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February 25, 2014

Open thread 194
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 01:55 PM * 944 comments

The Nazis invaded the Netherlands in May of 1940. Apart from repeated provocation of the Jewish community, the occupiers were friendly. They considered the Dutch nearly as good as Germans, and hoped to win the population over.

On February 23 and 24, 1941, the Nazis occupying Amsterdam rounded up 425 young Jewish men, beat them, and sent them east to the concentration camps. It was the first such move after the occupation, excused by the community’s reaction to a series of incitements and restrictions. The next steps were all planned: close off the Jewish district, appoint a council to liaise with the community, hide the steadily increasing cruelty from the rest of the population. (Basically, Warsaw.)

But on February 25, 1941, Amsterdam went on strike. The Gentiles stood with their Jewish neighbors in the first direct action against anti-Jewish measures in occupied Europe. The trams stopped running and the dockyards stood idle. Businesses shut down as their workers took to the streets; even the venerable Bijenkorf, the quintessential Dutch department store, closed its doors. By the next day, the strike had spread to several outlying cities.

It was brutally suppressed. Nine people were killed and hundreds arrested. By February 27, it was over; three people were executed for leading it on March 13.

With them died any illusion that the Dutch could be won over. And Amsterdammers still commemorate the Februaristaking, the February strike, on the 25th of the month.

ETA: Although I had not intended it to, this post gives the impression that the Dutch resistance to the Nazi occupation equalled Dutch support of and protection for the Jews and other targeted people—Dutch and refugee—living in the Netherlands throughout the war. Alas, that was not the case.

There are many reasons that the Netherlands lost a greater proportion of its Jewish population than pretty much anyone else in Europe; certainly, the “pillarization” of society, which meant that everyone’s religion was recorded, was a contributing factor. But it cannot, and should not, be forgotten that not a few Dutch people either turned a blind eye to the Holocaust, or actively supported it and the attitudes that underlay it.

I regret, quite profoundly, my unintentional erasure of people who must not be forgotten. And I’m sorry as well that I’ve hurt members of this community in so doing, and in taking this long to add this note to the entry.

Continued from Open thread 193 . Continued in Open thread 195.

Comments on Open thread 194:
#1 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2014, 02:59 PM:

Well, they were disappointed, weren't they, when the Dutch turned out to be not nearly as good as the Germans, but far better?

#2 ::: Andrew Wells ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2014, 03:01 PM:

Oddly enough, I have just (half an hour ago) been reading a review of, "Countrymen: The Untold Story Of How Denmark’s Jews Escaped The Nazis, by Bo Lidegaard." Another fascinating and heart-warming story.

#3 ::: Andrew Wells ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2014, 03:01 PM:

Well said, John @1.

#4 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2014, 03:06 PM:

Running into darkness, and the grey wall
in the strange quicksand, which is some dark trap,
you have no choice, you must cry out and fall.

Yet this is not the time for you to bawl
at life's injustice and go off the map
running into darkness, and the grey wall,

with none to hear as the hard sun stands tall.
You have the strength to go another lap;
you have no choice, you must cry out and fall

but will get up though none may hear your call
since there is still a way out of the crap
running into darkness, and the grey wall,

even though light itself may seem to maul
your heart, and no one ever gives a rap,
you have no choice, you must cry out and fall.

Struggle again to show you have the gall
to face down all the ravages of hap,
running into darkness, and the grey wall,
you have no choice; you must cry out and fall.

#5 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2014, 03:30 PM:

abi, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for commemorating this particular bit of Dutch history.

My dear hubby's parents lived through the war - his dad was even transported to Germany as conscript labor. And there's the half-sister who has not a shred of DNA in common with dear hubby: his father had a first marriage that went seriously off the rails just about the moment the Dutch resistance decided it was time to bomb city hall, where all the data on the locals was kept. It was to prevent the Germans from using it, but it also meant dear hubby's dad remained legally married to a woman who was being flagrantly adulterous, because there was no way to acquire the necessary documentation for a divorce. Any child she bore then was "his", until after the war, when the divorce could be enacted retroactively.

Crazy(and sad that you'll also be disappointed in the Dutch of the 1950's - the poor daughter of that woman was hauled out of her class at school to be informed, and to hear the school directors inform her class, that she was no longer to be called by the name she'd grown up with as her own, but with that of her mother)Soph

#6 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2014, 03:53 PM:

OT question: I'm looking for SF books for a just-turned-ten year old. I have some ideas from the nineteen hundreds, but any suggestions for those published in the 21st century?

#7 ::: James Quixotic ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2014, 04:19 PM:

I'll have to wish my boss (who is Dutch) a happy Februaristaking.

Well, maybe not happy, since it doesn't sound like a particularly happy holiday. I imagine it's in the same class as Remembrance Day or Memorial day. Something worth commemorating, but more sombre than joyful.

When wishing someone well on this sort of holiday, what would you say if not "happy X day"? "Have a nice X day" doesn't seem good either.

#8 ::: Alexander Kosoris ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2014, 04:35 PM:

#7: I can't imagine there being an issue with a very sincere, happy greeting, even on a sombre holiday. (I somehow think it would be amusing to wish someone a memorable Remembrance Day.)

#9 ::: JaniceG ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2014, 04:49 PM:

While the facts as you state them are true, the implication that the Dutch were unusually protective of and sympathetic toward the Jews in their midst during WWII is unfortunately not. The percentage of Jews from The Netherlands murdered by the Germans and their associates in World War II was higher than in any other Western European country. For a further explanation of the treatment of Dutch Jews during WWII, see Also, note that a number of Dutch politicians are calling on their government to apologize for what they call the "passive" response of the exiled Dutch government to the mass deportations of Jews by Nazi occupiers during World War II (

#10 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2014, 04:50 PM:

re the model RR particle: the notion predates the explicit notion of fanfic but the community has from the 1950s been aware of that kind of thinking. The big-for-the-time layout in the B&O Museum, for instance, compresses the eastern part of the the railroad by a factor of about fifty while trying to give a good sense of the terrain and showing key buildings and structures. OTOH John Allen's hugely influential Gorre & Daphetid model was entirely a fantasy based on the idea of western railroading style without modelling any particular railroad. I also have somewhere about the house a book in which the layout is treated as a stage, complete with backstage holding areas to allow a more convincing "performance".

#11 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2014, 05:00 PM:

How far that little candle throws his beams!
So shines a good deed in a naughty world.

(Though it may seem slightly jarring to quote that play in this context).

#12 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2014, 05:12 PM:

I find it difficult to finish fiction these days, but Dominion by CJ Sansom turned out very good: a serious-minded Small Change-style Hitler Wins thriller set in a 1952 loosely-fascist Britain, very well-realised. (Jonbar Hinge of May 9, 1940, when Halifax rather than Churchill takes over from Chamberlain). Made me think of Orwell:

It is doubtful whether [the English] could be held down permanently, or whether Hitler wishes to keep an army of a million men stationed in these islands. A government of –, – and – (you can fill in the names) would suit him better.

My trade-paperback edition has a rather unexpected essay from the author at the end where he gives his opinion on Scottish independence (he's against it). Being detained and buttonholed by the author, after the end of a novel, with a tangentially-related opinion piece feels a bit odd.

#13 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2014, 05:21 PM:

JaniceG @9:

There are a number of reasons that Dutch Jews died in greater proportions than the Jews of other occupied nations. The primary reason was "pillarization", where the establishment of separate institutions for Protestants and Catholics (and the third pillar, Social-Democratic) meant that everyone's religion was a matter of public record well before the invasion. That made it much, much harder for Jews to hide in plain sight—they either had to dive under or be identified.

That doesn't excuse the acts of indifference, or those of overt cruelty, that occurred before, during, or after the war. But those acts also don't eliminate the value of the Februaristaking.

History is complicated. And sometimes we tell one part of it at a time, just to start an open thread.

#14 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2014, 05:36 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @6: I really liked Kenneth Oppel's Airborn, Skybreaker, and Starclimber -- steampunkish old-style adventure stories that are a great deal of fun. On the borderline between SF and fantasy. And Steven Gould's Jumper, but not the sequels!

#15 ::: Errolwi ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2014, 05:36 PM:

Steve with a book @12
I found Dominion a compelling read. The only reason I haven't acquired more of his work to date is that I watch a fair amount of crime fiction on TV, and want a break from it while reading.
The e-book version that I have also has the essay, which I thought would have been less jarring if better linked with the themes of the novel.

#16 ::: JaniceG ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2014, 06:11 PM:

abi @13: I agree that history is complicated, and I agree that the Februaristaking was a noble cause worth remembering. I just wanted to point out that the conclusion that you drew from it wasn't necessarily supported by further facts. And I disagree that providing only one incident without context is a good way to start an open thread.

#17 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2014, 06:19 PM:

One difference between the Holocaust and today's problems, is that the targeting isn't as closely tied to ethnicity. Shrub and his followers tried to demonize Muslims and Arabs in general, but they got a good deal of backlash and resistance from doing so. The more effective attacks on freedom these days seem to be of the "witchhunt" type:

Even as public support rises for gays and drug users (the previous targets), there are campaigns against even more amorphous groups: On the one hand, supposed "terrorists" and "terrorist sympathizers", and on another "pedophiles". In both cases the definitions are drawn as broadly as possible, while distinctions are erased, standards of evidence are relaxed, abuses of process are excused, and anyone who defends the accused risks being tainted themselves. All that's missing (so far) are the wholesale confiscations of property, and to date, public funding is covering the costs of the programs.

The "advantage" of a witchhunt over categorical persecution is that nobody is safe: All it takes is for some organization to be accused of "supporting terrorists", for all its contributors to be investigated as potential terrorists. It's almost as easy to find "evidence" of someone "being a pedophile", especially when even non-nude photos of teenagers (much less nudist images and the like) can be declared "child pornography" by any local authority. (Then there's the potential of malware....) Of course in both cases, there are plausible-sounding reasons for not publicizing the evidence. And the "bolt from the blue" character of such prosecutions makes it all too plausible that "anyone could be one of them", helping to divide people against their neighbors. (For those who have cause to distrust the authorities, "anyone could be one" becomes "anyone could be accused", with even worse effects.)

It doesn't help that the American judicial system is warped by its adversarial structure, with the funding for prosecutors dwarfing that for public defenders, and the police largely aligned with the prosecutors.

#18 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2014, 06:53 PM:

JaniceG, feel free to start your open threads any way you like.

#19 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2014, 07:23 PM:

albatross, 193/955: My first thought was that it was a gender-anonymizing alternative being used here for the usual purpose. Only after a few more posts did I realize that Mongoose uses the Mx title IRL. But now that I'm aware of it, damn that's useful! Particularly for anyone like me with a gender-ambiguous name who doesn't like people making the wrong assumption. I hope it catches on.

#20 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2014, 07:33 PM:

Lee: Certainly solves the problem I've been complaining about for years: with the current system, I can decline to specify my marital status, but I still have to specify my gender.

#21 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2014, 07:48 PM:

Dave Harmon @ 17

All that's missing (so far) are the wholesale confiscations of property

It depends on what you'd call "wholesale", but the ability to bring civil suits against organizations that were in some way associated with the bad behaviour functions quite similarly.

#22 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2014, 08:22 PM:

It's almost as easy to find "evidence" of someone "being a pedophile"

[citation needed]

#23 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2014, 08:30 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale, I'd look at Sarah Prineas' Magic Thief books, Ingrid Law's Savvy and Scumble, the Oppel, Kate Milford's The Boneshaker, possibly Gail Carson Levine as a whole big chunk. I enjoyed Zizou Corder's Lionboy, which was written by a parent-child team, too.

Abi, I like having stories of victories large or small. The world is hard enough as it is and I appreciate that you trust me not to forget it while I rest and think of the good.

#24 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2014, 09:03 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale, did you particularly want SF rather than fantasy? Tom Whitmore mentioned Steven Gould; I think 7th Sigma might work for a 10-year-old, though perhaps on the high side. Likewise perhaps Balance of Trade, by Lee and Miller. On the lighter side, I can recommend that graphic novel Zita the Space Girl.

#25 ::: Matthew Brown ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2014, 09:10 PM:

C. Wingate, @10: the "stage" metaphor in model railroading probably has multiple sources, but it is especially popular and followed in the British hobby.

That's mostly for two interconnected reasons. Reason 1 is that British homes are generally too small to have the expansive model railroad empire in the basement that the average US hobbyist at least aspires to. Reason 2 is that much of the UK serious modeling hobby is a performance art put on for the public. It's organized around traveling exhibits that are taken to shows and shown to the public. Some people do this solo, others with friends, and larger ones are done by whole model railway clubs.

So you have (a) limited space in which to depict a world, and (b) a performer's mindset. Little wonder that parallels to the stage are born!

So the average British model railway at a show is a small window onto the world, upon which various actors (trains and locomotives) enter, perform a bit, and then leave. Some are stars, some are supporting cast.

#26 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2014, 09:11 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale again: if you are willing to add fantasy into the mix, consider Garth Nix's Keys to the Kingdom series (which is an odd mix of SF and fantasy -- it's set in a world which is very scientific but Not Our Own, into which fantasy intrudes); Patricia Wrede's Frontier Magic series (which I'm in the middle of); Terry Pratchett's Tiffany Aching books (which, like other Pratchett, get more serious as they go along!); and I'm sure there are others. And you can definitely do a lot worse than the Harry Potter books.

How good a reader is this 10-year-old? Some of those might be a stretch, but stretching can be good. Some Tamora Pierce is both good and recent; similarly with a lot of writers who were active in the 90s.

#27 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2014, 09:16 PM:

IIRC, the Netherlands' Jewish population had been heavily augmented in the years leading up to the German invasion by emigres such as the Franks and others correctly suspicious of the fascists. Maria Montessori found the climate far more congenial than Italy's. Anne went to her school.

It's hardly surprising if the percentage captured there was higher than countries from which they had fled.

#28 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2014, 09:19 PM:

HelenS #22: There have been a number of cases of police monitoring people's downloads, and also of people being arrested for (before digital) developing or (after digital) uploading bathtub pictures of their toddlers. There's also the teens arrested for sexting each other.... My biggest issue with the anti-pedophilia campaign is the slippage of definitions -- law enforcement is prone to take nudity as sexual regardless of context, and "child pornography" becomes divorced from actual exploitation, much less molestation. Police can also abuse the investigative process, as when Jock Sturges had most of his work destroyed by police... with "NOT CHILD PORN" written in magic marker across his negatives.

#29 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2014, 09:40 PM:

The pendulum has indeed turned on nudity in children. I doubt you could remake Superman (from 1978) because of it's exposure of a toddler's penis. And forget something like Pretty Baby.

#30 ::: JaniceG ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2014, 09:52 PM:

Xopher @18 Thanks for your gracious invitation. I'll free free to express polite agreement or disagreement with how other people start theirs, too.

#31 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2014, 11:05 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale, depending on the ten-year-old, I have a few suggestions for stuff from the current century.

Alaya Dawn Johnson's The Summer Prince has a tone and a story unlike any I've seen before. I loved the worldbuilding, the characters, the approach to sex and love and art, the foreign-to-me culture and influences, the relationships among women within and across generations, the protagonist's fierceness and growth, and the imagery. I think I have some Fridge Logic concerns about the political system Johnson depicts, but I got into the book while I was reading it. (Just announced: this is on the Best Novel shortlist for the Nebula!)

Seconding the Tamora Pierce recommendation.

I'm wondering whether the child might like The Carpet Makers by Andreas Eschbach, which seems to start out a family-scale fantasy, then expands into space opera, epic in scope but always personal and believable. I think if I'd read it as a kid I would have loved a bunch of it and not understood a bunch of it, but in a good way perhaps? I'd put Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang in the same category.

Scott Westerfeld's Uglies trilogy is pretty good.

#32 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2014, 11:08 PM:

Whoops, I meant the Andre Norton award.

And I second the recommendation of Gail Carson Levine's work.

#33 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2014, 11:17 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale, it's 1900s, but I remember absolutely loving Monica Hughes's science fiction when I was ten. My favourite was "Ring-Rise Ring-Set".

#34 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2014, 12:47 AM:

Tom@14 and 26, Diatryma@23, Sumana@31, Em@33- thanks!

OtterB@24, the books would be for a 10-year-old who wants to be a roboticist when she grows up, so I thought I'd look into SF first. I've read some YA SF that seems more appropriate for teenagers - 10 is a different audience, and I have little familiarity with SF for kids.

At that age I'd just discovered A Wrinkle in Time. I'll give it and other classics eventually, but I thought books less than 15 years old may be better than 50+ for SF: the numinousness of SF can be hurt by the oddities of 1960's culture.

#35 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2014, 02:42 AM:

JaniceG @30, have you forgotten that you are a guest here?

#36 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2014, 02:54 AM:

JaniceG @ 30:

I honestly just love chocolate chip cookies--I'm a bit of a conservative that way. But I always like to find a new recipe, and this one from Serious Eats looks promising! It is impeccably researched: the author has used several tricks, like browning the butter and dissolving the white sugar in the eggs, to speed the formation of those rich caramel flavors along.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chewy chocolate chip cookies with crisp edges, a rich, buttery, toffee-like flavor, big chocolate chunks, and a sprinkle of sea salt.
Note: For best results, ingredients should be measured by weight, not volume.

serves Makes about 28 cookies, active time 30 minutes, total time 1 day
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 standard ice cube (about 2 tablespoons frozen water)
10 ounces (about 2 cups) all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt or 1 teaspoon table salt
5 ounces (about 3/4 cup) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 ounces (about 1/2 tightly packed cup plus 2 tablespoons) dark brown sugar
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, roughly chopped with a knife into 1/2- to 1/4-inch chunks
Coarse sea salt for ganish

1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, gently swirling pan constantly, until particles begin to turn golden brown and butter smells nutty, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and continue swirling the pan until the butter is a rich brown, about 15 seconds longer. Transfer to a medium bowl, whisk in ice cube, transfer to refrigerator, and allow to cool completely, about 20 minutes, whisking occasionally. (Alternatively, whisk over an ice bath to hasten process).

2. Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Place granulated sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium high speed until mixture is pale brownish-yellow and falls off the whisk in thick ribbons when lifted, about 5 minutes.

3. Fit paddle attachment onto mixer. When brown butter mixture has cooled (it should be just starting to turn opaque again and firm around the edges), Add brown sugar and cooled brown butter to egg mixture in stand mixer. Mix on medium speed to combine, about 15 seconds. Add flour mixture and mix on low speed until just barely combined but some dry flour still remains, about 15 seconds. Add chocolate and mix on low until dough comes together, about 15 seconds longer. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate dough at least overnight and up to three days.

4. When ready to bake, adjust oven racks to upper and lower middle positions and preheat oven to 325°F. Using a 1-ounce ice cream scoop or a spoon, place scoops of cookie dough onto a non-stick or parchment-lined baking sheet. Each ball should measure approximately 3 tablespoons in volume and you should be able to fit 6 to 8 balls on each sheet. Transfer to oven and bake until golden brown around edges but still soft, 13 to 16 minutes, rotating pans back to front and top and bottom half way through baking.

5. Remove baking sheets from oven. While cookies are still hot, sprinkle very lightly with coarse salt and gently press it down to embed. Let cool for 2 minutes, then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

6. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for remaining cookie dough. Allow cookies to cool completely before storing in an airtight container, plastic bag, or cookie jar at room temperature for up to 5 days.

#37 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2014, 03:25 AM:

That looks good.

Salt with chocolate is one of those things I’d have probably reacted to with horror if I’d first encountered it in childhood. To my adult palate, it’s great.

#38 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2014, 03:26 AM:

It's always good to tell authoritarianism to go fuck itself, especially when it's done via effective action.

#39 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2014, 03:35 AM:

Salt with chocolate is one of my favorite combinations, and the Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart that my Amazing Girlfriend and I make is the current favorite among friends and labmates. The only problem, such as it is, is that said tart-consumers don't ever remember the tart's actual name, so it usually gets called the Chocolate Thing.

Or, more particularly, the Chocolate Thing, you know that Thing that you two make. Can you make that Thing again? Cue several minutes of questioning to determine which chocolate-bearing baked good the person has in mind.

It turns out that adding peppermint oil to the tart filling makes it into the tart that all thin mints want to be when they grow up.

#40 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2014, 03:36 AM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @34: Somewhat older (1977), but "Mylor: the most powerful horse in the world" by Michael Maguire is about making a mechanical horse capable of winning the Grand National... And I just discovered there's a sequel!

Star Dog (A.M. Lightner) is from the same era.

Those and "To Vanishing Point" and of course Chocky were some of the earliest SF I read, so about the right age group, if written rather longer ago than you were asking about.

#41 ::: Martin Wisse ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2014, 05:44 AM:

RE: the Februarystrike: the Dutch National Archive has a large collection of images from it and its aftermath while the Anne Frank Museum has a nifty timeline.

One of the things to remember about the strike is that the razzia that caused it was itself the culmination of a long period of violent resistance by both Jewish and non-Jewish Amsterdammers against the Germans and their collaborators, with the Dutch nazi party (NSB)'s armed wing hassling and attacking Jews and in return getting their heads kicked in while the Amsterdam police mostly looked the other way. One such a streetfight actually resulted in the death of an NSB member, while the attempted raid of a Jewish ice cream parlor ended with the SD having their heads kicked in.

So you got a ratcheting up of the violence by the occupier that ended in the brutal repression of the strike, which broke the back of armed, open resistance for a while.

Amsterdam of course had a long history of being a city not adverse to using violence, with large scale unemployments riots before the war that needed the army to put down, not to mention the squatters riots of the seventies and eighties after the war. It's no coincidence that the Februarystrike started in Amsterdam, though most of the industrial area of Noord-Holland took part, as did several companies outside the area.

#42 ::: Martin Wisse ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2014, 05:49 AM:

Forgot to add: the remembrance of the strike is something that's lodged deep in the DNA of the GVB, the municipal public transport company, which was deeply involved in the strike with most trams/buses either voluntarily or forced stopped running during the strike. This was important because it was the most public sign of the strike and the nazis made it a priority to force the public transport to start running again.

Also important: it was the communists who took the initiative for the strike, as the main Dutch commmunist party from the start of the occupation had switched to an underground, cell based structure and had immediately become active in the resistance, through e.g. the printing and distribution of illegal newspapers. When the razzias happened, it was the local communist leadership which immediately reacted to call for a strike and thanks to their infrastructure, managed to get it widely known.

#43 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2014, 05:53 AM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale, you might look at The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook, a graphic novel by Eleanor Davis. I haven't read it, but it's been well reviewed and looks like a contemporary version of things like The Three Investigators and Danny Dunn that I enjoyed at that age.

I discovered SF at that age through Andre Norton.

#44 ::: Mongoose ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2014, 07:15 AM:

I got one! The Department of History has decided that "Mx" doesn't bite, and has successfully addressed me by it. This makes me disproportionately happy.

#45 ::: PrivateIron ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2014, 07:48 AM:

You are going to find horror stories and heroes in every geographic area of the Holocaust.

For example, more Polish gentiles helped Jews than any other people, but you can also find many awful stories as well. The main reason is that there simply were more Jews in Poland than anywhere else; so surprise, surprise, there are more stories in general and more of the outliers, good and bad, as well.

People are people: some of them are going to cave under pressure; some will perform extraordinary acts of grace or courage and most will just try to get by with more or less of their morals intact. Every nation has "good" Holocaust narratives (even the Germans); every nation has inconvenient facts they are anxious to forget.

Myths of national exceptionalism are, well, myths: instructive in some ways, but not exactly fact. It is more interesting to see how they tell the stories sometimes than what they say. What kind of War you (say you) had has become one of the anchor points of modern nationalism. Holland: we were offered a choice and we spat in their faces. Poland: we were beleagured and betrayed, but we were heroes. France: the Resistance is what was in all of our hearts, really. US: we saved the world cause we're awesome. USSR: we really saved the world; so don't question our methods. Germans: that wasn't us; that was the bad apples. As Michelet said, nationalism is as much about what we all decided to forget as what we all remember.

#46 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2014, 07:52 AM:

Mongoose, felicitations!

#47 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2014, 08:49 AM:

SamChevre #21: An ordinary civil suit would be kind of mild in this context, as they at least give a chance of defense. Think instead of the RICO confiscations and freezes, and how they crept outward to drug-possession cases and police confiscations without review.

I'm not even following recent developments on that front too closely (the NSA crap saturated my paranoia receptors), but I'm worried by stuff like Paypal freezing accounts and Kickstarter shutting down fund drives (and sending back the money) for making money too fast (which AIUI is tied to the anti-terrorist measures). That's half a confiscation (recipient denied the money), and it's by a corporate authority rather than a governmental one, without due process.

#48 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2014, 09:01 AM:

PrivateIron #45: Yup, and the U.S. doesn't much like to think about its own internment camps for Japanese-Americans.

Or for that matter, that we basically stayed on the sidelines until our own territory was attacked. (Though that likely turned out better strategically -- despite the initial damage at Pearl Harbor, when we did get into the fight, we came in fresh, and with our internal dissensions pretty well squelched.)

#49 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2014, 09:34 AM:

Dave Harmon #48: In addition to the Japanese Americans interned during the Second World War, the US interned Japanese Peruvians. This particular fact frequently gets left out of the story.

#50 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2014, 09:44 AM:

Fragano Ledgister #49: Another load of shame. The interference with other governments has been a long-time pattern (though I'm not sure how long-time it was back then), but their deportations to the U.S. are a little surprising to me.

#51 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2014, 09:50 AM:

PrivateIron #45: Addendum, in our case, the "myths of national exceptionalism" are also foreign-relations policy....

#52 ::: beth meacham ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2014, 10:10 AM:

Tom Whitmore @14 -- have you looked at Jumper #3, Impulse? I think that fans of the first book, but not the second, will that it satisfies. Don't make the mistake of thinking that Griffin's Story is a Jumper novel.

Also along Steve Gould sf lines, his novel Wildside is a good choice for young people.

#53 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2014, 11:42 AM:

JaniceG @16: I disagree that providing only one incident without context is a good way to start an open thread.

Even if the commentariat can be trusted to understand it as one piece of a larger story, and it serves the purpose (as is reliably the case, where abi is concerned) of prompting an interesting and informative discussion?

#54 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2014, 12:19 PM:

Kathryn @ #6: I was born in 1940 (194 x 10!) and didn't start reading science fiction until I was 12, when I took it up with a passion, starting with Heinlein's young adult novels, most of which are pretty dated. In those days, the short story was the dominant form, what with at least a half-dozen sf monthly magazines. And except for Heinlein, Andre Norton and "Paul French", there weren't many sf YAs. So what worked for me then probably isn't relevant now. But Asimov's I, Robot and his early Galactic Empire novels, from Pebble in the Sky through the "Foundation" trilogy aren't beyond, or too dated for, a sharp, literate ten-year-old.

If it doesn't have to be sf, how about Le Guin's "Earthsea" trilogy or Lloyd Alexander's "Prydain" books?

#55 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2014, 12:22 PM:

1940 is sufficient for starting open thread #194.

#56 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2014, 12:26 PM:

beth @52 -- I think you've misinterpreted what I said about Jumper. I really like the second book (and the third) -- I just wouldn't recommend the second for a ten-year-old! I very much like the way he moved from YA to adult in the second book, but I do think its themes of torture are likely to be problematic for a lot of younger readers. It's a pretty harrowing book.

#57 ::: Gennis ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2014, 12:39 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @34: I haven't read it, but the local 11 year old liked Nick and Tesla's Robot Army Rampage. My vague impression is that it's probably fun but slight. It does include instructions for building some simple robots, though.

#58 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2014, 01:12 PM:

You thought geese on your golf course were a problem?

#59 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2014, 01:34 PM:

Avram, #37: I don't react with horror, but I also really don't get the salted-chocolate craze (outside of the occasional chocolate-covered pretzel). I tried a square of Ghirardelli Sea Salt Chocolate a while back, and it was decidedly meh. I have not yet had the nerve to try salted caramel, but I suspect my response to it will be similar.

Dave H., #47: I submit that the rogue police departments in places like Tenaha, TX are on the same spectrum. BTW, Google Maps now routes you around Tenaha when driving up US 59 from Houston to Texarkana.

#60 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2014, 01:47 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @34: I had a look round my 9.5 yr old's shelves, I'm seeing a lot more fantasy than SF, and nothing terribly new.

He did finally read the Foundation Trilogy, after me hinting about it for a while and leaving it lying about. He's also been getting random things from the Star Wars universe from the library, but not sure about any of the particulars there.

He enjoyed Brandon Sanderson's Steelheart, but I'd consider that one more fantasy. Sort of. He's also read and enjoyed Suzanne Collins' Gregor series, and the Dark is Rising this year.

He's also been randomly saying that He's BOOOORED. and we should do something about it. Dear wife found the first 7 parts of the Wheel of Time at the thrift store. So, he was presented with a foot+ of books the next time he said he was bored. heheh.

#61 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2014, 01:57 PM:

eric: I learned not to complain of boredom to my mother. She'd find me work to do. Feh. :-)

#62 ::: Mongoose ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2014, 02:08 PM:

Algebra is a dangerous liberal conspiracy that makes children gay.

File this one in the rapidly expanding folder labelled "for any idea, no matter how cracked, you can find a politician somewhere who believes it".

#63 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2014, 02:30 PM:

Been thinking a lot about evil and forgiveness following a recent trip to Vietnam & Cambodia. In Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City we went to the War Remnants Museum with its displays of the "American War". The descriptions of the various exhibits were pointed e.g. words from the Declaration of Independence ("We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.") were writ large at the start of the gallery of war photos. There are at least two sides to every story.

It was another confronting experience in Phnom Penh visiting the Toul Sleng Genocide Museum & the Choeung Ek Killing Fields. Our guide described matter-of-factly the atrocities committed there.

And yet. In both Vietnam & Cambodia there was a sense of acknowledging the past but looking to the future. For the locals, it can be a very personal & relatively recent experience. Our guide in Phnom Penh is roughly my age and survived the Khmer Rouge; he was sent to work the rice fields & he kept his head down. In his neighbourhood is at least one known former Khmer Rouge, and while there is the temptation for revenge, there is also the realisation that violence would only reignite the cycle of violence. The desire for peace is greater.

It is said that travel broadens the mind (it did), but it also made me appreciate how good we have it at home.

#64 ::: JaniceG ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2014, 02:54 PM:

Abi @13, Xopher @18, Jacque @53 Sorry that my comment about opening a thread was taken as rude. When I read Abi's comment ("History is complicated. And sometimes we tell one part of it at a time, just to start an open thread.") it seemed to me to be saying that relevant and clarifying information was deliberately withheld in order to prompt a discussion and that's why I reacted as I did. Judging by the return comments, I misunderstood her intent so I apologize to all.

#65 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2014, 03:38 PM:

Lee #59: Yeah... I'm wondering if it would be possible to nationalize police training (and whether it would be a good idea, which is a separate question.

Speaking of map routing, I've given Apple Maps's walking directions several solid tries, and I have to conclude they have "large negative utility" -- not just useless, but actively bad Most recently, I had missed my bus to work, and decided to walk to Downtown -- after all, I had a good hour's time to do it. But, that was before I started off with Apple Maps. Without the iPhone, I would have gone northeast, following the bus route down Emmett Street and going by way of the next major shopping center, with sidewalks all the way. When Apple Maps pointed me northwest, it seemed a bit out of the way, but the overview showed a sharp jag east to get to downtown.

So, I tried Rugby Road. First of all, that's a major highway with no sidewalks, and no connections to nearby streets. I wasn't pleased that I couldn't really look ahead on the step-by-step route, but eventually I reached the point where it wanted me to leave the highway and turn right, supposedly to a street. I looked that way, across the guardrail, a 20' deep gully, a chain-link fence, and a hundred or so feet of brush and trees before the back side of a commercial development. Nope.... I doubt I could have made that in a tank, let alone on foot! There might have been a barbed-wire fence in there too, there certainly was farther down the road. No apparent way to tell the system that this route was impassible, either....

If I'd been smart, I'd have turned back and gone back to my starting point, but as it was, by the time I got off the highway, I was further north of Downtown than I'd been south. I'd been planning to get back into hiking, but not 8 miles before lunch! And as best I could tell, the route it had given me amounted to a dubious route for a car, let alone that crossover! The previous time I'd tried it, the system had tried to send me halfway across town for an address I could have stepped across the railroad tracks to reach in 5 minutes (that one I caught a little earlier, but still annoying). Anyone know where I can send a nasty note to Apple and have it actually get some attention?

#66 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2014, 04:18 PM:

JaniceG @64: The tricky part of referencing history, of course, is that one has to withold parts, unless one wants to fill ALL THE PAGES EVAR.

#67 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2014, 04:24 PM:

Jacque @ #58

I approve of this product and/or service.


#68 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2014, 04:40 PM:

One thing that occurs to me in light of Janice's reaction to Abi's initial post is a sort of minor paradox about blog-moderating:
the good moderator will sometimes engage in limited and gentle trolling of her own commentariat, in order to get the conversation started.

What might be a needlessly provocative stance in a commenter (e.g., me) can be excused as a kind of good manners in the mod: after all, it did break that awkward silence! And now we're all chatting away like old friends!

Sometimes, the best way to get it rolling is to get a'trolling?

#69 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2014, 04:46 PM:

JaniceG @ 64: I hope nobody's assuming bad faith or ill will on your part; I certainly don't.

Another factor in why this account was abbreviated might be that, as I recall, there was a past thread on Making Light which ended up discussing the "pillarization" policy and how much it had contributed to the Nazis' success in identifying and capturing Jews in the Netherlands. Abi may have been taking that as read, even without thinking about it particularly, and as a baseline to which this discussion point was added.

#70 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2014, 04:55 PM:

Dave Harmon #65: I don't think it's possible to nationalize police training. One major things police need training on is the laws and criminal procedure -- which differ in every State. While many things are similar, I'm sure there are a bunch of things police have to forget/relearn when moving from one state to another.

#71 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2014, 05:34 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale: Not sF, but sometimes science related fantasy: Ursula Vernon's Dragonbreath books occasionally try to teach actual stuff in the midst of a half-illustrated half prose series of books. They might be on the slight side for 10 year old, but that might make them a good palate cleanser after a more YA or adult book.

I don't seem to have a lot of SF from this century that's suitable for that age, though. Probably because I never have as much SF as F -- but I could come up with answers for teen than pre-teen.

#72 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2014, 05:45 PM:

JaniceG 64: Oh, that makes sense. Much more like you than what I thought you were doing above. I apologize for getting snotty with you about it.

#73 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2014, 07:05 PM:

Major league D&D geeking-out in the service of learning how to use a 3D virtual-sculpting tool:

Farley's latest entry, on the human/lion/eagle Llamasu, is very entertaining (discussing the likely habits and M.O. of the llamasu), with a helping of daunting (the technical bits).

#74 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2014, 07:39 PM:

Mongoose #62: Just think of the opportunities it offers to pupils with bad grades in mathematics. 'I'm not a bad student. I'm just straight!'

#75 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2014, 07:51 PM:

dcb, OtterB, Theophylact, Gennis, Lenora Rose - more thanks! I'm about to shop at the World's Biggest Bookstore(1) for the last time (it's being turned into restaurants, alas). I'm also thinking I should catch up on these myself.

(1) depends on how one defines "biggest," but certainly one of the largest, and a sad moment for the place where for decades I'd pick up my stash of "out in the UK and Canada, not the US yet" books.

#77 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2014, 09:12 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @ #74 -- Just think of the opportunities it offers to pupils with bad grades in mathematics. 'I'm not a bad student. I'm just straight!'

Well that explains Turing, but not Einstein. And then there's Newton.

#78 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2014, 10:10 PM:

Benjamin Wolfe @ 139::939 (and lorax, later): I got the same reaction from the U.S. Patent Office (for a trivial bit of chemistry/chemE that my employer decided was worth patenting), although I don't know whether they were being polite (as lorax suggests) or assumptively rude.

Tom W et al: Laterna Magika was also at Expo 67; I remember a mix of live performers and (IIRC) filmed string players (behind doors) with fragments of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. Nothing nearly as kinetic as the Japanese performance referenced upthread, but certainly worth the wait in line.

Andrew Wells @ 2: do you know "Denmark 1943" by former folk-singer Fred Small? (He now ministers at a Unitarian church in Harvard Square.) Very impressive; I heard it when Kushner did a Sound and Spirit on heroes.

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @ 6: the 2nd sequel to Jumper (actually written in the last millennium) does give major time to a teen working about teen issues, but the level of violence in Impulse is almost as bad as in Reflex; you might want to read for yourself first. 7th Sigma read quickly but stretched plausibility more than I liked, but it's interesting mechanics for someone who wants to go into robotics.
    Scott Westerfeld's steampunk trilogy Leviathan et seq were also fun -- IMO better writing/plotting than his earlier work, strongly mechanical, and interestingly tangled with history -- IIRC we find at the beginning that the male of the two leads is the son of Archduke Ferdinand, whose death wasn't ultimately caused by the usual suspects.
    Definitely second Tom's recommendation of Tiffany Aching if fantasy is allowed. The sense of humor and place might be too English, but see other comments about stretching; they also have some effective examples of problem solving without being preachy.
    The Invention of Hugo Cabret is physically bulky for what it contains, but it's much more focused on the lead than is the movie made from it.

HLN: local is feeling smug after finally stabilizing a faucet set that had been twisting back and forth (rather like a slo-mo version of the ship's wheel Bova managed to expel from the bridge of The Starlost), despite repeated misinformation about the correct tool. (A 3/16" hex key wrench is not a good substitute for a #2 Phillips screwdriver....). Local is more relieved over the retrieval of mysteriously-vanished health insurance, and appreciates the people who made it come back quickly rather than the normal 2-business-day wait, while objurgating whoever didn't notice that new info "somehow wasn't loaded" (logged, but not loaded) 6 weeks ago.

And a note to the gnomes: for some reason, the don't-make-me-type-this-again checkbox (that appears between the comment-typing window and the Preview/Post buttons) is not appearing in Firefox 27.0.1; is this fixable?

#79 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2014, 11:08 PM:

CHip, I'm seeing that box with FF27.0.1.

#80 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2014, 11:39 PM:

Steve with a book @ 12, Errolwi @ 15:

I didn't really like Dominion. The weirdness of the timeline (Germans on the Isle of Wight?!) wasn't too bad, but I thought the plot was too contrived and the use of flashbacks was annoying. Mileages obviously vary.

That appendix with the rant against Scottish independence was just weird. (I'm cheering the Scots on, as I live in a country to the northeast of them that was itself stuck in unions for a few hundred years. This year is the bicentennial of our constitution.)

#81 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2014, 11:42 PM:

Those of you who like pictures of badgers, or cats using adding machines, might enjoy my zine.

#82 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2014, 12:23 AM:

CHip, #78: Here's a more recent Fred Small piece describing an incident closer to home.

#83 ::: john, who is incognito and definitely not at work ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2014, 09:43 AM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale, OtterB @ 43: I have read Secret Science Alliance and the Copyright Crook and can vouch for it.

#84 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2014, 10:31 AM:

Otter B @ 43: Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook

john, who is incognito and definitely not at work @83: Secret Science Alliance and the Copyright Crook

There's a funny comment to be made about this somewhere, but I can't for the life of me find it.

#85 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2014, 11:14 AM:

john, who is incognito @83, glad to have it vouched for. My library has it, and I plan to check it out next time I'm in.

Copycat, copyright, capybara ... I can't find the joke either, but agree there must be one. Maybe we just need to repurpose someone else's joke.

#86 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2014, 11:31 AM:

This year's Frozen Dead Guy Days features live music.

#87 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2014, 11:36 AM:

On #81 and technology generally, there's always this.

#88 ::: Andrew Wells ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2014, 12:51 PM:

CHip @78, I don't, but will look out for it - but thanks for the recommendation.

#89 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2014, 02:23 PM:

Anyone here who likes looking at cool 20th-century design will enjoy this collection of vintage Dutch safety posters (contains drawings of nasty workplace accidents). Via.

#90 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2014, 02:23 PM:

I call to remembrance all US Servicepeople who have died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and rejoice that no new names have been added to the list this week.

Total US deaths in Iraq: 4486 and in Afghanistan: 2313
Along with tens of thousands of Iraqi and Afghani civilians and service personnel.

(I've been doing this in various venues for a long time. Ordinarily there would be a list of names, but the best-case scenario is the above. I'll stop when the Afghan war is over, as the Iraq one seems to be, at least as far as US participation goes.)

#91 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2014, 02:31 PM:

Roy G. Ovrebo@80: the bit that I scoffed at was the bit that had a shtvgvir Puhepuvyy uvqvat ng Punegjryy, juvpu vf nobhg nf pynaqrfgvar nf univat shtvgvir Xraarqlf uvqvat ng Ulnaavf Cbeg. Nyfb Zhapnfgre'f ragver xabjyrqtr bs gur HF ngbzvp obzo cebwrpg frrzrq gb or 'fbzr vfbgbcrf jbex orggre guna bguref', juvpu fheryl jbhyqa'g unir orra arjf gb gur Treznaf ol 1952.

#92 ::: john, who is incognito and definitely not at work ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2014, 02:53 PM:

John A Arkansawyer @ 84, OtterB @ 85: Ah, yes. Someone somewhere defined multitasking as "doing two or more things poorly at the same time." It is Copycat, though intellectual property does figure into the story. Patents would be more relevant, though, as it's an invention at issue. :-)

#93 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2014, 03:54 PM:

Xopher Halftongue @ 90: Thank you for doing this.

#94 ::: Mary ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2014, 04:10 PM:

Mongoose @62: The letters used in Algebra are the "gateway drug" of math--the next thing you know students will be using GREEK letters, and you know what THAT means! And don't get me started on "imaginary numbers"...

#95 ::: JaniceG ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2014, 04:19 PM:

Jacque @66 I realize you can't cover entire historical periods but in this particular case, it seemed to me that a conclusion was being implied that was not borne out by the facts.

Clifton @69 Thanks for the additional info - that could easily be a contributing factor.

Xopher @72 Glad to have regained your good opinion :->

#96 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2014, 04:22 PM:

Isn't Al Gebra a Middle Eastern terrorist group? Why are we letting them indoctrinate our kids?!?!?!?

(Actually a LOT of words in English that start with 'al-' are borrowed from Arabic, including 'algebra', and it is the same 'al-' as in 'Al Qaeda'...but it means "the.")

#97 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2014, 04:28 PM:

Lots of stars have Arabic names as well, with or without the "al-". (My favorites: Zubenelgenubi and Zubeneshamali, the southern and northern claws of Scorpio, respectively.)

#98 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2014, 04:31 PM:

Xopher @ #96

Al Gebra is well known for its use of weapons of math instruction.

(Was Al Gore caught red-handed creating the Internet? I think we should be told.)

#99 ::: Mongoose ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2014, 04:36 PM:

Well, all I can say is that I've done quite a lot of maths in my life and it hasn't made me gay in any way. I am, in fact, a heteroromantic asexual (where "hetero-" references my biological sex rather than my non-gender).

I wonder what subject does that, in the opinion of the good senator?

#100 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2014, 04:40 PM:

Wait, ASTRONOMERS are terrorists too?

Time we started giving all of those oppressed Arab stars proper names, like Chastity VIb, and John 11:4, and Gingrich's Star.

#101 ::: Pete Newell ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2014, 04:44 PM:

MartinWisse @42

You realize that you've just pointed out that one of the Nazis tactics in repressing dissent was that "they made the trains run on time".

So much for that line of apologetics.

#102 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2014, 05:04 PM:

Pete Newell @ 101

It was the fascists (Mussolini), not the Nazis, who "made the trains run on time[1]."

It really bugs me when those two are conflated; they were wartime allies, and there were some mutual ideas, but they are not the same group; they have very different underlying philosophies (one was explicitly socialist and actively murderous, one anti-socialist and not much worse than average for murderousness).

1) Zl vzcerffvba vf gung guvf nppbzcyvfuzrag jbhyq unir orra yrff abgnoyr va Treznal guna vg jnf va Vgnyl.

#103 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2014, 05:09 PM:

SameChevre @ 102: one was nominally socialist

Fixed that for you.

Pete Newell @ 101: I can't make any sense out of that comment. Can you explain?

#104 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2014, 05:17 PM:

SamChevre @102: My understanding (though I don't have a handy reference more reliable than Snopes) is that Mussolini claimed (falsely) to have made the trains run on time. And it probably wasn't healthy to criticize the timeliness of Italian trains at that point.

John A Arkansawyer @103: He was pointing out that this is an instance where "making the trains run on time" (by dealing violently with the strikers) was part of the oppression, as opposed to being simply a good thing coincidental to oppression, as the "made the trains run on time" meme is usually seen.

#105 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2014, 05:52 PM:

SamChevre 102: As has been pointed out here before, the Strasserist (socialist) faction of the NSDAP was purged in 1934, along with much of the SA, in the Night of the Long Knives. They kept the name, of course, but were as socialist as the Democratic People's Republic of North Korea is Republican. Or Democratic, for that matter.

#106 ::: Pete Newell ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2014, 06:27 PM:

All and Sundry 102 - 105

That'll teach me to be generally snarky around here if I'm not going to be careful with the details.

John, there's a line of commentary that comes around periodically (right: a meme) that approximately says "Say what you will about the [Nazis, Fascists, other deprecated political extremist group], but at least they made the trains run on time."

Since this is usually a defense - or a consciously and ironically stupid depiction of a defense - of the named group, and MartinWisse cited it here as a negative point, I was amused.

Unclear, and factually in error, but amused. About par for the course, for me.

#107 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2014, 07:58 PM:

Sam, uh (nobody else needs to read this):

Vg'f trggvat gverfbzr gb urne lbh pbasyngr gur Anmvf jvgu fbpvnyvfgf. Jung vf lbhe cbvag? Ner lbh gelvat gb fzrne nyy bs gur fbpvnyvfgf?

Naq SLV V qba'g vqragvsl nf nal xvaq bs fbpvnyvfg zlfrys, fb V nz whfg gelvat gb or snve, abg fcrpvny cyrnqvat.

#108 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2014, 08:21 PM:

Xopher, #96: I was at Aggiecon some years back (around 2002-2003 IIRC) and heard a truly WTF conversation between a couple of students passing by. They were appalled by their professor's claim that most of the math they were being taught had been invented by Arabs, and didn't think that could possibly be right.

I really wanted to explain to them the origins of the word "alcohol", but they got out of range before I could get around the table.

