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March 28, 2013

Open Thread 182
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 12:12 PM *

Born today in 1515, Saint Teresa of Ávila, (Teresa Sanchez Cepeda Davila y Ahumada) after whom our own Teresa is named.

Died, amid the smell of roses, in 1582, canonized in 1622, named a Doctor of the Church in 1970, St. Teresa is patron saint of bodily ills, headaches, chess, lace-makers, the loss of parents, people in need of Grace, people in religious orders, people ridiculed for their piety, the city of Pozega in Croatia, sick people, sickness in general, and Spain. Her feast day is October 15.

Considered (along with St. John of the Cross) founder of the Discalced Carmelite Nuns of the Primitive Rule of St. Joseph. On the day St. John of the Cross knocked at her door, St. Teresa (who was exceedingly tall, and known to her friends as “Long Teresa”) remarked to St. John of the Cross (who was exceedingly short), “God be praised! He has sent me half a monk!” St. Teresa also remarked to God, in her prayers one day, “If this is the way You treat Your friends it’s no wonder You have so few.”

St. Teresa’s books, The Interior Castle, The Way of Perfection, and autobiography Life Written by Herself, are still in print. Her collected letters are also available.

St. Teresa is famous for her religious ecstasies, during which she was embarrassed to levitate. She was also an avid gardener.

In her youth she delighted in reading romance novels, which she shared with her mother, but kept secret from her father on the grounds that he would not approve of such frivolity.

Continued from Open Thread 181
Comments on Open Thread 182:
#1 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 12:46 PM:

I'm very fond of Bernini's sculpture of The Ecstasy of St. Teresa of Avila.

It appeals to me that such a thing can be both sexually charged and devoutly religious.

#2 ::: rams ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 12:58 PM:

Love the idea of God pushing her buttons. She insisted the holiest nun was probably the least conspicuous one, the one just doing her duty, and the whoops! Upsydaisy, she's levitating. Supposed to have appointed nuns to kneel on her robes, but no good -- up she'd go. God as Love is one thing, but gotta love God as Tease.

#3 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 01:02 PM:

The reason St. Teresa is patron of bodily ills, sick people, and general sickness is that she suffered a debilitating disease when she was twenty from which she never fully recovered.

#4 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 01:02 PM:

In my peripherally Carmelite college days, I came into possession of an undocumented relic of Saint Teresa of Avila. It traveled with me for years, resting in dark boxes in several countries, until I had the good fortune to make the acquaintance of its true owner.

Probably the single weirdest gift I've ever given.

#5 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 01:10 PM:

Oh, dear! Gnomes have been tweeting repurposed songs about impending doom for those who do not repent. ‏@IdumeaCowper

#6 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 01:20 PM:

Oh, dear. Teresa's name-saint, you say? *thinks back, with some guilt, about various rude things he might have said about the descriptions of the Ecstasy of Saint Teresa, and that sculpture in particular, in Miss Teresa's presence*

#7 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 01:27 PM:

The xkcd from Monday is still . . . evolving:

It has been changing every hour or so. I was expecting to come in this morning and find that the waters had risen and wiped out the sand castle. Instead, it has has gotten bigger.

I hope someone saved each frame as it appeared.

#8 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 01:29 PM:

Bernini was a deeply religious Catholic (active in the Counter Reformation). There isn't any joke about that sculpture that hasn't been made by equally faithful Catholics. Nor was St. Teresa herself, when describing her mystical marriage to Christ, particularly unaware of all the implications.

#9 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 01:32 PM:

The romances St. Teresa and her mother were reading on the sly were probably things like Amadis of Gaul and its host of unauthorized sequels, which in modern terms would be more like being secret fans of The Lord of the Rings and its assorted heirs and successors.

As far as the Bernini statue goes, if you're trying to depict a transcendental state in three material dimensions, there are only so many analogues available to draw on, and that one is obvious.

#10 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 01:36 PM:

Another famous St. T line: "There's a time for prayer, and a time for roast partridge!"

#11 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 01:39 PM:


Explain XKCD has been saving them as an animated gif; they're not all the way up to date yet, but I'm assuming they will keep up.

#12 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 01:40 PM:

Jacque (OT 181, #911): When I was in elementary school (age about 9, at a guess), my class was taken to see a play at the local children's theatre. I had heard the title as Donkey Hoatey, so I was surprised to see the permission slip my mother signed was for something called Don Quicks-oat. My mother patiently explained.

#13 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 01:42 PM:

For some reason, St Teresa has always been one of the saints I bounce off of. This inspires me to give reading her works another try. (I've long said that if I chose a Saint's name, it would be Thomas--for both the doubter and the scholar.)

Random HLN:

Area man is very amused by his 6-year-old.
"Papa, read me this story."

"It's not a hard book--I got it because you can read it to yourself."

"But it has white words on dark paper and that makes it really hard to read."

Ex ore infantium.

#14 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 01:42 PM:

Don Quicks-Oat is that guy on the Quaker box, right?

#15 ::: Cheryl has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 01:46 PM:

For a link, I guess?

I'm passing the time listening to 168 Cowper, so, whenever you get around to me.

#16 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 01:48 PM:

I did not know she is a patron saint of the sick. Good to know. She was an extraordinary person: a mystic, yes, and a theologian, but also a hard-headed and practical leader. Her letters, for those who are interested, are available (in translation) online.

#17 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 01:54 PM:

X @12: ::falls over laughing:: Why, yes, now that you mention it....

#18 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 02:05 PM:

Stefan Jones@6:That is an amazing xkcd. It appears that various places are keeping track. Here is a link to a site that is keeping an animated gif of the whole series of frames to date (sped up):

#19 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 02:12 PM:

For the benefit of those of us who are too lazy to do the copy-paste:

#20 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 02:25 PM:

Steve Halter (16): Whoa! Thanks for linking to that.

#21 ::: Mary Aileen is visiting the gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 02:26 PM:

...probably for excessive enthusiasm. Hi, gnomes! Want some fudge ripple ice cream?

#22 ::: David ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 02:51 PM:

Entre los pucheros anda el Senor. (God walks among the pots and pans).

- St. Teresa of Avila, "Book of Foundations."

Also I need to learn, someday, how to do accent marks and ~ and such online.

#23 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 03:04 PM:

Who knows the journeys taken by the just
over the saddened earth to find true light
and not be blinded by the sudden sight
of the fair city rising from the dust
when once is passed the desert of distrust
and all have gone through the last sleepless night
cold, lacking comfort, knowing that the right
answer was coming? That is human trust.
Each is ambassador to the new realm
where equal rulers crudely give reply
to those who cannot truly understand
the forces that will subtly overwhelm
the ragged armies of the ancient lie
and so bring justice to the angry land.

#24 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 03:07 PM:

This site also has that XKCD, with better controls: you can speed up or slow down the animation, or step through it a frame at a time.

(I wonder how long it's going to go, ultimately?)

#25 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 03:17 PM:

David @22: I need to learn, someday, how to do accent marks and ~ and such online.

Your Google phrase is:

html special character codes
#26 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 03:19 PM:

Wow! Until I saw the animation posted by David I did not realize that "Time" was so fine-grained. I only glanced at it every hour or so, and assumed it was maybe a couple of dozen stills, updated every hour.

#27 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 03:20 PM:

David Goldfarb (24): But turn your speakers off, unless you like loud background noise. (I never did get the image, just the sound of waves crashing.)

#28 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 03:31 PM:

David 22: That one would be ñ. Here's a site that may help.

#29 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 03:36 PM:


Odd. I don't get any sound at all, and my speakers are working fine.

#30 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 03:41 PM:

David, #22: &_ntilde_; without the underscores gives you ñ. Other accent marks are made similarly, if you know what they're called, and you can check your guesses in Preview. And I see a couple of other folks have given you better resources than guessing.

#31 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 03:45 PM:

Cheryl (29): Hmmmm. Looks like it needs javascript to function properly. With NoScript blocking that page, I got the sound of crashing waves and no image. Once I allowed scripts on the page, the sound stopped and the image appeared.

#32 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 04:34 PM:

Fun fact: she was the patroness of my grade school (and its parish). We were a tiny school, less than 15 kids in a grade most of my childhood; there was a much bigger St. Theresa's ("of the Little Flower") on the northwest side that everyone always thought we went to if we just said St. Teresa, so we all learned to answer "St. Teresa DE AVILA" and then roll our eyes when they said, "Where?"

When I later looked up their biographies (for a project), I became fascinated, and very glad my school was named for her; I likely wouldn't have happened across her till late high school at soonest, otherwise, and having her example and life at hand was inspirational.

#33 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 05:33 PM:

David @22: if you're on a Mac, in the upper right hand corner to the left of the date there's a thing that looks like a calendar with a holiday marked. It's actually a thing for keyboard and character settings. If you click it, it will give you any number of characters with accent marks to add with a click.

I find this easier to manage than remembering HTML codes. My only sorrow is that it doesn't work in Google Docs.

#34 ::: Quixote ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 05:40 PM:

Howdy folks, delurking briefly because I'm looking for a story.

It was an Asterix and Obelix fan fiction set in the modern day (part of the story was set in either the White House or the Pentagon). It also made a point of not referring to either character by name (so you would be part way into the story before you realized that the main character was, in fact, Asterix). This had the unfortunate side-effect of making the story impossible to find with Google. Hence I have returned to where I think I first saw a link to it, an open thread here. If the person who posted the original link could do so again, I would very much appreciate it. Thank you.

#35 ::: Quixote has been sent to the gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 05:43 PM:

Perhaps I accidentally wrote a word of power? Would the gnomes like a piece of fruit?

#36 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 06:14 PM:

Per Rikibeth #33: if your Mac, like mine, doesn't show that icon, you can get to the special characters by clicking "help" in the Safari toolbar and typing "special characters" in the search box.

#37 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 06:31 PM:

For those that are curious, this is Mr. Hoatey. (The little one. With fur.)

#38 ::: rea ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 06:50 PM:

Stephen Maturin's godfather's great-great grandmother lived in Avila, and knew St. Teresa personally.

#39 ::: john ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 07:02 PM:

Quixote #34: Although I wasn't the person who posted it the first time, I think it must be this story:

#40 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 07:32 PM:

SamChevre @ 13: Your line "But it has white words on dark paper and that makes it really hard to read." makes this vision scientist giggle. In fact, it's easier to read white on black than black on white text - and, if you build an experiment with white stimuli on a black background, you can get fun retinal afterimages too.

Ok, I suppose that last bit is only applicable to me. It is likely a major confound in my first-year project; the one that I did in rather than slog through and paperize.

#41 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 07:54 PM:

It depends on the text size. And perhaps on the viewer. I was snarling about some blogger who did tiny white-on-black type and recalled how to view it bigger and that helped a lot, but I can't help wondering if light gray on black would've been easier for me. A relative's monitor displays this site in such a way that the blue type has nasty little white things in the middle that really bug me, but I don't have that problem at home.

#42 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 07:57 PM:

Benjamin, it could be worse. I've seen stuff that was yellow text on a royal-blue background, which I find hard to read even in large text sizes. (Yellow on black is not really an improvement.)

#43 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 08:22 PM:

If you like Cleolinda's "Movies in 15 Minutes", you may enjoy this summary of yesterday's SCOTUS oral arguments, done in a similar style. (Slightly NSFW due to language.)

#44 ::: H.E. Wolf ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 08:26 PM:

I had a French teacher who handed out excerpts from Claire Bretecher's "La Vie Passsionnee de Therese d'Avila", a bande dessinee which was published as a book in 1980. Here's the only link I could find to the images (scroll down to 'Lire un extrait'); apologies to the gnomes if this clogs up the mechanism.

#45 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 08:34 PM:

The best version of unreadable text I've ever seen was a research poster - at a vision conference, no less - with isoluminant colors in the poster title. I don't think someone managed isoluminant red/green; my memory is saying purple and grey. Absolutely unreadable by *anyone* at the conference, and a poster that lives in infamy, because if anyone out there shouldn't make that mistake, a bunch of professional vision nerds shouldn't.

#46 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 08:56 PM:

I've seen a site done with bright red letters on a bright blue background.

Because, you know, it's dramatic.

#47 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 09:57 PM:

Fun Facts about Teresa of Avila:

- Her father was a converted Jew. Those who wrote Teresa's first biographies strenuously buried this fact and asserted that Teresa came of "the purest hidalgo blood." Her Avila contemporaries thought this coverup was hilarious. Victoria Lincoln, the modern biographer I learned all this from, dryly describes the Avila atmosphere of the time as "an ugly hotbed of religious toleration." Also St. John of the Cross's mother may have been Black.

- Teresa actually died on the very night in 1582 that Spain switched over from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar, "losing" eleven days in the process. The night she died started out as October 4th, but when she died after midnight it was October 15th.

#48 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 10:27 PM:

But if you're the patron saint of the sick and also of their illness, isn't that a conflict of interest?

#49 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 10:30 PM:

In a departure from the usual custom, Pope Francis today washed the feet of 12 prisoners, including Muslims and 2 women, for Holy Thursday.

Usually the Pope washes 12 priests' feet. The standard rubrics for the Holy Thursday foot-washing call for "12 men" (viri), so women have been excluded from the ritual in many dioceses and parishes, including my current one. Now those of us who'd like to see this change in our parishes have a high-level precedent we can point to.

#50 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 11:18 PM:

Xopher, just thinking about that one makes my head hurt (starting with eyes).
(My favorite scheme is very dark blue letters on white.)

#51 ::: Ellen Asher ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 11:38 PM:

Lila #36: Or you can open Safari's Edit menu, which is where "special characters" lives on my Mac. But maybe you need a very old version (I'm running Safari 4.1.3, and my Mac is running Tiger).

#52 ::: Bruce H. ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 11:40 PM:

The link to Open Thread 181 at the top of this page has several repeated elements and does not work.

#54 ::: Bruce H. ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2013, 12:02 AM:

Thank you very kindly.

#55 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2013, 12:14 AM:

H.E.Wolf @ 44... I had a French teacher who handed out excerpts from Claire Bretecher's "La Vie Passsionnee de Therese d'Avila"

Claire Bretecher? That takes me back a few decades. Speaking of French artists... Did your teacher ever show you F'murr's adventures of Joan of Ark after the pyre, from which she was rescued by an alien who took her to the heavens in his spaceship shaped like Notre Dame de Paris?

#56 ::: CZEdwards ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2013, 01:28 AM:

Others with an interest in historical clothing might find this of interest; I find these stays perplexing. They're clearly the possession of someone with means, given the embroidery. They're minimally corded or boned, so possibly for morning wear, or made for someone slim who needed little support. However, the busk pocket suggests not-morning wear. It's the left side only lacing that's got me.

From what I understand of breastfeeding (having no personal experience), one must at least alternate if not switch during feeding. Left only makes some sense for someone who is doing some sort of right-handed labor while feeding, but 1830s is a bit late for professional, home spinning and the quality of the garment suggests a woman with access to funds.

Perhaps mastectomy?

#57 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2013, 01:51 AM:

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but there’s always someone who hasn’t seen it — if you often find web pages that you have trouble reading, because of bad design choices by the page author, give Readable a try. It’s a bookmarklet (a bit of JavaScript you install in your browser’s bookmarks menu) that reformats the page.

#58 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2013, 08:43 AM:

It's hard to tell without a chance to actually feel the flexibility of the corset's boning, but it looks to me like a nursing mother could probably get access to either nipple once the busk was removed and the lacing was undone. Lacing tied with a bow on the left side could be easily undone in a hurry one-handed by a right-handed person, and done back up again two-handed.

Lacing on both sides would be the very devil to get done up evenly.

It's also possible that the corset could have been meant for wear on occasions formal or public enough to require a boned corset, but brief enough that only having one-sided nipple access wasn't going to be a problem.

More knowledge of 19th-century nursing practice and etiquette would probably help.

(I'm not a costume historian. On the other hand, I do have personal experience with breastfeeding.)

#59 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2013, 12:23 PM:

Other memories of the St. Teresa statue begin to surface. In the late 70's, my art history teacher seemed to interpret it as something sexual, and neither the catatonic, open-mouthed look on her face nor the written description, which sounded more like some medical emergency, matched that as far as I was concerned. It wasn't just that I was already tired of people supposedly older and wiser than me being more preoccupied with sex than I was; it didn't logically make sense and that was even worse. Then the text in my writing class interpreted a violent scene it presented as sexual, and I decided higher education wasn't for me. I had been planning to get up in class and challenge that commentary but I was sick that day. (If I hadn't had math problems, I would have just stuck with science.)
Later I read somewhere that the ivory tower goes through fads like other places do, and I don't think I'd've been any happier there in later years when it seemed everything was interpreted thru the lens of this or that power struggle, and books were full of jargon/drivel I was hard put to make sense of and I gather I am not the only one.
Yes, I had some problems then [being asexual was *not* one of them], but so did those who were supposed to be helping me learn.
And yes, later I saw once again pictures of sculptures and paintings from that era and [the stench of that early nonsense having mostly blown away] for the first time realized that the skill involved was incredible, and wonder if it will ever reappear.

#60 ::: Kyndra ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2013, 12:43 PM:

Having breastfed four children: I learned early on that it was easier for me to nurse one side on one feeding and the other side for the next feeding some hours later worked well for me.

Actually though I think that lacing would give you access to both sides. I've had nursing dresses that functioned similarly. Whatever was worn over it would have needed a center opening (think of something that buttons or laces down the center front). Basically one would twist the garment to bring the center front opening over the breast. Lacing on one side would make the corset more stable either open or closed and be easier to do and undo. It is remarkably tricky to fasten something using primarily your left hand especially when juggling a baby!

#61 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2013, 01:04 PM:

I agree with Kyndra -- as that garment doesn't appear heavily boned, I suspect it could be turned back enough to allow access to both breasts.

And I second the nursing alternate sides at alternate feedings. Frequently, nursing advice will tell mothers to put a safety pin on their bra strap, and switch it after each feeding, so they can remember which side's turn it is.

#62 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2013, 02:34 PM:

Benjamin, #45: I had to look up "isoluminant" and then go find some images, but now I get the joke. And that's my new thing learned for the day, so thank you.

CZEdwards, #56: The thing I notice is that there's no way to get it on short of unlacing it almost completely and pulling it over the head. Modern corsetry has sturdy hooks up the front, so that once you get the laces in you don't have to take them out again. Also, many of the people who make corsets use 2 laces, one starting from the top and one from the bottom and meeting in the middle, so that neither one has to be loosened too far. People who are more adept than I with their hands behind their backs can put these corsets on without assistance.

#63 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2013, 03:16 PM:

Lee, I'm fairly sure that anyone who owned that corset had a ladies' maid to help her get dressed.

#64 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2013, 03:55 PM:

I can see access to either side as possible via that corset, but a bit awkward for the right, as it would effectively demand baring both. But there are plenty of cases where one might need a garment for a stretch of time that's short enough to anticipate only one feeding, depending on the age of the baby. As they get older, the feedings get bigger but further apart, then as solids come in, they get smaller and even more far apart. At 16 months, I'm only nursing JoJo about 3-4 times within a day, and often not for long at all. I could wear a corset allowing access to one side from noon to (my, not his) bedtime if I had to.

There are also different schools on how best to nurse. When JoJo was much younger, I was told by one person to nurse all one side for the next feedings for at least 6 hours then switch, and she said she got it from a class on breastfeeding. It worked for her, but was not for me.

#65 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2013, 04:02 PM:

Lee @43: Loving the m15m-style "truncated transcript." It is making me LOL. Thank you for linking.

#66 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2013, 04:03 PM:

what is the flavor of clever
so that i may endeavor wherever whenever
to unsever the surly bonds with whomsoever
i choose forever

to muse me amuse me disabuse me to transfuse me
with the ichor of the daughters of Mnemosyne?

#67 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2013, 04:42 PM:

The boss and his new henchboss are flying to the Bay Area the week of April 15 and are flying me in too. I'm a bit nervous about the whole affair. On the other hand, it gives me the chance to meet my friend Yoko again.

#68 ::: the Modesto kid ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2013, 05:44 PM:

you know what song you can totally song to the tune of what other song? I saw her standing there and I'll see you in the spring, when the birds begin to sing, is what.

#69 ::: etv13 ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2013, 07:37 PM:

Modesto Kid @68: You may already know about these, but I'm kind of fond of Amazing Grace/The House of the Rising Sun and The Marine Corps Hymn/Ghost Riders in the Sky.

#70 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2013, 08:48 PM:

etv13 @69 on the subject of songs that should totally be sung to other tunes, the American National Anthem scans beautifully to "The Ashgrove", and it's SO much easier to sing.

#71 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2013, 10:02 PM:

You can sing any song you want
To Alice's Restaurant.

#72 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2013, 10:11 PM:

That corset looks to me as though it also fastens in the back. I agree with Debra Doyle's analysis @58.

#73 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2013, 10:16 PM:

John Mark Ockerbloom @49 - Presumably that's why our pastor washed only men's feet yesterday. Our previous pastor always had a group that included both men and women, and we're not taking the change happily.

etv13 & Cassy B., just above - Ode to Joy/My Darling Clementine.

HLN: Local woman has spent part of the day putting up pickled eggs in various colors, will have yellow sharp and hot eggs, pink sweet and sour eggs, and brown-streaked beige tea eggs ready for Easter.

#74 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2013, 10:33 PM:

etv13 @ # 69: the ending theme to "The Beverly Hillbillies" also goes quite well to "Ghost Riders in the Sky". (You have to add "Yippee-i-ay, yippie-i-o, hillbillies in the sky" to the end.)

#75 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2013, 11:12 PM:

Anne Sheller@73, etv13, Cassie, Modesto Kid et al:

You can not only interchange Ode to Joy/Clementine, you can do any combination of Ode to Joy/Clementine/Deutschland Uber Alles/and the naughty "Life Presents a Dismal Picture", or if you are feeling particularly evil, all of them or any subset in successive permutations of tune and lyrics.

#76 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2013, 11:20 PM:

Lee @43: Thank you for that link to the take on the Supremes. That was/is excellent.

#77 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2013, 11:26 PM:

Mack the Knife and Clementine is another classic. Oh, and Donne's "Death, be not proud" can be sung to the tune of Old Black Joe.

#78 ::: H.E. Wolf ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2013, 11:35 PM:

Serge Broom @ 55: Not previously known to me, but it sounds great - I'll keep an eye out. Thanks for the recommendation!

#79 ::: AlyxL ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 12:10 AM:

Not quite one song to the tune of another, but pretty much anything by Emily Dickinson can be sung to the tune of "The Yellow Rose of Texas".

#80 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 12:42 AM:

Mack the Knife, Clementine, the Marine Corps Hymn, and Ode to Joy can all be sung to each others' tunes, in case someone missed the linkup there. Favorite moments: syncopated "FAAAAANcy gloves though has MacHeath dear" singing MtK to OtJ's tune, and singing "Lived a miner, 49er, and his daughter...MACK THE KNIFE!"

#81 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 12:45 AM:

H.E. Wolf @ 78... F'murr is from the same era as Bretecher. I remember his strip where St-Exupéry has crashed in the desert, and meets the Little Prince, whose oft-repeated request that he draw a sheep for him, ends with the increasingly irate St-Exupéry running away while throwing his shoes at the Little Prince. He also had an ongoing series about a herd of sheep, one of which thought it was Einstein, and another looking suspiciously like Jean Rostand.

#82 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 12:46 AM:

Oh, and Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" can be sung to Hernando's Hideaway, and it all works except the break.

I forget who it was, some famous singer, who was supposed to sing Amazing Grace and sang the whole thing to the tune of House of the Rising Sun, apparently without noticing.

#83 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 02:40 AM:

Rather than go thru the ballad meter explanation again, I'm going to let Wikipedia do it for me. Basically, any song written in ballad meter can be sung TTTO any other song written in ballad meter -- and a fair number of other things can be shoehorned into the ballad-meter scansion with a little bejiggering. It used to be a common party game among filkers to pick one ballad-meter tune and go around the circle singing other stuff to it in turn.

#84 ::: k8 ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 03:43 AM:

The title to PKD's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" can be sung to the opening bars of Greensleeves. I hear it every. freaking. time. I've never forgiven the friend who pointed that out to me.

#85 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 04:22 AM:

Long-term lurker here. The corset is fascinating. The 19th century is late for me, but I've worn 16th and 17th century corsets. Never breastfed. However, its the quilting around the front opening which struck me - it suggests it was meant to be seen. Could it have been for a wetnurse in a large household? Most 19th century wealthy women hired wetnurses for their babies, who lived in for that period. If its a large household then women often slept in dormitory arrangements and would help each other get dressed. BTW, in a properly laced and fitted corset twisting inside it is impossible - in my 16th century one I can't bend - but that's boned.

#86 ::: etv13 ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 05:41 AM:

Xopher@ 82: Thanks for that. I am still laughing. Clementine/Mack the Knife, new to me, is also fantastic.

#87 ::: etv13 ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 05:49 AM:

Lee @ 83: That covers lots of them, but as far as I can figure tapping my fingers on my desktop, not Ghost Riders and the Marine Corps Hymn, which aren't iambic at all.

On a completely unrelated note: My 14-year-old daughter has 300 followers on tumblr. Is that something I should be concerned about?

#88 ::: little pink beast ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 07:56 AM:

etv13@87: Near as I can tell, Ghost Riders in the Sky is straightup iambic heptameter; the Marine Corps Hymn throws in a few anapests, mostly at the beginning of lines.

#89 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 08:49 AM:

One Song To The Tune Of Another gives a useful list of examples.

The basic construction of a song mirrors almost exactly that of a spacecraft. The tune is just like the rocket motor - driving the capsule, or words, up through the stratosphere and out of the earth’s ecliptic orbit. And once free of gravitational pull the two can be separated just as the words can be removed from the song and set to a different tune. Or in the case of the capsule can dock with another space vehicle.

Personally I never see the point of space travel. Oh yes you can point to all the spin off benefits, such as non-stick digital watches and a biro that write upside down. But what is the point of that anyway? If you want to write upside down just turn the page round when you finish. Of course they have proved the moon has zero atmosphere, but Swindon has zero atmosphere, and we don’t all spend millions of dollars going there to see for ourselves.

#90 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 08:52 AM:

etv13 #87: Depends what she's posting there. And if you haven't, you definitely need to talk to her about the "hate brigade" and trolls in general.

#91 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 09:26 AM:

The Middle-English metrical romance King Horn can be sung to the tune of Molly Malone.

Alle beon he blithe
That to my song lythe!
A sang ich schal sing you
Of Murry the Kinge....

#92 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 09:55 AM:

And you can sing Beowulf to the verse lines of "Haul on the Bowline":

Hwæt! we Gar-Dena in gear-dagum
(Haul on the bowline, the bowline haul!)
þeod-cyninga þrym gefrunon
(Haul on the bowline, the bowline haul!)

Which wasn't the silliest thing I ever put my mind to, back in the day . . . that would have been trying to figure out, one rather tipsy afternoon at a grad-student cocktail party, what the Anglo-Saxon for "potato-chip" would have been if the Anglo-Saxons had had potato chips. (I suggested "beer-friend", but it was rejected on the grounds that "beer-friend" was clearly the Anglo-Saxon poetic kenning for "pretzel.")

#93 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 11:10 AM:

Dave Bell @90: I think my favourite of the ones that are available on The Tube that is You is 'Whiter Shade of Pale' to the muppet theme tune. (I can't figure out a way, from this device, of putting in a link that won't get gnomed, but its worth a quick search).

#94 ::: Marjorie Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 11:29 AM:

I remember studying Bernini's Ecstasy of St. Teresa in art history at the University of Washington. I was the only one in the room who did not laugh when the image lighted the screen. I wondered for a long time after what was funny about it. Sometimes I still wonder.

#95 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 11:38 AM:

A friend of mine was able to fit the lyrics of "O Canada" to the Muppet Show theme, but my favourite is singing the Spiderman theme's lyrics to the tune of "Auld Lang Syne" (it doesn't seem to work as well in the other direction, though.)

#96 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 12:05 PM:

Debra @ 92: Pretzels? Not peanuts? But then, I don't drink beer . . . now I'm going to have "Anglo-Saxon for potato chip" niggling at me for the rest of Easter weekend. I suspect the distraction will be welcome, so thank you in advance!

I love Making Light.

#97 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 12:11 PM:

Angiportus @59: Datapointing: there are in fact some people who get that look on their face in moments of sexual ecstasy. Dunno what percentage of people. (Joani Blank's "The Faces of Ecstasy" film, while not an exhaustive survey, might provide some examples of that variety of expression. Human variety is fascinating.)

#98 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 12:13 PM:

The Band aren't even at this concert.

#99 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 12:22 PM:

Mary Frances (96): Potatoes are sometimes known as 'earth apples', if that helps the Anglo Saxon-ing.

#100 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 12:44 PM:

There's a beautiful slow air I play on the harp, solo and with an uillean piper. The first strain is Gilligan's Island, which doesn't have a second strain, so I've added the last two lines of the chorus of These Boots Are Made for Walking.

The Gilligan tune seems to be a variant of The Bonny Ship the Diamond (perhaps unwittingly), and I am not the only person to think of using both in an arrangement.

#101 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 12:52 PM:

And in a ML-thread-crocheting moment, the Joani Blank video is listed in "Concerts and Music Videos" by some sellers. No word on whether it features lyrics set to other tunes, though.

#102 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 01:01 PM:

Jim, #91: The tune that popped into my head reading that was Steeleye Span's "The King".

#103 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 01:42 PM:

Mary Aileen @ 99... aka 'pommes de terre' in French.

#104 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 01:53 PM:

There are sentences by students that cause me to tear what's left of my hair out. Then there are those that make me want to phone the Samaritans:

One infamous prisoner in particular Khalid Shaikh Mohammed who was transferred to Guantanamo bay, which is a detention camp who is known to be the mastermind behind 9/11, was said to be waterboarded one hundred and eighty-three times in 2003 according to a 2005 memo released by the justice department.

#105 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 01:57 PM:

Anyone else suspect that maybe Rammstein’s “Keine Lust” is just a German translation of Pat Benatar’s “Treat Me Right”?

#106 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 02:20 PM:

I am now watching Doctor Who.

Heh heh :)

#107 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 02:48 PM:

I forgot to mention you have to add words to SBWOASN to make them fit:

"To watch...his woods fill, upwithsnow, OH NO."

"The dark...est evening, oftheyear, OH DEAR."

#108 ::: StochasticBird ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 03:03 PM:

Debra Doyle, there's a snack in Hungary that I haven't seen anywhere else that is kind of like a roll made out of pretzel dough, sometimes with cheese. I was told the name translates as "beer-skate" because it helps the beer skate down more smoothly.

They're delicious. And also delightfully named.

#109 ::: KristianB ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 03:03 PM:

I don't know if this has been brought to your attention already. A documentary about 3d-printed guns:
(Can't seem to get the link-text to work.)

#110 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 03:44 PM:

I have a great fondness for film scores (not just title songs), especially those that end up with you walking out of the theater singing/humming/bum-bum-BUM-bum-ing. I'm trying to put together a list of the most ear-grabbing (in a good way) for when I have a budget available to buy some, and would appreciate any suggestions of others to consider, especially since I have a bias towards swashbucklers. So far I've got this:

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
Raiders of the Lost Ark (I think it works better than Star Wars. YMMV.)
Lawrence of Arabia (My wife got me the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra version for Christmas, which is the first time the ENTIRE score has been released. It is magnificent--if you like this score, run, don't walk, to the music merchandiser of your choice.)
The Great Escape
Ghostbusters (Yes, the title song is infectious. Take a second and listen to what Bernstein was doing on the rest of the soundtrack.)
The Stunt Man (which was available on LP, and a 3K CD pressing that's so expensive as to be unavailable. I check iTunes for it monthly).
The Triplets of Belleville A bonus! Old cheap tricks with the lyrics of the "theme song."
The Pink Panther/A Shot in the Dark (I know they're two different films scored by the same composer. I can't decide which works best.)
Gone With the Wind
The Adventures of Robin Hood
The Third Man
Wallace and Gromit theme

There are also those recordings that have been so transformed by the films they appeared in that you can barely remember the original context. The two that I know of are the recording of "We'll Meet Again" by Vera Lynn courtesy of Dr. Strangelove or: How I Quit Worrying and Learned to Love the Bomb and "I Can't Stop Loving You" by Ray Charles courtesy of the Japanese animated film Metropolis for similar reasons. (I saw this with a film buff friend in the theater and our reactions when the music started "Are they going 'We'll Meet Again?' YES, THEY ARE!") I'm told there's a similar song scene in Reservoir Dogs, but I'm too chicken to rent it and find out more.

Oh, and a shout-out for the best swashbuckling music never used for a swashbuckler: the version of Strauss's Overture to Don Juan directed by Herbert von Karajan. Years and years ago Rolling Stone's record guide said something like "there are better recordings technically, but this is the one to beat" and they weren't kidding.

#111 ::: Dave Crisp ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 04:03 PM:

"One song to the tune of another" is a common round on the UK radio show I'm Sorry, I Haven't a Clue

There are plenty of videos on second-person-pronoun-hollow-cylinder if people are interested.

I particularly suggest Tony Hawks' rendition of Girlfriend in a Coma TTTO Tiptoe Through the Tulips

#112 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 04:04 PM:

Marjorie Farrell: I remember studying Bernini's Ecstasy of St. Teresa

I misread this as Ecstasy of St. Trinian's. I now have a sprained imagination.

#113 ::: little pink beast ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 04:31 PM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @ 110:
They're not exactly swashbucklers but I'm particularly fond of the scores to Conan the Barbarian and Alexander Nevsky.

#114 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 04:43 PM:

I presume everyone here knows that the Blind Boys of Alabama do the House of the Rising Sun "Amazing Grace" as one of their standards? If not, you need to hunt it up on Youtube, because with their harmony it's quite the thing. (I actually prefer the original tune, but I sometimes feel odd-one-out on that. Of course, I also feel odd-one-out on not wanting excessive ornamentation and sustained notes added to the original tune...)

Weirdest Song to a Tune of another currently going on in this very house: my mom was over once after one of her first signing lessons. She'd beenasked to sign Twinkle twinkle little star (Just the first verse everybody knows), and had the words stuck in her head.

Joseph';s baby bassinet has buttons he still plays with - he can't fit it, but we've been using it to hold blankets etc so it's still in his reach. So he set off the music; Fur Elise.

And mom started singing "Twinkle twinkle twinkle little star..." to it.

Now, I have all the words to the full song memorized. I sing it a lot, as in almost daily. I also hear Fur Elise, or rather one of the two most readily available baby-furniture settings thereof, almost daily. This means I can get earwormed by the combination.

I have now figured out all the places where you need to just slip in one extra repeating word to already repetitive lines to set the whole thing to the different parts of Fur Elise. And sung it to JoJo as a lullaby a few times.

(This doesn't mean that much; with a toddler who resists naps very strongly, my list of things to sing Joseph as a lullaby is of necessity over 30 songs long - and that short because I try not to sing him too many songs where people die. Considering my love for folk ballads...)

#115 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 05:14 PM:

#109 ::: KristianB

I'm reasonably sure that 3D guns aren't even an interesting topic until it's possible to print barrels, and the tech for that isn't even close.

On the other hand, printing high-capacity magazines and using a manufactured spring might be feasible, if I understand the tech correctly.

#116 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 05:15 PM:

"Potato" and "pomme de terre" are just wrong. I like the original Quechua term "papa" because they deserve the credit for such a wonderful food, and it's also shorter, easier to spell, and not based on confusion with some other plant. For an Anglo Saxon term, "spud" isn't bad.

#117 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 05:28 PM:

Lenora Rose, so you've switched the tune from Mozart to Beethoven. Doesn't sound so bad.

TomB, I'm reminded of when J2P2 visited Florida, and some well-meaning person held up a sign that said "Viva El Papa."

Indeed. Long may it reign.

#118 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 05:32 PM:

Taking up a topic from the previous Open Thread:

My experience of Le Guin seems to be 180 degrees from most of the people who posted. I bounced hard off The Left Hand of Darkness and The Lathe of Heaven, but I still reread The Dispossessed once a year or so. Phrases and images keep bobbing up in my mind--"a trio of mad seven-year-old carpenters" at the Anarresti version of a primary school, the lead worker at a metal shop directing her apprentices with "a splendid flow of profanity," yellow diamonds used for a mobile in the corner of a family apartment . . . I wouldn't want to live on Anarres, but it's a fascinating place to visit.

I think part of what got to me was the way that Le Guin presents each world's vision of itself and then carefully deconstructs it. Anarres is the better, finer, cleaner, saner place, but just under the surface there are the same old politics. Urras is richer, easier, in many ways kinder--you get the impression that even the poor of Urras aren't so deprived that they can get tipsy on rich food, like people do at parties on Anarres--but the rot beneath the surface becomes clear.

Always Coming Home is my absolute favorite Le Guin, though. It's a book to wander around in. If you can get the edition with the recordings of Kesh music in the back pocket, even better.

#119 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 05:36 PM:

little pink beast: Thanks for the suggestions.

As a footnote, since I haven't ever seen a St. Trinian's film I went looking for the school theme. Unfortunately I kept running into the new theme from the new movies that Girls Aloud did, and it sort of sucks. After a bit of searching I found a clip with the original theme which would be fun to hear rerecorded by somebody, ideally with the unrecorded Flanders and Swann song about St. Trinian's students that was to be sung to "Two Little Maids."

#120 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 06:15 PM:

I note, in case it's of interest to anyone, that you can tell the native English speakers at a Dutch Easter vigil because we're the only ones in the congregation singing along to the Hallelujah Chorus. (Happened to sit behind a set of visitors to our fair, flat land. Chatted afterward. Fellow Californians.)

Also, if you're of that persuasion, Christ is Risen, Alleluia! If not, enjoy the chocolate when you catch up with us time-zone-advantaged types.

#121 ::: Mike McHugh ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 07:14 PM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @ 110: not terribly swash-buckly either, but I really like the Moon soundtrack by Clint Mansell, and Spirited Away by Joe Hisaishi. Friday Night Lights is great too, but I like pretty much everything Explosions In The Sky do, so that would not be an unbiased opinion :)

And yes, Stuck In The Middle With You has definitely acquired a Reservoir Dogs association that it won't be losing any time soon.

