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January 16, 2013

Open Thread 180
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 08:10 PM *

Australian Police Arrest Four Smurf Suspects for Crime Spree

Four men dressed as Smurfs were arrested after beating a man and attempting to steal a car in Melbourne, Australia.

Continued from Open Thread 179

Continued in Open Thread 181

Comments on Open Thread 180:
#1 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2013, 08:14 PM:

I still think of them as Schtroumpfs....

#2 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2013, 08:29 PM:

Smurfette was not involved in this operation, I see.

#3 ::: Christopher Wright ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2013, 08:49 PM:

It sounds like the premise for a madcap heist movie.

Except for the beating a guy part. And the getting caught part.

#4 ::: Robert Z ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2013, 08:54 PM:

That is seriously smurfed up.

#5 ::: The_L ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2013, 09:04 PM:

Well, there's a crime you don't see every day...

#6 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2013, 09:19 PM:

I knew there was a good reason why I never liked Smurfs!

#7 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2013, 09:32 PM:

Meanwhile, back in the mother country...

#8 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2013, 09:33 PM:

Hello, Open Thread. Just dropping you a line to inform you that the "Nice Guys of OKCupid" Tumblr is gone. Sadness and a broken Sidelight ensue.

Word on the street is, it'll be coming back. Stay tuned.

How is the weather where you are? We are enjoying the work of meteorologic magicians who have teleported a day from late spring into the middle of January. That's Colorado for you. You should come visit while the spell lasts.

Slugs and fishes,

NJLL

#9 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little, gnomed on sight ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2013, 09:34 PM:

It was a very sweet letter. Perhaps the gnomes mistook it for a cookie. Do you think they will deliver it to the intended recipient it if promised fresh-baked traditional king cake on Saturday? I have even bought the sour cream ahead of time. Might use a clay rune token from a local new age shop for a bakeable "baby." We'll see.

#10 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2013, 10:13 PM:

I remember a strange movie called Point Break where there were some bank robbers who wore rubber masks of presidents and were also surfers.

#11 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2013, 10:45 PM:

8
The weather where I am is windy and very dry (27 percent humidity indoors!), and the barometer has dropped to 30.06 (altitude adjusted).

#12 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2013, 10:49 PM:

Point Break was one of the (many) bank robbery movies parodied in the wonderfully-bizarre teen-cheerleader movie Sugar and Spice.

#13 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 12:39 AM:

I've always thought that Terry Pratchett created the Nac Mac Feegles after his brain crossed the Smurfs with Braveheart.

#14 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 12:59 AM:

A question for the collective wisdom (which is great) of Making Light:

Does anyone have any recommendations for a good English->Latin translation service? Particularly one that doesn't mind coming up with neologisms for words like "geolocation"?

I am delighted to see my home city of Melbourne turning up at the top of the page. I should point though out that many - perhaps even most - Melbourne criminals do not dress as smurfs.

#15 ::: Steve Taylor got Gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 01:00 AM:

Hey! My first time gnomed ever.

No urls in the post, so I must have used a trigger word.

[Specifically "Making Light" followed by a colon. One common form of comment spam "personalizes" the comment by including the title of the post. Such a spam on this thread, for example, might read, "This Making Light: Open Thread 180 certainly answered all my questions on the subject!" -- Ronoflex Priso, Duty Gnome]

#16 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 01:26 AM:

*Sigh*

One of the keystones of hoarding is the notion that "I should hang onto that; somebody might find that valuable."

I've been throwing out stuff as I move, either before packing it up or before putting it on a shelf on this end. I've got a donation pile and trash pile and both are growing.

Today I moved over some file boxes of old mags. One was half full of some trade journals. Normally, primo recycling bin fodder. But these are . . . well, hmm. 1960 vintage Cold War Space Age aerospace industry trade journals, with trippy concept art. Recruiting pitches to come work for the company building the fasteners that will hold together the nation's moon ships!

I'm wondering how much effort to put into not trashing these.

#17 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 01:32 AM:

16
'Rockets and Missiles' or 'Aviation Leak'?

#18 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 01:39 AM:

#17: "Missile Design & Development."

Really dry, technical stuff.

I put a note on the local model rocket club email list. If there's no taker by tomorrow night, into the bin they go.

#19 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 01:59 AM:

In this case the police showed great restraint. I know that if I saw smurfs IRL my reaction would be much like the reaction many have to seeing zombies.

#20 ::: Harry Payne ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 02:49 AM:

It never happened; but I swore if my kids wanted to go see the recent Smurfs film I'd make them wear 'Team Gargamel' t-shirts.

And Tom Whitmore's right - they're Schtroumpfs.

#21 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 03:18 AM:

Looked at the story, it's on the Time website, and noticed a couple of links to stuff that seems to be Onion-style reporting. Not actually The Onion, but the stories had that feel to them.

It makes me wonder how much I can rely on Time, even whether I can rely on that story.

I mean, I know I can rely on The Onion.

#22 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 04:48 AM:

Dave Bell @21:

> It makes me wonder how much I can rely on Time, even whether I can rely on that story.

I was surprised I hadn't seen the story elsewhere, given that I live in Melbourne myself. Then again I'm sure I miss all sorts of things...

#23 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 05:12 AM:

...also, thank Duty Gnome at #15

#24 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 06:50 AM:

Dave Bell #21: As many here have noticed, these days the Onion frequently makes more sense than the nominally "serious" news outlets.

#25 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 07:44 AM:

At least the Smurf crime makes more sense then Mant T'eo's (Canadian) Californian girlfriend.

#26 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 07:53 AM:

It is so easy to drift down to sleep
when the weak body, lacking all defence,
is at a moment when matters are tense
just eager to collapse into the deep
comfort of the dark. Hardest thoughts will keep
until winter sun makes some vague pretense
at warming earth, but we have little sense
of whether honest hearts may make the leap
into the morning. Now we have some hope
that better judgment will be after night
and waking eyes will look on clearer choice;
that at the least each will know how to cope
in what will be a keener form of light
and in a place where each will have a voice.

#27 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 07:54 AM:

And then the Silver Smurfer swept down to stop the Blue Smurfs.

#28 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 08:16 AM:

"Movie two, Smurfs nothing!"

#29 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 08:32 AM:

Stefan Jones, #16:

Missile-magazine ads? There's a book in that.

#30 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 09:22 AM:

In the same vein as Stefan Jones @16, I've been trying to declutter some long-standing piles of "well, I can't get rid of this, someone might find it useful! Even if it's not me."

The hoarding genes, I get them honestly.

In question right now are a stack of 80s and 90s-era mementos: elementary school class photos, a fundraiser cookbook, yearbooks. I attach no personal sentimental value to them but just can't seem to get rid of them, because, well, someone might be delighted to have them someday.

I've scanned the photos and parts of the cookbook and put them on the book of faces with an offer of the physical copies for anyone interested. No takers. Is this sort of thing a welcome donation to a local library or historical society, or are they too recent and should just go in the recycling already?

Also, I haven't touched those yearbooks since I graduated from high school in the late 90s. If I get rid of them, will I really regret it later in life? The people who tell me that tend to be of the "your high school years are the best of your life" mentality, and mine were...most definitely not.

#31 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 10:19 AM:

Persephone: I've seen requests from libraries for local school yearbooks, so it's worth at least calling or emailing the library to ask. You might also call or email the schools.

#32 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 10:28 AM:

Persephone (30): Your local library or historical society might well be interested in those. It would depend in part on whether or not they already have copies. It can't hurt to ask. (But don't just show up with them, call/email first.)

My high school yearbooks spent two decades in a box lost in my parents' house. When they turned back up, I was delighted to have them again, although I hadn't particularly missed them in the interim. (To calibrate, I didn't much like high school, but I did have a few good friends and good memories. If you hated everything and everyone involved, I say don't keep the yearbooks.)

#33 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 10:36 AM:

Looks like Blue Man Gang has struck again.

#34 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 10:39 AM:

Persephone @ 30: I am still in touch with a few high school friends. I find my high school yearbook handy occasionally when they bring up someone and I can't put a face to a name. If it had only been 15-ish years, like you, my memory might not need the help.

#35 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 10:40 AM:

Steve Taylor @14: Assuming you mean a translator who'll work with the text and make up neologisms as needed, as opposed to a machine translation... I have never heard of such a service, but if you find one, I'd love to hear about the contact information too. I'd love to get into that line of business myself, if I were ever sufficiently well-versed in Latin to qualify. (Four years of university study in, I am more confident than ever that I don't qualify yet. The more I learn, the more I learn how little I know.)

#36 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 11:36 AM:

re 13: Threadless crossed the Smurfs with another blue movie.

#37 ::: Quixote ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 11:51 AM:

More bad news for the Smurfs. They nabbed Papa Smurf too.

#38 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 12:12 PM:

Erik Nelson @10: I remember a strange movie called Point Break

Staring Patrick Swayze as the surfer-dude bank-robber-gang leader, and Keanu Reeves as the undercover cop. Cool skydiving sequence at the end.

Persephone @30: I haven't touched those yearbooks since I graduated from high school in the late 90s. If I get rid of them, will I really regret it later in life?

I was definitely not of the "your high school years are the best of your life" school, but I've never regretted keeping my high school yearbooks. But then, I'm kind of obsessive about keeping complete records.

WRT "Decluttering," I've been having great luck putting ads on The List That Craig Made. (I always stipulate "You come pick up," so I don't even have to leave my house to get rid of it.) But I've got an ancient (working except for battery) Mac laptop that has proven ridiculously hard to give away.

I got plenty of responses to my ad, just nobody actually coming to take it away.

#39 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 01:03 PM:

Stefan, before you pitch those magazines, check with your local libraries, both public and college/university. Sometimes you'll find a particular branch that specializes in the thing you're discarding -- that happened to a friend of mine with her late husband's martial-arts magazines. The first 2 branches she called weren't interested, but the third was delighted to take them.

Persephone, #30: I still have my high-school and college yearbooks, but they're in a box in the attic. I also managed to condense all my school-mementos stuff down into a single box, and decided that this was an acceptable tradeoff.

The other thing you can do with those yearbooks (especially college ones) is put them up on eBay. Yes, really; there are companies that specialize in background checks who value that sort of thing. I got rid of my father's college yearbooks that way.

The cookbook can definitely go to the library; if they don't want to keep it, they can put it out in their annual fundraiser sale.


#40 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 01:26 PM:

Y'all do know that SF conventions are classified as SMERF business for hotels? (Sports, Military, Entertainment, Religious, Fraternal -- a catchall category for a bunch of people who occasionally need hotel space. Often spelled as SMURF, and always pronounced the same way.)

#43 ::: ACW ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 01:57 PM:

Dr. Wife and I are both borderline hoarders, and Stefan Jones @ 16 triggers a lot of empathy. On those occasions when I can force myself to go through old papers and throw things away, I find a few little mantras to be helpful. When dealing with material of the kind Stefan is agonizing about, the mantra I use is "There is an Internet now." and "ACW, you are not the world's archivist.".

In particular, an internet search reveals that the Smithsonian Institution has a run from 1957 through 1961 of Missile Design & Development. So that information won't be lost to humanity if Stefan ditches his copy.

#44 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little, gnomed on sight ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 02:09 PM:

My particular brand of clutter-hoarding says "But *I* might need these someday." The problem with ignoring that voice is, it's often right.

I'm lucky enough to have had a K-12 school career I'm sentimental about, and I've got every one of the yearbooks. But the only one that lives with me rather than hibernating on my parents' bookshelf is my senior yearbook. It goes years without being opened, and then...

Well, this past November, while out with some NaNoWriMo friends having a write-in, I hear a voice call, "Niki LeBoeuf?" And it's a gal from my high school, from the class before mine. We talk a bit about what brought us to the Boulder area, which classmates we're still in touch with, all that stuff. And then I go home, pull down the yearbook, and find her picture. Then I spend several minutes smiling wistfully over other photos, and the notes friends left scribbled in the margins, and the cute "ad" my Mom placed in the book showing me as a small child with a toy typewriter and the caption "Some things never change," and...

Everything that comes up for possible clutter-culling must go through the "But what if I need this someday?" filter, and incidents like that one make that filter a really grabby one.

I'm a lot better about giving away things that other people have given me through the years, that I realize I've never used. Or things I have multiples of. John and I both went to World Horror in Salt Lake City; do we really need two souvenir canvas totes? Ditto the ones the vet neurologist sent us home with every time Null went to visit; one's actively in use, hanging off the side of the fridge and holding some of Uno's medical supplies, but the others just gathered dust in the closet. (Its strap wasn't even long enough to go over the shoulder. Fail!) Or all those PEZ and mini-M&M dispensers Mom sent as stocking-stuffers based on a taste John had for those things 15 years ago.

But high school text books, SF/F paperbacks, photos, old T-shirts and jeans, aging electronics? I might need those someday!

#45 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 02:30 PM:

One of the members of the rocketry club wants to look at those trade journals. From there, I don't care what happens to them.

In that vein, I'm tossing some seriously busted up rockets. Not worth fixing; I'm not a kid with a limited hobby budget any more. I might put them in a box and bring them to the next scheduled launch; anything that doesn't get picked goes to the nearby dumpster.

@Bill: I've got that book!

#46 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 02:53 PM:

My kids have become interested in my yearbooks. They're interested to see what I looked like, but also what the school was like.

But then, like many kids not in the US, they struggle with the idea that American high schools aren't some kind of fictional construct, like Camelot, or Ponyville.

(We will skate over the time my daughter's dance school used "High School Musical" as the theme of its annual performance. Skim right over it all.)

#47 ::: Clarentine ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 03:20 PM:

Best decluttering tool I know: move twice in the same year, and have to schlep all the boxes of to-be-kept material yourself.

#48 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 03:45 PM:

Clarentine #47:

Or get your house ready to go on the market, while not actually planning on moving out until after the sale--and not getting into the storage-unit business either. We both lost count of all the heavy-duty trash bags full of papers and such that went down the steep hill to the end of the driveway.

#49 ::: Douglas Henke ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 03:56 PM:

Re: the titular smurf gang:

Great. Now I have a blue-painted Samuel L. Jackson in my head, waving a pistol and shouting "Say `Smurf' again, mothersmurfer! I smurfing dare you!"

#50 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 04:11 PM:

Fade Manley @35:

> Assuming you mean a translator who'll work with the text and make up neologisms as needed, as opposed to a machine translation...

Yep. Handy though Google Translate is, I've seen the things it can do to French->English.

The Finnish national broadcaster does a weekly roundup of news in Latin, and I've heard that the most challenging part of the process is coming up with neologisms for "gene sequencing", "flash crowd", "kettling" and so on...

My needs are lesser but similar - help text for an iPhone app.

> I have never heard of such a service, but if you find one, I'd love to hear about the contact information too.

When I googled around I found two Latin only services. One was thelatintranslator dot com (in the absence of recommendations I'll give them a go) and the other currently escapes my Google-Fu. I was tickled to see that both sites had a dedicated page for composing your tatoos in Latin, stressing how important it is to have a tatoo that makes sense (a sentiment I endorse).

Digression - I saw a woman the other, about 30 years old, with a tatoo on the back of her neck which read "Forever Young". My first thought was that she was going to look like an idiot when she turned 60. My second thought was that for all I knew she was Gilgamesh's kid sister and the tatoo was entirely accurate.

There are zillions of translation sites out there which will do any language->any language. One of them boasted that in all cases the translators it used were native speakers. I noted that one of the languages in their giant laundry list was Klingon.

#51 ::: Mags ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 05:21 PM:

Since this is an open thread, I will ask for some assistance. I am looking for something and I think I first saw it linked by a commenter here at ML. It is Somebody's Law and it involves the purpose of an organization becoming no longer about the reason it organized, but about sustaining the organization. Can anyone help point me to it? I think it was promulgated by an SF writer.

Needless to say, I'm involved in a similar situation at the moment.

#52 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 05:41 PM:

That sounds a little bit like The Iron Law of Institutions, as expressed by Jonathan Schwarz.

#53 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 06:18 PM:

HLN: Relative timing of swallowing and coughing reflexes fail; aerosol dispersal of beverage fluids result.

#54 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 06:25 PM:

The Iron Law of Institutions is: the people who control institutions care first and foremost about their power within the institution rather than the power of the institution itself. Thus, they would rather the institution "fail" while they remain in power within the institution than for the institution to "succeed" if that requires them to lose power within the institution.

Thanks for this. I'd never encountered it before.

#55 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 06:32 PM:

Stefan Jones @16, a turning point in my life came over a decade ago, when I was looking at a shelf of paperbacks, considering whether I could get rid of any of them, and saw a copy of some old Heinlein book (Expanded Universe, I think) that I wasn’t planning to ever reread, and thought “I can’t throw that out — I might need to quote from it in an argument on Usenet!” I then had what I think the Alcoholics Anonymous people call a “moment of clarity”.

In fact, it’s way past time for another round of throwing out books.

#56 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 06:32 PM:

"Is it possible I might need this someday?"

The problem with that question is that the answer is innevitably, "Yes." It was a big breakthrough for me when I learned to ask:

"If I need it and don't have it, what will I do?"

#57 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 07:02 PM:

Jacque, #56: Yes, exactly! We've been doing rather a lot of that around here lately, especially WRT spare parts and other such stuff. How easy / expensive would it be to replace this if we needed it later? If the answer is "very, and cheap", out it goes. If the answer is "expensive, but there's a cheap and easy alternative," out it goes. And so on.

#58 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 07:21 PM:

I have for the past several years, enjoyed passing random stuff on to friends who will appreciate it, books to the library, and clothing and household objects to my nearest thrift shop. I am passing things on to the someone who needs them!

#59 ::: etv13 ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 07:27 PM:

abi@46: My daughter started high school this year, and she was remarking just last week that high school is nothing like its depictions on television/in the movies. I won't go so far as to say she is disappointed about that, but she plainly feels like someone tried to put one over on her.

#60 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 07:52 PM:

Oh great, well I know what today's earworm will be:

"Let's go Smurfin' now,
Hit the woods and burn'em out!
Come on a safari with me..."

Thank you, Tom Smith.

#61 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 08:28 PM:

Abi @ 46... they struggle with the idea that American high schools aren't some kind of fictional construct, like Camelot

Show them the movie "Carrie".

#62 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 08:47 PM:

Re: Throwing out stuff

We finally realized that we have more than enough suit boxes, shirt boxes and jewel boxes to take care of future Christmas and birthday wrapping needs from now until 2100, so I just dumped a slew of them into the recycling bin. The back room doesn't (yet) look a lot tidier, but it will. It will.

#63 ::: charming quark ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 08:50 PM:

It was the Wiggles in disguise.

#64 ::: clew ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 10:23 PM:

My sense of non-USian high schools is completely overlaid by boarding-school novels. What's a good piece of fiction to make that more realistic? (English prose, or film with subtitles, please (alas).)

#65 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 11:04 PM:

My favorite depiction of High School is the Anime adaptation of Orange Road. Mainly because every damn dumb thing the esper protagonist does is what I would have done under the same circumstances if I had the same skill set, I kid you not. (Well, maybe not the "hypnotized into a underwear-snatching zombie" episode.) I don't know which of us this condemns more...

#66 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 11:05 PM:

@Avram:

I got rid of nearly half of my books about three years ago after a similar moment of clarity.

The fact that Powell's was a short ride away helped a lot. Powell's PAYS you for your books. Not all of them, and not all that much, but . . . they pay something for most of them.

And now, they'll donate the ones they don't take, saving a trip to Goodwill.

Both before my move, as I packed books in totes, and after, as I shelved them, I plucked out still more. I have big box ready to go to Powell's next time I go downtown.

(There's also a place downtown that buys some magazines. I'm going to see if they take my early copies of WIRED.)

#67 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 11:13 PM:

Nancy M., #58: FreeCycle is great for that. You know that whoever comes after your item is someone who actually has a use for it!

#68 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 11:46 PM:

Something I saw about dating sites that seems... kind of horrible: Apparently women rate 80% of men on the Cupid of Adequacy as "below average looking", while men have a pretty well-calibrated bell curve. Women don't mind so much that the average man is below-average, apparently, and are perfectly willing to go slumming in that pool. I don't think I can throw out the link without getting gnomed... I have a bit of Toblerone left over. Enjoy!

http://blog.okcupid.com/index.php/your-looks-and-online-dating/

#69 ::: Sandy B., gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2013, 11:46 PM:

Why yes, I have been gnomed. Enjoy the chocolate!

#70 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2013, 02:28 AM:

Irene Gallo and Jim Hines, who may be known to some here, are amongst those quoted in a BBC article on sexist book covers.

Be warned, there is a picture of Mr. Hines, posing.

#71 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2013, 06:36 AM:

Dave Bell: #70: Yeah, my favorite example is still the one I noted here. In that case, the cover scene is from the book -- except that the woman on the cover is nude, while in the book she is fully and normally clothed.

#73 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2013, 09:39 AM:

Lila, Mary Aileen: Thanks! I'll look up the local libraries, and there's probably a county historical society or two. I don't live in that state any more, so I'd have to mail the goods anyhow.

Jacque: The List of Craig and his curb alerts are how I get rid of things these days. Small items and clothing go to the Goodwill, but otherwise it goes out on the front sidewalk and is usually gone within half an hour of putting up the notice.

I've attempted Freecycle on and off over the years, but the folks there tend to claim something and then never show up for it. At least with curb alerts I don't have to make an arrangement for a particular person and then wait for them to show. I did once manage to get rid of twenty-five cans of paint via Freecycle, though. Yes, literally: The previous homeowners had left all their original paint cans, and we'd brought some with us, and we bought more to paint the house interior with. I saved touchup amounts of each in empty water bottles and (after multiple CL attempts) finally got someone on Freecycle willing to take all 25 cans.

#74 ::: Phiala ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2013, 09:55 AM:

Jim Macdonald at 72: Yeah. I'm a brand new SFWA member, and this is the first Bulletin I've ever seen. That plus some of the political stuff? Not the most welcoming thing ever.

I feel very welcome as an individual, but as a class? Not so much. And really, I like my professional societies professional. I'm an actual scientist in a predominately-male field: I can take it, and will to do what I can to make it better, but I wish that weren't necessary.

#75 ::: Claire ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2013, 10:41 AM:

re: Jim Macdonald@72

Gotta love how one of the commenters dismisses all criticism of the cover as prudery. :(

#76 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2013, 11:26 AM:

On my site: eight more patterns and instructions for Eared Fleece Chemo Hats. Six are pictured. There are also floppy-eared versions for a hound and a lop-eared rabbit.

There are at least three otherwise serious and highly competent professional women in Colorado wearing them to work.

#77 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2013, 11:46 AM:

Open threadiness:

This Connor Friedersdorf post links to a four page letter in PDF format from Senator Wyden, detailing a whole bunch of important questions about the president's power to have Americans killed, and in particular the legal reasoning and process behind that.

Wyden is a senator on the intelligence oversight committee. Even he is not able to find out the legal reasoning behind the president's claim of authority to have Americans killed. Nor is he able to find out what countries we've killed people in, or if the US is one of those countries. I really encourage people to read the letter, which is short and to the point.

Now, let's be clear: there is absolutely no way it's legitimate to keep this information from Wyden. The only reasons to hide the legal justification for the program are either:

a. To avoid letting even the oversight committee know what's been authorized and/or done.

b. Because the justification is extremely sketchy, and wouldn't hold up to minimal scrutiny.

My guess in this case is that both of these are true. And the Obama administration is refusing to answer questions and evading legally-mandated oversight for exactly the same reason the Bush administration did--because they know they can get away with it, and they don't care to have any of their power diminished.

#78 ::: albatross gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2013, 11:47 AM:

Gnomed

#79 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2013, 11:51 AM:

Jim, #72: Holy crap. Who in the world thought that was a good idea for a professional bulletin? I second the suggestion (in the comments thereon) of having Hines & Scalzi reproduce that one.

#80 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2013, 12:24 PM:

Hm. Something very weird is happening on my mac. I'm testing to see if I can post here...? (And will the word testing get me gnomed?)

#81 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2013, 01:05 PM:

Lee: Holy crap. Who in the world thought that was a good idea for a professional bulletin?

Harry Connolly (who used to post here from time to time...) rightfully picked up on this and skewered it on his website and LJ. He's written in the past about possibly letting his SFWA membership lapse, and it sounds as if this was the last straw. And if you haven't read any of his books you're really missing out on A Good Thing. Since his publisher decided that the series he was doing wasn't economically viable and cancelled it I hope he has better success with the book he's working on now.

#82 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2013, 01:23 PM:

The reactions to that cover on the Bulletin are a pretty clear example of different parsings of the same phrase "professional science-fiction/fantasy writers' organization." The folks who chose and defend it are putting the emphasis on "science-fiction/fantasy", where the cover is (sadly, but that's another story!) not very much out of the ordinary. The people who object are emphasizing "professional ... organization".

Stamps cane, growls about the days when the Bulletin was mimeographed and they didn't have this four-color b*llsh*t to put up with, just battles between writers....

#83 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2013, 01:52 PM:

For some reason, for the past few days I've been wondering what the affect of a band of criminals disguised as members of the Blue Man Group would be.

#84 ::: Suzanne F ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2013, 01:58 PM:

I find that people who work at museums and other places that collect are neatly polarized: those who are very serious collectors of everything in their own lives, and those who become minimalists in reaction. I fall in the latter category--when I come home after taking care of other peoples' old stuff I tend to decide it's time to purge my possessions.

#85 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2013, 02:05 PM:

That cover from the SFWA Bulletin does evoke a certain sort of mid-Sixties imagery, though I would have put it late Seventies myself, part of the post-D&D fantasy boom. And, if you wanted to evoke the era, you could have chosen a far better image.

I mean, you don't want to do actual Star Trek, but a spaceship, and two crew-things in skin-tight spacesuits, facing down a Frazetta-style barbarian, that's the sort of thing that would work better.

(Hmm, a barbarian throne-room scene, with a recognisable Kirk as the emperor, and Uhura and Worf as the starship away party, Uhura with the Captain's rank insignia... Now that could be a fifty-year image, but I wouldn't touch it with a bargepole for IP reasons.)

I admit it, I'm not ruling out the fan-service angle, but I don't think I am quite that crude.

And can we get Sulu in there somewhere, stripped to the waist, with his sword...

#86 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2013, 02:28 PM:

Serge Broom @61: Show them the movie "Carrie".

Um...yeah....

Stefan Jones @66: I got rid of nearly half of my books about three years ago after a similar moment of clarity.

I did a big purge about ten years ago. I've still got a bookcase full of stuff I couldn't quite bring myself to unload, but given that I haven't even looked at those in the interim suggests strongly that I could safely send those along their way. I need to find the most time-efficient and effort-free way to unload them short of outright recycling, as any remuneration is unlikely in the extreme to actually pay for my time and effort. But on the plus side, I can now at least see a (crooked) path diagonally across my spare room.

My biggest challenge is that I tend to accumulate "materiel:" wood and scraps, fabric and scraps. Now tree branches with interesting shapes. Trash to anybody but me, but there's such potential....

Dave Bell @70: This discussion was brought to mind when I visited my neighbor for the first time. I commented that his women are actually ergonomically kickass. He says his wife makes sure of that when she poses for him.

Persephone @73: curb alerts

Oh my! It makes sense that such a thing would have evolved, but it never crossed my mind. This would be much easier than what I've been doing. Thanks for the tip!

finally got someone on Freecycle willing to take all 25 cans.

::doe eyes:: I go through paint like you wouldn't believe, because I use it like a sculptural material. Our local household hazmat drop center apparently gives away usable stuff people have left off, but it's enough of a trip, and the hours are constrained, that I haven't gotten around to availing myself of this resource. Which is dumb, because paint is my number one art expense.

Carol Kimball @76: Eared Fleece Hats

There has lately evolved a fashion for hats with non-losable mittens. These absolutely slay me, especially when I see the buskers out on the Pearl Street Mall wearing them. (Most recently, a guy with a telescope pointed at the moon!)

Dave Bell @85: [C]an we get Sulu in there somewhere, stripped to the waist, with his sword...

And of course, the image that immediately leaps to my mind is the Grup centerfold by George Barr. ::fans self::

I remember seeing Takei autograph one of those at a Denver Trek convention.... He conceded that Barr's rendering was, um, generous. But he appreciated the sentiment, all the same. XD

#87 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2013, 02:34 PM:

Jacque -
I first parsed your reply as that the guy was wearing [a hat with integral mittens] OF a telescope pointed at the moon.

Then, that he was wearing a variation of what you linked WHILE using a telescope...

Diverted by both possibilities.

#88 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2013, 02:51 PM:

86
Mine are mostly in boxes in storage, and not accessible, or I'd have gotten rid of a lot of them already.
[mom] If you haven't needed to get into a box in 40 years, you don't need whatever is in the box. [/mom]

#89 ::: Wendy Bradley ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2013, 03:03 PM:

Clew (64) If you can get it on netflix or similar, try the UK '80s TV series Grange Hill. I have a feeling I may even have referred to it in a review in Interzone back in the day for some reason. Sigh. Some day I'll get all the boxes of Interzone out of storage and scan my stuff so I can read some of it again!

#90 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2013, 03:39 PM:

Stefan Jones @66, Jacque @86,
I've done a couple of shelf-space making events by using my "friends rush in" rule.

Imagine all your books in one room, labeled by category. If a group of your best friends ran in with a "we're going to be traveling for the next 30 hours and we have no books," scanned your categories, and took out books to read(1), would you take any book back as not being worthy of them?(2)

I already knew I wasn't going to read those books ever again, but that wasn't quite enough incentive. But if I wasn't going to let anyone I care about read the book, why was I keeping it?

---
(1) they're good friends: you know they cannot damage the books, and you know they're only choosing books in categories they'd like (if the category is technical books, they love technical books)
(2) and hand them better books for the category

#91 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2013, 03:42 PM:

On getting rid of stuff: I must say, from personal experience, that it's much easier to get rid of someone else's stuff (tm). However, over time, I've developed the skills to dispose of my outdated items, by and large. Books that I don't like, or don't want hanging around, are packed up for recycling to friends or to libraries.

#92 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2013, 03:53 PM:

I'm fortunate in living near Powell's Books, which buys used books. I use their book compression algorithm: Bring in books to sell back at the wholesale rate, take the credit, use it to buy books at retail prices. This is guaranteed to free up shelf space.

I was more fortunate when they let you come to the warehouse to sell back, because you parked directly outside the door. Now you have to go to a store, and can't park nearby. I find I'm selling back fewer books, and dropping more off at Goodwill.

#93 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2013, 03:55 PM:

I have many paperbacks, and some hardcovers, which I'd be happy to part with were it not for the fact that they were:

a) Signed by folks who won't be signing any more books.

or

b) Were sent to me by the author, signed, sometimes with a "thanks for the useful comments" inscription, and my name on the acknowledgements page.

Sometimes a) isn't enough to keep me from clearing the shelves. Last year Powell's got a dozen or so autographed Hal Clement paperbacks. I read them and enjoyed them . . . but could not see ever reading them again. They weren't worth any more signed. Some fan got a nice surprise, I guess.

#94 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2013, 04:15 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @83

> For some reason, for the past few days I've been wondering what the affect of a band of criminals disguised as members of the Blue Man Group would be.

The Christopher Brookmyre article _The Sacred Art of Stealing_ starts with a nice bank robbery by an acrobat/mime troupe, to the tune of Madness's _Baggy Trousers_. Maybe that will take you partway there.

#95 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2013, 05:02 PM:

Stefan, #93: "Would be culled if not autographed" stuff gets put into an Archive Box around here -- wrapped securely in plastic inside the box to ward off water/insect damage, and then stored in the attic. They're also noted as such on LibraryThing.

#96 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2013, 06:12 PM:

I'm getting ready to do my Annual Battle of the Inner Pack Rat. The rules are simple and apply to the contents of my living space with two exceptions: the crafting stash, my personal library. All I do is ask myself a few simple questions. Or I guess a flow chart would be better.

1) have I used this in the past year? If yes, keep. If no, do I intend to use it in the upcoming year? If yes, hold onto it for one more year. If no, get rid of it by selling, donating or (re)gifting.

2) Have I used this in the last two years? if no, wait for the inner pack rat to start screaming about Sentimental Worth. Carry on a debate with said rat about how happy having it makes me and do I really care all that much about it. If the pack rat's worth really really has emotional weight, keep it for another year. If it's a light in emotion object put it in the Regift/Donate/Sell category.

I donate and/or sell a lot of stuff.

The library culling is actually simpler. "Will I want to re-read this in the future?" If yes, keep. If no, donate/sell. It's only when I run out of shelf space or wall space that I do a concerted purge. Have I re-read this? if no, re-read it and see if it held up. If no, donate/sell. Every so often, I'll come across a book where I don't recall it off the top of my head, so I'll re-read it and go "Oh! That's why" and re-shelve it.

Culling the crafting stash is both easier and harder. If I have multiple tools of a particular kind and Orphaned Yarn Type I and someone wants me to teach them a craft that uses one of the aforementioned tools.... I make them up a kit and give it to them. Kinda like a starter seed.

The harder stuff to get rid of is Orphaned Yarn Type II, or pending project supplies. I've had to institute limits in some areas like no more new stuff until I use up the old stuff. (At which point my Inner Pack Rat whines and begs. I respond with a "then you have to buy more organizers to store it". Then the Inner Pack Rat does a victory dance until the Budged Monster stomps on him. )

#97 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2013, 07:31 PM:

Victoria at 96: are we distant cousins? That's my process almost exactly, except that I don't do crafts at the moment (and when I did, it was pottery at a studio away from my house. And yes, I still have my pottery tools.) No yarn, fabric, beads, paper, etc.

I cull my books throughout the year. I have to: my space is limited. I used to buy many more books (new and used) than I do now; now, I am an avid local library user, and I almost never buy new. I still buy used, very carefully. My Budget Monster has a glare that can melt marble.

#98 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2013, 08:58 PM:

Before the last move, I collected $69 from Half Price Books. And if you know how little they pay, you can see that that was a lot of books.

Here's my decision algorithm:

  • For nonfiction, if I need this information again, can I find it on the internet?

  • For fiction, if I want to read it again, could I get it from a library?

  • For books I haven't read yet... I'm afraid this branch of the algorithm doesn't halt.

#99 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2013, 09:23 PM:

I wrote at @94:

> The Christopher Brookmyre article _The Sacred Art of Stealing_

Book dammit, not article. Stupid typing fingers.

#100 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2013, 10:41 PM:

Serge #93.

...and look, I got this great old sci-fi book where one of the heroes really is a bug. Pity that the previous owner wrote his name in it. "Cement" or something. Yeah, that's right, similar name to the author. What a coincidence. Still, small world...

#101 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2013, 11:57 PM:

Just checked my shelves again, and put four "probably never read again" hardcovers on the donate pile. Books by authors I know, but they turned out not to be signed.

I found a couple of boxes today with toys. "The Simpsons" figures, and some cheap pirate figures I believe I bought as "just in case" gifts when my friend's kids were little. Into the donation box. (Which should go out the door tomorrow, to be joined by a pile which has been growing in the corner of my old apartment.)

#102 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2013, 09:58 AM:

If I haven't opened a box since 1986 (that being when we packed them before moving here), I go through it, but expect to discard almost everything within. The key word is "almost": one of those boxes turned out to contain my framed college diploma, for example, which (to my surprise) a recruiter wanted a photo of recently, as evidence that I really have the degree claimed on my resume.

He said that if I really couldn't find it, I could contact the university registrar's office and ask for a transcript to be sent, but that was my suggestion, not his, and clearly second choice. So I duly photographed and sent it, after warning him that it's entirely in Latin, with the exception of my name.

I also dug out my infant vaccination records a few years ago, though I wouldn't be surprised to be told "get a booster shot" if I was going anywhere that polio might be a risk.

#103 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2013, 10:12 AM:

Clarification: I have been very slowly going through all those old boxes (do one, wait a few months....), but I don't toss them without looking to see what's inside, because I seem to firmly believe that there might be something I need, even after the entire box (originally from a liquor store) from which I salvaged two marbles for the cat to play with.

#104 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2013, 10:28 AM:

I have found that having two people with large libraries of overlapping but non-identical reading tastes makes it very, very difficult to cull the shelves. The spouse brought in a large number of interesting books I hadn't read yet, and vice versa: so getting rid of books ends up needing to pass three steps of "Will I want to read this again? Will you want to read this again? Wait, have both of us had a chance to read it yet?"

#105 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2013, 11:52 AM:

Vicki, #102/103: That's a wise approach, even if you're normally very organized. Your college diploma, for example, might not have been in the category of "important papers" before we hit the era of widespread resume fraud.

When one friend of mine was going thru her parents' stuff preparatory to them moving into a smaller house, she found their marriage certificate in the middle of a box of old utility bills and credit-card statements. It was the only thing in the box that couldn't be immediately discarded, and it was well-buried.

#106 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2013, 12:20 PM:

Vicki, #102/103: How odd that a recruiter would trust a picture of a paper diploma more than contacting the university. Creating a fake printout of a diploma would trivial!

#107 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2013, 01:00 PM:

janetl @ #106, I had the same thought.

#108 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2013, 02:46 PM:

HLN: Local man dreams of cartoon cat on bicycle. Cat terrifies ghosts and drives them out of places they're haunting. Cat is either completely unafraid of ghosts or actually unaware of them, but they're afraid of him.

The 70's-style cartoon theme song that plays during these episodes (yes, the dream had several episodes) identifies the cat as "Ghost Rider." No flaming skeleton on a motorcycle ever appears.

Local man doesn't actually dream this dream again, but wakes up daily with the image of the silly cartoon cat in his head. He has no idea what, if anything, this may mean.

#109 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2013, 03:05 PM:

Xopher @ 108... Did you recently watch "HellBoy", 1998's "The Mummy" *and* a Sylvester cartoon?

#110 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2013, 03:08 PM:

Nope. None of the above. This is a very stylized mouthless cartoon cat. With a very serene stare.

#111 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2013, 03:15 PM:

What that means, Xopher, is that there's a magazine somewhere waiting for your short story.

#112 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2013, 03:39 PM:

Xopher @108

Forgive me if this is presumptuous. Normally I keep my personal interpretations to myself and leave others to make their own, but on reading your story I received a clear and precise understanding accompanied by a feeling I associate with power, so I figured that I should at least write it down and leave you to make your own assessment.

It appears that you may have been visited by one of those who walk between.

There is a creature that appears repeatedly in fiction. They are usually described as cartoon or fictionalized cats who blur the barrier between life and death in some way. They appear frequently in the works of people who would definitely not believe in them, which I kind of think they might do as a joke.

I'm not sure what they're after, but they're almost always portrayed as either neutral or helpful.

And if you're not going to write that short story, I just might.

#113 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2013, 04:03 PM:

It occurs to me that some folks may enjoy, in an open thready way, The Lutheran Insulter.
It doesn’t insult members of the Lutheran denominations, but gives you a strong statement from the writing of Martin Luther.