#109 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2014, 09:01 PM:

SamChevre @#102
My father knew people who were in Mussolini's Italy. By third-hand evidence, the trains did not run on time.

#110 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2014, 09:42 PM:

Pete Newell @ 106: Okay, now I get it. I think this is the part where newcomers are traditionally asked if they write poetry. It's a little like when you join a church, you get asked if you sing. I've never gotten to do the asking before. So:

Do you write poetry?

#111 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2014, 09:53 PM:

Jeremy Leader #104 And it probably wasn't healthy to criticize the timeliness of Italian trains at that point.

It doesn't matter as much with train timeliness, but this is one of the big problems with official statistics in a lot of countries. It's fairly easy to force out the people who care about accuracy, and very hard to fix the problem afterwards.

Argentina is having this problem at the moment: the official national inflation rate bears no visible relationship to the average of the rates in the provinces. They're currently trying to reboot their national CPI into something people will believe.

That's why it was so infuriating before the last US elections when some extremists tried to claim that the President had tampered with the monthly unemployment figures. If he'd tried to do anything so mind-bogglingly ill-advised, you'd hope he would have gotten more out of it than a tiny improvement in the jobs numbers.

#112 ::: Pete Newell ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2014, 10:01 PM:

John @110:

I only write doggerel, and only built on Christmas carols.

Gets me through the season with more of my sanity intact.

I'd use the word "parody", but only loosely.

#113 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2014, 10:08 PM:

My gut feeling is that dictatorships tend to be wildly inefficient and incompetent outside of the ruler's palaces, since no one dares to complain about any problems that arise. They can put on a terrific *show* of efficiency for foreign visitors, since it's comparatively easy to teach a bunch of people to do precision drilling for an audience.

This is why I have trouble with AUs where the nazis won WWII and are still ruling the world today without their regime having collapsed from internal dissent once all problems could no longer be blamed on the Jews or the war.

#114 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2014, 10:55 PM:

Pete Newell, I do hope we haven't made you feel unwelcome or picked on. Our quibbling and scrapping has to do with...a lot of other water that has passed under bridges, and various denizens of that subpontic environment who have peed in said water.

Your joke about making the trains run on time was funny (IMO); it just also pushed some buttons here and there. None of which was your fault.


#115 ::: Pete Newell ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2014, 10:57 PM:

Oh heck no. I've been lurking long enough to parse the general approach better than that.

#116 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2014, 11:04 PM:

Oh, good!

#117 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2014, 12:35 AM:

Author and game designer Aaron Allston has died suddenly.

No further details.

Aaron edited some of my game articles back in day, when he worked with Steve Jackson Games.

#118 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2014, 04:44 AM:

The story I heard from Italians was that the Fascists didn't care about local trains, but tried to make the international trains run on time (making things even worse for local trains).

From the Independent: 'It is true,' wrote Seldes, 'that the majority of big expresses, those carrying eye-witnessing tourists, are usually put through to time, but on the smaller lines rail and road-bed conditions frequently cause delays.'

The same article has contemporary quotes showing that even these trains were not always on time.

So it is possible that the Fascists at least tried to make some trains run on time to boost their image of efficiency.

#119 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2014, 10:36 AM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @ 75: delurking to recommend Earth Girl by Janet Edwards, published in 2013, so it's nice and recent and the start of an ongoing series. The age range is given as 11 to 16 which is hopefully not too adult for the ten year old in question. The SF is mainly archaeology rather than robotics but I highly recommend it as fantastic modern SF for girls (and boys too of course. And grownups. And everyone!).

If you were talking about the World's Biggest Bookstore in Toronto closing down, that makes this Canadian abroad sad today. Hopefully Bakka is still going?

#120 ::: Mongoose ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2014, 10:46 AM:

What Mussolini did do was to drain a lot of the marshes in Italy. This had the effect of drastically reducing the mosquito population, and therefore the incidence of malaria, in Italy, so you could look at that as a good thing. However, that wasn't what he was aiming for when he did it. He just wanted to make it easier for troops and equipment to move around. I think this one has to be chalked up as Unintended Good Consequences.

Also, since the mood possibly needs lightening a bit, here is a little verse I wrote for my cat.

"You are old, Fräulein Heidi," the Mongoose said,
"In human years, fivescore and ten;
Yet my shoulder you make your precarious bed -
Do you think you're a kitten again?"

"In my youth," said the cat, as she washed her small form,
"I was happy to sleep on the fence;
But it's not very soft and it's not very warm,
So I think I've developed some sense."

"You are old," said the Mongoose, "my sweet little petal,
And often throw up when you fret;
Then how have you stayed in such excellent fettle
That you're never in need of the vet?"

Miss Heidi considered, and said, "On the whole
I think it's a question of diet;
It's excellent food that you put in my bowl,
But I do like a mouse on the quiet."

"You are old," said the Mongoose, "and once on a time
From danger you'd swiftly take flight;
So why is it now, though you're well past your prime,
You're perfectly willing to fight?"

"In my youth," said the cat, "I will freely admit
That I was rather easy to scare;
But I've now turned the tables - the biter is bit.
Good grief, don't you think that that's fair?"

"You are old," mused the Mongoose, "and like any cat
I know that you're partial to heat;
But you sit on the heater, and why doesn't that
Burn your stomach, your tail or your feet?"

"I have answered three questions, and that is enough,
And only because it was you.
Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?
Be off, or I'll pee in your shoe!"

#121 ::: Q. Pheevr ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2014, 11:06 AM:

Oh, that's splendid, Mongoose!

#122 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2014, 11:08 AM:

Mongoose@99: I'm ignorant but working on it, so could you tell me if I unpacked that right? I think it means "I find the opposite gender enticing, but have no real interest in sex for its own sake". Am I at least close?

#123 ::: Mongoose ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2014, 11:10 AM:

Q. Pheevr @ 121: thank you!

Also, Xopher, the strange bod who's just sent you a friend request on the Book of Face would be me. I managed to track you down, heh, heh. *grin*

#124 ::: Mongoose ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2014, 11:11 AM:

Sandy @ 122: pretty much, yes. I can, at least theoretically, form romantic attachments to people of the opposite biological sex. (I say "theoretically" because I very rarely do.) But you're absolutely right about the sex thing. I view sex with a resounding "meh".

#125 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2014, 11:35 AM:

Mongoose @120, applause

#126 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2014, 12:03 PM:

Mongoose @ #120, more applause, and your cat sounds like my dog. (Vet assistant: "Did you know Schnitzel is like 113 in human years??")

#127 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2014, 12:56 PM:

HLN: Local woman reports that she has been a lucky winner of two book sweepstakes from in the past ten days. "I greatly enjoyed Jo Walton's My Real Children, which won't be generally available until May," she gloated. She looks forward to the arrival of the second package, and also believes she may stop on the way home to purchase a lottery ticket.

#128 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2014, 01:00 PM:

Good luck with the lottery ticket, OtterB! My own HLN is that I bought a lottery ticket from the convenience store next to the dental office where I had just had an emergency root canal. Seemed somehow the thing to do. Buying the ticket, I mean. Well, the emergency root canal too. Anyhow, I won $40. May you have as good or better!

#129 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2014, 01:09 PM:

HLN: Area woman still confused by Tumblr. More specifically: three days ago I created a new Tumblr account to keep some posts separate from my main Tumblr account. Since then, one account claims to be following mine, and one person has “liked” the fourth, and only the fourth, of four posts I have made. Neither of these accounts are followers of my other account(s), and the “like” popped up within moments of my making that fourth post; all of which makes me wonder if these are real people or some sort of spam.

#130 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2014, 02:00 PM:

OtterB @127: Congratulations on that. Glad you enjoyed the book.

#131 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2014, 02:17 PM:

Mongoose 120: Excellent work! Directing all my cat-slave friends to it.

Ibid, 123: Confirmed. And I heh right back at you.

#132 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2014, 02:31 PM:

HLN: Edinburgh author, mildly unsettled, informed of the identity of his new editor at Ace a working day ahead of the official announcement. Hoping it's the start of a wonderful relationship.

#133 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2014, 02:43 PM:

Mongoose and others who might be interested: there's a currently-underway webcomic called Shades of A about an asexual (but not aromantic) protagonist and his struggles to accept himself and deal with, um, stuff.

Caution: many pages not worksafe, because there are naked bits clearly visible sometimes, though I wouldn't call it an explicit porno-type comic (the 'middle of sex' scenes are emotionally fraught and troublous, not gratuitous), but definitely: visible bits with no clothes on.

It is supposedly a scene-by-scene pastiche/satire of Fifty Shades of Grey, which I haven't read so I don't know, but people I know who have find the parallelisms (only better written in the comic) hilarious.

#134 ::: jonesnori/Lenore Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2014, 02:45 PM:

Mongoose @120, I love it!

#135 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2014, 03:20 PM:

Sarah @129, all I can think of is, were any of them tagged with things people might track?

Mongoose @120, applause!

#136 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2014, 03:58 PM:

Stefan, #117: Obituary for Aaron Allston. The apparent cause of death is massive heart failure. One of my friends is at VisionCon, so I may have access to more details later.

#137 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2014, 04:05 PM:

Lovely poem, Mongoose!

#138 ::: Arete ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2014, 04:20 PM:

Sarah @129:

It's been a while since I've been on Tumblr, so take this explanation with a grain of salt: did you tag those posts? If you did, it showed up on anybody's relevant tag trackers. And while the tag tracking is somewhat wonky, it does work most of the time.

So, likely, it isn't spam, but tag tracking working.

#139 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2014, 04:25 PM:

I did tag them. Guess that must be it.

#140 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2014, 04:51 PM:

just dropped in to thank Mongoose for #120.

Thank you, Mongoose!

#141 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2014, 04:56 PM:

Charlie Stross writes: Edinburgh author, mildly unsettled

Was that 'im what wrote Scottish Gaslight in las' mumf's Top Quark?

#142 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2014, 05:19 PM:

Elliott 133: asexual (but not aromantic)

I initially read that as "asexual (but not aromatic)," which led to thoughts beginning with "wait, why would people think..." and then the correct reading clicked in.

I cannot brain today. I have the dumb.

#143 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2014, 06:38 PM:

Mongoose @120: Applause.

All y'all: Virtual leeks and daffodils of the season

I see from Wikipedia

Cross-party support resulted in the National Assembly for Wales voting unanimously to make Saint David's Day a public holiday in 2000. A poll conducted for Saint David's Day in 2006 found that 87% of people in Wales wanted it to be a bank holiday, with 65% prepared to sacrifice a different bank holiday to ensure this. A petition in 2007 to make Saint David's Day a bank holiday was rejected by the office of the British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

#144 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2014, 07:33 PM:

Mongoose, thanks for sharing the poem about your cat.

#145 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2014, 08:00 PM:

So we have rain here in California, and I've had people (not Californians) say things about how the drought must be over, or how that pic of Folsom Dam must be photoshopped, because reservoirs don't drain that fast.

Um... 1. California's rainy season usually ends in March, with extraordinary seasons going into May or even June. And then it stops until October, pretty much cold. (Average of one inch of rain over a five month period. One inch for all five months.) So rain now doesn't mean full reservoirs. If the rain keeps up at this rate for the next two months, we might get up to 40 or 50% of normal precipitation. 2. I live here. Folsom Lake really is (or was) that low, and people were exploring towns that were drowned when the reservoir was built. They can drop that much in just a few years, depending on usage (or if a gate breaks, like in 1995.) On the flip side, Folsom Lake was supposed to fill up over five to ten years when the dam was first built, and a record-breaking storm filled it up that first season. (It probably wouldn't now, because the usage conditions are different, but it's possible.)

Anyway. Rain does not make droughts disappear, no matter how welcome it is.

#146 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2014, 08:18 PM:

But rain sure feels good, after a long, long drought. (It's been raining all day here in LA. And chilly.)

#147 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2014, 09:32 PM:

So, my computer is, if not dead, at least deathly ill. My best guess is that the fan in the power supply has died -- in any case, it boots but then goes down within a few minutes. What with with various disturbances in my life lately, I hadn't gotten around to shopping for the new machine...

So, I've belatedly been comparing prices between Zareason and PC- connection, and as best I could tell, the former has around at least a $100 premium for similar specs. When I mentioned this to Mom, she surprised me, by saying I should go with the guaranteed-Linux-compatible former, because "it's important to you, and you don't need the aggravation of not being sure Linux will work on the other computers". (I'd expected her to be all about the bargains, but it's a good point -- I've certainly had plenty of hassle from running Linux on my hand-me-down Alienware box!). She also gave me some money toward the new computer. :-). And offered to help see it the Geek Squad (she has a contract) could get my old system running long enough for the transition....

Any last-minute advice or suggestions, before I go buy my first new computer in 15 years or so?

In any case, I'm liable to be scarce here for a while, posting from my iPad sucks rocks.

#148 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2014, 09:50 PM:

An overview of SWAT teams.

Short history: Invented in the late 60s by Darryl Gates as a response to the Watts riots, basically used for violent situations that ordinary police might not be able to handle well until Reagan expanded the war on drugs in the 1980s. Since then, they've been given military weapons and more and more latitude to use violence, made more numerous, and are being brought into situations which wouldn't have been violent, including enforcement of minor regulations (long grass! underage drinking! suicide attempts??!!!???) and "sending a message from the Federal government" (medical marijuana clinics which were legal under state laws).

#149 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2014, 09:56 PM:

B. Durbin, #145: It's the same phenomenon as the claim that one cold snap means global warming isn't happening.

If any of those people had Earth Science (or the equivalent) in high school, they might be familiar enough with the groundwater cycle that you could use that to get thru to them. One rainstorm does not a complete replenishment phase make!

#150 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2014, 10:25 PM:

AKICIML: Can anyone describe for me the sound a coal fire makes when it's burning? (Yes, this is for my current WIP.) Not important, just that if I'm going to describe it, it should be right.

#151 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2014, 10:58 PM:

P J Evans @ 79: \now/ it's showing up. Thank you on behalf of gremlin-hunters everywhere....

Lee @ 82: thanks; I hadn't known of that one. Definitely classic Small -- a gut punch even in a blurry recording.

Mongoose @ 120: that's wonderful (in multiple senses)!

abi @ parhelia: that's quite a collection. Pity the gun comments went in the NYT, where nobody relevant will see them; I wonder whether any newspaper in Idaho will have the courage to print them. But I wonder about the climate model used to predict effects of windmills on hurricanes; I recall the circulation running several miles high (Wikipedia says up to the tropopause), so I wonder how much energy can be absorbed in the reach of a windmill, even if part of the cycle is concentrated at lower altitudes. I confess I would love to see it confirmed so I could watch Southron politicians (who have the most interest in mitigating hurricanes' effects) try to justify supporting a desire of the despised tree-huggers....

#152 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2014, 01:50 AM:

Kathryn of Sunnyvale, a 10-year-old might like the Artemis Fowl books.

#153 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2014, 03:22 AM:

Steve with a book @ 91: Yeah, those things got to me too.

And Dominion had too many unnecessary flashbacks that went something like this:

Our Hero (or Villain, or Morally Ambiguous Viewpoint Character) starts his viewpoint chapter. He lights a fag and reminisces.

Next paragraph we're in a flashback. Morally Ambiguous Viewpoint Character was interacting with Other Character an hour ago, and now we're getting the details.

Flashback continues in another paragraph. The events we're flashing back to happened after the events of the previous chapter, so there's no reason we're in flashback, really. It'd be better written in a linear fashion.

Another paragraph. Are we out of flashback? No, wait, he's still interacting with Other Character an hour previously. He'd better snap out of it, or he'll burn his fingers.

New paragraph. Maybe we're out of flashback now. Oh yeah, he sighs and stubs out the cigarette. We're back in the present.

I'm a sucker for alternate history, so I really wanted to like that book.

#154 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2014, 03:43 AM:

I have just watched the most appalling movie.

In my defense, it had Saoirse Ronan (Hanna) in it. The acting wasn't the problem in this movie, which was called The Host.

Yes, I failed to realize before watching that it was based on a novel by Stephanie Meyer, of Twilight fame. No wonder the rip-off Goa'uld clones, instead of being icky snakes, are "white and delightsome" sparkly things.

#155 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2014, 04:05 AM:

OT From time to time ove the last 6-8 months I've felt an urge to come over here and rant about some of the political craziness going on Turkey at the moment. But the longer it goes on, the harder it becomes to know where to start. (And then there's the whole business of criticizing politicians whose appeal is based on their use of religious rhetoric without being taken to be criticizing the religion they base themselves on.)

But then there was
this. Which
I'm just going to leave here, with the comment that no, this isn't from the Turkish equivalent of the Onion.

#156 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2014, 04:57 AM:

praisegod, some guy who thinks algebra is an invention of the devil is one thing, but that's definitely further out even than that. This was an OMGWTF moment to savour.

I suppose - but only suppose - that the government thinks that some part of the opposition is spam-bombing them, but surely they don't think...

Do they?

#157 ::: praisegod barebones spots SPAM ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2014, 05:30 AM:

Dave Luckett @156:

I'm not quite sure that I can disentangle all of the thought processes (if that is what they are) that have been going on here. One relevant piece of background is that the Prime Minister regularly postulates and blames various kinds of 'lobbies' when things aren't going well - thus, it's the 'interest rate lobby' that are to blame for falls in the value of the lira, the 'porn lobby' that are complaining about new regulations making it easier to block access to websites critical of the government and so on. (If this sounds to you like a familiar kind of border-line anti-Semitic conspiracy theorizing, you wouldn't be far wrong.)

Another thing to know is that when the President signed the Internet bill into law, he was met by a mass 'unfollow' on Twitter, only to see his follower count bounce back very shortly afterwards. Various people suggested that the governing party created a bunch of fake accounts to re-inflate the follower count.

Finally, there's the fact that 'projection' seems to figure fairly prominently in the mindset of the governing party. So if they're using bots for political purposes, obviously their opponents must be doing so too. Even if they can't give a coherent story about how or why they might be doing so. (Or perhaps especially so.)

#158 ::: praisegod barebones spots NO SPAM and apologizes to the moderators ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2014, 05:52 AM:

Argh - done it again.

#159 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2014, 12:26 PM:

So, Geek Squad verdict was the computer is pretty well dead... It wasn't the power-supply fan as I'd thought, but two other fans (graphics card and CHIP), but either would need parts and time. I asked the guy to pull the hard disk and consign the hulk to recycling. Back to online shopping...

Having located the Ubuntu certification list, PC-connection looks way more attractive.

#160 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2014, 12:38 PM:

Praisegod Barebones #155: Do these robots threaten the yoghurt supply?

#161 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2014, 12:42 PM:

David Harmon @ #147: Quite possibly it's the fan on the CPU's heat sink that's kaput. Take a look to see if it's spinning when the computer is on. Replacing that would be the cheapest option of all. It would involve getting a compatible heat sink and fan (HSF), and if the CPU is old enough that could be a problem. Also, you'd have to clean off the old CPU before installing the new HSF. Perfectly doable, though. Did it myself recently.

On the other hand, if the computer is old enough, a new one might be a better bet. As for Geek Squad, my take is that they're overpriced and underqualified.

#162 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2014, 12:44 PM:

(Just to be clear, the CPU fan should be spinning. If it isn't, the CPU will overheat and shut the computer down.)

#163 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2014, 12:44 PM:

I am reading some short papers written by students. One informs me that "Capitalism is a political theory derived from Karl Marx, advocating class war and leading to a society in which all property is publicly owned and each person works and is paid according to their abilities and needs." I think I need a drink.

#164 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2014, 01:17 PM:

Then, from another short paper, comes another reversal of the facts:
"Leon Trotsky is a believer in Stalinism, which is an immense bureaucratic reaction against the proletarian dictatorship in a backward and isolated country." Holy Harry Turtledove!

#165 ::: Mea ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2014, 01:55 PM:

I clicked this open thread with trepidation. Knowing this community, I knew that the conversation would be civil, but the first thing I NEEDED to see was JaniceG's comment. Because while history is complicated in general, I was inculcated with one strong message about genocide: remember the murdered ones who can't speak for themselves. We have an obligation to tell their story, to not just focus on the survivors deeds - or the protests of the Christian majorities whose culture survived.

So the bottom line that despite good intentions the Netherlands Jews did not get rescued in the numbers of the Danes - or the Albanian Jews - matters. It is a vital and central part of the story.

I was born long after WW2, but I've had too many conversations and been in situations where personal family histories were re-written to absolve everyone of responsibility for genocide. grandpa was somehow completely ignorant and simultaneously feeding Jews by throwing food over fences. Too many people my age who DONT say "grandpa couldn't act because it was dangerous" but instead have some bullshit story about how they were heroic despite inaction. I'm still pissed about my fellow students in grad school fawning over the grandson of a high nazi official because in the waning days of WW2, when they knew they were losing, his grandpa tried to kill hitler. Good that they finally tried, and I knew all about that attempt, but that doesn't excuse the decade before when those "good Germans" were OK with Jews being killed and I'm not going to leave out the genocide for the sake of dinner party conversation (yea, I skipped that dinner). Which is to say, that this stuff is complicated and casts a long shadow, and anyone who knows history knows the immense, tremendous courage it took to protest against the Nazis, so I'm glad Abi is reminding us of the Dutch protest.

But that the fact that in he end, the vast bulk of Dutch Jews were murdered is a vital part of any story of courage and resistance to genocide. It is. Because their grandchildren are not around to tell their version of events.

I see that further down thread that discourse has returned to an even keel, but the immediate reaction to JaniceG's comment made me feel unwelcome and unsafe. I kept reading because I know this community, and that it is full of people who are striving for civil discourse. But I feel the need to say thank you to JaniceG, and then step away until I feel safe again.

#166 ::: Beowulf ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2014, 02:12 PM:

@6 Kathryn As second the Artemis Fowl suggestion and will expend it to include most of Eoin Colfer's other work, particularly The Supernaturalist. Ditto, for expanding the Keys to the Kingdom suggestion to Garth Nix in general, in fact I preferred The Seventh Tower. I also second the suggestion of Kenneth Oppel. Going more towards the fantasy side I suggest the increasingly inaccurately named Bartimeus trilogy, anything by Diana Wynne Jones, anything intended for children/young adults by Neil Gaimen. I also really liked Abarat, but want to warn you that it is on the macabre side to begin with and that all of the author's other works are very 18+.

#167 ::: Mongoose ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2014, 02:15 PM:

Many thanks for all the compliments about the poem. Its subject, I must say, received it with sublime indifference; she was far more enthusiastic when I presented her with a bowl of "squishy food", her weekly treat.

praisegod @ 155: *blink* *blink* Great Scott!

I am delighted to say that this morning I've been able to treat myself to a copy of "21st Century Science Fiction" for the e-reader (which involved patiently negotiating the rather patchy free wi-fi at a local coffee shop, for a number of reasons), and I am enjoying it immensely so far.

#168 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2014, 03:34 PM:

Theophylact #161-162: you misunderstand, I already took the computer to Best Buy (the Geek Squad is a service of that chain), the guy put it up on the desk, started it up, examined the works and the BIOS, then showed me the broken fans, both frozen. Upon which I asked him to remove the hard drive and took that home with me, leaving the rest for reclamation. The bus was PCI rather than PCI-e, so none of the cards would be useful for a new computer.

I will also note that they were very professional and helpful, and it was clear that they're not just a bunch of loose nerds stuffed in the back -- they have a system set up to rapidly triage problems and deal with quick stuff on the spot. At one point, my tech saw something on the power supply he didn't recognize, so he took a pic of it with his tablet, and went to ask someone who would know. The whole process fit within our 15-minute slot for evaluation.

I'd not only recommend them, I'd consider applying to work there.

#169 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2014, 03:51 PM:

Fragano @ 163... Capitalism is a political theory derived from Karl Marx

At least your student didn't blame Groucho for it.

#170 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2014, 04:16 PM:

Craft-y observation: Sewing teddy bear crotches always feels vaguely perverted.

Or maybe that's just me.

#171 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2014, 06:25 PM:

Mary Aileen... It's you. :-)

#172 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2014, 06:28 PM:

I hear that Eddie Izzard will be the Hugo presenter at LonCon 3.
Now I wish I could afford to go to London.
(Besides its meaning I'd meet abi more often than every three years.)

#173 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2014, 06:29 PM:

Boiled up some maple syrup to make pulled taffy out of, got it properly to hard-ball stage ... and when I turned off the fire it foamed up and solidified as a mass of, well, what it most closely resembles is brown sugar.

Very strange. I'll try it again with some corn syrup in the mix to calm crystallization and see if that helps. It's been a long, long time since the communal family taffy-makings of my youth, but I've never seen a pot of hot mix FOAM into sugar-cake before!

#174 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2014, 06:58 PM:

Elliott Mason (173): Sounds like you successfully made maple sugar.

#175 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2014, 07:00 PM:

Serge (171): This is me sticking my tongue out at you. :P

#176 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2014, 08:09 PM:

Fragano, #163/164: Sadly, any education you attempt to impart stands little chance of counteracting that which they "learn" from Faux News. But even for the Fox bubble, that's impressive (FSVO).

Serge, #172: Is that a joke, or has there already been a resolution on that issue?

#177 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2014, 08:39 PM:

Elliott 173: My CIA candy book recommends butter (just a little) as an anti-foaming agent in a couple of recipes, including, if I recall correctly, for maple confections. I can dig it out if you're interested.

#178 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2014, 08:43 PM:

In fact a tiny speck of butter is commonly used in maple sugaring in order to control foaming.

#179 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2014, 08:46 PM:

I wonder if that's the same principle that defeats the foaming of egg whites in the presence of even a little fat?

#180 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2014, 08:56 PM:

Lee @ 176... Not a joke, nor a rumor, as far as I know.

#181 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2014, 09:11 PM:

For those who haven't been following it, there was a UK comedian who was scheduled in to be the Hugo presenter (Jonathan Ross), who has now dropped out from doing it because of controversy on the Twitter stream.

#182 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2014, 09:13 PM:

There's a pretty good summary here.

#183 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2014, 09:15 PM:

Serge, #180: I was just wondering where you'd heard about it, because if so, that's gotta be the fastest replacement in history!

#184 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2014, 11:34 PM:

Mary Aileen @174 et seq multi alia: There was butter in it already. Darndest thing.

I remelted it (after eating dinner) with some corn syrup in a different pot and everything went fine. I'll try sugaring in that pot again sometime and see if it's cursed (or, y'know, micro-scratched on the bottom, which is highly possible), but meanwhile: toffees!

I had some serious sudden recurrence of long-dormant childhood memories while going through the process of pulling them. Taffy pulls were a several-times-a-year tradition among my east-coast cousins (I only got to participate once, at about the age of 5) -- in stockpot batches with 15+ people pulling, and the results went home with everyone in tins to fill their candybowls till the next one.

I remember orange was popular among the adults-but-not-grandparents demographic. The kids mostly liked cinnamon and mint. I imprinted on the maple-syrup-and-brown-sugar ones, and there was some other flavor that I'm not remembering now that was only favored, in my family, among the over-60 set, with everyone younger shuddering to try it. I don't remember what color (in a ribbon twisted with paler uncolored candy of the same flavor) it was traditionally tagged with, either. Cinnamon was red, mint a weird bluish green that was Traditional And Not To Be Argued With, orange was orange of course, and the maple ones are their natural brownish color throughout (they start out chocolate-looking and after proper pulling end up, well, caramel-colored or so).

I had forgotten but instantly remembered when I saw it how, as it starts coming together and getting close to done, the sheen of the candy gets almost metallic and the visible stranding makes it look like magic hair. The red ones (pink after pulling) in particular were declared by all young females present at that childhood pull of mine to be 'unicorn manes'. I was also pleased to remember/happen across several Very Effective Techniques for getting a lot of air into it quickly.

#185 ::: iamnothing ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2014, 12:20 AM:

Presumably, the Loncon3 website will be updated at some point.

#186 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2014, 12:44 AM:

It's snowing here in Arizona's high country. Big fat quarter sized slushy flakes that go splat when they hit the windows. It's not sticking yet, but the temps are right around freezing. We've already had 2" of rain and after looking at the radar, it appears that there's a lot of storm left.

This makes me very happy.

#187 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2014, 01:21 AM:

I wish you joy of it, Cygnet, and I hope you don't have to shovel.

#188 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2014, 01:26 AM:

May those caught in storms who don't want to see more of the white stuff weather the weather safely.

#189 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2014, 01:33 AM:

I loved season 1 of the Netflix series House of Cards. Season 2 is now available, and the opening episode didn't really grab me. I've been warming to it, and now episode 4 has grabbed me by the throat, just like season 1 did. I don't think it's coincidence that was scenes with Claire Underwood (Robin Wright) that did it. This show gives women some hellacious good roles.
The following is rot13 for spoiler, and violent topic: Jung tbg zr jnfa'g Senax ybpxrq va gur Pncvgby, ohg Pynver qbvat ure yvir vagreivrj, pbcvat jvgu orvat onpxrq vagb n pbeare -- tbvat ovt naq jvaavat. Lrf, fur jnf ylvat nobhg jura fur unq gung nobegvba, ohg V ybirq ure gnxvat qbja gur encvfg, rfcrpvnyyl nsgre gur fprar va gur rneyvre rcvfbqr jurer fur jnf gnyxvat nobhg gur encr naq ure cbjreyrffarff. Fur'f n greevoyr crefba va znal jnlf, ohg ure oenvaf naq areir ner zneirybhf.

#190 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2014, 03:37 AM:

Cygnet, #186: When we had to drive thru snow in the Dallas area a few weeks ago, the flakes were tiny -- so tiny, in fact, that you could actually see the hexagonal crystallization patterns, which tend to get lost once they've clumped into the big fluffy flakes. I got a couple of pictures (at the link and the one following) where you can see some of them on the car's windshield.

Open threadiness: Tanya Huff's new book The Silvered is really, really good. I made the mistake of picking it up before bedtime, and the next thing I knew I'd blasted all the way thru it and it was 7 AM. Two strong female viewpoint characters and two male ones, a bunch of other solidly-written characters, a very interesting take on werewolves, very slightly steampunk, and several non-traditional relationships. Also one scary-as-shit bad guy, of the "my madness is oh so reasonable and nobody has the power to tell me no" variety. And lots of nice chewy ethical issues, also solidly written.

#191 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2014, 04:32 AM:

Lee @ 183... I first heard of the original guy's stepping down thru the facebook page of writer Steve Miller, then about Izzard soon after that. Yes, that was quite quick.

#192 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2014, 05:24 AM:

Serge @191, this Steve Miller? I’m not seeing anything recent about Worldcon/Loncon/Ross/Izzard there.

#193 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2014, 08:45 AM:

Avram @ 194... I read about the other guy stepping down in a comment made to Steve. (Yes, that Steve.) As for Izzard, I read that elsewhere on FB. Maybe the last was posted as news when it really is a rumor. In which case I apologize.

#194 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2014, 08:50 AM:

Elliot Mason #184: Could the "old folks" flavor have been horehound? Similar options would be anise or licorice.

Making progress on the computer shopping, despite various interruptions....

#195 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2014, 09:58 AM:

Lee @ 183: To act as Devil's Advocate...

Farah Mendelsohn wrote: “It is my firm belief that a person who has publicly
harassed, humiliated and expressed prejudice to a wide range of groups in
public and live media spaces, including award shows, is not a fit person to
take the role of host of the Hugo Awards.”

Who exactly are that "wide range of groups", I wonder? Ross has a Jewish wife
and a lesbian daughter. Here's how lesbian website AfterEllen reported his
view of the latter on 19 Jan 2011:

'UK TV host Jonathan Ross was on the Gaydar radio show this week and said
his 19-year-old daughter, Betty, is a lesbian. He was asked by a caller
what he would do if his daughter brought home a woman, and he replied:

"Well, my eldest daughter is gay so that’s a question I’ve dealt with on
a regular basis already. And providing it’s a nice woman, I’m thrilled. I
think that’s pretty much out there, she talks about [her sexuality] on her
Twitter feed. As any dad really, I love my kids regardless of who they are,
what they do. Certainly, their sexuality is a), none of my business and b),
certainly none of my concern. I just want them to be good, happy, stable
people and so far, all three of them seem to be that."

Sounds like Betty lucked out in the supportive dad department!'

From her tweets Seanan Maguire seems to think that she's in danger of
being mocked for her weight if Ross MCs because, after all, don't SF
cons attract people who are very often less than thin? Yes, but so do
comics cons and Ross has managed to MC at those without mocking the
bodies of the attendees. Also, Ross's own taste in women runs towards the
Junoesque anyway, as witness his flirting with Nigella Lawson when she's
appeared on his show and as witness his wife, Jane Goldman.

Ross is a friend of Neil Gaiman's and someone Paul Cornell has described
as being a "television host, comedian, comics creator, amateur astronomer
and all round good egg". Neither of these men are people known for
their tolerance of misogyny, so far as I'm aware.

The main thing that could be held against him is his and Russell Brand's
stupid phone stunt with Andrew Sachs, which should never have happened
and for which he was fired and subsequently apologised, and which
right-wing rag the Daily Mail has been using against him ever since.

Charlie Stross's worry that having Ross present the Hugos would attract
unwelcome tabloid attention seems to me a little overblown. Yes, it
*could* but then again Ross has presented awards shows so many times
over the years that him doing so is a common enough occurrence I can't
really see what's so special about us as to invite that interest.

I'm sure some will be put off by the way he responded to the Twitter
attacks on him by counter-attacking rather than with humility, but
that's his style. I don't know that I wouldn't respond the same way
if I was similarly attacked. Or on Twitter.

Still, regardless of how you feel about the invitation to Ross,
it's remarkable that someone whose US equivalents would be people
like Leno or Letterman and who could probably command a six figure
fee for an MCing gig like this offered his services for free. Look
up his work in comics or the various documentaries featuring his
geeky obsessions and you'll understand why he did.

What a shame it didn't work out. I wonder who will be MCing?

#196 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2014, 10:37 AM:

Neither Leno nor Letterman have made nearly as much of a business out of making jokes about fat, disabled, or female people in derisive ways.

I've heard his replacement is Eddie Izzard, which if true would be AMAZING.

#197 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2014, 10:55 AM:

Elliot@196: He can't have anything against disabled people - except maybe Heather Mills - if he would do this:

#198 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2014, 11:02 AM:

I didn't say he had anything against them, I said he makes his living on comedy that is derisive of them.

#199 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2014, 11:21 AM:

Elliott Mason, thank you for pointing out the difference between those two things.

#200 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2014, 11:24 AM:

Elliott Mason @198: And yet as recently as last years disabled comedian and disabled rights activist Francesca Martinez appeared on his show. I can't imagine she would have done so if she found his humour offensive.

#201 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2014, 11:35 AM:

Rob Hansen @197

'Only makes fun of some disabled people' doesn't sound like a very high recommendation to me.

'Someone whose presence on the podium makes several of last year's Hugo winners and nominees - and possibly some of the people who he'll be presenting awards to - uncomfortable' sounds like quite a strong disrecommendation. (Iirc, Farah Mendelsohn was a nominee for Best Related Work last year; and again iirc Seanan McGuire won more Hugo's in a single year than anyone else has done before.)

Many of the people who seem uncomfortable with Ross seem to be women. Under the circumstances, it's worth thinking about who, if anybody, is likely to be able to engage in the work of devil's advocacy in a productive manner.

(It's also worth mentioning that defending Ross in this context in the way that you're doing is almost exactly the reverse of the job that devil's advocates have traditionally been tasked with.)

#202 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2014, 12:29 PM:

Rob, #200: That, and much of your comment @195, sounds uncomfortably like the "Well, my black friend says it's okay, so it can't be racist!" bingo square.

I know absolutely nothing about this dude; I live in America and don't watch much TV. But I've heard a number of people I know (better than I know you) and whose opinions I value express concern over this, in the specific context of "fandom is already having a lot of issues over sexism, and this guy is well known for sexist, ableist, and other forms of derisive humor." (Or perhaps I should say "humor", because I don't find punching-down crap to be funny.) I think that's a legitimate cause for annoyance.

Another thing worth noting is that the phrase "political correctness" is being deployed on his behalf (not by you, but elseNet), which at this point is very strongly indicative that yes, there really is an issue there.

That said, I hope Serge is right and they really have landed Eddie Izzard as a presenter, because (1) AWESOME and (2) that's one of the few outcomes which might actually smooth this over.

#203 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2014, 01:00 PM:

Mr. Ross was invited to MC in part based on his professional career, because famous. Without regard to his personal life, his professional career is based on derisive, x-shaming humor. Mr. Ross may be hilarious under other circumstances, but right now in SF fandom, x-shaming is a very hot button item. Working on getting people to recognize that certain behaviors "are not welcome here" and then inviting someone who makes a living exhibiting those behaviors is sending a mixed message at the very least.

#204 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2014, 01:12 PM:

While I was writing and previewing my 201 to Rob Hansen, a number of other people posted, making excellent points.

I suspect there may be others with comments still in preview. I'll bet many of those comments make excellent points too. I'm not quite so sure that it would be excellent, from anyone's point of view, (including our moderators, many of whom I'm guessing will be feeling fairly frazzled today), for the whole of Making Light to fall on Rob Hansen's head. So, can I suggest people take a breath between preview and post (as I wish I had.)

In the meantime - does anyone know of a site where someone knowledgeable in Catholic doctrine and the mechanics of beatification, could give a careful explanation, tailored to SF fans, seventeenth century Calvinists, and others of that ilk, of exactly what a devil's advocate is supposed to do, and what the value of his (I assume that's the right pronoun here) role is traditionally supposed to be.

#205 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2014, 01:21 PM:

Mr Ross has often been careless in the collateral damage of his jokes. He is the wrong man at the wrong time*. Which is a shame as I suspect he would have done a professional job of it and not caused any problems (he's got a weekly TV show and the tabloid press fail to find anything to get outraged about more twice a year).

* Ten years ago he seemed less reliant on the shock tactics that spill over from his targets. I also think that he was funnier, but never mind that.

#206 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2014, 01:36 PM:

I think Neil W is right about "wrong man at the wrong time" here. Which is not to say British fandom should give him the cold shoulder; but it might have been a good idea to give him an opportunity to demonstrate that he can play nice at an SF convention before parachuting him into the MC slot at the most prestigious and public awards ceremony in the field.

If nothing else, giving him a chance to enculturate would have been sensible.

#207 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2014, 01:46 PM:

Rob: You make some good points. What's concerning me is the fact that the committee didn't seem to recognize that there might be a problem here, and wasn't prepared to deal with it. There are a lot of problems that a committee gets faced with -- on this one, there are probably ways that they could have prepared the ground better for this announcement. As more information comes out, I'm finding the choice of why they might think he was a good presenter more understandable -- but this wasn't at all clear in the first 15 minutes of my looking at it.

I'm curious whether you've talked with Avedon about this, and whether she'd care to share her thoughts here as well. If not, fine; my curiosity does not always need to be assuaged.

#208 ::: Mongoose ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2014, 02:57 PM:

Devil's advocate, n. Traditionally, the person assigned to look for reasons why a person should not be beatified or canonised; in other words, as PB rightly points out, not a defender of the wicked but a prosecutor of the good.

#209 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2014, 03:01 PM:

Tom: Yes, the committee should have realised Ross might prove a contentious choice and sounded out wider opinion before committing to him. As it is they've shot themselves in the foot. Also, I have discussed this with Avedon. If she feels like sharing her thoughts on the matter I imagine she'll chime in, either here or in some other venue.

#210 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2014, 03:46 PM:

The role of the devil's advocate, as Mongoose said, is someone who deliberately and formally takes collects information opposing someone's canonization. My understanding of the reasoning is that people may be unwilling to stand up in opposition of a popular saint-candidate, and that making it someone's job makes a balanced examination more likely, and means that the person raising the negative side is not personally blamed for having unpopular opinions.

Which is why, in a meeting, someone might say, "Let me play the role of devil's advocate here," meaning, I'm not necessarily opposed to this thing we're discussing here, but there are some negatives I think we should consider.

The Encycopedia Britannica says the role was abolished within the Catholic church when Pope John Paul II revised the canonization procedure in 1979.

#211 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2014, 05:26 PM:

praisegod barebones, Mongoose, OtterB:

The formal name is (was) Promoter of the Faith (Promotor Fidei), "devil's advocate" being a nickname that suggests the sort of concerns OtterB mentions.

Part of the reason the role is important is that canonisation is just an official certification process. It doesn't do anything for the subject of the honour, who is already either a saint or not, and it's not necessary for private veneration and prayer. The harm in failing to canonise a saint is fairly minor, and you want to be conservative about it.

The process used to be local and less formal; it got centralised and formalised during the late mediaeval period, due to accusations about sloppiness. Finally, in 1634, Urban VII declared that only the Pope could beatify and canonise. Urban VII also made the presence of the Promotor Fidei necessary for any action in the canonisation process.

The whole process is supposedly backstopped by infallibility, so God would stop the Pope making an incorrect declaration, but under the 'I sent you two boats and a helicopter' principle that doesn't excuse failure to take precautions.

#212 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2014, 09:39 PM:

After reading what's been said here, I still don't think he'd be an appropriate presenter, and I still think the Chairs should have realized that he wouldn't be. But now, thanks to Rob's comments, I can understand what they were thinking, and why thought it might be a good idea to select him. Before this my thought was more or less "WTF?"

I agree with those who have said that whether he personally hates gay people and women and has contempt for disabled and heavy people doesn't really matter at all. If he's professionally obnoxious about those groups...well, this is a professional gig (even if pro bono) and his past behavior is relevant to his qualifications.

If they can get Eddie Izzard I'll be amazed...and delighted. And that's not even considering the fact that Our Hosts once had a fanzine about him (Vmmneq jnfa'g ernyyl nobhg uvz; V'z znxvat n wbxr).

#213 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2014, 09:49 PM:

(I'm so glad I wrote my Javascript Rot13er so that it skips over HTML tags, he said smugly. Not too much to be proud of today, but I'm proud of that.)

#214 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2014, 10:22 PM:

If Izzard emcees, will it be a show for Mr. Kite on a trampoline?

#215 ::: iamnothing ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2014, 11:05 PM:

I see that Beijing has filed for 2016.

#216 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2014, 02:13 AM:

Storm total was about 3" of water from the sky, around 6-8" of which came down as wet slushy snow. The snow was almost completely melted by afternoon. It was pretty while it lasted, though -- I woke up to snow-covered trees and dense fog and the sound of running water as things melted.

I know some of you are sick of winter (and I wish we could redirect the storms here!) but we've been referring to this as the "winter that wasn't." It's been 70 degrees and dry as a bone most days -- very atypical, and not really something we like to see due to spring fire danger. Other than a few flurries here and there, and some ambitious sleet back in October, we haven't had any significant precipitation.

This storm was really perfectly timed to push the fire season back a few weeks, and keep the bark beetle damage to a minimum, so we're thrilled.

We need 1-2 more storms like this. :-)

Arizona's high country is fairly well equipped to handle bad weather, something that surprises people who don't live here. Fire, not so much. We're at the end of a dead end dirt road and could easily be trapped by a fire -- my escape plan, if I can't get out by road, is to head for the neighbor's grazed-to-dirt pasture and pray.

(Payson itself is just a death trap in a wildfire. Downtown isn't too bad, but when you get back into the older neighborhoods, they're a maze of too-narrow roads, choked with brush and trees, and most of the homes are wooden or mobile homes.)

#217 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2014, 03:16 AM:

Tim's Vermeer

I'll be looking for a showing near me.

#218 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2014, 09:22 AM:

Serge Broom@214: I can think of worse themes than "Across the Universe" for a Worldcon event.

(Of course, now I'm earwormed with "Mr. Kite", for no ones obvious benefit. But hopefully that will chase out the supermarket ad Abi parheliated.)

#219 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2014, 09:53 AM:

Illustrator and filker Debbie Ohi is soliciting people (artists and non-) to doodle on the prompt "morning" and upload it somewhere with the hashtag #inkydare (Twitter, for example). Community doodle-fest! I have participated. I'm really self-conscious about my drawing, because it doesn't look like the version I'd like to be drawing if I'd already put in twenty years of practice. Debbie's prompt has helped me dare to suck ... because if it's "only a doodle" the voices in the back of my head can shut up, it's supposed to be sketchy and simplified and rough around the edges. :->

#220 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2014, 09:54 AM:

myself@218: Sorry, that sounds ungrateful to Abi. The ad was great (and I lost it at the same point); I'm just ready now to stop hearing "Herr Liechtenstein" saying "supergeil".

Damn, he's back.

#221 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2014, 10:14 AM:

While I don't have a dog in the presenter hooraw, I only just caught up (I think) with the full SFWA petition-fail from last year. It has occurred to me that I basically manage the SF/F section at my bookstore, and we're always short on shelf space. There are certainly authors I could happily consign to the storeroom (or at least limit their shelfbusting tendencies)... but like many before me, I'm thoroughly WTFed by the list of signatories, which includes both authors I grew up with and others I happily discovered in adulthood. :-(

Yes, the arc of history bends toward justice... But slowly.

#222 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2014, 10:25 AM:

For those who might have missed it: the South Carolina House of Representatives is behaving about like you'd expect, cutting the entire amount of state funding for the college's summer reading program because they assigned Alison Bechdel's "Fun Home".

The President of the College of Charleston responds in admirable fashion: "Any legislative attempt to tie institutional funding to what books are taught, or who teaches them, threatens the credibility and reputation of all South Carolina public universities."

I expect Alison Bechdel's sales figures are about to see a little spike. I hope the College of Charleston's fundraising page (see linked article) does too.

#223 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2014, 11:46 AM:

So, finally picked my computer, a Lenovo M78 ThinkCentre. Ubuntu certified, in stock. Still nervous, but that's life.

Using the PC-connection site on the iPad is a serious PITA... The touchscreen does not handle drop-down lists at all well.

#224 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2014, 12:01 PM:

dotless i @ 218... I can think of worse themes than "Across the Universe" for a Worldcon event

Come to think of it, it would be an excellent theme.
Just don't hire Taymor for the Ceremony though.

#225 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2014, 12:06 PM:

Serge Broom@224: Just don't hire Taymor for the Ceremony though.

I don't think The Puppet Masters is eligible this year.

#226 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2014, 12:24 PM:

Predictably, the Hugo Awards debacle has now reached the national press:

#227 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2014, 01:04 PM:

One of the reasons I find myself so amazed by Loncon3's débâcle can be summed up by googling "BSFA ceremony Eastercon 2012". That was almost two years ago, so if you weren't caught up in that fuss, it's somewhere between the Battle of Marathon and the Mau-Mau in the fannish history of the universe. But I can't see why anyone in UK fandom with con-running background would have forgotten. Having people walk out of an awards ceremony because they're ticked at the toastmaster's bad attempts at humor, with the BSFA having to issue an apology later is not an event you'd want to emulate.