#122 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 07:52 PM:

Mike, #121: Seconding the recommendation for Moon -- I ran into it in a list of "The Top 100 SF Movie Soundtracks" and it sent me scurrying straight over to Amazon to order the CD. It's spooky and alien and meditative all at the same time. But I agree, not terribly swashbuckling.

Personally, I'm very fond of the LOTR soundtracks for hummable themes, but I wouldn't really call them swashbuckling music either. Some of the Branagh Henry V score might fit, though.

#123 ::: Kyndra ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 08:38 PM:

Caroline @85

I wasn't thinking of twisting inside the corset but rather of pulling the front opening of whatever was worn over it to give access to both sides as needed.

This last baby I wore nursing tanks for the first time and discovered that it was relatively easy to twist my center front opening garments to give access to either side without unbuttoning much or necessarily undoing both sides of the undergarment . I'm thinking this corset would function something like that...K

#124 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 10:11 PM:

Xopher Halftongue @117: Although Mozart wrote a piece using that tune, he didn't compose it.

#125 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 10:53 PM:

Didn't he? Huh. I thought...I was so sure I was taught he wrote that tune when he was like four.

Was this something commonly believed until recently, or is it just another bullshit story like the "Easter comes from Ishtar" thing that made the rounds this year?

#126 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 11:16 PM:

Xopher: he wrote a "variations on...", which I've heard, but I don't think he wrote the original. Isn't it French?


If they're to be trusted, it is in fact a French tune (Ah, vous dirai-je, Maman) from 1761.

#127 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2013, 11:37 PM:

Mike McHugh @121 -- Joe Hisaishi is my personal favorite current soundtrack composer. I have yet to hear anything by him that isn't worth listening to multiple times, even if I haven't seen the movie. All his Miyazaki scores are keepers, and his others are nice too.

#128 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 12:04 AM:

"Exodus" from the film.

"He's a Pirate" from "Pirates of the Caribbean".

#129 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 02:23 AM:

For hummability, the theme from "A Summer Place." For declaiming at the top of your lungs, possibly "Born Free." Swashbuckling, I dunno, unless you want to try "I Don Quixote" from "Man of La Mancha."

Goodness. I saw those movies in high school lo these many years ago.

#130 ::: Geri Sullivan ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 02:57 AM:

Hey, Patrick, congratulations on your Best Editor Long Form Hugo nomination!

Likewise to your fellow nominees in that category, and to all who are enjoying the reality of being nominated this year.

#131 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 03:21 AM:

Elise, #97, thanks for the explanation. Marjorie Farrell, #94, other folks' sense of humor sometimes eludes me also--even when I cognitively get the "joke". Another thing that doesn't help is when sex and violence are made to seem like the same thing.

#132 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 09:02 AM:

hugo geeking moment -- how often has an author been nominated more than once in the same category, 'against themselves'?

#133 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 09:05 AM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @ 110

My favorite movie soundtrack is from "Buckaroo Banzai" and is written by Michael Boddicker.

#134 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 09:49 AM:

Angiportus #131: Another thing that doesn't help is when sex and violence are made to seem like the same thing.

They aren't the same, but they are deeply linked at a biological level, and that's reflected in human culture on all levels. In humans, sexuality and aggression share both cognitive, hormonal, and social "circuits" -- that is, subsections of the respective systems which get invoked for both. This is not accidental or coincidental -- looking back along the evolutionary tree, most vertebrate species have deep links between aggression and sexuality, and some of the invertebrates are worse.

Drifting a bit, the modern campaign to the effect of "rape is always a crime, no excuses or justification etc.... that's not a matter of "rooting out sexist corruption in our society". It's a social-engineering project of awesome ambition, trying to create a new social norm. (My guess is that we'll get partway there over the next couple of generations... assuming the resource collapse doesn't knock the planet back into a new feudalism.)

#135 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 10:25 AM:

TomB #116: "Papa" is also used in Spanish to mean "potato". It happens, in Spanish, to also mean "pope" (except that it's a feminine noun when "potato" and a masculine noun when "pope", this caused an American entrepreneur who wanted to cash in on a papal visit some years ago considerable grief when he printed a large number of tee shirts bearing John Paul II's visage and the legend "Viva la Papa").

#136 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 10:48 AM:

Which reminds me: some years back I read a sort of urban legend that alleged that the Chevy Nova was a flat bust in Latin America because "No va" translates as "doesn't function". Fragano would seem to be the authority to consult on this question.

#137 ::: Dave Luckett visits the gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 10:50 AM:

Their Lownesses would appear to suspect that certain words for "automobile" are used with malign intent. Sirs and mesdames, it is not so, upon my honour!

#138 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 11:34 AM:

For stirring theme music, one of my favorites has always been the opening music from The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr..

Brisco County Theme

You might have also heard it as some of the music played during the Olympics broadcasts in years past.

I really enjoyed that show. Like Firefly, it's another example of good shows dumped by Fox.

#139 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 11:57 AM:

My favorite soundtracks are Pirates of the Caribbean (just the first one), Bionic Commando Rearmed (game soundtrack, nice and techno), and Bastion (another game soundtrack with three amazing vocal tracks). Very different genres, but all very good. I recommend checking them out.

#140 ::: Stephen Sample ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 12:19 PM:

Crossing the singing-songs-to-other-tunes thread with Abi's comment about the Hallelujah Chorus:

The SF group at my college used to go pumpkin caroling on Halloween (mostly to professors' houses).

The carols were mostly monster- and ghost-themed filks of the usual over-played-in malls Christmas fare, but one year one of the group insisted that we needed something better for one of the religion profs, and we ended up with the Halloween Chorus:

Halloween, halloween,
For you are going to
Give us candy.
Halloween, halloween,
Halloween, halloween!
Or we will never stop
This singing...

#141 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 12:25 PM:

Dave Luckett @ 136: Debunked often enough to be usable as meta-humour. See Snopes and lots of other websites.

#142 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 12:39 PM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @ 110:

Since you like "Lawrence" have you listened to any of Maurice Jarre's other scores, like "Dr. Zhivago?"

Try anything you can find composed by Bernard Hermann...the mind behind the shrieking strings of "Psycho."

James Horner's "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn" and "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock." Note -- the complete scores are available now, STII includes the "Amazing Grace" sequence which did not appear on the original LP.

Also Horner -- the "One Ring" theme from Jackson's LOtR, and "The Shire Theme" from "Fellowship."

Of Disney's Pirates, I agree on "He's a Pirate" but beg you to listen to the interweaving themes in both "Dead Man's Chest" and "At World's End." The characters all have themes: Will (French Horns), Elizabeth (violins), Sparrow (cello), and the love theme (duet for music box and organ) for Davy Jones/Tia Dalma. Zimmer takes Badelt's bombast and gives it a sea change...into something rich and strange...

John Williams -- "Hedwig's Theme" from "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone." Among many, many others.

#143 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 12:40 PM:

Happy Easter, and happy birthday César Chavez!
From The Art of Resurrection:

The radios and newspapers began to print and broadcast news of this prophet come down from the hills above the Elqui; an uncivilized campesino, has not cut his hair for years, or his beard or his nails; doesn't even have a grade-school education and yet he can preach for hours before the rapt multitudes, the inflamed rhetoric of an illuminated mestizo, a creole prophet, a Coquimbo messiah. The crowds were shocked to hear him say that the All-powerful is not only with those who go to church, who confess and do penance; his mercy is far greater than that, my brothers, his love is greater than this world, it does not stop at the horizon, is more vast than the very mansion of heaven; he comes not looking for the good or the saintly, he comes to save the wicked and to pardon the sinner. His sacrifice on the cross was for all of us. Including you, my brother, you in the hat with the turned-up brim, making fun of the sacred word!

#144 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 12:48 PM:

Mike McHugh, Lee, Dave Luckett, Linkmeister, Alex R: thanks for all the suggestions--I'll look into them! I should make it clear that I have nothing against non-swashbuckling films: after all I do have GWTW and Lawrence in there, which are hardly swashbucklers. (Although GWTW brings to mind swashbuckler political motivations in a way to give one a very unpleasant pause...)

Oh and a side, possibly troll-related question. When Searle had his 91st birthday, over 70 artists at Pixar illustrated a sketchbook for him and Cartoon Brew mentioned it and provided a link to a blog where they were all posted. Well and good! What annoys me is a comment over at CB where someone wrote "imagine if all these talented artists got to work on a traditional hand drawn 2d animated feature. judging from this work the results would be spectacular." I swear this is one of the codified troll comment patterns, but I can't remember which one it is. (It also frosts the hell out of me whenever I run into this variant, but I acknowledge that's *MY* issue...and possibly "Cecil Adams" as well, who once wrote "When we are talking about the price of mangoes in Sumatra, I am not interested in having you drag in your opinions on the temperature of spit in Wichita.") Can anyone tell me what this version is called?

#145 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 12:55 PM:

I believe it's a species of concern-trolling.

#146 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 01:10 PM:

Lots of Hugo-finals reading to do, I see.
While I am disappointed that "Avengers 1978" didn't make it, web-based magazine "Beneath Ceaseless Skies" did.

#147 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 01:54 PM:

Steve C, shadowsong, Lori Coulson: I'll look into these as well. I'd been skipping television series themes because I once went on a road trip with someone who had grabbed several hundred off of cable broadcasts and played them to make their driving more pleasant. That many in rapid succession can wear upon the soul. (Besides, she didn't have the theme from the blink-once-and-you-missed-it "The Magician," or "Mission Impossible," or the incredibly loopy "Mr. Terrific" ("A scientist, both brave and bold..."), or...

Lori Coulson: Since you like "Lawrence" have you listened to any of Maurice Jarre's other scores, like "Dr. Zhivago?"

No, I have not--possibly because my mom loved Doctor Zhivago so I have seen it so many times on television I feel like my brain will run out my ears when I hear balalaikas--I'll have to listen to the score again. When the Prague CD came out there was a second CD with it called "The Music of Maurice Jarre – A Personal Choice,” but the budget wouldn't allow for that version. I had left out Herrmann, probably because his theme for "Twisted Nerve" gives me the crawls and my subconscious was trying to make sure I didn't hear it again.

Oh, and when looking at the blog dedicated to Searle I ran into this link to a New Yorker cartoon which will keep me grinning for days.

#148 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II feels the Gnomes have been in the prune juice again. ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 01:56 PM:

Clearly they didn't like something. May I recommend some nice Seattle sunshine and an oatmeal cookie from Il Fornaio?

#149 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 02:01 PM:

Jim Macdonald: I believe it's a species of concern-trolling.

Fair enough--you've certainly had to deal with enough trolls to be able to identify types. I think what's annoying me here is the attempt to forcibly twist the topic: when I've seen concern trolling before it usually tags on an earlier reference. The attempt to derail out of the blue just bugs me.

#150 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 02:09 PM:

Bruce E. Durocher II: It's also annoying because it rhymes with the kind of entitled fan who bitches that "Ever since (album name)," their faaaavorite band has become stupid and sold out (or whatever), and that they should go "back to making GOOD music."

Clearly, the person asserting the wish for a Pixar-helmed traditionally-animated feature prefers that to the kind of films they ARE making. But it's not the kind of film the artists themselves WANT to make, so why should they have to? Nobody is required to chain themselves to their desk and keep only making the one kind of art certain fans prefer.

#151 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 02:09 PM:

Bruce E. Durocher II #148: I'd certainly accept it as an attempted derail, in the rough form of concern-trolling. With a side of dissing the accomplishment at hand. The various categories do overlap.

#152 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 02:12 PM:

Lori, #142: Are you sure Horner had anything in LOTR? I thought that was entirely Howard Shore.

Bruce D., #244: I'd call that "good old days" trolling. "These people are so good, imagine if they just did it RIGHT, the way we used to!" This particular example doesn't bug me so much, but I've seen others that wanted to make me tear my hair.

Oh, and on the soundtrack issue, I can also heartily recommend the soundtracks for "Murder on the Orient Express" by Richard Rodney Bennett (very rich, lush work, highly evocative of the period) and "Death on the Nile" by Nino Rota. You occasionally hear the opening piano theme from the former in restaurant soundtracks, and it never fails to make me smile.

Personally, I'm rather fond of Danny Elfman as a composer, although I wouldn't call his work especially hummable. But you might want to check out his version of the "Mission: Impossible" theme updated for the first movie, and the "web-swinging" theme from Spider-Man is extremely memorable.

#153 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 02:14 PM:

Dave Luckett #136: While "No va" mean's "Doesn't go", the story of the Chevy Nova being unmarketable in Spanish-speaking countries appears to be no more than an urban legend. There may be more to the issue of the Ford Pinto being unsaleable in Brazil, where "pinto" means "small penis". Ford had to rebrand the model as the "Corcel" (i.e., courser).

#154 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 02:17 PM:

Ouch. I seem to have committed an intrusive apostrophe. I've been reading too many of the damned things.

#155 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 02:25 PM:

Bruce E. Durocher II et al: To me it looks a subtle concern troll of the type "These people are wasting their [resources] on [a cause I find unworthy]. They should work on [my worthy cause] instead."

#156 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 02:29 PM:

Jenny Islander @118: "If you can get the edition with the recordings of Kesh music in the back pocket, even better."

For those who can't find the cassette tape, or wouldn't know what to do with it if they had it, there now is a digital version:

#157 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 02:46 PM:

Bruce, Elliott, and Roy: it's also a cross between CATFOTFIC (Complaining About The Flavor Of The Free Ice Cream) and chutneying (proposing creative projects for someone else to do).

#158 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 03:07 PM:

Xopher, you've just given me a perfect definition of certain behavior that irritates me greatly: Complaining About The Flavor of the Free Ice Cream. I've been dealing with a local, lab-related version since last summer, and the label fits perfectly.

[Warning: Research Etiquette Rambling]

At least in research-land, being Chutneyed is a good thing (it's what primary investigators - the faculty members who get grants - do); I got chutneyed into a couple collaborations with a couple different friends, so I'm not objecting. That said, CATFOTFIC in research-land is bad... suffice it to say that when someone outside the lab wants us (the lab that *owns* and maintains a piece of expensive equipment) to modify our setup to accommodate their crappy code, I consider this CATFOTFIC in the extreme. Especially when we have a series of ongoing experiments running on this setup. Bonus points for non-lab-member irritating the Amazing Girlfriend on the issue. Not amused, at the moment.

[/Research Etiquette Rambling]

#159 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 03:16 PM:

Roy V. Ovrebo @ #154, as when the woman poured precious ointment on Jesus' feet, and the disciples piped up "This ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor". (Matthew 26:9)

#160 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 03:37 PM:

Lee -- you're right, it's Shore for LOtR -- that's what I get for trying to do things off the top of my head. Mea culpa!

#161 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 03:45 PM:

Elliott Mason @132:: It's actually not that uncommon. A quick run-through turns up:

1959: C. M. Kornbluth is nominated in Best Short Story for both "The Advent on Channel 12" and "The Theory of Rocketry". (Many nominees that year; the rules were still in a state of flux.)

1967: Roger Zelazny for Novelette for "This Moment of the Storm" and "For a Breath I Tarry".

1973: Robert Silverberg for Novel (the only time someone's been nominated for two different novels) for both Dying Inside and The Book of Skulls.

1974: Michael Bishop in Novella for "Death and Designation Among the Asadi" and "The White Otters of Childhood".

1977: John Varley in Novelette for "Gotta Sing, Gotta Dance" and "The Phantom of Kansas".

1981: George R. R. Martin in Novella for "Nightflyers" and "One-Wing" (this latter in collaboration with Lisa Tuttle, though); also Jeff Duntemann (who?) in Short Story for "Cold Hands" and "Guardian".

1988: Kim Stanley Robinson in Novella for "The Blind Geometer" and "Mother Goddess of the World".

1992: Nancy Kress in Novella for "Beggars in Spain" and "And Wild For to Hold"; also Mike Resnick in Short Story for "One Perfect Morning, With Jackals" and "Winter Solstice".

1995: Ursula K. Le Guin in Novelette for "Solitude" and "The Matter of Seggri".

1996: Ursula K. Le Guin again in Novella for "A Woman's Liberation" and "A Man of the People"; also Greg Egan in Novelette for "Luminous" and "TAP".

1999: Michael Swanwick in Short Story for "The Very Pulse of the Machine", "Radiant Doors", and "Wild Minds".

2003: Michael Swanwick again in Short Story for "'Hello', Said the Stick" and "The Little Cat Laughed to See Such Sport".

2005: Charles Stross in Novella for "The Concrete Jungle" and "Elector"; also Mike Resnick in Short Story for "Travels With My Cats" and "A Princess of Earth".

2008: Greg Egan in Novelette for "Dark Integers" and "Glory".

#162 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 04:14 PM:

I'm putting in a nice word for Conan's soundtrack.

#163 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 04:31 PM:

Lila, 159: More specifically, it was *a* disciple, the one in charge of the common purse, who wanted the ointment to be sold so that he could steal the money.

#164 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 05:06 PM:

@Bruce E. Durocher II #110:

It's very simple and short, but Shirley Walker's opener for Space: Above and Beyond will pin you to your seat. She is also responsible for the awesomosity that is the music for the DC Animated Universe.

@all Tolkien geeks everywhere:

Do you remember the beginning of Ainulindale, where Tolkien describes a musical War in Heaven? Okay, now grab your LOTR soundtrack CDs or put in one of the DVDs and cue up Mordor's Theme. You hear that blatting, sour, repetitive march--dahh DAHHHH dahh da-da-dahhh, dahhh DAAAAHHHHHH da-da-dahhh? Okay, now go to the moment in ROTK when the Dark Tower is thrown down. Listen carefully. You'll only hear it once. Now reread Ainulindale.

Howard Shore was paying attention.

#165 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 05:07 PM:

TexAnne, Matthew's version just says "his disciples"; John 12:4 identifies it as Judas, and goes on to identify him as the one who kept the purse and as a thief.

#166 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 05:09 PM:

re soundtracks, I really really like several of the tracks from "Cowboys & Aliens" and "Iron Man".

#167 ::: the Modesto kid ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 05:16 PM:

I'll put in a vote for "Stroszek"'s soundtrack.

#168 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 05:44 PM:

May I mention, here, that the handsome and witty Patrick NH has been nominated for Best Editor, Long Form?

#169 ::: KristianB ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 05:44 PM:

James Horner was already mentioned, so I'll put in a word for A Beautiful Mind.

#170 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 05:55 PM:

David Goldfarb @151: I'm really liking the thought that Seanan McGuire is now in a moderately- exclusive club whose other members are C. M. Kornbluth, Roger Zelazny, Robert Silverberg, Michael Bishop, John Varley, George R. R. Martin, Jeff Duntemann (brother of a very active Chicago fan), Kim Stanley Robinson, Nancy Kress, Mike Resnick, Ursula K. Le Guin, Michael Swanwick, Charles Stross, and Greg Egan. Those are some good names for your name to be read next to.

#171 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 06:10 PM:

Jenny Islander @ 164

I'm not musically astute enough to pick that up - just caught the edges of it after watching a couple times - but that's truly cool!

#172 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 06:22 PM:

Michael Kamen did some good scoring work for "The Dead Zone" and for "X-men".

#173 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 06:44 PM:

A question for mythology folks...
Was Herne the Hunter sometimes called Hern? If so, where?

#174 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 08:48 PM:

Serge @173:

My first reaction was, "is old spelling ever stable enough to distinguish Herne from Hern?"

Then I looked at the Wiki page, and found that the earliest spelling with a final 'e' comes from the Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shaksper--sorry, Shakspere--whoops, I meant Shakspeare--drat, I mean Shakespeare--who doesn't even give any syllable to the final 'e' in the prosody, i.e. he makes it a monosyllable in the line of blank verse:

The superstitious idle-headed eld
Receiv'd, and did deliver to our age,
This tale of Herne the Hunter for a truth.

So it was "Hern" to his ear rather than "Herne".

If it was either of those, given that the earliest printing in the First Quarto actually has "Horne" twice, both in the verse above and in Falstaff's prose echo of it.

So I guess my question would be: isn't it inevitable that Herne the Hunter would be called Hern as well, and often?

#175 ::: duckbunny ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 08:50 PM:

It has just occured to me that one-song-to-the-tune-of-another might be a marvellous method of creating less-recognisable filk songs. Set the lyrics to be adapted to an alternative tune, and then alter for setting and flavour.
(Yes, I know, it would be better to write my own lyrics from scratch. But I'm not very good at that, and I am quite good at spotting emotionally appropriate songs.)

My favourite song/tune combination is to sing While Shepherds Watched to the tune of Ilkley Moor, leaving in the silly bits. Thus we may be sure that there is goodwill from heaven to men without their trousers on.

#176 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 09:09 PM:

Possibly a fool's errand but here I attempt to sing "Queen Jane Approximately" to the tune of "Stagger Lee"; and here I attempt to sing "Highway 61 Revisited" to the tune of "Drinkin Wine Spoh De Oh Dee".

#177 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2013, 09:43 PM:

oldster @ 174... isn't it inevitable that Herne the Hunter would be called Hern as well, and often?

As long as nobody calls him Hernee.
Otherwise people will ask where Bert is.

#178 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 12:03 AM:

While folding laundry earlier today, we were regaled by a bird in the trees doing its best imitation of the song of... a car alarm.

"Cheep-cheep-cheep-cheep-cheep-cheep-cheep-cheep-cheep-cheep-cheep-cheep-cheep-cheep-cheep-cheep-cheep-cheep-cheep-cheep-cheep-cheep-cheep-cheep-cheep-chirp", repeated several times at evenly spaced intervals.

That was great.

#179 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 12:14 AM:

Someday I want to blast Beethoven's Fifth at a mockingbird to see if it learns it.

#180 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 12:16 AM:

re wrong tunes:
You can do Yankee Doodle to the tune of Good King Wenceslas
Clementine to the tune of Mac The Knife
Night Before Christmas to the tune of On Top Of Old Smokey.

#181 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 12:41 AM:

Choral Nerdery: Good King Wencelaus also fits perfectly and inappropriately to 'Estuans Interius', the shouty baritone solo from Carmina Burana

#182 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 01:14 AM:

Backyard hobbit holes!
You have no idea how much I want one of these.

Clifton, #178: Many of the grackles in Houston have learned to mimic the full range of car-alarm noises, in order. You can be walking thru the parking lot at UofH and hear car alarms emanating from the trees.

#183 ::: J Homes ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 01:17 AM:

In certain circles I used to move in, it was accepted that "Clementine" should always be sung to a Welsh hymn tune called (IIRC) "Cwm Rhonnda" which also had English words "Bread of Heaven".

I have also heard "The Lord is my Shepherd" sung, solo unaccompanied voice, to "House of the Rising Sun". Beautiful.

J Homes.

#184 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 01:17 AM:

One of Dunsany's Jorkens stories involves a mockingbird that has learned to imitate Beethoven.

#185 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 01:21 AM:

Wait, you mean the "Chevy NoVa" story is an urban legend? Goodness, I've been using that one in various classes for years--best I stop doing it, then, forthwith. Pity, it was a clever story (like many urban legends, I suppose). Ah, well, back to trying to explain why naming a car "the Edsel" didn't work . . .

#186 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 01:23 AM:

Charles Stross has announced he is going into the movie business, here on his blog. He has the financing lined up.

#187 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 02:10 AM:

Bummer about the Chevy NoVa being an urban legend. My old Spanish teacher told that one and he had actually lived in Mexico!

So is the one about the sexually explicit chicken tenderizer also an urban legend? Supposedly some company north of the border wanted to sell a combined seasoning/tenderizer for chicken south of the border, but they tried to use a dictionary instead of asking a fluent speaker. So "It takes a tough man to make a chicken tender" turned into "Sexually aggressive men cause chickens to feel sexual desire."

#188 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 03:14 AM:

Jenny Islander@187, it's probably an urban legend, told by people who think chicken comes pre-wrapped in plastic from the supermarket, but has definitely mutated to get the version you're telling. I grew up in Delaware, somewhat north of the Delmarva Peninsula chicken-farming country, and I remember the TV commercials about "It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken", with pictures of old farmer Frank Perdue, the guy who ran one of the biggest chicken factory agribusinesses.

#189 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 03:46 AM:

Ex Urbe finishes up her series on Machiavelli over on her blog.

#190 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 07:22 AM:

Erik Nelson @ #179, it would. There was one living outside my brother's trailer when he was in grad school that learned his favorite bit of Mozart. And when I was growing up, one of the neighborhood mockingbirds used to imitate the distinctive whistle my father used to call us home.

#191 ::: James E ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 07:38 AM:

Duckbunny @175: That's not surprising; that tune (Cranbrook) was being used as a setting for While Shepherds Watched before Ilkley Moor had been written*. I've seen it claimed Cranbrook was written specifically to fit the carol words, but I don't think that's true.

* which doesn't mean the Ilkley Moor/While Shepherds Watched mashup isn't awesome, of course

#192 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 08:26 AM:

Clifton @ 178, I've heard mockingbirds that live near my campus parking lot do that! They learned the car alarm with the four different siren/horn noises in sequence. I cracked up laughing when I realized what I was hearing.

#193 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 10:49 AM:

I want to thank TNH for the Act of Hostility particle. I wonder if it's been submitted to my new favorite Tumblr (along with dog shaming - which in most cases should actually be called People Shaming) WTF Plus, which says pretty much everything that needs to be said about the plus-size clothing industry.

#194 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 10:55 AM:

Some of the calls of cardinals sound rather like car alarms to start with (not the first 'phrase' on that recording, the second).

#195 ::: Elliott Mason got gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 10:56 AM:

Probably for messing up my link. Alas.

#196 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 11:13 AM:

Re: An Act of Hostility -- I'm less comfortable these days with shaming people for what they choose to wear than I have been in the past. A lot of the results may not be to my taste (which is frequently true with those who follow fashion rather than style). But I don't see it as hostility to make the options available. Am I better off restricting people's choices on how to dress, even if a lot of the ways they choose look odd to me?

#197 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 11:24 AM:

I don't know - as a fatty who is damn tired of the disgusting, unflattering and unfashionable polyester garbage that's thrown at us year after year, I find both the particle and WTF Plus as shaming the purveyors of this crap, rather than the wearers. I hope that site in particular adds awareness - for every fat person you see who doesn't look like an utter clown, you know they have spent a million times more time and money to do it.

#198 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 11:30 AM:

Also, one of the things I saw posted on the Tumblr was a link to a retailer's "Trends" section. The supposed "trends" for the straight sizes were completely different from the "trends" for the plus sizes. No, I don't want to restrict someone's sense of fashion, but it looks like the retailers are doing it for us. For those of us who are too old to be cool, they show cute A-line skirts and cotton blend form skimming tops in straight sizes, and blouson shapeless polyester crap and "pencil" skirts (they take up less fabric) that lack shaping in Plus. For Juniors - ugly stuff that's not to my taste, yet is considered trendy by the wider fashion world for straight sizes, or ugly stuff that's not to my taste, contains absolutely no natural fibers and that isn't even "fashionable" - or maybe it was in straight sizes three years ago. Where's the choice there?

#199 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 12:50 PM:

Dave Bell #186: Frail Pool Productions is a great name for a rock band.

#200 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 01:38 PM:

...So with Corwin being a Name on the Intert00bz, would Steven be "Daddy Brust"?

#201 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 02:11 PM:

I have to disagree with the "Overtly Hostile Act" particle. Providing people with the option of wearing clothing that you personally consider unattractive isn't a hostile act, nor is someone wearing them. (Not to mention that those pants would be great for con costuming! And I see some fabulous costuming on large women.)

T-shirts for 5-year-old girls emblazoned with slogans like "I'm Hot" and "Too Sexy"? Now that's an overtly hostile act -- and one I've seen in regular mass-market stores.

#202 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 02:20 PM:

Wait 'til 3-D printing really catches on. You'll see some clothing choices that will be astounding.

#203 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 02:31 PM:

I'm not convinced that any of the clothing retailers actually design clothing with the vast majority of people in mind. Most men's clothing for people my age assumes that I'm hipster-thin (nope; insert one fluctuating nerd-gut here); most women's clothing, according to the Amazing Girlfriend, is exhibitionist in ways she Does Not Like. This doesn't even begin to touch the whole range in which women's shoes seem to be designed by misogynist fools. All I can say is "Thank G-D for Zappos... "

I'm waiting for the combination of full-body 3D scanners and cheap-enough robotic tailoring apparatus to completely gut the current clothing industry. Why bother buying hideous, ill-fitting, off-the-shelf garbage when you can have it tailored to your body and made as a bespoke item?

A decent chunk of this technology is available now (although it's being used in ways that may taint it for years): millimeter-wave scanners. They're merely OK for finding this we don't want on planes, but they're really good - really, disturbingly good - at making a very accurate surface map of an entire human body. So, take that output and use it as a digital tailoring dummy. I have no idea if anyone's been working on a robotic tailor, but the problem doesn't seem unsolvable, even with current-generation technology.

#204 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 02:51 PM:

"Why bother buying hideous, ill-fitting, off-the-shelf garbage ...."

Hideous, ill-fitting, off-the-shelf garbage made by child labor in sweatshops.

Still, where do the creatives fit? The designers? The skilled and talented?

#205 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 02:52 PM:

Benjamin Wolfe @203 and Jim Macdonald @202 -- complete agreement. It takes much more time to do style than fashion. If you have money, fashion is easy, and style is difficult. If you don't have money, fashion is very difficult, and style is just difficult. I much prefer style.

#206 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 03:03 PM:

I'd say you still need skill - algorithms are useful, but are no substitute for human interaction.

The way I was looking at it, one of the root problems is "why can't I get something that makes me look good (since it isn't made / is prohibitively expensive)." I'd say my solution requires skilled and creative experts, since asking the ClothingBot to make me look good / professional / cute / formal / etc is a much harder problem than asking a human. I'd like to take the sweatshops entirely out of the equation, but still leave room for human skill, interaction and expertise. Thinking back about fourteen years; there's nothing to make a 13 year old kid feel more adult than getting fitted for his first full suit.

#207 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 03:15 PM:

A friend of mine and I were wondering where Christian Grey's henchman managed to find a bra and panty set at some early hour of the morning. I suggested he had a 3D lingerie printer.

#208 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 03:17 PM:

#89 Dave Bell: And speaking of "wouldn't pay money to see", Colin Sell on the piano.

Unreadable text: Most browsers have a "use my fonts and colours, even when the site says otherwise." button buried somewhere. I use it - even here, in fact; for how many others is ML written in The Prisoner's Village font?

It causes its own issues; sizing mostly, but there are places like Michael Geist's site that if you're not using his setup, the right half of his words overlap the right sidebar. But I don't remember the last time I had a "who thought this was easy to read?" moment.

Clothing: I haven't seen the particle, but at 6'0", 140#, I, too have issues. Maybe it would be better were I female (for "size N" issues at least; my tall female friends complain about finding skirts that are not either unfashionably short (knee-length on "real women", whoever they are) or floorlength, and of course the "yes, my arms are that long" issue). Probably it won't - the clothing industry is part of the "make people feel vaguely like they could do better so they buy something else hoping" game.

Fortunately for me, fashion isn't an issue; find something that looks vaguely business-appropriate and expects to be abused, and buy lots of it in various dark colours. Note that as a male, the default behaviour of clothing is "assume the user will abuse it and not know how/care to iron"; I notice that's never advertised to women.

#209 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 03:18 PM:

The first person to combine a body-scanner with a 3-D printer to make custom bras is going to get very, very rich.

#210 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 03:25 PM:

I'm wondering if 3D printing is the right way to go for clothing - all of the methods I've seen are variants of an incremental buildup procedure (either by depositing, the way most of the $2k and under printers do, or by bonding a media powder, the way that higher-end, higher-resolution ones do). I haven't yet seen a 3D printer that can do anything like fabric. Theoretically, it's doable with sufficiently high resolution, but it's a nasty problem.

That said, if someone wanted a bronze/steel bra, that is printable with current-generation technology. Can't imagine it'd be comfortable or sane, but it's doable.

#211 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 03:28 PM:

A variant that's a business model waiting for funding would be a 3D scanner and a printer for making accurate busts of customers - and having the bras made by hand. In fact, that's someone's internet-based business model waiting to happen: customer gets scanned, company has bust on file, customer orders bras based on scanned dimensions. Iterate as needed; rescan customer if necessary.

#212 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 03:39 PM:

Benjamin Wolfe @211 and sundry others.

I've done enough CGI things to have noticed that there is a difference of shape between supported and unsupported. And I have heard enough stories, ML amd elsenet, to suspect that a comfortably-supported shape would be the optimum for the process.

But how do you bootstrap things?

#213 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 03:40 PM:

Jim Macdonald @202: Wait 'til 3-D printing really catches on. You'll see some clothing choices that will be astounding.

Ya mean like this?

#214 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 03:46 PM:

As pointed out in the parhelia, crochet is fundamentally similar to 3D printing. Crocheted objects are built up one row at a time (as are knitted objects). Depending on the stitch and yarn, the fabric can vary considerably in properties such as weight and elasticity.

#215 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 03:47 PM:

Dave Bell @212: there is a difference of shape between supported and unsupported.

For sufficiently high values of "shape," there is a difference in dimensions between supported and unsupported. And not a good one.

#216 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 03:56 PM:

Lila @ 214: Huh. Not being a crocheter myself, I hadn't thought of it that way - it's entirely possible to 3D print a structure like that, it just takes sufficiently high resolution (which we can, probably, do now with what's available) and a sufficiently flexible printing medium (which, I suspect, is a harder problem). Right now, the widely available media are either, at best, semiflexible plastics or metal-bearing media for various other applications. I'd love to see a printing media that would work as a cloth analogue (the clothing in Jacque's link at 213 is cool, in a poke-your-eye-out kind of way, but appears to be a standard rigid print, which would be kind of problematic for garments of any description).

There are certainly plenty of flexible plastics out there, but how suitable they'd be for high-resolution 3D printing I can't begin to guess.

#217 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 04:09 PM:

The way people are always told to figure out their bra size is a complete lie, too. You know, the typical "measure under your bust; add 4 if the number is even, add 5 if the number is odd; then measure around your bust and subtract the first number from the second" algorithm.

I recently re-measured myself according to these instructions from Venusian Glow [possible NSFW -- photos of women in their bras] and found out I'm really a much smaller band size and a much larger cup size than I'd thought. This is apparently super-common. The "measure and add 4 or 5" algorithm tends to result in a band size that's much too large, and a cup size that's much too small.

I also learned that cup size is extremely relative to band size. It actually makes no sense at all to say "I'm a DD cup" (or whatever) -- the volume contained by 32DD cups is extremely different from the volume contained by 40DD cups.

I bought some bras in the new size and oh my goodness the fit is so much ridiculously better. I had always just thought I was a weird-shaped person, because bras always rode up at the bottom or gapped at the top, straps fell down, etc., even though I was wearing the "right size" according to that "measure and add 4 or 5" algorithm. I figured my shoulders were just too narrow, my bust just wasn't rounded enough, whatever. It turns out I am not shaped strangely -- it's just that that algorithm is completely incorrect. In the new size, I can wear off-the-rack bras and have them fit properly, no custom tailoring necessary.

Annoyingly, most U.S. department and discount stores carry only a very small range of sizes, which does not include mine. However, I've found a good online retailer that carries a good range of sizes and styles, some in a decent price range --, who are actually based in the U.K., but still somehow manage to have $5 shipping to the U.S. [Also possible NSFW, for models in their underwear.]

My point is that better-fitting bras might actually exist -- it's just that most people are a completely different size than they're usually told.

Now, better-fitting women's trousers … I'm not convinced those actually exist unless you have them custom-made or tailored. The range of body shapes and sizes that women's trousers are made to fit is ridiculously narrow. (I read an interesting and depressing Slate article about the history of clothing sizes that explains. Basically, women's clothing manufacturers figure it's just too complicated to account for the full range of waist/hip ratios. It would slow down automated production too much. So they just pick one body shape and go with it.)

#218 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 04:17 PM:

Benjamin Wolfe #203: In fact, this morning I just ordered $450 worth of shoes from Zappos. I am planning on returning 2 or 3 of the 4 pairs, depending on which ones fit best. They didn't have an exact match to my "Costa Rica shoes" that lasted 3 years before the elastic gave out, but I stuck with the same brand (Keen).

I don't completely get that WTFPlus tumbler, in that half the styles they were ranting about looked perfectly OK to me. I did note that the models showing those clothes ranged from scary-thin to "maybe a fashion designer considers them exceptionally large, but I sure don't".

Of course, I'm male and half-Aspie, so I'm not too clued in on style matters.

#219 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 04:39 PM:

#215 ::: Jacque

I think that shows the ruff idea.

#220 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 04:43 PM:

A lot of the WTF issues are related to patterns. If you were to wander into the plus sized department of JC Penneys or what have you, you'd notice there were an awful lot of animal prints. Moreso than the non-Plus size department. And while I think a bit of cheetah print can be fun, if I were to try to replenish my wardrobe after, say losing 17 lbs (as I just did) it would be very difficult to do my shopping and not spend the entire season looking like I'm cos-playing as the San Diego Wild Animal Park. (It took six stores to get 4 neutral tops and 2 neutral pants. Two of the tops are half-petroleum based.)

The other thing that's showing up on there is terrible, terrible fabrics. Poly, poly, poly. Yes, you do see petroleum based fabrics in the Misses section, but not to the extent as in the plus. Transparent items marketed as "business wear" and cheap plastic "embellishments" - again, cause the clothes to wear out before there time and are underrepresented in "regular" sizes. Don't even get me started on the "single shoulder" bullshit. How am I supposed to wear a bra under that?

But sign me up for the re-purposed millimeter wave/3D printed bra! Especially if I can get one for under $100. I'm seriously considering getting a reduction because I can't afford those damn things. If I lived in the UK, my size is common at their major department stores, and you can get a fairly cheap one in an emergency at Asda (Walmart). Yes, you get what you pay for, but sometimes you just need to replace the $95 model the underwire's exploded from on a rent week. Come to think of it, I blew out a tire a couple of months ago on a rent week. Guess which cost more (not including installation)? Major surgery as an alternative to our shitty lack of consumer choice. Hooray for capitalism!