#114 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2013, 04:54 PM:

Torn between 'wow' and annoyance at the (small) stash of 8mm home movies I got out of my grandmother's estate's stuff ... it would be awesome if I could just look at the content and enjoy/consider it. However, (a) most of the reels are huge and unlabeled, (b) I do HAVE a projector but it has no power cord and (c) once I have the cord, I get to find out if the bulb works or (d) if the motor's in decent shape.

Sometime AFTER that a-b-c-d checklist I get to figure out which, if any, of the spools contain content the family will want to archive.

#115 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2013, 05:18 PM:

Elliott @114, I understand that there are companies that will transfer content from 8mm to dvd disks. Don't know what they charge or if it's worth it to you to do the transfer without knowing what (if anything) is on the reels, so this is probably pretty hlepy....

#116 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2013, 05:41 PM:

Phone service in my community has still not been restored, but Verizon just sent me a second* ad for FIOS. Addressed to me personally, as a long-time customer. The outside of it said, "It's customer appreciation month," which made me laugh bitterly. This customer would appreciate getting her phone service back.

I know that they're seizing the opportunity to replace all the damaged copper wires with fiber optics. But they shouldn't try to get me to upgrade while MY PHONE STILL DOESN'T WORK.

*second personal ad, not counting the one that came with the weekly circulars

#117 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2013, 06:16 PM:

Cassy B @115: Yes, and even though we have quite a modest amount, the online places I'm finding that offer to do it for you all want about $2000 to do the lot.

At this point my crackpot "run it through the projector at a nice smooth screen and shoot it with a digicam" plan is looking better and better, though I'd still like to see it first. :->

Additionally, I kind of really want to set up times to have various of my relatives present, run it through a projector, and film not only the images, but THEIR REACTIONS and stories prompted by same, which is definitely value-added archiving.

#118 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2013, 06:25 PM:

Amusingly, the small box of slides that was shoved in the side of the 8mm-film shoebox proves to largely pertain to me; with 3 or 4 exceptions, they're all of my parents' wedding/reception or clearly taken on some day soon after I came home from the hospital.

I think many of the reception ones were taken by my mother or her father (instead of my dad's father, whose collection of 8mm it is), because of who's IN the photos and how they're shot.

#119 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2013, 06:29 PM:

115
I did film to video tape. It wasn't expensive. Now if I could get hold of one of the tapes, I'd get it transferred to DVD and several copies made. (I have three of the four reels of film; the fourth is at the Air&Space museum. It included the Flying Wing leaving Northrop Field. In color.)

#120 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2013, 06:59 PM:

When I say 'a modest amount' I mean in the neighborhood of 16 400ft reels.

Everyone online is pricing per 50ft of tape ... yeah.

#121 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2013, 10:27 PM:

Things I learned while looking up other things:

In the days when Western jazz and rock recordings were not available legally in the USSR, people used to record jazz and rock on old X-rays. The government fought back by making recordings with a few seconds of jazz or rock followed by long diatribes of swearing and criticizing this unpatriotic activity.

#122 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2013, 11:45 PM:

I dropped all of my phonograph records at Goodwill this morning. That felt good.

I have perhaps a dozen cassette tapes I want to digitize. They have talks and lectures for the most part. Maybe an audio book or two.

(My parents send my audio books on cassette. That's high tech for them. For me, a terrible pain.)(I don't hesitate to donate the tapes if the book is a dud, but my folks often send me good stuff. Like a Spalding Gray monologue.)

#123 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2013, 02:03 AM:

Jim 111: Wow, I will try very hard to believe that interpretation! (I actually have another one submission-ready, and I haven't quite given up on the first one I submitted, which has been rejected from my market-of-choice.)

Leah 112: *jaw drops* You mean this is a known thing? I thought it was just a weird and persistent dream I had. I'll look into it further. Do you have any online references that might help?

BTW, I know that feeling you describe. I've followed up on it and been glad I did, and failed to and regretted it (I wish I had warned one friend of the danger I sensed he'd encounter on his trip, instead of just telling him to be careful; he probably wouldn't have listened, but if he had he might be alive today). So thank you for telling me.

#124 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2013, 04:58 AM:

Xopher @123

I wouldn't go so far as to say it's a known thing. Or maybe it depends on your definition of known.
Cats being able to see ghosts/interact with the undead/transcend barriers is a pretty commonly acknowledged thing in modern pop culture. As for the specific idea of the fictionalized cat who moves between worlds, that's more something I've noticed references to and been trying to investigate for a while. It falls into my "stuff that persistently appears in the collective conception of the world and that strikes the chord I associate with truth" category. I've talked about it with people before, but I don't think any of us have ever put anything down properly.

This comic was when I started to realize the idea was something everyone constantly talked about but no one acknowledged. I've seen the idea of a cartoon cat who moves between worlds presented in several webcomics and other ephemera, though I can't put my hands on more of them right now. The cat in Coraline seems to represent a similar idea.

I'm always a bit bashful talking about this stuff, and woefully out of practice. Hopefully this helps clarify a bit.

#125 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2013, 12:17 PM:

Outside of the obvious (and wonderfully done) Bob the Angry Flower comic on Atlas Shrugged 2: One Hour Later, has anyone played with what might happen in Gault's Gulch? Because the thought of Kent Allard/Lamont Cranston or Lord Greystoke, who would seem to be naturals for the selection process, being in that crowd pleases me no end...

#126 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2013, 01:43 PM:

Update on my post-Sandy phone saga: It turns out that I can get FIOS now*, even though my phone service still hasn't been restored. I wasn't able to make an appointment for the installation yet, because Verizon's computers are acting up today†, but one of the other people in my building has it already. And the initial order is in; they're supposed to call me back this afternoon or tomorrow to finalize the details.

I'm getting the distinct impression that Verizon isn't going to be offering plain phone and DSL in this community any longer, only FIOS. (After all, that means they can charge more, and they replaced all the damaged copper wire with fibre-optic cable anyway.) If that's the case, they should just say so. Send out a mailing to all of their existing customers here, telling us that we have to upgrade.

*for values of 'now' that include 'takes two weeks to get it installed'
†Why does this not surprise me?

#127 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2013, 02:13 PM:

Fade Manley @104: That describes our household as well. Of course, there are also all the reference books, and journals...

#128 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2013, 04:56 PM:

There are a lot of wonderfully Fluorospherian things happening on the #seattlenoir hashtag on Twitter just now.

#129 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2013, 05:25 PM:

Karen and I were up playing with that at around 2AM, Elliott. Some very amusing stuff! She posts, I don't.

#130 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2013, 06:15 PM:

John immediately (well, immediately after 20min of scrolling and chuckling) went to look to see if there was a #ChicagoNoir tag like it, but I'm not sure what that would look like ... to start with, Chicago had REAL noir, once upon a time. Though of course the hashtag minifics should parallel Seattle's, skewering current mores and habits.

I think I haven't read enough proper noir to pastiche it well enough.

Though a Toronto version would be high-larious, done well.

#131 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2013, 06:31 PM:

Don't worry. I expect other cities to pick up on it Very Soon. (or you could just start the hashtag with a couple of variants of the Seattle ones....)

#132 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2013, 08:43 PM:

Blerahgggghhh!

I've been on a roll clearing out and cleaning up my old apartment.

Today, after a first pass at the bathroom, I cleaned out the fridge.

I discovered, after removing the crisper drawers, that a bottle of pancake syrup had, evidentally, had a slow leak. I'd kept the bottle way in back, where it exsanguinated out of sight. The dried goo had pooled in the shallow well under the drawers. An astonishing mess.

#133 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2013, 09:29 PM:

Stefan Jones (132): My sympathies.

While 'exsanguinated' is a vividly descriptive word for the phenomenon, it's not quite precise in this case. Hmmmmm, what's the Latin for 'syrup'?

#134 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2013, 10:55 PM:

Apropos of nothing:

Trompe l'oeil tattoo. (From Cheezburger Network.)

#135 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2013, 12:18 AM:

HLN: Local woman is watching the West Wing episode wherein the Surgeon General starts a big flap over marijuana legalization and thinks "Phthththtpthpthpthtt!!!"

I live in
Col-o-ra-do
neener neener neener !!

<happy dance>

(Though local woman concedes she is less than wild about biking through clouds of pot smoke on the way home.)

#136 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2013, 12:50 AM:

Elliott—in regards to transfers, does your local community college have a broadcasting department? Aaand if they do, do they have a studio that you can access as a student? I know that I did several non-credit things (including post-production editing of two tapes of a musical production—I'm very proud of that tape, even though it has a few quality issues because of when and how it was taped) in the wee hours at my college; it's possible that if you timed it right, you could do a lot of transfers at the beginning of a term without stepping on anyone's toes. (Even better, befriend that kind of student and keep them company while they're doing something else there...)

On the purging, I actually don't have too much in the way of difficulty with books, since I know pretty well if I'm going to read it again or not. The problem comes in when it's clearing out other people's things—how can I know if I want the book if I haven't read it yet? Oy. (Though if I can't get more than fifty pages in, that makes it really easy.)

I do wish I had the money for a mass scanning of negatives, so I could neatly box the photos in question and never worry about them again...

#137 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2013, 01:41 AM:

Mary Aileen @133: Exsucronated?

--Dave, effructonated? eggluconated? ... that last one sounds the stickiest, I think

#138 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2013, 01:43 AM:

The hashtag #Seattlenoir has now acquired an accompanying website which collects all the tweets with that tag: http://seattlenoir.com/

#139 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2013, 02:39 AM:

This is perhaps worthy of placement in someone's sidebar on the left: Google's Eric Schmidt just went to North Korea with former Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico. Schmidt's daughter went along and has written a trip report about her experience.

#140 ::: Tamlyn ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2013, 02:53 AM:

Today I arrived home from work to find a parcel of presents from a friend on my doorstep. Some things just arrive at exactly the right time.

The thought of getting rid of any of my works is horrifying. School stuff? Don't have any from highschool, have from uni in case I go back. I own one photo. But books? Mind you, due to library breakups (as a result of people breakups) and finances, I don't own that many books. I have recently gained from my sister doing a purge though, so perhaps it will happen to me one day.

#141 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2013, 07:50 AM:

re 126: When the derecho came through, it pulled down but did not actually disconnect the power line and all three phone lines coming into our house. The power line was fixed relatively quickly (in two stages, legal and un-, not in that order), but as our phone worked we didn't see the need to rush to get things fixed. Also, I had to do a great deal of pruning around where the lines attached in order to allow them to get at it properly. So: why did we have three lines in the first place? Two of them were leftovers from the says of DSL, so that the main house line wasn't tied up by the computers; but we have FIOS now. So my wife calls Verizon to tell them that they need to deal with reattaching the one wire that works and taking the other two down. Well. For some utterly stupid reason the division between FOIS and copper service appears to extend all the way down to the stupid wires to the house and into the phone. Neither side wanted to deal with fixing this, because the Other Side's wires were involved. It took a couple of rounds of this and someone making some sort of super-intervention into the work order system to get someone to come out.

After several months of having to do the limbo to get across the front yard, I'm still not completely on track that all I have to do is walk.

#142 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2013, 08:48 AM:

I'm quite, quite sure there's a thread here somewhere about PublishAmerica, but I have no idea how to do a search on ML. My husband just ran across them (in a photography context; he's a photographer) and asked me if I knew them, "since apparently they're a sci-fi publisher".

Can someone direct me to a link? From what my husband said, they sound like a sleazy organization....

#143 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2013, 09:27 AM:

Cassy B @ 142:
Sleazy? Sleazy? You have no idea.
I don't remember the specific threads--plural--where PA was discussed. I seem to remember there was more than one. Others will, no doubt, provide links. In the meantime go to Wikipedia and look up Atlanta Nights.

#144 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2013, 09:34 AM:

Cassy B @ 142

There are so many threads on PublishAmerica that I'm going to specify the search, rather than a single link. One link is here.

In google, enter "site:http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/" in the search box, then whatever you want to search for (PublishAmerica in this case.)

That's an extremely useful trick in general--I use it all the time for searching blogs (particularly recipe blogs).

#145 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2013, 10:24 AM:

Memo to Gnomes (and the Elves who drink Safe Tea):

The "Dire Legal Notice" on the front page (and possibly elsewhere) needs to have 2013 appended to the list of dates.

#146 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2013, 11:17 AM:

Worldcon's hotel reservations are open.
Ours is done.

#147 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2013, 12:24 PM:

Slightly commercial notice of possible interest to people here:

Steve Davidson has resurrected Amazing Stories as a website. I have no commercial interest in it, but I've been helping beta it; and it looks at least moderately interesting. Go check it out and kick the tires a bit.

#148 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2013, 01:40 PM:

me (126): Update: My FIOS order has now been placed. Unfortunately, it won't actually be installed until February 16, because they're all backed up. (I could have had it a few days sooner, but I don't want to take a day off work to wait for the technician; the 16th is a Saturday.) The Verizon agent I just spoke to seemed to indicate that my phone service might come back before the FIOS upgrade, but I sincerely doubt it.

The introductory rate they gave me is good for three years, so it won't be any more expensive than what I had before. Plus I am definitely getting a credit for more than two months without phone or internet service.

So I am cautiously pleased. The end is in sight!

#149 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2013, 03:02 PM:

Elliot, I faced a similar problem with trying to sort old home movies--in my case, the problem was that they were 16 millimeter, and the old 16-mil home projector was not reparable--and found a solution similar to the one B. Durbin suggested (136): my local public library rented 16-mil projectors. I've no idea if they still do, since this was a while ago, but it's an idea--check local libraries, colleges, park districts, whatever, and see what sort of equipment they have available for rental? Then you can try to screen the reels and decide what is worth transferring, maybe.

That failing--this must be the kind of problem that people who sell transferring services must run into all the time. Do they maybe have an option to help you sort through the reels before transferring?

#150 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2013, 03:15 PM:

Back from (minor, uneventful) outpatient surgery and once again reminded of how much I HATE having gaps in my memory.

Once I finish my original WIP I think I will write some Winter Soldier and/or Black Widow fanfic. *shudder*

#151 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2013, 04:55 PM:

Saw Les Miserables today. Loved it. Jackman has more voice than I would have expected, and Russell Crowe did a decent job as Javert.

I'm not sure why so many reviews I've read pan Crowe's voice -- for someone who sang in a rock band, he has a flexible and useful instrument. He played the villain well enough that every time he flirted with high places, I was muttering under my breath, "Jump!"

All in all, an enjoyable way to spend a few hours, and I liked it well enough that I will buy the movie soundtrack.

#152 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2013, 05:45 PM:

Astronomical heads-up: There will be a close conjunction of Jupiter and the Moon this evening. For most areas of the country, they will be within half a degree of each other. It will be a very pretty sight in binoculars or a small telescope.

Jupiter-Moon Conjunction

#153 ::: Steve C was gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2013, 05:46 PM:

Buttered scones and tea will be served.

#154 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2013, 05:47 PM:

MLA style for tweets!

#155 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2013, 05:56 PM:

Dammit. I should have looked more carefully. Better link, gives more details. Someone there points out that the citation format guarantees that the citation is longer than the work cited in every case.

#156 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2013, 06:02 PM:

Xopher @153: interestingly, the APA style for tweets and facebook posts requires the URL, where the MLA style doesn't.

#157 ::: Jeremy Leader is visiting the gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2013, 06:05 PM:

...for posting an American Psychological link corresponding to Xopher's Modern Language one?

Perhaps the gnomes would like some of my co-worker's dried mango slices?

#158 ::: jnh ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2013, 06:59 PM:

Lori @151:
Jackman actually has way more voice than that, he was singing out of his normal range. He had a career in music theatre.
"Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'" as an example.

#159 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2013, 07:13 PM:

Steve C., #152: Whoa! That's highly visible already, and it's not nearly full dark yet. Anyone who doesn't have cloud cover should absolutely go outside and take a look -- it's impressive even with the naked eye.

#160 ::: Lee has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2013, 07:14 PM:

Hmph. Did I hit another Word of Power in my attempt to dodge the one I knew about?

#161 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2013, 07:35 PM:

(complaint about working in a profession that requires the use of AMA style redacted)

#162 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2013, 08:01 PM:

Lee @ #159 - quite right, very impressive, and it's the closest approach of those two bodies until 2026.

I've shown thousands of people various things through my telescopes, and every once in while I get a reaction that sticks with me. Like Saturday night at the George Observatory, a trio of young men came around, joking, messing around.

One bent down for a look through my telescope, and exclaimed,"It's the f*****g MOON, man! The mood is BAD-ASS!!!"

Okay, not the most refined of language, perhaps, but it was truly genuine appreciation.

#163 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2013, 08:06 PM:

Wyman Cooke @483 & SamChevre@484 -- Thanks to you both; I've just spent a highly entertaining half-hour reading the old threads.

#164 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2013, 08:25 PM:

Steve C. @ #162, that is magnificent.

#165 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2013, 08:57 PM:

HLN: Area retiree can't see Jovian-lunar conjunction at all because Pugetropolis is socked in by mysterious thick cold fog that seems to have been here forever. Retiree, who has always enjoyed seeing Jupiter, is currently disgruntled, lacking access to fog-free zone, but consoles self with chocolate, wondering if anomalous weather will ever break so we can all get back to griping about the rain.

#166 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2013, 09:15 PM:

Me @163 -- That's @143 & 144. I have NO idea how those other numbers got there... {bemused}

#167 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2013, 09:38 PM:

Steve C. #152: I Just stepped outside (in pajamas), and found it directly overhead.

#168 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2013, 09:40 PM:

#152: Thanks, that answers the "Dang! What planet is so close to the moon tonight?" question.

#169 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2013, 10:05 PM:

Has anyone else been enchanted by David Levine's video of his short story Dr. Talon's Letter to the Editor? I really liked it, but then I'm a bit of a comics geek.

#170 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2013, 11:30 PM:

A few years of very amateur stargazing* have taught me that it's always Jupiter. If there's another one, it's Saturn. But it's a pretty good bet that anything really bright is Jupiter.

*I can find Orion, Taurus, and the Pleiades from night ice-skating. Casseiopeia, too. I found Scorpius one summer on my own with no idea what it looked like-- Scorpius just looks like a constellation, and that's the constellation it looks like. I am shaky on the Big Dipper, have never found the Little Dipper, and have never found the North Star. My philosophy of stargazing is to wait until someone points and says, "What's that?" because otherwise, they won't be able to see it.

#171 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2013, 11:43 PM:

One of my cats unexpectedly and surprisingly coughed briefly and died today -- a mad dash to the vet confirmed as much, and pointed to a heart attack. She wasn't quite ten yet -- far too young to expect anything of the sort, especially when she was up and about as normal shortly before. She'll be much missed :(

#172 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2013, 12:26 AM:

@Xeger: That's awful. It is always hard to lose a pet, but one that is still young, and suddenly . . . oye.

#173 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2013, 12:26 AM:

Gods, xeger, I'm sorry for your loss. What a terrible thing to have happen.

#174 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2013, 12:29 AM:

Tom@169: I hadn't been familiar with that. Thanks for the link.

#175 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2013, 01:19 AM:

I'm so sorry for your sudden loss, xeger. I'll hug my kittehs an extra time tonight. We never know when something like that will happen

#176 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2013, 02:34 AM:

xeger, #171: My deepest condolences on your loss. What an awful shock that must have been.

Steve C.: I got a fairly decent photo of the moon and Jupiter, somewhat after closest conjunction. That was taken without a tripod, and at such a high zoom level it's really hard to hold still! Now I'm wondering what this camera could do with a tripod...

#177 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2013, 04:02 AM:

xeger, that's awful! I'm so sorry. Our cat went in much the same way, just over a year ago. She was totally fine, and then she very much wasn't, and then a scant hour later I was holding her for the last time at the vet's. It's bewildering. How are your other kitties faring?

#178 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2013, 07:59 AM:

Troll's Elegy

My gems of truth are treated here as dross.
You people are too quick to take offense.
You say I've wronged, but I have broke no laws.
It may be hard, but use some common sense.
And now I speak, and now my speech is done.
And now I'm back once more to say I'm gone.

My tale was told and yet it was not heard.
You laud free speech and yet you quash dissent.
You are not hurt, I only said a word.
To spark a small debate was all I meant.
I've said my piece, and yet no peace was won.
And now I'm back once more to say I'm gone.

I came to share, I did not want to fight.
I claim to value discourse over strife.
My lawyer has advised me that I'm right.
You people need to get a better life.
And now I troll, and now my trolling's done.
And now I'm back once more to say I'm gone.

#179 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2013, 08:18 AM:

xeger, I'm so sorry. What a shock.

#180 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2013, 08:25 AM:

Xeger, I'm very sorry for your loss.

#181 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2013, 08:46 AM:

xeger #171; That's awful. I'm sorry for your loss.

#182 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2013, 09:28 AM:

xeger @ 171: I'm so sorry for your loss.

#183 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2013, 09:50 AM:

Xeger @ 171... :-(

#184 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2013, 10:13 AM:

Oh, xeger, I'm so sorry.

#185 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2013, 10:33 AM:

xeger (171): I'm very sorry for your loss.

#186 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2013, 10:53 AM:

Xeger, that sucks.

#187 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2013, 11:15 AM:

jnh @158:

OH. MY. GHOD.

That is just drop dead gorgeous, and I'm even more impressed with him in Les Miz, now that I've heard him full voice.

I know how much work it is to get something not in your normal range to sound as good as it did in the film.

#188 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2013, 11:19 AM:

xeger, my condolences -- we had one go much the same way, many years ago.

#189 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2013, 02:38 PM:

xeger: I, too, have lost a cat in such a sudden and unexpected way; it's heartbreaking, and I'm sorry for your loss.

#190 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2013, 03:10 PM:

I tried asking on the last open thread, but I think it got buried so I'm giving it another go, if the publishing professionals could ballpark this for me.

Say you've got a small-but-traditional publisher whose main money-making venture is a series of pulpy genre novels. How long would it probably be between "author hands in manuscript" and "book hits shelves"?

#191 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2013, 03:23 PM:

Allan Beatty @179: your Troll's Elegy is splendid

#192 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2013, 03:50 PM:

Xeger: I'm sorry. (I pause to stroke the cat.)

#193 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2013, 04:08 PM:

HLN: Area Woman successfully completes first batch of pierogi, feels she is now worthy of her surname. In related news, several Area Refrigerator overflowing with cheese, potato and onion pierogi as well as surplus filling. Recipe evidently scaled toward large village holiday celebrations. Area Woman not sorry.

#194 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2013, 04:29 PM:

nerdycellist @193: I wish I were HL to this news. The FG loves pierogies, and so do I.

#195 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2013, 04:34 PM:

This is not a bad earworm to have.

#196 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2013, 04:37 PM:

Local man notes to self to attempt to be in the village when nerdycellist is having a village celebration.

#197 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2013, 05:04 PM:

Xeger: I am so sorry for you!

#198 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2013, 05:38 PM:

xeger @171: Yeah, I've had otherwise seemingly healthy guinea pigs in their prime just turn up dead. It's always a shock. At least there's minimal suffering involved...?

#199 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2013, 05:44 PM:

If there's ever an LA area Gathering of Light, I will provide the pierogi. Quite possibly from this batch. Making another batch of dough for the surplus filling this evening and then freezing for sad, pierogi-less times. What I'd really like to find is a recipe for some similar to what I had in Warsaw, but I've never made anything with buckwheat groats and my roommate is allergic to pork.

#200 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2013, 06:04 PM:

xeger @171: Many sympathies. Much the same thing happened to me three years back - she was just five years old. Five years or ten: it's too short a life for a cat, and it's a terrible shock. The only consolations is that there's nothing you could have done.

#201 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2013, 06:31 PM:

Nerdycellist, I thought you'd like to know that the URL linked to your name is missing an 'n'.

#202 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2013, 06:57 PM:

xeger, so sorry. Hug and sympathy.

#203 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2013, 08:29 PM:

nerdycellist, I can't really make any suggestions about the pork beyond the inadequate "turkey bacon", but you'll find buckwheat groats sold as "kasha", probably near the rice and barley but possibly also in the little "kosher" section; if you don't see a gold and black box with the brand name Wolff's, Bob's Red Mill also sells it.

Cooking directions are on the package, and they are very good with caramelized onions. I'm going to have to try cooking them without that and eating them with maple syrup instead, as Barryarans do.

#204 ::: CZEdwards ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2013, 08:55 PM:

Xeger: Oh, no. I am so sorry.

#205 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2013, 09:30 PM:

nerdycellist, Rikibeth: Kasha is a perfectly decent starch that doesn't actually need any meat. Besides the onions, it's traditionally prepared with bow-tie pasta. Also fried chicken fat, but that fell out of my family's habits a generation or two back. (My Mom was an early adopter for healthy food, but I don't remember Grandma doing the chicken-fat thing either.)

Amusingly, Googling indicates that my family and/or my hearing loss had (further) corrupted the names for the dish, as I remember it as "kasha and varnishkens, optional greavings", while Wikipedia and other sites have "kasha varnishkes" as the name of the dish (the pasta is "farfalle" in Yiddish), and the chicken-fat as "greaves". WP also traces the dish name back to kasha-filled dumplings, which leads back to the perogies.

#206 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2013, 09:48 PM:

Jacque #198: Like the saying goes, "live fast, die young...." :-~ My rabbit (some 15 years ago) died overnight, but I found his corpse stretched out in "comfy rest" posture. (It was a major shock at the time, especially as I'd had an unrealistic idea of rabbit lifespan.)

#207 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2013, 10:08 PM:

pericat @ 177 ...
xeger, that's awful! I'm so sorry. Our cat went in much the same way, just over a year ago. She was totally fine, and then she very much wasn't, and then a scant hour later I was holding her for the last time at the vet's. It's bewildering. How are your other kitties faring?

Bewildering is right -- all of us keep on looking around to see where she's gotten to, since it seems like she really should just be there.

Oddly enough, the cat she didn't get along with particularly well at all is the one that's spent the most time looking for her.

#208 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2013, 10:17 PM:

nerdycellist, Rikibeth, Dave Harmon: Kasha varnishkas is a perfectly delicious way to eat buckwheat, but if one likes kasha, one will appreciate buckwheat groats in general. The FG makes plain groats in much the same manner as quinoa, rice, or any other grain. Buckwheat pancakes are also delicious, with or without maple syrup.

I second the recommendation of Wolff's or Bob's Red Mill; I've had good luck finding Wolff's in the regular grocery stores that serve heavily Jewish neighborhoods, and Bob's line shows up in various healthy groceries.

#209 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2013, 10:17 PM:

... and thank you, everybody -- it's oddly comforting to know that other people have had the same sudden passing happen as well - I've dealt with long illness, which is it's own set of misery, but the bolt out of the blue is really disconcerting and distressing.

This continues to be one of my favourite photos of her, and was obviously a prelude to the full taking-over-the-world configuration (that's with her sister)

#210 ::: xeger's cats have been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2013, 10:19 PM:

Apparently cats and photos of cats are words to be pounced upon by the gnomes...

#211 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 12:34 AM:

Reality check request. Am I the only person who thinks that anyone who wants to be taken seriously in an adult-level discussion should be able to use the word "bitch" without resorting to cutesy-poo circumlocutions?

#212 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 01:05 AM:

Dave Harmon: "Farfalle" is the standard Italian word for bow tie pasta, though I think it might actually translate as "butterflies". I'm pretty sure I learned that "varnishkes" was the Yiddish for that pasta.

And "kasha and varnishkes with optional greavings" -- well, the "greavings" seems like a variant of "gribenes" or "grivenes" to me (remembering that "b" and "v" are almost the same thing in Hebrew and Yiddish), and "grivenes" (gri-ven-us, the way my family says it) is/are basically chicken CRACKLINGS, the crispy bits of fried skin and possibly onions left after rendering and straining chicken fat, or "schmaltz". Grivenes are an addictive delicacy (you know the bacon craze? consider this a chickeny equivalent) and, of course, loaded with fat and cholesterol and not recommended by any nutritionist. However, they are amazing in kasha varnishkes, add joy to chopped liver, and are a crucial component of the fried mashed-potato-and-chicken-liver patties my grandmother served as a pre-Seder snack at Passover, which kept adults and children alike from becoming cranky with hunger before we got to the EATING part of the Seder.

My dad had a cardiologist friend who had a T-shirt that read "gribenes kills."

nerdycellist, it might be possible to use gribenes in place of bacon in those Warsaw pierogies. It wouldn't have the smoke flavor, but it would certainly have the umami, salt, and crunch! Of course, you have to be willing to render chicken fat to get it...

Now that I think of it, there's no reason you couldn't have duck or goose gribenes as well, and, dear heaven, potatoes or brussels sprouts cooked in either of those rendered fats are beyond amazing, so it might be worth roasting one of those birds and doing the rendering as a side project.

#213 ::: Mea ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 01:48 AM:

Lee @211
Context matters. I try really hard to not swear or call people names at work. Really, really try (but slip up too frequently for my liking, especially when talking with people with whom I am comfortable).

So in a workplace context, my first question would be whether the circumlocution is due to an attempt to adhere to that person's view of "workplace language rules"

When not trying for polite language, however, most people I know have no difficulty calling someone a bitch. It takes a really committed feminist to eschew that term because it isn't gender neutral. Although I often say it with admiration, since my college reading included the "the bitch manifesto". (short version is basically if you try to do anything as a woman, you will be called a bitch. embrace it because it is the bitches who get things done!)

#214 ::: Mea ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 01:55 AM:

Lea at 211

One additional thought: saying things like "rhymes with witch" is childish. When I avoid swearing or name calling it is to use more measured language. The "rhymes with witch" method would be annoying, but I don't know anyone who makes a habit of it. If that is the behavior you are facing, you have my sympathy.

#215 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 02:25 AM:

Lee @211 - Can't speak to whether you're alone in your expectations, but I can say I'm not with you on them. I'm never comfortable with the word "bitch" as an insult, not because it isn't "cutsey-poo" enough, but precisely because it's a gendered insult. Using "bitch" to mean "an asshole/jerk who's a woman" strikes me a lot like using the n-word to mean "an asshole/jerk who's black."

(Which is to say nothing about the movement within feminism to reclaim the word, since that's a rather different context than what you're talking about.)

I'm also not convinced I'm obliged to take seriously as an adult someone who has resorted to name-calling, whether the name-calling is G-rated or PG-13.

Others' viewpoints will differ. That's mine. One more datapoint for your survey.

--

xeger - adding my condolences to the chorus. We just lost our own Uno yesterday, and we're currently going through what you described -- expecting to see him around every corner, wondering where he's hiding, thinking it's time to feed him -- but we at least had the warning of an early December diagnosis of squamous cell carcenoma. We had time to get used to the idea before things got bad enough to schedule that last vet house call. I can only imagine how much more disconcerting and traumatic things are for your family, given how sudden and unexpected was your loss. I'm so sorry.

#216 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 02:32 AM:

Mea, #213: That's exactly what prompted my comment, which on second reading could have been more clear about that. I have no problem with people simply not using coarse language, but if you're going to use it in the first place, own your words and stop pretending that you aren't!

And that particular circumlocution has always sounded to me like something a Mean Girl says, which means that I read other people using it as finding Mean Girl behavior admirable, which is just another irritant.

#217 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 02:33 AM:

On further thought, I have to agree with Mea. Saying something like "rhymes like witch" or "Bee word" takes all the things I object to about using gendered slurs and adds an extra irritating layer of coyness. Reminds me of people who say really rude/mean things online and then end with "No offense intended" or "LOL :)".

#218 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 02:35 AM:

Lee #211 Am I the only person...?

Hell, no.

#219 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 04:14 AM:

I have used "witch, and words that rhyme with it" to describe, in a work context, the ways that I suspect that I have been referred to by one set of colleagues. I chose that phrasing to softpedal the accusation a little bit, and make it easier for our mutual management to tackle the root problem rather than getting hung up in the precise terminology.

Cutesy-poo? Fine, if you say so. It served the contextual and strategic purpose more than a blunter phrasing would have.

#220 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 04:30 AM:

Note, Abi, that you’re talking about an indirect repetition (you thought someone else said you were a…) rather than a direct usage (that gal is a…). Someone who wants to call a woman a bitch, but figleafs it with the “rhymes with” trick, is trying to cover up acting like a sexist asshole. You were just trying to soften a discussion of someone else possibly being a sexist asshole. Different thing.

#221 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 07:45 AM:

Nicole #215: Just to complicate things, there's also a use of "n*gger" among blacks to mark off (and separate away) another black as at least "lazy, shiftless" and perhaps other unwanted traits. I've only heard that form perhaps twice in my life (I'm very white), but the usage as "I'm no n*gger, I <work>" was unmistakable. There might be a connection or reference in Conrad's The Nigger of the Narcissus, but I haven't read that properly, just glanced at a few pages while shelving. (And concluded that reading it properly would take serious attention!)

#222 ::: Dave Harmon, gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 07:46 AM:

probably for a bad word.

#223 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 08:00 AM:

I agree that it's a little cutesy to use euphemisms like "rhymes with witch" in direct adult conversation. I can see it, as abi said, when discussing indirectly someone else's comment in a work environment. Ditto for discussing things in the presence of small children. The other place it doesn't bother me is in written comments in a venue trying to maintain PG-level standards. The weekly online discussion run by advice columnist Carolyn Hax at washingtonpost.com has evolved the rhyming euphemism of "glass bowl" and it amuses me. But I would think it was silly if someone said it in conversation, absent the constraints mentioned earlier.

#224 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 08:29 AM:

Nicole, my condolences for your loss!

#225 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 08:35 AM:

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little @215, my condolences on your loss. Expected or unexpected, it still hurts. A lot.

#226 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 09:10 AM:

Nicole (215): I'm sorry for your loss.

#227 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 09:11 AM:

Nicole #215: My condolences for you too. As a mostly-former Pagan to a current one -- in time, his spirit will settle into your hearts.

#228 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 09:28 AM:

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little @ 215 ...
We just lost our own Uno yesterday, and we're currently going through what you described -- expecting to see him around every corner, wondering where he's hiding, thinking it's time to feed him -- but we at least had the warning of an early December diagnosis of squamous cell carcenoma. We had time to get used to the idea before things got bad enough to schedule that last vet house call. I can only imagine how much more disconcerting and traumatic things are for your family, given how sudden and unexpected was your loss. I'm so sorry.

I'm so sorry to hear that :( There's no good way to lose our friends, and they leave a hole that's vastly disproportionate to their size.

#229 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 09:35 AM:

Sadness for the loss of small(er) companions, recent and past.

#230 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 10:44 AM:

Nicole, I'm sorry for your loss.

#231 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 11:52 AM:

On the whole "rhymes-with-'witch'" thing: If the original speaker happened to be somebody whom I was already inclined not to like, it would irritate me unspeakably. On the other hand, if the original speaker happened to be somebody with whom I was already on neutral-to-friendly terms, I would probably chalk it up to a peculiarity of their idiolect (and possibly to too much time spent in the company of either small children or censorious adults), shrug, and move on.

It's all in the context, most of the time.

#232 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 11:57 AM:

"There is a name for you, ladies, but it isn't used in high society... outside of a kennel."
- Joan Crawford in 1939's 'The Women'

That being said, I don't like the word, and not just because it's an insult to Freya and Nahla, my two girl-dogs.

#233 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 12:10 PM:

Another point of the compass -- as a witch I get really tired of people who use the "rhymes with" bit. I'm not sure why they think insulting someone's religion is more acceptable than comparing someone to a female dog.

#234 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 12:13 PM:

Serge Broom #232: I've seen bumper stickers: "My best friend is a BITCH". Naturally, the background is a paw-print....

#235 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 12:34 PM:

We had a scare with one of our cats yesterday (lethargic, mass in abdomen, not eating); took her to the vet, and the blood work was encouraging and she's acting much better today. We'll get the cytology report later, but we're a lot more optimistic than yesterday at this time. Mabel is an amazing cat, and we're hoping for much more time with her. (My current guess, on minimal information, is gallstone. We'll see what the vet says.)

#236 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 01:13 PM:

xeger @209: "Me? No, I wasn't on the Internet. No, I don't know why the Google window is displaying a search for World Domination Strategies, why do you ask?"

Mea @213: When not trying for polite language, however, most people I know have no difficulty calling someone a bitch.

I can't think of circumstances under which I would be willing to call someone a bitch. (I guess that makes me a committed feminist?) Oddly, I'm far less reluctant to use the term "son of a bitch." It may also be an age/generation thing.

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little @215: I'm also not convinced I'm obliged to take seriously as an adult someone who has resorted to name-calling +1

We just lost our own Uno yesterday

Oh no! I understood he was ill, but {:-(

#237 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 01:13 PM:

Substitute "switch" for "witch". An inanimate object, should be safe enough. Or is there something I don't know about?

#238 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 02:55 PM:

Dave Bell @ 237 ...
'switch' has sexual connotations.

#239 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 03:22 PM:

In my head, "bitch", "bitchy", and "bitching" are all relatively gender-neutral terms -- they're a step up the scale from whiner/whiny/whining, and it doesn't feel odd to me at all to apply them to a guy. But that's an idiosyncratic usage.

#240 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 03:29 PM:

238
'stitch'?

#241 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 04:27 PM:

Lee @239, huh, that's interesting. Thinking about your comment, I realize that I find "bitch" as a verb gender-neutral and not particularly offensive, though I'd try to avoid using it in especially sensitive environments. I find "bitch" as a noun applied to humans to be female-derogatory and more offensive, and I tend to avoid using it at all. I'd place "bitchy" toward the female-derogatory side but less so than the noun.

And I suppose that's left out "bitching" as a synonym for cool, which I just find a little baffling.

The nuances of language are endless.

#242 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 04:38 PM:

And oh, what happened then was rich.
The house began to pitch.
The kitchen took a slitch.

#243 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 05:14 PM:

"Abercrombie"? Like rhyming slang?

#244 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 05:34 PM:

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little @215: Condolences on the loss of your Uno. As for expecting Uno to still be there, that can last quite a while. Three years on, I still very occasionally expect to see Sundae appear - the brain plays tricks.

#245 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 05:57 PM:

Update on Mabel the cat: aggressive lymphoma. Chemo may be possible, but we can't get her in to see the cancer doctor until Monday (which is quick, actually).

We're going to have a hard time for the next while. Updates when I know. I may be concentrating on this rather than responding here.

#246 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 05:58 PM:

dcb: I have veritable legions of ghost guinea pigs. Little flash of brown fur, scooting under the table, just out of my field of view, when I know damn well everyone's locked up for the night. I hardly even think about it anymore. Though I'm flattered if they liked my place well enough to come back for the occassional visit from The Great Beyond.

#247 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 05:59 PM:

Tom: best wishes and good luck.

#248 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 06:09 PM:

246
I had my cat walk through once, when she was alive and well and several miles away. Just wanted to check on me, I think.