As far as people not wanting to be targets of cheap humor, let us say your social circle has someone in it who's fond of practical jokes. Is that a chocolate truffle, or a turd fresh from the catbox, artistically rolled in chopped nuts? Given his history, the latter is all too likely. If you refuse, you're called out for being rude; why are you always so suspicious? Those who don't know how often he's pulled this trick, or who rest confident he wouldn't try it on them, will tell you you're making too much of things. True, there was the incident of the sandwich cookies that weren't filled with Nutella after all (that one was so hilarious he repeated it with tea sandwiches) but he's a nice guy and he really wants to be friends. Why are you so mean? Don't be such a poor sport!

People who been pressured to eat a lot of shit sandwiches are entitled to resent bring pushed into it again for the sake of good manners. Instead of asking why they aren't happy about it & marveling about how ticked off they dare to be in public, maybe we should ask why it's OK to feed them shit sandwiches for a laugh, or why we feel we're in the right to tell them to pipe down about it and get ready to chew.

As was pointed out during the Readercon fuss, for a writer attending a con is work, and if sexual harassment & other sorts of abuse are aimed at them, these things are happening to them in what amounts to their workplace. Being expected to attend a public event such as the Hugo ceremony, and smile and make nice while being targeted, is not something we should ask of them.

Mr. Ross may well be reformed from his career of serving shit sandwiches and catbox truffles, but it's a hard label to shed.

Also, letme just note that saying someone has appeared on his show, so they can't be too upset by him, or that someone sat and took it a smile, so clearly they weren't offended is folly. People who are striving to get good publicity for something they care about will put up with a lot if their goals matter that much to them; they haven't much choice. There is also so much pressure on women and minorities to be nice and not make a fuss that kicking back will be punished worse than the insult they respond to ever will be.

#228 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2014, 01:07 PM:

I've found Ross comments that were racist and transphobic (albeit apologized-for in that case), and certainly sexist. Not that that isn't enough, but I haven't found specifically fat-shaming comments. Looking because of his daughter's impassioned defense of him on that topic.

I have no doubt he's supportive of his daughter, since she says he is. But if he disses other hefty women or makes fat jokes, it becomes a case of "but rude to the waiter." Anyone know of any or have better Google-fu?

#229 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2014, 01:19 PM:

Heather Rose Jones @150: AKICIML: Can anyone describe for me the sound a coal fire makes when it's burning?

Wow. I should, but I can't. Which leads me to suspect: not much. You wouldn't get the standard popping and crackling that you get with wood: no sap.

Maybe the occassional soft "Pfft!" as a block breaks in half, or drops through the grate.

See: my dad, after he built the sandstone fireplace in our living room, took to burning coal. Ghu knows why. Maybe because it burned longer and hotter. But that was also after he installed the glass fire doors, so less of the sound would have been audible from the room.

We went through an iron fire grate a year. Coal fire is more than hot enough to remove all temper from repeatedly-heated iron, it seems.

I can tell when we're having an upslope weather system, though, because I can instantly recognize the smell of coal smoke. (Boulder's coal-fired power plant is east of town. Before that, it was the smell of chicken farm that would announce incoming weather.)

#230 ::: fidelio wonders: spam, or new neighbo ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2014, 01:45 PM:

Heather Rose Jones @150:
Based on my limited recollections, plus video at Youtube (look for sound effects burning coal) Jacque is right; coal fires aren't as noisy as a wood fire would be. None of the snap and crackle and pop from sap, moisture, or resin.

#231 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2014, 01:46 PM:

I declare I see no spam!

My apologies for not updating the name.

#232 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2014, 02:27 PM:

My experience with coal fires is limited and not recent, but my recollection agrees with Jacque's. They're quieter than wood fires. There can be the occasional hiss if the coal is damp, and little shifting sounds as things settle. The smell is noticeable, and to my nose less pleasant than wood.

HLN: Local woman now has three cats. Little white tom Nevada showed up at the store on a snowy night. He is now at the vet's on a snowy day for neutering. Senior cats are of the opinion that two cats were enough.

#233 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2014, 02:54 PM:

To: multiple people, re: sound of a coal fire

Thanks all -- after posting it did occur to me to track down you-tube evidence and your descriptions concur with that. The quietness is a useful feature (the description occurs in a "so quiet you could hear a pin drop" moment in the alchemy lab).

#234 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2014, 03:12 PM:

Heather Rose Jones @150: I forgot to answer, but: what the other folks say. Coal fires may make a very quiet hissing; this is caused by the volatile hydrocarbons boiling out of the rocky matrix and combusting at the surface of the coals. But they don't crackle because there are no water-filled voids or air spaces in the material that's burning.

(Source: my sister has a coal fire in her living room, and I grew up with the things. They're much nicer as a middle class luxury that you play with occasionally, with central heating for actual warmth, than as a primary heat source ...)

#235 ::: Mongoose ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2014, 03:52 PM:

On the bright side: my shiny new business has its first customer.

On the less-bright side: I think I am dealing with an idiot savant. Clearly they're bright enough to write an article for an academic journal, since that is what they have asked me to proofread. But they are apparently not bright enough to understand when I tell them I need it in one of a choice of three widely-available formats. They keep sending me the same file again in .pages format, which is for Mac. I'm running LibreOffice on Linux, and it won't open it.

After this happened three times and I steamed about it on the Book of Face for a while, my sister, who's got a Mac, rang up and suggested I send her the file to convert. I have done this. Yay for my sister, for she has common sense, and has rescued me from this head-desking situation before my diplomacy runs out!

#236 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2014, 04:16 PM:

fidelio@227: As was pointed out during the Readercon fuss, for a writer attending a con is
work, and if sexual harassment & other sorts of abuse are aimed at them, these things are
happening to them in what amounts to their workplace. Being expected to attend a public event
such as the Hugo ceremony, and smile and make nice while being targeted, is not something we
should ask of them on his part in that role..

Indeed we shouldn't, but when it comes to MCing a geek convention - as opposed to doing a
talk show, a different beast - we don't need to speculate on what Ross would be like since
he has MCed at the San Diego Comic-Con. Look up the videos on YouTube and see if you can
find examples of such behaviour.

Also, let me just note that saying someone has appeared on his show, so they can't be
too upset by him, or that someone sat and took it a smile, so clearly they weren't offended
is folly. People who are striving to get good publicity for something they care about will
put up with a lot if their goals matter that much to them; they haven't much choice.

This is true, but in the specific case I cited that did not appear to me to be
what was happening, though it might look different to someone else of course. Here's the
video of that interview (six mins long approx):

Francesca Martinez

#237 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2014, 04:20 PM:

Mongoose #235: writing ability, or even general intelligence, does not imply ability to understand computer operations. See the skills discussion on the DFT. I suggest you start laying in walkthroughs for the common word-processing systems, on how to save files in a suitable format. I have had the same problem with my Mom -- like you, I'm on Linux, but she's on Windows. I will note that current Windows programs do not make it easy to figure out how to do *anything* in a non-usual fashion, and I suspect Macs might be worse.

#238 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2014, 04:29 PM:

Xopher: Having heard Ross express his appreciation for large women on his talk show I'm puzzled by this stuff about him "fat-shaming women", though I concede I may have missed this. Seems a bit odd though, given that this is his wife:

Jane Goldman

#239 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2014, 04:33 PM:

Mongoose: FWIW, Apple now has a web version of pages on, and it includes a way to download the document in Word format. I think it's free to use, though I'm not really sure if I'm in some beta program or now. (At least, I'm not paying for it explicitly, it might be bundled in one hw purchase or another)

It does seem to work on Chrome/Linux (though it says that it's unsupported, where the same version of chrome on the mac is supported. ) The exported file seems to open well enough in libreoffice.

#240 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2014, 04:37 PM:

Charlie Stross @234: Although, if one's fireplace is designed correctly (and ours was, by damn, i.e., draws air for the combustion from the ouside, and circulates room air on a separate cycle for distributing heat), it is a lovely source of radiant warmth. If you get too enthusiastic, it's easy for it to be, um, too toasty.

#241 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2014, 04:41 PM:

Mongoose: you may be able to convert a Pages file into something more readable if you get an Apple ID and use it to log into, which includes online access to the web version of Pages. Caveat: I can't do a like-for-like test of this for you because I bought a Pages license for my Mac some time ago -- I don't know if you'll have access, as a non-Mac/iPad owner. (Once in a Pages document, the Tools -> Send A Copy menu option gives you a choice of file format to send, including Word.)

#242 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2014, 05:09 PM:

Speaking of software and conversions -- If I have a set of several photos that I'd like to collage together into one image (with, say, thin white borders between rectangular sections), and I am far too incompetent to handle anything with as many options as Photoshop, what should I use?

I've got Mac OSX and an Android KitKat tablet at my disposal, if that helps any. It took me forever to figure out how to do animated .gifs (turned out there was a website that would let me upload several frames and output the .gif), before Google Auto Awesome showed up to do it for me.

There ought to be some kind of fairly simple app or thing that would do it, it seems to me? But maybe I'm confused. There's GOT to be some way that's simpler than opening them all up in Preview windows on my screen, arranging them, and taking a screenshot, which is all that occurs to me right now (and is a horribly ugly hack).

#243 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2014, 05:23 PM:

Elliot @ 242 - It looks like there are a few free online collage makers out there. I looked at and it seems pretty straightforward.

#244 ::: Mongoose ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2014, 05:27 PM:

Many thanks to everyone! Tomorrow, or at least some time this week (depending on what else I'm doing), I'm going to put up some information on the website explaining what formats I can handle and what formats I would prefer. I'm running LibreOffice, which is pretty flexible; trust my first customer to send a file in what appears to be the one format it can't handle.

David @ 237: yes, good idea. I've been looking, and there is quite a lot of information out there. I probably need a relevant links section on the site as well.

#245 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2014, 05:29 PM:

Rob Hansen @236

That's all well and good. My point is that people are often compelled by social conventions to avoid displaying any anger, frustration, and resentment they may feel when they are the target of rudenesses. We should therefore be aware of this, and resist the urge to pressure them when they are targeted "Lighten up, it's just a joke," and "Why are you so sensitive? He's just kidding," as well as "Maybe he's a bit edgy for some, but I don't see any real harm," along with lots of similar comments (some of which were deployed this time) are a way of telling people any pain, anger, or distress they may feel are not important enough to worry about.

Mr. Ross is a professional talk-show host; I do not doubt that he is capable of being charming and engaging when the job calls for it. I do not question his geek credentials, or his qualities as a husband, father, and friend. He might, had the LonCon3 crew boxed a bit more cleverly*, done a good job with the Hugos (but after Eastercon 2012 it's going to be a challenge to do the Hugos well, no matter who gets the gig).

But, to return to my original point, it's easy to dismiss the people angry about being served a shit sandwich if you don't think you're ever going to be offered one. Do this long enough and they give up on reasonable responses and move into unreasonable ones. Mr. Ross may well be out of the shit sandwich line, or a least be very careful nowadays about where he offers the tray. But he served up plenty in the past, and that's going to dog him for a good long while, especially among the people fed up with a diet of shit sandwiches.

As for the fat-shaming, it's a standard in the misogynistic joke toolkit. Policing women's looks and clothing are a big part of it. Too thin? Too fat? Too old? Too wrinkled? Too much plastic surgery? Bad hair? Gray hair? For a recent UK take, look into the crap the classicist Mary Beard deals with when she does TV work. See also what Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton deal with here in the US, or Kim Novak after the Oscars. Whether or not Mr. Ross's wife is herself on the zaftig side doesn't enter into it.** He may or may not have used that tool at any recent time***, but it's in the box, and if that's one of the shit sandwiches you're expected to eat and act like you're as entertained as everyone else, you're going to dread the chance it'll be pulled out and brought to bear.

Yes, he might have done a good job, properly briefed, and told "People got pissed off and walked out at Eastercon. We are not prepared to see that happen here." But if the people who brought him on ever thought about the downsides, there doesn't seem to be much sign of it. If they didn't consider this carefully, then it was unfair to Mr. Ross to warn him this was one of the challenges of the job.

*See the suggestions made by Mr. C. Stross, of this parish, especially at his own place.

**Many comedians will tell you it's nothing personal, and for them it really isn't. It's the chance to get a laugh. But even if it's not personal to them, it is to the target--who may well be ready for that shit-sandwich-free diet they've been hearing about.

***Or ever, but he's been a comedian (shock type) for a long time, so who knows.

#246 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2014, 05:33 PM:

Elliott Mason @ 242: I'd do it using MS Image Composer and it would be dead easy... but I don't know if you would find that around anywhere (used to come bundled with FrontPage). I still use it for putting pictures together (it provides a frame; you put stuff in, move the sides of the frame as you want for the size of the image, then when you save as a .bmp or .jpg everything inside the lines is in the saved image).

#247 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2014, 05:44 PM:

Elliott Mason @ 242
In case it extends (I have neither of those systems), that is easy to do in Microsoft Paint.

Put the pictures you want to use in a folder so they will be easy to find; open a Paint file, go to paste--you have an option to "Paste from"; select that option, and you can choose files to paste, and drag and drop them. Once it looks like you want, just save it as a jpeg.

#248 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2014, 06:01 PM:

On the noise of coal fires - it'll depend on what sort of fire and chimney setup you have, but as has been said above, you probably won't have much noise from the coal. What you may well get is some moaning or roaring noises from the air draft. As the hot air goes up the chimney you can get some noises, or indeed of the wind blowing over the chimney pot. I recall my experiences of wood stoves burning and there's often a low rumble from them due to all the air moving around, as well as the hissing noises and the like from the burning wood.
Also alchemy lab, which period of alchemy, if you don't mind saying? It's one of my hobbies, carrying out old alchemical recipes.

#249 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2014, 06:39 PM:

Elliott Mason @242: Preview is an app that comes bundled on Macs, and which I find entirely serviceable for this sort of thing.

#250 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2014, 06:41 PM:

guthrie @ 248: Also alchemy lab, which period of alchemy, if you don't mind saying? It's one of my hobbies, carrying out old alchemical recipes.

I should preface my answer by noting that the story is a historic fantasy in an alternate past where certain things (like religious miracles and alchemy -- just to pick two topics at random) function a bit more effectively (if not always reliably) than in our own plane. This being the case, functional alchemy had a more extended run (alongside the development of purely physical chemistry) than is the case in our timeline. The date-equivalent of the setting corresponds to our early 1820s. In the story setting (as opposed to our timeline), alchemy has remained an active pursuit primarily by philosophers, charlatans, and dilettantes (rather than having shifted almost entirely into mysticism as in our time-line). It didn't seriously retard the development of industrial chemistry due to its reliance on the individual talents of the practitioners. So there are things you can do with alchemy in that world that they couldn't (yet) do by purely physical methods, but not everyone could do alchemy.

The main plot elements involve the use of alchemy to create synthetic gemstones (rather than precious metals), also involving the enhancement of the supernatural properties of said gemstones (see above note regarding the effective functioning of certain things we consider supernatural). One of the fun aspects of the background research was discovering that the date of my story was in spitting distance of the first actual successes in producing synthetic gemstones, as well as mapping out correspondences between traditional alchemical processes and the various synthesis methods that were later developed.

I have a lot of as-yet-unexplored consequences of coming through the Age of Enlightenment in a world where Reason is not the only reliably causal force at work. Mostly I've tried to leave them implicit rather than explicit because the main purpose of the stories is to be rousing romantic adventures.

#251 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2014, 06:41 PM:

me: Oh sorry, didn't read far enough.

You can select a portion of your image A, copy, paste into image B, size and position as desired. To "set" the paste, I think you hit return. Start with a blank white file of desired dimensions...?

#252 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2014, 06:43 PM:

fidelio, #245: Relevant. (Summary: At a convention panel Q&A, a creep from the audience asks Felicia Day "Does the carpet match the curtains?", and not a single one of the male panelists has the balls to say, "Dude, not cool.")

Yes, she's laughing. No, that does NOT mean she thinks it's funny. This is what is called a "displacement behavior", and it's one that women get to practice A LOT. She's in shock and trying to recover, and all the male panelists are adding to the problem by continuing to rag her about it.

#253 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2014, 06:56 PM:

Heather Rose Jones: WRT coal fires, it occurs to me that you actually, you know, try it without overmuch effort. Find someone who has a fireplace, get a lump of coal (three-four pounds would be good for an hour or two of fire). Start with a wood fire, then when your wood coals are settled in and glowing, add the coal.

If pressed, I could probably conjur some up for you, depending on where you are.

The reason I say this is that, while the sound of a coal fire is nothing particularly exciting, you may want to experience the smell, because it is quite distinctive, and would be a great detail in your narrative.

#254 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2014, 06:59 PM:

Lee: It should be noted that "rag" may also a mysogynst insult. AIUI, "ragging" refers to being "on the rag," e.g., PMSing.

#255 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2014, 06:59 PM:

And by "e.g." I of course meant "i.e."

#256 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2014, 07:02 PM:

Lee: The guy sitting next to her, when he says, "Simple question," really needs a simple punch in the mouth.

#257 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2014, 07:16 PM:

Jacque @249: Preview composites multiple images into a new one? Where? *excited*

Though I also note that I'm liking the 'montage' functions at fotor's thing linked above.

#258 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2014, 07:27 PM:

Jacque, #254: I hadn't heard that etymology for it before, and I've been hearing the term itself for a long time. Thank you for pointing that out.

Found what I think is an extremely relevant observation over on Charlie's blog:
It seems to me entirely appropriate that someone who is habitually professionally offensive should suffer consequences for it.

With, again, the caveat that this applies to "humor" that punches down rather than up.

#259 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2014, 07:28 PM:

Lee @252: Yes, that. Not only is it displacement, we might stop to ask ourselves what the crowd reaction would be if she either tore a strip off of him, or smacked him. Too many people, I'm thinking, would either say she was a hateful bitch because he was "just kidding around", or find some other way of convicting her of heinous overreaction. If she cried, she might get some sympathy, but others would say "She's too sensitive, and needs to get a thicker skin."

Not all of those criticizing her would be men, either.

#260 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2014, 08:51 PM:

Anyone here do stand-up? Maybe somebody should develop up a line of "hater jokes".

#261 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2014, 09:10 PM:

Jacque@254: the misogynist meaning of "rag" might occur to people, and that may well be a reason for avoiding the term, but "rag" as "practical joke" or "making fun of" is not actually related to "on the rag" as far as I know. Its origin seems to be Oxford slang used mainly among men.

#262 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2014, 01:53 AM:

Elliott: Here, let's see if I'm understanding you correctly. In Preview on the Mac: copying images out of multiple source docs into a target doc. Is that what you had in mind?

To select desired image portion, have your Select Tool chosen (cmd-3). Then just click and drag to select, copy, go to destination doc, paste, drag to move, drag handles to resize (hold down shift to maintain proportions), and hit return to set.

Does that make sense?

~ Unrelated side note: took me a minute to realize that the fellow in the upper left of the destination doc is Junior, not JJ. I remembered that JJ looked like his daddy, but I hadn't realized how much. The baby in my hands is JJ. And, of course, the lady in the lower left is the grown-up Gustav. (The fellow in the upper right is baby Donkey.) Woo. Time-travel.

#264 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2014, 11:48 AM:

HelenS #261: Which makes me wonder if it's connected to towel-snapping.

#265 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2014, 12:46 PM:

Jacque #254: 'Rag' misogynist? Really? Are you sure? As a verb, at my university it meant 'to initiate entering students roughly, to tease roughly', gerund 'ragging'. We had a 'ragging week' which was not much fun when I, along with the entire entering class in my hall were 'grubs' back in 1975. It was a not-always-pleasant initiation for us, but hardly misogynist or sexist.

#266 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2014, 01:06 PM:

Fragano: No, I'm not sure. Which is to say, I have no concrete documentation. But given the flavor, and male culture's tendency to use anything female as a scorn-carrying epithet, it would actually kind of surprise me if it wasn't connected. I don't have an OED to hand, so I can't check documented etymology.

#267 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2014, 01:13 PM:

And Rag Week at UK universities is a well-established week of student-led charity fundraising—many universities seem to have backronymmed it to 'Raising and Giving', but its origin in old student-slang 'rag' seems clear and I don't think anyone objects to the name. (Some of the activities, perhaps, though things have improved over the years; old rag magazines can be an eye-opener).

#268 ::: john, who is incognito and definitely not at work ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2014, 01:36 PM:

Here's what the OED has on "rag" as "To tease":

rag, v.3
b. trans. slang. To tease or torment; spec. (orig. University slang) to make fun of in a rough or boisterous manner; to bully; (also) to disorder (a person's room) as an act of ragging. Also intr. Cf. rag n.4, ragging n.2
1749 J. Wood Ess. Descr. Bath (ed. 2) II. iv. xi. 417 The Custom among their Persecutors of what they call Ragging one another.
1841 J. Blackwood Let. in Mrs. Oliphant Blackwood & Sons (1898) II. 261, I do not forget to wrag the Doctor on this subject.
1891 Spectator 3 Jan. 3/2 The revellers went round and ‘ragged’ several men in their rooms.
1896 Isis No. 112. 100/2 The difficulty of ‘ragging’ with impunity has long been felt.
1927 ‘R. Bird’ Moreleigh Mascot xix. 201 Hubbard glanced into Wong's study, which was in some disorder. ‘Been ragging here?’ he demanded. ‘Wong seems to be out. Plucky thing to rag a man's study when he's not in.’
1956 ‘C. Blackstock’ Dewey Death vii. 156 You're always ragging me, and I know you think I'm an ass.
1985 B. Neil As we Forgive ii. 15 The boys were hellish: ragging him, defacing his books.
2006 A. M. Foley Having my Say xvi. 88 Members used to rag me about my speed, said I only had two speeds, wide open and dead stop.

#269 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2014, 01:49 PM:

Okay, seems a back-conflation on my part. *nevermind*</latella>

#270 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2014, 02:00 PM:


rag (v.)
"scold," 1739, of unknown origin; perhaps related to Danish dialectal rag "grudge." Related: Ragged; ragging. Cf. bullyrag, ballarag "intimidate" (1807).

#271 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2014, 02:04 PM:

The whole 'rag' thing here should be a caution to everyone to avoid folk etymologies* (that is, an etymology that makes perfect sense, seems logical, is (sometimes) historically plausible—but is wrong). Even if you check these things, you can be tripped up by (many) bad sources on the internet. And AFAICT highly intelligent, educated people are more likely to fall into this type of error.

Most of these are relatively harmless, but some cause terrible trouble. We dodged the bullet (at least here) on this one because it was refuted swiftly (for which thank you HelenS). Some, however, have caused years of trouble, like the false etymology for 'rule of thumb' which started as a play on words and resulted in decades of people being tagged as misogynist for innocently using the phrase!

(And, of course, there's the horrible counterexample of the PETAphiles trying to get the town of Fishkill to change its name. Even after the town officials kindly explained to them that 'kill' is a Dutch word meaning stream, they insisted the town should change its name because it sounded like it was being meeeeeen to "sea kittens†." Don't be like PETA. They are stupid.)

This is not to say that even a correct etymology necessarily justifies such accusations. A word's etymology is not its meaning, and certainly is not the intention of the speaker. If I referred to "malaria" you wouldn't jump down my throat for promoting pseudoscience, because after all 'malaria' means 'evil air' and that's a discredited theory about the cause of the disease. At least I hope you wouldn't, and if you did I would point and laugh.

Of course, this is one of the few places where I can say this and have anyone listen. Most places, people seem to think that they know as much about language as anyone, and that their idle speculation is as good as anyone else's research or professional knowledge. People who would never tell you the Sun goes around the Earth do not hesitate to come out with equally wrong and easily checkable blather about language, and with no better justification: It seems like it to them. Or they heard it somewhere.

*I'm discussing the kind that is an error of fact, rather than the process of historical change; this second kind (which led frex to 'a napron' becoming 'an apron'—folk etymology, subtype reanalysis) is a natural phenomenon, and opposing it...would just make me King Canute‡. Who I'm willing to be in the right cause ("Fight the C in 'supersede'!"), but not in this case.

†Yes, members of PETA once suggested that fish should be called "sea kittens" to make them more sympathetic. Fish being so warm and cuddly and furry and inclined to play amusingly with string.

‡And yes, I know he was actually refuting the foolish idea that he was all-powerful, and showing appropriate humility.

#272 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2014, 02:14 PM:

Xopher @271, yes. This.

On another board, a frequent poster has asserted that the three homynyms "smelt" (the fish, the past tense of smell, and the metallurgical process) all have the same origin, in "smelling". Apparently he thinks that the process of smelting is grinding (he also refers to the grinding of wheat as "smelting") and further asserts that when you grind the metal (he doesn't say ore) it flies to the nose and you can smell it, hence the term "smelting". Fish, of course, smell even without being ground up...

He's not just wrong, of course; he's FRACTALLY wrong. Wrong on every level and to every magnification, all the way down.

Etymologies have been posted to him. Explanations have been posted to him. It all rolls off his back; he likes his personal etymology for theological reasons and refuses to acknowlege that it might in any way be incorrect...

#273 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2014, 02:19 PM:

While I am generally a descriptive rather than prescriptive linguist, I will fight and die on the hill of "literally".

Figuratively, anyway.

#274 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2014, 02:21 PM:

Not surprised, Cassy B. There are geocentrists and flat-Earthers around, too.

The thing that makes him worse is that he's probably teaching that to people who won't check.

I wonder if he believes that spelt (the grain) is named after a practice of making letters out of it.

#275 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2014, 02:21 PM:

English fascinates me by containing so very many words that are spelt and pronounced the same (modulo regional accents), while basically being 4-7 separate words with their own etymologies and very distinct meanings.

Smelt being one example.

#276 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2014, 02:48 PM:

Jacque, #269: Well, you know the best way to get accurate information online is not to ask for it, but to post inaccurate information. :-)

Besides which, as HelenS points out, the possibility for misunderstanding is reason enough to consider finding a synonym. What harm does it do ME to choose another word, after all?

#277 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2014, 03:21 PM:

Xopher @ 271... This reminds me of a job long ago when I referred to something as honky dory. My manager suggested that might be considered racist so what did I do? I immediately went to a black lesbian who worked in another dept and asked her opinion. She laughed.

#278 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2014, 03:41 PM:

My cousin uses it in conversation to refer to people from Hong Kong. No idea how she might spell it but sounds similar enough to make me pause.

#279 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2014, 03:43 PM:

ETA: Meaning hon(g)k(ee/y/ie).

#280 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2014, 03:53 PM:

Elliott 275: My favorite example is 'cleave', which has two opposite meanings with entirely separate etymologies.

Serge 277: 'Honky' is a term used in the 60s-70s (I haven't heard it since, which doesn't mean it hasn't been used) for white people. So not racist (since racism in the US is the sytematic oppression of people of color, terms that deride white people may be rude, but they're not racist per se).

However, the term I learned was 'hunky dory', with a schwa in that first vowel position. As far as I know it has nothing to do with 'honky'.

Please wait while I look it up, he said, after realizing he'd advocated actually checking in this very thread not [very small number] comments ago.

'Honky' might ("perhaps") be from Wolof honq (pink, light-complexioned) combined with 'hunky', which is an offensive ethnic slur against Eastern Europeans ("perhaps from bohunk," which is an offensive ethnic slur against people of, uh, my ethnic background (part of it, anyway).

'Hunky dory' is from quite a different source; the 'hunky' part is from a Dutch word meaning "OK."

#281 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2014, 03:54 PM:

Heather #250 - thanks, that sounds interesting. You'll presumably have noticed that some of the early alchemically related texts have recipes for colouring stones?

Also correlations between chemical synthesis and alchemical works, do you mean organic distillations? Or such things as the manufacture of ether and the like? It would be interesting to know more, but I have not yet read much about the 17-18th century chemistry/ alchemy work.

#282 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2014, 03:54 PM:

Serge Broom @277: Interesting, I always heard it as "hunky dory", and "honky" was equivalent to "cracker".

Soon Lee @278: In Vancouver, BC, apparently the common name for people from Hong Kong is "Honger".

#283 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2014, 04:05 PM:

Xopher @280, I had the impression that "hunky" was at one time a derogatory term for Hungarians (and by extension other Eastern European immigrants) in the coal mining and steel-milling regions of Pennsylvania, and that "honky" might have come from that.

#284 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2014, 04:15 PM:

Jeremy, that's the 'hunky' part, which is from bohunk, which in turn is from "Bo(hemian) + altered Hung(arian)." My dictionary thinks Wolof is also involved (and that would account for the first vowel).

#285 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2014, 04:27 PM:

There was also a politician a few years back who was pilloried for calling a budget 'niggardly', meaning stingy.

#286 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2014, 04:35 PM:

As long as we don't Welch on paying our debts, the Prince of Wales is ok with that.

#287 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2014, 04:45 PM:

Next PETA campaign: trying to get Bob Marley's old band to change its name. Their slogan will be "Save the Wails."

#288 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2014, 04:55 PM:

David Harmon @285, I was wondering when that one was going to come up.

That's one where I'm actually OK with not using the word anymore. There are plenty of good synonyms that don't hurt people. I thought it was stupid when I first heard the story, too, but I've changed my mind on it. It's not a word worth fighting for - not because there's anything wrong with it, but because the implicit "if you don't know this bit of etymological trivia it's okay for you to be hurt" isn't something I can support.

#289 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2014, 05:13 PM:

lorax, #288: That's about where I've come around to as well. As I said upthread, what harm does it do ME to choose another word? The object of language is communication, after all.

#290 ::: Mongoose ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2014, 05:20 PM:

Cassy B. @ 272: He's not just wrong, of course; he's FRACTALLY wrong. Wrong on every level and to every magnification, all the way down.

I'm going to treasure that one.

#291 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2014, 05:27 PM:

Lora's #288: I'll agree that it's not a particularly necessary word, but its loss still counts as some sort of collateral damage to our language. I'd remembered the 1999 controversy as being heavily stoked by Republican exploitation, but Wikipedia gives a number of near-simultaneous incidents even before it was used for purposeful trolling. So, perhaps the word just got squished by a more general shift in perceptions.

#292 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2014, 05:28 PM:

Mongoose @290, I wish I could claim I coined "fractally wrong", but alas, I stole it from someone else. And I no longer recall the attribution, unfortunately.

Like you, I do love the phrase.

#293 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2014, 05:30 PM:

guthrie @ 281

Also correlations between chemical synthesis and alchemical works, do you mean organic distillations? Or such things as the manufacture of ether and the like?

I was talking more about mapping various of the traditional alchemical process steps to aspects of (real-world) gemstone synthesis. (For example, by pure serendipity, the "peacock's tail" phenomenon mapped perfectly to an existing visual effect of the "magic system" from my first book.) I'm less concerned about the actual chemical/physical processes than developing a systematic deep-structure for my world-building so that the superficial details that appear in the story have an acceptable level of internal consistency and fractal detail.

From my characters' viewpoint (somewhat oversimplified) the processes are "magic", but it was much easier to write them by having a vision of how the underlying chemistry should work. (The one major allowance being that "magic" substitutes for some aspects of industrial-strength temperature and pressure, as well as helping compress the time-frame of reactions.) It's sort of the same as creating an entire conlang in order to have your characters drop bits of vocabulary and proper names, rather than inserting arbitrary letter-sequences.

It's a bit of a delicate balance because I don't want/need to know enough about either alchemy or gemstone synthesis to write an accurate textbook -- I just need enough coins to stuff in the chinks of the basket to make you think I've been measuring gold by the bushel. But the coins I do stuff in there need to be the right metal and of plausible denominations. (Sorry ... metaphor ran away with me again.)

#294 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2014, 05:57 PM:

Off the ongoing topics... Remember actor William Morgan Sheppard, who, among other things, was old punk Reg in "Max Headroom" and Canton Delaware in Doctor Who's "The Impossible Astronaut"? He's one of us SF readers. Michael Cassutt, story editor on "Max Headroom" told me that. It's always neat to find there are way more of us out there than we think. (Kind of like the scene in "X-men United" when Wolverine is inside Cerebro and Xavier shows him that he's not as alone as he thought.)

#295 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2014, 05:59 PM:

Serge, he was on BSG too.

#296 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2014, 06:06 PM:

Heather, have you read Zompist's History of Chemistry? It might well be stuff you already know, but he has some interesting things about chemistry and alchemy and how they related to each other, and links to an essay about related vocabulary.

#297 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2014, 06:11 PM:

Xopher @ 295... Also on "Babylon 5", "The Prestige", and, I've been told, on "ST-TNG".

#298 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2014, 06:30 PM:

Xopher & Serge: And his son is currently making life difficult for Our Heroes on White Collar.

#299 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2014, 06:34 PM:

Carrie S. @ 296

Very interesting -- I'll bookmark it for later. Not a lot that I didn't already have but a convenient summary timeline.

#300 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2014, 07:00 PM:

Classy B. #292: I found one place with a 2001 cite: Fractal wrongness at rationalwiki

#301 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2014, 07:49 PM:

Jacque @ 298... And previously on "Firefly", "Leverage" and "Burn Notice".

#302 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2014, 08:06 PM:

I think people may be conflating William Morgan Sheppard and his son, Mark Sheppard.

W. Morgan and Mark both appeared on Doctor Who, playing Canton Delaware at different ages. All of the other references here (BSG, Firefly...) are for Mark. Unless senior Sheppard also had some cameos there that I don't know about.

#303 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2014, 08:34 PM:

David H., #291: Piffle. Words drop into and out of the language all the time, for all manner of reasons, and nobody thinks of it as damaging. And I'm not saying that no one should ever use it anywhere, only that when speaking to a general audience it's probably wise to select a different word in the interest of better communication. Yes, it's a case of "false friends" in this instance -- but once again, where is the harm to the SPEAKER in exercising a little care about word choice?

#304 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2014, 09:03 PM:

Cheryl @ 302... There has indeed been a bit of a mixup. Mark Sheppard is the one who appeared in "Firefly", "BSG", "Leverage" and "Burn Notice". William Morgan Sheppard though is the one who appeared in "The Prestige", and in one of the early "Babylon 5" episodes, about the alien with gems that steal souls away. Both played the same character at different ages twice, first as Canton Delaware, then as Captain Nemo.

#305 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2014, 09:04 PM:

I don't use the word "niggardly" because it gives ME an unpleasant jump, despite the fact that I've known the derivation forever. If it were, say, a specific medical term with no real synonym, I might perhaps feel differently.

#306 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2014, 10:04 PM:

Lee #303: True enough, though I'd say it's not just a matter of "a general audience" -- some of WP's examples were from academic contexts! I'd guess that the word really has gone over to "we don't use that anymore", and that's likely to be permanent because it is superfluous. Even before the ruckus, I doubt I've ever actually used it, precisely because there's at least two common words that I'd think of first.

#307 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2014, 11:10 PM:

William Morgan Shepherd was also on Seaquest DSV; as I recall he appeared in the form of a hologram, never live.

He also had a bit on an episode of Mad Men; he played Pryce's old-school dad, who visited to set the boy straight. By beating him. He was almost unrecognizable; I had to look him up.

#308 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2014, 01:32 AM:

There are certainly a lot of alternative choices! I think I'd pick "cheeseparing" for the sound of it.

adjective: niggardly

not generous; stingy.
"serving out the rations with a niggardly hand"
synonyms: cheap, mean, miserly, parsimonious, close-fisted, penny-pinching, cheeseparing, grasping, ungenerous, illiberal;
informal stingy, tight, tightfisted
"a niggardly person"

meager; scanty.
"their share is a niggardly 2.7 percent"
synonyms: meager, inadequate, scanty, scant, skimpy, paltry, sparse, insufficient, deficient, short, lean, small, slender, poor, miserable, pitiful, puny;
informal measly, stingy, pathetic, piddling
"niggardly rations"

#309 ::: Mongoose ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2014, 07:52 AM:

I've always tended to use "parsimonious" in writing, "mean" in general conversation, and "stingy" in informal conversation on the Internet where there are Americans.

This is because "mean" doesn't carry the same connotations here in Rightpondia that it does in Leftpondia. Granted, that is changing now due to Leftpondian influence. But over here, a "mean" person is still likely to be stingy rather than vicious. The word has overtones of "petty" or "insignificant", and that has hung on as a literary sense, as in "a mean dwelling", meaning a shoddy house. (Amusingly, it isn't stretching the modern meaning very much to say, "Hey, that's a mean house you've got there!" and convey absolutely the opposite.)

The shift of "mean" from "insignificant" to "parsimonious" is a reflection of the idea that stinginess is an exceptionally small-minded sort of vice.

I like words. You may have noticed.

#310 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2014, 08:19 AM:

Cassy B @ 292

I was introduced to the concept of "fractally wrong" by Lee, here on Making Light.

#311 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2014, 10:32 AM:

Cassy B (292)/SamChevre (310): Then there are Teresa's "fractal with lacunae" and "folly is fractal". Not the exact phrase, but the same idea, four or five years earlier.

#312 ::: Michael Johnston ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2014, 01:54 PM:

Xopher @291: The one I seem to hit all the damned time is people insisting that "to gyp" is anti-Roma or anti-Gypsy. Totally different etymology, has nothing to do with Romany.

#313 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2014, 01:58 PM:

Correct etymology, please?

I got snarked at for using "gyp" not that long ago.

#314 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2014, 03:31 PM:

I've seen conflicting opinions on the etymology of "to gyp". I've also heard people try to argue that "to jew someone down" (to haggle) somehow wasn't anti-Semitic, so I'm a little skeptical of those etymological arguments. However, it's only from investigating this question today that I learned that "to welch on a debt" is also an ethnic slur.

I'm gradually coming to agree with lorax @288; I can choose words that I know don't hurt people, even if the reason they're hurt is due to a misunderstanding of history or etymology.

#315 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2014, 03:39 PM:

Hummm.... I might check out "Saint Pancake of Antioch" with the Priest of the nearby Maronite Catholic church... or might not. If I do, I'd probably also ask what would be likely to happen if the Bishop of Rome did _not_ approve of some new Patriarch selected by that Church. (As I understand it, the Roman Bishop (aka "Pope") has always ratified the selection automatically, since.... errr... the second Crusade, or whenever the relationship was established, but we're talking about Eastern Rite here, and people who quite delight in Arguing Theology.(1) And yes, Saint Peter established the Maronite/Antioch Church _before_ he went to Rome, so its Patriarch has primacy over the head of the Roman branch... but that seems to be limited to the order of Ritual Processions; for points of Theology, not so much.)

(1) Farbeit from me to suggest that the Eastern/Greek/Orthodox Catholics are the Jews of Christiandom, but... ummm, it seems to me that they're just as likely to Argue about any theological point, even with Angels, as Jews do, and and I think that's a delightful thing.

#316 ::: Michael Johnston ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2014, 03:44 PM:

Carol @313: According to the OED, it was probably based on the french word "jupeau," which mutated to "gippo," which then shorted to "gip," which was the word for college servants at Oxford, who were known to occasionally steal from their employers.

However, this site claims that's just one theory, and that either may in fact be correct. In general my solution is just not to use the word, and I instead say I was cheated.

#317 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2014, 04:18 PM:

Yup, I'd known about "jew" and "welsh", but "gyp" startled me. My mostly-English-background folks also used "Scotch" to mean penny-scrimping to an almost dishonest degree. Is "to scotch a problem" Enterprise-engineer-speak enough to get by?

I was cheated by my non-p.c. upbringing!

#318 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2014, 04:42 PM:

My back has been giving me gyp for the last couple of days. (Sciatica, I think.) I am not a happy Moose at the moment.

#319 ::: Mongoose ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2014, 04:53 PM:

Cadbury Moose @ 318: I hope you are soon a fully recovered Moose. Backs can be tricksy things.

Perhaps this will make you smile: I recall once reading about a little girl whose mother suffered from sciatica. One day, she said to her mother, "I can't go to school today, Mum. I've got South Africa like you get."

#320 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2014, 05:24 PM:

Jeremy@314: I am Welsh. I remember, during my TAFF trip back in 1984, someone just casually used "welshing" in front of me. I think my jaw dropped. It's an ethnic slur you just wouldn't hear over here and I was stunned. I had a similar reaction on the same trip to "gypped".

#321 ::: Mongoose ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2014, 05:54 PM:

A young friend once referred to someone who was annoying him as a "mong" on the Book of Face. I messaged him privately and explained where that came from, and asked him very nicely if he would mind not using that one again. I have a very much loved nephew with Down's Syndrome.

I got an immediate and unreserved apology; he deleted the post, and, as far as I know, has removed the word from his vocabulary. It's nice to know that happens sometimes.

#322 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2014, 05:57 PM:

I was taken aback a year or two ago when someone told me that "oriental" was a slur. I had no idea anyone used it offensively; to me it was entirely neutral, paired with "occidental", and merely referring to a hemisphere.

But I try to remember not to use that word anymore, substituting "Asian" instead.

#323 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2014, 06:07 PM:

Consider this particular term, a regional usage in the land of Oz:
wog, n.2
View as: Outline |Full entryQuotations: Show all |Hide all
Pronunciation: /wɒɡ/
Etymology: Origin uncertain.
Austral. slang.
Thesaurus »
Categories »

A germ or parasite; an insect; an illness or disease. Cf. bug n.2 3d.

1934 Bulletin (Sydney) 31 Oct. 20/4 Buckley's a wog that enters the nostrils of these snakes during hibernation.
1941 C. Barrett Coast of Adventure iii. 51 Jolly little people..popping into old jam tins a miscellany of wogs—from bull-ants to scorpions and centipedes.
1953 A. Upfield Murder must Wait xxi. 191 The wogs flying about the light.
1964 R. Braddon Year Angry Rabbit i. 9 But find the wog, find the super-myxomatosis, the whatever-it-may-be that kills today's rabbits.
1976 D. Francis In Frame viii. 126 A beastly stomach wog, so he couldn't come.

It's a genuine usage, but it comes as a shock to natives of the UK for whom the noun 'wog' is one of the most offensive words in the language (use it in my presence and your life expectancy will drop drastically). Why?

The OED's explanation is actually somewhat less than accurate:
wog, n.1
View as: Outline |Full entryQuotations: Show all |Hide all
Pronunciation: /wɒɡ/
Etymology:... (Show More)
Thesaurus »
Categories »

1. A vulgarly offensive name for a foreigner, esp. one of Arab extraction.

1929 F. C. Bowen Sea Slang 153 Wogs, lower class Babu shipping clerks on the Indian coast.
1932 R. J. P. Hewison Ess. on Oxf. 5 And here the Ethiop ranks, the wogs, we spy.
1937 F. Stark Baghdad Sketches 90 When I return, Nasir fixed me with real malignity in his little placid eyes. ‘I knew she wanted me to go,’ he said. ‘I could see what she was thinking. They call us wogs.’
1942 C. Hollingworth German just behind Me xiii. 258 King Zog Was always considered a bit of a Wog, Until Mussolini quite recently Behaved so indecently.
1944 J. H. Fullarton Troop Target 95 Don't come at that, you Wog..bastard.
1955 E. Waugh Officers & Gentlemen ii. 323 He turned up in western Abyssinia leading a group of wogs.
1958 Times Lit. Suppl. 11 Apr. p. vi/3 We have travelled some distance from the days when Wogs began at Calais.
1965 M. Spark Mandelbaum Gate i. 13 After all, one might speak in that manner of the Wogs or the Commies.
1982 J. Savarin Water Hole i. iv. 42 He hated Arabs... They were all wogs to him.
(Hide quotations)

Thesaurus »
Categories »

2. The Arabic language.

1977 P. Raymond Matter of Assassination vi. 63, I can't speak Wog and don't seems to be getting anywhere.
1982 ‘W. Haggard’ Mischief-makers xiv. 157 ‘I've picked up a few words of wog, sir.’.. The driver spoke terrible barrack-room Arabic.
(Hide quotations)

Thesaurus »
Categories »

3. attrib. passing into adj.

a1963 J. Lusby in B. James Austral. Short Stories (1963) 236 Wog chappie scuttling around seeking safe side of the beast.
1970 G. F. Newman Sir, You Bastard viii. 234 We were hawking, and getting treated like bleeding wog brush salesmen.
1973 Daily Tel. 31 May 3/2 Judge Sheldon heard that trouble started..when white girlfriends of coloured soldiers..were taunted by members of the Royal Scots as ‘wog lovers’.
1977 Drive Sept.–Oct. 112/2 Any foreign car, even a Ferrari or a Mercedes, is a wog motor, unless it's a Yank.
(Hide quotations)

As the citations show the word can be applied to any person of colour, or of non-British ethnicity, not only to Arabs, and to any language spoken by people of colour, not only to Arabic. The, ahem, P word applies to only one ethnicity, this one is damned near universal.

#324 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2014, 07:24 PM:

Carol, #317: That meaning for "scotch" surprises me, because I've always heard it to mean "putting an end to" as in "he scotched the idea". Google confirms this. Regional differences, perhaps?

Cassy, #322: The switch to "Asian" from "Oriental" goes back at least a decade AIUI, so I'm surprised that you've only encountered it this recently.

Related: last weekend I picked up a book off the used-book swap table at a con, and the page to which I opened it contained a sentence about the protagonist meeting a group of people that included "two Orientals and a Negro". I said to no one in particular, "Yeah, I see the Suck Fairy has been at this one," and put it back on the table.

#325 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2014, 08:20 PM:

When I was dating a man from Oklahoma, he used the word Okie to describe his origins. I was told that Okies could call themselves Okies, but those who were not from Oklahoma were not allowed to use the word. It was said in a humorous tone, but meant somewhat seriously. After we married, I asked, humorously, if I could now call him an Okie, since I'd married into it. He thought about this for a moment, then said that I could, given the circumstances, but he'd prefer not. When I asked his mother, humorously, she was seriously horrified. Fortunately for my good relations with my MIL, I rarely used the word simply because it wasn't part of my working vocabulary.

#326 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2014, 08:26 PM:

#324 ::: Lee

I wasn't clear - we had two different family meanings for "scotch". One, the slur, the other, as you laid it out. There was no question which version was meant.

#327 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2014, 08:28 PM:

Carol Kimball @317:

I seem to recall seeing that meaning of "Scotch" elsewhere, as part of the origin of "Scotch tape".

#328 ::: Cal Dunn ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2014, 08:29 PM:

The insect/bug version of the W word isn't really in common use in Australia any more. I've never heard it used that way and I've only read it in old books.

