (Trigger warning -- assumes happy family relationships.)

Foreign languages... how about Gaudete? (Link is to the Steeleye Span version, my personal favorite.)

Ginger, #829: My condolences on your loss. May she be remembered well.

Debra, #835: Thanks for that link! I'll have to go find that to add to my holiday collection.

Dave H., #863: My condolences, to you and to his family. Could you throw a wake for him? That's what I want when I die.

Xopher, #887: Holy crap. I'm glad to see that the school authorities are not just brushing it off, but the harm is done now and can't be undone.

#891 ::: Lee is visiting the gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2012, 02:11 PM:

Probably for several YouTube links.

#892 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2012, 02:24 PM:

Ginger @829: Ah, what a lovely exit: snuggled by your hooman, wrapped in your favorite smellies.

#893 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2012, 02:32 PM:

Dave Harmon @868: Good tramps, Martin Bender.

#894 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2012, 02:36 PM:

Paula Helm Murray @884: not loving our pets or our friends is impossible.

Actually, it is possible. But I, um, don't recommend it.

#895 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2012, 04:57 PM:

Ginger and Dave, I do not hesitate to offer you condolences together. You have both suffered a loss you will have to deal with as best you can.
I get parenting time with a little boy, and his mother is convinced that a five-year-old can't process the concept of death. The other day, I saw something (a large home aviary) that reflected the interests of a stepdaughter who died before he was born, and took the opportunity to tell him a little about her, and how I felt seeing that aviary. I think he actually did fairly well with the concept, "She will always be with us".
And they will always be with you, Ginger and Dave.

Carrie S. @798, I wonder as have others whether a song *about* Christmas would be acceptable. If so, I would recommend "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas", with the original wartime lyrics ("In a year we all will be together, if the fates allow / Until then we'll have to muddle through somehow"). A lot of people have had a hard year, and the simple honesty of a song which acknowledges that may be what they need.
I do like "Adeste Fidelis" quite a lot (I had the British soldiers in "The Christmas Mutiny" start up "O Come All Ye Faithful", with the Germans joining in, and finishing together in Latin), but it's undeniably Christian.
The "Ode to Freedom/Joy" and "Morning Has Broken" are beautiful and nonsectarian, but not especially Wintery.

#896 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2012, 05:09 PM:

Given the intrusion of Xmas Lite Rok(tm) on my ears everywhere I go the past couple of weeks, I would recommend something from Kevin "Bloody" Wilson's Christmas Album. But although that has a high probability of assuring the goal of not being asked to sing again, it also gives a high probability of not being asked to come back Monday morning. (if it isn't clear, there's a trigger warning for almost everything - sexism, abuse, and massive amounts of profanity - if you go looking for his stuff.)

So, how about the standby "O Little Town of Bethlehem" - sung to "House of the Rising Sun"?

(No, I'm not particularly serious even with that)

#897 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2012, 06:19 PM:

I may just be having an emotional day, but I have tears standing in my eyes just THINKING of the beautiful Judy Garland version of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas."

They are not happy tears.

#898 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2012, 06:20 PM:

I find that Marty's family has scheduled a memorial service next month.

John M. Burt #895: yes, whenever you love someone (pets included) something of them stays in your heart.

I'll also note that being unable to "process" something is not the same as being unable to understand it on a visceral level. Dogs and cats (especially dogs) can experience grief, but they can't talk to anyone about it. A human five-year-old can certainly understand the idea that someone is gone and not coming back, they can experience the bereavement... what they lack is the emotional "control" to deal with the experience, and process it "quietly", so you see all the primitive defenses such as denial, overflow, bargaining/magical thinking, and such... unconstrained by adult sensibilities. Of course, many adults are also overwhelmed by grief, especially of a loved one.

#899 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2012, 07:06 PM:

Too much holiday music on the radio: This afternoon I caught myself singing "Frosty the snowman/had a very shiny nose..." It scans, anyway.

#901 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2012, 09:40 PM:

Mycroft W @896 because if one works to the other, the other should work to the first, I just asked my sweetie to sing the lyrics of House of the Rising Sun to Little Town of Bethlehem. Both versions made us crack up.

#902 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2012, 10:34 PM:

I've never been fond of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas". It was on one of my parents' standard Christmas albums, and for some reason the phrasing (especially in the title line) always struck me as patronizing. It probably didn't help that the performer on the album had a smarmy crooner voice.