#249 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 06:21 PM:

Tom @245, I'm sorry to read that. Best wishes for Mabel.

#250 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 06:40 PM:

HLN: Area woman is still looking for steady work, and in gaps between looking at job listings or doing crossword puzzles is placer mining the boxes of small change her household as accumulated over a couple of decades.

I'm leaving the pennies behind, and thus far have rolled $41 worth of nickels and dimes (we haven't accumulated many quarters, because those go into laundry machines), of which 2 rolls of nickels have already been deposited in my bank account. I'm going to need more of the paper rolls for dimes, and maybe should get some more nickel rolls as well.

Yes, pennies are money. The nearest supermarket that has a Coinstar machine is a total of about eight blocks on foot, plus a bus ride, in each direction. A pound of pennies weighs about a dollar. Round-trip bus fare is $4.50 (the bonus for putting money on a metrocard is less than the percentage Coinstar takes out).

#251 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 06:48 PM:

Addendum to the previous (gnomes, do you like metal?):

Yes, I could roll pennies and take them to the bank, as with the nickels and dimes, instead of using Coinstar. I thought of that, and even got papers to roll them up, but they're still heavy, and the bank branch would be about as much of a walk as the Coinstar machine, albeit more likely to be on my way to somewhere else.

#252 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 06:52 PM:

Vicki @250, ignore if hlepy, but can you keep a (largish) handful of pennies in your pocket and spend them whenever possible? It's a slow way to get rid of them (and clerks aren't necessarily ecstatic about taking 38 cents in pennies) but it does work.

#253 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 07:43 PM:

Xeger and Nicole, sorry to hear about the loss of your companions. Especially in the case of the sudden one—I don't know what that's like; we've generally had at least a week or two to say goodbye (or five months last year in the case of our 19-year-old Karen, who didn't know that kidney patients are supposed to have nausea and poor appetite).

#254 ::: GlendaP ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 07:46 PM:

Vicki @250, Cassy @252: When I had to use coin-op laundry, I used pennies and the occasional nickel to make change come out in quarters. For example, if the amount due was $9.82, I gave the clerk $10.07* and got one quarter back. It garnered me some strange looks, but I figured that was their problem, not mine.

*No math required. The trick is counting backward to $.00, $.25, $.50, or $.75. In my example, start with $.82 and count back two pennies to get to $.80. Then five more pennies gets you to $.75.

#255 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 07:50 PM:

Jacque, it's ghost cats here. And though we have lost many cats over the years, it's mainly the first two who come back to give us glimpses.

#256 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 08:03 PM:

Tom Whitmore #245: Ouch! My sympathies and best wishes.

Vicki #250-251: I've been using rolled and bagged pennies as exercise weights. ;-)

#257 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 08:20 PM:

Copper pennies have a bit of a premium these days -- those from before 1982, after which they started coating zinc blanks with copper. Not sure if it's worth separating them, though (their melt value is currently 2.4c).

#258 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 08:22 PM:

Vicki: My bank allows you to bring in a bag/jar of change, and they just run it through their Coinstar-equivalent sorting machine, and give you bills back. No rolling needed, and no 10% off the top. But this, of course, assumes a bank branch within reasonable distance. This may be an uber-urban thing, but a lot of supermarkets around here have bank branches inside, a la Starbucks.

#259 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 08:45 PM:

Cassy B. (252): A simpler (but very, very slow) thing to do with excess pennies is to make sure you always have at least four with you, so that you can always spend them and never have to take more in change.

GlendaP (254): Cashiers, especially young ones, tend to get quite boggled when I do that kind of thing. "How do you *do* that?!"

#260 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 08:52 PM:

GlendaP @ 254 and Mary Aileen @ 259, those of us who were cashiers in the Dark Ages before computerized tills learned to count back change. I befuddle cashiers all the time.
"That'll be $5.82."
"Here's $6.07."
"Huh?"
"I'd like a quarter back, please...."
"Huh?"
*sigh* "Just key it into the register..."

Cassy

#261 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 09:07 PM:

Many years ago I worked part-time at The Other Change of Hobbit, and there was no cash register, just an adding machine and a till. Aside from learning to operate a ten-key adding machine quite fast, I also got good at making change, to the point where I can do it from a round bill without requiring conscious thought, even decades later. So for the example of giving $6.07 on a $5.82 charge, I'll just figure $6.00 - $5.82 = $.18, and from there work out that I need to add on seven more cents.

#262 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 09:10 PM:

David G @281 -- like the cow counter who was fast and accurate -- "I just count their feet and divide by four."

#263 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 09:55 PM:

What I like to do with jars of coins is put them in Coinstar and trade them for Amazon gift certificates. I have accumulated a fairly hefty account balance over a few months. That doesn't solve the problem of a bus ride costing four dollars, though.

#264 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 09:59 PM:

Cassy B. (260): It's even more fun when you do it across bills as well as coins.

"That'll be $16.82."
"Here's $22.07."
"Why...?"
"Just ring it up, and you'll see."
(The change is a five-dollar bill and a quarter.)
"How do you *do* that?"
"Practice."

#265 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 10:20 PM:

259/260
I had a cashier once who wouldn't even do that. I would have gotten a quarter, if she'd actually put the money tendered in, but she couldn't get the idea.

#266 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 10:43 PM:

I'm impressed by the people at the farmers' market, who never deign to use a calculator to add up your purchases and make change.

#267 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 10:46 PM:

Tom Whitmore @ 245 ...
Update on Mabel the cat: aggressive lymphoma. Chemo may be possible, but we can't get her in to see the cancer doctor until Monday (which is quick, actually).

My empathies and best wishes for Mabel and you.

#268 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 10:49 PM:

Tom at 245, sorry to hear about Mabel. Nicole: my sympathies.

#269 ::: GlendaP ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 10:55 PM:

re: innumerate cashiers

I've elicited actual jaw drops more than once.

#270 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 11:02 PM:

This one didn't take nearly so long to write.

You dance round the icebox and suppose,
But the Plum sits in my stomach and knows.

(TTTO.)

#271 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2013, 11:38 PM:

"How do you DO that?"

"It's not hard. You could too, if anyone had ever bothered to teach you."

Which is for the most part true, barring someone with a learning disability. I prefer to put the onus on the system rather than the student.

#272 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2013, 03:02 AM:

Not a bad reply, though I've only ever gotten "How did you do that?" once.

#273 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2013, 03:50 AM:

Tom Whitmore @245: Sympathies for you and Mabel, and good luck. Do keep us updated when youhave the time and spoons.

Jacque @ 246. Oh, I don't -object- at all (and I do like your suggestion that she visits). Took about a year to stop expecting her to jump into the basket of damp laundry when I unloaded the washing machine, and lie there, purring madly and grabbing at socks as I tried to extract them to hang up (why she liked lying on damp laundry, I've no idea). And about the same length of time for my husband to stop expecting her to be sitting behind the curtains in his study.

#274 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2013, 08:33 AM:

Tom Whitmore: my sympathies.

#275 ::: Kimiko ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2013, 09:41 AM:

Re: circumlocutions
As a child, I had heard the substitution "they are a bit much", (say the 'mu' sound softly) but I've never met anyone I've disliked enough to so deliberately and carefully namecall.

#276 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2013, 09:55 AM:

Tom: Best wishes for Mabel.

#277 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2013, 11:19 AM:

Tom, my best wishes for you and Mabel.

Jacque, it's ghost cats here too. When I had a canary, he would start rustling around his covered cage when Robin the Balinese would pop in for a visit from the astral. You see, none of the cats was allowed in the room with the bird...

The only dog I've ever had come back for visits was my first Chihuahua, Pedro. He announced his presence with the sound of claws clicking on linoleum. Even in totally carpeted dwellings. He was a good dog, I miss him.

(Who the hell am I kidding, I miss ALL of mine who have gone before me.)

#278 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2013, 11:28 AM:

Sympathies to xeger and Nicole - the more so as we lost our Newton this fall - and best wishes and hopes for Mabel and her Tom.

I've really got to get on it and schedule our cats for their checkups; I don't want to end up missing something like that until it's too late (again.)

HLN: Two more rats removed from traps in past week, this time well prior to deliquescence. Two sprung traps minus rat testify to rat cleverness or caution. Point of entry possibly located, further investigation merited.

#279 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2013, 12:31 PM:

I once encountered a (damn-well-better-have-been-new) barista who labored under the impression that if I gave him $2.03 for a $1.98 tab, he should give me back five pennies. Not entirely clear on the concept of five pennies = one nickel. I gently explained, but I have no idea if the general concept stuck.

#280 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2013, 12:38 PM:

Tom Whitmore @245: My sympathies to you and Mabel.

#281 ::: Phiala ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2013, 12:39 PM:

Must be a bad month for cats: I lost my much-beloved eighteen-year-old Ferocious Monster (Morgan, but google for "ferocious monster") a week and a half ago, while I was out of town.

He'd been slowing down (eighteen, after all), but got much worse shortly after I left. A day at the emergency weekend vet, and Nick took him a last meal of gingersnaps.

Realizing that I don't have to keep the office/studio door closed to keep the cat out of the yarn? Ouch.

#282 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2013, 12:59 PM:

I'm sorry for your loss, Phiala.

#283 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2013, 01:09 PM:

Although my 20-yr old Cinder had been slowing down, and I'd been prepared for her eventual passing, I do find that her death still affects me: I keep forgetting to take my medicine, as I don't remind myself while making up her breakfast-with-medicine. I have to retrain myself, and it's taking longer than I thought. On the other hand, taking care of the cats-and-dogs now requires only 15-20 minutes, and not up to an hour as it did previously.

The other night I felt Kedgie jump onto the couch, only she's been gone nearly two years.

#284 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2013, 02:52 PM:

Phiala @281: I'm sorry to hear of your loss.

Seems to be an age-range thing, too. I know an awful lot of 30-give-or-take folks who are losing elderly cats right around now. Not a life passage I'd heard documented formally, but it certainly seems to be a Thing.

#285 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2013, 02:54 PM:

Ginger: The weirdest one of those I've experienced was, the night after my wee Tigger died, I woke up repeatedly to the sensation of warm fur sliding across my cheek.

#286 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2013, 05:13 PM:

Jacque @284: I realized some time ago that our beagles (who are just about of an age, though they both had very different, but very stressful, puppyhoods) would be hitting decreptitude and probably dying right about when Beka's 10-13, which does seem a fairly typical age to lose one's first pet ... unless you lose one earlier, of course, due to your parents owning a mature adult pet for some time before the child was acquired/born.

On the plus side, that means she'll have Pet Continuity (barring misfortune) throughout her youngest years ... but we might consider picking out a third pet when she's 7 or 8 that will both give her something to take responsibility for the care of (if, of course, she has a suitable personality/responsibility bump by then) and will bridge the awkward 'all our dogs are dying' phase. :-/

We only have two dogs because we don't like to be outnumbered in situations where Sudden Control Must Be Taken; once she's old enough to be a useful pair of hands for that, perhaps we might get a cat or something.

#287 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2013, 05:24 PM:

HLN weather report: Central Virginia man woke up this morning to perhaps 3 inches of snow, most of which has melted by now. Dog ecstatic, but was limping after 15 minutes of romping through snow. (She seems to have recovered by evening.)

#288 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2013, 05:56 PM:

286
In my case, it was around 14, due to said pet (cat) only being three months older than me. (Why, yes, I have always known where I stood with cats.)

#289 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2013, 10:58 PM:

My dog is still limber and active and bright at 11 1/2, but she does seem to be getting a bit sore after our long morning walks.

I'm going to have to think hard about Next Dog timing. I think I could handle Kira and a younger understudy. Not sure what Kira would think about it, having had eight years of exclusive Me access. Having a second dog on hand when the hard day for Kira's final ride arrives would make things easier for me.

#290 ::: CZEdwards ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2013, 11:25 PM:

HLN: Area woman has completed her first glove. Area woman realizes she needs to learn to use a thimble. Area woman is inordinately proud of poorly fitted, marked up object.

#291 ::: CZEdwards is visiting the gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2013, 11:28 PM:

Short entry, with link to blog.

I offer cauliflower korma and rice pudding.

[Please check the URL you have in your header. It has "http://Http://" in it twice, like that, which will always get it gnomed. -- Flauor M. Ronis, Duty Gnome]

#292 ::: Claire ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2013, 09:23 AM:

@290, CZEdwards: AWESOME!!! Very cool glove. :)

Also, your poor pricked fingers...

#293 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2013, 10:42 AM:

HLN: After two days of drifting dusty does-not-accumulate snow teasing local children, ACTUAL SNOW has now fallen for the first time this winter in Chicago.

Probably perfect for sledding, if I could (a) interest my kid in getting dressed and out, and (b) figure out how to get us from our house to the nearest (not very near) sleddable hill.

Oh, well, she has yoga at 1 anyway; maybe I should let her lounge around until then.

#294 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2013, 11:12 AM:

Oh, and because I have not mentioned this WIN here yet: tonight, when we go to Beka's Gunga's house for dinner, BEKA WILL NOT BE RETURNING.

Sleepover! With her fictive cousins! Allllll night! And most of tomorrow! So I can do a Thing tomorrow starting at noon. Which gives me a morning to (a) sleep late and (b) maybe take John to the gym with me so we can be social and active together!!

But either way, SLEEEEEEEEEP!

*mariachi-dances to the Rescue Pack song from ep of Go-Diego-Go kid is currently watching*

#295 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2013, 04:49 PM:

I bet I'm not the first to note Fox TV's Glee ripping off our beloved Jonathan Coulton, but I haven't seen any other reference to it here.

He says that initial impression is that he doesn't have a copyright case (I didn't know that arrangements including new original words aren't copyrightable—changes a lot about music if true), but naturally he's pissed off, and this is not proper at all, legal or not.

#296 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2013, 04:53 PM:

I took a box of books to Powell's Books to sell back last weekend, and to my surprise, they bought the old Heinlein paperbacks. These were somewhat more recent ones — reprints — that were physically in good shape. I had tossed some aged ones directly into the box for Goodwill, assuming they wouldn't buy those. I just took the 4 old, faded, yellowed, slightly tattered ones in, and they bought 3 out of 4, for a total credit of $3.50. They only rejected the 4th because the binding had split. I am astonished.

#297 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2013, 04:53 PM:

Let me also say that US copyright law is a ass, a idiot.

#298 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2013, 05:03 PM:

Jim's 'Vegetarian Haggis' diffraction: I've got no objection to meat-free haggis (if there are other sources of fat and umami), but pepper-free haggis?

The recipe has no black pepper, and 1 pinch of cayenne in ten servings. A BBC recipe that makes half the amount has 1 tsp black pepper.

#299 ::: thomas was gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2013, 05:03 PM:

A post's a post, for a' that.

#300 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2013, 05:30 PM:

Powell's buys what sells, no matter the age.

When I did my first big shelf-sweeping a couple of years back, I brought in some early-70s (I'm guessing) vintage Heinleins with wonderful covers by an artist whose name is escaping me. (Not the realistic Sweet covers.) They were all accepted, no questions.

Last week I brought in some several year old hardcovers by big-name authors, and my Harry Potter hardcovers.

To my great surprise, because I generally see lots of them at Goodwill and figured they were in vast oversupply, three of the Potters were bought.

The ____ hardcovers didn't sell a one. ("He hasn't written anything lately or won any awards so his stuff isn't going to sell well. You could try the downtown store.")

OTOH, they bought a Book Club edition of The Postman. Book club editions are generally shunned.

#301 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2013, 06:03 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 299: Wow, you sold a book club edition! Nice.

#302 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2013, 07:15 PM:

Thanks to all for the kind thoughts for our now Uno-less household.

Jacque--it was sudden, as these things go; over the weekend, the tumor he was living with invited some friends which immediately grew to robin's-egg size over some 48 hours. He went from "able and eager to eat liquified food, once you get him started" to "unable to eat despite multiple desperate attempts on his part" from one meal to the next. We left a message with Alpine Sunday night, and Monday morning we scheduled the final home visit. I am grateful that they do home visits for this. The vets there have been uniformly compassionate and supportive.

My condolences to Clifton and Phiala and Ginger and any others who have suffered recent losses. It really does seem like a bad few months for petdom, doesn't it? Sadness.

Phiala: Realizing that I don't have to keep the office/studio door closed to keep the cat out of the yarn? Ouch.

Yeah. For us, it's the toilet paper back on the roll rather than safe in the cabinet under the sink. And that I don't need to get up and feed anyone.

We also had household things that were part of the feed-the-cats ritual, mostly to do with watering plants (pouring off the cats' water bowl before refilling) and putting away any dry dishes still in the drying rack (before putting in wet, freshly washed cat food bowls).

I just caught myself saying, "Uno, mama's home" when I came in the door. Extra irony: I'd been out running errands, one of which was taking the last of the still-useable pet supplies to donate to the Humane Society Adoption Center. And as I went about my morning I was sure that Uno was still in the bed wondering why I'd got up and stopped cuddling him.

Tom, my best to you and Mabel. For us, diagnosis day was a worse heartbreak than the actual day of death--rough times ahead, like you say, and also knowing that this isn't going to get better. My best wishes for you all during Mabel's remaining days.

#303 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2013, 08:07 PM:

Thomas #298 -- one of the comments on the recipe says as much, that it's a decent haggis if you add a lot of pepper.

#304 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2013, 09:28 PM:

Allan Beatty @179, this is quite good. I would just have the whole thing in words of one beat, as Tich wrote his, but that's just a fix here and a fix there. A great inspiration. Job well done.

Xeger, Nicole, Tom, Phiala, I understand. The cat becomes an integral part of our lives — I feel like the cat is the soul of the house — and when that's gone, it aches for a long time. I'm sorry for your loss, and, selfishly, I hope mine is still a long, long way away.

#305 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2013, 10:06 PM:

The intertubes say that there's a good chance on feline lymphoma, with chemo - and that cats do very well on chemo. But we won't have a real report until Monday afternoon at the earliest, since she sees the oncologist Monday for an ultrasound.

#306 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2013, 11:58 PM:

Thanks, Kip. Of course I started out with words of one beat but did not have the skill to keep it up. Nor an impending execution to concentrate the mind. But one small improvement: the penultimate line should be "And now I flounce, and now my flounce is done." That's the genre we're dealing with after all.

#307 ::: Steve ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2013, 05:21 AM:

Following on from Jim's mention of Isabella the Catholic as being the real Game of Thrones, the BBC are jumping on the bandwagon with The White Queen.... (http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2012/white-queen.html)

#308 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2013, 07:38 AM:

AKICML obscure quotations edition:

Mme Barebones is trying to track down the source of a quotation (quoted in French, but possibly translated from another language). The Google has failed us, but it seemed possible that someone here might be able to help us.

'Les fautes des femmes sont l'ouvrage des hommes, comme les vices des peuples sont le crime de leurs tyrans" (The faults of women are the work of men, just as the vices of a people are the crime of their tyrant)

#309 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2013, 01:05 PM:

For those who are interested, "The Seven-Percent Solution" was released last weekend in BluRay. To say it's gorgeous is an understatement.

#310 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2013, 04:32 PM:

nerdycellist, all the way back at 199: If it's bacon-flavored garnishes you're after, I can personally attest that sliced shiitake mushrooms, fried in olive oil until browned and crisp, taste amazingly bacon-like.

I don't know for sure that they would continue to taste bacon-like if incorporated into the pierogi filling. They might well. But as a garnish, they definitely would.

#311 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2013, 05:00 PM:

praisegod barebones: The English version sounds like Abigail Adams, but it appears not to be.

#312 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2013, 08:38 PM:

Hmm. Just discussing Firefly again in another venue, and I repeated what I remembered, which is that it was on opposite FarScape, and that's why it had no audience.

I just looked it up. In fact there is no overlap in first-US-broadcast dates. In fact, it seems that Firefly was broadcast when FarScape was on hiatus, and vice versa. FarScape in July and August of 2002, then Firefly in September-December, then FarScape in January-March 2003, then Firefly in June and July. No overlap even in MONTHS.

It's really embarrassing. Of course, Fox's handling of Firefly was still reprehensibly stupid, but they didn't make that particular mistake that I've been accusing them of all this time.

#313 ::: CZEdwards ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2013, 09:40 PM:

Praisegod Barebones:

That's the Sophie de Grouchy quote? I'm thinking either Thomas Paine's An Occasional Letter On The Female Sex from 1775 or possibly Benjamin Franklin (there's something similar in the Silence Dogood letters, and Franklin returned to the theme several times.)

#314 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2013, 11:32 PM:

Praisegod @ 308

I tried my google-fu on selected fragments of the French version of your quote but what turned up was someone answering what I assume is your same query over on a different forum. So I assume the answer given in comments here will make it back to you on its own.

#315 ::: pedantic peasant ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2013, 11:44 PM:

To all Making Light's yarn crafters,
from my wife, who is one with you:

A crocheted Knight's Helm, from the website Make: Craft.

Enjoy!

#316 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2013, 11:53 PM:

Hyperlocal News... Couple celebrates 27th wedding anniversary not by watching "Forbidden Planet", but with woman working on novel while man works on taxes.

#317 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2013, 12:30 AM:

Xopher @312, a friend of mine who had not at the time watched any of the shows used to routinely get Futurama, Farscape, and Firefly mixed up. Good thing Fringe wasn’t around at the time.

#319 ::: Lila got gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2013, 07:33 AM:

Reporting on Jonathan Coulton's response to the Glee mess. Probably an overly long link to Coulton's site. You can go to the composer's name dot com and find it; it's near the top.

#320 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2013, 12:26 PM:

Re: always knowing the way out -- a fire in a Nightclub in Brazil kills 245. Apparently the band members lit flare, in a club filled with 1-2000 people.

#321 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2013, 12:27 PM:

The link, since it didn't work from the iPad: http://www.komonews.com/news/national/245-die-in-panicky-stampede-in-Brazil-club-fire-188585821.html

#322 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2013, 02:23 PM:

Really, in case of a fire, if you aren't out in the first ninety seconds there's a good chance you aren't getting out.

Taking ten seconds to think and reach a decision only gives you eighty seconds. So, do your thinking in advance. Know where the exits are. Imagine yourself walking through them. And if a fire alarm goes off, don't hesitate. Leave your stuff. Get moving.

It looks like the Brazil case involved indoor fireworks again. I might even think that if someone starts deploying indoor fireworks its time to start edging toward the exits even before the fire alarm goes off.

#323 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2013, 04:40 PM:

Jim, those numbers are the kind of thing that makes me try never to be in the middle of a large crowd of people anywhere, indoors or out.

#324 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2013, 08:45 PM:

Jim @#322

If I parsed it right, some of the TV coverage was cellphone video from inside the burning club. And it shows lots of people taking pictures of a fire that's pretty clearly structural. That is, the building is burning not just contents.

Once it's a structural fire, evacuation is the only recommended action. When it is a contents fire, you can think of using the fire extinguisher -if any.

But I'm going to try to remember about indoor fireworks!

#325 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2013, 09:11 PM:

322
Apparently one of the other problems was that there was an exit blocked.

#326 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2013, 11:32 PM:

Y'know, every time one of these discussions comes up about evacuation disasters, I think about our building codes and the phrase "Many Bothans died to bring us this information."

That and the idea that I don't want to go to a nightclub ever.

I guess on the Open Thread topic, I should mention that I'm very briefly in a show that opens this weekend (Into the Woods, in Sacramento.) So come see if you're local, it's a good show. Don't come to see me, though, my role is listed as "cameo" and that's fairly accurate.

#327 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2013, 12:58 AM:

It was raining in my corner of Los Angeles in mid-afternoon (I was out on an errand). The wind just started blowing. Sounds like it's already at least 20mph. (Going to be cold tonight, even without windchill.)

#328 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2013, 02:41 AM:

So, I have my grandpa's ashes. Not wanting to inflict the possession of these on to my children in later years, I'm thinking to dispose of them in the Whipple Mountains, which he mapped as a young geologist.

Anybody know anything about the Whipple Wash Trail?

#329 ::: CZEdwards ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2013, 12:37 PM:

HLN: Area cat survived unlawful starvation, imprisonment and rendition to hostile territory and is currently being subjected to medical experimentation. Area cat pleads for the intervention of the Feline Red Cross and Mousie, invokes Geneva Convention against thumb monkey servants.

First stem cell treatment today. Angel had to fast last night, which meant her thumb monkeys were told approximately every twenty minutes that This Is Not Acceptable. She complained every minute of the hour long drive, but did not get carsick. Now, I'm waiting, and hoping that we're not in the placebo group.

#330 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2013, 01:03 PM:

HLN: local couple woke to find inner porch door open, living-room curtains partly drawn, and windowsill ornaments neatly placed in flower-bed. Stolen was a Packard Bell netbook and dongle, but not the power supply connection, and keys including car keys but not the car. The sat-nav was taken from the car, which was left unlocked, and which now has a flat battery. Police have been and taken details.
Local couple are feeling very pissed off.

#331 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2013, 01:32 PM:

HLN: Youngest Siamese (Tao) is sick, we couldn't afford the whole hospital stay thing, so he's home with medication for a presumed liver infection.

If the medication works, we should see improvement in 2-3 days. If no improvement, we will have to have him put down.

Candles lit and prayers to the household goddesses sped...

#332 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2013, 01:35 PM:

Lori Coulson @ 331 ...
Good thoughts heading your way as well!

#333 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2013, 01:41 PM:

Guardian news ticker and other sources say that Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands is to abdicate effective April 30; son Crown Prince Willem Alexander to take over.

#334 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2013, 01:58 PM:

I'm writing this from an undisclosed location, doing undisclosed things. I will disclose all when I can. In the meantime I have a question for Teresa and Patrick in their Tor hat. If this is the wrong venue, feel free to let me know. But a friend has a question about e-books on Amazon originally published by Tor. In particular The Book Of Swords by Fred Saberhagen and some of the Callahans books by Spider Robinson. Because they don't use the original artwork, he was concerned that a fly-by-nighter was pirating them. Is he right? He wants to buy them, but not if it costs the authors and Tor a sale.

#335 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2013, 03:38 PM:

B. Durbin at 326, Into the Woods is one of my absolutely favorite musical events. (Though it's hard for me to imagine any production that doesn't have Bernadette Peters in it.) Have fun!

#336 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2013, 04:41 PM:

Obama's ongoing war on whistleblowers is having its desired effect: Fewer and fewer people are willing to leak any information about evil or illegal actions of the government. A lot of domestic spying infrastructure is apparently in use in these investigations. There is some reason to think the investigations are focused as much on the journalists as the potential leakers.

This is what's coming out. What isn't coming out in public? How offen is press coverage being shaped by this kind of thing? How often is a nonclassified but unfriendly story getting this kind of investigation? How often does someone in the administration use these techniques to close the more normal kinds of leaks? Or to more effectively close off access to information for journalists who are too unfriendly to the wrong people? How would we know?

One thing I am very sure of: If you can't speak out when it's your side doing it, or if you can find an excuse when it's your side, then you don't really oppose it.

#337 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2013, 05:02 PM:

Wyman Cooke, 334: I think both of those instances -- Fred Saberhagen and Spider Robinson -- are cases where the authors (or in Fred's case, his widow Joan) are self-publishing their own e-editions. Either because they got the books reverted after they went OP, or because we never owned the e-rights in the first place (because we signed them up years before e-books were a thing).

#338 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2013, 05:29 PM:

I agree with albatross that the Obama administration has been, if anything, even worse than its predecessors when it comes to clamping down on whistleblowers. It's not a good thing. Liberals shouldn't make excuses for it. Most of the liberals I know aren't making excuses; they're appalled...but they still want (for instance) Obamacare to survive and work. Indeed, judging from organs like the Nation, I think it's pretty much the mainstream liberal American position at the moment -- unhappiness with Obama's security hawkishness (drones, whistleblowers, etc), combined with tentative hope for the success of this administration's more liberal initiatives. (Keeping in mind that self-identified "liberals" probably make up less than half of Obama's nationwide support.)

I'm a little iffy, I have to say, on formulations like "If you can't speak out when it's your side doing it, or if you can find an excuse when it's your side, then you don't really oppose it." There's a literal sense in which albatross is correct -- if you aren't actively working and speaking against $BADTHING, you're not actively working and speaking against $BADTHING. But this kind of chivvying tone gets people's backs up, because what it seems to be implicitly saying, in word and tone, is "If you don't give exactly the same priority to my issue that I give to it, you're morally worthless." As a comparison, I'm not actively working and speaking against Indian aggression in Kashmir, but I'm pretty sure it's a $BADTHING. I would be distinctly unhappy if someone were to announce that I was "not really opposed" to Indian aggression in Kashmir.

I myself wind up sometimes saying things that sound like that statement of albatross's. To my regret. I think many of us, me and albatross included, need to work on forms of political rhetoric and address that build potential allies up, rather than tearing them down. How terrific that you're enthusiastic about recycling and a saner energy policy! As it happens, there are some ways these other issues I'm talking about relate to that. Let's reinforce one another's political projects! (Yes, these sentences sound stilted. As I say, we need to make better sentences along these lines.)

As it is in so many things, the Puritanical streak in American progressive politics -- politics as a way of establishing one's personal virtue, rather than actually getting anything done -- is deeply self-wounding.

#339 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2013, 07:00 PM:

Warning: Possible triggers for cat lovers.

First report on Mabel -- lymphoma is a very nasty form of cancer, and there's basically no cure. Chemo, however, will prolong her life with good quality. Without the chemo -- less than a month, and not at all pleasant. With the chemo -- polymodal distribution with some that don't respond at all well, some that manage six months of good life, and some that manage 12 or more. We're going for a multi-drug approach, with vinblastine this week and cyclophosphamide next week (and others later).

So -- not the best prognosis, but far from the worst. We're committed to her quality of life around this, and watching that carefully. More later, as we know more.

#340 ::: CZEdwards ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2013, 07:05 PM:

Update: First round of stem-cells/placebo appears to have gone entirely well. We're home, and have learned that Angel likes Mendelssohn whilst riding in the car. (About which, I am not terribly enthusiastic, being not a fan of the Romantics, but willing to accept if it means she's a better passenger.)

Angel sends her best wishes to Tao for a speedy recovery and offers tuna broth, a catnip bouquet and a heating pad. (So do her thumb monkeys, and their best wishes to Tao's humans.)

#341 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2013, 09:46 PM:

Patrick @ 337
That's kind of what I thought. Thanks. I'll pass the word along.

#342 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2013, 10:27 PM:

Patrick @ 338... Good post. I'd say, let's each have our own personal virtue, with emphasis on 'personal'.

#343 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2013, 10:53 PM:

As it is in so many things, the Puritanical streak in American progressive politics -- politics as a way of establishing one's personal virtue, rather than actually getting anything done -- is deeply self-wounding.

I just wanted to see this one more time. So very this.

#344 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2013, 03:40 AM:

CZEdwards @329: Best of luck for Angel.

Lori Coulson @331: Best of luck for Tao.

Tom Whitmore @339: May the chemo give Mabel good remission and few side effects.

tykewriter @330: Sympathies. Here's hoping the thieves will do something stupid and get caught.

#345 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2013, 06:14 AM:

CZEdwards #329, Lori Coulson #331, Tom Whitmore #339: Damn, three folks at once getting hit? As someone who's been there, I wish all of you and your furry masters strength, luck, and the best possible outcomes.

#346 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2013, 08:47 AM:

albatross #336: And ComputerWorld chimes in with FBI digital hunt for Stuxnet leakers treats talking to journalists like a crime.

#347 ::: Dave Harmon gnomed... ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2013, 09:21 AM:

story re: whistleblowing.

#348 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2013, 09:22 AM:

Also, re: guns:

Via, Tom Tomorrow, this was at my local supermarket. Happily, I was nowhere in the vicinity at the time.

#349 ::: Dave Harmon's gnomed again ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2013, 09:23 AM:

Two links.

#350 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2013, 10:00 AM:

Good news: Tao is eating and drinking on his own!

It's beginning to look like we may be dealing with just an infection. (Knocks on wood) For which, all deities be praised.

Tao sends his best wishes to Angel and Mabel, and to their humans. My thanks to everyone for the good wishes, thoughts and prayers. I'll keep the candles lit.

At the moment, Tay's sleeping in my bed. Seven years old is much too soon to lose him.

#351 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2013, 10:01 AM:

Dave Harmon @ #348, I'm sure the law doesn't recognize it as such, but by me walking into a crowded place with a loaded assault rifle constitutes a threat.

OTOH, I've seen bumper stickers and t-shirts that struck me as threats, so what the hell do I know?

#352 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2013, 11:03 AM:

Lila, I used to see a bumper sticker on the way to work that said "Don't make me call the flying monkeys!" That's what I'd call a threat.

#353 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2013, 11:03 AM:

Lori - I came close to losing Gypsy at 13 with a liver problem. It took a couple of days of intensive nursing, but he pulled through and lived past his 19th birthday. Here's hoping Tao has a good outcome and many good years to come.

And the best wishes for all our furry overlords.

#354 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2013, 11:45 AM:

Looking at the story from The New Yorker, on the Dreamliner's problems...

Why would Boeing want to give up the advantage is has over Airbus Industries, that multi-national bunch of collaborators it is competing with?

I suppose a part of it is that the European aviation industry has been doing this sort of joint project for a long time. Planes such as Concorde and the Panavia Tornado have been around for decades, and the many companies involved know more about organising things.

And aviation has always used specialised suppliers. It's not been unusual for an aircraft company to buy batteries from a specialised battery manufacturer.

Is it just the bean counters? I could see how the setup could easily have cost more, run well, but spread the financial risk. That's what the European projects have done. Some of them have turned out to be horribly over-budget, but never quite bad enough for people to agree to pull the plug.

#355 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2013, 12:27 PM:

Lori Coulson @350: Thanks for the update. that does sound like a good response to treatment - long may it last!

Re. (David Harman @348) the idiot with the assault rifle, I'm reminded of the saying that the right to free speech doesn't include the right to (falsely) shout "Fire" in the middle of a crowded theatre...

#356 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2013, 12:40 PM:

C. Wingate, I've never seen anyone killed by a flying monkey.

I was more thinking "Keep honking, I'm reloading".

#357 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2013, 12:50 PM:

Nicole, Phiala, Ginger: You all have my condolences. For months after my Tiggar passed, I cried every time I got out of the shower and he wasn't waiting on the bed to scold me for getting all wet...

Tom, CZ: Best wishes for Mabel and Angel! CZ, I'm especially interested to hear how Angel fares, especially if she's not in the placebo group.

Xopher #312: I always thought that Firefly suffered the twin blows of the Friday Night Death Slot and being aired out of order--I know I didn't really get into it until the DVD came out, and I could watch them in proper order.

Lori #350: Good to hear that Tao is doing better!

Lila #356: I've seen the occasional "liberal hunting permit" around here, which disturbs me greatly.

#358 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2013, 01:38 PM:

Just in case anyone wishes for a little light relief: The Piano Guys: Mission Impossible

#359 ::: CZEdwards ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2013, 02:39 PM:

Jennifer Baughman @ 357: Angel will get stem-cells at the end of the study period if she is in the placebo group now. I just hope she's not, because 8 weeks of spending every other Monday as Madame's driver and getting up at OMG it's early after a night of "Where's my food?" Is much more appealing than 16 weeks of same.

Today, she is sleepy, but no more so than she has always been.

I'll post her lab results and what information I have on my blog this evening.

#360 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2013, 02:58 PM:

Mabel's doing quite well after her first round of chemo (but they say the side effects are more likely to show up on day 2 than day 1). Thanks to all of you for the kind wishes. We're spoiling her even more than she was spoiled before.

#361 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2013, 03:11 PM:

Lila, #351: In some places, that would be considered "brandishing a weapon" and would be illegal -- although probably just a misdemeanor. Where David lives is apparently not one of those places.

and @356, the one I remember read, "I Accelerate for Liberals". Ten years ago, I considered it a tasteless attempt at political intimidation. These days, I would call it a credible threat; fortunately, "liberals" aren't as visually identifiable as, say, blacks or women.

Dave B., #358: They put a "blooper reel" on the end of it!

Department of Living In the Future: Take a look at this. That's one guy with an amazing range, being an entire men's chorus via multitracking, on "Misty Mountains Cold".

#362 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2013, 03:28 PM:

A moving tribute to Dr. Ronald E. McNair, who died in the Challenger explosion.

This is the America I want to live in.

#363 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2013, 03:46 PM:

Dave Bell @ #358: that's wonderful! (And helps console me for missing Igudesman and Joo, whose performance here tonight has been canceled--Aleksey Igudesman fell and injured both elbows).

#364 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2013, 03:49 PM:

Lee @362, thanks for that link, and I second your motion that we should all live in that America.

#365 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2013, 04:49 PM:

That America is part of the America we live in. There are other parts that are less pleasant, and even a few that are more pleasant.

We are large. We contain multitudes. And we definitely contradict ourselves.

#366 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2013, 05:25 PM:

Yesterday while out with a friend, I saw a couple of interesting pictorial bumper stickers (on different cars):

One I understood just fine: A "fish"... extended into a ray-gun, containing the word "Sci-Fi". Yep, fandom can be a religion. ;-)

The other, I'm wondering if the Multitude of Lights can identify its meaning/context: The top part looked like a cross, the bottom ended in an anchor (as in boats), in between on the staff was a heart. Anyone know what this signifies?

#367 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2013, 05:31 PM:

Dave Harmon @ # 366, my guess, based on a quick Google, would be faith, hope and charity, but I don't know whose symbolism (since in the traditions I'm familiar with, both the cross and the anchor symbolize faith).

#368 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2013, 05:36 PM:

TNH, re the Finnish outdoor gear Particle--it's a Commando Snuggie!

#369 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2013, 05:51 PM:

Dave Harmon @366:

Cross = Faith
Anchor = Hope
Heart = Caritas (Charity/Love)

"And now these three abideth, faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

IIRC, Corinthians 1:13

#370 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2013, 06:04 PM:

Thanks for the Dreamliner sidelight, PNH. I was already pretty cranky that they rolled out a new plane by publicizing how spacious the dome-like ceiling was, and how big the windows were while ignoring the fact that in order to cram more people onto it so they could make more money, they reduced the width of the seats in economy to 16.3". And these are meant to be for long-haul flights.

As a point of reference, while fat, I do not need the dreaded seat-belt extender of shame. I am, in any city other than the one I currently live in (LA) about average size. The smallest seat I feel comfortable in for more than 3 hours is 17.5" wide. The 18.1" on a 777 feel downright luxurious to me. But 16.3"? How many men have shoulder-spans that exceed that? How many women have hips that will be bruised by the armrests on these planes? Lot was the first European airline to receive these "Dreamliners" and they had intended to use them on their Chicago to Warsaw routes starting in February. I can guarantee you that should they be using them in October when I'm planning a trip back, I will fly Lufthansa, or even (barf) United, who use a 777 for the main leg of that journey. Forget the engine exploding - I'd like to get to my vacation without any serious soft-tissue damage.