The racial slur version is well into the process of being reclaimed. I'm not in a position to say whether it's actually been reclaimed or not, being incontrovertibly Anglo; I wouldn't use it myself except in context, but I've also never heard my virulently racist relative use it as a slur. It's not one of the Top Offensive Words.

Also, we have a popular brand of two-minute noodles (=instant ramen; a noodle cake with a flavour sachet containing salt and MSG) that comes in flavours including chicken, beef, and "oriental". The last of these is my favourite and a great comfort food, but I always feel a bit strange about it.

Also, we have a popular brand of cheese whose name is a racial slur (it's named after the man who owns the patent for the manufacturing process; for some reason I always thought it was named after the town of Coonabarabran). This one I have heard my virulently racist relative use, unfortunately.

(p.s. Dave Harmon from the previous thread: it took me a while and a few moves but I did find a better doctor!)

#329 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2014, 08:45 PM:

Lee @324 -- And then there's James Hadley Chase's 1941 novel, 12 Chinks and a Woman -- reprinted as 12 Chinamen and a Woman in 1948, in paperback, and more recently as The Doll's Bad News. Amazing how rapidly what's acceptable changes, sometimes.

#330 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2014, 10:00 PM:

So, looking at my computer ... (Evening delivery! Yay, but wha-?). Haven't started it up yet, because I'm sleepy and don't want to make mistakes, but I did look inside the case, and that seems promisingly well designed.

Of course tomorrow's a work day... Might be Friday before I have it going, especially if dual-booting fails. (Despite prior warnings from folks here, I intend to try some instructions from .)

#331 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2014, 10:06 PM:

Cassy B. #322, Cal Dunn #328:

Interestingly I don't find being called an Oriental offensive. It's not always a fixed value. Context, intent, and regional differences can modulate it which can make online conversations (with participants from around the world) trickier to manage.

#332 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2014, 10:36 PM:

HLN: Local Pagan, member of church choir, attends first-ever Ash Wednesday service. Also last-ever.

"There are some things I can do," he commented, "and others I can't or shouldn't. Ash Wednesday is on the 'can't' list.

"Obviously I wasn't going to get ashes," he continued, "but after everyone else did, I sat there for the rest of the service, with my vast expanse of unmarked forehead, feeling like the only plain-bellied Sneetch in a roomful of star-bellied Sneetches. No one said anything or gave me a dirty look or anything; in fact everyone was totally nice. I was just horribly uncomfortable.

"So that's just a service I'll know not to attend. Along with Maundy Thursday and one or two others. Not bad in any way, just Not For Me."

#333 ::: jonesnori/Lenore Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 01:27 AM:

AKICIML: Every once in a while when I send an email from my Android phone, it sends unreadably. The recipient can't read it, and the bcc I send myself is also unreadable. My google-fu has repeatedly failed me when I search for similar problems. Any ideas? Below is the beginning of a recent example, including the first portion of the message body:

MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary=""
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8
Content-Transfer-Encoding: base64


#334 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 02:00 AM:

Lenore Jones:
Your Android mail client is sending the email in a standard format used for text which contains special non-ASCII characters (the UTF-8 character set) most likely because of recognizing that the email contains some sort of special punctuation or special character (letter with umlaut or accent, non-Latin letter, etc.) It's then encoding it in base64 so that it could be sent safely through mail servers which can't handle binary data. It should get decoded by the mail reader and display as normal text. I don't know, though, why it would encode it in this form and then not be able to read it - or is it a different email reader where you can't read it?

In general, a modern email client on a machine which supports Unicode should be able to display that just fine, and so should a good webmail program or phone app, but if you're reading it on an old-fashioned plain text mail reader, something like Pine, it may not be able to handle it. If you are trying to read it in something like Thunderbird or or even Gmail, I don't know why it wouldn't work - something getting converted wrong somewhere along the way.

#335 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 02:02 AM:

Fragano @ #323, I remember a book (might have been an early Dick Francis) in which Our Hero describes his father's lamentable xenophobia as "wogs begin at Calais," which would bear out the word's usage for any non-Brit.

#336 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 02:04 AM:

jonesnori/Lenore Jones @333: That looks like a normal multipart encoded email. If I had to guess, I'd say that there's an extra character (probably a return or linefeed) in the headers just before that first line that makes the receiving email program think that the headers have ended and the body has started.

If you can forward the whole thing to me (my first name at my domain), headers and all from the receiving program (assuming that there's nothing too personal in it), I can take a closer look.

#337 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 02:16 AM:

Tom Whitmore @ 329: The original title of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None is the most shockingly racist I've ever run across. Published in 1939, it is her best-selling book.

#338 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 07:33 AM:

Xopher @ 332

Would you be willing to explain the "obviously" in "Obviously I wasn't going to get ashes"? (Maybe I'm just missing something obvious, but unlike the sacraments it's not exclusive to Christians, so I'm curious.)

#339 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 07:54 AM:

In that ritual ashes are a symbol of Christian devotion, and specifically devotion to the introspective and austere path of Lent. While I can be introspective and austere, I am no Christian devotee, and the path of Lent is not one I have any intention of following, so it would be rankest hypocrisy for me to accept ashes.

#340 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 08:00 AM:

In that ritual ashes are a symbol of Christian devotion, and specifically devotion to the introspective and austere path of Lent. While I can be introspective and austere, I am no Christian devotee, and the path of Lent is not one I have any intention of following, so it would be rankest hypocrisy for me to accept ashes.

#341 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 08:01 AM:

Former Episcopalian and current agnostic me wouldn't do Ash Wednesday now either.

Largely because my likely reaction to the sentiment, "Remember that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return" is a reflexive "THANK GOD."

#342 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 08:03 AM:

Damn, my browser swore that didn't post the first time. Sorry.

#343 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 08:11 AM:

Open-threaded theft from my brother-in-law -

"I had to give up a sweater for lint..."

#344 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 08:29 AM:

Fun Catholic Fact: Ash Wednesday ashes are made by burning last year's Palm Sunday palms (plus top-up as needed). It was traditional in the congregation of my childhood to collect the individual palm pieces nobody specifically wanted to take home, braid/knot/twine them into shapes (especially crosses and wreaths), keep the object hung in the house 'for luck', and then give it back to the parish, thoroughly dry, about a week before Mardi Gras so the parish could forward it to the Archdiocese for sacramental burning.

#345 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 08:41 AM:

I made a rattle (well, more of a rustle) out of leftover palm fronds one year. (They're not considered sacred objects in the Episcopal tradition...a formerly-Catholic friend was apparently appalled when her wife (an Episcopal priest!) used a palm frond as a cat toy.)

Our old Rector used to burn the palm fronds himself, but it got to be too much some years back. Our new Rector hasn't been with us across a Palm Sunday yet, so I don't know what he'll do.

#346 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 09:27 AM:

heresiarch@ 329: 'And Then There Were None' is the book's *third* title. When the first
was eventually deemed too offensive it was given a second...which in time was also deemed
too offensive.

Interestingly, I recently heard the offensive ditty from which the
original derives for the first time in many years, on TV. They were showing the ancient
movie 'Kind Hearts and Coronets' and prefaced it with a warning that it was made in a
different era in which language standards were somewhat different. I wonder if that's
what they do when they show 'The Dam Busters', which I haven't seen in decades. The
problem with that one is that the codeword for the raid being a successful one
was the name of Wing Commander Guy Gibson's dog: the N-word. A few years ago Peter Jackson
was talking about remaking this and I remember wondering how he'd get around that
because however historically accurate it might be you just can't use it. I figured
he would probably replace it with something like 'Nipper', a perfectly period-appropriate
name for the dog, and hence the codeword.

#347 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 09:47 AM:

Carol Kimball @ #317: Different editions of Macbeth have "We have scotched/scorched the snake, not killed it" in Act III, Scene II. So almost certainly not a national term of opprobrium as used in "the Scottish play".

On the other hand, even when it's not a verb (gyp, jew, welsh, jap, bugger), there's always the insulting adjective: French disease, Dutch treat, Irish confetti, Mexican overdrive, Indian giver.

(Related but unrelated question: How does a "Mexican standoff" differ from a plain vanilla standoff? I've been querying dictionaries and books of slang for nearly fifty years on this and have never found an answer).

#348 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 09:49 AM:

I watched The Dam Busters for the first time about five years ago on the History Channel (Canadian edition), and the name of the dog was unchanged and unwarned for. The introduction to the film was mostly focused on the engineering and historical context.

#349 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 10:01 AM:

Theophylact #347: IIRC, the classic "Mexican standoff" was two guys standing in a puddle of gasoline, each holding a lit match. As compared to the classic standoff, which was just two guys with guns pointed at each other.

First computer hitch, as of last night: My VGA cable has a bent pin, possibly from my breaking down and trying it last night. (One of these days I'll learn). Unforntately, I've got plenty of M/F cables for that, but no more M/M cables, and not only is my eyesight not what it used to be, but I don't seem to have any tools fine enough to fix it. I'll probably get one of two cable types this morning before work.

And let's see if this is a double post...

#350 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 10:03 AM:

Theophylact #347: The OED saith:
Mexican standoff n. [see stand-off adj. 3] a deadlock, stalemate, impasse; a roughly equal (and freq. unsatisfactory) outcome to a conflict in which there is no clear winner or loser; (also formerly) a massacre in cold blood.

1876 Sunday Mercury (N.Y.) 19 Mar. 2/5 ‘Go–!’ said he sternly then. ‘We will call it a stand-off, a Mexican stand-off, you lose your money, but you save your life!’
1891 N.Y. Sporting Times 19 Sept. 4/3 ‘Monk’ Cline, who got a Mexican stand-off from Dave Rowe has signed with Louisville.
1904 in Dict. Amer. Regional Eng. (at cited word), Boys, as fur as the coin goes, we're out an' injured; we jest made a ‘Mexican standoff’—lost our money, but saved our lives.
1929 G. L. Hostetter & T. Q. Beesley It's a Racket! 231 Mexican stand-off, to kill in cold blood.
1934 J. O'Hara Appointment in Samarra (1935) vii. 222 The men were the victims of the St. Valentine's Day massacre in Chicago, when seven men were given the Mexican stand-off against the inside wall of a gang garage.
1958 ‘W. Henry’ Seven Men at Mimbres Springs xvi. 189, I rightly and firmly believe we've taken some of the flap out of Mangas's shirttails and can turn this thing into a Mexican stand-off, given any luck at all.
1979 D. MacKenzie Raven settles Score 26 As things stood it was a Mexican standoff. He couldn't go to the law but..nor could the Koreans.

Interesting that the first citation is from the 1870s.

#351 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 10:03 AM:

Theophylact #347: The OED saith:
Mexican standoff n. [see stand-off adj. 3] a deadlock, stalemate, impasse; a roughly equal (and freq. unsatisfactory) outcome to a conflict in which there is no clear winner or loser; (also formerly) a massacre in cold blood.

1876 Sunday Mercury (N.Y.) 19 Mar. 2/5 ‘Go–!’ said he sternly then. ‘We will call it a stand-off, a Mexican stand-off, you lose your money, but you save your life!’
1891 N.Y. Sporting Times 19 Sept. 4/3 ‘Monk’ Cline, who got a Mexican stand-off from Dave Rowe has signed with Louisville.
1904 in Dict. Amer. Regional Eng. (at cited word), Boys, as fur as the coin goes, we're out an' injured; we jest made a ‘Mexican standoff’—lost our money, but saved our lives.
1929 G. L. Hostetter & T. Q. Beesley It's a Racket! 231 Mexican stand-off, to kill in cold blood.
1934 J. O'Hara Appointment in Samarra (1935) vii. 222 The men were the victims of the St. Valentine's Day massacre in Chicago, when seven men were given the Mexican stand-off against the inside wall of a gang garage.
1958 ‘W. Henry’ Seven Men at Mimbres Springs xvi. 189, I rightly and firmly believe we've taken some of the flap out of Mangas's shirttails and can turn this thing into a Mexican stand-off, given any luck at all.
1979 D. MacKenzie Raven settles Score 26 As things stood it was a Mexican standoff. He couldn't go to the law but..nor could the Koreans.

Interesting that the first citation is from the 1870s.

#352 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 10:29 AM:

I've got a temporary part time job as a church secretary's assistant, and one of my duties is to open all the mail and throw out all the catalogs. Well, the other day the church secretary had to run out for half an hour to deal with something at her house, and left me with literally nothing to do besides answer the phones, so I flipped through one of the catalogs before throwing it out.

I was slightly surprised to learn that one could buy Ash Wednesday ashes (I'd always thought in the back of my mind that every church burned their own returned or leftover palm fronds to make their own ashes, but a moment's thought should have told me that this would be difficult/impossible for some churches), and even more surprised to learn they came (when not in simple plastic bags) in "pyx"s. ("Each pyx holds enough ash for 100 congregants!")

I'd always thought that "pyx" was a term reserved for Eucharist containers. Interesting symbolism there about life and death, I suppose. I'm afraid that mostly it led me to muse for a bit on the exact process for determining how many people any given amount of ash would mark.

This has been your odd linquistic note for the day.

#353 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 10:56 AM:

Steve C @343 Snork!

Bad Ash Wednesday jokes... little Janie, after hearing "From dust you came, and to dust you shall return," runs to mom saying, "Mom! There's somebody under my bed, but I'm not sure if he's coming or going!"

(There are whole congregations under my furniture.)

#354 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 11:33 AM:

OtterB @ 353... Bad Ash Wednesday jokes

Elsewhere someone suggested Bruce Campbell's Ash having a crossover with Wednesday Gomez.

#355 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 12:23 PM:

Theophylact, #347: I'm familiar with the other ones you cite, but this is my first encounter with "Irish confetti" and nothing is immediately coming to mind for it. [*]?

David H., #349: So the Mexican standoff is more-or-less the same as "Mutual Assured Destruction"?

Cally, #352: Whereas my first (and for a long time only) encounter with "pyx" was as a container for a Gate-key in the form of a ring, in Fires of Azeroth by C.J. Cherryh. I had to go look it up in the dictionary.

#356 ::: jonesnori/Lenore Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 12:39 PM:

334 Clifton / 336 Eric: Thanks. The special character seems a likely issue. However, I'm not the only one who can't read the result - the other recipients write me back to say they can't read it, either. Resending the original readable one from my sent mail folder produces the identical result.

Eric, I sent you the problem (post-send) email with as much detail as I could manage. Thanks for looking at it.

#357 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 12:40 PM:

Re: Mexican standoff - Wikipedia claims it's specifically 3 people with guns all pointed at each other, but does not provide evidence for that definition. The Word Detective claims that a Mexican standoff is one in which the standoff ends by both parties losing:

The key difference between a “Mexican standoff” and a garden variety “standoff” seems to be the equal strength of the two parties and thus the lack of a clear result. A regular standoff may be a temporary roadblock or impasse, in negotiations, for example, that eventually ends in either a surrender or an agreement, albeit grudgingly. A “Mexican standoff,” however, is a complete stalemate, and both sides lose by being forced to walk away without a victory.
#358 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 01:08 PM:

Well, I had never previously realised that "to welch" was anything to do with "Welsh". Live and learn.

Re. "gyp", "gyp" as in college servant is Cambridge, not Oxford. Certainly when I was there I was told that it derived from the original college servants being from local Gypsy families, but that might have been incorrect. It survives in the kitchens used by students being referred to as "gyp rooms".

"My back is giving me gyp" I would suspect came from a different origin altogether.

#359 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 01:18 PM:

#358: Same here. (I'm half Welsh, but that side of the family assimilated so perfectly and rapidly that there's was no cultural carry-over at all. "Grandpa came from Wales when he was a boy" is just about the some total of what I know.)

#360 ::: iamnothing ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 01:23 PM:

I'm tired.

Yesterday I had to get 3 teeth pulled and bled all over my shirt. I've been having trouble with Geek Squad service. It takes me 3 buses to get to Best Buy and I have to get a ride when carrying anything. They were supposed to copy the files from my old computer to my new computer but only copied some of them, which I didn't notice until I got the computers home. We took the computers back to get the work finished. Now I've been told that they refuse to do the work. Apparently a mother cockroach took up residence in the old computer.

I'm tired.

#361 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 01:53 PM:

iamnothing @360, What a thoroughly awful day.

{{hugs}} if welcome.

#362 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 01:53 PM:

iamnothing @360, What a thoroughly awful day.

{{hugs}} if welcome.

#363 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 02:05 PM:

I confess that my knee-jerk reaction (as a language history geek) to "false-friends" offense is "But ... but ... that's not what it means. Let me 'splain it all at you." Which, of course, is an even better reason to give careful consideration to using the words in question lest I add "...and I'm going to make fun of you for not being as literate as I am" to "Your subjective pain means nothing to me because you are Wrong ...."

We are the stories we tell. And choosing to tell a story about "Ha, ha, this word offends people because they're ignorant" can say a lot more about me than it does about the offended. (Please note that here I'm not talking about using the words in question, but about telling stories about using the words in question.

Let me digress a moment. One of my semi-professional hobbies is researching and writing about the history of personal names and naming practices. Bringing this up in social situations is a sure-fire way for everyone in the world to try to demonstrate that they know more about the topic than I do ... but that's not my current point. Almost invariably, when a casual conversation about modern baby-names goes on long enough, someone will launch into the topic of "Ha, ha, look at the stupid things that ignorant people have named their children." (The most classic example is "LaTrina", about which I could -- and probably someday will -- write essays.) There's always a strong streak of Othering: Those People are too ignorant to know what their kid's name really means.

I've finally given up on responding with nuanced linguistic discussions on these occasions and cut straight to, "Why is it important to you to tell this story? Regardless of the truth or falsity of the underlying story--" (which is always based on the personal experience of a Friend Of A Friend) "--why is it important to you to repeat it in this time and place? What are you trying to communicate? What social norms and values are you trying to reinforce? What group cohesion purpose does the story serve?"

And I try to remember those conversations any time I'm tempted to 'splain-away false-friends offense.

#364 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 02:14 PM:

I plunge deep into the word mines and come up with this, ahem, nugget: Stalin had a vision although it was one that affected people in a drastic way does not mean that he did not find himself in as an immoral person.

#365 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 02:24 PM:

Then, having survived the oddities of Stalinism, I encounter this:She [Emma Goldman] rejected the necessity of the State and contended that man does not need any kind of political structure or private property (as opposed to personal oppressions) in order to have a descent, healthy, and above all, free society.

It doesn't matter how many times I preach sermons about not relying on the spillchucker, it seems. The Freudian petticoat will appear.

#366 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 02:57 PM:

You can have my personal oppressions when you pry them from my cold...

...erm, ones I use or ones directed at me?

Oh, Fragano, I weep for you.

#367 ::: Mongoose ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 02:59 PM:

Heather Rose @ 363: ah, that reminds me. I keep seeing American first names like LaTrina: JaMichael, Te'Andrea, and I actually know someone called DaLinda. I was surprised to read somewhere recently that this was a "black thing", because DaLinda is white. I've always thought of it simply as an "American thing". Out of curiosity, do you know where and how it originated?

Fragano: I am becoming increasingly convinced that your students prefer to write their essays at 3 am, possibly in a highly illegal state of mind. It's the only explanation I can see for some of those sentences, especially that one about Stalin.

#368 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 03:19 PM:

Mongoose @367, I have no hard data, merely an impression gathered from living (as a white middle-class woman, so take this with a large lump of salt) in America, but I have a general feeling that the whole "black name" thing originated in the 1960s in America, when people like Malcolm X were throwing off their "slave names", and there was a certain amount of social support, at least in some circles, for parents to give their kids African names. Or at least names that weren't part of oppressive white society.

From the limited number of geneologies I've read, before the 1960s, black people (and white people!) in America generally passed down the same family names. After the 1960s it seems that people, especially but not exclusively black people, felt they had the right (and perhaps even the responsibility) to name their kids something socially relevant. Or at least something that they found personally pleasing, not just after their great-aunt Mabel or great-uncle Andrew.

(Looking over this paragraph, I'm now rather worried that I'm mangling things as badly as any of Fragano's students. But I shall hit "post" and take my lumps like a grownup.)

#369 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 03:36 PM:

There are also "Mormon names", some of which to me resemble stereotypical "black names". Then, too, I had a friend named Levon, who told me his perfectly ordinary traditional Armenian first name was often mistaken for a "black name".

#370 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 04:05 PM:

Some of the DaLinda phenomenon is related to the urge on the part of parents to name a kid after more than one person (or after a person of the opposite gender, whose name would be inappropriate if given straight): portmanteau names, as it were.

I say this as someone with a cousin named Dinette (pronounced DIN-ette, not DINE-ette as the furniture set is called on late-night commercials), because she was named after her two grandfathers: Dinny and Chet.

Dinette is white, of Polish and Irish extraction primarily, but many generations in the US.

#371 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 04:08 PM:

I should note that I've lost contact with Dinette (her parents moved away/out of our familial circles in the early 90s), but that with her very distinctive Polish last name and that first name she ought to be googlable. Googling turns up nothing, which implies to me that unless something tragic has occurred, she probably goes by her middle name now (which I don't recall). :->

#372 ::: iamnothing ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 04:23 PM:

Cassy B. @361 many thanks, At least I have medications for the inflammation. I can't get to Best Buy right now so they will have to wait.

#373 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 04:47 PM:

Heather Rose Jobes #293 - hurrah for fractal detail, it's fun working it out isn't it? That's a good way to use alchemy and magic and involve it more deeply in the world than many have done.

#374 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 05:26 PM:

Heather, I take your point on the stories. I have some soul-searching to do on that score.

About the actual false-friends offense, often the person with the correct information is just innocently using the word, with no idea that the pernicious folk etymology will make them look like some kind of jerk. The case of 'niggardly' is so well known (and so very easy to mishear) that people of good conscience should probably avoid it, but I don't think that applies to 'rag [on]'.

We don't excuse people when they ignorantly use racist terms, because facts matter. 'Gypsy' is a racist term. 'Gyp' apparently isn't a racist reference to the Rom, so we shouldn't castigate a person for using it...but, at the same time, it might be better not to, because it does SOUND like one.

We need some way to draw a line, or else we'll be in the grip of linguistic conspiracy theorists before long.

Did you know that the term 'hunk' (in the sense of "attractive man") is based on 'Hunky', an ethnic slur on Hungarians and other Central European immigrants, because of the idea that such people are good for nothing but...decoration? Well, no you didn't, because I just made it up*. People make up this sort of thing all the time, because many of them think anything that they make up about language must be true, because it's all a matter of opinion anyway, right?**

I'm all for being sensitive. I won't use 'niggardly' or 'gyp'. But 'rag' and 'hunk' are on the other side of the line, and I wish I could come up with criteria for determining where the line is, even if it's just "sounds too much like" or "x number of people believe."

And I categorically refuse to stop using 'rule of thumb' because some people (not, and this is key, a lot of people) mistakenly believe it has a misogynist origin. I learned a completely different folk etymology for that one (having to do with electromagnetism)!

*It's actually probably from a Flemish word meaning 'food', and unrelated to the ethnic slur.

**I'm capable of ranting about this for some time, but I'll stop there.

#375 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 05:39 PM:

Mongoose: I know one DeLinda, who is also white.

#376 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 05:40 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @ #351: That's where I am: "Mexican standoff" = standoff. I agree with the MAD notion, but can find it attested nowhere.

Lee @ #355: Bricks, according to Mencken, in the second supplement to The American Language.

#377 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 05:43 PM:

dcb wrote @ #358

"My back is giving me gyp" I would suspect came from a different origin altogether.

Of course it does (though I'm not quite sure where, nor is the OED); that was why I dropped it into the thread. Have a cigar^Wcocoa-dusted truffle (or six).

Moose now back to (what passes for) normal, Ibuprofen seems to have successfully beaten off the sciatica. Rejoicing is heard in the vicinity of local moose.

#378 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 05:49 PM:

Rob Hansen @ 346: "'And Then There Were None' is the book's *third* title. When the first was eventually deemed too offensive it was given a second...which in time was also deemed
too offensive."

Yes, Wikipedia noted that some American editions had yet a different name, though the chronology is a bit confused.

Mongoose @ 367: "ah, that reminds me. I keep seeing American first names like LaTrina: JaMichael, Te'Andrea, and I actually know someone called DaLinda. I was surprised to read somewhere recently that this was a "black thing", because DaLinda is white. I've always thought of it simply as an "American thing". Out of curiosity, do you know where and how it originated?"

I believe Cassy B has the right of it.


Another perspective on "black" names: On Having a Black Name

#379 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 06:29 PM:

Re: "Pyx" - I, and probably a few others, first encountered it in Neal Stephenson's _Baroque Cycle_ in the context of Trial of the Pyx.

Oh, and the _Dam Busters_ remake, now where did that one go... Wikipedia sez it got delayed by the making of _The Hobbit_, and the dog (and code word) will be called Digger.

#380 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 06:52 PM:

My impression (and it's only that) is that "ragging on" as in "scolding" has become intermingled with the associations of "on the rag." (See, e.g., -- I'm not quoting this as an authority, but as an example of someone making that connection.) "A rag" as in "a prank" hasn't. It's complicated.

#381 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 07:09 PM:

HRJ, #363: One of the names that frequently gets used now in those stories is "Trayvon", so I've started taking the approach of asking exactly how is that any weirder than "Trevor"? And I know I've previously mentioned a former (white) acquaintance who used to talk about having a "black name"... when her name was Denise. Yes, the French feminine form of "Dennis," a perfectly normal name in American culture since approximately forever. Apparently she thought that any name starting with "De" was "black".

But I like your approach. Call them out on their unexpressed assumptions, drag the cultural racism right out into the open where everyone can see it.

Theophylact, #376: Ah, from the Troubles. Okay, I can see that. Thank you, and I'll pass you in return one that I only learned in my late 30s: "Italian shower", meaning to spritz a perfume sprayer into the air and walk thru the falling droplets. (The person who told me this one was himself of Italian extraction.)

#382 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 07:25 PM:

#380 ::: HelenS


I've been keeping my dog out of this fight, but at least several dozen people I know regularly conflate rag/ragging/on the rag.

I wouldn't use the term for "tease" or "harass" due to its potential for the other connotation.

#383 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 08:52 PM:

Roy G. Ovrebo #379:

Neal Stephenson was where I first encountered "fractally weird", (Cryptonomicon).

#384 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 09:21 PM:

OK, sounds like I should probably avoid 'rag' as well.

In other news, I now know a good way to make a "gray-green greasy Limpopo." The strange fever tree awaits development.

I don't recommend it by any means.

#385 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 09:46 PM:

Chris @327: The story goes that when the tape was first rolled out, they made it with adhesive at the edges and none in the middle, so engineers or whoever referred to it, they called it "that Scotch tape," and the name stuck.

An old joke book I have includes whole sections of ethnic jokes (these were partially excised from later editions — they took out the section itself and put in something like beatnik jokes, but didn't notice how many ethnic jokes were in other sections), which provide a most illuminating look at the idyllic yesterday that some want us to return to, when you could have a sense o' humor, fer cryin' out loud. Anyway, it includes one that I consider a paragon of its kind for how quickly and easily it slags two groups (three, if you give the cops sufficiently annoying accents). I'll leave out the ethnicities:

A cop brings two guys in and tells the desk sergeant they're crazy. "They look sane to me," the sarge says. "What do you mean?"

"Well," says the cop, "This one here" (he indicates an ethnicity we've been talking about) "was standing on the curb, throwing dollar bills into the street."

"Go on."

"And this one" (indicating the other) "was pickin' 'em up and handin' em back to him."

I'm sure this one is still getting laffs somewhere, to this day.

#386 ::: mjfgates ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 10:23 PM:

Kip W@385: I'll leave out the ethnicities:

A guy, a guy, and a guy walk into a bar, and the bartender says, "Is this a less-offensive joke?"

#387 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 10:41 PM:

Well, Kip, that's a good example of a joke that's utterly dependent on ethnic stereotype. My evidence for this is that without the ethnicities, it's barely even recognizable as a joke.

#388 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 11:33 PM:

First guy: Scotch. Appointed role: insanely thrifty.
Second guy: Jew. Appointed role: undoubtedly guilty of everything.

Yeah, I should have signaled the second one better. Read in the light of these identities, the joke tells us: sure, these guys are cheap, but THOSE guys will rob you blind!

Using a process of my own, similar in many ways to folk etymology, I have pondered where stereotypes came from. I'm pretty sure that the best-known anti-black stereotypes are all responses to their circumstances. As slaves, they wouldn't work themselves to death fast enough to enrich the coffers of their owners — LAZY.

Anyway, this is somewhat distasteful to me, and I don't feel like continuing it now. In a nutshell, most (or all) of the stereotypes privileged whites have tend to reflect more badly on them than on their intended objects.

I think I'm heading off to bed.

#389 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 12:15 AM:

This seems like a good place to insert my personal test for "is this an offensive ethnic joke or not?" If it can be told as an Enormous State University* football player joke and it's still funny, it's probably okay. If not -- if it loses its punch without the ethnicity -- not so much.

* From Tank McNamara. Or insert your school rivalry of choice.

#390 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 12:55 AM:

Xopher Halftongue #384:

If I read you correctly, get well soon.

#391 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 02:09 AM:

On Craig Ferguson's show one time he looked at the two guests he had on and said:

"I've just realized; we're an Indian, a Scotsman, and a Jew. We should walk into a bar."

#392 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 04:51 AM:

Open thread: I'm not sure what to do with this*, but it seems like it may be relevant to someone's interests here.

And April 1st is still a few weeks away.

* Medieval rocket propelled cats. Possibly.

#393 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 05:51 AM:

Russ @392, your link is broken.

Lee @389, I grew up in Texas. There were a few jumprope rhymes and so forth that I learned as a child and now recognize as offensive, but all the jokes I remember were Aggie jokes. Although, come to think of it, I guess there's some residual class stuff going on there too with an implication of dumb hick farmers.

#394 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 08:06 AM:

"I've just realized; we're an Indian, a Scotsman, and a Jew. We should walk into a bar."

What, you think this is funny? This is all a joke?

#395 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 08:15 AM:

OtterB, 393: Aggie jokes are just repurposed Polish jokes. And when I went to France, I amazed my friends with my vast store of Belgian jokes...which were, in fact, Aggie jokes.

Here's my favorite Aggie joke: What do you call an Aggie five years after graduation? Boss.

#396 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 08:47 AM:

Niall@394: What, you think this is funny?

As it stands, yes I do because it uses the form without following through with offensive stereotypes. If the mention of ethnicities alone is now cause for offense, then the goalposts in modern fandom have moved so far that I'd better retire from this forum for my own safety until I can determine where those boundaries are.

#397 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 08:50 AM:

FWIW, I took Niall's comment to be a continuation of the joke, not an objection to it.

#398 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 09:27 AM:

Kip W #388: the joke tells us...

And if they're not fulfilling their assigned roles, then that makes them "crazy". I think we've seen that part over on the DFTs....

This is my first post from the new computer, on Windows! I've updated Windows and made the recovery disks, so the next big stage is the repartitioning and dual-boot setup.

I might try installing the Lightscribe software on this side first, but it seems that HP has dropped support for it, abandoning it to public archives... I just need to find a source I can trust, or try to vet the paid version their forum pointed me to.

#399 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 09:33 AM:

A thoat walks into a bar.
And comes out thru the back wall.

#400 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 09:37 AM:

How many Cardassians does it take to change a light bulb?
That depends on how many lights you see.

(Yes, I stole that one.)

#401 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 09:38 AM:

(seen on a t-shirt available from Signals)

The past, the present, and the future walk into a bar. It gets tense.

#402 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 09:50 AM:

Since knitting is still up on the masthead, I thought people might be interested in Mike Dickison's call not to knit sweaters for penguins. He says the idea is going viral again at the moment.

Mike is a knitter -- he teaches workshops called "Knitting for Blokes", to encourage men to try it. He's also a biologist, with a PhD in giant flightless birds. You might have seen his presentation on the taxonomy of Big Bird -- it's been on BoingBoing.

#403 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 10:13 AM:

thomas@402: Note the update at the end of the post: penguin-sized sweaters are currently still being solicited, but they'll be sold to support the programs, not for use on actual penguins.

#404 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 10:14 AM:

I can vouch for it having gone viral in the knitting world again. It keeps popping up on twitter, Ravelry, Pinterest, G+... Fortunately, there's also more awareness that it's not a real need, so people keep going round and commenting.

#406 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 10:49 AM:

The penguin sweaters showed up on Cute Overload yesterday, which may be why it's gone viral again. Although that may be result rather than cause.

#407 ::: Chris Meadows ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 11:00 AM:

"Dutch" is a fascinating word. According to Wikipedia, a lot of "Dutch such-and-such" insults trace their origin to 17th-century wars between England and the Netherlands. They've been in the language so long that most people don't even think about where they came from.

Funny thing is, the "Dutch oven" isn't actually among those. It was a form of cast-iron pot that was actually more advanced than anything the British had at the time, so the usage there seems to have been more akin to "fine German craftsmanship" than calling it ersatz.

#408 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 11:03 AM:

Mongoos @ 367 I keep seeing American first names like LaTrina: JaMichael, Te'Andrea, and I actually know someone called DaLinda. I was surprised to read somewhere recently that this was a "black thing", because DaLinda is white. I've always thought of it simply as an "American thing". Out of curiosity, do you know where and how it originated?

With the caveat that this is not a solidly-researched and properly-footnoted exploration of the topic, and that it comes more from a linguistic point of view than a sociological one ...

Based on the chronology of appearance and phonological structure of stereotypical "African-American names", I've been doing some initial data-crunching with regard to a particular "template" about which both speculation (and deep research -- which I haven't done yet) is possible. This is the template involving a short one-syllable (often CV-) prefix followed by a longer "stem" element. The prefix slot tends to be more restrictive in terms of options, both phonologically and with regard to the overall number of distinct elements that appear in it. The "stem" slot is much more varied, both in phonology and internal structure.

Looking at the initial (popular) names that carry this template (and especially ones where their elements were extremely productive in generating novel compounds), I postulate three linguistic sources that seem most likely as inspirations for both the format and content of names following this template:

1. Given names derived from French surnames that include a definite article (possibly associated with AA culture via cultural trends in French-influenced Louisiana???) such as LeRoy, LaVerne, etc.

2. Names inspired by either specific nouns or the general morphological structure of nouns in Swahili, which have an obligatory noun-classifier prefix that is highly similar in its phonological constraints to the pattern of prefixes in stereotypical AA name structure. (This fits with the time-frame of the popularity of Swahili as an exploration of African origins in the AA community.)

3. Phonological patterns (and to a lesser degree, entire name elements) drawn from popular Muslim names, again, adopted in the right time-frame for the popularity of Muslim-origin names in the AA community (whether by those adopting the religion or not).

I believe these sources and influences contributed both to the phonological shape of the name-template, and to a large part of the inventory of prefix elements used to generate novel compounds (e.g., La/Le, Sha, Ja, Da).

But as this name-template arose and the internal structure was deconstructed and re-formed to generate novel compounds, existing names came to be reanalyzed and reshaped in the clothing of the template despite having prior independent existence. Thus names such as the Irish Siobhan becomes phonologically/orthographically reanalyzed as ShaVonne, Michaela is reanalyzed as MaKayla, Denise as DaNeice. And similarly (as shown in the examples in the quote above) novel names are generated by adding popular prefixes from the existing pool to independent names, thus naturalizing them to the AA compound template.

The reanalysis issue and novel compounding are part of what makes talking about "name origins" so complex in today's baby-name community. A name like MaKayla doesn't have a single "correct" origin and meaning, and to understand the rich and multilayered cultural and personal "meaning" a name like that can have, one needs to explore and consider all the strands that came together to produce it.

#409 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 11:06 AM:

Me @ 408 --Mongoose, I'm so sorry for typoing your name! I guess it's one of those rules that when you're talking about name spellings you have to screw one up!

#410 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 11:47 AM:

Chris Meadows @407 Indeed. Since my nephew was born in Amsterdam I have had to become much sterner and more critical to fulfill my role as a Dutch uncle. [Puts on serious face]

#411 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 12:06 PM:

Carol Kimball #366: I am going to be explaining to my students that they will be getting my therapy bills. Including the airfare to and from Vienna first class.

Mongoose #367: I have little doubt that illegal substances were involved. Those students who came to me for help did so on the morning of the day the essays were due. There's only so much I can do for students who give themselves just a couple of hours to revise.

#412 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 12:39 PM:

Mongoose @ 367, Heather Rose-Jones @ 408

A mish-mash of theorizing and observation on names. Those "stereotypically African-American names" look like names in Appalachia (which is almost entirely white), which also tend to be compound names. One of my pet theories is that African-American culture is a Southern culture, and has the typical Southern mixture/conflict between those aligned with the English aristocracy (the "respectable" establishment people--think Governor Wilder) and those aligned with the protestant Scots and Scots-Irish (the "rednecks"). And so another piece of the story is probably that some African-American names were compounds, and so the factors 2 and 3 had an easier time taking hold.

A side note--I really dislike the "football player" jokes; they are among the stereotype jokes I find most objectionable, because they're about how ethnicity X (almost always one for whom the joke-teller's language and diction are not a mother tongue) is stupid. I look stupid if I try to communicate in French. (V svaq "Fpbgf ner fgvatl" n yrff bowrpgvbanoyr fgrerbglcr guna "Cbyrf ner fghcvq".)

#413 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 12:42 PM:

dotless i: Thanks. That update is newer than my posting (or at least my reading with intent to post).

#414 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 12:45 PM:

Heather Rose Jones, sorry about the typo in your name. It must be a very specific instantiation of Titivillus.

#415 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 01:15 PM:

The catalog of Dutch stereotypes was ably explored in a National Lampoon parody of "Americans United to Beat the Dutch" back around '73-4, where the unreasoning hatred of Jews was transferred to the sinister Gouda eaters with just as much logic. "And who knows WHAT they're cooking in those ovens?"

Dutch uncle, Dutch treat, and of course "beat the Dutch" all got used. They missed "Dutched" chocolate, though — the procedure by which Borax (or alkali) is used to extend the amount of product a manufacturer can get from a fixed amount of cocoa powder, at the expense of a slightly peculiar taste. I'm not sure if one still sees dutched chocolate as an ingredient, or if they just say "chocolate treated with alkali" (sounds better than Borax, anyway!). I don't know if the products I see advertised as Dutch chocolate (such as some kinds of cocoa) are referring to this or actual cocoa products of Netherlandish extraction.

At any rate, "Dutched" seems to have been another derogatory term for a process that cheapened the product to extend it.

We used to get Flicks at a candy shop in my town. I wouldn't mind having another tube of those now, to see if they're as good as I remember. Dröste Pastilles were/are Dutch as well, aren't they?

Must stop now. Drooling.

#416 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 01:17 PM:

ps: Can anyone recommend a good ROT-13 extension for Safari? I miss highlighting and right-clicking, and am bloody sick and tired of copying the text and going somewhere else to look at it. Ta.

#417 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 01:28 PM:

Russ (392/405): Reinvented during World War II as the bat bomb.

#418 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 01:35 PM:

Kip W@415: I don't know if the products I see advertised as Dutch chocolate (such as some kinds of cocoa)

"Dutch process" cocoa still seems to mean that it's been treated as you describe, as far as I can tell. Given that the process seems to have been invented by a Dutch chocolatier and chemist, though, I don't know whether or not it had a derogatory connotation.

#419 ::: Mongoose ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 01:36 PM:

Many thanks to everyone who replied to the question about names; that was very interesting, and yet another wonderful example of things being more complex than I'd originally thought. I always enjoy that.

HLN: local herpestid has now finished their first piece of paid proofreading, and... oh my. Fragano, when you go for that therapy, do you mind if I join you?

#420 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 01:36 PM:

Dutching chocolate actually makes it easier to use in some ways - lower pH, milder flavor, more soluble. (Some recipes call for it specifically.)
The process was invented by a Dutch chocolate maker, so it isn't actually derogatory.

#421 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 01:41 PM:

re 415: The Dutch process is actually Dutch. Hershey's Special Dark cocoa is partly dutched, and they used to sell straight dutched coca.

#422 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 02:03 PM:

Open threadiness: very cool whole-book-on-a-page posters

#423 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 02:05 PM:

I thought that Dutch process chocolate was named after a guy named Dutch, much like German Chocolate Cake is named after Sam German. I guess I learn something every day.

(Actually, I learn a lot of things. Today I also learned what arancini is, and that sunflower seeds can be hard to distinguish from barley or pine nuts in a soup. Why, yes, I did just get back from lunch.)

#424 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 02:27 PM:

I've just fallen into participation in the time-suck that is Quora (crowdsourcing answer and discussion site … I think) and I want to repost here something I wrote … and then noticed myself writing … in answer to a querent. All content that is not mine below, is paraphrased, because I Do Not Own It.

Original question, roughly: what's a semicolon for, when do you use it.
One answer, summarized: it's used rarely and only for academic purposes. I think it looks pompous.

My comment to that answer, verbatim:

It depends on who you know; I tend to use semicolons a lot (but then, I also speak in nested parantheticals out loud).

I wish I had had to make that sentence up on purpose as an example, but it honestly is what most naturally flowed out as an answer. Which is sort of an example in itself. :-> I blame reading an awful lot of books as a kid, especially books with fairly complicated sentences; it made me imprint upon the structure as one that was just normal and ordinary, so now that's how I speak and write.

#425 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 02:48 PM:

Soon Lee 390: Actually it was a disastrous failure of a cooking experiment. Having eaten it anyway, however, I am now in need of your good wish for my health, so nothing is wasted! Thank you.

P J 420: lower pH Higher pH, right? More alkaline (neutral as opposed to acid in ordinary cocoa)? Or am I confused?

I tried using the Hershey's Special Dark for my brownies at one point. Didn't like the result. The flavor was weird, though they rose OK (the recipe uses baking powder, so the lack of acid wasn't an issue).

#426 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 02:58 PM:

I used Hershey's special-dark cocoa in chocolate banana bread. I was happy with the result, although I didn't do a control batch with the other kind.

#427 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 03:00 PM:

Probably should be higher pH. Brain loss?
I wouldn't use Hershey's chocolate bars for baking. Ghirardelli makes one that's more suitable.

#428 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 03:02 PM:

Baker's chocolate is named for the guy that started the company.

#429 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 03:10 PM:

SamChevre, #412: A side note--I really dislike the "football player" jokes; they are among the stereotype jokes I find most objectionable, because they're about how ethnicity X (almost always one for whom the joke-teller's language and diction are not a mother tongue) is stupid.

I seriously don't see how you're getting from your proposition to your conclusion there. Could you unpack that a bit more? For me, recasting ethnic jokes as football-player jokes is primarily a way to remove stereotyping, because you see all kinds of ethnicities on a football (or, for that matter, any other USA sports) team.

C. Wingate, #421: Are you sure that's still the case? Somewhere between 15 and 25 years ago there was a very distinct change in the flavor of Hershey's Special Dark, which I interpreted as "they changed their formula to something cheaper," and it has never been as good since. More recently there's been another change, and Special Dark has now moved off my list of chocolate which is acceptable for personal consumption.

#430 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 03:30 PM:

Lee @ 429

Your library of football-player jokes may be very different from mine. The ones I've heard have almost all been the same sort of jokes as the ones my grandfather told about "Polacks", and the French told about the Belgians, and are almost all in the "the person who was too stupid to _ " form. It's that assumption of stupidity that I dislike.

I'd have no problem with jokes that work for "generic non-stereotyped group"; if that's what you were getting at, I misunderstood you.

#431 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 03:49 PM:

Lee #429: I think I see where SamChevre is coming from (although it took your post for me to see it).

SamChevre takes particular offence to jokes which stereotype an ethnic group as stupid. He is less upset by jokes which target Scots as stingy than jokes which target Poles as stupid, for instance.

Yet the majority of successful "swap football player for ethnicity" jokes work *because* the stereotype is stupidity. It is hard for the joke to work with other stereotypes.

What's the definition of heaven? In heaven, they have Blue Devils for cooks, Aggies for police, and Bruins for engineers. What's the definition of hell? In hell, they have Aggies for cooks, Bruins for police and Blue Devils for engineers.

That joke makes no sense, because it's stripped of the ethnicities that go with the stereotypes. There is no stereotype that the Texas A&M football team is made of good police who are bad at cooking. It barely makes sense to suggest the point.

So the jokes which get remade into football team jokes are ones which use a "generic stereotype" (as much as that seems to be a contradiction in terms), of which stupidity is probably the most common. An ethnic joke recast to a football player joke is more likely be a stupidity joke than any other ethnic stereotype.

But that's exactly the kind of joke SamChevre finds most objectionable.

I hope I'm interpreting SamChevre correctly, and I'm hoping stepping in like this isn't objectionable.

#432 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 03:49 PM:

Poles tell Russian jokes. (I worked with one.)

#433 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 03:52 PM:

Lee #429: I think I see where SamChevre is coming from (although it took your post for me to see it).

SamChevre takes particular offence to jokes which stereotype an ethnic group as stupid. He is less upset by jokes which target Scots as stingy than jokes which target Poles as stupid, for instance.

Yet the majority of successful "swap football player for ethnicity" jokes work *because* the stereotype is stupidity. It is hard for the joke to work with other stereotypes.

What's the definition of heaven? In heaven, they have Blue Devils for cooks, Aggies for police, and Bruins for engineers. What's the definition of hell? In hell, they have Aggies for cooks, Bruins for police and Blue Devils for engineers.

That joke makes no sense, because it's stripped of the ethnicities that go with the stereotypes. There is no stereotype that the Texas A&M football team is made of good police who are bad at cooking. It barely makes sense to suggest the point.

So the jokes which get remade into football team jokes are ones which use a "generic stereotype" (as much as that seems to be a contradiction in terms), of which stupidity is probably the most common. An ethnic joke recast to a football player joke is more likely be a stupidity joke than any other ethnic stereotype.

But that's exactly the kind of joke SamChevre finds most objectionable.

I hope I'm interpreting SamChevre correctly, and I'm hoping stepping in like this isn't objectionable.

#434 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 03:55 PM:

Hmm, I got a "too many postings in too short a time" error message after hitting "post" to the first copy. That seemed weird, so I hit "post" again. And this time, it appeared to go through.

I didn't think I was posting too fast.

#435 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 03:58 PM:

When I was a kid, I had a children's joke book that told all the stupid-person jokes using "Silly Billy" as the stupid person. Isaac Asimov used "Ruritanian" in his Treasury of Humor.