Naomi, #901: Rather than repeat the discussion of "ballad meter", I'll just link to Wikipedia's, which is pretty good and gives a number of examples. Any song written in ballad meter can be sung TTTO any other song written in ballad meter, and the results are generally funny. It makes a fun party game too, if your guests are of a musical bent. Pick one tune and see how many different songs people can come up with to sing to it!

#903 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2012, 10:48 PM:

Lee, that smarmy crooner effect is why I believe the only worthwhile version of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" is Judy Garland's. She puts an entirely different spin on it, and brings out the pathos in the song.

Which is why I can't listen to it very often. It's brilliant, and it HURTS.

#904 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2012, 11:34 PM:

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas is also on my list of most depressing songs of Christmas. I usually illustrate it with a YouTube video of the scene from Meet Me in St Louis, where Judy Garland sings it to the little sister, who promptly runs outside into the snow and has a psychotic episode.

Walking in a Winter Wonderland is much cheerier.

#905 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2012, 12:40 AM:

Rikibeth: ever hear the alternate take of "Over the Rainbow," which was recorded for but not used in the film? Dorothy tries singing it in the witch's dungeon to raise her spirits since she's trapped and in the dark. It most emphatically does not do so.

#906 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2012, 03:53 AM:

I need some advice.

I just spent a week playing in the bridge Nationals with my birth father. We didn't do very well in anything...and, he made a bunch of mechanical errors that were really unlike him. He revoked (failed to follow suit) no fewer than three times. Anyone might revoke (I've done it myself), but three times in one week? And there was one point where we got the boards to replay and he pulled out all the hands from one, thinking that the board needed to be shuffled. (In fact it had already been played once, so this was very much not the case; we wound up taking a penalty for fouling the board.) Towards the end of the week, I led the deuce of a suit, and he misplayed because he thought my spot card on the second round was lower than what I led.

He had a TIA earlier this year. I really wonder whether he ought to see a neurologist.

I spoke to him about it at the end of the week...but it strikes me as the sort of thing that you tell someone (especially a man) and they ignore.

So the question from my point of view is: should I email his wife and share my concerns? (She just emailed me, so it would be easy enough to include in my reply.) Or would that be too intrusive? I kind of doubt that he'd thank me for it.

#907 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2012, 06:42 AM:

David Goldfarb: I was in the car with my father on a rainy night when he abruptly forgot how to drive. I took over the wheel, but did nothing else. Not long after that he suffered a stroke in full view of three family members. Nobody took him to the ER.

I'm not saying that your father's health is more important than his dignity. I'm saying that he may end up with neither. Just a single data point.

#908 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2012, 06:52 AM:

David Goldfarb: Not the mistake with the board, but some of the others sound like they might be vision issues as well. There can be medication side effects. I think that sharing your observations with his wife would be a good thing.

#909 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2012, 08:01 AM:

It's like the difference between Kermit the Frog singing "The Rainbow Connection", and Willie Nelson singing it. In Kermit's take, it's a whimsical, gentle little ballad, slightly rueful but good-natured, and even comic. When Mr Nelson sings it, it becomes a wry, sardonic, and far more profound exposition of life and hope.

#910 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2012, 08:23 AM:

Bruce, I haven't heard that one. It would probably wreck me for days.

Dave Luckett, I haven't heard the Willie Nelson version, but the original Kermit the Frog version USED to be whimsical and gentle for me; ever since Jim Henson's death, it's made me sob. Worried my friends at karaoke, once.

...huh. I've just realized that the set "Songs That Make Rikibeth Sob" is pretty much entirely enclosed by the set "Songs That Are Meant To Be Hopeful". "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas", "Rainbow Connection", Fred Small's "Everything Possible" -- that one, I practiced enough to be able to sing as a lullaby when my child was little, but I've tried singing it to a friend's baby now, and I break down entirely -- and, Eponine's part in "A Little Fall of Rain". I can sing Marius's part, allowing for a few notes that are out of my range whether I try it in the original octave or shift it up, but Eponine's? Useless. And she was happy, for once, because she was getting what she wanted. Marius wasn't, and I can handle that.

I am not sure this says anything good about me.

#911 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2012, 08:59 AM:

Rikibeth: Have you heard "A Boy and His Frog"? I'm not sure it's intended to be hopeful, but it makes me cry every time.