#371 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2013, 06:04 PM:

Dave Bell #354- on the Dreamliner, whilst the management issues sound plausible enough to me, I was really wondering why they were using lithium batteries given their propensity to go on fire if you get things wrong?
Or to switch it around, why they were using lithium batteries and apparently didn't build enough precautions and such into the system so they didn't go on fire.

There's some scary photos on the internet of what happens to your torch and the room it's in if you insert batteries wrong or use broken batteries with working ones. Think like a small pipe bomb. I have lithium batteries and after reading up on them am more careful with them than I would be with normal ones.

#372 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2013, 06:44 PM:

Lila #367, Lila #367: Thanks! The fact that both of you separately got the same interpretation, suggests that yours is probably correct.

It occurred to me after posting (while working on dinner) that it could simply be a rebus to the effect of "Jesus' love is my anchor", but that kinda points up the hazards of a non-Christian interpreting Christian symbolism. ;-)

#373 ::: ErrolC ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2013, 07:16 PM:

nerdycellist #370 Note there are B777's that are 9 seats across, and those that are 10...
Guess which one we chose when going Auckland - Singapore (then on to Paris in A380)?

#374 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2013, 07:46 PM:

Dave Harmon: I'm pagan, but growing up I was exposed to several flavors of Christianity (Episcopalian, Brethren, Baptist and Methodist) and picked up a lot by osmosis.

In high school I re-read the Bible in order to be able to debate with the Jesus freaks. I found that my memory of the text was quite good at that time. These days...not so much.

#375 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2013, 08:49 PM:

I heard recently that the RAF have four fighter aircraft based in the Falklands, one as an on-site spare. Almost inevitably (it's tradition/history), the three active aircraft are named Faith, Hope, and Charity. The spare has been named "Desperation".


#376 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2013, 09:31 PM:

Since I've done a bit of whining here recently, I thought I'd share the happy news that as of Feb. 12 I will once again be employed.

**whew**

#377 ::: Brenda Kalt ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2013, 09:38 PM:

#376 Lila, Congratulations!

#378 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2013, 10:20 PM:

376
Yippee!

#379 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2013, 10:30 PM:

#338 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden

I think you're on to something there, but there's something in the back of my mind about group effects. It's not just individual journeys of soul improvement-- it's using getting the politics right as part of a status system.

#380 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2013, 03:14 AM:

Lori Coulson #369, et al

1 Corinthians 13:13 is fairly well-known partly because that verse itself is widely quoted, but also because the whole chapter 1 Corinthians 13 is extremely popular at Christian weddings. Unfortunately it's often read by someone who doesn't understand parallel structure (this ends up even worse if they're reading the King James Version, which was not at its best on Paul's epistles, IMO).

The text is just full of quotations -- for example, verse 12, immediately before, is the source for "through a glass darkly".

#381 ::: Teemu Kalvas ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2013, 03:31 AM:

Lila @368 (and TNH's particle): Those particular bits of outdoor gear definitely seem to be strange Norwegian special ops gear (and actually quite useful, I've got one just like that myself, except Swedish). But the shop itself is definitely Finnish and often rather sarcastic in the phrasing of the product descriptions. As experimental literature it works much better in the original Finnish, though. Many hours of work have been lost browsing there. It is a real shop, though, and the army surplus they sell is real army surplus. As a result, there is a definite subculture locally of dressing in bits of officer wear of collapsed East European regimes...

#382 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2013, 08:04 AM:

As far as survival gear goes, one of the TV Survivalists who is interesting is Ray Mears. His programs are as much about local traditions as about the high tech elements. I've seen one where he followed the route taken by Rogers Rangers.

Something like that multi-purpose tarp would fit in very well with his thinking, I reckon.

#383 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2013, 08:49 AM:

#376 Lila: Congrats!

#384 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2013, 10:39 AM:

HLN update: Victim Support have sent us some window alarms. I removed a vital fuse from the car. Local couple will sleep better tonight.

#385 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2013, 10:41 AM:

Well, what do you know? Jim Nabor, aka Gomer Pyle has come out.

#386 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2013, 10:46 AM:

The multi-scandinavian, multi-use tarps in TNH's particle doesn't look odd at all--very useful bit of kit, and not too different from u.s. poncho wear.

But they did leave me with two questions:

1) how in heavens name are they asking so much money for what in the end is a bit of reflectorized plastic sheeting? I realize that it's nicer than a single-layer space blanket; it's more like the 4-layer laminate sold as the space "all weather" blanket. But that costs $15.00 tops, $10.00 if you shop around. How does adding a zipper turn it into an item that costs 150 euros??? (or, with a bit of thinsulate, 300 euros!!!)

2) what series of increasingly daft mouse-clicks led Teresa to this destination? I'd love to hear that story told. You should probably know, Teresa, that Fjellkamu is not the optimal pattern for blending into your part of Brooklyn.

#387 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2013, 10:56 AM:

"Fjellkamu" is the name of my next band.

Maybe Carol Kimball should come up with a pattern for these.

#388 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2013, 11:18 AM:

@387
Right, as opposed to a picture of Sisyphus plotzing when the rock rolls backwards over him, which would get the hashtag #failcamus.

Il faut imaginer Sisyphe furieux.

#389 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2013, 04:18 PM:

Oldster @#388

If the rock rolled over him, he'd be Flatyphus, surely?

Hold on, there's a man at the door with a bill....

...my mistake: it was a duck with a hat on.

#390 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2013, 04:52 PM:

#387 ::: Lila

They do look a lot like my homeless coat, should you keep the foot-bag to the back so you wouldn't trip over it.

Their cost for fewer features is unbelievable. Golly, the buckets of money could I have made if I'd learned a Scandinavian language...

As Lila so nicely brought it up, the HC is still going strong - 75+ downloads of the pattern this month, over a year out.

#391 ::: gaukler ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2013, 05:12 PM:

Does anyone here live near the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden (Leiden, in the Netherlands)? I'm trying to buy an exhibit catalogue, but they won't sell me a copy- I have to pick it up from their giftshop. It's a long trip from western Canada to buy a book.

#392 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2013, 07:32 PM:

WRT the Dreamliner:

“We spent a lot more money in trying to recover than we ever would have spent if we’d tried to keep the key technologies closer to home.” And the missed deadlines created other issues. Determined to get the Dreamliners to customers quickly, Boeing built many of them while still waiting for the F.A.A. to certify the plane to fly; then it had to go back and retrofit the planes in line with the F.A.A.’s requirements.

In other words: "There's never time to do it right, but there's always time to do it over."

#393 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2013, 08:55 PM:

392
One of my old managers used to tell us 'If you don't have time to get it right, where will you find the time to do it over?'

#394 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2013, 09:10 PM:

gaukler @391: I once came into work staggeringly early to (a) do stuff that Broke Things before open of business, but additionally even earlier than THAT would have needed so I could (b) make an international phone call to the Museum of London and give them my credit-card number to buy three books of theirs that, at that point, were not available through any other route than calling or visiting their gift shop.

Which still puts me in a better situation than yours.

#395 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2013, 09:15 PM:

"You can do it fast or you can do it right."

#396 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2013, 09:25 PM:

HLN:
Now it can be told. I was on Jury Duty for Madison County. I served three days. I was called for two panels, but wasn't selected for either one. I was waiting all day today for a third panel, which wasn't held because the defendant took off for parts unknown. At about 3:45 pm we was released from duty, as all cases were resolved, plea bargained, or continued. We had been scheduled for Thursday and Friday.

#397 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2013, 09:37 PM:

"There three ways to do something. The wrong way, the right way, and the Navy way."

#398 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2013, 10:52 PM:

Fred Clark at Slacktivist quoting our esteemed hostess on Yog's Law, and pointing his finger at a "Christian" pay to publish scheme. His quote marks, not mine, but I don't blame him a bit.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2013/01/30/jerry-jenkins-tramples-yogs-law-starts-christian-pay-to-publish-vanity-racket/

Too tired to make it look nice, but I wanted to let Teresa know about it.

#399 ::: gaukler ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2013, 11:44 PM:

Book source found, no thanks to the museum.

#400 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2013, 11:49 PM:

Jerry Jenkins, co-author of the best-selling Left Behind series, is starting up his own Christian vanity press.

Despite the best efforts of his guild's training, he said, not enough new authors have been able to land deals with traditional publishers, in part because houses continue to insist that authors have a significant "platform." As a result, "good, passionate authors are ignored because they're unknown," Jenkins told PW.

Other highlights:
Those applying to the guild's Published program must submit part of their manuscript for evaluation. If accepted, they follow a six-month course — costing just under $10,000 — that includes mentoring by a published author. Copy-editing, typesetting, proofreading, custom cover design, marketing advice, printing, digital formatting, and e-book file creation in all formats are included in the package. There will be a surcharge for manuscripts over 75,000 words. (emphases mine)

Holy cojones, Batman!

(Note: I spotted this over on Slacktivist, where there's a callout to ML and all the efforts here to teach people how to avoid these scamsters.)

#401 ::: Lee has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2013, 11:50 PM:

Probably for a Word of Power, and I'll bet I know which one.

#402 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2013, 02:11 AM:

400
And a lot of the regulars over there are saying it's a scam, only partly because of the price.

#403 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2013, 03:24 AM:

in part because houses continue to insist that authors have a significant "platform."

Wait, what?

I mean, it's an obvious scam without that, but... certainly, the small press that accepted my book asked for a "marketing plan" with the submission, but when I asked for clarification, it turned out that they mostly wanted to know about your existing and planned social media participation, and your willingness to do blog tours and the like. And they ARRANGE blog tours and interviews and so on, that's part of their JOB.

The editor's decision really did seem to boil down to "I think other people will be willing to pay money to read this story." Whereas that? Is "how much money are you willing to pay in the hope that someone else will read your story?"

For goodness' sake, they could put it up on AO3 for free.

#404 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2013, 05:48 AM:

HLN(cont.): Local couple unable to fit window alarms as their window frames are bevelled, so the two parts cannot be kept in contact. Couple slept fitfully with random light switched on. They were woken in the night by a noise like a seagull being put through a mangle. No satisfactory explanation has been found.

#405 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2013, 07:03 AM:

Sorry about that, tykewriter. Do you own or rent? (That is, how much structural alteration can you make to the house?)

#406 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2013, 07:47 AM:

We're renting, from two sisters - one's married to a builder, the other to an electrician. The builder has been and changed the locks, and the electrician will come and try to fix the burglar alarm which he had previously disabled because it kept going off.

Meanwhile, Victim Support have promised to find suitable alarms for us. There is also a local scheme to subsidise alarm systems for over-65s (my partner, check) and disabled people (ditto).

A few years ago, I'm sure this crime would have been dismissed by the police* as "we'll give you a crime number, but don't expect to get your property back, meanwhile keep your windows locked." Now we have the Community Police Officer coming round next week, and loads of support and helpful advice.

Off now to get the car keys reprogrammed.

*And of course treated less than seriously because it involved a not-young gay couple.

#407 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2013, 08:11 AM:

Serge: My brother-in-law the engineer, says: "Cheap, fast and good. Pick any two."

tykewriter: I'm glad a horrid situation isn't being made worse by official indifference. Hugs and good thoughts.

#408 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2013, 08:17 AM:

Cadbury Moose @389 If the rock rolled over him, he'd be Flatyphus, surely?

Thank you for the laugh to start off my morning.

Serge Broom @395 "You can do it fast or you can do it right."

More generally, out of time, cost, and quality, you can (within limits) control any two of the three, but then the third is determined.

Also, per The Mythical Man-Month, you don't get a baby in one month by assigning nine women to the job.

#409 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2013, 08:19 AM:

Lila @407 posted a pithier version of my 408 while I was writing. Great minds and all that.

#410 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2013, 11:16 AM:

lila @ 407... My brother-in-law the engineer, says: "Cheap, fast and good. Pick any two."

For some reason, the non-engineers that engineers work for don't appreciate the humor.

#411 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2013, 01:48 PM:

Serge, #410: That's not humor, that's a humorous statement of reality. There's a difference. If someone can't accept it, that's getting into "trying to create their own reality" territory.

#412 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2013, 01:48 PM:

Can anyone help me? I'm stuck trying to find the quote about why disaster novels are so popular/appealing. Something about there being enough room for your backswing. Thanks.

#413 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2013, 03:06 PM:

Lee @ 411... Unfortunately, such people tend to be the ones who sign your paycheck.

#414 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2013, 03:30 PM:

re 407: Shouldn't that be "choose no more than two"?

#415 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2013, 04:17 PM:

C. Wingate #414: Well, you can pick one of them twice, as in "the only priority".

#416 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2013, 05:10 PM:

C. Wingate @414:

Most people at NASA rephrase this as "Better, faster, cheaper, pick any two" (riffing off their 1990s "better, faster, cheaper" mantra.) Cynics reduce it to "pick one". I'm not sure which is closer to reality, but either is closer than the original "all three" version.

#417 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2013, 05:47 PM:

RFC 1925, while "humorous", wasn't wrong then, and isn't wrong now; and I agree with those referencing 7a) that those who don't appreciate the humour are the cause of the humour - and that it's gallows humour (for "being fired" versions of "being killed").

It was 20 years ago that the head of sales found me reading Dilbert and said "you programmers really like that. I don't understand what's so funny". "Yes, I understand that" was the best I could do. That was my *first* deathmarch project, based on salesmen selling (much) more than they could deliver. Not, unfortunately, my last.

#418 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2013, 05:54 PM:

Mycroft W @417: I heard an interview with a venture capitalist who said that one thing they look at, when visiting potential invest-in companies, is how people's cubes are decorated. Not for style, though ... if they're utterly devoid of ANY personalization, across the board, that's a sign of certain kinds of management dysfunction. However, if entire walls are covered with nothing but Dilbert ... it's a sign that a lot of Dilbertian hijinks are likely occurring, and he starts looking to figure out who's the Pointy Haired Boss (and if they can be fired).

A smattering of Dilbert, mixed in with other things, is a sign of health, in his view. :->

#419 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2013, 05:55 PM:

Lorax, that's the version I'm familiar with. (Engineer here.)

#420 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2013, 09:28 PM:

"Faster, better, cheaper. Pick any two." Is the underlying principle of project management. All project management really is managing available resources towards a given goal.

Progress towards that goal rests on a three-legged stool of time, quality and cost. As an example, if you want your project quicker, you can either sacrifice quality of the end product (because of cutting corners, skimp on testing/bug fixes, etc) or you can maintain quality by putting more resources (usually people, but not always) into the effort in the reduced timeframe.

Likewise, less cost either lengthens project time or impacts quality. For better quality, impact is to time or cost.

Or, as already noted, you may be better off picking one, and praying a lot.

#421 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2013, 01:54 AM:

Alex Cohen @412: Try this Usenet post by James Nicoll. It's in a discussion of the novel Cusp, by Robert Metzger:

CUSP [...] is the book that provoked the STARS MOVE rant and the one that led to my coining of the phrase backswing novel, from a comment by Andrew [Wheeler] about novels where the majority of humans are slaughtered to give the heros more room to swing their swords.
#422 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2013, 04:31 AM:

Various people...

I would be likely to say, "Humour can be a very personal thing. I don't follow much current stuff."

In the past, some people said to me, "That's a very funny book." It turned out not to be, for me.

I can also remember laughing at stuff which just wouldn't get published today. There was a British TV show called "Love Thy Neighbour" which hinged on the interaction between a white family and a black family. It maybe has some value as an observation of the time it was made. And just maybe some of the jokes would evoke a different sort of humour reaction. But mostly it would be seen as pretty ugly today. (And some people are still xenophobic bastards.)

#423 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2013, 08:46 AM:

Patrick:

I imagine you are right about the rhetoric. I will just say that I remember what conversations about W's war on terror malfeasance and executive overreach looked like here, and it seems to me that the tone is radically different now. I sort of feel like I'm dropping a turd in the punchbowl when I bring some of the Obama administration's abuses up, and that was especially true during the election season. This is natural and probably inevitable--we're tribal creatures, ultimately. But it's still depressing.

Part of what makes it depressing is that it's mirrored by so much establlishment media. The story in W's regime was that these scary new powers were new and scary but there were bad people who were going to get us if we took them away. The story in Obama's regime is a lot more comfortable about the powers, partly because they're of a piece with what went before. Obama keeping W's grabbed powers and scary policies is continuing the status quo. Bipartisan policies (like the president can have anyone he wants whacked or disappeared on his say so alone) don't get much debate' compared to policies where the parties disagree (say Obamacare).

I am morally certain this is going to end badly for us as a country. I wish I knew what to do. More and more, I'm thinking that the right answer is more in the realm of how to protect myself and my family from what's coming, but that's a lot easier said than done, and I've been spreading my unacceptable and traitorous opinions on the net for a couple decades now, so it's not like I can exactly pretend not to have thought about the issues. There are times when discussions of politics in the US have the feel, to me, of family discussions where nobody can really acknowledge Mom's suicide attempts or Dad's drinking problem.

#424 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2013, 08:52 AM:

Lila and Lee:

I always wonder what state of mind would make those bumper stickers seem like a good idea. I get why someone chuckles seeing them once, but what would make it seem like a good idea to put "keep honking, I'm reloading" on your car? Was the 666 tattoo on the forehead and the bloody machete you keep in the trunk not getting people to back away from you quickly enough?

#425 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2013, 09:01 AM:

#390 ::: Carol Kimball :

I'm inclined to think that a lot of high end pricing consists of having enough gall to ask for a lot of money for a (reasonably good?) product, and attracting people who think that price is a signal of quality.

****

There was a book called You Don't Have to Eat Off the Floor about housekeeping which said you can maximize any two of Ease, Elegance, and Economy.

I think those three are linked because they're measures of work. (Elegance is used in the sense of upper class, not engineering elegance.)

#426 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2013, 09:38 AM:

David Goldfarb@421.

Thanks! I should have realized that such an apt and snarky term would have thanks to James.

#427 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2013, 09:38 AM:

David Goldfarb@421.

Thanks! I should have realized that such an apt and snarky term would have been thanks to James.

#428 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2013, 10:03 AM:

albatross @423:

I will just say that I remember what conversations about W's war on terror malfeasance and executive overreach looked like here, and it seems to me that the tone is radically different now. I sort of feel like I'm dropping a turd in the punchbowl when I bring some of the Obama administration's abuses up, and that was especially true during the election season. This is natural and probably inevitable--we're tribal creatures, ultimately. But it's still depressing.

Two observations here.

First of all, when we discussed W's overreaches, no one was bringing them up like a disgruntled dog owner rubbing puppy's nose in the poo. That, unfortunately, is the way that you bring up Obama's failings on ML: look what your guy did! Tell me you're outraged! You come across as testing us, seeing if our reactions meet your standards, but sorrowfully already certain that we will FAIL.

And we do fail, by your standards, I guess, because we don't put security first. Many people here hate the government overreach, but rather like the prospect of not dying of a curable disease in the gutter, having equal rights despite those awkward extra X chromosomes, and being able to marry whom they choose. It's complicated. You're not the only grownup in the room here, no matter how much you act like you think you are.

And, bluntly, your comments during the election made you sound like you were willing to throw women and gays under the bus for an unwinnable fight. After some of our conversations, I'm still not sure your priorities meet my standards—which makes me much less keen to care if mine to meet yours.

Which bit about an unwinnable fight gets me to my second point. When we were talking about W, there was an answer: vote the bastards out. And we did, and some things got better. But now what do we do about the things that didn't improve? It's a lot easier to get people fired up with a call to action at the end of the message than it is without one. My other reaction to your posts is a kind of weary despair: yes, we're screwed, thanks so much for bringing it up. Also, we're all going to die, the sun will burn out, and young people have terrible taste in pop music.

I don't know, man, you used to be more engagable. You used to have more time for others' views, and more respect for the community here. You used to have hope. Where'd it go? How can we help you get it back?

#429 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2013, 11:16 AM:

abi @ 428... Many people here hate the government overreach, but rather like the prospect of not dying of a curable disease in the gutter, having equal rights despite those awkward extra X chromosomes, and being able to marry whom they choose.

I kind of like that too. If we want a saint, we'll never get one and not just because America tends to tear people down. I'll settle for the lesser devil.

#430 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2013, 11:23 AM:

429
Can we get the Lesser Weevil instead?

#431 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2013, 11:35 AM:

How about a Tasmanian Devil? Or Hellboy? Wait. They weren't born in the USA.

Maybe the lesser of two easels?

#432 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2013, 11:36 AM:

#425 ::: Nancy Lebovitz
[...] There was a book called You Don't Have to Eat Off the Floor [...]

Carol Eisen's Nobody Said You Have to Eat Off the Floor - one of the Great Treasures. I have an early (first?) paperback edition that lives with my Peg Bracken. Too "used" to be worth anything, but one I never, ever loan.

I wish there'd been better cover art...

#433 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2013, 11:44 AM:

re: nasty things that People in Power do.

From the mists of recorded history (I've been reading Cicero, and he was fairly far along in the queue), people with power have abused it. The only variable seems to be whether it's overt or covert. I'd rather an administration say, "these are bad things, but we think they're necessary and we're going to keep them" than don halos and then sneak them in as black operations.

#434 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2013, 12:10 PM:

Just as a reminder, Obama is to the right of Richard Nixon. I know this. We all know this.

Yes, he's abusing power. Yes, he's doing evil things. No, he isn't giving up any of the tools of oppression that Bush handed him. Yes, he's sending flying killer robots to blow people up on his word alone.

Yes, we've written letters to the editor. Yes, we've blogged about it. Yes, we've written to our representatives. Yes, we've protested in the streets.

After that, what would you have us do? Vote for Romney? Get all that, plus take away heath care, take away gay rights, take away women's rights?

The only possible thing is to start grooming young people in college so that twenty or thirty years from now we'll have a new crop of better politicians. Which will take twenty or thirty years, and relies on people. Not at all a sure thing.

#435 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2013, 12:43 PM:

I see on reading through the last week's worth of posts here that I've forgotten to thanks those who exercised their ingenuity on the Sophie de Grouchy quote. So I will now. (if anyone's interested, it was the Marquis de Condorcet, to whom she just happened to be married).

In other HLN, area man appears to be married to a Author (published).

#436 ::: Del Cotter ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2013, 12:49 PM:

The spare has been named "Desperation".

"Prudence," shurely?

#437 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2013, 12:51 PM:

Congratulations to Mme PGBB, either for her publication (I hope) or her divorce from you so that you married some other author (I hope not).

#438 ::: Del Cotter ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2013, 01:04 PM:

PS there has from time to time been an "HMS Fortitude". No word on Temperance or Justice.

PPS I seem to recall there was an old Jeff Hawke strip where the spaceships had all these names.

#439 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2013, 01:33 PM:

praisegod barebones #435: Congratulations to Mme Barebones on her publication. What's it on?

#440 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2013, 01:54 PM:

In one of those moments of bizarre realisation, I was doing some very approximate calculations of what would be needed, in terms of energy, for a tablet computer to match my desktop computer in graphics processing.

With a reasonable battery life...

Such a super-tablet (or Google Glass machine) would need the equivalent of half a pound of TNT. Which, depending on safety/weight trade-offs, could be five pounds of lithium-ion battery. And getting rid of waste heat would be tricky. Then I thought, "water cooling" and got to thinking about where you get the water from.

You can sort of imagine a looming serious scientific talk here, but I know I am not Bob Shaw.

#441 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2013, 02:04 PM:

The solution of the problem may be to exploit the talents of a certain zoologist who, when told it was illegal to own ferrets in California, made arrangements to rent a breeding pair of slightly smaller wild mustelidae to a colleague in that state. Said colleague was doubly protected by not owning the savage little critters, which were also not ferrets,

While the authorities took the zoologist to court using a conspiracy charge, the Judge was forced to find him innocent of all charges, since he was clearly the lessor of the two weasels.

#442 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2013, 02:12 PM:

abi, #428: Many people here hate the government overreach, but rather like the prospect of not dying of a curable disease in the gutter, having equal rights despite those awkward extra X chromosomes, and being able to marry whom they choose.

Yes. Two of those things affect me very directly, and the third affects a lot of people I care about. At this point, bluntly, I would not vote for someone who promised to roll us back to the civil-liberties stance of the 1970s if they were also going to roll us back to the 1970s on civil rights and women's issues.

And given a choice between someone who does some things I like but isn't great on others, and someone who is no better on the things I don't like and also worse on the things I do like, no amount of yelling about the stuff the first guy does that I don't like is going to change my position. What will is having someone better come along who stands a reasonable chance of winning.

Jim, #434: One other thing we can do is work to elect people on the local and state level who are more in line with our views. That's certainly a more winnable fight in parts of the US; maybe not so much in Texas, but still worth the effort.

American politics are a feeder system -- almost never does a politician come out of nowhere to run for high-level offices (Nader and Perot are the only ones I can think of offhand). Local people move up to the state level; state people move up to the Federal level. The Republicans spent 30 years stuffing the pipeline to get to where they are now. We can do it right back at them. It won't be fast, and it won't be easy, but we already have proof that it works.

#443 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2013, 02:59 PM:

(Nader and Perot are the only ones I can think of offhand)

And just look how both of them did in the national elections.

#444 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2013, 03:21 PM:

I'd rather not think of Nader, off-hand or otherwise.
Unless we're talking of Darth Nader in "Hardware Wars".

#445 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2013, 03:26 PM:

In re Jim's Diffraction "Smear a Critic, Go to Jail", I don't think those few words accurately give the idea of what happened. The impression seems to be that Jim is on the restaurateur's side. Which he's allowed, of course, I'm just saying I disagree.

It's not just that the restaurateur said nasty things on her own blog or Facebook page about a critic who panned her restaurant. According to the article, the resto owner faked emails to the critic's bosses, pretending to be the critic and making sexually suggestive remarks. The resto owner also created a fake online dating page using the critic's name and photo.

It's made more clear in this article that the "critic" is not a restaurant critic by profession: she was just a customer who received bad service, and so used a public review site to post her experience. Also, that the resto owner's actions took place over two years.

If someone did those things to me, I'd take 'em to court too. Even if I had said mean things about their resto . It's still cyber-bullying, IMHO.

#446 ::: Cheryl has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2013, 03:28 PM:

Not sure why.

[Three spaces in a row, plus the words "online dating." -- JDM]

#447 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2013, 03:33 PM:

Serge Broom #429: If we want a saint, we'll never get one and not just because America tends to tear people down.

We recently had something close to a saint, in Jimmy Carter. Besides getting stonewalled by the Republicans in Congress, credible¹ rumor has it that he was backstabbed² by his CIA chief... who later went on to become Vice President, then President.

¹ Mostly I find it credible given President Bush's actions in office....

² In the Iranian hostage rescue attempt.

#448 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2013, 04:00 PM:

Dave Harmon @ 446... But Jimmy had lust in his heart and thus couldn't be a Saint.

#449 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2013, 05:08 PM:

Serge Broom #447: The proper response to that won't fit into the text box: it's the same eye-roll that most people did when he said that in the first place!

#450 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2013, 05:10 PM:

Cheryl #445: The impression seems to be that Jim is on the restaurateur's side.

What on earth gives you that impression?

#451 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2013, 05:13 PM:

Dave Bell #440: I find it disturbing that lithium-ion batteries have a tenth the energy density of TNT. On the other hand, that makes the explosions make sense....

#452 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2013, 05:36 PM:

I have no idea, Jim, but I had the same impression from just the title (obviously, having read the link, it was clear I was wrong). I was also somewhat surprised (again, until I clicked through).

It really does read like "do this 'simple thing', go to jail"; as if the smearing of the critic was a "love the way some pprz sneak around in the alleys" tweet, rather than two years of cyber-stalking and identity fraud.

I too, would love to know why it reads that way.

#453 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2013, 05:38 PM:

Dave Harmon - the fun thing is that (according to the internet) petrol is about 9.5 times more energy dense than TNT.
So why are you fuelling your car with such a dangerous substance!!!

#454 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2013, 05:42 PM:

#445 ::: Cheryl:

I didn't get the impression that Jim was on the restaurant owner's side, but I agree with with the rest of what Cheryl said.

What was done to the critic/customer was much worse than what I think of as smearing.

#455 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2013, 05:45 PM:

Dave Harmon and guthrie: It's worth considering that in general any alternative energy storage mechanism for transportation is going to have to compete against gasoline (or diesel) in energy density. It doesn't necessarily have to beat gasoline, if it's better in some other way (cleaner, safer, cheaper, etc.), but if the energy density is too low, the mechanism will have a hard time supplanting gasoline.

#456 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2013, 05:46 PM:

Dave Harmon @ 449... Let's not forget the rabbit.

#457 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2013, 06:00 PM:

Given how often and in how many venues I've said, "The only response to a bad review is none" and that there are at least two sites out there that have spent some time smearing me for criticizing scammers and the sorts of authors who attack critcs, I'm really interested in knowing what could possibly be the clue that said, "Jim thinks smearing critics is Just Fine!"

I think the restaurant owner got off very, very lightly. I'd like to see more of that sort of thing, with trolls and flamers and stalkers going to jail.

"Smear a Critic, Go to Jail" was a riff on the slogan, "Use a Gun, Go to Jail."

#458 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2013, 06:12 PM:

This tech week has been epic. Woke up with fatigue and a sore throat on Monday. (Still have the sore throat and cough, but the fatigue has damped down to normal-for-tech-week levels.) Barely made it through one act on Monday, plus going extra time. Tuesday was back-to-front and almost to midnight. Wednesday, finally in costumes. Rapunzel's Prince walks off the stage into the orchestra pit on top of the keyboardist. Neither seriously hurt, and no instruments damaged, but his leg became inflamed yesterday*. Thursday we started two and a half hours late because the Witch was in an accident in the Bay Area (car totaled; Witch okay.) Curtain wouldn't close; had to be repaired.

Plus the normal lines forgotten, entrances missed, etc. If the negative quality of the dress rehearsal(s) is directly in relation to the positive quality of the show, this production is going to be AWESOME.

*Our costumer is also a nurse, so he has been provided with a professional opinion for care. I hope he won't be limping too badly tonight.

#459 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2013, 06:14 PM:

Speaking of restaurant/customer interactions: Server fired for posting an image of nasty note left by a customer.

The note, in fact, was breathtakingly nasty. Accompanied by stiffing the server on the tip, it reads "I give God 10% -- why do YOU get 18?" And the person who left it is a pastor. CWAA.

#460 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2013, 06:23 PM:

I agree with others, especially abi and Jim, about Obama. Also that I miss the more hopeful albatross.

You said all the good things.

Obama is in no way worse, and in some ways better, than Romney. That's the way you make these choices—if you're lucky. I've had to choose between politicians each of whom were good on some things and bad on others. This past election was much, much easier, because there was not one thing on which I thought Romney was better than Obama.

If Romney had said (and made me believe, which is unlikely in his case) that he was going to end extra-judicial killings of Americans and drone strikes on dubious targets; that he would free the prisoners in Gitmo who we KNOW ARE INNOCENT; that he would absolutely end all torture perpetrated by America directly or by proxy, I might have had a harder time choosing. But he wouldn't have. If anything he's worse on those issues than Obama.

Plus, you know, I'm gay and that means voting Republican is pretty much cutting my own throat as far as my rights are concerned. It would be hard to get past that even for a much better candidate than Romney.

#461 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2013, 06:25 PM:

Lee, I was totally on the server's side of that until I found out that the original posting didn't obscure the pastor's name.

Still on the server's side, but not so enthusiastically.

#462 ::: Cheryl has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2013, 06:32 PM:

#452, #457

Like Mycroft, it was that phrase "Smear a critic, go to jail" that read to me as though you were on the resto owner's side. My apologies for the misunderstanding, though I am glad to know that I was wrong. I wasn't familiar with the "Use a Gun, Go to Jail" slogan.

Apologies also for the punctuation gnomi-cation. I try to avoid giving you guys extra work.

#463 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2013, 06:40 PM:

Jeremy Leader #455 - Exactly.
Ideally it should also not contribute worse than petrol if there is an accident, or pollute the area badly or poison people if spilt.

#464 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2013, 07:34 PM:

This ought to be on the side somewhere:
Instapundit posted a link to this Smithsonian Mag article about a Russian family isolated for over forty years. They didn't know anything about World War II, Nikita Khrushchev, and man landing on the Moon. They did see orbiting bodies, but didn't know specifically what they were.

#465 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2013, 08:50 PM:

461
It wasn't the server who'd handled that table, but a friend. And she even took the time to check the employee's handbook before doing it, too, and after catching a bit of flak obscured the signature.
I don't see that it's much different from the minister leaving one of those tracts that's printed to look like money on the outside.

#466 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2013, 09:26 PM:

guthrie #453: Actually, I don't drive, but point taken.

Of course, it's not just about energy density -- TNT is designed to release energy very fast, but I gather it's fairly good about not doing so without appropriate prompting. Gasoline is likewise fairly stable, and even when lit, its energy output is limited by surface area and oxygen supply. The lithium-ion batteries, however, seem to fail on the stability front, with runaway energy release being way too common.

P J Evans #465: Applebee's has claimed the firing was for revealing a customer's private information. Forgive me for being skeptical.

And meanwhile, said pastor tried to demand that a whole bunch of employees be fired, from servers to managers. I think they need to learn a bit about the demands of their supposed faith, such as charity and forbearance. (Or maybe the pastor should herself be fired....)

#467 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2013, 10:51 PM:

Would any of the Dutch-speaking among you be able to help me with a translation of the caption of this graphic? It reads "gij hunkert naar wat vreugd en naar verstomd gezang? de accoorden uwer jeugd weerklinken eeuwen lang!" which I can make out bits of, but not very coherently.

#468 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2013, 12:13 AM:

It's so much easier being a single-issue voter. I was raised by two who canceled each other's votes every year and I've been asked by those who should know better why I don't care about Issue X, but really, it's that, as Abi said, I have multiple fish to fry here. But I envy people whose issues either all line up or who can say that only one thing matters to them.

#469 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2013, 02:57 AM:

late again -- you can get all three "cheap, fast, and good" -- when it comes to food. But you have to think about it.

#470 ::: Petra ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2013, 06:18 AM:

#467 The Modesto Kid -- I don't know if someone else (who is more fluent in 1930's dutch) might do it better, but I would translate "gij hunkert naar wat vreugd en naar verstomd gezang? de accoorden uwer jeugd weerklinken eeuwen lang!" as “thou yearnest for some joy and long since muted song? the chords of thy youth resound through the ages”.
I'm applying some poetical license here, since your question lead me to learn that Escher did a series of drawings with epigrams: http://www.eschersite.com/EscherSite/Original_Escher_for_Sale/Pages/Emblemata_Woodcuts.html of which the lute is one. Maybe some fluorospherian could translate the latin? Because now I'm curious...

Interestingly (in an AKICIML kind of way) is that a search for 'oogentroost' that is showing in your picture just above the lute lead me straight back to Making Light...

#471 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2013, 08:25 AM:

Lenora Rose... Your novel "The Illusion of Steel" is now on my Nook.

#472 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2013, 08:55 AM:

#470

You mean "minime oppressae conquiescunt voces"?

Probably something like "voices that are oppressed are not at all silent." i.e. just because they can't speak up, that doesn't mean they are not saying something.

But if you construed the adverb with the adjective (instead of the verb) then you could turn it around: "voices are silent, when they are oppressed even a little." I.e. any restraints on speech are destructive of free speech altogether.

Funny thing about ambiguity....

It would be nice to know if there's a source for the tag, since the context might disambiguate.

If I had to guess from the Dutch, I'd say it's the first, where the "oppressae" is not so much political oppression as being hidden in memory or latent in a lute. Just because the lute is not playing the songs of your youth right now, that doesn't mean it/they cannot be revived.

But take that all as mere guesswork over the first cup of coffee. Real scholars should come and correct me where I err.

#473 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2013, 09:44 AM:

abi:

I think I've become less hopeful on this front for the same reason you said--we voted the bastards out, and the new bastards aren't as much better as we hoped. At any rate, I think you and Patrick and Xopher and others are right that I'm not having any good effect in the world with how I'm handling the topic here, and more particularly, I'm not making ML a better place with it.

#474 ::: Claire ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2013, 09:49 AM:

@Lucy Kemnitzer #469

Fast, cheap, good food: agreed! Takes thought, as you say (though my husband (before I met him) went from a year of Hamburger Helper and KD to fast, cheap, good bachelor food out of sheer foodie frustration, and he's the one who does the cooking, so I wouldn't be able to do it myself)

That said, I have a weakness for good frozen pizza - which if you can catch it on the really good sales is actually cheap as well as fast and, arguably, good. ;)

#475 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2013, 10:08 AM:

"God, that's the first present I've ever given anyone. That's a bit depressing."
"It's okay. You were a supervillain for a few years there."
- from 'Strong Female Protagonist'

( http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-3/page-13-3/ )

#476 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2013, 12:19 PM:

Claire at 474 -- Lately I lost my ill-paying job, which meant also losing my eligibility for the food bank I was using, and also found health reasons to take my diet more seriously, so of course I have been thinking about it a lot. I've been spending much more time on food procuring and preparation, because there haven't been many jobs to apply for. But I know I'll be working at an ill-paying job again in the near future, so I'm paying attention to what's fast and easy and building a new repertoire. A lot of what makes for fast meals for me is small investments of time beforehand: I almost never cook today's meals today.

#477 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2013, 12:36 PM:

Grrrrr . . .

My dog has had a lipoma on her right elbow for several years. I don't know if it's the weather, or the stress of a move, but it finally seems to be effecting her use of her foreleg. After a few blocks it really throws off her gait.

Anti-inflammatories *might* have helped. But I'm wondering if reducing the size of the lump -- a possibility the vet mentioned -- might be worth pursuing. Kira is such an athletic dog; I'm sure the long walks I put her through have helped keep her in such good shape for an almost-12 year old. It would be sad to see her slowed down.

#478 ::: Claire ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2013, 02:31 PM:

Lucy Kemnitzer @476 Oh no!!! I hope your next job is at least pleasant, if still ill-paying.

We still use a number of my husband's fast/cheap/good recipes, if you're interested. Examples: Ethiopian Lentil Bowl, which basically involves equal parts red lentils and garlic, plus some canned tomatoes and lemon juice. Or what we call "Hyrulean Beans" (he was playing a lot of Legend of Zelda when he invented this one) which is stewed refried beans, tomatoes, and fried onions with a few common herbs/spices, with frozen corn thrown in toward the end. In both cases, serve with rice for a complete protein, and in both cases they make LOADS and freeze well.

If you want detailed recipes for these or others, perhaps one of the mods could put us in touch?

#479 ::: Claire ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2013, 02:35 PM:

A thought - is there interest in a separate thread for fast/cheap/good food? (recipes, general ideas, etc.)