#221 ::: Laura Runkle ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 04:52 PM:

Jim McDonald #209. As they have already done with prostheses? (possibly NSFW for breast prostheses) (leg prostheses).

And then there's the clothing item that made me certain that no jury of my peers would convict me if I had the designer in reach - I went swimsuit shopping with my teenaged daughter. No Good Came Of It.

#222 ::: Quixote ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 04:56 PM:

John #39: Thanks, that was exactly what I was looking for.

#223 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 05:00 PM:

My partner Karen has a long diatribe on good bra fitting. It contains much of what Caroline@217 says. And yes, it's really clear that supported is very different from unsupported. Even more so if the person has been unsupported for decades and has significant sag issues. She says that one thing is good about bra sizes as they exist now: they're very consistent. If she finds a size that works, other bras in the same size generally work as well.

#224 ::: Quixote ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 05:03 PM:

Since they haven't come up in the discussion so far, I'd like to recommend a few additional soundtracks:

Sneakers by James Horner (with an assist from Branford Marsalis). Quite different from his other movie work.

The Brotherhood of the Wolf, by Joseph LoDuca.

Finally, The Incredibles, by Michael Giacchino. Unlike the other two I've named, I think it's definitely a hum-able, swashbuckle-ey collection.

#225 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 05:09 PM:

Agreed that we have a long way to go from millimeter scanning to making clothing and shoes by 3D printing, but I'm looking forward to getting there.

I wonder how far you could get with computer-controlled crocheting. I'm thinking very small stitches and slightly loose tension to produce reasonably flexible fabric. And adding elastic thread if you need stretch. Does this make sense?

#226 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 05:11 PM:

The photo gallery at Bespoke Innovations includes one of the other examples of 3-D printed stuff that was in Science News - the prosthetic leg with the lace front.

#227 ::: vee ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 05:21 PM:

Caroline @217 and anyone else looking for odd-sized bras--another retailer is Bare Necessities. They're currently running a sale on DD+ sizes with free shipping both ways.

Now if only I could convince my mother that she's been wearing the wrong size bra her whole life, rather than having her inform me that I drink too much milk and that's why my boobies are big. (I had stopped drinking milk for several years at the time of her telling me this.)

#228 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 05:56 PM:

Benjamin Wolfe @206: there's nothing to make a 13 year old kid feel more adult than getting fitted for his first full suit

That wasn’t my experience. Getting schlepped to an outlet, stuffed into uncomfortable clothing I didn’t ever want to wear, and then poked and prodded by a tailor, while my grandparents cooed oh, how handsome and grown-up he looks! just underlined my lack of power.

#229 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 05:59 PM:

I didn't get fitted for my first full suit until my senior year of college.

#230 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 06:08 PM:

Avram @ 228: I'm not trying to suggest it's a universal experience; more that mine was made special because the tailor seemed to care that I was happy about how I looked in it. That said, the experience resulted in one of the less attractive poloroids of me in existence, so that's in the minus column.

#231 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 06:22 PM:

Benjamin, #211 et al: One thing that immediately leaps to my mind about the "scan once, make to order" concept is, how do you get the customer to the scanner? That's not a part of the process that can be done online, so unless you had a chain of actual physical storefronts with a scanner in each one, you've got an access bottleneck for anyone who doesn't have money to travel.

nerdycellist, #220: Polyester is pretty much a deal-breaker for me -- but although I'm not model-slim by any means, I'm "only" about a size 18, where you can still find a lot of natural-fabric options. I won't even buy 50/50 T-shirts any more because I don't like the way they feel on my body. (For some reason, 5% spandex doesn't trigger the same response.)

Ross Dress For Less routinely has colorful caftans in "One Size" that I think runs to about 3X, and they're about $10-$12 each. Obviously not suited for business, but for casual or (in some fabrics) dressy, they work well.

#232 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 06:30 PM:

I'm having vague recollections of someone, in the last few years, doing a precursor to that idea in upscale malls - essentially, it was a kiosk in the mall, not attached to a store, where you could be imaged (I'm remembering something other than millimeter-wave scanning, but no matter) and then they'd tell you what size you were at various retailers. It was a crude form of the idea, but not a bad one for all that.

My thought - if I wanted to turn this into a viable business - would be to insert it in a mall as a kiosk/mini-business; get scanned there, and get it uploaded to the manufacturer. Arguably, you probably don't want a real storefront (unless the TailorBot is pretty small). It's a thought, not a business I'm planning on starting this week.

#233 ::: Benjamin Wolfe has been Gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 06:31 PM:

Would the Gnomes be available to help me chew on someone who isn't happy with the flavor of the free ice cream here in lab?

Also, I have Peasch-compliant apple-plum crumble. And super-concentrated coffee.

#234 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 06:44 PM:

Oh, for soundtracks, I recommend Gladiator. I'm not sure about "swashbuckling", but it sure is enjoyably bombastic.

#235 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 06:50 PM:

My Amazing Girlfriend and I are fond of something that isn't (quite) a soundtrack, but it's in the same general family: Archangel, by Two Steps From Hell. We use it as either Baking Music or as Psychophysics Music (or, avoiding faceplants on the keyboard when running in each other experiments).

#236 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 06:56 PM:

The San Jose Mercury News has an article on April 1 technology PR announcements.

Twitter unveiled a new plan to increase revenue from its popular micro-blogging service. From now on, the company said, the service would only be free to users as Twttr, allowing people to post as many short messages as they liked, provided they used only consonants. "For five dollars a month," the company said on its blog, "you can use our premium 'Twitter' service which also includes vowels."

#237 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 07:02 PM:

Nancy @#225: I wouldn't trust a robot to crochet--it would require hitting a moving loop of thread.

#238 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 07:15 PM:

Bll Stwrt, #236:

G, tht snds knd f fmlr.

Lnk t Twttr.

#239 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 07:18 PM:

In other news, Fermilab has named a new Director today.

"This despite the fact that none of the members could determine with any certainty exactly what the new lab director's doctorate is in."

#240 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 08:16 PM:

Benjamin Wolfe @235: If you like "Archangel" you'll also like "Invincible", by the same group, and "Illusions" by Thomas Bergersen (half of Two Steps). They have a "Halloween" album and a newer one called "SkyWorld" as well, but I don't think they're as good.

I've had a group called "Immediate Music" recommended to me, but haven't investigated them as yet.

#241 ::: glinda ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 09:35 PM:

Jim Macdonald @ 209:

Oh dear ghods yes. The sooner the better. Especially if they can make the bras available for, say, $25 or under (which is still beyond my budget) instead of the $60 I have to pay if I want one that truly fits. Obviously, I end up compromising.

#242 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 09:41 PM:

Bill Higgins @ 239... what the new lab director's doctorate is *in*

"By golly, Jim, I'm beginning to think I can cure a rainy day."

#243 ::: glinda ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 09:42 PM:

Caroline @ 217:

"Slacks that fit" were the reason I started making my own clothing, as a teen. I was badly underweight until I was in my mid-30s; I'm also 5'9. So what fit around the waist and hips would be several inches too short. In the late 60s-early 70s I got around this by buying jeans from Army/Navy surplus stores - 28 waist, at least 34 long.

I've now got a different problem; am the opposite of underweight, but still tall, still not big-boned. Nothing really fits well. And making clothing is no longer inexpensive; patterns are costly, and fabric worse. (Am going to be trying to make something dressy for an event in the beginning of August, and not looking forward to trying to find the pattern and fabric I want.)

#244 ::: glinda ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 09:46 PM:

Adding to the list of favorite soundtracks:

Out of Africa. Not exactly hummable, but such lovely music.

#245 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 09:47 PM:

Bill Higgins@239, Serge Broom@242: "Well...everything, really."

#246 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 11:28 PM:

My mother died this afternoon. She was 98. Mom started reading science fiction when she got a copy of A Princess of Mars for her seventh birthday. Wrote a fan letter to Edgar Rice Burroughs and got a nice letter back, not a form letter. Read and reread Georgette Heyer. Her favorite author was Terry Pratchett. I don't know if she was his oldest fan, but she was certainly in the running. She had been in increasingly poor health since my father died two years ago, and wanted nothing more than to join him. She fell asleep and didn't wake up, which is how she said she wanted to go. Here she is (wearing her medals) last year at the Military Women's History Corridor at the Pentagon.

She had a good run.

#247 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 11:33 PM:

Tracie, I'm sorry for your loss, but I'm glad the end was peaceful for her.

#248 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2013, 11:59 PM:

Tracie, #246: My condolences on your loss. May she be remembered well.

#249 ::: Mishalak ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2013, 12:01 AM:

I am going to go out on a limb and actually recommend some music. Usually I do not since musical taste is so individual. However as adventurous soundtracks go I am going to suggest Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events with a score by Thomas Newman, particularly the piece called "Drive Away (End Title)". It has a wonderfully bouncy quality that I often put on when I am cleaning.

Second I will suggest checking out "Jefferson In Paris" by Richard Robbins. The first time I heard a piece of this score I stopped cold and could not leave my car until it had finished. That particular one was entitled "Pantograph". Somewhat similar to the music of Philip Glass, so give it a miss if you hate that sort of music in a slightly bouncier style.

I have limited myself to just three so finally I will recommend the soundtrack of a documentary. "New York", the original music was by Brian Keene and I particularly like "Hamilton's Theme". I love the original music as it often fills me with hope even though I am not a New Yorker.

#250 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2013, 12:36 AM:

@Tracie: Condolences. It sounds like your mom had a long life well lived and gracefully concluded.

It must have been fascinating for her to see SF&F evolve from the likes of Burroughs to the likes of Pratchett.

#251 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2013, 02:55 AM:

Tracie, my sympathies as well.

#252 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2013, 07:45 AM:

Tracie, I'm so sorry.

#253 ::: duckbunny ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2013, 07:54 AM:

I am tall and disproportionate* and clothing never fits. There's a reasonable chance of finding sleeves long enough if I buy men's clothing, which suits me just fine for other, gender-based reasons, but then the shirts don't pull down over my hips. Trousers, well, I'm doing well if I can't fit both fists between my back and the waistband. So I pretty much buy men's there too, because it's not as if I won't need to bunch them up under a belt if I buy women's, so I may as well have something designed to be worn more than three times. With pockets.
I'm gradually getting the hang of making my own clothes, or at any rate my own LARP kit. Medieval rectangles-plus-gussets shirts also do not fit. But at least nobody really minds if I adapt them.

*In the words of my friend the professional seamstress, on measuring me for a corset recently: "My God, you have no torso."

#254 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2013, 09:06 AM:

My condolences, Tracie.

#255 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2013, 10:27 AM:

Tracie, my condolences.

#256 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2013, 10:45 AM:

Sorry, Tracie. You and she will be in my thoughts and prayers.

#257 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2013, 11:30 AM:

This offer is strictly legit! It's a local backyard business: Free Fuel!

#258 ::: John A Arkansawyer has been gnomed for referring to the List of Craig ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2013, 11:32 AM:

Only appropriate, as I forgot the vinegar for the salad dressing. I'll bring it along.

[You wouldn't believe how many spam-flags that comment tripped. -- Pesquatacomi Burrel, Duty Gnome]

#259 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2013, 11:45 AM:

Condolences, Tracie. May memory be a blessing.

#260 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2013, 12:10 PM:

Tracie #246: My condolences. All I can say is that she lived a long life, and I hope that it was a full and satisfying one.

#261 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2013, 12:45 PM:

Re: Amazon announces purchase of English

I expect that a certain G. Chaucer could make a claim of a "common law trademark". I think, from what I read of the stunt that Games Workshop are pulling, that any existing user of the English language could make that claim as counter to the announcement.

I shall let somebody with more talent and knowledge write the letter, but "Whanne in aprill with his shoures soote" is a line that is crying out to be used.

#262 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2013, 01:11 PM:

Dave Bell #261: I thought, given the term "The King's/Queen's English", that a certain happy and glorious resident of central London would have been the putative vendor.

#263 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2013, 01:58 PM:

Tracie, my condolences. May her memory be for blessing.

#264 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2013, 02:11 PM:

Tracie, please accept my sympathies.

Open threadiness: for those interested in the spiritual life, Christian communities, social justice, and Alzheimer's, particularly early onset Alzheimer's, something which terrifies many of us -- I want to recommend David Hilfiker. I just discovered the man's writing. Worth looking at.

#265 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2013, 03:40 PM:

Tracie @246: My condolences on your loss.

#266 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2013, 03:40 PM:

Oldest surviving aerial photograph: taken from a hot-air balloon in 1860 over Boston. There was a Parisian balloonist taking shots in 1855, but none have survived.

#267 ::: Elliott Mason got gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2013, 03:41 PM:

... sharing a link.

#268 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2013, 03:50 PM:

Tracie - my sympathy. A lovely glimpse into your mother's life.

#269 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2013, 03:51 PM:

Tracie: my condolences. She sounds like a remarkable woman.

#270 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2013, 04:52 PM:

Condolences on your loss, Tracie. She sounds like a really wonderful person.

#271 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2013, 05:16 PM:

Tracie, my sympathies for your loss.

#272 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2013, 06:02 PM:

Tracie, my sympathies, also.

Hey, I'm still alive, and all, just... busy. Spring is always busy, of course, new calves and everything growing, that is much as it's always been. Since my children grew up and moved out and got actual jobs (and my son just bought his first car! A new one, even, although I guess that has to do with how few cars were sold in the years which would feed 2013's used car market) and my husband has become more and more broken, I've not had a lot of time for writing of any sort.

The only time I have for reading is right as I'm going to sleep, and I was puttering along fine until about a month ago I stalled out in the middle of Pratchett's Maskerade and nothing has been much good since. This has the effect of interferring with my ability to fall asleep, a bad thing all around as I have very old dogs whose bladders do no good for my ability to stay asleep.

I've come to the conclusion that I'm back to the part of my mental cycle when I should be reading poetry, and have come here to ask for recommendations for a good comprehensive general anthology, a thick chunk of a book in English which is as broad-spectrum as possible, although I'd be fine with one which ignores everything after 1930 except perhaps Ogden Nash and V. Sackville-West.

It would be perfect if such a volume was sorted by topic and pretty to see, and available at Amazon for a reasonable price, so it would not interfere with the need for a new comb for my shearing machine, nor short the budget for chicken keeping.

In exchange, I will try to get a nice thick picture post up on LJ and link to it here, so that I am not a complete suck on society (like someone who stopped by my house last winter, for the first time in the twenty-eight years I've lived here, and asked to borrow $600). Of course, if you or in or near Lacey, WA, I could always give you some fresh-laid eggs, or the fleece I need to shear off my Jacob wether. As soon as I buy the comb, and build the shearing table.

#273 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2013, 06:34 PM:

Tracie, my sympathies. Your mother sounds like a remarkable woman.

#274 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2013, 06:36 PM:

JESR: I just lost my egg connection. S/he's been going through the escaping-the-abusive-spouse transition, and no longer resides with hir hens. But I'm in Colorado...::sulk::

#275 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2013, 07:08 PM:

Classicists' AKICIML:

Today I wanted to point out that Michelle Malkin is a manipulator of stupid people. Going from 'demagogue', (lit. "leader of the people" but really meaning a manipulator), I'm pretty sure the word ends in '-gogue'. What would be Ancient Greek for people who are willfully stupid, narrow minded, and ignorant?

I've just thought of 'Boeogogue', but I'm not sure that conveys anything to modern people.

#276 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2013, 07:28 PM:

Jacque, would that I could email eggs; I have eleven hens laying about six eggs a week apiece, and even with saving the fertile Hamburg eggs to hatch that quickly becomes an embarrassment of riches. I got popular with the preschool set in my family by giving them bantam eggs for their breakfasts, though.

#277 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2013, 07:39 PM:

Tracie, condolences. Your mother's story sounds like a good one with a satisfying ending, but one deeply mourned by readers obliged to finish the last page and close the book.

#278 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2013, 07:40 PM:

Xopher, were you thinking of ochlagogue?

#279 ::: glinda ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2013, 07:57 PM:

Tracie, I am so sorry for your loss.

#280 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2013, 08:36 PM:

Allan: good word, but not quite on the money.

#281 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2013, 09:35 PM:

JESR at 276: If you've the time and want to, I can think of several recipes that burn through eggs like it's their job.

#282 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2013, 09:44 PM:

Well, Peter S Beagle knows how to plan his own birthday party - with a showing of "The last Unicorn" at San Francisco's Castro Theater.
Of course it has to be the day after I fly home from the Bay Area.

#283 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2013, 11:16 PM:

I have just learned that the early 19th-century fashion magazine, La Belle Assemblée, has been scanned into Google Books.

I'm currently viewing the January 1809 issue, which is the one relevant to my current short story.

I'm gibbering over the table of contents.

Send help.

#284 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2013, 12:00 AM:

Xopher Halftongue @275: "Foolish" or "stupid" could be μωρος, νηπιος, αμαθης. (Also other words, the Greeks were not short of them.) "Moragogue" has the advantage of sounding like English "moron" (which is in fact from the same Greek root) and would be my choice.

#285 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2013, 12:23 AM:

Benjamin, that's a kind thought, but there's nobody here to eat goodies but me, and nobody to do chores, so I don't have time for cooking; I was making popovers for tea every day last year, but even that small piece of time was more than I've had of late.

#286 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2013, 01:15 AM:

JESR: Bartleby has a large number of free poetry anthologies. You can do a lot worse than hit the first selection they've got, The Oxford Book of English Verse; but there's enough there to keep anyone busy for a few years. And if you want to buy a print version - there's lots of good used bookstores online (try which aggregates many of them).

#287 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2013, 01:35 AM:

David, 'moragogue' sounds perfect! Thank you!

#288 ::: Xopher Halftongue is gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2013, 01:37 AM:

Probably for an exclamation point after an expression of gratitude.

#289 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2013, 02:16 AM:

I'm sorry, JESR - I've got baking on the brain at the moment, since Passover is now over and I can bake properly again.

#290 ::: Eva MacMillan ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2013, 02:24 AM:

I am particularly interested in singing the Spiderman theme's lyrics to the tune of "Auld Lang Syne".

#291 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2013, 02:46 AM:

Xopher, David Goldfarb: less etymologically correct, probably, but my reaction was

Moragogue: speaker to mulberries

#292 ::: James E ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2013, 05:49 AM:

JESR @272: There's the Norton Anthology of Poetry, which is comprehensive to the point of threatening the integrity of your wrists (2,000 pages!) Might stretch the definition of "reasonable price" a little, too, but you get a lot of dactyls to the dollar.

#294 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2013, 06:51 AM:

Tracie, my condolences. It sounds like she was a great lady!

#295 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2013, 07:08 AM:

Rikibeth @ 283... I'm gibbering over the table of contents

Is the magazine really called "L'Horrible Assemblée"?
The table of contents. The TABLE OF CONTENTS!!!

#296 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2013, 07:32 AM:

Serge @295: There are a few items in the same vein as the seven 'horrid novels' that Jane Austen mentions in Northanger Abbey! Including one with a prefacing note referencing Matthew Lewis's The Monk. (BTW, if anyone knows where I can find a copy of the televised version of that featuring Paul McGann, I and my fellow admirers of him would be very grateful. Yes, we know it's terrible. Trust me, this is a group of fans willing to watch Lesbian Vampire Killers multiple times. It'll get watched.) I may have to read one or two of the Gothic stories to decide whether any of my characters are actually fans of the genre. I was entertained by The Monk, but I bounced hard off The Castle of Otranto and The Mysteries of Udolpho -- I think I'd need a literature class to explain why people thought those had any entertainment value at all! I have no objection to trashy, but I can't manage boring.

#297 ::: Rikibeth has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2013, 07:35 AM:

No URLs, but plenty of italics, parentheses, an exclamation point or two, and potentially clumsy spacing. Also unflattering opinions of certain literary classics.

Would the gnomes care for some tea? I could make toast, and we have assorted kinds of jam and marmalade. Also Marmite, Nutella, and real butter.

#298 ::: Jen Birren ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2013, 07:38 AM:

JESR: Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney recently edited an anthology called The Rattle Bag- poems from throughout history, both originally in English and translated into English- that's been very well reviewed. It's nearly 500 pages and seems to be less than $10 used. Or seconding the suggestion of The Oxford Book of English Verse.

If you want something a bit quirkier, try one of the Poems on the Underground series (selected short poems have run in advertising space on the London Underground for about 20 years, and several anthologies have been published; as lots of different people chose them, it gives a bit less of a "review of the field" feeling.)

As women poets tend to run at about 5% of most anthologies, The Penguin Book of Women Poets might be nice to intersperse between whatever you choose.

#299 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2013, 08:40 AM:

JESR #272: There are two or three good general anthologies of poetry in English. As a number of people have mentioned Quiller-Couch's Oxford Book, I'll skip that, and go for a smaller one Palgrave's Golden Treasury which should be findable online ( and for which several updated editions (with additional sections for more modern --i.e. post-Mid Vickie poetry). My own copy, edited by John Press, goes down to Stevie Smith.

I'd also recommend the book that introduced me to modern poetry more than four decades ago, The Faber Book of Modern Verse, and a very different, but still important, general collection, Auden's Oxford Book of Light Verse. Some of it is not that light, some of it is seriously funny, all of it is worth reading.

#300 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2013, 08:41 AM:

Rikibeth @ #283, I know the feeling. While I was writing my Cowboys & Aliens fic for Yuletide, I discovered the online archive of the Arizona Citizen. Full scanned editions from the 1870s. Fascinating reading.

#301 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2013, 08:55 AM:

What's your name on AO3 again, Lila? I have suddenly discovered an urgent need to read Cowboys and Aliens fic.

#302 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2013, 09:02 AM:

Rikibeth, it's "hellseries". Alas, I only have two in that fandom. :-(

On a related note (to the extent that, say, Xopher's ganache and Hershey's Kisses are related), does anyone know if/when Emma Bull's Claim (the sequel to Territory) comes out?

#303 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2013, 10:36 AM:

James @293: Damn.

Somebody invent a cure for liver cancer, stat.

#304 ::: James E ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2013, 10:45 AM:

As a commenter says on the longer Guardian story (with comment from Ken MacLeod among others): "This is clearly a smokescreen for his acceptance into Special Circumstances." If only...

#305 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2013, 11:14 AM:

Tip-toeing around the topic du jour,

Apropos TNH's most recent particle: yes, the Black Blood of the Earth is highly recommended, but try to remember that a regular-size bottle of it contains a quantity of caffeine exceeding the LD50 dose in humans. Treat with caution.

Back to the topic du jour:


(There is too much cancer about these days. Sometimes feels like it's got me surrounded, picking off everyone who means anything to me one by one. This latest: unspeakable.)

#306 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2013, 01:06 PM:

Charlie, I had a feeling that you might be getting shipments of Black Blood of the Earth - the fellow who makes it [Phil] (and his fiancé) are friends of ours. Which reminds me, I owe her a round of Birthday Baked Goodies. Do you order the Jug of Madness (4L of Black Blood), or some more reasonable quantity (since I can't imagine shipping to Scotland from CA is exactly cheap).

There's been a series of bottles in the lab fridge since last summer; it's absolutely what got the Amazing Girlfriend and I through qualifying exams last fall. For that matter, there's a strong positive correlation between my taking about 30-40cc prior to running in an experiment* and a major improvement in data quality - once we collect a little more data, it might just become standard operating procedure: only run Ben if he's had some in the last few hours.

*Experiments in our line of work are variants on the theme of: Sit in little dark room staring at a CRT (yes, we still use them - the timing is more predictable than LCDs, and we're somewhat obsessed with stimulus timing), see something and make a judgement on what you saw. Repeat several hundred (or thousand) times. If you want it to be even more fun, add in eyetracking, so you can't move.


Aside from that, fuck cancer. I keep finding out about authors whose work I really want to read after they've received a fatal diagnosis. Fuck.

#307 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2013, 02:37 PM:

Jen Birren @298: what kind of values of 'recent' are you using here ? I remember the Battle-Rag from the earlyish days of high school, more than two-thirds of my life ago, and I had the impression that it was an old standard even then.

It's also worth mentioning that there's a more recent (and substantially different) version of the OBEV than Quiller-Couch's edition, edited by Dame Helen Gardner. I like it better, perhaps because it's what I grew up on.

(Also, for those who want more modern things too: as well as Fragano's Faber Book of (now not quite so) Modern Verse, there's also DJEnright's Oxford Book of (not exactly ) Contemporary Verse 1945-80, which has some lovely things in it.)

#308 ::: praisegod barebones away with the GNOMES ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2013, 02:39 PM:

Ecclesiastically inappropriate hot-cross buns?

#309 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2013, 03:05 PM:

I suspect many of us could use a look at this right about now:

Odin Eats Like a Person

(Like a Unicorn Chaser, but stickier.)

#310 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2013, 03:06 PM:

Mycroft (208) -- My son is about your size. A little taller, but not heavier. He's been a serious clotheshorse since his early teens, and his solution (for items which can acceptably be loose, like bulky sweaters) has been to buy at the top-line stores and have things tailored to fit. I'm sorry I can offer no better (nor cheaper) anecdata.

Caroline (217) -- When I was young (many many years ago), women's Levis came with three measurements: Waist, hip, and inseam. This is almost enough (if not quite) to provide a custom fit. Shoes came in combination last -- the possibility of one size for your heels and another for your toes. Since that time, women's clothing sizing has become entirely notional. You can start trying on things with a size you might kind of guess might sort of fit, and that's about it. I am puzzled, with the greater possibilities provided by computerization and a larger population to serve, as to why there is not more choice rather than less.

#311 ::: Laertes ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2013, 03:23 PM:

James @293: That makes me terribly sad. It's funny how an artist you've never met can become such an important part of your life. I'm going to miss him something awful.

#312 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2013, 04:11 PM:

*takes notes on the poetry anthology recommendations*

What would the Fluorosphere recommend to someone who's never read Banks before, but would now like to start?

A friend of mine very much wants to work out how to make something like BBoE, as he lacks the money to purchase it. It does sound vaguely terrifying.

Small bit: what does AKICIML mean?

#313 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2013, 04:14 PM:

estelendur, All Knowledge Is Contained In Making Light. A variation on the more general statement about fandom.

#314 ::: praisegod barebones Ungnomed ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2013, 04:15 PM:

Many thanks to the duty gnomes!

AKİCİML: All knowledge is contained in Making Light.

#315 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2013, 04:16 PM:

JESR, would a local food bank volunteer maybe be willing to stop by regularly and take away extra eggs?

Tracie, I'm so sorry about your mom. Thank you for telling us about her. She was an awesome woman.

#316 ::: praisegod barebones GNOMED once more ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2013, 04:20 PM:

Oh gnoes! Gnot again!

(It was an exclamation mark after a thank you, wasn't it? Sorry.)

The hot-cross buns are all gone, but I can offer some of Teresa's rocket pesto.

#317 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2013, 04:28 PM:

Xopher, my thanks :)

#318 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2013, 04:30 PM:

The Wasp Factory was Banks' first novel if memory serves me right, and makes a reasonable introduction to his work. For the Culture series, I like The Player of Games followed by Use of Weapons. (I found Consider Phlebas a bit dull.)

#319 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2013, 04:40 PM:

estelendur at 312: Two options - one is to get in contact with Phil (the guy who makes it; his email is on the site Teresa linked to) and ask about bartering / other arrangements. He's, for instance, fond of trading art for Black Blood.

DIY options include making cold-brew coffee (I know Cory Doctorow has posted about his procedure on BoingBoing - see Cory's Cold Brew Method); I've also made a cousin of Black Blood with a whipped cream maker, finely ground coffee, cold water and one cartridge, but that's a very weird way to do it. Tasty, though. Probably the simplest way would be coarsely ground coffee + a mason jar of water + some way to filter it after the fact. Mix the coffee and the water, stick it in the fridge for 24h, filter and enjoy.

#320 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2013, 04:44 PM:

I'd suggest pouring the extract though a sieve lined with a coffee filter.
(Isn't that what coffee filters are for?)

#321 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2013, 04:50 PM:

For a few years, I had a "coffee toddy" kit which was basically a half-gallon jug in which cold water sat on coffee grounds for 24 hours. Then you upturned it in its white plastic tripod-ish thing and let the stuff filter out into a carafe to store in the fridge. It made a somewhat less-acidic, concentrated pre-brewed coffee. Not like BBotE, but somewhere on the spectrum at the far, far end of which is BBotE. I would mix it half-and-half with steaming milk for a cafe au lait, or perhaps 1 part toddy to 2 parts hot water for a basic cup of java.

We gave it away after a few years of me forgetting I owned it, and a few years before that of me using it but never making it through the batch before its approximate refrigerated shelf life expired. (This consideration makes me hesitate before ordering BBotE even in the smallest quantity, btw. I love coffee, but these days I love it in small batches while mainlining strong tea.)

#322 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2013, 04:53 PM:

A-ha. In fact, I appear to be talking about this. That'll teach me not to read an Open Thread carefully!

(Got there via the link to Cory's cold-brew method.)

#323 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2013, 04:58 PM:

BBotE has a 3 month refrigerated shelf life (we've had it in lab for that long, and it's fine). He'll even sell you 375ml bottles, which are pretty tame. Normal dose for the Amazing Girlfriend or myself is about 30-50ml, in about 200ml of hot water (or as a shot, but I'm the only one who does that).

(Not that I'm trying to shill for the stuff - we like it and use it, and they're friends of ours, but I'm just a coffee obsessive with no interest in BBotE aside from liking to see a friend do well. Just don't get me started on espresso.)

#324 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2013, 08:11 PM:

"Rocket pesto" sounds awesome. Yes, I know that's "rocket" as in "arugula", but it sounds so 1950s. Like something out of a souvenir cookbook from an early Worldcon.

#325 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2013, 09:23 PM:

estelendur @312: Some of Iain's work is rather grand guignol in flavour. If that doesn't appeal, you might want to start with:

Non-SF: "The Crow Road" (best opening line of any novel ever)
SF: "The Player of Games" (a solid entry-point into the Culture universe)
Experimental slipstreamy non-SF: "The Bridge", "Walking on Glass"
Political thrillers: "Complicity", "Dead Air"
Experimental SF: "Feersum Enjinn", "Use of Weapons"
Horror: "The Wasp Factory", "Song of Stone"

#326 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2013, 01:05 AM:

Thanks for all the recommendations; I'm hoping that it rains tomorrow so that I can go poking the internet and see what purchasing opportunities fall out.

#327 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2013, 01:09 AM:

Adding to Charlie's list:

Nonfiction: "Raw Spirit" (a fantastic book about Scotch whisky)

#328 ::: mea ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2013, 01:49 AM:

Stephan at 309

thank you. that made me laugh

#329 ::: Jen Birren ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2013, 09:33 AM:

praisegod barebones @307:

*checks date* Thanks, you're quite right, it came out in 1982! I think I misremembered the critical praise for Heaney's Beowulf as being for Rattlebag.

Basically it "feels" recent to me, whereas the Oxford Verse has been around since before my childhood and therefore "feels" immemorial.
Contents of Brain May Settle (Probably Out Of One Earhole.)

Ah well, since JESR was primarily interested in stuff up to the 1920s or so I don't suppose it matters in this case.

#330 ::: Jen Birren is gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2013, 09:37 AM:

My first attention from the gnomes. Probably for being over-exclamatory.
I have some tablet from Glasgow, which tastes like fudge only sweeter, if any gnome would like a sugar rush.

#331 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2013, 09:41 AM:

HLN Bulletin: If you know anyone who has or wants to have a preschooler (aged btw 3 and 5 yrs this September) in the Chicago Public School system, THE APPLICATION PROCEDURE HAS CHANGED.

Suddenly and without notice. Even some really active parenting groups/co-ops/media sources only found out about it on the first day of in-person enrollment, which was yesterday.

There is ONE MONTH to apply, in person, for a place in this September's class, even for people who applied last October under the old procedure and THOUGHT THEY WERE DONE. All old applications have been tossed and are no longer valid, without notice.

Details (very badly explained) available at their webpage, WHICH SAID SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT LAST WEEK with no notice that the procedure was about to change.

If you know any freaking-out Chicago parents, I just did it yesterday and can talk them through it and hand-hold, my gmail address's forepart is "2ells2tees", feel free to pass my contact info on to them.

Signal-boost this if you can; it is really, really not getting out to the people that need to know it most.

#332 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2013, 09:50 AM:

Re women's clothing, following up on Older's comment at 310: as far as I can tell, there is very little consistency in sizing, fit, etc. from one brand to another. (That's one of the reasons I hesitate to purchase clothes online.) This appears to be especially true of jeans. However, I recently discovered some jeans that fit me and fit my particular notions of comfort. They are called, appropriately, Not Your Daughter's Jeans. They are ridiculously expensive new ($65 -- $130), and so I have taken to haunting the Goodwill racks (yeah, I shop at Goodwill, you got a problem with that?) and snapping up the NYDJ jeans in my sizes/fit when they appear. I sometimes have to get them hemmed, but spending $10 for a professional to hem a pair of nearly new jeans that cost $7 -- I do not sew any more -- and fit me perfectly seems like a good investment.

I am now hunting for comfortable cargo pants, which NYDJ does not make. Wish me luck.

#333 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2013, 10:10 AM:

Wow! Just wow!

A flash mob announcing the reopening of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the exhibition of Rembrandt's The Night Watch.


#334 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2013, 12:14 PM:

Every flash mob should have a chicken.
And horses.

This is beyond fabulous. Thank you, Tracie!

#335 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2013, 12:39 PM:

From the sidebar:

The octopus-like movements and appearance of both protists reminded James of the horrid Cthulhu and Cthylla, and the little protists were baptized after the two monsters. Cthulhu is often depicted as a giant, octopus-like entity with wings. Cthylla is his daughter, and has a similar appearance.


#336 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2013, 12:42 PM:

Tracie: awesome.

#337 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2013, 01:02 PM:

JESR: If you're interested in a very *different* collection of classic poets, there's always The Stuffed Owl...

#338 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2013, 01:04 PM:

It seems so incredibly Dutch...

It's not something I can see as just happening. The whole thing, audience included, has to have been staged. Too many different camera angles for one thing.

But can you imagine that happening anywhere else?

#339 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2013, 01:11 PM:

JESR @ 276: Seconding the recommendation for the Norton Anthology of Poetry. It's really got an excellent and broad selection, from medieval to late 20th century. I've kept mine since my college freshman class, well over 30 years ago, and still go dip back into it from time to time. Most recent was to revisit Robinson Jeffers' 'Hurt Hawks', reading it to my son after we had to put our cat Newton to sleep, and that led to my cruising around in it some more for other favorite poetry.

#340 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2013, 01:26 PM:

Tracie: I will be grateful if I get a run like hers. But, yeah, the exit is always sad.

JESR @276: Jacque, would that I could email eggs

And, somehow, this seems like a problem that even the most advanced 3D printing won't solve. Woe. :-)

eleven hens laying about six eggs a week apiece

Hm. Meringue as wall insulation? Okay, maybe not.

Stefan Jones @309: Odin Eats Like a Person

Odin appears to be agreeable, though perhaps slightly puzzed as to why we're bothering with this silly spoon when the whole jar is right there.

Older @210: women's Levis came with three measurements: Waist, hip, and inseam.

This would be why, on the (vanishingly, anymore) rare occassions when I shop for jeans, I go with men's sizes. That, and the fact that I generally hate women's styles.

Tracie @333: Rembrandt's The Night Watch

Not to be confused with GRRM's Night's Watch. Ahem.

#341 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2013, 01:43 PM:

Praisegod Barebones, do I not recall that you are in the great city of Stamboul? Could you email me at fledgist at comcast dot net as there is something that I would fain enquire of you.

#342 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2013, 02:19 PM:

Lizzy @332 -

Not Your Daughter's Jeans are hit and miss for me, but that puts them about 50% ahead of almost any others. You can often find them at around $35 - $40 at Nordstrom Rack, Marshalls or TJ Maxx. I've never bought them in a non-discount store.

My current faves are Calvin Klein "Skinny" jeans, and I can tell you they are anything but skinny - they're just not billowy or drop-butted. They have just enough spandex in them (yeah, try to find plus-size jeans without spandex) to allow them to move, but not so much that they're shapeless denim-colored bin liners by the end of the day. Unfortunately I got these second hand and I have no idea who actually carries them in stores. Google is no help - it appears if they are still carried in stores, they'd prefer you not know that Calvin Klein takes money from fat people.

#343 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2013, 02:28 PM:

@Jeans sub-thread: I have been fortunate enough to discover a single style of women's dress pants that fits me, and a type of jeans that fit me, but new clothes are $toomany, and it's most likely that the dress pants are discontinued at this point. So my clothes-buying cycle operates on what I no longer have a presentable version of, and I haven't reached 'pants' yet, since they're presentable, but wearing out.

Dave Bell @338: Aren't most really good flash mobs staged in some sense, though? And then are 'flash' mobs because the general public isn't warned beforehand.

#344 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2013, 02:46 PM:

Fragano @341: Email should be hitting your Inbox about now (under my name, but with my nym in the subject line.)

#345 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2013, 02:46 PM:

Oh, dear: I unwisely wandered over to Powell's website, intending to find an economically viable volume of the Norton Anthology (which I swear is in the house somewhere, along with other works from my FIL's sermon-writing library) and wandered out with a slim volume of the essential works of Rumi, Gregory Corso's* Gasoline from Pocket Poets, a replacement for the Pocket Poets Garden Poems which I once lent out and did not get back, and a used copy of Rattle Bag with Seamus Heany listed as the sole author.

I zoomed past Spoon River Anthology which I suspect is amidst the unsorted academic slurry in my spawns' ex-bedrooms and wished once again for the five slim small red volumes (of a six volume set: the regency period was missing) which were among my grandmother's teaching library when she was sixteen and the Hanford Reach was homesteader territory with one-room schools on a widely spaced grid. She was the one who wired my brain to the love of poetry, reciting Daffodills and Kublai Khan and When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Grew and all the works of her fellow Hoosier Quaker, Whittier.