P J 427: Hershey's Cocoa is the only Hershey's product I will use (or eat). Their chocolate bars (and kisses etc.) taste horrible to me. I think it's palm oil or something. Vile, vile flavor. I don't know if I'm just a snob or if I taste something other people don't.

I use Ghirardelli chocolate chips in my brownies. I will use them in anything that calls for chocolate chips, if it's a hand-mixed recipe. They cause problems in my mixer though, because they're too big.

#436 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 04:01 PM:

Buddha Buck @ 433

You are correct; thanks.

#437 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 04:10 PM:

re 428: I got it from their website shortly before I typed that. I have to say that I don't see the point of emulsifiers in cocoa, but then I haven't had a can to read the side of today in any case.

#438 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 04:15 PM:

Okay, I'll start the long process of wrapping my brain around the reality of Dutch chocolate. I can make no guarantees.

Still looking for a ROT-13 extension for Safari, though.

#439 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 04:47 PM:

Xopher Halftongue @ 435: My favorite semisweet chocolate chip is Guittard. On the west coast, they're available at Safeway. Keeping my fingers crossed that I'll be able to find them in a grocery store in Pittsburgh.

#440 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 04:50 PM:

Never heard of it, janetl. Dunno about Pittsburg, but that brand has never appeared in my conscious mind in NJ/NY.

#441 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 05:13 PM:

The King Arthur website carries a variety of Guittard chocolate chips, so as long as I plan ahead and get deliveries before the summer weather starts, I'll be fine.

#442 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 05:20 PM:

Xopher Halftongue #425:

Ha, the perils of an overly-active imagination. Good health wishes all round.

My go-to chocolate is local: Whittaker's (New Zealand) does "bean-to-bar" chocolate production. They have always been good but gained significant market-share during the Cadbury fiasco.

Cadbury made a stealth price increase, marketed as new packaging: less chocolate for the same price (like people wouldn't notice). They also changed their recipe to use palm oil. This practice has since stopped but not before consumer backlash that saw them lose marketshare to Whittaker's which they've not managed to claw back.

Whittaker's tagline, "Good honest chocolate" with accompanying ads (youtube) didn't hurt either.

#443 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 05:51 PM:

Buddha Buck, #433: There's still a disconnect here, and it has to do with SamChevre saying that such jokes are "almost always [about an ethnicity] for whom the joke-teller's language and diction are not a mother tongue". This is assuredly not true of most USA football players!

Your illustration is precisely the sort of joke which would flunk my test, because (as you note) when stripped of its ethnicities, it loses its punch; therefore, offensive ethnic joke.

#444 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 05:53 PM:

Kip W @416: Kate Nepveu has a Javascript bookmarklet which you can get from her website on this page. To my certain knowledge it works in Safari.

Xopher Halftongue @435: I find that Guittard chocolate is superior to Ghirardelli in almost every way. (I use their chocolate chips when I make the Black Hole Brownies of Death.)

#445 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 05:54 PM:

Internal server error; trying to shake the post loose.

#446 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 05:59 PM:

David, are there exceptions other than "probably unavailable in Xopher's area"?

#447 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 06:19 PM:

If Ghirardelli is the best chocolate chips you can readily get, by all means use the Ghirardelli. I certainly didn't intend to suggest otherwise. I just thought you might not have ever tried Guittard.

#448 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 06:45 PM:

I've only ever seen Guittard in terms of gourmet or chocolatier coverture, not as something that's available in the grocery store.

Ghiradelli, on the other hand, is easily available, at least on the left coast. And I'm liking their 60% bittersweet right now.

#449 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 07:28 PM:

HLN: Local human asks if an academic they admire would, based on a recent set of tweets, appreciate the existence of an electronic copy* of their book re-engineered to have footnotes instead of endnotes, and says they may have converted the first chapter as proof-of-concept. Academic's only response is "Cool!" Human muses that at least they were enthusiastic, if not precisely helpful.

Relatedly, local human wonders if there is a better process than "copy it all into LaTeX and do the footnote insertions manually," given that they only have access to a PDF (very decently OCR'd).

*Academic has stated that he ensures his books are available for free, so local human was fairly sure he would not be bothered by that aspect.

chocolate: I liked Guylian when I could get it dark, and am very sad that their bars seem to only be available in sugar-free these days.

#450 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 08:00 PM:

I've seen Guittard chocolate chips in grocery stores in both the SF Bay Area and in Houston. I had sort of assumed they were generally available.

#451 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 08:37 PM:

An addition to the "ethnic" list:

Italian tune-up.

Here in the USA, what with the low speed limits and the high dollar value of Italian sports cars, such cars (and other high-strung sports cars from many makers from many countries) don't get driven much and, when they do, don't get driven hard/fast. Such cars were meant to be driven hard, or at least driven often. When they sit a lot, and, when driven, poke along at well under their capabilities (and thus well off their efficiency curves) the engines, linkages, etc. tend to "gunk up". This leads to rough running, smoky exhaust, etc. and the owner brings it in for a tune up. Generally, all the car needs is a good flogging on the interstate. I had a boss tell me to take the MG I just set the idle/balance on (by ear, listening to the hissing of the two carbs at idle via a hose) out and make sure I rev it up good and hard through all the gears, for about 5-10 miles or so. That MG sounded great after I got back, idling very nicely indeed.

So, Italian tune-up: to take the car out and drive it really hard for a while. Not sure if it is based on assumed stereotypical driving habits of Italians or based on the propensity of under-driven Italian sports cars to respond well to being flogged on the freeway or twisty back roads for a while.

#452 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 08:55 PM:

David @444: Thanks, man.

Posting for what I believe is the third time. First time I posted, bookmarked, went away, but bookmark wasn't updated, so who knows? Second time it was error message.

And here I thought it was just 57: CREEPING SENILITY ERROR

#453 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 09:32 PM:

There are Guittard chocolate chips on grocery store shelves in the Twin Cities too, but possibly only if the grocery stores are Lunds/Byerly's. (And yeah, they beat the heck out of Ghirardelli.)

#454 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2014, 12:25 AM:

Perhaps the most blatant example of Football Player Joke I've run across is this one:

Q. How did the $TEAM1 win the war against the $TEAM2?

A. Took the pins out of the grenades and threw them back.

SamChevre: do the Team Stupid jokes remain offensive in your sight if they ARE told with sports teams substituted for ethnicities?

#455 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2014, 01:33 AM:

David, I wasn't being sarcastic. You said "almost" all respects. I've never seen them, which means "harder to get" is one of the exceptions (for me), and I was wondering if there were others. For example, are they a lot more expensive, or an odd size, or anything like that?

#456 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2014, 01:39 AM:

I use Guittard chips in my fudge-making. Along with other brands, if I can find them at a good price. Look at the dead soldiers from my fudge-recipe Flickr set!

Guittard has several varieties of chip. Mint, butterscotch, vanilla. I've noticed that some of these do not melt properly. They melt mind you, but into a rubbery or crumbly sort of texture rather than a smooth one suitable for making fudge.

This is also true of some "chocolate" chips; they exude oil and crumble. Kirkland's house brand chips do that.

When in doubt, I use Nestle's chips for fudge.

Guittard chips, FWIW, are huge! Nice and blocky. Probably great for cookies and such.

#457 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2014, 03:02 AM:

Xopher: To tell you the truth, I had trouble parsing just what you meant by "exceptions". I don't recall exact prices at my local store offhand, but I believe the two are pretty comparable. My "almost" was basically just reflexive weaseling, in case anyone piped up with some quality that Ghirardelli was much better in.

#458 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2014, 03:48 AM:

I'm trying to chase down the modern name and incarnation, if any, of the following recipes from Science in the Kitchen by E.E. Kellogg:

Cream Crisps.—Make a dough of one cupful of thin cream, and a little more than three cups of Graham flour. Knead until smooth, then divide the dough into several pieces, and place in a dish on ice for an hour, or until ice cold. Roll each piece separately and quickly as thin as brown paper. Cut with a knife into squares, prick with a fork, and bake on perforated tins, until lightly browned on both sides.

Cream Crisps No. 2.—Into two and one half cups of cold cream or rich milk, sprinkle slowly with the hands, beating meanwhile to incorporate air, four cups of best Graham flour, sifted with one half cup of granulated sugar. Add flour to knead; about two and one fourth cups will be required. When well kneaded, divide into several portions, roll each as thin as a knife blade, cut into squares, prick well with a fork, and bake.

I've managed to identify her "puffs" as American muffins (beaten, not leavened) and her "breakfast rolls" appear to be beaten biscuits (again, American style). But what are crisps? Some type of cracker? Do people still eat them?

#459 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2014, 03:56 AM:

David, that's actually a very sensible approach, given that we live in a world where, if you say "better in every respect," some fool will jump in and say "in every respect? You mean even the grammar on the package was better?"

Sorry for the confusion, which was entirely my fault.

#460 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2014, 08:33 AM:

Jenny Islander:458: perhaps I'm just over-keying on the name (and they do actually contain cream), but I'm wondering if those are wafers such as might be interleaved with a cream/sugar filling.

#461 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2014, 08:39 AM:

Xopher Halftongue@459: some fool will jump in and say "in every respect? You mean even the grammar on the package was better?"

Now I have a strong urge to compare the packaging, just to check.

Guittard shows up in Whole Foods stores in MA, but I haven't checked down in NY/NJ. Also, as previously mentioned, it's available through the King Arthur "Buy everything! Lots of everything! Except maybe that couple of silly gadgets, and I don't need those mixes.... but everything else!" catalog.

#462 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2014, 09:42 AM:

Jenny Islander @ 458

Cream Crisps No. 2 look like a close relative of the cracker we have called Wheat Thins.

I'm curious by what you mean by breakfast muffins that are beaten, not leavened--you mean it rises from beaten-in air, like a cake?

#463 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2014, 09:58 AM:

Jenny Islander @458 -- the second recipe sounds like a homemade graham cracker.

#464 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2014, 11:25 AM:

Debbie @ 463

I initially thought "graham cracker" as well, but graham crackers are much thicker and have no gluten development. (They crumble rather than breaking cleanly.)

On jokes--you all are making me think about "exactly what bothers me." I know part of it is I find "bad" stereotypes (stupid, greedy, malicious) more problematic than "different" stereotypes (very organized, love food, wave hands when talking). More when I have thought more clearly.

#465 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2014, 12:20 PM:

@David Harmon no. 460: E.E. Kellogg didn't like very sweet foods, so these were probably not filled. There isn't any mention of a filling or topping for them in her book.

@SamChevre no. 462: It's possible that they are related to Wheat Thins. Wheat Thins are made from whole wheat flour, cornstarch (presumably to improve handling), oil, sweeteners, salt, and leaven. Kellogg thought that heating butter made it unhealthful, she only used oil for greasing cooking dishes, and she didn't like leavened foods, so maybe this is a kind of whole wheat cracker that's been Kelloggized.

Re the beaten muffins, she really didn't like leaven. Her "puffs" contain the same basic ingredients as the plain muffins in my Joy of Cooking, except that there is no leaven and the fat is provided by cream. The basic method is to separate an egg, beat the yolk with the wet ingredients until foamy, then beat in the dry ingredients little by little until full of bubbles, and finally add the stiffly beaten egg white.

#466 ::: Bayone ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2014, 12:23 PM:

Last night I started wondering if there *are* jokes based on ethnicity without putting down the group in question, and the following *might* pass muster, since it's based on (mid-20th century) differences between American and British English:
An English tourist visits a food-processing plant in the US, and at the end of the tour, the guide says "So as you can see, we waste nothing -- we eat all we can, and what we can't, we can." Everyone else laughs. Later, in a taxi, the Englishman gets the joke and starts laughing. The driver looks at him in surprise, so he repeats the joke to him: "We eat all we're able to, and what we aren't, we tin."


#467 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2014, 12:26 PM:

All this talk of Dutch chocolate is reminding me of the Droste effect. My family actually did used to have one of those tins (and at one time, the cocoa that came in it).

#468 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2014, 12:41 PM:

Re: The change in Hershey's chocolate --

They've stopped using Vanilla, instead they use "vanillin" which, I am told, is an artificial flavoring.

The only chocolates I have found that still use vanilla are made by Bloomers and Lake Champlain.

#469 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2014, 12:54 PM:

Another possibly-good ethnic joke although it teeters on categorizing the numerous ones as stupid (I changed it when I told it decades ago so don't remember the original categories).

There's a horde on one side of the Suez canal and two Israeli soldiers jumping up and down yelling yada yada and making rude gestures.

Finally many of the guys on the other side swarm across. A great cloud of dust arises. When it settles, the two Israelis are still there taunting. A survivor is fished out of the canal. "They lied. There are three of them."

Also this one, from WWI.
An intrepid Allied soldier (take your pick) bravely goes out every day and returns with a German tank. Finally he confesses to his buddy that he's got a pal on the other side, and they're simply swapping.

Was that joke book rather tall and narrow, with green and black print on white? I had it, too. They had categories I'd never run across, like Hungarians.

I'm also remembering a story told from POV of a stringer covering the largely-not-very-interesting-anymore aliens arriving, who's stuck in a hot, humid motel where the newsmen entertain each other telling ethnic jokes with the aliens plugged in. At the end he remarks wryly to the guy cleaning the pool that not much really has changed. The guy quietly says, "for some of us, it has".

#470 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2014, 01:02 PM:

The Cooks Illustrated folks have run several tests of natural vanilla extracts and artificial vanillin preparations, and found that they simply could not tell the difference in baking.

If there are differences (e.g. extra molecules in the natural extract over and above the vanillin molecule), they seem to be baked off by heating. Same may apply to chocolate-making as well.

#471 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2014, 01:22 PM:

All this talk of chocolate gave me a craving yesterday, so I stopped by Kroger and picked up some vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup. They had something I've never tried before - Torani Dark Chocolate Sauce. I think it's killer. It's supposed to be like the chocolate sauce used in making mochas, and I tried it in my morning coffee and it's great.

#472 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2014, 02:07 PM:

Another one that turns on language (can't recall where I encountered it, could even have been here):

A tourist in a cafe in Paris finds a fly in his soup. He calls the waiter over, points to the fly and says "Il y a un mouche dans ma soupe." The waiter corrects him "Une mouche."
"Wow," says the visitor, "you must have really good eyesight."

#473 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2014, 03:04 PM:

Another good non-insulting ethnic joke:

A Polish airline started having planes crash. The pilots would report instability, increasing until they lost control and the plane went down. The government grounded all the planes of that type. A young electrical engineer showed up at their offices and said 'I can fix it: I know what the problem is.' They laughed at him, but he came back, and finally they agreed to one flight. The passengers get on, and as the plane taxis out to the runway, the engineer stands up and says 'All the foreigners, sit on the right side, and everyone else, on the left.' People change seats, and settle down. Perfect takeoff, smooth flight, perfect landing, and everyone rushes up to ask what he did.
'It's simple: Poles in the right half-plane cause instability.'

#474 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2014, 03:07 PM:

I suspect the differences are in the chocolate and its quality. Hershey's, in particular, seems to be sliding more into the 'chocolate-flavored' end.

#475 ::: iamnothing ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2014, 03:16 PM:

Carol Kimball @469 That sounds simliar to a Fred Pohl story "The Day After the Day the Martians Came".

#476 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2014, 04:03 PM:

iamnothing: that's it.

I've been dithering since this started planning on looking it up, and then realized ML is full of people who'd know immediately.

#477 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2014, 04:16 PM:

P J Evans, #473: That's not an ethnic joke at all, it's a pun. The closest it gets to being an ethnic joke is that it makes you think it's going to be one. Which, incidentally, is a category of joke I enjoy -- those that appear to be going in one direction and then veer off into something totally different.

Q. Why do mice have small balls?
A. Because most of them don't know how to dance.

#478 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2014, 04:45 PM:

The Spanish news; a piece of Spanish news.

But I have a piece of Spanish news for Gooper. The Flynns never had a thing in this world but money and they lost that, they were nothing at all but fairly successful climbers. Margaret (Maggie the Cat) in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

#479 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2014, 04:52 PM:

Gershon Legman, in Rationale of the Dirty Joke offers the theory (as fact, of course) that punch lines are largely irrelevant, and that they are told for the sake of the setup. He may have been referring only to dirty jokes. Many jokes set up something and veer away from it at the last — Legman says the purpose of the joke was the implied part, not the escape from it.

#480 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2014, 04:58 PM:

Lee @ #477:

Q. What do you with an elephant that's got three balls on him?
A. Walk him and pitch to the giraffe.

Originally heard from an author talking about the poor unfortunate translator of his story having to cope with that joke.

#481 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2014, 06:19 PM:

Now posting from dual-booted Linux! Still need to merge in my data from the prior machine.

Now that I've tested it, this is the instruction set I used, specifically for dual-booting Ubuntu 12.04 with Windows 7. The only flaw I saw was that at the end, EasyBCD didn't actually autodetect the boot drive as the images suggested, I had to explicitly choose from the drop-down list. Also, your choice of OS is via the Windows boot loader, rather than the Linux one.

This site seems to have a lot of very specific tutorials along the above lines: there's a separate tutorial for doing the above with 2 separate drives. (I may yet switch over to separate drives....)

#482 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2014, 06:56 PM:

I was browsing through "League of Denial" on the new non-fiction shelf at the library this morning, and it occurred to me that jokes based on "stupid football player" stereotypes aren't as funny to me as they used to be.

#483 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2014, 07:15 PM:

I broke up the Polish co-worker, back around 1991, with 'What flies and glows in the dark?' ('Chicken Kiev'.)

#484 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2014, 07:42 PM:

I get a few chuckles from X-men's Magneto being a Pole.

#485 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2014, 08:58 PM:

HLN: local couple finally sees "Frozen" and greatly enjoys it. Couple wishes to thank the Academy for the awards that presumably resulted in local theaters showing the movie in the evening again for a while.

I remember there being some discussion of the film here when it came out (including, I thought, some rot13 notes I skipped to avoid spoilers) but I couldn't find much when I looked just now. Regardless, we really liked how nicely it subverted a bunch of standard Disney princess tropes (although clearly not everything; and replacing "gur tbbq zbgure qvrf" with "gur tbbq cneragf qvr" isn't as much of a fix to that trope as I might have hoped for).

#486 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2014, 09:08 PM:

dotless ı: There's some good discussion out there if you google for "Frozen feminist". Also, Ursula Vernon liked it.

#487 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2014, 10:09 PM:

Xopher Halftongue @459: Seeing as I often am one of those fools, my consciousness of them is particularly keen. Anyway, it's just a thing with me that I tend to avoid absolute statements unless I'm really sure about something.

#488 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2014, 11:07 PM:

Dotless i, I walk by our local theatre twice a week. I've been checking the posters every time to see if Frozen is still there. As of Tuesday, yes. It makes me so happy.

#489 ::: sara_k ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2014, 11:15 PM:

Guittard chips are available at Safeway in Maryland.

#490 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 12:32 AM:

Sarah at #472

"Look! There goes a ladybug."
"You've got sharp eyes."

(I am told they wouldn't let Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy make that joke on the air)

#491 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 12:45 AM:

Anybody who wants an intense chocolate flavor, try Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips. They were formulated to exclude most major allergens. As a result, they contain nothing but chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, and sugar and they--are--awesome! I am a confirmed chocoholic and I have to reduce the amount called for in a recipe by a third when using Enjoy Life chips or it's too much chocolate.

A warning though: Not cheap. At all.

#492 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 01:06 AM:

And also: I like ethnic jokes where the butt gets his own back, like this one:

An Englishman with a very high opinion of himself goes up to the bar at a pub in Ireland and says to the man next to him, "You know why I can't stand Irishmen? Because you're all so ignorant and apathetic. Do you even know what that means?"

The Irishman looks down at the bottom of his glass and drawls, "I don't know and I don't care."

I also like the one in Crocodile Dundee where the American woman is setting up to take a photo of a group of Aborigines and they suddenly look flustered and worried. "Oh, I'm sorry," she coos, "I forgot. You think this would steal your soul, don't you?"

"No," says one of the Aboriginal men. "We just wanted to warn you that you left the lens cap on."

#493 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 01:48 AM:

This is clearly a group of people that takes chocolate very seriously. As we should.

#494 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 04:06 AM:

Went to small potluck tonight. The four offerings from guests were:
- Darn Good Chocolate Cake (Bundt cake recipe from "Chocolate from the Cake Mix Doctor" by Anne Byrn)
- A chocolate cake from a good bakery
- Chocolate covered cherries
- A salad

Fortunately, the hosts had the meal well covered without what the guests brought.

#495 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 09:13 AM:

I've added a bit to the original post here, addressing the concerns that were expressed when I first posted it. I apologize, both for this apology being needed and for the time it's taken to post it.

The grey days of late winter are not my best time. When I saw that we needed a new Open Thread, I was really stuck for anything to say. And when what I did post wasn't good enough, I first became defensive, then basically retreated from the entire situation. Now that the sun is out, it's easier for me to come back and own my mistakes.

Nevertheless, I am sorry that it's taken so long to do so. And that it was necessary at all. This community deserves better from me.

#496 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 10:00 AM:

abi @ 495... This community deserves better from me

This community is lucky to have you.

#497 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 10:45 AM:

abi, that's a pretty harsh act of contrition you've imposed on yourself, and a very severe round of self-castigation.

Given that your original sin stems from the the inability to say everything there is to say in a small number of words, I would not be so hard on you as you are being on yourself.

Some omissions are erasures. Some omissions are not. The crimes of humanity are endless, and every finite list of victims will omit some of them. Our options are saying partial things, or saying nothing at all.

So be of good cheer.

#498 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 10:57 AM:

There's also the classic joke of the explorer in a tight spot who decides the only way out is to pull out his Zippo lighter and play Fire God. The natives are duly impressed: "Wow! How do you get it to light the first time? That must cost a mint!"

(Bic lighters have made this largely anachronistic.)

#499 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 11:26 AM:

abi #495: I think you're being unnecessarily harsh on yourself. Oldster's response is definitely to the point, and I concur with it. As is Serge's, with which I also concur.

#500 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 12:27 PM:

@Xopher: Hershey's is weird chocolate. There's a wonderful book called "The Emperors of Chocolate." I don't want to take the good stories and mangle them, but something in the way Hershey's first machine made chocolate changed the taste, in a nearly irreproducible way. When he expanded the operation, they had to take the machine apart, measure all the parts and reproduce it EXACTLY.

As a kid, I liked chocolate but not really candy bars; never really thought about it till I read that book. Turns out most of the candy bars I had as a kid were Hershey.

#501 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 12:32 PM:

I only know one Aussie ethnic joke, apart from the Monty Python ones from the Woollongong University Philosophy department sketch.

Scene, trenches WWI.

English officer: Ah, an Orstrailian. Tell me, er, diggah, have you come here to die?

Australian private: No, mite, I come here yesterdie.

Actually, I'm not entirely sure it's one on the Australian. But Captain Mainwaring thought so.

#502 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 12:36 PM:

Speaking like an Aussie: Say "rise up lights". That's "razor blades".

#503 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 12:38 PM:

Ethnic jokes: I think "war jokes" are a mostly-separate category. I'm not sure why. Maybe because I feel that if you can't make jokes about people who are actively trying to shoot you, who CAN you make jokes about? ["When the British shoot, the Germans duck. When the Germans shoot, the British duck. When the Americans shoot, EVERYBODY ducks." Thought I heard that here, but don't see it in Google.]

#504 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 12:55 PM:

Dave Luckett #501: The only Aussie ethnic joke I know is the one about the English writer who was on a promotional tour of Oz and who was approached by a lady holding a copy of one of her books who said 'Emma Chisit'. Quick as a flash, the writer autographed the book 'To Emma Chisit' only to discover that the Australian woman had merely been enquiring about the price.

#505 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 01:19 PM:

I have a question that I hope some of you can help me with.

For years, I'd been using the RSS function of "My Yahoo" to collect and download my various podcasts, such as "This American Life" and "Thrilling Adventure Hour". There was a link one could click to download the mp3 file to one's computer (and in TAL's case, there were two; one for the promo, and one for the show).

The beginning of February, everyone's "My Yahoo" was auto-upgraded to their New! Improved! "My Yahoo" (now with Extra Themes and Colors!!). And my various podcasts no longer have handy download links. Instead, the links just open up the podcast's home page. And with things like "Ask Me Another", a public radio quiz show, that means I have no access to their "bonus" programs which don't show up on the homepage, just the RSS feed.

I've tried asking Yahoo, but there is quite literally no way to ask them anything about RSS feeds, or, for that matter, anything else that's not one of their pre-selected questions. Well, unless you're on Twitter or Facebook, and I'm not. You'd think you could use Yahoo's AIM, but, no, apparently not.

Help? I'm looking for some sort of RSS podcast collecting program, page, app, or plugin which will give me a link to download the actual mp3, the way "My Yahoo" used to. I'm using Linux and Iceweasel, and I'm not part of the Google ecology.

#506 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 01:48 PM:

Could someone explain the sharp eyes joke to me, please? I've googled and nothing's coming up but Redaer's Digest.

One of the only stereotype jokes I know is, "Where's the X at, asshole."

#507 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 01:52 PM:

Diatryma: the sharp eyes joke is saying that he knew it was a ladybug because he could see that the bug lacked external mammalian genitalia so it wasn't a "manbug". Yeah, it's suggesting arthropods are like mammals.

#508 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 01:53 PM:

Diatryma, #506: The implication is that the person can see the genitalia of the insect. Not that insects generally have identifiable external genitalia in the first place, or that it would look anything like a human's, but that's the joke.

#509 ::: Errolwi ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 02:21 PM:

Cally Soukup @505
What do you get if you direct your browser at the RSS Feed (e.g. ""). Using Firefox on Win7 doing that gives you the last 20-odd RSS entries, including downloadable links. Not particularly elegant, but workable in most cases.

#510 ::: Matt Austern ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 02:37 PM:

I've forgotten where you live, Xopher. I wonder whether it's that Guittard is unavailable in your local grocery stores, or if it's that you can get them locally and you never noticed them because you weren't looking for them.

Every so often I have the experience of finding some whole category that was right in front of me all the time but that my eye just passed over. One of my favorite examples is from when we were remodeling our kitchen, and the contractor asked us what color of grout we wanted for the tiles. Grout comes in different colors? Who knew? Well, now I do. Once you've seen something like that, you don't unsee it.

#511 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 02:46 PM:

Errolwi: It looks promising, thanks! It's not as convenient as having it all one one page, but at least it lets me get the bonus Ask Me Anothers and whatnot.

I guess I'll continue to use that joke of a My Yahoo rss page to see when new episodes drop, and then go to the individual podcast pages to download them.

#512 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 03:07 PM:

Cally #505, #511:

There are other RSS readers out there which you can try. I don't use Firefox that much myself (I use Chrome, mainly), but I did find a Firefox plugin called "microRSS" that purports to be an "Ultra compact, traditional RSS feed reader with Podcast downloader.". That sounds like what you want.

I use Newsblur myself, and what I see when I select a podcast feed (like the airplane geeks feed Errolwi used as an example) is the description bundled with the RSS entry (which can be full HTML and is often a copy of the page), an audio player, and a audio download link. I suspect any proper RSS reader will do the same. Actually, I suspect that MyYahoo! simply removed the audio download link, but are still giving you the rest of the RSS entry.

#513 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 03:18 PM:

Buddha Buck: I tried installing microRSS, but it has no instructions and when I restarted Iceweasel I could see no visible changes anywhere. So I haven't a clue what, if anything, it actually does, or how to make it do that thing.

#514 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 03:20 PM:

Not exactly a joke, but a witty way of characterizing differences between Europeans and Americans: Americans think 100 years is a long time; Europeans think 100 miles is a long way.

Steve 502: When I was a kid, my parents had a book called Let Stalk Strine, by an author with the pseudonym Afferbeck Lauder, who apparently also wrote another book called Nose Tone Unturned. They're available in an omnibus volume (illustrated by Al Terego) but the only link I could find was to the Big South American River folks, and I won't like to them here.

Matt 510: I live in Hoboken, NJ. When we started this conversation I was utterly convinced that Guittard was not available here; after hearing all the (relatively nearby) places where it is available, I'm no longer so sure. I'll have a look next time I'm in my grocery store, even though I think I've looked at all the chocolate chips available there.

Also, even if my local grocery doesn't carry them, Whole Foods sounds like a good lead.

Mod pricing issues, of course. I'm not exactly flush at the moment, so it's a concern.

#515 ::: Errolwi ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 03:25 PM:

Cally @511
I figure there are probably better solutions out there, but hopefully knowing that there is a workable solution available makes your day that little bit less stressful :-)

#516 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 03:52 PM:

Errolwi: It does, and I thank you very sincerely. It's a slightly annoying workaround, but it beats the extremely annoying workaround I'd been using all hollow.

I don't expect Yahoo will fix their "My Yahoo" RSS feeds; I was on a boat two weeks ago with 850 geeks (speculation was that half the IT depts in America were shorthanded that week), and talked with one guy who deals with corporate accounts and Yahoo, and he couldn't get answers from them even when large amounts of money were at stake. So the crippling of their RSS for podcasts probably isn't even a blip on their radar. Especially since they've tuned their radar to be blind in that frequency by not allowing customer questions about it.

#517 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 04:02 PM:

Serge 484: I get a few chuckles from X-men's Magneto being a Pole.

And I hear he suffers from terrible mood swings, too.

#518 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 04:34 PM:

I get a few chuckles from X-men's Magneto being a Pole

Since there's only one of him, does that make him a Magneto mono-pole?

#519 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 04:40 PM:

@501, @502

I liked both of these jokes, because I like accents. But surely we must have some Aussie readers, too? If so, I hope they will tell us how N. Americans really sound to them. What sort of godawful mangling of the Queen's English do you hear whenever an American opens their mouth?

#520 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 04:51 PM:

I'm not on Facebook, but Janis Ian has apparently recently put a long note about the Jonathan Ross issue. Since I'm not there, I can't link to it directly, but I think it might interest some people here (find her facebook page, and look down to March 6th). Some powerful words there....

#521 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 04:53 PM:

Isn't Polaris one of Magneto's daughters?

(Xopher... Groan)

#522 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 05:48 PM:

Tom Whitemore @520, here’s a link to Janis Ian’s long Facebook post about the Ross matter. For those who don’t feel like plodding through the whole thing, a summary: The Ross matter reminds her of the recent Resnick/Malzberg/Rabe scandal in SFWA Bulletin, and “political correctness” and “bully” and “threaten” and “ruinously mean-spirited and divisive”, and these kids today with their bubble-wrap and their safe playgrounds, and back in the day they held a roast for Gardner Dozois and it was “politicaly incorrect” and we liked it that way, and on and on like that.

Or, to summarize even more briefly: It’s terrible that a bunch of fans hurt Ross’s feelings, and it’s foolish of those same fans (and people in general) to be concerned about hurt feelings.

I don’t have an opinion about Ross himself, but Ian’s defense of him tells me all I need to know about her.

(Chris just summed it up even better: “All of this is ultimately ‘Why don’t you little people stay little, already?!’”)

#523 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 05:52 PM:

Wow, and she seemed so nice at the Millennium Philcon. I'm disappointed.

#524 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 06:08 PM:

I went to the grocery store last night and looked at chocolate chip prices. Ghirardelli was $2.64 (although there was a shelf talker on it that suggested that it was on sale right then -- non-sale price was not given) and Guittard was $3.99, for a 12 oz. bag in both cases. I do think that Guittard is enough better to justify the extra money, and I'm lucky enough to currently be in a place where an extra $1.35 is more or less ignorable, but not everyone may be.

#525 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 06:33 PM:

abi @495: Agreeing with oldster and Fragano: don't be too hard on yourself.

And YAY!!! for some bright, sunny, even warm, weather. Feels good to get out in proper sunlight. Hope you're getting some decent sunshine as well.

#526 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 06:40 PM:

I'd disagree with Avram's summary, and recommend that folks read Ian's words for themselves. Yeah, it's long. But I think she raises some important points.

I certainly wouldn't want Ross to be a guest host on the DFD threads here, but I also think he's gotten a bit less respect than he might deserve.

#527 ::: Tamlyn ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 06:58 PM:

I can sound out the accent jokes at #501 and #504, but I'm struggling to figure out how rise up lights goes to razor blades. Does that have to be a really thick accent?

#528 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 07:11 PM:

Tom Whitmore @ 526... I just read Ian's post. That being said, yes it's true the world is not a safe place. We know that. All the more reason why people want some places within the world to be safe.

#529 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 07:17 PM:

Several people who I respect greatly have stepped in to defend their friend Ross, and this gives me pause. I can't help notice, though, that they were all highly respected pros with name recognition. I'm guessing he acts differently toward them.

Ross would have brought lots of recognition and money to SF! Hooray! So would Newt Gingrich, or Rush Limbaugh. Can it be there are other things that matter?

The narrative I'm seeing is that "the awful forces of PC (boo hiss) ganged up in mean nasty ways because of an outside chance he'd have said something offensive." The only problem with this is that they didn't just make that all up. It's based on his history.

Perhaps I'd see it differently if I had fame and fortune already. If anybody cares to bestow these upon me, we can find out.

#530 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 07:27 PM:

Abi's Parhelion on Columbo: that show always reminded me of Lord Denning's dictum from the 70s (though it seems to date back earlier than that), "Be you ever so high, the law is above you." The most moralistic and egalitarian of all cop shows.

Clive James, in one of his TV reviews in the 70s, wondered how Columbo dressed so badly, and Kojak so well, on what must have been similar salaries (yeah, yeah, different States...)

#531 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 07:40 PM:

Tamlyn #527: In a strongly Aussie accent the world 'blades' is pronounced approximately 'blydes'. In addition, there's a significant degree of rhotacism in normal Australian speech, terminal ars, in particular, being aspirated. The result is that, indeed, 'razor blades' in Strine, does sound a bit like 'rise up lights'.

#532 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 07:54 PM:

Here's the thing about Ross: he's been hideously, boneheadedly offensive in the past, but he's also done some good work[1] and now it seems he's trying to do better. Also for the last 25 years (at least) hypocriticial ninnies in the tabloid press have been complaining about him, which makes it difficult to hear constructive and legitimate complaints above the noise[2].

Meanwhile right now people are trying to send the message that harassment and abuse will not be tolerated in fandom. Ross hasn't clearly and obviously signalled that he's walking back from his worst positions. So right now he is the wrong guy for the job unless he had made it clear that what he was standing for was tolerance and inclusion and not mocking people.

Which thanks to the way it was handled, was not made clear. Ross should not have been put in that position and as a result got a whole bunch of undeserved insults mixed in with a large amount of well deserved criticism.

[1] As an advocate for media (and occasionally people) that are traditionally underserved, and also in puncturing the pomposity of the powerful and famous.
[2] It's not entirely irrelevant to note that his worst excesses occurred during the period when he was the (reportedly) the highest paid entertainer for the BBC and certain parts of the British media like to use any stick to beat the BBC. None of which makes what he did any better.

#533 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 08:17 PM:

The one place I've encountered Guittard has actually been WinCo, so they can also be found in some of the cheaper places. (WinCo saves money by (among other things) not advertising, unless they do so in the newspaper where I wouldn't have seen the ads. Their fare ranges from the really nice to the processed crap, so you have to know what you're looking for, but for the nice things, you'll rarely find cheaper.)

#534 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 08:32 PM:

Tom Whitmore @526: I certainly wouldn't want Ross to be a guest host on the DFD threads here, but I also think he's gotten a bit less respect than he might deserve.

Is that your complaint? Nothing specific? No actual, particular thing some particular person might have said at some particular time? Just some vague, general “a bit less respect than he might deserve”? It’s a big world, seven billion people last I checked, and lots of those people hold lots of other people in varying degrees of respect or disrespect. I’d be very surprised if there was a single person anywhere who was ever held in the exactly proper degree of respect (whatever that might be; I have no idea how you’d calculate that) by every other human contemporary who’d heard of them.

I’ve seen enough of these online storms over the years that I recognize some of the more pernicious reactions. One of those is the tendency to dissociate actions from their actual actors, and assign them to vague, undefined “sides”. This is a really great way to tar everyone you disagree with with the worst actions of any particular person you disagree with, regardless of whether the people being tarred said anything like the thing the worst person said, or even whether they agree with that worst person. It’s a really lousy way to make any sense out of the matter being discussed.

Ian’s all about the dissociation in her Facebook essay. Twenty-seven paragraphs, and only three of them actually about l’affair Ross. Most of them about other stuff, about entirely other issues, about playgrounds and the LA Gay & Lesbian Center and SFWA Bulletin and a bunch of quotations at the end. Not a single actual quotation from a person critical of Ross. Not a single specific detail of the complaints against him. Not a single word indicating any understanding on Ian’s part that the people complaining about Ross are individuals with specific beliefs and opinions, as opposed to a faceless mob of PC Police. And then a link to that New Statesman hatchet job by Neil Gaiman’s goddaughter (a fact undisclosed in the piece itself).

But I’m open to being shown the error of my ways. Tell me, Tom, what specifically is there in Ian’s piece that’s strong and/or insightful? What is there that isn’t just cranky fulminations about “political correctness”?

#535 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 08:40 PM:

Steve with a book @ 530... Yes. And Columbo was about Justice, but there was always Compassion in him. For example, in one story, one woman killed her nasty boyfriend, but Columbo let her get away with it when her mother begged him to take *her* away instead.

#536 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 08:43 PM:

Lee @ #508 The implication is that the person can see the genitalia of the insect.

See also: all jokes about moth balls.

Also, in the case of the French-waiter version of the joke, it's commenting on the fact that French is a language with gendered nouns (the waiter had just corrected the tourist for treating "mouche" (fly) as a masculine noun, when it's a feminine noun).

#537 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 08:53 PM:

I read Janis Ian, and while there may have been good points buried in the whole -- For example, she is right that there are people in most of the groups arguing for better rights who are exclusionary, judgmental and prejudicial, and they do not help their own causes by alienating the imperfect but genuine ally. I think there is a good conversation to be had around where and why the line should be drawn between "This person is imperfect but worth hearing" and "This person at this time is neither the right choice nor a suitable ally".

However, I flinched as soon as she was talking about bubble wrapped children and Political Correctness. because the people who say those things, in my experience, are trying to excuse not imperfect allies, but extremes of bad behaviour and cruel treatment of others that nobody can mistake for support.

And as soon as she said it was like Malzberg and Resnick, who were NOT innocent bystanders even in ways Ross might arguably be, she lost me entirely.

If she wants to make a real valid point, maybe she should try to not sound like every reactionary far right complainant while doing so.

#538 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 09:05 PM:

Steve with a book @#530
wondered how Columbo dressed so badly, and Kojak so well

I was about to say that I'd never thought of Kojak as well-dressed, and that maybe I needed to re-think the fashions of the era, when I realized I had confused Kojak with Kolchak.

Also with regards to the Columbo link -- much as I love the idea of Kathy Bates as Columbo -- IIRC Chandler's Trouble Is My Business begins with Marlowe being subcontracted onto a case by another pair of detectives who are basically gender-swapped Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin, and who need their own show because I'd like to see Bates, with a cigarette holder, flirting with her sassy sidekick Scarlet Johansson.

#539 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 09:10 PM:

Before I say anything else, Avram -- thank you for providing the link, so we're not dealing with different people's interpretations of what Ian said. I wasn't able to, and I appreciate that you did so.

I think that Ian's experience with the Gay and Lesbian Center in LA is quite relevant to the issues around Ross and the Worldcon. The parallels do not seem at all forced to me. What she shows there is another way to approach the problem (someone that some people think is unacceptable being asked to have a prominent role, and speaking before a group that is at least partly hostile to some of what they've done). I gained insight from that different perspective. That's a quick example -- and I don't have the energy today to winkle out everything else. It would be a longish essay to do so.

One serious difference at that time: there was no Twitter. No huge instantaneous demander of attention.

I also see in what she said (in the comments about safety and edginess) a reminder that the world isn't safe, and in fact we can't make it fully safe. Serge, many people do want to have some spaces that are safe in the world -- and we can help improve the safety of spaces in a lot of ways. But we can't make them completely safe, and I think it's worth looking at what the level of safety we're seeking is costing us. Back in the 70s, bondage representations were seen as completely oppressive and unsafe. In the 90s, bondage representations (in some cases) became reasonable again, as long as they were properly marked as consensual.

We seem to be demanding of our celebrities the same kind of perfection we try to find in our politicians, at least as far as appearance goes. And I'm not seeing a lot of chance for forgiveness in many of these discussions. But again, that's a long essay and not for here.

#540 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 09:50 PM:

HLN: Local man finally watches movie, one of two with his name in the credits. Likes it a lot.

"I was afraid it would be depressing," he commented, "but it was actually really fun. Also, the happy ending is much more plausible today than when it was made, even though that was only a few years ago."

#541 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 09:51 PM:

Avram, #522: I'm sorry to hear that Ms. Ian has joined the ranks of those who consider showing respect for other people to be an unnecessary bother.

For reference: Ross apparently caused significant controversy in his hosting of last year's British Comedy Awards, and it doesn't sound as if all of it was about his cussing on camera, either. This would certainly have been one of the things people were thinking about in wondering whether he would be a suitable host for the Hugo Awards.

David G., #524: We were at Central Market this afternoon for an ApolloCon concom meeting, and afterwards I went looking for Guittard chips on the recommendation of this sub-thread. They had them (in several varieties), and I bought a bag of semi-sweet chips. Quality control has not yet been attempted, but they will doubtless make an appearance at this year's Chocolate Decadence.

Tamlyn, #527: It's also partly an issue of the way you split up the sounds. Try saying it "rise uplights" and see if that makes a difference in the way you hear it; you have to slightly slur the p into the l for it to work properly.

A similar instance of misinterpretation that I remember hearing about arose from someone moving to (I think) Brooklyn, and having her neighbor ask if she had PSDS. After several rounds of total confusion, the neighbor gestured toward her own earlobes, which were pierced.

#542 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 09:51 PM:

I thought I wasn't giving Ian's piece a fair shake, then I went and read it again.

It's like she got so mad she stopped thinking, but not so mad she stopped writing.

Six long paragraphs before we get a hint of her alleged topic. And that paragraph only mentions Jonathan Ross on the way to two OTHER things she's mad about. Three separate places she complains about political correctness. "In closing..." paragraph followed by six different quotes.

Is ... is she used to being aggressively edited?

#543 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 09:57 PM:

Tom Whitmore @539, (and let me just say, sorry, my fingers must really want to type “Whitemore”; they did it three times, and I only caught two of them) one big difference between Jonathan Ross and Kathy Bates is that, obviously enough, Ross is Ross and Bates is Bates. They’re two different people. Just like all the warmongers want us to believe that Ukraine is like Poland in 1939, when it might actually be more like Sarajevo in 1914, you can’t always reliably go “Hey this thing kinda reminds me of that other thing” and be certain that you’ve got the right parallel. I’m not convinced that Ian knows anything about the people complaining about Ross other than what she read in that New Statesman piece.

I know I mentioned this before, but it bears repeating: The author of that piece in the New Statesman has a personal connection with one of the subjects that she did not disclose. And that piece appears to be Ian’s only source of information on the matter. So how can you be sure that the case with Ross is parallel to the case with Bates?

Here’s one way in which the two cases are perpendicular to each other, rather than parallel: Ian was willing to refuse the Center’s award to defend Bates. In the case of LonCon, on the other hand, Farah Mendlesohn resigned from the con committee to protest the co-chairs’ choice of Ross (which had been done without clearing it with the committee, and with advance knowledge that Mendlesohn would find Ross unacceptable).

As far as the bit about the world not being safe goes, that’s another bit of dishonest rhetoric from Ian. Not a single person complaining about Ross was demanding that the entire world be made safe — that’s a ridiculous claim, and Ian is only bringing it up to try and make those opposed to Ross look ridiculous. Is it really ridiculous that possible Hugo recipients ask the convention not to pick a host who might insult them to their faces in their moment when their achievements are being recognized by the community? Is that really an absurd thing to ask? Is that really the equivalent of bubble-wrapping children?

#544 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 10:01 PM:

Speaking of incoherent, I forgot what I came here to mention.

Open Thready: I'm reading a fantasy/steampunk book that was filed under "Romance" and I like the writing, but if you're expecting SF/fantasy it reads like horror. I thought I sort of generally understood romance conventions, but apparently not because I keep saying things like "Firebomb his carriage, with him in it, and blame it on anarchists." And "People are trying to kill you. Get a gun." And "That locket thing? Do science to it."

#545 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 10:09 PM:

On jokes and accents:

There's also the joke that it took me two years to get, because I do not have the same accent as the person who came up with it (and IIRC, neither did the person who was telling it, or at least not a strong-enough version of the accent):

Q: What's the difference between a buffalo and a bison?
A: You can't wash your hands in a buffalo.

#546 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 10:32 PM:

The Columbo link led me indirectly to thinking about Nero Wolfe, which led to me reading the Wikipedia entry and adding a comment that Wolfe's dislike of addressing/being addressed by first name should *not* be listed as an eccentricity, given that it was pretty standard etiquette at the time.

This then fed back into the topic upthread of "avoiding words that might now be mistaken for insults." I still feel uncomfortable calling people who aren't close friends by their first name -- it feels as though I'm being disrespectful or talking down to them. I might even have some cynical theories about why first-name usage has expanded. However, I also realize that it's been the norm where I live for at least two decades now, and that calling someone "Mr./Mrs./Mz./Miss Lastname*" is more likely to get a response of "why are you being so cold and formal," or "Ew, that's what people used to call my father/mother;" which is directly antithetical to the aim of politeness which is to put people at their ease.

* dodging the Mrs./Mz./Miss debate is one of the reasons I suspect people went to first names, and why "Dr. Lastname" is still ok; the other (and here's where I get cynical) is that it creates an illusion of intimacy while making it harder to find out anyone's last name, which might allow you to look them up later.

#547 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 11:21 PM:

Me maternal grandmother came from Yorkshire (town name in genealogy files somewhere) when she was 9. One of her aunts came for a visit when my grandmother had two kids, so long after any accent, or ability to decipher same, was long gone. My grandmother wanted the aunt's recipe for Yorkshire pudding. Aunt replied, "first you tyke a bison..." It took awhile to realize she was saying "basin", and in American that would be a bowl.

#548 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 11:25 PM:

I had problems with Texans a couple of times: 'what's the nyme?'

#549 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 11:40 PM:

Oh, lord. Janis Ian lost me as soon as she quoted "woman is the n****r of the world* completely without irony.