#480 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2013, 03:58 PM:

Petra and oldster -- thanks so much! Great link, Petra -- I was trying to find a preexisting image of this woodcut on the web and not having much luck.

#481 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2013, 04:05 PM:

#441 ::: Dave Bell [lessor of two weasels]

I read this shortly after you posted it, and am still too stunned to express my awe.

#482 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2013, 04:47 PM:

Discussion of energy density above prompted me to Google up this list at Physics Info. Note that butter (or cooking oil) is not too far from gasoline in energy density. Most of the explosives aren't very energy-dense, they're just given to releasing it quickly.
My fancy rechargeable AA cells (2500 mAh) store about the energy of 1/4 teaspoon of sugar, from memory of the last time I did the conversion.

#483 ::: Henry Troup visits the gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2013, 04:48 PM:

After talking about sugar. Should I offer more calories or will that make it worse?

#484 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2013, 05:18 PM:

Carol @ #481 It is, indeed, a thing of beauty, that one.

(This moose was trying to work up something similar, but involving weevils (Vine or Boll, perhaps), but was beaten to the pun(ch).
Besides: it would have looked like I'd pinched it from Aubrey/Maturin.)

#485 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2013, 06:33 PM:

@476 Lucy Kemnitzer
Lately I lost my ill-paying job, which meant also losing my eligibility for the food bank I was using

Wait... being unemployed makes you ineligible for the food bank? I'm confused...

@478 Claire
We still use a number of my husband's fast/cheap/good recipes, if you're interested

If Lucy isn't, I am! Both of your examples sound tasty, although I'll find something to substitute for the rice.

#486 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2013, 09:20 PM:

Claire @ 478

I would find a thread for fast/cheap/good food tips and recipes very helpful.

#487 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2013, 09:20 PM:

Claire @ 478

I would find a thread for fast/cheap/good food tips and recipes very helpful.

#488 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2013, 09:45 PM:

SamChevre @487: The lunch I had was about as fast, cheap, and easy as they come (though to be clear, I am not calling it a slut) -- ingredients are one can of black beans, one small onion, half a pear, some fennel seeds, and a bit of canola oil and a bit of beer. heat oil in a skillet, add seeds and chopped onion, saute for a while. When onion is soft, add chopped pear. When everything is sizzling nicely, deglaze with beer and add beans, and reduce heat. It is basically ready when the beans are hot, but there is nothing wrong with letting it simmer another five or ten minutes longer. Serve with cornbread or tortillas or biscuits and/or yogurt.

#489 ::: Bruce H. ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2013, 10:00 PM:

>> Most of the explosives aren't very energy-dense ...

Probably because they have to carry their own oxidizer

#490 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2013, 10:19 PM:

I'd like to see a cooking thread as well.

#491 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2013, 12:39 AM:

Lucy @ 469

Well, it's true up to a point that you can have all three with a little planning. The more special dietary considerations you're working with, the more difficult the equation gets. So by the time we were cooking for a picky eater, a chemo patient, a diabetic, a vegetarian, a kosher Jew, and people with lactose intolerance, various allergies and sensitivities, digestive issues and other health problems... well... it was complicated. Most of the time, fast, cheap and easy were all on the cutting table.

Which I raise just because situations like that creep up on one, and it can be a little frustrating trying to remember why you aren't able to do "as good a job" as everyone else.

#492 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2013, 02:09 AM:

Cheryl at 485: the food bank was at the job, and available to "participants" in the programs there, which employees were considered to be.

Claire: I love sharing recipes back and forth . . .

KayTei: yes, that's a lot. My own dietary considerations have fortunately turned out to be rather simple in actuality. The only complicated part is not getting rebellious. It shouldn't be too hard. But sometimes, all the lovelies you always want to eat just seem like ashes because all you want is that stupid thing you don't really like that much anyway.

#494 ::: Claire ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2013, 11:15 AM:

@493 Jim Macdonald

Awesome! Thank you!!!

#495 ::: Claire has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2013, 11:16 AM:

May I offer some cheap, good food? *g*

#496 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2013, 12:24 PM:

They're teasing us with the story—it must be a slow news day, or something—but Monday morning, at 10.00 GMT, the results on tests on a body are due to be released.

It might be the body of King Richard III of England. It might not be. And we are getting the references to Shakespeare and the quite respectable historical doubts about the standard version of the story.

The archaeologists who found the grave are pretty confident. But the more detailed tests, not just DNA, went "right down to the wire".

#497 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2013, 01:20 PM:

496
I've been following that story through the medieval-genealogy newsgroup. What they already have found is interesting (scoliosis?).

#498 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2013, 02:32 PM:

I used to park my car in Greyfriars car park. I might have parked on top of Richard III. Or on top of the poor sod whose bones they dug up, whoever he may have been. I have mixed feeling about this.

#499 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2013, 10:41 PM:

Got a notification from Apple that the hard drive in my iMac was one that was likely to fail*, and they would replace it free of charge**. Schlepped it into the Apple store on Friday morning, and it was done by Saturday**. Plugged in the external harddrive with the TimeMachine backup, and it was all restored and happy within about 90 minutes**.

Thought to check settings, and found that the firewall was turned off*. I'm very sure it was turned on, unless some software upgrade turned it off (that has happened in the past* with Apple).

Should you be one of the many thousands who are getting their harddrive replaced, check that Firewall preference after restoring!

Oh, and use a cabled-up harddrive for that backup/restore. My sweetie went through the same process a few weeks ago, and the restore over wireless from a NAS device took over 24 hours.


*Bad corporation!
**Good corporation!

#500 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2013, 11:45 PM:

Hyperlocal news... Local fan learns he's been tuckerized in latest installment of Men's Adventure series "Deathlands" - where he dies a horrible death. A few months ago, local fan learned he's been tuckerized in Book Three of a Hugo-nominated space opera - where he dies a horrible death. Local fan considers staying away from bookstores.

#501 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2013, 12:22 AM:

I've been Tuckerized three times -- twice in novels, once in a comic book -- but never killed off. I'm not sure whether I'm happy or sad about that.

#502 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2013, 04:38 AM:

When I upgraded to Win 7, it fixed several awkwardnesses I was having with XP, I found that my NAS drive was no longer visible. And it was old enough that the manufacturer wasn't providing an upgrade so that it would work with Win 7.

Luckily, it also has a USB connector. I shifted the data off (it isn't so big, by modern standards).

I've just bought another NAS gadget. It's for use with a tablet, using wifi. Lets you use a big SDHC card to store stuff. Luckily, my wifi environment is pretty clean. And I have an SDHC->USB adaptor. And I found that searching on "samba" brings a lot of responses about "MBA" courses.

#503 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2013, 05:21 AM:

The press conference on the hunt for Richard III is under way, and the initial stage, an account of the excavation, is certainly suggestive. The BBC News channel is carrying live coverage, but has just interrupted for breaking political news...

The Scoliosis (curved spine) developed after the age of about ten.

Now they're talking about the wounds.

#504 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2013, 05:33 AM:

There are a lot of wounds on the skeleton which could not have been inflicted on a man wearing armour, but are plausible humiliation wounds inflicted after death, and consistent with the recorded events after the battle. There are two skull injuries which would have been immediately fatal.

Another break for politics, but now we get the genealogy behind the DNA evidence. They have confirmed the genealogy, and discovered a second maternal line.

#505 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2013, 05:37 AM:

They have a DNA match.

#506 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2013, 05:40 AM:

And now they've said it. They have found the body of Richard III, the last Plantagenet King of England/

#507 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2013, 06:47 AM:

Leicester University is where DNA Fingerprinting was developed, and the people who did that are still working there. What the Genealogist confirmed was that they had a male-line descendant from Edward III, through John of Gaunt, and they had found two distinct maternal-line descendants (which means mitochondrial DNA).

Then the DNA team came in. The two maternal line descendants had the same maternal line DNA, and then it was announced that the DNA recovered from the skeleton matched that DNA.

You don't hear any reaction, but then the Vice-Chancellor came back, and made the formal announcement that, beyond reasonable doubt. the skeleton was that of Richard III. Applause. And the BBC went back to the studio for the politics.

There is going to be a TV program broadcast tonight, on C4, giving a detailed account of the whole thing. It starts at 2100 GMT and runs for an hour and a half.

I am now going to look at Wikipedia...

#508 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2013, 07:06 AM:

David Goldfarb @ 501... Congratulations! It's my understanding that the more horrible your fate, the more the tuckerizer likes you.

#510 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2013, 12:08 PM:

Serge @508: To tie that together with the other current theme - wow, if that's true Shakespeare must have *loved* King Richard III.

#511 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2013, 01:18 PM:

Clifton @ 510... My kingdom for a hearse?

#512 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2013, 01:20 PM:

Serge Broom @395: "You can do it fast or you can do it right."

Weeeeellll now.... I'm thinking of the head of my local plumbing company. He came to fix something a subordinate had spent the entire previous day screwing up, and it took him about an hour to remove the borked plumbing and get the right thing in place. Then he went and re-caulked the faucet on my tub and did it so quick and clean I almost missed it. And the result was better than I could ever have managed.

So: sometimes to do it right, you have to do it fast.

#513 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2013, 01:41 PM:

Carol Kimball @432: I wish there'd been better cover art...

You could always roll your own...?

#514 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2013, 03:22 PM:

Clifton@508: That view has been defended, I think by William Bliss in The Real Shakespeare: a Counterblast to Commentators. (The book also shows that Shakespeare was a sailor and a murderer, but not an actor. How much of this is meant seriously is not entirely clear.)

#515 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2013, 04:36 PM:

Well (knock on wood), Whew!!

Tiny just came out of surgery. She's had this nasty horrible mammary tumor which I had put off having removed because of expense, and because she is kind of old and frail. But it ulcerated, but at the same time, she's just been motoring along, begging for snacks whenever I walk by, so I finally gritted my teeth and decided that, if she could survive with it, I damn well could afford to have it removed.

So: whew!

#516 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2013, 04:37 PM:

Well (knock on wood), Whew!!

Tiny just came out of surgery. She's had this nasty horrible mammary tumor which I had put off having removed because of expense, and because she is kind of old and frail. But it ulcerated, but at the same time, she's just been motoring along, begging for snacks whenever I walk by, so I finally gritted my teeth and decided that, if she could survive with it, I damn well could afford to have it removed.

So: whew!

(And I told my vet: "So don't say I never bring you any oozing pustules!")

#517 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2013, 04:38 PM:

Wow. That was weird. Sorry 'bout the duplication....

#518 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2013, 04:40 PM:

Jacque: Yay for Tiny! Our Freddie has an abscess on his back that we thought had gone away, but came back bad this past week; he's going in for surgery to remove the whole scarred-up shebang tomorrow morning. I'm trying not to worry too much...

#519 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2013, 05:12 PM:

Jacque #512: Nope, that's a matter of skill treating a simple job as trivial. If you don't have skill (or lack other required resources), then even a simple job becomes slow and uncertain.

#520 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2013, 05:48 PM:

Jacque #517:

Well, it's double-good news, so it deserves double announcing?

#521 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2013, 05:53 PM:

Watching adult cats playing full on balls to the walls crazy kitten style is delightful.

(My personal feline has been entertaining herself with a bit of plastic pulled off a milk carton, I'm still smiling)

#522 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2013, 05:55 PM:

joann @520: Well, I certainly think so. And: Tiny! Alive! ::grinz::

#523 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2013, 08:23 PM:

Jacque @512: Also, repetition makes one fast at any skill. For instance, I can do things Photoshop-related very fast—such as retouching to the level of braces removal (trickier than it sounds.) The first time I did one of those, it took upwards of an hour, PLUS re-workings to the client's specifications. Now it would be a matter of minutes.

And that's a skill that most people who work with Photoshop can't get. (We send our retouching out; it's too much feast or famine to do in-house, even if we had the space for all the retouchers. And... we've gotten a few braces removals from them. The tricky part is the metal reflects just enough to make the teeth look dead if you don't fix that... and they don't. Even if they got the edges of the teeth right to begin with...)

So. Someone who's been doing something for a while can do it quickly and well. But someone new at it is hesitant, and possibly wrong.

#524 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2013, 08:41 PM:

re 423/428 et al.: Atlantic article misleadingly titled Why Does the Media Go Easy on Barack Obama? which touches upon the exchanges above.

#525 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2013, 08:49 PM:

Tiny passed away on the way home. She was looking kinda close to the edge when I zipped up the carrier, but I think Snowflake (who was along for company) wound up on top of her and smothered her. An obvious hazard, and it didn't even cross my mind.

So: via con Dios, Tiny mia.

#526 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2013, 09:07 PM:

Jacque (525): My sympathies.

#527 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2013, 09:41 PM:

Jacque #525: My sympathies too... and I don't think one small animal smothering another is an "obvious hazard". You yourself describe Tiny as "close to the edge", which suggests she likely just died on the way.

#528 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2013, 09:46 PM:

My sympathies, Jacque. Losing a small friend is difficult (and I think Dave Harmon is right).

#529 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2013, 10:45 PM:

Jacque, my sympathies -- and FWIW, I agree with Dave. It's very likely she relaxed and let go, because she was safe, comfortable, and with company. If you hadn't done the surgery, you might have been beating yourself up for not doing it.

#530 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2013, 11:03 PM:

Jacque, my condolences.

#531 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2013, 11:42 PM:

Jacque - Im so sorry to hear that :( I don't really know what to say. You have my deepest sympathies

#532 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2013, 11:51 PM:

Jacque, I'm so sorry. Ave atque vale, Tiny.

#533 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2013, 12:11 AM:

I'm so sorry for your loss, Jacque.

#534 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2013, 12:27 AM:

I'm sorry for your loss, Jacque.

#535 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2013, 12:34 AM:

Sorry to hear the news, Jacque. My sympathies.

#536 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2013, 08:05 AM:

Jacque, my condolences. What a shock.

#537 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2013, 08:15 AM:

Jacque, my sympathies.

#538 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2013, 09:05 AM:

So, most of my kitchen stuff is boxed in the living room... exterminators will be laying baits while I'm at work. These are hitting everyone in the development, on 3 days notice.

Oh yeah, they also closed the laundry room for this week (with no general notice -- there might have been a sign there recently, but I hadn't done laundry last week), so I had to do laundry at Mom's last night. I've got the undies, she'll be dropping off the rest today or tomorrow. :-(

Oy vey.

#539 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2013, 09:13 AM:

Jacque - :(

#540 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2013, 10:55 AM:

Oh, Jacque, I'm so sorry!

#541 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2013, 11:20 AM:

Thanks, everyone. This is one of those situations where it's hard not to play "Woulda Coulda Shoulda." The short version is, "Note to Self: Next time, go for the aggressive, optimistic option early." ::sigh:: This won't be the last time....

Meanwhile, today is Gertrude's turn to have the run of the living room, and she had Teh Qte set to "kill" at breakfast this morning. "Where's my breakfast? Can't you see I'm starving?" Happily oblivious, of course, that her little potbelly kind of ruins the effect.

#542 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2013, 01:39 PM:

The vet called about an hour ago w/r/t Freddie's scheduled surgery: what we thought was an abscess is actually an ulcerated tumor. She says it's got benign characteristics, but he's got a second one nearby that also needs to be removed. Crossing fingers that it is benign and comes out clean.

#543 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2013, 01:51 PM:

Jennifer: Crossing fingers!

#544 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2013, 03:11 PM:

Mabel update: after the first week of chemo, the tumors are shrinking and her weight is up. She's generally having good appetite and good moods. And the second round of chemo is much cheaper than the first. The doctor was very pleased with her response to the treatment.

#545 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2013, 03:33 PM:

"[The Obama Administration] may have been right about Awlaki - but what kind of prescient does that set?"

*facepalm*

The person quoted said the right thing, as it turns out; only the tweet has the malaprop version.

#546 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2013, 05:09 PM:

Hooray for Mabel!

Freddie's out of surgery, and it went smoothly; Husband will be picking him up in about half an hour. The vet is worried about the smaller tumor, though, she said it was not as well-differentiated as the first (probably just a lipoma). We'll hear back on the pathology results tomorrow afternoon.

#547 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2013, 09:13 PM:

Xopher at 545:
what he meant, of course, was that it set a president.

#548 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2013, 10:16 PM:

Not posting this to the Fast/Cheap/Good thread, because this food is none of those, but fresh off my pierogi success, I thought I might like to make Paczki for Fat Tuesday. Two problems - I'm batting about 500 when it comes to dealing with yeast, and I have never deep fried anything in my life. Since the smallest paczki recipe I can find yields around 3 dozen and they don't "keep", I will need to invite people over to help consume them. Lest I become embarrassed, can anyone think of something I could try this week to test my abilities?

#549 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2013, 10:31 PM:

Oooh, pączki! I wish I lived close enough to you to have a pierogi and pączki feast! I'm especially fond of the Bavarian Cream ones, as there's no redeeming nutritional value to them whatsoever. My boss used to bring in rosehip jelly ones, and while I understand that they're traditional and all, I could never eat those. They taste like eating perfume, and not in a good way.

The advantage to living in the Chicago area is that this time of year pączki are easily found at supermarkets. Or is that the disadvantage?

#550 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2013, 11:07 PM:

nerdycellist, I don't know what suggestions to make to improve your luck with yeasted doughs without knowing the failure mode, but if you want to practice deep frying a pastry-type thing, I'd suggest beignets. The idea is to make pate a choux (eclair/creampuff dough) and pipe blobs of it into the hot oil. Whatever recipe you find for pate a choux, reduce the quantities until it's only using one egg; this will give you a relatively small amount of dough to practice with.

If you want me to look it up in my baking textbook and give you a practice quantity, I'll be happy to. Ping me at my name at gmail.

#551 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2013, 11:14 PM:

My Bohemian great-grandma wasn't doing pashki by the time I was old enough to make cookies with, but we did kolackis (pronounced KOH-latsch-kee in our house; pierogi was pronounced pih-ROSH-kee).

With Bisquick and pie filling, but nonetheless, kolackis.

That's a guess on spelling, btw; I've seen them for sale in a package exactly once and it was a Polish market, so it's probably the Polish spelling.

She also made apple dumplings by coring and peeling whole apples, filling the center with a brown sugar-and-spices mix, patting dough all around the outside until it looks like a rotted baseball, and boiling the whole thing in an enormous pot of chicken soup. I have no idea what it's called, but it's not my favorite thing. I think even made well it wouldn't be; I'm not a meat-and-fruit fan. But in the event, they were kind of hard in the middle, utter mush on the outside, with a sort of mushy boiled-dough coating.

#552 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2013, 11:27 PM:

Cally, #549: My boss used to bring in rosehip jelly ones, and while I understand that they're traditional and all, I could never eat those. They taste like eating perfume, and not in a good way.

I have the same problem with anything rose-flavored. Everybody else adores Turkish Delight, but I can't get it past my nose. And I have to be very careful about pastel disc-shaped things at weddings; sometimes they're mint and that's fine, but if I forget to check and pop one into my mouth and it's rose-flavored, I'm going to be tasting it, unhappily, for the rest of the day.

Elliott, #551: I don't think I'd like that type of "apple dumpling" either. I can see filling a peeled-and-cored apple with either a sweet-spice mix or a meat-and-dried-fruit mix, but then you want to put it in the oven and bake it until the apple is fully-cooked and tender.

#553 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2013, 12:08 AM:

Elliott@551: In Houston they're spelled "kolaches" and there are stores selling them all over the place, even a chain called "Kolache Factory".

#554 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2013, 01:33 AM:

David Goldfarb @ #553, One recipe site even says kolaches are hard to find in the US except in certain parts of Texas. They're a Czech dish, so I'd think they could be found anywhere there are immigrant populations from the former Czechoslovakia.

#555 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2013, 01:54 AM:

Kolackys hard to find? Not here in the Chicago area, they're not. Even out in the suburbs, any large supermarket has an even chance of having them in their bakery area, usually in the form of a square of piecrust with two opposite corners folded in to just cross over the filling in the center, leaving filling exposed. Fillings are, of course, apricot, raspberry, or cheese. My Bohemian grandparents pronounced them "Klochkees", more or less.

#556 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2013, 02:12 AM:

My Bohemian grandmother said something more like "golach," but I never saw how she spelled it.

#557 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2013, 03:52 AM:

Jacque @ 525: Sympathies for the loss of Tiny.

Jennifer Baughman@518/542: good luck for Freddie's surgery going well.

Tom Witmore @544: Great news re. Mable! Long may it last.

And, because it's not been mentioned yet: I love John Scalzi's "Solving My Racist Sexist Homophobic Dipshit Problem". I note that he's now got at least $50K pledged to go to the various causes, which hopefully has the RSHD frothing at the mouth. It's reached the Guardian's website, and there's a wonderful bit in the comments where someone is arguing with a certain "cstross" about writing and publicity (the other, highly ignorant, person thinks this was all set up by Scalzi to boost his book sales...).

AND, also because it's not been mentioned yet: the Gay Marriage Bill in the UK PASSED yesterday by 400 to 175. Most of those voting against were Tories, surprise, surprise. Now it has to go through the House of Lords etc., but it's a start.

Dave Bell @ 441: I missed this one earlier, but it just gave me a really great chuckle to start the day! (Thanks, Carol Kimball @481 for the signal boost).

#558 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2013, 04:01 AM:

Aaand... just after posting (naturally!), I see that Scalzi's effort IS indeed already in PNH's Sidelights - oh well, any signal boost on this is good, right?

#559 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2013, 04:22 AM:

David, #553: Yes, and you should hear my partner go on about it! He insists that kolaches are exclusively a fruit pastry, not a meat pastry, and that every shop down here is Doin It Rong because they sell ham-and-cheese and sausage-and-cheese versions. *eyeroll*

#560 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2013, 08:17 AM:

My husband's mother makes little cookies for Christmas that are called "Hungarian Pastries" by the family (They have no Hungarian blood, but apparently a grandmother or great-grandmother had a Hungarian friend....) Imagine his surprise (and delight) when he moved from Connecticut to Chicago and found out that they're kolacky; quite common in Chicago, even in non-Polish bakeries. Chicago has a huge Polish population. And these pastries are apparently very Eastern European; there are variants throughout the whole region.

The only different between the bakery pastries and the ones his mother makes is that, over the years, the Christmas-cookie version has apparently gotten somewhat smaller, which makes a certain amount of sense. Or perhaps they make them smaller in Hungary than they do in Poland....

#561 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2013, 08:47 AM:

Lee: I can see filling a peeled-and-cored apple with either a sweet-spice mix or a meat-and-dried-fruit mix, but then you want to put it in the oven and bake it until the apple is fully-cooked and tender.

I've done exactly that with Granny Smith apples and mincemeat-in-a-jar (no actual meat involved in this particular instance) and they were delicious. My skills do not extend to coring an apple while leaving the bottom intact, so I nested them in shallow cups of tinfoil and set them in a baking dish with about an inch of water in it.

#562 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2013, 09:28 AM:

Cally Soukup #555: that description begins to resemble hamentashen, a traditional food for the Jewish holiday of Purim. Differences: Hamentashen are traditionally triangular, and replace the cheese option with poppy-seed filling.

#563 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2013, 10:14 AM:

Basically, Eastern Europeans like a small pastry (danish, kolaches, hamantaschen, what have you) which is filled with either sweet (apricot jam, prune butter, etc.) or savory. From the Barents Sea down to the Mediterranean, essentially, everyone has their own version of this pastry. Luckily for us, they came to this country and promptly began making all the delicious pastries!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have no danish to eat, and must drown my sorrows in a cup of strong tea.

#564 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2013, 10:20 AM:

Dave Harmon:

I'm shocked, shocked I tell you, to learn that there may have been cross-pollenization between Eastern European pastry treats and Jewish pastry treats! Shocked, I say!

I think I'll pass on the poppyseed ones, though, and stick with the apricot. Mmmm, apricot.

Perhaps it's just because I wasn't paying attention, but I've never noticed if kolackys are a seasonal treat, the way hamentashen are. So if you ever get an out-of-season jones for hamentashen, just find yourself a bakery in a Polish neighborhood and look for the kolachy.

I had what was, to me, a Very Strange kolacky at the Minnesota State Fair. No, it wasn't on a stick, but it was a raised bready thing. Either there are regional variations, or that recipe underwent a mutation when it encountered Scandisotans.

#565 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2013, 10:55 AM:

I think Beignets sounds like a good start. I have no idea why I have failed at yeast. Maybe the last bunch of yeast I bought was cruddy. Who knows. As for Paczki, despite having spent between the ages of 14 and 22 in the greater Chicagoland area, I never had one until I visited Poland a couple of years ago. Unlike everyone else on this thread (and in the country!) I really like the rose jelly ones. I'll see if Jon's Grocery (specializes in European and Hispanic foods) has some rose jelly I can pipe into the pastry. Otherwise, it's going to be raspberry curd. Sadly, I am not ambitious enough to do a pastry cream filling this year.

#566 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2013, 11:51 AM:

Hah! Had my camera out this morning for work, and discovered that I had this picture of Tiny, in happier days.

#567 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2013, 11:55 AM:

Freddie's surgery was a success, he's a little dopey from the pain meds, but we expected that. Unfortunately, they had to put drains in the incision from the big tumor's removal. They tried to use a body wrap to cover the drains (put it on while he was still out), and when he woke up and realized he was in it, he apparently did several front-and-backflips in the cage trying to get it off. He wasn't messing with the drains last night, but apparently he's noticed them now, so it's baby t-shirt time for him. We'll get the path results either this afternoon or next week, I'm not 100% sure which.

Here in Austin, you can't throw a squirrel without hitting a kolache shop, and we have both the fruit-pastry type and the meat-pastry type. As I understand it, though, there's a little place between Waco and Dallas called Czech Stop that does fantastic kolaches; we're going to stop there on the way up to ConDFW next week.

My Czech boss is quite amused at the proliferation of kolache shops, though he took pains to point out one day that the -e on the end makes it plural, and if one is eating a single pastry, that's a kolach.

nerdycellist: Do you know how old the yeast was? Old yeast doesn't really rise well. Also, if you've been keeping your yeast in the refrigerator, it should be warmed up before you use it. (Not that I learned that from experience or anything...) If the kitchen was cold, or if the liquid was too cold, that can also cause a yeast failure. That said, I have a bag of Red Star yeast that I've kept in the fridge that's four years past its official use-by date, and it's still good. Yeast can be a little funny.

#568 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2013, 12:01 PM:

567
My mother had some yeast in cakes; she kept it in the freezer, and let it warm up before use. Dumping the yeast into warm liquid should wake it up, too, but if it's been sitting for a few years (and I do keep mine in the fridge) that might not be enough.

#569 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2013, 12:06 PM:

566
Cute!

I remember that when Whomp! (an Official Rat of LACon II) developed a mammary tumor, the vet (a) was somewhat bemused that we actually wanted it treated, and (b) warned us that small-animal surgery has a higher rate of failure. (Whomp! survived for several more months. And also had the wrap off before being handed back to us.)

#570 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2013, 12:11 PM:

Okay, now this just makes me smile.

Snowflake, who is much the shyest of the gang under the best of circumstances, was the one that went along with Tiny to the vet to keep her company, and was in the carrier with her when Tiny died. So it's understandable that Snowflake was feeling a little extra skittish last night.

I was getting their dinner together, and I did something that made everybody dive for cover (like move a sheet of newspaper, or something).

Well, by the time I had the girls' plate assembled and was ready to put it down for them, Snowflake was still hiding in their bedroom. The other's are wheeling around excitedly, "Come on! We're ready! What's the hold-up?"

"Snowflake," I call repeatedly. No action. I blow dinner-smell into the bedroom. Still nothing. "Snowflake?"

Silkie, noticing where my attention is aimed, paddles over into the bedroom, followed by Fox, and then the two of them come back out with Snowflake.

Dinner was then served.

#571 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2013, 12:35 PM:

Elliott Mason @551: it's not my favorite thing. I think even made well it wouldn't be

Bleah. Puts me in mind of my mother's chicken-and-dumplings, which she just loved, but which made me gag. She would typically make this concoction using a canned whole chicken (which tasted about like you'd expect it to), and then drop dollops of biscuit dough in for the dumplings. It was years before I could cope with anything even remotely resembling wet bread.

Lee @559: Doin It Rong

Is he also morally opposed to pineapple and Canadian bacon pizza? :-)

#572 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2013, 02:12 PM:

nerdycellist, one of the failure modes for yeast is not having a warm enough place for the rise. Gas ovens with a pilot light are good, but if, like me, you have an electric stove (or no pilot), what I do is to take a roasting pan, put it on a lower oven rack, and fill it with a teakettle's worth of boiling water, which gives the dough a nice, cozy, but not overheated environment.

#573 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2013, 02:56 PM:

Cally Soukup #564:

I'm shocked, shocked I tell you, to learn that there may have been cross-pollenization between Eastern European pastry treats and Jewish pastry treats!

"Your dessert, Ma'am."

#574 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2013, 03:08 PM:

My mother had a low-wattage light bulb in a ceramic socket, with a six-foot (roughly) cord. Put the light in the oven, plug it in, and warm oven. There was a magnetic hook that was kept handy for propping the door open, so it wouldn't get too hot.

#575 ::: Betsy ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2013, 04:59 PM:

Depending on local conditions, sometimes just putting the dough in the microwave and leaving the door open (so the light stays on) can be sufficient to compel it to rise.

#576 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2013, 05:55 PM:

I tend to buy yeast in bulk, going through 2-4 lbs a year. Last year I got a bad 2lb batch. I went from having totally consistent bread and pizza 3-4 times a week to incredibly frustrating results that ranged from sorta working, but slowly, to times when I'd swear I forgot the yeast.

I replaced the yeast, and everything went back to its normal consistency.

(fwiw, normal for me is adding the yeast directly to the dough, rising in ~62-65 degree kitchen all afternoon, proofing for 45 minutes to an hour before going into the oven. When I'm trying everything to make it work better, I'll put it in the oven @100 degrees, proof the yeast in water with a pinch of sugar, and all that. Right now, I'm a fan of SAF instant red yeast. No dissolving necessary, and really consistent).

#577 ::: iamnothing ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2013, 09:31 PM:

Despite the magic stretching exercises, the leg pain from the sciatica made a dramatic reappearance. I have an appointment with the doctor next Thursday, but worry that I may not be able to attend ConDFW.

#578 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2013, 11:47 PM:

Jacque: Sympathy for Tiny.

#579 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2013, 11:58 PM:

Dave @573

Thank you for picking up on your line. Do you believe I had to explain the "we don't need no stinkin' badges" line to someone today? Ahh, the classics....

#580 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2013, 02:21 AM:

iamnothing @577 -- consider finding a well-trained massage therapist to work on your sciatica. The key word is "piriformis" -- the deep lateral rotator muscle in your butt that the sciatic nerve either goes under or through. If your therapist doesn't know where the piriformis is, it's unlikely s/he will be very helpful; if s/he does, you can have a conversation about whether s/he can help. (AMTA members, who have to have a minimum of 500 hours training or a serious apprenticeship, will be better than the average Texan massage therapist: the state only requires 300 hours for a state license. I infer that you might be in TX from the ConDFW mention, so I include that information.)

#581 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2013, 03:29 AM:

iamnothing@577: Sympathies. If it is piriformis syndrome (as suggested by Tom Whitmore @580), have you tried the "tennis ball under butt" self-treatment? That really helped me when I had this last spring - lie on your back, feet flat to the ground (i.e. knees pointing into the air), then place the foot/ankle of the bad side resting on the other leg just by the knee (so the knee of the bad side is pointing out sideways). Place a tennis ball under your butt and move it/your butt until you find the painful spot. Sink into it for as log as it takes for the level of pain to diminish substantially (maybe 10-30 seconds, sometimes longer). Move ball slightly (to another bit of painful, spasming muscle) and repeat. I can also point you to several specific piriformis syndrome stretches which I found helpful, if you want. If it's actually true-back origin, not piriformis-origin, then sympathies again but I can't give any suggestions.

#582 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2013, 07:27 AM:

The tennis-ball piriformis self-massage can also be done in a chair, if you don't have a place at work that allows you to lie down.

A definite ditto to dcb's "if it's coming from your back you need a professional" comment. Piriformis spasms will indeed put pressure on the sciatic nerve, but so can, e.g., a herniated disc.

#583 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2013, 08:47 AM:

For the record, using tennis balls for massage was suggested on a gestation-support board I was reading and WAS SO WORTH IT for the deep pokey massage that was very helpful during contractions.

And using the tennis balls to focus the force saved John's thumbs from a lot of pain; he could lean on the balls with the heels of his hands and really lean in there.

#584 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2013, 08:56 AM:

Re: Patrick's particle on the Hagel nomination. I keep wishing the congress was able to provide meaningful oversight and supervision to the executive branch. But every time I actually pay attention to their actions, they appear ill-equipped to provide adult supervision of any kind to anything. Though I did appreciate the unintentionally funny questioning about AIPAC.

I suppose it was always this way, and I just notice now when I pay attention. I had a conversation the other day with a couple of friends who are about 20 years older, and their sense is that the specific kind of dysfunction changes, but the level of dysfunction is probably about the same.

#585 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2013, 10:31 AM:

IANAL either, but isn't the problem passage here for GW the distinctiveness requirement? You can't trademark the word "Salt" for salt, and it seems to me that you cannot enforce trademark on the phrase "Space Marines" for literature if people have been using the word generically for sixty-odd years.

#586 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2013, 11:11 AM:

blarg! wrong thread!

#587 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2013, 11:20 AM:

abi, thanks for the parhelia on the Chinese wheelbarrow - I think. I've always liked low-tech solutions and I anticipate Low-tech Magazine being a major time sink for me. But a fascinating one!

#588 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2013, 12:05 PM:

Indeed, sciatica can have its origin in the back, and a massage therapist is really unlikely to help that.

#589 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2013, 03:13 PM:

I get sciatic nerve pains down my leg and in my hip.

While the root cause is a bulging disk, keeping my legs fit and limber helps because this helps avoid the "double crunch" . . . the second point of irritation on the nerve that really causes the pain.

Propping my leg up on something waist-high, so it makes a kind of L, helps a lot.

Sitting and pulling my ankle over to my left hip also helps.

There are two stretches I do lying down / on all fours involving raising alternating limbs . . . these don't provide immediate relief, but help keep lower back muscles and leg muscles toned up.

#590 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2013, 04:27 PM:

Hi, folks -- the bad news, we had to have Tao put to sleep this morning. The vet's best guess is liver failure.

He got a week of cuddles, and pampering, and whatever we could do to make him better...

Our 20 year old Siamese, DC, is still puttering along. And the rest of the four feets are looking for Tao.

#591 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2013, 05:45 PM:

Lori Coulson: Oh, heavens. It does seem to come in clusters, doesn't it? {{{{hugs}}}}

#592 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2013, 05:57 PM:

I'm so sorry for your loss, Lori.

And I'm sorry for the losses of others who have posted such. I didn't get on here in good time all the time, but I'm sorry.

#593 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2013, 06:07 PM:

Lori, I'm so sorry about Tao! I'm glad that you and he got a good week together, though.

#594 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2013, 06:43 PM:

Sorry to hear that Lori . . . as Jacque suggested, this seems like a harsh week for pets.

* * *

I hope those in the NE are oiling their hatch batteners and making an early run on bread and milk and wadded beef.

#595 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2013, 07:12 PM:

Lori, I'm so sorry.

#596 ::: iamnothing ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2013, 08:38 PM:

Tom Whitmore: I will consider massage therapy, if the X-ray results point that way. I'm actually in Florida; I'm going to Texas only for the con. I usually go to Boskone but it didn't quite fit the budget this year. I suspect your advice fits more than one state.

dcb, Lila, and Elliott Mason: I will also consider getting a tennis ball. Thanks.

Stefan Jones: I'll look into toning-up exercises as well.

#597 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2013, 09:04 PM:

Sorry to hear about that, Lori. Glad you got a good week to say goodbye.

iamnothing, Florida is one of the states that has more stringent licensing. Yes, the advice applies to many states, but Florida isn't particularly one! (AMTA members, though, are people who are willing to pay a little more to an organization which takes a bit more of an activist stance on massage issues, which may be relevant to your thinking.)

#598 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2013, 01:08 AM:

HLN: Local man trying to bake oatmeal-raisin cookies, has almost all the ingredients, but every recipe requires a stand mixer. Local man doesn't have a stand mixer. They really seem to require it too; it's not just that it's easier.

Local man is feeling all sad.

#599 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2013, 02:04 AM:

Xopher -

I have a 1969 Betty Crocker cookbook with a recipe for "Farm-Style Oatmeal Cookies" that may fit the bill. They don't call for raisins, but I see no reason you couldn't add them. There is no mention of a stand mixer. They aren't quite drop cookies - they require rolling the dough into a ball and smushing it with the bottom of a glass dipped in water.

#600 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2013, 02:07 AM:

Hm, Xopher, I seem to remember a recipe printed on every tub of Quaker Oats when I was a kid that didn't require a mixer.

#601 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2013, 02:12 AM:

Also, Bittman's got an oatmeal cookie recipe in his How To Cook Everything that lists possible add-ins. The only mention of a stand mixer is at the beginning of the cookie chapter when he discusses techniques - stand mixer is an option, as is hand mixing. Let me know if you'd like me to transcribe that one.

May I express my frustration with cookbooks and recipes that assume we can all afford multiple $300 appliances to do the work that our grandmothers did with a wooden spoon? As someone who is a novice cook, I've found this frequently puts me off trying new things just because I'm uncertain if it will be worth the effort to make it or if it will taste crappy if I do it in the manner of my ancestors. I always wanted a Kitchenaid stand mixer, but I found the food processor we got is used about every other day, and I don't think the stand mixer would be. I also live in an apartment where counter real estate is at a premium. Feh on those appliance based recipes.

#602 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2013, 02:12 AM:

The whole time I was growing up my favorite cookies were oatmeal cookies.

We didn't own a stand mixer. I'll see if I can find the recipe.

#603 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2013, 02:29 AM:

And here's the recipe (or so similar as makes no nevermind): Soft Oatmeal Cookies

My mom put chocolate chips in 'em, sometimes. Walnuts or raisins other times. Or, plain.

The only thing we didn't do is flatten the dough with a fork dipped in sugar water. (Sugar water? Really?) Or flatten them at all. They flattened out all on their own.

#604 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2013, 02:58 AM:

Thanks, nerdycellist, Benjamin, Jim! I should be able to find something that works among all those. Also,

May I express my frustration with cookbooks and recipes that assume we can all afford multiple $300 appliances to do the work that our grandmothers did with a wooden spoon?
EXACTLY. And you needn't be a novice cook to worry if the recipe will work if you do it the old-fashioned way. As someone who has whipped cream with a wire wisk, I have a little more confidence in the "good right arm" methods, but still it's a little offputting, as you say.

#605 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2013, 03:09 AM:

Xopher @598:

I don't own a stand mixer. We always mix the Default Oatmeal Cookies by hand.