Thanks for the recommendations. I suspect the Norton will go on my online wishlist. Both the offspring are employed, after all.

*I was reminded of Corso through the Ginsberg photos published last winter. I'd read a lot of his stuff in the early seventies, when I was burning through slightly more than a book a day of everything and spent much time hiding in whatever library was closest.

#346 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2013, 03:26 PM:

Lizzy, #332: Yeah, I saw those jeans in a catalog and had serious sticker-shock -- I am NOT paying over $100 for a pair of jeans, I don't care what brand name is on them! OTOH, I've discovered that Gloria Vanderbilts fit me quite well, and frankly I'd rather get my jeans from Goodwill anyhow; that way someone else has gone thru the uncomfortable phase of breaking them in.

Land's End has very consistent fit across styles. If you like the sort of stuff they carry, once you find your size, you can order with confidence, and their return policy is liberal and straightforward if you happen to miss on the first attempt.

#347 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2013, 03:28 PM:

Tracie @333: Whoah. That is a hoot!

#348 ::: elise got gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2013, 03:29 PM:

It happens.

#349 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2013, 03:34 PM:

nerdycellist @342: Macy's carries Calvin Klein skinny jeans. You might try their online store.

#350 ::: elise got gnomed on another comment ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2013, 03:35 PM:

Apparently it happens more than once.

[Mentioning Calvin Klein, or other designers' names, merits a second look from the gnomes. -- Borei Irisdin, Duty Gnome]

#351 ::: Dave Crisp ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2013, 03:43 PM:

Roger Ebert has died

Between this and yesterday's news about Iain Banks, somebody needs to take Cancer out and give it a good whuppin'.

#352 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2013, 03:55 PM:

More bad news -- the American publisher of the Girl Genius novels is folding.

To quote Phil:

You see, there's the whole tedious business of disengaging ourselves from Night Shade, which has decided to sell our contract to another publisher in order to cover their debts. This other publisher, Skyhorse, is perfectly willing to buy Night Shade's assets (our contracts). However, they will rewrite them and everybody now gets paid a flat 10% of net sales.

If I understand the above, that means that the authors may get nothing from Skyhorse, as 10% net can be made to disappear with the right bookkeeping.

Phil's got more up on Facebook and Livejournal.

#353 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2013, 04:04 PM:

Tracie (333) -- That was GORGEOUS!! And I don't care how they did it, it was just wonderful! Thank you for posting the link!

Jacque (340)-- You needn't worry about accidentally getting hold of the old style women's Levis; the last time I saw a pair was in the late 1940s. I'm sure they're all gone, unless a pair survives in a trunk in someone's attic.

#354 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2013, 04:10 PM:

@349 Dave Crisp

Holy Cow. I was just reading his A Leave of Presence yesterday (which seems to be down for the moment. Probably overwhelmed). He was talking about his new website, and working with his wife Chaz. He talked about the cancer recurrence, but not like death was imminent.

Damn. I didn't always agree with him, but I always liked the way he wrote. An old man of the cinema is gone.

#355 ::: Cheryl visits the gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2013, 04:20 PM:

For a link, maybe? Would their lownesses care for some pasta with thyme frico?

#356 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2013, 04:31 PM:

Ebert -- who was once quite the SF fan -- did not let cancer taking his jaw and tongue shut him up or defeat him. He wrote passionately and fearlessly about life and death and politics.

From his essay, "I do not fear death":

“Kindness” covers all of my political beliefs. No need to spell them out. I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.
-- Roger Ebert

#357 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2013, 04:58 PM:

Ebert even wrote an introduction to The Best of Xero, a quintessentialy fannish book, in part because he'd published poetry there. I like to think he would have found the conversations here congenial.

#358 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2013, 05:16 PM:

nerdycellist @342, Calvin Klein "skinny" are my jeans of choice as well, and I've had good luck finding them at Nordstrom Rack.

#359 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2013, 06:01 PM:

Tom Whitmore @357: Ebert even wrote an introduction to The Best of Xero, a quintessentialy fannish book, in part because he'd published poetry there. I like to think he would have found the conversations here congenial.

One year, I was wearing my Heisenberg t-shirt:

may have
slept here

the day I happened into one panel at the Conference on World Affairs which included Ebert. He was the only one in the room that got it.

#360 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2013, 06:08 PM:

Thank you for posting about the Nightwatch renactment, Abi!

I have shared it out on my Facebook page. It made me happy!

#361 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2013, 07:01 PM:

Jacque @359 -- that is a lovely bit, and thank you.

#362 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2013, 07:12 PM:

That awesome flash mob had to have been rehearsed with store management--chickens and horses, come on, not to mention that frame!--but watch the audience: they have no clue. Multiple people must have been stationed in the crowd to get all those shots.

#363 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2013, 07:52 PM:

Jeans sub-thread: Lee, I wish GV jeans fit me, because I really like them, but with the exception of one pair which I am slowly wearing out, no GV jeans are comfortable for me. They changed something in the cut, style, whatever.

I used to be able to buy llbean jeans, but I dropped weight and changed sizes. And I purely hate buying clothes and having to send them back. Also: Goodwill fits my budget.

Still hunting cargo pants...

#364 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2013, 07:58 PM:

IJWTS that I am a Goodwill addict even though I'm not particularly hard to fit.

I have various thrift stores to thank for my cashmere sweater, my stash of wool/alpaca blend yarn, and my all-but-complete collection of the Aubrey and Maturin series (I lack only two).

We have a local used car dealer whose sign reads "Everybody drives a used car". I feel the same way about books and clothing.

#365 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2013, 08:52 PM:

Benjamin Wolfe @319 Thanks for the recommendations; I'm now curious about cold-brew coffee, despite being distinctly unfond of the hot-brew stuff.

I've discovered that cold-brew tea is easy, reasonable-tasting, and nearly impossible to over-steep, particularly if you start with very cold water. It also doesn't take as long as cold-brew coffee seems to, possibly due to volume considerations.

Charlie Stross @325: I picked up Feersum Endjinn and Complicity from the library today; I'm a little under halfway through Feersum Endjinn and thoroughly hooked.

Lori Coulson @352: Oh no! :(

Lee @346: … the uncomfortable phase of breaking them in.
I have a pair of Levi's 501s, and it feels like I have to break them in all over again for the first hour I wear them after washing.

Tracie @333: I just got a chance to actually watch that video, and migod it's wonderful

#366 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2013, 09:25 PM:

lazy double dactyl

Narcissist punditry
Fabricates victory
Willfully, skillfully
Skifting unchecked.

Fractal iniquity
Shows its ubiquity
With all the subtlety
One would expect.

#367 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2013, 09:32 PM:

estelendur, it's pretty much impossible to overbrew cold-brew coffee; most of the compounds people don't like (e.g., acids and bitterness) aren't readily soluble at low temperatures. I don't know if I'd leave water on grounds in the fridge for a week, but 24-48hrs should be fine. If you wanted a process that was as slow as possible, use as coarse a grind as you can; the less surface area, the slower the extraction process. An added bonus with a really coarse grind is that it's pretty easy to filter, since it'll be less prone to plug up a fine filter.

#368 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2013, 12:43 AM:

1. My condolences, Tracie. She sounds as though she had a good innings, as they are wont to say across the pond. (At least, I hope I've got the phrase right...)

2. I have not yet had the opportunity to use the site (lack of funds + mostly acceptable jeans that are just starting to wear out), but Make Your Own Jeans (plus the dot com) seems to be a good thing, and moderately priced for correctly-fitted jeans (about $50 to start.)

3. In regards to bras, the best method I have for getting sized is to go to one of those little storefronts that is run by a bunch of middle-aged to elderly ladies, and have them size you. My sister-in-law took me to one of them and they did three measurements and asked one question ("Do you like underwires?") and provided me with correctly-fitted bras in five minutes. And my SiL's daughter has one of those crazy sizes (small band, big bust) that they will tailor for her, no charge, on bras that are almost right. It's worth doing.

4. Musical soundtracks and nobody has mentioned Bear McCreary? And if you can't take all the drumming, try Murray Gold's Doctor Who soundtrack stuff. Some of it is quite lyrical and I'm still a little surprised that they didn't think to use "Song of Freedom" for the Olympics.

#369 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2013, 02:46 AM:

On the Rembrandt flash-mob...

What would the Mall Ninja do?

#370 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2013, 09:07 AM:

Early Cooley III @366: Lazy nothing, that's catchy. I applaud it.

#371 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2013, 10:19 AM:

Dave Bell (369): When the actors started charging in with pikes, I was envisioning the frantic calls to the police* and hoping that they'd given the authorities an adequate heads-up.

*"The mall's being attacked by terrorists in funny clothes!!"

#372 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2013, 12:07 PM:

Stefan Jones @359 re Roger Ebert: I really like his summing up his political beliefs as "kindness".
It reminds me of a person who said, "My religion is 'Love one another' and my politics is 'Stick together'."
Also the Bill and Ted religion, whose Two Commandments are "Be excellent to each other" and "Party on, dude".
In The Christmas Mutiny, I had a character listen to Schiller's Ode to Freedom (aka Ode to Joy) and actually pay attention to the lyrics, and really think about them. She realizes just how profound the concept "All men are brothers" really is.

#373 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2013, 12:10 PM:

Dave Crisp @351, the attempt to take cancer out and give it a good whuppin' has been ongoing for some decades now. Science is still trying to locate its butt . . . .

#374 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2013, 12:19 PM:

John M Burt@ 372: Then there's Brian's religion: "You must all think for yourselves", and "Always look on the bright side of life".

#375 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2013, 12:40 PM:

Hyper-local news slash all knowledge is contained on Making Light: I got bad news about a job application. I continue to jobsearch. Before I hit my usual internet jobsites, does anyone know of an opening for someone who knows biology, writing, and some special education?

#376 ::: Diatryma, gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2013, 12:41 PM:

I mentioned my eternal search for employment. What's it like being a gnome?

#377 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2013, 08:16 PM:

Fade Manley @370: I called my #366 a lazy double dactyl because, unlike the pure form, it has no six-syllable word, and the first line doesn't have a nonsense phrase.

#378 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2013, 10:05 PM:

Tracie #246: My condolences, and may her memory be a blessing.

#379 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2013, 10:12 PM:

HLN: Area woman goes to DC, eats dinner with Jon Singer, and then gets sat down in front of a gamelan instrument with a hammer in her hand. WHEEEEE! Hard and fun, although my arm is kind of sore today. Singer said I did pretty well, and the director said I could come back the next time I was in town. If I ever live within reasonable range of a group, I'm joining it.

#380 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2013, 11:33 PM:

I thought some folks here might be interested in "Fight Like a Girl", a Kickstarter project to put together an anthology of short stories which "will explore the strong female protagonist in a genre where the female is typically the “damsel in distress.”"

For some reason, every time I try to embed the URL, it disappears at preview. Does Kickstarter bug the gnomes a lot?

#381 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2013, 11:49 PM:

Fat Girl in a Strange Land is sf about fat girls and women, and a lot of it is heroic.

#382 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2013, 12:06 AM:

Dave Bell @ 369: Thank you so much for the vision of Mall Ninja confounded by the Rembrandt flash-mob!

#383 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2013, 12:15 AM:

"Kickstarter" doesn't bug the gnomes at all, but failing to put quote-marks around URLs inside of their anchor-links causes those URLs to vanish in Moveable Type.

#384 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2013, 12:18 AM:

@383 Jim Macdonald

And I redid it three times. Fie.

#385 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2013, 12:52 AM:

Procrastination is its own reward,
But deadlines take their toll; no, can't protest.
Inertia is a double edgéd sword,
And eloquence a fickle friend at best.

#386 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2013, 02:43 AM:

Nancy, #381: I notice that one of the stories in that anthology is titled "Marilee and the SOB", and I have to wonder if that's in honor of Marilee Layman.

#387 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2013, 04:23 AM:


Derek Lowe has a video of what happens when chlorine trifluoride encounters common lab safety equipment.

#388 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2013, 05:46 AM:

I've been trying cold-brewed coffee.

It's easier at home than in Cory Doctorow's hotel room. And you don't have to worry about seeing Cory Doctorow in his pajamas. I just used my usual cafetiere with cold water, left in the fridge overnight, and, once the grounds were out of the way, heated in the microwave.

The results were quite good. If you want to try this method, you either need a microwave-safe mug or a suitable saucepan. I found that the cafetiere filter didn't catch all the coffee grounds, but they sank to the bottom of the plastic saucepan.

I wasn't brewing any of the fancy styles of coffee. That might be different.

#389 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2013, 09:18 AM:

thomas #387: Chlorine triflouride? Ye gods, that already sounds scary!

#390 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2013, 11:07 AM:

David @389: for added shits and giggles, google on FOOF, aka difluorine dioxide. Makes ClF3 seem tame.

#391 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2013, 11:19 AM:

#386 ::: Lee

I'm pretty sure that's just a coincidence of names. It's an excellent story, though.

#387 ::: thomas

Chasing through links led to a bookseller's rant against PODs of rare books.

#392 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2013, 02:14 PM:

Dave Bell at 388 I'm not sure how much of an issue this is with a normal cold-brew method, but with Black Blood of the Earth, the advice is to add hot water to the coffee, rather than heating the coffee itself. I haven't done cold brewing myself, so this may not apply at all, but if you happen to be getting more bitterness or harshness compared to the cold extract, this may be why.

I'm reminded, from the whole coffee subthread, that I should make Mad Scientist Coffee this weekend (using my tabletop vacuum siphon pot). Now that's a brewing method.

#393 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2013, 02:38 PM:

Admittedly, a brewing method for the obsessed. Who don't mind extensive cleanup and the need to fuel the thing.

#394 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2013, 03:18 PM:

Jo Walton has written a fabulous not-an-author-bio.

In hyperlocal news, I am pondering divesting myself of many books. The reason for hoarding them was "I'm going to want to re-read them, and I won't be able to find them!" I'm realizing that I don't re-read that much, and that in the age of being able to shop for books on the internet, I can find most anything. I must, of course, keep every volume of Elizabeth Peters, because those are my solace. And Jo Clayton, because they're so fun, and they haven't been brought out in ebooks, and those old paperbacks are falling apart. Oh, this isn't going to be easy.

#395 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2013, 04:11 PM:

Nancy, #391: Wow, that's a real case of Special Snowflake Syndrome. Grumping about not being able to make money on antique copies when POD reproductions are available is understandable, but also a symptom of the inability to understand that different people have different priorities; if what you want is the content of the book, its antique-rarity value* is irrelevant. But when he goes on to speculate that his personal searches for antique books are triggering floods of POD reproductions... dude, you are NOT the center of the universe!

* Yes, and many people will buy a reproduction of a piece of antique furniture rather than the real thing which not only "shows slight signs of wear" but is also 7 or 8 times the price because of its antique-rarity factor. This doesn't mean they're Philistines; it means they want a pretty table and don't care whether it's old or not.

#396 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2013, 05:01 PM:

Lee, Nancy: I wonder what he would make of my beloved paperback facsimile of Hannah Glasse's The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, which is published by a traditional publisher rather than a print-on-demand outfit, or my overwhelming joy at finding a scanned Google Books copy of La Belle Assemblée and another one of an 1820 book called The Complete Servant?

I'd LOVE to get my hands on a copy of Ackermann's Repository. I would prefer a scanned copy or a facsimile, really, because I want to read the hell out of it, ans I would hate to damage a valuable artifact.

Books-as-artifacts are precious to me. If I had access to an artifact, I would wear gloves, and keep it away from light that might fade it, and get all sorts of shivery feelings about touching the past and who else might have touched it.

But the content of books is even more important. That 1820 book? Had a table of hackney fares from various points in London to the major theaters and entertainment venues. That is priceless to me, and if I had to track down a rare, valuable artifact to get that information, or depend on finding a scholar who had, I'd probably never get it. Instead, I'm sitting here rubbing my hands and chortling while I decide how to drop a reference into my story.

How is a POD replica different from a traditionally-published replica (like my Hannah Glasse)? And what makes it more offensive than my non-replica reprint of the anonymous Memoirs of a Sergeant written by a member of the 43rd Light Infantry during the Peninsular War? Which is also available on Google Books. The Google Books version might actually be easier to use because of the electronic bookmarks -- I'd have to festoon the paper copy with tape flags.

His argument makes very little sense to me.

#397 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2013, 05:33 PM:

Rikibeth @396: I agree. There are books that I really want to access in order to get information from them, and I'd much rather have a replica I can have on my bookshelf - or an electronic copy - that I can actually use, rather than have to go to the British Library and handle with care etc. Doesn't mean I wouldn't want to buy some of them as originals, if I could afford to, because I love old books - but that's two different aspects, two different markets.

#398 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2013, 07:12 PM:

Charlie #390: yes, but people actually use ClF3 for stuff. In scarily large quantities. FOOF is only used for investigating the properties of FOOF (ok, or for yet-undiscovered Russian secret rocket research)

#399 ::: glinda ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2013, 07:20 PM:

janetl @ 394

That non-bio Jo Walton wrote is wonderful; thank you for linking to it.

I'm not finding many books I'm willing to let go of, though I did a major culling when everything came out of storage in 2006 and 2/3 of it had to go back. Even with the Kindle, and with having Kindle duplicates of books I have in dead tree format.

I too must keep every volume of Elizabeth Peters. (Some had been in storage, and are now back in the apartment. Did the same with Simak. And Dana Stabenow. And C.J. Cherryh. And the hardcover six volume sets of Trollope's Barsetshire chronicles, ditto the Palliser books.)

The next time I go to the storage locker, I'm going to have to find which of the "SF/F | C" cartons has all the Jo Clayton ones, and bring them to the apartment. And it'll all be your fault. (Riiiiiiight. *grin*)

I re-read. I snag used books from Thriftbooks. The county library system has an excellent selection of SF&F, and has usually been able to add books they'd not bought, for which I've put in requests (the latest I'd asked them to acquire? Midnight Blue-Light Special, which I picked up this afternoon). Also got Look to Windward, Protector, and River of Stars this week.

("Hello. My name is Glenda, and I'm a reading addict.")

#400 ::: glinda has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2013, 07:21 PM:

Words of power? Punctuation errors? I can offer peanut butter cookies, made from my mother's recipe, before the day's over.

#401 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2013, 07:38 PM:

Re the "Penguin trips; Fox News recreates encounter with bear" Particle... on first reading, I did not realize that these were separate and unconnected things, and thus was envisioning a news clip in which Fox News took an image of a penguin tripping over something, created an entire story around it out of whole cloth, and then broadcast it as factual, as they do with so many other things.

I'm not sure whether to be more amused or relieved about having been in error.

#402 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2013, 10:19 PM:

@janetl: It was very had to do my first library-pruning.

One of the things that made it easy was the prospect of getting money for them at Powell's. We're not talking riches, but it is an incentive. And you can picture your books carefully arranged on a Powell's shelf and purchased by someone looking just for it.

I did a second pruning before my move, and as I shelved books in my new house I found myself thinking "you know, I don't think I'll read this again" as I picked up many novels and comics.

There are annoyances. Almost new hardcovers by major authors get rejected out of hand. "He hasn't written much lately so his stuff isn't moving."

Balanced by surprises. Like the signed C.J. Cherryh ARC which netted me $5.00 or so (they'll sell it for $20 or more).

#403 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2013, 11:12 PM:

I was reminded today that one of the things I like about the Bay Area is the abundance of really amazing produce, and that it comes in earlier than my east coast upbringing says is possible. Right now, this means local, cheap (less than $2/lb) asparagus, which also means that our fridge has several pounds in it.

I've also found a fun use for it, aside from our usual roasted or lightly sauteed dishes: Israeli couscous with Meyer lemon, asparagus and tarragon. Imagine something closer to risotto than couscous, and you've about got it. It was very much what my Amazing Girlfriend wanted.

#404 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2013, 12:30 AM:

I'm hoping to get rid of the books I'm not going to read. Is it worth shipping them to Powells, or is this just something that makes sense if there's a Powells in the area?

#405 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2013, 12:48 AM:

@Nancy: I believe Powell's does to remote buy-back, but the shipping costs might not make it worthwhile except for extraordinary items.

#406 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2013, 07:45 AM:

Re. rare books, old books versus POD, one of the things I like about second hand books is their history/ origin. I've got books that started their life in libraries belonging to institutions as varied as the foreign office, an obscure college in Wales, Grimsby public libraries; books from famous old universities the length and breadth of the land and even a book on the history of alchemy from Shaker Heights public library, Ohio.
You can guess or fantasise about why they were purchased, why they were disposed of, and who might have read them and learnt or been inspired.
Sometimes you find little things inside them, used as bookmarks, from old bus tickets to a photograph. In fact many embody the changes in library cataloging and methods of lending books out, from the little cards in pockets to modern barcodes.

Sometimes they have a list of names in the front cover, as they changed owner and the new one crossed out the old and put their own in. Other ones have amusing bookplates.
One has been to Oflag IVb and back again.

I presume that people here have similar experiences?

#407 ::: StochasticBird ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2013, 07:58 AM:

If you have the patience for it, you can type the ISBNs of all books you want to sell to Powell's into a form on their website and it will tell you which they will buy and how much for.

It's an automated system and sometimes for more unusual books I think going in person to a knowledgeable buyer would have better results. For MMPs and the like, it works fine. Powells pays for shipping once you've accepted their offer on your books.

#408 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2013, 09:48 AM:

So Friday night we were listening to music on the radio, and Sheryl Crow's All I Wanna Do came up. I sang along, realizing how many of the stream-of-consciousness lyrics I still knew by heart. Then I realized what an odd song it was, really, to be a pop song. That led to thinking of another song that, similarly, is a trailing stream of poetry painting a portrait of a very particular place and its people, interrupted by choruses: Tom's Diner, by Suzanne Vega.

Then I kind of went to an academic-wondering place: are there more songs like this? All I Wanna Do was published in 1993. Tom's Diner was written in 1981 and published in 1984. That's not close enough together to really be a 'thing' or a 'style' that happened in a certain time ...

Can you kind Fluorospherians remember any other songs like this, that got popsong/radio recognition while being long nonrhyming portraits of a very specific time and some people?

#409 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2013, 11:04 AM:


I don't suppose "Alice's Restaurant" counts?

#410 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2013, 11:12 AM:

Elliott Mason @408 -- some slightly obvious ones are "Alice's Restaurant" (which isn't even mostly sung!) and "American Pie" (which rhymes, but otherwise fits your criteria nicely). Al Stewart's "Soho (Needless to Say)" is a pretty wonderful pattersong that got some airplay (and his "Year of the Cat" got even more). Stewart's rhyming patterns and grasp of history are really complex, and I recommend him highly. I think there might actually be an interesting paper in the comparison of pattersongs with rap, if one were willing to take the flak that comes from making such a comparison.

Guthrie @406 -- Don't get me started. Oh, all right, three amusing ones: I own the dedicatee's copy of Second Stage Lensman, a copy of A Critique of the Theory of Evolution that belonged to a major evolutionist who taught at Berkeley, and a copy of The Man in the Queue by Gordon Daviot, first US edition, which has a postcard signed as by Daviot to the publisher of her first paperbacks. She's better known as Josephine Tey, and signatures of hers are remarkably difficult to find. And then there are the books inscribed to me -- lots of proofs, but also things like the limited edition of Amphigorey with an original Gorey drawing of a cat. Not likely to be in someone else's collection until I die, though. If you're near Seattle, I could show you things you might not believe. Too bad I don't still have the original ms of Aleister Crowley's The Book of the Law, though.

#411 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2013, 11:25 AM:

Clifton @ #178, et seq.:

David Attenborough presents The Splendid Lyrebird, from "The Life of Birds".

#412 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2013, 01:11 PM:

Doves on the porch rail
Nesting again for the spring
Cats watch chittering.

#413 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2013, 02:21 PM:

guthrie at 406 Oh my, yes. My entire family has a used book habit that verges on hilarious (My family's idea of a good time on the weekend is to hit used bookstores. Lots of used bookstores). Your comment reminded me of one of my great finds - I was at the Harvard Library booksale in 2007 or so, bought several boxes of books - and when I went through them in 2011 (they'd lived in my parents' attic because I was either living on campus or in Nashville; I shipped about half of them out to myself in Berkeley after starting grad school), I found that one of the volumes of Troland's Psycho-Physiology turned out to be a signed copy. Since he was Harvard faculty, my theory is that this was a personal copy that was given to their library after he passed away.

#414 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2013, 02:37 PM:

guthrie @406, all of what you describe is a delight, but when I crave the information in an old book, all of that is secondary. If the old book weren't available to me, ex-library copy or otherwise, the pleasures of a different old physical book wouldn't compensate.

In related news, it's one thing to know, from hotel brochures, that an inn you once stayed at is an old coaching inn dating back several centuries, and quite another to find it in an 1810 list of inns along major coaching routes and have an instant visual memory of it, with the eureka of "I stayed there!"

#415 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2013, 02:59 PM:

In #413, Benjamin Wolfe writes:
My entire family has a used book habit that verges on hilarious (My family's idea of a good time on the weekend is to hit used bookstores. Lots of used bookstores).

Would they be looking to adopt a son?

#416 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2013, 03:14 PM:

Nifty art project: A guy built a pinhole camera into a parcel and mailed it, getting a stop-motion view of everything that happened to it on its journey.

#417 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2013, 03:19 PM:

I think they're probably good with me and my two brothers; we've all got the family used book habit.

When my parents bought the house they live in c.1993, the primary feature was the large number of floor to ceiling bookcases. They've installed lots more in the subsequent two decades, and they're mostly (if not completely) full. I'd estimate my parents have well in excess of 10000 books in the house - and my father probably has another thousand or so across two offices.

#418 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2013, 03:20 PM:

That said, the family motto is "there's no such thing as too many books."

#419 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2013, 04:02 PM:

Benjamin Wolfe (418): That needs to be a motto? I would have said it's self-evident. Axiomatic, even.

#420 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2013, 04:14 PM:

Mary Aileen, I'd agree - up to the point where storage and accessibility becomes an issue. My girlfriend and I are nearly out of useful space for books in our current apartment. This isn't the reason we've given notice and are hunting for a new place, but it's certainly a contributing factor. I'm hoping that whatever place we find means that we can wrangle more book storage.

#421 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2013, 04:38 PM:

@416 Elliott Mason

Looking at the inside of that package, I'm kind of surprised it made it through the system without being scanned and stopped as a possible explosive device.

#422 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2013, 04:50 PM:

We have a storage locker which is home for a lot of my books, Benjamin. It's also got a lot of fanzines in it. I'm actually going through the boxes currently to try to get rid of (for example) 10 year old bills that have long since been paid.

PNH, one of our hosts, said to me recently that he's taken to thinking, around books, not "Might I have some use for this?", but "What's the worst that would happen if I let go of this and needed it sometime in the future?" We all know people who could be sources of the books we might want, with a 48-hour or so turnaround time. I'm not really able to move my thoughts in that direction yet, but it's an interesting idea.

With the fanzines, I'm discovering that even the major libraries don't actually have copies of some things I've got. That thought does not fill me with joy. While we can't all be the great archivists, it's still nice to make sure that things don't get lost.

#423 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2013, 05:39 PM:

I've started to think in somewhat the same direction as PNH; most of my nonacademic reading comes from one of two publishers (Baen and Tor, respectively), both of whom don't add DRM to their ebooks, which means that I've got some hope of reading the files once the gadget of the moment dies on me. So, since I can (and it makes sense to do so), I've taken to buying what I can digitally. The only thing that's stopping me from doing that entirely is that I've got sets of various series in progress, and I like having the physical books. I'd also like to make sure that the authors whose work I enjoy get paid maximally for it, so I've got a few authors where I buy their newest book in hardcover when released (now, if the Fluorosphere tells me that the royalty rate between first-release ebook and hardcover is functionally identical from the author's perspective, I might just switch to ebooks for that too).

There's a lot of work out there that's available from various companies' warehouses and/or online archives, but there's a certain amount of it that's on my "see it, buy it" list. In particular, books on my topic of research are very intermittently digitized (unsurprisingly, MIT press is good about it, Oxford University Press is also good about it, but only for relatively recent work). Interestingly, if I'm looking for work prior to 1920, it might well be digitized (I'm looking at you, Huey, 1908 on Reading), but the midcentury works - up through the late 1990s - are very hard to find online.

I don't think I'm giving up the joy of browsing a used bookstore anytime soon, but the combination of large used databases and a rapidly expanding ebook market is changing how I acquire books.

#424 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2013, 06:28 PM:

I admit to loving the joy of the physical book, and the amazing feeling when I find something that I didn't know existed: most recently, finding in a used bookstore a book which my grandmother inscribed to another major woman in the print business between WWI and WWII. And I'm still somewhat old-school on illustrated books, where the cheap POD versions really don't cut it at all (Kay Nielsen and Harry Clarke for drawing; Sam Haskins and Jock Sturges for photography, just as examples). And the quality of the paper does make a difference -- the original paper on the Kelmscott Chaucer is an amazing sensual experience! If I just want the text, digital is fine. But there's more to books than text.

#425 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2013, 07:08 PM:

Benjamin Wolfe (420): There's no such thing as too many books. There is, however, such a thing as not enough room to keep them all.

#426 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2013, 07:15 PM:

My father is - thirty years since they moved out of the apartment in question - fond of telling me that he and my mother used their entire second bedroom as a library, with stacks. Done in finest 1970s grad student cinderblock and board - which I wouldn't dare to do out here in the Bay Area. The blocks and boards survived until my childhood; not as book storage, but eventually repurposed into a series of outdoor forts and basement construction projects by the collective Wolfe brothers.

I can only aspire to such greatness.

#427 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2013, 07:23 PM:

Open threadiness: The worldwide petition to require all clinical trial results to be published has only about 25% more signatures than the US-only petition to build a Death Star did. If you think this is unfortunate, you can find the petition at

#428 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2013, 07:45 PM:

When I moved last year, my cousin told me I had too many books, which must be some kind of oxymoron.

I just don't have enough bookshelves.

#429 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2013, 08:10 PM:

I grew up in a house where books dominated almost every room and hallway. And it was in California, and no earthquakes actually collapsed bookshelves in that house (the Loma Prieta quake collapsed shelves in a later house I lived in). And my parents never unpacked many boxes of books from when they moved in 1959 before they died -- I have some interesting nice early paperbacks because of this.

I wonder whether there was a slight tendency towards bibliomania in our parents' generation, and how that will play out in the new digital age.

#430 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2013, 09:23 PM:

HLN: Area man comes in a close second in the Sunday Swiss Teams at the sectional bridge tournament -- in the A/X, which in Houston means a field containing multiple Grand Life Masters, some of whom have represented the USA in international competition. (One player on the team that won the event went over 10,000 masterpoints thereby, thus achieving the title of Grand Life Master.) Area man considers this his best bridge result to date.

#431 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2013, 09:23 PM:

It's not that the bookshelves themselves worry me, more that I'd rather not make brick and board ones here (it just seems like asking for trouble). It's a bit of a moot point - at the moment, we've run out of space for any more bookshelves.

Speaking for myself, I think my generation (at least, those that read for fun) is inclined toward combined biblomania and infomania*. Those of us who read for fun do it voraciously and often as a part of larger communities online (makes waving motion in the direction of, which keeps poking me towards things I should be reading). We're also quite comfortable with digital media, and probably spent a healthy chunk of college watching or listening to things on our computers. Which means that even now, with the advent of useful streaming services for video and music, we have immense libraries of various things squirreled away on our hard drives. In some ways, this has been facilitated by the advent of really cheap storage (I'm typing this on a tower with my entire archive squatting on about half a 3TB drive), in other ways, it makes us into digital packrats. Not that I mind; it's lovely to have what I want handy in some form or other.

*Not quite the right word; an obsession with information sort of gets at this idea; it's perhaps closer to digital hoarding (think MP3s and videos).

#432 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2013, 09:26 PM:

Friends help you move. REAL friends help you move books.

AKICIML: I have a largish batch of matte black onyx bead strands in different shapes, which have faded to an unattractive ash-grey. Rubbing water over the surface rejuvenates them, but obviously will not solve the problem in the long term. Google is not helping, or else my Google-fu is not strong enough. Does anyone here know of a good way to restore the pretty matte-black finish on these beads and have it stay that way?

#433 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2013, 10:14 PM:

I grew up in a house that had more books than any other I was aware of until college. I wish I could say they introduced me to the world of literature, but I was a primarily a reader of science and science fiction . . . the former of which my father the English teacher was indifferent to, the latter of which he despised. (I take great and somewhat perverse pride in having introduced my mother to Gibson, Sterling, Stephenson, and a few others.)

My parents actually sold books off of a blanket in Union Square as they were getting ready to move off of Long Island. I ended up with a box full of somewhat-valuable first editions which I got around to selling a few years back. I'd rather they be in the hands of people who really value them. It *was* neat having the 1st edition of Elmer Gantry, but a paperback copy is good enough for me. And I'll probably sell that before my next move, and go to the library if I want to read the book.

I did end up with the towering bookshelves that loomed over me as a toddler:

#434 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2013, 10:17 PM:

WRT bookshelves, I wonder how they will be regarded fifty to one hundred years from now? I mean, we have ten bookcases of various sizes in our house, full to overflowing, but I don't see that being that big a thing in a world of e-books.

#435 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2013, 10:22 PM:

In 1969, my family moved from the UK to Canada. We brought about 30 wooden boxes, roughly four cubic feet each. Half of them were books, this was the absolutely essential books after whittling down the collection/accumulation.

#436 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2013, 10:36 PM:

Lee @432: Under what conditions did they fade? (Left in sunlight? Washed with some kind of cleaner? Soaked in water? Put through an ultrasonic cleaner? Polished with abrasives? Other?)

Most (maybe nearly all) black onyx is dyed. If it is polished, that dyed portion of the surface can be removed. If that's what happened, what you may be seeing is the natural grey color of the agate before it was color-treated. (It sounds like the common color treatment has historically involved sugar, heat, and sulphuric acid.) Apparently soaking in water can remove the color as well.

#437 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2013, 10:43 PM:


I suspect we'll always have (physical) books.

But almost certainly a lot fewer of them per household.

The books we choose to keep around in physical form will be special. Art books, certain prized works of literature.

Speculating: book cases will fewer, but will be "fancy," as much for display as storage. They'll have lighting, glass doors, perhaps even climate control.

#438 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2013, 10:48 PM:

Lee, here's an article from Modern Jeweler on black onyx. The second page talks about the sugar-acid method in some detail. I couldn't recommend it trying it yourself; sounds rather risky unless you are regularly doing fun things with water and sulfuric acid and have an excellent safety record therewith.

(And here, have another article on onyx by some nice people who enjoy catching Webster's dictionary in errors, and to whom some nice person should indeed donate a copy of the OED.)

In short, I think you're stuck with grey beads, alas. Unless you want to try soaking them in ink, but I doubt that's likely to do as good a job as you want. Sounds messy, too.

(Miss Teresa likes playing with beads and interesting liquids, but she's mostly taking the color out of them rather than adding any in.)

#439 ::: elise has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2013, 10:50 PM:

The gnomes have a post with two URLs about color-treating chalcedony or agate to make black onyx. They can have some of this sugar, if they like; I don't recommend that they try the sulfuric acid, though.

#440 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2013, 11:23 PM:

In 1966 we moved, and had something like 35 orange boxes (like a small packing box, about 1.5 cubic ft) of books. My parents got rid of quite a few in 1980, when they next moved, but there were still a lot. (I miss Dante's Divine Comedy with Dore's engravings.)

#441 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2013, 11:30 PM:

Tom Whitmore@410: *startle reflex*. You turn out to be about a mile from me.

#442 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 12:14 AM:

My recent emotional twinge away from bookcases lining most walls of my house is related to a couple of things:
1. Pondering moving.
2. House too small for some things we'd like to re-arrange (obviously related to #1).
3. Getting way too much information about subduction zone earthquakes, which has me eyeing things around the house that would fall on me. Remember—earthquakes don't kill you; falling debris does. Tall, sturdy oak bookcases aren't my friend. Yes, I can bolt them to the wall, but a friend's china hutch in Watsonville, California ripped the bolts out of the studs during the Loma Prieta quake. That quake was a 6.9 and lasted 10-15 seconds. A subduction earthquake is likely to last 5 minutes, and be > 7.

Once my Community Emergency Response Team training is over, and I'm not marinating in omigod-we're-all-gonna-die, these thoughts should diminish.

(The instructors aren't saying we're all gonna die. Our performance on the training exercises is!)

#443 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 12:35 AM:

HelenS @441 -- want to see some books? (We could have a mini-Seattle Gathering of Light...)

#444 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 12:46 AM:

elise, #436: No, they've just been sitting in a drawer for several years, marinating in my stash. What appears to have happened is that they were originally treated with some sort of volatile to bring up the color, which has since evaporated. Rubbing them with water brings them back to looking as they did when I bought them, and that does last for a while. I suppose I could use them and provide a "care card" explaining that they can be wiped with a damp cloth if they start to grey out, but I was hoping for something a little more elegant.

I'm a sucker for matte-finished stones, and have bought strands of several other types. The black onyx are the only ones which have ever done this fading-out thing. Also, I have a shit-ton of polished black onyx, and none of it has ever faded at all.

If anyone is curious, here are some catalog photos of matte black onyx beads. You can see that they have a very different finish from the usual shiny black, but still very definitely black and not ashy grey.

#445 ::: Lee has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 12:47 AM:

Possibly for including a link to a commercial website.

#446 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 06:12 AM:

In regards to being bitter about the POD publishers clogging up the used book websites: I can sympathize with that, though not with dismissing people who would just like a reading copy. I've been burnt a couple of times because Amazon doesn't do a good job of tracking editions. Case and the Dreamer is both an a SFBC title and part of the the estimable North Atlantic Books series (now complete and available as ebooks) of the complete short fiction (including previously unpublished works) of Theodore Sturgeon.

I'm not up for writing the whole saga, but I would like to own the edition of Under Milkwood which is illuminated by Sheila Waters, but Amazon is absolutely not reliable about it's used listings, though they have a good return policy.

If PODs of rare books are as bad about proof-reading as the link at 391 implies, it matters, even if all you want is a reading copy.