#912 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2012, 09:05 AM:

In the category of "hopeful music that makes me teary-eyed" I offer The British Paraorchestra. This is going to become my go-to unicorn chaser, I think. Seriously, if you are even remotely prone to sentimental/joyful tears, don't watch it at work. (via Elizabeth Moon's sffnet newsgroup)

#913 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2012, 10:06 AM:

Please feel free to keep mentioning teary-eyed songs for the general interest, but understand that I'm not likely to check them out: I meant it when I said "these are not happy tears."

"Over the Rainbow" will do it as well. And, NOT a hopeful song, but guaranteed: "Green Fields of France" (which you may know as "Willie McBride"). The hopeful-sounding songs fill me with the same bitterness that's explicit in "Green Fields of France".

If I were to discuss this more, it would probably belong on the DFD thread.

Yes, I'm starting resuming therapy next week.

#914 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2012, 10:12 AM:

I always liked "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." It always felt a bit melancholy to me. This made much more sense once I learned about the original -- the usual climactic line "Hang a shining star upon the highest bough" is instead "Until then, we'll have to muddle through somehow." I guess I find Christmas sadness more interesting than Christmas schmaltz? I also like Joni Mitchell's "River."

Songs that make me cry: Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's version of "Over the Rainbow" reliably makes me cry. It always feels like a mourning song to me -- someone who once had the land over the rainbow, and lost it.

In a Hawaiian Airlines in-flight magazine, I read an article about that version of the song that explained a lot. (I think this is that article; I guess the magazine republished it from a blog post?) It really is a deeply sad song. It's essentially mourning the loss of Hawaiian culture.

#915 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2012, 10:36 AM:

In re christmas sadness, my two favorites of late are both by Jonathan Coulton: Chiron Beta Prime and Christmas is Interesting (both links YouTube).

#916 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2012, 11:02 AM:

Carrie, #911: Oh, yes. I've reduced entire rooms full of non-fen to tears with that one. (For fen, it sort of goes without saying.)

Rikibeth, #913: *Hugs* if you want them...

#917 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2012, 11:29 AM:

Lee, I appreciate them. I've just finished the details on a slightly finicky craft project -- a knitted coffee cup sleeve, meant to look like an Age of Sail naval lieutenant's coat, and while the knitting was simple, the sequin buttons were not -- and the sense of accomplishment is helping.

#918 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2012, 11:57 AM:

David Goldfarb: Ah, yet another reason why I'm sorry I missed San Francisco. Wanted to go, but it was the week after the wedding week off (not mine :-). We'll meet sometime, though, I'm sure - bridge is just one of those things.

Revoking three times in a week, especially if people aren't used (any more) to two sessions/day for a week, especially if it's stiffer competition than one is used to, isn't unusual (I've seen two revokes on the same Sunday by Flight A players who are just exhausted, even in a sectional). Of course, I don't know you or your father, or what games he usually plays in, or whether he does regionals on a regular basis and has for 30 years or not.

So, it's the *change* that matters. It sounds like, given that you mention it, that this is really unexpected from him, and so, worth checking out. You're right, he would probably say "oh, I'm just tired, it's hard playing two sessions a day", and that might be true. I don't think I would panic about it, but yes, I might mention it to his wife (more of a "we had fun this week, but dad made some uncharacteristic lapses. Has he been really tired recently?" than anything specific, if that would work). I'm guessing that that would tie to any alarms currently triggering in her head if they are there, but not freak her too much if it just was different place, different food, different activity, wanting to impress son, and all the rest.

"Hopeful" songs - I can't cry. Yes, that's a thing for the DFD (well, DSchoolD) threads, but it's there. Even when the catharsis is needed, it gets to "all the way but", and the tears don't come. Very frustrating. However, two movies will set me off, every time - Guys and Dolls and West Side Story. Specifically the "hopeful" songs that we know aren't at the time, (G&D), or aren't going to be (WSS). Pity I can't use the triggers when I need them - because I have to sit through the whole shows (which I love, but in that state, have no patience for). On another note, though, "Fugue for Tinhorns" is one of my favourite pieces of music. One of these days, I'll find a couple of others to learn it and perform it.

Which is why my go-to songs for when people usually suggest the hopeful ones are the sarcastic angry ones. Thus, Kevin "Bloody" Wilson, The Twelve Days After Christmas, good old P.D.Q., et al. They don't make me angry - they make me laugh. Pretty much the only thing that can cut through the miasma.

And yes, Naomi, Lee; there's a reason 8686 is noted CM in the hymn books - "common metre". I didn't realize it was "ballad metre" as well, but I'm not surprised.