#606 ::: Stevey-Boy ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2013, 10:30 AM:

nerdycellist @601: Your comment RE expensive equipment for simple recipes reminded me of my father-in-law's common rant when watching New Yankee Workshop. "Why does he need a laser guided piece of equipment, probably designed by NASA, to show us how to cut trim at a 45 degree angle?" Thank you for jogging that memory.
Most recipes should work with a spoon/whisk/hand, but a stand mixer does make less time consuming when multi tasking.

#607 ::: Stevey-Boy was Gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2013, 10:34 AM:

I'd offer oatmeal cookies, but unfortunately my lunch only contains leftover spaghetti bolognese.

[Filter adjusted. -- Muoro Bier, Duty Gnome]

#608 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2013, 10:35 AM:

My mom used a big stainless steel bowl and stainless steel spoon.

Always remember to sift the dry ingredients together first, and add them little-by-little.

The oatmeal cookie dough gets quite stiff, and winds up as a ball in the bowl, from which you lever off pieces with a teaspoon to make the cookies.

Dough hooks, hah! Whatever happened to hands?

#609 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2013, 11:11 AM:

Xopher, I've mostly made cookies without a mixer. In fact, for most of them, you don't want a mixer. If it needs a beaten-egg-white base, or something like that, yes, but your typical cookie doesn't require it. (And I wouldn't try it with chocolate-chip cookies - with the oatmeal and the chips and the nuts, it's not going.)

#610 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2013, 11:31 AM:

Open threadiness, for anyone who is on Medicare and has a disability or chronic medical condition, or is caring for/related to someone in such a position:

A recent class action lawsuit resulted in a ruling that Mediare cannot deny payment for therapy for those patients who have "plateaued", or for whom therapy is necessary to maintain current level of function or to slow decline. This affects people with, for example, progressive neurological disorders such as Parkinson's disease, or conditions such as stroke for which plateaus in functional recovery are common.

Details.

The American Physical Therapy Association's statement.

#611 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2013, 02:34 PM:

Thanks, everyone; condolences to anyone I may have missed. I'm experiencing lots of brain fog at the moment.

Honey the Chihuahua is in mourning -- which is strange because she and Tao didn't like one another. But I found her sitting next to Tao in his favorite chair a couple of days ago with a very troubled look in her eyes. I'm not sure what to make of this...

#612 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2013, 02:59 PM:

Lori Coulson #590: My sympathies!

Oatmeal cookies, and flattening thereof: My sister taught me that if your butter is soft or melted, your cookies will be runny and flat. If your butter is chilled, the cookies will be mich higher domes.

#613 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2013, 03:13 PM:

612
'Cooks Illustrated' says half butter and half shortening will usually get good results, because cookies don't flatten nearly as much with shortening.

#614 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2013, 03:21 PM:

My Amazing Girlfriend and I are very avid bakers (at least one baking project per week that gets subsequently brought in to lab), and while I'd never spend $300 on a Kitchenaid, my advice (if you want one) would be to hunt up a used or refurbished model (or stalk Craigslist or eBay). When I was a senior in college, and setting up my first apartment (with very, very limited space), I hunted around for a couple months before finding a refurbished 5qt bowl-lift model for about $150. I've had occasion to work with various other models (including their much more expensive and not particularly well made 6qt artisan series), and I'd go for the 5qt version every time.

You can totally make most recipes without one (my mother, whose love of baking got me into it years ago, did everything for years with a set of motorized hand-beaters), but it does make things easier. I've got a couple recipes I wouldn't do without it, but not many.

Then again, I'm the baking fiend who is currently lusting after a commercial Robot Coupe to replace our food processor...

#615 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2013, 04:17 PM:

Note: I'm changing email addresses. Click here for the new "view all by".

[Turns out that "Click here" is a Term of Power, with whose use comes great responsibility—Idumea Arbacoochee Cowper, Duty Gnome, who has also added the appropriate link.]

#616 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2013, 04:22 PM:

Note: I've just changed-mail address. Click Here for the previous record.

#617 ::: dcb has been gnomed trying to change e-mail accounts ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2013, 04:24 PM:

{First one messed up - probably spaces, 'cos I was using cut-and-paste}. Can offer pizza once we've cooked it!

#618 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2013, 04:48 PM:

re mixers, our Mixmaster got replaced with a Kitchenaid after it ate a beater. I have to say I liked the old one better: it dealt with smaller quantities more effectively than the KA. That said, I'm also dubious about the utility of a mixer for an oatmeal cookie recipe.

#619 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2013, 05:16 PM:

C. Wingate, I'd agree with you for most oatmeal cookie recipes (the one I made frequently as a kid certainly didn't require one). I brought it up because I find that it's immensely useful for the kind of baking my girlfriend and I do. That said, if you've got a Kitchenaid that's having issues with small quantities, it might be worth adjusting the beater/paddle height (how you do this depends on your model; you want the beater to be close to, but not in contact with the bowl). I tweaked ours a few weeks back (after years of being annoyed about doing small batches), and it improved matters. Just a thought.

#620 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2013, 05:23 PM:

Trained professional checking in: a stand mixer will do no harm to oatmeal cookies, but it is in no way required. The major thing it's doing is creaming the butter and sugar. This is quickest and easiest in a stand mixer, but can be managed just as effectively with an electric hand mixer, or, if you're feeling energetic, with a wooden spoon. In college, I used to use a fork, because it smushed up the butter into smaller particles. When you get to adding in the dry ingredients, you want to do it gently; it's not an issue when you do it by hand, but with something motorized, use a low speed, because working it too vigorously will develop the gluten in the flour and potentially toughen the cookies. However, as the cookies have oats as well as flour, they're pretty forgiving.

NB: the current recipe on the Quaker Oats box is not the same as the one many of us remember from childhood. They changed it in 1987: the first box I bought in college had the old one, and the next one had the new one. I do not like the new one. Fortunately, I realized it at the time, and copied out the old one and have been using it successfully ever since. I'll be happy to email it to anyone who needs it -- I can be reached under this name at gmail.

#621 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2013, 06:16 PM:

Rikibeth at 620: could you just point out what the difference is? I don't have either recipe and it's interesting.

#622 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2013, 07:40 PM:

The essential difference is that the pre-1987 recipe has more fat and less sugar. My current box of oatmeal is store-brand so I couldn't guarantee that their recipe matches either Quaker version.

The post-1987 recipe is NOT chewy when it bakes up, and is highly disappointing if you were expecting a chewy cookie. I've rescued more than one person who's said "What am I doing wrong? My mother baked the oatmeal cookies from the recipe on the oatmeal box, and they were chewy and delicious, and I just made the recipe on the box, and they came out sort of like a cake and they're just not the same." They're very relieved when I explain that it's not their technique that's at fault.

#623 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2013, 07:46 PM:

620
The chocolate-chip cookie recipe I use is one of the old oatmeal-carton ones, too. I'd describe it as pretty reliable. (It calls for shortening, which means that butter makes a spreadier cookie. Margarine works.)

#624 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2013, 07:50 PM:

My mom always used Crisco (which she called "Spry") in place of butter in cooking.

#625 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2013, 08:06 PM:

#624: There is (or was) a hilarious collection of "Spry" shortening advertisements on James Lilek's site:

http://www.lileks.com/institute/gallery/spry/index.html

Crisco now sells sticks of shortening, in foil packs with measuring lines, in what I imagine is an attempt to lure butterphiles into the shortening camp. I've used these to make mix cookies, and they turned out quite nicely.

#626 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2013, 09:25 PM:

Some friends just dragged me out to see the Circ du Soleil movie in 3D... a $5 showing. I am blown away... it was phantasmagoric, psychedelic, and shamanic.

I'm also glad to discover that I'm "3D-positive" -- no headaches or anything, and I got used to the focusing issue pretty quickly. (Of course, given all the time I spend at a computer screen....)

#627 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2013, 09:27 PM:

I swear I can tell the difference in baked goods made with shorting rather than butter. Some of it is flavor, and some of it is mouth feel -- shortening doesn't melt at body temperature, so it can cause a film in the mouth. When I took a baking class, the instructor said that you can get prettier pie dough with shortening than with pure butter, but the plates will come back with the crust only half eaten. If you make the pie dough with butter, the plates come back with every last crumb gone.

#628 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2013, 09:41 PM:

janetl: My favorite pie dough recipes use a combination of shortening and butter. No less a personage than Julia Child uses a combination in her standard recipe -- it's about 80% butter to 20% shortening (at a guess, because I don't want to go into the next room and grab the cookbook), and her explanation is that the shortening tenderizes the flour. I can expand on that a little: shortening is 100% fat, and butter is 80/20 fat to water, and the gluten in flour won't develop without the presence of water. Of course, you also put actual water in pie dough, but notice how all the recipes say to use as little as possible? Yup.

Pie dough is one of those things where I favor the stand mixer as a tool -- it does a really good job of cutting the fat into the flour, and it's not as easy to overprocess it as it is in a food processor. My second choice after the stand mixer is just my plain ol' fingers. My hands run cold anyway, but if yours don't, you can always wash them in cold water first. I find I have the best control that way over making sure the bits of butter are thin and flat and coated with flour rather than melted or crumbled. Third choice is a fork -- it makes thinner bits of butter than a pastry blender, and I've never understood the whole "two knives" method.

Next time I make a pie, maybe I'll take the extra step and do blitz puff -- less involved than true puff pastry, but still wonderfully flaky. And I do THAT with all butter.

#629 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2013, 11:49 PM:

I finally just said to hell with pie dough after I watched my baker friend make his wonderful dough. I was never going to do what he did, and my pie dough was never going to come out like that.

Now I make cobblers.

#630 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2013, 12:31 AM:

Whereas my beef with recipes comes from those appearing on boxed-mix things, like mac&cheese or meal-helper, that are supposed to be saving you time and/or effort over making it from scratch... specifically, WHY IN THE WORLD would one decide to STOP PROVIDING the microwave instructions on the box? Not for lack of room - they have entire sides that are nothing but pretty pictures or fancy graphics. Not because they don't have one that works - the ones I'm miffed at _used_ to. Not, obviously, because the percentage of folks wanting to use their product who want to microwave it has become minuscule... They'll all have skillet/top-of-stove directions, and most will have oven directions ALSO, and a paragraph on high-altitude variations. But microwave instructions are seen as _disposable with_?? For multiple brands, and multiple kinds of items?

--Dave

#631 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2013, 04:19 AM:

Hyperlocal news... At tonight's meeting of the local SF club, local SF writer Steven Gould tells many lightbulb jokes, which he blames Teresa Nielsen Hayden for.

#632 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2013, 06:23 AM:

Interview With The Mortuary Attendant

We know exactly what caused her to die
Although Stephanie’s body’s now missing
Two puncture wounds on her inner thigh
Autopsy done, prepared for the blessing

Although Stephanie’s body’s now missing
The doors to the morgue are alarmed and locked
Autopsy done, prepared for the blessing
Even the air vent has a grill that blocks

The doors to the morgue are alarmed and locked
The room is unnaturally cold and dank
Even the air vent has a grill that blocks
And that only connects to the blood bank

The room is unnaturally cold and dank
Two puncture wounds on her inner thigh
And that only connects to the blood bank
We know exactly what caused her to die

#633 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2013, 07:00 AM:

David Delaney @630 -- and I've occasionally been miffed when a recipe or mix -only- has microwave directions, and I don't have a microwave :-) Guess the universe is statistically in balance?

#634 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2013, 08:06 AM:

I have been busy decluttering the kitchen--stuff that often hasn't been used since we moved, back in '05.

My father, I find, put some stuff in supermarket carrier bags, which have been made to disintegrate, and they have worked as designed. It's the sort of mess of plastic debris which makes you think of mice, though there are not the usual other signs.

Things are already looking better. We have some cupboard space free.

#635 ::: Claire ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2013, 01:52 PM:

Not related to anything else here, but I have just discovered Boerenkaas. (Dutch trans. "Farmer's cheese")

So. Good.

I love my local cheese specialty shop!

#636 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2013, 02:51 PM:

Pie crust:
Cooks Illustrated has a 'no-fail' version that uses half 80-proof vodka and half water. Apparently gluten won't develop with alcohol. (I'd be tempted to try vodka with flavors complimenting the pie filling, if I were going to be making a pie.)

#637 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2013, 03:01 PM:

Neil W #632: That gave me a shiver.

#638 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2013, 03:03 PM:

I have been marking papers, and as usual have learnt some new things. Perhaps the most unusual is this extremely odd declaration:

This marriage bared a son.

#639 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2013, 05:02 PM:

HLN -

Area dog has been fitted for a custom wheelchair. Area dog has also spent time in a temporary cart. Area woman had forgotten how fast Area Dog can move and has now attached a leash to the loaner cart. Area Woman looking forward to the arrival of custom cart and hopes Dog will appreciate the new cognomen Bitch On Wheels.

#640 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2013, 10:16 PM:

[This is transplanted from the snowstorm thread, where it really didn't fit]

Nancy--

The problem is that I don't remember what agency requires that slaughterhouses that process horsemeat accept meaningless affidavits "certifying" that the horse in question hasn't been given certain drugs for at least six months. (This is the problem with what my friend Oursin calls the Esteemed Journal of I Read It Somewhere.)

Context, longer than my answer to Nancy's question, which was based on my describing something I remembered reading a month or two back:

There are drugs that can legally be given to racehorses but are banned for human consumption because they're dangerous to humans. Some of these drugs remain in a horse's body for a substantial amount of time. Some racehorse owners, when the horses get too old to make money racing, are slaughtered for meat; given American attitudes, the horses are exported to Canada, Mexico, or Europe for slaughter.

If my memory is correct (and if you're seriously considering either whether to buy horsemeat, or whether to try writing to your elected officials, don't count on that), the rules require that horses not have been given any drugs on a list for at least six months before slaughter. Again, I don't remember whether this is Canadian law, or also applies in Mexico, maybe something in NAFTA? We remember what we think we might need, and I'm much more likely to be deciding whether to eat horsemeat (or anything else), in Canada than in Mexico, because I visit Canada fairly regularly.

The article I read said that the horses in question are not tested for the relevant drugs before slaughter. Rather, the "certification" that they are drug-free is an affidavit that can be signed by literally anyone, with no provisions for the signers to be penalized in any way if they're proven to have lied.* The slaughterhouses can't even say "sorry, we're not taking any more horses with affidavits signed by Miles Naismith, after we tested the last three."

* This may sound familiar from other contexts.

#641 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2013, 10:45 PM:

@640 Vicki

Probably the Canadian Food Inspection Agency? I found this page, but haven't done any further poking around:

http://www.inspection.gc.ca/food/consumer-centre/food-safety-tips/horse-meat-fact-sheet/eng/1331217628360/1331225704619

#642 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2013, 10:52 PM:

Vicki, sounds like yet another "self-regulating" industry.

#643 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2013, 11:19 PM:

Are we at least allowed not to take land as loan collareral from him, until we've checked the radiation levels?

#644 ::: Bruce H. ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2013, 12:12 AM:

albatross @643 I get the reference, but I don't see what you're replying to.

#645 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2013, 12:32 AM:

Albatross, nobody was required to accept Miles's radioactive ancestral land as collateral for the loans that built the Dendarii fleet, but if they didn't think to ask about the radiation levels, he wasn't going to bring up the issue.

#646 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2013, 12:35 AM:

Fragano Ledgister@638, since humans are born naked, your student was technically correct, through no fault of their own...

#647 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2013, 01:11 AM:

Today was Auckland's "Big Gay Out", the largest gay pride event in NZ.

The notable thing about it is that it has become part of the standard circuit for senior politicians, with both the Prime Minister and the leader of the Opposition turning up and getting photographed with drag queens.


#648 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2013, 02:04 AM:

Cheryl @641

The whole thing in Britain is beginning to sound to be an example of why contracts and self-regulation do not work.

1: Beefburgers, and other processed ground meat products such as pies, ready-to-cook lasagne, and the like, are ways of using up meat offcuts and low-grade meat.

2: Retailers make a big thing of the products they sell using meat from a known source. They will specify the beef has to come from Britain or Ireland, and specify authorised suppliers of the meat. Other companies, using well-known brandnames. selling goods at perhaps double the retail price, will have similar terms in their contracts.

3: These ground-beef products are manufactured by specialised companies on behalf of supermarkets and other brandname owners.

4: Of course everyone sticks to the terms of the contracts they have signed, NOT!

5: I don't know why the Food Standards Agency of Ireland should have taken samples and found equine DNA, but they did. There is some evidence that meat described as beef was sourced from Poland, and was 100% horse meat. This is clearly not the British or Irish beef specified by Supermarket contracts, whatever the source animal.

6: According to the Financial Times, horsemeat is traded at about one-sixth of the price of beef. They may be comparing prime sirloin steak with the lowest-quality horsemeat. And we're not talking retail prices. It's still a significant profit margin.

7: Companies are going to court over this. Without the government doing the tests, and announcing the results, who would have known what was going on?

#649 ::: Josh Berkus ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2013, 03:12 AM:

Thomas @467:

Yeah, I saw the same in Melbourne ... Pride was there last week. The Labor Party turned out in force, as did the Greens.

Of course, the big news was the gay "Footy" player.

#650 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2013, 07:00 AM:

Fragano @637 - Someone in my writing group suggested vampires as a topic. Vampires seem to have come out of the shadows and had their powers and limitations endlessly detailed in recent works that I've read and seen. As a reaction, I wrote this, where we're just hearing about where one might have been, which was hopefully going to be more disturbing, or at least mysterious.

Or as someone put it, I was trying to write an anti-Twilight.

#651 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2013, 07:31 AM:

#640 ::: Vicki

The reason I'm asking about a requirement to accept affidavits is that there's law and then there's folklaw. It's possible that the law is exactly as you say, it's possible that the merchants (or some of them) believe the law is as you say, and it's possible that the situation is something else entirely. At this stage, all three are equally plausible to me.

#648 ::: Dave Bell

Laws and government aren't reliable either. I don't know if there's any way to find out whether in general government or business is less reliable, or even whether the question is worth addressing.

I believe there's been private testing of fish to identify whether it's the type of fish it's sold as. Now that the tech exists and is not terribly expensive, the story could have been broken by journalists or government, or possibly by private individuals.

I look forward to the day when chemical and DNA testing is a lot cheaper.

#652 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2013, 09:08 AM:

Neil W., is that a pantoum? The structure looks similar to the Flash Girls' "Banshee", which Neil Gaiman says was a modified pantoum.

It looks like it could be sung remarkably well to the tune of "Banshee", at that. I may try it at the next First Friday Filk I attend.

#653 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2013, 10:37 AM:

Nancy, I agree that it's a reasonable question. It's just that, despite having introduced the subject, I don't have any more information than I have provided.

In another mood, I could happily spend the morning trying to track this down. Right now, I am overloaded with more urgent things I need to deal with, and don't need additional kinds of cat-vacuuming. I thought it would be more useful to tell people "sorry, no further information here" rather than just ignoring the question.

#654 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2013, 11:37 AM:

Bill Stewart #646: I thought that stripping was involved.

#655 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2013, 12:19 PM:

Neil W #650: An anti-Twilight in a tiny compass. Effective nonetheless.

#656 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2013, 03:21 PM:

A link some Fluorosphereans might find of use -- it is the latest thing from my band, the Lonesome Nickel tape -- just some variously fun, relaxing, moving music and conversation edited nicely together. Bonus Krazy Kat content in the last song on the tape.

#657 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2013, 04:27 PM:

er, ah, I meant to say "Krazy Kat kontent" of kourse -- something for the kognaskentees.

#658 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2013, 05:14 PM:

thomas @647: First read that as 'photographed as drag queens' — which made Australian politics sound more interesting than it probably is.

#659 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2013, 05:52 PM:

Dave Harmon @ #626

I went to see it today and it was very splendid indeed.

For some bizarre reason it appears to have had a two day run in Birmingham (UK).

#660 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2013, 07:37 PM:

Rikibeth @652 It is a pantoum* (or closely related as the strictest definition I've seen only has two rhyming sounds for the whole thing).

I've had a listen to Banshee and it a. sounds like it alternates 8 and 12 syallables to a line, which might need some fixing up with my 10 to a line** and b. is really interesting in structure, as the second time a line appears it loses the four syllables at the end of it.

Let me know if you try it; it's pretty much what I wanted when I sat down to write it which is why I've let it out into the world.


* Sometimes spelt pantun
** I am generally unmusical

#661 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2013, 07:46 PM:

Neil W: yes, Banshee alternates between 8 and 12 syllables per line, and the way it dropped off the last four syllables of the long lines to make the short lines in the next stanza fascinated me the first time I heard it. That, apparently, was Neil Gaiman's innovation to the form.

I'll certainly try rehearsing it before next month's filk, and see what I can do with the scansion. It's a cool enough poem to give it a try.

#662 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2013, 08:07 PM:

Open-thready baking question: Can buttercream frosting be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for a week or so before you're ready to use it?

#663 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2013, 08:29 PM:

Mary Aileen: Yes.

#664 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2013, 08:52 PM:

'Banshee' is from Irish bean Sidhe, "woman of the Sidhe." AKA the Washer at the Ford.

#665 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2013, 09:06 PM:

Rikibeth (663): Thanks.

#666 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2013, 09:15 PM:

Xopher, I thought that the banshee was the one who wailed to foretell deaths, and the Washer at the Ford had a different specific name?

#667 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2013, 09:27 PM:

Hmm, you might be right. I heard that the Washer washed bones and keened (which is much more than wailing), and when she appeared someone within the house was to die within a specified period (I think a fortnight, but now sure). But maybe the stories have been conflated.

#668 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2013, 09:37 PM:

A bean sidhe is a fairy woman. (The sidhe are fairies in general.) The bean nighe, the washer woman, is a specific type of bean sidhe. The way I heard it they wash the bloody clothing of those who are about to die.

#669 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2013, 09:38 PM:

And my impression of the Washer was that she washed the bloodstained clothes of those about to die in battle. I'm probably taking this straight from Brian Froud's "Fairies", which is all the way across the room, oh woe!

Naamah_Darling had a very funny and irreverent take on the origin of the Washer at the Ford:

I wind up elbows-deep in the sink washing my underwear out in cold water, feeling very much like one of those creepy Irish ghosts that washes bloody clothes in the river, supposedly presaging the observer's death by violence. Now I will always imagine that the legend of the bean nighe was inspired by some poor woman just trying to dealing with her fucking period laundry. Some guy walking past saw her at it one day and said something smart-mouthed, and the woman said something snarky and Celtic, like "May all the blood that has ever come out of my vagina soak your clothes in the coming battle because someone stabbed you in the face." And he died in the battle, and his friends remembered what she said, and it entered folklore as A Thing. Moral: if a chick is washing blood out of clothes, leave her alone. There is probably no reason for her doing so that does not involve her having a bad day, and you possibly having a worse one.

I love Naamah.

#670 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2013, 10:58 PM:

Nancy:

I suspect the general lesson is that human institutions are in general rather unreliable when nobody's checking up on them. Surprisingly often, when it became possible to check up on some apparently smooth-running human institution in some new way, all kinds of awful failures came out--suspects getting framed, patients killed through incompetence or indifference, prisoners being raped or tortured, kids being molested, rivers being polluted, corners being cut, etc.

This is why, when someone tells you they are too important and highly trusted and trustworthy to be subjected to any oversight, it should peg your skepticism meter. Not because markets, private companies, government bureaucracies, trade associations, professional organizations, churches, police departments, armies, etc. are somehow hotbeds of evil, but because without oversight, pretty much everyone sweeps their mistakes and embarrassments under the rug.

#671 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2013, 12:44 AM:

Neil W @632: Very nice!

On the Handling of Snakes

That day in class,
the door to the side room was closed.
The King Snake was out, they said,
and we did not know how to catch it.
Is that all, I replied,
opened the door
and came out a half-minute later, snake in hands.
You have to be swift when catching snakes;
they are not always slow with sleep
and have a tendency to find
those places you would rather not pry them out of.

Garter snakes are smaller
(at least, the common ones are)
their bright yellow stripes marking them as harmless
though not defenseless; they will, if provoked,
make their attackers stink to high heaven.
Or so I've heard. As of yet, I am unbedecked.
To hold a snake is not to grip
with tension, iron fingers clasped
behind the head of the poisonous adder.
(I prefer my snakes unvenomed.)
You must be gentle with wild things,
moving, always moving their captivity
so that they never quite glide free
but never feel trapped.

There was one summer
up at camp
when one would all but trip over rubber boas.
As their name suggests, these are friendly beasts,
seeming all but plastic, gently squeezing the fingers.
I'd taken one from some Scouts before a campfire
and put it in my pocket
and somehow convinced the tall,
tanned,
and thoroughly muscled waterfront director
to take it back to the staff hill.
How was I to know he was afraid of snakes?
But he did it, this large man
holding a little tiny snake at arm's length.

When handling snakes,
you have to be swift,
you have to be gentle,
and in the end,
you should always set them free.

#672 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2013, 01:10 AM:

I thought of putting this link in the Short Con thread, but it doesn't quite fit. It's certainly evidence of the sincerity (cough) of former Pure Libertarian Ron Paul toward his principles, though.

Ron Paul Calls on United Nations to Confiscate Domain Names of His Supporters. That goes to the Ronpaul.com website, which is outraged at the thought that their hero wants the blue hats to take the website they built (with no input or interest from him) and with no compensation for their five years of hard work.

Grifters gotta grift, huh?

#673 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2013, 02:39 AM:

Context for the "Fat drunk Spiderman" particle: Baman Piderman: Escape da Cakes

(Having watched a couple of these, my impression is that Piderman is not drunk, just very, very lazy.)

#674 ::: Joerg R. ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2013, 06:15 AM:

According to the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI. will resign on 28th february. The official reason is his failing physical health.

This will be the first papal resignation for almost six centuries, after the abdication of Gregory XII. in 1415.

It will be interesting to see how the role of a Papa emeritus will be handled, as there is no real precedent.

#675 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2013, 08:53 AM:

re 674: I wouldn't say there's no precedent, given that at least most American archbishops have retired of late rather than died, and have passed largely into silence. Possibly he will return more to writing. It's hard not to guess that his decision is shaped by the disfunction that the Vatican fell into in the latter days of his predecessor's term. The juxtaposition with the changing of the helm at Canterbury is striking: Williams and Benedict were both theologians (and by all accounts thought well of each other collegially), while Welby is not (he came to ordination as a business executive).

#676 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2013, 05:43 PM:

Hyperlocal news... Man back from a 2-day trip to Taos. It was hoped that snow fall would be seen, but it wasn't to be. Many cattle-crossing road signs are noticed to which someone had affixed the decal of a flying saucer. Also some channel-surfing exposed man to an infomercial for the Brazilian butt lift. First the Brazilian waxing, now this? Man wonders IS going on with Brazil.

#677 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2013, 06:48 PM:

Seems you've missed the Brazilian Blowout. Good idea, really; Canada banned the procedure, something about toxic formaldehyde concentrations 70 times legal U.S. levels...

#678 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2013, 10:44 PM:

Mycroft W @ 677... Sounds like it. Meanwhile, here's what someone provided to me when I inquired about Brazilian Waxing. It sounds a bit painful.

http://www.netmums.com/coffeehouse/general-coffeehouse-chat-514/fun-games-jokes-9/199991-never-wax-your-hoo-ha.html

#679 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2013, 12:28 AM:

Very AKiCiML: My husband deeply loves pfefferneuse. So, it turns out, does our daughter now.

However, they have disappeared from the stores, being entirely seasonally available in Chicago.

Does anyone have a good recipe? We're willing to make our own, but it'd be better if we're using one that's been tried by someone else than just randomly googling for one, methinks.

#680 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2013, 12:38 AM:

I Smell A Scam, but I cannot find anyone debunking (even snopes, who are usually pretty good about getting on stuff):

Ancient Greek tile pattern is a WORKING QR code that happens to point towards the nyan-cat video.

The text claims it was first photographed in 1871.

#681 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2013, 01:04 AM:

Elliott, #680: Take a look at the title of the Tumblr. Then check out the "about" blurb over on the right:

All facts reported herein are made up and presented for entertainment and satire. If any facts posted by this site are true, it is only by mistake. Now you can't sue me.

I'd say that's dispositive. It's somebody trying to create urban legends.

#682 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2013, 01:12 AM:

Elliott #680: There is no mention of these so-called "Chinese Box Tiles" on the Google-indexed web that is not a repost of that same report. There are no mentions of "Chinese Box Tiles" at all in any of the books digitized in Google Books -- and if that pattern had been first photographed in 1871 you'd think someone would have made a passing reference.

The island of Igrigoria, where this find is supposedly located, does not seem to exist.

So ... I'd say this isn't a real thing.

#683 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2013, 02:38 AM:

OT: Don't write a magazine column when you're having a bad day, at least if you're a bigot with no political sense.

Richard Prosser, a NZ politician who had had his penknife confiscated by airport security, wrote a column arguing that Muslim men between 19 and 35 should be barred from Western airlines. No, really he did.

His comments have, strangely, not been well received, though personally I think "Misogynist Troglodytes of Wogistan" could be a good band name.

The party he's a member of is called "New Zealand First", and is pretty much what you would expect from the name (except that the party leader is Maori).

#684 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2013, 07:00 AM:

Elliott #680: Also, I suspect any Classical Greek with a modicum of artistic sense (or civic pride) would have looked at that and said "Eeeew. Get some slaves to rip that mess out and put in a nice picture."

#685 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2013, 09:24 AM:

#679 ::: Elliott Mason
When a family cookbook was put together ("the Wright Way to Cook"), four of us submitted Grandma Wright's recipe for

Pfefferneuse

3 1/2 cups sugar
3 1/2 c. dark Karo syrup
1 c. milk
1/2 tsp. soda
3/4# margarine or 1 1/2 cups shortening
3/4 tsp. salt
1 T. vanilla
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 T. almond extract
1 T. anise
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 to 1 1 /2 tsp. allspice
1 1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. cardamon
3/4 tsp. nutmeg
Flour

Heat sugar, dark syrup, milk, soda, margarine and salt. Mix well and let cool. Stir in remaining ingredients. Start adding flour until dough can be handled. Roll dough into 1" diameter (like a snake!). Cut into small pieces. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet - not touching. Bake at 350° for 18-20 minutes.

*****
That's the original. It makes a considerable batch - my father-in-law remembered his sisters up to their elbows in dishpans of flour.

How much flour? You stir in as much as you can and then start kneading in more - they did it literally by hand (no spoons) - until the dough is no longer sticky.

*****

There were always bowls of these sitting around at Christmas time (my family did Chex mix). A visiting uncle grabbed a handful from a dish on the buffet and had people shriek at him. It was the local dog's food, as the visiting one vacuumed it up.

My father-in-law lamented that this recipe had been lost, and reconstructions didn't taste right. I turned up an ancient one in Grandma Wright's handwriting and made it up for him (hard, because I don't measure cookie recipes closely). He sadly thanked me for my effort but said they weren't the cookies of his boyhood. But he'd been a multi-pack-a-day smoker since then.

#686 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2013, 10:02 AM:

Interesting -- those aren't coated in powdered sugar, which seems to be universal around here? Thank you, though! We'll try it and see if it 'tastes (w)right.' :->

#687 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2013, 12:03 PM:

Elliott@680: You might also note the link "Source: enpundit.com" at the bottom, which links to the (apparently legitimate) source of the photos: "Rio De Janeiro has embedded QR codes into their sidewalks to help tourists..."

I haven't tested the QR code itself, but I bet it links to Brazilian tourist maps rather than Nyancat.

(But perhaps I have just fallen for the next layer of the con! Oo-oo-oo...)

#688 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2013, 12:16 PM:

Several miscellaneous points and pleas for help:

1) I just picked up A Fire in the Sun having never read When Gravity Fails. Should I wait? Go ahead and read it now? Hit the library?

2) We're plotting to send my ex-wife to WorldCon this year. When do we have to get hardcore about planning to do this inexpensively but not cheaply, if you get my drift?

3) There's a new musical premiering in the Bay Area this week with music written by Vienna Teng, The Fourth Messenger, which I'd love to see.

4) What makes for a good, easy to fix, extendable one person at a time, breakfast?

#689 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2013, 12:41 PM:

John A Arkansawyer @688: Re: Item 2): If you have not yet bought your ex-wife the attending membership, buy (or upgrade if she has a supporting membership) before the price increases (April 30). Also, if she moves to San Antonio, she can save on hotel room and plane fare. Failing that, the earlier the flight is booked, the cheaper (usually) it is.

Generally, I've found with Worldcon, the earlier one arranges things, the better.

#690 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2013, 12:58 PM:

Carol K., #685: It should also be noted that the glow of nostalgia is frequently an important ingredient in the flavors we think we remember from childhood. If your grandmother were alive now to bake him another batch, he would probably still think it didn't taste right!

C.S. Lewis had something to say about this in The Screwtape Letters -- it was part of the the "degrees of gluttony" lecture, but I'm feeling too lazy to go look it up.

#691 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2013, 01:16 PM:

John A. Arkansawyer @688 -- 1. I'd recommend waiting on the Effinger, not because of spoilers but because the story builds really nicely across the three books, and coming in at the middle is not conducive to really enjoying the story. I read them as they were coming out, so I didn't have the choice -- but I don't think they'd be as good in another order.

2. If you drop me an e-mail (thoshmore at google's mail) I may be able to put you in touch with someone who's selling a pair of used memberships (don't know if they've nominated yet, but they haven't voted). The person selling them wants to donate the money from them to Clarion West, so you'll be helping both yourself and CW. I don't want to get in the brokering business, but I'm willing to be a connector.

4. Scrambled eggs, with or without added fripperies (cheeses, omelet stuffings and the like). Size depends completely on the number of people.

#692 ::: Tom Whitmore visits the gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2013, 01:16 PM:

Would you like a fried egg?

#693 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2013, 02:54 PM:

Fried egg sandwiches on toast with your choice of Tabasco, horseradish, bacon, or cheese might be appropriate.

#694 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2013, 03:06 PM:

#690 ::: Lee...the glow of nostalgia

It was a large and notably dysfunctional family. My FIL ran away from home when he was fourteen and joined a mud show (carnival, far below circus class). So Christmas with his sisters baking happily together certainly was remembered through lenses rose-tinted to opacity.

A beloved uncle (in-law) married three of the sisters sequentially as widowed. We used to tease the youngest aunt that she was next.

The grandmother and aunts were fabulous cooks, and "our" generation had several guys who took it up.

Elliott: that whirring sound is those who've passed on spinning at the thought of dusting the peppernuts with powdered sugar. I won't tattle on you, though.

#695 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2013, 03:08 PM:

Carol: I'm sure yours are their own thing and best enjoyed on their own merits, but if we run it up the flagpole and the preschooler don't salute it because it's not dusty and white, we'll have to find another recipe that comes out that way. :->

#696 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2013, 03:45 PM:

Carol Kimball (694)/Elliott Mason (696): Heh. I find the kind of pfeffernüsse with powdered sugar to be Wrong also; Proper pfeffernüsse have a hard white glaze on them. ;)

#697 ::: nicole fitzhugh ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2013, 03:59 PM:

Of interest to the plum-stealing, apology-writing poets of the Fluorosphere: I just came across this book by Gail Carson Levine, called "Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It: False Apology Poems". Naturally I immediately thought of all of you.

#698 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2013, 05:43 PM:

This is just to say
I have written
the poems
that were to
say sorry

and which
you were probably
expecting
to be sincere

Forgive me
I meant to
do it
and have no regrets

#699 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2013, 06:33 PM:

Lori Coulson @611: Honey the Chihuahua is in mourning -- which is strange because she and Tao didn't like one another.

I've encountered this. Junior and Laramie shared a split cage for several years and, both being males, never had anything to say to each other except "I bite you face and keeel you DED!" But when Laramie passes away suddenly, Junior became visibly depressed. (Which is why he got to play with the girls. (My book said old males don't breed. (Which is why I now have twelve pigs.)))

I guess the neoligism "frienemy" applies here?

Neil W @632: Interview With The Mortuary Attendant

I learned a weird thing yesterday. Colorado is an open records state, which means that deeds, property ownership, and all sorts of things are available to the public. Including autopsy reports. Birth and death certificates are, however, private, unless recorded with the Clerk's office. Which means that, using public records, you can prove that somebody's had an autopsy. But not that they're dead.

Rikibeth @669: Moral: if a chick is washing blood out of clothes, leave her alone. There is probably no reason for her doing so that does not involve her having a bad day, and you possibly having a worse one.

This is one of those things that, when I read it, I giggle with glee and want to run around sharing it with people but, damn, all the people I know who would appreciate it are here. Hmph. A very short loop.

B. Durbin @671: Awww!

And: Poetry! Which I actually read! And my brain didn't bleed!

I am reminded of one of my fondest memories of Susan Crites. She was visiting Boulder, and we were over at Howard's house. Howard's housemate Beth had her baby Burmese pythons out, and Susan was holding them, draped across her ample bosom. I have described Susan as "Erma Bombeck, reincarnated as a ping-pong ball." When she laughs, she bounces. Like, all over.

So after enduring this for perhaps twenty minutes, the little snakes started casting about for a handy exit, looking for all the world like their little thought-baloons should read, "Can we please, um, leave now?"

#700 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2013, 07:05 PM:

Open Threadiness: I think Paul Ford's post The Web Is a Customer Service Medium is interesting:

“Why wasn't I consulted,” which I abbreviate as WWIC, is the fundamental question of the web. It is the rule from which other rules are derived. Humans have a fundamental need to be consulted, engaged, to exercise their knowledge (and thus power), and no other medium that came before has been able to tap into that as effectively.

#701 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2013, 07:27 PM:

Open-threadiness: Knitted/crocheted flexagon cushions. Depending on the yarn thickness and gauge etc., some of them might also be wearable as cowl scarves or hats or such.

#702 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2013, 08:09 PM:

Which post, Allan?

We have a couple of new comments, but both are from folks who've commented before, are on-topic (more or less), and lack commercial links.

#703 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2013, 09:06 PM:

Jim, it looks like one of the mods has already zapped it.

#704 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2013, 01:25 AM:

AKICIML:

OK, so we're singing another piece in choir that has the word 'Sion' in it (it's in Latin). In Church Latin, is that "see-own" or "zee-own"?

We've sung "see-own" on other pieces before, and it's not going to be easy to change over, but I'll try if "zee-own" is more correct.

#705 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2013, 03:58 AM:

AKICIML: I'm committing Tolkien fanfic, and because of the way the plot has gone, it would be nice if I had the Dwarf words for sunshine, shadow, and sunset, or at least reasonable approximations thereof. Attempting to search for online dictionaries has been... less than helpful. Anybody have a good resource for this?

#706 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2013, 05:00 AM:

I think the sidelights are a bit unfair to Orwell: he was attacking the English language as used by politicians in the 1940s. I don't think he meant to imply that politicians would always and forever speak that way.