#448 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 08:15 AM:

Lee @440, I wonder if some kind of clearcoat would do it. The sort of thing they advertise on late-night TV to "bring back the luster of your old car". Of course, that might result in the beads being too shiny for your tastes. (Do they make matt-finish clear nailpolish...?)

#449 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 08:25 AM:

Lee: If wetting the surface of the matte onyx with water darkens them sufficiently for your taste, you may be able to achieve a more (semi-)permanent effect by lightly oiling them.

#451 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 08:46 AM:

Stefan Jones @ # 433, I spent most of my youth looking in vain for the books whenever I visited someone else's house. (vide the remark of Charles Darwin's son George when he visited a friend's house: "Where does your father study his barnacles?")

janetl, I have one more class to go in my initial CERT training. Then next week is the Big Exercise. (Our county no longer has a CERT team; the University of Georgia's team is graciously allowing me to join them even though my only affiliation with U.Ga. is my diploma.)

We don't have earthquakes to amount to anything. Tornadoes, we got.

#453 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 09:17 AM:

Jon Meltzer, #450: I think my Sidelight beat your link by 43 minutes.

#454 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 09:18 AM:

The more links to that, the better.

#455 ::: James E ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 09:22 AM:

Decades too late. Another perspective from the pen of Elvis Costello:

It's just a rumour that was spread around town
A telegram or a picture postcard
Within weeks they'll be reopening the shipyards
And notifying the next of kin, once again
It's all we're skilled in
We will be shipbuilding

#457 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 09:34 AM:

BBC website, March 26, 1999:

Baroness Thatcher has visited General Pinochet at the home where he is staying under house arrest near London - and talked of the "debt" she believes the UK owes him.

The former UK prime minister met with the one-time Chilean dictator in a rare public appearance televised live from the house in Wentworth, Surrey.
General Pinochet is staying in the rented mansion during his legal battle to avoid extradition to Spain.
Lady Thatcher thanked her old friend for being an ally during the 1982 Falklands War - and for "bringing democracy to Chile".
Tramp the dirt down.

#458 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 09:41 AM:

Elvis's web site. Turn the sound on.

#459 ::: James E ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 09:42 AM:

The ANC is a typical terrorist organisation ... Anyone who thinks it is going to run the government in South Africa is living in cloud-cuckoo land - Margaret Thatcher, 1987

Tramp the dirt down.

#460 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 10:37 AM:

Lila @ 451: Good for you! I thought this seemed like a group that might have other people doing CERT.

Our training did mention tornados, briefly. Portland has had one significant tornado, back in 1972. It killed 6 people and injured 300.

I'm guessing that your CERT training didn't do a segment on volcanic eruptions, either? The volcano inside the city limits is a very old cinder cone and unlikely to erupt, but the two about 60 miles away definitely can erupt. You'll remember Mount St. Helens' eruption in 1980. We wouldn't get lava flows here, but the ash is treacherous, and can collapse a roof.

The scary things about earthquakes are (1) there's no warning, and (2) a subduction one will do so much damage that help will be very slow to get in. Our CERT training in triage and treatment includes the unspoken thought that it could be weeks before that splinted leg gets real medical treatment. Anything life-threatening...will be more than a threat.

#461 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 11:18 AM:

janetl, nope, no volcanoes here (the last volcanic activity in this part of the world was hundreds of millions of years ago--we have an old pluton nearby called Stone Mountain). We cover severe weather (tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, hurricanes), fires, active shooter events a la Virginia Tech, highway/train disasters (derailment, school bus wrecks), and light search and rescue (e.g. lost kid at the state botanical garden). We also get some mention of terrorism and CBRNE but mainly in the context of "don't go in there, you don't have the training". (There are some chemical, biological and radiological hazards on campus; the area around here has some petroleum storage and a fair amount of train traffic, sometimes carrying various chemicals.)

It's an interesting place to do CERT training, as U.Ga. has a very well-equipped police force (the U.Ga. bomb squad is actually the bomb squad for the entire region) and some pretty high-powered terrorism experts, one of whom came to talk to us. They're also really into disaster drills--they ran an active shooter drill for the FBI--and they like to use CERT team members as volunteer victims for those drills.

One of the team's specific duties is that if Athens receives evacuees from a hurricane or similar, the CERT team sets up and runs the pet shelter for the evacuees' pets, with help from the U.Ga. vet school. (Lesson learned post Katrina.)

#462 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 11:37 AM:

I have no doubt that history is going to mention Margaret Thatcher, maybe for as long as Oliver Cromwell has been remembered, and with some of the same sort of intensely divided opinions. Cromwell changed his world.

Just to be different, I suppose this is good advice....

There may be trouble ahead
But while there's moonlight and music
And love and romance
Let's face the music and dance

Before the fiddlers have fled
Before they ask us to pay the bill
And while we still
Have the chance
Let's face the music and dance

#463 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 11:51 AM:

Lila @461: I misread that as "search and rescue (e.g. lost kid at the satanic botanical garden)" at first. Sounds like a gaming module!

#464 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 11:58 AM:

A garden that prominently features plants that are dangerous in one or another way?

#465 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 12:29 PM:

elise: Hah! I should totally write that module. We do have a few satanic plants here (poison ivy and kudzu), but otherwise it's not a particularly satanic garden. Still, I'm sure if they can get allspice and papaya to grow in the conservatory, they could manage, say, manchineel. And they could bring back the Iron Horse, which some have found threatening, if not satanic.

#466 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 12:32 PM:

Stefan et al, thank your for discussing selling books to Powell's. I'm facing the great book cull following my mother's death. There are to books in the basement rec room -- probably a complete loss due to water damage. The books in the main house -- nonfiction, sf, fantasy, mysteries, cookbooks, quilting and needlework books. Thousands. Some more cookbooks in the garage, in remarkably good condition. Then there are the two libraries in the "cabin" in the mountains (actually a 2000 sq ft house). After fillng the original library, living room, and loft office with books, my father built a 16x20 library addition. Wall to wall, floor to ceiling military history, which is going to the Army Institute of History (they are salivating). Several levels of book boxes from the main house. The remarkable thing is that my parents read almost all of these.

And all this is before I get to my own library. I think it's genetic.

#467 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 12:34 PM:

We had a box turtle named Margaret Thatcher. She escaped into the lawn, never to be seen again. For all I know, she may still be trundling around Schaumburg, looking for tasty bugs to eat. She was a good deal less destructive than the other Margaret Thatcher - reptiles rarely have the opportunity for evil that heads of state do. Although who knows - perhaps given opposable thumbs and a healthy amount of Tory support, that box turtle could have also single-handedly brought down several industries, privatised previously public industries to the point of uselessness and befriended murderous dictators as well. I miss that turtle.

#468 ::: Tracie visits with the Gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 12:35 PM:

Word of power? Extra spaces? Careless punctuation??

I'm in a years long unoccupied house, packing stuff, so no goodies for a while. But I can make some tea.

[Word (or words) of power: "thank your for" (with typo). -- Roollertoop Bortki, Duty Gnome]

#469 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 01:17 PM:

Unsurprisingly, Elvis Costello's site ( is loading glacially, probably due to being hammered from all over the world.

#470 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 01:20 PM:

Hyperlocal news... Local fan is told that local writer was offered the chance to play a Dothraki horseman on "Game of Thrones", but local writer decided that the Moroccan desert was too cold for him to go around half-naked.

#471 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 01:59 PM:

janetl @394: Odd, I would have thought it much more difficult to write a bio that is chocolate....

#472 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 02:19 PM:

A lesson in the importance of interCaps: The #NowThatcherIsDead hashtag on Twitter, typed all lower-case, is upsetting Cher fans.

#473 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 02:58 PM:

On the old books subthread, I just ran across The Red Book by Carl Jung. Wish I had a spare $2C....

#474 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 03:43 PM:

I am not in any sense celebrating the death of Margaret Thatcher. It came far too late to do any good.

#475 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 03:54 PM:

Jacque (359) -- Some years ago, when I had had a bad day at work (they were common then), I nevertheless arrived at home in high spirits, because I had seen not one, but two wonderful bumper stickers on the way home.

One was "Heisenberg may have slept here" (all the better for being on a moving vehicle) and the other was "Honey lovers stick together".

They are still my all-time favorites.

#476 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 03:59 PM:

Jacque @473, plus another few hundred for the bag to carry it in.

#477 ::: Jon Baker ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 04:30 PM:

Nerdycellist: I used to say to myself that the attitude of menswear stores (department stores) was that Fat Men Don't Deserve Natural Fibers. The biggest sizes Sterns used to carry were polyester, instead of the more usual cotton/poly or all-cotton shirts I want to buy.

I've been a loyal JCPenney customer for years, because their big-men's department strikes a good balance between price and quality. The other specialty fat-men's stores, such as Casual Male XL or King Size, have problems - Casual Male shirts and pants are 2-3x as expensive as JCP, while King Size mostly sells weird colors that I wouldn't want to wear. I've bought pants from them that went straight into the recycle bin. The color looks OK in the catalogue, but in real life, it looks like something worn by old men in Florida.

I was in a bit of a panic this winter, as two of my long-sleeve shirts wore through at the elbow at the same time, but JCP was having stock problems - nothing was in stock in the big men's department, because of their falling sales in general, I guess. Well, if you can't get the inventory, how do you expect to make sales? They seem to be getting more inventory now, though.

#478 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 04:34 PM:

Elliot Mason @408 -- this has been niggling at me, so I was relieved when something occurred to me. Would you count REM's "Daysleeper" from 1997? There are some rhymes, but overall it has an episodic, this-is-happening-now vibe.

#479 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 05:33 PM:

The News coverage about Margaret Thatcher is getting tedious. Lead story? That's OK, but it seems to be the only story, even on the continuous news channels.

And I find myself what announcements the scum have been putting out, knowing they will not be noticed.

#480 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 05:34 PM:

Julie, #449: Not having any non-cooking oil ready to hand, I decided to try a very small amount of hand lotion instead (as in, put a teeny dab on my finger, rub finger and thumb together to spread it, rub beads). It worked amazingly well -- they look just like they did when I bought them -- and I suspect that something like this was the original treatment. Now I have to find some unscented hand lotion, but I know where to look for that. And it looks as though I will have to make up care cards for any piece I make using this, but that's not a huge problem.

elise, I noted in one of the pieces you linked that dyed black onyx was originally used as a substitute for jet in mourning jewelry. The matte black is even closer to jet in appearance (I have some jet beads, too), and I'm planning to use this for some steampunk-style jewelry.

Lila, #465: If you do decide to write that module, you may find BPAL's Rappaccini's Garden collection to be a useful resource. (And thank ghod for Google's ability to deduce what you meant to spell from what you actually put into the search!)

Jacque, #473: But is it the antiqueness you want, or the content? If the latter, you may well be able to find a repro copy for considerably less.

#481 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 05:50 PM:

Lee: Wicked Plants was the reference I had in mind (since I have a copy right here) but that looks cool too. Thanks!

#482 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 06:01 PM:

Lila, I can set you up with pretty much all the BPAL you could want, if you like. I have, um, a lot.

#483 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 06:24 PM:

Jacque, I'm not sure what all the difference between the Reader's Edition of The Red Book and the $200 hardcover edition that just says "Liber Novus" on it, but there are copies of both available on eBay at the moment and at Abebooks. I take it you wanted the non-Reader's Edition one, of which the lowest at Abebooks is currently $169.99, but there's one on eBay currently at $20.50 (with $4 shipping) and 2 days, 14 hours left as I write this.

(The listing header says 2012, but it's obviously the 2009 edition, which is the facsimile edition usually selling for $200. The complete listing header is "The Red Book by C. G. Jung (2012, Hardcover) USED".)

#484 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 06:36 PM:

elise, I may take you up on that in a small way. My daughter (the henna/bellydance/double bass one, not the Mars researcher or the stuntwoman) is a fan of BPAL.

#485 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 07:20 PM:

Have her make a list, eh? I, erm, have a lot. Several hundred, actually. (Well, it was very comforting at a time I needed a lot of comfort.)

#486 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 07:25 PM:

I was following links about The Red Book, and the reader's edition doesn't have the pictures. If you want to see a few pictures, there are a few at the publisher's preview and a few more on the page of links to a lecture series. And oh my dear God, the google images page is overwhelming.

#487 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 07:36 PM:

Elise @ #485 - that sounds familiar. I had a pretty severs bout of depression which unfortunately coincided with the release of Star Wars: Episode 1. Crappy insurance made self-medicating by buying all the action figures I never got as a child slightly cheaper than seeking therapy. And then I discovered two years ago that local thrift stores were no longer taking donations of toys due to liability issues. That was rough.

#488 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 07:50 PM:

Open threadiness: I have a long bus journey in early June with a layover in Memphis each way. Are there any Fluorosphereans in the vicinity who might want to stage a mini-gathering of light for a couple hours?

#489 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 07:51 PM:

Open threadiness: I have a long bus journey in early June with a layover in Memphis each way. Are there any Fluorosphereans in the vicinity who might want to stage a mini-gathering of light for a couple hours?

#490 ::: Lila is sorry for the double post! ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 07:56 PM:


elise @ #485, wow. Will do! She does henna at DragonCon and some other cons; she may well be in a position to do you a favor in return one of these days.

#491 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 07:57 PM:

Some open threadiness of mine: Is there anyone here who's planning to go to this year's Farthing Party (said to be the last one) and is interested in splitting room costs? I posted to the LiveJournal community and -- as happened last year -- got no response.

#492 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 08:21 PM:

I wish I could afford to give the party I planned back when Bobby Sands died. I was planning to mark out an area on the floor as Thatcher's grave, and have Irish step-dance music.

If there's ever been anyone whose headstone should be a urinal...well, Pinochet, yeah, but then Thatcher.

#493 ::: little pink beast ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 09:04 PM:

Byron's epitaph for Castlereagh does seem appropriate for the situation.

#494 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 09:44 PM:

willfully mistranslated

Whan that Aprille with his shiny shoes,
The droghte of March hath a case of the blues,
And bathed every vichyssoise in gelid milk
Of which Vertú's jazz fusion sounds like silk;
Whan Zephirus eek! Stomp on it, quick!
Inspired hath in holy heck, the squick!
The tendre Croppies lie down evermore.
Hath the Ram's half-cousin blighted our shore
And smelly, foul, poisoned melamine
That slices at the neck with mescaline,
So priketh hem naturally with corsages,
Than long folksy goons with pilloried images,
And argle bargle dribble burble,
Fatigue does this to me sometimes....

#495 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 09:47 PM:

(forgot to post this yesterday)

Japanese Dream Machine Can Visualize Your Dreams With 50 Percent Accuracy

Dream-reader, tell me a story, oh, please,
One with fifty percent truthiness, at least.
A sea shore with a nice, fresh tang to the breeze,
And haply devoid of the soul shredding Beast.

#496 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 11:00 PM:

I'm going, but I'm hoping to either bring Juan or room with Jenett again; not sure yet how that's all working, what with various other travel plans.

I hope you find someone who can share with you!

#497 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 11:06 PM:

Oops, left off the line that should have directed the previous comment to David Goldfarb!

#498 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 11:16 PM:

Earl Cooley III at 495: That's one of the more interesting uses of fMRI decoding that I've seen in a while; the senior author on that paper (Kamitani) pioneered the method back in 2005 or so with my former boss (who I worked for when I lived in Nashville). It's a nice extension of the basic method - which lets you say, relatively accurately, which of a couple of items the subject saw. This version is doing a much more complex version with natural images, which is where that entire field has gone in the last few years, but there's a big difference between being able to say that there was information in visual cortex that was classified as "man" or "chair" or "wombat" and being able to say that, for instance, the subject dreamed about their significant other or something.

[Warning: Neuroscience/fMRI rambling - this is what I did for a living a few years back]

I should note that fMRI is immensely powerful, but it's got some pretty brutal fundamental limitations; we're never going to be able to decode exactly what you saw without much higher resolution recording methods. For that matter, fMRI is a dreadful method if you actually want to see what neurons (or even relatively small neural populations) are doing; fMRI monitors changes in blood flow with a brutal time lag (call it about 6 seconds, relative to activity - how many mental images do you have that last that long without changing?) and the resolution is rather coarse (multi-millimeter voxels, usually). While every pop science article would really love fMRI decoding to be actual mind reading, it's not happening with the techniques or apparatus available today - we just can't get data fast enough or with high enough resolution to be able to do it as well as every popular press report would have you believe.

If anyone's interested, I can go on at length and/or point people in the direction of interesting papers.

#499 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2013, 11:22 PM:

janetl: Many years ago, I saw a special on television that involved the development of the Hurriquake Nail, a fastener designed to do things like keep houses together under severe stress. The really entertaining part was seeing the device they designed to test it... a great big mechanical arm which fastened to the side of their model building, picked it up, and shook it like a dog. It was only a room or two in size but that sort of testing is pretty entertaining. You might look into such things if designing built-in shelves for your next place.

Mmm, volcano land. There's this interesting geological formation an hour or two north of Sacramento called Sutter Buttes. Sometimes they're referred to as "the smallest mountain range in the world." They're geologically distinct from all of the nearby ranges. I recently found out that they're actually the remains of one larger volcano that exploded some time in the distant past and might technically be called a caldera. From a quick glance at comparative sizes, it may be roughly the size of Mount Mazama (Crater Lake's precursor.)

Um... did somebody mention geology? No? (wanders off into rock land, muttering, "My mother is the geologist, why do I keep bringing it up?")

#500 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2013, 12:53 AM:

Actually, geology was mentioned over on the thread about Antwerp's bridge and its unfortunate experience with a 'splody ship.

I've never been to Sutter Buttes, but I know people who have. I gather good hiking boots are recommended.

#501 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2013, 12:56 AM:

Mmmm, geology! Things are always better with more geology.

#502 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2013, 01:42 AM:

Jon Baker - At least for informal clothing, I've found that Walmart goes a few sizes larger than most better clothing stores. If there's a Nordstrom's Rack near you, it'll often have some choices as well.
Also, I forget which con it was, but I was once at a science fiction con that was at the same convention center as an African-American church convention; their dealers' room had a lot of women's clothing in larger sizes.

#503 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2013, 01:59 AM:

On Maggie Thatcher - every man or woman's death diminishes me, but their retirement from politics is often a good thing for the world, and too bad she didn't do so sooner.

I don't begrudge her the Falkland Islands War; the Argentine military junta who'd invaded them were a nasty bunch, trying to prop up their popularity after years of the Dirty War by a quick attack against an easy target, and the Falklands residents were English, not Argentine.

I do find her continued support of Chile's General Pinochet in return for his support during that war offensive, and her support continued even after his trials for human rights abuses began, but then Ronald Reagan had warmly welcomed Argentina's General Galtieri to the US (before the Falklands War) because of his support for Reagan's offensive against the Nicaraguan contras; it was dirty generals all the way down. Galtieri was eventually accused of kidnappings and disappearances as well, but died of cancer.

#504 ::: GC80 ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2013, 03:20 AM:

Surely you mean "his support for Reagan's offensive against the Nicaraguan Sandinistas"? The Contras were Reagan's allies!

#505 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2013, 08:37 AM:

Bill Stewart @502: In every skin-pigment except the main brown one, my skin resembles fairly dark African-American skin. So I look good in a lot of the brilliant colors that African-American high-churchgoing clothes come in.

#506 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2013, 09:31 AM:

No such thing as too much geology, says the mother of the Earth & Atmospheric Sciences major.

#507 ::: Cath ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2013, 10:17 AM:

Elliott @408: Late to the music party, but another spoken/sung example is Ridley Bent's Pastures of Heaven which includes the phrase "all I wanna do" to boot. It was a minor hit in Western Canada.
He briefly flirted with what he called "hick hop" before he moved into straight-ahead country.

#508 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2013, 12:41 PM:

Lee @480: But is it the antiqueness you want, or the content? If the latter, you may well be able to find a repro copy for considerably less.

Well, yes, of course. :-) Actually, antiqueness is really a non-issue, given that, if I understand arright, the first printing was '09.

But it does look like it has a lovely grimoire-iness (if you will) about it. And I'm a fan of art books.

But in the absence of the scratch to obtain a hard-copy, I am satisfying myself with a (probably illicit) downloaded PDF. (I did the arithmetic, and it turns out $200 is not an unreasonable price; to print it out in color at Kinko's would run about that.)

elise @483: there's one on eBay currently at $20.50 (with $4 shipping) and 2 days, 14 hours left as I write this.

One presumes this will, um, change, closer to the auction close.

Nancy Lebovitz @486: And oh my dear God, the google images page is overwhelming.

Yeah, I mean, Carl Jung as Calligrapher and Fantasy Artist? Who knew? My biggest issue with this thing is that it makes me want to do one of my own. (I've always had a niggling itch in that direction, anyway.) Like I have the time to even think about it, even.

Earl Cooley III @495: Japanese Dream Machine Can Visualize Your Dreams

Wheee! Wow. I woke up from one this morning that I would have loved to have recorded. (See also: just about any of my late-morning flying dreams. Though I'd be much more interested in one that could catch the full sensorium, including but not limited to vestibulation.)

See also: Boy, the privacy activists think they have their work cut out for them now....

Benjamin Wolfe @498: (call it about 6 seconds, relative to activity - how many mental images do you have that last that long without changing?)

I am reminded of an...hallucinatory, for lack of a better word...experience I had at Iguanacon (my first con that wasn't a Trek con). Going to bed the second or third night, after having gone through the art show, and having seen the masquerade, I'd close my eyes and get this rapid-fire slide-show of vivid, fully realized (and as far as I can tell, completely original) images, clickclickclickclick. Hundreds, I'm sure, in the time it took me to fall asleep. I only managed to capture two out of the onslaught. I've had that happen once or twice since. I suspect that I would have melted Prof Kamitani's fMRI machine into slag.

we just can't get data fast enough or with high enough resolution to be able to do it


B. Durbin @499: Um... did somebody mention geology? No?

Nu, this is an Open Thread, yes? Can we not take geology as having been mentioned?

A geophysicist friend always whines when I ask him questions like "How does malachite form?" "I'm not a geologist!" This, despite pointing out interesting geological features while hiking, like the color striations in sandstone indicating that they were once wind-driven dunes. Hmph, say I.

WRT Margaret Thatcher, she is one of the few world leaders I've actually seen in the flesh.

#510 ::: Jacque, gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2013, 12:41 PM:

Finished off the purple oatmeal, but there's tea cooling.

#511 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2013, 12:44 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz @508: censorship of Fahrenheit 451

::giggling helplessly:: Where's Douglas Hofstadter when you need him?

Yes, I know it's a serious, important subject.

::disolves into more giggles::

#512 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2013, 01:08 PM:

W/r/t #509 (AKICML): is it common/accepted for a publisher to alter a work after its initial publication, without notifying the author?

Is it legal?

#513 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2013, 01:12 PM:

Jacque at 508: That actually sounds like a pretty standard fMRI paradigm - Rapid Serial Visual Presentation (where we show you lots of images in rapid sequence). In fact, people have been running experiments like that since 2007 or so (I remember one from the fMRI lab I was in where we found one labmate to have a brain that was particularly responsive to cats; knowing the man, this was unsurprising).

#514 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2013, 01:16 PM:

The Daily Mail, a notoriously homophobic British newspaper, has wailed its dismay at the "vile screech of hatred" over Margaret Thatcher's death. For them, we are told on every page, she is the woman who saved Britain.

They rail against the champagne street parties, student union cheers, and internet taunts.

I read what that mighty organ writes about people like me, and people like my friends, and I see how they praise the thugs and liars who, openly and behind the scenes, are ripping apart my country. And, instead of the great todgers of Fleet Street telling me what to think, I would rather settle down, with a keg, in the company of The Company of captain Frans Banning Cocq and lieutenant Willem van Ruytenburch.

They were men who were willing to spend their own time and money on defending their society. They thought it mattered. Whatever the flaws there might have been in their world, they believed that there was such a thing as society.

And, one day, if you were really lucky, their embodied ghosts descended on a shopping centre in Breda. Here in England we still see, in our shopping centres and high Streets, the ghosts that Maggie Thatcher raised, and we call them beggars.

#515 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2013, 01:16 PM:

# 512 W/r/t #509 (AKICML): is it common/accepted for a publisher to alter a work after its initial publication, without notifying the author?

That would depend entirely on the contract. Some contracts are essentially "Do with me as you will."

#516 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2013, 01:56 PM:

Jacque, if you're serious about wanting a copy of The Red Book, I do suggest keeping an eye on that eBay copy, because there is in my estimation a decent chance the price won't go anywhere near the full price. It's got the wrong date listed in the item description, and unless somebody's looking closely, they might not notice exactly which edition this is. I won't be surprised if it goes for under $50. I've seen the same thing happen with mislabeled opals.

#517 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2013, 02:10 PM:

Dave Bell @514:

I have never met a Dutch person who could completely parse the sentence, "There is no such thing as society." The Dutch person who got closest to it said, "It's a wrong idea. It's a thought that will ultimately destroy us."

I'm sure there are Dutch people who agreed with Thatcher, but I've yet to meet one.

#518 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2013, 02:13 PM:

On Maggie's death, I'm told the BBC has issued a call to British citizens to help make sure all her horcruxes have been found...

--Dave, also salivating over the book-collection descriptions, also a person who has no more bookshelf room and has gone to boxes instead

#519 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2013, 02:30 PM:

Lee @480: [the once and future matte black onyx] It worked amazingly well -- they look just like they did when I bought them -- and I suspect that something like this was the original treatment.

Hurrah! I had the opposite problem a while back, when some frosted glass beads gradually shifted from velvety white to near-transparent. A tidy swipe of unscented hand sanitizer gel took the surface oils right off and re-opacified them-- luckily, these were loose; if they'd been strung on a finished piece, I would've had to generally identify the cordage as synthetic or natural, and thus whether there would've been greater damage potential from alcohol or from soap'n'water.

Meanwhile, does anyone know how to dye white howlite beads, or whether polished howlite has been surface-sealed in some way that makes it impervious to dye? Soaking polished howlite in pure isopropanol dulls the finish, but doesn't seem to make it lastingly permeable to pigments (even after heat-shocking, everything I've tried just washes right back off with plain water).

#520 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2013, 02:37 PM:

elise @516: because there is in my estimation a decent chance the price won't go anywhere near the full price.

Nope, already out of my range. ::sulk::

#521 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2013, 03:49 PM:

Jacque, #508: I was curious about "vestibulation", so I tried to look it up. Google is not being my friend today; all I can find are (1) a medical condition of some otherwise-unspecified type, (2) the condition of having a vestibule, and (3) from Urban Dictionary, "the state of hanging out in the vestibule long after you've said goodbye". None of these seem to fit the context of your sentence. [*]?

elise, #516: Excellent point. Items on eBay that have typos, inaccuracies, or are miscategorized tend to go for far less than the average selling price. We got our copy of the Wendy Carlos / Weird Al "Peter and the Wolf" for a third of the going rate because of that.

Julie, #529: I found this page, which illustrates a fairly successful attempt to dye rough howlite, and this discussion, which is also about dyeing the unpolished version, and this page, which seems to be about dyeing tumble-polished rocks, and also this (scroll down) which may explain why your dyes aren't taking -- if the stone is cut using oil, the oil may soak into the surface and prevent the dye from penetrating. HTH!

#522 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2013, 04:51 PM:

Lee @521: Wait, there exists in our universe such a thing as a Wendy Carlos / Weird Al "Peter and the Wolf"? Do tell; what is it like, and how is it?

#523 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2013, 05:10 PM:

Brooks Moses: well, for example, "Laura hit El Lobo with the vacuum cleaner."

It's actually called "Sneaky Pete and the Wolf".

#524 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2013, 05:23 PM:

Lila @523 -- The title on the copy I have (CBS CD MK 44567) has the title as Peter and the Wolf -- it also includes The Carnival of the Animals, Part 2, with poems by Yankovic and music by Carlos. It is a surprisingly difficult and expensive CD to find. I infer there might have been copyright difficulties. While there are digital copies available online, I doubt their legality.

#525 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2013, 05:31 PM:

Brooks (#522): Yes, it does. I bought it when it first came out on CD, so I didn't have to use Lee's typo-finding approach (aka the "Plam Pilot") to get it cheaply. (The CD also has some Weird Al-written sequelae to "The Carnival of the Animals" including Amoeba, Shark, Unicorn, and Poodle.)

What's it like? It's about what you'd expect from the creators: there are some, shall we say, modifications to the music and text, including an additional character (Bob the Janitor, who is represented by an accordion).

Remind me to play it for you sometime.

See also the Wikipedia entry, but note that reading it will spoil the end gag.

#526 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2013, 05:33 PM:

I too grew up in a house with multitudes of books and bookshelves. We bought our present house partly because it was large enough to house our combined book collections and we have something over 1000 linear feet of book shelves/shelves of bookcases in the house. Half of my home office/library contains a complete wall of bookcases with three lots of back-to-back bookcases perpendicular to this, library-style (not all full height, because the cat needs to be able to jump up and progress to the top level). Last year I even went to run a 10k race and came home with a bookcase (okay, technically I got it from the car boot sale next to the race car park).

Despite this, and despite double-banking the paperback fiction, we are realising that we're going to run out of shelf space in the future. We are considering changing at least some of our future fiction book buying to electronic format.

Re. moving house: family and friends helped us move last time, including the books. My in laws said that if we move again, we can get professionals in to move us, particularly the books! One day I'd like to redecorate my office/library and put a new carpet down. This is going to require major organisation and probably a week off work (move furniture from dining room into living room. Pack books and journals into boxes and move them into living room/hall/wherever else they will fit. Move office furniture & equipment into dining room. Paint walls and ceiling. Have carpet put down. Reverse the furniture, equipment and book/journal moving...

As for getting books cheap because they are mislabelled - I got something at a very reasonable price on Abebooks due to a typo (at least, I'm presuming that's why it hadn't been snapped up long before).

#527 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2013, 05:53 PM:

Typos, misfiling, miscategorization, and just plain lack of knowledge on the part of the seller are major reasons I've got a lot of fairly valuable books that I didn't spend much money on. And sometimes it's just the luck of being in the right place at the right time. It's the thrill of the hunt, in action!

#528 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2013, 06:10 PM:

Lee and Brooks Moses: Duh, my bad! "Sneaky Pete and the Wolf" is by Peter Schickele, and unrelated to the Weird Al/Wendy Carlos collaboration.

#529 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2013, 07:19 PM:

The movie rights to CJ Cherryh's Morgayne books have been sold to an outfit that already has the script for "Ivrel". Fingers are crossed.

#530 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2013, 07:31 PM:

Lee @521: I was curious about "vestibulation"

This would be my manglement referring to the sense of balance, orientation, and motion managed by one's vestibular system.

It would be as "imagery" is to "vision," perhaps? Or as "soundscape" would be to "hearing."


My household of origin also contained quantitudes of books. (Two full walls of shelves. Not as many as some reported here, but certainly Enough, come dusting time.)

I decided that this was not a family tradition I needed to feel compelled to uphold. So I only have one fifteen-foot wall covered in bookshelves. And only about two-thirds of those loaded with books. (Dusting, again.)

Appropos of which: does anybody have a good trick for getting fly-spots off of books?

#531 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2013, 07:36 PM:

Used books that are better than new? I'm happy to have a copy of John Neufeld's Freddy's Book stamped all over for the Des Moines Public Library System, in which major parts of the book are set.

#532 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2013, 09:06 PM:

Allan Beatty @531: Cool! On a somewhat similar note, I've got a hypersonic-combustion textbook (theory of how to build ramjets, basically) that's ex-corporate-library, and neatly stamped AURORA inside the front cover.

#533 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2013, 09:56 PM:

Lila @ 461: My pet-rescuing sister-in-law who lives in the Atlanta area will be thrilled to hear that there's a team in Athens set to help with refugee pets. She currently has a rescued grand pyrenees dog, which should give her extra karma points on food costs alone.

Our team has not had any shooter training. We were sent a link to a video to watch, but were told that we would never be mobilized about a shooter, and should we encounter one on our own time—run away! Run away! (or hide, etc)

The other training we won't be getting is chain saws. The volunteer coordinator says people always ask about chain saws, and that because we aren't trained, if we use one, then we are no longer doing our official CERT duties and our normal insurance coverage does not apply. He did finally relent and allow as there was one situation in which we could use chain saws with his full permission: zombies.

#534 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2013, 10:23 PM:

The Onion particle about Ebert--it really is a wonderful evocation of Ebert's life, as well as a wonderful summation of a kind of humanism that is secular, but not incompatible with some religions either.

Human existence is incredibly, joyously, deliriously precious. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry. It's all we have, and all we need to have. The enemies of human happiness are my enemies, and its friends are my friends.

And his creed, reported @356 by Stefan Jones, is very much like the creed professed by Henry James:

Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.

That's my kind. I'll stick with that kind, and give my life for it.

#535 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2013, 10:25 PM:

profit's just another word for nothing left to spill

Black as tar sand, black as oil,
Blacker than the poisoned soil.
Blackened hearts in soulless toil,
Blackguards joy, to life, despoil.

#536 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2013, 10:48 PM:

#534 Vonnegut too: "You've got to be kind babies, you've got to be kind."

Contrasts . . .

While I don't know what kind of person Margaret Thatcher was off camera, she comes across as . . . unkind. And that seemed to be what made her appealing to many people. They weren't in it for "we have to privatize industries to make them more efficient." That wanted to hear her sneer.

#537 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2013, 11:09 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 536: Did you see Russell Brand's essay about Margaret Thatcher? 'I always felt sorry for her children'. It's rather wonderful.

HLN: Area woman has new glasses with progressive lenses. (The old glasses were also progressives, and a very similar prescription.) The prescription seems fine, but everything seems rather ... odd. And a headache threatens.

#538 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2013, 11:25 PM:

I'm about to get new glasses myself. Going to try the opticians at Costco this time (I have the new prescription).

#539 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2013, 11:52 PM:

janetl at 537 I'm not an optometrist, but I'd wonder if the pupillary distance (the distance between the center of your pupils, recorded on your prescription as PD) is right - I had that issue with a pair of glasses a few years back; my PD was off by a few millimeters and the headaches were bad until my eyes adapted.

#540 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2013, 11:54 PM:

Nancy 509: Reminds me of the fact that some people tried to do product placement in The Truman Show. The producers' response was " you know what this film is about?"

Dave 514: Oh, fuck the...on second thought, spay the Daily Fail and any horse they've ever ridden in on or ever will! Yeah, Thatcher saved Britain...or rather its wealthy and titled, which are all the Britons the DF cares about, from the vicious attempts of the poor, the downtrodden, and the gay to live sane and decent lives.

abi 517: Again, you strengthen my desire to learn Dutch. Could I really adapt to living in a place where 'samen leven' is a byword, and commuting by bicycle is absolutely normal (and safe)?

Yes. Yes, I could.

David 518: Quoted with attribution. (Um...perhaps I should have asked. If you don't want to be quoted elsewhere, let me know and I'll take it down.)

#541 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2013, 12:15 AM:

Xopher—maybe you should visit the Netherlands. That way, you'd get a good sense if it is your heart home. And if not, you'll have had a neat trip to the Netherlands...

#542 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2013, 12:35 AM:

Gotta get a job first. At least.

#543 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2013, 12:37 AM:

My dreams of unloading hundreds of old mysteries, and just buying inexpensive e-books were dashed when I priced e-books by Josephine Tey, Margery Allingham, etc. However, I eyed the heavy omnibus edition of E.F Benson's Lucia novels, and discovered that they are available at free-to-cheap prices. The big book is now in the sell-back pile, and I'm re-reading Queen Lucia on my light Kobo.

When I started it, the spell didn't take hold. Yes, yes ... Lucia was a ridiculous little snob and dictator, and Georgie was adorable ... then it crept over me. Omigod! The opera diva, in Riseholm? Gasp -- and she served champagne? The constant scheming to get out from under her iron rule! The Italian dinner guest! Yup, these are definitely worth a re-read.

#544 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2013, 03:00 AM:

GC80@504 - Urrgh, yes, your correction is correct. Thanks.

#545 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2013, 07:22 AM:

janetl, we also got the "no chain saws" lecture. A lot of people get hurt after major storms around here by misusing chain saws.

U.Ga. has its own active shooter video (starring some folks I know) but the city of Houston's "Run, hide, fight" is also good. (I'm pretty sure it's been recommended here recently but my Google fu has failed me.)

Hooray for your sister and for dog rescuers in general! (I'm doing a home visit in a couple of hours for Dachshund Rescue of North America.) And Great Pyrenees are awesome dogs (friends of mine have one) but I can't imagine handling something that BIG.

#546 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2013, 07:25 AM:

The sand-castle XKCD is still going.

#547 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2013, 12:01 PM:

While April seems to be indefinitely delayed here (Sigh...), a part of my brain is defiantly thinking ahead to clear snowless streets and the opportunities therein. So, a question for all those of you with bicycles.

What do other people who bike prefer for transporting a toddler? As far as I can tell, the common options are a seat on the back of the bike (I do have a frame that would support such a thing) and a hook-on buggy that follows behind (My brain absolutely will not offer the correct word for this right now, but I'm typing fast so said toddler will not need to bang the keyboard to get my attention). We live near some fairly busy streets, some in areas willing or designed to accommodate cyclists, and some... not so much. I have no plans to do anything intentionally unpleasant, obviously, but just getting downtown (Which is very close) could involve crossing on an unfriendly bridge.

Seems to me that the extra seat has the issues of balance as the bike is still, and before the child is removed (There is no way that would balance on the current kick-stand, for one, so if I have trouble with a bike rack, I can see problems).

The issues with a carrier behind the bike are that most of these seem to be pretty wide, on streets already sometimes narrow and struggling to fit in bike lanes, and I imagine them getting turn-tricky and I'd hate him being so far out of sight behind me.

Opinions from the experienced?

#548 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2013, 12:13 PM:

janetl at 537: definitely get the pupillary distance re-checked. Some years ago, I got a new pair of glasses, but the makers had fnorked the PD, and yeah, headaches. They re-made them at no charge, of course.

#549 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2013, 12:57 PM:

Following the Onion link on Ebert, I also found this painfully true (but made-up) story.