And for the Christmas song thread, I like the "less cheery" carols as well. I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, The Coventry Carol, and such. And I *hate* 12days - it's just boring. Not so much, though, the version we sang one year at our carol festival (link to another choir).

#919 ::: Carol Witt ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2012, 01:05 PM:

David @ #906: As Mycroft says (and I'm sure you know anyway), the Nationals are tiring, so it could depend on when they happened during the tournament. Were they increasing toward the end?

Still, an unusual number of errors on simple plays after a TIA would cause me to say something, especially since you're sending her an email reply anyway. It's possible that his wife has noticed mistakes in other areas and is wondering about them, or she can at least start to keep a closer eye on him to see if he's making an increasing number of odd errors.

He might not thank you, but put it another way: if something does happen, would you (or his wife) thank yourself for noticing and not saying anything about this?

I do sympathize, having been through a vaguely similar situation (a relative with Alzheimer disease).

I hope you enjoyed the tournament despite the results!

#920 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2012, 01:47 PM:

David @906--I agree with the others. Say something. His wife may have noticed something, and wondered if she was just overreacting to the recent TIA. So she'd have the support of knowing it wasn't just her. If it was just fatigue from a long event after an illness, there's no harm done. If it's someting else--vision, memory, or anything else, better to mention it than not.

We got my father to a doctor and got his brain tumor diagnosed when we noticed he was showing signs of memory loss and confusion after a visit at my brother's; if my brother and I hadn't said anything to my mother I think it wold have been even harder on my mother, since my father loathed going to the doctor. Like the others who can say BTDT, I think it's better to say something than to pretend nothing was wrong.

#921 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2012, 01:59 PM:

David 906: I agree with those who say you should tell his wife what you observed at the tournament.

(As a side note, I've heard the term 'renege' but not 'revoke' (before now) for failing to follow suit. But I haven't played bridge in years, and maybe it's been changed because of the post-2008 use of 'renege' (spelled differently) by racists.)

Dave 909, Rikibeth 910: "The Rainbow Connection" makes me cry, and always has, and I've only heard the Kermit version.

#922 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2012, 02:48 PM:

Mycroft, #918: OMG that is amazing! Somebody nailed those arrangements.

Aside: I'm not finding the Straight No Chaser version as funny as I used to, and it's specifically because of the "everybody makes fun of the Jewish guy" section. That seems to have been a "funny the first few times, and then not so much" thing.

#923 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2012, 03:02 PM:

Hurrah, a Christmas songs subthread! I need something to help jumpstart my holiday cheer - I'm stuck in Southern California, and people around here don't seem to get as much into the season as people back home in the Northeast.

My brother sometimes has the problem of the post-Christmas crash. Now, when that happens, he just plays Stephen Colbert's Cold Cold Christmas on loop, following people around the house.

I'm also a big fan of this comedy number: Santa and Me, a retro storytelling rap about saving Christmas, in the spirit of old Christmas specials.

As for the Twelve Days of Christmas, the Stanford Fleet Street Singers' version is my favorite.

#924 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2012, 03:48 PM:

Mycroft, the Coventry Carol is my hands-down favorite, any time, anywhere. Mostly for the spooky minor-key goodness of the melody, but "hush, little baby, or THEY'LL KILL YOU" resonates better with me than the cheerful ones.

Have you heard "The Saint Stephen's Day Murders"? Elvis Costello performs it with the Chieftains on their album "The Bells of Dublin". If ever there was a DFD Carol, that's the one.

I'm also fond of "The Twelve Pains of Christmas", a rock-radio comedy staple. "You're so smart, YOU rig up the lights!" But once or twice a season is enough for that.

My rock-radio favorite? The Kinks' "Father Christmas". Not in the LEAST suitable for an office party, but it makes me happy.

#925 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2012, 03:56 PM:

Naomi Parkhurst @901 and Lee @902, the late Mike Rubin used to refer to such songs as being "Greensleeves complete" (that's a math joke), though the even lines of "Greensleeves" have an extra syllable.

#926 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2012, 04:03 PM:

Rikibeth @924, yeah, the Kinks's "Father Christmas" is pretty much the only Christmas song I like.

#927 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2012, 04:13 PM:

Avram #925: "Greensleeves complete"

Perhaps ironic, since IIRC, Greensleeves wasn't originally a ballad -- it was a drinking song that got transcribed to the wrong time signature.