The first one also misreads Orwell horribly, and then blames him for stuff he didn't say: "Political language […] is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind."

Poole attacks this as if Orwell only meant the last clause: Should we just assume that everything politicians say is hot air? To do so would be to let our guards down.

But clearly making murder respectable and lies sound truthful is not pure wind, and Orwell never suggested it was.

Poole also overdoes his criticism of Orwell's xenophobic attitude to pretentious "foreign" words. He complains that Orwell doesn't like "cul-de-sac" or "status quo", but he is picking two examples from a longer list of mostly more obscure examples. A quick ngram search shows that "Status quo" had just shot into popular use in the 30s, and it was not as out of place in Orwells list back in the 40s as it is now.

Ed Smith is even stranger, since he (correctly) says politicians have adopted a different tactic since Orwell's day: Tony Blairish simplicity. "Let's get one thing straight!" followed by some half-truth stated in simple language.

It seems to me that this fake simplicity has come about because people no longer trust the sort of political language Orwell was attacking. So Orwell won that battle, and now Smith is criticising Orwell because some politicians have changed their rhetoric after a defeat!

#707 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2013, 05:12 AM:

Xopher: this should be a matter for your Musical Director to decide, unless your choir is more democratic than most. Ours favours See-onn I think.

Lee: if your Dwarfs spend most of their lives underground, perhaps their words for such phenomena would be taken from another language. Elvish, perhaps?

#708 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2013, 08:12 AM:

Lee: We have very little in the way of Dwarvish vocabulary. There's someone out there who's trying to take the pieces Tolkien left and work with them; let me see if I can find the link...

If nothing else, I believe this page has the entire corpus. You might also wish to check Ardalambion.

#709 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2013, 08:14 AM:

Xopher @705: both of those sound wrong to me! It's either "Sy-on" (sigh-on) or "Zy-on". i.e. it's a long I, as in "my", not an "ee" sound as in "see".

Or maybe I'm misunderstanding your notation.

#710 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2013, 08:46 AM:

Xopher: count me as another in the "see-own" column.

#711 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2013, 09:17 AM:

I dunno, it sure seems like there's still plenty of political wordplay of exactly the kind Orwell was describing in his famous essay. Enhanced interrogation, regime change, kinetic humanitarian intervention, etc.

#712 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2013, 12:04 PM:

Carrie, #709: Thank you. It looks as though I may have to rewrite a couple of things; the words are just not out there. Not a big deal -- it was set-dressing, not a major plot point.

#713 ::: Andrew Woode ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2013, 01:48 PM:

Xopher: there is no historical reason to pronounce 'S' in Latin 'Sion' differently from any other Latin initial 'S' (e.g. the one in 'Sanctus'). There are just different traditions in Latin and English as to how to transliterate the relevant Hebrew letter in the original name. Assuming you sing 'Sanctus' with 's', Sion should follow suit. (Of course, some German choirs would pronounce both with a z- sound).

#714 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2013, 03:14 PM:

Re Avram's link on the "it is known" construction and Orientalism and such:

The link describes (using the Song of Ice and Fire books) the way that your "theory of mind" of people from your own culture tend to be much more rich and varied than the one you use for people from other cultures, in fiction as in reality. (Even in fantasy, when *every single culture* being described is an alien, made-up one which can be as weird as you like.)

And what I was thinking is that this is how categories of people (or things) *work*. It's like you have a model which says "What is Fred like?" and "what is Sam like?" but you also have a model which says "what are Jamaicans like?" or "what are engineers like?"

Now, a quick way to characterize someone is to use these categories--that's useful for predicting what someone will do, especially when you don't know they very well. For really fast assessments (Is this guy going to mug me? Is that lady a good sales prospect?) those categories are often all we have to go on.

In SFF, it's often useful to make up new categories, because it makes a description easier. What are Slytherins like? What are Aes Sedai of the Brown Ajah like? What are Vulcans like? What are ghem lords like?

That lends itself to sloppy characterization, but also to quick pocket descriptions. If I introduce a new character, and he's an Impsec captain named Vorjonson, you have some guesses about him (probably competent, more broadminded than an average Vor but still narrow-minded compared to even a real prig of a Betan, somewhat privileged and haughty, athletic and good at every kind of fighting, sneaky (every non-Impsec Barrayaran soldier refers to Impsec people as "those Impsec weasels"). That's useful. And that ties into the same thing we do all the time in our daily lives, where we use stereotypes (which we must use to function) to fill in the blanks in an interaction with someone we don't know[1].

It struck me reading the linked article that what she was really talking about there was how much of the description of a character was carried by categories. Like, did you just call down to central casting for an Asian mathematician or an Aiel warrior, or are we going to see something more than the category? Characterization by category is one flavor of cardboard characters, and to some extent, a diverse set of categories can mask some of that.

And this led me to the thought that one thing that determined this was how different this character's category is from either the POV character or the reader or his surrounding society.

Like, if you drop a Vulcan into the middle of Earth society, it's often going to be the case that the differences between Vulcans and Humans are big enough that you only occasionally need to know what this particular Vulcan is like to predict how things will go. Spock may be an unusually intelligent or unusually physically weak Vulcan, but compared to humans, he is going to win mental and physical battles against anyone but the absolutely most formidable opponents.

Similarly, if the POV character (if there is one) doesn't understand the culture of some other person, his view of the people in it will probably be dominated by categories. A good use of this happens when the description of characters within a category gets richer as the POV character gets acquainted with the society. Think of Cordelia or Tej getting a more nuanced understanding of Barrayarans over time, and how that changed the descriptions from her POV.

And the reader falls into this, too. Make a character too different from me, but similar to many other characters of the same category, and I'll lump them all into the same box. The author may have a clear mental picture of how different this particular Puppeteer is from all the rest, yet from my perspective, the differences between Puppeteers seems a lot less important than the differences between Puppeteers and Humans. Overcoming this effect is possible with really good writing, but it's not all that common.

[1] And there are various ways this can go wrong, from inaccurate stereotypes to inability to update your assumptions about a particular individual to bad social consequences from accurate stereotypes. But there's probably no way to avoid them.

#715 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2013, 09:43 PM:

albatross #715: The alternative failure might be "people in funny suits", where you've got nominal aliens representing entirely human personalities. Star Wars was of course full of that, but it's shown up repeatedly over the course of SF.

#716 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2013, 09:50 PM:

dcb 710: No, I'm pretty sure that's not correct. No sound like that in Church Latin as far as I know; the nearest equivalent in Classical Latin would be spelled 'ae'. I know people like to say "uh-LUM-n'eye" for 'alumni', but this is incorrect.

Andrew 714: Thank you. That's pretty much what I thought.

#717 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2013, 02:30 AM:

Since we lost our pointer Tigger four years ago we've been reluctant to get a new pet. However, I ran across a picture of a dog at a local rescue site and, well . . .

This is Abby. She came with the name, since she's six years old. She's an Aussie Cattle Dog, supposedly, with a thoroughly ticked coat -- Blue seems to be the description for her coloration. She's very skittish but improving by the day (we got her Saturday). I think she's been an apartment or condo dog all her life; she's uneasy when off-leash in our back yard, although she's adjusting.

She's a lot more sedate than Tigger was, but hopefully that changes.

#718 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2013, 04:53 AM:

Xopher:

I would have said Sion with a voiceless 'S' as the 'correct' pronunciation in Church Latin, with the voiced version as an acceptable variant, and, like you, I think the 'i' should be the IPA [i].

#719 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2013, 07:09 AM:

Linkmeister #718: Awww! Congratulations!

#720 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2013, 07:49 AM:

Linkmeister, congratulations! She's a cutie. If she's an Aussie, though, I bet she's a mix, because while her coloring's characteristic, her face isn't so much; Australian Cattle Dogs have ears that naturally stick straight up, for one.

Whatever her breeding, I hope you have many happy years together.

#721 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2013, 08:18 AM:

Linkmeister @718, Oooh, I just wanna scruffle those ears! Um, Abby's ears, that is; not yours...

I wish you many, many joyful years together.

#722 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2013, 10:00 AM:

From the incomparable Jay Smooth (coming back from a long hiatus), a fascinating exploration of the nature of doing thoughtful, creative work. And his Goddamn Tapes, to quote our DFD threads.

#723 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2013, 12:18 PM:

I want to shout out to my favorite local hardware store, McGuckin's. The local lore is that you can find anything there. That's a slight exaggeration, but there's more than a kernal of truth in it.

I went in with a challenge: My leather punch produces a range of hole sizes, but the smallest one is still too big for the project I'm working on (buckskin mittens). I have an awl, but the problem there is that the hole disappears the minute I pull the awl out. I want a hole on the order of .5 mm that I will be able to find when I come back around with the needle and thread.

I first encounter Karol in the crafts department, explain my problem to her, and the solutions I've already tried. She's tickled by the question. We march off to Tools, where the guy is sympathetic, but has no suggestions beyond "leather punch."

Hm, maybe I can make my own? Is there steel tube stock that could be shaped to the desired end? Karol leads me over to Builders's Hardware, where we paw through the small-metals stock. Hm. There's a brass tube of the right diameter, but no steel. Karol needs to get back to her department, but asks me to let her know if I solve this question.

Builder's Hardware guy suggests maybe Paint has something? I troop over to Paint. They have syringes, but no needles. (I'm thinking large-bore hypodermic, maybe.)

But! Fly-tiers often use dainty little tools; I hike over to Sporting Goods. Explain my problem. Sporting Goods guy takes me to the fly-tying tool display, leafs through. (I need to go dig through that stuff just to browse.) No joy. Then, "Aha!" He takes me over to the fishing department, and presents me with a "worm threader." (You don't want to know.)

We take it out of its package, I pull out my right mitten (the one I've got completed, and why I'm on this quest). He finds a paper cup to use as a back-stop. I have a go and, voilá a lovely little c-shaped cut of just the right size! (He points out that it's just as well it doesn't take out the plug, as the tool would eventually clog.)

I am more tickled than I can say. McGuckin's! FTW!

#724 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2013, 03:18 PM:

Jacque—that's a marvelous tale. They wanted to help, and did.

#725 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2013, 03:22 PM:

Linkmeister @ 718: Awfully cute dog! She might be a Texas Heeler, as that's a cross of Australian Cattle Dog, with the same look but some have floppy ears.

#726 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2013, 03:51 PM:

Jacque's story reminds me of a panel I've seen run at cons more than once -- one time, it was called, "You want to make WHAT with that??", and it usually involves anecdotes of finding good materials for a range of fannish crafts or activities at very mundane stores, often for purposes they were not intended to serve.

Like the time I bought a guitar slide in the automotive-tools section at Sears (extra-long socket of gauge to fit comfortably on my finger).

Usually they involve incredibly baffled staff who want to be helpful but find themselves quickly out of their depth.

Sounds like Jacque's store could handle any weird I've EVER had to throw at a store and eat it cheerfully for lunch. :->

#727 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2013, 03:51 PM:

Jacque -- you might also consider a sail needle.

#728 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2013, 03:57 PM:

727
I once went into a farm-supply store and bought a couple of one-inch nuts to use as paperweights.
(They had nuts and bolts that were much larger. But I needed to carry the things.)

#729 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2013, 04:02 PM:

P J Evans: Galvanised washers make dandy stitch markers for knitting -- just make sure the inner diameter goes easily over your needle, and width of the washer (OD minus ID) isn't terribly large, and Bob's your uncle. Purchasable economically by the pound, instead of $5 per the six or whatever you find out in the wider knitting world. :->

#730 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2013, 04:34 PM:

Elliott Mason: Jacque's story reminds me of a panel I've seen run at cons more than once -- one time, it was called, "You want to make WHAT with that??", and it usually involves anecdotes of finding good materials for a range of fannish crafts or activities at very mundane stores, often for purposes they were not intended to serve.

And THAT is why I don't shop at Seattle Pottery Supply. To set the stage: it is possible to safely melt metal in a 1000w home microwave oven. (No, IT DOES NOT FRIGGING BLOW UP. Er, um, excuse me please. I get that a lot.) I found the website of the gent that worked out the process and read up on his previous casting methods and sent him an e-mail outlining what I'd worked out and asking for further details. He said that I was so close he might as well tell me everything provided I kept it to myself, and said that if he decided to make kits available in the USA he'd probably set something up with me. So I am the North American expert on this, believe it or not.

Anyway, I went to get one component from SPS and when they asked what I wanted I was dumb enough to tell them why. They insisted it was impossible to do what I wanted to do, that it would explode, and gave me such a hairy eyeball that I had to leave and come back during another shift to finish my purchase because I couldn't afford to drive to the place Jon Singer recommended in Tacoma. Never again, SPS.

#731 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2013, 05:25 PM:

"You want to do WHAT with that?"

My favorite story to do with that was back in what I'd thought was a gentler, more innocent time (at least I was). Chap in purple platform tennis shoes came into the hardware store and said he wanted some chain. He hefted various bits about for quite some time before I asked, "Just what do you want this for?" thinking I could help him narrow it down. "Well," came the reply, "I'm a performer, and I use whips and chains in my act." Oh, never mind, just let me know when you've made a decision ...

#732 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2013, 05:51 PM:

Linkmeister @ 718: Adorable! I wouldn't work too hard at figuring out her breed based on her appearance. It's my understanding that traditionally herding dogs didn't have a strong breed standard for size/color/ear shape — it was about how they performed at herding, and endurance doing hard work. I think that gives them a bit more variability in their looks.

I used to have a blue merle dog that was supposedly German Shorthair crossed with Australian Cattle Dog. I just called her a herding dog, but my husband told people she was a Chupacabra.

#733 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2013, 05:56 PM:

Elliott, I get packages of the crap 'craft thread' they sell for friendship bracelets. (It's cheap pearl cotton.) About four inches per marker, and an 8-yard skein = lots and lots of markers, in many colors, especially if you get one of the 36-skein packs. I tried metal rings, and didn't like them.

You can see one, in green, near the right edge here. (Assuming the linkie works.)

#734 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2013, 06:07 PM:

Re: knitting stitch markers -- in a pinch, you can also cut rings from plastic drinking straws.

#735 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2013, 06:39 PM:

Elliott Mason @727: Sounds like Jacque's store could handle any weird I've EVER had to throw at a store and eat it cheerfully for lunch. :->

Well, I have managed to stump them many times, but at the very least, they'll give it a good, hearty try.

Jim Macdonald @728: you might also consider a sail needle.

And McGuckin's carries them. They call them "awl needles." That might actually be an easier solution....

P J Evans @729: They have a whole isle devoted to nuts, bolts, screws, and nails. By the pound, or by the each.

They've evidently got high school girls coming in for nuts with which to make jewelry, these days.

I was rather disappointed in the rope dept., though. They were out of kite string. Hmph. (Which reminds me; I should check the kite store across the street.)

#736 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2013, 06:58 PM:

Elliott #730: I make stitch markers out of leftover yarn. Free!

I have an unusual number of 1/4 inch adjustable t-bar tap wrenches around the house, car, purse, etc. They make dandy emergency harp tuning wrenches. Especially since harp tuning pegs come in different sizes, depending on the instrument.

#737 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2013, 07:28 PM:

I've used a cold chisel to get thick ice deposits out of an under-counter fridge. (And also a putty knife, for the thinner stuff.)
Hey, it's a matter of using the right wrong tool for the job.

#739 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2013, 09:12 PM:

Rikibeth et. al., I should have said she's a mix of Aussie and something. The rescue people had her down as a pointer, which is so wrong it's not even funny (Tigger was pretty much full-blooded German Short-Haired Pointer).

She's enjoying affection, that's for sure. She tends to stretch her neck so she can maneuver her throat under my hand while I'm sitting in a chair next to her.

She's now progressed to barking, but not yet to going to the door to see what the other dog is barking at. This will come in time, I'm sure.

#740 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2013, 09:34 PM:

Those not on Twitter: Our *NH hosts are dealing with (they're guessing) Norovirus.

* * *

Heh-heh-heh:

Merciless, Unfeeling Robot: http://www.gocomics.com/adamathome/2013/02/14 #adam

#741 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2013, 09:50 PM:

740
That's not fun (the virus).

#742 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2013, 11:15 PM:

The Associated Press is cordially invited to bite my gay ass. Here's why.

#743 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2013, 12:33 AM:

It's already February 15 on the other side of the Atlantic.
So...

Happy Birthday, Abi!
Happy Birthday, Abi!
Happy Birthday, Abi!
Happy Birthday, Abi!

#744 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2013, 12:43 AM:

Serge: 1. It's 15 February over there. 2. It's February 15 on the other side of the continent (like, say, here in Hoboken) too.

Happy Birthday, abi!

#745 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2013, 01:07 AM:

Dang . . . a meteor exploded over Russia, shattering windows and setting off car alarms. There are a lot of movies of this filtering in.

Blazing in:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7c-0iwBEswE

Shockwave hits a city:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=b0cRHsApzt8

#746 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2013, 03:47 AM:

Xopher @717: Sorry, I hadn't realised that the pronunciation in Church Latin would be so different, so it startled me.

Linkmeister @718: Good luck for a long and loving relationship with Abby (glad I wasn't posting that yesterday...).

Ab: Happy Birthday!

#747 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2013, 06:49 AM:

Happy Birthday Abi!

#748 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2013, 11:54 AM:

Thanks, guys! It's been a good day: chocolate, books, family, hammock.

I note that the universe provided fireworks. I'm OK with the fact that I only got to watch them over YouTube rather than live.

#749 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2013, 11:58 AM:

Happy birthday Abi! My mom's B-day was yesterday (though her dinner is tomorrow).

#750 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2013, 12:04 PM:

Happy birthday, abi, and I agree it was probably best to have watched those fireworks from a distance.

#751 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2013, 12:10 PM:

happy birthday, abi!

#752 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2013, 01:26 PM:

But what I wanna know is: is the one that 'sploded in Russia the same one that was predicted as a close approach? (Which wasn't supposed to hit us....)

#753 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2013, 01:28 PM:

Nope. The Russian one was going east/west; the one that's going to not hit us is approaching from the south. Totally different orbits.

#755 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2013, 01:39 PM:

Hippo birdie two ewes to abi!

#756 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2013, 02:27 PM:

Abi: Hippo birdie two sheep!

#757 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2013, 02:30 PM:

Happy birthday, abi! And many happy returns.

#758 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2013, 02:41 PM:

cue loud scrubbing noises and a small tidal wave of foam

Hippo Bathday, Abi!

#759 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2013, 02:52 PM:

Happy birthday, abi.

#760 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2013, 02:57 PM:

Happy Abiday!

#761 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2013, 03:27 PM:

Haitch Bee, Aie Bee!

#762 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2013, 04:14 PM:

Hippo birdie two ewes to abi!

#763 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2013, 05:25 PM:

Thanks, guys. Been a very good day.

My years-long ambition to have my favorite chocolate cake on my birthday without baking it myself was finally achieved, when my kids collaborated on making it for me. And I finished a good book, and got given another. And I even managed to do some work on our new guest room, which I've been trying to get painted and repopulated with possessions because I'm tired of living in a building site.

All in all, a good day. And the good wishes of everyone here are the cherry on top.

#764 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2013, 05:54 PM:

Happy birthday, Abi!

There's nothing more fun than baking to make other people happy.

#765 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2013, 07:16 PM:

Reposting to the right thread:

See, if this happened in the US House of Representatives, it would be some bozo Tea Partier demanding a response in all seriousness.

I'm glad to see the CANADIAN Parliament still has a sense of humour.

#766 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2013, 09:46 AM:

Happy birthday, abi!

#767 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2013, 09:51 AM:

Better late than never in wishing everyone a Happy Abi Day--espectially abi!

#768 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2013, 10:03 AM:

Stefan Jones @ 300:

OTOH, they bought a Book Club edition of The Postman. Book club editions are generally shunned.

I bought a hardcover of that real cheap at a library sale last week. It's not obviously a Book Club edition, but I took it for one.

I'd never read it before. Now, I find it an immensely hopeful sign for civil society that it is popular enough to sell old Book Club copies.

#769 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2013, 10:16 AM:

re 766: Hey, wadaminnit: you're telling me that you're against zombie rights?!? That poor, downtrodden class needs someone to speak up for them, since they cannot speak for themselves (at least not clearly). Zombies are people too, after all, well, they were. It's a crushing blow to see the Canadian government, otherwise so progressive, to speak out against a whole class of its (former) citizens.

#770 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2013, 10:24 AM:

An amazing video of a guy balancing a succession of sticks on each other.

Which doesn't sound exciting. But MAN!

#771 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2013, 10:57 AM:

John A Arkansawyer #769: The fast test for a Book Club edition is, no price on the cover. Of course, that doesn't work for harcovers that have lost their dustjacket.

#772 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2013, 11:08 AM:

Elliott, 771: Wow.

#773 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2013, 11:25 AM:

Dave Harmon @ 772: Now that you say it, I know that, and I know I knew that, and I may have even perceived the book with that in mind, except that it wasn't in mind, because I had no idea I knew I knew that, let alone that I knew that, if you know what I mean.

#774 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2013, 11:35 AM:

Elliott @ #771: I damn near passed out from not breathing. Thanks for sharing that!

#775 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2013, 12:44 PM:

Happy Birthday Abi and Araucaria!

#776 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2013, 01:10 PM:

John A Arkansawyer #774: I know, you don't always know what you know, much less what you know you know. ;-) Seriously, I learned it from my boss at the bookstore. He doesn't much like Book Club editions either, but he'll take'em if we don't have the title otherwise (or if they're someone who sells reliably).

#777 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2013, 01:57 PM:

#715 ::: albatross

This is wonderful, albatross. I've been thinking about it since you posted it, and will continue to draw on the concepts.

#778 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2013, 02:20 PM:

I have phoneternet*! For the first time since October 29, when Sandy came through. The FiOS tech showed up this morning around 9:30; four hours later it was done. Complete with entirely new cabling that doesn't connect to the original phone lines/jack in any way.

*thanks to TexAnne for the wonderful word

#779 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2013, 03:23 PM:

AKICIML:
Over an hour after a complete power shutdown, my studio still had perpetual light. The other fluorescents on the same circuit were dark.

Any guesses?

#780 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2013, 03:38 PM:

Carol Kimball @ 780, in my experience just because everything is SUPPOSED to be on the same circuit doesn't mean it's ACTUALLY on the same circuit. I recall one memorable re-wiring job of a lighting fixture in a friend's basement; we threw the breaker for the correct circuit, disconnected the light, went to reconnect the new light and touched a wire running through the box. A *live* wire running through the box. Showers of sparks....

Option two: A sufficiently strong electromagnetic field will make a disconnected fluorescent light glow. Is there a radio source of some sort behind that wall?

There were wires from two different circuits running through the same box.

#781 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2013, 03:40 PM:

Me, above. The "wires from two different circuits" line was supposed to come ABOVE "option two", as an explanation for "option one". <rueful>

#782 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2013, 03:43 PM:

AKICIML, change of subject

Inspired by the quick foods thread, I've been running variations on bread, though I love kneading and do it anyway. Most recently I've been adding eggs and a bit of sugar to make what my mother called dinner rolls, a relative of challah/brioche.

There's a metallic tang which I'm guessing is from the sorbitan monosterate in the commercial yeast. Does anyone have a source In Denver or Boulder* for preservative-free yeast? Decades ago I solved this problem with a yeast paste (kept refrigerated), but I've lost track of what it was.

What I'm looking for is a neutral-tasting leavening agent. I have a crock of good sourdough culture.

* One of the few things McGuckins won't have. The original Alfalfa's?

#783 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2013, 03:57 PM:

#781 ::: Cassy B.

An entire quarter-block was without power. I also was guessing your induction field, but am baffled by what could have caused it. If fellow renters had a radio on, it would have been about fifteen feet away through two heavy masonry walls.

Anybody want to buy a magic light? As is.

Or should I start rigging up some tinfoil brain protection?

#784 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2013, 04:02 PM:

More on the phantom light -

The light and (two other) darks are definitely on the same circuit - pigletting from one surge protector plugged into a receptacle controlled by a wall switch.

#785 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2013, 04:23 PM:

I'd just like to thank Avram, whose latest particle taught me the transitive verb "to ship", meaning "to posit a relationship between".

Hard for us oldsters to keep up, so these cheat-sheets are much appreciated.

#786 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2013, 04:26 PM:

Carol Kimball: I've noticed that compact flourescents continue to glow strongly enough to be visible in a dark room for a few minutes after they're switched off, but not enough to cast noticable light on their surroundings. Old CRT TVs used to do the same thing. I assume it's that the power supply circuitry stores a little energy, or possibly the plasma inside the tube itself doesn't all lose its energy the moment the power is shut off. It might even be that the phosphors lining the tube stay slightly excited for a bit. However, I've never seen a tradional flourescent tube stay bright enough to illumninate its surroundings without an external power source, either wired or EMF (such as a nearby tesla coil).

#787 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2013, 04:35 PM:

It wasn't so much that it stayed on (ghosting is common if you watch for it) as that it stayed on so long and was only slightly less bright than with full power. The photo was taken somewhere between an hour and fifteen minutes and an hour and a half after the power company shut everything off at the transformer in the alley.

#788 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2013, 05:22 PM:

Carol @ #788

Stupid question: is it an emergency light with its own battery pack and inverter such that it remains on after power failures for safety reasons? (i.e: finding your way out of the building in an emergency.)

#789 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2013, 05:32 PM:

A belated "Hau`oli Lā Hānau" to abi.

#790 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2013, 05:44 PM:

Re: emergency light

Nope. Ordinary shop lights, ordinary extension cords (heavier than lamp, not power tool weight)

What's additionally strange is that there are emergency lights in the stairwells that are supposed to come on in event of power failure, and they didn't (I've seen them work when maintenance was testing). The emergency lights in the basement hallway DID come on, two floors down.

All my studio lights are fluorescent and controlled by one wall switch, which remained on. I had walked to the library to divert myself (oh, what an internet Jones - can't imagine how our Right Coast folks have managed!) and things were back on when I returned.

I have a UPS with a megabattery and its own program to shut down my computer when the A/C goes off, and watched it do that to confirm it had been installed correctly when I upgraded my system a few months back. A fluorescent that went off is closer to the UPS.

So, there must have been a residual charge in the building wiring, which would have been done late 40s-early 50s and had fuses rather than circuit breakers when I blew the kitchen one a year ago, using the microwave along with the toaster oven.

#791 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2013, 06:25 PM:

Elliott Mason @ 771--that is just...whoa.

#792 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2013, 06:29 PM:

Also, and somewhat belated but no less well meant...HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ABI! :)

#793 ::: Zelda ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2013, 07:05 PM:

Open threadiness: I've seen some familiar names over at Con or Bust already, but for anyone who doesn't know: Con or Bust is holding its annual auction to raise funds to assist and encourage fans of color to attend SF conventions. Bidding runs through February 24; there are a great many books and a great many items donated by Tor. (My own humble contributions are here.)

Go, have fun, don't outbid me on the obscure history I want.

#794 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2013, 10:11 PM:

Carol Kimball @#791:

Couple of questions about the odd light: Am I understanding correctly that the light in question is not permanently wired in - it is plugged into an extension cord and, along with other such lights/cords, is plugged into a surge protector, which is in turn plugged into a switch-controlled outlet? Did it run dimmer than usual? Did it slowly get dimmer over time and did it eventually shut off completely? Could you turn it off with the switch on the wall that normally controls your lights?

I'm having a very difficult time positing a method of keeping one fluorescent fixture out of several all plugged into the same surge protector lit for over an hour, while the others remain dark, because the power to the building is cut off, absent a strong electromagnetic field (tesla coil, high voltage power line, radio transmitter, etc.) in the vicinity of that one fixture. Especially if nothing else in the building worked unless it had its own battery.

All I can recommend is to follow the extension cord around and make sure it wasn't somehow plugged into the UPS you mention. Only makes sense for a recent re-plugging though - else you'd notice if one light shut down when your computer did or one light failed to shut down when all the others did and you left the computer on.

#796 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2013, 11:30 PM:

Would their Lownesses like some Chinese dumplings with egg?

#797 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2013, 01:22 AM:

There are no hard-wired light fixtures in my studio [the living room]. There are three receptacles in that room, with one of these controlled by a wall switch. There is only one double-ended extension cord plugged into that, augmented with more cords and surge protectors to extend the reach to the tops of the shelving units from which the three 4' shop fixtures are suspended around my work area.
floor plan

The strong black lines are pegboard with shelves on the outer sides buttressed by work tables toward the center, and the light in question is at the front door end of the right one.

The double blue dots are the receptacles. The one in question is at lower right, with controlling switch by the front entry door further up that wall. Only lights are on that circuit.

As you walk out of my apartment, the emergency light (that didn't come on) for the stairwell is between the two apartment doors on the wall to the left.

The UPS sits under the square that holds my CPU, top center of the room - the double blue dot by the orange and green ones (phone land line and cable, neither used). My computer and its peripherals are plugged in there.

The outlet on the outside wall is used for my sewing machines and other power tools.

When the power cut out, only the light in the photo stayed on. It stayed close to full brightness. Recently I'd replaced a bulb in one of the other fixtures, and as that failed it was quite a bit dimmer. I did not try turning the light in question off until after power had been restored and everything was on again, at which point it went out with the other lights.

Something maintained the excitement in the tubes, but nothing plausible presents.

I'd guess all the lights in the apartment are on the same fuse, that the kitchen has its own, and that there are two others divvying up the rest of the load.

After the UPS shut down my computer, it apparently went to sleep - at least it stopped its obnoxious beeping.

#798 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2013, 08:45 AM:

Found on an XKCD thread: Florida Man: worlds worst superhero.

#799 ::: Dave Harmon gnomed... ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2013, 08:46 AM:

For linking to teh Twitter.

#800 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2013, 02:42 PM:

Elliot Mason @771: I always want to call those sorts of things (and Cirque du Soleil) "Stupid Human Tricks" after that old Letterman segment "Stupid Pet Tricks." Of course, those tricks are in no way stupid; but that's the way my mind wants to cope with the sheer level of awesome.

#801 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2013, 03:24 PM:

I am staring at student essays. Attempting to allocate grades, and reading things like this:

During the Bush administration, and the time of Sudam Hussein one infamous prison located outside of Baghdad called Abu Ghraib, housed over fifty thousand men, and women in small cells that were shared among them. Vile pictures were taken with American soldiers standing by these Iraqi detainees in extremely compromising positions.

Ouch.

#802 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2013, 03:41 PM:

For those living in or near Houston: Chocolate Decadence XXVI will be on February 23, from 7:00 PM until we kick the last stragglers out (generally around 2 AM). Bring alcohol if you want it, and a chocolate or fruit goodie to share. Folding chairs are also a good idea if you have them.

If you need directions, comment with your e-mail address (in ROT-13 or otherwise suitably munged) and I'll send them to you.

#803 ::: Andy Wilton ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2013, 05:24 PM:

Elliot Mason @ 771: not that anyone asked, but that's from Le Plus Grand Cabaret du Monde, which airs on Saturday nights on France 2. (Now in its 14th season, according to the official website here.) The producer-cum-host, Patrick Sebastien, (the guy who calls out, "Extraordinaire!" right at the end) seems to have an endless supply of weird and wonderful acts like that one. Well, okay, not exactly like that one, but...

#804 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2013, 06:22 PM:

Andy Wilton @ #804, thank you! I was wondering.

#805 ::: Lila got gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2013, 06:23 PM:

In the course of thanking Andy Wilton @ #804 for the attribution.

#806 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2013, 08:33 PM:

A student asks:

Is the United States still justifiable?

I'm sure millions would like to know.

#807 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2013, 08:35 PM:

Well, it's had ragged borders for its entire existence, so I suspect it isn't justifiable.

#808 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2013, 08:59 PM:

Baking question.

I made two layer cakes for work. A periodic morale thing I do. Also, breaking in the stand mixer.

Made both mixes by the box instructions.

All four layers had similar problem. The tops were kind of "flaky" and fragile. So that shmearing frosting on them ripped things up something awful. Just peeled up crumbs without creating a sealed smooth surface.

The bottoms of the layers were sturdier and could be frosted without shredding.

#809 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2013, 09:15 PM:

Stefan, this happens often enough in my experience that I flip the layers over when I assemble them. Also, many pros shave off the "top" of a layer with a serrated knife, both to get rid of the flakiest bits and to make it uniformly flat. I don't think you were doing anything wrong, or at least nothing easily corrected in the baking process.

This is also why I like Victoria sponge, where all the frosting goes between the layers with a generous helping of jam, and the top and outside of the cake is left shamelessly naked.

#810 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2013, 09:20 PM:

Thanks, I'm glad I didn't do anything egregiously wrong.

I actually tried cutting off the "crown" of one of the damaged layers, but it was really too late. I should have done that first, and used the smooth harder bottom as the top!

Maybe I'll dribble chocolate syrup on the bald top and then put on colorful sprinkles.

#811 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2013, 09:44 PM:

Stefan, using a poured glaze (especially if it's chocolate!) is a legitimate way of frosting a cake. (I think the European technique is to glaze the surface with warmed jam first, to seal it.)

#812 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2013, 09:48 PM:

Tom Whitmore @ # 807: Groan! (I only wish I'd thought of it first.)

#813 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2013, 10:16 PM:

PJ, most traditionally warmed and strained apricot jam. There was an interesting illustration of the shift in tastes over years -- all of the classic French/Viennese pastry recipes in my textbook would say apricot, especially almond and apricot, with a few notes about "optionally raspberry," and my class would immediately say "let's use raspberry." It took me a while to appreciate the subtler charms of the apricot/almond combo.

#814 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2013, 10:20 PM:

Stefan Jones @810: I'm a big fan of (1) using Bake Even Strips*, and (2) baking at 325F instead of 350F. The cake layer won't "dome" as high in the middle. Science!

Pouring ganache over a cake is a great way to avoid fussing with cake crumbs, and delicious. Win-win! I've also been known to coat the cake with ganache, put it in the fridge to firm up, and then frost it. People also put on a thin crumb coat — not worrying that there are crumbs visible — put it in the fridge, and frost later. The paint primer approach to baking. I'm usually too lazy, and paranoid that I won't have enough icing.

Do you know the trick of frosting a round cake by putting a lotta frosting on top, then turning the cake while holding the spatula stationary & horizontal and driving the frosting slowly over the edges? As it starts down the sides, turn the spatula vertical and smooth it around. This works dramatically better than scooping frosting onto the spatula and then spreading it. They sell special turntables for this, which is silly. I happened to have a lazy susan, and use that. On a smooth counter, with a plastic plate, you can also just rotate it pretty easily.

I have some of that rubber open-weave stuff they sell as shelf liner (similar to what you put under throw rugs to prevent slips). I keep a few scraps with my baking stuff. I put a bit of frosting between the cake and the cake carrier base, and let it set up a bit. When I know the layer is stuck down, I put the base on the turntable with the rubbery stuff between it so it doesn't slide.

The trick that I completely forgot on my last cake is to put some strips of wax paper under the edges of the cake before you start frosting. When you're done, gently pull them out and you'll have a nice clean edge.

Three of us at work have committed to bringing in birthday cakes one day per month going forward, so I need to get into good form on frosting! I usually fall back on a bundt cake with a sprinkle of powdered sugar, or maybe a glaze.

I highly recommend Anne Byrn's Cake Mix Doctor books. Easy and delicious.

*I bought the actual product, but I believe you can just cut strips of terry cloth to size.

#815 ::: janetl has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2013, 10:21 PM:

The steel & glass towers have seized my post about frosting. They must be hungry!

#816 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2013, 10:28 PM:

Stefan Jones @810: I found Alton Brown's nice, clear video

#817 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2013, 10:28 PM:

Oh, and as for frosting cakes with a poured glaze: chocolate ganache with a little corn syrup added (couple of tablespoons, for a big mixing bowl, it doesn't have to be exact) is a very useful and serviceable cake coating indeed. The corn syrup helps it set up nice and shiny. Put your cake on a parchment-lined baking sheet before you pour, and you can save the excess and melt it again for other cakes several times before the consistency goes wonky. At that point, you can use the ganache to make truffles (labor-intensive), scoop it and freeze it to serve as the middles for molten chocolate cakes, or hand it over to the baristas to keep in one of the compartments of the bain-marie so they can make mocha espressos with it (or the world's most decadent hot chocolate, just add steamed milk). Or figure out other ingredient uses... bar cookies with a base of walnut crescent dough, spread with a layer of ganache, then sprinkled with toasted chopped nuts and drizzled with caramel can be sold at an outrageous markup. :)

#818 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2013, 11:50 PM:

#813 ::: Rikibeth @813: PJ, most traditionally warmed and strained apricot jam.

When I took some (amateur) classes at the culinary institute, the supplies included an enormous jar of apricot jelly. We warmed some up to use as a glaze, brushed over cut fruit on tarts to prevent browning (and look pretty). I looked everywhere for apricot jelly for home, and could not find it. I guess no one wants it on their toast — can't say I've ever wanted any — so it's not available for consumers. It's a nuisance to warm up jam and strain it when you only need a few tablespoons full!

#819 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2013, 11:50 PM:

B Durbin @801, Letterman did “Stupid Human Tricks” a few times, too.

In many ways, the Letterman show was like a two-decades early anticipation of YouTube. Stupid Pet Tricks, crushing stuff with a hydraulic press, dropping stuff off a building, the Velcro suit, Anton Fig’s “Guess the Expiration Date”, the various weird camera gags (like strapping a small camera to a roller-skating chimp) — all of it was just the sort of thing the world was apparently hungering for. And not just YouTube — how much of blogging is a retread of Viewer Mail and the Top 10 List?

#820 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2013, 12:19 AM:

@janetl: That video was excellent, thanks!

I think I'm going to have to make a cake turntable, and start scouring Goodwill for other gear.

#821 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2013, 12:19 AM:

Fragano, #806: Make that billions, both here and around the world.

Rikibeth, #813: I'll take the apricot over raspberry in a heartbeat. I don't dislike raspberry, but it's near the end of my list of acceptable fruit flavors. Apricot is up around fourth (after lemon, cherry, and pineapple). I have never fully understood the notion that everything is improved by adding raspberry to it.

#822 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2013, 05:47 AM:

Tom Whitmore #807: 88888888888888

Rikibeth #816: bar cookies with a base of walnut crescent dough, spread with a layer of ganache, then sprinkled with toasted chopped nuts and drizzled with caramel can be sold at an outrageous markup. :)

What "markup"? -- those sound worthy of an auction!

Lee, #820: I have never fully understood the notion that everything is improved by adding raspberry to it.

Butbutbut... RED! ;-) And raspberry jam is more spreadable than cherry or strawberry. There may be historical factors too -- ISTR there was some point in the late 70s or 80s when raspberries suddenly became "available" in large quantities (change in farming practices?), whereas cherry and perhaps strawberry were "classic" flavors, and much abused.
janetl #817: It's a nuisance to warm up jam and strain it when you only need a few tablespoons full!