#550 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2013, 01:02 PM:

Lenora Rose @ 547

I use and really like a bike trailer; mine is an older Burley, but the Wal-mart one we had before was fine too.

Things I like: I can unhook it from the bike and there is just a little hitch attached. It's not de-stabilizing like a seat at my height is. I can carry a lot. (I've carried two children and a week's worth of groceries several times.) And with the cover on, it's not too cold in winter.

If the child is strapped in and has on a helmet, it's quite safe. I've turned mine over twice. Once my almost 4-year-old stood up, and leaned over the side, just as I turned into a parking lot. He had a split lip but nothing more. The other time I was making a sharp turn and my rear wheel jammed against the frame. The 2-year old and the 4-year-old were sufficiently unbothered that we finished out the ride (well, OK, the fact that the options were go home, or go on to the donut shop, might have affected that--but when we got home, it wasn't even the most important thing that happened.)

Drivers seem to be much more polite when I'm towing the trailer. And the effort isn't that much--on steep hills I'm glad for very low gears, but I can easily ride 15 miles with two children in a trailer. (I commute 8 miles each way to work, so I am used to riding.)

#551 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2013, 01:12 PM:

Lenora Rose @547. Most of our riding when the kids were that size was done on bike paths or neighborhood streets rather than less-friendly streets, so I'm not familiar with the hazards there. The behind-the-parent seat was good the summer our daughter was 1, but as she got bigger, the balance issues got worse. The other problem with those, if your bike doesn't have a step-through frame, is that it's hard to get on and off when you can't swing your leg behind the seat.

We liked our trailer a lot. Advantages:

Can continue to hold the child until he/she is old enough to ride on one of those pseudo-tandem attachments.

Can hold two children, which may not matter to you, but did to us - although there was a certain amount of "Mom, she won't stop touching me!"

Lets the child take along a sippy cup or stuffed animal with limited risk of it being dropped as you ride along.

Easy to carry along other stuff, e.g. a picnic lunch or things you bought while out.

I didn't find the turning radius much of a problem. It was a bit of a pain to take the trailer along if we were beginning a ride somewhere other than home, but it folded down fairly easily.

#552 ::: James E ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2013, 01:33 PM:

Lenora Rose @547: with the caveat that I've not tried either myself, a couple more possibilities:

i) If you've the money to spend and can find somewhere that sells them, a Dutch-style cargo bike looks like a great way of ferrying small children around.

ii) a rear-mounted child seat might work better with a double-legged propstand, or a steering stabiliser, or both. Your local bike shop might be able to help you, or they might gawp at you in bafflement, depending on where you live and what sort of cyclists your neighbourhood has. But neither is very hard to fit at home.

#553 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2013, 02:06 PM:

@547 Lenora Rose

I've never used a trailer, but I can tell you I used to wish I had one. I really disliked the seat behind me. The balance issue caused a few tip overs. Luckily no major injuries, but I lost all the skin on my leg and arm one time trying to get myself between toddler and asphalt.

#554 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2013, 02:12 PM:

Lila, #545: A friend of ours lives on a farm, with livestock. He has three rescued Great Pyrenees, in part because they can take down coyotes. They're very sweet dogs, but they can knock you over just being friendly!

#555 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2013, 02:39 PM:

Xopher Halftongue @540: Could I really adapt to living in a place where 'samen leven' is a byword, and commuting by bicycle is absolutely normal (and safe)? Yes. Yes, I could.

I've pondered that thought myself. I anticipate that the two showstoppers for me would be 1) I tend to be a resolutely solitary curmudgeon (except when I don't want to be), and 2) the Netherlands would be insufficiently lumpy for my tastes.

Lenora Rose @547: The issues with a carrier behind the bike are that most of these seem to be pretty wide, on streets already sometimes narrow and struggling to fit in bike lanes, and I imagine them getting turn-tricky

I'd have to get a tape measure out to be sure, but my sense is that my (fairly substantial) trailer is not much wider than my handlebars. I would tend to favor the trailer over the bike seat, primarily because it feels a simpler business to navigate. One does have to pay extra attention to one's effective length, as when passing. My handlebar was clipped by a mom towing a kidlet-containing trailer. (I gave her a stern talking-to about that when I caught up at the next intersection.)

But with the trailer, (my sense is that) you're also effectively bigger, in traffic. To be sure of extra visibility, you can put one of those whippy flags on the aft end of the trailer.

As to turn-trickiness, I haven't found that to be a particular issue, though I tend to just go more carefully when I'm towing a load.

Not sure how much use my impressions would be for you, however, given that I've spent my entire commuting life on a bike, so I tend to be (knock on wood) much more confident in traffic than a lot of folks.

#556 ::: TChem ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2013, 02:51 PM:

Lenora Rose #547: We just took the trailer and the 2-year out for the first bike commute of the year yesterday. I’ve found that the actual width of the trailer was considerably less than I thought when looking at it; it’s barely wider than my shoulders, and can pass through a standard door-width opening. I always worry about cars not seeing it, but they always give us a very wide berth. That said, I do wish there was a single-child-width trailer, but all the ones I’ve seen are designed to hold up to two. Ours looks very much like this one:

We got a trailer because we were particularly concerned about weight requirements (Big Toddler Is Really Big), about easily being able to transfer from one bike to the other, and about messing around with the bike’s center of gravity. Our trailer comes with a little hitch, and more are cheap, so once we had attached the hitch my husband and I were able switch off in about 2 minutes. (This is also nice when we drop him off at daycare, because we can leave the trailer behind when we continue on to work.) We’ve found that there’s enough space to be able to tow a bag of groceries. I think a bike seat would have worked better until about 18 months—it just required slightly more muscle and coordination to stay upright for long periods than I had expected at that point. But he’s always vastly preferred it to the car. The weight is such that I usually need to downshift a click or two compared to being unladen. If it’s more than that, the tires need to be reinflated; a lesson I relearn every few months.

#557 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2013, 03:45 PM:

Jacque #530:

The other word you may be looking for is "proprioception".

#558 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2013, 04:02 PM:

joann @557: The other word you may be looking for is "proprioception".

Nope; proprioception is very specifically a kinesthetic sense (related to but distinct from tactile kinesthetic), and has to do with sensing the stretch and relative position of muscle tissue. (There's some discussion about whether vestibulation is strictly kinesthetic, partially K, or a discrete (sixth?) sense in its own right.)

#559 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2013, 04:41 PM:

I've got a burley solo for the kiddos (serially), and when you're used to it, it's really no big deal in terms of width. It's long, especially on the back of a tandem. I got used to going at mostly full speed through the bollards on the Burke Gillman trail, and never really came close to hitting them.

I've turned it over, once, at low speed, with a kid in it. He sort of hung there from the straps till I righted it.

It's time to get it out again -- I think this is the last season that I'm going to be towing the youngest.

#560 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2013, 04:54 PM:

Lenora Rose @547:

Ironically, I can be just about exactly zero help with this particular cycling question. I didn't start serious industrial-strength kid-hauling until we were in the Netherlands and the youngest turned four, at which point we popped her on a tagalong and made her do some of the work.

We'd had a bike seat on the back of our bikes in Scotland, but rarely used it because Scottish drivers are not bike-friendly at all. And I've only used a trailer once—my niece was over and I borrowed one from a neighbor to give her an adventure.

And what I do with kids on my bike right now (pop 'em on the back rack, sitting on a folded towel, and tell them to keep their feet out of my back wheel, please) is illegal and insane anywhere but the Netherlands.

#561 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2013, 05:18 PM:

HLN: Local kitchen putterer makes startling discovery: when simmered until soft, very-ripe canteloupe starts tasting very like acorn squash.

Most disconcerting.

Especially since I was making fruit leather (to keep the fruit longer, as we weren't eating it fast enough). I added a bit of honey and some rather squishy very-ripe strawberries, plus a bit of powdered ginger; it now has a usefully fruit-like flavor, so all's well that ends well.

#562 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2013, 05:49 PM:

Thanks, all! He's already pretty big (25 LBs at 16 and a half months) so it sounds like a bike seat would be a lesser choice.

(I do have a step through. I bike in skirts a fair bit.)

#563 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2013, 07:30 PM:

Abi, I haven't been on a bike in at least a decade, but the phrase "industrial-strength kid hauling" is one I'm going to hold on to.

#564 ::: Bruce H. ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2013, 10:03 PM:

Jacque @530

What is this "dusting" you speak of?

#565 ::: Stephen Sample ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2013, 11:14 PM:

On the kid-hauling front, I want to put in a recommendation for sidecars. The kid gets a better view, it's easier to talk to them, and the center of mass stays low.

I have a Chariot model (now sadly discontinued), and they're awesome.

Now it's limited to one kid, and left turns are a bit more work than right, but those are the only real limitations. You can still lean for turns, and the total bike+sidecar width is the same as the width of a standard 2-kid trailer.

#566 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 12:14 AM:

circulus in demonstrando

Simony, shmimony!
Anselm of Aosta,
Famed for his circular
Reasoning tropes,

Doctor Magnificus,
Canterb'ry's Archbishop,
Predicted Snopes.

#567 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 12:59 AM:

Lizzy L @ 548: definitely get the pupillary distance re-checked. Some years ago, I got a new pair of glasses, but the makers had fnorked the PD, and yeah, headaches. They re-made them at no charge, of course.

If I'm not feeling fine by the end of the second day, I will head back for a chat. I know from past new prescriptions that I'll need some time to adjust.

#568 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 10:26 AM:

There's a high-minded take on recent deaths in the news over at Whiskey Fire, worth a moment of sober reflection.

#569 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 10:36 AM:

More details on our drone strikes. Some of the high points:

a. We often have only a vague, approximate idea whom we're killing. Like "this guy visited a couple places associated with people we don't like, so he's probably a bad guy."

b. We also take requests--specifically, it looks like part of the price we pay to Pakistan for letting us kill their citizens on their soil is that, from time to time, we kill some of their citizens on their soil *for* them.

My guess is that, as more details come out, this will look worse and worse. It probably won't matter for domestic politics--most voters don't really care all that much about what we do to scary-looking foreigners far away--but it won't do our image in the world much good.

#570 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 11:57 AM:

Open threadiness:

Pollen counts in Atlanta are above 8000.

Thank God for the oncoming rain. (Though it's supposed to include some bad storms.)

#571 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 12:25 PM:

Details are emerging for the Thatcher funeral on the 17th.

It feels wrong in so many ways.

But I have turned up an old piece of verse which feels appropriate for any personal ceremonies.

Cut off from the land that bore us,
Betrayed by the land we find,
When the brightest have gone before us,
And the dullest are most behind-
Stand, stand to your glasses, steady!
'Tis all we have left to prize:
One cup to the dead already-
Hurrah for the next that dies!

#572 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 12:49 PM:

Lila @570, yeah. In my office in DC - which is on the 8th floor, faces another building across a narrow alley, and is several blocks from the nearest park - the outside of the window has a noticeable coating of pollen when the light shines the right way. Not that my eyes and sinues couldn't have identified it as pollen time anyway. Looking forward to rain here, too.

#573 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 04:38 PM:

not a morning person

Twerping birdies, chorping away at the day
As if I were supposed to be awake
At the crack of noon.

Cheerful construction workers obliterate
The restful silence, encouraged, perhaps,
By the bad example of the twerping birds.

There's plenty of rest for the wicked,
But none at all for me; let the early bird
Gorge itself on wormy guts for all I care.

#575 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 05:01 PM:

Earl Cooley III:
Man, you're really on a roll!
Thanks for the grins.

#576 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 05:47 PM:

Earl, #573: Hear, hear! (Or not hear at that hour of the morning, as the case may be.)

#577 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 07:14 PM:

I've got a Bujold question. In The Sharing Knife, when some of the Lakewalkers are called "makers", does that mean anyone who is not a patroller or is there a more specific meaning?

#578 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 07:28 PM:

@577 Allan Beatty

Something more specific: only a "maker" can create the titular Sharing Knife.

#579 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 07:28 PM:

Chirpity Chirpity
Birdsong assails us
Though we use earplugs to
Shut out the "peep".

Nevertheless it is
Incontrovertible --
Cats on the head do not
Help one to sleep.

#580 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 07:30 PM:

Allan Beatty, if I remember correctly, which I may not, my impression was that makers were people who used magic to make things-- Dag's brother was a knifemaker, and his mother did rope or something.

#581 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 08:13 PM:

With regard to discarding books, moving four times in five... no, that's five times in four years, and having to move most of it myself, or be able to move most of it myself, a lot of the books went bye-bye. Anything I knew I could get from the newly local library *poof* gone. Anything I could get digitally, the physical copy went bye-bye. A lot of reference books I never read but like having around, I checked the newly local library's online reference, and if the book was there, it too went *poof* gone. After I took a picture of the cover. For reference. I went from a room walled in bookcases and stuff on the floor to about eight boxes of books I can't find in the library. And those books that were gifts or have sentimental value (a boxed set of Winnie the Pooh books being one of them).

I don't recommend it. It's painful.

#582 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 08:26 PM:

Janet @ 442
My adventure with CERT and a day-long training session from 2008.

#583 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 08:52 PM:

Am I the only person in this community who doesn’t find it painful to get rid of books?

The difficult parts for me are (1) it takes physical effort and work, and (2) because of my vision problems, a lot of the books around me are ones I haven’t read yet. But every time I’ve gotten the gumption together to haul a box of books down to the sidewalk, or the library, or wherever, I’ve come back feeling lighter and happier. I’ve never once regretted it. It’s liberating, not painful.

#584 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 08:52 PM:

Lin, ouch! I have more books than I really have room for, but the thought of parting with any of them hurts. I managed to give a dozen to a children's book drive this year, though.

#585 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2013, 09:15 PM:

Think kind thoughts for me... Wednesday is our final exercise in beginning CERT training.

We're supposed to have a celebratory banquet, but GEMA hasn't released our funds. :-(

#586 ::: glinda ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 12:08 AM:

HLN: Hadn't heard coyotes recently, but last night they were carrying on some extended conversations, I think from the greenbelt just beyond the buildings across the street. Not a sound I mind, at all.

Earl Cooley III @ 573:

Oh, wonderful. Especially this:

As if I were supposed to be awake
At the crack of noon.

Cassy B @ 579:


#587 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 12:13 AM:

Avram, speaking for myself and perhaps extrapolating to others, I think it's two opposing forces. It feels good to clear things out, to accomplish something, to lighten your life a bit, but choosing which things go can be terrifying because what if you're wrong? What if you actually want that? What if you actually want to be the person who has that book? Books are to some extent symbols of who you want to be and what you want to talk about, so not owning the right ones may exclude you from important conversations. But it feels so good to finally snap and admit that you aren't in high school any more and you will never reread those and the library has them anyway, or to self-righteously pile up a Goodwill donation in the living room over the course of a week.

Add to that a feature of my books that I think is less widespread than the anxiety: I often think of buying nice or matched editions of books, particularly series, as a mark of respect to the book itself. Not always the author, though that's some of it in some cases, but the books. If I had all the money in the world, I'd have both the hardcovers and the trade paperbacks of a couple books that changed midseries, the hardcovers so the author gets more money and a sales boost and the trade paperbacks so the books are right.

Anyway. First-person 'you' throughout here, but some of it may apply to others.

#588 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 12:45 AM:

#586: Oddly, I heard the 'yotes yapping it up more frequently when I was in an apartment down the road, across from a shopping center. I believe they gathered in a field behind the stores.

I now live adjacent to a park with overgrown wetland areas. I know there are coyotes around; I saw one last week while walking the dog. (Kira saw it first; he was staring at us from some bushes. When he had enough of the barking he trotted away into the undergrowth.) But they don't howl it up. As it gets warmer I'll make a point of leaving the windows open in case they start up.

A family of coyotes howling is *cute*. You can make out the little ones pitching in with awkward broken yodels.

#589 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 01:43 AM:

Diatryma @587: It feels good to clear things out, to accomplish something, to lighten your life a bit, but choosing which things go can be terrifying because what if you're wrong?

Back during my first big book purge, over a decade ago. I was going through my shelves, looking for stuff to get rid of, and I picked up some Heinlein book, and thought to myself “I need to keep this, just in case I need to refer to it in an argument on Usenet.” I had what I believe the alcoholics call a “moment of clarity.” Haven’t regretted getting rid of a book since, except my old AD&D manuals, and it looks like I can pick up used copies of those reasonably cheap if I really feel like I need to.

To continue the alcoholism metaphor, I sometimes think fans bragging about the books they have piled up all over is like alcoholics telling each other they can stop any time they want.

That said, yeah, I don’t like breaking up matching sets either.

#590 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 07:37 AM:

Glinda @586, it occurs to me some clarification of that double dactyl may be required; the cats will sometimes stand our our heads (meerkat style) while we lie in bed, in order to get an extra six inches of elevation so as to watch the birds more effectively...

It's quite jarring to wake up at the crack of almost-dawn with a cat standing on one's head.

#591 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 10:22 AM:

I will happily get rid of books I don't expect to ever read again. (Sometimes this is after reading them once, even if I enjoyed them.) Where the trouble comes is when the book has been sitting on my shelves, unreread, for a number of years. "I can't get rid of that until I try rereading it, to see if I still like it! But I don't want to reread it *now*, there are sixteen bajillion other books I want to read first." So it goes back on the shelf until the next time I try to do a cull.

I am, however, making a concerted effort to whittle down my collection a little this year, as I plan to move in December.

#592 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 10:51 AM:

Getting rid of books. The upside is less clutter, and the ability to find the books I have.

Downside, as Diatryma @587 says, it's partly an identity thing. And so part of the problem of getting rid of older books is being willing to admit that I'm no longer the person who loves that book that I used to love.

As long as I can get them from the library it's not a huge problem, but the library is not trustworthy for genre.

#593 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 11:19 AM:

I don't mind getting rid of books I'm not going to read again. I usually bring them to work which has a large number of stealth readers. I consider it releasing them into the wild, and am somewhat excited that another person will read and hopefully enjoy them. It's the odd WTF OFFENSIVE book I worry about sharing.

#594 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 11:39 AM:

I'm generally very, very reluctant to purge any books (from either the set I have out in CA, or with my parents in MA). I know I've got plenty of books I haven't cracked in a decade or more (nearly complete McCaffrey set, I'm thinking of you), but there hasn't been a compelling argument or necessity for evicting them from a shelf in my parents' basement. Maybe on some trip back East, I'll sell them to a bookstore.

#595 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 03:28 PM:

Hey, Happy Friday, Fluorospherians!

Who wants to see a hamster gif?

Yeah, I thought so...

#596 ::: rat4000 ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 03:48 PM:

Serge Broom mentioned Herne
a couple of days later
inspiration came

Hunter's song
I hunt with bow and arrow, in an age
when most I know have long-since moved to powder.
I hunt deer, runners, white-tailed, beautiful,
and will admit my relish at their death.
It's a religious thing: the hunt, the tracking...
the eyes so full of light go flat as glass
and still. I like the silence, which I must keep,
and love my woods, their mist, light rain, veiled sun.
Once in a clearing I saw old Herne, the forest
lord, arrow and bow in hand, eyes blazing
hot beneath his great horned brow. I knew,
then, my reason for the hunt, far better
than I had known before: I saw him winded,
bloodied, the deer at his feet was twitching still.
The image a barbaric icon, life
as one but seldom sees it: the unnameable
being freed at last, death breaking chains of flesh.


Also I must thank Clifton for mentioning Robinson Jeffers; my life was poorer for not having heard that name. I've been reading everything of his I can find for free, and it shows rather a lot in the poem above.

On the getting rid of books subthread: I've just been desensitized. I moved four times in as many years, once, and at the end of that swore on Odin's bones to have as little stuff as feasible, and to never regret throwing anything away if I'd have to carry it up a flight of stairs otherwise. It helps that I only care for the words, not for the cover or paper or anything; I have only one carton of books that cost more than 20€ each, so if I throw something away and need it later, and can't find it in the library, I'll just buy it again. (Haven't had to yet, but am seriously considering doing it for Silverberg's Dying Inside. I miss that book.)

#597 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 05:54 PM:

In the tradition of Teresa's "Dreadful Phrases": Things We Do Not Say in Outlook.

(AKA the Washington Post's list of tired cliches that they would prefer their writers abjure. H/T Slacktivist.)

#598 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 06:58 PM:

Every book deacquisitioned
is the funeral
of the me
who read and used that book.

(primarily in the context of non-fiction reference)

#599 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 07:28 PM:

Thanks, Diatryma and Cheryl.

#600 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2013, 08:53 PM:

pict a peck of purpled poesy

Start with a monolith of granite words,
Chisel away at it, mercilessly spalling
All that which is not the poem hidden within.
Worry not, as each word thus discarded
Will, one day, find a home in a Big Data sump,
Ready to test the Shannon Entropy of a hint
Of an undiscovered language.

#601 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2013, 12:38 AM:

I want to say a very emphatic thank-you to the person who recommended the Badger-verse Avengers fanfic series over on the "Crime Against Government" thread. I'd set it aside to read later; "later" arrived yesterday, and I've just spent 2 days mainlining the entire sequence, and have now subscribed to receive notice of further updates. OMG the snark -- and it's written mostly from the POV of the Avengers' lawyer, who is every bit as much of a holy terror as they are. Hearing her reaming out Nick Fury for the paltriness of the salary SHIELD offers to its new hires -- on the grounds that (1) it works out to less than the Federal poverty level for NYC and (2) as a result, makes them prime targets for bribery and/or conversion attempts -- is sheer joy.

#602 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2013, 01:45 AM:

Ooh. Thank you for the reminder, Lee. That goes on the list to read as soon as I'm through the Toasterverse stories and the series they're a companion to. Gotta love something with the series title "In Which Tony Stark Builds Himself Some Friends (But His Family was Assigned by Nick Fury)".

#603 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2013, 02:02 AM:

Allan Beatty at #531, Brooks Moses at #532, regarding used books with interesting histories:

Around 1964, senior Project Apollo engineers lectured newly-hired staff on How We Plan To Send Someone To The Moon. I learned that this became a book. I wound up the Abebooks robot to spend a couple of years watching for a suitably-priced copy. Having been alerted, I bought it.

My copy of Manned Spacecraft: Engineering Design and Operation turned out to have library markings.

It came from the library at Edwards Air Force Base.

#604 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2013, 02:15 AM:

Lin Daniel @ 582: Thanks for the link to the description of a CERT exercise. Thirty pound pack?! I opted for the smallest pack they allow here. Not so great for an actual emergency, but I'm such a wuss that I thought I'd better go with something less likely to tire me out during exercises. When* I start exercising regularly, I can fill out a more complete one.

Lila @ 585: Hope it went well.

Our final exercise is the first week in May. We will be going into the fire fighting training tower in the dark, with fake smoke pumped in to make it harder to see. I am not feeling enthusiastic about that. I'm not feeling enthusiastic about any of this CERT stuff. It just seems like a grown-up thing I should do, and I'm working away at it. Actually, I suspect there's some magical thinking behind my decision to do this. "If I've trained on how to respond to a big earthquake, and prepared with survival supplies, then it won't hit until after** I've shuffled off this mortal coil due to natural causes."

*I think I can, I think I can, ...

**Note that I'm not so delusional as to think that the NW won't have another subduction zone earthquake, just that it could hold off until the actuarial tables have me out of here. Or I'm traveling!

#605 ::: glinda has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2013, 05:37 AM:

Bill Higgins @ 603:

That? That is ...


(The kind of thing where the ex-library markings add value, in my opinion, and probably in that of many others here)

#606 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2013, 07:37 AM:

Re CERT and similar: I just learned about firefighter rehab, which seems like something I could learn to do. Not that different from what volunteers at blood drives do, really. ("Sit down, drink something, don't leave for at least 10 minutes, and if you look like you're going to faint I'm grabbing a professional.")

#607 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2013, 07:57 AM:

Wow: 62,000 words is way more than I have ever written on any subject: but that is the current size of my translation of The art of resurrection. (Still 40 pages of source that have yet to be addressed; I'm in another round of revisions before I get to them.) I'm flabbergasted. I knew this was a great novel while I was reading it in Spanish; in English, it just shines.

Will it ever be published? Probably not... Doing this translation has been a great reading/learning experience though. I do want to at least mail it to a couple of the small presses (Open Letter, Melville House, a couple others) that print the best literature in translation, to add to their slush pile. Because who knows? I've invested enough of myself in this reading/translation, might as well invest a bit more in putting together a classy submission, maybe at some point it will be read. I'm thinking about the format of the submission -- how does this sound?

I. Cover letter with a brief description of the novel and the author and listing of attachments.
II. Background material: detailed description and summary of the novel; historical background relating to the main character (a historical figure) and the setting (tail end of the nitrate mining era in Chile); bibliography of reference material and more information about the author; notes on the translation.
III. Sample chapters and/or the full manuscript.

Am I missing anything key?

#608 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2013, 09:26 AM:

The sidelights link to "Google Alert for the soul" at The New Inquiry redirects to a search for parsley. But if you do a search for The New Inquiry you can get to the article. If you click on the thumbnail for the article, you will get the parsley link, but back-clicking arrives at the article itself.

Which is a weird piece of sabotage, actually.

#609 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2013, 12:25 PM:

Glinda #605

Sorry, but I can't find your post. Not in the moderation queue, not in the spam bucket. So wherever it's gone, it's gone. Sorry about that.

#610 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2013, 01:59 PM:

Tonight is my 20th high school reunion. My stepmom kindly gave me the money to buy the (fairly damn pricey) ticket; I won't be able to enjoy fully the open bar involved because I have to drive home, alas. It also comes with a dinner, a detailed tour of the school (whose physical plant is radically different than it was 20 years ago -- and that in turn was very reworked from what the graduating classes of the 70s saw in their underclassman days), etc.

Also a Mass, which I shall probably skip; the alum coordinator expressed interest in talking to me, and that strikes me as a good timeslot to do it. Apparently whenever an alum pops up after a decade or more of no-deliberate-contact (they've always had my address and sent me the periodic beg letters on schedule), they like to kind of touch base and find out why I fell away.

In my case? Partly shame (I'm a college dropout. I recently got an associate's. At least one of my co-graduants was a RHODES SCHOLAR, and many many went on to immediate professional degrees, MSes, PhDs, etc). Partly the stuff they send kept feeling more and more irrelevant: I didn't have any money whatsoever to spare to send them, and all the 'events' they wanted me to buy expensive tickets to were Professional Business Networking, 'Women's Committee' meetings that sound like a bizarre attempt at feminism through a ladies-who-lunch privilege filter, or sports events for the current students ... and not only did I hate sports when I WAS them, I don't know anyone who currently goes there, so it's pretty much irrelevant. Probably most of the teachers I knew are gone too.

Some of my classmates may have current students for children; it HAS been 20 years, after all. I wouldn't mind if Beka wanted to go there, in the fulness of time; my alum status will give her a mild bump in admissions chances, anyhow.

I don't know what my school COULD do to make me more interested in staying connected to it (even though I lived .4mi away from it for nearly a decade of the last 20 years). None of the things they ever HAVE done struck me as even faintly interesting. For some reason they don't invite alums to things like the science fairs and open houses and spirit events that parents attend to admire their children's accomplishments. I wouldn't mind being occasionally involved with a student club as a sort of outside mentor position ... if there's any club that values my specific expertises and life history. But invites like that only go out to specific alums who maintain personal relationships with the alumni office and are therefore thought of; they don't do cattle call "Hey, are you interested in ..." mailings to all alums still living within X radius of the school.

Maybe they shouldn't. But when the only interaction opportunities they offer are (a) aimed primarily at my wallet, (b) devoutly religious, or (c) sports-focussed? Yeah, not interested in any of those, sorry.

#611 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2013, 02:36 PM:

Lila, #606: The one time I ever had a bad reaction to donating blood, I felt perfectly normal during the 15-minute observation period. The wooziness and nausea didn't hit until about 2 hours later, when I was back at my desk (it was an office-sponsored blood drive), and I had to go lay down on the couch in the ladies' room for the rest of the afternoon. That's when I figured out that I can't donate on the official 8-week schedule; my body demands 12 weeks to recover enough to donate again.

(Not to be dissing the official observation period; I know that it does catch a lot of the adverse reactions. But people differ.)

Modesto Kid, #607: That's quite an accomplishment, and I wish you luck in finding a publisher!

Elliott, #610: The last 2 paragraphs of your post sound like exactly what you should say to the alumni coordinator. Not that it's likely to do much good -- I said almost the same thing to the alumni coordinator at Vanderbilt some years back, and nothing changed -- but it's like filing a police report for harassment; it leaves a paper trail that might be noticed someday.

#612 ::: Lee has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2013, 02:36 PM:

Probably for a Word of Power.

#613 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2013, 02:50 PM:

Lee: that's interesting. Fortunately for the firefighters, in their case it's not just an observation period, but also includes frequent checks of blood pressure, blood oxygen and carbon dioxide levels, etc., and they have to get past an EMT to go back out. I'm guessing those might catch some of the "I feel fine but I'm really not" cases.

#614 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2013, 06:42 PM:

Lila @ 613: I'm sure firefighters everywhere get some sort of first aid training. In Portland, a 911 call for an ambulance gets a firetruck dispatched, and an ambulance, too, only if it sounds serious. The firefighters are all certified as whatever-the-serious-certification-is*. I imagine that would make it harder to get them to sit down and be monitored. Their adrenaline is up and they'll be sure they Know Better.

We've had a variety of instructors in our CERT classes, two of them firefighters. They've both sounded very sensible and safety-conscious, but they were also senior sorts, with years of experience and some grey hairs. They really emphasized how very unhealthy it is to breathe smoke. I hadn't realized how fast a room can fill with smoke, and how much it obscures visibility until they showed us the Very Scary Fire Video

*I'm not clear on EMT versus paramedic.

#615 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2013, 09:06 PM:

Fire departments have absorbed EMS in many communities. This is partly because, with better building codes, the emphasis on smoke detectors, and free fire-safety checks, fire departments have been running themselves out of jobs so they expanded their scope because folks continue to have heart attacks at about the same rate.

It makes sense for emergency services to cross-train. Many times firefighting and EMS go to the same scenes, for example automobile wrecks, because of the flammable liquids and the need for heavy tools that you'll find.

Your levels of EMS are, from the least to most:

First Responder (this is pretty much everyone; cops, firefighters, construction workers, coaches ... the people who are likely to be there first when bad stuff happens).

EMT-Basic: More training and larger scope of practice than First Responders.

EMT-Intermediate: More training and larger scope of practice than EMT-B. This rating will go away in the next two years, to be replaced by Advanced EMT (AEMT).

Paramedic: More training and larger scope of practice than EMT-I.

For more on smoke inhalation and such, see Trauma And You Part Five: Burns

#616 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2013, 09:21 PM:

Also: If the firefighters don't take rehab seriously, or give the folks in rehab any problems, that's a sign that the fire department has poor leadership and poor discipline. Back away; they're going to get someone killed and you don't want it to be you.

#617 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2013, 11:57 PM:

Is there such a thing as a doctorate in paramedics?

#618 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2013, 12:51 AM:


A million wasps and more
Lurk in the interstitial dark
Hidden in the walls of the world

Immune to the honeyed scourge
Of colony collapse disorder
They draw strength from inevitability

Their papered nests, a living chronicle
Of consuming parasitism, illustrate
Both power and fragility, lost to crackling flame

#619 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2013, 10:20 AM:

Amazingly sing-along-able mashup: the words/vocals of NiN's Head Like A Hole with the instrumentals of the recent "Call Me Maybe". Makes me very happy, in a nostalgic way.

#620 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2013, 12:48 PM:

Elliott Mason #610: I think you've just summed up my attitude towards my college.

Re: the "becoming yourself"/"Google alert for the soul" particle: The article is based on a bogus conflation -- the idea that one's "data-self" has any necessary relation to the "authentic self" to begin with. The "data-self" as they describe is essentially the social persona as applied to the Internet. And even aside from actual mischief, mistaking your social persona for your essential self has broken better folks than "me and thee"....

#621 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2013, 05:06 PM:

I've just completed the first draft of a 20,000-word Hobbit fanfic, and I'm looking for a beta-reader / editor (which is why I'm asking here rather than in the fanfic comms).

- Alternate-universe story line; only Thorin dies in the BoFA
- Some porn (more than R, less than XXX, and it's not the primary emphasis)
- Dwarves mate-bond for life; Fili & Kili are mate-bonded

If this sounds like it might be your cup of tea, drop me an e-mail at fgneqernzre@zvaqfcevat.pbz and we can discuss it in more detail.

#622 ::: Lee has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2013, 05:07 PM:

Almost certainly for a Word of Power that I should have thought about. Oops. Would Their Lownesses care for some chocolate-dipped candied ginger?

[We love chocolate-dipped candied ginger. Not too thrilled about Dwarf Fanfic though. No one ever writes about gnomes.... -- Noriss Quisiop, Duty Gnome]

#623 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2013, 06:09 PM:

Hmmm, fanfic about the Human Gnome Project, involving the appropriate sequence for human-gnome relationships....

#624 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2013, 06:54 PM:

Lee@621 only Thorin dies in the BoFA

Bank of America must be a more dangerous place than I thought...

#625 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2013, 09:27 PM:

621 and 624:
or else it's very dangerous to try to get a Bachelor's of Fine Arts.

#626 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2013, 12:29 AM:


ain't Brigadoon;
New York
ain't neither Cork;
ain't ole Toulouse
and a fork
just ain't a spork.

#627 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2013, 01:12 AM:

What do we call whitewashing when it's pretending that a queer person in history was straight? I had a feeling Da Vinci's Demons was going to do that, and sure enough they did.

Da Vinci actually did time for having sex with guys. It's not like it's not known.

So do we call this straightwashing or what?

#628 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2013, 03:36 AM:

Xopher @627, “straightwashing” sounds about right.

And I’m getting all twitchy about people calling Leonardo just “da Vinci”. Fucking Dan Brown. (Though I just found it in the text of The Princess Bride, too. The book, I mean. At least it’s coming out of the mouth of an uneducated person, so there’s an excuse.)

#629 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2013, 04:52 AM:

Xopher@518: Oh, perfectly fine, though it wasn't mine originally either. James Nicoll's blog maybe? {sfx: clickety-doodle} Noooo... I don't remember where. Bah.

I am aware that I own books which I will not re-read ever again. But I don't know which ones they ARE, mostly... and am unwilling at present to combine that search with the sorting-the-last-several-years-of-paperbacks-into-order regimen that's been ongoing for the last couple decades.

(I'm actually fairly sure at this point that I own books other than textbooks that I'm not going to get to read ONCE. But again, which ones has not been revealed to me...)

Will echo the recommendations for fanfic from any of scifigrl47, copperbadge, or shrewreadings on archiveofourown. Caution: may cause unforeseen amounts of lost time.


#630 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2013, 06:33 AM:

Hyperlocal news... Local fan back from the Jack Williamson Lectureships on Saturday afternoon. Enjoyed discussing the flawed premise of "Brigadoon" with Connie Willis, and suggested to Joan Spicci Saberhagen that she should bring her ukulele to the local con. Off to the Bay Area in four hours.

#631 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2013, 10:50 AM:

Avram #628"

You and me and every Renaissance art historian on the planet. It's like calling me "of Austin". It's not what he would have called himself, or what anyone would have called him.

#632 ::: Mea ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2013, 10:52 AM:

Elliot at 610: My very large uni does in fact send out general emails to those of us who are on the alumni list, asking for volunteers to meet prospective students, help with various student scholarship selection processes, and invitations to talks by professors on various topics. It is university not high school, but my point is that it is certainly possible to aim events at alumni that go beyond the "all alums were members of the greek system" stereotype that seems to be present in many alumni activities. But it took a while for me to somehow end up on the right mailing list, because my first encounter with the alum system was very much based upon an assumption of fraternity/sorority membership and an interest in football games. Um, no.

And yes, not all fraternities/sororities are like the generic stereotype. But the nugget of truth at my school is probably that the greek system created more involved alumni, and that skewers the whole process.

Have a fantastic time at your reunion.

#633 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2013, 11:39 AM:

Today is Euler's birthday, and Google has a (slightly) interactive Doodle.

#634 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2013, 01:10 PM:


Yeah, but if we just call him Leonardo, how will anyone know whether we're talking about the artist/scientist, or the ninja turtle? (Ob XKCD)

#635 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2013, 01:27 PM:

albatross #634:

Art historians generally get away with just "Leonardo", but if you need to differentiate from ninja turtles or the magazine,* "Leonardo da Vinci" is the way to go.

* art-related journal, but there's usually some bit of context to disambiguate between that and whichever sentient being comes to mind.

(BTW, albatross, every time I read your name, I enter Monty Python mode.)

#636 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2013, 01:57 PM:

joann@631: ... "Lennie"?

Dave, shifting my vowels nervously

#637 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2013, 02:00 PM:

Albatross @634, just get into the habit of calling the Ninja Turtle “la Tartaruga”.

#638 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2013, 02:14 PM:

joann (635): (BTW, albatross, every time I read your name, I enter Monty Python mode.)

Oh, thank heavens it's not just me.

#639 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2013, 03:35 PM:

Speaking of XKCD, the 1190 "Time" strip is still going on. My hypothesis is that they've built their sand castles in a dry riverbed where it meets the sea, and rather than being overwhelmed from the seaward direction, the water that eventually melts their sandcastles will be coming from the left, possibly in a flash flood.

#640 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2013, 04:03 PM:

Serge Broom: Enjoyed discussing the flawed premise of "Brigadoon" with Connie Willis

Oh,boy. I just got of a 1:30 to 10:00 a.m. shift and don't have the energy to wade in right now, but I have strong views on the subject. Let us say that "flawed" is not quite the right word in my opinion and leave it there.

#641 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2013, 04:07 PM:

I was just pointed to this clip Dance like no one is watching and while normally I don't like seeing clips of people being filmed without being aware of it. I really like this clip and hope that she's fine with it.

The woman is brilliant boogieing along to her music and it made me grin like mad watching the clip (in the best way possible) and even better pretty much everyone seems to have that same reaction, including commenters on huffpo and youtube which is way better than I was expecting

#642 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2013, 05:53 PM:

Bruce: Your second link appears to be pointing to a placeholder URL.