#928 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2012, 04:57 PM:

Re: "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"

The only modern(?) version I like was recorded by Karen Carpenter.

And "A Boy and His Frog" makes me cry every time, to the point I can't sing the "Rainbow Connection" chaser.

#929 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2012, 05:01 PM:

#906 David Goldfarb

He had a TIA earlier this year. I really wonder whether he ought to see a neurologist.

The answer is yes. Definitely yes.

A TIA is a red flag. The fact that you think that something may be wrong now is a warning, and my advice is never ignore a warning.

#930 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2012, 05:04 PM:

How is The Kinks "Father Christmas" not appropriate for office parties? I work in places that skew a little younger, sure, but I've definitely heard it played in otherwise wholesome surroundings. I suppose they expect nobody listens to all the lyrics? It's definitely become a staple of mainstream Christmas film and television media.

As for DFD carols, here's my brother's other favorite, from the subversive and short-lived TV Funhouse series: Tingles the Christmas Tension. A warning... I didn't post it before, because... well... parts of it are possibly too dark. It's about a mystical fairy who causes all the interpersonal unrest that pops up during the holidays. Some of the jokes are eye-rollingly crude, and some are distressingly spot-on.

#931 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2012, 05:08 PM:

I've opened a Holiday Music Thread here.

#933 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2012, 05:24 PM:

There's also The Irn-Bru Barrowman Advert.

(Not Christmas, but I couldn't resist.)

#934 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2012, 05:34 PM:

Thanks all for the advice -- I have gone ahead and shared my concerns with his spouse.

#935 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2012, 05:37 PM:

Xopher HalfTongue @921: I encountered "revoke" first, when I took up bridge in the early '90s, and my impression is that among tournament bridge players it's much more used than "renege", though the latter is not unknown.

Bridge jargon in general seems to have a lot of synonyms: "stiff" and "singleton", "trump" and "ruff", just to name a couple more.

#936 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2012, 06:10 PM:

Lila #932: So, this IRN-BRU is hallucinogenic? Both Snowman and Barrowman ads are pretty "cold"....

#937 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2012, 06:15 PM:

DFD carols--I'm partial to "Merry Christmas from the Family" as sung by Montgomery Gentry: it sounds like a Christmas party my father's family would have if they had one.

#938 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2012, 06:22 PM:

@Leah #930: That episode of TV Funhouse is wonderfully perverse.

There's a segment for kids on where to find their Christmas presents ahead of time. e.g., inside of loaves of bread, under grandpa's toupee, behind the dry wall.

Also, drug fueled animal puppet orgies. Well, if Christmas Cheer derived from a spinal tap is a drug.

The DVD commentary notes that the producers had to tell the animators not to try to hard on the Tingles cartoon. It is based on an actual old short beloved in the Chicagoland area.

#939 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2012, 06:54 PM:

David 935: That's interesting. I remember when I first saw 'ruff' in print and went "Oh, now I get it! It's not as in 'run roughshod over' but as in 'play a high card on'--referring to the ruffs around the necks of the kings, queens, and jacks!"

This is in fact NOT the origin of the word (the reference is to an obsolete card game), but it made a lot more sense than when I thought it was spelled "rough." Even though trumps don't all have ruffs in the sartorial sense. It was a fun folk etymology though.

#940 ::: Manda ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2012, 07:47 PM:

Hi. I'm a new poster here, and my brother is Elliott. AKICIML, so I figured I'd ask you all.

I'm writing a paper analysis of moral development of characters in modern film, and I'm trying to figure out an issue of terminology.

What is a good word to use for a movie that has a very bulky plot, full of morally chewy issues to work through and meditate on? I'm trying to describe movies like Life of Pi and Skyfall, which don't have much in common besides that their protagonists go through major moral shifts and teach the audience a big moral lesson...and can teach a whole train of thought leading up to that lesson.

Thanks in advance. I'm not asking you to do my homework, but I cannot think of this darn word! I asked Elliott, and he said that this was such a Making Light question. Thanks again!

#941 ::: Manda is gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2012, 07:48 PM:

And on my first post, too!
I have been told to offer you food as a tradition. Thanks!

#942 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2012, 07:58 PM:

Non Sequitur takes a look at fiction and nonfiction genres.

#943 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2012, 08:16 PM:

Someone elsewhere posted a link to an anagram generator, and suggested one input one's name. So I did. And apparently my new, anagrammed name is:

Omitted A Salmonella.