#550 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2014, 11:57 PM:

Avram and Tom Whitmore: Another difference between Bates and Ross is that, if we take Ian's word for it, Bates was being rejected for reasons that had nothing to do with her actual actions. She could have been the most perfect GBLT ally and those protesting still would have found her unacceptable. If accurate as presented, that is simply wrong.

On the other hand, the people who did not want Ross to present could cite specific examples of inappropriate behaviour that led them to that conclusion. We can reasonably debate how current the behaviour is versus his attempts to change (And it seems to me that there is some debate, as I would swear someone upthread indicated he's getting worse while others have said he's getting better) but at least he has a citeable cause that is much more obvious than in Ian's "She isn't a lesbian" story.

#551 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 12:16 AM:

@Steve with a book no. 530: Three theories I've heard:

1. Yeah, but you should see what Columbo smokes and drinks at home/wears off the clock/has in his personal library/donates to charity.

2. He just doesn't give a dang about clothes and his wife has given up trying to make him presentable.

3. He would give a dang about clothes if he could, but his wife is chronically ill and this being America, that sucks up most of their income.

#552 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 12:27 AM:

Avram -- no problem with the name misspelling, as I know there was no bad intent. Typos happen to all of us -- it took me years, literally, to get to where I could spell Teresa's name consistently correctly (and I'd always think about it, too). Apology accepted unreservedly.

One of the problems I have with the whole situation is that the reactions led to a response way too quickly. I'm not sure Ross would have made a good Hugo presenter -- not enough evidence either way. But the speed with which everything happened has prevented a certain amount of reflection, which seems to be happening after the fact. Thinking again about what Ian said, and getting away from specifics -- there was a lot more time for people to think through what was going on back then. And I'd like to see anybody saying "Hold on for a day or two. Let's think this through." Instead, we get calls for action, and action happening with a few hours, at most, for thought. With the asynchronous nature of the internet, there's also a huge lag time before anything like a plurality of the different voices gets heard.

I may be being a bit of an old-timer here, but I do want things to slow down a bit, particularly when people are getting emotionally charged about an issue. If someone is screaming, I have a great deal of difficulty hearing what s/he is saying and deciding whether I agree with it. I'm almost certain to agree that the person is in pain, and that that is a problem -- but getting to what the best solution is, for everyone involved, takes some time. And this situation is a classic example of a lot of heat and very little light (similarly to the example Ian describes).

This was not a good situation. It was not handled well. I think we all agree on that! It's still not being handled well. And it's useful, I think, to hear from dissenting voices, like Ian and Gaiman. I expect that there's a certain amount of "It could have been me rather than Ross" going on in their minds: I don't know, but I can feel some of that myself and I have nowhere near their fame.

#553 ::: iamnothing ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 12:42 AM:

What exactly does "safe" mean these days? It seems some people (and I can't say who because I haven't seen actual quotations) use the word to mean something quite different from what I learned ~50 years ago.

#554 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 12:44 AM:

Another thing entirely: I just noticed that the Dire Legal Notice on the secondary pages has the copyright dates stopping at 2012. The one on the front page is correct, including 2013 and 2014 -- it is just the one on the secondary pages that has the problem. Now, the question of whether each thread should only have copyright notices for the dates of actual posts in it is one that I'm sure I shouldn't even bring up because it would be easy to find people who will argue each side....

#555 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 12:52 AM:

Tom Whitmore @552, if you’re going to blame anything for reducing the number of voices that got heard, you’re probably best off placing that blame on the LonCon co-chairs — who made the decision to ask Ross without having consulted the con committee, knowing as they did so that at lest one person on the committee would oppose the decision. They could easily have brought the committee in on the decision, and said “Let’s talk it over for at least a week before deciding anything final.” Right?

I don’t see much value in dissenting voices if they’re as ill-informed and reactionary as Ian’s. If there’s an argument to be made for having Ross host the Hugos, it’s not one best served by complaints about “political correctness”.

#556 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 01:59 AM:

oldster, I'm an Aussie reader. There are several others, I know, but they can speak for themselves, if they want.

I can't say I ever had much trouble with any American pronunciation, but some constructions flummoxed me, at first. The one I recall most was someone saying that they "could care less", when what was meant was that they couldn't care less. Then there was "one through four". "Ten of two" was another. I never did find out whether that was ten to two or ten past.

But I used the word "fortnight" without realising it wasn't understood as "two weeks" in America, and also "pigs might fly", meaning the event it refers to is impossible, ditto.

So it's a toss-up, as we say.

#557 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 02:01 AM:

Guittard makes really nice bittersweet chocolate chips in addition to their semisweet, and when I can find it I tend to stock up for making hot chocolate with it. The most likely place to find it is my local independent veggie/cheese shop, but sometimes Whole Foods or Safeway will have it.

#558 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 02:25 AM:

Dave L., #556: Americans aren't all of a piece either. :-) I would easily have gotten "pigs might fly", but this is my first encounter with "one through four" -- what does that mean?

"Ten of two" is 1:50 -- lacking 10 minutes of being 2:00. Some people say "ten till two," which would be much clearer but is the less-common idiom. 2:10 would be "ten after two". 1:45 and 2:15 would be referred to as "quarter of two" and "quarter past two" respectively, but 1:30 would always be "half past one" -- there's no "half of" idiom AFAIK.

Did you ever run into "buying (or selling) the Brooklyn Bridge," and if so, did you figure out what it meant?

#559 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 02:28 AM:

Aussie jokes, written and illustrated by Aussies: Let Stalk Strine. With gems like emma chisit and gloria soame and many many others.

I have a copy of this book for reasons I can't explain.

#560 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 02:31 AM:

And I see that Xopher mentioned that book two comments after I stopped reading down when I said "I can point to something about Aussie accents" to myself.

Ah well.

#561 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 03:46 AM:

Lee, I took selling the Brooklyn Bridge to mean the same thing as selling the Harbour Bridge: ie, "this is a fraudulent transaction".

The sentence I recall was someone remarking, "I am here one through four every day." I understood that it referred to time of day, but I didn't know if that meant the person would be there at five, or not - ie does it mean one until five or one until four?

The most charming accent I ever heard - and I don't exempt some of my favourite English, Scots and Welsh ones - was a lady who remarked to me - I approximate the pronunciation:

"Why, suh, I wuz fou'teen yeahs old befoah Ah realised that 'dayum Yankee' wuz two woahds."

She came from Georgia. The different pronunciation of the first person singular pronoun is as I heard it. Possibly the only difference is emphasis, though.

#562 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 04:42 AM:

I'm sure it's irrelevant at this point, but I'd understand "I'm here one through four every day" as meaning from one o'clock until four o'clock, and so would not expect the person to be there at five. (I'm not even sure how you get "...until five" out of it.)

#563 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 05:06 AM:

David Goldfarb, "through" usually means "into and out the other side". So "one through four" means, to me, "from one through four, to where it isn't four any more - that is, to when it's five."

#564 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 07:24 AM:

Dave Luckett--

Thanks for those instances. The "ten of two" idiom is very common in every US dialect I've encountered, and irritating to most of the Commonwealth, certainly to Brits. As Lee says, at least no one extends it to "half of". Perhaps originating from "short of"?

Your friend's use of "through" in "2 through 4," however, would have raised the same question in my mind. The far more common idiom is simply "to," as in "working 9 to 5." The problem is compounded by the fact that time references can either be to points or to intervals, i.e. the instant the clock strikes 4, or the hour-long interval of times beginning 4:xx. So I might well have wondered: "why is he saying 2 *through* 4 instead of the ordinary 2 *to* 4? Is he using 4 to refer, not to the instant when the clock strikes 4, but to the fifth 60-minute interval after noon?"

In any case--that is not an idiom I think of as widespread in the States.

Your southern belle case is closer to the kind of thing I was looking for--representations of American accents in Australian spelling (so to speak), just as "to die" is a representation of Australian "today" in US/Brit spelling. Interestingly, your representation of the Southern accent is pretty much what most northerners would write, as well.

I recall hearing of a family that moved into Brooklyn and was quizzed about why they had given their boy a girl's name. The family had named him "Ian"; neighbors heard "Anne," which is indeed pronounced with two syllables and an initial short-i sound in some parts of New York.

#565 ::: James Moar ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 08:14 AM:

What I take from the use of 'through' instead of 'to' is that it implies continuous presence a bit more strongly. (Though it's not a local idiom to me, so....)

#566 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 08:59 AM:

"Ten of two" is not Midwestern usage, or at least not mine; I learned "quarter til" and "quarter to" rather than "quarter of". To me, 'of' reads British. "One through four" is an alternative to "one to four" and I wouldn't expect that person to be present at 4:05.

One of my lead teachers is always surprising me with dialect differences. She speaks of budging in line rather than cutting and hoking rather than carpet-sweeping. There are a few others, but those are the ones I've noticed most recently.

#567 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 09:26 AM:

Diatryma @ 566, I've never heard "budging" in line, but I've heard "barging" (to force one's way into a line out of turn).

"Ten of" or "five of" the hour (meaning before the hour) is uncommon in my dialect, but it's still common enough not to confuse people that I've noticed. I think it's an older construction; I'm far more likely to hear elderly people use the phrase than kids or young adults. (Of course, children and young adults have grown up with digital clocks and watches...)

And if I heard someone was there "one through four" I'd expect them to be leaving at 4:01; I parse this as "one through four inclusive", not "one continuing through and past four to some unknown time".

#568 ::: odaiwai ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 09:38 AM:

Diatryama @#566

To me, 'of' reads British.

I'm Irish, and I've lived and worked in a bunch of Commonwealth countries. "Quarter of" is extremely American to my ears, mainly from TV shows. It's of a piece with "In Back Of" to mean behind, that would paint the speaker as firmly American.

#569 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 09:43 AM:

I've found it very striking that in all the backlash to the Jonathan Ross business, nobody seems to want to name or criticize any of the particular people who criticized Loncon's appointment of Ross in the several hours between the announcement and Ross's withdrawal. If you weren't actually on Twitter following a lot of SF people on March 1, 2014, and you read a random selection of the tut-tut pieces published in subsequent days by newspaper columnists and disappointed bestselling novelists, you could be forgiven for thinking that Ross was "forced out" by a "Twitter storm," by the ravening, faceless "internet mob."

There is an exception to the above. For the first few days of backlash, a number of high-profile people evidently felt quite free to single out and deplore Seanan McGuire, who had posted a very affecting series of tweets explaining why she felt particularly threatened by Ross's selection. Since then, this has stopped, possibly because enough people noticed that it was shaping up as a classic case of "blame the forceful woman and ignore the fact that lots of men agree with her." (UK author Kari Sperring's LiveJournal post on this subject was particularly good.) And possibly also because it became clear that Seanan McGuire is actually somebody with lots of friends and an excellent personal reputation in the SF world, rather than being the nobody that a number of these critics seem to have thought she was.

But aside from this attempt to demonize Seanan McGuire, if you read enough post-Ross viewing-with-alarm tweets, blog posts, and newspaper columns, you could easily get the idea that the opposition to Ross consisted entirely of nameless ill-behaved orcs, rather than respectable members of the SF world with (1) actual names that even Tom Whitmore has probably heard of and (2) thoughtful reasons to think this was an ill-advised choice. You would certainly have the impression that what transpired on Twitter was an upwelling of spittle-flecked invective directed at Ross and his family, rather than a lot of people acknowledging that Ross is a fine fellow in many ways, and certainly a member of the SF world, but a bad choice for Hugo Awards MC right here, this year, in 2014, now. And, from the same people, actual anger--not at Ross, but at the Loncon chairs for having made this choice with no consultation with their own committee.

Avram Grumer point-blank asked Tom Whitmore to cite some specifics backing up Tom's claim that Ross was treated with inadequate respect. In nine paragraphs spread over two posts, Tom notably failed to answer or even acknowledge this question.

#570 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 09:44 AM:

Where I grew up, if everyone is aware of the approximate time, the hour isn't always given. So if we all know it's somewhere in the vague vicinity of 3:00, the question 'What time is it?' can be answered with 'ten to' or 'quarter after' with no further words, and the emphasis on the preposition.

But my native dialect is, shall we say, rich in phrasal verbs, so ending with an actual preposition doesn't sound so funny. The one that most travelers from other lands (I refer to such distant countries as California and Virginia) seemed to notice first was 'come/go with'. "I'm going to the store; want to come with?" is a perfectly ordinary utterance among my people. (And it isn't that 'with' sounds like a preposition. 'Along' is every bit as prepositional as 'with', and 'come along' doesn't cause nearly as much consternation among the travelers.)

I would speculate that it's related to German separable prefixes (the German verb 'mitkommen' is used in just this way), but I don't actually have data on that.

Interestingly, we don't seem to have retained German time references. 'Halb sieben' ("half seven") means 6:30, just as its translation does in UKE, but we don't say that or understand it in my native dialect.

#571 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 09:51 AM:

I would understand "half seven" to mean 7:30; I had no idea. Fascinating.

#572 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 09:56 AM:

Tom, friend Tom, you have a tendency to take whatever you see as the beleaguered side in an argument. And in this particular argument, you are mistaking the vast implacable inertia of the status quo for lack of support. In short, the ones you think are beleaguered ain't.

#573 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 10:18 AM:

Hoky manufactures manual carpet sweepers. "Hoking" (American midwest?) would be cognate with the more robust electric vacuuming of "Hoovering" (common British usage?).

Pronounced with a long "o". Initially I was googling on hokey (mawkish, silly, old-fashioned) where the Images self-corrected to hockey, accompanied by Daffy Duck running in circles behind me screaming "no, no, no!".

#574 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 10:25 AM:

"Hoking"? "Carpet-sweeping"? These are not in my dialect.

I personally would have no problem with "come with?", or similar phrasal verbs ending sentences. But then, I don't tend to have a problem with sentence-ending prepositions, either. I have also tended to admire the characteristic of some other languages (such as Japanese or Spanish) to make optional parts of sentences that can be inferred from context, where English would require the repetition.

#575 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 10:29 AM:

Carol #573: Thank you for answering my question even before I posted it ;-).

#576 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 10:31 AM:

Xopher@570: I was wondering when someone was going to mention "half seven", which I think of as the UK revenge on the US "ten of seven" (if revenge can be interpreted to mean "furtherance of mutual incomprehension"). I think the "ten of" usage isn't one I grew up with, but one I hear enough to have gotten used to it. I've spent just enough time in the UK to understand "half seven", but it sometimes requires a translation step.

Elliott Mason@486: Thanks, especially for the Ursula Vernon link. (I'm now wondering why I don't have her in my RSS feed, considering how many of her posts I like.) I especially liked how she started with two lines about the problems and then let loose with SQUEEE! (well, corgi and then SQEEEE!), which was pretty much how the discussion went when we were leaving the theater. Minus the corgi.

Diatryma@488: Yes, but there was an unfortunate period before the Academy Awards when we were finally ready to get around to seeing Frozen, and it was still in theaters, but all the showtimes were during the day. We were relieved to see a few evening times come back. We're trying to figure out now if we can manage to fit in another viewing...

#577 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 10:35 AM:

Maybe it's backwards: "A polite society is an armed society." Discuss.

#578 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 10:41 AM:

My guess is that "ten minutes short of six" eventually became "ten of six", which doesn't explain seven of nine or six to four but will get you to dinner on time in most households.

#579 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 10:46 AM:

#552 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 12:27 AM:
Tom Whitmore #552: One of the problems I have with the whole situation is that the reactions led to a response way too quickly.

Bluntly, you are speaking from privilege, about offenses to other people. As far as I'm concerned, this represents the SF/F community growing a proper immune system: It recognized a problem, despite that the Old White Guys didn't care. And dealt with it promptly, even fending off a backlash attempt.

#580 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 11:05 AM:

Tom Whitmore@552: One of the problems I have with the whole situation is that the reactions led to a response way too quickly.

In addition to Dave Harmon's point, I'm not sure that I even understand the complaint. It seems to assume that the first significant event was the public announcement, and that there were no reactions to be considered prior to that, or no time in which to consider those reactions. That doesn't match my understanding of the events.

#581 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 11:13 AM:

Buddha #575:

Well-secluded, I see all.

#582 ::: Stephen Rochelle ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 11:39 AM:

John A Arkansawyer @577: rephrase it as the contrapositive: "an unarmed society is an impolite society." That seems unlikely.

(To be fair, the contrapositive of the original is also not terribly compelling)

#583 ::: mlp ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 11:44 AM:

In regard to time and fractions of an hour: I find that most people of my own advancing age are comfortable with constructions like 'quarter past' or 'ten of' an hour. These are pleasingly approximate, and implicitly acknowledge that most timepieces are not actually synchronized.

Most of my much younger friends do not use this construction at all, and some of them actively resent it as needlessly vague. I suspect that these people were raised with digital timepieces.

#584 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 11:57 AM:

mlp @ 583 - You got it. And how long before "clockwise" and "counterclockwise" and archaisms?

#585 ::: Q. Pheevr ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 12:11 PM:

John A Arkansawyer @577: Do you mean that in the sense that people who speak softly are generally more likely to be carrying big sticks, or in the sense that politesse itself is a formidable armament?

#586 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 12:21 PM:

Steve C. @584: Relatedly (seems to me), how long before we stop saying things like, "I taped that show last night that we weren't home to watch ..." I do notice some of my friends who have the relevantly brand-named item do use the verb 'TiVoed', but it doesn't seem to have kleenexed yet.

#587 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 12:36 PM:

We say "TiVo'd". But we've never owned any other variety of DVR.

That said, we find ourselves frequently questioning whether TiVo is worth the monthly cost. We use it surprisingly infrequently. I haven't actually taken measurements, but I'm pretty sure that about 95% of our TV-watching is either streamed over the net (Netflix, etc) or purchased online (the iTunes store, etc).

#588 ::: E. Liddell ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 12:59 PM:

Cally Soukup @ 505: If you want something more sophisticated than fishing through the RSS feeds one by one in a browser, there is plenty of Linux RSS reading and aggregation software. I don't use any of the available programs myself, but it looks like Liferea might be good for what you want, since it specifically mentions podcast playback. Alternatively, RSSDler is specifically for fetching attached podcasts, etc. from feeds.

#589 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 12:59 PM:

Jenny Islander @ #551: Three theories I've heard:

As indicated up-thread, I don't know much about Kojak, but is it possible he and Columbo both adopted the strategy of "not looking like a police detective," just in opposite directions?

#590 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 01:01 PM:

Patrick Nielsen Hayden@587: I'm pretty sure that about 95% of our TV-watching is either streamed over the net (Netflix, etc) or purchased online (the iTunes store, etc).

We're definitely in that category now, but when we did use TiVo I think we just said "recorded". I might be misremembering, though; it's been a while.

These days, shows that aren't available immediately for streaming (on a service we subscribe to) generally get classified as "later, maybe, if we remember". (I was just trying to think of the adjective for this approach. "Opportunistic" doesn't sound quite right.)

#591 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 01:02 PM:

"Kojak - The Night Stalker" sounds quite appealing.
Watch out for those lollipops, Creatures from Hell!

#592 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 01:04 PM:

Diatryma @566: "Ten of two" is definitely not British. It confused me greatly when I met it in the States.

Like Dave Luckett, I was really surprised when I discovered that Americans don't know what a fortnight is.

Re. selling bridges: I tend to use "and if you believe that, I've got this bridge I'd like to sell you" - which doesn't specify the bridge.

"I'll be here one through four" I would interpret as they would be leaving at/just after 4 pm.

Xopher @570: by "UKE" do you mean "UK English?" Because "half seven" in the UK means "half past seven", i.e 7.30, not 6.30.

#593 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 01:06 PM:

Erik Nelson @490: "Look! There goes a ladybug." "You've got sharp eyes."

Jon Stewart was on Jay Leno, and one of his stories was that he spent a semester in college working for a [bio lab], sexing (of all things) mosquitoes. Got so good at it, he could sex them from across the room. Turns out the flying styles are different, depending on sex. Males, he says, are "cheekier."

#594 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 01:08 PM:

I note that I still "dial" phones, though the last time I saw a phone with a dial I had to spent ten minutes explaining how it worked to my kids.

I don't think they genuinely believed my explanation, either. "The number of clicks as it rolls back? Then why is the 0 at the end?" Thank goodness I didn't get into local exchanges and why there are letters over the numbers at all...

On time terms, note that "half five" is 5:30 in the UK, but "half vijf" is 4:30 in the Netherlands*. Much confusion has ensued over this. If there hasn't been a murder mystery using it, I don't know why not.

* And yet "half maart" is halfway through March, not halfway through February. Because languages.

#595 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 01:14 PM:

HLN: At last night's Call to Continuing Conversion, the church it was held in had an "infinity" Baptismal font. I've posted a picture at my book of Face page: Rose Window Reflection

The church is Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Grove City, Ohio.

#596 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 01:15 PM:

E. Liddell @ 588:

Thanks for the RSS advice; I'll try it out this evening when I get home.

#597 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 01:15 PM:

Xopher @ 435

The theory about The Hershey Taste that I ascribe to is that the milk is just slightly rotten -- this is why their powder is fine, and their dark not bad (if not particularly intense).

Serge @ 521

Depends what day this is. She's gone back and forth at least twice, might be three. She's a Summers (by marriage), so she can't possibly have a simple backstory.

#598 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 01:16 PM:

abi@594: "half five" is 5:30 in the UK, but "half vijf" is 4:30 in the Netherlands

So "half five" in the UK is 6:30 in the Netherlands, and "half vijf" in the Netherlands is 3:30 in the UK. Got it.

#599 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 01:19 PM:

I picked up the term "fortnight" from reading old British children's books, so had the impression it was an outdated term. Apparently not. But at least if someone used it, I would know what it was. Plus, it features in a long-ago joke from some college science class about how quantities are always given in obscure or meaningless units such as speed in furlongs per fortnight.

The time construction I remember being confused by was "Tuesday week," meaning, a week from Tuesday.

#600 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 01:21 PM:

BSD @ 597... Which Summers is Polaris with? Havok? Or did Cyclops and the White Queen part ways?

#601 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 01:26 PM:

There's an SFnal They Might Be Giants song called "Four of Two" that taught em the meaning of the "Of" as regards time. Otherwise, I, as a Canuck living within 2 hours' drive of the US border, had pretty much never heard it ("Ten to-" and "Quarter to-", with an, as Xopher noted, without, are common)

I hadn't noticed any additional complaints abotu imprecision of time in the younger generations, but then, I'm in a 'tween generation, and when we use or nitpick about the exact minute, it's often as a kind of joke (as the digital timepieces never seem to be ALL in to-the-minute agreement).

Apropos of nothing, I still like analog clocks. I rarely need the to the minute precision (And when I do, it's usually to time something not to discover the exact second it happens to be, and a second hand works extremely well - better than a digital which displays no seconds)

And analog clocks can be made so much prettier in so many ways.

#602 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 01:29 PM:

abi @494 On time terms, note that "half five" is 5:30 in the UK, but "half vijf" is 4:30 in the Netherlands*. Much confusion has ensued over this. If there hasn't been a murder mystery using it, I don't know why not.

Or at least a scene in a romantic comedy. Compare to "London Homesick Blues," written by Stephen Schwartz and performed by Jerry Jeff Walker, which among the laments of the good ol' Texas boy who wants to be home with the armadillo, includes the line "And where in the world is that English girl I promised I would meet on the third floor?"

#603 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 01:31 PM:

Whoa, looks like I was confused about the meaning of 'half x' in UK English. Apologies.

#604 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 01:31 PM:

Old technology: try to explain to kids why WWII flight crews synchronize their watches before a mission.

#605 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 01:31 PM:

oops, that was abi @ 594 (which I nearly mistyped in a different way this time)

#606 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 01:36 PM:

Thirty years ago, Aunt June let me borrow a book of "Movie Music" (written before the word 'silent' was considered necessary) that consisted of appropriate tunes for different onscreen situations. Some of it was genericized versions of existing music, like Chopin's Funeral March (kind of) and J. Bodewalt Lampe's "Mysterioso Pizzicato" (if you squint just so). I played around with it for a while and finally returned it without getting around to copying it all out.

Thanks to a thread at the Mechanical Music Digest today, I was led (via Wikipedia) to a PDF of the book: Sam Fox Moving Picture Music vol. 1, suitable for moving pictures like the 1915 Alice in Wonderland (which has no sound track) on YouTube. I now see in a note at the end that a fellow has made MIDI files of the tunes as well, but don't know where those will be found.

#607 ::: Mongoose ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 01:55 PM:

abi @ 495: this may be a little late, but I agree that you're being too harsh on yourself. I'm entirely with Serge @ 496.

Xopher @ 514: I have read Let Stalk Strine, having borrowed it from a friend when I was 12 or 13. If I ever get the chance, I'll get hold of my own copy. It made me laugh.

Chocolate subthread: we don't, to my knowledge, have Guittard here in the UK. On the other hand, being within easy reach of places such as Belgium and Switzerland, we have quite a lot of other good chocolate knocking around. My favourite for baking is Green & Black's, which is British and also organic, but if I can't find that there are plenty of acceptable alternatives.

Aussie jokes thread: the guitarist and singer Kieran Goss, who is from Northern Ireland (frequently pronounced "Norn Iron" if you live there), tells the story of a visit to the antipodes with a group of other musicians. The photo on his passport was rather old and no longer looked much like him, but everything went just fine until their very last destination, which was Sydney. At this point, a very surly and officious customs chap took exception to his passport and hauled him aside for questioning. His attitude was so markedly hostile that Mr Goss was annoyed from the start, and grew more so as the stupid questions continued. Finally, the customs officer made the mistake of asking Mr Goss if he had a criminal record.

"Oh," replied the musician, "I didn't know you still needed one of those to get in here!"

This, apparently, went down like the proverbial lead balloon, but clearly he got out of Sydney eventually or he wouldn't have been telling the story in England. *grin*

Xopher @ 570: "half seven" actually isn't a calque of the German "halb sieben" in UK English. It is an informal way of saying "half past seven". (Just spotted that dcb has already said that @ 592. Oh well, seconding!)

#608 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 01:59 PM:

Serge @ 600

Havok, though not anymore. But maybe again!

#609 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 01:59 PM:

Serge @ 600

Havok, though not anymore. But maybe again!

#610 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 02:22 PM:

OtterB #599: You can imagine my surprise when I recently, (in the USA) encountered a "bathroom" scale with a primary readout in stones!

#611 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 03:15 PM:

Fragano@ 514: The only Aussie ethnic joke I know is the one about the English writer who was on a promotional tour of Oz and who was approached by a lady holding a copy of one of her books who said 'Emma Chisit'. Quick as a flash, the writer autographed the book 'To Emma Chisit' only to discover that the Australian woman had merely been enquiring about the price.

A bit surprised to see this is now a joke since it started as an anecdote the actor Kenneth Williams of CARRY ON fame used to tell about something he did at one of the signings of his autobiography. Not sure if it was in Oz, either. I think it was London and the woman was Cockney. There's probably a YouTube clip out there somewhere of him telling the tale on a talk show.

#612 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 03:23 PM:

dcb at 592: I believe the original bridge (which a helpful scam artist wanted to sell you, and you, and you, sir) was the Brooklyn Bridge.
Here in the Bay Area, we tend to say some variation of "I have an orange bridge to sell you." The Golden Gate Bridge is bright orange.

#613 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 03:25 PM:

Avram and PNH -- I'm not on Twitter (and yes, Patrick, I do know and respect some of the people who have been vocal against Ross). And the primary group I would name that didn't treat Ross with appropriate respect would be the Loncon committee (remembering that "committee" in British conventions is much more like "executive committee" on American conventions). That being said, we are clearly at a place of more heat than light. I'm not going to flounce away, but I don't think I have much more to contribute on this particular topic.

#614 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 03:27 PM:

Rob Hansen @ 611: I have to say, it sounds like it fits better with Cockney (or possibly one of the other lower class urban English accents - I admit to being not wholly cognizant of the field) than any Australian I know of.

#615 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 03:31 PM:

HLN: Just lost two trees from the bottom of our garden:
1) the old oak tree which had started to fall over was cut down by a tree surgeon. We don't like losing it, but it was necessary.

2) the 10-ft high elder which he decided was in his way so chopped off at ground level. Without asking. We are not happy about that. After initially being negative "it would only have got damaged" and dismissive, he has promised to provide a replacement - which will be much smaller, because it's too late in the year to transplant larger ones.

#616 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 03:31 PM:

There's also the other used bridge that's in the process of disappearing ('as-is, where-is'). I'm sure there are a lot of people who would prefer selling its replacement instead.

#617 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 03:32 PM:

oldster, Dave L.: I would certainly take "one through four" in that context to mean "1:00 to 4:00 inclusive" -- although I would probably say "one to four" instead. Sans context, it wasn't parsing at all for me; the only thing I could think of was a piece of lumber, and that would be a "one-by-four" instead.

Carol, #573: I hadn't heard "hoking" as a verb until now, but I immediately made the connection to the Hoky and pronounced it correctly in my head. I should also note that I haven't seen an actual Hoky or an advertisement for one in at least 2 decades, and thought they'd gone the way of a lot of other fad household items I recall from the same general era. (And that I thought at the time it was a poor choice of name, precisely because of the similarity to "hokey" -- were they admitting that their device did a poor job? I also recall seeing "demonstrations" which were supposed to make me think that a dirty strip of carpet was going under the Hoky and coming out clean, when it was obvious to anyone with a brain that what they really had was two loops of carpet, one dirty, one clean, and you couldn't see the gap beneath the machine.)

John A., #577: I don't think that's supportable. Of course, I don't consider the other version to be supportable either; my usual response to it is, "Just ask any Iraqi." Although I suppose these days "any black person in Florida" would serve equally well.

mlp, #583: ObSF -- one of Asimov's Black Widowers stories turns on the difference between dial and digital clocks, and how "5:50" on the latter might unthinkingly translate, to an accountant, as "half past five" rather than "ten minutes to six". The story was written when digital clocks were still relatively new.

dcb, #592: The version of that I use is, "I've got some oceanfront property in Arizona going really cheap." And now that I think about it, if you talk about someone trying to sell the Brooklyn Bridge, it's a fraudulent transaction -- but if you talk about someone buying the Brooklyn Bridge, it means they're gullible enough to believe anything.

I wonder if sooner or later that idiom will be replaced by something along the lines of "trusting a Nigerian prince".

Mongoose, #607: Oh, SNAP!

HLN: Local woman decides to experiment with braiding damp hair and letting it dry that way. "Much improved over the last time I tried this," she says. "I only used 2 braids instead of half a dozen, and rather than turning into a triangular frizzy mess, it came out with the sort of waves that look as though I spent an hour messing around with styling mousse and a curling iron." She is reported to be very pleased, and likely to repeat the process on occasion.

#618 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 03:39 PM:

And possibly also because it became clear that Seanan McGuire is actually somebody with lots of friends and an excellent personal reputation in the SF world, rather than being the nobody that a number of these critics seem to have thought she was.

Well, and also because Ross had already stepped down BEFORE Seanan McGuire had said anything on Twitter, so obviously it was not in response to anything she had said ANYWAY.

#619 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 04:20 PM:

abi @ 594: You can amaze your audience by dialing with clicks!

Q. Pheevr @ 585: Closer to the latter than the former, but what I was really thinking was that, to the extent that language is weaponized, to just such an extent we are discovering equally weaponized counterlanguage.

To put it differently: Politeness provides its own social defenses.

Whether this is going to result in a more peaceful communicative world or not is an open question. I'm curious to see how it goes.

#620 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 04:28 PM:

Abi @594, John A Arkansawyer @619;

I remember a comedy bit from my youth that won't make any sense at all to anyone younger than I am, but resonated with me perfectly. Don't recall who the comic was; might have been Bill Costby, might have been Bob Newhart -- one of those understated late 1970s-early 1980s guys.

Paraphased: "The best part of dialing a phone is letting your finger ride back. Seven --wheeee! Five --whee! Zero --Wheeeeeeeeeee!..."

Whoever he was, he was right. There was a weird visceral pleasure in letting the dial wind back with your forefinger along for the ride...

#621 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 04:32 PM:

OtterB @ #599 wrote:
... a long-ago joke from some college science class about how quantities are always given in obscure or meaningless units such as speed in furlongs per fortnight.

There's nothing obscure or meaningless about the Furlong/Firkin/Fortnight system of units; local moose use it all the time. For example:

The speed of light is 1,802,617,499,785 + 355/1397 furlongs per fortnight.
Or, for those who want the recurring decimal rather than the neat fraction:

1802617499785.254115962777380100214745884037222619899785 furlongs per fortnight.

#622 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 04:36 PM:

John A Arkansawyer @619: You can amaze your audience by dialing with clicks!

Back In The Day, my brother found himself stranded with a dead car in some remote locale, and no pocket change for the pay phone. But he was able to dial home by flipping the switch-hook quickly, counting out the clicks to achieve our home phone number.

Cadbury Moose @621: Or, more conveniently, 1.8 megafurlongs per microfortnight. (Which sounds sillier, anyway!)

#623 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 04:37 PM:


#624 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 04:41 PM:

Attoparsecs per microfortnight? (About 1 inch per second.)

Also approximately.

#625 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 04:46 PM:

Me @620, COSBY. Not Costby. Bad fingers. No biscuit.

#626 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 04:47 PM:

Dave Harmon #610 a "bathroom" scale with a primary readout in stones!

OK, so lately I’ve come across several references to men, characterized as large and heavy, being “14 stone” in weight (full disclosure -- the first one made me curious and I found the others by googling). For the record, they date from the 1830s (man in question is 5’9”), 1864, 1887, 1926, 1944, 1980s (man in question is a footballer), 2007 (young man in question is 5’11”, his mother worries he’s overweight) and 2009. And I can add Falstaff in this fanfic of the Henry plays/Merry Wives of Windsor in spaaaace.

Thing is, fourteen stone is about 198 lb., which doesn’t *seem* all that big to me; but then I realize that I also think of 6’ as merely "tall-ish," for a man, so my perspective is probably skewed by growing up in a late-20th-c middle-class N. American family of Northern-European descent.

I don’t want to fall into the “people were smaller in the past” trope, though, because an anthropologist friend went on a rant once about what an oversimplification that is (granted, she was a docent on a historical site and had to explain to tourists, over and over again, that the small doors in the fortress had more to do with defense and structural strength than with the size of the inhabitants.)

#627 ::: Q. Pheevr ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 05:19 PM:

Acceleration due to gravity works out to very nearly 20731 smoots per square minute (which is both a prime number and a ZIP code in Capitol Heights, MD).

#628 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 05:25 PM:

Q. Pheevr: so, 270730 smoots and maybe a dozen ears?

#629 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 05:26 PM:

Damn typo...20730. I saw that in approximately 0.99 ohnosecond.

#630 ::: That Lila Behind the Curtain ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 05:27 PM:

Pay no attention, trying to shake loose an error correction post after an "internal server error".

#631 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 06:00 PM:

SandyB at #544, if that's the series I think it is, it takes a left-turn through near-future technothriller and all the way into space opera by books 7-9. Which will not be published until next year.

#632 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 06:10 PM:

Sarah, #626: That's interesting. I'm 5'6" and weigh about 14 stone myself, and while I'm heavyset, I'm certainly not huge; for a guy 6' tall, that weight would qualify as "average" to me. I wonder if it's an aspect of "people don't recognize what a given weight actually looks like on a real person," which is a well-known phenomenon. Spider Robinson described a woman in one of his stories as being 5'9" and roughly 200 pounds, and then went on to compare her to "a sexy sumo". NOT.

#633 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 07:08 PM:

Lee #632: I wonder if it's an aspect of "people don't recognize what a given weight actually looks like on a real person,"

Probably, especially that the same weight can look radically different on different people, and that even sumo wrestlers aren't all the same body type.

#634 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 08:01 PM:

Lee, I've never met Spider Robinson* but I understand that he's not exactly a beefy guy. In fact IIUC he's an extremely not-beefy guy. This may distort his perspective.

*And I daresay we would Have Words if I did, so probably just as well.

#635 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 08:07 PM:

Polaris actually started out dating Iceman, but fairly quickly she switched over to Havok, and the two have been pretty much joined at the hip (modulo one or the other of them being mind-controlled) for something like four decades now. Until recently when Havok was tapped to join the Avengers and Polaris didn't follow along. I'm not sure how much of that was editorial mandate and how much was Peter David actually wanting to split them up.

#636 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 09:12 PM:

BSD @ 597: The distinctive taste of Hershey's milk chocolate is due to going into industrial production before they'd figured out the process, and then maintaining consistency with their flawed origins — strange as that sounds! This book was already recommended up thread by Sandy B, but I'll plug it again because it's so good: The Emperors of Chocolate: Inside the Secret World of Hershey and Mars, by Joël Glenn Brenner.
Eating chocolate (as opposed to something you use for a hot drink) is a very modern invention, and Mr. Hershey was a visionary working on the cutting edge of technology. Sounds like a perfectly wonderful guy. Very entertaining read.

#637 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 09:19 PM:

Jon Singer was walking around somewhere in PA, and realized he'd forgotten where he was. Then he saw that the streetlamps were in the shape of foil-wrapped kisses, and he said, "Oh. Yeah."

Later, he said, he was near a factory with a smoke-belching chimney stack, and felt something like droplets and discovered little brown spots on his skin that tasted like chocolate.

He told me this no later than around 1980. I have waited in vain since then to hear of the first lawsuit for chocolate lung.

#638 ::: Cal Dunn ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 09:30 PM:

a "bathroom" scale with a primary readout in stones

My parents had one of those when I was growing up! Australia has sort of stalled on adopting the metric system for people's dimensions - colloquially you often hear weights in kilograms and height in feet and inches. Official use is kilograms and centimetres, and I always have to count backwards from 6' = 183cm to find out how tall, say, 172cm is.

I am probably very close to 5'9" and 200 pounds (I don't own a scale, and I don't want to know), and I wear the average Australian women's dress size. But I have a large build to start with, I walk a lot, and my shoulders are the envy of swimmers everywhere, and I could probably take Spider Robinson in a sumo bout, so there.

#639 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 09:31 PM:

Kip 637: I have waited in vain since then to hear of the first lawsuit for chocolate lung.

It's called inhalation theobromosis. It's why I warn people to stir in the cocoa slowly at first in the Black Hole Brownies recipe (which, oddly enough, was first posted on a Jon Singer thread here).

#640 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 09:32 PM:

Lee #632: Ooh, that body-size site is way cool! Thanks for posting it. For the record, I'm 5'8" with broad shoulders. In college I was notably skinny at 130 pounds or so. 25 years later, I'm a little paunchy at 165 pounds (and the difference does seem to be mostly belly).

#641 ::: Cal Dunn ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 09:47 PM:

Xopher, I don't know whether to thank you or curse you for linking to that recipe. Mainly because all my baking stuff is in my other house.(*)

Please take pity on an antipodean, though: how big is 1 bag of chocolate chips? (And what does happen if you put it in the fridge?)

(*) I'm currently in a share house in Sydney (well, technically I'm at work, but after I leave work I'll be in a share house). My "other house" is a caravan on the mid north coast, with a shipping container as our shed, and that's where my good scale and mixing bowls and huge collection of spies are, as well as my beloved. I don't even have flour here.

#642 ::: Cal Dunn ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 09:50 PM:

Spices. Huge collection of spices. I don't think the cumin is plotting with the fennel and the amchur to launch small pieces of crystallised ginger into the heavily fortified glass walls of the panch phoron jar.

#643 ::: Cal Dunn ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 09:52 PM:

(And for non-Australians, the mid north coast is about 350km north of here. I'm out the back of Wingham, near Taree, about halfway between Newcastle and Port Macquarie.)

#644 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 09:54 PM:

I think it's currently the 60% Cacao chips, which come in a 10-ounce bag. You can get the double-chocolate chips, but they're a 3.5 pound bag, which is undoubtedly Too Much Chocolate for one batch.

#645 ::: Brenda Kalt ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 10:34 PM:

Open-threadiness: Congratulations to me! I finally figured out how to turn off smart quotes in Word 2010. You have to make the choice in two places for it to take effect. Love that Micro$oft.

#646 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 10:40 PM:

HLN: Area woman and her Fabulous Fiancee anxiously but calmly await onset of first grandchild, nicknamed "Chip", due to off-hand joke by daughter that said grandson's name would be in honor of her favorite meal:"Chipotle Xtrasourcrm Lastname". Chip is due any day now, said the grandmothers-to-be, as they checked their watches and cell phones again.

#647 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 10:40 PM:

HLN: Area woman and her Fabulous Fiancee anxiously but calmly await onset of first grandchild, nicknamed "Chip", due to off-hand joke by daughter that said grandson's name would be in honor of her favorite meal:"Chipotle Xtrasourcrm Lastname". Chip is due any day now, said the grandmothers-to-be, as they checked their watches and cell phones again.

#648 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 10:41 PM:

HLN: Area woman and her Fabulous Fiancee anxiously but calmly await onset of first grandchild, nicknamed "Chip", due to off-hand joke by daughter that said grandson's name would be in honor of her favorite meal:"Chipotle Xtrasourcrm Lastname". Chip is due any day now, said the grandmothers-to-be, as they checked their watches and cell phones again.

#649 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 10:43 PM:

Clearly, we are over-excited, and my trembling fingers stuttered on the post button. Abject apologies.

#650 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 10:52 PM:

Three times the congrats, Ginger!

#651 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 11:02 PM:

Cal 641: P J is right. I mean the 10-ounce bag. That's 283 grams (according to the bag).

If you put them in the refrigerator, they will dry out. If you put them in the refrigerator when they're hot, the texture of the chocolate chips will be adversely affected. Chocolate is much better if it cools at room temperature.

Other amounts:

Butter: 230g
Sugar: 630g
Cocoa powder*: 195g
Rice flour: 150g
Cornstarch: 45g

Vanilla: ~10ml
Baking powder: ~5ml
Salt: ~2.5ml

I was pretty ignorant about egg sizes when I wrote that recipe. Here's a Wikipedia page that relates them. I use Extra Large usually; that's about the same in Australia.

Ginger 646: Congratulations!

*I understand cocoa powder isn't available everywhere. I have no idea what you could use instead, sorry.

#652 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 11:26 PM:

Xopher, et al #651:

Cocoa powder doesn't have the cocoa butter chocolate has, but that's it. So if you adjust the added fat, you should be able to substitute 100% cocoa baker's chocolate, of your favorite brand.

The conversion ratio suggested by Hershey is: 1oz baking cocoa = 3 Tbsp cocoa powder + 1 Tbsp shortening. That is a dreadful mix of units.

Working it out, though, using the original recipe in US Customary units as a guide would suggest replacing the 195g of cocoa powder with 226g of 100% cocoa chocolate (grated, probably), and halve the butter.

That feels off to me, though, because if it is accurate, it would reduce the fat content by about 85g, which is significant!

But imagine the fun you'll have experimenting!

#653 ::: Cal Dunn ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 11:58 PM:

Xopher et al: thank you kindly! Cocoa powder is readily available here (Cadbury's is decent), as are 250g and 375g bags of chocolate chips, although I am very tempted to try it with 3.5 pounds' worth. (Maybe the second batch.) Our eggs are whatever size the chickens decide to bestow upon us, usually in the large to extra-large range. I may accidentally have to put in extra vanilla to make up for any shortfall.

I often put cakes in the fridge to make them a bit moister (remove from tin when not quite cool, wrap in plastic, fridge until it be enough); I have no idea whether it works but it does stop them going mouldy. These will probably not last long enough for mould to be a problem.

#654 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 12:14 AM:

Oh, Ginger! May the happiness and serenity of the grandparent long be yours.

#655 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 12:38 AM:

Ginger: Congratulations!

HLN: Area man will shortly be working from home full time, so his employer has given him a VOIP phone for calling into meetings. It plugs into the wall and into the router and it has a handset and plays a dial tone. Area woman is struggling to remember how many years ago it was when the household got rid of their landline phone. "Perhaps if I used a phone at work it would seem less anachronistic, but we got rid of those awhile ago, too," she said.

#656 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 12:38 AM:

375 gram bags of chocolate chips will give you a bit more than the recipe calls for. Oh no, oh horror.

The "rice flour / corn starch" bit is good if you care about being gluten-free; I usually don't and just use 1 full cup of regular flour, which according to this online converter I just googled should come to about 125 g. (Which actually suggests to me that Xopher's 150 g rice flour + 45 g corn starch is high.)

The batter is usually extremely viscous when I make it. Depending on how much liquid is in the eggs, quite often I can't pour it at all and have to sort of dig it out of the bowl into the pan with a spatula, then spread it around by hand. If this happens to you, don't worry, it's normal.

#657 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 12:48 AM:

If a recipe calls for chocolate chips by volume, I always weigh them and make a note of the weight. That way, if I make the recipe with a different brand of chips, I can be sure to use the same quantity of chocolate.
Why, yes. My recipes are heavily annotated. And my results are consistent!
Have I worked in engineering, you ask? Perhaps in QA and metrology? Why, yes. However did you guess!

#658 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 12:53 AM:

No, it isn't high. The substitution is by volume, so the mass is different. And I think the flavor and texture is far superior with the gluten-free recipe.

And yeah, it's really more of a dough than a batter.

#659 ::: Cal Dunn ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 01:11 AM:

I'm probably going to start with a half batch for testing purposes, so I'll get a 250g bag of chocolate chips and have to eat the rest, how terrible.

In my experience a cup of flour is about 150g, depending on weather, altitude, flour type and phase of the moon (our cups are 250ml, which I think is a tiny bit larger than yours; teaspoons are the same but our tablespoon is four teaspoons thus 20ml). I'll probably just start with 200g cocoa and a cup of self-raising flour, that feels about right. I tend to cook more by intuition than recipe these days.

(I don't have a problem with wheat gluten, but my mum and one of my nicer coworkers both do, so it's good to have the option. Rice flour isn't a huge stretch, but my budget is tight at the moment, so I'll save that for the second batch. I'm a QA person so I have to do a proper round of testing.)

If only our weather would settle down and go quietly into autumn, so it wouldn't be too hot to bake! It's been summer for the past eight months, the football starts this weekend, it must nearly be autumn now.

#660 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 01:46 AM:

Would someone on Ravelry please email me? Ravelry connections are borked on both PC and iPad. Aargh.


#661 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 01:46 AM:

David G. #656: If you should happen to be moved to make this again for Chocolate Decadence, the gluten-free version would be preferable for us, for reasons you may have heard us discussing.