#643 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2013, 07:07 PM:

Avram 628: You're right, of course. I should have called him Leonardo (which is how he's known in the art books I had as a kid). And anyone who can't tell from context that I'm not talking about a turtle...has an interesting mind.

#644 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2013, 07:28 PM:

Jim @#615

Briefly, the City of Nepean had EMS assimilate fire, and had only a department of emergency services. Then Nepean was absorbed into metro Ottawa which has conventional EMS and Fire.

#645 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2013, 08:49 PM:

I will be in the Los Angeles area this coming weekend, for the primary reason of attending the LA Renaissance Faire with KeithS. Is anyone else in the area interested in the possibility of a Gathering of Light, either at the Faire on Saturday or for dinner in Pasadena on Friday?

#647 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2013, 12:09 AM:

Bruce E Durocher II @ 640... Have no fear. We both felt the same way. On the other hands, it has Cyd Charisse and it is merely flawed, compared to that year's other musical "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers".

#648 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2013, 12:39 AM:


Empathy triumphs over
Entropy, for now....

#649 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2013, 03:45 AM:

As a contrast to the news out of Boston today (which has been hard to watch, since I grew up there - even though everyone I know is safe), two bits of good hyperlocal news:

1. Area couple signs lease for new apartment! Moving in after Big Vision Conference next month. Should be a vast improvement on a whole host of levels.

2. Area couple makes matcha meringues, with sufficient matcha to knock area man's head back, and cause area woman to go all nom nom nom.

Both of these things help.

#651 ::: C. Wingate thinks the gnomes need to go on a diet ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2013, 08:08 AM:

A skiffy link, but not very tasty, unless you want to eat someone else's hat.

#652 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2013, 09:29 AM:

A group of Russian amateurs searching through Mars Reconnaisance Orbiter publically-available images may have found the crashed 1971 Soviet Mars lander. NASA geeks concur provisionally.

Future site of a museum/park with fences around the Genuine Historic Artifacts for tourists to come visit?

#653 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2013, 10:19 AM:

Lenora Rose @547 re: bike trailers

One thing about bike trailers; since children outgrow them fairly quickly, they are commonly available used, and are much cheaper than new. The best brands (IMO) are Burley and Chariot; I've found searching craigslist for the brand works well, as sometimes they are with bikes, and sometimes with children's stuff. The thing that wears out is the straps--check those. (Just for example, there's an older Burley on the Toronto list for $29; it would be $300 or more new.)

#654 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2013, 01:57 PM:

just got an internal service error trying to post here; then emailed webmaster as directed in error message and email bounced.


#655 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2013, 02:07 PM:

Trying again:

Elliott Mason @ #652, per my daughter who uses Mars Orbiter images in her research: "Fun fact: you can download the viewing software for free." The URL may be what borked my previous attempt. hirise dot lpl dot arizona dot edu slash hiview slash

#656 ::: GlendaP ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2013, 03:24 PM:

HLN: Area woman has yet another "no news is good news" visit with oncologist and gets promoted to semiannual checkup schedule.

(Yesterday, actually, but I left the doctor's office and got online just as the first reports from Boston were showing up. My personal issues seemed irrelevant.)

#657 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2013, 03:36 PM:

Yay, GlendaP!

#658 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2013, 03:53 PM:

HLN: local area woman receives a promotion and a nice salary increase. The work is good and interesting, and this is a pleasant improvement to the situation!

#659 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2013, 04:12 PM:

Jim just sideblogged this. There was a sequel in the news a little later, which raises all manner of issues.

#660 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2013, 04:25 PM:

Steve with a book @ #659

You beat this moose to it!

I suppose the moral is "No good deed goes unpunished".

#661 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2013, 04:33 PM:

HLN: Local woman is looking for work again. All reasonable offers accepted. (Meaning: why am I still trying to find a school that will appreciate me? I don't care anymore. Just give me something to do with words and I'll be happy.)

#662 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2013, 05:03 PM:

Aww, Anne, hugs.

#663 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2013, 05:33 PM:

Steve with a book #659: Indeed, most strikingly the vicious goalpost-moving by his former employer: Demanding ''post facto'' that he should have been too physically disabled to wrestle the shark [my interpretation of their statement], when what he was on leave for was stress.

My second reaction: With an employer like that, no wonder he'd been stressed to the point of taking medical leave!

#664 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2013, 06:11 PM:

Steve with a book @ #659: what Dave Harmon said.

Did you know his heroic act was immortalized by humon in Scandinavia and the World?

TexAnne, my sympathies. I'm still severely unemployed but have at least found some interesting volunteer work.

#665 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2013, 08:56 PM:


Snakes slither, Spiders skitter,
Eternity shatters
For the sake of the War.
Then, a new cluster breaks:

A comet is displaced
In space-time just so,
Yet made moot by a tweak
Betwixt chronon Two and One.

One day, there will be nothing left to try,
And the third combatant in the war
Will, at last, raise its rough, entropic head
And snarl that the War is won after all.

#666 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2013, 09:41 PM:

60 years ago today, Dwight D. Eisenhower made his famous "Cross of Iron" speech. He knew the cost of war and this speech expresses it eloquently.

I only realized this because I was going through boxes at the parish office (long story) and found a card with a salient quote and the date April 16, 1953. Wait a minute, sez I to meself, that's today.

It wasn't, it was 60 years earlier and stuff, but you get the point. Raised the hair on the back o' me neck, it did. Not that there IS any hair there.

#667 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2013, 11:04 PM:

TexAnne @ 664... They are fools, that they don't appreciate you.

#668 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2013, 12:08 AM:

Annnnnd I got post #666 and didn't even notice! Rats.

And TexAnne: Serge has it exactly right.

#669 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2013, 12:13 AM:

Interesting ad from Dove, in their Real Beauty series: Women describe themselves to a forensic artist and he sketches them. Then they describe one of the other women in the project, and he sketches them. Compare and contrast.

#670 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2013, 01:54 AM:

Tom Whitmore @ 669: That Dove piece is wonderful. Dove is doing some very interesting things while advertising cosmetic products.

On a very different note, Jim's Diffraction "18 Dogs Whose Beds Were Stolen by Cats" made me laugh & laugh!

#671 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2013, 05:48 AM:

And it's finally officially final. NZ can haz marriage equality -- vote was 77 to 44 on the Third Reading of the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill.

#672 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2013, 06:07 AM:

The IP Address of the Beast

#673 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2013, 07:19 AM:

thomas #671:

Really chuffed that the song (song!) that was sung after the result was announced, was this love song.

#674 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2013, 07:29 AM:

Tom Whitmore @669, Janetl @670: Yes, Dove occasionally does something that looks staggeringly size-accepting, like that forensic artist thing … but for the most part they're just fat washing the same stupid crap the rest of the beauty industry does to try to get us to hate ourselves enough to believe THEIR product will fix us. A friend of mine made an (angry) post on the subject that might be relevant here.

#675 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2013, 07:35 AM:

Xopher: wow. Thank you.

Elliott: I get an error message trying to follow your link.

#677 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2013, 07:57 AM:

Lila, Lenora Rose: Yes, thank you, horribly mispasted (and not caught on preview).

#678 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2013, 11:34 AM:

Elliott Mason @674: Even if Dove is being totally cynical -- they believe that this type of ad will sell enough soap to be worth the cost of making it. Which means that there's enough people who want to hear this message. And I think the message is a good one.

If they sell more soap using this type of ad than using the other ones (which are, yes, terrible) -- they'll use more of this type of ad. And they're getting a message of acceptance out a lot more strongly than people who don't have their money can. For the moment, that's a good enough state for me. It's nice to have radicals who will continue to hold their feet to the fire -- but it's also nice to have even this much of a win.

#679 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2013, 11:40 AM:

Eh, I appreciate what Dove's doing, but frankly I don't give a shit. I'm tired of my attractiveness being used as the sole yardstick of my worth. Hell, I'm tired of it being used as any kind of yardstick of my worth. Trying to convince women we're not as hideous as we think is still part of that yardstick.

#680 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2013, 12:09 PM:

This list of really unconvincing funding pitches is something I'd expect to find via Making Light; now someone else can.

Sometimes, it takes twenty tries to get it right.

#681 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2013, 12:16 PM:

Serge #667: I enthusiastically second that motion.

#682 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2013, 01:30 PM:

Jim: thanks for the Diffraction on the NZ Reps marriage equality vote. That brought tears to my eyes, and a welcome lift on a tough afternoon (heading out for my CERT final exercise, which right after the Boston attacks is going to be Not Fun).

#683 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2013, 02:15 PM:

Your final CERT exercise: While maybe not fun, don't be grim about it. Be aware that at any moment the drill can be real. When/if the real thing happens treat it like a drill. That'll get you through. See also this comment on one of my earlier posts.

#684 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2013, 02:42 PM:

janetl @670: "18 Dogs Whose Beds Were Stolen by Cats" made me laugh & laugh!

I should dig up this picture: one afternoon Mr. Humphrey Spike McSpikersons showed up on my doorstep in the arms of his human. Turns out she'd found out she was pregnant, and was in the process of divesting herself of pets, anticipating (not unreasonably) that New Baby would be quite enough of a challenge. She'd sat for my guinea pigs during Denvention in '08, so I was her first stop to find a new home for Spike.

I took him in, but it quickly became apparent that I would need to (a) find him a new home or (b) strangle him. (The last straw was when he decided he wanted to get to the girls badly enough that he was willing to climb the fence of his cage (12", not a huge feat, but) and jump down the four feet to the floor.

Fortunately, around that time, someone on the bus home from work one afternoon overheard me talking about him, and stepped up to adopt him.

One of the first pictures she sent me of him in his new home shows Spike lounging in the dog's bed in the background and Ming (a Peke or Shitsu or something) in the foreground with a look on his face that very eloquently expresses the sentiment, "MOOOOMMM!!!"

#685 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2013, 02:46 PM:

I don't know if the timing of the release is related to the news blitz from the bombing in Boston, but this bipartisan report on the use of torture by the US looks both unambiguous and extremely unflattering to both the previous and current administration.

I expect this to have little effect. If such a report had happened when the first reports of torture were coming out, maybe it would have worked. But we've had most of a decade now for a big chunk of the media (most of it *not* particularly right-wing) to soften and caveat opposition to torture, to the point where most voters seem more likely to say "well, I guess it was necessary to keep us safe, and maybe it was only done to really bad people so it's okay, and...." This is pretty much how a whole country sold its soul, and we didn't even *get* anything for it.

#686 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2013, 03:18 PM:

I agree with you, albatross. *You* (and, to whatever extent things are the same in Canada, *I*) didn't get anything for it.

So, the question: Cui bono? Who did? Because I'm sure somebody did.

#687 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2013, 04:10 PM:

Re: New Zealand Marriage Equality

The yes votes were noted in pink ink.

#688 ::: Soon Lee has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2013, 04:11 PM:

Mayhap it was a Twitter link?

(Would duty gnome like a cup of tea?)

[Yes, it was the twitter link. Spammers are forever linking to one or another twitter account. -- Maior Uirix, Duty Gnome]

#690 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2013, 06:12 PM:

P J Evans at #689

I particularly liked the complaint about region locking.

#691 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2013, 12:26 AM:

C. Wingate in #650:

Thanks for posting the link. That is a picture of the Annapolis class to which Heinlein belonged. But Heinlein is not in the picture.

Over on the Heinlein Nexus forum, after I passed along this news, SF author Michael Cassutt writes:

According to Bill Patterson's biography, RAH departed Annapolis headed for Kansas City on June 3, 1929, three days before this event -- which he did not attend.

#692 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2013, 12:54 AM:

defiance (a pantoum sonnet)

To conquer time with thee is all I need.
With silent steps we walk the Path Unknown.
Our inner strength prevails; we'll not concede.
Each lesson learned provides a paving stone.

With silent steps we walk the Path Unknown.
The journey is our destination, so,
Each lesson learned provides a paving stone.
The stars will have to wait their turn, let's go;

The journey is our destination, so,
Our vision of the future will endure;
The stars will have to wait their turn, let's go;
We'll find a cure for entropy impure.

Our inner strength prevails; we'll not concede.
To conquer time with thee is all I need.

#693 ::: Codemonkey in NE England ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2013, 08:55 AM:

What are people's thoughts on how UK house prices will move over the next few years?

Personally I think they're still grossly overvalued, but won't seriously drop until after the 2015 election (as the current government seems to be doing everything in their power to keep them high...)

#694 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2013, 12:34 PM:

HLN: I have a faster laptop; I now no longer need an egg timer to keep track of when another page will load.....

#695 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2013, 01:10 PM:

Codemonkey #693 - the condems economic illiteracy and desire to subsidise 'the middle classes' is such that they're putting the taxpayer on the hook for any negative price shift of the houses whose purchase they subsidise using our money.
But yes, I don't expect much more of a fall in hotspots, simply because there's still a desperate shortage of housing. (well okay, desperate shortage of affordable housing)

About the only thing that I can see making a difference would be a global bird/ swine flu pandemic that kills lots of people.

Having said that, in your area it might be better to buy than rent, you need to do the maths. Although I have heard that the north of England has a lot of problems economically, and the desire of the condems to ignore them probably means there will be further drops in house prices there, especially compared to London price changes.

#696 ::: SamCehere ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2013, 01:17 PM:

Am I the only one who keeps seeing the "New Zealand Parliament Breaks into Song" diffraction and thinking of "The Village That Voted the Earth Was Flat"?

#697 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2013, 01:26 PM:

SamChevre @695:
Am I the only one who keeps seeing the "New Zealand Parliament Breaks into Song" diffraction and thinking of "The Village That Voted the Earth Was Flat"?

It's possible; I certainly do not alleviate your solitude. Could you explain why you're making the association?

#698 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2013, 01:52 PM:

abi's ct SamChevre: Yeah, I'm curious about that, too.

#699 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2013, 02:04 PM:

It's just that Kipling's story "The Village that Voted the Earth Was Flat" ends with the House of Commons singing; it's the only real or fictitious scene I have in my head where that happens.

#700 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2013, 02:09 PM:

#672 - Indeed, the Beast is inside all of us.

Re: Dove ads - I'm of mixed opinion. On the one hand, yes, everything Elliot Mason said. On the other, I will never forget being at my parents' house when one of those ads came on, and my mother saying, "Those are some really unattractive women, aren't they?" No matter how cynically manipulative Dove may or may not be, their ads do provide a little needed push-back against the Be Hollywood-Beautiful Or FOAD pathology that my mother's comment exemplifies.

#701 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2013, 02:23 PM:

"The last temptation is the greatest treason
To do the right deed for the wrong reason."
-- T.S. Eliot, Murder in the Cathedral

#702 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2013, 02:43 PM:

HLN: All true wealth is biological department:

Our empire, such as it is, has been enhanced by 12 chicks and one goldfish. All free, either from the place that sells chicken food (the chicks) or as a prize in an easter egg hunt (the fish).

The chicks are adorably cute (how can day and week old chicks not be cute), the fish not so much. We're beginning to suspect that like cats, fish can recognize their food container.

The hyper local cat has no comment.

#703 ::: jnh ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2013, 02:57 PM:

SamCehere @696:
Well now I do.

Fie on you.

#704 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2013, 03:35 PM:

SamChevre @699: it's the only real or fictitious scene I have in my head where that happens.

Oh, whew! That's not at all where my mind went with that comment; nice to know that it's my inadequate education that's at issue.

#705 ::: ErrolC ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2013, 09:15 PM:

Re: New Zealand Marriage Equality

Nice coverage of pro-Yes speech by NZ Member of Parliment (from centre-right party).

#706 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2013, 11:37 PM:

436C 6576 6572 2047 6C61 7373

crucial handiwork
fracture impetus
fracture holiness
bison determine
glucose frequency
hockey hurricane

#707 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2013, 12:59 AM:

Earl Cooley III, I do not know what any of that means except that 'determine' is oh so wrong there.

#708 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2013, 01:19 AM:

The hexadecimal number sequence is a clue.

#709 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2013, 07:37 AM:

As I think I've mentioned else-thread, I have found myself the defacto moderator a local email list. I don't have the knack for it, but I think I've at least managed to not blow it all over the wall, as of yet.

I had an amusing opportunity to perform some real-time, IRL modding, tonight. Turns out I get some of my modding style from my guinea pigs.

My old alpha, Mr. Fuzzy Logan, was a wonderful herd leader. A couple of the girls would start up, and language would get progressively more coarse until finally he would bestir himself from whatever cozy corner he'd been snoozing in. Making a big noisy, he would calmly move in between the two combatants, and thus avert a fight.

My variation of that is to use a fly-swatter to interpose between the opponents, because once I used my hand, and That Did Not End Well.

During a community meeting this evening, a couple of participants were starting to square off. They weren't actually disagreeing, but each was already tense, and making the other moreso. I wasn't getting their attention verbally, so I grabbed a handy sheet of paper and just gently passed it between them, visually interrupting their interaction. This brought their attention to me, and I was able to get each of them to say his piece to me, and thus Communication Happened and equanimity was restored.

I was really inordinantly proud of myself. Also amused: mammalian psychology works on mammals!

#710 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2013, 09:11 AM:

Earl Cooley @708: The insight may be hexidecimal, but it still eludes me. Unfold, please?

#711 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2013, 09:23 AM:

I have been looking at the Google Earth images of West, TX.

1: I haven't found any good Streetview images.

2: The "fertiliser plant" is storage and distribution, not manufacturing. I don't know enough details of farming in Texas. In the UK, such a site might handle bulk ammonium nitrate, but most was shifted in semi-bulk: 1-tonne bags. The standard size for human-compatible bags was 50kg, usually at 1.5 tonnes per pallet.

3: Anhydrous ammonia is injected into the soil, using equipment that may also be a seed drill. There are two obvious clusters of vertical storage tanks on the site. There also a lot of tour-wheeled tank trailers, two being towed by a large pick-up. All this is consistent with anhydrous ammonia use, and the logistics of getting a supply of liquid fertliser to machinery in the fields.

4: There are four silo-type structure, cylindrical with a conical roof, with conveyors for bulk material of some kind. Two have conveyors set up in a way consistent with filling from the railway siding. There were two large silos on the site in 1995. One was demolished before 2005.

5: I am inclined to doubt that the silos stored fertiliser, but with at least one of them being loadable from the rail line, what else could it be? It's the only large-scale bulk commodity that comes in to a farming district, unless there is a nearby feedlot.

#712 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2013, 09:29 AM:

According to this story, the plant had 270 tons of ammonium nitrate stored on-site.

#713 ::: Lila done been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2013, 09:30 AM:

Possibly for a link to Reuters? Or the name of a fertilizer that explodes?

#714 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2013, 09:53 AM:

My guess, based just on what Dave Bell @ 711 posted, is that the silos are for fertilizer storage--quite likely for non-nitrogen fertilizers. And everything I've heard is consistent with a BLEVE of an anhydrous ammonia tank.

#716 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2013, 12:10 PM:

More on West, TX, and fertiliser:

It's quite likely that there would be storage for other fertiliser chemicals. Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Pottasium, are the three usual ingredients. The fertiliser can be a blend, the three ingredients as distinct particles, or prilled, where the ingredients are mixed as a slurry and dried into uniform granules. Prilling costs more and gives a more uniform distribution when spread. Different crops need different balances of nutrients, and levels in the soil vary too.

I forget these things. I haven't done any farming for over nine years.

We usually put the compound fertiliser on in autumn, since the phosphate and potassium is far less prone to leaching, and most of the nitrogen was applied in spring and early summer, in several applications.

#717 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2013, 12:14 PM:

The way it was being done in west Texas, the farmer gets a tank of anhydrous ammonia, and it feeds through a kind of injector into the soil. They usually do this in the spring - winter is the 'dry' season in Texas. Right about now is the big time of year for anhydrous ammonia deliveries...

#718 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2013, 01:08 PM:

elise, @710: The title is hex codes on the ASCII table. I guessed when the whole string didn't match, and there was a convenient 20 (== "space") in approximately the middle.

I'm not a poet, and I can't make the matches he's trying to get me to; but it's closer to making sense to me now.

#719 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2013, 01:33 PM:

Well, C is hex for 12 decimal, so I kind of get half the 'glucose frequency' one, although maybe not the way it was intended.

#720 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2013, 03:51 PM:

I was sad to hear that Storm Thorgerson died. Never heard of him? Well, he did some of the best album covers of my youth. You know his images.

#721 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2013, 04:28 PM:

Jacque #709:

That is a neat story.

#722 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2013, 06:28 PM:

Via a student, for the assignment "bring an interesting news story to class": SCIENCE!

#723 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2013, 06:52 PM:

Texanne's link should be here. Very interesting.

#724 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2013, 06:54 PM:

TexAnne (722): Your link is borked. (Looks like you left off the http:// .) I think you mean this page.

#725 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2013, 06:55 PM:

Oops. Thanks, Allan.

#726 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2013, 06:55 PM:

Whoops! Allan Beatty beat me to it.

#727 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2013, 08:06 PM:

Carol @ #715, that's glorious!

#728 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2013, 08:53 PM:

From TexAnne @ 722

"The lungfish may be more closely related to land animals, but its genome remains inscrutable: At 100 billion letters in length, the lungfish genome is simply too unwieldy for scientists to sequence, assemble, and analyze. "

I had no idea there were still genomes which are unmanageably huge. I guess we need a few more iterations of Moore's Law.

#729 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2013, 08:59 PM:

#722 TexAnne:

Coelacanth genome ... science fiction? or SCIENCE FACT!

#730 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2013, 09:08 PM:

Apparent the human genome is one of the smaller ones.

#731 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2013, 10:40 PM:

#728 Nancy Lebovitz

Imagine an episode of CSI: Lungfish.

Gill Grissom: Is the DNA from the crime scene back?

Coelacanth Willows: Sorry, sir. Too unwieldy.

#732 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2013, 10:44 PM:

Mary Aileen@724, "fish" plus "bork" leads to lutefisk...

But yeah, amazingly cool article.

#733 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2013, 12:51 AM:


Cats in zero gravity
Cannot spin and turn.
We will gently teach them,
They will purr and learn.

#734 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2013, 10:09 AM:

Bill Stewart (732): I'd love to see the Swedish Chef tackle lutefisk.

Bork! Bork! Bork!

#735 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2013, 05:58 PM:

Gerald K O'Neill's The High Frontier is available today as a free Kindle book.

#736 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2013, 09:48 PM:

Jim Macdonald, perhaps you'd care to expatiate on this:

#737 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2013, 10:03 PM:

The Swedish Chef and lutefisk? I suspect the Chef would end up pickled...

#738 ::: Brenda Kalt ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2013, 10:08 PM:

I hope the forthcoming Star Trek movie is better than the trailer.

#739 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2013, 10:18 PM:

P.Z. Myers wrote an interesting discussion of the discussions of the result of sequencing the coelocanth genome.

"The coelacanth genome has been sequenced, which is good news all around…except that I found a few of the comments in the article announcing it disconcerting."

"Well, so, you may be wondering, what about the molecular/genomic data? Doesn’t that clearly show that they’ve had a reduced substitution rate? No, it turns out that that isn’t the case. Some genes seem to be more conserved, but others show an expected amount of variation."

"...if the paper uncritically assumed the “living fossil” hypothesis (which I’ve told you is bunk), the results in 4 out of 5 cases concluded that the genome was “slowly evolving”; in 7 out of 7 cases in which the work was critical of the “living fossil” hypothesis or did not even acknowledge it, they found that coelacanth genes were evolving at a perfectly ordinary rate."

#740 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2013, 10:34 PM:

Fragano #736

I'd like to say that this is the Republicans proving that they're still the party of stupid, but that would be unfair to the Republicans. That's less than 1% of the House, and not even their fellow Republicans are supporting those goombahs.

You know how we keep saying that lack of oxygen in the New Hampshire House (caused by having one of the largest deliberative bodies in the world still meeting their original chambers) produces bizarre results? These are some of them.

On the plus side, the New Hampshire House has almost no power.

#741 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2013, 10:35 PM:

Brenda Kalt @ 738... Don't hold your breath. JJ Abrams is a lousy storyteller.

#742 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2013, 11:03 PM:

fail better, plz

Fail, fail, fail your task,
Just give up and scream.
Try again, try again, try again, try again.
Fate is really mean.

#743 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2013, 11:25 PM:

Mycroft W @718: Thank you! I have the title now.

The verse itself, if that's what it is, still completely eludes me.

Earl, any hints on how to begin there?

#744 ::: elise has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2013, 11:26 PM:

Please releeeeeeeease me, let me gooooooooo....

#745 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2013, 01:10 AM:

Note that the first word in each line has two syllables and the second word in each line has three syllables. If you do a googlesearch of all twelve words, you'll see examples of where they are sometimes used. #706 #743

#746 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2013, 02:50 AM:

Up late with barfing children, tidepooling around the Web. Did you know that there really is an actual factual non-metaphorical McMansion?

Here it is:

#747 ::: Jenny Islander has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2013, 02:51 AM:

Probably for the link.

#748 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2013, 12:18 PM:

Jim Macdonald #740: Thanks. Shouldn't they vote themselves better ventilation?

#749 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2013, 01:22 PM:

Jim Macdonald @ 740... That's less than 1% of the House, and not even their fellow Republicans are supporting those goombahs.

Are they opposing them though?

#750 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2013, 02:15 PM:

Earl Cooley @745: Aha. Thank you.

I still feel very dense, though. I have deciphered the whole thing, and am wondering if the phrase I wound up with is supposed to carry meaning. (Well, actually I'm figuring it IS supposed to carry meaning and I just don't recognise it.) Is it? Or am I wrong in thinking of it as a weird kind of poetry?

Just as an exercise it's kinda neat, though.

#751 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2013, 04:42 PM:

#749 Serge

Are they opposing them though?

No, they're ignoring them.

#752 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2013, 05:07 PM:

5468 6973 2069 7320 6a75 7374 2074 6f20 7361 7920

I have fractured
the bison
that were in
your glucose

and which
you were finding
for hockey

Forgive me
they were authentic
so glass
and so code.

#753 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2013, 05:24 PM:

Serge 749, Jim 751: Just as the opposite of love is indifference, the opposite of supporting them is ignoring them.*

*I tried to make this sentence with "...the opposite of support is..." then couldn't come up with the right noun. 'Ignorance' clearly isn't it! 'Ignoring' is pretty awkward.

#754 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2013, 06:13 PM:

Jim @752: *snrch*

#755 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2013, 10:07 PM:

patriotic sorting algorithm

duty honor country
duty country honor
country duty honor
country honor duty
honor country duty
honor duty country
priority sequence optimized

#756 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2013, 10:21 PM:

Jim Macdonald @ 751... Xopher @ 753...

Ignoring them means encouraging them.
That's just my opinion.

#757 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2013, 10:39 PM:

Xopher @753:

It's "ignorance", but with the stress on the second syllable a la "ignore".

Okay, probably it isn't, but if you pulled that out in spoken conversation I bet it would pass.

#758 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2013, 02:45 AM:

Open Threadiness: I find myself in Zurich on short notice for business. It is a bit after 8:30 AM local time, my boss, a colleague and I have a rental car and all day today to look about before meetings tomorrow. We will be staying in Basel. Any must-see's? Meetings Teus and half of Weds in Maulburg, Germany, then we drive to Mondrisio(sp?) on the Southern end of Switzerland for meetings on Thurs. Any must see's on the way? Fly out of Milan Italy early Friday. Probably no way to do any meetups as I've no independent transport, bummer.

#759 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2013, 10:56 AM:

A fun correlation. It's an interesting reminder that a lot of social change turns out to be generational change instead, like the famous old quote about how scientific progress proceeds funeral by funeral.

#760 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2013, 11:56 AM:

Since there must be some causality in that strict a correlation (he says in an argumentative tone), it's clear that raw fish are corrupting our youth! There must be some sort of brain parasite carried by them, or possibly it's an effect of wasabi. Now, if we can get some conservative organization to fund a little more study on this, I think we may be able to change things -- maybe a few million so I can travel around and check the sushi in various parts of the world, in order to find out exactly where the parasite is found....

#761 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2013, 11:59 AM:

Tom, let me be the first to volunteer to check the sushi in San Francisco.

#762 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2013, 12:01 PM:

albatross @759 Clearly I am noise in their data. I approve of same-sex marriage, but am with the long-ago radio commercial for the Black-Eyed Pea restaurant chain where the Good Ole Boy said, "Raw fish ain't fit for nothing but bait."

#763 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2013, 12:04 PM:

Fortunately, you can still take part. Not all sushi uses raw fish. (Not all sushi uses fish: try California rolls.)

#764 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2013, 12:10 PM:

I took a vegetarian to my favorite sushi restaurant years ago. The chef fed her nothing but vegetable sushi, and she said it was the best meal she'd ever had in a restaurant. There's lots of sushi that doesn't even use seafood of any kind -- inari, tamago, pickled garlic, and more.

#765 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2013, 12:27 PM:

I too am too afraid of parasites to eat raw fish in any form (not even ceviche), but I heartily approve of gay marriage, though I've only had the privilege of attending one same-sex wedding. (Not legal here in GA, but the legal part was done else-state in front of a Justice of the Peace.)

#766 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2013, 12:57 PM:

One or two places will make Daikon rolls like Cucumber rolls. Yum. I go looking on the menu for it everywhere I go.

#767 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2013, 01:43 PM:

Count me in with the yes-equal-rights, no-sushi group. Maybe not all of it uses raw fish, but AFAICT all of it does use pickled stuff and vinegar.

#768 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2013, 02:28 PM:

And I'm yet another in the yes-equal-rights, no-sushi group. I did actually try raw fish once, totally by accident*. That I managed not to spit it back out in the middle of the bat mitzvah reception was something of a triumph.

*I thought it was smoked salmon.

#769 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2013, 04:23 PM:

Well, if a bunch of you don't like sushi, that's more for me.

#770 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2013, 04:24 PM:

Jim Macdonald @751: Serge: "Are they opposing them though?" No, they're ignoring them.

DFTT applies to lawamaking, as well as online conversation...?


Questions That Make You Go, "Hmmmmm...."

So, do they sharpen the safety pin before, or after, they bend the wire?

#771 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2013, 04:25 PM:

"lawmaking" ::facepalm::

#772 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2013, 04:35 PM:

Jacque @ 770... What?

#773 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2013, 04:37 PM:

Performance art... but who's the performer?

Artist Marina Abramović demonstrates that a random crowd of people can easily self-organize into a vicious mob, even without a demagogue leader. WARNING: potentially triggery for descriptions of violence.

#774 ::: J Homes ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2013, 04:49 PM:

WRT sushi...

My understanding is that the defining characteristic of sushi is boiled rice wrapped in seaweed. The filling may be sashimi (marinated raw fish) or pickles, but need not be.

J Homes.

#775 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2013, 05:10 PM:

@J. Homes no. 774: Indeed, the sushi is actually the specially cooked and seasoned rice.* Seaweed is as optional as fish. You can serve sushi rice as a platform for a topping, rolled around a filling with or without a seaweed wrapper, inside an edible seaweed cone, or even in a bowl with sprinkles.

I like some varieties of sashimi, but not well enough to pay market price. My favorites are cucumber rolls and California rolls with flying fish eggs on the outside.

*A local supermarket has a hot lunch counter that serves more or less authentic Chinese and Japanese food. However, they don't do sushi anymore. There is a trick to making proper sushi rice. Their sushi maker left and assorted store personnel attempted to make sushi. I think I was about the 35th person to bring back a half-eaten package of cucumber rolls and tell them that long-grain converted rice cooked with butter and left in the fridge until cold and dry is not sushi rice.

#776 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2013, 06:38 PM:

Serge Broom @772: ... What?

Did I confuse things unnecessarily by including those two in the same comment? They are unrelated. Does that help any?

Jenny Islander @775: On a visit to a Westercon in Seattle some years ago, Jon Singer and Ray Takeuchi took me out for sushi. I was informed that "going out for sushi" really means "going out for sushi rice."

#777 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2013, 06:40 PM:

Richie Havens "Freedom", recast as a pantoum sonnet

Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
Sometimes I feel like I'm almost gone
A long, long, long way, way from my home
Freedom, freedom

Sometimes I feel like I'm almost gone
I got a telephone in my bosom.
Freedom, freedom
And I can call him up from my heart.

I got a telephone in my bosom.
When I need my brother, brother
And I can call him up from my heart.
A long way from my home

A long, long, long way, way from my home
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child

#778 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2013, 07:26 PM:

My friend Lenore makes a delicious sushi that is a fried-tofu wrapper around rice flavored with vinegar (inarizushi). I love it!

I'm a vegetarian and I hate seaweed, though. So that's basically the only kind I eat. And...I have to say that I don't trust Japanese restaurants to understand what I mean when I say "vegetarian." Even if I say "that means no fish," there are many flavoring products in Japanese cooking that are a) made from fish and b) have names that don't make that fact at all obvious. I remember one waitress who, when I had said this and asked what the flakes floating in my soup were, said "Oh, that's dried fi..." then clapped both hands over her mouth.

I guess not eating fish is pretty hard to understand in Japanese culture. I suspect Japanese restaurants in America may have a better understanding now than they did some years back (when I last tried eating in one).

#779 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2013, 07:36 PM:

I admit I have eaten inarizushi, and I love it. Though alas, the place where I used to buy it no longer carries it. (So I guess I'm pro-sushi, though anti-sashimi.)

#780 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2013, 08:42 PM:

I'm quite fond of eel sushi, but the local sushi joints have taken to slathering on barbecue sauce instead of the traditional sauce. Sweet barbecue sauce! I could see barbecue sushi, but not my eel.

#781 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2013, 09:14 PM:

I'm in favor of gay marriage. I love sushi. I'm a boomer, so in the middle of the graph.

Sushi becoming popular in the US is one of those things I don't think could have been predicted, and likewise for tattoos.

#773 ::: Lee

Chilling. I don't think I could predict how it would play out with a male artist, though I'm betting it wouldn't be terribly different.

#782 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2013, 10:23 PM:

Jacque @ 776... My question should have been what 'DFTT' stands for.

#783 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2013, 11:18 PM:

DFTT = Don't Feed The Troll.

#784 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2013, 03:07 AM:

I first tried sushi when the Japanese restaurant down on the corner had a lunch special with teriyaki chicken and three pieces of it -- I figured that if I didn't like the sushi, I'd be able to fall back on the chicken. Turned out I did like it.

Although, nobody had told me that you were supposed to mix the green horseradish with soy sauce rather than just spread it on directly. I spent several seconds thinking my nose was coming off.

#785 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2013, 03:08 AM:

The standard California Roll sushi does have fish in it (usually fake crab rather than the real thing, but while it's primarily fish, it often has enough crab in it to count as non-kosher and potentially shellfish-allergy-triggering, and often there's fish eggs as well.)

Inari sushi usually uses canned soybean wrapper, which is ok. There's a restaurant in San Rafael (Ume, if it's still open and the original chef's still there) that uses fresh soybean wrappers, and it's one of those "wow, I bet this is what the original real thing tasted like" experiences.

#786 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2013, 06:32 AM:

Jim Macdonald @ 783... Of course. Then, to answer Jacque's original comment, not feeding a troll may work on one web site, but not in the real world, not when there are TV news channels quite willing to give them notoriety. Again, this is only my opinion.

#787 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2013, 06:39 AM:

When people talk about sushi, I can't help but think of that line from "Blade Runner".

"I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack sushi on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I've watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die. "

#788 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2013, 08:50 AM:

Bill Stewart: ... it's one of those "wow, I bet this is what the original real thing tasted like" experiences.

I know exactly what you mean; my touchstone for this is actual ramen vs. the 10-for-a-dollar plastic-wrapped brick stuff.

#789 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2013, 09:34 AM:

Serge, you do know how difficult it is to train attack sushi.

#790 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2013, 10:05 AM:

"And ten billion sushi dinners cry out for vengeance." --Good Omens

#791 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2013, 10:09 AM:


This seems like a general societal problem: being a troll is actually a really good strategy for getting media attention. Indeed, there are media personalities whose *entire* reason for existing appears to be that they bring the entertaining trollery when some is needed to stir up a little fake controversy or manufactured outrage for the day's talk shows. See Al Sharpton, the late Jerry Fallwell, and many others for examples. Hell, about 90% of Rush Limbaugh's schtick, as far as I can tell, is trolling with a straight face, with all his audience aware that he is sometimes not really serious, but not always clear when he means what he's saying (if he ever does). This also serves as an all-purpose out when he says something super offensive--hey, I was just joking, why can't liberals take a joke?

A lot of the practical operations of our biggest media sources amount to finding the biggest asshole in the crowd, and handing him a megaphone.

#792 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2013, 10:19 AM:

I live in Portsmouth, on the south edge of Ohio, on the west edge of Appalachia. Former steel mill town, former shoe factory town. Not exactly what you'd think of as a sushi-friendly place. However, there are currently two Japanese restaurants and a takeout kiosk at Kroger's. I can get my sushi fix without driving up to Columbus.

Pro-sushi, pro-same-sex-marriage Boomer, about to turn 60.

#793 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2013, 10:24 AM:

re 790: One of the many great lines in the book, and to take another which is germane to the trolling discussion: “Notoriety wasn't as good as fame, but was heaps better than obscurity.” I would also point to Wingate's First Law of the Internet: "Bullhorns for everyone!"

#794 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2013, 11:07 AM:

In honor of the mighty Spear Shaker, here's a sonnet I wrote a while back.

a shout-out to the 1-4-7

My love is as a smartphone, ringing still
For that which, roaming, charges extra fees,
Feeding on that which doth twitter "phone bill",
My uncertain credit rating it will squeeze.
My reason, the spam torrent to my love,
Angry that his URLs are not click'd,
Hath block'd me, and I whitelisted now approve
Desire is death, which firewall did except.
Expired I am, my EULA null and void,
And flamer-mad with evermore unrest;
My memes and all my pithy rants deploy'd,
At random targets truthily express'd;
For I have sworn thee rad and thought thee leet,
Who speak with cutting words in ev'ry tweet.