Mini food-processor, or force through sieve? Gotta be some way to just puree it without bothering with warming it first!

Avram #818: In many ways, the Letterman show was like a two-decades early anticipation of YouTube.

Or the other way around? Given that people still remember Letterman even now... well, when Youtube came out, I'm unsurprised that a lot of the results resemble Letterman, America's Funniest Home Videos, MTV (even before the music producers really bought in), and so on.

#823 ::: Dave Harmon, gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2013, 05:48 AM:

I could make some more coffee... And the gnomed post has me thinking of toast with jam.

#824 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2013, 06:03 AM:

Also, re TNH's "Ljutenica/Ajvar/Pinđur" sidebar, there's a variation or two at Trader Joes's as well -- I forget what name they call it, or if it's just "Pepper and Eggplant spread".

#825 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2013, 07:48 AM:

Tom Whitmore #807 At least some states have regular margins.

#826 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2013, 12:40 PM:

I have created Mad Scientist Oatmeal.

I have some pear/maple/syrup preserves, which I thought would be the perfect thing for oatmeal, but turned out to be too cloying.

So, oatmeal with the preserves, salt, pepper, cream, and hot sauce!

It works in the sense that I like it.

#827 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2013, 01:20 PM:

Lee #820:

Raspberry is a nice enough flavor, although sometimes a bit too strong and acidic for what it's combining with. Exception: chocolate, where it pairs much better than apricot or almond, which just sort of get lost. But oh, the damn seeds! That's why I tend to object to raspberry.

#828 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2013, 01:33 PM:

Re: the political correctness particle

Zeynep Tufekci had this really nice comment, talking about free speech in light of the ViolentAcrez outing: "Nothing in society makes sense except in light of power." (She was intentionally echoing the famous quote about evolution and biology.). I think this applies wrt political correctness. The core of it isn't politeness, it's the underlying question of who must be polite to whom, and who defines what politeness is required.

One reason complaints about PC come mainly from the right is that power has shifted, over the last 50 years, from people and groups more generally on the right to people and groups more generally on the left. One can say disparaging things about religion (particularly mainstream Christianity) without many consequences now, which would have cost you your job and made you an outcast 50 years ago. Similarly, comments about blacks that would have barely raised an eyebrow 50 years ago will now cost you your job and make you a social outcast. Few people have much objection to enforced politeness toward them and their friends, but most people dislike themselves or their friends losing power.

The general phenomenon is still widespread and widely used by groups and people broadly on the right, as with calling opponents of our wars traitors, or demanding a great deal of deference to Israel among public figures, but most people on the right don't perceive that as a problem, in the same way that most people on the left don't perceive it as a problem when someone gets in trouble for saying anti-gay things in public.

#829 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2013, 01:42 PM:

Dave Harmon, 821: yes, raspberries became available in large quantities partly because farmers in Watsonville, California, started growing them under floating row covers and producing them almost year-round.

When I was teaching high school there, I had students who were always in trouble because they were working the "moras" and missing school.

But what I came here for was Patrick's sidelight about Jared Diamond -- I have been arguing for over twenty years that this guy's stuff was never as true or explanatory or cool as the whole internet world wanted to think it was. It's so nice to finally see someone else say it too.

#830 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2013, 01:42 PM:

joann @826 -- I do not like raspberries in everything, but I like them well enough in a few things that I'm willing to sieve them to get rid of the seeds. It's actually not -too- onerous to sieve a 10-oz. package of berries, thawed.

(Even better, there's a farm nearby where you can pick your own in the summer, and I'll buy a couple of pounds and take the time to sieve them. Some of the puree is then frozen in half-cup portions for future recipes, the rest goes to make mixed-fruit jam with nectarines and blueberries.)

#831 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2013, 02:44 PM:

joann, #826: Yes, raspberry with chocolate is one of the few places in which it works really well. But on key lime pie? WHY???

albatross, #827: I haven't noticed many Congressmen losing their jobs over making overtly racist statements, even when such statements have been widely reported in the mainstream media. Your overall point is worth making, but that was the wrong example to choose for illustration.

#832 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2013, 04:10 PM:

HLN: Poor Mr. Mac took a bad tumble off of his table the other day. This seems to have knocked something loose in the track-pad function, as his little cursor now jitters about and clicks on things on its own initiative. Very seizure-y.

I'm confident that my local Apple Store will be able to fix him. The challenge is that I came down with some nasty gastric thing on Saturday, and am only today feeling strong enough to, like, wash a dish carefully, so Mr. Mac is going to have to wait a few days for his doctor's appointment. Fortunately, he's still useable, if twitchy.

Bleh. And here I was looking forward to a nice long weekend of Getting Stuff Done. Well, at least I've had a nice long weekend of sleeping. And then sleeping some more. With maybe a little sleep in between.

AND I discovered that I'd let my Tummy Kit (beef broth, soda crackers, clear fruit juices, chicken noodle soup, &c) run out. Grump.

Hmph. (Not a properly formatted HLN, I know, but too tired to edit it properly. Feh.)

(See also: ::WHINGE::)

#833 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2013, 05:22 PM:

Albatross @827, there’s also that matter that, due to the historical origins of the phrase “politically correct”, it’s generally only used to describe (or dismiss) the complaints of people concerned about slights to various commonly-oppressed (in the US) groups — racial minorities, immigrants, women, gender dissenters, non-Christians, etc. When Bill Donohue spouts off about how some movie supposedly insults Catholics, nobody calls that “political correctness”.

(“Supposedly” because most of the Catholics I know who’ve heard of Donohue insist emphatically that he does not speak for them.)

I gotta say, though, I’m a bit uneasy with the parallel in your last paragraph. Do you really think that “calling opponents of our wars traitors” (in other words: describing as a crime the legal opposition to a particular foreign policy) and “demanding a great deal of deference to Israel among public figures” (again: making a particular foreign policy choice) is morally equivalent to “saying anti-gay things in public”? You didn’t say what specific anti-gay things you were thinking of, but I’ve heard public figures calling for stripping gays of various civil rights — do you think criticism of such calls is the equivalent of accusing people of treason for opposing a war?

#834 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2013, 05:36 PM:

I've come to the conclusion that the statement "I'm not politically correct" basically means "I'm a vicious bigot, but you can't call me on it, because I've just proclaimed it a virtue." People who talk about statements being (or more often, not being) PC are almost always defending bigotry of one kind or another.

No one, at least not for several decades now, denounces something by saying it's not politically correct.

(Also, I couldn't find a political correctness Particle. Which one is being discussed here?)

#835 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2013, 05:43 PM:

I really like albatross @ 827.

Avram @ 832

do you think criticism of such calls is the equivalent of accusing people of treason for opposing a war

I'm not albatross and don't speak for him.

Just as not all forms of criticizing anti-war groups include calling them traitors, not all forms of criticizing traditionalists on sex and gender include calling them homophobes or woman-haters. But for those forms of criticizing them that do--yes--I think they are equivalent. In both cases, the goal is to have as few people listen, and to expend as little thought as possible on why their moral challenge is not worth considering.

Lee @ 830
It's not about Congresscritters; it's about middle managers in an average corporation.

#836 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2013, 05:51 PM:

Just as not all forms of criticizing anti-war groups include calling them traitors, not all forms of criticizing traditionalists on sex and gender include calling them homophobes or woman-haters. But for those forms of criticizing them that do--yes--I think they are equivalent. In both cases, the goal is to have as few people listen, and to expend as little thought as possible on why their moral challenge is not worth considering.

Are you serious? You think calling someone a traitor (or accusing them of treason, which is the same thing) is at the same level of criticism as calling someone a homophobe or a misogynist?

Are you saying that homophobia and misogyny should be crimes punishable by imprisonment or death, or that treason should be something that people are never, ever arrested for, and at worst frowned at by people we can all sneer at as "politically correct"?

Treason is a crime. It's a VERY SERIOUS crime. If you don't think accusing someone of a serious crime is different from accusing them of a completely legal, if reprehensible, opinion, I want to hear why.

The goal may be similar, but one of these is using a different order of tactic than the other.

#837 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2013, 06:18 PM:

I might add that pointing out the similarity of two things while ignoring important differences is one kind of the rhetorical trick known as "false equivalence," when you do it on purpose.

#838 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2013, 07:00 PM:

SamChevre @834, I’m with Xopher on this.

To “[call] opponents of our wars traitors” is to (in all likelihood) falsely accuse a number of poeple of a serious federal crime.

To say that someone “saying anti-gay things in public” is a homophobe is to (in all likelihood) correctly describe their behavior, in ways that usually carry no legal sanction.

There are at least two important differences between those cases: truth versus falsehood, and accusation of crime versus ordinary criticism.

#839 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2013, 07:06 PM:

Lee #830:

You might ask Trent Lott and George Allen whether Republican politicians (or even congressmen) can say racist things, or even come close, without consequences. More broadly, consider why anyone bothers talking about dogwhistling.

#840 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2013, 07:08 PM:

SamChevre @834, also, about those “middle managers in an average corporation” — how do you feel about the doctrine of at-will employment?

#841 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2013, 07:09 PM:

Xopher @# 833: it's a Sidelight, "Neil Gaiman on political correctness"

#842 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2013, 07:21 PM:

Avram/Xopher:

I think my choice of terms has derailed an otherwise useful conversation. I don't think there were many people at all claiming that antiwar activists should be charged with treason and put in prison or executed. Instead, there were a lot of people using words like treason and disloyalty to claim that opposition to the war, especially once we were in the middle of it, was disloyal and unpatriotic and shameful.

Now, in practice, while there are people who claim that hate speech of some kinds should be criminalized, and people who think that opposition to a war we're in should be criminalized, almost none of the debate we're talking about had anything to do with that. The point was not to call for antiwar protesters to be locked in prison or executed, but rather to demand that they shut up and not be listened to, not because they were wrong, but because their position was *offensive*.

#843 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2013, 07:26 PM:

Albatross @838, you’re doing that thing where your replies are so arch that it’s tough to tell what relevance they have to whatever point it was you were originally trying to make. Maybe start over?

Back @827, you said that “One reason complaints about PC come mainly from the right is that power has shifted, over the last 50 years, from people and groups more generally on the right to people and groups more generally on the left.” Now, there is a certain degree of truth to this — various legal rulings have made it more difficult for conservative religious groups to impose their will on the community. The days of “Banned in Boston” and Anthony Comstock are well behind us, except in the realm of television and radio.

But this ignores the fact that the phrase “political correctness”, while it has its ultimate origin in the Maoist left, gained widespread currency when it was used by right-wing commentators to bash complaints about racism, sexism, etc. And it’s still used that way today. That’s the real reason those complaints come mainly from the right — the equivalent complaints coming from the left wouldn’t be seen as complaints about “political correctness”.

#844 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2013, 07:40 PM:

SamChevre, #834: Do you know any middle managers (or equivalent) who have lost their jobs and become social outcasts for making racist statements? Or is this just one of those things that "everybody knows" happens these days because Those People now have all the power?

I can tell you that in poking around various net.fora, it's much more common to hear (white) people talking about having to live with an overtly racist atmosphere at work which is completely accepted. If they say anything to protest racist statements, they are sneered at as being "too politically correct".

#845 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2013, 07:41 PM:

Albatross @841, we cross-commented, but it looks like you started over anyway.

Yeah, OK, the pro-war movement considered the anti-war movement offensive, but it’s actually pretty common for people in power to be offended by those who defy them. This isn’t some kind of new phenomenon having anything to do with “political correctness”. In 1919, advocating peaceful opposition to the military draft was seen as the equivalent of “falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic.”

#846 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2013, 09:21 PM:

unPC = faux iconoclast

#847 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2013, 10:18 PM:

I lost my beautiful Rischa today. I heard him crying this morning, and found him on the living room floor, unable to get up. I rushed him to the vet who said he seemed to have had a stroke.

This is the cat I adopted after he was abused by his first owners. It took ages for him to stop being afraid of his own shadow; he never really got very brave, but he ended up being a glutton for affection. To be picked up and kissed and carried around; to sit on my lap and be petted; to sleep on the pillow beside my head, were all of his favourite things. It was so hard to let him go, but at 17, and with a couple of health problems already, the vet said she didn't think he would respond to any treatment very well, even if anything could be done. So I came home with an empty carrier and I feel horrible.

#848 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2013, 10:23 PM:

Cheryl, I'm so sorry for your loss.

#849 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2013, 10:26 PM:

Cheryl, that's hard. My condolences.

#850 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2013, 10:36 PM:

I'm very sorry to hear about that, Cheryl. 17 years is a good run, and it's still difficult to let them go!

#851 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2013, 10:39 PM:

Cheryl, I'm very sorry for your loss.

#852 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2013, 10:50 PM:

Cheryl: {hugs}

#853 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2013, 11:04 PM:

Sorry to hear, Cheryl.

#854 ::: Brenda Kalt ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2013, 11:09 PM:

Cheryl, I'm so sorry.

#855 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2013, 11:24 PM:

Sorry to hear the news, Cheryl. I'm sure he appreciated the care and good new home you provided.

#856 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2013, 11:35 PM:

Cheryl, I'm sorry for your loss.

#857 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2013, 12:31 AM:

Cheryl, I'm so sorry. Seventeen years is a long life for a cat, and you gave Rischa a wonderful home and a great deal of love.

#858 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2013, 12:50 AM:

I'm sure other people have seen Random Penguins, but I don't recall seeing it mentioned. Very silly.

#859 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2013, 01:32 AM:

I'm sorry for your loss, Cheryl.

#860 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2013, 03:44 AM:

Cheryl @846: Sincere sympathies on the loss of Rischa. It's never easy, even when the beloved pet has reached a good age.

#861 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2013, 04:20 AM:

albatross at #827 writes: One reason complaints about PC come mainly from the right is that power has shifted, over the last 50 years, from people and groups more generally on the right to people and groups more generally on the left. One can say disparaging things about religion (particularly mainstream Christianity) without many consequences now, which would have cost you your job and made you an outcast 50 years ago. Similarly, comments about blacks that would have barely raised an eyebrow 50 years ago will now cost you your job and make you a social outcast. Few people have much objection to enforced politeness toward them and their friends, but most people dislike themselves or their friends losing power.

So people on the right and all their friends are white and religious (particularly Christian), while gays and blacks and all their friends are left wing?

You don't often hears a right-wing person say that so plainly.

#862 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2013, 07:25 AM:

Niall @860:

That's an excessively tendentious reading of a reference to a demographic truism. Can you tell me whether it's supposed to make us smarter, wiser, or more joyful? If not any of the three, can you explain why you thought it was a good idea to make the comment in the way that you did?

Put another way: what positive point are you arguing? What is your thesis? What worldview are you espousing in contrast to what you perceive albatross' point to be?

Also, albatross is many things, but a right-wing person ain't one of them.

#863 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2013, 08:16 AM:

Cheryl, I'm so sorry to hear of your loss.

#864 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2013, 08:24 AM:

Cheryl: My condolences.

#865 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2013, 08:53 AM:

Avram:

There is nothing new about the general phenomenon behind PC. What's new is the change in who has the power to demand deference and politeness, and who doesn't. Since that power has mostly shifted in ways that have weakened the right relative to the left, it's mostly people on the right who complain about PC. But Ward Churchill is as much a victim of that phenomenon as James Watson[1]. Few people on the right complain about the same phenomenon when it's being used to shut people up that they don't like.

That power matters a great deal for what political debates happen, and what they look like. Moral or factual claims that offend people powerful enough to take offense and demand a response are much harder to make, and fewer people care to make them. The consequences to this show up every day in our politics, and they have the effect of making some of our public debates a lor dumber than they should be.

[1] I wish I didn't have to point out that bringing these two up does not mean I am a supporter of either or both. The point is not whether the things they said were right or wrng, but that the things they said were offensive to a certain kind of worldview, whose adherents were in a position to push them out of their jobs. That wasn't aboud factual accuracy, but about giving offense to the wrong set of people. And there are many other examples of this phenomenon.

#866 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2013, 09:40 AM:

abi: I don't think it a tendentious reading in the slightest, and my comment is intended to make us smarter and wiser.

Perhaps I have been misled on albatross's left-right views by the years and years and years of "Democrats are just as bad!" stuff, which may be no more than a reaction to the generally left-of-American-centre norm hereabouts.

#867 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2013, 10:09 AM:

Niall: I think you've mistaken albatross's attitude for the wrong kind of anger. It reads to me as "The Democrats are just as bad, and that pisses me off because we're supposed to be the good guys."

Albatross, is that a good characterization? I don't want to put words in your mouth.

(Whether it's what albatross thinks or not, it's certainly pretty close to what I think. I cannot tell you how unhappy it makes me that the most liberal major party in this country does stuff occasionally that would make Richard Frickin' Nixon side-eye them.)

#868 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2013, 10:19 AM:

Carol Kimball @780: No answer for your mystery light, but I'll describe another mystery.

Years ago I had a workshop I was in the process of 'de-comissioning', and had the power shut off at the meter. A couple of days later puttering about on the clean-up while I had the daylight, I noticed an indicator light on a power strip still lit up. Somehow the circuit it was plugged into was still powered, and when I plugged in a portable TV on hand it played fine. As far as I could tell, it was the only circuit in the shop still powered.

There was no trickery with the circuit by-passing the meter — I had done most of the shop wiring inside the building and had an electrician do the work on the breaker box.

I had grounding problems earlier, which were cleared up (I though) by grounding to the plumbing rather than to the corroding ground spike which had previously been the ground. And the riser connecting the building to the pole was in a pretty shabby state — possibly something in that combination resulted in power from the pole looping around the meter. But why was only one circuit affected?

#869 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2013, 10:27 AM:

Well, on a lot of important issues (particularly non-culture-war issues), the "most liberal major party in this country" is currently well to the right of Dwight D. Eisenhower.

I do agree that albatross's #827 was ill-considered in several ways. I think the extent to which "power has shifted to the left" is wildly overrated, and if you don't believe me, try unionizing chain restaurant workers and see. I also think the idea that the modern US is some kind of dystopian liberal tyranny in which no one dare make a racist statement lest the almighty forces of political correctness Smite Them From On High is, um, risible. If you actually think that, you may be getting just a tad too much of your information about real-world conditions from shouty guys on the radio, and not enough of it from listening the the experiences of everybody else.

I also agree with abi than albatross is no right-winger. And while I see (and agree with) the point Niall was trying to make in #860, I think the argument had become sufficiently hard-to-follow by then that I understand why anyone would read those comments as being a little gratuitous. Here, however, the danger of Too Much Meta looms large.

#870 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2013, 10:33 AM:

Patrick @ 868...

What's that about too much Mehta?
("Meta, Serge. Not Mehta.")
Oh.
Nevermind.

#871 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2013, 10:37 AM:

abi @ 861... it's supposed to make us smarter, wiser, or more joyful

Wich reminds me that, in 7 days and 5 hours, I'll be flying to the Bay Area, where my boss will give me my yearly review. Hopefully he will evaluate me as a smarter and wiser person than in the past, which would make me quite joyful.

#872 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2013, 11:10 AM:

Patrick:

My point wasn't that power had shifted to the left across the board--a look at the newspapers would be enough to convince you that that hadn't happened. Rather, a *specific kind* of power--the power to demand politeness and care when you might offend members of a particular group--has shifted in ways that broadly benefit groups on the left. Saying offensive things about gays is a lot harder to get away with now than 30 years ago, and that's a reflection of the fact that gays have a lot more power to demand some level of politeness and deference in the public sphere. That's broadly a good thing (though it can have bad effects if there is some political or social issue that can't be discussed without risking giving offense to a lot of gays, and that results in the discussions never happening), but it's also a reflection of a shift in power.

The question of who has the power to demand politeness and deference and care from whom, and who doesn't have that power, probably arises in every human society everywhere and everywhen. Certainly it does in the ones I know of. And in all those societies, I think this partly prevents some kinds of crapping in the pool, and also some kinds of useful or important discussion that's hard to have without stepping on toes. Sometimes, really critical stuff can't be discussed without violating the bounds of politeness, and so you end up unable to respond to AIDS because you can't talk about gays or condoms in public, or unable to say out loud that your side could lose this war you've just started in time to negotiate some kind of peace.

I think the phenomenon of people on the right complaining about PC is largely the result of their bumping into this shift in power. Stuff that could be said uncontroversially 30 years ago now gets a lot of pushback, and this is mostly not in favor of the right. People mostly react badly to losing power or privileges, whether that power was just or not, whether they're still on top or not.

I used the example of silencing antiwar protesters by taking offense at their "betrayal" because it shows a place where folks on the right use exactly the same mechanism. It doesn't feel wrong to most of them, I think, because it's not landing on them. Also, it doesn't represent much of a change--the whole "fire in a crowded theater" idea about regulating free speech came from a previous iteration of the same idea[0].

I don't think Helen Thomas or Ward Churchill exactly called the phenomenon that pushed them out of their jobs "political correctness," but it sure seems like it was the same phenomenon that pushed James Watson out of his job, or caused great trouble for Larry Summers[1].

[0] And this case is always one that sticks out in my mind, alongside the "three generations of idiots is enough" decision, as a big warning about relying on above-the-fray, rational judges with good hearts to decide hard issues in your society that politicians don't want to deal with. An excuse was needed to silence antiwar critics and draft protesters, and one was found.

[1] And again, in none of these peoples' cases am I discussing whether their ideas were right or wrong--just that the response was based on the offensiveness of their expressed views, and was an expression of power on the part of the offended people to push 3/4 of them immediately out of their jobs, and make life hard for the fourth. (Summers was pushed out of his job for other reasons, as I understand it--he made a lot of enemies at Harvard.)

#873 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2013, 11:10 AM:

Gnomed

#874 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2013, 11:28 AM:

re PC it seems to me that the more striking phenomenon is how political INcorrectness evolved as a means to conservative group identity. It isn't as though it's hard to find people even in liberal circles objecting to the attempt at power exercise that was political correct speech (and it was always manifestly an implicit claim to authority). The thing was that patent slurs were always something that couldn't be said just anywhere. In the south my father grew up in, the N word was not something one ordinarily said in public, or even in ordinary discourse among acquaintances, at least not if one had any pretensions to social class. I never heard my grandparents utter it even once, and it surprised the heck out of my brother when my great uncle dropped it, and when my great aunt in her dotage let it slip.

But part of the genius (if you want to call it that) of the neocon revolution was that they realized they could pick up a lot of votes from the underclasses (and even resentful members of that very large class who thought they should be running things) by deliberately flouting the (liberal) establishment and refusing to play along with those who set themselves up as the guardians of propriety, since those guardians were now, for the most part, liberals, having completed their conquest of the old-conservative establishment a decade earlier. They still couldn't say patently offensive things out in public (the MSM minders of discourse saw to that) but they could say rude things within their own set, and saying rude things indeed became something of a trademark (see under "Limbaugh, Rush").

I don't agree with Gaiman's thesis, because I don't think that there's dichotomous choice between being correct and being incorrect in speech. One should not go out of one's way to be deliberately offensive, but neither is one obligated to take at face value any given person's claims to a right to take offense. The field of discourse needs to be negotiated, not imposed, unless you're the parent of the speaker; but I think that exception pretty much says exactly where the real contest lies.

#875 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2013, 02:35 PM:

Cheryl #846: My condolences.

#876 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2013, 04:23 PM:

Cheryl #846: My sympathies -- it's always rough.

#877 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2013, 07:30 PM:

C Wingate @ 873... The field of discourse needs to be negotiated, not imposed

It was negotiated.
Thru the Civil Rights movement.
Thru Women's Lib.

#878 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2013, 07:59 PM:

Okay, Doctor Who fans: which ep did I filch this from?

#879 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2013, 08:05 PM:

Cheryl @846: Oh, that's so sad. But you gave a good home, and luvs, and sent him on his way when it was time. But it's hard, I know.

#880 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2013, 09:29 PM:

Albatross @864, you’re all over the place. If you grant that Ward Churchill is a victim of “the general phenomenon behind PC”, even if it wasn’t called by that name, then you’re granting that not all cases of this general phenomenon have that label attached to them. But once you grant that, how can you know for sure that the reason people on the right complain about “PC” more is due to their bumping into this phenomenon more, rather than just that they’re more likely to call it “PC”?

(PC’s never right-wing; how can this be? Why, if it’s right-wing, none do call it PC.)

(I couldn’t figure out how to finish “‘PC’s no good!’ they shout unto the left…”)

#881 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2013, 10:20 PM:

PC’s never right-wing; how can this be? Why, if it’s right-wing, none do call it PC.

Love this! In fact I just tweeted it, with due attribution. Probably should have asked; if you mind I'll delete it.

#882 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2013, 10:34 PM:

Avram:

Indeed, in the very first post I made on this topic, I not only admitted that the same phenomenon happened under a different name than PC, I gave an example of such.

Who has to be polite to whom, and who doesn't? What topics must be approached with great care to avoid kicking up a lot of anger and controversy, and which ones need not be approached with such care? Whom can you say bad things about without backing up your claims, and whom can't you say bad things about without backing up your claims in detail? I think those are important questions to ask, ones whose answers we tend to absorb by paying attention and listening, maybe without ever even thinking about them.

You could say nasty things about gays 50 years ago, and few people would even blink. Now, you can't. That's broadly a good thing, but it is also a change in who has power in this specific sense of power to demand politeness and deference.

My claim is that a whole bunch of the places where this kind of power has shifted have been toward giving more power to demand politeness and deference and such to groups that are much more concentrated on the left than on the right, or perhaps more precisely more concentrated among social liberals than social conservatives[1]--as with blacks and gays. (Maybe I'm wrong though--one thing about trying to reason about the mostly-unspoken assmptions of your society is that they're often hard to see.). Further, my claim is that this is behind much of the complaint you hear from the right about political correctness--it's not just a change in required politeness, it's a loss of a particular kind of power for social conservatives, and a gain for their opponents.

A good illustration of this is gay marriage. My sense is that bringing up the topic 50 years ago would have been widely seen as crossing a whole bunch of politeness and deference lines. And my sense is that in another 20 years, opposition to it will probably be see as crossing a bunch of politeness and deference lines in the big wide world of US society.

The main point of this is, I think the common line, echoed by Gaiman, that political correctness is just about being polite, and what's wrong with that?, misses a huge amount of the picture. It's about who has power to demand politeness, and deference, and great care in bringing up some topics. Some pretty big and obvious shifts in that power have happened, and much of the complaint from cultural conservatives is reacting to a loss of power--they used to have the power to demand that some topics not come up or be handled with great gentleness, and now their opponents have a lot more of that power.

[1] The left vs right terminology here is a little misleading, because it's not at all along economic lines. The people who have lost power in this sense are social conservatives, who used to be able to demand that topics like homosexuality and atheism either not come up in public, or be handled with great gentleness for the sensibilities of social conservatives.

#883 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2013, 12:17 AM:

I don't think so Serge; it was negotiated with those movements. Otherwise, it wasn't negotiation at all, but simply dictating from a position of power, and I doubt that either of us thinks that.

Albatross, fifty years back I cannot remember, but when I was in college in the later 1970s, the notion of gay marriages was in the air if not much discussed. Integrity was founded in 1974, after all; the Gay Student Union at UMCP was established long before I got there. I don't recall whether there was an official statement about non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation yet but in retrospect its imposition by the university establishment was all but inevitable if it hadn't yet been made campus law, and certainly no administration figure spoke against it, nor do I think they could have dared do so in an official capacity. Personally my sexuality issue with the administration was their accession to notion that my summer school roommate's girlfriend had a right to my bed so as to facilitate a weekend of sexual sport, so it's hard for me to imagine that they were so fastidious as to care who was coupling with whom. Of course a decade later AIDS made the notion that a dying man might be denied the company of his partner look conspicuously and gratuitously cruel. Surely things were utterly different fifteen years earlier, but the turn of the decade broke the back of the old-line establishment.

#884 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2013, 04:38 AM:

albatross, I don't see any contradiction between your claim that conservatives complain about PC because they have lost the power to dictate what can be discussed, and Gaiman's claim that PC is just respect. Conservatives have lost the power to openly disrespect certain groups without pushback.

If that is all you are trying to say, then I don't think anyone will disagree, but I also don't think anyone will stop pointing and laughing when some conservative complains about PC gone mad, because it is good that they have lost this power, and funny when they get mad about it.

But I keep feeling that you are trying to suggest that this is not good, that it is just a neutral change: conservatives used to dictate rules, power has moved, now liberals dictate the rules, and that the class of people being dissed is just different now, that conservatives, especially mainstream Christians, are the new target of socially acceptable public disrespect.

Perhaps that is not what you mean to imply, but if it is, then that is pretty funny, too.

#885 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2013, 06:04 AM:

C. Wingate @ 882... I don't think so Serge; it was negotiated *with* those movements. Otherwise, it wasn't negotiation at all, but simply dictating from a position of power, and I doubt that either of us thinks that.

I guess you and I have a different conception of what a negotiation is. One side wished to change the situation that allowed Society to treat someone as a second-class citizen based on pigmentation, genitalia and with whom that genitalia could be used. The other side responded by falling on it like a ton of brick. Each side was willing to do certain things as they went about changing or not-changing the state of affairs. Allies were gained. Allies were lost. Power was gained. Power was lost. That sounds like a negotiation to me.

#886 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2013, 10:28 AM:

I hope to comment more thoughtfully later, but I would very much recommend Glenn Loury's Self-Censorship in Public Discourse [PDF].

#887 ::: Clarentine ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2013, 12:56 PM:

Somewhere recently I've read (I thought here, but a search did not turn it up) a conversation where the topic revolved around privileging the perfect over the [good, or something similar in concept]. Essentially, the discussion was a caution against insisting that something be perfect before it be adopted. Can anyone help me find that conversation?

#888 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2013, 01:03 PM:

Carol Kimball @780: Any guesses?

You sure it's not haunted?

#889 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2013, 02:01 PM:

Clarentine #886: I recently invoked "making the perfect the enemy of the good" (which is the search term you probably want) in some thread or other, but I don't recall an extended discussion of the fallacy/stratagem in question. It's basically a tactic for undercutting some goal that you can't, or don't dare, argue directly against.

#890 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2013, 02:06 PM:

Niall McAuley @883: But I keep feeling that you are trying to suggest that this is not good, that it is just a neutral change: conservatives used to dictate rules, power has moved, now liberals dictate the rules, and that the class of people being dissed is just different now, that conservatives, especially mainstream Christians, are the new target of socially acceptable public disrespect.

Can you quote out albatross's specific comments that give this impression, because this is not at all what I read him as saying.

My read is that he's saying the power to require politeness and respect has shifted, and that those who used to hold that power aren't happy about that shift. I don't see anywhere where he says that shift is bad. And the idea of conservative, mainstream Christians as an allowed target of disrespect—where in albatross's remarks is that coming from?

#891 ::: Clarentine ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2013, 02:08 PM:

Dave Harmon @888 - that's it exactly. Thank you!

#892 ::: Clarentine is gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2013, 02:10 PM:

Would you like a nice bowl of chicken piccata? It was a hit last night.

#893 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2013, 03:34 PM:

And the idea of conservative, mainstream Christians as an allowed target of disrespect...

Is there any doubt that this is the case? (I don't think albatross said it, but I'm wondering if anyone thinks it isn't true.)

For example, I can't imagine someone having the level of establishment respect Richard Dawkins does whose statements about gays were as hostile, frequent and prominent as Dawkins' statements about Christians.

#894 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2013, 03:40 PM:

albatross, since Jacque asks, I'll cut and paste a number of quotes from a (view all by) which give me this impression.

When I read this one, "similarly" is doing a lot of work:

One can say disparaging things about religion (particularly mainstream Christianity) without many consequences now, which would have cost you your job and made you an outcast 50 years ago. Similarly, comments about blacks that would have barely raised an eyebrow 50 years ago will now cost you your job and make you a social outcast.

In this one, "but":

You could say nasty things about gays 50 years ago, and few people would even blink. Now, you can't. That's broadly a good thing, but it is also a change in who has power in this specific sense of power to demand politeness and deference.

Here, you explicitly say that modern Political Correctness is bad, not a change for the better:

Moral or factual claims that offend people powerful enough to take offense and demand a response are much harder to make, and fewer people care to make them. The consequences to this show up every day in our politics, and they have the effect of making some of our public debates a lot dumber than they should be.

#895 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2013, 03:53 PM:

albatross, I see what you're saying.

Your formulation of the social power to expect politeness/deference, and socially punish people who violate those expectations, also goes some way towards explaining a particular failure mode of social consciousness -- that being the kind that devolves into a one-down contest, in which each side accuses the other of oppression in an attempt to claim the moral high ground and win the argument, rather than in an attempt to actually make the world better. It's a social-power play: in that particular subculture where oppressors are (supposed to be) socially punished, you gain social power by casting your opposition as oppressors.

Frustratingly, there are plenty of people who think that it's always just a power play. If someone tells them they've said something sexist, racist, etc., their immediate reaction is "That person is just trying to score points, ruin my career, etc." In a larger sense, these people think that they get to decide what subjects are socially unacceptable -- and "hearing about actual injustice" is on the forbidden list.

The only way to tell the difference between the two situations is to evaluate the truth of the claims being made. And that's not always easy or obvious. (Sometimes it is, of course.)

I do tend to think that most of the time, when people complain about "the PC police," it's the second situation. But that's because "PC police" is a way of saying it's socially unacceptable to call something unjust or offensive -- and the particular subculture of the first situation generally finds it socially acceptable to call something unjust or offensive, which is why the response becomes "No, you need to check your privilege" instead.

#896 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2013, 04:29 PM:

I can't imagine someone having the level of establishment respect Richard Dawkins does whose statements about gays were as hostile, frequent and prominent as Dawkins' statements about Christians.

While I'm sure there must be some cases (and I'm sure you'll duly cite them), I've more heard Dawkins saying things about Christianity (as a theory of reality) and the abuses that it visits on the culture, rather than about Christians.

Also, I'm sure I'm not the only one who wishes Dawkins and others like him would be more polite (or in some cases just to STFU). And I've said so in venues like BoingBoing's old comment threads (back when BB had usable comment threads), where angry young atheists would come and foam at the mouth with what looked suspiciously like new-convert zeal. And often you'd end up reading their consonants only (at least when Teresa was Community Manager).

But also, as mentioned before, it's not the same. Shooting UP the social hierarchy is NOT the same as shooting DOWN.

#897 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2013, 04:40 PM:

Xopher @ 895

I agree with you. I would have been more accurate to say "homosexuality" and "Christianity" rather than "gays" and "Christians." (Noting that in both cases, attacking something that is an important part of people's identity and motivation is not generally perceived as altogether separate, by either the speaker or the hearer, from attacking the people to whom it is important.)

#898 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2013, 04:50 PM:

But also, Sam, if you say "Christianity includes beliefs about the world that are false, like young-Earth Creationism," that's not a statement of the same kind as "homosexuality includes tendencies in behavior that are criminal, like child molestation."

Neither statement is true (there are plenty of Christians who are not young-Earth Creationists, like, say, all the ones I know except one), but the harmfulness of the second statement is much, much greater, wouldn't you agree?

#899 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2013, 05:04 PM:

Clarentine, #886: That topic comes up at least once in almost any political thread, as it is one of the favorite tactics used by those who favor the status quo to derail any attempt to improve a social problem. It also gets discussed in the Dysfunctional Family threads, because a lot of people have a version of it in their Goddamn Tapes. And yes, the search term you want is "the perfect [is/becomes/becoming] the enemy of the good".

#900 ::: GCarty ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2013, 05:05 PM:

Doesn't Dawkins hate Islam more than Christianity though?

(Which would be the reasonable position for a hardcore anti-theist, as Islam is the more tenacious belief system. Perhaps Christianity is weaker because Jesus's teachings were distorted by St. Paul in order to make them more saleable to pagan Greeks and Romans.)

#901 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2013, 05:53 PM:

via James Nicoll on LJ: Marilee is in the hospital.

#902 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2013, 06:22 PM:

TexAnne... :-(

#903 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2013, 06:44 PM:

That's sad news TexAnne.

#904 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2013, 06:59 PM:

Niall:

I'm kind-of running out of energy to do a me-against-the-dogpile argument here. However, I think it might be easier to understand what I'm trying to say if you stop trying to parse it in terms of whose side I'm supporting and whose side I'm attacking. I'm making an observation about something I see happening--it's not about whether the right-wingers are all butthurt whiners or the left-wingers are all humorless prigs. Honest to God, truly, it's not about deciding who has the right to complain and who doesn't, or who should be listened to and who should shut up and take their medicine (whether that's someone disparaging their religion, or someone disparaging their race, or some other thing).

Your three quotes lose a little context, especially the last one, where I was pointing out that this broad phenomenon of social power to determine who has to give deference to whom has these consequences. This has nothing to do with modern political correctness being a change for the better or not, it's just a result of some people having the power to make some topics and discussions harder to have than others.

But generally, these are claims about reality. I do claim that, in mainstream media outlets for example, it's much easier now to disparage Christianity and much harder to disparage gays than 50 years ago. This isn't a statement about morality, note, but a claim about reality, which may be right or wrong but can never be good or evil, exactly.

#905 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2013, 09:14 PM:

GCarty @899: Perhaps Christianity is weaker because Jesus's teachings were distorted by St. Paul in order to make them more saleable to pagan Greeks and Romans.

This is at the very least the second comment I’ve seen here in the past few weeks that’s speculated about the relative current fervors of Christianity and Islam as being due to some kind of inherent qualities of the two faiths, rather than being the contingent outcome of historical events. I’ve gotta ask — what the hell, man? Do schools not teach about the Enlightenment and Colonialism anymore?

#907 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 12:49 AM:

Can I leave these boxes here? They wouldn't fit in my storage area and since every one has gone I figure there'd be plenty of room.

Oh, look, someone left a . . . oh, never mind, its one of those fake advertising ones.

#908 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 04:25 AM:

albatross, I don't mean to start or join a dogpile, I really am just trying to understand what you are getting at.

To be clear on my confusion, when you say this:

I do claim that, in mainstream media outlets for example, it's much easier now to disparage Christianity and much harder to disparage gays than 50 years ago. This isn't a statement about morality, note, but a claim about reality, which may be right or wrong

I not only agree, I think this is obviously true, and I can't imagine anyone here disagreeing with it.

but can never be good or evil, exactly.

See, here is my problem. Of course this is good. Unless you actually think people being rude about Christianity is an evil on a par with the racism, sexism and homophobia of 50 years ago, this is clearly and obviously progress.

#909 ::: vee ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2013, 11:35 AM:

I'm behind on Open Threads, but the link back to OT 179 appears to be borked. (Not irretrievably, once the coffee kicks in.)

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#911 ::: Tom Whitmore sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2013, 07:29 PM:

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