Speaking of which, Chocolate Decadence this year will be on April 26, starting at the usual time of 7 PM. Anyone in Houston (or within driving distance, or who might be in the area for other reasons) is invited to join us; we do have a few spaces for overnight guests, and there is a hotel literally within walking distance of the house. NOTE: we also have 8 cats, and even though we have the maid service in to do a thorough cleanup before the party... if you have allergies, you should probably take your maximum safe dose of antihistamines before arriving. If you'd like to come and need more information, drop me a note at fgneqernzre@zvaqfcevat.pbz.

#662 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 02:27 AM:

Going back to my adventures with Kellogg's Science in the Kitchen: OK, I looked up beaten biscuits and these ain't them. Does anybody know of a modern recipe similar to these? Crisp breadsticks, maybe? What the heck are these things? (Also, she served them for breakfast because she believed in serving crispy wheat-based foods along with porridge.)

Breakfast Rolls.—Sift a pint and a half of Graham flour into a bowl, and into it stir a cupful of very cold thin cream or unskimmed milk. Pour the liquid into the flour slowly, a few spoonfuls at a time, mixing each spoonful to a dough with the flour as fast as poured in. When all the liquid has been added, gather the fragments of dough together, knead thoroughly for ten minutes or longer, until perfectly smooth and elastic. The quantity of flour will vary somewhat with the quality, but in general, the quantity given will be quite sufficient for mixing the dough and dusting the board. When well kneaded, divide into two portions; roll each over and over with the hands, until a long roll about once inch in diameter is formed; cut this into two-inch lengths, prick with a fork and place on perforated tins, far enough apart so that one will not touch another when baking. Each roll should be as smooth and perfect as possible, and with no dry flour adhering. Bake at once, or let stand on ice for twenty minutes. The rolls should not be allowed to stand after forming, unless on ice. From thirty to forty minutes will be required for baking. When done, spread on the table to cool, but do not pile one on top of another.

Very nice rolls may be made in the same manner, using for the wetting ice-cold soft water. They requite a longer kneading, are more crisp, but less tender than those made with cream.

With some brands of Graham flour the rolls will be much lighter if one third white flour be used. Whole-wheat flour may be used in place of Graham, if preferred.

Sticks.—Prepare, and knead the dough the same as for rolls. When ready to form, roll the dough much smaller; scarcely larger than one's little finger, and cut into three or four-inch lengths. Bake the same as rolls, for about twenty minutes.

#663 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 04:29 AM:

Lee: I don't offhand recall you discussing such reasons, but okay, I'll see what I can do. (I.e.: I'll check the Central Market bulk section for rice flour, which I would be rather surprised if they don't have.)

#664 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 08:48 AM:

janetl @ 655 ...
HLN: Area man will shortly be working from home full time, so his employer has given him a VOIP phone for calling into meetings. It plugs into the wall and into the router and it has a handset and plays a dial tone. Area woman is struggling to remember how many years ago it was when the household got rid of their landline phone. "Perhaps if I used a phone at work it would seem less anachronistic, but we got rid of those awhile ago, too," she said.

As it turns out, pulse dial works Just Fine (tm) on my VOIP line (also on the land line, but that's expected).

#665 ::: Mongoose ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 10:14 AM:

Xopher: I am always open to new brownie recipes. Or, indeed, any other new recipes involving chocolate. Thank you. *omnomnom*

In fact, it might be a really good idea to bake some around now, because my boiler (which has been on its last legs for lo these many months) finally shuffled off its mortal coil during the course of Friday night. I've been managing for hot water, because although I hate showers the shower is at least self-heating (which the bath, sadly, is not), and so is the washing machine. For smaller quantities I can just boil water on the stove. But having no heating is a little tricky, and it's getting distinctly parky in the kitchen, although I've got a small fan heater which is light enough to carry around and warm the bit of the house I happen to be in.

So... brownies *and* a warmer kitchen? Yup, sounds like a plan to me!

#666 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 10:16 AM:

Xopher Halftongue@651: I understand cocoa powder isn't available everywhere. I have no idea what you could use instead, sorry.

Also going back to the earlier discussion of Dutch process: in some places Dutch process is the norm, in others it isn't, and results can taste different with the two. (Spouse has stories of multiple batches of brownies just not tasking right when made in the UK until this difference was noticed.)

#667 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 10:31 AM:

dotless The Comment of the Beast: Yes. I've tried using Hershey's Special Dark cocoa, which is partly Dutched, and the brownies definitely tasted off.

#668 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 10:37 AM:

Cal Dunn@641: huge collection of spies

Cal Dunn@642: Spices. Huge collection of spices. I don't think the cumin is plotting with the fennel and the amchur to launch small pieces of crystallised ginger into the heavily fortified glass walls of the panch phoron jar.

Thank you, both for the lovely image, and because I wasn't previously familiar with amchur, at least by name. I'm now thinking, though, of our very disorganized spice rack and contemplating what the more elderly and neglected spices might have been getting up to while we've been ignoring them. I doubt that the ginger, the paprika, or the various cinnamons have had a chance to settle in, let alone to hatch plots, but there are some at the back that, well, I might need to check in with.

#669 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 11:39 AM:

dotless ı @668 there are some at the back that, well, I might need to check in with.

I've been cleaning out my pantry, and this is a disturbing thought. We moved into this house almost 14 years ago and there may be some dusty jars in the back whose contents have become sentient and self-willed. Or at least squamous and rugose.

#670 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 11:44 AM:

*looks innocent*

Nope, no spice plots here.

#671 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 11:48 AM:

At least my spice cupboards are only two jars deep, so I can keep an eye on them. Some of them, having been inherited, are old enough to be plotting, though....

#672 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 11:51 AM:

007 *will* be back in "The Spice Who Loved Me"

#673 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 12:28 PM:

At the risk of trying to resurrect a deceased equine via flogging, I tyhink THIS article may have been a mroe effective one for Tom Whitmore's objections re Jonathon Ross than Was Janis Ian's reactionary rant.

Andrea Phillips: Let He who is without Sin

#674 ::: Mongoose ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 12:29 PM:

I have more than 007 spices in my rack, but I don't have as many as 2001, which would presumably be a Spice Odyssey.

#675 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 12:36 PM:

(Although Farah Mendlesohn has objected to how her opinion is characterized within the article as it uses words she had not)

#676 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 12:46 PM:

Mongoose @674 I don't have as many as 2001, which would presumably be a Spice Odyssey.

Snort. Tying this back to the Strine accent subthread.

#677 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 12:53 PM:

I should have known there would be something like this:

Spice, The Final Frontier

#678 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 12:58 PM:

All this spice punning is reminding me of the crazy adventures of a cat who thinks he's a chihuahua with a bottle of his mother's red spice and the planet mars:Skippyjon Jones - Lost in Spice

(These books are great for kids. No idea why we get a page full of reviews for a business guide as the sumamry, though...)

#679 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 01:34 PM:

I dropped by Grocery Outlet the other day to buy . . . tablets. Really cheap tablets, for b'day gifts. Hopefully not a mistake.

On the way in I spotted something that might be awful or wonderful. A tub of chocolate mint flavored peanut butter, by either Jif or Skippy.

I plan on using it as a frosting on brownies.

#680 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 01:40 PM:

For those of you interested in seeing how Jonathan Ross is at geek cons, he's a guest at the London Super Comic-Con at the ExCel (venue for Loncon 3) in London this coming Saturday. No idea what they'll have him doing, but speaking from a stage is pretty much a given:

London Super Comic-Con

#681 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 01:41 PM:

Grr. Loss of the oak tree (see HLN @615) means that the late afternoon sun now blinds me at my desk for more than an hour. Previously the oak filtered it nicely... Going to have to fix up some sort of blind.

Meanwhile, we now have a piddly little elder near where the decent-sized one was. Don't know if it will survive having been transplanted after begining to leaf up, nor how long it will take to grow big enough to start producing berries for the birds (which is what I want it for). Tree surgeon also brought an ornamental "black lace" elder so need to decide where to put that. And the garden is full of branches and chopped up oak tree until my S-I-L has time to come take away the useable stuff and burn the rest.

At least the sparrows, blue tits, great tits and robins are enjoying looking for insects in the branch piles.

AND history: blue marks inside some of the large branches indicating the presence of shrapnel from when the houses behind ours were bombed during the war (WWII).

#682 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 01:46 PM:

abi @ #594:

Swedish does the same, as far as time goes ("halv fem" is, typically, 16:30, unless there's context making it 04:30, whereas "half five" is, again typically, 17:30).

There's no "half march" in Swedish, it would be "halvvägs genom mars" (halfway through March), I think.

Swedes also seem to love week numbers (I would expect most Swedes who are in a job that requires medium-term planning to have an intuitive feel for when in the year "week 17" falls).

#683 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 02:08 PM:

Ingvar M @682:
Swedes also seem to love week numbers (I would expect most Swedes who are in a job that requires medium-term planning to have an intuitive feel for when in the year "week 17" falls).

The Dutch do week numbers too. I always have to scurry off and find a calendar when that starts up.

#684 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 02:09 PM:

Ingvar M@682: There's no "half march" in Swedish, it would be "halvvägs genom mars" (halfway through March), I think.

Not that it's exactly common in English except in quotations about March, but is there any remnant at all of the "ides" of a month in other modern languages?

Swedes also seem to love week numbers

I run into those occasionally in business correspondence, but always need to look them up. Which reminds me of another English time-related term which doesn't seem to have crossed the Atlantic: "w/c", meaning "week commencing (on)", as in "w/c 17th March". I had to stare at that for a bit before I was able to reconstruct it from context the first time it cropped up in correspondence from a UK colleague.

Also brought to mind: I still have to mentally count on my fingers, as it were, to understand Portuguese days of the week. Saturday and Sunday are cognate with other Romance languages, but Monday through Friday are numbered from 2 ("segunda-feira") to 6 ("sexta-feira"). If I don't think carefully I'm usually off by one in my translation.

#685 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 02:19 PM:

dotless ı (684): "w/c", meaning "week commencing (on)", as in "w/c 17th March"

I would phrase that as "the week of March 17". (US)

#686 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 02:34 PM:

@632 et al: I saw a different site for what actual weights look like and I think that's it.

@631, Charlie, it's not that series. For one thing, there's only two books published. For another ... well, another tendency is for romance to go very light on the worldbuilding. This one's no exception.

#687 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 03:25 PM:

Open threadiness: Sir Patrick Freakin' Stewart using his power for good.

(My local National Public Radio station is doing a pledge drive. A few of these spots showed up, with WNYC changed to NPR. So I went looking for them so I could play them for my husband, and I found a bunch. Some of these made me giggle. Out loud. At work.)

#688 ::: Mark_Wales ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 03:26 PM:

Re. (sort of) language and local ways of saying things, the two things I noticed most on moving to Wales from England ten or so years ago were the use of "by" to mean "over", as in "It's by there," or, "Come and sit by here," and the addition of "with me" to statements, as in a manager saying, "So-and-so has now been off sick for a month with me," which is confusing enough if your first job in the new place is in HR...

I have yet, in over a decade here, to hear anyone say, "Look you!", or "There's lovely!", though...

#689 ::: Mongoose ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 03:47 PM:

Mark @ 688: "There's lovely!" is still used in our family, although decreasingly so. I am part Welsh on my mother's side and grew up hearing it, and occasionally saying it myself. I didn't realise it was Welsh until I was in my late teens or early twenties.

This is an extraordinary example of linguistic conservatism within a family, because the Welsh person from whom we are all descended was John Hughes, born in Merthyr Tydfil in 1814. I believe his wife was also Welsh, but I'm not absolutely certain; there's a book about him which my parents have, and that probably gives her details. His eldest son Ivor may also have been born in Wales, but his son, John Hughes II, was not. I'm not a family historian, so I'm not sure whether he was born in England or the Ukraine, but he certainly lived in England for most of his adult life.

John Hughes II was my grandfather. He had four children, the eldest of whom was my mother. And we still occasionally use recognisably Welsh, but old-fashioned, turns of phrase.

#690 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 04:01 PM:

"There's lovely" is presumably a straightforward importation of "dyna hyfryd". I always rather liked the not-totally-accepted theory that the English continuous present, with its odd use of the present tense of 'to be', was influenced by the similar construction in Celtic languages.

#691 ::: Mark_Wales ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 04:11 PM:

Mongoose @689 That's a fascinating link re. John Hughes, I'd not come across him before...

Although I've never heard, "There's lovely!" here, "There's nice," is still fairly common...

(The other thing I've only ever heard here, but am not sure is "Welsh" as such, [perhaps because it doesn't 'sound' as Welsh as "by there" &c.] is the description of anyone who displays any eccentricity whatsoever as being, "on their own"....)

#692 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 05:45 PM:

HLN: Area moose is considerably intimidated by the contents of the most recent TNH particle, though "fascinating" is not the effect of some of them. (Possibly a cross between haberdashery and cake wrecks?)

#693 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 06:19 PM:

I am vacillating between SQUEEEE! and Ohhhh, they're going to screw it up!:

EXCLUSIVE: Frederik Pohl’s Gateway may finally get a screen adaptation. Entertainment One Television (Hell On Wheels) has teamed with De Laurentiis Co. (Hannibal) to develop and produce a drama series adaptation of Pohl’s sci-fi classic. The two companies landed the rights to the 1977 book in a competitive situation, with a number of producers pursuing. The project will be executive produced by De Laurentiis Co’s Martha De Laurentiis and Lorenzo De Maio along with eOne’s John Morayniss, CEO eOne TV; Michael Rosenberg, EVP U.S. Scripted TV; and Benedict Carver, SVP Filmed Entertainment. Search is underway for a writer to write the adaptation, with a number of established showrunners already interested because of Gateway‘s cult status.

#694 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 06:23 PM:

Mark@ 688: "Come and sit by here,"

Usually pronounced in Cardiff "Come and sit by yur," or, if you're my mother, "Come and sit by hyur."

#695 ::: Mongoose ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 06:29 PM:

Moose @ 692: I think the only possible reaction to those hats is "Chapeau!".

Rob @ 694: I had a friend from Swansea who used to talk about "yearphones". It was definitely "year" rather than "yur". Obviously this is one way of telling the two accents apart.

#696 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 06:37 PM:

I am 54½ today. This is also the date I celebrated for a couple of years, when I realized I could not bring myself to celebrate my real birthday, a day when so many people I knew died, and my country took...a turn for the worse, in many ways.

Then, ten years ago this very day, Al Qaeda bombed the trains in Madrid, and I gave up.

#697 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 06:38 PM:

Stefan Jones> @ 693... The name 'de Laurentiis' is enough to cause much trepidation and cold sweat. Remember 1984's "Dune"?

#698 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 07:02 PM:

If I remember correctly, in Jo's book "Among Others" there was reference made to a Northern Welsh yes/no dialectical usage that the protagonist was surprised was an actual thing. But I have no idea what the actual thing is that she was referring to. So while we're talking about Welsh dialects, can anyone fill me in?

I don't have my copy at hand, and because I didn't understand what the character was referring to, I may not be remembering it correctly.

#699 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 07:09 PM:

Xopher Halftongue @696: Sympathies for the timing.

#700 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 07:31 PM:

Language quirks are tough things. Today at work, I saw two piles of boxes, with labels. "This pile needs scanned" and "This pile doesn't need scanned-just filed". I think that's a German (may be Scots) construction, but it hangs on in unexpected places.

#701 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 08:12 PM:

Anyone who's wondering if Ross ever made a fat joke -- see

"Kelly Osbourne has reportedly suggested that a cutting remark from Jonathan Ross is responsible for her self-esteem issues.

The 24-year-old appeared on chatshow Friday Night With Jonathan Ross in 2005 to promote her album Sleeping in the Nothing.

She told New:
"He took a picture of me from my album cover and then another picture of me and goes, 'That's not you - you're fat! Look at how much they've airbrushed it'.

"I wanted to crawl under a rock and die. I felt so fat and ugly. I was totally destroyed."

However, Osbourne added that she has since forgiven Ross, saying: "I still watch his show."

So that wasn't just a stereotypical anecdote in a comedy routine. It was a direct, aggressive attack on an individual -- EXACTLY the kind of joke Seanan McGuire seems to have been thinking of.

See also "The band that was performing was New Order and they refused to play until he apologised. A lot of it wasn't shown on TV because if they saw what he really said to me, I don't think any parent in the world would ever watch his show again. What he said to me destroyed me for two years."

Now, maybe she reacted more strongly than most people would have, but assuming she is quoting him correctly, she surely had reason to be pretty damn pissed.

#702 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 08:49 PM:

Ginger #647: Congratulations! Does this mean that you are now, officially, an Old Block?

#703 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 08:50 PM:

My mother was occasionally guilty of "there's adjective for you", but I think it's archaic now, and probably for at least a generation or two.

So, incidentally, is most of what is said to be Strine dialect. Not the vowel values, which remain, but the more, er, colourful constructions.

#704 ::: mlp ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 09:16 PM:

Xopher Halftongue @696 : how unfortunate that the 11th of 3 and 9 are tainted for you. A suggestion if it is welcome: choose another date that pleases you and celebrate how you like!

(Example: for logistical reasons, my wedding was rescheduled, and ended up being held the day after my birthday. My husband seems incapable of remembering two dates so close together, so now we celebrate the anniversary on Labor Day, reasoning that marriage takes work. It's been 30 years so far.)

#705 ::: Cal Dunn ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 09:55 PM:

dotless ı: no worries, and thank you in turn for "various cinnamons" - my available varieties are "cinnamon", "cinnamon sugar" and "cinnamon sticks" (and occasionally cassia bark). Do keep an eye on your paprika though or it'll be behind the tins getting smoked before you know it.

I shouldn't be so happy about having sparked off a few puns, but I never claimed to be anise person.

#706 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 10:54 PM:

mlp@ 704: That's odd. My husband's birthday is two days after my mother's, and a day before our wedding anniversary*. This, we found, makes it EASY to remember. But yes, the Labour Day option sounds like a great way to remember.

*And about 5 assorted others within a month back and forth. Late April/ all of May is busy. I keep joking that I need to conceive the next child in August to fill in the gap between mom's and his natal days.

#707 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2014, 11:07 PM:

Just finished My Real Children. Want to wake everyone in the house and slobber all over them.

#708 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 12:05 AM:

"Is *anyone* in Ohio human?"
"I am," I said.
"You're a Price. You don't count."

The hero's girlfriend in Seanan McGuire's "Half-off Ragnarok" after finding that his grandmother is a cuckoo, that his grandfather with put together from various dead folks, that he keeps in his bedroom talking mice who worship him as a god, *and* that his co-worker at the Zoo is a gorgon.

#709 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 12:30 AM:

Kip: It's not actually out till May, isn't it? Did you get an ARC somehow?

#710 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 12:43 AM:

David Goldfarb @ 709: Nope. Half-Off Ragnarok was came out a week ago; what's not coming out until May is Sparrow Hill Road. Which I got to spend yesterday evening reading, because I handed Seanan a cake at FOGcon and she handed me an ARC.

#711 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 03:32 AM:

Benjamin: That's great, but I was talking about My Real Children.

#712 ::: Mongoose ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 10:35 AM:

AKICML: this morning I went to see my first proofreading customer. It was a long schlep across the city, and I'd ordinarily have met her somewhere more central, but we've been having computer problems and I wanted to have a look at her machine for myself.

To summarise as concisely as possible, she uses Pages on a Mac. I use LibreOffice on Linux. This shouldn't be a problem, because both are Word-compatible, and the output was wanted in Word. After much faffing which isn't important here, she sent the file in Word and PDF formats. Most of it had converted all right, except the two figures, which I fixed by screencapping them from the PDF and inserting them as .png files. Nothing too weird so far.

So I corrected the file and bunged it back to her in .doc, .pdf and .odt formats (that last one being just in case). She said that the text looked great, but both the figures and the tables had disappeared. The figures were a bit of a surprise, but the tables were an out-and-out shock; they'd converted the other way without a trace of a hiccup, and I'd edited them just fine. I then PNG'ed the tables too, just in case. Nope. Still no show.

Soooo. I go over there this morning, she says she's still getting nowhere with Pages, so I ask her permission to download LibreOffice. I figure that will solve the problem because I can just open the .odt file, the one I sent in case of emergency. She's fine with that, so I download LibreOffice and open the .odt file.

And the figures and tables are missing.

I am becroggled. Granted, I'm no expert on Macs, but there's some other evidence which suggests that her machine isn't running entirely as it should be; for instance, when I tried to restrict the contents of the Documents folder to .odt files in order to find the one we wanted quickly, it didn't work properly. It insisted on telling me that there were .odt files in several of the subfolders, which there were not, and it didn't bring the single .odt file to the top automatically. It may or may not be relevant that this computer was stolen in London earlier this year, and eventually recovered a few weeks later, apparently undamaged.

Anyway. She likes my style and wants me to work for her regularly, which is good news; this means we've had to arrange a work-around for future reference. Any file she wants me to proofread in future, she will create in LibreOffice as two separate files, one text-only and one with just the figures and tables. That way, it will minimise file conversion, and if anything does go seriously pear-shaped with the figures and tables it won't mess up the rest of the text. I will then send the results back in all three formats (Word, PDF and LibreOffice), plus a merged file. If the figures and tables don't merge in properly, at least she'll still have the two separate files.

But my immediate question is: why would LibreOffice on a Mac fail to open properly a document last saved in LibreOffice on Linux? And can anything be done about that?

#713 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 11:03 AM:

David, it's an ARC that Cathy brought back from her last convention. I found two typos (I remember "Albioni" for "Albinoni" and the other one I sorta lost again) and a note at the back that says "David Goldfarb read this before you, sucker!"

#714 ::: E. Liddell ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 11:05 AM:

Mongoose @ 712: For the figures, check to make sure they're embedded in the document, rather than just linked to it (easy check--move the image files on your own machine to another directory and see if anything odd happens). The tables may be due to nothing being 100% compatible with Word, including other versions of Word.

#715 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 11:15 AM:

Open Threadiness: just saw Japan and the Jazz Age at the Columbia (SC) Museum of Art. Heartily recommended. In place thru early April, then travels to Seattle May-October under the title "Deco Japan: Shaping Art and Culture".

#716 ::: Mongoose ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 11:16 AM:

E. Liddell @ 714: thanks! The figures were definitely embedded, but I'm now wondering if .png was the wrong format to choose. I think I may try experiments with other image formats.

Also, I am quite sure you're right about nothing being 100% compatible with Word. *I* am not compatible with Word.

#717 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 11:32 AM:

SamChevre @700:

I've encountered the "needs verbed" construction from my wife's family; they're from the mid-Atlantic US. (Most sites I've checked attribute the regionalism to Pennsylvania, which would be a couple generations back for them but not terribly far away so it could be a little more widespread.)

#718 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 11:37 AM:

Say: this is doubtless the right crowd for this question. Are there circumstances under which a wheat-based dough will, um, de-glutenate?

Here's my issue: I'll make up a nice batch of papier mache: roughly equal parts water, white wheat flour, newspaper. Mush together into a dough, apply to project.

Sometimes I end up with leftover dough after a sitting, so I put it in the fridge. (No, I don't need sourdough for this purpose, thank you. Ew.) Next day when I take it out, it seems to have lost some (occasionally most) of its elasticity and stickiness.

I'm assuming something happens in the wheat component, but my knowledge of such things is limited. Anybody know what's going on there? (The dough can be resurrected by the simple addition of a little more flour and water, but I'm curious.)

#719 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 11:51 AM:

Jacque @718:

I'm not sure of the chemistry, but in bookbinding terms, we say that paste "reverts" when it gets like that.

You can retard the effect with a few drops of clove oil, which also makes it smell nice. (Traditional alternatives: alum and formaldehyde. Ugh.)

#720 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 11:55 AM:

Xopher @696: Some days it just doesn't pay to get out of bed, does it? Happy Half-birthday, and may your natal felicitations continue to outweigh the bad things that have happened on your days. No matter what date you choose to celebrate, know that we all celebrate your birth, and wish you happiness.

Fragano @702: I'm a Blockhead, indubitably, but I will not let the Chip fall where he may...

#721 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 11:59 AM:

Cal Dunn@705: thank you in turn for "various cinnamons" – my available varieties are "cinnamon", "cinnamon sugar" and "cinnamon sticks" (and occasionally cassia bark).

Our current cinnamons are: a strong, sharp Vietnamese cinnamon (great for cinnamon rolls and things that should Taste Of Cinnamon); a softer Ceylon cinnamon (for things where the cinnamon has to get along with other milder flavors); and an odd smoked cinnamon that smells nice but we haven't found the right use for yet. We also have some cinnamon sticks and some cinnamon sugar, the latter made from the mixed remnants of some older bags of cinnamon. Why yes, we do like cinnamon.

Do keep an eye on your paprika though or it'll be behind the tins getting smoked before you know it.

Since all our paprika arrived smoked in the tins, I think we'll just have to take our chances with it. As I said, though, around here it doesn't last long enough to get up to very much.

I shouldn't be so happy about having sparked off a few puns, but I never claimed to be anise person.

I won't chive you for them. Allspice jokes are fun to read when I cumin from the chili weather.

#722 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 12:20 PM:

Jacque @718:

The best stuff I know of for papier-mache is wallpaper paste, available at any paint department (I did tons of theatrical props with it). It's considerably cheaper than food-quality flour, doesn't go off, mixes easily with water without lumps, blah blah blah. Insects don't like it and it doesn't support mold, so maybe it has alum - it doesn't smell of formaldehyde.

The google images don't show people wearing [latex, nitrile] gloves, but I would. It's not the nuisance it used to be to find thin ones.

The only problem with it is that you're not apt to find it currently in your place.

#723 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 12:26 PM:

Ginger 720: Thank you. It's appreciated.

#724 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 12:34 PM:

Well, our little Chip is on the move. Apparently he feels today is a good day to be born.

#725 ::: jonesnori/Lenore Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 12:42 PM:

On the Nazi front, the latest Scandinavia and the World comic presents Denmark shipping its Jewish citizens to Sweden just before the Nazis arrived:

Hurry Hurry Hurry

#726 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 12:49 PM:

Xopher, you've made the world a better place for me, even though we've never been in the same place at the same time. My best wishes for a joyous celebration of your birth at whatever time seems best to you, AIBYW.

#727 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 01:05 PM:

Ginger 720: Thank you. It's appreciated.

#728 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 01:13 PM:

Carol Kimball @722: wallpaper paste

Hm. A bit of Googling around produces only "adhesive," in the range of $20/gal ($40/5gal), which is significantly more expensive than $5/10lbs of the cheapest wheat flour, I think. Also, being food grade, I don't have to wear rubber gloves to work wheat paste, which a major plus. Add'ly, I'd be concerned about the wp adhesive drying out if I didn't use it up fairly promptly. This is not a concern with flour. Also wp adhesive is not available across my street. :-)

#729 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 01:31 PM:

Argh. Weird error phenomena.

Lila 726: thank you.

Everyone else: I really wasn't trolling for half-birthday wishes, much as they're appreciated! My intent was to muse on the Madrid bombings and one small effect they had on me.

#730 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 01:36 PM:

This brand is one I've used.

Honestly, I've never worn gloves using it. The grains going easily into a smooth paste is the biggest attraction. Mixed up, I've never had it go bad (unlike those devilish spices).

Maybe only wallpaper stores, these days. It's worth keeping an eye out.

#731 ::: P J Evans sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 01:46 PM:

Sounds like the gluten relaxing. It happens with bread and pastries - for some things, you want the dough to relax before you do the next step.

#732 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 01:57 PM:

"Needs verbed" - I think I've heard that from a friend of mine who lives in South Jersey and has worked in Philadelphia for 20+ years.

(apropos of nothing: she's the one who said, during a Star Wars RPG, "Bib Fortuna rolls deep." )

#733 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 01:58 PM:

Also apropos of nothing, I think P J Evans may not actually see spam @731 .

#734 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 02:35 PM:

dotless @721:

smoked cinnamon

If I had some of this, I'd use it in a spice rub on pork, probably with some ancho chiles and maybe a touch of unsweetened cocoa. Basically the combination of smoky and sweet spice is making me think mole-related thoughts, but I think the subtlety of smoked cinnamon would likely be lost in something with a multitude of ingredients like a mole or chile, so I'd just go for the essentials of warmth and spice. Alternatively, a pinch of smoked cinnamon would go very well in hot cocoa, I suspect.

#735 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 02:51 PM:

lorax@734: That's the general direction we've been looking at, but so far the results haven't lived up to our hopes. Occasional experiments continue, though and the cocoa is an interesting idea.

#736 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 04:02 PM:

HLN: Person gets made admin of Facebook group. Four days the group implodes.

Person, who is agnostic, offers prayers to the Saints of Moderation, Teresa & Abi.

#737 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 04:05 PM:

Soon Lee @ 736... Is that unusually fast?

#738 ::: Mongoose ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 04:16 PM:

Soon Lee @ 736: highly unlikely to be your fault. It's astonishing what people will suddenly decide to fight over in FB groups.

I am one of the ten admins of a large and rapidly growing FB group. The admins are mostly in the US/Canada time zones; I think I am the lone Brit, so if anything kicks off before America wakes up, it's normally up to muggins here to handle it. And yesterday a massive groupquake took place which ended up with me administering the banhammer to two people, one for abusive language towards another member and the other for trolling. (I prefer not to ban if at all possible, but there was no reining in either of those two.)

What do you think started it all off? Two people who notoriously didn't get on, perhaps? Someone got political? A well-intentioned post ended up being Godwinated?

Not a bit of it. One of the group posted a picture of her dog. Le sigh.

#739 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 04:20 PM:

Jacque @728, Carol Kimball @722: wallpaper paste

Most of my papier-mâché needs over the past decade or two have been served by strips of brown paper dunked in a mix of approximately 1 part white glue (which these days is mainly acrylic medium) to 2 parts water. Cost-effectiveness might depend on the size of what you are making, of course; but I have found the results to be much sturdier than newspaper+paste, especially if you glaze it with a coat of more white glue afterwards.

#740 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 04:26 PM:

Carol Kimball @730: Looks interesting. Price not immediately apparent. But also looks like it would be A Project to obtain.

(FWIW, I rarely have putty sit around long enough to go bad. It only becomes an issue if I forget to refrigerate it. And then a dash of bleach usually does the trick.)

abi @719 & P J Evans @731: Sounds like the gluten relaxing.

So it is a thing, then. Good; I'm not hallucinating. That's always a relief. :o)

@"Needs verbed" is something I've heard on occasion and seems unworthy of note around here (Colorado).

#741 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 04:34 PM:

Sarah: I look with longing upon the use of white glue for papier mache. Again, $$ comes into play. I also produced a nice sturdy piece supplementing the water component with polyurethane, back when I was feeling rich. Or nearly-congealed waste acrylic paint, which also produces some interesting visual effects.

But the raw paper/flour/water recipe is remarkably sturdy. I have a little tetrahedron-shaped frame, that's about eight inches on an edge. The armature is those mondo twisties that come around Romaine lettuce bunches. I haven't tested it to failure, but it seems willing to support my weight.

Xopher: Does it help any with the half-birthday ruminations to note that Google marks today as the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web?

#742 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 04:34 PM:

The trigger/flashpoint was about png cbfgf. Yes. Really.

But it was stuff that been simmering off-site for a while that blew up onsite to the bewilderment of many. Sides were taken, accusations, recriminations, allusions to out-of-band abuse, general unpleasantness galore.

Book of Face is famously lacking in moderation tools. Admins are autonomous with little/no consultation between each other. Some admins have been accused of abusing their powers, the rest of us have no real way of knowing if true or not.

The offending thread has been deleted, not by me, but it was a good move to remove the festering sore of a turd from the room. Things have calmed down (for now), and normal posting has resumed (for now).

I have created a group for the admins to have a central discussion space so we can come to a consensus on how to proceed. (Also been poring over ML's archived posts on moderation. BTW, have you seen this?)

#743 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 04:38 PM:

Yes, but who moderates the moderators...? <g,d&r>

#744 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 04:57 PM:

Jacque #743:

Trying to do good whilst fearing that all I'm doing is greasing the wheels of the handcart taking us to hell.

#745 ::: Mongoose ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 04:59 PM:

Soon Lee @ 742: yes, we did that. Originally we relied on chat, but that rapidly got very unwieldy, so we created the admin group. It's accepted that if there's only one person online, they sort out any trouble on the spot, but if there are a few of us we confer. It's remarkable how much agreement there always is. Although we're a bunch of different characters, we think very much alike on how to moderate the group, because it contains a lot of vulnerable people, so the overriding consideration is that the space must be kept as safe as possible. The whole point of the group, for a lot of its members, is that they go there for safety and understanding. That has to be paramount.

That link, incidentally, may well be the best comment policy ever.

#746 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 05:05 PM:

Mongoose #745:
The irony is that this group arose as a result of a previous group imploding. Plus ça change...

#747 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 05:22 PM:

Serge Broom #737:

*clutches chest* A hit! A palpable hit!

#748 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 05:25 PM:

No, it's my bad. Didn't realize it until now. (Seasonal jet-lag.)

#749 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 05:56 PM:

Every time I read a reference to "needs verbed" I cannot help but read it as "There is a noun that needs to be used as a verb, stat!" And then I end up hunting briefly for the noun (or possibly adjective) antecedent briefly.

#750 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 07:23 PM:

The "needs verbed" construction may also have gotten into some of the Great Plains idiolects, because I encountered it from someone with that background.

AKICIML: Of late, every time I try to look at something on DeviantArt, it locks up my browser and I have to use the 3-finger salute and force a shutdown. Is anyone else having this problem, and if so, what can I do to make it stop?

#751 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 07:28 PM:

Minor obfuscation collision: I initially read Soon Lee's source of the problem @742 as having been disemvowelled, rather than rot-13ed! Because I couldn't figure out the fully-vowelled form, and because I'm a nerd, I grepped my system dictionary for words that consisted only of "png" or "cbfgf" interspersed with vowels. I found 8 matches for png, but none for cbfgf.

#752 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 07:28 PM:

Jacque @ #743

<Vimes>That's easy Sir, we watch^Wmoderate each other.</Vimes>

#753 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 07:35 PM:

Soon Lee @ 747... :-) Controversies and flame wars are coming fast & furious these days. I hear that, in the old pre-internet days, they were slower, but just as furious.

#754 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 07:55 PM:

Serge Broom @753, ah, yes, I well remember the old days of 300baud flamewars... <wryly> Some of those old ddials got pretty nasty.

#755 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 08:02 PM:

Jeremy @ 751: Since I'd just been toying with editing some toolbar icons this morning, I briefly wondered what exactly a cbfgf might be and what it might have to do with .png files, before realizing that the png and the cbfgf should be considered in the same scope. Mind you, I'm sure the topic of PNG format has caused many a flamewar and implosion in its day.

#756 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 08:11 PM:

And I remember the pre-dialup days, flame wars in apas with monthly mailings.

#757 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 08:24 PM:

Allan Beatty @756 -- you had monthly mailings? Oh, the speed! I remember (for suitable values of remember) flame wars in FAPA, which was quarterly! Shakes cane, then leans back in rocker. (And don't even ask me about the documentation on the Great Breen Boondoggle....)

#758 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 08:35 PM:

Tom Whitmore #757: Okay, what was the Great Breen Boondoggle?

#759 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 08:41 PM:

I have been following the case of the Disappearing Malaysian Airliner with interest. Has anyone yet announced that it was an alien abduction?

#760 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 09:00 PM:

Fragano: He told you not to ask that.

#761 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 09:04 PM:

Here is the Fancyclopedia 3 writeup on the Breen Boondoggle, Fragano. There are people who would dispute that Breen's behavior at conventions was beyond reproach. It was not a happy time.

#762 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 09:12 PM:

Fragano @ 759... I favor the theory of a time-travelling Cheryl Ladd.

#763 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 10:16 PM:

A lot of people have suggested that elsewhere. (About half the comments at SFGate, I think.)

#764 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 11:24 PM:

Somewhat related to the thread here on linguistic quirks; I'm writing something in which three people who come from Portland (circa 1983) are characters, one of them quite important.

Are there any particular Oregonian quirks of language I should really watch out for? I can find lists of slang online and linguistic discussiion, at a cursory googling.

In the former, I find little indication in such lists how commonplace a specific word is -- And similar lists for Canadians, even narrowed to region, invariably include things that make me go, "But you wouldn't find the same person using both" or even "I've never even heard that one", so I don't trust such lists to be genuinely useful in the crafting of dialogue. Also, they don't include grammatical constructions.

In the linguistic discussions of regional dialect, they get into esoteric levels of detail rather than laypersons' -- and more significant, mostly discuss how certain universal words/syllables are pronounced, which is less than useful for the written word.

Mostly I just don't want them to pop up with a turn of phrase which makes an Oregonian go "Wha? They're not from here."

(Book is in too drafty a shape for anyone to look at the manuscript, but is someone thinks they could possibly check it over after the fact better than advise in advance, I may take note of names for whenever I do get back to it.)

#765 ::: Matt Austern ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 11:47 PM:

I grew up in Pittsburgh and I remember being very puzzled when one of my teachers (in Junior High, I think, in the late 70s) said that a sentence like "The plant needs watered" wasn't standard English. I had to stretch to even think of any other way to phrase that sentence, and it wasn't until years after that that my ear started registering those alternatives as more correct than the "needs verbed" construction.

#766 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 12:12 AM:

Also, I just saw a use of the "needs verbed" construction on the LJ post of someone who grew up in southern Ohio.

Tom, #761. Wow, that's... really special.

The Nashville SF Club had a member who was arrested and convicted for the sexual abuse of his own daughter in the late 1980s. For most of us, it was a shock but not really a surprise -- meaning that we all sort of knew something wasn't right with him, but we didn't know exactly what.

#767 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 06:01 AM:

I've used "needs verbed" my whole life. Some of my family members use it. It scans right for me, and it's hard to remember it's not "proper" grammer.

When I say "needs verbed" my brain is thinking, "needs to be verbed" and I'm just leaving the "to be" out.

#768 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 07:13 AM:

Baby Chip, 8 lbs something, arrived at 3:31 am, March 13, 2014. The subsequent decrease in the wind storm is entirely coincidental.

#769 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 07:14 AM:

Serge #762: Time travelling aliens I'll go for too.

#770 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 07:27 AM:

Ginger @ #768, congratulations and best wishes to the whole family!

#771 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 07:29 AM:

(posted to shake out previous post from internal server error jam)

#772 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 07:30 AM:

Ginger #768: Yay, congratulations!

#773 ::: Mongoose ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 08:51 AM:

Congratulations on the safe arrival of Chip!

#774 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 08:52 AM:

Yes, Disney is remaking "Something Wicked This Way Comes".
Me, I want to see the original, which starred Gene Kelly as Mr.Dark.

#775 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 09:28 AM:

Ginger (768): Mazel tov!

#776 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 10:13 AM:

Ginger@768: Congratulations to all!

#777 ::: jonesnori/Lenore Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 10:25 AM:

I use some "needs verbed" constructions but not others. "The plant needs watered" feels awkward to me, but I'll use "This needs thinking/planning." Hold it - just realized that all of the phrases I was about to type are "needs verbing" constructions, not "needs verbed." "The plant needs watering" is what I would say.

#778 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 10:26 AM:

Ginger #768: Congratulations!

#779 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 10:39 AM:

Xopher Halftongue @ #696: That's our wedding anniversary. Our 21st was on The Day. We had dinner reservations at Palena. I could see the smoke rising from the Pentagon as I worked my way home. Of course, the restaurant was closed.

In subsequent years, we've tried to be in Canada visiting friends on that day to avoid the political haymaking and the chest-thumping. But we still celebrate our own happiness, and if we can't make our getaway, we go to Palena.

#780 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 11:23 AM:

Congratulations, Ginger!

#781 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 11:23 AM:

Ginger @ 768
YAY!! for baby!

Language quirks
I think I picked up "don't teach your gramma how to suck eggs" from my in-laws, who are from Oklahoma, and ran into it when I had interactions with people from Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina. I said it to a friend who's lived in Chicago or upstate New York most of his life. His response was "do people still say that?" I put on my best southern drawl and said, "sweetie pie, if'n y'all are from The South, y'shore nuff do."

Which reminds me that y'all is singular. If you are addressing more than one person, it is "all y'all". My best friend came back to California after 10 years in Tampa. She lost the slight drawl, but still throws out the occasional all y'all.

#782 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 12:25 PM:

Lin, that's the first time I've heard the assertion that y'all is singular, and I've heard the opposite many times. Perhaps there are multiple dialects that use it differently?

Because I'm linguistically curious, not because I actually doubt you: would you say, for example, "Y'all are the father of this child" (meant literally)? Or 'Y'all are the only person in the world who (whatever)"?

If so, is there any pattern to when you use 'you' and when you use "y'all", or are they completely interchangeable in all contexts?

I've heard "all y'all" before, but my experience of it is limited; I've only heard it in contexts where my native dialect would say "all of you." Which is another question: would you say "all y'all" to exactly two people? (My native dialect would say "both of you" in that case.)

#783 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 12:29 PM:

In my native dialect, "y'all" is plural. When said to a single person, it implies "you and the people with you", e.g., "are y'all coming for Christmas?" meaning "you and your spouse and kids".

#784 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 12:35 PM:

Lila, your native dialect has the pattern I'm familiar with.

#785 ::: janra ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 12:38 PM:

#764, Lenora Rose:

I think it's one of those things where you often don't know it's a regionalism in your home region until you encounter it being used in a way that sounds wrong, or somebody who doesn't know it. Water to a fish, and all that.

For example, I had no idea that "skookum" was local to west of the Rockies, until a co-worker (who had worked east of the Rockies) told me that it was a generally unknown word there. I'm not sure of the word's exact range, so the Rockies may not be the exact boundary, and I don't know how far north/south it goes. Wikipedia suggests Alaska to Oregon, and since it's from the Chinook trade language that range seems reasonable.

It's a frustrating thing though. I'm working on a novel that has a character from New Zealand and I've done the best I can with the NZ slang and phrasing dictionaries I've found online, but at some point I need to find somebody who actually knows how the phrases are used in real life to read it over and make sure I didn't do embarrassingly bad things with the language. And that includes stuff that white collar vs. blue collar, or city folk vs. country folk would say (or even if that's a strong distinction!)

I saw a similar question come up elseweb asking how Canadians use units of measure, because we're officially metric but in reality use a mixed unit set. I think the UK is also officially metric now? But they use a different blend of a mixed unit set. I'm not sure what logic is behind it (if any) in either country.

#786 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 01:01 PM:

So I seem to have come to a parting of the ways with my dentist, which I'm not happy about for a variety of reasons, the most pressing of which is that I have an upper plate that's jabbing into the back of my upper lip.

So: How do you go about looking up a new dentist to help mitigate a condition left by the previous dentist? And suppose you've had some implant work done. How hard is it to get an old-fashioned adhesive plate that will peacefully co-exist with the implants?

#787 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 01:03 PM:

There are definitely parts of the South where all y'all is plural and y'all is singular. I've seen southerners from different parts of the South arguing about which usage is correct.

and here's a Language Log entry about it.

#788 ::: jonesnori/Lenore Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 01:05 PM:

Lin Daniel 781 / Lila 783: Where are y'all from? My native dialect is like Lila's - y'all is never singular. I have seen allegations that it is used in the singular by some, but those allegations were all made by non-natively using writers, so I wasn't sure about it. It's interesting to hear it from an actual user.

My mother and father grew up in Norfolk, Virginia, so that's where my usage probably comes from. I myself never lived there, and didn't live in the South at all until I was ten years old.

Which is why I pronounce the word "aunt" two different ways, depending on whether there is a name following the word. Oh, dear, I haven't got the proper phonetic spellings in my head. Well, imprecisely, in names such as "Aunt Lib" learned from my father's family, it's pronounced like the insect, but as a generic word it's pronounced "ahnt". Or possibly "awnt". My idiolect doesn't distinguish those sounds.

I've lived in several regions, and read a lot, and am partially deaf, so my idiolect is mixed up.

#789 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 01:07 PM:

Lenora Rose @764: I grew up in Seattle in roughly the same timeframe as your characters are in Portland, so not exactly the same but from a similar time and place. The Pacific Northwest dialect is not terribly distinctive. We do have a lot of the vowel mergers (caught/cot, Mary/merry/marry) but that will probably not come out in written dialog. We also have a few midwestern-type regionalisms, mostly because of the high percentage of people with Scandinavian backgrounds. One key item to note is that it is "pop", not "soda".

I'd be happy to be a resource if you want to check in occasionally on dialog - let me know and I can give you my email.

#790 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 01:30 PM:

Congratulations Gramma Ginger!

#791 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 01:37 PM:

Back In The Day, my mother, who had been in the South during her WWII Navy tour, explained to me that y'all is properly plural. It's a contraction of "you all." The only people who used y'all as a singular were Northerners trying to sound Southern, and Doin It Rong.

"All y'all" is a construction I've only been hearing in the last five-six years. I take it to mean the complete plural, as distinct from a partial plural. That is, "All y'all," as opposed to "Some of y'all."

John: I've had good luck getting recommendations for good health care providers from other health care providers. For example, I came to my current dentist on the recommendation of my optometrist.

#792 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 01:41 PM:

Ginger: 8+ lbs? Ow! My sympathies to the mother! :-) And is Chip named after Samuel Delaney? :-) :-)

#793 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 01:42 PM:

'Granny Ginger' has a ring to it.

#794 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 01:44 PM:

Ginger: congratulations! A Chip off the ol' block, eh?

#795 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 01:48 PM:

Ginger: congratulations! A Chip off the ol' block, eh?

#796 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 01:55 PM:

I picked up "needs verbed" by finding out that it was a thing and it slowly crept into my idiolect. Linguist problems? (I picked up Canadian Raising in the same way)

Ginger @768, congrats!

#797 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 02:03 PM:

Congrats to Ginger!

I think of "all y'all" as an intensifier. "Y'all come in for dinner," but "All y'all quiet down in there!" But the distinction between all of the group and part of the group makes sense, too. "Y'all come over for dinner" might mean just the adults, but "All y'all come for dinner" would include the kids too.

I was born and raised in Texas, with a mother from Virginia. At some point I remember deliberately training myself out of "y'all" but unfortunately, in those pre-feminist days I substituted "you guys" in informal settings. Had to unlearn that one, too.

I've been letting "y'all" re-emerge. Some time in the past 35+ years, I've quit feeling like I needed to be All Hyper-Professional All The Time and have relaxed into WYSIWYG. Y'know what? This is me. Live with it.

#798 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 02:03 PM:

For those of you pondering titles, I plan to be Baba, but we shall see what happens with Chip.