#795 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2013, 11:58 AM:

Very tail-end of baby boom, pro-same-sex marriage, love sushi now (didn't care for it 20 years ago, but my palate changed). The funny thing is, I mostly abhor tuna from the can (although I feed it to deserving felines); I love tuna sashimi, sushi, and nigiri.

#796 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2013, 12:27 PM:

On the sushi thread -- if you're in Seattle, be sure to check out Mashiko. It's a sushi restaurant that only serves sustainable fish, and the owner/chef (Hajime Sato) is a true artist. Ask Jon Singer if you don't want to believe me. I've been going there for many years, and they've never disappointed me. Warning -- if you take a shot off their webcam, make sure to change the name of the file....

#797 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2013, 02:16 PM:

I dislike American canned tuna-- it has a weird flavor I haven't noticed in anything else.

I was surprised to discover that fresh-cooked tuna tastes like a normal food.

Italian canned tuna doesn't have the weird flavor.

#798 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2013, 02:25 PM:

David Goldfarb @784: nobody had told me that you were supposed to mix the green horseradish with soy sauce rather than just spread it on directly.

Actually, the sushi restaurants around here regard that as a crass American habit. Doesn't stop people from doing it.

I don't generally add wasabi at a sushi restaurant, though. At my fav restaurant, the sushi chefs are very pricise in their application, so I'm willing to comply with their intent. Doesn't mean I don't spend some time feeling like "my nose was coming off." (The trick when that happens is to breathe out through your mouth.)

Tom @796: I'm betting that's where Jon took me, that time.

#799 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2013, 02:29 PM:

@Me: Nope, that's a different place, unless he's moved.

#800 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2013, 03:21 PM:

I'm very much in the pro-sushi, pro-marriage (for any two consenting adults in love) camp.

I am particularly fond of several non-pickled vegetable based sushi forms: tempura yam, fresh cucumber, avocado (lots of avocado), occasional carrot, and I'm pretty sure the shitake mushrooms aren't pickled. My favourite fish form is the barbequed eel (Which absolutely should NOT have western style barbeque sauce thereon).

I've encountered the bean curd wraps a few times, and at least one other non-seaweed alternate.

Sushi has gone more and more mainstream IME; since I first tried it about 1996, we've gone from 1 sushi restaurant in this neighbourhood (Which is pretty good for ethnic restaurants) to 3 on the block, and 3 or 4 more about a 10-15 minute walk away in the next closest restaurant area (Which in 1996 would have been virtually all Italian and Greek, interspersed with gelati and cafes.) And from none ever showing up in fast food form to multiple chains and stuff in the grocery delis. Also, at least one friend has beenm teaching others how to make the rice. I've found their understanding of what vegeterian and vegan mean is improved hugely, too - though it's never been a personal issue, we have in our circle a vegan whose girlfriend is firmly against seaweed wrapping. Their order hasn't been screwed up eyt to my knowledge.

#801 ::: little pink beast ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2013, 03:53 PM:

Happy International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day to one and all!

I'm not a professional writer yet, but in honor of the day, here's a (mildly NSFW) story I wrote for a friend last month when he wasn't feeling well.

Long Black Road

#802 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2013, 04:33 PM:

I don't like cooked tuna at all, regular or canned, but I love maguro sushi. Funny thing.

#803 ::: little pink beast ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2013, 05:02 PM:

Lenora Rose @800: the local sushi restaurant here does a thing they call a Dragon Roll: tempura shrimp, eel, I think some other things as well, wrapped up in rice, and then wrapped not in seaweed but in avocado. It's amazingly good.

#804 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2013, 05:11 PM:

re 800: Hell, around here Sheetz (think Wawa/7-11/Royal Farms) has sushi.

#805 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2013, 06:01 PM:

Remember when Nestlé was pushing infant formula in Africa?¹ Well, now they're looking at water:

Former Nestlé CEO Peter Brabeck: “Access to water should not be a public right.”

And yes, that's a "former" CEO. Doesn't mean what it used to....

¹ "The first batch is free... oh, you dried up? Well, you can buy at our pricesor watch your kid starve"

#806 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2013, 06:05 PM:

little pink beast, #801: That's very good -- it reads like the intro chapter of something longer. I'd like to see the protagonist putting the pieces together over time, as part of a larger arc.

#807 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2013, 06:08 PM:

Begun, the Water War has....

#808 ::: Angportus ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2013, 06:34 PM:

Pro-marriage of any adults who want to, but not so pro-raw-fish.
*Trigger warning--gross-out*
When I was a teenager I was wrapping up some halibut that someone had brought home, and I decided I'd find out what it tasted like uncooked. It was nothing to write home about. Then I looked at the rest of it and there were these orange worms crawling around...I had no ill effects, but I never had any raw fish again either.

#809 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2013, 09:26 PM:

For those who are curious, the dictionary definition of 寿司 (sushi) is: A food made by arranging such ingredients as raw, salted, or pickled fish with vinegar-seasoned rice. (Definition from 大辞泉, translation by me.) Etymologically, it can be traced back to an old adjective meaning "sour".

#810 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2013, 09:39 PM:

Open threadiness:

The trailer for Thor: The Dark World is out.


#811 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2013, 09:44 PM:

I have been educated that sushi is not equivalent to raw fish.

Which, if I'd thought about it, I would have known, since I like California roll.

But I'd still go for something Tex-Mex by preference.

#812 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2013, 10:52 PM:

Gnomes and their friends may find Scott Hanselman's recent post interesting reading. A whole comment generation template was exposed.

#813 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2013, 11:18 PM:

Henry Troup: wow. Googling "pretty worth enough" yields over 13 million hits. It's a distinctive enough phrase that I'm betting it's not just the first page of results that are all spam from that same template.

#814 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2013, 11:48 PM:

Henry #812 --

That looks very like the Gnomes' Filter. Except the Filter here is longer than some novels. I don't think there's anything in that list that we don't already have.

Also, this isn't the first time a comment spammer has uploaded their complete template. The gnomes have several examples in their archives.

#815 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2013, 03:14 AM:

France votes for marriage equality.

And another country leaves us mired in the dust. Also worth noting is that the opposition has been violent -- gay-bashing, and death threats to legislators who supported the change. This is what "not giving in to terrorism" looks like.

#816 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2013, 09:52 AM:

"I’ve been putting off this review because I don’t think this is an very good book and it’s hard to write bad reviews."

Summary: it's a technical book where the author makes poor choices and doesn't teach readers best practices, and the copyediting and typesetting and graphics just aren't up to par. But what really got me are the blog comments from the technical reviewers, including:

I was one of the reviewers of the book and I alerted for many of the problems you have mentioned in your review. I even asked to be given a final draft of the book before they associated my name with it and in the end they didn’t respect my request.


#817 ::: Sumana Harihareswara, a-gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2013, 09:53 AM:

I just cleaned out our fridge last night, and can verify that we have some soyrizo the gnomes might like!

#818 ::: Sumana Harihareswara, a-gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2013, 09:54 AM:

My "I've been gnomed" comment was *itself gnomed* just now.

#819 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2013, 03:33 PM:

Sorry, folks. Malformed filter. Fixing and releasing now.

-- JDM

#820 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2013, 04:04 PM:

Dear Book People:

I can't recall a title.

We had-- before about 1960, I think-- a three-volume (four?) anthology of children's literature.

We didn't have dust jackets. I recall the covers as light grayish or tan. Drawings in black and one other color were part of the cover design.

The volume for youngest kids had orange-and-black designs illustrating various stories and poems. In the middle, green-and-black. For older readers, brown-and-black.

The orange volume had "The King's Breakfast" by A. A. Milne and "The Tale Custard the Dragon" by Ogden Nash. Lots of other poetry. Maybe fairy tales.

I can't remember much about the green volume. Might have been some stories about Robin Hood. Probably some mythology.

The brown volume had an excerpt from Thor Heyerdahl's Kon-Tiki. There was a Polynesian(?) mask on the cover designs. Probably lots of adventure and history.

You'd think this would be enough to identify the series, but my considerable powers of googlization have not borne fruit.

I thought the title might have been "Golden Treasury" or "Golden Book" of poems/stories/literature with "child" or "children" or "family" in there somewhere-- but they don't seem to have been Golden and a whole lot of books use those terms.

I suspect these were inexpensive, maybe sold as part of a book club, and therefore fairly common.

Can you help me identify these books?

#821 ::: little pink beast ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2013, 04:30 PM:

Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey @820: That sounds very similar to my memory of the Book House books, but it's been so long since I read those that I'm not certain whether or not they're an exact match.

#822 ::: Brenda Kalt ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2013, 04:59 PM:

Bill @820, beast @821

That also sounds like an anthology I had. I remember enjoying the second volume. The only other remarkable thing was that the third volume had a piece about George Washington Carver and his wonderful inventions. I thought he was pretty cool. The trick was that there was nothing in the story to indicate that he was African-American (unless you knew that Tuskegee Institute was an African-American institution). Later I found a color picture which showed him as, er, colored. Together they were one of the first items that started to rearrange my white-centric worldview.

#823 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2013, 05:48 PM:

Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey
little pink beast
Brenda Kalt

#820, 821, 822

The series you're looking for is The Children's Hour edited by Eva March Tappan (1916) updated and revised by Marjorie Barrows (1953). The Spencer Press. Sixteen volumes.

Reprinted by Grolier Inc., 1969.

#824 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2013, 06:07 PM:

HLN: Local woman who has just started volunteering for Learning Ally (and who used to volunteer for them back in the '80s when they were called Recording for the Blind) is privileged to read a couple chapters of Lois McMaster Bujold's Barrayar.

"It's like Christmas Winterfair in April," woman reports.

(Woman also makes mental note to check her own work for phrases such as "unanaesthetised defloration" which may make work for audiobook readers in the unlikely event of her achieving publication.)

#825 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2013, 06:56 PM:

Lila @824,

I'm curious; when one runs with a <splat> into phrases like "unanaesthetised defloration", are you allowed a retake? (On a quick trial run I was fine with unanaesthetised, but somehow inserted an extra syllable into the second word making it, incomprehensibly, "defloridation"....)


#826 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2013, 07:11 PM:

Jim in #823:

I'm afraid not. The contents of The Children's Hour are similar, as is the organization of the set, and there is overlap in some of the selections, but it's 16 volumes, not three (or four), and photos don't resemble the books I recall.

Little Pink Beast in #821:
The My Book House series, edited by Olive Beaupre Miller, is not what I'm looking for either. At least I'm learning more about children's anthologies!

I've remembered another item in the Brown Volume: Robert Browning's poem "How They Brought The Good News From Ghent To Aix." Sticks in my mind because the title looked very strange to me.

#827 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2013, 07:17 PM:

Cassy B., yes, thank God. You also (at least if you're an inexperienced reader, as I am) get a "director", who's following along in the text with you. The director can stop you if you make an error, can stop and restart the recorder, and also electronically marks the page turns so the end-user can go to a selected page without having to just fast forward and check repeatedly.

This is a textbook-recording service, so it's different in several ways from a regular audiobook (for example, illustrations have to be described and page numbers as well as chapter titles/numbers are spoken aloud).

On another topic, I grew up with sets of both "The Children's Hour" (orange bindings) and "My Book House" (dark blue bindings) and remember them both fondly.

#828 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2013, 07:18 PM:

The titles in The Children's Hour series are:

Volume 1, First Story Book
Volume 2, Favorite Fairy Tales
Volume 3, Old Time Favorites
Volume 4, Caravan of Fun
Volume 5, Best Loved Poems
Volume 6, Stories of Today
Volume 7, Favorite Mystery Stories
Volume 8, Myths and Legends
Volume 9, From Many Lands
Volume 10, School and Sport
Volume 11, Along Blazed Trails
Volume 12 Stories of Long Ago
Volume 13, Roads to Adventure
Volume 14, Favorite Animal Stories
Volume 15, Leaders and Heroes
Volume 16, Science Fiction and Readers' Guide

Covers here.

Complete TOC here.

#829 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2013, 07:25 PM:

#826 : Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey

Perhaps an abridgement or school book club edition?

#830 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2013, 08:38 PM:

We had a set; I believe my brother is the current holder. Ours had red covers with gold letters and drawings; the interior drawings were, IIRC, done in black with one color.

I think they were sold by Sears, but that isn't something I'd swear to. I certainly read volume 16 long before I got to the Golden Age.

#831 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2013, 09:33 PM:

I think I remember that set of books -- did the adventure one include Barrett Willoughby's "One Alaska Night" (which scared the bejeezus out of me when I was eleven or so, and which I'm not planning to re-read on a dark night alone anytime soon)? And it was that volume or another one in the series that had "The Boy Who Drew Cats", which was also pretty spooky for my eleven-year-old self.

My memory tries to tell me that the series had something to do with Good Housekeeping, but I don't remember the general title.

#832 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2013, 10:08 PM:

I don't remember those, but I do remember it had a story about George Washington Carver. (And one with Lancelot Biggs.)

#833 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2013, 10:16 PM: has Vol. III, Stories from the Classics, and Vol. V, Stories from Seven Old Favorites. Vol. III is the 1907 edition; I can't find a date on Vol. V.

#834 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2013, 02:03 AM:

Sumana @818, well, it was a comment about a book on GNOME, so of course you attracted their interest.

#835 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2013, 10:51 AM:

Bill Higgins @820, was the series Best in Children's Books? (A Google search will come up with the right series, so I won't link.) The covers are pink, gray, or yellow with black-and-one-color embossed illustrations on the front, and the stories sound familiar.

I have three left from our original set, with a 1961 copyright. The contents of each are somewhat random -- there doesn't seem to be an overarching theme for each book. The one I have in front of me has as its first three entries Snow White and Rose Red, America's Wonderful National Parks, and The Little Fellow.

#836 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2013, 02:53 PM:

Jim Macdonald in #829:

Perhaps an abridgement or school book club edition?

Abridgement is possible; school book club is not-- my parents acquired these before any of us were in schools.

From other evidence on their bookshelves, my parents belonged to the Book-o'-the-Month Club for a while in the 1950s. The mysterious children's anthologies may well have been acquired there.

Debra Doyle in #831:

I don't recall "One Alaska Night" or "The Boy Who Drew Cats" being in our anthologies, but I can't rule them out. I might have ignored or forgotten them.

Persephone in #835:

No, though the Best in Children's Books volumes are similar in appearance to the books I described. It's also tantalizing that your books came from Doubleday and were sold through TBOTMClub. These illustrations do not look familiar, nor did our books have any color illustrations.


I am trying to dredge up more of the contents from memory. I think our anthologies contained the doughnut-machine chapter from Homer Price by Robert McCloskey, A.A. Milne's chapter from Winnie the Pooh where Pooh gets stuck in Rabbit's entryway, James Thurber's "The Night the Bed Fell," and "The Velveteen Rabbit" by Margery Williams.

Really, you'd think this would be easy to google.

#837 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2013, 02:57 PM:

Wikipedia is segregating female writers.

Summary: Wikipedia claims that there are too many entries on its "American Novelists" page, so it's moving the women -- and only the women -- onto a separate "American Women Novelists" page. Male novelists will remain listed as "American Novelists".

#838 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2013, 03:33 PM:

There are several Wikipedia editors who have been discussing the classifications around American novelists and gender. Liz Henry has more on the nuances, and you can of course participate in the discussion.

#840 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2013, 04:41 PM:

Bill Higgins @836, Oh, too bad! They sound like a close match. I checked mine and there are both two-color and full-color illustrations; the America's National Parks chapter even has a few pages of color photos and a lovely U.S. map of national parks that I'm going to have to scan. (That particular book has a 1960 copyright date.)

Mine look like this and never had dust jackets like the ones in your link in my living memory, but they were my father's and I'd imagine the dust jackets just disappeared sometime in the 1960s or 70s.

#841 ::: Persephone is visiting the gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2013, 04:43 PM:

And bringing gifts of herbal tea with clovers and mint.

#842 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2013, 05:27 PM:

re 837: The reason why this segregation is occurring (and it also occurs with race and with sexual orientation) is because every time someone tries to end this "segregation", the split-out is retained by people who argue that it is notable to be a woman or LGBT or black person doing any given thing. Since the category system follows the rule that members of subcategories are also members of the parent, the result is the observed segregation. It seems to me that the real solution is software: switch to a tagging system (with roll-ups based on the tags themselves) which allows finding articles with common sets of tags. But for now unless the special status of "minorities" is ignored, the women will continue to be kept out of the main category.

#843 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2013, 05:38 PM:

C. Wingate, the open source community that supports Wikipedia would welcome your contributions to MediaWiki! I think this is the bug/enhancement you'd want to resolve but I did a hasty search through Bugzilla so I might be wrong.

#844 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2013, 07:06 PM:

#837 Lee
Pricks favor pricks?

(My eldest aunt was a friend of Norman Mailer's -first- mother-in-law.... My aunt did not have nice things to say about Mailer.)

#845 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2013, 08:07 PM:

Cally @639, I think he's probably wrapped up the XKCD "Time" strip. He had the courtesy to have a character say "bye" to the epic sandcastle (and us) before she left.

#846 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2013, 08:23 PM:

C. Wingate, #842: That explanation would be a lot more plausible (and more in keeping with the original line put out by Wikipedia) if there were also a category for "American Men Novelists". The "unmarked-state" factor militates heavily against your argument.

#847 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2013, 10:48 PM:

re 846: Lee, since my explanation is precisely why there was not a category of male novelists, I fail to see your reasoning.

#848 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2013, 10:56 PM:

This is why people talk about "default = male."

#849 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2013, 11:18 PM:

Regarding categorizing people:

The enhancement I'm planning to implement for The Online Books Page, and which Wikipedia might want to consider as well, is to automatically add all people in one category of persons to the broader categories of people that encompass the original category.

For example, my subject page for African American abolitionists includes two individuals, Sojourner Truth and Frederick Douglass. These two people would automatically be placed directly into broader categories like "Abolitionists" and "African Americans" as well. (By semantic reasoning, they're already members of these groups, but placing them directly in these categories as well as in the narrower categories makes them just prominent in the user interface as those who were originally filed in the "unmarked" categories.)

This is useful for more groups than just women and minorities. For instance, it also means that people looking up "Scientists" will more readily find people who had originally been cataloged under a particular scientific specialty, like "Physicists". In other words, you preserve the categorization but lose the marginalization.

One might object that the larger categories will get rather large with these automatic inclusions. But the larger categories are already quite large to begin with. For instance, in a comprehensive database "Novelists" would still contain tens of thousands of people even if you banish all the women to only appear under subcategories. If you need to help readers easily find the most notable people in a large category, it's better to include everyone who's eligible for membership in the category, and use suitable relevance ranking to bring particularly notable people (whatever subcategories they have or haven't been assigned to) to the top of the list.

I plan to write about this on my own blog once I've implemented the automated category inclusions, but I'd be glad to hear people's thoughts about what I have in mind.

#850 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom has been categorized for gnome attention ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2013, 11:21 PM:

I'd be glad to offer them suitable foodstuffs, though if they specifically want desserts, or more specifically, chocolate, those might take a bit more work to find.

#851 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2013, 11:58 PM:

C. Wingate, #847: The reasoning is as follows: if the "American Novelists" category consists of only male names, and female novelists are pushed off to a sub-category and not included in the main category (which is what has happened here), you can't make an argument that this segregation is intended as a compliment. If you're going to categorize some groups of people but leave others as the default, you have a problem.

#852 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2013, 01:30 AM:


"...actually, the French don't care what they DO, really, as long as they _pronounce_ it correctly."

--Dave, slowly we turn, inch by inch, step by step

#853 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2013, 01:47 AM:

Cassy B @#845
I wouldn't give up on Time yet. If you go to the navigable page and look at frames 798-800. There is... potential there.

#854 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2013, 04:44 AM:

Note that it has still been updating: if you look at the seawall on the right, it's still subtly eroding as the water level rises.

I find it interesting how Cueball said "I don't think we can build this much higher" and then later he and Megan erected a structure above the castle below, on which they built a higher and still more fanciful castle. I see a parallel in this to how it was once thought that classical mechanics was the end of physics, and the rest was just adding decimal places, and then relativity and quantum mechanics became a big new structure on top of that.

#855 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2013, 09:33 AM:

Leah Miller @853, yes, looks like the water will keep rising, very very slowly.

David Goldfarb @ 854, and when the old structure is swamped, will the new one sail away....?

#856 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2013, 09:50 AM:

Cassy, I've been wondering if that platform will float, too.

#857 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2013, 11:52 AM:


My old Sony Touch is getting, well, OLD. Sometimes I have to toggle it "on" several times for it to turn on; one of these days it's just gonna fail. (To be fair, it's about four years old now....)

So, I'm curious what recommendations the Fluorosphere has for e-ink style readers. I'm looking at the Nook Simple Touch (With Backlight). But I'm open to other suggestions. I'm not really interesting in the reader-whose-cognate-is-lighting-small-fires because I'd rather not give a giant river in Brazil more power than it already has....

Constraints: Must be e-ink, not LCD. Prefer a touch screen. Most of my library is epub so I'd prefer it to read that format.

I just got a 15% off coupon for anything-from-Barnes-and-Noble which expires on Sunday, which is moving this decision closer to the front burner than it had been....


#858 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2013, 12:58 PM:

CassyB (857): I'm very happy with my Nook Simple Touch (the original version, without the backlight). When I researched ereaders in late 2011, the Nook Simple Touch had the best technology of the eInk models. Navigation isn't as easy as on the Sony models that I looked at, but the reading experience is better.

#859 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2013, 02:04 PM:


While I hear the backlight is nice at first, I've also seen reports that the moment the screen gets a little scratched it becomes very annoying. Just a datapoint for you. I've not interacted with a backlit eink tablet myself.

#860 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2013, 03:51 PM:

HLN: Local Man no longer able to be polite to anti-vactivists. One of them linked to a site claiming that there's no such thing as immunity to a disease—that viruses are "environment sensitive" instead—and Local Man said "Oh, you're one of those anti-vac idiots. I discard you."

Local Man a little ashamed, hopes others will try to convince these people going forward.

#861 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2013, 04:55 PM:

Xopher @860, in related topics, Ars Technica had a great article on the "science" of homeopathy the other day.

#862 ::: Persephone is visiting the gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2013, 04:56 PM:

The gnomes find me very attractive this week. They must really like the herbal tea I brought last time. How about some cardamom this time?

#863 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2013, 05:19 PM:

Hyperlocal news... It's not every day that local fan sees a female skateboarder go by who's clad in that Sexy Little Black Dress.

#864 ::: GlendaP ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2013, 06:08 PM:

Cassy @857: I also have the Simple Touch without backlight and have been very pleased with it.

#865 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2013, 07:13 PM:

Murder in the Time of Cholera

Summary: In a remote valley in Pennsylvania lies a mass grave of 57 Irish railroad workers, long alleged to have died of cholera during an epidemic in the 1830s. Recent forensic work suggests foul play and a long-term cover-up instead.

(This might also be relevant in the "Eat Shit and Die" thread; feel free to port it over there if you like.)

#866 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2013, 08:19 PM:

Cassy @857: I'm very fond of my Kobo. I have the Koboglo, and find it just the right size. The display is big enough for reading without constantly turning pages, while the entire package is lighter than a trade paperback and small enough to slip into a modest-sized purse.

I like the option of turning on the soft backlight for reading in dimly lit places. I really like that I can buy books through my local, independent bookstore's website.

I'm favorably impressed with their support, too. When I cleverly managed to delete several books from my account, instead of just removing them from my reader, I sent an email to Support and they promptly restored them.

#867 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2013, 08:47 PM:

I have just written of Lexicon Balatronicum: A Dictionary of Buckish Slang, University Wit, and Pickpocket Eloquence by Francis Grose, in the 1811 edition. Because on the Web, you find things.

#868 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2013, 09:36 PM:

janetl (866): I really like that I can buy books through my local, independent bookstore's website.

Nooks can handle any epub, not just the ones from Barnes and Noble. I often buy from independent booksellers for my Simple Touch.

#869 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2013, 09:53 PM:

Another Nook Simple Touch fan here. Has anyone mentioned the battery life yet? B&N promises a month at 30min/day, which made me think I'd be tethered to the wall, but it turns out to last FOREVER, even when I'm reading for ten hours a day. (Dang, I want another vacation like that. It was great.)

#870 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2013, 10:52 PM:

TexAnne @ 869... I have the original Nook, which became obsolete about 3 weeks after I bought it. I'll keep until it breaks down though. Reliable. Good battery life. Then it'll be replaced by a more modern Nook.

#871 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2013, 02:09 AM:


I've been cleaning up some old boxes of Stuff, and ran across a bunch of letters from friends from the early 1970s. I'm noticing a real difference in the way people communicated then and the way they communicate now. The broadness and openness of the internet seem to make for a lot less of creating drafts of thoughts and incomplete buildings of communication, done with a trusted few friends. I'm not sure about this, and I'm putting it out here in what's an obvious counter-example of part of the thesis -- but does anyone else have the experience of thinking we're communicating very differently now than we did then? And if so, how would you characterize it?

#872 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2013, 08:13 AM:

If I understand you correctly, you're saying that contrary to popular rant, communications on the internet are more polished than in private letters, because the general public is likely to see them?

#873 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2013, 10:46 AM:

Serge #863:

But was she playing a ukulele?

(Neighbor teen was observed doing that once while boarding down the middle of the street, leading to a "did I see what I saw?" moment.)

#874 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2013, 12:03 PM:

"Polished" is actually a pretty good word -- yes, I think they are more polished, Sarah, but that polishing something that's flawed merely makes the flaws more visible. It's more of a surface polish than a deep one. And anonymity may act against that polishing -- not sure on that point.

#875 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2013, 12:06 PM:

joann @ 873... No ukulele. I think the young lady had enough trouble focusing on her strides not being so long that they'd unveiled what was under her short attire. By the way, did I ever mention the time Wonder Woman walked by with an attaché case?

#876 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2013, 01:19 PM:

After more thought, Sarah @872, what we get on the web is more polished than the average letter of the time I'm talking about, and less polished than the average public communication. I want to be careful to pay attention to what we're actually comparing. My letters were always less polished than what I tried to show others, in part because they were hand-written or typed rather than run through a word processor (which allows a bit of polishing on the fly, and which I certainly now apply to letters and emails). The existence of a preview box here, for example, strongly implies that people will polish (or at least buff, which I'm doing by adding this parenthetical comment) before publishing.

#877 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2013, 02:23 PM:

Sarah @872: communications on the internet are more polished than in private letters, because the general public is likely to see them?

Actually, it wouldn't surprise me if current casual written conversation is more polished than in days of yore. I would chalk this up to two phenomena, text editing & volume.

Rereading and correcting/adjusting one's phrasing is orders of magnitude easier now than it was in the '70s, when one was, with very few exceptions, constrained by hard-copy rendering (and re-rendering) of text. (Thank Bob for Undo!)

As a further consequence, delivery is orders of magnitude easier now, too, meaning (I will wager) that the average correspondent is cranking out much more text than in the '70s. I know I sure am. I probably write more words in a week nowadays than I did in a whole year, Back In The Day.

#878 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2013, 11:08 PM:

New development in xkcd's "Time": the picture is fading. Over the course of the last dozen or so updates, it's gone from black and white to dark grey and white. Prelude to a scene change? Or simply preparing to end it on a fadeout?

#879 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2013, 02:07 AM:

On the Leicestershire mice -- it's like something out of Tom Digby's little teeny series, from his APA-L zine "Probably Something...".

#880 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2013, 09:48 AM:

You know what I'm tired of? My handicapped dog taking a nice long walk and deciding to wait until 20 minutes after she's been inside to crap in the house. Three days in a row. Were she a regular dog, I'd keep her outside until the poop happened. As a bitch on wheels, however, when she's tired she can no longer hold herself up. She is currently on the patio, on a piddle pad on her outdoor bed. She can come in when she's pooped.

#881 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2013, 11:36 AM:

Spielberg's "Obama", starring Daniel Day-Lewis...

#882 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2013, 03:24 PM:

@881: You made me scare the guinea pigs.

Jungrire ryfr zvtug or fnvq bs Bonzn, ln tbggn tvir uvz cebcf sbe tbvat gung rkgen fgrc gb znxr n wbxr jbex.

#883 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2013, 04:12 PM:

Jacque @ 882... You made me scare the guinea pigs

Glad to have been of service.

#884 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2013, 06:24 PM:

Local news: my small parish in San Pablo CA is about to get an eminent visitor. George Cardinal Alencherry, Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church (yeah, I dunno either, except that they are a rite in communion with Rome)is going to celebrate Mass at my church on Sat May 18th. I'm second lector! Woot!

#885 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2013, 06:28 PM:

I went to the Houston Fine Minerals Show yesterday. Those who like pretty rocks may be interested in the pictures I took there. Lots of museum-quality specimens at museum-level prices!

#886 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2013, 08:55 PM:

I feel very proud of myself.

I went to Harbor Freight and only bought what I intended to buy.

#887 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2013, 09:25 PM:

885: Lusssssssssst....

Ahem. ::fans self::

#888 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2013, 09:39 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 886 -

That's a hard thing to do. My compliments.

#889 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2013, 10:04 PM:

I enjoyed this and thought others might also. About finding and making available heirloom apples.

John Bunker, Apple Detective

via Sharon Lee's LJ

#890 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2013, 10:38 PM:

OtterB, that article was great and makes me massively nostalgic for New England.

#891 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2013, 11:30 PM:

I can't see why. Just because some of those are incredibly gorgeous... (Pyritized ammonites!)

#892 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2013, 11:31 PM:

Lee @ 865: That is a fascinating article. I wonder what happened.

#893 ::: B. Durbin was gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2013, 11:33 PM:

It was probably vague enough to be taken for a non-human. Um... salad? It's only store-bought vegetables, but it's an inspiration for my garden dreams.

#894 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2013, 01:01 AM:

HLN: I had a splendid time at Portland's Stumptown Comics Fest this weekend. I thought this crowd would appreciate the Steampunk ABC Coloring Book that I found. It's from Paper Dragon Press.

A is for automaton.
B is for bustle.
C is for clockwork.

...and so on. The illustrations are lovely. Just the thing to mold young minds, and hand-eye coordination.

#895 ::: janetl has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2013, 01:02 AM:

I have some dark chocolate chips left, thought maybe not for long.

#896 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2013, 02:43 AM:

Serge saw a girl skateboarding in a Little Black Dress, huh?

Today I saw, within two minutes and half a mile, first, a woman riding passenger on a Harley or other big bike, texting while going around a turn. Second, a kid on a moped either dialing or texting with his left hand while heading down the road on a steep hill.

Neither of these brave souls wore a helmet.

#897 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2013, 09:46 AM:

Linkmeister @ 896... a kid on a moped either dialing or texting with his left hand while heading down the road on a steep hill

I'd file that under 'recipes for disasters'.

#898 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2013, 09:46 AM:

Linkmeister @ 896... a kid on a moped either dialing or texting with his left hand while heading down the road on a steep hill

I'd file that under 'recipes for disasters'.

#899 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2013, 10:57 AM:

@896–898: ...or bucking for their Darwin awards...

#900 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2013, 11:41 AM:

Or supporting the organ transplant industry.

#901 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2013, 11:50 AM:

Serge Broom #881: Thats a YOMANK.

#902 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2013, 11:53 AM:

Having a stupendously productive morning -- laundry started, weeding in the yard, swept up various neglected corners ... more done between 6:30 and 9:30 than I sometimes manage all day.

Now to have a bit of a nosh, change the laundry again, and try to do some nice walking about for errands and fitness (one of the errands is 'go to the gym'). I've gamed it out on Gmap Pedometer, and each of the three walking legs I intend to complete is in the 1.3mi range, which is respectable.

Gorgeous, gorgeous weather here in Chicago.

#903 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2013, 12:59 PM:

From the Overhead at the Front Counter Department:

"...and then there was [this error], and [that error], and then we got [this error, over here]. I'm telling you, it's a Calamity of Errors!"

It's such a beautifully apt malapropism, I think I'm going to steal it.

#904 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2013, 01:31 PM:

OtterB, #889: That's fascinating. And I'll say something else about apples -- the Red Delicious apples in the stores these days do not taste anything like the Red Delicious I ate when I was a kid. They've clearly been bred away from flavor in favor of some other trait more commercially valuable.

There are pick-your-own peach orchards not too far from us, and we generally make a trip out there every year to get peaches you won't find in even the better grocery stores like Trader Joe's.

#905 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2013, 02:02 PM:

Fragano @ 901... My cunning plan worked.

#906 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2013, 02:46 PM:

Jacque @903:

Since it was a whole chain of errors, perhaps it should have been named Calamity Chain?

#907 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2013, 03:10 PM:

It occurs to me that I don't know anyone outside of ML who will properly appreciate abi's Zombie Ipsum Parhelion.* Gamers and zombie-movie fans overlap with people who know or care about Lorem Ipsum overlap only here, among all the people I know (or at any rate know those things about).

Does it make me value you the more? Not really. That's pretty much maxed out.

*Is that the correct singular? It seems to be I've asked before, but I don't remember the answer.

#908 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2013, 03:31 PM:

Xopher: That is the correct singular, and here's a picture of one.

#909 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2013, 03:36 PM:

Lee @904: Yes, modern Red Delicious are a sub-varietal sport that's much easier to ship (they don't bruise). I remember when they came into commonality in Chicago's market, because one particular Halloween all the apples on offer (remember when people gave fruit to Trick-or-Treaters?!?) were these huge red globes. I was so excited.

Then I ate one and had, as we say now, a massive dissapoint. And right around then it started being a crapshoot whether anything labeled 'red delicious' in the grocery store was an old one or a new one ... I went right off apples until Galas and Fujis showed up, and I could know what I was getting.

#910 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2013, 03:46 PM:

oldster @906: Calamity Chain?

OUCH! :-)

#911 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2013, 05:27 PM:

Thanks, Jim.

#912 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2013, 06:59 PM:

Sidewalk Art

Offered for your delectation,
A justified defenestration,
A bloody tintinnabulation
Of pavement craunching bone.

Crunching, cranching, witness blanching,
Crimson kroovy flows like rain.
A bankster's shameful timeline branching,
A short sharp shock of elegant pain.

There's plenty of room on the walléd street
For more where that came from, crime's elite.
An installation of performance art,
Come on, banksters: do your part!

No one is too big to fail,
Surviving banksters: go to jail!

#913 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2013, 08:18 PM:

Twelve year old girl patents hamster bowling. About three years ago, her co-inventor, the hamster, knocked over some blocks with its exercise ball, and she realized it could be turned into a bowling game. It's hamster-powered, with the humans trying to encourage the hamster to go the right way, waving treats is permitted but pushing the ball isn't.

#914 ::: Bill Stewart offers the gnomes some hamster treats. ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2013, 08:24 PM:

... and probably some spare punctuation or spaces to go with the URL. And minor chords in 4-part harmony.

#915 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2013, 09:16 PM:

"Calamity of Errors" reminds me of _The Dinner Game_, a very funny movie.

It does have a good bit of embarrassment humor, but most of it lands on someone who deserves it as much as anyone could.

The Red Delicious apples from my childhood were pretty tasteless, perhaps an improvement on Golden Delicious, which tasted slightly odd.

Since then, I've had some old-fashioned Delicious apples-- slanted cores, and with red and green striped skin-- that were spectacular.

#916 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 03:58 AM:

I've come across a blog that might be worth watching, though it's early days yet.

The A-Z of Fashion Writing

I expect there are more established sources for this stuff, but I find myself wondering how much an author needs to get the jargon of fashion right when they describe a character. The obvious risk is that the reader doesn't understand some terms. Do you know what a "Profile Hat" is? Or is it better to talk of the character wearing a broad-brimmed hat, tilted to one side on her head?

#917 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 04:31 AM:

A Stark on the Iron Throne

Yes, it is just what you think it is from that title!

(This link will expire in ...)

#918 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 06:32 AM:

By the way, there's a new Open Thread up.

#919 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 12:50 PM:

This deprecated open thread will now be reserved for high-frequency noise testing.

Proper ear-protection gear is highly recommended.




#920 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 01:46 PM:


Arrnk! Arrnk! Arrnk! Arrnk! Arrnk! Arrnk!

#921 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 02:53 PM:



#922 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 04:44 PM:

WAKA WAKA WAKA Nyart Nyart Nart!

#923 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 04:48 PM:

PINGG pongg PINNNGG ponngg

#924 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 05:55 PM:

Teh-HIM, Teh-HIM!

#925 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 06:14 PM:


#926 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 07:08 PM:


#927 ::: RZ ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 07:16 PM:

Brekkek Kekkek Kekkek! Koax Koax Koax!

#928 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 07:22 PM:

Weeky-weeky-weeky! Weeky-weeky-weeky!

#929 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 07:46 PM:


#930 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 10:25 PM:



#931 ::: Carrie S ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 10:48 PM:

Iä! Iä! Cthulhu fhtagn!

#932 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 11:05 PM:

Use all the exclamation points you want, people! We're between Open Thread 78 and a thread about George Bush's reelection . . . both now sublet to store old accounting records.

#933 ::: Carrie S ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 11:38 PM:

Neek-breek, breek-neek

What do they live on when they can't get hobbit?

#934 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 11:52 PM:


#935 ::: glinda ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2013, 02:50 AM:

RZ @ 927:

*peals of laughter*

#936 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2013, 03:26 AM:

Wa tsu, wa tsu? Wa tsu, wa tsu.

Wa tsu tree faw.

#937 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2013, 08:12 AM:


#938 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2013, 08:31 AM:



(ba badda ba, bum bum bum, da, badda ba)

#939 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2013, 08:55 AM:


#941 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2013, 11:15 AM:

Earwig Oh! Earwig Oh! Earwig Oh!

#944 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2013, 05:20 PM:

Not to mention this.

#945 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2013, 06:02 PM:

@943: which of course, brings to mind:

@944: leads innevitably to:

#946 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2013, 02:16 AM:

watermelon canteloupe watermelon canteloupe watermelon canteloupe

--Dave, ERT!

#947 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2013, 02:00 PM:

We will now sing "Life is but a melancholy flower" to the tune of Frere Jaques, and run away giggling.

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