I was so pleased I came to ML to reply to whoever posted the anagrammer ... and apparently it wasn't here. But I still thought you might like it. :->

#944 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2012, 08:33 PM:

#922 ::: Lee

I really disliked the bit with the Jewish guy in the Straight No Chaser video-- it's a shame considering that the rest of it is brilliant.

#945 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2012, 08:51 PM:

#922 Lee and #944 Nancy

You might want to check out the Fleet Street Singers version of 12 days, which is seemingly a variation on the same original arrangement Straight No Chaser uses. It has a few differences, which you might find to be an improvement; instead of a solo, at one point half the group breaks out into the dreidel song, while half breaks into deck the halls, in the middle of a general medley - nicely doing the inclusive reference without singling anyone out.

The scorn is instead heaped on the ham who attempts to steal the show by breaking into an unsolicited solo a few moments later. Much better for comedy.

While I know a cleaner MP3 exists somewhere (I have this on a CD), unfortunately the best video I can find is prefaced by a lot of drunken collegiate shouting. Here's a link that starts later in the video, so as to avoid as much of the shouting as possible.

#946 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2012, 08:53 PM:

If you feel like something Northeastern in style, there's a skating rink in Pershing Square until MLK Day. Ice skating! Under palm trees!

#947 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2012, 09:12 PM:

Serge @ 880

This is to remind people that the Gathering of Light at Oakland's Breads of India will be on Monday, not on Tuesday, but still at 6:30pm.

Wait ... what? Damn. I would even have been able to make it yesterday had I known. Good thing I checked in today before heading downtown.

#948 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2012, 09:17 PM:

Manda @ 940

Good question. I'd call Life of Pi a bildungsroman, but isn't Skyfall a Bond film? (I've not seen it.) And Bond is rather too old for the classic bildungsroman genre. But it's a place to start thinking, maybe.

#949 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2012, 09:19 PM:

Gahh. Forgive the weird punctuation and excess conjunctions in the previous. I hate sinus headaches.

#950 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2012, 09:50 PM:

Cally @948: Having conversed with her (in my living room), she's not looking for thematic terminology like bildungsroman, but something kind of more meta.

There may not be a word. If there is one, I don't know it, but the Fluorosphere is far more widely-read on the subject than I am.

(Possibly-useful context: she's doing a complicated semester-end paper using some recently-released movies as illustrative examples for moral and philosophical content from a course she just finished, in college)

#951 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2012, 11:28 PM:

Mandy @ 940

For some slightly more lay-level terms, I might suggest starting with "Aesop" and seeing where that leads...

#952 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2012, 12:40 AM:

Hi guys. I haven't been here in awhile. Things have not gone as well as I'd hoped. And I'm not talking about politics. My new blog, the URL of which is attached to my name, has the details. I hope you all have a safe and happy holiday season and that I'm able to see you in the New Year.

#953 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2012, 12:51 AM:

There's always the Hawaiian pidgin version of The Twelve Days of Christmas. It can get boring, but not till you hear it for the fifth time in an hour (I'm looking at certain radio stations).

#954 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2012, 01:20 AM:

Wyman, #952: Do yourself a favor, and remove the Republican bitterness from your front page. The people who would be most likely to help you will be put off by it; the ones who have bought into the myth you're spouting will consider you unworthy of assistance. Plus, it's just plain unbusinesslike.

#955 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2012, 06:28 AM:

XKCD has just namechecked something called "Ingress", which from the video on their site, appears to be a smartphone-mediated LARP. Interesting... the question is whether they can keep it from descending into a morass of "pay a bit more for the tools you would otherwise spend next week earning, or a lot more for stuff you can show off".

#956 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2012, 09:40 AM:

By the way, there's a new Open Thread.

#957 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2012, 12:31 PM:

Dave Harmon @955: Ingress is a Google labs project, basically. Given that the "pay for premium stuff" morass you reference is pretty much orthogonal to Google's business model, I doubt it will end up in that particular morass -- especially given that Google has a pretty consistent strategy of "collect vast amounts of data; do interesting things with data; provide useful things with the results; sell advertising based on the useful things." Instead, it will no doubt find new and fascinating failure modes along the way.

Here's a New Scientist article about it, but I figure Charlie Stross's Halting State is probably also a semi-accurate exploration of what such a game may be useful for.

#958 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2012, 12:33 PM:

Actually, I just see Abi's comment about a new open thread, so let me repost this there, as it's a new conversation anyway.

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