#799 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 02:15 PM:

Ginger #768:


janra #785:

I'm a NZer. Just like in other places, language usage changes, and we have some regional variation too. I can have a look at what you've got if you like. No promises I'll get everything but if it is glaringly obvious, I'd likely spot it.

#800 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 02:18 PM:

Janra @785 I think the UK is also officially metric now? But they use a different blend of a mixed unit set. I'm not sure what logic is behind it (if any) in either country.

Yes we are officially metric. Except for:

Miles (also yard, feet and inches) for speed and road traffic puposes;
Pints (Imperial) for beer and cider glasses and returnable bottles;
Acres for land sales and registration; and
Troy Ounce for precious metals

You can sell and label things by Imperial units, but usually only if it's also labelled and priced in metric units at least as prominently. HOWEVER if you are selling an item by description you don't have to offer a metric conversion. So if I have a (pre-metric) painting that is exactly 3 foot by 2 foot I don't have to say it's 91cm x 61 cm. If I want to sell pipe by the linear foot I DO have to say it's 30cm.

Meanwhile most people still measure themselves by feet, inches, stones and pounds although youngsters are getting more adept at cm and kg. As for the logic behind it, I don't know. I guess if I were cynical I'd suggest that MPs are more interested in driving, drinking, land ownership and precious metals than market traders and lumber yards.

#801 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 04:12 PM:

Ginger @768: Mazel tov! I hope that Chip and his mother continue to do well.

#802 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 04:51 PM:

oliviacw @ 789: I'd be happy to have a future resource for stupid questions about PNW dialect. I have relatives in BC, but between the border and the distance north (And the number who have lived numerous other places - including Oregon as it happens), I don't trust that what I hear from them is remotely like enough. Or that different from how I talk.

Since it's sort of a portal fantasy, the place that group of characters is from seemed an unimportant choice, and Portland was chosen at semi-random (Because I knew a guy who used to want to move there as it was the most beautiful city he'd been in.) What research I have managed to pull off since makes me feel it might actually have more to say for itself and its influence, even if most of it will be of the "underside of the iceberg" kind. But the one thing I knew all along it might influence is their turns of phrase.

#803 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 04:58 PM:

Ginger @ 768: Congratulations. That deserves a comment on its own.

#804 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 05:24 PM:

janra @785: I lived most of my life in the San Francisco Bay Area, and "skookum" is new to me. So there's a start at a southern boundary.

#805 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 05:50 PM:

janra@785: I've never heard the word "skookum" used, but the Skookumchuck River is in Centralia, WA.

#806 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 05:58 PM:

Congratulations Ginger!

#807 ::: Mongoose ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 06:09 PM:

Neil W @ 800: I will admit to occasionally doing things like asking for a metre of three-eighths elastic.

#808 ::: Mongoose ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 06:09 PM:

Neil W @ 800: I will admit to occasionally doing things like asking for a metre of three-eighths elastic.

#809 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 06:46 PM:

The people I've known who said "y'all" insisted that it was the second person plural, and that using it in the singular was incorrect ("something only Yankees do", presumably because they don't understand how it's used). After 26 years in Tennessee, I can't imagine using it as a singular; of course, I normally don't use it at all -- it's never really entered my idiolect.

Janra, #785: I recently encountered an article about Canadian vs. American English which said that "skookum" is mostly a Canadianism but has seeped down into the PNW as well.

Neil, #800: I have a personal sticking point with metric height measurement because there's nothing between meters and centimeters. It feels like having no intermediate unit between yards and inches, when in fact I know there is one -- the decimeter -- but for some reason it's not used. I would be much less resistant to the idea of giving my height as "16 decimeters 8 centimeters" (which would probably end up being shortened to "16-8") because it corresponds to the concept of 5'6". Saying "168 centimeters" feels like having to give my height in inches, which involves a mental conversion.

#810 ::: J Homes ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 06:48 PM:

Neil W @ 800

I trust the arrangement described by someone I once worked with who came out from the UK for the project has ceased (and been buried with a stake in its heart). According to him some things (timber and motor vehicle fuel were his examples) were sold in units of one system, but priced in the other. He was holding this lunacy up as a fault of the metric system; I considered it a fault of considering that such an unholy admixture could possibly be a good idea.

Or was he having me on?

J Homes

#811 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 06:50 PM:

Mongoose at #808 (hopefully not the sort made by ICI at Ardeer, back in the day....)

This moose has regularly bought an 8 x 4 sheet of 6mm plywood.

(The half sheet of 20mm ply was something of a pig to get home on a sack barrow, I can assure you: our local council in their monumental idiocy replaced all the paving slabs on the footpath with tarmac and lowered/widened the access to all the houses. The result is a footpath that keeps tilting unless you walk next to the fences/walls, at which point you're in danger of treading in every piece of qbt penc in the entire street - and it's really treacherous when icy in winter.)


#812 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 06:51 PM:

jonesnori @ #788, I was born in Moultrie, Ga., grew up in Cochran, Ga., and currently live in Athens, Ga. I have never lived outside Georgia.

#813 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 07:00 PM:

J. Holmes @#810

Or was he having me on?

Basically, yes.

You are permitted to sell certain items in Imperial units (Beer and Milk are both sold by the pint (of 20 fl. oz) as well as in litres), _but_ the price per metric unit (usually litre) must also be quoted on the shelf ticket. This is useful, as it allows for an easy comparison of various "pack sizes" and demonstrates just how much of a rip-off small packets of (e,g.) breakfast cereal actually are.

#814 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 07:00 PM:

Lenora Rose @802 - oh, and I also currently live in the Portland area, so there's some current awareness there, too! Portland is a good place for a portal fantasy, I agree. If you need a scenic place to set your portal (or an anti-scenic place), I'd be happy to suggest some locations. To contact me off-ML, use ocwilliamson at the popular Google mail service.

#815 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 07:54 PM:

J Homes @810 Previously the system has been less coherent than currently. Petrol stations certainly used to advertise prices in both gallons and litres. It's not inconceivable that someone somewhere sometime would have the pumps in gallons but the price in litres or vice versa, but they are probably caught up in some weird combination of changeover of the pump measuring equipment and management mandated price advertisment.

But mostly what Cadbury Moose said.

#816 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 08:19 PM:

Re: Metric
Here in the USA, we also sometimes see unholy mixtures of metric and non. For instance, a roll of receipt tape might be 44mm x 165ft.

Re: PNW dialect
I spent most of a decade of my childhood in a Seattle suburb, and I am unfamiliar with "skookum".

#817 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 08:31 PM:

One for Jim--I'm not sure if it's a scam or just a poor-odds ,a href="">game of skill and chance.

The police warning that "If you show up in front of a convenience store and there's some game of chance set up on a cardboard table be leery of that" amuses me.

On y'all--I'm Tennessean; I would only use it in the singular if I was referring to a representative of a group--for example, "I'll put the box on the porch and y'all can come get it whenever"--I might say that if I didn't know who in a multi-person household would come get it.

#818 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 09:59 PM:

So today I looked in the Central Market bulk section, and they did indeed have rice flour. In fact, they had both white rice and brown rice flour; they also had spelt and quinoa flour. Xopher, I look to you as the expert: what is best here?

(I didn't see corn starch in the bulk section but I'm so sure they have it over in the baking aisle that I didn't even bother to check.)

#819 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 10:00 PM:

So today I looked in the Central Market bulk section, and they did indeed have rice flour. In fact, they had both white rice and brown rice flour; they also had spelt and quinoa flour. Xopher, I look to you as the expert: what is best here?

(I didn't see corn starch in the bulk section but I'm so sure they have it over in the baking aisle that I didn't even bother to check.)

#820 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 10:05 PM:

Whoops. Okay, when you get "internal server error" clicking on "refresh page" is not the thing to do.

#821 ::: jonesnori/Lenore Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 11:16 PM:

SamChevre 817: Someone upthread linked a long discussion about the use of y'all, which talked about the usage you describe as one that could be mistaken by untutored observers for a singular. The commenters called it the associative or corporate usage. The best example I saw was a customer speaking to a lone salesclerk: "Do y'all carry X?" To which the salesclerk might reply, "Yes, we do." Note the matching associative use of "we" by the sales clerk.

The comment thread included people from Oklahoma, Texas, and Louisiana, some of whom from each area claimed to use y'all in the singular and some claimed never to have heard it. All of the commenters from the Carolinas, Virginia, and Georgia were aghast at the concept of a singular y'all. Lila and I fit into that latter group.

That's an unscientific sample, but it sounds like there are both regional differences and possibly racial, class, or urban/rural differences. Fascinating stuff.

#822 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 11:19 PM:

janra@785: I've lived in Portland for 30 years, and I don't recall ever hearing or reading "skookum".

#823 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 11:41 PM:

I can't believe this. I've received a letter from a collection agency, about a digital subscription to The Nation.

Last spring, I noticed that I'd followed quite a few links to The Nation and decided to support them with a digital subscription. It expired in August—shortly after my credit card was hacked. My credit card was cancelled and a new one issued with a different number, and different expiration date. They automatically renewed my subscription, submitted a charge to my credit card, and the transaction was rejected. Did they:
(1) Drop the renewal?
(2) Send me an email saying the transaction failed?

No, they choose (3) Let the subscription continue, and send me paper mail that says "renew!" on the outside of the envelope. That is, of course, the renewal that I never agreed to. I get quite a lot of junk mail soliciting donations and subscriptions, and I tossed the ones from The Nation into the recycle bin, unopened, along with the others. I didn't want to receive paper copies of the magazine, and never did.

In November, they sent me an email saying:
Per your subscription order we have been mailing copies of The Nation for at least 8 weeks. We still do not have your payment even though several notices have been sent. We can continue service if you click here to pay for your subscription now. Unfortunately, due to spiraling costs, we can't continue without prompt payment.

I replied to the email in a puzzled manner, as I hadn't received any copies of the magazine. Turns out the "mailing copies" referred to emails sent saying "you can read your digital copy now" which I'd been ignoring.

I unequivocally replied that I didn't want a subscription, and thought that was that.

Today, I opened an envelope in the mail, and it was from a collection agency!

I quite like the editorial policy of The Nation and would like to see their journalism continue, but I'm never giving them a penny again.

#824 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 12:01 AM:

A general argh.

I'm pretty comfortable with the idea of cultural relativism, that you can't judge historic cultures or geographically distant ones by the standards of here and now in many ways. It gets me through reading a lot of older books just fine, even ones of which I have seen BIG warnings go out for the painfulness of certain attitudes.

However, I draw the line at someone saying that the feudal era in Europe and the 1950s were not sexist because it was just an unpleasant reality of the times (And that they may have lacked that particular term for it in the former). And I absolutely draw the line at saying that slavery (in Egyptian and Roman times as well as early American and related) was similarly "Just how it was" and not a grave injustice.

Can anyone explain this to me in ways that don't make me facepalm? Because to me that just does not compute.

#825 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 12:19 AM:

David 818: Use white rice flour in the brownies. I don't know about the others, or other uses. I don't think spelt is gluten-free, but I'm not sure, and I know next to nothing about quinoa, except that a lot of people seem to think it's delicious, healthful, or both.

#826 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 12:40 AM:

Several online sources (This one for one) claim that spelt is definitely not gluten-free. It is lower in gluten than some other wheat-family members, but not free of it.

#827 ::: idgecat ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 01:12 AM:

Delurking to throw in some anecdata regarding Chinook Jargon in general. I've known some of the words all my life, thanks to older family members, their friends and neighbors. Parts of my family have been in the central Puget Sound area (Snohomish, King and Pierce Counties) since homesteading days (my great-great grandparents), one of the homesteads in question is still in the hands of a cousin.

Chinook Jargon usage was common through my grandparents' generation, rare among my parents' cohort and nonexistent among my own (boomer) or younger. The huge influx of people to work at Boeing and the shipyards for WWII along with the efforts of the schools to discourage it largely killed it for everyday use among non-Native Americans. So for most people currently in the area, the jargon only exists in names for places and ferries.

#828 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 01:40 AM:

In the northern virginia area (tech corridor), y'all seemed to end up being both singular and plural; you'd use the same construction for one person falling out of a boat, and an entire raft of people flipping over ("y'all alright there", to be precise).

It's also dratted persistent.

#829 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 02:28 AM:

When I studied woodwork at school (and the furniture I made is still in use here) timber was sold in Imperial cross-section and metric length.

My brother has told me he has bought a rotating bookshelf-thing, broadly similar to those rotating display stands, which looks to have been made to the same sort of traditional quality. Maybe somebody who took it to exam-level, maybe the sort of piece an apprentice used to make as a final demonstration of skill.

It could be quite old, of course. My lifetime goes back further than I sometimes like to think, and in some ways my memory of how the world was has century-old roots.

It can be disconcerting to hear modern politicians talking of "apprenticeships" and realise they are talking of shorter eductation/training than needed for a degree. These days, the equivalent of the riotous apprentices of London go to the LSE.

#830 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 03:15 AM:

Ginger, congratulations!

#831 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 09:06 AM:

I hear that Barnes & Noble is sort-of for sale. I never thought I'd say that, but I hope Microsoft gets it, what with the other evil corporations being Amazon and the WartMall.

#832 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 09:56 AM:

Lenora Rose@824

I suppose someone could argue with regards to ancient slavery that slavery (or its equivalent) was an absolute economic necessity for any civilization of that era. IF one accepts this premise, then there will be slaves (or their equivalent) in any society of that era advanced enough to have cities and such, and one might then reasonably say "just how it was" in regards to slavery of that era.

(With regards to the validity of the premise, I defer to those more knowledgeable in ancient economic history.)

#833 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 11:20 AM:

Lenora Rose @ 824 - However, I draw the line at someone saying that the feudal era in Europe and the 1950s were not sexist because it was just an unpleasant reality of the times (And that they may have lacked that particular term for it in the former).

I would suggest to this person that lack of the specific term "sexist" in a culture and era that did not speak modern English is a laughably weak argument for the position that nobody in the middle ages had a concept of gender prejudice or gender equity. (They may not have meant it in such an absolute sense, but it helps to establish that the lack of a technical vocabulary doesn't make discussion of a topic impossible.) Then suggest Christine de Pisan as a starting point for a medieval critique of gender issues. After that, there's an entire genre of "defense of women" literature to review.

#834 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 11:26 AM:

Ginger, hooray!

#835 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 11:34 AM:

Lenora Rose @ 824 -

Along those lines, an interesting question is what cultural aspect do we generally accept without question today will be regarded as morally wrong (or suspect) in the future. (Of course that depends a good deal on your location and its own subset of morals.)

A horseback guess would be that the idea of owning and operating one's own automobile would become a bit suspect. We're already seeing evidence of this in the decline of younger people owning cars because of expense.

Add things like ride-sharing or other means of getting around, one can see a sneering attitude towards people who buy cars leading to more regulation. Eventually driving your own car becomes faintly like smoking cigarettes - legal but strongly disapproved.

Will this particular thing happen? Who knows. But the fact that morals change all the time guarantees that something held as harmless today (or generally tolerated) will be regarded as wrong in the future.

#836 ::: janra ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 11:39 AM:

#805, shadowsong: There are a few "skookumchuck" place names in BC as well. Skookum = powerful, chuck = [body of] water. (Skookum doesn't only mean powerful, it also means good, strong, trustworthy, and other laudable things. When applied to something other than a "chuck", I most often hear it used to mean something along the lines of tough and well constructed; the opposite of flimsy.)

#809, Lee: It's a west-coast-ism, although how much it was adopted by english speakers was probably influenced by the country's attitude toward the tribes in the area.

Regarding height in cm feeling like height in inches and thus feeling wrong, do you state your weight in pounds, or in stones+pounds?

#816, Chris and #822, janetl: "local to" doesn't mean "universal in" :) I'm sure there are a lot of west coast people, including in Canada, whose family and friends group never used the term so they never learned it.

#837 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 12:03 PM:

Steve C @835 Eventually driving your own car becomes faintly like smoking cigarettes - legal but strongly disapproved.

There's a strong rural-urban difference in this one. I agree that ride share, etc., are becoming more popular where such alternatives exist. Alternatives don't exist everywhere.

I ran into a variation on this when I visited a cousin in rural Texas a couple of years ago. The oversize pickup or SUV that I deplore in my urban environment (impossible to park, impossible to see around, etc., never mind the environmental implications) for them hauls a horse trailer or bales of hay, takes rutted dirt roads in stride, and all kinds of things that they need regularly that would be beyond my little Toyota.

#838 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 12:47 PM:

My experience with "Singular y'all" was in Plano, TX in about the year 2000 . So there's a data point for someone.

@835 et al, Things we don't think much about: well, prison rape is the example I frequently use. Everyone thinks it's wrong, you know, in that sort of incredibly low-priority way that means you'd never actually bring it up.

#839 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 12:56 PM:

Lenora Rose @ 824

I can make a possibly-useful argument for the feudal era.

First question--are we talking about hierachy, or about capability? In the feudal era, if the question is about hierarchy, I would argue that "sexist" is probably the wrong description--everyone including men was subordinate to someone, and while wives were subordinate to their husbands, women-in-general were very much not subordinate to men-in-general (a male peasant would have been considered rebellious if he was insubordinate to his lord's daughter). If you are looking at opinions about capability, sexist is probably a good description--but the idea that men and women have non-identical capabilities is still widely held (and not incompatible with feminism), so there's an IMO coherent argument that sexist is better used for hierarchical questions than for questions of capabilities.

#840 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 01:28 PM:

Could one or more of the people who speak a "singular y'all" dialect answer the questions in 782? I'm trying to determine if it's a true singular. The examples given so far seem to be where the number is uncertain, or when an individual is a representative of a group. Those aren't strictly plural, but that doesn't make them singular by any means.

#841 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 01:59 PM:

More on my rant at @ 823 about The Nation's subscription department. I called their 800 number this morning, and they promised to cancel the "obligation" in their system. I asked for an email confirmation. They said they'd send it, but haven't yet (it's only been about an hour). They said the letter that was apparently from a collection agency was actually in-house. If I'd been nervous about my credit, I'd have paid it immediately. And in several months they'd have automatically renewed it again.... What jerks!

janra @ 836: I wasn't doubting the use of skookum in the PNW, just providing my datapoint. The city of Portland has a lot of people who've migrated in. I was at a social event this weekend with about 10 people when the topic came up of where we were from. One was born in a nearby town, one was from Bend, and everyone else was from out-of-state.

#842 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 02:33 PM:

Calling all Peter Dinklage fans: The Station Agent is streaming on Netflix.

#843 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 02:59 PM:

Sandy, #838: Actually, there are quite a lot of people who don't think prison rape is wrong at all, and some of them are likely to be people you know. There's a strong meme in our culture that rape is okay if the victim "deserves it" in some way; we've made some progress toward getting rid of it WRT regular rape, but prison rape is lagging far behind in that regard. You're most likely to hear it about people convicted of child sexual abuse, but I've run across that kind of gloating in other criminal-report contexts as well.

#844 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 03:00 PM:

Trying to shake loose a post caught in the dreaded Internal Server Error.

#846 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 04:03 PM:

Well, that was annoying. Someone apparently got into my Twitter account and posted a bunch of spam. ML poster pericat was kind enough to send me a heads-up, and I deleted the spam and changed my password; I was a little surprised that the hacker hadn't already done so, to lock me out. Is there anything else I need to do besides make sure I'm not using that same password for any other account?

#847 ::: jonesnori/Lenore Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 04:43 PM:

On the second person plural front, can any British commenter advise on the use of "you lot"? I see it in stories, but am not sure of specifics. Xopher has the impression that it's mildly or jokingly pejorative, but I have more of an informal perception. Any comments?

Getting into the dual, I've also seen the phrase "you pair" in some British stories, including one which had an American say it - no, no, no. I might say "you two" or perhaps "the two of you". Xopher has also heard "the pair of you" in America, used somewhat pejoratively.

I love language.

#848 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 05:03 PM:

I'll sometimes use 'the both of you', but it's informal.

#849 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 05:22 PM:

Lee @846

the twitter help page on the topic is surprisingly helpful. The main thing you haven't done yet is to check which 3rd party apps have permission to use your twitter account.

#850 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 05:41 PM:

So Michael Bay plans on remaking The Birds.

Exploding seagulls?

(I know, it really, really sounds like an Onion piece.)

#851 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 05:41 PM:

So Michael Bay plans on remaking The Birds.

Exploding seagulls?

(I know, it really, really sounds like an Onion piece.)

#852 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 05:55 PM:

Naomi, #849: Thanks for that link. Actually, I had checked that while I was in the process of resetting my password -- there weren't many, because I don't believe in linking every account I have to everything else. I deauthorized one application because I couldn't imagine wanting to use it to post to Twitter; it was probably linked by accident when I was first getting used to one or the other of them. Of the others, two were things I have used and one is something I might use in the future.

The suggestion to check my computer for malware is a useful reminder but probably not going to find anything, since I have an up-to-date copy of Norton.

#853 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 06:12 PM:

@843: I expect if you asked that person "So why don't we cut out the middleman and sentence them to, say, 150 forcible penetrations?" they'd back off.

Maybe not, but there is usually a feeling that you should be embarrassed about ugly gloating like that.

#854 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 06:21 PM:

The folly of the "extra dollop tacked onto the sentence" view of prison rape shows up better if you ask why bigger stronger prisoners get to spend their sentence in a place that provides them with a supply of additional victims.

#855 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 07:11 PM:

Slavery has shown up in several different contexts -- AIUI, it apparently started in most areas as a way to handle prisoners taken in wars, and/or conquered people. Later, it became a response to debt default, on the same principle: "So, what are you going to do with those people?"

Somewhere along the line, the rulers managing those slaves realized that they could gather them up to produce immense amounts of labor, providing for early cities, pyramids, and suchlike. In the ancient Mesopotamian, the first great era of human slavery was ended by new technology -- leather harnesses for horses and oxen, which let them pull far greater loads than the clumsy wooden collars they replaced. For most of the heavy labor that the slaves had done, the math had changed -- it was now cheaper for a farmer or miller to feed and house draft animals rather than people. (I'm now wondering what that ending-period was like... maybe a good place to put a story).

At the same time, slavery kept happening at smaller scales, both for the old reasons, and because some folks just need somebody to look down on. These might be personal servants or indentured laborers, but they probably wouldn't be turning a mill wheel, they'd be doing something animals couldn't.

And so the institution stayed alive until a new use for slave labor showed up -- the agricultural work of the New World, again requiring more dexterity than animals could provide. And once again, there was profit to be made by gathering up human labor. (Note that even today, most of the modern-day ur-slavery in the U.S. is migrant workers doing... agricultural work.)

#856 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 08:01 PM:

SamChevre @ 839: While I agree that the lord's daughter is still above some peasant, we are talking about a time when it was seriously discussed whether women had souls, in something of the same way that now people debate whether dogs do (IE, some people seemed to find it self evident just by looking at the women they knew, as well as those who seemed to think ti more of an intellectual issue). So I don't think it's as simple as examining it heirarchically.

It's such an alien perspective that I have to say i can't honestly say which parts qualify as unjust and which are merely alien.

I did make note there that differing roles =/= sexist automatically. It's the importance and prioritizing of those roles - and the ability of the people who don't fit to escape them. So simply the idea that women had a different sphere of influence is indeed insufficient evidence on its own. But we have a lot of evidence that those differing spheres were given their own heirarchy, and that women whose talents were not feminine were trammelled within them in addition to the ways the heirarchical system trammelled its lower classes.

Michael I @ 832, Dave Harmon @ 855: Michael I's argument was essentially the one raised to say it wasn't *really* unjust.

In the other debate, we all agreed that we can't criticize ancient peoples for making what probably seemed like the best choices they could for the times and knowledge they had, even if those choices were explicitly unjust. (Though I am under the impression that by Colonial times and New World slavery, they knew better - a lot more anti-slavery rhetoric existed - and did it anyway.)

It was mostly the big sticking point of whether they could be COUNTED unjust if they were so very necessary to maintain the civilization that seemed to be a sticking point. And I can't seem to stretch cultural relativism far enough to fit that (Even as I conceded that in a first contact situation, I'd probably be holding to the Prime Directive or equivalent as a better starting place than my concept of injustice, and striving to avoid "Let me teach you MY morality" Captain Kirk stances, aka, colonialist approach.)

#857 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 08:57 PM:

Lenora Rose: Off on a tangent, but it's darkly amusing how certain skills and talents are seen as feminine in an inverse relationship to how prized those skills are for men. So in the Renaissance, artistic skill is seen as a masculine trait, and women who dabbled in same are considered unfeminine, while a few centuries later, other skills (such as politics) were prized by men, so an "accomplished woman" would have artistic skill as a feminine trait.

Poetry is currently somewhere around the angsty teenaged boy axis right now, which is darkly amusing when you think of Lord Byron, who was definitely trying to be a masculine ideal for his time.

#858 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 09:42 PM:


Someone I knew in college -- a non-student member of the SF club -- sent a "GoFundMe" invitation. He is looking for donations to pay the back fees on his storage unit, racked up during an illness.

Now, I'd be willing to send a little . . . but I wanted to get a feel if this might be in any way scammy. That is, if lots of others have gotten similar messages.

This is, that is: It isn't beyond the realm of possibility that a grandma would get a call from a grandson who needs money wired to him because he is in trouble, but when you have heard that this is a common spam, the level of evidence required goes way up.

#859 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 09:50 PM:

I keep thinking of Matilda of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Granted, they were outliers, but they were also apparently competent leaders. And there were so many women who ran things while their husbands were off at war or on a crusade somewhere else.

#860 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 10:08 PM:

Then there were also any number of male monarchs who absolutely reeked at their jobs, yet are never brought in as evidence that men can't be rulers. Anecdotal evidence gets to bolster the status quo, but not disturb it.

#861 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 10:13 PM:

There's a reason why England's only had one king named John. It's been 800 years, and he's still on the shit list.

#862 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 10:42 PM:

B. Durbin @ 857: One of the more amusing examples of that which I know isn't a talent but illustrates the same principle: Pink was a hard to get right and much prized colour in the Renaissance, while blue was associated with the Virgin Mary. But if you tell anyone these days that pink is for boys and blue is for girls ...

But yes, skills over the centuries switch, including in their degree of respectability.

Art nowadays is in a kind of flux; most schools of art are female dominated, but there's still a kind of glass ceiling past which the genders seem to flip in their frequency. And I really don't, based on the artists whose work I admire, think it has anything to do with skill.

#863 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 10:55 PM:

King John was not a good man — he had his little ways, and sometimes no one spoke to him for days and days and days.

#864 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 11:03 PM:

Kip W: "I don't like oranges. I don't want nuts. I do have a pocketknife that almost cuts..."

#865 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 11:24 PM:

Leonora @#862: my wife's biggest project in medieval spinning and dyeing and knitting was a pink baby blanket. If you let a madder bath ferment a bit, you get pink, rather than red. Six batches were necessary to get enough, then carded, spun, and knitted.


I'm pondering what's an easy, reasonably cheap, savory snack with some protein for a church coffee hour. Crackers and cheese is possible, but kind of boring. There's a very good kitchen, but not much time.

#866 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2014, 01:00 AM:

Pita or crackers, with hummus or a herb-flavored dip/spread?

#867 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2014, 01:07 AM:

Belated Pi Day photo:

That's actually from last year. I'd really like to learn how to make pie shells; I saw a really neat recipe for a pastry shell wrapped around cabbage and onion marmalade.

#868 ::: janra ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2014, 01:25 AM:

#799, Soon Lee: I'm sure there's both regional variation and variation between the Maori and white (and other immigrant) populations as well. (Plus this character says at one point that she breaks stereotypes with glee, so I have to have one or two things that are utterly stereotypical for her to do without once remarking on them, in addition to her non-stereotypical stuff that she's so proud of. Just because.)

I'm currently sanding the edges smooth where I patched up plot holes. It's getting close. On the one hand, I'd like to get the feedback on language so I can smooth that up with the rest of the work; on the other hand, I would consider it more polite to ask somebody to read the best I can do instead of something that's still in progress.

#857, B. Durbin:

Off on a tangent, but it's darkly amusing how certain skills and talents are seen as feminine in an inverse relationship to how prized those skills are for men.

Also: women cook, men are chefs. Same skill, same time period, different status.

#869 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2014, 01:33 AM:

Women sew (or are seamstresses) while men are tailors.

#870 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2014, 05:19 AM:

Reporting from the corner of Ew and Gross, I just pulled out a box of almond milk that had been sitting in the back of my fridge for a month or so. Sniff test was promising, but when I gave it a shake, I could detect no collision between the container and the contents. Moved to caution, I decided to pour a bit into the sink to see what I was dealing with.

I swear to ghod, the damn thing had a placenta. There was a distinct, transparent membrane that stretched down from the spout, through which traveled more viscous, milky substances of varying degrees of opacity. After a good three or four seconds, it finally fully exited the box, and I was duly grateful for my caution.

Powdered milk for the oatmeal, it is!

#871 ::: jonesnori/Lenore Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2014, 09:39 AM:

Jacque 870, my roomie tells me that almond milk only lasts about a week after opening. I guess you proved it. It is tasty when fresh, though!

#872 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2014, 10:11 AM:

Lila @864: As it happens, there's a PDF sample of Now We Are Six that includes King John (and one brief introductory verse). I've had the book just over a half century (now I am fifty-seven), but downloaded it anyway for the pretty coloring job on the classic illustrations.

#873 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2014, 11:28 AM:

Lee @ 846: You can add 2 Factor Authentication to a Twitter account. I highly recommend it, as Twitter accounts seem ridiculously prone to being hacked. You tie it to a phone number, and then logging in on a new device requires entering the 6-digit number texted to your phone. I use it for my Gmail account, too.

#874 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2014, 11:32 AM:

Jacque @ 870: That was a vivid description. Eek.

(Almond Milk in this house never lasts that long, since I buy it for a treat.)

janra@ 868: A counterpoint: The only men I know who call themselves chefs are the kind who went to chefs' school and have training above and beyond just "I can provide tasty food for family!", and I know lots of men who cook (And I recall at least one female chef). This seems to be a pretty common way of thinking, too -- so either we're in a better region for that sort of thing, or, and more hopefully, this means the thinking around this is changing.

#875 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2014, 11:50 AM:

janra, #868: "Bank teller" used to be a male-only job, and reasonably high-status. The work hasn't changed much, nor the level of probity required, but the perception of it has slipped down a lot now that mostly women do it.

Also, the relative percentages of women in primary education vs. university-level faculty.

#876 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2014, 12:34 PM:

Open threadiness: I am currently fascinated by the vanishing of the Malaysian airliner. It seems like a technothriller given actual life. My problem is that I can't decide whether the author of this particular story is Tom Clancy, John Birmingham, John Barnes, or Charlie Stross.

#877 ::: janra ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2014, 12:56 PM:

#874, Lenora Rose: Chefs are definitely a higher level and higher status of cook, and the extra education for it warrants that status. So, speaking of majorities and assumptions and not of exceptions, why is it when a chef is mentioned they're usually default male?

(I'm female in a majority male field, so I see that assumption regularly; I have been addressed with male titles and pronouns, when my first name wasn't known. Not a chef though.)

#878 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2014, 01:21 PM:

Cooks vs. Chefs -

I enjoy Anthony Bourdain's cooking travelogues, but I am always amused (with varying degrees of irritation, depending on how much sexist BS is flying around my life at the time) that pretty much every Great Chef he meets is male, but he heaps the greatest praise on the food created by Gramma/Abuela/Babcia of the designated family who prepares the home-cooked feast at the end of the show. I kind of hope at some point he has an epiphany about this and either starts to look for more up-and-coming female Fancy Food Chefs, or does a whole show on the actual value of these unsung matriarchs.

#879 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2014, 01:26 PM:

Lenora Rose #856: Though I am under the impression that by Colonial times and New World slavery, they knew better - a lot more anti-slavery rhetoric existed - and did it anyway.

And stuff like those strawberry pickers continues, despite fairly wide awareness of their working and life conditions. I suspect that the human social instincts naturally provide for some version of a slave class, which gets implemented whenever the economics are feasible. Then it persists even despite awareness, because modern morality is a thinner veneer than we like to think.

#880 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2014, 01:28 PM:

Internal Server Error: <kick>

#881 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2014, 02:34 PM:

We never hear about Hector Boiardi's kid sister, Chef Girlardee. I think she finally became a rapper.

#882 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2014, 04:04 PM:

Fragano Ledgister@876: Neal Stephenson's Reamde teaches, in some depth, how to make a plane disappear from Chinese airspace and land unobserved elsewhere.

#883 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2014, 05:19 PM:

Steve with a book #882: So it does. I'd forgotten.

#884 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2014, 05:48 PM:

janra #868:

No worries (Australasian saying). When you want, my email details are in my LJ profile (linked to my username here).

I think the chef/cook thing is largely a signifier of the image a dining establishment wants to project, with chef having higher status, therefore expensive.

A "short order chef" would sound strange.

#885 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2014, 05:59 PM:

Chef vs cook

Technically, a chef directs something; a "chef de cuisine" directs a kitchen, not merely works in one. I'm a good cook; I'm a terrible chef.

#886 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2014, 06:09 PM:

In the Soviet Union, most doctors were women.

It was a low-status job.

#887 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2014, 06:21 PM:

SamChevre #885:

Is that the industry terminology/ jargon? General public usage seems to be not as specific.

#888 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2014, 06:43 PM:

Soon Lee, I'm pretty sure it is. One chef (chief) per kitchen. The chef is the boss; there could be many cooks under the chef.

There's a term 'sous-chef' that I think usually means a subordinate cook, but might involve helping to organize things in a large kitchen.

I'm going from memory here, but from what my friends in the industry say.

#889 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2014, 06:55 PM:

Soon Lee @ 887

"Chef" as "in charge of a multi-person kitchen or function in a kitchen" is both industry jargon and what it would mean in French[1]. A sous-chef is what it sounds like-"under-chief"-a subordinate of the chef, but who is in charge of something or gives orders to cooks. (A sous-chef might be in charge of prep work, for example. Closest English equivalent would be deputy.)

1) "Chef" in French doesn't have to do with cooking, but with being in charge; you can be in charge of a kitchen (chef de cuisine), of a group or function (chef de partie), of the armed forces as commander in chief (chef des armées).

#890 ::: Mongoose ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2014, 06:56 PM:

There's also something called a commis chef, pronounced "commie chef", which we have in the UK, but I bet they call them something else in the States. Not 100% sure what one of those does, though.

#891 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2014, 07:01 PM:

"Chef" is also what you call the conductor of an orchestra in French.

Mongoose, yeah, anything that sounds like "Commie Chef" wouldn't be used in the US, not since the McCarthy era.

#892 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2014, 07:01 PM:

"Chef" is also what you call the conductor of an orchestra in French.

Mongoose, yeah, anything that sounds like "Commie Chef" wouldn't be used in the US, not since the McCarthy era.

#893 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2014, 07:36 PM:

Weird. This time I have no idea how that happened.

#894 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2014, 08:44 PM:

The diplomatic title "chef de mission" is sometimes heard. Canada had a chef de mission for the Olympic team, for example.

#895 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2014, 09:13 PM:

I understand that professional kitchens especially ones bigger than the mom and pop operations are structured & hierarchical, especially the ones that follow the French tradition.

I've only ever worked as a kitchen hand in restaurants & that briefly. My role was very simple - make sure the dishes are washed & clean. I did once have to step in as "second chef" (they were desperate) to assemble entrees & actually handle food. It's a tough industry & I'm glad I didn't stay long.; I don't think I would have retained my passion for food.

#896 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2014, 09:43 PM:

@890 Mongoose

There's also something called a commis chef, pronounced "commie chef", which we have in the UK, but I bet they call them something else in the States. Not 100% sure what one of those does, though.

In French, "commis" is a kind of assistant, helper, or maybe clerk, depending on context. I'd guess a "commis chef" would be an assistant or auxiliary cook.

My Chef Brother-in-Law is not currently available for me to verify.

#897 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2014, 07:41 AM:

Fragano @876 - If it were a Tom Clancy technothriller, then the missing airliner would undoubtedly become tangled up in events in the Ukraine.

#898 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2014, 12:23 PM:

nerdycellist #878:

Bourdain is the narrator (although he does not actually appear onscreen) of "The Mind of a Chef", a nice little half-hour series in which some chef is filmed with their Influences, some of which are foods, others places, still others other chefs. There are roughly six episodes per chef, and the latest (that I've watched, anyway) has been April Bloomfield, who's definitely not male. So I think he's relatively clear on the concept, but it just doesn't fit the slightly laddish focus of his own show. Which may be the problem.

#899 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2014, 01:10 PM:

Neil W # #897: That it would. If Charlie Stross were writing the script, Great Old Ones would be involved (or else there would be a drug deal gone wrong somewhere).

#900 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2014, 02:20 PM:

HLN: Admins' work on local Book of Face forum to draft comment policy & to resolve kerfuffle that caused need for explicit comment policy in the first place continues.

Favourite line from policy: "Be slow to take offense, be quick to forgive."

#901 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2014, 05:53 PM:

Fragano Ledgister@899 - Specifically, a drug deal gone wrong in a universe directly adjacent to ours...

#902 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2014, 06:40 PM:

Bill Stewart #901: Of course!

#903 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2014, 07:25 PM:

Jacque 870: It might be fortunate you didn't let that thing come to term...Way-long-far-back, I made some chicken chow main out of a can, didn't finish it all and left the rest sitting out, and when I got up next morning, it was *boiling* *without* *being* *hot*.

#904 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2014, 09:08 PM:

Angiportus @903 -- how skillfully you capture the Lovecraftian mode there. There Are Some Foods That Man Was Not Meant To Know.

#905 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2014, 09:25 PM:

Tom, 904, thanks. It was startling enough to discover, but I had a nightmare about it some while later. I think I haven't had chow mein since.

#906 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2014, 10:43 PM:

I miss the Chun King (I think) sweet & sour chicken kits they used to sell. I'd cut up the chicken breast and remove all the grotty bits, then dredge it in the powder and fry up the pieces, then cook it all together with the sauce and fruit and put it over rice. It was darn good.

Could have been La Choy.

#907 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2014, 11:02 PM:

Saw Tim's Vermeer again this afternoon. It's no less impressive the second time around. Interesting side note: rumor hath it that Mattel (IIRC) will be putting out a toy version of the apparatus used in the movie, for budding artists.

#908 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2014, 11:09 PM:

Lee @ 907: I saw Tim's Vermeer for the first time today. Fascinating movie.

#909 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2014, 12:23 AM:

I ALMOST saw Tim's Vermeer yesterday, but after watching The Grand Budapest Hotel I decided to cancel the "double feature."

Hotel was very satisfying, and it was a really nice day, perfect for a walk around downtown Portland.

I'll take in Tim's Vermeer another weekend.

#910 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2014, 07:46 AM:

Stefan @909, request for minor Grand Budapest Hotel spoiler: in the commercial, a cat is thrown out of a window. Are any cats (or other animals) explicitly or implicitly harmed in the movie? I want to see this movie but my husband is hesitant only because of this moment in the trailer. (Note that any mayhem that may happen to humans is perfectly fine....)

#911 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2014, 08:56 AM:

HLN: woman goes into Big Box office-supply store for needed ink cartridges for printer, and discovers new printer is less expensive, literally, than said cartridges. And will act as a fax machine, too.

#912 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2014, 09:28 AM:

Just got rocked. Enough to knock some small stuff over.

USGS says 4.7, 8km nw of Westwood - feels about right.

#913 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2014, 09:54 AM:

PJ Evans@911

That was somewhat similar to how I got my new printer. Although the printer cartridge for the old printer probably wouldn't actually have been more expensive than the new printer. That is, if the store actually had had the cartridge in stock.

#914 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2014, 10:02 AM:

The store had them in stock - $80 for the pair. (The printer was marked on the shelf as $100, but it was actually on sale for $60.)

#915 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2014, 11:21 AM:

Angiportus @903: it was *boiling* *without* *being* *hot*.

Fueled from Dark Energy, clearly. It's a shame you couldn't have pattented it; cut the ground right out from under the oil industry. (Though it's scary to consider if it truly did scale. "How do we shut it off!?")

#916 ::: odaiwai ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2014, 12:40 PM:

PJ Evans @ 911:

HLN: woman goes into Big Box office-supply store for needed ink cartridges for printer, and discovers new printer is less expensive, literally, than said cartridges. And will act as a fax machine, too.

Did you price the replacement cartridges for the new printer? Printers tend to work on the Gillette model these days: sell you the printer at a loss and make it up on the usurious prices for ink:

#917 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2014, 12:51 PM:

Printers are sold with a token amount of toner these days, enough to get you through a few jobs. Then the "REPLACE TONER" messages begin. Thanks to Mark Evanier's blog, I learned that there's a way to shut off this message (which boils down to "I feel low on yellow, and so I will refuse to print black!") and take my chances. I did this for a couple of years, with no visible loss in quality.

Finally, a big payday for a freelance job made me rich enough we could spring for new toner, and JUST THEN the copies started looking feeble on one color. The copier then demanded all the colors, one after another, which seemed a bit grabby, but I went along with it.

A month later, I started getting "It's time to buy more toner!" e-mails from the manufacturer, who seems pretty sure that four new cartridges wouldn't last more than a couple of weeks.

#918 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2014, 01:30 PM:

Kip @ #917 -
Link to Mark Evanier's blog?

#919 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2014, 01:32 PM:

I have started buying remanufactured ink cartridges from an online vendor (is it OK to name names here?). So far, the inks seem to be just as good as the brand names, and much less expensive.

One thing I like is that the "new" cartridges come with a Business Reply Mail bag for shipping the empties to them for recycling/remanufacturing.

My printer takes 5 cartridges, in a CMYKK setup. Of course, when one of the cartridges is empty, it'll refuse to print, even if I'm out of C and I am willing to print in B/W mode. As such, I try to keep an eye on ink levels and order new ink before I need it.

#920 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2014, 01:45 PM:

The state government office I work for relies on recycled toner cartridges and has done so for years. We do print almost entirely in black and white; as we're mostly sending out letters this works well, with only a couple of color printers in the agency for special items, like the training unit's needs, where color might be really important. The recycled cartridges work just fine, and given that we are using big commercial-grade printers that take big honkin'* cartridges, I suspect recycled cartridges are pretty much a budget essential, the way semi-trucks use retread tires.

*Technical term, per our IT folks...

#921 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2014, 01:51 PM:

They're cheaper than the ones for the old printer. And I can get Giant Size black cartridges, which, since that's the one I use most, is good.

#922 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2014, 01:58 PM:

Kip W #917: The manufacturer's messages might have been timed from your original purchase of the printer... then they'd only be a month late.

#923 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2014, 02:16 PM:

P J Evans #912: Just got rocked. Enough to knock some small stuff over.

This one?

#924 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2014, 02:26 PM:

Angiportus #903:

"...and when I got up next morning, it was *boiling* *without* *being* *hot*."

Cold fusion! You've discovered cold fusion!

#925 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2014, 02:43 PM:

Yep. Glad I was already up, because that one would have been a rude awakening. (The epicenter is north of Mulholland, along Sepulveda: 34.135°N 118.486°W)

#926 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2014, 02:49 PM:

Family in SoCal are all safe. Brother in San Diego says he didn't even feel it.

I know it wasn't a big one, but I hope all of you in SoCal are safe and well anyway.

#927 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2014, 04:02 PM:

Over 900 entries on an open thread about three weeks old. How quickly they grow up!

Have the teams of data-crunchers at Making Light Tech Division looked at how fast open threads fill up, and how that is changing over the years?

#928 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2014, 04:04 PM:


The defenestrated cat's fate is not pretty and the aftermath is shown for a brief moment.

#929 ::: Idumea Arbacoochee, Speaker to Tall People ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2014, 04:25 PM:

oldster @927:
Have the teams of data-crunchers at Making Light Tech Division looked at how fast open threads fill up, and how that is changing over the years?

Not formally, that I am aware of. But relevant factors to consider include what quantity of people are currently actively commenting and how many threads their attention is spread across.

When we've got more vril for writing other front page posts, the open threads tend to last longer. When someone brings up something contentious, gripping or geeky, shorter.

#930 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2014, 04:33 PM:

Xopher, you can check the shake maps (and the did-you-feel-it reports) here, although they can be overwhelmed. In San Diego, you would have had to have been in a high-rise building to notice.

#931 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2014, 04:39 PM:

Stefan @928,

Ouch. Good to know. Perhas I won't be seeing that movie after all, at least not with my husband.


#932 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2014, 04:40 PM:

"Perhas" = "perhaps". Rented fingers.

#933 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2014, 04:46 PM:

Carol Kimball #918: I can't find where he said it — he did say recently that he changed his blog platform and is gradually bringing all his old entries into it. Knowing the command is in there somewhere, I went through the menus in the control panel until I found it, so I can say it works with a Brother 3040CN, at least.

#934 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2014, 04:54 PM:

Thanks, Kip.

#935 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2014, 05:22 PM:

Idumea @929--

I can imagine it does fluctuate for the reasons you mention--contentious content, multiple threads, etc.

Still, behind the fluctuations there might belong-term trends. A good project for keeping the junior gnomes busy, I should think.

#936 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2014, 05:40 PM:

@Cassy#931: The one shot in Moonrise Kingdom that would make me hesitate to recommend the film to several family members involves an arrow-shot dog. Probably wasn't necessary.

#937 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2014, 07:05 PM:

I've gotten a few minor geolophysical wake-ups over the years. Fortunately they did not occur when there was a mysterious energy source in the kitchen... Stay safe, all.

#938 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2014, 07:07 PM:

I hear they're calling it the Shamrock Shake. I hate the person who thought of that before me. Not really, but I'm green with envy.

#939 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2014, 07:25 PM:

PJ Evans@914

I realize my message was unclear. The replacement cartridge for MY old printer would probably have been less expensive than my new printer. At least if they had been in stock.

Sorry for the confusion.

#940 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2014, 09:27 PM:

I understood that. It was getting hard to find the ones for mine, and as far as I could tell they only came in 'brand name'.

#941 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2014, 08:53 AM:

I'm deeply surprised that my (laser) printer cartridge is still going, well past the 10,000 page mark claimed. I did spring for the (really rather expensive, but nothing like inkjet) new cartridge recently, just in case.

#942 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2014, 12:19 PM:

Open Thread 195 is now, um, open.

#943 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2014, 04:33 PM:

Tom Whitmore all the way back @26, I just read Tamora Pierce's Beka Cooper novels on your recommendation, and I wanted to thank you for bringing her to my attention.

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